health expert

Q&A with Entrepreneur and RD, Gisela Bouvier

Gisela Bouvier

Gisela is an English and Spanish speaking Mindful and Intuitive Eating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. As a woman who struggled with an Eating Disorder for over a decade, her passion is to help heal clients from chronic and stressful dieting, learn to reconnect with their bodies’ desires and find total food freedom. All foods fit! Learn more at www.bnutritionandwellness.com

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I am a 31-year-old wife and mom from Miami, FL. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida International University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Saint Leo University. I currently live in Southwest Florida and own a virtual Nutrition Counseling practice called B Nutrition and Wellness.

What inspired you to start your business?

I was inspired to start my own business because I was miserable at my job. I was building menu databases for hospitals from home and missed connecting with people. I became a Dietitian so that I could help others find health through nutrition. I was always too scared to leap into becoming an entrepreneur. It took a job that made me unhappy to push me to start my business.

Where is your business based?’

My business is a virtual practice. Every day I get to connect with women all over the country via video chatting and phone calls, helping them find peace with food. I also see local clients at a yoga studio in North Port, Florida.

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

After I quit my full-time job, the first thing I did was file my business name online. I asked friends and family which name they liked best out of 3 options and then I filed. Next, I opened up a business account at my local bank and then purchased my Client Portal Platform. Lastly, I hired someone to build my website. After I had all of those components, I started to promote myself on social media platforms and began to write to reporter queries to get my name out. Slowly, but surely, my business started to grow.

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

Instagram has been the most effective way to bring awareness to my business. I am able to engage with potential clients and show through posts and captions how I found my own journey into finding peace with food. I am relatable to my target audience and it has tremendously helped me gain clients.

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

My initial biggest challenge was not connecting with the right individuals and business coaches. Many wanted to change my brand or my approach to clients. They wanted me to focus on helping people lose weight or develop recipes and become a dietitian food blogger. That just wasn’t me. It wasn’t until I connected with a female business coach who understood my vision that helped me with the tools I needed to grow my company. There is no blueprint on how to grow a business. You can do and figure out a lot on your own, but you definitely need someone to help give you the extra boost.

How do you stay focused?

I stay focused by keeping my end goal in mind. I envision the day where I can walk away from all other per diem and part-time jobs and solely work and depend on my business. My daughter also keeps me focused. I want to show her that anyone can build their dream job if they truly want it.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

My business differentiates because my message about Mindful and Intuitive Eating is clear. My clients know that with me, I truly help them and allow them to truly reconnect with their bodies’ desires and intuitiveness. There is no “wrong” answer when it comes to their nutrition and I help them dive into what truly may be contributing to their strained relationship with food. Every client’s approach is individualized and I give them my unconditional support until they are able to find their total food freedom.

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

Just as Instagram has brought the most awareness to my business, it also has been my most effective marketing strategy. The platform allows me to be myself to connect with my target audience on a personal level. Also, growing my email list and providing clients with valuable content has provided effective marketing. 

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

Always remember why you started. The ride is not easy, but it is well worth it. Also, get a business coach who understands what you envision from the beginning. Do not work with mentors that may want to change you – grow with mentors that want to challenge you in positive ways and help provide you with tools on how to grow your business.

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

My favorite app is Healthie, which is my online Client Portal. It allows me to organize my calendar, book clients, and connect with them from anywhere in the world. My favorite book is called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA. Their principles are the foundation of my counseling approach with my clients. Lastly, Food Psych podcast by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN and Conversations with Anne Elizabeth podcast by Anne Elizabeth, RD have also been wonderful resources for me.

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

My favorite business resource has been Carla Biesinger’s and Libby Rothschild’s course “Instagram Secrets to Success” has been one of the best investments I have made as a business owner. This course made me realize how important branding is to grow your business, attract clients, and be authentic in your own field. It completely transformed my branding and my approach on my social media platforms and my website.

Who is your business role model? Why?

I have two business role models. The first one is my Business Mentor and Coach, Carla Biesinger. She is an Online Marketing Specialist that has built her business as a coach and mentor working from anywhere in the world. She travels the world and connects with thousands of people everywhere, helping them build their brand. Libby Rothschild is a fellow dietitian and another business role model for me. She has created an online community for dietitians simply by connecting with people via Instagram and now creates courses to help people grow their brand. She has multiple streams of income and is a role model for organization and completing tasks daily.

14). What do you have planned for the next six months?

During the next 6 months, I plan to continue learning how to create email sequences and series to further engage with potential clients. I also plan to start taking on business clients of my own to help young dietitian entrepreneurs start their own online practices. 

How can our readers connect with you?

Readers can connect with me via the following:

Website: www.bnutritionandwellness.com

Email: hello@bnutritionandwellness.com

Instagram: @bnutritionandwellness

Facebook: @bnutritionandwellness

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