How to start a nutrition business with a signature one-on-one program (+ free workbook!)

If you're reading this, chances are good that you're either in school to become a nutritionist of some sort (dietician, holistic nutritionist, holistic health coach, etc) OR you've already graduated and are ready to start working with clients ... but you have no idea how to start a nutrition business!

Our schools teach us how to be amazing stewards of health for our potential clients, they just don't teach us how to actually organize our appointments, programs, websites, marketing, and everything else that goes into running a successful nutrition business.

Learning how to start a nutrition business that's successful is well beyond the scope of a single blog post, but we can definitely cover the easiest and quickest way for you to start making money as a nutritionist: one-on-one clients.

Are you a holistic nutritionist, health coach, or dietician who is ready to start your nutrition business? Woohoo! Click to read exactly how to start your nutrition business with a signature one-on-one program PLUS a free workbook that breaks down exactly what to include and how to price your program!

Mind you, there are lots of ways of making a successful living as a nutritionist. You could:

I'm covering how to design your signature one-on-one nutrition program because it's your fastest path to cash. Other than joining a network marketing company, the other ways of bringing income into your nutrition business could take months or years of growing an email list and your social media following, honing your skills, and becoming known as an expert. There aren't any shortcuts for these results, unless you're willing to invest tons of money (think thousands) into buying social media followers or a PR rep.

However, you could design a signature one-on-one nutrition program in a few days, write a sales page, send a few emails and post on social media, and potentially have your first paying client in a week ... but you've got to have something to sell that gets clients results and is easy for them to follow. Otherwise they'll think that you suck, even if you don't, because they couldn't actually do what you wanted or needed them to do to get the results they're looking for.

Your signature one-on-one nutrition program should:

  1. Be easy enough to follow but still gives the client what they need to correct the underlying imbalance.
  2. Give some sort of results quickly (within the first 2 weeks to a month) to keep them motivated to continue the next steps.
  3. Be focused enough so that it gives them only what they need for their specific health issues.
  4. Not take a million hours for you to prep for each client but still allows you room to customize for each individual.

Before you freak out, keep scrolling below for a free download with all the details of how you can design your own 3-month or 6-month signature program!

That's a tall order to fill for a nutrition program, right? Don't worry, here are 7 steps you can take if you have no idea how to start a nutrition business by working one-on-one with clients:

1. Pick a niche

This is the hardest thing for nutritionists and holistic health practitioners to do because we want to help all. the. people. But you can't. Well, you can if you want to spin your wheels for years and waste lots of energy and money. Let's say that you don't because, well, you're smarter than that.

I've already talked about this at great length over here, so if you're still hesitant to narrow down your business focus to one thing, please go read that article again.

Example of niches include:

- weight loss
- pain management (chronic like fibromyalgia or acute like osteoarthritis)
- autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto's, rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
- less severe digestive issues (IBS, acid reflux)
- severe digestive issues (Crohn's or colitis)
- mood imbalances (anxiety and/or depression)
- hormone imbalances (PMS and/or menopause)
- athletes
- specific ways of eating (vegan, paleo, traditional foods, etc)

I promise, you're not going to cut off an entire section of the population from paying you. You'll attract more of your ideal clients faster, people who you actually want to work with and who aren't PITA's (pains in the ass).

The faster you pick a niche, the faster you’ll become profitable.

Don't be afraid to niche, niche, and then niche some more!

2. What are their pain points?

Now that you have a niche, you are focused on one group of people with a certain set of health issues.

Write down all the pain points that they would have on a daily basis, whether it's body symptoms or annoying things they have to deal with.

For example, a 50-year-old woman with menopause might have the following pain points:

- Hot flashes that wake her up 5 times each night, so she's completely exhausted during the day.
- Bloating after meals so that she has to unbutton her pants.
- No sex drive, and even when she IS in the mood, sex just plain hurts because it's as dry as the Sahara Desert down there
- Dry skin
- Mood changes so severe that she's yelled at her husband in front of friends or family

If your niche is people who are new to a vegan lifestyle, they might have these pain points:

- Don't know where to get some of the more exotic ingredients in certain recipes
- Gas and bloating from a huge increase in fibre
- Making dinner each night feels like it takes 2 hours and uses every dish in their kitchen
- Not knowing how to eat at family functions or outings like Christmas and Thanksgiving
- Ensuring that they get enough iron and vitamin B12

You can see how hard it would be to work with everyone and to not choose a niche, because there's almost no way that you could design one signature program for both the previous examples. Plus, it would take so long to develop two separate programs that it would be a massive waste of your time because, depending on how much you charge and how much time it takes you, it might work out to less than than minimum wage per hour by the time you make the program and deliver it to the client in person.

3. What's their end goal?

Now that you have a niche with specific problems, you can pick what you think their end goal would be if they were to work one-on-one with you.

For example, if your niche is weight loss, would your clients be severely obese and want to lose 50 or 100+ pounds, or are they moms with little muffintops and they want to sculpt their belly? These are two totally different niches and end goals, so would potentially require two different one-on-one programs!

Does your niche or ideal clients want to get through the month without their severe PMS and cramping? Do they want to be able to go on a road trip without having to know every bathroom along the highway for their IBS?

In a perfect world, what health issues would they completely eliminate from their life? This is their end goal!

4. How long should your program be?

Something that all nutrition schools should tell their students is to stop taking clients with only one appointment.

Your clients didn't get sick in a week, and it's not going to take just one appointment for them to get better. They're going to need an entire program, and depending on what issues they're dealing with, it could take months or years to completely re-balance the issue.

The minimum length of my one-on-one programs was 3 months, but I quickly phased that out and only worked with clients for 6 months. That's how long it took for me to either completely balance the root issues, and for some it still wasn't long enough!

You could also offer two options with a 3 month option AND a 6 month option. If someone completes the 3 month program with you but you're so awesome they want to keep going, they have the option to complete the last 3 months for the difference in price.

5. How often will you meet?

There are lots of ways to work one-on-one with clients, ranging from meeting up with them once a week to once a month to once every 6 weeks. There's no right or wrong way, and depending on your niche it might be obvious you have to meet with clients more often to keep them on track or if you're doing more advanced techniques with them, like deep cleansing or detoxing (think parasite cleanse or Candida diet).

For example, I met with my clients for 1 hour every month for 6 months, and called them every 2 weeks in between to keep them motivated and on track. They had unlimited access to me by email or text for the quick questions in between.

I gave them the in depth information for the next month at the 1 hour appointments, and the follow up calls in between our appointments were 15 minutes. Sometimes the follow up calls were 5 minutes, sometimes 20, but the whole point was to let them know that I'd be checking in to keep them accountable.

All in depth information and plans were given to them during our 1 hour appointments.

For your niche, their starting point and end point, how often do you think they would need to meet with you?

Do they need hand holding and need to meet every week? Do they need weekly for the first month, then bi-weekly for a few months, and then monthly for the last 3 months? Or is once a month good for your ideal clients for the entire 6 months?

Feel free to play around with this, especially with your first few clients. They're your guinea pigs, and what you think might work well might not. It might take 5 or 10 clients to work out the kinks in your program, so feel free to experiment.

6. What body systems are involved?

Now that you know who you want to help, where they're starting, where they want to end up, and how often you're going to meet with them ... now you just have to work backwards to design your program.

For example, for some health issues there is a strong hormonal component, which brings in liver and digestion. For other health issues, you might be needing to do an elimination diet or Candida cleanse.

Write down all the systems that would be involved, and put them into order from easiest to balance to hardest, or outermost to innermost.

For example, having someone start to eat whole foods when they've been eating all processed phoods is an easier thing to do with a client than a liver detox. It actually should be done first because you need to make sure they're having healthy bowel movements so that their liver can detox properly. For people eating really crappy diets, switching to whole foods will force their body into detox all on it's own!

Once you have all the steps/systems that you need to address with your ideal client, split them into the number of appointments you plan to meet with them. Continuing with my 6 month example, I split my systems into 6 steps, once for each 1-hour appointment I'd be meeting with my client each month.


Don't worry if this doesn't make sense yet, because there's a free workbook below that'll make it much easier for you to understand this step!

At the first appointment I gave them a binder to fill with all the information from each appointment, and each subsequent appointment they were asked to bring their binder so we could add their new month to it.

For my 6-month hormone balancing program, here's the breakdown of each month:

Month #1: Basic nutrition - what are whole foods, healthy fats, number of servings each day, basic water intake, how to meal plan.

Month #2: Advanced nutrition - optimizing stomach acid levels, food combining, what to eat organic versus not organic (dirty dozen and clean fifteen).

Month #3: Colon cleanse - using real food and superfoods to support the function of the large intestine for super regular bowel movements.

Month #4: Liver detox - using real food, superfoods, and select supplements, one week would focus on supporting Phase 1 liver detox, followed by a second week focused on Phase 2 liver detox.

Month #5: Adrenal/thyroid balancing OR gut rehabilitation - depending on that particular clients' issues, they would get either an adrenal rebalancing protocol focusing mainly on their lifestyle and stress levels OR a major gut rehabilitation protocol using select supplements and fermented foods.

Month #6: Going forward - Depending on the progress that we've seen together so far, I would make recommendations for ongoing body support, including what kind of "diet" I think their body responded best to, any supplements that I think they need on a regular basis, how long they should continue the hormone balancing OR gut rehabilitation protocol, and how often I recommend them repeating the colon cleanse and liver detox.

7. Figure out your price

Now that you know how many times you'll be meeting with someone and what you'll need to prepare, you can figure out the total number of hours you'll be spending with them OR on their program.

Yes, you charge them for the time you're spending to prepare their program even when they're not with you.

When you're first starting out, it's going to take longer to prepare your steps for each meeting as you're brand new at it! However, a good guideline to start with is that for every hour meeting you have with a client, it can take about an hour to prepare their information for that meeting.

After you've tweaked your signature program, it'll take less and less time for you to prepare each step for each client. After 5 years of working with my signature program, the total time I spent with each client, including preparing their handouts and info, was about 10 or 11 hours, and I charged $2,000. And people paid it.

Here's an example of how my total client time was broken down :

Intro/Discovery call

30 minutes - generally offered for free and you don't charge them upfront, but this is when you figure out if you're the right practitioner for them and if they're the right client for you.

Month #1

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Follow up - 15 minutes
Answering miscellaneous emails + support + admin (invoicing, etc) - 30 minutes

Month #2

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Follow up - 15 minutes
Misc support/admin - 20 minutes

Month #3

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Follow up - 15 minutes
Misc support/admin - 15 minutes

Month #4

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Follow up - 15 minutes
Misc support/admin - 15 minutes

Month #5

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Follow up - 15 minutes
Misc support/admin - 15 minutes

Month #6

Prep - 60 minutes
Delivery - 60 minutes
Misc admin - 15 minutes
*no follow up because this is the end of their program

TOTAL TIME = 935 minutes = 15.58 hours

Let's round down to 15.5 hours 😉

In the beginning, I recommend picking an hourly rate similar to other holistic health practitioners in your area like massage therapists. In my smallish town of about 50,000, RMT's charge about $75 an hour.

So my total 6-month package above would cost 15.5 hours times $75/hour = $1162.50. Feel free to round up or down depending on what you think sounds like a nice number that rolls off your tongue!


I know that all of these steps can feel really overwhelming, which is why I have a free download called "Design Your Signature Nutrition Program".

This workbook includes:
- an outline of each of the 6 steps above with room to brainstorm
- step-by-step recommendations for 6-month programs for niches like chronic digestive issues, hormone issues, and weight loss
- how to turn your 6-month program into a 3-month introductory program with an optional upgrade at the end
- how to offer payment plans

Ready to design your own signature nutrition program? Click the button below 👇🏻

Are you ready to start taking paying clients? How exciting, and yet so scary at the same time that you probably feel like you're walking off a cliff or going to throw up. I've totally been there!

Know that you can always tweak your programs as you gain more experience and start seeing what works and what doesn't. You are in charge of your own business, and if something isn't sitting right or you just plain don't want to do it anymore with clients, then don't!

The signature program that I started with almost a decade ago morphed over the next 6 years into the 6-month program that I outlined above. I tweaked it based on feedback from actual clients, and by the end it was a simple program that was easy-to-follow yet challenging that got amazing results.

Glowing testimonials are waiting for you after taking clients through a program that helps them re-balance their entire body, one system at a time!

I wanna know: what's your signature program? They're as unique as each practitioner, and it's always so interesting hearing what other people do with their clients!