#25: How To Launch Your Health Coaching Business

Launching a shiny new health coaching business can be truly intimidating and prevent you from doing…anything! In this episode, you’ll learn from Michelle:

– How to start your business organically, without overwhelm.
– What to do during a final client session.
– How to prepare for an effective workshop.
…and much more!

Ask your questions:
Join Michelle’s free Facebook group:

This episode is sponsored by:
Master Class: Turn Your Health Coaching Business Into a Full Time Salary

Subscribe and leave a review on iTunes
Subscribe on Google Play
Subscribe on Stitcher


Hello health coaches, welcome to the Health Coach Power Community Q&A. My name is Michelle Pfennighaus. I want to thank you so much for joining me today. Today we’re going to be talking about getting your business off the ground or as I hear so many of you are referring to this launching your business, launching a big shiny new health coaching business. Wow, that’s intimidating, right? Really intimidating. And what I see is that it can prevent you from doing anything because you’re so wrapped up in this big huge launch that you’re about to do. So in today’s episode we’re going to break it down into manageable steps and how I advise you to think about quote unquote “launching your business.” We’ll talk more about why the quotes in just a minute. We’re going to be covering several other topics and questions as well, including what to do during a final client session at the end of a program and how to prepare for a workshop.

If you are here with me live, go ahead and tell me in the comment area, what are you currently struggling with in your business or in your life or in that intersection between your business and life? I’m here to take your questions and help you out live.

This episode is brought to you by my free training, Turn Your Health Coaching Business Into a Full Time Salary and you can sign up for that, for free, at HealthCoachPower.com/earn. You know that thing…that you should begin as you intend to continue? Well, even if you’re just starting out, you should be putting forth efforts that make sense and add up, not just spinning your wheels, kind of going nowhere. To learn how to put all those pieces together into a successful business, sign up at HealthCoachPower.com/earn.

Okay. So our big question today came from Debra over in our facebook group, HealthCoachPowerCommunity.com. And Debra said that she’s struggling with getting started. She needs to launch her business and although she didn’t go into great detail, I have heard so many variations of the same question over the past weeks, months, years that I thought, ok, let’s talk about it.

When somebody launches their business or launches their program, I know it might look really amazing and big, but I can tell you from the inside that it does not mean that that person is making any money yet, like at all, like a surprising amount of not making money and you’ll never see that on anybody’s website or on their facebook page. So that’s why I’m telling you what I see when I talk to other health coaches or even coaches or entrepreneurs in other lines of work.

So the launch is not everything that it’s cracked up to be. And I think particularly when you are starting your business from scratch, in fact, it’s pretty hard to put a launch together because this summer, hopefully, fingers crossed, I will be putting a launching a new website, not a new business, not everything totally from scratch, but just a new website with a new url. So it’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty big stuff and even that has gotten me all up in a tizzy. There’s so much that needs to be done for that. I want to let you know that it’s hard to launch big projects. It’s hard to launch a big business.

But it is NOT hard to work with your first client. It’s not hard to book one workshop. Are you smelling what I’m stepping in here? The way that I would advise you to think about starting your business is not with a big bang. You know, I’m in business today. Yesterday I wasn’t, but today I am. My business has just boomed. Been turned on with a switch.

Not like that, but instead a slow and steady approach. It’s a process of building a business, not a one-time event. So like I said, you could reach out to your family and friends, the low hanging fruit, as I like to call it and ask who would like to be your first client? Who is somebody who is struggling with their health? Would anybody like to help you out? You can offer a fantastic intro rate and get your first paying client. That is in essence starting your business.

You do not need to be registered as an LLC or how have your business registered with your state. You don’t need a business bank account. You don’t need insurance.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever have those things. I’m just saying you don’t need any of them. You don’t even need a website. Or a logo. Did you hear that? To start your business and start earning money. And that’s what makes a business a business, is when there’s a cash flow situation, right? It can look like a business on the outside, but if there’s no money coming in, that’s just really kind of a hobby, right? So, you can go out and you can get your first client. You could reach out to the yoga studio that you are already going to, or the gym or your chiropractor and set up a workshop. You do not need to have an official business to even do that. In fact, you don’t even have to be certified as a health coach to run a workshop.

I mean literally anybody can do these things. Just feels easier, doesn’t it feel a little more manageable? Just take one step and then take the next step. Then you work with a client who has a great experience and they tell their sister about you and boom, now you’ve got another client and it can all happen in a really organic way that doesn’t stress you out, doesn’t overwhelm you, doesn’t cost you a million dollars, one little step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. And that is how I suggest you quote, “Launch Your Business.” Now, inside my online course, Healthy Profit University, I do have a whole set of lessons called Beginner Basics that help you do the very few necessary things that you do need to do to start your business. But they are way fewer than you think. Like I said, you do not need to set up your LLC right away or anything like that.

I want to encourage you to get clients, get experience. Everything will tumble out of that. Start building your mailing list and then ease your way into marketing yourself in a slightly more…I don’t want to use the word aggressive…slightly more intentional way as you go along. Right? So let’s let this be an organic unfolding process instead of a big shiny, scary launch that’s just going to keep you biting your fingernails, sitting in your chair and doing absolutely nothing. All right, Deborah, I hope that helps. I hope everybody that helps get your business going. Let’s take it slow and steady together.

Alrighty. What questions you guys have for me today? For those of you that are here live, please tell me in the comments what you would like to talk about, what’s just making you like put your palm against your forehead and think, I don’t know what to do, Michelle. That’s what I want to hear from you.

As you go ahead and do that, I do have a question here from Martha. Martha said, “My last appointment was with a wonderful clients coming up on Sunday and IIN, which is the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in case some of you are not familiar. IIN taught us to have the client write down what you read aloud to them. I feel like this will be a task that clients would dislike, especially if there’s a lot of good things they said over the months. Can’t I just give her a copy of my program summary and have her read the accomplishments out loud. I’d love to hear how you all and your sessions. By the way. I’m happy to say my client started out so very sick and now all her ailments are gone.”

Martha, way to go. I mean really it was that last sentence that hit me because honestly I don’t even know what you’re talking about…I guess IIN is instructing you to do some sort of exercise with your client at the last session. It sounds cute and I know you got a lot of advice on the facebook group about how to have your client maybe read things aloud or write things down or whatever. Um, but basically to celebrate the accomplishments and I think that’s nice.

But Martha, hold up here. You had a client who started out so very sick and now all her ailments are gone. So I’m going to go ahead and say that you know what you’re doing and however you got your client from point A to point B, go with that. Follow your gut. Follow what you know about yourself and about this client to create a last session that is appropriate. I think there’s no reason that you need to follow a formula or a script or whatever somebody told you to do when you’re having this kind of success.

I mean clearly you have a good intuition about what this client needs. So I want to encourage you to follow that. And I also just thought I would share with you guys what I do in a final session with my clients, which is not much. You’re probably surprised to hear that, but I don’t have any big celebration or ceremony or gifts or any of that jazz. I mean, I really have never thought about it too, too much, but after your question, I thought to myself, Gosh, why don’t I do anything fancy with my last session with a client and I realized that what I do with my last session, and I’m just sharing this as food for thought, not because it’s the right way or the wrong way, but what I’ve noticed is that I’m pretty casual about the last session. I like to keep it open ended and I find that quite a few of my clients will come back to me and pick up where they left off even if it was several months or even a year ago.

So that last session. I don’t like to treat it so much as closing a door, but just one more session that could potentially lead to more in the future. We have action steps. We reflect on what’s been going well just like we do every session, but I really don’t make a big scene about it being session number 10 or 12 or whatever it is. And um, yeah, it just kind of made me reflect on that. Again, I don’t know if that’s the perfect thing to do, but a lot of my clients do tend to view it as an open door that they can always come back to. So I just wanted to share that with you Martha, and by now you probably actually have already had this session. It may have been a few days ago, so I’d love to hear how it went. Alrighty. Let’s see if we have some questions over here.

Sharon is saying, “Remember list serves? I’m looking for a way to get notifications about women’s conferences. Google has been okay, but I’m betting there’s a good list somewhere.”

That’s an interesting question Sharon. I was recently looking into something like that myself and I agree with you. You can set up a google notification. You can obviously search for, you know, women’s conferences in your area and see what you come up with. I actually hired someone to help me with this because I think it takes a bit of research, even if you got a list of women’s conferences, probably about half of them are not appropriate for whatever reason, or more than half, so it kind of takes a human eye to go through and sift through and figure out which ones may be the best for you and worth reaching out to and you know, researching more about speaking opportunities, which is what I assume you’re looking for.

So yeah, in my experience, that’s something that would hire a virtual assistant to help with and you can just tell that person what you’re looking for, what topics you’re looking to speak on, and that person can even go through the submission process. So if you give them an outline of your talk, a title, all the information that they would need, your biography, they can submit on your behalf. I hope that helps.

Cassie asked, “I’ve been asked to host a back to school workshop for teachers. The idea would be why they should take their lunches with them and how to stay healthy. Has anyone done anything like this? Do you have any tips for talking points for this? Should I provide some recipes for them to get started? I was thinking of sharing how stress eating can be controlled this way.”

You know what I thought as soon as I read that Cassie, because I, I haven’t done a lot with teachers, but I have recently had some teacher clients and a big thing that comes up for them is not having time to use the bathroom.

Just for, like, a very specific health issue moment…seems like teachers have really high incidences of UTI and constipation because they are literally just don’t have any time to go during their day, which is horrible. Just horrible when you think about it. So anyway, you might want to bring up something about that. I know you can’t solve their whole scheduling and peeing problem, but a UTI is that can be pretty, pretty serious. But anyway, short of that, Cassie, I know that, um, there were some suggestions and information given to you inside the facebook group, but when I was reading this. I really don’t think you’re going to have a problem coming up with content. I think anything that you talk about is going to resonate. I think that, you know, teachers are like any other people or women out there who are taking care of everyone else but themselves maybe a bit of an exaggeration because literally that’s what teachers are doing all day. So you’re going to be able to help them with that no matter which way that you approach it.

However, I want you to think about how to approach this workshop so that it works for you. In other words, what are you trying to achieve with this? What would make this successful for you? Are you, I’m assuming hoping to turn these teachers into private clients? If so, have you thought about pricing and packaging that will make sense for someone who’s on a teacher’s salary or, um, have you thought about a group program that you could do for teachers? Maybe at the end of the school day where they could get together and if that were the case, I would run the workshop much like you would run one of your group program so that you could say to them, hey, if you liked what we did today, join us starting next week…

So depending on your goal, that’s what I would bring into these sessions. I would definitely have the end goal in mind and then back out of that, how I want to structure the session, what kind of information I want to present, how I want to present it, and what next step I want to give these teachers. Let’s say maybe you don’t even want them as clients. Maybe what you’re after, you sassy thing, is you’re going after the whole board of education, you know, you want the superintendent to take notice. You want to implement something larger scale inside your school system. Hey, cool idea, Cassie! Anyway, in that case, you are not going to be asking these teachers to do a consultation with you or anything like that, but you could give them some type of survey or something that they’re writing down to reflect on what they’ve learned today and how it could improve performance and the classrooms, how it could aid them with all the problems that they’re facing with their students, how it might be able to help the students and the parents, whatever.

Collect that information from them at the end and that would give you some hard data to submit to the Board of Education. Okay. These are just suggestions like off the top of my head. Again, the point is that I don’t want you to just show up blind to this goes for everybody and hold a workshop and now nicey nicey tell everybody about how they should eat less sugar and eat more vegetables. That’s all well and good, but as far as your business goes, what’s the goal? Start there all.

Oh, Martha’s saying that she’s a teacher and the bathroom issue is so true. It’s not an exaggeration. Seriously, how horrible is that? That’s like a form of human torture. I’m really not pleased. Once I learned this from my clients, I feel like we all have some work to do with the school systems in so many ways.

Alrighty. I have another question here from Mauro and Mauro says, “Does anyone have suggestions on accommodating for commitment free individual sessions?”

Mauro, I’m going to answer you in a lot of the same way that I just answered Cassie, because I know what you’re asking. I know what you’re really asking. And so like the base answer that I could give you is like, well, if you’re just going to do one session at a time with somebody and they’re not going to commit to a whole block of sessions, charge them more obviously. So instead of whatever, uh, what would break down to $100 a session if they’re not going to sign up for the whole three month package or whatever. Maybe it’s $200 a session, right? So that’s one way that you can make it worth your time. So just charge a little bit more.

However, I’m having a hard time with this whole idea of the commitment free individual sessions because health coaching requires a commitment on the part of the client and if it’s commitment free, what kind of results are we going to be getting for that person? I mean, I can look at it from their perspective, you know, the perspective of the client and say like, yeah, they’re not really gonna get anywhere if they are not committed, if they’re not being held accountable because they have plunked down all this change to work with you, they’re not gonna see the results that they want. Right? So that’s sort of to their benefit, to have them sign up for a set amount of time or a set number of sessions with you.

And then of course from your side or you know, as the practitioner offering a single session… Yeah, you might put $200, $300 in your pocket. But beyond that, you can’t make progress with someone who isn’t committed. You’re not going to get a testimonial from them. And for me it’s not even worth me sitting down and getting to know someone. And kind of wrapping my brain around their situation, getting involved with them for just a couple hundred dollars. Right. It’s a lot of work on your part to engage someone in a relationship. Just not worth doing, I don’t think, for a commitment free individual session. And I will give you one example you guys, when I DID do single sessions one time and this was when I was extremely pregnant with my second baby and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to take on any clients, but I held this big webinar. I don’t even remember what the topic was. I think it may have been around feeding kids, picky eaters, you know, and I had all these moms and dads really, really chomping at the bit to talk to me about their individual picky eater.

And I sold a single session to work with them in that capacity, which in that case was really more of an extension of the Webinar or like a personalization of the webinar where we just took the same information and spoke just about their unique situation. And um, and yeah, and that was a single session. But like I said, put a couple hundred, whatever it was, thousand dollars in my pocket at the end of the day. But that’s it. I never heard from those people again. They didn’t get in testimonials, I never heard what happened with their kids. So it’s really kind of lackluster to do just one session with a person at a time. My two cents for what it’s worth, Mauro. Alright, what else is going on?

You guys have one here from Juliana. Juliana says, “I’m beginning to see some interest in my health coaching services. Yay! What I do not feel prepared for is navigating the communication aspect of taking a client from interested to actually booking sessions. Does anyone have any suggestions for organizing communication, scheduling a welcome letter, etc. So far I feel like people reach out on facebook or email and then we call or we text, we play phone tag and it just feels all over the place. I’d like to send a link that says, so you’re interested. Great. Here’s what to expect and here are the times to choose from or something like that. People are busy and I feel like streamlining the signup process might be beneficial.”

Yeah, so there’s so many ways to do this. Juliana, and I’ll just share that in my time as a health coach. Oh my goodness. I have spent probably hours of my life typing up emails to that effect and then saying, here are three days and times that I have available on my schedule. Do what any of these work for you waiting to hear back from them. They don’t. They can’t do any of those times. I have to suggest another couple of times that at the back and forth and back and forth, real pain in the neck.

So a couple of years ago, maybe two years ago now, really I started using calendly. Calendly is a free service. There’s also one called acuity that will just give you a link that you can put an email and somebody can click on it. See all your open time slots. Boom. Done. They’re on your calendar. I still use calendly for certain kinds of appointments. Not all, I’ll tell you about that in a second, but um, it, it integrates beautifully with google calendar. So as soon as someone signs up on calendly, it blocks it off in my google calendar. I never have to worry about double bookings and I have a link for people to sign up for a 15 minute call with me at 30 minute call with me or an hour call with me.

And these, again, I don’t really use it for clients so much. I use it for someone wants to talk to me about some opportunity or someone wants to talk to me or I’m scheduling with some sort of a vendor, vendor or assistant. So I need to block off time in my calendar for 30 minutes for that. So I have those three types of calls within calendly works really well, but to go a step further and really organize all your communications with the client, I use Practice Better. I’m going to put a link into the comments right now. It’s findyourbalancehealth.com/practice and that is phenomenal because I have it setup so that when someone requests a session with me, they automatically get online forms to fill out. So whether it’s their agreement, um, anything that you need them to sign, I have people do a pretty extensive intake forum before their first session, so again, that just goes out automatically, a food diary and all of these things are not like pdfs that are being emailed to them. They are online forms that get filled in and then the results show up on my end of the portal. So it’s really nice and again, Practice Better integrates with google calendar. So all of my client meetings immediately get blocked off and nothing can get double booked.

Oh. And one last thing that no matter what service you use is going to save you so much agony over figuring out time zones. I think that’s what finally pushed me into using an online calendar because I love my paper calendar, but when I had somebody in los angeles contacting me and I’m over here on the east coast, invariably one of us would screw up the time zone and mess up the meeting time and not show up or show up at the wrong time and I was just like, you know what, I’m done with this. I need a platform that automatically calculates the time zone for whoever is looking at the computer. So those are my two options for you. I hope that is helpful julianna.

Martha has a question here. She says, “Do you have any suggestions with group coaching? I mean, how often do you meet and for how long and what do you find works for you seasoned coaches?”

So know what, Martha, when I get off this live broadcast, I will put a link into the comments. I have a downloadable outline for working with a group. So session outline session one, session two, session three. I’m all spelled out for you, so I will leave that link for you in just a bit. But to answer your question at the top of my head, the biggest thing, um, I think it depends on what kind of group you’re running.

If you’re running a group program that’s pretty similar to private coaching as opposed to running like a detox, a detox is its own can of worms, but if you’re just going to be doing a group coaching offer as an alternative to private coaching, typically you run it the same way. So you would meet every other week. TypIcally you charge half what you would charge for private coaching. And I would recommend a group between like five and 10 people keeping in mind that one or two or three are always going to be absent for any given meeting. I don’t like to have too few people because you could end up with just one person in a session and that doesn’t do much for the group environment does it? Um, but anyway, I’ll put that link for you so that you can get the actual session outlines.

And for anybody who is listening to this in it’s podcast form, you can go to my facebook group, HealthCoachPowerCommunity.com. Look for episode 25 under the videos tab and you will find this link in the comments right there.

Okay, excellent. We have just two more minutes. So I’m going to do one more question. See what we got here.

I have one in front of me from Shannon. She says, “One of my clients lost 17 pounds in three months. She did almost everything right every week, steady weight loss. And then she went in for her blood test last week. She got good results on her, A1c but not for her cholesterol. She’s been eating clean and exercising regularly. So we were both surprised at her results. She’ll be giving me details of her cholesterol numbers, but her doctor prescribed meds to lower them. Has anyone had similar experience with any of your clients?”

Yeah. So this gets a little bit tricky, Shannon, because we never want to be giving medical advice to our clients, but if she’s a little iffy on taking the statins on whatever she’s been prescribed, I would support her in that and try to get her some resources where she can learn more about cholesterol levels. I mean it’s really a push and pull between big pharma and your doctor’s a training and then a more holistic approach. It’s kinda, it’s kinda hard to tell anybody it’s the wrong way because they’re scared, you know, if they’re taking a statin and you want to say don’t do that because they’re taking a statin because they’re terrified of what could happen to them. But I think there’s a lot of misinformation about cholesterol out there and doctors are told if total cholesterol is over 200 to prescribe a statin and, and that is a pretty low number for people to hit.

But of course because the more people they can prescribe statins to, the more money gets made by the pharmaceutical industry. So I guess my question would be what is her, what are her cholesterol numbers? How “high” quote unquote are they? Maybe they’re just a touch over what is considered the limit for her doctor, in which case I probably wouldn’t worry about it at all. If it’s way, way, way, way over. That’s important too. She could have a genetic disorder that creates high cholesterol in the body and maybe she’s somewhere in between, but this is not for you to diagnose. And the only thing that I would suggest for you is to look at the actual numbers with her and compile some resources, but she can refer to and make a decision about what to do next and to that. And I will put a video from my friend Diane Sanfilippo – some of you may know her. She’s the author of Practical Paleo and the 21 day sugar detox. She has a great video where she throws down about cholesterol and statins. I’m going to put that in the comments when we get off so that you can take a look at that. And maybe that could be one of the resources that you share with your client.

All right. We covered a lot of good stuff today. You guys, thank you so much for being here. I’ll be back next week, so your job is to keep asking great questions and I’ll be back answering them soon. Have a great one. Take care everyone.