The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has lead to a shift online, with many services that used to be offered in-person now moving to virtual formats. A recent survey showed that members of the Canadian public not only accept virtual forms of healthcare, but hope such online services will continue after the pandemic (CMA, 2020). As a result, even once the pandemic has been resolved, online offerings may still remain popular, as they offer distinct advantages over in-person appointments.
For those wishing to know more on what is required to establish this type of nutrition practice, we examine some key aspects below.
Establish a Specific Purpose and Audience After Nutritionist School
Following nutritionist school training for a professional integrative nutrition diploma, graduates will be poised to market themselves in various areas of the food, wellness, and health sectors. While this career flexibility is advantageous, graduates wishing to pursue a virtual practice often benefit from choosing a narrow field of concentration to set their business apart.
This “niche” strategy of marketing has been identified as an effective method of capturing a small clientele by offering a highly specialized service, with the goal of building up a much larger audience over time (Parrish, Cassill, Oxenham, 2006). The practitioner may choose to centre their services around healthful meal planning for busy working professionals, or may have ambitions to work with clients looking to lose weight, for example. This may be an especially good opportunity for graduates to highlight the life coaching and counselling training included with their program, as many nutritionists lack the skills necessary to address these aspects.
The narrower the focus, the more unique the service offering becomes, setting the stage for capturing the attention of a specialized segment of the market. This approach can be especially useful online, as services can be marketed to international clients in addition to local ones.
Remember to Understand the Value of the Virtual Practice
New graduates of nutritionist school may not have envisaged their practice first launching within a virtual context. However, there are certain benefits that come with this direction. Some of the most notable observed benefits include a dramatic reduction in overhead expenses, much more flexibility in the meeting time options that can be offered to clients, and the opportunity to find a wider body of clients through a format unconfined by geography. Adapting to and accounting for these changes will be important. Nutritionists, for example, may choose to reallocate funds originally intended for an office space, putting them towards online marketing efforts instead.
Additionally, graduates of nutritionist college may well be interested in the benefits the virtual format can enable within a one-on-one session context. Research has revealed that clients receiving sessions in the virtual format feel at greater ease opening up from the safe and secure environment of their own home, reducing the anxiety that can often accompany the direct eye contact and other shared interpersonal space considerations of traditional in-person appointments (Hawkins & Smith, 2006). However, even within a virtual context where clients feel more relaxed, it is still important for nutritionists to exude professionalism. It is important for professionals to test equipment beforehand, and to ensure that their home office is well insulated from outside noises and free of disruptions.
Are you interested in learning how to earn your online nutrition diploma?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College today to learn more about its specialized Professional Integrative Nutrition Diploma Program!
Marr, Bernard (2020). How The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Fast-Tracking Digital Transformation In Companies. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/03/17/how-the-covid-19-pandemic-is-fast-tracking-digital-transformation-in-companies/?sh=24a3978aa8ee
Canadian Medical Association (2020). Virtual care is real care: National poll shows Canadians are overwhelmingly satisfied with virtual health care. Retrieved from https://www.cma.ca/news/virtual-care-real-care-national-poll-shows-canadians-are-overwhelmingly-satisfied-virtual
Government of Canada, Canada.ca (2020). Starting a business. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/start.html
Loretta, David (2020). Starting an Online Business in Ontario. Retrieved from https://www.canadastartups.org/starting-online-business-ontario/
Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith (2006). Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy: Supervision and Development, Open University Press. Retrieved from https://coachfederation.org/blog/virtues-virtual-coaching