How to Get Through the Slow Months in Your Health Coaching Business
Every business owner is familiar with the ups and downs. It’s well within the range of normal business life to have big income months and small income months, lots of interest and opportunities and then silence for weeks on end. It happens. How you respond to the income roller coaster makes all the difference, though, and determines whether you’ll be in business for a long time to come.
When you’re first starting out, it’s hard to imagine what your health coaching business will grow into. I’ve had clients who worry things will take off too quickly and their schedule will suddenly be overflowing with appointments. I’ve had other clients who worry they’ll never have more than the occasional client and won’t ever make enough steady income from their business. Both scenarios are real possibilities. However, what’s more likely is that you’ll attract a few good clients at a time and then things may slow down before new clients come along.
Here are my suggestions for managing the slumps and eventually, avoiding them altogether.
Planning for Low Months
The less time and effort you’re putting into your health coaching business, the less clients and money you’ll attract. That’s obvious, but it’s important to realize that the impact of your low energy months may show up a month or two later, not necessarily during the low energy month. For example, if you know you get busy with kids and family when school starts in September, you might plan ahead for less income in October or November. If you know your ideal client is probably going to be busy with family and travel during the holidays, expect a slow income month in December.
It helps a great deal to be able to look ahead and expect low months, rather than be surprised by them. There are a few ways to plan ahead.
1) Keep a budget. Get crystal clear about how much money you need each month for both business and personal expenses. In the months when income is good, budget those dollars to cover the low months. Don’t assume your income will be the same from month to month. Financial experts would recommend you have at least 3 months living expenses set aside at any time.
2) Increase profits before the slow months. Using my earlier example, if you know your ideal health coaching clients tend not to spend money on themselves during the holiday months, create a special offer earlier in the Fall to drum up new business and have a New Year’s offer ready to go after the holidays end. That way you can attract more income to pull you through the holiday slump, and know you’ll have a good start to the next year.
3) Lower expenses. If you don’t have enough savings, now’s not the time to plan an expensive family vacation or renovate the kitchen. Don’t take on extra expenses while you’re still acclimating to your business’ income patterns. Look at your expenses to find places where you might lower some bills, at least temporarily.
4) Have another source of income. Prepare to use more of your partner’s income during the low months in your business. If you have a part-time job, you might pick up extra hours to compensate for the loss of income. Create passive income streams, such as selling an online program or product through your website.
Having slow months in your business doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong. If they take you by surprise though, you need to start looking ahead and preparing for them.
Avoiding Low Months
Of course it would be even better to not have any months of low income. That’s possible too, but takes time to establish.
1) Start by looking ahead. Take time to look ahead so you can plan campaigns to increase business in the months before a predicted low month. Print out a calendar of the next 6-12 months. Be honest with yourself about the times of year when you know your attention on your business wanes. Think of your ideal clients and consider when they might be less likely to contact you or invest money in themselves. Knowing this keeps you in the driver’s seat and helps you schedule your marketing campaigns more effectively.
2) Always be building your list. Have a client-attractive free gift offer on your website to drive new potential health coaching clients to your list year-round. Share the link to your free gift offer on social media, in private emails, in person and with referral partners. Be consistent about putting that offer out there, and write to your list regularly.
You might change the free gift offer at certain times of year to be more seasonal. For example, your regular “Quick and Easy Breakfasts for Busy Moms” could become “Sensational Summer Snacks for You and the Kids” to attract new buzz. Even in an otherwise slow month, you can still grow your list and then when your next offer goes out, it’s seen by new eyes who are ready to engage with you.
3) Line up speaking gigs months in advance. The best speaking opportunities for health coaches are with established organizations that already have an audience of your ideal clients interested in attending. Keep a list of possible locations to contact and be consistent about following up with them. It can sometimes take many months to get an event scheduled, so stick with it.
4) Think about annual income goals. Have a number in mind, and then break down the year into quarters and determine how much income you need each quarter to reach that goal. Remember that certain quarters have more earning potential than others, so do the math accordingly. The start of the new year, Spring and early Fall are great times for health coaches, while the Winter holidays are often quieter times. Having a goal and checking in with it often, will keep you on track and help you plan ahead.
Most importantly, make time for business building activities in your workweek. Having a full schedule of clients is wonderful, and I know that’s the work you truly love doing. If you stop marketing when business is good, though, those clients will finish their programs and move on, leaving you back at square one trying to build your health coaching business again.
It’s much easier to attract clients while you have clients. So look at the days/hours you have set aside for your business, and be sure some of them are dedicated to marketing activities, such as: writing new posts for your blog, submitting articles to other blogs, sharing your free gift offer with new people, writing to your list, setting up speaking events, gathering and sharing new testimonials on your website, connecting with potential referral partners, etc.
Many of my clients use the Summer months to have a new website built or to makeover an old one. It’s also the right time to think ahead to Back-to-School campaigns, which are a great time of year for a cleanse or detox. A lot of Moms, especially, feel renewed energy when the kids head back to school and can focus on self-care. They’ll be looking for you, so make sure you’re ready for them.
If you’re just getting started with your health coaching business, let’s talk! I’m dedicating this Summer to working with new health coaches and I would love to support you to get your business started the right way, with clarity and focus, fresh client-attractive content, and a professional website that builds your list. Start with an Awesome Business Breakthrough Session now and use coupon code HCW20 for $20 off! You’ll also enjoy 20% off special packages just for newbies, just for the Summer.
To you and your awesome business,