How does your financial stability fit within your wellness provider role?
Let’s face it, chances are your reasons for becoming a wellness professional included financial considerations, but your career path was not driven primarily by your income potential. You had other reasons such as:
- Helping people
- Wanting to give back
- You had an experience where someone helped you, changed your life even, and you have found you can devote your life’s work to doing the same
So, you did all the work and invested all the time and money into developing and honing your skills and educating yourself and made the difficult and perhaps scary decision to go it alone, for even more important reasons again…
- Be your own boss
- Set your own schedule
- Choose who you work with (and who you don’t)
- Control your income potential
- Focus on a specific skill set
- Work with people who can and will pay you to do what you have been called to do
You didn’t choose a profession with the intent of getting rich, but that doesn’t mean your lifestyle should be one of staunch frugality.
No matter where you are in your career, we know that the subject of fees and finances produces anxiety in a high percentage of wellness professionals. If you are basing your price solely on market research or similar local businesses, chances are you are undervaluing your services.
We want to let you in on a little secret: a person’s decision whether or not to hire you is NOT based upon price alone. Research shows that the number one concern for wellness seekers is TRUST and finding someone with whom they can RELATE, not who they can afford. According to a recent survey of people in therapy weighing in on three decision factors (trust, experience, and cost), trust weighed in at 83%, with level of experience lagging way behind at 12% and under 5% reporting cost to be the most important factor.
It is absolutely critical that you develop a business that is sustainable so you can deliver your services. Consider implementing 1 or 2 of these suggestions to quickly increase the financial viability of your practice:
Re-evaluate your rates now.
Start from where you want to be and back into your per session rate. Consider the following factors (and only these) in determining your per session rates:
- How much money do you need/want to make per year? (A)
- How many hours do you want to work per week (B) + how many weeks per year do you want to work? (C)
- What are your annual business expenses? (D)
- Calculate your per session rates (X).
Here’s a simple math formula to solve for your session rate:
A + D = E (Total expenses)
X = E / C / B
D=$20,800 [$12000 (rent) +$2500 (licensing +insurance) + $300 (software) +$1500 (professional fees) + $3000 (random biz expenses) + $1500 (your fav conference)]
A + D = E (in this case $140,800)
E / C / B = X (round up)
$140,800 / 48 / 20 = $146.66 >>> $150
VOILA! Your per session rate should be $150. Now go find those 30+ clients and get to work.
Put a system in place to automatically increase your rates annually.
What could a modest annual increase to existing clients mean for you? If you see 20 clients per week, 48 weeks a year, a $5/session increase translates into $4,800 per year in your pocket. Set expectations with your client from the beginning that every 12 months the price goes up.
Collect payment at the time of appointment booking.
We don’t even have to ask, we know no-shows and cancellations are costing you money. Your time and your expenses cannot be recouped if your client fails to show up at the scheduled appointment time. For sure, there will be extenuating circumstances that lead you to occasionally refund a fee, but collection of the fee up front will increase the chances the client makes the appointment.
Limit your number of sliding scale spots.
Establishing relationships and building trust with your clients will lead to situations where you want to lower your rates and offer your services on a sliding scale or even for free. We believe low or no fees can be an important way to give back, but it should be the exception and never the norm. Low or no fees is a luxury, in fact, earned only after establishing a sustainable business, not as a method for building your business. Lowering your fees leads to a devaluation of your services, as does extending services longer than agreed upon appointment times. In both cases, we know you intend to send the message that your client is important to you, but the true message you are sending is that your time is not valuable.
Explore how technology can help you be more efficient and save you time.
Tech is catching up in the wellness space to support solo practitioners and entrepreneurs. Check our post about payment and scheduling software for more ideas on this topic: Consistency is Key
Consider all the ways you bring value to your clients.
What are you doing for your clients other than the 50-90 minutes you spend with them? For instance, do you check in with them in between sessions or offer access to tools and assignments of which they can take advantage and you can monetize? This can serve as the icing on the revenue cake for your practice and be the basis of a monthly retainer revenue model for regulars. At the core of your business, you are exchanging time for money through a fee-based service. Consider if you can deliver your knowledge base to more people than one at once or if you even have to be present for people to benefit and pay you (i.e. recorded workshops or classes for which you charge for access).