Tip of the Month
Welcome to the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Tip of the Month
I begged my parents for a typewriter on my 9th birthday and spent hours on end hovered over the keyboard, typing out short stories. With upgraded hardware and a few more tools under my belt as a RDN, today I regularly get paid to write.
Many Registered Dietitians are channeling their inner Carrie Bradshaws and authoring their own books, writing for publications and weekly columns, and being featured in major news outlets- without journalism degrees or extra training.
If you want to add writing to your nutrition repertoire, practice these tips to help hone your craft:
Write often. Journaling, blogging, and even posting on social media can be great writing practice. With consistency comes speed, higher quality content, and better flow.
Focus. Choose a time when your brain is fresh and energized. My words and ideas flow best in the morning, but creative energy may come at night for others.
Be conversational. Rigid and overly structured content gets boring so don’t be afraid to sprinkle in playful flavor. Do make sure to use proper grammar and punctuation and don’t go overboard with casual talk.
Take breaks. Prevent writer’s block by taking regular breaks. Research shows our brains only function at maximum capacity for 90 minutes, and it’s often during downtime that inspiration strikes. Be it five minutes or five weeks- books, travel, exercise and exploration recharge us.
Revise. Step away, come back with fresh eyes, and remove all the fluff. Words like ‘really, this, that, some, and very’ are overused and in most cases can be eliminated.
Erin Hendrickson, RDN, LDN
Director of Communications
When I first started in private practice, I felt very alone and scared. Can anyone else relate? My nutrition education really didn't prepare me to be a business owner, and not only that, but I didn't even know running a virtual private practice, freelance writing and blogging was a possibility as a dietitian!
I didn't personally know anyone else who was doing the same thing I was trying to do, so for me, the early days of starting my business looked like doing lots of different random things, and seeing what stuck. As you can imagine, I learned a lot through failure! Which is a good way to learn, but really scary as a new business owner desperately trying to make a living!
When I joined a mastermind group, that's when I stopped feeling so alone. If you haven't heard of a mastermind group, it's a kind of peer-to-peer mentoring group, where people get together to share, brainstorm, and get support. Mine is a group of fellow dietitians who get together to discuss challenging client and business situations.
Here's some tips for mastering the mastermind group:
1. Reach out to dietitians you get along with personally. It makes it so much more fun if you can instill a little laughter into group, and makes it easier to open up. But make sure the group isn't all chit chat. Leave time in the beginning or end to catch up on life before moving on to business.
2. Look for dietitians who are in a similar place in their practice. If you're a new business owner, it doesn't make sense to reach out to someone whose in been in practice for 15 years because that would be more like unpaid mentoring for them!
3. Come prepared with questions. I like to jot down questions in my planner on the week of our mastermind call so I remember what I'd like to discuss.
4. Keep each other accountable! Set aside time in your call to check in on goals, and see how your fellow masterminds are doing. Or, set up check-ins between calls if that's needed to stay on track.
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
I’m sure most of you have a Facebook account for your business, but this social network can be used in many other ways to elevate your career. I had just about stopped logging into my personal account when I joined and found value in Facebook groups a couple of years ago. If you aren’t utilizing them already, or if you are overwhelmed by them, read on.
There are a variety of private Facebook groups created by and dedicated to elevating dietitians’ blogs and businesses. Some have a goal of sharing each other’s content on social media platforms. You might wonder how this benefits your business, but the reality is, your followers enjoy a variety of content and there’s no way you have every recipe they’ll need on your own website! In addition, you’ll learn from other RDs with different specialties.
Other Facebook groups may be targeted to your area of expertise or an area that you hope to branch into. Whether general private practice, virtual practice, intuitive eating or writing, you can find a group (or create one!) to connect with other dietitians with similar interests while both gaining knowledge from others and providing your own tips when others need your help too.
As with any social media outlet, it’s important to follow proper “netiquette”. Most groups have guidelines pinned to the top of the page; read them before posting any information that promotes your business. Remember that every dietitian has a different background as well as clients with different health and demographic considerations. Always be respectful of others opinions and be open-minded when contributing.
Have you joined so many groups that you’re overwhelmed by the notifications and have just started to ignore them? Do some spring cleaning by leaving groups that don’t serve you and turn off push notifications on your cell phone.
How long is your "to do" list actually? If you are like me I am sure it could easily be a few pages long. And don’t forget all those brilliant ideas you have for other projects, services, and courses you want to create. This can be the greatest and most frustrating part of being an entrepreneur.
This month I want you to take time and take action on that to do list. I am all about taking action in my practice daily and want you to do the same. I promise it will not be too much and you will actually see changes fast.
Fist start with a brain dump. Grab a sheet of paper and a timer. For 10 minutes I want you to write out EVERYTHING and I do mean everything that is on your mind about your practice. What has been keeping you up at night? Where are you feeling stuck or freaking out over? Once you finished the first pass, set the timer for another 10 minutes and see if you can expand on the original brain dump.
Second, every day I want you to pick out 3, no more no less, of daily driven goals that you can do in 10-minute task. For example, if what I picked out was blogging, it might take me more than 10 min to write out a blog. Break that big task into 10-minute bite sizes.
1. Pick out the topic of this blog
2. Write out the keywords for this blog
3. Write the first 1-2 paragraphs of this blog
Lastly, take action daily. If you can get in the habit of writing out your 3 ten minutes driven goals that you are going to do I promise you will eventually get through your entire to-do list in a more timely, less stressed manner.
Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD CEDRD-S
It seems to be often that I hear dietitians (myself included) say they don’t feel like they know enough. As dietitians we are natural born learners and some days it seems like we can never catch up to the latest superfood or research or insert crazy diet here.
It is very easy to stay in that comfort zone of what we know and not branch out to new areas for fear of failure, not doing it right, or the fear of just not knowing ‘enough’. When I find myself stuck I often fall back to a piece of advice I was given and it just so happens to be the tag line for Nike, “Just do it.”
You have to just do it. The “it” could be starting the blog, video series, learning a new piece of technology or jumping into private practice. Nobody gets everything (or sometimes anything) right the first time but you will never know what could be or what you are capable of if you don’t do it.
Growth happens when we take that risk, when we are a little uncomfortable. Push your boundaries and take the leap.
Amanda Sauceda, MS, RDN, CLT, Nominating Committee