#250: Choosing a Platform For Your Health Coaching Program

choosing a platform for your health coaching program - michelle leotta smiling

If you’re wondering about a platform to use for your health coaching program, tune in to hear about your options and Michelle’s best recommendations (ranging from zero-tech to more complex.) We even have a free step-by-step tutorial to share!

This episode is brought to you by Practice Better, my favorite client management tool. Save 30% off your first 3 months with code HCP30 at https://healthcoachpower.com/pb

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Choosing a Platform for Your Health Coaching Program

When I started my business fourteen years ago, there were no online platforms. It was a non-issue. These days, though, it’s one of the most common topics in our Facebook group!

In this post, I’ll share some great options for managing your practice – ranging from zero tech to all-inclusive.

Start simple

Start by asking yourself what you’re doing with your health coaching business right now.

If you’re offering basic, one-on-one private coaching, it doesn’t require a fancy tech platform. While it admittedly *would* be nice to get yourself set up with a system now, you can also succeed with a pen, a notebook, and your phone – for now. That’s how I started out.

Seriously. If the thought of setting up a client portal sends you into a cold sweat, you don’t have to do it. But sooner or later, it’s going to help you be more efficient. You might at least start familiarizing yourself with what’s out out there.

The most important thing to start coaching and changing lives sooner than later.

Streamline

When you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, the right tool can help you a ton. 

If you have more than a few clients, you need a way to handle scheduling and billing. Maybe you’re also offering some materials with your one-on-one coaching – videos, downloads, stuff like that. 

An online platform creates one place your client can go to access everything. It streamlines their experience and helps keep you organized.

There are a ton of platforms out there, but my favorite is Practice Better. I like it because it manages your whole practice: scheduling, billing, forms, messaging, notes, even online courses. 

It’s full of features, but don’t panic – I have a step-by-step guide for getting your program set up in Practice Better, and it’s free for our Facebook Group members. Join the Facebook group if you haven’t already, then go to HealthCoachPower.com/pbguide to access the guide.

Scale up

When you’re starting to max out on private clients, consider creating an online course.

A course is a great way to scale your offerings, and that’s how your business can continue to grow. Whether it’s one person or one hundred going through your course, it’s the same amount of work for you– if you’re using the right tool.

There’s some important strategy to consider when you’re creating a course. For help with that part, my Online Courses for Health Coaches Program will be back soon – add yourself to the waitlist here.

When you’re ready to rock, there are a few ways to do it:

  • Go low tech. When I started out, I went basic: I emailed all the course materials out to participants. This approach is easy to set up and it works. The downside is that it’s not so easy for clients– they tend to lose things and have trouble following along, making more work for you.
  • A specific online course platform like Teachable or Thinkific keeps all the materials in one place, and clients access them there. You can generally start with a free plan, but shop around for features and consider the cost when you outgrow the free option.
  • Practice Better is your best bet if you’re offering both online courses AND coaching in your practice. Since you’re paying for a platform, why not keep everything in one system? You’ll have fewer balls in the air and it’s easier for your clients, too. 

Don’t overthink it!

Do you need an online platform for the kind of work you’re doing now? And what are your next steps in growing your business?

You can start simple, but when you have more clients and you’re offering more than just one-on-one coaching, the right tool will help you organize and scale. And for my money, Practice Better is the way to go.

If you’re ready to sign up for Practice Better, use this link (that’s important!) and you’ll get some great exclusive bonuses:

  • You can try any plan for free for fourteen days. 
  • Then you’ll get 30% off your first three months with code HCP30. 
  • Finally, if you sign up before August 31st, you’ll get a free, customizable kitchen-cleanout program built in.

 


Full transcript:

Well, hello there, health coaches. I hope your summer's office to an amazing start. Today is sunny, but it has been super rainy here in New York and very sad and kind of like humid and gloomy, but regardless, managed to have a wonderful time at Family Sleepaway Camp. Have you already gone on vacation for the summer yet? We took our first vacation the first week right after school ended. So we did this family camp thing and I don't really, I'm not a big camper, not big into that, but the boys thought that the cabins were really cool and the lake was really cool. They had all these different activities. You might have even seen me hula hooping on Instagram, which was fun, which was a little bit hard. It was fun though. Anyway, today back from vacation, back from Fourth of July holidays, and we are getting down to business, we are talking about choosing a platform for your health coaching program.

And it's an interesting thing because this question, what platform should I use? It didn't exist when I started my health coaching practice 14 years ago. There were no platforms, it just was a non-issue. So today I'm going to share some options that range from zero tech, I mean zero. Raise your hand if you like zero tech, two more complex just depending on your needs and what you're trying to do with your business. So if you're here with me live and I see that some of you are, go ahead and say hello in the comments and tell me what platform are you using?
Now, the way that I think about this whole thing of choosing a platform is it's all about what kind of program are you offering? So when we say what platform do I need for my health coaching program? Well, what's the program? Health coaches do so many different things. So if you are offering selling a one-on-one private coaching program, I'm here to tell you that you can get it done with a pen, a notebook, a phone, or zoom, and that is all you need. You truly do not need or require any type of online platform for this. And I'm not saying that you can't have one, and I'm not saying that as your business grows and you have lots more clients and more people to manage that, it wouldn't be helpful to have some sort of platform or client management system. But most of us just getting started out, you know, just have a couple of clients and you don't need the overhead.

So that would be our one reason to just breathe, relax into what you're doing for right now and say, Hey, maybe today is not the day that I need to worry about choosing a platform for my health coaching program, right? Basic Oneone coaching, you can do just fine with basic calls, however, you will need a scheduling tool. You will need a billing tool. There are free options out there for all of this. So I would say you don't really, like I said, need a platform until it becomes too much to juggle manually, and you'll find that happening probably within the first six to 12 months of your practice if you're really going at it and finding clients and building things up for yourself. Now, here's the big but with one-on-one coaching, and I'm wondering how many of you this applies to. So if you're offering some type of accompanying materials with your one-on-one coaching, like if it's a hybrid type program, does this apply for anyone?

Just say me in the chat. If you're over here on Instagram or if you're in Facebook, just let me know. If you're offering some type of hybrid program that includes both one-on-one coaching calls with your clients and maybe you have some prerecorded videos or you've had a library of resources or something that you want them to access in addition to your coaching calls, I've been hearing more and more health coaches are structuring their programs this way. So I'm curious if this is any of you because if your one-on-one coaching is not just comprised of coaching calls, then yes, you would want those videos housed on some type of platform where your client can log in view and hey, while they're there, it's great if they can schedule their next appointment and pay their bill. Of course, even better if you can message the client right there between sessions and keep all their info confidential and in one place.

We love that. So this is where you get into wanting some type of platform and there's really no question in my mind. I mean I've seen so many different tools out there, but for what I just described for that type of hybrid program, I'm going to say the very best way to go is with Practice Better. It is a tool that I've used many, many coaches in our community use. And the reason why I'm picking it as the number one for this type of program is because it's going to manage your whole practice. I'm sure you've heard me mention Practice Better before they do the billing, they do the scheduling, they do the online forums, they're doing all that stuff, and did you know that you can host your online courses there too? So in this case, right, with a hybrid program, you would set up a framework for your private clients to follow.

You would include your one-on-one sessions as part of the package and you would upload your videos or other materials all into one nice little thing. That package that the client can sign up for, it's got a bow on top, everything they need is inside and it's all in one place. If this sounds interesting to you, I actually have a step-by-step guide for you to follow because I know whenever we're starting with a new platform, it's like, oh, I got to learn this thing now. So we have a step-by-step guide for getting program all set up with your materials and Practice Better. And it is free, completely free. You don't have to even give an email address for this one. You guys just go to healthcoachpower.com/pb guide. Now, you will need to be a member of our Facebook group because this guide is located inside the Facebook group.

So if you need to first request to join, then you can go straight to healthcoachpower.com/pbguide, and that's going to give you the 1, 2, 3 step-by-step walkthrough of setting up that sort of online program inside Practice Better or everything you need to work with the clients in one place. And if you like what you see, by the way, can you decide that you want to sign up and do this for yourself? I think you're going to want to, I have a special discount and a bonus to tell you about. I'm going to share all of those details in just a minute. So stick with me. Okay, so to recap so far we've got basic private coaching who's doing basic private coaching. Just say basic in the chat so I know where you're at in your practice. If you're doing basic private coaching, you may or may not need any sort of platform at all, right?

So it's just a moot point in the earliest stages you can coach. I did back in the day with a phone, a notebook and a pen and it works. It's so cool. But if you have a lot of clients to manage, it helps to get them all onto a client management system like Practice Better. And if you're offering any type of online materials that go along with your coaching, it is a pain in the neck to email it piecemeal to clients and then they lose it, right? So you definitely want to have everything in one place. And so Practice Better is my recommendation. Now, there's another type of program that you might want to run, and I'm talking about a true online course. How many of you are interested in running an online course? The type that likely does not have one-on-one coaching involved, the kind that a client can go through on their own or with a group, maybe it starts on a particular day, maybe it's an evergreen course, the kind that's available year round.
These are different than private coaching because the client's not getting one-on-one time with you, which means your calendar is a lot more freed up. I love that. But they are getting all of your valuable materials and you're going to lead them through a program using online tools that allow you to scale. And I love the word scale. Once you've been in business for a year, once you've worked with your first 10, 20 private clients, I want you to start thinking scale. How can I do more with the same amount of time? Because we can't work around the clock. You guys, that's really poor forum for a health coach over here on Instagram. Beauty imbalance says just doing basic coaching at the moment. I know that is probably where a lot of you are at. So think when am I going to be ready to take it to that next level?

Maybe it's today, I don't know, maybe you just signed like 10 new clients last week and you're ready and you need to put them all on a platform or maybe you are ready to do some scaling. If you're going to do an online course that allows you to scale, it means you can have one person go through your online course or 10 or 100 and it's approximately the same amount of work for you as the coach. That's how a coaching business grows. That's how you can reach more people with the same amount of time. Makes sense, right? So when you start to hit that ceiling with private clients, this is the obvious next step. In my health coaching business, I would run all sorts of programs like these, right? I was a practicing health coach for 13 years. I had a 21 day detox that was very, very successful.

I had a four week meal planning program that was so much fun. I ran a program one time called Come On Eat Happy, which I just thought was such a cute title. But anyway, that was an online course to help people with anxiety and depression and low mood. I've created so many different online courses, I don't even remember them all. But anyway, so fun to run them. Definitely helped me expand my practice and build my income. If this is something you're interested in, by the way, there's a whole strategy involved with creating a course, not like creating the course. I mean there is the how-tos to create the course, but creating a course that people buy and complete and enjoy and tell their friends about, there's a whole strategy behind that. So don't think that having an online course is just about the technology and throwing some videos up online.

That's a piece of it, but how do you make it successful? So I want to let you in on a little secret that my online courses for health coaches program will be back soon. So if you're interested in hitting the ground running with online courses in particular, I just wanted to let you know that the wait list is available and you can get that at healthcoachpower.com/onlinecoursewaitlist. Going to drop that U R L over here into our Facebook feed. Again, that is healthcoachpower.com/onlinecoursewaitlist completely free to add your name and you'll be the first to know when online courses for health coaches comes back. It'll be open soon. I hope we're working on it. So anyway, if you're building a true online course, you have three options when it comes to picking a platform. So the first is that zero tech thing, and that's what I did.

And this is back when nothing else was available. So I pretty much had to, I would email a PDF or something like that. Email if I had any type of document, I would just email it to my online course participants. And like I mentioned earlier, what happens when we do this? They lose them. They can't find that document. They ask for it again and you email it again and then they ask for it again the next week and you email it again and it's a little bit painful, but it works. So that's definitely the way that I ran my earliest online programs. The better way to do it is having all your online course materials in one place. And you can do this with any online course platform like Thinkific, like Teachable. Now, if you're doing a hybrid program, which I was just talking about a moment ago where it's a combination of one-on-one coaching and online course materials, I would not use Thinkific or Teachable or any of the others out there.
I would use Practice Better because it allows you to do both at the same time, everything in one place. That's why it's so beautiful for health coaches. But if it's just an online course, there's no one-on-one component, then any of the online course platforms out there will work for you. And this way each client can log in, they can access the course materials there, and it's presented exactly the way that you've designed it. Now, many of those course platforms, maybe you've looked into them before, they almost all have a free plan, which sounds great when you're getting started. However, you'll want to compare which free plan gives you what you need, which free plan's going to work best for you. But they all come with big limitations. That is by design. Of course, you might sign up for a free plan with said company and you could put your course materials on it, but you might not be allowed to offer payment plans for the course and then that stinks.

Or maybe you're only allowed a certain number of students, like there's going to be these limitations. So you get my drift, they're going to get you in the door, you're going to get your course set up, and then it's not free anymore because you're going to end up paying for a service because you need that very important feature. Whatever it is that isn't included in the free plan. Has anyone run into that issue before? So we can't get angry when services are asking for money. I mean, they're providing something valuable. So that's fair, but it's sometimes misleading in your own mind to go, oh, I'm going to go into this. I'm going to do this completely for free, and then it's not. So I just want to call that out to you. If a service is valuable to you, you should pay for it. It only makes sense and you will consider it the cost of doing business, right?

It just is. So since again, we are health coaches, we are probably running online courses in addition to having private clients in our practice, we're probably offering an array of different services. If you're going to pay for a platform, you could have all your private clients on one platform and you could then have a separate course site like Teachable. But I'm thinking you might as well pay for a platform that houses all of it together. The online courses manages your private clients, just your whole practice, everything you're doing, your scheduling, your billing, your notes, your forms, and it's all together because it becomes so much more streamlined for you and for your clients. And so that brings me back to practice better. Here we are again as the ideal option. So for your online courses, if you're going to pay for a platform, why not pay for one that actually does way more than just online courses?

That's what I'm talking about. Again, we have that free step-by-step guide to helping you set up an online course. It is at healthcoachpower.com/pbguide that is inside our free Facebook group. So it's completely free to access, but you do need to be a member of the group healthcoachpower.com/pbguide. But I also have a special bonus when you sign up for Practice Better using this link. And it's important that you use the link. So if you're going to sign up, you're like, yes, this makes total sense for my practice. It is healthcoachpower.com/pb and from there you can try any Practice Better Plan for free for 14 days, then you'll save 30% off your first three months with code HCP30. Love that. And one more. Very cool thing until August 31st, 2023, you'll also get a free, completely customizable, already built for you kitchen cleanup program.

And it's built right into the practice better platform like you. It'll just be there for you ready to rock, and you can start using it right away. You can start earning with it right away. And that's something that I have to offer everyone in my community who signs up for practice better this summer until August 31st, 2023. But again, you got to make sure to use this link to get all those goodies. It's healthcoachpower.com/pb. So the question is, and you can tell me in the chat if you're here, do you need an online platform for the type of work that you're doing right now? Yes. No. Still thinking about it. If not, maybe keep your life simple with basic tools. That's how I got started anyway, I'm never going to lie to you guys and tell you that you got to spend a zillion dollars just to get started.

It's not true. That's why health coaching is one of the best jobs you can possibly have. But if you are offering those hybrid programs or true online courses now, that's when a platform does become extremely, extremely helpful and dare I say, necessary. So I hope that this episode has been helpful just in helping you assess where you are at, what kind of programs am I offering? You can think, what kind of programs do I want to be offering in the next six to 12 months? And then from there, does it make sense for me to get an all-in one client management practice management tool, or do I need something just for online courses or do I need nothing at all? And God bless wherever you're at because each of us have a different type of business. So there's never like that one size fits all approach. You got to think about what are you doing, how do you want to grow, and then find the appropriate tool to meet those needs. If you have
You can find me inside our Facebook group at healthcoachpowercommunity.com. I'll see you there. And hopefully you'll be checking out that free guide, which one more time you can access at healthcoachpower.com/pbguide. All right, everybody, enjoy your summer week and I'll be back next time. See you then. Bye-bye.