Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amy Neilson, a Fitness & Nutrition Consultant based in Cromwell, Otago, New Zealand.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business works with clients, businesses, and publications on how to improve your fitness, nutrition, and mindset. Built through one-on-one sessions, bespoke recommendations, tailored plans, and easy-to-follow guides, we offer Tailored Fitness & Nutrition Plan options to help people reach their goals healthily & sustainably with the level of support they need. We don't believe in following 'diets' that are unsustainable (and no fun). We keep it simple and are there when you need us—nothing more, nothing less.

My customers range from the age of 21 to well into their 70s. From small local businesses to large corporations. From small-town newspapers to regional publications. They all have one thing in common - a desire to cut through the noise in the 'wellness' industry and make real changes to their fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, and businesses.

Tell us about yourself

I am anything but your textbook nutritionist. That's right. I set out to break the mould, and it's working​. You won't find me in a doctor's office or through an online directory. My background is in the Epidemiology of Obesity, a subject currently being studied globally under the Geographies of Health. Simply put, that's how we humans interact with and are affected by the world around us. We don't exist in a vacuum, which is why many 'diets' without considering other aspects of your life simply won't work.

Epidemiology is the spread of disease, and obesity remains one of the fastest-growing causes of ill health in the modern world. In fact, as I write, it currently contributes to more death than COVID, war, and terrorism combined. Far from this, the current food system is also responsible for an endemic lack of energy, sports performance struggles, and that growing feeling of dread as you try and squeeze into the jeans that fit you perfectly last year. Our environment, culture, economic situation, and even the consumption spaces that we are surrounded by have a huge part to play in our likelihood of struggling with weight.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Seeing my clients' mindsets, bodies, and, ultimately, their lives change. There are days I feel like I have a magic wand. I have the ability to ask my clients about their goals, challenges, and deepest desires. Then offer them a framework to get them from where they are to where they want to be.

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been helping my clients lose a combined 300kg in the midst of a global obesity epidemic. It's not all about weight - but it is a growing problem we can't ignore - and if I can help just a few of those who are willing to listen, I am succeeding.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Having the ability to turn up and give 100% every day. Loving my business and seeing clients make a real change makes this a huge amount easier, but it's anything but easy. Unlike a dietician, working through a holistic process means that clients come to me to help with their 'weight.' The tricky aspects I have to help them overcome to get them where they want to be include tricky conversations with bosses, spouses, and friends. Re-evaluating the way they live every aspect of their lives at the moment. It can be a confronting conversation with people who are the only ones who can be truly responsible for how they look, think and feel.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Just start. Don't get stuck with analysis paralysis. No business ever started perfectly from day one. Employ people to help if you need to. Have a good website, strong social media presence, graphic designers, and accounts. I luckily have a marketing background, but if you don't, ensure you are prepared to outsource everything that isn't within your zone of genius! I wish I had known this part earlier. Don't be limited by self-beliefs based on past experiences. If you can imagine it, it can happen. To quote Henry Ford, "if you think you can, or you think you can''re probably right".

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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