(This post forms part of a series of powerpoint slides from a presentation I gave at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference 2010 entitled: The Roller-coaster Ride from Permanent Part-time Employee to Private Practitioner.)
The kinds of things I've done and people I've spoken with to promote myself as a private practitioner.
I've had 3 versions of my business card so far -I'm the kind of person who can see room for improvement! The most recent was produced by my lovely local printer in under a week. I knew I was going to work at the Reinvent Your Career Expo in Melbourne a couple of years ago, and it seemed sensible to have something suitable for the event.
I'd been unhappy with the previous card which had been designed by a graphic artist. I'd been procrastinating hugely about getting another done as I knew I'd been ripped off with the earlier one. Thankfully this experience was really different. I got to chat with the designer (no charge!!) and he suggested something cheerful that might appeal to the demographic I sort of expected to be working with. No rip off, AND quick printing! What more could I ask for (apart from heaps of enthusiastic clients)?
We had a general discussion about what worked, what didn't and why. There was some great input from the participants. Interestingly very few people had received leads from psychologists. I had seen us as working in tandem with them, but the general view is they see us as more or less poaching their clients. Hmmm.
I've placed ads in the local paper (got one client - so didn't cover costs), a glossy local magazine that had a bit of an alternative angle and encouraged work life balance/life coaching etc. (no clients). I regularly attend networking functions (no clients) (so maybe the BNI would be better as they are more into marketing, not so much for the social scene.
Generally it was felt that word of mouth was the best marketing possible. Strangely (or not) a friend who is a psychiatrist said he'd be unlikely to be in a position to refer people to me, but has at the time of writing been my best, most consistent support.
A couple of local allied health professionals were very keen when I spoke with them about my business, and appeared to genuinely believe they would have lots of referrals for me: however after 2 years, I've had none.