With our ever-busier schedules and never-ending to-do lists, it’s often easy to put eating healthy as our last priority. This is exactly what led Ellie Freeman to illness and fatigue, a massive wake-up call and eventually, a flourishing business. At the age of 25, Ellie now owns a private practice and helps individuals discover the power of eating right and living well. Read about how she created a business she loves by diving in, saying no and learning important time management skills.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Occupation: Owner/Founder of Simply Nourished Nutrition
University: Sports medicine from University of Virginia and MS in Nutrition from Bastyr University
Secretly Obsessed With: Elephants–something about them is SO fascinating to me. Their gentle nature paired with their loyalty to family (and of course, their memory) is so impressive to me. As a little girl I always called myself Elliephant!
On My Nightstand: A calming essential oil blend, a journal of lists, and a picture of my fiancé. As long as I make sure to “write away my tasks,” sniff on some sweet lavender and remember that I am loved, I can count on some sweet slumber.
Last Thing You Read: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This book completely revolutionized the way I think about things. Intentionally choosing to do something instead of feeling rushed to get everything done has been quite the paradigm shift that was outlined in the book, and one that has been essential to my business plan and personal life.
How did you get started?
Eight years ago, nutrition found me. As a collegiate swimmer, my diet was motivated purely by speed and ease. Foods that could be prepared quickly to optimize free time and fuel an even faster swim were the only foods that stood a chance on my plate. When my “fast” foods only made me slower and eventually very sick, my paradigm shifted. Neither doctors nor medicines could prevent my discouragement. After a diagnosis of autoimmunity, but before completely giving up, I found my elixir: real food. It transformed my performance, my health and my life.
Since then, I have devoted my career to nutrition. I decided while I was in graduate school that I would open up a private practice because I wanted to develop nutrition material that I only wish someone would have developed for me. And let me tell you… when I decide to do something, I jump in head first with the motto “I’ll figure it out.” Needless to say, with this motto, I’ve hit some bumps in the road. But, having outlined where I was headed from the very start, I wake up each morning determined to do one integral task aimed at developing my practice and healing those who need me most. With that intention, my practice has organically developed into something that I am so honored to own. Some days I have to pinch myself to remember that this is actually my job!
What key elements played into your success?
Saying no. Gracefully, of course! I used to put on my Wonder Woman cape and think I could take on the world. Once I realized that it is actually kinder to say no to the invites, obligations and tasks that I can’t fully devote my time and attention to, I have flourished in the few tasks that I have agreed to take on. As I have developed my ability to prioritize, it has benefited not only my clients, but also my sanity. Self-care and balance now have a place in my life, both of which I believe to be key to success.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
Fight for freedom. This is what my mentor told me when I hit the first few bumps in the road while opening my private practice. It is all too easy to commit yourself to things that leave you feeling overcommitted and trapped. By “fighting for freedom” every single day, you pursue your passion, and in doing so, come alive.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
In the midst of starting my practice, I tried to take on too much all at once. Accountant? Check. Graphic designer? Check. Customer service rep? Check. Needless to say, I started burning the candle at both ends and found myself doing everything BUT nutrition. Since then, I have created buckets for myself. I only focus on a few things each day and make sure that each of those tasks are accomplished with 100 percent of my attention. This has alleviated so much pressure and stress. Don’t get me wrong, I still do my own accounting and graphic design, but “Financial Friday” and “Graphic Design Tuesday” are two buckets you will see at the top of my planner.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
My fiance. He is the sounding board I come home to each day, the lifeboat that keeps me afloat and the genius voice of reason I can depend upon, rain or shine. I know without a doubt that I would not be who I am today without him.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I gathered up enough courage to launch a private practice straight out of grad school and didn’t look back. Naive? Yes. But also the best thing I could have done for myself. That decision was not an easy one, but it also was a leap of faith that created a business I now treasure.
When do you feel most successful?
When I sit across from someone who has personally experienced the power of food to heal the body under my guidance. That makes my day and reminds me that this is what I am intended to do. Each body that I heal adds another success feather to my cap.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
Put blinders on as you begin to develop your brand and business. By copying others, you only dilute your potency in the world. Don’t be discouraged by the thought that “it has all been done before.” It all HAS been done before, but people don’t buy only the product that you create… they buy YOU! Develop all your content in a way that you wish had been done for you, and your ideal clients will flock to seek your services. Trust yourself.