Do you want to start a sex therapy school? If YES, here is a 19-step guide on how to start a sex therapy school business with no money and no experience. A sex therapist is an individual who helps other people in diagnosing and treating sexual disorders. A therapist of this type will make use of a number of skills and resources to assist his or her patients. Anyone hoping to become a sex therapist will need at least 150 hours of specific sex therapy related training.
He or she must study the history of sexology, medical problems that affect sexuality, consultation techniques, interpersonal relationship elements, how to conduct sexual research, and more. It is believed that these courses supply the individual with the information needed to assess, counsel, treat and advise a person who comes with a sexual problem.
This is where this business comes in. It serves as an institution that tutors prospective sex therapists on the necessary knowledge they need to function effectively in the field. Starting a sex therapist school involves exploring the laws in your city that apply to owning your own school.
You need to obtain a business license from the city you live in and renew it on a yearly basis. Indeed starting your own business means having the freedom to limit the number of days and hours you work. But you also need to be able to accommodate people when they are available to come in, which may require having to work evenings and/or weekends.
18 Steps to Starting a Sex Therapist School
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- 7. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- 8. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 9. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 17. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The sex therapy sector is a major part of the behavioral health industry. This industry includes non-pharmacological therapies for conditions such as mental and emotional health, substance abuse disorder etc. In this new age, an enormous percentage of the world population strive all through their lives to cope with mental illnesses, such as personality disorders or depression, stress related issues, premature ejaculation, substance abuse disorders or other addictive behaviours.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Operators in this industry provide help, treatment or support to a suspected or confirmed behavioural health need. Behavioural health integration is an effective strategy adopted to improve the outcomes for millions of individuals with behavioural or mental health conditions worldwide.
According to reports, the global behavioural health market is expected to expand at 3.4% CAGR over the forecast period of 2018-2028, and is expected to be valued at US$ 156.3 bn by 2028 end. Research had shown that the global demand for behavioural health services is increasing as a result of growing prevalence of mental and emotional disorders and rising demand for behavioural health treatment.
Growing awareness and social acceptance of behavioural health issues we believe will create favourable market prospects for operators or service providers in this industry. Note that clinical advancements in therapy and medication management have brought about new and better procedures for both psychological and detoxification treatments.
Experts believe that online counselling programs and day care services are aiding the growth of behavioural health market. While improvements in treatment and programs, favourable supply and demand dynamic and growing mental health budget are some other factors that will boost market growth.
It’s also very necessary to note that limited access to mental health providers, lack of trained mental health care providers, low awareness regarding treatment options among the general population and limitation of primary care services are some factors that might affect the demand in this industry.
Have it in mind that based on disorder type, the market is segmented into the anxiety disorder, bipolar disorders, depression, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), substance abuse disorder and others. Other segment includes schizophrenia, insomnia, disruptive behavioural disorders, pervasive development disorder, etc.
Currently, anxiety disorder segment account for relatively high revenue share, followed by depression. Geographically, the global market is segmented into seven major regions viz. North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific (Asia-Pacific excluding Japan), Japan and the Middle East & Africa (MEA).
When it comes to value, North America dominated global behavioural health market in 2017 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of above 3% over the forecast period of 2018-2028. APEJ is expected to be the fastest growing market in terms of revenue, in the global behavioural health market, registering over 4% CAGR over 2018-2028.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Sexual dysfunctions is made up of disturbances in sexual desire and in the psychophysiological changes associated with the sexual response cycle in men and women. Even with the growing demand for clinical services and the potential impact of these disorders on interpersonal relationships and quality of life, epidemiologic data are relatively scant.
But using the readily available community studies, the studies has it that sexual dysfunctions are highly prevalent in both sexes, ranging from 10% to 52% of men and 25% to 63% of women. Reports also have it that 34.8% of men aged 40 to 70 years had moderate to complete erectile dysfunction, which was strongly relates to age, health status, and emotional function.
Experts believe that this is an important public health problem. Have it in mind that professional and public interest in sexual dysfunction has in this few years been sparked by developments in several areas. The very first major advances occurred in our understanding of the neurovascular mechanisms of sexual response in men and women. A lot of drugs have been manufactured to offer significant therapeutic potential for the treatment of male erectile disorder, while other agents have been proposed for sexual desire and orgasm disorders.
Note that the availability of these drugs could increase dramatically the number of patients seeking professional help for these problems. Indeed with the fast speed of modernization, changing cultural attitudes and demographic shifts in the population have highlighted the pervasiveness of sexual concerns in all ethnic and age groups.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
Modern sex therapy most times infuses psychotherapeutic and medical techniques. For instance, Viagra (sildenafil) to increase erectile response and Paxil (paroxetine) to treat premature ejaculation; but it falls on sex therapists to help those facing problems in overcoming them, in doing so possibly regaining an active sex life.
Its important to state that sex therapy requires rigorous evaluation that includes a medical and psychological examination. This is because sexual dysfunction may have a somatic base or a psychogenic basis. A clear example is erectile dysfunction (sometimes still called “impotence”), whose etiology may include, firstly, circulatory problems, and secondly, performance anxiety. There are no known niches in this industry as your job will mainly be to educate would-be sex therapists.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
One of the problems of starting a Sex Therapist School is attracting your first set of students. To find success in this business venture, you have to be intelligent, creative, and novel. Even more importantly than that, you must be a social person who is able to market him or her self and can make lots of connections to help you on your way to the top.
Note that when getting started in this business, you must be ready to face fierce competition because people attend only notable universities and clients only talk to people they know attended good sex therapy schools. One other thing you should keep in mind is networking. To succeed and gain more students, you must grow your network. Even if you do not have a network, you can start small and then grow steadily.
You can also practice socializing with friends, go out to meet friends of friends, and you can even use your parents social network and friends. Try not to remove or neglect anyone from your social network. You never know who a person may know and what kind of resources they have.
Mental illness or psychotherapeutic conditions are classified as abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, for a determined amount of time, which causes distress or emotional/physical impairment. This includes a large range of psychological or psychiatric disorders.
Experts believe that these issues can be caused by either a biological origin such as genetic, chemical, and anatomical; or a psychological origin such as trauma, lifestyle or conflict. Extraordinary advances have been made in the treatment of mental illness. An understanding of what causes some mental health disorders has led to greater sophistication in tailoring treatment to the underlying basis of each disorder.
Many mental health disorders can now be treated nearly as successfully as physical disorders. According to reports, most treatment methods can be categorized as either somatic or psychotherapeutic. Somatic treatments include drug therapy and electroconvulsive therapy. Psychotherapeutic treatments include individual, group, or family and marital psychotherapy; behaviour therapy techniques (such as relaxation training or exposure therapy); and hypnotherapy.
Most studies suggest that for major mental health disorders, a treatment approach involving both drugs and psychotherapy is far more effective than either treatment method used alone. Note that the psychotherapeutic drug industry continues to strive through a heap of issues that are directly or indirectly affecting competition.
Some hurdles recently faced by competitors in this market include advertising restrictions, label changes, and some general negative views about mental illness treatments. But according to reports, there have been considerable efforts in a lot of areas of the market including advanced delivery techniques, increased education and awareness efforts, and improved effectiveness.
4. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Being an emerging sex therapy business, your schools will be at a competitive disadvantage because you brand is just beginning to create an identity in the industry. This is why to compensate, one of the techniques entrepreneurs use is to buy a franchise and gain an established brand. Even in the hands of marketing professionals, the process for creating brand awareness is still long and grueling.
Buying a sex therapy business franchise, on the other hand, has the potential to deliver the kind of brand recognition most businesses can only dream of. Your chances of business success increases when you opt to franchise and benefit from the prior work of others and their lessons learned. You don’t necessarily need business experience to run a franchise.
To many people, Franchising a simple way to go into business for the first time. But franchising is no guarantee of success and the same principles of good management – such as informed decision-making, hard work, time management, having enough money and serving your customers/members well – still apply.
5. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Starting this business can be exciting especially if you enjoy teaching and helping people. But have it in mind that the Sex Therapy industry has its own challenges and threats, you just need to plan ahead and get ready to deal with them as they come. Problems you may encounter when starting a Sex Therapist School business may include;
- Registration and licensing
- Developing your recruitment plan
- Marketing and equipment
- Developing an entrepreneurship mind set
6. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering this option, it is advisable that you first check with your local, city and county government to get the necessary licensing before you open your doors for business. During the course of legalizing your school, you will have to register your institution as an entity.
There are six legal entities available to entrepreneurs in the United States of America and they include; Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Cooperative, C Corporation, Partnership and the S Corporation.
But when trying to open a Sex Therapist School, these options are reduced to two – Cooperative and LLC. But irrespective of the size and concept you have for your business the LLC is the best option for you. When a business is structured as an LLC, it becomes its own legal entity.
Forming an LLC is the simplest way of structuring your business to provide personal liability protection. This means your personal assets are protected if your business is sued. The LLC is responsible for its own debts and lawsuits, not the owners. It’s advantages may include;
- Pass through taxation
- Increase credibility
- Access to Business loans
- Personal assets protection
7. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Sexology school
- Brooklands Sex Therapist School
- Silver schools
- Cutting Edge school
- Princeton Fortified
- All Star
- Clear Jersey
- Elite School of learning
- Houston School of sex
- Sky schools
- Master Sex Therapist School
- Elements of sex
8. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Insurance for anything Therapy related is specifically designed and it provides a comprehensive basket of coverages for almost all concerned threats. Your insurance when planning to start this business needs to be flexible enough irrespective of the size or the number of students.
Projects executed by students should be covered while the student is enrolled at the school. The Sex Therapist School insurance program quotations are usually issued within 10 minutes after receipt of application, during business hours. Your insurance program should include the following:
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Business interruption insurance
- Employer’s liability insurance
- Medical insurance
- Money and loss of license cover
- Legal expense insurance
- General liability insurance
- Excess liability
9. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Sex education, sexuality counselling and sex therapy are separate disciplines, not levels of expertise within one discipline or field. This is why when thinking of which certification to apply for, you should consider your existing field of expertise. You need to ask yourself some questions to understand the best certification to go for; are you primarily an educator, perhaps leading workshops, teaching classes, or organizing and facilitating seminars?
Are you primarily a counsellor, perhaps working in a clinical or medical setting, giving specific suggestions and advice? Are you primarily a therapist, working with people in individual, partners or family sessions on various sex-related issues?
Have it in mind that each of these disciplines needs its own set of skills and knowledge. Certification and accreditation in this field is primarily handled by AASECT. It’s very important that you make all of your information as clear as possible for the AASECT Certification Steering Committee. Note that this will help fasten the process of evaluating your candidacy.
Have it in mind that copies of all supporting documents will need to be attached to the application. If you wish for the Committee to review syllabus that include course material in Human Sexuality, when the course itself was of a broader category, you should highlight such related classes. Also note that you have to send the application and all supporting documents to the AASECT Headquarters Office, along with the application fee.
The application needs to be legible. Completing and printing it directly from a computer is strongly preferred. When the AASECT Staff has received everything from you, the application will be sent to at least two reviewers for evaluation and assessment of certification criteria.
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
When running a sex therapist school, it falls on you as the owner to protect the works and creativity of your teachers and students. You need to protect the time and efforts they put into creating and testing processes and make sure they don’t get stolen.
You also have to protect your trademark and make sure the major factor that announces your brand clearly doesn’t get tampered with. Don’t forget that protecting your trademark from infringement requires a consistent offense and a sturdy defense.
- Use it or lose it
- Beware the Escalator Fate
- Police everything
- Enforce your mark
- Be vigilant
- Choose a strong mark
- Get everything registered
- Have an IP Lawyer
11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
In most states and provinces, sex therapy is not a separately licensed or regulated profession, just as child psychotherapy or geriatric psychotherapy is not government regulated beyond granting the basic license to practice therapy.
This is why to assure the public of highly qualified practitioners, AASECT provides voluntary certification to those therapists who have completed the rigorous certification process. Only those therapists who have met these qualifications may designate themselves as “AASECT Certified Sex Therapists.”
Certificate of Occupancy
A Sex Therapist School is usually run out of a physical location. Any form of business operating out of a physical location is required to possess a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met. If you plan to lease or buy a property, have the following procedures in mind:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a Sex Therapy production company.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for you business’ location to ensure your Sex Therapist School will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
In this form of business where services and courses are offered on an extended basis, a services contract is needed to state the terms and conditions of service. You should always ask your students to sign a services agreement before starting. This agreement clarifies client expectations and minimizes risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, and service level expectations.
12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
There are a lot of other options to consider when looking to secure funding for your sex therapist school, such as borrowing from a private investor, government grants, and using your personal credit. But do not forget that each of these options has it’s pros and cons; it is left for you to decide which will best suit your resources, needs and goals. Ways to raise funds to start your business may include;
- Debt finance
- Supply chain finance (e.g. credit from suppliers)
- Social investment
- Venture capital & business angels
- Financing by family and friends
- Loan finance
13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to deciding on a suitable location for your school, note that each type of location has its advantages and disadvantages. You have to consider the pros and cons of each to decide which is most favourable to your needs. For example, high-traffic areas will bring more people, but they come with higher rents and noises, while lower-rent areas may not be easily accessible to students.
One thing to consider when looking for a facility to house the Sex Therapist School is safety and size. You school needs to be located in a safe area, as it is difficult to attract new students if that part of town is known for its notoriety. Other things to consider may include;
- Access and parking space – for deliveries or students
- Whether you need the flexibility to alter or expand the premises
- Your long-term business plans
- Continuing maintenance and repairs
- Utilities, such as power and drainage, and any special requirements – for example, 3-phase electricity
- Permission, including planning permission to use the premises for a Sex Therapy Institute
- Building and contents insurance
- Size and layout of the premises
- Structure and appearance, both internally and externally
- Any special structural requirements, such as high ceilings
- Facilities and comfort for employees and students – including lighting and toilets
- Initial purchase costs, including legal costs such as solicitor’s fees and professional fees for surveyors
- Initial alterations, fitting out and decoration
- Transport links and parking – good public transport links and local parking facilities make it easier for staff members and students who don’t live within walking distance
14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
To Start a sex therapist school and run it comfortably, you need to feel comfortable with your own sexuality and have enough experience in the field of mental health to be able to respond to a wide variety of sexual and non-sexual mental health issues. You also need to keep an open mind and avoid judgments.
You have to be up-to-date on the current treatment modalities and research related to sex therapy and seek help and supervision when needed. It’s also important that you have a good understanding of your own values and respect the values of your students, and you should adhere to the ethics of the profession. To become a qualified sex therapist Educator, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s Degree + four years education experience (cumulative), of professional experience as a sexuality educator, in not under two years and not over five years prior to certification, or
- Master’s Degree + three years education experience (cumulative), of professional experience as a sexuality educator, in not under two years and not over five years prior to certification, or
- Doctoral Degree + two years education experience (cumulative), of professional experience as a sexuality educator, in not under two years and not over five years prior to certification.
- The 1000 hours of sexuality education experience (including 100 student-teacher contact hours).
- 90 clock hours of education in Human Sexuality Core Knowledge Content Areas (CKAs).
- 10 hours minimum of a Sexuality Attitude Reassessment (SAR).
- 25 hours supervision of over at least 12 months with an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator Supervisor.
- Written statement of sex education philosophy.
- Agree to adhere to AASECT’s Code of Ethics, By-laws, and Vision of Sexual Health, including the policy on Touch and the AASECT Professional.
Also note that your workplace might cost up to $10,000 or more per year. When starting up, you might be able to conduct business in a small space or garage. But as your school grows and students starts to troop in, you will need space to hold different classes, and store equipment; you will quickly outgrow that little space.
Academic and Non Academic Employees
This will cost within $20,000 to $100,000 a year or more. Try to keep it as lean as possible.
$1,000 or more. You’ll at the very least need an attractive and professionally rendered website and business cards.
Insurance and licensing
This will cost you up to $6,000 a year. Note that you will want fire and theft insurance for your Sex Therapy equipment, and liability insurance at the very least.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The major need of a Sex Therapist School is to offer different Sex Therapy education sessions to different groups throughout the day. Remember that running a successful business is knowing what not to do. Seeing and learning from other people’s mistakes will save you lots of time you do not have and frustration that you do not need. Outlined below are few pitfalls you should avoid, they include;
- Not furthering your education – Even teachers need to be students. Letting your students know you are keeping up on new techniques will give them the confidence that they are receiving top-notch training and education.
- Being “closed for business” – building a business needs time and effort. To truly grow a student body, be present at the facility, even when classes are not in session.
- Not having a lunchtime class – It is important to have a noontime class that caters to workers who are trying to get a lesson in during the workday. Although the class might not be heavily attended at first, eventually it will be filled.
- Not starting class on time – Be respectful of you students’ time. They will appreciate that you value them.
- Having a big ego – Even if you were the best student at the school where you learned, your students need an instructor, not an Alpha dog.
- Not having a website – In the 21st century, every business needs to have a web presence. It is a form of advertising for your business.
- Not having a marketing program – Continually marketing the school will continually bring in new students.
- Not knowing what your students do for a living – Your students can potentially be perfect advertising for you. Know what they do for a living and use them as a connection to new students when and where it is appropriate.
15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Most entrepreneurs see marketing as the great equalizer, a business discipline capable of dramatically increasing a small company’s footprint in the marketplace. Strategic marketing tactics can help small sex therapy businesses scale their visibility with clients.
It’s very important to state that email campaigns make use of the fact that most consumers and businesses receive information electronically. Reports have it that more than 50% of all email users check their inbox six or more times a day.
What does that mean for your school? It simply means that the odds are in favour of email campaigns. Note that the hardest part of an email campaign for majority of entrepreneurs is gathering the email addresses of likely customers.
When It’s Time to Rebrand
Indeed there are so many reasons why it might be time to begin a rebranding initiative – but a lack of alternative tactics is not one of them. Rebranding is an intentional marketing technique designed to deliver long term results.
In a sex therapy business, owners are often inspired to rebrand after analysis has demonstrated that the current brand is losing its impact in the marketplace. But unless you have the skills necessary to rebrand your business, its advisable that you consult a professional marketing firm before you introduce a new brand to your customers.
You have to understand that messaging matters – but only to an extent where it communicates value to cost-conscious consumers. In times past, entrepreneurs have understood that bundled products reinforce buyers’ value concerns while increasing their business’s total revenue position.
Note that a lot sex therapy businesses have the ability to bundle multiple products and services into a single offering that customers find appealing. But since the bundling concept is based on discounts, consumers expect to pay less for the bundle than they would if they were to buy the products separately, so you’ll need to make sure your bundle offers real value to buyers.
16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
In the business world and especially when it comes to education related businesses, entrepreneurs are always trying to outdo the other and the competition keeps getting intense. There are so many means of generating a whole lot of students and at the same time bench your competitors. They may include;
- In House Events
- Free Seminars
- Door to door fliers
- Lawn Signs
- Car Magnets
- Newsletter to Current & Past Students
- Mobile App for your current students
- Newspaper Advertising
- Video Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing
- Social Networking Sites
- Email Marketing
- Creative Direct Mail
- Community Outreach/Special Guests Programs
- Speaking at Events
- Contributing Writer to a Publication
- Author of Book
17. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
To succeed in this age, you need to maintain a strong presence on social media. You can show your portfolio, a clip on YouTube or Instagram to demonstrate your school’s capabilities. Then ask for followers on other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to join creative discussions and create backlinks to your work. If you do win awards, hire a public relations or publicity firm to publicize your achievements and attract new students and customers.
- Be more convenient than anyone else
- Make your students your foundation
- Help them do something they love
- Be there when they need you
- Solve a Problem for Your students
- Make quality a priority
- Give your students Something Your Competitors Aren’t
- Send them Something They Didn’t Know They Wanted
- Take your students Advice (and Credit Them for It)
- Give your students an upgrade
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Have it in mind that possessing a strong brand affinity is one of the fastest ways to improve profits and reduce overhead. The nature of this business means that more students will always lead to an uptick in monthly payments, but be mindful of whether you will make a sufficiently higher overall profit by expanding your business and increasing your other costs. Ways to boost your brand awareness may include;
- Hold an event
- Exhibit yourself
- Sponsor something
- Take to social media
- Launch a PR campaign
- Invest in promotional merchandise
- Organize an experiential stunt
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