Considering starting your own health coaching business? Ensure your success by laying a proper foundation. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the best advice, strategies, and tools for growing your health and wellness coaching business in 2022.
Step 1: Get Certified
Certification builds trust and credibility with your clients, validating you as a serious business owner and health coach. Be sure to find a credible program that’s comprehensive and thorough, preventing any future headaches. Many training programs offer extensive virtual options that are more flexible in terms of schedule and pace.
Expect to learn about core elements such as motivational interviewing and intrinsic motivation, but also look for programs that offer the opportunity to work with a mentor coach to practice and receive feedback to enhance your skills.
Business skills are a rare component in coaching certification programs, so be sure to ask about additional business training if you need to develop those. The Catalyst Coaching Institute provides two hours of bonus business training and Q&A opportunities as part of their certification program. In addition, a YouTube Coaching Channel (created just for students) and the popular Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching Podcast offer additional resources.
Virtual certification programs vary, but typically include a mixture of face-to-face training, practice sessions and on-demand webinars and coursework that can usually be completed on your own schedule. Some people are able to complete the program in two-to-three months while others stretch training out over a year or more. How long it takes to complete is up to you and your schedule.
Catalyst At-Home Fast-Track Program
The Catalyst At-Home Fast-Track Program was designed to meet the ongoing challenges of training as a health coach during the pandemic. It starts with a two-day Zoom training, where you will complete 12 interactive wellness webinars and three in-depth practice coaching sessions, as well as participate in a small group forum. The program also includes a temperament training program, practical skills assessment, and final exam that satisfies the prerequisites for the MCWC national exam prep course.
More information about the pathway to national certification can be found here.
Step 2: Finding Your Clients
As a health coach, your primary goal is to help people. In the beginning, it can be challenging to find the right types of clients who will help you find long-term business success. And of course, you simply cannot help everyone.
Most coaches find that they are more successful in a particular niche (say pregnant women, elderly clients, or people with chronic medical conditions, etc.). Narrowing your focus leads to faster growth and better job satisfaction because you can target your efforts more efficiently.
Start by examining your own interests and background for experiences that might help you relate to a subset of people. Not only will you understand your clients better, drawing from your own life experience can make you a more effective motivator. Try a short writing exercise and ask yourself questions about who you want to help, what type of person that is and what problems are they likely facing? Then identify your own passions: Why did you go into this business? What strengths do you have as a coach? From there, you can identify one or more personas to focus on.
Step 3: Create a Business Plan
Whether you’re a new business owner or a veteran entrepreneur, a business plan is essential for reaching your financial goals as well as your clients coaching goals. Business plans help you visualize the strengths and weaknesses of your business so that you can adapt as you go along.
You’ll be able to target specific operational goals and achieve them over time by laying out actionable milestones in everything from profitability to growing your client base. Your plan will also help identify who your competition is so that you can modify your approach to stay ahead. It’s also the starting point for building a marketing plan.
Catalyst Coaching Institute offers a Coaching C-MBA that teaches you all of the sales, marketing, financial, and business-building skills you need to know to set your business up for success.
What Goes into a Health Coaching Business Plan?
Start with your clients and their niche. Think about the potential pain points and how you can solve them, and ultimately lead them to their desired outcome. How can you relate to them as a coach? How can you identify and seek them within your local market? Think about what makes you unique as a coach and how you can set yourself apart from the competition long-term?
What types of services will you offer that your competition does not? How will you enter the market in terms of your price point? What specific expenses do you anticipate in your first 1 to 2 years?
The answers to all of these questions will inform your business plan.
Step 4: Choose a Business Name
Your business name is the face of your business. It summarizes the personality of your coaching to prospective clients, so make it memorable, catchy, and descriptive of your services.
Take time to brainstorm and identify a name that helps set you apart from your local competition. Clients tend to prefer brand names and marketing materials that reflect their needs and goals, so think about words and phrases that bring your desired outcome to mind. Write down every idea, then pare your favorite down to the shortest version that conveys the full message – the shorter the better.
Be sure to check the U.S. Patent database and run it through your favorite search engine to make sure your choice isn’t already in use.
Step 5: Branding
Every successful major corporation has an established brand that’s instantly recognizable. Branding sets a customer’s expectations about quality and utility, so you’ll want to have it fully in place before you begin searching for clients.
You might consider writing a tagline or slogan to further define your messaging. Graphic elements, colors and logos should all be cohesive and make sense with your business name and tagline. If you aren’t able to design your own, it’s worthwhile to find a graphic designer to help you with the basics.
Step 6: Create a Comprehensive Program
Your health coaching program should center around one specific problem you want to help people solve. It’s important not to overextend yourself in the beginning by creating 20 different programs for 20 different people, which will result in burnout.
Start by designing a program around a singular, specific niche customer. Use your business plan as a starting point and work backward from the desired outcome to consider the habits needed to achieve that outcome. Make sure that you cover basic personal health areas such as meal planning, goal setting, stress management, exercise, and food resilience.
Once you have created your signature program, you can sell it over and over again. At this point, your efforts will switch toward marketing, but the program can run by itself. Next, consider the length of your program, as most people prefer digesting new information in manageable amounts, such as introducing new health habits once a week for three months, etc.
Finally, consider whether you want your program to be offered virtually. If you go digital, you will be able to reach a much wider audience and have a simpler marketing strategy.
Step 7: Build a Home
Your website will be the central hub for most of your clients to contact you and review materials. Every health coaching business should have a professional website. And because it’s available to clients 24/7, a website is also an excellent sales tool.
First, you will need to register a new domain name related to your company title and sign up with a web hosting company (like Go Daddy or Network Solutions) that will host your domain for a monthly or annual fee. WordPress or Wix.com are popular website-building tools that allow you to select and customize a theme. It may be a worthwhile investment to hire a web developer to build out your site, or at least customize the theme you’ve chosen.
The beauty of today’s website-building tools is they allow almost unlimited customizations and expansions, even after the site has been up and running for a while. So you can start simple, maybe just an informational page and a contact form, and then build extra functionality as your needs and budget dictate. Additional functionality may include tools like scheduling, chatbots, or a support desk. But to get started, you should at least have a basic home page, an about page, and a description of services.
Step 8: Find Tools for Growth
For most health coaches, client referrals will be the biggest driver of growth, so you’ll want to develop and find the tools that encourage those referrals. Keep your clients happy, and as your relationship develops, ask regularly and casually for referrals. If you don’t ask for them, you won’t get them.
Consider conducting regular workshops in your area or online free of charge, as many clients who have a taste of your coaching style may come back for more. You can also consider joining forces with another health organization and tapping into their client base. If another health organization aligns with your target audience but doesn’t directly compete with your services, a partnership may be a smart choice.
Don’t forget about your online presence and online marketing plan. Expand your website reach as far as possible by learning about SEO (search engine optimization) and online marketing strategies. This can include posting articles on related professional websites, contributing to online forums, or running ads on social media sites, among many other options.
So, How Will You Grow Your Health Coaching Business This Year?
Starting your own health coaching business can be a complex endeavor, but with good health and wellness marketing strategies, solid branding, online certification, a business plan, and a true desire for growth you have all the tools you need for success. At Catalyst Coaching Institute, our training programs include access to a vibrant community for sharing business ideas and stories with other like-minded professionals.
If you are interested in starting your own health coaching business in the upcoming year, we want to help you. Please contact us today to learn more.