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How to Transition From Employee to Solo Practitioner

Are you wanting to leap from employee to solo practitioner? The first thing you should know is that it takes a lot of work. That being said, the last thing we want to do is discourage anyone from going into private practice. We have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with ##s of practice owners who are living the good life! It’s a gutsy move and it does pay off in the end, so stay with us.

So what does it take?

The biggest transition for an employee going solo is going to be taking on the administrative side of the practice. You become responsible for managing or outsourcing billing, rent, credentialing, bookkeeping, and so much more. These tasks can be elaborate and take up quite a bit of your precious time. The reality is, when you start out as an owner it will be a lot more work than you’re used to, and you most likely will be making less money than your employees. (See graphs.)

Another mindset shift for an employee will be the focus on bringing in new clients and building referral relationships. This responsibility carries other hidden time gobblers like managing the website, marketing, networking, and maintaining the office space. Another thing to keep in mind: when you run your own practice, you’ll rarely feel "off duty". There's always something else that can be done: recruiting, tweaking the website, messages to be returned, and the list goes on.

As an employee you can keep your head down, show up to work and go home. As the owner it’s up to you and the administrative team to ensure everything is humming along nicely. You’ll spend your time defining and streamlining the consultation and intake process, or otherwise improving processes and systems within the practice.

If this all sounds overwhelming, remember that you can and should outsource help with some of these responsibilities so that you aren’t spread too thin. As your practice grows you’ll be able to hire more clinicians, administrative assistants, bookkeepers, and more. If you plan on running a fully functioning business you’ll be much happier than if you expect it to feel like it does working as an employee.

Questions about finances while going solo? We have partnered with Gordon Brewer from The Practice of Therapy on the online course Money Matters for Private Practice. Going into Private Practice is a lot of work but with sound financial systems in place it's absolutely doable!


This article is designed to provide information only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Because of the complexity of the law and the variables in your own personal tax situation, you can’t rely on our advice specifically related to your unique circumstances. In order to get the best tax savings and legal advice available to you, you should consult with your own accountant, attorney or advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstances. GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with counselors and therapists in private practice. We provide monthly accounting & bookkeeping services, 1-time services and online courses. For more information on our specialized services for therapists please visit


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