Why Every Private Practitioner Should Offer E-Learning

It’s true that private practitioners spend most of their time working with clients in one-on-one (and group) settings. The value of seeing a specialist is the personalized information & attention you receive when you talk to that expert.

I think we can all agree with that.

We can also agree that online learning is typically NOT personalized to the individual.

 So why would a professional in private practice offer online micro-courses? 

The answer is simple:

 Private practitioners want to maximize their time providing personalized attention, so many of the related topics that clients are curious about can be addressed in a separate, self-paced environment.  

The information, therapies, and guidance provided in a face-to-face environment constitute a significant amount of value, however, I’m convinced that every private practitioner can benefit from offering e-learning.

Let me say that again just to be clear.

Every private practitioner, regardless of their area of expertise, can provide additional benefit to clients by offering online learning.

And, you should not feel guilty charging for these modalities either.

I’ve heard all kinds of nay-sayers try to disagree with me on this, so I’ll gladly share some of these common objections.

Insurance won’t cover this, so clients won’t pay for it.

That’s only half correct. It’s true that insurance doesn’t usually cover online courses. And that’s OK. In my experience, about 25-35% of clients have the willingness to engage in (and pay for) self-paced learning. And 100% percent of those clients want the information from a trusted source (that’s you).

I feel guilty charging my clients for this.

From a practical standpoint, if a client asks you a question, you are going to be as helpful as possible. You aren’t going to direct them to an additional purchase. That wouldn’t feel right and you don’t want to turn into a salesman.

That’s not what micro-courses are about.

Micro-courses are a “deeper dive” into a very specific topic. In person, you may not have time to go into depth – especially if the topic is not directly related to your “core” services. Micro-courses offer clients the detail & depth that you don’t have time to cover in person. Creating micro-courses takes time, effort, and resources. Charging for them is completely justified.

I don’t have time to take on something like this.

Sorry, but I’m calling BS on that. We’re not writing a book here. A book takes several months, even years to finish. Think of a micro-course as ONE chapter of your book – similar to a long blog post. It covers a very specific topic or subtopic. Time commitment is minimal – especially if you’re working with someone like me who does all the heavy lifting with the creation process.

I have no idea what micro-courses I would offer.

 The short answer: 

Micro-courses should address questions that are complementary and supplementary to your in-person visits. They can either extend or strengthen a concept or skill (supplementary) or they can be a valuable addition (complementary) to your work.

 The long answer:  

Pretend you’re a typical client.

What are your common concerns/questions that are NOT typically addressed in a visit?

What concepts could be reinforced with self-practice in an online learning environment?

It might be helpful to imagine some examples of micro-course titles themselves.

So let’s say your a nutritionist:

3 Ways to Approach Meal Preparation if you work a 9-5 Job
5 Things You Can Do to Take Care of your Microbiome
10 Mediterranean Diet Recipies That Take 20 minutes or Less
Baking with Better Ingredients: Nut Flours, Nut Butters, and More.
Your Quick-Start Guide to Practical Nutrigenomics

Or maybe you’re a mental health professional:

Money Matters: 7 Simple & Practical Financial Habits to Improve the Relationship with your Significant Other
How They Did It: 5 Real Examples of People who Overcame Social Anxiety
Gratitude: 5 Ways to Start Cultivating it Now
Not All Meditation is Equal: 5 Techniques to Experiment With
Self-Exercises for OCD using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

You might be thinking “Um…these look like blog post topics.” And you’d be right. Micro-courses are essentially long blog posts structured into lessons and enhanced with media – including videos & interactive content (like quizzes).

 People are self-learning more than ever. Google is everyone’s best friend. The problem with Google (and most search-based self-learning) is that the information is varied, conflicting, and unreliable at best. 

You (the private practitioner) have an authentic voice because you’ve had years of experience. You’ve heard the stories. You know the common questions. You know where your clients struggle the most.

And most importantly, you’ve earned the trust of your client base.

Why wouldn’t you want to offer your own content?

This will hurt my core business. I can’t just put my expertise out on the internet.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting a “replacement” for the face-to-face work you do. Inevitably, you will come across common questions that make more sense to address in a micro-course because you can go into more detail (as explained in the previous section).

Ok great. But I don’t see the financial benefit.

If you don’t plan on being in private practice for the long-term, you’re right, creating micro-courses may not be a good direction for you. But let’s assume you are in it for the long-term but you’re dubious about how this could provide a real source of income for you.

Let’s do some extremely conservative math.

Suppose you only have a few new clients per month, and only one of those new clients decides to purchase a micro-course. Micro-courses are priced anywhere from 15 to 120, so assuming the low-end of that – you just made an extra 15 to 120 bucks a month. That’s anywhere from 180 to 1440 bucks a year. Not very exciting – financially speaking.

But let’s say you have a Facebook account or small social media following, or you give a class or presentation once a month. This can easily generate 5-10 sales a month, and if you have multiple micro-courses with regular promotions – we can multiply this number. Assuming you’re offering 2 courses, each priced at a modest 30 bucks, and only 5 people sign up for each course each month. That’s an additional $300 a month. Not bad for a conservative scenario.

If you have an appreciation for passive income, this starts making a lot of sense.

Even if you’re just starting out in your private practice, building a library of digital content can pay big dividends in the long-run.

I still don’t see how this is worth the investment.

Fair enough. If I haven’t convinced you of the potential yet, then maybe this direction isn’t right for you. Maybe you feel your time is better invested elsewhere, and I respect that.

If you’re concerned about the cost of creating micro-courses, we should probably talk. Sometimes I partner up with private practitioners to significantly reduce the initial cost. I am well aware that “creating online learning” is usually not something private practitioners budget for – at least not in my experience.

Final Thoughts

I started off this post by saying that every private practitioner should offer online learning. From a client perspective, this is absolutely true. There is a tremendous amount of value in self-learning from a trusted source.

That being said, it may not make sense for all private practitioners to allocate the time, effort, and resources to go through with it. Some aren’t 100% committed to their practice, some can’t appreciate the value, and others lack the creativity or initiative.

One thing is clear. Self-learning isn’t going anywhere. As a private practitioner, you can either leverage that, or you can entrust your clients to Google.

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