It’s been a little while since I posted about a biz topic so I thought it was about time I started answering some of the biz + blog related questions again! This question was received from Ryan who is interested in learning with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as I did. He asked…
‘My name is Ryan. I am passionate about health and nutrition. I am looking to become a health coach and create my own online business, helping people to improve their health in a natural way through blogging and eventually creating my own health program. I am looking at starting the IIN health coaching course soon. Is there any advice or guidance you can give me in order to help me kick start my business as a health coach?’
Great question and quite a broad one as well, especially as it can feel quite daunting when you first get started. Whether it’s health coaching or starting another kind of online based business, here are some of my top tips…
Decide and get very clear on who your ideal client or customer is
Before I get into this tip, I honestly struggled with this one so much! As I was blogging for such a long time before I transitioned into a business, I felt like I didn’t want to exclude anyone. The fact is that by being clear on who you serve, you don’t actually have to exclude anyone. My ideal clients are women with mindset and diet related issues who are ready to get out of their own way, lose weight and get healthier, but I still work with others who don’t fit that description perfectly, it just helps me focus when I’m creating information to help serve them. Think really hard about who you’d like to serve with your business.
Start getting visible
What’s the most important thing in business? Clients or customers! The best way to start letting people know about you is to get visible as soon as you can. When I talk about visibility it’s about getting online and starting to share your message, brand and what you’re all about. The best way to do that is of course through a website with a blog. It’s still a great way to talk about where your passions lie, be authentically you, build relationships with potential clients and customers and build your tribe. In addition, setting up social media accounts and using them consistently is key. You don’t have to try and use every single platform, instead think about your ideal client and which social media platform they’ll probably use the most, then direct your time and energy into establishing a presence there.
Set up a list and a way to capture emails
Your list is one of the most important things in your business. When people let you into their inbox it’s very special! Setting up a list with someone like Mailchimp and creating a lovely free offer encourages people to sign up.
Listen, watch and learn
The key to creating products or services that sell is to have them meet a real need your ideal client or customer has. Start listening to them, watching what they struggle with and learning about what their needs are so you can use that information to inform your product development.
Have a financial cushion
I didn’t quit my full time job one day and start my business the next, I transitioned from full time work, to part time work and then eventually into full time #GirlBoss awesomeness. Even then I still made sure I had a bit of a financial cushion so I didn’t get stressed out, anxious and end up making stupid decisions. These days it makes sense to have a gradual transition, or make sure you have financial back up, or both before jumping in head first.
Plan, plan, plan
I never created much of a formal business plan when I started, but I did plan my arse off! You really need to have at least a 6-12 month plan of action that covers your goals (these might be income related or number of customers or clients, etc) and a method for how you’re going to achieve them. The Leonie Dawson Shining Year Biz Workbook acts like a done-for-you guide to a business plan if you’re not sure where to start.
Diversify your income streams
In that planning stage it’s really worth looking at how you can cultivate different income streams. For example, if you’re a health coach you might have income from 1-2-1 clients, workshops in your local community and affiliate programmes. Think about all the ways your business can generate income and focus on about 3 different methods so that you’re never solely reliant on one form of income.
A great way to kick start your business when you’re ready to start trading is to get comfortable with PR and working with the press. That might look different depending on what you offer, but starting to think about what options you have when you launch is another great way to increase your visibility. The lovely Dina Behrman and Kerri Walker are great people to check out for tips on doing your own PR.
I hope that has been useful Ryan and the rest of you reading. If you’ve already set up a business, what tips would you add?
P.S Another great way to kick start your biz with a bang is getting some support from a mentor or coach. Check out my Biz Coaching Services here.