Starting your therapy practice can be a challenging experience that may demoralise you while in pursuit of your dreams. Balancing between the business and technical bits of your career requires a lot of work. It is probably the reason why many therapists fear opening up their practice immediately after grad school.
A business lawyer with a law firm in Houston notes that ‘setting up a private practice without business training is possible. This can be achieved by getting a competent business lawyer who will guide you in setting up the business by setting up the necessary legal structures for the business. However, you should anticipate some challenges, but with determination, you will overcome them.’
Here are the common challenges you are likely to face when starting your career in private practice as a therapist:
Difficulty in selecting your area of specialisation
Psychology is a wide discipline. When starting your practice, you need to choose an area of specialization that sets you apart from other practicing psychologists. Although it is advisable to take up any work while building your profile, specialization offers you more advantages.
Specialising in different disciplines will help you market the business better. Clients will then know what to look for in your services while window shopping. Networking with other therapists can help you identify your strong areas and to capitalize on them in your business.
Inadequate savings to cater for expenses
The decision to get into private practice requires heavy financial investments to get things running. Expenses such as office space, furniture, licenses, and marketing efforts may significantly consume your capital. In addition, hiring staff to assist in administration requires a budget before the business starts supporting itself.
Going into private practice also requires you to plan for unplanned expenses that may arise. You, therefore, need to have extra savings to inject into the business in case such eventualities come. Subletting office spaces with other therapists can help reduce expenses as you focus on growing the business.
Limited opportunities for career growth
Starting your private practice means that you become the boss and decide on how to run things. Being the only therapist in the business also takes up a lot of your time. Therefore, you have little or no time to interact with other counselors and exchange ideas that help you run the practice.
With limited opportunities to network and grow in your career, you are likely not to give your best to your clients. As much as possible, find time to network with other therapists and find growth opportunities. Additionally, refresh your knowledge by reading articles and journals and attending conferences to get insights on updated standards of practice.
Converting prospects into clients
Marketing your business will attract prospects but selling your value converts them to clients. Telling prospects why they should choose you will communicate the value they will receive by choosing you. Therefore, your marketing communication should integrate both reasonable pricing and the quality of services you are offering.
This way, prospects become long-term clients.
Complying with the laws
Like any other business, your practice should comply with the laws of the land. Before registering the business, analyze the structure to fit your needs. Additionally, be conversant with the laws of the state and decide which model saves you some money.
The most popular business structure for psychologists is a limited liability corporation. In a limited liability corporation, you do not pay corporate tax; therefore, money can cater to other business expenses. Additionally, the liabilities of the business are separate from you as a practicing therapist.
You can now set up your private practice
Starting a business requires determination and hard work. Anticipating challenges also help you come up with ways to deal with them. With this in mind, go ahead and set up the best private practice.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.
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