6 Tips for Running a Successful Business as a Self-Employed Therapist
Starting your own private practice as a self-employed therapist can bring a wide range of opportunities your way. Plus, the position in itself is rewarding from a career and financial standpoint.
However, the fact that you are a successful therapist doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a successful entrepreneur as well. In fact, the two positions are often in opposition since they require different skills and mindsets.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t run a successful private practice. It just means you need more information on what makes a business thrive, and we have a few tips to help you get started.
1. Set Clear Business Goals
You probably know about defining goals through the SMART method, where you set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. However, if you’ve never used this method in a business context, it can be a bit challenging to start.
You should start by defining your business objectives.
For instance, what do you want to achieve during the first year of your private practice? Your goals could be something like getting paying customers, hiring a team of well-trained people, opening an office, and so on.
Once you have your objectives, make them SMART. This means that your goal of “getting paying customers” will become “getting 30 paying customers in the first 6 months of opening the practice”.
2. Develop a Marketing Strategy
It doesn’t matter how good you used to be as an employed therapist. As an entrepreneur, you have to design a marketing strategy that brings in quality leads.
Start by creating an attractive website for your practice and work on designing a social media strategy as well. As a therapist, you can promote your services by creating content on various topics of interest, such as methods to boost mental health, how to cope with the stress of daily life, and so on.
Side note: You may also be able to attract some of your customers from the time you used to be employed. If you think some customers enjoyed your work and like collaborating with you, tell them about this change in your life.
3. Understand Tax Write-Offs
As a business owner, you have to understand the financial aspect of it all. Even if you can afford to hire an accountant or a tax specialist right from the start, you still need to know if your business has an upward trajectory. Learn to keep track of your income and expenses and create a budget for your business.
Plus, it also helps to learn about self-employed therapist tax deductions to make sure you’re not paying a cent more than you have to. Tax write-offs can be a bit difficult to stomach since things change quite often, but it’s a great way to reduce spending and keep track of your income.
4. Network With Other Professionals
While it may seem counter-intuitive, it does help to have a strong network of professionals in the industry who know about your business. These are the people who can help you generate referrals and build your reputation.
Start by building your network as an employed therapist (be friendly with colleagues and leave a good impression on your employers). Also, you should attend conferences and events, join industry groups, and participate in online forums to connect with other therapists and healthcare providers.
5. Organization is Key
As a new entrepreneur, you’ll have to wear a lot of hats before you can build a reliable team. Plus, as a therapist, you’re working with highly sensitive information that’s often targeted by cybercriminals and other ill-intended actors.
This is why you have to learn how to be organized and how to create systems that keep you that way. Find software tools that help you automate the management of consultation scheduling, keeping client records, and billing (among others).
6. Invest in Professional Development
The best way to stay ahead of your competition and remain relevant in your field is to keep up with the latest developments and invest in ongoing professional growth. This usually means attending workshops and conferences, reading industry publications, and seeking out mentorship and training opportunities.
In summary, to become a successful self-employed therapist, you need to be organized and eager to learn the ropes of running a business. You also have to find ways to stay visible among your peers and to continue your professional development.
Overall, the start may be a bit rough, but once you get used to running your own private practice, things will significantly improve.