Therapists are not known to be great business people.
If I’m being totally honest, we actually have a bit of a reputation of being really terrible business owners.
We don’t get any formal education about business.
Helping people and making money can feel like opposing forces.
Business concepts such as marketing and networking may even feel unethical and sleazy.
We can be a bit on the anxious side.
However, I truly believe that therapist can be ideal business owners.
*gasps of shock and awe*
Hear me out.
Think about the our clinical skills. We understand human beings in a very different way then the general population. This puts us in a great spot to identify our ideal clients. Spend any time in a Facebook group for other types of entrepreneurs and you will see how much people agonize over defining ideal clients; people typically default to demographics and a general problem.
Due to our training and skills, we can understand our ideal clients in a way that few other people cannot. That makes us ideally positioned to market to our ideal clients.
We are also really great at forming relationships. We meet with clients when they are feeling anxious, scared and lost. We are able to put them at ease, develop rapport and get them talking about things that they may have never talked about before.
This skill is invaluable when you are a business owner. First, you likely already have an established network. We can talk to people who already know and like us about what we do and who we serve. My dentist has my cards on her reception desk because she likes me and wanted to support my practice.
We can also put our rapport building skills to good use when networking with potential referral sources. We are good at asking questions, getting to know what other people do, what they struggle with in their business, and how we can support them. We are also masters of maintaining relationships!
Lastly, we can figure out people for goodness sake! People are way more complicated than businesses. If we can figure out how a client's attachment style, based on their early childhood experiences is now playing itself out in their attachment style with their romantic partner, well, I think we can figure out how to track our expenses ;)
So why do therapists have this unflattering reputation as terrible business people? While I don't have any stats to back it up, based on my anecdotal evidence of being a therapist and constantly surrounded by therapists, we can be a bit of an anxious bunch. We don't want to make a mistake or admit that we feel like we don't know what we are doing. It feels really scary to ask for help.
We also don't naturally think of applying our clinical skills to our business building; we think of them as two distinct area. However, businesses are all about people! This is totally our zone of genius when we shift our perspective, it turns out we are pretty awesome at this whole business thing.