I’ve been there. Working for a job where you are underpaid and overworked, one that stresses you out, a job that is no longer satisfying. I’ve dreamed of running my own practice but wondered if it was even possible. But, it is possible and I am living proof of that.
5 years ago, I was working in an agency making what amounted to minimum wage. After a few months of bounced checks and overdrawn bank accounts, I decided I had enough. I quit the job with no plan and little hope. But, with $12.59 in my checking account and a $1,000 loan from my dad, I started a private practice. And six months later, I was fully booked and was able to bring on another clinician. I now have six therapists seeing clients at a practice that had 5,000 sessions just last year.
It IS possible to have a thriving therapy practice. If you are willing to put in the work and take the right steps then you can have the career you have dreamed of.
I would like to share with you the steps I took to create my own therapy practice:
I owned the responsibility.
I realized that running my business would take responsibility and that many of my excuses stemmed from my own fear of taking it. I could take responsibility for figuring out “benefits” like 401k plans and insurance coverage on my own. I did not need an employer to do that for me. I could come up with passive income that would help me get paid time off. If you are struggling with this fear, I get it. It is a scary world. We have bills to pay. Illnesses to treat. Paid time off to take! But once you believe in yourself and your capabilities to problems solve then these will no longer be fears. Remember, there are millions of people out there being their own boss. If they can do it, why can’t you?
I learned to navigate naysayers.
With any big endeavor, there are always naysayers. Friends that roll their eyes at your big dreams. Family members that remind you of all the reasons you might fail rather than all the reasons you can succeed. Other therapists who tried it before and didn’t have good results. This will happen. People will surprise you with their lack of support. Navigating them is necessary to maintaining your motivation.
First, don’t take it personally. Remember, their reaction is about them and not about you. Perhaps they are fearful for you because they would be fearful for themselves. Perhaps they are rolling their eyes because they don’t know how to dream big and your big dreams make them uncomfortable. Maintain your confidence in your position. Keep your eye on the prize. You can get there.
I got support.
This was something I learned the hard way. I wish I knew when I started how important a network of supportive and knowledgable individuals is. Accountants, attorneys, coaches, other therapists, and fellow business owners have helped me so much along the way. Unfortunately, not having them in the beginning made me have a lot of untangling to do. Having support for accountability and guidance saves you time and money because you then take each step with intention and a plan.
I bit the bullet and marketed myself.
This. was. so. hard. Yet, I realized it was also so important. I understood that without marketing I would not have a business. I needed to let people know who I was and how I could help them or there would be no people to help. Because I did not have any marketing support, there was a lot of trial and error and with that, I have learned A LOT about marketing. What makes it successful and what makes it unsuccessful.
Are you interested in learning more about marketing your practice? I can help you with that! Through my Marketing Home Study, you will learn the in’s and outs of private practice marketing. Through a series of videos and homework assignments, I guide you to understand and describe your niche, design your website, track your marketing, and utilize social media.