My very first client came to me thanks to a personal referral. I remember it so clearly. I had been rollerblading (surprisingly, this was not in the 1980s) and got a call from a mother who was looking for someone to help her daughter. At this point I didn’t have an office, I didn’t have liability insurance, I didn’t have anything! Still, I said yes, scheduled the appointment, and then began making calls to set up liability insurance.
I said yes and figured out how.
I charged $35 an hour for that first appointment. I met my client in her home. Was it ideal? No! Rock bottom rates hardly cover travel expenses. However, I knew I had to make it work even though everything wasn’t perfectly in place. Looking back, I could have charged that first client a higher rate and rented an office by the hour, but ultimately, the most important thing was that I made it work.
The biggest barrier for most people starting out in a new venture is a lack of confidence. We may be qualified, skilled therapists, but maybe we still wonder if we have what it takes to stand on our own. We aren’t sure we have the business skills, the right systems in place, or if we are good enough to charge a certain rate.
Here’s the deal. The best way to gain confidence is simply to begin. A baby doesn’t say “I will start walking when I know I won’t fall.” They wobble, topple over, and get up again until they can run! As you start your practice, you may wobble and fall. But, if you commit to putting forth the effort and making adjustments and trying again, you will gain the confidence you need to succeed.
Today, I charge more than $35 an hour. Today, I have an office. Today, I feel much more confident and am grateful that I took the risks I did in the beginning, so I could enjoy the practice I have today.
Now I want to hear from you! Tell me how you started out! What were your greatest fears in starting your business? What would your advice be to someone starting their own private practice?