Risk vs Reward: Know Your Numbers

The idea of starting a private practice can be overwhelming. Over the past few years, I have talked to thousands of fellow dietitians about their journey in dietetics, most recently at the Florida Food and Nutrition Symposium.

Many of them have “thought” about doing private practice for a while but they never pulled the trigger to start. Many aren’t fulfilled in their current position and are looking for more.

We spent hours talking about what they were worried about and what has held them back. It almost always came down to one thing, the thought of instability. How would they get health insurance? What about paid time off? What about finding your first client?

The thought of starting is overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to dive in with no backup plan. You simply have to start with one thing, the numbers.

How much money do you need to make to replace your salary? You want to include some of your benefits like health insurance if you will need to find your own health insurance. That’s your starting point. Once you have the number you need to make, you will figure out how to get there.

Here’s an example:

According to the 2017 Survey results from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the median salary of a registered dietitian is $65,000. Let’s estimated the amount of money it would cost to replace health insurance is an additional $6,000 per year based on $500 per month premium. The total replacement is $71,000.

How much would it take for you to replace that salary?

That’s about $6,000 per month or $1500 per week. This sounds like a lot but based on our model of clients paying between $169-209 per month for nutrition coaching, that would be 7-8 clients per week if we were solely doing individual coaching.

My recommendation for new private practice dietitians is to start with a per diem position to private some income to supplement the practice until the salary is completely replaced.

If you are per diem, two days per week at $30 per hour, that’s $480 per week. Now, you only need to make $1,000 per week to replace your salary. That’s only 4 clients per week.

Other ideas of additional streams of revenue to support your salary include corporate partnerships, partnerships with sports teams, doctors and gyms.

We have helped dietitians around the world leave the job they felt “trapped” in and build successful practices. Don’t get overwhelmed and never take action. Look at the numbers.

You can look at my blog post here on how to get your first client.

If you are on the fence about starting a private practice- we would love to help! Check out the book Nourish: Grow Your Nutrition Business From The Ground Up , which lays out the system of building a nutrition practice.