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Starting a Specialist Hypnotherapy Practice

Starting a Specialist Hypnotherapy Practice 1

 

Points to Consider When Starting a Hypnosis Business

 

Where are you planning to practice? 

  • Do you intend to buy your own premises? To purchase property will require a great deal of money and associated legal fees and ongoing costs, such as rates, or body corporate. 
  • Or even rent your own rooms?  You will be generally required to pay a bond, one to 3 months, in advance, insurance, set the premises up and equip them with furniture, sign a contract with the landlord. Make sure you have a lawyer examine the contract.
  • Work from home? If renting, it may not be permissible to work from home under your lease. Do you have an area that can be isolated. Do you have a quiet room do do your session, a waiting area for your next client and access to toilet facilities?  Working from home may have some benefits with regard to tax — but talk with an accountant as it can be a legal minefield. However, do you really want people knowing where you live and can simply turn up any time? 
  • When starting off  it may better to rent a room on a session-to-session basis. Ideally it could be with an established hypnotist or someone that already has the set up the room with suitable furniture. They may even include that their staff take appointments and phone calls for you.
  • Are you considering a visiting practice? Not a lot to set up, but do you really want to visit people’s homes and are the conditions suitable?

 

What about Fittings and Equipment?

  • Fortunately very little specialist equipment is required.
  • A comfortable chair and footstool,  some mood lighting, maybe a blanket and tissues
  • Do you use back ground music? If yes, then you will need some sort of player – MP3 player and speakers or even an old CD player.
  • Are you planning on recording your sessions. For your own security it is probably a good idea to keep a recording of the session — in case “something comes up. 
  • And if you are recording sessions where can you store the recordings securely so they cannot be accessed by anyone other than you.

 

A quick discussion about using & recording music:

  • There is a range of music available, that is suited for hypnosis such as reiki, or massage or ambient music. This music is considered the world’s most relaxing music!) Important: most of the music purchased at places like Amazon is copyright and using it in you business may technically  *infringe* the law. If you do intend to record your sessions and to use music,  you might want to check out the use of copyright free or royalty free music. You will find some useful tips on copyright on this page about hypnosis recordings & scripts.

 

Are you planning to employ staff?

  • Some parts of the world require that employees receive an award or minimum wage; overtime, work insurance, maternity leave, annual holidays, and you pay into an employees pension plan.
  • While starting out consider asking an older relative to come in and answer phone calls for you as a favor. Sometimes they are happy to help out, at least for a while.

 

How are you planning to charge clients?

  • It is highly recommended that you never offer anything “on account”
  • Always get paid “on the day” — best before the consultation — just in case the client, “forgot” their wallet or purse
  • Ask people to prepay with Paypal?
  • Will you be cash only?
  • Will you accept checks, or credit cards, American Express — each comes with a cost

 

What are your rates?

  • Will you offer a free initial consultation
  • Or the initial 30 minutes free and then start if they choose to continue
  • Hourly rate — can be tricky if you run under or over time
  • Session rate — Each session is “around an hour” generally preferred as you may need to go over the hour or finish earlier than an hour (allow 90 minute time slots with 60-70 minute appointments)
  • Package rate — This is highly recommended way to work with clients. Offer a decent discount. ie 4 sessions for the price of 3 — for “Weight Loss” or “Quit Smoking” Packages
    • Make sure you put a time limit on a package — say 4 sessions over 6 or 8 weeks.
    • If the issue is resolved early the client might not come in for the last session, thereby giving you the equivalent of full price.
    • If the client does not show, or advises you at the last minute — you can deduct one session
    • If the client wants to continue you can offer another package or work via sessional rates
    • Are unused sessions able to be transferred to someone else?

 

How to attract clients and what is the “20:80 law”?

  • 20% of your clients will be responsible for 80% of your referrals.

 

There is a way to encourage your existing clients to refer you new clients:

  • Word of mouth referrals is the single best method to get a new client.
  • With each new client,  give them 3 appointment or business cards (or you might like to get special “Referral Cards” printed)
  • Make a note on the card who you gave it to and date the card. 
  • Tell your client that should they refer a new client within 3 months (you can set the time period) and present this ‘special referrer card’ a new client will get “$25 off their first appointment”
    • Don’t get too hung up on the date – it’s dated to get it out of the person’s wallet and into a potential clients hands. If someone turns up a year later —  honour the card.
    • Make it a fixed amount rather than a percentage. ie If your fee is $100 and you have 25% off -your fee would be $75 dollars. In 3 years time your new fee might be $200, and 25% would .be a reduction of $50 and fee of $150 fee, rather than $175 that $25 off would give.
  • When a new client arrives with the card, make a note of who it originally came from. When someone is referring you multiple clients you have a “20 percenter”
  • When you identify a 20 percenter, nurture them! Their word of mouth referral is worth more than money spent on advertising, so spend some of your advertising budget on them.
  • Some ideas to nurture a referrer:
      • Go to a Dollar Store and but a box of Thank you cards and envelopes (and stamps) 
      • For the first referral, send them an old style thank you card in the post — with some additional referral cards.
      • For subsequent referrals, put a scratch lottery ticket or a gift card in with the thank you card — with some additional referral cards.
      • If a particularly big referrer, put in a voucher to a local restaurant — with some additional referral cards.
      • DO send them a birthday card and Holiday card (especially Thanksgiving in the US or Canada) and include the restaurant voucher, or 2 tickets to a play or movie or something similar — with some additional referral cards.
  • It’s simple way to get new clients and it works.

 

Are you thinking of forming a company?

  • There are lots of reasons to form a company. While they can cost a little more to run, there is often a lot more legal security for you in doing so. Have a talk to your accountant for the pros and cons. 

 

Are you going to Register a Business Name?

  • Many people use their own name in or as a part of their business name. Again, talk to an accountant or lawyer for the pros and cons of doing so. Personally, I would highly recommend you do NOT use your own name. While it might be good for your ego, at some point you may want to sell your business. It is a lot easier to sell; “A Hypnotherapy Business” than “Your Name Hypnotherapy.” If you are planning on staying in one area for a while, the “Region name (ie Town, Suburb, City) Hypnotherapy” — e.g Brighton Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis could be a good choice, but if you move location, your business name might not be appropriate anymore.
  • Ideally build your brand: Co-ordinate business name, website name, gmail and social networking names. 
    1. See if The Business Name is available with your government authority. There is usually a search facility on the government website
    2. See if the name you choose has The Business Name .com domain name available — thebusinessname.com — See Register a Domain Name below
    3. If the “dotcom” is not available, search for another business name where the .com is available. Preferably do not use the .net .org .biz .info as people tend to type .com into URL . (And when you purchase the .com, there is no need to buy all the others if offered – Godaddy is particularly aggressive with this. (Also – see point 4)
    4. If outside the US,  and you want to use your country specific URL —  thebusinessname.co.uk or thebusinessname.com.au — attempt to also get the .com if it is available.  See Register a Domain Name below
    5. Consider a gmail address: thebusinessname@gmail.com — useful as a back up to contact@thebusinessname.com or your onsite contact form that might not function for certain people. 
    6. Do NOT use your Internet Service Provider as a business email. If you leave the ISP you will lose the name.
    7. And any social network sites you might use has the name available, such as twitter, pinterest, facebook etc etc etc
  • Once you have your business name, it is usually fairly straight-forward to register a business
    • Make sure you note on a calendar when the business name expires and pay it at least 60 days before the registration expires.
  • A useful alternative is to just having “The Business Name”, thebusinessname.com , but also register regionnamehypnosis.com. 

 

Building a website

Also see: How to make money from your website.

 

Q. When do you build an hypnosis  website for your business? A. Start sooner than later — the day you decide to become a hypnotist.

Even as a student, it is possible to start putting it all together. First, you will need content about hypnosis. Some things will be straight forward, others might require more time. As a student you can reinforce your knowledge by creating web pages.

As mentioned above,  start to think about business names and domain names early. You will have to pay to register a Domain Name could host with some free resources. Google and other search engines like longevity, the longer it is up the better. Regularly adding content is important. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect!

 

Q. How do you build a website?

A. It is easier now than it ever has been. If you can use a word processor to create a document, you can build a website. In most cases it costs money, much less than it used to, but it is possible to do it at very little overall cost. See: free online resources

 

There are 3  essential points on building a website.

  1. You need to register the URL website / business domain name.
  2. You need the website host
  3. You need to build the website

1/ Registering a Domain Name

  • First, see the tips above: “Are you thinking of registering a Business Name”
  • Register a domain name and get domain name privacy, particularly if you need to register using your home address.
  • Make sure it’s on auto-renew – if it’s not renewed you could lose the name to your competition or have it snapped up by a domain name cybersquatter who wants to sell it back to you at an outrageous price.
  • If your first thought is to register your country domain name: thebusinessname.co.uk or:  thebusinessname.com.au  also register:  thebusinessname.com – if it’s available (Don’t worry about the net, biz, org, info or any other.) Redirect the dotcom to your main site. Why? read the true story below:
    • A masseuse registered “Her Name” at her local country domain. It was noticed that the generic “dotcom” was not registered and while she was advised to register, she decided not to as she only worked in her country. A few months later the dotcom name was registered. As it so happens, by another “masseuse” … the ones that give body to body ‘massages’ that usually end with a “happy ending.” Even though the two were not similar to look at, it created a great deal of embarrassment when people visiting the first masseuse forgot to type the local country domain suffix.  At the website you had to be 18 to enter and it was also labelled “escort service” Eventually the owner of the dotcom “retired” and the dotcom name became available again. This time, she registered it and now redirects it to her main site. 
  • When you register your domain name, you then “point it” to where your site is hosted. 

2/ Hosting a Website

A web host is where you put your website. Do not confuse it with domain registrar – where you register a domain name. 

  • Host your site somewhere different to where it is registered. This is called self-hosting.
  • Self hosting can be quite low cost for a simple site.
    • Shared hosting is fine for a small host. It can cost as little as  $1 / month 
    • Make sure you receive secure SSL (https) with your hosting as some companies charge large sums to provide it. Look for: “Let’s Encrypt” it is provided free by many  web hosts
    • You might also want email: name@yourbusiness.com
    • When self-hosting, make sure you back up your site. Many webhost will provide it as a part of their fee.
    • Make sure the web host has good uptime, and support. 
  • Hosting and web site building can also be free. See: See: free online resources
    • However, free sites often keep the ‘free’ branding or have ads; may have limited functions and they will want you to upgrade — usually at a more expensive price than can be found elsewhere. You might not be able to monetize a free site.

3/ Building a Website

  • Find a friend or relative who knows what they’re doing and do it for free
  • Pay someone who knows what they’re doing
  • Build it your self. Many site builders  are quite simple to build, similar to using a word processor.
  • When you build it yourself, do you use?
    • A program on your computer (Also called offline). 
      • A little more complex and requires knowledge on how to upload files to your web host, but fairly straight forward.
      • The sites are do not usually have a database, so less can go wrong
      • Backup your files on you PC and that is taken care of.
    • An online web builder
      • Be care about using the web hosts site builder. Often they are not easily transferred to another web host, should you decide to move
    • A Content Management System (CMS) Consider ‘WordPress’ as it is the most popular
      • As it requires a database it is able to do a lot more fancy things and will also allow for members

 

Which ever way you go remember YOU will still be required to provide the text content. If you have brochures & handouts they can all be used for content.

 

Tip: Site Design

Make sure that the design is “Responsive” — it should  change shape and size and be easily read whether on a wide-screen PC or small Smart Phone

Tip: “About me” 

If you’re writing an about me, don’t write it in the third person — as if it’s been written by a journalist. It looks and sounds wrong when it’s on your site. Unless it has been written by a journalist, then seek permission to use it and add in the journalist’s name and photo.

Tip: Images 

For pictures — do NOT ever consider just taking images off the internet as most are copyrighted. There is software that looks for stolen images and lawyers who will chase the thief, like a hungry dog chases a bone. There are plenty of places you can get copyright and royalty free images. See: See: free online resources

 

Disclaimer: None of this is advice. Consider it ‘food for thought.’ Before commencing any venture you should consult with the relevant professionals.