Johanna Lamm is a Minneapolis, Minnesota, life coach who uses a holistic approach to help clients improve their personal and professional lives. Johanna integrates practical problem-solving skills, wellness practices, spirituality, yoga, and mediation in her life coaching process. Johanna’s life coaching process supports and enables clients to overcome challenges, improve personal and professional relationships, and transform their lives. Johanna believes that improving one’s mind, body, and spirt connections is necessary to move along one’s healing journey in the life coaching process.

Johanna Lamm focuses her life coaching practice on helping women find balance, use their voice, and take up space. Johanna’s life coaching process encourages clients to identify issues and obstacles in their daily lives, provides a framework for clients to discover options for addressing those issues and obstacles, and offers support and motivation for clients to accomplish their goals.

Johanna Lamm was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and she has lived in Minnesota her whole life. Johanna earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hamline University and her doctorate degree in psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. Johanna uses her clinical knowledge and past working experience as a foundation for her life coaching work and life coaching process.

Johanna Lamm is an avid reader, and she enjoys opportunities to attend concerts, plays, and musicals and opportunities to travel with her family. Johanna Lamm is passionate about human rights and social justice issues, and she volunteers with several charitable organizations including Humanize My Hoodie and Her Purpose.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

I started working as a life coach after a long career as a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma. As I focused more on the benefits of improving one’s mind, body, and spirit connections, I broadened my professional training to include an advanced yoga teacher certification, a wellness coaching certification, a spiritual coaching certification, and a life coaching certification. This training led me to a new, more holistic approach to working with clients, so I started a new life, wellness, and spiritual coaching business to focus on working with women using a body, mind, and spirit approach.

While I enjoyed my work as a psychologist, there were some things that I wanted to shift away from. For example, I wanted to focus on positive growth and individuals’ strengths instead of pathology and labels, which psychology and insurance companies force practitioners to do. With my new life coaching business, I am able to blend meditation, yoga, and wellness practices with the more traditional life coaching approaches to improving personal and professional lives. My life coaching business also enables me to set my own agenda in terms of how long I work with clients rather than being limited by what health insurance companies will pay for.

How do you make money?

My life coaching clients pay me directly at the time of service. When I was working as a psychologist, I was credentialed with multiple insurance companies, which required constant paperwork, authorizations, limitations on the length of meetings, and limitations on the number of meetings.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

My life coaching business was profitable immediately, since I have low overhead costs by working from home and meeting with clients by videoconference. I have been fortunate to have many wonderful referrals from existing life coaching clients, and I also have an excellent source of life coaching client referrals from other professionals.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I had some nervous energy as I started my own life coaching business with a more holistic approach focusing on mind, body, and spirit. But, my leap of faith was rewarded by the positive and grateful feedback from my early life coaching clients. I have a passion for working with women to accomplish their goals and realize their full potential. I also have an insatiable curiosity about people, and a genuine compassion and desire to help clients. My drive and my dedication to my life coaching clients translated into an incredibly successful new life coaching business.

How did you get your first customer?

My first customer at my new life coaching business was a friend of a former client that I worked with in my prior professional practice. That first client referred another client to me, and it didn’t take long to have a full schedule of client meetings!

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Primarily, I meet new life coaching clients through personal referrals from existing or former clients. I also receive referrals of new clients from other professionals. I am a member of the International Coaching Federation, which I recommend because they have resources that potential clients can use to find a credentialed life coach in their area. I also do some advertising on websites that connect potential clients to life coaches.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision that I had to make in the last few months is where to allocate my time. I dedicated a significant amount of time to start my new life coaching business, and I also prioritize time for volunteering with Humanize My Hoodie, an anti-racism organization, and Her Purpose, a non-profit whose mission is to help young women who are disadvantaged find resources to achieve their goals. Along with those responsibilities, I make time for my personal yoga practice, family and friends, reading, continuing education for my life coaching and yoga teaching, and other interests. I struggle to fit in time to write, both poetry and in a memoir that I have been working on for over ten years.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

What makes me successful is my genuine care and compassion for my life coaching clients. My clients can sense the passion that I have for the work and the pleasure I get from joining them on their healing journey. I am very enthusiastic and demonstrative. I also am very knowledgeable and skilled at the life coaching, wellness, and spirituality work that I do. I have invested an incredible amount of time and money on my education, and that has definitely paid off for my life coaching business. Beyond the book knowledge, however, my most salient knowledge comes from personal experience in the trenches, as in, my own personal struggles growing up in an alcoholic home and then dealing with anorexia on and off growing up and into adulthood. Through my own suffering, I came to understand the reasons why people do certain behaviors—not because they are crazy, but because they are doing the best they can to adapt to circumstances that are intolerable or emotions that are unmanageable. My favorite and most impactful mentor said, “There’s no mental illness, there’s just trauma.” And I agree! Addictive and self-destructive behavior starts out as a way to deal with unmanageable pain. It works. Only after time does it become a problem itself.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

One of the most satisfying moments in my business has been watching my clients grow and make progress. One example is a client who was able to get out of an abusive relationship she had been trapped in for over ten years. There are a multitude of reasons why a woman stays in an abusive relationship, and it is not, by any means, because she is stupid or weak. It is hugely difficult to ever get out of an abusive relationship. This woman slowly built up her courage and her belief in herself and in her worth. With a careful safety plan, she was able to leave that abusive relationship and start a new life.

Sometimes things happen in life coaching meetings that you would not necessarily expect to be satisfying, but it stays with you and is incredibly impactful. For example, one of my regular life coaching clients was grieving and she just needed to cry. My meeting with her that day was a safe place for her to cry for about forty-five minutes. I witnessed her pain and really saw her in her vulnerability, without judgment, and with genuine compassion and empathy. It was one of the most powerfully healing sessions I have had with a life coaching client, even though very few words were spoken.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I am excited to offer workshops at my life coaching business on topics such as body image, communications skills in relationships, healing from trauma, eating disorders, boundaries, learning self-love, etc. There are so many women who need information and support, and I look forward to being able to disseminate important messages to many women at the same time, as well as having break-out groups so they can connect and bond with one another. I also am looking forward to collaborating with other women and organizations on projects and joint endeavors.

What business books have inspired you?

I am not necessarily into reading business books. However, I do read a lot of motivational books related to self-study and Eastern thought. One of my favorites is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “Full Catastrophe Living,” which details the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Mindfulness is very much a part of my work with clients. I love Bessel Van der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score,” which describes in detail how trauma is stored in the body and affects perception, memory, the limbic system, etc. The book explains how to use the body in treating trauma. Another book that has influenced me is “My Grandmother’s Hands,” by Resmaa Menakem. This book deals with racial trauma and provides creative ways to heal, including movement rituals and exercises—it’s brilliant.

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

I am a voracious reader, and I think books are probably the most important and valuable investment. I purchased books by the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron and other philosophers and spiritual leaders for inspiration and perspective, which informs my work. I make a point of reading books by BIPOC authors to educate myself and increase my understanding of different points of view. My favorite book is “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker (1973), which is a complex book theorizing that, as humans, our knowledge of our own mortality is so anxiety-inducing that we create layers of denial, which in turn create illusions of immortality, which can become pathological and explain many psychological ailments. It’s absolutely fascinating.

I have also purchased several training courses recently, including two yoga courses, one on teaching Ritual Guidance Yoga, which includes incorporating chakras, crystals, the elements, astrology, etc., and one on Tantra Yoga. Tantra means “to weave,” and the practice is about reaching spiritual enlightenment through connecting with your energy. I also am finishing a course on teaching Pilates and being a Yoga Life Coach.

One (or more) questions of your choice. (Ask and answer yourself).

What would you do for work if you weren’t a life coach and yoga teacher?

I would likely be a teacher or professor. My mother started as a special education teacher and was actually at the same Junior High that I attended, which was great because everyone loved her. Eventually, she earned her Doctorate in Education and was a Principal at a Middle School. She also taught graduate school classes. I admired her hard work and saw the dedication and enormous amount of work that goes into teaching. I enjoy supervising and mentoring other professionals in the past, so I know that I also would love teaching.

What is one of your best memories?

I was fortunate enough to travel to Hawaii on a vacation, and I have two lovely memories from my vacation there. First, I had the opportunity to go on a four-hour zip-line tour at a farm. I thought it was very intense and also fun! At various stops, we were given water and snacks, like apple bananas, and fresh nuts. The second thing I recals from that trip is attending a yoga class outside, taught in Japanese, while flower petals rained down on me from the tree above. Pure bliss!

If you could have five living people to dinner, who would you invite?

I would invite Madonna, my hero since childhood for her talent and attitude, Barack Obama, Pema Chodron, Jon Stewart, and Colin Kaepernick.

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