Hello, fellow counseling professionals!
Today’s blog post is a special one, as it gives us the chance to share with you all one of our passions, helping other mental health professionals achieve their dreams of starting a private practice is near and dear to our hearts. It’s why we partnered to create K2 Visionaries and The Private Practice Startup. We recently launched our podcast with fellow friend and colleague, Amanda Patterson of Caring Therapists of Broward on 5 Ways Social Media Can Transform Your Practice. Amanda recently hosted a webinar through FMHCA on Building a 6 Figure Private Practice. Let’s look at what she shared in her webinar.
Maybe you’re a counseling professional who’s been in the field for years and you’re ready to break out and open your own practice so that you can set your own schedule, find your ideal client, and be your own boss. Perhaps you’re a recent graduate and you’re ambitious and are ready to fill a need for a certain type of therapy in your area. Whatever the case may be, this webinar is for you if you’re looking to break out and start your journey to a lucrative private practice.
First things first...
Before beginning your private practice, identifying your niche is going to be an important step you take in developing yourself and your brand. Your niche determines so much of your future in private practice, from the type of clients you see, to the office space you select, to the type of business cards you use, and the website you develop. In addition to identifying your niche you want to see where to market yourself and your niche. Amanda recommends conducting a quick Google search of therapist in the area you’d like to practice, and see what comes up. Are there mostly links to Psychology Today profiles or to some other page? Pay attention to where others are advertising and this will help you determine where you should advertise as well.
“Cash is king” is an often used saying but it might be more prudent to say “Social media is king” in present times. Social media can be your best friend when promoting your business and attracting clients. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and Instagram are just a few ways that you are reaching out and attracting your ideal client. It’s important to keep in mind that not all social media sites will be where you client referrals come from (Amanda states that she has never received a client referral from Twitter) but it is a way to stay involved with your interests in the mental health community and promote other aspects of your brand, like blogging.
It’s all in your head
This one should be easy, it’s probably similar to something you’ve told your clients: it’s all in your head. Your mindset will determine your outcome and you may need some practice in adopting an abundance mindset. Money is a tough subject for most therapists to discuss; after all, few of us are drawn into this field by monetary prospects.The reality is that the messages we develop around money may be the very thing that hold us back from achieving our financial goals. Your financial goal will be different from another therapist’s financial goal and that’s okay! Determine the lifestyle that you’d like to lead and let that be your guide in determining your major source of income: your fee.
Caring for the client
Above all else, providing exceptional client care is critical in succeeding in private practice. Providing quality, ethical service is at the heart of the mental health field and if you cannot provide good client care, you might want to rethink your goals for private practice. The therapeutic relationship and alliance is one of the biggest factors in what determines change and success in the your client’s lives. Additionally, a satisfied client will be one of your biggest referral sources in generating other clients, so pay attention to the little things like: returning phone calls and E-Mails in a timely manner, the office atmosphere and energy for when clients first arrive, setting appropriate boundaries with your clients, and providing ample information on yourself, your practice, your fees, and background.
The idea of research isn’t one that usually interests individuals, especially those counseling professionals who decided a PhD was not in the foreseeable future. Research will also be your friend though on setting up your practice and making it your own. Amanda recommends research and doing your own work to figure out the type of therapist you how, how to market yourself in a way that is congruent to your practice and your beliefs, and how to provide the quality care your clients deserve from you. She recommends several books that she used along the way to find herself an independent practitioner and also remove mental roadblocks that seemed to get her “stuck” and prevent her from reaching her goals. Check out our show notes page for those details. Spend some time researching what others have done, what works for them, and then think about a way to make it your own.
Don’t stop there!
After you’ve made the jump into private practice, you might think, “What’s next?” Sharing your wealth of knowledge with others, of course! If you’re inclined to spread your knowledge and help others, consider becoming a qualified supervisor in your state. This is a creative way to generate another avenue of income into your private practice and give back to the community. Amanda notes that the registered intern who currently works in her office is available to see clients at a reduced rate and who may not receive mental health services otherwise. Your office staff and the quality of your office staff, if you have any, will play a big role in the overall energy of your office and the return rate and recommendations of your clients.
There you have just a brief overview of Amanda’s recent webinar “Building a Six-Figure Private Practice”. Click the link to view the webinar in its entirety and here more great tips and tricks Amanda has used along the way to becoming a successful independent practitioner. For more information on starting your own private practice and coaching, visit The Private Practice StartUp and if you’d like more information on continuing education units to become a qualified supervisor, check out K2 Visionaries for your personal and professional development needs. That’s all for now, and wishing you luck on your journey! - Dr. Kate, Katie & The K2 Team