So, you have trained in one or more complementary or alternative therapies and are hiring a treatment room or have set one up somewhere suitable in your home. Now, you will want a return on your investment. Or maybe you are happy with the odd client here or there, but your partner would like to see a return on investment (ROI). This is an important consideration. Everything you do has to be with ROI in mind.

Some days, it can feel like your business is at a complete standstill. However, it is not the business that would be at a standstill. You see, it may be you who is at a standstill, and this is not your fault! Usually, people that train therapists are pretty hopeless at teaching the business side. When I started, I had even attended a specialist business course, which was full of incorrect information. I followed that erroneous advice and lost a lot of money before I started actually making money.

What you actually need to do is to work at your complementary or alternative business like any other job. If you were working full-time, you would work 5 days a week from 9 am till 5 pm (at least). If you were working part-time, this can be, for example, from 10 am till 2 pm 5 days a week. The first step is to decide whether to work full or part-time. Then make a commitment to work those hours whether you have clients coming in or not. Your work will involve a lot of search engine optimisation, advertising, marketing, and customer service. For example, you can spend all day growing your social media followers and saying nice things to them (make sure it's something from the heart that you really mean and are passionate about).

You may even have a gorgeous website, but so do most of the other therapists in your area. You need to keep working all your working hours to publicize this website, until you are getting regular enquiries weekly from it. Then, you can reduce the number of hours, say, to one day a week. You may produce beautiful quality leaflets and be surprised to learn that for most therapists, this is a big expensive mistake. Don't waste your money on expensive nice leaflets, as most will end up in the bin. I have gotten much better results by simply getting a copy shop to photocopy 200 A6-sized black-and-white flyers for me, which I then walked all day until I had given them all away, to receptionists, used-car dealers, estate agents, wherever I could get to, including people I passed in the street.

Another common mistake is to train in other treatments, in the hope that this will bring more clients to your door. And whilst this is certainly going to make you a better practitioner and give your clients more, you need to absorb and perfect what you have already learned first. It is good that you realize your priority is to make the business work, and then you can add to your repertoire as you make more money. You will also know better what direction your CPD training should take, due to client feedback.

Advertising is another avenue. Maybe you have had advertisements in local publications but little or no business from them. First of all, make sure your advertisements are no greater value than 10% of what you are bringing in. If they are more than that, then either you are at the very beginning, that is, the first six months of your career, or paying too much for advertising, or not charging enough, or any combination thereof. And it is good to be specific and aim at where your client is coming from rather than your point of view. It is good, for example, to do an ad like "Neck and shoulder pain? Feel better today with a great Indian Head Massage, much-loved for help with neck and shoulder tension. Call now on [your phone number]". Be specific.

Another area is price. Beware falling into the cheap pricing bracket. This can kill any business, and many therapists have gone out of business because of not charging enough. What you can do price-wise is to offer loyalty discounts. For example, 6 sessions for the price of 5, or 3 for the price of 2 specials.

I hope this helps - from someone who has been through all that pain first-hand.

Author's Bio: 

© Suzanne Zacharia 2011. My name is Suzanne Zacharia and I am committed to spreading the word about ways to improve your health, happiness, success, and lifestyle. Want to use this article? You can, as long as you credit me with it and invite your readers to get my free course "5 Days To Change Your Life" at