biggest mistakes speaking

Stop the Comparison Trap from Hurting Your Health Coaching Business

Recently I was doing some research and came across a colleague’s website. I’m familiar with her business and I know it shares similarities with my own. I’ve been thinking about creating a new free gift offer to build my own list and when I saw what she was offering I imagined what success she must be having with it. I fell right into the comparison trap.

Now fully in comparison mode, I was feeling bad about myself and my business. “Why didn’t I think to offer something like that?” I asked myself.

I started brainstorming how I could create my own version of that kind of free gift. I gave it some thought over the next 24 hours, feeling stuck deep in the comparison trap. I wasn’t excited or inspired, struggling to come up with something based on the perceived success of my colleague.

I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Finally my own inner business coach spoke up, urging me to think not of myself but of my ideal client. What does she want? That’s when I realized I was off track trying to emulate what this other coach was offering her new subscribers. Our ideal clients are similar, but not the same!

Thinking of my ideal client – a profile of attributes that have changed and progressed over the years – I was able to come up with my own idea of a free gift that would be a great fit for her. If I had offered something based on my colleague’s target audience instead of mine, I either would have attracted the wrong kinds of subscribers who wouldn’t be a fit for my services, or I would have attracted nobody because my offer wouldn’t have been aligned with who I am and what I want.

Does this cautionary tale sound familiar? Have you let the comparison trap hurt your health coaching business? How often do you find yourself looking at what your fellow health coaches are creating and decide you’re failing by comparison?

It’s time to stop comparing yourself and look inward instead, if you want to be successful in your health coaching business.

Here are a few reminders to keep in mind.

You never really know who you’re comparing yourself with.

Unless you’re intimately familiar with your colleague and the behind the scenes of her business, including the content of her bank accounts, you don’t really know how she’s doing.

It’s easy to assume a fellow health coach is doing well based on how visible you perceive her to be. The truth is, you might be surprised if you really knew.

There are plenty of successful health coaches, but they don’t always look the way you think. Just because a coach has a gorgeous website, a large social media following and looks happy in every photo she posts, doesn’t necessarily mean she’s earning enough income to support her lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that she feels fulfilled. Sure, she might, but you don’t ever really know.

You’re only seeing the highlight reel, especially on social media. If someone’s posts regularly trigger your self doubts and send you straight into the comparison trap, it’s time to unfollow.

There’s only one valuable comparison to be made.

It seems impossible to avoid comparing yourself to other health coaches, but there is truly nothing to be gained. The only valuable comparison you can make is with your past self. Notice how far you’ve come since this time last year. What have you accomplished? What successes or failures did you create and what did you learn from them?

What do you want to be different a year from now? Check in with yourself on a regular basis – try monthly or quarterly – to keep you moving forward towards your goals.

Know yourself and your ideal client.

This is the best piece of business building advice I can give you. As you stop comparing yourself and become more conscious of what sends you into the comparison trap, there will be more quiet. Use it to work on discovering your own unique voice, clarifying your message and knowing who your ideal client is.

It’s easier to get clear when you’re not focused on what everyone else is doing. Until you do, you’ll never have the business success you desire. Your ideal client will evolve as you do, and it’s important to revisit this regularly.

My ideal client has changed over time.

You have a burning desire to put your real self into your work, even if you’re scared or not sure how. You’ve been in business for a year or more, worked with at least 5 paying clients, and you’re ready to go pro in an authentic way. You’re committed to your success and you’re clear that private business coaching, marketing strategy, custom branding and a professional website will propel you to the next level.

Heather Cottrell

Heather Cottrell shows coaches, bloggers, wellness pros and other mompreneurs how to grow your business online. Get expert support and coaching around content creation, social media strategies and digital marketing specially designed for creative professionals with a mindset for success. Find Heather Cottrell Business Services at and on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn.

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Martina McKeough - July 21, 2016

Good advice. I work as a hypnotherapist and I keep a healthy eye on my local competition. I do not however spend too much time worrying about everything my competitors do. Of course if I see an angle or a treatment that I believe I could offer then I may add that to my website but I play to my strengths. What matters is helping my clients getting the very best results and a full diary because of happy customers.

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