One of my favorite things to do is showcase the success stories of health coaches and wellness entrepreneurs who are killing it in their businesses. And today we’re going to be hearing from Heather!
Heather Woodruff, CNP RNCP, is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner based in British Columbia, Canada, who has built a wonderfully thriving business (as you’ll learn about below)!
She has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t (hint: giving workshops!!), and also has some fabulous words of wisdom around what it takes to grow a successful health coaching business.
Hi Heather! Describe your business, Heather Woodruff Nutrition, in 1-2 sentences:
I support women to live wild and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) free through deep digestive healing.
How long have you been in business as a health coach?
I have been a Certified Nutritional Practitioner for 5 years. 3 years was working at a supportive cancer care center (with a little private practice on the side) then the last 2 have been full heart first private practise.
What’s your niche?
Women with IBS or chronic tummy trouble. They have ongoing digestive issues but all medical tests are coming back ‘normal’.
How did you get your first client?
I first started doing private practice out of a wellness center alongside other healthcare practitioners. The lead Naturopathic Doctor referred me my first client. I was terrible! I kind of want to find that poor soul to give her money back. I obviously have gotten considerably better 🙂
What is the biggest lesson you learned in your first year in business?
Renting an office straight out of school was a big money suck and did not guarantee me clients. I wish I would have put that money towards hiring a business coach or investing in business training. But sometimes we need to go through these hard lessons on our own.
Why do you love doing this kind of work?
Helping women take back their life. Many of the women I work with have spent months/years being held hostage by their temperamental tummies. Avoiding travel, calling into sick, cancelling on fun social events. I love seeing them post gut repair, living a full life.
What’s the best part of being in business for yourself?
Creating a business/life on my terms. Establishing MY vision, making it happen and building a work schedule that works perfectly with my life. I have a 3 year old so this allows me to be the present, mindful mama and partner I want to be. If I have to spend a few extra minutes in the morning snuggling a sobbing toddler because we ran out of toast, I can, guilt free not having to rush off.
How did getting clear on your ideal client or niche help you enroll new clients?
Right out of nutrition school I always wanted to focus on digestive health and I honestly thought specializing on this was fully niching down. But I struggled with really visualizing this ideal client and figuring out what they wanted and where to find them. Narrowing down further to the IBS niche opened up a whole new world for me. IBS was a diagnosis women were actually getting from their doctor, they were googling and joining support groups for. The week I made the decision to narrow down to IBS I went down this serious rabbit hole of research and came out with pages and pages of content and marketing ideas. I had a new clarity of who my client was and exactly how to speak to them in a way that made sense. I love leading workshops now and seeing so many facing nodding back at me in agreement.
How did developing your signature program(s) help you enroll clients?
By clearly identifying their problem in a way that made sense, then offering them a solid plan of action to fix it gave them clear next steps. I built my program as a 1 on 1 service at first. I think having a ‘program’ gave potential clients confidence in what I do because I had a system in place to help fix their problem.
What were you most worried about when you were starting out or trying to reach the next level?
I was so worried about failing and not getting it all right on the first try. I now know that owning your own business is the most powerful path for personal and professional growth. I come face to face with my limiting beliefs daily. I now fully embrace the quote; ‘if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough’.
Did you get support (eg. investing in a program or coaching) to help you grow? If so, what was the biggest breakthrough you got from that experience?
YES! I first took an online group business course to help me get the framework in place for building a business online and creating a signature program. The breakthrough there was that I didn’t have to have a nutrition business based on this old school model of selling one off appointments which is what I was taught in nutrition school. It is so difficult to make money in this way.
The next year I invested in a private business coach who really was the driving force for me to niche down further into IBS and claim that space. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support. I have since bought into further trainings specific to my business goals and still have a business coach to push me to that next level.
Describe your breakthrough moment when it came to signing on new clients?
I think a big breakthrough I had was realizing that I do not have to be a sleazy-sales-girl, I honestly see how my program and services truly help people and so sharing them with my digestively challenged community is a gift. Women with IBS are looking for answers and I give them that.
What’s your biggest tip for health coaches when it comes to getting clients?
Workshops and talks (paid or free)! To this day, this is how I sign most of my private clients. My workshops are 2 hours long which allows potential clients to really connect and understand who I am more than a fancy website ever will. At a minimum I get at least 95% of participants on my email list.
Thanks, Heather! I think readers will gain a ton of inspiration from your story!
If you’d like to learn more about Heather and connect with her, you can find her here:
If you’re intrigued by the idea of creating a steady stream of leads with workshops and speaking engagements…then you may be interested in checking out my mini coaching package specifically designed to help you put together your signature workshop! Click the thumbnail below for more info…