How to Become a Successful Online Health Coach
By 2030, the market for health coaches is expected to be worth $27.8 billion. This comes as no surprise given how more and more people are prioritizing their health and well-being.
So, as the industry grows at a CAGR of 6.7%, now is the best time to become a health coach. If you are a bit of a people’s person and have a passion for health and wellness, then becoming a part of this booming industry is a great idea, be it as a fun side hustle or your primary vocation.
Keep reading to learn how to start your own online health coaching business.
WHY BECOME A HEALTH COACH?
Before we answer that, first things first — what exactly is a health coach?
A health coach is a professional who helps their clients improve their overall health and wellness by guiding and motivating them around eating habits and lifestyle changes. Clients may approach you with general or specific needs: to lose weight, to improve fitness, to manage a chronic ailment, etc.
As their go-to person for guidance and accountability, you’ll build and use your background knowledge in fitness, nutrition, and health to help people make a positive change. You’ll share concrete steps they’ll take to achieve their goals. Along the way, you’ll assess the client’s progress, revise the plan as needed, and provide motivation.
If the thought of helping and inspiring people to become their best selves and live their best life excites you, then becoming a health coach is a fantastic idea.
Oh, and let’s not forget the monetary side of things — the national average base pay for a health coach is $47,113 in the United States. That may not sound particularly lucrative as a full-time gig, but becoming an online health coach as a side hustle can seriously supplement your current income.
Why? Once you become certified, hone your skills, and land a couple of clients, the ratio of income generated vs. the time spent per client can be enormous.
Now, the question is…
HOW TO BECOME A HEALTH COACH
Before you get certified and start building a business, determine your target audience by thinking about your experience, hobbies, and interests. You could choose to become a generic health coach hoping to help everyone, but maybe better off focusing on a niche audience. By specializing in a specific need, such as weight loss, you can add more value and win high-paying clients.
That being said, here are the steps involved in becoming a health coach, whether you choose to be a generalist, a specialist, or a combination of both.
1. Get a health coaching certification
The first step is to become a certified health coach. Certification verifies that you can provide professional-level coaching services. Potential clients can view you as a credible professional and not some hobbyist. Not to mention that the information you learn during your certification will help you offer better advice to clients so they can achieve more success.
Here are a few health coaching certification program options:
- Health Coach Certification by NSHC (National Society of Health Coaches)
- ACE Health Coach Certification
- Become a Health Coach by Health Coach Institute
- ISSA’s Health Coach certification
Pick any of these to get a well-rounded education. Once you pass the final assessment, consider getting some work experience by helping out friends or family and getting their feedback before launching your business.
2. Create a business plan
Once you get certified and feel ready to work in a professional setting, it’s time to draft a business plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or too detailed, but it should include all the essential aspects of your health coaching business.
Putting a business plan together helps you become data-driven about your venture by itemizing things like:
- Initial startup costs
- Monthly expenses (for hosting a website, marketing, etc.)
- The target audience you’ll serve and the type of services (such as weight loss coaching)
- The marketing channels you’ll use to reach your potential clients (such as Instagram, referrals, etc.)
- How much you will charge and the pricing structure
- How you will communicate with your team and ongoing customers (such as through email, booking services, instant messaging, etc.)
- How many daily hours you’d dedicate to your online business
- What is unique about your health coaching services (your USP for clients to pick you over others, such as your personal experience)
Here are some simple and free one-page business plan templates you can pick from to nail all these aspects and lay the right foundations for your online health coaching business.
3. Practice your skills
Your personal experience in achieving your own health and fitness goals — combined with your certification(s), research, and learnings — means you have the hard skills and knowledge you need to help clients achieve their health goals.
But to actually guide people effectively, you need to hone your hard and soft skills on dummy clients (such as friends or family, as we mentioned above in the first point). These skills include:
- Interpersonal and active listening skills
- Behavioral science and psychology
- Adaptability and time management skills
- Persuasion, negotiation, and mentoring skills
Practicing these skills during and after you’ve completed your certification program(s) will give you the confidence and hands-on expertise to take on real-world clients and guide them to success.
4. Attract your first clients
With the proper certification(s), a solid business plan, and polished coaching skills, you’re ready to attract your first clients and lead their health improvement journey.
So, now comes the tricky business part — how do you get those first clients? By marketing your online business, of course.
But in the online realm, there are plenty of means to market a new business, and getting started on the right foot can quickly become a confusing headache. Don’t sweat (no pun intended!), just follow these…
TIPS FOR TAKING YOUR HEALTH COACHING ONLINE
As a beginner health coach, knowing how to network and market yourself correctly is pivotal to getting a consistent stream of clients for your online health coaching business.
You don’t need to invest in another course for marketing, just put the following tips into practice the best you can and you’ll be well on your way to landing good clients for your business.
1. Build a website and digital scheduling system
Your website will be your business’s headquarters on the internet. Your portfolio of credentials. So, the first step to attract new clients — both local and global — and build an online presence is to create a website.
While there are countless drag-and-drop website builders (like Wix and Squarespace) available today to whip up a good-looking website with zero technical know-how, we recommend you make a website in WordPress.
Why WordPress, in particular? Because besides being just as intuitive as other website builders, it’s better in nearly every regard, such as search engine optimization (SEO), flexibility to customize your website with themes and plugins, ease of content management, etc. No wonder WordPress powers 43% of all websites on the internet and is the most popular content management system (CMS) choice for businesses.
To get started, think of a suitable domain name (could be your full name), purchase it from a domain registrar like Namecheap or GoDaddy, buy a hosting plan from a reliable company like Bluehost or SiteGround, and then install WordPress by following the steps shared by the hosting provider.
Once your WordPress is installed, pick a minimalistic theme and design a simple website with pages to showcase your background, experience, skills, certifications, testimonials, service packages, and options to get in touch with you and schedule a free consultation.
Also, consider using an online survey maker to create a survey for prospective customers to fill out with their health goals. This survey will help you sort leads and prioritize your time on those that are the most likely to convert to regular customers.
2. Use social media to build your public profile
A rather obvious step, the importance of social media marketing needs no introduction. Especially if you’re a solo business owner looking to build your personal brand, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are your best friends.
You don’t have to be a big-time influencer to benefit from social media marketing. Get a small following going with the help of your family and friends, then start sharing valuable, authentic, and non-promotional content in the form of daily hacks, recipes, wellness tips, exercises, behind-the-scenes of your life, and so on.
Promote your best Facebook and Instagram posts by boosting them as ads. Also, connect with relevant local businesses and partner up with creators or micro-influencers with a staunch, niche following to expand your reach.
And if there’s one key to social media growth, it’s consistency — be consistent in your posting frequency by establishing a social media calendar to plan your posts in advance.
3. Offer free coaching and resources
As mentioned in the first tip, it’s a good idea to offer a free consultation (30-45 minutes) or even a couple of trial coaching sessions. In doing so, you can showcase your value and build credibility — almost like the free trial model for a software tool/app which helps you realize its worth, consequently leading you to sign up for one of its paid plans.
Also, we mentioned SEO, which is a set of strategies you can use to make your website rank higher on search engines like Google. Now, one of the most effective strategies is to create a blog section on your website and consistently publish valuable content relevant to your niche.
For example, if you’re a health coach specializing in weight loss, then you could write in-depth articles that share actionable weight loss tips, step-by-step recipes, running and stretching, and past clients’ success stories. Install the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your articles for better rankings on Google.
Not only does free blog content help your website rank higher on Google and drive more traffic, but it also builds your personal brand’s authority and value in the eyes of potential clients. Besides free consultations/coaching and blog content, consider offering exclusive resources such as eBooks, templates, worksheets, checklists, or an email mini-course to incentivize them to opt-in for your email list.
When they sign up for your email list, they get free content while you generate leads you can market your services to later on.
4. Host digital classes via live streaming
Speaking of freebies, you can also host free webinars and workshops to promote your business in a value-add manner rather than a typical salesy approach. A virtual workshop lets you create a personal bond with your audience. As a result, they will be more likely to subscribe to your email list, spread a good word about your business, and become your client.
Even a 30-minute Instagram or YouTube live stream on a fundamental topic like “how to improve gut health with simple dietary changes” can drive a ton of natural interest and eyeballs to your coaching services, potentially leading to new clients.
GET ON THE HIGHWAY TO HEALTH (AND WEALTH!)
Becoming an online health coach can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, but don’t expect an influx of clients once you get certified. Any small business requires dedicated and consistent marketing efforts. So, invest the time to put the above tips into practice to succeed in your new endeavor.
Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs. Connect with him via LinkedIN or twitter.
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