Daniel Fava has been a really helpful member of the free Abundance Practice-Builders Facebook Group for a long time. He’s a tech guy with a therapist wife and you can tell from this post that he blends the emotional and technological beautifully. He’s seen how having an amazing website helped his wife’s private practice and is driven to spread the love to others’ practices as well.
When I asked him to guest post, I was thinking more about his tech know-how, the kind of stuff that makes me glaze over sometimes but I know is useful. He shared this with me instead. Not a step by step to improve your SEO or something involving words I don’t know. Instead, he gets into our fear with us, shares what has worked for him, reframes, and leaves you with phrases to feed the positive mindset you’re gonna need as you go forward. Let’s get to dancing…
5 Ways to Dance With Your Fear of Online Marketing
Marketing yourself and your private practice online can be an extremely scary thing. When you combine the litany of to-dos (write website copy, build a website, learn to blog, social media) with the technology you have to learn to actually complete them, it can be a perfect storm of anxiety.
Heap on an extra dose of your own insecurities and you can quickly turn a rain shower of uncertainty into a self-debilitating hurricane of doubt and fear.
In this post, I’ll attempt to reframe the conversation you (and I) may be having with yourself about online marketing and what you think you can and cannot do.
You Are Not Alone
Maybe I’ve just been reading too much Brené Brown lately, but I’m gonna get all vulnerable on ya here
On my website I teach online marketing and website-building. I love what I do and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Before I started my business, it was all endless possibilities, exciting ideas and a blank slate.
But then I stepped into it, began to do the work and soon realized, “crap, this is on me to make this work.”
I had thoughts like:
- Everyone will think I’m an imposter
- Who am I to run a business?
- Who am I to charge someone for my services?
- Everyone will think I’m a sleazy salesman if I market myself onlin
Do those thoughts sound familiar?
Well here’s the truth and what I’ve learned: fear is normal and we all have it.
You have it. I have it. The best teachers and business leaders have it.
It’s what we do with it that will determine whether we grow our businesses, become more resilient and continue to do work that brings us joy and fulfillment.
Some days I still fight the tag-team of fear and doubt. Other days I’m just too engrossed in my work to give them notice.
But I’m learning to dance with the fear on those darker days.
So let’s dive into some common fear-fueled thoughts (some from my own brain and some I’ve heard from the therapists and psychologists I’ve worked with).
1. ‘If I Was Doing This ‘Right’, I Wouldn’t Have to Deal With Fear’
I’ve learned early on in life that anything worth doing – anything you’re passionate about or find meaningful – will require work.
It means learning something new and doing things you may not be comfortable with.
And, if I had to guess, you probably didn’t take many online marketing classes in grad school.
Which means you’re having to learn an entirely new skill in order to market your practice online.
Give yourself some credit!
I’d be concerned if you didn’t feel fear.
Because if there was no fear, you’re probably not being challenged enough. And it’s the challenging things that will grow you and your private practice
For myself, I try to focus on the incremental things I’ve done and not worry about the vast amount of things I think I need to learn or do.
Did you update your private practice Facebook page this week? Celebrate it!
Did you write a blog recently? Pour yourself a drink!
Over time, you’ll look back and be amazed by what you have accomplished and what you’ve learned.
So instead of saying, ‘If I Was Doing This ‘Right’, I Wouldn’t Have to Deal With Fear’, you can say this:
‘That fact that I feel fear over [blank] shows me that I’m on the path to meaningful work. It’s scary, but it’s right.’
2. ‘I Don’t Know What to Write About On My Private Practice Website’
Do you ever find it extremely difficult to write about yourself
You’re not alone in that, trust me.
We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to how we think we’ll come across to others
Will I sound too formal?
Will I come across as not sounding professional enough
So here’s what I like to do about this:
Start by grabbing some paper and begin describing your ideal client.
What challenges are they facing? How do they feel when reaching out for therapy? What in their life would cause them to reach out to you for help?
Now, when you sit down to write copy for your website, I want you to picture yourself talking to just one person… the one you just described.
If they called you on the phone, what would you say to them?
If they asked you to describe what working with you would be like, how would you explain it.
Forget about the masses that you think you need to reach with your website and begin talking to the ONE that you can help right now.
This will add empathy to your copy and help you be yourself.
So instead of saying, ‘I Don’t Know What to Write About On My Private Practice Website’, you can say:
‘What does my potential client need to know about me and my private practice?’
3. ‘I’m An Imposter’
Am I the only who has thoughts like these kicking around the brain from time to time?:
- Who am I to help or teach others how to do [fill in the blank]
- People are going to find out that I don’t know what I’m doing
- There’s no way I’m as smart/skilled/good at what I do as [insert someone you look up to here]
I believe that at the heart of such thoughts is a failure to recognize your own worthiness
Looking inward at our own perceived flaws, we compare ourselves to others rather than focus on the truth:
You have skills and an approach to your practice that no one else has and there are people who desperately need what you have in order to achieve the dreams they have for their life.
No one can help your clients the way you can.
So, if you in all your awesomeness have the answers your potential clients are desperately seeking, I believe you have a responsibility to reach them
And that’s where online marketing comes in.
Instead of comparing yourself to the multitude of others killing it with their super-cool website or huge social media following, focus on the few people you can help today.
Maybe you don’t have a huge thriving practice, that’s ok.
You have the ability to create HUGE change in the lives of your clients, one session at a time.
Give your all in that one session.
So instead of saying, ‘I’m An Imposter’, you can say:
‘I have skills and knowledge that can change someone’s life. It’s my responsibility to reach them and serve them.’
4. ‘I’m Afraid I’ll Break My Website and Lose Everything’
My dad used to call me his “resident IT guy”.
But now that I live in Atlanta, and my parents in New York, my dad has had to become his own IT guy.
And my dad is terrified of technology. What may seem like small tasks tend to freak him out and overwhelm him.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like my dad is CONSTANTLY dealing with tech issues. Constantly on the phone with some customer support for some website. Constantly spending hours fixing bugs on his computer.
It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy for him.
And from talking to many therapists and counselors, I get the sense that my dad is not alone here.
I know many people that know they need a website, but the fear of the technology and breaking their website keeps them from even starting one.
They don’t even have a website to break!
So here’s the thing:
Yes, your website COULD break, but that’s not a guarantee.
But if you know a website could help grow your practice and you don’t jump in and get one, well that’s more of a guarantee that things in your practice will pretty much stay the same.
And on a more practical level – if you’re afraid of your website breaking – just make sure to keep a copy of all your content on your computer.
If something does break (and I hope it doesn’t), call customer support for whatever service you’re using, and they should be able to roll your website back to a time when it was working.
You may lose SOME of the work you’ve done, but it won’t be EVERYTHING.
So, instead of saying ‘I’m Afraid I’ll Break My Website and Lose Everything’, you can say:
‘Things may break on my website, and that’s OK. It’s a tool to grow my private practice and I can learn to use it and reach out for support when I need it.’
5. ‘Technology Scares the Sh*t Out of Me and I’ll Never be Able to Figure it All Out’
Technology can be scary and certainly overwhelming.
Especially when you’re starting out, staring at the size of a project such as ‘design an entire website’ or ‘start doing online counseling’.
When faced with projects like these as a whole, it’s no wonder we get overwhelmed and stall at the starting line or drag our feet through the process.
Here’s the way I’ve learned to deal with this in my own life and online business…
Know the finish line, but focus on the ONE step in front of you now.
Let’s take building a website for example.
You can look at it this way:
“There’s no way I can build an entire website myself! Which platform should I use? Then once it’s up what the heck do I do? I heard about SEO so I’ll need to figure out how to do that otherwise no one will come to my website. I don’t even know how to write copy for my website, not to mention choose the photos, colors and fonts and all that crap! There’s going to be so many pages I’ll need to create content for, it’s just going to take forever”
Or, once your initial freakout is over, you can look at it this way:
“Building a website is going to be a big project. What’s one small thing that I can do now that will get me there?”
Then, you can track the project back to identify the one small thing you can do.
You could start with an outline of the pages you want on your website.
Or you can decide on a color palette, by looking at websites like design-seeds.com.
The key is to create momentum.
Once you start checking off these small tasks, the bigger ones will come easier as you track your progress and see how far you’ve come.
And don’t forget… you don’t have to do it alone. If you get stuck, find help, take a course, call customer service.
Just keep going.
So, instead of saying ‘Technology Scares the Sh*t Out of Me and I’ll Never be Able to Figure it All Out’, you can say:
‘I may not know everything I need to know at the moment, but I can learn, one small step at a time.’
Putting yourself out there constantly through your website, social media and other marketing channels IS a scary thing.
It can often feel like standing in front of a crowd naked – exposed, vulnerable and a target for judgement and criticism.
But the harshest critic is often the one in our own head.
Learn to love and accept that critic – flaws and all – and enjoy the process as you grow your private practice – and yourself – and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
I hope this post was helpful as you learn to dance this dance with fear over your online marketing.
The fear may never go away, but your dancing skills can always continue to improve.
Do you ever struggle with fear of online marketing in your private practice? Let us know in the comments below.
Daniel Fava, founder of CreateMyTherapistWebsite.com, teaches therapists how to create websites and attract clients online. After building a user-friendly website for his wife’s private practice and seeing the impact it had on her business, he became passionate about helping others achieve the same. Daniel offers web design services, consultations and online training to help therapists overcome tech-fears and grow their business through online marketing. You can get free access to his library of PDFs, cheatsheets, and ebooks by clicking here.