I’ve noticed that a lot of therapists and counsellors are reluctant to spend money on practice building, yet don’t seem to hesitate at spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year on professional development.

I’ve always found this a strange phenomenon that doesn’t quite make sense to me. And many of the therapists I see investing large amounts of money in professional development are struggling to create a full practice that brings them a steady stream of income.

You need to consider the lifetime value of a client

I think part of the problem here is that therapists don’t tend to think about the lifetime value of a client. What I mean by this is you may not be calculating how much more income you will get for each new client you receive. Let me give you an example:

If you charge $100 per counselling session and you average, let’s say, 10 sessions of therapy, (that may be generous), then you do the following calculation:

$100 X 10 sessions = $1000

So the lifetime value of one new client for you is $1000. Now of course you will have some clients that come for 1 session and some that stay for over a year, but on the whole, think about the general trend in your practice to come up with your average session amount- or better still, track your outcomes for an accurate figure.

So let’s apply this formula for a real-life example. You spend $2,500 on a professionally designed therapy website, and it attracts 5 new clients to your practice with the average number of 5 sessions for each new client at $100 per session. You will pay for this website once these 5 clients each get to 5 sessions. Then all clients you attract with your new website will contribute to the profit of your business.

This formula can be applied to any investment you make in your business. I used to use Google Adwords to appear on the first page of Google, before my site was organically ranking well. Often I would spend $250-$350 a month on Adwords.

When I told a colleague about this amount, they almost fainted! But what they didn’t quite get is that for that few hundred dollars, I was getting at least 4 new clients a month. So if I use the example above: $100 X 40 sessions = $4000 – $350 expenditure (Adwords). This equals a profit of $3650 for one month alone, not taking into account my other overheads like rent, electricity etc. Make sense?

You need to spend money to make money

I have always been a firm believer that you have to spend money in your therapy business to make money. I have spent thousands of dollars in business coaching in the past,  but I  made that money back 4 times over within the first year.

So any investment, if it’s carefully chosen, can only add value to your business and help it grow.

Do you invest in your therapy business, or are you reluctant to spend the money? If you have any comments or reactions to this, leave them below.