Today, we have one of my clients, Crystal Gao, to share with us how she made back 2x her investment in our 1:1 Coaching Program.
Crystal is a dietitian, nutrition & mindset coach. She’s passionate about helping Asian women break free from the yo-yo dieting cycle, heal their relationships with food and their body, feel truly confident inside out and achieve their health goals in a sustainable way.
You can find Crystal on Instagram at @asian.diet.freedom
I’m just gonna let Crystal introduce yourself because we have so, so, so much to talk about her amazing wins as a business owner, as a coach, and share about her journey as well.
To kick us off, Crystal, could you please tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Thanks, Cheryl, for having me. And hello to everyone. I’m a dietician, nutritionist and mindset coach, helping Asian women break free from the yo-yo dieting cycle, build inner confidence and find a way of healthy eating dest sustainable, flexible and enjoyable.
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I guess to give the audience some more background about you. You didn’t mention who you work with. But now I’m really curious. Any more specific details you can give about who you work with and who you don’t work with?
My coaching program is specifically for Asian women who are ready to achieve their health goals in a holistic and sustainable way.
And it’s not for people who are looking for quick fixes or wanting to follow a meal plan.
Okay, okay, got it. So now let’s talk about why you do what you do?
What was your journey leading up to this point, in life and business? How did you get here?
In recent years, I noticed that more and more English speaking dietitians in Western countries are promoting a balanced holistic and non-diet approach.
But I found that in Asian countries, and especially in the Chinese speaking community, most fitness coaches or dieticians were talking mainly about weight loss, meal plans, and calorie counting.
And there are so many Asian women stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle, having a very stressful relationship with food and feeling miserable about themselves.
So this is what I really, really want to change. And I believe that all Asian women need to hear a different voice.
So yeah, this is why I do what I do now.
I love that. I love that so much.
We’ve been working together for the past four months, I know quite a bit about why you do what you do.
But now I think it’s important for us to highlight what is different about your approach compared to other coaches or dieticians on Instagram, for example?
Why did you develop your, kind of, philosophy when working with clients? Or how did you develop your own approach in general?
Firstly, I don’t just focus on nutrition. So even though nutrition is very important, it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
So in my program, I combined nutrition strategies together with mindset and body image work. Because I want to help my clients not only achieve external changes, like weight loss, but also internal transformation, so that they can think differently, genuinely feel happier and live a better life.
And secondly, I don’t just teach information or give advice.
Instead, I asked my client questions and guidance to find what works best for them. Because I believe this is what makes things sustainable. And I want to empower my clients to continue this new lifestyle after they finish my program.
And the interesting thing is I used to be more like a consultant. But now, after I have personally experienced the power of getting coached, I’ve become a better coach myself. And I will of course continue to evolve.
Also, another thing different about my program is that my program is specifically tailored for Asian women with Asian eating habits and food preferences in mind.
Also being an Asian woman myself. I understand the pressure many Asian women face in terms of weight and appearance.
I think one very interesting thing that you mentioned was that you used to be more like a consultant. But now you’re really, really, really coaching your clients.
Now I’m really curious, when your clients first approach you or join your program, are they like, I just want the information, the meal plan, tips or like the strategy for how to get out of the yo-yo dieting cycle?
Or do they come to you looking for the mindset support as well? Do they only think they need the strategy?
What are their expectations when they first join the program? And how does the mindset role change them throughout the program?
That’s a very interesting question. Because actually, the concept of coaching is very new in the Asian community.
And I think most of my clients when they first came to me, they mainly think they need strategies. They don’t think they need mindset.
But I will say, many of my clients start to realize the importance of doing mindset work as we progress.
So now let’s segue into your coaching business or the online business that you have now.
I want to know more about how you entered this online space? How did you end up on Instagram?
Before entering the online coaching space, I was working as a private practice dietitian at medical centers in Melbourne, Australia. I mainly help people with chronic diseases, to improve their health through dietary changes.
And even though I did enjoy working with my patients at medical centers, I knew I could do so much more than having a 30-minute session and explaining generic handouts.
When COVID hit in early 2020, some of my in-person sessions were moved online. This was when I found out online sessions are as effective as in-person sessions.
During that time, I also discovered the online coaching world through Instagram. I never knew this existed. But yeah, I discovered this world in early 2020.
And it was so mind blowing to know that I could be my own boss and I could work with clients from all around the world. I could choose who to work with and I could make a bigger impact.
So I started my Instagram, found my first business coach and jumped right into the online coaching space in June 2020.
It’s been more than a year now. Oh, you’re in three months now. So we are recording this in September 2021. Cool!
So before I ask the next question, now since we mentioned Instagram, can you explain more about your Instagram username? Asian.diet.freedom? How did you come up with that name? What does it mean to you?
So because, as I mentioned before, my program is specifically designed for Asian women. So I want to make it very clear in my handle, “Asian”.
And then “diet freedom” is because I really want to help Asian women really to break free from the dieting cycle and really get the freedom that they deserve. And really live life in a way they want.
Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I’m going to guess that a number of your clients and followers found you by typing “Asian” in Instagram.
I love that. Very, very optimized. Love it.
So now, let’s talk about what your life and business looked like before we started working together?
I think we first started working together in April or early May, sometime around there. It’s been about four or five months. So what did life and business look like before then?
Yeah, sorry. Before working together. I have worked with other business coaches and joined a few courses. And I have signed a few paying clients but not at the high ticket level.
And also I wasn’t attracting ideal clients who were committed to do the work. I was constantly looking for new strategies and signing up for free masterclass here and there.
Business just felt quite overwhelming and not fun at all. I felt like I was basically doing all the different stuff with very little results. And also I had no idea what coaching really meant. And of course I wasn’t doing any self coaching.
That’s why I had lots of mind drama. And I rely on external validations like number of likes, shares or application, I rely on this a lot.
Also, I didn’t think I had anything special or any relevant stories to share. I thought it was very hard to relate to my ideal clients if I had not personally gone through the same experience.
Yes, I still remember our discovery call together, when you first reached out and applied to my program.
We talked about all those things that you mentioned. I remember very clearly, one of your biggest concerns was you were worried that you couldn’t relate to your ideal clients. Because perhaps you haven’t necessarily experienced yo-yo dieting yourself, for example.
And so you were a little bit worried about how to share your story in a way that your ideal clients can resonate with.
Maybe we can talk more about that in a bit about how we worked on your messaging and your story.
But now, let’s touch on why did you end up joining the program? Why did you end up working with Cheryl? Was there anything about my message or approach that really resonated with you?
Yeah. Actually, I really, really resonated with Cheryl’s simple, authentic and fun approach to business. I’m actually so glad that I found Cheryl, because to be honest, before I found Cheryl, I was feeling a bit disappointed about the business coaching industry.
So yeah, I’m so glad I found Cheryl. Also, I noticed that Cheryl talks about thought leadership a lot and I could clearly see Cheryl’s thought leadership in her content.
I still remember, I messaged Cheryl first. We’ve had a few DM conversations before I decided to apply. I really, really appreciated Cheryl being very honest and very transparent in our DM conversation.
She didn’t cold pitch anything to me. Instead, she gave me a new perspective, and something to think about. So I’ve actually decided to work with Cheryl even before we had the sales call.
And the interesting thing was even Cheryl’s sales call was different from other sales calls I’ve had. So it didn’t feel like an interview, but a real conversation.
And Cheryl didn’t ask me any of those predictable sales call questions. So I applied what I learned in Cheryl’s sales call in my own sales call the next day, and I signed a client even before we worked together.
I completely forgot about the DM conversations we had and how you signed the client the next day.
Okay, now that you mentioned, I remember now. Because I remember you messaged me on Instagram DMs, about something like coaching programs, I remember.
And I think I told you like, honestly, I don’t think you need it.
Oh, no, you asked, I think you asked me about one of my digital products. And I said, I don’t think you need it.
Yeah. And I told you, honestly, based on what you shared, I don’t think you need to buy my ebook, which is counterproductive for a lot of people, but I really felt like the ebook just wasn’t for you.
So yeah. And I remember you messaged me, I think you told me about the new client after we worked together. It’s been a few months now. I remember.
Yeah, you mentioned that after our sales call, you had your own sales call. And that you kind of picked up what we did on our sales call and you applied it. Then you signed the client, which I thought was so funny, and also shows that you are someone who is very observant for your clients as well.
I think that’s one of my favorite things about you is that you really, really care about your client. So we can maybe touch on that later as well.
Throughout our entire time together, like most of our coaching calls, there has never been a single coaching call where we didn’t talk about how you can become an even better coach for your clients. And that shows a lot about how much detail and care you put into your work with your own clients.
Now, let’s talk about while we were working together and past four and a half months, what were the biggest mindset shifts that helped you create the results?
Actually, before we talk about that, what results have you created since working together? Let’s start there. What’s happened since April, May 2021?
I’ve actually made quite a lot of wins since working together.
I will say my biggest wins, where I’ve signed five high ticket clients, and I’ve made back twice the program investment.
And I have helped my clients achieve amazing results like stopping binge eating and building body confidence.
I have also developed my thought leadership and found my unique message, my unique message.
Now when I create content, I really use my brain and my critical thinking instead of drawing inspiration from other people.
Also I realized that I have so many stories that I can share with my audience. Even though I have not personally gone through the same experience as my ideal clients, I still have stories they can relate to and deeply resonate with.
Another very unexpected win was that I’ve been invited to guest on different podcasts and even on YouTube. What I think really contributed to these wins were firstly, I show up on Instagram consistently, even when there was no external validation.
Secondly, I kept working on my mindset by doing self-coaching, and getting coached by Sheryl so that I can really show up in my best energy.
Amazing, amazing, really, really amazing.
I mean, not just the monetary wins, the business wins, like doubling your investment in our program together. That on its own is fantastic.
But that win alone shows that that’s how good you are as a coach for your clients. Because if your thought leadership wasn’t there, if you aren’t articulating the value of your program to your audience, you wouldn’t have made back the investment or signed high-ticket clients.
I think the surface level win might be Crystal doubling her investment working with Cheryl. Sure. But it’s a little bit deeper than that.
It’s like Crystal really showcased how good she is as a coach to her people. And she demonstrated her unique thought leadership and her own approach and how that’s different from her peers and colleagues in the online space.
And because she shared her honest opinions and her stories to her audience, all those things combined the content, the thought leadership, and the fact that she’s a really good coach as well.
Those things combined, compounded into doubling her investment when we worked together. So I think when the audience who are listening to this episode, might first hear about, oh wow, doubled her investment. What kind of marketing strategies do you use?
I mean, yeah, that’s one way you can look at it. But really, it’s a combination that really stems from Crystal herself. Right. So I wanted to just emphasize that.
Another thing I thought was really interesting that you mentioned was the thought leadership piece that I like to drill down on with all of my clients. That is helping them figure out what are their unique perspectives and opinions in their particular niche or industry?
And how can we really double down on amplifying that to their audience so they can be known for that particular message.
Because there’s a lot of coaches on these Instagram streets, there’s a lot of coaches, there’s no shortage of coaches these days in any niche.
So that’s why we always have to go above and beyond and step into the role of a thought leader, because quite frankly, clients want to work with the best coach in that particular niche.
And if you’re not really leading your audience, if you’re not really leading the niche, or the industry, it’s a bit more difficult for clients to feel like you are the one for them.
So I think Crystal has just done a fantastic job in the past few months, identifying what it is that you want to be known for, and showing up and sharing that quite relentlessly, to be honest.
Because there could have been times when you felt nervous about sharing certain opinions and perspectives that’s very different from what your peers and colleagues are talking about.
I remember that we have had some conversations about what you want to share that is a bit different from your other colleagues in the space, but you decided to go ahead anyway, because that’s how much you believe in your own message.
So I think to summarize everything you just talked about, yes, the surface level win that people might see like, wow, doubling her investment, but it’s really a lot deeper than that.
It really stems down to Crystal’s belief in what she does, believe in her approach, believe that she can help people and us figuring out how to identify her unique thought leadership and amplifying that to her audience. And also working on her coaching skills so that she can get amazing results for her clients.
And when you get amazing results for your clients, that’s marketing for your business as well.
And yeah, awesome, awesome, awesome.
So, now that we have wrapped up our time together, what were the biggest mindset shifts? Let’s talk about that. What were the biggest mindset shifts that helped you create these amazing wins that you just mentioned?
Yeah, as I mentioned, previously, I was relying on external validation a lot. So I got discouraged when I heard silence.
I will say one of the biggest mindset shifts I’ve had was, “Things are working, people are watching, I don’t need another new strategy, I just need to keep showing up for my audience, my clients and really use my brain to create valuable content.”
Another big mindset shift was that I would rather be a happy coach than stress about how many clients I have. Even if that means it takes me one year or two years to reach a certain income goal, for example, those 5k, 10k months that other coaches talk about. I would rather enjoy the process, because there’s really no rush.
Also, I will say, during our time together, what I found the most helpful was that we really, really worked on my limiting belief.
I used to think that it’s very hard to charge high-ticket in my niche and I didn’t have any story to share.
But through Cheryl’s coaching, I realized it was really not my job to make any assumption or any judgment on my clients. And yeah, I did sign high-ticket clients in my niche and I have also found so many stories I can share with my audience.
Now I want to know, in the past few months, what was your favorite story to share with your audience?
Was there a particular story that your audience really loved from you that you weren’t expecting them to respond so positively about?
Yeah, I will say one of the stories that my audience loved was my placement story. In my time as a dietetic student, I almost failed my final clinical placements.
Previously, I felt very hesitant to share this story, because I was worried that it would make me less credible. But through Cheryl’s coaching, I decided I want to share this because there’s always another way of looking at things.
To my surprise, actually, after I shared this story, most of my audience messaged me and really thanked me for my honesty, and being so vulnerable.
And yeah, I guess my failure story was the one that my audience loved the most, because I guess they can really relate to me, relate to my story.
Yeah, but also, I remember we also talked about how that story, yes, it was a story of a failure that you faced. But you eventually did become a dietitian, because you had that failure, and then you worked even harder, so that you can pass that placement.
Now you became a dietician and a coach, that you are today, because of that. So yes, there was a setback. But because of that, you worked even harder. Here’s the thing, you could have given up on your career. At that point, you could have made the decision and say, this is not for me.
But because you kept going and you worked even harder, you’re an even better coach and dietician for your audience and your clients. And I think that’s why people love you so much.
Yes, not only were you honest and vulnerable, but also showed how committed you are to what you do. That shows how much you really love what you do. So I think that’s probably another reason why I think people really love that as well.
One of my favorite things to talk about is like don’t rely on external validation. So I really love that you’ve mentioned that as well.
Because, yeah, I think a lot of coaches in general, if things are silent, they give up.
But if you really want to be a leader, a thought leader, sometimes you have to be okay walking alone on this path. And in this context, it means walking alone on Instagram, right? People may not respond to your stories, they may not DM you, they may not apply, they may not like your stuff or tap on your posts.
But as a leader, you have to be okay with that. Because sometimes being a leader, before you step into the role of a recognized leader, you have to go through moments of silence, and people are silently watching how committed you are, to your message and to the work that you’re here to do.
And I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t recognize, and then give up really quickly. But I think, for you, you were able to recognize the importance of being a leader.
And sure there were some times when it’s a little bit quieter than usual. But you always stay committed to sharing your beliefs, your thought leadership, your unique perspectives, and how you can help people.
I think that’s why you’ve been able to create amazing results in the past few months, and also moving forward as well.
I thought it was really interesting how you mentioned you were initially not sure whether you can sign high-ticket clients. At least from my perspective, it’s like, you’re so good at what you do, why wouldn’t people pay you high-ticket for your coaching?
And I also want that one more thing that you mentioned was like, don’t make any assumptions about people’s financial situations. A lot of times people, we might look at someone and we might just make a lot of judgments about, oh, I don’t think they’re an ideal client, because I don’t think they can pay.
But what I will caution against is, how would you know their financial situations if you don’t even know them personally? Why are we making so much judgment about someone based on what their Instagram photo looks like, for example?
So I think that’s something that maybe I can create another podcast episode on, later on.
But I really liked that you mentioned that as well. Awesome.
I guess, is there anything else that we worked on together that you thought was really helpful? There any particular strategy things or your favorite thing that we worked on together? Or anything else you want to mention?
I will say, like, my favorite parts, will still be the coaching parts.
And also, I really like how Cheryl always asks me a lot of very good questions that really, really get me thinking.
So now let’s talk about… Okay, you mentioned coaching, so now let’s talk about the coaching.
One thing that I talk a lot about with my clients is your thoughts and changing your thoughts, because it’s really easy to think thoughts that don’t serve you. It’s really easy to default to thoughts that really just aren’t helpful.
Like, no one’s gonna pay me high-ticket, no one’s gonna join my program. There’s so many thoughts that are just really easy to default to.
But it’s a lot harder to stay committed and to think a different thought.
So now I want to ask, what are your favorite thoughts to think nowadays?
Yeah, so there are actually quite a few. But my favorite ones are, firstly, there’s always another way of looking at things, always.
The second one is, there is no checklist to tick in business. And there is no right or wrong decision, as long as I like my reasons, and have my own back.
And the last one is, I know what I have to say can help people, even if it is just one person who watches my story. And I truly believe that my program is unique and exactly what my ideal clients need.
Those are my favorite thoughts.
I think amongst the three thoughts, I think my favorite one for you is the last one. And the reason why that one clicked in my mind the most for you is because your target audience are Asian women.
And you know, typically among Asians, we’ve been kind of ingrained that we have to behave a certain way. There’s only certain paths of success. Like really following a cookie cutter mold or path to life, career, etc.
But the reason why I think the last thought that you mentioned about what you say can actually help people is because that once again ties back to you being a leader in your space. And a lot of your audience members, I suspect, are looking at you, and seeing what is possible for them.
Whether it’s like how Crystal can help me in terms of my eating, my nutrition mindset, but maybe also they’re looking at Crystal and thinking, I wish I can be as bold and brave and courageous and committed as Crystal, to sharing her thoughts on Instagram.
I think whether whether you’re talking about your own experiences, or how you can help people inside your coaching program, I would think that a lot of people find value in what you have to say, because, stereotypically Asians have a lot of, we’ve been brought up to think that we have to operate in a very systematic way, or that there’s only certain things that we have to do to be successful.
But I think, because you know, you’re doing a lot of things outside a lot of people’s comfort zones. I mean, talking on Instagram, posting videos and talking about how you can help people on Instagram, that’s something that a lot of people don’t do. So I think even just showing up on Instagram and sharing your story is of tremendous value.
Because number one, stories are very valuable. But also you’re really being a leader for your people, particularly for your people. So that’s why I think that thought was my favorite one for you, out of the three that you mentioned.
Alrighty. So now that you’ve worked with several coaches, and you’ve joined programs before. I guess now with all that investment and experience in mind, to anyone who might be listening, and they’re thinking, Okay, I don’t know if I need a business coach or not..
What are your thoughts on when is the right time to work with a business coach?
So I think if you want to improve your current results, whether it is business, nutrition, fitness, or career, you are open to new ways of thinking. This part is very important. If you are open to new ways of thinking, you are willing to put in the work and you are willing to get coached, then that’s the right time to work with a coach.
And that applies to both business coaches and nutrition mindset coaches, or just any coach in general. That is really the value of working with a coach.
Yeah. Any other thoughts you want to share about working with coaches in general?
I think the value of working with a coach is that a coach can really give you a new perspective, they can help you see your blind spots, and really challenge you to think differently.
Because if we keep thinking the same thoughts, we will keep getting the same result. Right.
And also, a good coach will know how to hold space for you and and also hold you to a higher standard as well.
Yes, yes, yes. So now, let’s talk about you as a coach. So what, what are your core values as a coach yourself? You know, what’s important to you when it comes to delivering your coaching services to your clients? And why are these things important to you? Tell us more about that.
Yes, so as a coach, my core values are firstly, honesty, empowerment, and growth.
And when I work with my clients, there are three things that I highly value.
The first one is personalization. In my program, everything is super tailored to your preferences, eating habits and lifestyle, because we are all so different.
So the best diet for you is actually the one that you enjoy, one that you can realistically follow in the long term without sacrificing your mental health or your emotional well being. And also the best diet for you likely, doesn’t have a name. That’s why I highly, highly value personalization.
The second one is client experience. Like no matter if my client has worked with a dietitian before or not, I really, really want them to have the best experience in my program.
And I think about my client a lot. Actually, I learned about this from Cheryl as well. So I think about my clients a lot and I’m also very committed to continue to grow and to improve myself to become an even better coach.
And the third one is empowerment. So instead of telling my clients exactly what to do, what to eat, I really teach them the why and how.
Because I really want to empower my clients to make informed decisions independently. I want my client to walk away from my program, feeling so confident that they can sustain this new lifestyle in the long run.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, at least from where I’m standing from, after working with Crystal for several months, it’s super clear. Like I can attest to all these things that you mentioned.
I think so you mentioned personalization, and client experience and empowerment. I can definitely attest to all these things.
Because I, as mentioned earlier, in this episode, you mentioned that one of the core focuses that we talked about in our coaching together, is you asked a lot of questions about how you can support your clients better.
There really, I don’t think there was ever a single coaching call that we had, where we didn’t talk about your coaching skills, how your clients are doing, you always ask questions related to how you can do better for your people, or create better content for your audience as well.
Like, it’s always been very client focused, or audience focus is always coming from a place of service. And I think that’s why, you know, personalization, and clean experience and empowerment are really reflected in the work that you do with your clients and just in your content and brand in general. So I love that very, very much.
I guess as we are nearing the end of our time together for this episode, what is next for you and your business?
I’m very, very motivated to do more self-coaching.
And I’m also looking to improve my coaching skills through some further training. So I can be a better coach to my clients and really help them get even better results.
Also, I just want to thank Cheryl, again for introducing me into the self-coaching world.
And for my business, I will continue to improve my 1:1 program.
I’m also very, very excited about something happening in maybe Q4 2021, or Q1 2022.
Because I think I will create a group program designed specifically for overseas students and new immigrants. So I think this will be sometime later this year.
Fantastic! Very, very cool stuff.
To tie this episode together, where can people find you? And how can people work with you?
You can find me on Instagram @asian.diet.freedom.
And if you want to work with me, my one on-one nutrition and mindset coaching program is currently open for application.
Awesome. Alrighty. So all of Crystal’s information will be found in the link in the bio. No, no, no link in the show notes. Yes, I was thinking of Instagram.
So all of Crystal’s information can be found in the show notes of this episode. Thank you so much, Crystal, for being here.
Thank you also, Crystal, for really just being a leader for your people. Like seriously, that is a big deal. Thank you so much for always showing up and really paving the way for your people and your audience and your clients and really, always working on bettering yourself as a coach.
I really want to say thank you to us well, and thank you for trusting in me inside our coaching program together.
And to anyone else who is listening to this episode, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you for checking out this episode and I’ll see you in the next one.
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