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Conversations with Carly Paige

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Paige.

Hi Carly, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Since I can remember, I’ve been interested in all things wellness. In school, my sport of choice was running and although I was very active, my diet wasn’t the healthiest it could be. I struggled with acne and anxiety for years, using every pill, cream and treatment under the sun in an effort to clear my skin. After graduating with a marketing degree and working as a Digital Communications Manager for four years, I felt called for something more. I wanted to be a part of the preventative side of health and wellness.

Upon researching various programs, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and quit my job in marketing within the same month. I decided that if I was going to make this change, I needed to do it then, and dive in head first. While in this year-long program, my eyes were fully opened to a whole new way of looking at health. I began to truly understand the power food had on the ability to heal our bodies from the inside out. During this time, I signed up for a 30-day smoothie challenge and I noticed how much energy I had, my skin was brighter than ever, and my overall confidence was elevated. I began to research more about the benefits of plant-based foods and how I could implement these ingredients more into my cooking and overall diet.

With this approach, it wasn’t about the foods I was taking away from my plate. The power was in the foods that I was adding to my plate. These foods had the ability to transform the way I felt and functioned in my day.

I always thought of myself as a decent cook, but with this newfound passion for food, I decided to enroll in several culinary programs that focused on plant-based cuisine while finishing my health coaching certification. Now, over four years since starting my business, I’ve found my sweet spot in the preventative wellness world. With both my health coaching and culinary background, I offer services and education that combine both areas of expertise into one message that aims to make healthy attainable and delicious.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t believe any journey to entrepreneurship, or even finding your passion in the workforce, is going to be smooth sailing. It’s through failures and challenges that we learn how to improve and grow. There have been many times that I’ve created new services and programs that haven’t been successful.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in owning my own business is listening to what the customer wants. This might be different than what you think they need or what you want to offer. The work is then to try and align customer needs with your expertise to offer value to your community. When I starting hearing over and over again that people would pay for the foods that I promoted online or in my cookbook, I knew I had to pursue what that would look like for my business. Since switching from health coaching to more culinary services, my business has never been more successful.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do, what you think sets you apart from others and most proud of?
My mission is to redefine healthy through simple swaps that will increase energy and confidence from the inside out. I have created FitLiving Eats, an online blog and space to share healthy recipes, tips and tutorials to educate and inspire home cooks. I am also the Founder and CEO of FitLiving Eats Winter Park, a local private chef service that offers weekly meal prep services, boutique catering and cooking classes. I believe what sets FitLiving Eats apart from others is that in everything myself and my team do, we strive to never compromise flavor for nutrition, at the same time using the most nutrient-dense ingredients possible.

This method is called the Simply Swapped Method, where everyday ingredients and recipes are swapped with healthier alternatives to boost the overall nutrition on the plate without sacrificing flavor. I am proud of many milestones in my career as an entrepreneur, but there are a few that stand out among the rest. One of which is when I published my first cookbook, Simply Swapped Everyday in Fall 2019. The second being the incredible companies I’ve been fortunate to partner with, including NASA, Southwest Airlines and The Four Seasons. Most recently, I was named by Yahoo Finance as one of 10 foodprenuers to follow in 2021. That was a great way to start this new year!

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
I believe that you can never be fully prepared for the journey ahead. That said, I always have two pieces of advice to those who are just starting out. The first is to network with complimentary professionals and businesses in your community for cross-promotion. This is how I got most of my client leads in the beginning. I wouldn’t have the business I do today if it weren’t for my amazing community of supporters, clients and friends in Winter Park. I find that word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool! The second piece of advice is to say “yes” to a variety of different opportunities. The goal is not to overextend yourself but to expose yourself to opportunities you might otherwise never thought prepared for or interested in. When I envisioned having my own business, I was playing in my safe zone of creating a one-on-one coaching practice. What my business is today is beyond what I could’ve ever dreamt, and is the result of showing up when opportunities presented themselves.

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