When Tina Haskim started her first business in 2008, she waitressed and worked at a bank on the side to get her fitness studio up and running.
Nearly a decade later, she launched TruBody Coaching and had the chance to do things differently by offering her services exclusively online — and setting the boundaries she needed to be a happier entrepreneur. She talked to us about how to become an online health coach and set yourself up for success.
How many years of experience in health and fitness did you have before launching TruBody?
I became a personal trainer in 2001, and my first business, Tina’s Fitness Studio, is a bricks-and-mortar business in Parry Sound, Ontario. It runs on its own now, so just over a year ago, I decided I wanted to focus on health coaching.
I took a six-month online course through the Health Coach Institute and launched TruBody as an online platform in August 2017.
How did you determine your niche and ideal clients?
I love helping anyone, but through my time in the field, I feel I’m best at helping people who are where I’ve been. That’s why my niche is women in their 30s and 40s, and I focus on health, weight loss, and anything to do with life improvement.
My job as a coach is to help clients make the transition from the place they’re in to the place they want to be as smoothly as possible, which is why I took the health coaching course. I now have the tools and strategies to help people make their dreams a reality.
How did you come up with your packages and pricing model?
I hired a business coach to help me put my pricing and packages together. It’s a tough thing to do on your own, and I believe through any transition in life, coaching is a good choice to get past limiting thoughts you might have.
I also wanted to be able to offer packages at different prices, from $35 all the way up to the bigger programs where you’re getting tons of service and tons of my time to reach your goals.
As a service provider, especially in the health and lifestyle industry, I have to build trust with people. If I create smaller packages where it’s not such an economic investment, they get to know me, and they can decide if that was enough or if they want to try another package because they have further to go to reach their goals.
What were your biggest startup costs and considerations?
My biggest investment was the health coaching course, which I had wanted to do for years. After that, it was getting my marketing materials, logo, and website ready, and I was up and running!
How did you get your first clients?
When it came to TruBody, I sent out a personal email invitation to friends and family letting them know my new credentials and what I was doing with them.
If they wanted to have a breakthrough session to talk about what was slowing them down or keeping them from the goals they want in life, I could help them with a step-by-step plan. I got a great response and got my first clients by getting in touch with people I know and love.
Referrals have mostly been word-of-mouth from past clients who I’ve helped, and other service providers who know me.
What online tools do you use to run your business?
I used Logojoy to make my logo, which was an amazing experience. I loved all the options, and it was super exciting to create that logo and get it off the ground.
I used Wix for my website, and I also use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, Grasshopper (virtual phone system), Vimeo, and YouTube. I love all my online tools because, with TruBody, I can be anywhere in the world helping my clients.
What advice would you have for people who want to start a service-based business?
Go down that path and start working on it. If you need help, ask people who have done it already, and get the best advice you can so you’re not wasting time or energy on things you’re uncertain of. You can also talk to a business coach.
I think the other biggest thing is to set clear boundaries for yourself. I didn’t do that in my first business, and I’ve learned you have to cement what you need to live a fulfilled life. If business and work are taking over, that means they’re taking away things that bring you contentment. Design your business so it works with you and your life.
Whatever service-based business you’re in, when you meet clients, really be asking yourself, can I help this person? Are we a good match? Because if you’re working with someone and they’re going to be draining all your energy, and there’s something that doesn’t feel right about it, don’t take that client on.
That’s another personal boundary you need to learn — it’s all about protecting your own life and your happiness and what fuels your energy.