September 16, 2022
Many of us have entertained the idea of starting our own psychotherapy private practice.
Private Practice is the ultimate long-term career ambition for many therapists and counselors. However, starting your own counseling business is a personal triumph – one that requires discipline to reach the productivity and motivation levels needed so you keep moving toward your goals.
Starting your own therapy practice can be a thrilling adventure.
It can be nerve-wracking as well. Even if you’re the most gifted therapist in the world, it’s unlikely you have any experience in marketing, understanding the legal and tax implications of opening a practice, formulating a business plan, how to decide on adequate office space and logistics, writing policies and procedures manuals, or marketing your new business.
Is your head spinning yet?
As a new therapy private practice owner, you’ll want to think about a few things to help you start and run a successful business:
Have a Separate Work Area
When you’re in the appropriate frame of mind, inspiration comes to you right away. Go to a professional workplace atmosphere that is relevant to your practice when you wish to unleash the power of your mind.
Choose Your Working Hours
Everything in life, including entrepreneurship, has its time and place. Establishing defined hours of work are habits of a healthy and successful counselor. Your mind and body begin to acquire a professional attitude toward your new practice when you have a set work routine. Having a defined work plan assists you in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, thus lowering your risk of burnout.
Identify your “therapy hour.” This will help you in managing your day’s bandwidth. Break down what you’ll be doing in a “60-minute” counseling session. Will it be 53 minutes of therapy and 7 minutes of note-taking and updating client files? Or maybe you will schedule a “72-minute” therapy session, where you meet with your client for 53 minutes, you then take 10 minutes to write your note, and another 10 minutes for a break before your next client.
(Why 53 minutes? Many insurance companies require meeting with your clients for a minimum of 53 minutes and not 50 minutes. Have you checked your insurance contract lately?)
Recognize your worth.
Remember that you are a skilled expert who has invested time and effort into the mental health field. You’ve put in a lot of time and money to get your qualifications, and you deserve to be fairly compensated for it.
Keep in mind the cost and value of your service when charging clients less to keep them from going to your competitors. Under charging for your services devalues yourself and the industry.
There are people who can assist you in establishing your new practice. An accountant to help with monthly reconciliations of our bank accounts or a biller to manage collecting funds from clients & insurance companies. Yet to truly project and strategize your business needs, a Consultant at Golden West Consulting & Learning Center should be number one on your list.
Using a trained consultant to walk you through the process of launching, maintaining and growing a psychotherapy practice is a great idea. The support of a business consultant helps you to continue doing what you do best, which is supporting your clients while having the confidence in knowing you are running a profitable and sustainable small business.
Opening your solo counseling practice is not a small decision.
According to the Small Business Administration, the average prognosis of a business surviving past 2 years is around a ⅔ success rate. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why some therapists’ ambitions never leave the dream phase.
Many obstacles can prevent a therapy practice from getting up and running before the couch is even delivered to your new location (in person or virtually).
Here are some hurdles that can deter therapists from ever starting their counseling private practice.
1. A lack of business knowledge
The majority of therapists have extensive training and experience in the field of mental health. They do not, however, have any business experience.
Starting, running and growing a business is a different ballgame, and integrating psychotherapy and business to achieve success is a fascinating combination.
It takes a lot of effort to start a business; it is not a one-and-done process. Practice owners must wear two hats – the clinical hat and the business hat. And they don’t always match up.
2. Income concerns
Money is a barrier for therapists who desire to start their own practice.
It’s difficult to determine if and when a therapy practice will be financially viable and sustainable without a comprehensive set of financial forecasts.
When there are no cash flow estimates to go along a business plan, the initial financial planning can feel insurmountable.
3. The Fear of Failing
When it comes to taking a risk in our lives, fear is probably the most powerful blocker – and starting a private practice is a major risk. With planning, accountability and motivation your psychotherapy business goals will become a reality.
4. The Dream Assailants – including yourself
You may have someone who opposes your decision to open your own practice, but there’s a good chance that your dream assailant is you.
We usually call this imposter syndrome. It can feel like a debilitating self doubt or maybe panic that you don’t belong, or that someone is going to “find out” that you are an imposter.
Are you wondering if you have what it takes to Be Your Own Boss?
Most psychotherapists dream of the day of having their own mental health private practice.
Yes, it’s a difficult path, but it’s the most reasonable choice for many; it’s the ultimate objective, the last destination, the once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
You’ll never be completely prepared. (Yes, that one hurts but true)
The truth is that you will never be completely prepared. We’ve discovered that the majority of successful business entrepreneurs begin when they are not prepared.
You must let go of the notion that all you need is a little more information, you just need to talk to one more person, or the need to wait for the perfect scenario.
Entering into private practice is a calculated leap of faith, but one that can be set up for success with the support of a business consultant. A consultant who has been right where you are.
Know what you want to achieve.
It’s critical to have a clear grasp of your reasons for beginning your own business, as well as your passion, drive, and intention.
Make sure you write these reasons down and have them handy to support you in managing your motivation for establishing a business.
Know what success means to you.
It’s critical to understand not only why you want to start your own business, but also what success means to you. Not others, just you.
What does it look like? Is it the freedom to set your own hours? Is it getting the dream office with a city view? Is it to do the therapy you want to do?
You must define success in your own terms.
Whatever it is, you are the only one who can determine what constitutes a successful life and business.
Now you must be wondering how do I enter private practice successfully?
No one teaches us how to manage a successful business by the time we graduate school to become clinicians. Marketing? Insurance? CPT codes? It’s a lot to manage, but with support from skilled consultants your aspirations of entering into private practice can be a reality.
Call Golden West Consulting and Learning today to start your path towards private practice ownership!