5 Causes of Freak Out in Private Practice

How do you feel when the phone stops ringing? or when referrals start to slow?

Maybe you are comfortable riding the wave and don’t feel anxiety or worry. If that is you! I am so happy you aren't struggling and hope you can share below your wisdom on how you have learned to cope with change. This is so very important as a business owner.

Others of you might actually have a little freak out or your brain might activate the chicken little inside - landing you on google looking for employment. 

Whatever your response, I just want to acknowledge building a private practice can be hard work. Having a reaction to the ebb and flow is completely normal. Those things are part of being in private practice. 

Even so, I am also sure we can all agree the freaking out hurts you more than anything. Yes? Your cortisol levels raise and your body feels the tension while your mind is full of worry. So let’s talk about what is causing the freak out so you can do something about it.

Lack of support

I get weekly emails from therapists telling me that other therapists don’t believe they can do a cash pay practice the way they want. Some people have family that want them to just get a “real job.” Others have moved to a new area and are starting from scratch. The lack of support can really bring you down and we need community to build our practices. Friends and colleagues should be the ones that can help lift you up and challenge you at the same time.

Solution: Find your tribe. Even just a few individuals who share similar values or goals can support each other. That is what our bootcamp is all about. Use Skype to connect if you aren’t in the same area. Join a networking group or your local therapist organization. Seek out other business owners who understand what it is like. If you are an introvert - maybe an online forum would be a good place to start and from there you can find a person to connect with more deeply and consistently. Make community part of your weekly routine. Get out of the office on occasion and grab lunch or a walk around the park with someone. Use your support beyond a shoulder to cry on but also for accountability and to be challenged. Sometimes we are doing things that we don't see that sabotage our efforts. Great community will call that out in a loving way that moves you towards change.

Lack of self-esteem

When you don’t feel good enough, it can translate into how you treat your business. Many who struggle with confidence end up overworking to make up for the low self-esteem they feel. Doing more isn’t always the solution.

Solution: Rebuild your self worth. Find a therapist, a life coach, or a spiritual mentor that will nurture your strengths. Work on your self care and treasure yourself.

Lack of planning

Get in the car and just drive. At some point, you are going to wonder, where am I going? Spontaneity is fun even in your business. You can be more spontaneous however when you feel freedom to do so and that takes knowing what is working and what isn’t. Your business needs a plan. Your marketing needs a plan. Planning gives you direction and a place.

Solution: Sit down and do some research. Ask yourself - Who do I serve? How best do I serve? Where do I find the people that need me? Start getting a plan together and you will start to feel more confident and aware of what your business needs.

Lack of analysis 

Even for those with a plan, they miss going back to look at what they have done and its impact. Do you know if being on social media is helpful? You might feel like you are doing stuff but not seeing any results. For everything you create there is a strategy to get the message out into the world. 

Solution: Use online tools to track your social media use and its impact. Analytics are your friend and even if you don’t understand them all, start with some basics. Also, for offline networking, look at your calendar each month and reflect on the relationships you are building and what it has lead to in your business. Be asking every person who calls, how they found you. When you say something doesn't work, do you know why? Is the path clear? Have someone go through the process and give you feedback as well. If there is one way that you have gotten referrals, work from that strength. It's ok that social media may not be what works for you. The key is to find "your thing."

Lack of vision

You can create a highly successful practice but it isn’t so successful if it sucks the life out of you. Sometimes we get so focused on details we forget the big picture. Solution: When you are doing a task ask yourself “why?” Why is it important? How does it better your practice AND your life? Get back to what you are trying to create personally and professionally. 

Solution: Lean into the worry. Don’t shove it down because when things slow it is going to come back at you harder and faster. When you dig into the roots, my hope is you will find resolution and some peace.