Tips for Starting a Health Coaching Practice
With over 100,000 students and graduates, everyone’s path is different, and sometimes it can be difficult to find your way. As a Health Coach, it’s important to set intentions and start small.
Here’s some tips and advice from successful IIN graduates for getting your health coaching business off the ground:
Do Your Research
Before you jump in to any new endeavor, it’s important to focus and be thoughtful about your goals. Take a look at successful Health Coaches you follow and note what you like about them. What kinds of services do they offer? How do they connect with their clients? Do they have a blog or Instagram account that supports their business? Use Google to your advantage and take stock of the health coaching industry to see how you fit in.
Boost Your Confidence
Whether you’re meeting like-minded individuals at a health food store or coaching your first client, confidence is key! It’s normal to be nervous when you begin coaching, but there are simple ways you can cultivate confidence! Before you head into a meeting or coaching session, visualize an image of yourself that you’re proud of, listen to upbeat music and have a dance party, or try standing in the Wonder Woman pose for two minutes.
Have a source of steady income
You can absolutely earn a living as a Health Coach. But in the beginning, you will need another source of income for your daily living expenses. This will allow you to relax and breathe life into your business instead of fear.
Realize you don’t need ALL the things
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, websites, business cards, flyers, brochures...there are more ways to market yourself than there are ways to make a green smoothie. And you definitely do not need them all. Typically, your email newsletter is the most important. Choose one social media site you love and use it well.
“It’s wildly important and totally invaluable for new coaches to own their non-wellness-related strengths and quirks and weave them into their business and brand. Since health coaching is an increasingly popular profession, it's necessary for new coaches to stand out. And the best way to stand out? Stay true to you! It's not enough to be “a lover of kale” or “passionate about daily lemon water.” If you want to attract clients who’ll connect with you, you’d be better off showing how you consume your beloved kale in your real, everyday life or what the awesome benefits of your daily lemon water allow you to do more of in your everyday life. We connect with one another (and want to buy from one another) through true stories, and sharing that your lemon water habit allows you to be a better mom in the morning, or your kale passion has helped you clear up your skin are stories that back up your wellness expertise, which will attract perfect clients right to you!” – Talia Pollock ’11, Party in My Plants
Relax into Uncertainty
“You are going on a journey with your client filled with unknowns, questions, mysteries, and uncertainties. Your client is likely in stress and upset about their situation, and you are here to model for them something different, something more effective. There are so many uncertainties you'll face (what to do first with a client, what to say, what plan of action to take), and the more we relax into the unknowns, the more effective we will be.” – Samantha Eaton ’13, Healthy Eaton
“The best piece of advice I can give to new coaches is to just DO. Feel that fear and do it anyway! We tend to hold ourselves back by thinking we need more education, a fancy website, or X number of Instagram followers, but the only way to get experience is by doing; we gain clarity through taking action, not thought. Look at each health consult as an opportunity for you to hone your craft, figure out the people you want to serve, and trust that as you continue to serve others and put yourself out there, it will fall into place.” – Lauren Chambers ’15, so fresh n so green
Know Your Value
“Know your value and do not forget it. Things do not happen overnight. When growing a business, there can be many days of discouragement, but keep at it day in and day out. If your passion and drive is there, it will shine through above the noise. Don’t hold back!” – Sari Diskin ’17, Eat Well With Sari
“Say yes to multiple opportunities. Usually as Health Coaches we promote the power of saying no to find balance in our lives, but as an entrepreneur, challenging myself by pursuing a variety of opportunities in the beginning strengthened my skills and experience as a Health Coach. This also led to a few different streams of income, which I am grateful for and allowed me to find what I enjoyed most as an entrepreneur!” – Carly Paige ’15, FitLiving Eats
Next, we’ll go over 5 simple yet powerful steps you can take to start building your own practice now.
Stop saying, “I’m just not a businessperson.”
The more you say these words, the more likely it is you will be heading back to the 9-5 cubicle existence. Would you like to enjoy schedule freedom and limitless earning potential? Then start claiming it now.
When people ask how business is going, answer the way you want it to be.
Act “as if.” Even when I had two clients, one of them being my dad, and the other my cat, I always answered that business was “blossoming beautifully.” And very quickly, my business expanded beyond fathers and felines. I stepped into the reality of the answer I was giving to people. Law of attraction baby! It’s not just a trendy theory.
See every opportunity as a networking opportunity.
I have met some of my favorite and most aligned clients on planes, at class reunions, grocery stores, and yes, even in ladies restrooms. Now I’m not saying walk around everywhere you go with your business cards in your purse and calendar ready to schedule health history sessions. Actually, wait – that is exactly what I am saying. If you want to attract clients, be ready!
Be willing and able to coach friends, co-workers, and the guy who had a crush on you in middle school.
My business built momentum because I had no shame. I was willing to coach anyone and everyone in order to gain experience and build word of mouth referrals. I took people outside and inside my chosen target market. All of the experience was worth it and valuable, either telling me whom I wanted to work with or those whom I didn’t desire as clients.
I didn’t wake up one day with a line of clients banging down my door. I had to try it all. I was offering health histories to strangers. I went to live networking events, taught tele-classes, gave workshops at mom’s clubs, set up referral partnerships, asked everyone I knew to tell everyone they knew, built my social media following, started a blog, wrote guest blogs, I followed up, followed up, followed up. Try it all, and then some.
See what works for you. And do more of that. It is different for all of us. It’s business bio-individuality
Remember, no two paths are the same, so when it doubt, follow your gut and find what works best for you!
If you're interested in learning more about becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, check out our Curriculum Guide!