general business

Ask for the Money

It sounds like a simple task, doesn’t it?

And yet, in all these years, I have found that the lack of ability to ask for money is one of the most consistent barriers cited by those who either decide not to open an advocacy practice, or those who fail after hanging out their shingles.

In my last post I wrote about a non-solution – creating a non-profit organization. So many who want to be advocates but don’t want to ask for money think that if they start a non-profit, they won’t have to do that dirty ask-for-money deed. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Instead, here is the simple truth:  if you can’t ask for money, you will not succeed at becoming an independent advocate or care manager. Because, if you can’t ask for money, you will not get paid for your work. No one is going to simply write you a check or give you their credit card number if you don’t ask. If you can’t and don’t get paid, your independent practice can’t succeed.

Logically, then:

If you CAN ask for money, then you’ll probably do just fine, as long as you have estimated correctly how much to charge a client.

If you CAN’T ask for money*, then either you need to learn to do so – or – you might as well walk away from your dream or desire to become an independent advocate.

If you’re one of the folks in the “Can’t Ask” group, and you truly want to make the leap to the “Can Ask” group, then here are some ideas for you:

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Be Your Own Billboard

You are your own best marketing – just you. You are friendly. You are helpful. You are knowledgeable and resourceful.

But take a moment to think through all the places you see dozens or hundreds or thousands of people who don’t know one single thing about you, much less that you can help them find improved medical care. They have no idea how friendly, helpful, or knowledgeable and resourceful you can be!

They see a person who looks like any other generic person. Your mission should be to improve that impression.

So how can you be your own billboard? The person who becomes recognized as more than a generic person? In this case, I’m thinking about some of the ways you can showcase your brand physically. 

No, not real highway billboards. And no, no one is asking you to wear sandwich boards!

Rather, these are ways of showcasing your name and brand personally, beyond online, or even on business cards….

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Help Your Clients Save Money on Income Taxes

Here we are in the midst of income tax filing season. Those very organized among us have already filed their taxes. But most of us are either working on them, or are thinking about working on them, or are thinking that in a few days we’ll begin thinking about working on them….

So let’s take a momentary detour to talk about how you, through your advocacy practice, can be marvelously helpful to your clients, providing them with information about how to save some money on their income taxes (maybe.)  You may even improve their health by the suggestion!

“But!” you say…  “I am not a tax preparer!  How can I help my clients save money on their taxes?”

The answer is simple. and is true for both American and Canadian income taxes (IRS and CRA). It does require a bit of explanation, though.

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Always Always Your First Response

This is one of those tips that you’ve always known to be true. You just hadn’t thought about it so… well… pointedly.

I was thinking about it because recently I found myself having to backtrack to make it work. Fortunately the opportunity to backtrack was available because I was replying to an email. Thank heavens I had not vocally inserted my foot! I had a second chance.

What did I have to do? What required backtracking?

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How Your Voice Can Ruin Your Practice

“Oh honey! Let me see if I can button that for you!” Those were the words I heard on a recent visit to see a friend in an assisted living center. Then I watched “honey” cringe and roll her eyes…

“I am NOT a child!” she snapped.

“Elderspeak,” the tendency of younger people to speak to frail-appearing elders in a tone of voice not unlike baby talk makes me cringe, too. Hearing such baby talk to an older adult goes right up my backbone. I can only imagine, when someday I’m in a nursing home and some sweet-young-thing speaks to me as if I have only half a brain, what I will say to him or her. When I am underestimated, I am not kind in return.

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