What made you start your own private practice, and how did you go about it?
I am an aspiring clinical psychologist and have been doing research on private practice. I've read on how it gives you more freedom in setting your own hours, more control of your clients, and more independence as a business. I've also read on how it requires alot of your own resources, required you to network to find clients, and increases the management need for documentation with insurance companies. I'm just curious as to hearing about what made you start your own private practice (did you want more freedom? Didn't want to climb up a corporate ladder? Wanted more client focus? etc.), how you went about it, and what the experience has been like for you. Perhaps I may even start or not start my own once I become licensed in about 4 years.
Carole recommends the following next steps:
How did I go about starting my own practice? Well, it was a natural step in my learning and understanding on how I best guide people back to themselves. I've always been an independent person, but when I graduated, I had to work under someone at first. After learning how to run an office, schedule appointments, pay the bills, bill insurance companies, and negotiate office spaces, I felt confident enough to go it alone. I enjoy working with people on all aspects of their healing and that includes billing, scheduling, and insurance.
I knew I liked working alone and trusted myself that I would and could do all of the parts as a business owner.
Getting clients was mainly through word of mouth and a few small advertisements in my local health stores and papers. I also have an Instagram account, but rarely do I get an actual client there. They come from recommendations from friends, family and other clients.
My advice is to work under someone that trusts you and will show you the ropes of owning and running the business part of a healing practice. The man I worked for was great, and he taught me the hows of running a small business.
As has been mentioned before, "learning the ropes" about your specific profession, as well as familiarity with the fundamentals of business, is critical. That's the case even if you step into a situation with administrative support and shared office conveniences. Reliance upon others to do the admin and office work can be fantastic and offer a great deal of freedom to concentrate on what's important to you. But you still need to manage that person or group of people so that nothing slips through the cracks. Equally important is that whoever is supporting you provides the best possible experience for your clients.
Although I have a career full of experiences in the areas of coaching, mentoring, sales, and business, I have learned so much going through the experience of coaching as a solo practitioner, that I can't imagine starting as a therapist, for instance, without having gone through an apprenticeship or partnership with the support of someone highly qualified and experienced.
Try to look at your career through the lens of longevity and depth. Write a master plan for yourself that will allow flexibility but provide the essential experience to strengthen your portfolio as a therapist and business person. You'll thank yourself later on if you do this!
Wishing you great luck as you pursue your dream.