Janine Agoglia is a pretty dynamic acupuncturist. While she practices in Massachusetts (US), Janine is global when it comes to spreading information about health. How? Through her blog, Acupuncture Wisdomand volunteer work for veteran and active military at VAC Metrowest.
Read on because….
Janine has something the say about money that might surprise you.
Was it tough starting out in practice for you?
I began in 2003 by joining a group practice, taking over for another acupuncturist who was moving on. I picked up about three or so of those clients. But I was really starting from scratch. I started out working about six hours a week (not all filled with patients, mind you). One thing that was working in my favor was that I’m also a yoga instructor. I had a decent following through yoga. Over the years, many of those people have become clients.
How did you learn to promote yourself?
When I first started, my marketing knowledge was marginal. I stumbled onto a ‘coach’ named Eric Schneider whose goal was to help acupuncturists become ‘acupreneurs’. He would send out a newsletter filled with practice building ideas that I would employ little by little. Things like asking current patients for referrals or using incentive coupons.
Educating patients has also been important in getting referrals. If they understand the medicine (on a basic level), they can understand when people they know might benefit from your services. I just throw things in conversationally during their treatment while I’m inserting needles. Such as: “I just read this really interesting article about…”. Or they might ask about something and I can describe what that is from a TCM perspective.
Also visualizing my ‘perfect patient’ and targeting my marketing materials toward that person was useful. Clarity in your vision for your practice is so important.
What is ‘success’ for you? Have you reached it?
I believe success is having a practice full of people that you want to see and earning a living at the same time. I don’t have any patients that I dread seeing, so I love coming to work. The more I love being there, the more people want to come to see me.
I feel like I’m successful and this took a good 3 or 4 years to get to. It might have been faster if I’d had more marketing knowledge sooner. I now work about 20 hours a week, seeing 20-35 people a week (varies through the year).
What are 3 big lessons you have learnt in developing your practice you would like to pass on?
- The most important thing is clarity
- When you focus on people, you succeed. When you focus on money, you fail. We got into this business to help people. When you start to worry about people coming though the door, they stop.
- Be genuine, be honest and listen
- Trust is what matters. If people trust that you genuinely want to help them, they will come back to see you. I try to be honest with people. If they have a chronic condition that will take months of treatment, I let them know that up front. When they talk, I listen intently with both ears. People appreciate that.
- Build professional relationships
- Get to know the people in your area. People in related fields, like chiropractic, massage, physical therapy. They will refer if they know what you do and how you can help their patients. Educate them. Give talks in their offices or meet them for tea or something.
What’s been your biggest blunder in practice?
My biggest blunder has been when I’m not genuine or focusing on the patient – but thinking about money. That never ends well. Sure we all worry about making a living. But if you are passionate about what you do and people know you and about you, the money will follow.
Janine L. Agoglia MAOM, L.Ac.
Integrative Therapeutics (MA, USA)