Have you ever wondered what you are doing and why you are doing it?
There are so many of us who work at a job that we hate or where the politics squash our spirits, but because we need to pay our bills we keep doing it. Or the schedule of our job is inconvenient or downright horrible, but we feel we do not have a choice. Or we want to have a family, but our life is so crazy that we don’t know how to fit one more thing into it.
You don’t have to stay where you currently are! You can start a private practice - slowly - on the side while you are still working and pretty quickly you will be the boss of your own business.
What are the benefits of having private clients?
1. You can set your own schedule
Most of you trained in the field of study that you did because you thought you would have control over your schedule only to find that the job is not as flexible as you hoped it would be. So how do you get from where you are to where you want to be?
It can be risky to jump full-time into private practice unless you have a partner who has a good job that can cover the bills in case you have slow times. So start your practice by treating clients after work or on the weekend. It is amazing how much extra income can be generated in this way. A second option is to slowly reduce hours at your “regular job” so you can begin seeing more private clients.
Some of you are on maternity/paternity leave or out of the field for other reasons and are reluctant to re-enter the rat race. Maybe you are wanting to slow down or even better you are going to retire, but want a little practice on the side. Treating private clients can easily meet your desire because you can schedule clients around your life and responsibilities.
2. You can set your own treatment plan
How many times have you set up a program for a client and you are not given enough treatment time to do any good? Or you know what type of treatment would be the best practice but it isn’t approved due to financial restraints. So instead you watch the clients floundering or falling further behind. You feel frustrated and defeated knowing you could do so much better for them.
Working privately gives you the autonomy to set up and carry out that ideal treatment plan. And it can be set up where and when it is convenient for both you the clinician and the client. Don’t let funding shortages get in the way of you and your client's therapeutic relationships.
3. You can work as much or as little as you need to
When working for an employer they set your wage and raise schedule. Their budgetary decisions affect your bottom line and you have to live within the confines of your paychecks. Your only financial control is how you budget what you receive after all the deductions are taken off. So unless you make a change, you stay frustrated by your lack of options.
However, by seeing a few extra clients on top of your day job you can quickly pay for a vacation or get rid of those nasty student loans. Even better, you could buy a home! The extra income will come a lot faster than waiting for a raise.
Having a private practice is helping to diversify your income by providing more than one income stream. This is important in the case of an economic downturn. Diversification is an important principle when bringing in an income and investing that income to provide financial stability.
Be the one in control of your professional, personal, and financial future. If your work and personal life balance is out of whack you are the one who can change that. Be confident in your abilities, but do not go it alone. You won’t have every skill you need. That is why people train as accountants or financial planners - to assist others who don’t have the skill.
4. Become comfortable in your skills
Sometimes jobs roles are limiting or managers are not supportive. You trained for years but many times your full capacity is not utilized. Working in private practice helps develop your confidence in yourself and in your abilities as a clinician. You’re free to even go a step further and find a niche for yourself. Take a specialized course that makes your skills unique and in demand.
5. Become part of the community
According to Dream Coach Marcia Wieder, “Everyone you meet serves an important role in your life.” It may be hard to fathom, but everywhere you go in your community is a place for potential referrals. Have a short “elevator statement” ready in case someone asks you what you do - you are a walking advertisement. As you provide quality service word will spread around the community and your practice will build.
What is holding you back from your dream? Believe in yourself and believe in your ideas. You can have the life you love and live it full of passion. Believe in your dreams even if they seem like a long shot. The rewards are flexibility, freedom, autonomy, self-empowerment confidence, and recognition.
- Watson, Heidi. Private Practice Workbook: Electronic Health Information System.USA, 2017