Some of my most asked questions have been about being a holistic nutritionist. From choosing to follow my passion to running my online business full-time, I’m covering it all in today’s post.
Post updated: May 2020.
Over the years my most asked questions have been about being a holistic nutritionist and choosing this field as a career. And I can say with full confidence that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My journey to running my business full-time was not a quick one. It took several years and an immense amount of dedication and work. But if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that being consistent and not giving up (you know, the cheesy stuff we hear about as a kid), really do ring true. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I a) never followed my passion, or b) gave up in the face of doubt or adversity (two things you invariably face when building a business).
A career in nutrition is very rewarding. It offers you the ability to educate others on various nutrition topics, inspire others to make healthier choices, and ultimately make a difference in people’s lives. Plus, there are countless routes you can take when it comes to the exact type of job you want to work. In my case, as with many other professionals, I chose to start my own business. And that’s what toda’ys post is all about — from choosing to follow my passion to running my online business full-time, and everything in between.
From Passion to Purpose
Ever since I can remember I’ve had an interest in health. But when I think back nearly ten years ago when my inner health nut was really starting to bloom, I was away at college.
For the first time ever I had to start buying my own food, and I loved it. Like, really loved it. It was during this time away at college that I realized how passionate I was about nutrition, and I made the somewhat stressful decision to leave my college program to pursue it. I returned home and starting preparing to study to become a Dietitian.
Fast forward a few months later in 2010 when I began learning more about the “darker” side of various industries — namely the food industry. I chronicled my journey (including a year-long stint at raw veganism) on a blog I’d created, and later that year I was introduced to a school called The Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
I couldn’t deny it. This was the school for me.
I was over the moon that I discovered a school that taught everything I had rapidly become so passionate about: the connection between mind and body, the importance of organic farming and non-toxic living, and of course, the fascinating details of nutrition, the human body, and disease.
I had big dreams. Vision boards and journal entries outlining the goals I had, the life I wanted to live, the business(es) I wanted to create and the holistic nutritionist I wanted to be. Despite some reasonable fears I had (was this the right decision? Will I make enough money? Am I being realistic to follow my “passion”?) all I knew was that somehow it was all going to work out. This felt right.
And so I tossed my original plan of studying dietetics and pursued holistic nutrition instead.
Launching my Business: My Early Days as a Holistic Nutritionist
I graduated in 2012 as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), also known as “holistic nutritionist”, with a diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition, and I immediately did a few things. I launched my website. I got an iPhone (this was exciting). I installed Instagram (also exciting). I created a business Facebook page. And I notified the 900 subscribers of my old YouTube channel (where I discussed a variety of spiritual musings) that I was going to be starting a new channel with similar content, but a little more structured. That channel is my YouTube channel today!
After I graduated I also applied to and got hired at my local health food store. My years working there were integral to my growth and success as a holistic nutritionist. I had fabulous opportunities to reiterate my knowledge every day, answer a wide range of questions, attend trainings, become educated on a diverse selection of supplements, products and companies; and most importantly, work alongside a group of amazing fellow holistic nutritionists. This is also where I learned how important (and powerful) it is to surround yourself with like-minded people to feel connected, supported and happy.
I worked at the health food store for over 5 years while simultaneously building my business. And might I add, working with other wellness entrepreneurs (some of my coworkers had side businesses of their own) was a huge part of feeling supported along entrepreneurial journey.
Growing my Online Business
Here’s how my days would unfold. Essentially, I’d go to work for 8 hours and spend all the other available non-sleeping hours filming, editing, recipe creating, photographing, blogging, and connecting with my viewers on social media. I regularly stayed up until 3am to finish editing videos, and I’d spend many days rushing to work — hardly on time — because of video uploads that took longer than anticipated.
In 2017 I also began working a few hours per week with a fellow nutritionist and Naturopathic Doctor that specialized in gut health as I had developed quite the passion for this particular area of wellness. You can read more about my gut health story here.
I worked multiple jobs simultaneously at different times while growing my business, including a raw food restaurant in 2014 which was a great, hands-on experience. But I’m really only sitting down now to reflect on this (often very overwhelming) time. Truthfully, I felt like a chicken with its head cut off. I had a lot of flexibility in my schedule at the health food store which allowed me to spend time on growing my business, but boy was I stressed. I regularly felt “tired and wired” and I was constantly on an expedition to make space in my schedule for what I ultimately wanted to do: run my online business full-time.
For years it just wasn’t feasible. Until it was.
Taking my Business Full-Time
In the summer of 2018 I quit my job as the Floor Manager at the health food store and moved in with my wonderful partner Sean. What a nerve-wracking, uncertain, yet exhilarating time. This is what I’d been waiting for.
I didn’t know exactly how everything would pan out (will my business make enough money? Do I even have enough tasks in the day for me to actually do this full-time?) but somehow it did, and yes, I have more than enough tasks in the day! Things fell perfectly into place. I finally had (and now have) the time each day to put more effort into the content I create and the projects I wanted to work on, such as my 4-week Digestive Reset Program.
In fact, I believe it would have worked out quite well if quit my job and worked harder on my business even sooner than I did. But leaving a steady paycheque is a pretty scary thing to do, although I think it’s also what kept me in a “safe” place and in my comfort zone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it just means it took longer for me to take the plunge to quit my job!
Being an Entrepreneur
I’m not surprised that I somewhat unintentionally took the entrepreneurial route in life. I’ve always disliked being told what to do and I’ve always thrived when making creative decisions. And when it comes to running my wellness business, it’s a combination of literally all my favourite things: my passion for health, my love for creativity via videography, photography, writing and web design; my drive to inspire others, and basically just make the world a little bit better.
It’s also through my decision to run my own online business that I’ve learned how important it is to have dreams, to show up, work hard, and never brush off the fact that dreams DO come true. I know this because I’ve seen my dreams come true time and time and time again. Never stop dreaming and never stop working towards them. Indeed, there were countless times where I questioned what I was doing, but even in the earlier days when it felt like I wasn’t making much progress (in terms of self-employment becoming a reliable option), I just never, ever, ever, stopped working toward it.
I learned a lot during the first year of running my business full-time. Perhaps my biggest lesson was born out of the burnout I experienced (read more about this here). I put a lot on my plate, biting off more than I could chew, and also put a lot of pressure on myself to hustle non-stop. This resulted in some pretty significant burnout in the summer of 2019, and I’ve since then created solid boundaries by shifted the way I work and the amount of projects I agree to. Self-care is essential when working for yourself, because if you don’t feel well mentally and emotionally, you can’t do your job. I learned that the hard way.
Another part of running my business, especially as a nutrition professional, means keeping up to date with the latest nutrition research. This is a passion of mine, and sharing reliable, evidence-based information is paramount. This is why I’m constantly reading, researching (my internet tabs are almost always open to PubMed!), and taking additional courses when possible. If you’re a nutritionist or aspire to be one, it’s key that you have a passion for life-long learning. Learning never stops in the field of nutrition.
Choosing to leave my college program and pursue my passion is really what taught me how following your heart is almost always a good idea. Little did I know it would be the first of many big life events where listening to my gut was essential in leading me down the right path.
Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.– Alice Walker
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to leave them in the comments below!