This post should really be called “How to find your first paying client within 30 days”, because honestly? It’s not just about launching a business, it’s about finding paying clients … otherwise you don't even have a business! The idea for this post came from a Facebook group discussion over the summer that stemmed from this question:
For someone who’s been in the industry for 10 years, and who launched her business before social media was so integrated into our daily lives (I know, I can’t remember what that was like, either 😂), this question really made me think long and hard about how I would do this myself if I had to.
I put up a super long answer to this sweet lady and her question, but I wanted to expand on it and share it with you all, because I know that so many are in the same situation.
P.S. I would use this system to launch any business, not just a wellness business. The marketing principles are the same, no matter what niche or industry you’re in.
Without any more preamble or wasting time, let’s hop right into your 30 day “Finally Launch your Business” plan:
Who Do You Want To Help?
Figure out who you want to help in your business in DETAIL. I mean right down to what time does she get up in the morning to what secret snack does she eat before bed.
What does she do? Where did she go to school? Is she married or not? Kids or fur babies? Her hobbies? Her interests? What are her pain points?
You need to know how your client thinks and how she acts so you can predict what she’ll want that’s worth paying you for.
95% of the time, the person you want to help is who YOU were 1, 2, or even 5 years ago. If your business is based off of turning your mess into your message, think about what you were struggling with and how you felt when you had that particular problem that you want to help others with now.
Ideal Client Detective Work
Now that you know who you want to help, ASK THAT PERSON DIRECTLY what they want! Don't sit there guessing!!! Find people who fit the description of your ideal client, and ask them what they want help with, what they struggle with, and what they've paid for in the past.
2 great ways to do this are:
Put up a post on social media asking for input; and
Stalking specific Facebook groups that are full of your ideal client (look at what questions have been posted, what answers have been given, and also how they react to those answers).
When you put up a post asking for input, be specific. Make a nice (free!) graphic in Canva that’ll grab their attention, and in the caption say:
Here’s an example post:
“Are you a busy, high-powered professional Mom aged 25-35 with young children who struggles with crappy sleep, low energy, and sugar cravings? Then I want to hear from you!
I’m doing some research for my new business that’ll help me figure out to help YOU in the best way possible.
Click the link below to answer 10 short questions about your work/life balance (what balance, am I right?!) and how you get through the day as the superwoman you are:
I know your time is SUPER valuable, so I’m doing a draw for a Lululemon gift card. If you complete the 10 questions by Friday, you’ll be entered to win this $100 prize!
You can use one of my three questionnaires that I give away for free to figure out exactly what your ideal client is struggling with, that way you don’t even have to worry what to ask them!
Click here to get the three questionnaires for free.
While you’re waiting for your ideal clients to answer the questionnaire, do lots of stalking and creeping online!
It can feel tempting to skip this step and go directly to social media, but the more you put into this business foundation, the more time, effort, and heartache you’ll save over the next year.
Get on Social Media
Start a Facebook page and Instagram account, and start adding valuable content that speaks directly to that person. It doesn't ALL have to be around just their health issue, some of it can be fun, too!
I'd post once, or even twice daily if you want to REALLY jumpstart your business, and you can pick a different content focus for each day.
For example, Tuesday can be Q+A Tuesday. Write a post sharing that you’re doing live Q+A’s in your InstaStories. Just before your regular post is published, put up an InstaStory with the Q+A function that they now have, and just answer questions for free throughout the next 24 hours to show them that you know what you're talking about!
Click here if you need some other ideas about using Instagram for your health business.
When I say valuable content, I mean tips, tricks, and strategies that are so good, you’d include them in a paid program.
Those recipes you’re hoarding? Share them. Those things you recommend to people, and they tell you that they’re life changing? SHARE THEM. You’re not going to grow your business by keeping all your best knowledge to yourself.
You have to show people that you’re an expert by sharing your expertise.
So give freely of yourself, and watch people give freely from their wallet right back at you in the next few weeks.
By the way, being an expert doesn’t mean you talk in fancy, long, smarty pants words that no one understands. Expertise means that you’re not only smart (because I already know you are), but also that you are capable of leading people to create meaningful change that they can actually DO. Be relatable, share real life examples, and show them that you’re walking the walk right along with them.
Start an Email List
After you've spent some time getting to know your ideal client in theory, through questionnaires, and in real life on social media, start putting together some sort of challenge (it doesn't have to be long at all) or high value opt-in for them. You want their email addresses so that you own their info and are not totally dependent on social media algorithms to reach your potential clients.
A high value opt-in could be a 7, 21, or 30 day challenge, or it could be a mini-cleanse, meal plan, or even an entire cookbook. It could even be a series of 7 days of live videos on social media! The point is:
Don’t be stingy with your freebies!
People don’t give out their emails as easily as they did a few years ago, and you have to provide them with something truly spectacular for them to be willing to part with their privacy and their time (because reading emails takes time, and most people are SO overwhelmed by their inboxes).
Click here to see how I specifically designed my 30 day email challenge that got over 1,200 email sign ups in about a month with no paid ads.
To collect their emails, you need to set up a landing page, which is offered with most email marketing programs for free. No need for a fancy website, you don't have time for that yet! But you can still collect email addresses before you get around to that.
I use ConvertKit for my email provider, and it allows you to create landing pages that you can send people to for signing up and automatically delivering your opt-in. MailChimp does the same, but it's annoying to use and not as powerful.
Click here for a breakdown of why I use and (happily) recommend ConvertKit over the seemingly thousands of other email marketing programs out there.
During these 10 days while you’re creating your freebie and building your landing page, share sneak peeks on social media to get your audience excited about it! Yes, that means that while you’re working your little butt off behind the scenes, you still have to be present on social media. Welcome to the world of owning a business in 2018.
You could even build the landing page FIRST, and share on social media that you have something exciting coming that they can sign up to right now and get it when you’re done in the next few days. On Facebook, you can link up the landing page right in the post. On Instagram, change the link in your profile to this landing page.
Post about this upcoming freebie at least 3 times a week, which might feel like a lot, but remember that only a small percentage of the people who are following you actually see your posts (thanks, social media algorithms!).
It’s estimated that only 3% of your audience sees your content at any given time, so chances are that when you post multiple times in one week about your freebie (or even every day), you’re not repeating the same thing to the same people, but hopefully it’s reaching new followers of yours who raised their hand to your awesomeness in the first place.
Design Your Paid Program
One of the fastest ways to create a real income is through a paid 1-1 program. Yes, you could do a digital, online product (like a meal plan or cookbook), but you can really only sell those for $25-$50, maybe $100 if you’re pushing it.
Yes, you could design an online program, but that’s going to take you months of preparing for, and this post is about getting your first paying client in 30 days. Plus, if you’ve never actually worked with clients, you don’t yet know what works and what doesn’t, so I would hate for you to invest months in building an online program that might not sell or even work because you haven’t tested it out with actual people.
So, a paid 1-1 program it is … but first you’ve got to design it! You already had your ideal client tell you exactly what she/he wants, now create it.
Click here to learn the exact, IN DEPTH steps to create your own program, including a free workbook to help you design it. PLUS I shared the specifics of my own paid program that I used to offer for the price of $2,000 for a 6 month program. Now that’s a real, meaningful income!
P.S. you can use the same steps to create a group program, it would just be priced a little lower, since the participants aren’t getting as much 1-1 time from you.
Here’s another little secret: you don’t have to have everything created for your signature program before you start taking clients and accepting payment! When you offer a 3 or 6 month program, you only need to have the first month’s content done before you start … and if you’re really brave (and don’t have kids that will get sick and inevitably throw your schedule into chaos), you don’t have to have ANYTHING but your program outline done before you sell it.
That’s actually the best way of testing a program or product without investing dozens or hundreds of hours into it: Create an outline, market it for a few weeks at a discount for the first few who trust you enough to jump on board when you’re just starting, and THEN create the program once people buy it.
Be upfront, share that it’s a new program and you want to co-create it with their input, and offer them a 50% discount. You’ll have some really good guinea pigs, they’ll give you great feedback AND (hopefully) testimonials that you can share to sell more of your program, and you’ll create some quick income on something that you’re now sure will sell … because it has.
It doesn’t matter how amazing you think your program is, if your customers and clients don’t see the value in it, it’s not worth much, if anything.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent dozens of hours creating something that never sold, and it’s a double waste because I can never get that time back AND I could have been creating something else that could have been successful, had I sat back and listened to my customers.
You’ll never regret this testing period, because it’ll either mean the end of something that was going to waste your time anyways OR the beginning of the most epic, life saving program for your future customers. Either way, it’s a win-win!
By the way, throughout this 5 day program creation period, you should still be keeping up with social media, providing value, and, if you want to be a total keener, I’d email your newly started (and growing!) email list a summary of what you taught in those social media posts, just to keep them updated on all the cool stuff you’re teaching for free.
Get Your First Paying Clients
For most of us wellness entrepreneurs, creating programs is the fun part. Breaking apart a problem and outlining the solution feels like you’re truly helping someone …. but not if no one knows how awesome your program is!
You know what I was missing the first 5 years of my business, the thing that YOU should be spending 80% of your time on?
Sounds like kind of a sleazy word, right? Or something that you just don’t need to do? When I first set up my nutrition practice, my marketing could be summed up in this one sentence:
If you build it, they will come.
If I just opened up my office, the right people who needed my help would magically find it, right? I would get referrals from all the other health practitioners in the area, since I was one of the first nutritionists in my city, right? Wrong. Ugh, so wrong!
What I didn’t know is that all those other health practitioners? 95% of them are struggling to pay their own bills, so why would they send a potential client or customer to me when they could try and help them themselves?
And marketing according to the tactics in the movie “The Secret” really don’t work (i.e. just imagine yourself driving a Ferrari, and it’ll happen someday!). Turns out, you have to actually DO something to grow your business. I don’t know how I didn’t know this in the beginning (🤦🏻♀️), but it’s because I was taught to be a nutritionist, NOT a business owner … and that’s OK! But now I know better.
If the word “marketing” is scary to you, let’s not call it that. Let’s call it “telling other people about your business”. There, that’s not so scary, right? But how do you actually do this?
That email list that you’re working so hard to grow? Let’s use it for the first time by telling them about your new program!
I don’t have any sort of script for this, you simply write from the heart, share who your program is for, why you made it, what the outline is, and then tell them that you’re opening up X number of spots (3, 5, or whatever you want) for a discount (your choice, 50% off, 30% off, whatever feels good to you) in exchange for them being the first to try it. Put a deadline on the discount, trust me, people need a little bit of pressure to make a decision.
Oh, and share the details on social media, too. It’s usually harder to sell directly from social media (in my experience), especially if your program is higher priced, but what it IS good for is reminding your email list - who didn’t necessarily read your email - of the details and that your special discounted price is ending on a certain date.
This is what I did the first time I launched my Brand, Build, Blog course, and it went over SO well. I let the first students know that I was still creating the course when they bought it, so it wasn’t 100% done, but it would be by a certain date (spoiler alert: I had yet to create ANY of the online lessons! I had an outline, but that was it 😬).
Curious about the details of that launch? Click here to read all my behind-the-scenes secrets!
They were happy with the discount, I validated my idea because it DID sell, and I felt so much better about putting the hundreds of hours into it after that, in creating it and in my formal launch a few months later, where I sold $10,000 worth of spots to my email list of 400 people.
So yes, it IS possible to create hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of income by the end of 30 days when you’re launching your business! This 30 day plan is not for the faint of heart, but it will create true momentum in your business, plus some much needed income, in the fastest way possible.
Now I know that this is only a plan for 30 days, and you want your business to be around for much longer than that, so I made a plan for your entire first YEAR of your business to get you off the ground in the shortest time possible.
This is the guide that I wish I could have had when I started!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- what to do, month by month, after the first 30 days plan above
- when to post to social media, when to build a website, and when to develop your second (and third!) program or source of revenue
- what to send to your email list when you don’t have a website yet
- how to use your blog posts and social media to find paying clients