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Overdeliver

Recently I've been thinking on how we can overdeliver to our clients. The Life Coach School Podcast (thanks for the recommendation Dave and Jess!) has encouraged me to consider more ways to do this.

I think it's important for any business, but especially a small one like ours. Hand-written notes, gifts for important life events, taking an interest in our clients beyond nutrition - just a few ways we can go above and beyond.

Kia Wright
Throwback

A blog post from August 30, 2016:

For the past few months, I've been following a diet from an exercise nutrition company. The diet is laid out in auto-generated templates based on your height and weight, and provides meal guidelines according to the intensity and time of day of your workout.

I've seen awesome results. Others at the gym using them have seen great results as well. As effective as they are, I keep bumping up against issues of hunger, and it's mildly frustrating on a daily basis using the clunky interface. In addition, as a nutrition coach himself, Tyler's been observing ways in which he thinks the macronutrient ratios might be improved.

So, I have all sorts of ideas about the user interface, and Tyler sees ways the prescriptions could be even more effective, while seeing massive success with his nutrition clients using said prescriptions.

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Enter the reason I love knowing how to program: Having the means to build ideas like this feels so cool. Well, it's actually pretty nerdy...but it's cool!

The past couple of weeks, Tyler and I have been discussing features, user interface design, macronutrient formulas, meal timing, etc. (The photo above is our first SCRUM meeting!) I've been so eager to work on this mornings, nights, and weekends. We are hoping to create a web app that makes the hard and not-so-fun task of dieting just a little easier and more effective.

Stay tuned for updates!

Kia Wright
You Are a Badass
You have to have self-confidence before you create success, not after.
Jen Sincero in You Are a Badass
Kia Wright
Existential Crisis

Today was a bit rough.

I was working on my Precision Nutrition certification (I have a lofty goal to finish by next Sunday, instead of my original deadline of mid-February 2018, since I'd like to finish it and be able to focus on app development). I was reading through the chapter on how to categorize clients as Level 1, 2, or 3. Level 1 corresponds to what we call Phase 1 at Adaptive Nutrition, which is approximating portion sizes of protein, carbs, and fat according to the size of your palm, fist, and thumb, respectively.

The textbook kept emphasizing that 90-95% of clients will not need to graduate past that phase, which made me hesitate - is our program too unnecessarily advanced for most clients?

It also mentioned that Levels 2 and 3 are for those who have specific training or body composition goals, but that these levels are short-term strategies, that staying there long-term can create disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with food. Are we feeding into that problem with our program by having people weigh and measure their food?

How do we create an app that supports sustainable eating and health - both physically and mentally? Did Precision Nutrition already think about this, and that's why they went the route of teaching nutrition to coaches instead?

I've been weighing and measuring my food for years...do I have disordered eating? Am I overly committed to improving in the gym and getting my food right? Will I look back in years as an older and wiser person and think that what I'm doing now is overkill?

In addition, we pushed a major release of the app yesterday, and I had to do damage control today. Considering the amount of changes made + the fact that I'm the only developer on this project, I think it went relatively well.

However it's always quite stressful hearing that people are having issues and trying to solve them immediately. I think I'm getting better at managing it.

I sent an email outlining the app updates to our list of ~350 people. Many of those people are friends and acquaintances, so I was a little disheartened that only two people gave me feedback that they liked the updates (shoutout to Erik and RJ <3).

I felt apathy creep up on me as the day progressed in a way I haven't felt in a while and wasn't sure if I was in a good mindset to go workout (I ended up going and was glad I did).

At the end of the night as Tyler and I sat on the dining room floor with our pup, I told him about my existential crises of the day; how the ideas in the Precision Nutrition textbook are making me question our program and business model, how I'm questioning my nutrition and workout routine, how I feel disconnected because none of my friends understand or recognize what I'm doing in creating the app, how I wish I didn't need the acknowledgment or recognition for it but can't help it.

All of these thoughts resonated deeply with Tyler. He and Ian have had years of experience in feeling unappreciated for what they do running the gym. But he pointed out that it's hard for others to recognize the work, the stress, the late nights, the doubt that goes into running your own business, if they haven't been there themselves.

Regarding my questions about our program, he said we can't answer the questions without first asking them.

He assured me that he recognizes what I'm doing, and for now I think that's all that matters.

I think today was an important part of making progress.

Kia Wright
Yikes

The photographer from our recent shoot posted a video of the editing process of one of the photos he took of me. Besides color and lighting alterations, he Photoshopped by waistline to be smaller.

It took me several days to realize that I felt weird about this. As a nutrition business owner and coach, it seemed disingenuous to have my hard-earned work eclipsed by a few minutes of photo manipulation.

I texted him asking to take the post down, saying I felt uncomfortable with the alterations to my shape and that we wanted the photos to be authentic and approachable. He didn't respond. Two days later, I asked him again. He skirted the question. I asked him again. He avoided giving me a straight answer. I asked him a final time. Nothing.

Tyler called him the next morning. In short, the photographer refused to take the post down.

He emailed us shortly after to say that he'd get around to deleting the post sometime today when he wasn't busy. He immediately blocked our business and personal accounts on social media. And did finally take the post down.

I can't imagine having a client tell us they felt uncomfortable with something we posted about them, and then refusing to take it down.

We got a thirteen paragraph the next day from his wife. I chose not to read it.

Lesson learned: Work with people you know well and trust.

Lesson relearned: People who seem overly-friendly are probably crazy.

Went on a little break from Instagram for a few days after that. Nasty experiences just make you want to step back and regroup.

Kia Wright
Photoshoot

Photoshoot today! Tyler and I had no idea what we were doing, so thankfully the photographer gave us great direction.

We're excited to have some good photography for the brand!

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Kia Wright
Focus
There are a thousand things we could be doing. But there [are] only one or two that are important. And all of these ideas ... and inputs from engineers, support people, designers are going to constantly flood what we should be doing... As an editor I am constantly taking these inputs and deciding one, or intersection of a few, that make sense for what we are doing.
Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter & founder and CEO of Square
Kia Wright
Extreme Ownership

I recently finished reading Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It was an excellent book that has helped me become a better nutrition coach. Anytime a client of mine is not following the program, I now ask myself how I have failed to communicate or set expectations.

Kia Wright
Challenges

A few recent challenges I've been having:

Task-switching. Having less limitations around when I can make appointments, meetings, and hangouts has been freeing, but I'm realizing that I need to create some boundaries around this. The effort to switch gears between meetings and work takes a toll on productivity.

Nailing down a daily routine. Again, too much freedom, not enough boundaries.

Comparison. I follow a couple of other nutrition companies on Instagram that have a larger following and are more established than we are. For a while, seeing their successes made me feel like we weren't doing enough. I am now beginning to realize what makes us different from them - mainly that we are focused on health first and foremost, not aesthetics; and that gives me a lot of confidence in what we have to offer.

Marketing. We don't do much paid advertising, besides the random Facebook ad experiment, and have instead focused on word-of-mouth. A friend who does social media marketing for a large corporation volunteered to help us out, and I'm eager to see how she can help us grow.

Focus. We have a million ideas of things we want to do with the company. I'm learning how to prioritize projects, and returning to something I was good about doing the first couple weeks of full-time entrepreneurship: Setting weekly goals.

Kia Wright
Vintage

This weekend we drove to Houston to kickoff our six-week challenge at Vintage CrossFit.

Two of our clients - a husband and wife - did an amazing job during their six-week private coaching program recently and got the attention of the members at their gym. The owner agreed to have us down for a group challenge. 40 signups!

We were supposed to give our seminar a few weeks ago, but that was the same weekend that Hurricane Harvey hit. So we went down this weekend.

Unfortunately I didn't communicate the postponed seminar date to my mom, who we were planning on staying with while we were down there. We arrived at my parents' house, opened the back door, and were confused to find a small dog greet us (my parents don't own a dog).

I called my mom, and she sounded very surprised that we were in Houston. I asked where she was - California! A family friend was staying at our house since theirs got flooded in the hurricane.

Fortunately, they weren't there when we accidentally walked in. Could have been awkward. We sat in the car in the driveway, booked a hotel, and pushed through another hour to downtown Houston.

The seminar went pretty well, though I decided that I should probably leave the speaking to Tyler as I am not nearly as good or experienced or enthusiastic about doing it.

There were a couple moments where things could have gone more smoothly as far as logistics, but we know what we need to improve upon for next time.

After grabbing lunch at the Whole Foods hot bar, we trekked back to Dallas. Whirlwind of a trip.

Kia Wright
Connection & Creation

In college I realized the thing that I enjoy the very most in life is making things with other people.

So I've been excited to have many of my friendships expand in a creative way lately. Friends have reached out to hear updates, discuss ideas, give valuable feedback, show support, or even offer help in their areas of expertise.

I actually wrote down all of the friends who have been supportive in these ways. I felt so grateful seeing the long list of names.

Discussing creative ideas with friends feels reminiscent of childhood, when I would make movies or little businesses with friends. I feel a bit like I'm returning to that, only now I'm working on ways to help people live a better life through nutrition.

Kia Wright
Blurred Boundaries

We spent a wonderful week in Banff, Canada. Lots of good hiking, good food, and sunshine.

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It was my first trip as a small business owner, and I got to experience the blurred lines between work and life.

Some people might hate the idea of working while on vacation. But as I love what I do, I enjoyed the seamlessness of going to a coffee shop in the morning and taking client calls, and then going on a hike and exploring the city the rest of the day.

The trip wasn't a vacation, or an escape from everyday life - just some time spent living life in another location!

Kia Wright
Movement

One of my favorite things about my new lifestyle is having the freedom to move however and whenever I want.

I've always had a kind of claustrophobia - not of small and enclosed spaces, but of restricted movement, like someone holding down my arms or legs. In retrospect I wonder if this was triggered in a subtle way by being expected to be in an office for the majority of the day. Maybe I'm just making things up.

Now, at least a couple of times a day, I'll roll out my back and shoulders, hip flexors and glutes. I'll do some light stretching as well, or go for a walk around the block.

I try not to sit too much of the day, and instead opt for a lunge position that Tyler suggested when my hip flexors were especially tight last week: Lunge position, back knee on a folded up yoga mat, in front of a desk or table. Total game-changer!

Kia Wright
Cabin Fever

Okay, week three and I got a bit of cabin fever. Tyler worked from home one day, which made it better. I usually work from a coffee shop in the morning, but in the afternoons between the coffee shop and the gym, I get a little anxious. Maybe when we get a dog that'll help? (We plan on getting a dog after our four consecutive weekends of travel...I think I'm more excited about the dog than any of the trips.) Learning I need to schedule social outings regularly throughout the week. Thank goodness for the gym community.

Kia WrightComment
A Wednesday

Today was exciting, because it involved a bit of everything that I now do.

I worked from Houndstooth in the morning and did some programming. I fixed some Ember deprecation warnings, which greatly improves the performance of the app. Those have been weighing on me for some time, so it was gratifying to finally get them taken care of.

I had a meeting over the phone with my sister. She's designing an infographic for us that sums of the instructions for the first week of our private coaching program, which covers meal frequency, meal timing, and food quality. We're planning on offering it as freemium content to build our email list, as well as hand it out to people at our corporate seminars. Hopefully those simple guidelines alone can make a difference for people.

Before heading home for lunch, I posted a great testimonial from one of our clients on social media.

During the afternoon, I took a break from work to clean the house (the house is much cleaner now that I'm working from home...I am slowly becoming a house elf I'm sure). I had a phone consult with a prospective client and my first meeting with an excited new client, and then took care of some emails.

In the evening I went to a Product Tank event at Bottle Rocket's office in Addison. It was a bit strange to rehearse my new intro with the people I met there; I'm no longer a programmer/designer at Dialexa, but a business owner.

The talks were on data collection and user testing, which is something currently absent from our process. The main point I came away with was to think critically about the metrics you're looking at - make sure they're not "vanity metrics" or things that aren't actually moving the needle.

In the evening I created an email in MailChimp to send out to our clients regarding the app updates I pushed. The updates include performance improvements, a redesigned meal plan layout, and food-specific serving sizes. It's always a bit nerve-wracking to push updates to production code, especially since I'm the sole developer - if something breaks, I better know how to fix it...!

Thank goodness things went smoothly. (This process shouldn't be as nerve-wracking as it is...we need to get some processes in place.) I got a few text messages from good friends the next day complimenting the new layout. It only took them a few seconds to message me, but it meant a lot that they reached out.

Kia WrightComment
Money

A Sunday in the life of an entrepreneur with a healthy fear of becoming broke:

  • Yoga with friends at Klyde Warren Park (free)
  • Mimosa with a friend at Halcyon ($3.75)
  • Anatomy Night seminar put on by Apex Health & Fitness (free)
  • Hike with Tyler at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (free)
Kia WrightComment
Aligned

I had a moment today where I felt like where I am right now is right. It was nice to feel a certainty about what I'm doing.

Kia WrightComment
Hump Day

Nutrition seminar for the employees of PrintPack this morning. Off to Grand Prairie! Tyler CRUSHED the presentation. He was great at relating to the audience. I noted questions the employees asked and took photos this time, but am planning on getting involved in our seminar in Houston at the end of the month.

Being able to have a nap in the middle of the day is a luxury I hope to never take for granted.

Got a text from one of my clients that she's going to her tailor tomorrow to get all her suits taken in two inches! Such exciting news, especially since she was already lean when she started our program five weeks ago.

Had an almost-phone consult for private coaching in the afternoon. If we're having trouble even getting on the phone to do the free phone consult, it doesn't bode well. -_-

Worked on getting more granular with fat and carb options in the app, as well as rethinking the layout of the meal plan (while jamming out to T-Swift). It makes me a bit giddy to have a whole bunch of hours to devote to this.

Contacted the organizers of an upcoming CrossFit competition to see how Adaptive Nutrition can get involved - booth, prizes, etc. After seeing on social media that I was pursuing my business full-time, a friend sent me a link to North Dallas' Startup Weekend: "54 hours of fitness, tech, and entrepreneurship." (This is why I (now) believe in sharing on social media - making connections and discoveries you wouldn't have otherwise!) I contacted the organizers of the event to see how we can get involved. Need biz cards pronto.

Kia WrightComment
Subtle Art

Today I started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson.

"You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give."

Words to live by.

Kia WrightComment
Last
If your work is not your life and your life is not your work, you’re doing the wrong thing.
— Mark H.

One of the reasons I have enough confidence to pursue the business full-time is because of the group of people I have supporting me.

I've been reaching out to the people in my network who are freelancers, business owners, or influencers on social media.

I reached out to Mark to grab coffee at Palmieri Cafe to get his insights on ramping up a business. I'm glad I did, because I have some things to think about in regards to operations. A few things that made me think:

  • Quantify everyone's contributions. It's not about ideas, it's about execution.
  • KPIs and accountability are key. KPIs should be quantifiable. Quantify EVERYTHING.
  • The CEO should not be a part-time employee.
  • It's going to suck a lot sometimes, but there will be moments of euphoria.

After we talked business, Mark told me about his new passion, boxing. He said you need to rewire your brain to be able to react immediately in a fight - you can't just superficially know what to do. Trying a class was already on my 2017 bucket list, but now I can't wait to go.

Dialexa had a little sendoff shindig for me at Deep Ellum Brewery. I don't know why it surprised me so much, but I was really touched by everyone's support and encouragement. I'm grateful that I will still see many of them at the gym or social events. Dialexa is a tribe of such uniquely talented, sharp, witty, hard-working people, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of it.

Kia WrightComment
Decided

One week ago I made the decision to leave my job to pursue working on my side hustle full-time.

I'm not sure how people run a profitable side hustle alongside their full-time work. Maybe it's easier to do depending on the business. Maybe I'm the type of person who prefers to focus on one thing at a time.

My managers were bummed that I was leaving, but extremely supportive and gracious. They said there would always be an open door for me there (comforting!).

My mentors said I was ballsy (with a positive connotation) for doing it, which surprised me. I feel like it's a natural next step. I wonder how many people sit on their dreams.

I've been grateful for and bolstered by the excitement family, friends, and coworkers have shown.

When I was little, I somehow had an idea that 28 was a magical age where I would be at a good spot in life and have some shit figured out.

I'm hopeful that maybe things are starting to take shape...!

Kia WrightComment