I have been asked quite a few times over the past year whether or not I would be interested in taking associates, which is customary for professionals to do when their practice has grown beyond their individual capacity. Although I have been exceedingly fortunate to have almost-immediately grown into and maintained a full private practice since inception, I have not been actively considering taking associates. I have seriously considered taking practicum students given my interest in supervision and mentorship, but not independent professional members – at least not right now. As much as I would like to one day sit behind a big fancy office and rule my clinical kingdom with an iron – but always gentle and democratic! – fist, I have good client-oriented justifications for doing so at this moment:
1) I have long-term clients
I consider myself lucky and continue to feel humbled by the fact that I still have clients who found me in my first year of practice and have continued to stay with me since. Just the day before I wrote this post, one of them thanked me for “being there for [them] all these years through thick and thin.” The relationships I have forged with them run deep and I value their continued trust in my ability and professionalism very much. With some of these clients, I find that I am still learning new things about them and we are able to keep developing new goals as they enter the next stage of their lives. The acquired cumulative insights and the therapeutic foundation fortified over the years would be almost impossible to transfer, which is why I am happy to keep servicing them as I know that it is out of a profound respect for the professional bond and work we have shared. More importantly, having long-term clients inspire me to keep updating my clinical repertoire to be able to provide them with new tools and resources, which upkeep my competence.
2) Clients ask for me individually
Unlike my peers, I do the bare minimum in advertising. Many of my former colleagues and peers admit to be “aggressive” in their marketing strategies and strive to establish a strong social-media presence to attract new businesses, with some spending thousands of dollars on revamping their websites, having professional shoots, hiring marketing consultants, and soliciting for positive Google/business reviews, etc. The strategies work to attract new clients, but it also means drawing attention to the business and brand rather than the individual behind the clinical practice. I do not consider myself as savvy enough for social media and, frankly, am a bit too lazy and shy about marketing, so have refrained thus far from starting my own YouTube channel to galvanize people to “get real” about their mental health. It was not intentional, but I have come to realize over the past year that I actually rely mostly on the traditional word-of-mouth (WOM), meaning that new clients request for me specifically. More importantly, I am often requested by organizations and companies to do special cases, consultations, etc., which cannot be done by others.
3) I currently run my business as a need-oriented practice
Taking on associates right now would mean that I would need to cater more to the masses, which would require me to set more restrictions to my practice, such as having set times/dates and open booking systems that contribute to waitlists. As I am currently also still in school, I prefer to have more flexibility and independence so that I can take on new, complex cases as need be, especially considering the fact that I do have long-term clients.
4) I guess I’m just weird
Well, this one may be self-explanatory considering the fact that I am pretty sure I am the only practitioner who wears a “meow” beanie hat to sessions. Now, imagine me supervising a professional colleague in that…
I realize that I have more intimate reasons than most to remain solo for now. Of course, this is not to say that I would not undergo any changes in the future. To be honest, I am actually excited by the prospect of expanding in near future, including using social media more effectively when I feel more interested to do that for fun instead of trying to use it solely as a business tool. However, currently as I work on refining my clinical skills and prioritizing servicing individual clients first, I know that I am making the right decision to keep my practice boutique for now – that is, until one day I have a turn of heart to grow an international conglomerate of some 1000+ associates to take over the world like the one organization I have been asked to provide services for recently.
To catch me before I turn global or try too hard to become an internet-sensation wannabe like “Dr. [first name],” feel free to connect with me for an inquiry call and see what I can do for you in my current capacity as a solo practitioner dedicated to individual clients. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂