Alex Okell

How I diversified my revenue in my nutrition business

Today we are talking about how I diversified my revenue streams in my nutrition business, and how I moved from a one-to-one to a one-to-more or one-to-many model.

So a bit of a backstory – and yes, this is a chatty one. But today, indulge me and I’m going to be telling you all about my journey with diversifying my revenue streams.

This is a transcript of episode 4 of the By Invitation Only Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

The backstory to my nutrition business

I started my nutrition business in 2020. It was a general nutrition private practice, I was working with anyone pretty much anyone who wanted a non-diet Intuitive Eating approach. And I really, I found it like okay to find clients, I had established an Instagram account. It wasn’t huge at all. My website was nice. I spent a lot of time faffing on it. But it really wasn’t optimised for SEO. I truly don’t really know how my first clients found me, which really says it all because you should be knowing where people are finding you. So you can, you know, replicate those results. But anyway, it’s fine. I had a few different clients. And it just naturally happened that people with PCOS were finding me.

PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a hormonal condition that affects about one in 10 People with ovaries in the UK. So it’s super common, and it probably affects actually more people. But I found that a lot of people with PCOS were finding me I was curious about it. I did my research. I did various courses and just got involved in that PCOS world. And just kind of organically like I said, these people with PCOS, were finding me so it just kind of naturally evolved in 2021 to restructure my whole business, changing the name and the branding and just focusing on people with PCOS. So at this time, I was still seeing clients one to one, but this is really what helped me become fully booked was having this niche because the intuitive eating niche is already not that niche anymore. Definitely not anymore, which is a great thing.

I had this almost double niche of PCOS and the non-diet or intuitive eating approach. So at this double niche, I was getting recommendations, people were finding me online just because it was kind of quite specific. So even though I didn’t really know what I was doing with SEO, it was still kind of working just because it was quite niche to have a non-diet PCOS nutritionist in the UK, in London, blah, blah, blah. So people were able to find me via my website via SEO. And that worked out great to be able to get fully booked. I was also utilising Instagram, it’s when reels really started to take off. So I was kind of creating those very basic bitch reels where you’re pointing at things and it just was working pretty well.

Why I wanted to diversify our income streams

At this point, I was fully booked, I was still working full-time at a university. And I was just feeling super overwhelmed. And there was just a lot going on. And the way that this business was structured, we are seeing a lot of clients as one-off appointments rather than kind of packages. There were some people who I was on you know, I was working with in a packaged way. But a lot of them it was one off which is just a whole extra level of kind of stress on the body almost because you are meeting these people for the first time in these calls. It’s very high energy they expect a lot out of these sessions. So it was just a lot after a full day of work as well. Obviously seen people in the evening weekend stuff like that. So it was just jam-packed crazy busy. And then 2022 I really started feeling this resistance to working with clients and it was because of all the reasons I’ve mentioned because I was so busy and booked up and it was one of those where like it felt I think a lot of people saw on the outside and thought oh my god amazing. Alex’s fully booked how she doing it? And on the inside, you’re thinking, Oh, my God, what is happening? How has this happened? How can I make it stop?

So I really started feeling this resistance because of how busy I was, I had a serious burnout. And I’d also started having pelvic pain for coming up to six months at this point when I was entering 2022, I was getting married that year, all of these different things were going on. I also felt this kind of resistance because I felt like I had this bigger message to share because it because my niche was so unique. being this very particular nutritionist in a particular space in the UK, where it just wasn’t as big of a thing. I just felt like I wasn’t impacting as many people as I wanted to impact. I also felt like I was sharing similar advice on all of my calls. Of course, that was this bespoke nature of working one to one.

But a lot of it was quite similar information, which I just thought, how can I get that part of the non-bespoke part where it’s just that you just need to know this information is just like a, almost like a prerequisite to working with me? How can I get this out to reach more people, because even just having that information without the bespoke part, I knew could help so many people, and I taken, you know, these last couple of years, to do all that research myself to learn it all, to see clients and to see that this work, this framework that I had created, worked. And I was like, How can I reach more people and I was thinking about doing a course, I had all these different ideas. And then I actually decided that maybe working one to warm wasn’t for me.

How we diversified our revenue streams

I decided to create an ebook with the help of my small team. And we co wrote an e book, which was released in September 2022. I knew that I wanted to help those people who couldn’t necessarily afford one to one or a course, or maybe your course wasn’t quite right for them, because it’s quite a lot of, you know, a time investment to do a course. So I wanted to create a book that people could, you know, read on the beach, read on their commute. So we wrote this book called eating intuitively for PCOS. And I’m really, really proud of it. It’s a really, I think, a great piece of work. And we self published with Amazon, Amazon KDP, which I’m sure I’ll do an episode on soon.

Because it can be a really great way to get your book out into the world without having to go through traditional routes. One day, I would love to publish it traditionally, just because I think it could impact even more people. But for the moment, it’s on Amazon, and it creates lovely consistent sales, which is what I really wanted and gets great reviews and great feedback. So that’s really, really as the main thing. So we released that in September 2002. And also at the same time we released a course for professionals because like I said, I’ve done all the reading and research. And I’ve done a few different courses on PCOS for professionals for people who wanted to work with people with PCOS. And the quality was very kind of varied across the different courses. A lot of it was very US-focused and a lot of it wasn’t non-diet. I just knew we could create a great course. So again, with the help of my small team, we created a course that was launched in September 2022. And at the time of this recording, we’re about to update it for 2023.

I think it’s created a huge impact because we are helping more nutritionists, dieticians, personal trainers, and anyone who’s in the wellbeing space who wants to work with people with PCOS, PCOS, we are creating a really great resource for those people who can offer more of that compassionate care. So this really, these two things that I did, releasing the ebook and releasing the course really helped me kind of tick that impact box, I felt like I was missing I felt like I couldn’t reach as many people as I wanted to reach so that was really great for me it kind of took that off my shoulders and made me feel a little bit better. Because I knew that this was creating a wider impact which I absolutely loved. And both the course and the book being released in September was purposeful because it is PCOS Awareness Month that month so that worked really nicely to kind of create that buzz around it.

With the course, I did a presale so you could buy it at a much lower cost. And it would be released in September. So I wanted to make sure I kind of gauged the interest I don’t want to create if no one cared, but it did amazingly I think we finished with a 29 sales presale, so I was super happy with that. And then the book just obviously just you can’t sell out but it went crazy on the first day in the first few weeks. Now it consistently brings in sales pretty much every day, which is absolutely great.

Why the business model shifted entirely to 1:many

And then in September and October time, I found out that I was having surgery at the end of October. It was all very faffy as you can imagine with the NHS it was kind of one second You’re having surgery the next day or not. And this is all for the chronic pelvic pain that I spoke about earlier. So this was to see if I had endometriosis. And I knew that I wanted to take at least three weeks off for the surgery, I knew realistically, I may need longer. So I knew that I needed to tell my clients that I wasn’t going to be able to work with them one to one. So I told my clients, I was taking a hiatus. And I’m so glad that I properly kind of told him that I’m actually going to take time off until at least the New Year. And of course, you probably now know, I never actually went back to private practice.

I’d built the private practice up to capacity, and it was feeling pretty full and overwhelmed. And also, I just felt like it doesn’t suit my personality necessarily doing the one-to-one nutrition counselling. It’s very, very intense. And also, it’s a lot of, you’re taking on a lot of people’s emotions. Even if people think that you’re not necessarily doing a counselling or therapeutic role, I was taking on a lot of people’s emotions, in terms of fertility struggles, all of those different things when I’m going through a similar thing myself, it just, it was really, really challenging.

So I knew I wanted to take a hiatus. And now I’ve actually never gone back. And I never really realised that was possible. So that was amazing to kind of be able to create this nutrition business that actually allows me not to have to work for too long if I don’t want to. So after my surgery, I couldn’t see clients one to one, I also didn’t really have the inclination because I was recovering.

How I shifted to a 1:many model

I decided to invest in an SEO course to really understand SEO because I had this dream of like, well, how can I reach even more people without doing group programmes and causes and things like that? I just, I just didn’t really want to do that. And I was also kind of thinking if I release a course I’m going to have to keep increasing my traffic do I want to keep showing up on social media? Not really, it just wasn’t really suiting me at the time the algorithm was changing. I wasn’t in the mood. And TikTok was taking over which I didn’t want to do.

So, SEO and Pinterest were coming up as potential ideas. So I thought, I’m gonna go all in on SEO. And at which I did, I did, Erica Julson’s SEO Made Simple course. I invested in an SEO course, I learned everything I needed to know, I created SOP – standard operating procedures – for my writers so that they would be able to utilise the knowledge that I had built from this course. And I send it out to them. And I just went all in on SEO.

And I also did 1,000,001 different things at the start of 2023 in terms of swapping over hosting for my website for the nutrition website, changing the domain to.com from.co.uk All of these different things to try and help with the SEO, as well as consistently creating new articles and updating old articles. So this really led to a whole shift in the business model.

Because I shifted from this very kind of traditional nutrition model where you have one-to-one clients in private practice, maybe eventually you create a group programme or move to maybe write a book in a traditional capacity. Whereas I’d really completely switched that on its head and said, I’m giving up all the one-to-one, I’m just going to focus on SEO and Pinterest. And I’m going to make money through affiliate marketing and selling digital products.

So that was a complete shift and kind of scary and terrifying also so exciting. I knew that this business model suited my personality in the way I wanted to live a lot more in terms of not necessarily being tied down by a calendar, I wanted to be able to bring in income even when I wasn’t working, I find that that sort of business model is so much more sustainable for me, it makes me feel secure. It’s just a much better way for me to work, it suits me and my personality a lot more.

So now I’m at the stage where I make more money with affiliate marketing on that website than I did ever seeing one-to-one clients. I have regular sales of digital products and my courses and the ebook. We’ve been bringing in ads onto the sites. Ideally, I want to reach 50,000 sessions a month. So I can collaborate with MediaVine because I’ve heard amazing things about that ad network. That’s another way that we’re bringing in this semi-passive income because the passive side comes because you create the thing and then you get paid again and again when you’re not working. But the kind of semi part of it, the semi-passive rather than saying it’s completely passive is because you have to do the work in the first place.

So we write articles, I write them, my writers, write them, and I edit them all. And I upload them. And I work on the SEO for them. And they get seen by people on Google people click. And then if people see your adverts, then you get paid for them. And then we also link to affiliate products. So people can purchase products from different sites, and we get a kickback, a small kickback for that. Or we also have our shop where people can buy our course or professionals or our ebook.

So that’s the kind of the way that we have now built this business model. And we are growing via SEO and Pinterest taking this more hands-off approach, I have a couple of writers who work for me freelance, and I spend about half a day to a day a week on that nutrition, business, writing and doing marketing. And it really gave me the time to start this business, and it really helped me be able to help other people who are feeling cups with one-to-one work like I was, which I just love being able to help other people do what I now do.

So whether the people are feeling kind of financially capped in terms of they’ve reached the ceiling, and they don’t want to increase their prices, they’re kind of debating, do I bring in another person to take on some of my clients? Or do I expand with digital products? Or can I bring in affiliate marketing? Like what am I going to do next? I love helping people at that stage of their business. And I also have the kind of capacity and I absolutely love helping people who are kind of feeling capped with impact, you know, they’re thinking, I’m only really helping a very particular group of people who can afford my one-to-one, how can I create more of an impact with free or with a paid product. So love, love, love helping people with that side of things as well.

I also have lots of ideas for other nutrition businesses, I’d love to start and I definitely have a little bit of a domain graveyard going on on my Google Domains because I just keep collecting domains. And I really need to start doing something with them. I have seven different ideas. It’s just kind of figuring out what I want to prioritise what I have time to prioritise, fleshing out the idea, and getting started with it. So I have so many more things that I want to do and creating this business with diversified revenue streams, has really, really been able to give me the time and ability to be able to do all these different ventures and keep growing the initial nutrition business I started in 2020.

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