The American obesity epidemic, combined with online health coaching makes now the best time to learn how to start a nutrition coaching business. According to the BLS, the job outlook for dietitian and nutritionist related roles is higher than others, with an expected growth rate of 8 percent from 2019 to 2029.

This is a strong indication that people are becoming more and more aware of the role proper nutrition plays in their health and wellness. Further, the role of functional nutrition in preventing chronic disease is also becoming more well known. Even better, this positive job outlook and widespread interest in healthy eating and better lifestyle choices will continue to rise in the years to come. That means even a new nutrition coaching business is poised to be successful because it’s filling a growing need. Further, it can be a rewarding career as you are able to positively impact the health, wellness, and quality of lives for others.

However, just like starting any business, just because there’s interest and a need, doesn’t mean your new nutrition coaching business is guaranteed to grow and thrive. The following few steps are critical to making sure your business as a nutrition coach is set up for success. Implement these as you build your business so you can serve all the people who need you. 

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Before you can do anything, you need to know what you want your business to be and who you’ll be serving. Regardless of what business venture you embark on, it's the first thing to do. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to dig into the details when it comes time to build a business plan and develop a marketing strategy. 

You must first, know your customer. This includes their complete, even if fictitious, profile. This is called a persona. Then you need to know what sorts of problems they face related to nutrition or healthy living. Only then can you start solving their problems with your product or services. Only at this point are you able to define your service offering.

To define your service offering, answer the following questions:

  • Who specifically do I want to work with? Think: age, gender, and client needs.
  • What specifically do I want to offer? Think: weight loss, chronic illness healing, general health coaching, etc.
  • How specifically will I offer this? Think: 1:1 coaching, group coaching, membership, etc.
  • Why specifically do I want to help these people in this way? Think: what is your big WHY that will anchor you when things get tough? This will help you mentally and be important for your marketing message.

Get as specific as possible in your answers so you know exactly who you’re targeting and how you’re going to help them. This will be key to reaching clients and developing a business plan that supports your goals. Marketing is simply meeting a customer, where they want to be met and with an undeniable offer that will solve a problem of theirs.

Keep Reading: Nutrition 101: Healthy Eating Rules for Beginner Clients


If you plan to launch a nutrition coaching business, you need to be ready to handle the business end of things. You’re a pro when it comes to macronutrients and defining a meal plan, but now the tasks of bookkeeping and marketing strategy fall on your shoulders too. 

The best way to prepare for this is to start by writing a business plan. This helps you wrap your mind around what needs to be done to start your business, bring in revenue, and grow continuously.

The Small Business Association suggests choosing between two types: the traditional business plan and the lean business plan. Each offers its own benefits, which will determine which one you choose. 

Here’s a breakdown between the two:

  • Traditional business plan: This uses a standard structure and encourages a lot of detail in each section. As such, they tend to take more time and are more in depth. 
  • Lean business plan: This is ideal for owners with a simple business model and is designed to be refined and updated more often.

If you plan to offer basic coaching services, a lean business plan will likely give you the support you need to get going. You can also shift later, as your business grows and you begin offering more services and/or products. Get a breakdown of both business plans, along with examples of each, from the Small Business Association.


You’re the CEO and CMO and as such, your job is to market your business to bring in clients. You will likely have a multi-faceted marketing plan, which means you’ll use multiple channels to attract people to your business. Modern consumers are active via email, on a social media platform, and at in-person events, for example, so you need to consider how you can reach them in each of these areas. 

Here are a few key tips to prepare your marketing:

  • Start creating your website. While you don’t need a website to start your business, this is your digital home, so beginning the process early is wise. A basic website with just one page can be enough. Make sure it includes credentials and expertise, your why, contact options, coaching offerings, and ideally client testimonials if you have any.
  • Choose your social media platforms. In our digital world, it’s critical that you have a presence on social media. Start slow with just one or two platforms and build from there. Instagram is a popular app for nutrition and wellness because it allows you to reach clients with hashtags and share your story to connect with your followers.
  • Prepare your bio. This will be used on your website and social media platforms. Use these personal trainer biographies as examples of how to develop your own for your nutrition business.
  • Don’t forget about offline marketing, I.E. attending events and even hosting local events. Looking for health and wellness networking opportunities and consider how you can bring events to your community, like a healthy cooking class.

Finally, remember that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other nutritionist coaches to see what works for them. 

Keep Reading: The Key Elements of a Marketing Plan for Your Fitness Business


Credibility is more important now than ever before. Anyone can say they’re a nutrition coach—but how many can prove that they know what they’re talking about?

Edelman’s 2020 Brand Trust report found that consumers say “industry experts” are who they find most credible. What’s more, if you can develop trust and credibility, you’ll turn clients into advocates. The same Edelman report found that 78 percent of consumers said high brand trust makes them more “likely to share or repost content about the brand.” What’s more, they’re more likely to recommend the brand and defend it against criticism.

You can build this credibility and brand trust from the beginning by working with clients you know you can support and doing your best work. When you do, don’t stop there. Use those clients as case studies so you can drive more business and ideally, earn referrals. 

Here’s how to do that:

  • Ask clients if you can use their stories in your marketing materials. Share photos, testimonials and quotes from happy clients in social media posts and marketing emails.
  • Develop a referral program for your business. This can be as simple as offering a free coaching session each time your clients refer someone to you. 
  • Ask for online reviews on Google, Facebook and other popular review sites. These help build trust with people who are new to your brand.

When you’re starting out as a nutrition coach, remember that even a few good reviews and case studies can help develop your client base. Make an effort to keep clients happy—and then get proof of it—to build a solid foundation for your business. 


Becoming a nutrition coach takes time. You need to market yourself to reach clients while developing a business model that sets you up for success. Don’t forget to focus on building trust amongst your client base, as well—this will help you build a credible brand that leads to more clients and referrals. From here, you can consider key details like hiring help or adding new services. 

You can get more on nutrition and fitness entrepreneurship and nutrition coaching with a degree from Lionel University.

How to start a nutrition coaching business is just one of the things you’ll learn as part of your exercise degree program with Lionel. In fact, you’ll learn ALL the factors that impact a client’s ability to move and be fit. It’s a holistic approach you can only get with these types of degrees. Regardless of whether you’re pursuing an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree, at Lionel you earn multiple certifications and specializations along the way. This means you can start working as a fitness and nutrition professional even before graduation day! And, with the help of financial aid, earning your exercise science degree is even more of a possibility. 

Check out our programs and contact Lionel today!

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