Starting your own business brings Devil’s Advocates out in force – but creating a private practice can also really amp up the self-doubt and negative self-talk. How do you keep from letting naysayers get stuck in your gears?
As you gain momentum and as you keep building take time to check in with yourself. Are you getting what you want? Does what you’re building fit? Are you making choices instead of sacrifices?
What do you want in your practice? Like truly profoundly want. Not what you think you can have because you’ve seen it. What do YOU want? Think about work/life balance, think about income, think about ideal clients.
We have a lot of stories about why we can’t have what we want. You have your practice. You can set it up however you want. So when you imagine what you want, you probably have some rebuttals about why it’s not possible or reasonable.
Here are a few truths- if you’re marketing well, you can set your practice up however you want and fill it. Your rebuttals are not accurate.
Many of us have some learned helplessness from the agencies we’ve been a part of. Sometimes that’s compounded by our childhood or adolescence. Most of us have always assumed that work is work, and we shouldn’t expect it to be excellent.
But amazing is possible. Yes, you still have to write notes. But you don’t have to deal with an inappropriate boss or a threatening client, or a 12 hour day.
Another truth- there are PLENTY of us living a pretty damn good life as private practitioners setting things up exactly as we want them. There’s no reason I should get to have that, and you shouldn’t. You deserve it as much as anyone. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are influenced by those around us. That may be reinforcing some doubt.
We’re influenced by the sometimes bad influences as examples. People who insist “private practice isn’t a cakewalk. You work long, hard hours and barely take home more than you did in an agency. And the pressure is all on you.” That can be true if you set your business up for suffering. So don’t do that.
We’re influenced by naysayers who say private practice “doesn’t work.” Um ok. I don’t know what it is with that statement, but I’ve heard it so. Many. Times. They do know there are plenty of happy, successful private practitioners in their city, right?
We’re influenced by Shamers who say things like, “oh, you don’t take insurance? Well, I’m not in it for the money” or “You work with a niche? I believe everyone deserves help.” Shamers can be quite toxic as they present their judgments as righteousness and don’t have insight into the fact that your choices about your practice and your life are just as valid as theirs.
Finding a good community is vital. Having examples of different practices that are inspiring is imperative. Yes, you can see teens during school hours, even outside of COVID. Yes, you can work three days a week. Yes, you can charge $200/session. Yes, you can take a month off. Yes, you can have a sliding scale. Yes, you can make insurance work for you.
We all need good examples, info about what people learned along the way, and supporters.
I rarely encourage anyone to spend more time on social media, but if it feels like you’re swimming upstream and looking for a better community, there are some great ones out there.