If you’ve ever had a business idea, but are a little apprehensive about dipping your toes into a new space or being a leader in your niche, then this episode is a must-listen for you.

I’m chatting with Rosie Mensah, dietitian, community builder, and food activist. Rosie is the founder of an online course called CEDAR, which stands for Culture, Equity, Diversity, and Race.

It’s an action-oriented course specifically designed for nutrition professionals to learn how to weave anti-oppression, anti-racism, and cultural competency into their personal and professional lives.

Rosie shares her journey from square one – from how she came up with the idea in the first place, to the many iterations of the course she has gone through, and where she is now with her business and marketing.

This is an incredibly invigorating and inspiring episode that I know you will enjoy. Looking for more tips and a community of like-minded peers? Join The Unconventional RD Facebook Community on Facebook.

Need help setting up your website? Join our FREE “How to Start a Website” tutorial.

More About Rosie

Rosie Mensah is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian and Food Justice Activist.

Growing up in a predominantly low-income neighbourhood, Rosie experienced food insecurity first-hand. Early on, Rosie became aware of the link between poverty and food insecurity, and the destructive effects it was having on her and other members of her community. These experiences motivated Rosie to work towards addressing the root causes of food insecurity, which developed her interest in food justice.

Rosie is a member of the FoodShare Board of Directors, and many other food justice groups across Toronto. In 2020, Rosie developed the CEDAR course, which is an anti-oppression course for dietitians, and co-founded Dietitians for Food Justice.

Additionally, Rosie is the voice behind her personal brand (formerly The Rosie Nutritionist), which explores food, bodies, and health through an intersectional lens. Rosie aims to empower people to enjoy good food, and diverse cultures, while nourishing themselves and their communities.

Connect With Rosie

CEDAR Course

Episode Transcript

Erica Julson: If you’ve ever had a business idea, but are a little apprehensive about dipping your toes into a new space or being a leader in your niche. Then this episode is a must listen for you. I’m chatting with Rosie Mensah, dietitian, community builder, and food activist. Rosie is the founder of an online course called Cedar, C E D A R, which stands for culture, equity, diversity, and race.

It’s an action oriented course, specifically designed for nutrition professionals to learn how to weave anti-oppression anti-racism and cultural competency into their personal and professional lives. Rosie shares her journey from square one, from how she came up with the idea in the first place to the many iterations of the course that she has gone through.

And where she is now with her business and marketing. To be honest, this episode was actually recorded back in summer 2021. Before I had my baby, but as you may have noticed my productivity post-baby dropped way off and I’ve only been able to publish one new episode a month. Since last summer. So I really underestimated what the postpartum period would be like. And I’m sure all you, moms listening are probably laughing at my naivete, but Hey.

That is the truth. So I finally realized I can’t do this all on my own anymore, and I just hired my first part-time employee. So I will be upping the frequency of this podcast again. Yay. But anyway, the point is since Rosie and I recorded this conversation so long ago, there have been some changes in her business since then.

Most notably, she has rebranded since we recorded from the rosie nutritionist, which was her previous brand name to just her personal name, Rosie Mensah. So you can find her at rosiemensah.com and @rosiemensah on all the social media platforms. That’s. R O S I E. Is her first name and last name? M E N S A H. So when you hear us chatting about her brand, know that she did go through with the rebrand that she mentioned, and it’s beautiful.

And as always, if you’re looking for the links to anything that we talk about in this episode, just head to my site, the unconventional rd.com. Look for this podcast episode, and you can find all the most recent ways to connect with Rosie and find her Cedar course. And of course, I always invite you to come join my free Facebook group, where you can hang out with Rosie and over 12,000 other food, health, and wellness professionals. Just search for the unconventional RD community on Facebook and request to join. So let’s get into the interview.

Erica Julson: Hi, Rosie. Thank you so much for being on podcast today. I am thrilled to have you here and get to chat with you, about your career and your ventures in online business. And I always like to start out the episodes by getting a little background on my guests. So could you tell us more about yourself?

Kinda like how you got into dietetics and got into entrepreneurship.

Rosie Mensah: Yes. And firstly, I wanna say thank you so much for having me. I really, really love your podcast and I’ve been listening to it for such a long time. So a little bit about me. I’m a dietitian actually, I’m in Canada, so I’m a based in Canada and I’ve been a dietitian for a little over two years now. and really though it started off with my experience growing up with food insecurity. So I experienced that early on in life and it really showed me that there such a powerful relationship between food, and health.

And just not having access to it. What, like the impacts on your, what could happen to you essentially. And I saw that early on and I saw that with other members of my community. So it really motivated me to, you know, to do something and to, to explore different opportunities. In addition to that growing up, I really didn’t see myself as a black woman presented in healthcare and.

Just knowing how important it is to have representation. That’s also something that really motivated me. So I remember like in high school I was really interested in like cosmetology, so like hair styling and makeup, and it was really between that and dietetics. And I was like, you know what, let me just do this dietetics thing and see what happens.

So I ended up do studying nutrition and, I was super interested in systems level, health. So I also did a master’s degree in, public health as well. Cause I thought doing that could allow me to make the most impact with the most amount of people. But, you know, I quickly learned that, you know, we work and live in systems and sometimes, you know, you could have all these great intentions, but not have opportunities to actually do that.

And I had always. Thought about business, but I didn’t expect myself to get into it so soon. And I thought that, you know, having a business provides so many different opportunities and can really allow me to do the things that I wanna do and help the people who I want to help. When it came to my entrepreneurship journey, it really started because I couldn’t find a job.

Yeah, I

Erica Julson: relate to that. mine was more like, I couldn’t find a job. I actually like wanted to do so I just created something.

Rosie Mensah: Right. Yeah. So it was a combination. So over here in Canada, I don’t know when I graduated there just wasn’t much. And there still isn’t. So like almost like two, two and a half years later, there’s still not a lot of opportunity.

And if there was something I. There was a lot more clinical positions and I’ve just never been interested in clinical nutrition. And I, I was like, you know, I’m not gonna just take a job just to take a job. Like it just wasn’t gonna happen. So I ended up getting like a few temporary part-time contracts, just piecing them together.

And I’m like, this is not. Sustainable. I cannot keep doing this and I just know I have so much more to offer. So really it was out of me not being able to find work or like work that I found meaningful. And I was like, you know, business is an opportunity and it’s an option. So. Let me just try it out.

And actually I discovered your Facebook group, like around that time. And then I saw that there was other people doing this mainly from the us. So that was something that I noticed early on the difference in terms of entrepreneurship in Canada versus the us. And it kind of really inspired me to just try it out and to just put up out there and just do the thing, you know, you we don’t know what’s gonna happen.

And just to see how far I’ve come now is really amazing.

Erica Julson: Such a great story. and I’d love to get more details like. So, what did you do? Like, you’re like, okay, I wanna start a business, but what did you, what, what were like the action steps you took?

Rosie Mensah: Okay. So when I first started taking things seriously, I found this consulting position.

So it was like a part-time. Consulting role, but essentially I focused more on community engagement and throughout my dietetics journey, I’ve always been super involved in community work specifically like food justice work. So I was able to bring my knowledge of like healthcare dietetics, but also that community engagement piece.

And throughout that too, I was trying to build my presence on my, on social media. So I ended up taking a, this job. It was to basically do. Social media and community engagement for an a youth organization. So it was like I was hired as an independent contractor, so I wasn’t really working for them, but I was kind of working on my own.

So that was my first sort of introduction. And on the side, I would start to do the, the speaking engagement. So I’d go into different organizations. They’d want someone to come in to talk about nutrition and I would go for like an hour, prepare my presentation and then go, into their space. So that led me to.

Another opportunity doing something similar, but all these things were not, they were so random. I, I barely got paid on time. I remember one time I didn’t get paid for three months. Yeah, it was, it was awful.

it taught me a lot. And it was still felt that I was working for someone and not for myself, because I had to kind of wait on other people to do a lot of the things that I was doing. So then I started actually thinking about other ways to build my business. So I started doing more speaking engagements on my own.

So like hosting different things online. That’s what I would say really. I, I started really taking it really seriously when I kind of just put myself out there at this point. I was growing a presence on Instagram mainly. And. Just trying things out. So I started doing some speaking engagements through like, uh, zoom, you know, charging people like a small fee to attend.

And then that led to more engagements. And that led to me being asked to participate on different panels or moderating different events, to where I am now. So I’m doing that more and I actually started to have my own services and my own products, which are something, some things that I control and I lead.

Erica Julson: Amazing. So some things that I just wanted to pull out from that, cause I thought they were really great little nuggets. I think first that’s a great insight cuz I think a lot of people start. In entrepreneurship, freelancing world, maybe as independent contractors, like you mentioned, which is great.

It’s a great way to not have to work a full-time job and still support yourself, but you’re still right. How you’re still kind of technically like at the whim of other people, if you’re like charging an hourly rate for a service, and you’re providing that service to other people or companies. Uh, so I like that, that you felt that, and then.

Moved into more owning your own brand. I think that’s a really good insight. And then the second thing I really liked was how you said when you leaned into kind of promoting yourself on social media and having the courage to be like, Hey, I’m doing this event and charging people for it and just saying, this is me, and this is what I offer.

That is what led to you. Even more people. Approaching you and bringing up new opportunities that you know, who knows where all those will lead in the future and the people you meet and all that. So, so key to have the courage initially, even when you have that imposter syndrome feeling, maybe to be like, this is me, and this is what I can offer.

Rosie Mensah: Definitely and oh, imposter syndrome is a huge thing. And I like read books about it. Like I do my affirmations. I have to like pump myself up before a lot of things, but it’s so important. I think when you’re building a business to also have a supportive community and that’s always something that’s grounded me like my community, but also the community I have while I’m creating something.

And I think that’s also, what’s been so helpful. You know, because we can be our worst critics, especially in business. Then that imposter syndrome, even if you’ve been doing it for decades, you still feel it. So just having, that support system has really helped, I think, push me forward

as well.

Erica Julson: So can you maybe give us some more insight on the offerings that you have today and give some shoutouts to like your social handles and your brand name and everything so people can and

listen to it more?

Rosie Mensah: Yes. Sure. So on, so my main platform at the moment has been Instagram, but I’m really looking at diversifying where I’m at, but on Instagram you can find me at the rosie nutritionist.

And it’s so funny cuz when I was coming up with this handle at the time, I felt very conflicted because you know, I don’t know if you felt this way, but when we were being taught in schools, like we kind of always had this idea that dietitians were like the be all end, all of everything. So I was like, should I even use the word nutritionist?

I work so hard to become a dietitian but I was like, if I’m serving the public, like they’re gonna. Be able to identify with that and then I can provide some education. So I just went with that. The Rosie nutritionist. So that’s where you can find me at, on the Rosie nutritionist.com as well. But I’m actually looking at doing more than that.

So being my own personal brand. So aside from the nutritionist, like, cuz I, I provide a lot more, I do a lot more than just that so I’m hopefully gonna be switching and being able to just use my own name, like Rosie Mensah but for now that’s where you can find me. And so some of the offerings.

So right now I actually created a course, which we can, I think we’ll get into more, but I created a course specifically for dietitians and other nutrition professionals where essentially, it’s a self-study course. I started off. Creating it, it was two live offerings that I had and then I made it a self-study and then I also do a lot of different speaking engagements.

So I go into different spaces, whether it’s, you know, dietitian organizations or nonprofits, and mainly do talks around, equity. Inclusion anti-racism anti oppression, or I’ll even do things around the relationship between food insecurity and like disordered eating that space. So I do that as well, which I really enjoy.

And then I also, like I said, do. Events. So this past March, I actually did a nutrition month event where I led a panel. I actually planned it, executed it, moderated it, it was a whole event. That’s something I hope to continue to do to bring in, you know, different ways to people can learn and come together.

Erica Julson: How did, did you decide those were the ways you’re gonna offer. everything in your business, like what drew you to courses and speaking engagements and events versus, I don’t know, one-on-one consulting or something like that.

Rosie Mensah: Great question. So I did the one-on-one thing for like a few months and it was just so draining.

I was like, I can’t do this. I do this. And. I quit. I quickly knew that this wasn’t for me. Like, I, I knew it and I didn’t wanna force it, you know, because a lot of people say it’s good experience. And I guess, so if that’s what you wanna do, but if it’s something that you don’t really wanna do then is it a good experience.

I don’t know. So , I. I knew that wasn’t, for me, just, you know, even in terms of my energy and where I could see my, my skillset as well as where I really felt my purpose was like, I think it gave me great insight to know the clientele that I wanna serve, but it, it showed me that I wanna do it in a different way.

 So. The reason why I’m offering these things now is really because I enjoy speaking and educating. Like I think if I had a second career, I’d be like a teacher probably. And then I also love, love building community. And I think providing these sorts of events where people come together in larger groups is something that I really feel is aligned with my overall purpose and what I.

I feel like I do well. So the course, the self-study course, essentially, I did it that way because it could reach a lot more dietitians people can do it on their own pace. I think it’s also a great way for people to sort of explore the topic without maybe feeling. Embarrassed. If they don’t know certain things, like they can do it on their own.

And also in terms of we’re talking about business, it’s passive income stream, which I think is just a great way to do business. So that’s why I went in that direction. And then the community events, I think is just something that I enjoy doing, bringing people together. So that’s also,

so why I do that as well.

Erica Julson: Okay. So I’d love to get more details cuz I think a lot of people listening to this podcast would potentially be in. In checking out a course, like the one that you offer. So I don’t know, I was poking around on your LinkedIn and I saw a post that you did, and I just really liked, it was like a, a message.

And it said that you’re not interested in convincing people that social inequities. Exist in our field, but you are here with your Cedar course, for the people who recognize that fact and are ready to make a change and learn how to work in a way that is antiracist and anti oppressive. And I thought that was like so well said.

So for people listening, that’s sort of like the gist of Rosie’s course it’s called Cedar. Um, maybe let us, so what does Cedar stand for

Rosie Mensah: For dietitians and other nutrition professionals on anti-racism and anti-oppression with a big part of it around cultural competency and food justice as well.

And really this course was created because I found that there weren’t many resources available for dietitians. A lot of my learning when it came to this. Content was just through like my lived experiences, but also that community work that I talked about before, like actually going out there and speaking to people who we, you know, our goal is to serve.

But, but I think often our education and training is so focused on us as the experts, but not actually listening, listening to the people who need our help or who are, who we’re supposed to be helping. So essentially last year, when, you know, there was more of a. I don’t know the right word, but there was more attention being placed on, you know, anti-racism equity, anti oppression.

I found that there weren’t resources for dietitian. So even if you were trying to find something, I just found that there weren’t wasn’t anything really for you or not something comprehensive that could really give you a good foundation for you to continue your learning. So I. I had always posted about this stuff because I was, like I said, my lived experiences, I was always interested in community and activism and I was always talking about these issues, but I didn’t really talk about it within dietetics cause I just didn’t feel like there was space for that.

Or people wanted to have that conversation. Like I remember I was one of four black student in my whole graduating, like undergrad class and I’m the only one who actually became a dietitian out of the four. Yeah. And in my masters, there was just two of us and like these issues, I think a big part of it is because I live them.

But also because of representation, if you kind of all have the same voices at always you’re, you’re not gonna be able to, you know, get this exposure. And I was kind of like, okay, well, people seem to want to know why not offer something. I have the expertise. I have like the work experience and I have all this.

People want it. So, Hey, like, ding, you know, like , I can make an, I can make an impact and make an income really, you know, and provide resources to help, you know, the clients and the dietitians. And that’s always been my goal. So. That’s how it started. And I ran the, ran the course live twice. So I remember the first time doing the first round.

I was so nervous. I was so, but I did it and I had eight people register for the first round. Yeah. I was like, wow, people actually want this, you know, like the importance of like actually validating your idea. And actually before that, let me rewind to actually validate that people wanted this.

I actually hosted a webinar before that, and I had over 300 people register for it.

Erica Julson: Wow. That’s amazing. So you were like, okay, I’m gonna just test the waters to see if there’s even interest in people learning about it. And then phase two is like, okay, obviously there is . And so you created a more premium product for people who wanna go further.

Rosie Mensah: Exactly. Exactly. Yes. That’s perfect. Synergy. Yeah, no, I did research. I just, I think I, your podcast, let me, like, I’m not just saying this, but your podcast episodes are so helpful. I even send them to some of my friends who aren’t dietitians, just who are in business just to learn. I’m like, this is so good.

Erica Julson: oh, thank you. Well, I bet people are gonna say that listening to this episode too, so. Yay.

Rosie Mensah: Yes. But, I also enrolled in a course. Called a course from scratch mm-hmm . And that also helped me to sort of learn about the process of actually creating a course. So I did that and I validated it.

I had, I did a presale to actually see what people wanted and that people would actually pay for it. And then I created it. I actually created it week by week. So it was, it ran for four weeks. I was so stressful, so stressful, but I did

Erica Julson: it, but you did it yeah, I did the same thing.

Rosie Mensah: yeah. And I, and honestly, the feedback was amazing.

Right. And I really feel like not only was I able to make an impact, but I I’m building a community of like-minded dietitians, nutritionists health coaches who are committed to doing this work. So. After that a few months after that, I ran it again. Cause I wanted to just, you know, hone in on the material, just get more confident in my delivery and just to get more testimonials as well for the course.

So I did round two. It also went really well and it was actually a different set of dietitian. So it helped me to even explore further. Do I wanna niche even more within the dietetic field because there’s so many different. Types of RDS and nutritionists.

Erica Julson: Yeah, that, that was gonna be one of my questions.

Like, is there a certain type of dietitian that would benefit most like, people who work in hospital setting or private practice or I don’t know,

Rosie Mensah: yeah. I can answer that. And actually, so the first, the first round, interestingly enough was mainly dietitians who work, who have worked or worked in public health.

So that was really interesting. And it was sort of like I was speaking to the choir because like I also studied public health, but the second round was a way more diversity. So we had some people working in eating disorders, some people who were working in business, even business coaches, some who were health coaches, some working in schools and what I have found and from the feedback is like, everyone can get something for it from it.

So it’s really a course that you can get what you need from it. I definitely think it it’s. And the other thing too, it’s even if you’re not familiar with it, you can also really benefit as well as someone who is more familiar with the content. So it’s kind of quite. Relevant to just dietetics in general, and you can really, really get what you need from it.

And I, as I, you know, evaluate the course, make revisions, I might get more and more niche, but right now I’m getting a lot of feedback from different dietitians that, you know, they’re gaining what they need from the course.

Erica Julson: And then what do you think, like made the difference in who you attracted

in the first cohort versus the wider variety. And the second cohort, was it like your marketing or what do you think.

Rosie Mensah: Oh, I think, okay. What, I think the first cohort, I feel like it was people who was, were like waiting for this. If that makes sense. Mm-hmm, , they’ve been wanting this information probably for years, but they couldn’t find it specific to dietetics.

Mm-hmm like, you can find anti oppression stuff in other spaces, but nothing for diet. So I feel like that group was sort of like, yes, like finally, there’s something specific to dietetics. And I think that, and also, I think also because they could relate to me as an instructor, as someone with my community and public health background,

Erica Julson: So I’m just trying to trace it back. So you had your Instagram. and you did the free webinar. So did you mostly market it on Instagram?

Rosie Mensah: Yes. Instagram has been my go-to and yes, it’s mainly been Instagram and that’s also helped me grow my email list.

Erica Julson: Yeah, that was gonna my next question. So then everyone I’m assuming who signed up for the webinar probably got added email us yes.

And then was invited to join your course when that was ready. And I just really quickly while we were talking, I just did the math and even if you’re just counting, like the 300 people from the webinar and then the eight people enrolling, that’s a 2.6, percent conversion rate, which is great. I say this a lot on the podcast.

Like. People should generally expect like one to 3% is like right. Where most people land in terms of conversions and audience size and all that. So, congratulations on

Rosie Mensah: that. well, thank you. That is so good to know because it’s, sometimes it’s hard, you know, you are so excited and have all these like goals and dreams and you’re like, oh, only like.

Only like two people registered or something, but if you really think about it and even do the math, then it’s, it’s great. So thank you. .

Erica Julson: Yeah. And then I’m sure it’s just gonna keep getting better as your audience grows and your messaging hones. It’s like, it’s so much fun.

Rosie Mensah: yeah. Like since, since I started the course, which was the first session was October 6th, I’ve enrolled 40 people.

Erica Julson: Of course. That’s great. Awesome. Have you kept the pricing the same or did you try raising it?

Rosie Mensah: So I raised the price from the first round. I raised it twice. The first time I raised it about $40 and then I raised it again, $50. And I think once I get continuing education units and do a little bit it more tweaking, the price will go up.

Erica Julson: Awesome. I love that. I’m a huge fan of like tweaking making improvements and then just like raising it until you feel like you’ve found that sweet spot, with each launch. So. I totally did that too but it’s it’s so I don’t know if you felt like this, but when I did the very first one, I completely underpriced my offer because I just was like, who’s gonna buy this, you know?

And then I think you gain confidence when you get the feedback. The good feedback from people actually going through the content. And then even then having testimonials available afterwards, you’re like, okay, I got this. Like I can raise my price.

Rosie Mensah: Right for me. So I was saying earlier that I enrolled in a course to help me create the course.

And in the course they said, do not price it under $500. And I’m here panicking. Like what do you mean like that? I, I was so nervous, like to not price it under 500, cuz I’m thinking like, you know, you get all these limiting beliefs. Right. And so I was just like, let me just follow what it says. Just do what it says.

So I priced the first course at $597. And I was so nervous. Right. But I remember the webinar day, like the free webinar. That’s when I actually pitched it and I put it out there. I was, I was literally sweating. Okay. And once the webinar ended, I, you know, took a deep breath. I checked my email and somebody had enrolled.

Okay. Like within, 5 minutes, so. Yeah. I feel like that really helped me to price myself. But I think even in terms of, if we’re looking at value, I could definitely charge more. I could have, and, but I get, it’s all learning, you know, we learn and we get better and I think that’s just part of like business. Yep.

Erica Julson: Well, I’m glad you pushed yourself to do this scary thing from the beginning, but yeah. I remember, like the first time you get that sales notification email, you’re just like, ah, it’s happening.

Rosie Mensah: yeah, I literally screamed. Yeah.

Erica Julson: and so it sounds like you’re in the process of trying to get approved for, I, I would guess self-study CEUs if that’s how you’re running it, moving forward do you have an idea of when that might go through or how people can tell, like where can they head to check out if CEUs are available right now?

Rosie Mensah: So, um, yeah, so in Canada we actually don’t use CEUs, but I’ve been getting a lot of my students are from the us and they have told me about them.

And I actually got approved for live CEUs when I did the live round. So I really feel like having CEUs is just better for everyone essentially to help with, the requirements for the dietitians in the us. And then also I think it just helps people to even feel more comfortable taking the course, just cause they need that.

Yeah. So I’m going through the process and I hope by, within, by I’m hoping by the end of September, it will be available. So I think that will really just be a game changer in terms of even sales, but also even helping students just to get some other goals. Like the content is one thing, but they also have other things that they need, which I completely understand.

So I’m really hoping to get that process approved. I’m I created like my Google sheet with all the steps that I need. So it’s a process, but I really think it will make a significant impact on it.

Erica Julson: Yeah, I agree. And I’ve had people reach out, cuz my courses have CEUs right now, and sometimes that’s even a way for people to get their employers to pay for the course, which is another idea that maybe people haven’t thought about.

So sometimes if your employer offers you credits every year for continuing education, you could apply them to things like online courses, which is great. So , that’s another reason for people to, to take the plunge. If they’re not, if they’re on the fence. Right. And you can write it off as a business expense, if you’re a business owner.

So, but you can do that either way, whether you CEUs or not, but ,

Rosie Mensah: but it helps. Yeah.

Erica Julson: So let’s see. So big picture. I still wanna talk about the marketing, but big picture. Where do you see like your whole career and this business going like long term? Like where do you wanna be in 10 years?

Rosie Mensah: That’s a really great question.

It’s kind of like hard to answer in some ways, but I really want to just grow what I’m doing. So going back to the events that I was mentioning earlier, when, when we are able, I would love to actually include in person events too. Cause I do really think networking is so key when we’re doing anti oppression and anti-racism work, like building that community and maybe doing events in different parts of north America, even.

So just really growing cedar essentially, and just having different offerings there. And then in terms of my, myself and my other passions, I’m really interested and want to do more work around supporting women, specifically women of color, around building healthy relationships with food, and also making that connection between food insecurity and disordered eating.

Cause I often feel like that does get missed. And, and yet, so many people do experience it. So finding ways to really create offers and services for that part of my business as well. Um, so it’s kind of just growing, growing both, but also. Finding ways to innovate the profession as well. I think courses is one way that we’re doing that, but other ways to provide education and training is something that I hope to do and yeah.

Just get more people involved in this work essentially. But yeah, I think, I don’t know. The opportunities are really endless and I think just connecting with more people who are doing that is helping me to think bigger because if you would asked me two years, if if I was gonna have a course, I’d be like, what?

No, but , you know, now I do have a course with 40 students, in less than a year. And it’s just, I just plan on growing and even using social media to really help me grow my brand as well.

Erica Julson: I think both of the niches that you are just talked about are so good. They’re so specific and clear and aligned so well with your lived experiences and your ultimate goal.

So I just think that’s a great example for everyone listening. Like, even if you are doing something totally different, like how can you take the same idea? Like, what have you been through? What are your interests? And then also going back to how you’re like, oh, I know I like to teach and weaving that into the way that you’re offering things.

That’s the key, like being true to you. So you’ve done such a good job at that. I’m sure that’s a huge part of why you’re seeing so much success. Um, thank you. Yeah. Okay. So going back to the course stuff, cuz I just think people are like largely gonna be interested in that listening. I get a lot of questions.

I’m trying to, you know, interview more people who have experience with courses in different bunch of different settings. So you took, you took a course on how to make a course.

Do you recommend that? Do you think that was a good investment?

Rosie Mensah: Okay. This is a good question. And I, I guess like it helped me, but I don’t know if it was necessarily necessary. If I’m being completely honest, I would say it helped me to take the plunge. I Don the content was necessarily so like profound, but it really forced me to actually do it.

So I think if you’re someone who needs sort of accountability, like you need to put money towards something for you to actually do it, then it could be helpful. But if you even could maybe if, if you’re, if you have like an accountability buddy, like someone who will help you, I, I think you could get away with that to, to be honest, that’s

Erica Julson: a really good point.

Like know yourself,

Rosie Mensah: know yourself. So I think it was a good investment for me because. I’m here now, you know, but do you need to, I don’t know if you really need to. Yeah, I

Erica Julson: would. I would say that’s probably true for like most things like most education, I guess, in general, on the internet, at least from the business standpoint, it’s like you could technically find all the information, just the straight up information, how to.

For free, like on YouTube or Google and blah, blah, blah. I think the value is if that’s overwhelming for you, to think about having to piece that all together and you’re like, please just tell me what to do. then I think there is value in paying and then like you said, also the accountability. And I think it’s interesting to like different types of courses is, cause mine are all self self-study and self-paced, and there’s no like.

Urgency, I guess . And sometimes I think about whether that’s the best thing for the student experience. Cuz I just, I recently did like a, a year long program, so there was like a start and an end date. And I did feel like that pushed me a little bit to take more action cuz I was like, I gotta actually get it done before this date.

You know, when my access to this stuff expires or whatever. That’s something I’ve been playing around with like how to help people. How to build more accountability, I guess, into online courses in general, sort of a tangent, but

Rosie Mensah: no, I agree with you. And I, I would say, I, I agree where it’s like, I think courses are so powerful, it’s already curated exactly for you.

And I think that is so valuable and I’m not someone who wants to piece meal everything and do it and go searching up for hours. Like I just don’t wanna do that. So I think it really depends on you. And I think, having an instructor with that insight is so helpful. So yeah, I guess it, it really just depends on you.

And I think I love courses honestly, but I love learning. Just in general. And I think it’s just powerful to hear from experts.

Erica Julson: So what do you think, look back, what was the most difficult part of launching and what was the easiest. Oh,

Rosie Mensah: the most difficult part. I would say it’s a combination. I would say it’s just believing that I could do it. So that was something I think was challenging, but then also more tangibly is putting that information together.

Cause I had, there was so much information like this. You could talk about so much just with anything really, but with this in particular, because there, I didn’t really have anything to reference or like nothing to really build on. It was just kind of what I thought was useful and what I got in terms of the feedback from like my survey.

So I also did put out a lot of surveys to ask people what they needed and just kind of narrowing that down was really challenging. And to also fit it in, in. In an hour, an hour long sessions, and then to also make it meaningful and something that they could apply, um, busy people. So that to me was quite challenging.

And I spent hours, I think like reviewing things, removing things, adding things, supplementing things. And I think that was. Extremely challenging because there’s so many things that I wanted to include, but I had to kind of put it back and remind myself, like to get where I am now. I’ve been doing this work for like seven years.

So there’s no way a 20 hour or like a 10 hour course is gonna cover it. So don’t try to do that.

Erica Julson: yeah. Then that just overwhelms people

Rosie Mensah: anyway. exactly, exactly. And so I would say those were two of the cha most challenging things and then the easiest. Oh, what was the easiest? I think so. Okay. Go. I’ll talk about the live course.

And then the self study, the live course for me, I would say the easiest thing was actually having conversations with the students, like actually getting to know what they needed, you know, where they worked, what they were actually doing and how this information was necessary to their work. So going back to like what I I’m good at, like building community, having conversations.

And I would say with the self-study course, now I’m at a point where I’m more confident communicating the value of the course. And I think it’s easier for me to talk about it with confidence and to talk about the actual impact that it’s making in real people’s lives and what they’ve said.

So I would say just the com communication around the course has been, I would say I wouldn’t call it easy, but it’s, I’m getting there. Definitely.

Erica Julson: Well, that’s the best news ever. some people take like years, to step into that. But this is a good segue, cuz I was actually gonna ask about the transition from live to self-study and sort of why you made that decision and then how did you have to shift your marketing?

When you’re going from like, oh, it’s happening on this date to, you know, well, I don’t know. Maybe you’re still launching it as self-study on certain dates or, or is it more evergreen? I don’t really know. So can we dive into that?

Rosie Mensah: yeah, for sure. Okay. So let’s see. So. Okay. Let’s do the why first. Okay. Why I did that because firstly running a live course is very tiring and I was doing it back to back weeks, like for, I think, four weeks back to back.

And first time I did, it was hour long sessions and then it became an hour and a half because there was just so much to get through and I was exhaust it. And there’s only so many people that you can support when you’re doing it that way. And I had always wanted to go and to do a self-study course because I think people wanna do things on their own time.

And I was reaching people in different time zones. So even the live sessions were difficult because I’m in like the Eastern time zone and there was people in like Pacific and it was just difficult. Um, so that was a big thing. And then also just being able to more people with the self-study. So I really did the lives just to actually get to know my audience, to get to know, you know, what are the common things that I’m seeing?

What do they need support with, and actually have conversations with real people, like face to face. So then the transition to the self-study was always something that I wanted to do. And if we’re talking about like business wise, in terms of, of just making a passive income stream, spending.

A lot of time creating it once and then just marketing it. So that was something. And then also just being able to reach more people and people being able to do it on their own time. So a part of that self-study was also me offering office hours. So I, the first launch of the self-study was.

In March 2021. And I just kind of wanted to see what was gonna happen at the time. It was more so just getting people to see the content, to gimme feedback. I wasn’t really offering office hours, but recently, from like June to July. I started offering office hours and it’s interesting because not of many people came, but the people that did come, I got a lot of great feedback and they said they did appreciate that.

So I think where I’m gonna go moving forward is to maybe offer office hours, maybe like once a month to still have that engagement, cuz people did wanna interact me, um, and have conversations because with this material you wanna talk to people as well. But the self-study some people went through it on their own and were fine.

So it just provides options. And for me as a business, I think in terms of scaling, it’s

Erica Julson: just a good way to go. Yeah. And that’s a good balance for the people. Who wanna do it on their own versus the people who really wanna talk and, and tap into the community? I just switched as well. Cuz I used to do weekly office hours when I ran things live and then I switched to monthly for the ongoing and I think that’s been a good balance.

And it gives people some time to submit some questions in advance and you get an idea of what to talk about leading into it. So I totally agree. It’s that’s been a good balance for me too.

And then is it something where it’s just like there on your website and people can enroll at any time or is it like it’s open this this time and then you have to get in or it’s closing and then you open it again later.

Rosie Mensah: So, this is a good question. So when I first launched it in March, it was just open. So I was saying it’s coming out this day and I gave people an opportunity to purchase it before it came out at a discounted rate. So I had a few sales that way, but then once I kept it open, I, I didn’t have anyone buying it.

Like it was like crickets. There was no one. I. No one. And I’m like, okay, this is not working. So basically what I’ve done now, it’s actually closed for enrollment right now. And prior to closing, I sent a bunch of emails. Like I posted on Instagram and I had a bunch of people buy before it closed, but I’m, I’m basically working on a new strategy because it, that was isn’t working.

And essentially I’m thinking about going into having like an evergreen, like webinar available, like a free webinar as like a lead magnet. And driving people to the course that way, because it wasn’t working for me to have it open because firstly, there was a lot of confusion. A lot of people thought that it was still a live course.

Some people, they felt like they didn’t have enough time to complete it. So I guess the communication around it wasn’t clear, like people, I haven’t talked enough about it around it being self-study for people to really know. So that’s something that I’m working on as well, but I don’t think.

Leaving it just open without any sort of funnel is, is working

Erica Julson: yeah, I had a similar experience. Totally agree. I think when it’s it’s coming on a certain date, there’s just naturally a lot of marketing that you’re doing and talking about it and that helps build the interest and then the urgency of the deadline.

And then if you aren’t intentional after that, it means like if you’re gonna keep it up to be open, you still have to talk about it at all times in order to get people in there, which is like a little draining , at least for me. So I. I agree. That’s why I switched all my stuff to evergreen or as an experiment.

And actually this could be a cool update for people listening. I know this is gonna air, after the time of this recording, but it’s been a little over a month, I think since I opened up my funnel and There’s so many different layers of what I’m actually building. And I’m just on like layer one.

where it’s like someone joins my Facebook group and they get a set of emails to watch a webinar. So that has been successful. And then eventually get invited to join the course for a limited time. via email. So there’s a deadline. And right now it’s been enrolling like two people a week, on.

Evergreen with, you know, I don’t get that many people added through the Facebook group. Maybe like, I don’t know, maybe like 20 something people a week ish, maybe a little more. So that’s like really good. mm-hmm I feel like, and it’s my course is like a thousand dollars right now. So basically like $8,000 hours a month, just with the email funnel with the webinar.

So, and that’s without really. Doing ads or like really talking about it that much anywhere. So I can only imagine it’s gonna get better, better, uh, with, with more marketing layered on like more intentional marketing. So yeah, highly recommend if you’re thinking of experimenting with that.

Rosie Mensah: yeah, no, I that’s literally what I want to do, cuz it would just not working and I guess it it’s a learning for me, but I was like, what is.

This is not, I need to switch it up. So that’s why I actually, closed enrollment so I can make some updates as well as get the CEU approval. So I think that on top of actually having like a better funnel will help.

Erica Julson: Yeah. Yeah. And for reference, I had a less sophisticated email funnel that I had set up previously, for one of my courses.

And it was just like a series of emails, no webinar. Not that salesy or pitchy, I guess like probably the bare minimum you could do for an email funnel. And that I was only getting maybe max, like four people a month on a good month through that. And, and it was a way, lower price point because the urgency I was providing was a limited discount, which was not that smart either.

So many things to play with, but hopefully people listening, it’s like, it’s all an experiment, so, right. Yeah.

Rosie Mensah: Yeah. It’s all an experiment and yeah, for people listening, I think it’s just important to just try it out. Like that’s what I’m learning. I’m like, why not? then you figure it out, you know, as you go.

So, yep.

Erica Julson: And you’ll never figure it out if you just don’t try . So you’ll always be wondering. So to wrap things up, if you are looking back on this whole experience and you needed to pass on maybe three tidbits, to people listening who might also be interested in venturing into running an online course, like, what are the three biggest things like either that you’ve learned or you wish you knew?

Like, what do people really need to know if they’re listening and they’re trying to get into this area,

Rosie Mensah: biggest thing that comes to my mind. Listen to your audience. Like they know what they want. Like, there was so many times I had to just kind of coach myself, like to tell myself, like, Rosie, it’s not about what you want.

It’s about what they want. So I would say that is huge. if you’re still trying to figure out who you wanna serve, like do research and actually ask questions, I would say that’s a big thing. So know your audience and listen to them. I would say that’s maybe like two things. And the last thing I would say is, Hmm, I wanna give them something tangible.

Oh, I would say validate your idea that, that too, that’s huge. Validate your idea because you’re, you don’t wanna spend all this time, energy and resources on creating something that no one will buy. So it’s important to find ways to validate it. And even if it takes you a little bit longer, it could just be so helpful in the long run.

So that’s something I would add. And if you do end up creating a course, I definitely recommend pre-selling. As part of that,

Erica Julson: I was gonna say, we can remind people the different ways you validated, like building up an audience on social media, which is a form of validating, cuz it, at least if people are following you, that means they’re probably interested.

And then did a free webinar. And then that got a lot of interest and that’s great, but. These are all layers. So a follow is very passive signing up for a webinar, requires a little more engagement but it’s still not paid.

So it’s low risk for the people. And then you layered it on again. And you’re like, okay, and this time I’m gonna validate will people pay for this? And I was like, layer three. Um, so that’s a nice little like progression if people are unclear of how validating goes. And then yes, of course pre-selling, meaning.

You talk about the offer and give people the opportunity to pay you before you create it technically. So, you sold it and then you actually were, like you said, creating it week to week, which is stressful, but, a great way to avoid a huge, stressful flop. like, if you like spent months creating it and then no one bought or something, no one wants that.

great tips. And where can people go if they wanna connect with you further and follow your work? Like where should, where should people follow you and check out the course?

Rosie Mensah: So you can follow me mainly on Instagram at the Rosie nutritionist, and I have my website by the same name, the Rosie nutritionist.com.

And if you are interested in the course, you can go to RosieMensahRD.thinkific.com. So I do use the platform thinkific to hold the course so you can find me there, but definitely on socials, I’m very active and you can kind of use that to find other things. Perfect.

Erica Julson: Great. Well, this was a great conversation.

I know I said before we hopped on the call that I was like, Feeling really pregnant and sleepy. And now I’m all energized, cuz I love talking. Oh,

so thanks for, uh, for doing this interview today and can’t wait to see how everything keeps going. Sounds like it’s been a fabulous experience so far. So thanks for sharing everything.

Rosie Mensah: Yeah, no, thank like, again, I love this podcast and thank you so much for having me, like, it’s just surreal, like how fast things can happen as well.

Like when you really put yourself out there and carve out your own lane, if you know what I mean? So it’s just great. So I appreciate this conversation and to connect with you because I was. I was telling my friend earlier, like just you being so transparent about your business journey, I think definitely helped me to have confidence.

So I do appreciate that.

Erica Julson: That’s like the whole point, really. Like, that’s why I love interviewing people. Cause I feel like I feel the same way. Like. outside of dietetics. When I was just trying to blog, I looked at blogging mentors and it’s just hearing the stories and the transparency. It’s so motivating, at least for me.

So that’s what I was trying to build in the dietetic space too. So

Rosie Mensah: you did it. You did? Yeah. um, okay. So yeah. Thank you.

Erica Julson: Yeah, thank you so much.

I hope you found that conversation as energizing as I did. Just a reminder that if you want to connect with Rosie, you can find her at her new website, Rosiemensah.com and @RosieMensah on Instagram. I hope you have a great rest of your week.

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.