Today I have a guest post from Registered Dietitian Kayli about her experiences an entrepreneur. Many of you email me inquiring about options in the dietetics field, and I know lots of you are interested in working in the food and nutrition industry, so I hope her tips are helpful!
I am Kayli and to tell you what I do requires a short answer and a long answer.
The short answer: “I’m a registered dietitian.”
The long answer: “I’m a plant-based nutrition expert, personal chef, social media manager, weight loss coach, sports nutritionist, college professor, and writer.” Phew!
So how did I get from the short answer to the long answer? My path was (and is!) anything but ordinary- as it should be if “nutrition entrepreneur” is your dream job. Here is my story and three lessons I’ve learned that have helped me piece together my entrepreneurial nutrition career so far.
Lesson #1: Say it out loud!
I studied nutrition and business at Saint Louis University and after graduating with a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Performance, my professor and mentor offered me a job at her nutrition consulting company McDaniel Nutrition Therapy. Why did she offer me job? Partly because I told anyone who would listen (including her) that I wanted to do what she did. If no one knows what you want, no one can help you get what you want. So tell anyone who will listen!
By the same token, find out how you can support others in return. Helping your colleagues by promoting them, connecting them, and encouraging them will get you much farther than competing with them. (And it is much more fun!) Many of my opportunities came from supporting other people who returned the favor by supporting me. Kath does this well by sharing her platform with guest RDs!
Lesson #2: Start right now!
How many times has someone told you that you should work a traditional dietetics job before doing something innovative? Nonsense! A traditional job (clinical, community or foodservice) can offer valuable experience, but when your gut tells you those jobs aren’t a good fit, listen! Don’t forget how far-reaching the field of nutrition is, and don’t be afraid to use your credentials in creative ways. I own a plant-based personal chef and nutrition company, True Food Co., where I prepare healthy plant-based meals for clients tailored to their nutrition goals. Before I started True Food Co., I worried that I was too young, too inexperienced, too “fill-in-the-blank” to be an entrepreneur or a personal chef! Those feelings are totally normal, but you are likely much more prepared than you think. If you really do need more experience/time/money/education before jumping in to entrepreneurship, you can still take baby steps today. Read a business book, reach out to someone who is already doing what you want to do, start talking to people about your ideas. Do something, however small, right now to move in the direction of your dream job. Before I started True Food Co., I devoured books on entrepreneurship and cooking. Life is too short to put your dreams on the backburner.
Lesson #3: You gotta have grit
Nutrition entrepreneurship, as glamorous as it sounds, is not all rainbows and cupcakes. Sometimes it’s hard and scary and overwhelming, so you must have grit to endure those moments. Grit keeps you motivated when the road gets rocky and reminds you of your passion when you feel like giving up. In addition to the gigs I already mentioned, I also teach nutrition courses at a university, co-write a recipe blog, The Plant Eaters’ Manifesto, with my husband, and work on several freelance projects. With so many balls in the air, some days are insanely busy and, surprisingly, some days are eerily quiet. Grit helps me stay focused on my goals through the inevitable highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.
Let’s put these lessons into action, shall we?
What step will you take today toward becoming a nutrition entrepreneur? What do you want to do and whom can you talk to about it? An Example: my current focus is my recipe blog, The Plant Eaters’ Manifesto, so I am reading about food photography and reaching out to other food writers for advice. Now, tell me how I can help you with your goals!
I am also a LARABAR Ambassador (lesson #4: as an entrepreneur, you must wear many hats!) and the wonderful folks at LARABAR gave me bars to share with a lucky winner! One lucky (USA) winner will receive a mix of classic, Uber and mini Larabars!
Kayli Dice, MS, RDN, HFS is a plant-based chef, dietitian and food writer who helps people fall in love with simple food. Follow her and her husband’s food for thought and plant-based recipes at The Plant Eaters’ Manifesto. Learn about Kayli’s nutrition and cooking services at True Food Company.