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EXECUTION Ideas For Promoting No-Fee Counselling Service [Spinning My Wheels]

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Jun 18, 2016
A refresher to the uninitiated.

I created a no fee counselling service for those suffering from mva (car accident) related distress. I found this niche here in my province (British Columbia), as we are the only province with a single government run auto-insurer, and anyone with drivers license is essentially a customer.

How it works is if you've been involved in an mva (passenger in any sort of vehicle including transit, or driver) regardless of fault, you are entitled to all sorts of recovery benefits (chiro, kines, physio, massage, and counselling to list a few). From the date of your accident you are pre-authorized to access any of these services. For counselling you have up to 3 months or 12 sessions, whichever comes first. Beyond that a medical note (referral) from a doctor is required.

I've been at this a few years now, and I am currently up to 6 other trauma therapists on my roster. Basically we offer no strings attached trauma therapy, and yes it is confidential. In addition, the sessions give people the opportunity to talk about other things affecting their lives so it's not solely about helping them heal and find the courage to drive again.

I've been at this now for about 5 years. The first 2 years I would occasionally set out in my car travelling from practice and clinic after clinic. I'd stand around waiting to talk to doctors, or if I was lucky have what's called an 'in-service' session (basically you'd come in and speak about the service to the practitioners at a clinic) scheduled.
It went reasonably well for me as a solo practitioner.

Here's where I am struggling. I realize in running a business you have to 'leave money on the table'. Meaning, if I am to build the business I need to stand back a bit from private practice and take more of an entrepreneurial role. Of course it's involved some sacrifice in this respect. Of course like most people I'd experienced a slow down during Covid as naturally far fewer cars were on the road and many clinics had to re-prioritize their goals, not to mention many of the rehab facilities were shut down for a time.

Realizing this, and the fact that for the past 1.5 years I couldn't simply show up to clinics (which isn't the most cost effective way to use my time anyway), I took to LinkedIn. My assistant and I have been reaching out to various rehab professionals and MDs daily. The response rate is probably around 20% or so, and I have made some good contacts. I've partnered up with a really good Kinesiology company, a few Occupational Therapists, some doctors who are more than happy to write referrals for any of my clients, and squeezed out a few client referrals in the process.

Here is what I'd noticed from LinkedIn:
-people are keenly interested in the service, and generally react with surprise we offer this
-communication often wanes after several weeks without upkeep (I get why people use newsletters and other means to remain in the minds of others)
-while I get the occasional referral it's very, very inconsistent, in fact the past month I've only got 1 referral and that's from an OT of a client I already work with
-I feel a lot of the clinics and practitioners here operate on a quid-quo pro basis, which I get but I am very particular of who we refer out to, and to be frank a lot of clinics here are money hungry and engage in very poor client-care practice; when I refer out I want to feel this is someone I'd send my mother to and feel at-ease.

I can't help but feel like my net is perhaps cast too narrow. I feel as though I am missing something or somethings here. With respect to scope, I have the entire province I can market to, as everyone has the same insurer and coverage.

Perhaps I need to focus on the middle man less (rehab and medical professionals) and market more to the general public? I'm started to toil with Instagram; spending some time on fine tuning my mission statement and goals so the page's message is cohesive and has quality content - so it doesn't drown in a sea of homogenous looking profiles.

I also know with respect to content, no one knows your field as well as you. I can't really find it in my budget at the moment to hire a content creator/copy writer/digital media person. That said, I do some from an extensive IT background so I know my skillset is a bit unusual for a trauma therapist. I am just struggling a bit as to where to orient my focus at this very moment.

I am also wrestling with the notion that even counselling 3.5 days a week may not seem much, it still does require a lot of energy and presence. I am trying to play the role of content creator, copy writer, digital media person, outreach (conversations with people via LinkedIn which translate to phone or Zoom), and somehow find time to lead my therapists (which I am failing on and worry about their de-investing---especially when the referrals aren't coming in as quickly as they should).

I do have an assistant but her availability has been sparse as of late and I do realize I need to do something about that.

I think at this point I am feeling like I've run aground a bit, and am looking for some keen new perspectives to maybe notice things that I am missing.

Any input would be grately appreciated.

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