I was chatting this week with a few holistic practitioners and found myself communicating this message over and over again: You must say no now, so you can say yes later.
Early in the life cycle of your practice you are interested in getting business in the door. You are out hustling and will do pretty much anything to stir up some activity to begin working with patients and putting together treatment plans to help them heal. You will say yes to everything.
You say yes to a lower price. You say yes to a discount for a friend. You offer to speak to a local group. You say yes to a fellow practitioner to share a space with you even though you were not planning on it. You say yes to anything you believe will make it happen, advertising in the local mailer, co-hosting an event with another practitioner, packages, report of findings, etc. Anything.
Then at some point something changes. You are overwhelmed and you still are not making the money you desire. You are exhausted and feeling completely alone while wondering what to do next.
The good news, your business is picking up.
The bad news, you are in an endless cycle with no plan. It’s time for course correction! Here are my recommendations:
ALOT of activity is not a strategy. Instead focus on activities that provide you the opportunity to be in front of your ideal clients.
Avoid the copy cat mentality. Many practitioners see their peers having great success and want to copy what they are doing. What works for one does not always apply to another. Definitely look to colleagues and other business owners outside your industry for inspiration but adapt their ideas to fit your business.
As you test different marketing ideas, measure them. If you are not seeing results, change course.
Develop a plan for your business that fits your lifestyle and goals. This will provide you clear focus on where you are going and why – which in turn allows you to make better business decisions and say no to opportunities that do not align with your goals positioning you to say yes later.
Saying no is a skill you need as a wellness business owner and practitioner. As I mentioned, in the beginning we are so anxious to say yes to everything. This is not my recommended approach, but often the case.
As you become more established and successful in your practice, more opportunities will present themselves. Developing the skills early on to determine what aligns with your plan, goals and dreams will most certainly position you to let go of the good opportunities so you can become great.
What is stopping you as a holistic practitioner from making the money you desire and deserve? You!
Your mindset around money is a critical success factor! The sad truth is that most holistic practitioners are struggling to believe they are worth it. Most of you would rather work more hours than charge more.
I am 99.9% confident that one or more of these scenarios describe where you are at:
You are charging too little for your services, period.
You are charging less for your services because your are a new practitioner.
You have not increased your price, ever. Or at least not in the past two years.
You are afraid to charge more than the other practitioners in you area.
You may have a premium price but you are providing a discount to almost everyone.
You do not have a premium price and you are discounting.
You are not charging clients when they no show.
After my first year in business I raised my price 33%! I am happy to report not one of my clients left and my cash based practice continued to grow. I actually did not believe it at the time because I was already getting top dollar as a new practitioner, but my coach urged me to increase the price. Smart guy that coach of mine.
It’s not just me. I was working with a massage therapist who also does acupuncture. She wanted to stop doing massage to alleviate the physical demands and focus on her acupuncture practice. Instead of losing this valuable clientele, we decided raising her price 23% would provide her the income needed to make space for a few massage clients but weed out any price shoppers thus making more space for acupuncture and placing less physical demands on her.
I also had the pleasure of chatting with an acupuncturist who is fully booked but still not making the money she desires. Her approach initially was to consider expanding her space and adding a practitioner. After further discussion we determined raising her price 19% would get her the money she desired (30K more per year!) without the added pressure of expanding – especially since she was extremely drained and not 100% sure expanding was what she wanted.
If you are struggling to make the money you desire (and deserve!) in your holistic practice, I challenge you to stop looking outward for the answers and instead evaluate what is going on inside! It is highly likely your relationship and attitude about money is holding you back.
First, let’s talk about why we all decide to become healers. Most of us describe feeling inside, a passion and desire to help people. Some of us have struggled with our own health concerns and want to ensure others do not have to do the same. There is also a group who have had the privilege of growing up in a home where alternative approaches were embraced and they want to continue to cultivate this lifestyle personally and professionally.
We all arrive with the understanding we will help people. We study endlessly our modality and work very hard to become the expert. We do this because we are passionate.
Once we arrive at graduation, the next step is to get out in to the marketplace and build a business (does this make you cringe?). Since many of our modalities are not quite mainstream and often not covered by insurance, we find there is a lot of hustle that needs to take place (yes, it is true) to build a practice and make the money we desire and deserve.
I have been talking to practitioners all week about this hustle. It’s tough, the road is bumpy, and it is difficult to see clearly. This is NOT a unique issue, but there is one BIG problem I have identified.
Most of you (dare I say 99%) are looking to address this problem by going back to school. Every one I speak to is thinking about another certification, learning another modality or taking an advanced course. Most of you believe if you could just offer one more service, have another letter behind your name or be able to say you are the expert because you have a certificate – that your practice will be fully booked.
Please stop this madness.
In my experience, and the very wise coaches and colleagues I am surrounded by, this is not the answer.
The reason you are not fully booked, the reason you are not making the money you desire or deserve is likely due to one or all of the reasons below:
You have a money block
You are not asking for referrals
You have not identified your ideal client
You do not have a plan
You are charging too little
You have a fear of failure (or success)
You are paralyzed by feeling overwhelmed
You have unfocused marketing efforts
I challenge you to address these areas and invest in education or coaching for YOU before you work on your next level of expert. Holistic Practitioners: become an expert in the business of YOU.
Looking back, would you go out on your own and start a business as a holistic practitioner?
If given a choice, 84% of all small business owners say they would do it all over again. This is an extremely positive outlook as published in this recent article at Entrepreneur.com.
What is not so positive are the statistics showing 56% of small business owners feel like they cannot be away from their business or 51% say they cannot focus on themselves. No vacations (43%), no cash flow (41%) and not enough time with family and friends (40%).
Why are we doing this?
I used to be the other 16% that would not do it again….until things changed for me.
Initially, I did feel like I could not be away from my holistic practice. I spent all my free time working in and on my business. After a short time, I realized this would put me in the patient seat feeling sick, unhappy or both.
I quickly understood the importance of taking time away and eventually took four weeks at a time away from my practice. The result, better patient interactions, happier practitioner and increased cash flow!
The truth is, cash flow is a MAJOR concern for holistic practitioners and this is why you struggle to take time away. MOST OF YOU are making the #1 fatal error – charging too little for your services.
Getting clear with who you serve and why and developing laser focused marketing to target these ideal clients allows for premium prices! Premium prices means increased cash flow, time away and vacations with friends and/or family. Plus the ability to get intimate with you, find your creative space, connect with what you truly desire and take care of yourself.
This is a small glimpse of why I include myself in the 84% who would do it all over again. YOU can be the 84% percent too.
Owning a holistic practice should include some hustle, times of stretch, growth, defeat, and even failure. All that is NORMAL.
In the process, there should be time away, fabulous vacations if your desire, time with your family and friends, and down time for yourself.