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I was at a conference once with a group of hypnotherapists who – including myself at the time – barely earned enough from working with clients to pay for a few groceries at the end of the week. In walks a woman who I’ll call Anne (nothing like her real name). Anne was known to run a very successful hypnotherapy business. She had a shop on the main street, offered various discounts and always seemed to be busy client wise. I’d never met Anne but the group of hypnotherapists I was with had all trained with Anne a few years before. Whilst she was running a full time practice, they were working part time or relying on a supportive partner or living off savings. Now – before I continue – let me make it clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong in running a hypnotherapy business part time, or even having it as a hobby – if that’s what you want to do. But the group of delegates I was with were all frustrated at their lack of income from clients and had a desire to grow their business.

The second that Anne left, the gossip started – and it wasn’t nice. ‘Anne’s just in it for the money’. ‘She REALLY puts herself out there.’ And – my favourite – ‘Her husband’s good at IT – she just spends all her time advertising – it’s ridiculous’. The general consensus of opinion was that Anne was somehow doing something wrong by actually attracting hypnotherapy clients, and by making that a major focus of her business plan.

I dare say there was a large bunch of sour grapes in there somewhere, but really, if you’re not going to advertise, put yourself out there and treat your hypnotherapy practice as a business, you’re not going to get clients in. I felt quite envious of Anne myself but instead of slagging her off, I decided to learn from her. I asked her how she’d taken those first steps into running a business, what directories she advertised with and what her top tips were for getting hypnotherapy clients through the door. I found her very helpful and – the absolute best thing – she didn’t fob me off with a ‘I get all my clients via word of mouth’. If anyone tells you this – unless they have been around for aeons and have an incredibly successful business – they are talking BS.

When you’re starting out you have to put yourself out there. Businesses don’t get off the ground if you don’t put the work in. You could be the best hypnotherapist ever and not get a single client through your door. People often become hypnotherapists because they haven benefitted from hypnotherapy themselves and wish to help other people. This is fine and dandy, but if you want to earn money, you need to advertise and market your hypnotherapy business.

There are loads of specifics you can do to help you launch your practice, and I’m happy to act as your supervisor/ mentor while you establish your business, but here are three practical tips to get you started.

1)      You need to spend some money! We’re not talking a fortune here and the joy of the internet is that it’s made it relatively cheap to conduct a marketed campaign for your hypnotherapy clients. However, I have people who have spent money, time and effort on completing their Diploma in Analytical Hypnotherapy course and then refuse to set aside any money for marketing. You can set up a Facebook page and other social media accounts for free, but if you want to target your marketing to a particular audience or group you will need to pay. I would also suggest listing with Hypnotherapy Directory, which is a great way to get those initial hypnotherapy clients through your door. It doesn’t cost a fortune – under £20 a month – s even if you only attract one new client a month you will still have made a profit.

2)      Work with your fears that ‘you’re not good enough’. This one holds people back from doing ANY marketing at all! Yes, you’ve just started. And yes, you might not have the experience of the woman who does hypnosis in the next town. But make up for that by reading, studying, keeping up with CPD, getting supervision/ mentoring. You deserve to be there as much as anyone else. You wouldn’t have chosen to be a hypnotherapist if you didn’t have something to offer. Being crippled by fear is horrible and – unless we’re a complete narcissist (probably not the best person to be a therapist) – we all have it. I wouldn’t put myself out there for years because I believed I was going to be put down, or that I just wasn’t good enough. Believe that you are good enough – try getting out there and see what happens!

3)      Be consistent. If you have an advertising/ marketing strategy for your hypnotherapy business keep it up. Don’t expect immediate returns. This one is hard – especially when you’re going to have to eat baked beans again because you haven’t attracted any new clients! Stick with it. Have a timetable and commitment to blog twice a week, to post on social media four times a week and to attend a social networking event once a month. The returns will come if you stick with it.

So there you are. Advertising is hard, especially if you’re not from a business background, but you need to do it if you want to earn a reasonable living. If you want to discuss hypnotherapy supervision or mentoring with me, please get in touch.