Haley Duncan of 90 Day Habits: “A great coach is a great listener”

Successful business coaches lead by example, don’t have an ego and genuinely want to serve others. They’re open hearted, focused on personal growth, excited about what’s possible and seek to empower others. And it’s genuine. The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to […]

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Successful business coaches lead by example, don’t have an ego and genuinely want to serve others. They’re open hearted, focused on personal growth, excited about what’s possible and seek to empower others. And it’s genuine.


The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?

In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.

In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Haley Duncan.

Haley Duncan was once a successful real estate agent who found herself unfulfilled — like so many others in a “normal” job. She took a leap of faith to join one of the leading nutrition and skincare network marketing companies and channeled her passion for nutrition and holistic health into becoming a wellness coach to help others on their journey to live a clean lifestyle. As her business grew, so did her team. And she evolved her focus to also coach her team members in growing their businesses.

Eight years later, she has coached thousands of people to live a better life, and thousands more to grow their businesses and find her similar success. Haley took her passion for business coaching a step further when she partnered with top network marketing leaders Sandy and Wade Critides to develop a day-by-day business guide for network marketers. They called it the 90 Day Cycle to New Habits Journal to provide network marketers of any level or company with the exact roadmap that led Haley and others to their success. Now Haley can extend her business expertise and coaching to people of all direct selling companies through the 90 Day Habits community.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path.

I grew up in central California in a town called San Luis Obispo. I moved to San Diego to attend SDSU and graduated with a marketing degree. I have always been an entrepreneur by heart and started many businesses since college. I eventually went into real estate and financial planning, but then went back to school and earned an MBA hoping to continue my path towards owning my own business. I had success in real estate, but I found myself not passionate or fulfilled over the years.

I was looking for other opportunities and came across a nutrition and skincare network marketing company. The business model intrigued me, and since I have always been passionate about nutrition and a holistic approach to health, I jumped in and started my business in April 2013. I started as a team of one and over the last eight years, I have coached thousands of people to live a better life, and thousands more to grow their businesses and find their passion. I took my passion for business coaching a step further when I co-developed a day-by-day business guide for network marketers, titled 90 Day Cycle to New Habits Journalunder a brand called 90 Day Habits.

The most exciting part of 90 Day habits is that I can take my lessons learned and expertise and help even more people grow their businesses than just those in my network.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The first step that was instrumental to my success was pushing through my fears. Starting a business is both exciting and scary. I pushed through my fears by jumping into personal growth. The first book I read was called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways. Looking back, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that we are the limits to our own success.

Tenacity would be the second trait instrumental to my success. The first year after starting my business it did not grow. I had family and friends telling me I should give up. However, I knew that if I kept doing the next right thing, I would be taking steps closer to my vision and goals. I was able to use the opinions of others to fuel my fire instead of extinguishing it.

And the third trait instrumental to my success is never stop learning. I am committed to personal growth and business growth no matter the success I achieve. And I believe mindset is everything when growing a business. Your business can only grow as much as you do. At the beginning, I dove into books, training, affirmations, goal setting and visualization. Eight years later coaching thousands of people, I seek these books, trainings and more.

Within a year and a half after starting my business, I started seeing growth. It then became exponential and the seeds I planted started to sprout.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Our habits can either bring us closer to our dreams or push them away.

When we create positive habits, we don’t rely on motivation or feeling, it becomes automatic. Just like brushing your teeth in the morning you never say today I’m not in the mood to brush my teeth, it just becomes automatic.

That is why we created 90 Day Habits and the journal. If you do tasks for 90 days that are positive and push you towards your goals, they become an automatic part of your lifestyle.

One of the biggest success habits that has helped me in my journey is tracking everything. While I was growing my business, I tracked each person I introduced my products to, met with, spoke with about the opportunity and more. With this approach, nothing fell through the cracks and I held myself accountable to keep my business growing.

This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

I believe that what you track grows. If you create good habits around tracking your business activity, those good habits will drive your business growth.

When building a plan to create good habits, first start with a look at how you start your day. Do you get up, leave your bed messy before stumbling for coffee and lagging to get in the shower, just to rush to whatever work you have to do? Or do you get up and get inspired immediately — make your bed, meditate or pray, reflect on the previous day and set yourself up mentally with positivity? Or something in between? Whatever it is, assess that routine and get clarity on whether or not it pushes you closer to your goals.

Creating habits around a morning routine was life changing for me. I went from being unproductive, unmotivated and lacking structure, to creating habits that set me up for the day, kept me on track and helped me thrive.

For example, when I first began to shift my mornings, I started with waking up 10 mins early to read. Then pushed it to 30 mins and added in meditating and eventually it was really easy to wake up an hour early. Now every morning I have an hour to myself before the kids wake up to read my newest personal growth books, meditate, practice gratitude, say positive affirmations to myself and make my bed. And it has been life changing.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop good habits is to start with writing down your goals, and what you believe it will take to achieve them. For example, you could have a goal of waking up an hour earlier so you can help improve your mindset. Be sure to not set yourself up for failure by just forcing yourself into the new hour. Start with going to sleep 15 or 30 minutes earlier the night before, and waking 15 or 30 minutes earlier. Do that until it’s easy, and then push yourself to 45 minutes and then 60 minutes.

Always start small. James Clear used an example in his book Atomic Habits of starting a new workout routine. He said just workout for 2 minutes. You can do anything for 2 minutes. And it may be easy, it may be hard, but soon enough your subconscious and body will say “well I’m already here, I may as well keep going.”

There’s another incredible book I read called Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. The author describes the first step as understanding why we do the things we do. Through understanding ourselves, we can start to break habits that don’t serve us. With the right method, it’s relatively easy to correct!

This is the concept that we put into the 90 Day Habits products. Each takes the action of building good business habits and puts them on paper for network marketers to follow, write down and be guided. We’ve essentially done the hard work for them!

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is my favorite quote because my success and a lot of those successful around me have gotten to where we / they are because of collaboration, coaching, sharing ideas and support. We all benefit from this collaboration, and it has been the key to our success.

An easy-to-remember phrase that supports this concept is “you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” If you surround yourself with business builders, positive out lookers and natural cheerleaders, you’re automatically setting yourself up for success.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

The team at 90 Day Habits and I are launching a new brand and a few products around creating good, strong, business building habits. These habits include everything from positive affirmations, morning routines, planning your business days, weeks and months with milestones, goals and activities.

This is going to coach people to have direction and purpose for their days. What I’ve learned through business coaching is that everyone has a goal, everyone knows they have to work hard — and they’re excited! — but they struggle with what to do daily to help their business grow.

These new products will build on the current 90 Day Habits Journal to help network marketers get even more organized, improve their mindset and guide them in what to do daily to grow their businesses.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

Successful business coaches lead by example, don’t have an ego and genuinely want to serve others. They’re open hearted, focused on personal growth, excited about what’s possible and seek to empower others. And it’s genuine.

One of the women I’ve coached began her business in network marketing in 2018. She focused heavily on her business building habits, her mindset, practicing gratitude and so on. She has taken her processes and made them solid daily habits, and her business has absolutely exploded. She has led by example, never had an ego and genuinely wanted to serve others. Her attitude has been infectious in the most authentic way. She made it to the top 1% of the company with this approach in 2 short years, and what we did together in business building and coaching is what led us to create 90 Day Habits and to coach more people in growing their businesses.

On the flip side, unsuccessful coaches focus on themselves, manage people instead of empower people, and think that they know it all. I think all of these traits can live within each of us. But it’s important to consciously be aware of them and channel the more positive energy towards your mentee while leaving yourself open to learn and grow as well.

If I told you that I haven’t personally grown from coaching others in their businesses, I’d be lying. It’s the most rewarding and incredible gift.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Coaching is a bit abstract, and it’s not something that many can visualize how to monetize. The common mistake new coaches make is that they don’t treat it like a business. But it is! When you share your skills and expertise with someone, that is valuable — if you believe it so. That’s where the crux is — if you don’t place a value on it, other’s won’t either. But if you’ve learned and grown a wildly successful business, you know more than many others and you have something valuable to share.

You have to believe you’re worthy to share your expertise. And do your research, see how others monetize their expertise. Some write books, some give live coaching, some build interactive how-to guides. All of these are good ideas. I urge everyone to find what works for them.

Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.

A great coach is a great listener. It’s not about telling your client what to do, it’s about asking questions and leading them to discover the answer within themselves.

With that said, you can learn a lot about your clients. Use your active listening and what you’ve learned to affirm what they desire, and to help them reach for what they truly want.

I started coaching a woman who had just started a side hustle and hated her day job she had at the time. I asked a series of questions to understand why she hated her job and just how big the pain point was. When I asked her how much she wanted to make in her side hustle she answered a few hundred dollars. I followed up with, “I thought you hated your job?” To which she replied “I do!”, I followed up by asking “So how much would It take for you to leave your job?” To which she answered “$8,000 per month”. I asked her how quickly she wanted to do that and we set a date making it a tangible goal — a tangible dollar amount with a deadline. She was able to set that goal, because I first listened to understand then I asked questions until she came up with her own answer. Ask to understand, not to respond.

With that approach, a business coach can create a wow! experience that’s unique to each person.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

The best way for a coach to find customers is to first focus on your current customers. Starting out, most of your customers will come from word of mouth marketing. This is why it’s important to create massive value for your current customers and let them be walking, talking billboards for your services.

Further, identify and seek out your “anchor client” — this is a client with a large influence who you can secure, add value to and have them recommend you and / or share on their platforms. It is also great marketing material for you when you’ve coached an anchor client.

If you don’t have any customers, the best way to find customers is to identify your ideal client down to the details, and then go find them. They may be in your circles, but they may not. Go to places they are, hang out and start networking, letting people know exactly who you help and how you help them. For example, “I help women executives lead a more balanced life by working smarter, not harder.”

Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?

My recommendation to fellow coaches on how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business is to be a product of their product! This means practice gratitude, meditate, do your daily affirmations, move your body and focus on your mindset. Those are going to be pivotal in your own physical and mental wellbeing.

From there, hire a coach or mentor to guide you as you’re starting. This will help identify your blind spots, help you be more efficient and undoubtedly will shorten the learning curve. The product of all of this is an improvement in mental and physical wellbeing.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Everyone should create a morning routine of positive habits. I believe we could create a huge ripple effect of positivity if everyone started their day with gratitude, positive affirmations, and other tasks that build better habits, we can put so much good into the world.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Wow, so many influential people come to mind. One of the most life changing books I have ever read is Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I would love to sit down with him and thank him for his work. The ripple effect he created is remarkable, and I want to celebrate that. And of course ask for business advice!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Our coaching tools are at www.90dayhbaits.co with lots of motivation, inspiration and more on Instagram at @90dayhabits.co.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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