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I can remember sitting at my desk, staring blankly at a screen that stared just as blankly back at me, when I decided it was time to “do my own thing.”
I had just gotten off a call with a friend and I said, “I feel like I have spent a decade of my life making other people’s business dreams a reality (which I am damn good at) and now it’s my time.”
I had no clue where to start, no clue what I wanted to do, or how I wanted to contribute, I could hardly use a computer other than to check my email, but I knew I was ready.
I’d been reading a lot of inspirational books at the time and there was one sentence that stuck out to me, “look at how you are spending your time that you aren’t being paid for.” I was working out, cooking healthy food, always talking to family and friends about how to eat organic and local, sharing alternative methods of wellness, directing them to the newest yoga studio, and it was a passion for me. There was something there for me to explore.
Over the past 3 years, I have built a 100% online business writing blogs, running a 12-day cleanse program, teaching wellness through essential oils, and coaching clients remotely from around the world.
Last year we lived on the beach in Costa Rica for 3 months while I ran my programs and worked with clients. This summer, my husband and I are leaving our home in Austin, Texas to spend a month in the mountains of Montana, a month at a nature preserve in Portugal, and then a month on an olive farm in Tuscany before heading to India & Bali.
I don’t tell you this to make you jealous, I tell you because I am no different than you. I just decided it was the lifestyle I wanted to live and began to take teeny tiny steps in that direction — every single day.
I want to preface this by saying I am not going to teach you how I make $50,000/month because I have never done that.
I make enough to travel when I want, buy organic food, and for the most part do what I want, when I want, without ever having to walk into an office I’d rather not be at — and to me, THAT is the dream.
This post will break down exactly how I became an online Health Coach and what steps you can follow to do the same, if that calls to you.
The most frequently asked question I get, after “what do you eat & why,” is “how do you do what you do.”
- How did you start a website?
- How did you choose who you wanted to work with?
- How did you get people to follow and read your blog?
- How did you create a following on social media?
- How did you build an online program?
- What tools do you use?
OK, let’s dive in…
Once I decided I wanted to work in wellness & nutrition, I still wasn’t clear on becoming a health coach. I thought about healing foods culinary school, becoming a chiropractor, becoming a naturopathic doctor, an Ayurvedic practitioner, and the list goes on. But I was clear on one thing, I wanted to be able to work anywhere in the world — that was mandatory for me.
A friend mentioned I should look into the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and after I called the school to speak with an admissions counselor, I remember feeling like I exhaled for the first time since graduating from my undergraduate program years ago. I had a deep, deep sense that that was where I was meant to be.
The tuition at the time was $5,000 and I definitely didn’t have that available. My mom fronted me the money and I paid her back monthly. Six months into the year long nutrition program you are able to start taking on clients and I actually paid my mom back the entire tuition before I graduated.
I did this program 4 years ago and people ask me all the time if I recommend it, and the answer is yes, I do. I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing today without the education and business skills I learned there. And it’s not for everyone.
IIN teaches you how to be a Health COACH — you are not doing lab tests and it is more focused on lifestyle than the science of nutrition. There are plenty of other amazing programs out there if you want to be a wellness practitioner but I wanted to speak to my clients equally about food, nutrition, lifestyle, work, contribution, and approach wellness from a holistic perspective.
I, in time, went on to complete many other educational trainings across the spectrum of nutrition, mindfulness, coaching, and yoga but IIN provided the very solid foundation upon which I built my business.
**If you have more questions about whether this is the right program for you or not, please email me directly at Carlyhealthcoach@gmail.com and I’m happy to answer any questions you have.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s program is 75% nutrition and how-to be a coach training, and 25% business training. I appreciated each and every business module they offered because at that time I had zip, zero, zilch business training. However, their focus is not specifically on building an online business, but you know whose is? Marie Forleo‘s.
I was sent to Marie through my mom who had read a blog of hers and knew I would resonate with her message — the world needs that special gift that only YOU have to offer. Marie’s online business program, B-School, is a program for artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs who have more alternative niche markets. It teaches you how to use modern marketing methods (i.e. your computer and the internet) to fuel higher profits and your higher purpose — it’s that simple, and offers exactly what it promises.
Everything you see on my website from how it is set up, to what I sell, to my message to my audience is thanks to B-School. If you want to have an online business, this program is a necessity.
Equipped with my coaching certification and business training, I started building my website and my online product. Here are the exact tools that I used to create Carlyshankman.com and my cleanse program, 12-Days to Sexy.
Web Design & Development
Green Geeks: This is my hosting platform and the very first place you need to begin when creating a website. Hosting is where all of the code and content of your website lives. When I launched my first website, I used BlueHost which is a common platform for bloggers, but I decided to switch to Green Geeks because they are powered 300% by renewable energy. Traditionally, hosting can be very bad for the environment because it takes so much power to run the billions of websites, so making this switch (with no additional cost!) was a no brainer for me.
If you use the link above to purchase, use the coupon code TAKE20OFF when purchasing for an extra 20% off!
Theme Forest: After you get hosting for your website and you install WordPress, you’ll probably want to make it more beautiful and personal to your style and brand, this is where “themes” come in. Theme Forest is the largest seller of themes on the web and you can go there and search through thousands of different options to find the one that perfectly suits your business.
If you love the theme I have on Carlyshankman.com, then search for “Foodica” made by a company called WPZoom that I highly recommend.
12-Days to Sexy is my signature program and it is my #1 form of income from my blog. The only other product I personally created was one-on-one coaching offered at an hourly rate or package of 6 that people would sign up for through my website. Here’s how I made 12-Days to Sexy a success!
Mailchimp: This is the email marketing software used to automate the daily emails for 12-Days to Sexy and to manage all of the subscribers (like you!) for my newsletter. There are many other options out there but I have found this to be the most cost effective and easy-to-use platform.
Instapage: You know those really beautiful sales pages you see that are so aesthetically pleasing, organized, and make it incredibly easy to press, “Buy!,” those are most usually created by a software called, Instapage. We used to use LeadPages but we switched to Instapage because you can fully customize their templates to fit your brand and style. Using this platform is as easy as dragging and dropping the images and words you want. If I can use it, anyone can.
They also make it really easy to A/B test (meaning you create 2 pages and see what which converts better) and make the most of your marketing efforts.
After creating a product, I had to drive traffic to my website so that I could reach more people. This required me to understand and master social media and content creation. I started blogging weekly, became a part of a real food blogging network on Facebook, invested in an Instagram training program, and purchased a professional camera and lens for food photography.
Infamous to Influential: The internet is busy and loud, and if you don’t know how to stand out, you will get swept away with the masses and your message will get missed. This is one of the most beneficial training programs I’ve done that taught me how to grow a loyal, dedicated, and like-minded following on Instagram.
Sony A5100 Mirrorless Camera: This is the camera we use for all of my food photography, recipes videos, and travel VLOG. Yes, the iPhone camera is great, but if you want to rise above the rest, you must invest in pro equipment. As travelers, this camera is light-weight and compact, unlike a DSLR with the same quality photos.
Food Photography Lens: When purchasing our camera, we did tons of research to discover the best lens for food photography (or any up close photography). Our conclusion brought us to this lens and now we swear by it. Everyone we have referred to this camera + lens has thanked us profusely for the recommendation.
Adobe Creative Cloud: All design professionals use Adobe. The quicker you learn how to use their creative suite of programs, the quicker you will cultivate the skills needed to become an online entrepreneur. With Creative Cloud, you get access to all of their programs including Photoshop, Lightroom, Premier Pro for video, and Acrobat to create beautiful PDF documents and products (this is how I first built my 12-Days to Sexy cleanse ebook).
SD Card: Storage is way less expensive than it used to be, so purchase a large SD card to ensure you never run out of space on your camera. The worst thing ever is when you’re about to take a food shot that took you 2 hours to set up but there is no space. Been there, don’t let it happen to you.
Tripod: If you plan on Vlogging or doing any type of travel photography (which you will as a mobile entrepreneur), you are going to want a flexible tripod that will attach itself to a tree branch, a flight of stairs, or any uneven surface. Again, we did tons of research and we found this to be the perfect option for the mirrorless camera we recommended above. We use it daily.
Now that my business was making money, I needed a system to track and manage my finances. Ross, my husband, is an accountant and helped set me up on the professional bookkeeping software, Quickbooks. Every month, I receive a report that shows what money I invested and how much money I made so I know exactly where to place my time and efforts.
After you start making money with any business you’ll need to pay taxes as a sole proprietor which is where Qapital comes in. This software automatically takes a percentage of each deposit and saves it for tax day.
If you need help getting started with Quickbooks or Qapital, Ross helps out solo-preneurs like me turn their hobbies into actual money making machines. You can reach him at Rossobrown@gmail.com.
Quickbooks: If you want to run a legitimate business, you need to have your finances organized. Quickbooks is a user-friendly platform that allows you to categorize all of your transactions and run monthly reports to see exactly what came in and went out in your business that month. Every successful business has a system for bookkeeping and this is the only one you’ll ever need. Membership starts at $10/month so there is simply no excuse not to get your finances on lock.
Qapital: This platform allows us to put away money for taxes and charitable contributions every month, automatically. When you get started with this system, you make a “rule” of a specific amount or percentatge you want to automatically save, every time you make a deposit. Then, moving forward you don’t need to do anything other than check in every few months and celebrate the savings.
With the infrastructure for success in place, I was ready to offer another product to my clients…essential oils. I have used them for years but only recently got inspired to share them with more people and create another online revenue stream.
Essential oils were something I used in my daily life for everything from detoxing, bug bites, stress relief, and digestive support, to high-quality protein powders, supplements, and toothpaste.
I use Young Living essential oils in 2 ways:
- Plant-based wellness products: I recommend their products to all clients who want to make the switch towards “green living” and get the toxic products out of their home. I recommend replacing perfume with oils like Lavender and Joy, replacing cleaning products with plant-based cleaners like Thieves, and over-the-counter drugs with therapeutic oils blends. This is a big part of what I do to lead my clients to a holistically healthy life.
- Business income: In exchange for the time I invest in product education, I make a commission for each purchase someone makes. In addition to that, I train other mobile entrepreneurs and Health Coaches how to build an online business with these products.
**If you want to teach people how to live holistically and create a lifestyle where you can work anywhere in the world, I’d be happy to provide more training in this area. Just shoot me an email at Carly@carlyshankman.com and we’ll schedule a time to chat more.
World Nomad Travel Insurance – Since we are digital nomads, we need premium travel insurance to cover our computers, cameras, travel cancellations, and of course, our health. 6 months of premium around the world insurance for both Ross & I is only $670 with WorldNomads. They were originally recommended to me, and now I’m happy to recommend them to you.
I know this is a lot to take in and please know that it took us 3 years of trial and error to come up with this list. We had so much help along the way and are honored to be able to give back much of the knowledge that was passed onto us.
Shoot me an email and we’ll get you up, running, and traveling in no time.
My best piece of advice is to start now, in this moment, and just take the next smallest step – buy the URL for your website, purchase the training program you’ve been admiring for a year, or open your email browser and send me your question. There is no better time than this moment. This is the sign you’ve been waiting for.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu