My RD Journey

From Undergrad -> Internship -> RD -> Private Practice!


Tackling Business Fears

How many of you reading this are putting something off out of fear? Fear is something that can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Fear of contacting a new partnership company. Fear of making the first step to starting your own business. Fear of driving. Fear of the dark. Fear of a new relationship. Fear of leaving the comfortable for the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of change.

Recently, I have let my own fears drive my emotions and ultimately my private practice. Two months after leaving my full-time job, I started to panic. What if I don’t make enough money to survive? What if I don’t get any more clients? I began to feel unsure of my next step and had a dip in my motivation. After reading multiple business books and filling my social media with positive business owners, I realized that everyone has similar fears to mine; however, the key to overcoming them was doing something about it. I could sit and worry all day long and that wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, that would probably contribute to the possibility of my worst fears happening since I was ultimately neglecting my business.

Through working with my own fears, I have laid out 3 steps that I believe could be beneficial in many situations. These steps are a combination of thoughts from books, articles, my own experiences, and friends and family members. I hope these steps will help you as much as they have been helping me!

Step 1 – Write out the worst case scenario

What could happen if your fears came true? One of my fears is not getting enough clients to sustain my business. This is what my worst case scenario looked like: Loss of clients (or lack of gaining new clients) –> Loss of income –> Drain or use my savings –> Lean on my boyfriend (since we live together) –> Close my business –> Feeling like I failed and disappointed those who believed in me –> Be forced to find an actually 9-5 job, which I wasn’t thrilled about. One thing I did when I wrote out the worst case scenario was think about a rebuttal. Loss of clients, maybe I would find better ones? Use my savings, isn’t this what I have been saving for anyways? Lean on my boyfriend, didn’t we talk about this being a possibility and work it out financially? Feeling like I failed, well don’t they know how hard I tried? Finding a 9-5, maybe it is something I will love? I feeling like having the little rebuttal almost helps you to emotionally prepare for what could happen and it makes it easier to settle those fears for the time being. When thinking about your worst case scenario, I would think about ways you could fix things along the way too. You don’t want to have a small loss of income and immediately think you need to forgo the business and find a job. Think about steps you could take if just one of those fears start to develop and how you could rebound from it.

Step 2 – Write out the best case scenario

Let’s say you want to take a risk and that fear is stopping you. Once you have your fears broken down, think about what is the best thing that could happen. Take my client example from earlier: Influx of clients –> Boost in income –> Ability to grow my business –> Hire assistant or an additional dietitian –> Allows me to do more creating behind the scenes –> More products developed –> More opportunities with new clients –> Working less to allow time for a family –> Feeling really awesome! The possibilities seem endless in this scenario. When you take a risk in your business or personal life, you have the opportunity to grow, make connections, and succeed.

Step 3 – Start your day with one thing that you fear

I was reading the “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss and I came across a section that said something like, “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do,” which i believe was an excerpt from a previous work of his. That quote resonated with me so much since I was in a place of worry and fear of my business direction. I decided then that I would start every day with something that I feared or something that I needed to do, but didn’t really want to. Doing this made me feel charged, accomplished, and more confident afterwards. Instead of letting that fear continue to paralyze you, nip it in the butt first thing in the morning. It doesn’t have to be a huge jump every morning, but instead, can be a small step in overcoming your fears.

Fear is definitely hard to overcome, especially in business. It takes courage and strength to push through the uncomfortable and grow. I would highly suggest finding someone close to you who could give you the honest truth about your fears. Are they even rational? Do you need a good shake? This person will need to be able to give you honest feedback in that they can’t just agree with everything you say. Find someone who will challenge you and push you.

I hope reading this blog helped you to either take the first steps in identifying your fears or take actions to overcome them. Leave me a comment to let me know what you are working on!


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Private Practice Tip: Thinking of Your Big Picture

After my last two blog posts, I found myself thinking a lot about where I wanted my practice to be in the next few years. Although I am still working out the details, I finally have a clear picture of what I envision for PorrazzaNutrition. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone reading this, whether you have a private practice or not, to really brainstorm your ideal set-up. Do you want to niche down in a certain area of your field? Do you want this to be a full-time role or just something you will do on the side? Do you want to take insurance? Do you want to have a virtual component? Questions like these can help you to see the big picture and give you a sense of direction.

I hear so many dietitians say to me that they want to have their own practice, but most don’t have a clue as to what they want to do with it. While that may not be a bad thing, I realized, for myself, that having little sense of direction can be paralyzing. We often do nothing when faced with too much unknown. Having that big picture in mind will allow you to focus your efforts towards a path that will help you to reach your goal. I have been asking myself this question a lot –> “Are the things you are doing now, supporting your end goal?” If the answer is yes, I keep investing my time in that area. If the answer is no, I think to myself if this is something I need to stop doing or spending less time on.

Once you have an idea of what you want your practice to entail, think about your action steps. An idea or knowledge is great, but it is what you actually do that matters. Let’s say you want your practice to be able to accept insurance to drive more clientele while first starting out. Some of your action steps may be: 1. Gain an NPI, 2. Gain a Federal Tax ID Number , 3. Fill out a CAQH application, 4. Send in provider inquiries or initial applications for each insurance company, etc. Prioritize your goals! No matter how big your end result (goal) is, make it manageable and less intimidating by breaking it down into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.

This week, I also made a commitment to myself that I would not buy or read another business-related book until I took action. While these personal/business-development books are really awesome and provide a lot of great information, the information means nothing unless you actually use it. Instead of just taking notes and moving on to the next book, I create actionable steps for the knowledge I gain in any capacity to use either that day, or that week.

For all my readers out there (whether you are dietitians or not), I challenge you to think about your ‘big picture” or “end goal.” What does that really look like and how can you break it down into small and manageable steps? Leave a comment and let me know what YOUR journey looks like.

Check out my first week in Private Practice HERE or my last post about organization HERE


Private Practice Tips: Organization & Prioritizing

I was recently approached by a fellow Dietitian and friend of mine about how I stay organized and prioritize my time. The organizational side of it seemed like a no-brainer for me to comment on. I have always been “highly organized” (as some would say) since I carried my planner everywhere and when opened it was an array of colors, each meaning something different. Being in full-time private practice, I realized my method of keeping organized was still efficient, but, not as effective for managing my time properly and ultimately prioritizing things daily.

Now, I am definitely one for list making. I will go as far as adding “shower” or “eat”, which some find hilarious that I even need to put those things on a list. Making a daily list is a great idea; however, I find it best to break down my priorities for business and personal health. When I would just write down everything I needed to do on a list, I would often not accomplish what I wanted (no surprise there). I also found that important tasks were getting pushed to later in the week. The unrealistic expectation I put on myself was actually making me feel less productive (see more on this from Week 1 of my Private Practice).

Honestly, if you still like the pen and paper method, which I love, getting yourself a good planner is the first place to start. The planner I have now allows space for you to set monthly and weekly goals/tasks. I usually put a bunch of ideas and goals on there sporadically and then take the time daily to break down my weekly tasks into daily priorities. I usually set 3-5 daily priorities for myself (as related to my business) and this widely varies based on what clients/classes I have scheduled. I also set personal/health goals for the day, which are always a priority. These personal/health goals usually involve things like exercise* and meal prep. Since my planner has space for me to write out weekly tasks, my daily goal is to take 1-3 items from that master list that isn’t a priority for the day and get it done.

When thinking about prioritizing my daily tasks, I had to think to myself, “What am I doing out of habit?” Often, we do things without even realizing and they end up being a huge time sink. One thing I had to change when prioritizing, was checking my email every time my phone went off. I now limit this to about 3 times per day. Think to yourself what are you doing now that can be changed, eliminated, or simplified to allow more time for your priorities.

With making a priority list for the day, remember not to overbook yourself. If you are stretched to the max, the quality of your interactions can suffer. Also, don’t continue adding to your list if you find yourself with more time to spare. Use that time to do something else you enjoy (hang with a friend, go for a walk, play an instrument, etc). I often felt like if I was done everything by 3pm, I still needed to do more after that. I mean, don’t business owners work all hours of the day?! It was hard for me to get used to the idea that I didn’t need to put in 10-12 hour days anymore and if I did, it was for a particular reason and not my status quo.

Last point I have for you with organization and prioritizing is to be okay with having to re-prioritize your list. I woke up one morning and realized that my WordPress “about me” section was from 4-years ago. Turns out that when I updated my “about me” I only did it for the one page and not the other…oops. That instantly became my priority for the day. I ended up spending about 2 hours redoing my WordPress layout. The next day, I ended up spending 3 hours updating my “services” page on my website. This replaced the time I was going to spend following up with potential partnerships. Was it a good choice? Definitely. A lot of businesses will go directly to my website to find out what I do, especially if I just reached out to them for a potential partnership proposal, so having a well polished website is crucial.

I hope this helps you to organize your business (or daily habits) to be more effective and efficient. Leave a comment about how this has helped you or let me know you tips for staying organized!

**Just a side note here. As a Dietitian, I talk about exercise with my clients for the various health benefits; however, I make it a priority for my daily business life because I find that it helps me to recharge, clear my mind, and just feel better overall. I usually aim for a short, 15-minute, workout daily and a 45-minute workout 4 times per week. I also try and get up every hour from my computer to walk around my apartment. Your workout schedule can be quite different from this and my routine is not an indicator of any “gold standard” approach.