Any up-and-coming licensed clinician with a solid master’s degree in psychology who’s looking to move forward in their career inevitably faces a dire dilemma at some point in their career: whether to stick with the mother ship for good or set up a private practice and try to make a name for themselves in the world of independent practitioners. However confident and experienced you may be, tackling this particular dilemma is never an easy task, and there are several points you will have to bear in mind when considering starting a private practice and joining an already crowded market of psychological counseling and related health services.
Experience and contacts: The initial push
If you never worked independently of a community clinic, you may face every practitioner’s nightmare as soon as you launch your private practice: a lack of clients and professional contacts. The most important factors that will impact the success of your business and the popularity of your practice are a good reputation and viva voce, both of which are inextricably connected to experience, valuable contacts and established clients. When starting your independent psychology practice, use all the means you have at hand to promote your services: ask your colleagues, professional contacts, friends and family to recommend your private clinic to their acquaintances and social circles, set up a website and try marketing your business via social networks. Believe it or not, most people will gladly pay higher psychological counseling fees than is reasonable if they received recommendations or referrals from a friend or family member who can vouch to them that the practitioner is very competent and good at their job.
Niche vs. diversified services: Pick the right target crowd
At the beginning of your career as a private practitioner, you will need every client you can get, which means that your range of services should be as diverse as possible at first. As your business begins developing, you may decide to diversify your offer further or narrow it down to a specific field, e.g. treating adolescents and young adults, working with individuals with substance abuse, marriage counseling etc. Your line of work will mainly depend on your long-term goals, expected revenues, professional experience and personal practice preferences, so be careful when picking your path. The choice between specialization and diversification is definitely one of the matters you’ll have to address after you get enough clients and come to a point when you will have to make a serious decision on the course of your career development.
Market trends and analysis: Business plans and development
If you want to maximize the likelihood of your business success, you will have to keep a close eye on market trends and fluctuations in the demand for practitioners’ services. Up-and-coming independent practitioners are strongly advised to monitor the changes and shifts in demand for specific psychological services in order to get an adequate insight into what kind of services they should include in their offer and how they should form the prices to attract a greater number of clients. In addition to that, young private practitioners should consider not just hiring good medical supplier but also collaborating with experts from other lines of business like finance, law and accounting because their professional services can considerably contribute to the better functioning of a private practice and its faster development without any major legal or book-keeping ramifications to keep you down success-wise.
So, are you ready to spread your wings and start flying solo career-wise? Before you set out to open your new private practice and offer your expertise and experience to the public, make sure you carefully analyze the situation in the market, decide on your target clientele, get adequate marketing for your business via referrals, recommendations and the internet and come up with a list of versatile services to offer to your future customers. You will take care of all other details on the go without major difficulties once your business starts rolling, for as long as you don’t forget one critical fact: just like in therapy, it’s the first step that is the most difficult one to make when staring a private business. Be independent and make your own fortune: turn the world of well-paid psychological services into your own oyster.