Do you find yourself procrastinating when it comes to marketing your Private Practice?
You know that you should be doing it, but somehow, you magically find yourself making excuses, or going down a TikTok rabbit hole…
Procrastination isn’t about being lazy. It’s a learned habit. It helps protect us, in the short-term, from something that makes us feel discomfort. It helps us to avoid the discomfort of an effortful task, feeling vulnerable (“what will they think?”), and the emotion of overwhelm.
On the surface, procrastination is just a ‘little waste of our time’, but the reality is, it can seriously stunt the growth of your Private Practice.
Ever notice the colleague who seems to be caning it, and taking it all in their stride? Their clinics are fully booked, and they are thriving. That didn’t happen by accident. They are getting sh*t done.
Here are seven reasons why you're likely to be procrastinating over your marketing, and crucially, what to do about it.
#1: I just don’t know where to start.
When we don’t know where to start with our marketing, it can feel overwhelming.
You know that you should be reaching out and getting referrals, optimising your website for search, blogging and vlogging, and ‘doing some social media’. But with only so many hours in the day, what should come first?
Solution: In order to start, you need a MARKTEING PLAN.
#2: I’m worried about what my peers will think.
This is a biggy. At least once a week, a Consultant says to me “I’m worried what they are going to say if they see my promoting my Private Practice” or, “I don’t want to draw too much attention to myself. My old boss works at the same private hospital; I used to be his registrar, and we’re essentially competing for the same patients”.
Solution: Focus on how you can best serve your potential patients, and help them get that help by promoting what you do. Most clinicians have (sadly) experienced some kind of hostility of snubbing by a colleague, so why not join a community of like-minded clinicians who can support you in your practice growth and champion you? (Join the Private Practice Ninja Academy and meet some awesome people who will help you to achieve your goals). Can’t find a group? Connect with one other friendly clinician, and start your own buddy-group.
#3: I’m a perfectionist.
If you’re highly critical of yourself, and tend to set yourself unreasonable goals, chances are, you’re a perfectionist. Ironically, perfectionists tend to achieve less, and get more stressed out than high achievers, who are happy with their ‘almost perfect’ goal attainment.
If you’re forever stalling on launching your clinic’s website, or failing to show up on camera (because it might not be good enough), you’re grappling with the perfectionism beast.
Perfectionism can also show up as ‘Imposter Syndrome', and this is oh-so common amongst Clinicians.
Solution: Start small and go for ‘good enough’. If you strive for perfection, you’ll never get around to posting that vlog or blog. Remember that you’ll be helping to educate patients with your clinical knowledge, so quite polishing and hit POST. Compare yourself to yourself ONLY. Watch how you improve each time you show up. Trust that you are prepared enough.
#4: I stop and start and I can’t find momentum.
We’ve all been there. We have a little flurry on Instagram, and we post every day for… three days.. and then nothing happens for weeks.
Solution: You need accountability. In order to get stuff done, despite all that’s going on your life, you sometimes need check in and be held accountable. And it doesn’t matter if you get that task done a at the eleventh hour – as long as it gets done. As Rita Mae Brown said, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”.
I set up my own accountability group in 2014, and I’ve kept it going, literally, every single week, without fail since then. I’ve achieved a lot. You can too. In the Ninja Academy, we hold a quick and easy weekly check in on a Monday evening, and to quote Gemma Tune, who has a large practice with several clinicians. “OMG this accountability is working a treat”.
#5: I have no time.
Marketing your Private Practice is a non-negotiable if you want to grow said practice.
So how on earth can you make time, when there’s so much to do each day; seeing patients, doing the admin, getting paid, picking the kids up, and writing that report?
Solution: To have time, you need to make time. Delegate, and delegate some more. Dictate your notes, outsource your billing, outsource your email management, and stop trying to ‘save’ money by doing it yourself. Admin tasks do not bring in new patients and revenue. Marketing does.
Religiously ring fence your marketing activity time.
The only things you should be doing in your Private Practice, is seeing patients, being the visionary, and marketing.
#6: I’m not seeing results from my marketing.
How do you go about your marketing? Do you have a little flutter with social media, or dabble in a big of blogging? Are you feeling frustrated that you put in the extra effort, and it’s crickets. Nothing changed, and nobody booked in to see you?
Solution: In order to not waste time on the wrong marketing activities, you need to set out a strategy, and measure your outcomes. How many people responded to that email broadcast, or engaged with your social posts? What worked best? Then tweak. (Keen to get started? At Ninja we can coach you one to one, or consider joining the Academy.)
#7: I’m easily distracted, and so I never get started.
If you’ve ever read advice about avoiding distractions, you’ll likely have read about tips such as turning off your phone alerts, or uninstalling apps so you can’t look at them.
The trouble is, there will always be distractions, and we can’t entirely rid ourselves from them.
(Wanna know my biggest distraction? Perhaps you’re guilty of this too? Shiny Objects. I can’t wait to drop everything and run towards the next new thing.)
Solution: The good news is, learning to focus and do the ‘deep work’ is a skill we can all learn.Wanna know my biggest distraction? Perhaps you’re guilty of this too? Shiny Objects. I can’t wait to drop everything and run towards the next new thing.)
You CAN find 2 minutes each week day of the week– which you could spend getting your marketing going. Even if you’re not ‘in the mood’, promise yourself you’ll just do five minutes, and you can quit if you hate it. Chances are you won’t.
I’ve found the following to be very helpful to ensure I stay on task.
A) on a Sunday evening, I spend 10 minutes with a glass of wine, reflecting on what I’ve achieved/didn’t achieve with my marketing, and I make a short and realistic list of what I want to do the next week. That might be writing a vlog outline, hosting a Clubhouse room, or sending an email broadcast to my list.
B) When I’m ready to work, if I’m doing a ‘planning’ or ‘outlining’ activity, I disconnect from the net, and write on my Remarkable (so I won't be tempted to look at shoes online). A paper notebook works just fine too. Whilst I prefer to work in silence, if I have to be in a noisy environment when Hubby wants to relax with music whilst he’s cooking, I put on my noise-cancelling head phones and quietly play Nature sounds on YouTube in the background. I listen to the same sounds every time, so it’s become a ritual.
8 Hours Relaxing Nature Sounds Forest River-Sleep Relaxation-Birdsong-Sound of Water-Johnnie Lawson
C) If the marketing task is bitesize enough that it can fit into twenty minutes, I get it all done before I get up. If it’s part of bigger task, I finish MID task, and then type in coloured letters “when I next start, I’ll be writing about ‘x’). There’s nothing like the Zeigarnik effect to make sure I’ll be sure to continue and complete next time.
I remind myself to trust in the process, and that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING today.
If you need help getting momentum with marketing your Private Practice, join the Private Practice Ninja Academy today: