102. How To Overcome the Obstacles Around Launching Your Business with Sonja Bannon

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Where do you start when it comes to launching your health coaching business? It can seem intimidating in the beginning, but I promise, it doesn’t have to be. From niching down to choosing a website platform you can grow with, there are few things that you can do today that will make growing and scaling your business easier in the long run. Because I’ll be the first to tell you, your business will constantly be changing as you go, so you just need to start. 

In today’s episode, Sonja Bannon walks us through the three reasons coaches aren’t launching their business. Whether you’re dealing with mindset or tech issues, with the right tools under your belt and the flexibility to tweak your business as you go, the beginning stages of building your business can become a lot less intimidating, and you can start creating that golden content that gets people in the door. 


Connect with Sonja:

Website: https://daringdesign.co/

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Rachel: Hey guys, it is Rachel Feldman. I’m here with my good friend Sonja Bannon. She’s created almost every landing page, sales page, the website that you see, yourhealthcoachbiz.com 

We are going to talk about websites. We’re going to talk about some of the biggest reasons that coaches do not launch their successful business. Whether you’re working in a one-on-one capacity, whether you’re doing groups, masterminds, VIP days retreats, this is for the brand new coach, and this is for the coach who may be in that struggle zone. So Sonja, just briefly tell everyone a little about yourself and then we’re going to get into the nitty gritty.

Sonja: All right. So I’m Sonja, and I own a design agency called Daring Design Company. I’ve been working with Rachel now for almost six years, and we’ve run through crazy launches, crazy sales pages, and everything in between. Throughout these years, we’ve learned a lot about the business, about ourselves, and about you guys who are either starting out right now or looking to scale or to even refocus on a new niche, or something that you evolve into.

Rachel: I not only worked on my stuff, but we’ve been fortunate to work with so many of our clients and have shared clients. So when I say this is the woman who knows how to put together health and wellness, strategic sales pages and websites. 

Let’s just dive right into these three reasons that coaches do not launch. I will say, this is for that person who’s not growing, scaling, or maybe has been coaching for a while and is not attracting their ideal client, or for this coach, all you guys out there from every different school who’s just graduated, and you’re like, WTF, where do I start? What would you say in your opinion, is the big reason that you see coaches don’t launch?

Three Reasons Coaches Don’t Launch

Sonja: One of the initial reasons, in my opinion, is some coaches are not clear on what they want to do. I’m not saying you need to pick something right out the gate, but you’ve got to be focused on your message. Rachel is a master at messaging and niche. She can help each and every one of you guys refocus or start with a new, unique message. 

This is the number one before everything else that is preventing a coach because if you’re not clear, you’re lacking focus, and you get scattered.

Rachel: Right, especially about myself and many coaches who we have gone through so many different trials and tribulations, so many different experiences in our health struggle, but it’s coming out and really defining and saying, which I actually just said to coach yesterday, who is lacking clarity. She was like why do I have lupus? I’ve had gut issues, autoimmune, what should I focus on? I said to her, when you envision your ideal client, does this person have lupus today or have gut issues? Are they at the beginning stages? Where do you see them in their own journey? What do you really want to be known for? I counted how many times she said gut and I said to her, it’s okay, be a gut coach, you can bring in your story of an autoimmune showing people that you don’t want them to get to this place. That’s your big story and your big why. 

When you have worked with people who have come to you for sales pages or websites. And that coach says, Well, I’m not sure. What does that lack of clarity, how much time do you think it really takes off their ability to not only start their business but to have their website together, to have their signature freebie their signature program?

How Lack Of Clarity Can Impact Your Offer

Sonja: So one thing, I don’t want to scare you all with is that even if you pick a niche at the very beginning, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in that niche throughout your career. Niches can evolve. And sometimes when you see who you attract, all of a sudden you niche. Sometimes. 

So not picking something, even if you’re not sure, pick something up, start somewhere, because then you can talk that language to the people you want to work with. Even if it shifts just pick something, even if you have three different, really good potentials, you can see a common thread between those three areas. That would be the starting niche or starting message that you can begin and launch your whole business around and really get to be known for that person. 

Rachel: My beginning stages of building Rachel’s Wellness, I thought that I wanted to work with people with emotional eating gut issues, a lot of that mindset. What I found is, I did attract that ideal client, but it wasn’t the right niche for me, I really decided in year two to get super clear, put all the stuff to the side that wasn’t working and got narrow on my niche with gut food allergies and intolerances. Families that had needed early intervention for their kids and women who were like me with a myriad of different autoimmune. 

Sonja: When we really have that defining point, that’s when we can get the right content. That’s when we can actually say, Okay, I want to be known for this. What are the problems that my ideal client is potentially searching for? How am I going to position my blogs, my opt-in freebies, the messaging on my site to really attract my ideal client? Because every one of you have a general idea if you’re suffering from hormonal imbalance, and you want to be known for that, or if it’s more guts, like Rachel mentioned, or if it’s something else like weight loss, you would know even if within your niche you want to pinpoint into food intolerances, the general idea, okay? It’s within the gut health arena, right? So start with that, or start with weight loss or start with hormones. Then you can actually start large, and then little by little pinpoint and get more and more focused.

Rachel: And make sure it’s something that you believe in. A lot of people will say, Oh, I was told to go into this niche. And it’s like, one, you do have to know your niche is marketable, your niche is something that is of desire. So always do that market research. But make sure you really want to be known as that. That it makes sense, that every problem leads back to Yes. 

Is it a mindset? Is it detoxification? Is it gut health? Is it emotional eating? Really stand with conviction, because then as we were talking about the content, which so many coaches get stuck in, they don’t know then how to attract their ideal client. So when we talk about attracting your ideal client, can you tell everyone who might say, Well, I have a freebie. Where should I position this on my website? 

Why You Need A Freebie

Sonja: Alright, so just to answer your question you asked before because I didn’t get to answer. Not being sure is okay. But not making a decision will delay the whole process. You can just fiddle with a decision for six months a year, and then what you still don’t have a business. So pick one and go on. 

Now, the next step is you will want to attract your ideal clients and have freebies. So your freebie is a free gift. That could be an ebook, that could be a mini-course, that could be a voice recording anything that you offer for free in exchange for your ideal client’s email address, so you can continue some communication via email with that particular person. So those freebies, and Rachel would probably tell you to get more than one, because your ideal client has more than one problem. As long as it fits your niche. 

Rachel: And guys, that’s what we call content pillars. We have our niche, I know that I want to be known as a gut coach. But within that, I want to pick three to four pillars. You’ll hear this a lot in social media content planning. People talk about pillars. You want to pick those so that your process is not only different, but it’s also that you’re narrowing down in these areas that you’re going to constantly talk about. So for example, within the gut that could be food allergies,  autoimmune, CIBO, and Candida. Those areas you’re going to constantly drill back to and it helps you not only to pick your freebies, but it also helps you when you’re thinking about the significant steps that you take your ideal client through in the process of your signature program.

Where You Should Place Your Freebie On Your Website

Sonja: Right. So once you pick one freebie out of three or four, then you will focus on that freebie for, let’s say, a month, and you will have it on your homepage. You will have it within your content on your pages. Especially in your blog posts, you would have it if you do have a sidebar and a blog, you will have it there. You will also have a landing page that is specific to that opt in freebie. So that you can get that little URL that shows up on the top of your browser and promote that exclusively.

Rachel: And that one should be in your experience, that one should really be your signature baby, that one should really model how you coach and what you want your ideal client at that first step to take so that it leads to nurturing them to a one on one nurture the group.

Why You Want To Change Out Your Freebies

Sonja: Correct. And that would be the beginning of a word you hear all the time, the F word which means funnel in our world. That would be an entry point to your funnel with a sequence,. So I would say focus on one for a while and then swap. The reason is, if we go back to what Rachel just mentioned, which is that your ideal client might suffer from different things. Also, maybe your ideal client is not responding as well as you wanted to for that first opt-in freebie, maybe all of a sudden is something else, or the third one that you try. But don’t swap every day, try to stay with it for a month or two months and make sure it works. Or maybe it doesn’t work so much. Be curious.

Rachel: A perfect example. I’m thinking about a coach who bought our five-day thyroid weight loss freebie, and she specializes in thyroid. But she said one of the biggest problems is weight loss. Another coach who didn’t use it at all and weight loss and specializes in thyroid, but took that and renamed it as a five-day Hashimoto challenge. 

So when about those pillars, that’s a perfect sample for a coaching thing. What do you mean, how can I message differently to my client? Maybe they love that freebie that you had, but when you hit that weight loss, that’s the reason that she’s going to buy right now. That’s the reason that she is there. Pay attention. 

Sonja: You have to continue to test and be curious. Sometimes it might be just adjusting the title slightly changing the cover, or changing your messages slightly and turning it in a way that your ideal client can understand. So it’s not because you’re buying something is already done and ready to go. It’s an ongoing process of cat and mouse game to talk to your ideal client and continue to serve them so that they are entering your funnel, and then you can communicate with them and perhaps have them with one on one coaching, or a group program.

Why Your About Me Page Matters

Rachel: They’re actually on your website reading a cohesive About Me. And guys, in the beginning, I wrote my About Me, I want to say five times over changing just simple sentences, tweaking it. So remember, this is all about starting. This is all about making sure that you start somewhere because that About Me is where somebody is going to go and read about what were your trials and tribulations? What happened? What was life like? What brought you to your knees to say, I’ve got to make this change? What did you do? What do you learn? What do you teach? That’s a really simple framework for saying, what needs to be expressed to my ideal client on that About Me page. 

Sonja: So by the end of reading that they’re like, wow, this person had this breakdown moment where they help somebody have this breakdown, oh, my God, this person is so right for me. And then they’re reading your content on your website, which is speaking to their problems, speaking specifically to your ideal client. They’re tapping into that psychology of your buyer because she or he needs to understand those pain points. That person knows it but they need to understand that it’s really robbing them of their life.

Which Website Platform To Use When Starting Out

Rachel: And that brings us to the second reason why people don’t launch their online businesses. Is it technology, tools, the website? This is a big one.

I have to tell you, and I always laugh because oh my god, I remember sitting starting my business, I used a website from my school. I really didn’t know tech, I didn’t know how to link a picture, link a page, link anything. I was that person starting my business and saying, How am I going to figure it out. I wasted so much time trying to build.  Wix is a great platform as a self butter. But I tried to build so many that didn’t even like page after page, website after website. I finally got to the point where I saw how much time I was spending there. And how much of a lack of confidence I had, which really fed into this like imposter syndrome in this comparison syndrome, which we all have no matter what. Even the best of us. I just think going back, I wish that I could have told myself what, get clear first. Get a starter site, you can always grow. But then, as I did, when I got clear in that year, two, I invested in a site that is still the site that I work on. We’ve redesigned it and rebuilt but the structure was really good. I’m so thankful for that. So talk to me a little about website.

Sonja: All right. So out there today, in 2021, we have a plethora of options. We have the option  Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, we have other options now where you can build your website, with page builders all online. So we do have options. Now, we have a few good options. 

I’m not going to tell you go there or go there or this is better than that. What I want you to think about is long term. Even though you may just have started your career, you still want to think okay, in six months, am I going to develop a membership? Am I going to offer group coaching or courses? Or am I going to do extensive blogging? So those are the little things that you need to answer for yourself before you commit to a platform. Also, platforms evolved a lot over time. Plus, some platforms are very easy. Some platforms are a little tricker. 

At the end of the day, is a platform that fits the bill in the sense of expenses and ease of use, and security. So that said, I personally love WordPress. I know a lot of you are gonna be like, Oh my god. WordPress is great. If you have a solid foundation, if you have a very solid structure, minimum amount of plugins, and reputable plugins, you are just fine with WordPress, you are limitless with WordPress. You have your whole website already there plus blog. Plus, you can have a portion of your website for member access only. So with one website, WordPress, for example, you can have your own business. 

The Best WordPress Plugins For Coaches At The Next Business Stage

Rachel: And what would you say for that person who’s listening in the growth stage? What are your favorite plugins that people typically use for a members only access? For that coach who’s or they might be in that next stage in their building?

Sonja: Right. So there are some plugins that are very easy out there, there are some plugins that require a little more experience. One would be Access Alley, which is a phenomenal plugin, but will need a little bit of knowledge in the technology department. Another great plugin that I really like is Member Press. There are a few of them that are like that. Some are monthly fees, and some of them are a yearly fee to access. Even WooCommerce which is an e-commerce plug in also has a membership login for them. Most of the people who are listening know that we have done for you website and so on. Our done for you websites is that is WooCommerce the plugin that we use, I know.

Okay, so we have two different packages for your website. The reason we develop the done for you website is people just like you that were coming out of school or trying to scale and they use a Wi-Fi like where am I gonna go now? Or they’re going to different places and trying to find really good people and there are great people who can put websites together. 

Rachel: But not everyone understands that branding and that the content either for a Health and Wellness Business.

Sonja: Exactly. So it is a niche business already in itself. There are certain items that you will need on your sites such as a Work With Me or Services Page, your programs, a way to check out a way to have about me, and especially your homepage, you will want to have a blog. I would encourage you to have a blog. With a WordPress website, you can expand to as many pages as you want, or as little as you want. What I like about it is you have the potential already inherent there to grow to a multimillion dollar company, or stay small the way you feel comfortable. So we do have a certain set of plugins we use that have been tested for the last five years. I use we use a minimum amount of plugins because we want your site to be stable and secure. With the six years that we’ve been working together on Rachel sites, there were some two instances at the beginning, had some issues. We learned and we protect ourselves now with the right plugin and with the right settings.

Rachel: One of the reasons that we started talking about, the top reasons that we don’t actually launch is, so many coaches who have come to us, they’re so excited, they’re out of school, or they’ve been coaching for a while, and their site doesn’t really reflect that. Or maybe they had branded at the earlier stage of their business. And they’re really looking for that next level two lesson, what I feel is that imposter syndrome, it’s the mindset part. We all have to work on that. 

But I know that I felt really good when I had a site that also was strategically set up. Can you even talk to those listening about why we put even on our starter site templates? Because so many coaches who come to us, they’re so excited, they want to launch a program, but then we find out that person was unable to get their sales page together, they weren’t able to get things up and running, they couldn’t find a virtual assistant to help. Can you walk through some of the benefits of these sites that we put together?

The Benefits Of Templates For Coaches Starting Out

Sonja: Yeah, absolutely. So to start with, we have four really cool themes that you can choose from. So you have four different styles, we’re coming out with a fifth, and probably seven styles this year. But we already have four distinctive styles. We also have some niche content for the fully loaded package. So we have two distinct packages. On those two distinct packages, you can choose whichever style you want.

Rachel: So that means copy, that means the content means all the verbiage that is on your site, which means that you don’t have to then hire a copywriter. On average, a copywriter to do an entire website. I would say the going rate is here between $2000 to 5000. 

Sonja: Yeah, exactly. $1000 being on the minimum these days.

Rachel: So your starter package comes with a Starter Content, all about wellness. So all your pages are already pre-populated with a focused content. So while you’re not sure or while you are wanting to launch, but you’re still trying to pinpoint, you can launch with the starter package, that’s perfectly fine. Because this copy is there, you’re not sitting there. Of course, you can also add your own copy, right, and we will teach you how to do that very easily. So the startup package is coming with the pages that you will need to launch your website. But not only those pages, you will also get a library of templates. So those templates can be used and reuse as many times as you want. You have a template kit to launch any freebie you want, a webinar or workshop, you also have a fully pre-populated sales page. That means you can either keep it the way it is or you can go in there, change a few words or change the whole thing. It’s up to you. But it’s ready to go. The only thing you have to do is set up your price. Update the title put your own little twist to it, how many links just copy and paste that sales page right in there.

It’s done. It’s ready. We also have this cool little links landing page that you see coming out from social media. You have linktree you have those things and we also have one template for that. So instead of going to linktree, you can link directly to your website and it brings people to your house and home. 

Exactly. So not only do you get fully pre-populated wellness content, so all the pages, the text and the pages already have content, you have images, you can use them, you can swap them, you can move them around, and those templates kits. That makes it for a perfect starter website. 

Now we have a fully loaded package where you can choose one of the four current contents that is niche-focused. So we have clean eating, we have hormones, we have weight loss, and we haven’t got health. So that makes a lot of name ones. So you can choose not only on the fully loaded package, your style, but also the content. So you can be niche-focused as soon as the site launches. 

We also have a program, we have a freebie, and we have a workshop already put together and ready to go on the actual pages. Some of the coaches who have come to us really excited coming out of school extremely clear. And they were like, Oh, my God, I didn’t even know you had websites, I knew that you had programs, and freebies and workshops. But for many of us, I don’t think it’s a requirement. Right? When you start that you have to have a website, but I would say in my own experience, I did have a website, the first one was pretty crappy. I wasn’t too proud of it, and it didn’t function. That’s why these coaches who have been able to come and say, I’m going to start my business and actually be able to take on clients because they already have a shopping cart.

Sonja: Exactly. And if you have a booking system, and you have one on one, people can book you immediately. And your program as well. You don’t need any delay, it’s turnkey, you have a program, you have a freebie you can list build, and sell right out of the gate, which is amazing. And a really good cherry on the cake. If I may. It’s all installed for you. So when you get it, it’s done. The only thing you will have to do is maybe add a little twist here on there that you want to personalize. That’s it, it’s ready to go.

Affordable Websites For Coaches Just Starting Out

Rachel: So for that coach who is saying I just invested so much in school, because I understand that I started with one that was free. I got to that place where I could afford to make that investment and I needed to make that investment. What are your favorite websites that you’re seeing these days that people are using that are easy to use for somebody who’s saying I can’t invest anything right now I have to get up and going?

Sonja: Okay, so you can absolutely start with a Wix website, but you got to keep in mind that you may need to move from that platform to another one. as your business grows. Wix websites are perfectly fine. To start with, the thing that I would be more open to is to study a little more of what type of pages you need, what type of items you need on your website as a health and wellness coach. 

Because you can take whatever template out there, it’s beautiful, it’s pretty, but it’s not going to fit the bill. Then you also have the potential of working on Squarespace, which is perfectly fine. They have excellent templates that are easy to use. Again, as with Wix, make sure you make your research on which pages and what to put there. And also learn the tools that you’re choosing. Now if you’re not sure at all, and you still want to start list building, then I would choose maybe an email marketing service and do a landing page. So you can already start in this building, and already potentially booking clients.  

Rachel: I’ve heard that a lot of coaches love Flodesk, they love MailerLite, and then what would you say for that email marketing system that can really grow with you? What are some of your favorites?

Choose Email Marketing Systems That Can Grow With You

Sonja: Alright, so email marketing can be a sore point for several reasons. Every email marketing is not great. Some of them are frankly, confusing. Even yesterday, I had a client say, Oh my god, I’m so confused with the journeys in MailChimp, not to bash MailChimp. But MailChimp has changed a lot in the past years. In my opinion, it became a little more confusing than it used to be. Now, that doesn’t mean you should not continue to use it. It’s a very, very special to know the plan. They were not changed just because somebody says it’s the hottest thing out there right.

Now a note about Flodesk. Flodesk is gorgeous, everything looks cool, but they don’t integrate with e-commerce. So if you want to start selling things on your website, you got to go through Zapier and Zapier is not a great option. Zapier makes the link between Flodesk and your website. And that’s a potential problem issue. 

So another email marketing I like is ConvertKit. It’s very easy to use. You can even sell things now on ConvertKit, which is amazing. So you don’t even need to commit to a full website from the get-go. You can use ConvertKit, for example, to do your landing page, to do your shopping area. You have a way to book clients. MailerLite will be best if you already have a full-blown website, because they do verify that you do have an online presence before accepting your application to become a member of their service. Then you have other options such as Active Campaign. Nobody would InfusionSoft, and there was also Drip, which is great. It’s tag based as well. It sounds very interesting.  I’m even going to try it for my own business. So there are some options out there. But just like I said about Flodesk and MailerLite, just do your research.

Rachel:Yeah, do your research. And that’s been the theme of today, you have to start somewhere, and it’s not going to be perfect right away, and it’s going to evolve. Most importantly, really sit there and think about what is important to you. 

Sonja: There are some platforms that we’ve discussed, that aren’t as great for blogging if that’s going to be a huge component of your business. WordPress is definitely the greatest one. Then I would say, to make sure that you’re comfortable using your platform, and not spending so much time doing something that maybe is not your best use of time. Then all of a sudden not being proud of it anyway. 

Rachel: Exactly. What would you say for anyone who is listening, and in closing remarks?

Sonja: Well, to have a clear niche and a great website and tools, this will cure half of your imposter syndrome. That’s the third reason why people don’t launch or don’t put themselves out there. They think it’s not good enough. So work on your mindset on that. But with the right focus and the right tools, then half the battle is one.

Rachel: Yeah. And then you actually have no excuse to say, I can’t figure out the tech for doing a workshop. You just have to do it or I don’t have a list builder, you then have a list builder and you’re ready to go. I always say yes. I took the more painful route that was trying to figure out all this stuff. And the majority of us do, but you don’t have to these days. So whether you choose to start out on a site where you can do it yourself something like Wix or Squarespace, or whether you decide to jump into WordPress with people like Sonja and myself, make the decision that’s going to be right for your business, not only for the now, but for the long term. With that being said, Guys, it’s been a pleasure to be with you, Sonja. Thanks for being here. Have a great one. Take it easy. Bye, guys.

Additional Resources:

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