Inspired by her own battle with an eating disorder, Shannon made it her mission to help others dealing with this struggle. With a focus on helping people get out of their own way, Shannon serves her clients through her membership program, the Food Freedom Academy, private coaching, and her book: Why Can’t You Just Eat?: A Look Inside the Mind of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder. Shannon’s interview inspires us to set a plan of action for ourselves from the outset and taking on only those things that truly align for us.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
My junior and senior years of high school, I was in the throes of an eating disorder. The recovery process made me completely re-think my career trajectory. I decided I wanted to help people like me through some kind of holistic means. When I found out about health coaching, I knew it was the perfect fit for my dreams and personality.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I guess the most concise way to state it is that I help people to get out of their own way. When my clients come to me – male or female, young or old – they seek me out because they know what they need to just, but they’re just not doing it. My expertise is in helping people to pinpoint exactly why that is so they can make the kinds of shifts they want to make.
What is your current business model?
I currently have a book out – Why Can’t You Just Eat?: A Look Inside the Mind of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder – as well as a membership program called the Food Freedom Academy, a self-guided program called the No Diet Detox, an upcoming group program (launching Fall 2015) called The Food Freedom Course, and private one-on-one clients (by invitation or referral only).
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
Probably the first time I saw major shifts in my clients. That was like, “Holy %)(#W! I can do this for other people, too!”
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Finding the time to do it all! I write a lot and produce a lot of content – for free and for paid programs, for my own site and for other sites. I’ve brought in an assistant and someone to do social media, but the writing, coaching, and majority of marketing is all on me.
How have you overcome those challenges?
Bringing in people to help me. And focusing on what really needs to be done. I’ve had the tendency to take on opportunities and projects that weren’t a great fit for me and my business, which led to energy drains.
How do you find new clients?
Mostly through referrals or networking, as well as Facebook.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
Building relationships and inviting clients to sample sessions. The work is really powerful. I can help people turn around a major dysfunctional pattern in their life in the first session, so they know what the work can do!
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
They check in with me. I take on clients who are really self-motivated, so how much they want to reach out for support is up to them. If they seem really disengaged for whatever reason, I reach out to make sure that they’re doing alright and to see if there’s any extra support that they’re needing but not asking for.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
Keeping phone on silent, limiting social media, setting scheduled time to do social media and email. Can’t say that I’m perfect, but trying hard to focus on what needs to get done!
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
Have a plan of action from the get-go and let Spirit lead me. I’ve had a lot of missed opportunities and wasted time because I just did whatever came up instead of taking on only the things that felt like an energetic match and that were in alignment with where I was going as a coach.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Get professional help. Coaches are great. Get someone who will kick you in the ass and tell it like it is. Get someone with experience, but not someone who’s top of the line. A lot of the big name coaches won’t invest the time and energy you need into you when you’re first starting out and need the extra hand holding. Make sure that they’ve actually done and gotten results from what they’re suggesting you do. Also, invest in a web designer, graphic designer, and assistant. Don’t waste your time trying to learn how to do it all. It won’t come out as a good and it’s a waste of your time and money trying to figure it out yourself.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
Hootsuite.com (social media management), Basecamp.com (project management), Facebook
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Talking to people. Social media is great, writing is great, but it’s really all about building your reputation as an honest-to-goodness real person with skills to back up their talk. This should be done both online and offline. Network with people in your industry and potential referral partners. Network with people who seem like they have nothing to offer your business, because you never know what opportunities will arise!
In building your business, was there any specific mistake you made, “oops!” moment, or “I can’t believe I did that!” time that you look back and laugh at now?
Horrible lighting in YouTube videos and running off on a tangent. Also, thinking all the answers were outside of myself or that there was one way to run a business. Not everything has to be done the “right” way. Listen to your gut.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Gluten-free cupcakes. Oh, and muffins. 😀
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Probably nothing crazy. Sushi.
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Mont St. Michele
Last book you read?
The Prosperous Coach and The City of Ashes
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
That would be terrible! I guess veggies. Maybe fruit, but probably veggies.
What is your go-to breakfast?
Smoothie: chocolate vegan Shakeology, banana, cherries or strawberries, almond milk, hazelnuts. SO GOOD.
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
It’s natural instinct is to heal. We just have to give it the right conditions.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to join my friends for a game of soccer in the afternoons.
Shannon Lagasse is an Emotional Eating & Eating Disorder Recovery Coach based out of Asheville, North Carolina. You can find out more about her and her business, Hunger for Happiness, by visiting www.HungerforHappiness.com.