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From: Mark Rifkin (
Subject:         Do ONE Thing and Do It Well
Date: February 5, 2006 at 12:27 pm PST

Hi all,

As you consider nutrition as a career, be careful to focus your business ideas as much as possible.

Although I've been interested in nutrition for awhile, other health modalities eventually also piqued my interest. Massage, reiki, acupuncture, fitness/exercise, herbs, etc. can also have some appeal to nutrition-oriented practitioners. Some of you may be interested in expanding your practice to include some of these other modalities. I would encourage you to carefully reconsider your priorities.

A lack of focus may contribute to a poor business image. There is a TV commercial airing here (for some unidentified product) which portrays hypothetical examples of such businesses: Ray's Boating Supply and Tattoo Parlor, Sue's Vintage Clothing and Web Design Studio..... you get the idea. Clearly Ray and Sue have not done enough self-assessment and business analysis to narrow their business idea to an achievable and practical goal. While these examples are a bit exaggerated, they do point out that focus is essential.

In general, any practitioner should focus on one area of study. If you do it well and become exposed to the various sources of information and resources, you'll become slightly overwhelmed. If you're not at least slightly overwhelmed, you're probably not fully aware of the resources at your disposal.

For my own business, I decided early on to restrict my focus to food----no therapies, no supplements, no herbs, no homeopathic remedies, etc. Later I refined that to include general knowledge of vitamin and mineral supplements only (not the supplements commonly advertised in the free magazines at natural food stores). This helps to limit information overload---which will likely become a challenge for you as well. My decision has proved correct---the information overload just related to nutrition education, foods and chronic disease prevention is plenty----I don't need to be a reiki master or herbalist as well.

Although the various health modalities are of value, I believe that adding one to nutrition will prove completely overwhelming, ultimately dragging you and your business down. Not only for the reason of overload of information/ resources, but also because any legitimate modality will also require continuing education throughout your career. That's even more days lost from revenue-producing activities. (If a modality doesn't require at least ten education hours yearly, I might question its legitimacy.)
For registered dietitians, 75 education hours over 5 years (15 per year) are required.

So ask yourself, what is the ONE thing you think you can do well, perhaps better than anyone else you know? Then do it, and do it to the best of your ability.

Mark E. Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN

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