Creating a Business Mindset in your Private Practice

You already know exactly what to do once you have your client in the office. You are a wonderful therapist that is going to help people change their lives and feel happier and more fulfilled. Yet, you struggle to run a business. 

Does this sound like you?

Phew. Take a deep breath. It sounds like MOST of us. We are trained to be therapists. Not business people. And that is totally fine. You can learn it!

I promise. It isn’t some secret skillset that you are not able to access, rather, a mindset that needs to be cultivated over time so that you can begin to think and act like a business owner that also happens to be a therapist.

Here are 4 Tips to Begin Strengthening that Business Mindset Muscle:

1. Begin listening to or reading business, money, and marketing content.

Podcasts, books, and magazines about business, money, and marketing are a great way to sharpen your skills for your practice. Regularly taking in this type of information makes it easier to think like a business person. You, of course, get to decide if you agree with, value, or want to utilize the tips that are offered.

2. Observe other businesses.

When you go to your dentist do you notice how they run administration? How they maintain processes? How they communicate with you? How about your local boutique? What do they do that makes you feel warm and welcome? What about the big companies you buy from? What about their messages encourages you to make a purchase from them? Notice how other people run their businesses and what they do that you do or don’t like. 

3. Begin to make decisions for your business by asking yourself “what would other business people do?”

Many times therapists get themselves into trouble because they don’t make decisions based on the realities of their business. They might allow chronic policy violations, accept unfair terms for payment on their utilities, etc, or set up things that are not sustainable just because they feel “nicer”. Whenever you notice yourself getting into hot water, ask yourself “was there something I did here that wasn’t business minded?” and “did I care for my business in this situation?”

4. Be your own boss.

This is a big one! It is so hard to step into the business mindset when we have been trained for so many years to be students and employees. It can feel scary to make our own decisions because they have been made for us so many times in the past. How much should I pay myself? What policy should I create? How much time should I spend away from the office? What is my schedule? How do I decide what money to spend and on what?

These are the types of decisions you will have to make yourself. And you will have to boss yourself around too (haha)!

It’s true – you will have to say to yourself things like:

  • “Liz, I know you want to go shopping right now but it is a workday. You need to sit down and do your marketing e-mails”..
  • “Liz, I know you are afraid that you cannot take off this week, but it is okay. I promise I have set it up so you can get paid while you are away.”
  • “Liz, I know that you are worried that this marketing technique isn’t going to work, but I want you to try it anyway! It’s due by Friday of this week!”

When you are struggling to remain focused and disciplined imagine talking to yourself the way a boss would – a boss that believes in you and has high expectations for you. A boss that cares about the bottom line, as well, and has hired you to help the business run.

How else do you build a business mindset in your practice? Tell us your tips below!


Elizabeth Earnshaw is the owner of two businesses – a thriving private practice in Center City, Philadelphia and an online school that offers psychoeducation and therapist training programs. She is passionate about helping therapists to create a thriving career so they can live abundant lives. To read more about her, click here.

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