Three Must Have Characteristics of the Business Minded Private Practice Owner

Being a private practice owner IS being a business owner. I like to call them businesses instead of practices because I think that language helps to shift the mindset around building and growing your practice.

As a business owner, there are three characteristics that are important to developing a business that is going to survive over the long term.


Being in business means being on a bumpy road. No matter how much you plan, organize, or find success there will always be a bump in the road. Shit happens. It really does.

You will have a steady referral source from a doctor’s office and then suddenly the doctor will retire and you’ll wonder where all the clients are.

You might get sick.

You might hire someone that you have to fire.

Your landlord might say “Hey, thanks for your loyalty to me but I am selling this property and kicking you out in two weeks.”

You will have to deal with insurance companies that WILL gaslight the hell out of you.

You might have slow weeks. You might have a client that leaves a bad review. Your website might get hacked. You might have a data breach.

Stuff happens. It is stressful. On the small scale it will create a humming discomfort and on the larger scale it will result in some sort of fight, flight, or freeze response.

You don’t want the latter. Resilience means being able to hold hope, faith, and a vision even when things are tough. It is being able to recognize that bumps are just bumps and it also means…

Accepting Reality

It can be hard to take a good look at your financials. It can be hard to contact the client that left a bad review. It can be really hard to find that your once viral Facebook page is no longer bringing in referrals.

But this difficult information is important information. When therapists can accept the reality of their practice they open themselves up to possibilities for continued success. It is only when you accept reality that you can truly course correct.


When therapists have adaptability as business owners, it means that they recognize their model will not work forever. Instead of putting up a website and hoping it works for the next 20 years, they are willing to follow the evolution of marketing, pay attention to the response their clients are giving to services, and update their office policies to move along with the times.

This is the area where I see MANY once successful therapists now failing. In our profession, so many therapists are showing resistance to adapting. They do this by refusing to build websites, pushing against social media, etc.

One of my favorite stories about a business struggling to accept reality and become adaptable is the story of a once very popular jean company. This company was a hit with people in their 20’s. Many years later, they continued marketing to people in their 20’s. The problem is that they didn’t accept the reality that no one wants to wear their parents jean brand. Rather than adapt their image and market to their older audience, they continued to believe they could stay hip with the new generation of youth.

These three concepts are the reason that I have a team of professionals around me – my accountant, lawyer, and coach all push me to be resilient, accept reality, and make moves that create adaptability. I’d like to be a part of your team, too. You can be resilient, look reality in the eyes, and be endlessly adaptable.

Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT is the owner of a group private practice in Philadelphia, PA . She is passionate about helping YOU to not only succeed but to thrive in private practice.

If you’d like to chat more about your goals, you can book a free discovery call with Liz by clicking the button below.

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