How profitable a career is hypnotherapy?
The only accurate answer is that hypnotherapy is as profitable a career as you want to make it. The income that different hypnotherapists generate varies tremendously. Let's talk about an average business first, then consider some flexible business arrangements, and finally hear about some of the extreme examples.
You can do some calculations as to the work required to make your level of income desired. A national average rate for hypnotherapy (2008) is $85/hour. That means that the east coast and west coast rates are more around $125-$150/hour, and some states are closer to $45-$60 per hour. You can research your local market rates by checking to see what hypnotherapists in your area are charging. Do your calculations using the rates of the area where you will have your office.
An Average Business
Of course, every business will vary, and with all the flexibility available to hypnotherapists in schedules, office arrangements, clients and services, it's really not possible to declare any one business plan as the "normal" hypnotherapy business. Perhaps we can thumbnail a hypothetical example business that uses information from my own experience as well as from a few other hypnotherapists.
Let's use the average rate for some example business income and expenses calculations. At $85/hour, if you work with clients for 3 hours per day five days per week, you generate an average income of $1,275 per week, which is $5,100 per month. If you haven't worked for yourself before, you may not know that you can expect about 50%-60% of your gross income to be allocated to expenses like office rent, phone and utilities, advertising, business insurance and expenses, and taxes (including self-employment taxes). That leaves about $2,000-$2,500 per month left for your personal income. Again, do these calculations yourself using local rates and the best estimates of your expenses you can, but this would be an reasonable example of a full-time, fully-committed self-employed hypnotherapist operating on their own.
Usually, you can expect to spend about two years building to this level of client hours. It takes about 12-18 months for you to establish a known presence in your area via networking, passing out business cards, advertising, and letting people know about you and your services. Joining your local chamber of commerce, giving talks about hypnotherapy for any group that wants them, and attending networking functions will be important ways for you to build your business presence.
Until you have established yourself, your income will vary, so it is best to keep expenses as low as possible and remain as flexible as possible for appointment times and places. See below for more on flex hours.
The hours that you aren't seeing clients are spent networking, marketing, bookkeeping, blogging or updating your web pages, writing and recording audio sessions. Having clients three hours a day still means you are working about eight hours a day, five days a week. Of course, your schedule and work hours when you work for yourself are entirely flexible, but your results (and income) will tend to mirror the time and effort your are investing into the business.
Add Classes & Workshops
Zoilita Grant, an experienced hypnotherapist and businesswoman, gave this advice on the HypnoThoughts forum:
I believe that you can make $100,000 within 2 years of starting practice. Here is an example of what a $100,000 a year practice looks like:
18 clients a month paying $400 each X 12 months = $86,400 + 3 classes/groups of 8 people each paying $320 for 8 week class=$7680 + 2 large 1 day workshops of 15 people paying $150 each = $4500 + 3 Evening classes of 20 people paying $25= $1500 Total: $100,080
To compare her example with the previous example, she has really only added the classes and workshops and bumped the rate from $85/hr to $100/hr, since 18 clients per month paying $400 each would translate to seeing each client once per week at $100 per session, which works out to about 3-and-a-quarter sessions per day on average (use a 22-day work month).
Remember to map in your overhead costs (self-employment taxes run about 14% in the USA), and keep in mind that good marketing is required to fill those classes and workshops. If you don't have good small business skills already, you will need to build them in order to reach your goals. There is more to being in business for yourself as a professional hypnotherapist than just hypnotizing people well.
Flexible Business Options
One of the best things about the hypnotherapy industry is the flexibility of it all. You can operate a part-time hypnotherapy business, seeing clients on weekends and evenings, while you get established.
Some hypnotherapists start out with offices ajoining healing centers, acupuncture clinics, physical therapy offices, or psychotherapy and counseling offices. Often you can rent these offices by the hour, only when you need them. This can be ideal while you have few client hours and are starting up your marketing and local networking.
Some hypnotherapists start with a home office, bringing clients into a specially prepared area of their home, perhaps a converted garage or dedicated den. This can be a good way to keep overhead low while building a base of happy clients.
Some hypnotherapists begin their careers by working as one hypnotherapist in a established hypnotherapy group, which means all of their marketing and established presence works for you instantly. You'll likely receive a lower hourly rate, or pay higher hourly rates for office use, but it can be a fine way to start if the situation is right for you.
Other hypnotherapists orient their work toward weekend seminars and teaching classes or having group sessions in hypntherapy. These can be very popular, as many people are curious about things like past life regression or inner child work, and may be more comfortable learning and experiencing it in a group settings. It is also more affordable for the participants and can be more lucrative for the hypnotherapist.
Don't forget about the stage hypnotists; they can make a good income as well, once they have become established and trusted by their venues. If you have the soul and blood of a performer in you, this might be a rewarding and fun income stream.
Finally, the sales of hypnosis books and audio sessions can be an excellent source of income revenue, and with the power of the Internet, the opportunities here have never been better. It has never been easier or more affordable to publish your own books and sell your own hypnosis audio CDs or MP3s on the Internet.
Some Extreme Examples
How much can you make as a hypnotherapist? There are several hypnotherapists that are making more than $700K dollars a year through a combination of book royalties, Internet sales and sales of CDs & MP3s, seminars and high-priced personal sessions.
If you establish yourself as well-known (celebrity, if you will) hypnotherapist, you could charge more like $300 per hour instead of $85. Weekend seminars to lose weight or stop smoking can bring in hundreds of attendees, paying as much as $100-$300 each. Best selling books in the industry will typically sell thousands of copies per year and are often translated into many other languages by your publisher and sold around the world, creating an ongoing income stream of royalties. And Internet sales can really boom when you have the right product and Internet presence.
You should probably note that all the hypnotherapists that are making huge money at these kinds of things have all been working at it for a decade or more, and they all have help on the marketing, technical and business fronts. It isn't easy to make $2K or more a day, everyday, in any business, and the expenses, business skill, knowledge and effort required to do so are quite significant.
The sky is the limit for anyone who loves people, loves hypnosis, and has the focus, energy and tenacity to work all channels of promotions, marketing, sales, books, audio, seminars and personal sessions.
A Realistic, People-loving Career
Realistically, however, there aren't very many hypnotherapists that desire the glam and glitter of the celebrity hypnotist route. More over, there aren't many people that really want to put in the huge amount of work, money, time and risk that is required to make millions. If you are looking for a career of TV appearances and glamour, your chances are likely pretty slim no matter what skill or path you choose.
Really, most hypnotherapists are people that just like people, that love to help people, and that love the magic of the trance state and subconscious mind.
A typical career would include a small local office, great networking and community involvement, five to ten days of vacation a year, a book after three to five years, a few articles in magazines and newspapers, a set of CDs and MP3s for sale (developed over time), an average middle-class income, and many days of happy hours of dreamy trances and interesting hypnosis clients.