Starting and growing a private practice can be a real time suck. There are so many things to accomplish and to balance the management of the business along with the clinical work, well it’s often something we don’t plan for. So all the management stuff gets shoved in between appointments with clients, or late nights after the kids have gone to bed.
In the beginning, it can be fun. It’s like finding a new love. You are all excited and have a new found energy. But over time, you get comfortable and maintaining that kind of energy long term can really wear you down.
So let’s do a little assessment.
How many hours a week on average are you spending doing the clinical work?
How many hours per week are you spending on your notes?
What are the tasks that just annoy you?
What are the tasks that you tend to spend all your time on?
Are there fires you are constantly putting out?
What are you avoiding in your business?
Do you have a workflow or do things just happen as they come up?
How much time do you spend on social media?
How much time do you spend on your marketing?
How much time do you have allocated to look at your business numbers?
What do you think? Are you happy with the results?
Our brains lie to us, a lot. We think we know where our time goes. Try and track and you will see where you have imbalances. That scrolling on facebook doesn’t count as your marketing. The avoidance of doing your numbers might be leading to you setting fees out of feelings of fear instead of out of confidence for what you need to have a thriving business.
So how do you get a handle on all the things that you need to do.
Look at your tasks and ask yourself, is this really necessary? How do this help the client? Help me? Help my bank account? And if it doesn’t do any of those things, you might not need it.
So there are tasks that maybe are not the best use of your time. My mantra “just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” has been loudly playing in my brain as I add new projects and say no to others. For some therapists this means giving up control on answering phones, bookkeeping, or website design. If you aren’t doing the tasks that are critical to your business, can someone help with this? Also, do you have a budget for hiring this person? Any time I delegate I figure out how much more money I need to make to make it worth saving my time and sanity.
Look at the remaining tasks and schedule them. Treat your business schedule just like you do your schedule with clients. Your business deserves that kind of respect. You wouldn’t no show on a client just because they annoyed you, nor should you no show on your financial plans.
After you have your tasks categorized you add your processes.
Processes means that you have some standard steps you follow so you know that you got things covered. Here are a few processes to think of when getting started:
Intake Call - when the phone rings you need a process for assessing fit, discussing fee and schedule and referring out if needed. We give a script for our bootcampers to modify but you can create your own if it helps you stay on top of everything you need to cover in that first call.
Clinical process - How do your initial appointments go, how do you do check ins to ensure the clinical work is effective, how do you assess for referring out or termination?
Marketing Plan - We give a quarterly plan to our bootcampers for this one too. Look at when you schedule your marketing time and time for analyzing what is and isn’t working.
Financial Process - Evaluate your fees at least annually. Update your budget, talk to your accountant before the end of the year and at tax time at minimum. Think about how often you want to do these things and put it in your calendar.
Hiring - this is a big one for you if you have employees or contractors. From job description to marketing the position, to how to choose the best fit, this is super important if you want to have great outcomes from your team.
And lastly - play.
I know this is all about planning your business time and that also means making time for fun. Before I schedule anything, I plan time off first. I put me and my family on the calendar first and then I fit the business in between. Are you having any fun? How do you like to play? Make time for it.