Dietetic Career Spotlight on Alissa Rumsey, Nutrition Coach, Writer
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 9, 2017
Meet Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS, who is living her dream career traveling around the world and working, too. I personally met Alissa during a work/travel event and she is inspiring, witty, and fun. Read on to learn how you can open up your own dietetic practice to worldly travels and adventures, too. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Growing up I was very athletic and never thought about what I put in my mouth. That all changed when I turned 16, stopped playing basketball, and hit puberty. All of a sudden I started gaining weight, and I didn’t know what to do. I became obsessive about food, fixating on calories, grams of fat, and the amount of food I was eating. Then, during my senior year of high school, I took an AP biology class. I had an “ah-hah” moment when we were learning about digestion. As I learned how what you eat affects everything in your body, I began to look at food in a different way. This discovery encouraged me to begin working out at a gym. I started to eat for energy, to fuel my body and I became leaner, stronger, and fit. This experience spurred me to study nutrition in college, where I added on a second major in exercise science.
Your Job Title?
Founder, Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness
Company you are with now?
I am currently self-employed J Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness
– Instagram: @alissarumseyRD
– Facebook: alissarumseyRD
– Twitter: @alissarumseyRD
– Pinterest: alissarumseyRD
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
As an entrepreneur, every day is entirely different; there is no such thing as a typical day! As a solo business owner, I am not only the CEO but also the sales department, product department, IT, customer support, operations and more. My days range from seeing one-on-one nutrition coaching clients, to writing freelance articles or blogs, to working on consulting projects, talking with reporters, scheduling social media posts, and more. I quickly learned that I work better when I have structure, so I delegate two days per week to clients and meetings, which helps me have large chunks of time on the remaining days to work on my writing, projects, presentations, and business strategy. I used to work from home, but early this year I got an office space, which has helped immensely. No more unloading the dishwasher at 1 pm or doing laundry mid-day. While this is an option if I want or need it to be, I realized that I work much better outside of my house.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Having started my career working in clinical nutrition at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, I quickly saw the long-term effects that poor nutrition and physical inactivity could have on the body. I started looking for other jobs but quickly realized that I had a lot of interests and most jobs would not completely satisfy me. This led me to start my company, Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness, which allows me to combine all of my passions: nutrition coaching, writing, speaking, media work, food, travel, and fitness. I love working with clients one-on-one, but I knew I didn’t want just to have a private practice. With my business, I’ve been able to combine nutrition coaching with nutrition communications. About half my time is spent with one-on-one clients, and the other half of the time I do freelance writing and blogging, media spokesperson work, speaking, and consulting.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born with the drive to succeed. I’ve always had an inner motivation to work hard, which is essential when you are an entrepreneur…no one is waiting for you to show up at the office! As for other skills, I have always taken quickly to the sciences, so working with clients and doing my nutrition-based work comes easy. The hardest part about starting a business was just that – the business side of things! I had never actually taken any business, marketing, sales, or advertising classes, so I felt like I was starting from scratch in those areas. The learning curve is huge and can be overwhelming, but when I look back at just the past year, it’s pretty crazy to realize how much I’ve learned.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
If you have an idea or want to work for yourself, don’t wait for the perfect time or for everything to be ready – just start! Dietitians are notoriously type-A (myself included!) which means we want all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed before we do anything. But I’ve learned that it is never going to be the right time, so you just have to take the leap and jump in. Also, find a support network. The thing I love about our profession is that everyone is so open and willing to talk and help. There are lots of different supports that have been incredibly helpful in shortening my learning curve, including the Nutrition Entrepreneur DPG list serve (I seriously don’t know WHAT I would do without it!!) and joining a few mastermind/accountability groups. I also have RDs who I consider mentors, who are supportive and always there to help answer any business questions I have.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by this answer – I would love to be paid in travel. A huge part of the reason I wanted to work for myself was so I could work from anywhere and travel whenever I wanted. This year I’ve been to ten different countries, and have worked from all of them (except Cuba – still no wifi there!). To be paid in travel (including good food and wine) would be incredible.