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Podcast Episode #92: Nutrition Coaching Business Talk with Jessica Mishra
1. Making the Jump to Nutrition and Health Coaching: Identifying Your Market and Your Passion [9:04] 2. Making the Jump Financially [15:25] 3. Getting Started and Growing Your Network [21:33] 4. Setting Up Business Bank Accounts [31:23] 5. Support Staff [32:09] 6. Choosing the Right Nutrition Education Program for You [36:57] 7. State Licensing and Disclaimers [39:25] 8. Practicing Solo or in Conjunction with a Medical Professional, Meeting With Clients, Malpractice/Liability Insurance [45:05] 9. What to Track… Right From the Beginning [49:29] 10. Independent Contractors and Form 1099 [54:18] 11. Should You Be Making Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments? [56:41] 12. Financial Programs Through Beaming With Health [60:02]
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Jessica's program: Simplify and Organize Your Finances
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Liz Wolfe: Welcome, welcome to Episode 92 of the Balanced Bites Podcast! This episode is all about being a health coach or a nutrition practitioner. We get a ton of questions from folks wanting to get into this field to help other people. A lot of people are kind of being recruited into this field just by virtue of the fact that they're enthusiasts, they're living the lifestyle, and a ton of people are asking them for help. That's certainly the case with a lot of folks who feel like: Hey, I feel like I can help people, people are already coming to me for help, but I need to get some letters on the books and start doing this in a legitimate manner. So we're going to talk about that today.
Diane Sanfilippo: Legitimate? Are we legitimate?
Liz Wolfe: I wasn't legitimate until I met you, Diane… Jar! Jar. That was douchey.
Diane Sanfilippo: Jar.
Liz Wolfe: That's what we're going to talk about today, but first I want to talk about why…
Diane Sanfilippo: Please, don't talk about ticks.
Liz Wolfe: I promise not to talk about ticks, but next week we are getting our guinea fowl and our chickens.
Diane Sanfilippo: Well, we can talk about them with our guests for next week.
Liz Wolfe: We'll talk about it next week. We'll bring on some of the fowl, the goats and the fowl to talk to us next week about living on my homestead. But actually, Diane, I want to talk about why you sound like the beaver from Lady and the Tramp.
Diane Sanfilippo: Sure.
Liz Wolfe: Is that Lady and the Tramp? Shixty-shix pershent, eh?
Diane Sanfilippo: I have no idea.
Liz Wolfe: No clue. So why do you sound like that? Just curious.
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so I have Invisalign. I guess it's my S's. It sounds terrible. OK, but I'm trying to work on talking with them in because you're really not supposed to have them out for more than 2 hours a day. And I know a lot of people have seen pictures of me and they're like: Your teeth look fine! Why do you have that? Well, the bottom teeth that I have are pretty overlapping. I have a couple of top teeth that are just getting twisted. Apparently your teeth continue to move sort of over time, and I just didn't want it to get any worse, and I figured I better take care of it sooner than later. I never had braces going up, so this is kind of it. Yeah, so I started about a week ago, and they were out all day yesterday. We were doing a video shoot for some promo stuff for the Sugar Detox book, so I had them out, and I can't take them out again today. I can't.
Liz Wolfe: You're not allowed. That's OK. I think this is really interesting because I posed this question on my Facebook page awhile back, like: Do you guys think that a good diet and proper nutrition can preclude dental issues? And this is one of those things where a lot of us who needed, say, our wisdom teeth out or needed braces when we were younger, we actually ended up setting the stage for our teeth moving around when we're older.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, yeah. I had my wisdom teeth out. I never had braces. I actually sucked my thumb as a kid, so it's surprising that I didn't need braces, that I didn't push them out further.
Liz Wolfe: Maybe they would've been way, way in if you hadn't sucked them out.
Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe.
Liz Wolfe: Stupid.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I don't know. I had my wisdom teeth out, and I know it's all dietary, nutrition stuff from my mom and my grandma and probably a few more ancestors back, too.
Liz Wolfe: That's why we just have to eat that much more butter.
Diane Sanfilippo: Seriously.
Liz Wolfe: For the health of our progeny. For the dental health of our progeny.
Diane Sanfilippo: What was I going to tell you, too? One other thing… Oh, but my big, kind of, joke about the Invisalign is that it's… I'm almost… All right, everybody listens to this podcast. They know we don't like to talk about “diets,” but I feel like I'm on a diet because I can't really snack very easily because you have to take these things out every time you go to eat, and then it's a whole flossing and brushing ritual every time. Now, nobody has really been next to me for a very long period of time for many years, but if you were to live with me, if I'm in the kitchen, I'll take a bite of this, a bite of that. I'm cooking and there are a lot of things to taste. It's not like I'm eating tons of food all day long, but…
Liz Wolfe: It's like the Kanye West diet. Your mouth is, like, fused shut.
Diane Sanfilippo: It's not quite that bad, but it's really cumbersome to eat. I've seen some other people joking about it on Twitter, like: I'm on the Invisalign diet! And it just really keeps me from eating sort of randomly. You have to be very intentional about it. And I warn people at this point to literally not get all up in my grill if you see me. Do not get really close to my mouth. It's interesting.
Liz Wolfe: Wow.
Diane Sanfilippo: That's it. That's the Invisalign update.
Liz Wolfe: Very good. Well, in place of the tick talk, we talked a little Invisalign, but let's just skip right into the good stuff because we have a very knowledgeable guest today that's going to, I think, enlighten and inspire a lot of folks. We have Jessica Mishra with us. Jess, are you there?
Jessica Mishra: I'm here.
Liz Wolfe: Lovely. Well, we'll let you go ahead and give us your quick bio and background so folks can get to know you a little bit better, what you're up to, so you go right ahead!
Jessica Mishra: Sure. Thank you guys both so much for having me today. My name is Jessica Mishra, and I'm a certified health coach. I was a graduate of IIN, Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I'm also a certified public accountant, so a certified nerd. I worked in the accounting industry for five years. And I'm also a founder of Beaming with Health, which offers both health coaching services and business coaching to help entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses and organize their finances. So that is what I do.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Well, I just want to let people know that I met Jessica several years ago back in San Francisco. We were working both kind of side by side as health coach/nutritional consultant types, and we really quickly just kind of became friends and had a lot of common interests around health and also growing businesses, so I was really excited to be able to invite you on the show today and then also talk about… probably as we get through a bunch of questions, I know you have a couple of programs that you've created to help people based on your experience as an accountant also with starting your own business, and I'd love for you to just quickly let people know what those are, and then we'll get into a bunch of the questions that we have.
Jessica Mishra: Sure. We have two financial programs that I've recently launched. One's called Simplify and Organize Your Finances. It's kind of a complete toolkit to get you started with organizing your finances for your business. It's five prerecorded calls. It has a workbook alongside with it, and it covers everything from tax tips, there's a QuickBooks overview in there kind of telling you what you should be tracking as you get started, so there's a lot of information. I also have kind of a shortened version of that course, which is called QuickBooks Crash Course. So if you're thinking you want to get started with QuickBooks, which I highly recommend even early on to do that, then this is a great course for you. The QuickBooks course is two prerecorded calls and a workbook, so you can pretty quickly get through that material and get started with that.
Liz Wolfe: I may have to do that.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I kind of wish I had done that stuff really early on because I tried to learn QuickBooks on my own, and this would've been a way better approach because I got to the point where I just kind of threw my hands up. I'd been really bad about managing all of that for years, and so it's like, OK, if people can get that stuff started right away, I think it'll be really helpful for them.
So we're going to talk a lot about just kind of getting started in this whole field, some things that are not as related to the entire business portion in the first part, but we'll get into more of the kind of business questions because we've had a lot of the basic questions and the business questions from our readers. So maybe we'll just get right in here.
Jessica Mishra: Sounds good.
Making the Jump to Nutrition and Health Coaching: Identifying Your Market and Your Passion [9:04]
Diane Sanfilippo: And we'll ask you, Jess, but Liz and myself will kind of chime in, too, because we've all probably had some really different experiences about how we've made this whole transition because we've all had other careers first, and I think that's a pretty common thread. So I think the first question is really how does someone make the jump? How do we go from that day job, that 9-to-5, and transition or jump into this whole health coaching arena?
Jessica Mishra: This is a common question, and I think the best place to start with a career in health is to kind of start getting a little bit clearer on your market, and that's just basically who do you want to work with, who do you want to reach. I see a lot of people when they're starting out, they're kind of trying to reach a million different markets. They're talking to prenatal people, and maybe they're half paleo, and they're just sort of all over the place, and it's hard for their market to understand who they're really trying to reach. So I would just say take a little time, figure out what market resonates best with you, who you're most passionate about serving, and then just start understanding who that market is. Where do they hang out? What do they think about? How do they interact on social media? What would they want from you? I think that's really a great place to start, and I think Liz and Diane are both really good at talking with their market and connecting. Maybe you guys want to talk more about your markets, but that, I think, is a great step.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, and one thing that I always tell people, and I've done a lot of business coaching as well. Kind of even early on in my nutrition career, I was working in marketing for a long time before I ever came into this, so for the first year of my nutrition career I was actually doing a lot of business coaching as well, and I did coach a lot of IIN grads, too. And I think that along with thinking about who's their market, I think that as the coaches, as the educators, we need to think about what we're most passionate about, because everything you do will just resonate differently with the people who you're speaking to if it's the thing that you're most passionate about. You can't do a market research and then find that this is the big paying point for people, the big question that they have is XYZ, but the thing you're passionate about is 123, whatever it is. If it's not the same thing, you can't really move forward that way because it's not genuine. And I think the best way to figure out what it is you should focus on and how to make that move is to first find out where your passion really lies because that'll help guide everything else you're doing. To give kind of a real-life example here, I know Liz and I talked about this a lot with the work that she's been doing, and for how long has Liz been teaching people about skincare? I think I remember kind of smacking you one day and being like: Why don’t you just put this all in a guide? You know so much. You tell people so much about this. Put it in one place. It's the thing you're most passionate about. Of course, we're all passionate about holistic health and nutrition as kind of a bigger picture, but we all do have that one sort of little thing that we focus on more, I think, just because it maybe is the thing that brought us to this lifestyle, so I think it's really important that you find that for yourself. I actually have a post on my blog called “What should you be doing with your life?” It's like a Monday Motivation where you can create a hedgehog, and it's this kind of business personality-type exercise, and I'll link to it from the podcast notes, but I think that that's a really helpful tool in trying to figure out which way to go with things. Liz, do you have anything else to kind of throw in there?
Liz Wolfe: Sure. I think that we're dealing with a ton of different types of personalities of folks that want to get started in health coaching, and I'm going to ask both of you guys maybe to give a little bit of what the preface to your move from the traditional 9-to-5 to health coaching was, kind of why you wanted to make that transition when you did it, what the inspiration was, because for me, my personality type… Diane, you're very driven, you're very goal-oriented, you identify how you want to move forward and you do it, but for me, it was kind of like floating down the lazy river kind of waiting for some inspiration to hit, and what was the most powerful for me and why I always tell people to start writing because, let's face it, if you are not creating some kind of content, whether video or written, or some kind of social media presence, you're probably going to stagnate a little bit unless you have a huge already built-in community, whether that's your church or your CrossFit gym, it's going to be a little bit more difficult to get that momentum going. But for me, just starting my blog and just talking about what I was thinking about at the time before I even got into health coaching or nutritional therapy, I was just writing what was on my mind. And what I realized through writing was my focus was kind of leaning in one direction. It was leaning toward, yeah, the paleo lifestyle and things like that, but it was leaning towards skincare, and it was leaning towards healing something that I had dealt with for a very long time, eczema and acne and all that good stuff, but I sort of identified my passion and what I actually wanted to be doing through writing and having no direction and to kind of funneling that into greater direction and then finally hooking up with you and you clubbed me over the head and said: Put this in one place for people! So I think even backing out a little bit when you feel like this is your destiny but you're not sure where to start or why, just get started by writing a blog and keeping that updated and seeing where your passions kind of go. So to that end, how did you guys get started and make that move?
Diane Sanfilippo: Well, I just want to say one more thing on your little “just do it,” kind of get started. I have some other friends who have been trying to start health-related blogs, and they're very fearful about what they're supposed to write. Will someone even read this? Is anyone going to find this helpful? And literally, they're paralyzed by these different fears and worries, and you're absolutely right. You just have to get started.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: It doesn't matter what it is in the beginning. My blog was called something totally different eight years ago when I started it. It doesn't matter. Just get started.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Making the Jump Financially [15:25]
Diane Sanfilippo: So that does kind of go into that next question, which was, what do we actually do to get started? What are the steps that we take? But I wanted to just ask you guys, too, because I think one of the questions people have about this, about really making the jump, is more the financial question. It's the, how do I leave my job? It's not just how do I find a market and figure out what I'm going to do, it's sort of that practical, what do I do about that?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, that's a really good thing to think about because it can require a little bit of planning. Of course, you don't want to just leave your full-time job and start nutrition coaching. In the beginning, it just takes a lot of time to grow your practice, or it can, so it's good to have some sort of plan in place. Where is the money going to come from in the beginning while you're growing your practice? Are you going to have savings? Are you going to be pulling a loan? You can borrow against a 401k if you have something like that. You can borrow money from a family member, but you definitely want to look at how long it's going to take you to grow your practice. And a good thing to do there is maybe talk to some colleagues and find out how long it took them and when they really started bringing in a substantial amount of money. So yeah, just having a plan of where that money's going to come from while you're not quite in the place that you want to be yet.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right. Do you guys want to throw out rough, not dollar numbers, but rough timeframes of how long you think it took you to really get to that place just to exemplify for people how different it can be? For me, I know it was probably six months of living off of savings before I was really making enough to at least cover what I needed to buy or pay for and not take from my savings, and that means I also moved to an apartment that costs about half as much as the one I was living in before, so it was kind of this double whammy of spending less, changing my budget, and obviously working and pulling from savings for a while. But how long do you think you guys would say, just to give people a ballpark?
Jessica Mishra: For me, it was probably a year and a half to two years before I felt comfortable, and I even see a lot of colleagues that can be two to three years. I mean, it kind of depends. Some people get lucky and it is a few months, six months, but for other people it can be a little bit longer. And that's not to say they're not as successful. It's just that sometimes it takes longer to grow your network. I would say at least plan for a year and a half to two years when you're doing sort of your financial layout. I think that's a good kind of a safety net to have.
Liz Wolfe: I feel like this is a really interesting question because there's no one answer, obviously, but for me, I still don't only do one thing. I used to have one job. I used to be in media, and then after that I was in some other crazy business, and then I got into this stuff. And from the moment I decided I was going to start in some way, shape, or form earning a little bit of money by myself, as in directly to me, not on salary somewhere, but that I was going to start trying to develop some income streams that were outside of my salaried position that had nothing to do with nutrition, I was working for somebody else, since that moment, I've done a bajillion different random things just to deposit small checks into the checking account. And not only is that kind of the way I've done things, it's also what has enabled me to build a network. So rather than just saying: I’m going to go off and figure out how to be a health coach and be self-employed and whatnot, I actually found some ongoing gigs within the field I was interested in that helped me actually carve out my future from there. So to this day, I work with a couple of different nonprofits, developing nutrition programming. I write a lot of nutritional programming for people. I think that writing is a really undervalued skill and what we don't realize is how badly people need someone to write up these things and conceptualize them for them and for the groups they work with, so I work with Steve's Club National Program, I work with Steve's PaleoGoods, I've worked with a nonprofit dedicated to firefighter health, and all of those are billings going out and coming back in, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think that's all legitimate stuff. I mean, that really does all fall under the umbrella of I am working based on the nutrition education that I have. So that all completely counts. It doesn't mean identifying how long it took for you to get to the one day where you had something independent just coming from something that you created. I think all of it kind of counts, so I think kind of the main answer there is that it can really vary. I don't think I was lucky that it was six months. I think I worked really hard to figure out a way to earn money, and the big thing we might talk about here is how to really do that without just working the hours that it takes to kind of earn money, but I think anywhere from a minimum of six months up to like three years. I think that's a good kind of timeframe. And it doesn't mean somebody needs to save three years of salary. It just means you need to plan for the fact that you may not have the same salary that you have now for the next three years. It may be different.
Liz Wolfe: Or you might be building your stuff in the evening and going to your normal job in the morning.
Diane Sanfilippo: Moonlighting.
Jessica Mishra: Yep.
Diane Sanfilippo: Absolutely. I absolutely did that for at least a year, if not more.
Jessica Mishra: I did that for a while, too. Yeah.
Getting Started and Growing Your Network [21:33]
Diane Sanfilippo: All right, so let's kind of move on to this question that's about what are the steps that people need to take, the actual steps. OK, I've decided what I'm going to do. I know where my market is or at least I have an idea about that. But what do people actually need to do physically and online to get all this stuff kind of off the ground?
Jessica Mishra: I think the best place to start is you just want to start growing your network. And there are a million different ways to do this. Somebody once told me to just talk to anyone that will listen about your business, and that's kind of what I did in the first couple years. I mean, if I thought someone was going to listen to me about what I was doing, I would tell them about what I was working on, maybe what programs I had in the works. There are a lot of different ways to build your network. You can speak. I think it's great for people to see you speak, especially in this industry because a lot of people don't know what a health coach or a nutritionist does. So if you can get speaking in front of a group of people and just start letting them hear your message, that is great. And you can speak for free in the beginning. Just any organization that you think might benefit from a lecture, try to book that. Eventually you'll start charging for this, but in the beginning, I think, it's just a great way to get in front of people. And you, of course, want to have them sign up for your newsletter and stay connected with them afterwards. But this has been an effective way for me to grow my network and to get clients.
I also think partnering with other people is a great way to grow your network. If you do any sort of partnership, like a workshop, that can be a way to reach a whole other… you know, somebody's already set up their network, and then you get to access that network. For example, I've done a workshop with a yoga instructor where we do yoga and then I speak about nutrition. We've had great turnouts for those types of workshops, and the yoga instructor markets to their network, so it's just a nice way to kind of expand.
I could go on for hours about how to build a network, but basically just keep putting yourself out there even if it's scary. And Diane was touching on this. A lot of people feel like: Oh, I'm not polished enough or I don't know enough yet to start communicating to people and sharing my message, but just start doing it. Even if it feels uncomfortable, start blogging, start writing, maybe on Facebook share some recipes, or whatever you feel comfortable with in the beginning. Just start getting yourself out there. That's the best thing that you can really do, I think.
Liz Wolfe: I totally leached off Diane for the last, what, two years?
Diane Sanfilippo: Roughly.
Liz Wolfe: About a year. But it's true. Diane, you reached out to me initially.
Diane Sanfilippo: That was just for your voice.
Liz Wolfe: It was just because I'm incredible on the auditory note. But really, if I had never reached out to different people in the community, just asking questions, if I'd never developed a relationship with Bill and Hayley just by virtue of trying to do the same stuff, I would never be here, privileged to talk to people about this and maybe help other people. So the point is do not be afraid to talk to people because you never know what kind of connections you're going to make. And if you're just sitting behind your computer hoping that somebody's going to come to you and not talking to folks and not putting yourself out there, it's going to be a lot harder in the long run.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think some of the other things that we all kind of have as really important things to get started with besides obviously just writing whatever it is you're going to write as content on your blog, everybody thinks: Oh, but this person's already written about that. It doesn't matter. At some point when you become the blog that somebody likes to read all the time, they want to know your take on whatever that thing is. I sometimes can't believe that people still want to know what I think about, like, chia seeds, for example. And then I realize, well, I'm somebody that they trust on a lot of different things, and so they want to know my take on this thing. OK, cool, so I'll share my take. And we're doing all of that for free, and it is really important that we generate a very large amount of free content. And like Jess mentioned, speaking for free and giving talks and all that, I think in the beginning it is really important to do that, and it is important to take your time out to connect with people and meet people. And there is a certain point at which you have to realize that you can't do that anymore. There are some speaking events that I'll do sort of for free, but if I'm able to sell books at it, it's easier for me to say: OK, there's no charge for me to come there. But it's harder the further you get into this whole thing when your time really does become extremely, extremely valuable. And the hardest thing is we all want to be able to give that time away for free. I don't like to have to tell someone it'll cost this much money for me to be there. But if I take my time away from generating free content for my readers, I have to have something that I'm doing that's sort of balancing that out. So it's not really just about the dollars. It's really about creating a value sense for your time.
That being said, I think one example of the content that I've created that's free that's been tremendously helpful for people are all of the guides, the PDF guides that I have on my website. It's probably one of the most popular pages on my site. Pretty every day one of the guides is probably the most pinned graphic that I have referring back into my website, and I'm happy to be able to provide those for people. They're in my book. You can buy the book and get them, but guess what? They're free also. And I think it's hard at first to figure out the balance between, OK, what am I going to give people and at some point what will have a price tag on it? But I think when you are pretty new, as much as you can give away for free is great, and then it does become a little bit hard to realize that point at which something you're offering really does hold a monetary value and that it is OK to ask people to pay you for this work you've done, and basically they're paying you ahead for the work that you're going to continue to do that will be available to them for free. That's part of what this whole thing is about.
I think some of the other stuff that we probably all agree on is connecting with our audience. We're all on Facebook kind of a lot. I know I'm on there way more than I sometimes want to be, but I love that when people come to my page, to the Balanced Bites page, they know that they'll get an answer from me. Even if it's not immediately, they will get answers. I think it's really important to do that and to connect with your audience. What other kinds of tips do you guys have?
Jessica Mishra: I think it's important to be responsive, and Diane, I know you're really good at this. When somebody asks a question on your page or on a blog comment or something, you get back to them pretty quickly, and they start to remember that. People will come to you a lot more frequently if they know that you're going to respond and you're going to put thought into your response. So I would just say make sure that you respond any time someone's communicating with you… in a pretty quick manner if you can.
Liz Wolfe: To that point, also be careful not to ever be offended by something someone reaches out to you with, because I think that's been the biggest challenge for me in interacting with people individually, is that people will come at you whether real or imagined with hostility or with questions that appear to have ulterior motive, and sometimes responding with emotion is the first instinct, but I think kind of taking a step back and remembering that none of this is personal and always replying with kindness and compassion is important. I still forget that. I just replied to somebody on my page the other day with a little bit of vitriol, and I'm regretting it. So something to keep in mind, I think.
Jessica Mishra: Yeah. I've heard people say that if you're properly communicating with your market, you are going to offend other people because you're communicating towards a specific group of people.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right.
Jessica Mishra: And some people aren't going to agree with your philosophy, which is fine, and I think you're right. You just try the best you can to respond with grace. It's hard. It is hard. It's challenging to not get emotional.
Diane Sanfilippo: So I think, to recap some of the stuff that we've been talking about for getting started, we've talked about getting a blog started. I don't think we can really get into all of the technical and design elements of that in this podcast. I don't think it's the best use of our expertise for other people. I think there are probably a bunch of design and blogging podcasts or websites out there that people can check out. But definitely getting a blog started, having some sort of business name and creating the Facebook page, creating a Twitter account, doing all of those things so that you can do what we've been talking about where you connect with your audience. And like Jess said, responding to questions quickly. It doesn't mean within an hour or even that day, maybe it's within 24 to 48 hours, but that you create some sort of regular connection so that people are recognizing that you're reading what they're writing and that you're answering it because it's really each of our jobs to become the expert in whatever it is that we say we're the expert in, and so we want to make sure that people know where to go for that.
Setting Up Business Bank Accounts [31:23]
Jessica Mishra: Can I interject one thing from a financial perspective?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes!
Jessica Mishra: It's a really good idea to go ahead and start getting your business bank accounts set up. Separate accounts from personal.
Diane Sanfilippo: I'm so glad you're on this podcast because I'm the worst! The worst.
Jessica Mishra: Yeah. I mean, I think people just think they'll do it later, and then everything starts getting intermingled with personal. And that's fine, you can sort through it later, but you're going to create a headache for yourself later. So if you just go ahead and start clean from the beginning with business bank accounts, it's really going to make your life easier come tax time and all that.
Liz Wolfe: And set aside some of your earnings because they will be taxed.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think we'll get into this in just a minute here, some more of those little tax questions.
Jessica Mishra: Yeah.
Support Staff [32:09]
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, so let's see. What else? I think we talked a bunch about networking already. We just have some notes that we want to make sure we cover. Somebody asked on Facebook about support staff and figuring out when you need to hire someone. I'm just going to address this one really quickly. I think it's important when you hit a point where you are earning enough money to be able to hire someone, and it doesn't necessarily mean it's as much as you want or as much as you think you should have, but enough to be able to pay somebody else to take some of the weight off your shoulders. And it doesn't necessarily mean that you “hire” them. They may not be an employee. You most likely will have people work for you as contractors or subcontractors where they fill out a W-9. Is that what it is, Jess?
Jessica Mishra: Um-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: They fill out the W-9 form and they should be earning money elsewhere as well. They're not working for you full time. But say, you just need an assistant or you need someone to help you answer emails or whatever it is, that's kind of how you would probably handle it unless you get to the point where things are big enough that you really have employees. I think it really just kind of depends on the situation. I currently have probably at least four, if not more, people who are working with me as subcontractors, so I'm breaking. I'm trying to figure all of this out, so it's been a real struggle for me.
Jessica Mishra: There's also the option that a lot of people are doing virtual assistants now. If you want a couple tasks done by someone, that's kind of a good route to go as well.
Diane Sanfilippo: And then one other note I have on that about how to find somebody to help you: I think it's a really great idea to poach from your audience. Maybe you guys agree or disagree with this, but what I've found is that when I'm looking for… when I hired my assistant and also hiring my intern and some other people who help, moderators and things like that, for one of those positions I did put out an application form and got hundreds of people responding. I think it's cool because they already know my business, they know my voice, they know what I stand for, and they're really excited to help. And I think it's important in this industry to have people who understand you, your personality, what you talk about, what your business is, because it is so much based on who we are. It's not just like a company selling t-shirts. It's us and our opinions. So having people who are out in your fan base or readership, I think, can be helpful. I've also actually even just kind of gone out and poached them. I don't even ask for applications. I've gotten probably three people to help me who I've just noticed that they're very active on my pages, and I literally just send them a message and say: Hey, do you want to come work with us? Because I think you're great, and that's kind of it. Do you guys have any other thoughts on that?
Liz Wolfe: Well, I just hired my first person recently, which is something, Diane, you'd been bugging me to do for a while.
Diane Sanfilippo: There's, like, a theme to this podcast.
Liz Wolfe: You're always right. I hate it.
Diane Sanfilippo: I know. It's really annoying, isn't it?
Liz Wolfe: I hate it so much. It's so annoying. But I also think that there is kind of a flipside to this, which is that sometimes you don't need to hire someone to work with you on your business. Sometimes you might want to start with maybe hiring someone to help out with a few things at home. So you can focus on your business a little bit more, you may get to the point where you want to bring somebody in to clean the house or you want to send the laundry out. And I know that sounds probably ridiculous to some people, especially those of us who are trying to live economically, but truly, it was actually cheaper for me to bring somebody in once a month to do a deep clean so we could live in a healthy environment versus paying somebody by the hour to help me with business stuff. It actually took a ton of emotional weight off of my shoulders and off of my husband's shoulders as well because neither of us had time to do it anymore, but it wasn't quite time to outsource business stuff. It was time to just open up that home space, that emotional space, a little bit so I could focus a little bit better and a little bit more. So there you go. That's my take.
Jessica Mishra: I like that.
Choosing the Right Nutrition Education Program for You [36:57]
Diane Sanfilippo: OK. Let's talk really briefly before we get into some more business stuff. I keep saying that because I know we have a huge list of business questions. But one of the questions we get most often to the podcast, and Liz and I both have posts about kind of making this whole thing a career. Liz has a post about choosing an education program that you think is right for you. I have one about just turning your nutrition education into a career. And I think you guys will probably agree with me. When it comes to choosing a program, we might have a quick answer there. Look at what the program offers. See what you'll be able to do with the credentials you have at the end of it, and if the curriculum resonates with you, then that's the way that you go. We've all actually gone to different programs and probably all recommend them, but each one is different and unique, and the cost is different for each of them. I honestly think a lot of people shy away from the Bauman program because it's probably about $10,000 at this point, and I think that that's a really limiting factor for a lot of people. So if that's a limiting factor for you, then that might help you choose. But none of us is going to say don't do this program, do that program. You really have to see what resonates most with you. And then talk to some other people about doing that program. Have they done it? What are they doing now? What do they like about it? What don't they like about it? And kind of move forward from there. Do you guys have anything you would disagree on with that?
Jessica Mishra: I agree with that. I think when I was first choosing my program, I found people that I was inspired by and then I kind of saw what their background was, and that's sort of how I chose.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, the only other program that I did look into was the IIN program, and I was pretty close to having done that one, and then I found the one for me that the curriculum was a little bit more what I was looking for, but I also had a classroom setting available, and that was really critical for me. Anybody who knows me at all knows that I like to learn in an interactive way and ask questions and all of that. So going on to teach classes is a huge product of the way that I like to learn. And so I think that's a really important thing to know. Do you learn well in isolation or not? Do you learn from just reading a lot or listening? What works best for you?
State Licensing and Disclaimers [39:25]
So this other question that I was just about to get into that people ask a lot about is how do we find out what licensing we need by state? Or do we need to be licensed in this state? Can I practice nutrition legally? How does it work? Just kind of all of those sorts of questions, so do you guys have any notes on that?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah. This is obviously important to look into before you start practicing, and I think it's different for every state, so I'm not going to get into all of the requirements, of course, but the best place to start is with your state's Department of Health, so you just google the Department of Health for your state. And then a lot of times they have further divisions that will apply to what you're wanting to do. So they might have a nutrition division. If you're a registered dietitian, they might have a dietetics board that they've created. So you just want to kind of drill down into that specialty, and then they probably have a list of requirements. They might want you to fill out an application to become licensed or they might not have any formal process, but you just want to know what that is. But yeah, basically start with the Department of Health and go from there.
Diane Sanfilippo: I did find a website, and I don't know how accurate it is, but I'll link to it. It's called LifestyleManagement.com, and they have a page all about licensure laws. Say that one five times fast, Invisalign! Oh, my goodness. And it had a set of links by state, and I found that to be pretty interesting, so that might be helpful. And I don't know what the deal is when we're crossing state lines and we're working virtually with people, but I think we basically need to be addressing the state that we're living in for the most part.
Jessica Mishra: Right.
Diane Sanfilippo: And I think the last part of that is whatever program you go through should give you language to use when you speak to a client. So for example, when I speak to somebody or when I teach seminars, even on this podcast you guys all hear a disclaimer every single week, and that's because we are not here to prevent, treat, or cure diseases. And that's information that we need to make sure that our clients all know. We don't treat. We support the body, those types of things. We support the body naturally with whole food, and you just have to be really careful about your language, and I would say even, you know, your language when you're writing a blog post. You don't say eating this way will cure this or that. It's just not the appropriate thing to say.
Liz Wolfe: I'd say I was afraid of that. It's a little scary practicing without a license… not practicing without a license, but not being a registered dietitian or whatnot. It can feel kind of like the wild, wild west out there, especially because – I don't know if this has been your all's experience, but I have found that people are so desperate for help that they're not getting from dietitians and the medical paradigm that they are coming with legitimate extreme medical issues and wanting your help, and you have to say, even though you don't want to alienate potential clients and even though you don't want to send someone away without help, you have to say: I cannot speak to your medical condition. I can only work to support your body and its natural desire for health, because people will come to you with legitimate medical issues that you absolutely cannot address.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, and the way that they were trained though Bauman was in working with clients who do have different health challenges, and hopefully we'd be working with people one-on-one in conjunction with their licensed practitioner, whether it's an acupuncturist, chiropractor, whatever other practitioner they're working with, and speaking more in general terms like: OK, well, people who have diabetes have seen success with this. It's not saying: Well, I can cure you with these foods. My training was maybe more clinical or maybe was more specifically addressed to supporting people with different health conditions or supporting their body with those conditions, so there may be some differences there, and it just kind of depends what you're looking to really do with people, the way that you address all of that, I guess. I'm the random rouge person who's never been worried about it. I seriously think it never crossed my mind to be worried about that. But maybe that's because I got my education in California and California's laws are probably the most relaxed of any state around this stuff.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, I have to tell you I've had a couple of upset, threatening emails come my way, so I am extremely careful at this point. It's unfortunate that that's the state of things that we've institutionalized health to the point that only a few vendors are allowed to talk about it in certain terms. But I say in my post about nutrition education that I consider it a privilege that people trust in this process and in what we're talking about enough to want to work with me over somebody else.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: Every client is a privilege, for sure.
Practicing Solo or in Conjunction with a Medical Professional, Meeting With Clients, Malpractice/Liability Insurance [45:05]
Diane Sanfilippo: Just to kind of dovetail on that other question, we have some people asking is it best to work under a medical professional or kind of in conjunction with them or on their own or have an office, meet clients in their home – What's the best sort of physical way for them to work with people? And then also to that end, do we need malpractice insurance?
Jessica Mishra: I think this is a little bit depending on what you want to do with your practice. Some things to keep in mind: If you're going to work under a medical professional, you might have your scope be limited a little bit. So you might be kind of having to follow what they're wanting you to do, or there might be liability concerns, so they might be kind of restricting what you can say and things like that, so it's important to keep that in mind if you're going to work under a traditional MD-type setup.
If you are thinking about having an office, I think it's important to think about, are you going to be taking clients as your sole source of revenue? If so, you may want to have an office. You might want to have a professional place where you can meet clients. But if you're planning to just do clients on the side and you're also going to have other products that you're offering, then you might want to consider either having a part-time office or doing phone consultations or Skype consultations. That's what I do now because I have several other things I'm working on, so I don't want to be restricted to having an office space. And a lot of clients really love talking on the phone or using Skype. It makes them feel more comfortable, and it's more convenient for them. So that's just something to consider, but some practitioners really like having an office. They like to see people live. So I think that's sort of personal preference.
As far as malpractice insurance, that would depend on exactly what type of practitioner you are, but generally if you're a nutritionist or a health coach-type person, you would need liability insurance. And some people don't even have it, so I don’t want to advise either way because that's kind of whatever you're comfortable with. Some people will just do a waiver where they lay out clearly: I'm not responsible for this, and kind of like what Diane was saying, you know, we're just advising you on your health. We're not treating you. So some people will just roll with the waiver, but other people like to take the next step and have liability insurance. I think it's a good idea to have liability insurance, but again, that's up to you.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I had waivers that people would sign and just all different kinds of disclaimers, making sure that people understand – kind of to the last point we had about what kind of licensing we have and all of that – just making sure they understand exactly what I'm there to help them with and that I'm not about to attempt to cure their disease, and also that they understand everything about what I do and my education. That's kind of it for me on that one.
Liz Wolfe: I had an office. I'll just weigh in on that. I had an office for about a year and saw clients there now and then, but found that it's such a digital world. Half of my clients were from other places in the country and even around the world, and what I ended up doing was actually taking that investment once we moved and investing in, like I was talking about, a little bit of help. It's one of those things where you do have to kind of evaluate what your clients are looking for and what's important for you and weigh all those things together, but you definitely don't have to have an office. I felt like I had to have one. In the end, it really wasn't appropriate for me.
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, let's jump into some more business-focused questions. I think we have about…
Liz Wolfe: About 10 or 15 minutes.
What to Track… Right From the Beginning [49:29]
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, 10 or 15 minutes left, so just some quick-fire, maybe, for Jessica. What should I be tracking, in general, for my business? If I have an accountant, are there still items I need to be tracking?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, there are basic things you want to make sure you're tracking, just starting out from day one, and that is revenues, of course. If you don't want to go into QuickBooks, just at least start with a basic Excel spreadsheet, and just have a listing of all the revenue from all the different sources you have, client revenue, if you're doing eBooks or classes. Just list it out by category. And then you're also going to want to track expenses by category. And it's a good idea to google “Schedule C,” which is the tax form, and it lists out the different categories of expenses, so I like to organize my expenses by those categories so that it's really easy to line up when you file your taxes or turn it over to an accountant. But just be tracking your expenses by category. And then you're going to want to have some sort of main sheet that has your revenues minus your expenses, which is basically your profit. And you want to be looking at that every month or every quarter, just kind of seeing how your business is growing, if you're profitable. You can be monitoring your expenses a little bit, you know, like: Oh, wow, I have huge marketing costs this month. Is that warranted or should I scale it back a little bit? It's just kind of a tool to help you manage your business.
And then you want to make sure that if you have a home office, which it sounds like all three of us have that right now, you want to be tracking all the costs that relate to that home office. And that's in total, so let's say I have my apartment, so I would track my total rent, I would track any utilities costs, any cleaning costs, any insurance. And so you track that in total, and then at the end of the year you'll be doing a calculation to figure out what that percentage is or you can turn it over to your accountant. It's a pretty simple calculation based on square footage, but that's just good to start tracking that information.
You also want to track any assets that you purchase, and the general definition of assets is that they're over $500 in cost and that they will last over two years. So a good example is a laptop for your business. That would be an asset. And assets are – not to get too technical – but they're depreciated over time. So you take that cost over the period of use of that asset. So it's a little different than an expense. The main thing you need to know here is that you need to keep a running list of your assets when they purchase them, how much they cost, and then your accountant will be doing the depreciation calculation for you because that part's a little tricky. But just make sure you turn this over to your accountant.
And then you also want to be tracking any expenses that you've incurred that maybe aren't the traditional type, you know, not your typical expense with a receipt, but something like mileage. You want to be tracking mileage. You'll do that calculation at year-end. A lot of health coaches and nutritionists, they're using a lot of food for their business, not just for their eating purposes, so you may want to be tracking things like that.
And then finally you want to track any payments that you make to vendors that are over $600, and that would be for the purpose of filing 1099 forms, which we might get into in a second. But yeah, that's basically any payments to vendors. That could be a graphic designer, it could be a web developer, over $600. And if it's from a corporation, you don't need to worry about that, but if they're an LLC or any other type of organization, you want to keep note of that.
Diane Sanfilippo: So I have two questions now.
Jessica Mishra: Sure.
Diane Sanfilippo: Number one, my computer's supposed to last more than two years?!
Liz Wolfe: Oh, my God.
Jessica Mishra: I hope so, yeah!
Diane Sanfilippo: I'm kidding, but I'm not kidding. As a former graphic designer, two years is about the lifespan of any computer in my world. Two years hits, and I feel like I need to get a new computer just because. I'm sort of kidding but sort of not. And my other question is, so is my treadmill desk an asset?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah. I mean, if you're using your treadmill desk as part of your business, which it sounds like you are, yeah, it would be an asset and you would depreciate it over time. And your computer technically you should record as an asset because I think that it's more based on the average use. You might be going through it a little more quickly, but yeah, the average use is probably about three. And you can check in with your accountant, too, on what they think about how long you want to depreciate it.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think they're looking at the schedule when I'm buying new computers, and they're like: Well, she just bought one and now she's buying a new one.
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, that's fine. If they want to do it that way, then they'll just probably expense your computer.
Independent Contractors and Form 1099 [54:18]
Diane Sanfilippo: OK. So you mentioned the 1099. What is it? When should people be filing it? I think you said if you're paying over $600, so that includes potentially your contractors for people who are going to work with you, too, right?
Jessica Mishra: Right. So if you paid over $600 to them, then you will file a 1099 form both to them and to the IRS. And you can very easily file that. There are different websites you can use, or if you're on QuickBooks, QuickBooks will help you do it. I think there's one called… I forget what it's called. It's like EZ 1099 or something like that. You can google it and there's a bunch of different sites. It's an easy process. But you just want to make sure you know any payments you made over $600, and it's due by January 31, so it's not the normal tax deadline. It is January 31. So just make sure you're aware of that.
Diane Sanfilippo: Cool. And then just to remind people, if you have somebody working with you as a contractor where they're not… So an example of this, which is actually very relevant in our little world, when we sell something for an affiliate, for example, so a lot of people listening may have seen the Primal Life Kit or any of these bundles of eBooks, I'm pretty sure we all supply a W-9 form to whomever's going to pay us for referring people over to those sales, and that's something that then they have to file the 1099 form at the end of the year. So when they're paying people out, they need to get that W-9 from us and then eventually come back to us with the 1099 because we need to give that to our accountant, too. If we get paid for something, we're going to need to give that to our accountant. And a lot of what we do in this world, we have a blog and we set up ads on the sidebar or whatever we do, and we are earning some commissions from that, so those are things that we're also be seeing 1099's for, right?
Jessica Mishra: For commissions?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I mean, affiliate payments on things, right?
Jessica Mishra: You're paying out to them?
Diane Sanfilippo: No, that they're paying. Don't they send us a 1099 at the end of the year if we made more than $600 from something?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, if they're paying to you over $600, then yes.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It's just another place to look for that 1099. You'll receive it in the mail.
Jessica Mishra: Right.
Should You Be Making Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments? [56:41]
Diane Sanfilippo: OK, and then should we be making estimated tax payments?
Jessica Mishra: Yes, you should be making estimated tax payments if – and this is a general rule, so sometimes this can change, depending on the IRS and different people's interpretations – but generally speaking, if you're going to owe at least $1000 in federal tax for the year, then you do want to be making estimated tax payments. And sometimes it's tough to estimate if you are going to be owing $1000, so if you have any doubt, then go ahead and make the estimated tax payments. And if you're a corporation, it drops to $500 in estimated tax liability. I'm assuming a lot of people on the call are not corporations just yet, but just be aware of that. But in general, you're looking at about $1000 when you want to start making those quarterly payments.
Diane Sanfilippo: So if it's somebody's first year starting out and they don't really know what they're going to be making for the year, how do they estimate that payment? Is this stuff that you cover in your program?
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, I do. Again, if you think that you're going to have a rockstar year your first year in business, I would go ahead and make the estimated tax payments if you think you're going to get anywhere close to $1000 in federal tax. Most people in their first year probably won't hit that, but you can talk it over with your accountant or you can kind of check in after the first quarter and see where you are with the revenue you're making. But yeah, I just have to say if there's any doubt, just go ahead. I mean, there's no harm in making estimated tax payments.
Diane Sanfilippo: OK.
Liz Wolfe: Who are you making that payment to?
Jessica Mishra: Oh, you're paying to the IRS.
Liz Wolfe: Ugh, I hate it.
Diane Sanfilippo: Liz is like: What?! I have to give them money?!
Liz Wolfe: Well, what I've been told by, you know, this being one of the first years that my revenue has been great enough for me to even think about that in this business was some kind of safe harbor rule or law, some kind where there might be a little bit of leniency in this first year. Obviously I'm going to owe kind a bit and it's going to be quite a chunk, but that's kind of what I had been operating under. But maybe I need to check in on that again just to be sure.
Diane Sanfilippo: Well, the reality is, too, the estimated payments, they are an estimate.
Jessica Mishra: Right.
Diane Sanfilippo: And as far as I know, for example, my estimated payments this year were based on last year's income, and I didn't have a book out last year, and so I know that I'm going to owe more this year, and so those estimated payments might be fine. They're sufficient to send to the government. And at some point you have this, like, well, I don't need to give them a loan of more than they really need right now if I'm not sure what I'm going to make, but the reality is you might hit the end of the year and if you forgot to at least calculate what you might owe and put that in a savings account, you might be left owing thousands and thousands of dollars that you now don't have on hand. So really the benefit is if you're worried at all that you might not have it at the end of the year, making those quarterly payments is helpful.
Jessica Mishra: Right. It is helpful.
Liz Wolfe: So it sounds like we need to get your program!
Financial Programs Through Beaming With Health [60:02]
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, do you want to talk a little bit more about Simplify and Organize Your Finances? I know have a review blog post that we're going to put up shortly after this podcast airs so that we can get people really familiar with the program and see what they'll be getting with it, but do you want to give them a quick rundown of that and also your QuickBooks Crash Course? I think those are both tools that Liz and I probably wish we had had when we were starting out, and also from somebody who understands our business.
Jessica Mishra: Yeah, definitely. So to talk a little bit about Simplify and Organize, I mentioned before that it is five calls that are pre-recorded, and it starts out with talking about what I mentioned in the beginning of this financial discussion, like what you should be tracking if you're just going to track it manually, if you want to set up spreadsheets. Maybe you're not ready to go to QuickBooks yet, and then move into a lot of different tax considerations, you know, home office expense. How do you calculate that? And what are a few things you should be thinking about as far as deductions you might be able to take and making sure you are tracking all the expenses so that you can get the most out of your deductions. I think that's one place where people kind of fall short, is they're not taking all the deductions they could be taking. So I do touch on that. I talk a little bit about funding for your business if you need to have funding or borrowing against a 401k or against your retirement plan, that kind of thing. Also there's a two-part series on QuickBooks in that course, so it's basically the Crash Course that you can buy separately, but it's included in that package. And then I talk a little bit about kind of your relationship to money, so getting over some fears you might have around dealing with money or charging people for your programs. So there really is a lot of content. It's basically covering all the introductory things that people deal with when they're starting a business as it pertains to finances.
Diane Sanfilippo: Great. And I think it's so much like what Liz did with the Skintervention Guide. You were an accountant for a long time and so obviously you came into this field but then probably pretty quickly you realized that a lot of us out there who are doing this as a career are really kind of lacking that foundation in the accounting side of things, which I think I kind of did the same thing. I realized a lot of people were lacking in the marketing side of things, but I didn't actually create a program, I just kind of keep annoying all my friends about it… present company included! I've bugged both of you enough about marketing. But I think it's so nice to have programs like this where we take expertise that we've gained over the years and we can use it in a way that helps other people in our industry and beyond that, obviously, so that we're not abandoning all this information and education that we have from so many years of schooling and work, and we can really put it to use for everyone who's out there kind of trying to do the same thing that we're doing. So I think it's awesome. I'm actually really excited about it, and I'm really proud of my friend for creating this program.
Jessica Mishra: Aww.
Diane Sanfilippo: I just think it's awesome.
Jessica Mishra: Thank you. Yeah, and just like you were saying, one reason I did it is, even being a corporate accountant, I knew a lot of this stuff coming into starting a business, but there was a lot that I didn't know about running a small business, and I had to kind of struggle through it and make a lot of mistakes and ask a lot of questions of my dad because he's a CPA. And I sort of muddled through it, and I don't want people to have to go through that. I would like everyone to have the information up front and do it right from the beginning. So that was another kind of impetus to doing this program.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Well, I'm so glad you did. We'll definitely link to it from the post that's going up in the show notes. It'll probably also be available in the shop on Balanced Bites where I just put any programs that I think are awesome. I don't put anything there that I don't think is awesome. It's really helpful for people because I know everyone wants to know what do we recommend, and so we'll definitely get a link to it in there so people can find out about it more. Any final closing thoughts from either of you guys on this whole thing?
Jessica Mishra: I just have one thing to say to everyone that's listening, and that's just to start early in your financial organization because it's just really going to save you so much. And people put it off so much because it's kind of intimidating. But if you can just take some baby steps to get your organizational systems in place, you're really going to thank yourself later. That's all I have to say!
Liz Wolfe: I love that. My closing words, Diane and Jessica, are take care of yourselves and each other.
Diane Sanfilippo: And each other. Thanks, Jerry!
Liz Wolfe: And thank you so much for both of what you guys have done for me so far, and I cannot agree with either one of you enough. Just get started early, take the baby steps, and equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible that folks like Jessica and Diane are putting out there because it really is a leg up, and yeah, everybody keep in touch on how you're doing and on your journeys because it's really exciting to see folks get started in this business. Good deal?
Diane Sanfilippo: Good deal.
Jessica Mishra: Thank you guys both for having me! So much fun.
Liz Wolfe: Well, thank you so much, too, Jessica Mishra for being here and sharing your experiences and so much great information. Be sure to check out her new eBooks and financial health programs on her site at BeamingWithHealthSF.com, and we'll put that up in the blog post for the show, links to her stuff. We'll be back next week with more of the Balanced Bites Podcast. Until then, you can find me, Liz, at CaveGirlEats.com. You can find Diane at BalancedBites.com and find Jessica at BeamingWithHealthSF.com. Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll be back!
Diane & Liz