Every morning I love to make myself a cup of green tea latté. Just the sound of it makes me salivate. It’s a multi-step process. I have to heat up the water, scoop out the matcha powder, mix it with the water, whisk the mixture with a bamboo matcha whisk until it dissolves completely, add almond milk and voilá, my morning caffeine!
A month ago, I had a rather different morning.
So, my mom had always reminded me that if I pour hot liquids in a mason jar, the jar might crack. Well, I’ve done this many times before and it hasn’t happened yet, and so what makes this morning so different? And lo and behold, I turned around to a ccrraaacckking sound and steaming goodness escaped the jar onto our granite countertop and down into the crevices of our maple cabinets and bamboo floors.
I spent the next 45-min and too many rounds of wringing out dish towels trying to remove stains of green. From this, I learned a few lessons, all of which I can relate to starting a Private Practice. I put this in order of importance:
- Learn from my own mistakes – I can hear the voice of my mom in my head, yet when I did my own cleaning, it made it so much more memorable. Similarly, as much as I try to learn from the private practice giants who came before me, and ask what marketing strategies worked and what advertising attempts flopped, it’s important that I learn from my own mistakes. My husband, who was in a tech startup, reminded me early on that just because a paid advertising didn’t yield any revenue does NOT mean I should have never attempted it. It only meant that I now have more information to go off of. It was market research.
- Allow more time – I’m usually rushed to get somewhere and surprisingly that morning I had all the time in the world to clean up. Relating it to private practice, things always take longer. Many times, I find myself implementing a recommended change and the next day, anticipating that something great is going to happen. And I wait and wait. It looks like the rest of the world has not caught on to that one tweak I made on my website?! Success is NOT built overnight and it takes patience and time. I’ve learned to allow time for things to unfold as I continue to do what is necessary to move my practice forward.
- Listen to my mom – it’s true and my mom didn’t pay me to write this. My mom had something to say about hot liquids in mason jars because her own clean up was also memorable. And, as I reflected on her journey as an entrepreneur and how she and dad single-handedly built and sold two businesses while breaking ground on a foreign soil, that both amazes and encourages me. I look deep and find my dormant entrepreneurial spirit, excited and eager to come out. I’ve also been more curious about my parents’ entrepreneurial journey and how they’ve made it. It has made me appreciate them all the more.
Private practice is a multi-step process and it is not easy. It comes with its joys and challenges and I’m constantly reflecting on what and how I can do it better. And, as someone six months in, I love being a small business owner and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Ada Pang is a LMFT and the proud owner of People Bloom Counseling, a Redmond counseling practice in WA. She helps distressed couples and breast cancer patients. When she’s not meeting with clients, she loves working on her business. She can be found looking in over the windows of a busy yogurt shop or observing the operation of a popular noodles joint, all the way asking, “What makes them so successful?” She’s also kind of obnoxious when, having eaten there on a Friday night, she waited on an Indian restaurant to open on a different day to tell the manager/owner how he can better his business.