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Holistic Wealth

By Sharon Desjarlais, CC

About the Columnist
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The Four Cornerstones: Creating a Profitable Practice

How hard could it be to grow a massage practice? You've got the sunny treatment room, the cushy table and the beautiful linens. You've hung the artwork that makes your heart sing. You're confident in your touch and the modalities you practice. Now all you need are new clients and everything will fall into place, right?

Not so fast, Sparky. Those things you see around you are all well and good. But in truth, it's the foundation you don't see that'll dictate whether your practice thrives long into the future. Here are the four essential cornerstones that support your success:

  1. Your Personal Foundation
  2. Your Service Foundation
  3. Your Communication Foundation
  4. Your Prosperity Foundation

Are you rock solid in each of these areas? Ask yourself the questions below. Let's see where you shine – and where you could use a little more work to make your practice fulfilling and financially rewarding.

Your Personal Foundation

You may work hands-on by choice. But if you practice a light-touch modality like Craniosacral Therapy, you're probably self-employed by necessity. (I dream of the day hospitals staff entire floors of complementary therapists.) Which makes you an accidental entrepreneur. Maybe even a reluctant one.

profitable practice - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark But after being self-employed for a good portion of my working life, I can promise you this: You'll never enjoy as much freedom and contentment as you will when you make the decision to become a successful solo-practitioner. And to do that, you've got to cover a lot more bases than getting well trained in your modality.

That's why it's so important to make sure your Personal Foundation is deeply rooted. Who you see yourself being in your business is even more critical than what you see yourself doing. Why? Because we each hold an internal understanding of who we are — and what we're capable of achieving — that's largely in our subconscious. But when the action steps we take are out of alignment with our sense of identity? We get stuck. Or we sabotage ourselves by inviting drama into our lives. So your first step is to get crystal clear on your vision for your practice — and for yourself. As you ask yourself these questions, check off the ones you've got covered:

  • Do I know what a successful practice really looks and feels like to me?
  • Do I know how many clients I want to work with each day and each week?
  • Do I know the specific days and times I feel best seeing clients?
  • Do I know who I'll get to be in the world when I'm a successful therapist?
  • Do I know how that will allow me to contribute more to my family, my community and even the world?
  • Do I know what gets to happen for other people when I'm wholly fulfilled in my practice?
  • Do I know which beliefs empower me and which ones hold me back?
  • Do I know how to pivot whenever I hear negative voices in my head?
  • Do I know which people in my life support me to be my best — and which ones hold me back with their judgments or drama?
  • Do I know my top four need and values?
  • Do I know my core strengths?
  • Do I know which skills I'd love to use in my practice that I'm not using now?
  • Do I know which skills I'd rather other people handle?

Your Service Foundation

Once you've got your Personal Foundation set, it's time to move on to your Service Foundation. This represents the services you offer — and the format you offer them in. And if you only work in single sessions? Here's a bonus tip: When you package your services in a compelling way, you give your clients the opportunity to transform. And you give yourself the potential to experience more financial peace-of-mind. Let's check in and see how solid your Service Foundation is:

  • Do I have a personal protocol I walk clients through over a series of sessions?
  • Do I offer an evaluation package that gives new clients a taste of my skills along with a follow-up consult to discuss next steps?
  • Do I offer a bundle of sessions that gets my clients through a breakthrough?
  • Do I offer a bigger package that gets them to a transformation?
  • Do I offer extras in my packages that support each client's healing journey?
  • Do I offer at least one program that empowers me to choose the best therapies for each client?
  • Do I offer at least one deep-dive day that creates momentum we build on in follow-up sessions?
  • Have I named my packages and programs for the outcomes they provide rather than for my therapy?
  • Do I have a formula for an easy and compelling enrollment conversation?

Your Communication Foundation

A lot of well-meaning therapists get to this point and then stop. Why? Because it's one thing to have all your services pulled together in a nice big bow. But telling other people about them feels like the M-word: Marketing. And on a conscious or even a subconscious level, they believe marketing is pushy. Or sleazy. Or inauthentic. But here's the truth: The most effective therapy on the planet is worthless if no one knows about it. So if you truly believe you were born to help other people heal, it's a moral imperative to communicate what you offer. Then other people can take advantage of it if they choose.

That's where it helps to have a communications protocol that makes it easy to attract new clients. Ask yourself these questions and see where you land:

  • Do I know what my client-attraction archetypes are and how to use them?
  • Do I know what makes it easy for me to talk about my work with other people? And what makes it challenging?
  • Do I know the characteristics of the clients who are perfect for me?
  • Do I know what my clients are struggling to overcome that compels them to call me?
  • Do I know the easiest way to describe my work — and why it's so effective — in three sentences or less?
  • Do I have a marketing message that's so authentic for me, I love sharing it with everyone I meet?
  • Does my website clearly define who I specialize in helping and what they get out of working with me?
  • Do I have a systematic way of adding potential clients to my contact list?
  • Do I have a way to sharing value with my list so when they're ready for my services, they call me?
  • Do I have an effective business card that brings in new inquiries?
  • Do I have a step-by-step protocol for attracting my perfect clients?
  • Do I have an effective word-of-mouth referral program for clients, colleagues and friends?
  • Do I know how to get clients from social media?
  • Does my marketing solve a problem that's on the low end of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs so my clients see my work as a necessity rather than a luxury?

Your Prosperity Foundation

Ah, here we are. The fourth and final cornerstone of a thriving practice. I'll bet you were hoping I'd forget about this one. No? Then good for you. Because it's actually the keystone that holds all the other cornerstones in place. Let me explain. You see, everyone has an internal money set-point. That's the amount of income you're comfortable receiving. More than that and it doesn't matter how well you market your practice. You'll subconsciously sabotage your success. That's why it's critical to become aware of your limiting beliefs about money and dissolve them. Only then are you free to attract clients who want to invest highly in your services. Find out how solid your Prosperity Foundation is:

  • Did I have a negative reaction to the word "profitable" in the title of this article?
  • Do I secretly think people who have a lot of money are greedy?
  • Do I only want to earn enough to "be comfortable"?
  • Do I feel uneasy talking about money — and sometimes just thinking about it?
  • Do I experience a lot of up-and-down money drama day to day?
  • Do I carry debt without a plan to repay it?
  • Do I ever feel resentful after a session because I know my clients get a lot more from me than I receive from them?
  • Do I charge healthy fees that support me as much as they support my clients?

The Prognosis

So, how'd you do? Do you have all the cornerstones covered? Or only one or two? Either way, now you clearly see what needs to be addressed in your practice. I recommend focusing on the one cornerstone that needs the most help first. Then choose one question at a time to complete as thoroughly as you can. Answer by answer, you'll be on your way to the practice — and prosperity — you deserve.

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