What does it take to get started in Psychology?
Anyone who studies a career has the great hope of one day being able to practice what they have invested so many years of study in. Psychology is a discipline that generates great interest among students; however, and at least in Clinical and Health Psychology, the opportunities to work for others are scarce .
That is why many professionals in the field of psychology decide to undertake and advance towards their professional growth, but the career does not prepare them to run a company, nor does it provide them with knowledge about marketing or the digital environment, which are so important nowadays.
What you need to know to get started in Psychology
In this article we will see several keys to entrepreneurship in Psychology, as well as tips to avoid making frequent mistakes when starting a business.
The problems of entering the labour market
The field of psychology is one of the most complicated when it comes to finding work both in Spain and in many Latin American countries. There are several reasons for this.
On the one hand, the fact that the types of work carried out by psychologists are very varied, the relative novelty of their professionalization, and the diffusion of their limits in the world of research and applied science are factors that have contributed to the fact that this profession or group of professions has not been well regulated by law.
To this must be added a generational problem related to the different ways of regulating training and the legal requirements for exercising the profession. Today, psychology graduates are one of the largest pockets of unemployment in the post-university world, something that also has to do with the fact that it is one of the most attractive training paths, with thousands of students enrolled in each course that begins.
Finally, in the Spanish context, the devastating context that the economic crisis has left in the area of job search also comes into play, and specifically among young people, accustomed already to companies asking for years of work experience from recent graduates, and without paying enough to support themselves.
Ideas on how to start your own business
Thus, faced with the perspective that what most companies ask of candidates is unrealistic or directly absurd, many people decide to undertake in the world of psychology, to be their own bosses .
This has its advantages, but it is also a challenge. Among other things, because to do so it is not enough to know about the subject in which we have been trained during our university years; we have to master skills related to marketing and management of resources that initially, in the vast majority of cases, will be very limited .
And, of course, it is also necessary to accumulate as quickly as possible experience linked to the actual work context. To date, the training given at universities remains fundamentally theoretical. Thus, the day-to-day interaction with real patients, for example, can lead to situations where indecision can block novice psychologists.
The need to go through specific training programs of the labour field in which we want to receive training is something complicated to satisfy, because that requires a significant investment. And this tends to favour the fact that the unemployment rate among psychologists remains high.
But just because undertaking in psychology is complicated doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are some key tips and ideas to help you progress in this challenge of creating your own job .
Form a clear idea of what you want
To start building your own business, it is essential to know what the backbone of the business should be, which will give it continuity over time. If not, you will most likely end up making investments that will be wasted and unrewarded. In a stage where resources are very limited, you have to avoid that at all costs.
Therefore, it is essential to have a clear business model , specifying what your mission is and how you will carry it out. From this, in addition, the brand image you want to transmit will be derived.
2. Be aware of the sacrifices to be made
In the current context, to become involved in psychology means to assume that many sacrifices have to be made in the short and medium term; that is, within months. First of all you have to have a minimum amount of money saved and spend time and effort to decide how to invest it in a space and a team.
3. Get experience
It’s not just a matter of having a good resume, that’s the least of it. Although it may not seem so, in the professional practice of psychology there are always many surprises, many unexpected events.
Remember that it is not just a matter of talking to people and then applying intervention programs to them that have been described in the faculty. You have to adapt to the circumstances , and each client or patient is a whole world of specific circumstances.
On the other hand, this will allow your definitive entry into the labour market to be much cleaner, free of serious imperfections. And this has to do with the following key idea.
4. Note that there is only one release
For the sake of your brand image, if you underestimate the impact you can leave in your first weeks and months of performing your professional work. What you do at this stage can leave a hard to erase mark on the brand image that you will convey.
For some things it’s relatively easy to change the way customers and competitors see you, but in other cases, it costs a lot. In short, if the brand is you, there can’t be a second brand launch, starting from scratch.
5. Define your target audience
There are different needs to be addressed in the world of psychotherapy or psychological intervention in general, but there is also another way to classify potential clients; think about their profile from the point of view of advertising. It is not the same to target retired elderly people as parents whose children have problems, for example.
The brand image we project, as well as the means we use to promote our services, must be adapted to the type of profiles we have defined .
6. Do it right and let it be known
This is one of the maxims of the world of Advertising and Public Relations, and as far as the task of undertaking is concerned, it is vital to take it into account.
The fact is that among the initial efforts that must be made when taking the first steps from the business set up by oneself, not everything is paying for expenses that respond to services and products that are easy to determine. There is also a more subjective factor. You have to develop your own brand, it is very possible that during the first weeks not a single client appears. It is necessary to work on making yourself known , because however good we are, that will be of little use if nobody has heard about us and what we do.
7. Learn how to reject jobs
No matter how much economic need may be pressing, it is essential to be clear that there will always be offers in the labour market that are a dead end. If the goal is set for the long term , it is worth not deviating from it at the first opportunity when there is relatively easy money in sight but which has nothing to do with the business plan and which will entail a significant opportunity cost (the possibility of not being able to attend to other more interesting clients because they are dedicating their efforts to something else).
8. Take advantage of the importance of the Internet
Increasingly, everyone is on the Internet, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, it is no longer as easy as before to reach a massive amount of people, but it is not impossible. With a pinch of originality, there is still the possibility of creating viral content that is shared from user accounts.