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How to Develop a Money Mindset - Page 7

After my practice was full and stable, I began sharing some of my business and marketing ideas with my colleagues. Most of them weren't interested in what I was doing (one colleague who sees 12 people a week in his practice laughed at me and said "marketing is just a waste of time"), but my former clinical supervisor from my postdoctoral internship, Mel Restum, who runs a child and family practice specializing in the assessment and treatment of attention deficit disorders, was quite interested. He began applying the same business principles I'd learned, such as the Lifetime Value of a Referral, Diversification of Services, and Systematic Client Follow-Up, and experienced rapid growth in his practice. He and I talked about business, marketing, and clinical practices constantly, and one day in July 2004, after a long, spirited discussion at a local Starbucks, we decided to start a new company to teach therapists the business skills we'd learned.

We began by running a series of focus groups with therapists in our area to find out what they were struggling with as they attempted to grow their practices. We then expanded this process and began performing free monthly telephone conference calls with hundreds of therapists all over North America. On these calls, we reviewed the six commonest mistakes that we saw private practitioners make, led an experiential exercise on creating one's ideal practice, and asked the participants to describe their greatest challenges in private practice. We heard tales of fear, despair, and confusion. Many told us that managed care had destroyed their practices and incomes. Others complained that the Internet, Dr. Phil, and Pilates were stealing their clients. Still others felt they were getting passed over in favor of Lexapro and Xanax. A few sounded hopeless, not knowing what to do to increase their practices. Some said they knew what to do, but hadn't taken action because they'd felt so uncomfortable (or as one woman put it, "slimy") doing marketing. Others said they had great ideas for promoting their practices, but never seemed to get around to implementing them.

It became clear to us that many of these therapists experienced a huge conflict between service and self-promotion. They wanted to make more money, but seemed to engage in magical thinking about the process: they wanted it to happen with little investment of time or money, or they wanted that one big tip that would push them over the top. In addition, they were tight with their money when it came to investing in their practices, just as I'd been.

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