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How She Did It: Marian Mitchell

August 28, 2018

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-coach and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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I believe one of the best ways to learn how to do something is to carefully study the stories of successful people who have reached the place you want to be. As Tony Robbins says, “success leaves clues”.

That’s why I’m kicking off a new series on the blog, called “HOW SHE DID IT”, where I interview a successful health coach to unpack all the details of her story, and examine how she achieved the success she did. One part motivation, part education, and a whole lot of inspiration.

First up? Marian Mitchell!


Marian Mitchell is a lovely health coach based in Arizona who is positively rocking the marketing strategy of gaining clients through referrals from healthcare professionals. She has built a thriving health coaching business entirely through this marketing strategy, and has been able to make health coaching her full-time gig as a result!

She has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, when approaching various practitioners for referrals, and she has a ton of wisdom to share!

Hi Marian! Tell us about your business.

I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, entrepreneur, foodie, recipe developer, speaker, and author.

What’s your niche or your area of expertise?

My niche is people with food allergies, autoimmune disease, and/or metabolic disorder.

How long have you been in business as a health coach?

Six years. In the beginning it was just a side hustle, but it’s now my full-time gig.

How did you get your first client?

I got my first client by teaching a cooking demonstration class. I was so nervous and had never taught one before. I had just graduated and decided to start a Meetup group and picked a topic. 8 people came and 1 became a client. It was awesome.

How do you get your clients currently?

I get all my clients through practitioner referrals. In fact, I have a constant stream of clients from referrals. I have 5-6 practitioners who refer to me regularly, and I am fully booked out.

Describe your experience when you first started approaching doctors for referrals.

I got a lot of pushback from doctors when I first started approaching them for referrals. Some doctors were doubtful that their patients would stick to any recommendations around food or diet. Also, some naturopaths were skeptical that my service was different than theirs. “I do that, why would I send people to you?” was the kind of thing they would say. But I stayed persistent and figured out how to properly communicate with them and eventually, after about six months, it started to work. I knew I was in it for the long game. I decided early on that slow and steady would win the race.

Describe your breakthrough moment when it came to getting referrals?

I remember my first time talking to a doctor, it took a while for them to understand how I’m different. The exact words she said to me was “Oh! You help them implement the treatment plan! That’s awesome! I don’t have time for that!” Once I was able to clearly communicate what I do that’s different than what they do…then it all clicked.

What’s your biggest tip for health coaches when it comes to getting clients through referrals?

It’s important to cultivate the relationships over a long period of time, and consistently communicate. Also, you can’t take it personally if someone isn’t interested in doing referrals. Just keep trying with someone else.

Why do you love doing this kind of work?

I absolutely love helping people bridge the gap from knowing what to do to being healthy to actually doing it. So many people look at their lives and can’t think of how to change it. People in my niche have to make huge changes very quickly. They try and about 3 weeks in, life happens and it all falls apart. Being able to coach them through that part, help them implement small manageable changes over time until it’s their lifestyle is the absolute best. I have clients from 6 years ago that reach out and tell me that they are still sticking with it, are on no meds, and feel amazing. That is the best.

What’s the best part of being in business for yourself?

By far the flexibility. I’m a single mom. I do my best to work around my kids schedule and teach my classes when they are with their dads. Being able to be there for my kids is why I became an entrepreneur.

Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

My website: roadtolivingwhole.com and my Facebook page @roadtolivingwhole 🙂

Thanks, Marian! I think your story is going to provide a TON of inspiration for all the health coaches out there.


If you’re intrigued by the idea of getting a steady stream of clients into your health coaching business through referrals from doctors and healthcare professionals…then you may be interested in my free guide for health coaches on how to get MD referrals. Go ahead and grab that PDF by clicking on the thumbnail below.

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  1. Faith Hutton says:

    Hi, I live in Perth, Ontario, Canada and am soon going to be a registered holistic Nutritionist. I just wondered, being in Canada, whether this course would match up with the way they do things here? Are the MD offices/practices much the same? I would love to get MD referrals – in fact, that would be my ideal way to work – so I’m seriously considering doing your course. Thanks for your time.

    • Kim Foster says:

      Hi Faith! Thanks so much for your question. As it happens, I’m Canadian too 🙂 I live in Victoria, BC. So YES, all the advice in the course would absolutely be applicable to a Canadian. Now, many of my clients & students are American, so I have worked hard to make it relevant across both borders. The principles apply to medical practices in a variety of settings. I would love for you to take the course — but as a heads’ up, I’m about to put it on promo sale for the beginning of September, so you can get it for even less, if you can wait a few days! Are you on my mailing list? If you opt in to grab the downloadable guide (in the post above), you’ll be on the list, and then you’ll hear about that special sale coming up very soon! 🙂

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