CREATED: 29.02.2024UPDATED: 26.03.2024

How to Become an Online Nutrition Coach

How to Become an Online Nutrition Coach

Learn about becoming a personal trainer and nutritionist in 7 steps, and get 7 extra ideas for making money as a nutrition expert.

With so many people spending long hours sitting at the office, working from home, studying, or relaxing in front of a screen, there’s more need than ever for experts passionate about helping others eat right and live well.

Looking to put your training as a nutrition coach into practice and earn a living? Or are you considering switching career paths and want to know what it takes to get started? Here’s what you need to know about starting an online nutrition coaching business and ways to earn money as an online nutrition coach.

What does a nutrition coach do?

A nutrition coach is a formally trained professional who gives clients advice and strategies for developing healthier eating habits and lifestyles. Being a nutrition coach is similar to being a nutritionist, dietician, or personal trainer, but there are some key differences.

Nutrition coaches and registered dieticians are professionally regulated and must be licensed to work. Nutritionists and personal trainers aren’t legally regulated. While they may choose to pursue formal training and certifications, they are not legally required to be licensed or have the level of education that nutrition coaches and registered dieticians have.

Nutritionists and nutrition coaches focus on similar subject areas. However, dieticians focus more specifically on food and eating habits, while personal trainers focus on improving physical fitness and, sometimes, athletic performance.

How much do nutrition coaches earn?

According to this article by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), nutrition coaches earn an average of $45,000 in the US. The amount goes up to roughly $55,000, depending on where you live, with coaches in Californian cities like San Mateo and Berkeley earning higher rates.

The average hourly rate nutrition coaches earn falls just under $16, ranging from $13.69 to $22.10. This amounts to around $640 weekly.

How to become an online nutrition coach in 7 steps

Step 1: Put together a business plan

Creating a business plan might be a little tedious, but it’ll help organize your thoughts and clarify your goals. What needs or problems are you trying to address (i.e. helping busy professionals fit healthy cooking into their schedules or helping parents create enticing, nutritious meals for picky youngsters)? How will your services target those needs?

Set clear, measurable goals. Where do you want to be in the future? Calculate startup costs, which should be fairly low for an online nutrition coaching business. Consider expenses like home office equipment, reliable internet access, advertising, and website hosting on a platform like BlurBay where you can easily promote your brand.

Identify your target market and figure out how much you’ll charge. What are competitors charging? What can your clients afford to pay, and what compensation do you think is fair given your training and effort?

becoming a personal trainer and nutritionist

Step 2: Get certified

To work as a nutritional coach, you legally need to be certified. Obtaining formal training also helps convince others that you have the expertise needed to help them overcome nutrition-related obstacles and achieve their goals.

In the United States, several professional organizations offer certification programs you can use to build an online nutrition coaching business. Some of these include:

  • American Nutrition Association (ANA). Get a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential. Application requirements include a Master’s or Doctoral degree with relevant coursework, 1,000 hours of supervised practice, a passing score on the CNS exam, and 2 recommendation letters. The CNS application and exam cost $400.
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). Earn an ISSA Nutritionist Certification by taking a course and passing an open-book final exam. The regular price for the Nutritionist Certification course is around $800. Special offers are sometimes available, but you can also go on a payment plan to cover the cost.
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE). Become an ACE Certified Health Coach by taking a course and passing an exam. Course packages range from $850 to $1,495, which can be paid monthly. All packages cover the exam fee and include the materials you need to study, but you can pay more for perks like additional practice exams and digital + hard copies of course materials.

Reach out to trusted, experienced professionals who can offer advice on do’s and don’ts for growing your business and insights on working with clients.

How much does it cost to become a nutrition coach?

Depending on the course or program you take, it could cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to $1,500+ to become an online nutrition coach. Some programs let you pay in installments to lessen the financial burden.

Step 3: Create your business

Becoming a personal trainer and nutritionist is just a matter of time once you’ve planned out your online nutrition coaching business and earned your credentials. Officially register your business with the government. There are different legal structures to choose from, but many startup business owners prefer sole proprietorships (known as sole traders in some countries) or corporations.

Sole proprietorships are the simplest to start and manage, with limited tax and reporting obligations. Corporations come with limited liability, which means your personal assets aren’t at risk if your business is sued or falls into bankruptcy. But, there are more complex administrative requirements.

Think carefully about your business name and branding. Choose something memorable and stands out from your competitors. You want a logo that looks good in various formats and backgrounds (light, dark, large, small, digital, print, etc.).

Step 4: Develop an online footprint

Now, it’s time to develop your business’s presence online. Create a website that showcases your services, qualifications, and client testimonials. Make sure it’s professional quality, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines.

Look for a platform like BlurBay that lets you customize your website to match your branding and offer content in various forms (blogs, videos, online classes, etc.). While many website hosting services charge ongoing subscription fees, BlurBay only charges 5% of what you earn, making it easy to start small and grow without heavy upfront charges. Plus, payment processing solutions are seamlessly integrated into your site, so you can easily accept revenue.

How to Become an Online Nutrition Coach

Set up social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) to reach a broader audience. Regularly post tips and strategies for living a healthier lifestyle, as well as details about your services, products, and special offers. Engage with people and companies that are interested in nutrition and wellness.

Step 5: Get your first clients

For many new business owners, one of the toughest parts is getting your first few customers. You might need to offer free or discounted online nutrition coaching to land some clients. While not a sustainable long-term strategy, this can build your portfolio, help you gain work experience, and—most importantly—earn positive reviews and attract more clients.

Reach out to friends and family to find people interested in working with an online nutrition coach. Stay active on social media, collaborate with local businesses (gyms, health food stores, wellness centres, etc.), and contribute to online health and fitness forums.

Don’t be too pushy about your business. Instead, offer meaningful insights and showcase your skills to invite curiosity about your services.

Step 6: Grow your online nutrition coaching business

Once you’ve started to gain momentum, keep it up by leveraging positive reviews and client testimonials. Your professional reputation and word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful marketing tools.

Go the extra mile by offering online nutrition coaching to help businesses and schools evaluate cafeteria options and develop nutritious, tasty choices for people with dietary restrictions.

Remember that patience is key. Your business will take time to grow, and mistakes are part of the journey. Be extra forgiving with yourself and keep looking for ways to improve your marketing strategies and services to serve clients better. Additionally, consider collaborating with influencers on social media to extend your reach.

Step 7: Pursue education and consider ways to expand

Innovation is crucial for long-term success. Finding the “formula” of products, services, and marketing strategies that work for your online nutrition coaching business is important. But with the health industry regularly changing and new competitors entering the space, it’ll be challenging to last without developing new ideas.

Pursue ongoing education to provide clients with the most advanced knowledge and skills the industry offers. Attend workshops, conferences, and upgrading courses to learn about the latest research and strategies related to health and nutrition. Update your website and professional platforms to show that you stay educated in your field.

Release products and services that complement your business, like recipe books or nutritional supplements. Or, consider expanding into fitness coaching as well. Host live or online events and publish guest posts for other brands. Creating additional sources of revenue gives you additional ways to market your business and gets you closer to your financial goals.

As time goes on, be sure to reevaluate your business goals periodically. Pay attention to client feedback, short- and long-term revenue versus expenses, and the changing landscape of the nutrition coaching industry. Adjust as necessary to adapt to clients’ needs and market trends.

Salad plate. Nutritious healthy food.

7 ways to make money as an online nutrition coach

Consulting with clients isn’t the only way to earn revenue as an online nutrition coach. Check out these other money-making ideas:

  • Online courses: Create online courses to help others learn how to cook nutritious meals or plan out healthy lifestyles. Post your courses on sites like BlurBay, Skillshare, or Udemy.
  • Ads & sponsorships: Display advertisements on social media and your business website. Enter into paid partnerships with brands offering products and services your audience might want.
  • Merch & products: Sell merch with your business name and logo. Launch products like meal planners, nutrition supplements, food journals, diet planning apps, thermoses, mugs, or stylish lunch bags.
  • Affiliate revenue: Monetize your website by promoting affiliate products and services that complement your business (but don’t compete with it). Every time someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a small portion of the sale.
  • Virtual cooking classes: Make corporate events, virtual friend hangouts, and parties more fun and nutritious by hosting online cooking classes. Advertise and host on platforms like Eventbrite, Cozymeal, or Airbnb experiences.
  • Local catering: Even though you’re focused on growing an online nutrition coaching business, you can still earn extra income by using your online presence to attract local customers for in-person catering and events.
  • Recipes and eBooks: If you have a flair for writing and love experimenting with food, try your hand at publishing recipe books and informational guides. From food reference guides to cookbooks geared toward specific cuisines or diets, there are many topics to choose from. Just take your pick!

Now that you’ve learned how to become an online nutrition coach, check out our guide on how to scale a coaching business to maximize your success.

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