Let’s face it, if your sole goal was to get more clients, there are many ways you could easily do that. You could lower your fee, you could let local organizations know you’re seeing clients pro bono, you could sign up with OpenPath, you could get paneled with more insurance companies, you could sign up to do EPA programs, and many, many more options.
But more clients isn’t your sole goal.
You want more clients that fit your niche, your schedule availability, your policies, and are at your current fee. You want more clients in a way that honors YOUR needs.
It is possible to help others while ALSO attending to yourself. Those two realities do not have to contradict, contrary to some of the insidious messages that permeate mental health culture (I discuss some of these in my essays on Martyrdom Mentality and the Invisible Therapist Myth to learn more).
So how do you get more clients without sacrificing your needs? How do you do it without slipping into scarcity mindset and compromising on what you know is best for you and your practice?
First, know you are playing the long game. Know that it will take more time than doing things the old way (all the aforementioned ways to easily get clients in the door).
Know it will take more effort up front, but that it will get easier with time. The amount you need to invest initially to get your caseload to your ideal number is far more than what it takes to maintain it at that amount.
Second, I know there are thousands of ideas related to marketing. Maybe part of the problem is decision paralysis. Or that you’re not sure how to start on some of the steps that you want to take.
If that is you, it is time to invest: time, effort, and/or money. Do what it takes to break through your stuck point and have a marketing plan you feel confident about. If you don't know how to make an effective marketing plan, reach out for help. This can look like:
Pairing up with a weekly accountability partner to discuss marketing and make concrete goals (this works best if it is a fellow therapist in private practice)
Joining free therapist marketing groups
Paying to join therapy marketing programs (there are many great ones that are full of resources to get you on your way)
Paying a coach or consultant to help you develop an individualized strategic marketing plan
Paying a marketing professional to construct a plan and do the work for you
You can decide which option will best help you. I’ve dabbled in each at different times, depending on my needs at the time, and my varying ability to invest (sometimes I had more time, sometimes I had more money).
If you already feel like you’ve done too much, it can be helpful to examine the anxiety and other emotions that continually bubble to the surface about your private practice. Maybe you actually have a good marketing system in place that is working across time, but your nervous system has a hard time trusting that.
I’ve dealt with that too, and found it helpful to face it head on, which I wrote about in my essay When Have You Done Enough Marketing?
Wherever you are, please know you are not alone. I’ve talked to hundreds of private practice owners, and these growing pains are part of the process.
It does get easier with time.