There are a lot of great therapists out there who have to eventually close their private practice and it’s not because they were bad business owners. Even good therapists like you can go out of business. Let me give you an example:
So right now the city of Boston is basically a disaster for business owners. You may have heard that we had two Top 10 snow storms plus snow storm after snow storm following that. Now obviously, client’s aren’t going to come in for their appointments during the storms, that’s to be expected and reasonable. But the problem with this winter is that it’s been so bad that people can’t come in even when it’s not snowing. Transportation in the city has been absolutely crippled. Your pre-existing clients can’t get to your office and prospective clients are waiting until Spring because no one wants to leave the house. It’s no one’s fault. There’s nothing anyone can do about the snow. The problem is that you’ve hardly worked in a month and now a salaried-job is looking irresistible. This is how therapists go out of business.
This is a lesson every therapist in or thinking of going into private practice needs to learn: Therapists don’t just go out of business because they are bad therapists or don’t know how to run a business. You can also go out of business because you weren’t prepared to deal with unforeseen disasters or freak instances like the worst winter in Boston’s history. These are things you need to be prepared for. You’ve heard that you should have a couple month’s worth of money saved up in case of a disaster but how many of you actually have that? Yes, it’s not just a saying, you really do need to have an emergency fund.
I feel really fortunate that I have enough savings that I can look at this winter as a much needed break from work, but a lot of people are not so fortunate and I wonder how many fledgling practices are going to break under the pressure of this winter. It’s really sad when a business fails. I don’t want that to happen to you. Make sure you have enough savings before you open shop so that you don’t have to ever face the heart-break of closing your dream.