Earning More Money
Most therapists charge their clients on an hourly or sessional basis. They sit with their clients for an hour or 50 minutes, and the client pays a fee based on the time. This is a fairly typical arrangement in professions generally, although, it is slowly changing.
One of the drawbacks of this approach from a financial point of view, is that there is an inherent limitation to what you can earn, as there are only so many hours in each week. Further, as a therapist, given the nature of the work we do and the impact it can have on us, there are only so many hours that can be spent sitting with clients. If we work too hard, this limit manifests itself through:
- Physical stress: tiredness, minor ailments, aches and pains, or more serious illness
- Emotional stress: Compassion fatigue, crankiness or increased sensitivity.
- Psychological stress: Overwhelm, carrying clients’ burdens or challenges.
- Functional stress: Inability to perform routine administrative tasks such as book-keeping or housework.
If you are in the fortunate position that you do not have to work for a living, for example, if a partner supports you financially, if you have a pension or other source of income, then a limit to what you can earn as a therapist may not be an issue for you (and you need read no further!) However, if you rely on the income from your practice to make ends meet, to pay a mortgage or raise a family, then this may be a real challenge for you.
I have written in other articles (here for example) about increasing your income from your practice directly, for example, by increasing the rates you charge, or the hours you work. There are also other choices.
One possible answer is to identify an alternative source of income, alongside the fees from seeing clients in your private practice. This alternative income may also require a time input but in a way that is less demanding on you. Such a source might come from:
- Work in an organisation related to therapy work, such as tutoring or administrative work in a therapy centre or training college.
- A part-time job working as a therapist where you are paid a salary, such as performing telephone assessments for an EAP company.
- Private courses or workshops in topics closely related to therapy, such as mindfulness.
Another option is to look at creating an income in a different way, that will involve an initial input of your time, but afterwards, will generate a passive income with little or no effort from you. This might be writing a book or developing an online course in a topic related to your work, and selling the product.
Yet another means of generating income is to invest money so that it generates more money for you, again, in a way that doesn’t involve a significant time input from you. Examples of this type of income include investing in property or financial assets, including a pension fund.
You may not be able to work forever, and more to the point, you may not want to, so finding some way of supplementing your income from clients.
Selling an existing asset, such as property or shares is also a possibility, but only one that will work in certain situations. If you invest the proceeds in another asset that generates income, you will be preserving the capital for another day. Selling an asset to spend on day to day spending is a short term solution to a longer term problem, for, as they say in the ad, when it’s gone, it’s gone.