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Countering Mindsets That Can Derail Solo Businesses

Those self-employed or in private practice may fight these thoughts daily.

Key points

  • Managing a private practice or solo business is a balance between care and lifestyle.
  • Not managing both care and lifestyle can destroy the health and mental benefits self-employment can bring.
  • Understanding the goals one has for the business can reduce the pressure of having to grow.
  • Gaining a picture of the value of the company can give one perspective about one's place in the business.

Working for yourself has become one of the fastest ways to improve your well-being in the short term, especially if you’re escaping a full-time job.

Whether you work for yourself in private practice or as a contractor, freelancer, or solopreneur, studies have found that stepping away from a regular day job can improve health, well-being, and happiness.

But there are downsides to this mental and physical boost, which can hold back the viability of the self-employment position long-term or begin to eat into the mental and health benefits that you have gained by working for yourself.

By becoming a one-person band, often, the solo owner wraps their identity into the business. This can result in more stress and anxiety around the company. It can also reduce the ability to reasonably evaluate your business and determine what’s best moving forward.

It can also hinder possible solutions to problems that arise since your emotional connection reduces your objectivity.

An area where I see this come up most often is when someone in private practice wants to step away from the business eventually, but the owner does not see any value in the company (without them there). Nor do they trust that anyone can take over and do what they do.

What damage does this cause?

  • It leaves clients potentially at a loss for what to do when the owner eventually retires.
  • It reduces the overall assets that the person has at their disposal in retirement.
  • It destroys the asset that the owner spent a lifetime building.
  • Often, it can leave the person unwilling to step away due to the fear that their life’s work will be destroyed or that their clients will not have somewhere to turn.

The benefits experienced from originally leaving the day job become overwhelmed by a lack of options or the inability to maximize the person’s earning potential.

As a result, the business becomes a tool to help others but provides little help to you. Or it evolves into a burden that simply exists to fund your lifestyle. You don’t want either scenario to become your driving force as the care you provide and your own happiness will suffer.

Instead, uniting the two concepts—care and a source to fund your lifestyle—can encourage you to view your business as a business while still enjoying the lifestyle benefits that solo entrepreneurship can offer.

Know what you need for the long term.

Everyone has a certain amount of money that they need to live on for the rest of their lives.

It doesn’t much matter whether you have just begun your private practice, you only have a few years remaining, you work for the love of it (and not the money), or you view “business” as a dirty word. In every one of those instances, you still have expenses, and you need a specific amount of money to cover all those costs for the rest of your life.

Getting a sense of what you need will give you an understanding of how much this business means to your financial picture for the rest of your life. It must help fund your family’s goals, your personal needs, and your hopes for the future.

This perspective can give you space between what really matters—your family, your needs, and your clients—from the operations of the business.

Having that perspective doesn’t mean you have to squeeze every dime out of your clients. Instead, it gives you an understanding of what you will need to gain from the business over the long term for this venture to be successful.

Have an understanding of your business’s value.

One of the biggest mistakes I see therapists make in evaluating their net worth is how they value the business. They believe that it’s not worth a dime without them, and they never expect to sell it—they believe no one could possibly want to buy it.

But that’s simply not true. You have thousands of new therapists coming to the market every year. You have group practices that want to grow. And you could possibly even have large organizations that want to systemize your process.

Understanding the value of your business gives you a sense of where and what you might be able to expect if you were to sell the company tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you will. But it provides you with a mindset that one day you likely can.

Plus, it allows you to take the steps you need to take today to make it more valuable in the future.

This simple repositioning of the lifespan of your practice can turn it from one that’s a part of you to one that can live on beyond you.

For some, this helps them visualize the future—one that doesn’t necessarily require a business to manage.

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