There are so many tricky difficulties that come with having a clinical herbal practice. Jiling Lin, LAc is one of our amazing teachers at Artemisia Academy. As an Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Jiling knows these difficulties all too well, and she discusses six major lessons she wen through when she was developing her practice:
Charge what you're worth
Set a time limit
Don't be available 24/7
Limit your recommendations
We can't fix everything
Charge What You're Worth
Sliding scale can be a great way to make your practice accessible to more people. When your practice gets bigger, though, it can be a logistical nightmare to manage. And while some people may pay very generously, having conversations about what's affordable for different people over and over again can get to be a drag. Depending on the system you work with, sliding scale can be difficult to administer as well.
"Have an honest assessment with yourself about how much you are worth and how much your time is worth, especially if you have a family or if you're juggling multiple gigs. How do you balance all that?"
A great way to set your pricing is by looking at other herbalists' websites. See how much they're charging, particularly in your own demographic. And from there, you can model how much you should charge for your own services. But also, just because other herbalists aren't charging their full worth doesn't mean you have to undercharge yourself. Especially in Southern California, it is expensive. You can balance that by offering some discounted or free services on the side, which is what Jiling does. But you really have to decide how you want to give back so that you can still make a living while doing it.
Set a Time Limit
This is another consideration that becomes so important as you start seeing more clients. It's good to start off by being really clear with your clients about your availability. And then stick to it, when that hour, or however long, session is over, thank your client, schedule a follow up if necessary, and wish them a wonderful day.
And when people are coming from allopathic medicine where their doctors may only have 5 or 10 minutes to see them, the "hit and run" type of medical care. And then when people interact with herbalists, who are space holders, they may want to linger longer than our schedules can allow. But as space holders, we must hold the the boundary as well. As herbalists, we need to be able to have a life and a practice at the same time.
Don't Be Available 24/7
If you've ever emailed email@example.com, you've received a lovely automated message that communicates the timeframe in which you can expect a response. There are many ways to set gentle but firm boundaries with your clients to communicate that you are only available at certain times. This is so important to make sure that we can be healed healers, who have our own time to care for ourselves so that we can better care for others as well!
Limit Your Recommendations
So many of us come to this work with full hearts wanting to help and heal as much as we can. But this can be really overwhelming, which is why it can be helpful to limit your lifestyle recommendations to three maximum. Ideally, one.
This can be so hard! But most of us can only do one to three things at a time. Anything more can make you feel like a failure. Change is slow and gentle, give your clients time to make big lifestyle shifts.
It doesn't matter what system you use, but pick one that works for you and how your brain functions. Computerized systems can be nice because they automatically alphabetize everything. Generally, keeping things simple and clear is best. Capture the information that matters, experiment with organizing it and then once you find a system stick with it.
We Can't Fix Everything
Unfortunately, we're not a bunch of superheroes with magical capes flying around like Wonder Woman. Well, in some ways we are. However, we do have limited capacity on this planet. And. part of the honor to wear that cape is to understand that life is imperfect. We can't fix everything, there are real limitations all around us.
As herbalists, we are facilitators, not wavers of magic wands. Keep expectations very realistic while also being compassionate with your clients.
So there are 6 lessons for all you clinical herbalists out there. And if you haven't already, please make sure to watch the video above, as Emily and Jiling go into way juicier detail than this summary can allow.
Jiling also teaches Intro to Case Studies and Intro to Phytochemistry at Artemisia Academy. You can find more information about all of our courses and programs here.