So you have been working as a therapist for some time and are now looking to start out on your own? Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that 1 in 4 US adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. Therefore, your help will never be too much.
Here are some tips for getting started on your journey toward becoming a successful therapist with your own private practice:
Be Flexible With Your Fees
CNBC reports, based on a survey with 1,000 participants, that 38% of adults can’t pay for therapy without some financial assistance. For a therapist and even for any caring human being, this should be painful. After all, mental health is an important part of life, and people who require treatment should have access to it. As a therapist, you can provide the financial assistance they need.
You can always ask for higher fees from clients who can afford it. But charging reduced fees for people with underprivileged backgrounds is not only good from a humanitarian standpoint, but it can also help popularise your business in the early days. In fact, going through the bio of many therapists, you’ll see that they already use this trick.
If you are considering opening your own private practice, consider being flexible when setting fees so that people can see you if they need help, even if their insurance doesn’t cover it. Remember, therapy should always be affordable and accessible.
Learn to Manage A Business
In addition to treating clients, a successful private practice requires you to be a business manager. You need to learn how to manage finances, time, and people. These things you might not have learned in school but are essential for running your practice successfully.
To get started, you need a business plan. You need to know where your initial funds are coming from, how you will ensure that the money keeps coming in, how you will market your business, and other stuff like that. If you need some initial investment, a solid business plan will also boost the investor’s confidence in you.
Good news for you, CBInsight reports that the funding to the mental health tech sector grew by 139% to reach a record amount of $5.5 billion in 2021. This indicates that investors are identifying mental health as a beneficial sector to invest in. This means it will be easier to catch the interest of a potential investor, but you will still need a solid business plan to actually keep them interested.
Have A Clear Plan For Office Management
When you are running an office of your own, it adds a lot of work that you probably didn’t have to do. You need to maintain medical records, treatment plans and progress, a proper billing system, a filing system, submit insurance claims, and book appointments, along with taking care of many smaller responsibilities that come with running an office.
When you are part of a larger organization, these are usually taken care of for you. But when you are on your own, the best solution is to get mental health practice management software. This software will do all of these things for you and save you a significant amount of work hours.
You can also hire an accountant who can help with bookkeeping, taxes, and insurance. Make sure whoever you hire is familiar with the laws in your state as well as how to set up a small business for therapists.
Chose A Profitable Location
Once you know what type of practice you want to run, it’s time to select the right location. The location will play a big part in how quickly, if at all, your business grows. For example, if you set up your shop in an area where there are many competing practices already established, you will find it extremely difficult to make a name for yourself.
You need your location to be as easily accessible as possible. You don’t want people to travel for an hour before they can reach you because they won’t. You also need to consider if you will open a practice in a neighborhood where there are not many therapists or at least therapists with your specialization around.
Be it at a conference, in a waiting room, or online, networking is an important part of building your private practice. It’s also the most likely way that you’ll find yourself with clients. The more people you meet and connect with, the more likely it is for them to recommend you when they are seeking therapy services.
Zippia notes that 79% of professionals believe that networking plays a vital role in career progression. As a therapist, forming professional relationships with your colleagues is arguably the best way to do that. Try working on workshops or seminars with them. The more they know you, the more they will feel comfortable referring clients to you.
You can always use the more conventional methods, like targeted online ads or billboards. They are useful, but when it comes to therapy, people generally go with the recommendation of someone they trust. Therefore never prioritize those methods over building relationships with your peers.
Hopefully that these tips will help you get started on your journey as a therapist. Remember, the key to success is being flexible and willing to learn as much as possible about running a private practice.