Starting, growing, and running an acupuncture practice is one of the hardest things anyone can do.

Many of us make big and little mistakes along the way.

I want to share with you what I learned the hard way, so hopefully you can avoid making these same mistakes.


As health care practitioners and business owners we find ourselves in a lot of tricky and awkward conversations. And no, I’m not talking about bowel movement convos.

I’m talking about those other conversations where you feel at a loss for words, tempted to sacrifice your boundaries, or worse – you hear yourself droning on and on in an effort to explain our mysterious medicine that you are oh-so-passionate about, only to see your patient’s eyes glaze over.


I hear acupuncturists tell me this all the time: “I love everything about my work! Except marketing.”

I used to feel that way, too.

But my whole attitude about marketing shifted when I stopped thinking about it as “separate” from the rest of my work.

It’s not.


This article will probably ruffle some feathers. I’m not trying to be harsh, but sometimes you’ve got to rip the band-aid off. I love our medicine, want our profession to be wildly successful, and believe it can be if we’d all just get a touch more business-savvy. Because the world needs us!

So in the spirit of a tough coach who cares deeply about the team but who also has to call them on their crap from time to time, I offer you: Nine Things that Doom Acupuncturists to failure.


Don’t get me wrong; I’m a natural born optimist. I have a super-human (maybe slightly annoying) talent of detecting the silver lining in even the direst of circumstances.

Flight canceled – lovely, more time to read our books! Fraud on my business debit card – smashing, I’ll save money until my new card comes in! Any stumbling block can be a learning experience, or at the very least a statistical sign that nothing else could possibly go wrong.


My first career was in economics and finance, until I had my own personal renaissance. When I had health issues of my own I discovered the amazing powers of acupuncture, and that was it. I was done. I had found my calling. Rays of light were shooting out of my eyeballs and I was full of optimism and Captain of My Promising Future.

After 4 years of grad school, I launched my business, and started tackling the running and growing of a practice.


I want to live in a world where Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are well-regarded, widespread, and standard care for people, as well as a respected and lucrative profession.

A world in which a mothers’ first instinct is to get shonishin and herbs for her child, not antibiotics, when he/she has come down with an ear infection or cough;

A world in which people go to the ER to get a bone re-set and sutures put


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