#102: Pricing Yourself as a New Coach

Pricing your services can feel tricky when you’re first starting out. In this episode, Michelle talks about where to begin with an hourly rate and beta offer. You’ll also learn why this is NOT the best way to continue pricing yourself, and options that work better as your business grows.

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Well. Hello there, health coaches. We are back for another live Q and a session. Thank you so much for joining me and today we're going to be talking about a question that has come up multiple times just in the past few days inside of our Facebook group. That's how I know it's a good one. That's how I know it's something that we should definitely be talking about on one of our Tuesday sessions, everyone's been asking about pricing and now interestingly, I figure if we're talking about pricing right now, we need to be talking about pricing and terms of a downturn, economy and coven and everything that's happening in the world right now, but a lot of you guys are just asking, Hey, I'm a new coach, I'm new to this. I have my first clients. How should I be pricing myself? So, we're going to try to hit it from a bunch of angles today.

If you have any questions about pricing yourself or about anything related to your business, then you're here with me live. Go ahead and pop those questions into the comments and I'll be checking those out as we go along. I do these live for a reason, you guys, if you're, if you're listening via podcast later, if you're just watching this recording, that's awesome and I'm so glad you're here, but do try to join us. We do this every Tuesday at 2:00 PM Eastern time and it's a chance for us to just get to know each other better and for you to get some free coaching and advice on the fly and it's fun. So before we get into any of the juicy stuff today, I do want to take a moment to thank lover of Apple for this five star review that she left on iTunes. You guys, your reviews on iTunes mean everything to me in terms of podcasting.

It's huge. It is a big way that we've been able to reach at this point. We are nearing 9,000 members in our group, so thank you so much. And here's what lover of Apple wrote. She said, every new health coach needs to listen to this podcast. Michelle offers simple, practical advice to avoid missteps and wasted time when creating a health coaching business you love. Make no mistake, she will inspire you to really do the work required to build a successful profitable health coaching business. But she breaks it down into easy, doable steps. I am so grateful that I found this podcast and this community. We are grateful for you, lover of Apple, whoever you are and we would love to thank you for that review with a little gift. So please if you're listening, send your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com and reference episode number 102 man, we are up to 102 you guys. It Is just fabulous.

Oops, I'm getting some feedback on my side. Let me close that up. Okay, so the first question that I picked out of our group for today came from, um I think, I'm going to mispronounce your name and I apologize, but I think you would pronounce it Mon and Mon said, how much do health coaches charge if you are just starting a business? That seems like such a reasonable question. Such a simple, reasonable question. We're going to get into it, but it was followed up by several others. So, this came from Grayson.

Grayson said, hello, I'm new to nutrition coaching. I just got my first client, yay. And PS, I just wanted to say that this new client clearly has been acquired during quarantine during this sort of strange economy, so I just want to point that out. Health coaches are still working. We are still working with clients. We're still signing new clients. So way to go. But anyway, she said because I don't, I'm in a bit of a panic because I don't know what to charge for the service. I'm recommending that they begin with my six month program based on goals. I don't have much experience at all, but I know I can help this client out at any guidance would be amazing.

All right, we're going to try to help you out with that for sure. And then we have another one here from Sean and Sean said I will be launching an eight week online weight loss program and a six week quit smoking program. The weight loss program will be 60 minutes and six weeks quit smoking program will be 30 minutes. Okay. I'm looking for thoughts on pricing. I'm thinking $500ish for the first and $350ish for the second the smoking.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Alrighty, so lots of things to say about pricing and I noticed a lot of conversation happening in the group around this as well. You know a decent place to start is with an hourly rate that is comparable to similar professionals. Now I want to emphasize a few things. First, it's decent. It's a decent place to start. It's not my favorite place, it's not where I want you to stay. It's okay. It's a reasonable place to begin. Second is that idea of to start it is to start, you might think about an hourly rate like this and as you gain experience with your clients and you gain successes with your clients and as your business matures and hopefully sooner than later, you will no longer be thinking about it in terms of an hourly rate. And thirdly, I mentioned comparable to similar professionals.

So when you think about other wellness professionals, we're not talking about doctors, we're not talking about people with high, high levels of education, not that you and I haven't been educated, but let's face it, I'm not a PhD, not an MD. I haven't gone through all those years of schooling. And maybe you haven't either. So when you compare yourself as a health coach to similar professionals, you know, I usually think of a yoga teacher who's done like a 200 or 500 hour teacher training. I'm a massage therapist, you know, those in the health and wellness world kind of operating in this holistic realm. What are they making per hour roughly? And I would think it in terms of like if you did a private yoga class, how much would you be paying per hour or for an hour, a massage, that kind of thing.

So that's sort of a base because I would hate for any health coach to be making $10 an hour because they're just like dread for dreadfully underpricing themselves and that, that can definitely happened. So think about that as just a ballpark of like where are you want to be if you were to break it down by the hour, that would be reasonable if you've completed a health coach certification program of any caliber. However, ultimately, like I said, you do not want to base your pricing on the number of hours that you are spending with a client. You do not want to say, well I charge $125 an hour. Don't do that. You don't want to be trading time for money. It gets sticky in so many different ways. You'll have people who are just immediately are like, well that's very expensive because you know, it just sounds like a lot of money to them.

The, the perceived value is different. Also, you open up this can of worms with like what if you're sick? What if you can't work? If you've been trading time for money your whole career, then suddenly you can't show up for one reason. You're going to make nothing. So you always want to think in terms of pricing a package or prep pricing even better. Pricing a result, not a pack of sessions, not by the hour, but pricing, the, the whole shebang, right? Like what is the end result? What is the benefit that your client is going to get from working with you? Yeah. That is really what drives pricing. Okay. No, sometimes a higher price point can actually be much more appealing because it implies value, right? It implies like, wow, this is really worth it. Like if you, if someone comes to you and they're expecting you to cost like, I don't know, $20 an hour and you're like, Mmm, yeah, I work with clients and my rate is at $20,000.

They would be like, Whoa. Right. Like, Whoa, expensive probably for what they were considering, but also Whoa, like, okay, she's got some secret. Something very important is happening here. If it costs that much money. So sometimes higher pricing can actually, uh be sort of a marketing move where you are positioning yourself as a more valuable person to hire. Just based on the price alone, which is fascinating. People are not always looking for a bargain. It's kind of like when you get sushi, you don't want cheap sushi, you'll want expensive sushi. You don't want under-priced about to go bad. Maybe already went bad. Yesterday's sushi for 75% off. That sounds like a terrible, and the same thing goes for your healthcare practitioners. You don't want bargain basement. All right? So, think of it that way cause I'm always encouraging you guys to price a bit higher.

And, and the other thing is that, well the flip side is that when you offer lower pricing, that can imply that your services are not as valuable. And should it be taken seriously. Because if you're just paying a couple bucks for something, take it or leave it. Maybe I show up, maybe I don't. So that kind of plays into the pricing model that you want to put into place for yourself. But as a new coach, I do want to talk to all you new coaches today. So you've been in business, let's say less than six months to a year. Yeah, you're going to charge less. You're going to charge less than the beginning because you want, I'm telling you what you want here. I know you probably want other things too, but you want the experience more than anything right now and you want testimonials more than anything right now and you want to build confidence in your ability to coach more than anything right now.

So yes, of course we all want to make money and I want you to make money too, but you may actually make more money in the long run by offering a reduced rate in the beginning. And you know, I often think of it or refer to this as offering like a beta price or beta program or something like this where you're going to offer maybe just for your first five clients or your first 10 clients or whatever it is. I'm the special package and the special price, and you consider it a beta run and you see how it goes. If people are willing to give you, I'm just going to pick a number out of the air, $700 for your beta program and it goes really well to get great results. You're going to feel very confident then about doubling your rate to a two to a more appropriate place.

Do you know what I'm saying? So that when you're new, it is appropriate to start at less just like you would, you know, like when I was in college, I was an intern at the Boston globe. They did not pay me very much, but that was a great experience and thing for my resume. Right? So you always do work for a reduced rate when you're new and then you build up from there. But I don't, I don't want you getting hung up on this idea of even with your beta program with how much should I charge per hour because you're really going to back yourself into a corner that way. And let me say one more thing about that. It really depends. Your pricing depends on one main thing. How big of a problem are you solving? I want you to really think about that because if you haven't chosen a niche, if you haven't chosen a target market, if you're kind of out there like, Hey, I'm a health coach and I can help you get healthy, what is that worth?

It's not worth all that much because it's kind of just nebulous. Like what does that mean to get healthy? Yeah, yeah. Everybody wants me to get healthy it. Yeah. You know, but if you said you have, I'm going to pick a something, you have Lyme disease and you haven't been getting anywhere with your treatments from, you know, various doctors and I am going to help you put Lyme disease into remission because that's what I do. That's how I do my best work. When I work with people who have chronic Lyme disease and these are the results that they get. Now you can charge much, much, much more as a health coach because you're helping to solve a very big problem for that person. No, it's not a big problem for everybody, but it's a very big problem for the person who has that problem. And that is how you can justify prices that go up into the thousands and maybe even the tens of thousands.

And who knows what, the sky's the limit. If you are solving a problem that's big enough, and you will hear me harp on target markets all day long and all different ways, but this is one way where it's really important because if you're saying, ah, okay, okay, I'm going to target you know, men who want to lose 10 pounds so that they can be marginally better at the sport that they play. I mean, I'm just making that up. That's just, that sounds like a, a, a tiny problem that they have, right? Like sometimes people only want to spend like $99 if it's just like a small problem. They just want to learn how to like pick some healthy meals for their kids. They might sign up for something that's cheap, but they're not going to spend several thousand dollars on that. Right. So that's my spiel on pricing.

I hope that has been helpful. I also want to point out that I believe that my livestream has broken during this recording. I am going to keep going. I'm, we're going to obviously publish this as a video and as an audio piece later on. But my apologies, zoom has been having so many difficulties over the past couple of weeks and although we started this out broadcasting live, it doesn't look like it's working. So my apologies. But we do generally broadcast live every Tuesday at two o'clock. Oh zoom, poor zoom. They are so overwhelmed right now. It's all good. So, I'm going to move on to another question.

This one came from Lisa and Lisa asks, is there a winning formula for how to run a five day challenge? I thought that was a great question. Like there's no reason to reinvent the wheel when other people have gone before you.

I wish I had the resources available to me when I started health coaching that you guys have now. Cause I felt like I was handcrafting every wheel from scratch every darn time. And indeed, even when I ran my first five day challenge, I felt like I was making it up from scratch. But you do not have to Lisa or anybody else who wants to be doing something like this. If you go back to episode number 80 we did a whole show about five day challenges. It's called running a five day challenge. So I think that's going to help you out tremendously. And while you're there, you can get my free five day challenge planner. In fact, if you just want to grab that now you can. It's free and you can get it at healthcoachpower.com/5dayplanner. So good luck with that. Lisa. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Five-day challenges are really fun.

Alrighty, one more question unless I can get myself livestreaming again. Let me just check on this. Maybe it's going to work now. Oh no, maybe we're there. You guys. The internet is a funny place. Did I mention that I don't know how to use it. Anyway, Katie is telling me she can still see me live. Thank you Katie. That is very, very helpful. I'm here. We're all here. It's great. Quick side note, I did a live workshop with someone in the online marketing world the other day, very high and I don't know how many people were registered for this event, but you know, we all paid to be there, probably thousands of people. And you know, giving live workshops virtually right now is a really cool thing. In fact, if you want to learn how to do that, we have a webinar coming up.

It's coming up quickly. It's this Thursday to April 23rd on how to create a virtual workshop because this is something that you could be doing for free or it's something that you could be charging for. And anyway, if you want to sign up for that, you can, it's that health coach, power.com/create virtual. Okay, so just putting that out there. But my point was I was participating in this very high end workshop that I had paid money for, set aside hours of a day to dedicate myself to it. And they were using, they weren't using zoom, they were using a different platform and it just straight up stopped working like at all. Nothing going on and we were just like, I was just staring at my screen like, well what happened? Surely there will be a memo coming through shortly. I didn't even get an email from them until a couple of hours later and they didn't even know what happened.

They were like, ah, technology glitch, we're not sure. We're going to figure it out. Hold tight and like even still now, a couple of days later, I haven't received access to this workshop. All of this to say tech problems happen. They happen to everybody. That even happened to people who are operating at like a very high level, so never, never feel like you can't do a Facebook live or you can't publish that podcast or you can't, whatever it is because you might make a mistake or because there might be a glitch or because whatever. Because yes, all of those things are going to happen and they happen to everybody. Anyhow, let's get back to questions. Since we are actually broadcasting live. My goodness, my goodness. What questions do you guys have for me? Okay. I have one here from Jessica and I thought this oneā€¦ Oh sorry, that was a little bit of computer dinging.

I thought this was a really interesting question and one that we should probably talk more about, which is really like the art of coaching. I mean most of what we talk about here is about the, the marketing and the business and pricing and you know, things like this. But that's a, that's the first half of being a health coach. Okay. Let's be honest. It's maybe sometimes more like the first three quarters of being a health coach and then on the other side you get the client and that's fantastic and you're working with them and then something like this comes up. So Jessica says, I know that as coaches we are supposed to give the client room to realize on their own how foods make them feel or give them the space to do some work on their own. What is the boundary on educating about certain foods?

I have a client who sticks to certain foods which we are going to work on adding some new things, but for instance she wants to buy oatmeal. Oatmeal isn't as healthy as we been raised to believe and can spike blood sugar and no matter which kind you buy, how do I bring awareness to her without being a total buzzkill and telling her no, you can't eat that right now. I just said it's good to keep on hand for occasion but don't make it a daily habit. So Jessica, this struck me as like what word? There was one word in here that really struck me. What did you say? What is something about giving guidance or it was, I guess the difference here is really between a coaching and advising. All right? And this is always that like tricky path to walk and there are even legal ramifications, you know on the wrong side of that line.

Because while we can listen and we can reflect back to our clients and we can educate our clients and we can provide resources to our clients, we always want to be very, very, very careful about making any advisements or even recommendations. That word I think straddles the line as well. And I'm no legal expert, but I think anytime that you are telling your client what they should or shouldn't eat or how much of it or when or how or where, Oh, legal things aside, you're probably not being as an effective coach, as an effective coach as you could be. Because truly we are not meant to be telling people what they should eat like in a one on one situation. And it is way more powerful for your client to discover this for herself. So I actually just published a podcast this week. My other show, my, she's got power podcast where I talked about oatmeal.

So this is actually really funny. And this is something that you could be doing with this particular client. And I do this often with my clients cause they'll tell me sure that they eat like a banana, some whole grain toast for breakfast or, or a bowl of oatmeal or something like that. Which let's just be clear, it's not like they're saying, you know, they want to eat frosted flakes. So I mean in a lot of ways we have to applaud anybody who is making that effort and realizing that maybe it's not the muffin, it's not the donut. Maybe it's a healthy piece of fruit, maybe it's oatmeal. Okay. So you want to really applaud your clients for what they are doing for themselves. And at the same time, I often will pose this challenge to my clients. I will give them a little schpiel about macronutrients and explain the difference between how protein and fat burn as energy in the body and how carbohydrates burn as energy in the body.

So that's just facts. I'm just educating a little bit. I'm not drawing any conclusions for them. I'm not judging them. I'm just saying, did you know this is how this works in the body? And then I will say, you know, it'd be really interesting this week. How about on Monday you have your usual oatmeal and you know, add some fruit to that. Definitely, definitely add some fruit on there, you know, like, and in my mind I'm like, let's really amp up the carbohydrates so that they get the best effect possible. Okay. And then I'll say on the second day, I want you to eat something totally different. For breakfast. I want you to eat a breakfast that is high in protein and fast and very low, or has almost zero carbohydrates. And there'll be like, what? What would, what would that breakfast be, Michelle? So then we get a chance to talk about all different options.

You know, we'll do like eggs. Yeah, I like eggs. I like eggs for breakfast. Great. Do you like sausage? Yeah. You like sausage? Oh, that's good one too. Do you like avocados? You know, so I'm not saying here's what you should eat, here's what you shouldn't eat. I'm suggesting an experiment and they can pick whatever the exact foods are going to be, but they understand that day one is going to be high in carbs, day two is going to be high in protein and fat, low carb. And then I invite them to document their experience. I say, okay, eat your breakfast, whatever time you eat breakfast and count how many hours until you feel hungry again both days and also on both days. Notice the quality of that hunger. So does it come on fast and then like you know your stomach's growling and you're getting hangry and you know you have to like eat something right away or is it a hunger that kind of build slowly over time?

Do you realize that it's three, you know, three o'clock in the afternoon and you still aren't even that famish but you figure yeah she's probably at lunch now. So I asked them to just notice that you know the quality of that hunger and it makes for such interesting conversation. And I never have to tell them after that what they should or shouldn't eat cause they have discovered it for themselves. Now that being said, you'll be surprised like my body there's no way I'm eating oatmeal for breakfast. Never ever. But every now and then I have a client that's, you know, actually I felt a lot better with the oatmeal. Who am I to tell them that they're wrong? Like okay great, I'm so glad you learned something. And not only did they learn something about how they feel with different breakfasts, but they learned that they can experiment with their own body, they can eat things and notice how they feel and then make a decision based on that.

And to me that's the beauty of coaching and the difference between what we can do versus a registered dietician in a hospital that's just writing up like a meal plan. This is what you should eat, this many carbs, this many calories and saying here, do this. It's a totally different thing. And it's so much more creative. There's really an art to coaching that I get very excited about. So much more fun than telling somebody yes, eat oatmeal or no, don't eat oatmeal. So I think it's an opportunity for you Jessica. And I think you're right that you don't ever want to be a buzzkill. Even if your client is like, you know what? I bought organic Cheerio's this week for my kids. You're going to be like, yes you go girl. Like you bought organic Cheerios. Even if in your head you're like, don't do that.

You know, you know you have to celebrate. Like, cause that even that would have shown that they were willing to spend a little bit more money on something that they felt would be healthier for them. They're willing to like invest in that direction and that's a huge positive thing. So it's a lot of applauding and lifting our clients up and letting them learn for themselves what they need to learn, which may not be exactly what we want to teach. Hmm. It's humbling isn't it? All right, you guys. I think we are all done having technical weirdness for today and my goodness, we've just had enough weirdness in general for a weeks now. So thank you for being here with me. I will be back next week as always. And in the meantime, if you are home and you are bored, can I just suggest perhaps a little trot over to iTunes to leave a five star rating and review for the show? I would appreciate it tremendously and we read your review on the air. We would love to send you a thank you gift. Thanks so much you guys. I'll be back soon. See you then.