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Published: June 8, 2024

The Surprising Way I Got My First Clients

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Before I begin, let me assure you I was incredibly pessimistic about starting my own business. Having worked for years in the advertising industry, I was used to working for someone else and getting a regular (sizable) paycheck.

Run my own business? Be an expert? Yeah, right.

Were these clients going to just fall from the sky?

Actually, yes. That’s sort of what happened once my mindset shifted. Let me explain.

During my time at IIN, I was still working full time. I was feeling stumped about how I would ever attract clients as a health coach. It was a really stuck, hopeless feeling.

And then, the unthinkable happened. I was laid off. Boom. With no motivation to find another advertising job, I knew I had only one option. I had to find some health coaching clients. Like, now.

That shift made all the difference.

My intention was clear. I had to make money as health coach or else I’d be back to lugging a portfolio around, seeking a job I knew I’d hate.

Right away, I wrote about the layoff on my blog. I had been blogging about my food and health journey for a couple of years and had a decent following. My readers knew I was attending IIN, and now I announced that I was going to start accepting clients.

To my amazement, I received an email from a woman halfway across the country. She told me she wanted to be my client because she had been following my blog for months and felt like she knew me. She signed up and we began working together by phone.

Within a short period of time, several other readers contacted me about health coaching. I remember meeting with one of them at a local coffee shop. When she slid a check for the full amount of her program across the table I almost fell off my chair!

So, is blogging the magic answer to finding clients?

Not exactly. I don’t think I got clients because I had a blog.

I do think I attracted clients because they read about the first time I made quinoa. They saw me go through my yoga teacher training. I wasn’t trying to be an expert or sell them on anything. They saw me as a real person, living my passion. That was enough.

The same holds true today. My clients come to me because they see me walking my talk. They like my attitude and my approach to food, health and life. Even if we’ve never met in person, they feel like they know me as a human being - not just as a business. And the clients keep coming.

P.S. I will never, ever go back to the corporate world!

Michelle Pfennighaus, IIN Class of 2009 and star of the movie “Lemonade,” has been seen on ABC, CBS and NPR with her inspiring story of reinvention. As a health coach and business mentor, she has worked with clients around the world. Connect with Michelle on her website and on Facebook and Twitter.


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