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Private Practice Kickstart
with Miranda Palmer, LMFT
& Kelly Higdon, LMFT

Private Practice Vacations

Private Practice Vacation

The background image attached is from my latest trip to Zion. This summer, in what felt like a spur of the moment decision, Miranda and I decided to take off the month of July.

Truly it wasn’t spur of the moment. We had discussed it a couple months in advance, but the year was already planned and we were going to change our plans. Say what? We had agreed to still do 1 of our mastermind coaching calls, our webinar and a bonus bootcamp coaching call. In total, we only had about 4 hours of work on the books for the month.

In the midst of this month, I was in the process of closing my practice as well. Little did I know how much I needed space for that kind of closure. You can read more about that here.

What you need to know is, I freaked out and did it anyway.

I figure if it totally bombed you all could learn from it and if it was a total success, you all could still learn from it.

Let me share what I learned.

I will never be “ready” to take a vacation.

There will always be more emails to respond to and projects I can complete or create. I had to do it without thinking about all the loose ends that needed to be cared for.

While I discuss this in another blog, there are some basics I did have taken care of – back ups, autoresponders, someone handling my mail. We still had our marketing in the works so I filled up the content queue for the month. I wrote a ton of blogs alongside Miranda and set up all our social media posts. I automated what I could.

Vacations really are an opportunity to discover what is and what isn’t working in your business.

There were technical issues. An email from over a year ago went out all because I had checked the wrong button a year ago and thus it made absolutely no sense. I could have frozen and used this as evidence as to why my business needs me 24/7 but instead, I apologized and moved on.

Now I am creating a checklist to make sure odds and ends are taking care of the next time I take a vacation. These mishaps simply remind you of what to pay attention to however they usually don’t cause the demise of your business.

On the upside, we continued to generate income. I took a month off and it didn’t kill my business. For someone in private practice this might mean you account for vacation when determining your fees and you set aside savings, or you add another stream of income to continue to help others while you are away, such as a book or an online course.

I had to learn how to take a vacation.

I am the first to say, this wasn’t easy. I love my work. Sometimes I handed my phone to my husband so I just wouldn’t be checking things. I had to tell people “no” more often and have them schedule appointments the following month. Letting go is a skill. One that I will continue to refine. Finally I did it and no one got hurt and my business didn’t shut down. I had to trust what was created was enough.

I am a better person.

I spent some serious quality time with my family. More date nights, family movie time, trampoline park and a ton of beach time led me to want to play more and more. I took a vacation that was sitting on a vision board 5 years ago and I learned it happened when it needed to, this summer. My mood was better. My sleep was better and I enjoyed my life. I reconnected to some hobbies and discovered new opportunities for bettering my life.

I came back full of ideas.

Creatively, I was more on fire. I had tons of new ways on how to better help people and I realized what I was doing that really didn’t make an impact.

In bootcamp we talk about the Pareto’s Principle:  20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. I’m finding my 20% more and more. Getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t maximize the benefit to my business, has got to go!

I want more time off.

Next year, I have planned more time off, in advance so I can prepare. I continuously want to strive to give at my best and be my best whether it is with you or with myself and I now know that part of it is to take a vacation.

Want to know your business better and yourself better? Take time off.

If you tell me you can’t, then something needs to change in your business. Is it that you can’t or that you are scared? It’s not ok to work so much. It’s not good for your health or relationships. Get the help you need so that you can take a vacation.

Here are some quick tips to taking a vacation.

  • Start with baby steps. Extend a weekend into a 3 or 4 day time off. Take the 5th week off of a long month.
  • Create a vacations savings plan for your business. Having money set aside can reduce your financial stress and worry.
  • Tell someone about it. Once you start talking about something, you are more likely to make it happen. That’s the power of accountability. Even better- put in your informed consent how much time you take off during the year.
  • Create your back up plan. You cannot be overly responsible for your clients and be available all the time, but you can have a plan in place for the times when you are gone. For extra credit, put this information in your informed consent as well so you can be clear with your clients from the start.
  • Push yourself. You can do this. A little discomfort is normal and all of this is going to be learning for you.

How about you? Where are you going next? Tell us about your vacation plans below and let’s inspire each other. 


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Private Practice Vacations

Kelly Higdon, LMFT

Kelly Higdon, LMFT is a private practice expert that believes therapists are some of the most important healers in the world. She teaches therapists how to grow successful businesses from scratch and to move beyond the couch with multiple streams of income. Get to know Kelly better through her free private practice marketing trainings, the Business School Bootcamp for therapists, or through private practice consultation.


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APA Reference
Higdon, K. (2019). Private Practice Vacations. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2020, from