We've all been there. The overwhelming joy of getting our licenses to help others protect and better their mental, physical, and spiritual health. We get excited and caught up in just getting patients that we tend to forget the nitty-gritty details of HOW to start efficiently the process of owning a private practice.
Don't worry, over the years, I have gathered a few tips that I wish I knew before starting a private practice.
Tip #1: Test the waters.
Start part-time. Rent out office space from another therapist and start your private practice hours part-time. Start with hours like 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., or weekend hours. Get a feel for what it's like to have your own private practice. Get a feel of setting your own hours and being Your Own Boss. You may decide that working for someone else is what you prefer or you may realize that you are ready to embark on this new business adventure!
Tip #2: Know your specialty AND your competition.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you have a specialty that would sustain a private practice?
Are there therapists in the area with the same specialty?
Is there room for you to grow a private practice with your specialty and how would the surrounding competition affect you?
These are some questions that are good to ask yourself before becoming a full-time Private Practice.
Tip #3: Build relationships.
Not all therapists are your competition.
Get to know the other therapists in the area and what they specialize in. If your specialty is anxiety and depression and you find a therapist that specializes in eating disorders you may be able to become referral sources for each other. Reach out to local pediatric doctor's offices and local schools if you specialize in Child therapy. If you specialize in anxiety reach out to the local Gastrologist. Building relationships is key to creating a successful Private Practice.
Tip #4: Branding and making a presence.
What is branding?
Branding is all about personalizing YOUR practice. It honestly isn't as scary as it sounds. Create a logo and create a color theme and just stick to it. How do I "make a presence"? Simply have an active blog, social media pages, and an e-mail newsletter. Be active with blogging, keep up with your social media sites and be consistent with your email newsletters. Start to build your database and you're following from the start. Before you know it, you'll have a face to your business online with an outreach that can help sustain your private practice.
Tip #5: Surround yourself with the best.
In order to succeed in the private practice world, all the pieces need to fit together. Get an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system- oh, you will need it, trust me. Get the best phone system to answer phone calls, voicemails and overall, have the best customer service (which is a crucial part of Private Practice). Hire a virtual assistant (VA). You will definitely need someone that specializes in the mental health field to help you build your private practice. You can't do it all. You need time for yourself to effectively help others (don't know how to, don't worry, see my recent blog I posted about how to perform self-care). Make sure when building referral relationships that they are the right fit for you. Choose referral relationships that reflect the clientele you would like to have in your own private practice.
Don't be afraid to spend money. Just make sure you're spending it wisely.
Starting your own private practice can be intimidating. Start slow and grow your private practice into your dream job.
Read The Next Blog: Going paperless with Simple Practice
Read Previous Blog: Self-Care 101: The Important Strategies