Meghan is a Toronto-based author, speaker, nutritionist, and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. I graduated the program in 2013 and have been looking to Meghan for guidance with conscious living and business since. I did a Q&A with her in 2015 on my original site, shortly after I launched my baskets and conscious lifestyle company and I'm sharing it below.
Q. 1. You’ve recently founded The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. What was your inspiration for this?
The foundation of our health is the food we use to feed ourselves, and most people today are completely lost on that front. I started teaching cooking classes in my little loft kitchen as a way to build community around good food and enjoying it together. When the demand for my classes grew beyond the three walls of my loft (it's strangely a triangular shape), I took it online. Two years after I began offering video-based classes, we launched the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. The goal for the school was to fill a huge gap- to be able to offer applied nutrition training, using food as the teaching vehicle and educating in such a way that the program be open and inviting to everyone- no matter their previous experience with nutrition or cooking, or their personal preferred diet of choice. Just as with my in-person classes, the inspiration has always been for everyone to feel welcome to learn and explore and find their path to health, help others do the same in a really fun, engaging and practical way.
Q. 2. Businesses and entrepreneurs may experience ebb and flows. What keeps you motivated during the ebb times?
Ebb times? What ebb times? I think what keeps me going through slower sales periods is that I keep myself so busy, I don't notice. My business is rather seasonal at this point- mostly by choice, as I don't like working in the summer, and travel a lot in the winter. There are times that we have more revenue coming in, and there are times when we're planning, creating and building and so it's simply a cycle. If things get too quiet, I make something happen. No ebbs. I just work on staying in the flow of it all.
Q. 3. Would you share any of your mistakes that you’ve made and lessons you’ve learned?
This is a tough one. I'm pretty over-the-moon excited by where things are at today, so I can't help but believe that anything that could have been seen as a mistake was part of the learning experience that landed me where I am. I've let myself be convinced of things that were against my instinct, I've teamed up with people because I believed what they said, not what their experience proved they could do, and I've taken advice from people who's values didn't line up with my own and had to back step on a few things because of it. But as I said- every challenging experience in business (and in life!) is an opportunity to learn, and grow. It's in these times of stress that we really get to see how far we've come.
Q. 4. What advice would you give to those who want to follow their dreams and build their own business?
Do it. If you have the desire to do it, and know that it will be the hardest you've ever worked in your life, it will be the best thing ever. I think there's this misconception that running your own business gives you so much freedom- you can hit a yoga class in the middle of the day, do lunch with your girlfriends, and all of that. And it's true, you can. But to make it work, you do need to hustle. Yes, you get the freedom to take days off when you want, travel when you want and if you design it in such a way that you can work from anywhere- well, you can work from anywhere. But you will be working. To rock your biz- it takes equal parts commitment, passion, hustle, and a sense of humour. No one will ever care about your business succeeding as much as you do, and that means you will always be caring about it.
Q. 5. You’re a marketing and advertising pro! What are you top marketing tools?
I get asked this a lot and I don't have a simple answer. Most of what I do is instinct. I do read a lot of books- but not business books. I read a lot on spirituality, psychology, and then some business- but usually more on business and community. I am fascinated by people and what motivates them to act. I read as many articles about business, and social media as I do about meditation, education and health. Though I don't know of great tools, my best advice is to try everything you think of that costs under $100 and see what works. Things like google ads, Facebook ads, social media, etc. Look at your analytics and be honest about what's working. Also- you might want to ignore, for the most part, what other people are doing. That's a total useless energy suck. Social media's a funny thing because you can see how many followers other people have in your field and what they're posting and what coverage they're getting. I decided a long while ago to bypass the social media popularity contest and instead focus on creating really amazing products that sell. Set your goal of what success means to you- what you want to achieve (in sales, in revenue, in lifestyle) and market your products in a way that makes that happen. Collecting likes on Facebook may or may not be relevant to your idea of success. In short- dare to do things differently. You never know what may happen! For me, that's part of the adventure.
Q. 6. Do you have anything else you could share about your journey that could inspire others?
There's so much! I think what's important to know, is that though it often can seem like people have this overnight crazy success, and living in a time of instant gratification as we do, we often expect this always. And it's just not the way for most of the people you look at in business. Most people work for a long time- not just building their business, but building themselves. One of the things my students say to me so often is, how do you know everything you know, or how can I know what you know. The short answer is time and lots, and lots, and lots of work. We have to remember that to be super awesome at what we're doing, takes time, and effort and work. There's no quick fix way around it. I have always been of the mind that slow and steady is the way to go and as such, I have built a slow and steadily growing business that rests on a very solid foundation- and was built from the ground up without any outside investment or debt. So perhaps the best lesson I have learned is patience. And what I have experienced is that the times when I push ahead too quickly, I learn my lessons. And as a result, it seems that things come to evolve and shift to the next level when I'm ready for them.
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based author, speaker, nutritionist, and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Her humorous, engaging and real approach to living an awesome, healthy life has garnered her a world-wide following and extensive media attention. Meghan’s Academy of Culinary Nutrition, is growing a global tribe of vibrant living advocates and her bestselling and award-winning book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health is creating a revolution in how people think about their health. With an equal passion for both vibrant living and business, Meghan works with health focused independent practitioners and small businesses to find their unique voice in a crowded marketplace, stay ahead of the curve, cultivate community and convert passion into profitable ventures. For more visit MeghanTelpner.com.