Avivit Fisher joins the show to discuss starting a private practice during the summer. Summer is the perfect time to start a private practice for many reasons. First, creating a practice from scratch will require a lot of research and up-front work. So, starting your practice during the slower time of the year isn’t necessarily bad for therapists. Tune in as Avivit talks about where to start when building your private practice, the importance of knowing your ideal client, and what to do when your practice slows down during the summer.
Meet Avivit Fisher
Avivit Fisher is the principal of REdD Strategy, a marketing and business consultancy for therapists in private practice. Avivit teaches therapists business skills they didn’t learn in grad school. She provides guidance in strategy, process planning, business tools, and marketing so that private practitioners can create a sustainable business advantage.
She spent the first decade of her professional career as a Graphic Designer and later worked as a marketer and a project manager in a corporate environment.
In grad school, Avivit received a degree in Design Management that focused on business sustainability and entrepreneurship. She is also a content creator, copywriter, and obsessive reader.
Summer Is A Perfect Time To Start Your Private Practice
For many therapists, summer can be the slowest part of the year regarding your business. If you have wanted to get into private practice, summer is one of the best times to start your practice. From a marketing perspective, preparing for a launch of a therapy business will take between six to eight weeks. The things you need to do to launch a private practice are time-consuming and require some research. It would help if you thought about the name of your practice, got a lease for your office, and figured out the financials for your practice. The slow private practice season gives you time to think about these things to get your private practice off to the right start.
Where To Start When Building A Private Practice This Summer
First, you need to understand who you want to work with. Make sure you know your ideal client. Then, you need to figure out your private practice name. Once you have the name, it’s time to buy the domain and figure out how you’re going to build the website. The main marketing asset you are going to have is your website. So, take the time to research website hosting services and what will be the most cost-effective for your business. Also, you can start researching companies that will help with your website. From a marketing perspective, these are the best places to start when it comes to building a private practice.
Branding and Promotions Will Be Easier With An Ideal Client In Mind
Start thinking about your brand and how you want to be perceived by the world. When you know who you want to work with, that will be the foundation of your brand. So if you haven’t already identified your ideal client, that needs to be step one. Figure out the benefits of working with you vs. other therapists in the area. Look around and see who your competition is by researching their website and how they present themselves. Next, figure out how you can stand out. Do the internal work and create your core values. Think about what message you want to send out in the world. Lastly, when starting therapy, it’s time to think about the client’s journey and their state of mind.
What To Do When Your Private Practice Slows Down
During the summer months, your practice may be slow, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things you can do. For instance, you can spend lots of time with family and friends during the slower season. Otherwise, you can start preparing for the fall. It’s a great time to look at your systems and processes. Another thing to think about is preparing financially for private practice. If you’re considering starting your private practice this summer, make sure you have enough money to make it happen. Gordon recommends having three months of expenses and salaries banked away; you need a financial buffer so you don’t feel a strain when things get slow.
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Okay. Hi, Gordon, this is thanks for thank you so much for having me on your podcast. Again, it's a pleasure to be here. I want to present myself, I'm Ivete Fisher, I'm the owner of red strategy marketing consultancy for therapists and private practice. I help my clients through coaching and consulting, to develop their brands, create a marketing strategy, and train them on the tools they need for digital marketing, and traditional marketing. And today, I thought it would be great to talk about starting a private practice during during the summer months.
Well, hello, folks, and welcome again to the podcast. And I'm so glad to have back with me, Avi Fisher, and Ali V. Welcome. Thank you so much. It's great to be here. Yes. And all the read, I've gotten to know, kind of over the over this past year, through her company red strategy. And she does a wonderful newsletter that's just got really a lot of great stuff, just around the trends and marketing and mental health and all of that sort of thing. So for VT is, as a start with most folks, tell, tell folks a little more about yourself and how you've kind of landed in this niche and what you're doing?
Sure. So I, unlike a lot of people who do the work that I do, I'm not coming from the mental health industry. I am formerly a graphic designer and a marketing professional. And I I started as a marketing, marketing coach and marketing consultant, back in 2012, and I worked mainly with small businesses. And in 2015, I've experienced sort of a personal tragedy. I spoke about it last time we met the house where I lived, burned down, and my family lost everything. And I was stuck sort of not knowing how to move on from an emotional perspective. And I was looking for therapists who could help me with this. And I couldn't find anything online that would be relevant to overcoming this Emotionally, I didn't really understand what was happening to me, I didn't really understand if it was maybe trauma, maybe it was a traumatic event, maybe it wasn't maybe it was just a difficult time. And I saw really a disconnect between how therapists presented themselves to the world, and what clients were looking for. And I got inspired, and I wanted to help more people reach the help that they need. And I wanted to work with therapists in coaching them about marketing and telling them about marketing, because I know that therapists do not receive this education in college and grad school. So this is where how I started working with therapists.
That's great. Yeah, and, and that's, you know, something, again, that's very much needed, because most of us, like you said, don't regret any sort of training and marketing or business for that matter. And so, it it's a, it's a it's a big learning curve for a lot of us and, you know, it's in the, my, you know, one of the things that I work with in my consulting, that is comes up a lot is really getting people to change their About page on their, on their websites, instead of it being more client facing rather than then therapist facing with with their copywriting and all of that sort of thing. And so, yeah, so I know when we were getting getting ready to record, we were talking about how you've done some work here lately with people in you know, trying to start in the summer months, which I think for a lot of us in our practices, the summer months kind of slow down a little bit. You don't have quite as many clients and so yeah, I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of that about the advantages of starting during the summer and what people can be thinking about.
Well, yeah and summer mount months can be a little bit nerve racking for for therapists because obviously because there are slower but you know, if you're someone who has been wanting to start your own practice. And if you someone has been thinking about it, I want to show you that, you know, summer is like the natural time to work on this because I would say that, from a marketing perspective, to prepare for a launch of a therapy business would take probably between six to eight weeks. And there is a lot that you would need to do the things that you need to do, they're very time consuming, and require some research. Even before we go to, you know, the actual promotion, but you there's a preparation stage, there's a stage that you need to think about things like the name for your practice, you need to think about all the all the things that you would need, if you planning to open an office, you would need to find a lease, you need to think about your financials, do the math. And the slow season kind of provides this time that you can do this deep thinking because then when it ends, we actually after the summer, we kind of go into the busy time of year, and especially the holidays, and you do want would like to be ready, I'm assuming to accept as many clients as you can as you can to your for your practice,
right? Yeah. So as you think about kind of the marketing side of things, what would be a starting place for somebody that is starting a new practice in the in the summer months? What would what would you want them to begin to kind of focus on?
Well, I would first, you know, and this is the work that requires the more most time so I would like them to understand who they would like to work with. So you've been working already with clients who probably have an idea of who you would like to work with, what kind of clients you would like to reach. So doing the work and really understanding who your ideal client would be. And also, practical things like incorporating, figuring out what the name for your private practice was be buying the domain name, figuring out how you're going to build your website, because this is the main, I would say the main marketing asset that you you're going to have right now is your website. So it really gives you the time to do some research about that, and even looking for look for vendors and designers to do it for you. So this is where I would start really, from a marketing perspective. But before that, obviously, I would urge you to figure out your finances and do the math.
Right, right. Yeah, that's, yeah, that's, that's all very, very important stuff in that one of the things that I think a lot of people make the mistake of doing is not really knowing their numbers, or not having a clear in their mind, what sort of what sort of, you know, what they need to pay themselves, in order to maintain their lifestyle and be able to maintain, you know, the work, I think we all, when we first go into it, we're, you know, we think, Oh, I'm gonna have my nice office, I'm gonna put my name out there, and I'm gonna have so many clients come see me, and money's not going to be a problem, you know, kind of thing. And I think that's a little bit of a fantasy that people live with. But I think that you're right, knowing your numbers. But the other thing that you mentioned IBV, that I think some people really kind of struggle with, when they when they think about who is their ideal client? Right? Because what's the one of the main reasons that I think people need to know that, so you will know how to market to those people. And so you want to say a little bit more about that, as far as after you identify your niche, so to speak, or identify your, your client? What do you what do you want to begin to do next?
I would really think that the next step would be to start thinking about your brand. And what I mean by that is how you would like to be perceived to the world. Right? So and, and knowing who you want to work with is a foundation for that, I would say because you want to be perceived a certain way for a specific segment of a population. And so really figuring out what would be The benefits of working with you what, how you can stand out from your competition. So for that you would need to sort of look around and see who your competition is, and do a little bit of research, look on their website, look how they present themselves, and figure out how you can stand out what you can do similarly, as well we can learn from our competition, really do some internal work and figure out what are your core values? What What kind of message you want to bring into the world? What what do you want to say, and really understand that client's journey, their state of mind how they're looking for, like the same way what I, you know, I wanted some therapists to take into account my state of mind as somebody who went through a fire, right? I would have liked it, if somebody described it, if somebody I would have felt immediate trust. So the same thing, describe your ideal clients journey. And this type of work is going to make it much, much easier in the in the future to create a write promotion, even when you're doing when you're working on your SEO, or even if you decide to advertise your therapy practice on Google is going to help you with keyword research is going to help you to really attract the type of people that you want to work with.
Right, right. Yeah, it's a, that's such an important important point there avete is that we need to be able to communicate to potential clients that we know what it's like, in their world that we understand, you know, give, give a sense that we understand what it's like for them and what they're struggling with. And that's, that's how they connect with us. Because if I, you know, it's, you know, in working, not to get too far off on a tangent here, but just thinking about, you know, your experience of having been in enough house fire, somebody where you're going to have credibility is talking to other people that have gone through the same day. So you're going to be able to, you know, if the potential client or person said, you know, I had my house to burn down, or, or whatever, you would be able to say, well, I know what that's like, because that happened to me. And automatically, you've got some, some credibility with that person. And so I think, you know, part of it requires a little bit of self disclosure on the therapist part and being able to, you know, know, yeah, I've struggled with anxiety, our struggle with depression, not that you have to necessarily do that every time. But I think that can go a long way with really connecting the clients.
Yes, it can. And, you know, having worked with therapists, I noticed that most therapists went into this field because of certain personal experience that they as either as children, or maybe later in life, and not everybody likes to disclose. Thanks, but the important thing is to show that you, you see your clients, you see their their experience, it's not only talking about, you know, depression, because depression can be different for, you know, for a young woman, and it can be different for teenage boy, right? Experience is very different. So if, if, if you kind of talk about the experience, and this is what I do with my clients, I asked them tell me what what are the what are the questions that your clients are asking you when they when they arrive to your sessions? I'm not obviously asking for personal details, but overall, because because there's usually an overlap with the clients that they see. They're probably the same questions that their clients are asking them. So it's important to note all of that. So this is the work that requires time and when you're busy, you're just not going to have the time to do that.
That's right. And right. And the other thing too, is when we're busy, you know, marketing is not necessarily on the radar. Because we've got the influx of clients and I think, you know, one of the things that maybe I'll bet a little bit of a silver lining with COVID and I've mentioned this before, is you know, it's made their people have less stick But around mental health issues than they once did, I think and so we're in a great place as therapists, if people can find us, then we're going to fill up. Yeah. And so and that's, to me, the bottom line of, of marketing is for people to be able to find you and know that you can help them with the problems that you're that they're wanting help with.
Yes, that's, that's true. Another important aspect of this is, you know, because established therapists are getting are so busy because of COVID. And during the busy months, they would like to refer to somebody else, right? So the summer months really give you an opportunity to create those relationships with more established therapists and network with them, because they're also more open and free for this during the summer. So that's another thing that you can dedicate your time to.
Right, right. Yeah. So yeah, so what else comes to mind for you VD? Does you think about how therapists spend their time during slower times when there's not the when the phone is not ringing so much?
Well, I mean, some of them just welcome. And so you get so they can enjoy the time with their family and loved ones or by themselves. Just relax? And, of course, some get a little bit more stressed out. If if it's not it's not a season that has been planned for financially. If if it's unexpected, unexpected. The thing is, it clients lifestyle, changed drastically during the summer. So, you know, they become more busy with different things, people are have different experiences in the summer. So the mental health problems don't go away. But the needs might change, the needs might change. And if if you are dissipate those need changes, then you can retain some clients or attract new types of clients attract a different audience, for example. That's also possible. Yeah, so I would say I would say some therapists relax, some therapists stress out a little bit during the summer. And some prepare, like my clients, they they prepare for September?
Mm hmm. Yeah, it's, yeah, it's great, a great time to really kind of look at all those systems and processes that you have in place. And, you know, to kinda go back and hit hone in on one of the things that you mentioned, about being financially prepared, I think, you know, particularly for folks starting out, I think they really need to focus those first years or whatever, are really building up a reserve for themselves, a cash reserve. And I would recommend that at the very least three months of expenses and salary and that sort of thing, kind of banked away, because you do hit those slow periods. And you need to be able to have, you know, that buffer in there so that you're not feeling the financial strain of it all when, when things do get slow or whatever, you know, the other other time that things tend to slow down around the holidays, you know, in December, you know, from about November on it just kind of things kind of slowed down a little bit. But,
yeah, yeah. I mean, it's a it's natural for all the people being behaved similarly. So it's a predictable time, right of slowing down. But yeah, it's, it's I agree with you, it's extremely important to be financially prepared, because there might have things that you don't anticipate might happen in right. Yeah, problems may arise.
Right, right. Yeah. It's, uh, yeah, it's being prepared for those things. And so that you're not just constantly feeling like you're putting out fires.
Exactly. But one of the ways to the point of being prepared is when you starting to have realistic expectations about your expenses, and also the fees. I mean, but I know a lot of people when they're starting out, they're very nervous about attracting clients because they're new and so they start with lower fees. And those might not be the most realistic. Fees.
Oh, For the future, right? It's not not something that's very sustainable. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I think, you know, part of it is part of it too. And learning, again, you talk about fees, one of the things for people to realize is that if somebody is searching you out based on your fee, they are probably not your ideal client to begin with. I mean, because, you know, really, if somebody is, and that's where it takes some, some education with potential clients is don't pick me because my fee is the lowest pick out therapists that is going to have be a good fit for you with the issues that you're working on, or what you're trying to try and trying to deal with. And so, I think that is that that's a two way street too, because, you know, if you're, you know, somebody picks you because you're, you've got a lower fee, or they, they pick you for that reason, it might be that the clinical issues that they are dealing with are not something that is learning, you're not something you want to work with, or either that are outside your scope of practice. And so I think those are, those are things that we have to constantly be aware of.
That's true. That's, that's right. And this is why it's so important to, to focus on your brand, and create brand awareness with a strong message that talks directly to the people that you want to attract. Because another another thing is, it's it's much harder to raise lower fees in the future, right, it's easier to start with realistic fees, that can sustain your business, and that can sustain the lifestyle that you want. Starting lower and then trying to raise the fees higher in the future.
Right, right. Well, this is this is really fascinating stuff, obviously. And I'm want to want to be respectful of your time, tell folks a little bit more about red strategy and what you do and how they can get in touch with you.
Great, thank you. Um, so red strategy, you can you can find my website, it's www red with today's strategy, that calm. There's a lot of useful information, marketing information over there. I have a lot of free resources that can really help you start thinking if you're thinking about starting a new practice, figuring out your ideal client, figuring out the first steps you need to take when you starting your new practice. I work with clients, as a coach and as a consultant. I work with new practices, I've worked with established practices that are looking for ways to grow. And I train them on everything that has to do with branding and marketing and digital marketing. copywriting, so, SEO, advertising, so everything marketing related. I also have a weekly newsletter, which focuses on mental health industry, news and business trends. And every week, I hand pick the most interesting information when it comes to mental health industry. And I send out a digest with my spin on marketing. And it's been a well read and popular. So if you're interested, it's also a good tool for you to kind of start thinking like a business owner.
Right? Right. It is I'm subscribed, subscribed to that particular email, and so it's good. It's really great information. So I'd encourage people to do that. And we'll have links here in the show summary in the show notes so people can find that easily. Well RVV thanks for being on the podcast. enjoyed our conversation.
Me too very much. So thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.
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