Your first goal in private practice is to get enough clients to cover your expenses and support yourself. Once you get there, or even before you get there, you might start to want a bit more.
Maybe there’s something beyond seeing clients in your office one or two at a time that sparks your interest. You see other therapists with online offerings, group practices or large in-person workshops. You want to find a way to use different skills, reach more people and make more money without working more.
Perhaps you’ve started playing with some ideas beyond private practice on the back of an envelope.
Here are some examples of additional streams of income for therapists:
- In-person group
- Online coaching for groups or individuals
- Online course
- Group practice
- Weekend workshop
- Paid speaking
If one of these ideas excites you, you might be tempted to start dreaming big. You imagine your online course... that leads to your book deal... that leads to your keynote addresses at conferences. You see other therapists or former therapists who have developed what seem to be huge empires.
What you don’t see is their first attempts beyond private practice. Therapists with successful multiple streams of income started small.
There’s a concept that began in the startup world called the “minimum viable product.” The MVP is is the smallest version of a product that has enough features to be valuable. It’s the simplest version of a product they can test with consumers.
The MVP concept can be boiled down to: start as small and simple as you can
There’s some major wisdom in that idea for any therapist considering an additional stream of income.
For our purposes, I’ll call it your Minimum Viable Service (MVS)
If your plan is to wait until you have time to develop a robust offering, make a different plan. Don’t spend months creating something huge before you test it with real people.
Pare your idea down to the smallest and simplest version that still gives value. For example, if your dream is to create a six month online course with 300 members, your MVS might be a 2 week online course for three to five members.
Your MVS lets you learn quickly what works and what falls flat. Test your idea early, and then pivot to make it better.
If you’re just starting out in private practice or you aren’t clear on what you’d like to offer, then wait. If, on the other hand, you know you’d like to offer something more, read on and consider my challenge.
I challenge you to start this week.
Take 20 minutes today or tomorrow and sketch out a very simple new offering, your MVS. Use questions like these to design your first offering:
- Who is this for?
- What is this person struggling with?
- What do I help this person with over and over again in my current work?
- What kind of process, insight or support do they need to change this struggle?
- What is the before and after of this offering?
Get yourself a notebook or open a new document on your computer or phone. Begin taking notes about what your very simple first offering will be. Brainstorm and then simplify and pare your offering down to your minimum viable service.
Then start testing this new idea with a few people.
Are you up for the challenge? I’d love to know what you design.
Sign up here and I’ll drop something helpful in your inbox each week. Never spam. Unsubscribe anytime.