17 years ago, after the birth of my first child, I trained as a reflexologist. It was a passion for me; reflexology had helped me to conceive, I loved the therapy, I could fit the training around child-care and I figured once I was trained I could work the hours around my child.
At the end of the training we had to design a 3-fold leaflet to advertise our services (little tip: if you put too much info on a leaflet no-one reads it). We were told we could earn a fantastic hourly rate and we were sent out into the world with a brand-new reflexology chair and a leaflet.
This was when the real work started.
I had so many questions and a dawning realisation that I needed to learn a lot more about running a business!
Let me share 3 important business lessons I learnt in those early days. If you’re just starting out with your own therapy business, I hope they help to give you a headstart!
1. You need to learn to talk about what you do
This is a big challenge – learning to talk about what you do, and describing your therapy in a way that makes people want to book an appointment with you.
You may have heard of the expression ‘an elevator pitch’ – this is the idea that you describe what you do in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator.
So, how do you do this? We all want to know how something can benefit us.
Check out the difference in the two phrases below.
“I am a __________ (reflexologist/yoga teacher/counsellor).”
Yes, this gives people your job title, but it doesn’t necessarily explain what you do, especially to someone who doesn’t really know what a reflexologist/yoga teacher/counsellor is.
Instead, how about saying:
“I help people manage their stress levels.”
Now this phrase is a conversation opener!
Yes, you are going to meet people who just don’t understand what you do no matter how hard you try to explain to them… This is ok, they are not the people you need to be working with anyway.
2. You need to dedicate as much time to marketing and running your business as you do practicing your therapy or running your class.
In my mind’s eye, I was going to spend 20 hours a week practicing reflexology, this was the goal, the ultimate dream.
I got there within 2 years, but I very quickly learned that, especially in the early days, I needed to spend a significant amount of time marketing my business.
I dropped leaflets, gave talks, went to networking events and wrote articles for newspapers. I loved doing all of this, I am the kind of person who loves to challenge myself. It brought me out of my shell and helped me find my confidence.
I learnt lots more about wellbeing and how to run a business the way I wanted.
3. You need to practice self-care
Yes, yes, we are therapists, we know all about self-care – don’t we? After all we teach it to our clients. But let’s be honest, we are only human and like everyone else we can get overwhelmed and stressed with the constant pressures of work, love, family and life.
Self-employment is a roller coaster; there are busy times and slack times. You need to work with the ebb and flow of owning a wellbeing business.
Take time to practice your self-care rituals: Meditate, do some yoga, or take a walk in nature.
Working for yourself can be isolating at times, not everyone will understand why you would want to do it. Don’t get stuck in a place where you feel alone. Make time to connect with those who do; Facebook groups are a great place to start.
Working in wellbeing is a huge privilege; we get to facilitate positive change in people’s lives. Taking the time to learn how to run YOUR business will ensure that you reach more people with your skills.