Five years ago I wrote a post called “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and right at this moment I am sure there are a ton of therapists out there who wish they had taken my advice. Everyone in the industry has been continually preaching about building a niche therapy practice and being an expert in one particular area but what they aren’t telling you is if the bottom falls out of your market niche your practice and business is in big trouble. Coronavirus is now showing the weaknesses in this business approach. Everyone should have a plan A and plan B and a plan C!
I am a member of a number of therapy forums and during the last few weeks therapists out there are spotting that their businesses which have been working fine for years are suddenly getting no calls. Some have big expenses and outgoings but with no customers they can’t afford to pay them. Many are wondering how they are going to cover even their room rates. Another therapist said they had got a job in a bar part time to tide them over. I had to break it to them that it is likely that this job will be useless in the next couple of weeks as the government is probably going to shut them down. This is a serious time for everyone not just therapists.
Weak Therapy Niches in This Market
A few weeks ago I did a Facebook live with a therapist Steve Norton in the anxiety niche. In the video streams, we talked about what was currently happening with Coronavirus and what people needed to do to try and insulate themselves from the fallout. You can watch the videos here: https://youtu.be/5tjMJsNxWc0 and here https://youtu.be/opNFZv6uOVg: It was obvious to me that anxiety was a great niche therapy practice to be in at the moment because of the turmoil and stress that everyone is experiencing but here are some that are going to suffer over the next few months:
Hypnobirthing – Pregnant women are totally freaking out at the moment at what could happen to their unborn children if they catch the virus. Many are already staying away from hospitals where possible what chance do you have of running these sessions as the virus spreads?
Weight Loss – Summer is typically a time of bikini bodies and holidays. Women especially flock to go on diets to look their best when they are away. This year they are more worried about getting some toilet roll and tins to survive so I expect this niche to suffer in the short term. (Update as lockdowns progressed comfort eating is becoming a big problem so target people who are eating to cheer themselves up).
Fear of Flying Sessions – Flights are getting cancelled every day at the moment. The airline industry is on its knees. Don’t expect a flood of calls about this when normally you would be hearing from nervous flyers all spring and summer.
Exam Hypnosis- With schools about to shut and exams put on hold it is unlikely that anyone will be looking for exam help in the near future.
Children’s Therapy – Parents are particularly worried about their children at the best of times but now that worry is in overdrive. My local town Facebook group is going crazy about the thought of Coronavirus. These people don’t want their children out and about at all never mind heading to see a therapist. My guess is unless they need urgent help these sessions will be deferred until later in the year.
Public Speaking – With firms deciding to increase social distancing and more home working starting the need to speak in public is reducing in the short term. Don’t expect to see a ton of people asking for it at the moment.
These are just some examples of weak niches in the current market and I am sure there are many others. If you are in one of these you need to be urgently thinking about what you can do in the short term to earn money whilst you wait for this to all blow over.
Building a Resilient Therapy Practice
Are you familiar with the term to hedge your bets? As a former trader, this was something that we used to think of daily on the trading floor. It simply means taking two different actions to protect your money. So if one of your trades went bad you knew that the opposing trade would come good. Therapists could learn lots from traders!
Here is the deal you do not absolutely need to go all-in on one niche and one niche only. This is a very bad idea as people are starting to see right now. What you need is to appear the expert in a number of niches. This means potentially having websites in a number of different locations or areas so that you can cover a number of bases. If one area starts to go bad you always have the others to call upon. A niche therapy practice can involve multiple niches!
You also need to have adaptability and you can only do that when you are able to:
- Set up a therapy website fast that converts clients right now and is adaptable
- Run pay per click ads such as Adwords or Facebook that can be adapted in minutes to bring in the customers you need
- Blog so that you can start to attract more business fast
These things can be learned and I teach them in my online courses. To give you an idea on how this is working for me I am currently building a new website. I blogged about Coronavirus anxiety around a month ago (before most people were really talking about it). That blog is getting me a steady stream of website visitors daily and I have only really started the site in January. Yes of course you have to know how to blog correctly to do this but once you do you are on a roll. The techniques can be applied to any niche or product.
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Passive Income and Your Therapy Practice
Now let’s talk about passive income. How many of you have bothered to create any passive income products for your website? This could make a huge difference to your income. Think about the Hypnobirthing niche which is no doubt suffering or about to crash at any second. Nobody is going to want to come into a hall or practice the techniques but what if you could offer online classes or have built a course on the topic to be sold online. Now you could sell that product worldwide and women who wanted it could be using it right now in the comfort of their own homes. That product could insulate you from a loss of face to face income and might even surpass your current earnings as you moved from a local to a global business. You have to think bigger sometimes to make money. It isn’t always about a local niche therapy practice.
Creating products and services that can be used online can help grow your business and insulate you from problems like the ones we are currently seeing. If you find that your customers are currently drying up then go all-in on setting some up so when this is all over you will have a better and more stable business.
Nothing to do with a niche therapy practice but something I felt I had to comment on.
This is the time when professional therapists should be helping people to stay calm. We should be helping the local community and offering our mental health expertise to those who are currently not able to get to see their doctors. Don’t be the therapist that this morning created a Facebook messenger group and included me on it talking about wild conspiracy theories and asking what did I think. I tell you what I thought – that any therapist who is spouting nonsense at a time like this is one that I am immediately unfollowing (which I did). Keep your Facebook and social media pages professional be the voice of reason, not the person looking to create hysteria. Don’t start writing about unproven quackery to cure the illness, don’t sell through scaring people, don’t suggest something you know nothing about. We can get through this but keep your professional hats on.
You Might Also Want to Read:
Insulating Your Therapy Practice From Coronavirus Disruption
Don’t Set up a Therapy Practice Without Reading This
Marketing for Therapists 101 – Passive Income