Sunday 2nd February
Freelance, Writing and PR feat. Harriet Smith (Episode 3)
In this episode, we have Harriet Smith. Harriet is a freelance dietitian, award-winning writer and a business owner. In this episode, Harriet shares with us:
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just skills that you learn from volunteering. I said when I was a beady a student rep. I learned in my second year is a student the importance of, you know, strategic change at director level because the other people on the media committee world board directors So, like you learn so much just from shadowing and being a alongside these people on DH. I do think it's really important for young generations of dietitians to get involved with organisations like the B d A. Because otherwise we are the future of the profession. And if we don't get involved with helping to shape and change things, then he will
welcome to the Dietetics Digest podcast, a podcast that helps you understand more about the different areas of dietetics on nutrition, on what others are doing within them way. Do this by talking to inspiring and influential individuals that are advancing practise in some way, shape and form. Our mission is to create a resource that helps dietitians to build, grow and share ideas with each other. Top advance their practise on the practise of others. I am your host errand boys. In this episode, we are pleased to have Harriet Smith. Harriet is a freelance dietician. She's an award winning writer and a business owner. And in today's episode, Harry shares with us why she decided to go freelance in the first place. Some of her experiences along the way. And she's gonna help us out, too, with some tools and tips that may help others who are considering freelance on the side or as a full time endeavour. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the Dietetics Digest podcast. So maybe I should start off with a little bit of an introduction of how I first got to know who you were. And it was actually during your I think, the first couple of years of university and you were the B G a student rep. And it was on Twitter, as most inter dietician conversations are. Andi, I think we were talking about the sugar tax when it was first coming into action and you were asking people's opinions people's perspectives on things like that. On that, it feels like ages ago, doesn't it?
Yeah, I have to say that's probably going back five years ago, so I mean, I have always been quite active on social media since being a dietician or student dietician even. But yes, I think I got to meet lots of students through the rollers Thie, British Dietetic Association student rap on. And that was just such a fantastic opportunity. And I think I feel I've actually taken some of the skills that I learned from that role several years ago into the work that I did today
and then continuing on from that I know you from your work as a co founder of Fight the Fads.
Yes. Oh, again, When I was a student, I set up fight the fads, which was a social media platform which debunked nutritional nonsense in the media. On it was a great student project. Onda run it with two others. Some people might be familiar with the petition that we ran back in 2016 to try to legally protect the title nutritionist on it got about 11,000 signatures. Got a response from the government, didn't result in perfection of tighter, but it did raise a lot of awareness about the need. Teo, make sure that you're seeking nutrition advice from qualified and regulated professionals. I actually sore on social media last week that there's another petition running which is being supported by the FM, the Association for Nutrition on. They are trying to achieve charter ship for the title of nutritionist. So I think that's really, really great knees that they're kind of following on from the work that happened a few years back
and I just asked. I was wondering if you knew if there was any difference between what you were asking for on what they're currently asking for.
I don't think I think we're all working towards the same goal of trying to achieve protection of title of nutritionists say that only qualified on regulated nutritionists who have completed on FN accredited degree can use that type of nutritionists. I think having the FN behind the current petition is probably on hopefully going to get a bit more traction. So you know and highest kind cites a great thing that we're obviously very enthusiastic students, but probably didn't necessarily think through the whole process of sort of lobbying and changing changing things that are higher, higher up level. So I think the fact that the FN are backing this current petition is really good news, so
Basically what you're saying is you started it before it was even cool. Now I'm not saying that other people were involved, but at least you can take credit in starting a petition on really starting people to think about the accreditation of nutritionists as a protected title. And then from that, and I may be skipping a few beats here You've started Serie Dietician.
Yeah, so I think important. Clarify that I then qualify as a dietician, So fight the fads on the B G. A student wrap stuff was always a student dietician. So then I graduated back in July 2018 from Kings on DH. My first job was actually working at a pier or a marketing agency in London called Edelmann on. I got a three month internship working their health team. They're on DH. As I mentioned earlier, I was being interested in sort of media, social media, particularly marketing. My mom is from a PR marketing background. My dad runs his own business. We've got this of entrepreneurial streak in the family take you when it comes to writing a media on DH. I really love doing all that writing side of things is a student even writing my dissertation, I actually rather enjoyed. It makes me something very, very daddy. So I managed to secure this in touch of Edelman on DH. I was just really keen toe up skill, my knowledge in working the media and writing press releases and things like that. So I joined in June before I'd even graduated actually on, then worked for them through till September. I had an amazing time. They're just learnt so much. I was working on a huge pharmaceutical account, So we had, you know, big drug companies, and we were helping to raise profile of new products and drugs that came to market on actually being an intern. I was involved in quite low level task. So I was having to pick up the phone a lot when we had an announcement and try and get get hold of journalists to try and secure coverage about news storeys. But I found it fascinating and going from Elsie working in N. H s setting Juma clinical pace since too suddenly being in a corporate office where you have must have been about 300 people work in the same office when we were Victoria. We had amazing officers in a rooftop bar. It's just such a such a different environment on DH, I found that really motivating. Quite exciting. However, I did have some health issues which people who follow my sorry dietician account will probably be aware of. And unfortunately, that meant that I was finding commuting to him from where I lived in Sorry to London, just too much to deal with on DH. Although they offered me a job at the end of the internship, I realised that I wouldn't get to commit Teo full time job. So I actually turned it down and decided that I would have to be a freelance to manage my health problems. And we'll continue on
that note in a sec. But I was just wondering why you chose PR marketing instead of going down more of a traditional route for a newly qualified dietician, maybe working in a more clinical setting in the N. H s.
So I didn't plan to end up in communications, which is what I do now. But as I mentioned earlier, even during a student as a student, I got involved with a lot of writing. I write for the Complete Nutrition magazine. As a student columnist, I write for the British Dietetic Association magazine when I was a student representative on DH IOC round fight fads and me did a bit of writing through that as well. So I built up a skills on intentionally as a student. And then when I got towards the end of the degree, health issues became very apparent, and it really affected me during my clinical placement to be my final placement was missing a lot off love. The placement on DH really is feeling the pressure, and I just realised that working in a clinical environment, particularly in a chest, was not gonna be conducive to managing this condition. So I didn't feel like I had a great sense of choice. Was actually Ray upset at the time because I did. And still, do you really enjoy clinical work and helping people that I just knew that it wasn't something I was going to be able to do long term? So I started to look for alternative options before I graduated, because I'm quite quite an A type person. I liked her plan a day like to not know what I'm doing. So and I suddenly realised that this clinical route probably wasn't gonna happen for me. I had to have a Plan b lined up. And so I just threw. I just remember as a student, I was writing my dissertation, stressed studying for finals at the same time. I was every weekend, every spare hours, looking for jobs, applying for graduate skins, trying to figure out what I could do, using my skills as a dietician. That wasn't a clinical roll.
Thank you so much for sharing that experience. I think that we really valuable for our listeners on that storey brings us to where you are currently as your role of Surrey dietician. Andi, what you do in the day to day basis As a freelance dietitian, you do a lot of work from your own house. So is it basically just chilling in bed all day?
So I wish so for the last year, I have a year and 1/2 of being running. Sorry, dietician, which is my current brand. And when I turned down the job Edelman for health reasons, I decided to go freelance on DH set up. Sorry, dietician. I like decided that I was going to mainly offer writing. Service is a little bit of PR based on my PR, interesting background and also some clinical work. I was very aware that I didn't have the years of clinical experience that many of my friends and colleagues have. But at the same time, I didn't want to lose. My clinical skills were together and I spoke to a lot of dietitians and my old lecturers and explain my conundrum to them. And they will actually encourage me and said You can still see some private patients. You have a great support network. Make sure that you continue to have that support network reach out to others if you need advice with support. So I felt very empowered. Having spoken to those on the dietitians on DH, I approached the local health club knit religion. Sorry on DH. I suggested that they perhaps have a dietician. I knew that they used to wear the nutritional therapist on DH she had left, so I suggested that I could sort of be her predecessor on DH. Luckily, they were very onboard with that suggestion, and I joined the club back in January, so just over a year ago, Andi, I saw clients there part time. It was mainly clients who were quite well but just wanting to optimise their health. So that might be some basic sports nutrition advice. It involved patients who have had to go through the menopause patients who wants to optimise bone health. So quite, quite interesting on Barry clients, but nothing too clinical. At the same time, I picked up his much writing workers I could for free. Initially, I wasn't bothered about making money. I just figured that if I built up the experience in the contacts and got good, it it would somehow make money later on. So I did lots of all interior contacted charities. Contacted friends, acquaintances cos I don't work, experience will. I said What I was doing offer up my services on. I landed my first proper paid gig, working from my friend Jen wrote. She runs a cookery school called Fearless in the Kitchen. Jenny's talking PR back in Australia on DH gem, certainly. OK, all right. I will employ you to do some PR for my cookery school. I'll pay you for a month, see what kind of coverage you can get away from there. So I was just so delighted that someone was willing to actually put a little bit of money into what I was doing. Paley on DH I'm so nervous. I was thinking, My gosh, what if I can't deliver? But I just threw myself into it. I'm quite an organised person, quite a lot of pressure on myself. And I was I was really lucky that I managed to get Jenna Double page spread in the Vegan Living magazine on. She was delighted because she does plant based Cook recall, since obviously having coverage and a vegan magazine was great for her raising her Prey Fund of the Cookery school. So we also got several well known bloggers along to the cookery school, and they write pieces reviewing the preschool. So Jen was really happy on that. Gave me a little bit of confidence on then, um, I joined a an organisation called the Guild of Health Writers on DH. I have a Facebook group, and I notice one day that a lady was advertising for a freelance PR consultant to join her company in Parsons Green in London. I again I got this real sense of what? I'm not good enough and it had the skills required anyway. I applied on DH. She offered me the job, working two days a week, freelance for her on DH. I continue toe out there today. Have been working for love PR London for just every year on DH. We have some exciting clients such as diabetes, dot co dot UK and some other nutrition related clients. So I still very much used my dietetic background in the work that I do there. I should mention that I'm actually re branding. I've set up a new business in the new year because the writing and the PR has gone so well that I can't and don't have time for any of the clinical stuff anymore. So the last few months have been a bit of a world when trying Teo deal with a business has grown quite quickly, and I've finally decided to niche down and just fakes on the nutrition communications from the New Year on. The new business is now called HRs Communications.
While that's a brilliant change, and obviously you had all this experience and all this knowledge, and you were able to direct it now into the area which you most enjoy. But if you don't mind me asking, how do you feel about reducing the amount of clinical work that you do?
It's taken me months tto make the decision to do it. I knew I had to do it because I was the whole reason for me. Going freelance was supposedly to look after my health. But I've taken on so much work now that I work ridiculous hours. And I'm just constantly tired and stressed. I knew something had to change. Someone gave me some great advice. Business advice, They said. You've got to look at all your clients and you've got to identify the top 20% here, your best clients. They pay the most money and they're the most enjoyable ones and they give you long term work. So I looked I have about maybe 15 or 20 clients, and I looked at the mall on DH. I thought, OK, the clients. I want to continue with work in the new year, all my writing and PR clients. Unfortunately, the ones taking up a huge amount of my time and stressing me out, I'm not really enjoying doing work. And I'm not getting paid as much as I would have liked because I had to pay a percentage of my fees to the club where I was working. So that was the clinical work. So I I made that decision. Actually, just this week, Teo stopping the majority of my clinical act firmly. Yeah, I just I just told the club that I worked with I cannot work with them Any more money. Yeah. So it's really difficult decision. I have linked up with a couple of local dieticians and storey where I live, and we've set up a referral programme Where, because I still get a lot of enquiries come through my website on. I'm really bad at turning down work. So I would often just say, Oh, this is my last week of seeing patients. Okay, Great. Yeah, I'll see you or help you. So now from the new year, we've got this referral system set up, so I'm very confident in referring the monster, these other dietitians, it's great for them because they can get more work. How is that? It does mean that I'm gonna just be fixing on hrs. Communications in the media
There's definitely been a theme throughout your time of training, and your time is a dietician. Thatyou're a very ambitious and you like to seize every opportunity that's put in your way from the time when you were a beady, a shooting wrap, too, beginning the project started Fight the fads to now running Sorry, dietician, making the communications work successful. Do you ever find it too much to manage?
Sometimes too much to manage, although another bit of business advice I was given is just say yes to everything and figure out how to do it later on. And that's That's definitely something I'm doing at the Maiman. But in all seriousness, I I think really carefully about whether or not I can take a client on Obviously being a dietician. I have to be careful which brands I want to associate with. Andi. I recognise as well. I don't have skill sets in lots of different areas, so I just worked through the client back in September who wanted to have written articles on about six different disease areas. And, of course I'm not a specialist in six disease areas. There are people out there dietitians. We've got eternal 20 years of experience. So I I saw the whole project, but I actually outsource the work to six other dietitians
in such a short amount of time. You were ableto get paid for your work on even get so much work that you have toe maybe outsource it to other people or you get other specialists involved that might know more about a particular topic. But you're the one that overshadows it. And you're using a wide network of people to help you formulate brilliant articles or brilliant resources for people and then distribute that. But it wasn't always this way. As you said at the beginning, you started off doing free or not paid for work. Is that something that benefits you when you'd recommend or the people?
Yeah, definitely. Like I said, back in September 2018 I began just doing all my work for free on DH. I've always tried to build up a network of of contacts on I think that that really pays off in the long term, because now people that I was helping out for free come back and say that you have got some more work, you interested and I'm happy to pay you for this, but also just skills that you learn from volunteering. I said when I was a beady a student rep. I learned in my second year is a student the importance of, you know, strategic change at director level because the other people on the media committee world board directors. So, like you learn so much just from shadowing and being it alongside these people, I just being accepted into the B G a future leaders programme which I think will be own amazing opportunity. I know they were very over subscribed to that on DH. I do think it's really important for that young generations of dietitians to get involved with organisations like the B d A. Because otherwise and we are the future of the profession. And if we don't get involved in helping to shape and change things than he will
from my perspective, being a student dietician and also being a dietitian, you are pivotal in shaping the profession, another others out there that see what you're doing and see what others are doing on a quite enthusiastic But the freelance world almost seems a bit like a foreign world to them. They know their clinical roll back to front. They could do it with their eyes closed. None of them do, of course, but they're interested in doing maybe some freelance or some writing. Do you have any advice for these people?
Sure. So I think if people want to get involved with health writing, the best thing that they can do is just to begin writing. And that might be approaching one of the magazines, like the Complete Nutrition magazine or the N. H D magazine, get in touch with the editor, pitch an idea to them and ask if they've got any articles that they need help with. That's a really good starting point because you need to build a bit of a portfolio, because people say to me, How do I get well paid writing work? And you can't just jump on in there at the high end, you have to start from you know, the bottom rungs and work your way up the ladder on DH. If you can get a few good names behind you about who have published your articles, that's great centre future clients to say, Look, I'm a dietician. I've written this article has been published here. How about I write for your publication so that might be contacting a charity that you like. It might be contacting our local newspaper, your local magazine. It might be offering to help with the nursery or a church. You know, any kind of organisation where they are sending out information. Written information to the public is on opportunity for a dietician to get involved in terms of making a profession and a salary out of writing. I think it's very difficult to do it full time. Initially, you have to have something else lined up alongside it. So for May, I made sure that I had these two days a week freelancing for the PR agency because that meant that I had enough money to pay my rent and not worry about getting any other work. That was like a good base level. And then anything that I got in addition to that was a bonus on di. Also, go and find the work. The work doesn't always come to me. It does, and now, to an extent, because I'm quite good networking. But, you know, I just fire off e mails all the time, too. Cos I wanna work with and I say, let this is what I do This is my website. His work I've written I'm quite often they come back and say That's great. We've been looking to work with someone like you
I was wondering, Do you ever get rejected? Obviously, it's to do with their lack of knowledge and it's a mistake. But has that ever happened to you?
So I have had a few fights getting touching me when they say we're interested in you writing for us. Can you put together a proposal on Tell us how much it'll cost? And so I put together my proposal and then go back to them and they say, Oh, such expensive. We were hoping Teo, you know, pay you £50 for an article and you have to recognise your values. A dietitian you know, we have done a three or four year degree. We are knowledge is worth money on. We cannot write for free. I've had I've had organisations which put it this way, are making huge amounts of money. Try to get me to write for free on. I just had to say to him. I'm really sorry, but I don't need the work. And I also have bills to pay. I have tto value my my experience, my knowledge by by charging for this service. So anyway, I have I had one client a few months ago. He came back and said that my appraisal was too much money and they didn't have the budget. So I never burn the bridges. I went back and I said, I completely understand that I'm really sorry. I cannot learn my prices because I have made stuff to pay. And if I go any lower, I can't afford to pay them. I said, best of luck finding someone if you need any help in the future, feel free to get back in touch. But a month later and email dropped into my inbox from the same company, saying we've re evaluated things and we've increased our budget for written content. Were wondering if you would still be up to write for us. And I'm beginning a contract with them for six months in January, which is, um yeah, which is great Knees. This is a little bit
off topic, but it reminds me of when I was planning my wedding, and we were trying to look for a wedding photographer on one of our family friends had a photography business that he did in his spare time, so I asked him how much it would cost that he said it would be around £250. Special deal for us, S 00 That's a lot of money that, however, after a quick Google search, I realised that that was an incredibly good deal on. I snapped him up on his offer immediately. I think that's something that we don't quite understand sometimes even ourselves. We don't understand how much effort and how much work is involved in the job somebody else does.
Yeah, it's difficult also deciding when to invest money and spend on growing your business. So at the moment, in fact, just before speaking to you, I've just paid for a branding agency tow redo that will create a new logo only website for HRs Communications. And obviously that's a lot of money. Andi, Um, I was very reluctant to pay that money, and I I do spend a lot of time getting quite from different people and weighing up whether it's something we're putting money into or not. But sometimes, like you said, you do have to pay a bit more for a good service. And I've I've paid cheaply for some really bad services before and learn that's actually worse. Many a bit more money to you, someone who is really knowledgeable. Hopefully the same same applies to dietitians.
Yeah, I think there are loads of websites out there where you can get logos designed for as little as £5. But is that the logo that you really want to represent? Your brand long term? And that's a question that a lot of business owners need to ask on whether it's worth the investment at that point in their business. So obviously Brand is linked to marketing on linked to PR, and they're all linked within the business category. Did you find those sorts of things naturally came to you? What did you have to work at them?
So PR is essentially trying to get coverage and raising the profile of your clients. So I think a main skill that you need to have that is good communication skills, and that's something that I've bean trying to improve since I've been a student, so I just trying to get involved in any opportunity, like not just the writing, but also speaking at events, going to networking events. I'm not a very confident person. I'm confident in writing. But if you put me in a room with people, I don't know, I do find it really daunting going up to new people and introducing myself. But you just have to kind of get used to it, get to grips with that on, then pick up the phone. You were talking earlier about getting rejected by people. I constantly get rejected by journalists. I'll send them a press release and say You're interested in the storey. They come back and say No, not till Please don't contact me again, but you do. Honestly, you become really re fitness and he wants to become very resilient when you run your business. So I've got I've got used to dealing with difficult characters, but know that marketing skills have haven't necessarily all come to me. Naturally, I still feel like I'm growing and learning within the industry, and that's why I continue to do freelance work with other PR agencies because I want to continue to learn from people who've been in the industry for many years.
It's great you still got that learning outset that you still want to learn new things and become better. Andi, I think that's really good, especially since you've been so successful and you've been ableto gain contracts work for different companies, right? Multiple argument articles for various different magazines. But I was wondering, Did you have any challenges or struggles along the way, or has it all been plain sailing?
Stephanie? I mean, as you well know, everyone listening. When I on a dietetics degree, you don't getto any business skills. So, of course, if you do decide to go freelance, work in private, practise or set up your own business, I personally found that I had zero knowledge of things like accounting, legal matters, simple things like bookkeeping. You. I'm just sending an invoice. I haven't done that before, so I've had two up school in so many different areas, and I'm still learning. I'm certainly not an expert in any of these areas. I thought I did find, um, but I wanted to try and do everything right from day one, because that's what a type personalities alike, and it's often quite difficult thing to have to manage being a perfectionist. But I made sure that I met with professionals from different areas of the sectors such as finance and accounting, to get advice on what I need to do from day one. So, um, you can book, you know, discovery sessions with accountants. You often get given an hour of their time for free, no obligation to commit to working with them. And I would just go with a tonne of questions and learn so much. Andi. I did also decide to instruct her lawyer that a year ago, when I decided to work in clinical practise because obviously GPR data protection law changed about a year and 1/2 ago on, I was so conscientious about complying with a ll the GPL stuff. So we, myself and another dietician paid for a lawyer to write all of our private practise documents to cover us and eagerly. So I think that's really important on this. Yeah, I mean, there's so many other areas I'd love to be ups killing in that Obviously it's time and money, and it's just difficult to focus on the more at one time,
definitely. There's lots of different skills involved with running a business. I know just for one of those skills my dad's on accountant, and I know I could probably pick his brains for good. Good amount of hours, about tax systems, how it all works, different things. He's retired now, but he still has a good enough grasp about it that you can still get a good couple of hours talking about it with him.
It was handed to known accountant.
To be honest, you could probably write a book on each of these topics individually.
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, I'm a big believer of outsourcing work that you don't enjoy other people. So I did as much of my sorry dietician website as I kid myself on, then paid for a local guy too. Find Sheena and making a quick, more professional. And for me, that was money really well spent with when you're trying to find, like an accountant, for example to work with, I encourage people toe not just go with the first few. Quite so you get do spend that time looking around because I had, you know, lots of quite coming and ranging from, I don't know, £300.2000 pounds on. Then I speak to my friends and I said, Does anyone use an account that they could recommends? And one of them said, All right, you have a great accountant and he was far cheaper than all the other, quite so hard. And he was also a great guy, like, drove down to meet me. Gave me a lot of time, you know, cause I'm a fait LA and we've just got such a good rappel. I just feel so comfortable going to him for any accounting support I need. And also, I found that African side of my work was getting way too stressful. And obviously I do a lot off the writing myself on DH. I found that doing the bookkeeping. So that's when you finally receipts and do all your expenses. That was just taking out hours of my day on DH, chasing up invoices on Buffy and clients. Amazing the clinics. It was just a total waste of time because then I you know, I spent half a day doing that stuff have actually done any of the weapon needs to do to get paid, so I do use a virtual assistant. He's sort of virtual secretaries, such who helps out with all these sorts of matters. And that again, that's money really well spent because she's so efficient. She can do all that stuff in about two hours when it take me about two days.
Thank you for sharing that because I think it's really, really useful cause sometimes you might try and do everything yourself for not even realise that there are people out there who specialise in the these areas, and they could probably a lot of the time, do it better than us. So it's important to use their skills were necessary to help our business run better and more efficiently. Thank you for sharing everything you've shared with me so far, and I was wondering, You've shared so much about yourself with your audience on given them an a bit of it in a perspective on how how life is for you and why you've chosen the direction you're going in. It's helped your audience a lot of comments of gratitude. Why did you choose to go in that direction? As opposed to almost showing a bit of a pretty lifestyle. Fancy foods, really decorative Lee arranged plates. Not there isn't a place for that deck literally arrange plates. A wonderful maybe not realistic.
Never. Why would say, it's, um I basically got really pissed off when I went on instagram and like so these nutritionists and dietitians just eating really like the same old foods and perfect kind of lifestyle. Perfect diet on. I just thought that's really no reality for a lot of people. Take the people who are struggling with chronic health conditions like I did do and did. Andi, you know, we often think people are really easy to eat healthfully, and I just need a plan ahead, meal prep, et cetera. But I was thinking, Well, actually, if you're someone who's got fatigue or you're on medication, that makes you great, dizzy or nauseous or tired, how can you? Actually? Well, because I struggle to eat well, and I have really bad flare ups. I struggle to re eat well on days when my condition is so bad that sometimes I'll just eat like Granada for three meals in a row, or just snack on you know, sweets or what we have to get to the shops for a few days, get any fresh fruit. So I thought, Well, maybe I should share my own experiences of trying to eat wells having chronic illness. So I did that on Sorry, dietician a little back. And I actually built up a really big following of chronic illness followers who had similar conditions and similar problems on. And I did this. Siri's for awhile, called supermarkets knew where I would feature friends or people. I've met with chronic illnesses and asked him to share their food shop. But it was it was not the kind of typical Instagram food shop that you see other nutritionist doing. It was very much, you know, I've got 10 vegetables, phrase and veg because, like, you know, I'm not feeling great this week. I need stuff. This I'm not gonna go off that. This got lots of nutrients in it. You know, I have ready meals because I don't have the energy to cook this week. I have jars of pastor source because he has time to make him a past source of their feeling. Sick essay was actually actually really interesting. Andi, I also featured my cousin who recently got diagnosed with a condition that requires TPM total parental nutrition. So I feature her to show that actually, some people can't even eat any food orally. So I did do that for a while, but I then found it was actually like I just found that uncomfortable over sharing like that information because I was taking my personal struggles into my work, and I just felt like I needed Teo kind of draw a line between too. So I It was around that time that I realised I didn't really like doing clinical work as well. So I kind of stopped sharing sharing as much stuff and then started just showing my writing. Communications were Khonsari dietician, but interesting actually lose followers at the moment. And I share my writing work because obviously the followers I built up for the chronic illness community. So in the new year, when I'm working with local dietitians to continue Sorry, dietitian, they're gonna be posting more useful information for people with chronic health conditions, which is gonna be really useful. So
your followers a changing as you transition after experiencing lots of different things and saying yes transition to the stuff you really want to be focusing on
exactly. And I've been speaking to a lot dietitians recently about being points of niche ng down. So niche teaching down is a marketing term is a bit bit enough that it's basically about you can't be Jackal trades and I think initially a sorry dietician. I was trying to do everything Trinity clients trying to do my writing, trying T PR staff, working in a school catering company, just doing everything, not saying no to anything. But I have now realised what I'm good at, and what I enjoy is nutrition communications, and therefore that's just what I'm gonna fix on the media. But getting to that stage of realising that and actually say notes somewhere, is quite daunting and difficult. Do you think
it's something that everyone should do? Start enough is be jack of all trades before niche ng down? Or do you think you can start off finishing down? I think it's
different for everyone. I think some people have done years of clinical practise, will know that oncology perhaps, is there interest area of interest and therefore that CNN area. They're going to see private clients and that is yes, it's very difficult not saying that everyone has finished down, either. Some people can, you know, Dublin lots of different things. But for me, the communication site was just just what I knew I needed to fake son. I get so much enjoyment from that. I love it on the other stuff, the other workers beginning to feel resentful towards. So I knew that I just had to fake somewhere I really do enjoy.
I think that's a really good point. Is picking the things that you love because we all got into dietetics because we we were interested in the topic. And we We love the topic and you need to be able to spend time with family friends. And I think when you run your own business because you've invested so much in it and you wanted to be successful, there is that opportunity to literally be working all the time. You could be working in your office in your house, working on the couch in your house. You could be working anywhere, and that can be quite difficult. Whereas in a more traditional dietetic role, you have that clear separation between work and home, and it might suit certain individuals a bit. Mohr and I think that's one of the challenges of really running your own business. Is the work life balance?
Totally. It's so stressful because you just it's really difficult Switch off. I mean, I've got safe. It works for me in more ways, and it doesn't work for me because I have this. I had back surgery a few years ago, and I've got this connective tissue condition that most people haven't heard of called E. D S L A damsel syndrome. But anyway, but the two of these conditions combined give me lot fatigue, sometimes pain on DH, sleep problems and various other things. So the benefit of running my own business is if I wake up and feel terrible, it's not the end of the world. I can't afford tto have a chill day and not worry, but it will mean that I'll have to work at the weekends catch up. Similarly, I can plan my schedule. So today, for example, I went and met a friend at a at Wisley, which is I can't local garden faced with a cafe, and it was really nice. Took half a day off for a walk, had lunch. Um, but to caveat that I know that I'll be worth well this week. I've been working really, really late until early hours of the morning to try and get everything done before Christmas. So you do have to make sacrifices. But I'm so fortunate that I now work almost 100% from home. Originally, I was going to days into the office for the PR company, but again, because my condition that was actually too much, I wasn't making it. The office. Thankfully, there are very flexible company and very happy for me to do all that work from home. So I've made a decision again that from the New Year I will just work from home. I do go into town London to meet clients for meetings. But the beauty of being a nutrition writer and working and communications is that almost all my work is done on the computer. So I can sit at my desk or even my bed and do my work remotely.
Thank you for talking about your experience starting your business on DH, starting your freelance journey on discussing some of the benefits and drawbacks. Thank you for sharing that. Obviously, the benefits for yourself outweigh the drawbacks. But talking a little bit about both sides. Thank you for giving advice to others who may be starting freelance or private work if anyone's got any questions. Are you happy for people to contact you on social media and those kind of things? Yeah, of
course. People can join our UK nutrition writers Facebook Group if they're interested in getting a vote with health writing. We post lots of information in there. We have a show your work threatened Friday. There's also well, at the moment, there's a sorry dietician accounts instagram on Facebook. I'm also on Twitter. People can contact me through there where they can email me Sorry, dietician at gmail dot com also have this new company hopefully setting up in the new year at some point very happy to help other people because a lot of people have helped me on this journey on DH. I do outsource a lot off the work that I do now to other dieticians nutritionists. So if there's anyone who's a good writer or even wanting to get experiencing in writing, please feel free to get in touch because I do often have opportunities for well paid work for other dieticians and things.
Also, you mentioned a little bit about you instructing a solicitor to create GDP are documents to help you in your clinical practise on I have seen online you've been. Obviously, they were quite expensive. So you've been sharing them with other people for a fee so that they don't have to pay the solicitors prices on. They get the relevant GDP are documents for being a dietician.
Would you recommend people hiring a solicitor for that or shop around a bit like the accountant I know as local solicitor's office near Meadors, free Wednesday afternoon clinics where you can go to them with legal issues and they can help you out? I assume What do you suggest from your own experience for people starting out? Yeah, I
mean, I'll see this is all from my own experience. I think Gold Standard is to pay for sinister to do it for you, but I don't know many people. I mean, I have I'm taking on a new writing. Fine. Maybe once or twice a month. So I pay for a semester to write all these documents. That would cost me thousands of pounds a month because sinister is generally charged. You know, some of them charged two or three or £500 an hour, so you can imagine how much that would cost. So for things like the chemical practise, I think paying one off for a solicitor to write the documents or purchasing the templates that we sell or getting someone that you know he's in a lawyer to write it for you is ideal because you can reuse those forms. You know, it's a consent form, so you can use out of multiple multiple clients where, if you're working in the sector like I'm working communications, where you're gonna have different clients, the contracts are gonna be different each time because you're gonna be delivering different services. So, initially I was amending contract myself. I got a sister too, right? One and then I was painfully going through each one and changing the name of the company. The services I was delivering the date of the contract and all this is just taking hours, and it was such an efficient process. But I recently found a recon website called Rocket Lawyer on DH. It sells templates for literally any legal aspect you could think of on DH. You answer syriza questions like, Who's the client? What's a company name? What's the company? Registration number is a limited liability, etcetera on many press finish, and it personalises the document. You can then pay a little bit more money. Teo, be able tio, have contact with the lawyers, seek and then run it by them and say, I'm not sure to put for this. What do you recommend? And then you download documents so you can actually sign up for a free seven day subscription So that rocket lawyers being really helpful for my writing business
Thank you so much for sharing that useful advice for people. It's been really helpful for myself, but probably also for the dietitians listening or even students dietitians that are interested in this area because it's not just due to the curriculum. It's not covered much in universities, so lots of students may have questions about or just curious about, the technical details with freelance practise. But before we go, is there any anything? Finally, you want to mention before we go where you want to make sure people are aware off?
So I would say that if people are interested in PR and communications and writing things like that, definitely looking. Staying an internship like I did after graduating was loads of health PR agencies, typically in London, such as Edelman TV F media offer internships as well. Ogilvy Health. There's there's lots, and I'm very happy Teo speak to people who are interested in trying to get an internship of Sun recommendations. But I think that's a great foot in the door because it helped me to build your your skills. I guess my only other bits of advice would be if you want to get into writing, build up slowly alongside some other paid work because it's very difficult to just make a full time living initially and also go and find the work because the work won't find you initially. So put yourself out there, pitch toe magazines to companies that you want to work with, to food products, and hopefully that will lead to a least 11 Bit of luck to you.
Thanks for joining me this week on Dietetics Digest. Make sure to visit my website a dietetics digest dot com. We can listen to the podcast, or why not consider subscribing on apple podcast stitches, smart radio Spotify Or basically, just ask Alexa and you'll never miss a show on while you're at it. If you found this show valuable, you could do one of two things. Firstly, if you could leave a review on the podcast up, you're listening to maybe the apple podcasts or stitches Smart radio. And if you could tell a friend about the podcast, that'll be really helpful. Help grow the podcast more. Thank you so much free support and have a lovely week day wherever you are.