We are excited to share a brand new interview with you in our Practitioner Stories series. Meet Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD, CEDRD-S, CEO, and founder of iLiveWell Nutrition and iLiveWell Business Academy. Here, Adrien shares her best marketing advice for nutrition entrepreneurs and more!
Healthie: Tell us about yourself and what influenced your decision to become a dietitian.
Adrien: I grew up in Houston, Texas, and was a dancer. However, I broke my foot and found out that I needed a back-up career. My mom’s a nurse, and I saw how much she helped people, and I knew I wanted to help people too.
So, I went to the University of Illinois in Chicago for an amazing coordinated dietetic program. Before I officially became an RD, I had a job in a hospital, was personal training on the side working with athletes, and figured out that that’s exactly what I wanted to do. So I started my business and was seeing clients on the side here and there. I didn’t fully know what I was doing.
Eventually, I moved back to Texas, started working at a small hospital, continued my private practice, and started to take things seriously. I was helping with an eating disorder program where many clients needed an outpatient dietitian. I sort of fell into eating disorders as my niche, but when that happened, my private practice really took off. I got an office and started to build up my clientele.
The moment things really started to fall into place, though, was when I took networking seriously. At first, I didn’t understand the relationship, but eventually it clicked: that’s what marketing really is!
I continued to build my practice, and eventually it became too much for just me, which was when I hired other dietitians.
Ten years later, I still have my office, but I rarely see clients anymore. Over time, I received a lot of questions about building a private practice, and I realized that’s what people wanted to know more about. I created an online course to help other dietitians build their practices.
In 2018, hopefully, I will start my podcast to help even more RDs have the confidence to know they can make over 6 figures, and do it easily. When we have more RDs in private practice who know how to get clients, the world will be a better and healthier place.
Healthie: What is 1 thing that surprised you when running your own practice?
Adrien: Marketing is everything! It’s the hardest thing to keep up with and was the biggest surprise. And making peace with it. Even if you’re not an extrovert, there’s a lot of ways to market as an introvert and really finding what fits for you, your personality, and what feels good.
Healthie: What is the iLiveWell Business Academy, and how did you develop it?
Adrien: My goal is to develop the iLiveWell Business Academy into an online training course with videos, handouts, trainings, and tools covering everything from setting up your business legally to marketing resources. I want it to be a one-stop shop, with a supportive community, to create a sort of MBA for nutrition practitioners.
Over time, I would love to have an in-person conference or meeting annually, but that’s down the line. I have a mindset of abundance and there are more than enough patients to go around, but more practitioners need to know how to reach them.
Healthie: It’s so amazing that you’re offering this course virtually! How do you think technology is changing the field of nutrition?
Adrien: Technology allows us to become more accessible, which is awesome. RDs are these magical little unicorns that no one gets to talk to because we’re so few and far between, but by adding in technology, we can become more accessible and not super scary food police. We can help clients make changes and have that accountability that they need – with real-time access.
Healthie: In your experience, what is the biggest obstacle nutrition entrepreneurs in private practice face?
Adrien: Getting clients and holding on to them. Then getting more clients… and more clients!
I think the one thing that private practice dietitians need to learn is marketing to get clients. That’s how your business runs!
It takes a mindset shift: first, ask yourself “How am I going to market today?” Second, figure out which clients you are seeing that day. And this is still something I struggle with, but that’s how your business continues to run.
Once you find the ways you get referrals, then you must nurture those relationships like nobody’s business! In hindsight, I see that while growing my business I was able to identify this and then take the time to nurture those relationships. Now, it’s part of my daily or weekly routine. No one is saying that it’s easy, though. It’s hard!
Healthie: What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had told you before you started your business?
Adrien: So many things! I wish somebody would’ve told me that you may want to table flip and leave every single day! You will experience so many emotions on a daily basis.
My father is an entrepreneur, so I was very fortunate to always have a back up phone call when I had a question about running a business, but I think others should find a coach, mentor, or other entrepreneur [not necessarily a dietitian], that knows business. If you cannot afford a business coach, find a Facebook group or support team [like Healthie’s Mastermind Group], and immerse yourself in it. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions and ask for help!
A second piece of advice: walk into every situation with an abundance mindset. If there are other dietitians in your area, go and become their best friends. The more you support each other, that’s when you’re going to see growth. Find friendships on an entrepreneurial level. There’s more than enough clients for all of us!
Join us on Tuesday February 20 @ 7pm EST for a FREE webinar: Fearless Marketing. Register here.