That’s A Great Question!
I’ve been doing some workshops recently, and have been asked a couple of great questions:
What happens to my clients and my files when I die?
This is something you need to think about. Obviously, we’d all like to think that we will have some warning of the end of our practising life, and most of us will. However, it’s a good idea to think about the unthinkable, and something put in place, which, like insurance, you hope you’ll never need.
The easiest way I have come across to deal with this question is to arrange with another practitioner that they will step in in the event of an emergency, and contact your clients, and deal with your files however you would like them to be dealt with. In the accountancy profession, they call such a person an “Alternate.” You can read more about Alternate arrangements here, and topics to consider including in your Alternates agreement here.
How do I choose an issue to focus on?
I often say that your marketing will be easier if you focus your area of interest to a problem or issue the client is seeking help for. However, when you are starting out it can be difficult to decide where that focus should be. I believe it was Robin Roberts who suggested, “Make your mess your message.” In other words, take an area that has been a struggle for you, and use that as your starting point. You have first-hand experience of the problem, you have explored potential solutions, and you can offer others in the same boat a depth of empathy that only experience can give. You don’t need to disclose large details of your own life, but you can show that you know what the struggle is like.
I hadn’t heard Robin Roberts’ advice when I chose to focus on helping therapists to make their practices financially viable, or helping my therapy clients with their relationships (including the relationship with themselves,) but that is what I have done.
I know my ideal client, but what should I do now?
Okay, you say, so I know what service I’m offering. I know what I want in return. I know who I’m offering to. So, now what do I do? How do I find my clients?
Let’s say your ideal client is a high functioning woman with a harsh inner critic. She wants to learn to love herself more. How do you go about finding her?
The first question to ask is where such a woman is likely to be found? Offline, you might consider attending networking meetings, such as BNI, Network Ireland, or the Professional Woman’s Network. You could write an article for or take an advertisement in a suitable magazine. You might present a talk or a class on alternative ways to motivate yourself. You might join a meet up group or take a class, where you could make connections. Online, you might write a post for LinkedIn, aimed directly at professional and executive women on a relevant topic, such as how self-compassion can reduce stress.
Let’s say your ideal client is a young adult exploring their sexuality. They want the space to be able to talk in a confidential and non-judgemental space. How do you go about finding him?
Where is a young adult likely to be found? Offline, you might consider colleges. College counselling resources are often limited, and they may be glad of some support. Again, you might like to write an article for a student magazine or present a talk to students. You might also consider talking to GPs. You could sponsor an event (around Pride Day?), or you could take a stand at a convention and talk to people who are there.
Are you beginning to get the picture?
When you narrow the idea of your client, the places where to find them become clearer, and then you can make a choice about how to reach them, that suits you.
If I can help you with any questions about your practice, please contact me here for a free 20 minute consultation.