Starting and running your private practice can be incredibly stressful. With the many to-dos in addition to direct care, developing your practice can feel overwhelming. But unmanaged stress and overwhelm can lead to burnout—emotional and physical exhaustion.
A survey from Capital One Business found a whopping 42% of all entrepreneurs report feeling burned out over the past year—a number that is expected to grow. And 53% of those surveyed report burnout as harming their business.
How can you counteract or prevent burnout from happening as you start and develop your practice?
One way is to establish a good support system. Even though it may feel easier to do things alone, having a support system has many benefits, including positive health and well-being, setting and exceeding goals, and overcoming challenges you may encounter.
Having a good support system is invaluable when developing your practice. Here are some other benefits to consider.
What Are Support Systems for My Practice?
A support system is a group of people and resources you use to build, sustain, and maintain your practice. Your support system can include various things—from coaches and other service providers to networking groups, content, colleagues, and professional development like The International Association for Functional Hormone Health (IAFHH) Functional Hormone Specialist Certification Program.
As long as someone or something has a positive impact and gives you the support you need to reach your goals, it can be a part of your support system. Positive support systems can enhance resilience to stress, increase motivation, reassure goals, provide insight, eliminate isolation, and offer sympathy.
One of the most challenging aspects of working toward a goal is feeling alone. Research shows that a sound support system helps you establish and maintain goals. Without a support system, you may do things the hard way or miss something you aren’t aware of that could help you reach your goals.
A support system provides immediate feedback, helps you achieve your goals faster (and easier), and validates your direction.
For example, if you’ve decided that working on your practice’s marketing is a priority, you might set a goal to create a marketing strategy. Your support system can help you fast-track this goal by collaborating on a marketing strategy, ways to achieve your goal and the necessary tools.
As you continue to build and develop your practice, the boundaries you’ve established may become bleaker. But, like setting goals, your practitioner support system can help create and maintain healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries support your health and well-being, prevent burnout, and ensure a successful practice.
Establishing boundaries often includes three steps.
- Prioritization: Prioritizing ensures the highest return on investment, empowering a sustainable and growth-oriented practice.
- Managing Expectations: Managing expectations helps to maximize potential—especially because people often think running a practice is synonymous with being available 24/7. Setting and maintaining expectations ensures your ability to focus on what matters most.
- Communication: Clear communication is everything and essential to establishing boundaries.
Your support system helps you be intentional about your priorities and manage expectations to create a practice that supports your clients and individual needs.
Collaboration can bring about the best work. Unfortunately, many practitioners are also solopreneurs. And a challenging element of starting a practice as a solopreneur is facing decision-making alone. Having a practitioner support system helps you collaborate and develop strategies for improvement.
Speaking with others who have faced similar challenges helps boost morale and enables you to problem-solve. But growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum—using a support system is about adding as much value as possible. This synergy is magnetic—motivating and empowering you to reach your goals while simultaneously preventing burnout.
Specifically, here are some ideas of how your support system can help you strategize for improvement.
- Observe: Your support system can share insight into what they’ve done previously, and you can apply lessons learned. This saves you time, money, and frustration.
- Help: You shouldn’t try to figure everything out yourself. Your support system can answer questions and offer advice—sometimes a listening ear is all you need.
- Mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes, especially as they develop their practice. You can turn to your support system for understanding—because let’s face it, no one is perfect—but with every mistake comes an opportunity for redirection. Your support system can help you navigate why the mistake happened and how to avoid it in the future.
Accountability and Social Support
A support system holds you accountable. Discipline and self-reliance are crucial as a practitioner, but these will only get you far. Having a support system means you don’t have to go through everything alone—there are people willing to provide emotional and practical support if needed. This sense of security can be incredibly empowering, as it helps build confidence which leads to increased motivation and productivity—simply knowing there are people around you who care about your success may be all that matters.
Your support system is also a place to share frustrations, achievements, and validate your concerns about starting and developing your practice. Whether you’re doubtful about a business objective or you’re concerned about a challenge with a client, your support system is the perfect place to turn—gaining real-time feedback and understanding from peers within the industry.
Additionally, research suggests those who have a supportive network tend to experience better mental health outcomes overall due to the feelings of security and connection with others.
How to Find Support in Your Private Practice
How you find your support system will depend on your practice, but ideally, you’ll want to seek a diverse group with similar interests or services. Here are some ideas to get started.
- Social media: A great way to find a practitioner support system is to turn to social media. Platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook make searching for colleagues with similar interests easy. You can also follow business-focused organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce to find those with similarities.
- Networking: Co-working spaces and other organizations often host networking events to meet other professionals or practitioners. And if you are still looking for one in your area but haven’t been able to find one, consider starting a networking event. What better way to engage with other practitioners than to invite them?
- Alums: Turn to your alumni network to find like-minded folks that share your interests. Professional development programs, like IAFHH’s certification program, often create communities so you can expand your network and collaborate with your peers.
Having a strong support system is invaluable in helping you reach your personal and professional goals while developing your practice. From setting goals and boundaries, learning about others’ experiences, gaining clarity on challenges, to finding comfort in social support—using a support system is a more seamless way to build your practice.
Are you in search of a practitioner support system? Join IAFHH’s Functional Hormone Specialist Certification Program set to launch on March 5, 2023. I’ve already enrolled and hope you’ll join me! Click here to register.
About the Author
Heather Cherry is a freelance health and wellness writer and content marketing coach. She helps businesses create strategic, creative, and conversational messages as well build effective content teams. She writes frequently for IAFHH and has also been published in Forbes, Sleepopolis, SELF, Insider, and author of Market Your A$$ Off.