NAME: Aidan Muir
TITLE: Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian
IN ONE SENTENCE, DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO – I do one on one consults and create plans that help people improve their body composition, health and/or performance through optimising their nutrition.
WEBSITE – www.idealnutrition.com.au
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/aidanmuirdietitian/
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/aidan_dietitian
QUESTION 1: WHAT LED YOU DOWN THE PATH OF PURSUING PRIVATE PRACTICE?
I got into dietetics because I was spending all my time reading about nutrition and how it can help people reach their goals. I looked up to a lot of nutrition practitioners (not necessarily dietitians) and learnt a lot from them, while always maintaining a focus on wanting to help people one on one. About halfway through my degree, I also developed a massive interest in business as well. Starting my own business seeing people one on one was the logical choice from there.
QUESTION 2: DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR JOURNEY HAS BEEN LIKE GETTING TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
I started a business straight out of Uni in a large gym and that was a massive learning experience. I had huge ambitions but hadn’t nailed the basic steps of how to get clients for myself and how to provide them with a great experience. That prompted me to go work for a large dietetic organisation so I could gain experience and learn from other dietitians who were successful. Over the course of a few years, I moved locations and states multiple times within that same company, which allowed me to gain a massive amount of experience working in different settings. This experience then allowed me to transition into re-starting my own business again as a more premium service seeing the types of clients I like to see.
QUESTION 3: WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BUSINESS NAME?
There’s no real story behind it unfortunately! I’m not creative, so I was just looking around at other dietitian business names and saw that a lot of them ended in “nutrition.” I took some time thought of words that could go well in front of it and would double check to see if they were already taken and if the domain name was available. Lucky for me Ideal Nutrition was free and seems to work well from an SEO perspective too!
QUESTION 4: WHAT 3 BUSINESS TOOLS OR RESOURCES COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
Instagram: I’m not sure if this is classed as a tool, but it is my most important marketing tool. A large portion of my clients either found me on Instagram, or they met me in person but didn’t seriously consider booking in until they saw my content on there.
Evernote: This organises my entire life, I swear. I mainly use it for my to-do list and as a calendar. But I also use it for any time I have ideas or when I want to remember stuff. I even have a “waiting list” section where I write down things I’m waiting for other people to do. That way I don’t have to remember anything, which means everything I want to do will get done and I don’t ever worry about forgetting anything.
Acuity Scheduling: This allows people to book in directly from my Website, Instagram or Facebook page. It’s so simple and means I never have to have a back and forth with clients about availability or pay for admin or anything.
QUESTION 5: IF THERE WAS ONE THING YOU COULD OUTSOURCE IN YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD THAT MEAN TO YOU?
The biggest one I wish I could outsource is infographic creation for Instagram. Infographics get great engagement, are easily sharable and also meet my goal of helping to educate people about nutrition. A great infographic can lead to Instagram growth, which in turn helps grow my business. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to create good infographics. I personally don’t think I’m great at them, but I’ve taken the time to learn how to make them to a standard that seems effective. If I could find somebody who could do them better than me, while also fitting into my nutrition philosophy, it would be worth spending a decent amount of money on it!
QUESTION 6: WHO IS IN YOUR CHEER SQUAD CURRENTLY?
Other dietitians. I have a fair few groups of dietitians who I bounce ideas off and I’ve always found them to be super supportive.
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?
When I first opened my business in that large gym back in 2016, the owner of the gym told me to create a business plan. I did it, but I found that I never used any of the things I wrote down. I think it’s a great idea to be super clear about what you want. For example, I prioritise two things:
- Attempting to provide my current clients with a great experience. Part of this requires me to focus on only seeing clients I truly believe I have the ability to help significantly, which means I sometimes need to turn away clients and refer on to others.
- Growing my Instagram in a way that keeps the quality of followers high. This means I need to focus on creating good quality content and engage with people who are relevant, without using any strategies that leads to growth of followers that aren’t relevant to who I am targeting.
It might not be a business plan, but I find if I spend most of my time on those two things, my business will go where I want it to.
QUESTION 8: WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACE IN BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?
Probably the biggest thing is that my workload comes in waves. I intentionally average less than 40 hours per week, but sometimes I have 50-60 hour weeks thrown in there followed up with a ~20 hour week. For the type of life I enjoy, making that more consistent would be ideal.
QUESTION 9: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It’s not an answer people want to hear, but my advice is to charge more. When I was deciding whether to restart my business, somebody explained it to me like this: If you charge an average of $100 per session, you only need to see 12-15 clients per week to make a comfortable living. Anything more is a bonus. Even doing a thorough job, that’s probably only 12-15 hours work, which leaves a tonne of time for the behind the scenes stuff. Obviously the more overheads you have, the higher that number would need to be, but you get the idea.
That’s not even that high of a rate. But if you charge the equivalent of the Medicare rebate at ~$53, suddenly you need to see twice as many people to make similar money. When you bulk bill and work in a setting where other people take a cut (e.g. 30% to the medical centre and 15-20% to an employer), you need to work crazy long hours to make a decent living.
QUESTION 10: WHO DO YOU ASPIRE TO BE LIKE AND WHY?
My aspiration is always to be like people who have massive levels of integrity. This is probably a boring answer, but Warren Buffett is one of my idols. At one stage he was the richest man in the world, but he has always been incredibly humble and from what I have seen, he has always attempted to make choices that are relatively ethical. It’s very easy to get caught up with cutting corners and taking short-cuts in a bid to grow a business quicker, so I’ve always idolised people who are capable of resisting that temptation.
QUESTION 11: CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL WEEK IN BUSINESS FOR YOU?
I work Monday through Saturday, but I block out random days here and there were I don’t see clients. Monday to Friday I’m available to see clients between 8am and 6pm, but I have a limit in my scheduling software on the number of clients I can see each week. This helps prevent it from getting out of hand and ensures I always have time to focus on other priorities like making Instagram posts. I typically post on Instagram ~6 days per week and I make the posts on the day rather than scheduling in advance, since that approach seems to work best for me.
Then on Saturday mornings I also see a few clients but dedicate most of the morning to working with a gym challenge that I’m aligned with. I do a lot of their meal plans at the start of the challenge (which is very time consuming and full on) followed by doing weekly check-ins, which is relatively quick per person, but the total volume of people is pretty large. This allows me to diversify my interests and income slightly from just doing the one on one stuff day in and day out.