Common Issues When Starting a Private Practice

I launched my private practice as a side gig to pay off student loan debt. Little did I know that it would eventually allow me to leave my full time job. Just this morning, I went out for breakfast, worked out at the YMCA, then went for a walk with a friend. I didn’t start any real “work” until 1:30 and I’m about to leave (it’s 4:43 right now).

I don’t say this to brag, just to give you an idea of some of the most compelling reasons people venture into the world of private practice.

Many people venture out and start their own private practice. There are numerous benefits. There’s a fulfillment that come from earning your own income, you can make your own hours and decide what types of clients you want to see.

However, starting a business is never easy.

Many people who have undergone the transformation from being an employee to an employer find it to be difficult and taxing. Although they get to enjoy a wider scope of authority and decision-making, there are a lot of responsibilities and tasks that need to be done for it to work.

In March 2015, I left my full time job for full time private practice. This switch may be one of the toughest challenges that a business novice will ever encounter in his or her professional life.

When moving from working for a practice to starting your own practice, there are many benefits. Here are some to consider:

Being Your Own Boss

For some people, working under someone’s command doesn’t sit well with them. They want to enjoy their own freedom. To do this, they have to be the boss. If this situation describes you, venturing into private practice may be the next step.

A Pay Increase

People study for years to earn a degree and then take exams to obtain their license. However, working as a licensed professional in the social services field doesn’t really pay that much unless you get promoted to be a supervisor or a manager. Since salaries work as positive reinforcement, people that feel they don’t receive the monetary reward that they deserve tend to get discouraged. One solution for them is to shift to starting their own private practice.


Many people feel that they are restricted as an employee because they have to follow their company’s policies in addition to those of their profession. These people feel a better sense of fulfillment working under their own rules.

Doing More as a Professional

Because working in a private practice gives them a wider range of tasks, people who opt to be in this business have a better chance of doing more as a professional. There may be something they wanted to do in their company which was not possible. Being in private practice gives you access to do what you want to improve your professional services.

Expand Professional Learning

The best way for someone to learn is to make mistakes. It’s the same in the professional world. The best way to learn is to stand on your own.With all of the benefits that private practice offers, you may be thinking of trying to start your own practice. However, there are some issues that come with starting a new business that you should consider.

Here are some of the common issues that come along with your new practice:

Experience and Skills

A private practice is a business venture that requires experience and skills for it to work. Financial capital can start a business, but it’s the skills and experience that keep it running. From my perspective, taking on debt to launch a private practice is actually a really bad idea!

It is important to have a good idea of what running a private practice means before starting one. Honest self-assessment and awareness are essential, otherwise you may fall behind when something unexpected happens.


Being the owner of your own business means that you have to make it run yourself. At the start of the business venture, you may not have a lot of human resource for:

  • Maintenance
  • Payroll and paying yourself
  • Finance
  • Marketing, both online and offline
  • You will have to decide if you want to have W-2 or 1099 clinicians

Thus, you have to manage everything and anything by yourself to keep your private practice running. Even when you have employees to take care of certain tasks, you still have to manage them and make sure they are on task.

Many people find the idea of private practice tempting as it generates much income and influence, but they find the responsibilities overwhelming.

Business Trends

Being wise in business is important. You have to understand which months or seasons have the most clients and which have less to estimate the budgeting and staffing during that season. What are your clinician’s expectations regarding how many new clients you will generate for them?


Advertisement is also very important to any practice. Knowing how to tell people about your business can ensure a steady flow of customers and income. Also, the world of online business marketing is growing. If you don’t understand the basics, many companies are ready to take your money. If you don’t understand what questions to ask, it can be costly.

Business Taxes

Although you have a lot more income in private practice than as an employee, you still have to save to pay taxes for your business. Creating quarterly estimates and working with an accountant usually removes this worry.


Being in private practice means working alone and, as a result, the possibility of feeling isolated from other professionals in your field. Collaborating on projects is helpful.

After you weigh out all of these items, you might still be confused as to how to start or grow your private practice. That’s why this article: 7 Reasons 1/3 of private practices fail might be really helpful.

For now, I’m headed home and then back to the YMCA in the morning.

Business concept image available from Shutterstock

Common Issues When Starting a 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). Common Issues When Starting a Private Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 3, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Aug 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Aug 2015
Published on All rights reserved.