Start a nutritionist business by following these 10 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 guide to starting your nutritionist business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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 startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
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.
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.
Who 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.
How much can you charge customers?
You can charge clients between $30 and $150 per session.
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.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Nutritionist Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your nutritionist business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
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.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
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.
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.
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:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
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.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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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.
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.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Nutritionist Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
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.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
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 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 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.
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Take the Next Step
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.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
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.
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.