How to Build a Highly Successful Acupuncture Practice
You decided to become an acupuncturist because you have a passion for health and healing and you genuinely want to help others live optimally. If you are like me, you thought that this passion would create an effortless explosion of interest in your services that would keep people knocking down your doors in droves. If this has been the case for you, then that is truly great.. Keep doing what you are doing. Unfortunately, the truth is that the vast majority of the acupuncturists out there are struggling to make a living. In fact, 50% of them are no longer practicing within 5 years of graduation from Chinese medicine school.
This really is an unnecessary tragedy. I bet that most of the people that quit would LOVE to stay with it, but they just don’t know how to build a successful practice. Because of this, they are forced to initiate a new course in life. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN have a wildly successful practice that is both financially and personally thriving. How do I know? Well, let me tell you a little story…
I began acupuncture school in 1998 and graduated in 2001. For 3 straight years, I heard numerous teachers expound gloom and doom prophecies on the impossibility of making decent money as an acupuncturist. In fact, the whole environment was so entrenched in a poverty mentality that I felt deeply depressed about my ability to provide for my family with this career choice. My wife and I had our first child in my 2nd year of school and I was stressed out beyond belief about how I was going to provide a good life for this child.
After I graduated from school, I was lured out to New York to set up a holistic medical practice with a medical doctor. Did I really want to move to New York? Not really. But I was convinced that I could not set up shop where I was living (Boulder, Co.) because there were so many other practitioners.
RULE #1: Set up your practice where you truly want to be. You are the only competition you will have to face.
Through a series of serendipitous circumstances, I signed up for a 2 year continuing education program with Lonny Jarrett, M.Ac. to study 5 element acupuncture. Now I see that the universe had guided me to the East coast not to set up a practice with this doctor, but to have this opportunity to study with a great teacher. During this program, I saw in Lonny a role model of success that showed me it is indeed possible to create an amazing practice.
RULE #2: You need at least one role model of success. Your brain has to conceptualize what is possible before it will materialize. Without this experience, I NEVER would be where I am now.
After spending one year in New York, I mustered up the courage to move back to Colorado to set up a private practice on my own terms. (No, I never did end up working with the medical doctor. Instead, I worked in a pain clinic for the year. This allowed me to treat a high volume of patients AND witness firsthand how I did NOT want to set up my own practice). When I returned to Colorado, I made a commitment to myself to learn as much as I could about business and marketing. It was frustratingly clear to me that there were precious few resources available that were directly relevant to my situation. So, I created my own way of building a practice.
RULE #3: Building an acupuncture practice is all about building relationships. The conventional marketing tactics that work well for other professions are generally useless for the acupuncture profession. Creative marketing is the essence of my success. This means free or low cost marketing techniques that are targeted only to a captive audience.
Now, 4 years after starting my practice, I see as many patients as I want. This ranges from 35-50 depending on the week. That is the most I would want to see. I have done this just outside of Boulder in an area said to be saturated with acupuncturists. I make a comfortable 6 figure income working 3.5 days a week in my practice. I now believe without a shadow of a doubt that there are far more people out there who need my services than I could ever see. The demand is enormous. Why? Because the majority of Americans are struggling with their health. A small percentage of this majority is interested in doing something about it. I can only see a tiny fraction of this small percentage in my practice. Therefore, my mind only sees an overflowing practice.
RULE #4: You will attract what your mind perceives. If you believe in scarcity, you will find that it is difficult to bring in new patients. You really have to work for them. If you believe in abundance, then you will find that you will always treat just the perfect number of people every week. Your practice will grow without resistance and struggle.
There is far more to creating the practice of your dreams than I can outline here. If you are serious about taking your foot off the brake and achieving your potential for a lucrative acupuncture practice, then click on the link below to learn more about my consulting service . There is NO reason why you can’t earn a comfortable 6 figure income in our profession. You just may need some solid guidance to show you how!
About the Author
Kevin Doherty, L.Ac., MS is a licensed acupuncturist in private practice in Superior, Colorado and a business coach for alternative healthcare practitioners. He is the author of Build Your Dream Practice: A Success Manual for Alternative Healthcare Providers. Kevin has a passion for helping serious practitioners achieve the numerous rewards of a thriving practice that they so richly deserve. To learn more about Kevin’s coaching services and his ebook, go to http://www.buildyourdreampractice.net
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