So many of us come to health coaching as a personal vision. We’re passionate about cultivating our own well-being, and we find fulfillment in helping others improve their lives. As a result, coaching feels like a natural calling, an ideal fit. It’s often a labor of love—and, yet, it can also be a lucrative, versatile career. How we make money from our coaching business depends on numerous factors. How do we structure and schedule our interactions with clients? Who do we consider potential clients? (It doesn’t always need to be a one-on-one model.) What extra services and/or products do we offer as coaches? Do we partner with other organizations or providers to grow our client base? When we consider the nearly inexhaustible range of possibilities, it’s clear there’s room for every coach to develop his/her business as a unique and rewarding venture.
As you think about what directions to go in, take time to consider your personal style and interests. What platforms would you like to use to share your health knowledge? Do you enjoy working with groups as well as with individuals? Does your location or lifestyle support a primarily online or offline business? Are you a natural networker or event coordinator? All of these factors can help you home in on methods and services for building (or expanding) your coaching practice.
Let’s take a look some of the variables in health coaching businesses as well as other supplementary or distinctive offerings that can both tap into your gifts and support your clients’ success.
Long gone are the days when in-person sessions (or telephone conversations) were your only options for coaching clients. Fortunately, we’re no longer required to operate with the same limitations around schedules or even locations.
If you’re based in a remote location or your clients are (full-time or temporarily), you still have the very personal option of communicating with Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or other video chat services. With video of course, you not only have the rapport offered by virtual face-to-face communication, but you have the ability to visually demonstrate fitness techniques, cooking methods or other health strategies.
An online or otherwise remote coaching practice has benefits. It considerably expands the range for your potential client base, since locale won’t matter. It also likely reduces overhead, since you won’t require a meeting space or travel expenses.
Still, there’s power in meeting your clients in the flesh, and some coaches and clients would miss this opportunity if that happens to be their preference. In-person sessions can take place in the client’s home, your home, a business space you rent, a local park or other meeting area.
But don’t limit yourself to only one mode of communication. Optimize your business reach and your client service by offering a variety of options. Bundled packages can combine any of the following methods and can allow clients to choose the frequency and modes of communication they want to invest in.
- In-person Sessions
- Video Chat Sessions
- Phone Calls
- Live Chat Conversation
- Email Conversations or Check-Ins
- Text Check-Ins
Consider your price point for each mode of communication as well as a bundled package based on your time investment and other relevant costs.
The longer you’ve been coaching, the more likely it is that you have resources you’ve developed or customized for your clients. What started out as convenience for your coaching practice can turn into additional take-home dollars.
Even if you don’t feel you have anything ready to market, consider how some of your most developed advice, handouts or tools could become valuable resources to expand your bottom line. Plus, with the rise of digital informational products, you may not even need to invest much (if anything) in traditional publication, printing or production costs.
Consider your talents here, and don’t feel limited to educational resources. If you’re a great Primal cook, consider cashing in on those abilities by offering a line of primal snacks, prepared meals or personal chef services.
Here are a few projects and offerings health coaches routinely capitalize on to increase income.
- Nutrition, Fitness or Healthy Lifestyle Apps
- Nutrition, Fitness or General Health Journals (e-templates or print)
- Primal Meals and/or Meal Plans
- Customized Fitness Equipment
Education Opportunities and Memberships
Most health coaches develop a professional website and social media sites to advertise their services. Those with a penchant for marketing or education can put those interests to use for their coaching business.
Oftentimes, we think of content marketing as a way to promote services, draw potential clients in, and work them into a funnel in which they participate further, with the ultimate investment of one-on-one services. While you can gain coaching clients this way, you can even flip that picture and create “master” courses and webinars or premium forums for your existing clients. Facebook, for instance, offers a “private” group option that you can develop as a private forum for clients who desire a community feel within a closed social media space and are willing to pay a monthly fee.
Within your website itself, you can put up a variety of for-pay resources behind a firewall, including specialized courses, podcast series, and instructional videos.
Some coaches create a membership service for which a client pays a monthly flat fee for ongoing, fresh resources. These coaches may do a weekly podcast for these premium members as well as offer a monthly video class and/or a private Facebook Group.
Consider which of these might take advantage of your professional skills and pique your clients’ interests.
- Online “Master Courses”
- Periodic Webinars
- Membership Facebook Group or Forum
- Weekly Podcast Subscriptions
Beyond the traditional check-ins and program building with clients, we can offer specialized services either in individual or group settings.
For example, if we traditionally don’t visit clients’ homes, we can provide this option for specific premium-priced functions like pantry cleanouts. Likewise, we may offer services that help clients make choices for their transition to a healthy lifestyle such as accompanying them on a grocery store visit or a shopping expedition to furnish a new home gym. Our advice and support in those scenarios can mean a great deal to our clients’ experiences and give us an additional earning opportunity for our business.
Other options could include group fitness classes or activity “clubs” that provide a community for our clients and support our one-on-one sessions. Provided there’s a focus on community building, you can even use the power of Meetup to advertise your club and draw in additional members that way, some of whom may become individual clients later. Depending on the frequency of your activities, you can apply a monthly dues or use a pay-per-activity arrangement.
Here are just a few options that can qualify as special services and expand our client offerings.
- Run Club/Sprint Club
- Primal in the Park Sessions
- Primal Activity Club (A general club can offer the most flexibility if your or your clients’ interests vary.)
- Other Exercise Classes (indoor or outdoor)
- Grocery Shopping Visits
- Home Gym Shopping Consultations
- Pantry Cleanouts
- “Dinner Out” Nights
- Primal Tasting Events
- Group Cooking Instruction
Business Partnerships and Referrals
While many of us are drawn to the idea of being our own bosses, there are plenty of ways to maintain our professional autonomy while taking advantage of strategic alliances.
We may find a physician or other care provider who would like to have a specific, known individual he/she can refer clients to. Primary care providers and many specialists, for instance, can only offer so much time to each patient—even as they understand that most of these patients won’t follow up on their recommendations without ongoing support. To this end, many care providers may be open to a referral relationship. If they trust your professional approach and if they see their clients improve with your guidance, providers may be among your most valuable sources for connecting with new clients.
Beyond an individual referral line, however, there are countless other opportunities for allying with outside organizations, which can attract additional clients and create another revenue stream for your business. Consider offering educational programming through wellness centers, yoga studios, area schools, retirement communities, and community education.
Of course, it’s possible to work as an independent professional through many fitness and wellness centers, but don’t limit yourself to contracting with only these outfits. With the increased attention to employee wellness, many businesses invest time and money in health programming for their employees.
While larger companies might limit themselves to representatives from their corporate health insurance partner, smaller businesses have more flexibility and may be more likely to contract with independent coaches who they feel can offer their employees more creative and personal programming. Possibilities include offering talks or activities for employee retreats or organizing employee-centered competitions (e.g. steps challenges, etc.) or charity fitness events.
Here are some service options for independent contracting with other businesses and organizations.
- Care Provider Follow-Up Services
- Group Seminars
- Employee Wellness Programming and Events
- Business Retreat Activities
- Contracted Hours with Area Gyms, Spas or Wellness Centers
As you build your business, you’ll undoubtedly develop a sense of which areas interest you the most and which possibilities might be most lucrative for your coaching practice. Look to the support of other coaches and providers for networking, and take advantage of your clients’ feedback as you consider new avenues for your professional path.
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