#28: Why Some Health Coaches Make It “Bigger” Than Others

Have you ever wondered what some health coaches are doing to “make it big”? What’s their secret? In this episode I share:

– The common traits I’ve seen among the “big” successful health coaches
– Should you choose Wix, Squarespace or something else for your website?
– How to figure out an appropriate hourly rate based on where you live.
…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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Hey there health coaches, how are you guys doing today? Welcome to the health coach power community weekly q & a. mine name is Michelle Pfennighaus and first of all we have so many new members of this group that I just want to say hello to everybody and give you a little bit more of an introduction to who I am. I don’t always go through this with every episode, but with so many new members of our community, I have been a practicing health coach for 10 years and my website is find your balance health.com. And just so to give you a little background, I had a first career in advertising and somehow that combination of working in advertising and the big ad world, you know, like mad men style advertising combined with all those experiences as a health coach has positioned me to be very well suited to helping all of you health coaches out there who are trying to get your businesses off the ground and become profitable.

So anyway, that’s who I am. Thank you so much for joining me. And today we’re going to be talking about this idea that some health coaches simply make it bigger than others. So have you ever wondered why is that? Like, what is their secret? I’ve had the pleasure of knowing so many health coaches through the years. Truly I have met, um, the coaches that I went through school with. Obviously I look back and about 95 percent of them, they haven’t made it. What happened, what’s going on there? And then I’ve met coaches that through the years, through different events, friends of friends, so many health coaches out there who are succeeding, making a great living, doing amazing work in the world. So today I want to talk about what I know is true about those who succeed. If you’re here with me live by the way, and we are streaming at healthcoachpowercommunity.com.

Here’s what I want you to do. Go into the comment area and tell us what are you currently struggling with in your business? What do you think is keeping you from making it big? And while you do that, I’m going to let you know that this episode is brought to you by my free training for health coaches. It’s called how to turn your health coaching business into a fulltime salary and you can sign up for free at findyourbalancehealth.com/earn. This is where I break it down and show you how to actually map out your time and priorities that you’re bringing in the income that you want to be making. It’s free and it’s available at HealthCoachPower.com/earn.

So let’s get into today’s topic. What are people doing when they hit it big with their health coaching business? What’s the secret sauce?

And this question actually came from Margaret. So Margaret, if you’re here with me as we’re recording, say, hey, Margaret asked this question and I just thought it was a great one. She said, I find that some of us from IIN, which is the institute for Integrative Nutrition. Now, of course we have coaches in this group from all different schools, but anyway, Margaret says, I find that some of us from IIN just don’t seem to make it as big as others. Is it just in the advertising? So I wanted to first mention that regardless of what school we’re talking about or even what field we’re talking about coming out of any school, there’s always going to be a percentage that are really gonna make it. They’re just, they’re going to hit it big, right? Like it’s, is it luck? Is it skill? Is it, I don’t know what it is.

In every field, but I know that there’s always a percentage that make it and then there’s a percentage on the other end of the spectrum that won’t even try. You know, they’re just going to decide, this isn’t for me. I’m going to do something else. How many people do know how many of you went to school and got a degree? Like a bachelor’s degree in some subject, and you never, ever even got a job that had anything to do with your bachelor’s degree. Raise your hand if that’s the case. So funny, right? Like I went to school for art. Look at me now, nutrition, what happened? So there’s always people who are going to fall on each end of the spectrum. And then there’s a lot of people… most people are in the middle, people who are struggling to make it. People are still working.

So you kind of have to decide which one of those three groups are you going to be in. Alrighty. So here’s what I know about health coaches that make it from my personal experience, from coaches who I have actually spoken with, met in person that I know on an intimate basis. What I’ve noticed is that these coaches really know their strengths and their weaknesses and they get help when they need it. And this really surprised me because I’m kind of a do it yourselfer, you know, I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps and get any job done even if I have no clue what I’m doing. And I have learned from a lot of successful health coaches around me that you have got to reach out for help when you are in over your head, whether that’s with technology or it’s with copywriting or it’s with figuring out some other aspect of your business that’s just gone haywire or isn’t working.

And I want to share a story with you. So Umm Jen; Jen is a health coach that I have mentored through the years. Right. We’ve worked together. She has hired me to help her. Bing! What did I just say? Hiring when you need help. Right. So Jen is actually really successful, amazing health coach. And when we first started working together I was like a little bit confused because she was paying a designer, like a pretty high end designer to do all of her materials, uh, know her website, her pdfs that she was giving to her clients, everything. Even though she was telling me that she wanted to make more money and like part of me was like, Gosh, why are you paying this designer? Right? But even though she was doing that, it really taught me that she was a coach that was going to succeed because she knew her strengths and she knew her weaknesses and Jen did not have a head for sitting down and being super detail oriented and finding typos and doing layout like that was not her thing, and she ended up being able to focus so much more of her energy on creating her programs and creating her retreats, which are big money makers.

She ended up saying to me, you know what, for the first time ever, I actually have a decent amount of savings and I can pay the mortgage on my own each month. Meaning she wasn’t relying on her husband’s income anymore. She could pay the mortgage on her own. And she said, it is a really nice feeling. I’m like, yeah, no kidding. So Kudos to Jen for knowing her strengths and her weaknesses. Let me tell you a personal story. Some years ago I had been a health coach for a while, but I just noticed that my business had hit a plateau and I couldn’t really figure out what was going on and I finally hired a business coach, which I had never done before. I got my business off the ground. I was working with clients. I had something going right with no help from anybody. There’s so much that you can do for free.

You really can, but when I hit that plateau, I knew I finally needed some outside eyes on my business, so I hired a business coach and I paid like a couple thousand dollars, I want to say it was about $2,000 and that woman gave me some of the most valuable advice that I had ever received. And based on that advice, I have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pretty good investment. Right? So there was an example of me finally learning the lesson, finally reaching out for the help that I needed. And of course, since then I have invested much more in my business on different programs and different professionals. I’m just about to hire a project manager for the first time, which I’m super about. So anyway, this goes back to knowing where you need help.

Alrighty. Now here’s the other thing that health coaches all have in common: When they make it big, they are consistent and they are reliable. What do I mean by that? The health, and I’m thinking of certain people in my head right now, I’m not going to name them, not gonna, embarrass anybody by telling the inside story of anybody’s business except like my own. But you know, some of the more famous health coaches that you may know out there, they do the work day in and day out. If you send them an email, you know, as, as a peer or if you’re working with them, they get back to you. And I know they’re acting the same way with their clients. I know they are regularly communicating with their lists. They are regularly posting to social media. They’re on top of their game and they are consistent about it day in, day out, year in and year out. Um, I can think of one friend of mine, she’s very successful practice and she has always said she isn’t necessarily the smartest or the best at what she does, but she’s still in the game like many years later because she and I went to school about the same time 10 years ago.

She says she’s still in the game because of consistency. She just keeps showing up while others fall off and get distracted and don’t make their business a priority. So she is right now one of the best health coaches, most successful practices I know. And she credits it all to consistency. I’m going to tell you, give you a little case study about Rachel. Rachel is a health coach. She’s a mom of two just like me and she’s a member of my program healthy profit university, which is a course that I created as a practicing health coach for other soon to be successful practicing health coaches. Now a year ago, Rachel had 25 people on her mailing list. That’s it. Twenty five. And she was selling her services for like 100 bucks. That’s it. So to earn $500,000 a year, just as an example, salary, I hear a lot of health coaches saying, I would like to earn, Umm not $500,000, $50,000, $50,000 a year.

I added a zero in there. $50,000 a year, Umm Rachel would have to make over 500 sales. And she was selling a service for under $100 and that’s really hard to make that many sales when you only have a mailing list of 25 people. But her biggest problem in her own words, this is the one that she was most concerned about, was keeping her up at night, is that she was unfocused. She’s like, Michelle, I don’t know what to do with my marketing. What should I do first? What should I do second? What should I do every week? What should I do every month? It was just erratic. She didn’t really have a strategy and she didn’t have a target market. So the first thing Rachel did when she finally narrowed down on her target market so that she could become consistent going back to, she goes, she could become consistent speaking to that exact type of woman and then she got to work finding that type of woman and then she created some higher end packages.

So she was selling her services for more than $100 bucks. And within months she had increased her mailing list by 20 times, 20 times to our mailing list as she increased profits by 50 percent. By the way, you should check her out because Rachel is pretty amazing. She’s over at summitfit.com just in case you want to see what she’s up to. And Rachel did both of the things that I’ve been talking about. First she knew she was stuck, so she reached out for help when she joined us and healthy profit university second. Oh my goodness. This woman is so consistent. Every week she showed up to our Facebook group. Every week there was a new idea, a new question, something new. She was working on something she was trying in her business. She consistently showed up and I’m telling you, that is what wins the game, so shout out to Rachel, shout out to all of the health coaches who are showing up consistently and reaching out for help when you need it already.

We’re going to move on and again, tell me in the comments, what is holding you back? What is the big challenge for you in your business right now? I had somebody email me. Oh No, she Facebook messaged me today and she said, you know what? I’m always listening in the car to your health coach power community q and a podcast and I can never type in my questions because I’m listening while I’m driving. So, she had this whole list of questions and I said, you know what, just make sure to join us in the Facebook group and you can post those questions anytime. And that’s what I do for these recordings. I go into our Facebook group, I find some of the questions that I think are going to benefit the most people and then those are the ones that we talk about during our live session.

Okay, so here is something that came in from Monique. Monique said, I am not currently working with any clients so I don’t get to see any sort of pattern in the people I’m dealing with. I feel like my target market would likely be someone similar to me, a woman in her mid to late thirties or early to mid forties who have kind of just forgotten about themselves along the way of life, whether it’s due to a relationship with a significant other or spouse or the children or just simply putting yourself before putting others before yourself and I want to. They want to bring their lives and their health back into balance but may not know where to start. Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions? I feel like I am completely lost.

So Monique, I think you have more to go on here than you’re giving yourself credit for because you’re talking about a woman who is like yourself so you can use your own experience and dig a lot deeper without much work because you are her and you may also have friends.

You surely know other women like this, so even if you’re not currently working with any clients, and I do encourage you to get out there and start working with clients, even practice clients because you need the experience. You don’t have to be working with anyone as a client in order to just start seeing patterns in the type of people that you know, you could help the type of woman that you know, you could help get results for. And so in this case, I would ask you to think a little bit more specifically about who she is. So you’re kind of saying that she’s between 35 and 45. That’s fine. Where does she live? What kind of job does she have? How many kids does she have? Is she affiliated with any particular religion? Um, what groups does she belong to? Hobbies, where does she go on vacation?

Like really get to know who this woman is in specific detail or get to know yourself, but write it down, get more specific on paper and write down these attributes of what makes this woman different than another kind of woman. Is she the kind of woman who’s a jet setting around the world with her Louis Vuitton bags? You know, she’s got the whole set of luggage, all designer. Is she, that kind of woman? Is she a kind of woman who’s the first in her family to go to college. Nobody has ever gone to college before and she’s making it big out there on her own. You know, you want to describe who she is. There’s, there’s millions of different kinds of women. So you get specific about who you’re really talking to. And then I want you to also get more specific and think about what is the big result that you know you can help her with.

Maybe this is something that you’ve overcome in your own life. Monique, if we’re talking about you and in a way you’re your own client, you can be your own best client. What’s the result that you’ve noticed in your life? What is the tangible result or what is the thing that before you had the results you are most worried about needing to fix about your health? Was it a medication you were on that you wanted to get off? Was it a diagnosis that you wanted to see reversed? Was it weight that you needed to lose? What is the most tangible results that you can verbalize about this woman to be again, get more specific about who she is and what she needs, so those are my suggestions for you, Monique, and don’t throw in the towel just because you haven’t had any paying clients yet. That’s no excuse. You know people and you know yourself and you can use them as examples as well.

Alrighty, let’s see. I have a question here from Hannah. Hello Hannah. She says that her challenge is just knowing what to do first. I have so many things going on in my mind and so many experts I’m following that I don’t know where I should invest my time first. Distraction is leading to procrastination.

I hear ya. First of all, I would call down how many experts you’re following and if that needs to be me, please unsubscribe today. Also, if you guys are following other health coaches, I highly advise against that. It is so confusing. See what other people are doing, then you start comparing yourself and you get into that whole game. It is no fun and it will just send you spinning in a million different directions. It’s kinda like keep your eyes on your own paper. It helps so much and find those practitioners, those experts, those marketing folks, whomever who can help you, but as in anything, there’s going to be people with conflicting ideas.

So find the ones that resonate the most with you and just stick with, you know, maybe one to three of them don’t go too crazy. Otherwise you will just be spinning your wheels in a million different directions. Okay, so to answer your question, Hannah, I don’t know anything about your business, but number one, you need to know who, who you work with. Like Monique, she needs to figure out the WHO, who’s your target market. You need to know the what, what are you selling and the pricing around that and you need to know how you’re selling it. So what’s Your Business Model essentially? Are you going to be going into people’s homes and doing presentations and selling your services? Like, it’s Tupperware, I say that as a joke, but that really is one way that you can sell services. You could be holding webinars, maybe webinars is your one way that you sell your one product, to your one perfect target market.

Okay? So figure out the WHO, the what and how and um, I think that would be the first place to begin. And beyond that, of course, your mailing list, baby, if you don’t have a mailing list, you get nothing. Well you get something but you could have a lot more. So your mailing list would be something to focus on for sure.

Taylor saying, Oh, you guys have lots of great questions today. Love it. Taylor says having trouble sending out my monthly newsletter. Any ideas on how to get the momentum going for that?

Well, usually what I hear from coaches that they just don’t know what to write. And they also just don’t know what serves what purpose they’re serving by writing these emails. Like, so what? So I send a recipe. So who cares? How is that helping anything? So you need to just get clear that a weekly email to your list, the whole purpose is to nurture your audience.

You want them to be feeling like you are the smartest person or you’re the most helpful person they’ve ever come across when it comes to solving their problem, which is, and you need to know what that answer is. What does that one big problem that you’re helping them solve? Because then all the content that you send can be related even tangentially to solving that one big problem and that can call down your possibilities of what you might write about to a very specific list of topics. So if you’re just sending out any email about any health related topic under the sun, it could be like, oh, today we’re going to talk about garlic and how garlic has antibacterial properties. Oh, that’s wonderful. And talk about garlic and the next time you could be talking about meditation and you can kind of be all over the map, but if you know that you’re going to be helping your audience, let’s say lower high blood pressure, then all of a sudden you can narrow in and talk about topics specific to her or him and the type of person they are and this health issue that they’re trying to solve.

So Taylor, I would say get to know your target market better. Net really narrow in so that you know exactly what he or she needs to hear and make sure that you’re helping them in a small way with each one of your emails. Move towards solving their big problem. Every time they get an email from you, they should be like, wow, that was really helpful. Wow. That was so supportive, you know? Oh, I never would have found that resource if it wasn’t for Taylor. And that way when you do offer something for them to buy, you have that know, like, and trust factor as it’s called.

All right. I have a question here from Jane. Jane is asking a good question. Wix versus squarespace. Oh, the eternal question of which website platform we should be going with. She says, I am so incredibly frustrated. I’ve gone from wordpress to Wix and I’m still struggling. I’ve been looking at Squarespace. I just don’t have time to learn, nor the money to pay a designer at this point. So any suggestions our most appreciated?

Well Jane, I, as I mentioned earlier, it’s always smart to reach out and get help around the things that you know you just cannot figure out on your own and so this very well may be an area that you want to pay someone. I’m pretty tech savvy, but I will admit I have never built my own website. I have always hired someone to help me with website stuff because it can get rather complicated and it’s something that my time is just spent doing other things that I can’t sit there and spend hours and hours and hours on website stuff.

So you might consider paying someone, but at the same time, keep in mind that your website doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you don’t have a mailing list setup that you’re using regularly and you’re communicating to your list that way, I wouldn’t even worry about a whole website. You can absolutely have a thriving business without a website. Oh my goodness. How many times have you gone to see a therapist or a dentist or a doctor or an acupuncturist who has no website or they have the dinkiest little page and but they have an office full of clients. Right? Sometimes the more simple your website is, the better because it just shows that you’re spending your time on other things, so don’t worry about it too much Jane, and just on the topic of which platform to go with. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of WordPress.

I use wordpress for my website and I always have, but for those who are a little bit less tech savvy, I think that the interface for Squarespace and Wix, from what I’ve seen, are much more simple. So I like that you’re headed in that direction. And actually at the end of this month, I’m in August of 2018. If in case anybody’s listening to this later, we are going to be doing a training with Julie on how to use Squarespace and how to design your own website with Squarespace. She’s going to be actually walking us through the process so, um, make sure if you’re not already a member of healthcoachpowercommunity.com, head on over there and request to join the group and then you’ll see when we announced this training around Squarespace Jane, you might want to check that out so you can make a more informed decision about which platform you want to go with.

Alrighty. Let’s see. What other questions do we have here? Monique was listening earlier when we were talking about her target market and she said yes, I would say that I’m talking about myself. I’m actually working on figuring out what results I want for myself. All right, girlfriend, that’s your job. And Carl is saying that she loved them. Love squarespace. So much. So Carly is voting for Squarespace. There you go, Jane, and you get another vote on that one. Sharon says, I’m her biggest challenge is focus. I feel like I do my most focused work with deadlines in place. I try to manufacture some for myself and that helps, but if I know they’re soft deadlines, I lose focus. That’s such a great point, Sharon. This whole summer, my kids have been in different camps and moms out there, you know what I’m talking about. So the schedule is all different.

I got to leave at 3:00. I gotta leave at 4:00, you know, my days are cut shorter than usual and I find them much more productive when I actually have less hours to work. It’s so true. You know how um, a definition of a gas I’ll. Oh Gosh, I don’t really remember science class very well, but I think the definition of a gas with something like a substance that will expand to fill whatever container it’s in. And that’s how I feel about work. If I have eight hours to work, my same list of tasks will take a whole eight hours. But if I only have three hours to work, somehow I will power through those same tasks. So Sharon, I would suspect that you would do better by having less time to work, as counterintuitive as that may feel and just getting really specific about what do I need to complete the next time I sit down to work. Alrighty. I got about four more minutes. I’m going to take a few more questions. Such good ones today.

This is what came in from Kelsey and Kelsey said I’m setting up my business in Missouri, which is not a super wealthy state and have been trying to gauge what other health professionals charge in my area so that my hourly rate, my hourly rate, maybe something like $60 starting out. So $60 an hour. Not that I’m charging per hour, but my six month program would be $1500. Sometimes I feel like this is too low, but this is, I’m seeing in my area any thoughts?

So Kelsey, yeah. When I saw those numbers I did have a thought. I thought to myself, how does $60 an hour turned into a $1,500, six month program? So I just did the math real quick. So if you’re charging, you want to be charging around $60 an hour to be in line with other practitioners in your area, we’ll come back to that in a second.

Sixty Times 12 hours. Typically a six month program would have 12 sessions 2 per month. Um, you would have 60 times 12 is $720. So if you’re charging $1,500 and you’re actually charging $125 per hour. And I think that sounds pretty reasonable. Just the little that I know about you and the little that I know about Missouri. But, um, I just wanted to call out that math and make sure that we’re on the same page here. But let’s go back to that idea about comparing yourself to other practitioners in your area. Because I think I can talk a good game about how you should price according to what the result is worth. You should not price according to how much time you spent or how much effort or whatever work you’re putting in as the practitioner because you can often charge much more than you think.

But I also know that that can be really uncomfortable to say, here, I’m going to help you reverse your pre-diabetes diagnoses and it’s going to cost $30,000 even though that really is worth a lot of money. It really could be worth $30,000 to someone because what have pre-diabetes turned into diabetes with complications, they ended up losing their job or going on disability and they lose all this money in the process. Had they paid you $30,000 upfront, boom, none of that would have been happening and they would have much more money at the end of the day and their health. So you can think of it in terms of what is the result worth to the client. But anyway, that’s so scary when you’re starting out. I know, I remember. So what I think Kelsey has done, and what I often encourage coaches to do is look in your area, call a yoga studio, ask how much it would be to take a private lesson from one of their teachers, um, call and book a massage for an hour.

How much does that cost? Personal training, sometimes personal training sessions are only 30 minutes, but look into what an hour would be with a personal trainer one on one. And these are decent points of comparison because these practitioners have about the same training as a health coach. You wouldn’t want to compare yourself to what your doctor charges out of or the naturopath charges per hour if you’re paying out of pocket. Right? Um, so good place to start. Kelsey and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s $60 an hour even in Missouri, although I suppose it depends if you’re in a city or a country area. Alright, let’s do one more question. What do we have here? Carly’s saying I’m getting ready to do a program launch for a bootcamp and I’m going between focusing on sugar or bloating, getting a 50 slash 50 from my audience on what resonates the most. Oh, so you’re trying to figure out what problem you should be helping your, your audience solve. Is it focusing on getting sugar out of their diet? Is that the big thing that they’re worried about or are they most worried about bloating? So those are kind of different, right, because when you’re focusing on sugar, sugar is

the thing that they’re eating that then is causing a bunch of other problems. It could be causing low, low energy, could be causing acne, it could be causing whatever could be causing bloating, but then bloating is actual sensation in their body and I feel like that’s stronger because most people are going to be like, oh, these pants don’t fit. I’m bloated, or I don’t like how I look in his bathing suit. I look, I feel bloated, um, or I’m uncomfortable. I feel bloated. And I think fewer people that many times a day are saying to themselves, I eat too much sugar or sugar is a real problem for me. That’s my two cents. If I were you, I would go after the problem that they like the pain point that they are feeling the most intensely and use that as the hook to draw them in. Good luck with your bootcamp.

Okay, you guys, it is 3:30. I want to thank you so very much for joining me. I’ll be back next week. So in the meantime, head on over to health coach power community.com, and go ahead and enter your questions. We will answer them throughout the week. Sometimes I jump in there, everyone in the group jumps in and helps each other out and I’ll be picking some of those great questions to answer again next Tuesday. I will see you then. Take care.