The “Health Crusader’s” Guide to
Building a Successful Online Business
By Yuri Elkaim
By Yuri Elkaim
You might not know it but you are an online “health crusader”!
Whether you’re a health or fitness professional, health coach, or fitness/nutrition/food blogger, you’re probably here because you want to start or grow an online business that impacts more people and allows you to live a great life in the process, right?
That’s why YOU, my fellow healthpreneur friend, are an online “health crusader”.
But perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed, chasing tiny pebbles instead of “big rocks”, or have simply hit a plateau in your online business.
Or maybe you’re tired of training clients or seeing patients day in and day out (I can certainly relate to that) and know deep down inside that there’s a better future for you online, yet you’re not quite sure how to get started.
Well, wherever you are, welcome!
My name is Yuri Elkaim. I’m the founder of Healthpreneur and I’ve been in your shoes.
After working 16 hours a day as an underpaid trainer for far too long I ventured online more than 10 years ago and eventually “cracked the code” to success after years of initial struggle and frustration.
Since then, I’ve built several multiple 7-figure online product brands in the health and fitness space, have helped over 500,000 people to amazing health, and become a NYT bestselling author along the way.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have enjoyed many successes. And during this time I’ve noted the important steps and milestones required to go from zero to “industry hero” that people can rely on to meet their health and fitness goals.
And I’ve put together this special guide so that you too can have more impact, more income, and more freedom by building a predictable online business that works for you (not the other way around).
This guide is for personal trainers, health coaches, dietitians/nutritionists, naturopathic or functional medicine doctors, authors, speakers, and health crusaders who want to leverage their expertise, build an authoritative online platform, and create information and products that impact more people all around the world, even if you’re sleeping or on vacation.
I’m going to walk you through 9 critical (yet often overlooked) steps to getting started or growing your online business – the right way.
As you know, there are many components to building a successful online business such as email marketing, paid traffic, content marketing, etc…
However, here, I’ll walk you through the FOUNDATION of identifying your target audience (and their needs) and crafting an offer that they actually care about.
Because quite honestly, without this important foundation, everything else you do online is a waste of time.
I believe that health and fitness experts have an unparalleled gift to transform the world, one person at a time.
No other profession cares for the goodwill of their clients like we do. It’s our duty to help those we can and I believe that the more people we serve, the more income we deserve.
We don’t have to be slaves to the gym, the 4-wall clinic, or hustling to make a name for ourselves. We can have more freedom, make more money, and live life on our terms, all while impacting far more people than ever before.
It’s time to work smarter, not harder. To put your unique genius to work and realize that being YOU is the greatest gift you can give others. It’s time to craft your unique message, share your gifts, and ultimately build a smarter online platform that gets you in front of more of the people you want to serve.
We live in a time where millions of people are suffering (many silently). Yet, there’s never been a better time than now to become a leader, to expand your reach, and package your expertise into simple solutions that can move millions of people to a healthier, happier future.
So follow these 9 steps and you’ll be on your way to impacting 100x more people, making 10x more money, and enjoying 2x more free time. (Disclaimer: Obviously, your results will vary depending on your ability to take action and apply what you learn).
Let’s get started.
Before you jump into starting your business or creating your next information product, you must identify who your single target market is going to be for your business or product.
“Who do I want to be a hero to?”
“Who do I really want to help?”
The goal is ideally to select a small segment of the market and be the go-to leader for those individuals.
Otherwise, you become a “generalist” to “everyone”. And we all know how that ends. Not well.
(It’s tough to compete with the likes of Dr. Oz or WebMD, right?)
Once you’ve narrowed down your focus…
“Is this a starving crowd?”
Is there something they want really badly? If so, that’s great (and we’ll talk about that in Step 2).
The key to building a successful online business, especially in the crowded health and wellness space, is to go narrow and deep, especially where there’s PAIN and URGENCY.
This means that you’re better off being super focused on serving a small segment of the market who are actively seeking out a solution to a specific problem.
When you go narrow and deep you’ll more effectively speak to your ideal customer and have an easier time becoming THE sought after leader in your niche.
Here are some ideas:
|Helping men and women lose weight||Being the weight loss expert for post-menopausal women|
|Providing healthy gluten-free recipes||Being the go-to resource for busy moms who want to feed their kids allergen-free meals|
|Helping men get ripped||Being the expert that helps dads get in better shape than they were in their 20s|
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Be specific and don’t worry about alienating a larger group of people. You can’t be everything to everybody. By repelling the masses, you’ll attract the right customers who hang on your every word.
The final question to answer in Step 1 is very important. Answering this question honestly will allow you to connect with your audience at an emotional level and build a tribe of loyal (even “die hard”) fans and customers.
The question is:
“Why do you want help this audience? Why do you do what you do?
Don’t overlook the simplicity of this question. Figuring out your “why?” gets to the core of the matter and is the secret ingredient to building a brand that people love (think Apple, Southwest Airlines, etc…).
Now that you’ve got your single target market and why you want to serve them, the next thing you need to figure out is what is the biggest pain that they want solved.
This can be answered by asking the following question (via survey, in person, or even on Facebook):
“What’s your #1 challenge/obstacle/struggle when it comes to [DESIRED OUTCOME]?”
Once you start seeing a common theme in the responses (especially longer responses that have more “emotional” charge to them), you know you’re onto something.
Solving your audience’s “what” (ie. their pain or desire) is your ticket to success. It’s also the best way to truly serve them. Otherwise, you end up beating around the bush without ever really getting to their core problem or desire.
Now that you know who you want to help and what their #1 problem is, you want to get an idea of how other experts in your niche might be serving this same audience.
Specifically, you want to look at HOW they’re marketing and WHAT they’re marketing. Basically, you want to know what their product or business is so that yours can be 10x better.
It’s important to understand that since we’re operating in a very competitive market (health and wellness), your “thing” needs to be significantly better than what people may have already seen.
(When paired with your “why”, this gives you massive differentiation).
And that’s because of the level of awareness and sophistication of the health/wellness market.
For instance, if someone’s looking to lose weight, guess what? They’ve likely been exposed to hundreds of other diets, workouts, supplements, etc…
Yours has to stand out from all the noise. We’ll look at how to do that in Step 4.
Thus, it’s helpful to know what the market has been exposed to so that you can craft a solution that is evidently better. And once you have a decent idea of what already exists, you’re ready to move on to Step 4, arguably the most important step in this entire process.
As I just mentioned, you need to stand out in this crowded marketplace. You can do so in a number ways – like being yourself, sharing your “why?”, and using your difference to make a difference (which is very important for the long term success of your business).
However, when prospective customers are looking for a solution to their problem, they’re usually not interested in who you are but more importantly how you can help them.
Thus, your business or product needs to exude a big idea – a unique hook or angle that differentiates you (your product) in the market. And more importantly, how it benefits your target audience.
I call this your “unique value proposition” (UVP). This is a one sentence statement that communicates your uniqueness and how it benefits your potential customer.
For instance, the UVP for my online health business is:
Making fit and healthy simple again so you can live a great life in a body you love.
The big idea is that I make healthy and fit SIMPLE. I cut through the noise and confusion in the health space to give a clearer path for my audience to reach their health and fitness goals.
The BENEFIT to them is that with my guidance they’ll be able to live a great life in a body they love.
If you’re offering a product or service, part of your big idea might (and probably should) encompass a “unique method” that you’ve developed.
This is basically your “secret sauce” for how you lead someone from where they are to where they want to be.
If you take a moment to break down those steps and give it a name, you’ve just created a “unique method” that is proprietary to you. This alone stands out because it’s yours. No one else has your “method” even though they may have a similar process that leads people to the same result.
For instance, my best-selling book The All-Day Fat Burning Diet is based on my proprietary “5-Day Food Cycling Formula” – a 5-day eating plan that cycles carbs and calories to help you burn fat 24/7.
Now, I’m not saying that no one else talks about carb or caloric cycling but no one on the planet has the “secret sauce” that I’ve created…
Mine has a specific name and it denotes a unique process to burning fat all day long. As such, it helps my diet stand out a little bit more effectively.
If I just came out saying, “just eat fewer carbs on one day and then more on another, etc…” it wouldn’t have the same power. It would be more ambiguous and not as methodical.
Your customers want specific “how-to” from you. Give them step 1, step 2, etc… to their goals.
Get rid of the guesswork. Give them a specific roadmap…a proven recipe.
And remember that part of the power is in the naming of your unique method. So document your process and give it a name.
This may sound odd (and backwards even) but the truth is that before you decide to create a product you should hammer down your marketing message (or sales copy) first. That’s what we’re going to do right here.
Actually, we’ve been doing this since Step 1. It’s all marketing.
The reason for this is that it’s much easier (and more effective) to back up promises made in your marketing by creating your product after you’ve determined what you’re promising or going to deliver.
It’s a lot tougher to squeeze good marketing into a product after the product has already been created.
At this stage, you want to write your main sales copy or marketing message. And here’s a simple framework to follow (thanks Ryan Deiss) so you don’t get overwhelmed in the technicalities of copywriting.
Basically, all you want to do is figure out where your prospect is right now and where they want to be after using your product or doing business with you.
To help get you started, let’s consider the theoretical example of women who want to lose weight :
|BEFORE (your solution)||AFTER (your solution)|
|HAVE||Lower self confidence, less desire to eat well, cravings, self-defeating thoughts, shame||Radiating confidence, a healthier/slimmer body, hope, better control of their diet|
|FEEL||Unworthy, unattractive, jealous of other women, tired||Valuable, attractive, unstoppable|
|AVG DAY||Struggle with cravings, bad food choices, living life on the sidelines||Wake up happy and ready to make their day awesome, enjoy eating healthier foods and exercising regularly|
|STATUS||Live in the shadows, don’t want the attention.||Life of the party, people take notice when she walks in room.|
Once you’ve got these points identified, you now have the foundation of your sales/marketing offer, which again is simply being able to articulate how your prospect will go from the “before” to “after” by using your product or following your advice.
It’s a lot easier to make your promise (or guarantee) once you know what your customers will feel, have, and experience after you inject your awesomeness into their lives.
Now that you’ve got this figured out – and much of this can actually come from responses in Step 2 – you’re ready to actually write (or have someone else write) your sales copy upon which your offer will be presented.
Without going into copywriting specifics, there are:
Here, you want to highlight the problem faced by your target market. Then, you agitate that problem by digging a little deeper into how it’s “ruining” their life. Finally, you segue into your offer as the solution.
This is essentially a story-based approach to communicating your offer. Here, you would show what life was like before your product/solution. Perhaps you (or the person in the story) were overweight and depressed. Then, you discovered a new way of losing weight that finally worked for you. And now you’re a new person with a new lease on life and sharing your discovery with others.
Obviously, these are extremely abbreviated examples but they should give a good starting point for how to communicate your product or solution.
Think about an octopus for a second…
It has a body and a number of tentacles.
Keep that as a visual representation of what you want the marketing to look like around your product.
Over time, you ideally want to create multiple entry points (each with a slightly different angle) into your main product offering because this will give you multiple touch points to get your offer in front of more people.
The body of the octopus is your product (which we’ll be creating in the next step). And the tentacles are the various marketing assets you can create to bring people into your product offer.
Here are some examples of what I call “marketing assets”:
Now, you certainly don’t have to create all of these but, overtime, the more assets you have, the more sales you’ll likely be able to make. That’s because not everyone will be compelled by a written sales letter. Some will respond better to video or a webinar, and so forth.
This is also why content marketing is such an important asset for the long-term success of your business. Each piece of content is another marketing asset that provides great value and moves prospects closer to doing business with you.
FYI: If you’re worried about traffic, don’t be. If you focus on your offer and making it convert well, the traffic will be easy to acquire, whether from paid ads, affiliate traffic, or elsewhere.
If you’re more advanced, you can think of marketing assets in a slightly different way as well.
For instance, instead of just having one sales page for all of the traffic that sees your offer, you could have 2-3 sales pages that are slightly different based on where your prospect is in the buying cycle.
If they saw the initial sales page and didn’t buy, perhaps you can direct them to an abbreviated version that overcomes major objections and presents more social proof.
With this method you give your prospects different angles/look to consider your offer.
Sure it’s a little more work but this doesn’t have to all be done overnight. Marketing is a journey, not an event. So just take one day at a time and start with one marketing asset – most likely your main sales page.
Good news: the hard part is now behind you…
You’ve done most of the heavy lifting and now you can focus on creating an amazing product that delivers on all the promises that you mentioned in your marketing material.
Whether you’re creating a quick workout, diet, supplement, or lengthier training course, what matters most is that you create something of high value. It must to deliver on the promises you made in your marketing. Specifically, it needs to move your customers from where they are “before” to where they want to be “after” (see Step 5).
That’s why we figured out the marketing first, right?. Because at the end of the day, all that matters is getting your customer the outcome/result they want.
That’s why we’re in business.
There’s nothing wrong with getting excited about an idea you have…
But too often, I see entrepreneurs (including myself in the past) lit up by a new idea, immediately go into creation mode and put together a product that isn’t properly thought through.
In their excitement, they forget to focus on the tangible result it will deliver to their customers and whether or not people even want it in the first place.
So they end up either creating something that they’re in love with, that is the same as everything else, or that is extremely difficult to market clearly and effectively.
You are the expert in what you know, right?
Thus, the product creation is likely a little easier for you. But I’m challenging you here to think about your customer first and foremost before you dive head first into this.
That’s why marketing comes first.
As you develop your product remember to keep it super simple for the customer to implement. Overwhelm is enemy #1.
Hold their hand and walk them through, step-by-step what to do so they can experience small and quick wins. This will keep them motivated to keep using your product and obviously reduce refunds.
I have no doubt that you can deliver on that and that’s why you do what you do. You have a unique gift. Other experts may serve a similar audience as you but your unique ideas, insights, and position about your topic of expertise is something only you have. So use your difference to make a difference.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve experienced the sheer volume of things you “could” be doing to get your message and product out to more people…
You could be running Facebook ads, getting affiliates to promote, building an Instagram following, creating Youtube videos, public speaking, writing a published book, or a host of other things.
I’ve got one thing to say to all of that…
Listen – you don’t have to do it all. There are a thousand paths to Mecca. Some are certainly more effective than others and certain ones can yield faster results.
However, I strongly suggest that you pick one distribution/marketing channel that you’re committed to mastering and do just that. Master that one thing!
But how do you know which path to follow?
“Am I naturally good at this? Do I enjoy it?”
(ie. I love doing video so Youtube is perfect for me)
“Do I have the team to execute this OR can I find someone who’s better at this to run this for me?”
(ie. This could be FB ads manager to run your ads)
“What’s the cost to pursue this in terms of time, money, and/or resources?”
(ie. Instagram might be free but it will take you a lot longer to build a presence (and sales) than if you started by running FB ads to your offer)
“Is this platform or channel suitable for my brand or product?”
(ie. Video workouts are great to showcase on Youtube. Physical products can work well on the visual platform of Instagram. Almost anything can work on Facebook.)
Again, I can’t say this enough…
Once, after much careful thought and consideration, you’ve chosen your ONE channel, turn off the distractions. Don’t worry about the latest gimmick or widget that will only sidetrack you from your focused path. Focus on your ONE thing like a dog on a bone.
At the next stage, you’ll have more intel to decide whether your chosen channel is the best fit for you. You can always change channels but I recommend doing so only after you’ve tried everything you can to make your current one work.
An Important Message for “Shiny Object” Chasers
If like me, you’re more of a “starter” than a “finisher” and get excited by new ideas that cross your mind, then you’ll need to surround yourself with someone (ie. operations person or project manager) or a team of people to see your initial project/strategy through to the point where it’s bringing in the results you’re looking for.
Once you reach that point (and only then), should you start thinking about your next “big idea” and go through these same steps all over again.
But before you do, there’s one final piece of the puzzle that needs to be dialled in before you take off into creation land again.
By this point in your business or product journey you’ll likely be itching to move on to your next idea. But hold on cowboy.
The reality is that as your business progresses and matures it can actually become a little less exciting. It doesn’t have to, but it may.
Here, you need to ensure that you’re tracking and testing things appropriately and that your existing product funnel is generating sales and profits PREDICTABLY before you decide to chase something new.
That’s why it’s crucial to “manage by numbers”.
That means you should have a number of important key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that you or your team are tracking (and optimizing) on a daily basis.
These may could include:
I would recommend no more than 3-5 metrics that give you a strong sense of whether your business (or product funnel) is moving in the right direction. That way, if you notice a disturbing pattern you can quickly course correct and get back on track or test something new to see if you can get better results.
You’d be surprised by how much opportunity is left on the table at this stage. And to be honest, the most successful online health and fitness entrepreneurs (I’m talking multiple 7- and 8-figure businesses) that I know spend the vast majority of their time in this stage.
If you don’t like tracking numbers, then you need to start. You don’t have to be an accountant or number cruncher but you should have an overview of what’s driving your business or product funnel(s). It’s very important.
The good news is that you can get most of the data you need from the following 2 sources:
Keep it simple to start.
You can hit singles all day long but if you constantly (and prematurely) jump on to something new, you’ll keep your runners (ie. ideas, products) stranded on base and you’ll never even score a point.
So buckle down and focus until you’ve struck gold. And that “gold” is a predictable sales funnel that can continually attract new leads and convert them into paying customers for your business.
Then, and only then, should you move on.
“Gold” is relative. For you that might mean making an extra $1,000 per month. For someone else, it might be creating a $1M product funnel. What matters most is that you pick a goal that is most meaningful to you and work towards it.
For the sake of your time and desired results, it’s very important that you’ve chosen the right idea/product and marketing channel to focus on. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated and seek the short term thrill of starting something new while your initial idea hasn’t reached its full potential.
And that’s the very reason that I created the “Idea Filter” – a simple 2-page worksheet that will give you 10x more clarity about what is and isn’t worth pursuing so that you don’t waste your time, money, or resources on a “field of dreams”.
After all, in the online world, “build it and they will come” doesn’t exist.
But by dedicating yourself to the right idea – based on your Idea Filter results – you can move forward with 99% confidence that you’re on the right track and that you will create the success and impact you desire with your online health or fitness business.
So if you haven’t already done so, download your FREE “Idea Filter” here:
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. If you have, feel free to share this with 2 other health or fitness colleagues who could benefit from it as well.
In the meantime, take action and I’ll talk to you soon 🙂
Your friend and coach,
NYT bestselling author, health expert, and online business strategist
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