Deciding What You’re Worth

One of the first questions I ask potential new clients is, “What are your financial goals for the year?” I ask this because I need to understand where they are right now and where they want to go in their practice. My work with a counselor who wants to earn $85,000 per year is quite different from my work with a counselor who wants to earn $200,000 per year.

Here’s the shocking truth… most of the people I speak with have a difficult time answering that question. (Are you one of them? Don’t worry if you are, because you’re in good company.) Most counselors and therapists are hoping to “make as much as possible” or “do a little bit better than last year”. Neither of these is concrete, and neither of them creates the right foundation for a successful private practice.

The most successful therapists and counselors know that they have to have concrete financial goals, and a clearly defined revenue model to get there. It’s where I always spend a great deal of time with my clients because it’s that important. Nobody earns over $100,000 by accident. Nor does anyone do it by luck. Earning in the top bracket requires a commitment to get there and a strategic plan to implement along the way.

According to research done by the Kauffman Foundation, more than 50% of entrepreneurs and business owners earn less than $25,000 per year. And only 6% ever earn more than $100,000 per year.  Now these numbers aren’t specific to mental health professionals, but in my experience, these same percentages hold true.

So why are the numbers so abysmal? Does it mean that you should close your practice and go get a job at an agency? Not at all. But it is research that you should take very seriously. If you’d like to be in the ranks of those top 6%, earning $100,000 per year or more, you need to get serious about what you’re going to do to get there. That starts with deciding what you’re worth and how much you are going to earn from your private practice. Will doing this guarantee your success? No, of course not. But I can just about guarantee that you won’t get there if you don’t  do it.

To your 6-figure success,