Setting up a therapy practice doesn’t happen overnight. Contracting with insurance companies, networking, and building a caseload all take time. Meanwhile, there are still bills to pay and overhead costs to cover. How do you make sure your therapy practice doesn’t go belly up before you’ve landed your first client?
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to earn additional income while you grow your practice. Many of these side gigs also double as marketing strategies, so you can make money while promoting your practice– a win-win!
Design, create, and/or lead mental health workshops
Corporations, schools, and other organizations periodically hire experts (like you!) to provide training on everything from stress management to destigmatizing mental illness. Create a portfolio of workshops you can provide, and start pitching to local businesses! Wondering what to charge for a workshop? Click here for a detailed guide.
Public speaking is another way to effectively market yourself while earning some additional income. Shorter and less interactive than workshops, a speaker’s objective is typically to provide information on a specified topic– for example, warning signs of depression in teenagers. Speaking engagements can help establish you as a trusted authority in your treatment niche, so you can tailor your speeches to the populations you hope to serve. How much do public speakers make? The Speaker Lab offers a free fee calculator here.
Create and/or teach online courses
If you like the idea of sharing your knowledge with others but shy away from the podium, online courses might be your wheelhouse. With online courses, you have the option of pre-recording lectures or skipping the video component altogether and offering all-text modules. Once you’ve created the course, you can post it to your website for download/purchase. How much you make depends on how many people download the course, but aside from periodic updates and customer support, the course shouldn’t need much maintenance. There is a helpful guide to online course revenue potential here.
Start a blog
Like to write? Many therapists and mental health agencies use blogs as a way of increasing website traffic. You can write about whatever interests you, or you can do some quick keyword research to find out what mental health questions and topics people search most frequently. Of course, in order for a blog to be a significant source of income, you have to build a following. (For tips on how to monetize a blog, click here.) Nonetheless, a blog can be a great way to promote your brand and establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
Other freelance writing
No need for wordsmiths to limit themselves to blogs; there are plenty of opportunities for writing in the mental health and wellness niche. Sites like Upwork post thousands of freelance writing jobs, searchable by keyword, pay range, and experience level. Upwork takes a percentage of your earnings in exchange for this service, but it’s a good way to build a portfolio of published writing that you can then use to pitch to other freelance clients. According to Indeed.com, the average hourly rate for a freelance writer is $24.40.
Create a YouTube or Instagram account
Social media is another potential source of income, as long as you can dedicate the time and effort required to grow a following. Try creating short videos about mental health topics with relevant hashtags. Reach out to others in the field who are doing the same to network and grow your following. If you become a “microinfluencer” (6,000-10,000 followers), you can up to $100 for each sponsored post. The average YouTuber makes 18 cents per view. For tips on how to maximize your YouTube income, click here.
Offer web design or social media services to other therapists
Already have a website, blog, and social media? Your fellow therapists need your tech-savvy! Consider offering web design, content writing, or graphic design services to colleagues who are looking to upgrade their online presence. You will be providing a much-needed service, networking with peers, and earning some additional income all at once! Web designers typically charge between $28 and $80/hour.
Establishing a therapy practice takes time. If you are just starting out and worried about how you are going to cover costs while waiting for your caseload to fill, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to make money in the meantime. And try to be patient! As the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
The community for mental health professionals. A free, secure space for mental health professionals to collaborate with and meet new colleagues, support each other through referrals and stay connected to a trusted network of peers.
Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.