Being in private practice is awesome without a doubt. It has fantastic benefits, like you get to take time off when YOU need it, not just when someone says it’s okay- not to mention the other perks, like setting your own hours and getting to take a long lunch with a great friend “just because.”
However, private practice also has its challenges and can be scary as hell at times.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to be successful in private practice and really don’t know where to start, take heed- there is hope. You can learn from my ‘life lessons’ (or screw-ups depending on the day and mood).
Read below to avoid the large learning curve I had when starting my very own private practice.
7 Things I Wish I would Have Known Before Going Into Private Practice
1. It’s hard. You often don’t have anyone telling you good job or even providing regular feedback, so it can feel like you are on a never-ending treadmill. Success doesn’t come easily- it’s hard work and preparation.
2. Insurance panels are important. Getting approved to get paid for your work through insurance providers is no small task; however it can be a big source of clients. Dealing with insurance companies is a pain, but it may be a necessary evil in the beginning to get your business off the ground.
3. You have to decide what you are worth. It’s not fun dealing with the business end of charging people for your services while still being a therapist (unconditional positive regard). But it IS a business. To be successful, you have to know that you provide quality services and stand in that place all the time. Without exception.
4. A niche is a must. Having a niche is just another way of talking about your specialty. Think about your ideal client- who you feel like you would see for free? Picture that type of person and you’ve found your niche. Serve everyone and you will serve no one very well.
5. It can be isolating. Many days, I go all day without seeing anyone but clients and we all know that is not a two-way relationship. Venturing out and finding a consultation group- either in person or online- is a survival skill.
6. Hire help. When first going into private practice, you will feel like you have to do everything yourself to limit overhead. This is true in a lot of cases, but for those things that are vital to your success (like getting paid for your services with a insurance panel), it may be prudent to hire someone who does it all the time. This doesn’t have to break the bank. One non-traditional alternative is a virtual assistant.
7. Know what you are working for at the end of the day. Like I said, private practice is no fool’s errand- it’s hard, taxing, and can make you question your sanity. But it’s also awesome. You get to work with clients on a level that you choose- you get to help them in a way that is most beneficial for both of you. Having a worthy reason you can easily recall on those challenging days is a must.
This is just a small smattering of the large amount of stuff I now have in my head about being successful in a private practice. If you are wanting to go into private practice but really don’t know where to start, I can help.
Check out my upcoming live training in Little Rock, AR if you are interested in a hands-on, individualized road-map of how to start a private practice from someone who has been where you are now.