#75: Business Survival Is All About…

Why do so many health coaching businesses fail? In this episode Michelle shares the MAIN reasons any business will fail and why health coaches are constantly falling into these traps. Listen in and make your business the exception.

Want to earn a real income with your health coaching business? Sign up for Michelle’s free training at https://healthcoachpower.com/earn

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Hello there health coaches! I’ve got a question for you, and this is serious. Why do you think so many health coaches never quite make it and quit and never get their business off the ground? Now of course there’s a lot of reasons that this happens, that, and lots of valid reasons. There could be a major life event that gets in the way. Death of a loved one, a sickness who knows all kinds of stories. I hear sometimes coaches, we just get paralyzed. You know, you want to start a business but you’re afraid. So that’s an obvious reason that it’s not going to happen, right? But by and large, what I see from you guys, and even back when I was starting out and all of my peers, we work like mad. We are doing all the things. We are out there, we’re getting past our fears, we’re going to go for it. And yet still the business is falling flat financially.

Just raise your hand or silently in your head if you’re just listening to this on like the bus or something. You don’t have to raise your hand, but in your mind just say, yeah, I, I’ve been there. Yep, I get that. This is bad. We know people need health coaches in a serious way, right? People are sick. People are not getting what they need from the conventional medical model. So I am really, really, really putting myself out there to change that by empowering you to have a successful business and reach more people and make this world a little bit better for everybody. So I want to talk to you today about how to avoid financial collapse and actually allow your business to survive. How does that sound?

This topic’s totally like inside of my heart, in a very deep way because I saw everybody do this when I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I saw myself do this no matter how hard I worked. It’s like the money just was never adding up. And frankly, if I didn’t have the support of my, at the time husband’s salary, I never would have been able to continue. And I know that not everybody has somebody supporting them financially or has a trust fund or whatever it is. And so many of you are like, I need to make this work, I need to make it work and like the next six months, the next year or else I’ll have to go back to my corporate job. Right? And it sounds kind of bleak. I know. So if you’re like la, la, la, la, la, la, la, I don’t want to hear this, Michelle, listen to me. It is the truth. This can happen if you just burn yourself out and you spend a lot of time and effort and money moving in the wrong directions or moving in a million directions.

But that’s why we are here. So you don’t fall into this very, very, very common trap. And if earning a full time salary with your practice is important to you, I do have a free training available to help you do just that. And you’re going to want to go right now to https://healthcoachpower.com/earn and you can check that out.

Today, what we’re doing is a little bit more of an overview of understanding how business works, why it works, why it won’t work, the strategy, the mindset, but this training I’m talking about goes into the operational nitty gritty details that you definitely, definitely need. So go to healthcoachpower.com/earn to sign up for free.

Now, before we dive in, I wanted to give a shout out to a listener who wrote this five star review on iTunes. I thought it was very, very applicable for today’s topic because she or he… So many health coaches say, says that they don’t have a business bone in their body. A lot of people become health coaches. That doesn’t mean that you are a professional marketer, a professional graphic designer, web designer, a an accountant, but suddenly you have to play all of these roles. It’s crazy.

So, this person, as you’ll see, so they don’t have a business bone in their body, and I do usually read the name of who wrote the reviews so that I can thank you personally. In this case, the iTunes name is kind of a jumble. It’s like ds one eight seven, bla, bla, bla. So if you’re listening, you know who you are and this is what the review says. It says quality content right here. This podcast is wonderful. I do not have a business bone in my body and I didn’t realize that I would have to market myself when I decided to become a health coach. I was thinking along the lines of if I build it they will come. And as I near the end of my coaching certification, I realized I needed a niche and an audience to speak to and I was like a WHO and a what. Now luckily I found Michelle’s podcasts. She cuts to the chase and tells you exactly what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what’s not. Thanks for the great content, Michelle. That is exactly why I’m here.

So thank you so much for that review. ds one eight seven, bla, bla, bla. Please send your mailing address to us if you just email support@healthcoachpower.com and reference episode number 75 so we can send a little gift your way. So let’s move on to today’s topic and as we go through this content. If you’re here with me live, and I know a bunch of you are ask questions as we go along, ask any questions you want. We’ll have some time at the end to hit those.

So I want to make sure that your business not only gets off the ground, it’s your first client, it’s your second client, but survives. You probably don’t want to be a health coach just for a couple of months. You’re probably thinking you want to turn this into a career that can sustain you over the next, who knows, 10 20 whatever years. So I’m going to hit on three main points. First, how to decide what to sell and at what price. Many of you struggle here. Then how to think about marketing and finally having a solid business plan. So our first question and the inspiration for this episode came from Marissa.

Marissa wrote, I want to run an online group program for the first time as a way to reach more clients that increase my income. But here is where I’m torn. Is it better to run a smaller scale, sampler type program like a detox or a fresh start and hope to glean some full time clients from it? Or is it better to run a larger scale, more expensive program, providing more to the participants? Have you had more success with one versus the other?

So Marissa, you’re talking about two different types of group programs. I’m not going to comment so much on, you know, should it be one week or should it be six weeks or should it have videos or should it just have some emails, the content, whatever. I’m going to leave that to you. But I think the most important thing that I can advise you on around this is that if you want a sustainable business, you must sell at a high price point. Hear me out on this.

I don’t know about you. I have about 10,000 people on my mailing list. I’ve been in business for over 10 years. I don’t know if that’s like a great size list or a small list. The size of your list doesn’t totally, totally matter, but just to give you a sense, 10,000 okay. How many people are on your mailing list? Most coaches I talk to will say 20 people, 200 people, a thousand people. Fair, fair. Now consider something like Beachbody. How many people get emails or get receive advertising of some kind from Beachbody, right? Like zillions of people. And I’m just using Beachbody as an example. Weight watchers, I don’t know, Jenny Craig. Um, fill in the blanks. Oh, you know, whatever big scale operation you can think of that is serving like millions of people. Millions. So those are two very different business models. One is not better than the other.

You could have a very successful business if like, let’s say you owned weight watchers, right? That’s been a pretty successful business through the years. You know, all judgment aside, you know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it just from a business perspective. And then you can be a health coach and have a very successful business and be happy. Right. They’re just, it’s like apples and oranges. Okay, so if you’re reaching like millions of people, if you were selling something that was like $20 a month or $99 for like a one time thing, could your business survive? Yeah, if you’re selling to millions of people because a percentage of them are going to buy, obviously not everyone. You need a lot of people buying at a slow price point in order for that money to add up to anything substantial. Okay. Now compare that to you or your health coaching peers inside our Facebook group or have maybe like 250 people on their mailing list.

If you were to offer something, Marissa, let’s say like a any, any program, I don’t care if it’s a detox or if it’s a larger scale program, but still the price point is like $150 $75 even like $350 do the math. How many of those would you need to sell in order for it to add up to the income that you want to make, how many sales do you need to make, and then what percentage of your list is really going to buy? Usually like two or 3% so you just do the math. Okay, you got a hundred people on my list. Two or three are ever going to really buy for me when I pitched something to them this week. So that’s like three people. Okay. If each person pays $100 I make $300 if each person pays $2,000 Oh hey, now I’m paying the rent.

Right? And, and I know it’s easier in some ways to sell the lower priced programs, but so you might make like one additional sale or two additional sales. But I hope you understand my point. If you have a smaller audience, your business will not survive selling something at a low ticket price. It just won’t. You have, in that case, you need numbers. You need quantity of sales in order for the math to add up. Okay? This is why inside my course Healthy Profit University, we do focus on creating a high end signature program. Something that you can sell. I say above $1,000 I want it to be above like $1,500 in order for somebody with a smaller size audience to actually start earning something substantial in their first couple of months of business. And then obviously as you move along, you have a lot more flexibility.

If you start bringing in, let’s say $75,000 a year through your high ticket program or $100,000 a year, you’re like, cool, oh, I got this. You know, this is easy in a sense. I know how to sell this. The money’s coming in. I can pay my bills. You know, it’d be fun to run a detox. You know, I say, sustain your business first with the high ticket stuff. Experiment with the other stuff later. Now other people will disagree. They will say that, you know, you can start selling people a low ticket program, like a $99 detox and then graduate them into becoming a private client of yours. Does that happen? Yes. Does it happen at the rate that most health coaches would like? No, I don’t think so. My experience and those that I talked to, that’s called a step up model where you’re hoping somebody signs up for like $99 and then maybe from there you can sell them until like a $399 program and then from there you can sell them into some VIP package and sometimes that does happen, but what I have noticed is the people who sign up for a lower price program are like the kind of person that’s going to sign up for a lower price program.

They’re not as, they’re not having as big of a problem, they’re doing it more for fun or because their friends doing it with them and they’re not somebody who’s going to necessarily turn around and be like, no, I really want one on one support and I want to pay you $2,000 to do it. If they’re of the $99 mindset, it’s just like, it’s like a different type of clientele. So yes, you might be able to step people up. No, I don’t think it’s a great experiment. I consider when health coaches are doing detoxes in the early days. I consider it more of a marketing thing. Getting your name known, getting people comfortable with you. Some of them, some of these people might become clients tomorrow, maybe some will become clients in five to 10 years from now. Cause I know they learned about you way back when you do it for exposure, you make a little money, but you need to be able to pay your bills.

And what I’m telling you Marissa, is please whatever you end up selling, price it high. Julia says, sounds like it’s a good idea to start with a high ticket item to get the business going. Yeah, I mean it’s just a math equation. That’s all that it is. You know, you’re only going to make so many sales and you only have so many people in your audience. So just a little multiplication and you can see how this concept comes to life. I hope that’s helpful for you guys. The reason that this becomes a huge trap is because, I mean, I don’t know about you, but I was terrified to tell someone, oh yeah, my, my program costs $2,000 you know, like when I started out, forget it. I was constantly discounting myself and when I got like the idea like, oh, I could sell something that’s only $99 boy did that make me feel good.

I just wanted to offer those like cheapo group programs because I felt more comfortable. Did they serve a purpose in my business? Yes, but like I said, the step up model, the not work the way I was hoping that it would, this is what you need to know. This is why you need to know. Don’t fall into the trap of just being comfortable selling low ticket items. It will not serve you in the long run. All right. Julia says very, very helpful. I’m glad.

By the way, anything I ever say on this podcast, feel free to prove me wrong. There are so many different kinds of businesses and so many different ways that people go about it. Whatever I share is coming from my personal experience and what I have gathered from working with thousands of health coaches through the years in a very personal way where I get like behind the scenes and what actually is working and making the money, so I’m sharing what I know doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptions.

Awesome. Next question came from Mindy. Mindy says, Mindy’s really, she’s going for here and you guys, this is a big question. She says, I hear you say all the time that a great way to get clients is to grow your email list. Yes, I do say that all the time. And Mindy says, I’m sure I could totally do that, but then what? Do I have to start a blog through my website or do I just pick a topic or a motivational quote to chat about each week? Do I create the content through MailChimp and send it from there or do I create it elsewhere and link it through MailChimp?

I got you Mindy. So you build the list and then what happens? So the idea of having a mailing list is that you have an audience who is already opting in because they want more from you. So, they’re interested, you know that it’s different than, I don’t know, putting up a flyer or most people who go, go buy are totally not interested and they certainly haven’t asked to see it. So these are people who are saying, yes, I would like more from you. Awesome. We often call it a nurture email. When you send an email that is all about or cheering that audience, which is different than when you’re selling something and, or you’re in the middle of a big launch and all your emails are going to be selling that particular service or product. Let’s just talk about nurture emails. Um, we talked about this a lot last summer actually when we held copy for coaches, which was a course all about copywriting. And before we got into the, what do I write about? Do I write about sugar? Should I do a mood?

You know, like a motivational quote like Mindy said here, what should the topic be? My first thing is, all right, when do you send an email? It’s a piece of marketing. Anytime you do any type of marketing -this is going to sound ridiculous, ridiculously simplistic, but the first thing you want to write down, what is the business goal? What is the business goal of this piece of marketing? And it could be a flyer, it could be anything. You’re going to start a podcast. Awesome. Because you think podcasts are cool. Hmm, not, that’s not a business goal. A business goal is I’m trying to sell such and such or I’m trying to get people to sign up for, fill in the blank, a free Webinar that I’m holding. Or um, maybe you’re going to, let’s say you’re sending an email. It could be one of those things, right?

It could be like selling something could be, um, trying to drive traffic to your blog. If you had a blog that might be your business goal or it can be like this, well, have mailing lists, but I haven’t emailed them in about six months, so I’m going to do it. Going to get back on the bandwagon. And the goal of this email today is to reignite that flame with my audience. So I need to do something to catch their attention, to make them respond to me, to bring that relationship back into play. And once you know what the goal is, the topic, I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter, but that’s like almost secondary. So if I’m writing to my list, I will soon be writing to my list, my, my health coaching side of my business and I will be announcing like a whole new brand and new website.

Like I’ve got a whole new thing coming out on that side of my business. So the goal will be to drive traffic to the new website and podcast. Well, what am I really going to talk about? Chances are that email might be about new beginnings, um, first day of school. Uh, the topic could be kind of anything that has to do with new beginnings because the point will be to then segue and say, speaking of, I just launched this all new brand I want you guys to know about. So topic secondary goal first. And then you could write a Haiku for all I care. If it helps you reach that business goal, then it works. It could be a blog post. Mindy could be a motivational quote, could be a recipe, could be, I don’t know, a picture or video that you send. But the, it’s like the why.

Why am I sending this? What am I trying to achieve? When I worked in advertising, so my first career was in big advertising. We always got a brief, I was an art director and before we sat down to create the artwork for whatever we were doing, you know, we always had a brief that spelled out for us, what is the goal of this campaign? Is it going to be successful? If I create like a really beautiful ad? No, because if the really beautiful ad does not convert the way that the client wants it to meeting creates the sales and the return on investment that they want, this ad is going to be considered a huge failure. No pressure. But that’s the point. You have to know what the goal is and then you can execute accordingly. So great question, Mindy. We go into this much deeper inside Healthy Profit University.

When copy for coaches comes up again, you’ll hopefully hear all about it and can join in because then we go really deep into how to write those emails, how to pick the topics, how to actually write them so that they sound good and people are responding to them. But I think that’s enough for right now.

Melanie says, someone says they are ready to join and now won’t click through for payment. She has told me she wants to start next week. So should I wait to follow up for payments or tried to get payment and schedule a date.

Now let me try to understand this question Melanie. So it sounds like you’re working with a private, very prospective client. They haven’t paid you yet. She wants to start next week so, should I wait to follow up for payment? Okay, so basically you just need payment before that session and you will need to have a boundary as to how long you’re willing to wait.

Are you willing to schedule that appointment and show up and she’s going to bring a check and then if like she doesn’t show up or she doesn’t bring a check, you’re willing to say, okay, I wasted some time today. We’re going to reschedule or bye bye, or whatever you’re going to say and cut it off. Or do you need that money at least 48 hours ahead of time or do you need it today to hold that appointment? I think that’s fair. You know, if you’re going to put somebody on your calendar and you’re going to show up for them, well they need to uphold their end of the deal. I’d probably talk to them about why they’re having trouble with the payment stuff. People don’t like to pay online. I don’t know how old they are. You know, older folks sometimes don’t want to pay online because they’re afraid of it. Um, maybe somebody wants to pay through PayPal versus stripe or whatever your using. So you may be or can be flexible there about how you accept payment. I think that would be the, the next conversation for you to have.

Um, I see a question here from Melissa, but let me get back to the ones I had planned. And then Melissa, I will come to you because this last question also has to do with the idea of having a sustainable business. One that succeeds in the long run, one that doesn’t fold and collapse and you say, Oh, once I tried that health coaching thing, no, no, we want everybody up and running for a long time.

So here’s one that came in, was kind of interesting. Um, and this person wrote, please can somebody help me edit this into a powerful but simple mission statement? I want to just like emphasize like mission statement. Like how many of you think you need a mission statement? Health coaching is sort of, um, mission driven work, right? It is, it is for me to, I mean, I legitimately go out in the world and I’m like, I cannot believe I say this in my head. Of course I’m much more, uh, you know, polite. I would never say this out loud, but sometimes I’m like, literally, I cannot believe what you were eating right now. I can’t believe what you’re feeding your kids. It’s driving me crazy on a cellular level. Take a breath, Michelle. So it is a mission driven work, right? We are trying to help people.

This is what she wrote in her question. Um, her mission statement as it stands and she’d like some help with it, is to empower individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles and get the power of health back into their hands and the most natural biblical ways through coaching, educating and sharing literature on how to integrate spirituality, relationships, careers, physical activities, positive mindset and nutrition for ultimate holistic health. Is there anything wrong with that?

No. I mean, not all of us are going to probably have the word biblical biblical in there, but I would say other than that, that sounds like pretty much what every health coach wants to do. So in some ways it’s very, very accurate. However, I will argue that a mission statement is not particularly useful. It’s just not. And here’s why. To empower individuals who exactly are we empowering? Right? This goes back to the business model of having a smaller sized audience and a smaller like single person business where you’re reaching out to a hundred people, 200 people, a thousand people, not millions. So you really need to niche down and know who, who do you serve very specifically. I don’t mean like women, that’s half the population of the planet. You know and I have talked about target markets before, but if you’re going to have a statement, what I do inside healthy profit university is I work with members to develop a my best work statement and we really get clear on exactly who we’re talking to.

Who can you do your best work with and then the how does it really matter. Like I don’t care if it’s like through spirituality or like through nutrition or through magic doesn’t matter. All the matters is what is the big problem that they are struggling with that you can help them solve. That’s what you sell. Very few people are going to sign up for your program because they want help with nutrition. No, they want to lose weight, right? They want to clear up the Eczema all over their body, they have problems. And if you want to learn more about how to figure out a my best work statement and create something that is actually meaningful and useful in your marketing, I’m going to direct you to a resource that I have. It’s free. You can go check it out at https://healthcoachpower.com/targetmarket and it’s sort of a five step process that helps you figure out [inaudible] my best work statement so you can be very, very clear about who you help and what you help them solve and that is what you need in order to move forward with your business.

All right, coming back to you, Melissa. Melissa says, I have three weeks till my launch event. I know. Just start promoting daily about it. What kind of content should I be promoting more on my signature program?

Okay, so let’s say you have a launch that you’re running and a launch is a big event that you do in order to sell your coaching package or an order to sell your program or whatever you’re selling. And a launch event, Melissa, I don’t know what it is for you. Maybe let’s say you’re holding a Webinar. Okay? So you have three weeks until your webinar. In those three weeks you want to be promoting everything and anything you can around the topic of the Webinar. So if the webinars about like how to tie shoelaces, then I would expect that every day look on your Instagram feed or on Facebook you’d be doing stuff like posting a picture of like different shoes that you know, different laces or shoes that don’t have velcro shoes and you know, you would be in some way talking about this idea of like, do you need to learn how to tie your shoelaces?

If so, sign up for my webinar. Do you know what I mean? Or maybe one day you would post a story about running and how you tripped and you fell because your shoelace wasn’t tied properly. I, you know, and then it’s a natural segue. Has this ever happen to you or don’t let this happen to you? Join my webinar about how, how to tie shoelaces. So obviously this is a ridiculous example about how to tie shoelaces, but the idea is you can share pictures, you can share stories, you could share blog posts, you can share anything where it’s a simple leap to go from like, here’s this picture too. This is why you have to join the Webinar and that is what you would be promoting over the next three weeks. It’s sort of any angle that you can take on the ultimate message of sign up for the Webinar.

I hope that helps. Okay, got a couple more minutes. So let’s see. Oh, so many questions today. Good, good. Ah, okay.

Kelly asked, just curious how everybody is structuring six months or even three month programs and calls. Do you have material that you send to clients prior to sessions and then you discuss during the call? Do you let them talk about whatever they need to first and then dive into the materials later? I know some coaches have six or 12 sort of done for you workshops or lessons they just stick to with every client or do you just focus on coaching, letting them lead the whole session and then send them handouts that pertain to their case after the session?

Kelly, you know what, I think everybody does this differently, but in general I think when we’re newer and we have less experience, we really want to follow an outline. I totally did this when I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. They actually gave us outlines for an entire 12 month program and it was sort of like session one dark leafy Greens session 2 whole grains, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah down the line. And that was incredibly helpful for me because I had no clue when I was doing so if you don’t have outlines like that provided to you, I would just suggest that you jot down for yourself, kind of going back to your target market, who do I serve? What is their big problem I help solve? What do they need to know? Like you already probably have a good idea about some of the topics that should be covered. So I’d prioritize them, try to hit the most important ones first. You know, move down the line and then you have an outline. But I can tell you from many years of experience, often you’re going to just crumble that up and throw it over your shoulder.

The most valuable thing you can do with any client is be there and be present with them and not looking at your outline. In fact, at a certain point I stopped even taking notes during my session. I don’t, I don’t take notes during a client session. I put everything away, shut my computer and I talk to my client and I connect with them energetically. So like can understand much better where we need to go with the conversation, not because some outline told me, okay, but I know it takes some time to get there. So if you need it at first to help you feel comfortable, write something out for yourself. And also we are all going to develop our own coaching skills over time. Not Everybody’s going to do what I do. Even if there were like a master coach, you know, so you’ll figure out what works for you as time goes on. But great question and thank you for asking that.

All right, everybody, that is it for today. Please, if you find these episodes helpful, head over to iTunes, leave a star rating, leave a written review. Who knows? I might even read yours on the air next week and in the meantime, keep asking great questions inside our free group at healthcoachpowercommunity.com and I will keep answering them. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time.