This post is the third in a series where I’m walking with you through my Dream Practice Roadmap. I presented an summit view of the roadmap in the Your Dream Practice: 4 Stages to Success blog post. Last week in Your Dream Practice Roadmap: SET UP I wrote about the stage that therapists should go through prior to seeing their first client. It is very important to take time to discover your calling and to set up your brand, business and support system.
Now we move to the next stage on your road to a successful and meaningful practice. The START UP STAGE.
The Start-Up stage is about testing the waters. You’ll need to embrace learning by doing. You are going to make mistakes in this phase but that’s okay. It’s through trial and error that you will discover the desires, dreams and personal struggles of your ideal clients. You’ll need patience, persistence and lots of hustle to keep going.
The start-up phase can be unpredictable and messy. It is often not a straight and well-lit path. Part of the messiness of this stage is that in addition to starting up your business you most likely are working a full-time or a couple of part-time jobs.
Early in this stage you will name your business, set goals and develop a workflow to achieve those goals. You will set up your business legally and financially. You will build your website, design a logo and business cards all meant to communicate what you see as your unique calling in the therapy field. It will begin to feel real. It is in this stage that you will develop discipline and habits to get the things done that matter the most.
Since you are the primary source of energy and income, you will be the main producer. You are building your client list. You are networking. You are treating clients. You are hustling to get things done. You are beginning to develop a critical understanding of your clients’ needs and how to deliver value. You are learning under fire but you are learning how to set priorities.
Road Signs of Stage Two: Keep it Simple
During the start-up phase you are learning what works without spreading yourself too thin. You are testing out your ideas and processes. You are beginning to develop a viable group of ideal clients who know you, trust you and are willing to pay.
The key is not to deliver too many services at one time or to try to help everyone. You’ll begin to know who is you ideal client and what they are looking for. You’ll experiment online and offline to find out where and when clients look for professional help.
You may need to do some work for free to gain experience and to get in front of your clients. Look for opportunities to be generous with you knowledge especially speaking in front of groups. Other sources of income provide flexibility to explore and learn while you refine your service and business. Keep your approach simple and don’t move too quickly.
It’s wise to take your time, learn as you go and build your practice over time. When you find your sweet spot you will be at your best and people will pay you for the value you deliver.
Dead Ends of Stage Two: Self-Doubt
At this stage your expectations and calling play a big part in your growth. Self-doubt will whisper that you don’t have what it takes. It will tell you that you that you are too young, too old, too inexperienced, that you aren’t skilled enough or that you aren’t worth what you charge. The temptation is to throw in the towel and go back to your previous therapy job if you can.
The only way to fight off this inner voice is to remember why you decided to start your business in the first place. It is your sense of calling that will pull you through the resistance and challenges. You will need to tap into the strength of your calling and remember that there are people who need you—people you are uniquely gifted to serve.
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