As I sat down to write out my thoughts and reflections on the past year as a dietitian business owner, I noticed one core theme: nurturing!
I’ve been focusing a lot on nurturing my business, my clients, my employees, myself and my family.
I re-read my post about my second full-time year in business and thought, “Wow, I did so much last year. I didn’t accomplish nearly as much this year.” And I paused. Because that kind of thinking does not align with my values or intentions as a business owner. And I did accomplish a lot, it was just different.
The truth is I don’t agree with the goal of never-ending growth that capitalism drives. And yet, I catch myself falling prey to that pressure regularly.
If there is one thing you take away from this, I hope it’s that you see that it’s normal, I’d even say necessary, to go through phases of growth and then phases that are slower. In my dietitian business group, we often refer to three key phases of business: growing, scaling and coasting.
What’s cool is you can be growing, scaling and coasting all at the same time, in different areas of business (and life!). And I truly did that this past year, in more ways than one!
Nurturing my Business
I mentioned my dietitian business group above and I don’t know where I’d be without them! Especially while running a virtual practice, it is so nice to have an engaging and helpful group of fellow dietitian business owners to turn to!
I’ve been in this program for years now and the money I pay in membership fees is some of the best money I spend on my business. I get education, business coaching, clinical supervision, peer support and community. I couldn’t imagine flying totally solo.
I’m constantly refining my business processes and organization. It’s far from perfect and I am always learning, but it feels good to dedicate time and energy to working on my business and not just in my business!
Nurturing my Associate Dietitian
I am so incredibly lucky to have my associate dietitian Jessica on my team! I couldn’t ask for a better dietitian to have by my side. She is someone I value and learn from, and I trust her completely with my business brand and clients! And that’s saying a lot for someone whose name is literally their business!
We meet regularly and discuss not only client cases, but continuing education and conferences we’re learning from, as well as how we can continue to make this business as inclusive and supportive as possible.
And, Jessica has been running support groups which have been a wonderful addition to our one-on-one nutrition counseling services. She is a skilled eating disorders dietitian and her clients and support group members love working with her! She even writes some blog posts!
While the hiring process was not fun, it was totally worth it. Jessica has been with me for over a year now and she is the best investment I’ve ever made in business!
The only drawback is that we live across the country from each other and I so desperately wish we could have in-person lunch meetings and coffee dates!
Nurturing my Clients
Since having my associate dietitian on board, it’s been so lovely to send new nutrition counseling clients her way and focus on my existing and long-term clients. Sure, I’ve taken on a new client here and there, but I also have been seeing some of the same folks for years. And there is something so special about getting to work with someone over time, supporting them through various seasons and witnessing their growth.
And because I’ve had fewer clients coming in and going out, I’ve gotten to dedicate plenty of clinical supervision time to really dig into cases.
I’ve also been able to nurture my professional mentoring clients. I take on a handful of these clients a year and it’s a really fun way for me to share my knowledge and experience as a dietitian business owner while helping dietetics students, interns and newer RDs!
Nurturing my Students
I launched the Anti-Diet Vegan Nutrition Online Course last year and have had the pleasure of teaching students from all around the world!
While the course is pre-recorded, I occasionally offer fun real-time bonuses like getting personal access to me to get your burning nutrition questions answered!
I’m super passionate about helping folks pursue vegan eating in a non-restrictive way which is why this course is so important to me and why I didn’t immediately move on to something else.
There is nothing else like it out there and I wish that every vegan would join so they can feel confident about meeting their nutrient needs without having to wade through diet culture nonsense!
Nurturing my Contractor
I have a virtual helper in my business whom I love working with! She started with me a couple years ago as a student volunteer and she did so well and showed such interest in the business that I offered her paid project work!
She’s currently working through her dietetic internship and it’s been fun hearing about her journey and mentoring her along the way!
Her main project in my business is running my Pinterest, which has been a huge help! She also helped create transcripts for my online course and does some other behind-the-scenes work.
One key part of running a business is identifying what you can delegate to others. This has honestly been really difficult for me and I still do so much in my business, but having someone at least taking care of Pinterest has been wonderful. Training (both initial and ongoing) is a time investment but it really pays off!
Nurturing my Body
About a year ago I got pregnant! Growing a human is a huge lesson in slowing down and nurturing. Especially during the first and third trimesters when fatigue is so intense.
Rather than filling every little space in my day with work like I usually did, I would fill a few minutes between sessions with a quick lie-down on the couch. I was so tired I didn’t even feel like I had a choice!
I wish I didn’t need the exhaustion of pregnancy to give myself those moments to rest, but I’m glad that I was able to do that.
I also paid extra attention to hydration and nutrition, including making sure I had lots of protein at my meals and snacks, and I was also very diligent about my supplements.
Nurturing my Family
I birthed my first baby a few months ago and am now returning to work after giving myself a maternity leave (yet another reason it’s so nice having an associate RD – the business kept running even though I wasn’t seeing clients!).
Talk about nurturing! Those newborn days are no joke. Brand new humans require around-the-clock care. Which is pretty intense considering you just went through the most depleting experience of your life, you don’t really know what you’re doing, and you’re sleep-deprived!
I’m grateful to be able to exclusively breastfeed my baby and at the same time it’s a ton of work and a lot of pressure to be a human’s sole source of food. Even if my husband gives her a bottle, I still have to pump to make that bottle. There is truly no break!
I could say lots of corny and cliché things about how raw, precious and life-changing new motherhood is, but I’ll spare you that.
Having a baby, which means taking on a new 24/7 job, necessitates efficiency and prioritization like none other. While it can be super stressful to feel like I have zero time to get anything done let alone brush my teeth some days, I also appreciate that it forces me to hone in on what’s most important!
So, what’s next for me as a dietitian business owner?
You might be wondering… What does business after baby look like? Am I going to pull back? Am I going to hire another dietitian? Am I going to create more online courses?
Well I’m definitely not quitting my job! I am back to work a few days a week and I am loving it. I missed my clients and my community! I am lucky to have part-time childcare so that I can truly focus on work on the days that I am working. I am the best mama for my baby when I am taking care of myself and also filling my cup with non-baby things that are fulfilling and important to me.
As for the rest, you’ll just have to follow along and find out! If you aren’t already, be sure to join my community of insiders and be the first to know about news and updates.
Trish Kiel says
Nurturing is THE perfect word to describe you! Congratulations on your 3rd anniversary. Can’t wait to see what comes next!
Thank you so much!
Paige Westley says
Love this! It sounds like a really exciting past few years for you and your business as well as with your family! It’s the little things that add up that can be the biggest help! Having an RD work with you, having child care for a few days, making sure you’re taking care of yourself too! The little things help you become the most successful! You’re crushing it!
Aw thanks so much Paige!