Getting started in private practice is an amazing time. You’ve worked so hard and finally you’re ready to start making an income doing what you feel passionately about - that’s kind of the holy grail of life!
But it can also feel overwhelming too - with websites, niching, social media, blogging, networking, podcasts etc, where do you even begin?
I asked some therapists what advice they’d give new therapists just starting out, and here’s what they said:
'I recommend finding a niche and don't be afraid to market specifically for that niche audience. The more topics you try to offer, the more counsellors you will be competing with.'
Diversify your marketing. I know it’s tempting to get stuck posting updates on Facebook all day just because you’re already familiar with the platform, but remember there are other ways to sell yourself.
Spruce up your website, learn about SEO, and even (shock horror!) get out in the real world. Join networking groups, give talks, or contact your local paper to see if they might run a feature about you
The best thing I did in setting up in private practice was join Grow Your Private Practice club. This linked me to Jane's practical, realistic and effective advice and suggestions for turning my faltering steps and overwhelm into more effective solid movements towards a business.
I learned about GDPR and worked out what I needed to do, I learned how to pace myself to avoid overwhelm.
Joining the VIP club gave me access to Jane's relevant and effective courses. Productivity tools from Pomodoro and Trello help me put in place a plan so I always know what I need to do next and how to make good use of small amounts of time.
Choosing just one social media platform and regularly posting is getting attention and my website is beginning to be found. I am growing at a pace I can cope with. Thank you Jane.
(You are very welcome, Jacqui)
'My advice for someone starting out in Private Practice is to access as much support as possible. You're qualified now so can choose supervision that supports your whole business and practice.
Facebook groups like Jane's Grow Your Private Practice rock - even though I've been in practice (as a coach and complementary therapist, adding therapies and supervision along the way) since 2004, I've learned so much since joining last year as marketing for counselling is different. BACP's Private Practice is another supportive group with in person meetings as well as a quarterly journal - basically, the world is your lobster!
It's a wonderful time to be able to access so much online and in person support. Enjoy the journey, be kind to yourself (rather than overwhelming yourself) and good luck :)'
Eve Menezes Cunningham
'It’s not just about clients turning up for counselling need to develop some business skills too'
'Initially spend less time and money on website logos and pretty pictures for your leaflets and focus more on networking workshops and relationships to build your network and brand.
Also niche. This will not lessen who sees you but more people will know you and then refer.'
'Want it badly enough!
Do your research - I got a book on setting up in private practice , worth it’s weight In gold (there was no Jane Travis in those days!).
Get a room, get an accountant to take that worry away. Get support of family, friends, supervisor and counselling colleagues.
Then go for it.'
Congratulations on qualifying as a counsellor!
I love being a counsellor. It can be scary, overwhelming, difficult at times, but oh so rewarding.
When I first started my 'must haves' were an accountant (because I just cannot do figures), a website, being on directory listings, joining counsellors groups on Facebook, because you can learn so much, a good supervisor and obviously insurance.
Research research and research some more. For me this wasn't the end of my training road, it was just the beginning.
Finding a niche I feel really helps with confidence, tailoring CPD and being focused. I decided to do some more training as I felt personally I wanted to add to my foundations.
So support for me is key, finding the Grow Your Private Practice club was an absolute godsend, not only was there emotional support, but practical, business support and also a framework from which to grow in my own unique way.
Also for me face to face networking is something that I enjoy, being real as a person is so important to how I work and so for people to know me as a person as well as what I can do was important.
So good luck on your individual journey!
'There are so many things that I could share with you but I think that the one thing that really helped me when I first set up in private practice was making sure that I had all my paperwork and legalities put in place.
'Make sure you have support and don’t sweat the small stuff.'
'Put boundaries on your work days. Otherwise, as a business owner in private practice, it can feel like you are working all the time.
I found it's important to impose boundaries on your work schedule - which can require more thinking and resolve than when they are imposed upon you.
'Avoid isolation and join groups that offer support and useful information to help you move your business forward and feel part of a community.'
'Find a good supervisor to help you the process. Supervision isn't always about clients.
I think you'll agree, there's some great advice here for if you're starting in private practice.
My advice? Check out my post '5 Tips for getting started in private practice'
And basically, just keep going. I love this quote:
When things don't work, it's not a failure, it's an important step forward. Don't take it personally, and learn the lessons it is giving you.
The biggest mistake I see in new therapists is unrealistic expectations. It takes time and work to grow a successful business. Have a goal, and keep working consistently towards that goal.
Stay curious, and remember there are many different ways of marketing your business, so do the marketing you enjoy because we naturally become good at things we like doing. It'll make the process much easier and you'll get better results.
And come join us in the Grow Your Private Practice club, where we take the overwhelm away from running a business, so you can get on with what you love - transforming clients lives.