3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
The following is an interview we recently had with Katie Morra MS, RD, LDN, IFMCP, Founder & Owner at Gut Honest Truth.
What can you tell us about your practice?
Katie Morra: Gut Honest Truth (GHT) is a virtual functional medicine practice, founded in 2019, that is based right outside of the Washington DC area. Gut Honest Truth offers one-on-one functional medicine consultations. We also have also started to launch group programs at affordable prices for non-clients. In 2021, we started a 21 Day Keto Reset Program which was an amazing time with great outcomes. We also offer DIY lifestyle guides, practitioner guides and topic specific e-books for consumers. Our current e-book offerings are: How to Get Rid of Your IBS, How to Get Rid of Your Acid Reflux (in both Spanish and English) as well as How to Put the Fire Out on Your Thyroid. We will soon release our fifth e-book in 2021 which we are so excited about, so stay tuned! Lastly, we have a podcast available for iTunes and Spotify listeners worldwide where we have interviewed some of the most prominent individuals in the field; from Dallas Hartwig, the co-founder of Whole30, Dr. Carrie Jones, the Medical Direction of Precision Analytical, Dr. Ken Brown, founder of Atrantil, Dr. Christine Maren and even Dr. James Fallon, a world renowned neuroscientist with one of the most fascinating Ted Talks.
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
KM: I am always pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the business end versus the clinical end. You rarely get business training when you are in health care but I find I actually really enjoy the leadership and back end of business while marrying that with the clinical piece. I also have never really gone out of my way to market my business outside of having a social media presence and I feel like I still do a little excitement dance every time I get a new client or product purchase. The customers we are attracting are such wonderful individuals to work with. They are motivated, pleasant, goal oriented and ready to learn and try new things which makes all of the difference when you are in private practice.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
KM: I honestly believe that finding the courage to start a business with so many unknowns is the most challenging part. That same fear/nervousness will arise every time you want to make a change or shift the business too. You are likely overcoming this feeling in small and large ways ongoingly if you are a business owner. I think the next hardest challenge is hiring staff to continue growing and reaching others!
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
KM: GHT’s 10 Start-up Commandments (these are all my gut reactions, pun intended)
- It is okay to be nervous and not have all of the answers before you launch.
- If you build it, they will come.
- Be flexible and ready to shift as needed.
- Know what your niche is and excel in that area first.
- Know your core beliefs and needs so that every decision you make can be made with positivity and joy behind it versus fear or pressure.
- Be cautious of growing too quickly.
- It is okay for something to fail or not work out, it is just another answer on your path to success.
- Confidence is key.
- Ensure that you set aside time for yourself, your family and at least 1 day off from patient care at first.
- You’ll be great.
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
KM: Functional medicine is not only root cause medicine but it is a way of thinking and piecing together an individual’s health story. It is how we can stop siloing their ailments or conditions and see the interweaving connections between them all.
There is nothing quite like getting a patient that has seen 5-10 other providers and has been struggling with their symptoms or condition year after year with little to no success and then just by connecting those dots for a patient, ordering the right tests and allowing someone to finally feel heard, you see the wellness within start to shine.
It’s like Dominoes, you set it all up right and push one Domino, the rest will follow. For example, someone can present with histamine intolerances, skin rashes, inability to lose weight, gas and bloating and to one practitioner these may all be very different nodes within the body, siloed out for treatment. But to a skilled functional medicine provider, you fix their intestines, it all improves, for example.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
KM: I would like this to naturally evolve as the business evolves and I learn what my clients need and want and how that fits my goals versus forcing my goals upon my clients. I do see a lot of opportunity for growth within Gut Honest Truth from the team growing in size, to offering more group programs and hopefully more useful products that individuals can more readily afford. My goal is to grow wisely versus too quickly. I see this be the downfall of chaos for many functional and integrative practices and the clients/patients are the ones who often get lost in the chaos when it was supposed to always be about them in the first place.
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