Can You Make Money in a Alternative Therapy Practice?

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You have worked very hard to complete your holistic medicine courses, or your psychotherapy course and then you you launch your business on the outside world. You are faced with the question, "Can you make money as a therapist?" This is certainly the question my students ask me most frequently and one of the most difficult to answer truthfully.

As with all services where you trade your time on an hourly basis you give yourself an upper limit on the amount you can earn. So if you work 35 hours a week, for 50 weeks a year at an average of $35 an hour the absolute maximum you could earn is $61,250 per year. OK, you think, I could live on that. :0)

However can you really work full time on your holistic therapy business? It is physically or emotionally draining to do more than four or five sessions a day ( whatever therapy you happen to be in). Then you need to do the admin and marketing. Even if you could work all the hours available do you have sufficient clients?

From a study I have done, the overall average working week for therapists is ten hours a week. This is for a group of therapists who have been working for an average of fourteen years each. Now part of that appears to be a lifestyle choice, but part appears to be that they can only sustain their business part time.

Taking ten hours a week for 50 weeks a year at the average of $35 per hour the maximum you would earn is $17,500. Obviously you can play with the figures that are relevant for your currency and local market rate per hour to calculate your average annual salary from your business. So how can you make money as a therapist? The key is to have more than one income stream. This is what the successful therapists do:

1) sell other related products. It is shown in research that it is at least seven times easier to sell to existing clients than to obtain a new client. The trust you and it doesn't cost anything in additional marketing. The key is that you know their needs and can ( hopefully) supply those needs. An example of one therapist is that she was not really earning enough as an aromatherapist, but she realised that what a number of her clients had in common was that they were struggling with weight issues so she started to sell nutritional products as a side line. Such is the way with these things this part of the business became more profitable than her aromatherapy!

2) run workshops or classes. 62% of the therapists I asked run workshops or group sessions of some

kind. The advantage is that for each hour you give your time more people can benefit and you earn a higher income for each hour worked. The attendees also benefit from a reduced cost per head, so everyone wins:0)

3) Part time employment. You can do work that fits in with your values and can be achieved around your complementary therapy practice. For the therapists who did part time employment, the range was working at university, working on reception at a clinic in exchange for a reduced room rental, through to working in a small charity. None of them earn a high hourly rate but is in keeping with their values and gives them the security of a regular wage coming in ( or reduced costs).

4) Running an unrelated or related business. Examples from the therapists included running an aromatherapy oils business, editing a well respected ethical paper and running a small media company. An advantage of having your own business that does employ staff is that you can "leverage" their time too. They get paid a fixed salary and you receive their skills for a piece of work or so many hours. You need to balance this though with the additional regulations you need to cover when you have staff, and crucially having to pay them whether the clinic is busy or not.

Another alternative is to run a clinic employing a number of therapists. This requires more funding to set up the therapy business and you need to fill the clinic in order to cover the cost of the premises, but it will give you additional rental income from hiring out the room.

5) Writing. Another source of income for the therapists was writing, mainly books and articles As well as earning an income from the writing it also makes them appear as the "expert" on the subject and is free marketing. Remember to include your contact details so readers can also contact you directly.

6) Learning additional skills. By offering additional therapies, for example reiki and massage you can give additional options to your existing customers and offer enhanced benefits. Alternatively some therapists learned additional skills within their therapy, for example, reflexology in pregnancy.

The key to earning more than the average salary is getting additional income streams. Don't make yourself vulnerable by relying on just one income stream. These are just some of the ideas you can use to give yourself another income stream,

If you want more information and a free report on how to start a successful therapy business, go to this website now

Gill Warren
Helping You Jump Start Your Therapy Business

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