How to Grow Your Service-Based Business Without Working More Hours

How to Grow Your Service-Based Business Without Working More Hours

I admit it. I’ve always been kind of a rebel.

If someone told me how I was supposed to run my business, and it didn’t sit right with me, I would ignore conventional advice and do whatever the hell I wanted.

This has usually worked out for me.  In fact, I didn’t realize it the time, but I was ahead of my time.

I’m the antithesis of “get more patients into your practice” or “book more clients” mentality and the quantity over quality mindset that has run the show for years.

There’s nothing wrong with doing 1:1 work with clients or patients. In fact, it’s a necessary part of gaining experience and a rewarding way to interact with the human beings we work with.

However, I’m going to make a wild guess: The majority of us (especially us rebels) are really quite over the idea the only way to make money is to sacrifice one of the most rare and precious resources we have: Our time. 

You can think about it in terms of how short life is. Or how much time we can actually devote to “filling the calendar.”

First, the law of physics gets in the way.  Time is finite.

Second, let’s get realistic. Selling one hour of billable time means giving away a LOT more unbillable time. Including the time we spent in school (and the debt we need to repay) continuing education, research, onboarding, answering questions, and the jazillions of admin tasks.

Plus, we need to take care of the mundane stuff. Which consumes a pretty large portion of our daily allotment of TIME.  This puts an upper limit on our earning potential.

But until a few years ago, the wellness and service-based industry was pretty dang slow about a solution for this very real problem.  In fact, I think that many practitioners (still) only make the problem worse.  

Before I share the 5 “things” that I think are key for getting out of this trap..

I’m going to make a bold claim:

The dependence on the 1:1 model for service-based entrepreneurs, and in particular wellness entrepreneurs, is outdated.

The reasons:

  • It’s not accessible to everyone who wants and needs your services
  • It doesn’t meet the needs of all your clients or patients, at any stage they are in (they need more options)
  • It’s exhausting and low paying for the entrepreneur. It’s too much work and barely covers the bills, paying off loans, or the costs of running a business
  • It is a lousy model for introverts who prefer to work deeply with a select few on a 1:1 and channel their energy into creating other resources, and thereby creating a bigger impact
  • The transactional model is being replaced by a results-based transformational model 

One might argue that within this model the best way to “scale” is by seeing multiple patients per hour, hiring associates, and renting out rooms. 

With the exception of the latter, these are not what scaling or income diversification is all about. Scaling is about creating a business that can function whether you are there or not. 

Cramming more bodies into your day or even hiring associates usually means either more work, spreading yourself more thinly, or creating a business that needs constant babysitting. Not to mention that this approach is about quantity, not quality.

I’ve seen service-based entrepreneurs over the past few years beginning to transition away from depending on time slots and the transactional model, and I love it.. I’m cheering them on!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are abandoning 1:1 work. 

Instead, they are choosing 1:1 work only when when they want to, not because they think it’s their only option.

And they charge appropriately for their time, because now their 1:1 services are more in demand, while at the same time, the supply is naturally lower, due to the limited resource of time.

Heart-centered service is not about rejecting technology or new business models

The newer model is NOT about “going online” for the sake of it. The fact that you can run an entirely virtual business or practice based on the outdated 1:1 only model shows that it’s not a question of whether technology is “good” or “bad” but how we choose to use it.

It’s also a myth that creating more innovative, supportive, and more rewarding business models are somehow “impersonal” or “de-humanizing.”

If this is a core belief, then going to a bookstore or buying music or any other intellectual property must also be a part of the “evil” of technology. 

Damn those printing presses and recording technology.. Let’s go back to the days when we could only hear a spoken story, wait for the bard to roll into the village, or be part of the upper echelons of society in order to experience the arts.

Not me. Not to mention that I find this irritating because the only way I am able to interact with other friends and entrepreneurs who speak my language is via a screen. I assure you I am no less “real” or less worth talking to than the next person who shows up for a chat over coffee, “IRL.” 

While I’m well aware that new changes aren’t always “wonderful and exciting,” I firmly believe that there’s no going back, only forward. In order to thrive as entrepreneurs, it’s our responsibility to learn about trends, events, evolutions, and even shake-ups and disruptions that may affect us either positively or negatively. (AI is a perfect example)

Then we need to discover how to play our own game. This can only be done when we know the environment we are working in and the tools available to us.

Technology is just the means to an end, which is to solve the fundamental problem that the old paradigm 1:1 only model presents: It’s too much work for too little income, it’s severely limiting, and it only serves a small sliver of the people you can potentially serve.

The new model makes it possible for practitioners to work less and earn more.. AND for clients and patients to gain access to experts at any budget or stage in their care.

To me, this is what it means to own a business in general, let alone a profitable and impactful business that serves far more people than you could possibly fit into the confines of even an 80 hour workweek.

The Martyr/Elitist Model: Sacrificing yourself and others so that you can “serve” humanity (often from a place of privilege)

Nope. This idea sucks. Here’s why:

1. Lowering your prices in order to make your services more accessible isn’t the answer. It serves no one.. Not you, not your clients and patients, and not the industry.

Patient mills are based on high-volume models that don’t really get to the root of the actual problem. Although there are exceptions, generally patients need to keep returning to get another band-aid treatment.

Sadly, many times the “low cost” model is based primarily on transactional care. The result is that it is reduced to a commodity that feels more expensive to the patient or client, while at the same time not being nearly enough for you to earn a living. THAT sucks.

2. The “race to the bottom” mindset also makes it difficult to enter the wellness professions. It’s anti-niche and discourages the concept of focusing and refining an area of expertise. In other words, instead of positioning oneself as the  “go-to” person who just “gets it” and attracts ideal clients and loyal fans, one’s services become a commodity by default. The only way to compete is via “competitive pricing.”

All practitioners deserve to earn a decent living, without having to work 80 hour weeks just to make ends meet.

Service-based and wellness professions shouldn’t be accessible only to the elite who can support a hobby business via other sources of income, a spouse, or other assets.  Otherwise, who, or what.. is  ultimately is footing the bill, and subsidizing it all?  Shouldn’t our industry be able to stand on its own? 

Service-based businesses need to be treated as real businesses.  

A better way: Innovative and sustainable models for service-based entrepreneurs

Many entrepreneurs are getting VERY innovative with their offerings. 

They are discovering how to create courses, memberships, programs, bundled packages of services and products, and more, by leveraging their expertise, intellectual property, and YES.. a willingness to take a risk, get out of their comfort zone, and put in some up-front work.

I believe this is a smart way to mitigate the inherent risks of being an entrepreneur.  Especially as we get older. We may have less energy, but we DO have experience and wisdom on our side, along with the ability to generate passive income based on the intellectual property we create.

Creating “passive” income is also the hallmark of a real business: A model based on repeatable systems, one that won’t stop functioning if the CEO takes time off.

Freedom means being able to take time off and still get paid. (For starters) Or gear down for retirement. Or pursue other projects.

Why “winging it” and the “random tip of the day” don’t work

None of this happens, or is sustainable, with a one dimensional approach.

Just as you know that all the acupuncture treatments or supplements or coaching sessions in the world won’t help if the patient or client doesn’t have an overall plan, it’s pretty much the same when it comes to building a sustainable and freedom-based business.

It’s not about the latest platform.

It’s not about the latest social media trend. 

It’s not about “that one thing” that the successful entrepreneur you admire is doing.

It’s not about asking your friends (who probably are just “winging it” and are just as overwhelmed as you are) what the next step is. 

It’s not about another “tip” or even all the stuff you Googled but never managed to piece together into a coherent, easy-to-follow process.

Creating a sustainable and freedom-based business requires more than a one-dimensional, tactic-based approach.

That’s why there are experts who know how it all works together. 

Just like your clients come to you with a problem, because of how you solve the problem by a thorough intake, diagnosis, and treatment plan/strategy, the person you work with to help you create a freedom-based business will do the same.

Building a Freedoom-Based Business

I use a framework in my own business and in the work I do with clients.  It’s based on the principles of modern marketing, so I can’t take 100% credit for “inventing” it, but it’s also based own philosophy and what has been working 

It’s founded on what I’ve learned over the years, keeping up with rapid changes, and working with many different clients.

It’s based on my experiences, including my successes and failures. 

The mistakes I’ve made don’t just make me “one of you” nor simply a “relatable and vulnerable human.” (Although this is cool, because I also prefer to work with real humans rather than phony gurus)

It means that I’ve become an expert via taking risks and implementing my ideas, some of which work, and others of which have flopped.

It’s based on my experience as an acupuncturist who didn’t want to have anything to do with the traditional way practices were run (and are still run to this day) which tends to be a bad deal for everyone. 

It’s not based on a magical number, (6, 7, 8, figure incomes) or on me waltzing into the scene and instantly making a killing, followed by a humble brag and a promise that you can have it all if you just do exactly what I did.

It doesn’t work that  way.

What’s important is not just knowing what all the pieces are, but how they connect.

Regardless of who you work with, it’s also essential to know what ORDER to implement each step in.

Skipping steps is super common, and one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs struggle with overwhelm, frustration, and feeling discouraged.. Sometimes to the point where they want to quit or question their own ability.

I also know that every business owner is different, and that although there are certain steps to take in order to get from point A to point B, there is a LOT of room for customization and working within the parameters of one’s preferences, business goals,  lifestyle, and personality type. 

For example, I’m not into hanging out on social media for hours, dancing on TikTok, DMing, and time-wasting discovery calls, and tend to attract those who also don’t enjoy spending a lot of time on these tactics.

My infrastructure is now set up so that it can do most of the work for me. This includes my website, evergreen content, RWE membership, 2 signature courses, email marketing, social media channels, funnels, and more. They all interconnect in a holistic way.

This system also leaves plenty of room for growth. Some systems that appear “cheap and easy” are so confining that entrepreneurs outgrow them easily, and as a result, need to start a painful process of starting from scratch. On the other hand, too much growth/spending too soon isn’t a good idea either.

leave room for growth in your business

There is a “Sweet Spot” for everyone.

I won’t lie.. Having a system in place alone isn’t going to guarantee any amount of income. (It would be dishonest for me to make any kind of claim) Marketing isn’t a set and forget endeavor. It’s an ongoing process, a long game.

I will say that because I’m isolated in a rural village in a foreign country, I don’t have access to the traditional methods, opportunities, or connections that most do. I don’t have a safety net or a spouse’s income or a regular job. Because of this, I have had no choice but to rely on the systems I’ve set up. This has become a unique superpower, now that I think about it.

5 “Things” that have worked for me (and for my clients) 

1. Taking the time to set up an infrastructure that does the heavy lifting for me. Now if I want to offer a webinar or low cost offer, or promote a signature offer, nurture/follow up with a lead, write an email, or even find a file, I can do it quickly.

There is a lot that happens automatically as well, such as pre-qualifying leads on my website/application process, emails that get sent to specific subscribers leading up to a low cost offering, bump offers, lead follow up, surveys, and more.

Read more about how to set up these systems in this article.

2. Getting clear on my niche and idea client, message, and story so that what I communicate.. I mean everything, from emails to landing pages, is relevant, nails what I’m offering and who it’s for. Without this, setting up any kind of system will be a waste of time.

This also helps me attract only my ideal clients, and yes, repel those who are not a good fit. (I can’t help everyone)

3. Developing a workflow and documenting every process. Without this I would be wasting many hours trying to figure out how the heck to set up onboarding for a new client or how to set up a free webinar or be wondering what to write in my emails.

Now all I need to do is go into Asana when I’m tired, click on a link, and open up a detailed checklist with screenshots to follow. I can’t even tell you how much brain power this saves me so that I can better focus on the stuff that is going to move the needle in my business.

4.  Making data-driven decisions.  Instead of relying purely on my emotions (which could have resulted in quitting several times) I focused on gathering objective data so that I could determine WHY something was either working or wasn’t.

I’m adamant about not relying purely on intuition. I consult with it when I make decisions, but even my intuitive wisdom knows that it’s foolish to make uninformed decisions. 

5. Having confidence in what I’ve set up so far, and letting go of comparing myself to what others in my industry (competition) is doing 

All this helps with MINDSET. When I’m no longer spending mental energy on the minutiae, over and over again, I’m free to focus on what really matters. This gives me more energy and confidence.

Want to more about the “nuts and bolts” of creating a new business model that doesn’t involve trading more time for dollars (or peanuts?) Read this: Work Less and Earn More in Your Wellness or Coaching Practice

Have I made mistakes? Hell yes! But I’ll save that for another article.  

Ready to stop “winging it” and get the real freedom you deserve?

If you find that you are hustling to find clients,  are working too many hours, or having to start from scratch each time you come up with a new idea, it may be time to start thinking about how to grow without working so hard.

If you have already begun, but feel overwhelmed,  drowning in to-do lists,  sick of spending so much time on social media, answering the same questions over and over,  doing  manual admin tasks, and generally “babysitting” your business.. you are in the growth stage, but you need some help.

That’s why I created my Freedom-Based Strategy Sessions. 

2.5 hours together with a pot of coffee or tea.. and we’ll come up with a plan. Learn more and book a session.


9 Steps to Diversifying Your Income As A Wellness Practitioner

9 Steps to Diversifying Your Income As A Wellness Practitioner

How to diversify your income as a health and wellness professional so that you can create more VALUE in your offerings, create a profit consistently, and reduce the STRESS that comes from time-based sources of income


 I believe that the way many of us work and choose to live our lives has changed, in a good way. I think that these changes are due to both the external circumstances of the past few years, and also for many of us, internal shifts/evolution.

First, the biggest shift I’ve seen is about a concept called SCALING.

SCALING is actually what makes a single person service (which is more related to a job or freelancing) more like the actual definition of a business, which means it is based on a repeatable system that isn’t dependent on how many work hours you can stuff into a week. 

For many of us, scaling our businesses took the form of adding an online offering to compliment our 1:1 services, so that we are no longer limited in our potential for earning more income by the number of hours in a day, week, month, or year. 

Time isn’t the only limiting factor. Sometimes the things we count on can disappear, leaving us scrambling for other options. Just like having a good investment portfolio, having other options for earning income isn’t about “getting rich quick.” In fact, it could even save us a lot of stress.

I think that it’s smart not to put all our eggs in one basket.  I certainly have had ups and downs in my businesses, and having multiple ways to earn income has gotten me through some of the down cycles.

But there’s more to it than that. My evolution into scaling and income diversification was more of a gradual and personal choice.  It was more about the way I wanted to practice. I wanted to do something different.

I simply didn’t want to see hundreds of patients each week or do things the way my peers were. I was into going deeper, creating transformations, and leveraging educational materials I wrote myself. I was able to charge more because of the VALUE and RESULTS I was delivering, and my goal was to work fewer hours and yes, make more money. (Time independence)

Then I sold everything, including my practice, in order to make my business 100% portable. (Location independence) I moved to Europe and became what is known, for lack of a better term, a “digital nomad.”

As of January 2020, (BP: Before Pandemic era) I began positioning myself to help more of my clients, especially those who are “not getting any younger.” They are tired of running around and spending energy on the same tasks that don’t provide much ROI, but have a LOT of wisdom to impart.

I wanted to help them spend less time trading time for money by transitioning into time and location independence strategies. This means not having to be engaged, in person, in real time, with every person you can impact. It also means that more people will have access to what you have to offer.

Little did I know how significant this shift might be..

Income diversification: Creating a freedom-based business for acupuncturists, chiropractors, and wellness professionals

Finally! The rallying cry lately has been “income diversification,” in the form of creating online offerings based on our own intellectual property and expertise, NOT on any kind of franchise, turnkey solution, syndication, pyramid scheme, or shady “business opportunity.”  This idea has moved from being largely misunderstood almost a necessity for many.  It’s become a normal way to generate income, and it makes SENSE, especially for those who have a storehouse of wisdom and educational resources to offer.

It’s much like understanding that it’s just as “legit” to buy a book from an expert as it is to become one of their clients. Why should we limit ourselves to reaching ONLY those we can fit into our schedules?

I think that this idea, which gained momentum during 2020 and 2021, is here to stay.

It all started with the idea of going “virtual,” as a necessity. Step 1: Location independence.

However, this model is similar to what many were already doing in their clinics or healing spaces: Seeing patients or clients 1:1 and getting paid at an  hourly rate. The only difference is that video conference calls were replacing in-person visits.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Many who focus on courses and creating more passive income streams still return to the 1:1 model because they enjoy it as their main source of income. It’s also wise to gain valuable experience working with clients and patients before creating the content and intellectual property that the passive income will be based on.

I’m hoping that more open  discussions about things like marketing, profit margins, and income diversification become more common, but in many cases with  “heart-centered” practitioners, these topics are still taboo. I often avoided, till now, using the phrases “Make money, earn income, earn a profit, promote your business, sales funnels, etc” because of the stigma still placed on wanting to earn a good living, not just survive, among “healing types.”

Even some of the big and trusted names in our industry are still having to have that conversation:  That marketing and delivering products or services online isn’t about getting rich quickly, but about earning more money doing what we love, over time. (Step 2: TIME independence)

It’s time to dump these silly taboos. We all need to get out of the outdated “hobby zone” and talk openly about creating sustainable incomes for ALL of us. And there’s no better time than seriously, today.

My focus with this blog is to help holistic practitioners find ways that help them stop trading time for dollars.. specifically via online courses, coaching,  and value-added packages or product and service bundles that one can create on their own.

It’s NOT Just About Slow Periods: The Mindset Behind Income Diversification

This new way of thinking will certainly help with:

• Reducing the number of hours we need to work (the time-controlled “income ceiling”)

• Mitigating burnout so that we can continue to enjoy our work and serve others

• Creating some kind of financial stability as we get older, so that we can take time off when we need and want to

• Discovering new ways of work that may be better suited to our personality types. If you are an introvert, now’s your time to show that there’s more than one way (the extrovert way) to serve and lead.

• Leaving a legacy of our life’s work

In this blog, I’ve included steps you can take that range from conceptual and creative to actionable and more “left-brained.” Pick a few to get you started and give you some momentum.

Ready to start diversifying your income and making cash flow stress obsolete?

9 things you can do to diversify your income as a holistic practitioner, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or coach right now. 

1. Put on your coaching hat

People don’t hire wellness professionals by the hour just to “get a treatment or a session” unless we are positioning ourselves as more of a spa/luxury service or product.  They hire us to solve a problem, and for the results they get. And people WILL pay for that.

One of the concepts I believe we need to embrace in a market that emphasizes VALUE and RESULTS is, for lack of a better word, is coaching (consulting, mentoring, etc)

Coaching is another word that some wellness professionals are skittish about. It can sound “less than” for practitioners who spent years in school learning their profession. But the mindset here isn’t about demotion to “just” a coach.

A coaching mindset actually sets more patients up for success by offering  ways to empower them via education, support, and accountability. You may very well already be coaching your patients in your practice, and I’m guessing, are already a well-qualified coach, but maybe just didn’t know it yet!

We can certainly create own own custom blend of possibilities based on our talents, resources, expertise, and preferences.  Part of this package can include offering support, accountability, extra resources, (handouts, educational materials, videos, etc) and your ability to offer a tailored strategy. In my opinion, our skillset needs to include more than just diagnosis and treatment plans, or simply dispensing advice that can easily be found on Google.

We are being paid to solve a problem, as strategists, and to tailor a strategy to each individual patient or client. And to charge accordingly for that value. When looking at it this way, working for an hourly rate no longer makes sense.

2. Embrace your role as a business owner FIRST. (yes)

There, I said it. Because without putting business FIRST, there will be no practice.

I’m going to be honest: Sometimes, those who don’t have the luxury of relying on a spouse, retirement account, equity, a loan, a trust fund, another job,  government or any other assistance to fall back on tend to be the ones that get SUPER creative and come up with solutions that others may miss.

Sometimes, those who don’t really have a stake in creating a sustainable business, contributing to a sustainable industry, or offering value (which takes resources to provide) tend to undercharge, and this can be a huge problem.

In order to thrive, I believe that our industry needs to undergo some mindset shifts regarding money, technology, marketing, and how we show up online. It brings up a lot of “stuff,” but the alternatives: burnout, stressing about paying bills, and missing an opportunity to serve and leave a legacy are often the driving force behind many holistic practitioners to dive in, especially as they get older.

I firmly believe that having a business, especially when first starting out, and when creating diverse offerings, is hard work. But it pays off over time. Bypassing this stage doesn’t make being a business owner any easier, because without putting in the work and creating actual systems, we’ll end up hustling, stressing out, and trying to figure out how to make ends meet.

I would rather do up front, empowering work, than end up struggling later, with work that is less than empowering.

As we get older, we’ll simply run out of energy for some of the nonsense we put up with in our younger days, like thinking that pure “intuition” or “working in the moment, from the heart”  is a substitute for an actual strategy, roadmap, or plan. Random tactics based purely on emotions, or refusing to have SOME sort of direction to guide us actually makes our work harder, not easier, in the long run.

I believe in using our hearts AND our brain. I believe that we, as business owners, are not inherently “heartless” or “just in it for the money” if we want to create a sustainable and yes, PROFITABLE business.  I believe that we can still be heart-centered and practical, and that we can embrace our intuition and still make data-driven decisions that free us up from taking the day-to-day ups and downs personally. There’s a lot of shit I do not believe we should be internalizing, but observing and attending to, or even getting outside help with.

Structure, planning, and hard work may sound confining, but in a way, they are the very things that help us create more freedom in our businesses and in our lives.

These principles aren’t just about individuals. I’m talking about treating the entire industry with the respect it deserves.. so that a single mom has just as much of a shot at making a living as an acupuncturist or health coach  as the ones that don’t truly have to worry about what might happen if they didn’t see enough patients or clients in a given month.

Making a living or a profit based on delivering VALUE and RESULTS also benefits patients and clients. They get the results and transformation they are looking for when they pay for your TIME. Others will still have access to free and low-cost offerings that don’t involve your time. You can’t pull this off if you are charging $40 per hour. You won’t have the resources to put together a course or a book or a program that will serve all of those who don’t have access to your 1:1 offerings. You’ll be stuck having to hustle and keep that calendar filled, or you will sink.

I’m happy to be working with clients that are in alignment with all that I’ve mentioned above.

I also believe that it will be middle-aged women (GenX) that will be leading this new mindset shift, even if in many cases lately.. it’s been a result of necessity. If this is you…

The world really does need more people like you online right now!

3. Identify your mindset: Local or Global

The first is to consciously identify whether you have a global or local mindset (or both) when it comes to business. Neither is better than the other, but usually the local mindset tends to be the “default.”

I’m seeing many small business owners who are very used to providing services that require their physical presence.  They charge for these services on an hourly basis, and often rely on insurance to determine how these services are billed.

They are so entrenched in the local, trading-time-for-dollars paradigm that it can be difficult to envision what a global or at least partially global business might look like.

This is assuming that they have gotten past mindset barriers like thinking that being online is equivalent to slimy marketing or that “tech” stuff is either super expensive or impossible to learn.

Thinking locally

Again, there is nothing wrong with this approach, but some of us may need to go beyond it.

I’ve seen acupuncturists and other holistic practitioners asking questions about insurance, ways to be of service in their local community, how to market via cooperation with other business owners, and what to charge for hourly services if they happen to be online.

These are all great intentions, and great questions. Being of service to your community is a wonderful thing. One could decide to focus on their local area.

I have to wonder though, if holistic practitioners and local service providers are even aware of all of the options available to them, as we move into this next decade.

Thinking Globally

Global doesn’t have to mean someone from the other side of the globe. It could be someone who lives a block from where you live or practice.

The global mindset is a bit different, in terms of what you offer, how you package and price your offerings, how you deliver them, and how you promote them.

I’m also noticing practitioners who are adapting to the new paradigm.. and are dipping their toes into global possibilities, including totally re-thinking about their ideal clients, how to package and position their offerings, what to charge, and what systems (platforms) they will need to set up.

Diversification of income for acupuncturists and  other holistic practitioners,  in many cases, means thinking “globally” instead of focusing only on services you provide locally.

Re-Prioritizing and shifting for those who choose to diversify their income streams and reach more people is about SCALING your business. This gives you much more freedom to earn income without the limitations of time.

Now that you are open to more than the “default” local mindset, a good next step involves doing some research.

4. Observe the competition

It’s hard to consciously and intentionally stand out from the herd, if you are not aware of what the herd is offering!

This is an important step. What seems to be missing from others providing the same services that you could easily step in and offer?

Here’s a few examples:

• You discover that one of the biggest contributors of weight gain for your female clients is stress. Nobody in your area is really addressing this beyond basic TCM or NADA protocol in  a traditional clinical setting, or via fitness classes or personal training. They are all presenting it the same way on their websites.

• You are aware that many people experience adrenal fatigue. Many practitioners in your area address this from the perspective of their modality, such as chiropractic or TCM. However, maybe they don’t specialize in working with stressed-out middle-aged women or athletes or have unique ways to serve these populations.   Perhaps some are able to treat this condition, but are unable to offer the variety of tools that you can.

• You learn that  people in your community need more support and guidance without having to drive to a clinic or studio.

How can you solve the problems your ideal clients or patients are tired of or frustrated by in a way that nobody else can?

Don’t skip this step!

5. Position yourself and fill in the “gaps.”

Now that you know what everyone else is (and isn’t) doing,  you can start to position yourself in a way that will fill in the gaps between what is currently available and what people want and need. Ideally, you can set this up so that it frees you from having to be physically present 100% of the time in order to make a living.

Let’s talk about filling in those “gaps” using the examples from an acupuncture practice:

Weight gain and stress: Let’s suppose that you are good at not only acupuncture, but nutrition,  guided meditations and teaching yin yoga. Is anyone else creating something like this that can be experienced either in your healing space or at home? 

Adrenal fatigue: Maybe you have published a book about TCM nutrition and adrenal fatigue. You could easily create a course to empower the patients you already see in your clinic.. and help set them up for success by offering support and accountability between visits. Nobody else seems to be doing this. From what you’ve gathered, you discover that you may have something that could even be offered online, and that there is a need for it.

Other thoughts that came to me include  cooking classes, exercise/yoga videos, VIP packages that include herbs and supplements, and more.

See where you could go with this?

There is a HUGE potential there, that may be untapped.  However.. don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because something has “already been done,” that no opportunity exists. In fact, the opposite could be true. Would you say that it’s a bad idea to start a pizza restaurant or brewery because somewhere, it’s “already been done?” No way! There are enough pizza and beer fans out there to justify a LOT of pizza restaurants and breweries. And about a zillion ways to position each one.. from rustic mom and pop, to hip and sleek, to live music every Friday, to vegan/gluten free options. You can be just as creative. 

Here’s where positioning comes into play: 

Even if someone else is offering the exact same set of services as you, nobody will be able to do it exactly the way you do. Seriously.. Some may come to see you primarily because of your relaxing voice, your needling technique, or the “vibe” of your clinic or studio. Or other things that may not be based on a repeatable formula.

Positioning gives you more OPTIONS.

Positioning allows you to earn more income by increasing the real and perceived value of your offerings, whether it’s a clinical appointment, a class, a Zoom meeting, a self-paced course, or a combination.

Positioning isn’t only about carving a niche. It’s about how your niche is perceived. This includes your messaging, copywriting, branding, your physical storefront and your digital “storefront,” (your website) waiting room vibe, little perks like beverages or a free herb of the month club,  who you specialize in working with, and even pricing.

It’s about value AND values, preferences, perceptions,  and other intangibles that will attract your ideal client (saving time, making money, looking great, getting ahead, feeling accomplished, easing a burden, prestige, etc)

Without positioning, your offer is just a commodity or a laundry list of conditions you treat or modalities you use. Without positioning, it’s hard to justify selling your services in any other way than an hourly rate, and you’ll be attracting more “price shoppers” who only want the cheapest options, because they don’t understand what you do.

The idea is to get away from hourly fee based packages (discounted) and discover the art of putting it all together.. and packaging (in a very different sense of the word than how it is used now by the vast majority of health and wellness professionals) a way that reflects the overall value and benefits your ideal client or patient will get.

Positioning helps you create more of what you love and provides more income for YOU.

Are there products and services that you LOVE providing? Or also that you do NOT like?

I purposely chose NOT to position myself as a “village healer” or someone who can treat every exotic condition under the sun. I focused on health, wellness, and performance. I even got a certificate for cosmetic acupuncture. This allowed me to run a cash-only practice, so that I could set up my business they way I wanted to, not what I was told I was supposed to do.

I just talked to my hairstylist today. He loves cutting hair, but hates doing color, even though he rocks at it. But if it’s not cost effective for him to spend 4 hours on color, and he doesn’t enjoy it, he can (and did) pivot, and now has repositioned himself as a barber shop.  He still does a great job with women’s hair, but he doesn’t have to do color if he doesn’t want to!

If you got anything from this step, it would be that you may have more options than you think you do, just by shifting your positioning.

 6. Package your new offerings

Packaging and positioning are similar concepts, and there is some overlap. For the purpose of this blog, packaging about how to put everything together so that the end product is MORE than the sum of individual parts, wrapping it up, and tying it all up with a nice bow. When I was practicing in Denver as an acupuncturist, I created a package: An 8 week hormone balancing program.

The program included acupuncture, stress relief, coaching and support, a 21 day nutrition plan to help them identify what foods might be causing problems for them, and an online digital course that taught concepts that very few were teaching.

I also added additional support for body image after 50, which can be a mindfuck, and is something not very well addressed. (I made no claims that I could help them have the same body they did at 20 or 30)

Even though I’m sure I’m not the first nor will be the last to offer some kind of hormone balancing program for women, the way I packaged it and presented it was unique.

Here’s the thing: The more tools you have in your toolbox, the easier it is to make it your own.

Packaging ALSO guides people through a shopping experience, which is something many health and wellness professionals totally underestimate.

Remember, packaging isn’t just about throwing a bunch of stuff together. If there is no clear message or clear benefits to the bundle, it’s not going to sell.

Packaging is also about how you present a single bundle of products or services, but also ALL your wares. This is why you may be more likely to purchase a book from a store that is laid out well, visually appealing,  feels comfortable, and is browser-friendly.

I prefer to let people browse, like they would in a bookstore.  People like to check out your offerings and have a clear idea of what they are buying, especially when they first start working with you.

People don’t always make buying decisions based solely on reviews and referrals.  They may want to “try on” your offerings first.  This could mean free content or even a coupon (I only offer discounts for passive products, never my time) OR it could mean entry-level products, such as a book or a mini-course or workshop.

Having these types of offerings available to browse and shop for on  your website or landing page is part of the overall experience.

An example: Here’s my email marketing “shopping area.” Clicking on Learn More will allow visitors to get very detailed information about a bundle of services.. in this case my email  marketing bundle/plan:

You can also swap them in and out on your website, just like you might with physical products, depending on season, customer preferences, or what works best for you.

As of now, my /packages include  storytelling-based websites, email marketing, copywriting.

Each package has a bullet list of features and benefits, and is designed to achieve a specific result, and is unique in the way it is packaged, presented, and tailored to my ideal client avatar.

The TITLE is also very important. (This is about positioning as well)

If the basic thing I’m selling is “how to create, promote, and deliver an online course” I’m not going to call it that because who would buy it with a boring title like that? Not to mention that in order to be successful at selling this type of thing to anyone and everyone, it will be very difficult to compete in a large generic pool of similar offerings.

It’s about differentiating myself from the crowd.

Now, think about what YOU offer. If you say “acupuncture” or “wellness” or “yoga,” I invite you to take some time with positioning and packaging.

I think that today, more than ever, holistic practitioners can not only survive, but THRIVE, by offering online courses, coaching programs, books, and more.

I’ve found that with the right offerings geared towards the right people (ideal client or patient) they get FAR better results than with a-la-carte, by the hour services.

Content is part of your packaging and positioning, but so is HOW you present it.

This is where branding comes into play. Which brings me to the next step:

7. Be a rebel

Imagery, trademarks, quirks, humor, and personal voice: Discover and USE them to your advantage!

When I was doing my acupuncture/coaching thing, I did NOT want to position myself as another “wellness coach” or use the word holistic. I was tired of images of women standing in wheat fields with their hands in the air and functional acupuncture sites that had all the personality of a rock.

I started using “real and raw” images for my hormone balancing patients, and REAL pictures of people being active in Colorado. (No stock photos of people pretending to ride a bike, I used real mountain bikers with real gear on real trails)

When I started to get into the world of digital marketing, I got tired of seeing pictures of laptops on white desks with perfectly arranged pens and lattes and flowers. I wanted to present marketing and the “tech stuff” using less sterile and generic imagery.

My target market isn’t young women or busy moms who might be attracted to such imagery.  Mine is a slightly older, more experienced and worldly audience. They may also be interested in location independence and can relate more to real images taken in Europe.

Trademarks, in the context I’m talking about here, is something that helps quickly identify who you are. It can be a phrase, an image, something you wear, references to your dog, and more. My trademark became my OWN laptop with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, in whatever location I happened to be at.

If you  have a quirk such as a dry sense of humor, a love for dogs, or even blunt talk about sex, don’t be afraid to use it. If you choose YOUR ideal client, (who likes dry wit, dogs, or blunt talk about sex) you will connect with them in a way that feels natural to you.


Notice what cliches are going around. Minimalist shell pink and black sites. Perfectly neat desks. Specific fonts that everyone is using. Buzzwords like “game changer.”  Even swearing is in vogue.

Remember: Just because some of the big names out there are using certain colors or site design or buzzwords  doesn’t mean that you have to do the same in order to be “credible” online.

In fact, I would go the opposite way and be a rebel (with a cause, of course) Unless it really is part of who you are. For example, I occasionally swear, but don’t feel the need to add an AF after every adjective I speak or write just to prove that I’m hip.

For my podcast intro, I chose a song from the metal genre, which does fit my other brand. (Rebel Wellness Entrepreneur) I chose to stay away from what 95% of others in my niche are already doing.

In your messaging, I would also avoid the use of certain terms or generic phrases like “We are committed to our clients and passionate about our work.” This type of copy won’t make you sound professional. It will make you sound generic and boring at best.. and at worst.. ironically, a bit “spammy.”

Because if it sounds contrived to you, it probably does to your ideal client or patient as well.

Which leads me to the next step:

8. Tell a story

Once you get to a point where you really know your shit, know how to package and position it, NOW comes the FUN part!

There are several different aspects of storytelling. I’m going to present them as actionable exercises.

Exercise 1: The elevator speech (reframed as a short story)

I know.. Groan. Not that thing again. But I’ve found a great formula that can help you finally nail it. When you finish your “one-liner,” put it on your website, near the top, so that people can get a clear idea of what you do, within seconds.

Are you now wondering:  HOW the HELL can I explain what I do in one short paragraph?

Don’t worry if you have several offerings with different complex processes. Just do the exercise.

As I mentioned above, you’ll get a chance to describe in detail what you offer when you display your packaged offers online in a way that makes what you do “Shoppable.”

Doing the previous steps (positioning and packaging) is kind of like choosing to take a closer look at a book because of its cover or title, and then opening the book and checking out the table of contents before buying.

Telling a story is about reading book jackets and watching movie trailers… both of which are an art form.

Exercise 2: The TED Talk

I don’t know about you, but I like to binge on TED talks.

If this is you as well,  I want you to imagine that you are going to give a TED talk about a specific problem that people you work with face.

You are going to present it as a compelling story, and tell people why your program/package/product/service will help them.

I prefer this over the typical webinar sales pitch formula (Be a rebel,  indeed!) because it’s not only informative, but engaging and presented in a way that is about the audience, not the person delivering the speech.

You can record the whole thing at once on your phone, or write down thoughts and phrases that come to  mind as you go about your day, or even build a minimalist TED talk style slide deck to help prompt and inspire you.  Practice presenting it to an actual audience.. maybe a small group of people,  your networking group, or via a live broadcast in your Facebook group. Podcasting is also a great medium for many.. it gives us a chance to go even deeper. Whatever works for you!

It’s challenging, for sure. I find that the best ideas come if I give myself time to go for a walk or a bike ride. Challenge yourself to get it done, but give yourself enough time and space to develop your imaginary (or perhaps real!) TED talk.

When you start to feel comfortable with how you communicate your message verbally for one offering, you can do this for other offerings.

If the goal/intent is to inform and educate, the same exercise can apply.   You can start to refine your message(s) even more by videos, blogs, podcasting, books, courses, webinars.. Etc.

Your story will start to unfold as  you go, and you will become a master storyteller.

9: Build Your Platform

In order to do all of this, you will need something called a PLATFORM. All this means is a launching pad for getting your unique offerings to the world out there! These are the basic platforms you will need for income diversification and time and location independence:

This includes:

1. A website

I recommend starting with a WordPress site, which is likely much easier than you imagined. A GOOD web hosting service (don’t look for the cheapest option) averages around $15 per month. I personally use SiteGround.   I also use Kartra, which is a great option for those who have a developed niche, message, and branding/positioning plan, and are ready to create a full-blown course or membership.

2. Email marketing

Even if you currently have NO list, once you have a website, building a list is essential. Think of it in the same way you would consider following up on business cards you collect, so that you can control and manage your own contacts. Without an email list, this is going to be difficult if not impossible.

Cost: Free (MailerLite free plan) to around $15 per month for Active Campaign basic.

3. Communication via social media or podcasting

Notice I didn’t just say a “presence.” Pick something that feels natural to you and allows  you to interact organically with people who consider YOU to be the perfect match for what they need. Post original content, including ways to get people onto your website and on your list.

I’ve become a proponent lately of using SEARCH-based platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and Amazon instead of completely relying on discovery-based platforms like Facebook and Instagram, since people who are already searching for what you offer are more likely ready to buy.

Overall, my advice is to not rely on or build your business on a platform you don’t own. Keep building that email list!

Podcasting is something I’ll be talking about VERY soon!

4. A place to host your evergreen course, group program, membership, or hybrid package:

I cover this topic in depth in my blog that will help you choose the right platform for you.


income diversification for acupuncturists

Over the past few years, I DO think that there has been a shift from feeling powerless (as in going through slow periods or cancellations) to having options that empower clinicians, practitioners, and coaches.. AND their patients and clients. 

To recap, this means:

1. Thinking like a business owner/strategist FIRST, which ultimately becomes the best way to be of service to our clients, ourselves, and our industry 

2. Thinking like a COACH, which is to say, another way to think of being a strategist in order to get RESULTS. Simply being a good clinician doesn’t take into account what clients and patients do for the 99% of their lives when they aren’t in your office or thinking directly about healthcare like you do. Their success is YOUR success.

3. Re-thinking about what it means to work as a health and wellness practitioner or clinician. Trading time for money may no longer make sense. (If dentists and surgeons don’t charge by the hour, why do we?) I believe that it’s important to get out of the transactional mindset and deliver real transformations for our patients and clients. 

4. When you DO charge for our time, it should be the most expensive item on the menu. Your time, as an expert, isn’t about a sliding scale for a transactional treatment or session. It’s about getting paid for a strategy, a plan, support, and a way to get from A to B.

Your PACKAGE is NOT about “buy 10 and get one free.” This is NOT a strategy. It’s a string of transactions.

5. Expanding from thinking locally to a more global market. This doesn’t mean abandoning your entire business model, but starting to think differently about the what, who, where, when and how of what you deliver, and embracing the concept of SCALING. 

6. Just having a few offerings to toss onto your website isn’t going to be enough. This is where positioning and packaging come into play. Although we don’t need to perceive our competition as adversaries to “beat,” (on the contrary, they can become great strategic partners) it’s important to observe and study what’s happening in the industry, so we can better determine our unique role in the marketplace.

7. Don’t be afraid to be different. What may seem weird now, may become mainstream soon. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are “turning away” viable clients or patients just because you take a stance on something solid, like I did here in this article.  It doesn’t have to be controversial, necessarily. A good example is my love for metal music, and not being afraid to show it in the health and wellness sphere. 

8. Don’t tell, but SHOW people what they can achieve by telling a STORY.

9. Start getting your infrastructure set up. Know that this won’t happen overnight.. it can take months, or even a few years, and that’s ok! It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. 

What are ways to diversify your income streams as an acupuncturist, chiropractor, coach, or holistic practitioner?

If everything is “business as normal,” I’m also curious!

Not sure where to start?

I don’t want you to get stuck in overwhelm.  


If you find that you are becoming a slave to your business, or that you are giving way to much without getting anything in return, it may be time to take a close look at your overall strategy.

You don’t want to stop there. It’s also important to pay equal attention to the systems and workflows of your entire business, and how everything works together in a holistic manner.

There are several options:

1. You can enroll in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit for a self-paced way to cover all your bases.

2. You can apply to work with me, so that together we can arrive at a strategy that works for your business, and your life.

Apply now to get started.