- You have mistaken ‘holistic’ for ‘unprofessional’. Holistic business means a business model that touches all aspects of your life and is more personal and vulnerable than the corporate model. It allows for you to make some of your own rules. It does not mean that you don’t need proper licenses or training, or that you are above traditional business methodology. You can skip shoes, but not pants, know what I mean? Show your clients respect.
- You haven’t properly defined your business. What I mean by this is that you haven’t taken the time to sit down and really think about what your business offers and who you want to attract. The result is wasted time, money and effort trying to draw everyone into your business rather than focusing on the people who need you most. Anyone starting a business should download a business plan and actually force themselves to fill out most of it, giving thought to questions about your niche market, your competition, how you are different from similar services in your area and what kind of income you can realistically draw.
- You are trying to do everything yourself. Many of us have no money to throw at the business when it is first starting and so, to save costs, we try to be the accountant/web developer/receptionist/PR, all at once, on top of doing the actual work we are charging people for. While it is great to know the basics of all aspects of your business, this is a recipe for burnout. Plus, you will probably spend more money having mistakes that were made because of your inexperience fixed later. Do an honest appraisal of your own skill set and find a way of getting help with things that are outside of your realm.
- You can’t ask for money. It’s hard sometimes to ask people to pay you, especially when you’re in the health field. If this is the way you are paying your bills however, you need to get over any squeamishness about this. It’s nice to have options for how you take payment, so you can ask a question like: “Would you rather use cash or credit today?” instead of “Can you give me some money now?” One sneaky thing that happens with holistic businesses is that, after you have completed the session, someone will suggest that it be a trade, rather than pay you. Don’t get me wrong, I love trades. But they should be agreed to in advance, with the understanding that we do need to make actual money sometimes. I explain to people that I have a certain number of trades that I am reasonably able to do each month and that I rotate through services. And then ask if they would like to go on that list for next time.
- You can’t ask for people to rebook. Closely linked to the last point, people are much more likely to come back for a follow-up appointment they made before they left than they are to phone in two weeks looking for an opening. Asking for the appointment is not mercenary either – it’s not just about money. We all know that a client is more likely to get real, lasting benefit out of regular appointments over a period of time than they are from ‘hit and run’ style sessions. As these people begin to feel better and need fewer sessions, they become your number one fans and refer more clients to you.
Were these suggestions helpful? Are there other areas where your holistic business can’t seem to get off the ground?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!