My ‘D’ in my A-Z of how to run a hypnotherapy business is ‘Discipline’. There were so many ‘d’ words that I had a problem choosing one – and wasn’t in the mood for writing about digital marketing today. I dithered between discipline, determination and detachment – among others – all of which you need to run a successful hypnotherapy practice. But, given that this blog follows on from a conversation I had just had with my partner – who is also self-employed – about the necessity for structure, routine and self-discipline when running a business, I settled on ‘discipline’.
If you have never run a business before, there is so much to learn! If you’ve previously had the structure and routine of set hours, in a workplace, with deadlines provided by your employer, even if you’re lacking in self-motivated self-discipline, you’ll have the support of a pre-determined structure to help you stick to a disciplined way of working. Now you’ve done your hypnotherapy training, you’ve completed some hypnotherapy CPD courses and have attended local business gateway training days for book keeping and digital marketing. Your hypnotherapy clients are starting to trickle through the door. You’ve created your lovely leaflets and business cards, advertising the benefits of hypnosis. And…
And then what? Things have gone well for a few months, you’ve had loads to do in getting your business off the ground, and now it’s a slow period. Perhaps it’s the school holidays and the sun is shining and people don’t feel as much need for a hypnotherapy appointment as they did in the bleak winter when their anxiety levels were higher. You haven’t had any new enquires about the benefits of hypnosis and all the marketing stuff has been taken care of. If you don’t have a strong sense of self-discipline, it’s easy to get waylaid by the lure of daytime television and coffees with friends.
As I’ll cover in this A-Z of how to run a successful hypnotherapy business, being a hypnotherapist this day requires so much more than simply seeing clients. You need to market yourself, make introductions with other therapists, keep your website up to date, post of social media, do your tax return and book keeping…the list is endless. And without discipline, you can find yourself doing very little of the maintenance work during the quiet client times and then worrying when it’s the end of the financial year.
Some people are blessed with strong self-organisational skills and find it easy to slip into self-employment. Many others flounder and panic when they finish their hypnotherapy course and set up their practice. It’s very easy to be distracted if you’re working at home and jobs like scrubbing the toilet suddenly become appealing. What I personally find useful is to make sure I have some work time outside the house every day. Usually this involves going to a café for an hour or two to catch up on my admin, write hypnotherapy blogs and read up on any new interesting discoveries in the world of hypnosis. Just being out of the house and having a specific time and space set aside for work helps me to maintain routine and discipline.
Another thing you need to remember when you’re running a hypnotherapy business is to be disciplined when it comes to taking care of yourself. I don’t tend to have too much of a problem in committing to working and getting the work done, but I have a problem in stopping. I can very easily lack discipline in creating clear work/ home/ leisure boundaries and I can become stressed, anxious and generally unhealthy in the process. I need to be very disciplined in stopping work at a certain time of day, resisting the temptation to start working at 3.30am when I should be getting sleep (I’m a morning person, but that’s too early for my own good!) and ensuring I have enough quality time with my family and friends. I also thrive on ‘alone time’ and have to ensure that all my alone time isn’t spent working. I also try to be very disciplined about getting to the gym or out for a walk as so much of the work I do is sedentary and indoors.
Another area where you need to exercise self-discipline is in recognising the ways in which you procrastinate which prevent you from doing the work you need to be doing to attract and maintain hypnotherapy clients. All kinds of positive things can become means to procrastinate if you are not disciplined. Let’s take hypnotherapy CPD training, for instance. Keeping your CPD up to date, and exploring new areas of hypnosis is a wonderful way of improving your skills as a hypnotherapist, networking and meeting the CPD requirements of your hypnotherapy professional body. However, despite all the positives of hypnosis CPD training, it can become another form of procrastination. Be disciplined about what training in hypnosis you take on. Set a budget and time limit. Have a plan. Keeping going on hypnotherapy training courses doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive – it just makes you feel like you’re being productive. Watch out it doesn’t become a substitute for actually running your hypnotherapy business!
Having a friend or colleague who works in a similar field can also help you maintain discipline, if you find it a struggle to do so on your own. Setting goals with other people can help you to stay accountable. Joining local business groups or attending a group hypnotherapy supervision meeting regularly can all help you to stay disciplined.
Having a timetable, plan, set routine and long term goals can all help you maintain the discipline you need to run a successful hypnotherapy business (and remember to make enough time for a day off now and again and some fun, too!).