When you’re first starting out, getting super official with your business may seem unnecessary.
But believe me when I tell you: getting these tasks done upfront will make your life so much easier once you’re making money, growing your business, and paying taxes.
Also, once you’ve reached a certain level of success, having these things already done will make it much easier to start implementing more advanced business methods—like hiring an accountant, implementing tax-saving strategies, putting yourself on payroll, and more.
In this article, I’ll show you the tasks to do before starting your coaching business.
Create a business email
It’s a good idea to start with a creating a business email, so you can keep your business-related tasks and emails separate from your personal inbox.
It’s also something you’ll definitely want to have once you’re working with clients, because communicating with a personal email address just doesn’t look very professional. So, it’s best to get it going from the start.
This will require first registering your domain name (aka your “dot com”), which will also be your future website address. I recommend using Google Domains for this step, which will also allow you to create your business email at the same time.
Some tips for choosing your domain name:
- Go for a .com or .co domain, and avoid .net, .org, .biz, .info, etc.
- Use your name, by itself, if possible. If your name isn’t available, you can try adding “coaching” onto the end. You might have to get creative if you have a popular name.
- If you’d rather use your company name, make sure you’ve registered your company first (see Task #2 below). Avoid adding “inc”, “llc”, etc. to your domain name.
- If you don’t have any luck with these tips, you could use the name of your signature offer, or even a short, easy-to-remember phrase or tagline that suits your coaching work. Just keep in mind that, if you ever decide to change your coaching focus, this option might make your domain name no longer appropriate for you.
Some tips for choosing your email address:
- Consider just using your first name, like this: [email protected].
- Avoid using your full name (e.g., [email protected]), which will make your email address unnecessarily long.
- Also avoid using a first initial, last name format (e.g., [email protected]), which tends to look a bit corporate and stiff.
- If your domain name is your name, and you don’t like having your first name appear twice in your email address (e.g. [email protected]), you can choose a word like hello (e.g. [email protected]) but in my opinion, having your first name appear twice is fine.
Once you’ve created your business email, use it for everything business-related and you’ll find it much easier to stay organized and professional.
Register an LLC
Registering your business makes your business official, legal, and ready to grow.
I recommend choosing an LLC for a number of reasons:
- it provides a layer of legal protection between your business and personal assets.
- it’s required to open business bank accounts and credit cards.
- it’s required for payroll, which you’ll want to consider as a means of paying yourself once you’re making a certain amount of money in order to pay less in taxes.
- it’s also required for other tax-saving strategies you’ll want later on.
You can register your LLC through LegalZoom if you want the benefit of having all the state filing and court paperwork to be handled for you, or you can save some money by doing it yourself through your local court. The 2nd option will require more effort and steps on your part.
If you go the LegalZoom route, I highly recommend spending the extra money for their Registered Agent Service. Designating a Registered Agent is a requirement for registering your LLC, and while you can designate yourself for free, LegalZoom’s service will keep you informed of when important annual filings are due.
By the way, your business name does NOT have to be your domain name, and vice versa.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Your EIN is essentially your business tax ID. It’s kind of like a social security number for your business.
While this isn’t necessarily required for you to register an LLC, it comes in very handy:
- it provides yet another layer of protection between your business and personal life.
- it replaces your need to use your personal social security number for things like business bank accounts and credit cards, as well as tax forms your clients might request from you, which minimizes your risk of identity theft.
- it decreases your chance of IRS audit when deducting certain types of business expenses.
- it’s required for payroll services, which you might benefit from later on.
- it helps you to establish a business credit history.
If you register your LLC through LegalZoom, you’ll have the option to get an EIN created for you, which I highly recommend. Otherwise, you can get one through the IRS.
Open a business checking account
Having a business checking account is useful in a number of ways.
For one, it allows you to keep your business income and expenses separated from your personal finances, which will make tax time simpler and less prone to IRS red flags.
You can also link it to your desired payment systems like Stripe, Square, PayPal, Zelle, etc. in order to accept credit card and/or bank transfer payments from your clients.
And, if you ever accept checks as payment, your clients can make the check out to your business rather than to you personally, which just looks more professional.
Bonus Tip #1:
After you’ve created your business checking account, get a business credit card that offers cashback (or travel) rewards with zero annual fee, put all your business expenses on the credit card, and then pay it off in full each month from your business checking account.
Assuming you don’t let finance charges accrue, the rewards are essentially free money—this is a great hack for engineering your finances.
Bonus Tip #2:
I also recommend creating a business savings account under your business checking account. Depending on the bank you use, once your checking account is established, you can create a savings account online from your banking dashboard in just a few minutes.
You’ll need an LLC and an EIN to open a business bank account and credit card.
Track your business finances
Before you begin earning money as a coach, you’re likely to be spending money on getting your business ready to offer your coaching services.
It will serve you to have a way of keeping these expenses organized in one place, which is why I recommend a bookkeeping solution like QuickBooks.
This will also allow you to track your coaching revenue once you’re getting clients.
In addition, you’ll be able to sync your business bank, credit card, and payment accounts to automate tracking your finances.
Come tax time, this will make your life much easier—but it’s also beneficial to always have a detailed overview of your business finances at a glance, which a bookkeeping solution will give you.
And once you’re ready to bring an accountant into your business, you’ll be able to give them access to it so they can manage it for you.
Starting your coaching business with a solid, forward-thinking foundation will make it easier to grow as a coach-entrepreneur.
One of the major benefits to completing the tasks you’ve read about here, aside from making your business more organized, growth-ready, and professional, is the mindset this will create for you.
Seeing your business as a real business—and treating it as such—will inspire and motivate you to commit to your entrepreneurial journey on a whole new level. It’ll help you begin thinking and making decisions not just as a coach, but as a coach-entrepreneur, which will be an essential aspect of your success.