It wasn’t even two decades ago when Mathew Paul found himself down to his last $20. He was new to the United States from India and sleeping on a mattress he pulled out of a dumpster while trying to make his way through graduate school.
Today, Mathew is a full-time Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach in Houston. That means he helps people get out of debt, build wealth, and create the financial future of their dreams. He’s coached more than 200 clients and conducted over 1,000 coaching sessions.
His journey to becoming a successful financial coach hasn’t been an easy one. But a true desire to help others has paid off. Now, he’s sharing his best tips for how to start a financial coaching business. If you’re considering becoming a financial coach as a new side hustle, ministry or altogether career change, you don’t want to miss what Mathew has to say.
Step 1: Find Your Why
If you’ve ever attended Financial Peace University (FPU) or watched Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk, then you know how important it is to find your why. It’s the thing that’ll drive you to work hard, make sacrifices, and keep going even when the path ahead isn’t entirely clear.
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Financial coaches need to find their why too. For Mathew, it’s a critical first step.
His why has never changed. He didn’t start out trying to run a financial coaching business. He wanted to help people with their money so they could experience the same financial peace he’s found. By coaching, he gladly repays a different kind of debt—a debt to God and country, both of whom have given him so much.
Step 2: Get Training
Despite having an MBA and a master’s in mechanical engineering, Mathew didn’t have any training on how to be a financial coach. But his own life experience with getting out of debt and a desire to help others was enough to make a start. Having been through FPU, Mathew was already connected to other like-minded people in his church and community—people who wanted to take control of their money once and for all.
Look for online courses or other community resources that will put your life experience to use and allow you to make a difference in the lives of people you’re already connected to.
In 2016, Mathew enrolled in Financial Coach Master Training (FCMT), Dave Ramsey’s online financial coach training program. In FCMT, Mathew learned everything from how to conduct a coaching session and establish healthy coach-client boundaries to how to help someone plan for retirement or avoid filing for bankruptcy.
Following FCMT, Mathew applied and was accepted into the Ramsey Preferred Coach (RPC) program, a network of independent financial coaches across the world. As an RPC, Mathew has access to ongoing group and individual coach training and development, referral opportunities, and a community of other coaches to share best practices.
Step 3: Share Your Why
Mathew has always had a heart for people in the ministry. Many of his earliest conversations about financial coaching were with pastors and came from a genuine desire to serve them.
“We didn’t expect [referrals] to happen. We just wanted to be a support system for people in the ministry,” he says. “Eventually they became the biggest mouthpiece for us.”
For Mathew, it’s all about relationships. Connect with churches, insurance brokers, real estate agents, other people working in financial services, and definitely your family and friends.
“Once you form the relationships, then the coaching [leads] will come in,” says Mathew.
It takes guts to share what you’re doing and why. And you can’t help people if they don’t know you’re available to help. So, fire up your bullhorn and let people know they can start winning with money today!
Step 4: Build Your Business
Once you’ve identified your why and have some training under your belt, it’s time to make your coaching business legit! And the good news is, you won’t need much to get started.
Create your business name.
Choose a name that lets people know who you are and what you do. Creativity is good, but don’t get so creative you confuse people or aren’t clear about what services you provide.
Gather equipment and resources.
If paying rent for office space isn’t in the cards, you can easily coach at libraries, coffee shops, bank conference rooms—anywhere you and your clients can focus and get to work. You can even host sessions virtually, using video conferencing tools.
When Mathew first started coaching, he didn’t have an office. He met people in their homes or around town. Over time, however, it made good business sense for him to rent a space.
“If I have to go from one place to another, I will waste time driving. And when I have a physical space, what I am communicating to clients is that I mean business. I’m serious, and so you have to be too.”
Don’t forget about marketing.
If the words digital marketing or web development make you want to run for the hills, you’re not alone! Mathew says when he started coaching, he didn’t know the difference between a hash brown and a hashtag. So, do what Mathew did and hire someone to build your website and run your social media accounts. Ask your friends and family for quality recommendations.
Consider bartering with vendors by offering a reduced coaching fee for help building your website or managing your Facebook business page.
Ask for referrals.
More than anything else, Mathew’s business has grown by word of mouth. Client testimonials have led to more clients and increased trust in the services Mathew’s company, Mayanah Financial Coaching, provides.
Getting out of debt and becoming a financial coach changed Mathew’s life. He shares openly about the struggles his family faced along their journey to become debt-free. Today, Mathew feels a sense of responsibility to pass the hope he’s found on to the next person. And he challenges his clients to do the same.
Chances are good that everyone who Mathew coaches also knows someone who could use help with money. He’ll ask his clients to consider who in their lives could benefit from financial coaching. Then, rather than asking his clients to do the heavy lifting of providing a referral, it becomes a conversation about how they can help someone else together.
If you want to help people with their money and don’t know where to start, we’ve got a training program for you. Sign up for a free webinar to learn about Financial Coach Master Training. Get a front-row seat learning how to change lives one coaching session at a time.