At the start of your health coaching business, finding enough clients to fill your time may have seemed impossible. You no doubt looked forward to being consistently busy with clients on a waiting list. If you’ve achieved this, give yourself a big pat on the back! Coaching is a highly competitive industry, and not everyone has the stamina to make it as far as you have.
You’re obviously doing a lot of things right. But, by now, you’re likely hitting the problem all business owners providing a personal service eventually hit. There are only twenty-four hours in the day!
And that limits your earning capabilities and business growth.
To excel at what you do and have your income limited by the number of hours in a day is just crazy. Plus, it means you can never take time off without forfeiting income.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to productise your services and create health coach products!
I’ve built a successful coaching practice based on personal attention and service – won’t “productising” threaten that?
If done right, products will leverage off the personal brand you’ve built, not undermine it. Your products should carry enough of “you” in them that clients feel you’re still looking after them.
So, what does “done right” mean?
Knowing when the time is right
There is a “sweet spot” for productising, and it’s when you’ve established your credibility and are no longer “experimenting.” The early stages of a business usually involve a bit of trial and error. It can take time and several wrong starts before you correctly get the combination of services and an approach that works for both you and your clients.
Are you still trying to find your sweet spot and struggling to make ends meet? Then productising may not be the answer.
Productising should be done when you’re scaling your business. Doing it prematurely could magnify the mistakes of an early-stage service, not be the right product for your audience, and damage your reputation permanently. It is also a sure-fire way to dent your confidence and tie up valuable unbillable time trying to smooth things over.
If, on the other hand, you have a proven formula and are confident you understand your client base, productising could well be an excellent next step for you.
Top Tip: How quickly can you tell a stranger what you do and how well you do it? Would you need to offer them a cup of tea to see them through? The reality is that if you can’t do this in 1-2 minutes, you are probably still in an experimentation phase.
Knowing your niche inside and out
Your products are not going to replace your existing service business – not initially, at least. In identifying potential products, consider a niche audience. A niche audience is a customer base with a particular problem to solve. The audience can be a subset of your existing client base, past clients, or prospective clients you’ve been unable to service yet. The important thing is that you know them and their needs well.
Working within a niche makes it much easier to target and measure the success of your product. When you enter your productising phase, you are – to some extent – reinventing your business and may need another period of experimentation to hone your offering. Working with a smaller set of current and prospective clients will make it much easier to tweak things as you go.
Top Tip: Think about how the pandemic suddenly focused service providers on the remote delivery of their services. Their clients had a particular problem that needed to be addressed, and not solving it had severe consequences for the service providers. Create a sense of urgency for yourself by putting a target income on your product development efforts. Earmark the funds for something close to your heart and proceed on the assumption you’ll make it. Booking a family holiday is a great option – it’s something to look forward to, and the income from your products can make up for any you lose by being away.
Scaling value for recurring benefit
Now it’s time to match services to your niche. Here you need to look at three elements:
Scaling means the ability to magnify or reproduce without additional effort on your part. Think of systems and procedures that can be taught to employees. They will need to consistently reproduce the experience you currently provide clients. Or how you can work with multiple clients at the same time yet provide them with the same experience.
Client experience is the crucial factor in product development – your product must provide value to your clients.
- Recurring benefit
Ideally, you want products to provide recurring income. Recurring income gives you income security and reduces your costs of client acquisition. It’s easier and cheaper to keep an existing client happy than find and onboard a new client. But for clients to pay you repeatedly, your product must deliver value repeatedly. What services will clients be happy to pay for monthly, quarterly, or even daily repeatedly?
Top Tip: On a piece of paper, list all the services you can offer to the niche. Then score each from 1 to 10 on how easy they will be to scale, how valuable they are to clients, and how clients will need to buy them. The services that score highest across all three are the ones you should be working with first.
Now you need to brand your product, list its “ingredients,” and put a price on it. When selling services, you’re selling yourself. But selling a product is selling a thing – what name will capture the essence of your product and appeal to your niche?
In describing your product, you need to make clear what is and isn’t included. How does each of the components provide value to your clients? Hint – you’ve done this in Step 3 above; now you have to put it in words your clients will connect with.
Top Tip: Your products should make sense in the context of your greater brand story. If existing clients would be surprised by them, there’s a good chance you’ve missed the mark. Not leveraging off your existing success in a way that makes sense is a bad sign. Check-in with a few trusted clients along the way to stay on the right track.
There are two approaches to pricing – a “cost-plus” approach and a “value-based” approach. Personal service business owners know they have certain costs they must cover – premises, equipment, transport etc.
It can be challenging to switch from this method to a “value-based” approach, which prices products on the value the clients receive rather than the costs of providing the product. But don’t make the mistake of underpricing your products by applying the hourly rate you use for coaching to the time it takes you to produce your material.
Let’s say it takes you a hundred hours to produce an eBook, and you aim to sell a hundred copies. Selling each copy at the price of an hour’s coaching would be silly. You wouldn’t be changing anything and would still be limiting your income to the hours in a day.
You should instead consider the value the manual will provide. Maybe it’s equivalent to five hour’s attention from you. Pricing it at four hours will make it a bargain to the client, but you will be making four times your standard rate. Now that’s the beauty of productising!
When you’re selling services, you have the opportunity to engage with your clients and respond to their concerns or questions. With products, you don’t have that luxury (nor do you want it because that personal attention increases your cost of acquisition).
With products, you have to pre-empt potential objections, questions, or feedback. Think of innovative ways to counter them without engaging with the client when they are making their purchasing decision. By addressing client concerns in your marketing material before clients have time to think of themselves, you fast-track the purchasing decision.
Top Tip: Are you asking people to make a recurring payment commitment? Try offering them an initial opt-out period if they’re not happy. It may make them feel comfortable to proceed if they know they can exit if they don’t like it. After all, if you don’t trust your product enough to convince them to stay – why should they?
Stuck for health coach product ideas?
Lastly, don’t feel your product ideas have to be unique, you just have to add your personal expertise and touch. If you’re created a successful practice, people will see value in what you have to offer. Consider the following ideas:
- Self-coaching workbooks
- Recipe books
- Online classes
- Webinar Q&A sessions
- Wellness apps (there are many available for coaches to customise and brand to suit their purposes)
Ultimately, creating health coach products is the next phase in building up your business. Just remember to be at the right phase for this to happen!
If you need a hand incorporating your branding into your products, or to create a website flow that will help you automate the process, get in touch!