Rebel Therapist is the podcast where you'll get support in being a therapist entrepreneur. I'm Annie Schuessler, therapist and business coach and strategist for therapists. I'll support you in taking your work beyond the therapy room to make an even bigger impact. I interview Rebel Therapists who are already doing work beyond the therapy room, from running workshops to writing books to creating online courses. You'll hear about how they created their unique businesses, the mindset work they've done, and the mistakes they've made along the way. Get the inspiration and information you need to be a Rebel Therapist, starting now.
Ask Annie: Why is my email list growing SO slowly?
I got this fabulous question from a client of mine recently: Why is my email list growing SO slowly 🐢, and how can I speed it up?!? ⚡️⚡️⚡
✋This really breaks down into two separate questions ✋
Why is email marketing so important, and what are some foundational assumptions about it that may be slowing down the process?**** What to do if your email list is growing slowly, and what growth strategies can I use to speed that up!?! In this first email I'm going to cover all of Part I to this question. Follow up next week for Part II, where I will get into some awesome growth strategies that will help get your list going! ⚡
OK! Why is email marketing SO valuable and what is the importance of having a high quality list?
"Your Money Is In Your List” ✏️
Everyone in online marketing will tell you that (including the smart and ethical ones 😅). Email Marketing As Your Core Tool 🔧
Email marketing is like your cast iron pan of the marketing world 🍳. It is an important building block in growing your business, and produces noticeable results. Email Marketing vs. Social Media 🗣
Other tools, including new social media platforms may seem more exciting, but they are more hit or miss. People are FAR more likely to buy your program from emails than from social. Email marketing has an excellent conversion rate, so it tends to give you a great return on your investment. 💸 Quality vs. Quantity 🏆
Your number of email list subscribers is not the whole story, and list size on its own can become a vanity metric. It is important to know what percentage of folks are opening your emails and what percentage are genuinely interested in what you are selling. It may be helpful to honestly reflect on how many people on your email list are friends and family 😁. Support is always important 💕, it's good to be aware if they accurately reflect the number of folks likely to buy when you are ready to sell? Side note: If you're only growing a traditional private practice, you don't need an email list. If you're creating a business beyond private practice, you probably do.
How to create a HIGH quality emailing list 💎
Don't give in to the vanity metric of list size. To have a higher quality list, you have to clean and PRUNE it ✂️. When you prune your list, your open and engagement rates go up, and less of your emails will be tagged as spam. And don't worry about unsubscribes, they're no big deal! 😊It isn't a sign of failure or rejection, it's actually part of the process of creating a high quality list. Side note: One time I sent out an email with a subject heading mentioning that I play the ukulele, and it got more unsubscribes than any of my other emails! 😂
How a HIGH quality emailing list will help sustain your biz 💰
To explain what I mean, let’s pretend we’ve got 2 people, each with a list of 100 people (a very small list). A list of 100 CAN be just barely enough to fill a small-group program (I know because I've done it), but only if you've got a very high quality list.
Person A: When a list of 100 might work (high quality list)
Folks on your list are interested in and anticipating what you're going to sell. Folks on your list have intentionally signed up to receive your weekly emails because they want to hear from YOU. Folks signed up for a free offer that is VERY closely related to your paid offer, and you have followed up with weekly emails containing content relevant to your program. You're selling a SMALL group program. Person B: When a list of 100 won't work (low quality list)
Folks on your list signed up for a freebie that was too broad and would appeal to almost everyone (like how to save 5 hours a week in 5 minutes or less). Subscribers are specifically interested in the content that you are selling, and are unlikely to become future clients. You haven't been emailing regularly. Even a HIGH quality list of 100 will need to GROW
Blow Up On TikTok With Jeff Guenther
I invited my pal Jeff Guenther back on Rebel Therapist because I've noticed 2 things he does brilliantly well in his marketing. Not only is he great at marketing, but he's also really honest and willing to give you zero BS as he explains what he does and why.
I expect you to listen to everything he's sharing here and borrow the parts that might work for you in marketing your incredible and unique business.
Just so I don't bury the best part, due to how Jeff has been using TikTok, his company Therapy Den has had a 50% increase in therapy referrals. That's absurdly high.
Before we go there, I'll share more about him.
Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005 and currently leads workshops on how health and wellness practitioners can build their digital brand and attract more clients online. Jeff is the creator and owner of two highly ranked therapist directory sites, Portland Therapy Center and TherapyDen.
Here's some of what we talked about:
Writing effective emails and subject lines Encouraging people to share his emails and blog posts Handling criticism and backlash His writing rituals Grabbing Tiktok users' attention in the first few seconds Therapy Den's 50% increase in client referrals due to TikTok (!!!) Why TikTok might be a great fit for you if you're creating a business beyond private practice Jeff's 30 day TikTok assignment for our mutual pal Heidi Savell and her coaching business (and perhaps for you too, dear listener) How Jeff is looking at the future of his many businesses Here are some takeaways that particularly stand out to me:
Your newsletter is a powerful tool. Here's how Jeff increases its reach: In every email he writes, he provides a link to his company's blog. People read the blog and then post on social, which brings more people to the blog. Which leads to more people signing up. If the content were not remarkable, then of course none of that would work.
For his email subject lines and the emails themselves, he taps into what his readers are going through and may not even be ready to talk about.
For TikTok, Jeff has used that same skill of tapping into what his readers are thinking and feeling to grab the TikTok user's attention quickly.
Jeff talks on TikTok in a way that assumes he already has rapport with the viewer. He does not overproduce these videos.
In order to get a big return from TikTok, you'll need to post a lot. Jeff Posts once a day or more. He didn't get a lot of traction at first and doesn't think his first videos were great. It takes time to get good at this.
Show notes at http://rebeltherapist.me/podcast/167
My Biggest Year Yet
Looking over some of my 2021 Reflections
Making more money and seeing that I can trust myself with it 🌺: Expense creep vs. thoughtful spending and being in a position to be more generous. Embracing being the breadwinner Letting go of judgement around making a greater amount of money than my partner. Knowing that I am making ethical choices with my money, that my clients are making ethical choices, including that we're not trying to pay others as little as possible. I appreciate Kelly Diels and Rachel Rodgers for their influences on my thinking about money this year.
Raising my prices over 2021💰: Realizing what I should charge in order to keep my programs small and running at the highest levels. Realizing that the individuals best suited for my programs are serious about planning to make at least 10x the amount they’re investing, and clear that they’re going to get results. Realizing there’s a story to a price and that if your pricing is telling a story that doesn’t make sense, it is going to feel misaligned. The story I was telling myself, “that therapists won’t pay for an expensive program,” was not making sense. I was influenced directly by Tiffany McLain and Jacquette Timmons who both specialize in money and pricing.
Not being a therapist for a full year: Learning that running ONE business works really well for me. Switching from being a therapist to coaching therapists allows me to see more clearly how therapists can get in our own way in business. Still missing and loving my therapy clients. Feeling like I’ll always be a therapist. Adding things to my programs: I have two programs: Create Your Program (CYP) , to help expand beyond private practice, and Rebel Therapist Mastermind, for people who have already completed CYP and want to level up their businesses beyond private practice.
This year I have added several new features to each of these programs. In CYP I have added:
A session with Layla Pomper, a systems expert, who can assist in the organization of business flow in terms of systems and tech. Guest teachers who are attorneys:Elizabeth Potts Weinstein and Brandy Matthews who come in and talk about the legal side of business offering guidance to program participants. Introvert Office Hours, inspired by Paula Pant, meaning that participants can submit questions at any time, and then I create one recording that answers all of those questions. Extra live Q&A calls, which also allow for people to get even more questions answered. FAQs to each section of CYP Mindset pieces that tend to come up along the process. More support around pricing and messaging. In Mastermind I have added:
Virtual Retreats, where over a period of two days we get some significant work done together. In one retreat we focus on creating remarkable content. In the other retreat we focus on ethical and effective selling. A session with Layla Pomper, for next level systems questions. Participating in deeply meaningful things that aren't part of my business🫀: The Free Joy Experience, a program focused on racial healing and liberation through ancestral accountability and expanding white consciousness and imagination, created by EbonyJanice Moore and Thea Monyee. Listening to Adoptees, a podcast I co-create with my co-host Katelyn Dixon. Sending my adult child to college 🎓and releasing him into the world, a huge transition full of a combination of emotions including grief, joy, love, and pride. Buying a rental property in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a long term investment with the help of Paula Pant. More to come as I discover more! Improving my coaching: Leaning into how to make decisions rather than what to do, inspired by Paula Pant. Finding a sweet spot between taking responsibility for my participants’ success vs. knowing people have what they need to succeed. Having a positive obsession with the quality of the programs and my coaching, while not obsessing over how participants utilize my co
Small Audience Big Impact With Podge Thomas
Listen to how my guest is zigging when others are zagging. This is a business owner who is growing a unique and profitable business by doing things her way, thoughtfully. She speaks to a particular audience and has no desire to appeal to everyone. She's building her thought leadership, and she's not doing it on social media.
I want you to listen to how she does her marketing and then think about how you could borrow some of her ideas and make them your own.
Podge Thomas is a business coach and management specialist. She works with women business owners to help hire and grow strong teams in order to find financial, systemic and structural sustainability.
Here's some of what we talked about:
Podge's coaching services for hiring and managing teams of women-owned businesses Podge's system to manage and steward employees from hiring through letting go Why Podge and Annie both love the app Notion Finding the right length for her work with clients Why she is in no hurry to scale beyond 1:1 work How she uses discovery calls Clients finding her through referrals Borrowing other people's audiences Offering free monthly huddles Her really good free course Here are some takeaways that particularly stand out to me:
Podge is ONLY interested in working with folks who are willing to commit to the work. Rather than selling them a quick false solution, she's drawing the folks who are interested in investing in their teams.
Podge is in no hurry to move away from 1:1 work. Part of her long game is prioritizing the excellence of her services and learning from the process each client goes through.
Podge builds her audience by networking and borrowing other people's audiences. If you only take ONE thing away from this whole interview, take this. She is leaning into networking and borrowing audiences, and she's barely using social media at all.
Show notes at http://rebeltherapist.me/podcast/165
The Best Niches Beyond Private Practice
This week I shared my thoughts on niching beyond private practice and at the end I gave you a small list of niches I think we need more of you to create programs and services around.
Keep reading for a summary of what I talked about.
Niching beyond private practice is SO different from niching to fill a practice.
You CAN fill your traditional private practice without a narrow niche. Once you move into the global online space, you are likely to need a narrow niche.
What's a niche? A niche is a problem your person is trying to solve.
An identity or community is not a niche, but an identity or community can be a huge ingredient of a niche.
Even if you came up with a group for 49 year old white cis queer women who are parents by both adoption and birth, live upstairs from their sisters, and are Elton John fans, I would not join until you told me what problem you're helping us solve.
(That describes me, if you didn't guess.)
That said, identity can be a HUGE part of what goes into your niche.
Just look at the amazing work of Dr. JaNae Taylor, who helps Black entrepreneurs create wellness in community in her company: Minding My Black Business.
Here are a small number of real niche examples from folks who have been through Rebel Therapist programs: Tia Hackett has a couples workshops for people who need help with communication and may not have access to or time for couples therapy.
Monica McClain-Reese helps couples learn to manage their money together.
Maureen Cotton helps couples plan unique and powerful ceremonies without succumbing to the Wedding Industrial Complex.
Liz Adams helps women with ADHD who have dreams they're not living yet.
Kelsi McMartin helps parents of kiddos who have recently come out as nonbinary or trans.
Caitlin Olsen helps progressive mormon women figure out their path.
Staci Boden has a group coaching program to help recovering type-A change makers and leaders to follow energy instead of pushing and controlling.
Valerie DiLuggo has a program helping straight single women create joyful whole lives as they take a break from dating for a reset.
Samantha fox has a program helping women who are coming out as lesbian or queer later in life.
Katie Nasherson runs a program helping people rebuild their lives after a tragedy or devastating event.
Jesse Kaufman helps private practice therapists overcome visibility barriers to authentically market their work with video.
I'll be sharing more examples soon.
Here's why you should have a narrow enough niche: So you stand out and come to mind in a global online space when that niche is talked about, even if your audience is not huge yet.
If you've got a huge audience already, you don't need this advice. Hey Oprah, Brene, and Glennon. What's up?!
Some fears may come up for you around niching, and what I want to tell you about each one. Fear: I'll choose the wrong niche.
Tell that fear: You are not making a permanent decision.
Fear: I'll be bored.
Tell that fear: When you go narrow, you get to do some deep work. You'll still be doing a lot of different things with your participants.
Fear: There's too much competition.
Tell that fear: You can't actually take that niche on all by yourself. Also, some folks would prefer to work with YOU.
Fear: Niching doesn't feel like freedom to me.
Tell that fear: Try using a vague niche and see how it goes! Choose a narrower niche when you're ready.
One possibility for people who hate niching: Start with a broad niche and sell your program based on your reputation with your network. Then narrow your niche so that you can sustain your business over time.
Here are some filters to run a niche through to see if it might work: The people with this problem know they have this problem. You're not trying to convince them that this issue is a problem.
They have already tried things to solve this problem. Perhaps they've done other programs already, read books, or paid money in some way to solve it.
High Priced Offers With Cate Stillman
I love bringing you behind the scenes of successful businesses so that you've got lots of examples of different ways to build YOUR business. In this week's episode of Rebel Therapist, I'm talking to a healer and entrepreneur who has built a robust ecosystem with high priced offerings. I asked her about how she's developed her offerings, her sales and marketing processes, and how she's scaled back her work hours.
Meet Cate Stillman.
Cate established Yogahealer.com in 2001, and Yoga Health Coaching in 2012 for wellness professionals. Her books include Body Thrive and Master of YOU.
Here's some of what we talked about:
Creating a business around yoga health coaching Developing a second branch of her business around business coaching How Cate listens to her people in order to create her curriculum and offers Starting a 2 hour workshop that became a year-long course Using an "intense" sales process Setting high prices Working 20 hours per week outside of her book writing time Her webinar process, from idea to delivery Here are some takeaways that particularly stand out to me:
Information doesn't equal transformation.
What people need and will pay for is a process to help them implement.
Cate started with a 2 hour workshop and over time she developed that into a year-long course teaching and practicing habits.
Think about how long people have to wait to work with you.
When developing a program or course, if you set it up that folx can only start once or twice a year, you may be losing a lot of opportunities to work with people.
Please don't worry about this when you're creating a new offer. This is something to consider further down the line.
When you're ready to hire, choose people who are different from you and who have skills and interests different from your own.
I'm in my own hiring process right now, and I'm paying attention to this. This means I have to acknowledge what I suck at as well as what I'm great at. It's humbling!
Show notes at http://rebeltherapist.me/podcast/163
Nourishing, Supportive and Inspirational
This is a nourishing, supportive podcast for anyone trained as a therapist who feels called to beyond the traditional therapy office, chalk-full of incredibly useful information, inspirational stories, and wisdom. If you are on that journey, it feels like circling up with some really good, smart people who are right there with you and who know you can do It.
I have probably listened to every episode of this podcast, if your are a healer or therapist, it's essential. It led me to work with Annie and I get so much out of these discussions. :)
I love hearing about other therapists journeys and the details of their practices - how many clients they see, what they charge, and what they would tell their younger selves! It is really encouraging to me as I set out in growing my practice from part time to full time. Binge worthy!