Does the thought of the marketing and “tech stuff” in your acupuncture or wellness practice scare the hell out of you?
Or maybe you are a DIYer, but the urgent matter of seeing more patients always seems to take priority over the important matter of creating the future of your practice.
And as a result, you’re headed towards burnout.
Here’s why “technology” or building a system for yourself, is the “yin” part of a practice in 2021 and beyond: It will allow you to serve on a deeper level, help more people AND create more cash flow, stability, and freedom for yourself.
I’ll explain why I’ve done a 180: I shifted from calling marketing the “yang” part of practicing.. to referring to it as the YIN part:
As we move into a new decade, I’ve realized that as the older I get, the more the way I think about earning income has shifted.
About 8 years ago, as an acupuncturist without ANY kind of support from a spouse, savings, or safety net of any kind, I had to quickly adapt and find ways to diversify my income stream. Realistically, cancellations, emergencies, illnesses, (for either me or my patients) or even taking a day off meant a loss of income and extra stress.
This led to finding ways to add online income to my acupuncture practice. Turns out, this also helped me help people on a deeper level, while at the same time, expanding into helping people all over the world.
Technology become my ally.
If you want to add online income to your holistic practice, you can no longer avoid marketing and technology. (or at least hire someone to help you with it)
Before you protest that you are a creative that doesn’t have the time or inclination for “this kind of thing,” I want to invite you to consider of the “holistic nature” of business.
Much of modern marketing is about GIVING, demonstrating your experience and expertise via regularly posted content, and as we get older.. leaving a LEGACY.
In order to be effective at any of this, and in order to grow or scale our practice, (leave a legacy!) we need to start focusing on making at least SOME of our offerings “one-to-many” instead of focusing only on 1:1.
In other words, something that is repeatable so that we can create predictable and consistent income, so that we can have the resources we need to KEEP creating and giving. (The full yin/yang cycle)
In order to do this, we need to have a basic infrastructure in place. This is what many wellness professionals and coaches refer to as “tech” stuff. (icky)
To be honest, I think that many throw anything that is either boring or that they don’t want to deal with in this “tech” bin. The truth is that if someone went to acupuncture school, and especially if they studied functional medicine, they already know how to set up infrastructure and integrate complicated systems.
In fact, most of the “tech” has gotten easier since I first wrote this blog. I don’t even like to call it “tech” stuff, as I think that this has now become a marketing term designed to sell software, courses, or services by capitalizing on fear of “tech.”
Most marketing “tech” today is more about knowing what steps to take on a given platform than taking a course in coding. As in a map or recipe or set of instructions.
Let’s talk about WHY embracing technology is important as an acupuncturist or wellness professional, plus the ONE thing that anyone that wants to grow their business MUST have in 2021 and beyond.
I want to start by introducing the concept of yin and yang and how it applies to your practice. You may already be very good at the YANG (what I formerly called yin) component of your practice: Diagnosing, taking care of patients, etc.
But many acupuncturists shy away from the YIN (what I formerly called yang) part of their practice: Marketing, sales, and technology. Some STILL even go as far as to consider this component almost unethical. (yes, this blows my mind)
I’ll illustrate what this means by diving deeper into the reasons why you may have chosen to have your own practice in the first place. I’ll also talk about some challenges you might be facing, and how to get your “yin and yang” back in balance with systems and “tech.”
The 6 Scenarios that might apply to you:
Scenario 1. You are starting to burn out from doing what you’ve been told, especially by younger people or extroverts: That social media and filling your schedule are the cornerstones of your practice and keys to success.
But maybe (gasp) you honestly, truly don’t want to be hustling and seeing 100 patients a week as you get older. You would rather “scale” your practice and reach more people, work less, and pass on your expertise. (rather than eat your young colleagues, as they say in this business!)
It also frees you so that you can focus on what really matters. You are not an “information dispenser/needle technician. People are hiring you to solve a problem. They are hiring you for your experience and strategic thinking.
Who wants to have to explain the benefits of a Spleen qi tonifying diet over and over again? Or do the same admin chores every. single. day? Not me! More people can be served on a deeper level without having to answer basic questions over and over again.
You may be interested in building a system that doesn’t eat up every moment of your time, so that you can recharge, be a more effective practitioner, and work on a deeper level. So embracing the “tech stuff” will help you practice on YOUR terms, and help more people the way YOU were designed to. Especially if you are an introvert. (I am)
Note: Contrary to what so many marketing gurus tell you.. there is no absolute “right” or “wrong” way to grow a practice. If you are an extrovert who loves being around people all week, taking care of a staff, and spending a lot of time on social media.. go for it!
Scenario 2. You want to save time in the long run. With the advent of some nifty new AI tools, now I can easily turn a Facebook Live into a blog or other written content. I use Otter.ai a LOT. I’ll be using this kind of technology even more to transcribe my upcoming podcast into show notes, or even social media posts.
Another good example is that unlike social media, which requires constant presence and tending to, you can rely on email as one of the most effective “set and forget” tools in your toolbox. This could mean that setting aside an afternoon to set up some “tech” stuff will be totally worth it.
You can do this by creating a lead magnet (a downloadable freebie in exchange for an email address, so that you can build your list) and a series of 4-8 emails that are automatically sent to welcome, nurture, and present offerings. This not only works while you sleep, but statistically offers about 400% more ROI than social media.
Social media has its purpose and we are not replacing it by any means. But to use ONLY social media to generate leads just means more hustle within an ecosystem you don’t have any control over because you don’t own it.
To avoid burnout and excessive “hustling,” you want to have some of your marketing automated, and to build your practice on a platform you OWN.
Scenario 3. You want to grow/scale your practice in order to be accessible to MORE people than you could if you only offered your 1:1 services.
Again, this all may sound very “YANG” or impersonal, but think about it: Wanting to make your unique services and intellectual property accessible for your ideal clients or patients at ANY stage of their journey is something I consider “Yin.”
Because it’s a natural progression.. to spend more time early in your career learning the intricacies of your craft and gaining experience, (yang) to spending more and more time focusing on deeper, more specific and meaningful work, (yin)to focusing on teaching and/or reaching more people, making a bigger impact, and finally, leaving a legacy. (coming full circle)
This includes free content, low-cost courses or group programs AND your premium courses, 1:1 services, and other offerings.
Intellectual property is substance, rather than action. It’s an asset. These assets need to be delivered automatically, at any time, to any part of the world, to anyone who clicks a BUY button.
There is a good balance here. Everyone wins.
The next 2 scenarios may be compelling to those who may think that setting up these systems is “too expensive.” There’s DEFINITELY something else in this for you, particularly if “tech stuff” has a tendency to have you running for cover. Something that will actually alleviate your fears, instead of adding to them.
Scenario 4. You want to create safety net of several sources of income to help keep your business stable during “dry” periods. There are MANY ways to approach getting more potential patients into your pipeline or funnel.
For example, January is typically slow for many acupuncturists. Why not diversify your income with an online course about fitness, wellness, hormone balancing, or weight loss? (Of course you’ll want to do some research to create some unique concepts and compelling titles)
If this scenario has you nodding YES.. you will likely need to create a landing page, set up a way for people to pay online, and set up an email automation, You will also need to create the course or group program itself. None of this is as scary as it sounds, especially now, in 2021. I’ve guided practitioners just like you through the process in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit.
You can also consider using a platform like Kartra, which contains all of these “pieces” under one roof, and does a MUCH better job at it than other popular platforms like SquareSpace. (You may even find that it’s more cost effective when you start adding everything up) If it still sounds overwhelming, I do cover this in the Future Proof Course.
You can also, of course, hire someone to do this for you. Really, it depends on where you are at in your practice and what your goals are.
Building systems is the best way to create predictable income and ease stress. It’s also not nearly as hard as it used to be even 5 years ago.
Scenario 5: You can charge premium prices based on VALUE, instead of discount rates based on volume. (The latter just makes me tired!) So now instead of charging a discounted rate to get more people in the door when your practice is slow, you can launch your signature program for a premium package price (say $2K) without having to run yourself ragged and recover from burnout by March.
A few years ago, I created a signature “hybrid” program that included acupuncture, herbal consult and herbs, a Facebook community, and LOTS of coaching. This is what is commonly referred to as a “high touch” program, which meant that I could ask for premium prices.
What’s in in for THEM? Plenty! Think about it. As a client, have you ever preferred to pay a VIP price in exchange for feeling cared for, supported, and solving a problem, over shelling out low fees here and there, but not really getting much out of it? Did you end up spending MORE in the end for diminished results?
This is what is known as transactional care. The goal for me, even before I knew what it was called, was to provide transformational care by focusing on results, support, and empowerment.
Creating this kind of experience in a seamless way will require having some knowledge about making videos and .pdfs, uploading them to a course platform, and more. I promise it’s not scary. In fact, likely more tedious than difficult. For this reason, it could make sense to outsource some of the “tech” stuff.
Scenario 6: You want the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, especially as you get older. You’ve got other things to do, other projects to work on, other items to check off your bucket list, and other things that meaningful to you besides your practice.
Maybe you want to become more location independent. I spent time building a more “global” presence so that I could work from anywhere there is internet access.
You don’t have to move abroad to do this. A move to another state will be an easier transition should you choose to build a more global presence online. Obviously, you’ll need to have systems and automated processes in order to promote, create, and deliver your offerings to anyone in the world, FROM anywhere in the world.
It’s worth it!
So what could be more important that having automated systems set up?
The #1 thing that most acupuncturists and wellness professional are missing isn’t their “tech” infrastructure.
They are missing a strategy. Also known as a funnel, roadmap, plan, system, or whatever you want to call it.
The “tech” piece and the strategy piece actually kind of go together. But if one is constantly avoiding “that boring/scary/overwhelming stuff,” they may never have to opportunity to see how it can transform a practice and relieve a LOT of stress.
I’ll give you an analogy and an example.
An analogy: Building a system is like spending the entire summer building a high quality brick house, instead of having to repair a low-quality particle-board abode every month, watching the quality of your work go down as your fatigue and burnout levels rise. (The patient mill)
Lets say for example, you create an online fertility course to go with your acupuncture, OM, and/or Functional Medicine services.
Generally, you only need to create the content (.pdfs, videos, etc) once. Great. Of course, all those books and videos COULD just gather dust on your hard drive or somewhere in the “cloud.” But if you put them to work creatively, they can do a lot of the heavy work FOR you.
All of these assets can be used to guide you ideal client or patient on a journey, from the time they discover you, till the time they buy, and beyond.
Every piece of content you write can be put to work for you.
This generally means some free content (a blog, videos, or podcast) to attract your tribe. You’ll also want a lead magnet to nurture warm leads, leading up to presenting an offering for a course, group program, or hybrid program. (A hybrid is a combo of 1:1 and one-to-many or a combo of in-clinic offerings, products, and digital courses or programs)
Having a strategy means that you don’t need to repeat the same tactics over and over.
Build that solid brick house.. I promise, it will pay off!
One of the most compelling reasons for embracing a solid infrastructure:
RESULTS and TRANSFORMATION.
Everyone wins when you create an entire system that sets clients and patients up for success. This includes your unique process and expertise, your intellectual property, a unique online or one-to-many product or service, a way to deliver it, and automated systems. When you put it all together, what you are creating is a results-driven process that takes patients from point A to Z. A journey. A transformation.
This means that your offering can have more VALUE than a chain of 1:1 transactions. (and this is one of the many reasons why I never took insurance)
Using “tech” to evolve your business model means less work, less stress, more money, more freedom, and happy patients and clients!
I hope this blog helps you to understand how “tech” can be your friend and ally. Please don’t buy into the narrative that makes it all seem harder than it is, just to sell products and services that can sometimes be more expensive, time-consuming, and even a little patronizing to health and wellness professionals.
You’ve GOT this.
You can join the Rebel Wellness Entrepreneur Membership. For a low cost, you’ll have access to my “vault” of content, PLUS a place to network, be a part of a community, and maybe even promote YOUR expertise.
If you need intensive, specific, and 1:1 help in a particular task (like building an opt-in form) I’m now offering an a la carte menu of private lessons.
Want a more comprehensive and self-paced option ? You can enroll in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit, which will guide you step-by-step to creating your first online offering, even if you have NO infrastructure set up yet.
Not a DIYer?
I still offer some done-for-you services.
Need help with figuring out what to do next in your business?
Since every business is different and every brain works differently, it may make sense for you to get some help with your overall strategy and with the “tech pieces.”
I’ve been through all of this.. both as an acupuncturist, my own “digital marketer,” and now as a consultant to other acupuncturists, healers, artists, and a dash (for fun) those in the tourist/hospitality industry.
I would love to help you create a time and location independent acupuncture practice or holistic practice. Just click on the burgundy button below for a free consultation, or click here.