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Psychiatrist Entrepreneurship: Drinking from a fire hose...again

When I started my practice, I felt similar to how I felt when I started medical school or psychiatry residency - like I was drinking from a fire hose. The learning curve for starting a private practice is steep but just like medical school and residency - doable and learnable. I sought (and continue to seek) learning and guidance from many sources - from psychiatry and therapy online group communities, private practice facebook groups, business entrepreneurs/authors, podcasts, individual practice building consultation with psychiatrists, and online courses.

I currently utilize individual consultation, individual therapy, individual business coaching, and online group support as part of my private practice support and growth plan. I pay for these services because I see and find value in them. I also take a lot of walks in the woods that provides me with a springboard for business ideas.

Here's what I learned about getting help with starting a psychiatry practice or pivoting a psychiatry practice.

Learn how to build a practice from more than just one person or resource

Seek out multiple perspectives and in different fields (not just in psychiatry or even just in medicine) so you can patch together a strategy and take what works for you - and leave the rest.

Discernment is your friend

Your coach or mentor doesn't have all the answers and just because something worked for them, it doesn't mean that you have to do it too.

Psychological safety is paramount

You want to feel safe enough to share vulnerabilities with your group or individual mentor or coach. Entrepreneurship can feel extra vulnerable and it's very normal for any physician entrepreneur/practice owner to feel this way.

Cooperation over competition

Psychiatrists are very much in demand - even in a cash pay private practice. It's wise to build relationships with other private practice psychiatrists and be a mutual source of support for each other - rather than see them as competition. Find a coach or mentor that wants to genuinely see you thrive and succeed - and pass it forward and do the same for psychiatrists who are one step behind you. It's also a red flag if they take or threaten punitive action if you decide to stop working with them.

Find a mentor or coach who may have had a similar background or experiences - and has a current practice that appeals to you

If you are looking to open a private practice that is insurance-based, try seeking out a coach with that type of practice. If you are looking to transition from an employed position at a hospital to private practice, find someone who has been there before.

Learn from a modality that works for you

Some people prefer groups for learning while others enjoy one on one, or online courses. You can try out different styles and forms if you're not quite sure and stick with what resonates.

Lean into your own creativity and ideas

For me, building the ketamine assisted psychotherapy practice building course for psychiatrists has been a creative endeavor. There is no previous template for how to build it which has been a beautiful process that as a physician is new to me. We are so used to following a certain path in medicine and now having creative freedom as a solo private practice entrepreneur is such a gift. You might feel this way too once you start your practice or even as you pivot your practice. It has allowed me to turn on my blinders and not only dive deep into but also trust my own talents and mastery.

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