STOP! HALT! Keep Quiet … or Lose Business

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Last week two of my friends invited me to participate with them in a local March for Our Lives event being held Saturday.

If you are tuned into the news and politics of today, you know that marches were held to support gun control to keep people, especially our children, safe from being victims of mass murderers. Hundreds of thousands of individuals marched on Washington, DC, and in hundreds of other cities to bring attention to this issue.

To my friends’ invitation, I replied no. I couldn’t / wouldn’t go. But maybe not for the reasons you might think.

It’s not that I don’t believe in peaceful protests – because I do. I remember being inspired by the civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s. I participated in peaceful protests over the VietNam War when I was in college. I even (metaphorically) burned my bra!

But no, I did not attend the March for Our Lives. Here’s why.

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Pancakes, Snakes, Red Flags, and Advocacy

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You don’t have to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil’s to appreciate his delightful and useful sayings. He boils down important and sometimes complex concepts into downhome philosophy that helps us better understand our fellow human beings and our lives.

Today we’re going to focus on one of those sayings to improve our ability to ferret out those clients we should not work with (yes, I said, SHOULD NOT work with):

 “No matter how flat you make your pancake, it still has two sides.”

Advocacy stories are like those pancakes. They have at least two sides, too.

I raise this today after an exchange with an APHA member about a disconcerting client experience. That came on the heels of another advocate’s experience where, because of a simple typo on her directory profile, a potential client posted a negative review of her work.

Say what? Let’s look at both stories – and, in pancake style, their flip sides.

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The Last Four Myths About Starting an Independent Advocacy Practice

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This is week 3 of our series, and includes the final four myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

To remind you, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who (I’m sorry to say) failed at getting a practice started, not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

Here are the final four myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, we hope this helps you reconsider, and take steps to be sure they don’t sink your advocacy practice.

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Top 10 “Best Of” APHA Posts: 2017 in Review

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As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the blog posts you, my readers, considered to be most worth your reading time. Using post analytics, I’m able to see how many of you have read each of the 44 posts from 2017. Then, accommodating for the fact that some posts have been online for 11+ months, while others were just posted recently, it’s easy to tell which ones captured your imagination (or google’s search interest) to make the assessment.

So here are the top 10 posts (well – OK – I did have trouble counting again), in chronological order, the oldest to the newest:

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Stop the Insanity! Instead Try These Baby Steps: Learning to Ask for Money

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Long-time readers of this blog know my frustration over newly-minted private, independent advocates volunteering their time as a way to prepare to be professional advocates.

Newbie advocates cite two major reasons for doing their advocacy work for free:

  1. They are afraid / reluctant / don’t have enough confidence to talk about money and ask for payment.
  2. They feel sorry for the prospective client, and figure it won’t take too much time to help them.
  3. … both of the above.

The problem is, doing volunteer advocacy as a way to start an independent practice is the very best way to put yourself out of business. Growing a business is all about making sure your income is more than your outgo. You can start your business – no problem!  But if you can’t ask for money, and you don’t learn how to, then it won’t be long before you lose your business.

(Can you imagine a lawyer not expecting to be paid?  Or your tax guy?  Or even your hairdresser?)

The consequences are dire for both you and others:  if you only ever do the work for free, then not only have you lost all that time, effort, and money you invested in getting your practice started, but you also fail all those (hundreds? thousands of?) people you might have helped in the future if you had been successful.

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