Today on the podcast, I’m chatting with James Marin, a dietitian who co-runs a gut health-focused practice with his wife, Dahlia.
They have been running their business together for almost a decade and it’s gone through many iterations.
It started as a side gig, then a sub-practice within a doctor’s office before branching out into a private practice and eventually a multi-state group practice.
Now they’ve expanded their revenue streams into things like a supplement brand work, affiliate, marketing, online courses, and a membership site.
In this episode, we talk about:
- How James and his wife figured out that they wanted to niche down into gut health
- How they leveraged their connections in the industry to go full-time in their business
- The highs and the lows of running a business with your partner
- How they continue to attract new clients without having to do any paid advertising
- How they balance being business owners, partners, and parents
…and more. Have a listen right now!
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More About James and Dahlia Marin
Dahlia Marin, RDN, LD, CGN and James Marin, RD, EN are the co-founders of the integrative dietetics practice Married to Health and the first 100% plant-based SIBO/IBS nutrition program. As gut health dietitians, Dahlia and James’ goal is to spread knowledge about the importance of incorporating plant-foods to support a healthy gut microbiome (#goodgut) and help those with gut issues get back to a thriving gut microbiome.
Connect with James and Dahlia
- Website: marriedtohealth.com
- Instagram: @marriedtohealth
- Facebook: Married to Health
- YouTube: @MarriedtoHealth
- Twitter: @MarriedtoHealth
- Twitch: Marriedtohealth
- LinkedIn: Married to Health
Gut Health Blueprint
Grab James’s free download – The Gut Health Blueprint
Today on the podcast. I’m chatting with James Marin, a dietitian who co runs a gut health focus practice called married to health with his wife, Dahlia. They have been running this business together for almost a decade and it’s gone through many iterations, starting as a side gig, then a sub practice within a doctor’s office.
Then branching out into their own private practice and eventually a multi-state group practice. Now they’ve expanded their revenue streams into things like a supplement brand work, affiliate, marketing, online courses, and a membership site. We talk about how James and his wife figured out that they wanted to niche down into gut health, how they leverage their connections in the industry to go full-time in their business. And how they really focus on serving the customer and providing excellent care to continue to attract new clients without having to do any paid advertising.
We discussed the highs and the lows of running a business with your partner and how James and his wife balance being business owners, partners, and parents. James also shares some behind the scene, tips on how they use data to come up with new product and service ideas so that they’re not shooting in the dark and can be relatively confident that a new idea will be a success.
We also chat a bit about audience growth, but the conversation always circles back again to making sure that you’re serving your current customers to the best of your ability before worrying as much about always finding more and more and more and more people to get in front of. One of the big takeaways I got out of this conversation was the value of taking action and not being afraid to just go for it. James says in the podcast you’re growing when you’re learning. And I think that’s a great philosophy to live by.
I hope you enjoy this one. Let’s dive in.
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: Hi, James. Thank you for being a guest on the podcast here today. I know we haven’t formally
met, but, I did stumble across your profile as someone who recently joined the Unconventional RD community on Facebook and decided to reach out, and I’m so thankful that you agreed to be a guest here on the podcast today.
James Marin: Yes, I’m, I’m very excited.
Thank you. Yeah, I’m excited to talk more about being unconventional and all things unconventional and as an RD in this space. So yeah, very cool. Very excited to be here.
Erica Julson: Yeah, you’re doing a lot of interesting things. I like how you’re combining different income strategies, both, you know, with one-on-one work and then more unconventional things like online courses, memberships, uh, and not to mention, you also take insurance with your one-on-one work, so I think a lot of people listening will see themselves in some aspect of what you’re doing and find value in your story.
So I’m really excited to chat with you about the business side of things today.
James Marin: Yes, it is like, like I was telling you, I, you know, it is, it’s a nice deviation cause we are very heavy in gut health, integrative gut health and other aspects of obviously our profession nutrition. But this is, I think, an underserved area, especially for dietitians, which hence why your platform is so great and we’re here is like, it’s great.
Like dietitians should know how to make money and be financially stable and have a thriving practice. Cuz that does for us, it is, it’s translating that to a thriving community, right? It’s a win-win where it’s like we’re providing this great integrative care and then as a benefit to our company, it’s like growing and thriving.
So it’s, it’s such an important aspect for sure.
Erica Julson: So I would love to get some background on your business. Yeah. Can you tell us more about the business that you’re co-running with your wife, married to health? What type of clientele are you serving with this business? Like what problems are you solving for people and in what ways?
Like what products and services do you offer?
James Marin: Yeah. So, so yeah, with Married to Health, it was, it was very much an unconventional process as well. It was something I knew, again, it is, it is this vision. I’ve had this, what did everyone call it? A mantra, A prayer. A vision. Um, we definitely didn’t start off with this of just going like, oh, we took our RD exam and we’re dietitians.
Let’s start a business. It was, let’s definitely gain experience, let’s gain knowledge. We were just building our base because we definitely transformed where we thought we’d be to where we are now. We, I first became a dietitian 2013, which is crazy. It’s gonna go on 10 years next year, which is crazy to even say out loud and, um, and even just think about.
But definitely from, from that moment, I knew I wanted to really impact the space differently. I wanted to, in that time I thought it was about policy. I actually started in public health, and I thought it was about policy. I’m like, yeah, if we just get policy right, like it’s a no-brainer. Everyone will just follow it.
It’ll be great. , that was not the case. There’s lots of red tape, there’s lots of politics, there’s lots of funding issues, and the list goes on and on. So, and the first like seed of like, you might need your own private practice or business, it was, well, I definitely wanna do it slowly. I don’t wanna, like, I wasn’t, you know, having the mindset of like taking out a huge loan and starting a brick and mortar and doing it like from scratch, from the very beginning I was like, I really had this, what I know now looking back is this idea of letting your population and the needs of your community speak to you and form and form what you need to do, as opposed to you forcing it on the community.
Looking back, that’s what, that’s what it was. And now we’re really big on that in our practice today. But yeah, it was. It was just kind of going through that experience, that trial and error, and letting our community speak to us. In that we did form Married to Health, which started as a Facebook page in 2000, like 14.
And, and if you fast forward a little bit today, and we can kind of go back and, and dissect it a little bit more, but fast forward today, yeah. We have, we have total seven dietitians on our team, all with different specialties. And we are virtual, so we have dietitians from all over the country seeing clients or patients depending where they live.
Right. So we’re seeing. , I guess we could say people all over the world because there is some red tape with, with some of the areas. Um, yeah, like you said, we have, e guides. We do, we’re launching our course next year in 2023. What else are we doing? And when? We work a lot with brands, so we do a lot of contracting with brands.
So we currently sit on about two different boards as consultants for brands, and then we do little affiliate gigs and social media things here and there with, again, brands that we really connect with and feel first and foremost again, is this the need, is this meeting the need of our clientele? Moving into that really 80, 80 plus percent of our patients are women probably between the ages of about 21 through, uh, 55.
And a lot of them suffer with gut issues, really at the root of what’s going on. It’s, it’s gut issues. It’s not realizing, oh, I’ve been constipated for 20 years and I really don’t even know the different forms of constipation I’m dealing with. But they then come to us with like, I wanna lose weight, but really they’ve been constipated for 20 years.
Right. And then teaching ’em about their health and detox pathways and, you know, and then providing them with, with our resources. So yeah. I think I hit on a lot of what your question was, like our demographic while we’re offering kind of how this, this kind of began a little bit. Yeah.
Erica Julson: Perfect. Okay. So many questions.
Yeah. So much there. I know. , how did you hone in on the gut health niche?
James Marin: Oh man, that, that is a great question because. Just for me, I won’t speak for my wife, but she, she has an amazing story as well. So yeah, if you, if you dive deep into our stuff, you’ll, you’ll see it, you’ll come across it on her YouTube and things like that.
But, for me, yeah, like I, I mean, I remember I started in policy, so I was public health. I then, I was moving into like diabetes, like diabetes was big cuz so much, so much diabetes in my family. And then I, we were always kind of more integrative, right? We always like to dive into the root causes and, and dig deeper.
And in doing so, and looking, spending, you know, hours and hours on pub med and sifting through the research and realizing like, whoa, what is this microbiome? And connecting with a gastroenterologist really who and other gastroenterologists not knowing what was happening there, but them speaking more on the microbiome and going, Ooh, yeah, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve heard of that.
I’m. , we were kind of researching that and realizing really that is the nexus. We even go as far to say like, you know, the gut microbiome is the nexus of all health on this planet, or more kind of risque out there. Marketing way to say it is like nothing else we do matters besides, uh, if it’s not focused on the gut, right?
Essentially. So we are, we kind of endorse that now, looking at all the research and seeing where, where all this goes and it was that just undeniable the research and other colleagues who are really innovative and in the space, we’re all coming to that conclusion and it’s really exciting. That’s where I like to nerd out.
Like I literally have a. Paper open on the viral that I found. It came out last year in 20, uh, 21, and I can’t wait to read it. Like I haven’t read this one yet. And just understanding the viral, the gut microbiome, you know, microbiota and all these, I mean, it’s, it’s just so cool. It’s like science fiction inside of us and it affects our lives.
So when we hit on that, we’re like, whoa. And we just dove headfirst into it and, and haven’t come out ever since. So that was maybe we really dove deep into the gut microbiome, like now it’s going like four or five years ago. And then my wife is more specializing in SIBO I b s, especially when it comes to dietetics.
So very fun stuff. .
Erica Julson: Okay. That’s a really great introduction and I can tell, I can hear your passion through what you’re saying. Was it like you found your passion and then you tried to find a community that also was interested in that? Or did you build the community around you that you were then like quote unquote listening to, to figure out how to serve them?
How’d that go?
James Marin: Oh, I love that. No, a great question. I mean, I think it, I’m a big believer in like your vibe attracts your tribe and like I feel like in 2014 we started the Facebook page, it was getting some traction. We started Instagram and. Gosh, this is, it was so crazy. It was back when social media was like so new, right?
And now it just seems like everyone’s an influencer. Everyone’s on some type of platform. But back then it was so new we had no idea what we were doing. And it was just us putting out like some content, like what we’re eating and dietitians and then, and it helped, I think we were plant-based as well and we were plant-based family.
And that was unique because that was not like a thing, it’s, it’s still hardly a thing, right? But especially back then. And I think it was a gastroenterologist that reached out to us and as we’re, again, it was just kinda like the same wavelength of the research. We’re reading what we’re putting out. She’s like, I need to meet you guys, your local, come here.
We met. And it was just like, and she had a big following, like she was utilizing her platform really well. Shouted us out, and it was just like, it’s been nonstop ever since. We ended up collabing with her a lot and even working in a practice with her before, fully branching off on our own, like dietetics practice.
And it’s just, it’s really is just attracting this tribe and you just, I mean, it’s healthier than this, but at the end of the day, it’s leveraging one another. But it, it’s definitely, I know that sounds like so cold and like, like steel a little bit, but at the end of the day you are like leveraging each other’s platforms, but in a healthy, wonderful way.
I think when it’s not, that’s when you know, it’s like, okay, this relationship’s a bit toxic, but um, when it’s healthy, it’s like, yeah, you’re helping each other out. You’re, you’re collaborating, you’re doing all this great work together and just again, amplifying the mission at the end of the day. And that’s really how we found our footing into it and our patients who just really like, like you said, like, and it’s an honor and thank you.
Like you’re very passionate about this. And patients feel that at the end of the day, and. This is something we iterate to our team all the time. Like it doesn’t matter if we’re locked into socials and our ad sense and whatever other, like marketing jargon you want to throw in there. If our patient care sucks, like , all that doesn’t matter, uh, if your patient care sucks.
So, um, at the end of the day, we, the most important thing is taking care of the patient because that is still the most powerful thing that’s really grown our community. because the patient, again, if you’re like wowing them with your practice and your care, they’re not gonna hide it from their mom and their aunt and their sister and their cousins and their friends.
And you know, now Dalia, Dalia sees like whole families. Like she starts with, started with one family member and like they’re bringing the whole family. Right. And we don’t even have like an incentive program. We really haven’t even run like ads or anything. It’s all been like organic social media and word of mouth.
And that’s been like our surfboard that we’ve been cruising on. And I’m, I’m forecasting the day when I’m like, okay, maybe we’ll need to run ads. But it’s like, no, this wave is still going. Like, okay, well we’ll keep riding it, you know? And yeah, it’s been, it’s been really cool to find that community for sure.
Erica Julson: That’s very insightful. I’m starting to see the full picture of how it’s coming together. Yeah. Did you ever do in-person work, like in an office space? Or you just fully went online from the beginning?
James Marin: No. So from 2014 or let’s say even 2013, we had our nine to five dietitian jobs.
Like, I started out in policy. Dalia was in man back then, like a, a health center in Pomona. And, and it was great. We loved it and we were, we were happy, but we started this sidekick as like, Again, we had that integrative spirit, we had that, you know, again, that unconventional , that unconventional spirit that we had like a, to have another outlet for.
And so up until 2019, we, we both had nine to fives, and it was in 2019, we let go. Like the side gig was kind of taking over. The, some of the practitioners we met were like, we want you to join our practice and, and do something really cool. And we’re like, all right, let’s, let’s do it. We even, we sold our home in 2019 to give us a little extra cushion for this kind of transition because there, there’s always uncertainty when you’re, when you’re going off on your own, when you’re starting a, a business and.
So we did that for some cushion. And in 2019, I remember that was, I think I had done it maybe a little bit earlier in the year, even almost end of 2018, where I let go of my jobs and was like doing side gigs and then building this practice. Dalia, officially in 2019, we joined with a gastroenterologist and it made sense.
So it was a gastroenterologist and un two dietitians and we’re like growing our patients and seeing patients and growing the practice. And then about 2020, and this was in Newport Beach, this was a, a brick and mortar. We’re seeing clients in person 2020. We all know what happened there. It, you know, we were doing about maybe before 2020, 20% telemedicine, maybe, maybe at most 30% of our patients were telemedicine, but in person some telemedicine.
And we love the telemedicine aspect. We’re like, oh, this is really cool. Some days we don’t wanna go into the office. We could, we could see patients at home. Little did we know what was ha what was coming around the corner in 2020 when, you know, it was like no one wanted to come into the office. We didn’t even want them in the office or like, we, we, we understood, you know, and we just went full force on our, our telehealth platform.
And that kept things going. And we were actually seeing more people because people were at home. People were like, oh yeah, let me get around to, I wrote that name, Dalia Marin down, or I wrote down the name of this practice and I’m gonna get around to see them because why not? Like, a lot of our clients in terms of the demographic, are like lawyers.
And even though they’re doctors that we see, and you know, they have the means, they have the time. They’re working from home. And our practice was growing in 2020 and it, it was growing a little bit too much, I’ll say, where. The, the leader, the director, if you will, of the practice was like, let’s add more practitioners.
Like this tele telehealth thing is great, overheads lower, like, let’s do more with this. And I think it was just growing a little too quickly. Like it can, it can easily go into, um, like too many cooks in the kitchen, right? Which is a great, great metaphor for dietitians. But, um, and it soon turned into, like, it turned into us three to like 16 providers, and it was like, whoa.
It was like hypergrowth and it, it, it was great. But we soon started noticing like, there’s a little bit too much dilution. And that was when, it was early 2021. So about February 1st was our first day of like taking what we had there of our dietetics department and bringing it all under the umbrella of married to health as our own.
Like official standalone dietetics practice. So that’s pretty exciting. And to think it’s like, oh my gosh, how is it 2023? And we’re, so we’ve been our official like just soul, like again, focus. And I think that’s so important because we wanted to hyper focus on dietetics. We wanted to hyper focus on empowering our registered dietitians.
We wanted to, and again, just just let you know, like down the line, we want to really, really solidify the importance of registered dietitians when it comes to insurance contracting, when it comes to federal spending and the lobbying power, and eventually getting more involved with AND and just showcasing data that we’re, we’re collecting and have collected and want to even collect better.
And just go look. It’s undeniable. Like if you’re spending. $1 here, you’re getting $5 back. Right? Where, when we’re talking about people’s health, because I know one of my, not so not so much worries, but it’s just, it’s just facts, it’s data. Like the chronic health epidemic we’re seeing, it’s going to hit us even harder than we’re seeing it today.
and we need to combat that. We need to be prepared for that. And, and registered dietitians are on the front line of that, whether you’re inpatient or outpatient. So it’s, it’s a huge, huge issue. It’s very, very important. And I know that was a lot there, but , but this is kind of the vision. This is where we’re going.
But yeah, that’s kind of been the, a little bit of the journey. So it’s been really cool. And it’s even cool for me to look back on it and, and it’s like, wow. Yeah, it’s been nonstop and we’re still in hypergrowth. Like, you know, just to continue from there a little bit, I mean, in 2021 it was just Dahlia and I like it’s crazy.
Like it was just Dahlia and I, and I was seeing patients. You were seeing patients. We, we added on dietitians and we, I mean, again, we’ve been in hypergrowth where I don’t even see patients now anymore. I’m full on c o o operations backend, but I still, I definitely still read the research. I still maintain, I wanna say my edge.
Uh, you know, and when it comes to being a dietitian, I’m still maintaining my CEUs and everything. And, because it gives me that understanding for the backend, because we really want our practice to be tailored for integrative dietitians and, and doing some really cool and innovative things in that space.
Erica Julson: Well, that was a very inspiring story and I have so many little nuggets I feel like I wanna highlight. Yeah. Uh, the first one, I appreciate you being transparent. The length of the journey. So it’s not like it was an over, I mean it seems like now once you hit like a critical mass, it has been growing quickly.
But you know, there was like five years in there where you’re kind of figuring it out and figuring out what you wanted to do. And I love to hear that from people, cuz I think some people put a lot of pressure on themselves in those first few years. Maybe after they become an RD or once they decide they wanna start a business.
So that’s a really good reminder, , that it takes time. Mm-hmm. . And just because it’s taking time doesn’t mean that it won’t end up being a success. So that’s very valuable.
James Marin: And I wanna say it is that growth mindset. And, and I wanna, I might butcher this, but I wrote this to our team recently of dietitians where it’s like you’re growing when you’re learning.
So whether you’re taking a course or like, we have a dietitian right now, going back for a PhD. and she’s seeing patients part-time and she’s like, oh, I’m so glad I can still stay here with you guys and, and see my patients part-time. We’re like, yeah, that’s wonderful. And she’s completing her PhD like, that’s growth.
She might not, she might not be seeing like a full Monday through Friday panel of patients, but that’s still growth. She’s seeing her patients and she’s doing this amazing PhD program. Like my wife. I mean, she is always, she takes at least one course a year of like learning something new or, or, or, you know, whatever it is.
And even I’m starting a course on just business. Like I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and I never took a business class. I don’t have an mba, but I’m like, okay, let me, let me see. Cuz you don’t know what you don’t know. So that’s, that’s growth, right? You, it’s, it’s not always translating into like, I have a thriving successful practice that’s growth.
No, it’s like you’re learning, that’s growth. Your, your trial, trial and error is growth, right? Like, there’s so many levels to this and phases so, so important to give yourself that grace, whoever’s listening or, you know, whoever wants to do this. It’s, it is that grace and understanding the, the forms of growth is still moving forward.
Right. So yeah. Very important.
Erica Julson: Just from like an, an emotional standpoint, was it scary to split off from that other practice?
James Marin: You know, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna say scary. It was, it’s funny, like I just always had this. I don’t know. I don’t want this to come off like che or anything like that, but it’s, it’s like I just had this voice inside of me that was like, this is, you’re gonna be good.
This is, this is where it’s, it’s meant to be. I am very spiritual, so I, I do have a, a firm foundation and like God and I pray and like I had this voice of just like, yeah, this was meant to be like this. The time with that practice, and even though, like, I’ll be honest, it didn’t go the way I wanted to go because of this hyper-growth and there was just so many voices in it, and, and things got so diluted and it taught me a lot about business because even promises were made to the dietetics department and this larger organization that didn’t come to fruition.
I’m like, oh, I should’ve, I should’ve made sure we updated the contract or this and that, and it was definitely struggle and, and learning from there, it’s like, oh, this was meant to be, because again, you. I mean, I’ll say this, but again, I, I fully realize everyone might view this differently, but like, when I ask God, God give me wisdom in this, or help me in my practice, he’s gonna gimme problems to solve so that I can be wiser.
Right? And it’s like, wonderful. I, I, I see that. And it was great learning experience. So, but yeah, in no way, shape or form was just like, oh, this is so easy. And it was beautiful. And every, like, no, there was struggle. There was stressed, there was, there was like, it’s funny, I, I can’t say fear though. Like that’s one thing where maybe, maybe there was some uncertainty, but it wasn’t like, oh my God, I’m so scared.
Like, ah, it was more of just struggle of figuring things out. It’s like finding the right contractors, finding the right website, finding the right billers, like that’s the hardest thing. Finding people you can trust and like a, a solid team and people who, who know their craft and aren’t like, bing you and trying to take your money.
That’s some of the hardest part, the direction we’re going in is like, I’ve always felt so solid in it. It’s more of just like, God, who, who can I, who can I, who can help me in this? And then a part of it was being patient because like if those people aren’t there, okay, you just gotta wait a little bit and you’re still moving.
Maybe you’re not sprinting like you want to, but you’re walking or you’re jogging or you know, you’re at a good pace. Just be patient. Right? A lot of it is being patient. So, yeah, it was definitely, this is definitely a struggle, but I, I always, and even today, I’m very conscious about not letting fear.
Seep in too much. I think, I mean, to be honest, there’s always, I mean, fear is healthy to some degree, but I don’t let it seep in too much and fill too much of my cup, or I’m then making decisions based out of fear. And trust me, there’s so much fear to go around. I mean, when the Ukraine stuff was going on and you look at the economy and you look at, oh my gosh, prices are increasing and we’re in a recession.
No, we’re not in a recession. Like, let’s be real. There’s, I mean, fear sells and it’s being aware of that and going like, cut through the bs, cut through. You know, realize media companies have to make money too, and fear sell and just, and just get to the facts. You don’t try to find the facts and don’t let fear seep in, because I know other business owners who make decisions on fear and that’s when it’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
It’s like, oh, you want things to be bad? Let the fear see in and, and think everything’s bad, and then you make bad decisions, right? I don’t know if you feel. The same on that .
Erica Julson: Yeah. I’m glad I asked that question cuz I, I think we went down like a little bit of a inspirational tangent.
James Marin: Yeah. . Oh yeah, I do that.
Erica Julson: Yeah, no, no. , Uh, I was gonna say, like, can imagine that working within a larger practice, you almost had the opportunity to validate your work as well. Like I bet you got so many wonderful testimonials from people and had processes in place. So Yeah, it’s kind of a no-brainer at that point that you’re almost ready to branch off and do your own thing.
So that probably helped too. I, felt similar, just doing the work and then getting the positive feedback and the results for people in any niche. It really can light a fire under your butt to be like, oh, okay, I really do know what I’m doing. And have the confidence if that was something you struggled with,
James Marin: oh yeah, great point. Yeah. Y y yeah. We went through, I guess you could say like the fire test, right? Or walking over the coals and like, it, it was for sure, it was like from a operation standpoint, from a patient care standpoint, it was like going through that larger practice was like, oh, wow. Yeah, we have something here.
Like, you know, it was like refined in the fire and now you have this distilled metal, precious metal and like, okay, let’s keep, let’s keep doing that just in a healthier, more efficient way, right. Outside of this practice. And Totally, 100%.
Erica Julson: And it’s nice that you have that like medical connection if you ever need a referral.
Like that’s nice too.
James Marin: Yeah. And so many, and that, that is so important. Cause so many providers we met and even Emmy worked with before, we still work with, and it’s, I mean, those referrals and those connections, oh my gosh, the networking is so, so important. Like, whether endocrinologists, primary care providers, many in like a, um, uh, like full, cash model, uh, and I mean beyond even like larger, even Houe Houe down here in Newport Beach was like referring to us and like, I mean, it’s just, the network is amazing.
So yeah. .
Erica Julson: So circling back to some of the technical details of how you run an online practice, what telehealth, platform do you use?
James Marin: We’re big fans of cerbo, which is, they were previously MD hq I want to say, but they’re, they’re an all-in-one. They’re an an E M R. They do telehealth. They’re, they’re built for integrative or functional practitioners. We’re one of the few dietetics. I think we’re probably the only like fully.
You know, just, just a team of dietitians using their services, but huge fans of Cerbo, like just the functionality, the security, you know, you’re talking about encrypted, HIPAA, secure. It gives our patients portal access. They can upload their labs, they can schedule, they can pay. Amazing, I mean, chart parts, questionnaires.
And then we even launched with a, a third party company. So coming into 2023, we got some really cool things coming. We’re launching an app, so it’s a third party company that works really well with cerbo, creating an app, a lot of automations. So again, we’ve been, you know, using our policies and procedures and seeing, okay, what is wasting our time, you know, in the last two years.
And even, I mean, we’re still identifying all of that and going, okay, automate, automate, automate, automate, and freeing up staff time to then devote to our dietitians and going like, okay, here come KPIs here come. More, more accountability and kind of more eyes where again, we’re not micromanaging, but just more of just like, okay, iron sharpens iron, right guys, like it’s time to be let, let’s hold you accountable.
Let’s really dive into the weeds of your patient care and make sure your panel’s solid or your goals are being hit, whether that’s a membership or a course down the line. So yeah, we’re really excited. So the automations are coming and our app and oh, we just, we just added a meal planning software as well, as well, that integrates really well.
So, yeah, I can’t say enough good things about cerbo. Have you, have you heard of that platform?
Erica Julson: I’m sort of out of the okay. You know, one-on-one work world at this point. Uh, but no, get it just like in my group and people chatting about it, that’s not one of the ones that I see come up. Um, like you said, sounds like you might be one of the only dietitian practices using it, so.
Yeah. I’m sure people listening will go check it out. I think probably the biggest one that I see people talk about is practice better.
James Marin: This has been, this was a very traumatic time in my life. . Mm-hmm. . I, I can’t tell you how many hours I spent researching EMRs like, to a point where I think I almost, I just, I might have blocked it outta my, my memory, you know, like a traumatic experience. But I can’t even think, oh my gosh, it’s so crazy.
Erica Julson: But safe to say, you like did the due diligence.
Oh my gosh. And that was your favorite? Yeah.
James Marin: Yes. , we, the due diligence for sure. Countless hours and, and trauma of even to a point where we almost went with another one. But come to find out, like in asking the same question for like the million time, and then as we’re starting to integrate, they’re like, oh no, it can’t do this.
And I’m like, this was like one of the top five things we needed it to do. And so I literally, literally, like I had to, I had to say, Nope, stop. Like, And then we literally went with cerbo or like, or like we found cerbo actually last minute cuz I was a researcher and like cerbo was just like obscure. I think they had just changed their name at the time we went with them.
So that didn’t help them either. . But I’m like, this can’t be true. Like this is everything we want. And sure enough, and cerbo was like amazing. Their team’s amazing. Like, I can’t say enough, I gotta be a spokesperson for Sobo . But, . Yeah. Really cool.
Erica Julson: Yeah. I’ll have to find their website and put it in the show notes for the episode for people who wanna check it out.
Thank you for sharing the details on that one. Yeah. And just in hearing you talk about this, I know I have this later on in my list of questions that I wanted to bring up, but, I can’t help but ask it now, but I’m just thinking about what it would possibly be like to work with a spouse in a business and how do you, keep it from being like business all the time and , you know, maintain your family life and your relationship and stuff too.
James Marin: That is a great, I mean, if I’m being honest, we’re still figuring that out. Like it’s, it’s a blessing and a curse to be honest. And, and then it’s, uh, you know, devote, if you’re gonna start a, a company with your spouse, devote a, a portion of the budget for therapy and No, no, but it, but it’s, you know, therapy’s healthy.
I love therapy, but like, you know, we’re still trying to figure that out and, but it’s a blessing overall. It’s, it’s just like, it’s light and dark. It’s yin yang. It’s, it’s a balance, right? It’s, it is a blessing and it’s a struggle, because it’s hard. Like we were just talking about this today. I feel like we talk about this a lot to kind of just check in with, with one another.
And I, if I could start positive, you know, it will really test your marriage in a way or whatever the relationship dynamic is. Marriage or boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, whoever it is, your spouse or your significant other, and you’re gonna start this venture. It will test you and it’ll, it’s again, going to that trial by fire quite a bit.
But if I can say some positive things, it’s, it’s, it really helps you to check in, communicate. Like every Wednesday my wife and I go on a beach walk. We, we make that our time to connect. Sometimes we’ll bring up business, but for the most part we really try to just disconnect ground, get in nature. Um, we, we exercise a lot, but this is just like nature exercise.
We go eat after it’s like our time and it’s, and it’s a time I really, really cherish. So making sure you have enough time for your significant other, for your marriage communication, cuz. Again, as, as the male in the relationship, we can be a little thickheaded. We forget things. I’m like, oh, that’s what you meant by wanting to hang out, is not talk about work or me to open my laptop and annoy you with things.
And you’re like, oh, you, you just wanna talk to me? Oh, okay, that makes sense. And it’s like, oh, duh. Um, and it’s, it’s just constant communication, just being in that communication, making sure you set aside time just as you would in your calendar for like an appointment or a podcast or a patient. It’s like your significant other that you’re in business with needs that time as well.
And I’m still learning that. And yeah, like something we’re talk about is like, it’s a blessing where everything I love, like this is all stuff I love, I love nutrition, I love learning about nutrition and the virome and the gut. I, I, you know, go to work every day, like loving what we do, like building our company and even like on our socials, like we’re, we are mixing our family into it.
So it’s like this, this one melting pot of like, , oh, it’s, it’s work and it’s business and it’s family, and it’s raising kids and it’s your wife. And literally our name is married to health. And like it all just gets mixed in, which is good, but then at times it’s like, oh, I’m talking about work nonstop and I’m talking about the company and are we making sure we’re conscious and not on our phones?
And it’s, it’s a never-ending struggle, but, um, it. Yeah, what I could say is utilizing, I mean, communication and that time and scheduling, like now, weekends are family time, so like usually phones are down unless there’s something very highly, highly, uh, of an emergency. We don’t really, we don’t do work on the weekends.
Like that is family time. And then we have, like my wife and I, again, like I said, we have our time, our date time, um, we call it micro and macro. So like, is it having lunch together? Is it our beach walk? Is it evenings together of just trying to focus on one another? And then macro is like, we recently went to Cabo, our daughter wasn’t there.
it was a friend’s wedding. We didn’t work. There was hardly any service. It was just, it was beautiful. Like it was just her and I and it, we had so much fun. So it’s like we can’t always do that because we need to be responsible adults. But that’s gonna happen. And that’s the, the macro once in a while. But then the micros are very important as we’re identifying, like running your own business has its perks where like we work from home, you know, and like we get to have lunch together whenever we want.
We can sit in our garden and like just eat and talk and we can go to our daughter’s, you know, school performance or you know, all of her things and schedule around anything we want. So it’s making sure we’re leaving that time to schedule for each other. And that’s something I’m still working on for sure.
Erica Julson: I’m glad I asked that question cuz I’m sort of going through something similar in my life as well,
James Marin: do you work with your significant other?
Erica Julson: Mm. Not at the moment, but we’re both sort of like an entrepreneurial type of businesses where you can plan your own schedule and blah blah blah.
right. We have a young son so we’re still trying to figure out how to be parents and work , yeah, it’s a lot. But yeah, we recently did the same thing cuz we kind of used to work all the time and now we’re like, okay, let’s actually have weekends for real, you know,
Yes. Um, and he was in real estate so that was really difficult to work around but we’re kind of leaning a little more into my business now instead of his, so that we can prioritize family on the weekend. Cuz that was really important. So yeah, I like to hear other people’s perspective. So thank you for sharing
James Marin: Oh yeah. And then as I grow, like, and, you know, and I have, I have a plan for this. Like we have, I have a, my right hand woman who works in our company and I foresee her doing everything I do. We’re training a dietitian to take over what Dahlia does and like, we want to, I mean, the goal is not to do this forever.
I mean, I should say that the goal is not to do this forever at the level we’re currently doing it, and we have been doing it. The goal is to do this forever, but at a, a different level. and it, it’s so cool to just, and when you look back, you see the levels you’ve gone through, there’s still just as many ahead, you know?
So, I’m excited for the day where, you know, Jen, Jen is my right hand woman in the company. I’m like, Jen, you got this, you got this, and you’re learning and growing and you’re doing all these wonderful things. Or like, if Elon gets those AI bots up and running and you know, AI and, you know, we can automate so many cool things and it’s gonna be a whole different level of quality of life.
I try to stay optimistic with it all. I know it can get pretty pessimistic, but like, AI is gonna destroy us or technology. Um, , but I’m pretty optimistic with it and I’m excited, like I’ve said this for a long time, being in, in this, you know, this business of like, man, when is AI gonna take over insurance billing?
Like, it, it just needs to happen already, you know? Um, it’s such a like manual mundane task with so much human error from both the insurance side and the biller side. I’m like, AI just needs to take it over and like, we just need to, uh, like a great algorithm AI to like just do everyone’s insurance billing and it would be so much more efficient.
Like, I, I can’t wait for that to happen, but yeah, I, it will happen. I hope this for you guys. Yeah, it will happen. Definitely. It’s just a matter of when but for you guys Yeah. Like getting to a level where yeah, you can, delineate and just give to others and. and feel more at peace and find that, that family time.
Yeah, especially with the young one. I can’t say this enough, if you have a young child, like that’s something we’re always, we’re great about giving time to our daughter. We haven’t been great about giving time to each other, , and that’s, that’s also important. But both, both are important. So yeah, it’s finding that balance for sure.
Erica Julson: Yeah. I know you mentioned, longer term, bringing on people to train and take over your current roles. Mm-hmm. . It sounds like you have someone that you’re excited about. How did you find that person? ? Any tips there?
James Marin: Ooh, and yes. we’ve always been big on our intern department, so that’s something we’ve invested heavily into in terms of time, money, and it’s because, you know, well first it, it wasn’t, I mean, looking back on it now, we didn’t know it would be a funnel for just assessing talent and, and finding great people.
But it has been. But, but even before realizing that we were just like, we, we loved, we loved the great rotations we had as dietetic interns, and we disliked the ones we didn’t like, right. And so we thought like, Hey, we just had a lot from the beginning of interest when we first started our practice. We’ve always had dietetic interns and even public health interns from U C I, long Beach other internship programs.
And so, . We’ve just always loved that. We always want to have that, that giving back of like, we want to, we want to give these students who are new to this a great experience. We wanna just pour into them as, as all the questions you have. If they had those same questions we’re pouring into them, we’re actually making videos now, like, welcome videos and q and a videos on that for like our interns.
You’re automating. We’re just pouring into them. Automating. Exactly. and, um, and yeah, even to a point where we just added on like an exit survey for them too, to give us more feedback. Like, we want that data, right? We want them to, to give us that feedback so we can become better. And this is not like we’re.
At the end of the day, it’s great. Our company’s growing. It’s great to make money and all that is great, but really like the, the bigger root of this is like stopping the chronic disease that we’re seeing is like helping families have a better quality of life that’s gonna take teamwork. We’re not in the mindset of like, we have all the secrets.
Oh, what, what EMR are we using? Figure it out for yourself. It’s like, no, that, that’s such a slimy way to go about things and it’s, it really speaks to, oh, your mission is to make money. Like, and that’s it. . Whereas the mission is to make the world a healthier place. Like our tagline is literally heal with each meal.
That’s how you summarize our practice. We even trademarked that. Um, that’s the, in four words, how to summarize our practice. We want our communities to heal with each meal that’s gonna take other dietitians, other providers and, and inspire other, a newer, a younger generation to continue this because it’s, this problem’s gonna be here even when I’m long gone.
Right. So yeah, our, our dietetic intern and overall our intern department is, is really, really important. Even though sometimes they don’t make it as easy. I mean, there’s so many rules and there’s so much to do there, but we, we try to hang onto it and keep it really robust and healthy. And from that we’ve been blessed.
So, going back to that question is we found Jen was a dietetic intern. She’s now a registered dietitian, but she has a knack. and she we’re really excited about exploring this. She has a knack for admin, like she actually is a dietitian who loves admin. And it’s interesting because there’s doctors like this, you know, there’s, there’s medical directors who are CFOs and or who are the medical directors, but they have, you know, they get a master’s in administration.
They have a love for that. And them being doctors and also just admin nerds, they can help run hospitals and, uh, run practices and do these great things. Jen is like a dietitian version of that. So we’re really pumped and, yeah, some cool things in the future of possibly helping dietitians navigate cerbo.
Like Jen and I are super users of cerbo and you know, we want to be able to, like future dietitians, you wanna use cerbo? Boom here, here’s the master plan of how to just get up and running like in a week versus. You know, six months or a year, you know, so just, yeah, we’re excited about so many things and it’s, it’s great to have those people and just find people’s gifts and like nurture their gifts.
You know, it’s, it’s really fun. A whole nother aspect I never thought, thought about before. .
Erica Julson: Yeah. I love the spirit of collaboration. And then also you seem like you’re a really big implementer. Like you have ideas and you’re like, well, why not do it ? You know? Uh, and that doesn’t mean every single thing’s gonna be like the number one most successful thing, , you know?
But you won’t know unless you try it. So I appreciate that as well. .
James Marin: Yeah. Thank you.
Erica Julson: So I guess to round out our talk today, that’s kind of where I wanted to head. Like how did you start to explore other avenues outside of one-on-one work, because that’s kinda like the focus of what I talked to people about.
Mm-hmm. on this podcast, like unconventional income streams in the world of dietetics. So how did that start
James Marin: I love that. I mean, yeah, the easy it, it is, it’s kind of what I iterated, and I, I really recommend this for everyone is if you’ve, if you’re already doing one-on-one, it’s collecting that data, right?
Um, Dalio’s really good at just naturally collecting that data where, I mean, our initial visits are 90 minutes. We have intake forms, we have our portal, like it’s 90 minutes on top of, I think, going above and beyond what others do as well. But we’re just collecting all this data. And even in those 90 minutes, like Dalia is talking to the patient, we have a portal that they can even message us through and we can keep those messages and their chart.
And so we have this as a wave of data, and from that we’re able to assess like, oh, we need a membership program. Oh, we need to, we need to relaunch our course again because Dahlia’s repeating herself. Or, um, we’re getting a lot of the same questions. it’s really at the end of the day, The simple answer to that is filling the need.
But the longer answer to that question is how do you even find what the need is and it’s collecting data. So yeah, if you’re doing the one-on-one, you’re like, man, I really wanna offer something else. Collect the data and do what your population needs from there. Again, a great example of that is our membership.
So we’ve started, Dahlia started her good gut me. and that came from some of our patients having lots of questions in the portal, right? Like we can’t just do unlimited questions or can we? So in our membership it’s unlimited questions. They get access to a private group, they get other perks as well. And then we’re even gonna add in like the meal plan.
So they get a weekly or month, I think it’s gonna be a monthly updated that’s new that we’re adding in about a monthly updated meal plan of gut healthy recipes. So it’s like, wow. And, and this membership, it’s not, we charge 9 99. So our thing is like, we want them, we want them to fill. For lack of a better, I mean, this is, I don’t feel this way, but we want them to feel dumb if they don’t spend 9 99 for all that they’re getting.
Right. And what ends up happening is most, like 80% of our patients who sign into this, they don’t use unlimited messages. They some join the group, some don’t even join our group. And they’re just like, but every once in a while they’ll message about a supplement or they’ll message about, I had a question on this.
And they’ll use it and they go, I got my 9 99 words for this month. And they feel good about it, and we’re going great. And it’s, it’s worked out well for us. We do no marketing for it. It’s all word of mouth. And it’s most importantly because it’s filling a need. And, and if anything, all we’re gonna do is make it more robust.
It’s gonna eventually mix into our course. We’re gonna, we might do some more kind of internal, like, talks about it. And, um, yeah, it’s been, it’s been going really well. And it’s like, oh wow. Great. Yeah. Again, when you’re filling that need, Boom, the people appreciate it. And, and that’s kind of what’s been happening.
Erica Julson: Yeah. That reminds me how you said, you offer unlimited, but you know, in reality it, you say that, and then most people like have a cap on how many questions they’re actually gonna have. it’s funny, but it reminded me, I, when I lived in LA I I was in like a vet membership for my dog . Um, and they offered something similar where they had a messaging portal, and I paid like a monthly fee and you could like message the vet if you had a, a question . And, and yeah, yeah, it did seem like it was worth it because you never know. You’re like, oh, but what if I really have a question?
And it was nice to have that peace of mind for like a reasonable fee to be able to reach out and get an answer in a reasonable time period from a professional. So, yeah, it’s interesting to see that model used in different ways. Healthcare for dogs, .
James Marin: And I definitely found the opposite because I think so many would go with like, oh no, we need tiers.
And I think we just tend to overcomplicate things of like, you only get 30 messages for this much money, and then if you want, and, and that’s initially what, um, I think in the, in the, actually in the larger practice, they were trying to implement something like that and they’re over complicating it. One of many reasons of why we’re like, guys, we, we can’t, we’re gonna go do our own thing, you know?
And it’s really just again, this idea of like giving back to your patients and they won’t, like when you, when you make it less complicated and just like unlimited, like give them, give them again a healthy balance, but give them that almost don’t even use it. It’s almost, I don’t know what that, what that psychology is, but I know there’s a name for it.
But, um, it’s like, oh, I have unlimited. . It’s almost like they tend, I don’t want to send that many questions. Like after all, you know, it’s almost like just knowing, you have it, you know, it’s like that, that feeling of like, oh, oh, that’s nice and okay. You feel supported. Yeah. Feel supported and it’s like, okay, I, I don’t even need unlimited, but that’s so nice and it’s great.
It works out.
Erica Julson: Yeah. So, at the moment, is a lot of your online offerings kind of like extension offers for people you’ve worked with one-on-one? Or do you also have stuff for people who are just following you on social media?
James Marin: Oh yeah. I mean, um, like technically anyone following us on social media could register for our practice and join the membership.
We have had a small percentage do that. But as far as like just people following us, um, like our E guides, we have our good gut A through Z, which is paid, but really a lot of our guides right now are free. They’re just lead generators. which kind of just bring people into our funnel. So we have a supplement called Gut Nurture.
We we offer the E guys, I forgot to mention that earlier. , there’s so much, but Yeah, so, so we use a lot of lead generators where like we just had our, our good gut holiday guide of just healthy recipes for the holiday. We have our good gut shopping guide. This is all free. But it creates lead generators through our e-commerce, cuz we collect their email, we collect their information, they be, they dive a little bit deeper into our ecosystem.
So then when we do have something like for example, we’re relaunching our course, we’re gonna let them all know, and maybe it’s not for them, maybe, oh, my sister let me forward this to her and that, and just, again, it grows our community. But yeah, just from social media, I mean, it would probably just be, yeah, some of our guides, our membership, but then our course, we’re really happy to do that.
And then our, our, our gut supplement, gut nurture. So a lot of people just. Get that. They go, Ooh, ge cool. And it’s speaking to as dietitians, like, we learn stages of change, right? It’s, it’s pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action. Everyone’s in different phases. So we’re also meeting their needs of like, ah, I’m not ready for one-on-one, but I might try a supplement powder.
And, and again, we made this super high quality, it’s a great prebiotic postbiotics, so virtually anyone can take it. And hopefully they come around to realizing like, oh no, I’ve had i b s for 20 years. A powder or like, maybe the 20th powder you’re trying is not gonna be that quick fix, right? Cause we’re not about quick fixes.
So, oh, if I take the powder and I see one-on-one and I join the group, oh, now I’m making great progress. Right? So eventually when they move into that contemplation to. preparation action. There’s something for everyone in that phase. That’s really our goal. So yeah, it’s just mix and match. Mm-hmm. , what fits that individual for sure.
Erica Julson: And then what does your email strategy look like? Do you send out emails every week? Is it automated? How do, how do you have that set up?
James Marin: It’s, we, we do, we have a contractor who’s like our social media gal, and, um, she does, like, we kind of do it by feeling like we are getting a little bit more, a little bit better with, like, it kind of goes by month of the year, so we’re putting things out like, you know, November we do our, that’s when our good gut holiday recipes go out.
So people are prepping for Thanksgiving and moving into like December, which is Christmas and for, for so many people. So yeah, we do send out emails on that or blogs. Um, nothing’s really set in stone just yet. We don’t, we don’t like to spam people. Maybe at most we’re sending out two email blasts a month.
and with our automations, which is really cool that we’re implementing, is we’re having layers for our automations or our email blasts. So we’re gonna have kind of a broader community email blast that’s maybe twice a month at most. But then our internals, so those that are really at our nucleus, like in our practice, we can, through cerbo and through this third party automation, we can.
Blast through like our core group if it makes sense. So we’re assessing on that,
Erica Julson: like based on where they are in their treatment protocol and stuff.
James Marin: Exactly, yeah. And it’s, yeah, so, you know, we’re assessing that and that’s all it is. It’s like, it’s this ecosystem, right? You’re either on the outer layer of the ecosystem where you’re right in smack dab in the middle of it.
And those are like our hardcore people. They’re in our membership, they’re in our practice, they’re gonna, I mean, we have, I mean, you identify over a, a, a period of time, like you’re really diehard fans, almost like we have some patients who are like, anything you tell me to buy, I’m gonna buy it. I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna support you.
And it’s like, wow. Like it feels so good. And ultimately we’re like, Hey, but make sure it’s good for you. Like, just don’t buy every, you know, everything. But, um, it’s nice to see those people or like they just have that, again, like you said, that level of security and like, support from us and that that’s what you want as a practitioner, right?
So, yeah. I mean, no real honestly, no real strategy is just to provide, you know, great information and great support. I mean, that’s, that’s the big one for sure.
Erica Julson: So to kind of put a bow on everything, and I totally nerd out on all this stuff too, sounds like you have your kind of customer journey pretty mapped out now and you’re serving people at different stages.
So at that point, when you have all that set up, it’s more about what it sounds like you might be trying to focus on the bigger picture stuff, like how are we bringing people in and like the higher level, not so nitty gritty with the serving people one-on-one, but like the bigger vision of the business.
And in terms of growth, it sounds like for a long time you, you had referrals and word of mouth and leaned a lot on the great outcomes that you were getting people to grow. And then, in terms of online channels, is it correct to say that Instagram is your biggest audience right now? .
James Marin: Oh yeah.
In terms of, yeah, our audience, Instagram’s our biggest, I think we’re like at like 30, over like 30,000 followers on Instagram. But it’s, it’s so interesting. I mean, social media’s so finicky. They’re always changing algorithms. Instagram is becoming Facebook like, at the end of the day, like what, what pops in my head is like, we just want to become sticky.
And what I mean by that is like, if we have one patient, we want them to, we don’t necessarily want them to always be a patient. We obviously, it’s a little bit different for us as like a, as healthcare providers, but we want them to refer family and friends and be sticking a sense of, man, I love the experience of Mary Health so much.
I’m gonna refer everyone I know to them. So it’s like one patient is technically always gonna be a patient and eventually wanna offer something for people who are, who are just healthy and want to stay healthy. I, I don’t really know what that is yet. I have some ideas, but it’s very in the early stages.
But like where if you become a patient, there’s something for everyone. With married to health, so you’re always gonna be in our ecosystem, contributing to our mission. So I think that’s, that’s really where all of our focus is. Like we wanna make, we wanna make what we have currently, um, so amazing that we become so sticky, right?
We’re people just stay and, and love it and love us and they’re growing in their own way. So yeah. And then, but yeah, like in terms of audiences, yeah. It’s so, it’s so finicky, right? Where it’s like, oh, now it’s TikTok and maybe it’ll be shorts and maybe, and there’s so many different platforms, but if I had a comment on that, I would say shorts we’re betting on shorts.
Like YouTube shorts I think are, are no-brainer. Because they have that seo, love.
Erica Julson: That’s like my big thing, love thing. , that’s like my YouTube shorts nerding out. Yeah. Except I don’t do a lot on YouTube. I’m like Google seo. But, um, yeah, it’s like that evergreen, long, long term. Growth mechanism, I guess.
It’s, I’m, in my opinion, a little less finicky than the social media algorithms. , thankfully.
James Marin: Yes, exactly. Totally. And I’m, I’m a big nerd on that too. Like, I, I recently checked, like, I was so happy. I think we’re, we’re on the first page of Google. If you type in integrative. Registered dietitian. Nice. Uh, and I’m like, yes, like awesome.
I love that. And it’s like, wonderful. And married to health there and that’s what we wanna be known for. And, and it’s um, it’s the seo, right? Like that lives on. If you’re continuing feeding it in that it’s gonna be great because Instagram gets greedy, let’s be honest. Like they draw you in with that organic reach and then they’ll, they turn it off, right?
And they’re like, oh, you want this post to get what it used to pay us money? Right. And it’s like, I get it. They’re a business and, you know, I’d rather, I’d rather spend time on Google a little bit in terms of analytics and the seo. And that’s, that is very powerful. But I would say it, but again, even more powerful than all of that is word of mouth
Erica Julson: Yeah. I was gonna say the thread that was coming out from you when you were describing that was like, Yeah, there’s value obviously in like acquiring new people and new eyeballs on your brand, but don’t forget about who you’re already serving. and capitalizing, and really making sure you’re fully serving those people to the best way that you can.
So that’s a really good insight. Um, okay, so I guess my final question is if you, based on all this wonderful experience you have, uh, starting and growing your business with your wife, what would be like your top three pieces of advice for a dietitian who’s interested in growing an unconventional business today?
James Marin: They were starting, Ooh, top three. Yeah. Three tips. Top three tips. Oh, that, that’s so good. . Yeah. I mean, I would say, I would say it’s really knowing. Knowing yourself first and foremost, I’d say that there can’t be enough said on like, making sure you’ve invested first and foremost in yourself, because your business becomes like its own entity.
It’s not you. It’s like a baby. I always say we have two kids, we have our daughter and we have our company. So it’s like, and you know, when you have kids, it’s a lot harder to then focus on yourself. So I would say focus on yourself. Like understand, okay, what do I have to offer? What am I, what am I giving?
What is my, my niche or my focus? And that’s why we didn’t go full force and like, alright, we have an L L C, we have an S corp and we took out a huge loan and we got this office space. What, what are we, what are we doing? You know what I mean? It was, it was the opposite. It was like, let’s first learn what we’re doing and then like I said, like we refined it.
We had this precious metal. We’re like, Ooh, let’s build around this precious metal now and let’s use this precious stone to then build. I think, I think that comes from tip number one is, is yeah, knowing yourself, invest first. If before you’re thinking of starting a business, if you need to invest in that course, invest in more education, invest in experience and, and time in there.
Tip number two is, is networking. Oh my gosh. Like, I hope everyone, I mean everyone here is, are listening, watching. Whenever you are, you’re kind of doing that, right? You’re, you’re going with a group, you’re networking, you’re gleaning knowledge. I mean, that is, oh my gosh, that is a precious stone in and of itself because you’re able to then maybe you learned about cerbo today and that’s all you took away from this conversation.
That might have saved you dozens and dozens of hours of like searching for an E M R. That’s great. You’re already ahead of someone else who didn. Who isn’t plugged into a group or in a network and is networking, right? So like, I can’t say enough about networking. Number three is, is like, I get, I mean this sounds so, I’ll try to get more specific, but like, yeah, I guess like thinking outside of the box a bit, like, there is some uncertainty with telehealth.
Like, I love being virtual. I want to stay virtual. We’ve gotten some feedback from patients that are like, oh, we wanna see you in person again. And we do do some grocery store tours, so we’re gonna, we’re gonna think outside the box and do more in-person stuff and still get that feel. But maintaining our, our virtual practice, um, and, and really leaning into that, not being scared of that.
Like we pay a little bit more a month to do virtual in terms of the software, but compared to the overhead of having a brick and mortar or having an office space, I mean, it is amazing. It’s been a game changer. So, . Um, yeah, I guess being, I guess a better way to say that, I wanna say third is innovation. Wherever you can innovate, whether that’s telehealth, whether it’s, it’s kind of thinking outside the box a little bit with automations or, you know, I wanna put that under that bigger umbrella of innovation.
But a big one for us was the telehealth and jumping on that early and just leaning into it. And I know there’s some uncertainty, but we’re gonna work hard to, like, when I know a lot of the Covid emergencies ending, and I, I hope insurances are smart, and they go, no, let’s still support telehealth. Like, this has been amazing for people, whether you’re talking about people who are, are, have disabilities and can’t really leave their home, or busy moms who are just like, now they’ll, they’re willing to see a dietitian because they don’t have to drive 30 minutes or 15 minutes and wait in an office and take their kids outta school or, you know, I mean, there’s just so many factors to this and I hope people.
understand that and keep telehealth at a forefront. Yes, those are, those are my three.
Erica Julson: Those are great together, . Thank you. No, that, those are really helpful tips. I think there’s gonna be people listening who might wanna follow along with what you’re doing. So where should they go if they wanna stay connected after this?
James Marin: Go to marriedtohealth.com. We have a newsletter that should pop right up, or Married to Health across all platforms. Again, we’re, we are leaning more into YouTube, we do a lot on YouTube. We do, we have dietitian talk once a month with all of our dietitians, and we just talk and you can ask questions. We do our Good Gut Live, which is for our members, but you get to kind of peek into that.
We do a restream like simulcast on that and, um, yeah, so YouTube Married to Health, Instagram married to Health. We’re, we’re also working with Twitch, like we do Twitch live streams married to health. So yeah, Mary to.com. It’ll give you everything you need. Um, and you can connect with us. Yeah, and like I said, we do it is my goal in the next year, hopefully sooner to, to start giving back to other dietitians.
And then, and then just doing more for families, like just more prevention. So we are starting kind of a phase two of the company, which is, it’s our three F’s, which is farming, food, and family to prevent the need for that m and t, which has been our bread and butter and will continue to be medical nutrition therapy, but we want to eventually prevent medical nutrition therapy, uh, if we can as much as possible.
So, yeah. We’re excited.
Erica Julson: Well, I’m excited to see where things go for you. We can keep in touch. Maybe do a check-in in a year too, and Oh, yeah. Get some, yeah. The, the updates on how everything goes, . Definitely. Well, it was great to meet you today and, chat. Thank you again for your time. I don’t wanna go too far over our plan time, but, but yeah, thank you.
I, I really think there’s a lot of value here for people. Appreciate your time.
James Marin: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with James and are coming away full of inspiration about what’s possible as an RD entrepreneur. If you’re enjoying this podcast, be sure to hit the subscribe button on whatever platform you enjoy podcasts on so that you can easily access all the latest episodes. And if you’re not already in my free Facebook group, the unconventional RD community on Facebook, come check it out. It’s a great place to connect with over 13,000 like-minded wellness professionals who are interested in unconventional career paths.
We love to have you. Other than that, I will catch you next 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.