Do you find yourself getting stuck in analysis paralysis in your business, overthinking everything and delaying action until you feel like everything is “perfect”?

If so, you’re definitely not alone. However, I think you’ll be inspired to start taking action – no matter how imperfect it may feel – after listening to this episode.

As you’ll see in this guest interview with Kristin Willard, messy action taken consistently over time can lead to some fabulous results if you just keep going.

Each thing you try is a learning moment no matter how it turns out. And if you add up enough of those learning moments over many years, you will most likely find your way to some success online.

And Kristin’s story is proof of that. Tune in to hear how taking messy action helped pave the path to success in her online business.

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More About Kristin Willard

Kristin Willard is a bariatric dietician. She has presented at the ObesityHelp National Conference and provides one-on-one nutrition counseling. She is also the creator of the popular Instagram account Bariatric Meal Prep. She lives in Northern California with her family.

Connect with Kristin

Episode Transcript

Do you find yourself getting stuck in analysis paralysis in your business? Overthinking everything and delaying action until you feel like everything is perfect. Quote, unquote. Oh, I think this is something that affects a lot of healthcare practitioners. So if this is, you know, that you’re definitely not alone. 

However, if this is you, I really want to challenge you today. Challenge you to consider taking action right now, no matter how imperfect it may feel. As you’ll see in this guest interview today, messy action taking consistently over time can lead to some fabulous results. If you just keep going. Each thing you try is a learning moment, no matter how it turns out. And if you add up enough of those learning moments over many years, you will most likely find your way to some success online. 

That is the gist of my online success story. And also how today’s guest Kristin Willard, founder of the brand bariatric meal prep made her way from full-time employee to full-time business owner over the course of a few years. Kristin was actually one of the first students in my courses, way back when I was running my SEO course make money blogging course and email marketing course together. 

She jumped right in. And I think she even joined when I was still offering it as a presale before I had even launched anything. And it’s been so exciting following along in her online business journey over the last three or so years over this time, Kristin learned how to niche down and lean in to serving one specific type of person with her content and business offerings. 

And as that helpful content started gaining traction, she then started experimenting with different monetization strategies. And what I love most about Kristin story is that she did not overthink it. She just dove right in and tried stuff. And then pivoted based on what worked and what didn’t, she didn’t attach a bunch of emotional baggage onto the outcomes in her business. 

She almost approaches her business with a sense of playfulness and fun and attitude of, Hey, this sounds like something fun to try. Let’s give it a go and see how. It does. And this willingness to dive in and try stuff has served Kristin very well. Over the last few years, she’s been able to grow her blog traffic to high enough levels where she’s earning ad revenue every single month from media vine. 

She has 115,000 followers on Instagram, nearly a hundred thousand on Tik TOK. And a Facebook community of about 20,000. And she has worked really hard to invite those people from these various platforms onto her email list, where then she can maintain that connection and offer things for sale to her community. 

And Kristin has experiments with a lot of offers for her folks. Over the years, she started simple. She started with eBooks for sale. From there. She then created a course. Then she tried a group program and right now she just started offering a membership site. And the best part is, is that Kristin is very open to things working or not working. She’s like, Hey, let’s try this. Let’s see how it goes. 

It might be great. It might suck, but either way, we’re going to learn something valuable that will help us build a better business and better ways to serve our people. So if there’s anything that I hope you take away from this conversation today, it’s to stop overthinking and start taking freaking action. 

It’s okay. If it’s not perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be perfect. If it’s perfect, you’ve waited too long. So get out there and take some messy action. And without further ado, let’s dive into my conversation with Kristin. 

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

Erica Julson: Hello there it is. So great to finally meet you today. Uh, I know we’ve been online friends for quite some time now, but this is our first time actually talking. So welcome and thank you so much for being here on the podcast today. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, Erica. You’ve been a really big part of my journey.

Um, believe it or not, I don’t even think I shared that with you, um, when we first talked about being on here. But, um, yeah, if it wasn’t for you, I don’t honestly even know if I would be where I’m at today business wise. So, um, yeah, I’m thrilled to be here. 

Erica Julson: Well, that’s a huge compliment, . Thank you, . I know you’ve always been really great about, you know, sending me messages, like, oh my gosh, like, XYZ thing happened.

Well, I’m sure we’ll get into the, the business wins later in this interview. Yeah. But, so I’m just really excited to hear, like I said earlier, like the full story of your online business journey. So yeah, I mean, for the people listening, uh, can you tell us more about, uh, what your business is and what the name is and what you do to help people?

Kristin Willard: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I am a dietitian obviously, and I specialize, uh, working with a bariatric community. I originally like worked in hospital and then I worked in the office setting. And, as I, I think many dietitians kind of transitioning to motherhood and I’ve always wanted to have my own business, like that’s always been a dream of mine and I definitely tried doing private practice.

But I was trying to, you know, it was kind of like a little bit here and a little bit there, and it never really took off. And then there was just a different motivation, um, after having kids. And then I also moved from my comfort zone of having a job. So I decided to, um, really try to dive into the online business world.

Cause where I live is really rural, so there wasn’t any dietitian jobs that I really wanted to do necessarily either. so I, yeah, wanted to create an online world. So I, uh, specialize working at the batch of population. And I have, I’m really focused on meal prepping, um, and meal plans and really trying to, my, really, my goal for all my, like clients and the people I work with is to make things like as simple as possible.

And that’s where I feel like my, what I’m most known for is just trying to really just make things simple that you don’t need to do these big, complicated meals. Um, and it’s morph into like different things over time is I think every dietitian, you know, business has been, um, it’s been eBooks, it’s been, one on one, it’s been group programs, it’s been courses, it’s now on membership.

So it is definitely taking like all different turns. And I’ve had a lot of fun and, you know, some, um, anxiety in the process. Um, but really I’ve liked, I liked it, like, I like learning and doing things new all the time. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I was gonna say, I think that’s something that really stands out about you in your online business.

Like, you just kind of went for it and I think didn’t fall into the, oh my gosh. Like everything has to be perfect trap. Like, I really admire watching you. Like, it feels like you’re just like, okay, like eBooks cool. Let’s try it. Like, oh, you know, courses. Well, let’s see how that goes. Well, maybe a membership like, like you just like learn by doing, I feel like, which is.

Huge. I think that’s probably a huge part of your success. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, totally. I definitely, I, I usually just say, yeah, go for it. And I’m def I mean, there’s nervousness ob obviously and everything. You know, you, when you put yourself out there in the online world, it feels very vulnerable sometimes. Um, I feel like I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve been really welcomed, and I’ve had a lot of good feedback from my audience and I’ve really created a relationship over the years, and that’s really helped.

So it wasn’t like I went in there and I, you know, in my, where I lived, I was fortunate enough where I didn’t need to, like, I think when many dietitians are doing the private practice, they have to like completely switch over to full-time income with private practice. And I, I was fortunate that I didn’t need to do that so I could go slowly, um, build my audience, see what people wanted, really build those relationships first before starting to have a product.

And that was really helpful in it as well. To kinda, yeah, it worked for them and it worked for me because I was like a new mom and I was like, you know, I didn’t have time to originally like do a membership. I didn’t have time to put together a course. So I really just focused on audience building, in the beginning.

Erica Julson: Hmm. That I relate to that right now. . . Yeah. It turned one a little bit ago, so I feel like I’m still in the phase of like mostly Moming. . 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. You’re just, it’s like a whole new transition and a whole new balance and trying to do it all at the same time. And there was parts of me like, oh gosh, I wish I got this on off before, you know, before having kids.

But I, I don’t know if I ever would’ve at the same time, like, cuz it was always like a comfort zone of like, oh, I had this full time job that I get a secure paycheck and, you know, so being outta your comfort zone definitely encourages you to, you know, propel yourself forward as well. I. 

Erica Julson: So what year did you officially launch?

Well, actually let’s take it back further. Yeah. What year did you become an rd and then what year did you launch bariatric meal prep? Like company, I guess? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. So I officially became an RD in 2010, after my internship, and then I worked in the hospital. I did all those, you know, skilled nursing, all the typical, you know, dietitian jobs.

And, um, started my first private practice client in 2013. Um, and then after working, um, with the Barcha Clinic, I decided like, this is because I really liked, I know it sounds like kind of silly sometimes, but like, I love, uh, functional medicine. I love functional nutrition medicine. I love, um, working with the barcha population as well.

And there’s a lot of overlap in that I love cooking, so I really felt like this was an area that I. Combine like all of my different skill sets, in one house. And it also really worked out well that I had connections by then working in the BRAT community. So like when I first started off, when I moved away, it’s like, okay, like what can I, you know, how can I make this work?

And so I really tried to think about like, what are my resources? I think so many times we tried to focus on like, what’s my, what do I wanna be? But I also took in like, what are my resources that I have that can make this process a little bit easier? And in that was my connections with the, with the bariatric surgery center.

And they needed, you know, where I live, where they live, where they worked. They worked with a really large population, like all over the state of California. And so they needed some virtual stuff. So like I was able to kind of tap into that like, Hey, I don’t work at the surgery center anymore cause I don’t live there, but like I can do all of your long distance people.

And so they started referring me that way. So I was still able to have like somewhat of a stable income, with that and then build from there. So that was in 2000. 16, 17 that I really started to venture off on my own. Um, I created my Instagram account. Really didn’t grow at all for a long time. And then I also created a Facebook community.

And when I did there, as I once again, going back to those resources, it’s really hard to get a community engaged at first. So I would invite like my previous clients and so we would have like conversations in there and then it just kind of naturally, organically grew. And then by that time I kind of figured out what people really enjoyed on Instagram.

Like they loved the visuals, like hands down. So I started doing that and then started, yeah, building it, building it that way. I didn’t actually probably make a. Like my first online sale, probably at least a year or two into it. Like I was still just mostly doing private clients in the bariatric center.

And then that was like my first thing and being kind of going back to like when I met you, cause I actually knew your work before you did Unconventional Rd. Like it was when you were doing, um, your blog and I was like, oh, this girl’s in school. Like she’s got, you know, she’s doing the whole blogging thing, which is what I originally wanted to do.

So then when you started Unconventional RD community, that was awesome because I was able to like see what other other dietitians were doing. And so I decided to first dabble in, an ebook and I thought that would be the most doable way for me to like, create a product. And you get, it’s on such a small scale.

And you learn the technology. So I can’t, like I’m a do it yourselfer. Um, and I feel like I was able, I was able to like learn, okay, this is gum road, like this is convert kit, like getting everything to reach without like a huge, huge deal. Um, at that point, um, it, it seemed it was everything has like been layering, right?

Like everything I do is just, I learn something new in each experience. 

Erica Julson: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. It’s like the lowest hanging fruit for like validation kind of . Yes. Yeah. 

Kristin Willard: Yes, exactly. And it was nice cuz like once I created the ebook, like it was created, like I didn’t have to do anything else with it, you know? It was on autopilot was for the most part.

And it was really nice to actually have a product that people could buy without having to do one on one, cuz like one on one’s expensive I think for a lot of people. And it was nice just to be able to be like, Hey, you know, I have this for you as well. And so that worked really nice. 

Erica Julson: Okay. I have so many questions.

Kristin Willard: I feel like I went on so many tangents there. I was like, I could talk about this forever. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, no, that’s a great preview of exactly where I wanna go. But I thought maybe before we dive into like all of your different, you know, monetization streams you’ve experimented with, could we just give an overview of like what type of content you create in your business, like right now?

Like what platforms are you on and what’s been 


Kristin Willard: Um, I’m, I’m kind of everywhere, so I feel like I’ve gone backwards and I, and I like, I really wanna like, spread that message to dietitians. Like, you have to like do what works for you. And so many people say like, oh, you know, do your audience first and then do your product and then oh no, do your product and then build your audience.

And like, we kind of do whatever it feels right for you in the exact moment. So, and you have to roll. I feel like you have to lean into what’s actually working. Cuz like I said, Facebook was where I first started with my groups, but then Instagram really ended up taking off for me. So I’m. Instagram, Pinterest.

And I think that’s all of them, right? Pinterest? Yeah. So that’s all. I’m pretty much on all the main platforms. I have some YouTube shorts, um, but I mostly, I, I probably should repurposing those. And what I do is I mostly do recipes, um, and then I give tips. I do, you know, tips that people can relate to.

And then I do like, kind of like the stuff that really resonates with people is, what a certain amount of protein looks like in a day. Cause after bariatric surgery, protein is so important and, you know, what does that look like in real food? So I would demonstrate like, this is what 60 grams of protein looks like.

And I think people really related to it because they’re like, oh, I can do that, you know, and it’s like, okay, well if you can only do 40 grams of food, then you’re gonna need this protein drink over here. So people were able to like, utilize it. And so I’m really most well known for that. I would say I try to do, you know, and I’ve looked into like social media, you want those different buckets of like, you know, inspirational and then recipes and like, I try to follow a formula, but like it ends up being a little bit of mishmash and, um, not as much strategy as I would like to have.

Sometimes that works. , 

Erica Julson: how often do you post, would you say now? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. So I think that’s always been surprising to me. I’ve committed to three times a week. Um, and so once again, going back to like everyone saying you have to, you know, when I first started I was like, oh, you have to do, you know, every day you have to be in there.

You have to. You have to write your audience, you know, you have to communicate 30 minutes before, 30 minutes after. There’s like all these algorithms and like I really feel like if you’re being genuine with your work and you’re putting like valuable content out there, that it’ll, it’ll grow. Especially with reels now, like it’s crazy, like how fast you can grow with reels and with TikTok.

But if you’re putting stuff that’s useful, like I think there is a fear of like putting out too much information. I feel there you can get information anywhere nowadays, so you might as well be providing the most value for your time. Cuz I would get really frustrated if I did post every single day and then I get any engagement and then here I have putting time into these pieces.

Or if I just actually just created one good quality piece that took me longer, I would get way more engagement, way more followers from that. Um, and like more real connections. And so I definitely value quality over quantity. Um, and I think that’s starting to. Be accepting more in Instagram. TikTok though, they definitely tell you to push like multiple times a day and I don’t, and I’ve been able to grow on TikTok too.

Um, yeah, I’m fortunate though. I know there’s a lot of saturated markets out there. My market wasn’t exactly saturated, so that also did help me grow, I think, initially. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I was just looking, um, maybe at the end of last week when I was getting ready for this interview and I, at that time, you might have even grown more since then, but you had I think like 113,000 followers on Instagram and like 92,000 on TikTok, which is freaking amazing.

Um, thank you. Yeah. Uh, and then obviously the Facebook group, I tried to find that. It looked like it was like, you know, almost 20,000 people at this point, like 19,000 I think, which is also freaking amazing . So, yeah. And later in, in a minute, I wanna like, dive into kind kind of like your, your thoughts on which of those work, um, do you post on your website at all now?

Kristin Willard: Um, I just redid my website, which was super exciting. I haven’t been posting blogs as much. It’s something that I keep wanting to get back into. I’ve, I’ve been able to get more traffic with social media at this point for my time. But I think SEO is, I mean, as you know, SEO is where he is at for like, the long, long term game, and I still get like a significant, like, I think I get around 8,000 organic to my site from seo.

So that’s still, you know, I mean, I know it’s not like huge, but like, that’s still really helpful. And what’s nice is then they see me on different, what’s really cool now with, with, with, I’m sure you’ve talked about it on your podcast, like with social media, I love it. People can look at bariatric recipes and my TikTok video shows up like, oh my gosh.

Like, how amazing is that? Um, where before you had to do like each individual, you know, one really well, but now they’re starting to cross over, which is really. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, definitely. Uh, yeah, I guess I’m not really on TikTok and barely on Instagram, so like yeah, I, I was gonna ask like, are you able to kind of multipurpose or do you, are they at different strategies where you kind of have to tweak it slightly for each platform?

Kristin Willard: I would probably do better on each platform if I did do slight tweaking. But for the sake of time, um, I, I, I pretty much do everything everywhere. I might like have a slightly different title. Like TikTok at one point only allowed a certain amount of characters. And so it was way shorter than Instagram.

So I would, you know, change it a little bit in Instagram for that. But for the most part it’s pretty much all the same, um, which is really nice. I know people say that you should have different strategies for different ones. I haven’t done that. Maybe if I grow and I have more time, I’ll do that, but I haven’t made it a priority.

Erica Julson: Yeah, for sure. And again, this is just like circling back to this message of like, just like, do it , you know? Yeah. And just like you said, lean into what’s working. Cause I feel like sometimes you get surprised by what takes off and what you should lean into. Mm-hmm. , um mm-hmm . And I just appreciate like, cuz I follow your content too, even though, you know, I haven’t had bariatric surgery, but I just like to see what you’re doing and I appreciate, like, I feel like your content is really real, like, It’s not like this huge production with like, you know, like you traveled to like Machu Picchu and you’re like on mountain, you know, showing off your thing.

It’s like you’re in your kitchen and you’re just like, hey, like this is this. You know? And I feel like that probably relates to for people as well. So in case people listening are like, I don’t have the time. Like it’s such a big production. Like it doesn’t have to be in order to do. . Yeah. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. And like lighting, like I remember I would get down on myself at first, like I need to have better recipe photos.

Um, and I still do that sometimes. Like, I think we always just wanna get better at what we do. Um, like I actually have a new light coming today and a new like, uh, a new little, uh, tripod. But anyways, we always just wanna get better. So I would, I would kind of tell myself, oh no, I shouldn’t post, post this up.

And then people really liked that and I don’t know, that could just be my niche, but I felt they actually liked it more when it seemed more real, because it actually seemed like it was something they could do where it wasn’t just like in this, you know, recipe studio where you’re having these special lighting and you know, the perfect garnishes everywhere.

Like, they’re like, okay, I can do that. And I think when I started to grow was actually when that transition started happening, where people wanted more real life stuff. Um, and I think that has been actually really helpful is not having the recipe production and all that fancy stuff. It looks really nice and I, I’m not gonna say I don’t want it sometimes cuz it just makes it look really good.

But it’s, I don’t think it’s necessary. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. And I think this probably ties, yeah, like you said, into your niche where your whole brand is like, you know, making it easy, making it doable. Like in that sense it makes total sense. And then it also reminds me like sometimes some of the way that you create content reminds me of some of the like baby led weaning accounts that I follow where it is very much like, you know, just like here’s a picture of like how to cut fruit for a toddler like

It’s like very basic that you’re like, oh well that’s very helpful. Thank you . 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. Yes. I didn’t even think about that. Yeah, exactly. I do that stuff too with like with the kids and that’s what I think is really important too, and bringing that up is, I might be going in a tangent here, but like when people are like trying to think of content, I think it’s so good to look outside your niche.

If you are looking in your niche, you know, there’s definitely the risk of like copying and like following what other people are doing. But like if you look at outside your niche and see the style that they have and like the way they just demonstrate things that can give you a good idea on like how you can do it on your own.

Um, and it’s obviously not gonna be copying cuz it’s your different niche, you know? But you can take ideas, which I think is a really helpful. 

Erica Julson: That’s so funny. I’m like writing my next podcast episode, my next solo episode, and I’m totally talking about that topic in the next episode. So, so funny. Um, yeah, so I guess monetization streams.

I’d love to do like an overview of that before we dive into it as well. So, I think I, I was making some notes. So it looks like you have Mediavine on your site, is that mm-hmm. , right? So you still have that, and then you have the ebook, and then now it looks like you just changed your offer to be a membership offer, bariatric Meal Prep Academy.

Um, so are those kinda like your three main streams right now? Am I missing anything? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, so that’s, that is everything I do, I do one on one sometimes. It’s like over the years, yeah, it was ebook and then I’ve taken the, like I did the course first. And then, took that and then I kind of grew it and fine tuned it into a group program cuz that I feel like that was one of the trends in the community and like people really liking that.

I honestly didn’t feel like it was for me. So I’m stepping away from that for right now. And then I took that material and I. I really want to really wanted to be able to reach more people and I’m, I’m fortunate enough now that I have a larger audience, so I, I feel like I can offer lower cost products, and be able to have high quality still.

So I, I wanna have it all like in the membership now. So my meal plans at this point are only in the membership, so I’m trying to like actually simplify my, what I’m doing too, um, by just doing the me. At this point I may like add on like a more intensive, like group later. Um, but this will always be kind of like the main, I’m hoping, right?

Like this literally launched like less than a month ago. Um, I’m hoping this will be like my main thing. I feel like most dietitians kind of searching, like I feel like even watching you with the, you know, you tried so many different things. We’re just kind of like, what’s a good fit? Um, and this so far feels like it’s gonna be a really good fit.

Just how the SEO was a really good fit, for you moving forward. So cause it, it really can help conserve your energy, you know, by figuring out what does work for you.

Erica Julson: A thousand percent . Well, I’m excited to hear how it goes and maybe we’ll have to do an update in like a year or something. Um, I got, I forgot one more.

I don’t know what the right word is. Not audience, but like way that you communicate with your audience that I forgot to ask about. Um, do you also have an email list? 

Kristin Willard: Yes. I think email is so important. I know social media is great. I. But I really feel like that’s actually been my, more of my success is my email list.

 Because it can really foster those relationships. People can respond back to me in emails. It seems more personal to me than, social media. Social media is wonderful. Um, but I just feel like with all the changes in social media, sometimes people don’t like, great. I had like, you know, a bunch of views on a TikTok video, but then there’s a possibility even if they like you, that they’ll never see your content again if they’re not engaging in the way that the platform wants you to.

So I, I really encourage an email list cuz I think it can really help you develop more long-term relationships, um, with your clients as opposed to like just a week that they found you. But I know it works, you know, for a lot of people too, to be able to, you know, just do social media. It’s, I don’t, everyone’s different.

So I think, yeah, whatever works. I wouldn’t like stress over having an email list at first, but I definitely encourage. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I think when you’re ready to sell, it’s a huge asset to have. Yeah. Yeah. If you, oh my gosh. Like keeping up the communication. Yeah. , 

Kristin Willard: absolutely. Like I can follow my, my Google analytics thanks to you, um, you know, understanding that.

And so you can, I can really see on there that, you know, my conversions come mostly from my email list as opposed to my, social media. And now it could be across, I mean, what do they say? Like, you need to be exposed to something seven times. So it’s probably a combination of everything and the email’s the closest thing for the link.

But I think it’s, I still think it’s super valuable. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. Do you feel comfortable sharing like how many subscribers you have these days? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, I have, I have, well, I have to clean it again. , I actually did the big sale. Um, so I have about 30,000 Nice, um, subscribers. Great. So then there’s, I think I need to, yeah, I need to clean it so I have to do a little active, but it’s, yeah.

So it’s. It’s good. It’s good. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. That’s amazing. I mean, for perspective, my Unconventional RD brand only has like 6,000 something like. So 30,000, you can do so much with a list of 30,000 if they’re like true. You know, people interested in what you’re talking about. So that’s great. 

Kristin Willard: It is different though, like I think it is different than like a thank you.

Um, but I just wanna also specify that like when it’s, when it’s a recipe, I feel like recipe emails, cuz I think people sign up for my email list many times because it’s recipes and it’s blogs and I think. I don’t think it’s as high converting as like a, like a business one when you, you know, when I signed up for someone’s business, I intentionally know I may buy from them.

Um, where when it’s recipes and when it’s nutrition, it’s, it’s kind of more like, well, I’m gonna see what kind of goodies I can get to. So there, there’s definitely, I don’t think it’s as the same as like a business email list. Mm-hmm. in my opinion. . 

Erica Julson: Very good point. Yeah. B2B versus b2c. There is definitely a difference.

Yeah, totally. Yeah, and I agree. I feel like in my experience with my other, more like B2C brands, it does feel almost like easier to get people onto the list, but yeah. Maybe they’re not as die hard fans , you know? Yeah, yeah, 

Kristin Willard: yeah. Cause they, you know, and I don’t, I don’t think a lot of people do get resources from their batching center on a, on a consistent basis.

So it’s nice to get, like, I try to do weekly emails. With like, some tips and, you know, maybe a recipe or recipe roundup or, you know, I, I kind of switch it up all the time, but, it’s helpful. Right. And that also makes me feel really good too. Like, I, I, I feel like someone’s giving you a gift almost when they’re giving you your email.

And so to really look at it is like, kind of, you know, help as well. Like, I don’t think it’s just, just business . Yeah. 

Erica Julson: All right. Well, okay, now I’m trying to think where we should go next in terms of what I wanted to talk about. Um, I think one thing that intrigued me was your Facebook group that you launched, mm-hmm.

What was your intention behind that? Like how do you, and how does it play into your business now?

Kristin Willard: Yeah, so the original intention, like I, I felt like that was, it was kind of the thing, and people were having Facebook groups then that was when, like pages weren’t. Shown anymore to people. I was in your Facebook group at the time, um, and I thought that was really cool.

So I was like, okay, well I wanna do something similar. So I started the Facebook group and it was just a way to share recipes. So I don’t think you need a website up right away. I do believe that, like you don’t need a website up right away. And so I was trying to like, share my recipes without a website as well.

And so I was able to do that with the Facebook group as it grew. And my time was just kind of being taken from different places. I decided to really make the Facebook group more of a place that the community can join. It’s, I really don’t run it anymore. Like I do get, like, I, you know, like I monitor it here and there, but I’m not like in there like, posting questions all the time or, answering questions, you know, nearly as much as I did.

It’s really become a place of community where people just share recipes that worked for them. And what, what I originally did was what you did, and I collected email addresses, like, Hey, when they wanted to be part of my group, I would say, you know, would you like to, be added to my email address or be added to my, um, yeah, my email list.

And that was usually like a lot, you know, like mostly everyone did. And then when it got to be a point where I couldn’t like input like all the emails anymore, I ended up, and by that time I had a website, I actually would say on the Facebook group, go to my website for the password. And so then they would have to go to my website and then download the meal plan, and then the password would be sent to them.

And then, They put the password in and then I, you know, accept them that way. Um, smart, smart. So I kinda switched it so it wasn’t as like time commitment cuz I was getting enough, you know, or I was yeah. Having a lot where I couldn’t keep up with it. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, that’s pretty smart. I’ve never heard anyone do it that way, but that makes a lot of sense cuz then it’s like guaranteed like they’re getting on your list to like get in

Cause Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I would say maybe like 50% of the people who request to join my group leave their email address. It’s definitely not a hundred percent. So I imagine yeah. Making it where it’s like, hey, go here to get the code. That’s so smart. 

Kristin Willard: Maybe I’ll It definitely helps. Um, and, you know, and then I also feel like it takes away some of the negativity too.

Like, sometimes people just join Facebook groups to be trolls or to be like, you know, I don’t know, just cause a little bit of a ruckus . And so I feel like if someone’s giving me my email, their email address, usually they, you know, they’re, they’re less likely to be a troll or, you know, just to come in there and cause mayhem.

Yeah, definitely. 

Erica Julson: Uh, 

Kristin Willard: I definitely can serve multiple purposes, . Yeah. 

Erica Julson: And I, I don’t really do a lot of like recipe posting anymore, sharing recipes in Facebook groups, but I know some people are still having a lot of success. There, there’s just like many, many groups out there on Facebook land where you, it’s pretty much all people looking for recipes and various niches.

And if you can, if you’re, you have to read the rules obviously, but some of them allow people to just share their posts and you can get a lot of clicks, you know, it could add up. 

Kristin Willard: Absolutely. Yeah. And I would even do that with my Facebook group to like, cuz I would actually contact other Facebook groups, other bear cuz I could actually see, like, some of these Facebook groups are huge and they were like, you know, 80, 90,000 people and I was like, oh my gosh.

Like that’s, I had no idea. Um, and so I would, there was like a few that I would contact moderator and say, Hey, can I share this recipe? Or you know, and they would say yes. And I would say, okay, it’s on my Facebook group. And that was also really helpful too, to not only get people to my group, but also build networking, um, in those, you know, when it was earlier on.

Cause it can be hard in the online world. . Yeah. All by yourself. 

Erica Julson: Well, I love that it, it seems like the group was a nice, like launching off point and now it sort of like runs itself, which I can totally relate to. I feel like I’m way less active in my Facebook group these days too. But at some point you, you hit like this critical mass almost.

Everyone is just really engaged in supporting each other already. So it’s like you have to chime in on every conversation, uh, cuz the value is there still without you, you know? Yeah. Sometimes it’s like a lesson for entrepreneurs. Like it’s not all about you, like , you know? Yeah. If you’ve built this great community like that can stand alone as it’s own offer without you


Kristin Willard: Yeah. Which is great. And it’s so valuable. Like your Facebook group I think is so valuable cuz I it really, yeah. You just can see what other people are doing. Um, people are so, open with techniques that I’ve worked with them and it’s so, you know, it’s, it’s a positive community, so I think that’s so helpful when you’re getting your feet wet to be in a community and seeing what other people are doing.

Yeah. You actually believe it’s possible, which is key . 

Erica Julson: Yeah, that’s exactly why I love doing these interviews cause there’s many successful dietitians online and I mean, I, I probably. Talk to like 1% of them. I feel like I could go on and on and on. . Yeah, I love hearing everyone’s stories, so yeah, thank you for giving your time cuz I’m sure someone listening to this right now is like, oh my gosh, like this could apply to my niche and it’s getting really excited.

So yeah, I guess looking at all of your platforms, like, especially since it seems like Instagram and TikTok are kind of your main, um, channels right now, how do you convert those people into maybe like email list subscribers so that you could then, you know, send them your sales email ? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, so I, what’s really worked for me in the last, in the last year, as I say, bariatric meal plan in bio, like, it’s pretty much my tagline on everything or free bariatric meal plan.

So it’s encouraging people to go check it out. Since launching the membership, I’m trying to figure out a new one. Like that’s. Like it’s a lower cost ticket now, you know, program. So I think those do better like with audiences on, you know, in social media right away. So I’m like trying to decide like, should I have ’em go?

Should I put that in my bio? And then maybe they’ll see, download the free meal plan in there, or should I just have, should I use Link Tree and you know, do the meal plan and you know, join the bariatric, no Prep Academy, like try to do both. So I’m experimenting with that, but I usually always do have a call to action to answer your question.

I usually do always have a call to action to my link and my bio in some way, to be able to have to engage with them. 

Erica Julson: Nice. And obviously it’s working. Would you say those are the main ways people get on your list? Are you able to tell. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, I would say that’s the, because when I have a post that is doing better than others, I definitely have a bump in subscribers.

During that day. I also feel that I was really fortunate that I have surgery centers that, that share my information, um, with their clients because I was one of the very few at the time, bariatric resources, like dietitian resources, um, online. And so I do get some referrals that way as well. I hear a lot of people that end up like buying a meal plan for me or membership, like my surgery center talked about you, which is amazing.

Like word of mouth, like from your surgery center is great. So those are the probably the main ways. And then Pinterest as well, um, is really helpful too, 

Erica Julson: yeah. I love, I I know I’m sort of going off on a tangent now, but , I love just hearing how you have all these like organic word of mouth referrals.

I love that you, it, it feels like you saw a need and you were like, I can fill that and not necessarily like, Super focused on like my passion and like, you know, I don’t know. Cause I, looking back at your, um, journey, I know you used to have just a personal brand website, I think. Mm-hmm. at some point. It’s like you switched and you were like, Nope, here I go, I’m nicheing and like I’m solving XYZ problem.

And I would guess that that was like a turning point in, in your business success. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. Um, absolutely. And I didn’t feel the, with the functional, you know, with the functional medicine, functional nutri medicine, I felt kind of on an island like I do. I do love all that stuff. But I felt without a doctor in online world, like I just felt uncomfortable with it, being by myself.

So that was another reason why I decided not to, I never really had a mentor one on one. Maybe if I had more of that background and worked in an office, I would’ve felt more comfortable. But I felt, I was really worried that I was gonna cause like, more harm than good. Cause I think you can go with so many different tangents if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Um, and I think that’s important work to do. So, I felt like with working at Bariatrics, I knew it. I felt good about it, um, moving forward. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. Well, obviously you are helping a lot of people, so I think you chose wisely. Yay. 

Kristin Willard: Well, I like that you bring it up too, because I even questioned myself like talk, like if I should do bariatrics, I would follow different bloggers at the time.

And so many of them would say, well look to see if other people are doing it. Like, we’re always worried about competi. Oh, you know, but there, there’s a, we’re worried about competition, but in a way competition’s a good thing because that’s showing you that there’s actually a market for it. And there really wasn’t a market, like when I did it, like there, I didn’t see any other bar live.

I Googled Bar Barr at dietitian, like no one would come up. And so I was always questioning like, is this, you know, um, is this actually a good idea? But I felt that there was, there was still a need. Like so continuing to follow your gut too to a certain extent. I think it is helpful, um, as well. And you don’t always have to follow all the business advice that you hear cuz there’s definitely a lot

Erica Julson: Yeah. I think my takeaway there would be, There’s, I think there was a need, cuz clearly you could have a full-time job as a bariatric dietitian, but maybe that need hadn’t been translated yet to the online space. So almost you were like cutting edge . Mm-hmm. . That was a niche that existed in like just dietetics in general.

But yeah, even just being online I think is still like somewhat of a newer thing. Like yeah, if you look at across all dietitians, it’s probably like 1% or something have like an online business. So I wonder if that’s part of it too. I don’t know how big the like bariatric dietitian space is. In general, but 

Kristin Willard: it’s definitely got, I mean, it’s definitely gotten bigger, but I still feel like it’s not so big where I feel like I don’t know any of the dietitian.

Like I feel like I’ve actually connected. Uh, and maybe that’s something else I could even bring up about another, um, avenue or uh, monetary stream is I actually have a bariatric symposium as well. Um, and that I host once a year. And so I actually get like other bariatric dietitians, to be speakers on it.

And I feel like over the years I’ve really made connections with bariatric dietitians and, I feel like I know them. I feel like I know of them at least. Nice. Um, that are on there. And there’s so many niches like GI or fertility, like we don’t know, you know, you definitely, it’s hard to keep track, so it’s still pretty small, I think overall.

Erica Julson: Yeah. Is the symposium, is that for consumers or healthcare professionals? 

Kristin Willard: It’s for consumers. Every year I tell myself I’m gonna get, CEUs for dietitians, so I have more dietitians that can, that would come to it. But I think you just put a post that the other day. Like is it, you know, do people actually, does it help?

Does it, uh, encourage you to buy? Um, there’s so many, yeah, there’s so many, uh, hoops that you have to go through that I can never, like I am, I am someone that is, I’m not, I’m not a total procrastinator, but I am, uh, yeah, I’m a little bit later than some other people, let’s put it that way. . And so getting all my ducks in a row, like, I’m just excited to get the barracks Sy Symposium on, and I really focus more on like the delivery of it, making sure, you know, the quality of it is good than like, than sometimes that other stuff.

So, yeah. Um, I haven’t. 

Erica Julson: Definitely the workaround is like getting live CEUs. Cuz then you don’t have to submit anything in advance. But if it’s like pre-recorded, then it’s like, oh my gosh, 10 billion times more work . So that, that was my hangup is like, mine’s all pre-recorded, so it’s like I have to go through the whole, you know, get three reviewers and submit like all your references and like do the quiz and all that stuff.

So , uh, but if it’s live, then you can just be like, okay, here’s the outline and here’s the dates and then that’s it. It’s so much easier. 

Kristin Willard: Maybe this year, maybe this year , or next year I should say. It was over this year. 

Erica Julson: Um, so yeah. And then in just my last question about email was, uh, do you, you mentioned you sent out emails like at least once a week I think, but um, are any of them automated?

Like, do you have any funnels in place yet or is it like week to.

Kristin Willard: I definitely have a welcome email. And I’ve played around with that one too. Like, I think it’s all about playing, like for sure, like just trying to experimenting with different things. So it started off with like, you know, like a three day welcome series and then once I had my, course and group program, I would, you know, kind of do pss and, um, I’ve experimented with like a month, you know, I’m getting, you know, an email every three days.

I’ve done like 14 days in a row, you know. So right now I think I’m out at a month and then I’ve, because of the membership now, I recently have changed it all to really focus more on the membership. Um, but it’ll probably be changing soon. Cause I think the more, if I get, you know, testimonials and those kind of things, that’ll just kind of always be changing.

I’d love to get more. Uh, funnels in place. I’ve, but I, but I don’t . 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I mean, one thing at a time. It’s a huge project, but, um, so it sounds like you, 

Kristin Willard: it’s so nice too, like, to be able to get, to get that like, you know, people got like a plan, they would, you know, get, you know, um, sequence emails and stuff, but I’ve never gotten, I’ve never been like, hardcore on funnels.

Um, yeah. Something that I think because honestly, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and so, um, I didn’t wanna have a funnel in place for something that wasn’t like gonna always be there. So I’ve mm-hmm. , I think with the membership, hopeful it’s gonna be, it’s my thing, um, that it’ll have, you know, uh, better funnels in place and for that.

Erica Julson: Yeah. How do you sell it right now? Is it like open and closed or are people gonna join any time or how. 

Kristin Willard: I’m doing the open, the open model, so that people can join any time. I did do like a launch, um, like a, uh, like a founding member’s price for the launch, at $29 for the launch. And gosh, and pricing is so hard.

Like I still, I, I struggle so much with pricing and I think a lot of dietitians do. Cause there was so much a large variety of, other memberships and courses and it’s like trying to un you know, you don’t wanna undervalue yourself, but you don’t wanna over, you know, you also don’t want it to be ridiculously high either.

And so I feel like I got off the tangent of what we were talking about, but when it came, what was I talking about ? 

Erica Julson: Uh, first we were talking about selling and it being open model and then pricing. 

Kristin Willard: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes. Okay. Um, so we were talking about the open model then, uh, and then so now with pricing and then went up to $39 a month.

And so that, it’s crazy cuz I know it’s like a ridiculously good deal, like, Compared to like a lot of different like, group programs and like what, you know, um, one on one. Um, but I know for a lot of people it’s still out of reach. So I’m trying to decide, and I know I’m pretty sure you’re a proponent of like not doing discounts, um, but more like doing a bonus or those kind of things.

And, so I’m kind of plan, I’m gonna play with that as time goes on, if I’m gonna do like bonuses versus discounts. Cuz I really feel like I need to honor my founding members of like, not feeling lower than that price, you know, obviously at any point. Um, but I feel like with the change of economy right now, I’m like, should I have gone even lower, you know, for people?

Yeah, because like, you wanna, you wanna do a membership to make it accessible for everyone as much as possible, right. So that’s always like a work in progress. So I’m not sure where that’s gonna, where that’s gonna end up, but it’s uh, it’s closed model or it’s open model right now and it’ll probably stay that way cuz people have bariatric surgery.

All, you know, it’s, it’s a yearly thing. I mean, it’s an everyday thing, so it’s not, I don’t think it’s seasonal, so I think people need the help. They need the help. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I know it’s tough cuz I feel like you do need some sort of urgency mechanism for if it’s open at any time or else people are like, oh, I can join in next week.

And there’s no like, impetus to actually like, click the signup button. . Yeah. Um, so yeah, I feel like I, I don’t know. I I think it’s just like you said, you gotta do what works for you. Like I think discounts can work if you price it appropriately. Like maybe if you can just like kind of overprice it if you plan on doing a lot of discounts, thinking that most people actually sign up at the discounted price, you know?

Yeah. I don’t know. Yeah. It’s all about how you strategize. 

Kristin Willard: Exactly. Yeah. And I, I like bonuses too, you know, like you could. This is really fun about as a membership. Cause I feel like you could do so many different things with it. Like, try something this way and if that doesn’t work, you can try something else.

But like you could do, you know, like at the beginning of the year, you know, we could, there’s gonna be a challenge and you know, if you wanted on the challenge, you gotta be in the group, you know, sort of stuff. Or I’ve seen trip wires too for things like you could, um, you know, get the first month for like half off.

Like those kind of things. Um, so I may play with that. I dunno. We’ll see. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, I know , I know it’s,

Kristin Willard: I joined the membership academy though that you, I think you recommended them back when and they’re amazing. Like Yeah, they are my role model for like, being a membership. They have so many resources, they’re now $65 a month.

But even that, like compared to these other courses, like they are worth like every penny and they’re amazing with like, like answering your questions and they do live office hours like once a week. Like it’s amazing to me what they provide. So I’m like, oh my gosh, I wanna be just like them . Um, I wanna be able to, you know, really help people, um, with the membership style.

Erica Julson: And that’s, I feel like you are just like right now, providing a real life case study of, you know, you’re like, oh man, $29. But then you just gave an example of like, something that you’re paying $65 a month for and feeling like you’re still underpaying. So, you know, it’s, it’s all about the, the act like the, the help that you’re giving and the transformation I think that you’re helping people achieve cause Yeah.

Yeah. Sometimes that can be super valuable. Like, I freaking did a coaching program that was like over a thousand dollars a month for a year. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, . Oh, me too, me too. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. That was insane. But like, looking back, it was worth it. I mean, it totally transformed the way that I sell and I made way more money doing way less work, so, you know.

Yeah. Um, it was scary, but yeah, it can be worth it. It’s, you just gotta, I think, know what you’re trying to achieve and make sure it’s like in alignment , not just sign up for everything. 

Kristin Willard: That’s key, I think is, is does it feel aligned? And like same thing with your pricing, like does it feel aligned? Cause there’s a difference between like, I’m scared to charge this or, you know, it just doesn’t feel aligned.

Like there’s a difference, a difference. So really kind of doing that internal work, um, which I’m always working on, to be honest. ,

Erica Julson: I know, I, I always struggle with the pricing too, and like across the board, hands down, I always like weigh under price and then I’m just like, okay, I’ll slowly raise it and there’s like, work my way up.

But like, somehow that feels better to me on the inside. Yeah. My diehard fans got the great price. Okay, we can move on. 

Kristin Willard: Oh my gosh, I got the deal of the lifetime with your stuff. Like, I was like, oh my gosh, she’s doing all of this. Like, what was it at the time? It was like, I don’t know what it was, but it was, it was a lot lower.

Way too low. Yeah. , it was really low and you worked so hard that year and then, uh, I was so grateful though. Cause then you, um, you sold them what individually? First it was a membership sort of thing, and then you sold them individually. I got them and, um, I refer back to them. Like, I don’t even know if you have like your, your blogging one or your, like, all that stuff.

But they’re so good too. . 

Erica Julson: Well, thank you a lot. Yeah. My other courses are still up for the people who paid for them, but no new people have been able to join for like, at least, I wanna say like two years now. Yeah. Yeah. Probably like two years now. Um, but I, I go back and forth, like, how can I repurpose that in another way?

Maybe, um, instead of having three courses but still getting the information out there to help people. So yeah, it’s pending for people listening. Right. It’s on my, 

Kristin Willard: it’s really good. . It’s really good stuff. That’s all I gotta say. . 

Erica Julson: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, I’m pretty sure like when I switched it to, uh, the first time it offered it as like a bundle.

I think it was like, Under $600 for like three, all three of my courses, which is like, now, you know, one course is a thousand dollars at this point. So you can see the progression, you know, from going from like a $200 course, up to where it is now. So. Mm-hmm. , hopefully that inspires somebody listening

Kristin Willard: Yeah. And I, I think that’s my comfort level too is, is to start lower, um, and then, and then work your way up. Um, I know a lot of people encourage like, higher prices and stuff, so I feel like, I feel like they’ve gotten to be a thing. And so trying to figure out like what you’re comfortable with too, um, and try to meet, you know, try to figure it out.

Yeah, it’s hard 

Erica Julson: and things change. Like really if you think back to. I, like now, I offer office hours every month, and I do a lot of questions, answer a lot of questions in the Facebook group, like every single day. But when I started, it wasn’t that much work and like mm-hmm. , I only did office hours during the six week period that the course was rolling out, and that was it.

So I changed it, which, so like part of that justifies the price increase too, a little bit in my mind. . Mm-hmm. . It’s like continued support now. But yeah, it’s, it’s all, it’s all about playing around, you know? Yeah. So I love, I feel like we’re on the same page with that. Like, we’re always trying I love that you’re so open about it.

Kristin Willard: Yeah. And like not being, you know, I think with our clients, like we always tell ’em like not to get attached to the results, you know, really get attached to the processes. And I know it sounds so corny, but like, I really feel. If you’re only focused on monetary stuff the whole time, that like, that can just, it doesn’t really last for very long.

Um, but if you’re like, okay, let’s, like, from a curiosity, like let’s, let’s, let’s do this and see what happens and then do this. And something I’ve had good over myself is like, nothing is permanent. Like you can always change. And I, cause I always feel like when you make a decision, it’s always gonna be that way, you know?

And like, you don’t, it doesn’t have to be. So it’s something I’ve had to personally work on to be able to, to do stuff. 

Erica Julson: That’s a good tangent for my next question, I think. Oh, uh, I was wondering, so it sounds like your, your current membership is around, you know, like $30 a month, maybe? Like 300 ish a year.

Kristin Willard: It’s 40 now. Yeah. $39 a month. Oh, right. Yeah. , it was 29. Mm-hmm. . Right. 

Erica Julson: Uh, and then in comparison, what was your price point when it was more like a course format? 

Kristin Willard: When it was a course format. So once again, playing like the first time like a founding members for my first six week course, it was 2 47 for like the early bird.

I did one of those early bird things and then it went up to 2 99 for a six week course. And then I went to 3 97 with it. And then after that I changed it into the group program where it was like, 2 97 a month, for, you know, intimate, like where you, you know, I meet with them one on one. They have the group once a week.

So it was different. Like I did food journal reviews, like it was a much more intimate, um, sort of setting. And then once again in yeah, just wasn’t enjoying it as much. So I changed it to the membership. I felt so responsible. , I felt like

Erica Julson: I was gonna ask what do you think you didn’t like about it? 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, I felt, yeah, I felt really, um, which I love connections with my clients, like it’s so important.

But I felt like I wanted. Like I, I wanted to check in with them like every day and like, how are you doing? And like, I felt so vested. Um, cuz yeah, I feel, I feel like $300 a month, even though I know it’s like actually kinda low for a lot of group programs, I feel like that’s a lot of money still for someone, um, to pay.

So I felt like I was, uh, really vested in their results to make sure that they were getting the value that they wanted and it was causing me like, Unnecessary stress, almost . So I felt that, and because most of, like I find in group programs, like people listen to the replays and stuff, but like they’re not, they don’t come as much to the lives.

So I was like, well if you’re not gonna actually come and talk and you’re just gonna send in your question, like this should be a membership is kind of how I looked at it. So then I can get, reach more people, and then they can listen to the replay. People can listen. There’s so much learning involved in community as well.

And I also felt like when I’m charging higher prices, that the community and then ever, I could talk about this while, but like Evergreen, I went to an evergreen group program and I felt like people were coming in at different times. And I know some people are really good at that. And I just was not like, how do I bake the people that are just joining feel welcomed compared to the people that are towards the end?

And like, so it was just unnecessary stress. So now I, I felt like I wanted the community to work more together. So I felt like with the membership you have more people, so you’re gonna have more, you’re gonna have more active members essentially, cuz you have more people. So that’s kind of one of the reasons why I switched it over to the membership as well.

Um, I think there’s gonna be, I’m hoping there’s a lot more benefits to it, you know, for less price or a less price point for people. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. I mean, I really think you can make anything work. Like, I think it’s all about like what works for your, your audience, but also like what works for you. You have to find that nice blend, you know?

Yeah. So, yeah, I am excited to hear how it goes. Like, I feel like it usually takes like, at least a year to kinda, you know, get everything buttoned down. So I should make a note to come back in like a year and have a little follow up. Yeah. Um, totally. The platform, are you, are you running the membership on?

Kristin Willard: Good question. I try to hold new platform. Um, so I was on Kajabi with my courses and with my group program and once again, going back to that community, community has been so important to me, that I switched over to. Oh, okay. So I now 

Erica Julson: please, I’ve been eyeing circle and I wanna know your thoughts. ? 

Kristin Willard: Yes, I’ve been loving it.

Um, I think I hit it at a point where they, they’ve gotten really advanced more with their settings where I think like maybe a year ago they weren’t nearly as what they are now. But like, you can go live in your community. Like you don’t need, like, I always felt like that was like only for Facebook. Um, but I can go live, like, I’m gonna go live today in my community for a live q and a, it seems it.

I don’t have my own website up for my membership either, which was kind of different. So you can do, um, like events in there. People can like, you know, yes, I’m coming to your, you know, to your live q and a goes in their calendar, like the ad event’s already there. Um, they have like a weekly digest. I feel like it’s a good platform.

I’m so far enjoying it and I feel like it’s engaging and so. One thing about courses and membership or courses like on Kajabi, is I felt like they would go to the, the course, but then they had to do like a few extra steps to go to the community. And, and then Facebook nowadays doesn’t show everything as much for Circle.

I have them go to the community for their meal plans, so they’re already in there, so they see, you know, they can kind of go through the feed because they’re getting their meal plans, you know, when they’re in there. So I really like it. It’s definitely a pricier product than other ones, but they’re all going up.

Um, and I, I think it’s, I think it’s really good. Yeah. Does it? So I would recommend it. 

Erica Julson: My reasons I’m looking at it is I’m currently using, I still use Facebook groups for like, pretty much all of the quote unquote communities. I run like my free Facebook group, and then I have a Facebook group for my students, which at this point has like over 700 people in it, like paying students.

Oh my gosh. I know. Which is wild. Amazing. Yeah, yeah. But also like a little unorganized now I feel like, like, What I, one thing I don’t like is that you can’t organize the conversations by like topic, so sometimes the same questions come up and like the searchability is not really that good. Mm-hmm. . So like, is there a way, I dunno if you’ve played around with this, but you organize the conversations better?

Kristin Willard: Yeah, yeah. Like I can, um, so like one of the perks about, um, my membership is that you can ask a bariatric dietitian. So I didn’t want them just to go everywhere. So there’s like a whole designated section of like ask a bariatric dietitian. And at this point I may change it, like I even have it separated into like, I just had bariatric surgery, like I’m a year out, I’m multiple years out.

And so people can like, I’m hoping that people go to those questions and see like, oh, so and so asked that question. That’s kind of like me, so they can, you know, get that advice too. Um, then there’s ask the community section, and then there’s the recipe section. So I have a whole, like, recipes and you can make comments like on the recipes below them, um, to try to make it engaging.

So you could totally do that, absolutely. On the circle. I’d be happy to show you behind the scenes of mine. some point if you want. Yeah, maybe. 

Erica Julson: I really like it. Yeah. Well, thank you. That’s super enlightening for me. I feel like I learned something that I’ve been meaning to. I, I like watched a web, a circle, like they did something with Pat Flynn like few weeks ago.

Um, yeah, and I was watching that. I was like trying to get some, you know, bird’s eye view on what it looks like on the back end. So, . Yeah. Yeah. Uh, cool. 

Kristin Willard: Like, everything, like there’s a learning curve for sure. But they’re improving all the time and I, I would recommend it if you wanna get off, like if you don’t wanna use Facebook, I, I definitely think it would be the next best.

Yeah, if not better. 

Erica Julson: I know is Facebook has been very good to me with, you know, building my communities, but I am feeling that nudge of like, you know, maybe don’t wait until the ship is sinking to like move flat forward, if that makes sense. 

Kristin Willard: It’s nice that you already have like a paid one though, you know, like that you can, you can easily switch everyone.

You have all their email addresses, like it would be an really easy switch. Um, yeah, for sure. Yeah. They have an app too, which is really nice and they’re getting the Android one soon. Okay, 

Erica Julson: well maybe you convinced me . I’m still gonna send out a survey to ask all my students, but yeah, it’s been really interesting.

I’ve been surveying my students on a few things. Like you mentioned, like my question about whether CEUs played a big role and the responses have been super interesting. Like sometimes you think one thing in your head like, oh gosh, like if I got rid of this, like no one would buy. And it was like 80% of the people were like, I do not care about that at all.

Yeah. Oh, ok. 

Kristin Willard: Right. Then guess that’s unimportant. I was gonna say, cause you have WordPress too, and so you can do single opt-in on circle, which is really nice. So once they opt into your website, it’s all connected. Like they don’t have to do a double into Yeah. Circle as well. 

Erica Julson: Yep. I was looking up, uh, cuz at one point I was like, oh, maybe I could just make the community on my site.

And that was one of the features I was looking at to make. Know if you log in to the course mm-hmm. that you’re like automatically also logged into the community. But yeah, now I’m thinking I’m leaning more and more cuz some of, I think I need to look into this weather circle as one of ’em. But some of ’em you can almost like embed your community on your website as well.

So like, oh, neat. You don’t like, have to go elsewhere, . So I don’t know, I have to look into it some more, but, um, yeah, we totally went off on a tangent, but thank you for adulting me . Uh, yeah, so I guess my la I know we’re going like backwards in time with, um, your journey . Like, I remember just like years ago when you first sold your e-book, like you were like messaging me, like, oh my gosh, it’s going so well.

Um, yeah. Yeah. So I guess just to give people hope maybe who are just starting out, um mm-hmm. Would you, do you think that’s like a good idea for starting out? Like if you were to go back in time, would you do anything differently or were you happy with still launching 

Kristin Willard: hands down? I thought, I think it was like, I, I feel like there’s a big push to do like, you know, expensive programs at first, but I, you know, just how we like talk to our clients about building, you know, small habits, you know, and that you get the confidence that this is something that you can do.

That’s where I think is the purpose. Not because it’s a financially better decision necessarily all the time, but it’s a confidence builder. And especially if you value, I mean, it depends on how you run your business too. Like, if you are like, I’m someone who wants to be involved, like I’ve never like really wanted to like, you know, pay everyone to do every single thing.

Like, I like to do it, like I have a hard time giving things up. Um, and there’s a beauty in that cause you can be swift with your decisions. And so when you know the technology, when you learn it yourself instead of always hiring it out, you know, cuz you have like a bigger program, you can actually like, You can do stuff like on your own, which is great.

So I think it allows you a lot more flexibility and it gives you the confidence as you, as you grow, um, to be able to, like, I would never have done a launch like I just did if I never did that ebook first. Like, there’s such a, cuz you make mistakes and it’s just not as big of a deal. Um, there’s so much, you know, things that you can learn from it, um, to apply to your next, to your next launch.

And so I, that’s my personality though. Like, I know everyone’s different and some people have like amazing coaches to get them through that. So it’s a personal choice, but I hands down think that I wouldn’t do anything different in that regard. 

Erica Julson: That’s a really good feedback and I guess it leads well, I have like a couple more.

I know we’re like already been talking for an hour, but I just have like two more questions. Yeah. One was, are you doing this all by yourself or do you have help at. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah, so I’m just starting to ask for help. So with, um, on the VA side, I’ve always had a VA help me with Pinterest specifically. And cuz that was like one platform once, so what happened, I was looking at Google Analytics and I realized Pinterest was doing well for me and I’d never even did anything on Pinterest.

And I was like, oh my gosh, like, what is going on here? So, um, my VA helps me with that and then over time we’ve built a relationship together and so now she helps me, um, with like simple email responses. And she helps me manage my Facebook, my, my face, like my big Facebook group, um, to like let people in.

Um, or if there’s any like, craziness going on, we can, you know, Make changes. So she’s helped me on that. And then for my group or for my membership, um, I just recently did bring in, another dietitian and she helped me with the course a while ago. Cause my goal like is to make people feel seen and getting like, support and I was worried that I might have too many to handle.

And so, I brought her in to kind of help and she does a certain, you know, like I think 10 hours a week or whatnot, eight to 10 hours a week to like help me answer questions. So that’s been, that’s been nice too. And I just hired someone to do my website, but . Yeah. 

Erica Julson: Yeah. No, that’s a great way to bring some someone on.

I think about that sometimes too. So far I haven’t hit my critical mass point yet. , I can see it happening in the future, especially if I do open up some of my other, you know, training topics, . Cause it becomes a lot to keep up with. Um, yeah, that was the biggest challenge for me was like, not so much like keeping up.

Even on my end with like the content I’ve created. But when you’re like covering so many tech topics, you’ll be like, oh, okay cool. I finally updated this course. And then you get an email like, surprise, we changed the entire interview this week. And then you’re like, oh my gosh, all my videos are now out of Yeah, that would be so hard.

Yeah. And it hits you, you know, on Christmas Eve or something and you’re like, oh, okay, well there goes my New Year’s like . So yeah, that was probably one of the biggest challenges. So even just keeping totally within the seo, I’m gonna have to, I update my course like every year, cuz I have to , so. Yeah.

Kristin Willard: Yeah, that makes complete sense. And I think it’s helpful to grow too, you know, so like, I don’t know if I really actually need an extra dietitian right now, like I could probably do it on my own, but I feel like it gives me the space and I’m building that once again, baby steps, building that connection and that trust in each other.

So as we do build, like I’d, you know, I’d eventually love to bring her on, you know, all the time. Yeah. Um, to be able to share that. And then it also gives. The idea, like I didn’t wanna like be in my membership full time and then be like, oh, here’s another dietitian, like bait and switch. Like I didn’t wanna do that either, so I wanted to be like upfront about that.

Like, hey, I’m not the only dietitian in here. Yeah. Cause um, I’d like to make it, I like to grow to a point where I can’t do everything. . 

Erica Julson: Yep. Yeah. So where do you see your business in like, five years? 

Kristin Willard: Great, great question. I, gosh, I don’t know. Like, I really don’t know. Um, I’d love the membership to be working really well.

I’d love to be, like, right now I’m in the, in the trenches like making like recipes each week. And I’d love to get like the recipe database to be a lot bigger. So there’s not as much pressure, um, to be there, and really learn what’s gonna actually best help my members by then . Cause like for instance, like you can just keep building in a membership and adding more content and more content.

And I think that doesn’t always help. I think it can be really confusing when someone joins. So I really wanna help narrow it down on like, what’s the essential, you know, like, does that look like. You know, having just one topic each week and then, or each month and then like, taking it away so they actually implement on that topic or does that look like an archive?

Like, I don’t know. So I’d like to be able to get it where I understand my members more and that I feel that they’re, you know, that they have everything they need inside there. That’s what I would really hope for five years from now. 

Erica Julson: amazing. Yeah, I mean it’s just like a learning, like, it’s like a living, breathing, like organism, almost like your membership.

And you can like, yeah, it takes time to learn what works. But then you have direct feedback. So that’s the best way to do it. 

Kristin Willard: Totally. I’d love to get it on my site too, just like you, I like to have it all like in there and not just on circle, like, but cuz like maybe meal plan where they can actually pick their recipes like instead of, cause right now it’s all pdf.

Yeah. Um, you know, so they can design. 

Erica Julson: I interviewed someone a few months ago, um, back country foodie. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. Oh yeah, I remember. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, they have a whole database of backpacking recipes that’s like, I believe she said it’s like, you know, searchable and customizable by like sodium content or whatever it is.

Like, um, my, and I did it all with WordPress recipe maker, so that might be something. Really? Yeah. Okay. Cause you can curate meal plants, I guess, through that plugin, so might be something to look into. Um,

Kristin Willard: okay. I’m gonna have to listen to this podcast again so that I can remember the WP Recipe creator, 

Erica Julson: uh, WordPress recipe maker.

Yeah. Recipe maker. Okay. Yeah, that’s like the main one that food bloggers use. But if you’re on like the highest level plan, they add extra functionality like meal plans and like, stuff like that. I’m not on that level plan cause I didn’t think I would ever need that. But, um, I, 

Kristin Willard: gosh, I need to look into that now.

Erica Julson: So that’s suggestion. Um, okay, last thing is just like, for the people listening, what do you really like, love about running an online business for anyone who’s not sure about it and what’s your like, best piece of advice for someone thinking about getting into this arena? 

Kristin Willard: One thing I love is, I think I heard someone say this one time that you can work.

16 hours a day anywhere you want. don’t just, so really just the flexibility of it, like it does work really well. Um, I can, it can be really stressful at times. Um, but I feel like ultimately I have control over my schedule, which I absolutely love. Um, you know, my kids were sick and it was, you know, I could readjust things.

So I love the flexibility of it and I love, I love just growing it. Like, I just, I just love the process of it. Love it. And so for someone that’s just starting off, I would definitely, um, play like, just have fun with it and like, don’t, like, I think there’s so much pressure to pick a niche right away.

Even if you pick the wrong niche, like you’re gonna learn something from it, right? Like, you’re gonna learn something from that process that apply to the next thing. So like, not to put us like all this pressure that you have to figure it out right away. And like coming at it from a relaxed place if you can.

And I know that’s like, you know, not everyone can do that cuz everyone has different financial background and whatnot. But like, to come at it from a. Curiosity, fun standpoint, . 

Erica Julson: Yeah. And some of, I think that energy comes off as well. Uh, if you are feeling very like, almost like desperate to like, like this has to work.

Like sometimes that comes off and I don’t even know, like subconsciously in like the way you’re writing your copy or selling or I don’t know. But when you’re coming from that easy, more playful place, I think that comes across as well. So that’s good advice. 

Kristin Willard: Absolutely. And serves your audience, I think better too, you know?

For sure. 

Erica Julson: And so if anyone is interested in checking out your platforms and your website and all that, where should they go? 

Kristin Willard: Um, bariatric meal So you can go to my website, um, and then on bariatric dot meal dot prep on all the different like social media platforms. Nice. And if you wanna find me there, 

Erica Julson: yeah, it sounds like probably Instagram or TikTok is your, your top place to be right now.

Yeah. Yeah. Great. Well, I guess that’s it. But thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Yeah. I think people are gonna get a lot outta this episode, so thank you for being so open. 

Kristin Willard: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This was a real treat and um, I hope we continue to stay in touch and see where Yeah, see where things go with your business as well.

I always love what you were such an inspiration like Yeah. You go in to get it too, so I love that. Well, thank you . . All right. Have a good night for good day. 

Erica Julson: Yeah, thank you. It was great to talk with you.

It was really fun. All right. Bye Erica. Okay, thanks. Bye. Thank you.

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.