6 Steps to Jumpstarting Your Health Coaching Business

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I’ve seen far too many health coaches who graduate from their program, pass their certification exam, soooo eager to help people…only to realize, they haven’t been taught how to run a health coaching business.

Sure they have the skills to move people towards better habits… but attracting clients?? Promoting their services?? Creating and delivering a program?? Automating business systems to save time? They have no idea how to do that.

Does this sound like you?

They spent their time in school learning different nutritional concepts, health strategies, and weight loss methodologies, but not much about how to actually to put their coaching services into a product they can sell. And they certainly did not learn how to create a repeatable, scalable program that allows them to help far more than one person at a time, allowing them to build a business that generates predictable profit month in and month out.

So what do they do?

They panic that they just spent a lot of money and now they can’t figure out how to find the people they want to help.

They think they have two options:

OPTION #1: Spend months and months writing a program they think people need, giving sessions away for free to practice their coaching skills, and then offering a program that they don't even know actual clients want or will pay for.

OR…

OPTION #2: Buy expensive Done-For-You programs that provide a strategy and a framework to address a particular health problem, but these programs still need some degree of personalization, branding, and modification to sound like something they would personally say. This option gives them a little more confidence in what they’re offering but now they’ve spent money to save time and now they’re spending more time, which is costing them money.

It’s lose/lose.

I recommend doing it a little differently.

I started my business as a personal trainer, offering online workout programs. I pursued a Health Coach certification because I wanted to offer more than just workouts, more than weight loss, more than helping women lose inches or pounds.

I wanted to help women repair their damaged relationships with movement, to see exercise as a celebration of what their body could do, not a way to earn more food. I wanted them to stop obsessing about food, and meeting their reflection with disgust and criticism.

I was convinced I was going to make a huge difference in bringing down diet culture.

But after I passed my exam I realized, like so many other health coaches, that I really had no idea how to come up with this process.

So I first did option 1. I kept asking clients what they wanted, and like a dummy… I kept spending time creating it and then offering it to <<crickets>>. After a few months of zero clients I gave in to the suspicion that I wasn’t really sure about what I should be offering to clients that were sick of struggling with weight loss, so I purchased an expensive Done-For-You program. The content was great, but it didn’t sound like me.

I had to spend weeks poring over this content before it went out to clients, making sure it had all my personal branding, my pictures, and the look and feel of my business.

It was ok but I still didn’t feel like it truly reflected how I wanted to help clients.

Then I Realized I’d Done it Backwards…

You see, before I’d gotten into a health and fitness, I had a decade-long career in software development. I tested software for years and one of the concepts that was becoming popular in the industry was testing programs early in the development process. Like super early… like before it was even software. We wanted to know as early as possible if we were on the right track, if it worked the way we wanted it to, if it needed any tweaks.

I realized the process we’d used to find out if software was viable was easily translatable to my current career.

Instead of spending months creating a program something only to find out it wasn’t what clients wanted, I had to validate my idea for the program.

Instead of creating the program and then selling it, I needed to pre-sell it. This lets me know I’m creating something that people actually want and need.

I offered my new program as a mini-version, because I wanted to spend the minimum necessary time testing it so I could find out as quickly as I could if it was effective. Once I knew people wanted it and the steps of the program were effective at getting results, THAT’S when I could spend the time and money turning it into a full program.

6 Steps to Creating Your Health Coaching Program:

I mapped out the process I used to create my program.

  1. Spend a few weeks laying a foundation and creating a PLAN for your program.

    - Create a program outline, using your health coaching education to determine which health topic you want to address and develop a strategy to help clients reach a goal relating to that topic. Transitioning a plant-based diet?
    Getting more exercise?
    Developing a meditation practice?
    Building emotional eating awareness?

    Whatever it is, stick to ONE main outcome, one solution you provide. Map out a step-by-step process to get clients to the end goal. Decide how you will walk people through the process.

  2. Put together a social media strategy to attract potential program testers. Using your program themes and the language of your ideal potential clients, create a freebie to build an email list of subscribers that are interested in what you’ll be offering.

    Offer some kind of freebie (a checklist, a cheatsheet, a training video, or a free challenge) in exchange for the email address of your potential ideal clients so you can start building a subscriber list. Send them weekly updates on your program creation so that they are familiar with your brand and your message when your program becomes available for registration!

    Figure out what words and phrases they use that will help them relate to you and see you as the coach that can finally help them reach their goal?

    At the end of your campaign, announce you’ll be looking for a limited number of participants to help you test a new program at a discounted rate.

    PRO TIP: Consolidate your efforts, pick one or two main platforms that you’ll use to share your content. Select the one where your ideal client hangs out the most.

  3. Once you’ve attracted your potential clients, provided them with free content, announced your beta test, and gotten a few sign ups, give yourself at least a week to prepare for the beta test of your program. Get your materials organized, write your weekly emails, schedule your group calls, and create a private Facebook group, if you’ll be using one. Make sure you communicate with your beta testers during this week and get your them ready for what is about to happen.

  4. Kick off your beta test with a bang, and get everyone excited for the transformation they’ll be seeing in just a short time. (Remember to keep your beta test short and sweet, and but long enough to get results. I recommend no longer than 4 or 5 weeks.

    Run your beta test by sending your participants the weekly content, checking in with them in the private Facebook group, and asking if they have any questions. These questions may be annoying but they tell you what’s missing from your program! This is the feedback you want so that you can make your program even better.

  5. When your beta test ends you will wrap up, collect testimonials, and ask for feedback of the program, your coaching, the platform.. everything! Take the feedback that’s provided and make updates and corrections to your program set up and content. Prepare to rerun the entire process and be sure to reuse your content from the first round as much as possible.

  6. After a 2 or 3 rounds of your beta test, you’ll have enough content, feedback, and social proof to create a full program ready for a serious, full-on launch. Make sure to adjust the price, set up systems to automatically fill your sales funnel and attract potential clients on a bigger scale.

All told, this process should take you about 6 months, with 2-3 rounds of your beta test. That may seem like a long time to get up and running, but here’s what’s great: within that 6 months you’ll been earning money, getting practice, testing your program, making it better, and gaining a lot of confidence in yourself.

It sure beats floundering around, wondering what you should be doing, and buying DFY programs that you don’t even use.

I wish I’d thought to use this process when I was starting out!

laurie mallonbusiness