The concept of working smarter rather than harder is certainly gaining momentum as the advances in technology offer smart solutions for our growing businesses.
Whether you’re a tech-savvy entrepreneur who actively engages in the progressive startup world, or if you’re simply a nutritional practitioner or health coach that focuses on just that: helping your clients eat and live better. If all the other social media frills and swanky apps cause you more anxiety and grief than you think they’re worth: THE FOLLOWING LIST MIGHT JUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY OPTIMIZING HOW YOU WORK!
As Director at Meal Garden for the past 2 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of nutritional practitioners, from Registered Dieticians to Naturopathic Doctors to Registered Holistic Nutritionists and one thing is clear: they want tools that are easy, financially accessible, and that add REAL value for their clients (as well as their sanity!).
I’ve rounded up all of our favourites as an all-inclusive checklist to ensure your business activities are thriving just as much as you & your clients’ health!
1) Communication Across Borders: Zoom
Health practitioners seem to all be flocking to Zoom.us these days! No wonder - it’s ranked #1 in customer reviews and works great for one-on-one video coaching, and just as well for your programs’ and challenges’ group conference calls. I tend to stick with Google Hangouts for scheduling my own sales calls, but I must admit - the success rate is starting to drop and the quality of the calls are hit and miss. I always appreciate when I get a reply with those beautiful 5 words: “I’ll send the zoom link!”.
2) Newsletter Campaigns: MailChimp
What’s your “opt-in”? Your free giveaway? How do you make sure you land a touch-point with future or potential customers, as well as stay top of mind for those existing and/or past clients? While some are starting to argue that email marketing has lost it’s “sexiness” as other forms of engagement - especially for health coaches - are gaining in popularity, think: Facebook Groups, Instagram Stories/Lives, etc. I’m still a firm believer in building your list and keeping a beat going with your tribe! I love MailChimp for this. Here at Meal Garden we have the paid version, which allows you to do advanced things like time your emails based on open rates and get further insights on click rates, etc. BUT I also use the regular old free version for Mindfully Edible and I find it almost as good and still a vital tool for my health business.
3) Keep Your Team on Track: Asana
Even if you’re a solopreneur, you’re likely still working with others in some form or another - this could be a co-op (here at Meal Garden, we’ve been thrilled with the wonderfully intelligent students from the IHN), an outsourced assistant/consultant, some other form of part-time help (yes, your kids/friends count too in those early days!), or even just a collaboration with a fellow expert. There’s a well-known saying that continues to ring truer and truer for me as I get a handle on the “real world”: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Working with others is a beautiful thing and it will likely transcend you to new heights and onto exciting paths in your business that would be impossible to achieve on your own. With that said, planning projects and staying on track amongst groups - or even just in pairs - can be challenging. I like Asana for this because it makes responsibilities and next steps clear for everyone involved, and also adds accountability to keep things moving efficiently. They have a basic version which is free, and their very affordable basic plan for just $9.99/month is a worthwhile expense if you’re often working with others.
4) Be Active Online → Even When You Sleep: Buffer
I find it slightly ironic that in order to be a “successful health advocate”, you sort of need to be online all the time. How healthy can that be? Not very, which is why I recommend you get yourself a tool like Buffer, which is a social media platform that allows you to schedule your posts...so it seems like you’re always on it (even when you’re not!). Life it too short to sit behind a computer, or to be on your phone all day. Plus, you can track which posts do best, and get insights to drive more successful sharing for next time. While setting up a monthly content calendar might sound like an attractive option - get it all done in one shot type deal, I would still advise you update your content “in-person” or “live” so to speak, at least every 2-3 days. The social media world is an ever-changing place where news comes and goes fast, and it’s best to take advantage of things in the moment. On the whole, though, having some content set up for yourself to take the stress off is a helpful aid thanks to Buffer.
5) Make Posts Look Pretty and Professional: Canva.
The importance of aesthetics cannot be underestimated - it can be the difference from a potential client thinking “ew” or “oh la la” to the content you share, regardless of its accuracy or the actual information shared within it (sad but true!). Designing beautiful posters to share across social media and/or in your freebies is easier with the right templates - vs. building things from scratch, which is also incredibly time-consuming! Canva is free and instantly makes you feel like a pro - go ahead and get creating, and you’ll be proud of what you can create in no time, I promise.
On the topic of keeping things pretty: so far the most attractive free stock image site I’ve ever come across has to be Unsplash, hands down. Stock photos can scream...well...stock photos. If you want images that keep your brand authentic, relevant, with just enough flavour, I love Unsplash. It’s 100% free and crediting the photographer is suggested but not required.
6) Make it easy for people to slot you in: Calendly
How much time do you spend scheduling things? What if you could prevent all the back and forth emails asking “what times might work for you” and instead make it easy for people to book whatever time they like on your schedule. Calendly not only makes you look and operate more professionally, it saves you from all of those annoying emails - because booking a time to chat takes shouldn't take more time and energy than the chat itself!
7) Be a Better Robot: Hubspot
Speaking of emails, do you find yourself sending basically the exact same thing to different people? Yes, sometimes hustle takes patience, and can make you feel a bit like a robot, but instead of fighting that simple fact - I suggest just embracing it with efficiency. Hubspot allows you to build email templates so copying + pasting that “cold reach out” email is replaced with one simple click. Their free version also allows for the sneaky (but totally worth it) ability to see who is opening your emails and who isn’t, so you can plan your follow-ups accordingly. In other words - do you need to work on just tuning up your subject line, or the email body itself? For even more insights and the ability to set up email sequences (similar to automated campaigns in MailChimp) you may want to upgrade to their paid version.
8) Get Noticed and Get Trending: Neil Patel SEO Analyzer
Do you have an SEO consultant? Okay, probably not. But regardless of if you’re a keyword expert or not, you could likely do with a bit of help when it comes to keeping your content optimized for relevance as well as being easily searchable. Who doesn’t want to come up in the top results for Google searches?! #Goals. For that, I have just discovered an amazing free tool on Neil Patel’s site - it’s right at the top of his page, and you can plop in your website link and see how much better you could be doing when it comes to gaining traffic. The assessment is totally free and even comes with links to explainer articles to ensure you understand the information being presented to you.
9) Give Each Client Exactly What They Need: Meal Garden Professional
Let’s face it, we can all Google search for recipes, download ready-made meal plan templates, or read articles on this vs. that diet - but how are you providing real value to each of your client’s specific nutritional restrictions, preferences, and goals? Meal Garden lets you build out custom materials (recipe collections, meal plans, etc.) that suit the unique needs of your individual clients quickly and easily, and then share that content in a way that’s still customizable on their end, so that they can interact with the resources you provide and feel empowered rather than disciplined. Say goodbye to PDF printouts that have only proven to lead to stress and failure, and say hello to a whole new way to inspire your clients to make better food choices - without a total overhaul of their current lifestyles. Sometimes it’s the little things, like providing mobile-friendly grocery lists and notifications, that can keep them on track and feeling supported more than ever - what can be more rewarding for a health coach than that?! For $10/month Canadian, the power to upgrade your business - for yourself and your clients, is in your hands (on your desktop or mobile devices).