Chris is joined in this podcast by Keith Rhys, his long time strategic advisor, as they discuss the two most important strategies that helped Chris to build a practice and business that makes a big impact. If you're a clinician trying to carve out a meaningful, rewarding career for yourself in the changing healthcare landscape, this podcast is for you.
I want to share the two strategies that I think have made the biggest impact for me. Number one is having a foundation and a framework into which you can plug your own knowledge and curiosity and grow a completely unique practice that fits you. And number two is a system to plug your expertise into to reach new patients and readers and grow beyond your practice. What you can do right now, essentially, to build a better and more rewarding future.
In this episode, we cover:
4:54 Keith’s healthcare background
9:15 How Chris found success
21:00 Why the ADAPT framework will work for you
32:53 What is the Evergreen course?
45:28 How to sign up for the ADAPT Framework Level One Course
Chris Kresser: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Revolution Health Radio.
Most of the time, this podcast, as you know, is aimed at the general public and particularly toward people that are interested in improving their health, but today I want to talk to the healthcare practitioners out there, those of you that are working on the frontlines to help patients and clients to achieve that goal. Specifically, I want to talk about a central challenge that I know many of us as practitioners face, which is that you want to make an impact on a big scale but maybe you’re not sure how or you’re struggling to carve out a career for yourself in a world of healthcare that’s rapidly changing or you’re looking for ways to build and grow your practice more effectively and more quickly.
Here’s why I want to do this today: I know that many of you who listen to this show are currently healthcare practitioners or aspiring healthcare practitioners, and as I’ve done this work for the past several years, what’s become really clear to me is that the world needs you and your voice matters. You want to have a meaningful career, you want to make a difference, you want to help people, and we absolutely need you on board more than ever before, but the truth is it can be hard to build a practice, it can be hard to stand out, it can be hard to learn the best functional medicine principles in a way that’s practical and useful, so I wanted to have a discussion about that today.
In particular, I wanted to share the two strategies that I think have made the biggest impact for me in overcoming this challenge. Number one is having a foundation and a framework into which you can plug your own knowledge and curiosity and grow a completely unique practice that fits you, and number two is a system to plug your expertise into to reach new patients and readers and grow beyond your practice, what you can do right now, essentially, to build a better and more rewarding future.
To help me out with this, I’ve asked my own strategic advisor, Keith Rhys, to join me today. Now, Keith has been with me from the very beginning. If I recall, I hired him a month or two after I graduated from school. Keith is really unique in that he’s worked with natural and integrative doctors for 35 years, helping them to become thought leaders, to be seen, to create digital programs and other products that generate passive income. I feel tremendously blessed to have encountered Keith because when I started looking for someone that could help me face these challenges and overcome them, I had a particular person in mind but I didn’t know that that person existed. Of all places, I met Keith on a forum and immediately knew that he was the right fit, and we’ve been working together ever since.
So, Keith, welcome to the show, and can you tell us a little bit more about what it is that you do for healthcare practitioners?
Keith’s healthcare background
Keith Rhys: Sure. Thanks, Chris. Well, I started 35 years ago at a school as a marketing VP for supplement companies, and so I started selling supplements, but what I found was it was more rewarding working with the doctors who created the supplements because they usually had a vision and ideas that were a lot bigger than the cheesy supplements they were trying to sell. Right?
Chris Kresser: Mm-hmm.
Keith Rhys: And so I started working with doctors with big ideas, and I never looked back because my passion is helping people like you, Chris, who have a vision and want to move the needle forward when it comes to healthcare.
I talk to doctors all the time, I talk to practitioners all the time, and their questions when we first start chatting are always the same: How do I stand out from the crowd? — especially now that we have the internet — How do I go from that stripmall clinic I have to having an authoritative, go-to expert with my ideas? How do I grow beyond my practice and only making money from seeing patients, and money limited by my time? And so that’s what I have been working with for the past 30 years or so with practitioners, helping them fill their practice and get the book deals and create the supplements, create the digital products, and that’s how we met.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, exactly. It’s interesting to have you on the show because you’ve really been such an instrumental part of my practice and the growth of my website and everything associated with that. You’ve been kind of behind the scenes. I feel like you’re stepping out in front of the curtain a little bit and it’s great!
When I graduated from school, I had already started my blog, and the blog was growing and I was starting to get more attention from the blog, but when I first reached out to you, I think my income was still tied to the hours that I was spending with my patients. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s obviously a limit to the number of hours that can be spent with patients, and I’m sure most practitioners out there who are listening to this would agree that it can be really taxing energetically and tiring to have a full-time, 40-hour-week patient care practice, so I was interested in figuring out how I could expand beyond my private practice and one-on-time with patients both to have a bigger impact and affect more people and also to generate some income that wasn’t directly tied to time. I thought the blog might have something to do with that, but I wasn’t really sure how at that point when we first started working together, Keith, and I think the biggest thing for me, too, was that I wanted to figure out a way to do it with integrity and not using any of the sleazy techniques that I had often seen internet marketers using. We’ve all seen the sales pages that are 52 miles long with blinking yellow highlighters and big red arrows pointing everywhere. In fact, the forum that Keith and I met on was a forum that was kind of exclusively dedicated to people like me and like Keith who want to barf when they see that kind of marketing, basically!
Keith Rhys: Right.
Chris Kresser: So we met on this forum, and the fact that Keith was there I already knew that he was different than a lot of other marketing folks, and when I first spoke with him, he was one of the few people I had spoken with that really got the importance of integrity and anything that I did being really consistent with who I am as a person.
One of the first things Keith helped me do was to create the very first digital program that I ever created, The Healthy Baby Code, which kind of evolved out of a local workshop that I taught and is still to this day one of the most successful programs I’ve ever created and one of my bestselling programs.
How Chris found success
I want to come back to all of that, but we promised at the beginning of this that we’d talk about the two elements that I think had the biggest impact on my success and that I think you can start doing right now to start claiming your spot in this industry and filling your practice and building a future with more income freedom.
One of these things was kind of a happy accident, really, if you think about it. The other one, though, took a lot of years of trial and error and blood, sweat, and tears and a lot of money and a lot of time, but the good news for you is that it doesn’t have to be that hard, and I want to maybe start there and jump into why that is.
Keith Rhys: Let’s start with that because here’s what’s interesting to me: I’ve watched your evolution as a practitioner and now as a teacher, and so let’s get to the good part. Let’s get to the blood, sweat, and tears. When I first met you, you were just really getting started, and I think, like a lot of the clinicians or practitioners listening right now, they might be getting started as well. Maybe they just graduated school. What was that like for you? Let’s rewind the tape a bit.
Chris Kresser: It was a little intimidating and scary! I studied acupuncture and Chinese medicine formally in school, as a lot of people know, and like most other people who go to school for that, when I started I figured I’d end up practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine — a natural assumption, right?
Keith Rhys: Right.
Chris Kresser: But as I went through school, I began to realize that I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought I was, and then I went to a few seminars on functional medicine, and it was like the lights were turned on. I immediately knew that that was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t fully admit it to myself yet because I didn’t know what that looked like. It was very clear to me what the model was for practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I mean, that’s what I was studying in school. That’s what my teachers and mentors there were doing. I knew what it looked like to have a clinic, an acupuncture clinic. I knew what the different possibilities were. There was more traditional practice, and then community acupuncture was coming onto the scene, so I kind of knew what all the frameworks and models were for that, but for functional medicine I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t have any model to follow. They certainly weren’t teaching it in school. I didn’t have any teachers that had a functional medicine practice or any advisors or local role models that I could just look to and kind of emulate, so it was kind of a mixed experience. I was super passionate and excited about functional medicine, and I knew it was the path forward for me, but I didn’t have any model at all.
Keith Rhys: So you basically had to build your own model, your own framework.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, exactly, and that’s a little bit scary. At least it was for me at that time. I mean, it was exciting as well, but I knew the conventional model for medicine was broken, which is why I chose to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the first place, but I also came to believe that traditional medicine, as effective and amazing as it can be, wasn’t enough on its own either. And I had had enough exposure to functional medicine to know that it was the future of medicine, but there were not many formal training programs at that time. IFM was definitely there, but I didn’t know much about it, and it didn’t seem to me to be very systematic. There were a lot of individual courses you could take, and over a longer period of time, you could become certified, but there wasn’t anything that really taught you how to have a functional medicine practice.
So I just kind of sat with that for a while, that dynamic tension. I had a huge desire to make an impact. I really wanted to help people to heal and transform just as I had done myself, and at one point I just realized I had to take a leap of faith and put a framework together myself, and what that forced me to do was to be extremely investigative in my approach, to take nothing for granted, to assume nothing, to really explore everything in as much depth as I could, and this is when I became a really voracious researcher and started to study a lot on an ongoing basis because it was clear to me that nobody was coming to save me, really!
Keith Rhys: Right.
Chris Kresser: And if I wanted to create this practice and this vision, this way that I imagined my life could be as a clinician, I had to just go for it and do it, so that’s what I did.
Keith Rhys: I remember — it’s been a couple of years now, I think — I came down to Berkeley, and you showed me on a whiteboard for the first time your functional and evolutionary model for patient care, and that’s when it really started evolving. And you started talking about how you wanted to share this with other clinicians, right?
Chris Kresser: Yeah, that was really kind of a breakthrough moment for me. It felt like the culmination of all of my work up until that moment. I’ve mentioned this before, and I know you know this, Keith, but at that time and still today I get literally five to ten emails a week asking for referrals. If you check out the comments on any blog post I write, you’ll see numerous people asking for referrals to functional medicine practitioners in their area that also have an ancestral or evolutionary perspective, but one of the most difficult parts of my job is I’m often unable to make referrals. I would love to be able to do that. My practice has often been closed to new patients for the better part of the last several years. There’s nothing I would like more than to be able to refer someone to a clinician that could really help, but there just aren’t enough practitioners out there that have a functional medicine background and an ancestral perspective.
So over the last couple of years, as I thought about my own future and what direction I wanted to go in, I wrote a book, as many of you know, and of course, there was thinking about writing a second book, my publisher had asked me to do that, and there was kind of this crossroads that I reached that I know you remember, Keith, and for me, my question when I reached that crossroads was, how can I make the biggest contribution? Why am I here? What can I do that will have the biggest impact? Is it to write another book or is it to meet this obvious need for more practitioners by training people to combine functional medicine and ancestral or evolutionary health and to do so in a way that creates a streamlined, efficient, lean practice model that can offer a really high level of patient care, but also a really engaging and fun platform for a practitioner, where they’re going to love and enjoy their work for their whole life without burning out, which is such a common thing in our profession? That’s how the Kresser Institute and eventually after literally two years of thinking about this stuff and having meetings with you and other people on my team and whiteboards and all of that, the ADAPT Framework Level One Course, which is the first offering from the Kresser Institute, were born.
Keith Rhys: So if I’m a practitioner listening right now, I’m thinking, “OK, I would like a framework. I’d like a practice foundation because I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
Chris Kresser: Yeah.
Keith Rhys: “But I also want to carve out my own place in the world. I have my own ideas.” So how is this framework able to give people both — enough structure, but also encourage them to develop their own voice, their own approach?
Chris Kresser: Well, that’s a great question, and of course, as someone that didn’t follow an established path and went off on my own, I can completely relate to that. I guess the best way to answer that would be to use a couple of analogies.
When you study martial arts, you typically start by learning a form, a set of predefined movements. and learning the form is the best way to acquire the underlying skills and knowledge that enables you to eventually move beyond the form and use those skills in a more fluid situation that demands improvisation and creativity, like a sparring match or a fight, for example.
Music is another good example. You typically begin by learning scales, but then those scales become the basis for improvisation and personal expression once you’ve mastered the scales. If you try to go straight for the improvisation and personal expression, it usually doesn’t sound that good. I mean, that’s what my daughter Sylvie does! She’s 4 years old, and it sounds pretty good to me as a parent, but I’m not sure that people would pay to listen to her that aren’t related!
In the same way, I feel like this ADAPT training is teaching a form or a number of different scales because that’s the fastest way to learn functional medicine and become a competent practitioner. But just as I’ve done myself, I fully expect — and want — clinicians that I train to move beyond this form and create their own model that fits with their own personality, interests, patient population, etc., and there will be numerous factors that actually determine that. And really, as long as you’re listening and paying attention, you won’t be able to stop that from happening. That’s the natural evolution and outcome of a functional medicine practice where you’re following this path.
Keith Rhys: Right. OK, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach then?
Chris Kresser: No. Of course, a lot of people have heard me say this when it comes to diet, but I do believe the same is true when you’re talking about a functional medicine practice. My practice is going to look very different than someone’s practice in rural Pennsylvania, for example. The needs that they’re serving there are going to be different, and that’s going to determine a whole number of factors in terms of what kind of testing they do or how much testing they do or what treatments are available. There are just so many considerations, and there’s so much room for customization and personalization, depending on all of those factors.
Why the ADAPT framework will work for you
Keith Rhys: Beautiful, and I love those analogies, but give me specifics. I want to know how the ADAPT Framework accomplishes these objectives and provides this foundation.
Chris Kresser: One of the reasons it took me two years to put this together is I spent a long time actually learning about learning and thinking about learning. Being the kind of geek that I am, I read probably seven or eight different books on modern learning theory. I read a lot of the scientific literature on learning theory. It’s that old saying: Don’t give a man a fish; teach a man to fish. I wanted to figure out how I could do that in this training program, like how could I impart the knowledge that’s required and the basics that are required to quickly reach competence but also give people the kind of meta-skills that they need to take that basic competence and expand on it and transition to mastery.
The first thing is that I teach processes, not protocols. There are some trainings out there that teach — I’m not sure of a better way to say it — somewhat cookie-cutter protocols where you prescribe a certain protocol with certain test results, and the protocol is always matched to the test results, and it’s kind of a paint-by-numbers type of approach. I’m definitely going to provide guidelines and basic protocols because, again, those are kind of like the scales or the forms and they’re necessary often when you’re just getting started, but I’m much more focused on teaching clinicians how to evaluate each patient individually and then create customized protocols based on that evaluation as well as their own preferences and circumstances and scope of practice. That’s number one.
Number two is that the ADAPT training emphasizes case-based learning. One of the benefits of case-based learning is that it encourages independent thinking and investigation. When you learn information through case studies and practice, you can apply that information in a wide variety of contexts, but when you just learn textbook style, which is how most of us were taught, that knowledge is often difficult to apply outside of the context that we learned it in. This is why so many leading medical schools, like Harvard, have already transitioned to a case-based learning format, and this is what we’re going to use in the ADAPT training as well.
The third factor is that ADAPT empowers clinicians to develop their own authority. As I said before, I don’t assume or even want students to follow my approach in every way. My aim is to provide clinicians with the resources and the skills that they need to develop their own approach, which is what I did. I do this by teaching how to research, providing tips on where to find the right information when you need it, how to think critically about that information, and how to apply that kind of critical thinking approach to any clinical problem or challenge that you’re going to face when you see patients.
Keith Rhys: And it just so happens, Chris, that that approach that you take is also what’s helped you write a blog like you have regularly, weekly, for four years, and it’s going to be an invaluable skill to learn.
Chris Kresser: Absolutely. Yeah, to be able to critically evaluate the research that we see and to be able to make sense of it and then translate that into practical application in the clinic, that’s what separates an average clinician from one that really will be in high demand and achieves a high level of mastery.
Keith Rhys: Beautiful. I agree. You weren’t handed this on a silver platter, clearly. I mean, you had to create this out of necessity, and this foundation, this framework, this ADAPT training is one of the two things that’s most important to a clinician’s success, really to any practitioner’s success.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, I absolutely believe that. Trust me: If a course like this had existed when I was just starting out, I would have been all over it. I would have sold my car or done anything I had to do to get into it. I don’t regret the time and the energy and the money I spent figuring all this stuff out because it was a good learning process, but I can definitely tell you that if there had been a shortcut that would have saved those resources, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
Keith Rhys: Yeah. And by the way, Chris, I saw your car when I was in Berkeley. It is time to sell that car. I’m just saying.
Chris Kresser: All right, so the blood, sweat, and the tears. That was what that was. And the people who are going to join us in the ADAPT training this year are going to be able to avoid that. That’s one of the main purposes of this training, but as we talked about, there was also a little bit of a happy accident.
Keith Rhys: Definitely.
Chris Kresser: When I was in school, as many of you know, I started a blog called The Healthy Skeptic. That was the name. The current website, of course, is ChrisKresser.com. It used to be The Healthy Skeptic. I know some listeners and readers out there have been around since The Healthy Skeptic days. I started this while I was a student in school, and the reason I say it was a happy accident is because I didn’t have any intention when I started the blog that it would become the foundation of my future success or anything like that. I just started it to keep track of my own research. I was doing a semester project on the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease — or the lack of relationship, in many cases — and I just needed a place to kind of track all my thoughts and research and write. I’m kind of a kinesthetic learner, so it helps me to write while I’m learning. I was aware of this new format of blogging, and so I thought, “Oh, maybe I’ll start a blog,” but just because it seemed like the easiest way to keep everything in one place in a kind of narrative format. The funny thing is, of course, now that I know a lot more about this world and the online space, I bet that if you knew me then, Keith, that’s exactly what you would have told me to do.
Keith Rhys: That’s right. Yeah, because really it’s an underlying principle that’s worked for doctors for decades before there was the internet. Here’s the bottomline: People always approach me at conferences where I’m speaking or doing one of my workshops, and they’ll pull me aside and they’ll say, “OK, what’s the secret? How do I really make an impact? How do I get my voice out there? What’s the secret?” And I’ll tell them, the ones that are making the biggest impact are the ones that are serving their patients every day with a relentless, ongoing curiosity and an ever-expanding toolbox of treatment options. And then because of that work, that practice work, they’re actually creating value for people as a result of this curiosity. You can’t help yourself! It can be a blog, it can be an email to your list, it can be a book, and it’s what we used to do pre-internet. Old-fashioned mail newsletters — remember those?
Chris Kresser: Barely!
Keith Rhys: But it’s the same tried-and-true philosophy. You produce content that has real value, you put it in front of an audience that is looking for that value, and then you keep testing and refining your message. Wouldn’t you say that’s kind of what you’ve been doing for the last five years? You’re putting it out there and seeing what the feedback is from your readers.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, absolutely. I’d say the other part of that, which you’ve always encouraged me to do as well, is just stay true to my own curiosity and passion because if you start just writing for other people only, in my experience, there’s not much energy behind that. I’ve found that just writing what I’m curious about and passionate about has been often a really good guide because I’m not unique in my interests and my passion. I know there are many others out there who share the same ones.
Keith Rhys: Right. Absolutely. That’s clear.
Chris Kresser: The little funny story I have about this and that Elanne never lets me forget — Elanne is my wife, by the way — I tried to quit my blog several times early on because it was a ton of work and I was busy building a practice. We had just had a baby, Sylvie. I was taking care of my body through exercise and doing everything else I needed to do, and the added time and energy that I was putting into my blog sometimes just felt like a little bit too much, and I initially didn’t really know if I would get anything back in return for doing that other than the joy of helping people, which is, of course, really valuable. But each time where I would start to waffle like that and think out loud about giving it up, Elanne would always just kind of metaphorically slap me upside the head and say, “No. You keep going. You keep doing this. This is the most important thing that you’re doing.”
And I’m glad that she did because the blog has really been the centerpiece of all of the success that I’ve achieved — the digital programs that have just helped a number of women get pregnant and have helped people get clarity on their cholesterol and transition successfully to a paleo type of diet, and provided me with some additional income that’s not directly tied to one-on-one patient work; the web-based platform that enabled me to get a great book deal with a Big Six New York publisher and write a New York Times bestseller; the force behind a full practice just a few months after graduating from school and one that continues to be full without ever having spent even a dollar on advertising; and then most recently as a platform for launching the Kresser Institute and the ADAPT Framework training program. None of that would have been possible without the blog, and it’s so clear now, looking back in retrospect, so I’m glad I listened to my wife before you came along, Keith, and then, of course, once you came along, I had two people telling me to keep going!
What is the Evergreen course?
That’s why I’ve asked Keith to include his course, which is called Evergreen Audience, as part of the pre-course for my training program. Some of you might not be familiar with all this lingo, but as part of the full ADAPT Framework Level One Course, which lasts a year, we created a pre-course that lasts about eight weeks, which has a bunch of content that’s basically designed to help students succeed and get even more out of the full course. One of the elements of that pre-course is called Evergreen Audience. This is something that Keith has put together, and it’s the second most important thing, I think, that a practitioner can be doing right now to start doing intentionally what I did by happy accident.
So, Keith, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about how your course helps folks to do this.
Keith Rhys: All right, the way I look at it is your ADAPT training provides a practice foundation and the framework for the practitioner while my pre-course, Evergreen Audience, offers them a way to build their online platform and create that content that’s going to move their practice either online or help them move a bit beyond their practice. It’s really interesting that a lot of practitioners approach me and they’ll say, “You know, I can wait to write that blog,” or “I can wait to write content on my website,” and what I really need to remind them is that content marketing is happening on their behalf every day because they have patients who are viewing them on Yelp and they have patients talking about them on Facebook. That’s content marketing.
Chris Kresser: Yeah.
Keith Rhys: So all I’m encouraging practitioners to do is develop the simplest, cleanest, most natural platform for them, that they get their own voice out there, their own content, their own ideas. That’s where we start because I maintain that today all practitioners are online practitioners. We don’t call it “blogging” anymore. Today the big word, the buzz word is “content marketing.” The first thing we do in Module One of this pre-course is help each practitioner choose an angle or a niche up front that’s going to help them reach their tribe, the people they connect with, the people that resonate with their message, what they have to offer, and figure out what it is that’s uniquely their voice, what they uniquely offer. Then there are three more modules that take you from that point forward. It’s actually a complete system. It’s a blueprint, if you will, and it’s just designed for health practitioners.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, it’s an amazing course, and again, I sure wish it would have been available when I was just starting out! It wasn’t, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Keith one-on-one, so of course, I’ve gotten all of the lessons straight from the man himself, but this is something that I can’t encourage enough for people who are just getting started. As I said just before this, virtually everything good that’s happened to me in terms of my career has come out of my blog and my website and the content marketing that I’ve done. Call it whatever you want, but what it really comes down to is just helping people, delivering really valuable information and content to people, and in doing that, you develop a relationship. It’s a meaningful relationship, and it’s one that’s really deeply satisfying.
I mean, I get letters. There’s a picture on my desk right now. I got a letter from a woman whose 2-1/2-year-old son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and she did a whole bunch of research and read my book and my blog and listened to a lot of podcasts and started implementing some of the recommendations and addressing his gut health, and now he’s not on the spectrum anymore. Getting a letter like that, it totally makes my day, my week, my month, and it makes all the hard work and everything that I do worthwhile, and that just came from having the blog. This isn’t someone who saw me in my practice. I didn’t treat this little boy. I’ve never spoken to this person in my life, but to get a letter like that just overwhelms me with joy, and it all started from just writing a few blog articles, so it’s difficult to underestimate the impact that this can have.
Keith Rhys: Right. When I met you, what percentage of your practice, would you say, was virtual with Skype?
Chris Kresser: Here’s what I would say: I would say 90% of my patients, or 95%, came from the blog.
Keith Rhys: Wow.
Chris Kresser: Basically what happened is when I graduated from school and once I got my license and got all set up, I sent an email saying, “OK, my practice is open,” and then within three months it was full. Like I said, I’ve never spent one dollar for advertising. I didn’t do any local advertising. I didn’t even send an email to my friends or family, saying that my practice was open. All I did was send an email to my email list, people that were reading my blog. Yes, at that time, I was doing virtual initial appointments. Now I require patients to come see me in person for the first visit, but at that time, I wasn’t, and of course, that was helpful because I had the blog and I was drawing people from all over the world, actually. I had patients in Australia, the UK, Eastern Europe, China — all over the world — South America, Central America. And even today, now that I do require people to come see me in person for the first visit, I would say probably 75% or 80% come through my blog or my podcast and another 20% or 25% come from word of mouth from people that have already been my patients. That’s just an estimate. I’ve never really figured it out, but it’s a strong, strong influence from my blog and podcast.
Keith Rhys: And do you find that that’s helped you, for lack of a better word, pick and choose, so you can pick the patients you can most help?
Chris Kresser: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You talked about how step one of your program is creating a niche, choosing an angle, and I think that’s really important. It’s hard to be everything to everyone, and there are certain things that as a clinician you’re going to be more interested in treating than others, and that was the same for me. I wanted to work with patients who are really active and engaged in their own healing process, who were really pretty well educated already about what they were doing, which was kind of a natural outcome of people coming to me through my blog. In most cases, the patients that come to see me have been reading my blog or listening to my podcast, they’ve read my book, they already have a pretty high level of basic knowledge, and I really find satisfaction in the challenge of working with these patients because they tend to be people who’ve been to several different doctors without success. They have a kind of chronic, complex illness, just like I had, and of course, since that was my own experience, that’s the way that I really get the greatest reward and satisfaction from helping others, so that’s definitely how my practice has evolved.
Keith Rhys: I think for a lot of the people listening, that’s exactly the direction they’d like to head as well, and the challenge is that there are so many people out there making this so complicated.
Chris Kresser: Right!
Keith Rhys: Really! I designed this course specifically for natural docs, knowing, one, they have a practice —
Chris Kresser: Yeah.
Keith Rhys: Two, they don’t want to become a full-time internet marketer —
Chris Kresser: Please, no.
Keith Rhys: Right! They didn’t get into practice to become a full-time marketer.
Chris Kresser: No.
Keith Rhys: So I put together specific strategies to accomplish creating the content, building the practice, building beyond that if that’s your goal, without becoming a smarmy salesperson, which is the first thing a practitioner will tell me when they get on the phone: “I don’t want to be smarmy. I don’t want to be hypey.” And you don’t have to be.
Chris Kresser: Yeah.
Keith Rhys: And in the end, it also helps you become a better practitioner, so that’s the goal.
Chris Kresser: Yeah. It’s funny, because if you read all these articles on SEO and you try to keep up with all the online marketing trends and what Google just did with their latest algorithm, you’ll make yourself crazy, you know?
Keith Rhys: Yep.
Chris Kresser: The good news is — maybe I shouldn’t say this — I never paid any attention to any of that! I just wrote. I tried to just create the best possible content that I could, and I was kind of blissfully ignorant of all of this other stuff until fairly recently, and even now, we don’t pay a lot of attention to that kind of thing. We just really focus on helping people and creating the best possible content we can, and everything else takes care of itself when you do that.
Keith Rhys: That’s right.
Chris Kresser: The people who need to think a lot about all those other things are people who are creating not very great content, and so then they have to do everything they possibly can to get eyeballs on it because nobody really wants to read it otherwise or consume it!
Keith Rhys: Exactly.
Chris Kresser: All right, so we’ve gone a little longer than I have typically lately, but I think this was a really important topic, and I know from surveys we’ve done in the past that about 25% of listeners and readers of the blog are healthcare practitioners, so I wanted to do this because we’ve never really addressed you in any blog post or podcast at all yet.
Just to recap, the two strategies I think have made the biggest impact for me in creating the practice and the work that I wanted were having a foundation and a framework that you can plug your knowledge and curiosity into — and in order to grow that, you need practice — and number two, a system to plug your expertise into that allows you to reach new patients and readers and grow beyond just the one-on-one work that you do with patients.
So if you’re thinking about becoming a practitioner, if you’re a student, if you’re already a practitioner but maybe you’re a doctor and you’re practicing within an HMO model or you’re practicing conventional medicine and you’ve been thinking about breaking out and starting your own functional medicine practice, if you’re an acupuncturist or a chiropractor doing traditional acupuncture or traditional chiropractic and you’re thinking about moving into functional medicine, I really want to encourage you to do it. We need you. There’s such a high demand for functional medicine practitioners right now. All you have to do is look at my email inbox to see that! And in particular, there’s a high demand for functional medicine practitioners who embrace and incorporate an ancestral or evolutionary perspective on diet and nutrition. Those are very few and far between, and it’s exactly what this huge audience of people is looking for.
How to sign up for the ADAPT Framework Level One Course
The good news is that you can do this. If you take that leap of faith, there are a lot more resources available now than there were when I did it. There’s help for you. Whether it’s this ADAPT Framework training that includes the Evergreen Audience course and the benefits of Keith’s 35 years of experience working with holistic docs, I’m just on a mission to get as many of you listening to this to take that first step and do it. So to learn more about the ADAPT Framework Level One Course, which we’ve been talking about throughout the show, you can head over to KresserInstitute.com.
I want to thank you, Keith, for joining us. It was a pleasure to have you step out from behind the curtain and introduce you to all my folks because you’ve been such a great source of support as an advisor and coach and as a friend for all of these years. I couldn’t have done it without you, so it’s great to have you on the show.
Keith Rhys: Thanks.
Chris Kresser: All right, everybody, that’s the end of another episode of Revolution Health Radio, and I look forward to talking to you again in a couple of weeks. Thanks again, Keith.
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