Are you thinking about going into private practice as a counselor, therapist or other practitioner? Maybe you have a lot of clinical experience but knowing how to actually start a private practice is scary or intimidating.
It might be that you are burned out by working for an agency with the high case loads and endless paperwork. You have thought about and maybe even dreamed of going into private practice and being your own boss, but leaving a full time agency job with the steady paycheck and benefits feels like too big of a jump.
I have been there too! The good news is that going into private practice is absolutely doable and can be done without taking too many risks.
Let’s break it down into 3 main steps
You need a place to see clients. What makes sense for most people in the beginning is to borrow the space to see clients. Really all a therapy practice needs is a private place to meet with a few comfy chairs to sit in. So make a list of people you know that might have that sort of space that would be willing for you to borrow in the beginning stages.
Brainstorm some places you can get started with: lawyer’s offices, churches, synagogues, doctors offices, banks, other therapists. There are tons of offices and spaces that go unused during the evening hours and on weekends.
You will need a way to get clients and referrals. (It’s the “M” word, called marketing…) Start by creating a Facebook page for your practice. And if you really want to get ambitious in the initial stages, start a website (see also the blog posts on this topic) Also you can get some business cards made and rack cards made really cheap. (Look into Vistaprint or Office Depot)
You will need to setup your office processes. You will need your paperwork, forms and ways to track and keep records. Not only on the clinical side of things but also on the business side of things. I would recommend that you look into G Suite which is Google’s suite of office applications for small businesses.
(I am putting together some FREE webinars and developing a full online course “G-Suite for Therapist” that will show you how to use G Suite in private practice and make it HIPAA compliant. If you would like to know when the webinars and course are available, sign up here.)
So those are the main 3 steps for starting a private practice. Of course there is lots of other information you will want to have as you begin your journey into being your own boss and starting into private practice. By building on these 3 basic building blocks you can have a thriving private practice that gives you more income potential and the satisfaction of being your own boss.
If you have not done it already, do get my FREE Private Practice Start-Up Guide that will help you go into more detail with these three steps.
By L. Gordon Brewer, Jr., MEd. LMFT – Gordon is the President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is also a consultant and business mentor at The Practice of Therapy. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn. Join the Facebook Group.