One of the best ways to increase your income as a physicians is through physician side gigs. Many of these are covered extensively in this blog including my favorite, real estate investing. However, as healthcare professionals, we are uniquely positioned for another side gig focused on dietary supplements. Our patients are often the target audience for these supplements. This can be a great way to increase your revenue inside or outside of your practice while also helping your patients. So this post will talk all about how to start a supplement business for healthcare professionals.
Throughout the post, I will include advice and input from Lynn Brand, RN. She is a nurse who transitioned from a clinical nursing career to focusing on the supplement industry. She has had a lot of success. Currently, she is business and healthcare strategist working with the private label supplements company, nutraMetrix. My family, including Selenid, me, my mom, and step-dad, actually all use these supplements as well. So I am familiar with the various products as well. We do have a financial relationship as well in that if any of you decide this is something you would like to pursue, I receive a referral fee for successfully onboarding with nutraMetrix at no added cost to you or any patients!
Why would you want to learn how to start a supplement business?
Well, there are a lot of typical answers. You want to add a new income stream. Or you just plain want to increase your revenue or your practice’s revenue.
Regardless of your reasoning, healthcare professionals are well positioned to start a supplement business leveraging their medical expertise.
The supplement business is not well regulated. There are no FDA approvals. And there are a lot of people selling supplements promising results that just don’t add up. As a physician or nurse, you can vet supplements to find those that actually have value. And you can offer it to patients and customers based on their trust of your medical knowledge. It’s win-win.
How to start a supplement business
What are your goals?
Well, first I think you need to decide on what your business goals are. Anytime you are looking to get into a side gig, you need to make sure that the side gig aligns with your goals.
Selenid and I love real estate because it helps us reach out financial goals and we actually like doing it. If it didn’t do both of these things, it wouldn’t be worth it. Same goes here. You need your “big why.”
Different business models
If the above seems like a good fit for you, there are a number of different ways to do it. None of them are wrong but some do require a lot more legwork than others.
Start a company and manufacture your own supplements
First, you could start your own supplement company and develop new products to sell. This is obviously the hardest and will take a lot of time unless you have some background with supplements, chemistry, or know people who do. The potential profits are biggest with this business plan however.
Start a business and sell manufactured supplements
Your could also start your own supplement business where you sell already established private label products and supplements. In this scenario, you are like a middle man or woman. You buy quality products wholesale and then sell them to customers with a margin.
Work with an established manufacturer and distributor
The other model for a successful supplement company is to work with an established supplement provider and sell under their umbrella within your target audience, whether that be in your practice or otherwise. This is how it works with nutraMetrix. This is definitely the easiest and most straight forward model. But also the one with the least potential profits as the supplement maker creating the products from raw materials as well as company like nutraMetrix obviously take profit as well.
Which business model is the best?
Again I don’t think any are wrong and all can be a good idea. However, the first two options will take a lot of up front hard work. Most healthcare physicians are probably not looking for that much active work in starting a whole new business unless you plan to completely transition your career.
In that sense, I think the third option is likely the most generalizable to physicians and nurses. It is definitely more “ready to go” as you are working with a turnkey manufacturer and distributer like nutraMetrix. It is also a more affordable way as the start up costs are really pretty nominal. You are also able to offer a wide range of types of products because you aren’t manufacturing them.
Regardless, for new entrepreneurs, the best place to start is making sure:
(A) your new endeavor aligns with your goals and
(B) that you have your business model.
Next steps to decide if this is right for you
Above are the main business models to start a supplement business. So this is decision #1. Then you can move on to these next steps…
Where to start your supplement business
You now need to think about where you would locate your vitamin business or dietary supplement business or whichever area you decide to focus on.
The options are building it into your practice, owning new mortar stores, or creating an online store. My belief is that incorporating it into your practice or building an online store is the way to go.
The crucial step is figuring out if it’s possible to incorporate this into your practice. If you are an employee, this is obviously tougher but not impossible. In a private practice, it can be much easier. This can be a great way to increase your compensation. Here are some other ways.
If your practice is not possible, then on online store were you build up a social media presence and online presence using a unique domain name is an option. Again, more leg work but can be worth it.
Assess your market
Next, an important step is to determine who your potential customers are and how many there are. Talk to your patients if you plan to incorporate into your practice. Think about a marketing strategy if you are not leveraging your practice base as potential customers. Put feelers out in the local community. You could even speak with health clubs and local gyms. Gauge if there is interest. If not, it may not be worth it.
But often times there are ways to tailor this to your speciality. Forever, plastic surgeons and dermatologists have sold skin care products as patients often see them for skin care issues. Orthopedists are naturally going to see a lot of patients interested in supplements that can promote joint health. And so on!
Having a market of engaged potential customers will be the key to the success of your supplement company.
Learn the niche
If you have gotten this far in the process and think this could be a good option for you, then now is the time to familiarize yourself with the supplement market. Learn about the type of products in the space.
- Check out popular products specific to the niche you are thinking of getting into i.e. dietary vs. joint health vs. skin care vs. immune support
- What is the demand product that you need to make sure you have access to?
This way you can develop a rough list of what products you will want to include.
Buy the products that you want to sell. Establish your mortar or online store, whether a part of your practice or not. Market your new service. And get going!
Again, the manner that you proceed through this process will be influence by the business model that you have selected. If you decide to start your own business from scratch, this process can be a lot more involved and may lack guidance. If you work with an established company under their guidance, it can be streamlined more. But conversely, you may have less control.
What do you think?
This is a rough outline of how to start a supplement business.
I think this is a great example of how healthcare professionals can leverage their knowledge and expertise to increase their compensation. It fits hand in hand. And the outcomes can be tailored to your goals. As Lynn has shown, this can become quite profitable. Or you could use it as another smaller stream to diversify income. The choice is yours.
As always, there are no called strikes in investing!
More resources on how to start a supplement business:
I’ll include below some more specific information regarding Lynn and nutraMetrix for anyone interested!
What is nutraMetrix:
nutraMetrix, founded in 2004, offers a complete suite of customized, cutting-edge wellness solutions, exclusively for health professionals. Offering a wide variety of the latest market-driven products, comprehensive and synergistic formulations, from the best manufactures, nutraMetrix is designed to best serve your patients and generate ancillary income for the practice.
How can physicians or healthcare professionals use nutraMetrix as a side gig?
I think we can agree that there is a changing paradigm in healthcare:
- Rising business and drug costs
- Shrinking insurance re-imbursement
- Changing regulations and reform initiatives
- More paperwork than patient care
The Health and Wellness Industry is a billion dollar market. Your patients are already spending money on health and wellness. By keeping such services in house thru nutraMetrix and the nutraMetrix Web portal the provider can capture the revenue that they previous had been referring out, often to pharmacies, big box stores, or unknown internet providers.
Examples of success stories of providers incorporating into practice:
“I like nutraMetrix because it is science-based but in a way my patients can understand and comprehend. Through our nutraMetrix Consultant, we can give our patients the knowledge and information they need to be healthy. We now have a practice that is unique in our community because we take the time to share with patients what they need to be healthier and improve their wellness.”Dr. Samuel Shatkin, Plastic Surgeon
“I love working with the nutraMetrix line because it is customizable. I can find exactly what each patient needs and treat the whole person as an individual. And I can customize the products both with individual bottles or I can create custom formulas for them which makes it easy for the patient”Tamara Weinstein, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
“Since I’ve implemented nutraMetrix Custom Health Solutions into my practice, I’ve been able to keep my doors open and I’ve been able to truly care for my patients the way I believe they should be cared for and not the way corporate medicine or insurance companies tell me I should be caring for my patients.”Tina Rose, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
How does the Business Model Work?
They provide 3 Forms of Income:
- Retail Profit
- Commissions based on the volume sold thru your practice
- Shared volume from other practices towards commissions
How did Lynn leverage her RN degree and experience to work with nutraMetrix?
While I loved being a nurse, sales and marketing was something that I found an equal love for. Over the years I have worked for Medtronic Neuro, DOWD Medical and then as co-founder of a National Managed Care Company, AMSS, building the company to 10 million dollars in sales before selling my shares. This diverse background has afforded me the ability understand the process of successfully implementing a successful nutraMetrix program within a practice for the provider, the staff and the patients.
More resources, products and services offered
nutraMetrix® Web Portals
Training and education is very important at nutraMetrix. They provide both live and online training options across the country. Health professionals and staff also receive access to an online learning management system platform with over 60+ hours of education included with their accounts.
At the center of nutraMetrix® are nutritional supplements, comprehensive science-based formulations that include nutraMetrix® Isotonix® supplements. With advanced formulas designed for specific areas of health – including cardiovascular health, detox & digestive health, age management and more – nutraMetrix Advanced Nutraceuticals can help you offer your patients additional support in achieving optimal health.
TLS Select™ Weight Loss Solution
Unlike most diet programs, TLS Select™ Weight Loss Solution encompasses a total lifestyle approach, teaching the benefits of low-glycemic eating, behavior modification, targeted supplementation, and body composition.
nutraMetrix® has developed customizable nutrition and supplementation tools, like the Nutri-Physical, Custom Cocktail, Skincare Analysis, and the Gene SNP™ DNA Analysis.
If you are interested in learning more, you can meet with Lynn to get more information and even formulate a customized implementation strategy consisting of the following eight components:
- Define Mission and Vision
- Identify Program Goals
- Select Products & Services
- Solidify Implementation & Marketing Plan
- Population Monitoring
- Patient Engagement
- Measure Outcomes
- Growth Initiatives
What do you think? Is starting a supplement business a good idea for physicians? What other ways can physicians leverage their medical knowledge as a side gig while promoting patient health? Let me know in the comments below!