Tip of the Month
Welcome to the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Tip of the Month
During coach training at Coach U I had an entire class titled Questioning. Yes, there was an entire class devoted to asking questions! I discovered that there is much to be gained from asking powerful questions and they are essential to good coaching. Discovery is the foundational intention of questioning. There are questions that deal with feeling, situations, intuition, serendipity, inquiry, thought-provoking, information, probing, option, why, rhetorical, reality-checking, focusing, reminding, integrity, goal-setting, prompting, solution, challenge, motivation, action, and encouragement. What a list to master!
I also learned that there are mistakes we make when asking questions which hinder the progress we expect to make with a client. Experiment with the following types of questioning in your practice:
A closed question is when it will be answered with a “yes” or “no” answer. You can change “Do you have any other options?” to “What other options do you have?”
Solution-oriented questions are pieces of advice with a question mark at the end. These questions start with “Should you, could you, will you, can you.” Change “Can you exercise more?” to “How could you involve other people in your exercise routine?”
Rhetorical questions are actually statements of your own opinion of the situation, which are often emotional or judgmental. Eliminating rhetorical questions requires a change in attitude toward the client. Instead of asking, “What were you thinking?”, ask “Could I be wrong about the situation? What am I missing?”
Leading questions are ones that subtly point the client to a certain answer that you want. “It seems like this option would feel good today, but the other would give lasting satisfaction. Which one do you want to choose?” doesn’t get the same result as “Which option will work best for you?”
“Why” questions tend to make people clam up because they challenge motives. When you pose a question like, “Why did you turn down the job?” you are asking the client to defend and justify their actions. The likely response will be the client gets defensive. It’s easy to rephrase questions to replace the “why” with “what.” In this case the better option is “What factors led you to turn down the job?”
Probing or broad questions are used to explore the client’s situation and gets more information out on the table. This forces the client to really examine what is going on. These questions can be answered in many different ways and tend to take you to what is most significant to the client. “What would you like to talk about today?” can result in the conversation going in a number of directions.
The bottom line, no matter what you do professionally, is that questions are part of our lives. Develop your questioning skills and see what a difference it makes.
Linda S. Eck Mills, MBA, RDN, LDN, FADA – Career Coach, 2014 -2016 NE Secretary
- “I will never make that much money.”
- “No one will hire me for that much.”
Building an online social media community takes time. But the payoff is priceless. Having an online presence can elevate your nutrition business and brand.
My journey in nutrition and social media started in graduate school, when fellow dietitian-to-be, Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, and I decided to create a healthy cooking and nutrition series on Brooklyn Public Access Television (BCAT). Creating a local television show was fun, but we soon realized there was a limit to the amount of people we could reach with our message. We discovered that if we transitioned our show to an online platform (YouTube), our reach would be worldwide. Flash forward five years and our brand has grown beyond our wildest dreams.
Here are three tips for using social media to build your nutrition business:
You need a niche
As black dietitians, we noticed that there wasn't a huge online presence geared directly toward nutrition for our community. Tailoring our message to the black community was one of the best things we could have done for our business. Social media helped us connect (and build) our followers - mainly because our target audience was specific. What is your niche?
Content is king
Seriously. This is maybe the most important thing you can do to grow your social media presence. If you are creating original nutritional content and recipes (with high quality photos), always post them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. People share great content! This will ultimately help to grow your social media presence, as shares = more followers.
Cultivate a voice
The most successful people on social media are good at being themselves. Figure out your voice / tone / brand and make sure that anything you post falls in line. Some of the most popular Instagram accounts post pictures that all have a similar color scheme and filter, so that people recognize the brand instantly when it appears in their feed. Consider working with a graphic designer to help you create a “look book” for your online presence. Pinterest is great for inspiration, too.
Do you consider yourself a writer? Do you write a blog, or contribute articles to magazines, journals, or newsletters? I always joke that I’m more of an author than a writer. Words don’t flow onto the computer as freely as I would like. Honestly though, more than anything else, writing a book has advanced my career.
I didn’t always plan on writing a book. Ten years ago, I thought I would create a detailed handout, entailing information I seemed to be repeating for each client. What began as a handout became a packet, and before long, I know I had enough material to write an entire book. I announced to family and friends, “I’m writing a book.”
As the years went by, I had more children, my life got busier, and my book was pushed to the back burner. The year my youngest went to all-day kindergarten, I suddenly had more time on my hands. Seven years after deciding to write a book, it was finally complete and ready for purchase. (By the way, writing a book very much feels like birthing another child.)
Do you have a glimmer of a book idea in your head? Look up other books in your market niche; do you have another angle or new idea? Share your idea with a friend or colleague and ask their opinion.
If you have already decided to write a book, here are 5 tips for getting started:
1. Decide whether you want to self-publish or use a traditional publishing house. These are completely different routes, so make this decision first.
2. If you decide to self-publish, purchase You Can Write a Book, by our very own NE dietitian Julie Beyer. This will be the best $9.95 you spend in the process. Another great reference is Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book. If you plan to use a traditional publisher, become familiar with Writer’s Market.
3. Sign up for the NE Webinar: March 16, 2016, 1 PM EST “Putting Last Things First: Why 90% of Marketing Happens Before Your Book is Launched”, presented by Julie Beyer, MA, RDN and Electra Ford (1.5 CEUs). Or listen to the recording in NE Webinar Library after logging in to members only content. Non-members register by clicking on Store at the top of the screen.
4. Find a quiet spot and start writing. This is truly the hardest part for me. I love researching, talking about my book, marketing, and deciding on book covers. Actually typing the words are the most challenging for me!
5. Use the NE electronic mailing list to elicit the help of your NE colleagues. When you are stuck, ask for advice. When your book is complete, use your NE quarterly advertising to share your new “child”, I mean book, with us!
NE Director of Member Services
“If you aren’t being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Maybe you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you who tells people what you are worth. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables.”
I spotted this oft-quoted line on the web the other day and it made me pause. While the author may have been speaking to the personal side of one’s worth, it certainly applies to our worth as entrepreneurs as well.
Are you stuck when it comes to naming your price? We all read posts on the NE electronic mailing list (EML) pertaining to fees – we want to ensure we’re charging a fair yet profitable rate for the work that we do. Here are a few tips if you’re unsure of where to begin:
- Ask your peers! Post your question to the NE EML. We can’t discuss dollar amounts on the EML itself, however, so be sure to ask NE members to email you with their responses privately.
- If you’re unsure of what to charge, do some research. Check out your competition. What are they charging? What do dietitians in your market charge?
- Determine your hourly base rate. One consulting company provides a handy spreadsheet for determining your hourly rate based upon your annual salary goal (see bottom of post for link to spreadsheet).
- Aim high. Clients can either say “Yes, you’re hired,” or “Actually, I was thinking about x instead.” You never know unless you toss out a fair yet aggressive price and see what sticks. A family member and I were talking about my rates just the other day. Before I even shared my rates, he suggested: “Don’t you undersell yourself. People won’t think you’re any good.” My family member was blunt - but how true. We equate rate with clout, don’t we? If a doctor were to charge me $5 for a visit, I’d turn and run away. I exaggerate, but you get the point.
- When proposing your fee to a client, consider whether an hourly fee, a project fee, a retainer fee, etc. best suits your (and the client’s) purpose.
Lastly, don’t apologize for your rate. You are worth it. You have the years of experience under your belt; you have credentials behind your name. Wear them proudly and inform your clients what you are worth. They’re fortunate to work with such a talented dietitian!
For more on this topic, see Tip of the Month from Barb Andresen, RDN, LDN: “Work Only for Your Worth.”
Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN
NE Incoming Director of PR & Marketing