Hey MilSpos! Alas! We are launching a campaign around featuring fellow military spouse business owners and interviewing them about their story and industry (today, we are learning about Grace's Online health coaching business).
The campaigns main goal is to give all of my military spouses and digital nomads some education, inspiration, and motivation to build and create their empire. After all, If these amazing Military Spouses have done it, then – so can you!
And for those of you trying to find the right business for yourself- seize this opportunity to get to know more about different business models and what might work for you and your lifestyle & goals-
It's been a great holiday and everyone is ramped up and ready for the new year. Many, turning to health and wellness goals for 2020- I thought it appropriate to launch our featured MilSpo campaign with a woman that I have come to be a huge fangirl of, an amazing health coach with a very big vision.
Her expertise in health coaching and fitness as a personal trainer alongside hearing about her journey as a start-up will inspire you to see online health coaching as a viable option to a PCS proof business. Listen to the full episode here.
The Story of Grace B. & Her Journey From Veterinary Student to Online Health Coach
Grace: So, my name is Grace Barnick Damaso. I am a personal health coach and fitness trainer, but I haven't always been. I actually went to school to become a vet. So I have a degree in animal biology.
I had never intended really to work with people. Most of us who want to become a vet, we go into that field because we don't really interact very well with humans. We do really well with animals and love them so much. So we want to spend all of our time with animals. As soon as I got into college, I ended up meeting a professor who was studying suicide rates amongst professional students and she was finding that the highest suicide rates were among, students that, sadly enough, were studying to be vets.
Her hypotheses for why that was happening is because we care so much about animals. We're not prepared mentally to handle sick, abused animals or animals that most people end up just deciding to put down. And I knew that I was probably in that boat.
So I decided to keep my major, but I ended up studying more on behavior and how that links to disease and then how that translates to humans. For instance, looking at what preventable diseases are caused by human behavior, things like diabetes, heart disease, and going into viral diseases, like HIV, all of that. I studied how we as humans, can shift our behavior to prevent those diseases from happening.
So I ended up shifting into more of that and fell in love with it so fast. I really loved my degree. I'm really fortunate to go to a college that allowed me to do whatever I wanted basically. And it kind of, you know, as a college student you kind of find all these paths and then eventually, you end up with the one you're supposed to be on.
What Brought You Into Military Life and Online Health Coaching?
Grace: Well, I was in the wine industry for about 10 years. So when I graduated from college, I graduated right in the middle of the recession and there were no jobs in the public health field at that time. So I went back to hospitality, which is what I did through high school and college and ended up working in the wine industry. I moved back to my hometown from Napa, Napa Valley to San Luis Obispo, California, which is a small coastal town, just West of Lemoore Naval air station. And my now husband had just gotten off deployment and was living there and we met online. We had a long distance relationship. He lived about two hours away and we would spend, you know, a weekend a month traveling back and forth, getting to spend time together. That really was the beginning of me having to think about, you know, if this relationship has a future, which I felt it did. And so did he- How do I make the wine industry travel with me, which is not possible.
When Did You Go Into Health Coaching?
Grace: It was gradual. .. I was really fortunate to have a coach and gym owner in San Louis Obispo that I was a member of. And he presented the opportunity to me to become a trainer. He needed someone to help him out. He was getting too busy and I loved it. I was a committed member there and he presented the opportunity if I wanted to get my certification that he would hire me as a trainer. So, at that time I had switched over into a hotel management position. Thinking ahead thinking, okay, hotel hospitality probably has more feasibility with jobs around the world. Um, and started part time personal training. So I would work the 5:00 AM 6:00 AM clients and then change and go and put on my heels and go into hospitality management and then after work go back to the gym and either get my workout in or work with another client. So it was a gradual, it was a side job that I ended up finally falling in love with. And when I moved down to San Diego decided to switch over full time.
How Would You Describe What Exactly You Do If You Were Explaining Online Health Coaching to Your Parents?
For example, what exactly do you do in your health coach business with the military life in mind? Knowing that one day you'll probably be overseas and the next day you'll probably be somewhere in Timbuktu.
Grace: That's a good question. Over the summer, we did know that we were going to be putting in for orders and knew it most likely was not going to be in San Diego. So already I had started to kind of think ahead- How do I take what I do (one on one health coach & training) and provide it for as many people as possible or be able to just transplant when we move.
The most feasible way to do that is an online platform. So I started looking into how to transition training to a successful online platform. And what I had been seeing being done for the majority of online health coach and trainers didn't really provide much success because you're missing that accountability piece. Most online health programs don't really yield great results for, for their clients. So I had to figure out how do I make this work for a specific clientele and how do I get them results and how do I make this a long term thing?
So I started looking into, you know, how do we hold accountability online and with the market that I'm a part of -military spouses, how do we create a community that they're able to hold each other accountable and therefore continue to see results, not just temporarily, but as a lifestyle change. So now that's what I really focus on is how do I provide the most amount of health coaching and training service to military spouses and how do we get them results and how do we keep those results long term.
Online Health Coach & General Business Practice Side Note:
I love what Grace is saying here because honestly, I've been coaching for a while now and a lot of my clients come from start-up and wanting to scale out without realizing that there must be time and attention put in to building community and networking the right way.
The most common problem Grace is facing in her online health coaching journey, I would say, is a universal problem: finding that sweet spot online where you can still have that human interaction and that accountability that Grace is talking about. It's also a great model for a military spouse or any digital nomad because you can bring your business offline with ease.
You can meet new spouses & communities at your new base or destination and help them through your online health coaching business all while expanding your reach through their social media connections and word of mouth. So it's great to see a young entrepreneur implementing this strategy early on and it's so important to think about scalability in that sense where you can have multiple reaches and multiple networks that you can kind of pick and choose from.
Pulling Back The Curtain on Online Health Coaching.
What Exactly Is Online Health Coaching? What Does It Look Like for Your Client and What Are Your Responsibilities As The Health Coach?
My interview with Grace was so packed with information that we had a chance to get a full inside look at what an online health coaching business looks like. The interview continues with the following question:
Tell me a little bit more about your health coaching company. What does your company do concerning keeping spouses accountable? Is that your job as a trainer or is there like an app that's involved?
Yes and yes and yes. Part of the program is you have access to me. So we do weekly check ins. There is a digital app where you are able to see all your workouts online. The health coaching app comes with a video- so you get digital health coaching and fitness tutorials from me. In addition, it sends me, the health coach, information I need to see how your training is going, There is also a way to do online health assessments. I can see how you're moving. And then there's notes and things that we can exchange back and forth.
So it's a way of you holding yourself accountable. And then I'm there as another layer of accountability because my goal for all my clients is that they're not dependent on me, that they gain a little bit of ownership over the online health coaching program.
In addition to that, there is an online community that is able to share tips and share struggles and challenges and you have a pool of other spouses, women, men, girlfriends, and boyfriends on there that are going through the same journey with you.
You're able to interact with them as so you have an extra layer of community and accountability. I don't know about you, but most people, if they've joined a gym, oftentimes the best thing about it is the people that you meet. And it's fun when you're there and you have a great time. And that's what I wanted to create in an online space.
Do you recruit for other health coaches & trainers to work alongside you?
That would be my hope for the future. I would love to be able to S, you know, support other military spouse, trainers and coaches as well. Right now it's just me, but I have a bigger vision for
What Type of Clients Do You Attract to Your Health Coaching Business? What Type of Clients Compel You to Keep Going?
Grace B: So the clients that really keep me going are the ones who see the longterm. You know, we all want to look better, I feel, but the clients that really keep me going are the ones who see the longterm benefits that want to live longer. They want to, you know, be able to be there for my kids and be a good example for their kids or grandkids. Those are the ones I feel like keep me going. Because of the market that I'm in here in San Diego, I do end up getting a little bit older clientele. So you know, for them it's, I'm in pain and I don't want to be in pain anymore. And I, you know, one of my favorite things is a client that came to me originally and they were hurting now says that doesn't hurt anymore. That's awesome. That makes me feel like, “Yeah, that makes me feel like I did my job.”
As my time with Grace was nearing an end we started gabbing about entrepreneurship and general mindset issues that new entrepreneurs face. We had a lot of fun exchanging ideas and laughing about the random ladybug on my laptop that interrupted my closing statement in our recording.
Summary About Starting Your Health Coaching Business The Right Way
Grace makes some great points for any potential online health coach to implement:
- Know your clients and what they want– Grace has a good understanding of her current market in San Diego. She has taken the time to hear them and accommodate her health coaching plans around their lifestyle and goals. She mentioned working with an older clientele that experiences more pain and how she's so satisfied seeing that pain diminishes or goes away. Her passion truly comes off in her servitude for others and clearly know what they need- and then appropriately serving them.
- Use your experience and story to connect and create community- All businesses need to network, but the online health coaching business especially thrives with networking and connection. Creating a community and offering comradery to those experiencing similar transformation and have similar goals will ensure the success of your client. Happy clients = repeat business!
- Think ahead- We never know how long we will stay in one spot. Future planning can be difficult without a plan B or a strategy to exit and transition into a new market. Anticipating her move and the transient lifestyle Grace is submerged in has brought her to realize that thinking ahead for potential opportunities and areas that need extra attention during times of transition will always make the move and transfer of clients more seamless. And, if you do it right, you can keep your business running without being geographically there to conduct it (see my article about why opening an online business is a MUST).
All in all, I loved my time with Grace and have already started talking about her revolutionary online health coaching program to others in my network. For those of you looking to use her services or simply want to connect to ask more questions about her mission and what she is doing, you can find her at:
or follow her on Instagram @gracebfitness
Listen to the full podcast episode here:
You can also read about Part 2 of our convo here.
Hey MilSpo! Are You A Seasoned Entrepreneur? Ready To Gain Visibility & Increase Exposure?
If you are a Military Spouse and have been in business for a year or more, then consider booking a podcast interview with me! We will feature you in our podcast episode and create a blog article similar to this one to feature your business. This is a great way to connect with other spouses, share your story, and gain authority in your industry! Book your time slot here.