Are you considering making the transition to a full-time therapy practice?

Many therapists are stuck in jobs they no longer want to be in or have struggled in a part-time practice not knowing how to breakthrough to having a full caseload. Below, I go through 15 steps to walk you through the transition to a full-time practice so you can reach your goals and serve as many clients as you want.

1. Speak to two new referral sources a week

For the next few months, seek out a couple of new referral sources a week. You can talk to them on the phone, through email, facebook, or in person. What’s most important is that you are making new connections in your community and the word is getting out that you are taking new clients and have something very valuable to offer.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Guess what…if you try to do this in an isolated bubble it will take way longer and sometimes won’t work at all. You are building a business. This may be one of the biggest challenges of your life, because it has the possibility of offering you one of the biggest rewards. That means you’re going to need as much support from family, friends, and colleagues as possible. Without support you’re much more likely to lose your steam and go back to old habits that don’t serve you.

3. Save 3-6 months of living expense

Let’s be real. You need money to pay your bills and live your life. It would be ideal if you have 3-6 months of lifestyle savings so you don’t need to worry about the next bill coming in the mail. However, not everyone does it that way and at some point you are going to need to take a risk. Make sure you have a plan B to pay the bills. There is always a way. Go in with a strong plan so you can focus on building your practice, rather than focusing on surviving in your life.

4. Have a solid website

I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it. Your website needs to be awesome. Plain and simple. And you need highly relevant content on it that is written in a way that peaks the curiosity of your prospective clients so they want to call you. If you underestimate this one you are going to lose most of your potential clients since they will simply go onto to the next therapist’s website.

5. Maintain 5-7 clients a week

If you’re just starting out or have a part-time practice, get to a place where you can maintain 5-7 clients a week before trying to go for full-time. This isn’t the only way to do it, but it will help with your confidence and also give you a base to work from.

6. Start a mastermind group

A mastermind group is a group of motivated individuals that meet regularly to support each other and offer accountability around a common goal. In this case it’s building a business. Find 6-8 people who want to succeed and have similar goals to you. The power of a mastermind group cannot be quantified.

7. Invest $3000-$6000 into your practice

Therapists are notorious for not wanting to invest money into their practice. You are running a business! It takes money to run a business. If you make educated investments then you will receive returns on those investments in the form of new clients. Again, just remember you are a business owner. Every business business owner faces the question: “Where do I get the money from?” And every successful business owner comes to the same realization…you have to find it somehow.

8. Listen to an inspirational podcast a few times a week

Podcasts are a great way to stay inspired while you are learning how to grow a practice and take action. Find a couple of podcasts that help you stay aligned, inspired, and even teaches you what you need to know so you’re not left guessing.

9. Hire a business coach

A business coach can be one of the greatest tools in your toolbelt when building a practice. If they are good, they will help you develop a plan, execute that plan, set goals, work with your mindset, and guide you toward succeeding. Again, there is no reason to do any of this alone unless you truly want to.

10. Make a budget

This should be a given as a small business owner, but I almost never met a therapist that made a budget initially. Keep it simple. Project how much you think you will earn in a month and how much your expenses will be. With a budget you can think through the best use of your investments and how to increase your revenues from clients.

11. Stick to your budget

Well, if you go through the process of making a budget then it would be wise to actually put it to use. If you plan on spending $1,000 in your first month do your best to spend that amount of money. If you have to spend more, try and spend less in the second month to balance your budget. This is a basic business practice that will help your greatly.

12. Do one thing everyday to grow your practice

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the tasks of growing a therapy practice. Simplify this by choosing one thing each day that will get you one step closer to your goal. Once you’ve completed that one task, if you have more time and energy do a second thing that day.

13. Create a marketing plan

Creating a marketing plan will provide you with structure around how to seek out referral networks, ways to extend your reach through online marketing, and a clear actionable process to follow. Of course, marketing plans can become complex, but I recommend something simple to start. Write out all the ways you plan on gaining new clients, what types of media and venues you need to engage with in order to do so, and a rough timeline of completing this plan.

14. Read a book on the mindset of entrepreneurship

Whether it’s five minutes or an hour a day, flex your reading muscles by taking in some information about the mindset of an entrepreneur. First, it’s good for your brain to read during the process of growing a business. Also if you place a lot of attention on the subject of an entrepreneurial mindset, you will gain strength, resiliency, persistence, and discipline. You are essentially training for the one of the biggest events of your life. And if you do this training you will win.

15. Be Yourself

You will ultimately need to find your way. There is only so much another person can tell you. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Follow your intuition. Hone in on your objective. Challenge your sense of your own limitations. If you do this. You will succeed.


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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.

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