My ‘F’ in my A-Z of how to run a hypnotherapy business

The bottom line is that, if people didn’t experience fear, there would be no need for hypnotherapists in the first place. People don’t tend to seek out hypnotherapy when they’re feeling fantastic. A search for therapy is often driven by fear – fear of not being good enough, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear of the unknown. But I’m not here to talk about clients’ fears today – I’m here to talk about the fear which can be crippling when you’re starting up a hypnotherapy business.

Unless you’ve previously run your own business, the likelihood is that establishing your hypnotherapy business will be the first time you’ve been self-employed. And boy, is it scary! No matter what level your career previously reached, and how much independence you achieved within your organisation, you will still have had some structure and support within an organisation and probably interaction from colleagues. And although you’re out there promoting the company in your personal way, you’re one step removed from absolutely baring all and being yourself when you promote your own hypnosis business.

I’ve worked with so many newly qualified hypnotherapists who make themselves ill at the mere thought of doing the self-promotion which is necessary to run a business. The fear that putting your own name on leaflets and getting out there to say, ‘Hi, I’m a hypnotherapist’ can make people physically sick. The fears which come up during the self-promotion endeavours tend to be fear of rejection, ridicule and failure. What if someone knows I’m just newly qualified and they think I’m a fraud/ ridiculous/ stupid?! Take a moment or two to consider this…do you think that every hairdresser, massage therapist, counsellor or physiotherapist who runs a private business is ridiculous or stupid? Probably not. Well, they all had to start somewhere and some of them may be very newly qualified and feeling the same sense of fear that you are. You have to remember – the only one judging you so harshly is you – not your potential clients.

Another major fear is, ‘What if I don’t do a good job with my client?’. Again, this is perfectly understandable. If you care about people – and most people who are driven to hypnotherapy as a career do – then you care deeply about doing a good job. You’re dealing with people’s lives here and can make a huge difference. But you have to remember one thing, which is…you’re not responsible for creating change in other people’s lives. As long as you have trained with a reputable company and have completed a GHSC accredited course, as long as you’re acting in an ethical way and as long as you’re keeping your CPD and supervision up to date, you can’t do any more. There’s a great expression which is, as a therapist, you ‘leave your ego at the door’. This means you can’t take credit for the successes OR failures of a client. You can only do your best job and the rest is up to them. Remember, the fear of not helping a client stems from the fact that you care – which is a good basis for being a good hypnotherapist. I would be far more worried about a therapist who didn’t care about their clients!

Fear about colleagues – people who might have been doing this longer and might know more that you – is another crippling fear faced by hypnotherapists. What if you say or do something wrong and one of your peers picks up on it? Hypnotherapy – exactly like any other profession – does have its share of people who are very ready to criticise their peers. One thing to remember – for instance, if you’re looking through an online forum and some of the remarks are highly critical of other hypnotherapists – is, ‘What is driving this hypnotherapist to act in a critical/ bullying manner?’. You’ll have learned in your hypnotherapy training about projecting onto others and choosing to be nasty to peers is a form of projection – if someone wants to bully or criticise, they have some deep rooted issues which are being taken out on you. That doesn’t necessarily solve the problem! If you want to engage with online forums and the like, have a good look around for those which appear to be consistently supportive without the nastiness – they do exist. And remember, the vast majority of more experienced hypnotherapists will be only too pleased to help and support you and share their knowledge with you.

Financial fear is a very real fear, not just for hypnotherapists, but for anyone who runs their own small business. Being self-employed truly is a rollercoaster. You just don’t have that safety net of a monthly income. Which can be terrifying! There are practical steps you can take to help, such as making sure you have a part time job or some savings while you build up your hypnosis business. You also need to ensure you don’t get carried away when you have a good month and spend all your money celebrating in the belief that every month is going to be that good (it’s not!). When works dries up, it’s very easy to start catastrophising and believe that you’ll never get another client. It’s also very easy to think that you’re a useless failure of a person. Once again, you’re going into an emotional state which isn’t helpful. As well as maintaining sensible spending and saving patterns, you need to look at the evidence. Have you been quiet because of the school holidays? Do you always tend to have a slump at this time of year? What can you do in the quiet times to help your business (such as doing presentations or writing blogs?).

Setting up your hypnotherapy business, then, is a fearful endeavour – but it’s also exciting, and you need to remember that anything which is worthwhile, challenging and new will always be a bit scary. When you’re running a business, you need to stay in your head and not be ruled by your emotions. If you’re trying to do all this from an emotional state you can become exhausted and overwhelmed. You need to look at the evidence. Learn from how other people promote themselves, and remember they probably started out with just the same fears as you. You need to put on your metaphorical business hat – set time aside for working on a task which you find scary and be your business self for a chunk of time. You need to stop engaging with your emotional voice when it’s time to work (otherwise you could end up sitting around all day eating chocolate biscuits and watching daytime tv). You can reconnect with your emotional self when it’s time, but when there’s a task to be done you just have to get on and do it.

If you want any support in establishing your hypnotherapy business or would like information on hypnotherapy training or CPD courses, please get in touch.