How to Start a Nutritionist Business

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Our guide on starting a nutritionist business covers all the essential information to help you decide if this business is a good match for you. Learn about the day-to-day activities of a nutritionist business owner, the typical target market, growth potential, startup costs, legal considerations, and more!

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Start a nutritionist business by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your nutritionist business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the initial costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you. Skip on ahead to the Business Overview for more detailed answers to all your questions.

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your nutritionist business is sued. Consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.

STEP 8: Define your brand.

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Business Overview

A nutritionist business helps community members live in the healthiest manner possible. Nutritionist business owners analyze clients' dietary intake and biology in order to determine the types of food and beverages that can improve their physical and mental health. These businesses are vital to the health of the community as they help countless individuals combat obesity, build muscle, and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

Who is this business right for?

If you are interested in helping others realize their health potential, owning a nutritionist business is for you. This is your chance to transform bodies, help people combat disease, and get the most out of life. Nutritionist businesses also appeal to those who have an interest in food, human biology, and physical health and wellness.

What happens during a typical day at a nutritionist business?

The typical nutritionist business owner enjoys a diverse workday. This professional meets with patients in-person or through a virtual means such as Skype or webcam chats. Aside from counseling patients in regard to specific food and beverages to consume, nutritionist business owners also stay abreast of developments and findings in nutrition, physical fitness, and overall health. They play an important role in marketing the business, recruiting new clients, managing the business's finances and delegating work to support staff.

What is the target market?

The ideal client is an individual who desperately needs the assistance of a nutritionist. This line of business is ideal for those who are looking to make a meaningful improvement in the lives of community members while simultaneously making money. An individual who is overweight, unable to figure out the proper foods/drinks to consume, and unsure about the nuances of his body chemistry will find nutrition counseling to be especially beneficial. Furthermore, such an individual is likely out of shape and will require the assistance of a nutritionist for weeks, months, and possibly years to come. This style of long-term client has more potential to enhance the bottom line than a relatively healthy individual who requires short-term nutritional counseling. In addition, working these long-term clients will be rewarding as you will be able to see how your advice and training helps them transform in to a happy, healthy, active human being.

How does a nutritionist business make money?

This business charges clients for analysis of their body chemistry and dietary intake and for advice pertaining to the specific foods and drinks that are optimal for health.

What is the growth potential for a nutritionist business?

This business is getting more popular by the day. Plenty of people are willing to pay for counseling from a nutritionist. It is possible to start out with a single client, gradually add clients in the ensuing months, and build a massive client roster that numbers in the dozens. You can even hire nutritionists to work for the business in nearby towns and gradually expand the company as demand increases.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful nutritionist business?

You should have an in-depth understanding of human biology, nutrition, and wellness. Your knowledge regarding body chemistry and the nutritional qualities of foods and beverages will be put to the test. You should also have excellent people skills as you will be required to interact with clients on a daily basis. Furthermore, you should be altruistic and motivated by the opportunity to improve others' quality of life. Launching a nutritionist business is an excellent opportunity to improve the health of people in your community, reduce society's medical costs, and help lengthen lifespan.

What are the costs involved in opening a nutritionist business?

The business requires an office. However, it is possible to use a space of your home as the office. You will need a website, a phone to field the calls of prospective clients, a computer, a high-speed internet connection, and a printer. These are the bare bones costs to open a minimalist nutritionist business. You can add more tools as you gain clients and the business becomes more profitable.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a nutritionist business?

This business won't work unless you are genuinely interested in improving the lives of those in your community. People respond positively to nutritionists who are sincere about lending a helping hand. Try your hardest to help people consume healthy foods and drinks for their specific body chemistry, lose weight, amass muscle, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Your business won't go anywhere unless you socialize with people in the community. Interact with as many people as possible, let them know you own a nutritionist business, and express your desire to transform lives. Be sure to obtain the proper training, licensing and certification. Certain states mandate that a nutritionist obtain a license if his services are marketed as a “licensed dietitian”. Other states merely require registration.

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Growing Your Business

How to promote & market a nutritionist business

The best way to promote this type of business is to engage in conversations with members of the community. Pass out your business card to people you meet. Build a highly polished website that touts the merits of consulting with a nutritionist and shows examples of client success stories. Type up a weekly or monthly newsletter and drop it off at local businesses, libraries, and other facilities that welcome such materials. Make sure this free newsletter features your nutritionist business's name, logo, website address, and contact information.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

One of the best ways to recruit customers is to boost your online presence. Aside from building a nice-looking website that is easy to use, you should also enhance your social media, blog and other online content for search engines. Use keywords and key phrases your target clients are likely to search for. Be sure to add local identifiers such as your town name, local streets, your zip code and even the names of neighborhoods by your business to help locals find your business when conducting online searches.

How and when to build a team

It is possible to run a nutritionist business by yourself when it is in its infancy. You can answer the phone, schedule clients and provide nutrition consulting services on your own. However, a team will be necessary as the business grows. You must add a receptionist to answer the phone and schedule nutrition counseling sessions. If you add enough clients, you can bring on nutritionists to handle the counseling while you oversee the business. If the company becomes large enough, you will also have to add a marketing professional, an accountant and possibly an office manager.

Legal Considerations

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a nutritionist business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Maintain Personal Asset Protection

Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
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To learn more about maintaining your LLC's corporate veil, read our guide and protect your personal assets.

Services Contract

If you offer your clients the opportunity to sign up for long term guidance, it is a good idea to have them sign service contracts. This contract should cover the terms of service such as the number of counseling sessions for which the client signed up and how much they agreed to pay for each session. Laying out such terms in a services contract will minimize the risk of legal disputes with clients. 

Earning Potential

How much can you charge customers?

You can charge clients between $30 and $150 per session.

What are the ongoing expenses for a nutritionist business?

This business requires an office, high-speed internet, computers, printers, office supplies, insurance, employees and marketing. Budget $500 to $1,500 per month for office rent. Utilities and high-speed internet will cost $100 to $200 per month. Budget in at least $50 to $100 each month for office supplies. Marketing costs differ based on your preference for inbound or outbound marketing. In general, you should plan on spending $100 to $500 per month on marketing efforts. A receptionist/scheduler will earn between $8 and $12 per hour. A marketing expert, office manager and accountant will command a yearly salary in the range of $30,000 to $50,000. If you are busy enough to hire nutritionists rather than provide all of the nutritional counseling on your own, plan on paying a salary of $40,000 to $60,000 for a nutritionist's services.

How much profit can a nutritionist business make?

The profit for this type of business hinges on the number of clients, the location and the number of competitors. A nutritionist business can make anywhere from $20,000 to six figures per year. Expand the business to multiple locations and cities and the profit margin can soar toward seven figures per year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Consider providing nutritionist services online through video chats. You can obtain a “finder's fee” for referring clients to other health professionals like personal trainers. It is also possible to provide nutritionist services while moonlighting at nursing homes, hospitals and outpatient centers. Consider holding group sessions with those who seek your services as well as group sessions for local companies that invest in health and wellness initiatives.

Next Steps

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