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After working in a traditional Western medicine model for many years, Cynthia Thurlow began exploring alternative healthcare options in an effort to help her son’s severe eczema.

Now, Cynthia runs a predominantly virtual practice as a Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist, where she utilizes Western medicine-focused labs along with her nutrition training to support women’s hormonal health.

Her interview inspires us to invest in help for our business and helps to remind us that we don’t need to do this work alone.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

Well, I worked in a traditional Western medicine model for many years, first as an ER nurse and later as a nurse practitioner. My youngest son developed severe eczema despite being solely breastfed… and when I asked the pediatrician about whether or not something I was eating was exacerbating this… he was dismissive. His reaction then spurned me to consider an alternative perspective. I read the book the UnHealthy Truth and that literally shifted my perspectives and mindset forever.

From that day forward I started to reflect on how nutrition might impact health, both in positive and negative ways. I initially considered a doctoral program (quit after 1 class), then later became a certified wellness coach and then ultimately an NTC and functional nutritionist.

Tell us about your business.

I am predominantly a virtual based practice…. both 1:1 work and group programs. I created two programs specific to female hormonal health (Wholistic Blueprint and Find Your Inner Goddess) in response to my client’s needs. I enjoy the rigor of more complicated female clients..and am well trained in the DUTCH, GI-MAP, MRT as well as more traditional Western medicine focused labs. I provide a valuable skill set to a much-neglected population.

How would you describe your current business model?

I offer 1:1 work; 2- group programs (listed above); 1-monthly recurring program (Wholistic Abundance). All of my work is virtual.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

Find your niche, nurture, cultivate and find out what their pain points are and develop strategies to support them. Ensure you are growing as a clinician….challenge yourself and be a life long learner.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Ha! As a healthcare provider, I had zero business skills, so I invested in several business coaches, a virtual assistant and a website designer. All keep me focused and on task. Also, I transitioned from a 6 figure job to making 40k my first year and then over 100K my second year, so you have to be strategic and smart about where to throw your energies. I have found the power of video on social media to be really important.

How have you overcome those challenges?

Investing in hiring experts and help…you can’t do this job well alone..and nor should you.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

Don’t build a website until you are crystal clear on your niche and who you service.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

Create boundaries….the work will always be there. Ensure you take care of yourself. Self-care is critical to an entrepreneur. Ensure you have conversations with your loved ones about when you need to spend a few hours or hour on work on a weekend or the evenings…I find that I get better support when I’m upfront about extra time spent on work.

 

What is your favorite indulgence?

Really good bottle of wine and Hu dark chocolate!

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

Haggas….there will not be a second time!

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

Safari in South Africa; Nerja, Spain….most picturesque beach and coast I have ever seen; Marrakesch was dreamy and exotic.

Last book you read?

Dopetown

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Avocado!

What is your go-to breakfast?

I don’t…I intermittent fast, so I usually eat around 10:30am and break my fast with a big salad.

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

Freedom…financial and otherwise.

Cynthia Thurlow is a Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist based out of Washington, DC. You can find out more about Cynthia and her business, CHT Wellness, LLC, by visiting CHTwellness.com.

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After her own frustrating experience of struggling with hormone imbalance and receiving no beneficial assistance from her doctor, Jill Troderman decided to go to school for holistic nutrition and figure out what was going on with her own body. Now, she is an award-winning certified holistic clinical nutritionist, educator, and entrepreneur that helps women, children, and families improve their health and wellness. Her interview inspires us to have fun with our work and to block-schedule our tasks to help with productivity.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

My health and the health of my children were absolutely the inspiration for me to pursue a career in the field of holistic nutrition. It all began when I had bouts of hormone imbalance after my children were born. I sought help from my traditional western trained doctor however she only had pharmaceuticals, specifically antidepressants, to offer me. Since I was not “depressed” but suffered with PMS a few days before my period I knew my problem could be addressed with foods, nutrition or supplements. Yet, I didn’t know how to address it or where to begin. I was so frustrated and angry that I called up the doctor and fired her over the phone. It was in that moment, along with a flash of insight, that I decided to go to school in holistic nutrition to figure out what was going on with me!

Tell us about your business.

I am an award-winning certified holistic clinical nutritionist, educator and entrepreneur. My core passion is to support women, children and families on improving their health and wellness by embracing a holistic lifestyle and by eating healthy foods.

To support my mission to educate, empower and inspire kids to “Eat a Diet as Unique as You Are” I created The Food Tree Guide to Holistic Nutrition.

I have taught my program to over a thousand people for almost a decade and now am finally having all my lessons printed for others to use and to teach. I built this program for families, nutritionists, physicians, therapists, sports coaches, and school teachers to use. Along with the lessons, I provide interactive Food Tree magnetic boards that come with over 100 food and activity magnets and have 2 different educational posters that feature characters I have created called Nutritia, Vita Boy and Nutrition Vampire! How fun is that!

Finally, I make a line of medicinal herbal teas that I blend for different conditions. I love playing with and using plant medicine.

How would you describe your current business model?

I have a few different revenue streams. I like to keep it interesting!

I offer traditional holistic nutrition counseling at The Urban Sanctuary Center and Yoga Studio in Santa Cruz, CA and from my private home office, or by phone.

One of my favorite ways to support folks is by teaching classes. I am introducing a new program called 90 Days to Optimal Weight and Wellness for Moms beginning in October. I love bringing people together to share a common goal. It is a beautiful way to see and support true transformation and healing.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

The majority of my clients come to me via referrals or from capturing them after I do a presentation or teach a class. I would say getting in front of people either online or in person is the best way to grow your client base. I dream of a day where a line would form out my door of people to work with. Sometimes I feel that I am underutilized and would love it if could help thousands more folks than I currently am.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

The biggest challenge I face in running my business is keeping to my daily schedule. It is easy to stay on track if I have clients during the day but when I need to work on a writing project I may tend to find myself cleaning out my desk drawer instead.  Keeping the office space in good feng shui order IS important to success, ya know! But keeping on track with my business plan is certainly more fulfilling.

How have you overcome those challenges?

I do my best to honor my time when I say I am going to do things. I plug my tasks and to do items into the calendar and do my best to stick to my schedule for the week. I create chunks of time to do certain things, like write on certain days and see clients on certain days. Tactically, I often leave my phone in another room so as not to be tempted to answer the call, text or email while I am working. Also, I bring in humor to my work day and joke with people as appropriate to keep life fun while also taking my time and work seriously.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

One of the first mistakes I made was jumping 100% in to my new role by renting office space in a shared clinic pretty much the day after I got my nutrition certificate. First, I would have done a more soft approach, perhaps being an apprentice or getting my feet wet without accruing a financial burden with zero client flow!

 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

Do not wait until everything is 100% perfect to execute your plan otherwise you will never do it.

 

What is your morning routine?

Upon waking I think of a handful of gratitudes. Then, I greet the day sitting by a big picture window while enjoy organic French pressed coffee. Next I meditate for a few moments. Finally I stretch and go for a walk after I eat a nice hot breakfast. Then get to work!

What is your favorite indulgence?

My favorite indulgence would have to be enjoying good quality dark chocolate. Sometimes it’s dark chocolate with almonds, sometimes it’s with sea salt and sometimes it’s with dried raspberries! All good to me.

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

Hmmmm. That is a tough one because I think most folks identify exotic foods with some sort of meat or insect. I eat a vegetarian/vegan diet so I don’t want to disappoint anyone.  So, I will humbly say that the most interesting exotic thing I’ve eaten would be dim sum in China. And yes that would be veggie dim sum!

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

Jerusalem, Israel

Last book you read?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. This was a fun romp I could totally relate to.

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

First thing that comes to mind is healthy food! But to have a little more fun I’d say some sort of vegetarian pot pie or croissant with cheese. With organic whole wheat, of course.

What is your go-to breakfast?

Vegetable stir fry with sauteed tofu, or black beans over corn or whole wheat tortilla or brown rice, with salsa or salad. Maybe a little added cheese depending on my constitution for the day. One of my personal sayings is “I am almost vegan!”

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

One of the aspects that I love about being an entrepreneur is having the creative freedom to explore different areas of my business without feeling limited by other people’s  judgements, agendas, expectations or issues.

Jill Troderman is a Holistic Nutritionist and Nutrition Educator based out of Soquel, CA. You can find out more about Jill and her business, Holistic Family Nutrition and The Food Tree Guide To Holistic Nutrition Curriculum, by visiting Santacruzholisticnutrition.com.

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When Dr. Mila McManus became a medical doctor, she assumed she would learn how to cure the many chronic ailments that had plagued her since youth. Instead, by the end of her residency, she found herself on 12 prescription drugs and feeling worse than ever. Once she discovered functional medicine, she found real help for herself and for her patients. Now, Mila runs The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness, where she empowers her patients with education and functional, holistic therapy for improving their health. Her interview inspires us to focus on our existing patients, clients, and database to help nurture our referral systems.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

I was very sickly my entire life and thought I would learn how to cure my ailments (chronic allergies, eczema, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, acne, PMS, headaches, brain fog and being overweight, to name a few) by becoming a doctor.  Boy was I wrong.  I only learned how to band-aid more symptoms with more prescription drugs.  By the time I finished residency, I was on at least 12 prescription medications and had never felt worse, or weighed more, in my life!  And when I was in my first year of private practice, I noticed a disturbing trend in the number of patients presenting with similar complaints and realized I had nothing to offer but to prescribe medications to band-aid their ailments. This is when I discovered functional medicine, and my health and future were forever changed.  It is absolutely tragic how broken our conventional medical system is today. In all my years leading up to finding holistic medicine, not one time did any doctor, teacher, or colleague suggest that fast food, Cheetos, and canned tuna might be the root of my problems.

Tell us about your business.

The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness is a place of healing and learning. I want to make sure my patients are educated about their health, as well as nutrition and what it takes to achieve and maintain optimal health. While we do offer bio-identical hormone therapy and supplements, we lean heavily on attention to gut health and every aspect of nutrition. My nutritionist on staff and I are certified GAPS practitioners.  Our healthcare providers specialize in adrenal and thyroid dysfunction and treat men, women, and children for just about every symptom and condition one can imagine. One of our newest technologies is ONDAMED, a PEMF device that has been an incredible benefit to our patients.

How would you describe your current business model?

I have two PAs who work with me and we all see all patients.  I see our new patients for initial visit most of the time. A new patient spends about 3 hours at our office for the initial assessment. Before the appointment, the patient completes a 17-page medical history questionnaire electronically which I review before the appointment. Labs are ordered, the extent of which depends on the program the person selected and the symptoms he or she has.  Patients are followed closely by medical staff during the first 6 weeks while they are going through a 4-week cleanse, learning how to eat healthfully, starting a regimen of vitamins and supplements and, if applicable, bio-identical hormones.  We also offer virtual appointments after the initial visit.  We do not currently offer a membership type of program, but it’s being considered.  We do not contract with insurance companies, as it’s impossible to accomplish what we need to do with, and for, our patients with our hands tied by insurance contracts.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

Our best advertising is word of mouth, by far.  We’ve used just about every modality you can think of for advertising, such as pay-per-click ads, facebook ads, facebook page with posts, website content, print ads, commercials, etc. Once we realized that direct referrals were really driving our growth, we redirected some marketing funds towards more opportunities to improve customer service and experience with more opportunities to communicate with our database.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Where do I start?  Time management has been very challenging.  I never realized going in that I would spend half my time on the business side and half my time on patient care. If I had known this ahead of time, I would have gotten an MBA to go with my MD before opening a solo practice.

How have you overcome those challenges?

It’s a constant work in progress. I’m not the best delegator, but getting better at it. I’ve also learned to block my schedule far in advance to have a day off here or there, and plan my conferences early so I can block my schedule before it’s full.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

I’ve hired people hastily over the years out of desperation.  I’ve learned the hard way that it is critical to thoroughly interview candidates, have them meet with other staff members, do thorough background checks, and screen them with personality tests.  Hiring the wrong people will cost a lot in the long run because of time spent dealing with drama in the office.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

Being told to do what I want and what I think is right, and not worry about detractors telling me that it can’t be done or that I would be unwise to leave my family medicine practice and insurance contracts behind.

 

What is your morning routine?

I wake up very early, usually 4:30am, make a cup of coffee, sometimes bullet proof, and take a handful of turmeric capsules.  I get situated in my comfy chair with my laptop and lap desk, and get to work. This includes responding to numerous emails, reading important articles, reviewing charts for the patients I’ll be seeing for the day, working on monthly newsletter, and lots of back and forth with my practice administrator about everything from HR issues to marketing and financials. At 6:30, my husband and I go for our morning walk/jog session.  Upon our return, it’s time to shower and dress for work.  I listen to educational podcasts during this time, and take a 10-15 min break somewhere in there to read. Then I head to work and usually arrive 8:30-9.

What is your favorite indulgence?

A couple of squares of 78% dark chocolate with some mixed nuts and fresh berries, and a glass of cabernet.

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

Oh boy, I wish I had an exciting answer.  Snake gourds!

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

I can pick only one? The Greenbriar in West Virginia

Last book you read?

Why isn’t my Brain Working? By Dr Kharrazian.  Great book! I recommend it to all of my patients.

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

If health is irrelevant, perhaps pork—ribs, bacon, carnitas.  If you’re asking what kind of food in the functional medicine healthy realm, then avocados.

What is your go-to breakfast?

2 poached eggs with sautéed spinach or baked asparagus.  If you want to know what I wish I were eating for breakfast every day, it would probably be a honey bun with bacon. hahaha

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

Being my own boss.

Mila McManus, MD is a Functional Medicine Specialist and Board Certified Doctors based out of The Woodlands, TX. You can find out more about Mila and her practice, The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness, by visiting  www.TWIHW.com and www.facebook.com/TWIHW/.

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Inspired by her own experience of thriving in spite of health challenges that traditional medicine could not address, Maryann Stone became a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. She now works primarily with clients experiencing cognitive and depression issues, with a focus on hormone balance, diet, and exercise to help them thrive without dependence on medications.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

My inspiration comes from thriving in spite of difficult health challenges that traditional medicine could not address. People in my family have not listed longevity as a strong trait, followed by depression as another genetic “gift” that drives my resilience in health.

I have never taken my health for granted and have educated myself on current science for decades. Now, I share both my informal and formal education with people who want to thrive and sustain themselves without dependence on certain medications.

Tell us about your business.

My business is personal. The space I create is sacred and safe, where I meet each individual “where they are” emotionally, intellectually and physically in their life journey. Our work begins with a conversation about life; goals, challenges; what worked well in the past and where the person sees themselves going forward.

I typically work with cognitive and depression issues, which inevitably leads to hormone balance, diet and exercise. I have clients who have been “retired” from their careers and we are working on how to manifest a new future.

I work with a couple practitioners locally in southern California, but I am moving to Washington State in June 2018 and expect those relationships to change and expand to include new ones.

How would you describe your current business model?

Most of my clients are virtual, but some have face-to-face meetings. One program for groups is under development.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

I have adopted a slow-growth model that evolves organically through referrals. I have a lot on my plate and want to make sure I am available to provide my clients with the time they need.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Inertia is a big one to start with. As I am completing my bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in healthy nutrition and wellness, my time is at a premium. Learning how to balance starting a practice in a new field while also completing my bachelor’s program at my age has been a significant challenge.

How have you overcome those challenges?

Discipline and focus are the cornerstones of how I make this work. I am blessed with this window in time where I can finish the degree and gain new clients as I transition to devoting time to my business exclusively.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

Choose what you want to work on, rather than trying to work with everything. In other words, narrow the scope of practice and cultivate your expertise along with your client base.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

Do not give up.

 

What is your morning routine?

Organic coffee with cream as I read the newsfeed on my mobile. Flipboard is a good aggregator of news.

What is your favorite indulgence?

Spending too much time on Flipboard and the occasional pizza from my favorite place.

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

I am not that adventurous when it comes to “exotic” foods. I tend to think in terms of bugs and other critters as exotic and if I have eaten any of those, it has definitely been by accident or without my knowledge.

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

China first, then Switzerland. Both places are memorable for different reasons. In China, I visited two Daoist monasteries. One in the south and one in the north. The countryside was lovely, food was all-macrobiotic (they grew it organically onsite), but the philosophy between the south and north could not have been more different. And of course, there is the Great Wall!! Very peaceful up there.

Switzerland was simply beautiful. I enjoyed Lausanne along Lake Geneva and the various world organizations in Geneva. Having tasty water from plentiful public fountains was a big plus during my 3-week summer visit.

Last book you read?

Nomadlandby Jessica Bruder.  It is about people who live in RV’s or other motorized vehicles and migrate around the U.S. for work. As with any good book, I wanted to know more when I finished reading.

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Tough choice. My background in nutrition will not let me choose just one kind of food, but I choose to follow a Paleo-style eating pattern.

What is your go-to breakfast?

I make this microwave version of bacon, eggs and cheese omelet that is yummy, nutritious and fast. I posted pictures of it on my Instagram account: @maryann.stone

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

I like the freedom to choose how I spend my time and with whom.

Maryann Stone is a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. You can find out more about Maryann and her business, Healthy Lifestyles Coaching, by visiting facebook.com/HealthyLifestylesCoaching.

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Dr. Akil Palanisamy is a Harvard-trained physician, author, speaker, and holistic medicine expert. After becoming an MD, he felt that his education had been lacking in the areas of diet, nutrition, and the mind-body connection, and he went on to study holistic integrative medicine to fill the gaps. He now has a thriving practice in San Francisco, provides online classes, and is the author of “The Paleovedic Diet”, which integrates the best of conventional and holistic medicine. His interview inspires us to embrace growing our businesses slowly and organically to allow for more strategic and well-managed expansion.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

I have always loved science and after a few years in the lab realized that I missed being around people.  After studying medicine I realized that it was missing a lot in terms of diet, nutrition, the mind-body connection etc. – studying holistic integrative medicine helped fill in all those gaps.  I also was very inspired by some of my mentors in integrative medicine such as Dr. Andrew Weil, who I eventually trained with.

Tell us about your business.

I see patients in my office in San Francisco and also offer online classes that usually relate in some way to my book, “The Paleovedic Diet: A Complete Program to Burn Fat, Increase Energy, and Reverse Disease”

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

Social media and also my blog at doctorakil.com has been very helpful.  I think just focusing on putting out content on my blog that I’ve personally found interesting and that I think will be of value to others has been productive.  Not tracking my metrics like number of followers etc. every day and not getting overly focused on those, but keeping my attention on the quality of the content I’m creating.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Overwhelming influx of patients into my practice and not being able to see everyone because of an immensely long waiting list.

How have you overcome those challenges?

Starting to see patients in groups, publishing my book, and creating online classes so that more people can get the information I’m sharing without having to see me one-on-one.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

One key thing is to not grow just for the sake of growing.  It’s important to have a well thought out strategy about expansion and not take on too much.  It’s okay to grow more slowly and organically if it’s going to be more thoughtful and well-managed.  It’s okay to say no periodically and not take on more than you can handle.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

To be my authentic self every day and focus on putting that part of me out into the world in terms of content.  To be still and quiet for at least a few minutes everyday and to go within to connect with that authentic self.

 

What is your morning routine?

Wake up, drink a glass of hot water with lemon, read some inspiring content for about 5 minutes, and ideally 10 minutes of meditation before starting the day

What is your favorite indulgence?

Dark chocolate

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

Alligator

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

La Alhambra Palace in Granada, California

Last book you read?

Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Eggs

What is your go-to breakfast?

Hard-boiled egg with oatmeal and nuts

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom to express myself and the joys of creating something from scratch

Dr. Akil Palanisamy is a Medical Doctor based out of San Francisco, California. You can find out more about Dr. Akil and his practice, Doctor Akil LLC by visiting doctorakil.com or Facebook.com/doctorakil.


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At just 13 years old, Sandi Cohen developed IBS and was given the medical advice to simply ignore her stomach problems. After years of trying to follow this advice and accept her “gut fate”, Sandi took her health into her own hands and endeavored to understand what was actually happening with her digestive system. Today, Sandi is a Functional Nutrition Lifestyle Practitioner, Nutrition Educator, and Certified Nutrition Consultant. She works with clients all across the world and focuses on providing them with education about what’s going on inside their bodies. Her interview inspires us to take charge of our own lives and to embrace saying “yes”, as you’ll never know until you try.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

Great question! When I was 13, I had my first encounter with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was plagued with gut issues wherever I went, whatever I ate. As a teen, this was a hard issue to deal with, and I desperately hoped it would just go away. I saw doctors, but they didn’t give me the information or tools to help me. Most doctors told me to either just ignore my stomach problems or to skip vegetables, or only eat white bread and potatoes. Needless to say, this advice did not work for me and I found myself limiting most foods as everything seemed to make me feel bloated and sick all the time. This of course affected my blood sugar throughout most of my life, as well as my moods, and always left me feeling exhausted.

After years of just accepting my “gut fate”, (which was totally not the way I handled anything else in my life) and not getting the health support that I needed to address my symptoms, I decided to start finding out about my own unique digestion system. That was literally the best decision that I ever made.

During my nutrition studies, I eventually discovered the Functional Nutrition Alliance – Full Body Systems Program, and the FNLP certification program by my mentor Andrea Nakayama. After completing my education, I was able to understand what was happening to me physiologically and why. I successfully made the necessary changes to finally start my journey of healing my digestive issues which fueled my passion for helping others reach their health goals. I’m proud to say that I’ve now become part of the solution to help fill this “knowledge gap” in health care.

Tell us about your business.

I’m a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner, Nutrition Educator, and a Certified Nutrition Consultant. My practice is available to clients around the globe by phone. I also offer group elimination programs, as well as a one of a kind e-book called “College Health Secrets for Girls”. The purchase of the e-book also includes a nutrition session with me anytime during college and is available on my website, sandicohennutrition.com. I also have health videos available to view on Instagram, and Facebook.

As a functional nutritionist, I educate my clients on what’s going on in their body that’s causing their signs and symptoms. By addressing the root cause of their health concerns and introducing simple, targeted, dietary and lifestyle modifications, we start to shift the terrain in order to help bring them resolution and start feeling better.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

Honestly, word of mouth from my clients has been the reason why my practice has grown. Their success with me has been the reason for my success.

Practicing functionally pays heed to bioindividuality. This personal evidence is crucial information to gather in order to address any client. No two people are alike. I also use tracking tools, functional systems and frameworks in order to see the bigger picture more clearly, which enables me to direct my clinical recommendations and care.

  

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Personally one of my biggest challenges has been speaking to groups of people. I literally would avoid any invitation to speak.  Not my thing!

Finally my husband convinced me it isn’t so bad as he does it all the time. So I took the plunge and realized it wasn’t the torture I imagined! That alone has also helped me reach more people and grow my business.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

To always say “yes”. You’ll never know unless you try.

 

What is your morning routine?

As soon as I get up I do 10 minutes of meditation with the app Head Space. Then I have a glass of water mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar and Aloe Juice. Then usually a green smoothie or a bowl of avocado, sunflower seeds, a piece of fish and greens and fruit.

What is your favorite indulgence?

A piece of dark chocolate!

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

I would say it was a piece of fruit that I had in Maui called a rambutan. It was amazing!

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

Forte Dei Marmi in Italy

Last book you read?

The Archetype Diet by Dana James

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Blueberries and Matcha green tea with coconut milk! Sorry, not that exciting!

What is your go-to breakfast?

A green shake made up of kale, carrots, turmeric root, fresh ginger, flax oil, protein powder, blueberries, and banana. It contains fat, fiber and protein, it’s anti-inflammatory and helps with any constipation for me.

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

I love helping people finally feel better and help them take charge of their own health!

Sandi Cohen is a Functional Nutritional Lifestyle Practitioner based out of Pacific Palisades, CA. You can find out more about Sandi and her business, Sandi Cohen Nutrition, by visiting Sandicohennutrition.com.

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Inspired by her own passion for health, the environment, and nutrition, Amber Maron experienced a profound change by altering her diet and knew it was something she wanted to share with others. Now, as a Holistic Nutrition Consultant, she provides her clients with individual nutrition plans to address all aspects of their lives that impact their health. Her interview inspires us to break down our goals into daily steps and to embrace our own value as practitioners.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

I’ve always been interested in health, the environment and food. I became a vegetarian at 12 years old, and was constantly being asked about what I ate, so from a young age I gained experience thinking about and discussing food. Admittedly as a teenager I was a bit of a “junk food” vegetarian, eating lots of bagels and veggie dogs. As I got older I started to cook more and learn about the environmental impact of agriculture and the food industry, and I started to clean up my diet, eating lots of locally grown, organic produce, and cutting out the processed junk. I felt better, and by changing my diet I was able to clear up my own issues like acne and eczema. The profound effect our diet has on our health became obvious to me, and I knew it was something I wanted to share with others.

I’ve found that this work allows me to integrate a number of things I care about – food, the environment, education and helping people feel good.

Tell us about your business.

I am a Certified Nutrition Consultant and creator of Amber Maron Nutrition. My approach is very holistic, meaning that while food and nutrition is the focus, I work with clients to address all aspects of their lives that impact their health. This includes addressing stress levels, relationships, lifestyle habits, exercise, and attitudes. Each client receives individualized food, nutrient and lifestyle recommendations, meal plans and recipes based on their personal needs and goals. While the details of the recommendations are always specifically tailored to the client, the general plan focuses on eliminating the processed ingredients and enjoying real, whole foods that the body needs to thrive. For many, it means reducing animal products and enjoying more fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. When people begin to eat this way, the results are amazing. Inflammation goes down and people experience less pain, more energy, better digestion, clearer skin, and weight loss.

Some people come to me looking to resolve specific health issues, some just feel generally run-down, and know they could be eating better. I educate my clients on the causes of their symptoms, which represent underlying health issues, and how they can use food to heal from the inside rather than relying on creams, pills and a string of other “treatments” that simply cover up symptoms while the underlying problems persist and often worsen. Much of what I do is preventive, such as managing blood sugar issues before it worsens toward diabetes, or lowering blood pressure to reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.

I offer support and encouragement, without any judgement, pressure or unrealistic expectations. If they’re local, we’ll go to the farmers’ market and cook together, because I want people to enjoy the process of taking care of themselves. Undoing bad habits and shifting perspectives takes time, but my goal is always to help people make lasting changes that will support their health for the rest of their lives.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

For me, word of mouth has really been the most effective. When clients share their story with friends and other people can see the results, that works better than anything else I could personally do.

  

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

I was used to working a 9-5 job, where I had a desk and clear assignments to complete. Running my own business was completely foreign to me, I found myself waking up some days wondering, what should I be doing today? It can make someone who likes stability and clear deadlines pretty uncomfortable.

 

How have you overcome those challenges?

I’ve learned to create my own tasks and deadlines. I break down my goals into steps to complete each day, so that I’m not completely overwhelmed by a new project or unsure of where to start. Whether it’s creating a meal plan for a client, developing a new workshop, or reaching out for collaborations, I’ve found it is so helpful if I create a plan with clear steps and actually put them into a calendar.

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

I think in the beginning I was so unsure of myself and my business, I probably got taken advantage of. I did too much for people, without asking for compensation. I don’t regret it, I think it’s all a good learning experience, but I would tell people starting out to understand their own worth, and the worth of what they are providing. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

To be patient. These things take time, and I often want things to happen immediately. But persisting and letting things naturally evolve in their own time has been a great lesson.

 

What is your morning routine?

I always drink a big glass of water as soon as I wake up. Then I do some stretching. Some days it’s mellow, some days it’s sun salutes, but I try to move a little each morning to get the blood flowing before I sit down to read emails and start to work. Then, to be honest, I usually do the dishes from the night before. For some reason, it’s just more meditative and enjoyable in the morning than at the end of the day. My schedule differs a lot day to day, so getting a good, calm start to the morning is important.

What is your favorite indulgence?

Sleeping in. Sleep is underrated, and waking up without an alarm is the best feeling.

  

Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

Natto. It’s a fermented soybean usually eaten in Japan. Really good for you, but definitely an acquired taste!

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

Oh that’s tough, I love to travel. I’d have to say the most memorable would be San Blas, Panama. It’s a group of 365 islands, all still governed by the indigenous people there. I had been travelling for 6 months through Central America with my husband, and we stayed there for a week before coming home. It wasn’t built up or luxurious, but the water was warm and beautiful and the islands were quiet and remote. I remember trying to soak it all in before returning back to life in the States.

Last book you read?

The Girls, by Emma Cline.

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Mediterranean Food. I could easily live on tomatoes, hummus and olives.

What is your go-to breakfast?

In the summer it would be a green smoothie. The ingredients always vary, but some combination of leafy greens, fruit and good fat. In the winter it’s usually a quick scrambled egg with some spinach, tomatoes and avocado. We have three of our own chickens, so we get plenty of eggs!

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

The flexibility! I can be as creative as I want, try new things, be open to possibilities and constantly learn. Creating my own schedule is pretty amazing too, and having the freedom to travel and work from anywhere is a huge bonus.

Amber Maron is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant based out of Redondo Beach, CA. You can learn more about Amber and her business, Amber Maron Nutrition, by visiting www.facebook.com/ambermaronnutrition and www.instagram.com/ambernutrition.


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Inspired by her desire to help others using a natural approach to health, Jen Simon decided to become a nutrition professional. Now, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition though the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, Jen uses functional medicine principles to support the health of her clients. Her interview inspires us to consistently network with our community and to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs to see how they run certain aspects of their business.

What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?

Knowing that there are so many people suffering from being ill from cancer, digestive issues, mental illness or just not having enough energy, I wanted to be able to share and educate about how to heal naturally since Western medicine has not been successful in many cases.

Tell us about your business.

I am the sole proprietor of my business and I work in an office with a functional medicine chiropractor and a massage therapist. I use functional medicine principles to help my clients with health issues (digestive, blood sugar, cardiovascular, autoimmune, mental health) weight management, and disease prevention. I provide one-on-one consults, group programs, grocery store tours and meal planning.

How would you describe your current business model?

I provide individual nutrition counseling to adults and children, individuals and families. I also run group several times a year with focuses such as gut healing, weight loss, and detoxification. I am able to conduct phone or video consults to those who are out of town or ill, however most of my consults are in-person.

Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?

I participate in networking groups in my community. Getting to know people who can then recommend you goes a long way. I also get booths at health fairs and corporate health events. Community and parent Facebook pages are also helpful as members ask for recommendations and advice.

 

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?

Since I did not have a business background, I have had to learn everything from marketing to finances on my own.

How have you overcome those challenges?

I have attended seminars with marketing and social media experts and have also participated in webinars. It also never hurts to ask fellow entrepreneurs how they run certain aspects of their business. I have been known to trade nutrition services for professional advice!

What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?

Feeling bad about charging people I know and friends full price for consults, or not including extra time spent with a client in my charges. I’ve learned that my time and knowledge is valuable and that should be reflected in my billable hours in order to sustain my business properly.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?

You don’t ever have to be “salesy “(which is great for me since I don’t care for selling in the traditional sense).  You need to educate with information and stories and really listen to your clients. Then they will find more success, understand why they are given certain recommendations, and trust you – so they come back.

What is your morning routine?

Wake up at 7:00, have a glass of water. After driving carpool to school, I have my breakfast and tea. I then answer a few emails and check my client schedule for the day. If I don’t have any early clients, I go to it HIIT or yoga class at my gym. Then shower, have lunch, and get to my office to see clients.

What is your favorite indulgence?

Chocolate – dark with almonds

  

Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?

Costa Rica – I love the friendly and laid-back culture, the outdoor activities, and especially the focus on nature. The number of medicinal plants there is amazing!

Last book you read?

I tend to read a few books at a time:

Book for Fun – The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer

Nutrition book –  A Mind of Your Own, Kelly Brogan

Personal Improvement  Book  – The 15  Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Dethmer, Chapman, Klemp

 

If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…

Dark chocolate! But I also have to say salad with a really great homemade dressing.

What is your go-to breakfast?

Two pasture raised eggs with arugula, sides of broccoli and strawberries; dandelion root tea with coconut cream and collagen powder.

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

I love that I get to connect often with other entrepreneurs through networking and have really gotten to know my community. What is great personally about owning my own business is the flexibility to create my own hours, the creativity to put together programs throughout the seasons, and the ability to provide individualized recommendations to clients based on my education and research, not another company’s philosophies.

Jen Simon is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and is based out of Superior, Colorado. You can find out more about Jen and her business by visiting www.foodworkswellness.comand facebook.com/foodworkswellnessLLC.

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