The Story Of A Struggling Practitioner (Me!)

I spent 3 years training to be an acupuncturist.

When I finally qualified I was full of enthusiasm and itching to get going. I got some business cards and some leaflets printed, and got a simple website. And then I waited…

… and I waited.

… and I waited.

The phone didn’t ring.

And apart from a few friends or acquaintances, my practice was dead. And although it began to grow, it grew slowly.

At the end of my first year, I was busier than I had been at the start. But not by much.

Certainly not by enough.

I was living off my savings. Frustrated at not being able to really practice what I had spent years learning.

But I pushed on. People told me it would take 3 years to get a practice established, so I thought I had to be patient.

I tried a load of different types of advertising, but ended up spending a fortune with very little results.

I carried on with my own development, refining my skills, going to courses and workshops to improve my knowledge and practice.

I thought that if I could carry on getting better and better at acupuncture, then surely my practice would really take off.

Year 2 came and went, and then year 3. Yes, I was busier, but it still wasn’t enough. Not nearly.

And then, I reached breaking point.

My financial situation was bad. My debt was getting bigger every day, and I began to panic.

I was confused, frustrated, exhausted, and broke. And without anyone to turn to for help, I felt very much alone.

If you’d have been with me on the day everything turned around, in 2008, you’d have found me in my house in South Wales, wandering from room to room.

I was opening every drawer and cupboard, and looking on all the bookcases. You’d think that maybe I’d lost something and was trying to find it.

But you’d be wrong. In fact, I was looking for things that I could potentially sell on ebay.

After an hour or so, I had a box full, and I sat down at my computer quite pleased. The money I made from selling these bits and pieces would buy me another month or so of financial breathing space.

But then reality hit.

This was not sustainable. I couldn’t carry on like this.

SOMETHING HAD TO CHANGE

So I took an honest inventory of the whole of my practice. I knew that I was a good practitioner, and that people who came to see me went away happy. But I realised that wasn’t nearly enough.

Just like in many other areas of life, being skilled at something doesn’t mean you’ll be successful (just look at the music industry!)

The problem was simple.

I was good at acupuncture but BAD at promotion, sales and marketing.

And no surprise, because apart from a lackluster weekend or 2 at college, I’d never really spent much time studying it.

And so, I set about a mammoth journey of discovery.

I learned that marketing is really just understanding how people think, and the best way to put across to people what it is that you do – in other words, it’s psychology. And as this is an inherently interesting subject, I discovered to my surprise that I actually enjoyed marketing!

I spent many years, and many thousands of pounds soaking up everything I could find. I went on marketing courses, workshops and seminars, had 1 to 1 consultations with sales trainers, joined mastermind groups, and read every book I could find.

And I learned a LOT. Among other things I learned:

–    Why my previous attempts at ads in papers and magazines had failed (due to simple structural mistakes) and what to do instead
–    How to make simple alterations to my website that encouraged people to call
–    The importance of positioning and what a USP is really all about (which was nothing like what I thought it was!)
–    Why it’s a disaster to try and copy big brand marketing, and that what works for individual practitioners is completely different

I began putting these ideas into action straight away, and there were immediate results.

There was a lot of trial and error because I didn’t have a mentor to guide me in exactly how to apply what I’d learned, but nevertheless, it worked.

The phone started ringing, and bookings began to come in.

The following year grew faster than any previous year. And the effect compounded, so the next year was even better.

Within a few years I was on my feet, not worrying about money any more, and most importantly, enjoying a thriving, stimulating practice where I got to help a lot of people – which was the whole reason I started in the first place!

Now, I don’t really need to advertise. With my website and word-of-mouth, plus a couple of simple systems that run on autopilot, I have all the new clients I need.

Imagine walking into your practice, knowing that your day is already fully booked.

Imagine that you have a constant flow of enquiries coming in, and because you know exactly how to handle them, almost all of them turn in to bookings.

Your bank balance is healthy, and as your stress levels are so low, you are too!

And ANYONE can get to this position. I knew nothing about it to start with, and I got here. You can too.

And I’d like to help you along the way.

If you want a really thriving, successful practice you HAVE to learn about sales and marketing.

And I mean seriously. This is not something you can dabble in half-heartedly (maybe you already discovered for yourself that that doesn’t work too well!)

Please, take my advice, make a commitment to yourself now to start learning this stuff.

And by all means, if you want to go it alone like I did, please feel free. Just be aware that it’ll take a lot of time, effort and money!

And if you’d like my help, I’m ready to share the fruits of all my study and practice.

This is the first time I’ve taught this subject, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned.

I hope you’ll consider joining me.

Find out what it’s all about, here:

The Practice Building Mastermind

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