Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Helen Phadnis, Founder of The Bespoke Nutrition Coach, located in Hove, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help people struggling with excess weight and poor gut health to get clear on their unique nutritional needs using the power of DNA testing - so they can take control of their weight and gut issues, boost their mood and feel energized.
I see customers who are frustrated and exhausted with all the nutrition noise out there. They're confused about which approach is best for sustainable weight loss and identifying triggers of gut upset. My promise to them is to give completely bespoke nutrition advice, to offer a clear nutrition plan, delivered in a structured way to avoid overwhelm, and to be their cheerleader through changing diet and lifestyle habits of a lifetime (which is hard!).
Tell us about yourself
I first got interested in nutrition as a skinny teenager, always hungry and unable to 'bulk up.' I was rowing at an elite level and training six days a week. Combined with a 'fast metabolism' inherited from my slim parents, this meant I felt my portions were huge next to my friends, and people would comment on that. This led to a preoccupation with food. What food will make me build muscle? What food will help me lose fat? How can I fuel my training? What's 'healthy'? I went on to train to be a dietitian in an effort to find answers to these questions.
I worked in the NHS as a senior specialist dietitian in some big London teaching hospitals. I loved the fast-paced ward work and gained a huge bank of medical knowledge from the hospital team. However, due to chronic under-staffing, I felt patients were not receiving the best care.
The breaking point came one day as I turned up to my busy out-patients clinic to find there was no room available to see my patients. I was given two chairs in the clinic corridor to counsel my patients on complex diet changes necessary for kidney disease.
That night I researched how to start up private clinics, so I could offer patients better care. More time to hear their concerns, better nutrition analysis software for them to learn from, and a shorter wait until an appointment.
When I opened my doors to private practice, I found a huge need for those wanting clarity on what to eat and feeling their bodies reacted differently to others.
My 'aha moment' came when reading Tim Spector's first book Identically Different, based on his twin studies at Kings College London. As a twin myself, this resonated. The answers could be found in our genetics. I vowed to apply personalized nutrition to my services.
This takes us up to the present Bespoke Nutrition Coach services:
1-hour appointment times to make sure you feel heard and understood
Ongoing coaching support via WhatsApp, I can be your cheerleader
Short wait of only one week for an appointment (compared to 6-24 months for NHS) Nutrition analysis software for diet diary reports and meal plans DNA testing and at-home capillary/venous blood testing services for a convenient way to investigate the cause of your symptoms, and results you take ownership of and can understand.
Happy, successful clients free from digestive discomfort and clear of the right diet to help manage weight and optimize mood and energy levels.
It is these success stories that motivate me each day to do what I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is to have maintained my professional dietetic career without having to sacrifice time with my children. Being my own boss means I can balance the demands of family life with a busy, effective private dietetic practice.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Saying no! In order to be successful in business, it's important to find a niche in a specific area. This has meant I spend less time in other areas of dietetics that I love. But we can't all be experts at everything - in this situation, you're talking to everyone and no one all at the same time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be clear on the end goal. What are you aiming towards? Set SMART goals, and revisit them quarterly.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Running your own business can be lonely. Join every support group you can!
- The organization is everything. Schedule, batch, and keep to your timetable to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
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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