The Blog Blitz: Your Questions Answered About Life in Private Practice

That was just one of the questions that popped up yesterday as I taught one of my more popular programs, “Getting Back to What You Love: How to Design a Private Practice that Serves the World, Feeds Your Family and your Soul”.

As I’ve taught this workshop across the state, certain themes keep coming up. I thought I’d address some of them here for all of you.

And although I’ve been speaking specifically to psychotherapists, you’ll find that their questions apply to almost any type of professional practice, and, indeed, most small businesses.

So there will be a few gems here for you, too.

Let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?

1. “Can you make any money?”

Yes. You can make money, good money, especially if you meet a few critical criteria.

  • You offer a service that people need, want and are willing to pay for.
  • You’re really good at what you do. :)

2. “How do you grow your practice (or your business) without killing yourself?”

There are keys to longevity in any growing, healthy business. Among them are: 

This takes strength, dear ones, and stamina. Take care of yourself.

  • Adding structure and systems that support the work, so you’re not starting from scratch with every new client, or every new opportunity.
  • Building a team of support as you grow. This can range from lunch with supportive friends and colleagues, to hiring a VA, to working with a coach, to having someone mow the lawn. I use all of those – a LOT.

3. “What about your scope of practice? Can you really do things the way you want to, or are there restrictions that get in the way?”

This came from a therapist who wanted to build a practice for those seeking Christian-based services. I told her that when you’re the CEO of your own show, you get to decide what that show looks like.

As long as it’s legal (and yes, ethical), you can run it any way you want to.

You’re the boss, right? So it’s your party, right?

4. What about taxes? How do I make sure I’m ready for taxes? 

GREAT question.

I struggled a lot with this back in the beginning. I’d never heard of quarterly taxes, had no idea how to prepare for them. Every few months I’d lose several nights’ sleep praying for some magical big check, just hoping I could pay my part. 

But I learned. First, I set up a business savings account. Then, every time I got paid, whether it was a $20 or $2,000, I put 25% of that deposit into that “tax savings account”. This was totally separate from personal savings or any salary I paid myself.

At first, this was HARD – especially if I felt really broke. But it soon became a habit, one that saved me.

Make it a point to set aside at least 15%, preferably 20% or more, and don’t touch it.  You’ll get a good night’s sleep at tax time – every time.

5. What about referrals? If you have other providers in your practice, how do you decide who gets which referral?

There are many ways to handle this, but I’ll share how we do this at our practice.

We operate out of a belief in abundance. We know that people will always need help, and there’s plenty of business for everyone, so we don’t care about competition. At all.

Instead, we focus on serving the client, and doing what we love.

Is this client someone you want to work with? Then do. If they need something you can’t offer, help them find someone who can. Make sure they get what they need, whether it’s with you, someone else in your practice, or someone across town. Do that, and you’ll have more business than you can manage. :)

Photo Credit: John Ward on Flickr


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