Congratulations! You’re thinking about opening up your own private practice! Here are a few things I wish I would’ve known sooner and avoided. Opening a private practice is running a business so be sure to do your homework before launching. Here is the shortened list for very long one.

Don’t name your business after you. In short, this disallows for growth, changing of your personal name, and creates confusion if ever you choose to hire someone else on but they still want to see you. When I decided to go from my solo practice to a group practice, I quickly figured out how confusing it was that not every potential client was going to see “Sarah” since my name was the company!

Establish yourself with the IRS. Be sure to establish yourself as a business. It’s easier than it sounds and should only take a few minutes. Be sure to have everything completely separate between business and personal.

Hire someone to help with your website. Unless you’re completely website savvy, don’t make the mistake of creating a mediocre website. I understand hiring a person can be very costly, but the first thing people will do to find you, especially if you are new to the industry, is search for you online. People literally leave websites based off of how they look or how quickly the website loads. It’s called a bounce rate. So start saving now to make sure someone can help you create an eye-catching, useful, user-friendly brand and website.

Get an online software system for client records. One thing I kick myself for not getting sooner is an online electronic software system for client files. This was an expense I didn’t think I needed. I was wrong. I very much needed this as it is the key source of so much on the administrative level. There are a handful out there, most of which are right. So do your homework and make sure this is one of the first things you do.

Establish yourself with Google business. This will help online internet users find you. Just because you have a company, pretty website, and office doesn’t mean people can find you. Most will resort to online searches so be sure they can find you online.

Stay tuned for a much lengthier list, but hopefully this can give you a foundation. Congrats on launching your own business!