In this episode, Gordon talks with David Sturgess, LPC about making the transition from working in a hospital setting to full-time private practice. David was able to make that transition over time by starting part-time with his private practice working just a few evenings a week. David shares how he was able to decide when to go full-time with his practice.Also, Gordon and David discuss understanding the financial leap into private practice. Start part-time before completely committing to quitting your day job. Then, they talk about why outsourcing your website may save you money in the long run.
Meet David Sturgess
David Sturgess is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Marietta, Georgia. He owns Foundry Counseling, LLC just off the Marietta Square. He is a National Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and holds the Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS) credentials in Georgia.
For the last decade, he has been a clinician in Georgia’s short- to long-term Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs). During the last two years of working in the hospital settings, he operated his private practice part-time.
In the Spring of 2019, he left the treatment facility environment to do private practice full-time. His experience and focus have been with adolescents and their families learning how to cope and heal from trauma, self-harm, and life-threatening behaviors, as well as psychosis. He is intensively trained in TF-CBT, Trauma-Informed Care and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He facilitates training in these areas for different agencies and churches in Georgia, to empower people to identify when someone close to them needs a more personal level of care and connect with mental health professionals. In private practice, he works with individuals and families to build peace and confidence in their lives as they cope with the daily challenges of their needs, as well as the caregivers supporting the client. Aside from adolescents and families, he works with 20-30-year-olds in learning how to manage the stressors of leaving college and creating their new lifestyles; as well as helping men learn strategies to manage the unique needs they carry and often do not find a confidential place to work.
Understanding the Financial Leap
David and Gordon spent a few mastermind sessions talking about this topic. Handle your personal finances as well as setting up business finances. Minimize the debt risk to your home, not in terms of your mortgage, but all of the monthly payments that you need to make. The transition will take your income from a guaranteed paycheck to a variable income, where one month can be significant and the next month not so much – you will still have those payments you need to make. Get rid of as much debt as possible on the personal side. There are a lot of great therapists out there, but they don’t know how to run a business, so their private practices have failed. While on the other hand, there are a lot of great business owners, but they are not therapists.
Starting Private Practice Part-Time
To limit financial liability, David suggests starting a private practice part-time so you can begin building a financial buffer while still having a guaranteed paycheck. Make sure you are still in good standing with your employer. David was not prepared to be full-time in private practice financially; he did it on the side to pay down student loan debt. He recognized that his employer would not give him the raise to help him do that. As David’s first night filled up, he moved into doing his private practice two nights a week. It is one of those things you have to weigh in the beginning stages of private practice. If you are working a full-time job, and you depend on that income, don’t quit your day job too quickly. Be prepared financially to make the transition.
David’s website broke the other day; it’s a thorn in his side. When people start a business, they often cannot afford to pay someone to run their website, so they decide to bootstrap it. There are pros and cons to this method. You will find yourself in a situation where you cannot financially afford it. The amount of time that David has wasted trying to do it himself and it not working, probably would have been better off paying someone to run it for him. When you outsource things that are sucking your time, that’s the time you can turn into seeing a client and gaining revenue.
David brought on another therapist to his practice; they worked together at his old employer. They have a similar skill set and experience in a hospital setting, so it was a good fit. Having the opportunity to do the skills groups are a great way to increase revenue. Multiple people in the same room are paying an individual price to participate in the group. David is not losing the hour just because there are two therapists in the same place. By the time they split the revenue, they are making the same they would in an hour. Plus, they get to serve more people at the same time.
The Benefits of A Mastermind Group
Gordon finds people are hungry for is a way to have a community that is a little more than social media. The mastermind group that he runs is limited to 6 or 8 people. It is a way for people to get together to talk about their practices and struggles. David was recently part of the mastermind group; Gordon’s next group will be starting in September. To sign up, click HERE.
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Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT
Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog.He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook