Setting Up a Successful Private Practice

There are lots of things to think about when you’re setting up in private practice.  In order to make it successful, use strong foundations.

What Makes a Private Practice Successful?

What does success mean?  Have you ever sat down and tried to define it for yourself?

Having a clear idea of what success means to you has several advantages:

  • you’ll be focused on what you want and less distracted by what other people are doing
  • you’ll be less likely to compare yourself with others and find yourself wanting
  • you’ll be more resilient and determined because your goal will be personally meaningful to you

Being in business is challenging.  You’ll probably experience setbacks and failures.  If you have a deep sense of purpose it will anchor you when you encounter stormy seas.

So, identify what is important to you.  What do you want your life to look like? 

Spend some time thinking about your “why”.  The Vision Board exercise will support you in this process and you can read about it here: Creating Your Vision

Decide on Your Successful Private Practice

What is it you are trying to achieve?

Often counsellors are unclear about what they are trying to achieve in their business.

Perhaps you have an idea of how many people you’d like to work with.  What is this based on?  Is it on an idea of what a “full” practice looks like?

Maybe you’ve got an idea of how much you can charge.  Are your thoughts about client numbers based on that? And where are you getting your ideas about your fee?

Have you ever sat down and worked out what you want and how you can make your business work for you?

It’s great that you would like to help people and work as a counsellor, but what does that actually mean?


What sort of life and practice are you looking for?

  • Building a full time practice and earning a living?
  • Something extra to do in retirement?
  • Part time alongside another job, child rearing, or other commitments?

What would you like your job to look like?

  • A career with an office and perhaps extra support?
  • A few hour’s work a week to keep your hand in?
  • A “lifestyle” business that flows holistically with other activities?

What is your approach to paid work?

  • It’s a business venture. You love counselling but essentially it’s about you earning your living in a career for which you’ve trained.
  • Working with paid clients feels like the fulfilment of a dream. It’s a recognition of all the hard work you have done to get this far but the money isn’t vital.
  • You want to grow your business but you have a primary source of income elsewhere.

So what does this mean for you practically?

  • Have you worked out how much you need to earn to have the lifestyle you need, including covering all your costs? [NB You may like to use my fee calculator tool to help. You can access it here: Fee Setting in Private Practice]
  • Have you worked out how many clients you can see in a week?
  • What days will you work?
  • What will your mix of daytime, evening and weekend work be?
  • How many clients can you see in a day and offer the last one the same attention as the first?
  • How will your work fit in with your other commitments?
  • What allowance have you made for yourself to have time off?

Need more help in setting up?  Contact Josephine for support

Truly, if you want to set up a successful, sustainable private practice you have to consider how you will make it work.  The next actions are the following:

  1. Set aside the time that you will be dedicating to your private practice in your diary. You can start building your private practice now.  Start using that time now to get set up.
  2. With your income goal in mind, work out your costs, the total number of client hours you can offer in a week, and then visit Fee Setting in Private Practice to work out your fee levels.



Need more help?  Contact Josephine to discuss how she can support you in your business development.


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article.  Josephine  disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.