How to Grow Your Practice During the Pandemic: Part 3

How to Grow Your Practice During the Pandemic: Part 3

What are some opportunities that are available right now? What can you be doing during this time to set yourself up to earn another stream of income? How can joining a Mastermind help you grow your group practice?

In this podcast takeover episode, Alison Pidgeon and Whitney Owens do a 3 part series about how to grow your practice during the pandemic and long term goals.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Opportunities right now
  • Use this time to think about a group practice
  • Things to do right now to start a group practice
  • What a Mastermind entails

Opportunities right now

Now that the flood gates are open for Telehealth, people are going to get used to it and the fact that insurance companies are covering it, going forward there are a lot of great opportunities to expand the Telehealth offering even after this pandemic is over.

There will be more mental health issues to deal with and we can take this time to get ready for an expansion of our caseloads, and maybe starting a group practice.

Use this time to think about a group practice

When people get to the point that they are ready for a group practice, they think that they need to have a full caseload to do that. This, however, is not advised because you won’t have all the time to put systems and processes into place, so do this before you have a full caseload.

Things to do right now before starting a group practice

  • Think about your vision for your practice, what do you want it to be like, what do you want to be known for
  • Get a CPA, bookkeeper, and lawyer because as your business grows you will need to lean on them for their expertise
  • Join a Mastermind

What a Mastermind entails

This will help you feel like you’re in a supportive place to get all the help you need.

  • A small group of 12 people
  • Meetings through Zoom
  • Everyone gets 2 individual consulting calls, one with each consultant
  •  Access to e-course, paperwork packages and a workbook that will lead you through step by step
  • Automatically get access to Next Level Practice
  • Accountability partner

Grow Your Practice to a Group Practice with Start and Scale a Group Practice Mastermind starts April 14th and runs for 6 months.

Email Alison at alison@practiceofthepractice.com or schedule a pre-consulting call with Alison here!

Email Whitney at whitney@practiceofthepractice.com or schedule a pre-consulting call with Whitney here!

Useful Links:

Meet Alison Pidgeon and Whitney Owens

Alison Pidgeon, LPC is the owner of Move Forward Counseling, a group practice in Lancaster, PA and she runs a virtual assistant company, Move Forward Virtual Assistants.

She is also a business consultant for Practice of the Practice. What started out as a solo private practice in early 2015 quickly grew into a group practice and has been expanding ever since.

 

Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice, Waters Edge Counseling in Savannah, Georgia. She is also a business consultant for Practice of the Practice.

Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY]: Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. This is a podcast takeover and it’s your host, Whitney Owens.
[ALISON]: And Alison pigeon. Okay.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, this is the third of our three-part series we did three days in a row and this is all about how to grow your practice during the pandemic. And so, our first episode, if you haven’t listened to it, go back two days ago and listen to that. We did a SWOT analysis. So, you’re going to have to listen to figure out what that is to help you grow your practice. And then in our second episode we talked about some short-term goals, things that you can do right now to get your practice going in the right direction for immediate results. And then today we’re going to talk about actually the part I’m the most excited about, which is long-term goals in your practice.
[ALISON]: Nice. Yeah, so, where would you like to start, Whitney?
[WHITNEY]: So, Alison, what are you thinking about long-term goals? Do you feel like people are thinking about that or do they need to be thinking about that?
[ALISON]: I don’t think anybody’s thinking about it because a lot of people are freaking out, understandably so about Covid-19 but I have been thinking about it for my own practice because I think there are some exciting things happening with, you know, the barriers being lifted for, you know, billing insurance for tele-health and some of the, you know, state restrictions that we had before are being lifted for some folks. So, I think there’s a lot of exciting things happening and I’m already formulating plans for, you know, what I want to do maybe six months from now or a year from now. And I think one of those things in my mind is like, now the flood gates are open for tele-health and you know, people, clients are just going to get much more used to the idea of doing tele-health. I think the insurance companies aren’t going to go back now and say, you know, “Oh, now we’re not going to cover it.” I think it’s just going to be, you know, going forward, they’re just always going to cover it. And so now I think there’s a lot of cool opportunities to really expand, at least in my own practice, kind of the tele-health offering. I think we’ll always have brick and mortar. I don’t ever see that necessarily totally going away, but I think there’s a lot more room to expand the tele-health even after we’re able to open up again.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, that’s exciting. I mean, we see all the time that when we go through difficult times, even personally or within your city, within your nation, like that’s when big things come out of it. Like it’s hard at the moment, but something beautiful happens, right? And so, I love that you’re taking something that’s been really difficult and hopefully, yeah, six months to a year from now you’re going to be having in-person and tele-health going on and that’s going to be such an offering to people.
[ALISON]: Yeah, and, two like, you know, rent can be one of the biggest expenses in a practice and I could probably double our volume without increasing our rent, which would be incredible.
[WHITNEY]: Oh, yeah.
[ALISON]: So, I mean, just from like a business perspective too, I mean, there’s so many advantages.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of exciting things going on and not using this time to kind of be scared or just focused on Covid-19 or just focus on the tele-health. We can focus on a lot more going on in our practices because, you know, just like I do that in the coming weeks, months or especially when this ends, there’s going to be a lot of counseling going on. I mean, we’ve got complex trauma happening, anxiety happening. I mean, I’ve been thinking about OCD and kids and grief over what we lost and grief over people dying. Like there’s just so much mental health stuff happening right now that I think when this crisis is over, as it becomes more of a norm, people are going to be coming in for therapy.
[ALISON]: Yeah, I definitely think the wave of clients is coming. I mean, obviously we don’t know yet when, but unfortunately there’s, like you said, there’s going be more mental health issues, not less. And so I think that we can sort of take this time to get ready for that, get ready for an expansion of our caseload’s and potentially also looking at starting a group practice because maybe you already had more than enough referrals before all this happened and I can only imagine how much you know, that’s going to increase in the next several months. So, you know, maybe taking this time that we’re kind of all stuck in the house and looking at how can I maybe six, 12 months from now potentially expand into a group practice to be able to take advantage of that potential increase in revenue but also to provide better services to your community?
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, I love that you’re bringing that up. I often am finding, and Alison, I don’t know if this is the case for you, but when people get to the point where they are ready for a group, they think they have to have a full caseload to be ready to do that. And so, then they call to do the pre-consulting call and I’m like, when are you going to have time to work on your group? Like, you better make some time for this because you’re going to have to work on your group. So, I always suggest people start working on a group before they have a full case load, when they actually have some time to put some systems in place and to think about what they want in their group. And so, this is a great time for that because for some of us, hopefully not everyone, our caseloads have maybe decreased a little bit for various reasons. And so, it is a really good time to start thinking about your practice.
[ALISON]: Yeah, definitely. And I think you know, another way of looking at this time too is like, it’s a gift to be able to sort of like take the time to really sort of think through. You know, we don’t have a lot of the distractions that we normally do, like running here and running there and doing all the things. And so, you know, we can look at this as like a gift that we can take some time to plan ahead and potentially grow our practice into something that we’ve always wanted to have.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, one of the other advantages as you add people to your practice, you actually get more calls because you have more specialties, just more names out there. I know even here in my town, it’s a small smaller town that I live in and so you add somebody who’s well known, well that name gets out pretty fast or you add someone who does a service that’s not around in your area, you’re going to grow your practice really fast. So, when you start hiring people, it is kind of, a lot of people have this idea of, “Well, do I have enough referrals for that person?” Instead of thinking of it that way, you’re actually going to get more calls because you added that person.
[ALISON]: Yeah, I found that to be true as well. For sure.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah. I actually really like adding multiple people at once. I’ve learned that that’s the way to do it. So usually I add two or three at a time because I’m finding that that makes the practice grow a lot faster and it really does save on my own time as well.
[ALISON]: Ah, that’s interesting. I haven’t done it that way up until recently, but I’m going to try that next time.
[WHITNEY]: So yeah, it’s been really great and I love the way it saves my time honestly. And it really does provide this like comradery among the people that you’re hiring because they’re going through the training together and that’s really fun to watch.
[ALISON]: Oh, nice. Cool.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah. So, any other thoughts on some advantages to growing a group practice at this time?
[ALISON]: Yeah, I mean, I think one thing that came out of this whole situation is that people recognize that if you only had one stream of income and something like this happens where, you know, maybe your current caseload of clients, you know, maybe some of them didn’t want to switch over to tele-health or just for whatever reason, like your caseload went down. And I think people were who were just solo providers were realizing like, “Oh wow, this is really unexpected and also really affecting my income,” and I think sort of highlighted the need for starting some other streams of income, which having a group practice does that, then all your money and the salary that you’re making isn’t necessarily tied to you seeing clients anymore. So, —
[WHITNEY]: Definitely.
[ALISON]: Yeah, go ahead.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, I feel like that’s definitely been true for me as I was just thinking about that today, that you know, lost another client that wasn’t able to do tele-health or maybe, you know, for whatever reason they couldn’t afford it or whatever it was but I was really grateful. Well, all my other clinicians are seeing clients, so if we all only lose a couple, you know, it’s going to be sustainable as opposed to if I was by myself and that was my only source of income, I’d be a lot more stressed out about it.
[ALISON]: Right, for sure.
[WHITNEY]: So, Alison, if somebody is thinking about, “Okay, well I might want to start a group practice right now,” what are some things that you would suggest that they start doing right now?
[ALISON]: Yeah, I think there’s a lot that you can do even before get to the point where you want to hire somebody. You can be thinking through like, you know, what is your vision for your practice? What do you want it to be like? What do you want to be known for? I always recommend to people too that if you haven’t found other kind of professionals to help you with your business, like now is a really good time to do that. So if you don’t have a CPA or you don’t have a bookkeeper or you don’t have a lawyer, having those people sort of in your corner, so to speak when you start a group practice is so important because, you know, we can’t all be experts in all those areas. And so, as your business grows and gets bigger, you’re going to need to lean on those people for their area of expertise.
[WHITNEY]: Oh yeah, I call them the dream team.
[ALISON]: Yeah.
[WHITNEY]: So, I think a lot about what it was like when I started a group. I was a solo practitioner for three years here in Savannah and had been at some other practices before that. But I was on my own and finally was like getting so many referrals. I didn’t know what to do with them and I thought it would be fun to own a group practice. Like I really love creating a community and I love being able to give something to therapists like, because in solo practice you have to do all the work. You know, you have to do all the marketing and all the leg work and some therapists don’t want to do all that. So, I love the idea of owning a practice where someone could kind of come in and do what they were really good at and I can kind of provide that space for them.
But I was super nervous, like had too many questions about how do I do this? I was like, “How do I start a group? I have no idea.” And I actually started following the Practice of the Practice podcast and every time I’d get on there, Joe would say something else you needed to do to grow your practice, which was always really great. But I’d be like, “Oh, another thing I have to do.” And then when he started talking about the mastermind and using that as a way to grow your group, I was like, “Oh, this mastermind thing, this sounds really interesting.” And did a pre-consulting call with him and he was like, “You are totally at the place to grow a group,” and that was really exciting and scary for me all at the same time, and then the commitment that I had to make financially was very scary. But as I look back on that, like that mastermind group is what made my practice what it is today. And I wouldn’t take it back for the world. Like it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but one of the best things I’ve ever done and now I’m getting to do this, you know, and so really growing a group practice is what allowed me to do other exciting things I eventually wanted to do.
[ALISON]: Yeah, I think that’s really cool because I think that’s something we hear a lot from people. They’re like, “Oh, well I don’t know if I really want to make this sort of like time and financial commitment.” And you know, you and I work with consulting clients all the time who go through the process and like create these amazing group practices and are just so happy that they had support along the way and they had somebody to answer their questions and they just really quickly scale their income and they see how it was like a total no-brainer sort of investment. And, you know, I wish everybody could see that at the time when they’re making that decision about whether or not to join the group. But yeah, I think I’ve worked with like 70 or 80 clients now.
[WHITNEY]: That’s awesome.
[ALISON]: Yeah, in the past three and a half years that I’ve gone through the mastermind group and it’s always amazing at the end to see like what they’ve accomplished because I tell them at the beginning. I’m like, “You will have established as really good foundation for a group practice and you’ll hire at least one clinician by the end.” And they’re like, “No, I don’t think so. That seems really fast. If I don’t get to that point, it’s fine. At least I have all the information and I can do it later.” And then like by the end, people have like hired like two and three clinicians and they’re rocking and rolling and they’re all excited. It’s just amazing to see, like once people kind of see the roadmap that we’ve put together, they just hit the ground running.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, I totally agree. And that’s what I’m seeing too. And you have these ideas of what a mastermind is going to be and you get in there and it becomes something even better than what you think it’s going to be. And you were talking about the doing it together. Like at least for my mastermind experiences that I’ve had, I’ve made my best friends through that. Like even though we’re like doing it through Zoom and we’re not together necessarily in the same way, like it’s just really been some of my best friends and through all this that we’re going through right now, these are the people that I relied on when we were first finding out, “Oh, we’re moving to tele-health. How do we do all this?” Like my mastermind group was there and having someone to talk to about that was really important.
[ALISON]: Yeah. That’s really cool that you’ve all kept in touch after that.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, well I need them. We really need one another. So yeah. So, if somebody is thinking about doing a mastermind you know, do we have something that we’re offering them?
[ALISON]: Yeah. So, I have been running a mastermind group really since I think 2017 so it’s been about three years now where I’ve been helping people go through the process of how to go from a solo to a group practice and have designed a whole e-course around it. And so, when Whitney came on board with the Practice of the Practice, we decided to kind of like amp it up and we’ve renamed it the Start and Scale a Group Practice Mastermind. So we have the starting portion that was sort of a part of the old mastermind, but we’re also talking about like, “Okay, now that you have this group practice kind of started, how do you start to scale it up as well if that’s a goal of yours. So I’m really excited because we’re going to create some new content for it and yeah, I just think it’s going to be really awesome to do it with you Whitney because I have a sort of very different practice, you know, insurance-based and you have a self-pay practice and so you sort of are going to get the best of both worlds from my perspective, Whitney’s perspective. So, I think it’s going to be super fun to do it with you.
[WHITNEY]: Well thanks. I appreciate your kind words and I agree. I think we’re a good duo and it’s a lot of fun to work together and it’s, I think of it is double the information honestly, that people are going to be able to get and being able to tailor their practice in whatever unique way they need to, we can provide a lot more information, a lot more creativity and direction, not only in our own practices but with all the consulting we’ve done in the past and being able to kind of bring that knowledge together.
[ALISON]: Yeah. So just to give you kind of an idea of what the mastermind group includes. So, we try to keep the group small so we only allow 12 people just so everyone gets plenty of individual kind of time and attention in the context of the group. People are going to get two individual consulting calls. So that’s about 45 minutes in length, one with me and one with Whitney during the course of the group and then I mentioned that I’ve designed that whole sort of start a group practice e-course, which is like 10 different training videos and a workbook and paperwork packages and all kinds of other things that is really going lead you through step by step. And yeah, I think it’s definitely very comprehensive, there’s lots of components to it that I think will just help you to feel like you’re in a supportive place to get all the help you need, to get all your questions answered about, you know, “How do I take the solo practice and scale it up to a group practice?” Anything else that you wanted to add Whitney?
[WHITNEY]: Yeah, yeah. Just talking a little bit more about the dynamic of the group. So, we do meet through Zoom, which most people are familiar with and if you weren’t before Covid-19, you probably are now, right? So, we use Zoom. It’s really great and we can kind of see each other. It’s a great platform where we record all the mastermind groups. So that way if you do miss it or if you just want to go back and hear what happened, you know, because there’s all this information you want to go back and rewatch it, you can do that. The groups are actually going to be 90 minutes long each, which is more time and so that way we’ll have time for hot seats and time for teaching.
So, in the group we do our wins. So, we first talk about things great that have happened over the past week or the past couple of weeks since we last met and then we’ll have a time where we review the lessons that we’ve gone through together. Those are the courses that Alison has already put together and it’s that step by step in your group. And then after that we’ll have some hot seats and a hot seat is when one of the members bring something to the table that they’re working on in their practice and they can get feedback from Alison and I but also from the other people in the group. So that’s really helpful. So that’s two people each time and then we’ll kind of wrap it up and we’ll give some kind of helpful information when you’re leaving the meeting. So that’s kind of what the format of a mastermind is. But some other things that you get by being a part of a Practice of the Practice mastermind is access into the Next Level Practice.
And if you’ve been following Practice of the Practice very long, you’ve probably heard Joe talk about Next Level Practice or NLP. It’s a paid membership group through Facebook and it’s just got so much information, like tons of courses so you can really make the most out of it and especially during this time as you’re trying to grow your practice and as you maybe have some more time on your hands, it’s a good time to really dive into all that. But you also have this awesome community to ask questions to, we have experts that come in and do webinars in the group and Alison, Joe, Jeremy, and I also just offer tons of other content and webinars throughout the months that we put into those scripts as well. So, you get free access into that as part of the package with the mastermind group. You also get an accountability partner too with the group. So that’s someone that you can meet with however much you want to. I always encourage people to meet on the off weeks of the mastermind group. So, the mastermind group will run for six weeks, I mean six months and we meet every other week. And that’s kind of the format of it.
[ALISON]: Yeah. And we’re starting April 14th, so if it’s something that you’re interested in, definitely, you know, reach out to us just to see if it would be a good fit. We like to do pre-consulting calls just to make sure that you are going to get the most value out of the group. If we feel like that maybe isn’t the best fit for you, we’re definitely going to be honest with you about that because we don’t want people to be in the group who aren’t going to get a ton of value out of it. So, if there’s something else that we would recommend instead, we’ll definitely let you know that. So, if you are interested and you want to schedule that pre-consulting call, you can either email me Alison with one l @practiceofthepractice.com or whitney@practiceofthepractice.com. Yeah, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Either way is fine and then yeah, we can kind of talk you through if the group would be a good fit or not and go from there.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah. And there’s still tons of information in the Practice of the Practice website start and scale a group practice. You can find that page and learn more about working with us. If you want to read more about the group and I’m sure the show notes, we’ll also have all this information in there and we can ask them to include our Calendly links too. So, a Calendly link is just a link that you can click on and schedule the pre-consulting call even without sending the email. So, you can do that as well. We want those pre-consulting calls to happen over the next week. So, we would love for you to go ahead and get those going so that we can make sure we get the group exactly where it needs to be. And the first 12 that we select, you know, and that do their payment will be the first 12. And so, if we end up filling the group, we’ll have to look at doing it again probably in like three to six months.
[ALISON]: Yeah, great. Thanks for mentioning the Calendly. I have an Acuity Scheduler, self-scheduler, so yeah, hopefully the lovely VA who does the show notes can include that.
[WHITNEY]: That’s right.
[ALISON]: Yeah, it’s wonderful having a VA to do all that for you. Yeah, so, I think that’s about it. I know there’s kind of a lot to it, but I think that, you know, all of the information we have and the meetings and just the whole group dynamic, just you know, I’ve seen such great results from consulting clients who have gone through the process and you know, I just love as a consultant kind of watching everybody, like move through the group and the questions that they have and how they support each other and at the end, you know, we sort of reflect on like what progress they’ve made and it’s amazing how much progress they make in six months’ time.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. I just love mastermind groups. I love seeing the dynamic and how we all grow together in our practices. So, it’s really a special thing. And so, if you’ve been thinking about doing it, now is a really good time to make that investment and to really jump into it.
[ALISON]: Well good.
[WHITNEY]: Yeah. Well. it’s really good hanging out with you, Alison, doing these episodes together and I’m looking forward to the mastermind group in just a few weeks.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’d be fun. Alright. See you later.
[WHITNEY]: See you later.

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