157. How Functional Diagnostic Nutrition is Changing the Health World with Reed Davis

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So many people are dealing with poor health or chronic, degenerative, downward-spiraling conditions. We see it with our coaching clients, and a lot of us have seen it with our own health. Why is this? And why aren’t people getting the care and support they need from doctors? 

Our guest today has been tackling these questions for decades and, in response, has created a training program that teaches health coaches how to help more people get well and stay well through education and empowerment. 

Today I am talking to the fantastic Reed Davis, founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) and a man on a mission to help people take control of their health. Reed is telling us all about what FDN is, how it got started, and why it’s pumping out these amazing coaches that are prepped and ready to take on the world of health. 

Connect with Reed:

Website: www.fdntraining.com/
Free Guide: The Dress For Health Success Guidebook: www.fdntraining.com/healthyhustle

Rachel: I’m extremely excited to have my good friend Reed Davis here. What we are going to talk about is why FDN –the school that I love and suggest to everyone– is great for your practice. I’ve seen practitioners come out of this school and they are prepped and ready to take on this world. I want to deep dive with Reed today talking about what functional medicine is, and why FDN is pumping out these amazing coaches. So Reed, can you introduce yourself and give everyone a little backstory on who you are?

A Mission To Help People Take Control Of Their Own Health

Reed: Thanks very much. So I’m Reed Davis, and I am an entrepreneur. But it didn’t start out that way. I was in environmental law and conservation, saving the planet. But back in the turn of the century, roughly, I started wondering more about people and including me, and what could I do to make sure I never got unhealthy. 

I’d really never been to the doctor except for injuries, sports, mostly motorcycles and things, and some dental work. So I didn’t know the cycle of trial and error that people were going through going for a problem and being told they’re normal, or nothing’s really wrong with you, here’s some chill pills, things that. 

So I got into the health space, just wanting to help people focusing on the science mostly. And at the clinic where I went to work, almost everybody coming in the door said they were stuck in that cycle of trial and error. They’ve been to 6, 8, 9, 10 different practitioners and weren’t better yet. 

So I was riding my motorcycle one day, and I just thought about the people back at the office. And I thought it’s a rip off. Why are people turning their health over to people who don’t care and don’t have any answers? Why are you put in someone else’s hands in the first place? We need to be in control of our own health. So that became my theme. And I made up my mind in there over two decades ago, that I would be the last person they needed to see to get healthy. 

Now that was silly at the time, but that never stopped me before. I went back and over 10 years in the clinic and this is my background. I read 1000s of labs and 1000s of people, I got certificates in all kinds of things, personal training, massage and nutrition and lots of other stuff. But it was running the labs and the experience. It gave me working face to face with people who, again, were struggling. And was always looking for what’s the real causal factors, and then sorting that out. And then what could they do about it themselves again, trying to put control back in their hands. 

So what were the habits, things they needed? Most people live with poor health and chronic, degenerative downward spiraling conditions. Most people lived themselves into it, but they can live themselves out of it for the most part.

What Is FDN & Why Is It Important?

Rachel: How did this philosophy that you have carried over to FDN into it? Actually, why don’t you tell everyone what FDN is?

Reed: Well, it stands for Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. That’s just the name I had to call it when I had to call it something. I was just a nutritionist who ran labs, a personal trainer and body worker running a clinic, it wasn’t my clinic, it was doctors and chiropractic acupuncture. So I was working there, but pretty much everyone looked to me to triage and I was doing this nutrition with labs. Labs guided everything, their entire lifestyle 10s of 1000s of lives.

One day, someone told me you need to be teaching. Go out and teach other practitioners, you’ll help so many more people than just in your office. I understood, and I said okay, and then I had to come up with a name for it, it was really whimsical, but it was functionalized and it was functional. In 10 years, I had seen medicine go from just alternative and quackery to complementary to integrative and functional medicine was just appearing at that time. 

So I said well, it’s very functional, but I can’t call it medicine because I’m not a doctor. But we are using lab work, so it’s diagnostic in nature. It’s not diagnosing medically but it’s diagnostic in nature. And then Functional Diagnostic in nature nutrition because I’m a nutritionist and it’s very nurturing .It’s about nurturing everything. So FDN is Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. So that’s what we call it. It’s stuck. 

I’ve got some places I’d like to see it go, evolution-wise, but right now, it’s the only program of its kind that really goes into all the science, the anatomy, physiology, the biochemistry of the labs, and then all the same for the protocols, all drug-free, natural behavior protocols, including diet, and rest and exercise and stress reduction and supplementation

Rachel: I know that you have a free gift for the listeners. Is that what makes up the free gift?

Reed: Yeah, well, that’s a guide book called The Dress For Health Success Guide Book. And so Dr. Ess stands for diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, supplementation. So there’s a lot of plans that sound the same. But it’s so individualized by the labs. And so we just call it dress for health success.

What Health Coaches Learn Inside FDN

Rachel: What was your vision for this coach, who would come out of FDN?

Reed: Well, I just wanted to teach them. Here’s what I’ve done in the office, it has been very, very successful. So in the office, all the reason I developed FDN was because I just wanted to be the best office in Southern California. I just wanted to make sure everyone walking in the door got well, or at least made significant improvements. Some of them weren’t so bad and some were complete train wrecks. But I saw miracle after miracle. I could tell you stories of people who just had these turnarounds. 

Again, I was encouraged by others to teach. So the vision originally was helping as many people as you can to get well and stay well naturally, to educate them. Then I just started deputizing other people to do the same thing. So now the mission is to deputize as many people as possible to educate as many people as possible on their individual practices. For the most part, they are self made entrepreneurs as well.

The Definition Of Functional Medicine

Rachel: I love that. Tell me what is your definition of functional medicine?

Reed: Well, its intent is to find the underlying causes and conditions upstream from the symptoms. So symptoms aren’t the problem. They’re the result of the problem, which is dysfunction and disease processes. The problem I have with functional medicine is that it’s still bound by the boards of the American Medical Association and the education from drug companies and by insurance companies, the pay model sucks, and so it hasn’t gone far enough yet. They’re still diagnosing and treating specific diseases they’re still specializing in, whether it’s gastroenterology or neurology, or endocrinology, you name it. So there’s been interest because they’re bound to by their licensure. So doctors aren’t ready to give up their licenses yet, they paid way too much money for them. A lot of them have very successful practice models, even though it’s very limiting to the person that comes to them. 

What do you mean, you’ve been to eight doctors already? And you’re not better yet. That just blew me away. Or, what do you mean, your doctor said, nothing’s wrong with you and you’re overweight and you’re tired and fatigued, and you can’t think straight and your hormones are out of balance and your digestion doesn’t work and your detox isn’t working your skin’s bad. What do you mean, your doctor says you’re normal? 

So now functional medicine has taken a step a little bit out of the box in terms of how far upstream they’re willing to go. But it’s controlled by their licensure, their boards there, and by insurance company, which won’t pay for most of the stuff that we do. So we’re completely out of the box. It’s actually a different sandbox.

The Pillars of FDN

Rachel: That’s what it sounds like. What are the pillars of FDN?

Reed: Well, the two main pillars would be one to run some labs. Lab work is a pillar, if you will. It’s what’s in our toolbox. We don’t hesitate to say, why guess? Why not test?

The pillars of what I look for, the what I call the constellation of healing factors or the constellation of healing opportunities. The immune system, hormones, digestion, detoxification, we test these things, energy production and the nervous system. So that’s another acronym. And I love my acronyms. So it makes it easy to remember, we look into hidden this ATDDEN, dysfunctions and stressors, upstream hormones, immune digestion, detoxification, energy production and nervous system.We measure all this stuff. 

And then rather than pick out one thing, physicians run tests, but they usually use the sounds method. Well, it sounds thyroid, test the thyroid, if then your problem is thyroid, here’s the medication that will get at the root, some the root reason that the thyroid is off. Ask your doctor, why isn’t my thyroid working? They say it’s idiopathic, they don’t know. And they don’t look. For the most part. 

Now, again, functional medicine is getting better. They do understand stress and adaptation and balance and resiliency and these things. But again, they’re bound to diagnose and treat because that’s how they get paid. You can’t send in a build insurance company if there’s no dx and CPT code on it. It’s just a different model. That doesn’t work. If that’s the only sandbox or playground you have to go to turn to get well, you’re in the wrong place. Your ladder is up against the wrong wall. 

My mentor Stephen Covey used to say you’re not going to get there. So you got to get into self care and self directed, gather the intelligence, richer the who owns the data on a lab test? Your the patient, it’s your data, get it, understand it, have somebody explain what it means to you. 

We’ve got a core principle of FDN to have that practitioner going over that test to really empower the person. We’re not diagnosing. We just use the tests to explain why you feel crappy. Whether it’s your digestive problems, your skin problems, your energy, or overweight, whatever it is, the labs can help explain why and people are thankful. They’re so glad, why didn’t anyone else run these tests? 

I just explained why insurance doesn’t cover a lot of it. And why there’s no deep diagnosis for some of these things. Food sensitivities. That’s not a diagnosis, that just means that food causes you problems. Right? Try not to eat it for a while. But I’ve seen absolute miracles occur just from that one test. It’s remarkable when you get the data. Gather intelligence, and then you just get on the pathway guided by that intelligence. I’m calling it Intel Apathy. It’s an intelligent pathway and it’s unique to each individual, which is another pillar of our beliefs, or tenants.

Why FDN Graduates Are The Key To Future Health

Rachel: Tell me why you think FDN graduates are really the key to the future of health?

Reed: Well, there’s loads out there. Health coaching is a magnificent exploding field. But it doesn’t go far enough, you need to be a practitioner, also. As health coach practitioners, we get more into people’s minds and emotions with guided interviewing, and active listening and in what motivates people and get their commitment up to higher levels than normal so that they’re actually going to follow the behavior. 

But you also have to know what’s wrong with them. How can they fix that? How can they stay in control? So we’re more practitioners than health coaches, but most aren’t licensed. So they just call themselves health coaches, but they’re the top of the heap. So we can say hey, look, if you get your college degree, couple certificates and work experience, you might be ready for this on your journey to become an amazing practitioner who actually solves a lot of problems for people when no one else can.

Rachel: Yeah, I think the testing is so integral, such a key component of figuring out because I know that if you don’t test you’re just going in circles. I mean, there are a lot of people that can be fixed per se, or that get to a different place of their healing. Myself who had so many years of asthma and ulcerative colitis, and all these different things that were happening. I didn’t just change food, and I had that drastic change.

Reed: Absolutely. So I’ll tell you, when I’ve had so many young people, mostly women, coming into the clinic 20 years ago, I think they care more about their health, I think they’re more likely to pay attention to their booboo, so to speak. Men, we care more about our cars and motorcycles running well. And we’re happy. So with women coming in the office, when they got success, they would refer me to their husbands or bring their kids in for things that they just didn’t even know where to begin. 

One of the most common stories they tell us about a lady that came in, she was talking about her eighth visit for Chiropractic and Massage and I could tell she was really feeling badly. She was 40 pounds overweight and frustrated and sick and tired of it. What are we going to do about that? Oh, there’s nothing I could do. She got angry. She’s like, I just went to the doctor for a checkup. I’m on this medication for the hives and I’ve been on it for two years and it makes me fat. Then I went to the doctor and I told him how frustrated I was with the weight. I had hives and I was fat and it’s really depressing. The doctors said, we’ll be happy to write your prescription for antidepressants. So she’s staring at the ground and I said, Well, why didn’t you ever find out why you get the hives?” And her head snapped around so hard. It was unbelievable. What do you mean? No one had ever offered. 

So this is in line with your question more or less that people just don’t know that there’s data, it belongs to them in either fight. Get it. And that’s what FDN practitioners do. I think that’s what puts us out in front a little bit at least. We don’t guarantee results, Rachel, because we’re not in control of the results. But reasonable expectations. Every time everyone gets better 100% of the time, if you find out what’s really wrong, what’s out of balance, what’s deficient, what’s been stretched to its limits and whatever it might be. What are the general principles that healing this would apply? The body genetically requires certain amounts of nutrition. I could go on and on about all that. 

But that story I just told you is so common. And another lady real quick. She called me up. I was referred by so and so I hope you can help me. What’s your problem? She goes, it’s a migraine. So I’ve been in a dark room with a pillow over my head five days a week. I just can’t get up. I said, we’ll run a couple of labs on food sensitivities and some environmental pollutant panels and things. Sure enough, I found out she was exposed not just with food, but with her even down to outgassing of furniture and things that epigenetic influences. 

I had no clue exactly what was going to happen. You can’t predict much. But looking backwards, this is so common, you eliminate those things, the problem goes away. She was able to go within just a couple of weeks for days and weeks with no migraines at all. Just what she called normal headaches. Well, we know those aren’t normal. But that was such an improvement for her she could go get a job and start living a life. 

One more really quick, I had was a little football coach for years and years. I love kids and working with kids. I get so many kids’ stories. A mom comes up to me at practice and goes, “Hey, Coach, would it be okay if Bobby misses practice, but he could still play on Saturday?”

I said, no, that’s not how it works. You come to practice, you play with the other kids, you learn the new plays that we’re putting in for this week. And then you can play on Saturday. It’s not fair. Why can’t he come? 

Well, he’s got asthma and he’s embarrassed to bring his inhaler with him. The other kids laugh. By the way, this kid was a good athlete. I’d seen him in training and I really wanted him there. So I said, Hey, get him in the office. We’ll get you some tests and just cut to the chase. Within two to three weeks, no more asthma attacks. He threw the inhaler away, which, by the way, are horrible for your bones. I mean, it’s drugs for kids. They are no good in my book. 

He was 12 at the time, he went on to be the super high school athlete in college and stuff that changed his life. His parents still, if I see them in town, are coming up saying, hey, I really want to thank you. That was 20 years ago, they’re still thanking me for changing their kid’s life. So these are the joys of getting to the root cause and helping people fix things. Again, we’ve been doing it long enough so that there’s some predictability there.

Core Tests Used On FDN Patients

Rachel: There are lots of tests out there. What are your favorites? Do you have a bundle of tests that you start your core testing?

Reed: Yeah, I have to say that over the years, I ran 1000s of labs, and some people I would run labs that I didn’t even know what I was doing. So I had great mentorship. But I also made my own observations, Rachel. I ran more labs than any five practitioners put together for almost a decade. I recognize patterns. I’m a good organizer from the time I was a kid. So I organized the areas of dysfunction that were most common in hormone, immune, digestive detoxification, energy production, and so on. 

We use some saliva test, a urine test, a stool test, and a blood test, and another blood test for food sensitivity. So five Labs is what we ask everyone to run. It’s a small investment compared to being sick. Don’t you think? 

Rachel: Yeah, better an expensive choice than staying sick. When I was chronically sick, you become a slave to the food that you’re eating, and then you just feel crap all the time, you start feeling a depression. And that’s a difficult thing that so many people deal with when they’re dealing with these chronic health issues, let alone being a child. And you as a parent are dealing with all this anxiety and sadness because your child isn’t thriving.

Reed: We teach FDNs to be health entrepreneurs and most of them work for themselves. So they’re a fee for service. It’s a retainer, you retain me for 90 days. We’re gonna run some labs, we’re gonna go over the test results, and they will explain what’s going on with you. And then we’ll give you some things that will improve all of those functions. All natural, drug free, not spending a lot of money on supplements and stuff. But not only that, we’ll coach you for 90 days. 

Most doctors say, come back in 90 days, take this and we’ll see. We’ll test again and see how you’re doing. We’re saying no, there’s going to be some behavior requirements, we’re going to work with you for that 90 days. So again, it’s a fee for service. 

But if your total investment –depending on what’s going on– won’t be more than a week’s vacation with your family. There might be a weekend vacation with your family, it’s more than a few nights out for dinner. It’s not buying a new car, either. We’re not asking for more than what’s reasonable when you’re getting your health back. 

I’ve never been in a lawyer’s office that didn’t say write me a check for five grand and I’ll help or we’ll look into it. We’ll look into it. It’s that fee for service. But what we’re delivering is life-changing. And not just for one person. We teach them so much they can pass it on to their family.

Rachel: I love that you guys teach so much about habits too, because it’s these habits that are actually going to change what we do on a daily basis. And then you have the lab testing.

Reed: Yeah, so the D or ESS is the protocol. There’s the testing and there’s the protocol. And it’s completely natural. It’s really nature at work. Remember, it’s Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, nature, nurturing, whatever word you want to use. And it’s so helpful. It could even include anything of nurture. If our job is to identify and overcome obstacles to healing, we need a lot of creativity. 

So we identify those obstacles to healing first, and creatively overcome them mostly with behavior. What if those obstacles to get healing are in a person’s mind and emotions? Well, you have to be creative there too. Use the code –that’s where the coaching comes in –that you’re going to be getting to why this is so important. How life-changing is it going to be when you overcome this and raise your commitment level? We actually follow through. It’s not going to be some of the things you bought on the internet you’re going to do for a week and then stop because it’s too much work. 

Rachel: No, it’s a process. I love what you say right there good things come to those who hustle. 

Reed: And it’s true. It’s your health to write it. 

How You Can Take Care Of Your Health

Rachel: Well, that’s why we’re called the Healthy hustle. Because you’ve got to take care of your health. You’ve got to do the things in this life to be able to give you that energy that you want. I know you are a lover of energy so you can garden, so they can go on your bike. Tell me what are some of the things that you do in your life to take care of your health?

Reed: Man, it sounds corny as hell, but early to bed early to rise, work hell and advertise. So you thought it was gonna end something? This morning, I got up at three o’clock. It was too early and I might pay for it later with a little nap. But I do get up early, but I go to bed early. 

We’re diurnal and nocturnal animals. Our circadian rhythm is built around daytime, we measure the hormones involved in stuff. So get up early and get a lot of stuff done. I’m a GSD guy. Get Stuff Done. That’s one of my mottos. My wife always says, I know you’re the GSD guy. He can’t wait, you’re gonna go do it right now. Clean the car, write a blog. You gotta get shit done, every day. 

But when you start early, it’s just approaching noon my time now in California, and this is my last appointment. So I can go get on my tractor. I love landscaping property, I can do other things that are important to me and enlargements around work, but it said other work that you do.

Rachel: So tell me if there was one thing that you could buy these days to up your health, what would it be? Or do you feel you’ve really mastered that? Do you feel there’s any toys for biohacking and stuff? What’s your favorite thing these days?

Reed: Well, I have toys, I love my toys. I have a motorcycle collection and side by side a couple of those. And a pickup truck and Mercedes Benz and a bunch of stuff. My son has a boat so I don’t have to get one of those. 

But on the other side, doing things to maintain my body. So I’m almost 70 on my next birthday. I have a very well used body. So I’ve been really rough. I plan on going down to Cancun and getting some more stem cells. I’ve had stem cells five times. I’ve spent a lot of money on it because I’m learning about my body again, I’ve injured both shoulders. My mid back, my low back, my neck looks like crap, I was told. A chiropractor friend of mine read my MRI report on my neck. 

So I’m doing those kinds of things with my money. I’ll take my wife and go on vacation and get some stem cell treatments in Mexico and, and things that. I see that in my future. I got Dr. Tom O’Brien is a good friend of mine. If I used to care who wrote that about my neck, and he’s got this clinic in Switzerland, that you can go and do fun bio hacks with blood and stuff like that. So, anti aging. People ask me when I will retire – not soon. 

Rachel: I just love what you’re doing. I know for myself, I was saying to my husband the other day when we were having this retirement talk, I said I just don’t see myself stopping. I would do all those things to take care of myself. So I have my vibrant energy.

Reed: Yes, and you have an abundance of it and it shows. Every time I see you, I feel better. That’s the other thing that we get to do. For the people we want to help set the example. Teach them how to live. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime thing so I intend to do that. That’s where my money’s gone.

Rachel: Well, I love that. I know that there’s going to be a bunch of coaches who want to check FDN out. Can you tell me where to find you guys on Instagram or your website?

Reed: It’s really easy. FDN training.com/healthyhustle in your honor, Rachel. We would love for your listeners to go there and get more information. You have some things, you’re doing certificates, or call us whatever. You’ve also got some work experience, you’re out there in life. And your main mission is to help people, and you’re willing to walk the talk. You can make a really good living doing it, because you see other people doing that. You’re entitled to get paid for your profession. Why don’t you just make it a real profession then, and act a professional, charged professional fee? You need the skills to do that. Our course is designed for this, what it’s designed for is to put you in that ballpark, where now you’re cooking with gas.

Rachel: I love that. Trust me in this world where there’s so much toxicity in mind and spirit, and body. I think that we need this coach all the time. We need somebody to look for those hidden reasons why we’re sick. You’re not born to be sick. You’re born to be healthy, that’s your birthright.

Reed: Absolutely, that’s your birthright. We owe it to ourselves. The last thing I’ll just throw in there for those that aren’t so entrepreneurial, but they still want to do good, and they’re still willing to walk the talk and they want to learn more, again, all the skills are there. 

Now, we’ve been around since 2008, and we’ve grown this, we’ve deputized 1000s of FDN practitioners, a lot of them just are getting jobs, they just aren’t working in clinic, they just want to help a doctor or a group of people with what they do best run the labs and give them the protocols and coaching. So we’re finding physicians now coming to us labs, supplement companies, saying hey, we want to post a job on your alumni board. 

Rachel: I just want you to go on that self healing journey. I think to be able to go, I know that you guys have it set up where you actually take your own tests and go through that process with a coach. Oh,

Reed: Yeah, that’s required. You have to work on yourself. So everyone runs all the labs and gets all the mentoring one on one, because we want you to go model that fits it, show you and then you go model it in the world and you’re charging good money for it. You can make your course tuition back with three clients. But if all you did is get your own health back, that would be worth the price of admission.
Rachel: Isn’t that the truth? That is worth the price of admission. If you haven’t met Reed, please go follow him. He often will do a live or he will do training. Check it out at FDNtraining on Instagram. They have amazing content interviews with alumni, just tons of information even on health, gut health, hormones, genetics. You name it. They’ve covered it. 

Michelle: Messaging is so important for your health and wellness business because you want to reach the right type of ideal client, and you want to attract them organically, especially if you’re just starting your business.

You don’t have a ton of money to toss around with Facebook ads. So it’s really great to really get that concept of, okay, I’m attracting people organically on my social media, they’re connecting with me, they’re scheduling a wellness consultation, health discovery call, and they’re reaching out. Maybe they’re opting in to your freebie. All of that is so important.

In order for that to happen. You have to know who you’re talking to and all about them. But there’s so many things that go into it. You might even find that you have more than one type of person that you’re speaking to. So you might have to have some variation in your messaging and individual posts that go out or cycle them through or do something that.

But you should definitely know, the biggest things are: What’s that big problem that they have? What are symptoms that come from that problem? And really think about them. How old are they? Where do they live? Paint the full picture of what they do on a daily basis. That’s your ideal client avatar.

Rachel: If you’re looking to Google something, go to digital marketer, it’s Ryan Deiss. And Google ideal client avatar, there’s a great download that will take you through that process. You want to know age, demographics, dislikes, TV shows and movies they watch. Really play out the scenario of each of these ideal clients.

But before we dive into ideal client avatars and messaging, let’s talk about nailing your hook. Because I see clients left and right, who are saying, I specialize in gut and I just want to work with people to get them healthier. But it’s not going to work if you just say I want to work with everyone or I just want them to feel better. We want to get really specific.

So can you walk me through an example of a hormone specialist who deals with blood sugar, weight loss, and hormone balancing.

Michelle: Yeah the first thing, let’s say, you’re a hormone coach, and you’re saying something similar, I help women get their hormones in check, and lose weight and do things in the process, but get healthier. If that phrase comes out at all, the next question that I always ask is, well, what is healthy defined by that particular person that you’re speaking to? Because health is so different for everyone.

It’s really, really personal and based on that person’s goals and their problems and what they’re dealing with and what keeps them up at night and what’s their daily struggle.What’s their big goal?

So the hook really needs to be the biggest problem that you help solve for that person that dramatically changes their health or dramatically changes their life. But be so specific with it. Is it balancing hormones? Well, what does that mean? Are you talking to somebody who’s going through menopause or perimenopause? Menopause really messes up the cycle.

The more specific that you can really get with that, that’s going to help you attract the right people into whatever you’re putting out there like your freebie or workshop. So it’s really important to have the hook relate to that big problem that you solve for the person that you ideally would dream about working with.

Another step is to really know, signs, symptoms, and also what they want to achieve. So it’s really know those symptoms because that’s how people identify, and really know what they want to achieve. What is that big problem that you’re solving that they so desire on a physical, spiritual and mental aspect as well?

It’s really important to know those symptoms and what they’re dealing with, because a lot of times, it can be very easy to just fall into general language like, “I help women get their hormones healthy.” That’s good ground to start with. But then what’s next? And how deep can you go with that?

Get so specific and talk about things that might be uncomfortable to say out loud, but really connect with your ideal client? Is she having night sweats? Is her libido low? Did she gain weight during perimenopause? You have to get really specific.

When I think of copywriting and sales, if it was a sales page, these are your individual bullet points that have to be on your messaging everywhere, so that you can connect with them. You might have more than one type of person you want to work with.

So let’s say, you specialize in three things. Maybe it’s hormones, gut, and weight loss. Really sit down and think about, is this the same person that I’m talking to every time? Are these things connected? Or do I have different audiences for each of these? Which is fine, too. So it’s just really important to know that as you present your offer.

Rachel: Well, you just brought up a great point, because when we sit there and think of different audiences, we also have to think of that ideal client. So let’s say it’s a woman who’s dealing with weight gain during perimenopause. You might have a person who’s a stay at home mom, you might have a person who’s working in an office, and you might have a person who is a high powered CEO. But remembering that in your messaging, it’s okay to narrow it down and leave out your other ideal client.

So if you’re messaging and really talking to that CEO that has high stress, really go in and talk about high stress, maybe emotional eating, stress eating, or the weight that’s caused by perimenopause. Really speak to her in those pain points that she’s struggling with so she actually identifies with you and says, I’m going to opt into this freebie today, or I’m going to watch this masterclass where I’m going to sign up for this discovery session.

And I always look at it as someone who also loves health. If I’m going to hire a natural health person, whether it’s a doctor or someone else, I really look for specifics. What can they really help me with? When I’ve had breast challenges in the past, before I looked for natural, holistic experts that specialized in breast health. I wanted to know, is this someone I can hire who knows their stuff, and can really help me with this specific problem?

It’s the same thing when you go to your general MD. They refer you out to someone who can really help you go deeper in that specific problem. So it’s the same thing. So how specific can you get in your messaging as a health coach to those people who are really looking for that expert who can really help them solve those problems?

Rachel: Well, when we’re talking about messaging as well, we’re not just even talking about social media, we’re talking about messaging on your website. Can we talk a little about that? Because you brought up something that I would love to talk about, which is key words.

Before we jump into websites, how do you find your key words? I always say, do your market research, get 5-20 people on a phone call, interview them, take that time out to hear the words that they are saying. Take the exact words and write them down on a word bank. What would you suggest in addition to that?

Michelle: From an SEO standpoint, don’t be too creative. Use words that are so common that people are typing them in Google. So if you specialize in gut health, you should have keywords on your website that are digestion. Do they have a specific issue? Is it IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome? Gas? Bloating? Probiotics.

If you talk about that often, and you think your ideal client might be searching for those words that they are using every single day, use them. Make sure they are problem specific because that’s really important, because that’s what’s going to pop up in Google when they go search and you can even do that yourself. Go to Google and start typing it in, how to heal my gut. Notice all the things that pop up and look. Notice those common keywords and put those in on the back end of your SEO on your website.

Rachel: Such an important topic. Because so often we use health coach words that our ideal client wouldn’t use. Let’s talk about messaging on our website. So somebody comes to your website, and I forget what exactly is the amount of time you have to capture their attention?

Michelle: You’re lucky if you have three seconds. It’s so fast, because we’re a population that is just busy. So aesthetically, you want it to also be visually appealing, you want it to be attractive, you want it to be easy to read and then have pictures and things like that.

With these words, you want to think about the ‘above the fold’. The header needs to be so specific. And if that’s all they read on the website page, is that enough to keep them scrolling? Is it something they get over, whatever the problem is? Is it enough for them to take action on? “Click here and download my free guide.” It just has to be specific, it can be a question. “Are you struggling with your diet?”

Rachel: Your list builder should definitely be up on the top as well. So it should really be that big hook. The headline is that question in very, very bold, like Melissa Ramos.

Michelle: What I’ve loved about her messaging is that I remember her talking about super uncomfortable topics. She talks about UTIs, she talks about bacterial vaginosis.

For me, that is some clear, specific messaging. Most people get afraid to go that deep. So that’s when you fall back to that general messaging and general language, but do you say the things that they’re really struggling with? Because that’s what’s gonna make them opt in and click and hire eventually. So it’s important to be really specific.

If you’re focusing on a woman with Hormonal Health. Is it really balancing hormones naturally? Or is it really down and dirty to the women’s hormone health issues? Is it about her sex drive? If she could fix that, would it save her marriage? Really thinking about exactly what it is that that person is struggling with?

Rachel: That really comes down to that market research. In the beginning, say you’re coming right out of school, and maybe you haven’t done that market research. But for me, I asked friends, people who I felt had similar issues, similar health problems to that of my ideal client, I asked family members, I asked as many people as I could to get clear on what was the biggest thing for their gut issue?

For me, people came to me for food allergies and food sensitivities that was something that in their gut, somebody could deal with like Belly Bloat. But I found that food allergies and food sensitivities and weight loss were my big A’s and I never thought that I would ever be a weight loss coach with gut. But I found that so many people had bad bacteria that was leading to weight gain. At least that’s how I viewed it. And that’s what also set me apart from other people. I do gut differently. I do weight loss differently. Come and work with me and get down to your weight loss issues because you’re on a diet and nothing’s even working.

Michelle: That’s so important. I remember health coaching and I was scared to. It’s easier to write for someone else, right? Even writing for myself, I remember going and doing that inner work to be able to be confident in my own messaging. It took really being comfortable looking at my problems.

So for me, my ideal client was myself in the past, and that might be very similar for a lot of health coaches, that’s why we usually get into the field, right? We want to help the people how we helped ourselves. So it took a lot of feeling comfortable and being able to just push the limit a little bit. Am I talking about bloating? Am I talking about how messed up my stomach was or how I leave a party if I felt sick? Things I never wanted to share with anyone who knew me personally.

No, it was really necessary for me to be able to have people reach out and say, Hey, I’m so glad you did that post. I connected with that, can we have a talk? That’s how you attract people. It’s really just an honest vulnerability. So when you’re doing the market research also do the inner work.

Rachel: If you’re a different topic, because I’ve seen coaches who say, I’m scared to share my story. It doesn’t mean that we share everything. We share the things that we know our ideal client is going to say that is me. I remember sending an email out to my newsletter list when I had Rachel’s Wellness, when I was coaching about gaining weight when my probiotic wasn’t working.

I talked about this realization that I had for myself that I needed to rotate my probiotics so my body didn’t get used to it. All of a sudden, I got five clients from that email. People were like, Oh, my God, this is happening to me, I’m gaining weight, these pounds are so hard to get rid of. What’s going on? Let me try this.

All of a sudden, people were like, I need to work with you. Look at all these tips that you have. And just sharing that personal story with somebody. I also shared how it made me feel because people were identifying with my story as somebody who was recovering from food addiction, stress eating and not having a very good relationship with food. I struggled with food for years and it just helped me bring my client closer to my own life.

Michelle: Yeah. It provides a nice, comfortable platform for them to share in return. No one feels comfortable walking into a room and sharing something super personal. But if someone shares it first, then it feels like others can share, it’s a natural reaction. So it’s nice to be able to get those emails back or someone hitting the contact on your website, or having someone DM you because they’ve read your story.

It’s also just nice to be honest in your messaging, too. So if you’re struggling with that, just draft it a bunch of times. You don’t even have to put it out there yet. But draft it. Sit with it. Get comfortable with it yourself. Would this be the information my ideal client needs to hear from me in order to hire?

Rachel: Yes. I did with every post, whether it was posted on my personal page where I was laying the foundation for my brand, or posted on Rachel’s wellness, my business page, or on my Facebook groups. I always tried to really share with my ideal client, the very struggles that I had with asthma, the struggles that I had with food allergies.

Also even when I would have a flare, that was an important thing. If I had a flare, I used to get Angela Diem on my eyes. So my eyes would blow up after a food reaction. I remember posting that picture and being like, if you’re in a flare, this is what I do, and helping my ideal client to understand what was normal, autoimmune reaction and what was a flare. That landed with clients too. Be vulnerable in those situations where we would be so scared to share something because it also helps our ideal client to identify with us and humanize our work.

Michelle: Your message isn’t going to be for everyone and the people that it’s not for, that’s okay. I’ve heard from health coaches who were like, Well, I want to share this, but back before they did custom audiences on Facebook and everything, you can’t even do that on Instagram. They’re afraid for people they know to see it. You’re not sharing it to help those people. They should be there to support you wanting to help the people you should.

A lot of that comes down to that inner work that you’re talking about. It’s getting over the fear of what people are going to think. Because you declare that you are going to start this business. And you can’t just start this business by doing a few posts that are not speaking to your ideal client with your own messaging, it’s almost impossible to get hired.

Rachel: So let go of that self doubt and what are people thinking of me? That only leads to procrastination. So when we’re not doing the things that we need to do in our business, or when we’re questioning that, that just leads to procrastination. Then all of a sudden, we don’t have a business at all. We feel we’re failures. And it’s a vicious circle. Instead of just saying I’m going to let go of what people think of me, I’m going to make this post, I’m going to do it. And I’m not going to question that or look back.

Michelle: What was actually very therapeutic for me, is I went to other websites, third party websites, MindBody Green, Thrive Global, and I started doing some blogging there. Because even though it was a big audience, the chances of someone that knew wasn’t going to be reading it. And it was an awesome experience to have strangers commenting, thank you, this helped me so much. It just gave me this reassurance and confidence to build me up a bit.

So even if you can do some guest posting or guest blogging somewhere, and really get comfortable with that messaging, that can really help boost confidence to write.

Rachel: Whether you’re building your signature program, or blogging or doing things within those programs or within the blog, there has to be something that brings your story into relation to what you’re teaching. It’s not having that fear to go for the work that you need to do, or not having that fear to put out your signature program and find those stories that are relative to that signature program that you are selling to your ideal client. You have to really know the why of it. I think that’s important. Knowing why you’re messaging a person, knowing the journey that you’re going to take them on, whether it’s a blog, a workshop, or your signature program.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s really important, which goes right back to, who’s your ideal client? What’s their problem? Because when you know that everything else becomes crystal clear. Your freebies, your programs, your offers – everything that you do is there to serve someone. Once you know who that someone is, all the messaging becomes so much easier.

Rachel: Do you think that we’ve missed anything during this episode?

Michelle: I don’t think so. But I would definitely say if you’re really struggling with it, have a friend or a peer record you or record yourself. If you’re struggling with your messaging, look at the places that you’re struggling. Is it in your about me page, your website, social media posts?

First compartmentalize the areas, then actually say, I’m going to sit here and focus on a social media post, or I’m going to write down my story timeline. What happened? What was life like? What brought you to your knees that said, you’re going to change into this as a business? What do you teach now? Actually write it down and figure out the stories that you need to extract to infuse into your messaging and then actually record it. Record some of the verbiage that’s going to be on your website. It will take you out of that fear of struggle, because when we just let go and record it into our phone, it’s so much easier.

Rachel: Yeah, I can’t count how many times I’ve done that. I play it back too. Then you hear it and it just helps. It’s definitely a great way to express myself.

Remember, you have your messaging. You want to know what you do, who you do it for, what problems you solve, get very specific in that. You want to also make sure that your messaging is specific. You can have more than one ideal client avatar, just make sure that ideal client avatar works.

Lastly, really believe in your story. Believe in the story that you went through. And if you didn’t go through a health issue, you still need to get down and dirty doing the same work and figuring out what are the problems and what is your ideal client’s desire? Don’t be scared to get specific. In this, specifics is where you’re going to make the magic and that’s when your ideal client is definitely going to opt in, sign up or hire you.

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