Launching a new practice takes courage. Regardless of how many years you’ve been a practitioner, branching out on your own can be intimidating – Amy-Jo Lynch knows this all too well!
Amy-Jo holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Kent and has a range of experience working in different kinds of clinical practice in health and social care. She lives in Hertfordshire and loves to travel when she isn’t working (we sat down with her just a few days after she’d arrived home from a trip to Turkey!), but starting her business has been a whole new adventure.
This is what Amy-Jo had to say about what it’s been like to set up Be Your Own Date, a fully online well-being coaching practice that’s coming up to its first anniversary, and how Cliniko has made the process easier.
Be Your Own Date
The fun and quirky name of Amy-Jo’s business piqued our interest. She says it comes from the idea of giving ourselves the kind of attention that we’d usually reserve for a potential romantic partner. “It's inspired by the idea of getting to know oneself a bit more and deepening that awareness,” she says. “Let's date ourselves. How often do we take the time to really focus on ourselves?”
Amy-Jo’s coaching clients are varied; they come from different demographics and seek help with many different issues, ranging from workplace conflicts to personal struggles. But one common thread across the people she works with is the desire to connect more deeply with themselves: “My vision is to help people in an authentic and honest way. I want to be someone people can trust and talk to, be a sounding board, vent if you need to, and make progress towards the changes that you want to see. There's no miracles or fairy tales; it's about having a deep conversation with people to bring self-awareness and change.”
Be Your Own Date has two parts to the business: working with individual clients and writing a blog, which explores topics relating to well-being and self-care. As well as helping her reach a wider audience, writing blog posts is something Amy-Jo enjoys. “Starting the blog helped me stay sane during COVID, especially in the early days,” she remembers. “It was a way to express my creativity and share my knowledge and resources that I find helpful.”
Amy-Jo’s advice on setting up a new practice? Go for it.
Amy-Jo had wanted to set up a coaching business for a long time, and there came a moment when she knew she simply had to take a leap of faith: “it’s one thing to dream big, but it’s another to make it happen. You can do the courses, network, and gather advice from people you trust, but there comes a time when you’ve just got to go for it.”
Nonetheless, Amy-Jo says she can relate to those self-doubt gremlins that a practitioner is likely to experience before setting up a new business! She has some words of encouragement for anyone else facing off against their fears and trying to figure out if they’re ready to branch out on their own: “Go for it,” she urges. “You do have what it takes and if you ever feel that sense of self-doubt creeping in, just try and keep it at bay by telling yourself some facts about what you have to offer.”
Why Amy-Jo chose Cliniko
Amy-Jo had worked in private healthcare, as well as the NHS, but her experiences with practice management software hadn’t always been positive. “I knew what was out there and didn't want to use any of those other systems,” she admits. “I looked around for solutions and that's when I came across Cliniko.”
Cliniko had also been recommended by a friend and so Amy-Jo figured she’d try it out. “Cliniko was the only one I demoed, but I did my research. You can't help it when you’ve done a PhD, you research everything,” she adds with a laugh. “So, I did my research and I felt like Cliniko was a good fit, then I was able to try it for a month to see.” She liked what she saw and has been using Cliniko ever since!
How Cliniko helps Amy-Jo’s coaching business
Cliniko makes life easier for Amy-Jo in a few key ways:
1Everything is in one place
“I’ve used different software throughout my health and social care career – some less helpful than others – but it’s so difficult to find a one stop shop. I like the fact that with Cliniko I can do everything through one place,”Amy-Jo says. From your appointment schedule to your invoicing, you can access everything you need to run your business through Cliniko.
2 It offers telehealth
Amy-Jo’s business is completely online – from the free introductory calls she offers, to the coaching sessions themselves, she relies entirely on telehealth to connect with her clients. Effective telehealth software was one of the most important things she was looking for and she wanted to be able to integrate it into her website. She says, “as a remote coach, using telehealth is really important, so finding the right software for my online business was quite a big deal for me. So far, it’s a good fit.”
Telehealth is obviously crucial if you’re an online practitioner. But make sure you do your research to find a telehealth option that prioritises security and privacy!
3The software is easy to use
Having to deal with confusing software is a headache. You either end staring at a computer screen for much longer than you should or having to teach yourself how to do the same things over again because they’re not logical. Amy-Jo hasn’t had this problem with Cliniko. “I enjoy the fact that Cliniko is so intuitive,” she says. “I found it easy to build my practice on there and to start creating the forms and the case note templates to be what I needed for Be Your Own Date.”
4There’s good customer service
Amy-Jo has found the Cliniko customer support (which is free and offered 24/5) a helpful touchpoint when she has any questions about the software. “I think the customer service is very good,” she says. “If you ask the question, you get a friendly response quite quickly.”
5 It has a friendly feel
Although well-being coaching is a serious job, your practice management software doesn’t have to make you feel gloomy! Amy-Jo appreciates the fact that Cliniko has a cheerful tone: “There’s just something about the way Cliniko presents itself, in a friendly manner, that chimes well with me. I think sometimes you can take yourself too seriously in health care. It doesn’t always have to be so serious – being a bit light-hearted at times can work well.”
Amy-Jo’s advice to well-being coaches looking for practice management software
Amy-Jo says she’d recommend Cliniko to other coaches. “When you're starting out and you're working as a solopreneur, it's good to have that sense of stability with a software,” she says.
But whether a particular software works for you is always going to be a very individual choice, so Amy-Jo recommends trying it out before committing to it. “Demo it,” Amy-Jo suggests. “That way you can see if you like the software, how it works, the feel of it, and how it looks. Write a list of all the things that you think you need and let that be a starting place for finding something that works for you – look for something that has all those elements.”
We think this is excellent advice. Cliniko offers 30-day free trials, so if you’re looking for practice management software and you’re not sure about whether Cliniko is for you, the best way to find out is to try it!
Thanks to Amy-Jo for taking the time to talk to us. We look forward to watching your business fly!