How I grew a thriving practice in a year with Kelly Mulhall

What inspired you to become a nutritional therapist?

It’s quite ironic really as I was never into healthy eating and I didn’t know the first thing about nutrition!

I had suffered with IBS for over 12 years and got absolutely nowhere with the GP and conventional medical testing. I also developed a lot of skin issues after coming off the contraceptive pill and I was so confused and upset as to why my body was completely out of sync. I started looking into more natural remedies and stumbled across nutrition.

I saw a nutritionist myself and it completely changed my life, so much so that I quit my job in events to train as a Nutritional Therapist with the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM). I wanted to help others see the benefits of the healing power of food.

How did you set up your practice?

I spent a lot of time working on building up my business. I had always been employed so I didn’t know the first thing about setting up a business. I realised I needed to learn the ropes of growing a successful business.

I had to learn everything from finding my ideal client, to creating a marketing strategy, understanding how to budget and forecast, growing my online presence, streamlining protocols and procedures and how to make my job fit in with my lifestyle.

By using resources offered by the ANP and finding a coach, I was able to transform how I worked from being nervous and scared about what to do, to absolutely thriving. I managed to get 40+ clients in my first year of business. I now operate a waiting list and I am hiring other nutritionists to work with me.

Wow, that is an incredible achievement! Can you share what helped you grow your practice?

I would say having a successful nutrition business is 50% clients and 50% marketing! Clients will not just land in your lap. You need to know where to find them, what they want, how you can help them and most of all, how to get them to trust you enough to work with you.

I use a mixture of methods from paid-for advertising which can include Google, Facebook or Instagram ads, listing on nutritionist websites, writing articles for magazines and newspapers, LinkedIn outreach, free talks and webinars, referrals and even some flyers.

Consistency is key. Don’t put out an advert once and expect it to bring in loads of business. On average it takes 5‒12 points of contact with a cold lead before that person will buy from you.

So, when working with clients, what can they expect from you?

As well as nutritional therapy, I also offer business coaching. I work with my clients on a 1‒2‒1 basis. We have weekly meetings where we discuss their goals and then put practical steps in place to achieve them their goals.

The outcome of the sessions will be guided by the needs of the individual but I am there to help them think outside the box, see a different perspective and challenge them on any negative thought patterns and beliefs.

Thank you so much for sharing your story! Final question, do you have any tips you can give to practitioners when starting on their journey?

Practise, practise, practise! You have to be confident in selling yourself and your business as that is what people are buying into. This can be tough as we are in the industry of helping people and we don’t want to come across as salesy or pushy. But if you want to make Nutritional Therapy your career, you need to nurture it like you would with any other job.

Whether that is doing consultations, closing the sale, rewording marketing material to make it stand out more, pushing back on clients that are wasting your time, the more you practise, the more confident you will become. Record yourself when having a discovery call or doing a consultation. It may be cringe-worthy but it will help you spot your mistakes and make you sound more confident the next time.

Get as much exposure as you can. In this day and age, you need to be confident in front of a camera, whether that be Zoom or an IG story. The world is online and if you want to keep up and grow a successful business, you need to be adaptable. Offer to give free talks, do podcasts, IG lives, write articles…all exposure is great for your business and will help set you aside from others.

You also need to back yourself and know your worth. I know many practitioners who don’t want to charge a certain price because they ‘are new’ or ‘don’t want to seem greedy’. The fact is, you spent 2‒3 years studying to become a Nutritional Therapist, which means you have 2‒3 years’ worth of knowledge and hundreds of hours of clinical experience behind you — that makes you very qualified for your role. Don’t get in your own way by blocking your true potential and undervaluing yourself.

Lastly, get support! Whether it is a mentor or a coach, I cannot emphasise enough how much this will transform your business. If you want to become successful, efficient and confident in what you do, then why not get the advice from someone who has been there and walked the same steps?

Behind every successful businessman or woman is a team of people who helped them along the way― just ask Oprah or Obama!

To find out more about Kelly and how she works, you can head to her website The Natural Balance.