"Helping people who help people"

Archive for the ‘E-book’ Category

Are you over-disclosing as a therapist without knowing it?

One of my e-books was getting so hard to write and I finally realized yesterday it’s because it isn’t an e-book. It’s a service. And the topic is based on my shock, awe, horror, gasping experiences at what I can learn about therapists that they may very likely be totally unaware they are exposing.

I jokingly call it “stalking”, a better term would be sleuthing. Either way, I have no intentions when I sleuth people beyond seeing what I can learn. To be perfectly honest, none of what I learn is really interesting. The biggest joy I get is in the discovery itself. I came out of HR, so I’m well beyond the thrill of finding out personal information on people. The biggest group I find I sleuth are those self-proclaimed millionaires who suck away your money trying to get you to buy their stuff. I have discovered so-called millionaires living in homes worth $70,000. Makes you go “hm….!” Another internet marketing guy who claims he increased a clients referrals 300%. Guess who that client is? HIMSELF!? Why he didn’t just say he’s also a professional masseuse and used his information to help his own business is beyond me.

My father has realized my powers and now, after wasting an appropriate amount of effort (say, 20 minutes or so), he’ll shoot me an email needing to find something out – this last time it was an email of an important person because his message was too complex to call her. In under sixty seconds I had the email and my dad was amazed. It just comes naturally to me to dig and logically work my way through finding the information I need.

Whether you are a paranoid therapist or not, it is useful to know how exposed you are. Someone I know is totally exposed and there is logic behind why (setting up the business name and license address before having an office is an easy slip, because you have to put your home address.) But sometimes therapists end up sharing their home, their spouse, where they live, who their kids are, their personal goings on if you’re a runner, or member of a religious group. It’s not so much that it matters, per se, but it’s more important to know it’s out there for clients to find.

If this is of interest, I do the sleuthing ON you FOR you and present you with everything I can learn about you. If there are ways to tighten up security, I’ll share those as well.

Are You Exposed Online is a fun new service! And if you subscribe to getting news on my latest products or services, I have a discount on this service for those people that expires on Sunday.


Immediacy in Therapy Vs Your Website

I’m reading Irvin Yalom and thoroughly enjoying his stories and advice to a new generation of therapists.  I think it’ll be one I buy (it’s a library book.)  Reading more makes me want to delay finishing my  e-book on writing profiles because I have new metaphors and new ways to explain what therapists do in profiles that makes me cringe.

One huge piece of Irvin’s work is immediacy – which some of you DO but the term is foreign.  Research shows even the most experienced therapists often don’t use it, in part, likely, because it’s risk taking to be in the HERE and NOW in relation with the client.  (Though interestingly immediacy is one of the key differences between a coach and a therapist.  A coach backs up and never gets hot with the issues a client has within their relationship whereas a therapist finds it grist for the mill.)  Immediacy is one of three ways to address the RELATIONSHIP NOW:

discuss the relationship between you and your client in the present moment (example: You are showing up late to sessions, I wonder how you’re feeling about me and your therapy experience….)

discuss how you feel about what your client is saying (used as a therapeutic tool, says Irvin, because your reactions are likely similar to everyone else in the clients lives and you can offer a safe “a-ha” awakening by being safe but honest)

discuss how the client felt tell you something powerful, or even just how it feels for the client to share to you (ex: you’ve never shared these sexual traumas with anyone.  How does it feel to tell me something so buried and powerful?)

The problem with therapy profiles is when you attempt to “discuss your relationship” with the prospective client before you even have the relationship.  For example, a lot of therapists feel it is important to have “the right fit” between client and therapist.  They go on to articulate this in their profile.  While that may be true, it may be that some things are better left said in the therapy room.  I read some profiles and STRESS OUT thinking oh my GOD, apparently I don’t have to just find ONE potential therapist here, but a few? And then I have to make appointments, spending money, and “interview” them?  All the sudden the idea of therapy seems really stressful.  Honestly even writing this out makes my anxiety rise.  I can’t imagine having to interview a bunch of therapists when therapy in general is scary and vulnerable.  Plus my view is the therapist has some power (albeit healthy power I give them) so the idea of confronting the powerful therapists that I just met seems beyond the pale.

This is a teaser for what will be in the e-book.  I am not interested in simple copywriting or “marketing” but a holistic look at messaging within the therapy-client context.  None of this you learn in grad school (sadly!) but a lot of it can kill your chances of attracting new clients.  Or of attracting the types of clients you want.

Consider how you use immediacy in your therapy profiles or website.  More to come!

Inspiration for Marketing

I think knowledge without energy, motivation, or inspiration is fairly useless.  Inspiration and ideas without strategic follow through is just frustrating.  But blending the two and you can create magic!

One of my main values I want to bring to the overall hyper-competitive world of marketing is my ability to *INSPIRE* therapists.   When I can get people freaked about computers to want to do something, I have “won.”  I do not care if they don’t understand every tiny element of marketing because frankly, marketing is really a huge, crazy experiment that nobody can predict how it’ll end.  For every person with the perfect sales copy, perfectly designed website, there is someone who doesn’t even have a website who is wildly successful.

For a peak into what goes on in my head when I get inspired, let me explain my inner-thoughts.

You have a type of client you work with.  (In my case it’s the vulnerable or overwhelmed therapist, though sometimes it’s the saavy therapist who just needs a few cool tips or pointers.)

As you work with them, listen to their stories, listen to their FEEDBACK on your services and conversations with them.  I am always listening for ways to help them because they represent countless more people who aren’t aware I exist or who aren’t actually engaging with me (but who read my blog.)  It helps that you are just one person with limited time because it means there are things you love but know you don’t have time to get into with the client.  Or the client isn’t willing to give the time, or money for your personal services but would love a written version.

This is where the magic comes in.  The magic may be a new, exciting article that can really help explain an element of what you do.  Or it can be a zippy article you know you can share on your social media and people will LOVE and pass forward.  Or it may just be… an E-BOOK!   There are some things that may be best bound up in a little “book”.  It can be just 10 pages, or 100 pages, but the idea is you are willing to spend a lot of mental energy and time explaining something if you know you’ll get some compensation.  And if you don’t really sell any, you aren’t really “out” anything but some time because your marketing plan may simply be letting whomever comes to your website potentially buy it.  And by simply having an E-book you may find you build instant credibility.

The e-books I’m working on in my limited time lately include:

  • Internet sleuthing – what clients can find out about you online (a guide to stalking yourself online!)
  • Writing a therapy profile – the A to Z guide from photo to messaging yourself and therapy in general, to strategies you can employ to analyze results
  • Twitter strategy – how I have used Twitter to build strategic relationships  (Not a “how to use twitter” that you can find anywhere)

The price points will be very reasonable.  E-books provide more “options” to plugging into my brain beyond this blog, articles on my website, or my audio-trainings or personalized website reviews.  And notice these are not guides you really find out there.  This is one of my rules – don’t reinvent the wheel.  If someone is doing something, awesome, it’s one less thing I need to try to invent.  (My inspiration comes from the new and different.  Yours may come from a different direction, like your personal stories, or your client base, or your love of poetry, etc.)

What are you good at, or what do you reinvent in every client session that you may be able to assign as homework (in that case you’d give it away free) or what might someone buy to get a better sense of you?  They may read it and then seek your counseling services because they built trust and respect for you.

HOW do you do this, exactly?  It’s insanely simple.  You write something up in Word.  Convert it to a PDF.  (There are free converters online if you don’t have the ability to write into PDF.)  Then use a service like e-junkie to manage the sales and downloads.  I use e-junkie for The First Dance business and my Thomas Consultation.  There are lots of great bells and whistles with them and subscriptions start at just $5/month for up to I think 9 products or audios.  You can also pay attention if you’re ever on a website with download e-books to see what company they use to compare and contrast pricing and options.  There are a lot of businesses out there that help you with downloads and shopping carts.

Who are your web customers?

I finally found a tech company I trust to redo my entire Marriage Friendly Therapists website.  It’s always interesting how different people have different perceived goals of a website.  They were asking me about shipping and this fancy tool they have.  Nope, not our business model to be a mini-Amazon for books.  Eventually they got our current website and my pie-in-the-sky dreams.  I’ll await the costs but I’m very giddy about the growth and potential for our therapists!

Just be aware whomever you talk with has their own web experiences.  There are a lot of e-commerce folks out there where it really matters how high you rank for a widget and shopping carts are a make-or-break situation for customers to make purchases.  I even read recently about a company who helps you “recapture” people who went to your shopping cart and left, within an HOUR of that “abandoning” of the cart.

For therapists, your customers are very different.  Unlike a $15 book purchase, therapy is an intense process, a decision not to make lightly, filled with financial and logistical issues.  Even the idea of collecting prospective client emails makes some therapists really uncomfortable.  (It feels pushy and too business-like.)  Depending on what you say, how you say it, and your web design, you may attract a different type of client.

Really think about your clients.  Well, at least the ones you REALLY like working with.  What are they like? What common themes are there among them?  If they are middle-class traveling types, why not write a few fun articles on the psychology of travel?  Or on dealing with tension, anxiety, or moodiness while on the road?  Or maybe on the anxiety of finding the “best deal” and how trips can be ruined entirely on the preparation that turns into hell.  Maybe they love to go camping.  What can you share to make camping more enjoyable for them, psychologically-speaking?  Perhaps you attract a lot of people in the helping profession.  There is a whole lot you could write about how to manage the emotional landmines of working/living in the helping professions.  It could be parents are your core clients.  Write on anything that matters to them!  I’d read anything you can tell me about potty training a strong-willed child who does not respond to bribes AT ALL.  Or how parents can learn to listen to their intuition about child-raising.  What red flags are there in listening to your instincts vs experts?  Remember these are not topics they have to give you their email to read (that’s called a newsletter!)  These are free, no-commitment-needed articles on your website to whet their appetite.

The idea here is if I am your “ideal client” and run across your website, unique articles that talk to ME and what I love will stand out.  They’ll make me read more.  I’ll feel like you really get me, or you’re funny, or insightful, or can teach me something!  It will also do what I love – bridging the “therapy world” with the arena of psychological awareness.  After all, if your clients have similar interests and hobbies but are living in somewhat of a fog (of depression, anxiety, grief, marital strife, etc.) your website can hook them back into things they love to do and help them see that “working on their stuff” can make their regular life even more enjoyable.

These “articles” may only be 3-4 paragraphs.  And you may even experiment at the end of the articles with a link to a new page on “How therapy can help you enjoy ___ more”.  The link opens that new page and you have a brief overview of how therapy changes people, makes them calmer, more self-aware, and how that can improve the area of their life (camping, travel, etc.)  The reason you’d have that “how therapy can help” on a new page is so you can track who reads it!  Remember unlike a book where you have no idea what pages are being read, the web is fully analyzable.  You would be able to track all these fun articles through your website statistics and then see if, say, 20 people last month read your “Travel Tips from Dr. Psychology”, you could then see who kept going to the therapy page.  Maybe only 1 did.  Or maybe all 20 did.  How cool to see what people read!

Now if you’re still following my logic, hold on to how this little idea can morph into more!

It may be you write 5-10 of these small articles and two or three get tons of traffic.  Like, wow, people really love these funny, insightful, even snarky articles.  You’re getting enough traffic to those pages that you see there may be an actual demand for MORE.  You may write an e-book, or have an interactive guide book (assuming most hobbies/interests are shared with loved ones) and charge a little bit of money.  All the sudden you may be making $10 here or there from people who may never seek your therapy services but love what you write.  All you do is write in a Word document, transfer it to PDF format, and use something like e-junkie which is a very simple way to sell e-books (or real books, audio, video…)

And now that we’re in dream land, guess what?  You may gather proof through purchases that you really hit on a hot topic.  Now you call your local community education office and see about doing a WORKSHOP on that topic!  (Let them do all the advertising!  I’ve done this in two districts and each has a different way to pay, different class minimums/maximums, and you make a little bit of money…but you aren’t doing it for money.  There is no way you can pay for the exposure they can provide so you might as well start with a zero-advertising experiment on your topic.)

The class will be psychologically oriented, but on something people love to do, so it won’t feel like a heavy therapy workshop.  It’ll be engaging, fun, and developmentally right where people are at.  From the workshop you may build a reputation, get potential clients, and be able to call yourself a ‘speaker’ in your community.  People trust speakers!

Money : Making It or Sharing It

This blog is inspired by my own natural progression in the world of the internet.  It started out writing a book with my father and along the way we’ve hit a lot of bumps and frustrations and fantastic questions regarding being a “merchant” selling stuff.

Our audience is engaged couples, parents of engaged couples, marriage educators, clergy, therapists, wedding coordinators, etc.  Right now we sell our book on our website, and we sell via an Amazon link where we make a small commission if people click on our Amazon link and end up buying ANYTHING (not just our book.)  That’s all fine until you realize how many other people out there believe in your book and have no easy way, in their role, of sharing the book.  It’s a bit awkward for many therapists and educators to handle cash on the fly to sell a book.  We tried this, offering a discount to those who resell it.   OK, so that doesn’t work, but what could?

Meanwhile we had enormous bank fees for accepting credit cards and that had to STOP!  In doing some research, I finally found the answer to so many of my dilemmas!  E-Junkie! I was able to wipe out our insane bank fees, drop our Authorize . net account, and only pay when we had sales.  And even BETTER, we could now allow therapists, educators, and anyone else (including YOU!) recommend our book and make a little bit of the profit.  Why on earth would we do this?  The reality is we can sell few books, or we can sell a lot of books with your help.  And for your efforts, we’d love to help you out.  Afterall, this is exactly what your local book store does.  They get the books in discount and make a little profit reselling them.  You deserve the money as much as the book store owner!

E-Junkie works on both ends.  I can now find people who sell e-books, recommend those books to my website audience, and make as much as I make selling my OWN books.  Everyone chooses their own commission rate and the higher the commission, the more likely I will be to try to sell it.  The ejunkie website basically manages things behind the scenes so if someone clicks through from your website to mine, it knows they are going to get the commission.  It is VERY hard to set up what are called “affiliate” systems on your own.

Beyond this commission stuff, Ejunkie makes it really simple to sell stuff.  You have huge flexibility on taxes, shipping,  “buy now” vs “add to cart” buttons and you can even put MP3 recordings on it!  I use this for my website trainings and it’s fantastic.  I have massive files and there is no way I could easily store them, let alone easily get those massive files to you if you purchased them online.  E-junkie then sends the final cash amount to whoever you use for credit card processing, whether that be Pay Pal, Google, Authorize, or many other credit card processors.  The difference is those processors can’t handle complex shipping, they don’t handle affiliates, they can’t send free copies of things (I can send free links to products via ejunkie.)

If you ever want to create e-books, have MP3 files, or want to sell your real books (at your author discount rates), I recommend at least checking out Ejunkie.  If you want to read our book, Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning,  to potentially recommend and resell it, let me know.  We give 50% of our profit on the e-book version and 25% on the paperback version.  You’d set yourself up as an affiliate of The First Dance : Join our Affiliate Program here. You then grab whichever books (the e-book and/or paperback) code you want and put it on your own website.  It’s simple and it’s pure because you’re linking them back to us to buy the book and simply having it on a potentially long list of recommended books you already have on your website.

New E-book!

I just wrote my first e-book!  It gets to a theme I see over and over, where people (therapists and educators)  are lost on what to do with their website, how to even begin thinking about their options.  Either they have the TIME but no money (or are too frugal), or they have MONEY but no time.  I’ve always wanted to offer some way to “sit down and chat with people” on this issue, sharing my advice.  So, here we have it – support my educational mission to help therapists and educators be more empowered online, while actually learning some extremely useful stuff so YOU can help others.  Call it “helping people who help people,” that’s my goal. 

This e-book, “Time or Money,” is just $4.99.  If I were to be on the phone with you it would be a lot more.  It’s sort of “meta advice” with a trusted friend when you’re confused, frustrated, don’t know where to turn, or have been burned by some over-promises.  It’s my sitting down with both groups – those without a good budget, what you can do.  And those with money but no time…. I’ve got really concrete advice for you!

I have a 100% money back guarentee.  No questions if you aren’t happy.  I’m purposefully making low-priced items to reach those folks weary of spending money on the “great unknown” of the internet.   My goal is to be uncommon and highly-useful.  I proudly stand by everything I do!

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