In recent years, due to the immobilization of our lifestyle, many people of all ages are suffering from various health issues.
Nutrition coaches are the heroes with no capes, fighting against bad habits and food myths, and helping us build a healthier relationship with food.
As we become more career-focused, we forget to work out and take care of our bodies as we should. Many of us have little knowledge about the recommended diet for our body type.
Being aware of our food intake and the best nutrients for us is crucial for our health, mood, and fitness journey. That’s why the demand for nutrition coaches is higher than ever.
Working remotely as a nutrition coach can be extremely rewarding, along with also being extremely challenging. Online health coaches, for example, have more freedom than most to choose when and where they want to work.
If your job is to show others how to enjoy life by consuming tasty and healthy dishes without being a master chef in the kitchen, I have 7 tips for your online consultation business:
- Determine the scope of your services
- Create your own virtual nutrition consulting platform
- Set a target group
- Gain reputation
- Master these particular skills
- Focus on branding and advertising
- Things a nutrition coach should avoid
1. Determine the scope of your services
Basically, virtual nutrition counseling consists of reviewing current diets, analyzing nutrition patterns, taking into account restrictions due to health issues or fitness goals, and improving the client’s eating behavior.
However, clients will always look at your experience and certificates to see if your expertise matches their needs.
There are many looking for telehealth dietitians who deal with obesity problems, severe loss or gain of weight, and other eating disorders.
Don’t forget that there’s a difference between an online dietitian and a virtual nutrition coach.
If you don’t have the required experience, you might not be able to help people with more complicated health issues.
In order to be successful, don’t overestimate the scope of your counseling. After all, you want to help people and not create a bad name for yourself by wasting their time.
And, if you want to upgrade and acquire a more complete skillset, you can always earn certification or register for a dietitian exam. However, if you want to have more in-depth knowledge, a full university degree may be the way to go.
Signalling you’re more educated than your competitor nutritionists can only help you out.
2. Create your own virtual nutrition consulting platform & equip yourself
Let me tell you a secret: virtual nutritionists look much more professional if they provide all of their services in one place.
No need to worry about payment procedures, about managing different applications, websites, and platforms – all essentials for your online dietitian counseling business could be just a few clicks away.
To achieve that, you should create your own email address and then join a platform that allows you to easily set up your own website. It’s because people should be able to reach out to you as easily as possible, while still seeing your logo on the page.
Talking about your online space (aka your own consulting platform), building a brand is your primary objective. We all know that the devil’s in the details.
3veta allows you to display your logo during video meetings (yes, yours, not the Zoom one) because we want your brand to take the spotlight.
Furthermore, you can customize the platform to display your logo or company name not only during calls but also on your booking page.
Use your brand colors and add a custom background to give your video calls a more professional look and feel.
Finish your online presence with a stunning website to promote your business. Just follow a few easy steps and you’ll be all set in less than 5 minutes.
Since you will be teaching virtually, I’d also recommend familiarizing yourself with all types of technical equipment you might need.
As I mentioned, virtual nutritionists rely on forming relationships with both clients and business partners, thus, you should appear as good as possible on the screen.
Sometimes just a laptop with strong Internet connection might be enough, but you might prefer to upgrade at some point.
If you’re looking for a more specialized tool, Jack Blades, Sports Nutritionist based in Chichester, England recommends one: “The use of nutritional platforms, such as Nutrium, really helps novices find their feet. Nutrium provides the dietary analysis tools that really do make it more practical and has really helped me.”
3. Set a target group but don’t exclude anyone!
When it comes to finding your clients it would be good to remember what Nore Hoogstad, a Nutritional Therapist and an Author, had to tell us: “There is no one right way to connect with people and gain clients. Many people promote one way as being the only solution (e.g. holding webinars or giving a free offering or writing blogs, creating reels or videos etc.). In the end, you have to find what works for you, what feels authentic and helps you connect with people in your best way.”
In order to determine what type of training to pursue, you should first decide what problems you want to solve for your clients.
Don’t get me wrong, don’t define your audience and then exclude everyone else who does not meet the criteria, because this way you’d lose potential clients and revenue.
Instead, be wary of who you might not be able to help and recognize that earlier on.
As an online nutritionist, you can treat athletes and sports teams, offer them some guidelines for before and after competitions, enhance their performance, and track their water and vitamin intake.
You can help out chronic-disease clients and weight-loss clients by offering them your online dietitian services. A healthy diet may prevent chronic diseases and accelerate one’s metabolism leading to weight loss.
Kids also need nutrition coaches because there‘s just way too many foods with lots of sugar content – leading to obesity among children.
In relation to sugar, don’t forget diabetes clients. It’s crucial for them to understand how consuming some kinds of foods might affect their health. Diabetics who just learned about their condition are in great need of understanding how to adapt to their new relationship with carbohydrate.
People suffering from other diseases (e.g. cancer) also seek professional help regarding their eating habits. Food can help them detox and heal from degenerative diseases.
To summarize, there are many target groups that you can focus on. If you’re a beginner and you’re not established on the market yet, it would be best for you to be open to all kinds of requests.
Nonetheless, working with one or two particular groups of people will help you understand their needs better and will make you a better professional. Also, even without you trying, you’ll see that the range of your clients will eventually narrow down with time.
“Quality over quantity” should be your slogan.
4. Gain reputation
Let’s say you already possess all needed credentials and you’re now ready to discuss topics such as metabolism, digestion, sports nutrition, macro- and micronutrients.
But, you still don’t have many clients and you’re not sure how to approach them.
Or, you simply want to expand your services and reach new audiences.
My advice is to start by joining Facebook groups and online forums related to your target clients.
Online nutrition consulting is pretty much built upon relationships. By providing people with insightful solutions to their troubles for free and offering additional help, you can gain their trust.
After that, they’ll start reaching out to you on their own.
Also, tell all of your friends, family members, and acquaintances about your online dietitian services. You never know who might be in need of your help.
Plus, people talk to each other about their problems, so if you have made a good impression, someone might recommend you to their friends.
5. Master these particular skills
Zander Fryer states that a virtual nutrition coach should be able to:
- Listen carefully and assess the current situation of the client.
- Determine what’s influencing their eating habits.
- Comment on their goals and what’s the best way to achieve them.
- Consider any underlying health issues that might complicate things.
- Encourage clients to take up on healthier activities and lifestyle habits.
- Track their progress.
To be efficient, every wellness professional must take into account several factors such as body composition, medications, allergies, health issues, measurements, mind-set, lifestyle, goals, and desired outcomes.
So, there isn’t one universal plan that every person could follow and achieve the same results. You should make that clear to your client.
Most importantly, don’t forget to be always tactful, kind, and understanding. After all, your clients are competing against themselves– against their own cravings and habits.
That is, in fact, the most difficult battle.
Another great skill to acquire is how to be consistent, something Dan Richardson, performance nutritionist and owner of DRN Nutrition, knows a lot about: “One of the most important components to a successful online nutrition space is consistency. As an online nutritionist it’s important to focus on the delivery of consultations and high quality nutrition support. But it is equally as important to spend time making content, marketing, networking etc… If you want to succeed in the online nutrition space, being consistent is a key factor. There were periods of time in my early days working as a nutrition consultant that were quiet – I spent the free time developing meaningful content and networking. Over time this led to my company becoming a more successful nutrition service in the online space!”
Most people tend to focus entirely on their professional skill and neglect the fact that running a business also involves a lot of skill. Adrienne Raimo, an Integrative & Functional Dietitian and Founder & Director of One Bite Wellness, gave us this tip: “It’s a great idea to get business coaching so that you can get clear on your offers and how to share them as well as keep a healthy balance in your own life.”
6. Focus on branding and advertising
In order to become a successful virtual nutritionist, you need to market yourself successfully.
Once you’ve registered your business and you’ve set your own platform, you’re ready to go and dive into the advertising world.
Branding is key. You should be recognizable. You should appear authentic and unique.
To grab the attention of the customer, you should come up with a catchy message that describes your services best and start promoting yourself.
To begin with, create social media accounts – including a YouTube channel. After all, you’re an online dietitian that strives for raising awareness about eating disorders and debunking food-related misconceptions.
You have information others don’t. So, start educating them!
Create informational videos and posts – maybe even hold giveaways and contests. The winner could receive a free consultation with you or a package with healthy snacks.
You could also partner up with local clinics, gyms, fitness- and health-related businesses of your liking. Or become a certified online fitness trainer yourself.
Whatever way you choose to go, Nuna Kamhawi, a registered nutritionist and founder of Nutrition with Nuna, suggests that: “Simple is always best. I really believe that content is much more valued and engaged with when it gives one simple message that is totally relatable. No matter how ‘dumbed down’ it may seem. People like easy to read and understand”.
Don’t be shy! Get yourself out there and tell ‘em why they should be eating their vegetables!
7. Things a nutrition coach should avoid
Many virtual dietitians are of the opinion that they’ll be attracting clients by investing a huge amount of money into building a flashy website.
After that, reality hits them in the face (and in the bank account).
Yes, you should definitely have your own website, as earlier explained, but there’s no need for it to be done so expensively as you might have seen already if you have checked our offers.
Also, if you’re a novice online nutritionist don’t assume that clients will merely come to you. You’d probably struggle initially because you won’t have a consistent cash flow, but don’t give up!
Persistence leads to greatness!
Forget about flyers and business cards unless you want to spend your money in vain. Wellness professionals are not typical businessmen and women; they need to be creative to catch the attention ? of their target audience.
Paying influencers for advertorials is another mistake. They’ll probably charge you a lot to promote your services and they often won’t care about what you have to offer. On the contrary, if they’re super good, you’ll have too many clients to cater to at the same time –also an issue.
Last but not the least, don’t try to be a superhero for everyone!
Take your time, get a following of clients, discover what your business goals consist of and eventually, focus on the specific group of people that you work the most efficiently with.
Let’s make an analogy here. It’s better to be a top player in one team than a mediocre standby in many different teams.
To be a successful nutrition coach doesn’t take a lot of effort when you know what you’re talking about and are passionate about helping others. Moreover, it doesn’t require much technical knowledge.
The tricky part is how to become popular online and make people trust your expertise without seeing you in person.
Although the focus of this article was on online nutritionists, we also didn’t want to exclude those who provide their services “the old-fashioned way”, so we’ve asked a couple of professionals for their favorite tips.
Maher Elusini, a certified nutritional coach, shared this tip for people who are just starting out:
“Offering pro-bono nutrition services early on is one of the most powerful things a nutritionist can do to kick start their careers. Here’s why. Having a passion and being genuine are two essential ingredients. Even though this career can be financially lucrative due to its exclusivity, it is the emotional reward you receive when a client succeeds since the results are usually physically and visually transformative. The pro-bono act in itself typically leads to paid work.
Asking the client how their lifestyle is impacting their daily life is another factor to consider. Are there any things they cannot do due to their lifestyle? What made them decide to hire a coach? Do they feel ready? To help someone transform their most valuable asset, their health, is an emotional journey and incredibly intimate. You have to be the superhero who saves their day in a way. The rate of success a client may experience when they begin their journey to better health is determined by various factors, and one of them is having the right certified and qualified nutritionist by their side.”
AlHuda Al Herz, Nutritionist and holder of Masters in Gerontology, gave us this piece of advice: “Get to know your clients on a personal level and try to keep a great relationship. Share a personal experience to increase their trust. Teaching a new information in not traditional teaching settings (i.e. online) can be challenging.”
Building a successful nutrition coaching business is not an easy task, especially if you are working remotely. It takes hard work, commitment, persistence, and patience.
As is every business undertaking, this one might have a rough start too, but if you’re consistent and you’re aware of your own abilities, you’ll be fine.
However, if you’re anxious about how working from home might have a negative impact on your professional appearance, I’ve got 11 tips to help you with that as well.