We are therapists, so sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves as business owners. We are so focused on getting that next client booked in that we don’t realise some of the stuff we are doing is costing us money and turning our business into an expensive hobby. So how do you make sure you have your business cap on rather than running an expensive therapy biz hobby?
So what stuff do you need to be doing in your therapy biz to make sure it’s not costing you money and becoming an expensive hobby?
Don’t give your time away for free
Yes, we want to get to know potential clients and make sure we can help them, but giving away loads of your time in free consultation, long email conversations or phone inquiries can be a real drain on your business.
Think about it – if you have 5 new clients inquire each month and you offer each one a 30 minute free consultation (and you usually charge £60 per session) those free consultations have just cost you £150.
I’m not saying don’t spend time chatting with potential clients but try to make each consultation 10 or 15 minutes. Have a video of what it’s like to work with you and what to expect in a session on your website where you can direct people who are interested in knowing more. Include a frequently asked questions page on your site. Include your testimonials on your website as well. By having these resources available on your website, clients will feel like they have connected with you before they even inquire and by the time they contact you they will have already made their mind up that you are the therapist for them and you’re not wasting time (and money) trying to convince them.
Take deposits and have a cancellation policy
I speak to lots of therapists who complain about last minute cancellations or no show clients. The room is already booked, you’ve spent time preparing and then it’s all for nothing. The only way to avoid this is to take non refundable deposits and have a clear cancellation policy on your website (and email it to clients when they sign up to work with you so you know they have seen it) that states if a session is cancelled 24 (or 48 – it’s up to you) hours before then the client will loose their deposit.
Taking deposits doesn’t make you look unprofessional, in fact it shows that you are serious about your time and what it’s worth.
You can decide how much deposit to take (just make sure it means you’re not left out of pocket if a client doesn’t show up) and then you can Paypal to take the payment.
Have targets and track them
As therapists we usually just focus on getting clients booked into the diary. We have no annual income goals or monthly targets and that can mean our business grows stale and those bookings start to dry up. It’s important to have monthly and annual targets and then track them every month so we can keep an eye on our business and celebrate as we watch it grow.
Some targets could include: how much money do you want to make this year, how many clients do you want to see each month, how many people do you want to add to your mailing list, how many new likes on FB, how many FB lives do you want to do or blogs do you want to write. By having targets it means you are actively trying to bring new people to your business and these are all potential new clients for you to work with.
Do you accounts
I know, I know. We all hate them but remember how stressed you were in January when you left it all until the last minute. If you do them every month you can keep them up to date but also you will have a better idea of how much Mr (or Miss) taxman will take from you and you can put some aside each month rather than being hit by a huge tax bill.
It doesn’t need to be overly complicated – just an Excel spreadsheet that tracks your incoming earnings and your outgoings and expenses.
Pop time in your diary at the start of each month to look at your targets, tracking and your expenses and you will feel like a proper business owner.
Automate to make life easier
I LOVE automation. It makes life so much easier. But what stuff can you automate?
- You can have an online diary so clients can book in with you, which saves all that email backwards and forward-ness that happens with a new client. I use youcanbookme.
- Take payments on-line. Now I use Simplero which takes payments for me and houses all my online programmes. I LOVE it, but it does come at a cost each month. But you can easily do it through Paypal – you can take deposits, set up payment plans or one off payments and you can add the links easily to your website or even an email you send to clients.
- A welcome email – I have one of these set up and I email it to anyone who inquires. It has links to my diary, a payment link, my terms and conditions, plus info about where I am based and how to find me. It means everyone gets all the info they need and I don’t have to type it out everytime.
You are a wonderfully talented therapist, but it’s so important that you pop your business owner hat on regularly so that you can run a business and not own an expensive hobby.