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Nealy Fischer of The Flexible Chef: “Start small and test”

Start small and test: There will be trial and error but that’s what life is about, bobbing and weaving. Every mistake was a success to helping me step in the right direction. I learned what works and what doesn’t and put that information to use for the future. Build a team as you grow: As your […]

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Start small and test: There will be trial and error but that’s what life is about, bobbing and weaving. Every mistake was a success to helping me step in the right direction. I learned what works and what doesn’t and put that information to use for the future.

Build a team as you grow: As your vision continues to grow, build a team to be the different body parts to cultivate one great business and brand.


As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nealy Fischer. She is a media personality, fitness instructor, author of the best-selling book Food You Want: For The Life You Crave, and founder of The Flexible Chef, a lifestyle brand that shows people how to live a flexible and empowered life in and out of the kitchen. Nealy leads her followers to live flexible, healthy, and masterful lives by example. The wife and mother of four shares her groundbreaking advice in various media outlets such as E! News, TODAY Show, Hallmark’s Home & Family, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Vogue, and of course in her groundbreaking cookbook. Food You Want: For The Life You Crave resulted in Nealy being deemed a “wellness visionary” with 100+ customizable recipes that can be transformed into thousands of different dishes. Some recipes stem from her Jewish heritage, others from her summers on the family ranch in Montana, and she is always adding new dishes she discovers on her travels between her residencies in Hong Kong, Israel, and the United States. Additionally, Nealy often leads immersive cooking events, sold-out yoga retreats, and women’s wellness empowerment programs. The Flexible Chef not only advises how to master every day, but ensures its followers have a target of success when they watch Nealy travel the world, write books, run wellness programs, spend time with her family, and ultimately live a happy, healthy, and flexible life herself.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

Sure! I’m the oldest of five kids and was born in New Jersey, and then moved to Israel. We moved around a lot and I grew up with dedicated parents who encouraged independence, humility and a dedication to living an important and meaningful life. I’ve now been married for 22 years to the love of my life and we have been raising 4 kids together.

Can you tell us the story of what led you to this particular career path?

I went on my first diet was I was 11 and tried almost every one since. In my youth, staying fit was always a priority, and in high school I wrote an extensive paper on physiology and fitness. I later started teaching step aerobics (remember that?) and dance classes and then managed a local studio (I was 16!)… I developed an early passion for food and fitness, and my biggest passion: teaching.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was teaching a class and right before we started, I had to pee. I ran out and when I returned the whole class was laughing. Turns out I forgot to turn off my mic and the class came on my flushing journey with me!

What’s the lesson?

Learning to laugh through life’s moments instead of letting them get you down. Not letting the cringe moments hold you back from offering your spectacular talents.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I’ve recently read a book called “Reinventing Your Life”. It focuses on identifying life-traps, or as the author refers to them, “long-standing blocks”, that hold us back from becoming our best self. My “trap” is the trap of unrelenting standards; this is the trap that a typical perfectionist has. The book is like a crash course in psychology with super practical takeaways and tips for anyone finding themselves stuck and doesn’t know why!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My meditation teacher (many years after the microphone pee incident!) used to say that, “life is a laboratory and we must each conduct our own experiment”. I didn’t know it at the time, but this mantra stuck with me as I developed a brand centered around flexibility and becoming more “chef”-like, or “masterful” in your life. It even inspired my book title: Food You Want: For the Life You Crave. It’s about trial and error and landing at a place where you can thrive.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, let’s define our terms. How do you define a Lifestyle Brand? How is a Lifestyle Brand different from a normal, typical brand?

A lifestyle brand addresses multiple areas of life; it identifies an array of people’s challenges and crafts solutions to help them thrive in several of these areas as a whole.

What are the benefits of creating a lifestyle brand?

Instead of hyper-focusing on just one area like fitness, cooking or mental health, it incorporates all branches to make for a more beautiful, thriving overall health tree. When people incorporate clean eating, it improves other areas of life like exercise or feeling happier. It becomes a domino effect.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved Lifestyle Brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

Oprah is the classic example. Her brand is a one-stop shop for everything from health, beauty, recipes, money, decorating, relationships and more. She perfectly captures how each different area is intertwined with each other into one life.

Can you share your ideas about how to create a lifestyle brand that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?

It’s about first identifying the problem(s) that you’re trying to solve for the consumer and coming up with products and services to help them address these concerns. If you can help someone overcome a hurdle and be that support for them, they won’t be able to get enough. Weight loss brands or fitness brands that “work” mean you have the potential to build loyalty where they keep coming back for more.

What are the common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a lifestyle brand? What can be done to avoid those errors?

In our digital age where every Instagrammer is looking to become their own brand, we are seeing a ton of false profits with promises that don’t have a steady ground. Just because something has worked for you, that’s not enough evidence to suggest it will work for everyone in the world.

Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a lifestyle brand that they would like to develop. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

First, ask yourself what expertise qualifies you to speak about this. Next, identify what your superpower is. Are you the CEO with a powerful idea but need a team of creative experts to build out the content? Or are you the creative leader but need a team to help you build the idea into a business? It’s not dissimilar to any endeavor. When I first started years ago, I followed Simon Sinek’s “start with why” program that helps you identify your “why” for your vision, your inner drive, and for what you most believe in. From a clear vision, develop the strategic piece, build your version of a business plan or a layout of the arms and legs and pieces required and then tackle the most important ones-one at a time.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Start with why: It began with turning my adversity in life into a way to help other people who might be going through the same struggles.

Build a plan: I got organized with how I was going to turn the idea into a reality.

Define your audience: I catered to the people and demographic that would be in search of these solutions.

Start small and test: There will be trial and error but that’s what life is about, bobbing and weaving. Every mistake was a success to helping me step in the right direction. I learned what works and what doesn’t and put that information to use for the future.

Build a team as you grow: As your vision continues to grow, build a team to be the different body parts to cultivate one great business and brand.

Super. You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’ve always dreamt about redefining the way children learn. I have 4 and my youngest who is 8 has been home-schooled for close to a year so far during Covid-19. I’m seeing him flourish and learn in ways he didn’t in a traditional school system. I’ve been dreaming up a new kind of school program that fosters independence, creativity and doesn’t have kids at a desk all day!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

So many! Because I was so inspired by Simon Sinek, he’d be a fun one to pow pow with. I’m also a big Tony Robbins fan — I’ve been to his events​, so that would be a fun and inspiring lunch!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.


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