You became a therapist because you wanted to help others and have a career filled with meaning and purpose. But your therapy income alone isn’t likely going to cut it. Keep reading to find out what to do about it.
What are multiple income streams for therapists?
Many therapists today are offering services outside of the therapy room. This can include speaking gigs, teaching CEUs, clinical/ business consulting, or writing. Many therapists also decide to offer online coaching and courses, but those usually require a whole separate business and there are a lot of complicated ethical and legal factors.
For the sake of this post, we’ll be sticking to income streams that you can offer within your existing therapy business.
Why therapists need multiple streams of income
1) Therapy practice revenue can be unstable
Therapy practice income depends on a lot of different factors, like client cancellations, frequency of referrals, clients discontinuing or completing their treatment and the unpredictability of insurance payments.
2) Therapy income DEPENDS ON YOU BEING IN YOUR CHAIR IN ORDER TO MAKE MONEY.
If you aren’t with a client, you aren’t getting paid. This means vacations, sick days, cancellations and no-shows aren’t paid. This may leave you scrambling to make up for it in the surrounding weeks, which is a recipe for burnout. You are trading money for time-in-chair, and that isn’t sustainable in the long term.
3. Earning potential is capped by time and energy
Did you ever sit down with a calculator and figure out how many clients you need to see each year/ month/ day in order to make your income goals and pay the bills? The problem with that strategy is that you are not a machine. Your capacity changes over time, and your energy can limit how many clients you are able to see each week while remaining mentally and emotionally healthy.
In fact, this was the point for me when I started adding additional income streams- when I realized that my energy level wasn’t holding up to my income goals.
4) Multiple income streams reduce the risk of burnout
Multiple streams of income can get you out of the therapy chair and doing different things. Researching a juicy article or teaching a live workshop are invigorating, and use a different part of your brain.
Doing different things can also reduce the time you are sitting in your chair with clients, or across from a screen. This, in turn, makes you more present and a better therapist for the clients you do have.
Packing in more and more clients is never the answer, at least for me it’s not.
Types of additional income streams for therapists
1) Teaching CEUs
I love teaching CEUs (also called CEs) and helping other therapists do the same. You can get your courses approved through your state or other state boards, as well as through larger national organizations like NBCC, ASWB or APA. This allows you to share your unique expertise, have more impact, make passive income (when you put your courses on demand) and diversify how you spend your time. For more info about how to get started, grab my free CEU Course Planning Checklist.
You can provide trainings and workshops even when they aren’t approved for CEs. So far this year, I’ve taught a group of physicians about the clinical indications for EMDR and a group of private practice therapists about burnout prevention. The key to getting these types of opportunities is networking. Put yourself out there and make connections and build relationships.
I am a writer for Choosing Therapy and love it. This gives me the opportunity to dig into the current research and explore topics that are a little outside of what I already know. This type of writing uses a completely different part of my brain than other things I do, because I have to follow a strict outline, include keywords and meet word count requirements and deadlines. If you enjoyed writing papers in grad school, then writing for a mental health website might be for you!
I provide a couple of different types of consulting: 1) Business consulting/ coaching for therapists seeking to add additional income streams or get started teaching CEUs, and 2) EMDR consulting through EMDRIA in my clinical practice. What experience do you have that others would be interested in learning about?
How to develop multiple streams of income
1. Identify your unique skills. This is that special combination of your clinical expertise, your interests and your lived experience that only YOU can offer.
2. Network with other therapists and professionals. There is NOTHING quite like good old-fashioned relationship building and networking. Connect with other professionals who also serve your clients, go to a networking event or even drop off donuts for the front desk staff at a local treatment center. (I’ve done all of these!)
3. Establish your expertise. Seek out additional training, experience and certification in a modality o population you are passionate about. Then, share that passion with others!
4. Be visible! How can people work with you if they don’t know you exist? You’ll need to put yourself our there- whether that be on LinkedIn, social media or email. Pick one and get started.
I hope this post about adding additional income streams to your therapy practice was helpful!
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