The Pros and Cons of Starting a Freelance Coaching or Mentoring Business

When I started out as a freelancer, I often wished for someone who would review my business ideas for me. While I knew I was a good writer, I just wanted a second opinion. I’ve known other freelancers who felt the same way.

Starting a new freelancing business can be rough, so naturally there’s a market for people who are willing to help freelancers reach their potential–sort of like what I was looking for when I started out.

Those people who are willing to help freelancers get started or grow their business are called coaches or mentors. Business coaching is a growing field.

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably understand your freelancing business pretty well. You may be in a position to help others who are just getting started. Many freelancers expand their businesses to include a coaching component. Should you?

There are many advantages to starting a freelance coaching or mentoring business, as well as some drawbacks. For many freelancers, this is a chance to take their freelancing to the next level. In this post, I’ll list the pros and cons of starting a freelance coaching business and invite you to share your own experiences.

Advantages of Coaching Other Freelancers

There are some definite advantages to expanding your freelancing business to include coaching or mentoring. Here are just a few of those:

  1. Builds the network of colleagues and friends. Online friends are important. As a coach or mentor, you are in a good position to develop professional relationships that may ultimately grow into friendships.
  2. Enhances the freelancer’s reputation as an expert. Teaching other freelancers is an excellent way to solidify your own reputation as an expert in your field.
  3. Satisfies the desire to help people. Many freelancers have a deep desire to help others. Coaching or mentoring can be a very satisfying way to fulfill that desire.
  4. Provides an additional cash flow. Incorporating coaching or mentoring into your freelancing business can provide an additional revenue stream.
  5. Raises the bar for all freelancers. It actually helps the freelancing community as a whole when more freelancers adopt a professional business mindset.

Drawbacks of Coaching Other Freelancers

When considering whether to become a coach, it’s important to also consider the drawbacks.

Here are some of the disadvantages of becoming a coach or mentor:

  1. Personality conflicts. Not all coaches and mentors get along with their clients. It’s quite possible to run into a personality conflict with someone you are trying to help.
  2. Schedule enough time. Coaching and mentoring can take a great deal of time. If you plan on adding this service to your freelance writing business, it’s important to set aside dedicated time for it.
  3. Having a high visibility helps. You will be more likely to attract clients if you have gained a certain level of success in your field. Having a published book, even if it’s an eBook, helps.
  4. Watch out for scope creep. Like any other type of work, you need to set strict parameters on what you will do for your clients and when you will do it. Otherwise, you could wind up with coaching clients contacting you night and day.
  5. Mentoring is often voluntary. If you are considering becoming a mentor, remember that some mentor programs (particularly those geared to the underprivileged) are voluntary.
  6. Keeping your promises. Just like with your freelancing projects, you need to deliver what you say you’ll deliver. So don’t make any promises you can’t keep.

Additional Resources for Professional Business Coaches

If you are interested in pursuing coaching or mentoring as part of your freelancing business, there are many great resources out there.

Here are just a few additional resources that you might find useful:

Joining a professional organization can help you to develop your coaching or mentoring skills. Most of these organizations offer training courses. Some even offer professional certification.

There’s a lot of information out there. Be sure to review the reputation of any organization carefully before joining.

Your Turn

Does your freelancing business already include coaching or mentoring services? Has your new freelancing business benefited by using a professional coach or mentor? Can you think of any other resources for coaches or mentors?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments

  1. says

    Laura, love your post. This is something I and many of my colleagues have considered, so it’s great to be able to weigh up the pros and cons.

  2. says

    Nice post! I have always been drawn to this opportunity – ‘freelance mentoring’ you call it. Well, not to tell other people how to write or anything; but to help them be better freelancers. I have been blogging for a few years now to help other freelancers be better at what they do – and i have been doing it for free, in my spare time. Does this count as mentoring? I don’t think i can earn from this though – often freelancers who need my advice don’t have the money to pay for such mentoring; hence – the free blog with free for all advice.

    Actually, that blog was so successful (it is not in English, otherwise i would share it with you :D) that i decided to start a similar blog in English – to help fellow freelancers and small business owners to better market themselves. And who knows, maybe at some point i will figure out how to monetize it as well through a mentoring program ;-)

    Thanks for writing and sharing this post, Laura!

  3. says

    Diana,

    Thanks for sharing your story! :) I love hearing about other freelancers.

    There are all kinds of coaches and mentors and yes, some of them do make a living at it. I’m glad that blogging has turned into a mentoring opportunity for you.

  4. says

    Very good information here Laura. (And for those who don’t know it, Laura has a coaching page on her WritingThoughts.com site.)

    I recently added a coaching/mentoring page to my freelance writing blog. It’s something I’d considered for quite a while. I’ve been freelancing full-time for nearly 20 years and I taught college for several years, so it’s a natural fit.

    The key issue for me is finding the time to do it. I’m often quite busy with my own writing projects, so coaching/mentoring needs to fit into my occasional hours of free time.

  5. says

    John Soares,

    Thanks for the shout out John!

    I actually wasn’t trying to promote my coaching services. Like you said, they can take a lot of time, and for that reason I limit participation.

    However, the rewards can be great.

    I’ve always thought that there is a lot of value in freelancers sharing what they know with each other. Many experienced freelancers may enjoy this opportunity to help others build their business.

  6. says

    Thanks Laura!
    Its so kind of you to share your information about the Freelance Business.The most important points to be noticed in your post were the discussions about the advantages and drawbacks about the Freelance Business.Thanks a lot for sharing!

  7. says

    Great Post LAURA. I really enjoy to read pros and cons about Freelance coaching and Mentoring Business. well in my opinion both are different criteria if you have good some various source of knowledge any subject so that person Freelance coaching is better option and if you have good business Idea good investment sources links so that person business mentoring is good option.

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