How do you plan your business journey when your family life starts changing? Could a virtual practice solve your issue? Does it create a company that suits your needs?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok does a live consultation with Anisha Shah about whether she should sell her practice or start a group practice?
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Meet Anisha Shah
Collin County Counseling’s Anisha Shah, M.A., LPC-S is a sought-after counselor for both personal and relationship issues in the McKinney, Texas area. Her diverse education and clinical experience add depth to her therapeutic practice.
Specializing in individual, marriage, and family counseling, Anisha has worked with children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. Her goal is to create a safe, comfortable and positive environment designed to facilitate healing. Using cognitive-behavior therapy and other techniques, she works to inspire hope and healing, leading to a more meaningful life for her clients.
In This Podcast
- Selling a private practice
- Hire someone to replace you
- Set up processes
Selling a private practice
If you come to decide to sell your private practice, remember that you have built the business around you, so you are essentially the product.
Consider how many sources of income you bring into your practice besides the counseling services that you provide. If you leave, so does the income source, which may deter potential buyers.
As an asset, unless you have intellectual property or you have money coming through in various income sources or e-courses or other automations, there’s typically not that much worth in the practice other than the rebuild costs. (Joe Sanok)
It may be more valuable for you to keep your assets up to date and running in the background to use at a later stage than to sell them and have to rebuild later if you decide to return to counseling.
Hire someone to replace you
Run the numbers on your income and the number of clients calling your practice.
Depending on the number of calls you get, and the clients that are converted at the hourly rate, see if you could hire someone who could work in your practice while you step away.
You would not have to be in the country to run your practice.
I think that especially post-pandemic people are much more comfortable to do most things online, whether that’s supervision or other things. (Joe Sanok)
You could run your new group practice from abroad and maybe fly in for a few weeks a year to make sure that everything is as it should be and improve it to where it could be improved.
Set up processes
There are many opportunities to work online and abroad.
The trick is to make sure that the correct structures are in place and that you have set up reliable processes so that you and your team can work together easily, even if you are on opposite ends of the world.
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
- Visit Therapy Notes for three months free
- Group Practice Launch
- Visit the Collin County Counseling website. Connect on LinkedIn and Facebook
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- Ask Joe: How to select associates to make sure they are a “fit” at your practice? | PoP 623
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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Well, I am Joe host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I always love these series that we’re doing right now that are all about doing some live consulting with real life therapists that have practices. They’re bringing questions that I don’t know what their questions are even going to be. So it’s me doing live consulting with them. You’re hearing the question the same time that I’m hearing it. And we’ve got some really interesting ones coming up like how do you step back from doing as much counseling, how do you get interviewed on podcasts and build an email funnel? Should I hire an assistant? Should I start a group practice? How do I attract my ideal clients? We’ve got a bunch of really interesting shows coming up of that live consulting.
It’s all in the lead up to our November 8th opening of Next Level Practice. This is the last cohort of 2021, where if you are from that moment of wanting to start a practice all the way till you’re ready to make your first hire, we have over 30 e-courses. We have small groups, we have live trainings with me and with experts that are going to help you continue to get to that next level. So Next Level Practice opens on November 8th. If you want to get that first access right now, you should head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/invite.
Well, today we have Anisha Shah, and I am so excited to have Anisha back on the show. Anisha was here earlier in the year, and we did some consulting. We’re going to get an update from Anisha, and then we’re going to hear where she’s at and where she wants some extra consulting. So Anisha, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[ANISHA SHAH] Thank you so much, Joe. It is a pleasure to be back.
[JOE] I’m so excited to have you back. These have been so fun to do because it’s like I got to help and share some ideas and then to hear what people have done, how they’ve pivoted. It’s just really exciting. So maybe give us a quick update on what you’ve been working on since we talked last, what did you implement, what did you decide and do? Just give us a full update.
[ANISHA] Yes, it’s been quite a roller coaster right here. Let me just put it that way with just the decision to consider moving abroad that is still a family decision and we’re still in the makes of deciding what we are going to do. So with that said, everything on my end, since we last spoke is still on a limbo, if I may just put it that way. As far as looking of, if I were to move abroad in Europe, we did visit Europe this summer and it was a great summer break for five weeks, had a wonderful time, but then we come back and we are like, gosh, we’re still in the same place. Not sure if we’re going to make that move or not. So on my end, as far as the practice goes, I have been still researching options with the online.
I looked into after the conversation we had last time Joe, about considering group practice. I was being a little hesitant. I was also considering joining I think Whitney’s group, I think Whitney and Alison, but still with just, I’m not fully certain of what we’re going to do as a family. I just didn’t pull the plug there to join the podcast. And also I think they had a training going on. So I should hold off on that and the time being, but just off and on, on my own, I have been looking at what is it like because I’m a Texas-based licensed clinical counselor and a supervisor. So I clearly don’t get much of information online with what the licensure requirements are if I have were to practice with the Texas license internationally.
So that’s all. The long story short, it’s all in the works of researching and what to do and so not much of an update. I feel terrible saying that, but I’m just being honest. But with that said I am also looking at again, options and I want to just check with you and hear some wisdom from you on an option of if I were to consider selling my practice. I know it’s like so wild, but I just want to just look at all options. So I thought I would check with you today a little it more along those lines on just what your experience has been, or if you had any directions for me to look into, if I were to consider doing that wild card.
[JOE] Yes. And I think that, let’s just start with that there’s times in life that things are up in the air. To me, I don’t want to just have success stories where people just killing it, but there’s nuance, there’s life changes, there’s family decisions, there’s all these things that impact what our career looks like. And to me, it’s really important that we share stories like yours, where you say we still don’t know as a family and as a family to plan. That’s tough if you don’t even know where you’re going to land in the next six months. And it reminds me of a lot of, kind of, some of the military spouses that are therapists that every few years they have to move states and start over and they start a practice and then they get sick of that and say, “Well, maybe I should start something online that I can just transfer between states that isn’t as based on my license or that I could do differently.” So I think it’s great that the reality of your situation, I mean, unless you’re frustrated with your own growth, like there’s no reason to feel any shame or sadness. It sounds like you’re doing as much as you can with the situation that you’re in.
[ANISHA] I know. I’m trying just everything that I can and my husband and I, we still, no decision has been made. We thought once we would visit Europe, we will know for sure, but now we like it there. We like it here and we have kids in the mix. So all of that. We have one daughter, she’s in middle school, so just having to factor a lot of that in, at the moment. So with that said online, again, it just keeps me very skeptic with just the Texas license. Again, different states in the US have different licensure requirements on what is allowed and what’s not and at the moment I just feel clueless about it. So I was looking at, I think you had mentioned last session at our podcast about Clay about his online. So I was been researching some of that and I was looking at his website. So a lot of the countries that I guess the online counseling platform offers counseling, Portugal is one country that we’re looking at right now and it’s not there. So I was like, oh man, I don’t know. So I’m thinking about, well, maybe I should email him. So kind of I’m right there in the mix of it.
[JOE] Yes. Well, I think you are in the phase of information gathering and to really make sure that you, to the best of your abilities know, you want to know the landmines. You don’t want to accidentally get in trouble for doing something or have your license revoked. You’ve worked too hard for that. And to definitely document the emails that you’re sending, print them, save them in Dropbox or somewhere that’s a cloud-based system so that if say, imagine three years from now, you’re in Portugal and you’re offering counseling to a Texas-based person, you’re still licensed in Texas. You feel like you’re doing it right. They feel like you’re doing it right. And then some state board comes down on you and says we’re going to take this to the ethics committee.
You just want to make sure that you have the data to show that you tried to do your due diligence, you tried to do it based on what you found, even printing out or scanning photos of websites from the state to make sure that if it says somewhere, anything that gives you in one direction or the other, you just want to be able to make the case that you tried your best as an intelligent individual to do what was ethically sound and legally sound.
It may even be worth it to, if you can find an attorney that specializes in something close to this. I doubt there’s one that specializes in therapists moving to Portugal but there might be one that at least understands some of the kind of licensure law or employment law or things like that, that you could at least have someone sign off on it. You know, the 500 or thousand dollars you might pay an attorney to just have at least that liability spread out a little bit and to show that you are serious, you were trying to figure this out. The state of Texas was not giving you anything and that at every level you tried your best. That’s going to be really hard for an ethics board to fight against if you show when I made this decision to leave, here’s all the steps that I took. The state of Texas did not help me in any way. I even employed an attorney to get an opinion on it and did all these things. Because you want to protect that license so that if you ever decide to come back, that it’s easy for you to just maintain that license.
[ANISHA] Certainly, I think that’s a good idea to cover my bases and save all this communication and documentation. So I think that’s a good point.
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[JOE SANOK] So then tell me about the idea of potentially selling your practice. Just tell me more about that.
[ANISHA] I know it’s just so wild when I think about it. It’s like, oh my gosh, I worked so hard and and so again with just where I’m at in my life with just this possibility of this move coming it’s like, again with all not having clarity of just how the laws work and I get all mixed reviews when I read articles of when people practice so that I think about, okay, so if I were to sell my practice, what would that mean? And I don’t even know where to start if I were to sell, who to contact, how to gauge on the pricing. I am so clueless. So that’s why I thought I would check with you.
[JOE] Do you have other practitioners working for you right now?
[ANISHA] No, it’s just, I’m a solo practitioner in my private practice.
[JOE] I mean, so really like when you think about what you’d be selling I mean you’re the product right now. So if you sell the practice, you’re selling a website, some social media. So like if you came to me and said, should I buy this other clinician’s practice? She’s moving to Portugal. She doesn’t want to do therapy anymore. I would say, well, how much income comes in outside of her? And you’re like, well, no, she’s all the income. It’s like, well then the income source is leaving. So then we look at say a hundred thousand dollars a year comes in and a hundred thousand dollars a year comes through the counseling, I mean really the only business worth is the physical products.
So the filing cabinet, the couch, the desk, those sorts of things. And then the digital or intellectual products. So if you have a website, okay, what would that website cost to rebuild? So if someone was brand new and it’s like, wow, she’s ranking number one for these like five different search terms that I really want to rank for, so how long would it take us to build that website? So it might cost $2,000 to build it. How much SEO would it take to get to that point? Okay, maybe the website’s worth 5,000, maybe it’s worth 6,000. So as an asset, unless you have intellectual property or you have money coming through in various income sources or e-courses or other automations, there’s typically just not that much worth in a practice other than the rebuild costs.
So I mean, just from what you’re saying, I mean, you’ve got a website and a few other digital assets. I mean, you probably wouldn’t get more than five to $10,000 for that. So then it’s, well, what if you want to ever practice again, do you want to rebuild all those things or do you want to have the SEO of, even if you go to Portugal for three years to have a website that you kind of keep up and maybe do some blog posts so that if you ever return then, okay, I’ve got a great website that’s ranking really high, it would probably be worth it to just keep those websites or digital assets up to date rather than try to sell them.
[ANISHA] Okay. Yes, that’s a good point. So if I’m not practicing like on an active basis, then how would, you know if like people calling office for services, because right now I rank very high in my areas and I’m grateful for the SEO that I have working for me, but then once I leave and if I still have that we’re going, would that counteract or no?
[JOE] I mean the amount of work it would take to put in to get a couple clinicians that were work for you would not be that much compared to the amount of income you could potentially make if you have that level of, kind of source of people calling. So, I mean, I don’t think it would take much management to oversee one or two other clinicians that you could start to fill up. And then, yes, I mean, and then looking at whether in Texas a 1099 or W2, because like, let me just pull out my calculator real quick. So how many calls a week do you think you’re getting that actually convert into therapy?
[ANISHA] At least five.
[JOE] Okay, so five a week. And then on average, how long does the average client stay with you?
[ANISHA] Oh, that’s a good question.
[JOE] Even just the guess on average.
[ANISHA] Yes. I mean, at least like eight to 10 sessions minimum.
[JOE] Okay. So we’re looking over two months, 50 sessions or so. So if we’re doing five a week, that would mean by the end of two months, we’re looking at most likely having a full caseload for someone. So say they’re at just 25 sessions a week and what are you charging per session right now?
[ANISHA] It’s $150 for the first intake session and then $135 an hour after that.
[JOE] Okay. So I mean, I think $135 would be reasonable for that other person. So if they’re at $135 per session and they have 25 sessions a week and then say they work 48 weeks a year and then let’s just say, after all of your costs, after paying them, you’d want to decide if they’re going to be a W2 employee or 1099. That’s where Alison or Whitney could definitely help with that. But say your takeaway was 40%. That would be a really bad takeaway for you based on the numbers, but we’ll be super conservative. So if they were doing 25 sessions a week and they took a month off a year, gross, they would bring in $162,000. That would mean that if you took home 40% of that, you’d be making $64,000, $64,800 from that person’s work after your expenses. So if you have that level of people coming in, I mean, this person’s going to be full within two months. So say even on the low side, you had three people a year that you added. I mean, we’re looking at about $194,000 in almost passive income where it’s really just making sure that that system just keeps running.
[ANISHA] I see, I mean, I think the numbers sound great. I’m always just skeptic with me being overseas with just again, because this has been my baby this over 12 years setting up my practice. So now I’m at a really, like on a cruise control and so blessed. So thank you for all your help and all the podcasts and everything that I’ve been part of, the information gathering and now I’m like on a full-time basis, a full caseload. So I feel really comfortable and then having to not be on that place if I am living abroad and then to have other people kind of take on, it’s, I am going to be honest, I feel a little nervous or not sure how all is that going to work if I’m physically not here.
[JOE] Well, that’s where you may want some checks and balances. Maybe you decide that it’s just all online and so then if you need to pop in for some supervision, it’s easier. It may be that you have a front desk person that does all the calling and scheduling and you guys do a team meeting. I think that, especially post pandemic people are much more comfortable to do most things online, whether that’s supervision or other things. And you may find that a few times a year, it makes sense to fly back to Texas, that it makes sense to come back to check in on the team or to do some team visioning meetings. There may be flare ups, but my entire business is online and Alison is in Pennsylvania, Whitney’s down in Georgia, we’ve got eight staff in Cape Town. We have five sound engineers here.
If you have the right checks and balances, a virtual team, these days is so easy to run. But you want to have ongoing feedback, have ongoing ways of assessing whether the clients are getting the same level of care of making sure that the things that you hold dear to your practice are being instituted on your behalf from the first moment someone looks at your website to when they email or call to then they first schedule and then the intake that it all flows, how you want it to flow. And that’s where kind of just setting up the processes can be really helpful, especially in a group of other people that are starting group practices.
[ANISHA] I know, I mean, it’s just so inspiring just hearing that yes, that’s right, your practice is completely virtual. So like, why not? You know, there’s got to be a start somewhere.
[JOE] Yes, because I mean, if we say that there’s five people a week calling, let’s just say that’s for 48 weeks a year, that’s 240 clients a year. So even if they came for, you said two months, so we’ll divide that by six, so 40 client sessions a week or so times that $135, I mean that’s $5,400 a week minimum at kind of potential income just from the clients you have calling now that you’d be turning away.
[ANISHA] I know. That’s kind of what kills me. I don’t know what to do because again, I just wish I could practice online from there, but now I don’t know what the Texas laws are because I’m not getting a very clear picture.
[JOE] Well, I mean, I think that’s where I would put kind of phase one, your effort into really understanding can someone from Texas that moves abroad temporarily keep practicing and seeing Texas residents? I think my understanding is that in most situations you can. Now don’t make any decisions on me saying that. You want to make sure that your own attorney or whoever signs off on that. But do your due diligence, document that so that if there’s ever anything that flares up and then if you still aren’t clear on it, you make your own best professional decision on it.
I wouldn’t be paralyzed by perfection. I wouldn’t just sit around and say, well, I don’t know. So I’m just not going to do anything. You’ve got all these clients that you could be helping. So the next phase I’d say is probably adding one more clinician to the practice, see how that goes, whether that’s doing group practice launch, or whether it’s kind of doing it on your own, just in some way, adding that clinician and making sure you set up the systems and then making sure in that process that you’re really keeping track of just all the different data points and what you want to make it keep kind of going in the direction you want it to go.
[ANISHA] Absolutely. So two things; one look for myself how that online continuity may be there and consider at least adding one more clinician so my practice continues to stay alive and keep the vision growing through them while I’m abroad. Okay, got it.
[JOE] Awesome. Well, good luck with your next efforts and thanks so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[ANISHA] Thank you so much, Joe. It was my pleasure.
[JOE] I love doing these episodes where I’m talking with people about their real life situations and to just normalize some of it. I mean, think of about Anisha, who has a lot of things going on, a lot of uncertainty. We don’t always have certainty, but we don’t want to just pause then either, unless there’s times in life that you just need to step back and you need to pause and you need to slow down and like after the death of a parent or during a divorce or any big things. Sometimes you do just need to fully step back. But if we step back because of the uncertainty, that’s where, let’s get some information and make sure that someone from Texas can still keep seeing people in Texas, even if they’re in Portugal. So keeping that movement forward so that we’re optimizing our business, but then also we don’t have to work as hard or be as worried or anxious as maybe when we started the discussion.
I mentioned Whitney and Alison. So they have something called Group Practice Launch. There’s more cohorts coming up in 2022. It’s a six month program that’s specifically aimed at people like Anisha who have a solo practice, it’s going well, and there’s opportunity there to add their first hire. So Group Practice Launch, it’s this six month amazing community that helps you go from not having a person to then having your first clinical hire. So you can read more over at practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticelaunch. It’s a great place that you can get that support if you want to make that kind of transition like I was just talking with Anisha about.
Also, so much want to thank Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes has been an amazing sponsor of the Practice of the Practice podcast, of our events, of so many different things. Therapy Notes is the best electronic health records out there. They now have teletherapy totally free as part of their platform. And if you use promo code [JOE], you’re going to get a few months for free. So it’s really an awesome thing. It’s the best EHR out there that we’ve seen, we keep hearing from our listeners and from our consulting clients that they really like the EHR of Therapy Notes. So sign up for that.
And thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it.
And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.