In starting a private practice, people screw up a lot of things. We have helped over a thousand practices start, grow, and scale. We’ve watched what terrible practices do, learn from them!
Forget to file LLC or PLLC
One of the most important things to do early on in starting a private practice is to file an LLC or PLLC. Before you take my advice (I’m not an attorney or accountant, so don’t trust me) look at what your state recommends. One of the cheapest ways to figure out your state requirements is to go through a service like Swift or LegalZoom. It cost just a little extra, but then you know it’s done correctly.
Take too long to launch a website
Google loves websites that have been around for a while. Thus, every day that you delay is one less day your website has been live. Google ranks websites based on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They use a bunch f factors like keywords, other websites linking to you, and your content. The sooner you get a website, the sooner you’ll start ranking. You can do it yourself (click here to learn how to make a website) or have someone else do if for cheap (We recommend Brighter Vision).
They waste time on a practice name
I bet once a week I get an email from someone asking about a name they have picked. When I ask how long they’ve been thinking about it, often it’s months! Set a deadline and pick a name, if you come up with a better one, you can always file a DBA (Doing Business As). In general. get things done rather than worrying about them being perfect. Here’s our most popular post about how to name a private practice.
They aren’t in community with other private practices
You have to hang out with other private practice owners. You’ll learn about the market, insurance, private pay, and how they get clients. Also, surround yourself with owners who have an abundance mindset, meaning they aren’t threatened by your presence and want to see you succeed. Usually, you want to connect with people that:
- Have an entrepreneurial bend
- Understand the old way of doing things doesn’t work as well anymore
- Want to collaborate and help you succeed
Think they’re the first to ever start a private practice
You’re not the first person to start a practice. There is a high chance you’ll fail at this, based on how most businesses go. But, there are ton of successful practice owners, spend time with them online or in person. Or join our 300 person+ community of high achieving, entrepreneurial private practice owners.
They’re cheap and do everything themselves
Have you heard, “You have to spend money to make money”? If you’re a practice owner, your time is worth $70-$300 per hour. So why are you answering phones? Therapists are super cheap (in general, maybe that’s not you). Instead of spending days or week s to save a few bucks, find people you trust and run with their recommendations. Stop being cheap and realize you’re launching a business.
They spend too much money
Have you heard, “You have to spend money to make money”? That’s not always true. There are a lot of people out there writing blogs, making podcasts, and selling courses, who are not successful. I know their numbers. Know exactly what you’re paying for, make sure you never pay for something you don’t understand, and walk away if it doesn’t feel right. A lot of people want to take your money.
Don’t look for ROI on time
This sort of goes with the “being cheap” part, but look at the ROI (Return on Investment) of your time. If you spend 5 hours a week networking, is that producing more referrals? If not, stop doing it or do it differently! If you write 10 blog posts, are they helping you rank higher? If not, work on following more SEO rules. Either way, you should be looking at the ROI on your time.
Wait too long to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)
I’m kind of saying the same thing over and over, but if you make $100 per session and you hire someone to answer your phones for $15/hour you just bought 6.667 hours (not counting other costs). Imagine I said, “Go do an hour of counseling and I’ll make 6.667 extra hours appear in your life.” You’d totally do it, it’s the same thing! We really like Move Forward Virtual Assistants (let them know we sent you).
Rent too big of an office
It’s tempting to rent a large space for your private practice, but when you’re just starting, keep your risk low by subleasing. Or get a smaller office with a shorter lease. I’d rather you pay a touch more for subleasing or a smaller office to reduce risk. Here’s a whole podcast about how to negotiate rent.
Create a partnership…but we were friends in grad school!
“We went to grad school together and have been planning to open a practice together.” I hear this all the time and it rarely turns out well. One person almost always wants to work harder than the other. Even if that’s not the case, it will be. Someone will have a baby, need to pay off a car, or have a partner lose their job. Something will happen where one person wants to work less or more. In a partnership, this can kill a business. But if it is structured correctly, it mitigates fighting, hurt feelings, and the death of a business.
Don’t optimize business losses
The first few years of business can be really expensive, especially if you don’t follow our podcast. I saved $10k in taxes the first year I worked with an accountant. How much did I lose for years doing my own taxes to “save money”? A good accountant will help you reduce your tax liability, tell you where to spend and move money to legally pay less taxes. Soon than not, successful practices will add an accountant to their team.