At the time of writing this, it has been 2 months since I have begun the process of relocating my therapy practice from San Jose to San Diego, California.
And there have been some aspects of moving my practice that have surprised me. Some have been pleasantly surprising, and some have been challenging!
I wanted to name some of the items that have been positive and challenging since moving my practice so far.
The First Weeks
The first three or four weeks after moving I just coasted in my practice. I kept seeing my existing clients who wanted to meet with me via telehealth. But I didn’t do anything actively to start in a new city.
Then, after those first few weeks, it’s like a switch flipped, and I started the process of rebranding and remarketing my practice.
At the time of writing this, I have been slowly working on marketing my practice for 5 weeks or so. And there have been a few things that have surprised me about it.
Let’s start with the more challenging surprises:
Challenges in Relocating My Therapy Practice
1) I’m Insecure
- I found that I’m just as insecure as I ever was when it comes to starting a Private Practice.
- Yep. Me. This is now my fourth time starting and marketing a practice, I run a successful business teaching fellow therapists how to do the same, and I STILL struggled with imposter syndrome. I thought: “I know these strategies work, but what if they don’t work this time??”
- Ugh ugh ugh. I’ve talked before about how self doubt is the biggest roadblock for most therapists starting a private practice. But here I was face to face with it again. I even had a few sleepless nights over this. Bleh.
- I’ve been reaching out to different networks to look for fellow therapists I jive with, but the reality is that most therapists I meet don’t relate with the way I run my practice. In particular, it’s been less common to find folks who understand my values for working part time and having a cash pay practice.
- And the folks I have found who share those values have also expressed feeling like they don’t fit in with the local therapist community. And to be honest, some therapists have been downright mean. They claim that it’s not possible to have a cash pay practice, and question my character.
- I’ve always known that culture is out there. But, I haven’t been actively networking with therapists for several years and I have a kind of echo chamber of Private Practice Skills. I almost started to forget how countercultural my approach to my practice is. And that can feel a bit isolating as well as feed into the insecurities I mentioned earlier.
3) Local SEO Is Hard!
- Building SEO takes more effort without a physical address.
- I always figured having a physical office location that could be listed publicly might help with SEO a little, but I’m realizing that the office address helps with SEO a lot – specifically local SEO.
- I have been looking for creative solutions to this. For example, I have tried connecting with local therapists who are willing to cross-link to each other’s websites. This is a way to signal to Google that you are local to an area even if you don’t have a physical office. But it does take more time and effort to build local SEO this way.
Now onto some of the more pleasant surprises:
Happy Surprises From Relocating My Therapy Practice
1) Reinvigorated Interest
- I’d say between the pandemic and having two kids in two years, I’ve really been coasting in my practice for the past three or four years. I’ve just prioritized other things for a while.
- Moving to a new location has really helped me come back to my values surrounding my practice. I’ve been able to tweak a few aspects of how I’m directing my energies.
- In particular, it’s renewed my interest in blogging for my practice, which is something I hadn’t done since 2018. I’m pretty sure I dropped that one as soon as I got pregnant with my first.
2) Enjoying Marketing
- I preach this all the time, especially within my course about marketing. But, I was still surprised to remember how much I enjoy marketing my practice.
- Marketing can be fun if we have a practice that represents our passions and our values and we leverage marketing strategies that align with our unique skill set and giftings.
3) It’s Working!
- The first three weeks of marketing my practice were filled with crickets.
- Google hadn’t indexed my site so it wasn’t showing up in search results at all, I hadn’t done much networking and I’d only written a couple of blogs. I thought that at the rate I was marketing, that it would take at least two or three months to start getting contacted by my ideal clients.
- But by week four, I’d already scheduled three intakes with folks who are a really good fit for my practice. So, it’s working! And faster than I’d thought!
It has been 8 weeks since I moved, and I’ve spent about 5 weeks restarting my practice. At this point I’m seeing the gradual uptick in my marketing strategies working, and overall, I’ve made it past those initial challenges.
Want To Hear More About Relocating?
If this article leaves you wanting to hear more of the process I went through to market my new practice after moving, I have a video that expands on that.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well.
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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels