#140: Prioritizing Your First Steps

When you’re starting your health coaching business, what should you do first, second and third? Where should you put your (let’s face it, finite) energy and resources? In this episode, Michelle will help you prioritize those very first steps. She also offers this free resource to help with step #2 – https://healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket

Also mentioned in this episode is a fun online cooking class Michelle did with Andrea Beaman awhile back. Here’s the link – https://www.facebook.com/189042484520919/videos/1206833166330711

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Hey, there health coaches! Thanks so much for joining me today. It's been a kind of busy couple of weeks around here as I'm in the process of buying a house. Whoa, I am very excited. We had the home inspection last week, and luckily there were no surprises, but of course there's this list. And if you've ever bought a home, you know, the home inspector gives you a list of all the things that they recommend for repairs and upgrades and such. So for example, the electric box needs to be replaced so that it's up to code. Okay. The roof needs a little bit of touch-up work. Okay. No big deal. And while the deck is in fantastic shape and I cannot wait to be out there this spring, basking in the sun, overlooking the Hudson river. What a view. But it needs to be sealed or painted or whatever you do to a deck.

I am not exactly a handy around the house kind of girl, but that's what contractors are for. Anyway, my question to my inspector, his name is Andy. And as we're going through the property, I'm like, listen, Andy, you got to tell me in what order should I make these repairs? Like, what do I do first, second and third, how would you go about it? That's what I asked him. And it was funny because I could like hear echoes of the same question in my own head. The way that health coaches will say the same thing to me, how do I prioritize? I'm just starting out. What do I do first? What do I do? Second, there are so many tasks. There are so many different efforts that you can make in starting your health coaching business, right? It can be a little overwhelming. So today what I want to do is walk you through those very, very first steps.

This is what I actually walk all of my Healthy Profit University members through. So we have a path you'll be able to see it laid out for you and know, okay, these are the first couple of steps. This is what comes first. This is what comes next. And in this way, really hopefully smooth out any of the overwhelm that you may be feeling. So how does that sound? If you're here, live, please say hello in the chat so that I can see you and hear from you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask as we go along.

Also, the wait list is almost open. We are not quite there yet. The waitlist for this Spring's Healthy Profit University Fast-Track Semester is going to be open in a couple of weeks. I thought it would be today, but man, we got to wait a little bit longer. So keep your ears open for an announcement about that soon. And in case you're wondering real quick HPU's Fast Track program is a 90 day live lead version of healthy profit university. We have live weekly meetings. We have a group of coaches that all move through the program together for massive accountability and support. I do it twice a year and the waitlist will be open for the spring in just a couple of weeks. So, hang on for that.

And Hey, Elsa and Ginger and Chrissy, I see you're here. Awesome. I also need to give a shout out to BS44106 who left this review on Apple podcasts. I'm sorry, I don't know your name, but this is what he or she wrote, uh, says. Awesome. And so helpful. I'm just starting out and have been listening nonstop, such useful information. Thank you so much, Michelle.

You are super, super welcome. So many coaches tell me that they binge listen to these podcasts, which is strange, right? To think about my voice being in your ear all day long. But anyway, I hear that again and again. So I'm glad that it's helpful. I super, super appreciate you. BS44106 for taking time to write a review because this is what helps us reach more health coaches and allows me to continue providing this free content weekend and week out. So for everyone listening, please go to Apple podcasts, leave a written review. And who knows maybe next time I'll read yours on the air. BS44106, if you can send your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com, that would be great because we have a little thank you gift for you.

Okay. Let's move into today's topic. This was sparked by Elaine who posted in our Facebook group. She's one of our newest members and she said, I'm finally moving on this after 10 years of different dipping, my toe in the water. Prioritizing is my greatest challenge. Knowing where to put my energy first. Elaine, I know I gave you a quick answer inside the group, but I wanted to expand on that here and actually share those very first prioritize steps exactly the way I teach them inside Healthy Profit University. So, it goes like this first and I don't know where you're at Elaine, but for anybody who's just starting out, first things first, I want to make sure you have a mailing list set up with an email service provider.

This is an easy thing to do and it's free. It doesn't matter if you only have two people on your list right now, it doesn't matter if one of them is your dog, whatever you want to get this set up and you want to get comfortable with the service that you're using, because this is going to be a super important tool. You'll use it constantly. I use my email service every single day. Okay. So you want to get comfortable with it starting now and soon you'll be adding names to it. I usually suggest MailChimp or convert kit when you're starting out. Both of them have free plans. So that's great. You're not going to have to pay for this service and to tell your business grows a little bit. And inside HPU, we do offer a step-by-step walk through of exactly how to get set up.

Like click here, click there. But honestly, it's not terribly complicated. You can do it. So I would suggest that you do that first. Okay? Just for those of you that are here live. Tell me in the chat. Do you already have your email list set up with an email service provider, an email service provider, again like MailChimp or convert kit, not a list that you're shooting out emails to through your Yahoo account. Okay. We want like a professional email service provider that will allow you every time you send out an email to not only have an unsubscribe link at the bottom, but allow you to see how many people opened the email, how many people clicked and check on your metrics and then be able to understand how well your email marketing is doing and be able to improve upon it. Okay. Elsa says, no. Dawn says no. Leanne says, yes. Okay. I'll set and Dawn right after this, you're going to go and set yourself up with an account. Even if that's all you do today, you can finish the setup process another time, but just get it going. Same for you, Braden. Cause Braden says not yet. Okay, good. I think we're all clear that comes first. You don't need a website. Last week we talked about how you don't need a logo, but you do need an email list.

The next most important task will be defining a target market. Oh, you knew I was going to say that, right? I say this all the time, but honestly I would put that right here in your first three steps when you're starting your business. I know it's easier said than done define your target market, but this is how important it is. It's kind of like, you know, with the house that I'm buying, the inspector said, you need to have a little bit of work done on the roof. Now, what if I was like, eh, I don’t know. I don't really want to do that right now. I'm going to put that off. Maybe I'll do it later. I would be inviting all sorts of other problems to take place, right? Like leaks and whatnot. So I want to do the roof first. That is what my inspector told me do the roof first.

Cause that has a potential to cause a whole bunch of other problems. If you don't and that's kind of the deal with your target market, you guys like you're going to have a lot of leaks in your marketing. If you don't have this defined upfront, like I'm going to be, what I mean by leaks is you'll be putting forth like a thousand percent effort like I did when I was starting out, you'll be doing random workshops, taking advantage of any single opportunity that comes your way. You'll be writing blog posts about random topics, but you're going to do them like three times a day because you're going to be trying so hard. You're going to basically be doing all of the different tactics that you see other people using in their marketing. But without a strategy in the end, it means you're running in circles.

You're getting very tired, burning out and going nowhere fast with your business. I see this with health coaches, time after time. It's what almost burnt me out in the beginning. So I just want to put up a big warning here that your target market really wants to come first. It's like the roof. Now, one thing I noticed is if you have gone through this process to some degree and you have started to define your target market, often health coaches are doing it in a way that isn't helpful. Like there are a lot of different ways to describe this idea of using a target market. You know, it's a marketing tool. Um, and sometimes people will say, Oh, I have a target market. It's gut health. It's not going to work for you necessarily, just labeling it like, Oh, my target market is auto immune disease.

You know, that doesn't mean you're done and done. It's usually too vague. Like this is just what I see from what you guys talk about inside of our Facebook group. That's what I see with my brand new Healthy Profit University members. So I want to help you fix this problem and really patch up your roof. So it is not leaking. I have a free resource for anybody who needs help with this. If you think you have a target market, but you want to know if it's, if it's going to work, if it's actually a viable target market, or if you have no idea what your target market is, I want you to go to healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket. And that's going to get you started with again, the exact exercise that I use with coaches inside healthy profit university. And I'm just going to drop that link right here into the comments again, it's healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket.

Okay. So first step mailing list, relatively easy. It's just a little tech set up that should take about 10 or 20 minutes. Next your target market.

I have a question here from ginger. She says, and you get an actual email address from them. I didn't know that I use Google and pay for it. I prefer to have free. I will see if Mailerlite has it. So Ginger, an email service provider, doesn't give you an email address. An email service provider sends your emails on your behalf and tracks who opens, who unsubscribes, you know, provides all that kind of data for you. So what you will want and what I think you're referring to is you will want a domain email address in order to get set up with an email service provider. So if I go to like MailChimp and I set up an account and I say, it wants to come from like michellehealthcoach@gmail.com, that's not great for deliverability. They don't want a Gmail account. They want a domain email address.

So, if you don't already have one, it sounds like maybe you do, you would get, you know, something like my email address, Michelle@healthcoachpower.com, healthcoachpower being my domain. And then you will use that with whatever email service provider that you choose and then you will get better deliverability. It's just, um, it's all about making sure that people aren't spamming. They want to make sure you are like a legit person who owns a website and you know, you're using your email service provider for the right reason.

Okay? So, our first two steps we've gone through, and third, you need experience. You guys, like anybody starting in a new field, what's most important. I went to Northeastern university for my undergraduate degree. So, that's a co-op school and it was so great because I was working in the field. And now of course I was an art major, you guys. So I was not working in doing anything that had to do with nutrition or health, but anyway, in whatever field, you know, whatever you're majoring in, you got to start working in it right away. It was invaluable. It was the best possible way to prepare myself for a career. And the same thing goes for you now. You need experience. You can build confidence, you need it so you can get some testimonials under your belt. So, the next thing to do is reach into your current circle of contacts, because I mean, these are the people that you have access to right now.

You can't just walk up to random strangers. You'll get to that part later. But to start, you have to reach out to your current circle of friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors, and offer your services to people, preferably who fit within your target market. I mean, you can, and I think you should work with anyone who wants to work with you in the beginning 100%, no need to turn anybody away, unless you really just don't want to work with them because all experience is good experience in the beginning. But in particular, you want to work with people who fit inside your target market so that your coaching and your client success stories all will help fuel your future marketing because it's all around the same topic. And this way you'll have relevant case studies to refer back to. So this can be really casual. I know it sounds kind of scary.

It doesn't have to be super formal. You're going to reach out to people that, you know, I suggest that you detail out the kind of work you do and the results that they can expect. I have a whole template for this inside HPU, but seriously, it's all about starting with the low hanging fruit. So go get that experience. However, you have to go about it. Sometimes you can even say it to someone and I think this works. So when you say, Hey, I'm starting my business, I'm brand new. I need a couple of beta clients. You know, people understand when something's new and you're going to offer it.

Gabrielle is asking, should you do it for free? I don't recommend that. I don't recommend that, but you could tell them I'm offering it at this introductory rate or at this friends and family rate for like my first five clients, that way they are going to feel like they're getting in on the ground floor. People love that.

And, they're going to feel like they're helping you. You know, like you can say, like, I'm really looking for people who are willing to give me feedback and work with me. As I stumble along in the beginning, I know I can help you achieve X, Y, Z. But my process is going to be a little rickety as I get started. Um, you know, are you up for that? And I think people really enjoy feeling like they're being helpful. So, those are some ways to talk about it. Gabriela, I would not do it for free. And the reason is that when people don't pay you, they're not invested in the process. So they don't have to pay you a great sum of money, but they have to pay you enough that they're going to be less likely to cancel sessions. They're going to be less likely to just ghost on you.

You know, when people are invested monetarily, that means they're invested energetically. It means I'm more likely to show up. They're more likely to follow through on the things that you guys talk about during your coaching sessions. They're more likely to have great results, which is good for them. And it's also good for you. Okay? So we got that first mailing list. I know what all you guys are doing and like the next 20 minutes, second, define a target market. And third get real life experience working with real clients. This does not include doing some sort of swap with another health coach. Sometimes I see you guys coordinating that inside of our Facebook group. Hey, I need practice. Anybody else need practice? We can swap. It's okay to do that. But I want to say it's a little bit of a waste of time, because unless you're going to start a niche all around... You know, your target market is going to be, I'm a health coach, who health coaches other health coaches, it's a very different experience to coach another coach.

You want to work with real people. You want to work with people who are, you know, have no idea where you're coming from. They're just normal, everyday people showing up because that's how your clients are going to be when you're, when you're doing the work. Right. And to work with another health coach is just sort of like a stepping stone that you might want to do in the beginning, but I don't even totally recommend that. Okay. So I would prioritize what we just talked about in that order specifically in that order. So you can set yourself up for success and that a whole bunch of things are going to come after that. I don't want you to worry about it yet. Do not worry about anything else. If someone's like, Hey, what about starting a podcast? You're going to be like, no, I need to do these three things that Michelle just spelled out for me.

And then maybe after that, I will consider a podcast. Cause there's so many shiny objects that can distract you. If you guys have any questions, go ahead and drop those into the chat. And I have a few others that I wanted to hit today. One is from Leanne. So, Leanne asked in our group, she said, I'm hosting a free zoom cooking class for a local social group I'm part of, which I think is great by the way, Lianne. Nice work in setting something like that up. She said I've only ever done workshops in person. I'm just wondering how to go about the tech setup. I have a tripod and a ring light. Will this work well, or should I have a second person hold the device for me so they can follow me around and zoom in. So, Leanna... And again, we talked about this a little bit inside the Facebook group, but I wanted to just expand on it.

I've done cooking classes several times in my kitchen and it's never been a particularly professional setup, but everyone always loves it. So, I don't want you to think that you have to have it. Perfect, perfect lighting, perfect angles. You know, usually in cooking shows, there's like the angle from above looking in the pot, the angle straight at you while you're chopping, you know, an angle from the side, you don't need all of that. What I've always done is just taken my phone, put it on a tripod up in front of me and then make sure that it's angled down a little bit. This way people can start to see what's on the plate or in the bowl because the view is slightly from above. But then if they can't see, I just take it and kind of turn it up to the camera like this, it works, you know, as long as it's not soup, it's not going to slash out of the pot, but you can tilt it a little bit.

So that has always worked for me. Um, I have also noticed that if I don't have some sort of headset on me, the audio becomes poor. If I walk to that side of the kitchen or if I turn around and I'm facing the other direction. So, I would totally use Air Pods or some other wireless headset so that you have good audio quality and test this in advance because sometimes those wireless headsets are a pain in the neck. In fact, when I was doing cooking classes, maybe like four or five years ago, I used a level ear mic that had a very, very long cord because I couldn't... Air Pods didn't exist at that time. And I couldn't get anything else wireless to not sound staticky. So, I instead I use a wired microphone with a super, super long cord and I just had to make sure that I didn't trip or wrap myself up in it.

So that was extra fun. The other thing that I wanted to say about doing these classes are they can be a blast really. And I think the more casual you are, the better you can have conversations with people or even, you know, you're just telling stories while you cook. This is how we cook, right? Generally, we gather in the kitchen, we talk it's So, it's cool. People really like it. So, I want to encourage you to, you know, not try to be super, super formal. If you make a mistake, it's no big deal. And, uh, there was one other thing I wanted to tell you about this, and now I forgot, oh, cleaning your kitchen. For me, this was the worst part because what looks pretty clean when you're just in your kitchen is different from when you're looking at it on camera.

If you look at yourself on camera with your kitchen and like a pretty clean condition, you're going to go, uh. So I would clear out everything behind me, even stuff that's supposed to be there, like the cutting board or the thing with all your ladles and wooden spoons, I would just clear it all off to make it as clean, looking as possible, take out all the clutter or anything that you have held up with a magnet, you know, on the side here, it looks so much better when you're cooking in a very clean and clear kitchen. So, I just wanted to throw that out for you as well. Anyway. Good luck with your class. And I look forward to hearing how it goes.

I also actually just remembered this. I have a link. Maybe we'll put it in the show notes or I can put it in the comments here later, of a cooking class that I did with Andrea Beeman about a year ago. So, we were each in our respective kitchens cooking the same food and it was super fun. I should share that with you guys.

All right. I have another question here from Danille. I'm hoping that I pronounced your name correctly. And she said, does anyone have help with posting in Facebook groups? Or I think what she was saying, does anyone have a VA or somebody who posts in Facebook groups for them? She says, I have someone doing my social media, but looking for someone to just post in my Facebook groups daily as needed. So yes, you can absolutely hire somebody to do that 100%. But I was thinking about it. I'm like, why have I never done that? I've run so many Facebook groups. I'm so busy, but I've never had anybody go into my group, my health coach, power community group, for example, and do a daily post in there.

And I think one reason is because your group is such a personal place. Like this is where you get to like really show up in your community. And so it's less of a showpiece. I feel like Instagram or your Facebook fan page or whatever. Those are a little bit more of a show piece. You put something out there and yes, there's going to be some comments, but like a community, a Facebook group is such a community. And I feel like I really want to be present there as me. So what I would suggest, not that you can't have somebody else do the posts, but you would probably want to create the posts yourself in advance. Somebody else can post them. But if you're going to create them in advance, you can just schedule them in advance. You don't need somebody to post them on a certain day and time just schedule them.

Right. And then as soon as people start commenting again, I would want to be the person there who's responding and striking up conversation because really this group should be, I'm assuming I don't know exactly what you're doing with your business, but for most health coaches, your Facebook group is a place where all your members really get to know you and like you and trust you. And it's going to be very hard for them to do that. If it's not you, that being said, you can hire a VA to help you, or you can have an admin help you with all sorts of other tasks within your Facebook group, admitting people, kicking people out. You know, there's lots of other things, making sure nobody's putting any comments in that go against your rules. You know, there's lots of ways to use help in your group, but I would absolutely make sure that you are there showing up as yourself as much as possible.

And Leanne is saying in response to the, our conversation about doing cooking classes in your kitchen. Yes. I need to declutter my countertops for real girl. Like it got to the point that I was like, I can't do these classes anymore. It takes me like an hour to get ready. But then again, I had a clean kitchen at the end of it, a very clean kitchen. Okay. I have time for one or two more questions. And I have one here from Chelsea. Chelsea says, hi everyone. I just watched the webinar on Facebook groups and I realized I need to change my group title. It's currently mind, body, soul health, and wellness. My community is for busy women who want to improve their relationship with food and exercise and raise their self-confidence. Please help me brainstorm ideas for a great title with highly searched keywords. I greatly appreciate it and love this Chelsea, thank you very much for or inadvertently providing me with a perfect example of what I was talking about before.

I remember when I said that your target market is like a roof. And if you don't really have that nailed down, you're going to get leaks in your marketing. You have a leak here because as hard as I could try, I could not possibly come up with a Facebook group title with keywords that people are searching. That's going to really stand out based on what you've told us. Busy women want to improve their relationship with food and exercise and raise their self-confidence is way too vague. I'm just laying it out for you right now. So, I hope that's okay. If I were you, I would go back to the exercise. The one that I mentioned earlier at healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket. It's going to help you get much more defined in your target market. And then you can name your group accordingly.

So like, let's just say that you narrowed it down to busy women who want to improve ... let's just say they're busy women and they want to regrow hair from hair loss like that is going to give them that self-confidence that they've been after. Right? Like that's the thing that you're really good at helping with hair regrowth. I just made that up out of nowhere, by the way. But now you can create a Facebook group that would say something about women's hair group. Like that would be a perfect group name because it has all of your keywords in there. You know, it's very straightforward. So the key is that you have to know exactly who you're talking to, or maybe you're helping in a more general sense. You're helping women lose weight, okay. But you're helping women who live in Sarasota. So then it would be like Sarasota's, women's weight loss group. So, you would have the keyword of the location.

So, you need more specific details in here and that's going to help you create this Facebook group. It's going to help you create content across all channels. I don't know if you have a blog or Instagram or whatever you're doing, but it's going to help you tremendously. So again, do not hesitate. Go to health coach power.com/target market. And then your roof will be sealed up and you will not have these marketing leaks. Am I taking the metaphor with the roof too far? You guys, I feel like I have really used that throughout this entire episode. And I'm sorry if it's getting old, but I kind of love it as a metaphor. It works really, really well for me. Okay. So I think that's all the questions we have for today. Keep in mind that the HPU fast track waitlist will be open in a couple of weeks. More info on that is coming. I'll be back next week with another topic for all of you. Thank you for being here. Take care, everybody.