Episode 012 Show Notes
- Check out my FREE Facebook group – The Unconventional RD Community
- My 3 online courses – The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp
- FREE “How to Start a Website Tutorial”
Links From This Episode
Survey Tools & Personality Tests
- Survey Monkey
- Google Forms
- DISC Test
- Myers Briggs Test
- 16personalities – More details on your Myers Briggs personality
- Enneagram Test (free basic test here)
My Favorite Facebook Groups for Networking
- The Unconventional RD Community
- Dietitians on the Blog
- Food Bloggers Central
- RDs Who Write
- Dietitian HQ Community
- Women’s Health Nutrition Practice Group
- Integrative Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Building/Lesli Bitel
- Dietitians Selling Digital Goods
- Renal RD
- Dietitians in Private Practice
- RD // Gym Collaboration Support
- Dietitians Who Podcast
- Paleo RDs
Read The Transcript:
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 From This Episode
Alright. Today on the podcast, it's just gonna be a solo episode. Just me talking to you guys today about a topic that I see come up often in my Facebook group and that is how to find your niche.
And how the heck do you find that clarity when you're just starting out and you feel like you could niche into any area of expertise? How do you come up with an action plan to find your niche? So that's what we're gonna be talking about today.
What To Do When You Don't Know Your Niche
And if I'm being quite honest, I think finding your niche is often one of the hardest parts of entrepreneurship. Like sometimes you know you want to start a business and you just have that inherent drive. Like, you know you're meant to be an entrepreneur. That's kind of how I've felt my whole life. But there could be a lack of clarity on what business you want to start.
Like, who are you gonna help? How are you gonna help them? What problems specifically are you going to solve for people and via what methods or avenues?
These are really big questions, and it's totally normal to not be certain about any of them when you're just starting out.
How Long It Took Me to Find My Niche
It took me a solid three years to find my niche, keeping in mind that I had literally no idea what I wanted to do upon graduating with my master’s in nutrition. I just ended up doing a bunch of side hustles for five years.
Um, and so in those first few years, I was really only focused on my own business part-time. But, you know, as the years went on, I slowly was able to let go of one side hustle at a time, or switched side hustles into something that was slightly more in alignment with my true passions.
But I eventually figured it out, and the goal, obviously, is to find work that you love, that you're naturally good at, and that solves a problem for someone. That's the sweet spot.
That's how you're gonna wake up every day feeling joyful, peaceful and excited to show up for your people, because if you don't love it, you're not gonna wake up feeling joyful and excited.
If you're not, like, somewhat naturally good at it, like type of work that comes easy and flows through you, then you're always gonna feel like you're doing work and you're not, naturally, just gonna feel in the flow and, like you can relax into it.
And if you're not actually solving someone's problems, then you're going to struggle to get customers.
So you really need all three of those pieces: work that you love, work that you're naturally good at, and something that solves someone's problems.
It's Okay to Think Outside the Box
So I also want to mention it's totally okay to think outside of the box when you're trying to come up with your niche and your dream career. I know sometimes it might feel like when you're just coming out of school, that your options are like private practice, clinical or, I don't know, maybe like community health or something, or food service.
But oh my gosh, you're really only limited by your own imagination, and it's okay at first, like maybe you're thinking and focusing mostly on like the subject matter that you want to be an expert in, but finding your niche even goes beyond that. It's not just enough to pick the subject, but you also need to pinpoint the way that you're going to help people.
Think about WHAT you help people with…
So, for example, with The Unconventional RD brand that I have now, I help people build an online brand. So, this includes setting up their website, creating content that will strategically bring people and their ideal people to their website, how to monetize that site, and then how to automate it by building an email list and sales funnels.
But also think about HOW you will help them
So those are the topics that I help people with. But how do I help them? I mean, there's like, infinite branches of ways or methods that I could use to help people.
So, for example, if I really liked one-on-one work, I could have helped people through all of those things, setting up their website, creating SEO optimized content, building an email list, monetizing their website. I could have done all that through one-on-one business coaching, and that probably would have been very successful and lucrative.
But like, that type of work doesn't feel good to me on the inside.
Um, if I really liked in-person group work, I could have set up like retreats or conferences or talks about all of these things, but at heart for me, and this is gonna be different obviously for every one of you, but you need to think about what feels good to you on the inside.
So for me, I'm a content creator and a teacher. I'm not a coach. I'm not an event planner. So you know, I went a different route. I am focusing on building a digital brand that primarily helps people through content and not my one-on-one time.
So, I have a blog. I started a podcast. I have free and paid courses. And I make my money pretty much all through passive income streams. So, like ad revenue, which is very small but hoping to grow that in the future. Affiliate income, which is actually not too shabby. Digital goods, like e-books and downloadable items and things like that (also a very small income stream, but might put more energy into that into the in the future). And then the top two ways that I make money right now are through my online courses and my membership site.
So, you can totally think creatively about this, too. But I just want to remind you that it's a journey and you can't really just, like, hop over the steps. Like you have to do the work, and then the clarity will come. So that's my goal with this podcast episode.
Four Steps to Finding Your Niche
I want to try to give you four steps that you can take to help find your niche.
So, step number one.
I'm gonna guide you through some sort of self-assessment questions that you can ask yourself to try to get clarity on what you enjoy and what you're good at.
Then, number two. I want you to brainstorm ways that you can help people. So, brainstorm subject matter areas you're interested in and also them the method of work that you think you might be interested in pursuing.
Then we're gonna talk about step three: networking. Because you can't really do it alone.
Honestly, like the more you can connect with others in your space who are doing the type of work that you want to do, the faster you'll get there, the more clarity you'll have, the more clear guidance.
And, um, you know, just having an example out there of someone doing the type of work you want to do could be really motivating and inspiring. And nine times out of ten, if you reach out to someone who's doing what you want to do, if they can't help you directly, they can probably point you in the direction of some resources to help you.
And then the final principle here is probably the most important one, and that is to take action.
So, you know, we can wish and dream and plot and think all day long about what we maybe wanna niche down into, but you really, truly won't ever know, and you won't get the real clarity that you need without just doing it and seeing how it feels, seeing how it goes, seeing how you like it, seeing how connect with other people.
So, those are the four kind of areas we're going to go over in this podcast episode today.
Step 1: Self-Assess
So, step one. Assess yourself.
How would you spend your day if you could do anything?
So, if you could spend your day doing anything, what would you do? So, this is the type of question that I want you to ask yourself to get some clarity on what you even want your life to look like.
Like if you had full control over what your day, your dream day, dream work day looked like… When would you wake up? What would you do first thing in the morning? Would you go anywhere or would you be working at home? Uh, what would you work on or participate in? Would you be alone? Or would you be with other people? And then how and when would you like to end your day?
And then beyond just how your sort of individual day flows, what does your dream lifestyle look like? Like, do you want to work in a busy office? Do you want to work from home? Do you want to travel a lot? Do you wanna have seasons to your work, where you go really hard for a couple months, and then maybe you take a month off? Like that could be a way that someone's business flows if they work and they do lots of product launches or online course launches or things like that where there is a season for selling, and then a season for serving.
Um, do you want to work a little bit every day, or would you rather work longer hours just a few days a week and then have the rest of the days off? Do you want to grow a team, or would you rather be a solopreneur? How much money do you want to make in profit from your business?
Remember, you are in charge, so you can actually decide this stuff and make it happen! And sometimes we just don't take the time to sit down and even think about this stuff, and life's just like passing us by. And if you don't have clarity on where you're trying to go, it's gonna be really hard to get there.
So, it's important to take a moment and really sit down and try to answer these questions so you have clarity on what you want kind of like your lifestyle and your career to look like.
So, then, when opportunities come up, you can kind of double-check and be like, oh, does this fit into what I envision my life being like? And that will help you have clarity on whether you should accept certain projects or not, or pursue certain ideas or not.
What kind of career might fit this lifestyle?
So, once you have a concrete vision of your ideal day and your lifestyle kind of planned out, then you can work backward to figure out what type of career might be able to provide that lifestyle for you.
So, for example, let's say in your dream envisioning, you imagine yourself waking up early, driving to an office for appointments that you own and you decorated. It's your space. You meet with clients for five or six hours, you come home. You have time for yourself and your family, and you do this maybe three or four days per week. Maybe you're a person who really thrives off of interpersonal interaction, and this whole set up literally sounds like your dream. So, if that's you, you know, maybe an in-person private practice is something you should look into and pursue.
Or perhaps you envision maybe waking up without an alarm, having the morning to yourself at home, or taking care of your family in the morning. Maybe you want to meet with clients virtually for three or four hours on your computer in the afternoon. Maybe you have a really awesome desk space set up that would be perfect for this type of thing. Then you see yourself maybe picking your kids up from school or having some time to yourself. But the root of this is maybe really having flexibility to schedule things around your life, rather than scheduling your life around your work. Maybe you enjoy some interpersonal interaction, but you don't want to do it all day.
Um, and if that's more like you than maybe you should look into something like a virtual private practice where you can still get that client interaction, but it's slightly more flexible, because you can do it on the go wherever you are. You don't have to be at a certain physical location to have an appointment with someone, and maybe you do it slightly fewer hours or fewer days out of the week.
Or, like me, maybe you know that one-on-one appointments completely stress you out. You prefer quiet, introspective work like writing or photography. You imagine having maybe like a weekly set of tasks that you need to get done, like put out X number of blog posts, social media posts, stuff like that. But you're able to kind of slot them into any day of the week based on your schedule, and you really would love to get paid and make money through content creation.
So, if that's you, then maybe looking into a career that utilizes blogging, so, like, writing. Or vlogging, which is like blogging but with a “V” in the beginning, for like video blogging. So making YouTube videos essentially. Maybe podcasting. Or even freelancing, like doing content creation for another business and getting paid for it on your own time and your own schedule, maybe that would be right for you.
Or maybe you just can't get enough of public speaking. And in your dream life, you imagine traveling around the world speaking at and organizing events, and the thought of being at home all the time literally bores you to death. Then maybe, you know, organizing speaking events and conferences or retreats might be a really good fit for you.
Um, and on and on. So, you know, there's an infinite number of scenarios that you might be able to dream up. So, really, get honest with yourself. Try not to get sucked into what other people are doing, but give yourself the space to really imagine and feel what feels good to you, and go with that.
So, try to tune out the external influences as much as you can, um, and listen to what your gut says.
What are your unique strengths?
And another way, um, to kind of get clarity around this is to identify some of your unique strengths, and then play those up in whatever business avenue you decide to pursue.
What did you enjoy as a child?
And one thing that you can think about to help you get clarity on this is what did you inherently enjoy as a child? Like, what did you used to do in your free time as a kid when you were left to your own devices?
So, for example, when I was a kid, my favorite thing ever was to either read a book or play school with my stuffed animals. Um, yeah, I was that kid. Like, I'd come from home from school and then play school. Um, I even wrote a book for fun over summer break when I was in elementary school.
So, you know, I think the common thread there was that I was just obsessed with, like, learning and then teaching. Um, and it's kind of funny to look back at that, because that's basically what I do today. So, I'm constantly learning and experimenting with my online businesses and then passing that knowledge on to others through my online courses and blog.
So, I found a way to teach online and write through my blog, and it’s pretty much the perfect fit. So, I mean, obviously it took me five years to get there and figure that out. But it did happen eventually, and it's kind of funny to look back at how well it aligns with, like, the things I naturally gravitated to as a kid.
And then as another example, like my sister, in contrast, we were pretty opposite as kids. She was always outside being active. Like, she was the sports person. She was always on like the varsity sports teams and like getting the gold medals. And I was like getting the participation ribbons but trying really hard.
Um, so today she actually coaches a water polo team in her spare time, does triathlons. So, you know, even for her, her career isn't necessarily wrapped up in sports, but she puts a lot of time and energy into doing that type of stuff in her free time.
Um, so, you know, if she decided to go the entrepreneurial route, maybe that would somehow, you know, get involved in whatever she shows.
So, think about the types of activities that you were drawn to as a child, because those air great hints for the type of work that you really enjoy. And then you can try to think about how can you bring those activities that you're naturally drawn to into your life today.
What do people tell you you're good at?
And then another way to identify your unique strengths… What do people tell you that you're good at? Think back. Like, what do you get compliments on? When do people say, oh my gosh, thank you so much for your help, I never would have been able to figure that out or something like that?
For me, the feedback I get is that I'm generally good at, like, breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand language.
So basically teaching, which obviously is something that I've just been drawn to forever, and that is something that I get told pretty often that I'm good at.
What do people ask you for help with?
And then what do people ask you for advice or help with? What are they coming to you and saying, hey, can you help me with this?
And a lot of times we don't even pick up on these things. Like we take it for granted that we're good at XYZ or we know a lot about XYZ, and we assume that everyone else is also good at it or knows a lot about it. But nine times out of 10 that's not true.
So, what do people see you as like an expert or authority in? And maybe you could turn that into some sort of business idea.
Like maybe, um, you know, you're really good at coming up with recipes for your family, and you assume that everyone else obviously like meal plans every week and comes up with these ideas. And it's easy, because it's easy to you, but it's not easy to everyone else.
Maybe you're really good at computer stuff. Maybe you're really good at writing. Maybe you're really good at editing. Maybe you're amazing at photography. Like, how could you pull these skills into your current or future business?
What makes you feel in the flow?
And then, finally, what activities make you feel “in the flow” where you could just start project, and then all of a sudden the whole day has gone by and you didn't even notice?
Those are the things, when you can get into that space, that's when you really know that you've hit on your true, like, thing that you're just inherently good at.
So, for me, that's writing or creating of some kind. Like, I can just be in my computer writing, and hours go by and I’m just like, whoa, what happened? Like, really, it's been three hours? I've just been working on this?
Um, and you know, that's gonna be different for everybody. Maybe for you it's filming videos or cooking or, um, even nutrition counseling, like something where you're just in it and you're just like, so in it, that you lose track of time, because it's fun and you don't feel like you're working.
What makes you feel totally drained?
And then on the flip side, what makes you feel totally drained? Because those are the things you probably want to start phasing out of your business and not include in your dream life.
So, for me, that happens when I have too many appointments with people and not enough alone time. So, although I function just fine in social settings, I'm an introvert. So those social settings actually are kind of draining on my energy, and I need that alone time to recharge.
So, at this point in my life, 33 years in, I've gone through this enough to know if I book too many social activities or work calls or things like that in any given week, by the end of it, I just need, like, a day where I don't talk to anyone, and I'm just like watching TV or reading a book or something like that to recharge.
And so maybe that's not you. Like, you know, other people are the opposite. Like if you're an extrovert, social interaction recharges you, and you leave those interactions feeling revved up and jazzed and super pumped. Whereas if you're an introvert, you feel drained.
Um, so think about that when you're planning out your life. How does social interaction make you feel?
What kind of work do you dread?
And then, what kind of work do you dread?
So for me again, that's one-on-one appointments. Like there's just something… If I know I have a one-on-one appointment coming up, it’s all I can think about for, like, days. It will be like Monday, and I'm like, oh man, that appointment on Thursday. And it's all I can think about, and it kills my productivity. I can't sleep the night before. I'm just like, thinking about every which way that appointment could go the whole night before. And then afterward I do way too much overkill on follow up. You know, it's just not a good use of my time or my skills or my strengths.
Um, so that might be you too. Or maybe you're the complete opposite. It doesn't really matter. It just matters that you are aware and you know how this stuff affects you.
What are you NOT inherently good at?
And then what are you not inherently good at?
So, the flip side of what we talked about earlier. So, these would be things that, of course, maybe you could do, but that might take more energy or effort than it should.
So, for me, that is graphic design, like hands down. It’s not that I can't do graphic design. It's just does not come naturally to me, like I don't have that like design eye. Like I can recognize when something looks good, but I can't, like, make it like that from scratch. It just takes so much mental energy. And then I just, I'm the type of person where I'm like okay, it's good enough. I'm done. When really it's not good enough and it doesn't really look that great.
So, that would be an example of something that clearly would be better off outsourcing rather than trying to spend my limited resources and time on, because I'm not efficient at it. And I'm not even really that good at it.
Survey Your Friends and Family for your Top 3 Qualities
Um, and then another fun assignment. This was something that I had to do when I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School. I think one of the first lessons, she was trying to help you figure out your strengths and work those into your business.
So she actually had us go out and ask 25 people what they thought your top three qualities were. And so, you could ask on social media, you could send out a survey, maybe via Survey Monkey or Google forms something like that. Just straight up asking people just one question like, what are my top three qualities?
And I know that might sound weird. You're like, uh what? I'm just gonna email people like, oh, hey, can you give me a compliment?
But if you're just transparent about why you're doing this, you can say like, hey, I'm taking this course or I listened to this podcast, and I'm trying to help figure out what people think I'm good at so I can work that into my business, it's really not as awkward as it sounds.
And a lot of times, people are excited to tell you like what they think you're really great at, um and I went back to my email, and I was trying to find the link to see if I could read the responses. And I did find the link, but it was expired. So, I don't know what happened. Somehow it got deleted. And so I don't have the responses to look at now. This was like way back in 2015, I think.
But from what I remember, I think the number one thing was that I was, like, book smart, like good at academics. Um, and then a few comments that I have good, like leadership skills.
So, I think eventually I worked those things into my business, but it did take me a really long time to figure out how to make those things fit.
Take a Personality Test
You could also do some personality tests.
In the past. I think when I did B-School, they were recommending the DISC test, which stands for dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance, or kind of like structure. And you used to be able to get a pretty good free analysis on this from Tony Robbins website. Uh, and I had screenshots like of what my results looked like.
But then I went back, and I tried to play around that today, and they totally changed it. And now the information that you got is like pretty much nothing, and you have to pay to get anything really meaningful.
So, I kind of don't really recommend that anymore unless you somehow have a way to take it for free, because otherwise it's kind of overpriced and not as helpful.
But there's other options you could do the Myers Briggs personality tests, the one where they give you like the different letters, um, like ENFP or INTJ, like that type of stuff. Uh, I am an INTJ, so introverted, intuitive, thinker, and judge. And then once you take the test, it's pretty fast, like maybe 10-15 minutes.
Um, you can google your letters and then career at the end. So, like “INTJ career” or something like that. And then there are plenty of websites out there that give their opinions on this type of stuff.
I found one. It's like 16personalities.com when I googled INTJ career. It wasn't the first result. It was maybe the third one, or something like that. And I clicked on that, and I actually did think that they had some good insights.
So my, um, personality type is an architect, INTJ, um, and some of the things that they said that would be a good fit for my personality…. They said, “they easily take in complex principles and techniques and change them into clear and actual strategies,” which hello, like I just talked about that! Like that's one of my superpowers, like taking complex things and distilling them down into something that's easy to understand. So that was cool and pretty spot on.
Um, it says architects can usually sort out the “noise” of a situation, then find the core thread that needs to be pulled to unravel messes. In the process, they produce the most elegant solutions to problems. As they grow, their confidence, enthusiasm, and creativity typically leave them to more interesting work. In time, they're likely to earn the independence they typically desire.
Architects want to tackle intellectually interesting work with little outside interference, which is me like, to a T.
So, you know, sometimes if you feel like you don't have a good grasp on your personality or the type of work that might be a good fit for your personality, there are free tests out there that can help you.
And then the last one, I'm probably gonna pronounce this wrong. I didn't look up how to pronounce it. It's like Enneagram, or something like that, I'll put a link to it in the show notes. But this one gives you a number of a personality that you align with. I think it's like one through nine or something like that, and my Enneagram number is a three.
So, I'm an achiever and then in second place tied, I'm also a perfectionist/investigator, and they don't give you a ton of details for the free report, but you only have to pay $19 to get your top personality strengths and information on the type of work that you might enjoy.
Um, versus, I think the DISC one was like 60 bucks or something crazy. So, if you're gonna pay for anything, this one's probably a little more helpful.
Um, so it said that my top personality strengths were perfection, ambition and analysis. And they said, the strengths of this personality type are a great go-forward zeal for work success and goal accomplishment, knows how to work a crowd, supremely efficient and productive risk-taker with novel ideas for solution, and good at adapting and improvising.
But my cons are that I focus too heavily on personal image. So that goes into, like, learning how to accept criticism without taking it incredibly personally.
Um, intolerant of failure from themselves or others. Represses their emotions to achieve maximum performance and results, etcetera.
Um, and then my mantra was, “I am loved, and I am worthy even when I fail.” Which I thought was pretty good. Like, if I put that on my wall, I think that would only help me.
Um, so you can totally take any of those personality test yourself if you're looking for some fun kind of playful insights into how your personality might play into your future niche.
Write these answers down!
But before we move on, I do want to make sure that you actually do this stuff and write it all down, so I want you to go back. I'll put all these questions in the show notes at theunconventionalRD.com, but I want you to actually go in and think about your dream day, your dream lifestyle, the stuff you loved as a kid, the things that you think you're good at and what other people tell you you're good at, the things you think you're not good at or don't enjoy, and then maybe take a personality test if you want to.
And physically write all this stuff down in a journal or on a note on your computer so you can look back at it later.
Step 2: Brainstorming
The next step is brainstorming.
What subject matters are you interested in?
So now we have some frameworks to work with. We have an idea of the type of work that we might enjoy, but now we need to pin that or pair it together with nutrition and dietetics. So, what are some possible niches and types of work that you think you might enjoy within this career?
And I just brain dumped a bunch of ideas, um, off the top of my head. Again, if you want to print this out or something, just go to theunconventionalRD.com. You can go to the podcast area and then find this episode. I think it's Episode 17.
But just off the top of my head, and this is not an exhaustive list, just what I came up with just now. These are some niches that are popular:
- Health at Every Size
- Mindful and intuitive eating
- Pediatric nutrition
- Prenatal nutrition
- Fertility nutrition
- Division of responsibility feeding
- Adverse food reactions
- Nutrition and mental health
- Sports nutrition
- Nutrition for medical conditions of any kind
- Oncology nutrition
- Renal nutrition
- Disordered eating
- Integrative and functional nutrition
- Health coaching
- Business coaching
- RD test prep
- Internship prep
- Nutrition education
- Food service
- Meal planning
- Corporate wellness
- School nutrition
- Public health
- Food science
Like that's not even everything. That's literally just what filled my piece of paper today.
In what ways will you help people?
And then once you have the topic… what are the ways that you're going to help people? And these are just ideas, ways you can help people without being employed by someone else.
- You could blog.
- You could make videos.
- You could podcast.
- You could do one-on-one coaching or counseling.
- Group coaching or counseling.
- You could make a membership site online where people pay you every month or every year to access private information that's only available for paying members.
- You could create online courses where you walk someone through something and get them to a desired outcome 100% online, self-paced usually.
- You could create an online certification program. So maybe you consider yourself to be an expert in a certain space, and you want to train and certify other people to become experts in that space.
- Uh, you could create and sell digital goods like e-books or handouts and things like that. You could have hold in-person seminars.
- You could do cooking classes.
- You could do webinars online.
- You could host conferences or events.
- You could write a book or a cookbook.
- You could consult for food companies.
- Or you could do a wide variety of freelancing, like freelance recipe development, freelance writing, freelance video production.
- And I'm sure their stuff I’m forgetting.
So, think of those things. Think about the niche. And then think about the type of work that you might be interested in, and write those ideas down too.
Step 3: Build a Network
And then step three. I want you to build a network, so find people who are doing exactly what you think you want to do.
So, if you see people out there doing what you think you want to do, that's not a bad thing. I think I've mentioned this before. That just means that your idea and your interest area is a viable option. So, if someone is out there doing what you want to do and they're making money at it, you can do that same thing and make money at it, too.
Connect (as a peer) with people doing what you want to do
So, find those people and rather than viewing them as like competition, like view them as mentors and like people that you can connect with and learn from. So, try to connect with them, you know, not in a needy way, necessarily, like don't come straight out the gate asking for something out of them.
Connect with them as a valued-peer.
So rather than, um acting like you're only coming to them for free advice or free mentorship, because these people are probably really busy, and as much as they’d like to help you, maybe that's not something that they can work into their schedule right now. Um, and a lot of times that can be a little bit draining, or that person might not respond if that's not something that they can offer right now.
But if you connect with them, instead, as a peer or you just connect with them to tell them how much you enjoy their work or add value to them, that's a way to get noticed and for people to remember your face and your name. And you know, who knows where that will lead you in the future.
So, I don't remember where I heard this tip, but it stuck with me. I think it might have been on a podcast or something like that, but I just always thought this was a great example.
So, like, if you follow people in your niche, in your space, and you see, for example, maybe they're traveling, maybe they're going to a conference or an event in an area near you or a city that you're familiar with, just email them and be like, hey, like I'm so excited that you're going to XYZ city, and then don't ask them for anything. Offer them value.
Be like, hey, I just thought, you know, I know you're really into Italian food, for example, um, you have to check out XYZ restaurant. It's like the absolute best. Then maybe send them a link and, like your favorite dish on the menu or something like that, like, keep it simple. Don't ask for anything in return. Just be like, hey, I'm thinking of you and I wanted to like give you this nice little tip that will make your life better.
And that could apply to anything, like the restaurant thing is just an example, but just reaching out and being like a value, you know, for someone without asking for anything in return.
Engage on social media
And then beyond that, just like friend, these people on social media or, like follow them on social media, join their email list or their Facebook groups, comment on their websites. Actively participate in discussions.
Because, you know, for a long time I was on the other side where I didn't have an audience. I didn't have a community or anything online to my name. Um, and now that I'm on the other side of it where I do kind of have a community, a lot of people do reach out almost every day on, you know, either via email or social media or DMs or I don't know, in my Facebook groups, and you remember the people who engaged in the discussions.
So, you know, even if you're in someone's group and you feel like just cause you're in there that you're getting value out of it, I promise you'll get even more value out of it if you engage and participate enough so that people start to recognize your name and your face.
And then, if and when you do get the opportunity to meet with or chat with the host of that group or the person in charge, like they're gonna be like, oh yah, I totally recognize you from the group, versus the person being like, oh, I've been in your group for a year, but like you've never commented so they don't even know your name.
So just being active in someone's community can give you an in, kind of, when you, when you do get the chance to connect with them further.
Send people nice messages
You know, you could also send someone a really nice message or an email, just like how much you appreciate their stuff. Like you don't even know how far that goes for an entrepreneur. Like a lot of us are solopreneurs out here working so hard, and a kind message can really, like, turn your day around if you're kind of in the dumps one day.
So, I know I need to get better at this, too, but just like setting aside time to just send people a thank you or a compliment on something that they're working on if you see them really genuinely putting themselves out there and doing a good job at something.
Maybe sign up for one of their trainings or even just freaking share their work, like pressing the share on Facebook button or pinning the Pinterest graphic from their blog post, or tweeting about it, or sharing their story on Instagram. Like all of those things really help that person's business.
And, you know, even the people who have like tens of thousands of followers, the percentage of people who actively engage and share is a lot smaller. So, to be honest, those people get noticed, so have that be you.
The importance of relationship building
Um, and the importance of this is that building relationships. And again, you're not trying to build a relationship with the intention of like getting something out of it.
You're just trying to build relationships with your peers, because that's how you grow. And then when you are maybe trying to put together a virtual event or something, the more people that you know and you're already friends with, like online or in-person, the easier it's gonna be for you to put together something like that that will benefit you and your peers.
And then on the flip side, if one of your peers is putting together an event or thinking of an opportunity, like, the people that they regularly keep in touch with are going to be the ones they think of first. So people won't think to refer to you or include you in something if you're not staying top of mind.
So, you need to be clear about what your strengths are and what you can offer to others, and that clarity will come with time, but the more you can stay in touch with the people in your network and keep them up to date with changes in your business or the services that you provide, the more it’s gonna help you in the long run. Like seriously, opportunities just come out of the woodwork.
My Favorite Dietitian Facebook Groups for Networking
So, I wanted to share some of my favorite Facebook groups specifically for connecting with other dietitians, so I've shared some of my favorite business type groups before.
But if you are specifically a dietitian and you're just looking to connect with other people doing stuff that maybe you're interested in, um, some of the favorite places you might want to check out and again, I’ll link to these in the show notes at theunconventionalrd.com/episode017.
Of course, my own Facebook group, The Unconventional RD Community. We just surpassed 8000 members, which is crazy, Uh, and that's a great place to connect with people doing work of all types.
It's just a place to discuss business. So, if you ever have questions, like that's my preferred place, the connect with people.
Dietitians on the Blog is another one for dietitians who run blogs.
Food Blogger Central for people who are food bloggers. Again, that's not a dietitian-specific one. But if you are just a die-hard food blogger, like that's the best place you could go to connect with other food bloggers and get mentorship there.
RDs Who Write, is a wonderful place if you like to do freelance writing or even blogging.
Dietitian HQ Community is run by Heather Neal, and that's kind of like my community, where she gives people support and advice for RD entrepreneurs.
#INSPIRDtoSEEK is one kind of angled more towards people who specialize in intuitive eating work.
Women's Health Nutrition Practice Group for people who work with fertility or PCOS or hormones and stuff like that.
Integrative Functional Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Building with Lesli Bitel. Um, that's a good one for talking about integrative and functional nutrition and finding people in that space who do really great work.
Dietitians Selling Digital Goods if you want to connect with Megan Boitano, who is the founder of RD2RD, which is an online marketplace for dietitians to sell their digital goods not on their own website, but via a marketplace.
Renal RDs if you're into renal work
Dietitians in Private Practice.
RD//Gym Collaboration Support.
Dietitians Who podcast, if you podcast. It's a small group, obviously, but intimate so you can really make some connections there.
Or even something like Paleo RDs.
Like if there is a niche, I bet you there's a Facebook group out there.
Can't find a Facebook group for your niche? Create it!
And pro tip: if you want to look for a group around a certain niche and you're searching and searching and you can't find one, you should start it. Seriously, start it today. Like that's how all this stuff gets going. So, if the community you're seeking doesn't exist yet, you should be the founder. So, I seriously implore you to go out there and start the Facebook group that you can't find.
And if you need tips on starting a Facebook group, just go back a couple episodes on this podcast. I had a couple episodes where I went pretty in depth on how I started and grew The Unconventional RD Community.
Your Networking Action Steps
All right, so actionable items. I want you to make a list of five people that you admire who are doing what you want to do.
- Where do they work?
- Do they work for themselves?
- Are they like a freelancer?
- Are they employed by someone?
- What is their messaging?
- What do you admire about their website or their brand, and why?
- Do they have a social media presence?
- Like, where are they really doing well, and why do you think that is?
- What are they charging for their services, and what types of services are they offering?
- Do they ever share how they got to where they are today?
Can you find podcast interviews or blog interviews or even blog post on their own website where they share these things? Because you can learn a lot of information just by reading and listening.
And then how can you connect with them?
And then I want you to lean on your network when you need it. So, reach out to your network when you need help.
Maybe you need business advice. Maybe you're promoting something, and you could really use a few extra shares.
Maybe you know, you have someone that that's not a good fit to work with you, but you want to refer to your network or vice versa.
Those are great ways to lean on your network. Follow everyone that is in your space on social media. Read blogs about their experiences, listen to their podcast interviews, and just be a respected peer.
Step 4: Take ACTION
And then the last thing, the most important step.
Step four: learn by doing.
You're ready right now
Jump right in and try something. This is how you're gonna learn. It's gonna be scary, but you have to do it anyway.
And for all of you perfectionists out there, I am speaking to you right now. Stop waiting. You are ready right now. Whether you feel ready or not, you're ready right now.
And I just want to remind you: it's okay to try something and be bad at it.
It's okay to try something that you thought you love and actually hate it.
It's okay to be all in and super passionate about something only to change your mind later.
And what you try today is not what you're going to be doing forever. You will grow and change. Your business will grow and change, and that's normal. So do not let this fear or feeling of permanence or uncertainty hold you back.
Because guess what? If you hate your business name, you can change it. You wanna have a different website URL? You can change that. Do you want new brand colors or any logo? You can totally change that too.
Nothing is permananent
Like nothing is permanent, so do not let analysis paralysis hold you back. The only thing that's not okay is doing nothing. That's how you get nowhere. So, time will just go by like it always does. If you do nothing, you'll just be sitting in the same place, no closer to finding the answers that you're looking for or building your dreams.
And if you need a reminder on how messy this process can be, I want you to go back and listen to the very first intro episode of this podcast. I shared my entire journey. The good, the bad, the ugly, the whole thing. And I promise it will make this entrepreneurship thing feel a lot more real and relatable.
And if this is you, where you're just starting out and you lack the clarity on your niche, I hope that you identify yourself in my story. Because I was in the same boat. I had no idea what I was doing for a really long time, and I still figured it out.
And now look, I figured it out, and I have is thriving online business, and I'm doing things that I love. There's really not anything on my plate right now that I don't enjoy, you know? And it didn't start that way. When I started, 90% of what was on my plate, I didn't truly enjoy. And then I slowly, just, like, traded things out and learned from all those experiences what I truly liked and didn't like and honed my career from there.
So remember, nothing is permanent. If you're still finding your niche and you're getting held back by these little things, like figuring out your brand name or something like that, just freaking use your own name. That's the easiest thing. Just choose a general area of practice and give it a try. Like, you don't need to have every little nitty gritty thing pinned down because you're probably gonna change it anyway.
And what do you have to lose? Really?
Pay attention to how you feel while doing things
And so, while you're out there taking all this massive action, the thing that you really need to be doing at this time is paying attention to how all of this stuff makes your body and your mind feel.
So, when you're doing different types of work or seeing different types of clients, listen in to your body and your mind to see how it's responding.
So, what types of work or clients feel fun and light? What do you look forward to in your day? What could you start doing and all of a sudden five hours have gone by?
In contrast, what type of activities give you a pit in your stomach? What frustrates you? What feels out of alignment with your beliefs or your personality?
What topics get you excited to talk about on and on and on? Or what makes you hesitant to talk about it cause you're not even really passionate, or maybe you're embarrassed that you're even doing that?
What clients or customers have you worked with that you just seem like time and time again to get the best results? I guarantee there will be patterns that emerge if you work with enough people.
Without doing, you're just guessing.
But really, it's all about doing. Because without doing, you're really just guessing on all of this stuff, and you'll never get any closer to figuring it out.
Working in the margins
And for those of you out there who are like, ugh, I have a 9 to 5. When am I supposed to be doing all this stuff, taking all this action?
Guess what? You have the privilege of working in the margins.
You know, sometimes it's even preferable to start your business when you still have a 9 to 5 or at least a side gig to keep you afloat. Because if you're still unclear in your niche, which most of us are from the get go, it's just gonna be harder to get traction. Because until you know your niche and the problems you solve and who you're serving, your marketing is going to be a little subpar.
So it can be good to have income to support yourself and take the pressure off while you figure it out. Like there's really nothing worse and trying to sell from a place of desperation. Like people can smell that a mile away. And that’s just gonna add to your frustration.
And you know, you just don't want to add feeling completely broke on top of the desire to find your niche. That's not a good combo.
So, learn to work in the margins of your life. You've got the mornings. You've got your lunch breaks. You've got evenings, and you've got weekends. And it's really those small steps each day that are gonna lead to the huge results over time.
So, it's not about like, oh, I need a two-week period to get everything situated. No, it's the one hour every Wednesday that you're coming in, showing up in your business and taking action.
So, I think someone that I recently interviewed recommended, like, breaking down your projects into small steps, like 15-minute tasks. Get it to down to be that small and actionable, and then pencil those into the time that you do have.
No matter what your situation is and where you're at in your life, in your business, if you want to be an entrepreneur, and you want to make this happen, you can.
Recap of action steps to find your niche
So, today I want you to make a list of three niches that you might be interested in and then start researching them.
What is required to become an expert in this area?
What's the time and financial cost?
Who are the mentors available in that space, the support available, et cetera?
And then what small step can you do today to get started?
And then once you're ready and you choose the one you're most interested in, just jump in. Seriously.
How to get more help from me
And again, of course, if you decide to choose something like blogging or whatever in that space that I'm an expert in, I would love to help anyone listening in whatever way I can!
Again, probably the best place to connect with me is in The Unconventional RD Facebook Community. I also recently put out a free How to Start a Website tutorial, because I realized that that was like, um, a sticky spot for my people. Like maybe they want to start an online business, but they don't even have a website. So, like, how are they gonna get there without a place for their business to live online.
So, I decided to put out a free how to start a website tutorial that I'm like in the middle of putting out right now. If you just go to theunconventionalrd.com, you'll see it right there at the top. Or if you're on mobile, I don't know, you might have to click the dropdown menu. But that's totally free. No strings attached.
It will help you start a self-hosted WordPress website. So definitely check that out. If you don't have a website yet, or you think your website maybe could have a face lift, you can use it for that purpose too.
And then, of course, I have my three courses that teach people how to create content that gets found on the internet, how to monetize it and then automate it.
Um, and then I recently opened up some mentorship calls and SEO audits if you want personalized help, really specific and actionable, like do this, do this, do this on your website to turn it around in terms of your SEO and how many visitors you're getting per month.
Uh, yeah, so that's where we're at. I hope that this whole episode gave some hope and some clarity to those of you out there who are feeling a little bit lost or uncertain about your niche.
I think the overarching things I want you to take away from today are that A) that’s perfectly normal, and it's okay to feel that way. And B) the only way that you're going to get out of feeling lost is by taking action.
So of course, I don't want you to take willy nilly nonstrategic action. That's why we do the self-assessment. That's why we brainstorm. That's why we look for mentors. But once you've kind of gotten a little bit of clarity on what's out there, you’ve got to just jump in.
Whatever you jump into, that doesn't need to be your forever thing. I jumped into, like, five different pools, and I'm not in any of them anymore. You know what I mean?
Like, you'll eventually find your way, and each “misstep” or thing that you try that doesn't quite pan out the way that you hoped it would, you're still learning something from that, you know?
If anything, you're learning what you don't want. And, you know, compared to starting out and having NO idea, hey, knowing what you don't want, that’s something you can cross off the list. And that gives you more clarity, even though it might not be the clarity you hoped.
Of course, you probably hoped that would be the thing, and it would work out forever. But even if it's not the thing, at least you know it's not the thing. And you can stop thinking about it, and you can move on to something else.
Um, so yeah, again, if you want any more connection, come hang out in the Unconventional RD Community on Facebook.
That's all I have for you guys this week. Um, got lots of great interviews lined up. I binge-interviewed, like, eight people over two days. So, um, I'm gonna release those over the next few months with some solo episodes as well.
So again, thank you guys so much for hanging out with me on the podcast, and check out the show notes at theunconventionalrd.com/episode017 to get links to everything that I mentioned today cause I know it was a lot.
So, thanks, guys. Catch ya next week.
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