For the purpose of this post, you’ll need to refer to my free “Set Your Rates the Right Way” worksheet, which you can get here. In the sheet, fill in the blanks on page 4 with your numbers, referring as needed to the sample sheet on the following page (if you have questions or comments, post those at the bottom of this related post and I promise to respond). After filling in your numbers, compare them to the sample entries. Unless you simply copied entries over, I’d bet a nickel your budget is very different.
Are You Sure Your Business Budget Is on the Mark?
Your situation may be very different from that of the hypothetical therapist reflected in the sample, so that’s not necessarily a problem. However, unless your numbers are based on real-life experience, they may be far off the mark, which could be a problem. For example, say you plan to use Google ads to bring private-pay clients to your website. Is your marketing budget high enough to account for Google’s per-click cost charges for ad words such as “therapy” or “counseling” (typically about $6/click)? Have you considered how many clicks you’ll need on average for each client coming in to an appointment (probably 45-50)? If you don’t have real-world data, it’s easy to underestimate how much you’ll need to spend on marketing.
On the other hand, say you budgeted $750/month for office space because that’s the rate you’ve seen advertised in your area. Have you considered options for lowering rental cost, such as sharing an office with a colleague or renting space for only one or two days a week? If you significantly over-budget, you may feel overwhelmed and start doubting your ability to make a go of a new private practice.
Business Budget Sanity Check
Your business budget touches every aspect of your practice. That's why it's so important to make sure you have reasonable numbers for every expense category (and that you've budgeted for each category you're likely to need).
Here's what one therapist had to say about a budget sanity check consult we did together: "Not only was Opher extremely kind and generous, he provided me with so many different perspectives on my practice and areas to consider. I walked away from our conversation feeling motivated and empowered. Suddenly, topics that felt daunting made sense and were manageable."
Normally, a budget review like that would take four hours or more of interview and analysis, and could run you $1400. However, with your completed rate-setting worksheet, we should be able to do it with about 60 minutes of pre-call analysis and 60 minutes on the phone to go through my observations and recommendations, dropping the cost to $700.
Since I want those who download my rate-setting worksheet to get the most out of it, I periodically offer this service at a significant discount. It's also included in all of my one-on-one coaching packages. If you're interested, drop me a line through my contact form.
And by the way, whether or not you schedule a call, if you find the worksheet helpful, please let your colleagues know how they can get their own copy from the same place you did. I know you could simply forward the PDF to them, but then you’ll have to keep forwarding to them the other useful tips and tools I send out bi-weekly :).