In my past 2 years in a Marketing, turned Customer Success, turned "Growth-Hacker" position here at Meal Garden, I've learned a thing or two about what it takes to become truly "influential" in this crowded - yet growing - health & wellness industry.
My journey started with a desperate desire to "get people talking" about Meal Garden...
We're a health-tech company helping people eat better, with a fully developed and incredibly advanced tool - hype should be easy. Or so I thought.
Getting the word out requires strategy.
So I turned to "influencers" - health & wellness thought-leaders with a following. That would surely be the way. Or so I thought.
Turns out asking people to take a spin at your super cool new app isn't a super cool new ask - they're used to it, and folks that are "big enough" to matter, send you a "big enough" press kit.
Unfortunately, as a bootstrapped startup, forking out thousands on a "feature blog post" or "social media mention" just didn't seem worthwhile...nor financially feasible.
Moreover, I wanted these Media Nutritionists and RDs to genuinely use and love our tool. I wasn't looking for a one-hit mention.
So instead, I turned to up-and-comers, while building my own brand, Mindfully Edible, on the side.
Taking inspiration from Toronto's big names in nutrition, like Joyous Health, Abbey's Kitchen, and Julie Daniluk, while working closely with recent grads from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN) and the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN), I began to piece together what it takes to be truly "influential" in this space.
I've come to realize that an "influencer", especially in this space, is someone that people not only look up to, but wholeheartedly trust and resonate with.
What do all of these "nutrition stars" have in common? They are inspirational, informative, and have impeccable brands (in other words - beautiful aesthetics is vital).
Working with a select group of entrepreneurial nutritionists, dieticians, and health coaches, I can immediately pick out those that "get it" and are going places, and those that still need to find their footing in the space. Some of the nutritional influencers and advocates I'm most excited about who have already begun to shape our Meal Garden Professional community include Ivana Locke, Kristine Peacock, Paula Yolles, Ana-Maria Janes, and many more.
They have each and collectively taught me the importance of becoming an expert in serving your particular niche - whether it's busy new moms, women with digestive issues, or parents struggling with picky-eaters - and furthermore, becoming a relatable "friend" to your followers.
While my passion for food and nutrition grew as I learned and developed at Meal Garden, meanwhile pursuing continued studies in holistic and alternative medicine, I was inspired to create my very own health & wellness community, Mindfully Edible.
The tool has provided me with the resources, support, and confidence I needed to become a "wellness expert" myself, and continues to opens up new and exciting doors for me today.
Here are a few examples of what I mean…
It's been the platform in which I host my own online channel, The Holistic Health Hub, where I connect with people all across the world looking to improve their eating habits.
I use my Recipe Collections + Meal Plans as a value-add on my personal blog. This is the page that consistently gets the most traffic on a monthly basis and helps to boost my website SEO.
I can quickly and easily find and dissect any recipe to assess it's nutritional composition, offer scientific dietary analysis on menu plans, and quickly and easily create custom meal plans to suit the individual dietary needs of a wide variety of my followers.
All of this, and I'm not even a "Nutritionist". Yup, I said it. Just a Rotman Commerce grad with a passion in food & nutrition, a desire to help people eat and feel better, and a continuous thirst for progressive information in the ever-advancing wellness world.
While I've struggled with my own insecurities of not going to "nutrition school" or being a certified "Dietician", I've realized that's not a barrier to my success as a Wellness Influencer in the slightest. Without sounding TOO conceited, I can confidently state that I am one of the most informed people I know on almost any dietary-related topic, and that's all thanks to literally living and breathing in this space. Everyday, all day.
Naveen Jain, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Viome, explained on a recent podcast on Bulletproof radio that his advice for becoming a successful entrepreneur is as follows:
"First of all, start dreaming big. Really start to think about what are the biggest problems. Don’t be afraid that you know nothing about it. If you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, they are not the experts in their field. They all started because they saw a big problem. When you see a big problem, you essentially start to take a small, small slice, and then start executing."
Thank you Meal Garden for fuelling and supporting my journey becoming a "Wellness Influencer" in this crazy yet exciting "wellness world".