As I meditate on those truths that we hold to be self-evident, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the private practice owner. Most of us who graduated from a counseling program received little to no business education. Because of that, while we are pursuing life, liberty, and happiness we are simultaneously struggling with finances, time, and burnout. I was going to list the Counselor’s Bill of Rights, but instead I came up with the Counselor’s List of Exceptions:
- Everyone gets sick and must take time off from work to heal, “Except the private practice owner – if she takes a sick day she will not make money.”
- We will all slow down or retire as we age and become less physically able, “Except the private practice owner – he shall work until he dies because he lives off of everything he makes and the rest goes to taxes.”
- Savings accounts will be used to fix things when they break, “Except the private practice owner – since she has no savings (see number 2) she will have to max out her credit cards when the air conditioner finally goes out.”
This is not okay!
A common solution to this very common problem is to develop Multiple Streams of Income. Your other income sources will not only provide cash you can use for a rainy day, they can fund a retirement account, or provide investment capital for your growing business.
Here are examples of some streams of income so your business keeps working even if you need a day off:
- Your supportive partner’s income. If you have a partner who supports you in your business endeavor, then his/her income can be the cushion you will need if you have to step away from work, or if an emergency hits.
- Don’t quit your day job. If you are trained as a teacher, offer to teach online courses or one day per week at a local university. If you are trained as a musician, offer private lessons or take weekend gigs.
- Become a LPC/LMFT Supervisor. Interns must have 18 months to 2 years of supervision and rates can range from $40 to $100 per hour.
- Monetize your website. Is there a product you love and would love to offer to your clients? Become an affiliate and offer those products on your website (follow your state’s laws and ethics codes).
- Get creative. You can develop courses for parents, offer online continuing education to your peers, or give talks where you sell materials you have developed.
- Combine altruism and entrepreneurism. ‘Altrepreneurism’ is a business model used by companies like Tom’s Shoes and employs a ‘givers gain’ philosophy. One example might be to use interns to deliver affordable counseling to your community in exchange for free supervision from you. You receive additional client income when you aren’t in your office and your interns get free supervision. We have a wonderful example of this and you can learn more here on our Ann’s Place website.