At Tribe, we rarely follow traditional business practices, which often perplexes our lawyer and accountant. We enjoy challenging norms and discovering creative, more efficient, and heart-centered strategies.
In the early days, Tribe co-founder Cari and I discovered that, as children, we both had the same favorite word: “Why?!” We frequently drove our mothers crazy by constantly questioning the status quo.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
– Mark Twain
We believe in collaboration over competition, in people before profit, in building relationships over networking, in paying it forward, and in giving before getting. We recognize that this is not the usual way to do business, but the practitioners we work with tend to prioritize the well-being of their clients and the integrity of their work over running a business. Tribe exists to help practitioners find a way to do the work they love and to be profitable.
We have learned through experience that private practice is quite different from being an independent contractor. The do-it-all nature of private practice can overwhelm even the best of therapists if they are not prepared for the rollercoaster ride of owning a business.
As an independent contractor, you have to manage your billing, taxes, and scheduling, but that pales in comparison to the discipline required to be a sole proprietor, and the responsibility of the marketing, sales, and follow-up required to continuously bring in clients.
Cari and I frequently remind our members that one of the best personal transformation journeys you could ever embark on is to start your own business.
Over the last 10 years, Tribe’s core values below have revealed themselves to us through experiences and lessons learned.
We believe that together, these five values embody the personal and professional growth needed to heal your mind, body, spirit, and emotions and truly step into operating from your higher self.
Over the years, we have observed many talented practitioners (ourselves included) spinning their wheels doing what they think they need to do as a business owner or wellness professional, behaving a certain way at networking events, offering services they don’t enjoy, and ultimately never fully shining the light of their true potential.
Holistic professionals will often focus on raising their energy and being more spiritual or enlightened, and forget about the downward energy current of manifestation, of calling in your higher purpose and manifesting your vision into reality.
Through our personal journeys, and working with hundreds of wellness professionals, Cari and I have discovered 8 key areas that form a holistic business approach and help professionals manifest a successful practice. A holistic approach to business enables practitioners to remain fully aligned with their true selves while managing their business. Practicing in alignment creates a sense of fulfillment which leads to the longevity of your business, ultimately resulting in profitability in the long run.
These key areas are:
Purpose – identifying why your business exists, your vision, values, and mission.
This foundational key feeds into each of the other keys. It’s the fuel that revs your engine.
Plan – setting goals, creating a budget and a timeline.
Many practitioners are afraid to set goals and timelines in case they don’t meet them. You wouldn’t get in a taxi if you didn’t know where you were going. Even if you weren’t exactly sure where you wanted to go, you would tell the driver what you were interested in seeing or the general area, so you could wander around the right neighborhood. Your plan is the roadmap and directions to get you where you want to go. It’s not set in stone, you can use it as a guide for informed decision-making.
Message – your story, identifying what result your client wants and how you help them to get there.
To attract the clients you want to work with, you need to clearly articulate how you help them.
Resilience – tapping into what inspires you, developing self-care practices.
Starting a private practice is not a get-rich-quick scheme, some might say it’s more of a labor of love. You must develop the skills needed to ride out the ups and downs of business ownership.
Persona – developing your brand, positioning yourself
Brands aren’t just for big business. As well as being recognizable, branding encompasses consistency, establishing and meeting client expectations, building trust, and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor, expert, or authority in your field.
Relationships – building client rapport, setting boundaries
Establishing healthy relationships with your clients creates loyalty and leads to higher retention and referrals. A practice filled with repeat clients and word-of-mouth referrals reduces the amount of time that needs to be spent on marketing and is far easier to manage.
Peers – identifying your professional support team, mentors, and peers
Unless you have an MBA or extensive business training or experience, you can’t be expected to know every curve ball that is going to come your way. Do you have a community of support? Have you identified your BBFs (Business Best Friends)? The personal friends, family members, professionals, and colleagues that you can turn to for advice, to answer questions that arise, or simply be there for you if you need to vent?
Systems – implementing efficient systems to reduce time spent on admin
How much time do you spend doing admin that could be spent seeing clients and generating revenue? Identifying ways to automate, simplify, and outsource may seem a painful process at first, but saves you time, energy, and money in the long run.
I affectionately call integrating these 8 keys into your practice doing ‘business shadow work’. Nobody wants to do it, it feels hard and icky and highlights all your weaknesses. But you know that the reward of personal development will be worth it in the end, and it’s the same for your business development.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Each small change or tweak will take you in the right direction until one day you realize that your business is running smoothly and you’re making a profit!
Written by Ellen Letten, Brain Health educator and co-founder of Tribe. In addition to her own practice, Ellen supports other wellness professionals in private practice.