In my last two blog posts, I talked about the importance of passion as a musician and as a music therapist. (Read those posts here). There is a little bit of difference being a professional music therapist and having passion for the profession of music therapy. As a working MT-BC you can choose to focus on your relationship with your clients, your musicianship and your job, but as I have learned over the years, one of the few constants in life is change. So maybe you are tired of working for someone else and you decide to start your own private practice as a music therapist.
Add all of the skills listed in the last two posts and then, add in all of the responsibilities and skills needed to run a business. You will need to learn how to write a business plan, how to market your business so that you can get work and you will need to account for all of the earnings that come in. You may need to develop policies and procedures to have employees or sub-contractors.
In this day and age it is difficult to have a business if you aren’t online. At the least you need to be able to send and receive emails. It also makes sense to have a website, which, if you don’t have the investment to hire a website designer or marketing experts, you will need to learn to do this yourself. And if you don’t want your website to be static, then you will need to be finding content and updating your site regularly. You can do this through blogging and/or posting pictures, videos and news stories about music therapy. This is time consuming but at least there is a lot of material to choose from on the internet.
If you are the only music therapist in your area, then you will need to be networking and educating other professionals in related disciplines so that they can refer clients to you. If you are one of many music therapists in your area, people in other professions may already know what music therapy is and the outcomes, so then the task becomes setting your practice apart from the others, and at the same time, adhering to the CBMT code of ethics so that you are not taking business away from the other MT’s in your area.
The main thing about being a music therapy business owner is to keep on going and not give up. Many business advisors say that it takes at least two years of hard work before you start seeing the results and your business starts to thrive. This is why passion for the profession is so important to be a successful music therapy business owner.
Visit the blog next week and read about my music therapy journey.