What we cover:
More About Adrien
Adrien Paczosa is a Business Strategist for Private Practice Owners and Dietitians and helps them grow and scale their practices to six and seven figures. She is the founder of Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers business training and coaching to private practitioners, dietitians, and wellness professionals.
Adrien is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, owner of iLiveWell Nutrition, her practice with two locations in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.13 years ago iLiveWell Nutrition opened and continues to grow.
Along with building her business, Adrien has partnered with local entrepreneurs to start a non-profit, Women Entrepreneurs Roundtable, to help educate and inspire other female entrepreneurs to grow. The WeR achieves their mission to help members think bigger, scale and grow their business to a $1million mark through sharing experiences to provide tools and support. Although she started a female entrepreneurs non-profit, Adrien’s business strategy coaching and client work is gender inclusive.
Connect with Adrien
- Fearless Practitioners
- iLive Well
- Women Entrepreneurs Roundtable
Episode 18 Show Notes
- Check out my FREE Facebook group – The Unconventional RD Community
- My 3 online courses – The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp
- FREE Start a Website Tutorial
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Links from the episode
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 stream. We’ll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.
Next lesson released in my FREE start a website tutorial
Hey, Hey, happy Monday!
Real quick before we dive into this episode, I just wanted to let you guys know that last week I actually put out the second lesson in my free how to start a website tutorial.
So as of right now there’s instructions on how to choose a domain name and register it with Google domains, how to get your business email set up (affiliate link), and then the next lesson that I added just last week was how to choose the right hosting provider.
So I’m sure you’ve heard of all these different companies, you know, SiteGround (affiliate link), GoDaddy, Bluehost, BigScoots, WP Engine, all of those. Um, and it can be a really difficult decision to understand which one to go with at which stage of your business and why. So I spent like a whole week comparing and contrasting all the different hosting options and creating a tutorial on how to decide which one’s right for you.
Um, so that was just recently uploaded to the free How to Start a Website tutorial at theunconventionalrd.com. You can see it right there on the main navigation. There’s an option to sign up for that tutorial. Again, it’s a hundred percent free.
I’m doing this to help you guys because I know a lot of times just even getting a website set up is one of the bigger hurdles, um, for getting started with online business. And you know, I’ve built all of my websites from scratch myself. So I want to pass on some of the knowledge that I’ve learned over the years and help you guys, uh, just take action and get a website up there even if you have like a bare bones budget. That’s why I made this a free tutorial. I hope you love it. Go to theunconventionalrd.com to check it out.
What to expect in this episode
All right, so for today’s episode, I’m here with Adrien Paczosa. Adrien is a successful multi-passionate entrepreneur. She not only is the owner and founder of a successful private practice based out of Austin, Texas with multiple locations, but she’s also a business strategist for private practice owners and helps them grow and scale their practices to six and seven figures. And on top of all that, she even started a nonprofit to help educate and inspire female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
And she is just such a lovely, bubbly dietitian who I love chatting with. She has her own podcast, The Fearless Practitioner, which I’ve been a guest on in the past, and she’s here today to talk to us about accountability and how accountability can really be a key in achieving business growth.
So we chat about what accountability means to Adrien, how to set goals to hold yourself accountable, what types of things you should be keeping track of in your business to make sure that it really is a business and not just a hobby, and how sharing your goals can give you public accountability that really moves the needle in your business. It’s a really good conversation. And let’s dive in.
Erica: Hi Adrien. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I am super excited to chat with you.
I know you’re a fellow multi-passionate entrepreneur and I’m just so excited to hear more about your story and all the advice that you have for us today about accountability for business growth. So thank you so much.
Adrien: I am so excited to be here. We’re going to have way too much fun talking about accountability and just being cool, fabulous entrepreneurs.
Erica: I know. And just for the people listening, I was actually on Adrien’s podcast, I don’t know, like maybe a year, year and a half, maybe even two years ago. I don’t even know, years.
Adrien: I know it was right before you started to really, like, delve in to the unconventional dietitian group, so it was like right at the very beginning. It was awesome.
Erica: That’s so funny. Yeah, it feels like it was like yesterday, but wow, I can’t believe it’s been two years.
Um, all right, well, um, you seriously have such a wide base of experience in dietetics, like from working in clinical to launching a private practice with multiple locations, becoming a business strategist for dietitians, your podcast. And I saw that you even have your hands in a nonprofit for women entrepreneurs. Like wow, that’s, that’s so incredible.
And I’m sure like accomplishing all those things, there was a lot of accountability playing a role in achieving those goals. Um, so I’m excited to dive into accountability in a second, but can you start by telling us more about your journey overall in dietetics? Like where you began your career and how that led you to where you are today?
How (and why) Adrien became a dietitian
Adrien: Sure. Um, so I started right out of college. Well first, I thought it was going to be a ballerina. Uh, that’s what I went to school for, was dancing, danced in New York, and um, then had like this really great realization, like a huge piece of a reality check. Like I always thought I was like this amazing dancer. Then when you get to New York, you’re like, oh, I’m okay. So I knew
From ballerina to dietitian
I needed a backup plan and my mom is a nurse, and so I was always around the hospital. I was like, well, I want to help people. I just don’t want to touch them. Um, and I love food.
So I was like, oh, I’ll become a dietitian. I did not do an iota of research on becoming a dietitian. I was like, well, I mean, doesn’t everybody need to learn how to eat? So every school must have a dietetic program, like, duh. So seriously. That’s how I chose my school. My best friend got a, um, scholarship to one university. I was like, oh cool, I’ll just go to the one next to it and we’ll just be roommates. It’ll be cool. That was it.
And I ended up at University of Illinois at Chicago, and they had an amazing coordinated program. I fell into it and it was awesome. Worked in clinical when I first got out of school at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, ha. Which I saw everything. Like I thought I would never see scurvy, but nope. Check! Saw scurvy. Saw leprosy. I was like, oh my gosh, I thought that died in the Bible. Um, all of these crazy things.
Um, but I remember that I hated snow after living in Chicago and came back to Texas where I’m from and ended up in Austin, Texas and helped out Lifetime Fitness to open up their programs in the Austin area, continued to work in a clinical job.
Um, and then out of the blue, because I’m super active in the Academy and in our local chapters, uh, one of my friends at the local level asked me, well, we have an eating disorder treatment center that needs some help. Do you mind helping out? I was like, sure. And inside I’m like, holy bananas, what did I just say yes to? I knew nothing about eating disorders.
And I fell in love. I was like, these are my humans. This like, this makes sense. I get to talk about biochemistry and neurochemistry and help somebody like build a positive relationship with food? Sign me up! So kind of shifted into more of, uh, eating disorders, Health at Every Size, even though I really didn’t know what that meant at the beginning.
From traditional employment to entrepreneurship
And, um, slowly started to have a private practice. And um, my father’s an entrepreneur, so I kind of always had this like lifeline. Anytime I got stuck I’d call my dad, like, oh my God, what do I do? What is this? So very fortunate. And from there it just kind of started to snowball. We got really busy. I had to hire on associates and just continued to grow.
And probably six years ago at FNCE, I went to a session and it was all about podcasting and I was like, yes, I want to have a podcast. That makes my heart so happy.
From dietetics to business topics
But I was getting kind of tired of talking about eating disorders. I was like, I want it to be fun. And so I had the greatest advice from Julie Duffy Dillon, she said, look, talk about something that somebody always asks you questions about. And I was like, Oh, well people for some reason asked me about business stuff. I guess I kind of know what I’m doing.
Um, and so it slowly fell into coaching dietitians and helping them with strategy, and I got really involved with a lot of other female entrepreneurs here in Austin, and we developed a nonprofit organization as well where we teach female business owners how to get to seven figures. We keep it really, really small, only 20, 25 people are allowed to come. It’s never recorded because anything goes. And it’s been amazing to hear people’s stories and you can ask them questions. So that’s it, I think.
Erica: Wow, that’s really, really cool and super inspiring. Just so everyone, in case they’re listening and they want to check out all that stuff. Can you share like the name of your private practice, your podcast, your nonprofit, before we move on?
Adrien: Yeah, so the private practice is I Live Well Nutrition and it’s on all the social medias and website. And coaching is The Fearless Practitioner. So fearlesspractitioner.com. And then the nonprofit is, WeR, uh, which is Women Entrepreneur Roundtable. Yeah.
What accountability means to Adrien
Erica: Awesome. Thank you. Um, so really I’m excited for you to be here today to talk to us about accountability and how it can be a huge factor in achieving business growth. So to start out, like what does accountability mean to you?
Adrien: Oh, I love that question because I think just like how we can define health means something totally different to everybody. I think accountability is definitely different to everybody. But to me it really means like getting stuff done. Um, cause as an entrepreneur I’m pretty sure we can all agree that our to do list is a mile long and for some reason it never gets done and that’s fine.
But all those little stupid things that you don’t want to do, like sending that email, calling your tax person, I’m like looking at my to do list right now. Um, I don’t want to get those done. But those little things are what actually moves the needle forward. So accountability I think is really kind of going through that checklist and making sure you get done the things that are going to move the needle.
How to practice accountability
Erica: And how do you recommend that people practice accountability?
Adrien: Ugh. Well, so this is a hard one for me to learn in the sense that I think it was this idea that you wanted to come up with all of these good ideas and then it’s like, oh, just do all of these too. But I think it takes a little bit more, I guess dialing down of like, what the heck am I actually doing and is this serving me or distracting me?
So I think the idea of practicing accountability, you first have to think about what in the world you’re wanting to do. So a lot of times with my coaching clients will come up with like their ginormous yearly goals and then we’ll come up with their quarterly goals. And then from that we have to really make sure that every single thing that they’re doing that week is in line with their quarterly goals that are eventually aligned with their yearly goals.
So I think it’s so easy to be like, oh, I don’t want to like go and market to 20 physicians. I want to go and like watch this podcast or watch this thing and like, that’s not really gonna get you to making so much money or seeing so many patients. So I think it’s more making sure it’s in alignment.
Creating Yearly & Quarterly Goals
Erica: Oh, that’s really good. And what’s like an example? So what would like a yearly goal look like versus like a quarterly goal?
Adrien: I love that idea. So, um, I just did this with a brand new person today. I’m so excited. So one of her yearly goals is she wants to have consistently 20 clients a week by the end of 2020. I’m like, awesome, I love that idea. So we looked at, so we just entered in the beginning of quarter two.
Um, so, um, what, so her yearly goal is 20 clients. Her quarterly goal might be for this quarter, we’re going to try to get five consistent clients a week. So that’s kind of that big goal. And so then the accountability is how do you do that? How do you get those five clients? Do they like magically appear? So that’s what we’ll work on each week through the accountability process.
Erica: I like that a lot. Okay. So kind of like breaking down whatever your 12 month goal is into, you know, maybe a quarter of that per quarter.
What types of goals should you set?
Erica: Are people generally setting like monetary goals or like outcome goals? Can you do both?
Adrien: Yeah. So, um, I always require one goal has to be monetary just because I think we as professionals don’t ever talk about money and we feel it’s like, uh, taboo, and then it becomes scary and overwhelming and we just hide our head in the sand. Or at least that was my experience. Um, and so I want people to have that, uh, talk about money because one, it kind of demystifies it, but two, you really can see how your practice and company is achieving goals faster when you’re like, oh, well that makes sense and I can see where money’s coming in and going out. To me it makes sense.
How to translate your goals into action
Erica: Okay. So I’m imagining someone listening to this and they’re like, all right, I get it. I can see where I can set my, my yearly goal, my quarterly goal, and then I’m lost. How do I translate that into what I’m doing on a daily or weekly basis? Like can you do that on your own? Do you need to reach out for help? What do you suggest?
1. Avoiding the perfectionist trap
Adrien: I think it depends on the personality type. And most dietitians are super awesome type A people. And we also really love perfection. And so I find that dietitians suck at accountability. Love y’all, love you, amazing. Um, I think the world of y’all, but we get so stuck in our heads because we want it all to be perfect. And if it’s not perfect, we don’t move on to the next thing.
2. Getting support from your peers
And so that’s where I wish we could all just have that more team approach. And that’s, that is a hundred percent why I started The Fearless Practitioners Boss Club because it is so amazing how fast you can achieve those goals when you have to report them. So when you have to get on a call every single week and say I’m on task or off task and this is why, and this is the outcome, it makes you like get stuff done. It’s amazing. It lights a fire under you big time.
3. B-work makes it happen
Erica: Yeah. Yeah. And I love your point about perfectionism, holding people back. That’s definitely something that I see coming up a lot in, in my Facebook group and in others. But um, what’s the, um, there’s like a phrase where it’s like, it’s like B work makes things happen or something like that. I don’t know what the exact phrase is, but like every little tiny thing doesn’t have to be like perfection. Just getting an Instagram post out is fine, you know what I mean?
Adrien: Oh, totally, totally. And I think it’s like, I always say like, close enough. Like, as long as it’s just close enough, you’ll be amazing.
4. The first version of anything is never the last
Erica: And even like, of course you want like your paid products to be as best as you can make them at the time. But like, I think it’s important to acknowledge that like whatever you’re doing right now and whatever you’re learning and starting with, it’s always going to get better. Like your first version is never going to be your final version.
So you know, I think giving yourself some grace too, and you know, a lot of times people maybe price something a little bit lower than they’re imagining it to be long-term for that first iteration and people are so understanding. They’re just like, oh, this is amazing. Even if you see all the little things, like most people aren’t picking up on those little, I don’t know, not errors, but like things that you see could be better.
5. Own your own skin
Adrien: I think it helps you to also own your own skin. Um, I think when you have those imperfections, it allows you audience and your clients or whoever to know that you’re human. Um, so it’s always funny when any of my posts that, um, I just like throw up there, there’s like 900 misspellings and I’m like, ah, close enough. I can’t spell. But I’m like, to me it allows there to be more of an authentic connection.
Erica: Hmm. That’s a really good point. Yeah, I agree with that. Definitely.
The metrics that business owners should be tracking
Erica: When you’re trying to practice accountability, do you have any certain like metrics or KPIs that are most critical for people to track to make sure what you’re doing is actually turning into a business and not just like kind of sitting there as a hobby?
Adrien: Oh my gosh. I think you’re thinking my love language. Um, so, um, in our nonprofit, we have like the saying that KPIs are sexy. Um, so like I tell anybody that if you aren’t measuring your practice, this is just a hobby. So you’ve got to have some metrics. And I was always really scared at the beginning of my practice 13 years ago to set those because I was like, but then I’m going to fail and then I’m not going to be good enough. And having to get out of that like “good enough” mindset and set some KPIs, it’s okay to not achieve them, but it allows you to have that direction.
So I always think KPIs are personal to each company. So my practice is going to be very different than somebody that’s first just starting out versus other things.
Determine the smaller actions that drive your larger goals
So KPIs are what drives your practice. So how I look at KPIs is, we have our big goal. Maybe that’s to make um, a certain amount of money. The KPIs are what drives that goal. So it’s not necessarily that, oh, I need to have this much revenue every month, but what actually is getting you to that revenue? Is it number of clients? Is it number of marketing touches? Is it the number of TV appearances? Whatever is your magic sauce that drives revenue or drives whatever else, that’s what I look to look to measure as a KPI.
What is a KPI?
Erica: Can we define what KPI is too?
Adrien: It’s key performance indicators. So, um, yeah, I think it’s one of the ways to kind of just measure success.
Erica: Do you have any resources where people can learn how to set up what they should be tracking or how do you learn that? Or is it through experience?
How to figure out your KPIs
Adrien: That’s a great question. And I wish I had a better resource. And maybe this is a great freebie I need to give out, or maybe you need to. I love this brainstorming. Um, but I think it comes from trial and error.
And I know that what I like to do in our nonprofit when we onboard somebody in that or in coaching, is really go through their business. I guess this would be a good exercise for all the listeners.
Look at your big goal and then pull it apart. What is the driver? And you might not know it for the beginning. So I always thought, oh, I need to be dropping stuff off at physician’s offices and marketing and dah, dah, dah, dah. Well is that really what’s going to drive people into the practice? Probably. That’s what I thought. But it actually wasn’t. So looking at what causes that money to come in is going to be so specific to each client.
Examples of things I track in my businesses
Erica: Yeah. So like in my business when I’m not seeing clients, some of the tools that I use, I like, I look at Google analytics a lot to see where my website traffic is coming from so I can double down on the stuff that’s working and then maybe also notice the things that aren’t working that I can work on getting better at or coming up with a better strategy for.
Like I’ve talked a lot about search engine optimization and SEO, so that is working on my website to get a lot of traffic from Google. But like for example, I’m not that great at Pinterest. So I know there’s a lot of potential there and I can see, not just guessing but like actual data in my Google Analytics like what is working and what is not.
How to figure out where your customers are coming from
And then I’m sure you do this too, but like when you get a new customer or a new client, like asking them where they found you so you have some stats to look at. Um, that’s what I use personally for feedback to see if that extra traffic that I was getting from all that work I was doing for search engine optimization, was that leading to more customers for my membership site? And I can track that. And it was, so I was like, yay, it’s working. But you know, that’s how I would know if it was or wasn’t working, like asking the question. Otherwise I’d have no idea. You know?
Examples of non-monetary KPIs
Adrien: Oh totally. And I think it’s also interesting, another thing to kind of think about KPIs is, um, like also what are you wanting out of your business? Besides financial reward, are you wanting to grow it in a different way?
So looking at that is another KPI. One of my coaching clients, she tracks how many hours she works a week. She doesn’t want to work more than 40 hours. Um, and she’s wanting to become a mom, so she wants to get that down even more and yet still keep that revenue up. And so, like that’s an amazing KPI to really look at as well.
And then also expenses. I always tell people like, see what you can do and see how little you can spend because it’s amazing. I think of it like as a fun little game to play.
Tools for Tracking
Erica: Do you like track with any specific tools or software?
Adrien: Um, so, oh goodness. I think of so many different softwares, but uh, I actually have this awesome Excel spreadsheet that we use for our nonprofit and then in coaching clients as well. Um, so we’ll come up with all of the KPIs, we’ll set them, and then wherever you track, so if it’s in your QuickBooks account or Google Analytics or in your EHR or electronic health records, so you can pull all these different reports to get that number. Um, yeah, I encourage people not to count cause there’ll be some human error in there.
Erica: Yeah. I use Excel as well. I am old school. I know there’s so many, I’m sure like way more fancy tech-y tools that people can use. But you know, Excel works too.
Adrien: Oh, I love Excel. So as you were saying that, I was like, okay, great. We all use Excel.
The power of sharing your progress
Adrien: I think one of the hardest parts is when I had to share my KPIs with somebody. When I worked with my coaches and I had to like give them over my KPIs every month of like, this is what we did. And like some weeks, some months, I’m like, yeah, look what we did. And other months I’m like, oh gosh, this is going to be bad. This is going to hurt. And that honestly y’all was like the greatest growth. I would say when I had to show up and talk through my wins and my losses, that’s when I think my company went to the next level.
Erica: That’s so interesting. A light bulb just went off in my head. I think, cause I’ve never really worked with a coach even though I am planning on it in the future as I grow. I think I do need help like getting to the next level and delegating. Um, but ironically, I think that’s what I was doing in a weird roundabout way with my sharing my income reports back in the day. I was creating my own accountability. Like, oh my gosh, I’m turning this into a blog post. So like, I better do something this month.
Adrien: Oh, it’s so vulnerable and so scary. And some months you’re like, yeah, I can’t wait to share, and then other months you’re like, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna. But oh my gosh. And that’s what we do with our coaching clients for Fearless Practitioners. And y’all, it’s so amazing because it helps you to really see what’s working, what’s not, and where to pivot.
How to know if your efforts are working
Erica: Yeah. So that’s a good segue. How do you know whether something is working? Like what are you really looking for and how do you know like, okay, it didn’t work this month but I should still keep going, or it didn’t work and I should like maybe scrap it?
1. What’s your return on investment?
Adrien: Yeah, I think it’s again, so personalized for everybody’s company, and I think that it could be a lot of different realms. So if you’re trying something new, if you’re launching a new course or launching a new class, we have to like know what is the return on investment. So what is the amount I’ve paid into this? And in order for it to be successful, I need to have this amount of money returned.
2. Have you given it enough time?
Adrien: And giving yourself a runway of like, okay, it’s going to take X amount of months to get to that. It won’t just happen. I need to break it to everybody, there’s no overnight successes. There is a lot of hard work. So giving yourself that runway of like, okay, in three months or six months, if I’m not at this point, if I’m not breaking even, and if I’m not making profit then I need to scrap and pivot.
Um, a lot of times with my coaching clients, when you start a new project, we have our lag time, our runtime, and our breakeven or have a profit time. If we’re not hitting profit by that time we got to pivot and try something new.
Erica: Yeah. And I think it could be so many things, like you said, like you really have to dive in on a one-on-one basis, but it’s like, is it your marketing? Is it your offer? Is it the product, like no one is actually asking for that?
Adrien: Like, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I think it’s, um, it’s good to have like a chance to talk it out.
Erica: And I agree that speaking with someone who’s maybe been there before really helps normalize everything. Cause when you’re coming at it brand new, you’re like, maybe you do think you can have a really successful business in 30 days, you know what I mean?
Adrien: Oh bless their hearts.
Erica: Clearly that doesn’t happen for most people. But yeah, just some positivity, reinforcement, accountability and just like grounding, you know, like you’re not doing anything wrong.
Adrien: I think that’s been so interesting with, um, a lot of the coaching clients is they’ll like send me a text, like I want to quit. And I was like, cool. Yeah. Yep, sure. Sounds about right. I’ve made ready to table flip myself. Like I’m out, done. I’m over it. I’m going to work at Starbucks. I have had it. And I think having that normalcy of like, yeah, you’re going to love your practice 90% of the time. And the other 10%, you’re ready to quit.
More ways to create accountability in your business
Erica: In terms of getting accountability, what are some the different ways that people could do it? Like obviously we talked about coaching. Any other suggestions?
1) Mastermind groups that have an accountability component
Adrien: So mastermind groups are a great way, and I want to like caution people who are like, oh mastermind, it sounds super cool and like everybody is doing it right now. But in order to have a really successful mastermind, I think there needs to be some structure, and there needs to be a designated leader and some good rules and boundaries. Um, just because I think it can not be successful and it just turns into a chitty chatty party and nothing gets done.
So if you are gonna join a mastermind, um, I think that there needs to be some clear guidelines. A lot of times also too, masterminds is about group coaching and may not have that accountability aspect in it. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d want to make sure you’re looking for a mastermind with accountability and making sure that’s a part of it.
Um, so, and then mentoring and coaching, I always think like they’re close, but not the same. So um, mentoring, uh, making sure that there isn’t an accountability, uh, part in it as well is important.
Erica: Okay. I have a few questions stemming from this because again, I don’t have a lot of experience with masterminds, coaching, mentoring, etcetera. So I’m just trying to envision, like I’ve heard people talk about masterminds on podcasts and things like that and they’re like, oh, it’s a group of people and we meet maybe like monthly via zoom or something. And every appointment it’s one person’s time to be in the hot seat or something. And then that’s like their time to share what they’ve been doing and get feedback from other people. And then do others like still chime in and say what they’re doing or is it like one person for appointment or like? I don’t know.
Adrien: So every mastermind is run so differently. So it’s hard to say like, overarching, this is what masterminding is. So how somebody might run their mastermind is going to be different from another.
And so yes, there usually is like a hot seat or somebody brings an issue or a topic of a discussion. Um, and that’s kind of where you mastermind, everybody brainstorms around it and gives their thoughts and opinions or um, kind of a Gestalt kind of learning. Like if I was you, I wouldn’t recommend blah, blah, blah. Um, so that’s kind of what kind of mastermind looks like. If you added in an accountability part of that, you’d have kind of go through everybody of like, oh, last week my goals were dah, dah, dah, and this is what happened, dah, dah, dah, dah. And at the end of the call you would set your goals for the next month. That’s how to kind of add in accountability in a mastermind.
What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?
Erica: Okay. And then what is, in your opinion, the difference between coaching and mentoring?
Adrien: So, uh, coaching is usually, and I get these mixed up all the time, so somebody please Google them and let us know. Um, cause one is somebody that’s done it before, and the other one is that’s giving more, uh, thoughts and opinions. So somebody that’s gone through it and walked the walk and talked the talk. And the other is where they’re just like giving some ideas.
Erica: Yeah. I think mentoring, you’re the person who’s been there and done it and you’re asking their advice, having walked the walk. And then coaching, it’s like a skill, like, like a learned skill that you apply to lots of different realms whether or not you’ve necessarily been through that exact experience or not, which is why I’m like, I am not a coach cause I have no training in that. But it is very fascinating that just by asking the right questions you can like pull stuff out of people and really help them make progress. But I think they’re, they all have their place.
Adrien: Oh definitely. And I think you can, as somebody that’s looking at hiring a mentor or coach or joining a mastermind, looking at what you’re needing. Um, I like the idea of coaching cause it causes you as the one getting that help to really pull apart those ideas and develop a strategy and plan.
Um, so I think that’s a really interesting way of looking at it too.
How do you find a mastermind group or coach?
Erica: And do you have any suggestions for people to find this type of support? Where do you go?
Adrien: Well, I mean of course you can come and hang out with me. We have tons of fun. Um, but I think there’s so many different ones out there. Um, and I encourage everybody to interview people, um, and look at kind of, if they’re able to meet your needs and also knowing what your needs are.
So I think that’s also really important. So anytime I interview a coaching person that wants to join coaching with me, I ask, well, make sure that you interview at least two other people. Um, and not saying that you have to come with me, because I think it’s a very personal commitment. Um, because I want somebody to be successful. So looking at what the coach or mentor is able to provide, how they will work. And also I think personality is a big thing. How your personality is going to jam is a huge part of it.
Erica: Yeah. And that’s so, um, I don’t know, big of you. I guess that’s probably not the right word. But to be able to say like, this is what I offer and I’m acknowledging that it’s not for everyone. So please like don’t just jump on cause it’s like the next shiny thing. Like really think about it and whether or not we’re actually a good fit and whether or not I have the tools and the framework to help you in what you’re looking for.
So yeah, I think that’s way more powerful than trying to like kind of act like you can solve everyone’s problems, you know?
Adrien: Yah. If somebody has a question about SEO, I’m like yep, nope, that’s Erica. That’s who you need to talk to. I have no idea. I pay people for that.
How to create structure that will help you take action
Erica: So do you have any words of wisdom for anyone who might be a solopreneur right now and they’re just sort of drowning in their to do list? Like what should they be looking at to try to get some structure?
Adrien: Oh, I love that. One, you are absolutely normal. Um, and I think just kind of knowing that we all get in that space sometime. That to do list will just eat you alive and we just keep adding more and more and more.
So take a deep breath and find the top three things that you have to get done. Whatever. Those top three things, pick three. That’s it. No more than three. And every morning I really love people to pick three things that have to get done.
And if they’re really big and you cannot do them in 15 minutes, they go back on the to do list. So it has to be something that you can get done in 15 minutes. So if you only have three, you can do this in less than an hour. And that’s how you can start to slowly chip away at that to do list.
So if it was, oh, I need to call five physicians, you might not be able to do that 15 minutes.
Maybe we just need to research their phone numbers and put that in a spreadsheet. So think about how to really pull apart everything in 15 minute increments.
Erica: That’s a really good advice. I don’t think I’ve really heard that advice before, but I like it.
Working backwards to flesh out your schedule
And also like, I don’t know if you have anything like this in your business, but for someone who does a lot of content creation, it’s really helpful to have some sort of regular schedule.
Like, every Monday my podcast comes out, and so I can work backwards and be like, okay, by Sunday night I need to have the transcript up on my website, all ready to go and scheduled. Which also means that I need to have it recorded by, you know, probably the Monday before so that I have time to have someone make the transcript and all that. So that gives you a little bit of structure too, inherently.
Adrien: Oh, I love working backwards. That is one of my favorites. So from if it’s a launch to, um, working with patients, whatever it might be, working backwards is in my brain. In a dyslexia world, everything is backwards. So it’s just like, oh, well that makes sense. Um, so like how can I like really have that great runway and make sure that I am prepared, have everything done and I’m not stressing.
I think that’s one of the things as a solopreneur just starting out, you feel like you’re just always behind the eight ball and just run and run and run and run, and you never feel like you’re making progress. So I love that point of working backwards.
Identify your revenue-generating activities and focus on those
Erica: And another thing that pops in my head is like, if you are still in the solopreneur phase, I think, um, and we’ve kind of circled around this already, but making sure that you are spending your time on the revenue generating activities, um, and then giving yourself the permission to put the other stuff that’s not maybe actually leading to revenue temporarily on the back burner potentially until you have enough revenue to maybe outsource some of those things.
Like for me, for example, I grow my audience a lot through my Facebook groups. So I do prioritize that. But then like I’m not really doing anything with my Instagram and I acknowledge that that could be a wonderful channel. But like at this very moment, there’s so many other things that are actually leading to money that I need to focus on. So you know, that’s on my list of things like, okay, as I keep growing my revenue when I hit this amount, I’m going to have enough budget to like maybe outsource that and then it’ll maybe boost my revenue from there.
Adrien: Yeah, I think that’s so wise to think about, okay, where do I prioritize, where do I block out things, and what is literally a priority? Because we can make anything a priority.
Deciding when to delegate
And so how do I release certain things to generate revenues so that I can outsource? We hear so much on social media like, oh, delegate, delegate. Like, which is great. But let’s get real, it’s expensive to delegate. And so like, when should you actually pursue that and when is it just looking super cool on Instagram and may not be the best for your budget?
My first delegation experience
Erica: Totally. Like for me, some of the, just to give people some examples. Um, the first time I ever delegated was when I was freelance writing and I was getting pretty good payment for my articles, but I was noticing the bottleneck in my productivity was getting stuck in the PubMed, Google Scholar rabbit hole. So I decided to hire an assistant to help make outlines for me before I write the article so that I don’t have to go down a bajillion rabbit holes. It’s like, okay, these are like the topics you should probably focus on. Here’s the links to the articles to read. And that helped me so, so much and that was totally worth it because I was paying out a percentage of what I was making and it was speeding up my productivity and so then I could get more done and then I basically made that money back.
So that’s a really good example for anyone listening, like trying to get some concreteness around what we’re talking about. Um, that felt comfortable to me cause it was a clear return on my investment. Um, do you have any other examples?
Adrien: As you were saying that I was trying to think of like, oh, when did I? Cause I like held on to delegating for so long cause I was so worried somebody else was going to screw it all up. So I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. Uh, until like, so I used to do all of the bookkeeping, insurance, billing, um, every single Friday, uh, in our office. So I would bill for three different other providers and do everything every single Friday. I’m pretty sure, like, I would just like drop every cuss word known to man and like, like walk away from the computer every hour, cause I was so pissed off. And I was like, this sucks. Like I don’t want to end my work week this way. And so I got to the point of frustration and pain to finally hire somebody to help with all of that. And, um, they did so much better, and I was so much happier. And it freed up a whole extra day so that we could see more patients and we could have a higher return. So for me, having that frustration and then feeling safe enough to allow somebody else to help.
Erica: Mm. Yeah. Similarly, um, feeling frustrated. Then I also think paying attention to when you’re doing something and you’re like, it feels a little bit like anyone could do this. Like, why am I, like if I’m the business owner, is this really the task I should be focusing on? Like for example, making the transcripts of my podcast episodes, like, sure, I get an autogenerated transcript, but it’s not good and needs to be edited. And like for a while I was doing that myself and then I’m like, okay, this is not worth it. Like I can easily outsource this. It’s not, it doesn’t require any special degree. Like it’s just editing texts. Stuff like that, you know?
Adrien: Oh, it’s so funny when we like think back and like, ah, why am I spending hours doing this? Ugh.
Erica: Yeah. So I think, when you’re starting out, you’re probably not ready to outsource. And I do think there’s value in understanding what’s being done in your business so that you know what you’re even outsourcing and whether that person is doing things well or efficiently. Like, to just blindly outsource I think would maybe be a mistake.
Adrien: Oh my gosh. So I did that when I first started taking insurance in our practice. I was like, oh, I don’t wanna do it. I don’t understand health insurance. I hired a biller, and we got our first check for 2 dollars and 3 cents. And I was like, oh hell no. Uh, and so I was like, I was bound and determined to figure out health insurance and billing and because I got paid 2 dollars and 3 cents.
So I think yes, understanding the process so that you can definitely outsource once you have a great idea.
How Adrien grew her private practice into multiple locations
Erica: And can you maybe just give us some back story, cause I know you have a private practice with like multiple locations. How long did it take to get to that point, and what were the steps of growing your practice to be more than just you?
Adrien: Um, I had no plan. Um, I’m just like going to college, like cool, why not? Um, and it kind of all happened organically. So, uh, the first way I hired on somebody was, there was a local grocery store and they started a diabetes program, and they had 20 patients. Nope, they had 80 patients that had to see a dietitian six times in a certain amount of months. And so they all, they all became my patients overnight and I was like, oh crap. And I already had a full calendar and I was like, I need to sleep at some point.
So I hired on another dietitian and then from there, just being super involved in my local dietetic association, um, people were wanting to get into private practice but didn’t want to do the business side. Um, so slowly just started to add in people. And here in Austin the traffic is horrendous. And so trying to get from one side of the town to the other is really difficult. And so, um, we would start to, we opened up a couple of locations.
I’ve opened and closed many locations, so it’s not all amazing. Like, I opened some and they kind of worked, but they weren’t making enough revenue, so had to shut it down. And then open up another one, and shut it down. So, uh, we finally found like a good spot for the second location to help serve both sides of the town.
Erica: I like that. And I like that you’re transparent with the fact that it doesn’t all go perfectly from the beginning, like almost never.
Adrien: Never. And there’s always ups and downs and backwards and sideways. And yeah, you’re like, haha I got it! Then you’re like, aw crap, just kidding.
Tips on finding the right person to join your team
Erica: Do you have any tips on finding the right person to join your team?
Adrien: Oh, that continues to be a process. So first, start off giving people personality tests as part of the interview process to really understand how they work. But kind of even before that, um, one of the founders of we are the nonprofit. Um, she’s actually a sales recruiter, and so I’ve picked her brain a million times of like, how do you interview people? Like what’s the best thing? And so she helped me create a scorecard of what am I actually looking for in an associate.
Um, and so these are the core values of our company, these are the core values that I want in somebody that works for us. And so when you first do a screening of somebody, if they don’t meet those core values, then they don’t make it onto the second round.
That’s the other thing is having rounds of interviews. Even if it’s just adding in one other person or hiring on somebody to do side work is so important. Uh, learned that the hard way many times.
Erica: Yeah, I copied the process that I went through when I got hired by Healthline when I did my own, when I hired my assistant, because that was like three rounds. The first one was just like submit your resume and like link to a writing sample or something like that. And when I posted the position to get help, like I think like 60 something people applied and I was like, oh my gosh, like I need to narrow this down to like one? How is that going to happen?
So yeah, first it was just like making sure they had writing experience, which didn’t like get rid of some people.
And then the second round was like a very brief writing sample where it was like, you know, answer this question in a concise like paragraph or whatever.
Um, and then that helped narrow it down a little bit more. And then the third round was like, okay, pretend (this is for Healthline) that you’re going to be like writing this article and they give you the topic and you don’t have to write the whole thing, but you have to do the outline and then flesh out like maybe three sections of it. Um, so that they can see that you understand the layout and the flow of their company and can get with the program basically.
And that’s where I got cut initially. I didn’t make it past that round. They did hire me six months later, but yeah. So that was like, um, a lot of work. But I can see the value in why they had us do that. And of course it was like crushing when I didn’t get it after putting in so much work. But they kept me on file and eventually I got the job anyway.
But um, yeah, so I kind of did something similar, and what I did was I took a topic that I had already written about. So I already had all the notes and had done all the research because like you said, like knowing what you’re looking for, what I was looking for with somebody that I could trust with their research skills, like finding all the weird angles that I would want, that I would dig into, cause not everyone has that skill. Maybe they’d take it a little cursory, but I really like do deep dives.
So I was looking for someone with that skill. And so I compared their outline with my outline and then that helped me figure out the people whose brain kind of worked the same way as me and I could trust to kind of outsource it and feel like it was high quality. So I mean I don’t know how that would work with like a private practice person, but if you’re doing something technical you can actually like have them do like a sample for you.
Adrien: Oh yeah, whenever I post a job listing, I always put in certain ways I want somebody to respond, cause one of our values is detail-oriented. So I always put in like, if you’d like to apply for this job, the subject line to reply is this, do not reply through LinkedIn or Indeed, um, and include X, Y, and Z in that email. And so if they don’t do that, then cool. You don’t get to go on to the second round.
Erica: I know, I see that and I’m like, are there really people who don’t do that? Like, I’m sure there are, but I’m just like, that’s just crazy that that even has to be.
Success stories from Adrien’s students
Um, okay. So just to end this episode on like a positive note, I know you’ve worked with lots of dietitians, you helped many people grow their businesses. Like you don’t have to name any names or anything, but can you just give us like some general success stories? Like, so people feel inspired. Like where was someone when they came to you and like what did that transformation look like?
Adrien: Oh. Okay. I’m gonna give you two because I think that there’s two different, um, ways of looking at this. So one that, uh, had a private practice and had associates, and then one that was just brand spanking new.
So the one that had a private practice and associates, um, we worked together only three months. Um, and she said within those three months, she’s never made that much revenue, and, uh, her practice, uh, I think, uh, increased by 50%, just because we put in some systems and processes and we tracked everything. She had a new way of making sure things got done efficiently, so it was awesome. Um, so that’s one of the successes of just like having an outside person look at your practice and make sure it’s going the way it needs to.
And then my little newbies, I love them so much. Um, so, so one brand spanking new, still in a full time job and trying to start that side hustle and get going. Um, so, uh, she was just in our accountability group and was able to get everything set up and started seeing patients within six months and started to increase revenue and income in six months and hopefully by the end of this year if everything keeps going well, um, she’ll be able to transition full time. So within a year make a big transition.
Erica: That’s amazing. And that’s for people listening, maybe you’re like, oh, six months, but like, and to be able to potentially leave your job and make that your full time thing in a year is incredibly quick. So yeah, if you’re just trying to wing it yourself. Um, I know people told me when I started my own business too, like, oh, it’s probably going to take you like three to five years to really be like profitable and making good money. And I was like, psh, no. But it did. So, um, one year in comparison is very, very good.
Adrien: Yes, it’s the power of accountability!
Common hiccups new business owners run into
Erica: Totally. And just real quick before we sign off, are there any like common threads that you notice like common things that people are hung up on? Maybe we can use the newbie example, like where do those people usually have hiccups?
Adrien: It’s usually in the marketing, and I would give it probably across the board, 80% of people get stuck in how to get clients. The client acquisition part.
Erica: Yes. I relate to that.
Adrien: I think we all do. Yeah. I’ve been in practice for 13 years and that’s probably where I spend a good amount of my time, is client acquisition.
Erica: Yeah. And I think the hard part is like everyone’s looking for that magic bullet and I don’t think it exists.
Adrien: Girl, I wish it did. Oh my Lord. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah. So I just want for everyone listening to acknowledge and understand that you just have to try stuff and like you said, measuring what you’re trying and how it’s going and then like pivoting or tweaking, that’s really all it is until you nail down what works for you, and what works for you isn’t necessarily going to be what works for someone else.
Adrien: Exactly. And then it might not work every single time and every season is a little bit different. So just because it worked last year doesn’t mean it’s going to work this year.
Erica: That’s true too. But not to freak people out! Eventually you will find the things that work and work relatively consistently, but you know all your eggs shouldn’t be in one basket anyway. Like you should always have multiple revenue or hopefully multiple revenue streams and multiple client attraction avenues. So yeah.
Adrien’s “The Dream Practice” course
Great. Well I know that you mentioned before we hopped on this call that this episode is like kind of perfectly aligned with the launch of a new online course that you’re coming out with. So can you maybe tell us a little bit about that? Like, who it’s for and what it helps people with?
Adrien: Sure. So it’s, um, for anybody that is wanting to start a private practice. It’s called The Dream Practice, how to build your dream practice. So it walks you through A to Z on how to set up. So what are the tracking systems? What systems and processes do you need? And this is for people that are wanting to set up seeing patients. Um, and making sure that you have every single legal thing in order, HIPAA compliance in order. Every single thing in order. And how to start your marketing and all of those basic steps. So you will have a private practice ready to go in seven to 12 weeks.
Uh, so we’re just launching it. So I revamped it all and updated it. So there’s even some brand spanking new stuff that I’ve never taught before and I’m so excited to share, especially with the change of climate we’re in. I think this is such a great opportunity for people to start that side hustle.
Um, and the cool part is I’m going to jump in the group every single week for accountability because, like I hate buying a course and never doing it. So I am bound and determined that everybody is in it is going to finish it and have a private practice.
Erica: That’s amazing. Is it for people like with in person or virtual or both?
Adrien: Both. Yep. A hundred percent. Because I think with everything changing, virtual is pretty much the bomb dot com. Um, and really making sure you’re set up efficiently and building that foundation. I wish I would have learned all these things when I first started.
Erica: Yeah. And what about insurance? No insurance? Either?
Adrien: Either. Yeah, we can do either. It’s great, it’s wonderful.
What platform Adrien hosts her course on
Erica: Cool. And just like before we totally end, just really nerdily, like I like to talk about the tech stuff. So like what platform are you, do you host your course on?
Adrien: Uh, I use teachable. Oh, nope. Nope. JK, JK. We just switched. Um, I use Kajabi. Yeah, we just switched.
Erica: Do you like it?
Adrien: I am understanding it. Um, um, it has a lot more bells and whistles. Um, and I’ve taken a lot of courses on Kajabi, and I like the way they flow, and so I’m trying to understand that flow better. But yeah, I mean, I’m enjoying it.
Erica: For people listening who don’t know Teachable is like an online course platform where that’s pretty much all they do. Like it’s designed to be a place to sell online courses or you can kind of make membership sites work on there too because they can take recurring payment. But that’s it.
And then Kajabi is more like an all in one solution where there’s like landing pages too and sales funnels and email and all that, like rolled into one, I believe. I’ve never used it, but at least that’s the impression that I’ve gotten. Um, and it seems like the people who use it really like it. Yeah. I don’t know a ton about it, but yeah, in case people listening are wondering what we’re talking about, that’s what it is.
Adrien’s experiences running a course
And just in general, do you like running an online course, like as a revenue stream? Um, has it been worth your time and your investment in it?
Adrien: That’s a great question. I don’t know that just yet. So I launched The Dream Practice like a long time ago. I’m not even kidding. Like five years ago. And I haven’t ever launched it again. So, um, just because life took over and got more into things, so we shall see. TBD.
Erica: Cool. And just your, your audio cut out for a second. Did you say five years ago?
Adrien: Five years ago. I’ve never launched it since.
Erica: That’s amazing though. Yeah. It’s, it’s valuable to go in and kind of just make sure that you’ve updated everything to be following best practices. So I’m sure there’s like tons of juicy goodness that you had to add from the last five years and so much value I’m sure.
Adrien: Oh yes. Tons of updates, like revamped it, and we did a whole new branding. So it was, um, yeah, that was a big undertaking.
Erica: Yeah. Were you in that roadblock kind of, where you launched it maybe like five years ago and then if you’re not like actively promoting it, you don’t have a strategy, it kind of just like sits there?
Adrien: Yes. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was like, oh yeah, online courses! And I had no idea. Um, so it’s taken me five years to understand it.
Erica: Yeah, totally. And that’s so normal. Even like, I’m still totally building out the processes for mine too, because I launched three courses in one year, which I do not recommend. Cause I thought I was going to do a membership site, so I had people who paid me for like a year’s worth of content. So that was the situation I found myself in, and then realized I was not creating a membership site. I was creating courses. After I came out with the three, then it was like, okay, this is my time to just like keep that as my core offerings and then make sure they’re consistently updated.
But then beyond that, getting out of that cycle of like always having to live launch and building out more of like an evergreen sales funnel.
So yeah, it’s a whole new world and it’s exciting. But yeah, lots to learn, which is hopefully where, with my mentorship calls and stuff, where I hope to provide people with guidance from having been there firsthand and understanding the struggles of getting out of the live launch, uh, feast and famine, I guess.
Where to find Adrien’s course
Erica: Alright, so where should people go to check out this upcoming course?
Adrien: Um, so if you guys are interested in joining The Dream Practice, just definitely make sure to head over to fearlesspractitioners.com. It’ll be up there, so you guys can go and check everything out. We’ll definitely have all the links for you. Or come over to Instagram, Adrien Paczosa, and there’s lots of links on how to get started because we will be closing it soon.
Erica: What’s your favorite social channel to connect with people on?
Adrien: Yeah, so definitely on Instagram.
Erica: Perfect. Well, again, thank you so much for all of that amazing wisdom. Um, you have so much experience for us all to learn from. So thank you for giving us your time today.
Adrien: Oh, it’s been awesome. And if you guys ever need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Erica: Alright, so if you want to check out the show notes or the transcript for this episode, just head to theunconventional rd.com/episode018 to grab all the links to anything that we mentioned throughout this episode, including Adrien’s upcoming online course for starting a private practice and my free How to Start a Website tutorial.
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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.