I used to be a nutritionist. Sort of.
I spent 2 years in nutrition school, learning how to clean up a messy gut with with an advanced supplement regime, how to prevent my goddamn adult acne by eliminating gluten from my diet, and writing lengthy protocols that would cure everything from candida to cancer.
I loved what I learned. It changed my life! But even more importantly, it finally gave me a marketable skill that I could start my own business with. Yes!! I swear, I had been looking for the perfect idea since I was 8 and used to make and sell my own NKOTB magazines in the schoolyard.
So I got started. I hired a designer and made cute little business cards. I led workshops and got my first clients, and I did everything I was taught to do. I did long intakes. I wrote my clients 30 page protocols with detailed menu plans, hundreds of dollars worth of supplements they needed to buy, and strict guidelines about how much water they needed to drink, how much sleep they should get, and how many times a day they should be taking a shit.
And while they wouldn’t say it outright (thanks for being so nice to me, clients!), I could tell it was not only overwhelming, but totally NOT what they were looking for.
And when I was writing these goddamn NOVELS for them, I wouldn’t admit it to myself, but I dreaded every single minute of it. I loathed putting together menu plans (I could barely keep a steady eating schedule myself), and it just felt wrong to be prescribing so many pills – what was I, Doogie Howser?
My business didn’t get very far. I lost interest. It felt like another crappy job that I didn’t want to do, which was obviously totally deflating, since I was banking on this being my career.
Fuck. Now what?
I took a year off. I travelled. I spent afternoons in the park, drinking wine with friends, slacklining, playing with cute dogs and chatting with cute boys. I climbed my ass off. I enjoyed being unemployed, but underneath it all, I was terrified.
What the hell was I supposed to do now? If nutrition wasn’t “it”, what was?
And all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks – what I LOVED about nutrition was that it gave people a choice about how they wanted to live. It made them feel awesome, so they could get out and live the rest of their lives, which is what ultimately mattered to me.
So why don’t I just create a business around THAT? Duh.
And that’s the moment that I realized that you don’t have to do everything the way you learned in your training, and also that you don’t even have to use your training if you don’t want to.
How freeing is that!?
Now, I work with SO many nutritionists (and coaches, and other service providers who are feeling trapped in their self-made businesses) who are in the same boat – they thought they had their perfect career planned, but they soon realize that for one reason or another, they don’t totally align with what they were taught. They feel like they have to abandon ship, or start over.
But really all they have to do is get super clear on what they DO believe about their chosen field/profession, and drop the rest.
It’s so easy to get trapped creating a generic business. I’m a nutritionist. I’m a coach. I’m a yoga teacher. I’m a fitness trainer.
Those all sound nice, on the surface, but deep down you KNOW that you are more than that. You know that you kinda-sorta hate the way you were taught to practice nutrition. You know you hate the way that you’re supposed to be all neutral and kinda woo-woo as a coach. You loathe that yoga is centered around skinny white girls.
So instead of letting those things you don’t like about being a ___________ hold you back in business, use them to make you stand out from the crowd.
If YOU are turned off by from yoga because of the stereotypical yoga girl (for example), you’d better believe there are clients out there who really want to get into yoga, but can’t stand to go into a studio and not feel comfortable in their own skin (my studio offers brown yoga, queer yoga, and fat yoga, for example).
Be the one who offers a solution to a problem that drives you nuts.
Dare to stand out.
Dare to do things differently in your industry.
And all of a sudden, those years spent in training aren’t wasted, they are simply part of your story, part of your compelling message as to why people should hire YOU, instead of that generic, run-of-the-mill other person.
Take a stand for what YOU believe in, and your business will skyrocket.