Have you ever felt alone in your private practice? Are you a solo-practitioner who was used to practicing in a big clinic? When you are starting a private practice it can be extremely overwhelming at times. Lots of us are used to reaching out to our co-workers when we aren’t sure of ourselves. This issue might even be your biggest barrier to starting your private practice! Networking is how private practitioners fill that gap in support.
Networking is also super important for connecting to your local community and getting new referrals. If you don’t tell anyone about your business, how is it possible for them to support you?
But how should you network as a health professional you ask, we have some tips to help you build your network.
- Reach out to other professionals
- Network on Social Media Sites
- Forge Connections at Real Life Events
- Listen to Podcasts / YouTube Videos
Reach out to other professionals in related fields to your own. And remember no matter where you meet people it is super important that you are authentic. One way to be authentic is to really listen. The biggest turnoff for people is when you ask a question and then don’t really listen to their reply. Listen to other people’s ideas and perspectives and share your ideas to develop a strong new relationship.
Network for support on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, etc. Join groups for your profession. You can even join groups for people in private practice – like ours! Post your questions and successes, encourage others, and comment lots! As you get to know each other it will lead to friendships and support.
Word of warning -Be careful to limit the amount of time spent on these sites, as they can suck up huge amounts of time and not provide the desired returns. Don’t fall into the illusion of productivity. Social media is just one of the tools that you can use to your advantage to build your network.
Even more important is forging connections in the real world by attending events where you can meet new people in your industry. Conferences and workshops are great places to do this. Networking is an investment of time and energy. At a networking event it is people’s tendencies to stay in the group that they came with, remember to go outside your comfort zone and talk to new people!
This can be scary, remember to be yourself – you are good at talking to people. Remember courage is not the absence of fear it is continuing forward in spite of the fear. Talk to people outside your speciality and even better than that, meet with them outside the conference, in their space, their office. You will form a bond that will benefit both of you. Ask tons of questions about what they do. Try and ask a couple of questions that no one would think to ask. What are their intake processes, who are their clients, how did they get into the specialty they did? In most cases they will want to ask questions in return and this is what networking truly is. This process forms authentic relationships. Later on, if they meet a client that needs your services they will remember you and refer to you. These new friends become sources of continuous referrals.
Another networking tool is emails. However, most people that don't really know you will not return your email. Keep track of the number of responders. Approximately 80% of people you are trying to make a new connection with will not respond. For the ones who do respond, be sure to follow up with them. Get to know the people who join you in your journey. Make every email sound like you are talking face to face with the person.
There are numerous Podcasts and videos on YouTube that can provide virtual mentorship as you start your private practice. Other private practice people can share what has worked for them and what pitfalls to avoid. But remember to engage and connect with the speaker, they are always eager to hear from their listeners! We have even developed a series of videos on How to Start a Private Practice in Canada to help answer some of the common questions that arise as you begin a new practice. Connect with us! Let us know what you think. We would be honoured to be apart of your network.
So, when fear begins to gnaw and you are feeling alone, remember to be yourself and reach out for connections! You can create your social network of private practice professionals.
1. www.e-his.ca.Private Practice Workbook:Electronic Health Information System. Copyright 2017. USA