Jess: Hey, Libby. Thank you so much for being here.
Libby: Absolutely. Well, thank you again for having me. I was thrilled to have you on my podcast, and I’m happy to be here today. My name is Libby Rothschild. I am nutrition_business on Instagram, and you can find me at libbyrothschild.com. I’m also Nutrition Business for my podcast, as well. I am a registered dietician and a business coach. I help nutrition professionals and wellness professionals with niching down, finding their focus, and creating income and impact online.
Jess: I love it. Yes, be sure and go check out her podcast. She has a really, really good podcast. And of course, I’ve been on there, so you can go listen to that if you want. But like you said, you help nutrition and wellness professionals niche down, so that’s what I wanted to talk about today because I’m not a nutrition and wellness professional, but I am niching down, and have been niching down, in my business. And I’ve been getting a lot of people talking to me about it. I know that there are nutrition and wellness professionals who have questions, as well. First let’s talk about, why should someone niche down?
Libby: What niching down is, is really helping establish you as the expert and a professional, and it helps you identify who you are, what you do, and then your target market or your target audience would be who you’re helping. So that’s all a part of niching down. Niching down is going to help you stand out, and it’s going to help you position yourself as the expert and ultimately lead to increasing your impact and then your income in the online and offline space, but we’re specifically talking about the online space today.
Jess: When you started, were you working more broadly with entrepreneurs? Or have you always just worked with nutrition and wellness professionals?
Libby: I’ve actually always worked with nutrition … Yeah, so interestingly enough, I had my target market of dieticians pretty much from the beginning. So when I first started on Instagram, I was targeting them, but I didn’t know what I was doing to help them. I was halfway there, and I’ve been honest about that. My journey has been very nonlinear, but it’s also been a lot of fun. So I knew I wanted to help dieticians, and the reason is I am one. So I wanted to help, specifically, exercise and nutrition professionals, but I went even more focused at the beginning. I just wanted to help dieticians.
Libby: And then over some time, as I related to them and I learned what their problems were, I then developed this niche of helping in a business realm and business sphere because that is something that I have a strong background in. And I found, after market research, that that’s a big problem that my people struggle with, which is business skills, business acumen, and really learning how to market themselves in the online space, which is popular.
Jess: Yeah, it is. Since I have started niching down, I have found it easier to engage with and find my ideal clients and make content for them rather than … Because before I started niching down with the health and wellness, it was, oh, I’ll just work with kind of any service-based business owner, which even before that, it was pretty much any entrepreneur, any business, didn’t just have to be service. So I have niched down so much from when I first started seven years, and I’ve found it just gets easier and easier the more you niche down.
Libby: And I really appreciate that you have a different setting than me because you’ve been doing this for longer than I have. You’ve been building websites and doing your design work online for seven years, right?
Libby: So my background … This is my third business. My first business is personal training, my second business is nutrition consulting, and then my third business is helping dieticians with their businesses. So my trajectory was very much unintentional. I started Instagram, and then I developed a business from using Instagram. I’m still in my new phases, but as far as what you’re saying about how you got more focused and that helped, I got more focused with my message, but I kind of already knew that I had to stick with something I was familiar with and that was going to be more authentic to me.
Libby: So my story is different than yours, but I have to say it has helped me significantly with sales and establishing myself because I did decide to go super focused. And I know a lot of people are concerned about that, and we could talk more about the mindset issues with choosing something so focused, but it definitely has helped. But it’s hard for me to compare it, because I kind of started like that from the beginning.
Jess: Yeah, but I liked what you said, that you have really worked on niching down and clarifying your message, because your target has been the same since the beginning. What was your message when you first started? Or can you walk me through how you kind of niched that down?
Libby: Great question, yeah. It’s a really interesting story. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started, so my content … I started Instagram, and that’s how I started in the online space, and then I went to podcasting. And now, Jess, you’re creating my website for me, which I cannot wait for.
Libby: Yeah. It’s been a slow build because it’s been a couple years now, but I really just started … well, was trying to get focused by using Instagram. So to answer your question, when I first came out on Instagram, I just created content that I thought would relate with dieticians, and it was really basic. It was food photos, and I like plant-based pretty meals, so it was plant-based. It was kind of native to Instagram. I would feature other users and give full credit, and so that was my way of relating to dieticians because it’s something that they understood and liked, and then we engaged in a conversation. And then I started making videos and collaborating with my colleagues because it was a nice way to network and build relationships.
Libby: But unfortunately, Jess, I wasn’t solving any problems. So it wasn’t until I collaborated and connected with now a very good friend of mine and business partner, Rachel Paul of The College Nutritionist, she and I had a very candid conversation, and she said to me … she’s a straight-shooter … and we had a phone call and I asked her, I said, “You know, Rachel, I need some help.” At that point, I had reached 10k, and I had this strong target audience, but I wasn’t really helping them. And I thought I was, at the time, of course. I wasn’t. I wasn’t solving a big problem. I was solving tiny problems.
Libby: And I remember I was getting defensive, and I said to Rachel on the phone, I said, “Rachel, I’m showing dieticians how they can get .1 credit of continuing education,” and that’s what my whole post was about. And Rachel very kindly said to me, “You’re not solving the biggest problem. I want you to rethink. What can you do to add value to this population?” meaning my target audience of registered dieticians. So I then decided, you know what, I need to do some deep-diving, and then I need to think introspectively. What can I do? And it was all in front of me. I just had to put the pieces together.
Libby: So then I slowly started doing more of a business and then, with that, I started coaching. And then I co-developed a course with Rachel, and now we have Masterminds. So that’s been great because I’m now teaching my colleagues … and certified personal trainers, as well, since that’s my background … I’m teaching my colleagues how they can take what they do and then increase their impact and income in the online space.
Libby: So that’s my story of how I started with posting content of food photos and videos of just talking about topics that we like, and then I got more clear with, how can I relate and solve problems? So it’s been a very interesting last couple years where I’ve tested a lot of different things.
Jess: I know that a lot of people, like you mentioned earlier, get scared when it comes to niching down. They don’t want to be pigeonholed, they feel like they’re limiting themselves. What would you say to those people?
Libby: Yeah, so that is the most common question and reservation that I hear with my coaching clients and also with people in my Mastermind. The irony is that, in marketing, the number-one rule is that if you talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one. So the reality is, people think, “If I only help moms, then I can’t help men,” but the reality is you cannot market and create copy, meaning words or a post, a visual, that will speak effectively to both. You have to pick. And when you pick, that’s what’s going to lead the relationships and the brand building, and that’s what’s going to help you make the impact. So it doesn’t mean that, in that example, dads or men won’t appreciate your work. It means that you’re going to be helping specifically who you decide. In that example, it was moms.
Libby: So it’s difficult for people to understand this, but all I can do is lead by example, like what you’re doing, helping fitness and nutritional professionals, which is great. And we all know they need a lot of website help. I can say, from personal experience, that’s true. I’m very glad to have found you and developed a relationship with you. What I can say is-
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Libby: … and developed a relationship with you. What I can say is that I have picked a niche. My target audience within my niche is very small and I’m still able to create a business from it. Whatever you decide to do, it’s just about getting clear with who you’re helping, so your marketing strategy and the way your style is all gonna be clear so that people know who you are and what you’re doing and how you’re helping them.
Jess: It really is. I mean because I have not totally niched down my business. My Instagram, my bio says that I work with health and fitness professionals, but my website, there’s not a whole lot that says anything about health and fitness yet. I’ve been doing it in phases. My content has been split between still serving just service based business owners and then some really targeted information for health and fitness professionals, but even my, you know the things that are for all of my audience can still serve the health and fitness.
Jess: So, it’s not that I can’t help these other people. It’s just that yeah, my calligraphers, my copywriters, they aren’t going to need the information about why they should use this particular WordPress recipe plug-in because a copywriter’s not gonna put recipes on their blog. But yeah, I can still serve both, but one of the ways that you can target more of your niche is through your content.
Libby: Yeah, and I believe it should be. This conversation is closely also aligned with your brand philosophy and your stance. I know a lot in nutrition. Understandably, my colleagues struggle a lot with taking a stance on what they believe in. Are they intuitive and mindful, or are they weight loss? Are they focused on gut health? And there’s no wrong answer. Whether you advocate veganism for animals or for dietary purposes, or whatever your philosophy is, I support that, but a lot of people have a hard time picking a philosophy because it’s tough out there. So, I think it’s the same concept with picking your niche and target audience. You have to be strong with your philosophy and you have to realize that the more you’re going to double down on who you are, what you do, who you serve in your philosophy, the more people that you’re gonna get.
Libby: I can give you example after example of people who’ve done this on a small and large scale, but I think this all starts with having a growth mindset. So, just like picking your niche in business, it’s the same concept with your philosophy. So, you have to have a strong specific philosophy and also you have to have a niche and a clear target audience. That’s what I teach and if you’re gonna work with me, that will be what we do. That’s a prerequisite to work with me because I don’t want to work with people who don’t want to niche down.
Jess: I had a friend who was, and still kind of is, a personal trainer. She did not ant to, like you were saying, take a stance. I’d be like, “Just” … I was trying to help her with her Instagram. I was like, “Just do a here’s a better granola bar than this one. Just do two side-by-side. You don’t have to throw the other one, to completely call it garbage. You can say, ‘If you have a choice, this one’s better because XYZ.'” She didn’t want to do that because everyone out there is saying that these are bad. She was very much about moderation in everything. Like, “I’m not gonna make you drink kale shakes. If you want one, sure, but this is not extreme dieting. This is not extreme workout. Healthy lifestyle changes long term,” that kind of thing. I was like, “Okay. That’s fine. You can still have that message and still produce helpful content, but you are so broad and general and didn’t want to” … and like you said, wasn’t solving any problems, but also wasn’t taking a stance on anything. So, it was very hard to get clear on what are you about.
Jess: Where, on the other hand, you and I both are friends with Whitney, who is Trust Your Gut. Well, I don’t know if that’s her exact handle, but it’s something with Trust Your Gut. She’s a previous client of mine. I did her website earlier this year. She is all about intuitive eating. She has really quickly grown her Instagram just this year because she is zeroing in on intuitive eating, and what it means and what it looks like and what it’s not. I know that she has grown her Instagram because she takes a very, very firm stance and is not afraid to state her thoughts and opinions about it.
Libby: So, yeah, Trust Your Body Project Whitney, she definitely has and she’s a great example. Some of you might say that’s polarizing, but the reality is if you want to be native to the content on social media and Instagram, you have to take a stance. So, however that looks for you and your brand, there’s different levels of that. You have to feel comfortable with it, but absolutely everything you just said I agree with. Whitney’s doing a wonderful job being clear and consistent, and I’m very proud of her. She’s doing great. With those comparison side-by-sides that you mentioned, creating content like that is native. That’s how we communicate. That’s what lands on the explorer page. So, creating content that people want to see and that consumers ask for, that’s staying relevant and understanding your expertise. You must do that in the online space.
Jess: If someone is listening and they’re like, “Okay. I’ll niche down. You’ve sold me.” What are the first few things, tangible things they should do in their business?
Libby: Yeah, absolutely. If you want to niche down, number one, I would say clearly define who you’re talking to. You want to define your target audience. I have a free download on my website. I’m not sure where you’re gonna put that now, Jess, because you’re redoing my website. So, just creating your ideal client or it’s called your customer avatar. If you’re gonna niche down, the first step would be who are you speaking to so you can align your content for that person. Then the next step would be market research. You want to find out more about your ideal client, meaning that person that you’ve created, that one person, so this isn’t a man and a woman. It’s not zero to 100 years old. Let’s get specific with one person. Do market research. I think Facebook groups are a great tip. I know Jess and I have talked about Facebook groups before. There’s great business opportunities. You want to respect the admin, but I think it’s a great place where you can start to find out more about your ideal client.
Libby: So, you want to draft a clear understanding of your ideal client. You want to do market research and then test, test, test. You want to go out there. You want to experiment. You want to create content. You want to evaluate it. Then you want to go back out on that drawing board and make sure that you’re being clear and specific by holding yourself accountable and you can measure your sales, or if you’re not selling yet, you can measure your engagement etc. So, there’s a lot of different benchmarks you can use beyond numbers to see how effective are you with hitting your ideal client and being effective with your niche.
Jess: I think the other thing that people don’t realize when it comes to niching down is it makes you more memorable. When I think of PR, I think of my friend Brittany. When I think of-
Libby: Intuitive eating, you think of Whitney.
Jess: When I think of intuitive eating, I think of Whitney.
Libby: Yeah, that’s great.
Jess: They’re specific in my world, and in the world of designers and online business. There are a million of us designers. There are just so many. I’m in several Facebook groups. It’s pretty common that people say, “I’m looking for a designer. Do you have recommendations?” I mean, people obviously jump on and promote themselves. Sometimes people will be like, “Oh, I worked with so-and-so,” but there’s been times that people have been like, “Hey, I am a yoga teacher,” or I’m a whatever, and then I get called out because people know, oh Jess works with that industry now. I’m more memorable because I niched down, rather than just when they’re like, “Oh here’s a” … “I’m needing a web designer.” They only make think of the last web designer that they saw on their Instagram feed or talked to, whatever, but when you niche down, you become more memorable.
Libby: Absolutely. Also I’ve heard, I think, what’s his name? A bunch of business gurus, I’m thinking of one specifically who I was just watching his YouTube the other … Brendon Burchard. Is that his name, I think?
Jess: I think so.
Libby: Yeah. I like his content. For some reason, it just took me a minute to get his name. He was saying that there are, it’s really hard to be the Tony Robbins, so the ultimate self development guru because he’s already done it. There’s one Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s really hard to be the person in that space, but what you can do is be the Gary Vaynerchuk or the Tony Robbins for dieticians and nutritionists, or you can be the Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins for design. So, the idea is that once you pick your philosophy, you pick your target audience, you know what you’re doing, right? Jess creates websites. I coach, I do business coaching and help you create income and clients from, and create and launch products online. I don’t do that for everybody.
Libby: I do that for a specific type of person. I have had fashion designers approach me and say, could you help me? The reality is I don’t know if I can help with fashion and design on Instagram. That’s not my expertise. Yes, you can apply my strategies and the framework, but I can’t guarantee it’ll work the way it does for food and nutrition professionals because that is my niche and that’s my target audience. I can’t say that, I am not saying that people outside of what I do don’t find value in me, but because I do it so strongly with the people I help, I can only speak to them. Know what you’re doing, and then know who you’re helping, and the note their biggest problems.
Jess: Yeah. Are there any mistakes that you’re seeing people make when it comes to niching down in their business?
Libby: I think you already hit the nail on the head. I think people are not taking a strong enough stance or if they are, I think that there’s a lot of issues with people feeling like, and I get it, I know it’s hard, but people feel bullied, or they feel like there’s a lot of haters, or they feel like people aren’t accepting of them. My last podcast episode I had a dietitian who actually came out and said that she’s no longer taking a stance as being an anti-diet or an intuitive eating dietician. She has had some health issues and some personal issues and she’s now going the integrative route and that’s great.
Libby: She wrote this amazing blog posts and then again, she was on one of my recent episodes and she talks about her story, her personal brand development and her authenticity. That is taking a strong stance. She’s saying, I’m not afraid of what people are going to say, this is who I am, and she’s owning it and I give serious respect to that. I think a lot of people understandably feel a little scared. I’m not saying that you have to be at her level, although I think that’s great to be as authentic as she is, but I think when you, the bottom line here is to own who you are, and what you’re doing, and to realize that you have to pick something. This all goes back to what you’re picking.
Libby: If you pick one thing that you feel really close and authentic to and it relates and resonates with you, you have to be honest about your approach and if you’re not, people will know. People can spot that. This kind of just goes into being authentic and then picking a focus, and then being consistent. Then I’ve had posts where people have attacked me and people have not liked what I put out, and that’s okay. Not everyone’s gonna always like everything I put out. I wouldn’t say most of my stuff is controversial, but there’s been a couple of things that have. I’ve had to tell myself it’s been a little difficult at the moment. I’ve had to tell myself this is part of growth, this is part of business. When I look at people like my friend and partner, Rachel from College Nutritionist, she takes a very strong stance on her food philosophy and she’s extremely popular and so, of course she’s going to deal with negative comments. The more popular get the more comments you’re going to get. She also has exceptional business growth.
Libby: With growth comes some negativity and hate. Whether it’s on a small scale, a medium scale, a large scale, whatever scale it is for you and your business and your mental status, that is part of growth. It’s just accepting that, it’s just the mindset. I can’t stress enough how mindset is so important.
Libby: Then just pick … then when you’re strong and you’re firm about what you’re doing people are gonna love you because they’re going to feel that you’re real, you just can’t be fake.
Jess: Yeah, you have to be real. I don’t have 10,000 followers, but I have had, I wouldn’t say a lot of haters, but I have a blog post about why you shouldn’t use Wix or Weebly and it’s a little bit strong.
Libby: Yeah, sure. I know, I’ve heard you talk about it before with me at least. I’m like hey, no Wix or Weebly for me. Off the table.
Jess: Off the table. It gets some pushback and people … and I have videos about it as well and those get pushback-
Jess: -and it doesn’t bother me because I’m like if you want to use that for your business go right ahead. I’m just telling you as an expert in web design and business, you shouldn’t. It’s not a great idea. You just, I don’t think-
Libby: I love it.
Jess: It’s not a good move for you. If you want to do that, by all means, go for it. I’m not stopping you. I’m not in charge of your website and if you want to argue with me, I don’t really care because I’m just telling you what is the best practice.
Libby: Yeah, and what I love about this conversation is this isn’t the first time Jess had told me her strong opinions about Wix or Weebly and I know that’s authenticity here. I know how strongly Jess feels about that and that makes me like her even more because I know you’re passionate about design, I know you’re passionate about aesthetics and clarity, and that type of person I want to design my website.
Libby: That’s for me as a customer to you that makes me only happier to work with you and that it makes me want to consider you for future business because I know, hey, she knows her stuff. She’s done her research. Where Jess is telling you she’s gotten some pushback, on the flip side she’s also getting a lot of respect from me and I’m sure tons of other people. On that same note, you know who Emily Kyle was the Dietitian who I just referred to earlier who did the blog, she had a blog post about not being an anti-diet dietician and taking a stance on her philosophy for her personal reasons, and it made me really respect her.
Libby: I just want to go back to that. It doesn’t matter what she chooses to do or what philosophy she chooses. What matters is that she’s being very real about it and her realness, it’s like, it makes people, it makes her a magnet and so you have, although that might be too large scale for you listening right now, just remember the more clear and real you can be the more people are gonna like you. That’s how you build the know, like, and trust factor. You just have to be yourself and you have to pick something that you feel true about.
Libby: None of that wishy washy, I’m not sure You have to have an opinion.
Jess: Well, this has been fantastic. I have a few fun little questions to wrap up our interview.
Libby: Sure. Sure.
Jess: What is your favorite snack?
Libby: Oh, I would probably say nuts with a little bit of chocolate.
Libby: That’s my go-to portable, yeah.
Jess: Nice. Do you like, they’re already covered in chocolate or you dip them in chocolate?
Libby: Oh, wow. That’s fancy. I was thinking more like a few chocolate chips sprinkled in my unsalted almonds that I bring to work. Yeah, I’m good with-
Libby: -the dipping though. The dipping, the covered, that’s fun too. I just like the, when I eat very bland, plain nuts, I like to just kind of make it fun with a little pop of chocolate.
Jess: What is your favorite book? Or at least recently because I know we’ve probably read a lot of books in our time.
Libby: Yeah. I would say Start With Why is a really, really good one, Simon [inaudible 00:27:37].
Jess: So good.
Libby: Yeah, he’s good. Also I just, he’s just such a good speaker. He just gets me every time.
Jess: He is.
Libby: Yeah, he’s fantastic. He has the second most watched TED Talk of all time and it’s just so simple where he has a paper and a pen, and he explains stories, and he uses clear, simple visuals, and he speaks eloquently and his book is no different. His TED Talk was based off of his book. I don’t agree with all of his philosophies. I do not think that millennials are entitled, but I love-
Jess: Nope, I’ve seen that video.
Libby: I will say I don’t have to agree with everything he says, but I love his style and his execution, and I just think he’s like whatever. He’s great. He’s just-
Jess: Okay, last question.
Jess: Are you a morning smoothie or coffee person?
Libby: Oh, coffee all the way.
Jess: Are you a black coffee or do you put creamer and stuff in it?
Libby: Yeah, a little bit of cream. No sugar.
Libby: I like really bitter coffee. Extremely bitter and strong.
Jess: What else is going on? Where can we follow you? What do you have coming up? All that kind of fun stuff.
Libby: Yeah. What I have coming up, the most exciting thing I’ve got for this entire quarter, which is highly anticipated is my website launch, which will be happening in the next month or so from yours truly, from Jess and I’m really excited about that. What else is coming up? I’m going to be relaunching my signature program. For those of you who want to see what it looks like to literally start a business and just make it work as a side hustle follow me in my journey. I authentically tell you about my life. I get do interviews with people in my field. I am, I help not, I do help registered dieticians mainly, but I also do help wellness professionals.
Jess: Awesome. Thank you so much again for being here. This was awesome.