How to Start a Nutrition Business Part I (My Journey to Becoming a RD Entreprenuer)

Hey guys, it’s Kara The Foodie Dietitian.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from nutrition students, interns, fellow dietitians,
colleagues, and you can all meet my cat Constantine. Say hi constantine. He’s just going to chill
with us for this video today. I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from colleagues and
nutrition students about my journey about how I got to where I am today in my career
and how I was able to start up my nutrition business and what it is actually that I do
everyday. That last question is probably a little difficult to answer because I don’t
really have a typical day to day. I just wanted to make this video to answer all those questions
and to say thank you for reaching out to me. I’m honored that you would think of me to
come to for advice on how to build your business. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was
reaching out to the dietitians that I so admired to ask them about their career journeys and
how they got to where they are today. It feels really good to give back and to share with
you the advice that I have now having gone through building up my own business. I’ll
first start by sharing my career journey. How i got to where I am today and where I
started out. I got my bachelors in nutrition at Boston University and then went on to do
my dietetic internship at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge Massachusetts which is a harvard
medical teaching hospital. While i was doing my internship I got really freaked out. I
liked every rotation that I did for like the first six months and I was like how am I ever
going to narrow down what it is that I want to specialize in and what i want to do with
my degree in nutrition. Finally i had a rotation in Long-term care and i was like thank god!
I know I don’t want to do this for a career so it was one thing that i crossed off the
list. But one of my very final rotations in the internship was outpatient counseling and
after i completed my outpatient nutrition counseling rotation i knew exactly what I
wanted to do. I wanted to work with people one on one. Inpatient didn’t seem as appealing
to me the clinical world didn’t seem as appealing. I felt i could make more of a difference working
with people one on one on a long term basis. To really watch their progress and see how
i am able to impact there lives for the better. After my internship, like any nutrition intern
I kind of just applied to any and all jobs available because I needed a job. I needed
to pay my rent. But i ended up interviewing for at the time was my dream job. Like if
i got this job life was going to just be amazing. It was an outpatient counseling job at a weight
management center in down town Boston. Working with a team of dietitians, psychologist, physical
therapist, surgeons, it was primarily bariatric so the clinic was under the department of
surgery. We worked closely with the bariatric surgeons and a large percentage of the patients
we saw were bariatric patients pre-op and post-op. About 20% were there for medical
weight loss. Essentially weight loss without surgery. One of the reasons why it was my
dream job, besides the counseling was because I had an awesome workweek. I had Fridays off
so I worked Monday through Thursday ten hours day and then had a 3 day weekend. How sweet
is that. So i got the job and i was floored and so excited to start my first job as a
dietitian in outpatient counseling which was something i didn’t think i would be able to
do right after my internship. I thought i would have to put in those inpatient years
at a hospital. While i was a nutrition intern I started a blog. At that time my blog was
called peace, love, and food. Some of you may remember it. I started it because i was
seeing some of my fellow nutrition interns and friends starting blogs and i thought that
is so cool. They have there own website, their writing, they’re taking pictures and I was
like I don’t think i can do that because i don’t know, i don’t think it would be as good
and i don’t know if i can write and i really just don’t have the time. I’m a full time
intern, working part-time I dont have the time to start a blog or maintain it. All these
doubts and all these what ifs. When i was an intern I was on the Massachusetts Student
Dietetic Association and was on the promotions committee and we had a student dietetic association
meeting and a local dietitian Janelle Funk who is now a dear friend of mine, gave us
a presentation on how blogging can jump start your career. She was one of the first RD bloggers
out there called Eat Well with Janelle. So i was listening to her speak and there was
one thing she said that changed everything and stuck with me all these years because
it really inspired me to start my blog. It was the kick in the butt that I needed to
get going and she said If you’re on the fence about starting a blog and you think maybe
i’ll wait until later something is over or i’m less busy the blogging world is moving
so fast that if you don’t start right now you’re going to be left behind. And i thought
well, that’s it i gotta do it I don’t want to be left behind. So i started peace, love,
and food. It was more of a personal hobby and not really a professional blog. Just kind
of a way for me to get inspired to get more in the kitchen, cooking meals for myself,
as a starving poor intern and trying new recipes and kind of try my hand at writing. I wasn’t
sure if I was going to enjoy writing so I wanted to give it a try and how it felt to
get those creative juices flowing. Now fast forwarding at tufts, i was still blogging
actively and I was alive on twitter and getting my name out there and because i had those
three day weekends friday was like my designated blog day. I would set up blog posts for the
week and about a little more than halfway through my first year doing outpatient counseling
Igot an email from the dietitian at Chobani Greek Yogurt and she said she wanted to meet,
she liked my blog, she loved what i did, she worked in the downtown Boston area as well
and thought we could grab lunch or coffee. Ididn’t think anything of it I thought you
know just another Dietitian looking to network, thats what we Dietitians like to do. I met
her for lunch one day and got to talking and talk about masters communication program at
Tufts because it was something i was interested in pursuing this nutrition communications
and thought a masters degree could help me to grow in that field and expand my skill
set. She had actually gone through the program, the masters in communication at tufts so we
were talking about that and then the conversation shifted from small talk to like where do you
live, what neighborhoods do you like in Boston, how’s your job to what are your long term
career goals, and would you ever want to work in the food industry and before i knew it
come to find out that Chobani was lookin got expand their dietitian team at Chobani and
they were interested in bringing me on board. So total shock, landed in my lap, i wasn’t
looking for jobs, I hadn’t even been at tufts for a year. I was content in my work. I’m
sure if i had stayed there a couple more years I would have gotten bored and interested in
seeking out a new opportunity. But i hadn’t even been t here a year i wasn’t there yet
in my mind. So i took some time to process and digest and i just had this voice in the
back of my head saying ” you need more clinical experience” “you need to build a solid clinical
foundation before you do anything else”and that’s drilled in our heads as students as
interns and i have to say that frankly, it’s bullshit. You can build a clinical foundation
by doing private practice or opening your own nutrition business. You don’t have to
work inpatient in a hospital if you don’t want to. Ihad this voice in my head that i
needed this clinical experience and I was scared. I think as a dietitian and our personalities
totally stereotyping right now but i think we’re afraid to take risks. I don’t think
we’re inherent risk takers so for myself i was scared to take that risk and go into a
field where i had no experience what so ever. I dabbled in social media on a certain level
but i didn’t have professional marketing experience or communications experience or even education.
I didn’t have my masters degree so i was scared to take that on and i almost didn’t take the
job. The deciding factor for me was in my job at tufts there was no room to grow. It
was clinical dietitian and that was it. There was no moving up the latter there was no growing
within the organization and that where i was going to be, forever, until i left. At chobani
at the time it was really growing company and they were still in that start up mode
and everyone was really passionate and had that start up energy. I just thought, i can
grow there, i can expand my skill set and learn more than just nutrition. I can learn
about business, PR. communications, and marketing and really expand my knowledge and skill set.
So that’s what i did. I left tufts outpatient counseling and went to work at Chobani for
just over two years. My role was health communications manager and i wore a lot of different hats.
My primary role at chobani was health influencers communication and out reach so essentially
very PR heavy and reaching other dietitians and other health professionals to educate
them about chobani and about the health benefits of chobani. To essentially create brand ambassadors
for the brand. Like i said i wore a lot of different hats so i also helped to create
all of there nutrition education handouts for consumers and for health professionals.
I worked to build their website for health professionals and for content to provide on
the website I supported social media with nutrition content. I worked with the product
development team on nutrition insights, I worked with legal on nutrition claims and
I presented and attended all the professional events and trade shows and influencer dinner
and events. The travel was a lot of fun i got to see a lot of cool places. After a while
it was definitely a little exhausting. All in all it was a really great experience and
great to collaborate with all the different teams at chobani. Marketing, sales, innovation,
legal, social, communications, and really just to learn a ton in a short period of time.
In just over two years i learned so much about business, marketing, and communications. And
i grew into my own really. I developed confidence I got better at public speaking, i got better
at writing, and i wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. I made great long
lasting friendships, It was just an amazing experience. After a while I kind of just lost
that passion for what i was doing. I was learning a lot and i was growing but I didn’t feel
like my should was fulfilled or i was doing my life work. It was funny because at the
last FNCE i attended with chobani my boss at the time asked me what would you do if
you weren’t working for chobani? What would be your ideal job? I thought to myself fan
then said it would really just to be doing a lot of different things you know. Blog,
cooked, make recipes, and do food photography, do free lance writing, do speaking engagements,
be a spokesperson, do media work, do it all, see clients! And two weeks later i was laid
off from Chobani and my world turned upside down it was a complete shock. The company
went through some restructuring and unfortunately i was a product of that restructuring. It
was one of those things that was a huge blessing in disguise. Once i got over the shock of
it and stopped crying hysterically Iwas able to redshift my focus and see it as an opportunity
for new beginnings and to really wrap my head around what it is that really is going to
fulfill my should and get passionate again about work and nutrition. So i took some time
off, i took a few months off around the holidays to spend time with family and friends and
to travel i went to thailand and cambodia with two of my girlfriends who were also laid
off and we had the time of our life. Then i came back from my trip and flew myself into
a world wind of job applications.My have to ache, have to accomplish, have to cross off
items on the to-do list personality came through and i just dove head first into applications.
Without having any real direction about where i wanted to go and without doing the hard
work first like what is it that is going to make me happy? Who i am and what i want to
feel and all of those hard questions i was throwing away in the garbage and i was just
doing ya know? Without really taking a step back and being introspective with myself.
That lasted three months and i was getting to the point where i was getting job offers
and declining them and I was like what am i doing? I don’t want these jobs. Despite
what my parents told me which was you’re too young you need to put more time in in the
workforce and learn more about jobs and whatever. Despite all of that advice i got from them
Ijust thought what i really wanted to do and what i was scared to do was to start my own
business. I wanted to pave my own path and take all of those passions that I mentioned
like writing, speaking, and blogging and combine that into one. I finally went on a yoga retreat
after all of my job applications to kind of just get away an get in touch with myself
and figure out what it was what i wanted to do and thats when i got so much clarity and
i disconnected from social media and disconnected from everyones opinions and just spent time
with myself. It was so clear to me that i had to start my own business. I also got really
inspired by yoga again, which has been a huge part of my life forever and it inspired me
to do my yoga teacher training last summer. So i’m now a registered Yoga teacher and instructed
as well which has been so awesome. So that’s kind of how my career has evolved. What’s
happened since i started the business was first thing i wanted to do was to get a website
up so i started working with a designer and developer to build my website adnd in the
meantime try to do some pitching and what not but it wasn’t until the website was up
that i really felt confident to start pitching and reaching out to brands and clients. Right
now my business is comprised of all of those things that i mentioned. I don’t have a typical
day to day bu my work is comprised of communications and marketing, working with like minded food
brands and community boards and organizations commodity boards on nutrition
communications and marketing. Recipe development, again with food brands, commodity boards,
on recipe development and food photography. Speaking at conferences I spoke at a couple
state dietetic conferences this year on food photography. Free lance writing i’m currently
writing for a couple different publications. I’ve written for environmental nutrition,
today. com, eating well magazine, food network healthy eats blog, those are a couple of my
more regular contributions. I’m blogging so i have my new blog called The Foodie Dietitian
and that’s my new brand. I do some sponsored work through the blog for different companies
and organizations. I’m also a Yoga instructor so i teach yoga a couple times a week. Then
i see some private clients too and see them for holistic nutrition and wellness coaching
and also do private yoga sessions as well. In most days i feel as though my head is spinning
and I’m being pulled in a million and one different directions but i wouldn’t have it
any other way. I also do
spokes person work!

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6 thoughts on “How to Start a Nutrition Business Part I (My Journey to Becoming a RD Entreprenuer)

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm a recent grad, so I'm in that place where I feel I need a job to pay off my loans, but I'm still working on my blog and other projects on the side, and I'd like to start seeing my on clients next year. At times, I question whether working so hard on my blog right now is worth it since I don't make an income from it, yet. But after watching your video, I'm really inspired to keep slowly working toward my dream of owning my own business. Thanks!

  2. Hi Kara, Thank you for sharing your insight. I graduated with a Masters in Nutrition two months ago from Northeastern University and have been looking for full time jobs. However, I know what I really want to do is start my own practice online. It was great to hear about your journey!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I am registering to get my MS in Nutrition next year. I have a BS in Business Administration. After getting my degree in Nutrition I plan to open my own practice. I'm glad I stumbled upon your video. 🙂

  4. I'm setting out on my own business now and scared out of my wits. But I'm so excited…I want to be my own boss. I just…getting started is terrifying.

  5. Feeling inspired after watching this 💙 you’re so right! I don’t think the typical RD is a huge risk taker, and I had the message drilled in my head that clinical was somehow “better” or “necessary” before moving on to other things.

    I’m building my YouTube channel and website and hoping to take clients on my own soon ❤️ thanks for spreading your message and story!

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