6 steps for successful collaborations

6 steps for successful collaborations

In my previous post I shared some reasons on why should dietitians collaborate. In this info graphic post I share with you the steps you need to take when you wish to collaborate. I have used these steps myself when I created the “Curb Your Cravings” summit with much success.

I will also take this opportunity to out a call for collaborating with me for my You tube show “One Week to Your Health” where I am focusing on sharing small weekly changes that people can integrate into their lives for the better. You can book an interview here:  http://www.alkachopra.ca/be-a-guest/  

Sample intro email

Hi                       , 

My name is Alka Chopra and I am a Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator. I am putting together an client focused virtual summit titled “Curb your Cravings”. I am making initial contact with several other dietitians, food psychologists, yoga teachers and other healthcare practitioners at this time who maybe interested in participating and sharing their expert tips in this summit.  

 Time period of event: September 3rd week 

 Your time commitment: 45 minutes – 1 hour via a scheduled interview. Making a presentation is optional. I will be interviewing you via Zoom – there is no cost to you. Interviews will take place in June – July. 

 Is this something you would be interested in participating?  If you are I will send you further details. 


Download terms & conditions document here

Download sample interview questions here

10 reasons why dietitians MUST collaborate

10 reasons why dietitians MUST collaborate

Recently, I came across this quote “Entrepreneurs have a natural inclination to go it alone. While this do-it-yourself spirit can help you move forward, adding an element of collaboration into the mix can make you unstoppable” by Leah Busque. This reminded me of the way several of us dietitians work. Several of us work in silos. In the several years of my dietetic practice I have certainly come to realize that working this way is definitely not the way to success. Today, we live in a day and age of collaborations. I had been working all by myself for the longest time. Last year I collaborated with several healthcare professionals (HCPs) and created an online summit titled “Curb Your Cravings”. It was very well received by clients and the collaborators appreciated and really cherished the opportunity. And the best part I did not have to do all the work. It was the combined work of 25 professionals that made the summit a success. I am also in the process of ongoing collaborations with relevant HCPs for my bi-monthly show called “One Week to Your Health” on You Tube.  

Hence, writing this blog post with the hope that several of you reading this post will consider collaborating not only with fellow dietitians but other relevant HCPs as well.   

In this blog post I am sharing my 10 top reasons dietitians MUST & NEED to collaborate. In my next blog post I will share the process that I took to create collaborative relationships. 

So, let us start:   

  1. Enhance the profile of dietitians in the public eye: I am quite sure many of you have heard people undermining the work that we do. And that includes HCPs. We also know that there are so many people who like to give advice on nutrition without a complete understanding of the interactions of nutrients and the impact on the body. There is also a constant war (as I like to call it) between the RDs & nutritionists. When we will begin to collaborate with other HCPs, it will break several myths about the work we do and our scope of practice. Educating the people and other HCPs about our scope of work is the ideal way in my mind to enhance our profile.  2.
  2. Build and grow our network: If you wish to scale your business, then the answer is Collaborations.  When we meet someone, and just start talking, you never know what direction that conversation may lead to. Let me give you an example: when I was working on the “Curb Your Cravings Summit” I connected with a dietitian and during our conversation she asked if I would like to have a physician on board. Of course, my answer was Yes, and guess what the physician then connected me a reiki professional and a transformational hypnotist. This kind of variety made the summit content rich. I could certainly not have done all this by myself.  Collaborations either start in a serendipitous manner by meeting someone new or through a conversation with someone familiar you know. If the person is entirely new, then you have just increased your network and if it is someone you already knew, then perhaps you strengthened your relationship and also seen another side of the person that you may have been unaware. So, in short it is win-win situation either way.  
  3. You can accomplish way more with collaborations:  Two brains are more productive and resourceful than one. Right?  Of course, you need to plan your work, assign responsibilities and be clear about each other’s accountability. If done right you can accomplish way more than working solo on a project.    
  4. Substantially decrease completion time:   The same principle as above applies here as well. Four hands can accomplish more than two, and that too way faster. You can get more done, and perhaps your stress level of completing everything all by yourself decreases considerably. Often times, we do think that it is better if we do everything ourselves because you will have to explain everything to the other person. In the real world, it actually will take less time to explain the project deliverables, than do everything yourself. Of course, you need to keep a close watch so the objectives of your project are met with. In the long run it will pay off. So, do give collaborations a try!                                                                                            
  5. Enforces accountability:   It is very easy to slip on accountability towards yourself. You have to be a highly motivated person to work through deadlines, with you being your own boss. When you have an accountability collaborator, it may be a different story altogether. If you are not motivated on a particular day to work on the project, your collaborating partner might come to your rescue.  That way you keep bouncing of each other and create magic! 
  6. Find more creative solutions to problems:  When we are stuck with a particular problem, we are kind of confined in our own thought process. That makes it hard and sometimes impossible to think beyond our boxed brain. With a collaborator, innovative and fresh solutions can be found. When we partner/collaborate with another person, who comes with different experiences and approaches in handling problems, there is a huge possibility that the scenario might change. We all know that entrepreneurship is all about finding creative solutions to people’s problems. So, do not hesitate to take the first step forward in collaborating with like-minded people.
  7. Allowance for flexibility: Life happens and a situation can sneak in from under the door. When you have a collaborator and are working on a project you can breathe. Your partner can takeover over the tasks without getting the project to a halt. More over if there are deadlines having someone else to lean on is such a relief. This also allows for you to go on a vacation or visit family if needed.
  8. Gets you out of your comfort zone: To me the best way to increase your skills and learn is to get a little uncomfortable. When you put yourself in a new situation, you got to be successful for yourself. A collaborator can be very instrumental here. When we work all by our self the natural tendency is to circle around tried and tested strategies. However, your collaborator might have some new ideas that you have never even thought off. A great strategy to load your tool box.  
  9. Make entrepreneurship fun: Productivity and fun are 2 related elements for success. If you have fun in your work, it is also motivating and keeps you going faster. Moreover, entrepreneurship can be lonely and frustrating at times. With a collaborator it becomes easier to inject some fun and also allows for another set of ears to bounce your ideas, challenges and frustrations. I find this to be a huge factor in collaborating with others.
  10. Everyone wins: When I say everyone, I am referring to you, your collaborator and clients. The College of Dietitians of Ontario defines “Collaborative practice as members going beyond just working in a team to synergistically learning to practice together as a team to influence the client/patient centered care. “It involves the continuous interaction of two or more professionals or disciplines, organized into a common effort to explore and solve common issues, with the best possible participation of the client”.  

 To me collaboration is a habit that all of us dietitians must get into. A habit that can reap great results. The College of           Dietitians of Ontario has an article on “Enhancing Inter-professional Collaboration” that I would encourage you to read. You can read it here:   


Lastly, something to remember is that collaboration is not about making friends or even liking each one of your collaborator. It is all about providing the best possible care or service to your client.  

I will also take this opportunity to out a call for collaborating with me for my You tube show “One Week to Your Health” where I am focusing on sharing small weekly changes that people can integrate into their lives for the better. You can book an interview here:  http://www.alkachopra.ca/be-a-guest/  

Why must dietitians increase their online presence!

Why must dietitians increase their online presence!

In today’s world we live in a technology loaded environment. It is almost impossible to stay away from it or even ignore it. As dietitians we are in a perfect place to leverage the advantages that it has to offer. I know some of you reading this post may have hesitations or some reservations about this. Even I did! The reality is that we have to learn to move with the times. Moreover, today people are busier than ever and always looking for ways to maximize their time. So, why not make the best out of this.  

As dietitians we can:  

  1. Establish and showcase our expertise. The fact of the matter is that unless the world sees and hear us, we are really not an expert. So, go around bragging about yourself and about all the wonderful ways that you can help people reach their health goals.  
  2. Clear the myths that lot of people and even health practitioners have around what dietitians do! 
  3. Educate people that we are certainly not the food police. 
  4. Educate people that dietitians do not tell people what not to eat. Infact we work alongside them to come up with sustainable strategies to help them move further and in the positive direction in their health goal spectrum. 
  5. Provide the general public the right evidence- based information. I know that many of us have valid concerns about the information that is being shared over the internet from other non-regulated healthcare providers.   

The world of today is leading towards providing healthcare services online. To me this is such an advantage for us dietitians.   

  1. We can reach reaching more people and provide care to anyone, anytime, anywhere, keeping in view our respective college guidelines.  
  2. Create quality connections with our clients via video conferencing. 
  3. Provide value-based care since it is much cheaper than in-person care. 
  4. Share your expertise with your peers by offering webinars and workshops.  

So why not embrace it! What do you think? 

Some ideas on how you can provide value- based care: 

  1. As an add on to your in-person appointment: I have provided quick 15-minute phone & video follow ups to my clients as an “add on” for my in-clinic appointments. It really helps them move along and I have seen that the success rate is much higher. Clients have told me that feel very supported when I connect with them this way. Also remember, the best form of marketing is word of mouth. Several of my clients who call in first to understand my counseling style have signed up for my services me via this strategy.   
  2. Leverage on any expertise/special interest you may have: For example, if you have special interest and are an expert on gluten intolerance, then you can offer your services via phone, video or a combination of both. People who are having challenges in managing their gluten intolerance can really benefit from your expertise. This is a trend that is catching up big time. So, make the most of it!  
  3. Set up electronic documents on your website or appointment schedulers: I have set up my waiver forms within the appointment scheduler that I use: acuity scheduling. When patients sign up for an initial appointment they have to agree and only then can they schedule the appointment. It saves the hassle of the back & forth email. This system works really well especially when you are providing your consulting services online. And it saves paper. And I love that. Organizing becomes so easy. You can even set up your food record so clients can fill it out before they book the appointment. It is a huge time saver.  
  4. Blogging: This is the best way that I have found to show off my personality, opinions & outlook about the several aspects of health & nutrition. We dietitians often complain that there are so many self-proclaimed nutrition experts out there who are providing the wrong nutrition advice. So, don’t you think it is time we got our act together and really establish our presence and expertise? 
  5. Fully internet based: this type of set up may not for everyone. It would be suitable for someone who is generally in good health and looking for a little extra. However, this strategy can be financially viable and has the ability to be fully automated. For example, you set up an email course on Self Care and it is loaded with value. The people who sign up for this course would be those who generally do take care of themselves and are looking for some more insight and ideas on how they can do better at taking care of themselves.  

Some other benefits of being online 

  1. Flexibility: you can set your own schedule and work as much and as little. As a bonus if you automate your services you can even earn money while sleeping. Now, who would not like that??? 
  2. Cost efficient: You do not have to worry about paying the 20 or 30% of your income to the clinic where you practice. All the $$$$ are for your pocket only. 
  3. Efficient use of your time: With automating certain components of your business being automated you can use your time way more effectively and focus on the more important things that you need to do to expand your consulting. For example, I use meetedgar to automate my social media scheduling, and that leaves me a lot of time to focus on content & resource development for my clients. It is the fill it and forget it kind of system. I never have to worry that my content well is running on empty!  
  4. Increase in income: When you are providing services online it is much easier to scale your business, provide a variety of products & services thereby increasing your income. There are minimal overhead costs.  
  5. “No show” time used more efficiently: I remember when I had no shows in my clinic, it was frustrating. I was losing money. And my time was being wasted. Once I started to provide appointments via phone calls the rate of no show was next to none; that increased my income and I could use my time more efficiently if a client did not show up.  
  6. Increased continuity of care: As RDs we all know that some clients do have challenges getting to their appointments due to schedule conflicts. Well, online counseling is your answer.  
  7. Increased client retention: When you are able to provide adequate support and follow ups for your clients, you retain your clients for a longer period of time.  
  8. Possibility of standing out among competition: As of now, not everyone is offering their services online? So, this is a chance for you to really stand out online. Moreover, this is a new type of service that you are offering your clients. This type of service is also high perceived value. So why not encash on it now?  

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