Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Neale, founder, and owner of Nutrition IQ, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner of Nutrition IQ Inc., which offers virtual nutrition counseling and dietetic services across Ontario, Canada. I specialize in women's health, Intuitive Eating, and helping women repair their relationships with food and rediscover the joy in eating. I use a weight-inclusive approach in my practice, and I believe strongly that weight is not indicative of overall health.
In addition to one-on-one virtual counseling, I also run a group program called the Nourished Mama. The Nourished Mama is designed to walk busy moms through the process of Intuitive Eating. This program teaches moms how to become Intuitive Eaters, how to apply the principles of Intuitive Eating to family meals, and how to eat in a way that feels nourishing and sustainable. It also provides access to an amazing community of other moms who are along the journey with you so that you can learn together and feel supported as you ditch dieting for good.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, and mom of two. When I first opened Nutrition IQ in 2013, it was a mere two months after graduating with my Master's Degree. I had no experience running a business, but I knew I didn't want to do traditional clinical or food service dietetics. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from entrepreneurial family members.
When I first started my business, I was still working other jobs, and Nutrition IQ was very much a side hustle. However, after my daughter was born in 2017, I decided to give Nutrition IQ my full attention. At that time, I also did a massive pivot in my business, moving away from weight-loss counseling and toward intuitive eating. This felt really scary, but as a Dietitian, I had seen first-hand how harmful weight loss attempts could be. As a mom, I knew how detrimental they could be, particularly to young girls and their self-image. In order to run my business effectively, I needed it to align with my values as a professional and as a mom.
Now, what keeps me going in my business is the knowledge that I'm helping women reconnect with themselves and, in turn, sparing the next generation from harmful diet culture messaging at home. I'm building a business that I am proud of, that aligns with my values and interests, and that's making a difference in the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment has been building a business that really aligns with my values professionally and personally. Niching down and working with very specific clients who I know I can help been so important not only in my branding, messaging, and identifying the services that my business offers, but it has also helped my work-life balance. I don't need to be a jack of all trades, and I don't need to take on every client that walks through my door if they're not a good fit for me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It can be really challenging to turn off my business brain. I have new ideas for my business all the time, so it can be a challenge to set boundaries around work and personal time. When you own your own business, there's always something you feel like you should be doing, and when you work out of your home, work is never that far away. It's important to set aside time that's specifically for personal or family time and allow yourself to take vacations. This allows you to recharge and come back to work feeling refreshed.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't look at what everyone else is doing. It's important to really examine what skills and lived experiences you bring to the table and build your business in a way that feels authentic to you.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Having a business mentor or people who will help you along the way is incredibly valuable. You want to look for someone who will give their honest feedback, not just tell you what you want to hear.
- Set boundaries around your time. You need to be able to turn off and recharge. If your burn out quickly, so does your business. If it means moving a little slower, so be it. Sometimes you get the best inspiration while resting.
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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