Passive income in your therapy practice

Being a therapist is a wonderful and fulfilling way to earn your living, but it does have two big disadvantages from a business point of view. It’s very dependent on your personal availability and it has a built-in limit on income which is dictated by the number of clients you can see in a day. A drop in the number of clients, a spell of ill health, a holiday, or a break for family time can spell problems for your business.

This has become all too clear recently, in the COVD-19 lockdown, when many therapists have been unable to see clients and their income has pretty much dried up. But even those who offer online sessions still have only twenty-four hours in a day and seven days in a week, and can’t book in clients for all of them.

Passive income is described by Wikipedia as ‘income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain’ [1] and having some that doesn’t depend on your physical presence or ability to see clients can be a good way to ensure that your business is ticking over if you hit a few bumps in the road or want to take some time off.

What kinds of passive income can you look at as a therapist?

Portfolio working
Combining your work as a therapist with another, unrelated job can help tide you over the financial ups and downs of fluctuating client numbers. Depending on what your other job is, this option isn’t always completely passive income (your boss in your other job will expect some effort to be put in!) but you could consider options that need minimal involvement like renting out a property or selling on auction sites like eBay.

Affiliate schemes
An affiliate scheme is essentially a recommendation-based system. You sign up as an affiliate to another business which sells goods or services of interest to your clients, and put a coded link to them on your website. When anyone clicks on that link and then buys something from your affiliate you get a payment, usually a percentage of what they spend (although most are paid at regular intervals rather than for each purchase). A quick Google for affiliate schemes will find you some suitable businesses to link to, but consider Amazon (e.g. self-help books, relaxation audios), and other wellness, fitness or health-related options.

Extending your services
Being able to offer online services helps spread your demographic, as does working with groups in addition to individuals, but both still rely on you being around. You could also think about:
  • Starting a membership community – especially if you have a speciality or niche – offer some information on your topic free of charge to show people you know what you're talking about, then more to those who pay a one-off or regular subscription.
  • Monetising your therapy blog, podcast or YouTube channel – link it to your membership community, and/or feature affiliate links or pay-per-click advertising.
  • Offering email courses solving common problems – ‘Improve your confidence in just 4 weeks’ or similar - a simple automation system like Mailchimp will send weekly emails to those who have signed up without any input from you, or you could upload courses to a more established site than your own, like Udemy.
  • Writing a self-help book.
  • Upselling workbooks, downloads, a mental health app or similar resources that you have created to help your clients benefit from your services. Upselling isn’t strictly a passive income (you need to be seeing the clients) but it does help you increase your income above the basic session fee, and many of these ideas can be re-packaged and sold to non-clients as well.

Putting passive income into place

Even passive income takes effort to begin with. If you want to monetise a blog or launch a community you will need to write the information that goes into it and to establish yourself as someone worth following. You’ll have to create content for an app, YouTube channel, book or course, and get the word out that it exists. You need plenty of visitors to your website, blog or community to benefit significantly from affiliate links or advertising.

But the good thing is that, unlike your time, you can sell these things again and again once they have been created.

Most of these ideas can be automated. You can set up many of them yourself if you have a bit of confidence with tech, or get someone to do it for you if you haven’t. Again, any costs you do incur in getting help are usually just in the set-up and, once established, the systems tick over and work for you even when you are busy, ill or sat happily on a beach with your kids.

They will help tide you over difficult times, allow you to take time off without losing one hundred per cent of your income, and add to your revenue even when you are busy working. What’s not to like?


Author: is an experienced hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy trainer. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and has co-written the Hypnotherapy Handbook, both of which are available from Amazon.
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[1] accessed 10.5.20