Taking the plunge into private practice is frightening for most people. Being self-employment, a private practice clinician, can be empowering, but yet so scary.
1. Benefits: You are used to full-time employment with a benefit package that includes vacation time, sick time, health insurance, 401k, and more. These benefits are great and are often overlooked until you have thought about working for yourself. Letting go of these benefits being given to you at the start of your employment, you will need to learn these benefits. My first year in private practice, I took two weeks vacation. My second year, I took 4 weeks vacation. My third year, I took 8 weeks of vacation. Understanding you can have all the benefits and rewards of “regular employment” with the empowering benefits of self-employment. Learning to structure your time, energy, and benefits in a meaningful way!
2. Inconsistency: Navigating private practice is crucial for success. Riding the waves of the slow times and busy times is what makes a good private practitioner. I often tell people to expect the all or nothing relationship with your practice. You will have these times and learning to tolerate them will add to your success in private practice. The key is to learn how to use your time wisely to make your practice sufficient. For example, during the slow times, I remind myself of the need to market heavily and since I have more hours that are not dedicated for clients, I schedule my marketing activities to keep myself accountable and engaged in building my practice.
3. A Different Skill Set: Opening and maintaining a successful private practice requires superb clinical skills. Although with these clinical skills, private practitioners need to develop their skills as small business owners. Often times, these skills have not been learned or developed through their graduate training, internship, or various positions post graduate. Private practice clinicians develop these skills through experience, books, private practice development courses, coaching, and consultation. These support networks are an invested that leads to a successful thriving private practice
While these three points are important and need to be looked at closer, the only reason holding you back to following your dream of doing private practice full-time is YOU! You are scared, uncomfortable, and afraid to take the plunge. Avoiding these feelings is impossible. Gather as much support as you can to help you through the transition.