When I returned home from the UK several years ago, I was shocked at the state of psychotherapy in Australia. There was, and still is, a lack of understanding about what psychotherapy is and a lack of promotion regarding the benefits of psychotherapy from our professional associations. Frustratingly, it is rare to find a psychotherapist (or a family/play/art therapist) working as part of a multidisciplinary team in private or public health.
There is also a deeply pervasive myth that it is impossible to fill a ‘full fee paying’ private practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist because of the mental health plan insurance system which only provides rebates to psychologists and a small number of social workers. Trying to persuade clients to engage in weekly, depth psychotherapy (without a rebate) literally felt like mission impossible. My private practice reflected this and was sporadic to say the least. Desperate and down hearted after 8 years of Master’s training to become a psychotherapist – I found myself smack bang in the middle of a major career crisis.
At the beginning of 2013, I built a strong online presence through blogging and by taking the Julie Hanks LCSW’s Private Practice Toolbox Blog Challenge. Since taking the blogging challenge I am now described by my colleagues as a prolific blogger and I credit creating online content as the foremost reason for my practice growth and success.
1) I have more than enough clients
A great deal has changed since then! My practice is out of control busy and I have literally had to take my phone number off my website because I couldn’t keep up with the high level of phone inquiries. Last count, I have referred 50+ clients to other therapists in my local area and beyond.
2) Networking with colleagues
The initial benefit of blogging specifically through taking the blog challenge was networking with colleagues from around the world and building ongoing personal and professional relationships. Connections are crucial, especially when working from a home office, private practice as I do.
3) Keeping current on research
Writing one-two times a month has kept me up-to-date with the latest research and news within the therapy field.
4) Building writing confidence
Initially terrified of putting myself out there, I found that my confidence and writing improved with every blog post.
5) Increase in client inquiries
After about four – five months of blogging, I noticed a significant increase in client inquiries. One client specifically mentioned finding me through the ‘Top 10 Books’ blog challenge post. She had Googled one of the book titles, then ‘counsellor’ and I ranked first in the google search.
6) Provides resources for current clients
A blog is a great resource centre for my clients and I often send them links on a specific topic. Once my blog is written, I share it on Pinterest as my boards are the ultimate resource centre for clients and therapists alike. Whenever I choose an image for my blog, it is with Pinterest in mind as I find my articles are shared more frequently on Pinterest than on other social media pages.
7) Higher ranking on Google searches
Six months into the blog challenge, I started to rank on the front page of Google Australia and I often rank at number one for my local area, key word searches. My practice has been full since then. When I reply to inquiries, I let the prospective client know that my practice is full, I offer to make a referral and ask if they would like to go on my women’s workshop mailing list.
8) Professional credibility
Historically, psychology articles were limited to journals or written by journalists for popular magazines. As therapists, we have a wealth of knowledge to share. Blogging helps to raise the profile of our profession.
Blogging has raised my profile as an expert in the field and the go-to professional for women’s psycho-spiritual health and well-being. I have been interviewed, written guest posts and featured on Private Practice Toolbox, The World of Psychology , About.com, ABC Radio, Australia Counselling , The Manly Daily Newspaper, The Morning Show and Australian Well-being Magazine. .
9) Job opportunities
Blogging helped me to land the job of my dreams. Late last year I attended a two-day workshop with EatFed: Australia’s Premiere Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre and I was approached by the two directors who offered me the position of Assistant Clinical Director. Having written about eating disorders from a soulful and psycho-spiritual perspective, they loved my blog and felt that I would be a good fit for their team. Their program is licenced with Dr. Anita Johnston, author of Eating in the Light of the Moon http://www.amazon.com/Eating-Light-Moon-Relationship-Storytelling/dp/0936077360 and an inspiration to me throughout the writing of my Master thesis on eating disorders.
10) Sense of power and effectiveness
Finally, I have found a sense of personal power due to taking responsibility for the growth of my practice and career progression. I was filled with a sense of hopelessness regarding our field and often envied other therapists who appeared to have more clients and success than I did. When my practice was sporadic and slow, I was working from a place of lack. Now I work from a place of generosity and abundance. And… most importantly, I have realised that there are enough courageous, ideal (and full fee paying) clients out there for everyone!
Jodie Gale MA. is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a qualified therapeutic counsellor, a psychosynthesis psychotherapist and has recently been appointed Assistant Clinical Director at EatFed: Australia’s Premiere Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Centre. Jodie lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney where she currently balances being a stay at home mother with her part-time position at EatFed and a part-time private practice.
Dr. Rebecca Jorgensen invited me to participate in her monthly “Talk Time” webinar series this week to talk about the importance of developing an online presence for your private practice. In this webinar we cover the essential elements of an effective private practice website, why identifying your ideal client is an important part of self-care and burnout prevention, how to identify your ideal client, where social media “newbies” should start, strategies for building a social media presence, and how these factors all weave together to build an online presence for your practice.
Resources mentioned in this webinar:
Article: 10 Steps to Building an Online Practice
Webinar: My PR Secret Weapon: Landing Top Media Interviews
Join Private Practice Toolbox Facebook Group
Hootsuite.com Social Media Management tool
Find out more about Talk Time with Rebecca Jorgensen
In this 90 minute webinar you will learn:
Register for Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Webinar!
In this guest post, counselor and consultant Clinton Power share how to put the finishing touches on your E-book and how to get the word out and sell your book. (Read part 1 how to create your first E-Book)
Use a graphic designer to make your E-book stunning
If you’re planning on creating a PDF version of your E-book to sell through your website, you definitely want to get it professionally designed. Your designer can then employ visuals, highlight quotes, and use attractive fonts and graphic design elements to draw the reader in and make reading your E-book a pleasure. Your designer will also create a compelling cover page, which is essential as it will make a big difference whether people are attracted to your E-book or not.
If you’re going down the Amazon route, you won’t need a designer to design the inside, but you will need an awesome cover design so you stand out from the thousands of books in Amazon.
One other consideration is to make sure you have your e-book proof read once it’s complete. I employed a professional copy editor to make sure my book was grammatically sound with no spelling errors. This was a good investment.
Create a dedicated landing page for your E-book
It’s worth creating a dedicated landing page on your website for, or creating a stand-alone website just for your E-book.
Even if you’re selling it through Amazon, it’s helpful to direct people to this page to read more about your book.
Include attractive images of the cover (3D preferably), testimonials and a bio of you, the author.
Options for selling your E-book
I chose the Amazon route and more specifically, a product called KDP Select. If you use KDP Select you have a 90-day agreement with Amazon that you won’t sell your E-book anywhere else on the internet.
KDP Select also allows you to have up to 5 promotional days within the 90 days where you can give your book away for free on Amazon. This was a great strategy for getting more exposure, and helped me get over 2000 downloads. In fact, over 1,800 downloads happened in one weekend during one of my free promotions when my book went to the top of the free list for its category.
If you want more flexibility, you can just join KDP and then still sell your E-book in other places.
If you’re selling your E-book through your website, I recommend using E-Junkie or Gum Road. E-Junkie will allow you to have affiliates so other people can sell your book and earn a commission, and Gum Road is very simple software where a beautiful pop-up appears on your website and guides the purchaser through a checkout.
Begin promoting your E-book
Now your E-book has been created, it’s time to start promoting it. That’s probably a whole other post on it’s own, but one tip I’ll share is I sent advanced copies to readers on my newsletter list for free, in exchange for Amazon reviews.
This was very helpful in getting reviews on Amazon just as I started to make sales. And the more positive reviews you get, the more Amazon will promote your book in its marketplace.
Don’t forget to talk about your E-book on a regular basis on social media and get creative about sharing your message.
Another strategy I used was I created attractive images in PicMonkey with tips from each chapter and shared them on social media and on my blog.
Track your results
Finally, you want to track your results to see how you’re doing with your sales.
Amazon makes this easy through Author Central, so make sure you create an account there. You can track the ranking of your book in the Amazon Marketplace and read all your reviews, as well as edit your author profile.
If you’re selling your E-book on your website, use Google Analytics to see where traffic is coming to your landing page, and then increase your marketing efforts in those areas.
Creating an E-book has never been easier, so what’s stopping you? Get writing!
Clinton Power is a Gestalt therapist and the owner of Clinton Power + Associates – a private practice dedicated to helping singles and couples move out of relationship pain in Sydney, Australia. Clinton is the author of the E-book 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship, which is available in the Amazon store. He is also the founder of Australia Counselling Directory, a free directory for finding counselors and psychologists in Australia. Follow him on Twitter @sydneytherapist
There’s no doubt that creating and selling your own digital product is a great way to increase your online exposure, credibility, expertise, and earn some money while doing so.
And the creation of an e-book to sell through your own website or an online bookstore like Amazon or iBooks is the quickest and easiest product to create to get started.
I wrote my own e-book called 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship and published using the Kindle platform on Amazon. It’s been a great way to increase my online presence and credibility as a specialist in relationships and has now been downloaded over 2000 times and received 19 five star reviews in Amazon.
With a $2.99 price tag, I didn’t write it to make money (though the checks from Amazon are very nice), but more to reach thousands of people that I never could have on my own, through the power of the Amazon Marketplace.
Selling an e-book through your own website is also a very good idea, and the good news is you can charge much more than Amazon e-book prices.
So let’s dive in and look at the steps you need to get started.
Select a topic that will sell
It’s important to do some research at the beginning to check there’s a market for your e-book and people looking for the information you want to write about.
As a therapist you are well positioned to create an information product because you have years of training, knowledge and experience about good mental health, the change process, and self-improvement. These information products are often in high demand because they are providing a solution to a pain or problem.
So to get your research underway I suggest you start with Google and Amazon. Search for keywords that are related to the e-book you’re considering writing.
For example, if you’re a specialist in child ADD/ADHD, search for combinations of keywords in Amazon and Google such as “How to overcome child ADD”, or “I think my child has ADHD”, or “best ideas for dealing with ADD”. The idea is you want to see how many people already have products for sale that are similar to your idea.
If you find similar products, but your idea has a particulate angle that is not covered by other e-books, then this is a good thing.
There are hundreds of books on relationships in the Amazon store, but I didn’t find one that used my approach of a tip a day for 31 days, so I knew I was bringing in a different angle that might help with sales.
Create an outline
The next step in the creation process is to create an outline for your e-book.
Start by writing down the headline or theme for each chapter. This helps you organise your thinking and then you can flesh out the content later.
Here’s a tip: 50% of my e-book used blog posts I had previously written, so if you have been already been writing on a regular basis, don’t discount that you may have some of your e-book written already.
This was a huge time-saver that added 15,000 words to my e-book, and I then wrote the remaining 10,000 words in 10 days.
Choose a writing platform
One of the simplest ways to write your e-book is to write it directly into Microsoft Word. This is a good option if you’re going to turn it into a PDF for your own website.
I used the free platform Press Books, which is like writing in WordPress, but it converts it into the .mobi file, which you need to upload to Amazon.
I found this software easy to use and enjoyable to write in. You can then make as many changes as you want and quickly upload the latest version to Amazon within minutes.
Write clearly and simply for your audience
It’s important that you write in an informal and conversational way, so you can connect with you reader.
Try to avoid writing in an academic voice as it will turn off your readers. The challenge here is to let go of your college training and write as if you’re speaking to a close friend.
Use calls to action and hyperlinks
The great thing about writing an e-book, either for Kindle or a PDF for your website, is you can use hyperlinks to link to websites and other online resources.
So take advantage of this and include hyperlinks to link to other websites, or your own. This makes your e-book and more valuable resource.
Also use clear calls to action, so you tell the reader what actions you want them to take.
My e-book had a tip at the end of each chapter, so I told the reader exactly what to do for the next 24 hours. This then helps the reader feel they are getting something from the e-book because they are taking action.
Watch for part 2 on how to sell your e-book!
Clinton Power is a Sydney-based Gestalt therapist and the owner of Clinton Power + Associates– a private practice dedicated to helping singles and couples move out of relationship pain. He is also the founder of Australia Counselling Directory, a free directory for find counsellors and psychologists in Australia. Clinton is also a passionate coach and consultant for healthcare professionals. Find him on Twitter or Google+.
Many of us come into the field with devotion to helping others and idealized expectations about our ability influence other’s lives. Once we enter the field we come face-to-face with the realization of our own impotence – that we can’t take away our client’s pain or help them quickly solve the complex situations they face. Have you felt an “extinction of motivation or incentive” in your clinical work? I sure have.
After having been in the mental health field for twenty years, most of those years in a private practice setting, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of self-care. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my own experience and from the experiences of private practice therapists I’ve worked with in my consulting practice.
Take of your “therapist hat” off every day and allow yourself to feel your feelings. Helping others manage their life crises can get us out of the habit of acknowledging and feeling our deepest feelings. Tune in and allow yourself the freedom to express whatever you are feeling. Journaling, meditation, and prayer can be helpful in acknowledging your own experiences.
Don’t give away your self-care time to your clients. Every time you go over your allotted session time you are giving away your self-care time. Over the long-run, this is actually a disservice to your clients. Have water and food handy so you don’t go too long without eating or drinking. Take regular bathroom breaks. Take a quick walk around the block.
Allow yourself to make mistakes, professionally and personally. In Dr. Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind (2011) she defines self-compassion as having three components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness is simply treating yourself as you would treat another person who is suffering. Common humanity is the concept that, while human tendency is to shrink from others when we have made mistakes or are faced with imperfection, suffering is the common experience of all humanity. We are not alone in our suffering. Mindfulness is the ability to experience what is present, without judgement.
Childlike joy is the antidote to burnout. Think of something that you loved to do as a child — something that allowed you to be in the moment and full of joy. Find a way to bring that activity back into your life. It can be as simple as blowing bubbles, hiking, laying on the grass, playing the piano. Recreate the child-like happiness in your adult life on a regular basis.
Isolation is the universal form of torture. Where are dangerous or unruly prisoners sent? They are put in solitary confinement. Many a solo practitioner is in self-imposed isolation because it takes effort to seek out other professionals. We know from attachment theory that we are wired to connect with others. In addition to our familial relationships, this also applies to our professional relationships. We need to know that we are not alone. We need to feel emotionally supported.
Many therapists I’ve consulted with haven’t taken the needed maternity leave or sick time because they had no one to cover their clients in an extended absence. Reach out to other practitioners and find someone with whom you trust clinically. Work out an arrangement where you are willing to cover each other’s clients in the event of an emergency, illness, or vacation. Build in the support you need so you don’t have to worry about taking time off.
It’s much easier to help clients with their relationship problems than to work on our own. Part of self-care is nurturing our own intimate relationships with family and friends. Build in time to spend with your partner or child or friend and make sure that your relationships are thriving.
Therapists need emotional support, an objective perspective and a place to vent. I recommend to therapists that I train and consult with to find a therapist and check in with periodically as part of a self-care plan. Some areas have therapist support groups. Honor the psychological toll that being a therapist can have on our own emotions and psyche.
Burnout and compassion fatigue can be prevented by adding variety to your professional life. If you are seeing a lot of intense clients with abuse histories, for example, change up your schedule by some teaching university students, writing your first book, or offering professional trainings.
The best way to take care of your self is to make sure that your own needs are met. Part of this process is valuing your time, your education, and your expertise by charging more for your services. I have yet to consult with a therapist who in private practice where I’ve recommended lowering their fee. Most therapists charge too little and give away too much of their time and energy.
Find out more about my book The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women
As the year draws to a close it’s always fun to check Google Analytics and see which blog posts caught your attention throughout the year. The following is a list of the posts with the most unique page views on this blog during the 2013 calendar year. Interestingly, some of the most visited articles are from past years, but are obviously topics that are of interest to therapists this year. I’ve featured many guest posts this year, and two of them make the top 10 list!
1) What I wish I’d known before starting a private practice
Seasoned therapists share what they wish they’d known prior to starting their private practice in an attempt to help private practice newbies avoid the same mistakes.
2) The 10 best free iPad apps for a productive private practice
In this guest post Clinton Power shares his favorite practice management apps and how they can help you effectively manage your practice.
3) 6 reasons you don’t have enough clients
Some therapists are sabotaging their success and repelling clients instead of attracting them.
4) The $12000 mistake many therapists make
Poor time management boundaries in private practice can cost therapists thousands of dollars. Are you giving away free therapy with out knowing it?
5) 8 real-world marketing strategies from successful therapists
Take the advice of successful therapists. Private practitioners share their tips for marketing their practice in the real world.
6) 5 key questions to help you develop multiple income streams
Income stability can be a struggle for many therapists in private practice. Therapists who develop multiple income sources can create income even when client hours are down. Here’s how…
7) Counselor self-care practices
Therapists take care of others but often neglect themselves. In this guest post Hollie L. Hancock, M.S., CMHC shares the importance of counselor self-care (the topic of her doctoral dissertation).
8) Naming your practice is like naming a child
One of the first steps in private practice is giving your practice a name. Should you use your own name as your practice? Is it best to include your location in your practice name? Should you make the name sound big or intimate?
9) How to get paid for no shows
No one likes to show up at work and not get paid, including therapists. Here are my tips for setting strong boundaries when it comes no shows so you can get paid for your time.
10) The difference between hiring therapists as 1099 vs. W-2 employees
Therapists often hire other therapists as 1099 contract employees, but I do just the opposite. I share the distinguishing factors between W-2 and 1099 employees in this post.
Get 30% off private practice consulting services if you join my Private Practice Toolbox Facebook Group and book your consultations before 1.1.14! Consultations can be used in 2014, just have to book it online before the New Year to get discount.]]>
We all know the holiday season can be stressful and filled with everything from difficult family dealings to enhancing feelings of depression and loneliness. Take this opportunity to reach out and share helpful tips to get your clients and readers through the holiday season. Whether lighthearted or serious, how you approach the topic depends on how you can best serve your ideal client.
One of the most popular blog posts on my private practice site Wasatch Family Therapy was a blog inspired by the 2003 movie, Elf. A therapist used Buddy the Elf’s most popular sayings to write a blog incorporating positive psychology. This lighthearted approach using a beloved holiday character can be a sweet way to offer some great tips for getting through the holiday season. Remember to write something that speaks to you and your ideal client.
Here are a few possible topics:
Additional reminders about the 2013 blog challenge
In addition to traditional publishing there are many options for self-publishing an e-book, a workbook, produce a product, or create downloadable resources like videos, handouts, or audio resources. Publishing doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You may already have content from workshops, papers, blog posts, and your clinical experience that you can re-purpose as part of a book or workbook.
While publishing may sound daunting getting started may be easier than you think. Here are some ideas to help you get stared developing publishable content.
Here’s an example of a private practitioner who has taken her passion for helping troubled eaters and has become a successful author.
Private practitioner Karen R. Koenig, LCSW has created income stability through publishing books and workbooks to help troubled eaters. Karen just published her 5th book called Starting Monday: Seven Keys to a Permanent, Positive Relationship with Food this year. Currently, 33% of Koenig’s income comes from publishing royalties. Here’s how Karen got started:
“I had a desire to have more impact on troubled eaters than one-to-one sessions or even workshops and talks could provide. I started writing as a young child and have always enjoyed it… I took a screen-writing class through adult education and thought I’d found my niche. The instructor was an entertainment lawyer…she suggested I think about writing non-fiction books using my expertise which is the psychology of eating. I took her advice and she sold my first book and has been my agent ever since.”
To learn more about Karen’s books or Karen visit KarenRkoenig.com.
It’s the time of year when Facebook posts, blogs, and tweets take on a tone of gratitude. This is an excellent opportunity for you to share with your readers things that you are grateful for or encourage them to express their gratitude.
Enjoy sharing the benefits gratitude during this time of Thanksgiving!
Additional reminders about the 2013 blog challenge
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(2), 377.
Gottman, J. M., & Krokoff, L. J. (1989). Marital interaction and satisfaction: a longitudinal view. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 57(1), 47.