In 2006, I graduated with my master’s degree in Family Therapy and started my journey with building my dream private practice. I was fascinated by what I had learned in my school and my internships about the mental health profession and was ready to change the world! Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I was equipped with a strong work ethic, determination to succeed, and ambitious, yet naive belief that if “I built it, they would come”. How hard could it be to build a private practice, right? WRONG!
I created a name for my practice, got incorporated, signed a full-time lease at a licensed therapist’s office, bought all my furniture and beautiful décor, got business cards, built my first of many websites, networked with potential referral sources, and waited for the clients to start calling. As the months went by, I realized it was a lot harder than I anticipated and it dawned on me I knew NOTHING about starting and growing a business. Although I received great clinical training in school, I was not equipped with the necessary foundation to be successful in private practice. My “field of dreams” mentality of “if I build it, they will come” was not working and I was drowning in my overhead expenses. Long story, short… I totally crashed and burned with my first business, but I didn’t let that failure stop me. I used that failure to learn what I didn’t know that I needed to know and that ignited my passion for personal and professional development.
I set off on a mission to learn everything I could about entrepreneurship, building and growing a private practice, brand development (a vital step that I totally skipped), website design, and digital marketing. Since there weren’t a lot of private practice building resources at the time, it was a long journey of trial and error. I closed the doors to my first office since I couldn’t afford it, moved into a new private practice where I could rent space by the hour, connected with a few private practice mentors, read a ton of books, attended trainings, joined networking groups, and slowly built my confidence in the business world. Along my journey, I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way, but that’s what has helped me to become so successful in private practice.
When I graduated with my PhD in 2011, I was much more prepared to launch my practice. In preparation, I took the time to develop my brand (Bayview Therapeutic Services), identified my ideal clients, built a wordpress website, created an online and community marketing strategy, established a multidisciplinary group practice, and built out a beautiful office space located near my target market. That first year, I brought in well over 6 figures and have continued to do so each year since. Over the years, I attracted many other mental health professionals who wanted to know how I built a successful private practice and how they could do that too so I coached them.
It’s amazing to see how building a brand before launching a business can set you up for long-term success. My journey has not been an easy one since I learned so much the hard way, but that’s what inspires my passion for working with ambitious mental health professionals in private practice to support them along their journey from startup to mastery! Katie and I love sharing what we’ve learned with other clinicians so they don’t have to learn the hard way too. Building the private practice of your dreams is totally possible!
Starting my career in my early 20s in community mental health while getting my masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy seemed like the perfect place to be. I thought I would actually work in nonprofit forever. I mean therapists aren’t supposed to be able to “make money” in this field, right? WRONG! I was highly misinformed. Although I grew up in a family who owned a business I was hardly taught much about business. I thought my duty as a therapist was to give of myself to those in need who really couldn’t afford services. As a matter of fact I was deathly afraid of business and thought I would NEVER be in business. I also thought I would never be a book reader, but as I became passionate about business that changed too.
I worked for the same company for 11 years constantly moving up into different leadership positions. I learned how much I love training, educating, leading and growing people. My staff kept telling me I really should go into private practice. I thought why not, so I decided to launch my private practice while still working full time in November 2010. It was a lot balancing both, but I was doing it. My staff again kindly nudged me and told me I should really leave my company and go full time into private practice. I really wasn’t ready to leave the security of a JOB, so I started telling people that I would be leaving because I if I tell people I am going to do something, I do it!
In late November 2012 I left the comfy confines of my job leaping with both feet right into private practice. I was so anxiety ridden and afraid I literally had trouble breathing for 6 weeks. I mean looking back the timing wasn’t very well thought out, not the best idea to jump into private practice right in the middle of the holiday season when people are spending money on gifts, gatherings, cookies, holiday outfits, and ugly sweaters.
When I went into private practice there really wasn’t much on how to build a practice. I had to learn most of what I know on my own, AKA “the hard way”. Man oh man, have I made some mistakes along the way. I think quit several times a week and sometimes probably several times a day! I wanted to hang it up and just go back to work because that seemed way easier, but for some reason my “I quit” button was malfunctioning I just couldn’t quit. I forged on, learning things I had no clue about but need to know like write offs, accounting, blogging, web design, SEO, marketing and much more. When I did my taxes come January 2014 I was shocked to learn that in 2013 I hit 6 figures. I knew I was hustling and my efforts finally paid off.
Kate and I went through many trials and tribulations in starting and creating our 6-figure private practices from the ground up and that is why we are passionate about helping other clinicians create their dream practices. In 2014 we launched our first company called K2 Visionaries. It was more geared towards clinicians locally. We realized our time and talents needed to spread across the globe, so in January 2016 we launched The Private Practice Startup where we provide free podcasts on everything private practice, webinars, online courses, private practice paperwork and so much more! We have learned so much along the way. We continue to invest in ourselves both personally and professionally. The more we learn the more we give and share with you! Thanks for joining us on this journey and allowing us to inspire YOU from startup to mastery.
Intern Extraordinaires & Volunteer Extraordinaires
Meet our marketing intern extraordinaire, Jessica Jefferson, Registered Marriage & Family Therapist Intern. Jessica received her M.S. in Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University, an M.A. in Psychology in Education from Teachers College-Columbia University and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Miami. She is the owner of Cloud Nine Therapeutic Services, a private practice located in Plantation, Florida. Jessica is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and active Secretary for the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (BAMFT).
Meet our Content Marketing Volunteer Extraordinaire, Bridget Revier! A recent graduate of Florida State University, Bridget is currently interning at 4KIDS of South Florida, a foster care agency seeking to provide a voice for the lost. Bridget will continue her education at FSU in the fall with hopes of gaining her master’s degree in Social Work by the Summer of 2017. She is passionate about volunteering around her community and making a difference, and serves at a local pregnancy center in her college town, as well as the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. She is heavily involved around her campus, and is passionate about people. She hopes to one day open her own private practice, and follow in the footsteps of the renowned Kate & Katie.