Free Your Work, Free Your Soul Here how I built a virtual health-care practice after writing my book, The Emotion Code.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Recently, I was participating in an interview when the person I was speaking with noticed that birds were chirping in the background as we talked. It was a beautiful sunny clear day, and I was sitting outside, enjoying the gorgeous early spring weather in Utah's canyon country as we spoke.
It never ceases to amaze me how far technology has come from the days of big mainframe computers. I learned to program personal computers when they first came out, before I studied to become a doctor of chiropractic -- a field that led me into the field I'm in today, energy medicine.
Related: 5 Reasons I'll Never Work In An Office Again
Mobile technology has made it possible for anyone to work from anywhere, anytime. This is a dream-come-true for employees who want to become entrepreneurs and free themselves from the confines of offices, cubicles and nine-to-five drudgery. Of course, it has also blurred the boundaries between work and personal life. However, for entrepreneurs those lines have long been blurred anyway. In my own case, I ended up starting a virtual practice almost by accident.
When I had a brick-and-mortar chiropractic practice, occasionally a patient of mine would leave town and call me in pain from something that had happened. Patients in this situation would ask if I could help them over the phone, and I found I was always able to help them feel better. I was able to bring relief to people remotely, because I was helping them release emotional energy.
When I published my book, The Emotion Code, in 2007, I included a page letting people know that if they needed help, I'd try to help them long-distance. There was a lot of interest, so I set things up. It didn't take long before I had inadvertently created a distance practice for myself.
For the next two years, I worked three days a week from 8 a.m. to noon with clients who were in many locations. It was a very different way to run a practice than what I was used to. I had no accounts receivable, because everyone paid me online in advance of his or her session.
Automated scheduling and payment were set up together. When people paid, they would receive an email back, letting them know exactly when to call me. Before long, I found I was booked solid for weeks in advance. This provided the money I needed to support my family during those first years when The Emotion Code book was just getting started. It was a true blessing.
One day after I had been working my virtual practice for several months, I realized I was going on vacation, and I had to figure out a way to work on my clients when I was somewhere else other than my home office. I got a Skype telephone number and had my office line forwarded to that number.
Related: 4 Tips for Successfully Managing a Virtual Workforce
I always remember a particular Monday morning in the summer. I was sitting outside in the trees at our vacation house in Montana. There were deer walking around that I could see and squirrels scampering about. It was a beautiful morning, and there I was, sitting outside with my laptop. Suddenly, my laptop rang, and it was my first client. I had my headphones on, and I took care of that first client and then all the rest of the clients for that day. As I was doing that, sitting out in the sunshine, I remember thinking -- "This is really unbelievable."
I ended up with clients all over the world. Eventually, I had to get out of my own practice and pass it along to someone else, because it wasn't really what I was supposed to be spending my time doing.
My job today is to take all this healing work to the world. I had to set things up to teach and train. We now have thousands of certified Emotion Code practitioners around the world who do the same thing I used to do, who work with clients, and who have almost no overhead at all. They work with clients in other countries, many of whom they will never meet, and yet they are impacting lives in a big way.
I got an email recently, a testimonial from a woman who lives in a little tiny mountain village in Italy. She told me her story. She said she was in a very difficult marriage for several years and finally got a new husband. As I read, I thought she must have gotten divorced and remarried. But that's not what happened. Instead, an Emotion Code practitioner from Budapest worked with her husband over the phone to help him get rid of his emotional baggage. That, she says, ended up giving her the husband she had always wanted.
Not every form of healthcare can be practiced remotely, although therapists, counselors and psychologists are increasingly finding that they can treat patients using these methods. Here are some tips that can help anyone looking to establish a virtual business.
- Set up your payment process in a reliable way to collect the money up front when clients book an appointment.
- Use free and cost-effective technologies to organize yourself. I use Evernote, a workspace that syncs with phones and other devices. You can find many more online.
- If you are going to go virtual, go 100 percent. It makes life and business easier and more efficient.
Related: Top 5 Tips for Strategic Planning in a Virtual Company
The beauty of having a 100-percent virtual practice is that you can travel the world and take your practice with you. All you need is a good Internet connection, a Skype connection and a laptop. That's it! I have found the results are just as good as providing care in person -- and it makes you a free soul.