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7 Steps to Starting a Successful Health Coaching Business

by: Sarah Appleby
Published: May 12, 2017
Updated: September 14, 2023

Having a vision and a desire to succeed is hugely important to the success of your health coaching business. However, sometimes it just isn’t enough.

If we take a look at the statistics, you can see that around 50% of small businesses fail in the first four years.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. With careful planning, clever marketing, and guidance from someone who’s been there before, you can increase the likelihood that your business will be a success.

Whether you chose to coach online, from home or run group sessions, here are seven tips to give your health coaching business the very best chance to succeed.

Step 1: Turn Your Vision Into a Business Plan

The best way to turn your vision into a successful business is to write a business plan. A 2010 survey showed that writing a business plan doubles the likelihood of your business making profits and securing external funding.

So what is a business plan?

A business plan can be as simple or complex as you make it. When you break it down a business plan is a map that details how to turn your goals into actionable items and ultimately, business success.

It will comprise of short and long term goals, marketing strategies, sales targets, expense budgets, yearly milestones and revenue projections.

The U.S. Small Business Administration website is a useful resource with plenty of information on what to include in your business plan, and they also have a handy business planning tool to help you build your very own business plan.

There are so many reasons why you should write a business plan and here are our top three:

  1. A business plan will keep you on track. For example, a business plan will help you predict when it’s safe to invest into your business as well as help you identify potential obstacles and when they may arise.
  2. If you’re looking for a start up loan, then a business plan is a must. A start up loan may give your business the financial push it needs to get started, and having a business plan is a must if you wish to seek funding from a bank or another financial institution.
  3. Know your competition. Market research is an essential part of writing a business plan, and sussing out what your competitors are doing will help you define your niche within the market.

Step 2: Understanding Your Legal Responsibilities

One of the most important aspects of running your own heath coaching business is getting your head around your legal responsibilities, and here are are four tips to help you stay on top of it all.

1. Identify Your Scope of Practice

Legislation regarding nutrition advice differs for each state and country (if you live outside of the U.S.).

Identify your scope of practice as a health coach and/or any other credentials you may hold, so you know precisely what you can and can’t say from a legal perspective.

2. Get a Lawyer

Investing in a lawyer while your business is still in its infancy is a very smart idea. While the initial outlay can be pricey, a lawyer will be able to make sure your client contracts, terms and conditions and any marketing material (blogs or group emails) are all within your scope of practice as a health coach, within your local jurisdiction.

3. Trademark Your Business Name

Coming up with a catchy health coaching business name that embodies your business ethos takes time and effort, so it’s important to protect it.

How do you do that? By getting it trademarked.

The USPTO website has loads of information, tools and links to help you start the process. Here, you can search for existing trademarked names as well as apply for your own trademark.

4. Get Insurance

In the unfortunate event of a lawsuit, professional liability insurance will protect you and your health coaching business. Here are three insurers to consider:

  1. Philadelphia Insurance Company
  2. American Council of Health Care Professionals
  3. The International Coaching Federation

Step 3: Develop Your Marketing Strategy

Effective marketing is essential to developing leads and converting them into new clients.

Here are three clever marketing tips to help you get started.

1. Discover Your Secret Sauce

When planning your marking strategy the first step is to identify your secret sauce, or in other words, what makes you different from other health and wellness services.

Maybe you’re a mother and you tie that experience into your health coaching practice, maybe you work in the fitness industry, or maybe your own health journey has seen you shed masses of body fat and reverse your metabolic syndrome. Whatever it is that makes you unique will be your selling point and will help you stand out to your ideal client.

2. Identify Your Ideal Client

When you’re just starting out, you may feel that it’s best to market your services to anyone and everyone. Contrary to this belief, a more targeted marketing strategy will actually bring in more clients.

To identify your niche market you need to work out who your ideal client would be. To determine this, consider who you would be most passionate about coaching. The over 50s? Post natal women? The morbidly obese? Elite athletes?

Providing a unique service that only a particular sub-set of the population will be interested in will set you apart amongst the other health and wellness services in your area or online, and will attract the type of client you would like to work with.

For example, if you’re passionate about coaching women, then your marketing strategy will reflect this, from the language you use in your blog posts, to the color schemes you use on your website and your logo design. Your marketing may (or may not) appeal to men or some other group, but that’s okay, as they are not your target clients.

3. Build Your Business Brand

Now that you have discovered your secret sauce and your ideal client it’s time to develop your business brand. Your business brand will go to the very core of your business and will reflect what your business is about and who you are as a person.

Sharing your personal story is an effective marketing strategy to convey your business brand.

Your personal story will be the basis of your business brand and it is important that it reflects the qualities that you want to attract in your clients.

Once you bring together these three marketing tips, you’re on your way to developing an effective, targeted marketing strategy.

Step 4: Grow Your Online Presence

In order to attract clients, you need to build a reputation and some credibility. One common way of doing this is by putting together free content online in the form of a blog, YouTube channel, and social media posts.

Growing your online presence is very much linked to developing your marketing strategy; one doesn’t really work without the other.

Here are two strategies you can implement to develop your online presence.

1. Set Up Your Website

Developing your business website is an absolute must for a health coach. Your business website will act as your virtual hub, where all your online content can be stored or linked to.

These days, there’s no need to develop a website from scratch, as there are plenty of high-quality platforms that you can use either for free or as a paid service.

If you’re not too familiar with building websites, a great place to start is SiteBuilderReport, which is a super handy resource that compares the different web builders such as SquareSpaceWeebly and WordPress, so you can decide which platform will suit your business needs.

2. Social Media

Social media can be used to exponentially grow your business exposure. There are so many different social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn, just to name a few. When you’re posting on multiple social media platforms at specific times of the day, the entire process can become tiresome and time consuming. For more efficient social media publishing, consider the use of a social media managing tool such as HootSuite or Buffer. These tools can store, save and post onto multiple social media accounts, saving you time and optimizing your social media reach.

Step 5: Develop Your Program

It may seem like an obvious step, but making sure you have developed your health coaching program before you begin any advertising is a must.

You don’t want to find yourself is a situation where you’ve signed up multiple clients without any programs in place as this will be highly stressful for you, and will appear very unprofessional for your clients.

For Primal Health Coach graduates, the done-for-you 12-Week Coaching Program is a great resource to be used as-is, or as a template to customize.

Step 6: Outsource and Delegate

Learning how to delegate and outsource tasks is a key aspect to running your own business.

Here’s a simple step-by-step process to help you identify which aspects within your business are most appropriate for outsourcing and delegation.

1. Make a List

Start by making a list of all the tasks that need to be performed and how long they will each take.

For example:

  1. Developing your coaching program (3 hours/week)
  2. Website development and maintenance (3 hours/week)
  3. Posting on social media (2 hours/week)
  4. Writing blog posts (4 hours/week)
  5. Balancing your spreadsheets (2 hours/week)
  6. Developing a business logo (3 hours/week)

2. Identify Your Passion

Next, identify the tasks that you are most experienced with and enjoy performing. Conversely, identify the tasks that you feel you are least qualified or experienced with.

3. Prioritize

You now have a list ranking your business’s tasks in order from most essential to being performed by you through to the tasks that you have less interest in or less expertise or knowledge in. These are the tasks that you should delegate or outsource to a professional.

Upwork is an online repository where you can find freelance web developers, mobile developers, graphic designers, accountants and other skilled experts to work on your business.

Realizing that you don’t have to do it all on your own will help free up time in your busy week to focus on the tasks that require you and only you.

Step 7: Find a Mentor

Finding a great health coach business mentor will have a huge impact on your early success. Having someone there to guide you through each aspect of your business development could make the different between your success or failure.

A mentor can create leads and open doors that would otherwise have been closed. Choosing the right mentor is very important. Someone with a high profile that you’ve admired for a long time may not necessarily be the best fit, as they may have a very busy schedule and may not have as much free time to invest into you as someone who is less well known, but still runs a highly successful business.

Once you’ve identified who you would like to contact, give them a call, introduce yourself and explain that you would like to arrange an information-only interview with them.

It’s important for you to build a relationship with your chosen mentor. However, be realistic about the amount of time you would like your mentor to invest in you.

Instead of a two-hour weekly phone call, maybe a 30 minute quarterly phone call is more realistic.

Starting your own health coaching business can feel like a juggling act. There are so many different aspects to running a business, from writing your business plan to building a website. We hope this list of seven essential business startup tips will help you build the best possible health coaching business possible right from the start.

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