#226: Help! Marketers Are Harassing Health Coaches At Every Turn

If you’ve been getting messages from perfect strangers trying to help you with your social media strategy or business coaches promising a 6-figure business plan – that’s unfortunately very common. In this episode Michelle will help you see past the annoyance and find help for your business with a proven track record. Be part of the conversation in our free FB group at HealthCoachPowerCommunity.com.

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Help! Marketers Are Harassing Health Coaches At Every Turn

Help! Marketers Are Harassing Health Coaches At Every Turn

These days health coaches are being flooded with messages from marketers who want to “help you with your social media” or “get you hundreds of clients this month”.

It’s great that there are business resources available to health coaches– when I started, there was . . . nothing. But how do you know who’s legit and who’s spam?

And all the cold pitches are downright maddening!

How I started coaching health coaches

When I was in school to become a health coach, I already had an active blog and solid online presence.

My classmates saw my success and asked for advice, so I helped out friends. I did a few free webinars here and there.

Eventually, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition got wind and asked me to record a class. And then another one. Tons of students were reaching out.

I didn’t have the bandwidth to help everyone, though. I was a new mom. I had just moved. I was running my own successful health coaching business. There was no way…

Until people started offering to pay. I wasn’t marketing myself as a business coach, and it wasn’t what I was intending to focus on. The work just came to me.

Do what you’re good at

I didn’t start coaching coaches because I failed as a health coach – quite the opposite. My success brought people to me for advice.

And I wasn’t fighting my way forward, hustling and cold-calling health coaches for business. No way! I was just receiving what came naturally. (Of course the marketing stuff came naturally – after all, I had years of experience working in Big Advertising to draw from.)

It wasn’t what I thought I’d be doing, and I fought some internal resistance along the way. But thirteen years later, I’m thriving in this very unique business of mine – and helping others build their own.

How do you know if a business coach is legit?

Health coaching is a booming industry right now. So of course, online marketers out to make a buck are interested.

Anyone can set up an Instagram account and call themselves an expert these days!

But I know several wonderful health coaches like me who also mentor newer coaches. We have real-life experience in the field and a genuine desire to help.

Because we’ve got time in the trenches, we know how to market ourselves thoughtfully (hint: it’s not with unsolicited messages).

So what should you do with all these marketing messages flooding your inbox?

My advice? Ignore. Delete. Move on.

How to get real health coach business help

Take this experience to heart in your own marketing plan: no one wants you DMing them about your programs out of the blue.

Add value. Be of service. Let the right people find you – they’ll get to know you, like you, and trust you. And that’s the best marketing that there is.

You can work with me to learn the nitty gritty details– you’ll get the benefit of my experience as a health coach AND a business coach.

The waitlist for the Health Profit University Fast Track Semester is coming – we do this just once a year, so keep your eyes open! This might be just the kind of real help you’re looking for.

In the meantime, be sure to join our free Health Coach Power Community Facebook group. I’ll see you there!

Full transcript:

Hello there, health coaches. Hey, have you ever received a message in your inbox or your Instagram or on Facebook and it's from a perfect stranger who's trying to help you with your social media strategy, or it's a business coach promising you 100 leads in the next month, or a six figure business plan. Now, I'm not talking about emails that you've signed up for or business help that you have actively sought out. That's different. I'm talking about being pitched by marketers who are looking for clients. They find you online and they're pitching you cold. It's happening every day. I get it too on my phone. I'm like, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. Everywhere you look, there are new products and services being marketed to health coaches, right? I think it's becoming a bit overwhelming and super annoying. And the good news is this, because it's mostly just really annoying.

I just want to point out the good news. Health coaching is a booming industry. Hooray, good for all of us. When I started out 13 years ago, very, very few resources available. When I say very few, I mean none. I mean, there's very little out there. So now you guys have a lot more support, and I think that is a good thing. But of course, the problem becomes you don't know who's trustworthy. You don't know who has a proven track record, and it's kind of the wild west. You don't know who's really an expert because these days, anybody can start an Instagram account and just say that they're an expert in anything, right? So I've been seeing complaints like this inside our Facebook group, although we work so hard to keep marketing pitches and all sorts of crazy spammy stuff out of our Facebook group, but people have been talking about this phenomenon in the Facebook group.

I've seen health coaches complaining about this elsewhere in the health coach world. So today I'm going to do something a little bit different. I'm going to republish part of an episode that I recorded five years ago. It was episode number 18 called Demystifying the Coaches for Coaches Phenomenon. The industry just keeps changing. It's fascinating to watch from where I sit like a decade ago, I could have counted on one hand the number of business coaches that existed to serve health coaches, and I was one of them, although I never intended to be. And all of us on this one hand, we were all health coaches ourselves. It was a really, really niche, really tight community back then. And these days, wow, I keep seeing ads for business coaches, for health coaches, and I think, who the heck are you? Never heard of you? Which is funny, and I totally get the irony in a couple of weeks.

I'm going to open the wait list for Healthy Profit University's 2023 Fast Track semester. This is my very popular once a year live business building program. So if you've heard about it before or if you've been following the podcast for a while, keep your eyes open because the wait list is coming. And like I said, I don't miss the irony here. I know there's going to be people who get wind of our fast track promotions or any of my programs for health coaches, and they're going to think, huh, who? Who's this Michelle person? Why should I listen to her? They're not going to know that I've been doing this for 13 years. They're not going to know that I was part of the curriculum at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition ages ago, and they certainly don't know about my 20 years of online marketing experience, including clients like Royal Caribbean, Ocean Spray, Volkswagen, McDonald's, Liberty Mutual, CVS. They might think about me. Oh, she was a health coach, but she became a business coach because that's where the real money is. I've heard people say that, oh, that's where the real money is. And I think it's funny because nutrition and weight loss is a 750 billion industry and business coaching for health coaches not even close. So, brings up the question, how and why did I start working with health coaches? Let's have full transparency here. Have a listen to this episode segment from 2018.

So, let's get into it. I'm not going to lie. This topic was actually spurred by a message that I received just the other day from Renee. Now, I'm not sure who Renee is because she used a fake email address in the contact form. She might be in our Facebook group, I'm guessing she's probably not. But she did take part in my free training and she went out of her way to send me this message. She said, so this is what you do now because you couldn't make enough as a health coach. Well, I doubt. Like I said, I doubt Renee is listening, but I would like to thank her anyway for this very pointed if somewhat snarky question. And like I said, I tried to respond to her email, but the address bounced. So for anybody wondering, I am in fact a practicing health coach.

I just sent an email off to one of my clients a minute ago. I finished running a group program last week, and I'm about to start another one all based on nutrition and health. And I have a small but mighty private client roster. If I weren't spending time with you guys, my health coaches acting as a mentor as I have been for the past seven years, would my health coaching practice be potentially bigger, stronger, better, probably. But instead, I've chosen to split my time. And there's kind of a funny story about how that happened. I thought I would just give you the behind the scenes as to how this actually fell into my lap. Actually, I was a little bit kicking and screaming about the whole thing. So, when I was in school to become a health coach, the first thing I ever did to help my fellow health coaches came as a desperate plea for everybody to stop bugging me.

It seems so funny to put it that way now, but I came from an advertising background, very well-versed in online advertising, even back then, 10 years ago was a little bit different than it is now, but that's what I had been doing professionally before I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. So, as a student, I was already blogging, I was already on Twitter, and this stuff was fairly new, new-ish back then. So, a lot of my fellow classmates had no idea what was going on, and everybody was always asking me about these topics. So, to put a stop to the flow of emails that I was receiving about this stuff, I went ahead and held a webinar for my fellow classmates, $0 on the topics that they were curious about at the time. And then that was my way of saying, here you go.

Here's what I've got now. Please leave me be I have a business to build. And that worked out really well. And what happened about a year later was that the folks over at IIN took notice of what I had been doing for my fellow health coaches, and they asked me to record some classes for the curriculum, which I did. And this was back when the courses were... It was just audio. It was no video at the time. So my first classes at I n were just audio recordings. And then a couple of years later, two years later, I want to say two things happened. First IIN came back to me and asked for another class. They were still interested. And so every time I was recording these classes, of course there was a new set of students listening to them and who would then reach out to me for further support.

So there was this cycle happening that I really never intended on. And the other thing that happened was that my first baby was born and my first baby, my Danny was one of those babies who would only sleep in a stroller. You mama's out there, hear me on this. He didn't want to be held, want to be carried in a carrier. He most certainly did not want to be in his crib. And so the only way I could get this kid to sleep was by strolling, which I did for many, many hours. Again, first baby, right? This would never fly. Now if I had a baby by your second or third, you're like, forget it. But this was my first. So I walked hours every day outside along the lovely streets of Alexandria, Virginia, where we lived at the time. And luckily it was great weather most of those days, and the kids slept, and I pushed a stroller.

So my hours were really getting sucked by not only breastfeeding and bathing and everything I was doing for this infant, but by just simply pushing a stroller. So when I was getting inquiries, Hey, can you help me with my new website? Can you help me with my packages or whatever from other coaches? My answer was always, no, no, I cannot. Once again, I just had a baby. Please leave me alone. This is what I mean by I kind of got into this kicking and screaming. And eventually one of my colleagues, someone that I actually had gone to school with, reached out to me, asked for my help. I said, no way, no how. I got to push a stroller today. And she said, well, what if I paid you? And I thought, oh, well, that's really interesting because in the small amount of free time that I had, I was still trying to work on my health coaching business, and it's difficult.

And here was somebody who was willing to pay me and become my client and tap into my expertise. And I had to do zero marketing for it, because as I have told you, these inquiries were just coming to me automatically. So I want you to just think about your own business and your own life and think about where opportunities are coming from for you that maybe they're not the ones that you intended. Maybe they're not the ones that you even want per se, but notice where the energy is flowing. Because for me, it was really a turning point. Instead of fighting every step of the way I started receiving, I thought, okay, this is what the universe wants me to do right now. Anyway, I told that friend of mine, yeah, okay, sure, we can work something out, but I got to tell you, I never know when my baby's going to be crying or sleeping or eating or whatever.

So if we can do this just by email you've got yourself a deal. And she said, yes. And that's how it started. And so I would push that stroller with one hand, and I had a phone in the other hand, which back then had way fewer features and apps, but I could email and I would type with one hand and push the stroller with the other and earn money in my first year of being a mother up and down the streets of Alexandria, Virginia. So that's kind of my funny story about , how I got into doing this and actually charging for it as opposed to just doing things for free for my classmates. Now does, going back to Renee's question, does that mean that I wasn't successful as a health coach? And that's why I would go into business coaching? Well, actually, my business was quite successful through the years I was running online programs before anybody was running online programs.

I had a 21 day detox that I developed myself and was running for up to 60 people at a time. This is why coaches were coming to me for help because they saw what I was doing, and they wanted to know how I had tens of thousands of visitors to my website. I was doing quite well in those early years, despite having a baby, despite making a very big move to the Alexandria, Virginia area. Some of, I used to live in Boston. So while, no, I wasn't a millionaire, no, I hadn't hit six figures back then, but compared to a lot of my classmates, I was seeing some really great success. And so therefore others were reaching out to me, and it was very flattering, and I'm glad that I figured out a way to harness that energy instead of fighting against it with the leave me alone mentality.

So, now it's really become part of my business model, and I intend to keep it that way. I don't know if it will always be that way. Maybe one day I'll go back and say, no, I just really want to focus on my health coaching clients. I think that would be valid or vice versa. Maybe one day I'll just focus on the business side. But for now, I really enjoy doing both, and that's how I have come to be right where here where I am today, sharing with you about how to grow your business because I have done it with my own. Now, why are there so many coaches, coaching coaches, , so many health coaches that seem to have put the lid on their health coaching business and turned around and just offering business and mentorship type coaching? I don't know their stories. And surely as in any industry, there are some that maybe are selling snake oil not legit, not somebody that you want to work with.

But I have to say, I personally know several health coaches who also mentor, also help newer coaches in the field, and they do so with open hearts, full hearts. One of the great things, and I think one of the reasons that so many coaches end up going this way when we have other skills to share with our fellow coaches, is that coaches are incredibly coachable, as you might imagine. I have a client, a health coaching client right now who's having a tough time taking steps. She's a little bit resistant. She's not really sure what this whole coaching thing is about. So it's a struggle. I think a little bit on both of our ends. We're working through it, but when I work with another health coach, it's like Butta, you guys know what's up? You understand how to be open to suggestion, how to lead the path of your own lives and how to use a coach.

So, health coaches are just very coachable. And I think that's another reason that so many coaches end up working with other coaches. It's not a bad thing, but I can understand the question mark around it. And I have heard it a lot. I've heard it from a lot of people. They have haven't always been quite as snarky as Rene was in her question, but I hear the question marks, and I've had them myself. And I want you to know that many of us are out here for good based on real life experience in the field. So that's my spiel about that.

And there you have it. The story hasn't changed, and maybe this also gives you a little bit of insight into how your own business might grow and change over the years. You may not be doing what you're doing today forever. But back to the idea of this over-marketing to the health coach community, my best advice is to ignore like most of it, 99.9% of it. If it comes your way, if it comes in your inbox, it goes across your screen, I would just filter it right out. It's happening in every online industry, not just health coaching. So for example, because I'm a podcaster, I am constantly getting pitched by podcast producers and podcast editors and whatnot, and it is just as annoying. I assure you. And remember, when you are marketing yourself as a health coach, nobody wants you DMing them about your program, that cold pitch thing that just showing up in somebody's dms thing, uhuh, sending people emails that they did not ask for uhuh. Add value, be of service. Let the right people find you and get to know you and trust you. And that is the best marketing that there is.