LinkedIn Tips for Freelance RDs

Christianna Gozzi, a plant-based RD joins me on the podcast today.

Christianna has always been drawn to leadership roles, and what better way to flex her skills as an entrepreneur.

Learning how to leverage LinkedIn has been a valuable tool for helping her grow leads and make connections online.

During our conversation you’ll learn:

  • Why she left her full time gig to become an entrepreneur.
  • How to network like a pro on LinkedIn.
  • How to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Find Christianna online:

Did you miss last week’s episode? Tune in here: Leaving your clinical job ft. Sarah Glinski, RD

Full Transcript

Julia: 1:02

Welcome to the show, Christiana. Did you want to say hi to listeners?

Christianna: 1:06

Yes. Hi, everyone. I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, Julia, for having me. I can’t wait to jump in.

Julia: 1:13

Yeah. I am so thrilled that you’re here.

Listeners, Christiana was supposed to come on approximately nine months ago, actually, but circumstances didn’t allow it on my end, so she’s been so amazing and accommodating coming on now, so I really appreciate it.

Did you want to tell listeners about your RD story, some background info about you?

Christianna: 1:35

I’d be happy to. I’ve been a dietitian, um, for about five years now, uh, but I started my career actually in psychology, so I have a background, uh, in academic research, um, a master’s degree in organizational psychology and, uh, went to school thinking, uh, that I wanted to be a professor and really fell in love with psychology.

Uh, but kind of as I got into that world, I was managing a research center and found myself, um, starting a baking blog on the side and, and bringing cookies into work and, and reflecting on, uh, you know, all the fun I had working in restaurants and high school and college and, and just kind of realized that I wanted to do something in the food industry.

So, uh, ended up combining psychology with food and, and that’s how I found my way into nutrition. Um, and I went back to school to do all the science pre reqs and everything like that and, and discovered that, you know, despite limiting beliefs that I wasn’t a science person, I actually could, you know, understand chemistry and, and all those things that we have to learn.

So, um, I ended up, uh, my first job in dietetics was in food service management, uh, sort of corporate wellness slash food service management, which I still have, uh, kind of one foot in, um, And then in February of 2022, uh, I branched out into part time entrepreneurship and, and freelance work, uh, within, in private practice nutrition counseling and, uh, freelance, uh, writing and, and content creation.

Julia: 3:11

That is so cool. Okay. I have a couple of questions for you. I’ve actually, I’ve never heard of organizational psychology before. Can you define that just in two sentences, maybe for layman’s terms?

Christianna: 3:22

Yeah, organizational psychology is really the study of how people work and how people work together.

Julia: 3:29

Cool. So that is so fascinating.

I think I could make a whole episode just picking your brain about that, but I won’t. And it sounds like through your various roles, you’ve always had such a strong leadership presence in the management capacity. Have you always wanted to be a leader? Like how did you acquire those positions?

Christianna: 3:50

Yeah, I think I have always had an eye on on leadership.

I think partially because of my background in org psych, I’m so interested in understanding how people work and and and helping build structure and processes around the way people work. Um, so I’ve just always been been drawn to that.

Professionally, but I think personally to my grandmother was the food service director at my high school, so I think I saw like a woman in a leadership role in food early on, and I probably didn’t know it at the time, but that was probably a really big influence on me.

So, so both, you know, some academic interest and then also just personal inspiration. I think that is so cool.

Julia: 4:36

Yeah. And now that you’ve been doing the RD gig for five years, um, what would you say is your favorite part about being a dietitian?

Christianna: 4:49

You know, I think just being able to talk and write about food, um, and just kind of be in the food industry, um, is, is, is… Really interesting to me.

I mean, I, you know, I kind of think of dietetics as as a spectrum between like the food industry and the health care industry, and I’m kind of always closer to the food industry side of things.

So I think just just being able to be inspired by food every day and talk about it and think about it is is really, you know, where I want to be and what I want to do.

Julia: 5:22

Mmhmm. And are you a foodie then? I’m kind of guessing, yes?

Christianna: 5:25

For sure. Yes, yes. I love, I love cooking, baking, um, you know, I, yes, definitely. All of that. Yeah.

Julia: 5:36

and I know that you’re very into LinkedIn, which I am too. Can you highlight to listeners why LinkedIn is such an important tool for freelance dietitians?

Christianna: 5:47

Yeah, you know, I think that LinkedIn historically has been a bit underutilized by dietitians in general, I think freelancers do a great job because it’s where work can be found.

Um, but I think dietitians in general, um, there’s, there’s a huge opportunity to grow your brand, uh, whether it’s a personal brand or a business brand on, on, on, um, LinkedIn and their space for, for all niches of, of dietitians.

You know, I think it’s just it’s a much more targeted way to interact with social media than Instagram and Facebook.

You know, I don’t know about you, but I feel like when I post something on Instagram, it’s like, well, who’s seeing this? You know, I don’t I don’t have control necessarily over who’s seeing it.

And yeah, I don’t necessarily have control over. Exactly what linkedin does with my content, but I know that it’s going to be targeted to people in my network and that I’ve built that network person by person. Um, so I think it’s just a much more efficient way to spend your time online.

You know, I’m really intentional about how I spend my time online and building like a digitally minimal life. Um, and so I think that. LinkedIn is very efficient at that and consumers are on LinkedIn.

You know, they’re ready to to engage with you and someone on LinkedIn is is likely employed or employable. So they have money to spend on services like dietetics and nutrition counseling and brands are, you know, looking for dietitians on LinkedIn.

So I just think it’s it’s a really good place to be.

Julia: 7:30

Mm hmm. And do you have top, sorry, excuse me, do you have a top three recommendations that a listener could do today to optimize their LinkedIn profile?

Christianna: 7:41

Yeah, I think, um, one really important thing is thinking about keywords.

So, when someone is looking for you, or looking for services you provide, What are they typing into the search bar of LinkedIn? And does your profile have those words in it?

So you will come up in the top search results. So for the, the instance of freelance writing, you know, is nutrition writer or SEO nutrition or SEO content marketing? Is that in your bio? Is that dispersed throughout your profile so that when a hiring manager or Editor is searching for you, they can find you.

So definitely optimizing for keywords. Uh, the second thing would be, I learned this recently, I thought this was really interesting, um, to make sure that you connect with someone rather than just following them. Because if you just follow them, they might not necessarily see your content because they might not follow you back.

So if you connect with someone, it’s a two way street and they’ll see what you’re posting just like you see what they’re posting. So that really helps kind of maximize your impact. And the last thing I would say is, you know, create content that’s specific for LinkedIn.

I think a lot of dietitians Don’t think about actually creating content or posting content on LinkedIn, um, but really it’s a great place to put content. And don’t just post a link to your article, right? Because LinkedIn wants you to stay in LinkedIn.

So you want to, um, maybe create an article that’s native to LinkedIn that then harkens back to your longer form piece, um, or pull in an infographic from Instagram, but customize it a little bit for the LinkedIn audience.

Julia: 9:29

That’s awesome. Those are three tips that I don’t think it shared a whole lot of. So that’s very insightful. Thank you for sharing that.

I do get a lot of questions about, you know, making connections and then sending messages to people on LinkedIn.

I don’t know if you have any guidance on that, but it’s something that listeners ask about quite a bit because As you’ve already mentioned, there are opportunities on LinkedIn.

Christianna: 9:55

Yeah, I think when you make a connection, it’s always nice to, well, first of all, I think you should always personalize the invite.

Um, you know, maybe by accident, you know, it’s kind of easy if you’re on the mobile app to just click connect, and then it doesn’t give you the opportunity, so you actually have to like manually hit personalize invite.

So make sure you do that if you’re on your phone, but. You know, I, I don’t think it takes a lot of, of really effort to write a message, just saying, Hi, I’m a fellow dietitian or, you know, just briefly introducing yourself and then seeing how the interaction goes.

You know, maybe if it’s an editor that you’re trying to pitch for a story, maybe don’t pitch immediately, kind of let the, the, um, conversation warm up a little bit, um, and then pitch them.

But I think too, periodically going back through your connections and just like, Looking and saying, who haven’t I, who haven’t I connected with in a while? Let me send them a message. Um, and just seeing what comes out of it.

I think it’s perfectly fine to connect with people you don’t know. That’s the point of LinkedIn. Um, just make sure you’re polite and, and flatter them a little bit.

You know, everyone wants to hear that they’re interested in what you’re doing, right? Like who doesn’t like to hear like, oh, I’m really interested in the work you’re doing. And if it’s genuine, people know that.

Julia: 11:10

Yes. Yeah. Great points again. And on LinkedIn, I did notice, and again, maybe you can speak to this or not, but I did notice that they just started rolling out a verification. Yes, have you done that already?

Christianna: 11:24

I haven’t done it yet.

Julia: 11:27

I tried I tried to do it Because sometimes us vs. Canada can be kind of a headache So I got really far but actually what happened is they said that because my cell phone provider is such a small company Because you have to use an online app to verify through a third party.

It’s gonna take like maybe up to three months, which I just thought was so hilariously random. So I just wondered if you had experience and I’m just sharing that in case listeners had experience. I did talk to them directly like LinkedIn support and they said it should come but it’ll just take time and it is what it is.

Christianna: 12:00

Yeah, that’s interesting. I’d be curious to hear, like, in a couple months when you do have it, if you think it boosts engagement, um, I don’t know. I, I, I don’t, to me, I, I’m not sure that it will do much, but I, it couldn’t hurt.

Julia: 12:17

Yes, yeah, because that was going to be my next question about what are the potential benefits, because I guess historically online, like, it just made me feel better knowing that that was the real person and not a spam account.

LinkedIn is a little bit more protected because it’s business workplace, right? Like, at least that, that’s how it used to be. Now it can be a little bit more social media esque, but it’s still supposed to be a professional platform.

So, during your career, you obviously have made some pivots, and I wanted to go back to that and ask you a couple questions.

You mentioned that you’re doing some private practice, and you have a blog, and you do some writing. What was the key motivator for you to become a business owner and a freelance dietitian?

Christianna: 13:08

It really boils down to creative freedom. I’m I’m a creative person.

And although I really enjoyed my my full time work, I felt stifled by by the little annoyances of corporate life, I guess. And I was really ready to, you know, branch out and try to be my own boss and see where it took me.

Julia: 13:34

You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but I’d love to develop that a little further. So what would be some of those annoyances? Because I’m sure listeners could relate. But if you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to get into it.

Christianna: 13:44

Oh, no, absolutely. I’m happy to talk about that. You know, one, one thing like not having much control over your schedule. So the, uh, prevailing ideology that on Outlook that everyone can see your calendar.

And add time to it and add meeting times to it whenever they wanted. Um, I understand, you know, the point of that, but but that that really started to get to me. Um, and I would even block time out. So people wouldn’t be able to schedule meetings, but that. That, that starts to get messy.

Um, I also found it very hard to do like deep work. So a lot of things that were asked of me were, uh, content creation, which I really enjoyed, but I didn’t feel like I had the environment or the time to really do deep work.

Um, and so that was something that I, I wanted more control over. You know, even just like the uniform of corporate America and not being able to just kind of wear what I wanted.

I, I was in food service, which I, I loved and I still do some consulting work for, but having to wear slip resistant shoes and not being able to wear jewelry, which is something that’s important to me. So all those sort of little things that, you know, are the price you pay for a steady income, uh, yeah.

Just started to erode at me.

Julia: 15:15

Yeah, absolutely. There’s another way.

Christianna: 15:19

Yes, yes. It started breaking into your world.

I think the biggest thing really though, like, was Was the inability to have as much control over how I was spending my time as I wanted to, you know, and feeling like, okay, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done, I’m done with this task, you know, I’m ready to wrap up, but I’ll have to stay for this call or, you know, that kind of thing.

And I just felt like I, I didn’t have enough control over how I was spending my time.

Julia: 15:48

Yeah, very, very, very good points. And I have to ask because I just love asking people about their creative projects or creative outlets.

Yeah. What, what do you have going on over there?

Christianna: 15:59

So, um, I create journals, uh, for, dietitians and foodies that have cute little food pun covers on them. So I designed them in Canva, and it’s actually a really cool thing.

I designed them in Canva and then upload them to Amazon KDP, which is Kindle Direct Publishing, and they’ll print them on demand. Um, and it’s actually something I learned from, um, another dietitian, uh, Liz from the dietitian editor.

Uh, she specializes in helping dietitians publish low content books on Amazon. So, um, I thought, Oh, that’s a fun idea.

Um, so I created a line of like blank, um. Dot grid journals, and then I have one journal that’s special for dietitians that are, uh, working through changes in their career, um, and it has, um, several guiding questions that they can use to journal about and process kind of their pivot points as they make their way through their food and nutrition career.

Julia: 17:01

That’s nice. And is that something that you did yourself? Like, are you personally a believer of journaling? Because I certainly am. I love journaling.

Christianna: 17:09

Yes, I, I’m a big believer in journaling.

Um, and it’s something, especially in this most recent pivot where I, I went into entrepreneurship. Um, I actually worked with, um, a licensed psychologist who specialized in helping people, um, make career Changes and she was really helpful in helping me kind of identify what was bugging me, I guess, about my full time work and how to navigate a change.

Um, but I also journaled and having a record of kind of why I made the decisions I made. Um, is really helpful to be able to look back at when I, when I start to doubt myself or wonder if I made the right decision or things like that.

I can kind of look back at my journal from that time and remember. Oh, yeah, that’s why I did this. Um, and and so it does help kind of give yourself the social proof and and just the process of writing is is very therapeutic.

Um, but, but every time I’ve made a pivot to, I’ve, I’ve worked with a therapist and, and I think that’s important to mention too, because a lot of times career changes are, you know, indicative of, of larger things that we want to change in our life, especially for dietitians when we’re so purpose driven.

Um, and so I think it’s always important if you can, you know, the mental health support you need, because it can be a pretty emotional making pivot pivots in your career.

Julia: 18:36

Mm hmm. Yeah. Such a good point. This year, I’ve been focusing more on mental health and entrepreneurship, and, um, I know I mentioned it in last week’s episode, I don’t know if listeners heard it yet, but that’s why I had to just step back from the podcast.

Nothing was wrong, like everything was fine, not to be dramatic, but I did just feel like, okay, I’m so out of my element here in the entrepreneur space, like I just need help. And it, I was very privileged that I could afford therapy and it’s been like the best thing ever.

Yes. Um, because autonomy is great, but then suddenly when you’re granted full autonomy, it can actually be a bit overwhelming, which is normal. And learning how to cope with that is so important for the health and longevity of your business.

You’ve done all of these pivots already so far, and I’m just reflecting on it again, everything that you’ve said, and I’m just curious, you know, like, what would come next for you? Are you still dabbling? Are you still experimenting? Do you feel rooted in one specific area of your business more than others?

Christianna: 19:40

I think I’ll always be dabbling a little bit. I think that’s just like my personality.

Um, and what keeps me interested in the field of nutrition and dietetics and food and everything. Um, so.

You know, I think what comes next is, is I’d like to offer support to dietitians and, you know, nutrition businesses that want to grow on linked in.

Um, I think it’s something that I really enjoy doing and I, I would love to be able to help more people. I’m not exactly sure what that offer would be, um, whether it’s coaching or some kind of, you know, marketing package, but that’s something I kind of always have in my head.

Um, And one thing I’m, I’m really interested in, too, and I think it’s sort of a natural extension of freelance writing is regulatory affairs. I haven’t done that yet, but I’ve connected with a lot of dietitians that are working in that area. And I think it might be something interesting. So that’s kind of in the back of my head, too.

Julia: 20:45

And can you share a little bit more about that? Because I’m sure listeners are instantly like, well, what’s regulatory affairs mean?

Christianna: 20:52

Yeah, so it’s basically working with food and supplement companies to make sure that they are following FDA or Whatever the specific countries version of the FDA is guidelines so that they’re, um, you know, making.

The correct health claims that nutrition labeling is correct that ingredient lists are correct. Um, you know, for example, a colleague of mine, she works for whole foods and she helps develop their 365. Brand, which is their, um, you know, like internal brand.

So a company that has a supplement will approach, um, whole foods and, and she’ll make sure that they’re the ingredients are correct. And, and all those types of things.

Um, there’s also. Third party certifications like organic and the heart smart that would kind of fall under regulatory affairs. So helping those certification companies meet consumers or meet businesses that want that certification on their products.

So it’s basically helping food companies follow the rules that are set out by the regulatory bodies, whether it’s government or private regulatory body.

Julia: 22:05

Yeah. And I can, I can completely understand why you might be interested in that based on your experiences and personal interests.

Christianna: 22:12

So you have to keep us posted. Yeah, I think it would be cool. I will. I definitely will.

Julia: 22:17

That wraps up our show today. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and coming on. Did you want to share a closing statement with listeners?

Christianna: 22:25

Yeah, well, I just want to say thank you, you know, for having me on the podcast. This is, this has been such a great conversation.

And, um, I think that freelancing is something that’s really possible, especially if you start part time doing it. Um, and that, you know, figuring out what you want your lifestyle to look like and then working backwards from there, as far as work, um, it has been a helpful strategy for me.

So thank you.

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