Small Steps to the Big Vision

 In Practice Building

Carolyn Campbell, MA, CPPC

Ever since I was a teenager, I have dreamed of creating a center that integrated innovation, healing, and creation. My belief? If more people did work they loved, there would be less “illness.” And as we heal disease, we are often called to life in deeper, more meaningful ways.

For years, people would say, “Hmmm…how interesting.” At times I would find myself wavering and asking, “Am I crazy? Are they right? Is this realistic? How do I get people to understand?” And then, a deeper voice would push me forward, reminding me of my father’s words during my childhood: “Just climb the tree, limb by limb. Don’t look down. Just keep reaching up.”

This spring, we successfully completed the newest wing of our healing and innovation center.

They say that if you are too far ahead of “the curve” people don’t know how to relate to what you offer.

I think there is some truth to that—and to all of you who are passionate about offering alternative healing, our curve has arrived! In a world rapidly cycling between uncertainty, fear, and unparalleled possibility, this is the time for healing practitioners to provide services and resources, offering new approaches that address the pressing needs of our changing times.

The world is ready! Are you?

When naturopaths come to me wanting to create their own center or seeking help to salvage a failing practice, they often think that if they just follow the marketing “rules” their business will succeed. As I watch some businesses thrive and others stall, I am beginning to identify factors that make some practitioners succeed and others not.

Here are a few common traits of successful businesses:

  • 1000% commitment to an intentional purpose

I find a stunning difference between people who dabble in building a practice and those who are committed to making their healing a full-on business. Yes, that’s right, a business.

These committed folks may doubt themselves at times but they are driven in ways that ignore their fears and feed their dream. Yes, they stumble, but fueled by a clear sense of purpose, they are able to reclaim their footing and move forward with intentional action…again and again.

Taking time to define and honor your unique purpose and intention is the foundation of a strong business. But this alone is not enough.

  • Think long term and create manageable steps

These days you can make soup in two minutes, have a makeover in an hour, and even build a house in a week. But try as you might, you cannot build a sustainable business in a month. It pains me to watch people try and grow their business overnight. Starting and maintaining a business takes time and connection. In the beginning it takes a lot of time. If you don’t have the resources, structure, and support to weather the ups and downs, your business never has a chance to gain a strong footing.

Quite simply, those who succeed think long term. As they stretch their own beliefs about possibility, they create manageable steps toward achieving their goals. Setting inspiring milestones (with dates) helps maintain focus and direction. I think too many visionary thinkers fail to set foundational pieces into place and burn out before they really get started.

Unless you are doing a lateral transition, it typically takes one to five years to create a profitable and sustainable business. It is essential to pace yourself—emotionally, financially, and developmentally. It is also important to schedule extreme self-care along the way.

  • Take charge of money matters

Many practitioners seem to shun the idea of making money. They feel it sullies the intention of healing the world. Yet, without making a profit your business simply cannot succeed. Take time to create a budget. Make projections. Identify your costs. Determine what you want to earn and bundle your services to honor both you and your clients. Get financial assistance so you aren’t trying to do it all. It saddens me to see many talented professionals leave their business because they refused to address this key element. Take some time to identify your core beliefs about money. Be honest with yourself. See how it is affecting your ability to help you and your business thrive. As strange as it may seem, taking care of this piece may change the way you value the rest of your life.

  • Create community

Whether it is for personal support, professional connection, or client development, successful business owners generate supportive communities. It’s intriguing to watch businesses grow when people build intentional relationships. My invitation? Build relationships that honor your style of connecting and your commitments in the world. Ask yourself what you stand for—personally, professionally, and communally. If your relationships don’t reflect that, it’s time to reorient your connections. You will be amazed by the results when you do!

  • Work on your business

One of the biggest challenges for healing practitioners is to grow a business while conducting a business. It can be tempting to focus solely on your clients—that is why you got into the business, to heal, right? Yes, but it is important to cultivate your business by reaching out and connecting, creating systems to make operating your business more effective, and building a staff that reinforces the message of your healing. It is crucial to identify your strengths and then acquire support to delegate the rest.

Without a doubt, it is a lot to juggle. And yet, at the center of it all an amazing alchemy occurs when you align passion, action, structure, and purpose. The passion drives the vision and the structure is built brick by brick, moment by moment…each one leading to the next. And all along the way, remember why you are here in the first place.

Carolyn helps healing practitioners build successful businesses using their authentic strengths. Through one-on-one coaching and fun, dynamic workshops, Carolyn offers key outreach skills to grow a thriving business. She also offers lectures, workshops, and seminars for associations, schools, and organizations.

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