When you graduate and start accepting clients, your first bookings are super exciting. Taking on a new case, meeting with a new individual, and getting to do what you love is a rush that leaves you wanting more.
But it’s hard for your business to thrive when you are only working with a few clients per month. If you want to take your practice from a passion project to a real, thriving business, you’ll need to scale.
I was able to grow my practice from working with under 30 clients one year, to over 100 the next, and today I’m sharing the strategies I used to make it happen. If you’re ready to grow your practice to a point where you touch 100+ lives every year, then keep reading!
1. Launch a Group Program
I have to say this first: group programs were the ultimate game-changer for my business.
The easiest way to increase the number of clients you work with is to introduce a group program into your business model. Group programs are great because they allow you to work with multiple clients at once, while still seeing one-on-one clients. They also work well to attract new clients, who might not be ready to commit to one-on-one consults, but who have a specific problem they want to solve.
Group programs will have a lower price point than individual programs (like your high end program) but they will increase the number of people you work with which will increase your referrals.
One of the hardest parts of running a group program is creating the materials, so be sure to take advantage of That Clean Life to easily create weekly meal plans, grocery lists and/or recipe books that can guide your participants through the program.
Some of your group program participants will go on to become one-on-one clients and some will refer friends or family to the program, which brings me to the next point…
2. Encourage Client Referrals
Clients who come to you because they have been referred by someone they trust will be some of your best clients! To be honest, none of my own marketing efforts ever sent me the number of quality clients that my own happy clients did.
Happy clients are your best marketing tool and you should work with them to take advantage of that! Client stories make great social media posts, blog posts, and email marketing content.
Tip: It can be helpful to incentivize clients to refer their friends and families to you. Letting them know that they receive a free follow-up session or a meal plan for each new client they refer to you can encourage them to spread the word. Who doesn’t love a bonus?
3. Start Giving Free Talks
If you aren’t already giving free talks, what are you waiting for? Giving a free talk will expose you to tons of potential clients you may have never met otherwise, and it doesn’t cost you anything besides your time! The reality of business is that you usually have to invest money to get good leads, so take advantage of a free talk which lets you invest your time and knowledge instead.
Free talks also create a great relationship with local businesses, meaning that you increase the odds of receiving referrals from the business owners. There are so, so many reasons to give free talks!
4. Be Clear About What You Do
Choosing a niche is like declaring a major. People with general degrees have a much harder time getting work because they lack a specialized skill set.
If you’re trying to stay general as a practitioner and you’re interested in scaling your business, it’s time to niche down. Yes, it’s scary to say “no” to a potential client, but what you’re really doing is saying “yes” to the right ones.
5. Streamline Your Workflow with Better Tools
If you want to work with 100+ clients in a year, you’ll need to invest in the tools that will make it possible. You need to produce the best possible resources and stay super organized with your files without investing all your precious time.
For me, adding a meal planning program and a practice management software to my arsenal made the biggest difference. When your practice gets busy, time becomes your most precious resource. Investing in the right tools to make your workflow more efficient is like buying time.
I use That Clean Life to create meal plans, recipe books, and meal planning guides for my clients. After trying a few practice management programs, Practice Better is my practice management software of choice. You can read all about my workflow using these two tools here.
6. Rent an Office or Co-Working Space
If you’re only seeing clients online, you can skip this one! But if you’re seeing your clients in-person and have been getting away with meeting them in their homes or in a public place, you might need to change this in order to scale. When you are traveling around from client-to-client all day, you lose time and won't be able to help as many people.
Instead, consider renting a space so your clients can travel to you, making back-to-back appointments possible. If you’re not seeing many clients yet, you can start by looking into a co-working space, which will allow you to pay a small monthly fee to use a shared office space. Most co-working spaces have private office rentals available so you can rent out a private space when you do have a client. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where it makes sense to graduate from a co-working space to your own private office.
Word of Caution: When you're starting out, it may not be a good idea to rent space at a clinic, even though this seems like a good starting point. Renting a clinic office is often pricey because of the cost of reception and processing payments on a shared system. You could also end up with a non-compete agreement that will actually slow your growth. I suggest waiting until you have a more established private practice and are in a good position to negotiate before signing on to a clinic.
7. Social Media Never Hurt Anyone
While a social media following doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a busy practice, it can help raise awareness of who you are and what you do. Make sure you’re creating posts that build trust, and create awareness of what you do.
One of my favourite clients last year found me because of a blog post I wrote that her friend shared with her through Instagram. You never know who you might reach! Try not to get hung up on numbers, and just focus on providing valuable content to whoever does see it.
If you are struggling to figure out what you should say on social media, here are the five types of social media posts you should focus on.
8. Take Amazing Care of Yourself
I wish someone had taught me the importance of self-care and good boundaries before I grew my practice because I had to learn it the hard way once it was too late.
You need to have a great self-care routine in place before you can scale your business. Without it, you’ll find yourself disoriented, constantly trying to “get it together,” and resentful of your clients. Once you’ve burnt out in your practice, it’s hard to get that excited energy back that you had in the beginning.
Figure out what your non-negotiables are and don’t let client work prevent you from keeping those boundaries. Maybe you only book clients after 11AM. Maybe you don’t work on Sundays. Maybe you maintain a 30-minute buffer in between appointments for deep breathing while you burn some Palo Santo. Whatever it is, make time for yourself because your business is only healthy if you are.
While I was growing my business, the factor that I found most responsible for whether I’d have a good month or a slow month was my own attitude and intention. When I was focused on a specific outcome, I would attract more clients. Set specific goals and stay focused on them. Focus on one strategy at a time and see what works for your business.
Growth is a slow process, but if you implement these tips and strategies consistently over the next year, you’ll see a huge difference in your growth. I made it happen, and so can you!