Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Tech Solutions For Holistic Therapists

Modern technology can make everyone's life easier and the same goes for us therapists. Here are a few of the most useful apps and systems for holistic therapists.

We are going to assume you already have the basics such as a website and email address.

1) Google Calendar. This is such an easy to use system with the additional advantage that it will automatically sync between your pc and your phone. You can access it from any device. You can also share the calendar with others, for example your receptionist. It also automatically populates with diary dates from your emails, which is really handy.

2) iZettle. This is a system for accepting credit card payments. It used to be really tricky for small businesses to accept card payments. We needed specialist machinery, a landline and the costs were high. iZettle connects via Bluetooth to your mobile phone. You don't even need to be connected to WiFi. Using the iZettle app you select the amount you want to charge, the phone connects with the small card reader, (which is available from iZettle for a small cost). Your customer uses the card reader, the funds get automatically transferred to your account and that's it. Wonderfully simple.

3) MailChimp. This is an email marketing platform, which is free for smaller accounts. The free account will likely serve you for several years as you grow your business. Use MailChimp to easily create beautiful newsletters, promoting your business, which can be sent to thousands of subscribers all at once. Give away freebies and useful information in your newsletters to increase reader engagement. MailChimp also produces very useful reports which can tell you information such as which people read your emails the most and which links are most popular.

4) Leadpages.net. This is a lead capture platform. What does this mean? It means that you can create ads (on Facebook for example) giving away a freebie (such as an ebook). Prospective customers sign up to the freebie. Leadpages.net automatically sends them the freebie and also adds their contact details to your existing email list. It integrates well with MailChimp. For more information about how to use Leadpages and MailChimp to create a marketing funnel, download our Business Success Course.



Monday, 27 March 2017

The tough side of being a therapist

In this blog, we talk at length about all the benefits of a career as a therapist, and while this is certainly the case, there are of course some downsides. Here at The Therapists' Business School, we aim to be as honest and helpful as possible about what a career as a therapist really involves.

Almost all small businesses experience a feast and famine cycle. This is particularly prevalent in therapy, as we tend to see clients for a block of sessions over a short amount of time, meaning we continuously need to find new clients. Often, when we're busy seeing clients, we don't have enough time for marketing, so when we have finished seeing those clients we need to market like crazy again to get new ones in, leading to the feast and famine pattern of income. One way to overcome this problem is to use the quiet times to automate as much of your marketing as possible. Schedule newsletters and social media posts weeks in advance, so they will be working for you during your busy times as well as your quiet ones.

Another disadvantage of running a therapy business is that it can be quite lonely. You tend to work alone, only seeing your clients. For many people it can be hard not to have colleagues to talk to or a boss to ask advice from. A way to overcome this issue is to  join a local peer support group for your specific field of therapy. These groups are so important for your own wellbeing. Make sure you are also getting regular supervision. A good supervisor can fulfil the role of a mentor and guide you when you get struggle.

As therapists, we care about people. It's because we care so much for our clients, that we invest so much in them. Unfortunately not all of our clients will get better. In some cases, even though we do everything we can to help the person, they still do not see an improvement. This can be heartbreakingly disappointing for us and can really rock your confidence in your abilities. When this happens, and it will happen, use the experience as a learning curve. Identify what changes you could make in the future to improve your service. Once you have taken the lesson from it, move on and focus on the times treatment has been successful. A peer support group is also very useful for this as it is reassuring to know that other therapists have the same experience.

To find out more about the courses and services we offer click here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Should I invest in my own business premises?

London Therapy Rooms EC2
As a therapist, should you work from home or hire a therapy room?
If you opt for the latter, which one should you choose?
To hire a room by the hour in an existing therapy centre?
Or to rent your own office space?
Or even to buy and sublet to other therapists. and how much should you spend?

The number of options and resulting questions can be mind boggling. Hopefully we can help you to make a more informed decision by discussing some of the pros and cons of each option.

The first and usually cheapest option is to work from home. In order to do this, you will need a designated space in your home, which is generally very affordable but could potentially be costly, if you need to renovate a room or build a garden house. There are many benefits to this first option. The big benefit is no ongoing rent expenses. This is a huge advantage, particularly if your business is still quite young. You also do not need to pay travel costs or parking. Being in full control of your environment is also comforting. You can ensure that you have all the equipment you need, that the environment is quiet and the bathrooms are clean. This is not always guaranteed in a rented space! However, there are some disadvantages to working from home. From surveying many clients, it appears that clients view working from home as less professional. Most clients would prefer to go to a more formal setting. Depending on your type of therapy, your clients might feel anxious. Visiting you in your home feels as though they are in your territory, which can heighten anxiety. Running your sessions from a more neutral environment, can enable clients to feel more comfortable. Most of your clients will be wonderful people. However, almost every therapist has had at least one client who has not respected the professional boundaries. This can range from stalker type behaviour to expecting their therapist to be on call 24/7. Working from home offers you less protection against this.

A second option is to visit clients in their homes. This has many advantages. There are big cost savings since you do not incur any costs, other than travel. Clients potentially feel more comfortable in their own home. It is also easier for disabled clients as they do not have to struggle with transport and unfamiliar places. One disadvantage is that you have to carry your equipment from place to place, which, depending on your therapy style, might be very inconvenient. If a lot of your day is spent travelling, you are limiting how many paid hours you can fit into a day. Often client's homes are not a good environment to for therapy. Potentially there are pets around who are keen to get involved or family members in other rooms and the client might be conscious of them listening in.



If you decide to rent a space there are a dazzling number of options available to you. One of the most common for holistic therapists, is to hire a room by the hour within an existing therapy centre. This allows you to minimise the risk, since you are only paying if you use the room. Generally the rooms are well suited to therapy and may have equipment and suitable furniture included. Usually these centres will also do some advertising on your behalf, which is great for generating new business. One of the disadvantages is that the hourly cost is often quite high and takes a big chunk out of your earnings. Also, you can be limited by when the room is available so might not be able to see your clients at times which suit them.

Once you have established a good client base, it might suit you to rent somewhere permanently. This is generally the most expensive option. It looks very professional to have your own designated space, which you can furnish to perfectly suit the needs of your clients. If you rent an office with a receptionist, this further adds to your professionalism and portrays you as an expert. You have full flexibility about when you see clients. It can also be nice to separate your home life and work life. The disadvantage of this option is that it is expensive, particularly if you want a nice office in a good location, with additional features such as parking, receptionists and a waiting room. It is also a the riskiest option. You still have to pay your rent whether or not you have enough clients, so in theory you could be making a loss.

Please do add your comments below. telling the community which type of premises you practice from and how that is working out for you.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Lessons from Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion


As business owners we need to know almost as much about sales and marketing as we do about our chosen therapy. Generally, therapists are brilliant at helping their clients but sometimes find the sales and marketing side of their business a little trickier.

There are a lot of wonderful resources available to help us with promoting our business. A classic book, highly regarded in entrepreneurial circles, is 'Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini.

In today's blog post we'll aim to summarise the messages in this book and give you practical advice on how these strategies can be applied specifically to a therapy business.

Lesson 1 - Reciprocation

Potential clients will be more likely to pay for treatment with you if they have first received something from you. As people, we like to feel that things are fair. For example, if someone gives you a present for your birthday, you would feel very uncomfortable if you did not reciprocate the favour when it was theirs. If we receive something, we are more likely to give something back and this also applies in business. To put this into practice, offer something small as a freebie to your potential clients, perhaps a free digital product or free introductory session. The people who take up your freebie offer are far more likely to become proper customers. You can offer this on your website, newsletters and social media pages.

Lesson 2 - Commitment and consistency

A strange quirk in our nature, is that once we have made a statement about who we are or what we believe, we are very reluctant to change that, even if there is considerable evidence that our initial decision was incorrect. This could be because we want to save face, we don't want to appear hypocritical and we don't like uncertainty or conflict within ourselves. A good example of this is someone who makes a public commitment vs someone who only makes it in their own mind. Using weight loss as an example, a person who tells all their friends and colleagues that they are going to lose 3 stone and compete in a 10k run is far more likely to be successful than the person who just tells themselves they will do it. Again, we can use this as part of our marketing strategy. Run a free workshop for potential clients. Anyone who attends that workshop is making a public commitment that they are open minded about your specific type of therapy and the trust you as the therapist. Deliver great content in this workshop and at the end of the event, invite people to work with you in an one on one basis. An event of this type also utilises the rule of reciprocity.

Lesson 3 - Social Proof
When we make decisions we look for evidence that society agrees with our decisions. Would you go to a restaurant if everyone told you it was terrible? The rise of sites such as Tripadvisor show us how much we value social proof. The simple way to use social proof in your business, is to ask previous clients for testimonials. Once you have a collection of positive testimonials from your existing clients, you can quote them on your website, social media pages, newsletters etc.

Lesson 4 - Liking
This lesson is self-explanatory. A therapeutic relationship is a unique one. Potential customers will often feel vulnerable before they come to see you.  Before they will work with you, clients need to like and trust you. Social media is a great way to gain their like and trust. Just be yourself on social media. Engage with your audience. Talk about the things you are passionate about and believe in.

Lesson 5 - Authority
Building on the idea of trust, clients want to feel confident that you can help them with their issue. They want to see you as an expert in your field, an authority figure. There are lots of practical ways you can create this authority as a therapist. Write a book, being a published author (you can self-publish) creates a lot of kudos and presents you as an authority. Do a feature on local TV or radio. Or publish an article in an industry journal.

Lesson 6 - Scarcity
This rule is used in retail all the time,
"Sale ends tomorrow,"
"Only three left in stock."
Sales messages like these motivate customers to make a decision and buy the product. This marketing strategy has been around for a long time because it works. Apply these strategies to your own business. When you run a special offer, have a clear end date for it. Imply that you are very busy (even if you're not) and can only take on a limited number of new clients. This galvanizes people who are thinking about it to make a decision.

These very valuable business skills are described in far more detail in the original book, "Influence - The Power of Persuasion,' by Robert Cialdini.

You can purchase it from Amazon below.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Taking The First Step

A career as an alternative therapist is a dream job. You are your own boss, have the freedom to manage your own time, generally earn a better hourly salary than you do in employment and can do work you genuinely love.
Despite all the benefits of this type of career, many people hold back from taking that first step. For a lot of people it is a career they would like to do "one day."
There are many reasons why people hold back, for instance:

  • I am worried about giving up a regular salary
  • I don't know where to start
  • My friends and family will think it is a stupid idea
  • What if I'm no good at it?
  • I don't know anything about taxes and marketing
  • It all seems too daunting. 
The best advice we can give is to just start. Begin researching how to qualify in your chosen field. Or, if you are already qualified and are delaying setting up the business, just start marketing it. None of us have all the answers at the beginning. You learn as you go along.

You can easily work out aspects, such as keeping accounts and running Facebook adverts, as you progress. Everything does not have to be perfect on day one. There are a huge number of resources to teach you the skills you will need. Many people hold back from their ideal lifestyle because they are waiting for all the stars to be aligned. Well, that perfect time never happens to start now and adapt as your business develops.

Starting your own business feels like a big risk. However, as a therapist your risks are relatively low. You could continue to be employed part time while you build you client base. The overheads for a therapy business are low compared to other businesses such as shops, restaurants or manufacturing. Explore the risks and develop a contingency plan to deal with the, Don't let them hold you back unnecessarily.

As for the opinions of other people, the important thing is that it is your life. Whenever you make a big change in life, some people will be resistant to it. This resistance usually comes from a kind place, they are worried about the risks. There is a saying that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Take the first steps and then tell friends and family. Once you have started on the path you will usually find that people are more supportive. Explain to friends and family your reasons for wanting a lifestyle change. Accept that not everyone will understand, but that is OK.

Taking the first step is the most difficult. After that each obstacle you will encounter feels smaller.

You deserve to do work you are passionate about. Make that change in your life today.




Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Creating Digital Products

One of the disadvantages of being a therapist, is that we tend to exchange time for money. In general, the business model for therapists, is that we get paid a specific amount of money, for a set amount of time with a single client. E.g. £50 for a half hour physiotherapy session.

While this model allows us to really get to know our clients, it means we cannot scale our businesses. We get limited by the numbers of hours we can physically work. This business model also causes issues when we want to go on holiday. If we are not physically there, we do not earn any money.

So, how can we create a passive stream of income, which is not limited by time or having to be physically present?

A great solution is to create digital products. A digital product can make you money while you sleep. Sounds fantastic doesn't it?

Creating a digital product is surprisingly easy. Have a think about what products would work for your business. If you are a hypnotherapist or meditation instructor, then an audio products would be brilliant. If you are a yoga teacher you could create a video. If you are a nutritionist, you could create an e-book.

Take the time to make your digital product perfect. Edit your product to remove any small irritations, such as bad sound quality on a video.

Due to the increasing popularity of digital products there are lots of available platforms to use. Infusionsoft is a great system to use. Ecwid and Shopify are also very user friendly. These systems allow you to display your products, process the payments and send them to your buyers.

Once you have created your product, you can offer it to your existing customers. People who already know, like and trust you, will be more comfortable buying from you. You can also sell your digital products using Facebook advertising and Google AdWords (Pay Per Click) ads.

Another advantage of creating a digital product, particularly a book, is that it creates a lot of kudos. It demonstrates that you are an expert in your field. This benefits all the areas of your business.

Have you ever created a digital product for your business? If so, what has worked well for you? And what  obstacles have you had to overcome with creating digital products? Please do comment below.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Celebrating Freedom

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10 which is the final blog post I am writing as part of a challenge, which has focused on getting clear about your goals in business and life.

I write a lot, both for you guys here at The Therapists' Business School and also on my hypnotherapy blog, but this challenge has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Usually my blogs specialize in giving you, the readers, tools and strategies to employ in your own lives.While a few of the blogs I have written for this challenge, have still focused on how to market a holistic therapy practice, a lot of them have been more personal. Instead of simply providing information, I have been talking about my own aspirations. For someone who is quite private and is more comfortable hiding behind the name of their business, being so open has been difficult. 

However, I overcame this challenge (the lure of the first prize certainly helped!)  and put my personal desires out there in the public domain. And you know what? It was fine.
People didn't ridicule me, tell me my dreams were fanciful or all point and laugh as the gremlins in my mind told me they would. In fact, people have been very supportive. The audience has actually engaged really well with these more personal blogs. 

My favorite post of the challenge was Day 3, which was all about creating a clear vision for the future, by planning your perfect day. This challenge was wonderful for a few reasons. First it feels great to fantasize about your perfect day. Second, it helped me to get really clear on what I actually want from life, as opposed to what other people say is important. Third, it was very personal, so really broke down the barrier I had, about being open about myself, in the public domain. I enjoyed this challenge so much that I have since set it as a task to several of my hypnotherapy clients. 

The challenge has been hugely valuable to me and changed the way I view things in business and life. In business, I am going to blog far more frequently as I have seen the business benefit of having evergreen content and have enjoyed the process. More importantly I am going to talk much more openly about what I really want in business and in life. 

If you have any comments about the 10 day blog challenge or about The Therapists' Business School, then please do comment below. 


http://thefreedomplan.rocks/ten