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  • Writer's pictureAvivit Fisher

Exploring Active and Passive Income Opportunities for Therapists: Ways to Make Extra Money

The implanted idea by educational institutions that money is not the most important thing for mental health providers is a big impediment to the success of your business. Especially since nearly 50% of graduating providers will end up working in a private practice that the majority will own.

It's true, that helping people is a calling. A calling that not everyone is ready to answer, but you are. And it might feel ethically wrong to mix your profession with money. People come to you at their most vulnerable state so shouldn't your calling be the most important element of building a successful private practice? In short, no.

Building a sustainable practice is more important than anything else.

In this article, I will explore how you can make extra money as a therapist without compromising your integrity and accessibility for your clients.

how to make extra money as a therapist

Before you jump into brainstorming on how to make extra money as a therapist, read this:

Creating a practice where you can thrive as a professional and a business owner will help you keep answering your calling.

Otherwise, you will burn out or worse, become disillusioned with your field altogether.

When you're looking at your practice from a business perspective, you need to look at your numbers, specifically:

  • How many clients do you need to see a week?

  • How much should you charge?

  • What are your expenses?

  • How much will you allocate towards your salary?

How does knowing your numbers help you?

For starters, your services depend on your working hours. You trade time for money and you have a limited supply of time.

So even if you filled all your waking hours with clients at the highest rate possible, you would still be limited in the income you can produce at the end of the month. You will also be completely exhausted and miserable (But this blog post is not about that).

That means that you need to look for supplemental income. The good news is that there's no lack of ideas out there about supplemental income for therapists. The bad news is that you'll need to choose which direction to take.

But before we dive into the ideas themselves, I want you to prepare and understand what you can or cannot do.

I want you to consider this process.

Identify your resources

Throughout my career, I've had at least a dozen of good business ideas. Ideas that other people ended up bringing to life, but not me. It wasn't because I was lazy or lacked focus. It was mostly because I didn't have the appropriate resources at the time that I had those ideas.

Armed with this reality and facts, you'll start seeing the opportunities and the potential for your private practice before you actually start listing ideas.

It always amazes me when I read lists of suggestions for supplemental income. It's like a big brainstorming session out of context.

For example, the idea of writing a book might be a good one, but is it practical for you right now? Do you have the time and the energy to dedicate to book writing? And do you have the means to promote your book, even if it's just a short e-book?

It's not a shortage of good ideas for additional streams of revenue that stop people from taking action, but the lack of strategy and preparation. Unfortunately, not enough is being said about the process of picking the right direction.

That's why I came up with an approach that first focuses on the assessment and leverage of your current resources and assets:

  • Your time and availability. How much time do you have to dedicate to developing another stream of income?

  • The money you can invest in this idea. Some income sources will require a monetary investment. Make sure you know the numbers so you can decide if it's worth pursuing.

  • Your energy level and creativity. Any new venture requires a certain level of energy and excitement. If you're feeling low and exhausted, you'll probably need more help than you initially thought.

  • Your assets, such as your office space. Some people find multiple uses for their offices. Others figure out how to utilize the technology that they have at their disposal. You might realize that all you need is a phone to shoot videos for an online course.

  • Personnel and general help. The help of other people can optimize your time and help you find the time to dedicate to this new idea.

  • Technology. How knowledgeable are you about technical tools and the online world?

  • Your skills and expertise.

  • Your professional network. Our networks are the best business resources we have. And I'm not only talking about other therapists but also different healthcare providers and professionals in different fields. Creating strategic relationships can open possibilities for an additional income stream as well.

This is where I'd start first to understand the real situation of your business. Armed with this reality and facts, you'll start seeing the opportunities and the potential for your private practice before you actually start listing ideas.

Separate your ideas into Passive and Active income streams

At this point, you can clearly see the advantages and the limitations of your resources. This is the time to start listing the possible ideas.

I recommend making two lists. The first is for active income ideas, which means that you will have to actively work to produce a stream of revenue.

The second is for passive income ideas for the revenue streams that require an initial setup and preparation, but don't require your hands-on involvement after.

Ideas for Active Streams of Revenue

  • Clinical supervision - According to Zip Recruiter, a clinical supervisor's median salary in my home state of NJ is $79,652 a year. With a Master's degree, becoming a clinical supervisor will require you to earn 20 CE credits. You can earn the CE credits through your association or through taking courses such as Lisa Mustard is offering on her platform.

  • Teaching - Becoming an adjunct professor is another way you could generate additional income. Additionally, it adds to your credentials and authority in the market.

  • Becoming a group therapist - Group therapy allows you to optimize your time and in turn increase your income. Here's a list of FAQs on becoming a group therapist.

  • In-person course or training - Many therapists realize that they can create separate training on specific tools and methodologies they use with their therapy clients. Having workshop-style training can offer another stream of income if identifying the right people and organizations that could benefit from them.

  • Speaking engagements - Keynote speakers can make a nice living by developing and establishing a professional reputation. If you enjoy public speaking, you can add speaking to your income portfolio.

  • Coaching - Therapists have a unique ability to connect with people who seek help. Often, people who are looking for direction and problem-solving will turn to coaches to help them. Hiring a coach with a background in psychotherapy could be seen as a major advantage to someone seeking the help of a coach. If you've been thinking of expanding your services into coaching, you can develop a client vase that doesn't require supervision and HIPAA compliance on your part.

  • A newsletter - Sending out an email newsletter is a great way to connect with prospects, but it can also be a source of income for you. A paid newsletter in which you share in-depth knowledge based on your expertise can provide recurring monthly revenue. And if you want to keep your newsletter free for your readers, you can always sell ads to generate extra cash.

  • A podcast - While a podcast is a great marketing channel to attract clients to your practice, it can also be an income source. Just like with a newsletter, you can sell ads for your podcast that will help pay for your time on air.

Ideas for Passive Streams of Revenue

The common misconception is that passive income streams will require very little effort on your part. That's simply not true. Yes, you will be able to earn money passively when you have a set up for your income stream, but setting that up will require a lot of upfront effort, time, and often money.

Despite that, investing in passive income streams is a great way to scale your revenue without consistently trading time for money. Here are some ideas for building your passive income as a therapist:

  • Subletting your office space - If you're paying monthly rent but not using your office every day, this is a no-brainer option for you. Subletting your office, even for a few hours a week, can offer financial relief and boost your income.

  • Creating an online course - It's an undertaking, I won't lie. That said, creating a course that solves a problem you see your clients struggle with over and over again, can give access to help for people who can't afford therapy or who don't want to see a therapist in person. By setting your course up for success, you can effectively create a regenerating revenue stream for your practice.

  • Collaborating with professionals in complementary businesses - Collaborating with professionals in complementary fields can be a win-win situation for therapists. For example, if you're specializing in eating disorders, creating a package with a nutritionist that includes a certain number of therapy sessions or access to your course can pad your caseload and income.

  • YouTube ad revenue - If you love the video format of marketing, creating your own YouTube channel aimed to attract a particular audience will help you grow your subscriber base. With a base of 1,000 or more subscribers, you will be able to start monetizing your channel with ads. If that's your plan, here's the YouTube monetization guideline to help you out.

  • Writing and selling a book - Writing and publishing a book or e-book is a powerful way to establish credibility and add to your income. By sharing your knowledge and expertise in a book, you can reach a wider audience and potentially earn royalties from book sales. You can sell your book directly to your subscribers as an e-book or you can self-publish and retain a large percentage of the profits. If you want to publish on Amazon, here's a link to the platform.

  • Monthly subscription to training and tools - Similar to having a paid newsletter, having a membership/subscription-based business model for sharing your knowledge. By creating a community of people who are interested in what you have to say, you can create a recurring revenue stream just like Dr. Becky Kenndy with her community Good Inside.

Conclusion and final thoughts

As I said at the beginning of this article, generating ideas for additional income streams is not your main challenge. The challenge is in not understanding which idea makes sense for you given your time and other resources.

The guidelines I outlined in this article will help you determine the direction and focus for building the supplemental income for your therapy practice that is based on reality and common sense.


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