5 Musts When Starting a Private Practice

Maybe you’ve just launched your new private practice, or maybe you’re still in the planning phase. Congratulations! There has never been a better time to start a private practice. The world needs you. Your clients need you.

The work that you do matters.

Starting a private practice is a huge accomplishment, one that you should be really proud of. You’ve taken a big step toward making your dream a reality, and you want to be as successful as possible.

So, how do you get there?

Starting a Private Practice

Whether your private practice has been open for a little while, or you’re still in the planning stages, it’s time to start seeing yourself as more than just a therapist. It’s time to embrace the business side of private practice.

I’ve worked with thousands of psychotherapists starting a private practice, and I’ve learned what sets the successful private practices apart.

Here are the top five things you MUST do to be successful in your new psychotherapy practice:

  1. Embrace being a business owner

    I’m starting with this one because not only is it the most important, it’s also the one that drives me bananas. I hate hearing from therapists in private practice who “just want to do therapy”. For those of you in private practice who “just want to do therapy”, please go find an agency or a group practice you can join.

    I realize this sounds harsh, and maybe it IS harsh, but being in practice for yourself means you are a business owner. An entrepreneur. Yes, YOU. YOU are a business owner. It’s time to think like one. It’s time to act like one.

    Of course you are still a therapist. But clinical skills alone will NOT get your practice off the ground. Clinical skills will NOT get new therapy clients.

    Since you ARE a business owner/entrepreneur why not embrace that aspect of your private practice? Why not give yourself the best possible advantage by being as good as you can possibly be at the practice-building side of things?

    Entrepreneurs and business owners think about things like marketing, business-building, cash flow, and positioning. These are things that you need to be thinking about as well. If you can learn to love this side of private practice, you’ll have so much more fun in your new venture.

  2. Decide in advance that you’re going to be successful

    This is a hard path you’ve chosen. Being a business owner is NOT for the faint of heart.

    But you’ve got this. You never would’ve gotten this far if you didn’t know in your heart that private practice is the right path for you. Your practice is how you are going to change lives. It’s how you’re going to make the world a better place. We need you.

    Along the way, it can be discouraging, demoralizing, and even downright depressing at times. It will be harder than you thought.

    It will also be far more rewarding than you ever imagined. You will do things you never thought you were capable of, and accomplish things you didn’t even dare dream about.

    You will amaze yourself. You will amaze the people that love you. You will inspire people that don’t even know you.

    But only if you stick with it. If you don’t make the decision, right now, today, that you WILL be successful, it will be too easy to give up on yourself when the going gets tough.

    The brain is so amazing that once you make the decision to be successful, it will go to work figuring the “how”. You’ll get ideas, inspiration, connections, resources that you can’t even imagine right now.

  3. Make marketing your top priority

    You probably have no idea how to market your private practice. It probably feels big and overwhelming. It’s so much easier to focus on the “fun” stuff: designing your business cards, getting that additional certification, or even setting up your setting up your practice management system.

    But here’s the deal…

    Without marketing, you don’t have a business. Without marketing, none of the rest of it matters.

    I learned this the hard way. When I started my practice, I had no idea that I was even supposed to be marketing. I’m a therapist, not a marketer, right? Wrong. That was such an entitled way of thinking: just because I had opened the doors on my practice, clients would come flooding in.

    News flash: they didn’t. I wasn’t entitled to clients, I had to earn them, just like you do.

    It took me almost two years and nearly closing my practice before I accepted the reality that marketing must be my top priority. Marketing was the only way to earn clients. That was the turning point for me.

    When I made marketing my top priority, I quickly realized I had no idea how to actually do it. I was willing to do the work, but not able.

    The good news is that marketing is a learnable skill. Every successful practice-owner has learned these skills, so can you.

    So can you. Promise. I’ve seen it time and time again over my past 10 years coaching therapists. But it all starts with making marketing your top priority.

    Click Here to Download your FREE NEW PRACTICE CHECKLIST.

  4. Develop your marketing skills

    I am NOT a “natural-born marketer” by any stretch. But once I made marketing my top priority, I was able to develop the skills I needed.

    I learned how to use social media, how to get visitors to my website, how to get referrals, and how to get new client calls.

    These are all skills that you’ll need to develop as well. Get good at them.
    Before starting a private practice, you’ve invested thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to develop your clinical skills. Countless books, classes, CEUs and hours of supervision.

    You’re a good clinician.

    Take a moment to acknowledge that fact. Really appreciate the work that you’ve done to get yourself here. You’ve developed a set of clinical skills that can save people, save marriages, and even save lives.

    When you’re starting a private practice, you can’t rely on your clinical skills to help you get clients. Before you start working with a client, they have no idea how good your clinical skills are. It’s your marketing that determines whether or not a client chooses to work with you.

  5. Learn from others who are already successful

My grandmother used to pride herself on being “a graduate of the school of hard knocks.” She took pride in the struggles she had been through in her life, and who she had become as the result of these struggles.

So, what did I do when I started my practice? I tried to figure it out all on my own. Because that’s how we do things in our family. We take pride in doing it the hard way; figuring it out on our own. That way of thinking earned me $21,000 my first year in practice. That way of thinking nearly put me out of business.  It wasn’t until I found others who were already successful that I was able to turn my business around. It wasn’t until I found coaches and mentors to guide me that I had a sustainable, profitable private practice.

They knew how to navigate the waters that looked treacherous to me. They had overcome the obstacles that looked insurmountable to me. They were able to show me what it takes to be successful, and I’m so grateful for the guidance and direction that created the business I have today.

To help you on your path to a profitable practice, I’ve created a checklist with the 20 things you MUST do to set yourself up for success in private practice. To grab a copy of it FREE, click here:

Click Here to Download your FREE NEW PRACTICE CHECKLIST.