Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Linnette Johnson, Owner of 5 Elements Coaching, LLC., located in Hagerstown, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a clinical nutritionist and life coach. I am passionate about supporting adults with mental health issues, especially those with sobriety, depression, and anxiety, along with relieving fatigue, skin issues, and body aches and pains associated with mental health through healthy eating and developing a better relationship with food and the body.
I offer support through personalized nutrition and coaching consultations in a space without judgment but with complete compassion and understanding. When it comes to living a healthier life, I believe that no one should go it alone!
Tell us about yourself
There are numerous reasons for how I got here. However, the biggest one is through my own personal trials and health issues. I have always known I had depression, anxiety, and all the signs and symptoms that accompany it before being diagnosed, but it wasn't discussed in my house. Both my parents and sibling, along with numerous family members, also had signs and symptoms of mental health issues such as OCD, depression, anxiety, and/or some form of addiction (i.e., drugs, alcohol, or food restriction). I personally drank to relieve the anxiety, especially in social situations, to help remove my self-hate for my body and to "loosen" the hold that anxiety had on me so I could go out and be social.
I was misdiagnosed for years but eventually found out I have PCOS and Hashimoto's, which are interconnected with mental health. These diagnoses taught me why my emotions, feelings, and body were reacting the way they were to food and movement. It's freeing when you learn about the underlying reasons and whys of depression, anxiety, food restriction, and beyond that occur in one's life. If it wasn't for my journey, I wouldn't be here today working in the health and wellness field of nutrition and coaching.
I knew there had to be another way than struggling in silence, and there is. It's been a long road to this discovery, and at times I wasn't sure I would make it, but here I am. I have learned that it takes a community of support and understanding to get over some of life's hurdles.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have been a solopreneur since 2015. It was only part-time as a health and wellness coach. Since then, I have added nutritional services, graduating with a master’s degree in health and wellness coaching and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. I have gained board certifications for nutrition and health & wellness coaching, plus licenses as a dietitian-nutritionist, allowing me to accept health insurance. I’ve also started a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition program.
These are all outstanding accomplishments, but the most significant accomplishment beyond all that is taking the leap from being a part-time business owner and working somewhere else full-time to going completely full-time for myself in 2021. It was a scary jump, and I am almost two years out of working for myself full-time. It’s not easy, but it’s refreshing and something I am genuinely thankful to be able to do.
I am looking forward to this journey and continuing to serve clients because nothing compares to the healing results that a client gains when working with you.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Well, it’s letting go of being perfect, allowing yourself to be authentic, and keeping the balance of all administrative and client tasks. It’s the overall "creating balance" in all the hats we wear to do this for our clients and ourselves.
As solopreneurs, it requires a balance of our time and energy so that there isn’t burnout and to make sure that the overall goal is reached sustainably. This looks different from clinician to clinician and even day to day. Being okay with this is crucial, making it the hardest part for a business owner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I just learned this from a fantastic business coach, and yes, sometimes we must reach out to others for help. There is no shame in asking for help or reaching out to others. We need to end the stigma that it’s weak to do this because it’s not. It’s the most vital thing you could do. Anyway, I learned that there are three top things every business owner needs to be focused on, and those are the following:
- Clarity—Know your niche and the community you want to reach and support. Make sure your messages are clear and relatable to them by using the language they would use. Consistency—once you know who your niche and community are, be consistent with when you show up on blog posts, social media, newsletters, providing protocols, etc. Nothing is more frustrating to your audience than being told one thing and having no delivery. If you aren’t consistent, you become untrustworthy.
- Confidence-understand your worth. You may not be for everyone, and that is okay, but there is someone, or many someones, out there that needs what you have to offer. It’s okay to be authentic with your peers and clients because it shows the real you and that you are willing to do the same thing you ask of your clients. These are some of the greatest lessons I have gained over time and through this business coach. You are the face of your practice, so make it shine.
- Lastly, work on building a solid network with colleagues because it’s not a competition. Everyone is needed to support the healing process in our world.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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