From Speaking For Free To Speaking At FNCE

Hi everyone! I am very excited to announce that I will be part of a Nutrition Entrepreneur’s panel speaking at this year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE).

For those that may not have heard of it before, FNCE is the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts and attracts more than 10,000 nutrition professionals from across the globe, myself included.

It takes place at locations across the United States, with this year’s edition being held in Washington DC from October 20-23.

I will be arriving in DC Saturday afternoon and staying until Tuesday Afternoon, and I could not be more excited.

As a Canadian nutrition entrepreneur, the travel, accommodation and entry expenses associated with FNCE can be prohibitive.

Case in point,  my attendance at this year’s event really has been three years in the making.

FNCE 2015 – Took place shortly before I started my practice, I was in the process of developing my very free, very crappy, website on Wix at that time. I don’t think I even knew what FNCE was at that time.

FNCE 2016 – About ¾ of a year into my first year of business, not making enough money to really consider attending an out of country conference.

FNCE 2017 – Practice success, online presence and notoriety ( ie: blog/brand awareness) all growing towards respectable levels.  Would have liked to attend. Reached out to some potential groups to sponsor my attendance, no such luck.

FNCE 2018 – Tipping point across all aspects of business, was invited to speak on my business and how I’ve utilized blogging/social media to help it grow.

I’ve come a pretty long way since FNCE 2015, which  brings me to the title of today’s blog post From Speaking For Free To Speaking At FNCE

I wrote today’s post for two reasons:

Firstly to remind myself to be grateful for how far I’ve come, which believe me can be easy to lose sight of.

And the second, perhaps more important reason, is to offer some valuable insights to the up and coming nutrition entrepreneurs out there who need to hear that just because achieving your biggest goals and ambitions does not happen overnight, it does not mean it will not happen at all.

From Free To FNCE

Let me start off by saying that my first ever speaking engagement, and several others that followed, were unpaid.

Would it be cool if they were paid, yes.

But they weren’t.

I took what I could get in order to practice my skills, to get my name out there and to build my portfolio.

I reached out to local businesses, and some local businesses found me ( this is why you need a website/social account).

For at least one of these engagements, I was offered the opportunity after another ( probably more experienced) dietitian refused to participate for no payment.

I didn’t mind as the opportunity put me in a much better position to attract lucrative opportunities in the long-term.

You better believe that when those bigger opportunities come, and they will, that one of the big questions you will be asked is:

“have you done this before/who have you done this for before?”

You will want to have a very convincing and impressive answer to that question!

With increasing experience and exposure ( and the help of my Instagram growth) more and more offers came my way including engagements at start ups, law offices, Dietitians of Canada, University of Western Ontario, Humber College and so on.

I was not walking into these opportunities in my first year of business, and you probably won’t either.

The more people that know you, and are aware of your skill set and capabilities, the more potential opportunities that will come your way.

If you keep that point in mind, you will get much further.

The Instagram Connection

There is no denying that my Instagram presence has contributed greatly to my visibility and that the time and energy I’ve put towards that platform ultimately facilitated the speaking opportunity at FNCE.

If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my article where I discuss how beginners can grow their nutrition-related Instagram accounts.

Many people seem to misunderstand that Instagram requires you to get “huge” in order to be noticed by big companies who offer big opportunities.

This is incorrect.

Instagram is full of normal people, who work at a diverse array of companies.

It is these “normal people” who can find you on Instagram and who may be working in human resources or other departments of companies and see the potential you have to offer them.

As long as they know what you do ( an effective Instagram bio that shares your location,profession etc), and you have a decent informative website for them to visit, you are a candidate to attract opportunities from them.

It’s not about getting to 50,000 followers and landing these imaginary lucrative offers from big companies.

Bottom Line: Make sure your Instagram reflects your education, area of expertise, geographical location and links to your Website, which should do the same.

You never know what kind of opportunities may come your way with patience and persistence.

I am pretty much the perfect example of that.

Want To See Me At FNCE?

For those who will be at FNCE and interested in attending my event, you can find the full details in the graphic provided below.

Final Thoughts

Today’s article is dedicated to those of you who may be struggling to see what three years down the line may look like.

Hyperbole and “If I did you can too” sentiment aside, just know that the future can look pretty darn good as long as you work for it.

Until then,

Andy De Santis RD MPH