Are you burnt out on 1:1 work and interested in creating a group coaching program instead?

Do you feel like you kindaaaa know what a group coaching program is, but are fuzzy on the details and don’t quite understand how you’d get started or get people to enroll?

Well, you’re in luck, cause today I’m chatting with Sarah Hall – a dietitian business coach who helps wellness professionals learn how to create group coaching programs and sell on social media. 

The Unconventional RD Podcast Episode 044 - How to Run Group Programs with Sarah Hall

What you'll learn:

  • What group coaching IS.
  • The benefits of launching a group coaching program.
  • The very first thing you should do to get started.
  • The day to day mechanics of group coaching.
  • The technology and time investment involved.
  • How to get people enrolled (and how social media can be a HUGE free source of leads).
  • Can you still do group coaching if your practice is highly MNT specialized?

More About Sarah Hall

Sarah has been a dietitian 13 years and been in the online business space for 6 years. I have two kiddos and I enjoy my days spending time with them as well as my hubby who’s a head boys track coach. My dream was always to lead others to success in the online space and that’s what I get to do full time now.

Connect with Sarah

Mentioned Resources

Episode Show Notes

Erica Julson: Hi, Sarah. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I'm really excited to talk with you about group programs for dietitians.

Sarah Hall: Oh my gosh, I'm so excited too. I was telling you earlier and talking to my husband, like, "I can talk about group programs in my sleep, and I enjoy doing it." So I was excited to get on your podcast today and talk more with you, bounce ideas back and forth so we can benefit your audience.

Erica Julson: Totally. Well, before we get into that, I always like to get a little background on my guest. So could you tell us a little more about your background in dietetics? Maybe, why did you initially become a dietitian? And your journey to where you are today.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. So when I tell people I've been a dietitian for 14 years, first of all, no one ever believes me, and I'm like, "Yeah, I've been a dietitian for 14 years." And sometimes I'm just like, "Man, that time passed so fast?" But I went into the field, I was working in corporate wellness first. I had an undergraduate degree that just really wasn't ever going to really pay the bills, and it was an exercise science degree. And I met my first dietitian in corporate wellness and she was so cool, I was like, "I want to be like her." I was a non-traditional student, went to grad school, got pregnant at the very end of grad school, walked in graduation with a three month old. I was 26 at the time.

Sarah Hall: Got my first job straight in long-term care, and I was like, "Yes, I made it. I'm a dietitian." I couldn't stay in long-term care, and got out of that after about two years and got into the VA. I really loved my job there as a clinical outpatient diabetes educator. I freaking loved it, but along the way, I started to see student loans were really expensive. And two kids later, I was like, "How am I going to put my kids through college?" That was a good salary, but it wasn't enough for the lifestyle we wanted. So I got introduced to entrepreneurship.

Sarah Hall: And it's so funny, I tell this story because... I actually still find this back on my YouTube, but I thought I was just going to not be a dietitian anymore, and I thought I was going to be a freelance makeup artist. I literally taught myself how to do make up, and that was my first business and my first, get my toe in the water of entrepreneurship. But keeping up a makeup kit and traveling for weddings and proms. I did that for a year and I was like, "Hmm, out." That was way too much money. And then I got into wellness and social selling and got to train thousands of people about using social media to sell.

Sarah Hall: It was just more of a wide range of wellness entrepreneurs at that point. And then that led me to launching my own programs and then niched down to just dietitian. So that's the cliff notes version of my 14 years in this career, but I love just being an entrepreneur now and helping other entrepreneurs build their dreams.

Erica Julson: I love that. That's a great story. It's like when you look back, all the threads connect, but I bet in the moment...

Sarah Hall: Yeah, in the moment, it's like, "What am I doing?" When I first became an entrepreneur, I'm like, "I am really meant to be an entrepreneur?" So yeah, you're totally right.

Erica Julson: Yeah. Well, I'm sure it's going to give a lot of hope to other people listening who are like, "Am I trying to be an entrepreneur? I don't know, but maybe." So let's start diving into group programs. As you probably know, this platform and my whole Unconventional RD brand, I try to help dietitians think outside of the box of just directly trading their time for money. So I think group programs can be a really successful way to do that because, for anyone who's listening and doesn't know, a group program would be where you're helping multiple people at the same time, rather than only working with people one on one.

Erica Julson: So could you help us elaborate? What do you think some of the benefits are of running a group program in your business? Why not just do one-on-one client work?

Sarah Hall: Well, I think it allows the scalability of the business because, yes, in the beginning, I start all my clients with one-on-one coaching. That's how I started. But what I quickly realized, I was working 40 hours a week, two kids. I had 28 one-on-one clients at one point. And yeah, if you want to lose your mind, you'll keep going with one on one, but it's just not a scalable practice, but it does build skills in the beginning. But to me, the biggest benefits are, you leverage dollar per time so you can make way much money per hour. But also the outcomes, you can impact so many more people, because at some point when you build enough demand, people need you. And as dietitians, we want to impact the entire world, but we're only one person.

Sarah Hall: And other things. I know you did a podcast recently about systems and outsourcing, of course, that helps, but group programs just allow more impact while you get more income. And literally, most of my girls that do group coaching, they're making 500 plus an hour of their time versus maybe 100 to 150 an hour, which is still, I mean, you would agree way better than clinical salaries, but at certain points, you just started to run out of time. So the group lets you leverage your time and the outcomes you want to make for your clients.

Erica Julson: And is it true to say that a group program offering would typically be at maybe a little lower costs for your audience than working with you one on one?

Sarah Hall: Most of the time when I start with a client, we start with one on one, a couple different offers, and then as soon as they're ready to scale to group, usually that's between... It depends on the RD and their skills, but between seven to 10 one-on-one clients, we got to start looking at putting in that group blueprint, that's when it would make more sense, but you would knock out a lower tier offer and put in the group. And because you are leveraging your time, my blueprint for group coaching only makes RDs work five hours a month. So you can charge a little bit less.

Sarah Hall: And then of course there's variable group program offerings like hybrid or a basic offer. And if you do get into more of the hybrid models where there is some one-on-one touches, then you can scale up your business even more, charge a little bit more, but still be doing the one-to-many model.

Erica Julson: If someone's at square zero, and they're like, "Okay, a group program sounds something I might want to add to my practice." What's the very first thing they should do?

Sarah Hall: Create an agenda, really, based on what your one-on-one program has been like. So this is why it's good to start with one-on-ones because you get used to coaching, because I can tell you after so many years of clinical, going from clinical to online coaching is night and day. It's actually much more simple. So that's why working with a few one-on-ones, it actually helps you build your agenda for what you would do in your group. So you don't really have to overthink it. Most people think groups are so complicated, they're really not. So step one would be, what have you been doing with maybe a few of your one-on-one clients? And sit down and think, "If I were taking a brand new client today, what would be step one? What will be step two?"

Sarah Hall: And then you space that out over a three month time span, and you've got a really basic, simple agenda. So that'd really be step one in getting started on a group program.

Erica Julson: Is there a certain timeframe that group programs usually run?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. So when you're first starting a group program, I would suggest a three month, because at the end of the day, everyone should be getting three and six-month commitments, in my opinion, in nutrition coaching anyway, because one month is not going to get the outcomes that the client really needs. So I would say minimum three months. As you go along in group coaching, you can actually change it to a six month model if that fits your market. But definitely just start with a three month basic group coaching model, and that is really profitable and it helps your clients get outcomes.

Erica Julson: Do you put a cap on how many people are allowed to be in it or if they're not doing any direct interaction, does it not really matter?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. So in the beginning, what I find is, dietitian as a group coaching program is kind of intimidating. So maybe for round one, you can just put a cap on like six or eight people, but then what happens is confidence goes up and you're like, "Oh, that was actually easy. Let me do 10 or 15." So I just recommend billing all the way to the date of the group opening. But yeah, for the first group, if you're listening to this podcast and you're brand new, maybe put a little cap six to eight people because you do want to get your foot in that group coaching water, and then you can go sky's the limit, probably keeping more smaller, intimate groups.

Sarah Hall: For me when I was nutrition coaching, I never had a group over 15 people. None of my dietitians in my program ever have a group over 10 to 15 people, because the client actually likes that small intimate feel as well. But I think you could the sky's the limit on groups if you leverage it the right way because the integrity of the coaching can still be there.

Erica Julson: Great advice. I'm just trying to flesh this out for people who have literally no idea what a group coaching session would look like. What are you doing? Are you talking on Zoom, for example, like in the same way that maybe you would in a one-on-one session, but there's this multiple people watching? And then do you take questions? How does that all work?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. So let's think about like, if I were to coach somebody today on this podcast, how they would start. I think that's what you're getting at, which is good. So you would have your sessions over your three months, and usually just having two sessions a month is plenty because you need to give the clients time to go and implement the work. And I'm really big on using free platforms for as long as you can, so Zoom and just running part of your group through a Facebook community, a Facebook group, all for you, unless you want to pay for the upgraded version of Zoom, because I think, what does it cut you off at? Like 40 minutes?

Sarah Hall: So yeah, you can do the sessions through Zoom. And yes, it would be like, say I was coaching you on nutrition right now, Erica, but then we just added five people to the Zoom. It's all the same thing. And they can ask questions if you have time towards the end. I would always recommend though, because when you start getting more people on a Zoom, make sure that they just put the questions in the chat or whatever so it's not interrupting the session. But yeah, it would literally be just taking what you would teach one person on a Zoom and just adding five or six more to it.

Sarah Hall: And you know what I've found? Was, when I started implementing groups, I was scared because I thought my clients would think I was giving them less of my time. And I think that's a common misconception in our field. But in reality, when my dietitians start doing group coaching, women flock to this because they actually like to be a part of a group. So yeah, the group Zoom sessions, and then doing a little Facebook Live once a week or a Q&A. That way, if they have any additional questions... So basically a couple of touch points a week in a group program, and having a way for them to ask questions in between too.

Sarah Hall: So if we were to wrap that into a nutshell, you could use them and you can have a little simple PowerPoint and you'd run your sessions that way, invite your class, your group. Second thing would be, maybe once a week, pop on a 10 or 15-minute Facebook Live. And then third thing is, have a way for them to contact you in between the group sessions in case they have questions, but keeping it in the group is important because otherwise when you get bigger groups, they're messaging you all over the place. No, the purpose of the group program, one spot.

Sarah Hall: And then you're probably familiar with Practice Better. Some of my clients do use Practice Better to help run their group programs, but to keep it simple, Facebook and Zoom would be the easiest way to just get started.

Erica Julson: And this might be a little random of a logistic question, but every time you run a group, are you doing a new Facebook group for that cohort, or does everyone just get put into the same larger group?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. So when you start, like if you're brand new to group coaching, I would say, yes, run it as a three month, there's only X number of people in here, it's one Facebook group. And then when you do a second group, because usually once you get started with group coaching, Erica, you can fill every six to eight weeks, you can fill spots. It depends on the capacity of the dietitian. But in the beginning, I would keep it separate. And then eventually, you could change your group coaching model when you're more advanced to where there's not an open, close day, there's just a continuation, one Facebook group, one agenda, and people can just enter whenever they join you.

Sarah Hall: But in the beginning, yes, I would always recommend starting... Keep it simple and start one group at a time, get used to it, and then move on from there.

Erica Julson: So then since you're doing it on Zoom, do you then record the questions and let people listen to it later? Or is it you have to show up when it's happening or you're not going to get access to the content?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I would definitely record and have replays available. And that's a big selling point for group programs, is like, "Hey, listen, kids life work. I totally get it. That's why all of the content in the group is 100% replayable." Posting that replay within 24 hours. But that's the selling point when you're selling the group program, for anybody that's listening, just to say, like, "No problem." Because people will try to make the excuse of, "Well, what if I can't be on at the time of this Zoom?"

Sarah Hall: That's when we just encourage them like, "This is a completely flexible learning environment." So yeah, 24 hours later, get that replay up, and that's why Facebook groups are good because you can just post the replay in there and they can watch it when they want to.

Erica Julson: Yeah. That's a great idea. I know there's so many ways to do it. I've been in programs where they email out the replay, and I've also been in bigger programs where they have almost a like database of all the replays, In a vault area on their website. So you can work up to that. That's a little bit more technology heavy. And then, it sounds you generally give people actionable things to work on between the sessions to apply what they're learning?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. Thinking about milestones and like what would be some things you would want them to be doing by like week two and week four, etc. Pretty much every time you have your live sessions, you could give out a few examples of great milestones for where they are or like example goals for the week, and then within the Facebook group, you can hold them accountable to whatever they said they wanted. One little goal is good for each week with nutrition coaching so no one gets super overwhelmed, but you can have accountability prompts in the Facebook group so then they can just check in kind of they would be checking in on the phone.

Sarah Hall: On a one on one, they can just check in on the accountability posts in the Facebook group.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I just joined my first group coaching program actually like a month or two ago, so this is all making sense. It's a business coaching program, so it's not exactly the same thing, but they do that. It's like on Monday, they're like, "Okay guys, what are your three goals for the week?" And they tag you in the post, so you're supposed to type in your responses. Then on Wednesday, they check in on how it's going. And then Friday, you're supposed to report back, did you get it done? And that helps. It's obviously not quite the same as direct one-on-one coaching, but it's definitely better than nothing.

Erica Julson: So for dietitians who currently are doing one-on-one work, is there some best practice for adding a group coaching program? Because what if they feel a little bit there's already so much on their plate and they're like, "I can't even imagine adding another thing." How do you recommend people handle that?

Sarah Hall: Well, I think for me, when I started doing group, I started doing because I had to make this mindset shift of, "Well, Sarah, it's either stop making more money and stop making more impact or pivot your offer a little bit," because I feel dietitians that really get their train rolling end up finding themselves in a place where... Especially if they're still working full time like, "Wait, I have zero more time... Where am I going to do any more work? Where am I going to take any more one on ones?"

Sarah Hall: So you've got to make that decision first, are you capped out on time, are you feeling a little bit of a burnout? And then when you map this out on paper, it just makes sense because in my experience over the six years of working in the coaching space, one-on-one client takes the average RD four to five hours a month. A group coaching environment takes the average RD four to five hours a month. So you can make, for example, $500 from one person, or you can make $500 from 10 people, $5,000 for the same amount of work. But it's hard to wrap your brain around that at first, so I would suggest mapping that out, looking at it on paper.

Sarah Hall: And yes, the first group is the hardest because you got to get the materials, you got to get the calendar, you got to get used to it. But after that, it's a like cakewalk, duplication at its finest. There's nothing, unless you want to change your agenda a little bit, tweak it, there's nothing really more to do other than bring clients in, bring them out, bring them in, bring them out, get them outcomes. So give yourself some grace moving from one to one, it's a change in learning. It's also a change in pitching and how you pitch.

Sarah Hall: Oh my God, it probably took me six sales calls when I was nutrition coaching to get the words to come out of my mouth because I was so used to pitching in one way. So I think just giving yourself grace to knowing that if you are full as a one-on-one coach or maybe you're like me, I wasn't ready to quit my clinical job. I had things I had to continue to get done for our home and I had no other choice but to implement this and figure it out. But I think once you look at it, you map it out and you give yourself a little bit of time, six to eight weeks probably to plan your first one, I think it just goes from there.

Sarah Hall: And once you do one, you will be addicted to group coaching because clients love it, you love it, you have so much more time, and it's kind of fun.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I recently interviewed another dietitian about her experiences creating online courses, which is similar but slightly different. And her reasoning was mostly because she just straight up didn't really want to be managing people or grow a team, which is what would have been required to continue to see people at a higher level with one-on-one work. So it's very similar where it's like, all right, you just got to make the decision. I don't know if this is something that you ever recommend, but back in the day when I was still seeing clients one on one as well, and then I wanted to transition to more of a membership site model, I was really struggling with having the time to build it out.

Erica Julson: So I pre-sold it so that I earned the money up front, and then that was the justification in my head where I was "Okay, I have X, Y, Z amount of money that can get me by with two weeks of no work or something like that," and then I did that. I just carved out days where I only worked on the membership program and then it was done and I could continue to market it from there. So definitely, I think if money is a hangup, there are creative ways around that to get the money up front so that you can take the time that you need to maybe build the next thing.

Sarah Hall: Yeah, absolutely. Because I mean, With group coaching, you're gunna need to market it for six weeks. And a lot of my girls that launched their first group, they want to wait until everything's perfect, I'm like, "Girl, you've got six weeks. Let's go. Let's put it out on social media. You're going to do it." But they can be taking payment that whole time as they have six weeks to build it out. And I know I've got a membership site as well, and man, that's hours and hours of recording and stuff, but really the only things you need for your first step in group coaching is a PowerPoint and maybe a few handouts or workbooks.

Sarah Hall: So it shouldn't take someone more than a few hours or even just, if you're at the level where you can outsource it, pay somebody $100, get your group program materials, and you're good to go. But absolutely, since it does take about six weeks to actually fill those spots for the average dietitian, yeah, just selling and as soon as someone says, yes... like if I'm not starting a group program till 9/21, but if they say yes today, you can go ahead and take that payment and they're locked into that spot.

Erica Julson: So speaking of marketing differences between one on one and group coaching, can we get into that a little bit? What are the differences?

Sarah Hall: The biggest things I find that works for me as well as my clients is obviously your marketing really towards the problems of the client. So it's not a huge difference, other than I think there's a fear of missing out that comes with group because a lot of times people that are doing one-on-ones, dietitians that are doing one-on-ones, it's "Oh yeah, you can join my program this week or next, or next month or whatever." With a group, you've got a date which is a deadline, and people tend to move with deadlines, I need them to. And then you've got a number of spots.

Sarah Hall: And so with your marketing, always talking about like, "Hey, got two weeks left. I only got two spots," really playing up the fact that you're only accepting a certain amount of people in this program, and then when the deadline is, and that usually is enough to create the fear of missing out, FOMO. But also playing at the exclusiveness of this small group and the accountability that's going to be there, just being connected with other people that are going through the same thing. Because it's human nature, we thrive in, most people thrive with others that are going through the same thing.

Sarah Hall: And so playing up that side of it as well as helpful, but I really feel the spot and the deadline are the most crucial part with marketing part.

Erica Julson: Okay. So you basically announce six weeks prior, "I have something that's starting on X, Y, Z date." What marketing channels are you using? What's your favorite?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I teach all my clients organic. I make this joke, and it's not really a joke, it's actually true. I posted about this today. I built a multi-six-figure nutrition coaching business off Google Docs. I seriously did. I am not tech savvy at all. And so I teach all organic marketing. Some of my girls obviously have websites and things that, but no paid ads, no paid Facebook ads. So literally organic social media content through Stories. So I teach my clients to mesh Instagram with a minimum of a Facebook community to always have your leads in one place.

Sarah Hall: But just literally 100% organic, teaching them how to show up in Stories, what to say, how to do video. Right now, Reels is really hot, so I've been doing a lot of trainings on Reels. But yeah, just organic Facebook and Instagram mostly.

Erica Julson: Yeah. That face-to-face connection I feel is very powerful, especially when you're trying to get someone to work you. In other scenarios, other business models, maybe you don't need that as much, but I think if you are trying to build a brand around your expertise and your services, that can help immensely. And I know I'm not on Instagram at all, so I love to hear about people's experiences. I'm like, my Facebook group, my email list, my blog, I think that's about it. Instagram is my next area to tackle, but I know it's effective because so many dietitians have so much success on it.

Erica Julson: Do you have any particular tips, like how often are you supposed to be on Instagram? Should you be posting daily? And are Stories more important than the Feed, or are they both important?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. There's a lot going on with the Instagram Feed right now. Impressions and reach are just tanked because of the new update. In reality, we can't control our posts to reach very often. So I'm a big believer showing up in Stories minimum of five days a week. Because video and voice accelerates relationships by two to three months. I know how scary it is, I remember starting in the floor five and a half years ago doing my first live video and being freaked out by video. I've been there too. You can get past that, but you have to also know that is the fastest way to get people to know, love and trust you, and it literally accelerates the relationship so much faster.

Sarah Hall: So at minimum, yes, I would recommend Stories hands down number one, because you can do the work once. And copy it from Instagram over to Facebook, and you're hitting two separate platforms, not a big believer in doing multiple things and wasting a lot of time. So Stories number one, minimum five days a week. But I think the kicker is when you're doing any of this, it's at least telling people how to work with you 50% of the time. That's my rule of thumb. You better be on there telling people how to work with you and not be scared of it because they need you, they're going to go pay your neighbor Instagram friend or someone that's maybe not a dietitian or whatever. They're looking to pay somebody to get help. And if they don't know sometimes how to work with us...

Sarah Hall: So I just want to encourage your listeners, don't think you're going to be annoying. People really do want to know how to work with you. So that's a good rule of thumb, 50% of the time be saying, "Hey, here's when my group program starts. Here's my one on one. Here's how to apply to work with me." Wall post, honestly I posted on the wall only two, three days a week for two years. There's not a lot of return on investment, in my opinion, on wall posts. And I think Facebook is actually where it's at, contrary to popular belief. I built my entire business on Facebook up until about a year and half, two years ago.

Sarah Hall: Facebook community, just like you, and Facebook live video. We didn't have Stories when I was first in business, there was no Stories. And so to see it all change is very interesting. So minimum 50%, telling people how to work with you.

Erica Julson: I bet people are going to be like, "What? 50%," because I bet most people are maybe doing 10% on a good day.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I call that posting and hoping. My clients, man, it's the click. I'm telling you, people that work with me, that click, or just even asking people to take a look at your program, I think that's hard for us in the beginning. And as more seasoned entrepreneurs, you learn to not care to ask, but if you're not doing that or at least asking, sometimes it gets frustrating, and I call it posting and hoping, like "Oh, I'm just going to post and hope that clients come to me." In reality, in the beginning, you got to go out and find those clients, especially with the algorithms on Facebook and Instagram, only literally seven to 10% of people actually see the wall post. So you're not working against good odds there.

Erica Julson: There's so many situations where people could be watching your stuff, and just being realistic, it is asking a lot for them to watch your thing, then click to your profile, then read your call to action in your profile, and then click your link, and then check out whatever you're saying. It's just so much easier if you just say it in the content, it will probably get a lot more traction.

Sarah Hall: Yeah, exactly. And people usually don't even read captions. They're double tapping those pictures faster than... You've got to be entertaining on Instagram. They're double tapping and moving on. So that's why Stories and verbally saying, or even just saying in the DMS like, "Hey, have you ever thought about doing one of my programs?" Or, "What do you think about us working together?" Just asking that question.

Erica Julson: Let's get into Facebook groups too because I know you're a fan of Facebook groups. So can you explain how Facebook groups can play a role in your overall marketing strategy and help funnel people into your group program?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. The way I look at Facebook groups is, it's just your pool and it can eventually become like this big ocean, but everybody's in one place. Some of my girls are using TikTok and Twitter and Instagram and I'm like, "Those are leads all over the place. Well, let's get them in one place." But it can also build your email list at the same time so you can utilize later. But at the end of the day if you're just funneling people to the Facebook group, you can nurture them a little bit more because let's be honest, Facebook is more of a nurturing type of platform than Instagram and people are on that platform longer.

Sarah Hall: I love that live videos can be done and they live there. And so I think just having that one system, Erica, about I'm going to have this Facebook group and then I'm just going to filter, so putting water hoses. So Instagram is a water hose to the Facebook group, TikTok water hose to the Facebook group. And then you can go down the sales funnel basically, and get them on your email list, but also nurture them in the group. And then you got this big pool of leads for your program.

Sarah Hall: And instead of having to go to Twitter and go to Instagram or go to TikTok and try to find all these people following all in one place and two times a week, hanging out in your Facebook group, talk to people, message them. And it's just organized. It's just more organized to have them all in one place.

Erica Julson: And one of the common complaints I've just seen dietitians mention about Facebook groups is they feel they start a group and it's just kind of crickets. So what are your thoughts on that? How do you get people engaged?

Sarah Hall: Man, you've got to really create some hype when the group opens and really be in there every single day, get maybe some units built up in the Facebook group. So I would suggest doing a social learning group.

Erica Julson: Can you explain what that means really fast?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. There's multiple different types of groups, social learning is one that's a little bit more organized like if you're wanting to generate leads, because say for example, I do a live training today, that's going to get pushed down in the feed on Facebook. And so if you organize, if you're a dietitian and the next three videos you're doing are all about intuitive eating for runners, I've got a client Serena that's really good at this. So three videos, intuitive eating for runners, and this is going to be in unit one. It's going to live there forever.

Sarah Hall: So if I joined Serena's group and I'm a runner and she can direct me to these resources for intuitive eating for runners. So just making sure that when you do put things up, you try to stay organized with it. But I think the biggest thing for engagement is when you do a live video actually creating events in your group, I don't know the math specifically on this, but I can tell even in my own group when I create events, it's having a party. If I tell you Erica, Friday night I'm having a party at my house, just come over whenever you're ready. Well, my gosh, everybody might already be gone by the time you get here.

Sarah Hall: So if you have a party, AKA events and your Facebook group, and you say 7:00 PM sharp, our parties about this, we're going to be talking about intuitive eating for runners, and you invite your group, they know when to come. So I think really does create a lot of engagement. And then of course, people feel weird about DMs on Instagram and Facebook, even if you're just DM-ing your new member to say, "Hi, welcome. I'm so glad to have you," Facebook is more likely to show the content from the group.

Sarah Hall: So I think the biggest mistake with what you're saying that I see with crickets is they just get people in the group and then nothing happens from there, and that won't work, but that and then regular engagement posts once a week or something, even something that's not related like "Oh, going to the nail salon today, which color do you think I should do?" People love to give their opinion, so it's going to get more comments, more comments, more likes, leads to more people seeing the posts. Yeah, I love Facebook.

Erica Julson: Another thing that I do with my group is on my email list when I send out my newsletter, I just link in the newsletter to some of the most popular posts, which then gets a certain percentage of people clicking from the email back to the group. Once they're in the group, that's a check for Facebook, "Oh, this person's hanging out here, they like this content, we'll show it to them more." And all of that. So it all can feed together.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I love Facebook groups, but it's a way to revive them, I feel like.

Erica Julson: And just before we move on from this, I'm not 100% sure if everyone knows exactly what it means to create an event in Facebook, so what's the difference between creating an event or just going live?

Sarah Hall: For example, if I just go live right now, then part of the group may see the alert, but a lot of them just won't even see it or maybe they're not planning. I know it's hard to think someone would plan their day around you, but they really will, they'll plan their day around your video, especially if it's a good topic. So I can just go push the live button and go live right now in my group, and I would get some participation, but if you build up some suspense of like "Hey, this is an awesome training. The only time I'm videoing this week, it's at 12:00 Central Time."

Sarah Hall: And then you click that invite, they get an alert an hour before, so they can move their lunch break around or whatever, if it's something that they want to be a part of. And so I think the biggest difference for engagement is you'll probably, again, these aren't true scientific numbers, but in six years of doing this, about 50% more people will actually get on the live video because they got the alert.

Erica Julson: Great tip.

Sarah Hall: And you can promote in Instagram or Stories or whatever like, "Hey, doing this event on Sunday 12 o'clock, you got to get in the group to see it. Only doing it in there." So that can lead to more people that are engaged in the group too.

Erica Julson: And I haven't actually done this in my group, do you create the event through your Facebook page or do you do it in the group?

Sarah Hall: Inside the group. And there's an Event tab and you can just go over on the Event tab and just create the event, title it, and you can invite all members. There's some people that don't get invited, I don't know why. I don't know if they've got their privacy settings turn weirdly, but about 90% of the group will automatically get invited if you do that from the desktop. So it's really easy, it takes like two minutes to create that event.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I know I've seen some people as well, obviously that's a great strategy, but I've also seen people do the live video I think, from their page, but then they share it into their group, but I believe that's more people who do Facebook ads because they're trying to get an audience, but they can capture who's seen their page, I want to say, and then they retarget those people with ads. I believe that's the strategy behind doing it that way.

Sarah Hall: On their business page, you mean?

Erica Julson: Yeah.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. There's also a website that I like, it's called StreamYard. I can go live on my public page, my Facebook group and YouTube all at the same time, and it just does it on all platforms. I do feel it splits your audience a little bit, but it's great for guest interviews too because Facebook took away their dual broadcast, which sucks because dietitians can interview their clients, but StreamYard, there's a way to interview your... that's another great thing to do in Facebook groups.

Sarah Hall: So if you're a dietitian coaching, nutrition coaching, interviewing actual clients in your group and just asking them a few questions or doing a testimony is awesome.

Erica Julson: Okay. Before we move on from this topic, I just want to address some questions or hang ups that I've seen people have. I think one of them is, oh, I can't do a group program because I work really closely one-on-one with my clients, I do a lot of lab work and individualized recommendations based on their lab results or personal history or whatever. Are there any creative ways that someone like that could still offer a group program?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. Honestly, and I threw this word around earlier and I'm like, "Wait, they might not know what that is." I would do that as a hybrid program, I'll explain that in 60 seconds. So I've got this client, Cindy, she works with endometriosis patient or clients, and it's a lot, there's DUTCH testing involved, it's very individualized. And that was her biggest fear. So we're making her program a hybrid model, which is some group, but then they can get on the phone with Cindy one time a month and get those more individualized.

Sarah Hall: She can charge a little bit more money for it too, but in a situation like that, because there are some niches that are super individualized, but I don't think there's any niche that could not do the group coaching. It's just that you might have to wrap your brain around, hey, offering a little bit of one-on-one touches with it. It's still going to leverage time because a lot of people will do weekly phone calls with their one-on-ones, and if you go from four calls a month to even one or two, and then leverage the group model for more general training, that's a great way to go and still get individualization for your clients that are a little bit more high level type clients.

Erica Julson: And it's so true, no matter how individualized you are, there's always common thread questions that get asked again and again and again, and those are the things that you could address in a group setting easily.

Sarah Hall: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Erica Julson: Yeah. And then the other question that I've seen come up, some people are worried if they want to reach a broader audience, they want to make sure that maybe they're not doing MNT so that they're not trapped only with getting people from their state or whatever, where they're licensed, depending on where they live. So they worry if they open up a Facebook group or whatever that people are going to ask personalized questions and then they don't know what to do. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Sarah Hall: You mean in the actual group coaching setting?

Erica Julson: No. In the Facebook group. Let's say they ask a one-on-one very personalized question, but they're not living in a state, let's say, that this person's licensed in and they're worried about doing some MNT when they're not supposed to be or something like that.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. And that situation when they ask... Well, it doesn't matter really what the diagnosis says or what the person's struggling with, like if they ask a personal question on the wall or something like that within the group, I would just say, "Hey, that's a really easy, simple answer, I'll send you a message, we'll talk a little bit more about your personal goals, etc." But the thing about nutrition coaching and medical nutrition therapy is you make sure you're not literally crossing that MNT line or if it is somebody that does seem it's going to be MNT and they're not in your state, find somebody in your network that you can refer them to, and just tell that person that, "Hey, it sounds you need a little bit more what we call medical nutrition therapy, I'm going to refer you to somebody that I know that's in your state."

Sarah Hall: But the thing about Facebook groups is it shouldn't be any coaching done in them anyway, it should literally be focusing on, I call it the what and the why, like, what are some of the problems, we can think of yo-yo dieting, for example, that's a major problem. Women are just so tired of dieting, and what's the problem? Well, you've tried four diets already, it's August, maybe it's time to overcome the dieting cycle and well, why is it a problem? Because it's impacting mood and energy and all these things, and you're never getting anywhere, but the how the coaching, which is the same thing with this person that may be asking or posting about a medical nutrition therapy related question, Facebook groups are not meant to really give away the how, it's more like curiosity.

Sarah Hall: So if someone did ask that, I would just send him a message, I would chit-chat a little bit, and then if it did seem it was going to be medical nutrition therapy... And that's why I love our RD community, people refer to others all the time, and I would just refer that person out to someone that could work with them in their state.

Erica Julson: And probably just being clear too of what they're going to get in your program, like what are the boundaries of what they can talk about or address, just so that you're all in the clear too. I mean, it's hard to talk about because every niche is so different and some niches are really broad and then some are really MNT heavy, but I've just seen that come up as a worry for some people like, "Oh, I can't do a group program because how can I talk about this topic without breaking the law or whatever." But getting so individualized with people all over the country.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. You definitely can't do MNT in a group program because they wouldn't, well, some of them could be in your state, but they may not be in your state. And so medical nutrition therapy, unless they're just licensed, I have a client that's licensed in three states and her surrounding areas and she does medical nutrition therapy for her three states, but outside of that, she makes sure that she doesn't cross that boundary.

Erica Julson: Yeah. And to be honest, there's so many people out there, so I'm sure you could run a lot of programs just with people even in your states and be fine. Do you have any fun examples maybe of dietitians who created group programs and how that has changed their business? I think those are always really inspirational for people to hear.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. Oh my goodness. I think definitely of my client, Emily, we've been working together about four months now, but she had been in RD for seven years. She had done some group programs in the diabetes field, she was really scared to watch her business. We started with some one-on-one, but she was pretty much straight into group within her first month. And I will say, I've never seen anyone move this fast with revenue that they have about monthly recurring... I like monthly recurring stable revenue, you don't want a one and done type of thing.

Sarah Hall: So Emily was literally able to go from zero to about 11K months in 60 days. And now we're in four months, she's about 15K months and she quit her job. But what was cool is she really thought it was just going to be difficult, she thought the whole business was going to be difficult. And now she's like, "Why didn't I start this 10 years ago?" And so, it's been nice to see clients Emily with his two-year-old be able to be home. And my client Kelly, she's a former personal trainer and she did a lot of competitive fitness programs, so she really developed this passion for more intuitive eating, but we started working together, oh, maybe 10 months ago.

Sarah Hall: And she was recurring less than about 1,000 and she just had her first 11K came on with group programs, but also she's now launching a writing offer for dietitian. So it's also cool to see girls that I work with think outside the box, and I know you're big on that, and it's really cool to even see how the group coaching program can evolve to like a writing group coaching program. She's got experience in it and now she can duplicate it in a whole another niche. And we just have so many awesome opportunities like that, but those are the first couple that come to mind recently that have really just crushed it with the groups and they were both scared and freaked out to do groups and I was too, but just like with anything, I feel like if you're not a little scared, I think it's normal to be a little scared.

Erica Julson: And when you say the monthly recurring revenue, is that from people paying, do they pay for the group programs in monthly installments or are they paying all up front? How does that work?

Sarah Hall: A lot of people will choose the monthly installment. You can do paid and full, just like with any other program, but I'm a fan of the monthly recurring because you can really project your revenue a lot better. And I teach my clients how to do that, but that's the thing with group programs is you know if you get 10 clients in this group, that's 10 solid recurring payments for the next three months. And then six weeks in, you can stack another one, and that's how my clients get to six figures pretty quickly within their first six months, usually, because first groups going, second group starts, we just do the math on that. It's recurring monthly revenue that starts to stack up over time.

Erica Julson: So basically while you're still doing the first, let's say, three month program, you're already marketing and selling the next one?

Sarah Hall: Yep.

Erica Julson: Amazing. That helps so much too because, I don't do group programs, but even with launching courses, it can sometimes be this feast or famine situation where you do you sell well one month and then maybe you get some trickle effects from payment plans, but then you don't get another big pop until you do another big launch, and launches are hard and they're usually spaced out by quite a few months. So the stacking thing is a really good tip, definitely, especially, it sounds like with the group coaching to not taking 40 hours a week all month to get it up and running, maybe the first time it's extra work, but then you can easily stack.

Erica Julson: I think it's a hard mindset shift for people to get around because they think, "Oh, it's just take all my time." Because they're so used to trading their time for money or doing a job in the traditional sense. And it really doesn't have to be like that, there are really great leveraged opportunities where you can make more money with less time.

Sarah Hall: I think group coaching sounds super complicated, but when I lay it out for people it's like, five hours a month and literally just make the materials the first time, and you do I don't know, it's just so easy, but it's so misunderstood. I'm actually going through a trademark process for my group coaching blueprint because I created it from the ground up and I literally got two people in my first group, Erica, I thought, "Oh my God, how is this going to work?" So by the end of nutrition coaching though, I was stacking two groups a month, eight to 10 people in each one. That was just one revenue stream for me, seven to 8K just from that, not my other streams.

Sarah Hall: And it is a lot, it sounds like it's going to be complicated when you hear the word group coaching, because it just sounds a lot of people, but man, my clients, they love it. Once you start group coaching, you won't really go back and you'll charge more. That allows you to charge more for your one-on-ones because sometimes you will have people leave the group and want one-on-one, but you can get those prices up, but I'm a big fan of monthly recurring revenue, because I'll say my average client never falls back by more than $1,000 in their monthly recurring revenue and it's very predictable and sustainable. So I really like that.

Erica Julson: Do you think there's any secret or strategy to continually filling your program? I think that could be a fear that people have, it's just a fluke that everyone signed up this one time, how do I keep getting more people? Haven't I reached all the people? You know what I mean?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. Well, I say babies are born, and are born every day and people join social media every day. And so my clients think it's funny when I say that, but that's a common concern and I used to have that concern as well, and then after so many cycles of doing groups for the past several years, they just come, they show up as long as you're staying consistent in marketing, but that's also getting in front of new eyeballs on a weekly basis on social media, building that email list, marketing through that as well if you want to use an email list. That's a common fear though, my clients say that all the time, I'm like, "Listen, we're going to do it."

Sarah Hall: And I think there's something to be said about projections, if you know that you're at $3,000 right now in monthly revenue and you're charging $500 per person for a group and you want to go from 3,000 to 5,000, well, that's a $2,000 difference. We only need to get four clients in the group at 500 to go from three to five. And then what happens when you do that? Again, I don't want to get too much into numbers, I'm not a math whiz, my husband is, but you see where I'm going with that, projections, you got to know where you are in your business and you got to know where you want to go next and what it takes to get there.

Erica Julson: Yup. The group coaching program that I'm in now, they have this, I'm not at the stage yet because I still have to finish my freaking revamped sales page and my webinar and all that, but they have this giant spreadsheet where you're tracking your KPIs and your conversion rates for everything that you're doing. And sometimes you got to take the emotion out of it a little bit, and you just got to look at the data and be like, "Okay, I get X% conversions from this email or Instagram or my Facebook group or whatever." And then you can see what's working at what percentage and you can focus in on those activities.

Erica Julson: So I think there's a shift that happens a lot of times when you're first starting your business, you're so in your business and you're making the content or the program or whatever, and you maybe don't do a lot of marketing, which probably because you're a little bit scared or intimidated or whatever. But then at some point, you're like, "Okay, I know if I reach 100 people, three are going to buy," or whatever your conversion rate is. So that it's like, "If I reach 1,000 people, 30 people are going to buy." Then it becomes, "How can I reach 1,000 people?" And you get to focus on those activities, which I think it's fun.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. Some people just don't work in spreadsheets, I know my husband works greatly in spreadsheets, so we built a projection sheet for some of our clients that do, but I think just keeping it as simple as possible. What you said is so important though, you got to be tracking something to know like, "Where are the clients coming from?" I actually quit Instagram for five months because I was just trying to fit in over there. This was back when I was in nutrition coaching and I wasn't getting a single client from Instagram, I was getting all of them from Facebook live videos. And I said, "What are you wasting your time for?"

Sarah Hall: So I had to evaluate and I moved back to Facebook and that was my baby for a long time, and now I'm on Instagram more because that's where my clients are now. But you're so right, you got to put your eggs in the basket of where people are coming from and maybe just double down the efforts there versus trying to do so many different things, especially if you're brand new, that's super overwhelming.

Erica Julson: Yeah. I try to remind people because I do think people get overwhelmed sometimes in the beginning, but there's not just one way to start a business either, like you said, you didn't have a website for your business and you had multiple six-figures happening. Other people are like, "Oh, I have multiple six figure business and I'm not on social media." There's so many ways to make it happen. So I think listening to all the advice is wonderful, but don't forget to tune in to what you feel good doing too, because if you're doing something just because you think you're supposed to, or you've heard that it was going to get you results, but you hate, it's not going to be sustainable.

Sarah Hall: No, you're going to have fun in your business. That's interesting you say that, my best friend, she has the same level of business I do, does not do social media at all. She actually builds websites for people, but she literally built her whole business without social media. And I'm over here like, "How did you do that?" Because I'm all about organic social media traffic, but it's so cool to see whatever your vibe is, whatever your personality is, and you know what that goes to say in your offers too. Group programs might not be 100% for people, maybe they want to do one-on-one and then launch a course in the background.

Sarah Hall: There's no one way that's perfect for everybody, and I love what you said, you got to do what fits you and your personality, but also putting yourself out there just a little bit because sometimes people hold back on social media because they're scared. But it is, it really is cool how we can all do things so differently and still have really good results for our lives.

Erica Julson: Like you rock it at live videos. I can totally see how that's working for you, I almost never do live video. I'm sure it'd be helpful, it's just not something that comes super naturally to me. I could sit and write like 50,000 words before I would want to be on videos.

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I'm the person that's like, "Oh my God, I have to write now, let me just hop on a five minute video and say this." And that's so cool how our personalities can be different and still have great businesses. I think it's awesome.

Erica Julson: Exactly. So I hope that anyone listening, just find your thing and run with it seriously. You don't have to try to fit yourself into a mold that's not you, because people can tell when it's not really you.

Sarah Hall: Definitely.

Erica Julson: After all that amazing value, I think there's going to be some people who want to connect with you and maybe work with you. So what exactly do you offer for dietitians? How could they work with you at this time?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. I work with dietitians a couple of different ways, I've got my Accelerator Program, that's for dietitians that are starting at zero that want to just have simple, sustainable growth and grow through the one-on-one model, into a group model within their six months of launching their business. And then I have my one-on-one program that's more for dietitians that are already launched and maybe they want to scale their business, matching different offers like group, etc. So I've got those two different programs, so it just really depends on what the person needs. I do a lot of listening and then I say, "Hey, here's where you fit."

Sarah Hall: And so that's cool. And yeah, I love both of those programs, they both get great results, it just depends on where the person is in their business when we have our conversation.

Erica Julson: And how should they connect with you if they want to learn more about that?

Sarah Hall: Yeah. You know what? I hang out a lot in my Facebook group at Successful Online Wellness Entrepreneurs on Facebook. I just actually started it about three months ago. I was a little slow to the game on my Facebook group. My original one, I went to two or 3,000 members in 90 days, it was crazy. I don't know why I dragged my feet on this one, but Successful Online Wellness Entrepreneurs is my Facebook group, @thecooldietitian on Instagram. And then I do have a website now, I've actually had a website for a few years now, but Sarah with an H\coaching is where if somebody wanted to watch my coaching video, they could.

Erica Julson: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for all of that great advice, it was very value packed and actionable. So I know there's a lot of people who listen who are interested in doing things like going hard on social media and video and all of that. So I know that they're going to appreciate this advice. So thank you for giving us an hour of your time today.

Sarah Hall: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me on.

Erica Julson: I hope you're leaving this episode feeling totally pumped and excited about the possibilities with group coaching and social media marketing. Conversations like these are so helpful for reminding us of the myriad of possible career opportunities out there for us. One-on-one work, traditional employment and trading your time for money are not the only options. And as always, if you're enjoying this podcast, please hit the big giant Subscribe button on whatever platform you're listening to so that you get all the latest episodes as they're released. And today, I also wanted to highlight a really nice review left for my podcast last month from MickelaM.

Erica Julson: She said, "I don't know Erica personally, but I feel like I do, and I feel like she's my friend that will tell me how it really is. Erica is thoughtful about the content of each episode and really opens up about her own failures and wins to give you real life examples of the strategies presented. I feel fortunate to enjoy this podcast each week. So thank you," with some emojis. And I wanted to say thank you to Mickela, if that's your first name. Thank you for that review, it made me smile so big and I'm grateful that I get to spend an hour with you and your earbuds every week. So thank you for taking the time out of your day to leave that review. It was really, really appreciated. Thank you. Thank you. And for everyone listening, I hope you have a fabulous week, and I will catch you next Monday.

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