Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maria Manrique, Founder of The EAT Method, located in Taysan, Batangas, Philippines.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm an online nutrition coach for powerlifters. I provide individualized nutrition programming aligned with their lifestyle and goals so that they may thrive in and out of the sport of powerlifting. My business is founded on nutrition education and the efficient application of education. Therefore, in addition to individualized nutrition programming, I provide countless nutrition education resources available and accessible at any time to promote curiosity about nutrition and continuous learning. In combination with the programming and educational resources, I support and guide powerlifters to help them master skills and practices that lead them to their goals.
My customers are powerlifters, competitive and non-competitive. Most people believe that powerlifting nutrition must revolve around calorie- and macro-tracking, but The EAT Method is here to say otherwise. Nutrition runs deeper than calories and macros.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated from TMU (formerly known as Ryerson University) with a Bachelors' in Nutrition and Food. I wanted to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in performance nutrition. Unfortunately, I was deported from Canada for reasons out of my control. I have lived for 17 years in Canada, and I had never thought about building my own business - the thought of it frightened me. When I flew to the Philippines, my life was in shambles. I was unemployed for ten months, and my debt was not going anywhere. It was the most significant push out of my comfort zone. When my friend, Mallory Rowan, launched her online course, Sell On Social, I was encouraged to use my education and build a business. At the time, I had $9.99 in my bank account, but Mallory had scholarships available. Even though my dream to become an RD was paused, it came to my attention that I can still educate and work with athletes in a nutrition-coaching capacity.
As a competitive powerlifter, I decided to delve into my sport's community because I had hands-on experience with the challenges. One of the biggest challenges I see amongst powerlifters today is the unfortunate results of repetitive weight cuts on the body. And sadly, powerlifters feel defeated and hate food/nutrition because of the difficulties of maintaining/making weight and improving performance simultaneously. I'm here to change that with The EAT Method.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being able to give back to communities that support my business' mission and values. These communities include Lift4Life, Band of Barbells, and Project PEARLS.
- Lift4Life takes the community approach to empowering marginalized communities through powerlifting. So a portion of all coaching payments is donated to their projects.
- Band of Barbells is my home powerlifting gym. And The EAT Method is one of their sponsors for their annual meet, providing discounted coaching to registered athletes and educational resource brochures to athletes.
- Project PEARLS helps the poorest of the poor children to have a better life by giving them Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love, and Smiles through education, empowerment, nutrition, nourishment, and healthcare. Proceeds from The EAT Method Merch Shop are donated to their Scholarship Program for children in the Philippines.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is wearing all the hats. I started and still operate my business by myself. And that means being the content creator, copywriter, marketer, educator, and nutrition coach for all my athletes. It's challenging but worth it, especially when I see my athletes enjoying the process.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do what you love. The striving for money will only allow you to start, but the passion will enable you to continue and grow beyond your potential.
- Make meaningful connections. Take advantage of the online world and the ability to connect with people worldwide. But most importantly, ensure these are the people you WANT to communicate with.
- Be okay with hustling. There will be seasons of hustling, especially in the first few years, and it's best to anticipate that so you can go into it with realistic expectations.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Subscribe to my email list, TEM Community (https://www.subscribepage.com/jointemcommunity), for exclusive emails with tips, advice, stories, and delicious deals.
Shop at the TEM Merch Shop and pick up your apparel here: https://www.bonfire.com/store/the-eat-method/.
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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