After years of classroom closures, changing COVID-19 protocols, and unstable working conditions, school-based clinicians are experiencing burnout and are seeking alternative ways to work. Many are leaving the profession altogether for remote and flexible work possibilities and exploring the benefits of working for themselves.
There are many benefits of working for yourself—increased control over your schedule, the potential for an improved work-life balance, and less time spent commuting to name a few. One critical consideration is the technology and tools you’ll invest in to ensure that you’re spending time on the things that matter the most to you—like using your skills to serve students!
In early August of 2022, Presence launched Kanga, a modern therapy platform built to solve the everyday challenges of clinicians. Kanga was designed for clinicians, by clinicians so that clinicians and administrators can do more of what they love.
We’ve identified 7 tips to consider when starting and scaling your own practice, whether that be with Kanga or a different digital therapy platform.
- Start small and simple. Starting your own private practice can feel daunting, but it’s comforting to know that it can be as much or as little as you want it to be. You don’t need to rent an office space or have a waiting list of clients to begin your journey as an independent practitioner. Thankfully, platforms like Kanga make the logistics of finding an appropriate meeting space for your first few clients a no-brainer. You can use the secure, HIPAA-compliant Kanga therapy room for FREE for 8 sessions per month.* That’s $0 overhead while you build your client base!
- Leverage community resources. Think: local community, clinical community, and virtual community. Explore programs offered through your local Chamber of Commerce and do a quick search on small business incubators in your area. You can find free resources, mentorship, and networking for entrepreneurs and even explore opportunities for funding. Beyond that, you should look to other local businesses to explore ideal partnerships—schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, pediatricians, mommy-and-me programs, summer camps, other clinics…you get the idea! Finally, join all the relevant private practice social media pages as most are active forums of professionals eager to help each other succeed.
- Meet with a tax professional. Working for yourself might mean a big shift in the sorts of records you keep, the tax forms you need to file, and your withholdings. They can also help you understand what business type makes more sense.
- Don’t sell yourself short! When establishing rates and fees, remember that not only are you offering a highly-skilled service, but you have taxes, business expenses, insurance, and a personal livelihood to maintain. Of course, your rates may be more fixed if you are accepting insurance. For more guidance, take a look at the ASHA Wire article from 2013 with a formula to help construct a comprehensive rate for private practice owners.
- Establish boundaries—in writing. Cancellations, no shows, phone consultations, screenings, IEP meetings, social security paperwork…consider all the little extra ways your time gets away from you. It adds up. Communicate clearly around attendance policies and compensation for indirect services, include it in a contract before initiating services, and follow through.
- Digital tools are your friend. What manual or paper-based processes can you simplify or digitize? For instance, how are you tracking student progress and session notes? If these tasks are being done manually, you may want to consider a digital tool. The Kanga platform lets you track student goals, due dates, and session notes all in one central location.
- Streamline! Launching a business can mean a lot of upfront expenses and more administrative duties. It’s helpful to consider all-in-one platforms that offer the foundation you need to dive in and scale your new business as fast as possible. With caseload management tools, scheduling, data keeping, a robust virtual assessment library, therapy and gaming tools, as well as video conferencing designed specifically for therapy, Kanga by Presence is a great first step toward being your own boss.
*8 sessions per month is based on sessions being 30 minutes each.