We spoke with Amy Chow, a Registered Dietitian based in Langley, BC, who focuses on the areas of pediatric nutrition (primarily starting solids, picky eating & food allergy management), and eating disorder recovery. Her approach to nutrition counseling is to empower families with the confidence, knowledge, and skills with feeding. Amy offers support, hope, and compassion to those who struggle with eating disorders to put the joy back into eating.
You’ve found a specific niche for yourself in pediatric nutrition, food allergy management, and eating disorders. How did you become specialized in this area?
Honestly through trial and error over the years – I’ve worked in such diverse areas in nutrition, along the way I discovered what I enjoy working with, what I didn’t like as much, and what I’m good at.
I’ve always worked with the eating disorders population (An ED residential treatment program was my first job out of school!). I was honored to work very closely alongside the medical director and the whole treatment team including various therapists and psychologists, this is an area I’ve developed expertise and confidence in.
When my son developed multiple food allergies after he started solids, there was an incredible amount of misinformation and a lack of support as a new mom who was struggling myself. I decided that I would put my dietitian skills to use and create a safe space for new families to learn about feeding their babies with up to date, and evidence-based information. This was when I started to run my monthly starting solids workshop from my home – which evolved to running it for different cities, local businesses, and parenting groups.
I was lucky enough to get a position at BC Children’s Hospital and then move into a pediatric and allergy dietitian position with Healthlink BC. These clinical experiences helped advance my knowledge and skills around working within the pediatric population and food allergy management.
Many practitioners are hesitant to niche down because they want to help everyone. In your experience, what are the benefits of finding your niche? Can you talk about how this has allowed you to create more specific resources and offerings for your clients?
I totally understand this, I still have potential clients inquiring about a service that I don’t offer which at first it’s hard to say no to. However, I realized that I’m not providing the best service they deserve and I didn’t enjoy the work after all. Now I pass these clients onto a dietitian who has niched down in those other areas – and because someone has niched down, he/she is more likely to come to mind when I’m referring out. Since I’ve really niched down, I have also developed passive income on webinars and ebook packages.
How can other practitioners begin to find their niche if they don’t know what to focus on?
Identify your passion – Take note of the following questions: What lights you up? Who do you enjoy working with the most? What do you love talking about? Which areas are you good at helping people with?
Trial and error – keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to try out new things! There is no right answer, the great thing about private practice is that you can always pivot and shift gears if things aren’t working out.
Which Practice Better features have supported you in building your specialized practice?
I mainly offer my services as different package options on those three main topics. I’ve worked with many of these clients so I know at a minimum what they need to be successful. 1 or 2 sessions aren’t going to be very helpful for them as these specialized areas require frequent monitoring, guidance, and support (every 1-2 weeks). I love using the chat function to be able to quickly check in with my clients. I’ve also utilized it as an add-on service to my workshops (i.e. monthly subscription for unlimited chat access to me for further support and questions).
How important is building relationships and creating a referral network of complementary practitioners?
Relationships are key – both within your niche and outside your niche. I really enjoy connecting with other dietitians and other practitioners to learn about their work because then I know exactly who I can reach out for support or pass on a referral that is better suited for them and vice versa! I’ve actually developed a platform to connect dietitians across BC, called BC Dietitians, to foster these connections and relationships.
How can someone get started in identifying other practitioners to compliment them, and start building relationships?
Use the platform you’re already on and check out other practitioners that offer different services to the same type of audience – this is where having a clear niche is really helpful because then you can identify more relevant connections (ie. I would connect with doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, counselors who work with children or eating disorders and even other local businesses!). Send them a DM or email to inquire about their services because chances are some of your clients could benefit from their services and vice versa! I also find it easier to connect with local practitioners since there is already something common you share.
Do you have anything coming up that you’d like to share with the PB community? Where can our community go to learn more about you?
I will be co-hosting a virtual eating disorder support group in the fall! It’s a group program intended for those who need support and accountability in their recovery journey. If you know someone who is ready to recover from their eating disorder, this is a great program for them to start with the support of two experienced dietitians.
Thank you so much, Amy!
You can learn more about Amy by visiting www.chowdownnutrition.com or following her Facebook and Instagram pages.
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