a fellow fitpreneur's story
I was super excited when Molly invited me to guest post on here, since I really enjoy talking about both nutrition itself as well as nutrition in a business sense. If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would’ve had my own business – and two at that – I would’ve thought you were crazy. I started my career path as a dietitian teaching nutrition to in an urban school setting. After 6 years in that position (which I loved, but just craved more variety) and a few years meandering through some other work while deciding to start my business, I finally am feeling confident about where I am in my path.
Let me start by saying this – I think being an effective entrepreneur is kind of like planning your meals. I’m a big proponent of meal planning for anyone who wants to eat better. You plan your meals because you want to fuel your body to feel great, you want to budget your money appropriately, and you want to success in getting a healthy meal on the table without feeling like you have to frantically think of something at 8pm at night.
Being effective at running your own business means much of the same. You plan your launches and marketing strategies, you plan how you’re going to spend your money to maximize your return, and you plan what activities you’re going to prioritize to take your business to the next level. You do all that planning to feel great (and not end up burnt out), to budget your business’s money appropriately, and to see great success in your business without burning the midnight oil.
Of course, no matter how well planned out your meals are, there is bound to be an occasional day where you end up (decide on?) eating oreos as a meal. There are days as entrepreneur where you end up flying by the seat of your pants and scrambling to get things done thanks to procrastination. Either way, it’s okay that those things happen. It’s all about acknowledging that it’s ok not to be perfect, to minimize the number of times it happens, and to continue working towards your goals.
To keep going on this analogy – when I started my business, it was the equivalent of lacking a meal plan and ending up with a plate full of oreos, seafood, corn on the cob, brownies, spinach, fried chicken and clementines, all mixed up together. In other words, there was some good stuff, some not-so-good stuff, some weird combinations, and just too much going on.
I made the mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs do by trying to be everything to everyone. My initial business model included 1-1 clients in management, sports nutrition, general wellness, pregnancy, heart disease, and more. I was blogging about everything and anything on my site. I was doing corporate wellness. I was doing community programs and speeches. I was doing some farmers market programming. It was like my website was a big pile of word vomit related to anything and everything nutrition related. I was lacking a plan and trying to put everything on the plate.
Two years ago, I took a step back and became much clearer in my vision. It’s still being refined from time to time, but it makes a lot more sense now. I re-branded and focus now on my two businesses:
1) Inspired Wellness Solutions – Creating corporate wellness solutions. Target audience is small to mid-size clients looking for wellness seminars and corporate fitness programming.
2) Snacking in Sneakers – Blogging about food, fun, & fitness, as well as offering sports nutrition coaching & products. My target audience is the 30-40 year old woman that wants to run her first (or fortieth) road race, but also wants to enjoy a favorite chocolate chip cookie every so often.
Sometimes it’s not always easy to make decisions like that (just like it’s tough to turn down the oreos for grilled fish and veggies). It was hard to cut back on all the different 1-1 clients – but when I did, I became a lot happier by focusing specifically on sports nutrition for endurance athletes. It lets me stay up to date on the research and therefore more effectively work with those clients. For example, did you know there are studies showing bananas and raisins can be just as effective for distance running fuel as commercial gels? Did you know that beet root juice can give some athletes a 2-4% improvement boost when taken before a long event? It’s fun being able to translate that into specific fueling plans for people.
So for 2016, whether you’re thinking about eating better or growing your business, I think focus and planning is a key skill to generate success. I’m not perfect by any means and still struggle with this sometimes, but as I focus and plan I’m finding more plates full of fish and veggies, less last-minute oreos, more business growth, and more overall satisfaction in my life.
--Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, cPT --