Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,

Zoey Hughes: From Accountant To Certified Nutrition & Health Coach

Zoey Hughes has been through a rollercoaster of health issues that led her to discover how to take control of your health and nutrition in a sustainable and enjoyable way. Once a hard-working accountant by day and party girl by night, she wound up bedridden with CFS/ME and a host of other problems. Now, as a certified Nutrition & Health Coach, Zoey helps female business owners, high performers and athletes optimise their hormones, health and habits to unlock their true potential. When she’s off the clock, Zoey is an IFBB bikini competitor, mother to an adorable son, and loving wife.

Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

Welcome Zoey Hughes to Female Health Founders, how did your journey as a certified Nutrition & Health coach begin?

As a classic high achiever, I wanted to do it all, and I did! I was working as an accountant full-time, while studying for my exams for an hour a day so I could fast-track, I was going to martial arts training several times a week, and I went out with my friends almost every night.

Inevitably, I pushed too far, and my body pushed back. Being forced to take a dramatic step back and rebuild was the best thing that ever happened to me.

-Zoey Hughes

After being bedridden with ME and numerous other health conditions, I met my husband, who said my health was my job… so I applied myself accordingly! Over a period of years, I overhauled my diet, fitness regime, sleep and so much more, to not only regain my capabilities, but to exceed where I had been before. I am now an IFBB competitive athlete, able to work, play with my son, enjoy life with my family.

What inspired you to start your business?

Having seen the incredible way nutrition and fitness can change your life, I had to start spreading the word. Whether you are chronically ill and trying to regain some function, or fit and healthy but looking to excel, you CAN achieve that next level once you know how.

Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,

Tell us more about your women’s health business?

My health coaching business is a passion project. I work with women who are committed to making sustainable changes, not quick fixes, to improve their nutrition and health for the rest of their lives. I concentrate on two groups of people – those with chronic illness who are determined not to be defined by their diagnosis, and those looking to excel in work, sport, or home life who need their nutrition and health to support them sustainably.

The overlap and my driving force is that wherever you are at, nutrition and health can help you reach that next level. I’ve seen it with my own journey, and I’ve seen it with my clients. I take a limited number of clients, as I want to be able to support them fully.

-Zoey Hughes

As such, I mainly work through referrals. To me, it is important that people are ready and committed to change. I have been on a couple of podcasts and I used to do social media, but, by-in-large, I find people come to me at a level that suits my business.

Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,
Photo by Lisa Dol on Pexels.com

As a woman in business, what obstacles have you faced in establishing your company? And how have you overcome them?

My health coaching business isn’t my first business so I felt confident in establishing it. I know many suffer from imposter syndrome, but I felt the accreditation I took was very in-depth, and paired with my existing coaching qualification, I felt well prepared for launch. Having built a previous service business and supported many others as a mentor, I felt I could navigate any potential obstacles before they became an issue.

I think one of the biggest obstacles for health coaches in general, is people understanding what we do.

-Zoey Hughes

There are many organisations, such as UKIHCA, that are working hard to get our work recognised and adopted within the NHS, which is fantastic to see.

Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,

How do you see the landscape of digital women’s health evolving to fill the gender health gap?

The very nature of digital women’s health services means that women and men are able to align their journey with people who have direct experience or knowledge in relevant fields. I think a lot of the power of the sector comes from this level of specialisation coupled with referrals.

I excel at helping those who are looking to reduce inflammation, for example, but I refer to someone else for menopause issues.

-Zoey Hughes

Building a network of informed sources who can understand issues in depth is essential to helping everyone be heard in their health journey.

Can you pinpoint a particular strategy that has been pivotal to the success of your holistic health business? How did you develop it? What impact has it had?

I knew from my previous businesses that investing in a professional image was essential.

I chose an exceptional photographer for my website shots and took the time to build a website I could be proud of. This strategy meant that the day I launched, people took me seriously. I looked established and professional, which meant the right people came to work with me, which fed referrals into my business, and round it goes.

-Zoey Hughes

Be realistic about what you need and budget accordingly. You are unlikely to need physical business cards unless you face-to-face network, you probably don’t need an ongoing social media manager, but paying for initial branding, a good website, and photographs will showcase your strengths to your audience.

Zoe Hughes, Nutrition & Health Coach,

Which key pieces of kit, technology or software could you not live without for your business?

  • I design a lot of websites in my other business (Executive Assistance) so for me, this Wix was a key piece of the puzzle. It is simple to create a gorgeous website that requires zero upkeep and is well-priced too.
  • I also store everything on Dropbox for both of my businesses. I could not be without it! There are no files on my computer at all. Everything is accessed via Cloud.
  • On the health side, never underestimate the value of Fitbit (or an alternative step tracker) and My Fitness Pal. People will always overestimate their activity levels and calorie burn and underestimate their food. This is a powerful and free way to help educate them, and provides incredibly useful data for health coaches too.

What is your big vision for your women’s health business?

My vision is to make a difference. I want to help individuals make real, sustainable changes, and I want to use that success to help me launch community-wide initiatives. The health of the public is a ticking time-bomb and until legislation changes the current model, education and support are the most powerful tools we have available.

Your pieces of advice for fellow female health founders?

  1. Remember why you’re doing this and how that makes you and your business unique.
  2. Don’t let yourself put your own health on the back burner to grow your business. You ARE your business, so act accordingly.
  3. Know that all businesses fluctuate and have a game plan for that. Keep your expenses low, and create options you can whip out for a cash or client influx as needed.

How you can connect with Zoe Hughes