This is your time.
You’ve paid your dues.
You’ve completed your degree.
You’ve worked for a supervisor or other practice owner.
You know it’s now or never – either you commit and make it happen, or you may have just spent thousands of dollars and hours on a degree and licensing and supervision only to end up with fewer options than you had before you started.
You don’t want to go out like that.
So, it’s go time. You need to build your practice NOW.
Well, I’m here to give you some reassurance.
If you can honestly look around at your current efforts (and mental landscape) and see most of the following 11 signs, you’re well on your way to private practice success.
Let’s jump right in.
1. You Have a Clear Vision of What Success Looks Like for Your Practice
If you don’t know where you’re headed, then it doesn’t much matter where you end up.
If, on the other hand, you are committed to becoming a successful practice owner, then you need to take the time to define what success looks like.
Right now, if you already have a clear definition of what you want your practice to become, then you’re well on your way to realizing that vision.
What are the key components of an effective vision for your practice?
- How many clients will you be seeing each week?
- What will your practice policies be?
- What hours will you keep?
- How much will you charge?
- How much will you make?
- How much will your expenses be each month (roughly)?
- What services will you offer?
- Who will you be best positioned to serve?
If you already have clear answers to those questions, congratulations: it’s entirely likely that your practice is on the verge of blasting off.
2. You’re Prepared for the Inevitable Downs
If building a private practice was easy, everyone would succeed at it.
Yet the number of failed – or struggling – private practice owners is legion.
One of the biggest traps for someone who wants to grow a successful practice is being unprepared for the inevitable challenges that WILL rise up as you get moving.
What are you going to do if growth comes slower than you expect?
How are you going to make it through a dry spell when your phone isn’t ringing?
How will you maintain your confidence when your friends and family keep politely “suggesting” that maybe this whole private practice dream isn’t meant to be?
Accomplishing meaningful goals necessarily involves confronting and overcoming obstacles and challenges.
If you’re clear about the potential pitfalls ahead and you’re primed and ready to tackle them head-on, then that’s a very good sign that you’ll be able to move through the downs and come out the other side with a successful practice.
3. Your Practice’s Financials Are in Order
Business is about an exchange of value for money.
Money is countable.
Yet most would-be practice owners shy away from seeing their financials clearly.
It’s often even worse than that – aspiring practice owners actually hide their eyes when the subject of their numbers comes up. It’s like they don’t want to know how bad things are…as if wearing a blindfold will somehow make the bad news go away.
If you’ve gotten over that resistance to your practice’s financials and you’re actually able to see where you are right now in relation to the numbers that matter in your practice, then congratulations!
You’re in rare company.
Having your practice financials in order is a huge sign that your practice is ready for blast off.
4. You Believe in What You’re Offering
As a therapist in private practice, you’re selling therapy services to prospective clients.
Yes, that’s right: you’re a salesperson.
(I’ll wait until the shivers are done moving through your body over that one.)
Believe it or not, the fact that you’re a salesperson is actually good news.
The fact is, we’re all selling others all day long in our personal and business lives.
We sell our partners on our plan for the weekend.
We sell our kids on why they should eat their broccoli or finish their homework.
We sell ourselves on why it’s preferable to go work out instead of veg out on the couch.
And if you want clients for your practice, then you’re selling prospects on why therapy with you is absolutely the right choice for helping them resolve their challenges.
One of the biggest keys to selling successfully is believing in what you’re selling.
It’s much, much, much easier to sell something you genuinely KNOW is going to change the lives of the people you’re speaking with.
If you have any doubts about what you’re offering, those doubts are going to come through when you speak to a prospective client.
Since people are extremely sensitive to cues both spoken and unspoken, they’ll pick up on your doubts and keep looking for a therapist who really believes in what they’re offering.
If, on the other hand, you know in your bones that what you offer is priceless and powerful, then that will shine through in each conversation you have with prospective clients.
Those clients will feel your certainty. It’ll awaken their own belief in your ability to help them and their ability to do what it takes to improve their lives.
So, if you truly believe in what you’re offering, then that’s a hugely positive sign that your practice is about to blast off like a rocket.
5. You’re the Client You Most Want to Attract
You know what’s silly?
Expecting clients to come into your office and happily pay a premium fee for therapy with you when you’ve never paid anywhere near your full fee to a therapist for your own therapy.
I’m astonished how often this obvious fact is overlooked by therapists who want to grow their practices.
If you’ve never been a consistent therapy client, or if you’ve only ever paid a copay yet want cash pay clients, then you’ve set yourself up for struggle and frustration.
However, if you’ve been a diligent, consistent therapy client, then you’ll likely have no problem attracting diligent and consistent clients into your practice.
Like attracts like.
Figure out the kind of clients you want to attract, and then BE that client for your own therapy with your therapist.
If you’re already the client you most want to attract, then that’s another clear sign your practice is about to blast off toward all the success you can imagine.
6. You’re Always Learning
Nothing stands still.
You’re either getting better, or you’re falling behind.
When it comes to growing a successful practice, your ability to learn new things is one of the most important predictors for your success.
New research is coming out all the time fueling new approaches and modalities for how to use therapy to help human beings thrive.
If you aren’t on the cutting edge, you’re in danger of being end-run by a therapist who is.
And on the business side, new developments are coming online all the time for how people seek out and find therapists.
In fact, being a great learner is probably the single most important skill for success in 21st century economic life.
The therapeutic profession is going through major changes right now. Only the nimble and flexible will survive and capture the lion’s share of available opportunity.
If you know you’re always learning, then take confidence in that fact as yet another sign that your practice is about to blast off (if it hasn’t already).
7. You’ve Accepted That You’re an Entrepreneur
As a therapy practice owner, you wear two hats.
Hat #1 is your Therapist Hat.
It’s the hat you wear in session with your clients and in 99% of your communications with your existing clients.
Hat #2 is your Entrepreneurial Hat.
You wear this hat when you’re actually building your practice and making decisions about how to allocate your limited resources to improve how you do business.
For most therapists, Hat #1 is super comfy. They love wearing it.
Hat #2, on the other hand, gives them the willies. They chafe while wearing it – and usually just try to throw it off altogether.
There’s just one problem with that strategy. You can’t grow a private practice without also owning the fact that you’re an entrepreneur.
Gone are the days when you could just hang your shingle outside and be inundated with a steady stream of clients.
All those longtime practice owners and their stories of how they “never really had to do any marketing”?
Yeah, that isn’t how growing a stable practice works anymore (unless you have 10 years of savings and a ton of patience on hand).
If you’re growing a practice, you’re an entrepreneur.
The more you embrace that fact, the closer your practice is to blasting off like a rocket.
8. You Understand that No One Owes You a Full Practice
How many people are out there in the world right now plotting to help you fill up your practice?
I’m willing to wager that there is not a single person out there who’s actually doing everything they can to get your practice to full.
Not your spouse, not your best friend, not your supervisor – your full practice relies on you and you alone.
This may seem self-evident, yet I’ve seen countless therapists operate under the false belief that somehow the world owes them their full practice.
That it’s somehow supposed to happen with minimal fuss and effort.
Well, unless you have that mystical someone out there laboring day and night to fill up your practice for you, your full practice isn’t just going to show up out of nowhere.
No, quite the opposite: your practice is going to require your focus, diligence, effort, and sacrifice.
When you think the world owes you a full practice, that’s you operating under the illusion of an entitlement attitude.
The famed entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan contrasts the entitlement attitude with the entrepreneurial attitude as diametric opposites:
Entitlement is when you expect others to provide you with what you need, including opportunities. You get upset when you don’t get it, and you always end up feeling like what you’re getting isn’t enough.
Entrepreneurism, on the other hand, is based on the following attitude: “If I’m creating value for customers, I’ll be taken care of. I’ll get what I need if I create something that’s useful to other people.”
If your mind is riddled with various entitlement-infused beliefs, then my money is on your eventual failure.
An entitlement attitude is such an easy way to predict failure, in fact, that I strive to uproot entitlement-based thinking as a constant vigilance practice.
If you can honestly look inside and see few to no entitlement-based thoughts like the idea that the world somehow “owes” you a full practice, that’s an incredibly good sign that your practice is about to blast off like a rocket.
9. You’re Proud of Your Ambition
Ambition gets a bad rap, particularly among more sensitive types like most therapists tend to be.
However, distancing yourself from ambition is like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
Blind ambition with no sense of the negative impact to others for what that ambition creates – yes, that’s worth opposing.
However, your ambition to grow your therapy practice is noble. It’s honorable.
You’re seeking to help others, have a positive impact on your community, and stand as a net positive in the world in terms of the value you offer and your ability to stand on your own two feet financially.
If you feel thoroughly good about your ambition to grow your therapy practice, that’s a great sign that you’re going to blast off and enjoy more impact and income in the very near future.
10. You’re Open to Learning New Technology
Like it or not, technology is here to stay.
What’s your attitude toward it?
To engage in a gross generalization, most therapists are less than comfortable with technology.
In my work with therapists all over the country, I’ve certainly had to guide folks through all sorts of technical hurdles – from how to copy and paste text in a Word doc on the simpler end all the way out to helping therapists engage with complex online advertising interfaces.
An openness to technology is a vital component of succeeding in growing your therapy practice.
If you’re already comfortable leaning into the confusion that’s just part of learning how to work a new piece of software or hardware, then you’re well positioned for continued growth in your practice.
But if you’re not yet there and view technology with frustration or even trepidation, don’t worry. This, too, can be learned.
(Yes, even the most technophobic among us can become fluent in the technology that’s necessary to use for growing and running your practice, I promise.)
11. You Won’t Take No for an Answer
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
You’ll have to translate Mr. Hill’s language out of the man-centric vocabularly of his early 20th century, but his point still holds today.
Success in your practice is guaranteed if you resolve to never give up until you’ve built that vision we discussed in point #1 above.
If you’re prone to giving up, then nothing you do is going to matter much. It’s only a matter of time before you receive the curveball that forces the issue and causes you to crumple.
Ultimately, building a successful practice is a journey that will require you to give up every excuse, every limitation, every false belief. It’s a journey that will show you who you really are.
This is why the journey is so worth it. Because it makes you who you really are – and shows you parts of yourself you only hoped were inside you somewhere.
However, if you give up before you reach your goal, you’ll never know what you were capable of. And hundreds of people will not get access to your expertise. Their suffering will continue unabated – because you weren’t there to help.
So, if you know you’ll never take no for an answer when it comes to growing your full practice, then that’s perhaps the most important sign of all that your practice is about to blast off like a rocket.
But What If You Want Every Possible Advantage for Your Practice’s Success?
We’ve just discussed the 11 signs I look for whenever I start working with a therapist who says they want to grow their practice.
Lots of people talk – but fewer people do the work.
If you’re one of the therapists who knows you want every possible advantage to help you grow your practice as quickly and powerfully as possible, then you’re exactly the kind of therapist who will benefit from our work at Therapy Practice Accelerator.
We offer the world’s premier program for supporting therapists to grow full successful practices.
Here’s one of our clients describing the power of what we offer:
”The experience can only be described as life changing. Don’t let the name fool you. It is a life accelerator.”
If you are ready to really blast off in your practice, we’d love to talk to you: