Today on the blog we are talking to private practice RDs, those who own their own nutritional counseling business. One of the hardest parts about being in private practice is building a clientele. You not only have to make yourself and your services known to the community but you have to make the community see and understand your worth in PAYING for those services. Everything costs money these days. We are all trying to stay on budget, determine the difference between wants and needs and prioritize the goods and services we need now and those we can either wait on or do without. As a private practice dietitian you have to make the community see that your help, your expertise is worth paying for. And that can be an uphill battle. Here are some tips on how to boost your community presence, exemplify your worth and build a clientele.
First: Determine the clientele or the population of people you want to reach and serve. This is completely up to you but will help guide your future marketing techniques and choices. Some RDs choose to be general and counsel any and everyone while others choose to focus on a few types of illness or topics and specialize in them.
Second: Become credentialed with insurance providers. People are much more likely to utilize you if you take their insurance. This process can be long and tedious but is worth the time and effort in the long run.
Third: Start developing relationships with medical and therapeutic providers in your community. Get to know your internal medicine doctor, your child’s pediatrician, your dentist, your friend’s personal trainer, your therapist etc. Word of mouth goes a long way. And have your business cards ready to hand them. Oh yeah…get business cards 😊.
Fourth: Offer free general nutrition education sessions to the community (with business cards ready to go!). Offer a session at the senior center in your community on geriatric nutrition, offer a lunch and learn for therapist on how you can partner with them in treating eating disorders, offer a kid friendly education on MyPlate at a local library. The possibilities are endless.
Fifth: Be patient. This process can and likely will be slow. But as I have said in past blogs, slow and steady wins the race. Take your time, do your best with each client and word will spread!
Good luck in all of your future business endeavors fellow dietitians! I hope this blog has been helpful to you!