A mental health consultancy is a company whose employees offer mental health advice and support services to those in need. There are a number of different niches that mental health consultants might operate in, from corporate consultancy to family and children’s mental health. If you have the relevant qualifications and experience, you may want to go into business as a mental health consultant.

This article will provide a guide on how to start a mental health consulting business. We’ll look at a huge range of topics, from registering as a business to managing your finances. Other subjects we’ll cover include: 

  • General tips for starting a consultancy
  • Necessary qualifications for becoming a mental health consultant
  • Picking a consulting niche
  • How to find clients
  • How to confidently manage your finances from the start

General tips for starting a consultancy 

Before getting too involved in the mental health aspects of your business, you’ll need to make sure you can operate as a consultancy. This means you’ll need to follow the process most businesses need to complete when setting up.

Planning 

Like anyone looking to create a startup, you’ll need to write a business plan. This will help you guide your company in the right direction going forward. You might need to change or adapt your original plan as time goes on, but it’s vital to have one when you first start out, as it will provide a guideline for when you need to make important decisions.

You’ll also need to do a great deal of financial planning, so try to look into how much it costs for you to start a consulting business. You’ll need to pay for a lot of the things any business needs, like marketing or computers. You may also need to make purchases particular to the needs of a mental health consulting business, like training or business licenses. 

Registration

In many ways, starting a mental health consultancy is like starting any other kind of business. You’ll need to complete a few tasks to ensure that your business can operate legally within the UK.

You’ll need to register as a sole trader or limited company. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so do some research and see which is better for you. 

Being a sole trader means you’ll have a simpler time paying taxes and doing accounting, but creating a limited company can make you appear more credible to clients. This is because large, successful businesses are generally limited companies.

As a mental health consultant, you’ll also want to acquire the right kind of business license (which we’ll discuss below). Finally, you may need to pass enhanced background checks to ensure you don’t have a criminal record or other issues that might disqualify you from giving mental health advice.

Necessary qualifications for becoming mental health consultant

Becoming a mental health consultant is similar to becoming a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. This means that if you’re trying to provide your services legally and to an appropriate standard, there are a few steps you need to take.

First, you’ll want to pursue a degree in a social subject like psychology or social work. Alternatively, you can study for a more medically-focused degree like nursing or medicine. The course will need to be recognised by one of the following organisations:

On top of that, you’ll need to complete 450 hours of practical work before you can register with the UKCP, which is necessary to practice as a licensed psychotherapy professional. This type of business license is very common in fields with a medical slant like mental health consultancy.

As well as licenses, you may want to consider certifications specific to your field of expertise. Examples include a certification from the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council if you specialise in non-traditional techniques or registering with COSCA if you operate in Scotland.

These qualifications are necessary for providing mental health consulting services as a medical profession. It may be that you approach this career path from more of a social work background or corporate angle. In that case, you may not need such a comprehensive education, but this also means you’ll not be able to provide your services to the same high standard.

Picking a consulting niche

‘Mental health consultant’ is actually a fairly vague term. More consultants in this field will specialise in one particular mental health issue or a specific type of client. 

For example, you could be a mental health consultant for large businesses and help their employees deal with problems like stress. Or you might be a mental health consultant that helps treat depression, only taking on clients with this particular problem and eventually becoming an expert in the field.

In business, you’ll call this specialisation your consulting niche. The best consulting niche ideas are specific enough that you’ll not have to deal with a huge amount of competition but broad enough to attract lots of clients. 

Remember that you may need additional qualifications in order to operate in some consulting niches. For instance, to become a consultant that specialises in children’s mental health, you’ll need to complete further training. Specifically, A child psychotherapist must complete an additional four years of training with the Association of Child Psychotherapists.

How to find clients

There are a variety of different methods you can use to promote your consulting business. Digital marketing strategies like creating a website and using social media are much more modern, but you may find face-to-face networking to be equally effective. Try a variety of approaches to find clients to get the best results.

Create a website 

One of the best was to make your company visible to potential clients to create a business website. Building a website does require some technical skills, so you might consider hiring a professional to help make the perfect website. There are also a lot of easy-to-use website builders out there that you can try if hiring a professional is too expensive.

As well as being the centrepiece of your business’s online presence, a website also provides a hub where you can store all of your contact information. This includes things like social media links, phone numbers, and email addresses. You should include this so that customers can easily get in touch with you after finding your website.

Finally, a website is the best place to show all of your business information, such as the services you offer, your prices, and the positive reviews of your previous clients. 

SEO

As handy as a website is, it’s not much good if no one can find it. This is where SEO comes in. SEO stands for search engine optimisation: it refers to the process of improving your website so that it ranks higher on search engine results pages. 

Common SEO tips include:

  • Make your website easy to navigate.
  • Making it load quickly.
  • Use relevant keywords in your content.

Because of the complexity of search engine technology, thousands of things can affect your SEO, so make sure you look into a few SEO tips while building your website.

Social media 

Social media is an excellent way to promote your mental health consulting business because it’s free and reasonably easy to use. Although making quality social media content – photos, blog posts, videos – can be a little tougher, simply having a social media presence means a great variety of potential clients can find you.

When it comes to promoting yourself on social media, remember to be consistent. It’s not much use putting together one great video that explains what your business is all about, then not sharing anything for months. Instead, post content to your social media pages frequently, but make sure it’s all relevant to the people you want to work with.

Social media is a particularly powerful marketing tool for mental health consultants that focus on individuals and families rather than offering their services to professionals and corporations. Social media advertising can promote your business to a huge audience with minimal effort due to the frequency with which individuals use social media. 

Attend networking events

Attending networking events is an excellent way to expand your network. It provides the opportunity to meet new contacts and introduce your business to them. While only a few of these contacts will turn into clients, it’s still a good idea to meet as many people as possible. 

Meeting people is a good idea because most of the people you meet at consultancy networking events are industry professionals. This means they might create new opportunities for your business, or introduce you to potential clients later on. 

If you’re a corporate mental health consultant, you’ll be welcome at many different conferences where large corporations gather. Your services will be handy to any company that cares about its employees’ mental health, so keep an eye out for any large networking events in your area. Even if they don’t exactly align with your industry or target market, you may still benefit from attending.

Confidently manage your finances 

Creating your own mental health consulting business means that you’ll have to spend as much time running your business as you spend helping clients. One of the most time-consuming parts of running a business is accounting, but you can simplify this job by signing up to the Countingup app.

Countingup is a two-in-one product: it’s a business account with built-in accounting software. This means that you can use it for all your business transactions without worrying about the related financial management. 

This section will look at accounting jobs that you’ll have to do as a mental health consultant and how Countingup can make them easier to do.

Invoicing 

A huge part of operating a consulting business is invoicing, as it’s how you’ll receive payments from your clients. Many therapists and mental health consultants charge clients by the hour, so you’ll need to send invoices that show both the service you provided and the amount of time spent providing that service.

A good invoice template can save you a lot of time, but sending them and creating each one can still be a hassle. Countingup helps you to create and send invoices with the touch of a few buttons. You can customise your payment dates and even add your company logo when you create invoices on Countingup’s app. 

Tracking expenses 

If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to claim a lot of purchases as business expenses. This means that if you record your business-related purchases and mark them on your self-assessment tax return, HMRC will reduce your tax bill by the amount you spent on expenses.

The easiest way to track your expenses is to use accounting software. One of the best examples of this kind of software is the Countingup app. Countingup is especially useful for this task as it can automatically categorise your expenses, putting them into HRMC-approved categories as soon as you complete the transactions.

Accountants

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. You may want to consider hiring an accountant if you’re struggling, especially to help with things like paying taxes.

The problem with hiring an accountant is the difficulty you can encounter when trying to share files and financial data. When you use the Countingup app, you can share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Doing this is as simple as entering the app and sending you accountant an invite to the Countingup Accountant Hub.

The app that makes it easier

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. We’ve mentioned a few of the features that make Countingup a great way to manage your finances, but if you’d like to learn more about the app and how you can sign up, click here.