Today Ete sits down with Audrey Watkins of Elevate Nutrition and Fitness Consulting.
When Audrey Watkins started seeing signs from corporate that things were headed in the wrong direction, she followed the exodus of co-workers out of this particular nutrition and wellness company and into a new phase of life. Without knowing exactly how to start or run a business, she just went for it. She established Elevate Nutrition and Fitness Consulting and luckily, she already had clientele. About thirty or forty of her former clients followed her to the fledgling practice. What some people just starting out in business work years for, a strong client base, Audrey already had.
Why? Why were these clients so loyal? Audrey explains that the answer has been the key to her success. For her, it's all about forming genuine, strong relationships. Her clients were loyal because they knew she truly cared about them and their goals. That relationship was also a driver in her clients' success. They were actually seeing the changes they were looking for, at least in part, because of this relationship. Audrey's encouragement, and authentic dedication to her clients was helping them to meet their health and wellness goals.
How does Audrey connect so well with her clients? For one, she's a people person. She loves meeting people and she truly enjoys getting to know them. This is why she does what she does. And because she cares for them "like friends and family," she legitimately wants to help them feel their best.
Another of the key qualities of connection Audrey possesses is a high level of relatability. She's had a life full of experiences from joyful highs, to the downright lowest of tragic traumas. She knows the extremes and everything in between. She's a wife and a mother. She's worked at a Fortune 500 company (she has a degree in economics) and she's been a stay-at-home home. She's experienced the gratification and delight of bona fide human connection, and the shock of seeing a friend gunned down at work. Somewhere in that wide range of experiences Audrey can find a way to relate to anyone–from middle aged women, to couples trying to conceive, from brides, to athletes, to high school kids, to people in their 70's.
And this relational ability is seen in her approach to nutrition and to coaching. She applies a more flexible, custom-tailored path to wellness for her clients. It's about the client's body, the client's physical and emotional needs, the client's hopes and goals. She knows each person as an individual, so she knows how to help him or her as an individual. Dogmatic nutrition approaches don't make sense to her. In fact, she describes herself as "nutritionally agnostic." Together, Audrey and her clients "shoot for longevity and quality of life," and what that looks like depends on the person she's helping.
As far as the business side of things goes, Audrey had to start from scratch. She had no business operating experience or training. Legally establishing the company, and just the practical concerns of starting a business were major hurdles. Building the company website was a huge obstacle for her. She took on the challenge, and with the help of friends, got her site up and running. She's maintained her business without going into any debt, which was a must for her from the outset. And now she's got a thriving business. She does no advertising and relies purely on word-of-mouth and referrals for getting new clients.
Be sure to hear Audrey's incredible stories, and her business advice in this episode of The Company Next Door.