Published on 20th May 2020


We speak to Ann Gary, registered nutritional therapist at Zest4Life, about running a successful nutritional therapy business, and taking your practice online during lockdown.

What is Zest4Life and what do you do? 

“Zest4life are business mentors for the nutrition profession. We have supported nutrition practitioners for over 12 years. In the beginning, we trained NTs to run very successful Zest4Life group programmes that were focused on weight-loss, using Patrick Holford's low GL approach. Since 2014, we have provided a full range of business coaching and training services exclusively for NTs and students. In addition, we have created a large library of 'done for you' resources including eBooks, beautiful food plans and other client materials that all of our members have access to.” 

What do your business workshops entail?

Our business workshops all take place on Zoom and provide business training, mind-set support and motivation to help practitioners grow in confidence and grow their practice.” 

What advice can you offer NTs who are trying to balance their business alongside home schooling and other commitments in these uncertain times?

“This is certainly a real challenge for many practitioners and students. Our mantra right now is 'focus on what you can do' rather than all the things that you can't do in these restricted times. There are a number of simple business building activities that we can do each day that will help to keep our practices moving forward“ Firstly, connect with all your previous clients on a regular basis; make it personal and let them know you are thinking about them. You could send them a recipe or a link to an interesting article and invite them to let you know how they are coping, for example. Break the task down into manageable chunks too. Secondly, be visible and accessible to your communities - they need you more than ever.  Make sure that your website is very clear that you are operating 'Business as Usual' despite COVID-19.” 

How would you recommend taking your practice online?

“As a starting point, you will need to use a platform for video calls (Zoom is the preferred option for most NTs), automatic scheduling software (Acuity is our favourite) and a simple design package (Canva is the winner). The good news is they are all free platforms to start with. 

“Also ask yourself the question: do you want to be able to operate as an NT online (i.e. use a video link for consultations) or do you want to create an online business? They are two very different scenarios.” 

How can I be of service to my local communities without seeming like I am touting for business?

“This is a very active conversation topic within Zest4life. It is so important to be visible and accessible to our communities at this time but we do not want to be seen as opportunistic or ambulance chasing in any way.  Our solution is that we have created a six-week community health project and our practitioners are running short weekly sessions for their communities online. The response has been fabulous and we are reaching thousands of people in community groups in the UK and overseas. This is giving great visibility for the nutrition profession and is something that we can all do.”