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Client Spotlight – This Girl Talks Money

Who is Ellie?

I’m a 28 year old coffee addict and sun chaser living in SW London, building my business which is still in its early days! I’m an ex-lawyer, having trained at a global law firm before leaving to enter the world of working for myself.

What is This Girl Talks Money?

It’s a platform and community founded to create the educational financial content that I wish existed when I wanted to learn about managing money and making money work for me. I create lots of content which is easily accessible and jargon-free to help women in particular to demystify personal finances.

What is your vision or mission?

My mission is to give women the confidence and clarity they need to master their money and finances. Money is such a huge area that affects our lives in so many ways, yet we don’t learn about how to manage it until often, too late. Understanding how to maximise your finances can be so impactful whatever your situation, and my goal is to make money make sense for as many people as possible.

What drove you to start This Girl Talks Money?

The total lack of clear, simple and relevant information out there for young women looking to work on their finances. Everything I found was full of jargon, very patronising and made it sound like a total chore to improve your financial situation. I didn’t believe that had to be the case and so I set out to show it wasn’t!

What does it mean to be a financial coach?

A financial coach is similar to having a personal trainer for your money. I work with clients to uncover their relationship with money and understand why they have the challenges they do, as well as helping them to find practical solutions and answers to financial questions. Often, it’s about understanding your behaviour with spending or saving, but there’s also an educational piece to the work I do too.

What coaching services do you offer?

I work with clients on a 1:1 basis over 12 weeks to transform their relationship with money and set solid foundations to build on for the future. I also offer 75-minute financial health checks for clients looking for support with a specific area, such as budgeting or working towards a savings goal.

This Girl Talks Money

What do your programmes include?

My self-study programme, Investing for Beginners, is all you need to know to start making investment decisions. It’s for anyone who is curious about investing but feels overwhelmed with all of the information out there online. Plus, it has lifetime access to all of the updates and new materials!

What does the future look like for This Girl Talks Money?

There are some very exciting conversations happening behind the scenes, as I look to expand my reach and really focus on delivering the message about the importance of financial wellbeing and making the most of your money to more people.

How people can support you?

Following my social channels, sharing my content and providing feedback are all extremely helpful ways of supporting me. I also offer workplace talks, so if anyone thinks their workplace could benefit from some financial education, please reach out!

Best place for people to connect?

[email protected] or @thisgirltalksmoney on Instagram

Anything else you want to be covered?!

Find out more at

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How to Become a Life Coach

There are many reasons why you may want to go freelance. It might be that you are fed up of working for someone else, you would love to be your own boss or you want to choose your own hours and work from home. Whatever the reason, we have put together a guide to talk you through the steps on how to become a freelance life coach.

How to become a freelance life coach:

  • Choose your business structure
  • Register your business
  • Get a business bank account
  • Get appropriate insurance
  • Understanding record keeping requirements 
  • Understanding accounting and tax requirements

In this guide we walk through each of these steps in detail to give you the confidence and knowledge required to become a freelance life coach.

Choose your business structure for your freelance life coaching business

You have decided you want to become a freelance life coach, but don’t know where to start. There are multiple options when deciding what structure is for you, the most common structures include:

For the purposes of our becoming a freelance life coach guide there are two structures that we will focus on; Self-employed and Limited Companies. For further detail on other business types please get in touch.

So what is the difference between being a sole trader and a limited company?

To put it simply, being a self-employed/sole trader means you are trading as an individual, while being a limited company means you are trading as a company, albeit a company of one.

Do you need an accountant which specialises in life coaches?

Self-employed/Sole Trader

A self-employed individual, often known as a sole trader, does not work for a specific employer who pays them a consistent salary or wage. Self-employed individuals earn an income by offering their services or products directly to customers or businesses. They are required to win coaching work or customers themselves and take responsibility for the success or failure of their freelance life coach work. As a freelance life coach this would mean you would have to go out and find clients yourself.

Benefits of a life coach being self-employed

  • Simple freelance business structure without the administration burden of a Limited Company
  • Free and simple registration of your business with HMRC
  • Flexible freelance business structure that can later transition to a Limited Company

Considerations of a life coach being self-employed

  • You are personally responsible for any losses the freelance business makes
  • You are taxed at income tax rates which can be less tax efficient than operating as a Limited Company
  • Potential Clients may see sole-traders as less attractive than Limited Companies

What is required of you as a self-employed individual

  • Register with HMRC at
  • Record keeping of all income and expenses
  • Submit a tax return each year

Limited Company

Many of the indicators of a self-employed individual also apply to owners of a limited company, however, instead of being self-employed you are considered both an owner (shareholder) and office holder (director) of a limited company.

A Limited Company is a general form of incorporation that limits the amount of personal liability undertaken by the company’s shareholders and directors. This means that as a director and shareholder of a Limited Company, the business and you are seen as separate legal entities, which provides a layer of protection to your personal assets as a life coach.

Benefits of a life coach operating as a Limited Company

  • Retain more of profits by utilising tax efficiencies
  • Limited personal liability, this means that if a Company is in debt, the personal assets and finances of the shareholders will be protected by law
  • Limited companies have a certain level of prestige in terms of brand image that sole traders do not

Considerations for a life coach operating as a Limited Company

  • More complex and expensive to set up than a sole trader
  • Limited company accounts and tax are more technical than a sole trader
  • There are additional costs incurred when operating a limited company

What is required if you register as a Limited Company

  • Incorporate your company with Companies house and register for company tax with HMRC
  • Record keeping of income and expenses in line with company regulation
  • Submit Financial Accounts and Corporation tax return each year (as well as a self-assessment tax return for you as a director and shareholder)

Further information on both structures can be found in our blog on setting up as Self-employed versus Limited Company.

So which should I choose?

Ultimately the choice as to whether operate as a sole trader or a limited company is completely up to you and personal to your specific situation.

If you are looking for a simple way to set up as a freelance life coach then a sole trader is probably the best place to start. However, there are certainly many advantages to operating as a limited company, especially if you intend to grow and scale your business in the future.

Whichever option you are leaning to we always recommend you discuss it with an accountant to get their professional opinion and ensure you are set up correctly from the start.  We offer a free consultation call for new clients, contact us here.

Register yourself as a life coach

Once you have decided on an operating structure you will register your life coach business. The process is different for sole traders and limited companies.

Self-employed/Sole trader registration

Registering as a sole trader is fairly straightforward, you must create a government gateway account with HMRC and complete the registration form.

You’ll receive a letter with your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number within 10 days and subsequently you will receive an activation code. You will need your government gateway log in details and UTR number to file your taxes, so make sure to keep it safe.

Once you are registered you will be required to keep on top of your record keeping and deadlines for filing your tax return.

Limited company registration

To start up as a limited company there are a few more steps that need to be taken.

  • Decide on a company name
  • Decide who will be the director(s) of the company
  • Decide who will be the shareholder(s) of the company
  • Prepare documents on how to run the company (articles of association)
  • Incorporate your company with Companies House
  • Register for Corporation Tax (and other taxes such as PAYE and VAT as appropriate) with HMRC

We would recommend using a professional to help you with registration of a Limited Company to ensure you meet all of the legislation requirements.

Apply for a bank account for your life coaching business

The number one thing you should always do when you set up as a freelance coach, whether you are self-employed or a limited company, is set up a business bank account specific to your freelance coaching work.

Setting up a business bank account means that you are able to keep all of your life coaching income and expenditure separate from your personal finances. This makes is much easier when you come to your tax and accounts at year end. Furthermore, as a Limited Company you are required to have a company bank account as the company is a separate legal entity in its own right.

What is required to set up a bank account?

It is easy to set up a bank account. You will provide the bank with the following information:

  • Business name and address
  • Photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport and proof of address
  • They may require a letter from your accountant

What banks could I look at?

You can apply for a business bank account from most banks. You could choose a traditional high street bank or an online bank.

There are a few things you should consider whilst deciding which bank to go with such as:

  • Are there any extras/benefits you will receive as part of using that bank account?
  • How quick is it to set up?
  • Is there a fee? If so, is it a one off fee or monthly?
  • Is there an app?

Apply for appropriate insurance

As a freelance life coach there are many types of insurance that may be applicable to you, such as public liability insurance, employers liability and professional liability insurance.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance is an insurance product for business owners. It protects you in case your business is brought to court by a client, a customer or a member of the public. If your business is sued, public liability insurance will cover the cost of your legal defence, plus any compensation or settlement money you have to pay out.

Public liability doesn’t cover any injury to yourself or your employees. It covers the cost of legal action and compensation claims made against your business if a third party is injured or their property suffers damage while at your business premises or when you are working in their home, office or business property.

You’re not legally required to have public liability insurance, but if you’re a business owner the chances are you’ll need it. Public liability insurance covers your costs if someone else sues your business – and without cover, unexpected legal costs could bankrupt your business.

Public liability insurance is particularly important if your business involves interacting with the public. If a customer has an accident on your premises, they might sue. You may still need public liability insurance if your business doesn’t have a physical premises. If you’re a freelance life coach, you could accidentally damage a client’s property while visiting them. Even if you sell your services from home, there’s always a chance that a customer could bring you to court.

Employers Liability Insurance

Employers’ liability insurance covers you and your business for compensation costs if an employee becomes ill or injured as a result of the work they do for you. It’s legally required of all businesses with one or more employees.

Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you have employees – including many types of subcontractor. If you are caught without cover, your business can be fined up to £2,500 per employee per day.

Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional indemnity insurance can cover compensation payments and legal fees if a client makes a claim against you. The compensation payment will usually take into account the financial loss that the client has suffered.

Imagine, for example, that you are handling client data, but you or an employee copies the wrong person into an email when sending on the data. Your client sues you for breach of confidentiality. In this case, your professional indemnity insurance could pay for the cost of the compensation claim, along with legal expenses.

Professional indemnity insurance isn’t mandatory under the law, but, as mentioned above, protects you and your business if something goes wrong. It’s also required by some client contracts.

How much is insurance for life coaching?

The cost of insurance will differ depending on the size of your business and the services you provide. There are a lot of comparison search engines online which will help you decide which insurance is best for you and your business, speaking to an insurance broker will also allow you to get quotes from a variety of insurers.

Understand your record keeping requirements

The requirements for record keeping for sole traders and limited companies are different.

Self-employed/Sole Trader

As a sole trader you must keep records of your coaching income and expenses for your tax return.

Types of proof include:

  • All receipts for goods, services and stock
  • Bank statements
  • Sales invoices, till rolls and bank slips etc.

How to keep track of records?

As a sole trader it is possible to keep track of records in a spreadsheet (though this is likely to change in the future with the implementation of Making Tax Digital for income tax). We would recommend looking at your records on a regular basis e.g. once a month and entering all income and expenditure. This means when you come to complete your tax return at the end of the year you have all your details in one place. As a sole trader you could also use an accounting software system, see limited company section for further details regarding accounting software.

Limited company

As a limited company you are required to keep more records than as a sole trader.

Records about the company

  • Details of directors, shareholders and company secretaries
  • The results of any shareholder votes and resolutions
  • Any details for the company to repay loans at a specific date in the future and who they must be paid back to
  • Details for the company to make payments if something goes wrong and it’s the company’s fault
  • Transactions when someone buys shares in the company
  • Loans or mortgages secured against the company’s assets

Accounting records

  • All money received and spent by the company, including grants and payments from support schemes e.g. coronavirus support scheme
  • Details of assets owned by the company
  • Debts the company owes or is owed
  • Stock the company owns at the end of the financial year
  • All goods/services bought and sold and who you bought and sold them to and from

How to keep track of records?

As a limited company we would not recommend keeping track of your records using a spreadsheet. We would instead recommend you use an accounting software.

The benefits of using cloud accounting software is that it provides 24/7 access to all your financial data from anywhere in the world, electronic filing for all of your invoices and receipts to minimise the need for paper and integration with multiple applications such as Hubdoc, Shopify and PayPal.

This could mean for example that when you invoice for a piece of branding work you have completed for a client the software will automatically speak to PayPal and when the client pays the records will be updated in the system to show the invoice as paid without you having to do anything. The other great thing is that your accountant has real time access to the software to help you with any queries you have.

Examples of accounting software are Xero, Quickbooks and Freeagent. As partners of Xero we would highly recommend this as a great tool but as always research to decide which software suits you best.

Understanding your accounting and tax requirements

There are different requirements for sole traders and limited companies when it comes to accounting and tax.

Self-employed/Sole trader

As a sole trader you are required to complete a self-assessment tax return at the end of each tax year. You will be required to complete the tax return including detail from the 6th April in one year to the 5th April the following year and you have until the 31st January after the tax year ends to file your tax return (assuming your year end is in line with the tax year).

For example:

You register as a freelance life coach on the 6th April 2020, you will complete a tax return for the year ending the 5th April 2021 and you will have until the 31st January 2022 to complete the return.

You must include all taxable income on your self-assessment tax return.

As a sole trader you can complete the return yourself on the HMRC website or you can engage an accountant to complete it for you.

Limited Company

In keeping with the trend of limited companies being more complex, there are more accounting and tax requirements for a company.

As a limited company you must complete the following:

  • Corporation tax return to the financial year end
  • Company accounts to the financial year end
  • Confirmation statement
  • Dividend vouchers & minutes
  • VAT returns (if appliable)
  • PAYE returns (if applicable)

For your corporation tax and company accounts you have until 9 months after your financial year end to complete them.

For limited companies, the financial year is generally set according to when the company was incorporated. In the UK, companies are given an accounting reference date (ARD) which refers to the last day in the month the company was incorporated.

For example, if a company incorporated on 20th of May, their ARD would be the 31st of May. Their financial year would therefore run from June 1st – May 31st.

What happens if you miss your deadlines?

If your deadlines are not met, as either a sole trader or a limited company you will incur penalties and often interest.

To ensure you comply with financial regulatory standards we would recommend using an accountant to complete these for your company.

Round up

You may be feeling overwhelmed by the information detailed within this guide, so to break it down the next steps to do are:

  • Decide if you will operate as a sole trader or as a limited company
  • Register as self-employed or incorporate your company
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for appropriate business insurance
  • Decide how you will maintain your records; spreadsheet or accounting software
  • Put the accounting deadlines in your calendar so you ensure you meet all requirements

A great idea before deciding on any of the above, would be to speak to us about becoming a freelance life coach. We will make sure you understand exactly how to get started and ensure you are being tax efficient and complying with all the rules and legislation.

If you would like to get in touch with us, we offer a free no obligation consultation where we can discuss all of the above steps and support you in your journey to becoming a freelance life coach.

Related questions 

What is a confirmation statement?

A confirmation statement (CS01) is a snapshot of general information about a company’s directors, secretary (where one has been appointed), registered office address, shareholders, share capital and people with significant control.

What is a Community Interest Company?

CICs are limited companies which operate to provide a benefit to the community they serve. They are not strictly ‘not for profit’, and CICs can, and do, deliver returns to investors. However, the purpose of CIC is primarily one of community benefit rather than private profit.

Please read some of our other recent articles:

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4 steps to finding your niche

Creative industries are all about self-expression, relatability and connection. But how do you find your niche? Your ideal customer, who values, and therefore pays for your craft, whose projects excites you and who’s network will bring you referrals.

This is one of the biggest challenges faced by new creative businesses, so how do you overcome it?

Step 1 – Evaluate your passions and skills

This sounds simple, but it is important. Don’t choose a niche because you are kind of into it, it must be something you’re passionate about, something you would do for free, and enjoy.

Ask yourself, how likely is it that I will be passionate about this in 5 years’ time?  If the answer is unlikely, get back to the drawing board, it is much harder to achieve success if you aren’t interested in what you are doing.

Consider your skillset, which areas do you have experience or particular skills in? What do people regularly tell you your good at? What comes naturally to you?

Identifying where your current skill set is, allows you to play to your strengths and puts you on the advantage from the start.

Step 2 – With step 1 in mind, it’s now time to get really clear on who your ideal client is

In a world where competition is steep and attention spans are stretched, it’s important to identify your niche. Trying to appeal to the many, often means you don’t appeal to any, and that is why we believe its important to define who your ideal client is.

Ask yourself these questions, and make sure you get specific:

  1. Is your ideal client male or female?
  2. How old are they?
  3. Where do they live?
  4. What type of business do they own or work for?
  5. What type of education do they have?
  6. What are their interests and passions?
  7. How much money do they have?
  8. Where do they spend their time?
  9. What are their pain points?
  10. How will you solve their pain points?

Step 3 – Check out the competition

Now’s the time to get your detective hat on, stalk if you will. Its crucial to assess the competition and identify what works well, and how you will get the competitive edge.

Get online and make key word searches for your niche and service.

  • Are there many businesses offering the same as you?
  • What is the quality of the offering?
  • How is yours different?
  • What do their reviews say?

Social media – most businesses will have social media and it’s a great way to understand how your competitors speak to your niche

  • Note which platforms get the most engagement
  • Note which posts get the most engagement
  • Identify any interesting facts about your competition
  • Sign up to their newsletters and grab their free resources!
  • Most businesses offer a newsletter or free piece of resource on their website and we highly recommend you sign yourself up to receive it. It will spark ideas, allow you to identify gaps and get insight into your competitors marketing strategy.

Have you got contacts who are in your niche? It’s always a good idea to speak directly to your people.

  • Find out what they like about their current service provider
  • What challenges they have with their current service provider and how these could be overcome
  • Ask for example pieces they loved, and ones they didn’t
  • Analyse the results of the both and let it drive your approach.

Step 4 – Consolidate your plan of action!

You have assessed your skills and passion, narrowed down your niche and stalked your competition, now its time to formulate your plan of action. This is the exciting bit, though the hard work isn’t over yet, we have listed below some key points to include in your plan of action.

  • Create an ideal client profile
  • Clarify and define your business goals
  • Identify your mentors and coaches
  • Use your learnings to drive your branding and marketing strategy
  • Write your business plan and get clear on your finances

If you have followed the 4 steps above, you should be well on your way to defining your niche, congratulations, that’s a big step!

Check out our other free resources for further tips and get in contact when you are ready to take your creative business to the next level.