Business OverviewNutrition is big in everybody's minds these days--people want to live longer, think smarter, eat healthier and weigh less doing it. As a nutritionist, you'll help your clients attain all these goals through a variety of venues--you can act as a personal diet coach or as a consultant to restaurants and food manufacturers, give classes and seminars, or work with health clubs and health-conscious companies. If you like teaching other people about healthy lifestyles, cheering on their achievements and motivating them through plateaus, then this is the business for you. The advantages to being a nutritionist are that you can tangibly measure your success through your clients' successes, you can make a positive difference in others' lives, and you can do it all for a small start-up cost, start on a part-time basis, and work from home. You'll need a strong knowledge of health, nutrition and psychology, along with sales and marketing skills to snap up clients. You can get (or you may already have) a registered dietician degree (called an RD) from the American Dietetic Association. This is a definite plus but not a necessity. Since state licensing and certifications for nutritionists vary, call your state Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.
The MarketYour clients can be just about anybody you care to target: individuals or corporations. You can coach on a personal level in your clients' homes or offices; you can also work as a consultant for health clubs, large companies or institutions. If you choose to work with clients on a one-to-one basis as a coach, place ads in local publications. Network in your community. Offer your services to one lucky person at a charity auction or raffle in exchange for free advertising. Make up a brochure and mail it to people in the middle- to upper-income levels of your town. Send brochures and sales letters describing your services to corporate, institutional and health-club prospects, then follow up with phone calls requesting appointments.
Needed EquipmentAbout all you'll need is a computer, a printer and the usual software for creating sales letters, brochures, menus and other materials for your clients.