Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Annika Weeks, Founder of Anni Weeks Nutrition, located in Santaquin, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a copywriter for nutrition professionals (i.e., dietitians, meal delivery services, health food companies), but I also aim to provide many free resources to people who are patients in the healthcare system. My business motto really says it all -- Nourish your niche.
I dealt with chronic illness and spent a couple of years almost entirely homebound, so I know what a great, connection-driven tool the internet can be when used for good. I call myself a "digital diet tech" because my goal is to help dietitians and other professionals connect with their online audience and contribute to elevating the healthcare system as a whole.
Tell us about yourself
I documented my own healing journey while in college (when I found out I had chronic illness), and once I had formal training in nutrition, I knew I wanted to publish my writings in some sort way. I started my business in the fall of 2019, graduated in the spring of 2020, and became credentialed as registered nutrition and dietetic technician (NDTR/DTR) in the fall of 2020.
With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring in the spring of 2020, many dietitians and businesses began to make a shift to converting digital customers on their websites or serving clients in a private practice online. Copywriting encompassed all the areas of that shift that I felt excited about (sales copy, blog writing, social media copy, email copy, marketing copy, SEO optimization, etc.), so that's where I decided to direct my business and nourish my own niche!
What motivates me each day is picturing myself sick and stuck in bed over six years ago. Nutritional therapy and online resources were such an important part of my healing. I create digital resources on my own site and help other professionals fine-tune their digital presence so that people out there struggling can find the help that they need to continue on their own healing path.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That's a tough question! One memory that sticks out in my mind was the first time I got a paycheck from one of my clients, which was equal to what my husband was making at the time. Of course, having the money was nice, but what really meant a lot to me was that particular company invested in me and saw my potential. It was the first time I had really realized what a difference I could make in the industry and that my business could thrive while I was doing what I loved. Also, it felt good as a woman to be bringing in equal income to my husband and feeling like my freelance; a solopreneur business could be as profitable as his corporate job (and he was all for that, too -- there wasn't a sense of competition there, just celebration). Even in a woman-dominated field, it felt nice to push against the glass ceiling that we so often use to limit ourselves.
Anytime I get asked to be on a podcast or do an interview also feels like a huge accomplishment! I think, "They want to talk to little, old me?" NDTRs are so underutilized in the nutrition world right now. I love getting to talk about what I do and feel flattered and humbled that people want to highlight my business. I hope what I say or write opens a door for somebody one day.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner, especially a solopreneur, is wearing all the hats. When the business thrives, you thrive. When you experience a loss, it's easy to identify yourself as a failure. There are so many times I've just wanted to throw in the towel and quit everything, but I have to look to others who have persevered and find some part of their philosophy to adopt to find my way back on track. One thing I always say is that failure is only truly failing when we refuse to look at it as a learning experience.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in yourself. Whether it's spending the money to get your business off the ground or investing time in continuing education courses, wisely choose where you spend your efforts. The first money I spent on my business was to buy the domain name for my website and upgrade to a professional business account to keep it running (and even that was a big, scary step for me as a frugal college student). We all have to start somewhere! Remember, the resources you choose to invest in should make your life more valuable, not make you feel a sense of lack (i.e., like you're losing money). Cultivate a mindset of investment -- "start where you are and do what you can." You don't have to spend millions to make millions, necessarily. Sometimes it's just a mindset shift that needs to be made.
- Build a support system. Just because you are a solopreneur doesn't mean you have to do it all on your own. I started investing in automation services starting in 2021, and it has made a HUGE difference in my business. I went from feeling burned out to feeling like I had an actual plan and system to support the growth of my business. Not enough can be said about networking, too. Make connections and friends in the business -- they will empathize with you at every stage if you let them into your life.
- Don't let anyone define success for you. If I had a dollar for everyone who tried to sell me the secret to being a six-figure guru like them, I'd have earned six figures from that alone. I've made more than my husband and less than my husband. I've been offended by people saying, "oh, so you just blog for work," when I tell them what I do. I've been burned out working full-time, and I've learned how to thrive by scaling back and working part-time. Be careful how you define success, and be wary of placing that value in money or in what someone else has to say about your job. Success, to you, may not be 7+ figures but rather the thing that allows you to spend time making memories with your kids before they move out of the house. I always try to remind myself that I can work hard, but I don't want to look back on this time and have it be a blur of hustle culture. That helps me hone in on my own version of success (spoiler alert: it's often less glamourous than what we see on social media).
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The scariest part of anything is starting! I have a couple of new ventures in my business that I've tried out this year, and I'm just as fearful of trying those as when I started my business. That feeling never really goes away; you just learn and grow better because of it.
While I'm an expert in my field and a thought leader in many circles, I always repeat to myself that "I want to teach and be teachable." No one will draw more attention to your failures than you, so start focusing on your successes!
Celebrate the small things. The world really needs the unique gifts that only you can offer. Don't be too shy about your good or service, but don't be too proud about it either. Accept feedback and use it to refine your business. I truly believe everyone can contribute to making the world a better place if they put their minds to it and are open to adapting.
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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