Saint Louis University

Author: Kayli Perfetti
Published: Tuesday, March 27 2012

Nutrition entrepreneurism is a new and growing career path for dietitians. From private practice nutrition counseling to authoring nutrition books, nutrition entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the growing public interest in health and wellness.

As an aspiring nutrition entrepreneur, one of my favorite internship rotations was with a registered dietitian, nutrition entrepreneur, and business coach. I came to this rotation with many questions about this unconventional branch of dietetics: “What is it like to be an entrepreneur? How do you build a business? Why do consumers look to people like celebrities for nutrition advice instead of dietitians?”

Over the course of my two-week rotation, I got answers to all my questions and a taste of the entrepreneur lifestyle. Here’s a peak into “a day in the life” with a few business tips weaved in for all of my fellow aspiring nutrition entrepreneurs!

7am-10am: Desk work in our PJs at my preceptor’s home office.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined enough to “be your own boss”. If you don’t schedule work time for yourself, the work won’t get done! For example, at my preceptor’s home office everyday is “bring your cat to work day” and it takes a lot of self-discipline not to be distracted by Miss Lily!

Saint Louis University Dietetic Intern Nutrition Entrepreneur

One of the perks of being an entrepreneur: flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers are perfectly acceptable (home) office attire. Now that’s what I call business casual.

Use this worksheet to find out if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur:


10am-12pm: Gym-time and lunchtime!
One of the perks of being is entrepreneur is the ability to make your own schedule.

12pm-1pm: Corporate Wellness Lunch-n-Learn
Entrepreneurs are innovative thinkers- always looking ahead to their next business venture. Partnering with insurance companies and businesses for corporate wellness opportunities is a great way for nutrition entrepreneurs to diversify their income and market their personal brand. Effectively speaking to groups and utilizing nutrition education skills is also key!

1pm-3pm: Private coaching sessions with clients
One-on-one counseling or coaching is another great business opportunity for nutrition entrepreneurs to build income and carve out their “expert status”. Why do people believe the weight-loss advice of their friends, hairdressers, and co-workers and pay enormous amounts of money for celebrity-endorsed diet pills instead of seeking out a registered dietitian? It’s all about mindset! Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts and we need market ourselves as such! Start by launching a blog or by writing nutrition articles for a school newsletter.

3pm-5pm: More desk work at the home office
Whether it’s writing a monthly newsletter, updating your website, contacting prospective clients, or authoring a cookbook, the work of an entrepreneur seems to be unending. Strong organizational skills and a wealth of passion are a must!

5pm-6pm: Networking event
Networking with other dietitians and potential customers is a must for entrepreneurs. To prove this point, my preceptor signed me up for a networking event. To say that I was dreading this experience would be an understatement, but as you learn to do with all the new and intimidating internship experiences that are thrown at you, I smiled and agreed. It turns out I was totally wrong about networking. I thought it was about making small talk with strangers and “selling your business”. Effective networking is about building genuine relationships, not pitching your services. Start building your network now by attending nutrition and health events in your community. Another networking strategy is to conduct “information interviews”. Contact dietitians that work in your area of interest and interview them about their career. And don’t forget to ask them for referrals to other dietitians you can interview. Your network will multiply in no time!

A day in the life of an entrepreneur is anything but boring and always changing. Nutrition entrepreneurs might work in solitude at home, educate large groups, and counsel clients one-on-one all in the same day! Nutrition entrepreneurism is the perfect career path for dietitians who want to blend business with their passion for health promotions- and it’s never too early to start building your business!

Check out the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group for more information, mentoring, and networking.