Sustain Your Practice

9 Ways to Refresh Your Private Practice

January 6, 2023

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I'm Aisha — private practice strategist for mental health therapists looking to ethically blend their clinical skills with entreprenuership without burnout. 

Meet Aisha

With all this “New Year, New You” chatter I think it's time to reassess and REFRESH your Private Practice in a way that doesn't feed into the “Go Big of Go Home” energy.

You can have goals and aspirations but instead of doing the most, let's take a look at what you're already doing and see if you can do things differently by refreshing your private practice like this.

Have you assembled your T.E.A.M. ?

When making your to-do list, whether it’s a list of goals or just things you need to get done, consult with your T.E.A.M because this will help you prioritize, so that you can prioritize and not run the risk of doing #allthethings. 

Here’s a short list of questions you can ask yourself using the T.E.A.M framework I created:

Pinterest Infographic by Aisha Shabazz

If your answers are mostly “I'm not sure”, then you know what you need to do and if you don’t know what to do, keep reading and then subscribe to the newsletter so that you can get private practice strategies sent directly to your inbox. 

 

 

1. Refresh Your Marketing

Therapists have a tendency to let marketing fall to the bottom of their to-do list and this is a big mistake. The only way you’re going to make sure that your therapy doors  stay open is if people know that you and your services exist. 

Even if you’ve taken tons of networking calls over the years and have a large network, please don’t be naïve enough to think that those thoughtful people are thinking about you, telling everyone about you, and making their whole world revolve around you 24/7/365. 

But you know who is working around the clock to help you connect with your ideal client population? 

The internet. 

New York used to be referred to as the city that never sleeps but the internet is, has, and always will be the thing that keeps working when everyone else is living their life. 

Yes, I know that marketing is a vague term, so let’s make sure we’re on the same page. When I say refresh your marketing it could be your

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Email Newsletter
  • Podcast
  • YouTube Channel
  • TikTok Account
  • Instagram Account
  • LinkedIn Page
  • Facebook Page
  • Paid Advertising
  • Press Coverage

The good thing is you have options. The bad news? As far as I’m concerned there is no bad news, unless you refuse to prioritize marketing your practice. 

The only way you’re going to continue to see clients is by telling people you exist and the most sustainable way to figure out how to market your practice is activate your T.E.A.M. and your promote yourself online. 

Not sure what to say when it comes to marketing your practice? Join the LIVE WORKSHOP, where I’ll show you an easier way to figure out where to start and what to say in your marketing material. More details can be found here. 

 

 

2. Refresh Your Client Experience

Let’s imagine that you’re consistently receiving client inquiries but the clients you’re attracting are not sticking around or as long as you’d like. You my friend need to refresh your client experience. 

And whether you’re offering in-person sessions or online therapy, it’s important to consider how your client feels about the service you’re offering them.

Do you have more no-shows and late cancellations than you would like? 

Are your clients forgetting to pay their invoices on time? 

Think about the patterns that are happening and see if there are ways you can do things differently, so that you and your clients benefit from the refresh. 

 

3. Refresh Your Schedule

Try this: Look at your calendar from the past 12 months and ask yourself 

“How much scheduled time off did I take?” 

“How did I feel as a result of taking that amount of time off?” 

“If I could do it all over again, I would…”

Another aspect of your schedule that you can refresh is your appointment availability. If waking up to an early morning alarm to see clients as the sunrises is no longer working for you, switch it up. 

You can even test drive this new schedule by attempting a temporary change to see how it goes. 

If you’re concerned that you’ll lose clients, as a result of changing your availability and you feel reluctant to “get back out there” to fill your caseload, 

 

this tells me that you might not have your marketing as dialed in as you think. 

Real Talk: If your marketing was airtight, you wouldn’t have to work so hard to fill that client vacancy. 

 

4. Refresh Your Therapy Rates

You can be the most compassionate, enlightened and values-driven therapist on the planet and yet there’s no denying that Money (still) makes the world go round. There’s no way around it and you’re not doing yourself any favors by pretending that’s not true. 

We live in a global society that requires everyone, even you, to make money in order to have access to your basic needs, let alone your wants, hopes, dreams and desires. 

Now, with that being said, I don’t think you have to “get that bag” by any means necessary, but you can earn money without leaving your morality at home.

You need to take an honest look at your finances and at the very least be able to say a solid Yes or No to the following > Are you charging enough to cover your business expenses? 

If your answer is “I don’t know”, you have to turn things around ASAP. Grab a spreadsheet and start writing down your expenses. 

If your answer is “No”, don’t panic because you have the option to raise your rates and/or diversify your income streams. 

Not sure which choice is the right one for you? 

Consult with your T.E.A.M and then follow-up with your accountant & financial advisor to give you a reality check. 

Once you know your numbers and you’re ready to put things in place, schedule a discovery call with me and together we can figure out how I can help you refresh your private practice

 

5. Refresh Your Paperwork

No one likes paperwork BUT it’s a boundary that keeps you and your clients safe, so take the time to review your intake paperwork and see if things need to be updated. It could be that you notice a few typos or you realize that your new rates are not reflected in your no-show and late cancellation policy. 

And until the “No Surprises Act” is no longer a thing (don’t hold your breath on that by the way), prepare yourself to activate and renew those details for your clients. 

 

6. Refresh Your Referral Sources

Take a look at where you’re attempting to get client referrals. If you have multiple therapy directory profiles, read your profile and see if what you wrote still applies. If not, update it using these suggestions. 

If you’re paying for therapy directory listings and haven’t made a return on your investment (the total earned from clients sessions referred by that directory > total cost of the directory listing) reach out to their customer support and ask them for recommendations on how you can increase the likelihood that people will see your profile. 

If you receive word of mouth referrals, connect with those colleagues for a coffee date or send them a thank you card. Even if it feels like you haven’t talked to them in ages. Reach out! The likelihood that they’ll be annoyed to hear from you is slim.

 

7. Refresh Your Clinical Skills

Professional development comes in many shapes and sizes and frankly, my heart breaks everytime I hear a therapist say that they think they absolutely need to grab an extra one, two or three certifications, degrees or diplomas in order to be respected or in order to charge top dollar as a therapist in private practice. 

That’s not true. 

Did you know that only 18% of small business owners have a Master’s Degree and only 4% have a doctorate?

What this should tell you is that, the remaining 82% of small business owners know that professional development comes in all shapes and sizes and you can invest in yourself beyond crisp parchment paper. 

Your graduate degree is plenty and if you feel like you need more training in order to be a responsible clinician, I’m all for it, but if you’re only doing JUST to charge more, Houston We Have a Problem. 

How can you refresh your clinical skills? 

Well, you can start by reading some of those mental health books you’ve collected over the years. 😉

And if you’re the unicorn in the Land of Make Believe and have read every single book in your collection, you can gain a new perspective and re-read them, join a clinical book discussion group, or do a book swap with a clinical colleague. 

You know those mandatory CEUs you have to complete in order to maintain your license? 

Even if you waited until the last minute and have a mountain of credits to complete, #IYKYK, select a topic or two that is relevant to the specialty of one of your clinical colleagues. This is a genuine way to learn more about their client population, therapeutic modality, or theoretical perspective. 

If you feel awkward about reaching out, by introducing yourself to a slice of their world, you can mention your recent CEU experience as a thoughtful way to warm up the conversation and have something new to talk about during your next coffee date.

 

8. Refresh Your Technology

Even if technology is not your BFF, you know that if your devices are out of touch with the latest updates, you’ll be in a sticky situation when they stop working. 

Laptops. Cell phones. Cloud-based software. There are so many tech tools that I use in my practice that make running my business so much easier, so if you have something that’s not saving you time, saving you money, or making you money, you can fix that! 

If you’re not using an electronic health record by now, this is your invitation to make it happen sooner rather than later. You can save $149 off your subscription to Simple Practice through January 31stjust click this affiliate link & tell them Aisha sent you!

 

And if you’re using Google Voice or your personal phone number to communicate with clients, please stop what you’re doing and switch to Spruce Health and if you want $24 off your bill, email customer support and tell them “Aisha R. Shabazz recommended me” and they’ll take good care of you. 

 

9. Refresh Your Office Space 

Virtual, in-person or hybrid your office space should meet your needs just as much as your client’s needs. 

Is your office space working for you? If not, give it a refresh!

Swap out the curtains, light a candle, put a canvas on the wall, or you can do what I did, and update your desk. Just like with most things, and for me at least, working from home has its pros & cons. 

But from day one of the global pandemic, I worked with what I had and that was my desk from high school and a dining room chair. The chair lasted about a week because it was way too hard and so I upgraded to a more pliable option, a yoga ball. No surprise there. And that was a winning combination, until it wasn’t. 

I noticed that over time my body was feeling more and more achy and fatigued by the end of the day which is no surprise because the desk was never ideal for my tall stature. 

I tried to balance out the impact of sitting (which has been coined as “the new smoking” for going on 10+ years now) by going on walks, getting massages, not scheduling too many clients back-to-back, and standing up in between sessions. My body was happier with those additions to my routine until it wasn’t. 

So, I started searching for a standing desk and when I finally found one that met all my needs, I checked in with my T.E.A.M and my standing desk made its world debut. And I have to say, my body is much happier. 

The moral of the story:  Work with what you have, keep an eye on how you can refresh now and down the road, and don’t be afraid to try a combination of things because it’s rare that one thing will meet all your needs.

 

Let’s bring it all together

Whether you’re trying to do more or do less in 2023 and beyond, to prevent yourself from losing steam along the way, prioritize, start with what you’re already doing, and do what you can, with what you have. 

There’s no need to bring the “go big or go home” attitude to every decision you make in your private practice. If having a sustainable business is your priority, slow and steady wins the race each and every time.

If you’re ready to follow through with your goals and want more customized support, you’re invited to schedule a discovery call with me or hop on over to learn more about Referrals to Revenue, a group coaching program that help private practice therapists get your goals off the ground so that you can get the results you want & need. 

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