Practice Building: The Top Six Mistakes And How To Avoid Them.

We’re lucky enough to have a website that was one of the very first in NLP.   The upside of one of the world’s original NLP sites is recognition and credibility.   The downside was embedded obsolescence.  After months of work we have it cleaned up, and a new design and navigation.  (Maybe now the search engines will see the whole site, and not just part of it.) 🙂

More important to you we’ve changed the look and feel and hopefully made it easier to find all the resources you want on  So check it out and let me know how you like it!

It’s summer and so once again we’re featuring guest authors over the next couple of months.  We’re also going to be adding more video and more of the popular “NLP Shorts” – quick little pieces and patterns for you to play with.

In our recent survey there was a lot of interest in building a professional practice.  Jason McClain is someone who has done so very successfully, and taught others to do so as well.  In this two part article here are some of Jason’s thoughts on the matter.

Best regards,
Tom Dotz

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Practice Building:  The Top Six Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. – Part 1

By Jason McClain,

It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do–yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well–that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons–and the solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a “practice”.

The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 next week.

1) A Lack of Integral Thinking: “Money and Spirituality are in Conflict”

For some, “capitalism” is a bad word.  It was taught in many traditions for thousands of years that to profit was bad (“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24).  While there was a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.

Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head–and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a “for profit” environment– to live a purpose-filled life–but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work–being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame.  It works when you stay focused on being of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another’s life.  Then allowing reciprocity by monetary exchange is a natural balance. It takes being more focused on service and “opening relationships” rather than attachment to “closing the deal.”

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients’ lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life–and integrate free market, service-based principles into that.

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

2) Lack of Skill: Sales and Marketing

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people–that is, people who want to “close a deal” rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding.

I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to move beyond their limitations I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current level of thinking.  It’s that thinking that has limited them in their current life situation that has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.

Therefore–if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty–yes, your duty–to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you need to be an effective influencer first.  You need to be able to enroll others in a vision to motivate them to take action to live their purpose and prosper before you will  be able to live your purpose and prosper.

3) Error in Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them.

How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really buckled down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. “Well, I have tried this and I have tried that…”, [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

* Healing
* Activating
* Opening

For a Coach it may mean something like:

* Clarity
* Tool Gathering/Education
* Purpose/Action

The point is that if you truly want to be of service to your clients, you will develop a phased program so that they finally make a deep commitment to themselves.  They thus get the best chance to finally achieve the transformation that they have been looking for for years.

In the process, you create a satisfying and sustainable practice with consistent income.  Your clients get to benefit from a mutually committed, consistent relationship to their life goals.   It is to your clients’ benefit to create a deeply compelling offer that is only offered with integrity.  You owe it to your self to be prosperous as a purpose driven helper. Everyone wins.

And wouldn’t you like to be in a position to decline a prospect you really do not want to work with? Of course you would. Wouldn’t you like to always operate with full integrity and ethics intact coming from service and contribution? Of course you would. Wouldn’t you like to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients so you can make a deep and lasting positive impact on their lives?
Jason is a professional life coach living and practicing in San Francisco.  You can find out more about him here IDEA Evolutionary Companies

0 thoughts on “Practice Building: The Top Six Mistakes And How To Avoid Them.”

  1. Pingback: NLP Resources – Top 10 NLP Blogs | Learning NLP

  2. I agree that lack of integral thinking is an obstacle to practice building. I’d like to add that integrating information about what is reasonable to charge for our services based on the going market rates is important. Ask your peers what they charge to get a sense, or call up practitioners that you’d like to get to know.

    While change is invaluable in some spiritual ways, the specific changes we assist clients in making also have certain specific market value. By charging neither too less nor too much we can serve our clients fully in a win-win way. I have found that this is the best way to find that my services have a specific dollar value that is totally independent of my ultimate value as a human being.

    We can also consistently be Marxists and attack capitalism if we want and continue to charge a fair market rate for our services as we await the revolution of the proletariat. 🙂

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