The journey to success takes time, and it takes hardship.
Success is not easy, and it is not linear. There is an ebb and flow to being an entrepreneur. Without being able to ride the waves, it becomes impossible, and giving up can feel imminent.
I think that humility is a crucial piece of the puzzle, being grateful and proud of what you’ve created but also not getting caught up in it.
10 years ago, I worked as a case manager at a local homeless shelter making $12/hour. I felt good about the work I was doing but also could barely pay my bills.
Going back to grad school was certainly a hard decision but a necessary one. Never did I think from 2012-2015 that the success and lifestyle I’ve created were possible. Hell, I couldn’t think long term but only short term and about survival.
As most of you can relate, I took a job at an agency right out of grad school. Supervision was scarce if at all. 50+ hours a week, no overtime, and a salary of $40,000 a year. I thought this was as good as it gets, but I wasn’t happy.
Instead of feeling fulfilled, I felt overworked, burnt out, taken for granted, and underappreciated. I felt like our mission statements never actually matched the directives from the administration.
I started to question why I even went back to school and what else I could do with the degree I had gotten. I felt hopeless and exhausted.
I started to think about private practice and what that could mean, but I was scared. I created excuses. I listed the reasons I would not be successful. The unknown is scary, and it is paralyzing. The lack of certainty holds us back. It ensnares us into a place of scarcity and security.
Once I reached my breaking point at the agency job, I decided to start my private practice. I figured I’d see clients at night and on weekends, network with other therapists during my lunch break, and start to understand all of the details of business ownership that caused me fear and anxiety.
What we don’t know we don’t know. Networking was crucial, and I met with lots of private practice therapists who told me about 15-20 hour work weeks making triple the pay. I still did not understand how this could be possible and was afraid.
The first couple of months I didn’t get a single call. I felt like it wasn’t possible. Then after a while, I would get a call here and there. I saw everyone for a sliding scale, and my mentality was that a sliding scale of $30-50/hour was better than the alternative.
Once I got to 15 clients/week, I built up the courage to Take The Leap! I put a 90-day notice in and they hired my replacement as a supervisor within 2-days. The next 88 days were excruciating, and I always wanted to be in my own office, seeing my clients, having control over my schedule.
On my last day, my manager took me out to lunch for an exit interview and promptly told me that I would be back within 30 days and that no one is ever successful on their own. I left angry, feeling hopeless and defeated.
Then 7/15 clients moved out of state, discontinued therapy, etc. I now knew that I had made a giant mistake. I needed to figure out how to make $$ because clearly, I wasn’t going to be successful in private practice.
I decided to give it 6 months and try to make it work. Lots of networking, blogging, and putting myself out there. For the first 2 months, nothing worked. No calls, just more of the same. Disappointment, Frustration, Sadness.
I started to get creative in my networking, reaching out to halfway houses, IOP programs, rehabilitation settings, etc. Then something started happening. The phone started ringing, and ringing often.
I felt a false sense of confidence, always believing that the calls would stop. That I just lucked into them. My impostor syndrome was through the FUCKING roof.
And I was right. Calls did stop. Sometimes for months at a time. I would then start thinking about giving up and, again, telling myself I would not make it or have sustainable success.
After lots of my own therapy and work on myself, as well as the realization that building a business and reputation takes time, I started to find my groove.
Networking with intention, getting more confident and comfortable on the phone discussing rates, not beating myself up if a client discontinued therapy, and learning to truly appreciate the free time and a slower pace of life.
Fast forward 5 years and I have a group practice that employs 9 therapists, 1 psychiatric provider, and a virtual office manager.
I’ve also created a successful private practice and coaching business, this FB group, and am being asked to come on people’s podcasts and speak at conferences.
10 years ago, none of this was possible. 5 years ago, I didn’t see this as being an option. 1 year ago, my private practice building and coaching business was just an idea. And 4 months ago, my group practice was just an idea (thanks Zack Kampf).
Don’t underestimate the power of hard work but also don’t discount how challenging entrepreneurship can be. It’s not as simple as putting up a Psychology Today profile and raking in profits.
You can do this! You can be successful and create your own freedom and lifestyle change! Start thinking bigger, and understanding that the timeline on your journey to success isn’t always linear.
Be humble and lend an ear when you can. Charge for your advice and knowledge when necessary but don’t get wrapped up in the money. The more you can help others create success, the more it creates your own. The abundance mindset and mentality are real. So is scarcity mentality and mindset.
Surround yourself with those who build you up, not those who want to take, take, take and drag you down. Know who you want in your circle and who you need to keep at an arm’s length.
Celebrate your successes! Give yourself permission to stumble, to make mistakes, to fail. Be kind to yourself throughout the way. Embrace humility and impostor syndrome, and know and understand your worth.
I still cannot see what the next 5 years offer, but if I follow the timeline and trajectory of my last 5, then I know that I will continue to find success in other ventures.
I plan on starting an entrepreneurial mindset podcast, expanding my group practice, and paying my staff very, very well, speaking at more conferences, and hosting entrepreneurial retreats. More importantly, I plan on continuing to create freedom and movement in my life because those are the values I live by and feel energized by.
This is possible. You can do this! Trust the process on your own journey to success!!
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