Despite many practitioners losing supplement sales to Amazon, Randi Kirchofer from Vitality Health Centers seems to have an endless supply of orders that she drop ships to clients around the country. We wanted to know her secret! Luckily, she agreed to be our first practitioner in the spotlight. Randi has an incredible story, is as smart as a whip, and is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. We think you will find her story fascinating and her advice invaluable, as we did!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am Randi Kirchofner, LMT, NTP, CPC. My business partner is Terri Wilcox, BS, CPC, CSMS. (I would recommend anyone who is a practitioner to work with someone who is strong in the business side. As practitioners, we want to help people, not do paperwork and promote ourselves.) Dr. Angela Sackett, DC subcontracts with me to do blood work, lab analysis, and x-rays, among other tools I cannot obtain with my certification alone. We offer several massage therapy modalities, nutritional therapy, blood and hair analysis, and professional life coaching.
What is your business model?
I began my nutrition practice with the model of having a huge inventory with all the supplements I may need for my clients. This model caused a financial burden I was not willing to carry longer than a couple years. Then, I moved to a drop ship model for supplement sales. Amazon and other online retailers have made it difficult for drop shipping with two day shipping and sometimes lower prices than I can offer. I started to see a decline in my supplement sales about a year ago; to combat this, we have implemented a two-level fee structure for office visits. If a client is seeing me for nutritional therapy with supplements they pay one fee. If a client is seeing me for nutritional coaching/consulting without supplements from my office, they pay a higher fee. When we made this change, we explained to clients that the fee for an office visit took into consideration the income we make off supplement sales. We have no problem with clients ordering supplements from other sources or just working with us for diet/lifestyle change coaching, but we need to adjust the office visit cost to cover the loss of supplement sales. I see clients in my office and over phone consultations. We are also getting ready to launch an online program.
How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a very food driven household; my dad was a hunter and fisherman, and my mom loved to cook. The number one thing my mom taught me about food was we didn’t have the money for a lot of things in life, but we could afford food, so she was going to eat whatever she wanted, because she enjoyed it and it made her feel good.
When your family bonds around food, it becomes an emotional attachment deeply rooted into your personality.
And the fact was that I loved junk food. I mean crazy loved it.
A day in my life would consist of a couple doughnuts with flavored coffee, usually mixed with hot cocoa for breakfast. A 44-ounce slushie with a king size candy bar and a bag of chips for lunch. And dinner consisted of either a frozen dinner or a double cheese burger with a jumbo fry and super-sized soda. Not to mention the snacks I had throughout the day.
In my young adulthood, I suffered from several major health issues, one of which almost killed me. I was in a medicated coma for several days and living with a pick line in my chest. I was sick for the better part of a year. I had several surgeries for various things and was about 350 pounds, all before the age of 25.
In 2004 I was diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus. If you haven’t heard of it, neither had I. It is the mother virus to mono.
My life was falling apart, and fast. There were times I could not lift myself out of bed. After months of doctor appointments, tests, medications and thousands of dollars with no improvement, I went to an iridologist.
The iridologist suggested a regimen of supplements and vitamins and within 48 hours, I was feeling like myself again. After a week I was back to living my life!
This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world – and I wanted to live in it.
I was already a practicing massage therapist, but now I wanted more than to just rub bodies. I wanted to help people change their lives!
My first step was to work in a naturopathic doctor’s office. I worked beside a third-generation naturopath for 8 years and boy, did I learn a ton. I know don’t what it is about the human body and how it works, but I have a passion for understanding how it all works. After the naturopath’s office and some extensive training, I opened my own health and wellness office, Vitality Health Centers. And boy, has it been an adventure!
I love to teach others how to have the energy and freedom to create the life they desire!
I love watching my clients change their lives. Some have come to me when no one else could help, and some have come to me as a last resort. I have helped all ages from newborn to late 90’s, and every one of their stories touches me and their successes excite me.
How do you find clients?
I have always been able to rely on my work to bring in new clients with little to no outside marketing. I have been fortunate enough to build my practice almost solely on client referrals. Recently I have put the internet to work for me with a website and good Google placement.
What has been most effective to get clients to commit to working with you long-term?
When a client first comes to see me, I focus on their main issue while supporting their foundations. This gives them the boost to feel better. Once they start having more energy and less pain in most cases, they don’t want to go back. When clients do decide they are at optimum health and no longer need me, we move them to a maintenance program so they do not slip back to where they were. As we all know, there are the clients who just quit and those who think they have learned enough to work on their health alone. Many of those clients come back after a few months or their yearly blood workup from their doc.
I also hold myself to a standard of being my client’s primary care practitioner. What I mean by this is when my clients come down with something I expect to be the first call they make. I express this by addressing any issues they have when they are in my office and when they try to cancel because they are sick, I strongly encourage them to come in - this is the most important time for them to see me. Once I can show them they can alleviate their minor ailments with food and supplements, I become their first call.
What’s some good business advice you have received?
When we opened our business, we hired a business consultant. She taught us everything we needed to know to open a practice. We would not be successful without her; we had no idea what it took to start a business and all the legalities around it. The best advice she gave me was to recognize what each of our weaknesses and strengths are, maximize our strengths and hire out our weaknesses. She has worked with many practices in our field as well as the Idaho Chiropractic Association. [You can contact her on her Facebook here.]
What do you do to keep yourself productive?
I have always been a self-driven person, so motivation isn’t hard for me. My business partner struggles with staying motivated at times. She uses SMART goals and rewards herself when she has completed a project/goal. To keep from being overwhelmed with everything on her plate, she uses a scrum method with the Trello app. Basically she has three columns: To Do, Doing and Done. If she is working with someone else on a project, she also has a Waiting column. The To Do column is a brain dump area. She puts everything she wants to get done and ideas she has in this column. She then prioritizes them by due date based on the SMART goal with a 1, 2 or 3. Only 3 things are allowed to be in the doing column at a time. Once something is moved to Done or Waiting, the next most important item is moved to Doing.
What is your morning routine?
In the morning I spend 10 minutes stretching and meditating. While getting ready for the day, I listen to motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, and Les Brown. I have breakfast of protein and greens with a variety of fats and a green protein smoothie. I have a 20 minute drive to the office in which I listen to instructional CDs on topics such as nutrition, motivation, and psychology. I work out for an hour 3 to 4 days a week which is scheduled into my day; otherwise, I would give the time to my clients.
How do you find balance between work and everything else?
I live by my calendar. Everything is scheduled into it. If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t get done, or I miss important events. My business is my passion; it consumes my thoughts 24/7. The best way I have found balance is to live in the moment. When I am with family or friends, I focus on them and what is happening in the moment. Otherwise, I am lost in thoughts of my business and my clients. When I need a break from it all, I go somewhere that has no internet, no cell service, sometimes no power.
What has been one of your favorite things about being a practitioner?
I love seeing my clients succeed. Work isn’t work for me, it’s spending time with friends. We laugh, we cry, and we work towards a common goal. I’m part of their life, and they are part of mine. I get to schedule time to focus on our relationship and helping them achieve their goals while we have a blast doing it.
What’s the hardest thing about being a practitioner?
The hardest thing about being a practitioner is knowing how to help someone, guiding them, and having them give up or not do what was in the plan you made together. It breaks my heart to see clients struggle when they just can’t move past their own limitations to better health.
How do you overcome those challenges?
Overcoming a client’s limitations can be extremely difficult, but I have found if I meet them where they are, and start with baby steps, they are more successful. As practitioners, we cannot take a client who doesn’t cook, drinks soda and fast food every day, and tell them they have to prepare every meal, cook every meal and drink only water. We must meet them where they are, give them healthier options, and work towards the lifestyle we know will give them the health they desire.
What are three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
I could not live without my Google Calendar. I use it to plan my entire life including my client appointment. I love having it at my fingertips at all times.
- A good CRM and inventory program. You must have a way to keep notes on all your clients and prospects: not just nutrition notes, but information to use for marketing as well. The CRM program I use is designed for therapists and allows me to upload all my client documents into the system so I have them with me wherever I take my laptop. (Make sure your laptop is password protected and encrypted). You also must know what your supplement sales are doing, what are your highest selling items, and if you carry stock, how many you have and need to order. A good program will do this for you.
Quickbooks. Good bookkeeping is a must.
Oh, and I have to mention Square. I moved from using a bank credit card processing company to Square a year and half ago, and saved over 50% on my credit card processing fees. Plus, you can send invoices to your clients through email (this is wonderful when drop shipping -- you have payment before ordering their products). And I always have the ability to take payment no matter where I am.
What’s a book that changed your life when you read it?
The Great Health Heist. I was introduced to this book at one of the first nutritional therapy trainings I attended. The book answers some hard questions about traditional healthcare, big pharma and the relationship food has with good health. It is a book written as a promotional tool for a practitioner to use for clients so it’s written in layman’s terms, but has good information.
Where would you travel if you had an all-expenses paid trip?
I would travel to Germany to spend some time learning from the great natural doctors there. Germany is decades ahead of the US when it comes to advances in natural health care. I study from everyone I can from Germany; Dr. Klinghardt has been a huge influence in my practice and my career.
Tell me about a memorable meal you’ve enjoyed.
Terri invited me over for dinner one night. When I arrived, it was already on the table. I was so disgusted: she was going to serve me frozen Banquet chicken! You know, the one in the red box! I said, “You invited me over for Banquet chicken!?” The look on her face was priceless; it was one of how dare you mixed with I can’t believe she thinks I eat that garbage, and does it really look like frozen chicken?! She promptly corrected me that it was oven-fried chicken and she would never serve me Banquet chicken! It was, in fact, some of the best chicken I have ever eaten, and we have never been able to find the recipe again!
Would you share a recipe that you love to share with clients?
This recipe saves so many of my clients. I have used it in many different recipes that would normally have a cream sauce. I made the BEST clam chowder with it by just adding the clams with the juice!
Cauliflower Cream Sauce
Try this sauce to replace alfredo, cream bases for soups, and creamed peas and carrots.
1 large cauliflower, chopped coarsely and steamed until soft
- 1½ cups cauliflower cooking water
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Place steamed cauliflower into blender.
- Add water, onion powder, yeast, salt, and vinegar.
- Blend until very smooth.
- With the blender running on low, slowly drizzle in oil until thick and creamy.
- Add parsley and pulse to combine.