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The Story of The Health Coach Group


“Do you know how many times I get emails and phone calls from health coaches who just don’t know where to start?  They have accumulated all this valuable education to help their clients get healthy and are ready to change the world.  They even know some pretty powerful marketing tricks – the problem I see is that they don’t know what to do with it – don’t know where to go for help and they are totally frustrated with the technical end of things.” Cathy Sykora


Since we started out in business, we have been working on ways to help health coaches get their services out into the world so that they can do what they are meant to be doing…not sitting behind a computer frustrated and tired.  I believe in health coaching.  There are a lot of sick, overweight people in the world who need a health coach.  They never know how close they really are to feeling good, looking good and leading an energetic and happy life.


Health Coaches are the key.  I believe that more now than ever.  We constantly hear stories of health coaches who have healed themselves with simple nutritional and lifestyle changes.  I did that and that is what brought me to IIN.  I am a certified health coach…the reason I attended IIN was because I wanted to learn more.  I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with the education.  I am not a good listener….at least not like you have to be to coach.  I am a problem solver and a fixer.  I would make a horrible health coach.  The reason I went to IIN was a quest for knowledge and I never intended a career from it.

The longer I have been working with coaches, the more stories I hear about coaches who are making a tremendous impact on the health and quality of life of others.  That is how I know how important what we do is.


September 2011


My class started at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in September of 2011.  The weekend before my session started I attended the New York IIN conference with my friend Susan.  That was where I figured out what I wanted to do with my education.


The auditorium was full of so much excitement, it was like being plugged in and electricity went from one person to the other, filled the air and created a very exciting atmosphere.


The speakers were great.  Deepak Chopra, Mark Hyman, Jim Fuhrman….  it was crazy the people we got to learn from.


After the first day, Susan and I were walking back to our hotel from the conference and I told her I knew what I was going to do.  I was going to help health coaches to change the world.  I may not make the best coach, but I know business, am a marketing wiz and believe strongly in filling needs not selling….and I was going to help people who were meant to be health coaches to change the world.


I laugh when I think now…Susan asked “do you have enough money to do this?”  –  I didn’t need money to do business….I was going to make money.  My last business cost me one mailing and I was off and running.  I kept pinching myself to be sure it was true…and it was like a snowball…it grew and it grew until it got bigger than I liked and then scaled back and kept it steady.


This is definitely different.  We are selling health and wellness.  Most people have to be totally desperate to spend money on health and wellness.  They already have insurance payments and doctor bills.  We have to show them value.


I went home on Sunday and by Monday night (my first day of school at IIN), I had a business plan.  It was a cute little PowerPoint and it had everything I needed to get started.  It also had a projection of $568,000.00 my first year in income.    I thought, now, I have a plan, finish school and by the time I graduate I will be ready to start my business.  At the time, our classes were delivered to us (mine in July) on an IPOD.  I was already finished with all the lessons before school started.  I was an eager health enthusiast.


I should also say that I was running a full time (busy) business at the same time.  To get through IIN, I  joined the Facebook groups – read the written material…re listened to the modules and the speakers that I liked best and took the tests.


January, 2012


My health coach was very supportive of my ideas.  At that time we had our own assigned health coaches.  She asked me the same question as Susan…did I have the financial ability to get this going.  Of course I did.  I just needed a first mailing and then I would just have to work hard.


All this time I was creating content.  The 750 word a day challenge helped me to stay accountable.  Blogs, plans…750 words a day starts to build up.   I wasn’t sure what would be done with it all,  there wasn’t really a purpose for the content except that I knew that eventually it would be needed. Between school, my business and the direction I was taking toward this new business that I really loved.  I was happy, really happy….and really, really busy.  My family were and are very understanding.


February, 2012


I didn’t know e-commerce.  Anthony Robbins had offered a series of interviews with new business masters a couple years before.  Listening to those interviews gave me enough information to be confused. It was hard to see the whole picture without really implementing any of it.


In February I signed up for Marie Forleo’s B-School.  That, along with my 32 years entrepreneurial experience helped to pull everything together for me.  I felt like I was now able to step out in the world of e-commerce.  This was really exciting for me because it is something I wanted to do for many years…my other business was not suitable for online marketing.


March, 2012


March was the Long Beach conference.   David Wolfe “performed” at that conference.  My journey to health included a period with a raw lifestyle (I now eat about 50-75% raw)  I took David’s Raw Nutrition Certification before I started IIN.  Of course, there were many other good speakers there too…but I was most excited to see him in real life.  The Primal Man, Mark Sisson was there too…he looked very healthy.   I am getting my nutrition experts mixed up with my architects…Michael Pollan (not Pullen) was there too.  He is very smart.  There is always a lot of theory contrast at the IIN conferences.  It is very thought provoking.


Flying home on Sunday night, I got stuck in Denver and got a call before I made it out of the hotel that my dad had a stroke.  He passed away before I could get there.  It was awful…I found out about it by email on the airplane – a relative sent out a mass email to everyone and I read it in the caption before I even opened the email.  ( I say that…I am not so sure that finding out that way is any worse than being told).  The poor stewardesses didn’t know what to do with me.


I forgot my IIN IPOD in the plane…(sorry Joshua) – I was lucky the information was online.  I got through the rest of the course with that.


That was the first weekend in March and I really was enveloped in eternal life kind of things that whole month and maybe a little longer. It was still 6 months away from graduation and the official start of THCG ….OR at least that is what I thought.  After a month enveloped in everything that comes with a parent’s passing, I think I definitely had different priorities.  Everything in my old business seemed kind of trivial at the time.


I have to tell you before March…I had business cards, a brochure, my business plan, a website…….I was in no hurry – according to the plan, the business starts on September 1.  It is funny as I tell you this story, I keep saying the business won’t start until September…but I kept dabbling and my dabbling can be pretty intense.


There was a plan for a fundraiser.  It was an e-book “Sharing the Health” that I was going to create and sell and give all the money to JDRF.  It was a collaboration of recipes and health tips from health coaches.   It was really pretty clever.  Collaborators were also partners in promotion.  Some of my raw food mentors, coaches from my class at IIN and B-School and some popular IIN graduates all contributed.  A friend of mine helped me out and I was subcontracting informal VA’s to help me get it done.  I did the design and they filled in the shell.  None of us were editors so it went through “editing” a lot.  It was a good effort and taught me so much.  Collaboration – its strengths and drawbacks, marketing online, facebook marketing, e-commerce and more.  In retrospect, it was the perfect way for me to “intern”.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a big money maker so the fact that I was doing it for JDRF, gave me a higher purpose and the amount of work and expense was not as important as the contribution.  I was starting to learn what Susan and my health coach were talking about having enough money.  We are still selling the book and contribute 100% the money annually to JDRF.


My husband kept walking into my office and saying “I sure wish you were getting paid for all this work”.


April, 2012


This is the month that THCG really got moving.


Every year (you guys, this is getting long…if you want to come back and read the rest next week – I will never know)…anyway, every year my other business participates in an advertising auction with the Omaha World Herald.  I can end up with $15k worth or newspaper advertising credit.  It is always a win/win for my business.


This year they were going to allow me to spend my advertising credit on any business I wanted…so I split it between the companies and used part for The Health Coach Group.  My first call from my advertising was a doctor who practices integrative medicine.  Most of my calls were from middle aged women who said you are what I have been waiting for – I need you.  I was used to marketing to this niche – my advertising naturally spoke to them.


This was it…we got off to an early start.  My snowball was rolling.  First I called the attorney to form the corporation and then I started interviewing and subcontracting health coaches.


The response was unbelievable.  I put up a post for coaches and I think we had close to 600 emails. This was the confirmation that I was where I was needed.  I got my friend Patty to help me interview.  There were so many coaches who wanted work.  We were just getting started and just interviewing and keeping track was a huge job.  I asked a woman from church to keep the health coach records.  There were too many health coaches to really be able to help them this way.  I hired a super duper salesperson from church to sell.  We had this powerpoint for corporations and physicians…that said….


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


Well, that is what it came down to. I could grow the business but not fast enough for all the coaches who wanted to work.  So I listened to our quote.  It was at this time that I started planning to create businesses for health coaches – or teach them to create their own.



August – October 2012


Years ago I took this test that Anthony Robbins gave (I shouldn’t be admitting to this),  his little machine told me that I was much TOO interested in beauty and appearance of everything and it wasn’t a good thing.  It is true.  I think everything should be beautiful.  Debbie Ford saves me on this one…it is okay to take my biggest fault and turn it into my biggest asset – I have been “friends with my shadow” for a while.debbie-fords-shadow


You can imagine how I felt every time I put together a packet of copy paper with black typing on it to give to health coaches for their clients.  Yuck.  I had already created the 12 Day Detox for our clients and at the time  we had the 28 Day Jumpstart (now Slim, Sexy and Smart)…they were pretty because I made them pretty.  So, I made the “handouts” into a 6 Month Coaching Program that was beautiful and each session was a different color for wayfinding.  I used it for our coaches…and some other coaches (who weren’t part of The Health Coach Group) saw it and wanted to buy it.  I got permission – shared a copyright and sold it.  I didn’t have to sell it for very much and I found that this program alone was helping health coaches to feel confident in working with clients.  I am telling you, pretty things are not only nice to look at, they made the coach look professional.


February, 2013


Things changed and we needed to create our own content.  This was one of the best things that ever happened.  The coaches we were working with had given us lots of suggestions on how to improve the materials.  We listened and we solved a lot of problems and added material as it was requested.  We turned the program into a 3-6-9-12 Month Program that was modular.  Each section could be moved around depending on the needs of the client.  We sold them to coaches separately and we created a group membership called “The Inner Circle”.  These members joined and paid for 3 months at a time and after 4 months, had a 12 month program.  The nice thing about this membership was that it allowed them to use anything that we created for The Inner Circle during the year of their membership.


The original Inner Circle Members put a lot of trust into us.  We weren’t even a year old then.  This business, like IIN has introduced me to some of the best people in the world.


March, 2013 – Now


The first thing (besides supplementary modules) that I created was the Business Plans for Health Coaches.  The original is still in the Inner Circle.


This business program has been expanded and restructured to be “Buidling Abundance, The Business Plan for Health Coaches” – it is a business training and planning program created exclusively for health coaches that is unequaled in this industry.  We have had over 600 health coaches through the program with excellent results and impeccable feedback.  This is the “missing link” for most health coaches.  The program that draws a straight line from beginning to end.  It eliminates the confusion that comes with many programs that throw a pile of obscure processes at you.  It is set up to let the health coach discover their own answers and create the business around their needs and their niche – while keeping them on the right track toward a successful business.  I have had people (many) tell me that this did more in the first week than their entire University based MBA.  It is unlike any other business course available and helps you to put everything in its  place.


It is funny – I had those other 2 programs to sell to the public and health coaches kept asking me to create a detox and they especially wanted my 28 Day Jumpstart.  They would sneak in and buy it (like they were one of the coaching customers) and I would know and refund them the money.  We charged much more to coaching clients because they were paying for time too.  So, I rebranded both of those programs and put them into The Inner Circle (they got these for free).  We sold some separately, but because of the pricing of The Inner Circle, it just didn’t make much sense for them to not join.


We created all kinds of things for coaches…my IT person put together our WordPress, Woo Commerce and Affiliate Program and when she did, I had her do a video to tutor our coaches to do the same thing for themselves.  If you are an Inner Circle Member, you will know I left a lot out.  We learned a lot of different ways to create clients for customers with our programs.  The Healthy Holidays Program that fed new clients into January weight loss programs.  Workshops and webinars and optins – these all BUILD a coaches list and begin to fill their calendars.


We grew awfully fast after that.  You can see how things have changed and everything that we did in that first year and even more in the second.  The Inner Circle Members receive unbelievable value.


Since the beginning, my dream has been to be to be able to save health coaches the trouble of setting up a business and give them a plan for business success.  We have been building toward this since the beginning.  We are one step closer with “Packages” being released this week.



A business coach looked at my offerings last week and he kind of made me angry.  He told me that I wasn’t charging enough for The Inner Circle and I needed to increase the price at least 4 times.  He told me he looked at it, saw the price and would not think it was any good.  Okay, that might be right if I was in this business for the money.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe I should be paid for what I do.  I am not interested in selling something, anything to anybody for money.  As a matter of fact, I would really like my programs to go to kind, loving caring health coaches who are going to use them to change people’s lives.  I, like you, am here because I want to make a difference in the world and 2,000 people with the Inner Circle Membership programs and benefits are going to change the world a lot faster than 500.  I created the original Inner Circle Programs single handed.  I have had help with some of the supplements and my daughter (an IIN student) wrote the 28 Day Spiritual Program.  We will always keep the Inner Circle Membership affordable.  We sometimes put it on sale so more students and new graduates can afford it.  We keep re-investing the Inner Circle profits into product improvement so that the materials will always fit the needs of health coaches.


We have other programs, the incredible Physician-Health Coach 12 Week Weight Loss Program, Healthy Habits.  It was a collaborative effort with professionals and it is so good…it, in itself could BE the entire health coaching business for a weight loss niche.  It was expensive to produce, so it will always be more expensive to purchase and is not a part of The Inner Circle Membership.  There is such a problem right now with the licensing laws, that I had this created and approved by a physician to solve the credibility problem for coaches.


DSD – Designed, Sealed and Delivered was our first step…and a very time consuming and expensive program to produce and maintain.  We are keeping the price low because it is going to be one that provides immense  value to health coaches.  We dreamed it up while we were planning PWL (Physician-Health Coach 12 Week Program) – this is the big momma of problem solvers for the technically challenged.  It has been problem free and worked like a champ since the beginning.  It started out as a simple preloaded delivery program and before it was completed….we added in e-commerce, e-mails and it now looks and acts like an entire stand alone website – though it was designed to just link to the coaches own site’s sales page.  There is a blog, complete branding ability and has been built to be so much more than we planned.  WHAT IS MORE…it is going to be getting even better.  The Physician-Health Coach program was the first to be loaded, The 12 Day Detox and the 3-6-9-12 Month Program are in now and in the next 2 weeks,  The 28 Day Slim, Sexy and Smart and The 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse will be loaded and ready to go too.




At the time I am writing this blog, we are preparing to introduce something that is so exciting that it gives me goosebumps to think about it.  We will introduce and have available 5 packages on 6/8/14 that will take us very close to having an entire business set up for health coaches.  You can literally become a health coach one day and be running your business in 2 days, you can be building your list and selling programs with a team of professionals to assist.  You will have all the tools and the team to help health coaches to run a healthy business.  Be sure you are opted in to our website for HCU (Health Coach University) and newsletters.  We will be introducing the new programs in the 6/8 newsletter and they will be available to you at that time.  To find out more click here.



I am lucky to have all the good people we do work for, my team – (there needs to be a gratitude journal just for my team) and the lives that we change.


I love what I do.  I love making beautiful programs and marketing tools.  I love our health coaches, their hearts and their intentions.  I love what we all have to offer other people who are less fortunate with their health and those who may not suffer with disease because of a healthy lifestyle supported by a health coach.  We are in an industry we can be proud of and I intend  to keep helping coaches grow their businesses with less effort so they can put more effort into the things that make a difference.


Well…THAT is my story.  If you made it clear to the end of this blog… Thank you!  I am grateful for your stamina!

Share your first year in the comments below and join in the conversation.  Pass this on to your friends.




  1. Susan Seale

    Cathy, that is an amazing story. wow. And really in such a very short time, you’ve created a leadership company that supports untold numbers to pursue their dreams of having their own income-generating business as a health coach. I’m standing up over here…applauding. xo

    • Cathy

      Thanks Susan.

  2. Susie

    What a great reflection on how far you’ve come to create a business that’s ripple effect will help the health and wellness for so many!

    PS: The energy of your writing really translates your passion for what you do.

    • Cathy

      Thank you Susie. This one was a little more personal than any other posts. I appreciate your comments.

  3. JoAnn Komanowski

    You are amazing! Yes, the Inner Circle is a steal, and I so appreciate that. You are so inspiring- Thank you!!

  4. Tara Gesling

    I really enjoyed reading this Cathy!

  5. Elizabeth MacLeod

    Cathy . . . can I ever feel your passion with your story. I’m still integrating it all as I write, but what really made an impression on me is your fiery passion for what you do and your undying stamina to get there. Deep Bow Woman. You are helping many and I so appreciative you taking the time to lay it all out for me and everyone to read. Seeing one persons passion, gives us all the permission to go after our own. So I have applaud you and your journey and you sharing it here…., as that in it’s own self, is such a gift.

  6. Michelle

    Cathy, my most burning question is… Do you ever sleep? 😀 I am in awe over all that you have accomplished in less than three years. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring us in the process. Best wishes for much continued success for you!

  7. april

    thank you for sharing your story and also a glimpse into your fierce dedication to a dream. truly inspiring, cathy.

  8. Dana

    WOW! Cathy What a journey…I love this line! “take your biggest flaw and turn it into your biggest asset.” You are inspiring ! Applause to you sister D♥

  9. Tracey Giordano

    You have definitely filled a need that many students discover they need (sadly) after graduation day…now what? Your description of the road you traveled to get to where you are today is very eye-opening and justifies to a potential client the fee associated with what you offer. Seems as though you have found your niche…congrats!

  10. shelley ugyan

    Wow ! Thats a powerful story, Cathy ! What an amazing journey you have been on ! I love how determined and clear you were around your intentions and so committed to being successful all the way through ! Its inspiring to know how quickly you set up the Inner Circle and seeing how many it now serves is so wonderful ! Thanks for sharing so honestly how things have unfolded …I can FEEL your passion for what you so 🙂

  11. Cynthia DJENGUE

    Wow! What a ride thuan has been for you ! I appreciate seeing all the hard work and knowing that it takes a team to do all of this. Many of us coaches are doing it all ourselves and it gets exhausting. I appreciate and admire what you do! Best of luck with your launch!

  12. Denise Marie Filmore

    Thanks so much for writing your journey Cathy! It is so inspiring to know that you are one of the few that chooses to keep prices down, so health coaches can continue to help others and not have to worry about the how.

  13. JoAnne Rafacz

    I want to thank you for envisioning and creating these amazing tools for Health Coaches. I admire your persistence and stamina to see this through to completion. I am grateful to have these amazing tools to support my business as a health coach. Thank you for your sacrifice of time while creating all of the materials. I am forever grateful!


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