[00:00:00] Detective Ev: My name is Evan Transue, aka Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show. We are talking to an FDN extraordinaire, Nicole Ritter. I call her that because she is someone that had a tremendous amount of success with the FDN system.
In fact, in the first two years after graduating the FDN course, Nicole took over 200 clients, which is an insane amount. If you’re doing that, you are doing quite well in the world of FDN. You’re absolutely making a full-time living and then some, and you’re helping a lot of people. It’s pretty amazing that she was able to do that.
Today we’re going to be talking about not only her health story, because of course every FDN has one for the most part, but also discussing the business success that she’s had, a lot of the things that she’s learned, some tricks that you guys can apply to working with your own clients.
These are things that can work for individuals, whether or not they are an FDN or whether or not they ever plan to become an FDN. If you’re just a health professional that works with clients one-on-one and you’re looking for some tips and tricks with the business side, we are going to discuss that today.
Now, Nicole did not provide me with a full bio. We’re actually just going to go into her credentials and then start the episode.
She is a certified holistic nutritionist, board certified holistic health practitioner, certified FDN, of course. She is currently obtaining her Master’s of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Integrative Health. I hope you guys enjoy this one. Nicole, is someone actually doing the work, knows what she’s talking about.
Talking to an FDN Extraordinaire
There is a lot to be learned here, both in terms of health and the business side. Without further ado, let’s get to today’s episode.
All right, hello Nicole. Welcome to the Health Detective Podcast. How are you?
[00:01:43] Nicole Ritter: Good. How are you? Thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:45] Detective Ev: I’m doing well. This is long overdue.
Someone had actually asked for you by request at a conference I was at. They asked, are you ever thinking about bringing her on? I think they follow you on social.
I said, I almost feel like we’ve talked about this before. And then sure enough, Nicole and I were looking at like the Facebook messenger chat. We had talked about it a year ago and things just, you know, they don’t fall through sometimes. Then here we are.
For those just on audio, because I know not everyone does the video side of this. How old is he?
[00:02:11] Nicole Ritter: He’s turning two, December 3rd.
[00:02:12] Detective Ev: Okay. I’ll give that as a valid excuse for not hopping on the podcast. Believe it or not, this might not be the most important thing.
But I’m excited to hear about your story today because Nicole and I work together. I mean, it’s more than just FDN colleagues. You’ve been a part of FDN and stuff like that. Nonetheless, we have a lot of people working with and for FDN, so you don’t always know the stories and backgrounds of people. And I do not fully understand your story. These are some of my favorite episodes where I get to talk to a fellow FDN, whose story I’m not even sure of.
Antibiotics Were Always the Answer
I want to start out with the same question that we typically do start with on this show, and that is, what did your health journey look like? Because no one gets into this by accident. So, I’m wondering, when did your health symptoms start and what did they look like?
[00:02:53] Nicole Ritter: Okay, this is really long. I’ll make it a little short. I grew up really sick. I was always the sick child. I was, you know, cold, sinus infections, migraines that progressed into period problems, anxiety, and really bad depression.
I was raised by a heart surgeon. My dad’s a heart surgeon. My grandparents were doctors and antibiotics were always the answer. As a mom now, getting off topic, but when you’re given antibiotics for your kid, in that moment if their kid is sick, you think you’re doing your best. So, I don’t blame my parents. I always want to clear that up. They did the best they could, and functional medicine wasn’t a thing.
You know, I’m 32. Functional medicine wasn’t popular. So, my health journey really started when just I was chronically ill. I wasn’t diagnosed with anything other than PCOS and migraines. But I literally had a sinus infection every month. I would get strep throat. I had two sinus surgeries. I got my tonsils removed; my adenoids removed.
I will never forget; my dad and I were driving a week after I got my tonsils removed and I had strep throat. I was like, Dad, I thought when I got my tonsils removed, it was supposed to cure the strep throat. He was like, No. Let’s just go get you antibiotics. So, it was really just like this spiral.
Like a Zombie, On So Many Medications
As we know now being FDNs, when you have antibiotics that wipes out your good gut bacteria. I wasn’t replenishing that. I wasn’t eating kimchi or sauerkraut. I wasn’t taking probiotics, so it really just set the stage for illness. Do you want me to keep going?
[00:04:26] Detective Ev: Yeah. Oh yeah, please. It’s your show.
[00:04:28] Nicole Ritter: It wasn’t until about 2016 that I started to get interested in things other than medication. I was on seven different medications. I ended up actually being on steroids for my migraines, and then I had to give myself steroid shots for my migraines.
I was engaged. It was supposed to be the most amazing time in my life, and I was like a zombie. When you’re on that many medications, you don’t really have a personality, you’re just going through the motions. My anxiety, my depression were so bad.
I was actually in graduate school for mental health counseling at the time in 2016 and 2017. And I remember working with clients who were bipolar and schizophrenic. I had such bad anxiety that I would throw up before meeting with them cause I didn’t know what I was doing, I was still in school. I didn’t know why I was working with these people. But I also just didn’t know how to help them because I couldn’t help myself. I felt like such a fraud.
I feel like in this industry, a lot of people who are chronically ill, they feel like they can’t help people cause they haven’t cured or solved their health problems, which is totally untrue. We’re all on a journey, you can’t achieve optimal health. You know, if you go to Mexico and pick up a parasite, you gotta deal with that, right?
No More Meds, No More Depression
So, in 2017, I actually found black mold in our basement. It was like this thick. And I don’t know why, I think podcasts had just come out, but I Googled like what to do with mold. I found this podcast called Learn True Health with Ashley James. Have you heard of it?
[00:05:58] Detective Ev: No, I haven’t.
[00:05:59] Nicole Ritter: She’s really smart. She’s out of Canada and she interviews the most amazing, well-known, world-renowned doctors, functional medicine practitioners.
She had an episode on mold. So, as I was cleaning up the mold, without a mask, without gloves, which you’re not supposed to do, I was listening to this podcast. I was like, whoa, this is cool. You can do alternative health, like that’s a thing. I actually dropped out of grad school and enrolled in my first course, which was health coaching through Health Coach Institute. Then from there I just became obsessed with helping heal myself and helping others.
Fast forward five years, I’m on zero medications. I have my personality back. I’m happy. And you know, I think the most important part is I don’t have debilitating depression anymore, and I can actually get out of the bed.
There were times where I was just like, oh, I’m just going to be depressed and live in bed all day. And that’s not the case. I don’t have migraines. My periods are normal. I got pregnant, which two doctors told me I couldn’t get pregnant cause my periods were so bad. I had PCOS and it’s just been such a long journey.
Mold Exposure and Gluten Intolerant
But I’m so grateful and that’s really why I do the job I do because I get it. Like, I get how much it sucks to feel horrible every day and to not want to get outta bed and just like want to give up. There’s totally another side to it.
[00:07:15] Detective Ev: Really, I don’t think we’ll ever get old hearing these stories, especially from FDNs. I mean, we go through some crazy stuff and then these people come out on the other side. If I saw you walking down the street, I would just think, oh, this is any normal, healthy looking 30 something, right? I would never think twice about you, and it’s like seven medications.
In America, I think the average 65-year-old is on like six different medications, which we already would think about is extremely high and yet you were on seven. What age was that? I missed the timeline, I guess. I know it was younger than 32 obviously, but what age was it?
[00:07:45] Nicole Ritter: I think I was 26. And that included like Claritin. I had really bad what I thought was allergies. But I can tie a lot of those symptoms to that house. Obviously, you know about mold. Mold is horrific for your health, and I was living in our house for three years, I believe, and also eating gluten like it was my job.
Soft pretzels were like a daily thing for me and I’m severely gluten intolerant. So, a lot of those things I was able to just get off of within a couple months. Yeah, that did include Advil and Claritin, which I took daily.
The Emotions of Dropping out of Grad School
[00:08:19] Detective Ev: Gotcha. Geez.
Well still, Advil especially, that’s not really something anyone wants to be taking daily. That has some pretty serious consequences long term.
With that said though, I want to rewind for a moment to this whole mold situation. You’re listening to this podcast and then decide to drop out of grad school. I mean, there’s a lot that goes into that, and I feel like it might be even more.
The alternative health thing sounds like it was a totally new concept to you. It’s something that you really hadn’t previously thought of. I mean, I’m assuming it was more than just one podcast. Were you continuing to study? Were there other aspects of the grad school that you didn’t like? How do you go from that?
Cause that’s a pretty serious commitment to switching into online certifications, which I’m not lessening. Obviously, I love FDN. But the college educated perspective, especially at that time, I feel like it’s growing rapidly. But it might look down on something like this prior to the pandemic.
So how did we really make that shift from one thing to the next?
[00:09:11] Nicole Ritter: And full disclosure, I’m currently in grad school for clinical nutrition and integrative health. I’m a psycho, I’m always learning.
But it was really hard for me to drop out. Coming from a family of doctors, like, that’s one of the highest educations you can get. You know, that’s eight to 12 years of education and clinics and rounds and whatever. I had so much guilt. I just felt like I was going to be judged. But at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing.
A Very Supportive Family
My mom is a therapist and she’s amazing. No one was pressuring me. It was my own pressure I was putting on myself. No one made me feel like that, but that’s just how I felt.
My parents were so supportive, and you know, my mom being a therapist, she’s like, you have to be happy. If you’re in a career, you spend most of your life working. That’s what you do from nine to five or eight to whatever, however long you work. You have to love it. So, it was really hard.
Obviously, not just one podcast. I mean actually James really did truly save my life. Saved my life, changed my life, and I messaged her. We’ve talked a lot. We actually enrolled in FDN at the same time. She was one of the reasons I enrolled in FDN, cause Reed was on her podcast.
But I kept listening to hers and then I found Dr. Mark Hyman, who I became obsessed with. I’ve messaged him on LinkedIn like 60 times, he’s never messaged me back. But he is just such an inspiration. And seeing that he made the switch from MD traditional doctor to this functional medicine that was really profound to me.
And really just the support of my parents. My husband is, oh my gosh, the most amazing person in the world and so supportive. I may cry, but all he wants for me is to be happy. I couldn’t have done this without him. He really encouraged me to just go for it and just do what I wanted to do.
So, while it was hard, I think the people in my life really made it easy because they were so supportive.
Not Satisfied Without the Functional Labs
[00:10:59] Detective Ev: Nice. Well, it’s obviously worked out for you, so that’s pretty darn cool.
I appreciate you helping me dissect that a little more. Cause I knew it was more than just one single podcast on mold. I mean, there’s gotta be a little more to it. So that makes sense.
When you went through Health Coach Institute, first of all, I always want to say this cause we bring on practitioners from every different type of school that you guys can imagine if you listen regularly, you know this. Obviously, we prioritize FDNs for clear reasons, but we still bring on all different types of practitioners. It’s never a one thing’s bad, one thing’s good.
I’m just curious, what did it not give you that led you to pursuing something like FDN eventually? Because if you felt like you had everything that you needed you wouldn’t be pursuing something else.
[00:11:37] Nicole Ritter: I don’t think any one certification will give us all we need. Because in order to do that, it would have to be like five years long. Right?
Health Coach Institute, while it was good, it taught me how to coach, it was kind of the same as grad school for mental health counseling. You’re not doing anything super actionable. You’re counting on these people to take control of their health and their actions. You’re giving them a little bit of a guideline, but you’re very, very limited in what you can do with counseling or coaching because you don’t have that raw data.
I love data. I’m always going to run labs and even back then I was running blood work cause I didn’t know that functional labs existed. That just wasn’t a thing.
Choosing to Take the FDN Course
Whenever I would go to a doctor, I’m like, well, why didn’t you do a test? Why are you just giving me this migraine medication? Just because the pharma rep just left, like I just saw him. And that is why, right? I was always obsessed with data and that’s one thing that’s so missing in just coaching.
After that I enrolled in Bowman College for their holistic nutritionist certification. And I did love that. I just love research. We did a ton of research papers. Really just digging into like mechanisms of action, like what causes a migraine, what’s the root cause? But still, there wasn’t that concrete data.
So, when I heard Reed on the Learn True Health Podcast, I was like, whoa, this guy sounds fun, first of all. I would love to learn from him. I loved the fact that, I think he said, he’s not a scientist, he’s not a PhD. So even though now I’m in grad school, it’s very dry. And FDN is, yes, it’s amazing information, it is scientific, right? It’s all science backed. It’s a little bit more fun to learn than a traditional like masters or doctorate program. That’s why I chose that.
And even after FDN, like I will never forget. I won’t say his name, but my advisor who graded me on the last verbal, the final of FDN, he was like, what are your plans? What are your plans after this? Like, you did great.
I was like, oh, I’m enrolling in grad school. And he was like, what? Why? You’ve done a lot of certifications. Can you just stop? Like, just start working with clients.
An FDN Needs to Keep Learning
While I took his advice, I’ve worked with over 200 clients, and I’ve only been an FDN for a little over two years. I’ve worked with a ton of clients, but I just love learning. It’s not like someone else is making me get my masters. But in this field, we need to be constantly learning and constantly evolving and changing our opinions too.
I do a lot of gut health stuff. We didn’t know about the inner workings of our microbiome a hundred years ago, so what else don’t we know? Right? I think it’s really important to not just get stuck and complacent in what we know and really push ourselves to learn more because health changes every single day and research changes. There’s always new research.
[00:14:26] Detective Ev: I love this perspective. Well, I love both these perspectives. Because one, is, yes, we should keep learning. It becomes a problem, and this happens occasionally with certain FDNs. And you might be an FDN listening to this, so be honest with yourself.
There are some people that get 10, 20 certifications or different programs, they go through whatever and they’ve never taken a single client. It’s like you absolutely know enough to take clients.
Now, on the flip side, the best of the best FDNs, although I know a few that are actually incredibly successful and very impressive having just done FDN itself, it’s not that they don’t keep learning, But they focused more just on learning business and stuff.
I think that proves, by the way, how far the FDN system can take a person. Cause we’re talking multi, multi six-figure businesses that are coming for people just from having the FDN cert and then business training on top of it.
An FDN Needs to Be Open to Change
It’s not like they’ve gotten any additional health training. However, I think the most successful route is to add this as a tool to your tool belt. Go out with what you have, come as you are. Go do that thing and keep learning over time. That’s who’s going to be in this space 10, 15, 20 years from now.
It’s kind of like a responsibility, in my opinion, in this space, to continue learning. Because dogma usually is what allowed people like us to say sick for so long. It was people who are otherwise very well meaning, great individuals, smart individuals, but they got so boxed into the things that they learned that when their box did not help us get fixed, oh, well it must be us.
We must be the problem. You’re just too stressed out. You need to relax a little more. That’s not true. And we don’t want to fall into the same dogma.
Even though at this point in my life, I really do believe meat-based things are better for most people, I have people still to this day calling me that say, hey, I did this. I feel phenomenal on plant based and I have a few lingering symptoms.
Now, could those lingering symptoms go away from a mix of meat? Sure. But who am I to tell someone that they didn’t get better objectively and subjectively from changing to something that I don’t really fully believe in at this point? That’s not my place to do that. That’s where we gotta be kind of careful and, like you said, change your opinions over time. It can be really easy to find the thing that worked for us and say, everyone needs this thing. That is so rarely the case.
Commercial Break: Download the FDN Course for Free
Hey guys. It is Detective Ev popping in here really quick. Just wanted to tell you about a new resource that we have where you can see the entire FDN curriculum before you actually go through the course. We know it’s a big investment for people. We know it’s a big-time commitment.
It’s worth it if you are interested in it. But if you’re someone that’s not really sure, the last thing we’d ever want is for someone to pursue FDN if that’s not what they wanted to do.
So, what you’d like to do then is go to fdntraining.com/course. That’s fdntraining.com/course, and you can actually get a free download where we go over the entire course curriculum with you so you know exactly what you will and won’t learn if you pursued FDN.
That’s fdntraining.com/course. And now we are heading back to the episode.
It’s Not Wrong for an FDN to Evolve
[00:17:28] Nicole Ritter: I want to go back really quickly. If you just do FDN, that is more than most programs ever. It’s amazing. I’m not saying everyone needs to go off and get more certifications. But for me, I think, I’m a lifelong student and I just love it. I love writing research papers, I’m weird.
I do agree with you. Changing your opinion is so important. We talked about Jen Cino earlier. Jen and I, about four years ago, we came out with a plant-based program called Plant Powered. Now both of us are like, eat meat. We need to eat red meat.
If I had never changed my opinion, it would be lying, right? Cause I’m animal-based protein. That’s what we eat. But it’s just so important to keep researching and it’s not wrong that we did that. We didn’t know what we didn’t know.
We both, we didn’t have these advanced certifications. She was a personal trainer; I was a health coach at the time. Not FDN, but the Health Coach Institute. It’s just funny how things evolve.
An FDN Needs to Be Humble
[00:18:25] Detective Ev: I’m sure you guys still helped plenty of people. Because the good news is, it’s good and bad, the system that we have, especially in America, and I feel like Canada’s probably no better in terms of the food that we eat and the chemicals that we have. I mean, you pretty much have to be dumb as a rock to not be able to help those people. I’m sure you guys still very much supported people even with your plant-based program. So, no worries there whatsoever.
I appreciate the humility cause that’s what it is. You can’t go into this space with this dogmatic ego, that’s not going to work out well here. Just be willing to learn and admit when you’re wrong. I think that’s just a great lesson in life in general. You know what I mean?
We get so defensive about not knowing something. Anyone that knows me knows I’m the first person, and this was not always the case to be clear. But I’ve developed this over time from reading books that recommended this.
How many times do we not know a word that someone said, and we’re embarrassed to ask about it? I’m so annoying with this now. If I don’t know a word, even if I don’t know five in a single 10-minute conversation. I’ll say, what does that mean?
Who cares, you know? You gotta have humility. Then you end up getting smarter than most people because you had the patience and humility to ask questions.
A Business Already Under Construction
With that said, I know we will specify later why the client thing is no longer something that you’re offering right now. But I think there’s a lesson to be learned or probably multiple lessons to be learned in the fact that you worked with 200 clients in a fairly short period of time.
I’m thinking that there’s many FDNs listening, whether they’re in training or maybe just graduated and they’re thinking, wow, less than two years, and she had already done 200 clients. That’s a great number. I think that’s a great number. How did you start to have that success once you graduated? Like what were you doing? What was the strategy?
[00:20:02] Nicole Ritter: I didn’t have a strategy. I was kinda like a throw paint at the wall and let’s see if it’s stuck. I got all of my clients from Instagram, and I had gotten a lot of referrals.
There were two therapists in Denver who (I live in Denver), who started referring me, who I’d never even met. There’s one nurse practitioner in Denver who refers me. Once again, had never met her. She had just heard good things. And then there’s a nurse practitioner in Massachusetts who refers, have worked with family members, and it’s been over two years.
I graduated August, I think, of 2019. August would’ve been two years. But I had already graduated with a nutritionist certification, so it wasn’t like I was building a business in 2019. My business had been being built since 2017. So, while yes, I was only in FDN for like a little over two years, the grind that I put in from 2017 to 2019, it was insane.
An FDN Needs to Build Connections
I mean, going to networking events until Covid hit. I just love people and I wanted to see them in person. Cause this is like, this is great, but being in person is just amazing. I was so sad when all of the networking events were canceled cause I love them, just being able to talk to people. Not that I had a pitch, even though I should have had like an elevator pitch, but just explaining how functional medicine changed my life and what FDN can do for people, it’s so powerful.
And when people can meet you and see you and know you – know, like, and trust you – they were more willing to work with you. I think that’s why I was so successful. Because I showed up on my stories. I had a lot of engagement. It looks really weird, right? Just being like, hey guys, you know, looking at your phone. But I did it in my house.
That’s something I actually really didn’t like doing. I don’t like having to show up on social media, but it’s just part of this. And I was super consistent with showing up, sharing labs behind the scenes. I have a ton of client testimonials, always was sharing those, just proof that what I’m doing is working and I’m helping people.
[00:22:05] Nicole Ritter: The strategy was, just show my face, let people know who I am.
An FDN Can’t Fix Their Clients
I think trust is huge in this. We’re asking people to hand us their credit card. Asking people to give us money; and I don’t guarantee, right? People are like, well, what’s the guarantee? I’m like, nothing. I will teach you. I will show you what’s wrong. We’ll come up with a plan together. If you do the work, you’ll feel better.
But I can’t control what’s happening in their house. I’m not checking in on them every five seconds. I’m very upfront about like, hey, this is you. You’re investing in yourself. You have to do the work. No one can fix you.
No, I took it upon myself to quote/unquote “fix my issues”. I didn’t rely on anyone else. And I think that’s the disconnect. People are so desperate to heal and feel better that they put all of their eggs in Evan’s basket. They’re like, Evan will fix me. No, you have to take it upon yourself. Yes, Evan can teach you about these labs and about your blood work, what’s disconnected, what are the inflammatory things, what do you have to reverse and how to do it, but Evan can’t do that for you.
I think just being honest with people about, that’s how it works, that’s when you get good clients who will get good results, who will then refer you. In the beginning I didn’t say that. I’m like, yeah, I’ll fix all your problems. Yay! You know, I had to really restructure. I can’t just say like, hey, yes, we’ll fix all your issues when I can’t control these outside variables.
An FDN Can’t Fill From an Empty Cup
[00:23:45] Detective Ev: This is a great lesson for anyone who’s in training. When you are getting on these calls, just set those realistic expectations with people for what it is.
I’ve said this a million times in this podcast, the journey of healing chronic issues, it’s possible, it’s fun. But it is as much, if not more, a personal development journey than it is a health journey. If it was just a health journey, you could literally do this for someone in a two-hour session. You just record it for them, give them all the recommendations, tell them all the supplements stuff.
And I’m not saying it’d be hard to learn all that in that session. I get it. But again, they could just go through the recording and say, all right, I do this next, and then that. But that’s not how it works. We end up working with people for 3, 6, 9, sometimes 12 months, depending on what the practitioner offers. You have complete customization with that as an FDN.
But you wouldn’t need half a year to do this if it was just purely educational. Oh, you go on your way. You have to become a different type of person to resist temptation around the holidays and to just decide that you’re going to do things for yourself and not for other people.
I think, especially if you’re a yes person that says yes to everything, that’s another big one you’ll learn, right? It’s just, I have to say yes for myself first, otherwise I’m not going to be able to say yes for anyone out there. You can’t fill from a cup that’s empty. That’s not really how it works. I think this is actually gold for people that are starting out.
An FDN Needs to Be Confident and Know Their Offer
Because yeah, of course if they get on their first sales call, they’ll say pretty much whatever to get this person to sign up and do it. Now, we’re not saying be unethical, I’m saying we make unrealistic promises that maybe we do commit to. But that wasn’t worth the money, and it wasn’t really even fair to the client because it’s not actually helping them.
Are there any other things or maybe just like a tip that sticks out from working with 200 people, what you might give advice wise to a new trainee? I mean, anything that comes to your mind. It could be the business side, health side, whatever.
[00:25:38] Nicole Ritter: I think mindset on both ways is really important. The client mindset is really important, but also your own personal development journey.
Like you said, it’s just so important. You have to be in a good mindset going into those. I don’t do discovery calls anymore, but when I did them, if I was in a bad mindset or was like, oh, I can’t help this person, or they seem too extreme, you know, people can read energy, especially on Zoom, right? So, just be confident in what you can offer, know your offer.
In the beginning, I was just like, you could do three months, you could do six months, we could do this lab. Like, what’s your offer? There’s so many different opinions on this, but I believe offering one thing is so much easier than presenting like three or four different offers and having them pick. They’ll always pick the cheapest one, usually, depending on how you present it. So, know your offer, be really confident, and share who you are.
An FDN Needs to Be Authentic
People in this field, you could go to any doctor under the sun, right? Like I just picked a new pediatrician based off the reviews on Google. If you don’t have Google reviews, people are buying from you. They want to know, like, and trust you.
If your Instagram is just graphics and they don’t know who you are, you’re not showing up on stories, why would they pick you over this other Instagram person who has a thousand more followers and the same exact graphics? Be yourself because people buy from you in this industry and also, they buy the story, right?
How are you helping them? Where are they going to be in sixty, ninety, a hundred eighty days? You’re the secret sauce. Like no one can be Evan, no one could be Nicole, you know? You are the best part of your sales journey, I think.
[00:27:19] Detective Ev: That’s excellent advice, the whole being yourself thing, especially on social. Because if you were trying to be a celebrity, okay, yes. There’s probably certain personalities that are more prone to doing that. You have to please an insane amount of people.
Here’s the good news. You’re not trying to do that. You’re trying to be a full-time FDN or maybe a health coach or someone functional oriented. That’s why you’re listening to this podcast. So, chances are, you only need a handful of clients, I mean, relatively small compared to the world’s population, at any given time to have a thriving business that helps you survive and do a lot more, even thrive.
An FDN Needs to Be Relatable
With that said, you don’t have to be the celebrity personality. You’re better off being yourself online because there is someone else out there like you. If you just show up as yourself, they’ll relate to you.
We were just talking about this today. I think you know I do this; I speak in schools for the mental health issues with like kids and stuff. I won’t say the name. I watched a speaker from the organization that I’m a part of when I was younger and first starting out because the trainers basically send you to these things and say, make sure you want to do this, right.
I’ll be straight up, I was expecting, like Tony Robbins type of things, to get into these schools and do this stuff. I watched this presenter and I’m not being rude to him; I have another side to this. He was not good. In terms of technical skill of presenting, it was actually one of the bottom 10% presentations I’ve ever seen.
But we are there talking about mental health. We are increasing mental health awareness, trying to reduce the stigma, and encourage kids to ask for help. He had an audience of about 400 kids. He spoke for 40 minutes. When I say 50 kids were in a line to talk to him afterwards, I mean like literally 50 kids, and I might be underestimating.
So how did that happen? It’s because what he did is get up there, he was real as can be. He was vulnerable. I think subconsciously he related to a lot of kids because they’re like, well, if I had to do that, oh my God, I’d be so nervous talking about this stuff up there too.
An FDN Needs to Attract Clients Like Themselves
So, don’t think that you need to be the talk show host or podcast host personality to get clients. That’s ridiculous.
In fact, sometimes those personalities, like I know for myself, you seem, I haven’t met you in person obviously, but you seem quite extroverted too, the way you described. Like, you gotta go see the people. That can be too much for the average introvert. They don’t want to work with people like us. They want someone that is a little calmer and gets them more so.
Just go out there, be yourself, be authentic. That’s the real word here. And you will attract people who are very similar to you and that need your work and services. It’s kind of a beautiful thing. It works out great.
[00:29:44] Nicole Ritter: Yeah, I love that.
I want to know about the charity work. Is it a charity?
[00:29:47] Detective Ev: It’s a nonprofit I’m associated with. It’s called Minding Your Mind.
[00:29:50] Nicole Ritter: Okay, cool. I want to talk to you about that later after the podcast.
I mean, it’s true. And if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up working with people you really don’t want to work with, which I had my fair share. I’m just like, oh yeah, I would like more money this month. I’ll take on these people.
I was not good at niching down because, sounds bad, but I don’t think I really had to be, I was still successful not super, super niched down. But the people who are way more successful than me, niche down. Everyone says that.
An FDN Needs to Be an Expert on One Thing
Kendra Perry has a really good coaching program. She’s always like, you need to niche down. She’s amazing. If you don’t know how to get your niche, go to Kendra Perry. This is not a sales pitch for her. I just think she’s amazing.
But the people who niche down, if you know exactly who you want to work with, only speak to those people. If you only want to work with people who are constipated, only talk about not pooping. That’s all you would talk about. It’s actually pretty easy to make content and talk about one thing. You don’t have to be an expert on 6,000 things, you have to be an expert on one thing.
[00:30:48] Detective Ev: Nicole, I’ve only really learned about the marketing side of business over the last two years. I was big into sales, leadership stuff, and that’s cool, but I was completely missing the marketing part of this. I learned a lot through FDN.
This whole concept of you have to speak to someone, otherwise you speak to no one, what that means is what Nicole just described. Find that person.
Listen, there’s times and places for this in businesses. I don’t think it is as universal, however, in what we’re talking about here today for the coaching, it’s as true as true can be. You need to figure out who you’re talking to and know unique struggles of the person that you’re talking to because you’ve probably been through those things.
I know for me having dealt with severe cystic acne, what I can do in sales copy and in marketing material, I can get into their head. This is not a manipulative thing, it’s to let them know that you actually get them because you can serve them.
An FDN Needs to Be Empathetic
I know that people with acne check their face in the mirror a hundred, if not 200 times a day, obsessively, just to look at the same thing that they looked at 30 seconds ago. That is a unique experience to people with cystic acne or perhaps other skin issues as well on the face. But I would literally do this 200 times a day. And you’re looking at the same thing you just saw. But it’s this obsessive thing that happens. Right? If it’s cystic acne, it might be painful.
And I’m not trying to get too graphic for someone who hasn’t dealt with it, but that’s the exact point. You might not relate to that at all. The person that deals with that, every time I check another box, we build that trust. They realize I can help them, which is true. And then they’re happy to hand over their money.
It’s an ethical business transaction. You make money, they got better, that’s a great way to do business.
[00:32:20] Nicole Ritter: Then sharing your story, I think too, I think a lot of people are just afraid. I was always very open about my depression, PCOS, I don’t want to call it infertility journey, but my fertility journey, how doctors treated me.
I did a series on like, literally what doctors said to me and it was kind of a joke, and it blew up. People would message me and be like, I didn’t know other people went through that. Like, I have the same experience. And connecting on that human level, then it’s not just a transaction, right? It’s like you understand me, you can be empathetic, sympathetic. She gets it cause she’s been there.
An FDN Needs to Share Their Story
I think it’s different in this business because if you’re like a CEO of, I don’t know, my husband works for Salesforce. If you’re the CEO of Salesforce, you’re not going to be like, this is my journey because like no one cares. They’re buying software, right?
In this journey, in this business, the more vulnerable you are, the more real you are, the more people connect with you, and then they see you as a person. A lot of my clients, on calls, I’ll share. They’ll be like, oh my gosh, this happened, blah, blah, blah.
If they’re having a bad day or they’re like, it’s not going to work out. I’ll be like, no, that happened to me, like literally. Obviously, don’t make it up. If it didn’t happen to you, don’t say that.
I’ve been through a lot of things, and I’ve done every single test. So, I’ve had parasites, Lyme, like everything. And if a client’s like, oh my gosh, no, a parasite. I’m like, Dude, I just went to Mexico, came back with Giardia. It’s raging on my GI MAP. We’re going to get this done together. Like we’re doing it.
Share the story, make them feel seen and heard. It’s a win-win, right? Cause it’s kind of like cathartic to express that. I went through this and I’m on the other side. Then they see you as an inspiration. Like, wow, she went through it, she did the work, and it’s possible to be on the other side.
[00:34:06] Detective Ev: Yeah, absolutely. This is so cool. I like when these kind of transition into a business podcast as well, especially with someone who can really give legitimate advice to our practitioners.
An FDN Needs to Get Out There and Help People
They got one of the best systems in the world if they go through this program. You guys can help other people.
I almost don’t even say this sometimes cause I feel like it overwhelms people, but there’s practitioners out there making half a million dollars a year, guys. And they’re not even working more than 40, 45 hours a week. Then there’s other practitioners who again, have those 10 certifications and they’re barely taking on two clients.
I’m not condemning the person who’s only taking on two clients. But I’m trying to wake you up out of it and make you realize you have more than enough to serve other people. You don’t get to the half a million a year mark without helping some people along the way. You can only get through scamming people and doing BS for so long before it catches up to you.
You have a program. We have a bunch of tips. We have AFDNP. We got every resource in the world to help you with the business side. So, make sure you’re going out there and actually sharing this message and letting people know that you offer what you offer.
I want to go back to something that I probably should have asked before. I’s when you went through the FDN program. What did you find on the labs that we provide to our practitioners as they go through the course? I know that you were probably in a much better spot than when you started by then, especially, you just seemed like very disciplined, regimen person. But I’m sure there was something to learn. So, what did you find on the labs, if you recall, when you went through FDN?
Pregnant and Stressed
[00:35:26] Nicole Ritter: I was in a very unique position because I found out I was pregnant right when I got the labs back and I was too afraid to look at them. This was back when we did the BioHealth Labs.
The one thing I do remember was that my progesterone was so low. I was like, wait, I’m pregnant. That should not be that low. So, I ended up taking progesterone in the beginning of my pregnancy cause I did not want to have low progesterone. But I don’t think I did the GI MAP back then. I think the BioHealth…
Detective Ev: The BH 101?
Nicole Ritter: Yeah. You remember the names?
[00:35:56] Detective Ev: Yes. Yeah, I’m weird. At this point it would be, for those listening now, the Fluids IQ metabolic wellness panel would be the somewhat equivalent of the BioHealth 101, for those listening that might not know. It’d be the similar thing.
[00:36:08] Nicole Ritter: I really just remember the hormone panel because honestly, I was really scared during my pregnancy.
One of my friends from home had miscarried at seven months. Not miscarried, but it was very tragic. She ended up having to have the baby and it didn’t live. It was like the beginning of COVID. So, I was terrified during my pregnancy. And I know, you know, stress makes everything worse.
I had a therapist I met with, I think, like two times a week, virtually. I was like, I’m so stressed. You know, I want to have this baby. I’m so worried. And she was like, don’t look at labs right now. I did everything after I had a baby.
It’s Better to Know the Healing Opportunities
GI MAP was pretty bad. Really low Secretory IgA. So, my gut immune system was suppressed. Really low beneficial bacteria. It’s as if I hadn’t ever eaten a vegetable in my life.
I didn’t have parasites after I had the baby, but I just redid a GI MAP (I love testing. I try to do them every six months, which is not necessary. I just love them.), and I had two parasites.
Then something recently I found out. Becca Kyle, I’m friends with, she’s an FDN. I love her. She posted that she had Lyme. That’s something I’ve never tested for. Why not just order a Lyme test? So, I did. It came back with both bartonella babesia and then toxoplasma gondii, a cat parasite, which is horrific. Which can cause toxoplasmosis, which is actually horrific for people pregnant. That’s why pregnant women aren’t supposed to scoop up cat poop, but I don’t have a cat. That was confusing.
It’s so interesting when clients are like, not woe is me, but it can be overwhelming when you’re not used to getting these functional labs and all these results. It can be oh my, I have so much to deal with. I’m like, same dude. It’s okay, you know.
As Reed says, it’s healing opportunities. If we don’t know this information, we can’t correct and we can’t heal. So, it’s better to know everything. I’m one of those people, I’m like, let’s order it. I love all the labs. I’ve done all of them, like I said.
My OAT was anything but normal, organic acid tests. Candida came up on that one a couple months ago but not on the GI MAP, interestingly. So, yeah, you name it, I’ve probably dealt with it.
The OAT vs. The GI MAP
[00:38:19] Detective Ev: I have some training in the OAT. I feel like I would trust the GI MAP at this point for candida more than the OAT considering. I mean, the OAT is not even really diagnostic in a sense, you know what I mean? Like it could be implicated with other things when a certain market comes back. So that’d be an interesting one. There’s a lot to that.
[00:38:36] Nicole Ritter: So, the GI MAP, it’s the DNA assay, so it’s actually testing the DNA of the microorganisms in your stool. Candida is very tricky, as are all pathogens, right? They’re hidden by biofilms. Which if they’re hidden, the biofilm, I like to describe to people as like the force field in Star Wars, right? It’s like when they do the invisibility club in Harry Potter or Star Wars. That’s the GI MAP, right? The DNA.
The organic acids, it’s the urinary metabolites. It’s like the byproducts of things that happen in our body. So, while, no, it’s not diagnostic, it is a really good indication of whether there’s mold colonization or fungus and yeast. And I see a lot of clinical correlation with candida and the organic acid test.
And even with me too, at that time, I was craving sweets all the time. I was just like, ugh, I have candida. Normally, you don’t have to just test all these things. I’m not encouraging you to do testing every six months. That gets expensive. But I like to collect data, right? I’m a data person. So, I can clinically correlate that with my symptoms.
Okay, great. I dealt with candida, don’t crave sweets anymore, which is very interesting. And I was having really bad brain fog.
An FDN Needs to Always Clinically Correlate
As FDNs it’s always really important to, we’re not just reading the labs, we’re not diagnosing the labs. We’re not like, you aren’t a lab. Like I’m not my OAT test.
We always clinically correlate and look at the big picture. And at that time, I was craving sweets. I had brain fog; I was having trouble sleeping. Doctors will tell you, oh, you’re just a new mom. Your baby’s not sleeping. And I’m like, no, that’s not a good answer.
That’s how I use the OAT and I love it for mold. I use it a lot for mold cause I do see a lot of mold in my clients. And then the mycotoxins as well, if there is mold.
So, no test in my opinion is to be used to diagnose cause that’s not what we do. It’s not helpful. But I think the OAT has a time and a place, especially when people aren’t getting better. Right? If you don’t see candida on the GI MAP and they have all the candida symptoms, you may do the candida spit test. If it comes up positive, you may want to dig deeper just to see if there is fungal overgrowth.
[00:40:41] Detective Ev: I actually appreciate that explanation because honestly my statement, I’m just being serious, it might have been misleading for the people listening. Cause what I was trying to get at was the fact that when you run an OAT, if there’s something there, it’s going to show it.
But the markers on that don’t always, it’s not a one for one. Like there’s more to it when you get a high marker back, you gotta really like kind of think about it and clinically correlate, like you said.
The OAT vs. The GI MAP (Part II)
As opposed to the GI MAP where if we see candida, okay, it’s probably there. Although they say themselves, they do miss it, I think, five to 10% of the time on that test. So, I was just going off like statistics.
But with the clinical correlation also put into the context here, I mean that makes total sense. Right? So obviously that is one of those cases where it was totally beneficial to run both at the same time because of what you found.
I actually just did a thing where I had, it was like family-friend clients coming in. Basically, what happened is I had the one person in the couple do a GI MAP and the one person do the OAT, just because money was a little tight. I was like, all right, I’ll have one do this and one do the other.
Then of course I’m seeing like certain things that might be more indicative of mold on the OAT. I saw like H. Pylori stuff on the GI MAP. This is not something I would necessarily recommend to other people, but this was a family-friend situation. They knew that it’s not perfect.
You can kind of infer certain things if people have been dating for years and years and years and they’re loyal to each other and one as H. Pylori. Okay. Probably a good chance the other one’s not doing so hot with H. Pylori. And then similarly, if I can see that one was exposed to mold on the OAT and they’ve been living together for eight years, okay. Again, not perfect, but probably can use my head there to think that both of them have been exposed.
Where to Find Nicole Ritter
It’s interesting how you can use these things at the right times as you progress in your career as an FDN or just health coach in general that utilizes lab testing. I appreciate you doing the differences for us there.
I know one question we definitely need to end on is, what do you offer now? This is a great thing for Nicole, but you’re not in a position at this exact moment where you’re taking on direct one-on-one clients. So, what do you offer now and where can people find that?
I do have two courses that I offer. One is for the business side of things called Automate Your Wellness Biz. Then for the client side of things called Minerals and Metabolism. It’s a base course to teach you the foundations of health. It’s basically D.R.E.S.S. for health success, to guide them through that. Because I think that’s one thing that is missed. People are like, oh, these labs are going to cure me, right? No, you have to eat correctly. You have to rest, you have to exercise, you have to do stress reduction. You have to have a good mindset.
So, it’s really the foundational course that you can take to make all those changes. Learn about toxins, learn about oxalates, learn about lectins, all of these different things that if you don’t know what those are, go get the course because you’ll learn. All these things that we’re not taught in school, unless we spend thousands of dollars on a certification.
Nicole is Joining Another FDN’s Team
You can’t work with me directly one-on-one right now. I did join one of my best friends, Jen Cino. I joined her team. Like I said earlier, she presented me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I am her lead practitioner at her, it’s called Fit and Functional is her business. I am the clinical advisor there as well. I mentor all the new coaches. I’m in charge of hiring them, onboarding them. We will be hiring a lot in the new year, so if you are a practitioner and you are really good at your job and want to work for someone else and ditch the marketing, reach out to me and we can do an interview.
[00:44:14] Detective Ev: So cool. I think it’s such a great time to be an FDN. Because even when you originally graduated, Nicole, I was 2017 myself, and I can’t even imagine before that, the only possible route was to pursue this as your own business, which I still encourage. I think it’s a cool thing.
But there are constantly now more and more opportunities where there are really great jobs opening up for FDNs. I see like every other week in the AFDNP group, someone’s posting for a job listing of like starting at $75 an hour. I’m like, are you kidding me? For going into an eight, nine-month program, which yes, is going to be tough. But I mean, compared to most things that would warrant that type of pay per hour, good luck finding it. That’s just not going to be a thing for most people. It’s just a cool time.
Health Detective Podcast Signature Question
And that’s awesome to see what Jen has done and now what you’re doing with Jen. I think that’s a heck of a team there. We had Jen on as well, by the way, if you guys didn’t know. I will put her podcast in the show notes below.
With that said, we’re going to finish up. The final question then for you today, the signature question on the Health Detective Podcast, one of my favorites. If I could give Nicole, in this case, a magic wand and you could wave it and get every single person in this world to do one thing for their health, whether that’s you actually get them to start doing one thing, or you could get them to stop doing one thing, what is the one thing Nicole would get them to do?
[00:45:33] Nicole Ritter: Be open to changing their opinion and open to learning, two things.
[00:45:39] Detective Ev: Cool. I think that is the first time that it’s ever been said. This is perfect. It’s just amazing to me that something you’d think is so simple, but 200 episodes and not one person has said that as their number one thing yet. I fully support this message.
Thank you so much for coming on today.
[00:45:54] Nicole Ritter: Of course. Thank you so much. This was so fun.
[00:45:57] Detective Ev: All right guys. That’ll do it for today’s episode with Nicole Ritter. I hope you guys enjoyed it. She is someone who I ended up talking to for over an hour after the podcast. I’m like, do you realize we have a whole second podcast here. Just really personable individual. Awesome person. I cannot stress enough that you guys gotta go follow her, check out her content and just shoot her a DM, let her know that you loved the podcast, if you did, in fact love it and are listening to this point. I’m assuming that you liked it. I think the guests really appreciate that.
She came on with no intention of offering anything. I literally had to pull it out of her before we started. I’m like, no, no, no. I always want you to be able to talk about the business stuff and the things that you do. Because if you’re coming on the show and giving value, there’s no problem with offering something at the end. She wasn’t even planning on doing that. There’s just a lot to be said about that.
Please go shout her out and just thank her for coming on. I’d greatly appreciate it.
I’m looking forward to talking to you guys again soon. But until then, take care.
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