Relying solely on direct clinical hours may leave private practitioners financially vulnerable to income instability. Since client hours in private practice can vary greatly depending on the time of year, state of the economy, number of new referrals, and several other factors, developing multiple income streams can help you to create a more stable income. "By having the other income streams in place, I have been able to be less susceptible to the ebbs and flows that occur in private practice during difficult economic times," says The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT. In addition to providing income stability, diversifying your professional activities with multiple income streams allows therapists to explore a variety of interests, to express creativity, and to get paid for their passions.
In addition to clinical hours, I own and serve as clinical director of a private therapy clinic where I oversee and supervise 10 therapists, write for PsychCentral and other publications, work as a relationship and emotional health media contributor, do public speaking, provide consultation to therapists building a private practice, and I'm currently writing my first book. Curious about what other private practitioners are doing to add to income stability I reached out to several successful colleagues to see what additional income streams they've developed. Here's a sampling of what other therapists are doing to diversify their professional life and achieve greater income stability.
Write and publish a book
Many therapists have taken their clinical expertise and turned it into a book. For example, Frank J. Sileo, PhD has written three children's books, including Bug Bites and Campfires: A Story for Kids about Homesickness (Health Press, 2009). Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Duffy took his passion for parenting and authored a book The Available Parent: Radical Optimism For Raising Teens and Tweens (Viva Editions, 2011). What areas of expertise could you write about?
Write for print publications
Supplementing clinical work, Terrie Browning, LPC, CFC, DCC writes for a column "My Healthy Mind" for a local magazine My Metro You. Not only does it provide additional revenue but she says it's also personally fulfilling. Of writing for publications she says, "Writing allows me to share knowledge on topics that are a concern for many people and offers a way for me to network myself." Therapist Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. has successfully written for professional publications including Social Work Focus, Social Work Today, Addiction Treatment Forum, and The Newsletter for the Society for Family Therapy and Research, adding an additional income stream.
Create a therapeutic product
Have you considered creating and selling a product based on your clinical expertise? Stephanie Ann Adams, M.A., LPC of Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, created a hybrid counseling/video series for premarital counseling through Twogether in Texas. To help families deal with the stress of relocation Jill Kristal, President of Transitional Learning Curves, developed a game and book series called 'Our Move'.
Develop a professional online network
The internet allows for many options for therapists to create passive income through membership sites. In addition to writing a local magazine column and providing clinical work, Browning, with the help of her adult children, developed a professional wellness center online called Experts Now. This online center offers wellness experts an avenue to offer services and sell products for a commission creating additional income for Browning.
Contract as a consultant
Consider asking yourself, "Which companies or organizations may want to tap into your areas of expertise?" Therapist Dr. Mario Kirk, LPC, Director, A Blessed Child, LLC, performs psychological testing for local attorneys and schools. Women's reproductive health specialist Pec Indman EdD, MFT consults and trains for county health programs and for the US Federal government.
Are you developing multiple streams of income to supplement your direct care hours? Please share your ideas in a comment below.