Ever since becoming a registered dietitian, I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. In 2017 I finally made the jump to self-employment and can whole-heartedly say it was the best professional decision I’ve ever made.
I know it’s overwhelming. Suddenly you’re making all of the decisions and your income is totally dependent on your own actions. You start questioning what to do first, how to best allocate your time and resources, and can sometimes feel paralyzed.
These are some of the tools and resources I recommend to fellow entrepreneurial RDs who are considering starting a business. I get a lot of questions from friends and colleagues so I wanted to have one landing page where I could direct others for support.
note: some of these are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission with no added cost to you. Just want to be transparent about that!
- WordPress.org & SiteGround. If you plan to monetize your website, then a self-hosted wordpress.org site is hands-down the way to go because of the functionality (I’ve tried both Wix and Squarespace too). You’ll need a host, and I love SiteGround for their excellent customer support.
- KeySearch is gold for SEO purposes when you’re planning blog content. If you consistently post about topics that no one is searching for, it just won’t be seen regardless of how great the content is.
- WP Tasty. A quality recipe card plug-in is a non-negotiable for anyone serious about food blogging. It will help your search traffic, plus readers will be able to scale and print recipes from your site.
- Nikon D3400 & 50mm lens. If you want to get serious about food photography, I recommend investing in a DSLR camera. I still use this entry-level Nikon model and lens and have been happy with both for now.
- Adobe Lightroom is what I use for editing photos. It makes a huge difference in the end product and is simple to learn and inexpensive ($9.99/mo).
- The Tasty Food Photography Ebook is a wonderful resource if you want to improve your food photography. It covers the basics of using manual mode on your camera, includes editing tutorial videos (both Lightroom & Photoshop) and has a bunch of simple tips for styling/props. At just $29, it’s a total steal.
Social Media & Organization
- Todoist is a great virtual task list tool and keeps me organized.
- Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler so you don’t have to spend time manually pinning each day to stay active. Love it!
- Link in Profile is designed so Instagram readers can click the link in my bio, find a photo and easily jump straight to a recipe.
Email List Management
If there’s one thing you do right from the beginning of launching a business, start an email list.
- ConvertKit is fantastic if you want to be strategic with targeting. It’s unique in that you can create segments, tag people based on how they join your list, set up email sequences (such as drip email courses) and more. The emails have a very minimalistic, no frills appearance.
- I use Flodesk for communicating with my Beautycounter clients because the templates are beautiful and easy to customize!
- Practice Better. If you plan to see clients, you’ll need a secure EMR to take notes and communicate with them. PB is user-friendly and also includes HIPAA-compliant video chat capabilities for virtual sessions. It’s basically an “all-in-one” solution so you don’t have to piece together a bunch of other tools (which is neither efficient nor professional in my opinion).
- Canva is great for all of your graphic design needs (i.e. handouts). This is one tool where I definitely feel like the paid version is warranted. It allows you to set brand colors/fonts for easy access and add team members.
- Living Plate RX. If you plan to offer meal plans, don’t spend hours creating them. Living Plate RX offers RD-curated plans for all sorts of dietary needs and preferences and allows for real-time education and customization (instead of a cookie cutter PDF).
- The Unconventional RD alternative & passive income for RDs
- RDs Who Write if you’re interested in freelance writing
- Dietitians on the Blog for blogging and media inquiries
- Scale Your Nutrition Practice content and resources to help you scale from a one-to-many business model.
Education & Courses
- RD Entrepreneur Symposium. A bi-annual online educational event that you can watch at your own pace, featuring all sorts of topics specific to dietitian entrepreneurs.
- Beat the Algorithm is an online course on how to grow on Instagram in an authentic and meaningful way (not easy to do these days).
- RD2RD Marketplace is a platform for buying and selling nutrition education materials (and it’s an awesome passive income opportunity).
- Food Blogger Pro is a membership site that allows you to pay a monthly subscription in exchange for access to tons of helpful food blogging related resources (from the creators of the highly successful Pinch of Yum blog). You’ll get access to forums, video tutorials, live Q&As and more. It’s a great resource, especially when you’re just starting to learn about blogging strategy.