How to Start A Nutrition Consulting Business with Brittany Jones
Read about how to start a nutrition consulting business and evolve your practice with Brittany Jones, owner of Blush Nutrition.
We are excited to share a new private practice success story in our Provider Stories series. Meet Brittany Jones, MS, RD,LD owner of Blush Nutrition, located in South Carolina. We spoke to Brittany about how she balances growing her practice part-time, how she channels an entrepreneur mindset, and gets involved in her community. We think you’ll love learning about this rockstar dietitian entrepreneur as much as we did!
Tell us about yourself and what influenced your decision to become a dietitian.
Brittany: I started college in the physical therapy (DPT) program at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. I loved health, wellness, and exercising in high school, so I thought it would be the perfect profession for me. However, I wasn’t loving my classes. I went to the career center, did an aptitude test, and it suggested becoming a dietitian.
At the time, I had never heard of dietitians. I loved my cooking class in high school, so I thought it could be perfect for me. Plus, I was also working in a physical therapy office where I felt like I was treating symptoms, rather than the cause. I wanted to work on the prevention side.
After passing my RD exam, I moved to Greenville, South Carolina, for my first job, at Health Diagnostics Laboratory, a start-up advanced lipid testing company. For 4 years, I traveled around South Carolina meeting with physicians whose patients had the advanced lipid testing. I learned so much, both clinically and in terms of counseling patients. While I was working full-time, I was in grad school getting my master’s degree from Boston University remotely.
My next position was at the Pure Barre headquarters, but I wasn’t doing “dietitian” work the way I was formally trained. I was a content marketing and social media manager for a couple of years. Looking back, my marketing experience and knowledge has been a great help for my private practice.
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What influenced your decision to start your own private practice?
Brittany: First and foremost, I wanted to get back to counseling and working with individuals 1-on-1.
Also, there aren’t a lot of RD jobs where I live, but I didn’t want to move for work. Opening up my own practice let me design my business the way I wanted. It seemed like the best opportunity for me to do what I wanted.
Plus, I’m not the type of person who can just do 1 thing. Dietetics is such a vast field, so I am able to wear many hats at once and have it all, which I love! That’s also what I love about private practice. I can do administrative work, marketing, coaching, counseling, management, media work, health promotion in the community, and more.
How has the Healthie platform helped your business evolve?
Brittany: Healthie completely changed my practice. I signed up shortly after FNCE because I recognized the need to really grow my business. I love having my charting, intake forms, and scheduling in 1 place.
Plus, there’s no one else in my geographical area who is keeping their clients as accountable with photo food logging the way I can with Healthie. I’ve gotten so many more clients, and they all love the app. Some less tech savvy clients can be resistant, but once they see how easy it is to snap a picture and get feedback from me, they see that it’s game-changing.
It was exciting to recently upgrade my Healthie plan too! I can now securely store my clients’ credit card information in the platform to automatically charge clients monthly. My practice is much more efficient now, which is essential when just starting out.
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What are your two best sources of new clients?
Brittany: Building organic relationships is my top tip to get new clients.
Personally, my best source of referrals is from a local boutique fitness studio, Orangetheory Fitness in Greenville. I was a founding member there with my husband. They do weight loss challenges and have been fully supportive of my practice. When people ask nutrition questions, they just hand people my card, which has translated into a lot of referrals.
My second best source of referrals is from a local medical practice group. I built a great relationship with them and have gotten a lot of referrals that way.
I am also on Healthprofs, which sends a lot of leads my way, but my conversion rate through Healthprofs is not as high as local referral sources.
Speaking of conversion rates, what stats do you track for your business and why?
Brittany: My husband is extremely data-driven, which is very helpful for me as a business owner. I started looking into various statistics so I could determine when I would be able to leave my part-time jobs and pursue my private practice full time, if I wanted to. Conversion rates are easy for me to track because I have a background in franchising [from Pure Barre corporate].
How did your mindset shift from dietitian to business owner in order to grow your business?
Brittany: I think I’ve always had a business mindset in addition to my dietitian brain. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My dad is a CFA and owned his own business for my entire life, so I’ve always heard business terms; plus, my brother owns his own business.
Then, I’ve always worked for startups, so I was already familiar with KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] and setting goals to accomplish. I’m very goal-oriented and love tracking goals and the numbers. And it helps that I’m interested in it. Not that I love the administrative work that comes with owning your own business, but I’ve saved so much time using Healthie. It’s really rewarding to set new goals for myself to keep learning and growing.
What advice did you receive from other entrepreneurs?
Brittany: I grew up learning about entrepreneurship from experiencing it in my own family. I saw that you can have a flexible schedule, which is great for a family, but you also have to figure out how to structure your schedule and plan time off. That’s why I love monthly counseling packages: they cover vacations!
My dad also encourages me to know my finances. You need to establish your budget, know your numbers, and assume 50% is going to taxes and overhead (to be safe).
Do you offer free initial consultations?
Brittany: Yes, I offer 15-20 minute initial calls, and I try to keep it to 15 minutes. Recently, I’ve had really driven people, so they already know they’re going to sign up when we have our initial call. It’s been really effective.
On the other hand, when I’ve had clients who are on the fence, the initial calls can be a little longer. Overall, I think it’s a great tactic for those just starting out.
Do you post prices on your website?
Brittany: I don’t post prices on my website, so the 1st time that clients hear my prices is in our initial call. I provide special pricing to my partners (the fitness studio and physician’s office), so clients sometimes know they have special pricing.
I kept my prices quite low, as I am just building my business. However, I tried to understand what’s fair and what people would be willing to pay, while keeping my hourly rate in mind. While I don’t accept insurance because insurance reimbursement in South Carolina is less than ideal, I try to make sure my services are affordable and work with a client’s budget if this is something they really want to do.
Given your practice name (Blush Nutrition) and your social media focus, how did you determine your focus?
Brittany: I started out working with brides and disease prevention. My practice keeps evolving, which is why I haven’t written a mission statement yet. Up until this week, my practice was 100% women. Then, in 1 day, I signed up my first 2 men within a day of each other.
I didn’t enter the wedding space to help women fit into their dresses, but I kept hearing people say after the wedding is “when it all fell apart.” So, I like teaching healthy habits at a young age, so couples can start their lives together in a healthy way. Very quickly, my brides came to me for help with fertility or postpartum, but I also have premenopausal clients, and few from MDs who are diabetes-focused.
I do like being niche in my marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take on a wide variety of clients (if you have the proper training). I find that wedding material performs really well on social media, regardless if a prospective client is getting married. It’s been a great way to connect with other wedding vendors, anyone with a daughter who’s getting married, etc. Plus, weddings are a positive thing, so I love being a part of a happy occasion.
Thank you Brittany for sharing your valuable insight about starting and growing a private practice! We can’t wait to see what the year (and beyond) has in store for you! You can learn more about Brittany on her website and connect with her on Instagram.
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