6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Counseling Practice
Are you a recent graduate or someone who is looking to start their private practice journey? Today, I’m sharing the six things that I wish I knew before I started a private practice. Hopefully, you learn from the mistakes that I made and avoid them.
- Make sure you have boundaries in your personal life and your professional life. Your family calendar should not be mixed with your business calendar. The mixture will emotionally and mentally; it will not let you think clearly in one area. For instance, when you write a blog for your business, you start thinking about what you’re doing later with your family. The blurred line does not allow for a healthy entrepreneurial mindset. Take a step back and ask yourself, do I have boundaries between my personal life and my work life?
- Work With Those Who Are A Good Fit. When we get out of graduate school, we see the massive list of specialties that we can work with. If you click all the specialties, you think it will increase someone’s chance of working with you. However, there’s a difference between your ideal client and just any old client. Take time and draw out your ideal client. Who do you really want to work with? When there’s a tough session, will you still be excited to work with them again? Once you figure this out, it will reduce downfalls later down the road.
- Build Connections. It’s essential to build relationships in private practice. Go to conferences and communicate with other professionals in the field. As a side note, if you’re out there in graduate school, it may help create a social media platform. Create a Facebook group of other graduate students who are in the same field. That way, when you transition into private practice, you’ll have a community and stability.
- Figure Out What To Charge. When I started my journey, it was challenging to discuss the price with my clients. I would ask myself if I could offer my services for free. I know that’s not possible, but it isn’t easy to grapple with the price. First, we need to be comfortable with setting our fees. When we can hold integrity, we remain connected to who we are at our core. Answers to critical questions will allow your private practice to become a successful private practice. How many clients do you need in your private practice for you to reach your level of success? What is the average income in your area? Or the area that your practice is located? What type of lifestyle do you desire to create from your private practice?
- Know-How To Start And Close A Session. You need to know when to end the conversation. I struggled with closing a session. It can be awkward and difficult if you don’t know what to say. You need to have a better structure. If your session is 45 minutes long, then end at the 40-minute mark. You can allow those five minutes to be transition time and scheduling time. In the intake session, please share with your clients what they can expect from closing a session. That way, there’s a rhythmic system as things continue in your private practice.
- Learn More About Marketing.“If you build it, they will come.” That’s not true anymore. I wish I knew more about marketing before starting my private practice. One way you can market is by creating content. Why is content creation important? Three letters: SEO. SEO is your baby for being found online. During COVID, people are looking for their services in the online space. At some point, it can be a mix between face-to-face and online. However, a lot of energy currently needs to be in the online space. Learn how to market now before you dive into private practice.
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Listen to Episode 25 of A Counselor’s Journey: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Counseling Practice.
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