Well, I’m planning to launch my business…but first I need to have a logo made, get on Facebook, write my elevator speech, print business cards, and brochures, start using Twitter – oh, and Instagram, set up a table at the health expo, build my website (should I use WordPress??)…and I have to figure out my target market!
Is it any surprise that many wellness entrepreneurs NEVER get their businesses off the ground?
Back in 2009, I was in school to become a health coach. I made lots of friends, and we were all excited about our new careers.
Now, I look around, and it’s painfully obvious that only a handful of us actually made it. The others? They got overwhelmed and stuck in rabbit holes.
Let’s try to avoid those. Shall we?
Rabbit Hole #1 Naming Your Business
You know what? This IS kind of important. It’s a name that you’re going to have to live with for a long time.
You want it to be descriptive and memorable.
You could brainstorm for weeks. But what if I made this easy for you?
The truth is you don’t need a clever name for your business. The only name you need, you already have, and your parents did the hard part.
What?? I don’t want to use my name!
Yeah, yeah, I know. You want to name your business, “Find Your Balance” as I did. And years later, like me, you’ll cringe at your cliché name. Your business will change directions 3, 4, 5 times, and that name will be less and less relevant. And you’ll wish you took my advice. And then, if your last name isn’t utterly unpronounceable and impossible to spell (like Pfennighaus), you WILL take my advice.
But then I have to get all my business cards and marketing materials, reprinted!
Yes. Which brings me to my next point…
Rabbit Hole Rabbit Hole #2 Business Cards & Brochures
I’m going to blow your mind real quick, ok?
You don’t need ANY of these things to have a business. I have absolutely zero business cards or printed marketing materials. And I’m doing just fine.
Marketing your wellness business is based on building relationships. When you hand someone a small card with your contact information printed on it, are you building a relationship with that person?
Here’s what I do instead.
Let’s say I meet someone who would be an ideal client or business contact. Instead of handing them a card, I do something wild and outlandish:
I have a conversation with them.
If they inquire, I tell them about my health coaching business. But mostly, I ask questions. I become genuinely interested in who they are. I ask for their email address and then follow up with something related to our conversation. NOT a sales pitch.
Stay with me here. The good part is coming.
9 times out of 10, the person I’m emailing clicks on that link, reads my website, and replies, telling me they already tried one of my recipes and loved it.
This is how real relationships – and successful marketing – happens.
Once that person opens the conversation about my health coaching business, they are much more receptive to a suggestion like, “Why don’t I put you on my mailing list?” or “I have a free event next week, you should come.”
Try warming up a new lead like THAT with a business card. Psh.
Rabbit Hole #3 A Business Bank Account
Setting up a bank account is not hard. And if you do it right, it costs next to nothing. So why didn’t I have a business bank account for the first 4 years of my business?
I think I was too busy seeing clients and gaining valuable experience upon which my business is built today.
You can have all the boxes checked (bank account, LLC, etc.), but if you don’t get out there and do the work…you don’t have a business. You just have a really formal hobby.
To grow your business, you need clients. Once you turn into a more profitable business, you can then consider the advantages of having your own business bank account.
Rabbit Hole #4 A Logo and Website
Think about the professionals you trust with your health. Your doctor. Your dentist. Your chiropractor, acupuncturist, or therapist.
Did you hire any of them because they had a nice logo?
Heck, we pay these folks a LOT of money, and most of them don’t have a logo or website at all.
I think you see my point.
On a more practical note, when you are starting out, it’s likely that you have some experimentation ahead of you. Maybe a few months, maybe a few years. Don’t invest in a logo or fancy website until you are sure about the direction of your business.
At that point, you will find that a website can help you once you are established. You can then also look into the power of social media in the wellness industry. Until then, focus on your goals and narrow down the direction you want to take.
Take a Deep Breath and Exhale
Let go of the clever business name. The business cards and flyers. The bank account setup, logo, and website.
Can you feel the overwhelm melting away?
Tips for Starting Your Wellness Business
Now that you have a fairly good idea of what you can avoid and where you can save some time and money, let’s offer a few tips for starting your wellness business.
Set Your Goals and Stick to Them
There is a reason you wanted to start your wellness business, right? So, what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish? Don’t let all the trends get into your head.
Instead, focus on staying true to what you believe in and what you want to accomplish. You need to be excited about your wellness business!
Feel the Pulse of the Market
If you are not sure about the interests of your audience, one of the best ways to find out is to ask them directly. Using an email list can help you in this process!
Find Your Passion
To grow your business, you need to be passionate about what you are doing. If you aren’t, then you will find that you just aren’t going to be as successful as you could be.
Being an entrepreneur can be challenging if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing and driven to succeed.
Consider Your Wellness Brand
There is no script when it comes to starting your own wellness brand and business. So, stay true to who you are. Your personality is what is going to set you apart from others in the competitive wellness industry.
What are you looking to do? Personal trainer? Coaching program? Or do you want to work at a health and wellness center? Either way, you need to focus on your own wellness brand.
Your Business Plan
A business plan is key if you want to experience growth in the wellness industry. It is also a good way to help concentrate and focus on what you need to do now to ensure your business has everything it needs to get up and running on the right foot.
Consider an Online Program
When starting your health and wellness business, you want to have a clear understanding of what your clients want and need. Having an online program in place may be what you need to step out and find your target audience.
You can write a blog post, connect with like-minded people, and share ideas easily on an online platform.
While there are several things you don’t need to start your wellness business right off the bat, there are several other things you should keep in mind if you want to join the world of other wellness professionals as an entrepreneur.
However, in everything, you want to stay true to yourself and your brand and be passionate about what you are doing.
This article is a guest post by Michelle Pfennighaus
Michelle Pfennighaus is a 2009 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, changing lives around the world with her online health coaching programs. She’s now part of the IIN curriculum, sharing her expertise on marketing and social media.