From Dream to Reality: The Guide to Setting Up Your Private Practice.
Be your own boss, work on your own terms, have a better work life balance, have the training you are excited about and more supervision with added financial security.
Getting started in private practice is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling. Since making the decision and taking the leap, I’ve never looked back.
However, I did experience a lot of uncertainty at the beginning. Will I be able to build up a caseload? How will I manage risk? What if I can’t earn enough money? What if referrals stop? What if I feel isolated? The ‘what ifs’ can feel endless, but they do subside over time.
Ultimately, working in private practice has enabled me to help people on my own terms, work creatively, receive high-quality supervision and complete the training I’m passionate about. It’s also allowed me to structure my business hours and holidays in a way that works for my family and lifestyle. To read through posts on Setting up in Private Practice, click here. Getting Started
The benefits of running your own private therapy practice include
Independence: You have the freedom to set your own schedule and determine your fees. Control over your work environment: You create a space reflecting your values and therapeutic approach.
Increased income potential: As a private practitioner, you can earn more than you would as an employee in a clinic or hospital setting.
Greater flexibility: You can specialise in specific therapy areas, work with specific populations, or offer unique services that align with your interests and expertise.
Personal satisfaction: Starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding, as you are able to help people in a way that aligns with your values and passions.
Career development: Running your private therapy practice can help you develop leadership, business, and management skills that can be valuable in any career.
Opportunity for growth: As a private practitioner, you have the potential to grow your client base, expand your services, and increase your income over time.
The Business of Running a Business
Having worked in the NHS for several years, I knew how to provide therapy, but I had little experience of running or marketing a business. I soon realised getting a handle on these things had to be a priority.
If you’re going to be successful in private practice, it’s essential to focus on developing a resilient caseload. This means having a regular stream of referrals and an excellent financial buffer, so the first step is to set the right fee - Check out the Therapists Fee Calculator.
Just being a great therapist won’t bring clients to your door until you’ve been established for a while and begun to benefit from word-of-mouth recommendations.
Until then, you must make your business visible so people can find you and book appointments.
Will you have a website? (Check out pocketsite.co.uk)
Will you work with referral agencies?
Will you use social media as a marketing tool?
Will you work with insurance companies or EAPs?
You could be an associate for a company.
Will you invest in paid advertising or focus on social media?
There are so many options it’s difficult to know where to start. If I could return and do it all again, I would start with a business plan. A business plan provides a clear direction for your private practice. It gives clarity, reduces risk and uncertainty, and helps you feel more confident. Having a clear, concise plan from the start saves time and energy and will prevent some common mistakes, saving you time, energy and stress in the long term.
A good business plan tells you what you need to do and how to do it. It’s a working, living document. Reviewing it regularly will ensure the running of your business doesn’t consume your time or overwhelm you.
When your business runs smoothly, you can focus on the therapy you provide and maintain the delivery of high-quality CBT. Working in this way also maintains the reputation of CBT as a standard gold treatment, securing your future and ensuring you can continue doing what you love and have trained so hard to deliver. If you want to know more, check out The Business Plan for Therapists.
If You Build It, They Will Come
No matter how you decide to market your private practice, getting started requires patience and consistency. Following the launch of my website, it took three months to generate my first enquiries and another year to reach a consistent referral rate at the level I wanted.
Initially, I also worked with referral agencies and insurance companies. This was useful at the time because they found the referrals for you, but my goal was always to work with self-funding clients as much as possible.
Why? Well, referral agencies can close, reduce their rates or suddenly choose to work with other therapists whenever they want. This means your referral stream is not guaranteed or within your control. It’s a bit like people who build and market their businesses using a Facebook page. If and when the algorithm changes, they have no say in the visibility of their own business.
In short, you can’t rely on other platforms to stay the same, so you must build your own. Developing an effective website with good SEO is essential. Read SEO for Therapists for more advice and a free local SEO guide link.
Other Things to Think About
* Where will you work from?
* What hours will you work?
* How much will you charge?
* What are the data protection requirements?
Subscribers can download your Getting Started in Private Practice Checklist.