153: Media Work as a New Dietitian Business Owner – Imposter Syndrome, Pitching and more, with Patricia Kolesa, RD

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In this episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, Krista Kolodziejzyk chats with Registered Dietitian, Patricia Kolesa from The Dietitian Dish.  Patricia and Krista chat about:  Links:  This podcast episode is sponsored by Practice Better and That Clean Life. Click the...

In this episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, Krista Kolodziejzyk chats with Registered Dietitian, Patricia Kolesa from The Dietitian Dish. 

Patricia and Krista chat about: 

  • How to ‘break in’ to media work in your first 2-3 years of practice
  • How she started posting on social media before she knew what services she would be offering  
  • How having diverse clinical background has helped her feel more confident when doing media work
  • Using HARO and Quoted to find jobs at the beginning
  • The importance of having a ‘continuous improvement’ mindset
  • Tips for sending your first pitches


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Episode Transcript:

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. dietitianwhether 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.

 In today’s episode of the dietitian success podcast. I am sitting down to chat with Patricia Colossae. A self-proclaimed aspiring media dietitian and the founder of the dietitian dish. Patricia is based in New Jersey and graduated with her nutrition and dietetics degree with a double minor in biology and psychology from Rutgers. Since then she has worked with a variety of groups, including the United States rowing team in geriatrics. Weight management, bariatrics and more. Through her media work, Patricia offers brand and social media partnerships, podcasts, collaborations, and speaking engagements. So today we’re going to sit down and talk about what it looks like to break into the media space as a relatively new RD and business owner. We’ll also dive into some specifics about how to pitch news outlets. She’s actually already been featured in food network, MSN and eating well. We’ll talk about pitching to podcasts and of course, feeling like an imposter. When you’re just getting started. Let’s jump in

Patricia, welcome to the podcast. It’s so good to have you. Feel free to say hey to the audience. Yes. Hi, everybody. dietitianthanks. And I want to thank Krista so much for having me today. I’m looking forward to everything we’re going to talk about and I’m so excited to be here.

Yeah, I’m so excited to talk to you. I love to talk to dietitians who are doing You know, slightly different things in their business than dietitianthe more conventional one on one. And I think that the media work piece is often one that’s just so dietitian abstract for a lot of people. It feels dietitianout of reach for a lot of people.

So I’m excited to dive into that a little bit. But first I want to hear more about your dietitian story. So let’s go back. Can you give us the Coles notes of how you got to where you are today? Sure, absolutely. So I would like to say that I’ve been all over the place when it comes to my dietetics career, even in the short time I’ve been a dietitian.

I started out in a distance dietetic internship in sports nutrition entrepreneurship. with a program called Wellness Workdays. So that’s where I did my MS and my internship. And once I graduated in 2020, I was able to start out as a dietitian part time, primarily in bariatrics, but I also did a little bit of outpatient.

With weight management and general health conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes And at the time I was still finishing my master’s degree At the time I really didn’t know what I wanted to do I just knew I needed in my mind. I needed to get the job to open up other job options So I did that for about six months The part time position, I jumped back into full time clinical.

So I went dietitianfrom the opposite back in, anddietitian I was fortunate enough to work this full time clinical job with a very supportive group of dietitians and a steady schedule. So that’s where I really got to thinking about what are my long term career goals as a dietitian, which is what led me to start this business called The Dietitian Dish.

Cool. So let’s talk about your business. What has that process looked like to get your business started and off the ground? It was definitely a process at first for sure. dietitianI knew initially that a lot of dietitian businesses have stems from social media. So I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do service wise, but I knew that I wanted to put myself out there.

So I started posting on Instagram about my journey and different nutrition information about what I wanted to do. And about maybe a couple months into doing that, I started to sit down with myself and I thought, okay, what are some Things that I really loved doing and I knew that I wanted to put myself out there, not as a nutrition expert and dietitianas a name to be recognized.

And I knew that I loved teaching. I loved educating people, but I knew dietitianthat was not something I wanted to do all the time. I wanted a variety of things to keep myself busy. So during that time, I was actually listening to your podcast, as well as the Dietitian Side Hustle for ideas on what kind of services I could offer.

So that’s what led me to actually build myself through the media. So I was picking things out from Facebook. I was picking things out from Instagram. And it became rewarding to be able todietitian influence and teach somebody something that they didn’t know. And As well as creating a positive and funny space about our work because nutrition can be so intimidating.

And that is how I’ve gotten to where I am business wise over, I would say, the last six plus months. Cool. And so I want to talk a bit more about… The services that you offer. So what exactly you charge for in your business? dietitianso when you started, did you always envision that it would be mostly media focused or was one on one a component as well?

No, I definitely was set on doing one on one because that, I thought, was the only way to make money as a dietitian. dietitiannot entirely, but generally that’s what we’re taught. And then I was thinking, wow, this is great. dietitianthere’s other ways that you can generate income outside of the one to one if that’s not something you want to do.

Yeah, totally. And so do you do any one on one work right now or is it exclusively dietitianbrand medias? Mainly brand and media stuff, but I’m definitely open to the idea of working one to one down the road dietitianas going, dietitianputting my name out there and helping to network and generate clients.

Awesome. dietitianso let’s talk a bit about the media piece because I think, dietitianmedia can be a little bit polarizing for dietitians, right? It’s like either you really want to do it or you’re like, no, I don’t want to do it at all. And it’s funny cause I think I was dietitianin that second camp when I was a dietitian practicing.

dietitianI worked for a retail company and There were dietitians in the company who would often do like media segments. dietitianand I know I was always like, oh my god, please never ask me to do this, right? Because I was just terrified to do it. dietitianso let’s talk about the media piece. What attracted you to want to do media work?

Yeah, dietitianabsolutely. I agree that there’s a lot of risks to working in the media, but I just knew off the bat that I really wanted to bring my expertise and myself to a wider audience and getting the nutrition information out there. dietitianit’s just rewarding to see that dietitianmy words and my quotes as well as my voice can be put into these popular news outlets.

dietitianAnd keeping in mind that it’s being read by maybe millions, if not thousands of people. dietitianand the really cool thing about it is you can choose, pick and choose what you want to do. It’s not necessarily that you have to go for every opportunity or engage in every topic. You can dietitianjump around which I really love because I know personally I don’t love to talk about the same things all the time And it gives you dietitianlike a change of scenery in a way.

Yeah That’s cool. dietitianand I think it also is neat because dietitianYou know, even in your clinical work from when you graduated to now you’ve worked in so many different settings that I feel like that also gives you a little bit more confidence when it comes to talking about really any topic with regards to nutrition, which is really cool.

Yeah, absolutely. It feels like I have a little bit of every experience. So it gives me, I, I feel like it gives me dietitiana leverage to working in a lot of nutrition topics in the mediadietitian because there, there have just been so many wonderful experience I’ve had in the short time. Yeah, that’s awesome.

dietitianso in a second, I want to come back to this idea of like, how do you break into the media as a new dietitian specifically, but I would love to know just out of curiosity where if you could envision your business in five years from now, how would you be spending your time? What would that look like? I would love to just go.

All into this business for sure, but just dietitianpicking at a few areas of the business and the services, I would love to do more social media collaborations with different food brands. So if for some of the listeners, if you see the day in the life post what I eat in a day, or maybe like different types of recipes and giveaways, I feel like that would be so much fun to be featured on there and be able to work with these brands that share the same mission and values as I do.

And then dietitiangoing into the guest presentations that I offer, I would love to have more speaking engagements booked, especially with bigger companies who are looking for more well, wellness initiatives for their employees or just some major news outlets. dietitianI’ve seen dietitians on Good Morning America and NBC and I dietitiangeek out over that.

I think it’s really cool that we’re being seen on a bigger screen and just with a bigger audience and being able to showcase ourselves at the, as the experts. And then this is dietitianlike another big dream is going back to conferences like FENCY and hopefully giving a presentation. That’s been more of like a long term dream, but I would If it happened in the next five years, I wouldn’t be opposed to it.

Yeah. Oh, that’s awesome. I love all of those thoughts and dreams. And you know what? I think the thing dietitianis even things like presenting at a conference like Fancy, they’re not that far out of reach. Absolutely not. So I love that you have that on the horizon. dietitianokay, so let’s come back to the idea of breaking into the media as a new dietitian or business owner.

Because, again, I think there’s dietitiana perception thatdietitian you have to be super established in order to do this type of work, which just isn’t the case. So I’d love to knowdietitian what are some of the first steps that you took to learn about working with the media and to learn about getting those opportunities?

Yeah, absolutely. dietitianIt started with listening to your podcast, actually, and realizing I could take a non traditional route of dietetics. And from there, I was involved in a bunch of Facebook groups. I was following a bunch of social media accounts at the time. So I would start dietitiancollecting information and learning for myselfdietitian what kinds of things I really wanted to do or break into so one of the Facebook groups that I specifically was in was called master the media It’s run by a dietitian called amy goren And she gives you a lot of the beginner steps on how to work with brands and reach Having ways of reaching out to news outlets So some of those specific websites that I signed up for were harrowing quoted.

They’re completely free there are premium plans, but you don’t need to Sign up for them in order to reach reporters. So I get notifications to my email saying any nutrition topics that are available and you can there’s actually a way to populate it so that if there’s specific topics you want to talk about or if they’re looking specifically for dietitians you can use hashtags in order to get Those sent out to you.

So when I would see them, I would try to respond very promptly. This way, I would dietitianbe at the top when the reporters would get emails and responses back. And from there, I was able to eventually land quotes in different news outlets like Eating dietitianEat This, Not That, Yahoo, and Food Network.

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I remember I had signed up for Harrow when I first started my business and was doing more consulting freelance work. I’ve actually never heard of Quoted before. dietitianbut did you find, like, dietitianhow many people were you responding back to every day or how many sort of pitches were you sending every day?

I would say on average maybe two to three. dietitianbut you definitely don’t need to go that route if you’re considering working in the media. If you even just start with one, you, that’s a big step. dietitianbut now I’m not doing as many quotes, butdietitian generally I would say I’m responding to maybe one or two a week.

Cool. Okay, that’s awesome. Yeah, because I remember it just being dietitianyou just dietitianget inundated every day dietitianwith, dietitianthese requests and you’re like, I don’t know what to respond to. Exactly. It’s overwhelming, but. Yeah, dietitianand then in the beginning, you just want to, you want to reply to everything.

Yeah, totally. Yeah, it’s so cool, and I just want to be a part of every opportunity. But then you start to dietitianset boundaries and think, okay, which ones do I really want to do? Which ones are going to take me enough, enough time to give a thorough response, but at the same time not dietitianmake me go crazy, which I’ll get into a little bit later as well.

dietitianso it is definitely a little bit of a learning curve there to figure out about how many Reports or I’m sorry articles that you want to reach out to As you dietitiango through it for sure. Yeah, that makes sense. dietitianso I want to talk for a second a little bit about imposter syndrome because I feel dietitianand I remember when I first started my business and, dietitianis doing more freelancing and consulting stuff and it just.

It was pretty constant for me, this feeling of dietitianOh, who am I to be pitching for these opportunities? Or am I really the expert? dietitianand I feel like imposter syndrome is, dietitiandietitianso real for a lot of us. So what has that looked like for you in terms of just getting started with your business, reaching out, pitching yourself?

What has that looked like? Yeah, I definitely did not think about doing this when I was at my first dietitian job because dietitianI wasn’t very familiar with bariatrics at the time. It was a very vulnerable position and dietitianI was terrified to give nutrition recommendations because it’s such a niche and the population has very specific needs.

dietitiandietitiangoing off of being a new dietitian and going into that field, I wouldn’t have considered jumping into that right away. dietitianbut now that I’ve had the experiences between the sports nutrition, bariatricsdietitian and clinical, I feel like I’m picking information going forward. I’m watching webinars regularly as often as I can.

So I’m getting these little tidbits and it’s helped me dietitianbuild that confidence. But I definitely do feel that every so often with this. It’s me, the media and growing into this role that it still lingers, especially since there’s a lot of times where you see dietitians who get a lot of coverage and they’ve been doing this for a lot longer and simultaneously not seeing the results every single day, but it does dietitiangive youdietitian An opportunity to learn from them and really figure out like what are some ideas that I can apply to how I put myself out there in the media and one thing I try to remind myself is the more you put yourself in that uncomfortable situation, you become more mindful of how you can improve.

dietitianfor example, dietitianif I were Or to pitch a reporter for an article, writing out my responsesdietitian okay, what would I say next time or giving a presentation? dietitianone, one presentation I gave initially was I would choke up a little bit at the end cause I was talking so much and I went on and said, okay, how can I fix this issue that I had?

And I just asked people and was able to improve my speaking skills that way. So cool. dietitiandietitianso helpful too. Okay, so I want to talk about some of the media gigs that you’ve done so far. What have you, what specifically have you done? What cool projects have you done? Yeah, absolutely. So one of the biggest projects that I’ve had is a through a diversity symposium.

This was last year through the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. dietitianit was about liberalizing diet orders in the hospital. So for example, like allowing more food choices and trying to get away from restricting diets. And I’ve also, like I said, I’ve also had different articles on multiple nutrition topics.

in Insider, Food Network, Eating Well, or wherever you might find your, some nutrition information. And another really fun one was working with a company called Veggies Make Great. I don’t know if some of your listeners might be familiar. It’s like an egg white frittata that’s super good. dietitianand they wanted someone to come on for the month and speak and answer nutrition questions for their audience.

And I came on there and just dietitianjumped in and started reaching out to the different customers and consumers of the product. So that was really cool. So fun. So fun. dietitianand so how did you get your first project? Do you remember? Yeah. dietitianit was actually simpler than people would think. I was on Facebook and somebody posted the opportunity for the presentation that I did for the Academy.

And. I at the time I was probably about a little over a year into the hospital and I saw a problem with restricting diets with our older patients, so I drafted the idea of thinking okay worst thing they’re gonna say is no or i’m not gonna get it And then I was surprised to get that email that said I was picked to speak.

So that was really cool So cool. dietitianand what about some of the other ones like veggies made great any of those articles? I’m curious Yeah, definitely. So the veggies made great opportunity was actually dietitianrandom to be honest I was on a Website called rd link. So for your listeners that don’t know rd link is Relatively new it’s a way of getting Partnerships between dietitians and food brands.

So food brands sign up dietitianfor the website and then Dietitians do as well and they can message different brands get samples, etc So I reached out to veggies make great and they said hey We need somebody to come on for the month of August and talk to our consumers and our customers about nutrition Are you available to do that?

And I was like, absolutely I’m not gonna say no to that. dietitianso that’s how That played out. As far as the, how I got my first quote landed, Idietitian as mentioned before, I was in the Master of the Media Facebook group, and the nice thing about that was sometimes dietitians, who are also reporters, ask for dietitians to come on and quote for their articles.

So the first one I ever did was actually aboutdietitian the best drinking habits for your blood sugar. So in my mind, I’m like, I’m familiar with that. And I gave my recommendations, like eat aiming for drinks with less added sugars and providing specific examples of brands that I love that have less sugars.

And then the article came up a week later. So cool. Oh, that’s awesome. dietitianAnd yeah, we’ve actually haddietitian Jenna from the RD link on the podcast before. So such a great resource for dietitians who are interested in doing brand stuff. So I love that you used it and it worked for you. That’s amazing. So let’s talk a little bit about systems and just some of those routines because obviously you’re working nine to five and then you’re doing this on the side, which is always so challenging, right?

It’s dietitianwe’re talking about this before we pressed record. It’s like you have these two jobs that you’re trying to manage. And so how do you manage that? Do you have any consistent routines that you do, whether it’s every month, every week, every day that help you stay on top of things like pitching?

Because I know. For me, I remember with freelancing consulting, it’s such a, as much as you’re doing projects, you also have to constantly look, be looking for the next project. dietitianand so how do you manage that? Yeah, that is exactly what I do. dietitianit’s like a constantly looking for the next. Project and for some people that might be stressful, but for me, it’s dietitianexciting because then I get to see what different opportunities come up So as far as the quotes, I do get the auto generated emails from quoted and harrow It definitely can be a little daunting to read every email to see Each day what’s available.

dietitianbut the cool thing about quoted specifically is that it only sends you the articles that are specific to what you’re looking for. So for me, I have a hashtag dietitian and it’ll just send me whatever diet reporters are looking for dietitians to be quoted in an article and not so much of. where it dietitiangives you every single lifestyle and fitness related thing that you have to sort through a little bit more.

And as far as other opportunities, like speaking engagements, I am on LinkedIn and Facebook, just dietitianscrolling, generally scrolling through, and specific Facebook groups really helped me out with that. So dietitiandietitianthe master of the media, like I said, the RDs who write, unconventional RD, those have all been really helpful in the process of getting involved and putting myself out there.

And finally, just the RD link was Super vital last year in getting those that partnership aspect in there so I get the emails from them pretty I would say weekly about Different brands that are coming out what kind of partnership opportunities that these brands are looking for Or just generally connecting with the brands sending them a message and asking for samples so you can get to know them more Awesome.

So helpful. And so what do you feel dietitianare some of the do’s and don’ts with regards to pitching? Yeah, there’s a lot. So as far as pitching, I would say making sure that you do answer all of the reporter questions by the deadline. I personally am a big planner and I do like to submit a little bit.

Sooner to get it off my back, but just making sure that those responses are very thorough and that you’re answering all of the questions that they have Giving them the website and linkedin and your full credentials so the readers and your audience has a way of reaching you and contacting you and What some of my don’ts would be?

As dietitianmentioned a little bit earlier is don’t feel like you have to pitch for every article that you see Now this kind of goes with saying some there are some things in nutrition that you either don’t feel aligned with your values, or you may not be as passionate about, which is totally valid. So don’t, I know in the beginning, like I said, it can be very exciting to see all of these opportunities, but don’t, there’s always going to be another one.

So don’t feel like you have to go for every single one. And also being mindful of how much is too much. So sometimes reporters can ask a lot of questions and you don’t want to be offering too much for free because in the beginning, especially with the quotes, this can be very much possible. So my suggestion would be in that situation, dietitianbeing like, hey, I totally appreciate you reaching out to me as an expert.

But I will need more of your time and I will need to charge for this service, not saying that directly, but dietitianfiguring out a way to explain to the reporter that you are setting the boundaries, but you’re also acknowledging that they want your expertise. Yeah, because, and I think that’s an important thing to know, which we haven’t really mentioned here, is that when you’re just being quoted in an article, you’re generally not being paid.

Correct? dietitianexactly. I have heard of opportunities where the dietitians have, if they work specifically with the brand, sometimes they will have a full on interview, which is really cool. Yeah. dietitianbut as far as Quoted and Harrow, you generally don’t get paid for that, but you do want to dietitiankeep on top of that with the other services because you never know down the line who’s going to be reading that article and They, it might be a specific food brand and they’re like, Hey, you mentioned our food product in this article.

Can we get in touch with you about another opportunity? Totally. And I think there’s still so many benefits to doing it, even if you’re not getting paid for that quote, because, dietitiansuddenly that news outlet, which is a way bigger. website than your website is, dietitianthey’re linking back to you, which can really help your website SEOdietitian can lead to other opportunities.

Like dietitianit’s still worth your time, especially if you’re interested in breaking into the media world. And I think too, to be able to say it just gives you that added level of credibility as well to go for those paid projects in the future by being able to say, Hey, Look, I’ve been featured in all of these awesome media outlets.

It’s just, it makes you look so credible, which is really important. Absolutely. I am always saying which news outlets I’ve been quoted on whenever I do anything because it just elevates you. Not that the RD credential doesn’t, but then it just adds a whole nother layer to what you do. Even if it’s just one article, it can take you a long way.

Yeah, totally. And so what’s one piece of advice that you would give to new business owners or people who are really looking to break into the media world? Yeah, so I always say start small, even if it’s simple as just getting samples from a brand or offering a quote for an article, because as we dietitiantalked about before, while some collaborations may not be paid off the bat, you still have your name in there the next time they need to reach a nutrition expert.

I’ve definitely been followed up with a few times by different people, which has been really cool. Awesome. That’s amazing. Such great advice. So last but not least, what’s next for your business? A lot, definitely a lot. dietitianso I did make my website this year, which was really cool and something I had been putting off for a while.

dietitianbut just dietitiancleaning up the website, refurbishing it, getting it to look good, adding all of dietitianthe other opportunities that come up within the next couple months. adding a logo to the project list. It’s been something on my brain for a very long time. And I’m sure for your listeners, it can be dietitianlike that big project that you constantly put off and you’re like, I need to do it.

I need to do it. So that is something I’m like dead set on doing in the next couple of months. I would hope maybe to do a Pinterest account. I just thought that would be like a little cool side project to get my creative juices going and. have a different outlet online to be available at, and there’s different recipes and different things you can display, so I thought that might be like another space that’s not the traditional Instagram TikTok kind of space.

And then finally, I might consider maybe generating more Spanish content to tailor to this population. dietitianactually for the past three years, I’ve been practicing Spanishdietitian just as dietitiana little hobby, side project. And I do want to tie this into my business somehow and really get to that population that sometimes doesn’t get the accurate nutrition information that they need.

So cool. I love that. That’s amazing. Such great plans for the future. And I know there’s always such a massive list of things, especially at the beginning. You’re like, I want to do this, I want to do this, but always an important reminder that it’s dietitiannot everything needs to be done at the beginning.

Like you could still, dietitian you can do all these things that you’ve done and. And then do the logo. That’s totally fine, right? It’s like it doesn’t have to all happen at the same time. Exactly. I’ve thought about it and I’m thinking like, I feel like the way I’ve gone about it is so backwards compared to a lot of people, but in reality I don’t think I would have done it any other way.

Because I, given that I do work full time and then this is like a side project, dietitianlike the side project that business for medietitian I’ve been able to dietitianbuild, keep just building a little by little upon it and dietitianit hasn’t, I’ve been figuring out a way to not make it so overwhelming for myself in that process.

Good for you. That’s awesome. dietitianit was such a pleasure to chat with you. I’m so glad we got to talk. Thank you for sharing all of that super helpful, useful information. Where can the audience find out more about you and the work that you do? Yeah, definitely. And it was great being on here and I’m so glad you had me, Krista.

You can find me on Instagram and TikTok under The Dietitian Dish, or you can reach me at my website at TheDietitianDish.com. Perfect. I will link to both of those in the description of this episode. Thank you so much, Patricia.

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