Do you want to start a conference? What are some behind-the-scenes aspects of launching big events? How can you navigate creating a conference with a business partner?
In this reverse podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to launch a conference with Whitney Owens.
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In This Podcast
- Selling tickets
- Fleshing out the conference
- Creating a conference with a business partner
- Whitney’s advice to private practitioners
Sell tickets from early on, when you begin advertising your conference and are letting people know about it.
Keep an eye out for where potential people who would appreciate your conference are and sell tickets in those areas.
Really making the most of opportunities [of] where people might be interested in the conference. (Whitney Owens)
Consider including discounts or free tickets to those who are already a part of packages or Masterminds that you run.
Fleshing out the conference
I think it’s so important if you are going to do any event, especially a conference, that you really have a good vision for it, and who it’s for, who it’s not for, why you’re doing it because there are going to be some ups and downs and you got to have that passion behind you. (Whitney Owens)
Think about your conference and event and get clear on the following:
- Who is your conference for?
- Who is your conference not for?
In other words, who would and would not get the most value out of it? Figure out the main tenets for your conference.
For example, Whitney’s three tracks for her conference are:
- Faith in Action
- Faith in Business
- Faith in Counseling
Your sponsors are the people and businesses that are investing the most in your conference. They are investing their money, their time for traveling, and their energy in helping you to market the event.
I think it’s so important for you to be thinking [about], “how can I do something for them?” Like, it’s not just about them doing something for me. How do I help them? (Whitney Owens)
Reach out to businesses that you know would benefit from being positioned in front of lots of practice owners who align with your values and missions.
Think of your sponsors more as partnerships than sales pitches.
Creating a conference with a business partner
Like any partnership, when you are creating and running a conference with a fellow business partner, you need to:
- Practice listening and your communication skills
- Be prepared to collaborate and negotiate
- Allow one another to share what is important for them about the conference
- Share and budget equally, if possible, and treat finances with the utmost respect
- Try to work with someone who has organized conferences in the past
- Encourage one another to work with their strengths and divide the workload
Whitney’s advice to private practitioners
Slow down and simplify. Do not miss the things that you want to do because you are too busy doing everything else. Get rid of the things you do not enjoy working on and focus your energy on what brings you productivity and joy.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached!
- April 21st to 24th Faith in Practice Conference: February 2nd tickets go on sale
- Take Faith in Practice further with the Mastermind Course
- Join the Faith in Practice Facebook Group and subscribe to the email list
- Email Whitney: email@example.com
Check out these additional resources:
- Dr. Wendy Dickinson on How to Grow your Practice | FP 122
- Next Level Practice
- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
- Group Practice Boss
Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. 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.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
Thanks For Listening!
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Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host Whitney Owens recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow and scale your practice from a faith-based perspective. I will show you how to have an awesome faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
Hello, how are you all doing today? Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. Today is episode 123, and it’s going to be a reverse podcast, that is when someone interviews me and then I use that content on this show. Actually it was Joe Sanok, the starter of Practice of the Practice, the company that I work for. He interviewed me on his show and we took that information and we’re putting it out to you. So I’m excited about the episode because we talk about the Faith in Practice conference. Not only that, but I’m going to give you some tips and information on how to launch your own conference, or maybe just think about it as how to launch your own products and ways that you can beta test how to get sponsors for something, ways that you create your passion, ways that you think about your vision for something and making that reality.
As many of you know, this is my first conference that I’ve ever put on and it’s been exciting and it’s been scary. But I also just want to say here, there’s something about your passion, your vision, and getting people on board with that is so important. And when I think about this conference, I think about the importance of getting faith-based practice owners together. There are a lot of conferences that bring Christian counselors or faith-based practice owners or clinicians together, but what conference actually focuses more on the business aspect of being a faith-based counselor and how do we do that appropriately?
At the same time, I want us to also come together as a community. Like there’s been a lot of diversity over the past two years in so many different ways in different circles. Let’s come together over something. Let’s unite, let’s use acceptance, let’s use kindness and let’s fun. I think that we need to learn more and more how to have a good time. So those are the values that I’m looking for in this conference, acceptance, community and fun. And I want to bring those to the table.
If those are things that you’re looking for, maybe you’re feeling exhausted, burnt out, please consider coming to the conference. I want to to be a place where therapists can relax and be renewed and they can learn and grow in their business. So there are going to be some people that come that are ready to really hit it into high gear and work on the business. There are other people going to be, other people that come that are like, you know what, I just need to lay out by the pool the first day and go to a couple of talks the second day. Whatever it is that you feel like you need, all those are going to be accepted and embraced at the event.
So make sure you listen to the episode because we’re going to get into all the details and give you some tips on launching and at the very end, we’ll talk more about purchasing tickets. Tickets do go on sale today so make sure that if you’re listening to this on February 2nd, you go ahead and go over to the practiceofthepractice.com/faithinpracticeconference, and purchase those tickets. There are only 45 tickets left, and I want you guys, the ones that listen to this show to be the ones purchasing those tickets quickly, because, hey, you listen to me and I want to meet you and I want to hang out with you. So head on over, get a ticket, and then you’ll be able to get some information after you purchase that ticket all about the conference. You’re going to hear more about the conference on this episode. So thank you for letting me into your heart and to your ears. I hope to meet you in person in just a few months and we’re going to jump into episode number 123 on how to launch a conference.[JOE] I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I hope you are doing amazing and that your first month of 2022, that is now behind you, as of today is going awesome for you. I hope you’re still going after big things, you have a clear vision for where you’re headed, that you’re networking with people that can help your practice level up and grow; that you’re getting training in areas where you want to expand your practice. We’re here to help you from that moment that you say to yourself, “I think I want to start a counseling practice.”
We’ve got things like Next Level Practice that can help you out. We have our one year practice plan. We’ve got our free checklist over at practiceofthepractice.com/new all the way through that moment that maybe you’re ready to leave your practice and you want to do podcasting things like that on the other end. We’ve got Group Practice Boss in the middle, Group. Practice Launch masterminds, all sorts of things that help support you in your practice. We offer a couple of conferences a year, and today we’re going to actually be talking with Whitney Owens, the founder of our Faith in Practice conference today. In just a second I’m going to bring her on.
It’s pretty exciting because every summer we do Slow Down School, which is usually for group practice owners, podcasters, people that are a little farther along in their journey, and they need to slow down for a couple days and then run full tilt towards their big idea of their practice. Or we have the Killin’It Camp conference that we put on in the fall, and now we have Faith in Practice. So we’re going to be talking about how we created this together, how we thought through risk, how we thought through all sorts of things with our consultant here, from Practice of the Practice. Whitney Owens, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. How are you doing today, Whitney?
[WHITNEY OWENS] I’m doing good. How are you, Joe?
[JOE] I’m doing awesome. I always love hanging out with you. So I’m even better now.
[WHITNEY] That’s right.
[JOE] Last week we tried to record this thing and the internet across your whole practice went out minutes before the interview. So we had to reconfigure our schedules and it worked out great.
[WHITNEY] Yes, well, it went out all week, so don’t feel like it was against you.
[JOE] All week? Wow.
[WHITNEY] All better now.
[JOE] All my word. That is no fun when those things pop up. Well, today we’re talking about the Faith in Practice conference and we talked about how we don’t want this to just be some sales pitch to get people to come to a conference, but to really give the behind the scenes of when you have a new idea, how do you test it? How do you grow it? How do you reduce your risk? So why don’t we just start with, when did you first kind of have this idea of the Faith in Practice conference and then we’ll just unpack that together.
[WHITNEY] So it was probably about a year ago kind of percolating, I guess you’d say. You know I am a risk taker in a lot of ways, but then also in a lot of ways I get a little nervous, especially with it being something I’ve never done before. So I went back and forth for months, I would say, just trying to decide, is this a good idea, COVID is going on and then COVID will come and COVID would go and to think about that. Then ultimately I just said, I’m just going to run this idea by Joe and see what he thinks about it. So I ran the idea by you.
[JOE] From that first conversation, what do you remember were either questions I had or ways that we thought through just the very beginning ways that we thought about potentially putting on the conference?
[WHITNEY] Well, first I felt a lot of support, which was really important. I didn’t get my idea knocked down. So I think it’s really important when we throw ideas by people that were honest and encouraging but also really supportive at the same time, because if you’re going to have a dream, you’ve going to really be able to come together on that dream and to be able to support one another in that. I mean, some of the questions definitely were surrounding COVID and how are we going to put on a conference? What if things changed because there’s so many conferences, unfortunately right now, even including Killin’It Camp that had to change to virtual.
Then thinking through some of the dynamics, as far as location for people, time of year for people, the time of year became a real big deal because we had one place and then that didn’t work out. We had to go to another place. Anyway, all the pieces ended up falling in better place than I actually thought they were going to. But those were definitely some of the first things. Obviously you have to think about the financial part and I actually have been really surprised and have learned a lot that you think that conferences would allow you to make a bunch of cash because people pay a lot of money for a conference, but it takes so much money to put on a conference. You really don’t do it for the money, you do it because of what it means and what you’re passionate about. So that’s actually been something I’ve learned.
[JOE] Yes, I think that people look at a conference and they see a hundred people paying $350 each, so they do the math and they’re like, whoa, that’s a huge takeaway. But then the reality of it is even just having AV set up by the hotel, some places make you use their AV, some places make you use like a union contract. I’ve been places where I had a table. I couldn’t even plug in my own thing for my own booth. We had to pay $25 per plug to have someone walk over and plug it in. So there’s all these little things where you think, oh yes, we could just buy a bunch of snack from Costco and some hotels say, no, you can’t.
I’m actually looking at putting out a micro event here for some consulting clients and a friend of mine owns a hotel and we can’t bring our own snacks in. The cost for them to even make it worth it for them is just so much to put it on within the hotel. So I think we’re going to do like another next level living room where I can put a thousand dollars into my own living room and food and snacks there instead of just putting it into a hotel. So just even thinking through all those little costs that you just don’t think of when you’re at a conference, I mean, I don’t remember exactly how much projectors were, but I remember when you and I did the math just around having projectors in there, it’s cheaper for us to just buy brand new projectors and then either give them away or donate them to a nonprofit than it was to just rent them for a couple days.
[WHITNEY] Definitely. The cost is definitely something that has suppressed me along the way.
[JOE] Now, let’s talk about the testing phase, because one thing that I talk a lot about in Thursday is the New Friday, or even within Practice of the Practice is we don’t tend to build a product and spend a ton of time on a product until we validated that product by having some people purchase it. So your first beta test of if this is even a good idea, what did that look like to see if people were interested in a conference before you even started selling tickets?
[WHITNEY] So this was, it was probably about six months ago or so, maybe six to nine months before the conference. I just put up an image on social media, did a couple of Facebook lives in a couple of groups that I’m a part of like the Faith in Practice group and talked about the conference and how excited I was. Here’s some details. This is the hotel we’re looking at, here’s my vision and just shared it. I wanted to see what the feedback was. Then we also sold some discounted tickets to volunteers saying, “Hey, if you want to jump in this early, you were my biggest fan, I would love have you, and I’ll give you a discounted ticket and you can help us out at the event.” So these are like my founding people. Yes, we sold, I think 10 or 12 tickets pretty quickly when we did that and so that was a quick return on something really small that we did, just doing a couple of videos that showed me that, hey, maybe this is actually going to work. People are interested.
[JOE] I think we sought at that time to really mitigate the risk with how much we were committed to with the hotel. I don’t remember which order it went in. Do you remember if you had the hotel already or did you sell those tickets first?
[WHITNEY] Well, that’s a funny story. So I had been talking to a woman on Jekyll Island. I wanted to have the conference somewhere warm. I just love Savannah and I love the area, but the hotels in Savannah are outrageous and that’s actually where I am. But then we ended up finding Jekyll Island. It’s this beautiful little island, it’s got such a culture to it, and I’m just excited to invite people to see it. It has a beautiful beach. So I reached out to them and they had a hotel available and the dates were going to be in January. So we had not signed the actual contract yet, but we had the dates planned and they were getting us the paperwork and everything. That was when I started selling these tickets as well.
Then after we had sold like the 10 tickets, the hotel called and said, “Oh, by the way, that hotel’s getting construction the weekend that you need to have it.” I was sitting on my bed, talking to the lady about, fell off the bed and I’m thinking, oh my gosh, this is awful. Lo and behold the whole time I really wanted to do it in April because I think the weather here is perfect in April to be on the beach. It’s not too hot. It’s just wonderful. She says to me, “But we’re building a brand new hotel, a mile down the road and it’s going to be available the weekend after Easter.” That’s like the perfect weekend because it’s after those holidays, but before finals and before kids are out of school and I was like, “Yes, give me that weekend.” So it was really you going to be flexible of course, but it was super exciting to be able to get the weekend that we really wanted. We ended up going to a different hotel. Then because we had already pre-sold the tickets, we already had a deposit ready to put down, which was really great. So we didn’t go into the whole by getting the hotel available.
[JOE] I think one thing I learned when I did my very first conference, the most awesome conference with Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe was the idea of getting some early sponsors, getting some early tickets. So we knew for that conference, what our breakeven point was, because we rented this gigantic mansion in La Jolla to know, okay, that mansion it’s going to cost us like 10 grand for a handful of days. If we can get 10 grand in sponsorships, then that means that our basic first round of costs are just covered. Do you remember when we were doing the numbers early on, like break even points, what kind of things we had to do in regard to sponsors? I don’t remember exactly what numbers we needed, but it seems like, if I recall correct that first round, we needed a few thousand dollars in deposits to just secure the space to make it pretty low risk for us. Is that what you recall? I don’t have those numbers right in front of me.
[WHITNEY] I don’t have them in front of me either, but yes, it was those volunteer tickets covered the cost of the deposit that we had to put down. Then since then we’ve been working on sponsorships and have sold a few other tickets through an early bird special we did and things like that. So that has been enough to be able to cover the rest after the deposit for the rooms that we have and things like that.
[JOE] I think your point early on about making money off the conference, who knows how this one will shake out in regards to different ways that we can make money off the conference. So we don’t put on a conference just to like upsell people into a mastermind group, but if it’s a natural fit, you know if a bunch of folks are like, oh, I’m in Whitney’s mastermind group. There may be people that say, well, I want those same goals. I respect your work. I want to work with you. So that then becomes part of the equation of putting on a conference, at least for the way that we’ve hosted them. So even Killin’It Camp 2019 I think that was a big year for Practice of the Practice because we met so many people that had listened to the show in person and then tons of them signed up for Next Level Practice, Group Practice Boss, the masterminds. Actually, I don’t think Group Practice Boss had even launched yet.
You guys had masterminds and then out of that Group Practice Boss emerged. So to me, it’s amazing how when you get together with people that are connected around a similar vision, those products kind of just come out of that where people just say, I would love for you to do, fill in the blank. You’re like, oh, I didn’t think of that. That’s great. So as you think about our next stage, so kind of first stage beta testing, keeping risk, low selling some of the volunteer tickets, tell us how in the middle to sell the, I think we have only 40 some tickets that are left at this point. So this is all before it goes public. The tickets publicly haven’t even gone. Those go public on February 2nd, tomorrow. So those early bird tickets that were non-volunteer, who are those people?
[WHITNEY] There are definitely speakers that have tickets. So I did put out an application. We sent it through the emails and onto social media and stuff to let people know there was an application for speakers. We put that out, that was back in the fall and I have 20 some odd speakers. I can’t remember the exact number. All of them have tickets and then our sponsors are all offered a ticket for themselves and then a ticket for someone else because a lot of times if they want to come talk about their products, they bring someone else with their business with them. So those are some of the tickets right there. Then we did do an early bird back in October as well. We actually also sold some tickets with Killin’It Camp.
I love how Joe’s explaining. It’s like having these multiple conferences through Practice of the Practice in different parts of the country, different times of year. So we sold some of those at Killin’It Camp as a special offer to those that were there. It’s really making the most of opportunities kind of where people might be that are interested in the conference. Then I also have sold some through the mastermind group. So we really include that as part of their mastermind package. So I just launched those groups at the beginning of January and was able to include that in their package. So I’m really pumped about getting to meet with the people that I see on online, getting together and really getting some work done.
[JOE] I think that that’s something I really learned from Jamie Masters, my consultant, when I was first launching Slow Down School. She was like, the first year she said, “Isn’t it a pain in the butt to sell tickets to just Slow Down School?” I was like, “Yes, but there’s no other way, is there?” She said, “Just include it in your mastermind.” That’s actually Whitney, how you ended up coming to Slow Down School, because you were part of the mastermind and Jessica and all these other people kind of that year where it was this huge year of people that came. So that idea, including a ticket price adds extra value into a mastermind, but then also brings together these people that have been working together anyway and they most likely want to hang out in person anyway. So then it just creates this added value in a different way.
Take us through in that middle section of planning the conference. When you think about sponsors and getting those early purchases before you really go public what were some challenges or things that you thought through during that phase that really helped you understand the conference or you position it so that as we enter into this next phase where the public has full access, it’s full access to anyone take us through any stories or things that came out during that phase.
[WHITNEY] Lots of fun stuff. So I think it’s so important if you’re going to do any event, especially a conference that you really have a good vision for it and who it’s for, who it’s not for, why you’re doing it. Because there are going to be some ups and downs and you going to have that passion behind you. So really brainstorming, you and I brainstorming and just thinking through like, who is this conference for? So ideally this conference is for faith-based practice people. So faith could mean a lot of things. This year it looks like a lot of our speakers are coming from a Christian perspective, something that we are definitely open to future events, you know bringing in maybe some Jewish speakers or other faith-based practice owners to be able to bring some more diversity in that area. But this year we have all of our speakers doing topics somewhat related to faith-based practices.
So with that, they’re going to be three different tracks. The reason I did it like this, because I just think that there’s such a need for some variety with conferences. Like I found myself going to these so-called Christian counseling conferences, but it was not really clinical or not appropriate or throwing faith in people’s faces. I just couldn’t handle that. So I wanted a conference that was open to people of whatever faith they are or if they don’t adhere to a faith that’s okay too, and having a conference that also was like, how do we appropriately bring, integrate faith into a clinical setting because we know that faith can be helpful for clients?
So we came up with these three tracks to be able to kind of bring all this together. So one track is called, and it’s the ABCs by the way. All right, so one is called faith in action, because I thought it’d be fun if we actually did stuff. So faith in action is how do we do things with our clients, like action oriented things to help them in their own healing or maybe in their faith journey? Like one of the speakers is going to walk us through a prayer of the Francis Day sales and how she uses that with her clients. Another person is going to be coming and doing yoga and showing us five yoga poses and three meditations that you can use with your clients. Then she’s also going to lead yoga on the beach. So that’s going to be awesome.
That’s a little bit of the faith in action part. There’s also going to be a soul care part of that too, where Dawn Gabriel’s going to do some kind of beach walk or some kind of activity to think about the soul and what the soul needs. Then we’re going to have the faith in gosh, the ABC, oh faith in business, faith in business. That’s all about how do you market and grow a faith-based practice. So even though yes, faith-based practice owners are probably going to find the most benefit, other business owners can too, because we all could benefit from marketing to different religious organizations, different nonprofits.
Because you, let me tell you, you can get a lot of clients from churches. Like couples, especially go to their pastors if they need help. So that’s a really great way. So how do you market your practice in an appropriate, ethical way to get these types of clients? Then the last one is faith in counseling and that has a lot more to do with how do we assess faith in a session, for an intake session, the spirituality section of your intake? How do you walk through that with your clients? How do you talk about that? Then they might have a different faith perspective than you and that’s totally fine. How do you honor where they’re at without imposing your own values on them? So those are kind of the components of the conference and that’s kind of the vision behind it, and so really being able to pitch that to people as I go, sorry, I have a mouthful. Did you have any questions there before I keep going?
[JOE] No, you’re doing great, but if you need a sip of water, that’s fine.
[WHITNEY] I’m just excited. All right, let’s talk about the sponsors. So I think what’s really important when you’re thinking about sponsors is these are the people that are investing the most, not only their money, but they will help market the event, they’ll end up coming from far away sometimes to be able to do something. So I think it’s so important that you are thinking, how can I do something for them? It’s not just about them doing something for me. How do I help them? So I tried to reach out to businesses that I thought would benefit from getting in front of a hundred practice owners basically, and people that I genuinely like and genuinely refer to and want to work with.
Those were the people that I out to first, had Zoom calls with them and just expressed to them about the conference. And not, just like you were talking about not a sales pitch, like, “Hey I’d love to partner with you in this. Here’s why I want to help you. If this works for you great and if it doesn’t that’s okay.” So being able to really think of it as more of a partnership than a sales thing has been a really big part of it. So we have, I think six or seven really great sponsors that I think really fit the theme, the idea of the conference. I’m looking forward to being able to share them with the group because I think that the group will really benefit from the services that all the sponsors have.
[JOE] I think that idea of making sure that the sponsors are folks you can align with to make sure that it’s a good ROI for them or at least knowing what is a good ROI. One of the first questions I always ask, whether it’s a sponsor for the podcast or conference or anything is what’s the lifetime value of a client? So if Therapy Notes or Brighter Vision knows, hey, if we have one person sign up, they stay this number months, we make X number of dollars, then, if we know okay for them to get their money back, they just need to land one client per podcast, that’s different than they need to land 50 clients per podcast. Or I don’t even know if there’s going to be value.
So I think sometimes, especially in our space, those sponsors need a little bit of coaching and a little bit of those business; what’s the lifetime value? How much of a return on investment are you looking for? Then you can know, okay, these folks really understand if this is going to be a good return on investment for their time and money versus, well, they have no clue if they’re going to get their money back. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe they’re just building awareness and they don’t need that direct sale. But I think it’s really interesting to see how different sponsors think through when they sponsor a conference, when they sponsor a podcast and those sorts of things.
[WHITNEY] Definitely. It’s been a real learning experience for me and learning not to take things personally like, if somebody doesn’t want to partner with me or sponsor the event, that’s okay, and taking what does come, being excited for that and letting go of the things that aren’t working out. I think you just can’t hold onto everything when you’re doing something like this. Your conference can’t be everything, and so making it the best it can be, but letting go of all the other stuff,
[JOE] Yes, for sure
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[JOE SANOK] Now I’d love to talk about in creating a conference with someone else, what, in regards to you and I working together in putting this on, what has worked, what has been challenging? I mean, you don’t have to be nice. What is helpful in regards to partnering with someone to build a conference? What are things that you would say could use improvement? Talk about the idea of putting on a conference with somebody else.
[WHITNEY] Well, I think anything that you do with someone it’s different people making decisions or coming together and have an opinion. So you’ve going to find a way to compromise through everything you’re doing. And obviously sometimes in an ideal world, you come together and you both think the same thing, but that’s not always going to happen. So being able to listen to one another, think through what the other person is sharing and think through what you want for conference, I think is important.
Also coming together financially is a big part. That one person might have certain ideas of what to spend money on or what something should cost. The other person might have a different idea. So being able to compromise in those situations as well. I think one of, for me, obviously the big bonus has been you’ve hosted conferences before, and I haven’t. So I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in that and being able to go to somebody. So I would say if you’re thinking about hosting a conference, anyone listening, make sure you’ve got someone who’s done it already so that you can kind of go and you can ask questions and learn together.
[JOE] Yes. I think even for me as the person that maybe has more of the marketing infrastructure, some of the capital, some of the different connections and then to allow the main person who’s putting it on, so the Whitney in the situation to proceed until apprehended, I mean, that’s a big thing in Practice of the Practice ;of letting people be creative without too many restrictions. So my mindset is like, stay out of Whitney’s way, just like, let you be creative and when you get stuck, you’ll advocate for yourself.
You’ll say, “Hey, Joe, let’s do calls every week or every other week.” I think on one side that can maybe feel unsupportive to somebody, but then also on the other side, I think it can sometimes feel empowering and also like, oh crap, this is on me. I’m going to raise my game. So I’m interested to know for you, that’s how I approach it and I see it as being more valuable to stay out of people’s way even if it means they maybe sometimes feel unsupported. How does it feel from your side?
[WHITNEY] I don’t feel like you’re not around. I guess, I think when we first started this, we scheduled calls every other week. So that was, grounding is the right word, but I knew that I had a place to go when I did have questions come up and I didn’t have to randomly bother you all the time with all my mini questions. But like being able to have a space is I think it’s what I’m saying is a space to be able to walk through that kind of stuff together and ask those questions and to game plan. I think if you’re going to do something long term, having those moments is important, but yes, I mean, I think the support is a big part of it because it allowed me to take risks that I maybe wouldn’t have taken because I know someone who’s done it before said it was okay, “Hey, you can do this.” So I am stepping out and doing it and believing in it.
[JOE] I think that’s true with any new like business relationship that having those set times to kind of over communicate. So like Sam C and I, she’s on maternity leave at the time of this recording, but we usually have a weekly call to check in on the whole kind of marketing branch of Practice of the Practice. Sam R and I probably monthly talk about podcasting, but I think that making sure that you have those regular check-ins until you don’t need them.
For a while I was meeting with the whole sound engineering team every other week or once a month with Sam but then it became clear that I wasn’t really needed to be in those meetings. Sam R could run those and talk to the sound engineers and make it just fine without me. So making sure that that feedback loop is just part of it from the beginning, I think doesn’t make it awkward when you do have feedback when it’s like, we need to sit down and talk about something. But feedback’s just a natural part of that relationship within the context of working with someone else within a business.
[JOE] So tell us some of the details about the Faith in Practice conference, who really you think is going to get a lot out of it, who you think should come. We’ve got about 40 some tickets left of the hundred at the time of this. They go on sale publicly tomorrow. So tell us a little bit about who it’s for, when is it, what’s the price, all that stuff.
[WHITNEY] Well it’s for people who are faith-based practice owners, but I think also if you’re a practice owner and you want to learn more about how to market to faith-based people, or maybe how to work with faith-based clients, you would also benefit from it. I also, with the vision of the conference, wanted it to be, hey, you can come to these lessons and you can learn, but you can also relax because we are so burned out with everything. The list goes on as therapist, the past few years. So the conference is at a hotel that’s right on the beach. So if you want to just go lay on the beach for an hour or two or whatever, all day, that’s an option.
I want there to be a lot of freedom to do the things that you feel like you need to do for you. It also has the largest pool on Jekyll Island. It has like a little bridge. I actually went and stayed there a couple of months ago because I told my husband, we have to use the business money and test out this hotel. So we went and it was really, really nice. It’s the Courtyard Marriot on Jekyll Island, if you want to check it out. The hotel has a lot of other cool features like with restaurants right there, there’s a lot of outdoor seating, which I was looking for because not only will the weather be nice, but depending on what COVID is looking like there’s a lot of space to be outside. They also have fire pits and they have other games that you can play. Of course corn halls, one of my favorites. They have that as well.
[JOE] Let me pause you right now. You’re going down or we’ll be on a team together and take somebody down the corn hole? Because I love it.
[WHITNEY] Oh good. Yes, well, we will do that. I’m pretty sure I took my husband down when we were there. There’s some other, so there’s fun things. They have bike rentals. I know some people have already told me they’re bringing their spouses. So I think a lot of people are going to bring spouses and families. There is a little splash pad where kids can like hit a little button and control their own splash pads. I thought that was cute. They have bikes as well.
Then they have golf balls that you can rent and take with you to a course Jekyll Island has some really nice golfing. So I know one girl that’s coming and her husband loves golf. So he’s going to golf all day while she’s at the conference and then they can hang out at night. I also just want to plug here that a conference is a time for you to really go fast on your business. Like I love Seinfeld and there’s this episode where George talks to Jerry, about how, when you go on a trip with a girl, you got to be careful, because it will really make the relationship speed up. It’s like a time capsule or something, or a time compressor. I honestly think that’s kind of what a conference is like. You could come and hang out with some experts in the field and learn a bunch of stuff in just a few days. So I think there’s a lot of value to be said. Now you even think about Killin’It Camp, like how many people started a podcast after Killin’It Camp?
[JOE] Right, right.
[WHITNEY] It was tons.
[JOE] It was amazing. After that first one, I think we had four or five people that did the Done For You. Then we had 200 that took Podcast Launch School. I mean just, I think when you’re around other people that are doing what you’ve wanted to do, maybe quietly wanted to do, but then you realize, wait, that’s not that hard. I met this person that did it and I’m a friend with them and I can text them and know, oh, okay, what do I do in this situation? It just, I think the unknown sometimes stops us from trying new things or it just feels like such a huge task.
But then when you see other people that are doing things that you find creative, like Dawn who launched the Faith fringes podcast. She’s rocking that and covering things that she’s really, really interested in that are maybe on the outskirts of traditional, what like the church or Christianity might talk about. But it’s just interesting to her and now she has all these connections in that world where she’s designing the life and business that she wants rather than just getting handed what maybe we think the expectations are for our businesses.
[WHITNEY] Speaking of Dawn, she will be there. So just to throw out there, a couple of the people that will be speaking or sponsoring the conference, and of course this is not an extensive list, there are some amazing people; Jessica Tappana from Simplified SEO will be there to help you with your website. So that’s exciting. Daniel Fava will also be there to do more website development stuff. He’s from Private Practice Elevation. Jane Carter’s going to be there, Gordon Brewer’s going to be there, Ryan Gilford, just a really good group. And of course the Practice of the Practice team, so myself and Joe and Alison and LaToya. There are so many other great speakers that are also going to be there. So I’m just saying you’re going to get a variety of people speaking from a variety of topics related to faith-based stuff. I think that there’ll be a great benefit there.
[JOE] Oh man. Well before we give the link, the last question I always ask on the podcast, Whitney, and you’ve answered this a billion times at this point, but if every private practitioner in the world we’re listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[WHITNEY] I love this because I probably answer it different every depending on what I’m going through as a therapist. So right now I would say to them to slow down and simplify. I think we get to going so fast that we miss the very things that we really want to be doing because we just start doing stuff; so being able to slow down and think about the things you actually enjoy and getting rid of all the things that you don’t enjoy.
[JOE] Love that. It’s so applicable to a conference and just to everyday life. So Whitney, if people want to get tickets and read more about the Faith in Practice conference and hang out with you and I, and Alison and LaToya and all these other amazing people in the warmth of Jekyll Island, where should they go?
[WHITNEY] They can go to practiceofthepractice.com/faithinpracticeconference to get those tickets. They will start going on sale at 10 o’clock, I think on 2nd, is what we’re planning. So make sure that you go and get those. I never did mention the dates, but it’s April 21st through the 24th. That’s a Thursday through a Sunday. So we’ll start, kick it off on Thursday evening and do two full days of events and then end on Sunday around lunchtime. So those that that have been asking me, when do I fly out, you want to fly out Sunday afternoon from the Jacksonville airport?
[JOE] So awesome. I cannot wait to go to this event with you and so excited to see all the people that are there. We didn’t talk about COVID precautions. We should quickly talk about that before we wrap up. Whitney, what are some of the COVID precautions that we’re doing, especially as new variants continue to come out?
[WHITNEY] Definitely. So we will be asking everyone to take a test before they come with likely 72 hours prior. No, I’m not going to come after you and force you to show me a piece of paper from your test, but we are trusting that everyone’s doing what we ask. We’re going to try to have some tests there.
[JOE] We are going to make people sign off that they have done that for our own liability.
[WHITNEY] That’s right. That’s right. Then we’re going to hopefully have some tests available if those are necessary. Then we’re asking that people wear masks, indoors, not outside. So we’re hoping to also have a lot of the conference in times outside, but yes, when we’re indoors, just to keep everybody safe, we’re going to ask everyone wear masks.
[JOE] Thanks for covering that. Well, Whitney, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[WHITNEY] Thanks. It’s been my pleasure.
And we want to thank our sponsor today, Therapy Notes to get three months free head on over to the Therapy Notes website and put in promo code [JOE], J-OE make 2022 the best year with Therapy Notes.
Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also there, you can learn more about me, options for working together, such as individual and in group consulting, or just shoot me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard 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.