In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Ashley Kitchens of Plant Centered Prep! Ashley shared her story of how she got started in business, and how her business has evolved and grown over the last few years. Ashley also shares how she was able to work through her fears of investing in her business and being on podcasts.

A new website can uplevel your brand, but your website won’t solve all of your problems overnight.

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica Freeman 

Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode. I’m your host, Jessica Freeman. And I’m so excited to have one of my friends and clients here on the podcast today. So welcome to the show. Ashley.

Ashley Kitchens 

Thanks, Jess, super happy to be here.

Jessica Freeman 

Yeah, today, I want to kind of share your story and how you’ve grown your business over the last few years. So why don’t we start with just you telling us what your business is, and what it looks like when you started your business.

Ashley Kitchens 

So I am a registered dietitian. And my specialty is helping people sort of transition to a more plant based diet. I’ve been plant based for about eight years now. And that’s basically the clients that I attract what I helped them do. And I started this business about, gosh, it was 2015. And I literally started it had a teeny, tiny little website. And, you know, I just figured people would come and something would happen, but nothing to edit. And I really didn’t put any time and energy into the business or into my website or into marketing myself for about three years. And I know we’ll kind of talk about what that looked like. But it’s interesting to me just kind of looking back, like I, you know, created this website, put all this stuff together, you know, form an LLC, because I wanted to do online nutrition coaching, that’s what I was really passionate about. And nothing happened.

Jessica Freeman 

Yeah, and that can be discouraging, when you’re like, I thought that if I just like put this out there, it would all magically start to happen. So you said like those first three years, you didn’t really spend any time marketing yourself or paying attention to your website. So what made you decide to start marketing or to start putting yourself out there more? 

Ashley Kitchens 

So those three years went by, and I was like, okay, I’m still really passionate about it, and nothing has happened. And I knew I knew like where I wanted to go. And what I wanted to create, I just didn’t quite know how to get there. And so one of the key pieces to kind of helping me transition in the online world, because at the time I was just I was working for nursing homes. As a registered dietitian, what I did is I hired a business coach, which was extremely helpful for me. And he basically guided me and how I can take this passion and this, this vision that I have for myself and my business and actually make it happen.

And so working with him specifically was very transformative, because it definitely basically helped me put the pieces together because I really had no idea what I was doing. Like I said, like, I had this idea, you know, I’ve had this website, I had like a very small Instagram following at the time, and I just figured things would happen. And nothing did. And so kind of hiring a business coach helping him sort of, like I said, put the pieces together really just make just everything made sense then like because it was like one step at a time I was helping I was moving forward towards this business that I had, quote started, you know, three years ago.

Jessica Freeman 

Yeah, and I think that’s one thing that a lot of people don’t think about in their business is most, most not all, but most entrepreneurs that I know, don’t actually have any business background, like your education and background is in dietetics not in how to run a dietetics business. And so I think bringing in that help with the business, and the marketing is so so huge. I mean, I did that as well, early on in my business I had I was I didn’t have a one on one business coach, but I joined this business group program. That was like you said, so transformative for my business. So when did you decide to upgrade your website?

Ashley Kitchens 

And that was the thing, I just was like I did need to uplevel myself because I really did have no idea what I was doing. So I worked with him for it was about six or eight months in and it was like, okay, you know, I had some a little bit of money coming in, which is nice. I’ve gotten a couple clients. And it was like, it is tight. Like the biggest thing was, you know, I can do Instagram for free and continued to like, upload myself there, put myself out there on different social media platforms, but the website was it was really hurting.

So at the time, I was listening to a lot of podcasts too, and you happen to be interviewed on one of them and I was like, oh my goodness. This was like earlier on when I was kind of transitioning into going online. And I was like okay, I made note I was like I’m gonna call this gal this like expert when I am ready. And I am so so grateful I did so I reached out to you about like I said about six months into kind of like really I’m trying to uplevel myself.

And I reached out to you, thank goodness I did because my website, I just wasn’t that competent in it because I had really just thrown it together myself, it it just didn’t look that great. Like, that’s just really looking back now. And like all the work that you did to really just make it look so beautiful and so user friendly. I just had so many different like pieces on there. I think when people would go to my website, they had no idea like, what I was wanting them to do. And so I reached out to you about six months in and thank goodness I did because now it’s like you go to my website, there’s literally one task that I want people to do, which we’ve talked about so many times. And it’s sort of like directing them to my application page. And just having them like get to know me a little bit more.

And oh, my goodness, yeah, things are a lot different now. Because I’ve actually, like super confident in sending my website to people will be like, if someone’s interested in working with me and like, Oh, yeah, go to my website. Like, there’s so many things that you can learn there. And yeah, there’s just so many, like, amazing features that you put on there just makes it look so beautiful.

Jessica Freeman 

Well, that is a big thing that people struggle with–not feeling confident in their website, you know, it’s like, oh, I’ll just create, like this ConvertKit landing page, or, you get a DM and instead of sending your website, you’re like, yeah, like, we can just set up a call and I won’t send you my website, I’ll just we’ll you know, ignore that. Whereas like me, and hopefully you to someone DM me, or emails me or whatever, I’m like, yep, here’s my website, like, you can get all the information there.

And having a website makes it a lot easier – it saves you time. And then of course, obviously, like if people do want to set up a call or something, we can do that as well. But I think there’s that’s something that a lot of people don’t think about is that sometimes there’s this subconscious kind of fear or embarrassment about their website that prevents them from putting themselves out there more with potential clients.

Ashley Kitchens 

Yes, that and that was definitely me. Because for years, I was sort of embarrassed because I like this here, this website represents me, and I just didn’t feel that great about it. And so I didn’t, like I said it didn’t market myself or promote myself was like, just sort of sitting there. And I was like, okay, hopefully people will come. But if they do, you know, what are they going to see? And working with you like kind of what you said, it’s a one stop shop, like people can learn really anything and everything they need to know about me. And it’s really fantastic. Because I feel like too, it’s very clear. And just it’s very obvious on like, what I do, and what I’m promoting, where before, it was just like, you know, the copy was all over the place. But who knows where the application page was? Like, it’s just yeah, I’m much more confident in like, if especially if someone DM me, or, you know, I meet someone just out somewhere, it’s like, yes, you know, go to my website, you can learn so much more here about it, about me and kind of what I do as a dietitian.

Jessica Freeman 

So it’s a time saver, but also helps you just position yourself in front of those potential clients more. And like you said a little bit ago, there’s one clear task that I want you to do. And that’s to apply for the program. And that’s something that I talk a lot about, on the podcasts and on social media is like, make it clear what you want people to do. Like, that’s the biggest mistake that I see people making is having so many different calls to action, especially on one page, like across the website as a whole. But even just on one page, you would be amazed at how many times I go to somebody’s homepage, and there’s like 17 different buttons. And I’m like, I’m confused. What do you want me to do? where like, Where am I supposed to go right now. So I’m glad that we were, we were able to, you know, re strategize your website, and now you’re proud of it and you send people there. And I’d love for you to share kind of what has happened since then with your program and your pricing and just other stuff in your business.

Ashley Kitchens 

So when we first started working together, just like I really was just about six months in so there wasn’t first a whole lot to put on my website. You know, we did a good job of putting about like, who I was, and having an application page and all that kind of stuff. But as I you know, got my website out there as I started marketing and promoting myself more. You know, there was more attraction to my website, which was very obvious and exciting. And because of that I got more clients, which is super exciting.

And then what’s even more exciting is I raise my prices because again, I just kept getting more and more clients and because of that I increase my prices to account for that. And it’s really exciting because I do feel like part of that was just that confidence piece in my website to promote myself more and to kind of win You said there was one very clear action people come to my website what I want them to do, which I also think help helped, you know, drive those applications as well. 

Jessica Freeman 

I mean, who doesn’t want more clients and to raise their prices? Like that’s a huge win? Yeah. So I’m glad that that was one of the takeaways and something that we have worked on and added since the original launch is adding a media page, because you’ve had a lot of media online, a lot of features. Can you share a little bit about that?

Ashley Kitchens 

Yeah. So like I said, when we first started working together, it was it was pretty much the basics. And then several months in as I started just kind of co-authoring for different articles. And then I got asked to speak at a big conference out on the west coast and just kind of just doing various things here. And there, I was, like, oh, my goodness, jazz, I was like, I need a media page. And thank goodness, we were able to work together, I basically, you know, gave you a year’s worth of articles that I had been a part of podcast, I had been on, you know, these different speaking gigs, I was a part of sent them all to you. And you just created this beautiful media page. So that, you know, again, if someone were to come to me and want to learn more about me, and what I do, maybe as like a speaker, or as a blogger, or guest blogger or co author, I can direct them there. And they can contact me through through that platform, which is just fantastic. I feel like too, that’s just like, one of my websites.

Jessica Freeman 

Yes, absolutely. Because now you have all these amazing press features, which they kind of build upon each other. Once you I think it starts with one people want to make sure. I mean, if it makes sense, if you think about journalists, bloggers, even, you know, just colleagues, they want to highlight and have people like you share on their platforms, but they want to make sure that the people that they’re highlighting are reputable. And part of like you how you look online, goes into that. And so that’s an important piece of it’s not saying that you have to have this, you know, fancy website to be a guest blogger be on a podcast, but it definitely helps like, you want to make sure you you have reputable, reputable people that you’re sharing with your audience, then you start getting those features. People are like, oh, like I could have on my podcast, I could have a right for my blog, or my magazine, or whatever. And it just keeps building and building and then you start getting speaking engagements. And so that’s, it’s just really cool to see, have you seen any, like, increase in either passive income or clients as a result of all these features? 

Ashley Kitchens 

I have gotten more like more following just from promoting myself or not promoting myself, but like just being co-authors of like different articles. And being part of different podcasts. I feel like that has helped. I’ve definitely I’ve gotten a couple clients from podcast. And I feel like having just been open to being on different platforms has been very tremendous. Because Joseph, when we first started working together view to said, Oh, yeah, you’re going to be on, you know, 10 to 20 podcasts, you’re going to have been an all these articles. I’ve been like, no way. Like, first of all, I’m way too scared to do that. And that’s not my personality. But being open to that. And you know, kind of saying yes to some of those opportunities has definitely allowed me to get clients, I never would have, you know, reached otherwise. And to I mean, obviously, that’s more income, which is really exciting.

Jessica Freeman 

Yeah. So it’s nice to see that, like those features are also adding benefit to your business. Because a lot of times, let’s be honest, sometimes the features and the press are just exposure, or just help building your authority, like, Oh, I was featured on this article, this platform, you know, and that that’s great. But it’s also even better when those features lead to more clients and more followers. So that’s really cool. Now, he said it was kind of nerve wracking to put yourself out there on these platforms. How did you kind of like, work through that fear? Because I know a lot of people are going on I was that way as well. Or like, What do you mean, you want me to to do this like that? You have a huge audience? I don’t know. I’ve never podcasted before, like, so how did you work through that?

Ashley Kitchens 

That is a great question. Because I am very much an introvert and I was just kind of nervous to like, what am I going to say, am I gonna mess up? And I still remember my first podcast, like sitting in the chair that I’m sitting now and just being so nervous. And just like sitting there waiting for her to get online start interviewing me. And I will say is one thing that has helped me is like if something like that, you know, kind of scares me and there’s some fear involved and it’s obviously going to make me grow and only going to be more beneficial because I am like you said, getting my message out there. And I’m just, you know, creating more more of a, like, I’m getting my message out there more, which is really exciting. And so I think just telling myself that, hey, yes, this is a little scary, but I’m going to grow after it’s done, I’m going to be so happy that I did it. And I feel like that has allowed me to say yes to opportunities that align with my values and my business.

Jessica Freeman 

Yes, I think it’s also important to remember like, in those moments, when you’re waiting for them to log on, or whatever, that you have to remind yourself, like, I am an expert in this, this is my zone of genius. I could talk about this all day. And so I just happen to be sitting in front of a microphone, or camera and talking about it with someone and if you are, you know, if you get asked to be you know, talk about something that’s not your zone of genius, that’s an Okay, time to say no, but that’s, I love just what you shared about your experience with with getting more press because Yeah, it definitely can help us grow our business and just even grow as people.

Ashley Kitchens 

Yeah, absolutely. And, and like you said, you never know like, you know, if you podcast with one person, what door that could open up to podcasting, potentially with another person. And I was speaking gig like, and that’s what I found, especially with the podcast community, I feel like, it’s, you know, it’s somewhat tight knit where like, you know, if you have a really enjoyable interview, that person might recommend you to somebody else, which might lead to something else which could lead to the more clients you can get. I just feel like, you never know what saying yes to one thing, what kind of doors are gonna open to other opportunities?

Jessica Freeman 

100%. And I mean, I as a podcaster, I have had people before, like, Oh, do you know anyone who could speak about this? And sometimes it’s podcast, guests or friends, but especially like, if I’m like, Oh, yeah, like, she was a great guest really informative, you know, etc. Like, I’m gonna recommend them to other podcasters. So that’s, that’s a great point about the podcaster. Community. Now, you mentioned earlier that you had a business coach and business coaches and website designers, they are investments in your business. And I know that is another thing that intimidates people. So can you talk to us about how you kind of what, you know, how you were okay with making those investments, especially kind of early on in your business, not like, Oh, I’m going to wait eight or 10 years, but like, really early in your business? You made some big investments?

Ashley Kitchens 

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s what I constantly when I’m especially telling, you know, new nutrition students are dietitians. I tell them, you know, here, I started this business in 2015. Three years went by and nothing happened. I mean, nothing happened. And so then in 2018, when I started working with a business coach, guess what y’all things started happening, and it was amazing. And so I don’t like I’m very happy with like the path that will you know, that the journey that I’ve been on, but I will say like, think about it, I would have hired a business coach in 2015. I just don’t like to think about where I would be now. But anyways, with all that to say, that’s kind of what I think back to like, here, I made this investment in 2018.

With my business coach, things start happening, y’all, you know, my business started taking off, especially about six months later, it really started taking off. And then once I started, you know, getting some income coming in, and I was like, Okay, my first thing you know, here, I’d listened to this podcast and just was interviewed, like, Okay, this is gonna be first and it was it was really scary because yeah, I had money coming in, but it’s not like I had a lot of money coming in.

So investing into this website was really scary. It was kind of a leap of faith. But I will say because hiring the business coach just went so well. And things started really, you know, moving for me with doing that the website was sort of a no brainer was like it needed to happen again. Like I said, like I wasn’t super competent in my website. And so therefore I just wasn’t really like sending people there. And so I knew there was sort of a gap and so taking that leap of faith hiring you just to really just totally overhaul my website was just 1,000% worth it because again, like I said, I was more content my website therefore I was like sending it to anybody and everybody. I had it everywhere I can possibly have it, you know, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. Yeah. So it’s just like, I’m so proud of it. And to I just like I said, like, because of that I feel like I started getting more clients.

And like I said, I had to raise my prices. And now I added a media page. And now it’s like, I will outsource things that I know are going to take me so much time and that was the thing just when I first started my website, I can you know, five years ago, it took me four ever And I wasn’t satisfied with the result. And so this was something that I didn’t want to have to hassle with anymore. And so a big part of having you do it. Again, it saved me so much time. Yes, you know, there was money, obviously up front. But the time that I got back and able to work on other things in my business, that’s another thing that I speak highly of is like, I was able to devote time and energy into other things, while you were doing your thing, your expertise, which allowed me to focus on my clients, you know, building social media content and other things like that.

Jessica Freeman 

Yeah, absolutely. I promise. I’m not paying her to say all this. I promise. But like you said, I think that’s one of the biggest things that we have to think about with investments is, how is this either going to move my business forward? Or how much time is this going to save me, because time is our most valuable asset, and we cannot get it back. So think about those things that take you too much time, that cause you headaches that you don’t want to do. And think about how or when you can outsource them because it’s super, super helpful, and especially when you’re growing your business. But this has been so fun. I’m so glad we got to hear your story and just how you’ve grown your business over the last few years and whatnot. So thank you for sharing. Before we hop off, I would love for you to share where we can connect with you online.

Ashley Kitchens 

Yes, so I am on Instagram that is the main like platform that I’m on and I am plant centered a prep there. And I also have a private Facebook group off the Plant Centered Prep and I’m on Tick Tock and that’s also Plant Centered Prep, and I have a lot of fun on that platform too.

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