To be blunt, we’re often lying to ourselves. It can be convincing, but there are a lot of lies and self- delusions in most therapists minds.
I don’t have the money to advertise,
People don’t want my type of help,
I don’t have the time to write posts and advertise,
I’ll post when I finish it, It needs to be perfect, I’ll get to it later,
I’m a professional therapist (even though I have next to no clients and no money), etc…
The worry goes on:
Can I pay the bills?
Can I support my family?
Can I find clients?
They turn to self-doubt and self-judgement swiftly.
I’m not good enough,
I need a different therapy or coaching type to be busy,
It’s not possible to be successful, etc.
I'm training thousands of therapists across the globe and the fears are the same. So are the excuses.
Here are 7 of the most common and most destructive. Please be honest as you look at them. If they apply, take note and make changes. People need your help. It’s win / win when we get our message out there – they get help, we get paid. The world gets a bit better for everyone when we do this well.
1. No one want’s my type of help
I hear this a lot. People saying things like ‘I’ve been talking about Positive Psychology for years and no one wants it”. “I’ve tried everything, but no one wants Reiki”, and so on.
I know loads of successful people in all types of therapy and coaching. They find people who do want their help. It’s about how we connect with people, rather than what we’re offering at the start.
As I write this, I have a 6-week waiting list. I don’t tell people what method I use in what I put out to the world. I’m all about the issue they have rather than the method. I talk about anxiety. When I connect with people they come for help. Usually they only ask how, when they are in the treatment room with me.
No one cares about our method as much as their primary question: “Can you help me?”
There are more people in need of help than we can ever meet the needs of. Be about reducing problems and I think you’ll find people will want your help.
2. There’s too much competition.
No. Only 1 in 20 clients comes to me because they want the type of help I offer. 19 out of every 20 come because I put my message in front of them and awaken an awareness of the potential for a better life.
All the competition is about the 1 in 20 who’s looking for therapy by type. Ignore that and focus on the people who need help. When we do that well, the competition doesn’t exist!
I’ve referred on over a dozen client enquiries in the past 2 weeks, as I’m too busy to see them. I sent them to therapists with the same qualifications as I have who work in the same town. There’s no such thing as competition when we understand how to connect with those suffering.
My ‘competition’ are now a resource I use to get help to people I don't have the time to see.
3. I don’t have the budget.
Fear around money is huge in our industry. Every seminar someone says they don’t have the money to advertise.
We spend thousands or tens of thousands on qualifications and yet balk at a few hundred to get the message out to clients. It’s crazy, but very understandable.
Yet we always seem to afford the new training in our therapy, or to learn a new modality.
One therapist who said they couldn’t afford to advertise was off on a $5,000 self development course in the sun within 3 months of saying that, but still convinced themselves they couldn’t spend anything on advertising.
It does cost money to spread the word. Its part of the job. I used to spend $7,000+ a year on newspaper advertising. It was worth in. It delivered many times that in client work.
On Facebook, once I worked it out, $300 a year gave me a waiting list.
Both were worth doing.
Bottom line –
Until we see clients, we’re wasting all the time and money we spend qualifying.
Until we can be found and understood, people can’t come for help.
Word of mouth can only build when we have seen a good number of clients.
Getting our message out can be inexpensive, but we have to spend a bit for success.
4. I don’t have the time.
Really? Then when will the clients be seen? If we want more clients, the time must exist to see them.
Ring-fence that time. If a client isn’t in front of us – that’s our time to work on finding the next one.
‘I don’t have time’ is code for I don’t care enough to make this a priority.
If you plan on seeing clients one evening a week, then that evening is when you are a therapist or coach. Use that time. Dedicate it to your business. See clients, use any time left over to find more!
5. I’m not good enough.
I’ve yet to meet any therapist or coach who can’t help someone.
Sure, when we start, we have a lot of theory and probably limited practical experience. We’re still ready to help.
We only get experience by practicing. Each client we see makes us more experienced.
I could help on day one. I can help a lot more now. But, I would not have helped anyone by holding back.
My suggestion is advertise about whatever issue you’re most comfortable helping. Then expand that offering as you gain more experience and confidence.
Who are you ready to help today? Focus on that.
We can always refer on anyone we feel is not right for us. That helps too, but it only happens when we do put our message out to the world.
6. What will people think?
Probably that you’re a therapist or coach. But, yes, I know the fear at the start.
Put that fear in context.
Which is more important: the fear of stepping up as a therapist to make things better, or the bad feeling of the person we could have helped but didn’t because of fear?
I found it must easier to stand up and act when I considered how miserable it is for people to keep suffering. My hesitation doesn’t seem as important when I look at that.
Everything we want is on the other side of fear. Fear reduces when we challenge it, when we act, and as we gain more experience.
What matters most: Hiding or making the world a better place?
7. I can’t post until the piece is perfect.
“I’m not ready to put it out yet, I need to polish it a bit.”
OK, let’s be clear. It’s not a diamond, it’s a post.
All it needs to do is connect with the needs of the person suffering and guide them towards making a commitment to try for better in life.
A poorly written message that connects can change the world for someone. A great piece stored on a hard drive does nothing.
In my early days I posted videos where I stumbled over what I wanted to say and where I rambled. Even had ones where the background music made it hard to hear me. They still reached people. I got to help those people. I got paid too. Win / win.
If I’d waited until I got the video ‘right’ I’d still be holding back.
What’s the goal? Publish great works of prose and awesome videos, or put out something to help people.
The message they can see is the winning one.
Get it out!
Sure, starting to grow a practice can be daunting. Break it down into steps. Lock in time each week. Keep focused on helping people and the value of that and it makes it easier to achieve success.
We don’t have to do it all at once. Progress comes from regular and sustained action.
Be gentle with yourself as you go. Notice any fear or hesitation and question it. Put it in context.
Ask: Does my fear of putting myself out there outweigh my desire to help people?
We must grow our desire to help to where it outweighs fear.
Then we get to make a difference for others and allow ourselves to earn a good income to support ourselves, our families, and enjoy life more.
Please keep sharing your help!
Have a great week,
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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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