When you worked for an agency or non-profit, snow days were a beloved day of rest. You would sleepily check your email at 5am to see if you had to go into work. After refreshing your email for the 50th time, you’d breathe a sigh of relief to get the great news: you had a cherished day off to work from home, spend with your kids, or just relax.
Oh, how times have changed now that you are your own #boss (or working towards it). Most entrepreneurs I know do not celebrate snow days. It’s hard to not focus on the lost wages that come with canceled sessions. If you have a full schedule, it can be a headache to get everyone rescheduled. Virtual sessions are a good alternative, but you may not feel comfortable with that medium, or it may not work for your clients (especially kids).
Snow days are not uncommon in Colorado, but even so, I still find myself feeling a mix of frustration and relief when they roll around.
My attitude towards snow days has changed over the years since starting my practice. Historically, I would freak out at the lost income. Or feel intense (but guilty) relief because I was overworking myself. Subsequently, I shifted key aspects of my business so that I could sustain the loss of wages and focus on the benefits of this downtime.
Instead of stressing, I now use snow days to assess and refine my practice.
Snow days can be an intentional time for you to renew yourself or to focus on building and refining your business.
7 Ways to Use a Snow Day to Refine and Build your Private Practice
Yes, this tip is NUMBER ONE. It can be so easy to want to use this snow day to crank out tasks, paperwork, insurance billing, and the like. From now on, whenever there is a snow day, I want your first consideration to be rest. This day of rest can be seen as a gift – an unexpected day that you can relax and nourish yourself amidst a busy week.
As sensitive therapists, you might feel more overwhelmed in private practice and have to see fewer clients. With rest, we can be better therapists. We can reconnect to ourselves and our values. We can get clear about how our practice is going and what needs to change so it’s more in alignment with our unique needs as sensitive beings.
2. Assess Your Fee Structure & Cancelation Policy
Many therapists and healers worry about the lost income that comes with snow days or other forced closures. As a sensitive therapist who may see fewer clients than non-sensitives, this loss of income can have an even greater impact. If you’re building your practice, those canceled sessions can also feel like precious income.
Instead of fretting, use your energy to strategically assess your business policies and fee structure. Are your fees high enough to account for 1-2 snow days a year? Is your sliding scale eating into your bottom line? How about your cancelation policy? Do you require clients to do virtual sessions in the case of inclement weather?
In order to feel safe and secure in private practice, you must have a fee structure that allows for the unexpected.
I advise my coaching clients to plan to work 42 weeks a year. That seems low, right? But it accounts for mental health days, sick leave, vacation, snow days, and trainings. (Yup, most therapists don’t equate training days into lost wages, but we should). You didn’t go into private practice to work yourself to death, but to enjoy life and honor your sensitive nervous system. Thus, private practice has to look different for you. Let’s plan accordingly as opposed to shaming ourselves for being different.
3. Write a blog or social media post
Content marketing tip: some of the most popular blog posts are ones that come from current events. People are already googling the big event, so your blog is more likely to come up in search results, especially if you write this blog to your ideal client.
Blog posts about current events offer value to our clients and show that we are in tune with their day-to-day experiences.
In the wake of the storm, I wrote a blog post geared my ideal client about how to take care of themselves after an epic storm. I’m fairly certain I set a record time on idea creation to publishing the post, as normally it takes me days, not hours, to finalize a post. However, I knew it would be important to offer specific and time-sensitive suggestions to my ideal clients as well.
You don’t have to wait for a snow day to blog. There are plenty of current events that are impacting your clients every day. Pay attention to what current events your clients talk about in session and consider creating a blog post or social media content that speaks to this.
4) Connect with your colleagues and referral network
If you feel like you’re hurting for clients, snow days can be a great time to look at your referral network to see who needs some attention. Just because you’re home-bound doesn’t mean that you can’t have a meaningful connection with others. (Unless, of course, you don’t have power or internet.)
Use your snow day to send out emails or text messages to check in with your referral sources. Networking isn’t just about asking people to send us clients, it’s about building relationships and offering reciprocal value to each other. As a sensitive therapist, your superpower is anticipating others’ needs, including your clients AND referral network. Consider sending your referral sources an interesting article, helpful resource, or even just a meme to let them know you’re thinking of them. Consider even writing thank you cards or scheduling a coffee date to catch-up.
If you find your referral networking lacking, now is the time to do some strategizing around who you can reach out to next. Consider using the snow day to identify some key potential referral sources and reach out to them in the medium (email, phone, social media) that feels best to you.
5) Catch up on clinical reading about your ideal client
You may not know that I have a problem with buying books I don’t read. In fact, it was so bad, I imposed a strict book-buying hiatus on in June 2018. Haven’t purchased a book since, but have been a near-obsessive library patron. (You’d be amazed by the clinical books you can get on inter-library loan!)
That said, snow days can be a great day for you to brush up on your clinical skills by reading books or articles that have been sitting on your shelf waiting for your attention. Make yourself a creamy cup of coffee or tea, curl up under a blanket, grab your highlighter and dive into the latest clinical book.
Don’t just read any old book – but one that is targeted to your ideal client. Staying up to date on the latest research and best practices for your niche will make you stand out as a therapist and build your confidence.
HINT: If you want to combine tips #4 and #5, consider reaching out to colleagues to ask them recommendations for a book, suggest a book they might like, or even start up a book club!
6) Finish that course!
I am not the only one guilty of buying online courses that I don’t complete. It’s hard to hold myself accountable when no one else knows if I do or don’t complete a course. Sometimes the technology of those online courses can feel daunting.
Use this snow day to start or finish that course that has been sitting in your inbox. Even if you only do an hour or two, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment to have started. If you bought a course that was to help you blog, market, or organize your practice, dive right in! What a great way to uplevel your practice from the comfort of your own home.
7) Rest. Again.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of downtime and rest for sensitive therapists. It helps you feel happier and more present for yourself, your loved ones, and your clients. Resting is actually very productive for highly sensitive people, for it allows you important downtime to process and integrate your experiences. If you found yourself doing one of the above tasks (blogging, reading, etc), make sure that you end your day with just a little bit of time for yourself to integrate all your learning and celebrate your accomplishments.
Do you know how to identify your ideal client and write copy that will result in calls?
Do you need help feeling confident in your marketing plan or blogging skills?
Are you tired of your money issues getting in the way of a successful business?
Are you afraid to raise your fees?
I guide sensitive therapists in creating the practice of their dreams, writing compelling copy to their ideal client, and busting through money blocks.