Practice Better took some time to chat with Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian, and an expert in women’s health who hosts her own podcast, The Fed and Fearless Podcast.
Laura takes an integrative approach to her work with clients, combining evidence-based functional nutrition training with spirituality and self-compassion. She also helps other health practitioners create, launch, and market their online programs and consulting services.
Her mission is to help nutrition and allied health professionals grow and scale a successful business so they can help more people optimize their physical, mental, and spiritual health.
— A Conversation with Laura —
Your online programs seem to be an important (and successful!) part of your practice. Why did you decide to offer online programs vs. sticking to private coaching?
Adding group and online programs to my business has made a massive impact on the work I do every day, the number of people I’m able to serve, and the amount of money I can make in my business. One-on-one coaching is great but it can be very draining, especially when you go to such a deep level of mindset and spiritual work with your clients (it ain’t just about macros!) And there’s a limit to your income when you’re only doing private consulting. Adding group programs took my annual revenue from around $100k per year to $250k+ per year. When I launched my first group coaching program back in 2015, my goal was to reach more people with the knowledge and strategies I had to help improve their health (that first program was focused on “adrenal fatigue”.)
Since then, I’ve created several online and group coaching programs in the health and wellness space and assisted Chris Kresser in developing a variety of programs for the Kresser Institute. This year, I launched my business coaching group program, the Nutrition Business Accelerator, to help more nutrition entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their dream online nutrition business.
What advice would you give to other coaches and practitioners who want to create a scalable online program? Where should they start?
The most important thing you need to think about when creating a scalable online program is what PROBLEM are you going to solve? So many business owners think “what do I want to teach” when they consider creating an online program. In most cases, that’s a recipe for a flop when it comes down to selling your program! The first step is to always get crystal clear about what tangible external problem you’re going to solve for your ideal client. This problem should be one you like solving, that you’re good at solving and that people are willing to pay you to solve. Once you have that problem clearly identified, the rest of the work comes down to creating programs that truly help your ideal clients solve that problem.
Your Fed and Fearless community seems to be thriving and very engaged! What strategies have you used to foster community among your online program members?
I’ve run a variety of free and paid Facebook groups. The key to keeping groups engaged is to set expectations about how to best use the group in the beginning. You can do this by creating a dos and don’ts list, or sharing rules and expectations in the group for how to best use the community. Facebook groups can be an awesome addition to your business, and setting clear boundaries and guidelines from the get-go is critical for a healthy group!
Many coaches and practitioners want to help everyone and may feel uncomfortable with narrowing down their focus. How important has having a clear niche for your online program been?
Oh my goodness. My business coaching clients will tell you that I won’t accept them staying vague about their niche. Having a clear, focused niche for an online program is non-negotiable. When you try to help everyone, you end up truly helping no one. And trying to produce online programs that help multiple problems is literally impossible. Whether the marketing falls flat or the program itself doesn’t create great results, when you try to serve too many different people with a program, the program itself doesn’t usually work out the way you’d hoped it would. It’s really that important!
What are some of the common mistakes or roadblocks you see other health and wellness practitioners run into when building online programs? What advice would you give them?
One of the biggest mistakes I see health and wellness entrepreneurs make when trying to build an online program is focusing too much on the “what” and not enough on the “why”, or thinking through the “how”. Because most health practitioners are highly educated clinicians, they think their clients need to know every detail about how the human body works in order to be successful in reaching their goals. So these practitioners end up spending way too much time teaching complicated science-heavy content in their online programs. And while sharing the evidence is helpful, it’s more important that your client know WHY they need to take action, and what exact action they should take (and in what order) so that they are most effective in reaching their goals. Because you aren’t customizing the individual’s path in an online program, you have to spend adequate time planning and strategizing about the exact content you’re going to provide in the program to help the client reach their goals. My philosophy is that the focus should be providing the least amount of information and action steps required to reach the health goal the client wants to accomplish. More than that simply increases the likelihood that the client will fail to complete the program, and therefore fail to reach their desired outcome!
What are your favorite Practice Better features that have supported you in building an online practice?
Practice Better has been a wonderful tool for building my private coaching arm of my business. Between scheduling, billing, contracts, forms, note sharing, and custom protocols, the platform is really an all-in-one solution for working with clients in a 1-on-1 capacity. Using Practice Better cuts so much admin and behind-the-scenes time out of the work I do to serve my 1-on-1 clients at a high level. Because so much time is saved, I then have more time to work on my marketing and group program delivery. And if you want to create a group program for your clients, this is possible on the Practice Better platform as well, which is very valuable! I love the automations that are available in Practice Better and teach my business coaching clients how to use the platform most effectively to serve their clients and spend less time behind the computer screen.
Thanks so much, Laura!
You can also check out Laura’s business coaching services at www.lauraschoenfeld.com/business-coaching
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