A simple question that lends a simple answer.
Don’t let the clients run your appointment book and don’t give away services just because you can’t personally afford the work you provide.
Most MT’s (and many other alternative medicine practitioners) end up in their profession because they really want to help others. And, and a result, many of us have a bad tendency to neglect ourselves, our health and our private responsibilities in order to accomplish this task.
We spend all of our time trying to build a little practice and keep food on the table. We find ourselves taking clients whenever they ask for an appointment because tomorrows schedule may not have any appointments or because we never know when someone will cancel at the last minute and a bill may have to be held.
Although this isn’t the case for all MT’s, the fact is, most therapists in private practice rely on clients coming in at scheduled times and when an opening is not booked, they are not able to make money during that time. Then starts the downward spiral. Appointment a, b and c weren’t filled this week – the MT needs x amount of dollars to keep the business running and now is taking everything that they can, for more hours than they should work, just to keep up with the bills. Private time is lost in the process and now their personal life starts to fall apart.
A small amount of this is to be expected in a service field, but unfortunately we have a tendency to have more of it because we feel a great responsibility to help.
However, about nine times out of ten, when I find myself scheduling an appointment to help someone in need on my regular day off, during a time that is extremely inconvenient for myself (before or after business hours) or try to squeeze someone into the schedule (which may only give me 5 minutes between clients) the client either cancels, no-shows or doesn’t come in on time.
It doesn’t matter how close to or far from your office that you live or what the inconvenience was, the fact is we have to set boundaries and schedules in order to work at peak performance. When these boundaries are manipulated in ways that are unfavorable, we start to lose ever precious time that we could be using for other planned tasks or rejuvenation purposes.
Over the years, I have found it very hard to tell people “no”, but I am learning that I can no longer commute haphazardly, break into my personal plans or give away services based on my personal income experiences.
This post is just a small jump-start to remind each of us that if we don’t take care of ourselves or take care of the business of running a practice, we will eventually loose the very practice that gives us the ability to help others.
Consider changing your mind-set today - run your practice, don’t let it run you.