What does your ideal practice look like? Do you know? Have you ever thought about it? If you haven’t, don’t berate yourself. We’re here to help.
Whether you are an established practitioner or just starting up, following these simple guidelines will help you to create the foundation for a successful wellness practice:
Know which type of environment(s) you thrive in.
Do you prefer solitude or do you thrive on being in the company of others?
A solo practice, where you work one-on-one with clients independently, can take many forms: working out of your home, renting an office, joining a group of independent practitioners (in a group practice or wellness office), or some combination of the above if you work in more than one location.
As a sole proprietor, you have the ultimate freedom to make your own schedule, set your own rates, and choose who you want to work with. At the same time you are responsible for all aspects of the business – as well as the practice – including finding and attracting new clients, generating cash flow, billing, paying taxes, purchasing your own health insurance and more.
If you don’t mind being busy and wearing many hats, the flexibility that solopreneurship provides is rewarding, and you’ll generally make more $ per hour than if you work for someone else (that is, if you charge market rates).
If working alone is not for you, consider being an employee of a wellness clinic, spa or Doctor’s office (MD, ND, DO, DC, etc.). Working for someone else allows you to focus your time and energy on quality patient care, while letting someone else take care of the business and math details.
A regular paycheck and health insurance are positives here and in most offices the scheduling and billing are done for you, freeing you up from time-consuming administrative tasks. The tradeoff with this arrangement is that you’ll make 1/4 to 1/3 of the hourly rate you’d make working for yourself, and your schedule is dictated for you, so there’s less flexibility. Also you may be required to upsell patients on complementary products or supplements so the office makes extra money on each patient you see.
So which one is right for you?
There’s not right or wrong answer here. Simply run through each of these scenarios and ask yourself which type of environment you thrive in best? Which elements of each are most important to you, and what are your non-negotiables? Choose the practice setup that meets your needs, embrace your choice and go forth to provide quality patient care with alignment and intention.
Be Realistic About Your Time
Your practice doesn’t have to look like your neighbor’s.
Your practice can look like whatever you need or want it to. Take into consideration:
- The demands of your ‘day job’ (if you still have one)
- Your kids’ schedules
- Your volunteer commitments
- The actual amount of time you have available to dedicate to your work
Be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you are willing and able to commit to your practice.
Then reflect on what role your practice really plays in your life (there are no wrong answers here): Is it a business that you want to build into something greater? Is it a job you go to regularly and genuinely enjoy? Or is it a hobby?
Who cares what the neighbors think? Be really honest with yourself, and find the answer that’s realistic and right for you.
Identify Your Income Goals
Another essential aspect of creating your ideal practice is formulating your short- and long-term financial goals.
Short Term Goals
- Do you want to work part-time or full-time?
- How many days/ week is ideal?
- How many clients/ day would you like to see?
- How much do you charge per hour?
Create your income goals for the month. How much do you need to make at minimum to cover your bills or student loan payments?
Then do the math on the above #s. Do they add up? If not, revise your inputs (# of clients) or outputs (income expectation) to be more realistic about what you will actually make from the time and energy you regularly dedicate your practice.
Take a look at the bigger picture and ask, what do you want your business to do for you? Some options include:
- Cover expenses/ break even
- Provide extra cash flow for your household
- Pay off student loans
- Build savings
- Fund vacation
- Pay for children’s education
- Fund long-term investments
Understanding your long-term financial goals is key to helping you design a practice that works for you (and your family’s) needs.
Last but not least, it’s important to take stock of your progress over time to keep yourself accountable.
- How many clients do you currently see per week?
How many would you like to see?
- What is your current monthly income?
What would you like it to be?
In a journal, notebook, on your computer or phone, write these numbers down. Review them monthly. Revise your inputs and outputs as needed. Take stock of your progress as you go and keep yourself accountable. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to make sure the path you’re on is the one you want it to be.
In summary, understanding which environment(s) you thrive in, being realistic about your time, identifying your income goals, and keeping yourself accountable are critical to creating an ideal practice that will be rewarding for you financially, and in the personal satisfaction you’ll receive from improving the health and quality of life of your patients.