After her youngest daughter was diagnosed with apraxia at the age of two, Christine MacCarroll worked with a nutritional doctor and within five months, her daughter went from the 5th to the 95th percentile in language. After witnessing this miracle in her own child, she became determined to helping others heal with nutrition. Now, as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Christine runs a functional nutrition practice dedicated to women’s health. Her interview inspires us to reach into our own communities and create a strong network.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
Ah! This is a long story 🙂 I’ll try to be brief. My youngest daughter, Madeline, was diagnosed with a neurological speech disorder (apraxia) when she was around 2. This basically meant that she had totally normal brain function, but there was a disconnect in getting her words from her brain to her mouth. In doing research, I saw kids who were teenagers and could say fewer than 10 words. I could only imagine the level of frustration this must have caused them.
I dug into the research on apraxia, and came across some very interesting findings on diet change and specific nutrients as treatment methods. After a VERY long search to find someone to help us with these changes (and many slammed doors), I finally found a doctor in the nutrition department of the local children’s hospital who was willing to help. We started to nourish Madeline in a different way and gave her specific supplements, and within 5 months she went from the 5th to the 95th percentile in language.
I was blown away, to say the least. And after witnessing this veritable miracle in my own home, I became determined to help others heal with nutrition.
Tell us about your business.
I have a private practice focused on functional nutrition and women’s health. Like functional medicine, functional nutrition focuses on WHY a body is not functioning as it should, rather than just putting a band-aid on to mask the symptoms. Once these underlying factors are determined, we can support healing from that level, and the results are much more profound and long-lasting.
I have developed a step-by-step way of addressing problems over the years that is very effective at getting to the root and helping people feel better.
How would you describe your current business model?
I see clients 1-1 in person and virtually. I also offer group programs and am currently creating a self-paced online program.
Can you share any strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective for growing your client base?
I have gotten out a lot in my community. When I first started, I offered a handful of free classes just to let people get to know me. I still give free talks periodically. I attend networking events and am a member of a networking group. I’ve also partnered with other providers (chiropractors, MD, midwives) who refer to me.
Finally, once I started seeing more clients, those clients became my most effective growth strategy, because they referred others to me!
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business?
To be quite frank, the same thing that got me into business in the first place—my wonderful children. I have to be extremely targeted with my time because I have raising strong women on my plate in addition to growing a strong business. My natural inclination is to be a giver, so I find myself giving my all to my clients and my girls, and sometimes it’s a challenge to give as much attention to growing my business AS a business at the same time.
How have you overcome those challenges?
The very best thing I’ve done is get some help. I resisted this FOREVER, but it has saved my sanity. I am only one person. Getting some assistance in the day-to-day management of my operations and hiring a bookkeeper are God-sends. It’s only around 5 hours a week right now, but when every second is accounted for, that’s straight-up gold.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Using some of the deal/coupon sites to try to reach more people. They weren’t particularly effective at driving business, and the business I did get wasn’t really my target market.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
To get some help as I started to grow!
What is your morning routine?
I am dedicated to my meditation practice. I’ve meditated off and on for more than half my life, but every time I come back to it, it improves my daily experience. My favorite app is Headspace. I do it for 10-20 minutes every morning.
I also usually have a “theme song” to get me going, which changes periodically. I’m a giant music lover, and this is my way of signaling to my brain that the day is starting.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Flourless chocolate cake
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Well, I’ve never eaten bugs or anything! Given that I grew up vegetarian, I’d have to say lamb tongue soup.
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Last book you read?
Artemis, by Andy Weir
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Mexican is my comfort food.
What is your go-to breakfast?
Hash with turkey chorizo, greens, and squash, or a variation on a “KB” Smoothie (Dr. Kelly Brogan’s recipe).
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Running my own show, and getting to use my creativity!
Christine MacCarroll is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner that is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition based out of Denver, CO. You can find out more about Christine and her practice, Taproot Nutrition, by visiting taprootnutrition.com.