How Do I Start A Health Coaching Business?
The past eighteen months have been stressful for us all. Even though we’ve all been preoccupied with our health during this crisis, many Americans have had to find ways to motivate themselves to stay on top of their nutrition, exercise, and mental health needs. At the same time, appointments with our doctors and therapists have switched from in-person to remote in many cases. And telehealth, experts agree, is not going anywhere.
In light of all this, it’s no surprise that there has been a recent boom in health coaching services. Whether you've always had a strong interest in health and wellness issues or your interest was sparked by the changes the last year and a half brought, there are straightforward steps you can take to become a health coach.
Table of Contents
1. Option 1
- Step One: Get Trained and Certified
- Step Two: Create a Business Plan
- Step Three: Build (and Design) Your Brand
- Step Four: Build Your Website
2. A Simpler Quicker And More Convenient Option
The first question you should ask yourself is: what aspect of healthy living do I want to focus on? Deciding that will dictate which training program you gravitate to, whether that be nutrition, exercise, or alternative therapies. There are a variety of programs available that offer certificates in health coaching. Some of the best can be found here and include programs affiliated with universities like Duke and Emory.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when deciding between training programs is whether your top choices are approved by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the board which will ultimately license you. Picking a program approved by this board will allow you to operate with the highest qualifications. A list of the NBHWC's approved training programs can be found here. The NBHWC advises that all the programs on the list are approved, but still differ in their focus, so you will need to do additional research to determine which program will be the best fit for you.
Next comes the exam. In order to be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination, you will have to coach 50 health and wellness sessions and show a record of these sessions in a log. The exact requirements for these sessions are listed on the NBHWC website, and they include the following:
- Each session must be at least 20 minutes in duration.
- Coaching sessions may not be with friends, family, or current classmates.
- 75% of each coaching session must be devoted to coaching facilitation, and not education.
If you need help getting hours during your training, reach out to Sofia Health. They can match you with communities that need pro bono support.
Once you have completed these hours, and have sufficient qualifications (including an associate's degree or higher, or work experience of 4000 hours in any field), you can sit for the test. If you pass the exam, congratulations! You are ready to start your coaching business and help others achieve their health and wellness goals.
Health coaching is a growing industry, but health coach jobs are competitive. Now that you're qualified, you can determine your wellness coach business plan. Do you want to specialize in group classes or one-on-one coaching? Do you plan to offer live or pre-taped classes (or a mix)? Will you coach online or in-person, or a combination, depending on where clients live? How will your coaching be paced?
Remember that the reason health coaches can be so powerful and influential in their clients’ lives is due to the personalized attention given to each client. You will have to value and manage your own finite time and resources in order to provide the highest level of care for your clients. That being said, it’s important to consider how many clients you can take on without diluting the quality of your coaching.
When starting a health coaching business, you can refine your plan as you go, so it does not need to be etched in stone. As in health, in business, it's good to start with clear goals that are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. These criteria will help you determine a solid health coach business plan for the services you want to offer.
Many of the best health coaches come to the field with compelling personal health stories. Perhaps you beat an ailment yourself with lifestyle changes or alternative therapies, and you want to pass your knowledge on to others to save them time and improve their quality of life. Or maybe you have helped loved ones navigate the maze of the healthcare sector. You may even be a doctor or medical practitioner yourself, looking to make a difference in an often overwhelmingly complicated field.
In order to build your brand, you will need to ask yourself, “what's my story?”. If you don't have a massively dramatic narrative, that's okay! Think about what drove you to become a health coach. It could be a commitment to wellness, or perhaps you are motivated by social justice (improving the health of women, minorities, or underserved communities). Your brand leads into your value proposition; that is, the unique promise of the value you will deliver to the customers who book your services.
Some of the most effective and motivating health coaches pull from their own health struggles to determine their target audience and use their experiences as the foundation for the knowledge and insights they will provide to their customers. Don’t shy away from drawing on your own life experiences and using them to connect to a niche that will resonate with your work (whether that’s women over 50, IBS sufferers, people dealing with sleep issues, or any other group that feels underserved by the medical establishment). If you are someone who has beaten chronic pain, you probably have a wealth of insights to share about techniques that have worked for you, as well as a passion for the subject. Embrace what makes you unique as a health coach.
As a beginner entrepreneur, you will need to build an online presence to build your practice. The steps to building an online presence are straightforward enough, though time-consuming.
Register a domain through a service like this one and find a web host. If you have a bit more capital, you can hire a web designer, or for a cheaper option, you could build it yourself, through a service like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. The design and content of your website should reflect the tone of your brand. Most coaches opt for a tone that feels welcoming, warm, and professional. Consider writing blog posts for your site to showcase your knowledge and let potential clients know your approach to coaching. If you have any past or current clients, you can ask them for testimonials and add those to the website as well.
Check out this blog for more tips on how to make a website for your health coaching business.
A Simpler, Quicker, and More Convenient Option
An all-in-one platform like Sofia Health can save you time and money by allowing you to connect with a client base almost immediately. In Sofia, potential consumers will be able to see your bio and get a sense of your strengths and skills as a health coach. Sofia is an all-inclusive “business-in-a-box,” which provides you with a personalized web page where you can list your services and products, integrated payment process and scheduling, on-demand booking, and more, saving you the trouble of seeking out a web designer or doing it all yourself.
This is very much the business side of your coaching practice. You want to show up on the first page of Google results when potential clients search, "best health coaches near me”. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices like backlinking (where a mention of you on someone else's website links to your site) are critical — if someone else is willing to link back to your content on their website, this positions you as an authority in your industry.
Google’s approach to ranking search results is known as "E-A-T", which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The more backlinks a website has, the more it is seen to possess those qualities in the eyes of Google’s algorithm, and the higher it will rank in a Google search.
Similarly, a company named Moz has developed a tool to measure domain authority, essentially a measure of how seriously one should make a website based on its author's prestige and web presence. This can be hard to build when starting out but is something to work towards in the long term.
When it comes to marketing strategies, it’s important to establish an online presence early on. Coaches looking to market themselves can be found popping up on social media sites like Instagram, writing free blogs for sites like Huffington Post, and paying for advertising in order to improve their search engine marketing (SEM) rankings. 'Affiliate advertising' is another way to raise capital to fund your business. This method entails posting ads for others’ products on your website. You earn a small percentage of the proceeds from every purchase made through the ad on your site. It could also be beneficial to develop partnerships with companies whose audience overlaps with yours, like dietary supplements or yoga prop brands.
Most new businesses require a combination of these techniques to get on the map and drive organic and paid traffic to their site.
Simplify Your Professional Life With Sofia Health
A site like Sofia Health can make the entire process of marketing your business more streamlined and manageable. It's user-friendly for practitioners and consumers alike, giving each the tools they need to connect with the right match for them. Sofia Health offers coaches the chance to build an online practice by taking care of all the administrative aspects of starting a business.
Sofia's extensive referral network and emphasis on cross-collaboration make it easy for you to work with other providers — which naturally builds your domain authority and search engine ranking, driving more organic traffic to your site.
If you want to focus on your health coaching business and helping people (the reason you entered this industry in the first place) rather than the multiple hassles involved in setting up your own site, designing your brand, navigating the complex world of online marketing, facilitating billing, and managing calendars and scheduling, consider a platform like Sofia, which offers a bundled service for $99/month. This monthly payment includes:
A Customizable Webpage.
A sense of prestige and professionalism.
Best of all, Sofia's client-facing marketplace allows potential customers to easily find you and shop for your services. Clients can quickly set up a consultation to see if you're a match.
If you're looking to start the admirable endeavor of building a practice as a health coach, Sofia can help you reach potential clients faster and more efficiently. Sofia’s platform allows you to get your wellness message out without a headache. It lets you focus on helping people on their journeys to health, rather than spending time on the minutiae of billing, web design, learning SEO, and so on. Ultimately, Sofia gives you more time to serve your clients and more time for yourself as well, so you can deliver the best care you’re capable of.