5 Tips For New Practitioners

Sep 15, 10 5 Tips For New Practitioners

There are few things as thrilling as the decision to take your future into your own hands and work for yourself.  Its a leap of faith that is not for the faint of heart.  For many people, a holistic profession was not their first choice coming out of high school.  In fact, the majority of holistic practitioners come to the industry well after their 30’s (many even after their 50’s!).  This means these new entrepreneurs must balance letting go of a reliable paycheque in order to risk their dream.  After meeting so many practitioners at different phases of their journey, I’ve compiled some tips that I think are important for people to consider as they abandon the safety nets to fly solo.

1.  Know How Much Money You Need

Figure how much money you NEED to make each month.  How many clients is that?  This will help you gauge how much you need to charge and many people you need to be seeing each month.  Keep in mind, that as you get going its common to want to give away a few discounts and freebies.  Make sure that you account for this reduction in income.

Keep in mind that probably 80% of your clients will come from word-of-mouth referrals, and this takes time.  If your modality takes a few weeks before people experience a change or improvement, it will lengthen your sales ‘pipeline’ so a Life Coach’s client list will tend to grow slower than for example, a massage therapists.  Keep this in mind when you are forecasting your potential income.

2. Discover and Commit To What Makes You Unique

There are lots of yoga instructors and reiki healers out there, but competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Take yoga for example.  Some clients want the big, trendy, hot yoga classes, while others prefer an intimate class in a private studio – and everyone wants something close to home or work.  So to some extent, there is room for everyone.  Just make sure that you know how you are different, and stick to it.  Maybe you specialize in certain illnesses, demographics, or maybe you combine two unique modalities.  Whatever it is, know it, and sell it!

3.  Be Recognizable!

Get your photo taken.  In this day and age you have to have it.  On Facebook, Meetup.com, LinkedIn and more, you need to have a photo anyway, so make it consistent and professional. Benefit from your social media traffic and use your photo!  People prefer to book with someone they know or recognize.  If you really hate the idea of being personally visible, or it really doesn’t work for your business, get a great logo and use that instead.  Studies show that people have to see something a minimum of three times for it to take root in the subconscious mind.  So don’t waste all those page views!

4. Network SMART

Networking is the KEY for all new practitioners.  You need to meet other people face to face.  Your time is an investment though, so use it wisely.  Some practitioners have found limited usefulness in Chamber of Commerce groups where holistic isn’t as valued.  In my opinion, the best networking is participating in the holistic community.  Take a yoga class, workshops with other practitioners or attend a networking group that is run out of a wellness centre or spiritual bookstore. These are hubs where you build relationships with other people who are showing their commitment as well.   Remember that a good networking group provides relevant information, AND gives you an opportunity to talk about yourself and share your own projects and challenges.  When appropriate, trade services with other practitioners, and set up referrals agreements with other professionals you feel are knowledgable and skilled.

5. Design Multiple Income Streams

Whatever your modality, finds new ways to increase your income.  Strategies with the highest profit margin include ebooks, videos or webinars.  Once these are created you can sell them online to international audiences, and you don’t even have to worry about shipping.  Other options include teaching or training, selling relevant products and my personal favourite: negotiate referral agreements with other businesses.  For example, if you are a nutritionist, and you are encouraging your clients to eat healthier, negotiate a commission for referring them to a local organic food box.  Find the services that compliment your own, and trade customers back and forth – benefiting one another.  This not only benefits you, but the customer, and it strengthens the industry as well.

If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments sections below.  If you are a practitioner who has found success, please feel free to leave YOUR suggestions as well to help others!