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Great post on turning your blog into a book. Let me help you edit and, together we can create a great end product

The WordPress.com Blog

 We know many of you love your blogs, and gleefully publish photos and posts without thoughts to reuse your work in other forms. But we know some wonder: could this be a book? Recently we wrote about how a WordPress.com blogger scored a book deal for You Are Not So Smart. But what if you want to do it all yourself?

As a blogger who has authored several successful books with publishers, and who works on WordPress.com, I recently self-published a book based entirely on posts from my blog. I wanted to see what I could learn, and I’m here to share it all with you.

The book I self-published is called Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds. It’s a collection of my best essays from my WordPress blog at scottberkun.com, where I write about ideas, creativity and leadership. The book has done well, and has often been…

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Niche Marketing for your Private Practice (Part 3 of 3): Information Products

This is the third part of Niche Marketing,

Niche Marketing for your Private Practice (Part 2 of 3): Large Contracts

Niche Marketing for your Private Practice (Part 1 of 3): Clients in Person

With location being a non-issue for this type of marketing, your options for defining a niche are unlimited. This also means that your niche should be pretty narrow to begin. Eventually you can build your brand to expand into the different topics (think “Chicken Soup for the Soul” – one brand, but each book has its own niche).

So, what are some factors to consider when expanding your business to online/phone sessions, and marketing information products?

  • Do you already have a known expertise and audience you can take to the next level?
    • Are you known locally for anything?
    • Are there any local contacts that could help you market to a broader audience?
      •  Ie your neighbor is a local HR manager of ABC Global Inc who could help you get access to speaking engagements at ABC Global Inc’s various locations?
  • Can you create a supporting product line for anything that is currently successful?
    •  Have you lined up some speaking engagements (paid or free)? – can you add a book to sell afterwards?
    •  Do you have some workshops already set up? – why not add a webinar option to take their education to the next level?
  • What is your in person niche? Could you narrow it (if need be) to appeal to people around the country (or world)?
    • Ie if you are successful with new mothers in suburban Chicago, could you narrow that to become the nationwide expert on toddler discipline?
      •  Could your current clients provide testimonials?
  • Do you have a brand already you can leverage off of? Do you have any successful information products that you can tailor to another, similar audience?
    • Could your current clients refer you to their peers?
      •  If you do stress reduction for commercial real estate brokers, could you offer something to their colleagues – stress reduction for property managers?
  • Do you enjoy writing, speaking, and/or seminar creating?
    • Where would you prefer to start?
      •  Would you like to build a blog presence and create buy-able products/online coaching and counseling options by developing a large blogging audience?
      •  If you enjoy speaking, could you market free speaking services and have a supplemental product line, audio books, at the ready for purchase after your speaking gigs?
  • Do you have any prior clients who have moved that you might be able to retain? And who would be willing to recommend you?
    • At the very least, you can let your past clientele know that you have expanded your business to online options.
  • Do your current clients want any more resources from you?
    • Do they want more from you than you can offer in a 50 min session/week or two weeks, but the cannot afford the full cost of additional sessions? ASK what they would want (not in session please!!)
    • Can you offer something to supplement their time with you by publishing an ebook that they can read in between sessions? What about some webinars?
      •  Maybe you can offer the first thing for free/as part of the service, and then offer other products….?
      •  (Note: I am not suggesting that it is appropriate to promote/”upsell” your products in a session – I understand how important trust is in a session, and I think that this hurts the trust. This is something you promote on your website/maybe in a newsletter you send to clients, and also if they ask for additional resources. To keep the trust, you may want to also direct them to alternate resources as well, so they never doubt that you always have their best interest at heart)
  • Are you willing to invest (time or money) to get your expertise out there? Are you willing to travel?
    • In order to launch these products, there are a variety of ways to get your message out there. Advertising in relevant publications and freebies: speaking, articles, blogs, guest posting, “ask the expert” – free interviews, networking with people who have access to large audiences, etc. Some are free, some will not be. But most will cost you time.
    • Can you partner with someone who does have the time to supplement your efforts? Can you collaborate? Develop a protégé? Become a mentor?
      •  Contact me today if this is of interest, particularly for topics that would interest a “worried well” or “normal neurotic” clientele: anxiety, relationships, boundaries, codependence, faith/spirituality, fear, gratitude, intimacy, mindfulness, needs, perfectionism, scarcity/abundance,  self-awareness, shame, staying present, strengths, vulnerability, workplace and career.
  • Who is your competition? Could you differentiate enough from them that you could partner with them?
    • Is there anyone already successful with whom you could partner?
    • A colleague whose specialty is mindfulness for doctors, could you add value to her clientele by doing patient relationship skills for doctors? And share “leads”?

Ready to leverage your practice to the next level? CONTACT ME today to get started!

Still scared? Take a look at this article for some inspiration: Fight the Fear!

 

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Niche Marketing for your Private Practice (Part 2 of 3): Large Contracts

Developing Programming for Businesses
Basically the goal is to match a passion with a business need, and then decide who to market to, and how narrow your niche will be. 
  • What are some trends in the workplace where you could offer your expertise?
  • Who do you already specialize in? 
    • What are their problems at work?
    • Could you build a workshop around it?
  • Are the needs more predominant in certain industries you could focus in on?
  • Could you tailor one concept to different industries?
  • Could you be a consultant for an interest group already in place? 
    • Diversity
    • Women’s Group
  • Do you want to target big companies? Small companies? Something in between?
The nice thing about dealing with companies is that if the value is there, the money will follow. So you just have to assess their needs to find out how to create the most value, and then tailor a sales pitch to the companies your decide to target!

 

See
for more ideas on how to get specific!
 CONTACT ME today to figure out how we can work through this together,
and how I can help you create a sales pitch to take your practice to the next level!
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Niche Marketing for your Private Practice (Part 1 of 3): Clients in Person

As a therapist, counselor, or coach you have a lot of options for specialization. There are a lot of great articles about why and how to develop a niche market, so I won’t go into too much detail about generally how one finds a niche, but here are a couple I  recommend for more detailed information:

 

How and Why to Develop a Niche

 

How to Define Your Target Market

 

 

So, How does this apply to YOU?

 

Bottom line: You want to be specific, but not so specific that you have no possible clients!

 

The goal is to find the right balance for your practice that is somewhere between: “General Therapist – Able to cover any and all issues” and “Therapist specializing in Divorced Bi Polar Mothers of quintuplets between the ages of 20 and 22 within 5 miles of Small Town, USA dealing with Internet Addiction”

 

So, let’s consider the following criteria when considering how to target the kind of client you love to serve, and also making sure there are enough of the people who meet that criteria for your business to thrive:

 

Passion

  • What topics are you passionate about? Where do you crave to keep learning?
  • Who do you ENJOY working with? What problems do you like addressing?
  • Who are you good at helping, what makes you feel strong? And more than competent?

 

Location

 

Unless you want to become such a niche expert that you can coach or counsel from anywhere (via video chat or phone sessions) – which we will cover in a subsequent post – you are limited to the population in your location, so you have a few choices:

  • You can move your location to a more convenient place for your clientele
    • Depending on your situation, that might be a whole new city, or just down the road.
      • Ie. If you want to specialized in the LGBT population, and you are in Chicago, maybe you move your office from the suburbs into “Boystown” (or even Andersonville – aka “Girlstown”)
      • Your location/clientele/niche will also determine how far they will be willing to travel. You will be able to expand the radius more if you specialize than if you remain general.  
    • You can tailor your services to those who are close to your location:
      • Ie. If you are near an army base, maybe you tailor to PTSD in soldiers
      • If you are in a really small town, maybe you don’t need to, and aren’t able to, specialize as much. Maybe it is specific enough to say: Adult Men and Women with income of 60k+ (so they can afford your services) who are having emotional difficulties or personal problems within 20-30 miles of your location. (NOTE: You would NEVER market it this way, this is simply an understanding for your own purposes to help you determine HOW to market your services). This is also a function of your nearby competition, which brings me to my next point:

 

Competition

  • Who are the other therapists, coaches, and counselors in your area targeting?
    • What do they specialize in?
      • Can you be more specific than they are?
      • Could you be more broad effectively? (Ie if their focus is too narrow)
      • Can you offer a different service than they do? Something ancillary to a typical 50 min session (a blog, newsletter, ebook, workshops, worksheets, email coaching in between sessions)?
      • Do you bring something different to the table: style of counseling, personality, background?
      • Or target a different population in need in your target location?
      • Ie, If you are in the suburbs, and a lot of your competitors are specializing in new mothers, and there is a strong presence of new mothers nearby, maybe you differentiate by:
        • Offering a toddler disciplining workshop
        • Distributing a parenting ebook or newsletter about developmental stages of the first 3 years
        • Offering a group for young mothers of newborns to decompress, or a group to process postpartum depression
        • Advertising that you specialize in motherhood anxiety or stress
        • Advertising that you do couples therapy for new parents, and specialize in keeping a relationship strong through the transition (vs just when problems arise)

Income and Insurance limitations:

  • Would you ideally target insurance users, or out-of-pocket clients?
  • Which option would maximize your value and time?
  • If you want to target those with insurance, would you be able to educate your clients about how best to use their insurance?
    • Can you make it easier for them to find out?
      • Do your clients know that they get three sessions free, for example, from their insurance provider? Can you help them find out? Maybe it is as simple as saying before the first session:  “I take Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Humana, if you have any of these, a lot of my clients are able to take advantage of discounts or free sessions, you should contact your provider to find out if you qualify for anything!” This could mean the difference between one session and ten!
      • Even for out of pocket clients — for the longest time, I didn’t know that I could use my HSA/PayFlex account for out-of- pocket therapy services – you better believe I doubled the amount I put into that account the year after I found that out! Income-tax-free therapy?? That adds up! I can do a lot more therapy that way, and feel less guilty for spending all that money! Now it has to be spent either way, and that could mean more sessions for you!
    • Or, does your target audience have enough disposable income to pay for your services out of pocket?
      • Do you want to modify your target so that they are able to pay for your services?
    • Are there enough of either kind of client in your target market? Or does it make sense to mix/match?

 

What about multiple niches?

 

There are a lot of options to stand out!

 

“But, but, what if I LOVE working with new mothers, but I also LOVE my office location in Boystown! (see above)”

That’s ok too! Boystown and the surrounding areas are a big enough market that you may be able to get away with working with new mothers only, but even if you find there aren’t enough, you have several options:

  1. You can try to specialize further so that you appeal to the demographics of that area:  maybe you cater to new lesbian mothers, or new working mothers (since it is close to downtown, the area attracts a lot of young professionals and first time parents), or mothers of newborns specifically.
  2. You can add another few niches that are complementary: maybe you add new gay fathers too, or couples with a new baby.
  3. OR add or something totally different you are interested in: young professional women dealing with stress/anxiety,  recent college graduates who need career counseling, etc, etc.

 

Ok, so now that you have some ideas for where you want to specialize:

 

TEST A FEW THINGS OUT!

 

Trying a niche, or even a few, it cannot hurt! Do you really think you will lose any of your current clients? And you can always advertise as a generalist wherever and whenever you want. But you open up a whole new world of advertising options by specializing. Want to work with new lesbian mothers? Put a flyer up in an LGBT community center! They will be MUCH more open to it, and probably appreciative, than if you want to put up a flyer about your general counseling/coaching services.

 

Maybe you try to target one population, you realize it is too narrow, so you broaden the message. Maybe it is too broad, and you realize you should narrow it down. Be open the feedback you get! And ask for it!

  • How did you hear about me?
  • Why are you here today?
    • (Does this match with any of the themes you have been marketing?)

Next Steps: Marketing and Advertising – Figuring out HOW to reach your target audience. Now that we have the WHO, let’s figure out where and how we connect with them!

 

If you are still tentative about the niche approach, check out this article:

 

Is Niche Marketing Limiting Your Business?

 

And Stay Tuned for Niche Marketing:

Part 2: Large Contracts – Developing Programming for Businesses

Part 3: Online Counseling and Coaching, and Informational Products

 

Sound overwhelming?

 CONTACT ME today to figure out how I we can work through this together,

and how I can take some of these marketing tasks off your hands!

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5 Traits of Highly Successful Salesmen

Wait, did this list say salesmen, or counselors?

I thought it was really interesting the cross over between what counselors do everyday, and what a salesperson does. Not so different, right?

So, what are these top 5 traits from Geoffrey James’s article, 5 Traits of Highly Successful Salesmen:

5. Optimism

4. Problem Solving

3. Empathy

2. Self-Awareness

From your training and practice as counselors, therapists, and coaches, I would say these are things you probably have down cold. And if you don’t, they are skills you practice every day. And look at the bullets he uses to describe “Problem Solving” – doesn’t that pretty much sum up exactly what you do with your clients?? So you pretty much have everything it already takes to be a great salesperson and marketer of your services, or at least 4 of the 5, so what is #1?

1. Assertiveness

The assertive piece, as it is defined in the article (aka “closing skills”), may not be something you practice every day in your office with clients, but this is the last piece of the puzzle in sales! If this isn’t something you are already comfortable with, all you have to add to your toolkit is one thing! And general assertiveness (again, maybe not how it is described in the article, which is really more a “closing” skill) is probably something you are comfortable teaching your clients, right? and you are probably pretty comfortable being assertive about your boundaries every day too, aren’t you?

Sales begins with making people feel heard and appreciated. Sometimes you really don’t need anything else if you have done this!

And all sales really boils down to is: understanding the problem by asking the right questions, being empathetic about it, diagnosing the problem, and explaining to people that you have the best solution. And if it is outside your comfort zone a bit to convince people that you will solve their problems best, know that you have won more than half the battle if they feel like you thoroughly understand what that problem is in the first place! And that is actually where you, as counselors, have an advantage over a lot of other people.

I understand that there is a lot of trust that is essential to a client relationship, so it may not always be appropriate to be pushy- even in the assertive vs aggressive way described in the article, and I am very sensitive to this dynamic. However, you are excellent at what you do, aren’t you? And people should know it! You can express it in a confident and humble way. And if you are interested in any large organization contracts, they expect you to make a compelling case. They are probably going to have to convince their bosses,  so if you do that work for them, they have no excuses not to hire you!

If you can make people feel heard and appreciated, I can take it to the finish line by helping you convince them that you are the best at solving their unique problems.

Contact me today to get started.

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First Impressions

Make a Great First Impression: 9 New Rules

I love this article, and I thought it was highly appropriate for my first post!

It is a really nice summary of the basics that we all need to succeed:

  • A powerful and professional online presence
  • team member solidarity
  • diligent communication

 

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