It was in a classic light bulb moment that I knew I was going to become a nutritionist. I suddenly saw something that had been staring me in the face for the first time, with sparkling new eyes.
My kitchen ..my bookshelf ..the conversations I had ..where I spent my money (ehem, Greenlife!) ..the way I had been parenting for the last 3 years ..the programmes I watched …it was already my life!
Nutrition was so close to home it hadn’t occurred to me to make it into my career.
I still feel incredibly thankful for the moment that set me on this path.. Since then, I have learned A LOT.
So today, for any of you considering a career in nutrition, or any other modality in the realm of health and wellness, I want to share with you five lessons I wish someone (like seriously wished) had passed onto me when I began this journey, which has been equal parts extraordinary and challenging at times.
Here it goes…
1. You might be the biggest nutrition nerd, but if you’re clueless about business, you’re not going to earn a living.
Taking a course to become a nutritionist is a big investment of money, time and energy. But like anything, if it is your passion and your work in the world, it is worth every penny (plus every long night of last minute revision!). And, if you love something, you’re going to be good at it, right?
What I have learnt though, is that it’s not enough. Sorry to burst your bubble!
You can have a brain full of biochemical pathways, memorise all the reference ranges and nutrient dosages in the world, but no clients are going to come to you if they don’t know you exist.
When I first left college I earned around £60 a month… seriously. I quickly realised I had better acquire some business acumen and get myself seen! I was jumping up and down with nutrition advice for all and nobody knew I existed.
Enrolling in Rachel MacDonald’s Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted was the best investment I have made in my business.
It has taught me how to:
- set up, run and monetise my blog
- market myself and attract my ideal clients
- connect with and grow my audience
- open me up to the many ways I can diversify my income
- cultivate the freedom to run my business from any where in the world
I am now – very gratefully – in a much better position (you would hope so, hey!?)
2. You don’t have to be in perfect health to help others.
Imposter syndrome. Yep it’s a real issue, which affects more people than you might realise in all kinds of positions. That feeling of waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and say, “I know you don’t really know what you’re doing. You’re just a little girl pretending to be grown up!” You know the one?
But I think practitioners are especially prone to feeling like a fraud, putting themselves out there when they have health battles of their own.
“Why should anybody trust me if I can’t even sort out my own health?”
If you’ve been having this thought… STOP IT! Just stop it right now! Ok? Good.
Because if every body let this hold them back, there would basically be no therapists or practitioners of ANY kind and nowhere for people to turn for help! Every person on my nutrition course was dealing with some kind of heath issue (lecturers included), and every practitioner I have met since, ditto. That’s how and why we got here!
Actually, it is because you have personal experience of dealing with health problems that people can trust you even more. No body has a better understanding or more compassion and empathy than someone with their own experience. Plus, you have probably been learning long before you even considered studying. Am I right? You know the reality, you feel the frustration, and your commitment to your clients will be unsurpassable. Give yourself some credit. You might still have some issues going on, but you can be sure that if you didn’t have the knowledge that you do now, you would be in a far worse condition. You have a lot to give, believe that.
3. One-to-one clients need only be a proportion of your income. No need to be the burnt-out therapist!
It’s a classic, isn’t it? The therapist or practitioner who sees back-to-back clients for days, weeks and years until they burn-out completely and have nothing left to give…. Sound appealing? Err no, me neither!
That’s one way to go about earning a living as a nutritionist. BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!! Promise.
As much as I love my clients – it’s the real work and is incredibly fulfilling – I do not want one-to-one clients to be the bulk of my income. But what else could I do? I had just spent three years learning how to be a practitioner. It’s all I knew how to do! Well, to cut a long story short, I found blogging. I shared what I felt inspired to share and told myself to remain open to all possibilities. As my blog and readership grew, I began getting approached with all kinds of opportunities to earn money in a variety of nutrition focused ways.
Now, as well as my lovely one-to-one clients, I get paid to write, speak, create recipes, review products, attend events and cater for retreats (one day I’m going to run my own retreats!). When I ask how they found me, the answer is always through my blog.
Having a blog opens up the possibility of creating and selling my own products too (watch this space!) And this is where it get’s really exciting. You do the work once, and sell it multiple times – helloooo passive income!
I honestly think this is a wonderful way to both serve others AND take care of yourself so that you do not burn-out and can continue to do the important client work. Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted taught me how to do this.
4. You will never know it all, and that’s ok!
There is what you know you know.
What you know you don’t know.
And what you don’t know that you don’t know!!
And the ironic thing is that the more your knowledge deepens, the more you realise there is just SO MUCH that you don’t, and won’t ever know. This is the very nature of nutrition. Things are changing alllllll the time. Every day there is new research and there is just no way anyone could possibly keep up with it all. This realisation can be very anxiety provoking when you are studying and signed up to something expecting to learn EVERYTHING. Lesson learnt: You won’t.
But you must trust that what you will know is enough to change lives. Trust in this knowledge. Trust that because you have a strong foundation you will know when there is something you don’t understand and you will know where to look or who to ask to find out.
I have to continually remind myself that what has become second nature or obvious to me, can be a revelation to others, even to those just a few steps behind me.
It is human nature to be always reaching for more. Our attention is often focused on those ahead of us who we admire, so it’s easy to lose sight of how far we have come and forget how much we have to offer.
5. Other nutritional therapists are your friends. Collaboration is the new competition!
A question I often get asked: “Is it possible to get enough clients and earn enough money being a nutritional therapist? Isn’t there a lot a of competition?”
I remember in my third year of study when my nutrition class collectively had the realisation that there was a full and eager class coming up behind us, and a class below that, and every year for the foreseeable future our college and other colleges all over the country would be churning out nutritionists. There was a general feeling deflation and hopelessness.
“How were we ever going to get enough clients to earn a living with such a huge volume of other Nutritional Therapists around?”
– The fear and lack mentality definitely crept in.
Well, it is possible. If you want to be fully booked, you can be, or you can diversify your income as I have. As long as you learn to market yourself effectively! But what I am most relieved to have let go of is the feeling of competition, I don’t feel threatened by others in the health and wellness world. I feel the opposite in fact! I want to work WITH them.
A rising tide lifts all boats – collaboration is the new competition!
Collaboration means we ALL succeed, making beautiful connections and having fun along the way. Being part of a like-minded community of others in similar businesses is such a gift and can really help propel your business. I am so incredibly grateful to have found this in the Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted group, a community of other bloggers in all kinds of business – mostly relating to health, wellbeing and inspired nourished living on some level – so it is the perfect place to find these kinds of exciting and heart warming collaborations.
The course that changed everything
As you can probably tell, I’m a HUGE fan of Rachel MacDonald’s creation (which by the way, is one way she has developed passive income from her coaching business) and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to affiliate with her as she opens the doors for round three. Registration is open until Midday May 27th (AEST), but if you ask me, it is likely to sell out before close because this course will only be run once this year (Rach has a baby on the way!)
The depth of the work that is possible with this course blows my mind a little. You get lifetime access to both the ever-evolving content and the beautiful community of women who come with it, and I know that with each round, I will continue to gain clarity of my message, my direction and how I want to serve, as well as learning the practical ins and outs of blogging and online business. So cool hey!?
If this sparks something with in you, head over to Bright-Eyed and Blog-Hearted where you can check out the details of the course and read some incredible reviews of how it’s transforming lives and businesses all over the world.
You know how I talked about the power of collaboration, well my friend and fellow Blog-Heart Leah Davies from Paper Planes Connect is offering everyone who signs up for the course through me a FREE hour of one-to-one writing coaching. Yes, Leah is a purpose-filled writer, human rights activist and coach to budding wordsmiths. She will tailor the hour you have together to meet your specific needs, which in my opinion, is the best prep work you could ask for as you start your Bright-Eyed and Blog-Hearted journey!
Happy to answer questions and share more insights. Fire them to me at email@example.com