This month’s Success Story, “How I customized the Healthie platform for my private nutrition practice,” features Linzi Cruz, RD, LDN, CLT, 200-RY. All experiences are her own. Linzi has been a wonderful part of the Healthie Community, and we love being a part of her business.
Starting a private nutrition practice can be overwhelming… how did you get started?
My background is a blend between both marketing and communications. I then went back to school to become a registered dietitian. I would say, YES! The statement “overwhelming” cannot be overstated. I have a burning passion to define health and nutrition for those in my community. However, I believe most entrepreneurs would agree: there is no simple route to opening the private nutrition practice of your dreams.
After working in bariatrics for a few years, I personally knew I wanted to open a private nutrition practice. I realized that there was no definitive career path that would provide the level of responsibility I was looking for in my long-term career. Unlike various other professions, the road for becoming a successful dietitian does not necessary happen by climbing a vertical ladder. In fact, I consider it quite the opposite.
I wanted to explore how I could evolve my passion for nutrition counseling beyond an individual basis. I was interested in creating programs for many members of my bariatric community. At the time, I worked as a lead bariatric dietitian. I spent most of my day counseling and supporting the needs of my physicians. Shortly after, I was offered a new opportunity which included more responsibility in other parts of the bariatric process.
I took this role which was initially rewarding. However, I knew that I still didn’t have the opportunities I envisioned for creating a robust nutrition counseling program. In fact, I realized that no matter what job I changed to, there would still be limitations for me as a dietitian working under a physician.
How did you make the ultimate decision to start your own business?
It was at that point I gave light to the idea of opening my own private nutrition practice.
I listed out my competencies, as well as my professional experience, to determine if private nutrition practice was even something I should consider.
There were many late night conversations with close mentors, friends, family and finally inward reflection on what I envisioned my career as a dietitian to look like. I decided to take this path and we became an official entity April 1, 2018.
Why did you decide to become a nutrition entrepreneur?
There was no “spiritual enlightenment moment” that brought me to my decision to become an entrepreneur. However, over the course of my career I knew that my unique energy, motivation and creativity was priming me for a special role. I wanted to build and execute nutrition education in a way that could be easily adopted by many.
Starting my private nutrition practice was a way for me to decide how much time I was going to spend with each client. I could control how much time between sessions that I was accessible. That’s why I sought out a platform like Healthie, I was really inspired.
Did you make any mistakes along the way?
After making the choice to become a nutrition entrepreneur, one of my very next choices was choosing the Healthie platform. However, with limited knowledge of telehealth platforms, I thought I would try a competitor platform instead. Before I knew it, I realized my mistake and immediately switched back to Healthie. That’s the funny thing though, in all of this process, make sure you leave your ego outside because you are GOING to mess up. There are blatant mistakes that you can’t be afraid to make or be embarrassed about.
Chances are, as nutrition entrepreneurs, we’ve all been in the same boat. Don’t pressure yourself to follow through for your ego’s sake. It’s valuable time, energy and sometimes money that even one day of guilty obligation can rob you of. I think we simply can’t afford that in life.
What were the most important criteria for you in choosing a telehealth platform?
I needed a telehealth platform where I could start off with a single visit structure, and evolve into classes. I was looking for video resources that I could use to create virtual classes my clients could watch and interact with completely autonomously. Healthie was the easiest platform for creating my own pre-recorded self-taught courses. It takes time initially to create a webinar, but it’s a great way for dietitians to earn ongoing income.
In addition, I needed a way to communicate with clients. Specifically, a way that I could be compensated for depending on the feature capability. An example of this is the ‘private unlimited messaging’ feature that can be priced more exclusively than for clients that opt to omit that feature in their plan. I believe this gives the provider the compensation that is appropriate for the amount of work they are committing to the client. Additional services like this, also allows the client to choose a pricing tier that works for their budget and lifestyle.
What are your favorite features on Healthie?
One of the many features I loved about Healthie, is the opportunity to expand your nutrition business based on how you grow as a practitioner. When exploring the platform, I realized building the structure would not limit my nutrition practice. In fact, I’ve been able to expand my business with limited structural changes to my EHR system. Thanks to Healthie for all the internal organization or I would have spent a lot more time backtracking than building new!
The Healthie feature I really enjoy, is the unlimited ways to use templates and forms. I’m able to facilitate goal setting, accountability and evaluate my clients’ progress at every step of their journey. I wasn’t interested in commonly resourcing basic anthropometric data to determine the client’s success. Instead, I have built tracking forms that may not even include a single piece of anthropometric data.
How has the platform helped improve your clients’ success?
Thanks to the customizations, I am able to focus on the clients’ perspective of their progress. I have heard from clients how incredibly encouraging, empowering and positively affirming this is. Compared to any traditional weight tracking program, Healthie allows me to celebrate the real successes of my clients. I think as a dietitian, it doesn’t get more rewarding than that!
It’s nice to be the dietitian in our clients’ pocket, but then Healthie is the business dietitian in my pocket.
We were thrilled to catch up with Linzi at the 2018 FNCE conference. Check out the full interview!
Linzi Cruz, RD, LDN, CLT, 200-RYT is a dietitian and registered yoga therapist based out of Texas who offers 100% virtual nutrition counseling. Linzi decided to open her own private nutrition practice the Whole Cruzine after moving to Austin, TX with her husband Jay and pursue her dream to counsel patients all over the country. She values real food nutrition with a heavy focus on managing hunger, making a plan, setting goals and staying accountable. Her practice specializes in post-bariatric surgery weight loss management, diabetes, IBS, inflammatory diseases and weight management. Her passion for building excellent patient/provider relationships and teaching nutrition in a realistic, step-by-step manner is unique and clients commonly leave stating her counseling skills are the best they have ever encountered.