Tip of the Month
Welcome to the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Tip of the Month
You went to school for nutrition and if your education was anything like mine, it lacked constructive information about how to prepare the great foods we, as dietitians, are always recommending. A disservice? Absolutely! Because how are you supposed to effectively communicate to your patients and clients the proper way to cook these foods if you aren’t comfortable preparing them yourself? Is all hope lost? Of course not! That’s why I’m here, to challenge you to find your inner chef!
Yes, it’s inside you! Are you the next Bobby Flay or Julia Child? Perhaps not, but that’s ok, because it’s not about how many sauces or terrines you know how to make, it’s about the basic skills you need to know. Most chefs start at the bottom of the kitchen hierarchy, and they’ve learned a lot from being there. They learned the most important skills - how to use a knife properly, how to be organized, and how to honor food by cooking and seasoning it just right.
And for those of us who want more training in this area, these three skills are great ones to focus on first:
Chef Skill Worth Mastering: Using a Knife (the big one, aka Chef’s knife)
Intimidated by that big knife? It’s ok to be scared, but once you learn how to use a Chef’s knife, it will be your best friend in the kitchen. Google “how to use a chef’s knife” and you’ll find millions of videos on the best way to hold and use the knife. I like this one from The Kitchn. Then - practice, practice, practice.
Chef Skill Worth Mastering: Organization
If you aren’t organized in your kitchen, your recipes will fail. Preparation and “mis en place,” the fancy French phrase for “everything in its place,” will help you successfully execute recipes, without anxiety or anguish. My recommendation for organization is to always read recipes thoroughly before starting and prep as many ingredients ahead of time as possible.
Chef Skill Worth Mastering: How to Cook & Season Food
This is a big one and one that many people fear. The kitchen has become foreign territory, filled with appliances and devices that no one seems to know how to use. My advice? Start watching cooking videos and reading food publications. Then just get in the kitchen. What’s the worst that can happen? Your food doesn’t taste good? Well, so what. That’s what life is all about, learning and then applying what you’ve learned. The more you try, the better you’ll become!
Now, what are you waiting for? Get in your kitchen and find your inner chef!
Sara Haas RDN, LDN, Incoming Director of Awards and Networking
Powerful statement isn’t it?
When you think about it, the networks we form as entrepreneurs really shape our career success. The power to network successfully is certainly something every entrepreneur has inside of them because let’s face it, we rely on our own bread and butter to pay the bills.
Though I’m no pro, I will say the networks I’ve formed thus far in my career really helped to make the transition into full time self-employment that much easier.
Here are three key points I’ve picked up from past mentors coupled with lots of practice to really network like a pro!
- Know your audience (as much as you can).
- Do your research on an upcoming conference, trade show, etc. to see which potential clients or colleagues will be there you’d like to get to have the opportunity to get to know.
- Allow yourself the time to make a meaningful connection with at least 2 of the 5 names you came up with.
- Always say hello with a firm handshake.
- Set the tone by introducing yourself to strangers in the room with a firm handshake. No one wants their arm taken off, but showing you’re not timid is a great way to break the ice!
- Be genuine, be yourself.
- Be confident in who you are and what you’ve built in your business. Don’t under (or over) sell yourself, but rather develop a natural conversation with the other person.
- Try to pick up 1-2 non-business facts about the other person. Use this as a means to interact on a personal level when you send that follow up email saying how wonderful it was to meet them.
Sure, at the end of the day it’s our talent, passion and knowledge that will land us that client, but sometimes we all need that helping hand to get our foot in the door!
Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, Incoming Mentor Program Coordinator
As a second career dietitian whose first career was in public relations, you’d think I’d find self-promotion easy. It’s not. It’s one thing to be an unbiased third party, it’s another thing when the business is YOU and you’re emotionally tied to it.
That said, once you’re used to it, self-promotion can actually be fun. Keep these following tips in mind:
1. Know your audience. Where does your audience seek services such as yours? What do they read? What is their collective personality or sense of humor? I recommend using humor sparingly unless you really know your audience (and they know you).
2. Don’t apologize. It bothers me when I see (often women) post things like, “Sorry for the self-promotion, but here’s a link to an article that quotes me about XYZ.” That’s the written equivalent of a child shuffling her shoes and not looking up to show pride in her perfect report card. Better to say, “I was so excited to be interviewed for this article on XYZ! Read what I have to say about it here: [link to article].”
3. Enlist a friend or former clients. As the saying goes, “advertising is what you say about yourself; PR is what your mom says about you.” If you have something exciting to share, such as appearing on a television program, see if your colleagues will send it out to their networks. Client testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations also work wonders.
The most important tip is to be genuine and true to yourself and your business. Be proud of the work that you do, and don’t be afraid to show and share it! Indeed, your excitement and energy will carry through even written communications. If you’re not inspired by your business, then who will be?
Elana Natker, MS, RD, Director of Awards and Networking
The scariest thing about being a nutrition entrepreneur is that you are entirely responsible for your income. That being said, information is power. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has lots of resources to help us understand how to get paid in the current health care environment.
If you like webinars there are two that provide info on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on reimbursement found on Eatrightpro.org under Advocacy > Disease Prevention and Treatment > Access to Health Care > Affordable Care Act. The titles include The Affordable Care Act (ACA): What’s in it for me? and Reimbursement: New game, new rules. The learning objectives include:
· Identify provision of the ACA relevant to your practice.
· Develop strategies for leveraging these provisions to enhance / maintain / expand your services.
· Utilize Academy resources to support your efforts to capitalize on these new opportunities.
For a treasure trove of info on getting paid, the MNT Provider Newsletter is a must read. This little gem is located on Eatrightpro.org under the heading News Center (on the upper right of the opening page). The MNT Provider includes articles on topics such as billing, coding and coverage, CMS updates and releases, practice and business management, health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement. The best part? It is free to Academy members! ( Click the month to go to the newsletter)
The future of Medicare payment: MIPS & APMs proposed rules - Five budget-friendly ways to reduce no-shows - Quality Payment Program website
Virtual assistant and the registered dietitian nutritionist - Recorded Webinar: "How to Integrate RDN in the New Primary Care"
Dual Eligibles: An Overlooked Revenue Source - New HIPAA Audits to Target Healthcare Industry
Medicare preventive service utilization rises, yet still underutilized - Partnering with providers and payers to meet the needs of kidney patients
CMS promotes MNT benefit during National Nutrition Month - New Medicare PQRS videos
Evidence mounts on effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy - Resources from the Nutrition Services Coverage Team - Tips for choosing a
professional biller - Medicare preventative services poster available - 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule now available!
RDNs in the New Primary Care: A Toolkit for Successful Integration - CMS announces new Accountable Health Communities Model
Webinar: How to Integrate RDN Services in the New Primary Care - Alternative Payment Model (AMP) Framework, Final White Paper
Patricia Becker MS, RD, CSP, CNSC - Policy Advocacy Leader
Love it or hate it, a strong social media presence is becoming a critical part of successful entrepreneurship. Though it’s “free advertising,” social media can be a time suck from which you never emerge. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
1. Know where to focus. If you have tons of beautiful food photos, Pinterest and Instagram may be the best place to spend the most time. If you love sharing articles and other quick tips, Twitter is great. Facebook is a wonderful platform to interact with colleagues and local customers on a personal level, though the algorithms make it difficult for your Facebook business page posts to be seen by most of your followers.
2. Use Facebook groups for awesome sharable content. If you like to share great blogs and recipes and help fellow RDNs at the same time, Facebook groups will save you tons of time. By simply joining and participating in a few groups, you will have access to constantly updated content you can schedule for sharing at your leisure. The big bonus is that other people will share your posts as well. Check out Dietitians on the Blog, Dietitians Do Science on the Blog, The Recipe Redux, Bloggers Gonna Blog (not primarily RDs) and more.
3. Use scheduling programs to save time. Some are free, some are not, but scheduling tools are fantastic. By entering posts for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on Hootsuite (for free), you can use their auto-schedule tool which determines the time the content should post. Others options are Buffer, CoSchedule, Klout, or Meet Edgar. Tailwind, Ahology or BoardBooster are all options for Pinterest. Research pricing and features to determine which will work for your business.
4. Use Google Analytics to determine where your referral traffic is coming from. This is incredibly important info to help you decide where to devote time and energy. If most of your visitors come from one or two sources, those are the places you may want to concentrate on developing more of a presence.
5. Set a timer! If you are like me, once you start, you may develop shiny object syndrome and suffer from the constant distraction of social media. You don’t need to check Facebook every time your phone dings, it will still be there. Allow yourself a certain amount of time per day to schedule posts and check out those of others. It’s helpful to use info collected by social media pros to determine the optimal times for sharing. When your time is up, it’s over, step away! Twitter will survive without you for a while.
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN
NE Nominating Committee 2015-2016