How many therapists and coaches do you know who are always working on their business, but also always have empty spaces, not enough clients, and are tight for money?
It's amazing how busy we can be without achieving much.
If that's you, you're not alone.
I've been there and rushed around from one thing to the next, hoping one would work. Been there, did that, couldn't afford the t-shirt 🙂
The only thing that saved me from continuing to do that was tracking results. It's like a religion with me, I track results, see what isn't working – drop that, see what is working – do more of that and refine it.
Yes, it's kind of nerdy 🙂 but it also lets me quickly see what is worth pursueing and build my success much more quickly than most people.
Here are 5 common assassins of success that many, many, therapists have encountered... (not me of course... well.. maybe a bit... some of them.... OK, all of them.... but I got better)
So, lets look at each of these and see how we can break through!
1. Offering our qualifications rather than solutions to problems.
Take out your business card, or brochure, or look at the front page of your website. Go on. You'll thank me for this in a bit 🙂
Now look at what you give the best space to – what do people see first?
For most people reading this, it will be the name of their qualification – Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist, Business Coach, Accupuncture, Reiki, etc.
Fair enough, but what does that say to someone? It says if you're looking for qualification X then I have X.
What about the people who have a problem but aren't already sure what type of help will benefit them most? Does your card/brochure/website tell them what you help solve, up front?
Which is more important? That you are trained in modality X, or that you help with the problems they experience?
Do people need to know our qualifications before they know what we help with? For example: Anxiety, Back Pain, Grief, Procrastination, etc.? When we tell people what we help, with they then, but only then, become interested in our qualifications.
Consider this: Do you tell someone 'how' you do something before you tell them 'what' you do?
We make decisions on need. Needs are specific and real, qualifications don't communicate specifics.
Taking this to heart makes everything easier in reaching more people who we can help.
2. Having no real message because of wanting to be all things to everyone.
“Helping with a broad variety of issues”
“Helping with all aspects of Mental Health”
“Coaching all your business needs”
These sort of approaches are so common, I did this at the start too, but they don't connect with anyone. When I was crushed with Depression and Anxiety, I didn't want help with a broad variety of issues, or all aspects of mental health. I wanted, and needed, someone to be about helping reduce Anxiety and Depression. The people who tried to cover my needs and everyone else's fail to reach many people at all! That's part of why I spent decades in those bad feelings.
It's tempting, but when we try to speak to everyone we have no message for anyone.
Talk about the most important things first, then talk about a few more, but at most 3 at a time.
Everyone I've seen do this has gotten busier. Resist the urge to be a broad offering. Help some specific people and it gets easier for everyone.
3. Fear of trying and being seen to fail.
'If I try and fail what will people think?' Is really just another way of saying 'I'll go for the slow agonising failure of not starting'. That's guaranteed failure, it just takes longer to face it.
We can all worry about 'what if I fail', but the reality is we will all have successes and failures. Roll enough dice and some win. Learn from what doesn't work and do more of what does.
If 9 out of 10 plans fail in a year, are we a failure? What if they were each a plan to make a Million Euro and only one worked, are we still a failure? What we achieve is real, the rest is a learning on the way.
If an advert doesn't work, I look at what can be improved. It becomes feedback rather than failure and I carry on. I failed a lot learning how to succeed. Posters, brochures, certain adverts, etc all had their ups and downs, but I learned and kept going.
What can we learn from not trying? And how many people will linger in suffering with no help, if we hold back?
Your desire to help people has to be greater than any fear of stepping forward to help.
I hope it is. I hope it matters more to you to help than to stay inside your comfort zone.
4. Fear of losing money.
If my start was typical, and I meet a lot of people with similar experiences, then being worried about losing money means we probably don't have much to lose 🙂
The reality is that advertising doesn't cost you money when it's working, it makes you money.
I held back on this a lot at the start while in practice. I had almost nothing in the bank (under €100 at one point), and was avoiding toll roads to and from training. I had very little to spend but if I hadn't invested some of the fees from my first month's clients into finding more, I would have had to fold.
These days advertising is cheaper than ever, and the psychology of connection is the same as ever. Tell people what you help, give them some reason to hope, ask them to act, make it easy for them to do so.
Put a little money behind it as you get comfortable with it. Then build to where you're booked to the level you want.
For some reason we'll spend more on office furniture, extra training, computers, phones and so on rather than spend a little bit on finding the people we can help. It's crazy, but it's natural.
Look at your expenses when setting up. Add them up. (I recommend you do this now on paper, you want to face this number so it can spur you on).
That's how much was spent on getting skills, a place to work, and communications equipment.
That's how much 'being ready' cost.
How much have you spent getting your skills to those in need?
That's your investment on actually helping people.
If we're losing money it goes fast, but how much income would offset that? That's how many people you need to find and help to be in a better position, one of strength that you can build on.
Realistically, a full time therapist should be earning tens of thousands of euro per year or they have to go back to a regular job just for money. Keep your eye on the prize as you get comfortable spending small amounts in order to earn greater amounts by helping more people.
Keep in mind the help people will get, the changes they make, the better lives you get to be part of, as it makes this easier.
5. Uncertainty about the most useful thing to do.
One down side to the current marketplace for advertising, is that it's vast. In the past, cards, flyers, and a newspaper advert were the main options. Now there's a lot more, and many of us find that bewildering. I certainly did at the start.
I hated the thought of having to be on social media. Now, it saves me thousands every year in advertising, lets me help a lot more people, and saves me time too.
However, the big thing to consider is that there are many ways to succeed. We don't need 'the-right-one' or to be perfect. We just need to be doing something that moves us in the right direction.
The 'Right thing to Do' is to start with what you can do and learn as you go.
The person who puts flyers out may only get a few clients, but that's more than what the person still worrying and holding back will get.
I've seen people do well from speaking to groups, from newspaper advertising, from Facebook, from LinkedIn and more.
Some are easier than others, some take training or experience, but all take effort and a willingness to try.
Until you're taking effort to put your message out there you're saying 'I don't want to help anyone'. It might feel like you're saying 'I'm getting round to it', or 'I'm building options' but the reality for the person in need of your help right now, is that you're 'closed' to them.
Start, begin, strive, act! Do what you can. Tell friends if nothing else. Then do something different. We have as many shots at this as we give ourselves. No one is keeping score other than ourselves. Count successes, learn from everything else.
Please keep sharing your help!
Every best wish for success,
Let us know if you want to stay up to date:
John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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