I had a Practice of the Practice reader email me this:
It has finally just hit me that since it is just ME sitting in that therapist chair and i dont want to add more clients to my load, i need to think of alternative ways to expand my practice. Feels like new territory and i was really excited to see something in writing that confirmed I am not the only one thinking of these ideas.
This reader brings up some really awesome points that I want to expand on. Especially:
1. What do you do when your business is at full capacity? Especially in a field like counseling where it is based on a face-to-face relationship.
2. Is seeing more clients the only way to make more money in a counseling private practice?
I completely understand the whole, “no more client hours” thing. I have been at the point where I am running between sessions, wishing I was at home instead of doing counseling. That makes for a bad session that isn’t good for the client, for me, or for my family and friends. For a long time I thought that seeing more people was the only way to increase the revenue. Here are some things I have done in the past:
When my client load is full, I raise my prices. I am a private-pay counselor so I don’t take any insurance. I am currently close to twice the average of my city. It’s a lot easier to say, “Yes” when you’re getting significantly more. I don’t plan on raising my prices for a while and I really don’t want to work more hours.
Secondly, I brought on a 1099 clinician. We use Google calendars to coordinate our office, that way I can pay the same rent, but still make money when I am not there. http://www.practiceofthepractice.com/googlecalendar/ Out of my side I pay rent, marketing, and such. I end up taking home about 30% of whatever the 1099 brings in. As well, his fees are slightly lower than mine. So, if someone can’t pay my rate, the lower rate means that we can help the client and keep them in the same practice. So for every 3-4 clients my 1099 sees, that is like taking on one client.
Third, I have really tried to learn about passive income. I just wrote in my newsletter about affiliate marketing. The newsletter came out today at 10:30. I have made $34 a month or so through that. It is all books I was recommending anyways, but just became an Amazon affiliate and put those links on my website. If you are wondering what my website looks like, feel free to check it out: http://www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com/resources/
The primary purpose of a counseling private practice is to give clients awesome service to meet their therapeutic needs. If we lose sight of that, we miss the whole point of why our field exists. With that said, additional revenue can come through passive income from affiliate links and 1099 employees.
When I have affiliate links, they are always books or resources I would recommend even if I did not get a percent. For the first six years of my private practice I was recommending books and resources without getting anything back. I just learned about how to effectively do this, read the recent newsletter at: http://www.practiceofthepractice.com/resources/
Joseph R. Sanok is a licensed professional counselor and clinician at Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. As well, he blogs at www.practiceofthepractice.com where he hopes to help counselors in private practice to improve their business skills that were not learned in graduate school. Through doing this, he hopes to make counseling private practice more awesome.