With an expected job growth rate of 16% through 2024, and a growing client base of consumers who believe food and nutrition play a significant role in maintaining and improving overall health, the need for holistic health coaches won’t be declining any time soon. As more holistic health coaches start their own businesses, the competition also increases. Be sure you set yourself up for success by following these business tips.Find Your Community
Starting a business and working for yourself is no small task. You have to do all the jobs of a business, like marketing, sales, business development, accounting, content creation, and public relations, while also being the person who delivers the services. Overwhelmed yet? Surely you may get overwhelmed from time to time or get a case of imposter syndrome. You might worry that you are not capable or good enough or that you just cannot find the right clients.
That’s why you want to find your community of fellow business owners to support you. These business owners do not have to be within your industry necessarily either. Think more broadly and connect with owners who share values, have similar goals, and approach their work the way you do. You could also seek out professionals who serve the same client population or work in the same location. Determine what is most important to you, and then take to the internet.
Find and follow individual business owners on social media who keep you motivated and inspire you to continue your work. Connect with some of them directly, either engaging with their posts or through direct messages, to get help and participate in the business to business conversations. You can also join groups on Facebook and search for local meet ups who get together in real life. Look for support, and prioritize connecting with other business owners who will remind you of why you do what you do.
Build Your Network
Your community helps support you and gives you the motivation to get out there and network to generate business and stay up on industry trends. That doesn’t mean people in your community can’t or won’t send business your way, but there is value in differentiating between those business best friends who you can lean on for support and professionals who can help you meet more people and learn new skills.
Even if you provide online services, try joining networking groups to meet people in real life. Join Freelancers Union for free, which has local chapters in most large U.S. cities, and hosts monthly free events in addition to providing useful tips via newsletters. Also check into your local chamber of commerce, which might host meetups as well. You never know who you might run into and how they might help you. These events also provide a way to practice presenting yourself to new people and nailing that elevator pitch over and over again.
Know Your Point of Difference
You might have been drawn to be a holistic health coach because of what you love about the work and what you have in common with other holistic health coaches, but knowing what sets you apart will not only help you nail that elevator pitch, but it will also help you attract your ideal client.
Imagine you are looking for a holistic health coach. Where does your search begin? You probably consider what your own needs are and then you look for a coach that meets those needs. You want to be that coach, and to do that, you need to know what makes you special or different. Stand out from the crowd to make it as a successful holistic health coach.
Know Who You Want to Work With
In order to find your community, grow your network, and attract your ideal client, you have to know who you want to work with. Start with yourself. What is your approach to the work? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Look for people to complement your work that will help you grow as a business owner and holistic health coach, and also look for people who will be a good fit to work with you.
Do you keep to standard business hours? Do you work on weekends? Are you highly organized and stick to schedules or ebb and flow with your workflow? Do you like to work in co-working spaces or from the comfort of your couch? Do you set agendas for meetings or let the conversation develop with a general idea?
The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to identify who you need and want in your community and who you want your ideal client to be.
Know When to Say No
You don’t have to work with everyone, and you do not have to accept all clients. Although it might seem scary at first, saying no can help you in the long run. You want to set yourself and your clients up for success, but working with clients who do not fit your niche or are very less than ideal does not help anyone.
Create space for your ideal clients and fruitful connections by saying no to clients who are not a good fit and declining events or meetings that do not serve a purpose for you as a business owner. Instead, refer those clients to other holistic health coaches who would be a good fit, and be selective about the events you attend and the networking opportunities that present themselves.
Also, know when to say no to work in general. When you are starting out, the pressure to do all the jobs can leave you constantly working. When things get going and business is doing well, you might be tempted to work all the time because you love your job. Know your limits and set work boundaries so that you do not burn out. These boundaries might mean you set a limit on the number of clients you work with at one time and then pace them accordingly or that you schedule time to be off the clock and stick to it.
Make Contracts and Use Them
One of the simplest and best ways to set yourself up for success is to get all the expectations down in writing. You do not have to make a complicated contract or use a lot of legalese. You can use online services like DocuSign or Agree to generate contracts, send them, and sign them for each of your clients. Think of contracts as less of a lasso for your clients and more of a common promise to each other. You promise to deliver the services, and they promise to pay you for them.
Beyond payment terms, also consider what to do when things go wrong. How will you define satisfactory work? What should your client do if he or she wants to stop working with you or does not feel that the services you provide are adequate? What happens if your client wants to continue working with you, but you do not feel he or she is doing the work? You can politely and transparently include these details in your contract. Failing to do so can cause a lot of headache, take you off your focus, and discourage you from continuing your work. No one wants that kind of setback, so be smart about writing your contracts.
Buy In and Show It
You absolutely must wholeheartedly believe in what you do, and do it. Any doubts that you have could sneak into your work and infiltrate your content and your interactions with clients. Practice the values you preach and demonstrate how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Be sure to show what you do too. Make short videos to share on your social media stories and feeds. They do not have to be fancy or overproduced. Share what you do and people will recognize it as relatable and want to engage with you. It will add credibility to your work as well.
Make a Plan
Where do you want your business to be in three or five years? Knowing where you’re going can help you measure your success and it gives you goals to orient yourself to and stay focused on. Your plan can change and it does not have to be complicated, but having a plan sets you up for success and certainly gets you off on the right track to make it as a holistic health coach.
A basic business plan includes a description of your clientele and their needs, what you do to meet that need, your business model or how you make money, your ideal client, what makes you different from other similar businesses or your competitive advantage, what you bring to the business and what roles you provide, and your anticipated earnings and expenses. A very useful exercise is to condense this basic plan down to one page. If you can do that, you are very focused and in a good position to succeed amidst all the other coaches out there.
Balance Focus with Adaptability
Agile marketing and adapting your business to changing market needs are trends that best fit teams who can sprint through marketing together and help analyze the results, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be adaptable too and utilize some agile practices. Have an overarching strategy from your business plan, and adapt your tactics to meet your business needs.
But do not adapt so far that you lose your focus or don’t give tactics a long enough time to prove their usefulness. Set SMART business goals and you will be able to track progress and learn as you grow. While you might be working all the jobs as a business owner, that does not mean your business has to offer all the services possible. Staying focused is key to your success as a small business owner.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
When you are getting started, it’s tempting to get lost down the path of ideas and branding. Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. One way to stay focused and avoid getting bogged down in the details is to know when it’s okay to copy. Ask your community and your network what sorts of tools and resources they use to get all the jobs done, and try them. There’s no need to test out multiple apps, find a different scheduling service, or spend hours and hours on customized branded worksheets or surveys when you are starting out.
Instead, use some standard templates and take notes as you go for what does and does not work well. Then you can make informed customizations. The same applies to apps and tools. Take suggestions and jump in. As you use them, you will learn what does and does not work for your business, and then you can go searching for something better with some information in hand.
Remember, there’s a reason why other professionals are already using these tools: they work! No need to make things more complicated.
Invest in Yourself
When you are starting, don’t be afraid to spend some money on useful tools that will help you do your job more easily, such as accounting software or the professional version of your favorite and most useful apps. As you grow, set aside business income to reinvest where your business needs it most. Remember, investing in your business is investing in yourself. Keep your business plan in mind, and spend money on whatever will help you reach your long term goals.
Truly Believe in Yourself
Along with wholeheartedly believing in what you do, believe in yourself. You started a business! Trust that you will be successful, stay focused, and remember you have your community, your network and your clients to keep you going.
Be Open to Growth
Growth and change are rarely easy no matter how adaptable you are. Be patient with yourself and your business, and know that it will not magically grow overnight. You will inevitably mess things up and make mistakes. Remember that failure is not making a mistake, but failing to take action. Not running a successful marketing campaign on the first go or only having two people watch your first live feed is not failure. Not showing up for a meeting is failure. Know the difference and be kind to yourself as you make it as a holistic health coach.