A Guide to Your First Year of Private Practice

private practice 2I couldn’t get on any insurance panels. So I started a private pay, private practice. Three years earlier, I had filed my PLLC paperwork. From 2006 to 2009, I worked as a 1099 for another private practice in Kalamazoo.

Then I moved three hours away.

We were back in Traverse City, MI, our hometown, and we knew it was where we were landing. Again, I got the private practice going as a side gig to my full-time job. It was a way to make extra money to pay off debt, save for a house, and go on nice vacations. But I still couldn’t get on insurance panels.

Starting a Private Practice is Really Tough

When I first launched Mental Wellness Counseling, in Traverse City, MI, it took me a while to get my first client. It was actually really disheartening. I was ready to give up and just do a traditional agency job. The hardest parts of starting a private practice often are right before huge breakthroughs.

Here’s an infographic that walks you through your first year of starting a private practice:


Building a Website When Starting a Private Practice

When I first was starting a private practice, website building would take me days to complete. I had to learn everything.

Website building takes time, do I even want to learn how to create a website for private practice?

Options for Website Building

Let’s talk about the three main ways that you can create a website for your private practice:

  1. Build it yourself.
  2. Lease a website.
  3. Have one created custom for you.

How to Build a Website

There are distinct benefits and challenges to each of these options. When you build it yourself, it’s entirely based on your own learning curve, ability to implement, and comfort level. Here’s an article about how to build a website that you’ll find useful. This takes the most time, but is the cheapest.

Hosting is usually around $5/month and the domain is around $10/year. If you upgrade to a Premium WordPress Theme, you might spend an extra $50, but it is not necessary. Also, resources like WP Curve can provide support for WordPress Based website for around $99/month, for this cost you should probably go with one of the other options.

Total Cost: $70 per year

How to Lease a Website

Websites like TherapySites and Brighter Vision give a website for a monthly fee. Dr. Grohol has a great article talking about Brighter Vision. Both are $49-$59 per month. I think Brighter Vision has better design and is optimized for SEO better. Also, their support is always working on improving things. The one thing to remember is that you are leasing the website, so if you ever leave, you’ll have to start over.

Total Cost: $588 to $708 per year

How to get a Website Made

Website designers can cost thousands of dollars. But, once the initial investment is completed, all you have is the domain and hosting costs.

I prefer when a web designer allows me to have my own hosting, so it is easier to have other designers work on the website. My Traverse City web designer is Legendary Lion. They’ve helped with all my websites. Depending on the scope of your website, it can usually be completed within a month or so.

Total Cost: $1,000 to $5,000 one time cost plus annual hosting/URL of $70

The Basics of Building a Website

Hosting is the foundation where your data is kept. Think of it like the foundation of your house. It’s the information. I use Bluehost because you can have multiple domains. It usually runs around $5 per month.

The domain is the address for your counseling private practice website. The URL for my private practice consulting blog (this one) is It’s like the address for a house. I use Namecheap for my domains, they are around $10 per year. .

Website Design is the look for the website. I use WordPress to design all of my websites. When looking at website building, you want to have an easy-to-use format. It’s like the decoration for the house.

A Guide to Your First Year of Private Practice

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Joseph Sanok

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC teaches consultants how to become better consultants through his website Joe also helps counselors with growing private practices through his website He also loves sailing and playing with his two daughters.


APA Reference
Sanok, J. (2015). A Guide to Your First Year of Private Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 6, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Apr 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Apr 2015
Published on All rights reserved.