As you make plans to open your online counseling practice, you have the ability to create a lifestyle business plan that perfectly lines up with your dreams for your life. Instead of planning your life around your business, you have the opportunity to sculpt your business in ways that will best enhance your lifestyle. If you are not mindful of this process as you create your business plan, then you are likely to repeat old habits of overwork, underpay, and lack of balance between home and work. However, if you take time to dream and put your dreams into a detailed lifestyle business plan, then you will be well on your way to an online counseling practice that enhances your lifestyle.
Determine Your Rates
When you think about your ideal work and life balance? How much money do you need to earn per year? What about how many weeks of vacation time would you like to take? How many days per week do you want to work? How many clients do you want to see each day? Click here for the formula to calculate how much you would need to work per week to maintain this dream lifestyle. You might be surprised that it is fewer days with fewer clients than you imagine. You can definitely work part-time for full-time pay while setting aside savings for things that are important to you such as a college fund for your child, your own retirement, travel, etc.
Set Your Own Schedule
In your lifestyle business, how many days per week do you want to work? Do you want to work in the evenings? Do you want to be available to take your children to and from school? Volunteer? Make it to the gym 3 days per week? Write out all of the aspects that you want to include in your ideal week, then build your business schedule around this.
You are likely considering your own online practice because you want to feel less stress, improved health, and increased mindfulness in your day. By creating your lifestyle business, you can create a schedule and flow that feeds your soul instead of depleting it. By being mindful about how many clients you can see without feeling drained yourself, build in breaks for stretching, deep breathing, and meditation between sessions. Not only are you improving your own health and wellness through your online practice, but you are modeling the importance of self-care to your family, friends, and clients too.
Do you want to rent office space or work from your home office? Do you want to reduce or eliminate your commute? With online counseling, you must be licensed in the state where the client resides. This does not mean that you have to be present in that state. With dependable internet access, you can work from almost any location that you want. Do you want to travel with your partner as they take business trips? Your work schedule will not hold you back. Last minute trip with friends? As long as you have time for your sessions, you can go! Refresh yourself for a few weeks at the beach? Grab your laptop and go!
As you put your lifestyle business plan into place, you have the convenience of adjusting it as needed to best meet your individual needs. Perhaps you want to renovate a room in your home or plan for an International vacation. You can temporarily increase your workload to save for this cost. Want to cut back your hours to help a family member who is facing a health challenge? You can. Need more time for a hobby, to spend with your child, or for self-care? You can build this in. The beauty of your lifestyle online counseling practice is that it is designed by YOU for YOU, and you can adjust it to meet your changing needs at any time.
Wendy Galyen, LCSW and BC-TMH, is the founder of Thrive for Life Online Counseling, a solely private pay and entirely online private practice in Indiana. She has degrees from the University of Indianapolis and Indiana University where has also served as an adjunct faculty member. Wendy has over 16 years of experience working with individuals, couples, families, and children. She also has extensive social work research experience. And has published and presented this research in textbooks, journals, online periodicals, magazines and at national conferences. In addition to her work with clients via online counseling mediums, Wendy also provides consultation services to other counselors who are looking to add online counseling as a component of their practices.