Starting a private practice can be absolutely awesome and terrifying at the same time. I had a private practice right out of grad school (2010), but it didn’t survive. My business partner and I were recently married to our spouses, had bills to pay, and were beginning new families. We closed the doors and ended up working for the same non-profit, where my former business partner still does great work today.
Since then, I’ve worked in both the public and private sector. I was part of both winning teams and teams barely able to win the toilet bowl championships. I’ve had awesome supervisors and, well, some that couldn’t lead sheep. However, still lurching around inside of me was the entrepreneur. I wanted to look at a building sign, office window, or business card and see my name or brand there and be proud of it. For me, it boils down to the fact that I was tired of working for ‘the man’. I wanted to give it my best shot and feel great about what I was doing. It was my turn to be ‘the man.’
So, in 2016, I hung my own shingle again. This is where it became REAL. This time, it was more or less all on me. Twenty years from now I don’t want to think what if, I want to find myself saying remember when… I bet you do too!
I’m excited for you because if you’re reading this you’ve got the entrepreneurial itch, or have pulled the trigger and you’re doing it! AWESOME! I’ve learned a lot since then and hope to share with you five things that I have found to be helpful in starting and growing my practice.
1. Give Yourself Permission To Be Afraid
It’s OK and necessary to talk with a trusted person, journal about, or write on paper and throw away that you’re nervous, scared, or freaking out. Do this daily if you need to, but only dedicate a specific amount of time and place to do this. When you’re done, move on and keep plugging away at your next amazing plan to make your practice thrive.
2. Be Intentionally Active – Even If You Hate It
I run on a regular basis to relieve the stressors I carry as business owner. You can ride a bike, power walk past the granny at the mall, or plug in the latest exercise video. Either way, do something active. You’ll be amazed at the clarity you have if you get out and get active. You’re also treating your body well too.
3. Money Is Not The Enemy
Interacting with money is unavoidable. I’ve found it helpful to view money as a tool. Use the tool when you need to. Keep track of it and put it away when you’re done. The more you do this, the more you can remove the fears, negative associations, and unhealthy views you may have about money.
Bonus Tip: Don’t ever forget you have the ability to haggle—anything! Nothing is off limits. It never hurts to ask.
4. Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
Make your to do list and then whittle it down to only the single most important thing you need to do for that day. Free yourself from the pressure of having to do everything and delegate tasks you can to efficient and effective people or systems. Delegating allows you to invest more time and energy in areas where you will see the best ROI for your practice. Ask for tips and advice from seasoned, trusted, and successful business owners or associations you are familiar with too. They’re goldmines!
5. Zone Out And Have Fun
You don’t always have to hustle. Give yourself time to zone out and have fun – waste an hour on Netflix, use the level 12 byzantine fire elf sword to defend the universe from giant ogres, have a dance party with your kids, get lost in your favorite book, sip your favorite beverage, or play the piano. Whatever you find fun, do it!
Nathan Hansen, LPC, NBCC owns private practice in the surrounding metro area of Grand Rapids, MI. He specializes in improving and strengthening relationship and communication habits between teens and their parents, dating & married couples.