These private practice stories are embarrassing, but YOU can prevent them from happening

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When I started my career as a coach, I believed you had to go all out.

I worked all day and all night.

Sometimes I would get up late, and work until 2pm and then take a break, and then work again well into the night.

That's what you do when you start a business or private practice, right?

You hustle, say yes to any and all opportunities that come your way, including taking on clients that you know aren't the best fit for you. You need experience and cash, right?

Unfortunately, this often led to some pretty miserable situations in private practice.

Things like...

The local business owner who had his secretary call and cancel at the last minute, for nearly every appointment.

I called him on it and he confessed he wanted to change and begged me to keep him on as a client.

But when he did show up, and I asked him if he really wanted to be here, he would cross his arms and say "Well, I'm here, aren't I?"

Then he fired me after I needed to reschedule ONE appointment.

I know now, that the poor guy didn't want to change, but felt he should, and these types of clients are pretty normal to run into. Now I know how to keep these folks out of my practice.

Or the obese client who desperately wanted to lose weight, DESPERATELY, and I took her on because, well, I really needed the money. (Even though I didn't have experience with weight issues). And she seemed nice.

Until she yelled at me when I asked her why she was working an 80 hour work-week as an assistant to a chiropractor, which I gently suggested had her body stuck in high stress mode and unable to lose weight.

She hung up on me when I said that, then begged me to keep her on, which I did because I wanted, no NEEDED to help, and then two years after working with me (yes, TWO YEARS LATER) she started a blog bashing me and turned my name into the Better Business Bureau for not refunding her money. (She never asked for it).

It turns out she had an old email address that I never maintained. (Another behind-the-scenes issue to iron out!)

Getting a call from the Better Business Bureau was no fun either. I turned to my school for help and they didn't have much to offer.

But deep down, I knew I should have cut my loses and refunded her money at the first sign of trouble, and got her out of my world, but I was desperate. And I really wanted to help!

Lesson learned #1: The willingness to help is healthy, the need to help is not.

Lesson learned #2: Desperate coaches attract desperate clients who need a scapegoat.

These days, I can tell by the very first contact with a client, even in an email, whether I want to work with them or not.

I've attuned myself to FEEL everything that's unsaid.

There are patterns I notice right away; things that people say and write, that tip me off to whether they are a good fit or not.

path through the fields

For example... when I receive an email like this:

"Karin, I want to work with you. Send me your rates and details of working together. "

You would think that would be a good email. They're ready to invest, right?

But oh no, I know better.

All of that info is available on my website for those who do their homework.

The tone of that email was a red flag suggesting someone who's looking to give me a job, a job of making over their practice, rather than someone looking for a mentor to partner in a deep and meaningful way.

And it's a sign that if they're not doing their homework now, they aren't going to do it when they coach with me.

All of this has led to creating some healthy, empowering boundaries (for myself and my clients), including simple rules, policies and procedures around EVERYTHING in my practice.

From how I use my time (clients only on 2 days per week, that's it! And there's a reason for it.)

From how I organize my work space, how I do email, set up my business home base on my computer... (It's gotta be streamlined or you'll be frazzled and scattered!)

From how I deal with clients testing me before they hire me... (this is totally normal, but how you deal with it makes or breaks their success with your services.)

From how I welcome clients into my practice (it's all about the policies baby!)

And more fun stuff that makes my life and work so much easier, happier and sustainable.

On Monday, Feb 2nd, I'm hosting a 10-day "Get in, Get it Done and Get Out There" training on getting all this "stuff behind the stuff" handled so that you don't have to go through the painful, keep you up at night situations I went through.

You're probably not desperate like I was, but maybe you're ready to organize and upgrade the way you work for 2015 and attract clients in a way that feels more flowing, freeing and fun.