CASE STUDY: How one therapist increased her salary by 150% starting an online practice

CASE STUDY: How one therapist increased her salary by 150% starting an online practice

If you’re a therapist who feels unfulfilled by your job and are looking to take a leap into having your own practice, you will love the story of our client Dr. Carol O’Saben. After working more than 25 years in university counseling centers, Carol decided to start a private practice. Less than a year later, she was fully booked. Now, about two years later, Carol is making 150% of her previous salary while working fewer hours, taking more vacations, and feeling fulfilled by her work!

Carol’s story proves that it’s possible to create a fulfilling life, both emotionally and financially, for yourself through starting a private practice and prioritizing your personal values.

How we met

After working for more than 25 years in university counseling centers, Carol found herself clocking 50+ hour weeks filled mostly by paperwork and very little client contact. Driven by her value to work to live and not live to work, Carol began exploring the possibility of having her own private practice. As she was crunching numbers for a brick-and-mortar practice, she began researching what it would take to have an online practice. 

The overhead of a brick-and-mortar practice was staggering, not to mention that Carol lived in a very small town and wondered if she would be able to find enough clients to stay in business. Having an online practice would allow Carol to serve clients from across the state and not just in her small town. 

As Carol decided owning and operating an online practice was the route she wanted to take, she kept three things at the forefront of her mind:

  • Start strong, even if it means growing slow.
  • Talk about what you do and network.
  • Build a life that supports your values.

Starting strong meant researching thoroughly and getting certifications that would make her feel confident about serving clients online. This led her to iTherapy in October of 2017.

The launching pad Carol and iTherapy made together

When Carol first heard about iTherapy’s pricing, she thought, “Ah! That’s a lot per month for a tool suite to operate my business online!!”. Yet, when she realized the monthly cost of working with iTherapy could be covered by one session each month, she was ready to jump in. 

Carol started with the smallest package iTherapy offers: client management platform and secure video platform. That’s all she needed to get started, so that’s all she got. This allowed her to keep track of all her client information, schedule appointments, file their payment/insurance information, as well as confidently hold appointments knowing her telehealth appointments were HIPPA compliant. 

The first month that Carol worked with iTherapy consisted mostly of training and getting familiar with each platform. Starting slow, but strong. During this time, Carol was also able to network and grow her connections. 

By the end of February 2018, she had 8-10 clients per week. That’s when Carol called iTherapy and upgraded to the second packaged, which included secure email, phone, and fax services. This allowed her to communicate with her clients, receive invoices, send emails and faxes, without worrying about whether or not she was remaining compliant. 

Before she was twelve months into having her private practice, she needed a website. Who did Carol call? iTherapy. While iTherapy does not build websites, they are connected with a company who does and got the ball rolling. Carol had a beautiful and functional website in no time!

iTherapy’s unique ability to scale allowed Carol to start where she was and upgrade as her practice grew. Everytime she was ready for more, she had a point of contact at iTherapy that she was able to call and discuss what the best package would be for her and her business. 

The Results

Today, Carol works 4 days a week. She starts her work day between 10 and 11am instead of 430 when she works in university counseling centers. For a few days a week, she’ll work into the evening in order to serve her professional clients when they get off of work. She schedules her clients 15-30 min between sessions so that she can take a few minutes to walk her dogs, do some yoga on her back deck, or respond to email and phone calls.

In September, she was able to take a whole month off for a two week vacation and to recover from a hip replacement. She took another two weeks off in December for the second hip. Both times, her income did not suffer. 

See how Carol’s work is supporting the lifestyle she wants to live?

Not too long ago, when her client management platform had glitches, she called iTherapy and explained the problem. iTherapy got on the phone with the client management software to troubleshoot and discounted Carol’s subscription for the month for the hassle. Together, they were able to resolve the issue by end of week!

Instead of spending valuable time on hold with the client management software, trying to understand technical lingo and solve html problems, Carol was able to leave that up to iTherapy (who does understand technical lingo and html), serve her clients, and enjoy her life. 

Carol now calls iTherapy her personal administrative team. Working with iTherapy allowed her to start strong and build a life that supports her values.

Your turn

If you’re on a mission to feel fulfilled, both emotionally and financially by the work you’re doing, online therapy might be the right answer for you. Just keep in mind the steps Carol took:

  • Know that you can make a living, but be patient. Let the business grow.
  • Talk about what you do and connect with others in your community.
  • Know your values and build a life that supports them. 

If your values include less admin, more client calls, and more free time, iTherapy would be happy to help you simplify the back-end of your business. Reach out here for more info!

Who’s ready to have a fulfilling life, both emotionally and financially, by starting an online practice and prioritizing personal values?


June 10, 2020 / iTherapy Blog

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