Running a private professional practice is difficult work. Sure, independence has its perks, but managing a growing operation is a lot for even the smartest, hardest-working professionals to bear.

In some fields, regulatory red tape and increasing financial complexity have already taken their toll. The number of physicians in private practice has been declining for years, and the trend shows no signs of reversing. Other professions have seen smaller declines that are no less real for their modest size.

What’s a professional to do when they’re resolutely committed to maintaining their independence? These tips may provide a valuable edge in the market for professional services; they’re broadly applicable across disciplines and specialties..

1. Join Professional Associations and Interest Groups

You most likelybelong to core professional associations. In some professions, such membership is required; lawyers must maintain active admission in the state bar association for any jurisdiction in which they’d like to practice. When visibility is paramount, however, you’ll need to go further — joining voluntary associations and interest groups where you’ll encounter prospective clients and partners. 

2. Align With a Trusted Global Brand

In certain professions, independent practitioners don’t always have to go it alone. Aligning with a trusted global brand may provide resources and scale that would otherwise be out of reach of a small, independent shop. Elite San Francisco financial adviser Daniella Rand, who partners with Merrill Lynch to magnify her bespoke wealth management practice’s reach, has emerged as one of the Bay Area’s preeminent financial professionals on the strength of that relationship. 

3. Network With Established Thought Leaders

Engage with thought leaders inside and outside your industry, if only to improve your name recognition within your professional sphere (and in complementary circles). We’ll see why this is important in a moment.

4. Burnish Your Own Thought Leadership Credentials

Position yourself as a thought leader, too. You’re an expert in your field, after all. Invest in content marketing through a branded professional blog, an aggressive LinkedIn publishing schedule, and regular contributions to high-visibility industry and generalist publications. 

5. Establish Mutually Beneficial Partnerships With Complementary Professionals

One of the most seductive fruits of successful networking is the mutually beneficial partnerships that may drive referrals to your doorstep. A financial advisor might partner with a tax advisor; a dentist with an oral surgeon; and internists with various medical specialists. The sky’s the limit. 

6. Transform Your Practice Into A Rocket Ship (Maybe)

Implement these strategies faithfully and consistently and you may be surprised by how far your diligence takes you. It’s not guaranteed that following these six paths will transform your professional practice into a rocket ship, but doing so is unlikely to harm your enterprise. If you’re considering taking any of these steps, the effort is a small price to pay for maintaining your professional independence.