After losing her mother to cancer, Jennifer found herself walking down the path of holistic health. As a certified Health Coach, she now specializes in food sensitivities, elimination diets and weight loss. Her interview inspires us to check in with ourselves before saying “yes” to every opportunity and to stay focused to create a business and a life we love.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
After my mother passed away from cancer, an accidental visit to a raw food restaurant sparked a lifestyle change that lead to teaching and coaching.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I started teaching Raw & Living Foods demonstration classes in my basement, which eventually led to getting my certification from IIN in health coaching. I primarily do individual and group coaching now, and occasional demo classes. I specialize in food sensitivities (and the host of ailments they cause), elimination diets, and weight loss.
What is your current business model?
I provide services one on one both in person and by phone, and facilitate group cleanses virtually in conjunction with a product line.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
When my coaching clients tell me that working with me has changed their lives and their health.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Staying focused when there are so many avenues of opportunity.
How have you overcome those challenges?
Before committing to a new project/accepting an offer, I ask myself if this will help bring new clients or teach me a new skill.
How do you find new clients?
I get referrals from a physician, do corporate and hospital based talks, and word of mouth from past clients.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
Honestly, by the time a person shows up in my office for a free initial consultation, they have already decided they need me.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
I like challenges and assignments, and I send emails between coaching sessions asking for updates on their progress.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
Getting an office space outside my home was the best thing for being productive and staying on task. Before that, finding a coffee shop with Wi-Fi that I could settle into comfortably really helped. For me, it is all about scheduling office time and my environment.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would do anything differently. My business has grown organically and I am happy with that model at this stage in my life.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Getting in over your head with a client that has very complicated health issues. Also, don’t chase clients unless you want less than optimally motivated people.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
Mailchimp is how I communicate most often with my base. Their templates are easy to use and attractive and the site easy to navigate. Dropbox keeps all of my important files safely stored online. I love the IIN Facebook group for graduates. I can post a questions their and get great and varied answers!
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Email newsletters and food demonstration classes. People love to eat! My two most popular classes where raw chocolate and make your own sushi. Standing room only!
In building your business, was there any specific mistake you made, “oops!” moment, or “I can’t believe I did that!” time that you look back and laugh at now?
After about 12 weeks of a high raw diet, I scheduled my first teaching session. A few days before, I came down with Bell’s Palsey and I looked like a stroke victim. So here I am telling a room full of people that they need to completely change their diet and do what I do, all while half my face doesn’t move!
What is your favorite indulgence?
Hands down, chocolate!
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
The first time I opened a durian, and discovered it tasted nothing like fruit and everything like an onion and cheese quiche!
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Glover’s Reef off the coast of Belize. Pristine, untouched coral reefs and an abundance of sea creatures, it was the most beautiful diving site I’ve ever seen.
Last book you read?
Matthew Kenney’s Cooked Raw, the story of how he transitioned from a celebrity NYC chef to a Raw Chef with the desire to change how the world eats. I like books that inspire me to refocus on what I care about.
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Greens, because they are the one true superfood. Of course I’d rather have chocolate…
What is your go-to breakfast?
Green smoothies, nearly every day!
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
It’s ability to heal itself, when given the proper fuel.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to stay true to my beliefs, and never compromise my integrity for someone else’s gain.
Jennifer Wegryn is a health coach and raw & living food teacher based out of Akron, OH. You can find out more about Jennifer and her business, Food2Live4, by visiting food2live4.com.