Juan Santos on Offering Immigration Evaluations in Private Practice | FP 38

Juan Santos on Offering Immigration Evaluations in Private Practice | FP 38

What does an immigration evaluation entail? How can immigration evaluations become something that you can offer in your private practice? Who should you build relationships with in order to get more immigration evaluation business?

In this podcast episode, Whitney speaks to Juan Santos about offering immigration evaluations in private practice.

Meet Juan Santos

Juan SantosJuan is a husband, father of 2, clinician, and consultant. He and his wife operate a group practice in North Carolina, called Santos Counseling PLLC. Juan helps counselors cultivate success as they journey in the field of private practice.

Visit his group counseling website and consulting practice website and listen to the podcast here. Connect on YouTube.

Click here to get $100 off the Mastering Immigration Evaluations Training Course: use the code ‘Whitney’

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Immigration evaluations in private practice
  • Training in immigration evaluations
  • The evaluations
  • How to market yourself to people needing evaluations
  • Juan’s courses

Immigration evaluations in private practice

Juan also teaches clinicians how to niche this specialty in their private practices. Can clinicians write immigration evaluations? Yes, and you can be awesome at it because you have the skills and knowledge to do it, and you have the training in your degree that allows you to understand multicultural issues, ethics, the intake process, etc.

All you need is a little bit of a specific eye to figure out how to write these evaluations and how to work with the clients. The client you’ll be working with is called the applicant as they’re usually applying for some sort of visa. They are usually going from undocumented to documented status. As undocumented, these clients are not able to drive legally, not able to work legally, and have no social security number. Juan gives clinicians the training, support, and guidance for exactly what you need to do. It starts with an evaluation (similar to a comprehensive clinical assessment) where you try to figure out how they’re affected through the process. The process differs for different types of visas.

Training in immigration evaluations

Juan recommends getting training to do these evaluations although there is no gold standard in terms of qualifications. Juan has put his skills and knowledge into courses/consultations and has trained hundreds of other clinicians in immigration evaluation. When a clinician is wanting to engage in this process, they can reach out to Juan, or somebody else in the field and get that training and utilize that skill knowledge.

The evaluations

These evaluations do take longer than the standard individual psychotherapy session. Juan recommends two to four 2-hour sessions and then the writing process. For these evaluations, you can charge between $500 and $1500 which is often not covered by insurance so you can have a cash-based practice solely off of writing these evaluations. Clients usually have to pay these amounts out of pocket so Juan and his wife have set up a pro bono pocket to assist with these fees as often as they can.

How to market yourself to people needing evaluations

Marketing is about building relationships and because immigration evaluations are in the legal field, you are going to want to build relationships with attorneys who will be one of your top referring agents. It might be pretty tough to get to someone in that position at first so you need to go down the chain and start with the office coordinator, customer service staff, or person who sits at the front desk.

For immigration offices, that would be the paralegal, secretary, or translators. You can’t just call and introduce yourself, you need to have some sort of presentation. Put together a template using a made-up client where you present exactly what you would write and how your evaluation would look. Include a business card and price sheet, and give them a step-by-step referral process. Try doing this using three different avenues – face to face, electronic communication like email or telephone, and then a week or two later reach out again. You need to tap into your entrepreneurial side, believe in yourself, and build that self-confidence. If they didn’t respond the first time what do you need to do to get them to respond the second time?

Juan’s courses

Juan offers his course in three different facets:

  1. Master Course – Everything you need to know about adding these evaluations to your practice from start to finish, including marketing and the writing process.
  2. Marketing Course – You’ve already added this service to your practice but the numbers aren’t there.
  3. Writing Course – Marketing is going well, you know how to do the work but your writing isn’t at the point you want it. Takes a deep dive into writing powerful and effective immigration evaluations.

Click here to get $100 off the Mastering Immigration Evaluations Training Course: use the code ‘Whitney’

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Whitney Ownens | Build a faith-based practiceWhitney 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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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY]:
The Faith in Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network. A network of podcasts seeking to help you start, grow, and scale your practice. To hear other episodes like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

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. In each week, through a personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to 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.

I want to take a few minutes today to talk about just the importance of looking forward in our practices instead of looking back, not only in our practices, but also in our personal lives. I’ve been thinking about this theme the past few weeks, because I think it’s so easy with all the transitions going on, and everything going on with the pandemic, to just be sad, you know, we have to grieve every single day of the things that we’ve lost. And it can get really easy to get stuck in the past. I even found myself looking at old pictures and saying to my husband, oh, yeah, the times when we used to be outside and be with people and like doing birthdays and all those things. Last night, I was at church and fortunately, we have this beautiful, beautiful space right on a river here in Savannah, and we get to have church services out there. So we all bring our chairs, we wear our masks and we sit and listen and it’d be really easy for me to get stuck and think oh, this stinks, like, I’m wearing a mask and I can’t get close to people, and I can’t give a hug, and think of all the things that I can’t do. Or constantly looking at the past and saying, this is what church used to be, or this is what life used to be. But instead, I want to challenge myself and you to look forward.

There’s lots of biblical passages about this, specifically the passage that was preached on last night was in Philippians – Philippians 3 where he says, I press on. And so, I want you not only in your business, but in your personal life, to press on and move forward. Instead of looking at what business used to be, I honestly find this whole Zoom world of clinical work and platforms and telehealth, like, it’s exhausting. When I get to the end of the week, I am exhausted. But I’m not going to spend my time focusing necessarily on what I don’t have, which is my face time with my clients, but focus on what is happening, the good things that are happening, that I’m able to help people where they’re at, that businesses are growing, and that there is such a need for mental health counseling right now. And so, don’t look at the past and what it used to be, but push yourself forward – what are your goals? And have hope that great things can happen. This is still a good time to grow your business. And honestly, I’m going to tell you, it’s the most important time, because people need us; we are essential workers. And so, we need to be growing our practices, we need to be marketing, we need to be getting the word out. And I know a lot of you guys have other big ideas outside of your practice; y’all need to be doing those too. I’m here to help you. If you feel like you’re stuck or you need some strategies, or maybe you just need some encouragement, like, get in the Facebook group, the Faith in Practice group. Send me an email, whitney@practiceofthepractice.com, I’m here to help you grow your practice. I’m also here to help you listen to the Lord and move forward in what you believe that he’s called you to.

I also say all this because I’m so happy about today’s episode. I interviewed Juan Santos, who is an amazing guy and I just love his voice. So, I’ll probably go back and re listen to the episode once it goes live because I just love hearing him talk. He brings such a kindness and truth to the table, but he also knows what he’s doing. So after our interview, oftentimes I get to have these great conversations with the people that I do the podcast with, because the tracks are loading and so we have a few minutes to chat, and Juan ended up sharing with me – this was probably about two months ago. This is right when the pandemic started – he said, you know, Whitney, I’ve always thought about starting the podcast. Now, of course, I jumped on that. I was like, oh my gosh, you should start a podcast. You have the best voice ever. Plus, he does some really cool stuff with immigration evaluations. You’re going to hear about that in the podcast interview. So, I was like, Juan, you have got to do this, like, I think you would do awesome at this. So anyway, he kind of walked away from the conversation like cool, yeah, maybe I’ll do it. Honestly, I don’t know if I heard from him for a little while and then, all of a sudden, he got back in touch with me and said, Whitney, I’m starting a podcast. Thanks so much. I was like, wow, like I was truly inspired. So, during this time of pandemic, he has taken not only leaps and bounds in his practice, and then doing immigration evaluations, which by the way, are so needed, but he also started a podcast. And then he took our YouTube interview that I had done with him a couple months ago, and he made it an episode. And so, I’m excited about that. And it’s called A Counselors Journey to Private Practice. So, I believe that y’all should check him out. And if you are looking for extra help on doing immigration evaluations, I’m hearing that a lot lately, I want to encourage you to please get in touch with him. This guy knows what he’s doing. He’s got an awesome course that you can take to learn more about that. So anyway, let’s jump into the episode. This is episode number 38, Juan Santos on offering immigration evacuations in private practice.

On the Faith in Practice podcast today I have Juan Santos. He is a husband, father of two, clinician, and consultant. He and his wife operate a group practice in North Carolina called Santos Counseling. He helps counselors cultivate success in their journey in the field of private practice. How are you doing today, Juan?

[JUAN]:
Good, good. Yeah, today is a beautiful Wednesday. I almost said Tuesday. And then, even now I’m questioning if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday with this Coronavirus. My days just get mixed up.

[WHITNEY]:
I know, they do. You got to really look at the calendar every day.

[JUAN]:
I know, it’s just interesting transitioning from, you’re running around town like a Wildling from Game of Thrones to, you know, at home, navigating everything, everything.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. And where are you based in North Carolina?

[JUAN]:
I’m in Greensboro, Greensboro, right near the triad area, near Raleigh Durham area, which I love. I love North Carolina; we got the mountains; we got the beach. So, the kids really get to dance around in both of those areas.

[WHITNEY]:
I know, that’s so nice, and it’s hot, but it’s not too hot, like, I’m down in Georgia so I mean right now is perfect weather, you know, we’re recording this in April. But when it gets to the end of May, it’s gonna become unbearable here for like three months.

[JUAN]:
Oh, man, that reminds me of… I’m originally from Dominican Republic and they are… it will get so hot and humid. Like, you can take a shower, and then you get out the show and you’re feeling good. And you put your clothes on and you walk outside, and you’re drenched in sweat again. And you’re like, why did I shower?

[WHITNEY]:
It is like that. That is how it is here. Yeah. I mean, when you think about the ladies sitting on their porches drinking their lemonade, legit. You gotta have something cold to drink if you’re gonna walk outside. So, yeah, so why don’t you share with our listeners a little bit about you and kind of how you started your practice and tell us more about that?

[JUAN]:
Yeah. So, my name is Juan Santos and I’m in Greensboro, North Carolina. I started my practice right out of graduate school. I graduated in 2014, my masters, and I got really lucky, I had this supervisor named Dr. Robin Dock in the area, and she really took me under her wing and was like, you know, this is how you do the whole thing. This is how you start a practice. This is how you market yourself, face to face, on the online space. This is how you do the intake process. This is how you build customer service skills. All of that. And it allowed myself and my wife to be able to venture into private practice. And now we’ve got an office, a group practice, where we’ve got four clinicians, and she does what I like to say the hard work. She does a lot of the administrative and logistics, really managing the practice. She’s got a wonderful eye to detail. And then I do a lot of the supervision, helping the clinicians navigate private practice and build those relationships that allows them to focus on their lifestyle, you know, focus on being with their families, being with their friends and living the best life that they can, while continuing to give to those that they serve.

[WHITNEY]:
I love that you’re talking about that because that’s what it’s all about, right? It’s about us living better lives than what we could have lived. I think that’s why a lot of us go into private practice. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to own a group practice, like, similar to what you’re saying. I wanted to give therapists a place where they could be cared for, they could do the work they wanted to do, but also have that space to do hobbies and be with their families and travel and all those things.

[JUAN]:
Yeah, it’s a great point. Right out of grad school I also ventured a little bit, during my internship, into what’s called intensive in-home therapy. And I remember during that setting, that clinical setting, community-based agency, I would get so exhausted and I had a fantastic supervisor who retired early. I think he was in his 30’s, and he went into a different field from burnout. But you just have this really different paradigm where – I think the community agency is wonderful. But at least for me, it burnt me out to the point where I’ll get home and I would just be exhausted. And I wouldn’t want to do the things that I like to do, like exercising, playing outside – I like to play outside, I’m a big kid. And now, in the private practice setting, I’m able to, like, I really feel energetic when I’m with a patient and being there, supporting them. And then when I get home, I still have that energy.

[WHITNEY]:
It’s a beautiful thing.

[JUAN]:
It is.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. So, from what I understand, outside of your practice, you’re doing immigration evaluations, is that correct?

[JUAN]:
That’s correct. Yeah. Immigration evaluations, it’s dear to my heart, if you will. As I mentioned before, I’m from Dominican Republic and my father came here first to the US and brought the rest of the family. So, we’ve been able to, I’ve been able to really, you know, firsthand understand the benefit of living in the United States. I’ve got two older brothers who are about 20 years older, and they lived the majority of their life in Dominican Republic. I mean, I could tell you, it’s just such an interesting transformation where both of them are like these handymen, like, they can do anything. They could build houses. They can… I mean, whatever you can think of they can do, because they grew up in a third world country where you had to have those skills. And I’ll sit down with them, and I’ll talk to them and say, you know, if you would have came to the US earlier, 5, 10 years earlier, I mean, your life could have been just so different. And they assure me that they love their lives. They love how it is now, but it just really speaks to the opportunities that we can have here in the US. So, that connects to my journey and helping individuals with their immigration evaluations and also teaching clinicians on how to niche this specialty in their practice.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah. So, could you walk through some of those steps, if we have listeners who are considering offering immigration evaluations, and how that process works?

[JUAN]:
Yeah, so I’ll start with a big YES. So yes, you guys, you can write immigration evaluations, you can be awesome at writing immigration evaluations, because you have the skills, the knowledge, to do it. You have the training in your master’s degree, or some of you your doctoral degree, that allows you to understand multicultural issues, ethics, the intake process, all of those details, it is just you need a little bit of a specific eye to figure out how to write this evaluation, how to work with a client. Now the client that you’re going to work with is what’s called an applicant because they’re applying for some sort of visa, if you will. And they’re usually going from an undocumented to a documented status. Undocumented highlights variables as far as not being able to drive legally, not been able to hold a job legally, or social security number. So then whenever they get to transform or transition their status to documented, they’re able to drive. I mean, could you imagine you living your life and you’re a dad out there, and you’re having to take your five-year-old daughter to school, but you don’t have a license? I mean, your nerves, your anxiety will be so high. At the same time, you’re trying to provide for your child and give them the life that you don’t have. So that really speaks to why, you know, I give it, if you will, 110, every day and supporting individuals navigate this process. The applicant, they’ll work with you as the clinician, but they’ll also work with an attorney. And I used the word applicant, you could think of them as a client too. And then your part is going to be writing an evaluation. The attorneys gonna do all the legal stuff, don’t worry about that. We don’t have to really dig into that. I know a lot of clinicians out there are like, oh, you know, I’ll throw the F bomb but I’m not going to, because we get so nervous about the legal side. So, you don’t have to do any of those things. The attorneys, they deal with that. And if you ever want to do the training, I’ll support you and guide you, hold your hand so you really understand what to do.

From our side, we’ve got an evaluation. Evaluation is very similar to what’s called a comprehensive clinical assessment. Maybe a lot of clinicians out there, you’re familiar with that where you get like the entire medical history, the family history, diagnosis, you give them some testing, and you’re trying to figure out how they’re affected through the process. Now, the question goes, you’re probably out there thinking, well, what’s the process? Some of the visas differ. An example of one visa is a hardship visa. Now, let’s say me, Juan, I’m from Dominican Republic. Let’s say that I came here undocumented. And my wife, her name is actually Elizabeth, and she’s documented, US citizen. So, we could apply for this hardship waiver. And what happens during the application processes is that she, as the documented individual in the US, will go see an attorney and do that legal process. And then she would also see a clinician, which is one of you awesome individuals out there listening to this, and you would work with her, and you would assess how she is impacted through the process. You would ask her questions like, you know, what would your life be like if your husband had to be deported back to the Dominican Republic? And let’s just say that you use my family system: we have two kids and right now, we both work in the practice. So, if I were to go back, that will really affect us financially. And then you ask questions about the support system, maybe you will look at her preexisting conditions prior to this process. All of those details you will write in there to provide recommendations at the end. And then all of that information gets submitted to the client because they have access to the records, and it gets submitted to the attorney. And then the attorney uses that information along with all the other details from the legal side that we don’t have to worry too much about, and they submit that for the client with the goal that it can lead to a transition in their status where I, Juan, don’t have to be deported; I can be able to stay here with my family in the US. And all this is written in a very neutral position where, you know, we are in there as clinicians, we’re ethical, we’re abiding by our ethical code, we’re able to see the symptoms and write recommendations based off of, you know, what’s really happening and what the client is really experiencing in this moment.

[WHITNEY]:
Okay, and so if somebody wants to write the evaluations, they have to get a special training before they can do immigration evaluations?

[JUAN]:
My recommendation is yes. Right now, there is no like actual gold standard training as far as you need to go and get this certification at this university. There’s clinicians like myself, there’s another one named Cecilia, Georgia King, you know, all fantastic who have been in this field for years. To date, I’ve written hundreds of evaluations, trained numerous clinicians. And you know, we put our skills and knowledge into courses if you will, or consultation. So then when a clinician is wanting to engage in that process, they can reach out to me or somebody else in the field and get that training, utilize that skill, knowledge, and then go and do that work in the field.

[WHITNEY]:
That’s great. I love that you mentioned Cecilia, she’s a friend of mine, and I met her through some Practice of the Practice stuff, she’s wonderful too. And I love that you guys are offering this, and it sounds like it’s not that much of a difficult process for a counselor to kind of get on board with this.

[JUAN]:
No, and you know, that’s something that I’ve really tried to share there. Cecilia, she’s an awesome individual. I’m in her Facebook group. So is Georgia King, and just there’s so many people out there doing a wonderful job. I like to think about adding this niche just like if a clinician’s out there and they work with couples, but they want to advance their skill. You could check out the Gottman Institute – you could advance your skill through there. And overall, it’s just another clinician with advanced training has been in the field a little bit longer, and they’re able to teach you some of the nuts and bolts on how to get somebody from A to B.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so how much time would you say it takes when someone approaches you for an evaluation?

[JUAN]:
Evaluations do take longer to engage in with the client than an individual psychotherapy session, which usually lasts about an hour. Every clinician out there that does training, they teach a little bit different. From mine, I recommend two to four sessions, each session lasting about two hours. So, on average, you could spend four hours and up, you know, [unclear] around eight and then you have the writing process. Now what speaks to this is the fee that you can charge. On average, the fees can range for an evaluation from $500 all the way to $1500. So, you can have a cash-based practice because this service often is not covered by insurance. You can have a cash-based practice just based off of this, and a lot of clinicians do operate their practice solely off of writing immigration evaluations.

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, I’m curious about the cost of it. I was thinking about that. Is there any kind of funding that people can get to help with that, or are people paying that amount for their evaluations?

[JUAN]:
People are paying that amount for their evaluations, and they’re paying out of pocket. To my knowledge, I don’t have the answer as far as funding, I’m sure that if there’s some research, we could probably find that. One thing that I do in my practice, and I do this because of the population… so whenever I’m serving this population, I’m already knowledgeable of certain things – I’m knowledgeable that a lot of individuals are undocumented, meaning that it could be someone that has the best handy skills. So, they should be working at a great contractor agency, if you will, building houses, but because of their legal status, they have to get a job that’s lower paying, like $8 an hour versus $20-$30 an hour. So over time, my wife and I, we set up a pocket to do pro bono work. And the monies that go in there, whenever clients come in, and they’re going through the process, but they’re struggling to pay that fee, we’ll provide pro bono work as often as we can.

[WHITNEY]:
I’m so glad that you have that set up. Yeah, coz I’m sitting here thinking someone who’s undocumented, how do they afford… how do even sometimes documented people can’t afford high rates for testing that they need, but much more so someone who’s really in need, and then they have to kind of do this battle within what we require here in the United States. So that must be a hardship for them. So, I love that you have that set up. And I think that’s such a good idea for people who are interested in this, you know, we see so many counseling agencies that offer, you know, hey, here’s a scholarship that we have or maybe a church gives to an agency, and so they’re able to offer clients lower fees. Whatever it is, coming up with some kind of creative way to be able to help compensate for these clients.

[WHITNEY]:
Hey, Alison, this sure has been a crazy year.

[ALISON]:
It sure has Whitney.

[WHITNEY]:
So what were your goals for your practice going into 2020?

[ALISON]:
Well, I had a lot of them and then I threw them all out the window back in March when COVID started but then I realized that we might be in this for the long haul so I got back on track with accomplishing my goals in a different way. But wouldn’t it be nice if someone created an event to help group practice owners meet their goals?

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, it would. You mean if they did an event like “Pivot Your Group Practice Intensive 2020”?

[ALISON]:
Yes, I like the sound of that.

[WHITNEY]:
So do I. Let’s do it.

[ALISON]:
Yeah, so Whitney Owens and I have put together this awesome one day virtual workshop to help you figure out how to continue growing your practice, even among COVID-19 happening, and still meet your goals for the year 2020. We will be doing a deep dive into fixing all the problems in your practice, and also helping you come up with creative ideas to continue to scale, make more money and work less hours.

[WHITNEY]:
So, the registration will be closing on August 5, so make sure you register by then. We’re going to keep this limited to only 20 spots so that you can get the most out of this group and the most out of working with the two of us as your consultants. So, the link to register is in the show notes. If you have any questions, please follow up with us by email whitney@practiceofthepractice.com and alison@practiceofthepractice.com and we look forward to working with you on August 14.

[JUAN]:
Yeah. And you know, I think what’s wonderful about it is that clinicians, many of us we hold hands when it comes to being support persons. So being able to give those that we serve, whether it’s a sliding scale, pro bono work, it speaks volumes. I can tell you, I get a good high, almost like a runner’s high, whenever I finish a session, whenever I am helping someone. I’ll get calls from individuals and they’ll say, hey, you know, my visa got approved, and I’ll cry sometimes, I do. I’ll just get so happy because I get to meet these individuals and see their kids run through the office. And just knowing that, you know, this dad or this mom doesn’t have to drive around with that anxiety anymore, or they can have a job that’s going to be able to give their kids a great life, you know, better schools, better positions in life, which overall, it’s going to just transition back and support our economy and our system here in the US.

[WHITNEY]:
So beautiful to think about the families, and I’m sure you do feel so wonderful when you get those calls. So, I’m thinking about how does someone get into this in the sense of how do they market themselves so that people that are needing evaluations find them?

[JUAN]:
Yeah, great question. So, you know, whenever you’re out there as a clinician and you’re looking at building your practice, marketing is something you want to think about – marketing is about building relationships. Who do you need to know so that these individuals are able to say, hey, Juan, or Whitney, or Bob, they can help you in this way? Because the immigration evaluations are in the legal field, if you will, so they’re going to be working with an attorney, you want to be able to build a relationship with an attorney because an attorney is going to be one of your top referring agents. Now I like to think about attorneys in a manner that most clinicians out there will think about psychiatrists, or physicians. So, my experience with marketing to physicians and psychiatrists is that it’s going to be pretty tough to get this person to have coffee with me because they’re going to be so busy and running from patient to patient. So, I need to go down that chain and look at their coordinator in the office, customer service staff, you know, someone in there that’s the face of the office, if you will. Just like the show The Office, there’s Pam, who sits at the front desk. I’m not sure if you’re a fan of that show, Whitney?

[WHITNEY]:
We talked about The Office, actually, when I was on your show. I love it. Yeah.

[JUAN]:
Yeah. So, just think about who that Pam would be. And for immigration offices that Pam would be the paralegal or it would be secretaries, one of the translators in the office, and being able to communicate with them, and then let them know who you are and that you’re here to help. Now comes in that portion there, cos you can’t just call and say, hey, this is Juan. I’ve got a practice in Greensboro. We write immigration evaluations; we will love to support those that you serve. You can write that down and use that as your what’s called elevator speech. I find that it’s critical to have some sort of presentation. My brother, I’ll speak about him a lot, Alessio, wonderful, wonderful artist. I mean, he will just make these pieces that you are like, how? How did you draw that, and I can barely draw a stick figure? How did we come from the same parents? Was I adopted? No. So, counselors a little bit tough, right? We can’t really go around town and be like, please believe me. I can tame your anxiety. Or, you know, let me really tell you how I can stop you from getting a divorce. It’s still a stigma, still a taboo. It’s still a topic that’s not really thrown out there that much.

Now, what we can do is we can present ourselves in certain manners, create a product, the product being your template, and immigration evaluation is always going to have a template. Some sort of document that you’re going to turn in to the attorney, the attorney is going to review it and then let you know how they feel about it. So, my recommendation would be that whenever you are building your marketing funnel, if you will, funnel meaning what leads back to you, you create a product, your product is your template. On there you have a made-up client, if you will, just per HIPAA. And you present exactly what you’re going to write, how it would look like. And then that information, along with the business card, some sort of price sheet on there, so they know your pricing. And I like to give people a step by step on what the referral process is. So instead of somebody saying, you know, you can just refer to me, I’m going to tell you exactly how to refer to me. So, it takes all of the thinking out of it, you can… here’s step one, here’s step two, here’s step three, all the way to step that leads to a referral.

All of that information, along with that elevator speech, I provide to the attorney office, leave this with the paralegal and I try to do it in three separate avenues. Face to face is one, and then communication via electronic communication, such as email, or a phone call. And then give it some time, about a week or two to sit in there. If you haven’t established contact, reach out again. This is something critical that I found in building a private practice is that we have to acknowledge everyone out there that we’ve got two sides of the brain – not your right and your left hemisphere, if you will, but you’ve got your clinical side, and you’ve got your entrepreneur side. So, you got to tap into the entrepreneur side and say, come on, man. We got to push this a little bit. We got to nudge. You have to believe in yourself and build that self-confidence. And it’s going out there and making sure that if they didn’t respond the first time, what do I need to do to get them to respond the second time?

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, and all this just makes me think of the importance of people needing good immigration evaluations. So, if you’re not marketing yourself, think about all the people who are missing out on getting evaluated and getting documented. And that’s what’s heartbreaking.

[JUAN]:
Absolutely. I think so many clinicians out there… the course that I have, I get to meet a lot of the clinicians. And I’m just like, thank you. Like, whenever I see the work they’re doing, they grow. And it’s just like a grad student. And I’m sure professors feel the same way. When we were students at one point, years later they see us and they’re like, yes, you’ve done so well.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. So sorry. You can maybe hear my child screaming in the background.

[JUAN]:
No worries. I’m surprised mine aren’t running around and stampeding like those rhinos from Jumanji.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, especially when it’s dinnertime. I love that analogy right there. Okay, so you just kind of said a little bit about your course. Can you talk about some of the consulting you do and some of the courses that you have to offer?

[JUAN]:
Yeah, so for that course, I offer it in three different facets. So, you’ve got like a master course. And so if you’re out there, and you’re listening to this and you’re like, yes, I want to add immigration evaluations to my practice, yes, I want to increase my income, which is a side note and a fun fact – on average, you can increase your income by $2,000 by adding this niche to your practice, and it’s $2000 a month. So that speaks volume when it comes to that entrepreneur side of the brain. The courses, again, there’s three of them. The first one is that master course that lets you know everything you need to know about writing this evaluation, adding it to your practice, from start to finish. It has marketing, it has a writing process, it has all of the information, I mean, all of it in a nutshell, in that one course, the master course. The other course that I offer is if you just need the marketing side. Right now, you’ve already added this niche to your practice, but the numbers aren’t there. You’re not making the income that you want to be making, then there’s the marketing one. And the last one is marketing is going well, you know how to do the work, but your writing isn’t at the point that you want it. Maybe you want to write more effectively so that your attorneys get a better product, if you will, you serve your clients at a higher level, and then you’re able to build more relationships with other referral partners, then there’s the writing course. It goes into, you know, here’s how we can take a deep dive into writing powerful and effective immigration evaluations.

[WHITNEY]:
I love that you’ve created different courses for different needs, because that’s what people need, right? I mean, everybody’s at a different place. So, you have so much to offer in that. Thank you.

[JUAN]:
Yeah, absolutely. It wasn’t my idea. I had a student come through, and she emailed me, and she was like, hey, I’ve been doing this for like 20 years, so I don’t want to do the whole thing. I just want the writing side. And I thought about it and I was like, it’s a good idea. We had a phone call for like an hour and that was pretty neat. So, you really get to learn a lot from those that you serve.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, and we always say that, anytime you’re going to launch something or create something you want to talk to the people who would purchase and find out what their needs are so that you’re creating something for them?

[JUAN]:
Absolutely. And I think all the clinicians out there, and maybe it’s a yes for you, that you do this already, you probably do it with your clients, those that come into your office, you shut the door, you sit down, and you have that intimate relationship with them. And you’re probably asking some sort of evaluation like question, you’re asking, you know, how did our session go? Do you feel comfortable here? Do you feel that we’re making progress? And you’re doing that because you want to make sure that you are continuing to grow and to support. And it’s really getting that skill and saying, I have that skill. I’m just going to transfer it over to maybe consulting, or to course creation, to the entrepreneur side.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. And so, can you also talk about the consulting that you do for private practice owners?

[JUAN]:
Yes. And this is funny, too, because my wife and I, we operate a practice. So, the birth to consulting came because somebody thought that was interesting. They were like, so you do that with your wife. And I said, yeah, we do that together. We’re a good team, we work hard, and we stick to our P’s and Q’s. And we’ve made sure that there’s love, there’s respect, there’s a mission statement if you will. I’m big into leadership. So, I read a lot of leadership books that connect into the work that we do, like Stephen Covey, I hope I’m pronouncing his name right, making sure that you think about the end in mind. So with consulting, if you’re looking for that out there listening to this podcast, I help clinicians, we help clinicians, my wife and I, to launch a private practice, to go from building your private practice all the way to a successful private practice. And we try to do it in a manner that speaks to your authentic self. I think a lot individuals out there that can help you with building a private practice, I find that there’s a difference between what’s your ideal version of a private practice, what type of lifestyle do you want that aligns with your private practice? And that’s different, that aligns to you, to your core values, to your family system. And then, how do we integrate this practice in there?

[WHITNEY]:
I love that you’re doing the consulting. I mean, you do it for all practice owners. But I do see that niche for couples. I found a lot of couples that are doing practices together, way more than I thought. So, I’m really glad you’re out there offering that.

[JUAN]:
Yeah. So, I did a mastermind group with Alison Pidgeon. My wife and I, we did so much research just looking for different consultants. And we fell on her because of her background. I knew that a consultant at that level, they’re going to have the skills, they’re going to have the knowledge, but I wanted someone that knew what it was to run a business and have kids that are wild and jumping everywhere. Because they would get my struggle, you know, they would get that I can’t do blank, blank blank, because my son’s got soccer or my daughter wants to play hide and go seek. And I want to play hide and go seek, and I want to go see soccer. So how do we make this work?

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I think a lot of practice owners feel that torn sense. We get out of grad school, we kind of start seeing clients at someone else’s agency, then we realize we really want a different kind of life. So, we start our own practice but usually at that point, we’ve started having kids. And so, we’re all trying to manage how do I take care of my kids and spend time with them, but also run a business? And that’s the whole reason I started the business, so I can have more time with our kids. It’s just a constant balancing act.

[JUAN]:
Absolutely. And the longer we do it, the more help that we can get along the way, it seems like it gets a little bit easier to balance that act.

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, definitely. Definitely. And I love how, at least my oldest one, she understands now that people go to jobs and there’s a boss and so, it’s really fun when she’s like, one day she said – she’s watching Barbie and she says to me, mom, who’s your boss? And I said, I am the boss. And she thought that was the coolest thing ever. Mommy’s the boss. And so, I get to, like, set that example for her. So, as they’re getting older, it’s almost like they get to take part in the business and understanding it and understanding what we do. And it kind of empowers them, especially a little girl, you know, that she can do that as well.

[JUAN]:
Yeah, I love that. You know, I love that example. I love that your daughter got to see you in that element. And hopefully that gives birth to some idea that, hey, I can do that too. I can be like, mom, I can grow into those shoes. So, it’s amazing that you’re able to give her that opportunity in life.

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, and it all started with Barbie. It’s her favorite show these days. So, Juan, it sounds like you had some freebies for the listeners today,

[JUAN]:
I do and I’ll share it with you so that… and maybe you can put it on the show notes as well, that’s okay. But everyone listening out there, there’s a discount that you can get on the immigration evaluation course. For some reason right now I’m blanking on the amount of the discount, I think it’s $100.

[WHITNEY]:
I have it right here in front of me. Yeah, it’s $100 off the course with the discount code Whitney.

[JUAN]:
Okay, yep. And if you guys are able to go to this episode, on the notes there, click on that link, it will take you straight to the course, put the discount code in, and the next thing you know, you got the course. What I want to share with you, everyone listening out there, is that yes, you can do it, you guys can really add this to your practice. It’s a need, especially right now with the number of undocumented individuals that we have in the US, and the support that you can provide them. Along the way when you’re on the course I’m riding with you in the passenger seat while you drive the car of your choice, if you will. If it was me, it’d be a Mustang, but it’s you. So, I’ll be in the passenger seat supporting along the way. And there’s a Facebook group community that’s gonna support you too as you continue to move forward.

[WHITNEY]:
Yes, I don’t always do this on the podcast, but just as we’ve been talking, I’m thinking, what is the action step for somebody to take? And obviously it’s accessing the course. But even for me, after this I’m going to go find out how many immigration evaluators there are in my town, because I’m sad about the idea that maybe people are needing this service, and they’re not getting it because people aren’t there. So, I encourage listeners, go, and find out if there are even people in your area that are doing this. And if they’re not, then you definitely should jump on it or find someone in your practice to jump on it. And even if there are, you should still look into it because it’s a great service to offer. And now you have this code for good discount. So anyway, I want to let people know how do they get in touch with you if they want to talk to you further?

[JUAN]:
Yeah, if you want to talk to me further, which I would love, I love to connect, love to meet people, learn about you, my website is acounselorsjourney.com. You’re able to visit me there or you can go to the YouTube channel, A Counselors Journey. And on there there’s all my links, all forms of communication. Let me know where you’re at, let me know what you’re doing, how your life is going. Again, I am here in any way that I can be for you.

[WHITNEY]:
Well, thank you. And I asked everyone at the end of the podcast, what do you think every Christian counselor needs to know?

[JUAN]:
And I love that question. You know, last time you and I had an interview, I shared my mom’s story with you at church. And if it’s okay, I’d like to reiterate that one.

[WHITNEY]:
Oh, please do. It was a great story. Yeah.

[JUAN]:
And I’ll cut it so it won’t be as long. But my mom, she… we came here from Dominican Republic, and she was a very church going person, if you will, very connected to religion. Going in there, making sure that my siblings and I, that we as a family system, had a strong connection in that way. All the way from waking up, having time for prayer at night, having time for prayer. And then we got here, we came here to the US and we went to this church. And she had this experience where she went out to shake someone’s hand and they didn’t shake her hand. And I remember that was a very pivotal moment for her, a moment where she struggled to connect back to church, to connect back to that love, that strong connection that her entire life and her upbringing, and her cultural background provided for her. And then later, what took place is what I want to share here with the question of what does every Christian counselor need to know? And I think what every Christian counselor can take time to explore is individual’s background on how can I connect with this person based off of their background, and not mine? How can I learn a little bit more about this individual during that process? And maybe for her it would have been, you know, if she would have done something different or maybe it would have been if that individual would have focused in a different way. And that’s her experience, her moment, maybe a little bit different than anything else that’s happened in your life. But I do think it could lead to a healthier outcome.

[WHITNEY]:
Well, thank you for sharing that story. And it’s just so important that we’re thinking about the way we approach people, the way we care for people, and being authentic in what we do, but also understanding where our clients are coming from. And maybe the people that were doing the immigration evaluations, where they’re coming from and being able to meet those needs, because that’s what we’re all about. So, thank you for sharing that. Well, it’s been a pleasure to have you on the show. We have lots of great information. So, check out the show notes for all the links that Juan shared today and for that discount code. Thanks for being on the show.

[JUAN]:
Thank you. Thank you so much.

[WHITNEY]:
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 group consulting, or just shoot me an e-mail whitney@practiceofthepractice.com. 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, the Practice of the Practice, or the guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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