capture2The business of building a successful naturopathic practice can be tough.  Providing services to your patients, building new relationships, marketing your practice, managing staff, it’s all demanding of your time. Many of  the practice building activities must happen outside of your standard practice hours.

As naturopathic doctors you are attracted to practice natural medicine because you are intrinsically motivated to make the world a healthier place. In light of this larger goal, it is easy to let your personal needs get lost in the demanding lifestyle of a growing medical practice.

As leaders in the naturopathic world, you owe it to yourself, your family and your staff to build cultures that allow for the appropriate work-life balance. Sadly, many of you learn this the hard way with a life experience that forces you to learn the prioritization of a home life outside of your practice. Unfortunately, for some, a lifetime of precious personal memories with family and friend are lost when this happens.

Establishing a work-life balance requires thoughtful attention on two fronts: Increasing your productivity during your practice hours and protecting personal time away from the office.


Time spent in scheduled or  unscheduled meetings in the office can kill productivity during a workday. To-do lists tend to grow and the time to complete them shrinks. Give yourself and your staff additional time to complete the duties assigned during the work-day by blocking out a day of the week where no meetings can take place. If you are using a time scheduling program in the office send out recurring n0-meeting request on your calendar so that your staff don’t inadvertently interrupt patient time for something that can wait.


The world is full a great ideas. When a staff member, or even a patient, suggest a new task or way to get something done, evaluate the idea against the priorities you have already set for yourself. If this new “great” idea is going to take time away from patient care, or delay the way you work, the saying “no” might be the most important way you can protect you or your staff’s time. As a leader, the additional work that a new idea that you approve may fall on the shoulders of staff. Keep in mind the workload of your staff when you agree to trying something new in the office.


Sometimes this lifestyle change may be mandated by family considerations, or the commute from your office to home. By establishing a consistent time to head home, you are giving yourself time in the evening to live your life. You are also communicating to your staff that you respect their time and it’s OK for them to head home in the evenings as well.


Although this seems like a no-brainer, in a study completed in 2014, 40% of Americans forfeited vacation time. As a private-practice doctor working in natural medicine where your income is solely based on patient visits, sometimes this seems impossible.  Stop thinking about how much money you will lose while on vacation and create a strategy to improve your patient hours throughout the year to make up for your perceived loss of income while you are out of the office. Once this is implemented, when you take a vacation, you can do it with the confidence that you have covered the perceived lost revenue.


One way to accomplish this tip is to establish ground rules for how and when work may be allowed at home. For some it is as easy as committing that from the minute you get home until a set hour, say you arrive home at 6:00 p.m. then until 8:00 p.m. nothing from the practice that you may want to work on at home is done. This basically translates to a two hour work-free zone in your home where you can focus on dinner and family, spending quality time together.

Creating a work-life balance is important. Once you commit to the practice of personal and family time, you can get involved in non-work related hobbies or activities, or even go on a date. Clearly, it is easier said than done, and as many of us are workaholics, it’s hard to stay away from even simple work tasks like checking emails, but make the commitment and you will find your practice will grow and your commitment to a home life will be recognized by family and friends.

Seven simple steps to communicate with patients

The all new Naturopathic Economics website has launched see this blog and so much more by clicking here!

writingWriting is an essential means to communicate with existing and potential new patients. Yet it is given little attention in terms of focused writing for webpages, blogs, emails, and social media to build a practice. To make your writing more effective, try these seven simple steps. Even the most experienced communicator will benefit from this look at making words work to build a practice.

  1. Write it down. Sounds simple, but let’s take another look. You should first decide the broad topic. Consider the many facets of the topic you might cover and choose one. Then select three aspects of your focal topic that you want to share with your patients.
  2. Organize it. Open your computer, enter your word program and insert a table with three columns. Jot down in each column what your patients need to know about each point. Include new terms, concepts, treatment protocol and definitions. Group like things together and arrange the flow of your word clusters. Then link the sequenced clusters together to begin your writing.
  3. Write to your audience. Know what they know and what they want to know and you will give them what they need. Keep your writing at an appropriate level, not too fundamental, but not so complex they feel they need a medical dictionary to understand what you are communicating.
  4. Write in active voice. It makes learning a lot easier for the reader to understand what you are conveying. A recent instruction on a medical container written for caregivers read: “The correct dosage can be delivered by mouth.” Somehow this conveys doctors carrying pills between their lips.
  5. Review your draft. Make sure you have covered the key points to your satisfaction. Provide definitions, examples, visuals and charts where appropriate and other details that will contribute to understanding.
  6. Put the draft away. Wait at least 24 hours then reread your writing. You will see your draft in a new light that may point out areas that might still be unclear or need rewording.
  7. Ask others to read your draft. Getting a second opinion will help to tell you if your message is clear, organized, simple and understandable. If not, keep rewriting until you achieve that goal.

Follow these simple seven steps and you will create a process to share information with your current and potential patients in a concise and consistent way to build your practice.

Naturopathic Economics Launching New Website

Naturopathic EconomWhats-new-logo_4203651_stdics is building a new website packed full of trending topics, information and how-to articles to assist naturopaths to achieve financial success in their field of practice.  The new integrated business resource site for naturopaths will be live in mid November.  Until then watch our progress on our Facebook, Twitter or Linked In social media sites or email .

Tips for Naturopathic Email Marketing – Part One

So you’re using email to communicate your naturopathic treatment and practice update messages to both existing and potentially new patients.  But do you know how to get your messages out effectively?  What day should you send emails?  Does the time of day matter?

Dan Zarella, a social media researcher and author, recently revealed in a Hubspot webinar the results of an analysis of over 9.5 billion emails sent from different organizations to their databases, conducting independent focus groups, and administering a survey that has yielded new information to will help to inform naturopaths about email best practices.   Here are some tips:

  • If you are worrying about whether to send to a recipient’s personal email box or business email, put that worry aside.  Research indicates that 88% of email recipients don’t have separate business and personal email accounts.
  • It used to be believed that weekdays were the best days to send an email, you would be wrong as that practice no longer bears out.  The highest click-through rates are on the weekend… Saturday and Sunday.  In fact, most unsubscribes happen on Monday and Tuesday.  If you must blast during the week, consider Thursday or Friday.
  • Now that you have narrowed down the day, what time is best to send your naturopathic message?  It turns out that emails sent between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. result in the most opens and clicks, no matter the day of the week.
  • Email users establish certain patterns.  Play to that ritual by sending your messages on a set schedule and using subject lines and sender information that serializes your information much like this email with Part 1 and Part 2.

Naturopathic Economics suggests considering these tips to improve your naturopathic communications and retool your email contact strategy.  Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this series, which will focus on subject lines and content.

Naturopathic Economics now offers a no-cost evaluation of your email strategy for practicing naturopaths.  Contact Edward Phillips at or call 480-335-7180.

How To Build Your Patient Email List

Email has rapidly become one of most effective ways to attract potential new patients and to communicate to existing patients.  Whether using email as tool to provide patients with up to date information about your naturopathic practice, or to deliver more focused medical information it offers rapid delivery at a low cost.  But how do you go about expanding your email list?  And what makes a list effective?

The more people you can reach who are genuinely interested in naturopathic medicine the better.   With that said, many naturopaths are routinely disappointed when they try to acquire an email lists expecting big results, and they get little or no new patients from the list.  The reason – these people really don’t have a relationship with your you or your practice, regardless of your practice focus.

Here are some ways to build your email list with names and addresses that have some relationship with your practice already.

  • Anyone who receives your mailings or printed materials has shown interest in your practice, but you might not have their email address.  Offer them a chance to get up to date information, or your newsletter by email if they will share their email address.  Stress how this provides them low cost information not having to print and pay postage.
  • Are you or your practice on Facebook and Twitter?  Chances are a good number of people who follow you are not on your email list.  Provide them with a link to sign up for your eNewsletter, and program updates, and you will acquire follower email addresses that may lead to new patients.
  • Don’t forget your website.  Anyone who visits your site should find it simple to locate and join your email list.  Sign up forms should be simple and easy to find.
  • If you hold an event, or participate in an event, create a give-away that lets people know that they will be informed by email if they are a winner.  You can get addresses of people coming to your event for as little as the cost of an inexpensive give-away, which could translate into new patients.
  • Whenever you are attending a meeting, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, etc., get as many business cards from attendees as possible.  This is a simple way to grow your email list with people who have met you.

With a little effort you can expand your naturopathic practice’s reach to a broader audience of people who are interested in your practice focus and who want to return to you for continued care, or become a new patient.  Growing an email list requires a little strategy, but the rewards can far outweigh the effort.

If you would like low-cost assistance with your email or social media marketing email or call Edward Phillips at 480-335-7180.

Should I stick with naturopathy?

Q: I am currently studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Naturopathy) and am approaching my 2nd year of study. I feel very passionately about this area however I’m pretty worried that I’m not going to be successful or find enough business.  I’m currently working in administration and earning over $50,000 pa and see people only earning under that as a naturopath.  I feel like I’m not sure what to do at this point I don’t want to be paying off a study loan and be struggling to make money on top of that.  I look at jobs in massage therapy and there seems to be more demand for this area.  I would like to know any thoughts and advise on the issue. Do I change courses now? Or do I stick it out and hope for the best?

NE:  Here is what we have learned from the successful and those struggling to get by.  First find an area of focus within naturopathic medicine that is your true passion (homeopathy, botanical medicine, acupuncture, etc.). This does not mean that you exclude any of the modalities, but become the very best in what you love.  Then within your treatment modality, choose 3 – 5 of the medical conditions/illnesses that can be treated very successfully with your chosen modality/modalities.  Become the best at these 3 -5 and you will become known as “the naturopathic physician to see for…”  What we see all to often, is naturopaths struggling to be general medicine practitioners and going head to head with MD’s, DO’s and even chiropractors who are also competing to sell supplements in their practices.  Those who become very focused have the best chance of success.  We hope this helps in your decision-making process.  Naturopathic Economics  is happy to answer any of your questions along the way, so don’t hesitate if you have something you would like to know about.

Q/A How do I Structure My Practice

Q: I am getting ready to launch my own private practice, but I’m not sure of the best business structure.  Some say LLC, others PLC, and still others a corporation.  I’m confused what is the best structure?

NE:  Naturopaths often struggle with this question.  Naturopathic Economics recommends that when considering opening a new naturopathic practice you first consult with an attorney who specializes in healthcare practices to guide you to the right business structure.  To help you determine if an attorney is right for you, here are four things to look for in an attorney.

1.  Look for someone who works in the healthcare or private practice arena.  You want someone who is familiar with the issues that commonly come up for business owners operating in your space.

2.  Since you are forming a new business, make sure the lawyer customarily handles entity formation.  This familiarity with the process will lead to efficiency, which should result in saving money.

3.  If your start up is discreet as the attorney if they can offer a flat rate for this service.  Many attorneys will be willing to do so if the scope if work is clearly defined at the outset.

4.  Hire an attorney you like talking to who is will to spend some time off the clock getting to know you and your business.  As your naturopathic practice grows so may your legal needs and you want to continue your legal relationship with someone who knows you and that you can trust.

Check out the Resources Tab on our site for a healthcare practice lawyer who may be able to assist you further.

Got a question.  Email