23 Aug Creating Positive Change with Peta Hood
Peta is a very experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Sports Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist who has been working with individuals to optimise their health, well-being and performance through diet and exercise prescription, education and support, for over 9 years. She is the founder of Lifestar Nutrition, and takes pride in supporting and mentoring her team of highly motivated staff to deliver exceptional customer service, professional advice and support to clients.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Peta at one of my favourite hidden cafes in Brisbane, Three Monkeys, to talk about business, life and what lessons Peta has learnt along the way.
Words by Chris McCarroll
What is Lifestar Nutrition?
Lifestar offers professional nutrition advice and individually customised meal plans for weight loss or gain, food intolerance, coeliac disease, sports nutrition, competition preparation, vegetarian eating, chronic disease management, pregnancy and breastfeeding, child and adolescent nutrition, and optimising health and well-being.
We believe in the value of incorporating nutritious whole foods into the diet, restoring and maintaining a healthy relationship with food and supporting you with meal planning and recipe preparation to help you feel capable and empowered to implement our suggestions with confidence.
So every business has challenges, what have been some of yours?
Dealing with negative feedback and dealing with expectations upfront have been some of my biggest challenges. Another challenge is how do we portray to people that a nutritionist is more than food; as a nutritionist we do counselling units in our degrees. People don’t understand what the services is and how beneficial and connected we are to holistic health.
Wearing multiple hats has been a big learning curve for me. Having to market, be present with a client, business administration, mentoring staff, attending meetings and professional development sessions are all hats that I have had to wear. Not to mention that I still have to manage family commitments on top of everything.
What have you learnt from this?
Show confidence and making strong recommendations, this is so important. Now that we have multiple locations, it is imperative that I have a plan when it comes to management. Hiring people is straight forward; hiring the right people, with the right values is the more intricate part.
Determining your target market is another lesson I have learnt; knowing who you are targeting as a potential client is key. Break these down into small groups and work your way through, there is no point in saying ‘my target is everyone’ – it simply will not work.
Saying yes to everything was something that I did a lot! Learning to say no has been a blessing for me. Learning to identify what is working and what is not, identifying it and moving on is important.
We come into this profession wanting to care and genuinely make people lives better, so it is hard to put on the business hat and make the tough decisions sometimes
Being face to face with clients is a big part of your chosen profession. How do you maintain client relationships?
I truly believe in being transparent and letting your clients know who you are – maintaining a point of difference and being genuine. I was very quick to realise that value for a client is created by meeting the individual’s needs, rather than a one size fits all approach. This is something I now instill in all my staff. You need to think about how we make people feel while at the clinic and when they leave. One question I always ask myself is ‘how can we make powerful use of the time together?’
Find out what the persons tell signs are – know when you need to self-reflect or you won’t change. Find the balance of being invested and not being able to monitor and reflect.
Having been practicing for over 9 years now, what keeps you motivated?
Continuously aiming to improve the client experience keeps me motivated. From the first point of contact the client has with Lifestar, through to the initial consultation and until they leave. Ensuring the experience is positive from the start is extremely important to me. Word of mouth has been a driver of new clients for me over the years, so I must be doing something right!
Mixing up the locations where I work is also vital to staying motivated. I surround myself with people who believe in what Lifestar is aiming to achieve and are like minded.
I surrounded myself with the right professionals to keep me on track and motivated. I was fortunate to have a mentor straight out of university. My mentor was a lecturer at the university I was attending and after a research project we did together, we continued to have a professional relationship.
Tell us how Lifestar came about?
It’s quite simple really – Lifestar is wanting to be a star and being the best version on yourself that you can be. Shine bright!
What would you tell a student who is about to graduate?
My calling is to make a difference and my biggest piece of advice is to project forward and think about how you would shape your career, how much of your personal values you will use and are they going to be one and the same. Be selfish. Stay in the driving seat of your business. Think about how you are going to make this work for yourself and your personal life. Bring your strengths and if you are creative, be creative.
“It is said that if you are doing what you are passionate about, you will not have to work a day in your life.”
You are forever learning, take the pressure off. Business is always evolving. Keep your finger on the pulse. Everyone is going through the same thing in business. Make decisions about business and trust your instincts.
In terms of marketing, do you have a plan? How have you dealt with marketing over the years?
I still don’t know what I am doing. I’m yet to be convinced that Facebook brings business and I don’t have a business Instagram. Yes! A nutritionist who doesn’t take pictures of food!
You have to find your niche and learn how to generate business without using fear and guilt! We have a very strong referral network that allows us to experiment with other marketing avenues.
What’s next for you and Lifestar?
Reviewing all locations and being strategic about who we attract, both staff and business partnerships. Spending time reinforcing our ‘holistic not diet approach’ from an Allied Health professional point of view is also high on my agenda.
I have plans to move into the blog world.
EBooks as well! Creating packages and online services that will enable those who don’t have time to come to our consulting rooms, are interstate or in remote locations to access our services online.
Greater presence online by offering mentoring services; teaching and sharing my knowledge, experiences and inspiring people! Passing on the many lessons that I have learnt along the way and bringing out their personal strengths so that they can make a difference!