Background Info:

NAME: Melinda Braithwaite

TITLE: Owner and Dietitan at Lifestyle Nutrition

In one sentence, describe what you do..

Private practice dietitian specialising in paediatrics and pre and post-natal nutrition. 

BUSINESS LINKS

QUESTION 1: WHAT LED YOU DOWN THE PATH OF PURSUING PRIVATE PRACTICE?

I knew right from that start when I first started studying dietetics that I wanted to end up working in private practice or community health. I felt I was never suited to the hospital environment. I wanted to be able to work with clients over the long-term and see their progression.  I also had more of an interest in preventative health hence one the reasons I wanted to work in paediatrics and conditions more commonly seen in the community.

QUESTION 2: DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR JOURNEY HAS BEEN LIKE GETTING TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW

After graduating I was lucky to fall into a private practice role fairly quickly at an established dietitian clinic. This was a great opportunity to learn the ropes of private practice. I found once I had my foot in the door more opportunities started coming up. Within one year I was consulting from multiple allied health and doctors clinics. However I did hit some hurdles last year due to clinic changes which made me stop to evaluate whether I could make it work as a full-time job. This is when I decided I needed business mentoring and reached out to The Ambitious Dietitian. I am happy to say I am now feeling more positive again. I have found my niche and can see a clear direction for my business moving forward.

QUESTION 3: WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BUSINESS NAME?

I came up with my business name as I strongly believe that nutrition is more than a diet or a short-term healthy eating plan, it is a lifestyle. I also wanted to be able to work with clients and educate them on how certain lifestyle factors could be modified in order to better manage their health and prevent long term health issues.

QUESTION 4: WHAT 3 BUSINESS TOOLS OR RESOURCES COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

  1. Healthkit – My main practice software. It is fantastic for appointment scheduling, client details, notes, GP letters, invoices and creating business reports to track progress.
  2. Efax – Perfect for sending all those GP letters and receiving faxes.
  3. Canva – I love using Canva to create social media posts, blog post pictures and other marketing material.

QUESTION 5: IF THERE WAS ONE THING YOU COULD OUTSOURCE IN YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD THAT MEAN TO YOU?

No question it would have to be my social media. I waste so much time trying to think of what to post and actually writing the content. So many times I have ended up putting it in the too hard basket. If I was too outsource I feel I would have more time to spend on other aspects of my business.

QUESTION 6: WHO IS IN YOUR CHEER SQUAD CURRENTLY?

My family, especially my parents. They have supported me through all the ups and downs of trying to establish a business. As my mum herself has a small business in the fitness industry she has been great for helping brainstorm business ideas, general business advice and mindset. TAD has also been an amazing support over the past 6 months assisting with business planning, refining my target market, branding, website development and marketing.

QUESTION 7: DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN? IF SO, HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT CREATING IT AND HOW DID YOU FIND THE PROCESS? IF NOT, WHAT’S STOPPING YOU FROM PLANNING OUT THE DIRECTION YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO GO IN?

Yes. I created my business plan as part of my mentoring program with TAD. I found the business planning workbook provided by TAD very helpful as it was step by step which made it much easier to complete. Overall having a business plan in place has given me more direction and made me think more about other potential business opportunities.

QUESTION 8: WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACE IN BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?

Consistency in my clinics. I find some weeks I am fully booked and then other weeks it is really quiet. I also struggle at a few of my clinics with last minute cancellations which I find very frustrating.

QUESTION 9: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

Scheduling holidays in advance and planning a long weekend every 2-3 months. I have also altered my schedule to ensure that I have 2 days off in a row to ensure I can completely switch off from work. I also love running or going for walk and find it great for clearing my head so I make sure I schedule this into my day. 

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