Category Archives: Private Practice

How to Set – and Reach – Your Income Goals This Year [Download Included]

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker on Fickr.

She was ready for something more.

We’d been working together about a year at that point, and she’d made tremendous progress. She’d stepped out to form her own law firm, developed a clear brand, made important decisions about revenue and how she wanted to serve her clients. She was even beginning to explore new lines of business that were fun and intriguing to her.

And she was making really good money.

But the hours were long, the demand high. And she was beginning to think more about how her business could serve her, instead of the other way around.

(I preach this all the time. If you’re a slave to your business, all you’ve done is give yourself another job. And who wants that?)

She wanted to travel more. Volunteer more. Ride her bike more. :)

So I suggested that she reverse engineer her income to determine what she needed to bring in, in order to create that life. What would she have to earn that would give her the freedom to pursue those other interests?

And – this was critical – how would she earn it?
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Choosing a Target Market is Harder Than It Looks

Photo Credit: Tobe Gaulke on Flickr.

“When are you going to be satisfied?”, he asked.

My husband was frustrated. We’d been perfectly happy in that little house for nine years already. So what if it was getting a little crowded? What was wrong with that?

Why ask for more?

Because I wanted to grow. Because I knew we’d want the space when the kids hit adolescence.

Because I was ready for a change.

I’ve always liked variety. Even when I love something (as I did that little house) there comes a time to move to the next stage of the journey.

So it’s no surprise that I seek out variety professionally as well. As a psychotherapist, I never wanted to work in just one area, so I’ve done a lot of different things. There’s very little in mental health that I haven’t had experience with at one time or another.

And as a business coach, it’s the same. I love the variety of my clients’ businesses. Attorneys. Event decorators. Energy healers. Yoga instructors. Psychotherapists. Coaches of all kinds. Employee engagement specialists. And yes, even a biochemist.

And yet…
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Your Clients Love You – But Do You Know Why?

Photo Credit: Allen Warren on Flickr.

People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.

That’s the message Simon Sinek explores in his book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.”

The book is the subject of a TED Talk he gave in 2010, that has since been viewed over 35 million times.

There must be something to it, yes?

Yes, because after reading it, I found myself lying awake for hours, thinking about those core questions we all need to answer.

Why does your business exist?
Why do you do what you do?
What purpose, cause or belief keeps you going – no matter what?

What is your why?

Your WHY is a belief you hold about your business, your employees, clients and customers. It’s what sets your work apart from others in your field. It’s what matters most about the way your business shows up in the world.

It’s what drives you personally – and always has, probably since you were a kid.

It’s what makes it all worth it.

When asked why they started the business they have, many entrepreneurs will say they wanted to be their own boss, make more money, have more freedom.

And yes, those are important.

But your clients and customers don’t care about that; that’s not why they love you.

That’s not what drives them to buy your programs or tell others about your services. That’s not what draws them to you over countless other options they could choose instead.

And I’ll bet none of that really fuels your fire either.

No – it’s your heart, and the heart of your business – that does that.
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How to Cope When You (Really) Screw Up

Photo Credit – greg westfall on Flickr

I never saw her again.

And although I no longer remember her name, I’ve never forgotten her.

I’d only been in private practice for a little while, though I’d worked in mental health for a long time. Back then, I did a lot of counseling around trauma, abuse and domestic violence.

I already had a ton of experience; (I thought) I knew what I was doing.

One evening, at the end of a long day, I did an initial consult with a woman who’d finally gathered her nerve to seek help. She was living with severe domestic violence, married to a man who sounded like he could kill her one day if she didn’t get out.

I was immensely proud of her for having the courage to come in, and I understood her situation immediately. After hearing her story, I felt crystal clear on the level of danger she was in. I knew what she needed to do to get out.

So I laid it all out for her.

With the kind of excitement that comes with clarity, I explained how to put a safety plan in place, what to say to him (and what not to), how to handle her employer, how to seek legal help, how to move out, all of it.

She listened politely as I gave her every idea I could think of. Then she thanked me, and left. I felt great — I knew I could help her!

But she never came back.

To this day, I don’t know what happened. It may be that she found a way out, that she went to another counselor, that she was just fine. I certainly hope so.

But I think I made a mistake that night – and it was a big one.
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Making Tough Decisions Leads to Happier Business Owners

Photo Credit: Portobay Hotels on Flickr

“Well – I did it,” she said.

There was no fanfare. No high fives. No confetti drifting down from the ceiling.

If anything, there was uncertainty in her voice, as if she wasn’t quite sure how to feel, or what to say. She’d made her choice, and she’d mailed the letter. Should she be proud? Excited? Worried? Maybe terrified?

She was all of the above.

As the owner of a thriving counseling practice, Holly had experienced her share of success. When she opened her doors a few years earlier, she couldn’t imagine that anyone would actually pay her for what she did.

Do you really think I can do this?” she asked.

You know me. You know what I said to that.

So she made the decision, signed a lease, set up her space, and opened her doors. And because she had a strong network — and was really really good at what she did — it didn’t take long for her days to fill.

Word got out. Her phone rang off the hook. And before long, there were too many people wanting too much of her for too many hours a day.

If you’re just starting out, that sounds great! Too many clients? Really? Ohhh to have such a problem!

And yet – it wasn’t just her clients. It was her family. Her friends.

Her own soul.

All of them wanted her attention, her energy – and she had less and less of that to give.

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