Several few weeks ago, I shared many of the mistakes I'd made when starting a private practice. The post went viral. It was shared hundreds of times, and read thousands of time. It also sparked quite a bit of conversation in the LinkedIn Groups where it was discussed. And that left me wondering... why this post? What is it that got therapists reading and sharing this post so much more than the average post?
Therapists Want to Do Things Right
Goal oriented people get Master's degrees. There is no way around it... a psychotherapy license doesn't just appear... it is an incredible amount of work, time, and energy to be able to do what you love- help people heal. For many of us, getting the degree was the easiest part of the process. There were checklists, and deadlines, and all the things we love that let us know if we are on track or off track.
Private Practice Isn't Like That
We give people all the step-by-step processes and checklists they need to build a fabulous private practice. However, that does NOT mean that the process isn't messy and filled with a fair amount of anxiety. I have watched therapists who are doing everything "right" and what they do are doing is "working" (they are growing their income, attracting new clients, and doing awesome clinical works) get completely thrown off track by this ONE mistake.
The Biggest Private Practice Mistake
Don't let anyone, ever convince you that having a successful practice isn't possible, or that it isn't an OK thing to create. Not even yourself. There is a reason why you are drawn to private practice. You are meant to do this work. Letting other's ideas, or obstacles get in your way means fewer people will get the unique help that you offer!
My Favorite Thing
Business School Bootcamp for Therapists starts in a couple of weeks and it truly is one of my favorite times of year. Why? Because I get to watch people struggling with "can I do this?" "Should I do this?" "Am I capable of this?" finally come to the other side. Some of the bootcampers have been in practice for decades, while others are just starting out- but the core issue that needs to be overcome is so often the same.
Learning How to Do Business is Easier When You KNOW You Can Learn It
It is amazing to me how many amazing therapists who have memorized volumes of work, and who have amazing skills to assess, analyze, and make targeted interventions think they are incapable of doing things like creating a business plan, learning how to budget, or getting new clients calling them who would LOVE to work with them.
I want to share a few experiences here of what happens when therapists are able to overcome that core question of "Can I really have a happy, successful private practice?" Not to overshadow the struggles that we all go through when learning the skills we need- but to help motivate you to fight through the discomfort, the unknown, through the fear and do the hard stuff anyways. Suspend your disbelief and know that you CAN learn the skills you need to create a practice that makes sense for you.
Disclaimer: Yes- these all happen to be positive experiences from people in our Business School Bootcamp for Therapists. However, you CAN be successful on your own. It is just REALLY easy for us to ask a question like "How has your business progressed in the last 3 months and get a TON of responses in the private community! We also think you get a MORE accurate view of how successful you can be when people have been empowered with the information and direction they need to be successful!
"I enrolled in Fall 2015 and was at the beginning stages of starting my own practice, 5 months after I have my own website, Google business, simple practice, business cards, marketed my services, square for payments, and just started renting an office per hour. The best part is that I began to see my first fee for service client and I never thought I would be doing it so soon. " Dr. Sonila Sejdaras
"My practice is completely booked! I'm more confident as a therapist and business owner since participating in the Fall 2015 Bootcamp!"Kristian Owens, LCSW
"Since fall 2015 I've managed to keep a full caseload through the holidays, and had 2 different articles published in a magazine and psych central. The traffic has significantly increased to my website as a result, more calls the past couple of weeks!" Zoe Reyes, LMFT
"I'm a really slow learner, but- this year my CPA is thrilled with me for how organized I've become financially. The fears have continued to drain away. I continue to evolve my niche, and focusing on transitioning to Coaching in Relationships and Co-Parenting and Hypnosis. I've raised my rates & eliminated half of the insurance companies."
"I finally took the time to "niche" and my new website went live 4-days ago. So far I've had 2 calls and one will be paying my full rate! The other is interested in a group I am starting. I've been implementing the SEO and social media strategies and am excited to keep learning and doing more!" Dr. Jodie Benabe
"I originally did bootcamp in March 2015 and my practice boomed afterwards. I've learned so many things about running a business (had no clue before) that I have been able to actually do what I love successfully. When I started bootcamp I had ONE client and was full of doubts if I could actually do this. Afterwards, I filled up all my time slots available, added another day and am now looking for a full time office space because the demand is so high! I wouldn't have believed it if somehow told me this would happen. I can't say enough good things about bootcamp!" Mahsa Lindeman, LMFT
Are you feeling inspired yet? You can do this. Write a list of the areas you are struggling in and make a PLAN to learn the skills you need and eliminate the self-doubt! It is time to get confident and clear about how much you are needed by your potential clients!