How to Start a Wellness Coaching Business: A Step by Step Guide
Advancements in tech have made everything from food and entertainment to communication and transportation a lot more convenient.
Need a ride? There’s an app for that.
Craving for your favorite dish? You can have it delivered to your door in minutes.
But all that modernness also has its drawbacks. The need for speed and instant gratification, combined with the day-to-day pressures in people’s professional and personal lives are causing stress and anxiety in many individuals.
Studies show that people today have higher stress levels than compared to those in the 1990s. Research published in the journal American Psychologist found that overall, Americans experience 2% more stress than in the previous decade. The results are more alarming in middle-aged respondents, whose stress levels are 19% higher compared to those in the 1990s.
And if that wasn’t all, we have the new normal to battle it out, which is constantly adding to our mental and physical wellbeing.
Modern life clearly is no walk in the park, and some people need help with coping.
This is where wellness coaching comes in.
With the right training and techniques, wellness coaches can help clients overcome personal and professional challenges. These coaches can arm clients with the knowledge and skills they need to live happier and healthier lives.
If you’re interested in starting a wellness coaching business (sometimes referred to as a health coaching business), this guide has you covered. Below, you’ll learn the steps you should take to get your business off the ground, so you can start helping clients — and earn a living while you’re at it.
Let’s get started.
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- What is a Wellness Coach?
- How Much Do Wellness Coaches Make?
- Steps on Starting a Wellness Coaching Business
What is a Wellness Coach?
A wellness coach is a professional who helps individuals improve their wellbeing by implementing psychological, life coaching, behavioral change techniques. Depending on their specializations and the needs of their clients, wellness coaches can assist with things like:
- boosting someone’s confidence
- changing their habits and behaviors for the better
- reaching their personal or professional goals
- helping them manage stress
Those in the business of health and wellness coaching can take a holistic approach when helping their clients, and they focus on improving people’s physical, mental, and emotional health. However, coaches may also specialize or focus on some areas more than others.
How Much Do Wellness Coaches Make?
According to Glassdoor, a wellness coach earns an average of $56,000 a year, though that can go up to $84,000+ annually.
How much you make depends on your niche and wellness coaching business model. A health coach or wellness coach who specializes in a particular market or positions themselves as a high-end provider will likely earn more than a generalist.
Meanwhile, a wellness coaching entrepreneur who’s built a business with other coaches working for them will have a higher income compared to someone who’s just dabbling the field.
5 Steps to Starting a Wellness Coaching Business
Now that you know the basics of being a wellness coach, let’s dive into how you can start your wellness coaching business. Here are steps you should take to get your endeavor off the ground.
1. Decide On Your Niche
One of the first things you should do when mapping out your wellness coach business is to identify the niche you’d like to focus on. While it may be tempting to be a generalist who caters to clients across various age groups, genders, and income levels, trying to be all things to everyone will result in a lack of focus and clarity in your business.
As a wellness coach, you’ll be much more competitive if you can figure out your ideal client. Zero in on the type of people you’d like to serve by asking basic questions like:
- How old are they? (e.g., millennials, boomers, gen Z, etc.)
- What gender do they identify with?
- What do they do for a living? (e.g., entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom, company employee, etc.)
- Where do they live?
From there, you can go deeper and identify the issues that your clients are grappling with. For example:
- Are they always feeling overwhelmed?
- Do they lack confidence?
- Are they ambitious, competitive go-getters who want to get ahead?
Answering the questions above will allow you to get clear on the type of coach you want to be and the clientele that you serve. That, in turn, will inform your decisions around the certifications to take, coaching methods to implement, the services that you offer, and how you’ll market your business.
2. Get Trained and Certified In Wellness Coaching
Next up, let’s talk about training and certifications. Unlike doctors or lawyers, wellness coaches aren’t subject to strict regulations. You don’t have to earn a wellness school diploma and there’s no bar exam to take if you want to pursue the career of a health or wellness coach.
However, there are associations that offer formal education and certifications in wellness coaching. There are also training and certification programs for specific coaching methods and modalities.
We highly recommend engaging in these programs when starting your wellness coaching business. For one, training and certification give you the knowledge and skills you need to do your job better, so you and your clients can get results. What’s more, having an official certificate attached to your name or business gives you credibility, which increases trust and helps you attract customers.
General wellness coaching certifications
As a starting point, it’s best to take a more general coaching certification. There are plenty of institutions that offer this. You can check out your local schools or tap into your network to see if anyone can recommend a program.
There are also several online certifications that you can take. Here are some of the most popular ones the health and wellness space:
- Wellness Coach Certificate Course Online from the International Association of Professions Career College
- Wellness Counseling Certificate from Cornell University
- Health & Wellness Coach Certification from the American Fitness Professionals & Associates
- The Wellcoaches Certification Program
- Certified Wellness Practitioner Program (CWP by National Wellness Institute)
- Certified Wellness Program Coordinator Course
- Wellcoaches School
The length, costs, and specific details of these courses and programs will vary, but generally you can expect to learn about:
- Establishing client relationships
- Connecting with individuals through empathy and compassion
- Client observation and evaluation
- Eliciting desired behaviors
- Promoting positive outcomes around mental, physical, and emotional health
Training in specific coaching techniques
In some cases, you could choose to dive deeper into certain coaching techniques and modalities. There are several methods out there, and the right ones depend on your wellness coaching business.
They may include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Appreciative Inquiry
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
- Motivational Interviewing
3. Iron Out Your Coaching Process
Already trained and certified? The next thing to think about is your coaching process. How will you provide your services? When and where will sessions take place? Let’s take a closer look at the decisions you should be making when ironing out your wellness coaching process:
The Specific Services That You’ll Offer
Think about the types of coaching services that you’ll provide. If you’re trained in multiple methods, you could choose to offer holistic coaching that uses multiple modalities or you could offer sessions that focus on specific techniques.
Karen Fiorucci of Beyond Words Wellness does both. On her booking page, you’ll see that Karen offers wellness sessions that specifically focus on a technique or area of the client’s life — for example she has energy healing consultations as well as private yoga and meditation. But Karen also offers more general and holistic sessions; she provides life coaching, holistic nutrition consults, and more.
Group Versus Individual Coaching
Are you going to do one-on-one sessions or would you like to coach multiple people at once?
One-on-one coaching is extremely hands-on, and typically involves regular meetings with the client and the coach.
Group coaching, on the other hand, can take the form of a class (offline or virtual), wherein the coach guides and teaches their students.
You can do both, of course.
The Coaching Center for Mindtraining and Success, for instance, provides personal coaching for individuals as well as sales teams and group coaching.
Your Coaching Packages and Offerings
Decide on how you’ll package up your services. Do you want to let your clients purchase a la cart or will you bundle up multiple sessions in one package?
The right answer depends on the nature of your services and methods.
Where and How the Coaching Will Take Place
Next up, decide on the where and the how of your coaching sessions.
If you’re a people person who needs to feel the physical energy of your clients or if your techniques require face-to-face interactions, then having in-person coaching sessions would be ideal. In this case, your clients can come to your business location or you could come to them.
Face-to-face sessions can certainly be rewarding and meaningful, but one downside is that you’re limited to serving people within a specific location. If this is how you prefer to coach clients, then you’ll need to focus on local marketing and getting in front of people in the areas that you serve.
On the other hand, if you’re open for business all over the world, you can opt to coach people remotely. These sessions can take place over the phone or via video conferencing.
The biggest advantage of this method is convenience. You can coach your clients no matter where they are as long as they have a phone or internet connection.
There’s also the option of doing both. Depending on your methods or business model, you can administer your services in-person for local clients while doing virtual sessions for customers who aren’t in your vicinity.
That’s what Erikka Keefer of Hope Abounds Health and Wellness is doing. She provides holistic health coaching sessions over Skype, but also has services — like in-home massages and Splankna Therapy — in which she heads to the client’s location.
4. Set Up the Proper Systems for Your Wellness Coaching Business
Systems and procedures aren’t the sexiest of topics, particularly in the realm of wellness, but they’re a must for any successful business.
Solid, repeatable processes will streamline your operations, minimize admin work as well as human error. All that will result in fewer distractions and higher productivity levels, which allow you to show up for your clients in the best way possible.
Appointment scheduling is a critical component of any service-based business — and wellness coaches are no exception. You need to have a smooth scheduling experience to maximize your session bookings.
To do that, arm your business with appointment scheduling software that lets your clients book sessions with minimal friction. Your solution should allow you to take bookings on your website, on social media, on Google, and anywhere in which you have a presence. Having a booking link that you can share directly with your clients is also a must.
Your booking portal should be self-service and integrate directly with your calendar so all you and your clients have to do is show up at the designated time.
Santina Giordano, a wellness facilitator and EFT Craniosacral therapist, shared her experiences on running a wellness business without one, the hassles it created, and how Genbook helped her get appointments in order.
Your customer interactions don’t just happen during a coaching session. There are a number of client communications that take place before and after their session. These include appointment confirmations, reminders, and feedback requests.
It’s best to automate these types of client comms. Make sure your booking system has the capabilities to send confirmations, reminders, and other types of messages without any manual work on your end. Ideally, the software should work on email and SMS so you can touch base with customers using the most convenient channels.
Aside from saving you time, automatic messages make you look more professional and keep you and your customers on the same page at all times.
You need to earn a living as a wellness coach, so be sure to set up your payment systems properly.
Choose a merchant services provider that allows you to accept multiple payment types, and make sure it is integrated with your booking platform. This will enable you to take deposits at the time of booking or charge cancellation/no-show fees in the event that someone doesn’t make it to their session.
5. Market your wellness coaching business
A coaching business isn’t one of those “build it and they will come” type of endeavors. You need to put in the work to get your name out there. Here are some of the most common — and low-cost — ways to market your wellness coaching business.
Get listed on local directories and review sites
Set up a listing on Google, Yelp, and other directories that your customers might use to find your business. For best results, include as many details as possible. It also helps to include photos in your listing.
Don’t forget to add a booking button on your listings, to give people the convenience of scheduling a coaching session without the need to call or manually coordinate with you and your team.
Linda Principato aka Whole Health and Wellness offers a great example of a local listing done right. Check out her Google listing, which contains all the important details about her business, along with images promoting her services.
The best part? She has a booking button on her listing, which enables clients to view her availability and book sessions without having to leave Google.
Implement Social Media Marketing
Get active on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Topics around motivation, mental health, and improving people’s wellbeing are quite popular on these platforms, and depending on your specialties and target market, you could create social media content around these topics and use them to promote your business.
You can also use social media to connect better with your target clientele. Build an audience by sharing great content and providing value, and be sure to interact with users (and the wellness community in general) by acknowledging their comments, sharing their posts, and more.
If you already have an audience, interact with them through live videos, Q&As, etc.
Pro tip: Get more out of your marketing efforts by allowing clients to book sessions with you on social media platforms. Genbook lets you add a scheduling button on your Facebook and Instagram business pages in just a few clicks, so you can drive more from your social initiatives.
Promote Word of Mouth Marketing
As a service provider, your business can thrive on word of mouth and referrals. That’s why you should encourage all your clients to help you spread the word.
An easy way to do this is by incorporating feedback and referral requests into your client interactions. When you’re wrapping a coaching session or package, make a point to ask the client to leave a review or to refer a friend.
Better yet, use a system that can automate this process. Genbook, for example, automatically sends a message to clients after their session prompting them to leave a review. You can then display your best client feedback on your booking portal and you can repurpose them on social media and other marketing collateral.
Destinys Wellness Center is doing just that. When you visit her scheduling portal, you’ll see several positive reviews on the page itself, so you can read what other clients have to say as you book your appointment.
Ready to Start Your Wellness Coaching Business?
Being a health or wellness coach can be an extremely rewarding path, as it allows you to improve other people’s lives, while earning a living of your own. Hopefully, the guide gives you a better idea of what it takes to start your wellness coaching business and we hope the examples above inspire your efforts. Want more information on how to start and grow a business? Subscribe to Genbook’s newsletter for handpicked content delivered to your inbox.