My RD Journey

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


3 Comments

4-Month Practice Recap – Self-Employed Vs. Employee

This blog post was originally going to be all about setting income goals and figuring out billable hours; however, as I approach my 4-month self-employed, private practice milestone, I had something different I wanted to share first. This revolves around mainly how I left a “9-5” employee job for a 9-7 if not 8-7 self-employed private practice. Was it worth it? Of course and I would do it again; however, I did come to realize a few things this past month that are going to redefine how I do business in the future.

When I first thought about private practice, I didn’t think it would end up being something full-time. Sure, I would have absolutely loved to just be doing my practice; however, I just didn’t see that as being realistic. I was certain I needed the traditional path of jobs to be successful. After a few years, I began to see that full-time private practice was definitely realistic and coming faster than I had imagined. Now, let’s flash-forward to when I was deciding to leave my full-time employee job. I debated with myself A LOT in the months leading up to my quitting. Would I make enough money? Would I actually like what I was doing? Would I get overwhelmed? I was someone who was ingrained with the idea of making money and saving for a future. Not that this was at all a bad thing, but I was fearful that I wouldn’t be saving and would instead drain the savings I had been building for years.

With those thoughts in the back of my mind, I still quit my job and was quite successful being a private practice business owner. My income surpassed what I was making being an employee, I was flexible enough to be able to spend time with my family whenever needed, and I loved being able to choose what I was doing. So, this doesn’t seem so bad at all, right? To be honest, my success was largely due to stretching myself beyond capacity, taking paying gigs whenever possible (even if they were at lower rates than I wanted) and seeing clients even on the days when I wanted to just focus on office work. I wasn’t spending time on creating products for my lesson plan store. I wasn’t spending time on making YouTube videos. I wasn’t spending time on writing a book. I was just working to make money (and of course because I truly like what I do). It was at this point that I realized that I couldn’t add more to my schedule because the time just simply wasn’t there. I also wasn’t adding in the pieces of my business that would be a source of passive income, thus lightening up my day-to-day workload. I was still bound to certain time constraints for classes or counseling for income and low and behold, that cut my flexibility in half.

After a long chat with my beyond supportive boyfriend, I set goals for myself to cut the fat out of my business. My time was more valuable than what I was being paid for some classes and that needed to change. I also needed to actually set and stick to a schedule where I would only see clients and have classes on certain days. I stopped trying to join various committees and groups to network or invest my time in (for free). I stuck with the organizations I was already in and set boundaries for myself as to how involved I would be. I needed to block off time for content/product/program creation. I refused to be a slave to my own business anymore.

So, why I am I sharing all this with you? Well, for me, the easier route in private practice was to just go out and make that quick money. It was the instant gratification and certainly short-term. What was harder was investing (or starting to invest) my time into what would turn into a long-term income source. This long-term income source would free up more of my time so I could actually enjoy being self-employed. I could get back to more of my hobbies without feeling guilty that I wasn’t working on the business. I could spend more time with my family without bringing work along. I could invest more time in personal development and enhancing my skills as a Dietitian. The positive side of this was simply endless.

If you ever get to this point in your practice, think to yourself what you truly want in being self-employed. Do you want to work like crazy for the goal of not having a boss or company telling you what to do or do you want to have more flexibility in what you do on the day-to-day, while still making money through passive income sources? Once you think about what your long-term goal is, break it down to determine short-term goals and plan your schedule around that. It is so easy to get sucked into the work and make money thought process; however, this process can be simplified, streamlined, and more so minimized to create more time for yourself. In the end, isn’t that what we all want…more time?

To sum up this lengthy blog post, I want to say that when I think about my future, I want that future to include more time for myself, my family, and eventually my kids (I don’t have any now). I don’t want to be forced into 8 or 10 hour workdays to make enough money, even if it is on my own terms. This post is by no means me saying that if you want the traditional private practice that it is in some way less ideal or wrong for you. The beautiful thing about private practice is that YOU can create the type of business structure that will suite YOUR needs above anybody else.

So, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this topic. What does your ideal private practice look like? What does your ideal workweek entail?

Stay tuned next week where I will be sharing my thoughts on how to set income goals and defining billable hours!


7 Comments

Tips for Setting Fees in Private Practice

After turning down an opportunity for a another set of contract classes that I had run in the past, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about how important knowing your worth is and how to set fees based on that. It is hard to put a price on the service provided as a Dietitian. I want to help people and almost feel guilty charging too much and losing a client; however, at the same time, I rely on my business for income now. I have changed my fees multiple times in the past few years, so today’s blog is going to guide you through my thought process and give you tips for setting your own fees (for individual sessions + classes).

Research Dietitians in Your Area
One of the first things I did when trying to figure out what to charge for counseling sessions was to see what other RDs were charging near me. A few did not list their fees on their website (I will talk about this in other blogs); however, the majority were in the $120-$175 range for an initial 1-hour consultation. I ended up going a bit lower since I had just started my practice and didn’t have a masters degree or specialty certification yet.

Factor in Expertise + Education
As I mentioned earlier, I low-balled my initial fees for counseling; however, after getting my masters and having my practice for a year or two, I bumped up my fees to match what others charged in my area. When setting your hourly rate or counseling fees, think about your education, experience, certifications, etc. Your knowledge and level of experience is adding to the value that the client receives in the session (or class).

Base off of Insurance Fee Schedules
If you are a provider for insurance companies, you will have a flat rate that they will reimburse you and that changes slightly from initial to follow-up visit for MNT. You can use the rate that insurance reimburses for self-paying clients or choose to make that a little bit lower since they are paying out-of-pocket. The fee schedule for insurances helped me to alter my pricing a bit.

Triple Your Hourly Employee Rate
Something else I thought about when setting fees for counseling was determining what I was paid hourly when I was an employee and multiplying that by 3. Three seems arbitrary; however, I thought that 1/3 goes to me, 1/3 to taxes, and 1/3 to time spent on prepping. This can just help to give you that baseline rate to build from.

Offer Packages + Add-ins
When I think about my initial counseling fee, I also factor in what other “service” I bring to the session. Will the session include bio-metrics? Will I calculate nutrient needs? Will this be an in-home visit or office-based visit? If your initial session is simpler, you can charge a bit lower for the hour and have add-ins that clients can choose from. Say they want menu planning help, that can be added for an extra $60 (or whatever you will charge). Maybe they want a nutrient analysis done for their current meal plan, that can be an extra $50 or so. I also find it helpful to offer packages to clients.

Note About Charging for Classes
The classes were the hardest for me to determine rates for; however, I found the formula below to help me:
Start with Base Rate – $100/hr (I base this off of my flat counseling rate)
+ Travel Expenses – $.50/mile
+ Parking Fees
+ Prep Time/Lesson Development – $40/hour
+ Cost for Supplies/Handouts

When I determine how I am charging for a class, I alter it on a case-to-case basis. My base rate my be lower or higher depending on if this is an ongoing class or a one-time seminar. If I am driving for more than 30-minutes, I may also add in a fee based on the time spent in my car. Parking may be free for some classes/areas; however, others tend to be $20 just for the hour, so this will change too. If I created lessons on this topic before, I may charge $30 or $40/hour for prep time. If this is a new topic or the client wants it to be more involved, then I may charge $50 or $60 for the hour of prep. Lastly, I factor in a few dollars based off of how many handouts I needed. If I am providing a cooking class, I estimate the amount of food needed and will have another fee added to the pricing.

There are so many ways that you can calculate fees for classes. I have often charged a flat rate (lower than $100) and then added in a cost per person ($20/head) with a minimum number required to run the class. Charging for classes will definitely vary per client/company. For some non-profits, I have accepted a lower rate for a one-time class in exchange for them distributing my business cards or keeping me on a list as a dietitian. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you feel the most comfortable charging.

Final Tips
Setting fees for individual clients and group sessions is often difficult. One of the key things I have learned is really knowing your worth and not being afraid to walk away from something. I have had companies/organizations try and take advantage of my services. I even had one goes as far as guilt tripping me into thinking I was a monster for trying to charge even 1/3 of what I normally do. I am all about giving back to my community and providing free programs/seminars. What I need to be careful of is keeping the balance between free and paid work. I often think about if doing something will open doors for me or create opportunity. If the answer is yes, I will provide a free service (i.e. lunch n’ learn for a company I may partner with, teaching in a school for the day, etc). If the answer is absolutely no (or slim), I rethink my decision. After all, one of the reasons I went into private practice, which I am sure may be the reason for many, is having the ability to choose your own destination.

Leave a comment and let me know if this blog was helpful to you in determining how you will set fees for your practice. Was there something else you thought about that I didn’t mention?

Stay tuned for my next blog that will break down billable hours + setting income goals.


7 Comments

First 10 Steps to Starting Your Private Practice

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about preparing yourself for full-time private practice. I realized afterwards that I hadn’t included a post about getting started with your private practice! So, while this is just slightly out of order, I have included a lot of links and resources for getting yourself set-up for private practice. Some of these resources I used when I was first starting out and others I found out about afterwards. I actually ended up doing some of the steps out of the order mentioned below; however, this is what seems to make the most sense for me now.

1. Get an NPI –> LINK
Even if you decide not to accept insurance, it is still something you want to get. It doesn’t even take long to register for one. Excerpt from the website: “The Administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA of 1996 mandated the adoption of standard unique identifiers for health care providers and health plans. The purpose of these provisions is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the electronic transmission of health information.”

2. Get a Tax ID Number or EIN –> LINK
Your EIN is your federal tax ID number that is used to ID your business entity; generally businesses need this. This was a pretty simple process as well. You will need to choose a business name. Here is a LINK for information on registering your fictitious name. For my business I am Felicia Porrazza doing business as PorrazzaNutrition. If you are doing business under your full and proper name, you are not required to register your personal name as a fictitious name. I think I spent maybe 2 hours initially trying to figure out if I needed to further register my name in PA. This may vary state-to-state so be sure to check your individual Department of the State website to see what regulations are in place. You will also need to choose your business entity or business structure in this form. Here is a great LINK explaining the types of business structures by the US Small Business Administration, a great resource!

3. Get Professional Liability Insurance –> LINK
I am a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the one they recommended is Proliability by Mercer. I am pretty sure they still offer a discount for AND members. It is reasonably priced and covered the basics for what I needed as a Dietitian.

4. Insurance Vs. Self Pay Acceptance 
I am not going to go into too much detail here because this will be featured in another post; however, one thing to think about is if you will be accepting insurance or only self-paying clients (or both). If you will only accept self-paying clients, you can move to step 5. If you will accept insurance, I would highly suggest getting yourself set-up with CAQH ProView. This is a free resource that allows you to decrease paperwork for becoming a provider with insurance companies. It will ask for your professional and practice information, credentialing info, directory services, etc. When you go to apply to become a provider for a particular insurance company, they will ask for your CAQH number. It has really helped me to streamline the process and avoid entering the same information 10 times. The application takes a bit of time; however, it was very much worth it! I started working on this step while I was still working a full-time job since it took a few months to get credentialed anyways.

5. Deciding Pricing 
This is again going to be another blog post; however, setting your fees is often the hardest step. I find it difficult to put a number on the valuable service I provide. Needless to say, it has to be done. One way to get started on this is by checking out what other Dietitians or health professionals are charging in your area. Factor in your expertise, years of being a dietitian, etc. If you choose to accept insurance, they will have a contracted amount that you will be paid per unit (15-minutes per one unit and you can have multiple units per appointment). You could also use this as a guideline for how you charge self-paying individuals. I found it to be helpful to include counseling packages for savings with self-paying clients.

6. Payment Acceptance
Along with deciding your pricing, you will need to figure out how you will accept payment. Will you set-up an account with PayPal? Get a merchant account through your local bank? There are a lot of different options out there. You can choose to do only checks or cash; however, I would suggest getting a separate business banking account regardless of the route you choose.

7. Decide Your Online Presence
When developing your online presence, you can choose from a number of sites and hosting services. For your website, you can choose to go with companies like Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc. You could also use WordPress and update your account to have a .com address. I am not going to get too far into website design and such; however, I am going to just touch on what you may want to include on your site –> information page about yourself and your business, location, services offered (you may or may not include pricing too), contact information, pictures, blogs (or link to blog), testimonials (may come later), newsletter opt-in, etc. I created my website about a year before registering my business and accepting insurance. I didn’t have much on the site and I basically just linked it to my blogs where I was much more active. This is a step you can do at basically do at any time in creating your practice.

8. Decide on Office Space/Set-up
This is definitely a step that you can do earlier in the ballgame. There are a few options for how you choose to see clients. You can do in-home counseling appointments, where you basically go to the client’s home. You will need to make sure insurance will cover this if you are a provider. You can rent office space for yourself or sublet from another provider (doctor, chiropractor, etc), which is usually cheaper. Other options for renting office space can include using a shared office where you schedule times to come in and pay either monthly or on a single-use basis. You can see clients in your own home; however, you will need to need to check to see if there are stipulations or zoning laws. Here is a LINK for some more information on that. You can also provide virtual counseling services, which again have stipulations especially in the insurance provider realm. Here is a great article from Today’s Dietitian on the TOPIC. If you are a member with the AND, you can also check out this LINK. 

9. Create Office Forms
One of the last things you will need to do before seeing clients is to get your office paperwork in order. You will need an initial client form, privacy notices, privacy consents, HIPAA forms, release of information form (for you to speak to family members or doctors), and a policy form relating to your business (for information on cancellation fees, rescheduling, non-payment, etc). I would also suggest thinking about how you will log business income and expenses too. EatRightPro has a great section on HIPAA with education and forms –> LINK.

10. Additional Tips 
There are a lot of free resources out there for starting your business. Some may not be related to the Dietitian realm; however, they can still prove to be quite useful. Check out your local Small Business Administration for tips on building your business. Network with other Dietitians or health professionals in your area to see how you can help one another. I purchased this AND book and found it to be really helpful when I first started out. The AND published another book on credentialing and billing that is free for members; however, I didn’t find it useful at my stage of practice (it may be for those just starting though). I also discovered that the Free Library of Philadelphia had a lot of free online and in-person resources for business owners, so I suggest checking out your local library too.

This is by no means intended to be an all encompassing list. I am sure there are additional steps that you may have heard of or wish to include in starting your own private practice. This was simply from my point-of-view and how I thought might be helpful for others. You can jump around with the steps I have included and even eliminate those that may not apply to your business. Regardless of how the information today was presented, I hope that this helped you in some aspect of starting your business!

Leave me a comment to let me know what I missed, what you found helpful, or where you are in your private practice 🙂


6 Comments

Preparing Yourself for Full-Time Private Practice

This post was originally going to be a recap of where I am in my practice; however, I got to talking to another Dietitian, who was in a similar position to me before I left my full-time job, and realized that some of the things I was telling her I had wished someone would have told me. So, alas, this post is all about figuring out if you are ready to make that leap from full-time employee to a self-employed business owner and how to prepare yourself for it.

Signs it is Time to Quit
There are a ton of articles out there about when you know it is time to quit your job. This could mean you get another full-time gig or go out on your own. From my experience and hearing from other RDs, here are a few of the signs that it may be time to quit your job: no current advancement available, overqualified for your position, lack of autonomy, dreading work, feeling stressed/anxious about work on a daily basis, and having your overall health suffer (limited sleep, poor food habits, etc). For my situation, in addition to the latter, I also knew that I was at the point that I could not grow my practice without leaving my full-time job.

Emotional Preparedness
If you have ever seriously thought about becoming a business-owner, you will go through a lot of different emotions. I would spend hours agonizing over my decision and second guessing myself. Was I going to be able to do this? Would I let everyone down? What if I failed? While you may always have ups and downs with your business, I would highly suggest working through your emotions in a productive way. Figure out your fears (check out my blog on tackling fears), create a plan, and find support (family, online groups, fellow entrepreneurs, etc). It will really help in the long-run when you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed.

Financial Preparedness
Be prepared for the fact that you may not make the same level of income as you did in a full-time job. It may take 1-month or even a year to reach your financial goals. Everyone is in a different financial situation so the key here is to figure out what your comfort level is in terms of finances so you know the best time for YOU to make the leap towards becoming self-employed. One of the biggest things for me was knowing that I had built up a savings my whole life (thanks to my Dad) and I continued saving even more so during my last few months of working a full-time job. It also really helped to map out all of my financial obligations (rent, food, health insurance, etc) and determine how much I needed to make to either break-even or be able to save.

Practice Preparedness
I used to hear from some of my friends and family to just quit my job and pursue my private practice. They had such faith in me and knew how hard I worked at everything I did. Despite their encouragement, it still took me months to commit to leaving my job and becoming a sole proprietor. One thing I learned is that you have to do it on your own terms. Yes, sometimes you are there and just need a little push; however, if you absolutely know you are not ready, they don’t be hasty and leap before you have a landing pad. I felt more comfortable taking the leap when I was already set-up as a provider (which included setting up my NPI, EIN, liability insurance, etc), had billed a few claims (successfully), figured out a method of taking payment (business and merchant accounts), had at least 1 referral source, and had set-up my social media/online presence. I am not saying you need to be totally sound and advanced at everything you do in your practice, because there is so much I learned along the way; however, if you are looking to stand on your own two feet within a month or so of being self-employed, you need to have some kind of base. Lastly, know yourself and your limits before taking the jump. Do you need to work on your organizational skills? Are you one to procrastinate? Know what your strengths are and play on them. Know what your weaknesses are and commit to either working towards strengthening or at least identify so you don’t fall into poor business habits because of it.

One last thing I want to leave you with is that you cannot do everything without having one part of your life suffer. For me, I wasn’t exercising enough and didn’t get to enjoy being with friends or family as much as I had wanted. I was constantly stressed and stretched too thin. Honestly, true success to me now is knowing what my limits are, allowing time buffers in my day, and having the flexibility to balance all aspects of my life.

Are you thinking leaping towards a full-time private practice? Leave a comment and let me know if this post helped you to figure out your next move!

Check out my post on why I decided to make the leap to private practice!


2 Comments

A Day in the Life of a Private Practice RD

I have been getting asked a lot lately how I structure my day and what does a day looks like for me now that I am full-time. Pretty much no day is ever the same for me since I never know who is going to call for an appointment, what important email comes through, or what last minute change in my schedule needs to happen. I broke down my day into two options: seeing clients/having classes and a “work” day so you can see what it looks like to be me all day long 🙂

A Day With Appointments (My Wednesday)

6:45am – Get ready for the day, eat, make coffee, pack my bag, check emails
8:00am – Head over for a committee meeting that I am Vice-Chair for, send out committee emails
9:30am – Chat with a fellow entrepreneur post meeting
10:00am – Leave to head downtown for my cooking class
10:45am – 1:45pm – Prep, have class, clean-up, chat with staff in the building, etc
2:15pm – Home. Eat lunch, check emails, log class information/expenses.
2:30pm -4:00pm – Make any insurance-related calls before offices close. Call back voicemails (if any). Work on posts for FB & IG. Follow-up with clients for paperwork needed for appointments.
4:00pm – Gym
5:30pm – Make and eat dinner. Usually, I take this time to also clean the kitchen.
7:00pm – Follow-up on emails. Work on committee related minutes/events. Prep for the next day. Sometimes I will have a late-night appointment at 6pm. If so, I will bill and write the reports right after.
8:30pm – Continue working on business-related items (could be accounting, billing, lesson plans, blogs, handouts, etc) or watch Netflix or read a non-business book.
10:00pm – Bed

If there is one thing I have learned while being in private practice it is to not overbook yourself. Even the days where I don’t see clients I try not to overbook. Something always comes up to rock the boat! Going along with this, I have learning to go with the flow a lot more. Appointments change. Classes get rescheduled. Things in life just happen. If I get all stressed out and worked up about something, it just makes my day chaotic and negative. I take things as they happen and simply move on.

A Day Without Appointments (My Monday or Friday)

8:30am – Get ready for the day, make coffee, check emails, make pancakes (because why not), make my to-do list (prioritize)
9:30am – 1:30pm – Followed-up on calls. Booked a new class so I had to submit an invoice + signed contract. Write lessons for the new class. Follow-up on unpaid insurance claims. Follow-up on missing paperwork for upcoming appointments. Chat with another RD about insurance issues. Plan blog and social media posts. Brainstorm ideas for business. Input any paid claims into my accounting software. Usually Fridays I do laundry and vacuum in the midst of all of this.
1:30pm – 2:00pm – Make and eat lunch. Some days, this ends up just being a smoothie for convenience.
2:00pm – 5:30pm – Follow-up on more insurance-related issues. Chat with other RDs about insurance. Send appointment reminders to clients. Prep for appointments/classes for next week. Answer emails. Follow-up on patient calls. Schedule appointments as they come + send initial emails with paperwork. Mondays are my food shopping day normally so I also hit the food store mid-day too.
5:30pm – May go to the gym or if not eat dinner a bit earlier. Usually, prepping dinner involves emptying the dishwasher, putting dishes/groceries away, cleaning, etc, all while cooking.
7:00pm – Follow-up on emails. Work on committee related minutes/events. Prep for the next day.
8:30pm – Continue working on business-related items or watch Netflix or read a non-business book.
10:00pm – Bed

My days where I don’t see clients usually end up being the “busiest” since I push everything office-related off until then. Sometimes, checking my emails takes 2-minutes and other times I end up back and forth about something for 10-minutes. As I mentioned earlier, I never really know how a day is going to go. Some days, I get through everything I needed to and can relax by 3 or 4pm. Other days, I work until 7 or 8pm, eat a late dinner, and pretty much go to bed right after. There are some days that I need a mental break so I will go out for a mid-day walk or watch a show. Again, just going with the flow really helps my sanity and productivity.

If you are in private practice, what does your day look like? Anyone reading this surprised at what I do all day?


Leave a comment

Two-Month Private Practice Anniversary

Today official marks the two-month milestone of quitting my full-time job and jumping into a full-time private practice. If you have read my previous blogs, I recently wrote on finding out what success looked like for me and what direction I wanted to take my practice in. While I am still figuring out what my long-term goals are, I know that I am rushing for things to happen, which is not good. It mean it does make sense that I was getting ahead of myself since my practice became my sole income source. I was constantly trying to plan my next move, develop more ideas, create partnerships, and more! I was becoming overwhelmed and ultimately beginning to dislike the position I was in.

I thought back to my previous 3 years of just doing my practice on the side, without much real effort (minus the insurance provider part). During that time, I still gained clients and had opportunities arise. I realized I was stressing myself out over just 2-months of focusing all of my efforts on my business. I thought to myself that I really did a lot more than I was giving myself credit for. I did something scary and challenging by quitting my job in December. I reached out to potential partners and gain two solid ones on top of those I already was working with. I landed a contract for a 6-week class that turned into an additional 7-week class (since the participants were so happy with the program I did). I created and stuck to a more consistent blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram post schedule. I began networking with other Dietitians in my area. I took the chance to run for a position with the Philadelphia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. I became a blogger for Eat Right PA. The list goes on and on.

You may be reading this thinking to yourself that it may be great I am doing all of these things; however, why should you care. Well, if you are in private practice or are thinking about it you may probably get to the stage that I am in where you wonder if you should be doing more. You may wonder why (constantly) you chose to do something that is scary and unknown most of the time. I challenge you to take a few moments and write out all of the positive things you have done in the last month or even week. Doing so can help you to put in perspective just how much effort you have put into your business. The reason why I do this despite all of the doubts I have is that it is so rewarding to have success in something that you worked so hard for on your own (i.e. without a large company supporting you along the way, especially financially).

While the first two months have been flying by I know that I am doing all the right things and I need to not worry so much about forcing new ideas or opportunities. I know that if I keep doing what I am doing on a daily basis (at the level of quality I am), these opportunities will come, just as they have in the past. Getting overwhelmed is stressful and to be blunt, useless. It paralyzes you and can inhibit your creativity and drive. If I start to get overwhelmed, I journal (which really helps me to see what I have accomplished already), I go for a walk, I make a list, I go to the gym, etc. Taking that time to clear my head gets me back in the game, gets me motivated, and helps me to weed through clutter to make real progress.

So, what are your stressing over that is useless and inhibiting your creativity and drive for success?

Check out my last blog post on “Tackling Your Business Fears”Tackling Business Fears


6 Comments

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!