04 September 2009

Client Appointments Slowed to a Trickle? Try One of 4 Ideas

Are you like my friend* Julie, whose business as a life coach has taken a nose dive in recent months?

Maybe you're in the same boat with my colleague Arty, whose counseling clients are getting fewer and farther between?

Or, is your situation more like my client Dr. Genefer, who is considering closing down her naturopathic medicine practice and working as a natural supplements sales rep?

There's no question that the recession is impacting the bottom line of the solopreneur in the healing arts. But before you start cleaning houses, flip burgers, or throw in the towel altogether, ask yourself if you have tried enough creative, alternative ways to generate income in the field you love.

If not, here are 4 low cost, quick to start, in your field ideas to consider. BTW, these aren't as much for generating quick cash as for consistently keeping your pipeline full.

1. Start a Group

  • Pick a dire need that your clients are desperate to end, improve, or achieve
  • Make sure the target market is viable enough to be willing to pay for group membership
  • Be direct and grounded in how you market the group
  • Do it in person, by phone, connected to a networking organization, or sponsored by a company
2. Write a Self Help E-book
  • Focus on a specific, definable problem with easy to describe steps to end, improve, or overcome
  • Limit profesional jargon, maximize step by step instruction, and keep length to 15-50 pages
  • Include pictures or clip art, and worksheets
  • Include a plug for your regular services at the end
  • Be assertive and persistent in how you market the e-book, whether as a free tool, or for a small fee**
3. Produce One or More Downloadable Self Help Audios
  • Use a free conference call service on the internet if your computer isn't capable of recording
  • Script out what you will say and rehearse it with a friend before recording
  • Be clear in your diction, simple in your words, and slow-ish in your speaking
  • Invite several friends or clients to participate in the recording with their questions
  • End with a call to action for buying your e-book, or making an appointment for regular services
  • Capture the wav file and save to your computer, then load onto to your website
  • Market via social media
4. Develop a Creative Payment System
  • Borrow and adapt from concierge or boutique practices
  • Offer bonuses or discounts if clients will pay for a package in advance
  • Seek out private contracts with small business owners to serve their employees
  • At the least, get a shopping cart or PayPal buttons on your website and start taking credit cards

*Of course these aren't the real names of my friend, colleague.

**Check with your state -- in some places electronic products like ebooks and audio downloads are now taxable when sold.
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