The Unconventional RD Podcast Episode 009 Ask Me Anything


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Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income streams. We’ll talk all things online business to help you start, grow and scale your own digital empire.

What to Expect in This Episode

It’s my freaking 33rd birthday, and it’s time to Ask-Me-Anything!!

For this special episode, I am answering questions directly from YOU. {What a fun interlude to the interview and solo episodes we usually do, right??}

We cover a lot of ground here – everything from personal questions about my day to day life and bigger goals, to questions about entrepreneurship, online business, mindset, tech, SEO, and even future trends.

This episode was so much fun to record & I hope you have a blast listening to it! Maybe this will become an annual birthday tradition 🙂

Let’s Dive Into the Episode!

For today’s episode, I have something a little different. I’ve never done anything like this before on the podcast, but I heard it on a different podcast and thought it was kind of a cool idea. It’s an “Ask Me Anything” episode!

I’m doing this in honor of my 33rd birthday which is tomorrow, the day after Valentine’s Day. I’m recording this a little early. It’ll come out about 1½ weeks after my actual birthday, but I thought it would be a fun little different type of episode to do.

Where I Got the Questions

I posted a prompt in the Unconventional RD community on Facebook, and I also posted something on my Instagram stories asking people, “Hey, if you could ask me anything about really any topic, what would you want to know? I’ll pick my favorite questions and do a podcast episode on this.”

I have done ask me anything webinars before in the past and they’re super cool. I’m just going to do the same thing for this podcast.

We have a wide range of topics, stemming from personal questions to general entrepreneurial questions, and then some technical businessy stuff as well. I’m going to start out with the personal questions, move into the questions about entrepreneurship, and then end with those technically types of questions.

Entrepreneurial Questions

#1: Where Do You Want to Be In 10 Years?

The first question was kind of fun and it’s, “Where do you want to be in 10 years?”

To be honest, I had to think about it for a second.

In 10 years, I’ll be turning 43. I think I’d like to be a mom, maybe three kids (that’s my goal)… maybe have some pets. I currently don’t have any pets. I see myself really running a (hopefully) multimillion-dollar online business with a small team of really kickass people who work for me remotely from their homes.

I imagine having really diversified income streams, maybe even some real estate investment.

I envision the Unconventional RD being my main thing; really expanding that blog, working on SEO, and growing my blog traffic because I haven’t really focused on that for this brand yet.

Of course, this podcast. I hope that’s still alive and kicking in 10 years. Although who knows what will change in the landscape of podcasting, or maybe I’ll get into video. I don’t know.

I do think that courses and passive income streams will continue to be my main gig because that’s really the sweet spot of where I thrive with my personality and how I can serve my audience the best.

I think my online courses, maybe some ad revenue (through both the blog and maybe even the podcast), affiliate income, maybe, maybe a small amount of consulting or high-level one-on-one work. I’m not sure yet. People ask me if I offer that all the time and currently the answer is no, but never say never. Maybe I’ll come around and take on a small handful of people to work with one-on-one.

I think in 10 years, I may have sold the Functional Nutrition Answers blog and that whole company. As I’ve mentioned in the first episode, I’m finding it to be really overwhelming to try to run two different businesses on two different topics—one on business, the Unconventional RD; and one on nutrition, which is the Functional Nutrition Answers blog and Functional Nutrition Library membership site.

I can envision perhaps selling it or (at least) having it to where it’s pretty much basically entirely outsourced. Maybe I run a team of freelance writers and I have an editor who does all the fact-checking and all that jazz. Maybe I just own it and manage the higher-level SEO marketing strategy. That sounds fun, but I don’t envision myself being in the nitty-gritty of that business in 10 years.

I envision more balance in my life with my family being my top priority at that point.

My models that I’m really modeling my life and business after are actually other online entrepreneurs. People like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He’s my all-time favorite. I’ve listened to every single podcast episode that he’s come out with over the years. Been a fan for a really long time. Amy Porterfield, Jenna Kutcher, those types of people. That’s where I would love to see myself in 10 years.

#2: Who Are the Role Models That You Look Up To?

This stems into the next question, “Who are the role models that you look up to, dietitians or others?”

To be honest, most of my role models are outside of the RD world. Definitely, number one are my parents. They’re extremely hard-working, very ethical, which I am so grateful for. From a very young age, they always taught me it’s very important to be honest, to do the right thing, to listen to your gut, and all those things. Instilling those values in me has served me very well.

I’ll never forget the one time back in high school, I got caught with a friend trying to sneak out of her house. Oh my gosh. We got into so much trouble.

My dad, instead of just sweeping it under the rug or not addressing it, he actually had me write an apology letter to my friend’s parents and then go over there, read it to them, and apologize to their face. That was a really big deal and I hated every moment of it while it was happening, but looking back, I’m like, “Whoa, that’s such a good lesson in accountability, apologies, owning up when you’re wrong and things like that.” Honestly, I’m so, so, so grateful that I had that as an example growing up.

I also look up to other online business owners that I mentioned. In addition to those three, I also really admire Denise Duffield-Thomas who runs the Lucky B*tch brand and does a lot of money mindset work. I’m in her course and private Facebook community. I’m just so, so grateful to just be in the room with other women who are making hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a year in their businesses, being comfortable with that, being open about what that looks like, and the mindset hurdles involved in getting there. I’m super grateful and I admire that.

Also, the bloggers who run Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro. I basically read every single one of their income reports when I was starting out. That’s Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom. That’s their names, but they were very generous in sharing their blogging income reports, which really inspired me and made it feel real, that you could make a good living through great blog content.

I looked up to them. I also liked how they tried to pay it forward and created a whole second business about creating and running a profitable food blog, which is their company Food Blogger Pro. They also have a podcast, which was incredibly helpful and motivational for me when I was still in the trenches, trying to figure out the whole food blogging thing four or five years ago.

Really, anyone who’s been open and shared their business strategies, their wins and losses, I don’t know if I’d be where I am today if those people hadn’t come first and shared so openly on their blogs, their podcast, offered paid programs as well. I’ve done some of these people’s paid programs. I was a member of Food Blogger Pro for a while. It really inspired me to have the belief that I could do it, too.

In the RD world, I would say my role models are really anyone who is out there doing their own thing unapologetically. I really look up to the risk-takers in our field, the people who have clear passion behind their work. Even if it doesn’t perfectly align with what I’m talking about or what I personally believe. I don’t really care. If you have the passion behind it and you are out there doing the work, you’re not half-assing it, you’re really out there trying to make an impact in whatever niche that you’re in, I admire that and I will always cheer that on.

I don’t really spend that much time poking around, looking at what other people are doing, and reminiscing on it, to be honest. Most of my time is actually spent implementing in my own business and trying to learn from the mistakes that I inevitably make and the wins. That would be my answer to that question.

#3: What’s the Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced as an Entrepreneur?

The next question, “What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?”

This one’s fun. I don’t know if you guys would see this coming but my answer is patience. Hands down, patience was the biggest challenge for me in this entrepreneurial journey.

I’ve always known inside my heart that I’m meant to be an entrepreneur. I knew that I could do it, but the hardest thing in those early years, I would say the first three, even maybe four years of trying to be an entrepreneur straight out of the gate after becoming a dietitian was this feeling of, I know I can do this… but… in our life at that time, it was me and my now-fiance who had just finished his real estate license and was trying to get up and running in that career… Literally at the same time,I was fresh out of grad school and a brand new dietitian, and he was fresh out of passing his real estate exam, trying to start a new career in real estate.

And that was just a really difficult time, income-wise for us. We didn’t have any, really stable, consistent sources of income. I was doing a whole bunch of side jobs, trying to start my own business or businesses as I’ve mentioned throughout these podcast episodes.

It really hurt my soul to not be able to just lock myself in a room and work on my business all day. I had to work on it part-time, on the side, outside of the activities that actually generated revenue in my life at that time, unless I was willing to give up my apartment and move in with my parents, for example. That really was a last-ditch option. I didn’t want to move back in with my parents with my boyfriend.

We just made it work. We worked really hard. We both had multiple jobs and we were just scraping by and then slowly, things started to come together.

What really worked for me over time was trading out one gig for another. For example, I was seeing clients for awhile, then I got the opportunity to be a freelance writer, so I phased out the one-on-one work. As my online courses started to take off, I phased out of freelance writing.

All of this happened very slowly, over years, but you eventually look up and you’re like, “Oh, cool. I’ve basically swapped out everything that wasn’t in alignment with my ideal vision of what my career would look like and now I like everything that I’m doing.” It’s exactly what I was trying to achieve five years ago. I just couldn’t see the path there when I was still at square one.

Just trusting in the process and having faith that it will come together… even in those moments when I had $6 in my bank account. That was probably the hardest part, to be honest.

I remember there was a moment when one of my side gigs was winding down—this was about before I launched the Functional Nutrition Library and had some success there—my boyfriend at the time, now fiance, was like, “Hey, maybe you need to think about getting a job.” That was soul-crushing. I think I cried even at the thought of that.

That stuff was probably the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur. I think once that I found my people, my niche, and my voice, it got infinitely easier, but just getting the clarity and finding that in the beginning, was hands down the hardest part. I would not go back there if I had to again, to be honest. It gets much easier once you have that clarity. I think patience and perseverance are just the biggest challenges in the beginning.

#4: How Do You Structure Your Days and Weeks?

The next question was, “How do you structure your days and your weeks?”

To be honest, I go through phases and this changes dramatically from year to year, depending on what I’m doing or working on in my business.

Just a caveat here, I don’t have any kids. I don’t even have any pets. I really am blessed to have a lot of flexibility in my schedule right now. My fiance, Aaron, has a really unconventional schedule as well. He’s in real estate as I’ve mentioned. We make it work. We don’t have set schedules in our lives right now.

Bigger picture for 2020… I have course launches that happen in January/February for the SEO course, May/June for the Make Money Blogging course, and then September/October for my Email Marketing course. Hands down, those months are my crazy, busy months.

I’m doing email marketing, webinars. During the courses, I’m doing live office hour calls every Monday morning. I’m updating and improving the course content, answering questions in the students-only Facebook group.

Granted, all of this is happening from home in my pajamas, but it’s intense. It’s a really heavy workload during those months.

On top of that, I’m also still editing any Functional Nutritional Library updates and fact-checking those, working on the Functional Nutrition Answers blog, podcasting, approving the edits, doing the show notes, publishing all that and proofreading it. It’s a lot of work, to be honest.

Definitely, outsourcing is something that’s on my radar for 2020, probably after I’m done with my wedding which is happening in March.

There’s not really a set schedule. That’s what my schedule looks like during those months when I’m launching. I work, during those times, almost every day of the week. During the off months, I get to relax a lot more.

I really value cooking. That’s one of my favorite things to ground my day and something I do for the household and self-care. It’s almost like a creative hobby.

When I’m not meeting a bunch of deadlines, I’ll usually end my day around 5:00 PM, maybe do a 30-minute workout, and then I get to cook something really fun. Food and Wine Magazine is my all-time favorite place to get recipes and I usually cook elaborate, fancy, fun, flavorful stuff.

That’s usually what I like to do in the evenings, maybe work on a puzzle, watch some reality TV, things like that. Big Brother is one of my favorites. Watching The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, any sort of trashy reality TV, I am on it.

During those off months, I also have the space in my schedule to work on the higher-level strategy of my business. The next thing I want to focus on is systematizing, outsourcing, maybe even batching some of the content ahead of time so it’s not so stressful when I’m in the middle of the live rounds of my courses.

Right now, a day in the life would be:

I wake up whenever I’m not tired. I don’t set an alarm. That’s usually around 7:30 AM or so.

First thing, make coffee right away. Obviously, put on my contact lenses and all that.

This is probably not the best habit, and developing a morning routine is something that I’m interested in, just for my personal life, my businesses and stuff like that, and probably obviously once I have kids and things like that, my schedule’s going to have to be a lot more structured. But right now, I’ll just open my computer while I’m drinking my coffee, check my emails, respond to social media stuff from over the night.

That’s how I kick off my mornings. Sometimes I’ll check the news and see what’s happening. Then I tackle, typically, the most pressing work items first.

If I’m doing any course creation stuff, I’ll work on that. Stuff related to the Functional Nutrition Library or the podcast, depending on what my deadlines are that day. Sometimes I’ll do that with the TV on or with some music in the background, almost always in pajamas and sweatpants.

Then, like I said, around 4:30 PM or 5:00 PM, I’ll stop and take a workout break. I love the app Daily Burn. I do the Daily Burn 365 workouts a lot. It’s an app on my phone and it’s a different workout every single day which is great because if I know it’s coming, I’ll totally psych myself out. I like that I just show up for 30 minutes and it’s different every single time.

Then I’ll cook dinner. Maybe I’ll work in the evening if I’m in the middle of a course launch.

I try to take one day off a week to spend with my fiance like go hiking in Runyon Canyon, go out to dinner, cook, watch movies, stuff like that. We would love to up that to two days. I really think I need one fun day a week and one chore day because that stuff falls to the wayside for me right now. So, that’s my thoughts on that.

#5: Do You Ever Stress About Your Financial Situation?

The next question was, this is the last personal question, “Do you ever stress about your financial situation or do you feel comfortable?”

I have to say, this year, 2020 is honestly the first time I can actually say I genuinely feel comfortable.

There were many, many years in the early stages of entrepreneurship where I couldn’t pay my taxes that year.

I know you’re supposed to pay them quarterly when you’re an entrepreneur but I would often just pay the penalty, the late fee penalty, and pay them in April. Even then, there were times that I still couldn’t pay them in full.

I think there was one year, it might have been 2015 or 2016 where I was triple paying my taxes because I was on a payment plan. I was saving up to pay my last year’s taxes, technically late, in April, and then I was also trying to save for my current taxes and catch up and actually pay them on time. Even when I started to make money, a lot of it was going backwards to pay off late taxes or debt that I had accumulated throughout those tough times.

There were several years where it was really a question of, between me and my boyfriend, are we going to have enough money at the end of the month to make it this month?

True story. I literally went to a bachelorette party one time with $6 in my bank account. I also went to another friend’s bachelorette party in Vegas and was at a pool party completely sober because I couldn’t afford the $12 beers. That really happened.

I’ve never really had any savings to speak of yet, but as you guys probably know, in 2019, I cracked $100,000 for the first time in my business and that felt really good. That was a goal of mine for a really long time.

My fiance also has been doing better and better in his business. We talk about this a lot. The reality is, it was just perseverance and sticking to one thing for long enough. Not jumping around. Not being like, “Oh, this didn’t work after six months,” and then switching gears. Really being like, “This is what I’m doing.”

For example, with the Unconventional RD stuff, it’s starting to work now, but I had been committed to running the Facebook group for almost three years. It’s not like it came out of the blue. The work was put in. Even though I didn’t mean to start it as a business, it was just like a fun side-hobby, blog, journal, basically, of my business.

I think it’s just being consistent and taking small, dedicated, strategic action over the years, then you look up and you’re like, “Whoa. I really do know what I’m talking about now. Things are actually coming together.”

Thankfully, in the online business world, the profit margins are really good. My expenses are usually under 20%. I feel really blessed that I finally found or created a type of business that I really love.

Honestly, I like working. It’s not something that I’m dreading. I wake up and I’m excited to work on everything that’s on my plate. I love it. It also helps people (which is very gratifying), and it’s profitable and scalable, so that’s great.

Questions About Entrepreneurship

Now I’m ready to move on to some questions about entrepreneurship.

#1: Can a Profitable Business Mindset Co-Exist With a Helper Mindset?

This one was really popular. “How do you embrace a profitable business mindset while maintaining the helper mindset that many of us healthcare providers possess?”

I thought this was such a cool question, because that’s actually a really common money mindset block. The idea that you can’t be wealthy or make a lot of money while simultaneously, genuinely helping people.

I find it really interesting when people bring that up, because I actually don’t have that money mindset block, and I never really have. I understand that it’s very common, but I don’t personally have that belief.

I think I was fortunate enough to have examples of wealthy people in my life who did a lot of good. That one never particularly came out for me.

My block is that I have to be constantly really working hard for my money or else I’m not earning it. That’s my block.

If you have this other particular mindset block, where you struggle with making money and helping people, and you feel like somehow they’re mutually exclusive, I’m here to tell you can 1000% make money, live in abundance, help people, and make a gigantic impact all at the same time.

In fact, I’d even argue you can make a bigger impact when you’re not constantly stressed out about money. Plus, when you have a large amount of money, you can create unique situations to help people even more.

For example, if you run a business that is bringing in a lot of revenue and it’s time to outsource, you can hire people. You can create your own part-time or full-time virtual positions. Think about the difference that can make in someone’s life.

You could make an opportunity for somebody to have a fabulous salary and work environment, work from home, and create a job that someone else would really love. That’s impactful. That can really change someone’s life.

Another way to shift your mindset around this, if this is something that bothers you and you’re like, “Oh, I want to make sure that I have stuff that’s accessible for people at any income level,” (which I agree; is a great thing to think about), create things that help people at different price points.

That’s one of the reasons why I love content marketing. Content marketing means you’re creating valuable content for a customer, that’s attracting them to you and building a relationship with them, and then you also offer paid products that they choose to purchase if and when they’re ready. But obviously, no pressure. There’s always free stuff there as well.

You can create free blog content, video content, podcast content. Just because someone is not directly buying from you, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be monetized indirectly through things like ads, affiliate links, or sponsored content.

You could also have low-priced digital goods. Maybe you have downloads that people can purchase, ebooks, workbooks, low-cost monthly fee for a membership site, something like that.

You can have medium price offers where it’s maybe more guided, like an online course or something like that, but they’re not working directly with you. It’s like a one-to-many model, where you created a framework of whatever you teach and you’ve put it into a self-study online course.

You can even offer payment plans if you think lump sum payments are going to be an issue for your audience. There are so many ways to get around that.

At the very high end, you can offer your one-on-one time. That can be your most premium product.

If you set it up that way, there’s really no barrier. All of your wonderful help is there. It just depends on what best meets the needs of your audience. People will save up money for things that they value. If they really, really do want to work with you, specifically, they will save up the money to make it happen.

You can also consider offering scholarships for people, maybe a certain number of people every year, if that’s something that resonates with you.

Just circling back around… If you do become extra wealthy, that could even open up opportunities for you to give back by starting charities, donating extremely large sums of money to organizations you believe in, or creating really large businesses or organizations that hire full-time employees that can help people in ways that you’re envisioning.

Think bigger. Think bolder. How can you make an even bigger impact? I think becoming wealthy can be a way to make a bigger impact because you have more resources available to you that you can put towards helping people.

It’s not always you personally, one-on-one, spending your 40 hours a week personally in the trenches working with people one-on-one in order to make an impact. You can also build wealth and build a business and give back in other ways as well.

#2: Which Platform Has the Best ROI for Dietitians?

The next question is, “Where do you think RDs should devote their energy to the most? It’s hard to do it all. I’m curious to hear what platform you think has the biggest ROI.”

This one was interesting. This is a hard question because there’s really no right answer, honestly. You can build a business in a zillion ways.

There is no one method and there shouldn’t be. We’re all different. We’re all unique people. You need to do what works for you.

This could be a situation where working with a business coach could help you get clarity around this. You can maybe do some journaling.

Try to map out who you’re serving, what problems specifically you’re solving for those people, and how you’re solving them. What type of product or service are you offering? How do you see your customer journey going? Where are your people and where do they need to be? How can you invite them to work with you through your content marketing and your relationship with them online? Or in person. Whatever you want. Whatever feels good for you, honestly.

You just need to figure out who your people are, where they hang out, how you can provide value to them, build a relationship there, and then invite them to work with you.

I think it’s important to start with, “What type of work do you enjoy? What are you good at? What’s your unique valuable thing that you naturally just do better than other people and maybe take for granted?”

I think that’s pretty common. Things that are easy for us, we’re like, “Why would I teach that? It’s so easy, it must be easy for everybody,” but it’s actually not.

I’ll just use myself as an example. Something that comes really easy for me is writing and teaching, but that doesn’t come easily for a lot of people. And vice-versa – Other people are out there kicking butt with coaching or one-on-one client work and they feel like that comes so easy. I’m on the other side looking over here like, “How do you do that? That’s so hard.”

What comes easily to you? What are you naturally good at? How can you help people with those skills and those talents? Try to find the marriage there, between work that naturally feels good to you and is also helpful to the world.

Tune out the noise of what other people are doing. Honestly, there are a million and one ways to start a successful business. Of course, you can be inspired by the successes of others but don’t copycat them. Build something that’s in alignment with you.

Listen to your gut and notice what feels right, what fills you with joy, what comes easy, what you get excited about, and lean into those things.

It’s okay if it’s unconventional. It’s okay if you want to be a writer, you want to do videos, or you want to be out there in the community in some way. Whatever it is that speaks to you, follow that.

But don’t try to do it all. Don’t look around and say, “Oh, this person is doing so well on Instagram, this person is blogging, this person is getting all their clients on LinkedIn,” and then trying to do all of them. Don’t do that. 

Pick one strategy that resonates with you, that you think would work for your business model and where your ideal clients are, and also something that you like. Focus just on that and then expand later, once that one thing has picked up some traction.

For a lot of people, that’s Instagram. For me, it happened to be Facebook groups, or blogging for my Functional Nutrition Answers blog. Only you have the answer to that.

That’s the answer to that question. There is no one platform with the biggest ROI. There is no one thing that we should all be doing or focusing on. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just whatever you like and want to put your time and attention into.

#3: How Do You Cope When Falling Into the Comparison Trap?

The next question, “How do you cope when falling into the comparison trap?”

My question there would be…. What feelings is the comparison bringing up? Are you feeling envy? Jealousy? A sense of lack in your own self? What is it bringing up within you?

And who are you comparing yourself to in the first place? I think there’s a couple of things that happen… Sometimes people will look at people who are really excited about the successes that they’re having and sharing them, but they maybe don’t know the whole backstory of where that person is in their business, how long they’ve been trying at something, or how many failures that they’ve had behind the scenes.

We all start at zero. If you’re at zero and you’re comparing yourself to someone who’s been at it for years, that’s really not a fair comparison, to be honest. You’re not seeing the years of hard work and the grit that went into it. I guarantee that they had failures and flops along the way. I guarantee it. It’s just the reality of entrepreneurship.

I’d double check. Are you even looking at some who’s in the same stage of business as you right now? Because they might not be.

I would also step back and be like, “Are you feeling like this person having success in the XYX niche somehow means that you can’t have success? Like they’re taking an opportunity from you, perhaps?”

I would challenge you to flip that belief, actually. Seeing someone create something that you would also like to create and do means that there’s a market for it. If they’re making it work, that just means you can make it work, too. Honestly, there’s seriously, seriously more than enough clients, customers, and fans to go around for all of us.

The fact is that someone else’s success is totally separate from your own success. It literally has nothing to do with you. Try to shift your outlook away from that feeling of lack. Someone else’s success does not mean that there’s less out there for you.

Think about how many gurus that you follow in any given space. It’s rarely just one, right? Even earlier, when I was answering that question about my role models, I listed off four or five people on the online business world that I admire.

Those people don’t see each other as competitors. They’re not jealous or angry at the success of one another. They collaborate, they’re friends, they’re peers. They support each other, and I think that’s really, really important and essential to be a successful entrepreneur and to have a positive mindset in your life in general.

My biggest tip would be – work on staying authentic to you. Don’t get caught up in what other people are doing. Work in your zone of genius. We all have strengths and weaknesses, so lean into your unique strengths.

Sometimes, we look for cues from external sources when we’re feeling a lack of clarity internally. Maybe there’s some work to do on the inside there…

Maybe you see other people who supposedly have it all together, have all this clarity, and are doing such good work. Maybe that’s mirroring some of the confusion that you might have on the inside… like, do you need to work on getting some more clarity on your brand, mission, passion, or the impact that you want to have on the world? Maybe flip it back and look at what inner work you can do there to refocus your attention on the unique value that you can provide in the world.

Push yourself to continue to keep taking meaningful action towards your unique goals.

Rather than trying to distract ourselves a little bit by focusing on what others are doing, flip it back and be like, “Wait, what am I doing? Did I take any action towards my goals today? If not, what can I do to change that, moving forward?”

I challenge you to reframe it. What is something big or small that you can celebrate in your business right now? Focus your attention on your own personal wins. Maybe you got one more email subscriber today. Maybe somebody responded back to your pitch. Maybe you got booked for a wellness talk.

Focus your attention on that and try to shift as much as you can to a space of gratitude. I think that’s really, really helpful. Even just reaching out to a friend and getting some social support, also very valuable.

#4: How Do You Have the Vision and Discipline to Create a Membership Site?

Next question was, “How do you have the vision, wherewithal, and discipline to create a big project like a membership site?”

To be honest, I think this is really funny. It ties into what we’ve just been talking about. Honestly, that’s just how my brain works. That isn’t scary or overwhelming to me. That’s the type of project that my brain seeks out. I like to organize stuff. I like to learn, I like to dig into data, and I like to teach. It just fell together naturally.

To me, I’m looking at others who are running thriving in-person practices with a team, and I’m like, “Shoot. How do you have the vision, wherewithal, and discipline to that?” I think the answer here is really lean into what feels good and comes naturally to you, and then those projects don’t seem that scary because they just come naturally to you. You’re leaning into your strengths.

I think what makes it seem scary sometimes is when we’re out of alignment with our personal talents and things we’re good at, and we’re trying to fit that square peg into a round hole, situation.

Maybe just take a step back and be like, “Hey, I don’t need to do what this other person is doing. Their vision of success can be completely different than mine, and that’s fine.”

I don’t know. I don’t really have any answers. I guess I don’t see it as something that took some extraordinary effort because it just fell into my lap and it was work that I enjoyed.

#5: Where Do You See This Profession Growing? Where Do You See RDs Struggling?

The next question is, “Where do you see the profession growing and where do you see RDs struggling?”

To be honest, it’s hard for me to answer this one because I don’t feel super tapped into the RD world, to be honest. I have never been to any nutrition conference. I’ve never worked in a hospital or food service. I just have been doing my own thing online this entire time. I feel more at home in the online business and marketing word, to be completely honest.

I personally would love to play a role in guiding more dietitians into this world, the world of content marketing and online business. We have such value to share with the world, and the online opportunity is limitless.

It’s one of the lowest cost entrepreneurship opportunities out there. You just need $10 a month or whatever to pay for your domain name and hosting, and you can start a brand. Or maybe you don’t even have that yet, then you can get into social for free and start creating a community. Community and connection is where it’s at, honestly, and being really clear with the people and the audience you’re trying to cultivate.

In terms of where I see RDs struggling the most, I honestly think it’s with mindset. There’s a lot of limiting beliefs circulating around. Maybe a little trouble thinking big. You might feel like you’re thinking big even with the thought of pursuing entrepreneurship, but when you think about that, the only options that maybe come to mind are working with people one-on-one in a private practice or something like that.

Technically, we could be starting crazy organizations and charities, or online websites, like RD2RD for example. I think that is such a cool, unique vision. In case you haven’t heard the other episodes where I mentioned RD2RD, it’s an online platform where dietitians can upload their educational goods and sell them to other dietitians. That’s so incredible and innovative. We need more people thinking big like that, thinking about their wildest and craziest dreams, and believing that they can come true, because they can.

The whole point of this podcast, I want to inspire people to think outside of the traditional employment box (that is in my intro), have the confidence and the gumption to go out there and create their own thing. I see a lot of talk about RDs feeling like they’re doomed to low wages, turning people off from becoming an RD because they feel like we’re underpaid, under-respected, or that there’s a lack of upward mobility in this career, but to be honest, I don’t see that or feel that at all. I do not resonate with that feeling.

I think that’s purely a limiting belief. You can freaking do whatever you want. You really can. Is it easy to create your own thing? Heck no. Is it doable? Heck yes.

Find mentors, find the community, surround yourself with like-minded people who are really going for it, building the life that they want, and just put your head down and go for it. Don’t give up. Have perseverance. Get the social support that you need. I really do think we can all do it if we really want to.

#6 Do You Feel That People Need to be RDs to Create Products or Courses in Nutrition?

This was the last entrepreneurship-related question. “Do you feel that people need to be an RD to be able to create products or courses in nutrition?”

I think a student asked this, who’s currently in her master’s program. My answer is no. I actually don’t believe that. I believe you should never misrepresent your education, your ability, or your skills, but beyond that, you do you. Who am I to judge?

Obviously, follow the laws for wherever you live. In some places, you can’t do certain things unless you are a licensed, credentialed healthcare practitioner. But in California, for example, we don’t have licensure. Technically, anyone can give nutrition advice and that’s the law. So, no shame on people who choose to do alternative career paths and still pursue a nutrition-related career. It’s not illegal. That is your choice. You do you. So, no. I don’t think that people need to be an RD, necessarily. There’s plenty of other options for ways to become educated in nutrition and help other people.

Technical Questions

Moving on to the final 3 questions. These are the technically-related questions.

#1: Should You Hire Someone to Do Your Website?

Number one, “When it comes to your website, do you think there’s value in hiring out those services to a website professional so that you can focus more on content and engagement?”

Again, these are great questions because they’re all circling back to the same point: what’s right for you?

This totally depends on what you like to do, what you’re good at, how much money you have to outsource, and where you want to spend your time. And there’s really no wrong answer.

So yeah, a lot of health care professionals do not care about the tech stuff. They don’t want to know about it, they don’t want to see it. They’d rather just outsource it completely and have someone else manage it. And that’s totally valid.

But there are other people who really like the tech stuff. I consider myself falling into this category. Some people might even love the tech stuff so much that they find themselves wanting to be the website content marketing planner and then outsource the content creation and marketing. It totally depends; there’s no wrong answer there.

I will say in my own personal business, I did everything DIY from the jump. Slowly, obviously. I think I started my first blog at the end of 2010, before it was easy to create a website. My first website was horrifically ugly. I’ve been slowly learning and just teaching myself along the way. I like doing that stuff, so I never really wanted to outsource it or felt the need to.

However, I will say that as my business is growing and expanding, I already know how to do all the stuff, so I could technically do it now, but my time is becoming a lot more limited and there’s a lot of balls in the air. I can see now (in this scenario that I’m in now) where I might want to hire someone to (for example) redesign my website. Not because I can’t do it myself, but just because I don’t want to put my time into that when (maybe) I could be doing something else that brings greater returns to the business.

It depends on where you’re at in your business, what stage you’re at, what skills you have, what you’re good at, whether you have more time or money at this stage of your business, et cetera, so whatever you think is right for you.

#2: How Many Times Should You Do a Live Launch Before Going Evergreen?

The second to the last question is, “How many times do you think you should do a live launch before going evergreen?”

I want to explain that a little bit, in case people listening aren’t familiar with that terminology. This is in regards to creating online courses.

A lot of times, what people do when they’re creating a course for the first time is maybe they’ll do a pre-sale. They explain the point of the course and try to sell it in advance before they’ve made it, to validate that there are people out there who actually want it and pay for it.

Then, they’ll do a live launch. They’ll say, “Okay, we’re starting on May 1st. Every Monday, a new module is coming out for the next 5 weeks.” Maybe there’s a live component, some live calls for support and things like that. Sometimes the course will shut down and it’s not available after that, or you can only enroll during a live round. That would be a live launch, so open enrollment during a set period of time, then it closes and you can’t enroll again until the next live launch.

Sometimes, people would do it that way because you can build it as it’s rolling out. You could literally come out with the content week-to-week, get live feedback and tweak it. You can play with your marketing copy in your sales, webinars, or emails, compare and see what does better from live launch to live launch.

But then a lot of people find themselves getting burnt out with that model and it’s very “feast or famine” like, “Oh, I made tens of thousands of dollars during my live launch, but no one can buy it in the intermediate time… until the next live launch where I make a bunch of money, but then it’s not bringing any revenue in between.”

So, a lot of people will then switch to something known as an evergreen model, where technically the course can be purchased at any time, but maybe they use some fancy sales tactics and email marketing things, like webinars, to get people interested to learn about the program, and then present them with a time-limited discount, special offer, or bonus, all done automatically in the back-end through your email marketing platform.

When you set it up that way, you’re constantly selling on autopilot in the background, and you don’t have to worry about these really extreme intense periods of live launching. Instead, you get to focus more on the broader goal of expanding your audience.

Every new person who joins your audience and joins your email list (for example), you already know where they’re going. You know exactly the emails they’re getting, the sales pitches they’re getting, et cetera, and what percentage (on average) will then convert to be a paying customer.

You can predict, “Okay, I grow my audience by XYZ amount every month, I can expect this percentage of conversions to sales and then this much estimated revenue.” It can really help you create a stable, scalable business model, in which you can feel comfortable (maybe) purchasing things paid ads on Facebook or whatever. That’s a really popular model.

There is a recommendation typically out there like, “Hey, you should live launch a few times before you switch to evergreen, because otherwise, how do you know what you’re doing is working?” You could potentially waste a lot of money creating an evergreen funnel or product that doesn’t really work that well, that people don’t really enjoy, or that’s missing something in the sales process.

I don’t think that there is an arbitrary number of live launches that you have to do before going evergreen. In fact, there is a woman that I follow…. Mariah Coz? No… I don’t remember the name of her brand, but I’ll look it up and I’ll put it in the show notes… Ah, Caitlin Bacher! She has a whole brand all about, you don’t even have to ever do a live launch, and you can create a successful, profitable, completely evergreen program.

So, there really is no right or wrong, just like everything that I’m talking about on this podcast. You will learn from every experience. The important thing is to analyze what’s happening and see (maybe) where the weak points in your marketing funnel or product are, get feedback from people, make sure asking for feedback after the launch from your course students, see where there’s a drop-off in participation.

Is it too much information? Not enough? Did your marketing line up with what you delivered? What are people happy with or not happy with, and can you tweak it to make it better? Did certain people stop opening your emails at a certain time? Did your email sequence drop off? Did certain emails do super, super well and others were lackluster?

You could tweak it again, do another live launch, and then compare the results, but you could also not do another live launch, turn it into evergreen, and just continually analyze the data from the evergreen stuff. The thing that you really need is the data, the purchases from people, so that you can see the patterns of what’s working and not working.

What you wouldn’t want to do is just assume that once you’ve done it once, it’s set and done forever and it will just continue to run on evergreen with no other work from you forever. That’s probably what people are cautioning against when they’re like, “Don’t go evergreen too early.” To be honest, it’s never over, you’re always evaluating and improving.

In my own business, I do one live round of each course throughout the year, and then the courses are available for evergreen self-study at the other times of the year. That’s what I’m currently doing. I don’t know if I’ll do that forever. Maybe in the future it will be entirely evergreen, I don’t know. I like the connection that I get with people during a live round, so I’m not sure if I’ll move away from that or not, or maybe just change the formatting.

I have seen other programs I am enrolled in. They’ve gone from doing live rounds with live calls to just, “Hey, no matter what program you’re in or stage you’re at, we just do a once-a-month, one hour, office hour call for anyone to hop on and ask their questions. There are other ways to support people in your community as well, away from just live launches or live rounds of your course.

#3: Where Do You Find the Best SEO Info? What About SEO Trends for 2020?

The last question, “Where have you found the best SEO info?” and then there was a side question about SEO trends that I’m keeping my eye on for 2020. I think that’s a great podcast episode idea, a whole episode on the trends that I see happening in the future.

I responded to that question just briefly and I’ll just do the same here. I think I’m really excited about where schema is going. Schema is extra information that you can add on the back-end of your blog post that the readers don’t see but Google can read, so it’s like hidden code (kind of).

For example, there’s recipe schema that you can add to your blog posts using a type of formatting called JSON-LD. That is extremely powerful for helping Google understand that there’s recipes on your website, all the different components of your recipe, and help you get those rich snippets in the Google search results. So, the ones with the pictures, the ratings and all that. That’s all generated from having recipe schema.

There’s also video schema. I think—this is a trend that I’m watching—I can imagine that at some point, there will also be podcast schema or some sort of audio schema. It technically exists out there on the repository, but it’s not really widely in use yet and there’s no easy way to generate it, but I can totally see that happening in the future.

Podcasts are now starting to get transcribed by Google automatically, so they can “read” the audio and see what’s happening in there. They’re starting to come up in certain types of Google search queries. For now, it’s pretty much only coming up if you type in the word “podcast” in your search query, but can’t you imagine a future where people ask a question in Google, and they bring up an audio clip from someone’s podcast episode, where they answer that exact question? I could totally see that happening.

They’re already doing that with YouTube videos, so why not also with audio and podcasting? In that context, creating clips of your podcast in transcripts, where the timestamps are linked to certain points of the audio recording is going to be huge. They’re again already doing that with video, but I can just see that also translating into podcasting and audio.

Similarly, voice search is going to be a big thing to keep our eye on. I know people are always like, “Oh, voice search. Everyone says that’s a new thing and nothing ever happens.” I don’t know about you guys, but 2019 was the first year that I ever got a smart device in my home. Someone gifted us an Alexa device which we kind of use, then Spotify freaking teamed up with Google Home and gave everybody who’s on a paid Spotify plan a free Google Home device. I opted into that and now I have a small Google Home device. I use that a lot (actually) to play music and podcast episodes in my kitchen (cooking).

Now that I have these devices and I sort of have been playing around with them—the Alexa one has a screen, the Google one that I have doesn’t have a screen—I’ve been reading more and more about creating actions for these devices, so using things like schema and different behind-the-scenes code on your content (basically) to help it be more speakable, so you can create speakable answers to questions that people ask. It’s super cool. I think that’s going to be up and coming. It’s a type of speakable schema—which is still in beta and not super widely used—but I think it’s going to become more relevant.

You can also use how-to schema or frequently asked questions schema to create tutorials or a list of frequently asked questions and answers related to your product or the topic that you’ll have a business around.

I was just reading something about how they envision on the smart speakers with the screens that you can be like, “Hey, teach me how to tie a tie,” or something and it will bring up step-by-step tutorial with pictures, descriptions, all the materials you need and the time it’s going to take, bring it up on the screen, and you can move through with the visuals on the screen. I was like, “Whoa, mind blown.” That is the future.

I think we’re inching our way there with the how-to schema and things like setting up tutorials for DIY projects or crafts around the house. Even recipes (I think) are trying to move in that direction, but I’m not sure how popular that will be. Maybe with video attached, I don’t know. That’s where I’m keeping my eye. Some of this is probably years ahead, but that’s just where I see it going.

In terms of where I find the best SEO info… I read the websites Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable, and Search Engine Land (I know, lots of creativity with the names there) for the latest news. SEO by the Sea is also a really good blog if you are into the techie stuff and you want to know about the patents that Google is registering. That guy does a really good job, kind of analyzing those as they register.

I like the Facebook group SEO Signals Lab. It’s a great place to ask questions and is really well-moderated, so there’s not a lot of spam or negativity in there. They shut that down real quick. I enjoy the group Food Bloggers Central on Facebook as well. If you are a food blogger, you have to be in that group. It’s free and it’s so valuable.

I am also subscribed to a few SEO podcasts, but I have to say I don’t listen to them regularly. If you like podcasts, you could check out EDGE of the Web podcast and The Authority Hacker Podcast; those are both really good.

For evergreen tutorial-type posts that are really in-depth on how to do SEO stuff on your website, Backlinko is a really good one. Kinsta, Moz, DeepCrawl, SEO Blog by Ahrefs, SEMrush even has a blog. I would check out those websites as well. Those are my favorites and that was the last question.

Thanks for Participating in this AMA!

I think I talked for an hour and hopefully, this was valuable for you guys. Maybe I’ll make it a tradition to do an Ask Me Anything every year on my birthday. It’ll be fun to see whether my answers line up… like what will I really be doing in 10 years? We’ll see!

Thanks guys for hanging out with me today and I hope you have a fabulous rest of your Monday. If you’re not already in the Unconventional RD community on Facebook, definitely check it out or follow me on Instagram. I’m trying to hang out there more @theunconventionalrd on Instagram. Thanks guys. Bye!

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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.