It’s after 10 pm, and I’m just now getting around to writing today’s blog post. So much for having more spare time now that I’m completely self-employed. Looking back just a few weeks, I was naive to think that owning a full-time private practice was going to allow for a more flexible schedule.
It’s one thing to run a part-time business, but doing so full-time is a completely different ballgame. And as thrilled as I am with my decision to leave my former job, I find myself thinking nostalgically about a time when I actually had a few extra minutes to catch up on my Google Reader, write blog posts in advance, reply to non-work-related email, etc.
Giving lessons and providing music therapy to an average of 13 students per day is the easy part of my business. It’s the administrative and prep work — choosing repertoire, responding to billing inquiries, managing schedules, sending out nightly lesson and session notes, studio upkeep — that leaves me completely exhausted at the end of the day.
But then I remember that I’m 100% in control of my days and my private practice; there is no handbook. I’m writing it as I go, and I’m appreciative of all the lessons I’m learning along the way. I’m also appreciative of my incredibly comfortable bed, which is where I’m headed right now.
I hear you! I too am going to be 100% self-employed, starting in a couple of weeks. My days are full with kiddos…but that’s the EASY part! I’m just starting to look into more online tools to make things easier (ie. appointment scheduling and online payments). I’m curious, are you using month-to-month billing or semester billing? I’m currently using month-to-month, but would like to incorporate more online billing which would be simplified by a semester approach.
Good luck in your learning, I think about you as I am in my learning curve too…It’s always cool to feel like someone else “gets” what I do and has a similar structure as me.
Your kindred spirit,
Hi Roxy! You’re right – it does feel reassuring to know that others are in the same boat :) I prefer that families pay per lesson/session, but with Music Teacher’s Helper it’s easy to keep track of what everyone owes, so they can pay monthly or weekly and either online or in person. I highly recommend checking it out! Good luck to you, too…I’ll be sending positive self-employment vibes your way.
Quite awhile ago I had looked into Music Teacher’s Helper, however it doesn’t quite meet all my needs as I also need a tool to book clown gigs. Thanks for the plug tho. I’m curious about the MT Roundtable crews new project, can’t wait for it to be unveiled! I always love what you folks are up to!
My biggest misconception about going into private practice was simply getting work done in my home… and I just have my office there! Not clients!
In the beginning I thought I was going to do computer work and make phone calls in my pjs for half the day, then go out to see clients the other half and the whole thing was going to be great. Well, I was so comfortable in my clothing and environment that I was not productive at all… and ended up spending way too much time on things that shouldn’t have taken so long.
Oh well, guess it’s all just another ‘live and learn’ experience under my belt!
Hang in there Rachel!
I totally know what you mean, Michelle. But one thing that has really helped has been to make a to-do list every night with the essential tasks for the next morning. I keep it on my computer desktop, and it helps keep me focused. Thanks for the support ;)
Growing pains, for sure. We’ve all been through them. I’m about ten years ahead of you in my private practice and I am still learning and tweaking as I go. One thing that was a tremendous stress saver was actually scheduling office/planning time. I’ve heard it said that 20-30 hours direct contact is considered full-time. In my experience, significantly more planning and documentation time is needed for therapy clients than for lessons. At this stage in my practice, I still travel to see everyone. I bill round trip mileage and I do 60 minute sessions, although I do adjust to shorter sessions for a few clients. For each 60 minute session, I actually bill an additional 15 minutes for prep/planning and 15 minutes for documentation. That way, when I have my scheduled office time, I am actually getting paid, not just trying to squeeze it in so that I don’t cut into my income too much. I can’t imagine doing billing daily, although I’m sure it’s much easier with the on-line resources. I prefer monthly billing but I’m always eager to hear how everyone else does it. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!
I relate with your experience Rachel! It really helps to set some boundaries around the time that you are working and not working, pre-scheduling what you can, and accepting that you won’t always get to everything you want to all of the time. That last part is the hardest part for me…sometimes I have to let go of finishing a project until the next day in lieu of taking some time to care for myself. Putting my family/chill/google reader/watching Dexter time on my schedule as a priority is really important thing that I do for myself, and over time I am slowly learning to not infringe on that time because it makes me a better wife/parent/therapist overall:-)