Creating a Successful Private Practice in 2017: People NEED You!

Creating a Successful Private Practice in 2017: People NEED You!

Do you believe that your community needs you in private practice? I do. Start to look around as you go about your day and you will see lots of people who could benefit from the work that you do. Or, you could dig into some of the data out in the world! And while non-profits and agencies can meet some of the need, a lot of people would benefit from private practice services. 

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The Best Social Media Platform for 2016

The Best Social Media Platform for 2016

You are running a business. You have a million responsibilities and sometimes your to-do list can feel like it is a mile long. You want to have a healthy business and get regular clients contacting you... and everybody says social media is where it's at... 

There are Hundreds of Social Media Sites

Actually, there may be more than that. You can't possibly have time to learn and devote energy to every one of them. And, nobody has the budget to pay someone to be on all of them! So, in 2016, focusing your budget (whether it be time, energy, or money) on the RIGHT social media platform is incredibly important. 

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5 Awesome Social Media Resources for Therapists

5 Awesome Social Media Resources for Therapists

We had over 300,000 people see our information on Pinterest alone. Can you imagine how that kind of exposure could impact your counseling practice? 

The truth is, you aren't advertising your counseling practice, you are just making it easy for people who desperately need you - to find you! Have you ever run into the store for 3 quick items only to get lost in a maze of poorly marked aisles or items tucked away on end caps? It is frustrating to know exactly what you want, and what you need- and not be able to find it! 

This week as our Spring 2015 bootcampers are completing their JumpStart program, several of them are already scheduling clients from a few simple exercises on LinkedIn- without paying a dime for ads, or doing anything crazy. Social media is a powerful way that you can make it easy for clients to find you! Here are 5 resources on social media to get your social media plan on track! 

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Twitter Social Media Challenge for Therapists

Do you like twitter? Me neither. Ok... maybe that isn't completely true. But, if I'm being completely honest with you- I don't LOVE twitter. 

I LOVE relationship building and connecting with awesome therapists across the world. That I LOVE! And, for a long time I haven't been sure how to use twitter to do that. However, the more I play and connect- the more fun I have. 

I have good news for you too! I DO know how to help you connect with clients in your area! 

How cool is that? And, maybe this process of helping teach you that skill will help me meet some more awesome therapists and counsellors on twitter so I can LOVE it ;0) Win/Win! 

A few steps to turning twitter into a practice builder, and away from a time suck: 

  1. Search Twitter for people who live around you. Put in your city name, or even try a "hashtag" like #losangeles #newportbeach or #modesto

  2. Follow people who look vaguely interesting. They don't even have to look really interesting for now (you can unfollow them if they are creepy or boring, etc. )

  3. Say hello to these people and ask them about them. Just like in a face to face conversation- just talking about yourself isn't groovy.

  4. As people get to know you, share your passion and heart.

  5. Practice the 80/20 rule- 80% awesome information and engagement written in a way that engages your ideal client, 20% actually talking about what you do.

  6. Consider connecting with potential referral sources, supporters, and people you can encourage in your area.

  7. Focus on developing real life connections from online contacts. Don't just be "twitter friends" meet people in person, chat on the phone- you will be shocked at what can develop!

  8. Be a force for good. Do you see something important being talked about on twitter that needs a therapists' insight? Give it! Be the person who doesn't talk about world problems- share real solutions!

Your turn. What are your twitter questions? What are your twitter tips for therapists? Maybe just share your twitter handle below and who you like to connect with! 

Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!

Therapists Need Vacations Too: Recharging So You Can Respond

Most therapists dream about more vacation time. Well, therapist or not, who would say no to more time for relaxation and recharging?

In the European Union, workers are mandated to receive at least 20 working days per year. In Australia, the minimum is 20 days of vacation + 10 public holidays paid. America is the one of the most “anti-vacation” nations in the developed world with employers not being required to give a single paid vacation day or holiday.

Many therapists working in America are exposed to the idea that time off is a perk. So, it is no wonder that therapists don't always hold time off as something necessary. In fact, according to our private practice analysis survey, only 67% believe that therapists in private practice need regular vacations. That means that about a third of therapists don’t believe that taking time off is necessary!

But do therapists specifically need this time off?

Is it a necessity that therapists in private practice should plan for vacations when developing their business plan? Should therapists arrange their fees in such a way that they could take several weeks off each year? What would happen to a therapist's private practice if they started to consistently take vacation time? 

Why is vacation time important?

1. Compared to others around the globe, Americans get less time to spend to relax, de-stress and really focus on preserving their health. Is it any wonder that we have more health and stress related illness in the US? 

2. The field of mental health is a little different to other fields in that it demands certain things that sometimes simply can’t be fixed by a single weekend of good sleep.

What makes therapy different?

Therapists are dealing with emotional baggage and the emotional energy they give isn’t something they can just conjure up when they want to. The emotional connections and rapport that therapists form are obviously crucial, natural elements of what they do, but their energy to do so isn’t unlimited.

Many therapists emotionally invest with 20 people (or more) per week--that’s 20 sets of problems, emotions, and lives that they are accountable for every week! You are a therapist. You know how inspiring your work is. However, you also know how much it takes out of you. You have to be completely present to do great work!

So do therapists need vacations?

Yes! Absolutely! Therapists need to recharge and restore some of that emotional energy that they naturally have in order to be better clinicians to those who seek their help. And yes, this means taking extended periods off where you are not responsible for anybody else for several days in a row!

Where does this leave therapists? How can you make time to recharge those emotions so you can respond to the need around you?

The awesome thing is that if you are in private practice, you are in control of your paid days and your vacation days. Well, your entire business really! In private practice, it IS possible to fit in that vacation time.

Does your private practice allow you to have regular vacations?

Here are some elements that are crucial in creating your dream practice and unlocking that extra time you need to spend with you family, friends, and with yourself.

  • First you need to have a clear business plan developed. That plan should include a business savings account and vacation time.

  • Second, you need to be bringing in your ideal clients. These clients will be people who actually want to work with and will pay you for your worth.

  • You need to be able to convey your value during your initial phone contact so you are getting paid what you are worth.

  • You need to be great at what you do! And yes, having regular time off for vacations and trainings is part of what allows you to be great!

That being said, these elements are not as easy to implement as they are to write about!

The private practice analysis survey further revealed that:

  • A third of therapists don’t know how to market their practice.

  • 14% have the perfect number of clients coming in.

  • 13% have a business plan for their private practice.

 

Sara Wong

I am a Senior at the University of Washington from Perth, Western Australia studying International Studies with a focus on International Political Economy. I love coming into contact with other cultures and learning new languages especially since I think the world needs to explored--all of it! Music is one of my loves and the only thing one of the only things I will deli

Social Media is a Worthless Time Suck

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I got invited to talk about social media to a group of psychotherapists. Guess what the majority of therapists think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Media in general- that's right: Time Suck!

And I will be honest- for many business owners I see using social media- it is a time suck and a distraction from running their business. While for others, it makes them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Are some business owners just lucky?

No. While they may have stumbled on to how to do socially media effectively- it isn't luck. So what is it?

I have the secret that turns social media from a time suck to business building. And it isn't rocket science. Any business owner can do it! How cool is that?

#1. Know Your Client

#2. Be Intentional

Let's tackle "know your client" first. I know on the surface this sounds simple. However, I talk to business owners everyday that are stumped. Why is all this time I'm putting in not doing anything?

Again and again, I find passionate, inspired business owners being bland online. They want to be as inviting and inclusive to everyone- so they speak to no one.

Do you really know why your clients choose you when you get them on the phone or in person? Do you understand what makes them call YOU in the first place? If you don't, it is hard to be authentic and "you" when using social media. And bringing that authentic, professional out to the community is what people need to see. 

Second thing that gets missed? Be intentional. It is really important for you to understand your potential client's experience and make the process as easy as possible for them. In other words, you need to understand deeply the "conversion" process. What takes someone from "looking" to "buying" or from "maybe" to "scheduling?" 

I have done trainings for years. I have a great reputation as a speaker. People remember me. Sometimes years later those people purchase my services. Years. Later. 

At the close of a session with 38 people registered this last Saturday- I had  about 33 people sign-up for my newsletter- over 25 signed up an upcoming free training. Twenty asked for information about a free consultation. 

As people came forward to hand me their "sign-up" sheets an attendee came up and said "so this is what you mean by conversion?" Yes. Yes it is.

While my training style has probably improved over the years- the most striking difference is that Kelly and I have been more intentional about understanding the conversion process and making it easier for us to get to know potential clients.

Getting potential clients calling us and wanting to work with us is really fun. And, it means we get to pick the best and brightest clients to work with. We don't feel like we are desperate or chasing- and that means we only work with people we absolutely adore! 

Do you know what that translates to? Clients who are passionate, ready for change, and who get intentional with getting their vision out there fast. 

We just started one of our 8 week marketing bootcamps- and 4 days in we have clients signing up full fee clients and one selling an amazing program at the pricetag of $3,000-something this person hadn't even dreamed of being possible. How cool is that? We are so proud of the way our clients dig in and are ready to rock- and that isn't an accident! More than half of the people in our current program found us through our social media strategy! What would it mean for you if you could have twice as many clients? Or, if all of your clients were awesome and passionate?

It is in these moments that the vision of my life becomes more and more clear. Who are you passionate about helping? And no, "anybody who will give me money" isn't a good answer. Or at least, it isn't an answer that is going to make social media worth your investment of time, energy, or money. ONLY use social media if you are truly passionate, have a clear audience, and you are ready to be intentional. 

Social media is as powerful and effective as the person who is using it. Tap into your power! Share below who you are truly passionate about helping. Share the most important thing you can teach these individuals. 

Therapists & Social Media: Fear, Connection, and Rejection

Therapists & Social Media: Fear, Connection, and Rejection

Kelly Higdon, LMFT and I (Miranda Palmer, LMFT) just got back from meeting with an awesome group of therapists at the CAMFT 2013 conference. Actually, it has been a little over a week since we returned. 

And guess what, I am still inspired! This is one of the great benefits of networking- making real personal connection and creating a community. 
Kelly and I tried something a little different this year. We have been making some awesome connections with therapists on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter- and the CAMFT Community boards- and we wanted to find a way to translate that into the personal connection. 
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Facebook Basics: Smart Use of Facebook for Small Business Owners

Using Facebook for business is all the hype right now. Why? In short, because it can be a huge part of building a business! But how does it actually work?

Navigating Facebook can be incredibly tricky, especially when it is changing daily! We hear lots of nightmares about it not working- and nobody wants to waste their time on stuff that doesn't work.

ZynnyMe wants to help you understand the benefits of Facebook and how to avoid the pitfalls (spending too much time, having all of your personal data revealed, etc.)

I hope you will consider joining us for our FREE upcoming Facebook Basics Page. We won't just TALK about Facebook- we will SHOW you how it works! Register here!

Already on Facebook, join the conversation here. We give you the breaking Facebook news as it happens!

Smart Social Networking for REAL People

What do you mean? What is smart social networking for real people? These are people like me and you that would rather be in the garden, at lunch with a friend, or dancing then "tweeting." These are people who are on Facebook because they want to keep up with family and friends- not because they are interested in marketing 12 hours a day! Ok, so if you are are a real person- read on!

What is Smart Social Networking?

Smart Social Networking is focused, purposeful, time saving use of Facebook, Twitter, or some other fancy site for a specific purpose.

Social networking is a wonderful, low-cost (or no-cost) way of expanding the people you know, your referral sources, and keeping you "top of mind" with potential customers or referrals sources.

Many business owners are fearful of falling down the "social networking rabbit hole!" Sitting on Facebook or Twitter all day is not usually good for your business, your health, or your relationships! If you are considering delving into social networking like Facebook, Twitter, etc. you just need to do it in a smart way!

Here are some things that are required to go into social media the smart way:

  1. A basic, but clear understanding of the purpose, function, and culture of these sites.

  2. Putting some of your worry and anxiety away so you can have a little fun with it!

  3. A clear focus in your business- maybe even <gasp> a business plan!

  4. A clear understanding of your business and your customers.

  5. A basic understanding of why and how people make the decision to do business with you.

  6. Some time to play and practice on these sites to have a hands on, kinesthetic understanding.

  7. A knowledge of tools and options that can make things easier so you can decide what would work best for you!

What does it not require:

  1. Sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day.

  2. Purchasing a smart phone (although this can make things easier).

  3. Being young, technologically savvy, or an expert on the subject.

  4. Spending a lot of money.

I hope this quick blog post gives you hope that you CAN use this low-cost or no-cost advertising tool. I would love to hear your questions about social networking, Facebook, Twitter, etc. below. We are in the midst of putting together an online Facebook class that is video based to help where people get stuck again and again!

Until next time: Zynny Says: "If it doesn't save you time, save you money, or make your life better- what is the point?"

Should Therapist Facebook Business Pages Allow CheckIns?

So, you are a therapist who is comfortable with technology, or one that someone convinced to get a Facebook business page. What about Facebook Places? You might be asking yourself questions like? What is Facebook Places? Can I turn off people's ability to check-in with me?
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