It can be frustrating for sure. Starting your new business (i.e., small practice) is very exciting as well as anxiety-provoking. Many questions abound!

  • How will my clients find me?

  • What type of clients do I want?

  • When will I get a full caseload of clients?

These are just a few questions we all have when starting out. I've been there, done that, and have the certificate! In an effort to save you from the struggles I went through, I will share with you 3 tips that can help you handle those "couch potatoes!"

1. Location, Location, Location!

We've all hear this familiar refrain. Yes, it is extremely important to have your small business located in an area that will attract your ideal clients. Beyond the actual physical location, however, there remains the issue of how will they find your location? A great recommendation is to make sure your business is listed on a variety of search engines. The top two of course are Google and Bing. So, how does one do this?

Well, for Google Business Listing using either your IPhone or Android device, download the app or select the following link entitled "Google My Business " and follow their directions to add and verify your location of your business. Also, make sure that you use key words that people typically use to search for counseling so that you will be easier to locate.

For Bing search engine, go to "Bing Places" and select the huge "Get Started" button. They will also ask for keywords to use so that others can locate your business.

Both will require a verification that can either be done online or via mail. Once verified, however, you will be listed in their business directories.

2. VIP Clients!

This can be difficult to narrow down, especially if one is just starting out. Often times, I hear my colleagues indicate that they don't want to "exclude" anyone, or just aren't sure of who their "ideal client" will be. Fear creeps in as one's heart starts to race at the mere mention of picking a particular genre, group, or category of people. Didn't we get into this industry to serve everyone? I get it, it was hard for me as well. Fresh out of college, I was ready to see all people with all problems. I soon learned that doing so provides me with a

quick ticket to "burnout city!"

So, how do I determine my ideal client? Asking yourself the following questions can help you with this process.

  • Who do I NOT want to see everyday?

  • What type of clients (from either my current caseload or from my current or previous practicum/internship experience) left me feeling energized?

  • What characteristics or traits do you desire in your ideal client?

3. Networking-No One Is An Island!

There are many recommendations and comments on how to network, however, I believe networking is unique to each person and it depends on their personality as to what methods are best for him/her.

To that end, I do, however, recommend that getting involved with your local professional organization is a good start. For example, the Texas Counselors Association has a local group for members where you can meet with other clinicians in your area. Also, your local city may have various networking groups that meet regularly.

Joining Facebook and LinkedIn groups are also useful. I find, however, that networking beyond just other counselors is the best method. Why? Because referrals don't just come from other counselors, but from other people in the business community. So why not attend networking events that cater to "small businesses" as you are a "small business owner". Why not attend the Small Business Expo that takes place every year in major cities across the United States (next one is in Houston in October 2017). Think outside of the box! Referrals comes from attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, realtors, and other business professionals that work with individuals/families. Expand your idea of what it means to network. Define your goal and what you hope to accomplish when you network. Doing so provides structure and guidance.

And there you have it! Three tips to help you get those couch potatoes off their couch and onto yours!

Next time...How to Prevent Couch Surfing: How to keep and maintain your client base.

#couseling #clients #couch #couchpotatoes #networking #smallbusiness #privatepractice #marketing

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