Wellness entrepreneurship

Q&A with RDN and Entrepreneur Monica Auslander Moreno

Monica Auslander Moreno

Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN is the founder of Essence Nutrition, a concierge group nutrition practice in Miami. She sees private clients [both kids and adults], corporate clients, and consults for various local restaurants and businesses with her signature programs she and her team perform both in office and virtually. She is the dietitian for the Miami Marlins, Soho Beach House, and Ocean Reef Resort and Club. http://www.essencenutritionmiami.com

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I’m a registered dietitian who started a private practice when I was 25 that in two years has been, thankfully, rather successful, and is now becoming a group practice and expanding to more digital/corporate pursuits. I’m born and bred in Miami – went to the  University of Florida for undergrad and FIU for my Master’s in Dietetics and Nutrition.  

What inspired you to start your business?

I felt very confined in a clinical job – I was working in a hospital as an inpatient dietitian. At that point, many of my patients were near the end or suffering from diseases that nutrition could have prevented, so I wanted to inspire folks to prioritize their health BEFORE it landed them on a ventilator with a feeding tube. Being a clinical dietitian is BOSS – you have to be razor sharp, extremely well-trained, medically, and be meticulous in your formula calculations. But I wanted to be more creative, social, and entrepreneurial.

Where is your business based?

Miami (Midtown) – but a lot of our clients do ‘virtual visits’ from all over the state. We also do speaking engagements nationwide. We now have a Spanish-speaking dietitian who can nestle in that niche!

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

Very first step was forming an LLC! (Things you don’t learn how to do in a Master’s of Science..). Then – setting up a bank account, recruiting talent to build our logo, branding, and website, finding a physical space, etc.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Social media and word of mouth from friends/family and then clients who bring other clients. Both avenues bring in very different types of clientele, but we appreciate our diversity in our client pool!

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Not overworking myself. I’m extremely task-oriented and feel the need to do things immediately. The first year, I was working nights, weekends, holidays – no days off! It was a major struggle to find a work-life balance. The financial costs of starting a business were also perilous – you feel like you’re hemorrhaging money. That chipped away day by day on my nerves as well. I had to remind myself that this was a process, a journey and that my only job was to do my best and take care of myself… oh, and make time to see my then boyfriend/ family/friends / feed my dog!

How do you stay focused?

I always remind myself of the end goal – create a dietitian empire! And honestly, it’s harder for me to NOT focus; I can wire in and work for hours straight and realize I haven’t blinked. It’s bizarre.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

We are a team of dietitians, which is pretty unique, we’re young, contemporary, fast, modern (we’re in a shared workspace with dozens of other innovators!) diligent, and don’t provide any ‘gimmicks’ – we rely on evidence-based science and a humanistic/psychosocial approach to food when we counsel. There’s no “Essence Diet”!

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Essentially, keeping it honest and delivering what people NEED – a SUSTAINABLE, relatable plan and human being (dietitian) to transfer the knowledge and thought paradigms they need to do it. So many of our clients are on their 80th diet / cleanse / pill regimen and we are here to put a stop to the food crazy madness! So we market that – that we create honest, workable plans, and not thousand dollar “detoxes” that ultimately fail.  

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Get a mentor! Sadly, I never really had a private practice mentor so I kind of had to navigate the big bad business world on my own. It would have been so reassuring to have the support of an elder in my niche field. Oh – and try not to work 16 hours every single day because you will become PHYSICALLY ILL (oops!)

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

App – my Healthie app where my clients can log and take pictures of their meals in real time and I can instantly provide feedback. It keeps them accountable and provides me with real data we can then use to discuss in session!

Blog – My adorable dad has kept a blog about his life since 2006. It’s called ‘Dave’s Funny Crap.’ He muses about random topics and his theories on life.

Book – The Harry Potter series. Do you need an explanation?!

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Virtual visits. We realize that fairly few people these days want to brave Miami traffic/parking to physically come into an office – especially when they have just a 30-minute follow-up. So we rely on a ‘virtual visit’ with HIPAA secure software for over 60% of our client base; you can do a video or phone consult with us from anywhere in the world, essentially! It’s much more convenient, practical, and then we can let our dogs make a cameo.

Who is your business role model? Why?

My dad. He started a law practice with his partner when he was a young attorney. They were hungry for business, fiercely diligent, passionate, and above all – worked with integrity in a field that is certainly not known for ‘playing nice.’ He still managed to make time to be the best dad who has ever lived to my sister and me, provided us with a beautiful life, and inspired an entrepreneurial spirit in me.

What do you have planned for the next six months?  

We’ll be launching a branded app for 24/7 contact with clients ‘on demand’ who have questions/need support but don’t want to bother with formal consults. I’ll be working more with Del Monte Fresh as their official dietitian, continue with the Marlins for the 2018 season, and will hopefully cultivate a growing clientele base for my associate dietitians.

How can our readers connect with you?

Instagram - @eatlikemonica. Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/essencenutritionmiami/

Twitter - @feedyouressence

Email: monica@essencenutritionmiami.com

Q&A with Health Expert & Entrepreneur, Melissa Eboli

Melissa Eboli

Melissa owns a healthy cooking and wellness company called Via Melissa. She is a certified nutritional chef and graduate of The Academy of Culinary Nutrition (2016). She is also a certified nutrition and wellness counselor from AFPA (2009) and a certified personal trainer through Hofstra University's continuing education program and AAPTE (2009).

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I am a New York native that grew up in the suburbs of the Bronx, in a coastal area called Throgs Neck. I also have a BS in advertising and marketing from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

I worked in advertising/marketing for 14 years for some amazing companies including Penthouse Magazine, Virgin Mobile, and Fisher & Paykel Appliances to name a few.

When I was 29, I developed adult asthma along with food sensitivities and multiple chemical sensitivities. The silver lining here was that I was forced to do a complete 180 in my life to live a clean lifestyle and manage these new illnesses. This is when my lifelong hobby of cooking was taken to the next level and my allergen-friendly style of cooking really began.

What inspired you to start your business?

I continued to suffer from allergies coupled with chronic fatigue that was all brought on by the chronic stress I had from my job, until one day I hit a brick wall, so to say. That wall was in summer of 2016 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. That is when I had my "aha" moment and awakening which was “ life is short and you never know when curve balls will be thrown at you”.

I realized I wanted to be a health advocate to teach people how to eat clean, allergen friendly and disease preventing dishes. Weeks after her diagnosis, I gave in my resignation from selling appliances and enrolled myself into The Academy of Culinary Nutrition to begin the process of launching what is my business today. I feel I have been given a gift of being a natural recipe developer and this gift needs to be shared with as many people as possible.

Where is your business based?

My business is based out of New York. However, I travel to clients and service the metro area anywhere in a 60-90 mile distance in any direction.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

I worked with an amazing business coach who gave me the tools and confidence needed to leap from being a 9-5’er into being my own boss. I attended a culinary program to hone in on my skills, wrote up a business plan to follow and completely re-vamped, then re-launched viaMelissa.com. In the last few months, I launched a new website called ViasKitchen.com truly portray my cooking business.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Social media has been instrumental. I use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as my go to apps. I also pitch the media on a regular basis and have been fortunate to have many write ups and features this year alone. I also partner with CPG companies to increase my awareness.

One brand I work closely with is Simply Beyond Spray on Herbs and Spices. I use its products in many of my dishes and develop recipes for them which are featured on its website.                

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Though I've had a lot of media exposure, obtaining new clients is always a challenge. I’ve been fortunate with websites like Thumbtack.com where I get numerous leads on a daily basis. I also have a few B2B partners I work with. I’ve learned to be creative and resourceful.

 How do you stay focused?

I’ve always been a self-starter and most jobs I’ve had were remote positions. I know that if I’m not out there promoting myself and making new contacts the business isn’t just going to come to me. My focus is knowing the more I put into it, the more I get out of it.  As much as I work, I love what I do and most times it seldom feels like “work.”

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

I offer cooking lessons, personal chef services, and catering. I am different because I am conscious of food allergies and special diets. I cater to the vegan community and clean eating overall. I also use organic ingredients as much as possible down to the spices.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Online tools have been the most effective for my particular business. Being listed on websites like Thumbtack, IfOnly, and CozyMeal has truly been instrumental.  Building partnerships and relationships with companies that send me to their clients are also a large part of my business. This includes corporate wellness companies that have clients looking for healthy catering or corporate retreat companies that want a chef in their arsenal looking for cooking classes.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Don’t give up! Being your own boss is not easy, and you may not get it the first time around. Additionally, be flexible and open to ideas from others. If your initial plan isn’t working, go a different route. Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, but if you are talented and passionate about your work, the sky is the limit!

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

I don’t really have a favorite app. The one I tend to use the most is Instagram for my social media marketing but I wouldn’t necessarily call it my favorite.

A great book I read last year was called Knockout my Suzanne Summers. She explains how many people have cured cancer naturally without big pharma and the blog I love reading it HearPreneur. I get to learn success stories of fellow entrepreneurs as well as tools, tips, and tricks of the trade from them.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

I love using Wix.com! I’ve developed both of my websites with the easy-to-use platforms and I even run my blog and contact management through the site. All of their products and services are very user-friendly no matter what your skill level is.

Who is your business role model? Why?

One of my role models is Racheal Ray. I aspire to have an empire like hers one day. Books, TV, merchandise and all things culinary! I would love to be the modern day, healthy version of her.

With so many other chefs who have been on the scene, she has had and continues to have a long running career. She started off small/local and made it big!

What do you have planned for the next six months?

I am eager to carve out some time to shoot some professional quality food videos as well as work on a healthy cookbook; just figuring out the angle is the hardest part. I have a library of original recipes that I would love to share. I will also be focusing on my catering business and seeing how I can grow and staff up to start to take on larger scale events.

 How can our readers connect with you?

www.viaMelissa.com

www.viasKitchen.com

Facebook & Instagram: Organic Cooking Via Melissa 

Q&A with Inspiring Entrepreneur, Amanda Campbell

Amanda Campbell

Accredited Sports Kinesiologist Amanda Campbell founded Bend Like Bamboo in 2013, a private practice, where her team helps others rebuild their lives from illness and stress. She has dedicated her life to helping others find balance to repair and heal emotionally and physically. 

Taking a balanced approach, Amanda travels Australia, giving health and wellness seminars and speeches. She educates her audience sharing the lessons she learned along the way on her recovery from paralysis, five years after her diagnosis of MS at age 24. Motivating and inspiring others that they too can make a transformation in their life is her passion.

Amanda has now dedicated her life to helping Australians improve the way that they feel physically and emotionally whilst maximizing their nutrition. Amanda at her core believes that renewal is possible if you give your body the right environment it needs.

Can you tell our readers about your background? 

Today, I wear a few hats in my career. I am an Ambassador for MS Limited (Australia), a Sports Kinesiologist, and a Motivational Speaker.

In 2009 at age 29, I suffered a major MS attack that left me paralyzed and I was given a 50% chance of ever walking again. 

Unprepared to accept this as my fate with the odds stacked against me, I had no choice but to succeed. I learned to focus on what I wanted instead of what I was scared of. With a lot of determination and the help, doctors and a Kinesiologist, within six weeks, I stunned us all by not only walking but running again.

What inspired you to start your business? 

This prompted me to swap a fast-paced career in the fashion industry for learning all about my recovery. Having become an accredited Sports Kinesiologist, I founded Bend Like Bamboo, my private practice in 2013, where I have dedicated my life to helping others rebuild their lives from illness and stress. Bend Like Bamboo specializes in autoimmune disease and the emotional links to disease and physical stress.

Where is your business based?

Glen Iris, Melbourne 

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

After studying for a few years, I saw clients and slowly started to understand that I had value to offer helping others with Autoimmune Diseases. Sharing all the lessons I learned along the way, learning how to walk again, optimizing my nutrition, unpacking subconscious stress, and doing a literal mind-body reset, I started to see that my clients were getting fantastic results, too.

I opened Bend Like Bamboo in 2013 and a year later I had another amazing opportunity to start another company. I co-founded Nourissh www.nourissh.com with my partner and VinoMofo in 2014, delivering ready-made meals to people across Melbourne.

Taking a balanced approach, I believe that nourishing our bodies on a cellular level, understanding our minds, and connecting with ourselves again, gives the best chance of recovery and living a happy, fulfilling life.

My cookbook (out soon) includes recipes that include optimal macro and micro nutrients that have been studied, backed by science, to nourish the body on a cellular level improving the brain, gut, and cellular health. As a result, you are giving your mind and body the best chance to repair, reorganize and thrive again.

Looking back I think the key ingredient is really believing in yourself.

Because I was so passionate about my results, I just had to share it with as many people as possible. I felt so much better, my MS Symptoms subsided, some that were really debilitating. 

I saw a pattern as I started to get busier and busier and now work with other Autoimmune diseases, anxiety, stress, and any setback in life. 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business? 

We are still learning and tweaking, but Facebook has been great for us. I find videos are great too..

I am also a Speaker. This all started at my volunteer role with MS Australia (Limited) about 7 years ago.

I became an MS ambassador and started speaking at events of them helping to raise awareness by sharing my story of recovery.

In my latest project, I share my work of mind-body connection with a balanced eastern/western approach. In speeches, I cover the three pillars I live by of eating better, feeling better leading to connection, and believing in yourself. 

By doing so has not only changed the course of my disease but have also achieved a reset of my mind and body.

I also speak at events and businesses to educate and inspire others that they too can make a transformation in their life. 

At my core, I believe that renewal can be possible when you give your body the right environment it needs.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? 

Maintaining a balanced life whilst working so hard! You have to schedule it in and walk your talk. That is why I love my job as it forces me to be accountable. I cannot work with clients unless I feel well!

In 2014, my business boomed at Bend Like Bamboo and it was a new career for me.

Pete Evans shared my page and my diary was booked out for 6 months in advance, that continued for years.

I am so grateful as I started to see so many clients from all over the world that flew in. It made me the practitioner I am today.

When I started Nourissh in 2014, it was so hectic! But I had a few Sports Kinesiologists step in and see most of my clients for me at my Practice.

I can now see how I can expand Bend like Bamboo, more specifically, mentoring Kinesiologists.

How do you stay focused?

I have a review hour on Mondays and Fridays where I work on admin tasks, and other business activities. 

How do you differentiate your business from the competition? 

My clients often say they love to see me as I have been through it. I have been to the other side and back. I understand their symptoms and what they are going through first hand.

Moving forward at Bend lIke Bamboo, I want to take advantage of technology to scale the business. I want to reach broader markets with our online courses. There are many other businesses doing this.  

Perhaps it is my story that helps to explain the benefits of Kinesiology that inspire people to make a change in their life?

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business? 

Facebook and videos that communicate what I do, why I do it, and how I can help you.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs? 

Believe in yourself. Know your why and just go for it with an open heart and people will connect with you.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

I read a great book last month called The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi. I highly recommend as it proposes that we are not a product of cause and effect, but rather, we can change our mind and life regardless of what happened.

I do love Daily Om for inspiration and Chronic Entrepreneur for other news. 

I love the Buddhify meditation app for meditating on the fly.                                                                                                                                                                                       What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Trello - helps you be organized

Who is your business role model? Why? 

I love any business that has a balance of achieving great things, doing good in the world and inevitably helping people. 

Though producing profit is important as it allows you to help more people, what a person or business does with their success is inspiring to me.

What do you have planned for the next six months? 

www.amandacampbell.com.au is launching a 5-week online course for people who can't get to Bend it Like Bamboo. 

I also have a cookbook and a second book about my journey coming out so I am working pretty hard on those 3 projects whilst seeing clients at the practice.

How can our readers connect with you? 

www.amandacampbell.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amandacampbellspeaker

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/amanda_campbell_health/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaC_health

www.bendlikebamboo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BendLikeBamboo

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/bendlikebamboo/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandacampbellau

Q & A with Wellness Coach, Helen Hayes

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Helen Hayes is a Traditional Acupuncturist and Wellness Coach and runs retreats specializing in women’s health and stress management. Having
come from the corporate world, her mission now is to help ambitious women thrive in business without compromising their health and well-being and paying the price of burnout

Can you tell our readers about your background?

After my first degree in Economics and Spanish, I started on a career path in the City of London working in Corporate and Financial PR. My very first office was opposite the Bank of England which was quite something for a brand new grad!

My career originally developed in Business-to-Business Public Relations and I largely worked on international campaigns with teams from across the globe, which was great for me as I love travel. I particularly enjoyed running the press trips and even took a group of journalists to Silicon Valley. After the long hours and intensity of PR agency life, I decided to freelance and focused on supporting start-ups with their PR and marketing and in particular, women in business.

I have always been interested in health so, in my late 20s, I took myself back to university to study Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I have been running acupuncture clinics and specializing in female health for well over ten years now, and recently I have expanded my business offering. I now support women in business in a different way – to help them gainbetter health, greater work life balance, overcome stress, and stay on top of their game. I run retreats for women and work with women 1:1 on developing and implementing their own personal wellness plans.

What inspired you to start your business?

This one is simple – I wanted there to be more support for ambitious women to thrive in business without compromising their health and well-being and paying the price of burnout. 

Where is your business based?

I live in the Forest of Dean in the UK, and I currently run retreats within the UK and it’s only a matter of time before I will take those abroad! My wellness coaching can be online though, so I guess there’s no set location for that part of my business - I find connecting with and helping women from around the world totally inspiring - I absolutely love what I do!

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

When I first qualified in Traditional Acupuncture, I had to blend that work with my freelance PR work for a couple of years so it wasn’t a quick or easy career change.  I then moved across the country from East to West, so had to start building a client base from scratch all over again. Only two years in, I was amazed how much of my work as a therapist came from word of mouth but that does mean you have to put a lot of time in initially to promote a brand new practice.  I started www.balanceretreat.com this year as an extension of my practice so it is still very much my new “baby.”

I have always loved organizing and running events so offering retreats has always been at the back of my mind.  I have also been studying day and night to further develop my wellness coaching skills. Other first steps have mainly been based around networking as I am also developing corporate wellness services, so for that I needed to find a team of qualified healthcare experts and business customers!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

In the past, the most effective way for me has been word of mouth and the one-on-one meetings and interactions I have with people.  I’ve learnt that it is very true that “people buy from people” especially when it comes to investing in your own healthcare. Trust is paramount.

More recently, Facebook has served me really well.  Running well-being workshops have also been a good awareness raiser too – although this is all very much based around my local market.  Now I have to convert all this to the online world to reach a greater audience of women for my new offerings!

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

At one point I had 4 jobs – as a single mother, I took on whatever work I could fit in to the week for financial reasons, so I found myself running clinics as well as freelancing in PR.  As a result, I lost focus on the part of my business that I loved and I began to worry that I was losing my passion! The reality was I was just spreading myself way too thinly. I overcame this by seeking help from a variety of wonderful coaches and soon regained my passion and clarity. Now I just focus my work on what I love doing.

How do you stay focused?

Self-care is at the heart of what I do for a living and without “practicing what I preach” I would not be able to stay focused.  Having a self-care routine keeps me on track in all the other areas of my life.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

My approach to wellness is underpinned by the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine and I absolutely love blending East and West and the ancient with the modern.  I have developed my own form of wellness coaching for women that fits this model too. I suppose it’s different as my business is a reflection of my own unique set of skills, knowledge and experience.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

To date, it has probably been nurturing and developing existing customers as word of mouth was so important to my acupuncture clinic. 

More recently though and certainly for my new business, I think it has to be putting the time and investment in to developing a brand identity that is aligned with my target audience and creating a professional looking website.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Keep focused and prioritize self-care: get solid on your values, your needs, and your strengths and keep them in mind in everything you do. Stay healthy.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

App – my podcast app without a doubt!

Blog – I don’t have one favorite as I jump around from business blogs to wellness blogs all the time.

Book – Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela – changed my entire outlook on what is possible when I read it in my 20s.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Evernote – helps be to keep things organized.

Who is your business role model? Why?

It probably has to be J K Rowling (Harry Potter) as despite her own personal challenges she followed her passion and the rest, as they say, is history!

What do you have planned for the next six months?

Networking and working on new retreats. I am also currently pulling together a team of therapists to launch my new corporate wellness services.

How can our readers connect with you?

www.balanceretreat.com

https://www.facebook.com/balanceretreatforwomen/

https://twitter.com/BalanceRetreat