Allison Rapp

Keeping Your Practice Afloat in Crisis

In the middle of a pandemic, you can’t do business as usual. To keep your transformational holistic practice afloat, you have to become the transformational leader your clients need. Here's the door to my free course, Teaching Online!

Even for those of us who tend to exaggerate, it’s hardly possible to overstate what a challenging time this is. It seems there’s no end to bad news and everywhere you look, you can find something to be worried about.

Not least, how are you going to keep your practice afloat?

You can find a free course here on my website that will help you start teaching online… but I know that’s hard for a lot of people, maybe including you.

One of the biggest issues you might be facing is that as a holistic practitioner, you’re used to making a living in person with clients you can touch — or at least see in 3-D — and how the heck to do you do that with the Internet? That’s one of the things we’ve been addressing in Teaching Online, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can find it here.

But what do you do about the fact that any hint of charging for anything — even, or maybe especially if it’s something people really need right now — can feel crass… and out of place… and out of touch with reality — not to mention out of alignment with who you are?

Every day, I go through my inbox and delete everything I know is a sales pitch for something I don’t really need right now. I’ll bet you do that, too. So how should you show up to serve your clients — and live your purpose — at a time like this?

Communication is vital

This is a really important time to nurture your list. Your people need you now.

If you’re not sending regular emails, this is the time to start.

If you are sending them, it’s time to ramp it up.

You need to be in touch with your clients and all the people on your list who aren’t yet your clients for one simple reason: you know you can help them in ways no one else in your vicinity can.

In fact, this is the time when you need to OVERcommunicate.

I know that might make your stomach flip… I hear it from practitioners all the time — “I don’t want to bother the people on my list.”

Here’s the truth about that: everyone knows how to unsubscribe.

Give yourself permission to trust that everyone on your list wants to hear from you or they would have clicked that button by now.

If people don’t want to hear from you, it’s unlikely that there’s anything you can do to help them, so you can stop worrying about them.

If you’re still not ready to show yourself to your clients, go inside and ask your inner voices what’s up with that?… how could they support you instead of getting in the way?

But… what should you say?

This is where a lot of practitioners get hung up and stop talking to the people on their list… because they just don’t know what to write about.

Odd as it may seem, right now — with the challenges we’re facing everywhere on the planet — it’s actually not that difficult, because there are only 3 things you need to do when you email your list, and you can do them all at the same time.

1. Empathize

Show them that you know what they’re going through and how it feels. Connecting with people around their reality is easy enough when there’s a high chance you’re sharing that reality in one form or another.

One of the best things you can do right now is delve into what it means that you’re not the only one dealing with what you’re dealing with.

Points of connection are everywhere. Two of mine are nosing my hands right now and trying to get my attention by helping me type with their lower jaws. They’ve got cabin fever, so they want me to go outside and throw something for them to chase… and it’s pouring rain so trust me, that’s not going to happen.

What are some of the day-to-day things that are happening right now in your life? How has life changed? How are you dealing with that? What do you worry about? 

All you need to do is tap into something real and write a few lines about what you discover, how you feel, what you did in response.

If you can relate it to your work, great, but don’t get hung up if you can’t do that. Just let people know you get what they must be feeling and use an example from your own life that illustrates why you feel that way yourself. You could talk about:

  • the anxiety you felt this morning when you woke up from a great dream and realized you were home alone again today.
  • the anguish you’re in as you watch the numbers rise.
  • the difficulty of keeping your kids from killing each other or destroying the house while you’re trying to work.
  • what’s left in your fridge and/or what it was like when you did your last essential shopping.
  • options you’ve thought of for when the toilet paper runs out.
  • the mental treasure hunt you’re on to figure out where you stashed the fabric you could turn into face masks.
  • how you’re coping with being a caregiver or having a loved one in a place where you can’t visit.
  • what it brings up when you think about how much the grass is going to grow from the rain that’s pelting down right now,
  • what you discovered about yourself when you realized you were bereft when you got to the end of that series you were streaming, or
  • how your heart stopped when one of your dogs came to you covered in blood and you didn’t know if the vet was even open, let alone safe to visit.

Think I made these up? I’m not that clever! (See below for what happened to Obiwan…)

Now go make your own list — trust me, it’s not that hard!

2. Offer a plan

At a time like this, people need to know that you’ve got their back — and words only go so far. After you show them you know what’s happening for them and how they’re feeling about it, the next thing is to tell them what you propose to do that will help them:

  • Are you offering online classes?
  • Private sessions?
  • Community chat time for your neighbors?
  • Zoom tech sessions for those who want to join but don’t know the setup?
  • Video calls for new clients so they can meet you privately before getting started?

However it is that you’re carrying on with business is unusual, let them know.

Be honest. Tell them if something is brand new for you — like teaching online. Allow time for everyone to learn how to do it. Let people know you value their feedback about how it’s working, that you’re being flexible, that you want to do what you can to make it work for them.

3. Be real

People connect with you because of who you are, and they stick with people they need in their lives. Ask yourself what you’re looking for, who do you need? Chances are, they need someone like that, too… be that person!

It’s safe to say that everywhere in the world, we all hope for leaders who listen, who think deeply, model behavior and show the way.

Your work is transformative — and now more than ever, it’s the time to be visible as a transformative leader and way-shower.

Your people will trust you because you show the way, and when this is over, they will not forget that you showed up for them.

We’re all affected by the pandemic. Okay, some days may be better than others, but in the end, what use is it to pretend that every day is going just great if you can’t figure out how to make that true?

Your credibility goes up, not down, when you acknowledge your truth and how you’re dealing with it.

How are you taking charge, making your days count, living on purpose, staying in alignment, making choices that allow you to feel like you HAVE choice?

Right now, how you show up is more important than ever.
When you write about something from that list you just made (no, I didn’t forget about it… did you make a list or skim past that bit? 😉 ), do it from that real place inside yourself where you hide because you think people would dismiss you if they knew what you’ve had to overcome.

People yearn for evidence that they are not alone. When you give yourself permission to go to that place and speak the truth that lives there, you give people an opportunity to recognize themselves in your story, resonate with you and want to be connected because they know they can trust you.

And be real about money, too
Let’s face it. We all need it, we’re all worried about it… What are you doing about it? How are you fulfilling your obligations? How are you balancing compassion with reality?

Let them know how you’ve worked the money issue out for your practice–get real about your plan and communicate it:

  • Are you offering a sliding scale, free classes, reduced fees or full fee sessions or packages?
  • How are you collecting money?
  • What about barter — like exchanging your online class for food left at your door or for mowing your overgrown lawn?
  • How are you collecting payment?
  • How long are you planning to offer your work like that?

Work out the best solution for you and your clients without beating yourself up about not being able to do as much as you might like.

Nobody expects you to give more than you can, or to give away all your work. And nobody is looking for perfection right now, either–in case that’s one of the ways you stop yourself. 😉

When you’re clear, whatever it looks like for you, communicate it clearly and let people know how to get what they need from you.

At the same time, because we are in this together, you have an opportunity to be a model for your clients about how to get through this crisis with compassion, understanding, self-care… and even humor, if you can find it.

Now is the time to communicate with your list…

If you remember to do the 3 essentials — empathize, offer a plan, and be real — the people who are supposed to be on your list will stay, and the ones who were never going to want your help anyway will leave.

And that’s a cause for celebration because it’s one less thing to worry about.

And the people who stay will never forget how you showed up for them.

See you soon…
xo, Allison

PS: Watch for news about some fun– and FREE — training I’m cooking up with one of the masterminds behind the Perceptual Style Assessments — those are the ones I use with my clients to make it easier to build a business in alignment with who you are. Lynda-Ross Vega and I going to help you understand how the inborn strengths your Perceptual Style can support you in challenging times like these… stay tuned!

PPS: By the way, Obiwan is okay. He’s a stick-chewer and he had one stuck crosswise inside his upper teeth; he was trying to get it out by pawing at it — and ended up with blood all over both front legs. Can’t imagine his mouth felt good from that, so today, to feel like his old self, he went outside and immediately found a stick to chew. Sigh.

PPPS: If you need meaningful communication on Facebook, join our Transformational Touch group.