How to kick start your hypnotherapy business

When you have invested a lot of time, energy and sheer hard work into a hypnotherapy training course it’s easy to have become so enthusiastic about the subject that you expect everyone else to have the same attitude you do. But setting up a hypnotherapy business is not simply a matter of hanging out your ‘shingle’ and waiting for the crowds. You have to be proactive in getting things going.

When I was learning to drive, my instructor (along with most others, I’d guess) used to say ‘I will teach you to pass your test and you’ll learn to drive after that’. In many ways, hypnotherapy training is much the same. It can give you the skills you need to pass the course, but actually turning those skills into a thriving business is another steep learning curve for many students.

I would think the majority of courses spend some time on business-building but most of your time (rightly enough) will be spent on honing your Hypno skills, so what’s the next step?

  • Set a budget. There isn’t a business in the world which is free to start up. Hypnotherapy isn’t a particularly expensive one; you don’t need stock or even premises if you are going to work from home, but you will need to lay out on (at least) some stationery and/or printing, insurance, membership of a professional body, advertising etc.

  • Make the most of your budget by using free or low-cost options if they’re available – for example, set up a Facebook page (free), send out some attractive posts (created via a free account) and do some advertising (not free, but pretty controllable). Both Facebook and Google ads offer free courses on how to use their advertising systems most effectively.

  • Tell everyone what you are doing – give your business cards to everyone you know and ask them to hand them out or display them. Offer talks to local women’s groups, etc.

  • Consider offering relaxation sessions to local business owners who might then allow you to advertise in staff rooms, or refer staff to you as part of their EAP.

  • Consider referral agreements with clients and local businesses – a free relaxation session for every five clients referred for example.

  • Offer articles to relevant magazines, the Hypnotherapy Journal, for example. A screenshot of your article on websites and social media is impressive for potential clients, who can see you know what you are talking about.

  • If you want to sign up for an online therapy directory, try the Hypnotherapy Directory for a couple of months on me – use the code YHT17 to get the first two months free.

  • Be flexible in the way you practice - for example, you may really want to work from home, but if your home is in a remote area, or parking around it is difficult, you may have trouble attracting enough clients. Be prepared to try different things. One student of mine went from just one or two clients a week to fully booked by moving her practice from suburbia to a town centre.

  • If you are going to use testimonials, get them from people you practised with during your training, and your case study volunteers to get the ball rolling.

  • Have long and short-term strategies for attracting clients. Facebook ads are a short-term strategy, they last sometimes just a few days and the timeline rolls on. Likewise print media, which is, famously, ‘tomorrow’s chip paper’. A website, which will take time to get established on Google ratings etc. is more of a long-term strategy.

  • Decide how many hours per week you want to work in your hypnotherapy practice and do it – if you haven’t got clients, fill those hours writing blogs and scheduling social media posts, making videos for youtube, giving talks, sorting out adverts, improving your website, etc.

  • Know your audience and market to them. If your ideal client is a female university student with exam nerves, the type of marketing you need is not the same as if you are focussing on forty-year-old men who want to quit smoking. Where they go, what they look at on and offline and even the website design that attracts them will need to be taken into account.

  • Find yourself a USP (Unique selling point). This is what makes you different from other hypnotherapists in your area, and (hopefully) attracts the clients you want. Your USP can be about you or your therapy. Do you offer an unusual combination of approaches or experience? Or does your previous job give you special expertise in working with one client group or another (e.g. an ex-teacher in working with children)?

  • Don’t make ‘cheapest in the area’ into your USP. You risk attracting the least motivated clients, and those who pick their therapist only by price. Not the groups you want to work with, especially when you are at your least experienced!

  • Network with other therapists who can support you and offer advice and, if possible, find a business mentor or a decent hypnotherapy supervisor who is willing to include ‘business building’ in your supervision. (Another blog will be coming soon on how to choose the right supervisor for you).

You’ll notice a lot of these tips are about advertising which is fair enough because getting your therapy business off the ground means getting therapy clients. But I feel this can sometimes be a bit of a ‘trial and error’ area. For example, when I first qualified, I worked in a small town on the edge of a city. The locals preferred to go into the city for services, and getting them to use local ones instead was a hard slog. I spend a lot in local papers (no internet then!) but got no returns.

I currently work in a small town on the edge of a different city. People there love to use local services, so locally based ads are the way to go. I could only find this out by trying.

Equally, I tried direct mail. I sent out thousands of flyers and got one reply, which didn’t even pay for the printing. (Remember, when that stuff comes through your door, you call it ‘junk mail’.) On the other hand, I know someone who got a hypnotherapy business off the ground using just direct mail.

This means that those who promise to tell you how they took their business from nothing to six figures in ten minutes (or whatever) by using ‘these unfailing tips’ are currently growing their businesses by selling you ideas on how to grow yours.
I’m not saying don’t listen or read what they have to say, many have some really good ideas and are genuinely telling you what worked for them. Just don’t expect miracles; you need to discover what works for you and your practice.

With that in mind, finally, I’ll leave you with my own ‘expert tip’.

Pareto’s law says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Monitor the results of everything you do, find out which 20% it is, and re-focus as much of your effort as possible there!


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.
Find out more about Debbie's services on
Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training - multi accredited hypnotherapy practitioner training, taster days and foundation levels.
CPD Expert - accredited CPD and other therapy training (online and workshops options), expert and qualified hypnotherapy supervision