My RD Journey

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


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Business Lessons Learned – Letting Go

This past month, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do long-term with my business. One major thing I learned is that it is okay to just let go. Let go of aspects of your business that are not working. Let go of hangups you have on moving forward. Let go of bad business connections.

I used to think of letting things go as a sort of moral failure; that I just wasn’t working hard enough at whatever it was to make it succeed. The fact is that I have changed since I started my business and I can guarantee many of you reading this have done the same at some point in your career. Maybe the change was gradual and you didn’t even notice it right away or maybe it was sudden and out of necessity. I needed the change in my business to become a better and more well-rounded professional. Letting go does not mean you didn’t put in the time and effort for success. It is not to be seen as a “failure,” but a learning experience, opportunity for growth, or chance to try something new.

I challenge you to look at your business with an outside perspective. What is eating at your time and not producing results? What connections are more damaging to your business and/or productivity than they are beneficial? What can you you let go of for the opportunity to grow?

Earlier this week, I sat down at my business journal and just brain dumped what I was thinking. I wrote down things I wish I had known (and did now), tips for myself, frustrations, “aha” moments, just everything. I filled almost 4 pages with random thoughts and it was actually quite invigorating. Going back a few days after writing, I realized there were some gems in my string of random thoughts. If you have a rough day (or month) or even a great one, take a few moments to just write out your thoughts on paper. No judgement. No worries about grammar. Just write and see what realizations you come to have about yourself and your business. This could help you in taking the next step in your business or changing the way you run things.

Below are just a few of the many business tips and realizations I brain dumped that day.
-I think I would like (and need) a secretary to help with fielding calls and scheduling appointments. (This made me look into online scheduling software).
-I like guiding and teaching, which make me want to search out more opportunities to do presentations and also develop more programs to coach or work with other Dietitians.
-Some days, I am just completely unmotivated and that is okay. Every day won’t be super productive. Just as long as those unmotivated days don’t become an issue for business.
-Mid-day gym sessions really boost my productivity and momentum.
-A support system can really make or break you. Just having that 1 person makes a world of difference.
-Some days you just work late.
-I wonder how other people see me and my business. I wonder how I could gauge this.
-I need to DO more than THINK. I spend too much time planning and overthinking that this sometimes leads to inaction.
-Relating to your clients is key. Trust begins here and they feel safer opening up.

Have you ever just brain-dumped in a journal? What “aha” moments did you have? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Business Lessons – Learning to Say “No”

Hey there and welcome back to “My RD Journey!” If you have been reading my blogs lately, I have decided to do an end-of-month recap that goes though some of my lessons learned and business goals. In last month’s post, I talked a lot about taking action, but also, going along with the flow. This month, I learned more about myself and my business, which is basically an extension of me (ha). So, read on to hear all about it!

Lessons Learned
Shoot for 15-minutes 
At the conference I attended last week (see below for more), I learned about 15-minutes being the key to productivity by the speaker, Neen James. While for nutrition counseling, 15-minutes is not an ideal appointment time, this translates well to almost everything else in my business. Spending 15-minutes on social media. Only spending 15-minutes checking and responding to email. Taking 15-minutes in the morning to determine key actions you need to build your business. Even spending 15-minutes meal planning or meal prepping. It is really amazing what you can accomplish in just 15-minutes, yet it is a short enough time to not feel overwhelming. I have been writing a book all June and while I am still working on my first draft, I challenged myself to write for at least 15-minutes daily. Some days I don’t feel like writing (until I get into the groove) and that 15-minutes is just that. Other days, I start writing with the goal of at least 15-minutes and end up writing for an hour since ideas keep flowing. The idea of just aiming for 15-minutes is so simple and I challenge anyone reading this to apply it to different aspects of their personal and business life. What can you accomplish in 15-minutes?!

Learn to Say “No”
I always talk to my clients about learning to say “no” with pushy family members trying to feed them more at parties/dinners. In taking my own advice, I began to do the same this month. I had to turn down two clients trying to meet a work deadline for nutrition counseling, which was really tough for me. It wasn’t that I was afraid to turn down the money, but afraid of letting people down since I truly love what I do. If I had taken both of these clients and squeezed them in before July, I would have some days where I didn’t get to write and others where I would be working 12-hours. In the moment, I had to ask myself, “Is this client just reaching out to me since I am the only one available?” I also asked, “Is this my ideal client and if not, would they still have good quality session?” In answering those questions, my final response was, “No” to both. (Side note here, I did offer to see these clients in July/August and neither wanted to do so. This only supported my decision of “no.”)

To be honest, it felt kind of good to stand my ground. Ask me a year ago and I would have bent over backwards to try and accommodate these clients who probably would have forgotten about me after the fact. I knew, from doing this in the past, I would have been super burnt out those days and in turn, less productive. In learning to say “no,” I am becoming more confident and evolving into more of that business owner mentality. Sometimes you need to put yourself and your business first. Sometimes you need to stick to your guns. Sometimes you need that day off to regroup and recharge your batteries. Sometimes you do bend over backwards for clients (your choice). In being a business owner, you need to make the hard decisions and ultimately think about the long-term outcomes of any road you choose to follow.

Key Defining Moments
Women Building Businesses Conference
Just last week, I attended a conference hosted by SCORE Philadelphia and Bucks County. It was a really awesome event with great speakers and tons of time to network. Whenever I attend conferences, I always get this renewed sense of invigoration with my practice. It makes me want to just run home and put all of my ideas into action. With this conference, I had this “ah-ha” moment with my business branding and marketing strategy. A lot of people kept asking what I did; however, one woman in particular asked me this, “What makes you different than other Dietitians in private practice?” To my surprise, I actually had an answer fairly quickly (haha). One of the things I mentioned was that I focus on action and motivation versus straight education when counseling a client. I also do in-home counseling, so that is also something that sets me apart.

This really got me thinking about how I am different in the eyes of the public. I feel like my philosophy may be similar to other RDs; however, my way of counseling and interacting with clients is different (since everyone has their own style). My current clients may know this; however, I thought about how I wanted my potential clients to also know it. After the conference, I brainstormed and wrote all about what sets me apart in my practice, the brand I want people to know and love, and the key marketing terms I wanted to use. I changed up my website and drafted a few logos too. This was a huge moment for me since I felt like I finally pin-pointed how I wanted to convey what good I was doing (and could do) with others. Sometimes, a conference is more than just networking and gaining information about running a business, but more of a way to get to know yourself.

Business Goal #1 – Finish Rough Draft of Book
I will admit, I am still trucking away at my first full draft of my book since I got a bit side-tracked with an influx of clients. I have all of the chapters outlined; however, I am still only about 60% of the way through the first full draft. My July goal is to write at least 3 times per week (in-depth) and write at least 15-minutes the remaining days (even if just brainstorming). I will have that first draft finished! I have been going to coffee shops to write, versus being at home, since I get so distracted! Plus, there is something motivating about writing/working around others doing the same.

Business Goal #2 – Continue Building My Brand + Online Presence 
This month, I want to focus on making some short videos on my own. I also want to continue working towards a more effective online presence. I want to flesh out some of the ideas I have for a logo too!

What lessons have you learned this month? Did you have any defining moments or obstacles you overcame?

Click Here to read my last post on my favorite business tools
Click Here to read April’s recap post


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Business Lessons Learned – Go With The Flow

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I thought about nixing this blog until next week; however, I was up early with my lovely feline friend (aka my cat) so I figured why not! If you have been reading my blogs lately, you will notice that this is the second blog in my “Monthly Recap” series. Back in April’s post, I set three goals for myself. I am super happy to say that I accomplished all three! These have been goals on my list for a while now; however, there is just something about having that accountability factor that pushes you to follow through. While it might seem weird to think I am being accountable to my viewers, it really helped me to focus towards having something positive to share for this post.

Lessons Learned
Be Accountable to Someone
I am always telling my clients to have someone to be accountable to (whether it is me or a spouse/friend). Again, in taking my own advice, I realized that having the accountability really helps to just give that extra push. I would challenge any business owner to identify their go-to person that they will check in with each month (or week). They can help you to review your goals, ideas, issues, etc.

Flow With Your Business
Your business will change every year or month even. Now, while this might not be a huge change, always be open to assessing and adapting with the needs of your clients. I have been changing some of my services and offerings to suit my client needs better. I now have a monthly fee for a coaching option between appointments. I use to think I would always just do the counseling and classes; however, now I want to have more time to myself so I am working towards more products versus services. My point here is not to pigeon-hole yourself into one way of thinking about your business. Always be open to opportunity and change for that matter.

Act First
One of my biggest downfalls is over planning and not acting. It took me so long to get an outline written for my book because I was worried about how I would sell it. Why does selling it matter if I don’t even have a product to sell?? I can often waste hours researching and planning to start something and then not even starting it because I am so wrapped up in the preparation. While I think planning is a great step, don’t get hung-up on it for an extended time. Yes, do some short research and then ACT.

Key Defining Moment
Health Fair Competition
This month, I attended a health fair for one of the companies I work with for weight management classes and also provide on and off-site counseling for. This company has a few dietitians they work with since they have a huge incentive program around wellness. At this recent health fair, about 7 different dietitians were there promoting their business and counseling services. Being the 5th dietitian in the row of tables, I was wondering to myself what sets me apart from them? We all do counseling and accept insurance, so what makes me special? One little edge I have to some is that I offer in-home counseling services and still come on-site for the company. Although, this really got me thinking about my brand and how I want to promote myself.

After the health fair, I had one client tell me that they specifically chose me out of the other dietitians because they were impressed with my professionalism, table set-up, and business cards. Now, I am not one to ever put down another dietitian and I thought some of the other tables looked awesome, so I simply thanked him and moved on in conversation. I was one of the only tables without a food sample (since I had planned a game instead), so I originally thought no one would be interested in what I had. Although I did have quite a few sign-ups for counseling and my newsletter, I still didn’t think I would be standing out as much from the other tables.

0524171435c-02For any health fair, I always bring my PorrazzaNutrition banner, handout holders, 1-2 handouts (tip sheets), info sheet about myself that I put in a plastic stand-up, 2-3 recipe cards, 1-3 coupons, newsletter sign-up + counseling interest list, business cards in my shopping cart holder, pens, and 1-2 visuals (I had an avocado this day + poster on salt). All in all I realized a few things, I always cater to different individuals with my variety of handouts/recipes, I have visuals to grab attention, I have an awesome business card holder that spurs conversation, I keep the table clean and tidy (especially since I didn’t have food to worry about), and I dress to impress. I set-up my table based on my experiences with previous health fairs and what looks visually appealing to me. I learned, in this moment, that comparing myself to others is so silly since we all target different clients and have our own ways of doing things. There may be many clients who preferred other tables based on their specific needs and what appealed to them. This situation was a huge moment for me because I made a commitment to always keep that professionalism and par level high, no matter where I am or who is watching, and to only compare myself to my past self.

Business Goal #1 – Revise and Upload 3 Meal Plans to my Website
I have been trying to brainstorm more products to add to my business and I realized that I have about 50 meal plans that I created for past clients. Why not update those to sell on my website?! So many clients ask me for meal plans and I usually don’t create them, but instead work with the client to brainstorm meal ideas. What I realized is what I want is not always what everyone else does, so why not just give them that? I will still have a personalized plan option and work with clients during their appointments; however, this can just be another passive income stream for me that still supports my clients’ (and potential clients’) current needs.

Business Goal #2 – Finish First Rough Draft of Book
This month, I worked on an outline for my book and I brainstormed chapter ideas. For next month, I want to put that all into a first draft. This book is the first to many ideas that I have, so I am excited to finally be in the writing process! I typically just write ideas down whenever they come and then dedicate a couple hours one-day per week (for now) to fleshing out those ideas and making them into chapters. I find for myself that I have a hard time writing at home and not getting distracted so I have been writing while between classes (since I take the train and am usually pretty early).

Business Goal #3 – Continue Building My Brand (Including Online Presence)
For this goal, I am going to continue with my blog, video, and social media schedules. I am also brainstorming what my “brand” will look like. I want to have everything integrated to match my passion and niche. I want to move away from 100% service and I feel that building more of an online presence is key to this.

What lessons have you learned this month? Did you have any defining moments or obstacles you overcame? Stay tuned for my upcoming blog’s on building YOUR brand!