#26: The 3-Step Business Plan

Has anyone ever told you that you need a business plan? The idea can be terrifying but in this episode, Michelle shares:

– 3 simple steps to a business plan appropriate for health coaches.
– How to work intuitively with clients.
– How to arrange a partnership and split revenue with a gym or yoga studio.
…and much more!

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

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Hello there, health coaches. Welcome to the Health Coach Power Community q and a. my name is Michelle Pfennighaus. Thanks so much for joining me.

Has anyone ever told you that you should have a business plan? Those words absolutely horrified me, horrified me in the early years of my business. I mean, I would just plug my ears with my fingers. I don’t want to hear it if anybody mentioned business plan because I didn’t really know what it meant and it also felt entirely too complicated for what was a teeny, teeny, tiny health coaching business. I was like, really? Doesn’t that seem like overkill? However, there is a reason that business plans exist, namely so that you aren’t running around like a chicken with your head cut off, trying somehow some way to earn some money. So today I’m going to be sharing with you a very, very simple way of thinking about your business plan in just three steps.

Now, if you’re here with me live, what I want you to do is head on over into the comment section and tell me when I say the words “business plan” do you cringe? What comes to mind, how do you feel when you hear those words, and also I’d love to hear any other questions that you have for me, so if you want to talk about what’s going on in your health coaching business, where you’re getting stuck today or celebrate some wins, go ahead and leave those in the comments as well. I’ll try to work them into today’s episode.

By the way, this episode is brought to you by my free training. Do you guys know that I have a free training for you? It’s called Turn Your Health Coaching Business Into a Full Time Salary and you can sign up for zero dollars at findyourbalancehealth.com/earn. Earn, because that’s what I think at the end of the day, we all would like to be doing a little bit more with our health coaching business.

Okay, so let’s get into our first question which came from Sophie and Sophie said, “I was recently told you need to create a business plan. This is not something I have invested time in, nor do I know where to start. I was curious if others have done this, have you found it helpful and do you know have a good resource or template for one?”

Well Sophie, I thought that was really interesting question to go looking for a template. So I did. Maybe you’ve done this as well, but I googled business plan template and I was reminded why 10 years ago when I started my health coaching business, I refused to do this exercise. I refused to even think about a business plan because here’s what the template that I’ve found online included. It said that I needed to have an executive summary, a company description, my products and services, my marketing plan, my operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan and dependencies. I don’t even know what would go in the appendices. I mean I don’t even know will go into half of those things now. So I mean maybe some of you out there have your MBA. I do not. Maybe it does mean something to you. It mostly still means nothing to me and I think it is way over the head of someone who is starting a one person operation of a health coaching practice.

So are you interested in hearing what I have to say about creating a business plan that actually is helpful? Because really through the years, I don’t know, I’ve never really been like, God, I really wish I had an operational plan. If only I had my operational plan, things would be going more smoothly. No, that’s just not necessary in my opinion, for a business of this scale. So instead there are three questions that you need to be able to answer and while this very simple three step process or three steps to a business plan, don’t confuse that with it being necessarily easy. It is not necessarily easy to come up with the answers to these questions. You’re going to have to put some work against it and you may have to figure it out over time. Give yourself some experience working with clients. Get out there, hold your first workshop, you know, do the work and these answers to these three questions can evolve over time, but I promise you at the end of the day, if you don’t know the answers to these three questions, you will be running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Jimmy is saying “Cringe. Yes, I feel like a business plan locks something in stone.” He says, “I tend to be firm when it comes to my plans and it jars me when I have to deviate from them. I like to go with the flow and move things around if need be.” Yeah, Jimmy, I agree with you. It’s tough to run a business, which on one hand you need to be kind of objective about what am I doing, how am I going to earn money? And then health coaching actually is fairly subjective. Working with our clients is really about working with our heart. So it’s that balance between the mind and the heart or the soul that makes a really beautiful health coaching business. So here’s the three questions.

Number one, what do you sell?

Anyone? Anyone? Now for most of us, the answer’s going to be one on one health coaching private sessions, right? So if that’s your answer, that’s great, but you’re going to have to know the specifics around that. What does your package look like or what do they look like? How long are they, what do they include, and what are the prices? If you’re not doing one on one coaching, then what program are you selling? What product are you selling? And I’m going to give you a little aside here. The more things you are selling, the harder it is to run your business. Boom. It’s just more plates spinning when you’re trying to sell a lot of different things. So I advise you to choose one main thing that you’re selling with your business. What do you sell? Okay, next question.

Who do you sell it to?

And this really raises the question of your target market. Who is the perfect person to buy the thing that you are selling? And you’d want these two answers to go hand in hand. So for example, I just got off the phone. I was doing a one on one call with one of my Healthy Profit University students and we were talking about the target market of menopausal women who want to lose the menopause belly and we talked about should a package for that woman be six months long or should it be 10 sessions or should it be six weeks or should it be 21 days? You know how, what is the most attractive package for that woman and so that is a great example of somebody who have you told her, okay, you have this menopause belly you want to get rid of. Here’s my six week program. She would like that a lot more than if you said, here’s my six month program because then she’s thinking, oh my God, six months to get rid of this belly. That sounds horrible. Nobody wants to be told it’s going to take that long, so if you can deliver results in six weeks, by all means, make it a six week program. That just works with the problem that you are solving and with the mindset of your target market.

Now on the other hand, I’ve had clients who come to me like scarred from a lifetime of diets and dieting and weight watchers and Jenny Craig and the cabbage soup diet and all the rest, and if I told them that I was going to fix their problem for them in 21 days or four weeks or six weeks, they would go, no thanks. Been there, done that. I don’t need another quick fix. I know that I need long term support. I know that I can do anything for a couple of weeks, but then it doesn’t work long term. So for them it’s actually more attractive if I offered a six month package or even a year package because then they’re thinking, yes, this is what I’ve been missing. So long term support. So anyway, that is just to say that what you sell and who you sell it to should really be thought out. Those two things really need to go hand in hand.

And then finally, the last part of your business plan, and I think this might be the hardest part, but you let me know…

The question, how do you sell it? So, what do you sell? Who do you sell it to? How do you sell it?

Example. Let’s say you do Tupperware, you know, I don’t even know if people still sell Tupperware, but you know, the old school tupperware parties.

How did a woman sell tupperware? Well, she had a party with a friend right at the friends house. She’d go over there, they do a in-person gathering where she’d show off the tupperware and sell the tupperware during that event. So it was very event focused, the house party routine. How about financial planning? Do any of you guys have a financial planner? I do. How does he make money? How does he sell the mutual funds and whatever that stuff is that he sells me. How does he sell it to me? He comes over, he sits at my kitchen table across from me. I sign some papers. That’s how, I mean, presumably he gets a cut of anything that I buy. And that’s how he does his selling. I’m not a person who’s going to like go on fidelity.com and do my own investing or whatever people do. That’s just not me. So his target market is people like me who really needs handholding. He’s going to come in person, sit in their kitchen and that’s how he sells.

So let’s bring it back to health coaching. How do you sell health coaching? Are you going to hold live events in person where you show up, you speak kind of like a woman’s selling Tupperware, right? But you’re not selling Tupperware, at the end of the day, you’re helping everyone understand the health problems that they have. You’re showing them your value and at the end you’re going to sell your services. Great. That could be how you sell it. It could be webinars, it could be that you are going to be hosting parties in people’s homes. I mean, sure, that could be the way that you sell health coaching, but I think the most important thing to do is decide on a way a method of selling your services or your products and stick with it.

Don’t try to do everything. Don’t try to do a webinar this week and then a workshop next week, and then you’re going to do a five day challenge and then you’re going to do this other thing and then you’re going to send out a bunch of emails because it’s so much work to try to do lots of different things. If you’re going to do webinars, awesome. Hold the webinar and then hold it again. Make it better and hold it again. Keep getting that webinar in front of new people and perfect it. Then you will know, this is how I sell my stuff through webinars, for example.

So those are the three questions I know, like I said, they’re not always easy to answer, but it’s very simple formula. What do you sell? Who Do you sell it to and how do you sell it? Alright, when you know the answers to all those three things, put them in the comments I want to see, and even if you don’t have all the answers, I’d love to hear where you’re at with all of that. Okay. Let’s move on to another question that we have here.

This comes from Cynthia. Cynthia says, I am bringing health coaching to a gym I currently work at. I’m thinking to offer one on one and group coaching plus hosting seminars and workshops. When it comes to getting paid, is it best to get paid hourly for my service or to take a percentage for my paid programs like 40 percent. And would it be best to do programs for clients or a la carte pay by the hour clients? It’s a gym. They’re already paying for a membership so I don’t know what would be best.

Alright. So Cynthia, I just wanted to let you know some of what I’ve noticed in the industry in terms of a split, um, when you’re splitting a profit with a gym or with a yoga studio, presumably they are helping you advertise, they are promoting your whatever it is, your workshop, your seminars, your programs to their existing clientele and in that way they’re doing you a huge service. They have access to all these members at their gym and then they are promoting you to those people. So it’s not unusual for a split to look something like 70/30 where the gym or the yoga studio would get 30 percent and you would get 70 percent or even 60/40, which I know is what you mentioned here, like 40 percent. That would not be entirely unusual if they are providing the clients to you. Okay. Now, if that’s not the case, if they’re expecting you to find outside clients and bring them to the gym, new people are coming in the door, the gym is getting exposed to a whole new audience that you are bringing in. Then I can see that split being a whole heck of a lot less if they’re not going to be emailing their list about you, if they’re not going to be posting to their social media accounts about you and hanging flyers and promoting your events throughout the gym.

The split would be a lot less so you have to come to an agreement with them as to how much of the promotion they’re going to be taking on versus how much of the promotion you are going to be taking on and then the percentage would really fall out of that. But a typical split back when I was teaching yoga, if I was going to go do a workshop at a studio, again, they are providing the clientele would be 70/30 or 60/40. Now the other thing that I wanted to recommend is that you create a test arrangement and then plan to revisit it in a couple of months or a couple of weeks or whatever makes the most sense for the arrangement. Right? So if you put this all down on paper that you’re going to take this percent and they’re going to take that percent and they are going to send out these emails, you know, go through that one time and see what happens.

Maybe they’re not sending out the emails like they promised and therefore people are not signing up or maybe they’re doing a bang up job and you didn’t have to do anything. You know, I’d really kind of test the waters with like an initial plan and agree with them that we’re going to come back to the table in four weeks or in two months or whatever and we’re going to revisit this to make sure that it’s a win win for everybody. I think that’s going to put them at ease. I also think it’s going to put you at ease and it will build in a time to review what’s going well and what’s not going so well and where you might need to renegotiate your contract. So I hope that is helpful for you. Cynthia.

Let’s see. I have a question over here from Kelsey. Kelsey said, “How do you match what you sell with who you’re trying to sell to?”

Oh, that’s a really good question. I’m glad you asked that Kelsey. So let’s do an example. Let’s say, or if you have an example Kelsey, go ahead and let me know. But like let’s say that your target market, um, are moms.

If your target market were moms, I’m going to get real specific with this. You might sell to your moms via webinar held in the evenings because once the kids are in bed is when moms have time to do anything and maybe at 9:00 PM they would turn on your webinar while they’re washing dishes or packing lunches. Okay. This is sounding a little bit too much like my own life right now! But 9:00 PM would work really well for them. They can’t leave the house. The kids are in bed, but they could listen to what you have to say online. However, webinars held at 2:00 PM would never work for your mom target market because moms either have a baby who is napping at 2:00 PM or they have kids that are getting off the school bus right around then or that they have to go pick up right around 2:00 in the afternoon, so that is one way of thinking about how you’d want to match your how with your who.

Now of course that was the example of webinars held at two times, but you can bring that same line of reasoning to any method of selling. If you were going to be selling at the end of doing workshops and then selling your coaching program to those who attended your workshop. Same thing — are your moms going to be able to attend these workshops or whatever your target market is. Are they going to be available and willing to travel and able to get to these workshops in order for you to pitch them your services. So I would just think through this person’s life and figure out what’s the best thing way to reach them. Okay. Hope that’s helpful. I have another question here. If you. Anyone watching live wants to put a question into the comments, please feel free to, but I’m going to take one here from Katy.

Katy said she’s got a new client and it’s not her normal target market, so she would love some advice on where to start. He’s a 36 old male. He’s going through a divorce. He lost 30 pounds, wants to be healthier, gained some weight back. He has two little ones and a family history of depression and heart issues.

So Katie, I think you were starting to get some answers like you know, heal his gut or feed him more healthy fats or you know, these kinds of very tactical things that you might do with your client. But I wanted to just invite you to everybody to step back a little bit. It’s not always about what supplement our client needs or exactly what nutrients are missing. Sometimes you really have to just use your intuition and feel for where this person needs support.

Like I had a call today with the client and even though we were talking about the main subject of the call, I could just tell that she was really down on herself. Right, and we could’ve kept talking about what she should do, what she needed to do and the all the action items and da da da da. But I had to hit pause and say, Hey, this is what I’m hearing from you today. Let’s talk more about that. Or what else is going on there? You want to open the door for conversation with what you are sensing your client is sometimes telling you between the lines. Right? So I’m guessing that for this guy, of course, I don’t know him and I’ve never had a conversation with him, but one thing that could be really important is that he is feeding himself food. That not only is quote unquote healthy but is familiar, brings him comfort, brings him joy.

You know, this might be a really great time to talk about the lemon chicken recipe that his mother always made when he was growing up, but his ex wife was a vegetarian and never would make it, you know, something like that. That could be a really healing dish for him to learn to make for himself regardless of whether it has gluten or dairy or whatever. You know what I’m saying? Um, maybe movement would be really important for him. Maybe he’s feeling stuck. Maybe you see that he’s very stagnant, some sort of movement. You might bring that up as a question, how does movement fit into your life right now? How would you like it to? And I’m also thinking that for somebody who’s going through a divorce and clearly has lost all this weight, he’s probably having a hard time with it. And something that involves human touch might be incredibly healing for him at this point.

Again, you don’t have to suggest all these things. I’m also not suggesting that you are the one to provide human touch, but like, he might go get a massage. That would be something that he might be able to do for himself at this point that would make so much more sense then to start doing a food journal and tracking all of his calories. You see where I’m going with this, right, so use your intuition about what you’re hearing from a person and there might be small suggestions or there might be ways that you can turn the conversation to address these issues, but ultimately the place to start with this guy is where he wants to start, so he might hate the idea of getting a massage. That would not be the place to start if that were his mindset, but maybe he’s very, very committed to going vegan or whatever floats his boat right now is kind of the best place to start. Whatever’s going to make him feel happy, whatever is going to light him up.

Sometimes, the first step that my clients take is learning how to make chocolate — healthier chocolate treats and I give them the most decadent real food chocolate recipes I’ve got because that lights them up. That gets them excited about all this stuff that makes them feel like, yeah, this is something I can do and I’m not ultimately fighting with every fiber of my being. That’s where you want to start, so use your intuition and go with the tide. Okay. Let’s see what we’ve got here.

Lisa is saying, “This ideal client stuff is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

I know it doesn’t seem like it should be that hard, like it’s not rocket science, but it really can be so challenging. Little secret. I’ll let you in on. If you keep your eyes open and your ears open in August we’ll be doing a special event around target markets, so just everybody keep your eyes open for that.

Jimmy is asking, what do you recommend for professional email providers to use for your business both free or paid?

Oh, that’s an easy one, Jimmy. Oh boy. There was just some big thunder outside. I don’t know if you guys could hear that. I hope my power doesn’t go out. Anyway, easy question for email providers. I recommend one of two things. First is Mailchimp because that’s what probably 90 percent of you are using and there are so many resources out there like if you need to know how to do something on Mailchimp, but you can just google it and there’s going to be a youtube video that explains how to do it, which is awesome. Also, Mailchimp is free up to 2000 people on your list. That’s also awesome. They’ve recently introduced some new features which has upped their game, I’m not gonna lie. So mailchimp is like almost industry standard for health coaches who are just getting started out now.

The other one that I recommend is especially good if you know that you want to have an online business that you know at some point or in the very near future, you want to be working with clients around the globe. You want a real online presence and you’re going to be doing webinars and you’re going to be, you know, sending out fancy email funnels and all the rest Mailchimp’s a little bit harder to use for that sort of thing. And the, the more complicated online business gets, the more functionality you need. So for that, um, I usually recommend ConvertKit. ConvertKit has a lot more of those features and their customer service is awesome. In fact, when we get off this recording, I’ll post the link that we did. Um, a video. We did a little webinar or video with convert kit awhile back. You can check it out. That’ll kind of give you a rundown of the platform to see if that’s of interest to you. Good question. Oh boy. We’re running out of time. You guys. Let’s see. I got another email question. So we’ll do that one because it kind of goes hand in hand with what Jimmy was asking.

This one’s from Esther. Esther said, “I’m about to launch my first email challenge and they need advice on what physical address to include in the email.” You guys know what she’s talking about, right? Like at the bottom of the email, there’s an address. She says, “I don’t have a P.O. address or a separate office address to list and I don’t feel comfortable including my home address. What are the other options?” And then she said a little bit later down in that thread mine, her email’s always bounced and I’m thinking it’s because – she thinks it’s because she’s using a yahoo or Gmail address.

Okay, so two things, Esther, both about your addresses. Number one, the address, the physical address that you listed at the bottom of your email. I’m just saying, but nobody ever checks if it’s really yours. Wink. Same thing goes for a P.O. box. I’ve never had anybody try to send me something and say, Oh hey, this got returned, so just fill it in and move on. But as for your other address, this one’s very important. Your email address, yes, you will be bouncing. You will be marked as spam. You will not get great deliverability if you’re using a gmail or yahoo account. So if you’re using mailchimp, for example, I know that they throw warnings up like crazy if you try to use a gmail address as your ‘from’ address, you really need to get an email address for your business that uses your url.

You don’t even have to have a website built, all you have to do is buy a url, get an email package to go with it. It costs something like $3 a month or $5 a month or whatever it is. Super cheap and then like my email address is Michelle@findyourbalancehealth.com. You would want yours to be Esther at blahblahblah.com and then you will not have that problem anymore. Okay. Do we have time for another question? I think we do. Oh, this is a really good one. Okay.

So Asia said “I’m a big lover of making healthy juices, you know, the celery, cucumber, spinach, Kale, etc. type. And I’ve had several people want them and asking about them, so now they want to purchase them from me. So I’m totally intrigued to try this as another source of income. Plus I just enjoy making juice. My question is what is the proper legal or a reliable thing to do to make it okay to sell from home? Do I need a disclaimer? Some sort of license. Any guidance would be appreciated.”

So the short answer is yeah, you need that stuff. I don’t know all the specifics because I have never gone this route myself, but I do know two things to prepare food, you need to be in a certain certified kitchen. Somebody else might know the exact term for this, but you need your kitchen to be quote unquote certified and a home kitchen is very difficult to do that. And so most people will actually rent kitchen space somewhere if they’re going to be creating food that they’re going to sell. So I know when I did, um, I, my very first year of business, I had this table at a farmer’s market and I thought that I would bring food to give out as samples or maybe…yeah, I think I just want it to do samples. And even that they were like, no, no, no, you can’t bring food that you made from home. You know, it all has to be on the up and up. So I thought, Oh man, that’s a real bummer. So you’re going to have that problem with any food that you’re trying to prepare and give to people. Right. Because you don’t know what people are doing in their kitchen. It can be dirty. There could be a mice droppings. I’m sure there’s no mice droppings in your kitchen, but this is the kind of thing that they’re worried about. So that’s number one. The second thing is with juice in particular, there are all kinds of rules around juice. So to sell raw juice that’s not pasteurized, oh my goodness, anything that’s not pasteurized in this country, good God.

So you’re going to run into some red tape around selling an unpasteurized juice product and I’m not sure if you would have that same problem regardless of where you make it but you’re really gonna want to look into that, but here’s what I really wanted to just put out there for you. Yes, you can make food for people. Yes, you can make juice for people. That’s a lot of your time, right? You have to shop for the ingredients, get wash them and chop them and make the stuff and deliver it or whatever. Stuff can go bad on you. You lose inventory. There’s all kinds of costs involved or you can take an approach where you are teaching people how to juice themselves, right? So you could even sign up to be an affiliate for a company that sells a juicer. So maybe you’re even recommending a juicer and you’re getting a cut of that sale, and then you could either sell a recipe books.

For example, you could sell an online course. You could sell a five day juice cleanse. I mean you can package it up any number of ways, but at the end of the day you could be selling some sort of intellectual property product, you know, whether it could be a pdf or something digital or I guess it could be an actual published book, but basically where you’re showing people how to do it themselves and in that way you do the work one time to create resource or that program or that cleanse and then you can sell it and sell it and sell it again and again and again. And you never have to wash any vegetables. So I just wanted to put that out there for you as a possible alternative. Especially if you find that there’s too much red tape involved with selling your own fresh juices.

Alrighty you guys. It is 3:30. Thank you so much for being here with me. Keep asking great questions and I will be back next Tuesday. Oh, but I’m going to be on vacation, so maybe the Tuesday after that to answer them. Have a great one everyone. I’ll talk to you soon.