Are you in a relationship with the yin to your yang? How can your different roles in the relationship help each other in private practice? Is a good relationship enough to warrant a business relationship?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks to Brandy and Billy Eldridge about Billy’s work in private practice, Brandy’s work in nonprofit, and their work together on the Beta Male Revolution podcast.
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Meet Billy and Brandy Eldridge
Brandy Eldridge is a non-profit executive director where she and her team provide services for abused or neglected children. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Park University, and she is currently a doctoral student at the University of Southern California. Brandy is also a consultant and speaker.
Billy Eldridge is a private practice owner and therapist who focuses on working with adolescents and men who would rather be somewhere other than counseling. He received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health from Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where he is now an adjunct faculty member for the counseling graduate program.
When you sign up to receive their email course, you will receive a FREE Quiz, which you can take to determine how far along the BETA Male spectrum you are.
In This Podcast
- Starting a group practice
- Being a director of a nonprofit
- Work/life balance
- Words of wisdom
Starting a group practice
You’re in grad school, and you’re about to graduate, and you’re spending late nights in the library, studying and talking and drinking coffee and you’re like, one day, we’re going to have this thing, and this is what we’re going to do in the world. And it’s full of these beautiful ideas. And then you get there and reality has a way of creeping up on you, just like it does in marriage, and you both have to work at it, and be intentional about where you’re going to get there. It doesn’t just happen naturally.
Starting a group practice is not glamorous. We all make mistakes along the way. Billy says that what he did right was go into private practice and what he did wrong was go into private practice. When Billy and his friend graduated, they had the dream and goal of starting a private practice, it has been great and business is good. When you’re starting out, these are things that you don’t really think about but once you’re up and running, it becomes real, fast. So, to defuse any future conflict, it’s good to have everything lined out in the beginning.
- If you’re looking at going into business with someone, really define that business relationship.
- Get an accountant and an attorney to make sure that the roles are defined and that there is a clear cut distribution of money and expenses.
Being a director of a nonprofit
The most challenging and most rewarding thing is the people. Brandy was once given the advice that when you hire people, make sure that you hire them knowing that one day you will have to fire them. It’s a dark way of looking at it but she understands that you really have to put the work in before you hire someone. Being in a nonprofit, Brandy’s employees could earn a lot more working somewhere else so she has to look at what else she can give them. What kind of environment? What kind of leadership skills? What can she do to entice them to stay?
They know that if they work at a nonprofit, as a therapist, they’re not going to make as much as they could in private practice. Brandy has to do a lot of leadership training, a lot of shared leadership and empower people. She gives them flexible schedules and finds out what they want in a work environment job so that they stay with her. This really comes down to giving people a voice and listening to what they want.
Between Billy’s practice, Brandy’s nonprofit, and their three kids, how do they balance work and life? How do they find time to spend on their marriage as well?
It’s tricky. Sometimes they do it well and then life usually corrects them when they don’t. When they don’t make time for each other, they can feel the tension. They were both so busy and never found themselves in the same room unless it was parenting. On a whim, they started their podcast together. It has caused conflict which has produced growth, there have been tears and laughter, but they found a shared interest and it was important that they found something that they wanted to do together. They also make time to get out of town at least once a month and try to make time for the kids individually too.
Words of wisdom
If you’re thinking about or already running a group practice:
- Invest in consulting – Tap into people who’ve been there and done it, it can help you avoid some costly pitfalls and save you in confusing times.
- Put in a self-care plan – You don’t think about it at the beginning but you need to know what number you’re willing to shut it down at otherwise you’ll find yourself burned out and no good to anybody. Make sure it’s attainable and that you have time to recharge and take care of yourself and your family.
- Hire the people that reflect what you want – have the culture set up and the standards and expectations upfront and spend time on that front end when you bring people on. If you get the wrong person, it can drain you.
- Dr. Lisa Lovelace Started an Online Group Therapy Practice | GP 20
- PoP Group Practice Owners Facebook Group
- Email Alison: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Work with us
- Consult With Alison
Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
Thanks For Listening!
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Hello and welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I’m Alison Pidgeon, your host. Today, I have two guests on the show, Brandy and Billy Eldridge, and I’m going to introduce them to you. Brandy Eldridge is a nonprofit executive director, where she and her team provide services for abused or neglected children. She is currently getting her doctorate degree from the University of Southern California. She also works as a consultant and a speaker. Even though she doesn’t run a group practice, she still has a lot of valuable information to share about managing staff and creating a work culture in this interview. And Billy Eldridge, her husband, is a private practice owner and he focuses on working with adolescents and men who he says would rather be somewhere else other than counseling. He also has a group practice, he works as an adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M University, Texarkana, and they are the hosts of a new podcast called Beta Male Revolution which they will be talking about in the interview. So, I had so much fun talking with them, they have a great sense of humor, and… definitely take a listen to this interview.
Billy and Brandy Eldridge, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.[BILLY]:
Thanks for having us, Alison. [BRANDY]:
Thanks, Alison. Good to talk with you. [ALISON]:
Yeah. So why don’t you give the audience a little bit of an overview of, I know, Billy, you have a group practice and Brandy, you have you run a nonprofit. So why don’t you give us a little bit of an overview of what you’re up to? [BILLY]:
Yeah. Well, my name is Billy Eldridge. I have a group practice here in Texarkana, Texas. We’re about two hours up from, three hours up from Dallas, about two hours down from Little Rock and, yeah, I started it about three years ago with a friend of mine that I graduated college with, and we kinda have it set up a unique kinda way but, you know, we serve mainly teenagers and men who don’t really want to be in counseling. So that’s our primary demographic. [ALISON]:
Yeah, that’s great. That’s a needed service. I feel like, because, a lot of times men want to go to see male counselors, and we know how sometimes that can be a rarity, so I think that’s great. Yeah. And Brandy, can you tell us a little bit about your nonprofit? [BRANDY]:
Yeah, sure. So, I’m an executive director of a nonprofit. We serve children that have been abused or neglected. We serve about 10 counties in our area, and we work with volunteers who are community partners, law enforcement agencies, you name it, just to serve kids and help them through. So we employ therapists, forensic interviewers, we have a SANE nurse, sexual assault nurse examiner, in our building, and, also, I’m working on my doctorate, and helping Billy as much as I can, and we try to make our jobs mesh so we actually get to see each other once in a while. [BILLY]:
And that’s what we do with our podcasts. We have Beta Male Revolution. It’s part of the Practice of the Practice network podcast. [ALISON]:
Yeah, and I’m excited to talk to you a little bit more about that, but I wanted to kinda talk a little bit about each of your roles in your businesses because obviously our audience is either looking to start a group practice or has already started a group practice, and so kinda just wanted to hear from you what some of your experiences have been. I know, Billy, you and I were talking, before we started recording, about how, you know, starting a group practice is not all glamorous, that we all make mistakes along the way, and I was curious what you think would be valuable in terms of, you know, obviously, the things you did right, but also maybe some of the mistakes that you made? [BILLY]:
Yeah. So, the thing I did right was go into private practice. The thing I did wrong was go into private practice. I have a dear friend that I graduated with and we had the dream and the goal of starting a private practice, and it’s been great and it’s filled up and business is good, and we get to help a lot of people, but one area that I would encourage people to really look into and seek consulting on is, when you go into business with someone, to really define that business relationship when you start. We just started out with an office, and not knowing if anybody was going to show up, and really didn’t think very far forward, and so then it becomes this thing and you have to figure out how you’re going to divide money, and where you’re going to put things, and who’s in charge of what. And so it’s been cumbersome and we’re just kind of failing forward at times with it, but we know at some point, we’re going to have to bring a third party consultant in to kind of guide us and direct us to get us to the next level. [ALISON]:
Nice. So, if somebody were thinking about going into a partnership and a group practice, what would you recommend to them? [BILLY]:
Yeah, I would say early on, get with an accountant and get with an attorney and really define your roles and the more defined they can be and the more clear-cut distribution of money and things. When we first started out, it was just… he took what he took, I took what I took, and we shared expenses. But then when you start looking at adding people, and who adds who and who brings who to the practice, and how are you going to distribute that money between the two of you? And if you open another office, how is that going to look and what kind of investment does each individual need to make? I think those are things you don’t think about in the beginning, but once you actually get up and running, it becomes real real fast. And just to defuse any future conflict. I think it’s good to have those lined out in the beginning. Luckily, we haven’t and we work real well together, but unfortunately, I’ve had friends who’ve gone into partnerships that it hasn’t been the same type of story and I think Dave Ramsey says there’s two kinds of ships that sink; ships that sail on the ocean and partnerships. So be careful when you get into either one of them. [BRANDY]:
I think too, for you guys. There’s always that like, Billy is super nice and conflict avoidant, which is not a bad thing. But then like you start having people, bringing people on, like, who’s going to be the manager type role? And who’s going to be more of… I think that can be where it gets messy. Fortunately, Billy is like, Yeah, I don’t want to have anything to do with the managing people part of it. So, his partner’s really good at that part. But that can be hairy when you start adding employees because they want to know, like, who do we talk to? Who’s the person really in charge? And that can go good cop/bad cop real easily. [BILLY]:
One thing that we’re committed to is that if it ever gets dysfunctional, like a marriage, we’ll bring in a third party, like a marriage counselor, we’ll have a business coach that sits us both down and helps talk us through things. And we’ve always been able to be open and vulnerable and upfront with each other about that, but, like I said, the more clear it is going in, the less you have to do on the back end of unwinding and teasing some of that stuff out. So, in hindsight, I probably would have sought out legal counsel and checked out an accountant just to see the how the legal structure needed to look. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I’m glad that you brought that up, because I feel like that marriage analogy is such a good one because it really is, like, legally, you are sort of bound together, you know, but maybe by your LLC paperwork or whatever the case may be, and the only way you’re going to get out of that marriage, so to speak, is if somebody dies or somebody sells the practice to the other person. You know what I mean? Like there’s gonna be lawyers involved, so I think that’s so important and something a lot of people don’t think about. They just think like, Oh, this person’s great. We should start a practice together, and they don’t think about all the ramifications of that. [BRANDY]:
Just like a marriage, there’s that honeymoon phase. [BILLY]:
There is. You’re in grad school, and you’re about to graduate, and you’re spending late nights in the library, studying and talking and drinking coffee and you’re like, one day, we’re gonna have this thing, and this is what we’re going to do in the world, and it’s full of just these beautiful ideas, and then you get there and reality has a way of creeping up on you, just like it does in marriage, and you both have to work at it, and be intentional about where you’re going to get there. It doesn’t just happen naturally. [ALISON]:
For sure. Do you feel like he has strengths that you don’t, and you have strengths that he doesn’t, and so you sort of complement each other? [BILLY]:
Absolutely. You know, I’m Carl Rogers and he’s Fritz Perls. For the counselors out there that tend to know those schools of thought, we are Yin and Yang. He does great with our substance abuse population, and families, and he’s done that for a long time, and I do a little bit better with the less confrontational, empathetic type work. [ALISON]:
Yeah. And it sounds like he’s good at managing the staff, and then maybe you have other strengths that you bring to the table. [BILLY]:
Yeah, absolutely. I’m probably more Chief Operations Officer-type material… [BRANDY]:
He’s got a sexy 10-key hand. [BILLY]:
She says 10-key calculator. I’m more accounting and numbers and behind-the-scenes business stuff than I am dealing with people. [ALISON]:
Yeah and so what is your ultimate vision for the practice? Is that something that’s clear to you or is that still a work-in-progress? [BILLY]:
Yeah, I think we want to have multiple sides. We’re in a dual city, half’s in Texas and half’s in Arkansas. So, you know, we would like to have some spots that serve our surrounding areas, is the initial goal and maybe, you know, maybe take it a little further than that. But start here with two offices and then move. We’re in one location right now and I’m currently in the process of getting Arkansas licensure wrapped up so I can hop over the state line and open up an office over there, and just give us access to both states, and also carry an Oklahoma license because it’s only an hour away, and we also service an office over there. [ALISON]:
Oh, nice. So, does that present some unique challenges, having different locations in different states? [BILLY]:
Yeah, it’s more fees, and different continuing education hours and, you know, everybody likes you to take their ethics face-to-face by their state’s standards and, you know, it’s keeping up with all that, and everybody’s stuff is due at a different time so it gets a little cumbersome, but it also can be financially rewarding. And for me, it allows me to serve two separate types of populations. In our office in Oklahoma, it’s primarily Medicaid and lower socioeconomic. Here, in our hometown of Texarkana, it would be more middle to upper middle class. So, there’s a mixture of issues that kind of keep things fresh for me and I like being able to move in and out of both worlds. For me, that’s good. [ALISON]:
Nice, yeah that’s great. So, what is the nonprofit like for you Brandy? I was Googling you a little bit before we got on the interview, and it looks like you have a lot of staff, which is great. What do you find sort of the most rewarding but also the most challenging about kinda being the director of the whole operation? [BRANDY]:
I think the most challenging, and the most rewarding, is people. Because, when you hire staff on, you have to be… I was given the advice one time, long ago – when you hire people, make sure you hire them knowing that you would have to fire them one day, which is a really dark way of looking at it, but I understand that because you have to really, really put the work in before you hire that person. And it just depends on what type of business you want to run. So if you’re 1099s or you’re W-2s, that makes the world of difference on how you run your operations as well, because you can have very independent people where they’re just kind of checking in, doing their own thing, 1099in’ it… You have W-2s, and that’s just a whole different story. So, our nonprofit, you know, our people can go across the street or therapists can go across the street and make twenty thousand dollars more, because we are a nonprofit. So, what can I give them? And what kind of environment? What kind of leadership skills? What can I do to entice them to stay, so that they’re not going to a community health place, or they’re not going into private practice, which is exactly what a lot of your people are doing because they know if they come work for me at a nonprofit, as a therapist, they’re not gonna make as much as they could in private practice. So I have to do a lot of leadership training, I have to do a lot of shared leadership and empowering people and giving them the flexible schedules and finding out what it is that they want in a work environment and in a job, that they would stay with me. So, retention is really big for me. It can kill my nonprofit. [ALISON]:
Yeah. So, what are some of those things you figured out that you have had to implement to get people to stay? [BRANDY]:
I think making the mistakes along the way is part of it, learning what makes them want to leave. But I think it really comes down to giving people choice, giving people a voice. I think it’s a lot of inclusion. I think it is a lot of listening, which I haven’t always been good at doing. But listening to individuals and finding out what it is they want, and that a blanket program does not fit people. So, some people really love the extra vacation days. Some people like the flexible schedules because they’re moms. Some people like the morale and the team. We have a lot of ‘play’ at our job because we deal with Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse. Physical, but mostly Sexual, all day long. So that’s what a lot of our therapists see, trauma, sexual abuse trauma, all day long. So how do I keep them from secondary trauma? How do I teach them self-care in a way that is beneficial to them? Because not everybody handles self-care the same way, and then how do I hear them? How do I know their needs? And then how do we keep it light in between all of the heavy? Because it’s so much heavy. And that’s a big thing for me is ‘play’. So, we have a lot of stupid games, we do a lot of contests, we are constantly having contests, [BILLY]:
Laser tag days. [BRANDY]:
…laser tag days, scavenger hunt days, whatever it is, but involving our staff. And so it is funny because we’ll have contests, we have monthly contests that go up at the first of the month, and everybody’s competing against each other for whatever it is, and you’ll see a therapist or a forensic interviewer, come out of their office with a child and take the child to the parents and they leave and then the next thing you know, they’re looking for clues before their next client comes and getting really competitive and wanting to win the $5 gift card to Starbucks, but mostly really just the right to brag that they won this contest and so implementing a lot of that, implementing celebrations. Again, it’s different with W-2 than it is 1099. But when I do have my 1099 employees, they are invited to be with us during this time. And so it is a collaboration, it does become a family, and when we look at it as, when you come on with us, we want you to stay forever, and if you come with us, we’re going to take care of you, we’re going to fight, we’re probably going to get in trouble sometimes, we’re probably going to not like each other sometimes. But we’re always going to come back to, we’re family, we’re here for a higher purpose, and we want to know what you think and what your voice is, and how can we make this more than a job? How is this a place where you want to stay forever? [ALISON]:
That’s great. And I think that it sounds like you put a lot of intention into the culture that you’ve built. And I wonder if, you know, there’s some other things maybe that you don’t even realize that you do that helps them to have that feeling of, like, we’re a family and we’re looking out for each other and, I can sorta voice my opinion and not be afraid of being criticized, or whatever. [BRANDY]:
I think that some have voiced their opinion and it pissed me off. They’ve had, and they’ve gotten, you know, probably more than they wanted. But then I’ve had to, also, when they do come and voice their opinion and tell me I’ve done a really crappy job as a boss, I have to do a lot of self-reflecting, let my ego go and apologize. And that’s really big, we talk about that at work a lot, is we have to give each other grace and that includes me. And so, I’m going to mess up, they are going to mess up. And it’s having these conversations, just like we do with our partners or our spouses or our kids… We are going to get on each other’s nerves, we’re going to annoy each other, and we’re gonna mess up and say the wrong things. But, at the end of the day, we presume positive intentions, nobody’s out to hurt each other, and we give grace as much as we can. And always lean on that side of grace, and always lean on that side of mercy, and that’s me too. I’ve had my butt handed to me by a couple employees before, who said, hey, you’re really screwing this up. We don’t like the way you’re doing this. This is not who we are. You’re the one that set these standards, you ought to stick to them too. And it’s been hard. It’s been hard when I’ve wanted to quit and walk out the door and just be like, they don’t get it, they don’t know. And then I have to stop and say, okay, I can’t. I’ve got to practice what I preach, and if my ego’s in the way, I gotta get it out of the way, I gotta move to the left. [BILLY]:
Well, let me speak to that. I married way up, Alison, I just sit back and stand in awe of this wonderful lady when she comes in and she is venting and she’s angry, but she always goes back and looks at her behavior, and takes it upon herself to take action where she’s, you know, may have misstepped, and to correct those things. And I think in leadership, that’s a beautiful thing. And not that we always get it right, but that’s what I’ve always looked for in leaders, you know, do they walk with a limp? Do they have humility? You know, have they done life in a way that’s something I can sit back and look at, and admire and respect, and that’s what I’ve gotten to see in her. So, I’ve taken so many lessons that she’s brought to the table for me and implemented into my own life, because if it comes to who’s a better natural leader, it’s my wife, hands-down, any day. I don’t wear that as comfortably as her, but I think we can all learn to be that when needed. [BRANDY]:
Thanks, Billy. [ALISON]:
Yeah, that was such a nice compliment. Yeah, I think that’s so important, as the leader to, like, admit when you do mess up or admit that you don’t know all the answers or you made a mistake or, you know, get that feedback from your staff. That’s something that I have kind of implemented into my kinda regular check-ins with my staff to ask them, like, well, what am I not doing well, like, what would you wish I did do or whatever, you know, and so, getting that feedback, I think, is really important and it sounds like you’ve created a really nice environment there, where they feel comfortable telling you that, which is a big deal. [BRANDY]:
Yeah, sometimes they’re a little too comfortable. Also, though, it’s financially smart for me to retain my employees, I mean, you know that. You’re going to spend more money, especially if they file for unemployment. So, I know most people or most states deal with an at-will employee, but if you really look at if you’ve employed someone, and you’re a W-2, and it is an at-will state, it’s never at-will. They can always sue you for wrongful termination, and they can always file unemployment on you, and that is not financially good unless you’re paying in it all the time, which a lot of people, a lot of businesses, aren’t paying in. But really, if you do your paperwork right and you have to let someone go, if they’re a W-2, you shouldn’t have to pay it, but if you’re not listening to your employees and you’re not working on retention, it’s gonna cost you. [ALISON]:
Yeah, for sure. And I think that’s such a big thing that we talk about when we’re teaching new practice owners how to create a really nice work culture. Obviously, you want to come to work and feel good about, you know, interacting with your employees and that kind of thing. But, also, like you’re saying, like, the retention is such an important piece, because it’s so much work and so much expense to have to replace people all the time. [BRANDY]:
So, Billy, can you tell us a little bit more about kinda what it’s like to have the group practice and, Brandy has the nonprofit and I know you’re both parents, to three kids, and I have three kids too so I understand. And then, so, you have, like, that whole work-life balance thing going on. How do you manage that? And how do you find time to spend on your marriage as well? [BILLY]:
Well, it’s tricky, and sometimes we do it well, and life will usually correct us when we’re not. And we can feel the tension in the room when we haven’t made time for each other. So, I think this last year, we looked at being more intentional about that, the busier we got and, you know, that’s kind of how our podcast was born. Brandy’s nonprofit was taking her in one direction, my private practice was taking me in another direction and we were busy, busy, busy and never found ourselves in the same room, unless it was parenting, and so, on a whim, we started a podcast together. And it has caused conflict, it has produced growth, there’s been tears and laughter, and all the wonderful things that make up a good relationship, but we found a shared interest. And it was important we found something we wanted to do together, and for us, it happened to be having this silly little podcast that we do once a week, for some people, you know, it may be something different, but my wife is an adventurer, and I’m kind of a homebody, I know we’ve got to get out of town at least once a month or every other month and go see something in the world outside of our small town here. So, it’s making time for that, and grabbing the kids, and making time for them individually. And, it gets complicated and confusing, and we may or may not have left one at school, or thinking the other one was picking them up and getting a call, “Are you picking up your child today?” But it’s exciting and I wouldn’t have it any other way. [BRANDY]:
Or maybe a full-time nanny. [BILLY]:
That’s why I’m gonna call Alison, get some consulting, and open two more practices. [ALISON]:
Yeah. So, tell us a little bit more about the podcast. I know you said it’s called Beta Male Revolution, so what is the kind of topic, and what types of episodes are you doing? [BILLY]:
Well, yeah, so as you can kind of tell from talking, it was always a joke among our friends that Brandy was the alpha and… [BRANDY]:
I don’t understand what that means. You can tell by the way we’re talking, and I’m the alpha, all of a sudden. [BILLY]:
Yeah. Brandy is the alpha and I’m a bit of the beta. I’m kind of the feeler, and she is task-oriented and really good at getting things done and, not that we don’t trade those roles, but it was kind of an ongoing joke, and we were spending some time with some friends on vacation, a group of couples that we went with, and we kind of saw how the groups divided, and it tended to be in groups of, like, the planners and the organizers, and the people over to the side talking about feelings and marriages and how to make things work in relationship. And they kinda laughingly said “there are all the betas and the alphas are over here”. [BRANDY]:
And it was a mixed group. It was men and women. [BILLY]:
Yeah, it wasn’t one way or the other, and I got to thinking… Growing up, anything ‘beta’, to me, was considered not masculine, and I thought about why that had to be. And then I started. I went and saw Mr. Rogers, the movie that came out, and I thought about what an amazing, gentle human being he was in the world and how, yet, he was this big feeler, but he pushed against things like racism and fought for funding in front of the Senate for PBS, and he was this awesome guy, but you wouldn’t consider a ‘macho’, I don’t think. So, I kind of have always identified with that, and the guys like Cole Rogers, and the feelers, and I just didn’t know where I fit in the world for a long time, and it caused a lot of unhealthy behaviors in me at a young age and that manifested in addiction for me during my 20s, then I went through a recovery process and really learned to become my more authentic self. And that was a softer, gentler human being that happened to be a man. And so, it’s giving language to that, and what are relationships like when, you know, she’s the alpha and I’m the beta, and how do we do life and make it work? [BRANDY]:
And it also gave me permission to stop making excuses for being a boss, or for being assertive, and trying to package myself in this sweet bat your eyes and be quiet at times… And Billy really gave me permission and became my cheerleader to just, like, go out there and [BILLY]:
What do you mean by cheerleader? [BRANDY]:
But just go out there and do life and be the best version of myself, and not worry about boxes that people want to put me in. And, if I’m good at something, just do it. And that was really hard, especially in the South, when women aren’t really given permission to do that, and Billy’s just always given me permission to be who I am, and constantly challenging me to be a better version of that person. But, kinda just taken this life that we have is not as traditional as a lot of people but living outside those boundaries of tradition and being in a marriage that’s 50/50, and it’s really beautiful. [BILLY]:
About once a week, I think Brandy would or I would get the comment of “We know who wears the pants and your family”, you know, talking about Brandy and, you know, just responding with kinda like, we don’t even know what that means. I mean, I know it’s said in a joking way but, you know, it’s okay to do life a little different, and I don’t know that it’s that different. It’s just, we’re saying it’s okay. [ALISON]:
Yeah, and I think that’s great, because I’m sure there’s a lot of men who feel like you do, and there’s that picture, especially in America, of, like, this, you know, you’re supposed to be, like, this rugged, masculine guy, and there’s sort of no alternative to that, and so, I think you’re basically just saying, like, hey, if that’s not who you are, it’s okay to be this over here and, you know, be yourself kinda thing. So, I think that’s really cool. [BILLY]:
Yeah. Yeah, it fits for some and, you know, hopefully people tune in and listen, and if nothing else, you know, it might be interesting. [ALISON]:
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s great. Yeah, so, I know we had met briefly at Killin’It camp, last October. Do you want to share a little bit about your experience there? Or something you took away that you felt like was really important? [BILLY]:
Yeah. Tons of stuff. Relationships. One of the things I do, you mentioned self-care and how do we do it… I keep in contact with a dear friend named Brent Switzer that I met at Killin’It camp, he’s a marriage and family therapist in Georgia. And, even though we live far apart, we check-in once a week, and we make sure we’re making enough time for ourselves and our families, and also, we work on business goals together. So that relationship formed in the cafeteria over just talking and eating, and there was just a bond there that we made. And, Mindy and Daniel Solomon is another couple we spend doing Zoom nights with, and we talk about private practice, and marriage, and so, we love the conference. All the sidebar stuff ended up being probably some of the most important things, relationally, we took away. Now the content, I don’t think it could be replaced. I got so much, when you were on a panel with Whitney and Joe, and y’all answered questions, and we were able just to pour out our anxieties and fears, and y’all were able to help calm and alleviate some of those in a way that’s just like, hey, this is the process you’re going through, here’s what you need to go do next, and here’s what you need to do after that. Because I think, when you’re first starting out, it’s like this big, huge mountain, and you don’t know what path to go up first, but just to have somebody come along beside you that’s been there and say, okay, just breathe, take the first step. Here’s what you need to do. Go get a website, do some marketing, you know, here’s what your rich structure should look like. [BRANDY]:
Get a virtual assistant. [BILLY]:
Get you a virtual assistant, we’ve got cards for that over here, we’ve already got a system set up for you. To have that all in one place, was a lifesaver for me. And there’s still things I haven’t added, like consulting with you, that I’m going to do, that’s on my list of things I need to do this next year. [ALISON]:
Nice, nice. [BILLY]:
Yeah, I’ll be giving you a call. [ALISON]:
Okay, good. Excellent. What did you get out of going to Killin’It camp, Brandy? [BRANDY]:
Well, it was very interesting because I’m not a therapist. I do employ some therapists, but I’m not a therapist. And so, I went to really support Billy and get as many resources as I can so that I could help him, because he’s in sessions all day long, and, you know, I have a little bit of experience, but what I got out of it is exactly what Billy said, were the relationships that became resources. So, all of the relationships that we made, it’s like, and with the podcast as well, you have this group of people that you can ask questions to. You’re not competing with one another, you’re helping one another. So, if I have questions about a virtual assistant, I know to go to Alison. If I have questions about… one of our friends, Dr. Mindy Solomon, she has a private practice, and I need to know how her billing system was set up and Billy talks to her about going cash pay instead of doing insurances, so we just have this network of people that we met and we’ve stayed really close to that have turned into these relationships and resources. And also, just like, again, I’m going to use the term ‘cheerleaders’ for you. They’re all wanting the best for you. [BILLY]:
So, when you call them out of the blue, they’re okay with it. They take your calls, and they answer your questions. [BILLY]:
Yeah, we’re absolutely going again, and don’t tell Joe this, but I’d probably pay double for it. I hope he doesn’t listen [BRANDY]:
No, we are not paying double, not in our budget. [ALISON]:
Nice. So, I’m curious, do you, Brandy, since you’re kind of the boss and obviously, you know, you’re running your own nonprofit, like, do you end up giving Billy advice about how to run his practice? Or, do you try to avoid that because then it affects your relationship? [BRANDY]:
Both. I try to wait until he asks and then sometimes, like, I don’t want to give unsolicited advice, but then sometimes I just have to step in, because I’ve told him certain things, like, when you’ve got this many people in your building, you’re going to be managing people at some point, and you’re going to have to leave the chair. And, I think that he’s so good in the chair, he doesn’t want to leave and doesn’t realize that, when you start bringing these people on, that you’re going to have a little bit more responsibility than you thought before. And given that Billy, he’s such a great therapist, and I’m really mean that, like, I trust his way with people, he’s just so good at it. But I don’t know how he would be managing people in conflict, because he’s so kind-spirited, and so, just a natural peacemaker. That’s just really what he’s good at. So, we’ve had a lot of those conversations and, just, clarity and, like, what do you really want? [BILLY]:
Yeah, and, you know, if some point we get to it, and it’s grown to a certain point, and it’s like, do I really want a group practice, because that’s just naturally where you’re supposed to go? That’s the natural progression? Or do I want to go a different direction? And we’ve kind of tossed that around and talked about doing things together and Brandy being in more of a leadership role and, as far as that goes. And so I think we bounce things off each other, because when it comes to like person-centered stuff, and interpersonal, and communication with other people, she’ll come to me sometimes and say, I had this conversation with an individual, I don’t really know what to say or what they’re thinking, and we can just kind of riff and bounce things off, and I can say, I’m struggling with this business concept, and I really don’t know how to implement, you know, ‘pay yourself first’ and she’ll go into, you know, hey, let me check that out and we’ll see how to make your bottom line get to where you want it to be. [BRANDY]:
But he doesn’t listen to me, just so you know. [BILLY]:
Then I do the opposite of what she told me. And then I get into trouble and then it hurts me and then I come back, and I apologize. And then I do it her way and life goes better. [BRANDY]:
That’s right. [BILLY]:
It’s recorded. You can play it back. [BRANDY]:
It’s true. Yeah, it’s funny because my husband tried to start his own business a couple years ago, and was struggling, and I was giving him advice, and he didn’t listen to me either. So, he doesn’t have his own business anymore. [BILLY]:
Well, when we were in Colorado, I just sat there, and I watched you and you had your little one with you. [ALISON]:
And it was just such a beautiful thing, the life you had created where you could do something like that and come give it yourself, you know, when you spoke, I’m like, I have to know how she’s doing what she’s doing, to have the kind of freedom to do something like this and give it to other people. And it was very… it drew me in. And so, everything that you’ve put out and said, I’m always sure to listen and pass along to friends who are starting their own private practice because I believe it’s gold. [ALISON]:
Thank you. That’s very nice. Yeah, it was a little crazy taking a four-month-old to a conference. [BILLY]:
The fact that you could was amazing. And, you know, and I’m sure it was cumbersome, and you had some sleepless nights, but thank you for showing up and passing along your wisdom. [ALISON]:
Yeah, no, it was great. I was so glad I could be there and glad I could take the baby with me. And there was really no other good alternative than bringing him along so, yeah, no, it was great. And I really just appreciated how like gracious everybody was and, you know, they all love seeing the baby, even when he was crying, so that was good. Any kinda parting words of wisdom for somebody who might be thinking about starting a group practice or is already running a group practice, Billy? [BILLY]:
You know, I think the initial investment of consulting, I can always point back to you guys who do that. If you really want to fast track yourself, tap into people who’ve been there and have already done it, and they can help you avoid some costly pitfalls. I know it can look like a big chunk of change on the front end, but what it can save you in some confusing times, and just having someone you can call and talk to. So, that would be number one. Put in a self-care plan, because you don’t think about that in the beginning, you don’t think anybody’s gonna show up and you’re gonna have plenty of time. But you have to know what number you’re willing to shut it down at. Otherwise, you can get into, I can add one more, I can see 10 or 11 people a day, I could do that five days a week, and you’ll find yourself burnt out and no good for anybody. So, definitely ahead, find out what number you want to shoot for and make sure it’s attainable, and you have some time in there to really recharge and take care of yourself and your family. [ALISON]:
Yeah, great advice. And Brandy, I know you don’t run a private practice, but it sounds like you’re doing something somewhat similar, and you’re the boss, managing people, so any words of wisdom for people who are running a group practice? [BRANDY]:
I would say, really put in the work on hiring the people that reflect what you want. And that’s a tough thing to do in one interview. But really, have the culture set up and the standards/expectations up front, and that they know that, and spend time on that front end when you bring people on. Because that will wear you out, just like Billy said, it’s like a self-care plan. If you’re not willing to put in the time on the hiring process and really vetting the people that you bring in, if you’ve got the wrong person it can drain you. [BILLY]:
Yeah, I think we get we look at numbers and just paper and you think, if I bring on this person, they can add this and they can take care of this and they’ll bring this much to the bottom line… But if you’re just in a hurry to get the body in there and to push the numbers where you want them, and you don’t have the culture established first, then you can get into some really tricky, uncomfortable situations that are going to cost you more in the long run. [ALISON]:
Yes, I have been there done that and I totally agree that you have to be really clear about your culture and who’s a good fit, who’s not a good fit. Because, yeah, a great employee can make your job 10 times easier and a bad fit can make your job 10 times worse. [BRANDY]:
Yeah, it’s the most burning thing you’ll go through. [BILLY]:
Yeah. So, I would rather get a consultant that’s hired a bad employee and can explain to me the process, than hire that employee and learn myself. [ALISON]:
Well, Brandy and Billy, I really appreciate your time. It’s been really fun talking to you and I just really appreciate your humor and how you work together. Thank you so much. [BRANDY]:
Thank you! [BILLY]:
Thank you, Alison. [BRANDY]:
Thank you, Alison. [ALISON]:
Well, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Billy and Brandy. They are such genuine, down-to-earth people, and I just love how they talk about each other and how they kind of bounce things off of each other. We just laughed, and we had a great time, as you could probably tell from listening to the interview, so definitely check out Beta Male Revolution. It’s a great podcast, and we’ll see you all next time.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal mental health or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.