Have you been tired of working for the man? Has the no PTO clause at your office been grinding your gears? Well, it may be time for you to start phasing into private practice. The idea for many is that your exit from your job has to be staged; a move where you come to the office, pack up your office supplies in a cardboard box, and tell your boss “hasta la vista baby!”
Moving into private practice doesn’t have to be so dramatic. If you are not careful to avoid the drama, you may end up like the 10-year-old who decided to run away from home. Once the door shut she realized she had nowhere to go. When quitting time comes, you want to have a plan.
Run Your Stats Before Phasing Into Private Practice
So before you load up your office supplies, consider taking inventory of what type of salary you need to have once you submit your notice. I am always amused to see the twinkle in therapists’ eyes when they run simple stats. If you have been working for an agency, your mind may be inclined to tell you that you will need to schedule 30 clients in order to run your private practice. Though 30 clients is an ambitious number to have, you may only need a fraction of those clients to pay your bills.
Let’s run a few numbers. If you were to see a mere 10 clients a week at $100, you would gross approximately $50,000 for the year. Let’s double that to 20 clients a week and you gross approximately 100k. Now of course you will need to include other costs and expenses necessary to run your business. But this gives you a ballpark estimate of what you would actually make seeing half or a little more than half the clients you might see working for the man.
Ask For Part-Time Hours
Consider working part-time at the job where you are employed, or at the job that you are planning to transition to. It may feel like a scary proposition to ask your boss to reduce your hours to part-time, but you would be surprised at the response you might receive. If you are a great worker, sometimes your boss may be willing to make the flexibility just to hold on to you a little bit longer.
Consider Other Employment Options
If you experience the feared rejection from the boss man about moving to part-time, it may be time to consider moving on. There are a number of counseling positions that will compensate you very well to work part-time, PRN, or “as needed” hours. As an employer, I am experiencing this as I write this blog.
Prior to becoming a boss myself, I worked two PRN positions and provided clinical supervision while building my practice. This was a necessary cushion to provide income for my family while I was growing.
Stack up on hours anywhere you can to support yourself while growing your business and phasing into private practice. The city schools, hospitals, prisons, and online counseling agencies are always looking for someone to work part-time or PRN.
You will be super surprised at how quickly you will grow into a full-time practice. It took me about two years to let go of the side hustles before I went full throttle into private practice, but that’s only because I was scared to let them. But don’t let fear paralyze you from making moves right now.
Hire A Consultant When Phasing Into Private Practice
It’s never a bad idea to hire a qualified consultant to help you along the way with phasing into private practice and ultimately growing your business. There are many options you can choose for a consultation. They are groups that you can join, or you can get 1-on-1 consultation from an experienced practitioner.
Sure, you can figure out your fair share of information on your own, but why waste time and energy trying to discover best practices, when you can get the knowledge you need from an experienced professional at only a fraction of the time. I have been fortunate to figure out a lot on my own while hiring help as well. If I had it to do all over again, without hesitation I would have started with a consultant first.
You Can Always Go Back
At the end of the day, there’s no failure in trying. When you follow the steps that I mentioned above when phasing into private practice, it will be difficult to experience failure. But in the event that you are unable to achieve the outcome you planned for, you can always go back and work for an agency. But next time do it on your terms.
Decide the number of clients that you want to see, the days that you want to work, and the pay you need to make in order to pay your bills. You are a hot commodity, so why settle. Learn from your mistakes. Go back to the drawing board. Build up your caseload, and go at it again.
There are so many growth opportunities in the counseling and therapy spectrum today. It is hard to lose. You shouldn’t have to come up on the short end of the stick whatever you choose to do. Just make sure when you go after it, that you are all in!!
Choya Wise is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is the founder of Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services, a group practice in Huntsville, Alabama. His specialty is in Anger Management and Relationship Counseling. He also works as Clinical Supervisor and is the Administrator of the Facebook Group Social Workers of Alabama.