Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danielle Munn, Owner of Upstate Wedding Dietitian, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The diet and weight loss industry are worth billions of dollars. Women, in particular, are targeted every day through multiple outlets such as social media. This gets exponentially worse when we get engaged. Suddenly we have advertisements thrown in our face encouraging "shredding for the wedding" and "how to fit into your dream dress size." Planning a wedding is stressful enough without being preyed on by fad diet companies left and right. I experienced this first hand in 2021 when I was planning my own wedding.
Through this realization, I found my niche. I wanted to offer services that would empower people and teach them about nutrition instead of just demonizing foods and making them feel like crap.
I offer completely virtual services to women (not just brides-to-be) all over the world. These include private one-on-one sessions as well as group options. I pride myself on hands-on learning and providing individualized recommendations. Some of my services include virtual pantry tours and meal planning sessions where we create a one-week meal plan together, so clients gain the confidence to do these independently.
Group sessions are my absolutely favorite service that I offer. It allows women who are going through similar experiences a safe & non-judgmental space where they can connect. We talk about all things food, fitness, confidence, and wedding planning. I plan to expand upon group programs in the near future; however, right now, I'm offering six-week programs where we meet once per week virtually with unlimited email/phone support throughout.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Danielle Munn. I am a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with a passion for nutrition education and promoting body positivity. I started the Upstate Wedding Dietitian last year after becoming a bride myself. I personally felt the pressures society puts on women to look a certain way for their wedding. I even asked myself a few times, "do I need to lose weight?". As a Registered Dietitian and generally very confident human, I couldn't help but realize how other women may feel during this time. I started reaching out to friends, family and inquiring on social media to ask about others' experiences, and the reaction was shocking.
"I didn't eat for days."
"I felt like I had to starve myself."
"I took laxatives."
"I tried X, Y, Z diets."
The list sadly went on and on. All just in preparation for their wedding day.
My motivation comes from connecting with my clients and seeing their success. This could mean changing someone's perspective on food or improving their self-confidence. Often people come to me after years of dieting and weighing themselves constantly. By the end of the program, most people forget that they even own a scale. I truly feel that I am making a difference in someone's life, not just before their wedding, but positive changes that can last a lifetime.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating my group programming is my biggest accomplishment so far. This is also something that I continue to improve on every time I go through it with a group. I'm so proud to create a space where people can be vulnerable and talk about their history with food and body image. The group is also an opportunity for people to gain basic nutrition knowledge. I start the group with week one being all fundamentals of nutrition. If people don't know the basics (macronutrients, vitamins/minerals, how metabolism works, fluid needs, etc.), how can you expect them to know how to create and build healthy balanced meals and snacks for themselves? My goal is to set people up for long-term success versus a short-term program they will do for a while, fail at, and come crawling back for more (aka exactly what diet culture does).
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Setting boundaries. I want to be the absolute best I can be and put my entire heart and soul into my business, but I'm still learning how to balance work and personal life. It's especially hard, I find, when you work from home in a virtual setting such as myself. Your workplace is also your home, so I think having a somewhat "official" office space can help with this. Also, organize and plan out your days, so you have structure to your day. However, I will also say that when you are doing something you truly love, it doesn't feel like work, and that's probably the biggest pro to being your own small business owner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Accept failure. So many people are terrified of starting something and failing. This often leads to people just never following their dreams or putting them off for a long time. Take risks and learn that failure is a teaching opportunity. It's data you can collect to grow and become even better.
- If people in your life don't support you and are judgemental, they are most likely envious of your success. Surround yourself with positive people that lift you up and weed out the others that make you feel less than your best. Having a successful group of like-minded supportive people around you will only help you become more successful!
- Be kind to yourself. Social media, in particular, can be rough. You may put a ton of work into a post or a service you created, and it could still flop. Again, use this as a learning experience. But more importantly, know that social media algorithms don't always correlate to how amazing or helpful your content is. So keep trying!!
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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