Basics of Starting Your Practice.
While completing my psychotherapy program, I was eager and excited to start my practice and share my skills with the world. I pictured myself sitting in a large and beautiful office listening to my clients. As I was writing my exams I knew I was great, but then it dawned on me that no one else knew that! Who will see me at my big beautiful office? How would my future clients even know that I exist?
This is one of the most vital questions you have to ask yourself. Being great at what you do is a key part of your success, but letting others know about yourself is also equally important.
Here is an outline of a few steps that I believe will help you to establish the beginning of a successful practice.
Step # 1.
Get a website! In this day and age people use Internet and Google for everything! To have a solid presence on the net is of the upmost importance. It takes months for Google to index and rank your website. This is why you shouldn’t delay. First thing first, get a domain name. You can choose a pretty one, such as ascend.com or pathwaytohealing.com, but I suggest you choose the name that is clear and easy to understand. Think what would people type in the Google search bar to find your service? For example, my clinic’s website is HolisticHealthClinic.ca and my personal practice is under TorontoHolisticPsychotherapy.com. If the desired name is not available, don’t worry – get creative.
Make some research and find more information about website ranking, keywords and meta tags, and search engine optimization tools. At first it may seem overwhelming, but it is quite simple – through Google you will find easy to understand articles and forums where you can get all the information you need. If you can afford it, you can hire a professional to get your site on the top pages of Google. Prices can range from $500 to $2,000 per month, and it takes about 6 to 8 months to get higher ranking.
Make sure your website is user-friendly, and information is easy to find. Besides your bio and credentials, include some health tips for the visitors, articles about the benefits of the services you provide and other interesting or pertinent for them information. Again, you can do that yourself by using templates (try ) or you can hire a professional website designer.
Create a plan and a budget. Where would you like to work? Rent an office in a commercial plaza? Or a room at a wellness centre or a spa? Maybe an office in a conventional medical centre? Or work from home office? Would you like to find a holistic clinic where they have a 70/30 split agreement? How much rent can you afford? What business structure works best for you: sole proprietor, partnership or corporation? Who will do your bookkeeping and accounting? What professional associations will you choose? What licenses, permits and insurance do you need to obtain? What business name you will choose to register? What about business cards and brochures? Make three plans: business plan, financial plan and marketing plan.
Here are a few ideas you may want to consider in your marketing plan:
– Create a monthly or quarterly online newsletter to spread the word about yourself. Start with friends and family, your family doctor, hairdresser and so on, and begin to expand your database. Visit ConstantContact.com or Google other newsletter sites – they are full of tips and advice on e-mail marketing.
– Create Facebook business page. Nowadays everyone is on Facebook –you should be there too! Mashables.com has great tutorials on how to use social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
– Inquire in libraries, private gyms and other places if you could present free talks on health and wellness – it is a great way to introduce your services and get potential clients intrigued!
– Research all the health and wellness tradeshows in GTA and make a point to visit them all. Learn what is going on in the city and meet other health practitioners. You may also want to consider participating at some of the tradeshows in the future.
– Attend networking parties and everywhere you go talk about yourself! Create a short prepared speech of about 3-4 sentences long, in which you clearly and in a concise manner communicate what Check our website you do, check here who you are doing this for, and how you are unique. There is nothing worse than to stutter when describing your passion!
A few last words of encouragement: The secret to success is Excitement, Enthusiasm and Desire! Having all that, you will LOVE the long hours more information and consistent effort you put into this venture. Loving what you do and doing what you love is key! Some people find marketing somewhat of a challenge, but you will learn to enjoy that as well, because you are sharing what you believe in and love with others. As Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!”