top of page

Top Ten Ways to Find New Clients

So you've got a placement (or two) and you're racking up the hours which is brilliant. But it feels like huge chasm between placement and actually taking on paid clients of your own - right?!

And it feels like you have so many things that you need to do first to make sure you look like you're an established business otherwise no-ones going to take you seriously and want to pay you money but all the business things cost money and.. but.. and.. but.. and.. but.. and the list goes on...

Where do you begin???

When you start your business it all seems so overwhelming, like there's so much to do and you don't know which thing to do first.

Do you need a niche?

How clear do you need to be on your offer?

What is an offer???

Do you need a logo and branding?

How do you promote yourself on social media safely?

Do you need a website?

Ok. One thing at a time... Where to start...?

Start by working with clients

Without clients, you don't have a business. Your business IS the value you provide your clients. So you definiteally need clients. So let's start there. Realistically all else you need is a private space, with two chairs. And maybe a box of tissues.

So where do we find these elusive clients? Where are they hiding??? Read on...

1. You need to go public.

Sound scary? It doesn't have to be. Firstly, it's likely that many of your friends and family will have known that you have been studying for a while anyway, well it's time to tell them that you can now take on paid clients and that you'd really appreciate them keeping you in mind when they're chatting with their friends and family and refer you on if and when appropriate.

Be as specific as you can, if you have chosen to work with a certain type of client or presentation. Sound as relaxed as possible and mention it just once. And if they say something along the lines of "oh I have the perfect person in mind for you" don't go into loads of detail about how you could help them or any kind of psychoeducation with your friend, just say something like "I'd love to have a chat with them - would you give them my email?" And then move the conversation on.

If it's of interest I got a long term client within the first week of doing this from a friend of mine. It's totaly worth doing. What's great is that your friends and family know the type of person you are which means they can probably guess the kind of therapist you are and can gauge how well you might vibe with the potential client they have in mind.

2. The Facebook Post

Write a post on your personal facebook telling your contacts what you’re doing and how excited you are to be able to offer it after so long, including who you help and what you help them with (if relevant). Ask them to share the message, and ask for referrals.

When I did this I got three private messages from this and one of those turned into a client.

3. Directories

This is one that you can only do once your membership body has upgraded you to a fully fledged member instead of a student member but as soon as you can, its worth doing. Other than the directory of the membership body that you're a part of which should add you on to theirs as part of your membership, the two that seem to be the most popular are Counselling Directory and Psychology Today.

The Counselling Directory offer codes to members which give both the member and the person the member give the code to a free month of membership - these get offered on a lot of counselling facebook groups so its worth having a look and asking for a code.

Psychology Today offer 6 months free membership when you sign up with them so it's definitely worth doing this and seeing what happens. If you get no bites it's cost you nothing.

Remember to take some time to write a kick-ass profile which will catch the attention of your prospective clients and really tells them what you're like to work with.

4. Fliers

Old school I know. However, they're cheap to produce, and with consent you can get them everywhere. Not everyone uses the internet still (hard to believe I know). When you next go into your local town keep an eye out for notice boards. They are still massively used in supermarkets, doctors surgeries, village halls, social clubs etc. It will cost you pennies and you never know who is looking - it's a really easy way to get your name out there in your local area. All you need is an email, what you do/who you help and a photo of you smiling - so it seems less daunting for the person contacting you as they can already visualise your friendly face.

5. Networking Events

Love them or hate them they're worth a mention. Again a great way to get your name out into your local area. I'm not a fan but then I'm more of a Maven than a Connector but it all depends on the type of person you are. Google your local ones and see if they have a counsellor/therapist already on their list (often they will only take one of each industry but if you have a specialism that won't necessarily be a problem). These can be more costly and can mean getting up really early once a week but it that's your vibe then they can be very profitable indeed.

6. Social Media

This is a controversial one... how can you advertise yourself as a counsellor or therapist online without your potential clients knowing too much about you? Firstly I'd say lock down the privacy of your personal profiles. Maybe change your name so it's less easy to find you and choose your profile picture carefully.

Then if you want to go the SM route create a business page where you share more generic, not personal stuff. Then you can feel safer about what potential clients might see. In terms of what you share on SM really depends on the type of work you do but as a general rule of thumb I tend to question what will add value.

You could do some psychoeducation on there, videos can be great as potential clients will get a vibe from you as to whether they might want to work with you but don't feel the pressure of needing to do that - you'll know whether videos are your thing or not. Some motivational quotes could be fun, although they are an easy way to hide and lots of people do this so you may want to find a way to stand out more.

7. Health Insurance Providers

These will very much depend on your hours and your accreditation but Health Insurance Providers can be a great source of business for your private practice. The application process can be quite full on but once you clear that it can be a tidy stream of income for you. It worth noting that you won't be paid immediately and are likely to have an amount of paperwork but when starting out it could be a great source for you.

Some for you to take a look at are:

8. EAPs

Check out this website for more information about Employee Assistance Programmes:

They work in a similar way to above and some are better than others. Some of the best I've noted recently are:

9. Talks/Groups/Guest Podcasts

Offering up your time to talk about your experience, your specialism, your modality etc to a local group is another option for you to promote your business. Think WI - although there will be a lot more opportunities around than that.

On a personal note, I run a support group for the parents of teenagers who are challenged by their mental health in my local area and ended up with a client from that - I would never have met them otherwise so it's really worth thinking outside the box.

Another option is to offer up your time to be a guest on a podcast - again there's loads of FB groups about podcasting and people asking for guests / offering time as a guest. That could give you clients all over the world if you're not careful!

10. Website

And finally. A website. Theres a reason I didn't put this higher up the list and that is because it really needn't be the first thing you do when you start your business. Firstly - it's costly. Of, if you choose to build it yourself, it can look a bit shit if you don't know what you're doing.

You could, in the meantime, have something like or Milkshake so you have somewhere you can direct people to without having to create a website - you can add lots of info on these including your online calendar and it works as a bit of an interim. They're really easy to set up and you can add to them as you get more savvy about what they can do.

Alternatively, just get a holding page. You will be paying for a website of sorts and you can them choose your own email address which may be important to you to look more professional - although plenty of counsellors and therapists are booked out with a gmail address so I wouldn't get too hung up on that.

Et Voila!

Ten ways to promote yourself and find new clients. Remember - You don't have to do them all. pick a couple which feel feasible for you if you're just starting out and go from there. Don't expect instant results, this is going to take time and that's ok.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Jill x


bottom of page