You are tired of working for someone else. You feel like your energy, creativity and time are being sucked away from you. You think there’s got to be a better way.
You just want to work with those with whom your passionate and make a difference. That’s why you went to grad school for therapy right? Yep. I hear you- been there, done that.
By going into private practice, you GET to do all those things- work with who you want and see differences.
However, you’ve got to be really honest about if you are ready to take this leap. Going into practice for yourself feels like climbing up a high diving board and then jumping off.
I’m here to help you know if you are ready to take the leap into private practice.
10 Signs You are Ready to Go Into Private Practice
1. You have a plan.
Many therapists think they will just open their doors, hang out the shingle, and have a thriving private practice. Others make it look easy. Here’s the thing- those who make it look easy have worked hard to get there.
You don’t have an expert swing without knowing what it takes to get to your goal of hitting a game-winning home run. It takes having a plan to get up every morning and practice and doing the hard work even if no one is looking. Which leads me to the next point…
2. You are a self starter.
With your current job, you often hear from your supervisors that it only seems like you need a boss because it’s in the rules and regs.
You see what needs to be done and do it. If you are one of these people, then you are likely to think “well, doesn’t everyone think like that?” The answer: no way. Capitalize on your uniqueness. Start your own gig and create your passion.
3. You have some money to invest in yourself.
Therapists tend to be very
cheap frugal when it comes to spending money investing in themselves and their business. You may have a bit of sticker shock at some of the prices for coaching and advising but the money spent is an investment.
I have a good friend who said that by spending $2,000 on a coach she has already made that money back plus $8,000 in only a few short months. As mental health people, we actually have it a bit easier than most- we can get away with little actual inventory for our start-up.
4. You are a constant learner.
You want to do your job in the best way possible and seek training to get there. Not because the training is required to keep your license but because you want to learn how to help others BETTER.
5. You’ve been practicing for a while.
Part of being successful in private practice is being a therapist for a minute. Private practice is hard, so you need to have a good grounding in who you are as a therapist before you jump into representing yourself to others. Working in the trenches often helps you know how you want your practice to be different.
6. You don’t need constant affirmation.
We all like to receive that “way to go” from others. But, in private practice, those are few and far between. No one says, “hey, way to take our your trash without anyone telling you.” You just do it and know that it’s okay without having anyone notice. (Sounds like being a parent a bit huh?)
7. You are okay with working odd hours.
If you have to have an 8-5 job, then private practice isn’t for you, at least right now. When you are starting in private practice, having flexible hours can be what makes you different than others. There will be times when I go in and 1 and get finished at 7 because after school and after work appointments are the most popular.
If you know you have to be off and at home by 5 each day, then you are likely to struggle with getting and keeping clients, at least when you first begin your practice.
8. You have support or are willing to seek it out
As I’ve mentioned before, private practice can be lonely. I’m in a rural area myself where there isn’t a lot of private practice folks. To combat some of this isolation, I am a member (and have formed) some groups online for private practice therapists.
It really helps to have someone who knows what you are going through and can provide honest, quality feedback for those questions that invariably occur.
9. You know what you are passionate about- or you know your niche.
Part of succeeding in private practice is knowing what you do well and who you serve best. It will be tempting to take a buckshot approach when going into private practice but this will not sustain you in the long run.
Figure out what kind of client you really love to see or what type of therapy you love to do and do THAT. Be known for that. Then you can do what you really want to do in your practice.
10. You are willing to take risks, fall, and dust yourself off again.
I’ve made mistakes in my practice. I’ve had a huge learning curve. But the difference is I keep going. I’m able to know that when I know better, I will do better (from the great Maya Angelou). You may get battered around a bit, but without the willingness to stay in the arena, you will never succeed.
If most of these resonated with you and you were able to say, “Yep, that sounds like me” then you are likely ready to jump off the diving board.