What Every Therapist Should Know
The Seven Secrets of Creating a Successful Practice
by Carl Munson
What is a Successful Practice?
Success to me means a therapy business that supports its owner. A business based on fulfilling work - helping others - that ultimately creates financial freedom and time freedom for its creator/owner.
Would you agree that far too many therapists don't ever really get off the ground? And for those who do run businesses, isn't it the case that their businesses actually run them?
If you're getting 'nowhere fast' or if your therapy business 'runs' you and is not the dream scenario you once longed for - stay tuned.
Over the next seven chapters, I'll be sharing the seven secrets of creating a successful practice as well as special offers that can deliver the success you deserve.
In the meantime, if you want to take a few minutes to focus your thoughts about your future, use my free on-line coaching system at:
Wishing you every success in your practice…
Carl 'The Therapists' Secret Weapon' Munson
Being Good is Not Good Enough!
Being a good therapist does not mean you will have a successful practice. It's a sad fact, but being good at what you do is not enough.
I'm sure, like me, you've met many therapists who are good at what they do, but unfortunately, are not what you might call successful. Why is that?
Whether we like it or not, launching and running a successful therapy business is all about marketing. Or to put it a different way: it's all about getting people in a position to spend money on your service.
There are many ways to do that, but the bottom line truth is that you must never stop in your marketing efforts, especially in the early days.
My favourite marketing guide is Amy Robert's 'Ignite Your Massage Therapy Business! - How To Get All The Clients You Need And Keep Them Coming Back!'
It's a business building master class, even if you are not a massage therapist. I guarantee that Amy’s work will inspire positive business building action whatever your therapy.
Please don't rely on just being good at what you do. If you don't have customers, you don't have a business.
Get help with your marketing plan today!
Take action. If your business isn't moving forward, it's moving backwards.
Try my relationship-building tool – The 'Holistic Health Assessment'. More at:
Raise Your Game – The Easy Way
When was the last time your doctor or dentist answered his or her own phone? Or made an appointment with you via a mobile? When was the last time you saw one of their advertisements, badly printed and hand torn, among the small ads at the corner shop?
I wouldn't want to visit a health professional who projected an image like that. Would you?
Sadly, many alternative, complementary and holistic therapists sell themselves way too short in ways just like these and project an amateur, flaky image. They do themselves an injustice and make it hard for the rest of us who are endeavouring to raise the profile of our profession.
Market by attraction, not desperation. Whilst desperately seeking more new clients may seem like a good idea, I favour the 'less is more' approach – offering more value to the few customers you already have, which can lead to increased revenue and increased word-of-mouth referrals at little extra cost to you.
Use these three tips and instantly 'raise your game - the easy way' making your service irresistibly attractive and edifying the way potential clients view you:
1. Operate from a professional therapy centre or a dedicated home-based consulting room that exudes care, cleanliness and attention to detail.
Make it a haven with fresh flowers, natural aromas and pleasant sounds.
Display professional certificates, newspaper cuttings and insurance certificates where appropriate.
2. Have your business number answered by a receptionist or 'virtual receptionist' if you work from home and have them book clients in for an initial appointment.
If clients make the effort to come to an ‘initial consultation' you will be able to 'close the deal' where appropriate or refer them.
Don't waste time and energy on the phone; get prospective clients into your environment and sell yourself and your service face-to-face.
3. Use professionally printed promotional materials such as leaflets, posters and business cards – your professional body should be able to help with this, including permission to use their professionally designed logos giving you associated kudos.
With more clients on the horizon, you'll need to be careful managing your energy.
Break the Chains of Wage Slavery!
It's a wonderful dream: train as a therapist, start your own therapy business and leave the job you hate.
Congratulations if you've done that and escaped the 'rat-race'.
And now you're overcome the challenge of getting enough clients to make a living, it's time for Secret Three…
If you sell your hours to make a living - as most therapists do – you'll need to keep going day after day, week after week, year after year.
Not an attractive prospect is it? Sadly, a recipe for possible boredom, exhaustion and burnout too.
Without the next four secrets, you are also destined to a precarious fee-to-fee existence, not unlike the wage slavery you escaped - albeit now in a better class of job – one created by you in a worthwhile career.
Trouble is, no one gets financially free selling his or her hours. And if, God forbid, you get injured or ill, your business is in big trouble, with you and your therapeutic hours as the only source of income.
Why risk it? It's time to understand the concept of 'leverage'.
Examples of leverage in our industry would include sub-letting your therapy space or sub-contracting other therapists and taking a commission on their fees.
It's basically any approach that gets you beyond trading one hour after another, and allows you an increased return on your investment of time, money and effort.
In Secret Four - What Do You Really Do?, we'll re-frame your understanding of what it is you do as a therapist so that you can leverage your most valuable assets.
When we've done that, I'll show you how to make money as a therapist outside the consulting room, when you are asleep and for years to come with little long-term effort.
Have you tried my relationship-building tool – The 'Holistic Health Assessment' yet?
Find out more at: http://www.healthchampion.co.uk/hhaclick.htm
What Do You Really Do?
Let me ask you something: what business are you in?
Sure you're a therapist, but that's not why people pay you.
Consider the sad plight of the poor slide-rule maker. When a bright spark asked him: "Are you worried about those new electronic calculators?" He replied: "Why on earth would I be worried? I'm in the slide-rule business!"
What he didn't know about slide-rules wasn't worth knowing. Yet six months later, he was out of business. Broke. Finished. Everyone had a pocket calculator and no one wanted to use slide-rules any more. They were history.
The moral of the story? The poor slide-rule maker didn't know what business he was in. He thought he has in the slide-rule business. Had he put himself in the 'calculations' business, he could have diversified into the convenience of pocket calculators and taken his customers with him. But no, he got it wrong and went broke.
So what business are you in? What do you really do?
Are Snickers in the food business? No, not really.
Are newspapers in the publishing business? No, not really.
Are beer manufacturers in the brewing business? No, not really.
When it comes to chocolate, news and beer, people aren't buying food, publishing or brewing. They are generally satisfying their cravings, boredom and depression.
Are you getting the idea? People don't buy therapies. They buy relief from pain and anxiety. They buy relaxation and pampering. They buy a good listener, a caring touch and personal attention to ease their troubles or at least forget them behind for a while.
When people wake up in the morning, they are looking for solutions to their problems, not therapy. If your therapy can solve their problems, great! You've got a new client!
Please write down a list of problems you can solve with the work you do (e.g. relieve stress, ease pain, put problems in perspective, cure illness…).
Boost your business NOT by talking about what you are trained in, start by telling people what solutions you provide.
If you are still unclear about what you REALLY do, seek help. Ask your favourite clients what they get out of working with you. This can be a real eye-opener because your client perceptions are far more valuable than your own guesswork.
As well as offering relief and solving problems, I'd say you are also a 'knowledge centre', who happens to operate as a therapist. You know things 'normal' people don't know! That knowledge and the accumulated expertise that goes with it are a valuable resource and can be exploited in many ways.
I'll give you some examples in Secret Five - More Pay-days with Multiple Streams of Income.
Till then, consider the possibility of financial and time freedom courtesy of your therapy business. It is possible and as a healer adding value to the lives of others - you deserve it!
More Paydays with Multiple Streams of Income
Hopefully by now, you've got your goals down and have looked at your business from our clients' point of view.
You're also getting a clearer understanding of what it is that you do for people that makes them want to buy your service for the first time (like they've got to have it or they'll be missing out). And then again and again and again.
It's time to build on that knowledge and today we're looking at how to make payday come more often! We're talking about 'multiple streams of income'.
One of the obvious drawbacks of working one-to-one, hour by hour, is that there are only so many hours in the week. 168 to be exact.
Anyone who sells their hours, can do two obvious things to boost their income:
1. Work more hours, and
2. Raise their hourly rate.
(There is a third option of charging the same for less i.e. cutting your 60-minute sessions to 45 minutes for the same rate, but that's just a clever hybrid of options one and two!)
To earn more, the temptation is to work more hours rather than put up fees, especially if you are not confident or clear about the value of what you do.
Working more hours, you have to take care not to damage or wear out your most important earning tool – yourself. So doing more hours has its limitations.
I favour putting your fees up. They are probably not high enough anyway. If however you do not differentiate or add unique value, there will be a ceiling or 'going rate' that determines the highest rates in your particular field. So putting your fees up has its limitations too and you will still be causing wear and tear on your body.
So how else can you earn more without wearing your body out? Let's get outside the box here…
You are an expert, a knowledge centre. So you can create multiple streams of income by exploiting your knowledge/skill base in new ways.
As a speaker (on your specialist subject, or better still - your client's problems), you can earn fees and promote your practice.
As an author, you can write a book on your specialism for the public, or even show your colleagues a thing or two just like Amy Roberts.
Remember her? She wrote 'Ignite Your Massage Therapy Business"
As a specialist writer, you can sell articles and, again, promote yourself and your work among a wider audience. (I wrote an e-book for a specialist readership, see http://www.comebacktolife.com/
As a workshop leader, you can package your knowledge and present again and again (and again). And even teach others to teach it. For a fee or royalty of course – more on that in Secret Six.
See: http://www.healthchampion.co.uk/hhaclick.htm for an example of packaged, royalty earning knowledge.
Need more ideas? When you are developing multiple streams of income, remember to remember what business you are in (Secret Four).
Here's what I mean:
As a massage therapist, you are in the stress management business. Great, you can offer your services as a stress management consultant, advising companies on how to best look after their employees.
And while you are about it arrange some on-site massage sessions for you and your colleagues who you contract at a profit.
As a counsellor, you are in the problem-solving business. Great, get paid by a local newspaper or radio station to do an 'agony' slot or column.
It's easy isn't it?
As a healer, you are in the spirituality business.
Great, get a new income stream doing workshops helping people get in touch with their spiritual nature.
Just as there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to earn a living as a therapist, practitioner or healer.
NB: As attractive as they are, the trouble with the multiple streams of income mentioned here, is that you have to turn up and earn the money. In Secret Six, I'll show you how to earn extra income without actually having to be there!
The Power of Passive and Residual Income
I think we can agree that this is the best job in the world - being a therapist or healer, helping people to be well, AND earning a living for our efforts.
That said, it's a fine balancing act that brings many challenges!
For many, the old problem of mixing the purity and goodness of healing with the low-down dirtiness of money brings irreconcilable challenges that lead to a practice that never really gets off the ground.
For those who do manage to get a practice with a constant stream of new clients and a full database of regulars, the challenge of burnout lurks because you've got to be there, in the room with the client, day after day, year after year to make your money.
If you stop, the income stops.
Our earlier look at multiple streams of income
(Secret Five) may have eased the one-to-one, 'hands-on' pressure a little, but today we turn our attention to the power of passive income - income that gets earned whether you turn up or not.
It works like this: Paul McCartney may or may not have worked hard to write 'Love Me Do', but he still gets paid every time it gets played on the radio or made into a CD - he could be asleep at the time.
I'm not suggesting you give up your therapy to write a hit song, but I am suggesting you take a look at the sort of passive income therapists can earn. You could, for example, write a book on your special skill or angle in the well-being industry.
Australian massage therapist Amy Roberts wrote the brilliant e-book 'Ignite Your Massage Therapy Business!' - in my view a masterpiece in passive income production as well as a brilliant guide to developing any therapy business. While Amy works with her clients, other customers boost her income with book sales. Take a look for yourself at:
and if you want the follow-up see:
(I'll let you into another secret here – Not only do I love Amy's work, I get paid for recommending it too! Amy pays me an 'affiliate' commission on every sale I create – more wonderful passive income.)
For my money though, some of the best passive income comes courtesy of something called network marketing. This is how it works: as an adjunct to my therapy business, I recommend products to clients and colleagues upon which I am paid a commission. Note that I still have to be there.
However, while I massage clients, go on holiday, sleep or do anything I like, my team of colleagues are recommending products to clients upon which I am also paid a commission.
They get paid, and our network marketing company pay me for introducing colleagues. What's more it's 'residual' too, because I can get paid on their efforts indefinitely.
If you discover groundbreaking products that you feel are highly beneficial for health and well being as I have (see: http://www.healthchampion.co.uk/) then network marketing will allow you to reach more people.
In exactly this way, I have earned thousands of additional pounds and been treated to exotic holidays, as a network marketer - I love it!
We do have the best job in the world: being paid to help people be well. With network marketing, you can multiply your efforts exponentially, both in terms of people reached AND income earned. If I can reach 10 people a day, my team of 60 can reach 600!
You don't need to join my network, but if you want long-term security then you do need to look into passive, residual income.
Your body is a miraculous, but fragile tool, and it won't last forever. A good network can offer a passive income stream long into your retirement.
Do yourself a favour and take a look at passive income and network marketing.
Subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll let you know about new networking opportunities, but for now have a look at:
http://forevergreen.myvoffice.com/7668 for a great company with great products.
The Difference that Makes the Difference
Welcome to the final secret of ‘The Seven Secrets of Creating a Successful Practice’ – the final piece of the Jigsaw.
According to holisticpro, 43% of the therapists they surveyed said they never received any training or advice about business or marketing as part of their therapy course.
Most worryingly, over half of all the therapists they questioned said they wished their business was a lot more successful.
Only 12% said their business was thriving!
That’s a sad state of affairs
Over the last few days, we looked at:
INTRODUCTION: What is a Successful Practice?
SECRET 1: Being Good is Not Good Enough!
SECRET 2: Raise Your Game (The Easy Way)
SECRET 3: Break the Chains of Wage Slavery!
SECRET 4: What Do You Really Do?
SECRET 5: More Paydays with Multiple
Streams of Income
SECRET 6: The Power of Passive and Residual Income
Put these principles into practice, into YOUR Practice and I guarantee your ‘luck’ will change.
You now stand a chance of thriving (NOT just surviving), you now know how to make more money from what you already do and you can create long-term financial security.
I’ve shown you how to make money even when you are not with clients and how you can have more flexibility and more time off to play. And you now have a strategy for avoiding physical burnout.
I hope I’ve helped you boost your confidence as a health professional so that you can raise your profile and be the best in your field.
So what’s SECRET 7?
So far the emphasis has been on your practice.
The final piece of the jigsaw puts the emphasis on
YOU. Because secret 7 is YOU!
Think about: You’re the one thing that’s always there. And for your business to change, YOU have to change. It’s the little differences in what you are ‘being’ that will make a massive difference in how you are ‘doing’.
Personal development is the difference that makes the difference, but sometimes it’s hard to see a way beyond your personal limitations and comfort zone.
You need a guide or coach to help you.
Try me - I'm the 'Therapists' Secret Weapon'!
Work with me and together we'll plan your work and then work your plan, because even when you know what to do – without support – it can be hard.
If you want to take the ultra fast-track to creating a business based on fulfilling work - helping others - that ultimately creates financial freedom and time freedom for its owner, I'll work with you one-to-one and redesign your therapy business from top-to-bottom.
Together, we'll change the way you see yourself and your business and realise the dream you once had of making a great living from the wonderful work you do.
If you haven't already done so, complete my online coaching questionnaire at:
http://www.freegoalsreport.com/quiz.asp?id=163 which will be sent to me by email.
I'll call you no more than 48 hours after I get your report to discuss your exact needs.
And don’t worry, I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Whether you choose to work with me one-to-one, or not, I'll send you further messages that I think you will find helpful, and please email me in the meantime if there's anything you'd like to share with me.
Let’s stay in touch; I wish you well in your practice,
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