Several therapists working in the NHS have emailed me to ask my advice about starting their own therapy business. I thought I’d share what I tell them here, in a series of posts. I started working independently about 18 months ago, I’m not claiming to have all the answers! I’ll write about what works (and doesn’t) for me, here in London; you can decide if it’s relevant to you and your situation.
How do potential clients contact you?
I already had an email address I used for work, so I kept using it. My work phone number was more complicated. I see my clients in a rented therapy room (more on that coming soon) and do my admin at home. We don’t have a landline phone, and I didn’t feel happy putting my mobile number on the internet. So I bought a Skype phone number. I selected a London area code, and for £3.35 a month I have a work phone. When someone calls the number, Skype rings on my desktop computer. If I’m out and about and expecting a call, I can open the Skype app on my mobile, and that’ll ring too. The number has an answer phone, and Skype emails me when someone leaves a message.
When a family books a therapy session I give them my mobile number, so I know they can reach me if they’re running late. This set up is working well at the moment.
I only use this number for work so I’ve made my answer phone message specific. I ask callers to tell me where they live and how old their child is. This helps me filter my enquiries. I’m able to call parents of older children straight back and explain I only work with under 7s. As well as check my availability in a particular location (I work in 2 different places) before returning a call.
Short form on the website
I also have a form on my website that parents can fill out to get in touch with me. It’s a free service by Wufoo. One of the questions on the form is: What are you concerned about in terms of your child’s speech, language and communication skills? The way a parent answers this question sometimes gives me an indication of how involved they’d like to be in the therapy process.
This post is the first in a series about Becoming Independent. I’ll write about how potential clients find my details in the next post.
Photo by Álvaro Ibáñez