If you are a therapist trying to make a name for yourself, it can be incredibly difficult at first to get new clients. But as the stigma regarding mental health is starting to feel more and more outdated every day, the flow of patients seeking help for their mental health condition is expected to rise rapidly along with it.
It is challenging to get started in any business, and working as a therapist is no different. But if you are smart with your tactics, you can separate yourself from the crowd. Here is a list of things to help you get started.
Be Flexible With Your Fees
Statista notes that the single biggest reason people don’t visit therapists in the US is that they cannot afford one. Mental health is important, and affordable care should be available for people who need it.
As a therapist, you can do your part in this situation. You don’t have to give out treatment for free, but you can lower your fees for patients with weaker economic backgrounds. You can also start accepting insurance so that people can visit you without having to pay out of their pocket.
This can also help you financially. If you are a therapist, offering your services to the needy for a reduced price can be a great opportunity to make a name for yourself. It brings you free publicity, and you also get to be known as a benevolent medical professional.
Double Down On Your Niche
Clearly defining your area of specialization can be very helpful for bringing in more clients.
For example, if you have a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and work with families, don’t just say, “I am a licensed therapist.” Instead, say something like: “As a licensed therapist with years of experience working with children and families who are struggling with trauma from abuse or neglect, I can help your family regain trust in one another so that together we can move forward.”
It helps you go from just another therapist to a go-to person for a specific issue. Clients will know exactly what they can expect from you, and your colleagues will find it easier to refer a client to you as well. On top of that, you also get to stick to what you are best at rather than having to deal with a variety of different issues that you might not be completely comfortable with.
However, this would also mean more work. You need to stay up to date with the latest research in your field. If you decide to work in a specific field, make sure that you are truly an expert in that field, so people know you as someone reliable and efficient.
Start Networking Like Crazy
Never underestimate the power of networking in building a business. According to data from Zippia, 79% of professionals believe that career success depends on successful networking. It is also responsible for the success of 78% of start-ups.
You can start by creating a solid marketing strategy. Focus on advertising on social media like Facebook or Linkedin. You can also advertise on other platforms where you may find potential clients. Make sure you get a business card too.
Your colleagues can also be very helpful in this regard. Try to form meaningful bonds with them. Collaborating with them in seminars or workshops can help build a relationship of mutual trust. They can not only offer you advice, but they will also refer clients your way if they believe you can help them.
Get A Practice Management Software For Your Office
Therapy is not simply about talking to someone and helping them through their mental health issues. There is also an element of office management to it. You have to organize your notes, patients’ medical histories, treatment plans, book appointments, manage your schedule, and a ton of other stuff.
This might not be a problem for therapists working as part of a large organization where they are provided with office managers to do it for them. But for therapists with their own private practice, managing the office can take up valuable time and add a lot of unnecessary stress. If you are one of those people, consider getting yourself office management software.
There are many practice management software for therapists available in the market today. Make sure you do your research before you buy one. It can help you save valuable time and energy, which you can use to treat more clients. Therefore get one that makes the most sense to you.
Set Up Shop In A Locality With Less Competition
If you are working in an area with many other therapists around you, it can be hard to justify why people should choose you over others who might be equally qualified. In that case, you can consider taking your business to an area where there is not so much competition.
Data from Zippia shows that there that most therapists in the US are located along the coastal region, while the midwest lies mostly barren in this regard. So it might not be the worst idea for a therapist to relocate to Texas or Kansas, where there are few other therapists around.
However, take into account that there is also less demand for therapists. Sometimes this means that people aren’t aware of what therapy can do for them. Other times it’s because the economy has led many people to prioritize other things over their mental health (such as paying bills).
With mental health awareness increasing, demand for therapists in these regions would likely increase as well. But remember that if you do relocate to any of these regions, you might have to do much of the initial work popularizing therapy there.
Optimize Your Website & Content For Search Engines
Optimizing your website means ensuring it is visible in search engine results. Search engines will only rank your site higher if you have good content and a slow loading time.
It is not difficult today to learn how to optimize your website. You can simply google how to do it, or you can hire a professional to do it for you. There are essentially two things that make a website more popular. Make sure your keywords and titles are on point and post quality content that people want to read.
Linkedin reports that 79% of small business owners with a website expect to grow their business by at least 25% in the next 3 to 5 years compared to 64% of those without. Therefore do not underestimate the impact an optimized and popular website can have on your business.
Establishing yourself as a therapist can indeed be challenging. But if you are good at your job, it is only a matter of time. Make sure you highlight your strengths (like if you are bilingual, mention that on your profile) and make yourself visible to your potential clients.