I get to hear a lot about the various stories therapists hear from their colleagues about starting a private practice.

I receive emails from all over the world of therapists feeling concerned, intimidated and cautious from these stories.

So, let’s take a look at the 7 big myths of starting a private practice, why they are floating around, and if they are true.

1. It takes a lot of money to start a private practice.

This isn’t true. You can start part-time and reduce your costs if you need to. Starting a private practice probably has one of the lowest barriers to entry financially when it comes to small business entrepreneurship. Often therapists say it takes a lot of money because they aren’t adept at modern marketing methods and haven’t refined their own relationship to money. They also say that because they were afraid to invest any money whatsoever upfront.

2. You need money to make money.

Partially true. You need money to provide for your basic needs. If you’re trying to launch a full-time practice and you are going to try and make it without another job you will likely need at least 3 months of living expenses in your savings. However, you don’t need a ton of money to invest in your practice in order to attract clients into your practice.

3. A private practitioner will always need another source of income.

Definitely not true. I know hundreds of very successful therapists that live an abundant life from their private practice. Therapists do often choose to engage with other career opportunities such as writing, speaking, workshops, etc. because of the fulfillment of these activities.

4. You’ll never earn six-figures in private practice and will always struggle.

False. If you want to earn six-figures in your private practice, therapists are doing it all around the world. It’s just a matter of priorities, knowing how to structure your business model, and how many hours you’re willing to work. It takes discipline and commitment to your business, but it’s completely possible.

5. It takes three to five years to grow a full-time practice.

Maybe twenty years ago. If you’re unwilling to use the best of modern marketing methods sure. But if you know how to market yourself locally, utilize the right paid online advertising for your location, use social media, capture leads and nurture them online, there’s no reason you can’t speed this process up and completely dispel this myth.

6. You need to be an extrovert to build a private practice.

It helps when marketing locally to feel very comfortable with putting yourself out there, giving public talks, engaging with small groups, and reaching out to individuals. However, there are lots of ways to build a small business and even though local networking is very important, there are ways for introverts to be very successful in private practice. In fact, many therapists identify as introverts.

7. There’s too many therapists and not enough clients.

Not true. Ever. That’s just an attitude. It has nothing to do with reality. There are always clients that are only right for you. That’s why they will find you and you will find them. Even if you’re in a very competitive region, keep in mind that a thriving private practice usually only holds a caseload of 25-35 clients. In reality, that is an extremely small number of people that need to find your services. Most small businesses are operating on exponentially larger numbers in order to survive.  So you got this!

A successful small business entrepreneur knows that it’s 50 percent mindset and 50 percent skill set. If you are a therapist starting or growing a practice, you are a small business entrepreneur. Make sure you challenge yourself rigorously to understand what makes business owners successful.

Study the business skills. Believe in yourself. Only take mentorship from others who have been successful and understand the current landscape of private practice marketing. There’s no reason you can’t achieve your vision in private practice if it’s important to you. Your future clients are waiting for you to help them.

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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.

2 thoughts on “7 Myths Your Colleagues Told You About Filling A Private Practice

  1. Great article! It challenges everything I have heard about launching a private practice!

  2. This was great information and very encouraging. I started my private practice only a year ago. I do have a few clients. At this time, I do not accept insurance or medicaid. However, I am in the process of changing that and I am confident that more opportunities will become available to grow my practice. This article really encouraged me.

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