My RD Journey

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


Leave a comment

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. 


3 Comments

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


2 Comments

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!


3 Comments

April Recap – Lessons Learned

April has probably been my busiest month so far in full-time private practice. I had two conferences, both of which I was apart of the planning process, 3 speaking engagements, plus my normal business load (clients and classes). I definitely thought a lot about balance and what that means for myself and my future practice. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I have been trying to change how I do business to allow for more free time.

So, this month (and those in the future), I want to share with you my “Lessons Learned,” “Key Defining Moments,” and “Business Goals.” I decided on these topics for a few reasons; one of which is that other RDs always ask me what I would have done differently (hence lessons learned) when starting my practice. I also always get asked how I keep myself motivated, which involves pivotal moments and setting goals for myself. My hope is that my monthly recap can help someone else in their practice or career in general.

Lessons Learned 
“Always assume there is something to learn.” “Don’t just show-up, but engage.” 
Sometimes when I think about going somewhere I question whether I will get anything out of it. I mean, after all, my time is critical for me to keep a hold on. I realized that you get what you put into ANY situation. If you want to learn, ask questions and be involved. Engage in conversations and do more than just show-up. If you approach situations with a mindset of knowing you will learn, you will.

“Take advice from the experts.” 
What is funny about this lesson is that I always tell people to see a Dietitian for nutrition help because they are the experts. Somewhere along the way I stopped applying this to my personal/business life. Instead of hiring an accountant for tax season, I figured I would do it myself. About 6 hours later, I filed my federal and state taxes, plus learned how to pay quarterly ones. I then realized I had two city taxes to file only days before the deadline. I tried doing the forms myself online and could not get the numbers to populate correctly. It basically kept saying I owed $0, which I knew was incorrect. After a brief panic attack, I realized that I had the business card of an accountant I knew from school AND I had just reconnected with him while on the train. Despite it being late notice, he helped me to figure out what I was doing wrong fairly quickly and all was well. What I learned from this was breaking down wasn’t going to solve a thing; taking action and figuring out a plan would. I also realized it would have been so much easier (and tax deductible) to have worked with him from the beginning instead of wasting all that time stressing and struggling through it on my own. While I am a huge proponent of learning for yourself, it is really important to know what your limits are.

Key Defining Moments 
PAND AME 
This year I was apart of the planning process for the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ Annual Meeting and Exhibition. To be honest, I had not gone in the past since I thought I wouldn’t get much out of it. It was such an awesome experience for me. Not only did I get to know some other great Dietitians, but I learned a ton! The best thing about it was that a few RDs came up to me saying they had read my RD Journey blog and had followed me to learn more about private practice. These were people I either never met before or those I knew from years ago but didn’t keep in touch. I also saw a few of my previous preceptors and one had said she still used materials I created for her programming. I was super proud of myself but also realized that I needed to continue on the path I was on to build my brand and products even further.

Running for the Train
Since I really hate driving downtown for my cooking classes, I have been taking the train instead. This means I walk about 1.2 miles to the train station lugging all of my stuff for class. I had a lot of materials for my class last week, so I had a backpack full of stuff plus a rolling suitcase. I had a difficult class attendee who was arguing with me about olive oil being bad for you since it is controlled by the MAFIA, yes the MAFIA. This attendee also said doctors have nutrition certs and you should trust them for diet advice. Needless to say, I was a bit flustered, which then led to me being a careless and cutting my thumb with a knife. Not sure anyone noticed; however, fast forward to me rushing to clean-up to catch the train on time. I ran 3 blocks with a huge backpack and a rolling suitcase all while holding a paper towel on my bleeding thumb since I couldn’t find band-aids. Two ladies also yelled to me, “Run! You will make it. We believe in you,” which just added to the level of crazy. I made it with 3 minutes to spare (only because the train schedule changed and I didn’t realize). So, I am standing there sweating with a bleeding thumb and said to myself, “Never again.” This day was a huge defining moment for me because not only was the afternoon stressful, but I was doing all of it to not even represent my own brand. I definitely had a lot to think about while walking the 1.2 miles home.

Business Goal #1 – Do more as PorrazzaNutrition and less as a contract worker to build someone else’s company.
I made the decision this month, to cut back on the number of cooking classes I do for contract work (see train story above). Not only was the pay not adding up in terms of the time spent, but I also realized these classes are just providing income in the short-term and not allowing me to grow as PorrazzaNutrition. I made a commitment to myself to really focus on doing things that will build my brand and provide income, even if it is in the long-term. This is a huge mental shift for me since I am walking away from quick income; however, long-term, I know this is the best route.

Business Goal #2 – Create and upload at least 3 YouTube videos in May. 
As some of you may know, my drive for video creation was halted when I was in a car accident about a year and a half ago. This is another piece of my business that will not only expand the individuals that I reach, but also, create passive income in the future.

Business Goal #3 – Create a solid outline for my first e-book.
I keep saying that I want to write an e-book and telling people my plan; however, all I have done is write down topics. So, my goal for this month is to actually get more of an outline together and brainstorm chapter specifics. I got so caught up in formatting and how to write the book that I lost sight of the fact that the content is the most important thing. Who cares about formatting and selling when you don’t have a product yet? Priorities!

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

Stay tuned for next week’s post for my thoughts on my first conference speaking engagement!