Top 10 Tips for Starting a Health or Fitness Business

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“Step out of the history that is holding you back.

Step into the new story you are willing to create.”

— Oprah Winfrey

It has never been easier, logistically, to start your own business than it is right now. Thanks to the Internet, you can have a service or product-based business up and running within a day or two. You can be in front of millions of potential clients or customers thanks to Google and Facebook ads. It’s pretty simple to buy a domain, get a webpage up, and start letting people know you have something to offer.

A few years ago I started my own online fitness business. I had my personal trainer certification, some super easy-to-use training software, and some friends willing to give me a chance to test out my program. I was up and running pretty quickly. That part was easy… thankfully they were gracious in their feedback of my offering and patient while I worked out technical kinks.

Fast-forward 4 years and my business has gone through several iterations. My offering has changed (I now offer health coaching and consulting services), I’ve changed the way I do business (I went from just offering workouts online to offering one-on-one health coaching and group programs), and I am a lot more comfortable putting myself out there, being visible as the face of my business.

Believe me when I say that starting a business is simple, but it’s not easy. (What’s even harder is staying in business, but that’s a post for another time….) I’ve learned some painful, embarrassing, and expensive lessons along the way. I wish there’d been a simple framework to follow when I started, but there wasn’t. I Googled, I asked questions in Facebook groups, and I crossed my fingers, hoping what I was doing was going to work.

I’d love to share what I wish I’d known when I started out and I hope this helps some of you as you begin your online health and fitness business!

My Top 10 Tips:

1. Protect Yourself - Find out if getting professional liability insurance is necessary for your business. Check with your certifying body's recommendation. As a personal trainer and a health coach certified by ACE, I checked with them and this is their recommendation
**I am not an attorney or an accountant. I highly recommend you speak with both in order to make decisions with regard to the operating decisions of your business.

2. Register Your Business - Find out your state, city, and local requirements for operating a business. Most states require that you acquire a business license. You can find out your requirements by Googling "Get a business license <your city/town>"

3. Stay in Your Lane - Familiarize yourself with the scope of your health coaching/fitness practice with regard to nutrition advice. Check here to find out what the laws are where you live. 

4. Decide Who You Help - Determine what your niche is, meaning, what problem you want to help people with? Dieting obsession? Auto-immune support? Sleep issues? Stress management? Think about your area of expertise or what topic you're passionate about helping people with and then do your due diligence to be able to offer research-based, scientific strategies for helping to manage these issues.

5. Decide HOW You Help - Start thinking about the format of your business - how you want it to look? Do you want to work with individual clients or run group programs?  Will you work face-to-face or online using video chat or phone call coaching sessions?

6. Get Social - Set up your social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc). Remember, you won’t necessarily use these platforms to sell, but to be social. You’ll create and nurture a wide network that knows that you’re an expert in your field, based on the content you share, who will be happy to say “Hey, I know a guy!” and then refer you to their friend that’s suffering from <insert your area of expertise here>.

6. Make it ‘Facebook Official’ - Consider the creation of your Facebook business page as the relationship status between you and your business. It’s not real until you announce it on Facebook.

7. Make it Easy For People to Pay You - Want to be able to take online orders for your services? Set up a PayPal or Stripe account in order to receive payments. 

8. Give People a Way to Subscribe - Want to start sending out newsletters, announcements, and promotions to the people who might be your next client? Set up an email management system to give people a way to stay informed of your business activities. Share weekly updates, health tips, weekly workout plans, informative blog posts, behind the scenes stories, whatever! But be sure to use a professional email system and not your Gmail to avoid violating CAN-SPAM laws. Personally, I use and highly recommend Kartra as it integrates my email, client payments, product delivery, and a slick membership site that makes delivering my program to clients so easy.) #aff.  

9. Build That List - Create an opt-in to offer potential clients in exchange for their email list. Make is something super helpful but easily consumable in less than a few minutes. Give your subscribers a quick win and they’ll be more likely to read your weekly newsletter when it shows up in their inbox. I recommend creating a checklist, a cheatsheet, a recipe book, or a video tutorial. Not creative? You can use a Canva template to quickly create an attractive, branded freebie. (Check out my free 5-Day Healthy Habits Jumpstart if you need an opt-in)

10. Get Support - Join a supportive Facebook group for health coaches to help your overcome the overwhelm of starting a business and creating your custom program. I recommend my group:  Health Coach Jumpstart Facebook group.

11. Want more specific advice on how to get your business up and running? Book a 60-minute strategy call with me and I'll give you some actionable tips and strategies to get your business moving in the right direction! CLICK HERE TO BOOK A STRATEGY CALL

laurie mallon