#50: My First Business Coach

Have you considered getting some outside help with your health coaching business? In this episode, Michelle shares about:

– How she hired her first business coach many years ago.
– Where to advertise your 1:1 services
– The best type of passive income for health coaches.
…and more.

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This episode is sponsored by:
Master Class: How To Double Your Mailing List In the Next 90 Days

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Alrighty, hello health coaches! How are you guys doing this week? It is a pleasure for me to be here with you today because I have been taking a little trip down memory lane this week. It’s been kind of funny and I wanted to share with you how and why I hired my first business coach many years ago and how that kind of unfolded and how it helps me. So this way if you are considering getting some outside help with your health coaching business, then you’ll have an idea of how to find the right person, the right program, the right opportunity. Sound good? All right, let’s do it. If we haven’t met before, by the way, my name is Michelle Pfennighaus and I’ve been a certified health coach with my own private practice for 10 years now, and I also act as a mentor for my fellow health coaches. If you’ve been a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, then very good chance that you may have seen me in your curriculum there where I teach about marketing.

So hey to all the IIN students out there. Now, if you’re watching live, go ahead and tell me in the comment area anything that you want me to talk about today. If you have a question about your business. If you have a question about hiring a business coach, or anything that I’m maybe not completely clear about. As we move along, you can just type your questions in as we go and I’ll be looking for those. Also, I just want to remind everybody that the doors are closing this Thursday. That’s February 14th Valentine’s Day for Healthy Profit University’s, Fast Track to 10 k’s semester. This is the program that has helped so many health coaches create a profitable business without feeling like icky and salesy. And if you enroll now, you’re going to get 90 days of live coaching with me to walk you through the material and towards that first $10,000. So I just wanted to give you a heads up and a reminder that the doors are closing on Thursday.

But, let’s get back to this idea of when and how you want to hire someone to help you grow your business. And this topic was inspired by Lisa. So Lisa, thank you for asking. Um, she said when starting your business as a health coach, did you hire a business coach to get organized and started and if so, how did you know the right one?

And I thought that was a really good question. And that actually I was on the phone just yesterday with Ami, another coach in our group who asked me as sort of a similar question. She was like, well Michelle, how did you learn all of this stuff about making a business work? And that’s when I started doing that trip down memory lane because I’m like, well it all started when, so yeah, it all started when I actually have a background in advertising and graphic design.

So I was working at the largest ad agency in New England when I decided to leave the corporate world, become a health coach, changed my whole life. But, but that is my background. And then the funny thing was most people think like, oh Michelle, you come from advertising. So you probably knew exactly what to do in your health coaching business sort of. And sort of the complete opposite. Because what happened was I tried to apply what I knew about like fortune 500 companies and how they advertise and I talked to like apply that to my one person health coaching business and it didn’t really work and it was very, very frustrating for me. So yes and no, it was helpful. So I like to say that my journey started with crying for about four years. Just very sporadic success. A lot of mistakes, a lot of tears along the way.

So if that’s you, if you’ve been there, you are not alone. Now, interestingly, even during that time, even in the first four years of my business, health coaches were always, I don’t know, kind of flocking to me to learn like, Hey Michelle, I see you have a great blog. How can you teach me how to do that? Or you know, Hey Michelle, I saw you held a Webinar or how do you hold a Webinar? So even then, you know, other coaches were finding me and asking me these questions, um, which is, which is interesting cause I wasn’t doing that well, but I was doing better than they were, which is well that tells you something about the sad state of affairs for most health coaches. So, uh, finally I was pregnant with my second baby and I knew I was going to be in this for the long haul.

I knew I was going to have another baby, but I was going to come back and I was really determined to make money to support my family because now the family’s growing, right. And I had learned so much through trial and error at that point, but I really felt like this was it. Like I was ready to dive in to get really serious about it and I wanted some guidance and support that unfortunately all of the coaches or health coaches that I had ever heard of and there really weren’t that many of them at the time. They weren’t really my cup of tea, let’s just put it that way. I felt very uncomfortable. Like I get this uncomfortable vibe from them and I’m like I said, there weren’t really many options. So my very first business coach was actually referred by a friend who was not a health coach, but she was another mom entrepreneur and she said, oh, you know, I’ve worked with this person, you may find her helpful.

And I really, um, I loved, I loved working with this coach. Her name is Lara Galloway because she works exclusively with moms and I don’t even know if she does private coaching anymore. She has since written a book and gone on to do other things. But she worked exclusively with entrepreneurs and I was there identifying as, as a mom or I just had another baby yet. And Finn, I had a three year old, so she was just like the perfect match for me at the time. And I did some sessions with her. It felt like I finally had someone to talk to. Like I had my husband never wanted to hear about things. I mean he kind of cared. But if I was like, hey honey, you look at my new sales page, what do you think? He’s like, looks good Michelle. Right? People outside of this industry just don’t get it, even if they try.

So I thought it was wonderful to have someone who understood what I was doing and that to bounce ideas off of, um, and just to get ideas for other resources I needed in my business. So it’s phenomenal. So that was thinking, all right, well what happened after that? Cause I didn’t really do that many sessions with Lara. But then I remembered the very first big program that I invested in, you know, it was a couple thousand dollars and it was uh, something run by Derek Helpern who again no longer runs programs like this. This is how many years ago we’re talking. But anyway, Derek Halpern is still around so you might know his name. I came across one of his videos online, totally randomly watched it and I thought this guy makes a lot of sense. I like his style. I like the way that he delivers information. So I joined his mailing list and then he announced a program he was running and I signed up for it because something about his vibe.

I was like, yeah, I think I could use that. That was super duper helpful for me. Then I found Michelle Warner who is a business strategist. I found her so randomly. I was in this Facebook group for entrepreneurs and she was like just starting out. I mean she has done so much in business through the years, but she was starting her own, her own business. And she was giving away like a free strategy session. And I thought, who is this person? I don’t know, but why not? You know? So I just did this free strategy session with her. It was like no strings attached. And I loved it because she didn’t try to sell me on anything, literally was no strings attached. I think she was doing market research because she was just starting her own business, but yet talking with her, I found her again, like she was so sharp, she was like on the same page as me and I thought this woman really gets it.

So she kind of stayed in my world for a number of years. Um, and I eventually hired her and I still use her as a resource. She’s phenomenal. But the best part about it was that once I started reaching out for help, starting with my friend Heather, who referred me to my very first coach, right. Once I started connecting with people and they started asking for help, you know, one person led to another, like Michelle referred me to another online program. That was exactly what I needed. At the time, you know, sometimes you just don’t know where to find the things that you need, but I to get plugged in. So she referred me to that and that program led me to find what Wahida who is now my Facebook ad strategist and like really much more than that. Like she’s one of my most trusted advisors and my business and I’ve been working with her for about a year now.

Through that same network I found Stephanie who’s now my project manager. So I guess what I’m saying is when you feel like you need help and just like raise your hand, hit the like button, if you feel like you might need some help in your business, you don’t always need a business coach. Like it’s the first idea, right? Because people talk about their business coach and it’s like, oh well I’m a coach and I like the idea of coaching. Maybe I need a coach. Yeah, maybe you do. But sometimes you need to learn straight up skills, right? Sometimes you need to hire somebody else for their skills. And I’m seeing a whole bunch of you hit the like button. Yeah, it’s hard to do it all by yourself. Sometimes you need mentorship, sometimes you need strategy and I feel like in a weird way that I really never expected the universe has somehow served up exactly who and what I’ve needed when I’ve needed it.

Have you ever noticed that just in your life in general, maybe it has nothing to do with your health coaching business, but somehow the right person appears in your life at the right time when you’re open to it. I’ve even had clients, my own health coaching clients who have said like, I really needed, you know, call it manifest in, call it what you will, but I’ll, I’ll say, well what kind of job do you want and where would it be and what would it pay you and what would you be doing and how would it be different than what you’re doing now? And then like two weeks later, boom, that job falls in their lap. This has happened multiple times. So I feel like if you’re looking for a certain thing to happen in your life, part of it is just stating out loud what it is, what you need.

Putting that intention out there. And this is my best advice to you because quite frankly, there is no amazon.com for hiring business coaches. It just doesn’t exist. There’s no rating and reviews that you can read through and basically compare every coach that’s out there. And if you did find something like that, I’m going to tell you the only people who would be on that site, like the only coaches who would be on that site are the ones who don’t, who don’t have enough clients. So they’re probably not the best ones. So it’s a lot about word of mouth. It’s a lot of who, who knows who, who knows who, you know, referrals. And, um, and I really encourage you to open yourself up to the opportunities in front of you. Christine’s saying, I feel that way about finding you. I feel that way about finding you too Christine.

I mean, seriously, it’s wild. There are a gabillion health coaches on the planet lately. It sounded, it feels that way anyhow. And I tend to run into the ones at the right time who maybe I have something to share with them often they also have something to share with me. So listen to your gut, think, do I like this person? Like really? Cause you’re going to spend some time with them. So you need to like them. Do I like their style? Is there something about them that I would like to emulate? And most of all, and this is really important because it kind of transcends everything else. Am I ready to give it 100% because that’s going to make the biggest difference. Even if you somehow got connected with a coach or with the whomever person or program or something that really wasn’t the best, it’s you like it’s up to you to bring it to just like bring it, you know?

And when you bring your a game, you can make a lot of progress and not maybe regardless of who you’re working with, but that doesn’t matter quite as much what you’re doing matters. So I just wanted to put that out there for all of you, Lisa’s saying, yes, I totally feel that way manifesting all the time and you’re in my life at just the right time. Yay, Lisa. Same here, same here. I know it’s, and again, it’s not just health coaching, so try to bring this attitude to whatever it is that you’re needing in your life. Like right now, I think I’ve mentioned this a few times. My husband is a out of work. He’s starting his own business and it’s a lot of like, what do we even want this to look like? You know, for like our family, it’s a lot of manifesting. Check back with me in a few months and I’ll let you know how that goes.

All right. What questions do you have for me today? It could be about finding a coach. It could be about something else entirely. I am here for you and I’m here for another, uh, another 15 minutes of this episode. So let’s do it.

I’ve got a question from Caitlin, that I definitely want to cover. Caitlin said, where do you advertise for your one-on-one coaching business?

And I’m going to answer this in a little bit of a tricky way, Caitlin, cause I don’t know exactly what you’re asking. I’m reading this as, where do you advertise your one on one coaching services, right? Like within my business I do lots of different things. Um, I one on one coaching services is one of them. So in my health coaching business there’s only one place that I’m ever offering one on one coaching or consultation that will lead to one on one coaching.

And that’s my mailing list. I advertise one on one coaching to my mailing list and basically nowhere else because it just does not work. Like if you take a flyer and you go to the health food store and it’s like, you know, and I totally did this by the way, I’m not saying this in theory, I printed out the color flyers, I paid for them, I went to Kinko’s and then I walked my butt all over town, pinning them up on the bulletin boards, putting my business cards, leaving the brochures, you know, doing all thing. And it was a big waste of time. And money. A perfect stranger is not going to convert to a client who’s paying you a couple of thousand dollars. It’s very, very, very, very, very unlikely that that will happen. So when you have a mailing list, you have somebody that has joined it, maybe they received some type of Freebie from you, maybe they participated in an event that you did, um, however they ended up on your mailing list, and then they’ve been hearing from you every week, hopefully, or every month or whenever you’re emailing your list, there is a relationship that you’re nurturing there.

So then when you’re like, Hey, I’ve got something to advertise, you have a warmed up audience and that is going to work for you way better than trying to advertise yourself to a cold audience who has no idea who you are. So I hope that answers your question Caitlin. I think that’s where you were going with that and I cannot stress enough the importance of a high quality doesn’t even have to be huge, but a high quality mailing list.

All right, next question. Next question. Rachel asked this one. She said, and I love this topic, Rachel, so thanks for bringing it up. She said, does anybody monetize their coaching business with passive income? I’m not sure where people usually start creating smaller version of their signature program that someone can download or something else so that people still want the signature program.

So for anybody who wants to hear a lot about this topic of passive income, I want to encourage you to go back and listen to episode 23 where I talked about the best passive income for health coaches, at least what I have found to be true. And I’m going to cut to the chase. I’ll tell you what that episode’s all about. It’s really about affiliate marketing for me because I’ve found that like you’re mentioning Rachel, creating a smaller version of your signature program that somebody can download.

I mean, I have my programs designed in such a way that they get results. So if I were to like make a smaller version of it and sell it for less money to somebody who therefore is less invested in completing it and you know, really doing the work because they haven’t laid down the cash, there’s such a direct correlation there. By the way, if somebody is paying like $20 chances are they’re not going to do it. Even if you gave them your whole, big, full signature program. So there’s an important exchange of energy that goes on there. But anyway, I’m not going to create a smaller version that’s not going to get results like that doesn’t serve anybody. And it may actually be counterproductive because if that person were sold my signature program, you know, my normal program at full price, like they’re going to see great results, that’s good for them.

That’s good for me. They’re going to make referrals, you know? But if they downloaded like uh, I don’t know, an eBook that kind of led them through the same stuff, they’re going to think, ah, this didn’t work. So that’s not good for me and it’s not good for them. So I’m not a fan of that. You know, some people will try to sell like an eBook or some other smaller passive income type thing on the website, their website. Again, I don’t recommend any of that, but I do recommend affiliate marketing. You can become an affiliate for as many different brands as you want. Any brands that you love? A lot of brands, not like big brands like apple or Nike, but you can become an affiliate for lots of like the smaller brands. Brands like Butcher Box, you know they do like a grass fed beef delivery or sun basket that’s a meal delivery program.

Kind of like Blue Apron. You can be an affiliate for a Berkey Water Filters. I’m just thinking of ones that I am an affiliate for. And then we as health coaches are always referring our clients to different brands, right? Cause like my clients will be like, oh well what skincare products do you use, Michelle? Or Hey Michelle, do you know, like a great book about Hashimoto’s, you know, or something like that. We’re always giving our clients resources. So it fits in really beautifully with a health coaching business model to say, yes, I do know a great book about that. Here you go. And then like using an affiliate link, they pay the same price. I make a percentage of the sale and those percentages range from like 1% maybe if it’s an Amazon affiliate link and then some things that I refer, I get like 30% so that is where I would go with affiliate marketing. If, I mean with passive income I would go towards affiliate marketing if I were you Rachel.

All right. Let’s see here. Lisa says questions about saturation of the market. I’m so confused between two different paths as my best work statement. They’re similar but different. The easier path seems to have so many providers in it.

Okay. So at least I know what you’re talking about. It’s like, um, you know, there’s a lot of health coaches who say, well, I’m going to help women lose weight. And I’m like, well yeah, you and the rest of the world, you know, there’s such a saturation in certain areas of health and wellness. So one way to stand out in the crowd is to choose a pain point, like instead of weight loss, maybe you’re helping people who have like, I don’t know, some weird syndrome that not many people have heard of.

You know like that would make your niche market like super, super narrow. There won’t be much saturation there. [Inaudible] getting kind of a weird signal, but if you’re going to be in that saturated market, find another way to narrow down. So maybe you’re going to do weight loss, but you’re going to do weight loss for you know, women who ride horses. I don’t know. That’s just an example. But yes, there’s a lot of saturation and health and wellness field and it’s really important that you narrow it down so that you don’t just blend into the crowd. That’s a really good question Lisa, thank you.

Christine’s saying, I will be certified to be a coach in July and haven’t set up anything yet. My website, my email, sole proprietorship, mailing lists, nothing. What is the most important thing I should focus on first? I feel so overwhelmed and I’m not even sure where to start.

Easy your mailing list, hands down, hands down. You don’t even have, you don’t have to set up a sole proprietorship. You just are a sole proprietor. You pay taxes. I’m not a tax person, you know, talk to your, talk to your accountant, blah, blah, blah. But you can earn money and pay taxes as a sole proprietor. Like if you sold a painting that you painted today, same thing. So don’t let that hold you back. I would absolutely start with your mailing list. Okay. I hope that was clear and succinct.

Here’s a question from Bonnie. Bonnie said, I’m wondering if it’s better to start a page or a group in Facebook for your health coaching beginnings.

So Facebook groups and Facebook pages serve two different purposes. Let’s start with the page and I want to do a whole episode on this. By the way, would that be interesting to you guys to just like really get into the Facebook stuff? Cause I feel like it’s confusing and everyone’s like, oh, I hate Facebook because they changed their algorithm all the time. And that’s true. But at the same time you can do so much with Facebook. So Facebook page is a public page. If someone’s searching for you, like your Facebook page can come up for them, even if you don’t have a website. So that can be really valuable, especially in the beginning, right? If you haven’t built a website yet. The other really cool thing about a Facebook page is that like say you posted something about, I don’t know, anemia, and someone’s searching about anemia, like your posts can come up in search as well.

So all good things about the Facebook page. The bad thing is that of course when you post to your Facebook page, if you have like a thousand fans, like 20 of them, will see what you posted, if that. So it doesn’t work so well for, you know, posting something and reaching all of your fans. Like it just, that’s not what it’s for anymore. They want you to pay for advertising. That’s why. And you don’t have to, we just have to know the limitations of the page. Now, if you ever do want to run Facebook ads and you absolutely have to have a Facebook fan page in order to run the ads, okay, now a Facebook group, on the other hand, if people search, they can search till kingdom come, they’re never going to find your Facebook group or like, you know when they search your name, that’s not going to come up.

And you would probably have a private group anyway because there are so many weird people on Facebook to keep our health coach power community group from growing lots of weird tentacles and having lots of spammers. There’s so much work on the back end that goes into that and we have to ask questions and we have to make sure you’re really health coach and we have to make sure that you’re a real person and yeah, so you definitely will want a private group. You don’t want an open group because it will just turn into crazy town. Um, and the group is much better for gathering a group of people who all have something in common. Preferably they all have a common goal because then your Facebook group can help these people achieve their common goal. And it can be an excellent starting point into your, your funnel.

So you know, you have people in a group and then maybe they join your mailing list and then maybe they buy something that you’re selling down the road. But groups are a ton of work. Yes, you’d have to show up every day. You have to post, you’d have to try to get, especially in the beginning, I have to really try and get people engaged, give them reasons to interact. It’s like, it’s like being the hostess of a party, you know, you can’t just sit in the corner and hope that everybody mingles you have to get in there and you have to put out snacks. So Bonnie, I think I would just consider what is your business goal? Like what are you trying to achieve right now? And then you would choose either a Facebook fan page or a group. And if you’re just starting out, I would really start with a page.

Okay. What other questions do we have here? Um, Jennifer is saying, can you target market the women whose husbands are on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol and they’re scared and they’re going to have a heart attack or does the sick person need to be the target? That’s a really good question. And what about marketing to couples?

Um hmm. Yeah. In this case is what is that woman’s big problem? Her big problem is trying to control her husband’s health. You know, maybe there’s something there. I think that’s interesting and tricky and you would quickly find yourself in sort of a marriage counseling situation. So I’d be prepared for that when one person is acting on the other’s behalf. I mean, I don’t know if you’re married, Jennifer, but that doesn’t usually go well in my house. Um, and then you said, what about marketing to couples?

Again, that could be done. You see that mostly again, when it comes to any sort of marriage issues. So anyone who’s going to be helping you as a couple, I think that I think that you would want to market directly to the, the husband who has high blood pressure and the cholesterol, um, with an eye to the fact that it’s his wife who’s going to be very influential. You know, so maybe you’re posting a blog post that’s like you know, 10 things that your wife wants to tell you about your high blood pressure. But you know, this man is not a child when, when we’re thinking about children’s health, we know that the parents really are the target market because they’re the ones paying. But I would be careful about treating the husband like a child, although I’m always very tempted to do that myself in my own house.

Okay. Um, Christine says yes, that Facebook training would be awesome. Okay. I’m going to, I’m definitely have that on the docket for an upcoming episode. Thanks Christina and Jennifer is echoing that sentiment – would love an episode about Facebook. Great. Thank you, you guys.

We’re going to wrap up here, but I want to thank you for joining me and ask you to please head over to iTunes and leave a five-star review and written a five-star rating and written review. That’s what I’m trying to say, because the more of those that we get, the easier it is for me to find more health coaches with this great content, and that’s how I could keep doing this work. Woo hoo, it’s a win-win for everybody, so thanks in advance for that and that. Be back next week. Keep asking great questions. I will keep answering them.