How To Start A Nutrition Private Practice

Read advice for starting a nutrition private practice from six dietitians, and find more resources for starting a wellness business on Healthie.

On the Healthie Blog, we have covered many topics pertinent to launching a private practice. From how to find your office space, to which forms you need in place, we’ve shared many resources to help nutrition professionals get their businesses off the ground.  Today, we’ve decided to compile advice for beginning your own practice from some prominent registered dietitians and wellness entrepreneurs. These seasoned professionals have plenty of pro tips and resources that can get you started in no time.

Launching Your Private Practice: Getting Started

One thing nearly all the registered dietitians said was to find a mentor. Experienced mentors can help coach you through some of the bigger challenges of launching a wellness business, such as: narrowing down your niche, pricing your services, marketing your business and building a business plan.

“Two other local private practice dietitians guided me through the process of starting my private practice, from helping me set up the business and the process of insurance credentialing. They could have easily declined my questions for fear of competition. I am forever grateful for their willingness to help.”

– Leslie Edmunds, MPH, RDN, CDE, CLT

Another tip for starting your dietetic career is to network with other members of the community. Some of your best referral sources may come from people that you least expect. It’s easy to assume that doctors will be the only professionals that will refer clients, but most often it is other wellness professionals: psychologists, therapists, physical therapists and more. Focus on who your ideal client it, and what other wellness services they can likely benefit from. Network with these professionals and showcase how your nutritional counseling services can complement their approaches.

“Network and connect with dietitians in your area. Be
ing able to bounce ideas, case studies, and operating practices helps to hone your own personal skills as a dietitian while promoting a community of like-minded health professionals.”

– Zach Breeding, MS, LDN, RDN

When you’re starting out, try to learn as much as you can. Read the materials in the “Library.” The Academy is planning additional, exciting nutrition technology initiatives. Look for them at FNCE, online, and in publications. Attend local and national digital health conferences. Write and speak at conferences and with consumer and regulatory groups when you can. Be inquisitive, be leaders, and support and inspire others. This is a career-long process.

“Be a sponge. Read everything you can get your hands on about digital health, take a nutrition tech course, download a few health apps, or try a small digital health device. Get in the conversation and join the over 1100 members of the Academy’s Nutrition Informatics Community.

– Catherine Frederico MS, RDN, LDN

In our opinion, the best advice you can get when starting out is to just jump into the field and participate in plenty of activities. There are countless ways to become involved in your local community, and drive nutrition-related initiatives. By putting yourself, and your business, out there, you’ll be building your brand. Tip: as a student or intern, we can give our time away for free in exchange for experience. As an entrepreneur, your time is valuable. Don’t give your work and time away for free — always ask for compensation or a trade in exchange for your work.

“Expose yourself to different nutrition environments. Clinical work gets a lot of press, but the nutrition world is growing, and the opportunities are becoming more varied. Volunteer as much as possible, and determine where you fit best. I know volunteering with so many different places taught me how to work with different types of people and helped me determine what I wanted to pursue.”

– Lauren Minchen RDN, CDN

Launching a wellness business can be overwhelming, and comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs is a common mistake. Always make sure to stay true to your passion and close to your roots. Don’t try to compare your practice to anyone else’s. Your focus, niche and approach are unique to your business. When you have a strong point of view and consistent message to spread, it will make your business all-the-more successful.

“Follow your passion, persevere and pay it forward networking and volunteering with your local and state Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! It will return tenfold.”

– Barbara Baron MS, RD, CDN

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember why you want to start your own wellness business. There are countless people out there who struggle with the food intake or nutrition related illnesses. By launching your own private practice, you are expanding the reach of quality nutritional care. There are people out there that need your support. Through your own nutrition practice, you’ll be able to create services that are truly valuable and effective for your clients. You’ll be able to build a long-term rapport with your clients, and see them make strides towards a healthier life. Although there may be tough days as a business entrepreneur, the work that you do and the guidance that you provide is invaluable. Helping your clients will make it all worth it in the end.

“Go for it! It’s an amazing feeling to help others on your own terms.”

– Dalina Soto MA, RD, LDN

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