How 6 Successful Wellness Entrepreneurs Achieved Their
First-year Goals

As the year draws to a close, you’re likely thinking about new goals and achieving new milestones in your life and business. You may be planning out when you want to launch programs, working on new offerings, and dreaming of a successful year ahead.

The end of the year also brings about reflection.

You may be looking back at the goals you might not have achieved this year and wonder why you fell short.

Ruminating on things that were less than successful can feel defeating, but it’s important to take a look at what wasn’t working so that you can make changes that will grow your business.

That said, you might feel lost about how to turn things around for the year ahead. You can read a million articles on becoming more productive, successfully marketing yourself and getting organized, but you may be left wondering what really works … and what doesn’t. …

I want to help you cut through the clutter , so I decided to ask some of my colleagues and friends about their path to success their first year as a health coach or nutritionist..

I was curious to hear what goals they set and what steps they took to achieve them.

I sent off a note to 6 remarkable women and asked them:

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business? How did you achieve it? What steps or strategies proved successful for you?

I wanted to get back to the basics, so I asked about their early years in business before they nailed their processes down and had a team for support.

I found their stories inspiring and full of practical wisdom. I’m sure you will too.


First, here’s my story of my first year as a health coach:

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?
My main goal, my first year as a health coach, was to consistently have 20 private coaching clients – bringing in 4K per month.

I was lucky enough to have signed on 12 health coaching clients before graduating from nutrition school. So I felt excited and confident about leaving my full-time job and growing my business.

Heck, if I could sign on 12 clients while working full-time and in school, it would be easy to enroll clients once I was working on my health coaching business full-time…right?

What I soon realized is that for someone just starting out, this marketing stuff can be TOUGH. My first 4 months as a “full-time” health coach were slow. I was working really hard, but not attracting clients.

What really helped me turn the corner was deciding that “winging it” wasn’t really working for me. I needed to learn from people who had been in my shoes and knew HOW to grow a successful business.

I hired a business coach who had been a health coach, so she understood the industry and what I was trying to accomplish. She gave me the hand holding and step-by-step guidance that I needed at that point.

My business skyrocketed. I developed a clear plan of how to market my business. At my peak, I had 23 private clients.

My confidence grew, and I was finally able to pay myself!

What worked for me?

First, hiring the business coach put me in the right mindset. I was certain that I could NOT fail with her by my side.

With her guidance, I also became much more strategic about everything I was doing. I created talks that were more compelling and I gave as many talks as I could – aiming for about 3 per month.

Through local networking, I met people who hosted me for talks, and I sent a lot of “cold” emails to potential venues, which led to large number of speaking gigs. My sugar talk was a popular one, and I gave it at yoga studios, pilates studios, acupuncture clinic, mom’s groups, chiropractor offices, and gyms.

At the end of my talks, I made an invitation for a free session with me, and I added all attendees to my email list (with their permission of course).

I restructured my website, so it primed people to be ready to work with me once they reached out to me. I learned a really clear way to conduct initial free consultations and most people I met with signed up on the spot.

I also created three different private coaching packages – so people had a choice – and 90% of the time people chose my highest level package.


Alyssa Rushton

Alysa Rushton
CEO Magnetic Messengers Academy
& Creator of Get Clients
With Speaking System™

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?
My main goal as a brand new health coach in 2012 was to acquire and work with 20 clients. I knew this was an aggressive, stretch goal (especially considering I wasn’t even out of school yet). I also knew that I’d have to do some big work to achieve it.

How did you achieve it?
My plan was really simple. Give as many talks as I could and reach out to holistic doctors and get them to fall in love with me so they would refer their patients to me.

Since public speaking was my background, I started there and gave a talk everywhere that would have me. I walked in to or called every place within 100 miles of where I lived and asked them if they ever had speakers come in. Once they said yes, I’d give them my pitch and tell them that I gave talks on ditching the sugar and cravings and asked them if they’d want me to come in and give a talk. This worked really well for me and my ability to “just ask” got me booked to speak again and again.

During that first year, I gave talks at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Le Creuset, William Sonoma, (Le Creuset and William Sonoma both pay their speakers in cookware, by the way), local women’s shelters, yoga studios, exercise studios, private golf clubs, women’s groups, private tennis clubs, women’s groups, Catholic and Christian church Mom’s & MOP’s groups, The Jewish Community Center, the library, food allergy groups, local and national pain support groups…and the list goes on.

While speaking alone didn’t get me to the 20 clients I was aiming for, I did give more than 50 talks and led two different 6-week health series for a fee.

While I was doing all of these speaking gigs, I also took time each week to research and go visit doctor’s offices. I’d start out by researching everything I could online about the doctor. Then, I’d make a phone call and find out how many staff members were on hand. Then, I’d make arrangements to come by with some smoothies, juices or a healthy snack I’d prepared to share with the staff. My approach was simple here too. Bring treats and make it all about them! During my treat drop off visit I’d ask the office staff questions and ask how I could send them patients. Every place I did this with was super friendly and loved the treats.. In the end, I got a few great referral partners, who were amazing and were an integral part of me having a full-time health coaching practice along with the speaking I did.

I wish I could tell you that I hit my 20 client number that first year… But I didn’t. I did, however, get to 17 paid clients which felt incredible. And with that momentum, I got 75 paid clients by my second year. In fact, I had so many clients at one point that coaches were calling me to see what the heck I was doing differently and I was called to create my signature program Get Clients With Speaking.

What steps or strategies proved successful for you?
Looking back, I can see clearly that what has ALWAYS worked for me in getting clients is having just one or two strategies to bring in clients. Focus like a laser and work those strategies like they are going out of style.


Lisa Fraley

Lisa Fraley
Legal Coach & Attorney
Lisa Fraley Legal Coach LLC

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?

It was definitely to make 6-figures. I had left my full-time job and it was SCARY to not have a reliable source of income to fall back on. I was determined to make at least $10k per month – and I exceeded it (not by a ton, but I exceeded it!).

I achieved it by using these steps and strategies which were highly effective for me:

  1. Working with my own coach – I am a firm believer that 1-on-1 coaching helps you get through your blocks and fears much, much faster than trying to do it alone or only do group programs. Group programs are great, but to deep dive into fears and move through them, a 1-on-1 coach is key.
  2. Attending events and conferences – I attended a bazillion HMBA conferences and found my tribe, learned incredibly helpful info, and networked extensively. I love conferences and always come back a changed woman.
  3. Hiring experts – I hired out tasks to specific experts – in small doses at first, because that’s all my budget could afford – but I hired a VA and then graphic designers, website designers, copywriters, marketing experts, Facebook ad experts, etc. It’s critical to stick to what you do best and take the risk to hire help. It saves you time, angst, and stress.
  4. Offering free discovery calls – I am a big fan of free 30-minute calls to potential clients to get them started and see if you are a fit.
  5. Offering payment plans – I LOVE giving payment plans. I have since the start. It made it easier to get my investment rates out of my mouth and easier for clients to say yes.
  6. Offering corporate wellness talks – Working with companies in corporate wellness was a highlight for me and I could also charge great rates and lock into a 1 year contract, which offered steady income.


Amanda Jane Daley

Amanda Jane Daley
Business Mentor for Health Coaches + Wellness Entrepreneurs

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?
In my first year of business, my biggest goal was simply to get my first clients.

I underestimated how hard it would be to reach that goal…

At first I made the mistake of focusing almost all of my time on making a website, blog and business cards with a fancy logo. I even had all of the social media channels set up, but no clients came.

I started to understand that no-one was looking to buy ‘Health Coaching’ – they didn’t even know what that meant – so I started to offer more tangible offerings.

What steps or strategies proved successful for you?
I hosted Healthy High Tea events locally, where I got to show up as an expert and introduce ladies to healthy raw food treats in a fun and social environment. Then I started talking at yoga studios, gyms, and other places that my ideal clients were already looking to improve their health. My schedule started booking up with private clients and from there, I started hosting similar events and talks online for global audiences.


Kathleen LeGrys

Kathleen LeGrys
Health Coach Solutions
Certified Health Coach and Fitness Nutrition Specialist

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?
I had a few goals as a new health coach, but one of them was to take part of my coaching online because I knew I wanted to leverage my time as much as possible. I also knew my first year was going to be a lot of trial and error as I figured things out.

The hardest thing for me to do was to face the fear and do it anyway. Being a new health coach can be a bit nerve-wracking! Each time I launched a new program, I was scared, but I kept moving forward because I knew I had to if I really wanted to build a business.

Here’s what worked for me:

I set goals (for income and number of attendees) for my online program and gave myself a deadline when it needed to be completed and launched. I would then work backward from the launch date to put everything else into place as far as marketing, and other logistics. I wrote everything down so I wouldn’t miss a step.

Even though I tend to be a perfectionist, I had to keep reminding myself that it didn’t have to be perfect – I just needed to get the program out there knowing it was good enough, and I would make changes along the way.

I created a system where I could use foundational session topics for both my online program, and for my one-on-one clients, so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time or scramble to figure out what to cover for each coaching session.

Another thing I found incredibly beneficial was having a peer coach (a fellow IIN grad) where we bounced ideas off of one another and helped keep each other accountable. Having someone that ‘gets’ what you do is invaluable so you don’t feel so alone.

Looking back now, I realize how much I didn’t know, but that’s how it is for all of us when we’re beginners at something. You’ll be amazed at how far you can go when you keep moving forward, ask for help when needed and stay consistent with your marketing efforts.


Carmen Hunter

Carmen Hunter
Carmen Hunter Health

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business as a health coach?
To help as many people as possible and establish myself as a well-known wellness leader.

How did you achieve it?
I gave a lot of free value and asked for as many testimonials and referrals as possible.

What steps or strategies proved successful for you?

Word of mouth, giving free talks, sharing valuable information about my own journey.

I am super organized with my goals and I am an overachiever in everything I do. I think one of the biggest pieces of setting and reaching goals for me was to overcome doubt and change my mindset about money. Once I changed that, I saw my business soar!


Andrea Nakayama

Andrea Nakayama CNC, CNE, CHHC, FNLP, Founder and CEO of Holistic Nutrition Lab and Replenish PDX

What was one of your main goals in your first year of business?

I’ll admit that I did not clearly envision where I am now when I first started my practice and “hung my shingle” back in 2009. I had zero interest in a virtual practice or an online presence. Instead I threw all my efforts and energy into building a local following.

Honestly, I’m grateful that I can trace my humble beginnings back to those efforts. Investing in developing a local presence and audience, putting myself out into my community, and offering my expertise to those in my extended circle really served me well. It helped me to get real practice getting in front of people, as both a nutritionist and as a speaker.

One of my main goals in that first year was creating workshops and offering them. I wrote classes and promoted them through print flyers and word-of-mouth. I then taught those classes in my living room. A few of those classes are now, years later, part of my online content!

A key intention in creating these workshops was avoiding the desire to get caught up in making the content for those workshops “perfect”. I knew that the teachings would likely morph and change as I actually offered the training and gauged people’s responses. This instinct could not have been more true and I continue to consider each of my offerings a work-in-progress that transforms over time to best meet the needs of the audience.

In fact, “practice makes perfect” was a better motto for me in that first year than “perfect it before practicing”. I presented those workshops every other month in my living room, to sold out audiences of 20 people, and each time it was better, I was better, and the participants were more inspired to not just change their habits, but to get out there and spread the word about my work.

What steps or strategies proved successful for you?

  1. Go public! (Nobody will know what you’re up to unless you tell them.)
  2. Practice makes perfect. (Don’t underestimate the powers of actually doing the work. You learn more in practice than you ever could in theory.)
  3. Be dynamic. (I don’t mean this in terms of your personality, though that will help too, but instead in terms of your willingness to adapt and follow the needs of your audience as those needs reveal themselves to you.)


Now I’d love to hear from you!
What goals do you have for 2017? What steps do you plan to take to achieve them?

Would you like to receive weekly emails, where I break my favorite strategies into simple, actionable steps that can help you grow your online business?

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First-year Goals

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