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How to Overcome the Biggest Obstacles in Running Your Own Health Coaching Business

by: Sarah Appleby
Last Updated: June 23, 2022

Running your own health coaching business has its perks—from working from home, to deciding your own work hours—not to mention you’re able to pursue a career that you’re passionate about.

However, as someone with minimal business experience prior to starting my own health and fitness business, it took me a while to find my own feet as an entrepreneur—I learnt the hard way, that it doesn’t pay to work around the clock.

Today, I’m going to share a few secrets I’ve learned along the way to help you overcome some of the biggest obstacles you may come across when running your own health coaching business.

Obstacle #1: Managing Your Time More Effectively

There’s nothing worse than feeling as though there’s never enough hours in the day.

If time management is something you’re trying to overcome, then here are some handy tips that have worked wonders for me.

1. Create a Time Log

The first step towards establishing efficient time management is to start a time log.

This involves choosing a “typical” work day, and logging everything you do on this day – from the moment you wake up, till the moment your head hits the pillow at night.

Track every task and how long it took you to perform it.

Include everything that you do in your day, from coaching to checking your email—even include the time you’ve spent browsing social media.

By tracking everything you do, you’ll be able to see where and when you’ve been productive, whether you’ve been taking enough breaks, and when and how you’ve been wasting time.

2. Identify Your Time Wasters

The goal here is to find the areas you’re spending way too much time on, and see how they can be cut down, reconfigured, or eliminated.

Now that you’ve got a complete record of your “typical” work day, it’s time to extract the data. This involves categorizing all your daily activities into groups such as breaks, content generation, programming and phone calls. It’s also important to include a category for your non-productive tasks, like scrolling through your social media feeds or watching mindless reality TV. One of mine is that I tend to waste time on Instagram when I could be doing something more productive.

3. Boost Productivity

It’s impossible to work all the time. In fact, working without regular breaks reduces productivity and can lead to burn out.

When I was struggling with my own time management, I came across a specific system that worked for me, and it’s called the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a very simple concept—you set a timer to remind you to take a break every 25 minutes.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

This technique works on two levels.

First, we work best when we take regular breaks. Being reminded that it’s time to move away from your computer is surprisingly effective.

Second, you can use the Pomodoro Technique to set daily or weekly goals. I have the goal of spending no more than four Pomodoros per week checking emails.

I keep track of my time using Focus Keeper on my iPhone, and if you’re an Android user, there’s plenty of alternative Pomodoro apps for you to choose from.

4. Outsource

Many entrepreneurs such as yourself routinely outsource aspects of their business they don’t have time for or don’t have the expertise to perform—you’re not expected to do it all yourself.

How do you decide which tasks to outsource?

Start by critically analyzing your time log. Are there any areas of your business that you feel you’re not dedicating as much time to as you would like? If so, these tasks might make perfect candidates for outsourcing.

I outsourced the web design for my business website, and it was a huge timesaver for me. Other aspects of your business you could outsource include bookkeeping or marketing content generation.

Obstacle #2: Managing Your Self-Care

We, as entrepreneurs, face the temptation of overworking and not looking after ourselves—it comes part and parcel of running your own business.

However, when you consider that you are your business’s most precious commodity, it seems a little odd to overlook your own well-being. As health coaches, it’s a bit ironic that in growing our business, we can sometimes neglect our own wellness. It’s important to practice what you preach.

I understand the pressures that come with running your own business, and I too have neglected my own self-care by working long hours and not taking the time to recharge my batteries. In the end, both my own health and my business suffered.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, here are four tips to help manage your own self-care.

1. Carve Out “Me” Time

It’s so easy to skip your “me” time, but in order to live a sustainable work/life balance, you’ve got to make sure you make time to pursue the things you enjoy. One of my favorite past times is CrossFit, so I make sure I schedule my workouts into my week.

2. Get Enough Sleep

As health coaches, we understand the importance of getting enough sleep, when you’re juggling work and family, it’s easy to let this aspect of self-care slide. A handy tip to stay on top of your sleep is to have set bed and wake up times every day.  As a mother of two little ones, I find a sneaky afternoon nap does wonders if I’m feeling a little run down.

3. Set Specific Work Hours

When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to slip into the unhealthy routine of working ridiculously long hours.

By setting specific work hours, you’ll increase productivity and free up time in your day.

4. Eat Well

Providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally is an absolute must when it comes to self-care. I either grow or buy local fruit and vegetables, and I do my best to source local, grass fed meat.

Obstacle #3: Getting People to See the Value in Health Coaching

Have you ever met a potential new client who you know would thrive in your health coaching program, but when it comes to closing the sale, they brush you off with an excuse such as “I’ll think about it” or “I can’t afford it?”

Being able to get people to see the value in health coaching is essential to landing new clients, so now, I want to share with your a couple of handy tips that will help you get people to see the value in health coaching.

1. Provide a Tangible Outcome

In order to win new clients, we need to paint them a clear picture of what they will get when they sign up for your health coaching program.

The best way to do this is to provide your potential client with a tangible outcome through SMART goal setting.

This could be to lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks, or to perform an unassisted pull up in 3 months.

Providing a measurable change within a defined time frame will help your prospective client visualize the benefits of your program.

2. Offer a Signature Program

By offering a signature program, you’re allowing your ideal client to see what they’re getting for their money.

Give your signature program a catchy name. Clearly detail the length and frequency of your program, and how your unique coaching style will help them achieve their tangible goal.

For example, if you’re a specialist in women’s health and fitness, your signature program could be called “FitMe” –  a 12-week program that includes biweekly one-on-one sessions, unlimited email access to a Primal Health Coach, and over 100 tasty and nutritious recipes.

By clearly defining what you offer, you remove the uncertainty and mystery that may be holding your potential clients back from investing in your services.

Bonus Tip!: How to Scale Up Your Business

If you have big aspirations for your health coaching business, then it’s important to know how to grow your business sustainably.

Here are seven tips that have helped me develop my own health and fitness business.

1. Write a Business Plan

The first thing you should do when looking to scale your business is to write a business plan.  A business plan is a roadmap that outlines your business goals and details how you plan to achieve them.

Writing my own business plan allowed me to identify group health coaching as a promising area of business growth, based on my niche market and the demographic of my local community.

2. Find a Mentor

Having someone that you can turn to for advice is so important as an entrepreneur.

Your mentor doesn’t need to be the CEO of a global wellness empire, but should be someone who is a few business steps ahead of you. It’s best to choose a mentor that will provide honest, trustworthy business advice, and it’s important that you have mutual respect for each other.

3. Follow a Coaching Model

It’s important to choose the right coaching model for your coaching style(s), passion, and business vision. Having a clearly defined coaching structure, whether it’s individual coaching or online coaching (or possibly both), will help you plan the growth of your health coaching business.

4. Forge Solid Client Relationships

As health coaches, forming genuine relationships with our clients is essential to our business. Our clients are more likely to get results or recommend your coaching to a friend if they feel a strong connection with you.

Whilst many coaches see the value in forging strong relationships with their new clients, it’s just as important to grow your relationships with your existing clients. It doesn’t take much to make your clients feel special; it could be as simple as remembering the names of their children or pets, or acknowledging their birthday with a card. It also helps to share aspects of your own life with your clients, as it can help you be more relatable.

A helpful tip I use is to dedicate a set number of hours per week to client interactions. This will make sure that as my business grows, I’ll still be making client bonding a priority.

5. Build Your Email List

Email lists are a clever way to boost the growth of your business.

They help you connect with future clients, and provide a way to stay in regular contact with existing clients.

6. Market to Your Ideal Client

Niche marketing is so important when it comes to growing your business. You’re not going to please everyone, so don’t try to. By focusing your marketing specifically on your ideal client, your programs are going to be irresistible to them.

7. Stick at It

Scaling up your business takes time—I mean loads of time. Like years! There are going to be days/weeks/months when you’ll feel as though you’re banging your head against a wall, but remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” so don’t expect your business to be either.

Running your own business is tough, there’s no way to get around it. However, smart planning and patience will help you along the way.

Believe in yourself, and you can achieve anything!

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