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

Do Therapists Need Income Streams to be Successful?

I want to tell you a story of three fictional therapists who decided to launch a new stream of income in private practice.

Sally is an overworked therapist working in an agency transitions to private practice. They keep working at the agency part-time, doing private practice part-time… and don’t have enough hours in the day to make enough money in private practice to take the leap and quit the agency job. They hear about the idea of multiple streams of income or passive income and think Yes! This is what I need!

George is a therapist in private practice who is 10 clients short of their weekly goal of 35 clients a week, and has been for months. George feels overwhelmed and frustrated with trying to market and run a business while seeing his current caseload. It feels like every time he gets a foothold and calls start coming in- it magically stops around 20 clients a week. With his current caseload between the logistics of running the practice and insurance billing he is already working 40 hours a week every week (sometimes more). He has a list of bookkeeping and management tasks to catch up on- but doesn’t feel like he can put his limited time into any of it until he starts making an income he can actually live on. He is barely scraping by as it is, and he hasn’t paid any estimated taxes yet this year… to be honest, he can’t imagine owing taxes with as tight as things are financially. He listens to a podcast that mentions diversifying income and multiple streams of income and it feels like it is talking directly to them.

Heather is a therapist in private practice who is making a good income with her current caseload. She loves her clients and the clinical work they are doing, but knows she is at her personal limit for how many clients she can see and still do exemplary work. At the same time, she sees some common themes and struggles that she knows a LOT of people need help with. A few years ago, she was really bogged down in the process of running her business, but she has put some time into coming up with processes and systems that have streamlined the marketing of her business, the finances, and the other moving parts so that she has remaining energy and desire to do something creative and out of the box within her work week without getting overwhelmed or burnt out.

Who do you think will be most successful? Who will follow through on their goals? Who will be able to learn the skills they need to do something new and out of the box? Who will have the time and energy to be successful?

Who Is Ready to Launch a New Stream of Income?

Multiple stream of incomes are not magical. You don’t simply put a link to something new on your website and develop a viable income stream. And they aren’t passive. When you add a new service, product, or option in your business it takes time to design, define, market, and provide- even if it is something digital in nature. There are a lot of myths about business, private practice, and money that keep therapists underworked underpaid, and spinning their wheels.

If you are a therapist, I want you to know this above all else: You can make a truly livable wage seeing an appropriate number of clients in private practice. I believe you can do this anywhere in the country, no matter the financial makeup of that city. And this isn’t magical thinking. Realistically, if you are in a depressed city or town with limited income and resources- the cost of living will be lower than someone living in a big, urban area.

Before you add in a stream of income, you need to make sure the core of your business is happy, healthy, and flowing and that you have time to devote to this new stream of income. This is going to keep your clinical services solid and effective and help you avoid the burnout that plagues our profession!


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Do Therapists Need Income Streams to be Successful?

Miranda Palmer, LMFT

Miranda Palmer, LMFT is passionate about empowering therapists to be extraordinary. Palmer trains therapists how to develop private practices that not only thrive financially, but that provide excellence in clinical care through free private practice marketing trainings, the Business School Bootcamp for therapists, and free study group for licensing exams for pre-licensed therapists.


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APA Reference
Palmer, M. (2019). Do Therapists Need Income Streams to be Successful?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from