Some of you may not know, but I have a private FB group and over the last year I used it as a place to begin a community, post my writing, hold webinars, and share links of interest.

Problem was I really struggled with it. I never felt totally comfortable or confident in what I was posting. I couldn’t work out why. Nor could I get 100 percent behind growing the group.

I wondered if it was some deep-seated financial resentment – you know free content is all well and good but well, the bank doesn’t accept ‘followers‘ to pay bills. but as I kept posting ( alot) that didn’t seem the likely cause.

I thought maybe it’s cause I’m sick of giving my time for no appreciation and I have some weird ego issue. You would be amazed how difficult it is to get people to like a post, let alone introduce themselves. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a cowboy movie watching the tumbleweed….I mean Hello? Is anyone out there???

And then I realised it had a lot to do with focus.

You see when you are a psychologist you have a sort of generic skill set. You can help a lot of people, with a lot of different stuff but the problem is when you try to help everyone, paradoxically you help no-one.

Let me give you an example.

Say I’m a shoe seller. My shop is at number 46 on Shoe Seller Street. Every day I’m outside my shop, desperately screaming ‘I’ve got shoes, great shoes, shoes for everyone, all sizes, all colours‘. Well, it’s going to be doubtful that anyone is going to come to my shop – after shop number 3 most will have found pretty decent shoes. So, I have a problem.

But imagine instead I repeat ‘RED SHOES. ONLY RED SHOES. I SELL SHOES THAT ARE RED’ and someone has got their Xmas party and they need matching shoes, yes, red shoes. Well, they are going to bypass all the other shoe shops and come straight to me – I am the go-to-place for red shoes.

Now this may appear a serious high-risk strategy. You are probably thinking, ‘but what about all those other shoe customers that you miss out on?

Well from the example above, we can see that you are going to have to hope that all those 45 other shoe shops are stocked with rubbish shoes and that your potential customer knows rubbish shoes when they see them, because otherwise they are never getting to your shop at number 46. So, if instead you say ONLY RED SHOES HERE’, yes, you are reducing your potential market, but at least that market now knows where to go forever-more when red shoes are what they need.

And that’s the problem I’ve had with my group. I was trying to help every woman with every type of relationship issue. That’s understandable. I have worked with women pre-exit, during difficult divorce, and then on to dating and new healthy relationships – so the whole recovery trajectory. Problem is when I then tried to speak to ‘my followers’, I literally jammed up because I had no bloody clue who was in the group and where they were in their journey exactly. In my rush to help everyone, I helped nobody.

So, I had to make a bold (and very painful) decision to reboot my activities.

I have had to become definite on levels of access to me and my content. My FB business page and LinkedIn are going to be my ‘general interest’ stuff on relationships and my FB group is now private, paid and only for women who have exited abusive relationships and are in difficult divorces. I am literally having to raze my current FB group to the ground – it’s a choker.

It is incredibly hard for a therapist to learn to think like a businessperson – we struggle with not trying to heal everyone and anyone. For those with a predictable wage, there is also the tendency to forget that for direct service providers, when we make no sales, we have no income stream. As a result, there can be the tendency to grab anyone passing, even if they are not our client group (case in point: yesterday I got asked to work with bruxism – teeth grinding – yes, I could do that medical hypnotherapy work, but the time needed to refresh my skillset for one client would make it a pointless exercise, so I referred on to a colleague).

I have to learn the hard way how important it is to keep the analogy of the shoe shop at the forefront of my mind. I need to chose the types of shoes I am selling and stick to that. Then, when a customer comes to my shoe shop, they must pay for the shoes. No matter how much the customer wants the shoes, needs the shoes, and suits the shoes – I may even be dying to ‘give away the shoes‘ – the bottom line is, if that customer doesn’t invest in my shoes, my shop can’t stay in business, which means no-one gets my shoes.

I have been (unwillingly) forced to ‘get (business) real’, hone on my niche, get strict on access to my expertise, and recognise that I simply cannot help everyone. This thinking does not come easy.

So,with this in mind, here goes: