Money. Always a tricky topic to talk about because for some reason people assume because we help people we should do it for free! So, the question is can you really make money working as a therapist?
Can you really make money as a therapist? The short answer is yes, of course you can. Just like in any other business you can make money in your therapy business but there are some important things to keep in mind.
1. Charge what you’re worth and not what you think people will pay
Pricing is tricky and often we look around at other therapists in our area to see what they charge. We wonder if we’re too expensive or too cheap, we offer discounts and tasters and offers. Honestly, I tried them all and I still couldn’t find enough clients/money. The important thing is to charge what you’re worth and show clients that investing in your therapy is worth it.
Think about the training you’ve paid for, the CPD, the insurance, room hire, utilities – and that’s even before a client steps into your office. You need to find a price you’re comfortable with and stick to it. When clients see that you really can help, when they feel like you get what they’re going through, when they see that you have helped other people just like them then they will happily pay what you charge. Remember, you need to show them those things through your marketing everyday so that they see you are worth the investment.
2. Take deposits
Your time is important. You might have hired a room, done some prep work, traveled to the session – all before you’ve been paid a penny, so it’s important that you clients that you value your time and take deposits.
You can choose the amount and you can take them through Paypal really easily but taking them means you will minimise clients cancelling at the last minute or worse not showing up at all. You need a clear cancellation policy on your website so clients know if they cancel with less than 24/48 hours notice then they will loose their deposit.
Don’t expect clients to pay a ‘cancellation charge’ after they have cancelled with short notice – they won’t ever pay but if you take the deposit before the session then they are much more likely to turn up on the day. Taking deposits doesn’t make you a ‘bad person’ and if clients argue about paying one you can probably guarantee they won’t show up on the day.
3. Make a plan
Do you know how much you want to earn this year? Do you know how much that is a month? Do you know how many clients that is? Often as therapists we simply focus on the next client and we don’t look at the bigger picture but focusing on that can keep our business small. We think about the £50 from the next client or the £200 you will earn this week but how much is that over the month? Is it enough to pay your bills? Is it an amount you can live on and do the things you want to do or is it simply allowing you to survive?
Having a plan can really shift things in your business. Where do you need to put your focus to bring those clients in this month? Have you talked about your therapy services and what you have to sell this month? Have you had loads of inquiries but none have booked in and what changes can you make to change that?
Spend some time at the start of each month hatching a plan, look at where you need to focus your energy, look at how you can make buying your therapy skills easier so clients can do it and check back at the end of the month to see whether you’ve met your goals for the month and what needs to change to hit them the following month. I promise, having a plan will help you make big shifts in your business and in your income.
4. Think about the future
What if you’re ill, what if you break a bone, what if the house floods or the kids are off school? How do you earn money when you are thing you sell in your business?
No one wants to think about ‘what if’ but if you don’t and something happens you and your business will struggle. For me, my what if was my Dad being diagnosed with terminal cancer. I couldn’t work, I didn’t want to work because I wanted to spend time with him while I could and so I didn’t. Luckily for me I had built my business in a way that it could support me while I stepped away from the business but I couldn’t have done that a couple of years ago.
We sell out time for money so if you can’t put the time in, you can’t make any money so we need to think of ways to secure our income into the future so that if we need to take a break we can.
The first thing to think about is offering clients payment plans. If you sell client packages of sessions rather than single sessions you can then offer payment plans. For example, I knew that I needed 4 sessions to rid someone of their anxiety. A single session was £95 but 4 sessions were £300 so they got a slight discount (the only way they would get one) and then they could spread the payments over 3 months. You can set this up in Paypal using their subscription button and then Paypal sets the payment up and takes it every month. Again, don’t expect people to transfer the money over to you or bring cash each month as they won’t – take the complication out of it buy automating it through Paypal.
Offering payment plans makes it easier for people to say yes but also helps you secure your income into future months so you know next month you’ve already earned £x from your target. Yay!
The other option is to create online therapy programmes. Think about who you help and what they’re struggling with and think about how you can help them with that by creating an online therapy programme that they can use and access from home. Again, you can offer payment plans for these which secure your income into the future but also you can use these online programmes to help boost your income. You can sell them to people from all over the world, to people who couldn’t or wouldn’t step into your office and you can earn money while you’re not working. These sorts of programmes saved my business when I was struggling (you can read my penniless to pancakes story here) and brought money into my business so I could spend some precious time with my dad and take time out when I lost him.
Don’t think that these programmes devalue your therapy talents, they simply open them up to more people and help you supplement your income and take the pressure of finding face to face clients every month.
5. Remember to sell
We post memes, share stories, tell them we can help with their thing but we forget to sell. Often when therapists tell me they aren’t making money I ask them when was the last time you told anyone you have something they can buy?
Don’t assume that someone will see your lovely meme and go to your Facebook page or your website and find out more because typically they won’t. You have to put the information in front of them. Talk about working with you, talk about the packages you offer, share testimonials, tell them how much they can charge but that you offer payment plans, talk about what it would feel like to get rid of their thing in just 4 hours (obviously insert your own number of hours in there). Talk about the benefits of working with you, the outcomes you’ll help them achieve and why it’s worth the investment.
You can’t sell your therapy talents or book people into your diary if they don’t know what you have to offer.
So, in short yes you can absolutely make money in your therapy business but you need to realise what your talents are worth, you need to show clients that you are worth the investment and you need to remind them that you have something they can buy. Hatch a plan for the next month, work out where to put your focus, think about securing your income into the future so it takes the stress out of things and lets start bringing some well deserved money into your business.