“Whatever it is does not matter! For me, its 9pm. If I have not completed it, I leave it until the next day. It is so important to stop at night so you can wind down and rest. Stop looking at email and social media at this time, too. This is so important for mental health and clarity. And, it allows you to be more focused and effective when you return to work. It also helps me to be more effective if I know that end time is coming. I hustle and avoid procrastinating.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica DeLuise. Jessica is the founder of Eat Your Way to Wellness, a concierge food consulting and wellness company just outside Philadelphia, PA.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in New York. From a young age, my mom and I would cook together for our family. Choosing ingredients and creating a meal from them to share with my loved ones has become a passion of mine.
I moved to Pennsylvania from New York to completed my Master’s degree from Drexel University. At 23 years old, I began to work a physician assistant (PA). As a PA, I have met thousands of patients and was able to learn about their disease and help them manage it. It was only when my own wellness was compromised with severe reflux and ulcers and complex migraines, that I found my true passion and calling in healthcare. Both reflux and migraines are very lifestyle affected processes but it only represented a very small part of my treatment plan given to me by my practitioners.
From that point on, I made it a priority to educate myself. I read articles, took extra classes, and began to educate my community. I provided free workshops — ‘how to read nutrition labels’, ‘what is gluten’ and that sort of thing — and turned it into a business. Eat Your Way to Wellness now offers nutrition counseling, custom meal plans, private grocery story store tour, and in-home workshops. We also have a large online presence and following with weekly video tips and I contribute to 6ABC.com and other media platforms.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company.
Well, what I left out before was that the business didn’t just develop into something amazing right off that bat. There were many drafts in the “how” to help people with food and lifestyle. At first, I thought the best to help people succeed was to cook for them. For example, if someone had high blood pressure, I would be sure to prepare meals with healthy fat sources and low sodium. I was quite busy. While marketing my meal prep services, I also did demos and handed out snack bites at the local farmers market and to my meal prep clients. They were gourmet power balls with high end ingredients like spirulina and turmeric. It was from that farmers market that I was asked to do my first speaking engagement. I have since stopped making the snack bites and now refer out our meal prep clients. But it happens that way; you never really end up where you thought you would be. And that’s okay. It’s all about adapting and continuing to push forward with all your passion. We always look back and laugh about that summer. It was the summer I had was trying to figure it out and to show off my ‘balls’!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I recently received a call from a client’s wife that I worked with about a year ago. He had been in a car accident and suffered multiple injuries. She simply said to me, “He would have never gotten through this without the tools you gave him.” Being a New Yorker, I am not often at a loss of words, but boy, that did it! We get to help people on a level that is most intimate to them. Think about it, people eat THREE times per day. We can teach them the tools to actually CHANGE their lives. Not many people get to do that. I am very lucky.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Call me a big mush, but all the credit goes to my family. They give me the courage to do what I do. My parents are ‘half glass full’ people that lead by example. They have strong moral character and they are truly selfless and unjudging. My husband is by my side every day. He sees the long hours, the brain storming, and the hustle. He listens to my all of my ideas and even on the days when I feel my worst, he makes me feel beautiful. My brothers and sister in law are very supportive and they offer some healthy competition. They are all very successful in their fields and in the back of my mind, I am constantly trying to make them proud of me.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes! I will be on a national network in the fall so more on that, soon! Also, there is a lot more collaboration with other local business, so be on the look out!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Well, I know what I do changes the lives of my clients. Their lives truly take a positive turn when their bodies begin to FEEL better, they can THINK more clearly, and they feel more COMFORTABLE in their own skin. I am part of a women’s group in my town that focuses on community outreach and charitable causes. We raise money and give young women scholarships and donate to local women’s and children’s shelters. I sit on the board of the Rachel Way Gluten and Dairy Free Food Pantry. We service over 500 families in PA. People are able to come to the pantry regardless of location or economic class and get safe food to eat.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
I read regularly ready medical articles, and journals to maintain my knowledge and fulfill my required continuing education. I actually prefer to read books for leisure and relaxation. It’s important to me to maintain balance to keep my mind sane! There isn’t a favorite that comes to mind at this time =)
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. You’re going to get rejected. I cannot tell you how many times I was hung up on, brushed off, and ignored. The reality is, when you start a business, you are so passionate about whatever it is, but no one else cares. People are busy and consumed with their own agendas and commitments. No one shares that same energy you do. You have to realize the rejection has NOTHING to do with you. Just keep pushing forward and believing in your idea.
2. Schedule an End Time for Work Every Day. Whatever it is does not matter! For me, its 9pm. If I have not completed it, I leave it until the next day. It is so important to stop at night so you can wind down and rest. Stop looking at email and social media at this time, too. This is so important for mental health and clarity. And, it allows you to be more focused and effective when you return to work. It also helps me to be more effective if I know that end time is coming. I hustle and avoid procrastinating.
3. Stay True to YOU. When people hear you’re starting a business, they all have input. Try to weed through true and productive feedback and the rest of the noise. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has a business. Remember that.
4. It takes money to make money. You cannot do it all. If there is a virtual admin or follow up phone call system that you can use to make your time more effective, then use it. You have to think about how valuable your time is, and what COULD you be doing if you could eliminate one task. For me, I hired a production team to help me with my videos. Not only do they look more polished, which reflects on me, but I now have full days to build my business in other ways.
5. Fuel Well. Be sure to get enough sleep, water, and nutrient dense foods. Your business is nothing without YOU. Make sure you factor self-care into your business plan. It could be a gym membership or massage appointment. Or, it could be as simple as taking time to make a nutritious meal.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Rachael Ray. Without a doubt. She is an upstate New Yorker like me and has built an awesome, infectious empire! love to laugh and goof around, but I am serious and professional when things need to get done and have read she is the same. We share a vivacious, no BS, kind of spirit! Fingers crossed she reads this one! =)