Are you wondering how you can leave your full time job? Is there a cheat sheet that can help me figure out whether I can afford to? Once you leave your full time job, how do you grow your practice?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Lindsey Huttner about how to leave your full time job and grow your business fast.
Next Level Practice is an industry-changing project to help counselors to start a private practice. Unlike many programs that are time-limited, or just an e-course, this brand new approach offers live and recorded trainings, small group accountability, and feedback.
Meet Lindsey Huttner
Lindsey Huttner owns a private practice, Butterfly Effect Therapy in Forest Hill, Queens, New York, specializing in anxiety. She helps people with chronic worry get back control of their lives.
Lindsey’s website is and blog is https://www.butterflyeffecttherapy.com/
You can also find out more about Lindsey here:
Lindsey Huttner’s Story
Lindsey grew up in the Hudson Valley and moved to Westchester for college and eventually to NYC for graduate school, earning her Masters of Social Work from Fordham University.
She spent four years providing intensive family therapy to those in crisis. With a deep passion for helping people through traumatic events, Lindsey sought to continue educating herself at Adelphi University, where she earned a certificate of advanced trauma studies. This path led to her employment with the Department of Veteran Affairs in Northport, Long Island. Lindsey spent several years working with veterans in the mental health clinic. Lindsey served as a team lead for a behavioral therapy at the clinic, supervised master level interns training to become clinicians, and became a certified provider nationally by the VA in treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and couples therapy.
For the last three years, Lindsey has been growing and developing her own practice which is at the heart of her career.
In This Podcast
In this episode, Lindsey Huttner talks about how she started her private practice on the side, three and a half years ago while she was working full time. She then eventually decided to leave her full time job and make her private practice her main focus. With the help of Practice of the Practice worksheet, Lindsey was able to work out how she could work towards her goal of working for herself.
Taking that leap from full time employment to being self employed
It took Lindsey about 8 months to work towards her goal of starting her private practice.
Ramp up your private practice on the side as much as you can, that was really helpful for me to get a whole bunch of clients in before leaving my full time job.
Lindsey worked on building her confidence to raise her rates, she was blogging and had a website – her business boomed as she put these into play.
Even though Lindsey’s business was growing she joined Next Level Practice and found that within this community she learnt even more and took her business to the next level. She is now looking at adding a clinician to her practice.
What Lindsey Implemented in her Practice that Helped her Scale so Quickly
- Having a full time space and maximizing that space by having a clinician in her practice
- Blogging and focusing on online content
- Being clear about the niche she wanted to serve
- Adding a clinician to her practice so that she could earn passive income
Things You Can Do to Grow
Do not be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, take it step by step
- Have a website and blog – make sure that you are blogging about things your ideal client cares about
- Work on your next big idea while working on the day to day
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone and network
- Join Next Level Practice and take advantage of all the resources available therein
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe 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.
Thanks For Listening!
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HOW TO GROW FAST AND LEAVE YOUR FULL TIME JOB WITH LINDSEY HUTTNER
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok – Session Number 309.
INTRODUCTION[JOE] Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Lindsey Huttner. She’s the owner of a private practice in Forest Hills, Queens, New York specializing in anxiety. She helps people with chronic worry to get back to control over their lives. She worked at the VA managing their women’s program including combat PTSD. Linsey, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[LINDSEY] Thanks so much, Joe. Happy to be here.
[JOE] I’m so excited to have you here in the show today. You’ve been rocking out private practice. Maybe take us back a little bit. When did you first start your practice?
[LINDSEY] Sure. I started my practice 3.5 years ago. I was doing it on the side while working full-time for the VA. I was just working on Saturdays and eventually I did another day a week. And, I just never really thought about going full-time until probably a year ago. And then, I started googling things, “What if I were to leave my full-time job and go full time? How do I know when I can do that?” That’s when I came across your sheet on How to Calculate When You Can Leave your Full-time Job.
[JOE] That’s the exact formula I used for leaving my own full-time job. My wife got so sick of me running the numbers. One time she just said, “Seriously, if you’re going to leave your job, that’s fine but I don’t want to hear about it anymore.”
[LINDSEY] Exactly. I ran home to my husband and showed him the sheet. “Look, this is totally doable. I just need to do this many session a week.”
[JOE] I could work less!
[LINDSEY] Yes, exactly. I’m so excited. So ever since then, I found your podcast that way and I’ve been really listening to the podcast rigorously and implementing things to really get my practice off the ground while working full-time which was hard to do. And then, in November, I took a leave. That’s 2017. I left my full-time job at the VA. I jumped in full-time with private practice.
[JOE] So, how long did it take for when you got that sheet. Like, “Okay, this is actually realistic until you left.”
[LINDSEY] I would say it took me like 8 months.
[JOE] Okay, and during those 8 months like what strategies did you recommend to people? You know, they’re in their job now. Maybe they like it, maybe they don’t but they want to make that jump too. If they wanted to do it in 8 months or even less, what should they do during those 8 months to really like out private practice, so they can leave their job?
STRATEGIES[LINDSEY] Yeah, I would say just trying to ramp your private practice on the side as much as you can. That was really helpful for me to get a whole bunch of clients in. I ended up with about 9 or 10 clients before leaving my full-time job but that really gave the courage to put in my notice with them and to just make the job. Rent out a full-time office and be able to do that. There were just tough pinching pennies in between but it’s totally doable while building it up.
[JOE] How did you set your price? How did you ramp up the practice? How did you get people in?
[LINDSEY] Yeah, so, I really started to build my confidence to raise my rates. So, that was a huge thing I did. Once I did that, people weren’t turning me away. They were saying, “Okay, that’s fair enough. That sounds great” because I was confident about it. I was learning how to do that. I was blogging. I did all these nuts and bolts thing before we’ve been full-time. That just made a huge. I grew probably 3 times over within a month of putting everything in place.
[JOE] Well, I see that so frequently. When people are at $90 a session or $115 in a session, and when they really make a big jump, that the perception of value for people is just so much more. And then, you can have your clients to have the same amount of money, so you can reinvest that practice to make it look nicer and make it feel like a better practice than maybe other practices that are just purely insurance-based. And so, I totally echo that.
If you have private pay as any part of your model, go bigger especially if you want to leave your job because maybe this is true of you. You could take different risks because you had that full-time job. And, if didn’t work, then you were able to say, “Okay, I overpriced myself. Maybe I need to come down a bit.” Whereas if someone’s already in practice, it’s harder for them to take those risks.
[JOE] So then, after November, you leave your full-time job at the VA. Then, what really helped you continue to grow then?
CONTINUE TO GROW[LINDSEY] So, I was growing at great rate. I was networking, and blogging, and doing all those great things. That helped so much. I was able to put so much more time and that helped me grow immediately. And then, in March, I joined the Next Level Practice. That was such a great community of support and help. So, the content on there, the Q&As, the webinars, all of the great handouts, the people, all of that really helped me to kind of get me into another level of being like, “Okay, I really need look at my blogging, look at SEO, do all these different things that are helping all these people grow.” It’s worked n a huge way. So, I was at probably $2,000 a month in November. And now, I’m at $7,000-$8,000 a month.
[JOE] Oh, my god. I didn’t know that before. You know, I just scheduled these interviews and said, “Hey, who wants to talk about starting a practice?” But, that’s insane! Congratulations
[LINDSEY] Thank you!
[JOE] And so, I mean, obviously, for $77 a month, you see a little return of investment on that.
[LINDSEY] Yeah, absolutely! And you know, when I looked at Next Level Practice, I was looking at the different consulting options and I reached out to Emily. I said, “Hey, you know, I kind of have a lot of nuts and bolts set up already. I’m growing, in the growing phase. Do you think this is still beneficial for me or is it kind of basic for where I’m at?” She said, “No, I think it would be really good for you too and should you join. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.” She was totally right. I was hesitant. I’ve joined other things. I was kind of, you know, like more advanced than other beginners stuff. But, it’s been amazing. There’s upcoming webinar and adding another clinician. It’s just been a great value for kind of wherever you’re at in growing your practice.
[JOE] Yeah, it’s interesting to see how fast some people have been scaling Next Level Practice. It’s actually way faster than I expected. I knew people would grow quickly but I didn’t anticipate the rate that I’ve been seeing people grow. We’ve got some folks that have jumped in to Allyson’s How to Start a Group Practice Mastermind Group. But, they’re keeping Next Level Practice because they’re getting all of the kind of nuts and bolts, marketing. You know, we have our own Teachable content. We’re building more courses. So, I just wrapped up filming a 12-part series and blogging. I don’t know if you saw that on the Facebook group. That’s coming out in May. And then, Sam’s doing another one that’s How to Use Canva in June and the social media one in July. So, it’s just like, every month they’re trying to create just this huge hub of just teaching.
It’s cool to see people were like, “Okay, I’m full now.” Okay, I started next level practice in January or March. What do I do now? And, our goal is to kind of build it out so that when you’re ready to level up to adding clinicians to your practice, we have enough content in Next Level Practice to help you with that. As all those people level up to scaling and million-dollar practices, we have it all in one spot. So, it’s cool to see that we’re growing with the content we have to create faster than we expected because people like you are like, “Okay, I’m at $7,000 a month. Now what do I do? I don’t want to leave Next Level Practice.” What do you think we should create for your phase of practice because you grew so quickly? Ideally, what would you want us to help you keep growing?
NEXT LEVEL PRACTICE[LINDSEY] Well, I really like the small group set that we have that we meet once a month to discuss different things in our practices. I think it would be beneficial just to have those small groups pretty concentrated with people who are scaling at different rates of growing in practice. It might be helpful. There’s a few people in our group that are growing really quickly too and that’s been really helpful to connect with them like “What are you doing now? Where are you at? What are you working on?” So, I really enjoy those small group times we have.
[JOE] So, maybe we could have Emily at every quarter, every six months, say “Hey, if you’re growing faster than your small group and you want to jump into a group where you’re starting a practice, let me know. We’ll figure out a time for all of you to jump out of your groups and kind of get more focused in on starting a group practice.”
[LINDSEY] Yeah, definitely.
[JOE] Okay! Well, that’s a great idea. And, I think that there’s going to be times that people have either kind of ado groups where they want to focus in social media for a month and they need a couple times. But, I think if people are levelling up this quickly, then, we definitely want to make sure that they’re in small groups that match with their levelling up.
[LINDSEY] Yeah, that’s great.
[JOE] So, what were some of the actions you took because there’s so much information out on the web? There’s tons of great free Facebook group but you chose to join Next Level Practice where you have to pay to be a part of it. What were the actions that you actually took as a result of the Q&As, the webinars? What did you implement in the practice that really helped you scale this quickly?
ACTIONS TAKEN[LINDSEY] Yeah, I would share, for sure, just having my full-time space, maximizing my space by having other clinicians here has been really helpful, blogging, and really focusing on my online content, niching down to being super specific and clear on who you serve. Those are things that I’ve been really working on and I can see the result of people who are really my ideal client reaching out and calling me as opposed to someone who wants with the insurance or someone that doesn’t quite what I’m doing.
[JOE] Well, how do you know when to add a clinician to your practice? How did you figure that out?
[LINDSEY] Well, I asked you.
[JOE] So, you wanted the Q&As. So, for people who listen who don’t know, several times a month, I do a live Q&A through Zoom so I can kind of bring people on to a hot seat. We dive into their question. It’s basically consulting one-on-one, but everybody gets to listen because they have a similar phase on practice. They get the benefit of learning and we also take all of those questions and we kind of break them up and put them to Teachable for people that missed it. Also, stream that to the Facebook Live into the group. So, kind of a back-end so people understand the picture.
You were in one of these Q&As. You ask me what did I say in that Q&A to you that helped you get motivated?
Q&A[LINDSEY] Yes. I’ve never really took the idea of seriously adding a clinician until Next Level Practice where I see it talked about. There’s a webinar coming up. I was like, “Wow, I wonder if this is really something I could do and when do I do that?” And, I asked you in the Q&A. Your response was, “you know, sooner than you would think. You don’t have to be completely full. You can hire someone and get them to be full, so you make a passive income and you can really grow and expand your business instead of just filling up your time. And that, time is a limited quantity. As a business owner, to help bring other people on is really smart to make money on your practice and grow.” So that, I was really like, “Wow, sooner than you think! Maybe I could be doing like now and working on it.” So, I have. Since then, I’m really thinking about it, looking for other space to bring on another person to work for me. So, that was amazingly helpful.
[JOE] Well, even, you know, before you go get other space, you can do whatever you want, it’s your business. But, to even just look at what space isn’t being used, you know, during the week, you do 20 or 25 sessions a week to then say, “Okay, I’m never here on Tuesday, Wednesday nights and I’m never here on Friday or Saturday.” You can then look at a clinician that can fill that up.
The numbers that I often do is if we look at say Tuesday or Wednesday night, maybe they could do 3 or 4 sessions depending on how diligent they are, depending on that 45-minute mark. Maybe they get 8 sessions in there. And then, if we had to use 5 on the weekend, say they’re charging $115 a session, maybe lower than your rate, multiply that out times 48 weeks. Say, you took 35% of that home to cover some of your costs and everything, that’s like $25,000 a year. In time that you’re not even using that office anyway. And so, for almost anybody, when you run those numbers, it makes sense to have somebody come in unless you’re just like heaping around people. But if that’s the case, you shouldn’t be a therapist.
[LINDSEY] Definitely. Yes, for sure.
[JOE] So, for people that are starting a practice, and they’re starting to grow, what advice would you give them? Maybe 3 or 4 bullet points of here’s where you should definitely spend your time. It’s totally worth your time to you. Do this for your practice. What would you say that are some of those things?
BULLET POINTS[LINDSEY] Sure. I would say to kind of break it down to really small steps and to not be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. I’m not sure I would have drove in while working full time with the amount of work that goes into it. But, the things that helped me the absolute most is to make a website. Make one that you can blog on, blogging about things your ideal client cares about.
[JOE] And, you’ve been blogging a lot recently, right?
[LINDSEY] Yes, yes.
[JOE] Talk a little bit about how that helped you grow and scale.
[LINDSEY] I think something in one of the Q&As or I think it was the blogging, webinar you did on Next Level Practice was talking about what would your ideal client Google the night before they call you for setting up an appointment. So, I love that idea of what would they Google. I’m like, “Wow, that’s so helpful because you’re really getting into the mind of your ideal client.” What’s their concern? What do they worry about? What are they coming to see you for? What are they looking up online? And that’s they could really come across to your blog and your content. So, that was really, really helpful.
[JOE] What are some of the blogpost titles? You don’t have the exact blogpost title. You may not have that in front of you but what are some of the things that you blogged about?
BLOGGING[LINDSEY] Sure. So, since I’m an anxiety specialist, I have blogged about anxiety on mass transit. Living in New York City, a lot of people come to me for a few of writing in the subway, trains, buses, trains. So, that’s been a recent blog post that I got a lot of feedback on. I’ve blogged about reducing anxiety at home by decluttering the house, getting more organized, making more effective small tiny habits to stick to, to help with anxiety. I do a lot of mindfulness. I blogged about that. So, it’s been great, and people have mentioned in session like, “I’ve read your blog about this. That’s how I found you. I read this blog and then I read your other ones.” So, it’s very good.
[JOE] That’s awesome. So, I interrupted you during your bullet points. Is there anything after blogging that you tell new practice owners to do to start to grow?
[LINDSEY] I would say working on your next big idea as well as getting all the nuts and bolts ready is really helpful. Just pushing yourself, growing and expanding and not staying in your comfort zone of just not having a handful of clients coming in regularly, or having 10 clients under your belt, but really getting the word out there in different creative ways, networking, going to different events, hosting your own networking event.
[JOE] Wow, I’m so proud of how much you’ve gotten done. This is amazing in such a short period of time. Now, for people that might be interested in Next Level Practice, what advice would you give them? Like, who should sign up? Who would you say maybe you shouldn’t sign up yet? What’s your advice for people that might be considering it?
SIGNING UP FOR NEXT LEVEL PRACTICE[LINDSEY] Yeah, I would say any therapist that has a private practice, you know, if beginning or in the middle phase of growing or adding a clinician and just expanding, I think it would be great for Next Level Practice. I think anyone could really benefit and find different webinars and tools in there – the Q&As, like having private consultation with you and Allyson. So, it’s been so helpful. I think it would be helpful for everybody.
[JOE] And soon, we’re going to actually have Kasey Compton. She’s on track to be $5,000,000 this year. She’s going to be doing some Q&As also with us. It’s going to be more and more. So, what are couple of the features that Next Level Practice that you think really stand out to you personally that you’ve got kind of the most? You said Q&As. What other things really have been helpful to help you grow?
[LINDSEY] Sure, yeah. The Q&As are great. I literally blocked them out on my schedule because I found them to be so helpful. Even if I don’t have questions, I just like to listen other people’s questions and take all that in and make notes. I really like to sit down with nothing else on during those. That Teachable platform with all of the different webinars and videos, you can access them anytime. So, when I have downtime, I go in there. When I’m kind of struggling with networking or I’m struggling with blogging more, I’ll listen to the rules and kind of take some pointers away to make some action items for that week.
[JOE] Awesome. Well, keep up the good work, Lindsey. I know that you’re continuing to grow and I’m excited to really kind of hear where your practice continues to go. Oh wait, I almost forgot to ask you the question I ask people. If every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[LINDSEY] I would want them to know not to get overwhelmed by the massive information out there and just to break it down with the next thing you’re working on one thing at a time. And that, it’s completely doable. If you put the time in, you would definitely see the results.
[JOE] Awesome. And, if people want to connect with you, if they want to check out your website, what’s the best way for them to find out more about you?
[LINDSEY] Definitely. They could go to lindseyhuttner.com to connect more with me.
[JOE] Great. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. If you’re not yet a part of Next Level Practice, and you want to be in the next cohort, we’re launching cohorts usually every other month or so. You can go over to the practiceofthepractice.com/invite. You can watch some videos about it. You can read more about it. You can see all about what you’re going to get out of Next Level Practice. We would absolutely love to have you join us and have the kind of results that you’ve seen Lindsey get in all the other people that are in Next Level Practice. Thanks so much for hanging out with me. And Lindsey, have a great day!
[LINDSEY] Thanks so much, Joe. Take care! [Will you join us over at Next Level Practice. We would love to have you. It’s at practiceofthepractice.com/invite. We are creating an amazing community, a whole ecosystem to help support you in your starting and growing of a practice. You can head on over at the practiceofthepractice.com/invite to request your invitation. And then, when a cohort opens, you get an email all about it. You get that price drop down to $77 a month instead of the usual $100 per month. Thanks so much for letting us into your ears and into your brain. We’ll talk to you soon.] [Special thanks to the band Silent is Sexy for that intro music. And, this podcast is designed to provide accurate and intuitive information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given to the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinic, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.]