You may be proficient in medical nutrition therapy, have years of clinical experience and know the best ways to help clients manage chronic diseases through diet, but taking the jump into private practice can be one of the scariest (and most exciting) moments of your career. If you’re ready to take the leap, but find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, unsure of what to do next, you’re not alone.
When it comes to business and entrepreneurship, many nutrition professionals don’t know where to start. After all, you take years of nutritional science courses, not business management or accounting. If you’re thinking, “How do I find clients?” “How do I market myself?” “Who do I partner with?” “Should I be using social media?” “How am I going to do this?” …you’re not alone.
Fortunately, here at Healthie we want to help you launch and grow a successful private practice, which is why we provide you with the tools you need. We work with thousands of healthcare providers and know what works!
Instead of just dreaming of opening your doors one day, put your dreams into action…starting today!
Here are 5 ways nutritionists actually build a private practice…
Keep the big picture in mind
Although there are some small things that you need to get done before opening up your practice doors (you can read about those here), remember not to sweat the small stuff. You’re launching your business (!!), so take a step back and think globally instead of fixating on the details. Your logo, practice name, business card design and website can evolve over time, just as your practice does.
We know how scary it can be to step into unknown territory, but the more confident you are in yourself, the further you will go. While attracting new clients through marketing, it is especially important for you to exude confidence. No one wants to see a dietitian that only seem 99% confident about what they do–they want 100%! As a sole practitioner, you are your business when you start out, so never doubt yourself and know that you have all the skills and strengths needed to make your private practice dreams a reality (and we’re here to help too!).
Find your niche
Although it may seem more difficult to expand your client base if your scope of practice is limited, but by focusing on a specific nutrition niche, you may actually be able to grow your practice. Determine your target audience early on, and build off of this foundation. Maybe you spent several years working in an outpatient weight management clinic, or working for a sports team. Whatever it may be, being knowledgeable about your niche will help focus your marketing efforts, help you set goals, create your intake flow and handouts for your clientele.
If you don’t have a specific area of nutrition you wish to practice in, think about where your passions, interests and strengths intersect; this is where you’ll find your niche. Then think about the best way to approach your niche. What are they influenced by? What are their needs? What are their goals? As you continue to ask yourself and answer these questions, you will create a master plan as to how you can further market to your target audience.
Utilize your inner circle
Starting out with family members and friends as your very first clients is a great way to dive right into private practice without much pressure. These people are closest to you and can provide constructive feedback as you develop your skills and assess the current strengths and weaknesses of your practice. But just because you may know these individuals for years, treat them as if they were brand new clients!
Reaching out to your family and friends is also a great place to acquire new clients. Everyone knows someone who could benefit from nutrition counseling services (how many times have you been asked for free advice?). Get the word out to your inner circle and you’ll start to fill your schedule quickly! If you’re looking for a template letter to send family and friends, we’re happy to provide you with a template, just reach out!
This step often gets overlooked by those getting started, but it’s one of the most important! Local exposure will provide a solid foundation needed to achieve your bigger goals in the future. Stop by local gyms, doctors offices, farmers markets, grocery stores, and community centers to introduce yourself and explain that you are a nutritionist, available for those seeking nutritional care. Ask if you can leave a few business cards and/or brochures behind for anyone who may be a good fit.
Building a business can be a stressful process, but you have the tools you need to make it out on top (trust us, we’re here for you!). Our mission is to empower nutrition professionals with the specific tools they need to see patients and manage their careers. Creating your Healthie account allows you to set up intake forms, charting templates, set your schedule, and integrate with your website — all right at your fingertips. The platform helps you manage your business, giving you more time to focus on marketing and client acquisition — the key to growing your practice — as well as extraordinary client care. The first 5 clients are always the hardest, so stay calm and work hard, and we guarantee you’ll be on track for success!
Want to learn more ways to grow your practice? Download our free private practice essentials ebook: