“If only I had been given a therapist resource list like this when I was starting my online therapy practice,” I thought to myself as I picked up a warm-from-the-printer piece of paper.
A friend of mine had asked me to meet with her and discuss the starting blocks of a thriving online therapy practice.
Instead of keeping this list between us, I thought I’d share it here, with you (and whomever you choose to share it with!).
ADMIN: PRIVATE-PAY VS. ACCEPTING INSURANCE
If you’re just starting out as an online therapist we believe you would do well to accept insurance until you develop a reputation and referral base.
Get a quick overview of the pros and cons of private-pay practices and practices that accept insurance in this post: Should I have Private Pay Practice or Accept Insurance?
ADMIN: NO-SHOW POLICY
Chances are you don’t offer free counseling sessions. Why?! Because you know that if your client is financially invested they’re more likely to show up and complete the assignments you give them.
It boils down to commitment and you want to work with people who are committed.
Guess what?! So, does your client.
When you openly agree to the same terms you have asked of your client, they are fully aware of your commitment to their sessions. You’re not someone just doing their job and checking their session off as money earned.
Start your practice on the right foot by establishing a two-way no-show policy. This policy provides security for both you and your client!
MARKETING: REFERRAL LIST
When a friend of mine, Carol O’Saben, set out to start her own online therapy practice she worried she wouldn’t be able to make enough money to support herself and wondered where she would find clients.
She started by meeting with local therapists to inquire about the insurance they accepted and other resources they used. While meeting with other local therapists, she was also able to build a referral list! Within the next twelve months she had a fully booked calendar of clients.
There’s no reason that can’t be you too!
Carol says that building her referral list was a key ingredient to the success of her practice. So if you’re feeling unsure of how to get your name out there and get clients, start scheduling meet-ups with local therapists!
MARKETING: SELF TESTS
Self tests are a series of questions an individual can answer on their own. With completed self tests, they provide results-based answers on the topic of the test.
Share these tests on social media and invite your audience to take them and share their results with you. You can offer personalized feedback and support them on their journey of mental and relational health – establishing yourself as an expert.
MARKETING: CLEAR AND COMPELLING WEBSITE
An important element to my therapist resource list in filling my schedule was marketing by building a website. When someone is looking for a therapist, one of the first things they do is google therapists in their area or therapists that were recommended to them.
That means your website could be the deciding factor in whether someone becomes your client.
Make sure your website has these TWO indispensable things to make sure curious clicks on your website turn into scheduled appointments.
PERSONAL: SELF CARE
Running your own practice as an online therapist comes with its own set of challenges.
Sure you don’t have to choose between your love for therapy, love for your family, or travel anymore. But it can get lonely. You’re not only a therapist listening to others and helping them navigate their problems, but you’re a business owner too.
Here are my five favorite ways to stay engaged and productive while running my own online practice:
- SCHEDULE TIME FOR BEHIND THE SCENES TASKS
- LEAVE BUMPER ROOM BETWEEN SESSIONS
- SPEND TIME WITH LIKEMINDED PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO YOU
- GIVE YOURSELF OFFICE HOURS
- SET UP A DESK FOR YOURSELF
ADMIN: HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Balancing the business-side of a practice AND the counseling-side may not have ever been part of your plan.
The good news is: It doesn’t have to be.
How do I know?!
Recently, my friend was drowning in a schedule jammed with one-on-one sessions, followed by long nights of paperwork. Instead of creating a plan to master the business-side of her private practice, she decided to delegate it by hiring the Mindfulness Cubicle, a Virtual Assistant Agency specializing in serving therapists.
Her joy-drained days transformed into joy-filled hours of counseling sessions (which she already was a master at), creating online courses, and launching group coaching programs.
What if I told you there was a company that could provide you with all the resources you needed to own and operate your online therapy practice? All that for ONE monthly payment and provided customer support to navigate tech glitches?!
Not only that, they’re HIPAA compliant!
Well, they exist and I couldn’t survive this therapist-business-owner thing without them! Last, but not least, on my therapist resource list…
And yes, that’s us!
Our clients have called us the “One-Stop-Shop” to owning and operating their therapy practices independently. We’d love to help you do the same!