#277: Organize Your Business Without Getting Overwhelmed: Tips and Advice from Health Coaches

organize your business without getting overwhelmed - photo of Michelle Leotta smiling
Implementing systems, learning tools, managing your time…all smart things to do but – wow! – it can also be overwhelming. In this episode, Michelle’s joined by some real life health coaches in our community to share what’s working and help YOU get organized.

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Organize Your Business Without Getting Overwhelmed: Tips and Advice from Health Coaches

Just like your garage or coat closet, your health coaching business can get messy. And just the thought of sorting through it all can feel overwhelming.

If that’s you, you’re certainly not alone!

The key to organizing is to identify your biggest pain points, find a system or tool to help, and begin making incremental improvements – NOT trying to tackle it all at once.

Potentially “messy” areas to consider:

  • Client scheduling
  • Billing
  • Forms
  • Marketing plan
  • Your daily schedule

Solutions to consider:

  • Time blocking on your calendar
  • Practice Better for scheduling, billing, forms, etc.
  • Spreadsheets for planning
  • Trello for organizing and tracking
  • Social media schedulers
  • And good ol’ pen and paper…or better yet, Post-it notes!

Keep in mind that no single tool or system is going to take care of everything. So pick one and, little by little, incorporate it into your business. (This is especially important with tools that offer many functions! Learn one at a time.)

Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and taking incremental steps towards organization and efficiency.


Full transcript:

Michelle:
Hello there, health coaches. I hope you're all having a fabulous week. You know what, it's been very, very exciting over here because my son's fourth grade chorus was invited to the Brooklyn Nets game last Saturday to sing the national anthem. It was amazing. They were so cute. They were singing in front of 18,000 people. So I was so proud of them and I was really proud of all of us parents for getting them there because lemme tell you, schlepp of Brooklyn is no joke from where we live. But most of all, I was really, really impressed with their chorus instructor. So Mrs. Horton, if you're listening, nice job. She had to manage the whole thing. She was coordinating with the nets with the kids, teaching them the national anthem. That's hard and coordinating with all of us parents. And let's face it, sometimes the parents are the worst.

And along the way, she sent about 500 emails, including at least six different Google forms to collect feedback, $10 from each kid for a t-shirt, et cetera, et cetera. And in a way, it's kind of similar to what health coaches are doing every day we are managing appointments and people we're collecting forms, we're collecting feedback, we're collecting money, and it all gets very hairy when it's done manually. Like I stick $10 into an envelope inside my son's backpack, and I'm just like, please let it get to the right person. So if it's a onetime thing, fine, but your health coaching business, it's not a onetime thing, or at least we hope it's not a one-time thing. So today I'm joined by three coaches in our community. We have Kathy, Amber, and Diane to talk about this idea of getting organized, streamlining our processes, not sticking money in an envelope, doing things in a way that's smoother, cleaner, and not so overwhelming.

It's kind of like organizing your closet or the garage. It can be such a big project to clean up the mess that you just never do it. So we want to share what's working so you don't get stuck in a flurry of random forms and emails that you forget to send. Now before I introduce our coaches, this episode is perfectly paired with our sponsor Practice Better, the practice management software that really changed everything in my own health coaching practice years and years ago. It handles everything from billing to scheduling forms, online programs, so much more. So if all the admin tasks in your practice are feeling chaotic and you want a better experience for your clients, you can sign up for a free trial and save 30% off your first three months when you use this link healthcoachpower.com/pb. And that stands for Practice Better. So welcome to the show, Amber, Kathy, Diane, let's get you guys off mute so that we can hear you. We already can see you looking all beautiful over there. All right. Hello guys. Amber, can you tell us what school you're from and how long you've been health coaching?

Amber:
Yeah, so I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the Functional Health Institute, and I have been practicing as a business for four years.

Michelle:
Four years. Great. I thought you've been here the longest. Let's see if I was right in assuming that, Kathy, what about you? Tell us what school you're from and how long you've been doing the work.

Kathy:
I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and graduated actually this past August, 2023. So I've only been a few months trying to get my health coaching business off the ground.

Michelle:
Well, you're certainly not alone. And Diane, what about you?

Diane:
Hello. So I went to Well Coaches, coaches coaching school, and I have actually been almost 10 years a coach, and I have been working on my business probably about a similar timeframe as Amber. Maybe a scot longer, but…

Michelle:
Okay, good. So we have a range here. Kathy, pretty much brand new to the whole thing. Amber been around for a while and Diane sounds like you in school quite a while ago, and both of you has a good amount of experience. I'm so glad that you guys could join me today. And I know it's possible that you haven't been on a podcast before, but if that's true, don't worry. We are very, very supportive and understanding, and I mess up on the show all the time. So if you flub your words or if I flub mine, I think I already have in this episode, it's fine. We will just keep going. Okay?

Okay, sounds good. By the way, Kathy, Amber and Diane are all members of one or more of our Healthy Profit University courses. So this seems like a good time to let everybody know that the wait list for our annual Fast Track program is now open. Fast Track is a project based experiential course where you actually implement a complete marketing campaign that is built for you. It's so fun. It's the most hands-on help that I offer health coaches all year. And you can add yourself to the wait list at healthcoachpower.com/waitlist. That's an easy one to remember. Now, when it comes to getting organized, I've found that it takes time to put systems into place. So if you're just starting out, don't expect to have it all buttoned up right away. Most health coaches start messy because as with anything, sometimes you don't even know what you don't know, you don't know what kind of systems you need. So I would love to hear from each of you what felt the most messy when you got started. So Amber, let's start with you. What was your messiest aspect of business?

Amber:
Oh my goodness. Honestly, everything, because I was also homeschooling five kids at the same time too, so I just felt like I was just like, ah, throwing everything. But yeah, no, really it was probably sending out forms, what forms to send out and win and making sure they didn't get lost. And so it was the forms that was the messiest part for me.

Michelle:
Forms can be a killer. Now. Have you cleaned that up? Are you in the process of figuring it out?

Amber:
Yes. Honestly, I love Practice Better because I just hit one button and it's like everything's out and I love it, and they don't have to figure out to down. I mean, it's just streamlines everything. So that's how I streamlined the form aspect of my business was with Practice Better.

Michelle:
That's very nice because I know I went through many years of people were printing forms and filling them in and like, oh my God, I started my business so long ago. They practically faxed it back to me. We had people taking pictures of forms and there's so many options out there. You can use something like DocuSign for documents and whatever. There's Google Forms. But anyway, I'm glad that you found a way to clean it up that really is the platform that will handle every type of form in the most simple manner. Yeah, very cool. What about you, Kathy? What's been most messy as you've just gotten started?

Kathy:
Yeah, I think in the beginning for me, I had a massage therapy practice. So I had a different platform that I was using for online booking. There a different platform that I was using for email campaigns and newsletters, your payment platform. And then when I was part of IN going through my training, I had signed up, excuse me, if they had a program called IN Biz, which had a lot of marketing stuff kind of pre curated. So I was paying for that as well. So basically when I graduated from the health coaching program, it was overwhelmed literally because I had multiple different things that I was paying for. I was paying for this email thing, that scheduling thing. I was looking at Practice Better. I was paying for IN, I didn't have any money coming in and I'm like, I have to streamline. I've got too many things going and I need to just deactivate my accounts instead of having six things going that are all doing a little bit to help me run my business down to two things. And so I decided to move into Practice Better for scheduling and client management and then using Mailerlite for my email campaigns. So it was like from taking six things that I was paying for down to two, which really helps me focus.

Michelle:
Oh, that's great. And Mailerlite has a free account that you're probably using at this point. I like that. We like free tools, we like paid tools when they do the job really well, but we really like free tools when they do the job really well. Okay, great. I'm glad that you've narrowed it down to just a few. Diane, what about you? Tell us about your mess.

Diane:
My mess. So I am a chiropractic doctor and so when I was practicing chiropractic, I would show up at my office and people would come and it's almost the reverse. You have to produce what you're doing and creating and then show it to them and then they will come. And so it is a combination of using Practice Better in a nice kind of package to be able to put all of my programs together. And then also with HPU Healthy Profit University in a learning that the marketing piece doesn't happen in just two days. So you don't just call, Hey, I'm here, and they come. It takes some reminders because we also, everybody's busy. And so sometimes people want to do something and they need more than one reminder. And so for me to remember that as well.

Michelle:
It sounds like you've gotten your marketing a little bit better under control recently.

Diane:
Yes.

Michelle:
That's important. That's like a whole other episode. That's like five other episodes right there. But let's just say that all of us start, and it's not just in the beginning, but definitely in the beginning you're going to feel like I'm all over the place. You don't even have to have five kids at your homeschooling at the same time. Everyone has other things going on in their life. I think scheduling client appointments was always the bane of my existence. And I used to do it on a paper calendar because it was the year one, and for many years I was doing everything on paper. One time, you guys, I completely forgot that I was going to be in Hawaii on vacation. I did not reschedule a client session and I didn't want to be unprofessional and cancel last minute. So I called my client from the hotel phone, and this was before cell phones let you roam freely.

So I had to call from the landline and it cost several hundred dollars to make that phone call. And that was just one example of scheduling getting really messy for me. So I found that transitioning to an online scheduler, it really, really helped a lot so much because you can just mark off that week, you're going to be on vacation, and then nobody can book that week. But when you're making that transition, I always found that it was easier to start new clients on the new tool or with the new than trying to transition current clients to the new system, just my experience, because I think having that overlap, there are fewer mistakes and there's less confusion and there's just less to explain. So I always like having kind of a buffer between one system and the next. For example, my very first clients paid me with paper checks.

So if someone had already written out all of their paper checks to me, what we did back in the day, we collected post-dated checks at the beginning, can you believe this? I'm really dating myself, but I wouldn't have changed them over to paying me via PayPal or via another tool halfway through. Right. That's just confusing for everyone. Alright, so I have another question for you guys. Is there any area of your business right now that you know could use help with? It needs to get organized, it could be faster or easier, but maybe even putting it off because it's overwhelming sometimes to implement a new system or to get stuff organized. So these days, what's that next hurdle for you? Amber, will you go first?

Amber:
Yeah, sure. Yeah, no, it is actually, it's wrapping my mind around taxes and paying the quarterly taxes and trying to figure all of that out. Just figuring out how that works and everything.

Michelle:
You guys, I didn't even know, I never even heard the word quarterly taxes until I was a full, I don't know, seven years into my business. It never even crossed my mind. So I love that you know about it, you're thinking about it. You're going to talk to your accountant, you're going to figure that out. And you feel like such the ultimate professional when you are paying your quarterly taxes. I love, most people hate taxes, but if you're paying quarterly taxes, Amber, you're doing an awesome job.

Amber:
There you go. Yeah.

Michelle:
Every quarter.

Amber:
Yay.

Michelle:
I know. It's like a reframe, right? Because typically you don't like to write those checks.

Amber:
Oh yes. This is a good thing.

Michelle:
It is a good thing. It means you're in business.

Amber:
Yes.

Michelle:
Kathy, what about you? What's the next leap for you to take in your business in terms of getting organized?

Kathy:
I think it was for me to just learn how to have more focus. Like I said in the beginning, I felt like I was looking for the next shiny penny of maybe this training program will help me get my coaching business off the ground. Let me listen to that podcast. Let me listen to that video. Oh, lemme sign up for this. And I was at a point where just so much overwhelmed that I was paralyzed and I'd wake up in the morning, I don't even really know what I should be working on today because I was being bombarded with emails from buy this, buy that. When I realized I was at that point of complete overwhelmed with no implementation, I decided to just make a decision. Pick one thing that you're going to focus on for the next 30 days and remove the distractions of the other things that are coming in. So it really helped me to just decide what am I going to focus on today? What am I focusing on this week? What am I focusing on this month? Whatever it is. And anything that's not part of accomplishing that goal goes on the back burner.

Michelle:
That's smart. Everyone listening should write that down like 30 days, what is the one thing I want to accomplish? And then you can just filter everything. Like you said, does this help me accomplish my one thing? Yes. No, it's out. That's a really great tip. Thanks so much for sharing that. I personally swear by time blocking on my calendar just as a way to focus. And it's not perfect, but at least at any given moment I'm like, I know I have to do this one thing. I just live and die by the Google calendar. But if you haven't tried time blocking yet, I'm telling you I even time block taking a shower, eating lunch. Because if it's not on the calendar, it's not happening. And Diane, what about you? What's your next adventure in getting organized?

Diane:
Oh, I like adventure word. So kind of taking what Kathy was talking about in one item, but also then expanding it. For me, it's expanding it for the next, where we're at 11 more months. So my idea was to do this a little earlier in this year, but I didn't quite get to where working on rather than just doing one program at a time, booking those programs out. And now that I have several programs available to be able to book them out. And then also from there, back that up with the marketing campaign. And so really then also I use Constant Contact for my mailer mailing list. And so getting things on there as well. So looking a little bit more global so that I'm planning ahead.

Michelle:
Sounds like this is then the first year that you're actually planning the content that you create and the emails that you send, anything that you're doing in advance of that program that you want to run even several months from now.

Diane:
Not like I got to do this right now.

Michelle:
Trying to get out of that look beyond the end of our nose. Yes, that really starts to shift. Now you're really holding the reins of your business, so I love to hear that. What are you using? I'm curious to just even plan what dates you're going to run your program and what emails you're going to send. Do you use post-it notes on a whiteboard or how do you get that whole plan organized?

Diane:
I have through a business mentor that I've worked with, I, it's an Excel spreadsheet where she has the calendar written all out with holidays and such like that. So I'm plugging the information there. And yes, I do have my post-its over here, Kathy, what you're talking about. I was bringing things front of mind. So I've overcome the idea that I don't have to just do pen and paper. I don't just have to do electronic version. That combining those various tools can be very helpful depending upon what I'm doing.

Michelle:
That's a great tip. Sometimes just remember things better. They hit you better, it's written down or it's right in front of your face on that post-it note. You don't have to open an app to go find it. Right?

Diane:
Right.

Michelle:
Good. So you're using Excel and that is an amazing tool for organizing so many things. I could not live without Google Doc, like spreadsheets. I have a million Google spreadsheets. So that's another wonderful tool that's available to us. In fact, Google Docs in general, I just want to give a shout out to in terms of something that is zero cost and helps me organize a lot in my business. Holy mackerel, if you guys have not been getting in there and using those tools, that's even when I'm doing business with another company or another business owner, we're always sharing Google Docs back and forth. So if you have things in a spreadsheet or whatever that you want to share with someone, that's a really important tool. I was thinking we're thinking about messes or what's crazy in my business right now, and I'm lucky, right? It does take time to put systems in place and I've had time.

I've been in this business for 14 years, so we got some stuff going really well, but oh my, lately I've been having a really hard time keeping up with Instagram dms and I have done it manually for years and years and years. But it became such a time suck that I just the other day invested in a tool that sends auto replies and I spent some time figuring it out. It was actually way easier than I thought it was going to be. So I wish I had done it sooner. So if any of you are following me on Instagram and you comment on any of my recent posts, the reply is probably going to be automated. And I do still see the comments and the replies like I'm still there and I can provide more personal interaction if it is required, but it just saves me so much time and typing the same thing over and over again.

So I have this new service, it's called ManyChat if you want to look into it. I can't really vouch for it yet, but so far, so good. And as with so many tools, it has maybe, I don't know, four or five different ways that you can use it, but I'm starting with just the one feature that I really need most right now and it's already helping a great deal. So I want to just put that thought out to all of you with everything that we've talked about today. Just get started with one piece of the tool or system. You don't have to figure it out. And it's very hard to figure it all out at once. It is unrealistic that you're going to completely gut how you schedule and how you do your billing and how you do, and just organize it all perfectly. So like I said, start with just your new clients or start with just one function of a new tool.

Otherwise, going back to that analogy of cleaning out your closet, your garage, you might clean some of it out in one day, but you're not going to get all the perfect shelving in with the labels. It's not a one day thing. It's going to happen over time. So think about that when you are stepping into a new tool. I don't have to figure it all out right away. It's not all or nothing to Diane's point. You can be using some technology and still be doing some things manually with pen and paper over here. That's okay as you transition. So identify your greatest pain point. That's what I would put out to all of our listeners as your action for the day, what is wasting most of my time. And find a system or find a tool that can help with that and set up the minimum, just the minimum amount to start relieving you of that problem.

And then over time, you'll implement more of its features. But just do the basics so that you start. And that is one reason that I love Practice Better. It gives us a 14 day free trial so that you can get in there. Don't expect to learn everything, but you can learn something, you can put it into place, see how it works. And then this is how you get organized in a realistic way while you're also still working, while you're also still taking care of your kids and making dinner tonight from scratch. Right? Oh my goodness. It's a lot you guys. So just bite-size bite-sized chunks will get you there. I want to thank Amber and Kathy and Diane. Thank you guys so much for being on the show today. You did a great job. Thanks Michelle. Thank you. This episode is sponsored by That Clean Life, which is another excellent way to streamline your business. If you spend time finding recipe ideas for clients or helping them meal plan That Clean Life makes it easier, it makes it faster. And for a limited time, you can save 20% off your first four months when you join at healthcoachpower.com/tcl. Try it. Try it for a month with one of your clients, dip your toe in and see how it helps. And we'll see you y'all next time. Take care. Bye bye.