Interviewer: I have with me Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietician from, Seattle, whose practice is called, Mindful Nutrition. Welcome Minh-Hai.
Minh-Hai: Hi, thanks for having me.
Interviewer: I wondered if you can explain a little bit about your dietitian practice.
Minh-Hai: Sure. So I have a private practice mostly working with clients one-on-one. Mostly adults, and I do do some teenagers, and I guess the main focus is helping people to make peace with food and their bodies. So I help people who have disordered eating, or have a long history of dieting, and just would learn, like to learn how to enjoy food without all the food worry and shame. I see other health conditions as well, but that’s the main specialty.
Interviewer: Fantastic. What are some of the techniques you use to get new clients?
Minh-Hai: I’m not doing a lot of active techniques now to get new clients. It’s more about maintaining what I’ve got, which now means writing my newsletter at least monthly. And then I also publish that on my blog, and I think that helps with my SEO, when people are searching for someone in Seattle because there’s new activity on the website, and that’s easy to do with my WordPress website. And then, just really maintaining the relationships I have with my referral sources.
My number one referral source is therapists. And then in sharing clients we collaborate and so I stay top of mind that way. But when I was first building my practice three years ago, I did a lot of coffee dates. So reaching out to people, and meeting for coffee or lunch and then getting to know about each others practices. I don’t do that so much now. But when I was getting started I was averaging about eight coffees a month.
Interviewer: That’s a really good technique. That leads into my next question of, how do you market your business?
Minh-Hai: So the marketing is mostly through the newsletter. So keeping in touch with the people who are on my list, so that they remember that I’m here, and I’m alive. And I think just by updating my blog that keeps my website more visible where people actually find it through search engines.
I’m listed on a couple of online listings, like the health professionals arm of Psychology Today, and I think there’s like e-referrals.com, something like that, for people looking for providers who specialize in eating disorders. But, other than that, I don’t do a lot active marketing. I would say my newsletters/blog is the main thing that I try to maintain.
Interviewer: And switching gears a little bit. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of things on the go. How do you effectively manage your time?
Minh-Hai: It’s a constant battle. Email is my enemy, and I have a practice of not checking email first thing. Somebody once phrased it, as email is attending to other peoples agendas. And I think that’s really true, it really distracts the inbox and keeps calling me. So I really try to keep that in it’s place by not having that dominate the day by checking it first thing. I can get distracted, so things like Facebook and social media, and beyond the maybe five or ten minutes that I might need for my business. So I use apps like Anti-Social, which I download on my Mac, and I think it’s like $10.
And then that, I’ll tell it how long to block certain sites where I can’t even access them for whatever period of time, so I can stay focused. And I try to chunk things, so Wednesday is my writing day. Thursday morning I don’t see clients until a little bit later. So then I have time for billing or whatever admin stuff might need to be done that week.
Interviewer: You’ve got some great techniques in there for really focusing on what’s important to your business. If you could change one thing about your practice, what would that be?
Minh-Hai: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing. I think if I could get to a place where I’m in the office, or have to be in the office less days in the week. So right now I see clients four days a week, and then occasionally I’m not good with my boundaries, and then I’ll come in a fifth day. But ideally I would see clients probably two and a half, three days a week in the office. And then the rest of the time dedicating to writing, or having an online product. Developing those, and then delivering them. I would love to see my business go in that direction.
The second thing to change would be this magical assistant. Who is just on top of it, and great customer service, and somebody I could really count on, who was also tech savvy.
Interviewer: Well that’s great. It sounds like you’re on top of a lot of the things in your practice. And I really thank you for sharing some of your strategies with us today.
Minh-Hai: Thank you, it’s been fun.