Fueled by the knowingness that there was more to life and the desire to overcome her personal health challenges, Evelyn left her 6-figure career in corporate America to pursue a higher purpose in the wellness space. Now in practice as a Functional Nutritionist, Evelyn inspires us to lead a life of passionate professionalism.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
At first, in my early 20s, my inspiration was vanity. I was overweight and wanted to feel confident and look good in clothes. Over time, as I climbed the corporate ladder, my health started to decline. I developed Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune thyroid disease – and I was also feeling very uninspired and burnt out with work and also very agitated and irritated in my personal life. This was the impetus to change. I knew there was more to life. I had a higher purpose and passion, and so I shifted paths on my journey. I started getting health and healing related certifications and eventually left my 20 year, 6 figure, SVP career.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I started out as a holistic health coach working with established practitioners on a referral basis. When clients started to come in with serious health conditions and on tons of medications, I quickly realized that I needed more education to do the best for my clients. So I completed my Master’s in Nutrition coursework and established a functional medicine framework to my practice combined with the mind, body, spirit aspects of healing.
What is your current business model?
Half of my work is 1:1 with virtual and in person clients and the other half involves group programs and workshops.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
I get completely giddy when a client comes back with better than expected results and – even better when her/his primary care doctor is shocked and tells him/her: “Wow – Keep doing what you’re doing!” Seeing my clients learn and transform is so rewarding. It’s what my work is all about.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
The biggest challenge from a client perspective is those few cases where he/she doesn’t follow through with nutrition or self-care and just gives up. I take it to heart and feel like I’ve failed them, but really, it’s not about me. It’s just part of their journey. I know in my own health journey, I’ve gone through a dozen practitioners and some were just not right for me at the time. It had nothing to do with their abilities.
Another more administrative challenge for me is establishing systems while my practice continues to grow. I have digital files and paper files. I intend to go all digital to save paper and to be more efficient.
How have you overcome those challenges?
I’m still working on the systems piece 🙂 B-School resources are AMAZING, so I have many cool tools to explore.
How do you find new clients?
Most of my clients come through practitioner referrals and through social media. I also give talks and run programs and workshops throughout the year and partner with other practitioners on projects – these exposures usually bring in new clients too.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
I find by simply being transparent and clear, clients feel comfortable and hopeful. Upon meeting, I briefly explain my credentials, my approach and then let them talk. This establishes our connection and we go from there.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
OMG when I first started, I would meet with a client, let the session run WAY over time and I’d give the client every little bit of information possible. Then I get to my office and do tons of research on their condition and send them a super detailed follow up email afterward. I just wanted to help them, but it was also about me not feeling confident and worthy…like I had to prove how good I was and how much I knew.
As my Naturopath said, “It’s like throwing up your $100K education in one visit.” That approach not only resulted in many “one visit” clients – never to be heard from again, but it also overwhelmed the clients, so it was completely ineffective on both fronts.
I learned it’s better for the client to get 1-2 changes at a time. Then they come back, we tweak, add something else and allow the process to unfold. Less is more. It’s way better for the client and it’s better for my business.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
I am dopamine driven. I live for research and am naturally curious and intuitive. I also like calendars and lists. This combination really keeps me stay on point. Don’t get me wrong, I can get distracted, but usually if I bounce around my screens, it’s to learn something that I need for my business or clients, so it’s all good.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
See above on keeping client recommendations simple. I lost many repeat client visits doing that for so long. I really don’t think I’d do anything else differently other than to be more confident and to understand and appreciate my value more.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Other than the above, I think it’s important to be very selective with taking on extra projects and responsibilities. When I first left my corporate job, I said YES to anything and everything. I did learn from all of it, but I was very unfocused and scattered, and I had to deal with some messy business breakups that weren’t fun. Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book and process, taught me how to filter things so easily. If something doesn’t align with how I want to feel (Core Desired Feeling’s in Desire Map speak), it’s an easy breezy, “no thanks!”
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
My calendar, my phone and my computer. Pretty simple, but I’d be lost without them.
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Networking and Word of Mouth by far, but I expect more focused marketing will be happening as a result of B-School J.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
Nothing too crazy, but one of the “Duh” things I did recently was bring my Nutribullet and protein/supplements, coconut milk and fixens to an Open House. I served attendees little sample cups of smoothies. The practice owner was giving a brief talk, so I made a bunch of samples anticipating more traffic later. Little did I know that the samples congealed during the presentation, so I had to toss them.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Dark Chocolate and wine
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Pig brain – I know that’s probably toxic, but I was feeling daring and tipsy.
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Ireland – County Kerry. My dad’s homestead is there.
Last book you read?
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
If you mean one standalone food for life, I’d so hate that. I’d get so sick of it – even if it was one of my faves like dark chocolate, cashews or avocado.
If it was a one kind of dish, it would have to be salad. I love how you can combine so many things and change it up for the seasons.
What is your go-to breakfast?
Either a protein, coconut, kale, chia smoothie or “pried eggs” (lightly fried and partially poached with water) with whatever veggies are on hand all in the same pan.
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
The mind’s ability to heal itself OR perpetuate illness is so fascinating to me. You can do everything “right” outwardly, but if the inside’s off – meaning your beliefs, nervous system and mindset are out of balance – the body will not fully heal.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Evelyn DeDominicis is a Functional Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Teacher based out of Hebron, Connecticut. You can find out more about her and her practice, Nourished Path, at www.nourishedpath.com.