Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and nutrition but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jackie Silver, owner of Jackie Silver Nutrition, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a Registered Dietitian, and I run a private nutrition practice, consulting business, and blog that focuses on kids, teens, and adults with physical disabilities, autism, or ADHD. In my private practice, the vast majority of my clients are neurodivergent kids, teens, and adults, meaning they are autistic and/or have ADHD or intellectual/developmental disabilities.
I support them with many aspects of nutrition and health, such as expanding diet for picky eaters, establishing mealtime peace and structure, mindful eating skills, meal prep and planning around executive dysfunction, supplement recommendations, digestive issues, nutrient deficiencies, and more! My blog has many healthy, easy recipes and educational articles about topics relating to nutrition and disability/neurodivergence. I also have an online shop that sells educational resources.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) in June 2020 with a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication, where I did nine months of dietetic internship rotations. One of my placements was with Special Olympics Ontario, where I ran cooking classes and nutrition workshops for athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This was when I started seeing the huge gap and need for serving this population. I always wanted to have my own business, but I didn't think it would happen soon after graduating. But I graduated during the pandemic and was spending all this time at home, so I just decided to go for it, and it's been highly rewarding to see my business grow and develop in such a short time.
I originally wanted my main clientele to be physically disabled adults, but I started getting all these requests to work with autistic kids and adults and have since pivoted to mostly working with the neurodivergent community. What motivates me each day is knowing that I get to make a positive difference in the health and lives of an underserved population.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There have been many meaningful accomplishments throughout my entrepreneurial journey, but one I am very proud of is growing my email list from scratch and fostering trust while providing value to my subscribers.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many challenges with being a business owner! They come up every day. A big challenge for me is comparing myself to other business owners and thinking that I am doing something "wrong" or am not good enough in my business. I have to constantly remind myself that every business is different, and slow and steady growth is the key to success. It takes time to build and grow a business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be consistent. Whether you want to post three times a week on social media, email your list once a month, publish a weekly blog post or youtube video, release a certain number of new products per year, be consistent about it. Consistency will lead to positive results long-term.
- Network, network, network. This is probably the most important tip I have. The more people who know you and know about your business, the better. Start planting seeds by forging connections with new people and keep in touch with them over time. For the first year of my business, I set a goal to email or call three new people or organizations every week. Now 50% of my clients come from referrals of people I have fostered connections with. Having a strong network is incredibly powerful.
- Take small steps. I am a fan of setting small, consistent goals that I can stick with long-term, and I encourage you to do the same. Celebrate the small wins along the way and aim for slow and steady growth.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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