Do you want to start a health and wellness coaching company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a health and wellness coaching business with NO money and no experience

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample health and wellness coaching business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample health and wellness coaching marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for health and wellness coaching companies.

In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a health and wellness coaching company. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Health & Wellness Coaching Business?

People want to live healthy, and they will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal including exercising and eating right. Health and wellness coaches are knowledgeable on how exercise, lifestyle and food affect the healthy, physiology and wellbeing of a person. They help guide people to practice healthy lifestyles.

If you want to partake in this thriving industry, you need to obtain all the necessary licenses and certifications and then launch your own health and wellness coaching business. Although there are competitions at various levels in the industry, but if you are able to come up with a good business strategy, you are sure of getting a fair share of the available market in the industry.

If you have been pondering on starting your own health and wellness coaching business, but do not know how to go about it, then you should consider going through this article; it will give you the needed guide and direction.

Starting a Health & Wellness Coaching Business – A Complete Guide

1. Understand the Industry

The Health Coaching Services industry includes health practitioners who have a bachelor’s degree in health science or any health-related field, licensure, certification or registration and primarily advise on matters of health care, and assist their clients to achieve their health goals. These practitioners operate private or group practices in their own offices or in the facilities of others, including hospitals or other medical centers.

A close study of the Health Coaching Services industry shows that the industry is truly thriving in the united states as a result of loads of Americans facing health challenges over the past decade, with skyrocketing levels of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

As a result, demand for the Health Coaching Services industry has increased and is expected to continue to rise significantly. Wellness maintenance and disease prevention have become some of the buzzwords circulating among people who are becoming increasingly concerned about what they eat and how it affects their health.

The industry has a positive outlook due to increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved exercise and dietary habits. Growing focus on preventive care services and public interest in nutrition will also underpin demand.

A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the four regions that encompass the greatest percentages of health and wellness centers include the Southeast (22.6 percent of establishments), the Mid-Atlantic (18.7 percent), the West (16.2 percent), and the Great Lakes (15.3 percent) regions of the United States.

Together, these four regions account for 72.9 percent of total establishments. The report also shows that other regions including the Southwest and Rocky Mountains account for an estimated 9.0 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Geographic analysis by state indicates that wellness centers are primarily located in California (11.0 percent of establishments), New York (7.1 percent), Texas (5.9 percent), and Florida (5.5 percent). However, the Southeast accounts for the largest region due to its high senior population. The distribution and location of establishments is strongly correlated to population spread.

The Health Coaching industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States of America and they generate over $10 billion annually from more than 147,506 registered and licensed health and wellness coaches scattered all around the country.

The industry is responsible for the employment of over 195,499 people. Experts project the industry to grow at a 2.3 percent annual rate within 2012 and 2017. It is important to state that there is no single organization that has a lion share of the available market in the industry.

It can’t be over emphasized that the demand for the services offered by health and wellness coaches grows when public confidence declines and people’s ability to handle the issues on their own wanes. When the housing bubble burst and the US economy fell into a recession, consumer confidence plummeted.

However, as the economy slowly continues to recover and consumer confidence returns, demand for the services of health coaches is expected to grow. High-income households usually serve as the primary vehicle of growth for the industry.

As a health and wellness coach, the key attributes needed to make good success from the trade is robust knowledge, patience, enthusiasm, passion about the specific area to be handled, and constant positivity. You are also expected to be highly proactive, and be good at planning.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of health and wellness coaches cut across people of different races, sex, careers, age, tribes and economic backgrounds who need a push to stay healthy and fit.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Health and wellness coaching firms tend to operate general services that a standard health and wellness coaching firm is expected to offer. That is why it seems that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some health and wellness coaching firms may decide to major in some key areas such as;

  • Health coaching cum counseling
  • Planning and monitoring exercise programs
  • Planning and monitoring food and nutrition programs
  • Promoting healthy eating habits
  • Encouraging regular medical checkups
  • Retailing of health and nutrition books and materials

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the health and wellness coaching business goes beyond competitions amongst health and wellness coaches in your location; you are expected to compete with other health consulting firms and nutrition and dieticians that have the capacity to consult and proffer health and wellness solutions to individuals who want to stay healthy and can afford it. Thus, it will be right to say the competition in the health and wellness coaching line of business is tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you can help your clients stay healthy and fit, you can deliver excellent customer care services, get testimonials from your clients and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than the others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading health and wellness coaching firms in the United States of America and also in the globe;

  • Advanced Wellness Systems
  • Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness
  • Activehealth Management, Inc.
  • Infinite Health Coach
  • Interactive Health
  • Progressive Wellness
  • Sonic Boom Wellness
  • TotalCare Wellness
  • Wellness Coaches USA
  • Wellness Corporate Solutions
  • S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. (USPM)
  • Us Corporate Wellness, Inc.
  • Navigate Wellbeing Solutions
  • WellRight, LLC
  • Asset Health, Inc.
  • New Ocean Health, LLC
  • Wellness IQ Reseller Of Vitality
  • WebMD Health Services Group, Inc.
  • American Specialty Health Management
  • Sterling Wellness Solutions, L.L.C.

Economic Analysis

When it comes to starting a health and wellness coaching firm, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business.

Starting this kind of business entails that you acquire the required education and profession certifications and also build good working relationship with stakeholders in the industry. Depending on the scale at which you want to start from, you might require as much as thousands of dollars to strike this off and at the same time you might need far less than that if you choose to start the business from your house, a virtual office and shared office space.

You will be expected to hire the services of experts that will give you comprehensive economic and cost analysis of the business. If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay long before you breakeven.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful health and wellness coaching firm as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive and difficult buying the franchise of an established health and wellness coaching firm, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proven your worth in the industry, then you might just want to start your own health and wellness coaching firm from the scratch. The truth is that starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.

Please note that most of the successful health and wellness coaching firms round started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own health and wellness coaching firm to become a successful brand with clients all across the length and breadth of the United States of America.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own health and wellness coaching firm today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established health and wellness coaching firms and other related coaching and consulting businesses who are offering almost same services that you intend offering. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other threats that you are likely going to face as a health and wellness coaching firm operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operation and global economic downturn which may affect your business. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

  • Best legal entity to use for this type of business

When considering starting a health and wellness coaching firm, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.

You have the options of choosing a general partnership, or limited liability company for your health and wellness coaching firm. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale health and wellness coaching firm especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have clients all across the United States of America, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your health and wellness coaching firm; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities available to use for your health and wellness coaching firm, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your health and wellness coaching firm so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When it comes to choosing a name for a business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own health and wellness coaching firm, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Richards Beckley & Co® Health Coaching and Wellness, LLC
  • Laura Greene® Health & Wellness Coaching Services, LLC
  • Santiago Group of Health & Wellness Coaches, LLP
  • Deb Rosen® Health & Wellness Coaching Services, LLP
  • Jake Lee© Health and Wellness Coaching Services Company, Inc.
  • Aaron Smiths & Associates® Health & Coaching, LLP
  • Green Power® Health & Wellness Coaching Services Group
  • West Coast® Health & Wellness Services, LLC
  • Phil Nelson & Co Health & Wellness Coaching, LLP
  • Louis® Health & Wellness Coaching Services, Inc.

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own health and wellness coaching firm in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Financial reinsurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own health and wellness coaching firm, usually you are required to file for intellectual property protection because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to challenge organizations and individuals in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

So also, if you want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Aside from the result oriented health and wellness coaching, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some health and wellness coaching firms stand out. If you want to make impact in the health and wellness coaching services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the certifications in your area of specialization.

Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own health and wellness coaching firm;

  • The NSHC’s Certified Health Coach, CHC.
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE) Health Coach Certification
  • International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching (ICHWC) Certification
  • Certified Integrated Health Coach
  • Sears’ L.E.A.N. (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition) System Certification
  • A bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Health Science, Nutrition or other health-related major

Please note that you cannot successfully run a health and wellness coaching firm in the United States and in most countries of the world without acquiring professional certifications and business license even if you have adequate experience and background in the industry.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catchup with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own health and wellness coaching firm in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit
  • Business License and Certification
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Consulting contract documents
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Insurance Policy
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Aside from the required certifications and hands-on experience, starting a health and wellness coaching firm can be cost effective. Securing a standard office in a good business district, equipping the office and paying your employees are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business or to partner with you.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your health and wellness coaching firm;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Health and wellness coaching firms and most coaching and consulting services based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of business if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and maximize profits from the business,

The fact that you can operate your health and wellness coaching firm from any part of the world does not mean that location has little influence on the success of a health and wellness coaching firm. If you have taken your time to study health and wellness coaching firms, you will realize that these businesses are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a busy business district.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as health and wellness coaching firm, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your health and wellness coaching firm.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your health and wellness coaching firm;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for the services of health and wellness coaching in the location
  • The purchasing power of residence in the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The numbers of health and wellness coaching firms and related coaching and consulting services businesses that in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for customized health and wellness coaching software and social media management software applications. You will also need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves).

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the health and wellness coaching firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard health and wellness coaching firm then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.

As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer/Lead Health and Wellness Coach (You can occupy this position), Health and Wellness Coaches, Nutritionist & Dietician, Accountant, Customer Service Executive / Front Desk Officer.

Over and above, you would need a minimum of 3 to 7 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard health and wellness coaching firm.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

The way health and wellness coaching firms work vary from one agency to another, but ideally, a health and wellness coaching firm is expected to first and foremost build a robust company’s profile before source for clients

Depending on the agreement reached by both parties, you are expected to come up with measurable indices (weight loss, weight gain, increase walk / work rate and overall improved health & wellness et al) that will show that the professional advice you gave or products sold is indeed producing results. In some cases, the agreed consulting fee will be paid in part and in some cases, it will be paid in full and upfront.

It is important to state that a health and wellness coaching firm may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them good return on investment (ROI) efficiency and flexibility.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

  • Marketing ideas and Strategies

As a health and wellness coaching firm, you need to prove your worth before attracting corporate organizations and individuals to hire your services. So, if you have plans to start your own business, you need to first build a successful career in the health coaching and wellness industry.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your health and wellness coaching firm, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the health and wellness coaching and the organizations you have worked.

This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for clients. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your health and wellness coaching firm;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the businesses involved in healthcare fields, such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services
  • Advertise your business in relevant healthcare magazines, radio and TV stations
  • List your business on local directories / yellow pages
  • Attend international health and wellness coaching expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to coach or consult for them
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people would consider you an expert in the field)
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your services or retail your product at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your startup capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or give you high interest rate.

Another strategy that will help you offer your health and wellness coaching services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; with that, it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a health and wellness coaching firm is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media (the internet). As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brands, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.

Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your health and wellness coaching firm;

  • Place adverts on healthcare related magazines and newspapers, radio and TV stations.
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+ and other platforms to promote your business.
  • Ensure that you position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
  • Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
  • Brand all your official cars and ensure that all our staff members and management staff wear our branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.
Solomon. O'Chucks