In a minute I will talk about the question: counselor wages and how much a counselor in part-time private practice can make.
What happened in October that increased my counseling wage
In October I had a full month of focus. By “full month” I mean that I worked two evenings per week and two days per week. It was probably 20 hours per week between my private practice consulting, counseling, and private practice blogging and podcast. I’ve been working on a lot:
- Podcast transcription: Getting my podcasts transcribed to increase SEO and have content for a future e-book. Repurposing content is a great way to work smarter, rather than harder! Here’s one of the podcast transcriptions about private practice marketing.
- How to Become a Consultant: I began interviewing some amazing consultants about how to become a consultant. The interviews are broken into the topics of: How to grow a specialty, how to grow an audience, and how to grow an income. To get the full list of guests go to my How to Become a Consultant landing page. This is for everyone, not just counselors, so spread the word!
- Increase in customer service: I’ve been reaching out to my email list a ton more, making random phone calls, giving away free consulting, and reducing the cost of consulting. I have seen a huge spike in my private practice consultant clients.
- Improved user experience: I recently updated the Private Practice Store, Private Practice Consulting, and my Private Practice Member’s Newsletter pages. I raised my price for the newsletter to $195 because of the additional content I’m creating and I want to continue to provide amazing value to the folks that pay for the newsletter. I am going to be sending a secret link for a discount to the free newsletter. Only those that sign up will get the discounted link sent to them.
I believe that anyone can grow their income!
Usually this is where you hear a sales pitch to “BUY NOW” but it’s not coming. Everything you need is on this website completely free! Of course there are people that choose to have more focused private practice consulting, but that is them choosing to grow. It’s not necessary. You can totally do it all on your own. Below I’ll outline my steps this month and what worked and didn’t work to grow my counseling income.
Great counseling and marketing articles and podcasts from September
Past Monthly Income Reports
People often ask me why I disclose all this information? To me, I am inspired when other people are open and honest. Then I can learn from how they succeed or fail. My hope is that this helps others to grow in their businesses!
September 2014 Monthly Income Report $7,084.45 (but took 2 weeks off for baby)
2013 Annual Counseling Income: $54,513.97 (January-December 2013)
October 2014 Earning Report
What I’m going to be reporting about how to make extra money and what I’m not going to be reporting
Since some of you are new and some of you have been around Practice of the Practice for a while, I’m going to give a quick summary of where I make income. My full-time job is at a community college as a counselor, however I am currently on unpaid FMLA. I love the job and it gives me great opportunities. So I am there getting insurance and working 2 days a week to help pay for that. I’m not going to disclose my full-time wages there, since it is not something that is part of my private practice.
I do 4-7 sessions a week in my private practice. I don’t take insurance, so it is private-pay. As a result, I don’t have many expenses in time or actual money. I also do consulting with private practice clinicians and supervision for LLPCs in Michigan (Limited Licensed Professional Counselors), a 100 hour requirement in Michigan.
The term “passive” makes it sound like I don’t have to do work. What I mean is money that I make that is not in direct exchange for my time. I will outline what these are under each item.
How I increased revenue in October 2014
Disclosure: many of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them, it’s one way that I help support the work I put into the website. Please click on them to help support Practice of the Practice.
Private Practice: $5,525
Other counselors: I have two counselors that work for my practice as 1099 contractors and I get a portion of what is brought in: $1,455.50
Paperwork Packet: $288.48
Consulting: (this sometimes includes building a website as part of the private practice coach session) I do private practice coaching.
Usually there are three parts to private practice consulting:
- A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis
- Website redesign or re-optimization
- Coaching: developing a niche within the private practice, building stronger referrals, increasing rates, and launching products to grow income
In my August Monthly Income Report I had a number of new private practice consulting clients start with me. Because of having the baby I wanted to make sure I provided excellent service to those I’m consulting with, so this number is way lower than normal. But, I spent 2+ weeks with my new baby. I don’t feel bad about this one bit!
LLPC Supervision: $867
The Motherload: $290.03
Podcast Advertising: In October I reached out to Legendary Lion, my website designer who is amazing! He’s done my logo, website, and has helped with a bunch of custom work. Hiring a designer is a great idea when you are ready to grow beyond making a website yourself. When you first start out, you can totally make a website on your own, but you miss a certain level of quality. If you know other great producers of products that help counselors in private practice, send them my way, maybe they’d like to advertise through the podcast. I only advertise for products I am very familiar with and really love! $674.54
E-books: You may have noticed that the Practice of the Practice book has been showing up in the 3-D fashion on the website, this has really helped drive traffic, but isn’t in your face selling. $30.07
Paperback Copy of my book Mental Wellness Parenting: A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier. Most people would see this as a really bad thing, however, when I wrote the book, I really wanted to focus on it being something to hand out to clients or potential referrals. It’s sort of an over-sized business card. It’s great when people buy it, but I’m not disappointed when they don’t, since I see it more as a marketing tool: $0
Member’s Newsletter to Launch/Grow a Practice
Member’s Newsletter: This is the weekly newsletter that walks people through exactly what they need to do when starting a private practice. $393.13
Affiliate Marketing to Increase Revenue
Aweber: This is the service I use to create emails, manage lists, and create follow-up emails where they can be in order for the person. It’s super cool! $23.70
BlueHost Referrals: If you are setting up a website, this is the best hosting because of their customer service and the ability to have unlimited websites hosted! $130
Amazon Affiliate Referrals: If you are buying something on Amazon, it’d be great if you clicked the link. I get a small commission without you having to pay anything more: $13.86
NameCheap is who I use to purchase my URLs, they are so easy to work with when you’re setting up a website!: $3.20
Google Ads: I have a few ads through the website and these bring in a bit of passive income. Since my podcast interview about How to Rank Higher in Google with Sarah Barnes I’ve been doing a lot less of this: $17.68
LegalZoom: This is the second month that someone has clicked and bought something through this link! It’s so exciting, also my wife bought her PLLC so I got to really see it firsthand. It is amazing and super easy to use. $0
Grasshopper: This is the amazing virtual phone system I use, rather than an expensive land line system. I have the $12/month one and it is awesome. At least check them out and watch some videos. $200
ZynnyMe: I recently connected with Miranda and Kelly to become an affiliate. They have a Business School Bootcamp that is what I wish I could build. Maybe sometime in the future, but for now I’m just going to refer folks to them! $0
October 2014 Total: $13,784.57
I’ve again hit a new record for monthly income!
How I write myself a check (expenses disclosure)
One piece of feedback that I get around the monthly income report is the question, “Sure, this is your gross amount, but what is your net (how much you take home). Gross doesn’t matter if you have really high expenses.”
At some point, I plan on doing an in-depth assessment and blog post about my business expenses, how to reduce business expenses, and what business expenses actually help your business grow. For example, if I refine my Facebook Ads to know that if I spend $100, I’ll almost always get a client that comes 10x at the rate of $100, that means that I have spent $100 to make $1,000. If my formula is correct then I want my ad cost to increase so I can increase counseling referrals. Make sense?
How an entrepreneur figures out how to pay himself
- $13,784.57 came into Practice of the Practice and Mental Wellness Counseling
- My business office lease and other office expenses are $2,100 per month
- Between Bluehost, Aweber, taking referrals out to eat, and Facebook ads, I spend around $400 per month
- If I had other major expenses through the month, that I did not expect, I will take that off of the total as well. For example, I just bought a new computer, however I had been setting money aside for that for a while (explained below).
- $13,784.57 – ($2,100+$400 = $2,500) = $11,284.57
Now at this point, I’ll write myself a check for either 50% or 60% of the amount. Usually I do 50% so that I can be saving 10-15% per month for bigger expenses such as a computer, larger marketing events, or anything else. I want to be able to react quickly without going into debt (which I hate…I mean I really hate debt).
This month I am going to write a check for 60% since we have a fairly large buffer already. This my check to myself will be:
$11,284.57 x .6 = $6,770.74
Lastly, you are the reason
When I look back just over 2 years ago, when I started keeping track of all my counselor wages, I made $1,361.60 that first month. I have not increased my workload much, in fact, in a lot of ways I have cut back. You, the folks that read articles until the end, listen to the whole podcast, and implement all the things I talk about, are the reason that Practice of the Practice keep growing.
- You are out there letting people know about the marketing and small business blog, private practice podcast, and our social media on Facebook or LinkedIn page!
- When you have great experiences, implement things, and grow because of our free content, you tell others about what I’m doing here.
- A small percentage of people click on adds, use the affiliate links, sign up for the Member’s Newsletter, or get started with private practice consulting.
- Having this website and podcast forces me to keep growing, learning, and improving my marketing, business, and clinical skills, which helps my Traverse City counseling private practice, Mental Wellness Counseling, to grow too!
Thank you so much for all your support
Some of the numbers from Google Ads, Amazon, NameCheap, and my e-books will not be paid until they reach a certain amount or 60-90 days after the sale. I report what has been sold in the month it was sold. Also, I do not take expenses off of this report.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant.
Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI.
To link to Joe’s Google+ .
Photo by Tax Credits