10 Ways to be Patient When the Phone Isn’t Ringing

6. Answer the phone. Let’s say a client is given three therapists’ phone numbers and they call you first. If you don’t answer, they may leave a voice mail but then they’re going to move on to Therapist #2. If Therapist #2 answers, they get the client. It’s okay if you’re nervous when you see an unknown number. I suggest making a script like the one I talk about in my checklist.

7. Network. Then network some more. Network until you hit a limit or your practice is too full. Trust yourself about that limit, whether it’s an extroverted 90 in 90 or one a week. (Introverts, read this.) Then take a break. Then network some more. You are getting to know your community. They are getting to know you. It will pay off.

8. Go ahead and freak out. Holding it back isn’t going to help. Just give yourself permission and space to feel how you feel. This is scary. Anyone who tells you they went into private practice without any fear is uncommitted or lying. Or they have that neurological disorder where their amygdala doesn’t work. Don’t actively feed the anxiety when it comes up; just accept that it’s going to be there off and on until you get that steady stream of clients.

9. Talk to supportive people as much as possible. Please avoid the naysayers. If your dad is still pissed you didn’t become an accountant, he’s not the guy to call at 11 p.m. when you’re anxious. Call your friends in private practice who get it. Talk to your partner who knows you can move mountains even though you’re laying on the floor with tears and snot on your face. Ask for support in the Abundance Practice-Builders Facebook Group. We all get it! Pep talks are a pretty steady part of all the Abundance Practice-Building offerings because I know not everyone has people who know how totally doable this is. And you need them! You’re going to feel insecure and you need your most supportive loved ones. If I didn’t have my husband, parents and awesome friends (many I met while networking), I’d probably still be on the floor with tears and snot on my face.

10. Trust. This is the hardest part but it’s also the most important. Try answering these questions to “earn” that trust if blindly trusting isn’t working for you. Are you doing things that have yielded referrals for other therapists a few times a week? Are you emotionally ready for private practice clients? Are you physically ready for private practice clients (like you have an office with chairs)? Are you networking? Do you have a good website? Is it easy for potential clients to get in touch with you? Are you taking good care of yourself despite your anxiety? If you answered “no” to any of those, tweak it so you can answer “yes” next time. If you’re doing everything right, you’re going to get clients so you can trust.

I hope that helps. I know it’s scary for a little while but that fear isn’t a sign that you should give up; it’s a sign that you’re human.

Waiting for the phone photo available from Shutterstock

10 Ways to be Patient When the Phone Isn’t Ringing

Allison Puryear, LCSW, CEDS

Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different cities and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. You can download a free checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row here. Get in on the conversation in the Abundance Practice-Builders Facebook Group.


APA Reference
Puryear, A. (2015). 10 Ways to be Patient When the Phone Isn’t Ringing. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 6, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 Aug 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Aug 2015
Published on All rights reserved.