Something I’ve found very interesting in the health coaching industry is the number of health coaches who are uncomfortable making money. Either uncomfortable charging what their services are worth, or uncomfortable building their service or product offerings in a way that’s specifically designed to make money.

And, I totally get this! It’s something I’ve struggled with, too. How do you put a price on

health? What terrible, mean person would charge money to help someone with their wellness?

But, here’s the thing: If your business doesn’t make money, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a hobby, if that’s what you’re going for. And there’s also a reasonable argument for periods of time with no income while putting your resources into developing something larger (🙋‍♀️ been there).

But, in general, the reason you started a health coaching business is to make income from it, and that’s a perfectly appropriate and acceptable end goal to aim for.

With that in mind, here are a few different ways health coaches can make money from our wellness knowledge and expertise:

HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS A HEALTH COACH

Depending on your particular business model, areas of expertise, and personal interests, the mix of income streams you use in your health coaching business could vary substantially from that of another health coach you know. So, in no way am I suggesting you must be incorporating all of these. 😁

But, just as a reference point, here are some of the most common and effective income streams for health coaches and other wellness professionals:

1:1 health coaching

Of course, one of the primary income streams for many health coaches is 1:1 private coaching with individual clients. Not only is this the primary “form” we were taught in our health coach training, but the personalized approach is also one of the most effective at creating and sustaining the lifestyle changes we help our clients make.

There are many client benefits to 1:1 personalized health coaching, and many health coaches also enjoy this style of work and the ability to connect with each client personally.

However, there are also a few drawbacks and limitations to 1:1 work, from both the health coach and the client perspective:

  • It’s very energy intensive. Though you might have 8 hours in a workday, it’s tough to be fully present for 8 consecutive hours of personalized health coaching. Most coaches find we max out at about 4 client-facing hours each day.
  • It’s expensive. Private health coaching is typically a pricey purchase. And, as such, not all potential clients interested in your services are able to afford working with you in this capacity.
  • You’re limited by the number of hours in a day. Your overall reach, impact and income as a health coach is naturally limited by the number of clients you can take on at once, or the number of sessions you can hold in a given day, week, etc.

This is not to say that 1:1 health coaching is not an important and worthy income stream or method of providing services (it very much is!), but rather that there are often reasons that health coaches prefer to supplement 1:1 private health coaching with other service offerings as well.

group wellness classes + workshops

Group wellness classes and workshops can be a great way for health coaches to provide health coaching expertise and services at a lower price point (thus making your practice more accessible to a wider audience), while also getting to connect with and create impact for a larger number of clients than you could work with in the same amount of time in one-on-one health coaching sessions.

Group sessions can provide more generalized wellness information or assistance, and build rapport with clients who may then choose to work with you in personalized 1:1 coaching sessions in the future. They can be held either in-person or online (though in-person services will likely be limited for some time with COVID precautions).

online wellness membership programs

We’ve talked before about the many benefits of online membership programs for health coaches, because they’re a great way to add flexible, passive income streams to your health coaching business. They’re considered “passive” income because you develop a program once and then sell it many times over—so you could be doing anything, anywhere at the time that your program is making sales. Your income is no longer tied to the specific hours you spend face-to-face with clients.

We also love that online membership programs are a more flexible service offering —it makes your wellness expertise available to anyone, anywhere, any time of day or night. You don’t have to deal with the scheduling challenges of fitting in clients at the times they’re available, or not having enough time in the day to accommodate all interested clients for your 1:1 health coaching services.

We use and love a tool called MemberSpace to create membership programs directly on our Squarespace website. (Though we use and recommend Squarespace, MemberSpace is also compatible with other website platforms, including WordPress, Weebly, Wix and more.)

We have an entire post on the different types of membership programs you can create in your health coaching business, so check that out for more details. But, the moral here is that you can sell a wide variety of membership offerings, including online courses, resource libraries, membership portals and more—all related to your wellness expertise and health coaching services.

affiliate programs for health coaches

The golden rule with affiliate programs is that you really shouldn’t become an affiliate or promote anything that you weren’t already using or you wouldn’t recommend anyway, without receiving a commission on referrals.

That said, there are some instances in which you may regularly recommend certain wellness products or services to your clients, in which case you could receive a small commission on those referrals.

Some affiliate programs pay a one-time commission (you make a certain amount per referral or sale), and some pay you a recurring commission as long as your referral remains a member/subscriber.

In general, you need fairly large volume for affiliate programs to be a meaningful source of business income. This typically means having enough website or blog traffic that the affiliate links you share sustain enough clicks/sales to earn regular commissions. It can help to focus on affiliate programs for subscription-based products that pay recurring income. The total long-term payout tends to be much higher for an affiliate program that pays a recurring commission on a subscription-based product, vs. a program that pays you only once for sending a new customer their way.

I wouldn’t recommend seeking out affiliate programs to join as a primary source of income, especially if you’re a new health coach. But rather, review the products/services you already recommend and look into whether those offer affiliate programs.

Some common affiliate program options for health coaches are:

  • Amazon Associates: Amazon has an affiliate program through which you can provide affiliate links to anything you link to on Amazon. The payouts are quite small per purchase, so this definitely requires volume to earn substantial income.
  • Supplements or other wellness products you recommend: Many wellness companies offer affiliate programs. This one can be tricky though, because there’s a big difference between “affiliate program” and “multi-level marketing”… which is not something I recommend, nor something health coaching clients tend to be very keen on being marketed to about. But, if there’s a brand or product you recommend regularly to your clients, it can be a good idea to inquire whether the company has an affiliate program you can join.
  • Wellness or nontoxic marketplaces: There are also a variety of wellness-focused or nontoxic-product marketplaces (like Grove Collaborative or Thrive) that are often recommended by health coaches, and they offer affiliate programs for the referrals you send their way.

Here’s more about when and how to use affiliate links as a health coach, plus more affiliate programs for health coaches.

digital wellness products

Health coaches also have expertise that tends to translate well into other digital products—things like a recipe e-book, or a meditation audio series.

Some popular digital products for health coaches and wellness professionals are:

  • E-books: These are relatively simple to produce (they just require your written content and relevant imagery), and can work for a wide variety of health coaching topics, including healthy recipes, nutrition plans, fitness plans, cleanse guidelines, and more.
  • Audio files: With some simple recording equipment (a computer and a professional mic), you can create and sell audio recordings such as guided meditations, recorded content (like an audiobook version of your ebook, or a recorded lecture on key material).
  • Videos: Again, with just some simple equipment (a webcam or a smartphone/video camera with a tripod), you can record video trainings, tutorials, workouts and more.
  • Graphics: With a graphic design tool (like our fave, Canva!), you can package your expertise into beautiful, printable guides, checklists and more.
  • Documents: Maybe you have another resource, like a spreadsheet activity tracker, or another type of document. Almost any document of value can be packaged and sold as a digital product.

These are just a few examples—the sky’s the limit here! There are many, many ways health coaches can package your wellness expertise into digital products that can be sold via your health coaching website.

physical products related to your health coaching business

And, finally, though it’s a bit less common, it’s also possible to sell physical products in your health coaching business.

Some examples are t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. Or, perhaps you have your own brand of homemade nontoxic soy candles or gluten-free granola. Whatever it may be, it’s certainly possible to incorporate physical products as an income stream in your health coaching business as well.

What’s the best way to make money as a health coach?

There’s no one “best” way to make money as a health coach. I know health coaches who make very different incomes from each of these health coaching income streams. It really depends on what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, and how much effort they put into it.

The best way for you to make money as a health coach depends on a few factors:

  • Your particular area of expertise. Some topics or types of content lend themselves better to certain business models. For example, fitness instructors tend to do well with in-person or video-based content, because clients like to see a new workout modeled and be actively guided through it. On the other hand, a health coach specializing in detoxification might do better sharing their content via written guides that detail the complex instructions and information needed to guide clients through a certain cleanse. So, your health coaching expertise and content will influence the best income streams for you to focus on.
  • What your audience wants. It’s also important to consider what your audience wants from you with regard to your areas of wellness expertise, and how they best consume content. For example, if you specialize in senior wellness, you wouldn’t want to create an online fitness program for seniors distributed via TikTok videos, as not many seniors use that app—you catch my drift.
  • What you enjoy doing. Success in any of these areas depends quite a bit on consistency and mastering your craft. So, the best options for you to pursue are those that you actually enjoy—which means you’ll be more likely to follow through and continue building them, even if growth is slow in the beginning. (Which, it very likely will be.)
  • How much effort you’re willing to put into it. Each of the health coaching income streams mentioned above has their own upfront costs to get started, and their own ongoing maintenance or management needs if you choose to go that route. In choosing the best health coaching business model for you, also consider what’s needed for “start up” in each of those areas, and what you’re able or willing to invest—either in time or capital. Also keep in mind that the income potential of each method varies widely depending on how much effort you invest. For example, some health coaches earn five figures monthly from affiliate income… while most earn a small fraction of that. The difference is how long you’ve been doing it, and how much effort you put into growing that area of your business.