If you’ve ever felt like you don’t know where to start with your clients, you’ll love Melanie’s story. She is a licensed dietitian-nutritionist (LDN), Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS) who went from feeling like she was taking direction from her clients to now being the Functional Nutritionist that doctors refer their patients to. Here’s the short interview we recently did with Melanie where she tells us how she made such a leap.
FNL: What did you struggle with before taking FNL courses?
I struggled with knowing where to start with complex clients and what to prioritize. I kept feeling like I was getting stuck and I didn’t have a clear progression, process or long-term strategy in mind for my client care. I was also feeling constantly led by my clients’ questions about certain supplements or symptoms instead of directing the care myself.
FNL: How have you changed since FBS?
I definitely have more confidence, and it came both from taking Full Body Systems and from applying what I learned in FBS in my practice. I’m more comfortable working with complex cases, and I feel stronger when talking to doctors. I have a process now, starting with the Intake Form, using the Functional Timeline and Functional Nutrition Matrix, and then creating my goals for working with all of my clients. I follow Andrea’s 3 Tiers to Epigenetic Mastery with every client, and it has made a huge difference for me.
FNL: How has your practice changed?
I have increased my rates a few times and I’m able to speak with confidence and leadership to prospective clients about how I work and what I have to offer them. A doctor reached out to me last year and has referred several clients to me, even to the point of telling her patients that I would be better able to serve them than she would. That’s definitely another confidence booster! This year I have been working on developing my own methodology that will form the basis of an online course I’m creating as well as allow me to move beyond single sessions and into a package model.
FNL: What changes have you seen in your clients?
I have clients who stay with me for a year or more (even without being bound by a package!) Some of my clients with really complex cases are sticking with me even though they aren’t “better” yet because I’m the only practitioner they’ve worked with who is willing to keep going despite not knowing the answers. I’m willing to keep supporting and keep turning over the next stone, so there’s a lot of trust and hope that I feel I’m able to develop with my clients.
FNL: Please share something specific that you’ve done to grow your practice or attract more clients.
I do a variety of things to grow my practice. I got into creating videos last year and I find that having them on my website really helps prospective clients build trust with me even before we speak for the first time. I made the commitment to email my list weekly, and I say ‘yes’ even when things are scary—when the doctor reached out to me for the first time, and every time she calls, when I’m asked to give talks to various audiences. I’m highly introverted but I make a point of saying yes to scary things and putting myself out there when the opportunities arise.
FNL: Do you have a specific client success that you’d like to share?
I’ve had several instances recently where a client has been told by another practitioner that diet won’t make a difference in their condition. And I have a client who worked with other “nutritionists” who only sold her supplements and the nutrition part was just a handout. Yet when I get in there and do the true, Functional Nutrition work, they do get better. They’re able to avoid medication for anxiety, able to wear jeans again after resolving severe vulvodynia from interstitial cystitis, and really what it comes down to is that they’re able to take back control of their own health through their daily decisions and actions around food which is a great gift to be able to give people.
Functional nutritionist and educator Andrea Nakayama (FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC) is leading patients and practitioners around the world in a revolution to reclaim ownership over our own health. Her passion for food as personalized medicine was born from the loss of her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002. She’s now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors, and trains a thousand practitioners online each year in her methodologies at Functional Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.