Episodes 4 & 5: A Year In Business | Setting Up A Practice From Home

Welcome to Episodes 4 & 5 of ‘Acupuncture West London – The Podcast’. Today’s episodes are entitled, “A Year In Business | Setting Up A Practice From Home – parts 1 & 2”.

We all study acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the hope that we may develop into the greatest of practitioners. However, we are often under-prepared for how to set ourselves up as practitioners after graduation, or we are perplexed as to how we can take our already existing business to the next level. Today, we speak to Rachel Marks, who talks us through a year in business and setting up a practice from home.

Episodes 4 & 5 of ‘Acupuncture West London – The Podcast‘ are brought to you courtesy of our FREE ebook, Yin & Yang. Download your FREE copy at the link below:

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE E-BOOK TODAY: Yin & Yang


Rachel Marks BSc (Hons) Acupuncture, Lic. Ac., FEA, MBAcC

In episodes 4 & 5, we discuss the following:

PART 1

  • The factors in deciding to set up a clinic from home.
  • The considerations of running a clinic from home:
    • planning permission.
    • local council by-laws.
    • guidelines and restrictions.
    • health and safety.
    • signage.
    • your neighbours and parking.
    • practice and practitioner licenses.
    • additional insurance.
    • waste management, and more…
  • The pros and cons of setting up and working from a home clinic.
  • Evaluating your market.
  • Researching other practitioners within your locale.
  • Initial outlays and the costs of setting up a home clinic.
  • Pricing and the importance of backing yourself in business.
  • Online:
    • building your website
    • creating an online presence;
    • social media
    • search engine optimisation (SEO), backlinks, and more…
  • Building a network of patients from scratch.
  • The importance of networking (online and offline).
  • Advertising.
  • Having realistic expectations and being true to yourself.

PART 2

  • GDPR compliance, patient consent forms and how you use and store your patients’ data.
  • Cancellation policy:
    • making your terms clear.
    • to enforce or not to enforce.
    • confirmation and reminder emails.
  • Online booking vs. booking appointments over the phone.
  • Clinic management software (See affiliate links below):
  • Payment Solutions:
    • iZettle (get the new iZettle Reader 2 for £25 + VAT* – regular price £59+VAT)
    • Square Reader
    • SumUp Air
    • Paypal Here
  • Appointment scheduling.
  • Automated confirmation/reminder emails, and more…
  • Doing your clinic accounts and submitting your tax return.
  • The importance of maintaining boundaries when working from home: work-life vs. home-life.
  • Pitfalls to avoid during your first year in practice.
  • Lacking confidence as a new practitioner and answering difficult questions.
  • Keeping it simple.
  • Working on your own and the importance of networking.
  • The effects of Covid-19 on a home clinic.
  • Post-graduation burn-out

To learn more, tune in to episodes 4 & 5 below. You can also listen on iTunesSpotify, Google Podcasts or Podbean.


INTRODUCTION

Over the last few months, I’ve been putting out the feelers into the acupuncture and Chinese medicine stratosphere. I wanted to find out what burning questions people have at the moment – of which there are many, and I wanted to ask what YOU, the listeners, would most like to hear. I’ve had a great response, which has informed the content of many upcoming episodes, so thank you to you all.

You may already know Andrea Dewhurst – a third-year student from the City College of Acupuncture in London. If you don’t, you’re clearly not on Instagram. Her account, @thechannelproject, is THE hot topic for Acupuncture and TCM and she’s already a powerhouse of education and inspiration within this realm. If you don’t know her already, you should definitely check her out. Andrea kindly responded to my call into the Chinese medicine wilderness. She asked if I’d be up for doing an episode on setting up a practice. So, this is what we’re doing today and in upcoming episodes.

We all study acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the hope that we may develop into the greatest of practitioners. However, we’re often under-prepared for how best to establish ourselves as practitioners after graduation; or, we’re perplexed as to how we can take our already existing business to the next level. This has never been more true than at the moment during these uncertain times – and particularly for recent graduates in our field who are likely already feeling daunted by the seemingly challenging journey ahead. Well, DO NOT PANIC!! You are not alone, and in true ‘holistic’  fashion, we’ll get through this together.

As people, we are all unique. We all envisage our role as practitioners, and our businesses or working environments differently; we are by no means a one-size-fits-all enterprise. Whatever our situation happens to be, many of us are not hardwired as entrepreneurs by default – and there are many obstacles to overcome and pitfalls to avoid. As individuals, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We all need guidance in order to develop into the type of practitioner we wish to become and to manifest the type of environment we wish to work in. With this in mind, over the next couple of episodes, we’ll be talking to practitioners who have recently set up businesses in various guises. We’ll be discussing the various pros and cons, considerations and potential pitfalls of the following: 

  • setting up a practice from home
  • setting up within an established clinic (as a sole trader or as an employee)
  • setting up your own business

And what better way to do this than by having these conversations with people who have done this within the last year while it’s all still fresh in their minds. Hence, the title of this and upcoming episodes – A Year in Business.

So, today we’re speaking with Rachel Marks, who talks us through a year in business and setting up her own practice from home. Rachel is a graduate of the International College Of Oriental Medicine and a fully certified member of the British Acupuncture Council. Today, she’s talking to us from Oakridge Acupuncture, her own home practice in Horsham, West Sussex – “a purpose-built treatment room overlooking a private and peaceful garden, providing a relaxing and tranquil clinic space.”

To learn more, tune in to episodes 4 & 5 of the podcast. You can also listen on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or Podbean.



CLINIC MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE & PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

In today’s and upcoming episodes, we discuss the best options for managing clinic bookings, accounts, patient notes, etc. As a practitioner, I bit the bullet pretty early on into setting up my clinic last year and signed up for an online clinic management platform called Cliniko. Honestly, I’ve never looked back. It’s £29 a month, which I know can seem like a lot when you’re starting up. But truthfully, with the amount of time you save (RE: accounts, booking and changing appointments, confirmation and reminder emails/texts), it pays for itself ten times over, and you can then put that time into other things. It really is about what you think your time is worth. There are a number of free options like Calendly or something along those lines. But again, it comes back to that old adage – “You get what you pay for”. There are also other paid options like Cliniko, Timely, Acuity Scheduling, 10 to 8, Setmore and others. In regards to taking credit card payments, sending out payment links to patients, etc, there are also loads of options here, too. Personally, I use iZettle, as the card reader looks slicker and is more sturdy than others I have used. Others I’ve used myself in the past are Paypal Here and Sumup, but I didn’t like these as much.

The good news is that many of these options offer free trials or discounts for signing up. To avail of these, check out our affiliate links below.

Resources:

Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation

Clinic management software (See affiliate links below):

Payment Solutions:

  • iZettle (get the new iZettle Reader 2 for £25 + VAT* – regular price £59+VAT)

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