Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amy Dirks, Founder of Amy Dirks Sports Nutrition, located in Kansas City, MO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is an online sports nutrition platform that teaches the foundation of sports nutrition. Nutrition is crucial in performance and recovery, but many sports programs/teams cannot afford to hire a sports dietitian on staff. My programs are there to help those athletes, coaches, Athletic Trainers, Strength, and Conditioning Coaches, Physical Therapists, or other Nutritionists implement a solid sports nutrition foundation into the curriculum without having to do any of the work. Everything is there for you, from presentations, handouts, emails, etc. It is a plug-and-play program!
Tell us about yourself
I was a college athlete that loved my sport and worked very hard at it, but I also struggled with multiple health issues. Majoring in Exercise Science, working in health and wellness, and eventually becoming a dietitian, I changed my diet, which in turn changed my life. All of my inflammatory conditions went away because food truly is the strongest form of medicine. I learned personally that you could eat to heal your body, or you can eat to kill your body. My personal journey has led me to want to help other athletes learn the basics of eating for optimal performance so that they don't make the same mistakes I did. Eating in such a way not only helps their performance and recovery but also carries over into their lives beyond being an athlete, so they have longevity and wellbeing. After starting the MLS team Sporting Kansas City's sports nutrition program, I knew I could help a lot more athletes by taking my knowledge and experience online. So that's what I did; I bundled up everything so that I could now be your virtual sports dietitian without me physically having to be there.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting! The amount of work that goes into starting a business (even online) and putting it out into the universe can be overwhelming. The fact that I took the risk and started this business during COVID while home-schooling my kids and renovating a house, and moving is my biggest accomplishment so far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me personally, it's being consistent with social media outlets. I love writing and creating content to educate, but putting myself out there and being completely vulnerable is a challenge. I'm trying to teach my daughters not to be on devices all of the time, and therefore, I don't want them to see me on mine all of the time either. I'm not sure there's ever an actual balance because it always ebbs and flows but finding the time to be consistent with what you need to do for your online business and then doing it on a daily basis is hard for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
One tip is to start promoting and selling your business before it's ever even created. It's important to build your audience and their trust. I thought I had to have everything perfect before I could do this...branding, building the website, creating the programs, etc. Now, I'm working on the marketing of it, and it's slow going. I should have done things in the opposite order. Another tip would be to have systems in place. This is something I am still working on but having a daily task list and a system for each part of your business helps make things run efficiently and takes more of your time in the beginning but less of your time after the fact. The last tip is to stay true to your values and why you wanted to start the business in the first place. I sometimes get imposter syndrome, but then I remind myself of why I created this business and who I am helping, and it gives me the confidence to keep going.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I've worked with a lot of athletes and wellness clients over the years. I have seen the transformation that having a solid nutrition foundation can do for them. I wish I would have had someone teaching me this information when I was a student-athlete, and now I want to be that mentor, that expert teaching them these basics so that they can move on to get more sport-specific, gender-specific, and age-specific. You cannot out-train a bad diet...you must be doing the basics right first!
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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