In addition to half a dozen e-mail questions on sugar each week, I get a fair few e-mails from those keen to start a new career as a health coach, wellness blogger or some other online endeavour.
Whilst on the whole I’ve often blogged just because I like the topic area and want to write, I did eventually turn Happy Sugar Habits into a business – mainly through coaching 1-2-1.
I’ve decided to share a load of very practical advice that I wish I’d known about when I first started out.
This post will contain a list of a wide variety of tools and resources which I’ve used and would recommend. I’ve split it into a few sections for easier navigation:
- Should I enroll on IIN – what to do if you’re asking this question right now
- Getting started tools – basic website and blogging essentials
- Coaching support – handy stuff if you’re online coaching
- Social media tools – save time and get more strategic with social media
- Video stuff – a few video specific ones
- General – just some of my productivity essentials
- Online courses & coaching – an important section but
Note: There are some affiliate links in this article. This means for the occasional thing, I get a small kickback if someone does start to use the tool or take the course. I have only included stuff I actually think is decent and given my honest opinion. Now I’ve stopped coaching, this simply helps contribute to the running of the website.
Another note: These are just my views based on my knowledge at the time of writing and to the extent of my knowledge – know you can always do more research and look into things further.
Helpful tools and resources to get started with online business
Should I enroll on the Institute of Integrative Nutrition course?
I haven’t yet publically posted my thoughts and advice around this course but I email everyone that asks me and have some standard answers to the most common questions. If you want to know more just drop me a line (email@example.com).
Getting started tools
- The first thing I purchased was my domain name from Namecheap ($9.98 a year)
- The second was my server hosting – I’ve used Hostgator ($9.98/mo) for 4 years and love their live chat help! There may be better ones out there now but don’t spend too much time on it. Make a decision and move forward! I watched a YouTube video on how to attach my domain to hosting and Happy Sugar Habits was born!
- I would recommend setting up a first initial website (don’t get perfectionist about it as it WILL change!) on either WordPress or Strikingly. Strikingly I recommend because it’s so quick and easy – you can upgrade later down the line when you’ve got clients (& money) through the door.
- If you go for WordPress, I’d recommend you find a very good, very adaptable theme from ThemeForest for about $50 and then pay someone to get it all set up for you which you can do for a few hundred if you don’t customise too much. A first website does not need to cost £1000s.
- You need a mechanism to collect e-mail addresses. I used Aweber for 3 years (about $35/mo) but now I use Active Campaign (about $45/mo) which is amazing for automated follow ups – I highly recommend.
- You then need to have sign up forms and landing pages. I’ve used PopUpAlly ($99) and now love Thrive Themes ($19/mo) for this (I really don’t like LeadPages).
- Either get a designer friend to help with initial graphics/logo or create some of your own on Canva.com – I spent £600 on a designer to start (whcih was too much) and now I make everything myself on Canva for free!
- Use www.pexels.com to get non-tacky images for blog posts that have creative commons. Man, I used such naff images before I found this website!
- Helpful WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO – helps you make things SEO friendly.
- VaultPress ($5/mo) – Backs up your content and site. Super important.
- Quick Redirects – When you change a page location.
- Google Fonts – more fonts to match your branding.
- Akismet ($5/mo) – Blocks out most spam comments.
- Link checker – e-mails you about broken links.
- Don’t forget to get Google Analytics set up too.
- Any help you need in terms of an assistant, design, tech support etc. check out Upwork.com and also Fiverr.com. I’ve got a great guy in India who I use for tech emergencies when I need and have worked with a few from those sites quite successfully.
When you start coaching tools
- Obviously you can use Skype or Facetime for coaching but also check out Zoom.us which has built in recording facilities
- I myself have always stuck with Skype and used Ecamm recorder ($29.95) to record customer research, interviews etc.
- Acuity Scheduling ($9.99/mo) I found great for integrating with my calendar and making sure that I didn’t get double booked. It was great to create different appointments and time slots for different things too – I really love this tool.
- I would send a pre-coaching questionnaire to clients in Typeform and I used this tool for all my feedback and evaluation questionnaires too.
- iPages can create great looking documents for client summaries and I even used it for ebook design too. Make yourself a bordered template with branded fonts and you’re set! I also used an iPages template for my invoices.
- I would keep a folder in Dropbox for ‘Current Clients’ and have a folder for each client which I could share and put all the helpful guides, handouts etc. I sent to them for future reference (so they don’t have to go through e-mails).
Social media tools
- SumoMe was the best WordPress Plugin I settled on for those sharing things at the side you can see. I paid for a few weeks to get some more detailed data on what was getting shared but am now back on the free version.
- Buffer (free for a few posts), Hootsuite and CoSchedule ($9.99/mo) can be used for pre-scheduling social media. Also check out MeetEdgar but I haven’t used that myself.
- Alex Tooby was my go to Instagram whizz girl. I took her Infamous to Influential ($247) course and because I invested the money it it, I really stuck with implementing the methods and did get a client as a direct result (so it paid off). You need to be continuously consistent and put in the work to grow a big following though.
- I used Iconosquare a bit for Instagram analysis and Crowdfire App for managing my followers on Twitter.
- Wordswag is a great iphone app for creating pretty worded quotes.
- iMovie is great (& free) for movie editing but this can be a right time suck so don’t object to finding someone from Upwork.com to do it for you.
- When I don’t want videos in public domain I use Amazon S3 as a server to store them.
- Mpeg Streamclip helped me re-size things.
- I use Evernote somewhat haphazardly to just collect up notes, store to do lists, record reading links and keep a note with my branded colour palette on. I also just use it as a copy and paste tool.
- I use Trello to plan out my months and weeks and days (I have a board for each) where I plan out the tasks using cards and move them around.
- Lastpass.com changed my world and has saved me hours resetting forgotten passwords
Online courses & coaching
I totally believe in getting support from experts and those who have done it before. However, not a day goes by when some coach for coaches is popping up on my Facebook feed promising a 6-figure income in 6 months. All I can say is be careful. I know there are some scammy ones about, which is a shame as there’s some flipping good people around too.
Here are my picks:
Top of my list as a general high-performance coach is Todd Herman. I took his 90 Day Year course and it changed how I think about so many things on a number of levels and taught me so SO much.
Next is Rebecca Tracy from The Uncaged Life who focusses on helping coaches and self-employed individuals.
I completed both The Uncaged Life and Hey Nice Package! Courses. Both were brilliant.
Uncage Your Business ($999) got me sorted with my messaging, a foundation of what I was selling and some great mindset stuff along with coaching with Becca to work through my current challenges.
Hey Nice Package ($297) was transformational for my revenue – with Becca’s process I created my signature Sweet Mindset Programme and it not only got me more clients and more clarity on what I was selling, it helped me deliver even more value to those I worked with and I saw my coaching take off more than it had done ever before.
Wellpreneur Online – An AMAZING podcast that you must listen to, a great blog and good support packages. I know Amanda personally and she’s the real deal.
Amber Dugger – Amber is actually a friend I met in Bali but she helped me to start budgeting with a tool called YNAB and I will never look back. Absolutely essential in the early days of business to help you reduce financial stress and I now personally use YNAB on a daily basis.
Amanda J Daley – I haven’t done her 5k months flagship course but I would recommend you join her Facebook group to connect with other health coaches and make the most of some great free content she has on her website. Likewise Marie Forleo also has a brilliant TV show.
I hope something in there has been helpful and please do bookmark this for reference to come back to as I know there was a lot in one go. I didn’t even get started on book recommendations!
If this has been helpful and you’d like me to write more, expand on anything then comment below. Also please add anything else you know of for others to benefit from.
GOOD LUCK! 🙂