A successful private practice does not happen by accident. It requires much energy and planning. Here are a few steps to get you in the right direction:

1. Expand hours

January through March are months to come in early and leave late and should include a few weekends. A counselor’s busy time is after the holidays. Being prepared to meet client’s needs is an optimum way to build a sound reputation in the community. As you are experimenting with hours, see which ones stick for the year and always keep your self-care in mind.

2. Ready your schedule

What does your schedule look like for each quarter? Are you able and willing to see new clients? It is not good business to jostle client’s appointments around. So be sure you have a clear and clean schedule for appointments. It is important you know what you need and include this in your schedule by quarter. This will make you present as a professional, well put together counselor. Just because you choose to practice in a rural area does not mean you’re less than the epitome of a professional.

3. Grow your team

Assess your needs and business plans. Is it time to add a VA, team member, or intern? Be honest, don’t let fear make this decision for you. This is your business, you need to show up and do what is best. Even if this means taking a risk by venturing into new territory.

4. Don’t rely on voicemail

You risk losing clients if your phone is not answered by a live person. Clients searching for a new counselor are very likely to hang up and keep calling numbers until a live person answers the phone. Having voicemail do all your phone answering set a poor first impression. Consider hiring a VA or answering service to answer calls if you are not able.

5. Prepare for seasonal ebb and flow of seasons and weather

Inform your clients of how sessions will be handled in the case of ice, snow, or other weather events. With appropriate training, HIPPA compliant software, and disclosures, you can offer phone and/or video sessions when clients can’t make it to the office. Beyond weather events you can discuss how to handle clients’ traveling and chaotic summer schedules. This gives clients prior knowledge on how to handle weather events to help prevent cancellations.

6. Reconnect with former clients

Each quarter send a handwritten note to clients who haven’t been in session for a bit. Encourage them to set new goals. You might also consider investing the time to make personal phone calls as well.

7. Burnout prevention

Keep motivated by planning some treats for yourself during each quarter. Self-care is real and it is mandated for all healthy counselors. Even better, make sure you see your counselor on a regular basis. Take time to read about burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. This stuff is real and can impact you to the point of causing you to make bad clinical decisions among other things. Learn how to prevent being impacted to protect your clients, your loved ones, and your clients. It is important to use the products you are selling – avoid being a hypocrite.

8. Set milestones for each quarter

At the beginning of the year outline what your business plan for the year by quarter. Each quarter review the plan at the beginning and end of the quarter. Be sure to set specific milestones and celebrate when you achieve those milestones.

9. See you practice with a beginners mind set

Each quarter, if not monthly, is a great time to see your practice with new eyes, those of a beginners mind set. What are you missing? What shows up for you when you clear head space to view your practice from another angle? Being able to do this allows for freshness for you and keep the practice from becoming stale and run on autopilot.

The time and energy you put into your rural private practice will pay off! Let me know the great things you are doing in the comment section below.

Speak Your Mind


116 S. Erath Street,
Meridian, TX 76665

(325) 665-4381

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