Liv Chapman and Katie DePaola share practical tips for the life coaches they serve, and other aspiring entrepreneurs. (Credit: Inner Glow Circle)
Liv Chapman and Katie DePaola share practical tips for the life coaches they serve, as well as other aspiring entrepreneurs. (Credit: Inner Glow Circle)

For life coaches Katie DePaola and Liv Chapman, looking on the bright side during difficult times comes naturally.

Before the duo founded Inner Glow Circle, a training program that has served nearly 500 students who plan to become life coaches — either full time or as a side hustle — DePaola suffered from Lyme disease and lost her brother to an accidental overdose.

Then, in 2018, Chapman learned that her partner and father of her children was having multiple affairs. She promptly left him, and now is raising her young sons as a single mom.

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“We fundamentally believe that you can create purpose and really powerful, life-changing things out of hard times,” DePaola said.

Their message of hope and positivity for their cadre of aspiring coaches couldn’t come at a better time. Below they serve up some practical tips geared towards coaches and consultants, but these could apply to many other businesses and owners as they are forced to pivot in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

1. Offer Free Classes and Services

Becoming a life coach is a valuable endeavor now more than ever, since many people feel adrift in these uncertain times, DePaola and Chapman say. They suggest offering a scaled-down version of a coaching session on the house. (Many yoga and pilates studios are also offering free classes on YouTube.)

“Offer a free online class and teach people a new skill,” they say. “For the next two weeks, gift people 15 minute coaching or consulting sessions and then offer up ways to continue working with you. The world isn’t stopping, but it is shifting right before our eyes and we get to be a part of forming the new landscape. That is an opportunity for leadership, and we have a duty to show up and serve. Some of the best ideas were born during challenging times.”

[Related: Zoom and Downward Dog: Yogis Connect with Students Online]

2. Go Virtual for Conferences and Meetings

One of Inner Glow Circle’s mottos is “Create the thing you wish existed,” which is what DePaola and Chapman did. Their company is the first all-women, all-virtual accredited coach training company, and classes, which run for $12,000, are held on Zoom. (They said they are allowing students to extend payments during this time.) Even though many people prefer in-person meetings and conferences, they said now is the time to innovate, and move to Zoom or Google Hangouts.

“We have maintained being a profitable business because we learned how to work online, and now it seems so simple,” said DePaola. “How do you take the downsides and rework them so that the experience still feels really intimate? You have to think about the experience that you’re trying to give your clients and innovate.”

3. Take This Opportunity to Learn a New Skill

Always wanted to learn how to cook? Well, now you have time — plenty of it. DePaola and Chapman urge aspiring entrepreneurs and coaches to “use the time to invest in yourself and encourage others to do the same.”

“Learn a new skill that will allow you to open up another stream of income and make even more money from home,” they say. “Enroll in a class to learn how to be of even greater service. Encourage your clients and your audience to use this time to double down on their goals rather than wasting their time and energy. Everyone has said, “I wish I just had two months to focus on [BLANK].” Now that we have the time, what are we doing with it? Your clients have longer-term health goals, business goals and career goals that get pushed off all the time because … life. Encourage them to do the thing they’ve been talking about for years.”

[Related: How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan]

4. Find Your True Passion

In times of crisis, the life coaches say, also comes clarity. They encourage their consultants — many of whom become life coaches while maintaining another full-time job — to really reflect on what they love doing.

“I feel like we have a duty to be positive and to show people what’s possible, and not like from some delusional place,” said DePaola. “Part of our way to warrior through this is to be teachers. A lot of people are going to lose their jobs — but a lot of people hated those jobs to begin with. We work a lot with people in the restaurant industry, in hospitality. We serve a lot of nurses. A lot of people in helping professions come to us when they get completely burnt out. I really foresee people not wanting to go back to work.”