When I volunteered to write blog posts for another therapist’s page, I was excited. I like being able to connect with new people and new audiences. As a therapist, I get to explore new ideas, but one thing kind of occurred to me after the fact. The main audience for this blog is other therapists. Where do I start with that?
Where To Start
There are so many different places that I could start, but I wanted to start with something of value. I have learned a lot of things on my journey as a therapist (some of those things may have been unwillingly learned), but nevertheless, I am where I am at by testing out different waters and plowing forward.
I think the thing that I would like to start with is networking. What does networking look like to you? When I first started, I was told to network with everyone and anyone that worked with the same clients that I worked with. Problem was, that as my niche evolved, so did my network.
Quick Tips and Tricks I’ve Learned
Funny story, I bought donuts, grabbed supplies from Vistaprint, and headed out to all of the psychiatrist offices that would even take me. I actually got to talk to one of them, and you know what she told me? I needed to make sure that my business cards had an email address on them. She didn’t like using the phone. Did I have that? NOPE. After paying all of the money for the advertising, I didn’t do the basics and at least put my email on the cards.
Another thing I learned, people like to see your face when they connect with you. So another helpful tip is to put your professional headshot on your business cards. YEP! That thought blew my mind.
I also like things that are functional and are used. Business cards are not one of those commodities. How to make business cards useful? Buy a roll of magnetic tape from Michaels or Hobby Lobby and start cutting off strips to put on the back of your business cards to make them into useful magnets. Magnets will get put on mini fridges at whatever workplace you are connecting with. Magnets tend to stick around forever. How do I know this? We have magnets from when I was a kid. Magnets are useful. So while other business cards are getting lost, the magnets are going to still be around.
It’s also cheaper to do it this way, because have you tried getting magnets from Vistaprint or Zazzle? You end up paying 50 cents or more per magnet. However, you can buy a magnetic tape roll for about 10 bucks from the craft store. I’ve gone through about 300 business cards, and I still have magnetic tape left.
The next tip when you are talking to doctor’s offices or just office areas in general, try this tip: Ask for the office manager. You are more likely to be able to talk to someone face to face. Ask if you can put cards on their desk or if you are running a local event, ask them if they would be willing to put up a flyer for the event.
Another tip (because donuts are expensive) is to make cookies or popcorn. I saw this cute networking sign that said “Thanks for letting us ‘pop’ in”. I thought it was adorable, and when you bring a little treat with you for the office, you are more likely to be remembered. They are happier to hear you out and who doesn’t like free treats?
I’ve also connected with local spa places as well (not just doctor’s offices). I’ve found that the spa places are more likely to connect with me than single practitioners (i.e. massage therapists, etc.). I think because there is someone actually running the business side of things and not someone trying to wear 20 thousand hats (like I do).
Finally, don’t be afraid to grab a coffee with someone if they have the time. Unfortunately, not many therapists are willing to go grab a coffee with a local therapist (maybe because we still see each other as competition?). When we do get a chance to meet with someone face to face, most of us (even introverts) tend to do great, because we are in our natural environment. It may seem scary at first, but it gets you out there.
To sum it up, try to be creative with how you network. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Everybody has different strengths, and sometimes, you have to try new things in order to find things that you are good at. For example, I had to try a lot of different niches to find something that I really enjoyed doing.
It’s how I came upon anxiety, trauma, and anger management. I liked that this area made sense to me. I also like to do things outside of the box. I’m not in the private practice field to do things that a social service agency would do. I’m in the private practice field to be able to try new things and stretch what the healing process looks like. As I mentioned before, everybody is different, and therefore our techniques and approaches should look different. If you want a base for where to start to look for yours, check out this article.
Next time that we meet, I want to talk about marketing yourself. Therapists aren’t known for their ability to be able to sell themselves. There is a great article on getting through some of those initial anxiety issues, and you can check out the blog post here. Those that aren’t able to master this concept often don’t do well in the private practice field. There are some specific steps that you can take to figure out what works for you. Being comfortable with selling yourself (I know it sounds bad when I say it that way- but how else should I say it) means and looks like something different depending on your strengths. Stick with me and we can definitely fix that.
Barb Maulding is the owner of Creative Space Online Counseling and Coaching. Her passion is working with people who suffer from anxiety. Once people come through the other side of anxiety, their transformation is a beautiful thing to witness. She enjoys taking the journey with people as they explore the unknown together. She has been working with adults who struggle with anxiety since 2004, and there is a reason that she has worked in this field for this long.