How to Start a Nutrition Consulting Business

by Marie Huntington; Updated September 26, 2017
Diet concept

A nutritional consulting business provides you the opportunity to work directly with clients, educating them about the benefits of maintaining a healthy diet and providing guidance to help them progress with their wellness goals. Being successful in this type of business involves developing an expertise in nutritional counseling, having a good marketing plan and building a solid client base.

Training and Experience

Before venturing into a nutritional consulting business, it’s important to gain experience in the industry and acquire any training needed to develop your specialty. Many nutritional consultants are also registered dietitians. There are bachelor’s degree programs in dietetics as well as related degree majors. Many states also require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed. To determine whether you need a specific form of training for your nutritional practice, check with your state laws to ensure you’ve gained the right qualifications to start your business.

Niche or Specialty

To help build a successful business, you should market to potential clients in a certain niche. Your niche is the area of nutritional interest that you plan to specialize in. Developing a specialty also helps clients identify you as an authority in the industry. You can work directly with children, adults, seniors or athletes, or you can specialize in helping clients with certain conditions maintain a healthy diet. For instance, you may choose to help people with obesity, diabetes or cholesterol issues.

Meeting Locations

Determine where you’re going to consult with your clients. Many consultants start their business with a home office and eventually move into a commercial office space after they build their client base. Some people may offer mobile consulting, accommodating their clients’ schedules by visiting their homes or public settings, such as a restaurant or park. You can start a blog that provides nutritional advice and offer consultations via email or over the telephone.

Marketing to Prospective Clients

Your marketing strategy will help you convert people into clients and build your client base. There are several ways to offer your services. Referrals and word of mouth are ideal methods to attract new clients to a consulting business. Join national associations and community organizations to spread the word about your expertise and services. Network with other people in the industry, local communities and businesses to provide informational resources. Stay abreast of any advances in nutrition to ensure you remain up to date on any changes in dietary practices.

Medical Connections

Most primary care physicians will refer their patients to nutritionists and monitor the nutritional therapy process. Networking with other medical professionals and establishing a partnership to obtain referrals are excellent ways to build your clientele. Some insurance plans do not cover dietitian services. You may consider providing convenient payment options or establishing contracts with insurance providers to include treatment programs that you offer.

2016 Salary Information for Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists earned a median annual salary of $58,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, dietitians and nutritionists earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,200, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $71,840, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 68,000 people were employed in the U.S. as dietitians and nutritionists.

About the Author

Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.

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