Whether you’re starting your own counseling practice or forming an organization to provide counseling services to those in need, the skills needed to be a counselor include more business-oriented expertise and tools than you may realize. Here are five things you can do to develop those skills and build your business, from enrolling in the right online counseling degree program to using social media to raise awareness.
Get the right education.
A graduate degree in counseling at the master’s or doctoral level can provide the foundation for your success as an entrepreneur or business owner. Many of those already working in the counseling field prefer online degree programs, as they enable professionals to balance work and family commitments while pursuing higher education. The right online counseling degree program can equip you with the most important skills needed to be a counselor, including strong leadership skills that can help you connect those in need to the appropriate counseling services.
Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars.
From starting your own counseling practice to joining an established group, interacting with other professionals who have chosen a similar path is an essential element of strengthening your entrepreneurial skills. Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars to update your professional knowledge, refine your business skills, and connect with other counseling professionals. Your expanded professional network is also a great way to learn about the newest advancements in your field.
Join professional associations.
In developing the business skills needed to be a counselor, joining professional associations is as vital as attending workshops, conferences, and seminars. Regional chapters of professional counseling associations connect you to other counselors in your area. As you attend events and get to know other members, you’ll not only receive business advice, you’ll benefit from your colleagues’ diverse experiences and backgrounds—and build lifelong professional connections.
Invest in a website.
One of the smartest things you can do to promote yourself or your organization is build a website. If you’re intimidated by this idea, don’t be. Thanks to a growing number of do-it-yourself website-building options, you don’t have to be a technical expert to create a counseling website. You can even set up a blog to discuss issues in your field—developing relevant content is yet another skill that can help promote your business.
If you run a business, learning how to connect with your audience through social media platforms is an essential skill. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and LinkedIn, the more you interact with others—personally and professionally—the better. And while social media is a great way to share your website, it’s not the place to be overly self-promotional. Instead, share useful tips, articles, blog posts, and more. You’ll be surprised how people respond—they’ll start to view you as an expert, and your business will benefit from the conversations.