Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Malina Malkani, an Author and Media Dietitian in Private Practice, based in Rye, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help parents raise healthy, confident, adventurous eaters. As a single mom of three girls and a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition, I specialize in infant and child feeding, starting solids, baby-led weaning, and picky eating. If chaos, stress, and fatigue around food and feeding are what's on your plate these days, I get it and have been there!
Tell us about yourself
Nutrition is actually my second career. For my first ten years post-Northwestern University undergrad, I worked in the performing arts (AEA, SAG-AFTRA) as a singer, actor, dancer, and model based in New York. I traveled the country with national tours and appeared in regional theater and Off-Broadway shows, independent feature films, and commercials. Throughout, I felt pressure from the industry to be slender and learned the hard way that fad diets and food restrictions were not the answer.
Through trial and error, research and experimentation, I started on a path toward a healthier lifestyle and, along the way, fell so in love with the science of nutrition and the way proper nourishment made me FEEL that I never looked back. In fact, after a decade of performing, I went back to school at NYU, earned my graduate degree in Clinical Nutrition, and started working as an outpatient weight loss and bariatric registered dietitian (RD) at the Bronx VA hospital.
My three daughters were all born within about 3 ½ years of each other after I became an RD, and it was during their infancy that I discovered my passion for pediatric nutrition. It was an intense time, learning to care for and feed their little bodies and exposing them to a variety of foods that they would actually eat (not easy!) while also learning to carve out space for my own self-care and nutrition so that I could be the mother they needed me to be.
After struggling with the gamut during my own motherhood journey – i.e., difficulties breastfeeding, a premature baby who wasn't gaining weight, three c-sections in quick succession, food battles at mealtimes, picky eating behaviors, fear of a diminishing breastmilk supply, childhood food allergies that were difficult to diagnose, infant reflux, etc., it became clear that my heart was set on helping fellow parents navigate similar food and feeding challenges with their little ones.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Watched my first book (Simple and Safe Baby-Led Weaning: How to Integrate Foods, Manage Portion Sizes and Identify Allergies) become a best seller, then transformed that book up off the page and into an online course for parents. One of my greatest joys has been hearing from so many new parents who reach out on Instagram to describe how these feeding resources have helped make their baby's solid food feeding journey easy, fun, and successful.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Hands down – NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME! As an entrepreneur and single mom of three, I would give anything to have more time to devote to my kids, family, business, friends, volunteer work in underserved populations, self-care, and more…I find it hard to ever "finish working" on any given day and am constantly recalculating where and how to best distribute my time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Grab every opportunity you can connect to a network, even when you're not in the mood! You never know when you might meet someone who changes the trajectory of your business in a positive way.
- Collaborate and align yourself with businesses, peers, and colleagues with whom you share a mission and target audience.
- Create and/or join a Mastermind Group with whom you meet regularly, who will hold you accountable as you work to achieve your goals, support you on your journey, and help reduce some of the feelings of loneliness that can be difficult to manage when you're in business by yourself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
- Here is the link for the baby-led feeding course (which goes with the image I included above) babyledfeedingcourse.com
- Learn the method that will turn your picky eater into an adventurous, intuitive eater with "Solve Picky Eating," an online course for parents of kids ages 2-6.
Here is my main website/private practice to link to: https://www.malinamalkani.com/
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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