** In general, when starting your health coaching business, your first clients are going to come from in-person connections and through your inner circles. So that’s the top box on the left in this diagram.
Here are 10 ways you can start getting clients as a new health coach…
STEP 1: TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO WITH EVERYONE (AND ASK FOR REFERRALS!)
As I said, there are clients everywhere! They're hiding in plain sight. ;-) So what is it that you need to do to actually go get one of those clients? You have to tell them what you do!
This is one of the main things that new health coaches aren't doing - even if it seems obvious - largely because they're not confident in explaining what they do!
When you're stepping into business for yourself, that is not the time to be modest.
When you haven't got any clients, it can feel like there's nobody out there who needs a health coach…
But if you take a step back for a moment, and remember that health coaching is a really pretty young industry, chances are that the people who need you most just don't know that you exist yet!
Unless you're walking around with a big sign on your head that's like, “Heyyyy, I'm a health coach and I help … do… ” people probably just don't know what you're doing - even though it feels like a BIG DEAL to you.
If you're spending all of your time online, as many of us do, alongside other health coaches - it can start to feel like everyone's a health coach! But they’re not. They’re ABSOLUTELY not.
When you get out in the world and start talking to everyone and telling people what you do, you'll be surprised by how many opportunities are out there!
So get out and introduce yourself as a health coach! Or if you're feeling a bit daunted to introduce yourself, you know you could say something like, "Hi. My name's Amanda. I work with corporate women who are struggling with burnout — and I support them through my signature private coaching program that helps them rebuild their energy and work more mindfully in order to reduce stress."
The key is that you explain your client's typical pain points and desires.
Don’t just say “Hey, I’m a Health Coach!” and leave it at that. If you do that, you’re leaving money and referrals on the table. You just have tell people what you help people with and what kind of results you help them get.
(PS: Need help with this? Open this blog post in a new tab and read it once you’ve finished this one! The Simple Secret to Telling People What You Do as a Health Coach >>)
So as a first step, I want you to really be aware of actually opening your mouth + talking!
It can sound sooooo obvious but most women who are beginning their coaching careers simply aren't doing it.
Here’s what happened for one of my past clients - "I started talking about what I do to my yoga students and got two new clients that day!" She was actually teaching yoga classes at the time, and just by opening her mouth at the end of the yoga class and sharing authentically what she did, she got TWO clients! All by one literal… hey, don't know if people know this, but this is what I do. Easy.
Another positive result from another past client - "I spoke about my health coaching business to a new friend who became my very first client. She went on to recommend me to HER friends, which led to my first Group Program."
You truly never know… just telling one person may result in your next client!
Action Step: Work your health coaching into at least 5 conversations with people you know!
STEP 2: GET VISIBLE!
Being seen is one of the most vulnerable things in the world… especially when you’re starting out in a brand new career, where you’re probably not feeling super confident. But being seen is KEY to getting clients.
I think this is one of the biggest reasons that Health Coaches don't get clients. Because it's scary to put yourself out there and promote yourself!!
This was one of those parallels that I made when I kind of went, “Ohhhhh” about my old career. People like Microsoft or Ebay - they didn't worry if their logo was on something too many times, they wanted it to be seen again and again and again!
Now I know as health coaches we don't want to be slimy or sleazy in our sales - and we do want to be caring - but at the same time the truth is, advertising is there for a reason. Because if people don't see you, then they don't know you exist. And if they don’t know you exist, they can’t buy your program. It's as simple as that.
Being seen was definitely one of my biggest resistances when I started my health coaching business. When I did fully embrace all that I'd learned in advertising around actually BEING SEEN - it made a massive difference to my confidence, clients and cash-flow.
One key way that I got visible at the beginning was through creating and sharing graphics.
Before I was comfortable putting my own images and pictures of ME out there on social media - I would make pretty graphics to promote what I was promoting, or even just to show my inspirational quotes.
And once you get up the courage, I can tell you for sure that NOTHING supercharges your marketing more than a powerful photo of you. Ideally front on, eyes to camera, smiling. Just open and real. When people can see that you're a real person, they'll feel that crucial “know, like and trust” factor really quickly, and that is going to be key to converting them into clients.
Action Step: Create some graphics to promote your services and share them on your social media channels. Bonus points if you use a photo of you!
[PS: I created this blog post and 5-minute video explaining how create graphics in Canva, here: Blog post: How to Promote Discovery Sessions on Facebook Using Canva >>]
STEP 3: START CLOSE TO HOME
Most coaches overlook this step — which is just starting close to home and working your way out from there. There are no lack of clients in your personal circles, despite what you might think!
Many women I work with start with this mindset that “No one would buy in my small town”… but you will be surprised at who is actually around you, and who will buy!! :)
And new coaches often avoid looking locally, and think: ‘Oh I need to go online and the world's my oyster!”
They see all the big players online and that makes them believe that getting on the world wide web is the answer: “Oh I just need to launch a blog, or run some paid FB ads, or host a webinar, etc.” But those online businesses have taken months or years to build momentum and a following.
And when you put out your one flashy Facebook ad, or your one blog post, and the world doesn't come running to buy your services, many health coaches give up way too soon and take it personally — which is really, really sad — because your first clients do start close to home!
In the long term I don't necessarily advocate working with family or friends ongoing — but they're a great place to start, and a great place to get in the game, build confidence, and get testimonials.
So you can:
- Email family and friends
- Post on your personal Facebook page
- Get in touch with local businesses
- Host workshops in your local community
- Talk about what you do to everyone you know
Use these more personal approaches to client attraction before going into any elaborate online business strategy, or setting up sales funnels and paid advertising plans.
You'd be amazed, too, how friends not only want your help, but are SO happy to share!!
Part of this step is being willing to be a beginner and being willing to ask.
My past client Megan had some amazing results from this: "I posted to my Facebook page, spoke more about my program to everyone, made cold-calls to businesses and received more in-full payments from clients than ever, created a successful local business partnership and booked a speaking engagement!"
Action Step: Write an email to send to everyone you know and post about what you do on your personal Facebook page too! [Click here to get my FREE Social Media Swipe File]
STEP 4: DON’T IGNORE YOUR PAST
If you know my story, you’ll know that I jumped from advertising and was determined to completely ignore my past — “I’m never going back!!!!” But actually, we can all have some really valuable contacts from our past. We might not have thousands of people following us on social media yet, but we all have people in our lives and in our personal email lists, or on our LinkedIn profile.
One of the real keys to growth as a health coach is to surround yourself with like-minded people — and although that is fantastic, it can be easy to forget about the past relationships that did once have.
It's an unexpected step for new coaches to turn around and look back. So instead of just going: "What's next? What's my future?” they could ask: “Who was in my past? Who could I maybe help?”
Those are often the people who are often just a couple of steps behind you…
They haven't been to health coaching school. They haven't made these health changes. Yet they're probably living quite similar lives to either how you are now, or how you were then. You're probably in a perfect position to help them!
You also probably have a lot of people on your Facebook and LinkedIn and in your email address book. If nothing more, it's lovely to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances — even if you're just letting them know what you're doing. Who knows? Maybe they know someone to pass on the message to? :)
A client of mine shared this success story, which might help if you’re feeling nervous about this: "I sent a newsletter out and someone I knew from years ago signed up for my program!" The bottomline is: You just never know who needs your help, or who would be interested in the work you’re doing. That includes if you've had your own business before and have changed businesses since. Every now and again, tap into the old audience and just let them know what you're up to now!!
Action Step: Reach out to colleagues from your past and let them know what you're up to know. Update your LinkedIn profile so old past connections can see what you're doing. Facebook can be a wonderful way to just make sure that people are seeing what you're up to, so don’t be shy about posting on there.
STEP 5: ASK FOR THE DANCE
This is a concept I talk about a LOT in the UPswing Mastermind. If we don't ASK people to work with us, or invite them to a Discovery Session, they probably aren't going to suggest it themselves! ;)
Once you understand that to be talking about a program and to be selling does not have to be sleazy and sales-y — that it's actually more of a healing, heartfelt conversation - it is a game changer.
A client of mine, Kylie, made this connection - and from then on she was just happy to be talking about her program, asking for the dance all the time, and in her first week got 5 discovery sessions and 2 paying clients. Her first 2 paying clients, I believe. Pretty amazing right?
This fear of sounding sales-y is one of the key reasons that I see health coaches hold themselves back. And there is often a niggling feeling that by being in a health profession that maybe we shouldn't be charging… this kind of money mindset can really hold us back.
Of course, NOBODY wants to be sleazy, salesy, icky, or slimy. When we realise that someone can be in REAL PAIN — and that by us talking to them about it, we could help them make a decision to get out of their pain and truly change their life — well, THEN we can start to be more confident, passionate and purposeful in putting ourselves out there.
The other reason that asking for the dance, or asking someone to do a discovery session with you, can be so scary is because as a Health Coach we're not selling a product - which is simple! You're actually now selling YOU - which is a lot more emotive. Yes, there's a Health Coaching package on offer… but it can be quite confronting when you're essentially asking, "Hey, will you pay me?" It can be quite vulnerable and daunting.
It just takes getting a few clients under your belt to see the impact you can have on people’s lives before you start feeling better about that… but soon, if you forge ahead, you’ll get there!
These ‘healthy wealthy entrepreneur’ mindsets can really help:
- Know that NO ONE can be helped if you don't put yourself out there…
- Know that other people want to improve their health…
- Know that if someone says ‘no’ — it's not personal…
These are just a couple of mindset re-alignments that can help you feel less awkward about asking for the dance. When you ask, you'll be so surprised!!
Cecile shared, "I made a personal call to tell someone I thought she'd be a great fit for my program. We had a beautiful conversation exploring whether it was right for her and she immediately said yes."
That takes GUTS, but by asking you'll often be surprised.
One final reminder: It's not personal if they say no! (Repeat that 10 times each day please!)
Action Step: Share the benefits of your program, and confidently ask people if they would like to meet for a free Discovery Session to explore whether your program is the right fit for them.
STEP 6: HOST A PARTY!
This is one of my favorites!! This is one of the things I LOVED to do when I started my health coaching business — host little workshops and meetups!
One of my absolute favorite workshops to run was to do a Healthy High Tea! I served up a delicious healthy afternoon tea, decorated the place really beautifully and had a group of amazing women there. I shared some tips on the same topic that my package covered and got a number of my first clients from those kind of workshops.
I've hosted other intimate events, as well… Some in beautiful, small hotel rooms. Some at a local barre studio. I've even done a couple at homes!
There's a lot of ways to host a party. They don't have to be huge 60 person parties or anything. They can just be 6 people in your home. :)
Basically, how can you get a group together in front of you, to have some fun, for you to share some nuggets of wisdom, tell people what you do, and ideally upsell to a client?
Remember, anytime of the year is a good excuse for a party ;-) and there's always good reasons to celebrate, so set up a date and send out your invites!!
I had a client, Karen, share a success story she had with this step: "I shared details of my fermented foods workshop on Instagram and Facebook and was inundated with inquiries. I booked 19 people for the workshop and had to borrow several chairs to meet the demand."
Again guys, I don't mean to share this and say that Karen is ”special” and it was easy. It was a big deal for Karen to pull together this workshop and then to share it — so you know, really amazing and kudos to her!
Action Step: Think about hosting a party!
STEP 7: NETWORK ONLINE AND OFF
Being a self-proclaimed introvert, networking was certainly NOT my preferred method for getting clients at the beginning.
Gosh, I went to some crazy networking events when I first started as a health coach, and I think I didn't speak to anyone!! And if I did get a word out, I had those #awkward conversations where people asked, "What do you do?" and I replied "I'm a health coach." And they’re like: "What’s that?" And I didn’t know what to say!! So yes, that was neither fun nor productive. ;-)
This step is all about making connections really authentically.
Genuine connections are one of the most effective ways to pick up clients and build a community. I've said it before, I will say it a zillion times again, but people will buy from those they know, like and trust. In fact, oftentimes people are buying the person more than the product - crazy as that sounds.
It's why we can have a zillion health coaches, and everyone will resonate with a different person! All of you have a unique voice, which is needed. And there could be someone in this world that right now can only hear what they need from YOU — regardless of whether there's already other people out there talking about similar topics. (So don’t let that hold you back!)
It makes sense that getting to know someone before "selling to them" is always going to build a relationship. So start thinking about ways that you can network, that feel good!
- Online, you can join Facebook groups or search specific hashtags on instagram…
- In person, you can go to places like yoga studios, boot camps, or meet-up events — or you can join local business networking groups too…
Action Step: Choose at least two of the networks that we talked about and put them in your diary today. Back in step 1 as well, don't forget when you get there, you're going to have to talk!! ;)
STEP 8: SHARE AUDIENCES
As women doing feminine business, we are starting to understand that collaboration is key, and that we're not in competition.
By collaborating with others we are going to get our important messages of health and well-being (or whatever area you're coaching in) out into the world!!
So looking at who else is already serving your audience - and partnering up with them in a way that makes sense for you both - can be a wonderful way for you to get out and get a client quite quickly.
A past UPswing Mastermind client, Megan, shares: "I made some cold calls to local businesses and from that created a successful business partnership in town, as well as booked a speaking engagement unexpectedly!"
How else could you share a similar audience?
For example, if you're a Health Coach, maybe a yoga studio has similar clients, or maybe you could partner with a personal trainer, or even another health coach? Doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, even places like hairdressers or personal stylists are all options!
Action Step: Spend time brainstorming your own unique niche for insights into who would be of benefit for you to partner with that also benefits your potential clients. Then, take action by contacting everyone that fits the bill.
STEP 9: BE YOURSELF
Be proud of who you are, and be proud of what you have to offer.
I know how hard it is to feel like, "There's a flood of other health coaches out there - what makes ME so special?"
As I said before, we could all stand there together in front of 1,000 people and each of us could teach exactly the same thing - but there's different people in the audience who would only connect with ONE of those people on stage.
We all have such a unique life experience, and our own unique voice, and if you're feeling called to put this work out there, you're meant to do that.
One of the hardest things to do when getting started, is finding your own path and not just copying what you've seen out there.
So make it your mission and daily practice to let go of opinions of others - you do not need to try and prove yourself to other people. Just be in your heart, put out your truth and your message, and trust that the right people will hear that.
My past UPswing Mastermind client Cecile shares: "I wrote an honest blog post about why I was changing my practice from weight loss to depression. As a result, I had someone I'd never met before contact me about my program, and I had more visits to my site than ever before!!"
I think there can't be enough said for honesty, authenticity, and integrity. People can feel it.
Just be you, own who you are, and be comfortable with that — I promise, it will really impact your worth, how many clients you attract, and in turn, your pricing. :) And it will feel a whole lot better for you, too.
Action Step: How can you bring more of YOU into everything you do in your business this week? Great photos can help others connect with you via your brand, and add an extra ‘oomph’ of professionalism to your online presence, but how else? What else makes you YOU? Express that, and it'll make you stand out and make you proud of who you're putting out into the world.
STEP 10: KEEP THE FAITH
Here we are at step 10!!
This is not so much an action step as it is a mindset step.
Your work is meant to be out there. You need to keep the faith.
I don't think that ANY coaching business takes off overnight, despite what it may look like from the outside. ;-)
There are wonderful opportunities, wonderful money, and a wonderful lifestyle to be had when you get your business up and running, but it does take consistent action. It doesn't happen overnight.
Trusting and believing and knowing that your work is meant to be out there in the world helping others right now + taking personal responsibility for getting it out there = SUCCESS.
You must do whatever it takes to get this work out there. You must be the one to take action.
And before we wrap up, I want to remind you of this truth.
There are no lack of clients in the world.
I've just given you some really simple (and what can seem mundane in some ways!!) steps to getting clients. There's no fireworks, or magic tricks around how most of these people you look up to are getting clients and making money.
It’s often obvious things - done consistently - that gain traction and momentum over time.
Sooo… there you have it guys!!
Ten steps, ten very important steps to be putting yourself out there today and every day. To be asking for dance and bringing in your health coaching clients.
Getting clients is always your priority. Getting out and asking for the dance is always the priority. It really is time to stop hiding. It's time to speak up and get visible.
This isn't an overnight quick fix, but if you keep following the steps, and keep knowing that you're here to help people in this way, those clients are going to come through for you.
I believe in you!
YOUR NEXT READ: How to Build an Online Following - The Definitive Guide for Health Coaches and Wellness Entrepreneurs
PS - I am starting a small and intimate mastermind group this month for 'intermediate/advanced' Wellness Entrepreneurs. Have you already done a basic business training and are making an income - but looking to super charge your business to the next level now? Momentum Mastermind may be for you - click here for full details >>