Victor Frankl, after surviving the concentration camps of WWII, spoke the words “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” This was the point I found myself as I closed a 30-year career as a school counselor. I loved the job, but it had changed over the last few years to a “do more with less” culture increasing my work and stress load. Having done all I could do to change my circumstances, yet still feeling discontent, I had to change myself. Sometimes the discomfort of your circumstances is greater than the discomfort of change. That discomfort ends up being the match that ignites the fire you need to move forward. After reading the book Chase the Lion; If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small, I was compelled to step out in faith and chase my dream.
There are times that knowing less is actually better! Had I known the size of the lion that I was taking on, I may have not taken the fight. With that said let me share what I knew, what I’ve learned, and things I would’ve done differently since launching my practice in April of 2018.
I had a limited knowledge of the business side of a practice, but my familiarity was largely on the therapeutic side. I began by making a list of all of the things I knew I needed to do, then asked colleagues in the field to help me fill in what I didn’t know. At that point I took Smart Private Practice’s online consulting group which filled in most of the remaining gaps in knowledge. The best advice is be willing to ask for help and dig for answers.
The fight for knowledge and success was set. It began with establishing a business plan, setting up the office space, developing a niche for my practice, building an online presence, and marketing what I had developed. The business side of establishing the practice was the biggest part of my fight. I scheduled three appointments in the first three weeks, which I was thrilled about, but that also meant there was a great deal of down time. Too committed at this point, there was no turning back; this down time was used for learning. The most useful tool was and still is the practice management software. After looking at several, TheraNest was chosen. I like that they provide live and recorded webinars about the software so you can at your own pace. The other helpful tool is Quickbooks.
Simple marketing, diligently and quickly following up with every call, and using downtime productively have proven to be my method of success. Each month the practice has grown larger from the previous month. The practice has been open one year, and I’ve met all of my goals and exceeded a few. Looking back, if there was anything that I would do differently, it would be to start with Quickbooks from the beginning and take a few more days off. This has not been easy, but has definitely been worth it! There are new goals to reach and more knowledge to gain. Go ahead – take a leap of faith and chase your dream!
Guest blogger and SPP group alum, Janice McLeroy, LPC is the owner of Deeply Rooted Counseling in Peachtree City, GA.