How to start a private practice: A 28-step checklist | POP 885

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How to start a private practice: A 28-step checklist | POP 885

Which phase of practice are you in? What are the absolute essentials for a new private practice? Do you need a step-by-step guide to help you cover all your bases?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to start a private practice using a 28-step checklist.

Podcast Sponsor: Alma

A photo of podcast sponsor, Alma is captured. Alma is an insurance company for therapists. Alma sponsors the Practice of the Practice podcast.

Going in-network with insurance can be tough. Filing all of the right paperwork is time-consuming and tedious, and even after you’re done, it can take months to get credentialed and start seeing clients.

That’s why Alma makes it easy and financially rewarding to accept insurance. When you join their insurance program, you can get credentialed within 45 days, and access enhanced reimbursement rates with major payers. They also handle all of the paperwork, from eligibility checks to claims submissions, and guarantee payment within two weeks of each appointment.

Once you’ve joined Alma’s insurance program, you can see clients in your state of licensure regardless of where you’re working from.

Learn more about building a thriving private practice with Alma at

In This Podcast

  • Lay the foundation
  • Dig into and develop your business
  • Getting the name out there

Lay the foundation

1 – Name your private practice: you can name it after your specialty. Avoid using your personal name in the title because that can make it difficult to sell at a later stage. Check out our resources to help you name your new private practice!

2 – Buy a URL as your practice name: choose to use [.com]!

3 – Make sure that you are correctly licensed in your state to run and operate a private practice.

So just make sure that you know your licensure and make sure that you are licensed in the state that you are in and practicing [in] … if you are going to be doing telehealth, you have to be licensed in the state that your clients are in, not where you are.

Joe Sanok

4 – Create a quarter-by-quarter plan: keep track of your first-year goals. Check out our Pinterest board for our famous quarter-by-quarter breakdown!

5 – Get liability insurance: get your own liability insurance to cover your bases.

6 – Create a website: before your office, build your counseling website. You can also rent or lease a website through Brighter Vision, or build one too!

7 – Get rid of ugly emails: unify your emails through Google to have a professional email for communication with your clients and colleagues.

8 – Set up a legal structure: for most states, that’s a PLLC or an LLC. Chat with your attorney to make sure you are on the right side of the law.

9 – Get a separate bank account for your business: keep separate receipts and accounts for your business so that it makes insurance and taxes easier.

10 – Get your private practice paperwork sorted: Save time and use our resources to make sure that you have everything ready and in the correct order.

Dig into and develop your business

11 – Identify your specialty: be clear and create content on exactly what you do and whom you help to connect with your best-fit clients.

Don’t just say, ‘I do individual, couples, and family therapy’, or, ‘I see everyone’. That is what everyone says, it really means nothing … find that specialty, what is it that you love? What kind of clients are you jazzed to see?

Joe Sanok

12 – Rent private practice spaces: when you are starting off, you probably want to keep your costs low, so rent first as an option to save money while you are building.

13 – Learn to be media savvy: try HARO to get your name out there and connect with local news outlets

14 – Start an email list or email course: this is a great way to connect and stay in contact with your readers and audience.

15 – Get a logo created: we offer this service for free for our Next Level Practice cohort groups!

16 – Start networking: after you figure out your specialty, look around at who is in your area (physically and specialty-wise) and connect with them.

Find 10 people that are doing what you want to do and 10 people that don’t see that [niche] and offer to buy each of them lunch and pick their brains about the ups and downs of private practice.

Joe Sanok

17 – Focus on one social media: which platform are you already on that you love? Create the content there.

18 – Evaluate your cancelation policy: value your time and get clear on what the cancelation policy is and let your clients know.

19 – Set up your private practice phone system: landlines can be expensive, so you can use your phone and Spruce Health to set up a system that is professional and ethical.  

20 – Take insurance? There are pros and cons. You can always start with insurance and switch to private pay over time.

Getting the name out there:

21 – Order business cards: use MOO to get great quality cards!

22 – Schedule some community talks: find partners that work with your ideal clients and see if you can work with them to talk in front of their audiences.

23 – Organize your EHR: use Therapy Notes with the promo code JOE to get your paperwork in order at a discounted rate.

24 – Get your payment system set up: get the system up and running and easy to use.

25 – Blog about your specialty area: get 26 blog posts ready to have one go live a week, which sets you up for half a year of content.

Blogging is one of the single best ways to start ranking in Google. It also builds your authority, your expertise, and when you’re doing that there’s a stronger value proposition [because] potential clients are going to see you as more valuable than just a name on an insurance company list.

Joe Sanok

26 – Optimize your website: use your keywords and create pages to expand and make the most of your website.

27 – Become an Amazon associate: you get paid a little something whenever someone purchases a book or an item that you recommend – but you need to disclose it first. 

28 – Sign up for our one-year practice plan! For $17, you get a walkthrough for each week to help you in your first year.

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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