In this episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, Krista Kolodziejzyk chats with Registered Dietitian and Registered Massage Therapist, Amelia Lyne. Amelia is the founder of Own Health, where she operates an in-person practice serving clients for both nutrition and massage therapy.
Amelia and I chat about:
- How to combine two designations into one practice
- How she evaluated the start-up costs (both fixed and ongoing) for running an in-person massage and nutrition practice
- How she found the physical location she uses for her practice
- How to find success as a generalist vs. specializing in a specific niche area of practice
- How investing in building a brand has paid off
- Her advice for new practitioners with regard to delegating tasks
- Follow Amelia on Instagram
- Check out Amelia’s website
- Click here for a FREE Business Planning Workbook
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- Both adult and pediatric intake forms
- An initial and follow chart note template
- 24-hour recall and three-day food record templates
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Welcome to the Dietitian Success Podcast. Here at Dietitian Success Centre, we’re all about making it easier for you to build your confidence and expertise. So, whether you’re a dietitian or a dietetic student, we’ve got something for you. I’m Krista, your host and the founder of DSC. Now, are you ready to ditch the imposter syndrome and join our incredible, vibrant community?
If so, let’s jump in.
Today I’m joined by registered dietitian. Amelia Lin. Emilia is not only an RD, but she is also a registered massage therapist as well. Through her practice own health she works with a variety of nutrition and rmt clients to provide care in her in-person victoria bc based office space so today amelia and i talk all about her journey in building her practice what it looks like to combine two designations into one practice and how she plans to grow and scale in the future
Amelia, welcome to the podcast! Feel free to say hey to the audience. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks for joining me. I’m pumped to talk to you. Before we press record, we were just saying you offer a little bit of a different take on sort of the dietitian experience as someone who’s an RD, but then also an RMT too.
So I’m excited to talk about how you’ve bridged the two and how you’ve pulled the two together into one private practice. But first I’d love to just hear a little bit more about your dietitian story. So how did you get to where you are today? For sure. so straight out of high school, I went to university.
It was actually a career fair in grade 10. That led me to discovering what a dietitian is. And I remember leaving that career fair being like, Oh, I found it like this is what I’m going to be. And then I just did, which is not everyone’s story, I realized, but It was for me. So I kind of just went down that path.
So graduated high school and went on to UVic for two years here in Victoria and just did the necessary prereqs to get into the program at UBC. So just a mix of science and math and. All of those courses and then I applied to the program at UBC and got in. So I’m trying to remember how many years that was.
I think a 2 year plus internship. Once you got into the program, something like that for internship, I was lucky enough to actually come back to the island, which was sort of nice. Internship was a bit of a tumultuous year. So to be home was kind of special just to sort of feel grounded and like Vancouver is very close, but also very far away when you’re going through it.
And not home. So yeah, I loved my time at UBC, just being in school, like just met so many great friends. Our class was only 30 people. So you. knew everyone. There were so many strong bonds. And then internship was great too. Was placed with a few of my friends as well. So it was it was a hard year, but nice being at home.
And then after. Finishing up internship. I moved to Kamloops really soon after which was such a curveball. It was not part of my master plan. It was not part of my, like, five year. This is where I’m going. Which for me at that time was very. Not me, like, I usually map things out pretty concisely and if I think, I think if I could have had more control of everything, I would have just stayed in Victoria.
So the move to Kamloops, I think, was quite pivotal for my adult life because it forced me out of my comfort zone. And really was just I just wanted to work like I just wanted a job. So that job came up. It was for a casual new grad position exactly what I needed. But like I said, if I could have mastermind my way through it all, I would have stayed here in Victoria.
But that move was. Like one of the best things I’ve ever done. I think of it so fondly just from like a personal development point of view and also professionally because it was obviously for a job, but I never would have lived in Kamloops ever in my life. But the team there was so they’re, they’re really hard workers.
They were tough cookies, but so nurturing for this 24 year old who is moving like from the island. And everything was new, like, it snows a lot there. And obviously the job, I mean, internship, I think I finished on my community rotation. So flipping back to clinical was like, oh, my gosh. Okay. So, yeah, they were, they were really nurturing, they chucked me in, like, I think it was covering surgery, you know, my second week, and I was doing TPN and tube feeds, and there was no withholding of certain interventions because they’re a smaller site and I asked because here in Island Health there was a little bit, like, You know, you can do those interventions once you’re a little bit more experienced, which I totally understand.
I mean, that goes with any position. I remember asking one of the RDs in Kamloops, I’m like, oh, like, can I do this? And she’s like, yeah, you can. I’m going to show you and I’m going to kind of act as a bit of a mentor, but you’re covering surgery, so you need to do it and I was like, yes, like it just felt so empowering.
And then once you start doing these things with the right mentorship and the right team you realize like you have the skills. And it was, it was so empowering. I remember feeling so good about the move. Our practice lead actually covered peritoneal dialysis for a while. And when she would go on holiday, I would cover for her.
So I was doing like PD. I was doing hemo at one point. I just felt like what I was being exposed to was probably not what I would have been exposed to had I stayed perhaps in a bigger center because they had more experienced. Rds to fill those spots. So at the time, it felt a little spinny, but retrospectively, I’m like, Oh, that was the best thing you’ve ever done.
And then just personally, like, I, I mean, I didn’t ski. I’m not much of a skier, but like, I embraced the snow as much as possible and met some friends that are still like best friends of mine right now. So that was just such a Such a tender memory and I’m, I’m just so glad that I did it and kind of broke out of that comfort zone and realized that like, not everything is going to go according to a plan.
And I mean, that’s just so classic, you know, when we step out of our comfort zone, that’s when we really grow. So I draw on memories from Kamloops all the time, even now in my private practice, like so much confidence lives in that time. So cool. And so what was the, then I’m curious. What was then the, so you worked in this super clinical setting and then what happened between or what happened after that, that brought you into private practice?
Like what was that transition like? So that kind of massage therapy kind of came in there. So I I went through it, you know, doing casual work and then I posted into two back to Mac. to back to back mat leaves, which was great for a surgery position. So I kind of had this ongoing rolling job after job after job kind of being the only casual.
I also got to be a preceptor, which was cool. I got to have interns, which I’m like, really, I’ve only been working for two and a half years, but they’re like, you’ve been working for two and a half years. Like, yeah. And I’m still friends with. My interns who both happen to be older than me, which was funny, but they were amazing.
Still are. So yeah, if anything, I’d say being in that super clinical space really inspired me, like what the nurses got to do was inspiring. What the doctors were doing was inspiring the physios, the OTs, like I sort of felt exposed to, oh, there’s more to learn almost, which was. Definitely a blessing, but maybe a curse for the RD team.
Cause I was like, I gotta go, I gotta go learn more. Which is where it’s sort of the massage piece came in. So I did, I always knew I wanted to move back to Victoria. I just wasn’t sure when, or, or just move out of Kamloops. I knew it wasn’t a forever place as much as I enjoyed the time. So, Yeah, I guess I knew private practice was always something I desired down the road, but I wanted a really great clinical base.
That’s just where my comfort zone. Sort of was like, if I’ve got this really strong clinical base, then I can go in the community because I know what goes on in acute care. Like not to say that acute care is sort of better or anything, but I feel like that skillset gets really developed in clinical settings.
And then when you go into the community, a bit of a different story. So, I just knew I wanted to learn more. Like I wanted to add a little bit to my dietitian skills. I toyed with like going into medicine, toyed with going into nursing, kind of went through it all. At one point I was like, what does an osteopath do?
Like I kind of, I want to add something. I don’t know what, and I didn’t want to give up being a dietitian. So, yeah, the transition into private practice came after I finished RMT school, but I think the long term game was always Private practice one on one conversations. That’s really interesting because I think when I, when I heard that you had both designations, I think the first thing you think of is like, Oh, you maybe wanted to do a career change and then eventually came back to dietetics, but it doesn’t, doesn’t sound like that was the case.
It sounds like all along you were like, no, I actually want to do both things. And I’m quite happy doing both things. Totally. Yeah. I never thought like, you know, when I was going to school to be an RD, I wasn’t like, oh, I’m going to do two. It was definitely like, dietitian was like my calling that grade 10, 15 year old, you know, knew she wanted to be an RD.
And then even when I was in RMT school, which I wasn’t working as an RD at that time, it was 20 months, and I just had to go full on into that program, but instructors and fellow classmates would always say like, oh, that would be, it’d be so cool to put them together. And even during that time, I didn’t think I would put them together.
I’m like, no, I think I might work clinic, clinic, like separately. And then things changed, which is classic for life. Totally.
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Okay. So let’s talk about your private practice called own health. So I’d love to hear a little bit about what were some of those first steps that you took in just getting your private practice off the ground.
So you graduate from RMT school and then what happens? So I graduated from RMT school. I actually had a or I quickly took a long term care position as an RD. I wasn’t quite ready to jump into private practice from an RMT point of view because I didn’t have clientele. Nobody knew I existed. So I did work separately for a few years and doing like long term care as an RD part time and then part time at a Clinic here in town for RMT and then I, I finally started to, I think wrapping my head around the financial piece was actually a big Like awakening, I guess, when you start, not so much from the RD piece, because that was like, I was an employee, I looked at my pay stubs, I understand where the money was going, like, that’s pretty, you’re an employee, usually, when you start working but from the RMT point of view, it’s really common to be employed as a employee.
Not being employed. It’s common to be a contractor like a sole proprietor and then you do sort of like contract type work. And when I saw where my, the, the division of the split would go, I would always assign personal value to that. So if you’re paying 40 percent to the clinic, 30 percent to the clinic, whatever it is, and every clinic is a little bit different.
I just started to kind of put value besides just like put personal value behind where the money was going. So then I started to kind of say, well, I can do my own laundry or I can do my own booking. And I’m quite a personable, chatty kind of person who’s happy to take The booking on often I tell my patients like send me an email.
We’ll get you in. Like, I’m happy to do that kind of stuff, at least right now in my life. So to pay a front desk person, I’m like, but I kind of like doing the booking or I can do my laundry on the weekend. And, you know, by taking back these pieces. It’s sort of like, well, then I’m paying this clinic for overhead when really these are sort of things that I’m happy to take on.
So from a financial point of view, I think after having been in both professions, I mean, I’ve been an RD at that point for like seven years, RMT for three years. I was sort of like, I think I’m ready to take this on. Like, I think I can kind of marry the two. And I realized by working at a clinic, what it would take.
So there was a laundry component, or there was like an equipment component, the oil, you know, a booking system, like these things cost money. Are you willing to pay for those yourself, or do you want a clinic to take all of those on? So I finally got to the point where I sort of sussed out the situation.
I said to kind of say like, what does it take just to run the business for both of these things? Had to buy a massage table. So, The finances was a big thing from like a logistics point of view. Like let’s evaluate the equipment that needs to take place. Infrastructure, you know, like where’s your room going to be?
Is it accessible for folks? Like all of these pieces kind of rolled into, if I’m going to jump out on my own, it is all on me parking is a huge one as well. So yeah, I think once I kind of. Was comfortable with my skill set in both careers and then wanted to take the leap into more of the business.
piece, which I never considered a great skill set of mine, but I’m like, I think we can do it. Like, let’s just trust. So yeah, once I kind of got those things clear in my brain then I just started to look for a room to rent here in town, good location, a room that I could kind of do both out of. So a little sort of counseling spot where I could do the nutrition piece.
And then also The RMT side of things with spots for the table and that kind of thing. Yeah. Cool. And so as part of that little sort of financial analysis that you, you did, was it, did you do any sort of like a, you know, this is what I need to be able to break even every month, or was it just, here’s all the, here’s all the upfront expenses.
Here are some of the monthly expenses. Do I think I can cover this? The ladder for sure. I wasn’t really looking at like, I think that came after. So like what you said, the ladder was sort of like, itemizing the pieces. Like how much do sheets cost and how much do like chairs cost? They’re really expensive.
It’s kind of like when I bought my house and was buying furniture. I’m like, whoa, couches are expensive. So, yeah, I, I kind of itemized all those pieces first and then the monthly reoccurring costs. So it’s sort of one thing I was sort of okay with, like, I understand there’s going to be a lot of upfront costs from marketing advertising, but these are kind of one shot things.
It was the reoccurring costs that I think I really had to start to build into, like, this isn’t going away and this is going to eat into. Profits or just revenue that I’m bringing in that I need to make sure I can sort of offset. So I’d say for sure in the beginning it was a lot of list making. I had definitely an enough money to kind of get things rolling But I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being naive that like I couldn’t carry through The rent, you know in victoria is quite expensive or if I was going to buy a parking spot depending on where my location was like it was, it was those kinds of things that I really wanted to make sure I didn’t miss, but lots of lists.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I appreciate how you broke that down because I think that the idea of having an in person practice is really overwhelming for a lot of people because there are all of those. Well, there’s those upfront costs, which just don’t exist when you have people. Yeah. Yeah. Something that’s virtual.
But obviously as an RMT, you can’t operate virtually. So this is really, this is your only choice. Yes. And I, you know, there’s also so many benefits, which I want to talk about in a minute, you know, benefits that you found in seeing people in person, even for nutrition care. But I’m curious first, how did you find your location?
Yeah. So I, Found it. I have to remember. I don’t know if a friend sent it to me. I think it was, it was an RMT’s posting. So an RMT here in town. And I think it was sort of word of mouth like I kind of put it out there to my colleagues and friends like I’m kind of looking for a place if anyone sees anything.
And then I think she did post something on Facebook and I sort of stumbled on the ad after I had heard her name sort of thing but it was a little bit of word of mouth. With the advertisement and I was actually familiar with the RMT who had it before the gal who took it over and kind of aggressively messaged her a few times just being like, I’m interested.
And then she finally let me know, Hey, I’ve actually passed the space onto this other RMT. So then I messaged this other person and you know, a little bit of negotiations in the beginning regarding rent and splits and this or that, but she offered me an incredibly Like affordable and reasonable kind of flat rent, which I loved.
Not that she would give me a split. Like we are separate owned businesses, but I loved it. It was just like a flat cost. Here you go. It was really close to my house. Like it was kind of one of those, like it just worked out. Like the stars just aligned. It was in a really beautiful heritage house. And we had this cozy little space.
It it’s really beautiful. It was tough to leave. Because now I’m in a new space, which I actually don’t know. Okay. No. Yeah. Yeah. So tell me about what happened there. Yeah, it evolved. So, yeah, so I was in the previous spot for a year and a half or. So I might get my timeline wrong and then met super dear friend of mine now.
And we call each other business partners, which sounds very formal cause we’re just really close friends now, but we kind of met up she’s a counselor and we sort of decided she was in the space where she wanted to start taking in person clients on as well. And we were sort of like, I think we’re ready to expand, take over a bit bigger office and then tenant out.
So that just took place recently. Like we just moved in. February. So yeah, I’ve kind of been like leapfrogging. Like I sort of went from like a clinic and a little bit of a virtual practice to putting the two of them together to then renting my own room and being like having full autonomy. Although sort of under, like I was someone sublet to now being the primary tenant and being able to sublet to others.
So it sort of. Kind of kept unfolding. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s awesome. That’s really interesting. What’s that experience like finding tenants for? That’s like a whole other component of the business. Yes. I’m like switching hats, but then wearing multiple hats at the same time. One, I kind of. Well, I don’t want to say I could have never done it by myself, but I am so, so, so grateful to have had a partner in that piece.
I was very happy on my own renting a room, taking care of GST and rent and two streams of income like that. I could kind of do, but this next step of we are renting the bigger space. So we are still, you know, a tenant of the landlord, but we are. It’s a way bigger responsibility for sure. So having a partner in that whole piece is, I just feel way more grounded sharing it.
And then finding tenants, like knock on wood again, but it was just enough word of mouth in, in Victoria through the counselling space. A lot of counsellors wanted new spots to take on more in person. I think it was the, like, Transition out of COVID as well. It was a nice time for folks to start seeing more in person people.
And we offered a really flexible, like they’re allowed to have a sublet kind of thing. We wanted it to sort of be, we wanted it to feel really good and to not rope people into things. I think that’s always the sort of risk when you go into taking on a room. It’s like, Oh no, I’m strapped in for three years.
And what if my practice just isn’t thriving, or if I’m not allowed to have a sublet to offset my costs. Like we wanted to sort of incentivize, but also just be like, listen, we get it. Victoria is a really expensive spot. We want to be able to offset your costs so that your practice can thrive and so on.
So we really didn’t struggle to find tenants. There was tons of interest and we also were happy to kind of offer half days here and there, because we so appreciated the ability in our past to sort of have Tuesday afternoons, but not have to commit to like. Full days or that kind of thing. So, I think there’s a risk.
Some people are staunch, like, Nope, you will be taking a full day. This is your commitment. And we were sort of like, let’s see how it goes with offering a bit more of a gentle arrangement. And for us, it really worked out. We are like two months in, but I have full confidence in the people who are in our space.
They’re so lovely. And we just feel so blessed that they kind of. We’re just full like it just happened. Yeah, word of mouth. Yeah. And so each tenant, obviously, I’m assuming they have their own business, their own brand, you’re all just sort of operating, you know, as your own little unit within the same physical location.
Totally. Yeah. Yeah. So which makes it really like clean in terms of and everything. No one is integrated. And then their sublets that they choose to take on are kind of up to them, which is sort of nice because then they get that autonomy as well. They get that kind of. Management piece rolled into their practice, which is sort of a next step for any practices, then to also have someone else to share the space with.
So, yeah, there’s a little, like, there’s a lobby and a little kitchen and then a bathroom, but it’s very much separate, but I still feel like we’re a cohesive kind of group. Like, there is some kind of team, but from a business point of view, all quite separate, which is sort of nice. You know, you’re kind of responsible for you.
Yeah, and this is sort of an aside, but have you ever, do you ever think about one day having like a multidisciplinary clinic under the own health brand, or you’re good being separate? I, I’ve definitely Thought about it, especially myself having had worked at a multidisciplinary clinic. There’s always the kind of wonder, like, who’s my dream team?
Like, who do I want to kind of work with? Just personally, I would love to work alongside a physician or like a nurse practitioner just to have that, like the blood work piece, the medication piece, like there are things that I feel limited in my scope. Yeah. So, yeah, if I could afford to pay a physician or an NP, I mean, I, I love and respect both disciplines.
So, so much. And I think very nicely into nutrition obviously, but yeah, that is kind of the dream down the road. No idea what it’ll look like. But I’ve put in the legwork for, you know, branding, marketing, like it’s all there. So totally we’d have to figure out, you know, the legalities and logistics of.
I of view, a sole proprietorship, I think that would have to switch. But I mean, outside of paperwork and online kind of stuff, like I definitely think it could happen and I’d be super open to. Yeah. Cool. I love that. I was just curious. I know, because I think about your brand, I feel like your branding is very strong.
Like I feel like you’re, I love the look and feel of your brand. I think it could. It could lend itself absolutely to, you know, something like a bigger clinic or a multidisciplinary clinic. So that’s awesome. Your MBA is like percolating. You’re like, there’s so much you can do. I’m like, wait, but could you do this?
Yeah. And so tell me a little bit more about some of the benefits that you found in actually being able to work with patients and clients in person, more so from the nutrition perspective, obviously we know why you have to for RMT. But yeah, from the nutrition perspective, what are some of the benefits there for you?
I feel like depth of connection, like when I was thinking about this question, I mean, I wrote that connection depth of conversation, and that’s not to say that you can’t have that virtually. I think different people are better, you know, virtually and in person and oftentimes when I’m booking in a patient.
We have that conversation. And sometimes it’s like logistic like, you know, I live. 35 minutes from your office. I just, I want to make sure this appointment happens. Let’s just do it virtually for sake of convenience. But being able to offer in person, I think is really nice, especially as we are kind of coming out of the COVID place.
I know much of life feels Resumed and normal, but I think some services just lend themselves better to, to an in person kind of feel. And it’s, I know, as a patient, like when I’m on the receiving end, I love to be in someone else’s space because you’re picking up on, at least I’m very intentional with like book placement and, you know, the artwork that we have in the office and the paint job and all these sorts of things like that.
I feel like it sort of adds into it. And also sort of my ethos with. Yeah. Dietetics and counseling and things like you are choosing to be really vulnerable, even if we’re just talking about something that seems like I just need advice on my iron. Like, we’re still talking about your diet and like GI things or maybe like, Oh, I was really low iron.
I was feeling really crappy for a while. Like, we do kind of edge our way into these things. Yeah. More vulnerable vulnerable places. And I just feel like sometimes kind of holding that physical space with someone can allow for not even more information, but that depth of connection that really serves people who are just offering stuff up about this, you know, about themselves to this person who was a stranger 10 minutes ago, or, you know, I’ll have patients who will share lab work and things like that.
And it’s, it’s personal, like that’s your stuff. So, yeah, for the people who really enjoy it, I love to be able to offer that. I think I’m, able to adapt. I’d never want to say that a virtual session is any less than an in person session. I try to show up, I do my prep, I’m engaged, you know, my devices are turned off.
I can’t promise that my cat will always stay out of the room, but I really do try to minimize everything else and kind of bubble off into the session, but sometimes you just can’t control. All the things that can kind of disrupt a virtual session. So, yeah, totally. No, that makes perfect sense. And then you, you’ve positioned yourself as a little bit more of a generalist with regards to the nutrition side of your practice.
So what was that, what’s that journey slash decision been like for you? Yeah, that one’s really tough because anytime I’ll talk to someone in the business world or especially social media, it’s like niche, niche, niche. What’s your niche? And I’m like, I don’t know. Like I, I like lots of stuff and I see pros and cons 100%.
Like for every pro, there is also a con that’s saying niche ify. So I, I don’t want to say I’ve struggled with it. I’ve reflected on it a lot. I think I have pockets of. preference, if you will, like the gut health space for sure. And I’ve done a lot of continuing ed in that space. So when I get like an IBD patient or definitely someone post op, like a new ostomy or any sort of GI, I feel right at home because I lived that clinical life.
In campus, which served me so well. And then I’ve also done a ton of continuing ed. However, like, I don’t live with GI disturbances outside of, you know, the, the normal fluctuations of life. So. There’s also that sort of piece of like, oh, but if you don’t have that lived experience, are you missing something?
Which you totally are like, but does that mean you’re not qualified? No, but there was that whole piece with the GI space of like, You know, I, I’m not currently living with IBS or something like that, but I do feel like I’ve done a whole host of education in that space. So, you know, that would be a pocket and then definitely like more of the food relationship conversations you know, body image and diet culture and all of that kind of stuff is a place where I’ve certainly sunk a ton of my time reading and educating and.
You know, learning from other people. So I think there’s pockets of my practice that I’ve definitely spent more time in, but having had worked on medical floors for, you know, three years. It’s like, well, I, I do know a thing or two about. GERD or hypothyroidism or renal for sure is a huge pocket and I love taking on CKD or dialysis patients.
Well, they would go to the kidney center here, but I can talk that talk. So I sort of felt like I didn’t want to give anything up to just specialize because I feel like I do possess a lot of knowledge. But then at the same time, it’s tough if I do GI for Two months straight because I get the majority of those clients in and then it’s like, and then I’ll get, you know, not a random other client, but you know, I’ll get it.
I’ll get someone that I haven’t worked with that condition in a while. And it’s like, oh yeah. Okay. Flip my brain back. So it’s kind of a balance, but I, I feel happy where I am right now being a generalist. I do have areas that I don’t. Go into which I’ve made clear on my website and that’s why I do discovery calls because I just don’t want to I want to make sure that it’s a good fit from the hop.
But yeah, it’s something that I think about a lot and I can’t quite. I don’t feel like I need to make any changes right now, but in our world, it’s tough because I think niche is sort of, where a lot of people find themselves. Yeah. Yeah, and I think, well, I think it’s just an important reminder.
I feel like I say this, maybe, You know, maybe even once every podcast episode, but it’s such an important reminder that there’s never one right way of doing things when it comes to business, right? There’s so many different ways to be successful and there’s never one size fits all approach. And I think, you know, particularly I was actually talking to a dietitian a few episodes back who also has an in person practice and is sort of in the same.
you know, has had these conversations with herself, but at the moment is more of a generalist. But, you know, like when you have an in person practice and a large part of your marketing is the community around you. And how many other dietitians have in person practices in Victoria? Probably not. I would assume not many.
I’m not sure. I know of a handful of friends, but they’ve Stuck to virtual. And I don’t even know if it’s a full time gig, you know, much of it is. Is virtual for sure. Right. And so you’re, you know, you have this strong community presence that other people wouldn’t have. And so it, you know, it actually probably makes sense for you to sort of just keep things a little bit more general so that you can help more people in your community and your niche is almost your community a little bit, I think, like the community of Victoria and the in person practice component, which sets you apart from other practitioners.
So I think it’s great. I like that your niche Like that really resonates because it’s like, oh yeah, it is like I’m serving the city as much as I can. And in person, yeah, I just love it. It makes me feel really in the zone as well. Yeah, that’s awesome. And then what’s your service structure like? So do you mostly offer one off sessions?
Do you do packages? What does that look like for you? That was another piece that I kind of went back and forth. I’ve stuck to just one off sessions. For right now, packages are alluring. My, my brain gets a little, I think sometimes I overthink it and overcomplicate it and then just kind of go, you know what, one off sessions are, I don’t want to say easy, like, oh, it’s just the easier approach, but it’s simple, I guess is the right way to say it.
A lot of folks do have coverage, which is amazing, but a couple years ago, that wasn’t the case. Like, I think insurance plans have actually changed over quite a bit now, or maybe folks are just paying attention a little bit more, or whatever that shift is. But I think… I’m pretty sensitive to finances and sometimes I feel like I never want patients to feel roped into anything.
I get very protective of just, you know, what, let’s do this session. Let’s make sure you get the most out of it. I’m big on like summary documents and that kind of follow up. If you do have a question, reach out to me by email, you know, appropriately. So not with like 25 questions. But yes. So I think, I think packages make a lot of sense.
I know accountability is huge for behavior change. I know, like, we don’t just change after one session. Usually it takes three. I’m a huge proponent of all of this. I just sort of, I feel right now my practice is doing just fine by offering that the client that sort of autonomy to sort of say, hey, touch in.
There’s always a conversation about follow up and I’m usually pretty, well, I am always transparent regarding. how I feel regarding follow up, but I also don’t watch this sort of like speak for them, like if they’re hankering to come back in, I don’t want to say, Oh, well, now that we’ve done the cholesterol teach, you’re done.
It’s like, but I have so many more questions, but I do like to say from a follow up point of view, these are the pieces that I would like to review, you know, in four to six weeks. But if you feel happy to kind of review those things on your own, don’t feel like you need to, you know, come tell me all of those things.
If you’re feeling quite empowered. Where you’re at. So I kind of try to read the room on that and just sort of say, like, how are you feeling in terms of continuing this? Or do you feel kind of good for now? And I, I love for people to make their own decisions and to just kind of, yeah. And I think, you know, some business coach could be like, that makes no sense.
You know, from a package point of view, the accountability and the appointment made at the end, like, I think there’s, Yeah. Like you said, so many different approaches to make it work. I feel like I’m pretty good at planting those seeds and then sort of saying, do with it what you will. And I feel pretty genuine to myself having done that.
Yeah. Absolutely. And so I’m curious then what, and you’ve spoken to it a little bit with regards to just the local nature of your business, but what do you feel like has really worked for you so far with regards to getting clients? Definitely spending the time and money on branding, for sure. I was kind of slow to the Canva game.
And then when I got it, I’m like, Oh, I’m a graphic designer. Yeah. Like I can change this color in this font and I love it. And I think it is. So great and love what they’re doing. But definitely worth spending the money on getting a professional company to do the branding. I think folks can do amazing stuff on Canva for sure.
But I. I’m really glad that I went the more, like, professional route and had someone come up with, like, a brand package and things for me. And once I did ask for that help and made the investment I sort of felt my brand blossom in a way that I just don’t think it would have if I had just done, like, a quickie little Canva sort of thing.
Especially that being the first leap into private practice. I didn’t And I even know now, like, even if I were to drum up a logo now, I think that would be so far past what I did. I should post my original logo sometime. It’s quite. Yeah. I should post mine too actually, from like way back. Totally. Like I think I found an orchid and I was like, amazing.
Yeah. I mean, it would have been fine, but I think what worked for me is investing in a solid brand. Yeah. sort of landscape with colors and fonts to keep things consistent from a social media perspective. I got business cards that were a bit thicker in card stock, like a little intentional, and I can’t say that that like, oh, I got tons of clients because my business cards, but that made me feel really rooted in my brand, which made Me feel confident.
So when I spoke about my business or my brand or I passed off a business card, I was proud. I am proud because that foundation was laid. So, that that was a huge first step. Instagram for sure. I think it’s just such a far reaching Medium right now, which a lot of people have it’s zero cost. It’s easy to use like As much as I curse social media and the platform definitely and have to set a lot of personal boundaries.
I do think because it’s so widespread. It’s really worked I don’t do like twitter or facebook or anything from a business point of view but spending some time making an instagram profile Being appropriately personal so people feel that connection Which I kind of spoke to before with that vulnerability that does kind of percolate during a nutrition session like I, I like that people feel like they know me a little bit.
So kind of making a, a presence there on social media as much as I sort of feel comfortable with word of mouth for sure. I mean, I know I keep saying that but Victoria is really small sometimes. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but it’s, it’s small in that if you get to know pockets of the community from like, I feel like I know a lot of counselors because my business partner is a counselor, you know, or even other providers like acupuncture, both being a patient of those types of services.
And then also just kind of saying, Oh, Hey, yeah, I’m going out on my own. Like people do really talk. I find having that Instagram base or, or any kind of online base. I also have a website is just so crucial. I don’t know that most people are not online in some ways, but I think really spending time to create those places for folks to go to after they’ve heard word of mouth is just so vital.
I don’t think I like have gone and got my nails done without, you know, doing a Google the online you know, lingo about that, about a certain business. So, yeah, that’s kind of worked. I think putting myself out there. Oh, that’s, that’s something I made a note of saying yes to the things that feel good to you.
And then saying no to the things where you’re like, I really want to get my name out there, but this opportunity doesn’t really feel right for me. There have been a couple that I’ve. politely declined or, you know, just haven’t acted on. And I’m glad I did because in as much as I could have taken on another patient or maybe done a bit of a network thing, I just, it didn’t feel quite right.
And I think those are important decisions as well. Yeah, and it’s such a, you know, it’s such a balance between, you know, taking yourself outside your comfort zone, especially when you’re first getting started, right? When you, when you maybe don’t know or haven’t figured out yet what feels right for you from just like a ethics and, you know, this feels good for me.
And then what just is scary because you’ve never done it before. And because it’s like, well, I just, you know, it’s, it’s scary for me to get out there. So I also think that’s a journey too, right? Is figuring out the difference between the two and being able to d differentiate those feelings. And sometimes you only know when you’ve said yes, and you’re like, Ooh.
And you’re like, shoot, that’s a mistake. Yeah. , ooh, I have PowerPoint for what? But it’s, it really hasn’t happened all that much. I feel like my spidey senses are pretty good. Yeah. Cool. But I think dealing with that as well, I’ve been like, oh, I, I said no to this and there might’ve been. A financial piece, but more so like a networking piece, just sort of like having trust that things do come up.
There’s going, something else is going to surface, especially in the nutrition space. It’s such an evolving topic that like more things will come up, you know, trust the process. But don’t beat yourself up too much. If you said no to something, especially if it kind of gave you a bit of the ick or a bit of a pause, like those are good messages to lean into.
Yeah, totally. So what’s, what’s a piece of advice that you would give to new business owners or those who are looking to get started in a private practice? I think asking lots of questions and asking for help, not trying to take it all on yourself because there’s so many avenues or sort of things to consider.
Like, The, I alluded to my lists before, but I would have like payment lists, you know, how are people going to pay you? And then I would have like a business list. Like, how do I register for a business number? And what are the things I need to be aware of when I do that? So kind of all these sub headings, it, it can feel, it can feel like a lot because it is a lot, but there’s also a lot of help that’s available to you if you kind of reach out.
So not taking it all on. And also being aware of frustration levels, like it can feel like you’re just climbing this continuous mountain if you’re like, Oh, I didn’t consider this or I consider that. But knowing that you can outsource usually coming at a cost, but also sort of delegating sort of in your brain compartmentalizing a little bit.
Like if I put this piece on to another company to do for me, what can I do then myself? Like how does that free up space for So I think I sort of looked at it from that. lens of being like, there are so many things, but if I can contract out to this business for my branding and I can go for coffee with this, you know, really experienced RMT, and then I can ask my friend who’s like in the whatever, some other kind of small business space, you kind of, The advice becomes really practical and you learn things so much more expedited than if you were to sit there and Google like how to start a business.
So I think depending on personality types, maybe some folks are better at asking for help than others, but I originally took a lot of it on myself. And then I started to open up a little bit more and realize like I can ask for help. And even my friend who’s like an acupuncturist or a counselor or whatever.
They still collect payment. They still have a brand. They still had really hard weeks where they had two patients and their rent was due. So I think really being open to just kind of having those conversations and then asking yourself what is worth sort of me and my time to do and what is something that will add quality of life.
By outsourcing and I always say that I teach at the massage college and I always talk with the students about that when they’re asking me about the split or what’s a good split, what’s not a good split. I always say, like, get really real with yourself and sort of say, like, do you want to do laundry on the weekends?
Is that something that you are happy just to take on? Or do you not want to touch work when you leave? So, yeah, I guess first piece of advice would be asking lots of questions, asking for help and then kind of checking in with yourself once you sort of gathered all the pieces and just sort of evaluated what is really important for me when it comes to my quality of life, my time, and then what would I like to pay for and what would I like to sort of delegate to someone else to do.
Yeah, amazing advice. Thanks for that. What’s next for your business? I think I when I was reading that question, I’m like vacation. Yeah, that’s a fair answer. I’m like being able to afford a vacation, you know, like time off when you’re an employee is paid time off or like the occasional LOA here and there and you kind of just take that on the chin, but I think in a business being able to not work for two full weeks or three full weeks or whatever is kind of a cool sort of operation to think about because you’re not having income come in, so you kind of have to look at that time, but then you also have to balance out What will taking a break afford me?
Not even professionally, but like from a personal level, and you kind of root down into what means the most to me as well when you kind of figure out that life balance. So, I guess that’s not really a business thing, but on a personal level, taking a bit of a break, I’ve got some time off coming in May, which I’m really looking forward to.
And I think holding steady now that we’ve moved into the big, the bigger space so kind of seeing we’re in a longer lease in that space. So sort of just seeing how things play out now that we’ve made that big move as well. I’m sure there’ll be another big change I think I just described like four huge changes in the last like five years so something’s going to come down the pipes but I think enjoying the hard work.
Is what’s next because I don’t foresee a big or a subsequent leap. Now that I’m in the spot that I’m in, I’d like to hold steady for a little while. Cool. Yeah. And that’s kind of a, it’s kind of a bit of a business sweet spot where like, you know, the first few years are really. challenging in terms of just trying to figure out what’s going on, right?
And trying to get to that steady state point. And then once you’re at that steady state point, it’s sort of a, a nice opportunity to be able to just take a deep breath for a minute and like, enjoy what you’ve created. Mm hmm. And take stock of like, yeah, the money in the money out on a average month, as opposed to having a huge expense for it by working weekend, that kind of thing, which I feel like, yeah, since we’ve moved into the new space, it was a lot, it was a lot of upfront costs, they were one off.
But now I’m kind of waiting just for the dust to settle, just to kind of evaluate, like, what is an average month, like, if you said what’s an average month for you, I’d be like, what’s that? So, yeah, hitting that sweet spot for sure. That’s awesome. That’s amazing. Well, thank you so much. Yeah, my pleasure.
It was so great to chat with you. So fun to talk to you. Thanks so much for just being open and sharing your experience. Where can the audience find out more about you and the work that you do? Yeah. So Instagram definitely I’m at underscore own health. And then my website your own health. ca couldn’t get own health.
ca. So it’s your health was the best I could do. I actually think lone health is like a. Diabetic company in the state. So shout out to them. If you stumble onto their website, gimme your domain. Yeah, totally. How much do we need? Can I afford it? Yeah. Probably not. But yeah, so definitely website.
There’s a communication box on my website that I’ll get emails through definitely. And I’m really easy to get ahold of Instagram emails. It’s kind of where I like to be. Awesome. So always happy to chat with anyone who needs advice. Perfect. I will link to all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much.
Yeah, my pleasure.