If you build it…

“Keep the overhead low” is the first business advice any owner gets to hear.

The little place with low rent where you do everything yourself is the romantic ideal. And it is what most good therapists do, whether they’re counselors, massage therapists, acupuncturists.

It’s what I used to do in my practice as a naturopathic physician in Germany. One room as my office and treatment space, a small waiting area in the hallway. You might even be able to do that in your house, depending on zoning laws.

It doesn’t get you anywhere.

This business model is only so popular because it’s easy, doesn’t require planning, and for most of us who start from next-to-nothing it’s possible to open without a loan.

Here’s what happens next:

Either you fall flat on your face because yeah, you built it, but they don’t come. And your low overhead plan doesn’t include a marketing budget.

Or your friends were right: you do great work, enough people know about it, and business starts picking up quickly.

Two years later you notice you’re working your ass off. Flexible hours? Not at all. 24/7 is more like it. Every minute you don’t spend with clients you’re on the phone, returning messages, or writing emails, taking notes, calling insurance adjusters. And worst of all: You’re still not making enough money to afford an assistant.

You get so worn out that when you do have a few days, you just collapse, and paperwork starts piling up.

I’ve seen it many times that the clients who used to rave about your work now say “I’m not sure what’s going on… it’s so hard to get a hold of her, and she doesn’t call me back.”

Being constantly stressed out makes your treatments less effective, and suddenly you’re not the amazing healer any more–you’re just average.

So better start delegating early. Before you’re getting stressed out. Here’s the virtual assistant we use. There are a lot of others, and they all have their issues, but it’s important that somebody picks up the phone when clients call.

That’s removing 50% of your stress instantly. And then you can build your business to the point BEFORE it’s necessary to hire office staff. Don’t wait for chaos to pile up. Foresee what will happen and start doing something about it now.

If keeping your overhead low is your first priority, you’ll be treading water forever.

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