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July 11, 2023

Is it possible to earn more than €3k a month as a solo health practitioner?

I'm Vicky Shilling

A wellness business mentor, podcast host, author and I help you start and grow a successful wellness business.

My magic is in being able to break down the practical and strategic parts of business building, coupled with helping you cultivate a mindset that supports those actions to get the outcomes you desire.

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“Is it possible to earn more than €3k a month as a solo health practitioner?”

A member of my mastermind asked me this the other week. And it’s really stuck with me.

Because if I didn’t believe it was possible for health practitioners to earn €3k+ comfortably and sustainably every month, I don’t think I’d be a very ethical business coach.

I’d basically be taking money from you in the full knowledge that your income will never enable you to live well, feel rewarded and be well compensated for the amazing work you do.  Which would be pretty gross as a business model.

In the UK The Telegraph reported at the start of 2023 that workers said they need to earn £49,300 a year to ‘live comfortably’, and in London that rises to £65,000.

So whatever currency you’re talking, Euro, sterling, dollars or otherwise, these aren’t unreasonable figures to aspire to reach.

€3k a month falls below both these, so even starting here as target income isn’t exactly helping you set yourself a goal to ‘live your best life,’ but simply get by.

So my answer is yes, absolutely. I believe and know it’s possible. It’s possible for you to earn €3k a month or more as a wellness professional. But…  

Only if you have some fundamentals in place. And, crucially, if you let go of some practices and mindsets that are limiting your income currently so that even €3k might be feeling inconsistent and a struggle to achieve.

But first let’s do some basic maths.

Most people I work with want to match their old corporate salary. “I don’t want millions, if I could just match what I used to earn but doing what I love now I’d be happy.” Sound like you?

Largely this sort of target falls into the popular and ever repeated holy grail amount of €5k income a month. Roughly €60k a year income. Pretty much on target with that Telegraph article I referenced earlier as the amount that would enable you to live ‘comfortably’.

So how could that be possible for you? How do you bring in €60k a year?

Probably not like you’re doing it now, in short.

If we come back to maths let’s say you were some sort of practitioner that did 1:1 work with clients. You could meet with and treat 5 clients a day for one hour, 5 days a week. And let’s say you had them drop in when they fancied and pay you €80 an hour for your time.

That would be €2k every week. €8k months. €96k a year! Bingo we’ve cracked it!

Except… 5 clients a day for 5 days a week for 52 weeks of the year, with:

  • absolutely no holiday
  • no admin time
  • no marketing
  • no CPD
  • no time for sending notes, analysing results or anything else you’d like to do for your clients let alone yourself….
  • Barely a chance to breathe between sessions or eat lunch…

That’s not sustainable.

I’ve seen people that do it. That other work eats into their weekends and evenings. It’s exhausting. And not fun.

So let’s cut that down those client, income generating days to 3 days a week. That’s €4,800 per month.

That’s pretty much hitting our goal. Those extra two days would give you some admin and marketing time. That works, right?

The downsides to trying to fill your practice 3 days a week

Well yes. I know practitioners who operate like this. And yes it can work and does work. 3 days for clients, 2 days admin. But there are downsides:

  • When you’re getting started it’s virtually impossible to begin your practice and immediately have 5 clients every single day, 15 clients a week. Where would they come from? You’re an unknown entity! You might be reading this and have been in business years and perhaps you still aren’t hitting that sort of customer base. It takes time to build regular clientele which will mean for weeks and months (and maybe a year or more!) you will be earning well under your target.
  • If you do hit this target of 15 clients a week immediately it most likely means you’re working within a clinic or practice where you’re leveraging someone else’s reputation and marketing. Great for your experience and income, but also multiple downsides: you may well end up working with a whole load of clients that aren’t quite your cup of tea (very unfulfilling), you may also take-home considerably less than the full fee the client is paying for the luxury of having clients sent to your door at a reputable establishment. And if that practice’s marketing machine stops? So does your source of bookings. The only other way I can think you might be able to hit the ground running with 15+ clients a week is if you’ve spent months or years building an audience via social media ready to buy from you. Which often doesn’t feel sustainable either: you know with social media you could get locked out of tomorrow and it can change on a whim leaving you with no client base overnight. And endless content creation takes time and energy and isn’t for everyone either.  
  • Even when business is going well there will be weeks where things are quieter and you won’t hit your 5 clients a day target e.g. Christmas, summer holidays, or things outside your control (hello Covid or a recession!) affect how and where people choose to spend their money which will affect your income.
  • If you operate a drop-in system then a big drawback is not knowing when or if people will book in again. You might feel you’re chasing people, chasing payments, trying to convince customers to return or sometimes staring at an empty diary on a Sunday night for the week ahead wondering if anyone will show or finding everyone for the week has cancelled at the last minute, which is super stressful
  • Seeing 5 clients a day, 15 people a week is tiring. Most practitioners cannot sustain that for many years. When it’s 1:1 work it’s demanding, emotionally draining and often takes a physical toll which means professionals in this cycle are often looking for alternatives to bring in the income without the pressure.

And let’s be honest there are costs of course. They don’t have to be huge but you won’t take all that money home anyway. Some will go in taxes, and there will need to be other things like hosting a website, maintaining client software like Practice Better, having insurance or professional memberships and training you need to invest in.

And let’s not forget that working 5 days a week is also not something we all can or want to do. You’ve probably stepped into this because you don’t want to work the ‘corporate way’ anymore.

You want the option to have a 4 or 3 day week, to take holidays when you want, spend more time with your children, take care of elderly family members or just to take the afternoon off to see friends whenever you want. Not lock yourself in to another pattern that holds you to a desk or office or station to bring in the money.

So while yes, it’s possible to make €3-5k a month this way, I often find practitioners will come to me when they’re burned out doing this and need to find other ways of making income, or are having inconsistent months so this doesn’t feel reliable and it’s scaring and draining them constantly thinking about it.

Is anyone actually making €3k+ as a solo wellness professional?

Now I come to think of that question I was asked by my mastermind member that sparked this blog, I think her wording was in fact this:

Is anyone actually making more than €3k a month as a solo health practitioner?

Which is a variation on the theme I started with, but one I still come back to my same gut response on:

Yes, absolutely there are plenty of people making €3k+ a month from their health and wellness work. And to be frank even if there weren’t any in the world (which there 100% are), I have full faith that it’s possible and you could be the first. Which you wouldn’t be. Because there are already loads of other practitioners doing it.

The problem of course is that what we see is a large number who aren’t. We are in touch with and often surrounded by the ones who are struggling. Who haven’t quite figured it out. Who make closer to €500-€1000 a month, maybe not even that. Who are still side hustling it. Who are treating it like a hobby. Who are undercharging. Who aren’t managing to make ends meet through this work alone.

And therefore the evidence our brains are presented with says: no-one is making this sort of money. It’s all a hoax. It’s not possible. Not for them and not for me. The whole thing is an elaborate ruse. There’s a ceiling of what’s possible. I may as well give up.

The problem is compounded by the fact that people are often not very forthcoming about their income. It’s still something we shy away from talking about and being honest with, which sadly is to everyone’s detriment. So even if people are earning €3-5k+ they rarely tell you about it (unless they’re going to sell you the method, which is another story…).

If we could talk more openly about what ‘normal people’ earn and how things work, we’d all stop feeling like failures, learn from each other’s strategies and take leaps and bounds towards earning what would feel good and asking for what we want.

I sadly can’t fix that at a societal level – but I am radically honest with my audience and my communities about what I earn and take-home to try and role model this and break the mystery and stigma.

I would also argue that often a lot of people who are earning good money aren’t hanging around in the same circles you’re in. Perhaps they’re members of groups you’re afraid to step into or feel intimidated by. Higher level coaching programmes, masterminds, networks, clubs and societies for example.

Yes of course some of that access comes with privilege or nepotism we don’t all have: I’m not going to pretend it’s an entirely level playing field. But sometimes it’s just that others have said “screw it, I deserve a place at that table where I get to see what earning that money is all about” and prioritised their earnings to pull up a chair and get stuck in. So you don’t see or hear from people earning at this level and find out their methods because they’re at a different table from you.

Are wellness professionals earning €3k+ per month even in this country?  

Often when I talk to people about earning potential and capacity I hear the same response:

“People in the USA are much more willing and used to paying for health services, but in the UK and Ireland they expect it all for free. It’s not possible to earn that sort of money here in Europe as a solo health practitioner.”

I would like to contradict that. Because whilst yes I do understand at a societal level the UK and Ireland have health care systems (in better or worse states) that most of the population are used to relying on for free or very low cost, there are still millions and millions of people with money to spare that they would happily spend on a health issue, niggle or concern that is plaguing them. There wouldn’t be private healthcare options if this wasn’t the case.

Yes it requires different messaging, different marketing, different positioning and communication when the alternative for your ideal clients is the NHS/HSE. But those services do not cater for all, fix everything and suit everyone’s needs. Plus you know more than anyone that what you do can be even more powerful and transformative than those services alone.

So again, a resounding yes. Yes yes yes, practitioners just like you, even in Western Europe, are earning €3k+ a month. Because what you do is needed and desired. And there’s money people are willing to invest.

How do people earn more than €3k per month as health practitioners?

So how do they do it then?

As I’ve already mentioned, probably not the way you’re trying to do it now. Because typically what I’m seeing is a two-step process resulting in stagnating earnings at around €1-3k:

1. Trying to model the example I’ve given above to fill a 1:1 client diary: under charging, over delivering, trying a million different marketing channels, chasing clients for dates and payments, wondering where the next one is coming from and barely scraping that ‘I’ve got enough to get by’ amount at the end of the month.

2. Getting burned-out, frustrated and exhausted with all this chasing 1:1 clients nonsense (as above) and getting sucked in by the shiny lights and big promises of running group programmes and selling digital courses and products. Getting side-tracked with whoever has sold you the idea that it’s easy to do this and pumping loads of time into designing and marketing some sort of group or digital programme, only to find it’s nigh-on impossible to fill on a recurring basis and leaves you feeling a fraud and a failure. Or alternatively never actually launching these things even though they sound amazing and would be great additional sources of income for you without all the clinic time, because you’re too worried about filling your existing 1:1s after another wobbly month. So they sit there taunting you on the side-lines. Read this blog about the 5 mistakes I made when I launched my first online course.

What is the alternative?

How do you make this money and more, easily, without falling into this two-step cycle of doom? I hear you cry.

Here’s what you do (and what the people you can’t often see but are honestly there are doing):

1. Get really really precise about the sort of person you want to help, your unique way of doing things and master the art of communicating why you are the person who understands them and can help (which involves a lot of trial and error and being willing to give it a go and put yourself out there, regardless of how long it takes or what people think of you). Listen to this podcast to help if you haven’t found your niche.

2. Charge properly for your 1:1s and sell in packages or bundles to work with you, ditching low-priced drop-in rates. Create instalment plans, automate payments and scheduling wherever possible so your time with clients is focused on helping them in a regular process or system, not worrying about when the next session is going to be. This alone can enable you to get to €3k+ months if it’s done properly. Listen to this podcast with Joanna Sapir where we discuss shaking off the ‘time for money’ exchange mentality.

3. Grow an audience, in whatever way feels good for you – build a referral network, start (and keep going with) a podcast, run a YouTube channel, write blogs, feature as a guest speaker. Maybe a combo of these things. Whatever lights you up. As an absolute bare minimum have your own website and mailing list so that you always have a digital home and a list of people to communicate with that want and need what you do, regardless of what happens around you (if you need it I have training on how to start a website and how to start mailing list). This consistent audience growth is necessary to keep feeding your 1:1 work and if you move on to adding other income streams that require more customers (see step 4). Read this blog post about how to grow your audience.

4. If you want or need to (and it’s not a necessity if you charge appropriately for your 1:1 – for example ‘just’ 2 x clients paying you €2,500 is a €5k month), look at another stream of income that doesn’t involve you exchanging time for money with another single human. There are a million and one ways to do this, and please believe me when I say you cannot get it wrong. It’s all trial and error and constantly evolving to find what works and what serves the humans you help. Some of the ‘one to many’ additional income streams I’ve seen work well are e-books, affiliate shops on supplements, corporate work (a million and one ways to go about this), something on a subscription model (again a gazillion options here from a Substack of private writing and audios for €5 p/m up to a higher level membership for €250 p/m +) or group programmes or courses (guess what? No end to the ways these can be run). Honestly, this is usually the bit that is helping most practitioners go from €3-5k to more like €10k+ a month. But they’re only able to make these work because they have an audience they are constantly growing (see step 3) and are willing to experiment and evolve these offers. And not give up when the first iteration flopped. Read this blog on why I don’t think you should launch a course (yet).

5. Work relentlessly on the mindsets you need to believe that there are more than enough clients that want and will pay for what you do, you are worth it, you deserve to earn well for what you do, that your work is transformative and that you can absolutely do this alongside the loud, shouty, protective voice of self-doubt that is trying desperately to keep you safe and small and revert back to just charging €80 p/h or less to anyone that will turn up at your door.

So look. I know that’s not a ‘simple plan.’ It’s not a quick blue-print. And that’s because it involves finding what you need and want to do to make this money and believing it is possible.

But I truly believe it is possible for you. And for all wellness practitioners, if they just put the right steps and mindsets in place. You’re all so needed.

If you want supporting finding your route to €3k and beyond, and also coaching on the underlying fears and beliefs you have that prevent you then doors are currently open to my Just Grow Now mastermind. Find out more here and book a call to discuss if it’s a good fit for you. Starting August 2023.

I can’t even make €3k a month Vicky!

If you’re reading this and thinking “Holy crap, well I’d love to even hit €3k a month to be quite frank and have this problem, let alone be figuring out €5k+” then my Just Start Now course and community is where you need to begin. Find out more here or book a call with me to see if it’s the right solution to get your wellness business off the ground.

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