Launch Your Own Nutritionist Practice
Many people aspire to be self-employed and own their own business, and those working in the nutrition field are no exception. Dietitians and nutritionists often open their own private practices which offer nutritional counseling, group classes and workshops, and consultation to businesses and organizations.
As a self-employed nutrition professional you might also work as a freelance writer or health journalist.
There are several steps you will need to take to start your own nutrition practice. These are some general guidelines and suggestions to get you started. When starting your own business it is wise to find an organization within your community which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs. Often housed within colleges and universities or local governments, these groups can offer advice and assistance to help you succeed in your endeavors.
Follow state laws. First you will need to ensure you are qualified and legally able to practice nutrition in your state. Laws differ from state to state, and some require licensure while others require only registration. It is important to undergo the appropriate training and seek the appropriate credentialing to avoid violating any laws and risking prosecution. In addition, you will need to understand and abide rules and regulations related to taxes, liability and other issues that go along with owning your own business.
Determine your location. You might choose to work from home especially if you are a freelance writer. You might also consider creating an office and place for consultation within your home. Renting an office space is another option for nutrition professionals starting their own business.
Create a business plan. Every business needs a plan which will help you succeed. You need to develop performance goals and track your costs and revenue sources to create a sustainable business. This is where local agencies and organizations can help. Many provide services to assist entrepreneurs in developing business plans.
Develop the products and services you plan to offer. Will you provide one-on-one nutrition counseling? Will you offer a weeknight weight loss program to small groups? Maybe you will consult with local businesses on how to improve the nutrition and health of their employees, or write a column for the local newspaper. Consider your options and choose those you want to focus on in the beginning, and then consider those you might expand to once you have a good foundation of regular clientele.
Market your services. You will need to increase your visibility to those who could benefit from your services. There are a variety of ways you can market yourself in the community to increase your clientele. Place ads in local publications, create a logo and business cards, develop a company website advertising your services, and send out monthly newsletters to those who sign up for your services or join your website.
Network as much as possible. Each person you encounter holds the potential for a networking opportunity.
Strike up a conversation with the person behind the coffee counter mentioning what you do, and create relationships with other health professionals, businesses and organizations in your city. These are the people who could potentially send work your way. For example, if the local gym does not have the funding to hire its own nutritionist you might be able to come to a professional agreement to promote each other’s services. In addition, get involved in local health coalitions and task forces, and become a member of small business or entrepreneur groups in your area.