Should I Specialise in My Health Coaching Business or Not…? with Denise Chester
The health coaching business that succeeds in today’s digital world of wellness marketing is one that has real relevance to the people it serves. It’s one that is most focused, which absolutely understands its market & the power of niche.
Making your health coaching business a means to improve the health of others & live a life of your own design is a fine balance. And the prospect of finding the people you want to help doesn’t make things any easier.
…And therein lies the power of choosing a specialisation.
With the knowledge that every Healthpreneur has to address this issue at some point, we decided to kick off the Becoming a Healthpreneur series by chatting to Denise Chester of Hormone Health Solutions on the topics of specialisation & choosing a profitable niche in your health coaching business.
We also take a look at Denise’s journey to becoming a nutritional therapist & where she sees business going for nutrition professionals in the digital age.
Should I choose a specialisation in my health coaching business or should I use my nutritional knowledge to help as many people as possible across the spectrum of health conditions?
It’s a tough question and one you’ll face many times throughout your career as a health coaching business owner. On the one hand there’s the high perceived risk of ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ by choosing to focus on a single area. What if the industry moves on and your specialisation is no longer in-vogue or even recognised? (Werewolf Diet anyone?)
The generalist route also has its share of risks – by definition, if you’re a generalist, you ‘do a bit of everything’ and are unlikely to stand out from the crowd in a specific area. How then do your ideal clients find & pick you when Megan down the road is running a cheeky little 2-4-1 on her Skype consultations?
We put a few of these burning questions to Denise…
Note: For the sake of our collective sanity, we’ve abbreviated Healthpreneur (that’s us) to ‘HP’ & Denise Chester (that’s her) to ‘DC’.
HP: Denise, tell us a little about the process you went through in becoming a nutritional therapist & establishing your health coaching business, Hormone Health Solutions. How long have you been in business now?
DC: I graduated from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 2006 and started practicing immediately. I took a career break in 2008 to be at home with my children, and came back to work part-time in 2011. In 2012 I trained and qualified as an exercise professional to compliment my nutrition practice and I’ve been back at work full-time since then.
HP: Clearly laziness & low motivation levels are a problem for you :) Seeing as you got started in 2006, did you create a website right from the outset or did you only realise the need once you were established?
DC: When I started in 2006 I didn’t create a website, I was totally new to the business of being self-employed (I’d been in a corporate environment prior to studying nutrition) and working within an established nutrition practice, so I was incorporated into their site. I did however get a site developed when I started my own Nutrition & Fitness business in 2012.
HP: As much as nutrition is a ‘high-touch’ field, we now live in a digitally-driven world in which a great deal of business is done online. What role do you feel online wellness marketing plays in your business? Do you feel it will help or hinder your business development into the future?
DC: Online marketing is a huge part of my business and I consider it my second job! I rarely do anything in print as I have never found it effective; I network and that has been a great source of clients for me, but without doubt online wellness marketing generates the most awareness, and in turn revenue, for my business.
HP: Getting stuck in to the juicy bits now, what prompted you to specialise in hormonal health?
DC: Very early on in in the process of creating my health coaching business & developing my career in the fitness industry I decided to specialise in women’s health – in particular pre and post-natal exercise. At that time, the vast majority of my clients were post-natal personal training clients. Through working with these women and developing my knowledge, I became involved in teaching pelvic floor exercise.
As I went deeper into this field, I became connected with a group of educators, innovators and women’s health physiotherapists who are all at the top of their game and are pioneers in serving women in health. One of their main areas of conversation is hormone health; I found it absorbing and fascinating – and that has never left me.
During this time I also began to experience my own health issues, which were all hormone-related. What I had learnt from working and studying with these women enabled me to balance my own hormones through nutrition and the right kind of exercise. I was able to drastically improve my own physical and mental health and I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to do the same for others.
HP: It always amazes us to see how personal health struggles play a major role in shaping the specialised direction health coaching business owners take – of which you are a perfect example. In your mind, what effect has specialisation had on your marketing?
DC: I find that instead of trying to spread many messages and reach everyone, specialisation allows me to focus my message and makes targeting my advertising much easier. Hormone health is a massive subject but there are certain key areas within it that my clients and followers always want to hear and learn about, and I can provide consistent and regular information on a subject area that I know they are interested in.
HP: Absolutely, the focus that comes from knowing exactly what you offer and who you offer it to is the most important factor in focusing your wellness marketing activities. That said, do you feel like your specialisation limits the range of clients you can work with? If so, do you see this as a negative consequence?
DC: Yes absolutely it does, but I see this as a positive aspect which has improved my health coaching business rather than damaging it. As I work with more and more clients with hormonal problems, I gain more experience at helping them solve those problems. I continue to target my education in this area, so my knowledge grows as well.
I’m now recognised as the one of the few people in my location that really knows how to help when it comes to hormone health. I would much rather be a better practitioner for a certain type of client than one who tries to look after everyone. In my own professional experience this just doesn’t work.
HP: That makes so much sense. We often encounter a belief in health coaching business owners that being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ is in some way negative. In reality it’s an incredibly effective way to find the focus that so many nutritionists lack when it comes to wellness marketing.
So would you recommend that other practitioners specialise in their own health coaching business?
DC: I think everyone should do what they feel is right for them and their business, as long as they are genuine in their motives and stay congruent to their values. However, based on my experience, I would absolutely recommend that other practitioners specialise.
HP: Do you feel that your specialisation has helped you stand out in the market? If so, how?
DC: Without a doubt, yes, because of the reputation I have established as a specialist in women’s health, and in particular in hormone health.
HP: In your mind, does specialisation make you more attractive to prospective clients?
DC: Yes, if someone is looking for help in using nutrition and exercise to help them balance their hormones and improve their health and quality of life, I believe that they are much more likely to want to work with someone who specialises in this area than a practitioner who doesn’t. It simply makes more sense.
HP: Thank you so much for your time, Denise, as always it’s enlightening and inspiring to catch up with you.
For more info about Denise and her health coaching business, Hormone Health Solutions, visit her site here.
In the next edition of the Becoming a Healthpreneur series, we’ll be talking to video visibility coach, award-winning TV producer, host, videographer & owner of Woman2WomanTV, Luchia Dragosh.
We'll cover a topic that affects us all - facing and conquering the fears associated with becoming visible and promoting our businesses online through video.
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Meet the team behind the keyboards:
- Content Strategist
- Kayaker & Paleo enthusiast
- Online Marketing Strategist
- Believer in nutrition’s healing power