Running your own business can sometimes be lonely.
And when your business involves you connecting with people in some of the hardest (and also most amazing) parts of their lives, without being able to share your work with others, it can sometimes be even lonelier. The way this isolation is dealt with this clinically is reaching out for supervision and consultation, either individually or in groups. It allows you to unpack and process the clinical issues coming up so you can be clear and present for your clients. You get to be in the company of others that understand your clinical struggles and decisions, and gain wisdom and community through their support.
But what about support and community for you in your business?
A lot of people in private practice don’t have a place where they can step out of the role of clinician and step into the role of small business owner.
- The place you ask for marketing suggestions when the phone isn’t ringing, or a group to celebrate with when it is.
- The place you can break down and admit that you have no idea why your email isn’t working, and you wish we could just go back to using carrier pigeons instead of trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.
- The place to compare notes on what invoicing system is working best for others, and where to buy a good printer.
- A place to admit that sometimes you just wish you could get a pay cheque and vacation days, and not have to worry if next week might be slow – or a place to high five each other as you take a month off in the summer and remember why you got into running your own business in the first place.
The place you can honestly talk about your BUSINESS and get support as a BUSINESS OWNER.
It’s different than the support you need as a clinician.
Over the years, I have used a few different methods to gather my business community and support.
Here are a few. See which ones feel like a fit for you.
Ways to build your Business Community
Hire a Business Coach
Find someone who fits with your values, understands your industry and can help push you and your business to the next level. I have worked with multiple coaches depending on what my focus was at the time. Each one brought different expertise and allowed me to expand my professional repertoire and network.
Find some Business Buddies
Seek out people who share similar values and goals and are open to sharing their time and ideas. These can be other therapists in private practice or people in different service-based industries. In other words – go find some new friends who also run their own businesses and like doing the same things you do. Be nice to each other and offer support when you can. It’s pretty simple and hugely rewarding for everyone.
Join or start a Mastermind Group
So first off – what is a mastermind group? A Mastermind is a group of individuals who meet with the purpose of supporting each other towards a certain goal. You can meet online or in person. In some cases they are run as a leaderless support group with limited structure, others are a bit more structured with rotating leaders and topics, and others are organized by one person who may lead the group through a more structured process. Once you have some business buddies, you can gather them together to form your own, or join a pre-existing group. I have taken part in many masterminds, and they have been invaluable in the growth of my businesses. They force you to clarify what you are working on, and get outside perspective and accountability.
Take a Business Training Program
This works for two reasons, 1) you will learn some new skills which will help you in your work, 2) You will probably meet some like-minded people looking to expand their networks who may end up becoming business buddies. An example of a business training program could be something like Private Practice Bootcamp (see what I did there). Regardless of the training, look for things that will get you learning, out of your bubble, and interacting with others.
Moral of the story…
Find your people. Find your place.
Being a good clinician is only half of the equation. Don’t underestimate the need to fully embody the role of a business owner if you want to have a successful private practice. What do you do to build your business community?