Are you ready to start taking online payments from clients, but youʼre not sure how to begin? Youʼre not alone. Most health coaches are initially intimidated when venturing into this new ﬁnancial arena.
There are many options available and so many new unknown terms: merchant accounts, shopping carts, electronic drafts, 1ShoppingCart, PayPal, Authorize.net, gateways, and much more. But donʼt worry, I have great news. Itʼs incredibly easy to take online payments. And you can get started in less than a day!
In this article, Iʼm going to give you the basics on taking online payments. Once you have the ability to get paid electronically, youʼll love it. And it will likely become your preferred method of getting paid for your services and programs.
Here are four easy ways health coaches can take online payments.
This is the fastest and easiest way to get started. I love PayPal. Most people already have a PayPal account, they just donʼt realize how powerful it can be in helping them grow their coaching business.
You can set up a PayPal business account in just a few minutes and start getting payments. It will take another two to three days to verify your account and connect it to your bank account and/or credit card account.
Once you set up your account and log into PayPal, go to the “Merchant Services” tab and create a PayPal button. Once the button is created, youʼll have a choice to either copy HTML code to add the button to a website, or copy a URL link to include in an email message.
Your clients can then click on the button or email link and pay you securely and conveniently online. And theyʼll have the option of paying either with electronic check, their PayPal balance, or by credit card: VISA, Master Card, American Express, or Discover. Your client does NOT have to have a PayPal account in order to pay you by credit card. I love that!
2. Electronic Checks
Most people know they can send electronic checks through their PayPal account. But there are other ways not as commonly known.
Another way clients can pay you online from their checking account is through their bankʼs online bill pay feature. They simply log into their online bank account, add your name and mailing address, and their bank mails you a check. This is a great solution when a client doesnʼt have their own PayPal account.
3. Merchant Account
A merchant account allows you to accept credit cards by phone, in person, or through an online payment system called a “shopping cart”. If you want to accept credit card information from clients over the phone, a merchant account is a must. This will give you control over when a payment is processed.
A merchant account is much easier to set up than you might think. The key is to go to the right broker. Banks are notoriously hard to deal with when you have an online business.
If you live in the U.S., I highly recommend you contact PowerPay (www.ipowerpay.com) at 1-888-639-9670. Ask to be connected to their “Internet marketing division”. Iʼve had clients get their accounts set up in less than one week.
If you live outside the U.S., I recommend a merchant account from PayPal.com. Itʼs easy, and itʼs international. And they understand online marketing – after all, they handle most eBay transactions. Please note that a regular PayPal account doesnʼt allow you to take credit card information over the phone. But a PayPal merchant account will.
Both PowerPay and PayPal have very reasonable fees. And as long as you have good business credit and personal credit, you shouldnʼt have any problems getting your account set up.
4. Online Shopping Cart
An online shopping cart allows you to take credit card payments online through a website. Itʼs a combination of online software, a gateway, and a merchant account. In example #1 above, PayPal acts as your complete shopping cart.
There are many different shopping cart options available online that integrate with PayPal and/or with your merchant account. If you search in Google, you can ﬁnd, WordPress plugins, software that works on your site, and third-party solutions that work outside your site, like PayPal. One of my favorite third-party shopping carts is 1ShoppingCart.com. It has tons of powerful features for coaches and is fairly easy to use.
There are lots of technical details that go with setting up a shopping cart. For this article, I will simply say that PayPal (#1 above) is the fastest and easiest solution. And when my clients need something more powerful, I usually recommend the combination of 1ShoppingCart.com and PowerPay.
If youʼve been putting off taking online payments, I highly recommend you choose the best solution for you and your business today. Then contact the appropriate companies and get your account started.
Here are my recommendations, depending on where you are in your health coaching practice.
• If youʼre just getting started with online payments, set up your PayPal account. Once that is set up, tour their site and learn about all their different options for processing payments. PayPal has tons of features, like custom thank you pages, custom checkout pages, multi-payment ability, shopping cart features, etc. If you need to talk to a customer service rep, youʼll ﬁnd a phone number on their website to call.
• If you want to have the ability to take credit card information over the phone and have control over processing payments, contact PowerPay or PayPal to set up a merchant account.
• If you know you need a more advanced or powerful solution, like detailed reports, built-in autoresponders, multiple afﬁliate programs, and ad track capability, take a look at what 1ShoppingCart.com has to offer. They have many video tutorials to help you learn their system. Or you can hire a webmaster or technical VA to set it up for you.
There really isnʼt any reason to wait. There is an easy way for you to start taking online payments:
• whether you live inside or outside the U.S.,
• whether you have a business corporation or not,
• whether you have good credit or bad.
Just choose the online payment solution thatʼs best for you and get started in as little as one day.