In keeping with the theme of being heart healthy (February is American Heart Month), I want to introduce you to Jenni and Mirna, the masterminds behind the brand, The Naughty Nutritionists. Both ladies are Registered Holistic Nutritionists, and even better, very realistic when it comes to healthy eating. They are self-proclaimed "foodies", so you better believe what they are serving up, not only looks delicious (and edible) but oh so good for you!
So let's jump right in, shall we?
It all started as a small project to build a cookbook of healthy yet delicious recipes contributed by nutritionists from across Canada and the world. There was so much interest and we received sooo many recipes that we decided to create a blog to showcase them as well as promote the nutritionists that created them.
At that time, it was a side project and we weren’t really sure about what both of us would be doing and we just let things evolve naturally. We had a common ground since both of us have similar stories and experiences with dieting, negative body image and a frustration with the amount of misinformation that is out there. So, we wanted to inspire other women to fall in love with their bodies and the food on their plate and empower them with the tools that have helped us let go of the diet mindset, learn to eat mindfully and have some fun in the process.
The company has evolved so much, and we have some excited things coming up in the near future, but we really want to stay true to our core, and that is to provide the world with accurate, up to date nutrition information, simple strategies that don’t involve dieting, and to showcase the wellness professionals out there, and what they’re working on.
We actually met while we were in nutrition school, but we didn’t really keep in touch until the project came up. We live in 2 different cities so we find that being our biggest struggle with trying to run a business.
At the moment, there’s the two of us and we do absolutely everything ourselves from accounting to marketing, photography, design, social media and writing to building our website and trying to make sense of all the tech. We’ve definitely learned a lot.
We also have an intern, Lisa Bermas from Empower Eats [https://empowereats.wordpress.com]that helps us with writing and editing some blog posts.
J: No, but never really had a vision for the 9-5 and always wanted to create something on my own- I never really wanted to be a clinical nutritionist, because working hands on in the kitchen developing recipes and writing is my wheelhouse.
Mirna: Not really. As someone who is very organized and likes to have everything planned, it still scares me every day. Luckily there’s 2 of us so we can support each other, and Jenni always reminds me of the bigger vision.
J: Bartender turned nutrition student, and then graduated and then got pregnant, so basically foodservice industry to healthy mom (two completely different worlds). This was going to be a side project while I was on maternity leave, and a stepping stone into the nutrition game, but our vision started to form, and although we hit some bumpy spots in the road we’re finally starting to feel settled in what it is we want the business to represent.
Mirna: I was working in a global management consulting firm, helping companies make their annual pay and benefits decisions based on market survey analysis and trends. In short, the % salary increase you got this year largely depended on us ☺
J: Honestly, right now balance is the hardest thing aspect in my life. I have a 2 year old, I am a stay at home mom, and it is a daily struggle to make sure I am paying attention to my baby, and my business baby. So, Olivia forces me to find the balance, but I still have a long way to go with this.
Mirna: My hubby reminding me (or forcing me hehe) to take a break. It’s also the fact that I can easily experience burnout under stress so I have learned to allow myself to take a break when I need it.
J: Busy. My fiancé is a business owner as well so we have a lot of ideas flowing all of the time, and with a 2 year old thrown into the mix, we’re tired a lot. But they’re both my world, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mirna: I moved to Canada (where my husband grew up) just over 4 years ago, so there’s basically just the 2 of us and we’re both self-employed. We definitely miss having family around (especially around the holidays) but we have managed to build a nice small circle of friends. We love food, enjoy discovering new foodie places in Toronto and eat out often on the weekends. We’re also big on concerts and live events. We both love travelling, but that’s on hold for a little while until our businesses are properly set up.
J: organic greens, kimchi (or sauerkraut), sweet potatoes, berries, organic salsa
Mirna: hummus, arugula, cooked beets, eggs and sauerkraut.
J: I am a yogi through and through, and prior to having Olivia yoga was a huge part of my weekly ritual, it centers me and makes me feel fit. Other than that, cooking is something I practice on a regular and love to do daily.
Mirna: I love starting my day with a warm glass of water with lemon, ginger & honey or apple cider vinegar & honey followed by a 30-minute run or HIIT workout. This really boosts my energy and sets me up for the day. I’m new to yoga, but I have been trying to attend 2 yoga classes per week to simply breathe and stretch.
Have a solid plan.
When you’re first starting out, it can be overwhelming and at the same time exciting. You want to do it all but it’s important to come up with a clear goal and plan so you can move forward with your blog or business.
Ask yourself: What is your main goal? How are you going to get there? Who are you serving (your audience)? What makes you happy?
It takes time to write a business plan and set your yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals but without that you’re running without an end goal and it’s hard to build a sustainable business without that.
Don’t do everything, set money aside to outsource stuff you can’t do.
When you first start out, you’re doing everything. You’re trying to learn a million things (marketing, copywriting, social media, videos, photography, SEO, Wordpress etc.) and often end up doing things that you don’t necessarily enjoy. It’s probably a phase most of us go through. But at some point, you need to outsource. Outsource the stuff you don’t enjoy, or don’t have the time to master and do more of what you love. We are in this process right now.
Don’t do it on your own.
Networking, building connections and elevating each other is the one thing we have found to make the biggest difference in our business whether it’s online or offline.
When others in your field succeed, you will succeed so make genuine connections and help others.
Read and research as much as you can.
We’re lucky because there’s so much available to us- detailed articles, free courses, great tools and software. With that though it becomes harder to know what to choose, what works/what doesn’t. You often end up overwhelmed by the amount of information that there is and what you want to implement in your business. So yes, research and read but make priorities of what’s important and what you need to move your business forward. A webinar on advanced SEO tactics might not be useful or actionable if you still don’t know the basics, so don’t sign up for it just yet!
Having a list of trusted resources is also important and researching all your options before moving ahead is vital. That’s when the next advice also comes handy.
Join blogging groups.
We can’t say how helpful these have been in our business, from being stuck on website tasks to needing advice on copy, looking for tools and so much more. There are so many amazing Facebook Groups and people are very helpful so make sure to join a few, be active and engage. You can build a great community as well as collaborate with others.
10. As an entrepreneur, how do you unplug from everything?
J: Netflix for sure, we love a good TV binge session when we have the time.
Mirna: Hate to say it but it’s mostly Netflix. I also love listening to music (80s-90s), that’s my meditation.
J: Sweet potato fries, my toddler is obsessed with them as well, so it’s a great way to get some veggies and vitamins/ minerals/ antioxidants into her. Nutritional yeast is our secret (not so secret) ingredient. It really steps up your baked fry game.
Mirna: Balila, it’s a Lebanese dish (I’m half Lebanese/half Bulgarian) that’s made with chickpeas, olive oil, lemon, cumin and parsley or cilantro and topped with toasted pine nuts. That with a whole grain pita is just the perfect quick and easy meal.
J: Both. 1 coffee in the morning (I add a mushroom blend with some coconut milk), and about 2-3 teas throughout the day. Since I am highly strung, you can usually catch me sipping on tulsi or nettle tea.
Mirna: Jasmine green tea. I also love coffee but I enjoy it occasionally as I have noticed my anxiety gets much worse up when I have it every day and I sometimes get the jitters even from just 1 shot.
Thank you Jenni and Mirna for allowing me to share your entrepreneurial journey! I wish you both nothing but success in all your endeavors!
You can also find the ladies here:
The Naughty Nutritionists on Facebook and Instagram
Heads up! Right now they have a 7 Days of Guilt Free Desserts Recipe Book you can get for FREE on their website! Just in time for Valentine's Day!