My RD Journey

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


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5 Tips for Gaining Clients in Private Practice (Part Two)

Welcome back to My RD Journey! If you read last week’s blog, you will already know that this is part-two of my tips for marketing yourself and gaining clients. (Click to read last week’s post). I hope part one gave you a few good tips to get started with marketing within your business. One thing is for sure, marketing yourself and your services is a constant. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that one ad will do the trick or one networking event will give you all the clients you need. For part two of my marketing tip series, I delve into more of my tips that revolve around the “constant marketing” idea. Enjoy!

#6 – Always Carry Business Cards
No matter where you go, always carry your business cards with you. I have handed out my card to clients on the train or even while waiting in line at the supermarket. You never know when an opportunity may arise for you to build a connection. I typically carry 5-6 cards in my wallet, so I always have some with me, and a small stack in my purse/work-bag.

#7 – Attend Networking Events
Make it a goal to attend some sort of networking event at least once per month. Join your local business associations or Chamber of Commerce to find events that would be worthwhile for you to attend. When going to networking events, be open-minded with everyone you speak with. Even if you think someone would not benefit from your services or even be interested, they may know someone who is. Also, don’t just push your card on someone within the first few minutes of meeting them. Get to know who they are, what they do in business, and even goals they may have. I will often ask fellow business owners how they got into their current role and if they see themselves growing or changing in the future. Don’t just talk to someone with the sole purpose of giving them a card and walking away. Make a more meaningful connection. Often times, I will wait until the end of the conversation to say, “I had a great conversation with you, would you like to swap cards so we can chat more in the future about ___?” Sometimes, I will even wait until the other person asks for my card, which almost always is the case. I also try to follow-up with a short email a day or two after the event.

#8 – Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New 
If you feel like you have been trying everything to get your name out there, you may have thought about paying for advertising. While my first paid advertisement was a total waste of money, I learned a lot about my business and future marketing campaigns. Before paying for advertisement, think about whether or not the ad will target your ideal client. My first ad was on a food placement at a diner. I don’t even read those things and for some reason I thought it was a good idea to try my first year in business. Needless to say, I didn’t get any clients after the ad ran for practically 4-months. Yet, I recently had the opportunity to run an ad in my local paper (FREE) and I gained 3 new clients the same day the paper went out. The second time around, my ad was much better and the paper actually reached clients in my area. Bottom line here is that just because something failed once, doesn’t mean you can’t try again. Be open to changing your strategy.

#9 – The Power of Word-of-Mouth 
I would say about 80% of my clients and 100% of my contracts have been from word-out-mouth marketing. It is oh so powerful! How people perceive their health and nutrition is often very personal (and emotional), so having a warm referral from a friend or family member will make it much more likely that they will use your services versus searching out another Dietitian (even if they are closer). I have spoken at conferences and had audience members refer businesses to me. I have done lunch-and-learns and had my facility contact recommend me to other partners for cooking classes. I have even had Dietitians recommend me to other RDs for help on starting a business. Do not assume that in order to get clients you need to pay for ads or marketing in some way.

#10 – Do Your Best Always
Tips #9 and #10 really go together in the marketing sense. Word-of-mouth marketing is so strong when you make a positive impact on someone. To put it simply, if you are good at what you do, your work/service sells itself. If your clients/partners see that you have a passion for nutrition and really go above and beyond for their needs, then they will have no trouble singing your praises. Take your role seriously in any opportunity you have, whether free or paid. Even if you feel like an event is not worth your while (once you have arrived), still strive to perform and show your best side. This includes the idea that you should not “burn your bridges” because I always find a previous connection resurfaces later in my business. I tell my interns and any new RDs I work with that, “You never know who is watching.” As I mentioned previously, I have had a lot of big contracts form after someone recommended me after hearing me speak. Again, the person who saw you may not be your ideal client; however, who they recommend you to just may be. Bottom line, do your best, even if you think no one is watching (or reading).

What marketing tip has helped you the most? Share with me how this post has helped you or share another tip you have for gaining clients!

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5 Tips for Gaining Clients in Private Practice (Part One)

Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or even seasoned, you may wonder to yourself, “How can I gain clients?”

As a Dietitian in private practice, I often struggled with the best way to grow my clientele since my undergrad and graduate courses had little to no focus on marketing. You can do a simple Google search and find millions of results for the topic of marketing; however, I wanted to give a “tried and true” perspective. This is a combination of what not only worked well for me, but also, other dietitians in similar positions. While I am by no means an expert, I know that someone out there might benefit from my information. This blog is going to be broken down into a two-part series, so look out for the second round of tips next week!

#1 – Have an Internet/Social Media Presence
People want to know a bit about you before committing to your services. Some of my clients found me from a Google search and others have been passive followers of my Facebook page and suddenly had a need for my services. You can really run the full gambit with an Internet presence. I currently have a website, 2 blogs, Instagram, two Facebook pages, and Twitter profile. I also created a FREE listing with “Google My Business,” which helps me to stand out a bit in search results. You don’t necessarily need to use every social media platform nor do you need to do everything at once. The key is finding which is the best for you (and your clients) now. This means identifying where your clients frequent the most. I started blogging back in my undergrad, then created a website, and then added my FB pages. Take it one step at a time and build as you see fit.

#2 – Look for the Secondary Benefit
I feel that my blogs add to my credibility and provide some extra tips/resources to my current clients. My Instagram shows clients how healthy food can look (and taste) good. There have been times where I am out somewhere and a fellow RD or even an entrepreneur in an unrelated business will say that they read my latest blog and it was really helpful. I have also had food companies reach out to partner with me after seeing pictures I posted or blogs I have written. So, while you may not see single clients reaching out to you for counseling services, down the line, a new business opportunity may arise due to them reading your blog and seeing your work. So, do keep it professional, credible, and useful to your audience.

#3 – Build an Easy-to-Access Website
Ultimately, your website is one of the first things I would get up and running, especially if you are in practice already. Clients want to learn about you, the services you offer, and how to contact you when they are ready. When you create your website (or have a designer do so), make sure it is easy to navigate. I have had a few clients say they chose my practice because my website gave them the information they needed quickly (i.e. contact info, services, about me). You can certainly hire someone to build a website for you; however, I did it myself and I like that I can just pop in to update things whenever I want. I also chose not to include a pop-up ad on my website landing page because I find it annoying when I am looking for information and all these boxes keep showing up to get me to subscribe via email. This was just a personal preference for me; however, I would challenge you to think from your client’s perspective when designing your website layout.

#4 – Be Consistent in Social Media Postings 
Whatever social media platform you use, try to be consistent in when/how you post. For my Facebook pages, I have a schedule of which days I post to which site (I have one for nutrition and one for RDs). I also typically post 3-4 times a month (Sundays) with my RD blog and 2 times per month (Thursdays) with my PorrazzaNutrition blog. I also have monthly themes (i.e. greens for March, holiday tips for Nov/Dec) and even daily themes (Motivation Monday), which can really help with content creation. When you recommend your blog or page to any client or fellow RD, you want to have content for them to see now and future content to keep them interested. Otherwise, why should they follow you if they won’t get anything out of it? I also limit the number of “selling myself” posts to 1-2 per month. People don’t want to follow you and hear a pitch every other day. Mix in your own work, general tips, blog/page shares, and your services to give a nice blend to your reader/audience.

#5 – Become an Insurance Provider
While you certainly don’t need to be an insurance provider to have a private practice, I will say, it helps a lot with gaining clients. About 95% of my current clients use their insurance. It is a huge selling point for potential clients when I tell them I take insurance and the cost for them is little to nothing. When creating partnerships, a lot of the contacts (doctors, trainers, etc) I spoke with had verified that I accepted insurance before agreeing to send clients my way. I am also listed on each insurance companies’ website, so when a new client searches for a Dietitian in my zip code, I show up. Now, there may be a few RDs listed in my zip code; however, as I mentioned earlier, having a good website with information about myself, links to my blogs with tasty recipes, and tips for the client could lean them towards choosing me from the list. It does take time to go through the insurance process and depending on your business model, you may not even want to go this route. If you are undecided on whether you should take insurance, I would suggest looking at what other RDs in your area are doing. If they all accept insurance and you do not, it can be tough to compete (I am only speaking in regards to one-on-one counseling, not other services). Also, if insurance is good in your area and no other RDs accept it then that could set you apart. I have seen practices thrive with and without taking insurance, so do some research and decide what you think will work the best for you.

What marketing tip has helped you the most? Share how this blog has helped you or share another tip you have for marketing yourself and gaining clients!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog Part Two of Gaining Clients in Private Practice with 5 more tips!


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7 Tips for Motivating Yourself in Business

Welcome back to My RD Journey! If you have been here before, you will already know that I have been working on writing my first book. I am happy to say I finally finished my rough draft! Now, I just need to edit, figure out how to format, and publish (leaning towards self-publishing). I welcome any and all guidance!

The past month, I have been needing some business motivation. I started to feel a sense of self-doubt, which can happen when you are entrepreneur; however, this was different than self-doubt about my skills or financial success. It took a bit for me to identify what was killing my motivation since from an outside perspective you would say I was successful and doing well. I realized my lack of motivation was related to feeling stagnant in my professional growth. I reached a point in my business where I was doing the same things over and over again and I needed to change something in order to move forward and advance.

One of the biggest things I have realized is that money really isn’t much of a motivator (for me anyways). Sure, I wanted financial stability; however, it was more of the professional/personal accomplishment that drives me. So, for today’s post, I wanted to share with you my tips for motivating yourself in business. I challenge anyone reading this to take the time to brainstorm each of the questions in a notebook and refer back to it when you need a little boost.

#1 – Identify What Matters 
What really matters to you? What is going to drive your every day activity? Is it money? Is it a desire to help others? Is it being stable enough in business to support a family?

#2 – Create Your Vision
Thinking about what matters to you, what do you see your business looking like in 1-month, 6-months, and 1-year from now? Think about what your workday looks like. Think how you will conduct business. Think about your ideal client. Brainstorm all the ideas you have for your future business.

#3 – Set Long and Short-Term Goals
Brainstorm how you can make your vision a reality by identifying long (6-months to 1 year) and short-term goals. Post your goals around your office space or make them a background on your phone. Keep them visible and as a constant reminder to yourself.

#4 – Make a Daily Action Plan
Break down those short-term goals into daily action steps. What can you do today (or tomorrow) that will bring you closer to your long-term goals and ultimately your vision? Even if it is just 15-minutes of writing or 15-minutes of website updating, do something DAILY.

#5 – Be Accountable 
Being an entrepreneur means that you are accountable to yourself and not to a boss or company anymore. Expand that line of thinking to identify whom else you are accountable to – clients, readers, etc. What do you need to do daily/monthly to meet your client needs?

#6 – Surround Yourself With Positive People
Rid yourself of negative thinking (and negative Nancy’s for that matter). Join mastermind groups. Be apart of networking opportunities with professionals. Surround yourself with positive and driven people who can be an extra source of motivation for you. These individuals do not need to be in your field to motivate you. One of the many reasons I love going to conferences is speaking to other entrepreneurs and leaving feeling reinvigorated. I also think to myself, “If they can do ____, why can’t I?” I said that phrase a lot when writing my book.

#7 – Practice Self-Care
You are no use to anyone burnt out. Take time weekly, or daily, to do something for YOU and not your business. I work out of my home, so it is tempting to work on business tasks late at night or on the weekends. I would often feel guilty doing something fun, when I “should” be working on my business. Sometimes, you need to just step away. I love taking a Friday or Saturday to spend a few hours in my garden with some music on. Think about how you can practice self-care and schedule it in your calendar if you need to.

One thing I am realizing in business is that it is constantly changing (and so am I). With that said, always be open to reassessing your vision and goals.

What motivates you to pursue or continue growing your business? Leave a comment and let me know!

Check out my last blog featuring lessons learned for June and tips for “saying no.” 

Check out the blog for more tips and resources.