Ok, I’m qualified – how do I know I’m ready for Private Practice?
Element 4 Business Mindset
The guidance given by training bodies is often vague – for example, it may say with sufficient experience you can also begin working as independent practitioners in private practice.
What is sufficient experience – and how do we get it.
Over the years I’ve worked with many therapists who are starting up in private practice. And I’ve identified 4 elements to ‘sufficient experience’ and perhaps they weren’t the obvious ones.
I believe that if you have the 4 elements in place, you can start ethically and safely in private practice.
What’s the biggest barrier to our success in business . . . . . . . . . us! Well, perhaps.
I started talking about why now is a good time to start in therapy private practice and, once qualified, what else we need to be ready – the 4 elements. I covered Personal Therapy requirements – I think at least 100 hours, and I talked about the importance of having a Therapy Team as our back-up – Supervision (one to one), Coaching or Mentoring and business admin support – for example accountant.
Now I want to talk about Business, and why I think – for Therapists – getting and keeping a ‘Money Mindset’ is a big barrier to our success in Private Practice.
The ones that were successful had one thing in common – their clear understanding of their service, and the value of that service to their customers, and their firmness in their belief that they were worth that value.
Simply – they knew what they wanted to do or sell, and they knew what to charge and were comfortable and confident.
After qualifying I knew Counselling was a proven way to help people, potentially, all people. And I wanted to help everyone – sound familiar?
By being so vague in the beginning, I wasn’t focussed and it’s impossible to market vagueness. Attracting clients was a nightmare.
I took some of my own advice, or at least, a colleague gave it to me, and I paused and stepped back.
I needed to get a business mindset, or money mindset to be more specific. I couldn’t (and still can’t) help everybody and I needed to decide what worked for me. What would my business look like.
Which is about having an absolutely, written in stone, Purpose for my business, more commercial than clinical and wide ranging.
Being in business on our own is hard work, overlay that with the emotional load of therapy work and it becomes doubly so if not more.
Being clear about my business purpose is the only way I keep going during the challenges. I see that as a form of external accountability – similar to how the therapeutic process works.
The next step was to create my vision, in words and images. We know the power of as-if with clients and it’s the same for us as business owners.
And the third step is about pathways. What route do we need to take, what do we need to do to build solid foundations in the right shape for us and our business, and it might not look like we thought it would.
I know mine doesn’t, being open to free thinking can lead to opportunities we may not have considered.
Front and centre as we build our business we need to consider Money. How much do we need?
We can have a complicated relationship with money which we may have uncovered in our therapy.
We can project that on to clients as well as receiving their own projections.
By considering our money matters first, we get used to them and are more comfortable and around money.
Sometimes the money doesn’t add up to how we visualised our practice and life. Don’t be daunted or disheartened, reach out for business support as there are other ways of getting the income we need. Colleagues are amazingly inventive in creating a blended income stream, keeping themselves safe and supported so they don’t burnout.
It’s a myth as healers that we shouldn’t charge – we should give our talent as part of universal energy exchange . . . . I think the energy balance is formalised through the exchange of money.
We can develop an ethical and compassionate Money Mindset as we build our Business Foundations and we can do this right now.