Some pre- and provisionally-licensed clinicians have asked me how risky it is getting into a private or group practice. Questions like, “Aren’t there huge investments up front? Don’t you have to spend a lot of money before you ever make any?”
Even though their dream is to get into a practice, especially a private practice, the perception that starting and maintaining one isn’t economical keeps them from pursuing it. It can seem far-fetched and who wants to go after something they think won’t workout even if they really want it to? So they seek out any position within the mental health field since it feels like a safer bet. And although it’s possible to unearth a decent clinical job, our field is populated with terrible ones. I don’t say this to scare you, but to inform you so when you venture into the working world you’re more aware and able to make savvy decisions.
One of my missions is to help you not get trapped in one of those terrible jobs. You have choices and can choose wisely. You got into this field and career because you want to make a difference in people’s lives and help them. You want to feel good knowing you’re making a positive impact in clients’ lives, but the possibility of that happening is minimal when you’re miserable in a job. On top of that, many get stuck in these stressful jobs because they become dependent on what it provides. It can become a catch 22–where they feel stuck and afraid to leave because of the fear of losing income, yet stressed and burned out because of the awful work circumstances.
But what many don’t know is getting into a private or group practice early on is a win-win for both you and a supervisor, in terms of income potential and getting yourself established for the rest of your career. If you envision being licensed and seeing clients in your own cozy office, starting before you’re licensed is ideal because you can start making money practically right away, while you grow your practice to be as full as you want.
And, a huge investment is not needed to get started. In fact, starting while you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed, I believe, is the best time to start because it’s a lot cheaper during this phase of your licensure. You don’t have to fork over thousands of dollars up front to get a business going. In fact, in a lot of states the rule for working in a private or group practice while you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed is that you work as an employee of your supervisor or site, or as an independent contractor.
Either way, in a lot of situations when you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed, you wind up paying significantly less out of pocket than when you’re licensed. This is mainly based on the fact that when you’re fully licensed you have to start from scratch and pay for office space to decor to business licenses, to marketing to billing, etc. All the overhead then rests on your shoulders in addition to figuring out how to get clients and create a full practice.
However, when you get into a private or group practice while you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed you only pay a percentage of all those start-up and operational costs, and you can negotiate so you’re only paying for the time you actually see clients, or close to it.
So, you can do what we call “upscale,” with your practice. You can negotiate a situation where you have the opportunity to start out with perhaps one day a week, then two days a week and so forth. This means the scalability of your growing practice is more sustainable and less costly. You pay more as you grow, but not beforehand. This impacts your bottom line, because office space and “overhead” adds up. But when you find a site and supervisor who you can negotiate a favorable arrangement with, it becomes a win-win for both you and the supervisor, because costs are being shared to an extent, which allows the supervisor to earn some income off their time with you and reduce their office space cost. Meanwhile, you get the opportunity to use their office space, learn aspects of the business side of things and leverage some things for your own practice. And for your future business.
Plus, when you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed, you can get started for relatively little cost. There are some essentials to have in place, but once you’ve got those, you’re good to go. If you’re getting into a group practice, you need even less money up front. Keep in mind though in a group practice you’ll tend to make less per client hour than in a private practice. Although in a group practice, they typically provide client referrals so that’s one of the key differences. In a private practice, you’ll want to have some things in momentum which I teach in my online course, that’ll move you leaps and bounds ahead in landing your ideal supervisor and site. And this momentum will result in getting more clients of your own.
Speaking of which, there are low-cost ways to generate client referrals and when you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed you can experiment with what works for you to get new clients without the weight of carrying the full responsibility for a business. And, in my new online course, “How to Get Into a Private or Group Practice While You’re Pre- or Provisionally-Licensed: A Step by Step Guide to Start and Grow Your Caseload and Maximize Your Income” I teach:
-how to be a confident and calm clinician in a private or group practice
-how you can find the ideal supervision and site for you
-how to negotiate so you can be sure to get the best arrangement possible
-what you need to know about the business of private and group practice while you’re pre- or provisionally-licensed
-how to get clients and handle client inquiries to increase the likelihood of them choosing you
-how to make first sessions go smoothly and ensure they come back for more
With a minimal investment, you get maximum value to get yourself going in the direction of your dreams! Until Sunday, the course is discounted from $597 to $197 for lifetime access. On top of that, you get amazing bonuses that’ll help you succeed. Click here for more details and to get started.
Tyra Butler is a therapist and the founder of the Facebook group Early Career Clinician Community where she gives some of her best tips to succeed on the road to licensure. She works with pre-, provisionally-licensed and early career therapists to help them find paid work, start and grow their practices and make important decisions and career moves. She offers coaching and consultation, and as a professional writer provides copywriting coaching to create web site, marketing content and formulate innovative ideas to create additional income. Tyra has been in private practice for 9 years, with 15 years in mental health, business and professional copywriting. Learn more about her services and blog here. Contact her here.