Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tanya Jolliffe, founder and director of LIT Wellness Solutions, located in West Chester, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Diet culture pervades our society and has created a value for thinness that has unknowingly caused a weight bias while making people unwell at the same time. Because of this unhealthy diet culture, many people have lost sight of the importance of health, whatever their size, and totally focused on chronic dieting. Many have also developed patterns of disorder. We help people move away from diet culture by developing a wellness culture that focuses on mindful awareness about what they do with food and exercise and why they do it.
Our systematic approach helps people identify, reframe, and manage food, health, and body-related emotions, feelings, and thoughts by developing a toolbox of skills to adopt nourishing, balanced, and health-focused food and activity behaviors without experiencing guilt, shame, or obsession. At the same time, they focus on lifestyle well-being integration so they can identify and relieve life stressors that trigger behavior patterns that have been hindering their health and well-being. Through this unique nutrition therapy experience and mental health integration, our clients create a life prescription that leads to food and body freedom.
Tell us about yourself
I began my career as a registered and licensed dietitian working as a specialist in end-stage organ disease. I provided medical nutrition therapy and behavior-centered education to people with diabetes-related organ complications and kidney and liver failure from various chronic conditions. I also established the transplant dietitian position at a Cincinnati, Ohio, teaching hospital as a kidney, liver, and pancreas transplant nutrition specialist. In this role, I worked with the sickest of the sick.
After staying home with my children for a few years, I returned to the workforce as an online healthy eating expert and health coach, where I helped new moms, teens, and adults manage medical conditions, maintain health, and develop healthy lifestyle behaviors using a web-based platform and tools. In this new digital arena, I worked with mostly healthy yet very diet-focused people.
I took what I learned from these prior experiences to the transportation wellness arena, where I coached professional drivers who had health conditions they needed to manage to maintain their CDL license to maintain their job and stay on the road. As a subject matter expert, I helped develop a cutting-edge approach to transportation wellness that resulted in company acquisition and national recognition as one of The Nation's Best and Brightest in Wellness in 2017.
These experiences revealed the breadth and impact of diet culture on health outcomes. As I reviewed my own disordered eating past and the impact of diet culture on my personal life and health, it became clear that a non-diet approach was needed. In 2019 I published a mindfulness-based journaling program entitled "The Mindful Me Journey: A 40-Day Guided Journal Toward a Healthier Relationship With Food and Exercise," which was an Amazon #1 New Release and has now reached international distribution. This journaling program was based on the process I followed decades before to walk myself out of chronic dieting and disorder by developing a non-diet culture of wellness.
At the same time, I founded L I T Wellness Solutions to use my professional and personal experience to bring people a cutting-edge approach to food and body freedom. I am a non-diet registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed dietitian, and certified integrative mental health professional who is passionate about helping people live healthy and whole lives of purpose.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting a company a few months before a pandemic has certainly created a slower start than I expected, but I have used that time to build a strong foundation. One year after the company was formed, I was proud to receive federal and state recognition as a women-owned small business (WOSB) enterprise (WBE).
I was surprised and proud that L I T Wellness Solutions received recognition for program innovation with a Top 50 Healthcare Companies Award from the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare (IFAH) in June 2021.
How exciting that in just a few short years, my journaling book has reached international distribution, and my women-owned small business is developing cutting-edge programs that are being noticed.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I approach my business with a servant leader mindset and a focus on reaching the people that need what I have to offer most. Of course, generating leads and program fulfillment are key to business success. Learning to put all the pieces together to find, serve, and support people has been a learning curve.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Identify your niche, and don't be afraid to make it narrow. Early on, I got caught up in the idea that spreading a wider net would allow me to reach more people. I learned the hard way that using that approach diluted my message to my target audience.
- Invest in a coach specializing in what you do and who also sees you as an individual. We are each an experiment of one and are unique, and so are our businesses. The credentials, experiences, strengths, and weaknesses we bring to the table are not the same as someone else's. Work with someone that is focused on you and not their process.
- Develop systems and processes that help you manage the work of the business and bring a return, not systems and processes that simply create work without return. What works well for someone else's business niche might not translate for you, so try something and evaluate. If it isn't bringing the return you envisioned, try something else.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Many people ask what a culture of wellness is. A culture of wellness is a culture where the values of health and wholeness are promoted and practiced to improve physical health and well-being. This type of culture is created when people move toward a values-based way of living, working, and relating. It is a person-centered culture that encourages growth, fulfillment, and passion by fueling purpose and enhancing personal lifestyle well-being by helping people recognize and affirm what is working well while also learning how to be honest and fair concerning what needs to change and improve for the benefit of stress reduction, mental clarity, emotional resiliency, health, and happiness. Its purpose is to create a way of living, working, and connecting that weaves health and well-being into the fabric of every aspect of life by supporting all dimensions of physical, emotional, and mental health and relational, financial, spiritual, and social well-being.
A culture of wellness is actually the antithesis of diet culture because decades of that lifestyle have created a very unwell society. A culture of wellness helps people with the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of eating, moving, working, and living so they understand the impact of lifestyle behavior choices on all dimensions of their health and well-being.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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