If there’s one thing I can guarantee, it is that you will never regret surrounding yourself with intelligent, entrepreneurial, and clinically-gifted therapists who value ethics. Marketing trends are volatile and sometimes unpredictable, but therapy still remains highly based on the concept of mentorship. So, it’s no wonder why having a diverse network of therapists whose experience is available to draw from is vital – for both the financial success of your practice as well as the support it provides you as a mental healthcare provider navigating both the therapeutic and entrepreneurial worlds. The majority of the content in this blog has been adapted from my course, The Private Practice Roadmap, which is a simple yet comprehensive guide to launching your own cash-pay therapy private practice.
1. Volunteer for speaking events
One great way to begin building your professional identity is to volunteer to give talks or presentations on topics related to your clinical passions. Not only are these speaking events an awesome resource for the community, but they also provide you with a forum to discuss your practice with your community.
Consider reaching out to local community organizations such as churches, synagogues, the YMCA, schools, chamber of commerce groups, networking groups, parent/teacher associations, yoga studios, gyms, or any other places where your typical client would interact in the community.
A good friend once told me, “People have to hear your name or interact with you at least five times before you come to their mind for a referral.” Speaking in the community is one great way for you to establish yourself as a familiar face, and share about the overlap between your passions and expertise.
2. Create a blog or webpage on a free platform
Creating a blog is easier than it looks! There are tons of programs that basically walk you through how to create your own webpage or blog. Many of these blog or website builders are free. For instance, I created this entire page myself using Squarespace. They offer a 30 day free trial to everyone who works with them. Creating a blog or a webpage builds upon your professional identity and creates a space for you to discuss your passions.
3. Volunteer at networking events
Attending professional events can be expensive, and sometimes it feels like you are spending money on events without seeing results. Often, networking events need volunteers to help with sign in, clean up, or set up. Inquire about whether the organization offers free admission to networking events for volunteers. Oftentimes, volunteers have the most fun at networking events – plus, working on shared tasks helps to build lasting connections!
4. Phone check-ins
Many professionals are busy and don’t necessarily have time to meet you for lunch or coffee. However, many people do have time for a quick phone call. I only suggest making phone calls to other professionals who you already have an established relationship with, and the check-ins should be based on a genuine interest in the lives and businesses of others around you. Every few months, take 10 minutes or so to make a quick call to one of your referral sources. Perhaps share a few updates about your practice or projects you are working on, but definitely make sure to spend most of the conversation truly focusing on their life and what’s new with them. Make sure to keep the phone call short and sweet.*
5. Use social media
Create a professional Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter account. Make sure to keep these accounts consistent with your professional practice. Use these accounts as methods for linking back to your website or blog, and make sure to put forward content that showcases your therapeutic niche. Do not make the mistake of acting unprofessionally simply because you are using social media. Remember that anything you post could be seen by other professionals, clients, or strangers – so be sure to keep your posts related to your therapeutic practice!
*I have created an eBook consisting of a wide variety of scripts regarding private practice upkeep, marketing, and etiquette. You can purchase the Essential Scripts download here.
This article was written by Kelley Stevens, LMFT. Kelley is a private practice business coach for therapists. Kelley specializes in helping therapists launch a cash-pay private practice from the ground up.