Many military spouses go into coaching because of how easily portable the business is. You simply plug in your laptop with the internet and start chatting with your clients via video, text, email, or messenger. But, what does it really take to become a successful coach? Specifically, What does it take to be a health coach?
My time with Grace Barnick-Damazo, an up and coming health coach in San Diego, CA, was absolutely filled with such good insight.
We talked about everything from mindset to business strategy and how specifically, a Health Coach can thrive in the online space.
Today, in Part Two of this interview, we get a little more detailed around mindset, strategy, and general health education. And, how you, as a rising health coach, can build a strong foundation for your business with these simple tips that are great for every business owner to keep in mind.
*** We had so much fun chatting about our passions that we had enough information to section into TWO blog posts- which means BONUS for you!! ***
Health Coach Business Tip #1: Start Your Health Coaching Business With An Exit Plan.
Going on to the next phase of everything, we're going to get down and dirty into how you got to your business. We kind of talked about the idea in part one of our podcast episode & Blog interview, but what exactly did you need to do to get up and running into really see a full-time income.
Grace B.: So, I'm going to pull back the curtain and be completely open and honest right now. My business is still young and I still haven't fully transitioned out of my previous job, which was working for a big box gym. So we're about half and half right now. So, what I would recommend for people in the future is to do it that way, is to ease out. As much as we want to just jump in, or, leap into the next thing. I think that there's some benefit in having the peace of mind of having a little bit of money coming in while you're building this new thing. Starting a new business is terrifying and can be expensive. It's stressful and life changing and all of those things. To be able to have something that's stable- that you can still kind of rely on, is really helpful.
If you were in the room, you'd see that I was nodding profusely because that's what I tell all of my starting students- because everybody wants to just get online and do it. They get excited and they don't realize that the people that they are seeing online right now with major success are at the final 20% of the time & workload. What they portray online is maybe 20% of what they're doing day in and day out. 80% of it was working down in dirty, building their skills out, building their community and their network, and then presenting to the rest of the world. It's not something that's just done in 72 hours. As we started connecting on business building and strategy, Grace continued to explain this concept in the rest of our conversation:
It takes time. And for me too, I wanted to just be like, okay, I have my LLC, I have everything set up, let's just go make money. And it takes more time than that. So yeah, like having that ease in is really important. And for me, I don't like being the face of things. That was a big mental shift for me. So to go from not really wanting to have an online presence, to switching to an online presence, that took a lot of time just mentally to prepare for that. So if you're not ready for that, it's going to be a rude awakening. So just feeling it and building that confidence is important before jumping into things.
Just to affirm what Grace is saying here- I STILL get awkward. I've done two interviews so far with like higher up people that have been around the industry for a while and I sobbed for about 10 minutes after because I'm such an introvert and it took so much in me to challenge that – even three years later as an established entrepreneur, you would think I'd be used to it. But it's just one of those things that you have to learn how to get out of your way to succeed and progress. Our conversation Started shifting from strategy to mindset, which was a blessing in disguise. I intended to talk strategy around business planning- but Grace's new transition to entrepreneurship reminded me that most new entrepreneurs have A LOT of mindset work to do on themselves before presenting their passions to the world. And so- although our interview ran a little longer to get all of the info out to our readers and podcasters, I decided to stay on the mindset topic for a little longer.
I think that we, we think we have to be perfect. Um, and I'm a goof, like I'm an idiot. So I think that being okay with not being perfect- people like that. And be yourself, not everybody's going to love you, right? And that's the best thing for you. It took me a little while to embrace that. But then, I have to remember this is actually a good thing because being yourself and setting clear boundaries for who you are is going to attract the person that you want. And if you're trying to set your net and be perfect and ready for everyone, you're going to get halfway of what you want.
If they're not really interested in you, they're not going to be worth your time later on anyway. It's going to be extremely energy draining.
We've got off topic a little bit. But I felt it important to tell new entrepreneurs that personal development will take your business a long way when done continuously. With the business building though, I knew Grace was young in her journey but I wanted to ask- to gain perspective:
Health Coach Business Tip #2: Hire Your Own Coach For
Grace B.: That's a good question. So, the other really big piece that I would say if you're a new, a new entrepreneur starting out is hire a coach. That has been really, really helpful. Talking about confidence and just feeling really like there's a net underneath you.
Even before I had started my LLC, I hired a coach and hiring a coach that does what you do. Find coaches that have been in the industry, they have done it well, there are relevant and current leaders in the industry and they're still doing it today because business changes so quickly, especially in the health and fitness industry – it just changes so quickly.
So, someone who is still doing what you're doing will help shorten your learning curve. That has been extremely instrumental because it takes the worry of, “Am I moving in the right direction?” away or “Am I moving fast enough?” So- I hired a coach and the best in the industry of what they do. They have helped me move this piece along a lot faster. I'm about two months away from transitioning out of my previous employment position and replacing and surpassing that income and an online platform.
I am so proud of Grace right now because if anyone has tried to start a business before they know that transitioning to a full-time income can take YEARS if you do it on your own. Two months away from a full-time income out of her business goes to show that hiring a coach was a sound investment.
Another really important piece of advice to this is to educate yourself and find the right people to be around, to MAKE YOU level up. We are only as good as the company we keep. And it's really important to get a coach. It's important to find a coach that you connect with and to do the work with.
Please, please, please, PLEASE- everybody reading & listening out there- Do your homework when you are finding a coach, make sure that they have experience in the industry for at least five years (not necessarily in coaching- but in your industry). I'm going to be completely honest with everyone. I've been working from home since 2008 I didn't fully consider myself an entrepreneur until just recently. Because I was working as an independent contractor, I was self-employed, I didn't have to worry about the hiring and employee aspects of running a business and I was generally skill-building and becoming a master at my craft.
I didn't have to worry about operating a business with overhead or anything like that until 5 years into my entrepreneur journey. So I'm still a fairly young coach in my mind- with lots of expertise in the skills I have acquired along the way. But if you want to see massive results, you need to have the proper support and you need to have the right coach for you. That means- taking the responsibility to do your homework and making sure that they're going to serve you in a way that you need.
Since we're talking about your business though I decided to ask for the next best tip.
Health Coach Business Tip #3: Learn From Your Business & Know Its Trends
Grace B.: In business, it's like a roller coaster. You're going to have some some days that it feels like, “why am I doing this?” And “this was a terrible idea. I need to run back to the safety of a job that's going to give me a steady paycheck.” Just know there's lows, but then there's really big highs and you're going to have to ride those waves sometimes. Just last week for instance, was a really low week for me and- you know, there was a day where I just wanted to give up and told myself “this isn't going to work. I need to figure out something else”. And 24 hours later, I had another client sign and she's a raving fan and you know, then you have that high of, “Oh, it's all gonna work.”
Just remember to ride the wave, it's a roller coaster. It's the beauty of being an entrepreneur is you get to have these, these highs and they come with some lows and just be know that most people, there's only 1% of people that choose to be entrepreneurs. You are one of the few that that choose to take on this challenge and you're doing it so you're able to take on really big challenges. And that's something that I kind of like remind myself as most people aren't willing to take this risk. I'm stronger than most people. So keep going.
I'm going to get a little bit spiritual, but not really. So- when you're thinking about the universe, there's always a give and take. There's always a balance that needs to be done. And if you're going for this business or if you're going for entrepreneurship for more flexibility and time, that means you need to be more flexible with your budget and your income because that's how the transaction is done. Time is money and money is time.
A lot of people are scared to get into entrepreneurship because there isn't consistency right away and that's why I loved Grace's advice for kind of halfway in halfway out in our first part of the interview (listen to our full episode Here) in regard to the employment thing until you have a clear idea and you get focused on what your money-making actions are. What are your responsibilities? What is your day to day role for you in the business and your clients? Then, once you start getting consistent income and you can start building confidence around that, that's when the time and money start to balance out and it's like, “Okay, now I know that if I work four hours a day I will get X amount of dollars.”
Another great point that Grace makes in her response is about flexibility. Often, we want to give up when we don't see results right away- or we don't get the sales that we worked so hard for. And, knowing your seasonal trends in your industry will help you keel to those moments. If you KNOW that your Christmas stockings won't sell in summer, then you need to budget and prepare to keel the summer months and plan for some evergreen products in your line to keep your income afloat during those seasons. Which, brings us to Tip # 4-
Health Coach Business Tip #4: Know Your Numbers (Data)
Grace B.: I use my current clients to test out things that I want to implement any other place. So they're kind of my Guinea pigs right now and I tell them that. I say, “Hey, I'm, I learned this new thing. I want to try it out and want your feedback and then what works?” Then you can put it on there so that when you're know new businesses running, you've already tested some of this stuff out. You already know that it works.
This is a super important gold nugget in any business- but especially in Health Coach Businesses. Market research is the backbone of any business. You're not going to just have winning ideas all the time. You have to have market research where people are voting with their wallets and they're saying, “yes, I will pay this much for an online program or I will pay three times as much for what you're offering.” And people are honest about it- they will give you their PayPal and say, “Hey, invoice me for this. I want to try it out.” And a lot of the people that like to adopt new trends are the ones that are going to tell you if this is going to work in the market or not. Grace mentions the importance of tracking the data that you collect from your trials as well.
Grace B.: Track everything. Track what's working, what's not working, track everything. I mean, you don't want to sit there and be like, I don't know what's working. Let's try something else. If you track it, you get to go back and figure out what link in this chain needs to be changed out. Everything else might be working. You don't need to change everything. Maybe it's just one little piece that you need to swap out.
Data tracking can even be done in your sales and messaging- a lot of failed sales conversions happen when it is just being misunderstood. There's this correlation between message and sales and you have to be clear about your message and your product, and what you're offering before people are willing to say yes. Because a confused mind is always going to say “no.” Right? So it's our job as the startup to make them less confused and to offer that message in a story that will compel them to be a part of your team or part of your network, or whenever you're trying to do with your client.
Health Coach Business Tip #5: Know Your Role & Responsibilities
I continued our interview asking Grace, What's Something That Really Affects You That, You Feel Like Saying, “Oh my gosh, if only people understood this about me, they would be so much more excited about what I'm doing and what I have to offer.”?
Grace B.: I think the health coach title is often misunderstood and hope that sooner rather than later health coaches will be a household understood thing. Understanding that a health coach is your bridge. They help you build your own habits and empower you to own your health and your life, which I think is so different than the way that the medical field is going today. You know, you go and you see your doctor once or twice a year and they tell you what to do and then you're on your own.
We've all been there. Being stereotyped by our title or profession. But, knowing your roles and responsibilities clearly enough that you can speak to those stereotypes and educate others is how you will gain a passionate following. As said before- a confused mind always says “No.” It is your job to establish your role and identify it clearly, not only yourself but to your industry and those that are outliers just outside of your specialty.
Health Coach Business Tip #6: Be Professional
The follow-up question I ask to her response was this: “So how do you speak to those people that feel like you have to be a well-educated MD professional to be a health coach? And what would, um, what would almost set you aside from almost make you as a complimentary benefit to a physician or a personal trainer?”
Grace B.: I'll speak to this has a health coach and as a personal trainer that, and as a general rule, if we want to be taken seriously as part of the medical sphere of care, then we need to treat ourselves professionally. I do see some value in getting a certification. There are several really good certifications out there. Then continue to learn and behave as a professional. The health coach industry is kind of newer- I'll kind of bundle it with the fitness industry- that there's a lot of fitness professionals who do not behave in a professional manner. Therefore the industry as a whole has kind adopted a stereotype as all trainers are not serious professionals, and it affects the reputation of the industry. I do think that's changing and if there are more of us who treat ourselves as professionals who continue to learn and continue to interact with doctors and you know, become a resource for doctors, then I think that people will start treating us as if we're in within the medical sphere.
Grace's insight is spot on for any industry, but especially an industry that recognizes certifications and MDs as qualifications for work. The Health Coaching industry faces a lot of skepticism from the medical community and it has affected the choices of the general public in a lot of ways. The best way to hold a credible reputation is to stay professional in all of your social media posts, client interactions, and networking events. When you take yourself seriously, your expectations of those around you are for them to do the same as they interact with you. Another great thing to do is find doctors and local authorities in your industry that are willing to use you as a support resource. In the health coaching field- the natural relationship to have would be to work alongside a doctor that has patients that might need extra daily support or accountability while they go through new habit changes. Or working with a nutritionist and ensuring your client sticks to their meal plan in between the monthly visits.
Health Coach Business Tips Recap
If you're like me most days where you just want to skip to the meat and bones- here is the advice I can give you in my interaction with Grace:
- Start with an exit plan- It's extremely important to exit your employment life appropriately. You don't want to lose income before replacing it or burn bridges that might benefit your business long term. So, be strategic with your career moves and plan for your time to go full-time entrepreneur. This is also great advice for a military spouse with an existing business because we never know when we need to move again. By planning a strategy around how you can keep or transition your client base, you are freeing up valuable time for networking and expanding on your next duty station.
- Hire your coach– I can't say “Hell Yeah” to this enough! Having a Coach that has been there and done that can effectively cut your error time 10x. A coach with the proper experience and talent can save you a lot of wasted time and money in your business building. And, it's always great to have someone that gets what this entrepreneur's life is all about and what anxieties you might be experiencing.
- Learn from your business and know its trends- As a health coach, it is really important to know the trends of your business and to learn from the day to day operations. Take note of trends that are happening in your industry. Apply them to existing clients and see if it is working. Numbers don't lie so track everything!
- Know your health coach business numbers and learn from them- Test, Test, Tes- its the name of the game. It is so important to do proper market research and test your products before putting the time and money into launching them. Let people give you honest feedback through surveys. Know who your ideal market is, find them online, and ask them questions- if the problem is big enough they'll be more than happy to help you find a solution that you can offer to your client base.
- Know your roles and responsibilities- Knowing your roles and responsibility as a professional will keep you out of a lot of trouble! For example, a coach needs to know how to speak to their clients and help them without practicing therapeutic techniques that are exclusive to professionals like therapists. Specifically for health coaches, it's important to define your role to your client so that you're not misconstrued as a medical professional that will help cure them of disease or ailment.
- Be professional- Professionalism seems to be a dying characteristic in younger generations, but its something that will instantly give you an authority in a relationship. Treating yourself as a professional will show the world that you are to be taken seriously and as an expert in your field.
I hope you enjoy the read and please feel free to share your insight in the comments section! We love hearing for our readers and learning about our community. If you want to hear Grace and I discuss this all and more click play below:
Where To Find Grace B.
You can find Grace in a couple of different places. Her website is www.fitpathcoaching.com. You can also find her on Instagram @gracebfitness. It's really easy to interact with her there. There's a link to all the websites, you can schedule a call or dm her.
Are You Taking Clients?
Grace B.: Yes. I'll actually be starting a 12-week challenge starting the beginning of February. So I'm accepting clients right now to start first thing in February. ALL SIGN UPS IN JANUARY GET A PROMOTIONAL OFFER FOR February Start date so be sure to sign up in January to claim your promo!
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