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. 


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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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Private Practice Tools & Apps

When I first started PorrazzaNutrition, I did a lot via paper (i.e. my accounting, charting, etc) and I soon realized just how many files I was accumulating. Over the past couple of years, I have implemented a few systems/applications in my practice and I have complied a list of just some of them for you today. There are tons of competing products/services on the market; however, these were ones I have used personally and were satisfied with. This is not a sponsored post and I do not work for any of the companies featured below.

Organization
Trello– I have just started using this free app/site and it is awesome for individuals and teams! I love that you can create different boards (topics) and lists. I used for long-term lists and also for some of the committees I am on. I also use the boards as ideas for my blogs and then I list out talking points. It is great for me when I am not able to sit down and write on paper.
Google Drive- If you have not used GD, start now! You get a ton of free storage! I store informational sheets, blank assessment forms, and documents that I use most often on-the-go. It is way better than storing a ton of stuff on my laptop and then only being able to access if I am on it. I use GD a lot for committees I am on. It is easier to share a folder with the minutes than emailing documents back and forth every month.
Tools for Wisdom Planner– I am totally still a pen-and-paper planner person. I tried using an online calendar and hated it! I like crossing things out and being able to flip through the months with a paper planner. I am super picky about my planners and will spend hours trying to find a good one each year (haha). I currently use the Tools for Wisdom since I specifically wanted a planner with a month view plus the days in columns with an hour-by-hour format. The pages are thick enough that highlighters do not bleed through (I am a color coding queen). I might switch up again for next year since this does not include any 2018 months. I am totally open to suggestions here!

Accounting – Quickbooks
When I first began my practice, I didn’t have a ton of income/expenses so I just tracked using ledger sheets. After about 2 years, I started looking around and Quickbooks came up a lot. It is super simple to use and cheap (I pay $5.30/month). You can save different transactions for the future so they are automatically categorized as they come in. I use the app a lot on-the-go, especially since you can scan in receipts. I still use a separate accounting sheet to track unpaid classes or checks that have not been cashed yet. It definitely makes tax season a lot simpler since you can just import your information from Quickbooks without having to enter in everything manually.

Media
Dropbox– I have the Dropbox app on my phone and computers and it makes it really easy to upload files or pictures. I take a ton of photos and it syncs automatically with my computer where I can then move them to an external hard-drive or save to my photos.
-Canva– Awesome for designing posts for social media, blogs, etc. So many free images/templates.
Pixabay–  Royalty free pictures. I take a lot more of my own photos now; however, this was really helpful for me initially.
Snapseed– Free app for editing photos. One of the best I have used so far.
Tiny Scanner– Free app that functions as a portable scanner. Your scans can be saved as a PDF or an image. I have the free version and just delete the scans once they are uploaded to where they need to be. Really useful for scanning large documents especially if you are out or don’t have a scanner at home (mine is a bit temperamental).

Newsletters – MailChimp
I use MailChimp for my bi-monthly newsletters. I also embedded a sign-up form on my website (GoDaddy) that links to my account. I like being able to embed newsletters in emails and then track the statistics after each email blast. I use the free version for my practice and have not felt the need to upgrade further yet.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, this is not a complete list of every tool/app I use in practice; however, it does include my main ones. I will be posting another blog to include my counseling/billing resources too!

I am always open to suggestions for tools, so leave a comment and let me know what types of software or applications that you use that have made your business life that much more productive (or simpler).


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Balancing Work & Personal Life

Happy Saturday! This is going to be a bit shorter of a post since I have a ton of cooking to do for Easter tomorrow. I am making about 70% of the menu this year, which I am so happy about, since it was a slow process getting my whole family interested in healthier meals/sides.

The past few weeks, I have had a lot of time to reflect on how one-sided my life felt in terms of balance. I felt like I was always working and just squeezed in time for myself or my family. I still wasn’t working on the things that I had set goals for (like writing an e-book or creating Podcasts) and I really needed to make that change. I had a few family issues this week (all resolved) that made me appreciate the fact that I have a private practice and do have flexibility. I did realize that my time still needed to be adjusted for a more optimal day-to-day routine. So, with that being said, this post brings to you my top 3 tips/lessons for having a more balanced work and personal life.

1. Set (and Keep) Boundaries for Yourself
I am the worst at keeping my boundaries. I will say to myself that Tuesday I am not booking clients so I can work on x-y-z. Then, a client comes along needing an appointment and I say, “Hey, what’s an hour?” The reality is that the 1-hour appointment also includes travel time + prep + post work (billing, report writing, etc) and can really break the concentration I had going for the day. I now schedule in my calendar the days where I don’t see clients and I stick to it. Setting boundaries also means not checking emails or your phone constantly. I no longer answer emails after 8pm, unless it has been a late day for me. I always think to myself that, “It can wait, or they would call.” If not, I end up checking the email, spending the time to respond or react in some way and ultimately it feels like my work day is just dragging on and well into my personal time.

2. Schedule It
Going along with keeping boundaries, use your calendar to schedule when you are doing personal things. I planned out the days I would go to the gym and when I would be gardening. I also set days for office-work for my business and times when I would work on content creation. This could mean seeing clients on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays and also teaching classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It could mean Tuesdays are when I garden and spend time doing personal things. It could mean Fridays are office-work days where I follow-up on billing issues, work on social media, etc. At first I had the thought that my life was so planned it leaves no wiggle room; however, I discovered that by setting aside the time initially, I had more freedom and flexibility.

3. Don’t Overbook Yourself
When I first started my practice full-time, I just wanted to get as many clients scheduled as I possibly could. After realizing that I wasn’t spending time on furthering my practice, I began to cut back on my workload and space it out a bit more. If I overbook, I end up stressed out and really just not at my prime. Not overbooking yourself ties right into keeping the boundaries you set. If I lose a client because I can’t see them in 2 weeks, then so be it. It rarely has happened that someone doesn’t want to wait for an appointment; however, I know for my sanity and stress level that cramming in an appointment isn’t good for me. Usually, those cram-in appointments take the place of the time I wanted to go to the gym or time I wanted to create something. In the long-term, it isn’t worth it. In my last blog post, you can read all about how I have been striving to reform my practice to allow for more flexibility while maintaining income in the long-term.

In the end, the reason I am so busy is due to my own fault in over scheduling and plain overbooking myself. I no longer want to be so busy that I can’t enjoy the things I love like gardening or spending time with my family or cooking. So, my personal commitment is to streamline my business and tasks that go along with it to be able to have the optimal work-life balance for me.

Leave a comment and let me know what your tips/strategies are for keeping your work and personal life in balance.


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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!