Starting your wellness business is an exciting endeavor, but taking the very first steps can be intimidating. There can seem like an overwhelming amount of forms, certifications and practices to put in place before you’re ready to take on your first paying client. The need to have everything perfectly in place is a common pitfall — and delays the start of many wellness practices.
If you find yourself turning away prospective clients, or burying yourself in continuing education because your business isn’t quite ready — then it’s time to evaluate what your goals are. The truth is, we may never feel 100% ready to start our wellness business, and those insecurities can cost us time and money. It’s typical that you’ll make some mistakes along the way, and that’s ok! The real confidence comes as you take the steps are start actively working with your clients.
As you launch your private practice, there are a few pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.
1. Don’t Delay Opening Your Practice Because Your Practice Forms Aren’t Ready
New client paperwork is essential. Your paperwork helps to communicate your practice policies and sets expectations for your clients. With the right paperwork in place, you’ll be protecting your wellness business both legally and financially, as well as set a strong professional relationship between you and your client.
It’s absolutely paramount that you have your paperwork in place — and that you’ve had your business attorney review it to ensure you’ve adequately safeguarded your practice. However, your new client paperwork shouldn’t deter you from opening your practice. Sure, it needs to be in place, but if you’re spending months and months avoiding putting your forms together, then it’s time to assess why you haven’t been able to get your paperwork in place.
Below we help tackle some of the common time-delaying reasons for getting new client paperwork in place:
“I haven’t had time”
Truth: Many wellness professionals start their new practices on the side, while still working full-time jobs and/or caring for family. While time is a very valid concern, allotting time to build your practice is essential. If you are sporadically trying to find the time to tackle these tasks, consider starting to block off “business-time” in your schedule each week. More than just an hour here and there, you need a consistent block of time each week to accomplish your business administrative tasks. Try finding a consecutive 2-3 hours in your schedule twice a week — and block this time off (ie. every Thursday 6-8pm and Saturday 9am-12pm). Dedicate this time to only your business tasks, and create clear boundaries with your other jobs, family, and priorities.
Once you find your routine, and you’ve allocated enough hours to actually accomplish some tasks, you’ll find that you can quickly cross “new client paperwork” off of your to-do list.
“I’m not sure what forms I need”
Learn which client forms are essential when launching your wellness practice. View our free Healthie practice guide and download sample copies of each client form.
You can download free sample practice forms straight from our Guides — simply download your referred copies, edit them to reflect your practice brand and policies, and then have your business attorney review them.
“I don’t know how to share forms with clients”
True enough, you’ll need a way to professionally send and receive new client paperwork. How you handle these first interactions with clients are critical, as they will set the tone for your working relationship. It’s also important to keep in mind that your client’s private health information (PHI) needs to be kept secure at all times. Having clients send PHI via email put theirs information at risk — so be sure to use tools that are HIPAA-compliant to send/receive your client forms.
One convenient solution is to use a practice-management platform that can automate your new client paperwork. Healthie allows you digitize any forms you already have, or you can leverage the internal forms library to create your own new client paperwork. Forms like HIPAA-Policy forms, Financial Policy forms and Information Consent forms are already available and can easily be edited for your practice.
Once you have intake forms created, you can easily create an intake flow and automate that flow for new clients. When a new client signs up, they are automatically sent a welcome email containing your custom new client paperwork. Clients receive a secure login to complete and e-sign their paperwork, ensuring that their PHI is always kept private and encrypted.
2. Make Professional Networking a Top Priority
When it comes to marketing your wellness business, focusing on client acquisition tends to be the major driving strategy — pursue marketing opportunities to get in-front of your ideal client. Although marketing directly to clients is integral to your business, building connections with other wellness professionals can help you reach new clients in a highly effective way.
Professional networking allows you to create a referral channel with other professionals who might refer business to you, or mention your name in some positive way to the people they know. When establishing your business from scratch, most professionals receive their business by word of mouth.
Even having as few as one or two wellness professionals referring clients to you on a regular basis contributes to keeping your client-load full. Spending the time to build, grow and nurture your client referral network is well worth the payoff.
Being referred a mutual contact is one of the best ways to obtain a client base. Chances are, a majority of your clients are referred to you by a mutual friend or acquaintance. Develop your networking contacts by reaching out to other health and wellness professionals in your local area that may also be members of your ideal clients’ care team.
Some wellness professionals that generally serve as a great source of referrals for nutrition professionals:
- Psychologists + therapists (LCSW, LMFTs, CBT-therapists, etc)
- Physical therapists
- Eating disorder clinics or specialists
- OBGYNs, doulas or other women’s health specialists
You can start by setting up a phone call, stopping into their office, and getting to know their business. In all reality, you likely won’t be able to walk right into a doctor’s office and leave your business cards — there’s no incentive for that wellness professional to refer clients to you. Instead, focus on nurturing your professional relationship — showcase how you can help their clients through your counseling services so that you can take a team approach at improving client outcomes.
When another wellness professional refers a client to you, it’s best practice to immediately send them a thank-you, along with an assessment to include in your mutual client’s account. Don’t forget to include information/ways they can refer any other clients who may be in need of your health and wellness services.
3. You’re Not Alone – Find Support and Mentorship
It can be isolating and lonely when launching your wellness practice. You may feel like you’re starting at step one, with no guidance. Most nutrition and wellness programs contain very little business or marketing training, at the detriment to those who want to go on and start their own businesses.
The good news is, you aren’t alone. There are many free online resources to help you get started in your journey as an entrepreneur. Some ways to find support:
- Reach out to your network of health and wellness connections, and other local practitioners. Ask to meetup and buy them lunch or coffee — in return for the opportunity to ask some of your business questions.
- Find a business mentor. If you’re struggling to get started and need more guidance or accountability, then it’s time to find a coach! Someone with experience in your area of wellness, with a proven track-record can be worth the time and investment.
- Read through Healthie’s Guides and Articles. With hundreds of articles, guides and ebooks, the Healthie blog is a great stop to find business resources. Spanning marketing, business, and financial topics, you can help get your wellness business up and running with the right support.
4. Put Your Client Handouts and Resources To Work: Build Programs
As you begin to create branded educational resources for your clients, you’ll likely find yourself building up a library of resources. These resources you can share with individual clients, or a group of clients — but why not use your premium content in a way that can generate income?
Creating an online wellness program for new and/or existing clients can help you generate additional passive income for your business. By taking the curated content you have, you can bundle it into an automated online nutrition program or educational course. You can get started by creating one evergreen program that you can continue to market all-year round. The key to a successful program is to really know your client-base. For example, if you work primarily with type 2 diabetics, you may want to create a diabetes 101 course that your current clients, or any new clients, may want to enroll in. Your program will help to reinforce the concepts that you discuss in-session, delivered overtime — allowing your clients to really absorb the information.
Starting your wellness business takes time, but with the right strategy (and confidence) — you can quickly get the doors open for new clients. Don’t delay creating the business you envision because of the small obstacles that may be present.
Make more time to grow your business.
Use a platform that automates the administrative, so you can focus on growth and care.