The most important question is always first, is it really possible to start a private practice while working a full-time job? The answer is YES! Even if your full-time job is working at an agency with clients or something unrelated to therapy. Most therapists that we work with are usually working a full-time job at an agency while they transition into private practice, heck this is exactly what I did over a 6 month period. But the most important thing you must remember in order to be successful is you need to create a plan. Attempting to launch a private practice without a plan is a recipe for frustration and uncertainty.
Although there are tons of steps to launch a private practice, I have narrowed down 5 for you to get you started on your journey to private practice while working full time:
Step 1: Identify Your Goals and Vision for Your Practice
Before taking any major steps, take some time to clarify your vision. This is one of the most important steps for a successful practice. Ask yourself:
- What kind of clients do you want to work with?
- What services will you offer? Individual? Couples? Groups?
- What’s your long-term vision for your practice?
Step 2: Craft Your Business Plan
Ugh, no not a business plan. Yes, a business plan. A clear plan will allow you to manage your time effectively as you work towards launching your practice. While juggling a full-time job, it’s crucial to outline key components of your practice, such as:
- Defining your niche and target audience.
- Establishing your rates
- Planning your marketing strategies, both in-person and online
- Identifying any legal documents you may need and your financial needs.
Step 3: Network and Seek Support from the Right People
Notice that I said the right people. Do not let those who have a scarcity mindset convince you that starting a practice is too “risky.” This held me back for way too long. Here are some networking ideas:
- Attend networking events that are both free and may cost a little.
- Join a Chamber of Commerce in your area
- Join a coaching program designed specifically for therapists wanting to move to private practice.
- Meet up with therapists who specialize in the same areas, as these are often the best sources of potential referrals.
Step 4: Establish Your Online Presence
In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is not only recommended, but it is essential. Your online presence will play a significant role in attracting clients when you’re ready to launch.
Here are some tips to build a strong online brand identity for your practice:
- Create a professional website to showcase your expertise and services.
- Engage on social media platforms to share valuable content related to your niche.
- Write blogs and publish videos on your website to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- Optimize your profiles on such platforms as Psychology Today or Therapy Den.
Step 5: Set Up Realistic Expectations
Balancing your full-time job while building your private practice requires patience and time management. Seek support and encouragement from those in your life that can provide it. Consider:
- How much money do you want to set aside for your practice?
- How much time while working both jobs can you realistically dedicate?
- Will you adjust your work schedule or choose specific days for your practice?
Starting your private practice while working full-time is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s one you can overcome with a well-thought-out plan and determination. If you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure (which we all do!), consider seeking guidance from professionals who have walked the same path.
For more resources and support on your private practice journey, stay connected with us at Practice CoPilot. We’re here to help therapists like you transition to a full-time private practice. In the meantime, I would love for you to download our Free Private Practice Blueprint, which is a step-by-step guide to creating a thriving counseling practice from the ground up. It contains invaluable resources for you.