If you’re working as a counsellor or therapist, it’s only natural you want to create a thriving practice where you can make a difference to many people over time. That’s why you go into this profession isn’t it?

If you have a dream of having a successful private practice, it may include a goal to see a certain number of clients.

But when you set your goals, you should be a little more thoughtful than that, because getting a certain number of clients is not what it’s all about.

Once you are a therapist you want to ensure that you are successful in doing what you do. You need to allocate a certain amount of time to each client and keep in mind that there will be admin time and marketing time involved as well.

You will have to manage your expenses and understand how to balance personal expenses and savings with the business investment for growth.

Here are our 5 top traits of successful therapists below:

1. Have a clear vision and work towards achieving it

To be a successful therapist you need to have a vision and to reach that vision you should set short term goals for yourself. These goals should be clear enough as they would lead you to accomplish what you have determined as your vision.

If your vision as a successful therapist is to make more money, then you should be able to analyse that how much would you be charging your clients, what your business and personal expenses would be and how many people would you need to see in a week to reach that vision.

You should be able to set goals for yourself which are SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely as they would ultimately enable you to reach that concrete vision which you so aptly conceptualized before starting your practice as a therapist.

If you want to be a successful therapist then a concrete vision with SMART goals would set you on a path to success.

2. Recognize that it’s not easy and prepare to work hard

Realising that building a successful practice actually requires a lot of hard work is your first step to becoming a success.

Paradoxical as it may sound,  psychological research suggests that individuals who have a goal and recognise that it’s going to be hard actually tend to perform better than the individuals who think that their goal is easy and they can reach it effortlessly.

This happens because you raise the bar for yourself which leads to improved performance and eventual success. Thus having the ability to foresee that building a private practice is hard work and then having the willingness to actually do that hard work is what will lead you to establish for yourself a successful private practice.

3. Have a holistic marketing plan

In today’s day and age, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from the rest and for that purpose you need to have a proper marketing plan addressing your online presence. Also, in this digital age you need to ensure that you have a presence online and are listed in online locators, therapist directories, and of course have a website.

The website need not be too fancy but just enough so that you can tell your potential clients about who you are, what your specialisation is and where you are available. If possible, put some videos on your website talking about the issues which are pertinent to your field.

Some self-help videos are also an ideal way to develop someone’s interest on your website. Brand yourself, have a unique profile with professional looking pictures and tell your audience about your personal and professional experience.

Also be sure to put your contact details on your website so that people can come and visit you. It’s also essential that you reach out to the community by having your presence on public forums, reach out to people, have discussions with them, participate in networking events, talk to the general public and offer free consultation through online forums, which would help you in getting prospective future clients.

Your focus should be on people and their problems rather than yourself. This is what would ensure people to actually come back to you as paying clients.

4. Be Authentic

Like in any other profession, being a success in this profession requires you to be yourself.

If you love what you are doing and are passionate about it then this should come to you easily. Get clarity on what you have done and what you want to do. Identify your passion and what makes you excel at being a therapist and why you chose this as a profession.

Don’t pretend to be someone else as it could prove to be really damaging to you and to your business. Talk to your clients naturally and do it with utmost dedication.

5. Review and Track your Performance

Once all these four points are in place you also need to ensure that you have a review process in place so that you can determine what is working and what is not and which areas require improvement. Have a system to record your numbers so that you can assess how you did last year compared to the current year.

Recognise and acknowledge that you have a seasonal business. Your review process would enable you to identify which seasons your business does well and which seasons it doesn’t do well. Thus you can determine that in the slow seasons you need to amp up your marketing efforts.

The tracking and review mechanism would also enable you to determine if your spending efforts are paying off or whether your online presence is delivering results or whether you need to cut down your spending.

If you’re an Australian therapist that wants help with the marketing and promotion of your therapy business, why not join Australia Counselling where we do it for you. Click here to read more about the benefits of membership.