Most Health Coaches have key tenets in common: a passion for health and wellness and the desire to share their knowledge with others. Becoming a full-time Health Coach is a big commitment, and many new coaches find themselves unwilling or unable to make the leap from their current career into one as a Health and Wellness Coach. Many coaches begin their journeys working part-time, and then they may choose to transition their side gigs into full-time careers as they develop their businesses.
Your job can play a significant role in defining who you are – and feeling satisfied in your career contributes to your overall well-being. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) even designates career as one of the major pillars of primary food, which is anything that feeds you off the plate; other categories of primary food include fitness, relationships, and spirituality. To be genuinely happy and healthy, you must be satisfied in all these areas of your life.
Starting Your Side Hustle
A Health Coach acts as a supportive guide for clients as they embark on their wellness journey, guiding them through changes in their personal lives, nutritional goals, and lifestyle habits. Coaches can mentor clients to integrate nutrition and dietary changes into their lives in the best way possible, in order to help them keep up the momentum even when things get challenging.
Your journey toward becoming a Health Coach and beginning your newfound side hustle will vary depending on time, your previous experience, and your goals for the business – but will typically follow steps like these:
1. Get certified.
Because it’s an emerging industry in healthcare, people are beginning to understand the important role that health coaching plays. There are many different training programs that one can take in order to become a Health Coach, but they’re not all created equal! Some require a nutrition degree, and others are specifically vocational programs.
IIN offers The Health Coach Training Program, which provides a comprehensive holistic health and health coaching education, fostering personal transformation and preparing graduates for career success. Students learn from more than 95 experts in fields such as integrative health, public health, nutrition, functional medicine, spirituality, alternative healing modalities, business, marketing, and coaching.
IIN’s program is accredited by global organizations and recognized by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), providing graduates with a pathway to pursue board certification as well as continuing education opportunities. Getting educated through a quality program, especially one that provides business education to get your side hustle up and running, is key.
2. Identify your target audience.
Defining your wellness niche allows you to target exactly who you are looking to help. If you advertise yourself as someone who helps clients “meet their wellness goals,” potential clients may shy away because they’re not totally sure if that offering meets their specific needs. What kind of goals do you mean? Nutrition and diet? Exercise? Mental health? Finding your niche and using language that accurately explains your services allows clients to feel more comfortable seeking you out.
When figuring out your niche, really take the time to determine what you’re passionate about. If you enjoy your work, your clients will, too. Identifying your target audience will also help to reduce some of the competition you have with other coaches. Most clients are looking for assistance in specific areas of their lives, so by targeting smaller, more specific audiences, you can advertise yourself to the exact audience you’re looking to attract.
3. Create a Business Plan.
Starting a new business without a business plan can lead to avoidable mistakes and lost income. You don’t need to be perfect to get started, but having a plan can help you balance your current career with your burgeoning side gig. Starting with set goals, financial objectives, marketing strategies, and other targets will help keep your business on the path forward. Don’t forget to think about the time you’ll need to dedicate to your side hustle – you don’t want to experience burnout!
IIN offers IINBiz – a premier marketing platform that provides graduates with ready-to-use marketing materials like client forms, handouts, newsletter templates, webinars, and more – to its graduates. Consistency is key when it comes to marketing yourself, and the IINBiz platform offers done-for-you content specifically curated for wellness entrepreneurs.
4. Optimize your social media presence.
Social media is an important aspect of growing your business and a great way to connect with other coaches and potential future clients. Even if you don’t have professional experience in running social media accounts, posting what inspires you can help inspire others.
It’s important to build a follower base to share your content with. You can invite existing friends to support your new endeavor, follow other creators in the space (and interact with them in a thoughtful way), run paid ads, and cross-promote your content on other platforms to build your audience.
IIN grad and health influencer Meghan Swidler says that Instagram is her social media platform of choice. “I love that I can actually, regularly engage with my community via direct message, weekly Q&As – which I do every Sunday and Wednesday – and Instagram Lives.” Engaging with your audience is one of the best ways to build up your reputation and your social media presence. Not only does this promote your programs in the platform algorithm, but it shows your audience that you’re also interested in them and their wellness journeys.
The Bottom Line
Many IIN students begin health coaching on the side of their full-time jobs while they’re still developing their skills and confidence. Some continue with their current job and keep health coaching as a part-time gig as they build their business. It’s all about your personal needs, preferences, circumstances, and priorities. Once you’ve had some experience in the health coaching field, you can decide if you want to move forward with doing it full-time, integrate it into your existing work, or continue with a part-time schedule.