Congratulations, you just graduated! What next?
You probably have millions of exciting ideas to execute in the health and wellness space. Good!
At the same time, despite all that energy, you may have that tingling feeling of uncertainty. Will you have enough support? Will everything actually work out as planned?
These thoughts may appear suddenly when it’s finally time to face the unknown. All new graduates experience this when they’re first starting out in their health business.
The good news is that most of those fears are unfounded. In this post, I will identify three things you need to focus on so you can progress through your plans and feel great about yourself.
If you will be graduating or have graduated as a health coach, nutritionist, naturopathic doctor, personal trainer or any kind of integrative medical practitioner or alternative health professional this post is for you.
Let’s Go Back to the Very Beginning
Back when I started out in 2007 as a nutritionist, I was living in a holistic bubble, where I was immersed in everything healthy, organic and holistic. I felt that I had to share my knowledge and everyone needed to know the secret to health and happiness. It did not take long for my bubble to burst and for reality to set in.
I had to face some hard truths about money and running a successful business.
It’s Not All About Money
One of the most frequent statements I hear from new health practitioners within The Wellness Business Hub Community is “I need to make money now.”
Making money is important for the longevity of your career, but you have to understand that it does not occur immediately: you need to invest significant time and energy to get to that point.
Pick a Niche
Right off the bat, you need to determine which niche market you will be practicing in and which area of health you will focus on. In my case, as a nutritionist, I decided to specialize in the treatment of candida and digestion, and later transitioned into weight loss.
If you are uncertain or have no idea about which area of health you wish to specialize in, that is OK. You can simply pick an area that you are most comfortable in at the moment and roll with it.
Try picking a niche that you are most passion about and one that you are most knowledgeable in — one that you would like to share with the world.
You can always change your niche. Truth is, whatever you chose today will probably change as you change. So do not put too much pressure on yourself at the start, you will eventually find your true calling.
Try not to get deterred by authoritative figures within a niche as there is more than enough room for you. Google any niche or specialty and you will likely find every single type of specialist on that health topic.
Identify Your Ideal Client
After you find your niche, it’s time for you to figure out who your ideal client is. Who can your practice impact the most? Who do you want to work with?
You will be dedicating all of your educational and marketing material towards this specific type of client.
When I was working within the weight loss niche, which is quite vast, with many different types of clients, I targeted menopausal women who wanted to lose 20 lbs without giving up wine and chocolate.
The content I created and marketed directly targeted and addressed the personal issues, challenges, fears and desires menopausal women faced.
Does that mean I did not work with other types of clients? Of course not. But I spent my valuable time and energy creating content to attract my ideal client, and used my expertise to work with whichever type of client desired my services.
You need to focus on a specific audience so your story can resonate and hold meaning.
How to Identify Your Ideal Client
So how do you identify your ideal client? Here are a few questions you should think about:
1) What do they value?
2) What are their past experiences?
3) What challenges do they face that prevents them from bettering themselves?
4) If they could swallow a magic pill, how would that pill transform their bodies and lives?
5) What are their goals?
6) What kind of personalities do you mesh well with?
7) What kind of personalities do you not want to work with?
These questions will help you create a persona of your ideal client. Give them a background so you can visualize everything about them. All the content you create will have this ideal person in mind so it’s important to visualize the needs of the person you seek to help.
This process will hopefully prevent your content from being too broad and generic, and in-turn fail to connect with anyone.
Get Yourself Out There
The next step is to get yourself out there. Start off by sending an email to friends and family (this is the safest environment to start with) detailing your new career path.
The intention of the email is to put yourself out there and legitimize yourself, for lack of a better word. You want those people to know what you specialize in, who you intend to help, and how they can support you in achieving your goals.
They will essentially be your ‘guinea pigs’. You will be practicing your communication, sales, educating and coaching skill sets with them.
Indeed, your first client should be friends and family, even if they do not match your ideal client description or pay. Take them on for testimonials, feedback and practice. (The point of this exercise is to gain experience and improve your practice.)
You may not have any content or experience, but it’s a good place to start. Plus, it makes everything feel more real.
Just getting started will alleviate jittery nerves and is the first key step to honing in on your ideal niche.
There you have it. Those are the three primary things you should focus on as a new graduate when you’re first starting out: identifying your niche, identifying your ideal client and getting yourself out there.
Those things take precedence over building your website or designing a logo. Everything else comes after these three things have marinated and cemented in your mind.
Focus on a narrow niche to start with, start generating content for your ideal client, and everything else will resolve itself around that.
Here are a few more things you can do when starting out.
Write, Write, and Write Some More
Writing will let you know which people gravitate towards your business and will also help improve your communication skills. Just by talking and writing about your passion, you will most likely make adjustments to your niche or your ideal client over time.
And don’t worry, you’ll be able to move and repackage most of your old content to fit into your new niche. Want more help on how to write copy that converts? Check out Episode 53 of The Business of Becoming Podcast.
How Many People Do You Want to Work With?
Set a goal of how many people you want to work with. For example, you could try work with ten people within the first sixty days. The goal is to get some experience under your belt and get some testimonials. It’s worth doing the work for free if you have to.
Build an Email List
The final thing you need to focus on is building an email list. In fact, you need to start building your email list from your very first client. The growth and success of your practice directly relates to the relationships you build with your email list.
Want to learn more about email marketing? Check out episode 13 of The Business of Becoming podcast.
Starting out isn’t easy. Put one foot forward in front of the other, one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be running towards continued success.
Are you fresh out of grad school and thinking about your next step? Drop your thoughts, comments and questions and let’s talk! Or join my free online community to connect with more than 12 000 other health and wellness professionals building and growing their business.