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Online business owners tell all: 6 nutrition business owners share behind the scenes of what's it's like to start, grow or choose nutrition as a second career

IMAGE of people featured in episode with teal text that reads Online business owners tell all : 6 nutrition business owners, share the behind the scenes of what it is like to start, grow, or choose nutrition as a second career.

I'm taking you on a girls trip with me this week to MN, where I got together with 5 colleagues for a get away, decompress, end of summer business trip.

Business is our lives so we were talking about the things behind the scenes, especially since some of us were newer acquaintances and I forced us to come to the table and spill the tea on what we've learned about being online business owners.

We covered:

How we started and got to where we are now
Advice to early business owners
Discussing whether you should niche or help everyone
Mentorship and coaching
Things you didn't know you'd have to talk to clients about before you got into business.
Coming to the table are long term and new business owners as well as two teachers that took a second career in nutrition:

Kaely McDevitt, MS, RD of and Leveraging Labs practitioner program
Robyn Johnson, MS, RD of, Rayvi Shop electrolyte drinks, and Functional Nutrition Practitioner Institute
Emily Field, MS, RD of and Macros Made Easy
Christa Biegler, RD of and Food Sensitivity Solutions program and host of The Less Stressed Life podcast
Emily Morris, MS, RD working with
Maria Sylvester Terry, RD of Maria Terry Nutrition and @vitamin_ri
Kristin Vondenstein work with Macros Made Easy and


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Christa (00:00):
Hey, happy labor day. This is part two of me taking you on a girl's trip with me, the fun kind, a business trip where my one friend, Emily planned this invited the people. And we were chit chatting about behind the scenes things in business as we do when we get together. And I said, time out, we're gonna go to the table and record this. So the first half is in last week's episode. And we went through and introduced all six women that were at the table. And in this episode, we're gonna get a little bit into coaching, mentorship and things you didn't know you would have to do or talk to your clients about. I hope you enjoy it. And if you need anyone's contact information, it's all in the show notes

Christa (00:44):
Off the note of coaching, all the note of coaching. I think we've all talked about mentorship. Okay. I'm helping people get results, but I'm like working my butt off exhausted. I'm drinking from a fire hose. So I saw mentorship at the right times. I would say, what's your, what's been your secret to success? I sought mentorship at the right times, which helped me climb to the next rung of the ladder. And if I didn't know the answer, I paid someone or I got, I got the answer somewhere or I U I allowed my clients to teach me so many lessons. But what do you guys think about mentorship or coaching or thoughts about picking a coach?

Robin (01:16):
Yeah, Robin here, I would say, be careful with looking for someone that is just gonna have this magic playbook in business that exists because every, like you can do what you want and everyone here has different decisions and routes that they're growing their business. There's no one way. And so when you're hiring a coach, first of all, make sure, like, why is it you wanna hire that specific person? What is it about them that you're wanting to learn? And then you can say no to their advice or pick and choose pieces of what they're maybe suggesting or advice they're giving and use your own intuition to make sure it actually aligns with you. That be my big takeaway.

Maria (01:53):
This is Maria and something Robin said, was it yesterday that coaching gives you the confidence in your own decisions or at least it should. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And we also talked a little bit about how you can get that confidence from many different types of professionals. It might not be a dietician business coach or a fitness business coach. It might come from you're a therapist. It might come from a medical professional, might come from someone that you really trust and look up to. Something that I see with my colleagues that are also just new to private practices, feeling like you can't start without a coach. Like I have, I don't deserve to start private practice without business coach. And there is something about getting the reps, at least knowing what questions do I have at this point. I've collected so much data. So I tell my clients still all the time, we're just collecting neutral data.

Maria (02:38):
It's all neutral. It's not good or bad. So right now, instead of seeing like, oh, I'm really sucking at this, which it is nice to see what you're bad at. It's also nice to say I'm struggling in these areas. And now I know I need a content strategist, or I need a financially focused business coach, or I need somebody who's gonna help me build a program or utilize lives of my practice. And so having the data to even select a coach to me, feels really important in this process and eventually finding someone that's a good fit. Ultimately, I think we're always looking for permission from someone and validation and just jumping into a coach who has the magic formulary, sort of, this is what you need to do. It's five steps to be successful. It might not be the right fit. And that is also okay,

Emily (03:23):
This is Emily Morris. I would just add that. I think your experience is valuable. And I, I'm probably the, one of the people on the table that has never paid for a business coach or any sort of coach in my career life. So you can learn a lot just by failing and doing something and it's not a right fit moving on to something else. And for me, like the mentorship that I've ever received from Krista and Emily and Megan who I used to work for, it was just working for someone and taking advice and asking them questions. And thankfully, those people were all willing to gimme that advice without me paying them. But like that was just experience and ask, asking questions that I didn't know. So it doesn't always have to be someone that you're, that you're paying to give you advice.

Christa (03:59):
So I just wanna like mention that there can be unbalanced energy where someone takes, takes, takes, but does not give back. And Emily's not a take take taker where she like is draining you. She is giving back. And also, as you heard other Emily tell you, she helped point out gaps that she could fill. She made herself very valuable to you. Couple like concepts about coaching would be to your point, Emily, I there's this expression, success leaves clues. We could all agree. There's so many damn emotions wrapped up in business. Unfortunately, the sooner you believe that <laugh> and think you need to sort through that stuff, the faster you might be successful, but I just find models that I admire and think, oh, that's really cool that they can do that. And then also, like on the same point, if someone hasn't done something that you wanna do, be aware of taking advice, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Christa (04:54):
I just got done wasting a lot of money with a coach who is not not who like it was like the wizard of Oz behind the scenes had not built a successful practice, but said that she had charged a lot of money, but gave very little. And so those things exist and it shouldn't make you fearful. Cuz I think sometimes in our space, you know, there's already confidence issues, but check your references as much as you can. And if things look better on the outside than they are, they just might be, you know, that business coach space can be really tricky. So just develop high quality, authentic relationships with people, but don't like empty their cup trying to pick their brain cuz that's not that doesn't really balance out. So even though Emily had a lot of mentorship and like this other Emily, like generously is giving Maria mentorship, there is kind of like a, we would all like to be helpful, but there's kind of a finite time. So just consider how you could be of service, I guess as well. I don't, we don't have some basic premise there, but just kind of throwing that in there. As

Maria (05:53):
Well. Yeah, it seems like this, Maria, it's a very fine line between picking someone's brain. You have no relationship with them. You've established no interest in their work, but you're also get an answer you're out to solve your problem. It feels wrong and you know, it feels wrong and it feels yucky. It feels like for the person on the receiving end of it too. But it does, you know, there's also the line of imposter syndrome and I don't deserve to ask for help because I haven't earned it yet. So I think to that gentle awareness does lead to where you need to go. Otherwise you are sort of taking and taking and taking which Emily certainly does not do. Thank you. Another thing I wanna add for people that might be new in private practice is the idea of connecting with people that are at the same level as you.

Maria (06:38):
And I think that that was something that was so valuable for me when I started, I mean, that's how we, most of us at this table know, know each other. It was like we, a lot of us worked on a project together and that's how we met. But most of my professional connections that entered private practice around the same time were made from being social and social media. It was like a DM like, Hey, I wanted to introduce myself, I love what you're doing. Maybe we can grab zoom, zoom coffee. And like coming up with a group of people is really awesome too, because everybody has their own lens, their own skill set. They're all figuring different things out in their business. And you can like get together and share notes and like level everybody up together instead of viewing all these people as competition.

Maria (07:17):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so the more like social you can be with people in your field. I think the better, I mean, there's so many people that need help. We all have our own unique way of providing that help. Like we are all needed. So that collaboration over competition has always, always done me. Right. Same. Yeah. Emily here. I think I have this group of friends and then I have another circle of dietician friends that we formed an RD mastermind very casually when we realized like, we don't really need business coaching, we just want to talk. And so I talk business and personal, we'd meet once a month and they're still friends. So it's like, and they're doing totally different nutrition than me. They're doing a lot of in-person practice. Not a lot online. Maybe they're more in the fitness space in I and M so yeah, I think you have probably co-mentors in your space right now that you could leverage just to share notes and to debrief and to yeah. I mean, how many times have we just jumped on? Like, here's my practice better. Here's what it looks like behind the scenes or I've taught people how to do systems in Asana, like project management tools and stuff like that. So you definitely have co-mentors in your circle right now that you could connect with

Christa (08:23):
There's enough clients for everybody be allies. And if someone's got really negative energy and has a total baloney BCH, then maybe just like, just like move on and find like some <laugh> just find nice people. There's nice people. Nice, nice people. I have one last question. Which is,

Maria (08:42):
I was gonna say we need mark it's baloney <laugh> we need,

Christa (08:47):
I was like trying not to cut cuts, but it just didn't work out. So that's girls just bring out the raw version. So

Robin (08:55):
Clear. We've been cussing this entire trip.

Maria (08:58):
You get up this morning. Yeah.

Christa (08:59):
Clean it up. We're very like we're sitting here very properly, UNS showered around the table

Maria (09:04):

Christa (09:06):
So really kind of the, I think the last question is that we were discuss, we were just, you know, it's nice to get together with people in your level, whatever, cuz it's nice to talk about things. And sometimes there's just stuff going on behind the scenes. That's not out on, on the front lines, which is what we were trying to bring some of this up for you. So you can see like what this looks like, but as practitioners or people working in practices of some sort or health businesses, what are some things you didn't know you'd be doing when you went to school or telling your clients later in your career, you were giggling about this yesterday. Emily, you go first and come back to around, oh,

Maria (09:43):
I'm not gonna steal your guys cuz you guys are the mineral people. But I think really early on it was like telling people to eat the Yos. Like I remember that being a very big pillar of my brand early on was like we don't have to limit eggs and maybe you should have yolks more often. Didn't think I would be talking about that. Didn't think I'd be talking about like adding more carbs to someone's plate. I think the general nature of our I don't know, it's tough. Like we had a very low protein, high carb, moderate fat education, I believe, but that has shifted, you guys have gone to school different times than I did. So I think even the messaging has changed over in the last like 10 years. But yes, I would say the yolks piece and probably adding more carbs or eating more in general is something I never thought that I'd be talking to clients about.

Robin (10:31):
Yeah. Robin here. I didn't think. Not only did I not think I'd be telling people to add more salt, but then add salt to your drinking water and take salt pills for some

Maria (10:39):
People <laugh>

Robin (10:40):
So that one's new.

Christa (10:42):
And maybe if someone's wondering, why would you do that Robin? Just in case someone's listening to WTF? Oh

Robin (10:48):
Yeah, because we require sodium and especially people who are on the healthier side, we've just had this messaging of salt being bad for years that you just, when you're eating real food, you can add salt to your diet.

Maria (11:00):
Can I re interject real quick and say that like all of us have found a niche at this point in our career. So there are the general population might not receive all of this. Like the things we're about to say around this table, like eating more, might not apply to everyone in the population and your population, your niche that you're working with might not need to hear that messaging. But we're saying from our, our vantage point and lens right now, I typically need to tell women to eat more. And you need typically yeah. For hormone issues, digestive issues, different things like that. You need to tell women to, or people to eat more salt mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Christa (11:31):
And speaking of our niches, I would just say something that was really hard for me to transition from working in dialysis on a reservation in school nutrition, all of those things that I did before I was in private practice, the, the, one of the challenging mental shifts was that my clients in private practice are very health savvy. Very smart. Many of of them are in healthcare. They're nurses, they're other dieticians they're. And like, that might be the case for you guys in your case, Emily, like they're very health savvy as well. Like fitness is there. Yeah. Like jam, right? So they're very wellness savvy. And so they're kind of coming from messaging of like eat less, do more and it's like burning out adrenals and you know, et cetera, it's just like making you feel like poop, screwing your hormones and, and things. So for even more context, I just wanted to throw that in there. If you're listening to this and you're considering a different thing, like you're probably like our typical client not gonna lie. Like it's, it's mostly like it's like people care who people care. Right? Yeah. So anyway,

Maria (12:28):
Yes. This is Maria. I wrote a quick list because they're just so silly when I think about them. One is fashion. I never thought I would talk so much about fashion and inclusive friends. And you know, what colors are your favorite? It feels good. And why do we always wear black? Like we actually, I feel like there could be a five minutes, five minute moment. In every session we talked about feeling good in your clothes. I never thought I would talk so much about your inner child and your mom nuts. There's a lot of mom talk. We talked a lot about nuts because for whatever reason, nuts really became like the protein player. And although they're not <laugh> as well, that's hard. I also role play with my clients, so I never thought I'd ever be doing that. And that's sort of funny where I pretend to be their doctor or I pretend to be their, their family member or some they're struggling with.

Maria (13:17):
And they try on the words, I don't wanna be weighed today or I'm taking care of my health by working with a dietician. I I'm declining that information today. And I push them a little and challenge them with that. And so we get to act and I never thought I would bring that theatrical element to, I love it. Kay. Here, I think I was most surprised how often I'm telling people to do less telling our clients to do less, like kind of across the board. Like we're gonna do less intense exercise. We're gonna take on less responsibility and less on our to-do list and less concern and stress over the nitty gritty details of nutrition. And this is like in stark contrast <laugh> to where I was in my health journey while I was in school as a dietician where like everything was expertly calculated, everything was like never miss a Monday. My workouts were happening, whether there was sleep before and stress was high and I've drawn a lot of like old versions of me as clients. They're just really stressed to the max and they're doing too much and they're really aware of health and wellness. And they've just created more stress from things that should be adding to their health. So we spend a lot of time just stripping things away and releasing so much control over nutrition and, and lifestyle and really regulating nervous systems. And I did not think that I'd be doing that.

Emily (14:36):
Emily Morris. So I don't do client facing work, but I would say a lot of the work that I do is admin work behind the scenes work. And when you're in school to be a dietician, when I was getting my master's degree, I think you just come in with this mindset of like, I'm just gonna work with clients all day. And like, that's all I'm gonna do. And you forget about all these other things that, that have to happen behind, behind the scenes. And so that's actually a majority of the work that I do and I actually really enjoy it weirdly. I do not very much client stuff and any of the client work that I do is like behind the scenes like writing notes, not ever seeing them directly. So I would say admin work. And that's obviously a part of my job as more of like an admin assistant. But even as the business owner, like you're still gonna have to do some of those non-client facing things, not nutrition related things. That's gonna be a part of anybody's business

Christa (15:18):
For sure. Mm-Hmm

Kristen (15:19):
<Affirmative> probably the most surprising thing has been, this is Kristen. I didn't realize how many questions I would be asking. Like when you think about a coach, you think about like as a client, you think, okay, this one's gonna motivate me to do things. I'm gonna tell me what to do. And it's really not about that. Like you have to be able to answer questions and figure it out on your own. And so as a coach, like, I'm not gonna tell you what to do. We're gonna explore how to go about it your own way. Cuz if you don't know how to figure how to do it yourself, you're always gonna be relying on someone else to tell you what to do. And so that has been the craziest thing, like understanding human behavior and knowing that like my precision nutrition certification really wasn't enough. It was just like a, a kickstart and that like, I, I can't be afraid to learn more and learn more about human behavior. And then like, just because I'm a, not a dietician, I can still buy the textbooks from college and buy learn about human behavior and really dial into that. But that has been mind blowing, like how many questions you should be asking clients instead of just telling 'em what to do. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>,

Christa (16:26):
That's such, there's so much valuable and advice at this table already kind of on kind of on the heels of that. I was really unprepared for like all of the emotions. I was definitely an empath early on and I would absorb client emotions accidentally. I was unprepared for the amount of anxiety and emotions with gut brain health. And I think to your point, like you're just not prepared. That's not what you think. Like there was no one, nothing that prepared you for that in school. And that could be in this business. It could be in any business. It could be that we're women. I don't, I don't really know <laugh> I didn't think that I would be talking about stress as such a cornerstone of like the, the catalyst of what causes everything. I think like everything, some things are just happy accidents as well.

Christa (17:05):
And it like now, even as I transition, I think, I think your provider should always be Robin said this one time online and I never forgot it. You should really always be improving and things don't stay the same. I always kind of things happen in our business and it's like, don't get comfortable with something being, being there. Cuz it may change. This test may disappear. It may not be as useful. Like a fun transition recently has been like, how do we, you know, just make everything more efficient, require less testing require less supplements, require less over time, but create more synergy and more like long term health because you know, it's just, it's just a journey cuz you like continue to evolve with all that stuff. But yeah, all the emotional stuff. I, you have like a background with anything with, with human behavior or working with people in any concept it's gonna help you go farther in any kind of business that works with people now would be the main thing.

Christa (17:57):
Anyone have any other like final thoughts before we kind of wrap up, which this has been a really, I hope, I hope people find this like a super valuable episode and, and window into the, behind the scenes of like six people's consulting and or businesses. Good stuff. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> all, I feel like we a group hug group hug. Yeah. Thank you so much for listening to this and thank you ladies so much for taking time off the couch to come to the table and, and I drink coffee and have this chat before we carry on with our day.

Christa (18:30):
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review. You can either do it in your apple app by going in and searching for the podcast or one other easy way is going to review this stressed life review this stressed life. And I do wanna thank our VIP sponsor Ruba health. That is a lab concierge service. Basically you spend five seconds putting the labs into the cart, either billing your client or billing yourself. And they do the heavy lifting on making sure your client can find a lab draw site doing the requisition forms and then compiling all those labs into one portal. And if you're get thinking about getting into private practice, they have a really elaborate education resource portal in the backend. That's all free. If you have a free account. So head over to Ruba, let 'em know I sent you so they know that the less stress life is a good use of their investment as well. Thanks and have a great week. See you next time.


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