Common Hypnosis & NLP Business Mistakes
The chocolate/coffee/tea place across the street is going out of business and we can take a lesson about marketing your hypnosis business from it. You see, a lot of people get into running a hypnosis or NLP practice and don’t think of it as a business — but it is. And after a short while, they end up going out of business. Or, they may go along for months, or even years, as a part-time business.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with running a practice, part-time. In fact, I think it’s an ideal part-time gig. But if you’re looking to go full time, it can be frustrating.
But back to the chocolate shop…
The chocolate shop was the first business in a newly built storefront. They spent several months remodeling, and getting their business to look perfect. The bought countertops, signage, displays, and furniture. But in the months spent getting ready, no income was well… coming in.
Many hypnotherapists do the same thing. They’ll rent an expensive office, buy lots of expensive furniture and artwork, and spend months getting ready to open a practice. All the while, money is going out — but not coming in. Unless you have an unlimited bankroll and think of hypnosis as your hobby, that’s not sustainable.
No Built-In Business
There isn’t much foot traffic where the chocolate shop is. If you’re going to pay for an expensive office, you should get something back, besides prestige. Is your new office in a strip mall, next to a grocery store where 1,000 people a day walk by? Are you in a medical building where dozens of perfect prospective clients for your pain control work regularly visit?
Of course, there are lots of factors; convenience, ease of parking, ease of access for folks with disabilities. But in general, don’t pay a lot unless your location gets you customers!
If You Build It…
I used to work for a record company. One time, my boss was asked to speak to a budding musician, by the musician’s parents. The parents were concerned as their kid was planning on dropping out of college to pursue music. My boss spoke to him, and his entire plan was to “go to England and become a rock star.” When asked for details, he didn’t have any beyond that. He was a little fuzzy on how to actually do it.
Many budding hypnotists and NLPers are similarly fuzzy. And when I say ‘many budding hypnotists and NLPers’, I mean — that was me. When I was starting out, I just kind of visualized hanging out a shingle. My marketing plans beyond that were less than comprehensive. We think that if we open up practices, people will automatically come. But they may not.
If you had asked me about it, I probably would have muttered something about a sign in the window, maybe a yellow pages ad (it was that long ago) and a web site. But I really didn’t have a plan, or a realistic idea about timing or expense.
Here’s the deal…
Now, I don’t necessarily think you need a formal hypnosis business plan. But you should at least have a reasonable idea of what your expenses are going to be, what you’re going to charge for sessions, how many sessions per month you’d consider a success, and how long you could stay in business if nobody showed up.
That’s because, initially getting clients is much harder than most people would think. Not many people are going to come to you just because you put up a website and opened an office.
Just as an example, a good website might convert 1% of its visitors into customers. So, in order to get 10 clients in a week, you’d have to have 1,000 website visitors from your area in one week. As an example, about 50 people a week search for “hypnotherapy” in the Seattle area in one week. And in the Seattle area, you’d be competing with lots of other hypnotists for that traffic. Mymy guess is that you’re going to have a hard time getting that 1,000 visitors right away.
Of course, you can pay for advertising. More about that in a bit.
That’s Why It’s Hard — Why It’s Easy?
Once you get up to a certain number of clients, things get a lot easier. Once you’ve had 200 clients, when your schedule is looking a little light, just send out an email with an offer for discounted sessions, or a special package, or letting folks know you work on a particular issue. Boom! Your schedule is much easier to fill up.
It helps to understand that it’s not a job — you’re building a business. Your customer list is your business.
Your Hypnosis Business Isn’t An Office — It’s People!
Did you know dentists sell their practices — sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even over a million bucks)? The main attraction is not the dental equipment; it’s the customer list.
It is far, far easier to book a new session with an already existing client, than it is to get a new one.
Did They Make A Fatal Mistake?
Did the chocolate shop have a customer list that they could call, mail or email when they ran a special? I doubt it. Did they have a way to get advertising in front of people who were proven chocolate, tea, or coffee lovers? I don’t think so. Don’t make the same mistake. Collect everyone’s contact information and have it in an organized form (keeping privacy matters in mind).
If you do advertising for your hypnosis business, make sure it’s tightly targeted to bona fide prospects, and not just a shotgun approach. That is, unless you’ve got a really cheap way to get to the general public (like having signage where a large number of people walk or drive).
Free Or Paid
As a general rule, there are two ways to get new clients — free, or paid. If you want to go the free route, it may take longer. But here’s the thing about the paid route. Even breaking even can build you a business. Here’s how…
Imagine that you spent $1,000 running an ad, and you got 4 clients out of it. Two clients invested in a 3 session package each, 1 client bought 2 full priced sessions and the 4th client did 1 session only. Your total revenue was $1,000. You broke even. Or, did you?
You now have 4 more clients on your list. Those clients can book more sessions later, or send you referrals. And that income doesn’t have any additional advertising cost. And again, once your business gets to a certain level, almost all of your income can be from repeat clients and referrals.
Time… Keeps Flowing Like A River
But as you can easily see, that takes time. And that means it might take a while to get cranked up. It’s faster with advertising, but it costs more, so you might need more of a cushion.
And lack of cushion is one of the main reasons businesses fail. And that’s true for many a hypnosis business too.
The Artist And The Space
I know an artist who rented a space in a local store for $20/month. He didn’t sell anything the first month, and $20 was all he had. So, he closed up. Basically, he threw $20 away.
Realistically, in order for him to see if the idea was going to work or not, he needed to stay in that spot for 6 months or so. If you start a hypnosis business, and don’t have enough funds to cover rent and advertising for a long enough period, you’re just throwing money away.
If you’re in that boat, start smaller. Rent an office from another practitioner a couple days per week. Perhaps a room in your home would work for doing sessions. Start in a way that gives you a chance for success!
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