How This Nutritionist Is Thinking Outside The Box to Provide Content For Her Clients


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We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

For nutritionist Jessica Cox, creating affordable and helpful workshops for her clients to access from home was particularly important during the current climate.

Cox and her team of seven practitioners run The JCN Clinic, a nutrition practise based in Brisbane. The JCN team recently launched a number of brand new online courses to suit a range of budgets.

“We have a spectrum starting from $15 for a one-off online cooking workshop through to a six-week mental health or gut program, so we’re trying to fill all of the voids,” Cox told TheLatch—.

While The JCN Clinic already had a presence in the digital space — and offered consultations via video chat — this new form of content was born out of the current climate.

“It’s just only launched and we’ve had a lot of positive responses from people,” Cox said.

“No one knows how long this is going to last, and everyone wants to keep their businesses rolling, so we’ve had to think outside the realms of how things normally function for us.”

While her team is situated in Brisbane, Cox herself lives in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, so working from home isn’t anything new. But, she has been missing her regular visits to QLD to see the JCN team.

“I would be due to fly up to Brisbane now to see everyone and have a week in clinic, and the team is really feeling it,” Cox said.

“We have Zoom meetings and we’re all just like ‘Oh my god I just miss being at the clinic and hanging out and just seeing each other’. I think from a team perspective that’s been really hard.”

We spoke to Cox about how she moved her clinic online and how she’s navigating this time as a business owner.

Alexandra McCarthy: Hey, Jessica! Let’s start from the very beginning — could you please tell me a little bit about your business and why you launched it?

Jessica Cox: I started on my own as a sole trader about 13 or 14 years ago. About seven or eight years ago I launched The JCN Clinic, and that was essentially born from a place of wanting to take what I already did to a bigger level and bring in other nutritionists to work alongside me. 

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NEW JCN ONLINE WORKSHOPS & COURSES NOW AVAILABLE! ? We are so excited to bring you our online interactive zoom workshops allowing you to learn & grown your nutritional knowledge from the comfort of your own home. Given the climate, we wanted to accelerate bringing you this extra service that we’ve talked about at JCN for some time. These online courses mean we can offer you intimate online lessons with no more than 10 other participants. It also means that we can offer a diversity of financially suitable services allowing you to choose what suits your individual circumstances. Workshops range from online cooking classes through to comprehensive courses. For instance we currently have: 4 Week Intuitive Eating w Paige Redford 6 Week Holistic Mental Health w Emma Morris 30min Immune Boosting Dressings Workshop w Carissa Mason 60min Gut Friendly Bread Workshop w me 3 Week Healthy Diet Tips & Immune Boosting Ideas For Kids w Paige Redford 6 Week Gut Health Workshop w Me * For full workshop details please head to the link in my profile. Workshops can be booked online. Please also DM me with any questions, as this is a new service we’d love to hear from you!

A post shared by Jessica Cox, BHSc (@jescoxnutritionist) on

AM: How many people do you have on your team?

JC: There’s myself, Carissa Mason (who is the manager) and then there’s Emma Morris, Paige Redford and Alana Krahe who are all qualified practitioners and nutritionists. Paige is also a naturopath.

Then there’s Alexa Tran and Michelle Maher who are the reception team and Alexa is actually a qualified nutritionist now too, and Michelle is also studying nutrition, so everyone’s actually in the industry.

There’s seven of us in total, probably eight if I was to include my husband behind the scenes; he always likes to be included! We have a really amazing team and network of women on a professional level but also on a friendship level which I think really shines through in what we offer at the clinic.

“We have a really amazing team and network of women on a professional level but also on a friendship level.”

AM: What are some of your highlights since launching The JCN Clinic?

JC: Firstly, growing the team. I mentor each new team member and have the joy of watching them turn into amazing, successful practitioners. Each time we’ve brought in a new practitioner and grown the business, there have been really amazing milestones and highlights along the way.

I’m also so proud of how we’ve expanded what we have done within the clinic space, but also outside of that to offer workshops.

We’ve had some amazing yearly lunches, we call them Intolerance Friendly Lunches, where we’ve held a beautiful Italian feast, and on one occasion, a lunch at my own home before we left Brisbane, where we had 20 people come along to the house and enjoy a workshop in how to create beautiful dishes. It was just fantastic.

We recently released a cookbook too which has been massive. After years of putting a lot of work into that, seeing the book [e.a.t by Jessica Cox] come alive has been a huge milestone. 

And then just recently launching these online workshops has been really exciting for us.

AM: When did your business first start to feel the effects of COVID-19?

JC: Probably pretty much around the same time as everyone else, in early March. I was in Brisbane a week before the lockdown and even at that point we were talking about how we were going to navigate this. 

At that time the clinic was still open but a lot of our clients were going online and we were increasingly less busy. That’s when we made the decision to completely shut down and bring everyone’s roles online.

The last few weeks we’ve felt the impact hugely — it’s not so much that our clients don’t want to go over to online consults, it’s more everyone’s financial fears, which I totally understand.

It’s been interesting to launch the online workshops because they offer something in a more affordable manner for people who want advice from home.

“It’s not so much that our clients don’t want to go over to online consults, it’s more everyone’s financial fears, which I totally understand.”

AM: How have you managed this change to online consultations?

JC: We’ve been vocal with our clients — existing clients and any new clients — to let them know that the normal one-on-one consultations are still available, just that we’re 100% functioning online.

We’re getting clients comfortable with transitioning to the online space if they had been coming into the clinic, making sure they still knew they could get their supplements and that everything was functioning as normal, but with the added workshops that were both affordable and entirely online.

We’ve wanted to do this for ages but it’s taken this push. And so far, we’ve had a lot of positive responses from clients.

AM: How can we support your business in the short term? 

JC: If those different workshops and courses appeal to you — and we have a range starting from $15 for a one-off online cooking workshop through to a six-week mental health or gut program — that’s one way to support us.

But also reaching out and telling us what you might like to see from us during this time. We’re open to all ideas so if people are like ‘Hey, I’d love to go online and put a little time into learning about this area of nutrition’ or ‘I want to know more about my hormones’, let us know, because we can create that.

It’s also really helpful when people share our content because someone else they might know could really do with some nutritional support, so using your platform to share our content would probably be the biggest thing people could do to support us.

We do understand that everyone needs to think about their finances at the moment so we just want to be respectful of that. And then of course, just supporting us, remembering that we’re there when all of this passes.

“But also reaching out and telling us what you might like to see from us during this time. We’re open to all ideas.”

AM: Do you think the way you operate your business will be changed for good?

JC: To a point, I think. We were already navigating the online space and we’re all pretty active in our online presence but I do think and a lot of people are talking about this. Fundamentally, the world is going to shift in how we do things.

When we come out the other side of this, we will offer a lot more online that will continue to be there because there is that demand. We will continue with our online work, but when the pandemic passes our clinic will open again for our clients in Brisbane.

I don’t think we’re the sort of business who will look at it and go, ‘We don’t actually need a physical presence, we can do everything online and just communicate via Zoom’. That won’t be us. 

I mean, maybe I’ll eat my words in six months [laughs] but I feel we’ll always need a clinic for the value it brings to our lives and also to clients to come into that space.

“I don’t think we’re the sort of business who will look at it and go ‘We don’t actually need a physical presence, we can do everything online.'”

AM: There’s nothing quite like having a face-to-face consultation…

JC: There isn’t! And people come in and really feed off the vibe because we do have a really lovely energy in the clinic.

It’s just all those tactile things. It’s the energy but it’s also the smell of the nice oils burning, and it’s sitting down in that room and having that conversation.

What we do can get quite emotional so if someone gets emotional, being able to physically be there and pass them a tissue or whatever it is, that’s a lot more intimate than a chat over Zoom, so I wouldn’t want to take that away.

AM: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

JC: Keep your chin up! I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it’s bloody hard.

It’s a hard time and I know I’m going through ups and downs, but I think the biggest piece of advice for me to others would be to think outside that box. Think about how you can offer what you do in a format that works for this new world that we’re living in, because if you don’t think about how you can offer a service in a different way or change up what you do, then that’s where people are going to run into trouble.

I know that’s hard because it depends on each business. I think we just have to think a little bit differently and try and stay positive, and also not create too much pressure — which is easy to say, I know I feel it — particularly when you are running a business and other people rely on you.

Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and go ‘I’m going to need some help to get through this’. Talk to your accountant if you have one and figure out what sort of assistance you can get.

Learn a few new dishes for your recipe repertoire with e.a.t by Jessica Cox or consider working on your health with Cox and her team by making an appointment.

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