When you’re just starting out as a health coach, you have so much knowledge. But there’s still so much you don’t know, and there’s a good chance you’ll make some mistakes along the way. That’s why I wanted to ask some of our more experienced Primal Health Coaches about the things they wish they’d known earlier on in their careers.

In today’s post, we’ll be sharing 19 insights from Primal Health Coaches about everything from staying true to your niche to getting out of your own way.

1. Take small, attainable steps.

When PHCI’s Director of Admissions, Laura R., was first starting out, she wishes she had set smaller, less daunting goals. At the time, there was no business guidance for health coaches, so she created what she calls a BAHG (Big Ass Hairy Goal) for herself, and bit off way more than she could chew. She says to take small steps often rather than big steps that take too long. Her words of advice? “Put one foot in front of the other and just keep progressing.”

2. Asking for help is okay.

You can’t possibly know everything right out of the gates, and that’s exactly what Rachel B. found out after graduating. She says, “I thought I knew what I was doing, but it turned out that I didn’t! I needed help from others, and I wish I’d known to seek that help out sooner.”

3. Be unapologetically you.

Ste L. once heard a business coach say “aim to divide with your views.” Meaning, if you haven’t pissed off half the room, then you haven’t done your job correctly. If you’re always diplomatic, you’ll be forgettable. He says, “You’re never going to resonate with everyone, and you should never want to. Be unapologetically you, even if it means being the bad guy sometimes. The further away you push some, the more others will be drawn in.”

4. You are (and know) enough.

A lot of coaches think they have to take course after course to feel like they have enough knowledge to help their clients. Mike B. says, “You’re enough—as you are. You’ve just got to get out there and coach.” He adds that if you’ve transformed your own health (which so many Primal Health Coaches have done), you’re already ahead of the game. “Things don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they probably won’t ever be.”

5. Share your own content.

Amy T. noticed that whenever she shared a Facebook post or article from another health coach, her audience passed it right by. She says, “Your audience trusts YOU. They want to hear YOUR thoughts and YOUR experience.” She adds that it’s your story that engages them, so be sure you know it, own it, and share it often.

6. Skip the technical jargon.

As a new graduate, your brain is likely overloaded with scientific studies and clinical-sounding terminology. But your clients don’t necessarily want or need to hear it. Our own Product Manager here at Primal Health Coach Institute, Erin P., says that less is more. “Clients don’t actually care about the granularities of biochemistry or evolutionary biology.” Mike agrees 100%. He spent a long time thinking that clients had to hear every piece of Primal wisdom he knew in the very first session. Spoiler alert: they don’t.

7. Socializing a new point of view can be hard.

Amy assumed people would embrace her POV the same way she did, but she discovered that people are so influenced by mainstream advice about health, nutrition, and exercise that they can have a hard time accepting new ideas. Plus, who wants to hear that what they know and believe is wrong? She realized that shifting the paradigm is more difficult than she anticipated, but with patience and persistence, it pays off.

8. Get involved.

Michael R. says that being active in social media communities that focused on primal and Keto lifestyles was key to starting his health coaching practice. In fact, he now manages some of these pages, including the Primal Health Coach Students and Grads Facebook page. His advice for new health coaches is to find your community and give—give away your knowledge and your time. He tells us, “The more time I’ve spent inside a community or Facebook group helping others for free, the more it drives my business. People want someone they feel comfortable with and can trust.”

9. Create your ideal avatar early on.

Narrowing your focus (who you work with and what challenges they face) is something that Bill J. found was key to gaining real brand loyalty when he started his business. Not only does it eliminate the stress of trying to serve everyone, it filters out people who might be non be a good fit for you as a client. And Erin wholeheartedly agrees. She says, “My niche is working with professional women in their 40s and early 50s who have lost touch with how to feed themselves to achieve the energy, the body composition, and the vitality that came so easily to them in their 20s. Because I was that exact person, I knew I was absolutely in a position of authority to address their pain points.”

10. Walk the talk.

“Passion is great, but not if it isn’t genuine and credible,” says Amy. That’s why she shares pictures of the meals and recipes she cooks for her family. She also shares her workouts, her personal health struggles and successes, and the good, bad, and ugly about trying to live primally in a busy family of five. She adds that “The most influential people in my life have always operated with honesty and transparency, so that’s what I am striving for.”

11. Charge your clients.

Charging clients is also important, especially in the beginning.  A lot of people told Mike to see as many clients as he could for free until he got testimonials. He warns, “I can assure you that if you don’t charge clients at least something, they won’t take it seriously, and you’ll lose heart and begin to dislike coaching before you even begin.”  He says to try charging a discounted, introductory offer that, if they complete to the best of their ability, they earn a certain amount of their investment back. This helps both the coach and the client to enjoy the process more.

12. Think like a business owner.

You may be tempted to put your health coaching hat on first, but Laura says you if you want to be successful, you have to be a business owner first. That means not being afraid to charge what you’re worth, and if someone doesn’t value that, then just move on. She adds, “If you can’t afford to stay in business, you won’t be able to help anyone anyway.” And if you don’t understand the business side of things, read a book, take a class or get a comprehensive health coaching education like the one we offer here at the Primal Health Coach Institute.

13. Take advantage of automation.

When Erin first launched her business, she did everything from scheduling to taking payments manually. Today, there are so many automated tools to make your life easier. Erin suggests using Acuity with Square or Stripe to get clients booked and paid out automatically, and building your intake and follow-up forms using mobile-friendly resources like Google Forms.

14. Hire a business coach.

Rachel says that hiring a business coach for her health coaching practice was a game-changer for her. Learning from others who have been there is key. Our own Master Coach Christine Hassler has the same mindset. She says everyone should have a coach, even health coaches.

15. Immerse yourself in your niche.

“Be a product of your product: listen to the podcasts, read the books, study the course materials again and again.” Bill believes that being able to repeat what you’ve read is one thing, but if you really know and understand your niche and live it every day, it’s easy to teach so that it resonates with your audience.

16. How you talk is important.

Michael says that when he first opened his practice, he was, in his words, “very direct and informative.” He began to realize that everyone has their own struggles, and sometimes your clients need empathy and understanding, not just the facts.

17. Be loud and proud about what you do.

One of the best pieces of advice Rachel got was to never stop talking about the program she was offering. She says, “We think we’re annoying people, but we aren’t! If you want people to know what you offer, you have to tell them without feeling shy or shameful about it—otherwise, how will they know?”

18. Know your audience.

Amy discovered there was a high degree of interest in kids’ nutrition, so she posted a series of videos about feeding picky eaters and introducing quality foods to them in fun and engaging ways. She also posts pictures of her children’s packed school lunches, arranges “primal play dates” at the park for parents and kids, and works with local schools to provide primal-based education and resources to teachers and staff. She says, “I’m always brainstorming ways to expand my circle of influence and get this primal message to my audience.”

19. Just start.

Ste says that the only regret he has is that he didn’t get on the path to health coaching years ago. He says, “Stop procrastinating and holding off until everything is perfect. It will never be perfect, so just do it. Dive in at the deep end and learn to swing. Put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and speak up. It will all work out…people need you to help them. There are literally millions of people you can help and waiting helps no one. So whether it’s trying to figure out your name or brand, waiting for the website to go live, holding out until your confident enough…stop it. Stop stalling. Just start. Just show up. Every day. The rest will fall into place.”

Advice to Live By

Take it from our seasoned Primal Health Coaches—every experience is a chance to learn something new. So whether you’re just getting started in your health coaching career or you’ve been in business for a while, there’s always room to grow.

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