Yes, I asked "What is your 20:20 vision", not "Do you have 20:20 vision"!
Because this blog post is not concerned with your eyesight (sorry, though I do hope it's okay!); this blog post is actually concerned with your FOREsight!
As I write this, in July 2019, the new decade (yes the '20s, gulp!), is less than 6 months away. And I suspect that many of us haven't yet given a great deal of thought to what is coming, particularly for our businesses, in 2020 and beyond. Sure, we'll have some general, background idea that we'll be working in our practices, with an on-going turnover of clients, and we'll just keep doing what we do, ticking over, into the New Year, right?
But I wonder, if you were actually to 'press pause' for a moment and think about it ... is that all that you want for your business? Really?
Have you maybe had the thought that there are other things that you'd like to be doing in your practice? Perhaps working with a new client group? Or is...
Charging for your services ... is it time for you to recognise what you are worth?
Therapists and psychologists, in the UK at least, are notoriously poor at recognising the value of their services to their client group. This may, in part, be rooted in the environment in which many have trained, a public sector service where treatment is free at the point of delivery, or perhaps, more significantly, many therapists come into this line of work because they want to help people in need, and the idea of charging people when they are in distress “feels” wrong.
This is a mindset that is understandable, to an extent, but it is one that is unlikely to lead to you creating a successful business that pays its way and meets your requirements. You enter private practice to earn a living, and believe it or not, when clients come to see you as a private therapist, they expect to pay for your services.
Think about it: when was the last time you called a plumber to your home to fix...
Marketing means telling your clients you are OPEN!
We all know the problem: we've made the decision to start working privately. We've hung out our shingle and told a few contacts that our private practice is "open" for new referrals. We've maybe even had a couple of private clients come through the door!
But what next? This is the dilemma for so many in private practice: how can we keep the phone ringing? One answer, obviously, is marketing. But just what does marketing your practice actually involve?
Most talking professionals come to private practice without any grounding in marketing or promotion, and many of the people I work with tell me that this is one area where they are faced with a multitude of challenges and a very steep learning curve. They also find they are trying to decide what works best for them in getting their message across ... the choices appear almost overwhelming: websites, press advertising, fliers, letters to potential...
How did it get to December? Do you find yourself asking that question? Especially when you realise that you haven’t quite done all that was on your To-Do list for this year?
As the year winds to a close, it’s quite normal that we find ourselves reviewing what we’ve achieved with our businesses. This can sometimes leave us feeling a little frustrated at what we’ve not accomplished, but it is important, rather than getting hung up on possible negatives, that we give ourselves credit for what we have done, or that we acknowledge how much further along towards our goals we have been able to take things.
For example, maybe you planned to hit a certain income target but only managed to make 80% of that figure? But that’s 80% towards achieving your goal! That’s surely something to acknowledge and give yourself some credit for, right?
Or you had intended to offer a new service one day a week, but the demands on your time elsewhere means...
For my first Blog post, I've decided to recommend some reading that I think will be helful to anyone starting out in business for themselves. One of my favourite business books is Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited: Why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it", published by Harper Business, originally in 1995.
I first read it about ten years ago, and I find myself drawn back to it from time to time as I remind myself that my business needs me to actually pay attention to it for it to continue to thrive. That might sound like an oddly obvious statement, but the fact is that, for many people, once they start out in their own businesses, they become so all-consumed in the "doing" of their business, they fail to realise that there is more to their business than them just "doing what they do".
In fact, for many, within a very short time, the “doing” of their business becomes something different to what they originally set out...
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Okay then, let's do this!