How to go from 1:1 to group coaching successfully. . . and the perfect pineapple !
Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for ambitious women and founder of the website MasalaBody.com. She teaches women how to eat delicious food to lose weight and skyrocket energy. She has taught hundreds of women how to lose up to 70 pounds. Nagina has been featured in Business Insider, People.com, Huffington Post and on Fox News.
Christine Hansen: Hello everyone and welcome to the 360 Health Biz Podcast. Today we are live on our facebook page 360 Health Biz Podcast and we are here with a fabulous guest and friend of mine, Nagina Sethi Abdullah. We're going to talk about continuous education and business.
Nagina, thank you so much for joining us. I'm super excited that you are here, and I think we'll just start off with what you do and what is super important, how you got into it.
Nagina Abdullah: I'm so excited to be here. I am a health coach for ambitious women and the way that I started is not that I had a background in nutrition or weight loss, but I actually personally lost 40 pounds after trying and struggling my whole life to lose weight and be healthy. I had tried every single thing out there and then I started trying something that was kind of new, things that I hadn't done before and it worked like a magic bullet. I started adding protein, I started lowering my sugar and I just started feeling full, using slower carbs instead of fast burning carbs and I lost 10 pounds in the first month and then I went on to lose 40 pounds in nine months. It was life changing, transformational. It actually happened after I had two kids and while I was working in a demanding job, working over 60 hours a week and traveling all over the place.
For me to drop 40 pounds after being a mom, when I had this preconceived notion that after I was a mom, I would just keep the weight on and maybe gain more, just because that's what I knew from around me, was really, really a surprise. Everyone started asking me how I lost the weight. They told me that they couldn't believe I just had kids. By my daughter's first birthday party, I had dropped 40 pounds. I got to 20 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I started sharing what I was doing with everyone around me. But what I started learning, when I was telling them what I did, interestingly enough, nobody actually listened to my advice. So, I would tell people and they were like, how did you lose that weight? What did you do? I would tell them what I did, and it was like their mind would go blank. They would say, well, I can't do that. I need to eat, I need to eat this kind of carbs and I need to eat my dessert or I just can't do that. And so, I was like, well, you asked me how to do it and this is it.
You do have to make some changes. I started learning about the psychology of teaching people to change their behavior. And it's not as easy as telling people do this or do that; because it'll give you lower calories or whatever. It's not about the facts. It's actually about appealing to people emotionally and connecting to their stories. I learned about that psychology and since so many people were asking me, I decided to start a blog and start writing to people and practicing how I was teaching people to change their behavior, while giving out the recipes people had been asking me for; just sharing tips and tricks. I started a blog masalabody.com, which is still my blog and I also thought it would be a really great way for me to start building something on the side of my full time business.
It really came to fruition after I became a mom and while I was working 60-hour weeks, but I didn't know if I can keep doing that forever. I didn't know if I wanted to do that when my kids were 5, 10 and 15. So I started to explorer if there are any other things out there and I realized, if you have a skill or if you know something that other people want; you can monetize that skill.
That is why I started with the fact that I didn't have a nutrition education, but I did teach myself a lot of information. I experimented on myself. I got results on myself and then I started my blog and we can talk more about how I actually started getting 1:1 clients and teaching them and creating a system that now works for hundreds of women.
Christine Hansen: There are two huge things straight off the bat. The first one, you didn't have the typical three gazillion health coach diplomas or certificates as many people have and they still don't feel equipped enough and secondly you talked about it. I think those are two massive points that a lot of people struggle with. Even if you tell them; well, did you ever post something on your personal facebook page that you actually do this? So I think there are two huge points there.
Kendra Perry: Yeah and I think it's interesting, because I feel that, the lack of education, is the reason why people don't put themselves out there. They're like, 'oh well, I'll do it once I get this other certification or this degree or this or that', but in the end everyone's an expert in something and we can all teach something to somebody else and really that's all you need to be able to do. Put your services out there and help people. So I think that's awesome that you just went for it.
It's not about the facts. It's actually about appealing to people emotionally and connecting to their stories. #360healthbizpodcast #healthbusiness #healthcoach
Christine Hansen: Exactly. I think with weight loss people saw it, so you have proof straight away. Did you ever feel, 'oh, maybe...' this typical impostor syndrome of 'who am I to actually share this without having a degree?' You did it the other way around, you did your research later. At any point, did you have these voices that so many people have?
Nagina Abdullah: Absolutely. I really did have it. The voice that came from me is that I had done it, but I didn't know if it would work for other people. So that's the first thing. I didn't know if other people would get the same results as I did. And second, I didn't want to come off like I was bragging or pushing myself up, because I had achieved something. A lot of times if you achieve something, if you talk about it, people don't always support you. Either there's jealousy involved or they just think that you did something, that was because of your body or your genetics or something that you got naturally and they just don't actually give you the credit for it.
I just didn't really want to put myself out there. I didn't share on facebook. It was a major fear of mine to share on facebook right away, because that's where all my friends were. I didn't want to be like, 'oh, I lost 40 pounds. Look at me now. Oh, I'm so good.' I didn't want to act like that. What I did to get over this and I think it's really key, because I don't think I could've done it myself, is that I actually took a course in how to create an online business. I just followed the rules and this is what you do and if you want to be successful in online business, just do this. For me it took the emotion out of all of the me feeling I was bragging or me feeling why would it work for anyone? I said, look, I've seen other people build successful online businesses and I think I can do it too. If they can do it, I can do it!
A quick story about my first website, that really speaks to what we're talking about right here. This initial fear of putting yourself out there. When I started my first version of my website, it had a picture of healthy food on it and it had garbanzo beans that were really delicious. A lot of the food that I ate to lose weight, was really delicious and it had flavorful spices. I never thought I was depriving myself, when I was losing weight. To me that was the biggest part of my weight loss. I loved what I was eating. So I put up a picture of these garbanzo beans and in my training course I got feedback that, yes, the garbanzo beans are exciting for you, but really people are not desiring spicy garbanzo beans! They’re really desire is to lose weight. So put a picture of yourself on the front of your website.
That was very, very difficult for me to do, because like I said, I didn't want to act like I was bragging and that I thought I knew everything. But then it was just no emotion, this is what you do to be successful. So, I did it and the first day after I did that, I then posted my website on facebook and I said I started a website to teach you how I lost 40 pounds and to give you all the recipes I used. Click here to subscribe. The first day I got like 50 subscribers from facebook and then in the first week I got 101 subscribers. It was because I positioned myself right and I appealed to my burning pains and I put my fears back and I served other people. Other people, who actually wanted to lose weight, they wanted the tips and they want someone to help them. If I have that, why don't I share it? Why do I have to keep it inside; because I'm scared of people thinking something about me?! I'm just going to stop myself, not only my own success, but other people's success as well.
Christine Hansen:That's a huge sentence! And two main points here: I love that you said I just took a course and it took the emotion out of it. Love it! I think you can probably take all kinds of different courses, but you may share which one you took, of course. That's a huge one. Also the photo thing. When you go somewhere, I think it's so important that people see you. Especially as we are in a service based industry, where people buy from us and if you have food there or just a landscape, they need to know who you are. They need to look you in the eye as much as it's digitally possible.
Kendra Perry: I think those before and after photos are just showing this is where I am now. So much of, I love the Garbanzo bean thing, that just made me laugh! When you first said it, I was like, 'oh yeah, garbanzo beans... I don't know about those!' People need to connect with you and they need to see that you've done it and then you need to make it about them and show them that 'yeah, you can do it too and this is how you do it.' So it's finding that fine balance between sharing yourself, without oversharing and still making it about them and serving them and showing them how you can help them.
Nagina Abdullah: Exactly! One of the things I actually always use and I found is the most powerful thing in growing a business and getting clients and getting more people, is really sharing your story vs. saying eat more protein and eat less sugar, because it keeps you more full and it regulates your insulin. That does not connect, but it's the facts! It's actually right. But, when you say things like, I struggled my entire life to lose weight and then I found something that helped me and it just knocked the weight off, without me even trying that hard and I felt so energetic and so lively and so youthful and I just never thought I'd find it, but I did. I mean I'll tell more detail about my story and all the struggles and the things I can do now that I could never do before. Those are the things that people really resonate with and that is more powerful than the facts and the nutrition.
I do teach the nutrition, but people don't really need to know all that information upfront. They just want to know your story and what to do.
Christine Hansen: Yes, what to do. Give them a task. Give them the recipe. They don't care whether it's because of protein or less sugar. It's going to work, I'll just do what she said; like you did with the online course. People just do what you said with your protocol. Now you also put a really, really amazing spin on it though, right? Instead of having just another weight loss program, you focused on your spices. Was that something that came because you just started to add spices or was that some research that you did? I believe spices are your main program? 'Spice yourself skinny’.
Was that something that you found and said, 'uh actually this is unique'! Because you probably didn't start out with the idea that spices would be a hook.
Nagina Abdullah: That's a great question and it is something that is really niche about what I do and that separates me from other people in the health industry. It is really key to find what your spin is. What is your thing?
In the beginning my spin was busy, ambitious women and I still do serve mainly ambitious women. But I also have an added elements for my online program, which is spices. The way that I found this, is actually part of growing my business. When you take some steps, it leads you to more things. The way I grew my business in the beginning and got people to know about my website, was that I did a lot of guests posts.
I wrote articles for other blogs and other news sites. From the smallest to the biggest, it didn't matter. Whoever would accept me, I would write for them, just to get my name out there. I wrote an article for a major health website (Mind body green) and it took me seven times to get published there.
Christine Hansen: You need to count at least seven times to get published. I'm at number 3 and then I just gave up and got in through an interview with one of their writers.
Nagina Abdullah: You need to keep going. You can do it! So I sent them seven articles. Not only did they not publish my article, but I didn't even hear back from them. They just made a thing that said we received your article, but I never heard anything.
But one of my first articles that got published from them, was called 'These 5 spices helped me lose 40 pounds'. It was just something that I wrote. I had written six other titles and other articles and you actually have to write the whole article for them. You don't just write a pitch. I wrote six whole articles, none of them got accepted. This one got accepted, but not only did it get accepted; once it was published, I got 1500 subscribers from them.
Christine Hansen: And that's not an easy feat, let me tell you! Having posted on tons of sites, getting even one subscriber for an article is not bad. So getting that many is just amazing!
Nagina Abdullah: It was like the holidays. I felt like, 'oh my God, what else could I want?' I just saw all my numbers going up, up, up, up, up. I couldn't believe it. That was the first hint that there was something about spices. I didn't even know it at that time, because I was publishing so many different things. I went on to talk to a network with different media people and people still always asked me about my spices. They said, can you come on and do a segment on spices? Can you show us some dishes with spices?
It was something that had been so normal to me that it didn't stand out to me. I grew up with spices and it was just the way I ate. To me what was more exciting, was that I was adding more protein and taking out sugar. That was really interesting to me; but that's not what the world was thinking that was exciting.
When I was ready to create my first program, I was looking at all that feedback; at what my guest posts made popular. What's the media that I've gotten? What are people liking out there? It wasn't only about what I think, it was also about what the world was responding to. So it was both of these things. You have to see what people are willing to pay for and they were.
For my first launch, I had been growing my list, I had actually around 5,000 people on my list. My goal was to have 5,000 people on my list, before I launch my first group program. I had a $20,000 launch in that first time, with 'spice yourself skinny'. I had tried other things before that, that hadn't sold as well. So it was really this spin on this thing that was appealing to people I had tested in different methods.
Kendra Perry: And that's so important. We're interested in what we're interested in; but you have to ask your audience what they want and it's a really smart way to go about it. In the end what you think is interesting, like you said, the carbs and the sugar wasn't appealing to other people, but the spices is awesome! I love that because I think you can take any boring healthy meal and make it amazing, if you just use the right spice combinations. I think people think healthy eating is so complicated, but I always talk about how you could make a bomber meal in 15 minutes and you can change it constantly with the same ingredients, you just need to know the spices. So I think that's super awesome!
Christine Hansen: And it works! I'll do a live testimonial: I lost 10 kg / 20 pounds few years ago. I need to do it again. Especially after the summer! My mom was like ‘oh, you're pregnant again!'
Nagina Abdullah: Christine was a star spice yourself student!
Christine Hansen: So I need to do it again. I will do my pre-pictures later today, big time! It works and was so good. I did it together with my husband and I still use a lot of philosophy from that for my clients actually. Just telling them about spices, because I think especially in Europe, a lot of us don't use that many spices. So that is also something culturally that you can bring from your background to a society, that's just not as used to spicing things until you use them. So that's fantastic.
So let's talk a little bit about after you went public. You have more and more people interested, you started to work with people 1:1, I believe. When was the time when you thought group programs, what is it? How can I do it? Any best takeaways? Or maybe things you said that didn't work as well. What would be your key takeaways when you have a newbie listening, that has some traction and is maybe thinking group program is my next million. What would you tell them?
Nagina Abdullah: Okay. Well I actually wanted to create a system. I wanted to create a technique for people and if you start by teaching 10 people or 20 people or more, you will see that everyone is different. It's a lot to understand all at once.
I started with 1:1 coaching. I had a technique that worked, it worked for me. But now I needed to teach other people and when I did 1:1 coaching, it helped me understand the nuances of different personalities, different lifestyles and different food preferences. I could respond to that in a 1:1 way and I didn't have to create a lot of resources ahead of time. I didn't really know what to create. I created along the way for that one person. With my next client I was able to understand the differences.
So really going through 1:1 coaching was a way for me to learn about my market and get paid for it. Get paid highly for it, because when you're doing 1:1 work, you can charge a lot more, than when you're doing a group program. So it's basically p x q; price x quantity = revenue.
If you have a small quantity of people, if you're just starting your list, you can charge a higher price because you're giving that 1:1 customized service and people will pay for it. Then once you start getting more people, you can lower your price because you're not giving all that 1:1 customized service, but you can scale much easier.
My plan was that I wanted to have 1:1 clients and grow my email list, while I was having 1:1 clients, so that I could learn about my clientele, learn about what they like and what they don't like. Meanwhile, I was creating a system and I didn't even realize it. I was seeing what was working. What worked for my clients was menu plans, because my women are very busy and ambitious. Telling them exactly what to buy at the grocery store, telling them what to eat, when they go out and then some mindset work and some kind of other motivational support.
I kept building my list. I had my number at 5,000, like I mentioned before. So right before I got to 5,000, I started crafting ideas for an online program. When I sold it, I sold it at a much lower price than I was doing for my 1:1 work. I had much, much bigger numbers. Also, before I moved onto my group program, I wanted to really get good at selling 1:1 services, because I didn't want to skip anything. I didn't want to say, okay, I know how to get a couple of clients. I actually wanted to create a system. So, I created a system of having $10,000 - $15,000 months with 1:1 clients for weight loss and it took me time to get there.
The first year I was able to get a client here, a client there; and then the next year I started getting more, but I wasn't able to have those consistent months and I really wanted to be able to know and train myself to get really good at one thing, before skipping over and getting to the next thing.
So, now I know how to sell 1:1 coaching and if I ever needed to, I could go back to it, but I'm not planning to. I do take on some clients once in a while, but now it's all about scaling. Now I'm doing the same thing with online programs. I have a program that sells, but now it's like how do I get it to scale and keep repeating what do I do to grow this online business in a scale-able way, where it's not all of my time involved all the time.
Christine Hansen: I love it, especially if you ever find out, please tell us!
Kendra Perry: I think that's awesome, because you can reach so much more people with a group program and you can scale. When you start out, it is really good to be doing the 1:1 clients, so you can learn; you can see what people want, you can see the questions that people are asking. But at some point it can get really draining. It can get exhausting. So when you move to more of a group program, you can reach more people, help more people and it may take some the pressure off a little bit from 1:1 clients.
Christine Hansen:Also, I think what is super important about your program, is that everything's there, but it's not unnecessary fancy schmancy. You get your pdfs, you probably had help to design all of them, so that you didn't have to do everything on your own. You have a super engaged facebook group and that's pretty much it. There is no over the top kind of app or anything like that. It's really straightforward, which I really liked as well. Did you have any help doing that? What would you recommend people to maybe think about or maybe avoid, even though it's trend?
Nagina Abdullah: I love that question. That is such a great point that you're bringing out. We look at other courses and other things online and it looks so fancy. It looks so perfect and there are professional studios and cooking studios and workout studios and you really don't have to do that. I am a big case for that. What people really want is the technique. If you have more of a connection with them or you're giving them what they want, that's all they care about. The fanciness can come later. The people you see online, they have been in the game, they didn't just start like that. You can go back and look at their first stuff and it was not like that. Everyone perfects over time. It's like that saying: 'Don't act like you're 40, when you're not 40.' Just act like you're a beginner. Act like you are starting out.
I do have a VA that works for me part time and so I would create the recipes, a menu plan, groceries and she would then put it together. She would do the formatting and put it nicely together. I'm not good at that stuff anyway, so I outsource that and that really helped me. What is amazing about a group program and when I say group program, this is all online. I didn't have any phone calls. I did have a facebook group, where I was in and once a week I sent out a meal plan and a guideline and resources for the week. That was only a pdf. But the best thing is it's repeatable.
So I have launched 'spice yourself skinny' seven times and it's not like doing it all over again. I did make it better and better every time. I perfected the recipes, I added vegetarian and vegan restaurant. But it was over the course of seven launches. Now I have a program that I feel is amazing, because I just spent time to improve it vs. having to do it one off every time.
That's one key thing and the other thing is, I actually created a new program recently, which is called 'tiny changes, big weight loss' and this is a video-based program. I did it based on a lot of other programs, I've been seeing, but they're all in these professional studios. If you get my program, it's the opposite of professional studio. I am on my zoom camera giving really structured advice, but it's from a zoom camera, from my computer. Then I also did a module on 'how to eat while you're traveling to lose weight'. I show people how to eat on the airplane, airport and in restaurants. I brought my iPhone on the airplane and filmed myself, while people where around me and people love it. People are like, 'oh my God, nobody has done that!'
So it's not about the fanciness, it's just about doing it and giving people information they want to know and it the format doesn’t matter, especially in the beginning stages.
Kendra Perry: I love that.
Christine Hansen: I love it. I totally do to. It resonates 100 gazillion times. I know people, who don't make money, that rent a villa for a day, that costs them a couple of grant, just to film there and it's just like you don't have the basis yet, you don't have the list and it's not like anyone is just going to come because you're invested in it and that's not how it works, you know? So I really love this. It's a really nice getting down to earth kind of talk.
Kendra Perry: It's so true. The first few times you launch something, it may not be a success. More than likely, it's not going to be a success. In my first launch I lost money. I learned a ton and I made it better. So you shouldn't really be investing everything you have, to make this perfect thing, that may not even do well and you may find out that you need to change over time or maybe go a totally different direction. I also think people like that non-curated stuff. I think people are sick of the perfect person with the perfect body, the perfect pineapple or whatever. They just want to see you! Who you are. Pineapple... On the airplane just talking about really good content. It's about the content and not the look. I don't know where the pineapple came from!!
Nagina Abdullah: Sounds good though. The perfect pineapple!
Christine Hansen: You better get the website, theperfectpineapple.com
Nagina Abdullah:Yes. It's absolutely true. People don't want that. They don't need the perfect thing. Also what you're saying about improvement is so key. Instead of looking at your first launch of something or you're first putting yourself out there as, this is what it is, this is the end. Instead looking at it as this is the first step for me to improve on and get better and better. It's a whole shift in mindset that actually I think drives success, because it's so important to know that you're on a journey. You're not just going to reach there right away and that you are going to fail along the way and that's part of the journey. So plan to fail.
Christine Hansen: Yeah, I totally agree, and I just really advise people also to be aware of their budget. I just recently had a launch for my DIY program and I allocated a budget of $200 for facebook ads. I didn't use anything else. That was basically my whole budget and it converted really well. I made four times the revenue. So, it was $800, which is totally fine with me, because I was just testing this baby out. Seeing if there is any interest, if it is working. $200 I can live with if it didn't, but I did a really great return on my investment. So now if you had invested that much more, it would work. Now I can tweak it and relaunch with a new budget and take the first in a return of investment and reinvest that to make bigger ones. So be really cautious about this, because the big guys play with huge budgets that you cannot compare with in the beginning. You will at some point. But I think that launches can seem so enticing and if you want to make it perfect, you would have to get 10 different audiences with five different ad sets, which then all cost you $5, but then it just cueing to this huge thing. So I would really say be smart about this and make sure that you start small and just test if it's working. We talked about this last time. You don't know what you don't know and you might think, you know, but actually you don't.
Nagina Abdullah: That is very true. A lot of times if you start with 1:1 coaching, you're actually making money. Then you can reinvest cash that you made from your business, instead of taking money from something else. You're actually making money and you're investing in your business. You can make money faster and then invest it to grow your business, when you're doing 1:1 coaching, as a way to learn and also to create some capital.
Christine Hansen: And I would absolutely say, as you did, take the resources that you created for your 1:1 clients, anonymize them and use them for your program. It's not work. You have the resources already. You might need to free them up a little bit. You need to take out names and stuff, but it's the same stuff. So the more clients you have, the more resources you have to put into your program in the end. So it's never a waste of time or work.
Kendra Perry: And pay attention to what your people are asking you. Every time someone asks me a question, I write that question down, somewhere in a little document. You can do a post it. Just pay attention to the questions that you're getting asked over and over and over again, because that's a great content for a group program. See what people are really confused about. What people are always asking me. So that should be in the program.
Nagina Abdullah: So true. When you're doing 1:1 client work or if you even have your first version of an online or group program, that are exactly the things I realized how I changed and improved my materials. So many people were asking me for vegan and vegetarian menus and I tried to just put it into what I had, but then so many people were asking me, so I was like, I have to actually create a whole new version and that informed the direction of where I was going. That's just one example. It happens all the time. Keep listening to your audience and adding. Maybe sometimes it's like a whole different product that you get an idea for it because it was asked about.
Christine Hansen: So what's in store for you for the future? Is there going to be an 8th, a 9th and 10th launch? Anything new on the horizon? You have your new program, is that available yet? Tell us all!
Nagina Abdullah: Yeah. So I'm excited to talk about what's next. I will be relaunching 'spice yourself skinny' next year. I was relaunching it every three months, but now I'm going to be launching it once a year only and I have another program, which I have started, I've launched it once and now I'm going into it again in September. It is called 'tiny changes, big weight loss' and it's about how to make changes that are not overwhelming, but that are sustainable. How to be able to eat at home, as well as be a woman of the world and be able to travel and work wherever you need to work, while still maintaining what you're eating and loving it. So that's a video-based course.
So that's what I'm working on. Then I have something really exciting coming up. I don't know the timeline yet, but it's going to be something pretty different than what I've worked on before. This is because I'm just working on growing my product suite. Now that I have tested out how to create my first product, I'm just doing more products now. But then the one after this, is going to be around getting more energy. Really how to get more energy. There may be some exercise and sleep related information in it. Getting more energy vs weight loss. But now it's also the energy. Those are two real motivators for busy, ambitious women. How do we accomplish both of those?
Christine Hansen:Or how to lose weight without actually being exhausted doing so. Because weight loss, it's just, 'Oh my God, it's going to be some tedious'. It is a really smart move. I'm super, super excited about this.
So your website is masalabody.com. You also have a free gift, which we're going to include in the links on our website 360healthbizpodcast.com. You can serve by and look at the episodes and you will find ours with Nagina. Anything I forgot Kendra?
Kendra Perry: I think we've got everything. Also, we would like to let people know about our patron page. If you guys want to support our mission and help us continue to bring great podcasts to you a couple times a month, you can support us on Patron. Even for as little as $1 a month. It doesn't have to be a lot, but we would appreciate literally anything.
If you like our podcast, leave us a review on iTunes. We would love to hear your feedback and if you leave us a review, we'll read it on air. We would very much appreciate that. It just helps us get this information out there and help us help more people, just like you.
Christine Hansen: And make money while making other people healthy. Isn't that amazing? Nagina, thank you so much for being here and for being so honest and just telling us the way that you build this stuff and sharing this. I'm super, super, super grateful. Thank you so much.
Nagina Abdullah: Thank you for having me. I loved talking with both of you.
Christine Hansen: Good. Well, we're going to record again in two weeks. You're going to catch us live on facebook, same time, same place and then if you miss it, you can see it afterwards on our facebook page or you can listen to us on iTunes and spotify... I don't even know where else.
Kendra Perry: You can find us pretty much anywhere you listen to your podcasts.
Christine Hansen: All right. Well thank you so much. That's it for this week. Have a great day!
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