How to Start a Private Practice in Three Basic Steps

Working with private practice clinicians is our cream-of-the-crop specialty. We don’t need to go through the explanations of why, how and when this happened (because we have many posts about this). However, through our experiences, we know a few things about how to start a private practice through clients and potential clients. Often, they come to us!

In this blogpost, we are going to review the first three basic steps in how to start a private practice from our perspective as branding and website designers. As you can assume, one of the most important pieces of this post will be about branding and how it’s essential to establishing a successful practice.

how to start a private practice by team chloe creative

How to Start a Private Practice

We aren’t clinicians ourselves. Not one member of our team has clinical experience (or at least not that I know of🤪). But, I have successfully started a business with a very niched audience that consistently makes multiple six figures every year. The amount of money you make does not correlate to success (i.e. you can make little money but be so joyful in what you do = successful), but, in the “marketing world” niching your business can be a big loss or a big win. I want to share how it’s been a big win for me and how it can make your private practice successful.

Step 1: Define Your Niche and Services

You’ll see many marketing experts explain how niching can be a good or bad thing. You’ll either have extremists who support it or those who are completely against it and will provide reasons xyz of why it won’t work.

I’m not here to talk about niching in itself or what it is, but I will talk about how it’s changed the trajectory of my business. This has allowed me to craft an experience that my ideal client can only get from our team. Defining your niche and service offerings is step one because of the popular marketing one-liner, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one”. I fully agree.

Benefits of Niching in How to Start a Private Practice:

  • Improved Client Focus: By focusing on a specific audience (aka a niche), you can better develop an understanding of their needs, wants and desires. When you understand your ideal clients needs, wants and desires, your messaging will become easier and you’re able to tailor your services to specifically meet them where they are. In turn, this creates an easy purchasing journey.
  • Competitive Advantage: We always tell our clients this: there will always be another clinician out there that does the exact same thing that you do and targets the same audience that you do. Your problem to solve isn’t finding a niche that no one exists – because there will never be one. Instead, niching provides you a competitive advantage by becoming the go-to person in your specialty. Think about it this way: without a niche, you are competing with a crowded market. When having a niche, that pool becomes immediately smaller.

How to Pick the Right Niche for You

  • Identifying Target Audience: The first step in determining a niche that will work for you will be to actually identify who you want to target. I encourage you to get very specific here. For an example, instead of saying you want to target women who struggle with gut-health, how can you get more specific? Instead, maybe target women aged 18-35 who battle with IBS. Think about what they struggle with, what they want or how you can provide a solution. We ask these questions in our intake questionnaire. Once you’ve selected your specific area, move into the next point!
  • Analyzing Competition: After you identify who you want to work with, it’s important you analyze your competition to see if this niche is feasible. Maybe you search on Instagram for other clinicians who are in the area, maybe you Google Search your keywords and see the leading websites in the industry. You never want to join a niche that feels too busy or crowded for you to make an impact.

Start Picking Your Service Offerings Around Your Ideal Niche

  • Defining Services: Going back into identifying your target audience, you’ll begin to uncover what your ideal client struggles with. In our example, if you are targeting 18-35 year old women who struggle with IBS, think about what symptoms they are having or their day-to-day struggles. How can you as a clinician use your services to help them? Would this individual benefit from a course, 1:1 or hybrid coaching program?
  • Value Proposition: Knowing your worth is key when starting a new private practice. Why? Because you will begin to feel imposter syndrome, comparison or other negative normal emotions when starting your own thing. When establishing a value proposition, think about who you are, what you do, how you provide your ideal client help and where you want them to go.

Step 2: Establish Your Brand Identity

In Step 2, this is really where our opinion comes into play. As a studio that specializes in brand work, we aren’t biased when it comes to the fact that branding does matter in any type of business. As a clinician, establishing your brand can help you become so much more confident in every area of your practice. We’ll go through these below.

branding is a way on how to start a private practice

Understanding Branding Essentials for How to Start a Private Practice

  • Branding Basics: Branding is more than just a beautifully designed logo. Having a brand – done correctly – will allow you to expand your brand awareness, grow a consistent look, show up confidently online, and understand the psychological aspects of targeting your ideal client. We have another blogpost on branding, but to highly overview, a branding is how you effectively communicate all the aspects of Step 1.
  • Brand Identity Elements: For a correctly done branding, you’ll need a primary logo, secondary logo, multiple assets (like a stamp, icon, illustrations or tagline), textures, color palette, a typography suite with a set of guidelines to understand how to use all of the above. It’s also essential that you have the correct logo formats of each of these assets (i.e. PNG, JPG or PDF) as each are optimized for different mediums.

Creating a Memorable Brand Identity:

  • Choosing a Business Name: For a branding to work effectively and have longevity to it, your practice name is key. Most clinicians choose to use their name as the identifier (i.e.Dietitian Chloe, Chloe Thomas, LMFT). We honestly support this approach as a clinician because it helps to humanize your practice. However, should you choose to come up with a business name, make it unique and make sure materials are available to use online (website domain, instagram handle, etc).
  • Designing a Primary Logo: If you cannot hire a professional to design your logo, we suggest going into Canva and NOT using one of the templates provided for you. We challenge you to make something completely unique. Include your business name, a subheading or tagline underneath and one supplemental element (i.e. a flower that represents how as a therapist you help your clients bloom through life).
  • Selecting Brand Visuals: Having other brand visuals to supplement your logo above would be an established color palette. We recommend picking at least 5 colors with 2 of those being one darkest color and one lightest color. Think about a black or a white. It doesn’t have to be black or white, but maybe you choose a charcoal grey with cream. In between those colors, choose 3 supplemental colors that match. Consider using something like Coolors.io to help with idea creation. Once you find something you like, consider researching the color psychology of each color.

Maintaining Consistency:

  • Importance of Consistency: Once you’ve determined your branding, consistency is key. This is why we utilize brand guidelines (more on this below). To stay consistent, ensure you are sticking to everything in your brand guidelines document each time you post to social media or edit your website.
  • Brand Guidelines: Your brand guidelines clearly define how to use each of your logos. Do not sway from this usage. For example, do not use your primary logo in an area that your submark or icon should be used. Secondly, stick to your colors and fonts that you’ve selected and the way that each are used. If a font is in ALL CAPS in your guidelines, use it in ALL CAPS.

Step 3: Determine legality and systems for how to start a private practice

In Step 3, we focus more on the internal and legality things for how to start a private practice. Think about admin, your office and systems you might be using as you make this move into your own business and away from the corporate or group practice setting. Let’s dive in.

Handling Administrative Tasks:

  • Legal Considerations: As a new business, you’ll be needing to get your business filing setup and paid with your state. This is why picking a business name can be so tricky because it has to be available with your state!
  • Insurance Needs: If you are a clinician who is accepting insurance, ensure you have each of these setup properly and know the process your clients will have to go through to claim their needs via insurance.

Establishing Efficient Systems:

  • Appointment Scheduling: Scheduling is huge as a clinician because a lot of your appointments could be done online. If you are an online clinician, consider using PracticeBetter, SimplePractice, Healthie, Calendly or another system to help organize your appointments and working with individuals.
  • Record-Keeping: Some of the platforms above can be helpful for keeping online records of each of your patients. Consider purchasing and using these so you can have a client portal for better experiences.

Be Confident in How to Start a Private Practice from Chloe Creative

Often, we tend to overcomplicate the steps to do something we really want to do. When searching how to start a private practice, start with the three basic steps we’ve discussed in this blogpost:

  1. Define your niche and service offerings
  2. Establish your branding
  3. Determine any legality and systems

That’s all you need to focus on – and should you find yourself needing help, we have a mastermind, Marketing Momentum, where we help you establish your private practice and learn the ins and outs of each of these steps in depth.

Join the Marketing Momentum Mastermind for Clinicians

Our mastermind isn’t just for the new-in-business, it’s also for the seasoned clinician who needs guidance on how to reach their next steps. Join our waitlist for our Cohort 2 enrolling soon!