Mums who train as coaches face all the usual challenges of establishing a coaching business as well as a whole heap of extras like guilt, frustration and all the moveable parts provided by child care. So is it possible to be a successful mumpreneur coach?

I spoke to the man who knows … yes the MAN. You may wonder why a man, but Nick Bolton, founder of the Smart School of Coaching has trained many Mumpreneur coaches and helped them build successful coaching businesses, so he knows whats needed.

He has offered guidance and encouragement to the mum coaches that are creating and growing practices that truly reflect their passion to make a difference. And in the process they have shown him the particular challenges that they have had to overcome or manage.

So lets look at the typical challenges that you might face as a Mumpreneur coach, and how to overcome them…

According the coaches that Nick has worked with at the Smart School there’s the issue of time:

“As a personal coach, rather than a business coach, and a single parent my biggest challenge is that clients are generally at work during the day and want evening appointments - the very time of day that I want to be at home with my daughter, so managing time and setting boundaries of when you are available is key.”

And the game of dominos that is child care:

“Dealing with the unexpected child issues and having flexible arrangements in place for others to provide cover when you're not there e.g. child being ill, child care arrangements falling through, teenage daughter distraught at being dumped by latest boyfriend etc”

Then there are the dreaded feelings of guilt:

“There is always a feeling of not giving 100% to delivery on work goals and the flip side of not being able to give 100% on the parent front because you have a job”

And frustration:

“Time! Feeling guilty about not doing anything properly. Feeling stretched in different directions, conflicting priorities.”

And of course the whole package!
“Combining a career and being a mum, trying to give your all to both roles and constantly feeling like you are failing at both because you can't give either your full attention...guilt, frustration and confidence issues are all too common feelings.”

Quite a set of challenges to overcome.

So, how do you build a business that is both financially and emotionally rewarding without compromising the areas in your life that are so important to you?

Here is Nick’s advice…

1) Decide what your business outcome is

To even want to overcome the challenges you face as a mumpreneur coach you actually have to really care about what you’re going to do.

So the first step is to identify what you’ll get from being a coach. How will your life change and how does that matter to you. This might be financial but it is almost certainly also about lifestyle and emotional reward too. There are easier ways to make money than coaching but it does bring with it emotional highs, a sense of worth, intellectual challenge and much more. What does that look like to you and how will it feel?

Write a description of the business and how it will benefit you. That should include a simple income planner too since having financial targets is a hugely important driver to staying on track.

2) Plan your time realistically

Ask yourself how much time you really want to give to your business. Be realistic. Start off with what’s genuinely manageable even if this means pushing yourself during the time that’s available.

And you’re going to need to get smart with time. Be clear about what you need to get done for the big picture and on a daily basis. Many people waste hours working inefficiently when their actual output could have been done in a fraction of the time. So get clear on the outcomes any piece of work or time committed to your business will give you.

Whilst you’re working, if you find your cursor hovering over the Facebook button to see if anyone has Liked your latest picture remind yourself to be on task. Get focused on using your time to the maximum benefit. Have a clear set of tasks and then do them but don’t become a to-do list junkie; make sure that every task feeds into the bigger plan.

3) Decide who your market is

So now you know what you want from your business and how much time you have to give, it’s time to decide who your market is. There was a time when coaches would attempt to market themselves to everyone. Thankfully, they’re getting smarter about business now and realise they have to be able to appeal to a particular group of people in order to develop expertise, build a reputation and deliver a marketing message that is clear and powerful.

What is the best niche? Well, really that depends on the outcomes you identified for yourself earlier. Each niche will offer different opportunities with a mix of financial, emotional, practical and impact rewards.

a) The financial aspect is relatively clear. How much are your potential clients likely to spend on the area you coach on. Don’t just assume it’s about wealth either. A wealthy person with no interest in personal growth will spend less on that area of life than a middle-income person who is passionate about self-development. But there is certainly a correlation of wealth-to-fees you could charge. How important is this to you?

b) The emotional aspects can come in many forms. How will you feel when you work with a certain group of people? Who excites you, bores you, drains you, fills you with energy? Remember, you have to be passionate about running your coaching business and much of this will ultimately come from the people you work with and help.

c) The practical elements to a niche include issues like travel, working hours, communication methods etc. We already saw from the quote earlier that as a personal coach there can be an expectation of working in the evening which needs to be managed. What demands is a potential niche likely to put on you and does that fit your plan for your life?

d) And finally there’s the impact of your coaching. What difference do you want to make? What are you passionate about? For many coaches, this is the biggest reason for what they’re doing. Some of my coaches specialise in areas such as helping with people with serious illness. Much of the reward in a niche like this is the impact you have on society or the lives of the people you work with.

4) Discover how to reach your target group

Having decided who your market is, it is even more important that you discover how to reach them most effectively.

Nowadays there are so many ways to reach your audience that don’t even involve leaving home! Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, blogs and many more represent amazing tools for reaching out to different audiences for different purposes.

But don’t neglect traditional means of reaching your audience: networking, speaking, referrals and partnerships all still work well.

Once you know who your market is, ask yourself how you can reach them in the MOST effective way. The last thing you want as a mum is to be going to networking events that yield no useful contacts or to conferences where nobody is your prospective client. So put some real work into understanding how to reach them as you’ll save a whole lot of time!

5) Plan a range of ways to work with your clients

Finally, having reached out to your audience, you’ll want to maximise the impact you have and the income you can generate beyond one-to-one coaching.

Get creative with how you can provide services that give your clients the change they want. Perhaps you can run workshops, or mastermind groups, offer online coaching or group coaching.

All of these methods help you to work with more clients and make a greater income whilst giving up less of your time. And for any mumpreneur coach that has to be a good deal!


To succeed as a coach you’ll need to manage both the practical and the emotional. It’s vital that you deal with the practicalities so that you can run your business otherwise it’ll only take a few hurdles and you’ll be tripping up and questioning whether to bother getting up again.

Being clear about what you can offer in terms of time is an important step in beginning to manage the business effectively within the realities of being a mum. Equally having that passion and clarity about what you’re doing and why, is critical to maintain your determination and never-say-die attitude to your business.

Being a mum is a reality of your life and you wouldn’t change it for the world. So there’s little point pretending the challenges you face don’t exist. You will face challenges around time and priorities; you will have moments when plans go wrong. And you’ll cope.

But get the foundations right. Build on something solid rather the sands of a vague idea and you’ll create an amazing, life affirming coaching business that changes lives. And for that I salute you!

Author's Bio: 

About Nick Bolton
As founder of the Smart School of Coaching, Nick Bolton is passionate about training and supporting individuals to become professional coaches and NLP. The Smart School runs free seminars where you can learn more about NLP and coaching and the opportunities in this growing industry. To book a free seminar or to find out more visit www.thesmartschool.co.uk

About Chantal Cooke
Chantal is an award winning journalist and broadcaster, and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET the UK’s only ethical radio station. See http://www.passionforfreshideas.com