Before we start the interview, I just want to thank Nicole for doing this for us. I met Nicole through a business support group and she offered to look at my private practice website and show me how she helps therapists. I was blown away by her insights and skills. We aren't an affiliate (sometimes people wonder about that sort of thing). We simply want to share an amazing resource when we find it. Thanks Nicole! You rock!
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Nicole Bonsol—I’m a writer, graphic designer and the founder of WriteBrave.com.
I help therapists (and other folks who make the world a better place) create websites that excite and inspire. I love writing, I love designing, and most of all I love helping people get more confident in their businesses by creating a website they love.
Before I founded Write Brave, I was a non-profit manager here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I developed a therapeutic afterschool program for school-aged kids, then ran a Drop-In Center for young adults coping with serious mental illness
Tell us how you got into helping therapists with their writing:
I loved working at a community-based mental health agency, but deep down I’d always wondered what it would be like to be a professional writer and artist. Wouldn’t it be exciting to own my own business? So I saved up a safety net, and left my job to be free from the 9-to-5 grind.
I’d been writing on and off as a freelancer for almost 10 years, so I decided to start my own business as a general ghostwriter/copywriter. I was in the middle of a real estate writing job when I started to feel burned out. I realized it was because I felt like my work wasn’t contributing to making the world a better place anymore.
I was free, but I wasn’t happy.
I don’t remember when the light bulb moment happened, but I soon realized how much power I had in choosing my clients. When I realized that power, I decided to only work with healers and helpers—people who were compassionate and committed to decreasing suffering in our world.
Why do you love working with therapists?:
Besides the reasons I just mentioned above, I get a charge from working to change things that I perceive to be unjust.
I just DON’T want to live in a world where Wall Street bankers have solid gold rubbish bins, while most counselors feel buried under their grad school debt. Therapists and counselors are undervalued today, but I believe we can change that by helping people become more confident in their businesses.
I love your site. Write Brave. What does write brave mean to you?:
On the surface WriteBrave.com is about creating a standout website for your practice, but on a deeper level it's about loosening the chains of your perceived imperfections, doing what scares you, and embracing your guiding truths.
What is your truth? Your message? Your purpose?
I’ve found that homing in on my own purpose has been a bit of magic for my business. For the longest time I thought that to be a professional writer and writing coach, I had to be PERFECT. I had to have it all figured out before I could help people.
The truth was that I didn’t have it all figured out, but that was OK. I could still use my gifts to be of service to people. I could still “write brave”. That truth became my message and my purpose as a business owner.
Having a clear message keeps me inspired AND attracts the people I really want to work with.
Why is writing such an important part of owning a private practice?:
Whether it’s on your own website or on your Psychology Today profile, clients are forming their first impressions of you through your writing.
As a consumer/client, finding a therapist you connect with can be so tedious and taxing. Why not make it easy for the clients who want to work with you by letting your personality and counseling style shine through your profile?
What are some common issues that therapists have when it comes to writing?:
One of the most common myths is that injecting your personality into your writing isn’t “professional”. I think therapists believe that particular myth because they see a lot of life coaches whose websites feature a lot of swearing or “girl talk”.
I want people to know that your writing can connect without compromising your boundaries. And I also want people to know that if you are the kind of therapist that drops the occasional F-bomb, that doesn’t mean you’re not professional.
Who do you love to help?:
My favorite clients are people who:
- Are expressive, soulful, and passionate about helping others who are hurting
- have invested significant time, energy and resources into their work as a healer because healing others is not just their job--it's their life's work. Their purpose.
- want their online presence to come as close as (non-humanly) possible to matching their warmth, and their spirit.
How do you help?
I provide free writing resources on my website. (They’re at www.writebrave.com/free-resources).
One of my favorite things to do is help people workshop their writing in real-time. I facilitate free online writing workshops once a month. Previous participants report that the most helpful thing about these workshops is that they get to create and tweak their writing right there in the moment. They get instant feedback from me and their peers. The things some people have written in that 60-90 minutes make me a little giddy sometimes. People feel supported enough to just go for it! I’m so grateful for this space.
I’m also in the middle of launching a new all-inclusive website package for healers. I’m really excited about it because over the course of six-months, we’ll develop a website that you can’t wait to show people. During the program we’ll answer questions like:
- How much do I talk about myself, and how much do I talk about my client on my website?
- What is my message?
- How do I write my Home/About/Services Pages?
- How do I make sure I'm writing in "my voice"? How do I work through Writer's Block?
- How do I structure my site so that client's find it easy and enjoyable to use?
- I want my site to inspire and provide value to my clients: how do I do that?
You’ll get graphic design services and one-on-one writing support from me. This program also has a significant peer support component to it. Space is limited to 7, and I’m currently accepting applications.
If a six-month deep dive isn’t what you need, I also provide writing support and graphic design services á la carte.
The first step to working together? Set up a free consult (www.meetme.so/writebrave). We’ll chat about what you need, and we can both figure out whether we’re a good match!
What do want to say to those struggling with their writing, or just aren't sure if their writing is doing what they want it to?:
If you’re not sure your writing is doing what you want it to do, I always encourage people to test it. Ask for feedback from your clients, an honest friend, your colleagues. Use free tools like Google Analytics to measure how many visitors come to your site and compare that to how many new clients are calling you. (If you get decent traffic, but no calls then something about your site isn’t connecting.)
There are lots of great and FREE resources out there for small business owners who need help with their writing. I provide free templates for your About Page and a Sales Page over on WriteBrave.com. (More templates to come and I take requests!) And when I get Writer’s Block, I personally go to Alexandra Franzen’s blog to get myself unstuck.
If you’re in a place where you can afford professional support, then hire a coach to help you. There are lots of different coaches out there, working in all these little niches: business, sales, writing, branding…the list goes on and on! Every therapist’s writing needs are different, and it’s important to work with someone whose work is a good match for what you need.
How can people find you?:
Online people can find me at WriteBrave.com. (Come by, say hi, get some free templates while you’re at it!)
Offline? These days you’d probably find me working at a café nursing a cappuccino (could I be more of a stereotypical writer?), in my kitchen roasting some vegetables (my veggie du jour is cauliflower…yum), or just outside my apartment taking a break under the redwood trees.