You’re going to want to quit. You’re going to call your best friend or your partner or your mom and you’re going to cry, or do your version of not-crying when you should be, and you’re going to say that you can’t do it. You aren’t good enough. No one is referring to you. No one is going to refer to you.
This is all a part of it. If you care, this is inevitable. This is the hard part of starting any kind of business. You’re an entrepreneur now and every retail store owner, coffee shop proprietor, internet marketing start up genius, and app developer has been here.
Listen to me closely, you are where you’re meant to be. Do not quit. You have something to share. You give people their lives back. You will do this better working for yourself. You will be happier working for yourself, eventually. Yes, you need a plan; you need to know HOW to build your practice. You have infinite resources at your disposal to do this. You may need to tweak your plan as you go. You are flexible. You are strong enough. You will succeed.
This stage is what holds people back but it doesn’t have to stop you. It’s like that phase in therapy where things get harder before they get better. If you clients quit then they miss out on the freedom that follows. They get stuck in the shit and the heartbreak. Don’t be that client.
I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve cocooned in my bed and felt not good enough. I’ve let go of some guttural weeping moans in the shower. I wanted to quit my practice in Seattle after 2 months and trudged on. l was full 2 months later. I wanted to quit Abundance multiple times. I would have missed out on so many awesome relationships and the ability to really make a difference for people. Remember your motivation for doing this. Get grounded in your “why.” Write it down. Seriously, especially if it’s really salient right now.
James Hollister, whose guest blog on SEO Fact & Fiction is coming up, developed this awesome app for therapists to track referral sources as they network (seriously making my life 1000x easier). He recently shared his “why” and invited the therapists on his mailing list to share why they do what they do. I felt more connected to him, his purpose, and his work. It was a great opportunity for me to check in, get grateful for the amazing jobs I get to do, and write my why’s down again. No one goes into therapy for the money, though it can be quite good in private practice. Everyone has a pretty compelling reason. Even if it’s curiosity about what makes us tick, there’s something that makes you care deeply about how we work. One of my favorite TED Talks is Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” Check it out.
Know that all the private practice clinicians you know or have heard of struggled through this and made it. The therapists currently in private practice aren’t better than you. They kept going when it was hard and you can, too.
When you want to give up, give yourself the space to acknowledge how hard it is and how much it sucks. Don’t get mired in it. Don’t drown. Be sad and scared without catastrophizing. Reach out to your friends who own businesses. No offense to your non-business-owning friends, but they’re not going to get it as deeply and you aren’t going to trust their support or advice or experience like you will your entrepreneur-friends’. My sweet friend Jane Carter, the President of the National Association of Counselors in Private Practice, knows my fear-of-failure-wail and my I-can’t-do-anymore-sob in a way few do (and I know hers). My Mastermind buddies have watched tears stream down my face more than once. And let’s be clear, I have two successful, kickass businesses! This stuff is hard. And it’s doable. Bulk up on your self-care. There’s no excuse not to. Meditation is free, walks are free, journaling is free and none of them have to take more than 10 minutes if that’s all you can do. If you have money to spend, by god spend it on yourself! Don’t do that martyrdom crap.
You’re here for a reason. You’re doing what you can to make it happen. The hardest part of starting a private practice is the emotional toll the initial fear creates. The rest is work. Not hard, just work. You have what it takes. You can tolerate discomfort. You’ve got this.
What do you tell yourself that helps when you want to give up? Let us know in the comments!
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.