A lot of therapists are giving a sigh of relief that it’s now September. The months of July and August were brutal for many of us with decreased business and referrals coming in. Although last year I didn’t experience a “summer slow down”, this year I did, The month of July was very intense. I found myself losing clients left and right with no referrals coming in. Many clients told me that they wanted to take the summer off and promptly left therapy. Then in August the referrals started coming in again and my case load has been filling up ever since.
After being in private practice for a while now, I’ve stopped worrying about these things. I’ve learned to keep enough money in the bank so that even if I don’t work at all I’ll still be able to pay my bills during the summer. Meanwhile, I really enjoyed my July. I went to the beach during the middle of the week and went on some little adventures. It was a great break to prepare me for the busyness of the upcoming Fall. The fact of the matter is, It is what it is. You can’t do anything about seasonal changes.
I think that this summer was especially bad because (at least here in Boston) we had such a long winter that when it finally became warm, people wanted to live it up. They didn’t want to be in your office. I was getting emails from people telling me that they wanted to take the summer off or simply felt better and didn’t feel that they needed counseling anymore. Since then, some of those people have now come back, but many wont. When a client chooses to drop out, I don’t stress about it anymore. Like I said, I’ve learned to set aside money so I’ll be okay financially and instead choose to see it as I’m so lucky to only have to work part time during the summer. Instead of stressing out, I celebrate it. I’m reminded of a quote from Rumi that tells us:
Do not mourn when people or things leave our life because they make room for better things to come in.
This isn’t to say that I completely took the summer off. Since I wasn’t seeing as many clients, I focused on my other streams of revenue. I wrote another book, I worked on my etsy store, and I worked on therapistce.com. The way I see it, there are seasons in business. There’s a time to reap and a time to sow. During the slow periods (when there’s nothing to reap) I sow. I plant seeds that will become profitable later on. I don’t fight the slow periods anymore, but rather I see them as a necessary part of the cycle so that I have even more business later. Now that the Fall is here, it’s harvest time and I’m reaping those rewards. What did you sow this summer?