Uncover The Six Essential Steps For Having A Thriving Online Private-Pay Practice

GoodTherapy | Private-Pay Clients

Part 1 of 2 by Alexandra Whitehead, CEO, The Practice Activator

There are six steps that need to be taken to have a profitable online practice. If you’ve been working with insurance companies only to get clients, you might have found that while your schedule is as full as it can be, this hasn’t resulted in a better business. There might be little profit – so it’s hard to invest in your business and create additional offerings that serve both you and your clients – and it’s unlikely that you can afford to work 20 hours per week or less. 

If this is you, then you might be wondering how you can attract more online, private-pay clients. If you were able to do this easily, your practice would have a nice balance – you’d have more financial security, and you might just get your wish of having Fridays off – forever!

Attract a Predictable Private Pay Revenue Stream

The reason why online therapists fail to attract a predictable stream of online private pay clients is that they haven’t followed the ‘six-step’ process. They might not even know that the process exists – and even if just one step is missed, it’s difficult to grow a profitable practice.

In addition, so many therapists take small ‘marketing’ steps in isolation from one another, and unfortunately, these don’t add up to additional clients or revenue. They can be a real-time suck too!

6 Essential Steps to Attract Private-Pay Clients

If you want the freedom and control that comes from having a profitable online practice, comprised in part of private-pay clients, then these are the six essential steps you need to take:

  1. Know what your desired future is, even if it seems unrealistic right now
  2. Know why you want that desired future
  3. Uncover a profitable and viable niche
  4. Know and share your story (why do you work inside this niche?)
  5. Create an irresistible offer for your ideal clients
  6. Get the right eyeballs on your irresistible offer via a traffic source 

We’ll go through Steps 1-3 in this article, and you can explore Steps 4-6 in Part Two of this article here. 

When you choose to follow this six-step process, is when you’ll get private-pay clients saying “Heck Yes!” to working with you and signing up for your services. These people are great-fitting, ideal clients almost every time, and so getting your system set up to attract them is worth it. It’s also where you get to shine – you know that you are highly suited to helping people who come into your world via this process.

Build a Sustainable Client Attraction System

Let’s unpack each of these steps in greater detail, so you can self-assess where you’re at right now, and what you need to do going forward to build out this sustainable client attraction system. 

Step 1: Imagine your desired future even if it seems bonkers

You’re probably familiar with the saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” It can be a mistake to just look at what everyone else is doing and decide to also do the exact same thing. 

Because you’re the CEO of your business (and yes, if you’re a solo practitioner this counts!) you get to decide what your business becomes. You get to create it from the ground up. And the ripple effects of creating a profitable, sustainable, and impactful business will appear in your everyday life.

You might imagine having a thriving online business, saying yes to speaking gigs, moving to the mountains, buying your kid’s first home, or going on holidays without changing the filter from “price: lowest to highest”.

When you decide upon the future you want, it makes it possible. Far more possible than never having thought about it before (if you don’t know what you want, then how will you get it?). And remember, you don’t have to tell anyone!

If you’d like to fast-track the knowing part of your desired future, you can grab our free meditation/hypnosis audio here. 

Learn more about The Practice Activator

Step 2: Know WHY you want this desired future and feel into it

If you’ve ever read books like “The Law of Attraction”, you’ll know how important it is to connect emotionally to your desired future, so that it feels like you’re already living in that reality. 

Behind the desire for “a bigger house” and “more holidays” is always a “core desire” or the alleviation of a pain point. For example, if you have a bigger house you can easily have friends over for dinner parties. What you might really be seeking is a deep connection or companionship (in disguise of a big house). 

Once you know your ‘why’ behind each desire, really feel into it and allow it to become your reality, even if it’s for 5 minutes. In this case, you’d imagine how it feels to be surrounded by great friends. 

Why is this important? Building a profitable business isn’t easy. Yet, it’s also not hard. So why do people give up? Because it takes time to get the results you want. When people realize that it’s not just about “being profitable” and it’s also about companionship, for example, people are much more motivated to take the actions they need to take to get what they want. So don’t skip this step!

Step 3: Uncover a profitable and viable niche

Not having a viable niche is the biggest mistake therapists make – especially in online practice. Niching became hip and cool a few years back, and there was a vast amount of incorrect information about how to niche effectively all over the internet! This led to many therapists thinking that they have a niche, when in fact they do not. For example, “a psychologist for anxiety” is not a niche. Nor is “a psychologist for women with anxiety”. 

A niche is crucial for online practitioners because this is a sure-fire way to stand out from a crowded marketplace. It gives potential clients another reason to book in with you, specifically rather than someone who might be cheaper or more convenient. 

Your niche needs to be a sliver of the market segment that has a problem that you can solve. For example, “a psychologist that helps teachers overcome social anxiety” is a niche. 

Here’s the niching formula:

[specific person] + [specific problem] = Niche

And here’s how your niche plugs into one giant arm of your business model:

[specific person] + [specific problem] + [you and your irresistible offer] =
[client transformation] + [profitable business]

If you’re not a little bit fearful that you’ve “niched too much” – you haven’t got a niche :-)

To overcome the fear around niching, it’s a great idea to check you’ve got a viable niche.  The best way to check for viability is to write down at least 20 possible niches. Then it’s time to research which ones appear to be viable. 

You’ll want to choose a niche that has some competition. No competition is a bad sign. To check for this, you can:

  • Do a Google search using your potential niche keywords, 
  • Search for books on the subject on Amazon, 
  • Browse Reddit forums to see if people are talking about the problem you want to solve

A niche is likely viable when the results show a healthy amount of discussion around the problem. The more results there are, across a variety of platforms, the more confident you can be. 

Remember, the riches are in the niches. 

In Part Two of this article, you’ll discover why you need to share why you do what you do, and how clients use this information to decide to work with you, or not. 

You’ll learn the #1 mistake you can make when it comes to presenting your services to your ideal clients. Fixing this is key to helping more people and driving more revenue as the CEO of your business.

And, you’ll uncover how to get the right eyeballs on your irresistible offer via a traffic source. Doing so, gets you much closer to filling up your online practice with great-fitting clients, on autopilot. 

For FREE resources – just for Good Therapy Practitioners – including the fast way to uncovering your true desires and getting what you want in business and life + the 3-step framework for getting your first online private-pay clients, click here.


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