Before considering opening a private counseling practice, or if you already own one, it's crucial to establish some goals for your business. First and foremost, create a business plan to discover the realistic costs of operating your business and the potential income. This can give you a good starting point before spending a bunch of money and time. For help with creating a business plan, I recommend starting here: US Small Business Administration. They have templates and tons of information on creating a plan. You can also go online and find several sites that offer business plan help for a fee.
While creating the plan, be thinking about the money you want to make to feel happy and successful in your business. Don't sell me the line, "It's not about the money. I do this because it's important." Please, stop it. If that's the case, stop working on your business plan immediately and go back to work at the agency, school, or wherever it is that pays you a salary. If you don't want to grow a business and make money, you won't have a business for very long. Again, you work to make money so that you can spend that money enjoying your life. I feel bad for people that have attached their entire identity into their work. For example, if I asked you to tell me about yourself, what would you say. If the first words out of your mouth (or in your mind) are to tell me about your job, you are probably way too personally attached to your work. Don't get me wrong, I think we get into the counseling field because we want to help others and that makes us feel good, but if you want to run a business, it requires "business intelligence" as well. If you are not doing it for the money, then why go through all the effort to create your own business?
So, let's go back to the question, how much money do you want to make? Write down two numbers: a monthly average income and a yearly total. Once you have a number, you have a starting point.
For help with embracing the business mindset, there are a ton of great books to read. One of my personal favorite authors is Randy Gage. His book "Why You're Dumb, Sick, and Broke... And How to Get Smart, Healthy, & Rich" was a game changer for me. His viewpoint isn't for everyone, but I challenge you to begin reading books about business and self-development if you want to run your own business. Begin to think for yourself, and find your own path to financial success, personal and relational wellbeing, and financial abundance.
Let 2015 be the year you embrace change and create a new and profitable venture!