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MODULE 1 - Knowing Yourself: Understanding Your Values, Philosophy, and Strengths

Session 1: Identifying Your Values and Philosophy

One of the most important things about starting a business is getting to know who you are and what you are made of.  To get started, we'll be talking about some of the ways that you can ask yourself questions to better evaluate your values and philosophy.

Session 2: Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Let’s now dive into a few strategies that you can use to start identifying your strengths and overcoming other areas that you may need improvement on. After all, starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur is not only about providing a valuable service to others; it’s about really knowing and owning your strengths, and how you maximize those qualities.  This is how others will be influenced in finding value in your business.

Session 3: How To Plan Ahead

Having a visual of your workflow is essential for productivity. Being able to see your day on paper will help you prioritize the tasks and events you have each day and in your week. As a dietitian you know how many directions you can be pulled in at once and how busy your day can be. Now add being a business owner on top of that. We convince ourselves that we are well-organized, when in fact the combination of work, school, family, daily responsibilities, hobbies, social life and events tend to take a toll on our bodies, and more specifically our minds.

Session 4: How To Stay Accountable

It takes more than just hard work to become successful. No matter what industry you are in, your growth will depend on who you surround yourself with. Having the support of a personal board of advisors provides access to diverse professional wisdom. One of the biggest mistakes young professionals make today is thinking they can have one mentor who is going to meet all of their professional needs.

Session 5: How To Gain Confidence

Confidence is what fuels the business fire. Anyone can obtain the tactics to set up a business, but it takes a confident leader to grow a business and not fall apart in times of adversity. But what we often question is whether we need to already have confidence going in and starting the entrepreneurial journey, or is it something we gain along the way.


Session 6: Understanding The Basics Of Your Brand Message

The personal journey and realizations you discovered along the way can be such a powerful 'why' and motivating story that can capture your audience. Your focus is now to bring all that together into a message to share with others who will look to you as their guide, because you have been in their shoes and came out on the other side with a renewed perspective.  That is the essence of what your brand message is…and you need to know it in order to communicate to your audience why you can help, and why you’re the best one to do it.

MODULE 2 - Private Practice Basics: Setting Up Your Business


Section 1: Setting Up Your Business (Part 1)

Starting a business requires setting up the necessary foundation and basic infrastructure to ensure you are legally protected moving forward. Let’s step through the most straightforward part about starting a private practice: the actual logistics of forming a business.

Section 2: Setting Up Your Business (Part 2)

Once you’ve gone through the steps outlined in Session 1, you are all set up with a legitimate business!  However, there are still a few loose ends to tie up before you start taking clients, so let’s go ahead and discuss what’s left.

Session 3: Office Location

The next big decision you will have to make for your practice is your office location. Location is important because that factors greatly into how your initial customers can find you, and how often your existing customers visit. You want to be wherever your customers are and make it as convenient as possible to visit you.

Session 4: Managing Your Finances

Before we discuss establishing a bookkeeping system, it’s helpful to understand exactly what bookkeeping is, and how it differs from accounting. Bookkeeping is the day-to-day process of recording transactions, categorizing them, and reconciling bank statements. Accounting is a higher level process that looks at the business’ overall progress and will make decisions based on all the information collected by the bookkeeper. You will need both, but may decide to reach out to a professional. 

MODULE 3 - Making Money: Client Payments through Insurance and Private Pay


Session 1: Becoming An In-Network Insurance Provider

In the last few years with the Affordable Care Act, nutrition counseling has become more widely covered by many health plans across the country, with more medical conditions and higher number of visits that are now being reimbursed. Since 2015, nutrition counseling is considered an essential benefit in 26 states under preventative services, so areas like weight management, hypertension, and other areas that were not previously covered can now be reimbursed.  In some of the major health plans in certain states, unlimited visits are even fully covered.

Session 2: Logistics of Insurance Billing

Before I was able to submit my first claim, I needed to understand what all the insurance lingo meant. Another huge barrier I encountered was talking with insurance representatives on the phone. Everything can seem quite intimidating as a new provider and the representatives themselves can be vague in the information they provide and the information can even vary from one representative to the next. In this session I will be discussing what you need to know about filing claims for your clients.

Session 3: Accepting Private Pay Clients

Accepting health insurance as an in-network provider isn’t for everyone, whether that be based  on a personal business decision or due to closed insurance networks in your area. In this Session, we’ll go over a few different business strategies for determining your private pay rate for nutrition counseling and other strategies for out-of-pocket services.

MODULE 4 - Managing Your Clients: Before, During, and After Sessions


Session 1: Medical Records and Scheduling

Before you can see any clients you need to have a medical charting system in place. Paper charting is always an option but having an electronic record is more efficient and easily accessible from multiple computers, a tablet or even your phone. 

Session 2: Forms For New Clients, HIPAA, Credit Card Authorization, and Policies

Having the right forms to collect information about your new patient will keep you organized and legally protect your business. It is usually easy to find example templates of these forms by downloading them from other RD's websites and modifying them to fit your business needs.

Session 3: The Consultation Session

We have discussed so many important things about getting your business started but that is only half of what will make your practice successful. One of my favorite pieces of advice I have received is that 75% of successful counseling is making people feel like they are cared for. You have years of education and experience, but none of that will matter if you can’t reach your clients.

Session 4: How To Find Ideal Clients With Discovery Sessions

Discovery Sessions serve a very important purpose as both a marketing tool and as a way to get to know a potential client. They are meant to 'discover' if you and your potential client are a good fit for each other. This is very important to establish because not every single client is the right fit for you, and vice versa. You don't want to waste your time, or the potential client's time. If it's not the right fit, one bad client experience may end up impacting future word-of-mouth referrals, so making sure you manage the situation from the start is critical.

Session 5: Virtual Counseling and Telehealth

Through technology, dietitians are no longer limited by location and have the ability to access prospective clients from near and far. Virtual counseling is allowing you to branch out from the traditional office or in-person setting through a variety of different platforms, ranging from a simple phone call to HIPAA-compliant video conferencing. So what does this all mean for you and your client?

MODULE 5 - Spreading the Word: Marketing and Branding


Session 1: Creating Your Brand

Branding and marketing is perhaps the least straightforward and perhaps the most challenging parts about your business. We will first get started in discussing the different factors that go into how you develop your business brand, which sets the core foundation for your business before you can actually market it. 

Session 2: Marketing Channels

Here comes the most exciting and scary part about business: testing the market!  Before we start discussing some of the different marketing channels, one tip about marketing is to maintain the mindset that you are not trying to ‘convince’ people that they need you. This may seem counterintuitive, but marketing in business is a mental game and knowing that you have something valuable to offer others will help you keep going!

MODULE 6 - Enjoying the Ride: Growing as a Business Owner and Leader


Session 1: Staying Positive Is The Key To Success

In this last Module we will be discussing how to grow not just as a business owner but as a leader. One of the biggest realizations I had during my first year in business was learning that I had to keep my head up during times of fear and doubt, and it is something I still continue to work on. I have learned to recognize and accept when I am feeling fearful and to know that it's OK. Instead of running the other way from what scares me, I accept it and move through it. Business owners take risks, but leaders get uncomfortable and vulnerable a lot. You will absolutely have to get outside of your comfort zone to become successful.

Session 2: Self Care is Essential to Grow

Working 24/7 is not necessary to be successful. Of course in the beginning, you will have to work longer days, and even some weekends, but you should still be taking care of yourself along the way. You will be a better business owner and dietitian if you take care of yourself first by honoring the downtime your body needs for creativity. If you’re skipping a meal or staying up late to finish work, that’s not giving your all — that’s a sign of burnout. The difference in owning your own business and working a 9-to-5 job is your income will depend on how fully you show up each day. In this session, we will be talking about some of the things you can do to keep you in your zone of genius.

Session 3: How To Grow From Vulnerability

You can’t be successful at building and creating something unique without getting vulnerable. You can’t grow and thrive without vulnerability. There is a reason Brené Brown’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world. I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t and rewatching it if you have.


Session 4: How To Deal With Overwhelm

Undoubtedly you are going to feel overwhelmed as an entrepreneur and it’s completely normal. If you never feel overwhelmed, then you probably aren’t far enough outside your comfort zone. However, there is a difference in pushing yourself to get uncomfortable and being so overwhelmed that you jeopardize your creativity or no longer enjoy what you are doing.