18 Practical Tips for Rocking Out Private Practice in 2018 | PoP 272

18 Practical Tips for Rocking Out Private Practice in 2018

Do you have your goals for 2018, for your private practice, set up already? Do you know how you plan on growing and improving your practice year? And are you aware of ways to streamline your practice and earn extra income?

In this episode, Joe Sanok speaks about 18 practical tips for rocking out private practice in 2018.

Podcast Sponsor

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In This Podcast


As we kick off 2018, what better way to begin than to go through 18 tips to make sure you rock out your practice this year! Everything from setting goals to making your practice more efficient through the use of technology is included in this comprehensive list.

18 Tips for Your Private Practice in 2018

  1. Set one big goal
  2. Schedule one hour a week to work on your big goal
  3. Launch a blog series
  4. Send three networking emails per week
  5. Ask yourself “why am I doing this?”
  6. Get support
  7. Slow down!
  8. Block out some personal development / fun time
  9. Raise your rates – when you’re 70% full, raise your rates for new people
  10. Look at additional streams of income
  11. Listen to a non-clinical, new podcast
  12. Upgrade your office experience
  13. Create at least one new system every quarter / year (automate something with technology)
  14. Outsource something small
  15. Get efficient on how you schedule your sessions
  16. Limit your calls and emails more
  17. Think bigger!
  18. Let me know how it’s going

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultantJoe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.






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Podcast Transcription

File: PoP-272: 18_Practical_Tips_for_Rocking_Out_Private_Practice_in_2018
Duration: 00:25:35:05

[SPONSORSHIP DETAILS] Joe Sanok: What’s the point of having a beautiful website that doesn’t attract the clients that you want to see. A nice-looking website doesn’t equate a successful website. The truth is your current website may even be turning off potential clients. That’s where Brighter Vision comes in. Brighter Vision’s team of website designers will create you a website that’s centered around attracting and retaining your ideal client, so that you can have a nice looking website as well as a successful one. The best news: They are offering their biggest sale of the year, right now, in the month of January. You can lock in your first year with Brighter Vision for only $49 a month. That’s a $120 savings from their base plan. And if that wasn’t enough, they are also raffling a free spot in my next level Mastermind group which is a $600 a month value which includes slow down school this year. So if you want to capitalize on this offer, just go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/brightervision to get started with you journey towards a successful website.


This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session #272.

[MUSIC] [INTRODUCTION] Joe Sanok: I love new years. It’s always such a feeling of fresh start and the excitement of reinventing yourself in the coming year. And even though statistically we know a lot of the goals that we set we are not going to achieve, I still love it. I remember when I was 8th grade, I was in the Boy Scouts and we went down to the Florida Sea Base. The Boy Scouts own some islands down there, and it was just before new year and was like 11:30 at night. We were all excited about it and my dad said, you know we should do something really exciting. Let’s go snorkeling. And this kid Jeff, me and my dad went out to this coral reef that was just off of the beech and we were snorkeling and we had flashlights, and it was pitch black and we were in the ocean, and the waves are coming and we hear everyone start like saying happy new year. There’s fireworks around and then we swim back to where the sand was and we stood up. And it was like everyone had just kind of sat there under this little awning kind of thing, a picnic table and that was fine. That’s how they wanted to do their new year. But as new years go, when I think about the moments that were really exciting, it was usually when I really tried something new, did something different for that new year that stands out to me rather than kind of our typical new years. And so this year I want you to think about how can we do something together that’s going to really help your private practice just go crazy. And that’s one side of it. To make more income, to improve it. But that whole influence and impact side, I genuinely want your practice to change your life. For me, my private practice, some of you know my story… I moved back to my home town of Traverse City, Michigan in 2009 with my wife before we had kids, and launched my practice as a little side gig to pay off student loan debt. And I was a foster care supervisor. And within about a year, I added another clinician, and was still doing it part time, got a job at a community college. And then things really started to take off where I had three other people outside of myself working at that practice while I had my full-time job. And in one year, I realized when I did my taxes that I had made more working 5 hours a week over there with the other clinicians than I made on my full-time job. And that’s when my wife and I really started to look at how do we change things up. This script I have been handed, of you go to school, you get a job in a non-profit, then you get a job at CMH or you get a job at a college or some other, you know, higher paying “job,” and do a little private practice on the side. That script no longer worked for me. And the idea of just doing private practice and saying I am just going to sit in a chair. That’s all that I can ever make, that didn’t work either. I had these big ideas that I wanted to go after. And I am just a regular guy from Northern Michigan, that just kept taking one step forward every single year. And I have 18 things that I am going to share with you. If you do even part of this list, it will change everything for you.

[EIGHTEEN TIPS FOR YOUR PRIVATE PRACTICE IN 2018] [ONE BIG GOAL] The first thing is to set one big goal for the year. This is something that I do every single year. And a couple of years ago, it was I needed more consulting clients. And I knew if I had more consulting clients paying a higher rate than my counseling clients, that then I could my counseling fees. I could then spend more time on creating really interesting things that the rest of maybe the consulting field isn’t doing. And then the next year it was I needed to do more group things. So, last year, we launched slow down school and had more mastermind groups. And now I think we have seven or eight Mastermind groups with somewhere between six and twelve people in each one, helping people that are starting group practices, people that are doing next level practice type things, were multimillion dollar practices all the way down to $40,000 a year practices. And so by having that be my big goal last year, it has really freed up time and money, and my ability to help more people. And so for this coming year, we are launching next level practice which is the most supportive community that’s out there. We really want to have this be from the moment you say I want to start a practice all the way until your scaling a six figure or seven figure practice that this become the place that you not only get training, but you get support from other people in a small group of individuals that are at your same phase, but then we also give you feedback and do a lot of Q&A to hold your hand throughout that whole process. And so for me financially that’s a big jump if we can make this work. But also the amount of people that we can help because we haven’t been able to start help people in that start phase at that lower point. So when you think through every single year what your big goal is going to be that helps you continue to level up. Because then it’s a lot easier to say I am not going to check my email. I am not going to do phone calls. I am not going to waste time taking out the trash because I have this bigger goal. And I know that’s going to change my life. And if you don’t know the outcome of that big goal, then you are not going to be dedicated to it. But if you know that that’s the one thing, it’s going to make everything else easier as they talk about in the book “The One Thing.” If that’s the thing, it’s going to move the needle forward, that helps everything else be defined from that. All right. So first tip is define one big goal. For you that might be if I just had five full pay clients at my full practice rate or it’s get off one insurance and replace those clients with people that are private pay. Whatever that one big goal is for you this year, I want you to really think through if at the end of 2018 you achieved that goal and it made things easier, what would that be.

[SCHEDULE ONE HOUR A WEEK] Next, I want to schedule one hour a week that you put your calendar, you repeat for you to work on that big goal. You may want to work on it more, which is great. But at least schedule in one hour a week to work on it. And view that as if it’s a client, as if it’s an ongoing client that is going to come in and going to pay you a higher rate because if you work on that big goal consistently [00:07:36.04] if you only take two weeks off, that’s 50 extra weeks. You know that’s a week and half of you working diligently on this big goal. You can always add more and once you start getting traction, you are going to get kind of addicted to it because you’ll see how cool it is to start reaching some of those milestones early. So instead of it being quarter three or four of the year, quarter one you might achieve some of those things and realize, well, if I just put on 2 hours a week, maybe I could really level up even faster.

[LAUNCH A BLOG SERIES] All right. So, third I want you to create a blog series. A blog series is one of the best ways to create ongoing SEO for your business, but it’s also a great way that you can eventually use that in a e-book, you can have that be a give away. It’s a great way to eventually level up to do more speaking and to know what to do Facebook lives about. When you have that consistency, when you have three or five or seven parts to a series where you’re diving deep into anxiety or cutting or PTSD [00:08:31.02], that’s going to offer a ton on value, but it’s also going to help you rank so much higher in Google in your particular market.

[SEND NETWORKING EMAILS] Next, I want you to send three networking emails per week. So if you do that for 50 weeks, that’s a 150 emails that you would have sent out throughout that year. Of people that may be didn’t knew you existed. Did you say, hey, I would love to connect and find a time to hear about your practice or to hear about your doctor’s office or your dentist or your plumbing business. I was just talking to Steve, one of my clinicians here and he joined BNI- the Business Networking International – earlier this year. And he and a real estate agent recently found a way to collaborate which you think how can a counselor do that. But real estate agents are often dealing… no, it’s a builder. It was a builder that, you know, the emotions that go into building a house and couples fighting and all these things. That builder’s actually as part of their higher-end service would include a session with one of my c0unselors as part of every building project. How creative is that? That would never have happened if Steve hadn’t sat down with this individual and talked about, oh, where can we have some overlap between what we do. So there is some emotions in building. There’s emotions in counseling. Like let’s find a way to collaborate here. So finding those unique ways to collaborate and get your name out is so important. So send three networking emails a week and you’ll have 150 or so emails that you’ll have sent out in that year. And even if you do only a handful of coffee connections or going to people’s offices, they’ll still know your name. They may say, ow, like, “Someone emailed me there’s a counselor that helps in that area. What we said?” They may search their email and then send referrals to you.

[“WHY I AM DOING THIS”] Next, I want you to start asking yourself why am I doing this. I don’t mean why am I doing counseling, why I am a counselor. But to ask yourself in almost every moment that you are doing nonclinical work, non-billable work that doesn’t make you money, like, should I be doing this. Should I be answering phone and scheduling? Should I be going and picking up the coffee that’s going to be served in our lobby. Should I be taking out the trash. And this is really hard when you are in that startup phase and even that early growth phase because so much of that phase is bootstrapping, wearing multiple hats and doing all of those things, but you want to get to the point where you can start to scale. We will talk a little bit about outsourcing in a little bit… but thinking about why am I doing this and maybe right now you say, yeah, I need to take out the trash. There is no money coming in or [00:10:58.20] any money, I got to be the one that takes out the trash and recycling. But at some point to be the person that says, you know what, I need to outsource this so that this system is moving quickly and not based on my time.

[GET SUPPORT] Next, after you ask yourself why am I doing this, I want you to get help, get support that could be local, that could be finding other counselors you can brainstorm with or could be joining our next level practice where you’ll be in a cohort of 6 or 8 people, getting that guidance and training and get your invite at www.practiceofthepractice.com/invite or maybe it’s hiring a coach or consultant or joining a mastermind group. So you can head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/consulting if you want to look at that, but in some way getting help. I’ve got my own coach that I got that helped me. It’s Jaime Masters who has the Eventual Millionaire podcast. She really helped me structure out how to sell tickets to slow down school. I had done this huge podcast launch and had a bunch of people on the email list, but people were not signing up for slow down school. And it was going to be one of those things where I’m like, okay, I am going to either pull the plug or drop thousands upon thousands of dollars into coaching and try to see if we can make this work. And we made it work, and this coming year, we already have almost 20 people that are signed up for slow down school. We give access to our next level Mastermind group people first, and will eventually talk about maybe opening up some tickets for the listeners that are out there. But right now we already have, I think, 18 or 19 people that are coming. So we have doubled our numbers before we had launched, you know, a year ago. And so when you have that hope, when you have someone that’s done it, you can level up so much faster. Typically, we hear that people get, you know, 10 to 15 times return on investment for their time and money.

[SLOW DOWN] Next, I want you to slow down. You may not think that I slow down based on the speed in which I talk and do things at times, but slowing down actually for me is why I can run full tilt for the three days that I work. It’s why I can go full tilt at slow down school to help people with their businesses while also helping them slow down. I know that having these things in my life that I look forward to, that I am excited about. Like tomorrow my daughter is having a play day with this other kid in her class that she is just wanting to hang out with outside of school so much, and his dad does website stuff and online marketing and I am so excited to just hang out with this guy that I haven’t hang out before. [00:13:20.13] this weekend we are doing this teamscape room thing. Having these things that pull you away from your business and get your mind into something else helps you be more fully present, happy, and then remember why am I doing this, why am I having this business and putting so much of my heart and soul into it. It’s so we can do these other things also. It’s so we can have an impact on the world within our business. But then also, you know, to just live life and enjoy it.

[PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT TIME OR FUN TIME] All right, so after you slow down – these aren’t necessarily in any particular order – I want you to black out some personal development time or some fun time. Sign up for something. Learn a new language. Take an art class. This winter and fall, I joined a curling league. So I am throwing 50 pound stones down ice and then sweeping. And it’s random and it’s crazy, and it’s fun, and it’s just… you know, you get to drink beer when you are on the ice and it’s just a lot of fun. And I don’t think about the business when I’m there. I don’t think about networking. I am just practicing curling. I’m terrible at it. I am lucky if I get one thrown into the house. But statistically speaking, it’s one of the smallest sports that’s in the Olympics. So if I am going to be an Olympian, that’s my shot.

[RAISE YOUR RATES] All right, after personal development time, you want to start raising your rates in 2018. When you are about 70% full, that’s when you want to start raising your rates for new people, because you don’t want to wait until you’re totally full. You don’t want a waiting list. The way that I do this – and people do it different, some people have every have the exact same rate – for my private pay practice, I have it that I have my rate that people are at, and then they are set at that rate for the entire year. But the new people, I keep raising that rate throughout the year. And so if a new person comes in, they might be at a higher rate and then maybe six months later if I am even more full than I want to be, I might raise the rates again. This starts to allow yourself to have the extra free time as those lower paying clients kind of age out from counseling for you to then be able to make more while working less hours. So when you are about 70% full, you want to really start raising your rates for new people coming in.

[ADDITIONAL STREAMS OF INCOME] Next, look at additional streams of income. There is so many streams of income beyond just sitting in the chair and doing counseling. It could be adding clinicians to your practice. It could adding Amazon affiliate links for books you recommend. So if you scroll the bottom of the Amazon, there is a little thing. You can click this, become an affiliate. You get three to five percent of whatever someone buys. So someone goes and does a Christmas shopping on Amazon. Then you can get 3 to 5 percent of that. You could also do some more consulting. So figure out what your specific area is and you could picture yourself to other businesses. As it starts to grow, if you are making more there per hour, then you feel more comfortable raising your rates in the practice. You feel more comfortable raising if you have a podcast, raising rates there. Your time becomes more and more valuable as you have these additional streams of income. You could do some speaking. You could do some podcasting. Be a guest to another podcasters. Lots of ways to build additional streams of income and have people join your email list or have different products that you offer.

[LISTENING TO A NEW NON-CLINICAL PODCAST] Next, listen to a non-clinical podcast. Listen to a new podcast that’s totally non clinical. I think there is something about just seeing how people tell stories, how people learn that are outside of our field that’s really important. Last year, NPR had a new one called [00:16:51.01] that I got into that was a really interesting podcast. I love the TED radio hour. These podcasts, they just make a thing differently and you hear different stories. You hear different ideas. It really helps you think outside of the way that we do it. If we only listen to clinical podcasts or marketing podcasts, we can get tunnel vision. And for you to really differentiate yourself, you have to have lots of different ideas coming into your brain that are outside of kind of the typical.

[UPGRADING OFFICE EXPERIENCE] Next, I want you to upgrade your office experience. What I mean by that is if you don’t have [00:17:28.09] maybe water or hot water for tea or little refrigerator with drinks in it… find something to upgrade your office. Get some new art work. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the more that you create an experience where you clients show up and say, wow, I really feel taken care of. This feels more like a spa than like going to a therapy office. Find those little things that you can take it up a notch within your office.

[CREATING ONE NEW SYSTEM EVERY QUARTER] Next, looking creating at least one new system this year, but I would actually even encourage you maybe to look at every quarter adding a new system. And by a new system, I mean automating something with technology. And so that could be having a calendar that people can schedule sessions through. It could be using something like simple practice that will send super bills to people. It could be using a variety of different technologies to automate what you do. If you can slowly start to create ways to automate things outside of yourself that’s going to really help you as you get into that growth phase and that scaling phase. And if you are already in those phases, you absolutely [00:18:33.24] taking more off of your plate, so that you know what’s going on. You know the numbers without you having a sit down for hours and hours and looking at receipts and, you know, hand counting things. So if you look at adding, you know, at least one new system each year, I would say if every quarter, you kind of added a system, maybe you spend a month researching it, then you spend a month launching it, and then you spend a month tweaking it and then do the same thing for every quarter, and you would be so much further ahead by the end of the year.

[OUTSOURCE SOMETHING SMALL] Next, outsource something small. If you are not outsourcing things, you’re really not optimizing your time. You think about if you are charging a $150 per session, and you are so busy you don’t know what to do, if you had even a personal assistant that was paid 15 bucks an hour, you then have to spend one hour bringing that $150 bucks and you get 10 hours of time. So it’s a multiplier. There is little things like having some of your blog written for you or your blog images done for you, having your phone calls and scheduling outsourced, so that people can schedule while you are in session. Having the super bills outsourced. Having something like practice solutions take over your billing if you bill insurance – that will actually give you a discount if you head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/fun. They are one of the lowest cost insurance billers out there. They are 5%, and they will switch everything over from your old system for free. Did a whole webinar series with them, had them on the podcast. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out. There’s lot of good billers out there, but Practice Solutions is my favorite right now. They are amazing.

[EFFICIENTLY SCHEDULING SESSIONS] Next, really get efficient on how you schedule you sessions. A lot of people will schedule them just on the hour, but if you are doing 45 minute sessions, end at 45 minutes and have someone come in right afterwards, because you figure if you do a session at noon, another session at 12:45, and then another session at 1:30, that means you got three sessions in 2 hours and 15 minutes. And then maybe you, you know, go to the bathroom, go for a walk. You do your paperwork for 15 minutes and then have someone come in, you know what like 2:30 or so… 1:30… depending on, kind of, how you structure it. Get more efficient with that because usually you can at least do back-to-back sessions. Some people have a hard time doing 3 or 4 in a row, but if you figure out your own flow, you can usually get them in and not waste as much time.

[LIMITING CALLS AND EMAILS MORE] Next, definitely limit your calls and emails more. Typically, people would kind of get sucked into email and phones, and if you really evaluate how efficient you’re being with your use of time there, you are probably spending too much time on email and phone calls. Whereas if you give yourself a half an hour and say, I am going to do as much as I can in half an hour every day. I am going to check my email. I am going to return phone calls. I got to move out of from there, that really going to help you continue to level up. And it’s going to make you more focused. Because you’ll get on a phone call with someone and say, you know, I am really excited to have you join the practice or come in for counseling. I just wanted to let you know that I have a session that’s starting in 10 minutes. So then that sets a very clear end to that call, so that you don’t get sucked into a 40 minute free counseling phone call.

[THINK BIGGER] Also next, I want you to start to think bigger. So often I meet people that have amazing ideas. They are doing really good work. But they just don’t believe in themselves. Think bigger. Let yourself dream. Go into as much as you can in regards to thinking about what if this message went beyond just this counseling session. What if the world heard about my views of anxiety or natural health or of PTSD [00:22:24.03] or whatever your specific area is that you focus on. Think bigger. Push yourself to get interviewed on other people’s podcasts. Push yourself to write a book. Think bigger in some way.

[GET IN TOUCH WITH JOE] And then lastly number 18, let me know how it’s going. I love hearing about your progress. I love responding to your emails. I love seeing tags on social media or reviews for the podcast or reviews with Google business. Let me know in some way how you are doing because it is amazing to see you grow, you start grow and scale your practices. It’s so inspiring for me.

[CONCLUSION] So let’s let 2018 come into our lives and let’s rock it out this year. Those are 18 tips for you. Again, thanks so much to Brighter Vision for being a sponsor and we are so excited to have them back as a sponsor this year. Don’t forget about that give away I talked about at the beginning. It’s super exciting, and can’t wait to talk to you guys next week. Have an awesome week.


Next week on the show, we are going to have Cheryl Janis who is going to be talking all about your office and the decor and the vibe that you put out. Check out this clip from next week’s interview:

“So there could be things in your office and in your waiting room that could be really upsetting their nervous system, their brain, and their psychology. And they are kind of just feeling it, so they may not even be consciously aware of it. But they are going, ah, ah, ah, that doesn’t feel good. I don’t like it. I am not going to go back.”


Joe Sanok: So check out that episode next week, and again if you want to have a chance at winning access to the next level Mastermind, it’s usually $600 a month where you are going to get to join me and five other people 2 hours every single month for a Mastermind group. We also have accountability partners. This is aimed at people that are at $60,000 or more per year that really want to level up their practice. And so if you want an access [00:24:37.29] 80s band, 90s band… if you want to have a chance at winning that access the Brighter Vision has graciously bought, again sign up for Brighter Vision. If you’ve already Brighter Vision number, let them know that you want to get entered into that raffle. And Perry and I are going to be doing a Facebook live on February 1st letting the winner know who won access into that next level Mastermind group. So again, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/brightervision. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome week.


This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guest are rendering any legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

[MUSIC] [END OF PODCAST 00:25:33.03]

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