How to Build Your Nutrition Practice From the Ground UP

How to Build Your Nutrition Practice From the Ground UP

How do you build your nutrition practice from the ground up? We’ve all seen the “Make Money Now With Online Courses, Challenges, Instagram, Facebook Groups, And More!” We are bombarded day after day with ways to make income.

It’s all too easy to be sidetracked by the latest shiny object (can you relate?) we think is going to help us reach our goal of a wildly successful nutrition practice. The reality is, you need to build your nutrition practice from the ground UP.

The thing you really need to do to build your nutrition practice to capacity is to get back to basics.

Old-Fashioned Marketing Still Works

When I started my coaching practice back in 2008 I had a computer, phone, very basic business cards and an email account. That’s it! I was much simpler for sure – social media wasn’t even a thing yet and blogging was just getting popular.

But what I did have was a passion for coaching my clients, an excited sense of purpose, and the courage to talk about it to just about anyone. I built my business “the old fashioned way” – word of mouth, developing relationships with referral partners, phone calls, and lots of groundwork. Before I knew it I was at capacity in my private practice.

Private Practice Comes First

I know how seductive promises of passive income and multiple streams of revenue can be in your nutrition business. Especially when you’ve just finished school and aren’t sure which strategies will actually work.

Health professionals and medical professionals of all stripes get caught up in the excitement of all of the possibilities of filling group programs to capacity without doing any “work”. The thing is, you must be willing to start with business basics or you may be headed for a breakdown.

Fill Your Private Practice to Capacity

Before you can see that goal of money rolling in “while you sleep” or be reaping the rewards of several income inflows, you must build the foundation of your nutrition business with good old-fashioned “active” income.

That means 1:1 services for your clients, leading a group, giving a webinar filled with valuable advice (paid), and growing your private practice to capacity. Think of all the ways you can offer clinical care, one-on-one nutrition education, counseling services, meal plans, and helping people choose healthy foods.

Create Your Online & Offline Presence

facebook social media profiles nutrition business

Start establishing your online presence to stand out to your ideal client with social media accounts. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your profile description and make it easy for people to book with you with easy-to-find links to your contact or booking form.

On your website, make sure to include testimonials about your amazing service and the results your current and previous clients have achieved.

It’s also still a good practice to have physical marketing materials like business cards, thank you cards, and brochures that explain options your private clients have. They will want to know what insurance you accept, where you went to school for your nutrition education, your private packages like personalized food guides, and other options for your clinical practice.

Don’t Limit Your Service to Nutrition Education

Once you get the first “stream” flowing with your clinical practice, you can plan on adding strategies to attracting your ideal client. Only then should you think about creating some passive income for your dietetic practice. That is, selling a book, self-contained product, or an automated program – any service you don’t have to “show up for” in person with your client to make money.

You must have a sufficiently established reach and relationship with your audience and ideal client before you can make those kinds of offerings like nutrition education and coaching profitable.

Start in your own backyard (even in the days of COVID). There are opportunities from people who already know, like, and trust you who would love to be your client. Reach out to your family, friends, colleagues, and associates. Who do they know that could use a nutrition assessment? How many people do they know that struggle with meals? Everyone knows someone who needs nutrition education and these kinds of referrals are priceless.

Start Small with Your Online Presence

One of my first offerings was a short-term workshop style class that I offered to nutrition professionals I knew. It was very low cost (and low overhead as well), but from that class I enrolled some of my very first private clients who were ready to implement some of the strategies that worked for me.

Group Nutrition Programs & Counseling Sessions

To jumpstart your nutrition business online, you could do a mini-workshop or seminar in your on Zoom for free as a taste of your service and to get the buzz going about your nutrition programs. This is a great way to get your online presence established as the expert in nutrition content.

As we all know, the dietary guidelines from the Institute of Medicine aren’t a good fit for many people. That’s why group nutrition counseling sessions are a popular way to launch your nutrition programs to a group of people. Another option is group meal programs for a specific type of client like postpartum meal choices or food to fight acne.

List Your Nutrition Business in Professional (and other) Directories

If you want to be at full capacity in your private practice, list your business in professional directories like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or HealthProfs. There are also options like NextDoor and community Facebook groups that are an excellent way to be seen as the go-to expert on healthy foods and nutrition content in your area. You can even give a free PDF or short nutrition training video as a free gift to grow your email list at the same time.

This is so important that in my group coaching program, we devote an entire lesson on all of the places you can use this type of marketing to stand out online. Many of my students have found amazing, high-quality clients this way.

HealthProfs professional nutritionist dietition directory

Grow Your Dietetic Practice in Your Area

Look around your immediate area for places to get your private practice going. Community groups, churches, libraries, and are great places to start and remember, anything that was done in person to attract a wide range of people can be now replicated online.

Nutrition professionals are no longer limited to passing out business cards at meet-ups.

You Have a Valuable Service to Offer

Reconnect to your “Big Why.” Remember why you are passionate about nutrition, food, science and went to school in the first place. All of the marketing strategies in the world don’t matter if you aren’t sincere in your desire to help people accomplish their goals when it comes to food and health. It wouldn’t make any sense to be at capacity with people you don’t want to serve.

Use these marketing strategies to grow your practice and help people.

Don’t be afraid to look for clients for your nutrition business everywhere and spread the word anywhere you can. You’ll be at full capacity for your private practice before you know it.

Get out there and let your enthusiasm be infectious. Don’t let your nutrition education go to waste. You can be the expert on human nutrition in your area AND online. Your potential clients are waiting for you.

Lesli Bitel registered dietitian coachClinical training doesn’t equate to clients and cash.

That’s why you need effective business training. Get my FREE guide ‘The 7 Critical Keys To A Profitable Practice’ and start thriving in your private practice today.


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Lesli Bitel, MBA, RDN, LDN, is a sought-after Business Strategist and Mentor specializing in guiding integrative and functional medicine professionals through the complexities of practice building.

Her mission is to unravel the confusion associated with the business side of running a successful private practice. Lesli focuses on real-world marketing and client attraction strategies to seamlessly integrate multiple income streams into the private practice business model, including

  • 1:1 coaching to online courses
  • Group programs
  • Online courses
  • Passive income products
  • Memberships
  • And more

In her work, Lesli draws on her experience running her own 6-figure functional nutrition practice, specializing in helping patients with neurological disorders. She also has a 13-year tenure in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic testing industries, where she excelled in marketing and sales, eventually reaching high-level executive roles.

For over a decade, she has empowered practitioners to overcome business challenges, attract ideal clients, and diversify income streams for thriving practices. Lesli offers private coaching, classes, webinars, and more, dividing her time between Salida, CO, and Lake Geneva, WI.

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