This is a question I get asked a lot, and so I wanted to take the time to write out exactly how I got my first paying Health Coaching clients.
I am launching a Health Coach Masterclass in just a few weeks on How to Build a Profitable Practice, which breaks down the exact steps you need to take to get your own first paying clients, and also consistent clients after this to build a successful practice. Although I feel that everyone’s journey to getting their first paying clients is different, there is a crucial step that you need to take before you start this journey, and that is to SHARE YOUR STORY.
Yup, in order to get clients, you need to be comfortable sharing your story. People want to work with you because they relate to your story. If you aren’t currently sharing your story – on your blog, on Instagram, on Facebook, on your website, with friends, with new friends, with friends of friends, at events, at conferences – then you aren’t connecting with potential clients. I share my story almost every day on Instagram, in my blog posts, and on my website.
HOW I GOT MY FIRST CLIENTS
My first five health coaching clients came to me through Instagram (when I had under 5,000 followers) and a partnership with a Pilates studio here in San Francisco. I had paying clients before I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a certified Health Coach. In doing so I was able to pay off my tuition before I graduated.
But let’s go back in time.
I quit my banking job back in April of 2017. At this time, I was 5 months into my 12-month Health Coaching Certification program. That same month I got introduced by a friend of mine, who was a Pilates instructor, to the owner of MNT Studio who was looking for a Health Coach to offer nutrition services to their members. You know how that happened? Because I shared my story with her of how I was about to quit my job in Corporate Banking to become a Health Coach. Once she heard my story, she immediately said she needed to introduce me to the owner of the Pilates studio.
The introductions happened, then a formal interview and I got offered a partnership with MNT Studio. I would be offering my health coaching services to their clients and I could keep autonomy with my pricing and scheduling. I would do the client intake and would pay the studio a % every month.
I went on a month-long solo trip to Colombia in May 2017. I would explore during the day and work at night on my website and marketing materials. What was important for my website was to have my story on there. I wanted people at the studio who picked up my business card at the front desk, to go to my website and read my story. I was also on the Pilates studio’s website with my photo and my story as well. It wasn’t just about what I offered, but WHO I AM and my health journey. And this paid off. Because in June 2017 I came back and officially launched Balance by Molly. I dropped off my business cards at the studio and I started to come by weekly to work out and talk to members.
Within a month I had two people reach out who wanted to work with me. And if I am being totally honest I was SO SURPRISED that they want to work with me. But I knew I was ready; despite my fear and self-doubt, I found my confidence from my knowledge and ability to do it and kick some health coaching ass.
I treated those first two clients of mine like they were gold. I showed up at their work, their home, or wherever was most convenient for them for our sessions. I bent over backwards for them and within another few weeks I had my third client. All in the month of June. They all said they connected with my story on my website and my blog of my gut health journey as they also were struggling with digestive issues.
In July, I changed I added my website link to my Instagram profile and started to post more personal stories about my journey and my relationship with food. By early August I had gained more followers and I had two people reach out to me via Instagram DM. I conducted phone consultations with both of them and immediately took them on as my fourth and fifth clients. One of these clients was Ali Bonar of @avokween who said I was relatable and connected with my story that I shared on Instagram.
HOW I KEEP GETTING CLIENTS
I continued to treat my first 5, then my first 10 clients like gold. I was taking Lyft across the city to new client’s homes and offices. I was working weekends, early mornings, whatever I had to do to make them happy. I knew that my first clients would become my sales force, and if I treated them well, then they would tell their friends, their family, their spouses, partners, co-workers and followers about me.
And even though I have an office now where I see clients, and since have passed the torch on my Pilates studio partnership, I still treat all my clients like the rare and beautiful gems that they truly are. I learn so much from their stories that they share with me. It reminds me every day how important our stories are, and how we should never hold back from sharing or connecting.