If you’re looking to start your own healthcare practice, the best place to get advice is from people who have been there and done that.

In this article, we’ve curated the best advice from practitioners who have been through it all.

1. Your Private Practice is a business

Whether you’re starting a private counselling or physiotherapy practice, it is fundamental to understand that when selling your services, you will be exposed to the same pressures as any other business. 

You need to have a clear idea of costs and profits and remember the time you may need to invest to be a success. 

Spending time away from clients and on administrative duties may be unavoidable in the initial stages, so understand exactly where your strengths lie and if you need any assistance running your business.

2. Understand Managed Care

The term “managed care” describes a type of health care focused on helping to reduce costs while keeping the quality of care high. Opening yourself up to private clients may also bring with it the challenges of dealing with different types of payments, including those from health insurance. 

The most common health insurance plans available today often include managed care features. These include provider networks, provider oversight, and prescription drug tiers. These are designed to control costs for everyone without sacrificing quality care.

Reimbursements may differ between different providers, so you will need to have an understanding of this, and you may have to alter your pricing structure accordingly.

3. Hone your marketing skills

Getting your private practice noticed takes time.  You need time to learn how to network, write blogs, use social media, and conduct email marketing campaigns.  Even if you’re not naturally good at marketing, reading up on the subject and putting your new knowledge into practice are imperative in getting yourself known. 

Consistency is key when marketing your private practice. Social media is an excellent tool for marketing your business, so make sure you post every day. Decide how often to blog and stick with it. Keep your newsletter up-to-date by emailing every week/fortnight. 

One great idea is to develop a niche you know about and connect with clients in this area. 

Take advantage of both online and offline tactics, ensuring that you have a website and social media profiles, and take advantage of any speaking or networking events.

4. Stay on top of billing

Cashflow is the lifeblood of your business, so you need to keep on top of your incoming and outgoing payments. Most of us don’t enjoy invoicing. It’s tedious, repetitive and time-consuming, but since we all need to get paid, it’s a necessary part of our lives.

Thankfully, most good practice management systems have ways to streamline the invoicing process. You can: 

  • Automatically generate branded invoices based on your clinical activity 
  • Quickly identify paid/unpaid invoices and bad debts
  • Pinpoint appointments that have not yet been invoiced
  • Quickly add online payments to the invoice

By streamlining the invoicing process, you’ll be able to:

  • Reduce time spent on invoicing and speed up your workflow
  • Minimise errors
  • Maintain high quality and organised financial records
  • Stay on top of cash-flow
  • Reduce paperwork

5. Referrals will sometimes drop

Referrals into your practice may change unexpectedly in response to several different factors.

Try to determine whether any falls in business are due to things outside of your control (i.e. holidays or weather) or whether it is due to problems that you need to address.

If referrals are low, you can utilise word-of-mouth marketing to build an army of loyal clients and boost referrals simultaneously. 

If you do a great job of looking after a patient, it’s perfectly OK to ask patients to refer you. This doesn’t have to be (and really shouldn’t be) clumsy. The trick is to take note of when a patient is giving praise and then acting in that moment.

For instance, if a patient tells you how great their care has been, you could say:

“I’ve really enjoyed treating you; if you ever have friends or colleagues injured, do think of me, as I’d love to help them too!”

Even better, ask the patient for a testimonial. Testimonials on your website, Google, and sites like Doctify are the online version of word of mouth. Their power is undeniable.

6. Working for yourself can be isolating

The initial stages of your practice may be difficult if you are operating alone. Running a business is a big job – and accepting that you cannot do it all yourself is the first step.

You will never be judged if you reach out for input, advice, and guidance to peers and fellow self-employed clinicians. Taking steps to feel less isolated will help you establish an effective support network as part of your private practitioner career.

Finding an online community is the easiest way to find fellow private practitioners and others on similar journeys. You can also rent a space in a communal working environment if you need other therapists’ company throughout the day.

7. Set boundaries

It may be tempting when you start up to let clients contact you 24/7 and bend backwards to accommodate their needs. 

As time goes by, it may become increasingly more work to maintain this level of support as your practice grows. 

If you can put healthy boundaries in place from the get-go, it will be much easier to maintain a professional and sensible schedule going forwards.

Need a helping hand while setting up your practice?

Private practice software like WriteUpp is easy to use and affordable, and it lets you take client bookings online, reduce admin time, and improve the overall client experience. 

It helps you to put everything involved with running a private practice into one secure and automated place. 

Basically, it’s there to save you time and worry!

You’ll spend less time looking for information, preparing notes, and writing client emails and text messages, which will give you more time to grow your practice.

With just a few clicks, you can access a ton of features, including

  • Taking bookings from your clients online, 24/7
  • Eradicating repetitive & time-consuming tasks
  • Accessing reporting to analyse your business income
  • Eliminating paper 
  • Improving your client’s experience 
  • Simplifying your compliance with key regulations like GDPR
  • Reducing the threat of virus transmission

You can grab us for a live chat if you have any questions about what an integrated practice management solution can do for you and your practice.

The button is just there in the bottom right corner of your screen.


Ellie is WriteUpp’s in-house Content Creator. Her research and writing for private practitioners focuses on marketing, business growth, data security, and more. She also hosts WriteUpp’s podcast The Healthy Practice; the show that guides practitioners in the early stages of their careers through every aspect of practice management. Outside of work Ellie writes a mental health blog, studies mindfulness and is a keen nature photographer.