Christy Pennison on Struggling Solo to a Successful Group Practice in One Year | GP 52

What are some common hurdles that practice owners face when going from solo to group? What benefits does your practice enjoy when you collaborate with your clinicians? Can delegating be the first step to your practice growing exponentially?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Christy Pennison about going from a struggling solo to a successful group practice in one year.

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Whether you’re a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh, or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution. During the month of January, they’re running their biggest sale of the year!

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Meet Christy Pennison

Christy Pennison is a licensed professional counselor, mental health consultant, and owner of Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting in Alexandria, LA. She is passionate about inspiring hope for change through counseling, consulting, and speaking to help individuals of all ages move forward and live fully.

Visit her website and connect Facebook.

Email Christy at christy@beinspiredcc.com

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Christy’s hindsight lessons
  • If your therapists are happy, your clients are happy

Christy’s hindsight lessons

At the beginning of her journey from solo to group, Christy dove right into Group Practice Boss and learned from Teachable accounts to see what she had to familiarize herself with right off the bat.

Just building relationships, putting the energy into reaching out to people and also during the pandemic making sure I was able to put information out there for people that were struggling at that time. (Christy)

By continuing to look for resources when it looked bad and not being afraid to pay money out of her savings gave Christy the ability to keep going through the most difficult months.

Christy was inspired to share her knowledge and to help people in her community and this motivation spurred her on to keep working.

Being able to just put information out there to people I think really helped people that were not able to access mental health services, but also doing some of those things helped bring more awareness to the service I was offering. (Christy)

After Christy’s practice started to build momentum in the later months of the year, she hired a virtual assistant, who propelled her practice by taking on administrative work and giving Christy the ability to focus on building the practice.

If your therapists are happy, your clients are happy

I started with a collaborative culture and we talk about the questions … what do you feel like needs working? What do you feel is not working? What are some ideas you have for us to improve? … That dialogue has been very helpful in creating an open-door, comfortable environment where the clinicians are able to express their ideas. (Christy)

A system that has been set up to benefit the clinicians will ultimately end up benefitting the clients as well because the clinicians feel comfortable in their workspace to give it their all and are supported in the work that they do.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Alison Pidgeon

A portrait of Alison Pidgeon is shown. She discusses ways to grow your group practice on this week's episode of Practice of the Practice. 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. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[ALISON PIDGEON…: Well, we did it. 2020 has finally come to an end and we have made it out the other side. And while there may still be a lot of uncertainty about what this year will have in store, there’s one thing we know for sure. Your services as a therapist have never been more central, making it the perfect time to ensure your private practice website attracts your best fit clients and gets them to call you. Whether you’re a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution. And during the entire month of January, they’re running the biggest sale of the year. From now until the end of the month, they’re completely waiving all setup fees and only charging $39 a month for your entire first year of a new website. That’s a savings of $240 for your first year of website service with Brighter Vision. All you have to do is go to brightervision.com/joe, to learn more and take advantage of this great deal. That’s brightervision.com/joe.
Grow a Group Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you grow your group practice. To hear other podcasts like the Imperfect Thriving Podcast, Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
Hey everyone, I’m Alison Pidgeon your host of the Grow a Group Practice Podcast. I’m so glad that you joined me today. I have a fun interview with Christy Pennison, who is a group practice owner. She owns a practice called Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting in Alexandria, Louisiana, and she has such a great kind of infectious energy. She started out in our Next Level Practice community and has recently joined our Group Practice Boss community as she expanded into a group practice. It was so cool to hear her story. She went from really struggling in her solo practice to being more than full and then hiring two clinicians on top of that and starting a group practice. And she talks about it in this interview, how she realized she needed help and she just kept showing up and kept asking questions in our membership community and obviously figured out what it takes to have a successful practice. So, I’m really proud of what Christy has accomplished. And I hope you enjoy this interview with Christy Pennison.
[ALISON]: Christy, welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad you’re here.
[CHRISTY PENNIS…: Thanks for having me Alison. I appreciate it.
[ALISON]: So, I thought a really good place to start would be for you to kind of tell us about your group practice as it stands now. So, we’re filming this at the, or recording in at the very beginning of 2021. So, tell us about your practice right now.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah, so I am located in Alexandria, Louisiana. So, I tell people that are not really familiar with Louisiana, if you look at the it, we’re right in the middle. And so, I have a group practice there, but we also do online counseling as well. And right now it’s me, I have two independent contractor clinicians, and we have a virtual assistant and we see really all ages and we each have different specialties from really four and up as well as individuals and couples. So, we see a variety of issues, but it’s been really fun to have a team and a group now with me to be able to provide these diverse services into our community.
[ALISON]: Nice. So are you insurance-based or self-pay?
[CHRISTY]: Yeah, we take actually, well, we are insurance-based. Right now we accept one plan. So, we have one insurance plan that we do accept, and that was just because I didn’t want to dive way too deep into the insurance world without knowing how to navigate it. And so, we have one and then we’re also private pay. So, we probably see maybe about a 60, 40 split from 40% being private pay to 60% be an insurance, but we have one main insurance in the community that we live in and that’s the one that we do accept.
[ALISON]: Oh, nice. Yeah. I feel like that’s kind of the best of both worlds.
[CHRISTY]: Oh yeah. Well, it’s been a good mix and we sit down every now and then and evaluate, should we get credentialed with another plan? And we’re just kind of playing that by year and seeing what the needs of the community are and then trying to make a decision as we go along about, okay, how does this fit within our practice and how accessible do we want to be able to provide this to have a little bit more accessibility for our community. But right now, a lot of times what happens is those that do take an insurance that we don’t accept most of the time, they’re more than willing to pay the private pay. So, we really don’t have a lot of overlap.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s how it works in my practice too. So, I know you’ve been in the Practice of the Practice communities for a while. You started out in Next Level Practice which is more kind of beginner’s group and now you’ve moved into Group Practice Boss since you’re a boss lady now. So, it’s been really cool to watch your progress. And I know you posted recently about just sort of looking back at what you’ve accomplished and it’s, you know, sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the middle of it to realize how much you’ve done, but if you can kind of maybe sort of recap that post that you put up, because I think it was really powerful for a lot of people.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah. And well, and I think about the past, I guess now it’s been a year and a half since I’ve been in practice and I think about the journey. Like I just want people to know that no matter where you start, you can get to where you want to go. It’s just maybe not going to be as easy as you initially think it’s going to be. But actually in 2019, I remember I came home. I was living at a city that was probably about an hour and a half South of where I live now, and I came back home one weekend and visited some friends, spend some time with some family and this light bulb just went off to say like, you know what, what’s keeping me at the city that I’m in? Because I moved down there initially for a job opportunity.
I had managed, I actually started, grew and then became the regional director eventually of a middle home and community-based mental health program. And so, but at that point I’d done that for about four years and then I transitioned out of there and worked, contract actually for a group practice. And when I came back home that weekend, I said, “What is stopping me from actually taking the leap and doing this myself?” And there’s a big need in the community that I was from for more just mental health services. And so, I remember I went to sleep that night, I woke up the next day, I actually sat at my mom’s, because we were visiting my mom’s. I sat on my mom’s kitchen table and I wrote out this plan for this counseling practice called Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting. And I mean, I said, what would I need, where would I need to start, and just kind of really just wrote out the whole idea and concept of what I wanted it to look like.
But I’ll be honest, Alison. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, is this something that I really want to do? Like it was kind of that question because it was going to be a big leap for me, because I’m a single mama and one income household and I have a daughter. And so, moving all, me, her and all of our furry animals back to the home town was going to be a big leap. But I’ll be honest with you. All of the details just started to fall in line. Like I was able to sell my home there, we were able to transition and actually in a matter of, probably about four months, because I think the idea came to me in April, 2019. By August, I had found a building, put the money up for the lease and just took the leap of faith of like, we’re going to live off savings for a while, we’re going to make this happen.
And so, I think that was one of the things that helped me make it happen was because there was no safety net. And when you don’t have a safety net, you have to make it work. And I remember some family members were like, Oh, “You know, you can go get this part-time job over here.” “Maybe you should think about this.” And I’m like, I just did not want to admit that that could be a possibility. And so, probably in September of 2019 is when I opened the doors and I remember sitting there probably about October, November in a room by myself because I never worked by myself before. And I’m thinking to myself, “Wait, why isn’t the phone ringing?” I may have had literally, I don’t know, maybe three clients at that point. So, I wasn’t even, I was actually still paying for the expenses of the business out of my savings.
[ALISON]: Oh, no.
[CHRISTY]: Yes, yes. I had prepared for that. So, I would say too, like, you know, being able to have that financial on you, that this is how long I could go until it was critical, you know, until it was like, okay, this is not okay anymore. But I just remember sitting there and somehow I found the Practice of the Practice podcast. I started listening to it and I said, “Okay, I’ve got to get help because I need to be able to make this work.” And so, that’s how I ended up joining the Next Level Practice community probably in, I want to say it was November or December of 2019. So, that’s just how, I guess I got started, but I’ll take you through the next year if you’d like about what that year during the pandemic and all of that stuff looked like for me, for me to go from a single to group in that amount of time.
[ALISON]: Yeah. And I just, I wanted to pause you there for a second, because I think that’s such a great story about how, you know, like you said, when you have no safety net and you need to make it work, you just keep looking for ways to make it work. You know, it’s like, it’s really easy, especially in that situation, I would guess for anybody to say like, “Oh, well I don’t really, I’m not getting enough calls. This isn’t working. I’m just going to give up.” But you were like, “Nope, I’m not giving up. I’m just going to keep finding a way to get some help and figure out how I can make this work.” So, I think that’s great.
Speaker 2: Yeah, well, and I will, and I completely agree, like sometimes not having another plan B, I would say, makes you be resourceful to find the, ask the right questions, put yourself out there a little bit more because you know that there’s not necessarily an alternative. But I think it does also go back to, you know, what we even do as therapists, is helping people challenge their thoughts and be able to envision what they want for their future. And I guess the belief that it was possible in my brain, even though there was things that came up against me, I just kind of, every time I wanted to quit, I went back to that. Like, “No, you can do this, stick with it.”
But I knew I needed some, I just figured out I needed some people. And so, that’s how, the reason why I joined Next Level Practice, because it can be very lonely when you’re starting out. It can be lonely even if you are a group practice owner, because there’s not always a community or you don’t have like coworkers and things of that nature that you can always really talk freely with. And so, the value of community has been, I think really part of the game changer for me in being able to grow to a group practice in a short amount of time.
[ALISON]: I’m glad you brought that up because I felt the same way in the beginning of growing the group practice. Like I didn’t really know too many other group practice owners. I knew a lot of people in solo practice and so, I would want to talk about like business-related stuff and they were just like, not interested or like couldn’t relate to it. So, yeah, I think the community, especially the Group Practice Boss community is so great because it’s like, “Oh, okay. These people get it.”
[CHRISTY]: Definitely. And then you can ask a question anytime you want. And as Alison knows, I like to ask a lot of questions and Alison, you probably wouldn’t believe this, but I used to be so scared of asking questions of other people. True story. But then I said, if you want to know something you’re going to have to ask. And I don’t know if it was my feeling like I needed to know things, but now I don’t mind. I’m like, “I have a question. I need some help. Somebody please help me.”
[ALISON]: Yeah, no, it’s great. I always enjoy your energy and your positivity in the group. So, I’m glad that you’re there.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah, and I always appreciate you Alison, because whether you believe this or not, Alison has helped me so far along this journey. So, I think when you do really get community, you realize it’s not just you that’s walking the journey. There are other people that are helping you get to where you want to be. And I think you can get places a lot faster. if you have people that are supporting you, giving you their advice of what’s worked for them, what’s not worked for them. And I want to acknowledge you Alison, because you have definitely been one of those. I feel like you’re one of those life raft, you know, the lifesaver where I can envision myself trying to just keep my head about above water at times and then Allison’s like, “Here’s your life raft. Please just grab and hold. I’ll help you out. ”
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you. So, I think this is a really good point in the story for you to kind of tell us what’s happened over the past year. So, obviously where you left off was you had started the solo practice, you felt like you were sort of floundering and you didn’t have that many clients, you were using your savings to pay the bills of the practice. So, obviously you’ve made a pretty big transformation in a short period of time. So, maybe it would be good to sort of give us some of the highlights, but also tell us if looking back, obviously hindsight is 2020, were there some really strategic things that you did that you think helped get you where you are now?
[CHRISTY]: Absolutely. Yeah, hindsight is often, I was listening to a quote recently ‘Life can be understood backwards, but it’s to be lived forwards,’ and I think that when you look back, you can say, “Okay, here’s what worked, here’s what didn’t, but how did I keep moving forward?” So, yeah, I just started joining Next Level Practice and I think one of the things that I did, but maybe because I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to do this Alison. I could stand there and I’m like, “Okay, what can I learn in Teachable?” And still to this day, I haven’t done all the curriculum, but I said, what do I need to learn right now? And so I think that’s important, like the own time learning. Sometimes as learners, we can get wrapped up in all of the things, but what did I need to learn right now and making sure that I just did it even if it wasn’t perfect.
And so, in that year, obviously I’d started the beginning of the year out, very hopeful. I had these clear goals. Actually in my mind, Alison, for some reason I thought it was possible that even though I was still living from the savings that maybe by the middle of the year, I was going to have a group practice. But as we all know, I think March hit and I remember that was a big shift for me because I think right before the pandemic happened, I was at that point where I was seeing maybe seven clients a week, maybe seven to 10. And those were all private pay then because I started out just accepting private pay while I was getting paneled with an insurance, which that some things we don’t realize is that if you want to take an insurance, sometimes it takes 90 days while in my case, it seemed like 120 days.
If we’re looking at the calendar to actually get credential. And so, what am I saving graces was that right around the time that the pandemic hit, I actually got paneled with one, the major insurance that we do take that’s in our area. And that was a big relief for a lot of people that were, you know, just caught up in a state of, I don’t know what’s going to happen. There was a lot of panic and fear at that time and so, in financial maybe insecurity. And so, for me to be able to have that plan be available and be able to accept that insurance plan was, I think really helpful. But I had a little period of transition in that April. In fact, at that point I did had a contract that really needed my help because of all the things, the contract position that I had just kind of signed up for.
It’s something that you did kind of as needed if you were available. And so, moved everybody to tele-health, did that for the month of April, but then after April, just things started to happen. I mean, all of the work that I’d put in that I’d learned in Next Level Practice, whether it been writing blog posts or putting stuff on social media or going and building relationships that I’d worked really hard to do at the very beginning of the year before everything kind of shut down for a period of time, all of the SEO work that I had done, or it just started to all kind of pay off, you know. One of the things I did that year was also joined a local counselor community that we had here and actually ended up taking over some of the leadership of that group for a little while too. And I’m actually still doing that, but just building relationships, putting the energy into reaching out to people and also during the pandemic, making sure that I was able to put information out there for people that were struggling at that time.
[ALISON]: I was just going to say, I’m glad that you kind of talked about all of the things that you did during the pandemic, because it was interesting for me. Obviously in my role as a consultant, there were definitely people who were like, “Oh my gosh, the sky is falling. I’m just going to like crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until this is over.” They didn’t want to do anything with their business. And then there were other people who were like, “Okay, this is just a new challenge. We just need to like pivot, find ways to kind of work through it now that like the landscape has changed.” And those people are right now doing amazing. And the people who decided to stop and not do anything are like behind. So, it’s kind of like, you were one of those people who was like, “Okay, we’ll just keep working through this.” And obviously it paid off for you.
[CHRISTY]: Well, and I vividly remember, I actually had a coach that was in a different kind of setting and they just told our mentor and they told me, Christy, you just need to go and share your knowledge and serve people the best you can during this time. And so, I think that advice really kind of encouraged me to get past my old fears because even though talking now, it comes more freely to me, like getting on Facebook Lives at one point was scary for me. And so, being able to just put information out there to people I think really helped people that maybe weren’t able to access mental health services, but also doing some of those things helped bring more awareness to the service that I was offering. So, then when people were like, “Okay, I need to talk to somebody then,” because I had put some of that information out there, I was kind of top of mind, I guess, so to speak because they’re like, “Well, hey, yeah, I saw this counselor on whatever and you need to go maybe talk to her.”
And so, that’s what kind of helped, but just to continue on the year, so, as the year kind of progressed, I got a little bit busier. There was a point in time, I want to say maybe around July or August, where I was pretty much at that point getting really full and really at that point, didn’t have any place to put other clients because I was seeing over the maximum that I ideally would like to see. And so, the next step was get a virtual assistant to help me answer phone calls. And I think, you know, I was really scared about that because I mean, you, Alison Joe, everybody says delegate, delegate, delegate, but sometimes handing that hat off to somebody else can be a little bit scary.
[ALISON]: Yeah. For sure. So, how did you kind of manage that transition of like, knowing that you couldn’t handle all the administrative work and you needed to hire somebody? Like, what was that process like for you? Or how did you do that?
[CHRISTY]: Well, I actually remember listening to something that Whitney had put out there which, Whitney Owens leads Group Practice Boss with Alison, if anybody’s not aware of that. Whitney had put something out there and about how she had gotten her VA, which was somebody local and the way that she went about doing it. And I said, “You know what?” I really wanted somebody that was local because we do have interesting, it’s just a different culture here and I wanted somebody that understood the culture of our community. And so, all I did was put out a post on Facebook that said, “Hey, this is what I’m looking for. I just need somebody to work at least maybe five hours a week to start, five to 10 hours.” I didn’t know how much work I could give them, but my main priority was to get them to answer the phones and schedule people.
[ALISON]: Absolutely.
[CHRISTY]: And I didn’t think anybody was going to respond. That was part of my brain. I was like, “Mmh, does anybody really want to do this?
[ALISON]: Yeah, who wants to work five hours a week? And then you got like flooded with applicants?
[CHRISTY]: Yes. I mean, I got at least, probably four, I would think four or five people that reached out to me and said, “Hey, I’d definitely be interested.” And who I ended up getting on board with me was actually a girl that I went to high school with, and we really have lost connections throughout the years, but she has been one of the best choices that I could have ever made.
[ALISON]: Ooh.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah. She just fits so well in she does a great job. Like she says, I think, you know, it, ultimately, she probably could be a counselor really. Modest student, has had the formal education for it, but she really does great at answering the phones, listening to people, making them feel heard, and then being able to get them scheduled with a clinician that really fits with the problems that they’re experiencing. And so, she has been game changer number one.
[ALISON]: Yeah, I was going to ask you how has that been like knowing you don’t have to do all those things anymore?
[CHRISTY]: It’s been amazing. And let me tell you this, Alison, she converts, I say converts, but she gets more people scheduled than I was able to.
[ALISON]: My assistant too.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah.
[ALISON]: I see. I think that’s such an important piece. Like getting an assistant because so many people are like, “Oh, I’ll just wait until I hire a couple of people and then I’ll get an assistant,” but then they’re like drowning in work and they barely have time to even like, look for one, much less train them. So, I’m really glad that you shared that story because I feel like that’s such a hard transition for people to make, like thinking about, “What? I’m going to hire someone and they’re going to answer the phone. Like what?”
[CHRISTY]: Yeah. Well, I am very glad that I did it before I hired someone. And I don’t remember if it was you that gave that advice or suggestion or where I heard it from, but …
[ALISON]: It was me.
[CHRISTY]: It was you? Thank you Alison [crosstalk] [ALISON]: I always tell everybody that and everybody’s like, “No, I can wait. I can just keep answering the phone.” And I’m like, “Okay.”
[CHRISTY]: Yeah, because, that’s another good point. Listen to the people that have gone before you. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it exactly the same way, but if they’re offering some advice and suggestions, it’s probably because they’ve learned it either the hard way or they know what could be like if you don’t do that step first. So, yes.
[ALISON]: Yes. For sure. So, you got the virtual assistant in place and then you decided that you wanted to hire folks to work in your practice or how did that come about?
[CHRISTY]: Well, pretty much I did it, the month before I hired a VA, the second month came the first clinician. And at this time too, I’d actually had an intern that was working for me as well. So, she had came on at the beginning of the semester and she was helping to see individuals that maybe couldn’t afford the services that we had. And so, she was able to see some individuals during her period of time because she was only with me for that semester. She was able to provide that service as well. So, but I don’t think she had started in full swing yet. And so, I actually reached out to somebody who I’d talked to. So, this is why also building connections is very important. There was a girl that I had formerly worked with and me and her were actually friends in kind of a casual way. We didn’t like spend time with each other on the weekends or anything like that, but we’d have lunch every occasionally, and so I had reached out to her when I first moved back and just told her what I was doing.
So, this is when I first started the solo practice. And that was another thing I always had the vision for it to turn into a group because I knew I did not, I don’t like working with myself. I’m a social person, like I need people, and so, I remember just talking with her at the beginning just to be like, look, this was something that at some point I want to bring on other clinicians, I think you’d be a great fit because I just knew she was going to be phenomenal. And so, I happened just to text her one day and said, “Hey, look, I’m ready to hire a clinician to come work with me. Would you be interested?” And I felt like the stars just aligned in a perfect position. And she said, “You know what? I have been thinking about this and I think I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to transition and let me just, I have this other thing that I just want to make sure if this is going to pan out or work for me, what’s going to work better, but I might actually accept your offer.”
Yes. And so, she decided to, I answered a lot of her questions. I was very honest with her. I told her, “Look like this is my first time doing. This is going to be a learning process. So, if you’re willing to learn with me and you align with the vision and the values that we have, then I would love to have you.” And I knew she was going along with the values. I just needed her to be willing to take the leap with me because I didn’t know how fast I could fill her up. I didn’t know, you know, what that was going to look like because I’d never done it before. So, she jumped off into the greater, now with me.
[ALISON]: Yeah. And I’m really glad that you brought up about sharing the mission and the values with her because I think that’s such an important part of making sure you’re hiring the right fit. Because you could have somebody who’s a great clinician, but if, you know, they don’t sort of share your values and it’s, you’re probably going to be in conflict a lot of the time. So, it sounds like you did that right from the beginning.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah. Right from the beginning. And again, thanks to you, Alison, because I listen to what you say. I really like, this is something that’s really important because I think if you really want to have a practice that you enjoy, I think being the Group Practice Boss, I think it’s very important to have people that you feel like represent the values and the mission of your counseling practice. And I think I remember when I had formerly supervised people in the past, you know, I remember it only takes one person that does it a lot with that to kind of just disrupt the workflow, like the, I guess, culture. So, I think taking the time to make sure that they are a good fit is really important.
[ALISON]: Yeah. That’s a really good point. So, when did you hire your second person?
[CHRISTY]: Well, probably about two months later. And look in the middle of all, we had two hurricanes in Louisiana, one actually that kind of caused some damage to the office. That’s still not a hundred percent resolved, but I’m claiming it’ll be resolved soon. And so, there was those things that you had to pivot in-between because there was a few times where we actually had to kind of stop seeing clients just for about a week while things got situated, but I hired the second one right at the beginning of December. And she was actually somebody that I had worked at with, at a distance. We would call and collaborate sometimes. And she was looking, she has a full-time job, but she was looking for some part-time work. And I said, I’d actually was able to fill, so I said, I didn’t know how fast I was going to be able to fill the first clinician, but she was pretty much almost full by the end of her first, maybe month, month and a half. So, then I knew, okay, I have to onboard somebody else. And so, then I got the second clinician onboarded at the beginning of December.
[ALISON]: That’s great. So, why do you think people want to come work for you?
[CHRISTY]: Oh, that’s a great question. I don’t know. [crosstalk] I do need to ask that question. I’m going to actually ask them that, I think one of the things that is really important to me, and again, I think I’ve heard this from you, is that it’s really important if your therapists feel good about the work they’re doing. If they’re happy, then your clients are going to be happy. And so, I think at the very beginning have always started, I just had started a collaborative culture where we talk about the questions that you mentioned a lot. Like, what do you feel like is working? What do you feel is not working? What are some ideas that you have for us to improve? What do I feel like is working or not working? And that dialogue has been really helpful in creating a very open door, comfortable environment where people are able to, the clinicians are able to express their ideas and they’ve had some good ideas.
We just had a staff meeting last week where I said, “Well, what would be some, I guess, for you all for our practice that you all might want to see for our practice in this next year?” And they said, “Hey, we’d love to do some maybe some training for parents and maybe couples and do some like online things.” I said, “That sounds like a great idea. We can definitely work on making that happen.” But you know, it’s just that collaborative where they feel heard, listened to and understood, and they feel like there’s somebody who’s helping me solve the problems as they come along. So, if there’s something that’s not working, we work together to make it a better system that’s going to work better for them and ultimately it’s going to work better for the clients as well.
[ALISON]: I’m really glad you’re using that because I feel like those are such powerful questions. And I’ll mention too, if you’re wondering where those came from, it’s from a book called Playing Big by Kim Flynn. Make sure you look for the right author because there’s another book of the same title. That’s sort of similar content, but it’s in chapter 10 of that book. It’s called The Seven Magic Questions. And so, that’s something that I use with my own staff and then obviously we talk about it in the context of Group Practice Boss and for other practice owners, too, to use it with their staff. So, I’m glad to hear that it’s been helpful for you because I find it’s really powerful.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah, it has been very helpful and I’ve joked with Alison before. So, Alison and Whitney started group practice at the exact same time I had just onboarded clinicians. And so, I joke and say that group practice also is really nice for me, but it was really made for everybody, but it was a perfect timing for me to transition because community was so important in helping me grow the practice during the pandemic of a year to what it is now. I think the Group Practice Boss has been able to take me a step further and I’m really excited to see the things that the practice and the impact the practice will have in community that I’ll live in this year, because I’m really excited about some things that we’re working on. And right now I’m ready to, I’m actually interviewing to onboard the third clinician. So, I’m really excited about that as well.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s amazing. I’m so glad that you joined our membership group and it’s so exciting to see all the progress that you’ve made over the past year, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do in 2021.
[CHRISTY]: Well, I’m going to say I couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you very much.
[ALISON]: Thank you. If folks want to get a hold of you, what would be the best way for them to contact you?
[CHRISTY]: Well, the best way to contact me is probably through email@christyattheinspiredcc.com. Reach out to me via email. If you have any questions or hey, you even want to say, “This is where I’m at. Have you ever experienced this?” I will be the person that says “Yes, keep going.” So, if you just need somebody to cheerlead you alone on there, but you can also find out more about the practice as well at be inspiredcc.com where it kind of gives you some more information about our practice.
[ALISON]: Great. All right. Well thank you so much, Kristy, for talking to me today. I really appreciate it.
[CHRISTY]: Thank you for having me, Alison, and look forward to learning more this year in 2021.
[ALISON]: All right, bye. If you are interested in learning more about our membership community for established group practice owners, it’s called Group Practice Boss. Whitney Owens and I run it together. We have a lot of fun working together. It is a great group of people who are very engaged and every month we have a different topic. In the month of January, for example, we’re talking about systems and processes and how to make sure your practice is running really efficiently. So, if that sounds like ongoing support that you could really use, definitely sign up on our email list so you can be notified of when we open the doors again. We only opened the doors a few times a year. The website is www.practiceofthepractice.com/gpbdoor. So, again, that’s [G P B DOOR]. So, I hope to see you in the group and I’ll talk to you next time.
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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.

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