You did it! You gathered the courage to take the leap and start your own private practice. You’ve launched your website, printed your business cards. Now you want to fill your schedule with clients, so you can experience the freedom of running your own business.
Maybe you’re listening to podcasts, watching webinars, and reading articles on how to fill your schedule. But when it comes time to actually market your practice, it can be overwhelming. You don’t know where to start, and your to-do list continues to grow as you distract yourself by reorganizing your junk drawer for the third time.
Shift Your Mindset Away from Fear
Here’s the thing. A thriving business requires more than just learning strategies and steps. Your mindset is everything. To be a successful private practitioner, you must embrace your role as a marketer. And one of the biggest mindset-challenges in private practice is overcoming the fear of marketing, which can show up in a couple ways.
Fear of Failure
This one typically shows up as perfectionism. I’ve worked with private practitioners who took months to publish one blog post or offer a brief workshop because they were trying to get it “just right” before putting it out there. This stems from fear of messing up, receiving criticism, or finding out that they just don’t have what it takes. In the meantime, the clients who need them aren’t finding them, and their private practice is limping along.
Fear of Being Sleazy
Practitioners frequently have negative thoughts about the word “marketing.” They assume it’s manipulative, insincere, and designed to part people from their money as quickly as possible. As people who care deeply about others, we’re repelled by the thought of becoming used car salesmen as we try to get more clients. But really, marketing is an essential part of any private practice. If our potential clients can’t find us, they can’t get the help they need.
Fear of Being Seen
I’m guessing that when you visualized private practice, you saw yourself sitting in a cozy office, holding a steaming mug of tea while having deep conversations with your clients—not publicizing yourself to the world. It can be scary to say, “Hey! Send me clients! I’m awesome!” It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable creating a more visible presence.
How to Be a Successful Marketer
The good news? You have what it takes to market your practice. Even better, you can do it in a way that feels aligned with who you are as a person and as a practitioner. It just requires a willingness to shift your mindset and step out of your comfort zone. You know, those things you keep teaching your clients to do!
Here are three of my favorite mindset shifts to help you deal with fear of marketing.
1. Focus on service and empathy.
Shift your mindset from “What will people think of me?” to “How can I serve people with my marketing efforts?” Think of your posts, articles, and workshops as a chance to share relevant, impactful information that can help people feel understood.
When you look at marketing through that lens, you won’t feel so sleazy. Your ideal clients will start to see you as someone they trust and want to work with before they even contact you. There’s a saying that “The best way to get the job is to do the job.” Let your marketing efforts be an extension of your role as a practitioner, and you’ll naturally attract people who are excited to work with you.
2. “Courage is more important than confidence.”
Remember these words from best-selling author and teacher Dani Shapiro. Spoiler alert—the fear isn’t going away. You can’t wait for confidence to show up. You have to do your marketing—even with your knees shaking. The confidence comes with repetition.
A good way to build up that repetition is to actually schedule your marketing tasks. Pick a time each week to dedicate to your marketing efforts, and set reminders for yourself in your calendar. When you treat your marketing tasks the same as other appointments, it’ll make it harder for you to push them off.
3. Get support.
Research has shown that mountaineers perceive a mountain to be 10 to 20 percent steeper when they’re climbing it alone—versus when they’re climbing it with other people. You need others to support and cheer you on. You also need people to call you out when you could be doing more. Having a team is essential for success.
We all have blinders on when it comes to ourselves, so get a coach, join a masterminding group, or connect with an accountability buddy. We need other people to help us see when we’re getting in our own way.
Remember—your business is pulling for you. It wants good things for you and for your future clients. Your practice wants to give you money, fulfillment, and freedom to help clients in a way that uses your unique skill-set.
Don’t let marketing fears stop you in your tracks. Your private practice is here to grow you, even as you grow it. You’ve got this.
Pollen Magazine examines the health and wellness industry through the lens of the professionals that are redefining private practice. Find inspiration, learn from others, and discover insights on how to build the best version of your practice.