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.