Are new grads ready for private practice

When I ask senior therapy students what they would prefer to do after graduation, the majority say they would like to work in private clinic or start their own practice someday. Yet when asked what they will do after graduation, the majority respond that they will work in an institutional setting.

It’s sad to think that the majority of graduating therapists will practice in a setting that wasn’t their first choice, but the reality of the marketplace is that “corporate therapy” has made room for new graduates whereas private practice or small business ownership, for the most part, has not.

That’s the bad news.

The Good News

The good news is the private practice dream is not dead. Innovative therapists all over the world are using alternative ways to deliver high–value care that patients so desperately need. Cash–based practices have emerged a a viable alternative for new grads to begin the journey to own their own practice. Utilizing the entrpreneurial startup strategies from software and technology industries new grads can develop a practice idea, gather a supportive network and launch a practice pilot without a signficant outlay of cash.

The cash practice business model allows new grads to bootstrap their practice pilot while paying off their school loans. Students and new grads are taking advantage of excellent content for entrepreneurs on the Internet and slowly going into business for themselves. New grads lay a solid business foundation first by identifying their ideal client’s problems and designing an unique practice solution that solves those problems.

4 Steps for New Grads to Prepare for Private Practice

In my last blog post I described the first two steps of four that new grads can take to build a private practice platform. The previous steps were:

  1. Exploration. The first step is all about exploring, researching and putting your dreams down on paper. Whenever we think about living out our dreams there is excitement and energy. And it should be that way. We’ll need that energy to fuel our efforts when we are learning the ropes later on. Exploration costs you very little and can be done even while a student is in graduate school.
  2. Support. The second step to building a practice framework is to set up your support system. The decision to go into private practice is usually the road less traveled. You’ll not want to go it alone. Take advantage of being contact with your fellow students from across the country via social media. Bounce your practice ideas off a few carefully selected experienced therapists who’ll support your quest.

Here are the last two steps that will help new grads launch their own private practice someday.

Be a Lifelong Learner.

Most therapists are not trained to be business owners or market themselves. Therapists that do have a tremendous advantage on the competition. New grads know that the healthcare economy is rapidly changing and they want to come out on top. Therapists spend a lot of time and money to get their therapy degree. Now is probably not the time to invest in a MBA degree. The great news is that you don’t have to. Matter of fact, if you simply want to open your own clinic a MBA will probably make it more complicated than necessary.

Fortunately there is an abundance of excellent information online to get a low cost, practical education on how to start and grow a successful small business. A practice can be started with nothing more than an internet connection and a treatment table. I suggest that you adopt the lean startup mentality and begin with low overhead as you test out your practice pilot idea.

Take advantage of the many excellent Internet resources like Scott Harmon’s Aaron Lebauer’s CashPT Blueprint to help you get started. If you are bootstrapping your practice startup you might find the video tutorials and supportive community at helpful.

Learn by Doing

It’s my experience that therapists tend to over think the process of starting a practice. Therapists tend to be smart and conscientious. We’re usually over achievers and don’t like to fail. The downside is that we’re heavyweights on analysis and lightweights on action. Analysis paralysis sets in and we can waste years trying to learn how to start a practice the right way.

In today’s  marketplace there are no guaranteed formulas for success. Look for innovative ways to deliver value in unexpected places.

What is the practice niche that nobody has created yet? This is a question that is harder than it looks because it is much easier to create value without your practice becoming valuable. It’s much easier to have a great practice idea that helps people than it is to make a profit.

Narrow down your professional interests to one practice idea that you can test out with a practice pilot. Offer your practice pilot to your friends, family and previous clients. See if you get any interest in your solution to your target clients problems. If you get enough people willing to part with what they value like their time and money then you’re on your way to validating your practice idea.

You’ll earn your ‘private practice MBA’ as you learn by doing and you’ll be earning money while you’re getting your real world education.

So, Are New Grads Ready for Private Practice?  Absolutely!

As I said in the previous post there are therapy students that are made to own their own practice. It’s in their DNA. There are many non-traditional students going back to therapy school with  business and marketing backgrounds. They are uniquely positioned to promote the therapy profession through creating businesses that sell the benefits of therapy.

As new grads enter the job market we as a profession need to provide information and support to the next generation of trailblazers. They are our future and we need to advocate for them and the future clients that need their care.

Question: What resource has helped you the most that you would like to share with a new grad thinking about private practice? Share your answer on Facebook Twitter, or Linked In .

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As therapists we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilites, education and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If your are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice might help you. The healthcare industry has undergone so many changes lately and many therapists are overwhelmed, overworked and confused on where to turn to for help in the battle.

On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.

If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.

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