This content is provided by Brighter Vision, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the views of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official policy.
You have done most of the hard work already. You’ve endured years of schooling, earned your master’s degree, and completed hours-upon-hours of supervision and training. Now here you are – ready to start your very own private practice!
It’s finally time for you to turn your passion for helping people into a sustainable business, and now is the best time to do it. At the moment, many therapists recognize the need to grow a successful private practice. Yet, many aren’t able to grasp the full scope of opportunity in doing this during a global pandemic.
People need mental health care now more than ever before, making the demand for therapists far greater than the current supply. Many therapists are timid to open a new practice during COVID-19 but, if done correctly, doing so now can actually help make the entire process easier and cheaper than if you were to wait for this to pass.
So, what do you really need to create a successful psychotherapy private practice during COVID-19, and what are the costs for each of those items? This article will cover how to open your own therapy practice right now for less than $1,000.
Step 1 - Register Your Practice and Launch Online
After defining your ideal client and considering what type of practice you’re going to be building, your next step will be registering your business. This step can be a bit tricky, as you might need to speak with an account or attorney to determine the specific guidelines in your state. However, you may also be able to get free or low-cost guidance for this by checking in with your state board, local colleagues, or any other associations you may be a part of. You can register a business for free, but going with an online company like legal zoom or rocket lawyer typically costs less than $100 and can save you quite a bit of time.
Once your business is registered, the traditional next step is finding an office space. Between choosing a location, getting a lease, and furnishing your office space, the costs for this were once a time-consuming and expensive undertaking.
However, the past year has presented many therapists with a unique opportunity not to worry about opening up a physical location to practice. With Telehealth at its peak of popularity, you can now feasibly conduct sessions from wherever you would like instead of performing traditional in-office sessions. This is a fantastic chance to save money from the start and open your new practice for a fraction of the cost, potentially saving you hundreds every month!
Teletherapy also provides you with more flexible hours, the ability to work from home (or anywhere you want), and the ability to expand your practice and reach clients that live outside your city – helping generate even more revenue!
Very few professions have the chance to start and run their business without having to worry about paying to rent or lease office space. Teletherapy gives you freedom, rather than being tethered to one location. You can save SERIOUS money by starting your practice at home and using a Telehealth platform to connect with your ideal clients.
Once you have established your client base and can spare the extra cash, then you can decide if you want to move your business to an office or continue with just Teletherapy. Taking this route lowers your starting costs dramatically and can help make your business more profitable faster than ever before.
However, even therapists that are only providing Telehealth services should consider renting a private office space. Many clinicians have recently discovered the benefits of seeing clients virtually in a location that looks professional and is free of distractions. There are many affordable options available right now if you are interested in securing a physical place for your practice.
One of our favorites is Humanly, a company that provides flexible office space for mental health and wellness professionals. They offer month-to-month or longer-term options within a beautifully designed location. You can pay by the hour (single or recurring reservations), by the day, or have your very own private space.
Step 2 – Pick Your Teletherapy Software
As mentioned before, Teletherapy has changed the game for therapists everywhere, giving you the chance to open and run a successful practice while also allowing your clients to stay in the safety of their own homes and save you money at the same time.
Starting a practice now allows you the opportunity to position yourself strategically in Teletherapy. Making online therapy your primary service, you’re able to see clients who no longer feel safe leaving the house. Plus, since location is no longer a roadblock, you’re also opening yourself up to a wide range of even more potential new clients. There’s even evidence showing fewer no-shows and cancellations online therapy sessions than traditional in-office therapy.
As the demand for online therapy grows, so does the number of options available for therapists to choose from. But, above all else, you must choose an online therapy platform that is HIPAA-compliant so that your client’s privacy is protected.
>> Looking for more help moving your therapy practice online? <<
Brighter Vision’s free email course will walk you through the 5 steps you should take when making the transition to Telehealth.
Step 3 – Get a Professional Website
Your website is the foundation of your practice. You wouldn’t build a house without a foundation to build on, so why would you even consider starting your practice without a professional website? A beautiful website and a substantial online presence are excellent ways to help you get found by more clients.
Your homepage is the first impression your future clients will have of you. Whether clients are learning about your services or scheduling sessions with you, they are most likely doing so through your homepage, which makes your website without a doubt one of the most important parts of starting a successful private practice.
In today’s COVID world, building a website is more important than finding a physical office location for your private practice, which means you should dedicate the proper amount of time and money to invest in a well-designed website for your practice. A well-designed website is a powerful way to introduce yourself to prospects and build trust with new clients.
Many of our clients are new practitioners who are just getting started building their first website or just branching out to start their own private practice. Our websites help give them a professional appearance that helps them build trust with potential clients.
When it comes to building a new website, you will also want to make sure you have a solid SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy in place. After all, you want your new private practice website to show up on the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo, or wherever the user is searching.
Step 4 – Market, Market, and Market Some More!
Join an Online Therapist Directory
Online therapist directories are a fantastic way to get new referrals quickly. The return on investment is also awe-inspiring. In addition to its high ROI, Google loves directory sites. Joining an online directory and optimizing your Telehealth profile can drastically increase your brand recognition and online visibility for this particular service. More often than not, online searchers are going to find themselves scrolling through an online therapist directory before visiting any of the private practice websites listed below these directories in their search results.
Never Stop Networking
Even though in-person meetings might be out of the question right now, calling other local therapists and establishing new relationships is another fantastic and free way that you can use to help boost your referrals drastically. If someone doesn’t necessarily fit into another practitioner’s practice, whether it be because they are full or not the right match, they can refer them to you.
Keep Posting New Content
Finally, creating content to publish to your website and social media can help boost your SEO, increase your visibility, and help identify you as an expert in your field, and best you can do this for free. Social media can be the key to establishing yourself as a trusted expert and thought leader. All you have to do is focus on creating and posting the content your ideal client and followers are looking for online.
>> Ready to ramp up your social media marketing? <<
Schedule a free demo of Social Genie to learn how you can schedule up to a year’s worth of posts in as little as 15 minutes.
This blog’s primary purpose is not to walk you through creating a detailed business plan or marketing plan for your practice. Rather, we wanted to show therapists what a great opportunity you have in front of you right now and spotlight how start-up costs are relatively low for launching a successful private practice right here and now! We hope you can use these tips to get a jump start and open your own private practice for under $1,000.
Now that you have a pretty good idea about what you need to do to open your new practice, let's put that knowledge to work! Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had.
Brighter Vision is a preferred vendor of AAMFT, specializing in making marketing simple for private practices. Their all-inclusive website design service helps therapists grow their practices with a variety of marketing tools and resources. All members receive their entire first year of a new website with Brighter Vision for only $49/month plus no setup fees; that’s a savings of $220. To take advantage of this offer, please click here.