Nicole VanQuaethem - Simply Nic Nutrition
Tell us about yourself
My name is Nicole VanQuaethem and I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based out of London, Ontario. I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Tillsonburg with my parents and two older brothers. From a young age I was involved with helping on the farm and eventually working in the agri-service industry. I completed my undergrad at the University of Western Ontario in Global Development and then completed my Masters of Science in Rural Planning and Development with a focus on local food systems and agri-tourism and culinary tourism in southwestern Ontario.
During my undergrad I had sought the help of a Holistic Nutritionist to help with digestive issues. After working with them and doing a lot of my own research, I started to feel much better and also started to become a lot more passionate about nutrition as a whole. While going to university, I knew I was passionate about rural development and local food systems but wasn’t sure how to merge my two interests together. After completing my masters, I finally decided to make the move and complete my designation to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and open up my own practice to help others improve their health and wellness.
Tell us about your business
I have been operating for about 2.5 years and now run my practice primarily online allowing me to reach clients from outside of the City of London. I work with clients one-on-one and create custom nutrition and wellness protocols and menu plans, as well as in group settings. Throughout the year I also attend events and host cooking workshops to help give people the skills they need in order to eat healthier. On my online shop, I also have a variety of digital and physical products ranging from t-shirts to cookbooks.
What led you to start this business?
Growing up, I experienced a lot of digestive issues and constant headaches which eventually turned to migraines. With many doctors visits, I wasn’t getting anywhere and was given band-aid solutions. It wasn’t until I reached out to a Holistic Nutritionist during my undergrad that I started to see improvements in my overall health. With that initial support followed by quite a bit of trial and error, I started to feel drastically better. A few years later, while I was actually finishing up the end of my nutrition program and starting my business, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although this was a challenging and my body went through a lot physically and mentally, I realized that I had so many powerful tools from my personal experience and training and nutrition which helped support my body through that journey. It was during this time that I realized how passionate I was and that I needed to pursue this business in order to help others.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
As a wellness professional, I think it’s important to take breaks and take care of ourselves. Although I still find it challenging, I enjoy going for walks and hikes outdoors, trying new restaurants, and reading something business or nutrition related.
What are some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?
First was my mindset around my health. I was worried that people would treat me differently or clients would be turned away with what I was going through. As mentioned previously, it was this experience that made me realize that I actually needed to share not only my passion for nutrition but my personal health journey.
Another challenge I faced was deciding whether or not to have a physical space. Although a physical space seemed attractive, there were high costs associated with that which were worrisome as a new business owner. I decided to then market myself as an online coach which not only cut down on costs, but also allowed me to reach a wider client base and made it more convenient for the clients to take calls.
Lastly, as someone who doesn’t like numbers, I found it challenging to do my own bookkeeping. That ended up being one of the first things I outsourced, which saved a lot of time and stress!