Which three steps should you follow when you are considering building passive income into your business? Should you create a separate website? Why is it a good idea to differentiate your services on different websites?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok does a live consulting call with Christy Pennison about how to start speaking more and build passive income.
Next Level Practice is an on-going support system for mental health clinicians, counselors, and coaches who want to start and scale their own private practice featuring HUNDREDS of trainings, LIVE calls with our experts, a robust resource library, an exclusive online community, and SO MUCH MORE!
Meet Christy Pennison
Christy Pennison is a board-certified professional counselor, mental health consultant, and owner of Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting in Alexandria, LA.
She is passionate about inspiring hope for change through counseling, consulting, and speaking to help individuals of all ages move forward and live fully.
In This Podcast
- Examine, grow and grow
- Build a website for your specialty
Examine, grow and grow
… grow your specialty, grow your audience then grow your income … really start to look at what is the specialty of goal-setting, how are you different from all the other goal-setting people out there? … what is it that is unique about you? (Joe Sanok)
Examine your specialty
Look at the unique things that you can offer that come from you directly. What is your position in life, what has your experience been, what did you study?
From all of these aspects of your life, you can draw the uniqueness and wisdom that only you have created in this specific and unique way.
Grow your audience
You can start your own podcast or be on other people’s podcasts to get your message out to the world. Have a clear call to action and an easy-to-navigate website so that when people follow you they can easily contact you.
Grow your income
Here you can start to create paid courses, masterminds, or groups that people can join with the audience that you have built up.
Build a website for your specialty
If you are a clinician and are starting up a passive income stream, consider creating a website that is specifically for that new income instead of having it all under one umbrella website.
Having a distinction between the websites will ensure that your potential clients are not confused when they seek out your services. Your therapy clients will be directed to your counseling website and your passive income clients will head to the website for the service you are providing.
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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.
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Next Level Practice is the community for starting a private practice. So, from that moment that you think, “Hey, I might want to start a private practice,” all the way till you’re at a hundred thousand dollars. That’s what is covered in Next Level Practice.
You get access to over 30 e-courses, access to experts every single month, like Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, who we’re having soon. We interview her and ask questions and get to know these experts in our field that maybe we’ve looked up to for years. And honestly, they’re just regular people that want to help you out too. So, if you want access to a community of people, that’s going to give you the right information at the right time, I want you to sign up for this cohort. This cohort opens on February 15th and it’s only open for four days. These spots usually fill up. So, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re on that wait list over at practiceofthepractice.com/invite. Again, you can sign up on the wait list over at practiceofthepractice.com/invite. I look forward to seeing you in there.
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session 532. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am Joe, Sanok your host, and I am so excited to be hanging out with you today. We are doing these live coaching calls with our Next Level Practice folks, and it’s been incredible to just help people, to kind of hear their questions, to dive in and already to start seeing some results. And actually just yesterday at the time of this recording I learned that I won the 2020 Therapists Resource Best Consultant Award. And so you could see some live consulting. Well, here’s some live consulting with me, which, you know, these awards, it’s great to have the recognition, but honestly, it’s hanging out with people like Christy today, getting to know people in our Next Level Practice community and seeing them actually make changes and have more freedom in their lives through growing a practice that makes a difference in their community. To me, that’s the stuff that matters.
It’s nice to have the recognition, but it’s even more important to see people’s lives change. So today I’m so excited to hang out with Christy Pennison. Christy is a board certified professional counselor, mental health consultant, and owner of Be Inspired Counseling and Consulting in Alexandria, LA, Louisiana. She is passionate about inspiring hope for change through counseling, consulting and speaking to help individuals of all ages move forward and live fully. Christy, welcome to the podcast.
[CHRISTY PENNIS…: Yes, thanks for having me, Joe, and congratulations on winning that award. That is phenomenal and well-deserved so, congratulations.
[JOE]: Thank you so much. Well, and I so appreciate you being such an active member of Next Level Practice. You know, there’s some people that I hear their names and I’m like, “Oh, who is that again?” I flip through their Facebook, but yours, you show up for yourself. You show up in our community so often it’s just, I’m so excited that you applied to be on these live consulting calls.
[CHRISTY]: Well, and I’m excited to be here. And I will just have to say Joe, like I probably am like one person that has drank the Kool-Aid of Next Level Practice, because it really has helped me transform and grow my practice because I went from not having really a clue what to do, sit in an office by myself to now almost a year later, having two other clinicians and a virtual assistant that help me in the practice. And so I attribute a lot of that growth just to all of the individuals, to you, to the information that’s in Next Level Practice and really the community. So I’m super thankful for all that I’ve learned and how I’ve been able to grow through that.
[JOE]: That’s just incredible. Like, I mean, I just think about going from, you know, having a solo practice where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and, you’re doing your best, but it’s not necessarily always working to then now having a group practice like for your own life and for those clinicians having jobs and for more clients in your community, getting access to good mental health treatment. I mean, it’s just such a win all around.
[CHRISTY]: Definitely. And I am excited to have gotten all the information. I really feel kind of like I got a diamond that people don’t know, not everybody knows about. And I know as this podcast gets more out there and it continues to grow that more people will, but I really feel like it’s a resource that if people can truly use it, that it can really help them actualize the vision that they have for their practice and for themselves and their community as well.
[JOE]: Oh, well, thank you so much for that shout out about Next Level Practice. Well today, it’s all about you. And so you’re coming here with a question and we’re going to work through it and kind of dissect it and give you some good advice. So Christy, what’s your question today?
[CHRISTY]: Well, I’m so excited. I get to ask a question number one, but I guess before I actually moved back to my hometown to start the practice, one of my dreams and visions was really to be able to really expand my reach and impact and be able to have an influence on more people from just that one-to-one I guess, ratio that you have when you’re in a counseling practice, in a counseling session. And so one of the things that I kind of put on the back burner last year, so that I could start the practice, or I actually, it was the year before last 2019, was that I really wanted to get into speaking. I wanted to grow maybe a consulting and just do some things in a more of an online community. And now that I feel like I’ve gotten my bearings on the practice, things are running well, it’s growing, I’m learning what I need to do to help that grow. I really wanting to get your insight and feedback on maybe how you started and what your best feedback is if you want to grow into another stream of income and you want to be able to do something that has a little bit larger reach, where to start and what you would say would be the best place to just kind of begin growing in that direction.
[CHRISTY]: Yeah. Well, tell me a little bit more about what you want to speak about, where, what kind of audience you want to be in front of.
[CHRISTY]: Well, you know, I go back and forth. There’s two really things that come to mind that I think that I would just absolutely love doing. One of it is for the past few years, I’ve actually hosted for free a community group where I do goal setting with a group of women where at the beginning of the year we get together, we discuss what goal setting is. We kind of look at the different things and how that can transform their lives. And we really kind of moved from limiting beliefs and mindset to the belief systems of possibilities. And I help them kind of grow and go through that process to where they can actually be more intentional about their lives and really can see some changes, some positive change that they want to see happen in their life. So that is one area of passion of mine, just helping people that feel stuck, feel overwhelmed, feel just like, I don’t know where to go next in my life, but I know that there’s something else I want to do and help them then kind of recreate and re-imagine and create actionable steps to move them forward in life.
And then the second thing that I really feel like I’ve become more passionate about this year is really actually helping practice owners be able to build meaningful connections so that their business can grow. Because I think one of the things that has been transformative to me is just the relationships I’ve built along the way, whether that be relationships in my community or relationships through like Next Level Practice or other online forums that have really helped me move the needle forward and growing. And so that’s another area that I kind of say that I really feel like that I would love to delve more into, but it’s kind of a toss up in the, I guess that’s where I’m needing your guidance and it just get the insight and figuring out where to go next and what the best places to start.
[JOE]: Yeah. Well, just something I noticed between the two is the goal setting one seemed very clear as to the outcomes as to the process as to just every aspect of it whereas when you were talking about connecting with practice owners, it was to help them connect with each other or it wasn’t as clear. Maybe that’s just how you articulated it. Maybe there is more to that, but it seemed at least on the surface that the goal setting one was a little more fleshed out and it had a little bit more substance to it and a track record. Is that accurate? Or did I just, is there more that you need to tell me about the practice owner side?
[CHRISTY]: No, that is very accurate. And I think part of the differentiation is the doing so as far as like the goal setting, it has something that I’ve done with individuals and have that kind of background of like, “I know that it’s it works. I’ve seen it, how it’s influenced and impact lives and because I’ve done it already or I’ve started to do it and want to grow that.” And the practice owners is something that I’m very passionate about as well, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to necessarily really start to flash that out and see what kind of, like you said, outcomes would really be generated from that, what that would look like.
[JOE]: Yeah. And with the goal setting side of it, do you have, how many years have you run that goal setting retreat?
[CHRISTY]: So I’ve done it for two years and it’s actually been a year long thing where we meet once a month. I really want to change the format because I’ve seen some, what are some of the pros and cons of that, but yeah, it’s been about a two different years that I’ve done that where I’ve just taken a random, I say random, but I just put the ask out there, “Anybody that wants to join me?” And it’s normally just people that I know or people that know someone that I know, and then it becomes a small group and then we walk through the year together and then we still have done that two years.
[JOE]: How many people are typically are in that group throughout the year?
[CHRISTY]: It’s a small group. It’s about eight to 10.
[JOE]: Okay. And what kind of outcomes have some of those eight or 10 people had in that year?
[CHRISTY]: Oh, my gosh. People have started their own businesses. They’ve left jobs that they were unhappy with. They’ve made changes maybe in relationships that were not healthy. They have finished different certifications or school to kind of help them move the needle. Financially they’ve made changes that have really benefited them. So just a lot of different things that have really improved the quality of their life. And in fact, actually my first clinician, Joe, that onboarded with me, she started with me in the gold group last year. And I think through that process, she kind of was like, she told me, she said, when I first started the process, she said, when I was trying to think about what I want my life to be in a month, three months, whatever she said, it was very limited in what she wrote down. But as the process went, her list actually, and the things that she thought about got bigger. And so I think it helped her make the leap that when I was ready to onboard somebody that she said, “Yeah, I think I’m ready to come onboard with you and grow with you and your practice.”
[JOE]: Wow. Well, and I think even just that name is gold group. Is that what you intend to call it?
[CHRISTY]: It kind of rotates every year. Like we have a theme, so last year was ‘The best is yet to come,’ which I think is accurate, but we kind of like go friends is what we call it, or goal getters. It doesn’t actually have a specific name.
[JOE]: Okay so I’m going to focus on the goal group or goal friends first.
[CHRISTY]: Okay, great.
[JOE]: Because I feel like when you’re looking at leveling up beyond your practice, which is an important thing for people to do and to think through you want to look at your own skillset. What you enjoy. And so the fact that you’ve done this for free for two years, just with friends like that, that shows me you just like it. So, that’s always most important to me because doing work we hate it is not anything I’m interested in.
[CHRISTY]: Me neither.
[JOE]: [crosstalk] money and you can do it in a way you enjoy it. So, I always start with that. And then we want to look for the broadest market with the fewest people serving them. Now there’s a lot of goal-setting people out there. There’s a lot of people that say, you know, like Michael Hyatt or like best year ever, things like that, but there’s not a lot of clinicians that are doing that. And I think that’s the defining thing, is that there’s this huge market of men and women that they want to achieve big things, but they also maybe want to have a professional that walks them through that a little differently than just like the goal setting people. And so I think that’s going to differentiate you there. Also comparing that to the private practice world, yes, there’s a lot of private practitioners that are out there, but it’s continuing to be a more and more crowded market. And so, does that mean that people can’t be successful in serving clinicians? No, not at all.
I believe that, you know, there’s plenty of work to go around. There’s plenty of room for new ideas, but you have to find something that’s really specific. So I think of, you know, Jessica Tappana, for example, who has Simplified SEO Consulting. And she’s a clinician who loves SEO and is helping people with their SEO. And so it’s super specific and she was able to be successful because it was that specific within our field. So you really got to kind of zoom in that specific within the private practice world. Whereas with the goal setting, you already have a great model for it. It’s, you know, a retreat early in the year, monthly check-ins. To me that’s something that could easily be scalable into something that goes beyond, and then that’s going to open up some teaching opportunities. So, when I did the, How to Become a Consultant podcast a while back, we always talked about grow your specialty, grow your audience, then grow your income.
And so your specialty, we really want to start to look at what is this specialty of goal setting? You know, how are you different from all the other goal setting people out there? How are you different from all the people that, you know, help you manifest your dreams? What is it that’s unique about you? And it may just be that you’re a therapist or you’re a woman, or there’s other things that help you stand out in a unique way, but we want to kind of say, you know, are there unique things that you’ve taught? Is there a unique you know, five-step formula? Is there something about it that makes it not just your typical goal setting? Then we want to look at how do we broaden that audience? And so I would say that there are so many podcasts out there that are talking goal setting you know, as we’re recording this it’s early 2021.
And so to talk about, you know, if you were on a podcast in March or April or September, you know, to say, we can reset our goals anytime a year, we don’t have to wait until January 1st, and taking people through that process that to me, you know, you could start your own podcast. That would be fine. But I think that even just being on other people’s podcasts, talking about the approach that you take, and then having a clear call to action, having a website that’s like gold friends, or the goals group, or, you know, go on Namecheap and start looking at different kind of variations of a name and you can have people then just apply to be in the next goals group. So just say, “Our next goals group is opening on this date, and it’s going to be a hundred bucks a month. We’re going to be a small group of 10 people, and we’re going to meet monthly for an hour. We’re going to have a Facebook group for all of the goals groups.”
So maybe you run three at a time. I mean, if you have 10 people, each paying a hundred bucks a month for an hour of your time, that’s a thousand dollars an hour. And so, if you can then have a small mastermind group have people that are then in a Facebook group and then you’ve got testimonials from people you’ve worked with for the last two years. People don’t need to know that you didn’t charge them a dime. Like you did this out of the goodness of your heart. You built up a lot of capital with those people that you organize this, you stuck with it. I mean, that’s a really valuable service you offer these people that left their full-time jobs or started businesses. And so to say to them, “Hey, I would love to have a testimonial about this group that you went through with me, even though you didn’t pay for it. Like I’m going to be starting something that’s going to be a paid version of it and I’m going to be taking applications.”
So the reason I say applications is then you can start to test it out. So you can say, “We’ve got a goals group starting soon.” Maybe you don’t even set a date, and you wait until you have 20 or 30 applications of people that know that it’s a hundred bucks a month, or, you know, they prepay a thousand bucks a year, and then they get to be in this Facebook group. And you put in that time kind of on the front end, and then, “Okay, I’m going to be able to get out of those 30 people that have applied, maybe I’ll get one group of eight.” Because people that apply don’t always convert. So hearing all of that, I dumped a lot on you. Like where do you have questions? Where do you want to go deeper?
[CHRISTY]: Yes. I’m just writing in a way, right in a way. Okay. So one of the things I did want to ask kind of back to the website, because I’ve heard different things, Joe. I just want you to take on this. Is it better to have like an individualized website for just this? Or is it better to have like your personal, like, let’s say joesanok.com or whatever? What is the better to direct this type of group towards? Is it best to have your own individual website to whatever the name of the group would be?
[JOE]: Yeah. So, here’s a few, there’s a few different thoughts out there. Someone like Chris Ducker who has the Youpreneur Podcast, he says that you are the brand, promote the brand. I don’t always agree with that. I think there’s a time and a place for that. If you just want to be an influencer, you don’t want to grow a business, you don’t ever want to sell it, okay, great. You know, people like Dave Ramsey have, you know, it’s their entire name, but now he’s pivoting into Ramsey Solutions because he’s trying to get people other than himself to be kind of the main thing. I imagine the guy wants to retire at some point. And so if you can have a brand that’s specific for the product, and so say it’s called, The Friends Group and that’s kind of one website. If you think you’re going to want to do speaking, writing, have your own kind of personality it’s just you, that’s where you’d want kind of your own like joesanok.com.
So for example, we’re developing joesanok.com, which I already own, but we’re going to be launching that because I’m launching a book with Harper Collins and then I want to send people to that website instead of to Practice of the Practice because that would be confusing to readers that aren’t practitioners. And you know, rather than just set up one website for the book to have one that I can send them to. You know, in general, we just don’t want anyone that comes to the website to be confused. And so if someone’s listening to a podcast or wanting to join a goals group and they come to your counseling website, it’s like, “Wait, I’m not looking for counseling. I just want to join this goals group.” It’s better to kind of have a separate website for kind of each product, if possible, unless it falls under kind of the same umbrella. So we don’t have a separate website for Next Level Practice or consulting with me or the podcast, because it’s all Practice of the Practice.
[CHRISTY]: Okay. Yeah. I love that. And that kind of helps me conceptualize it a little bit better because I guess you can have both. You can’t have a personal brand if you’re trying to direct that for more specific things that you’re doing, whether that be speaking, but then actually for products and services, sometimes it is good to have, like if you want that to grow beyond yourself. So like you said, if Kristy Pennison doesn’t want to be doing this group forever and at some point to scale it, I want to hire other individuals to help lead this group as it grows, then it’s better to almost have a specific name or a specific title that you direct people to that. Is that what I’m understanding?
[JOE]: Yeah, because you may, at some point want to have goal coaches or people like that, that can run the individual groups and then maybe you run one webinar a month for all 200 people that are in your program. And so we just want to always make sure that whatever we build at the beginning is going to be pretty scalable for if we quadruple in size or if it just really blows up. We want to make sure that okay, that brand matches it. So imagine you built this whole thing under your counseling website, and then you had a page here and a page there and then you’re getting hundreds or thousands of people applying. It’s like, “Oh shoot. Like I really should have a website specific for this thing, for the little bit of money, it costs to build a website.” You’re just going to save yourself a headache on the other side.
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[JOE]: So, we’re getting to the end of the consulting call, but what kind of final questions do you have, think about kind of speaking and growing into this area? I know we focus less on the speaking and more on kind of the product side, but what else do you have questions around?
[CHRISTY]: Well, I think you answered a lot of it and the question is just kind of like where to start and from what I gathered from what you said, part of it is start with something that maybe you already have unique strengths and goals, or I guess skills around, which is the goal group and then being able to, something that you’re passionate about. So it’s something you’re going to put time and energy to. If I’m already doing it for free to build something that’s actually paid for, and then from there just kind of testing it and put it in something out there. And when you have enough applications and just creating a product as you go along is what I’m hearing you say.
[JOE]: Yeah. And I think that whether it’s writing or speaking or having products like this, they all help each other. So, if at some point you write a short book that, whether you self publish or you do it through a traditional publisher, a traditional publisher is going to want to see that you already have an audience. So you’ve got to kind of build an audience. If you do it on your own well, then you have this resource that maybe you use through Amazon to build your credibility. If you’re speaking, you might be able to sell more of those books or sell more people into any sort of program that you have around goal setting. And so they all kind of help each other. So you can’t really go wrong if you have a general direction and you just keep putting yourself out there and keep building and keep getting noticed by a new audience.
[CHRISTY]: Okay. Awesome. Well, this is going to help me, I think, greatly be able to reach my own goals this year. So I appreciate your time and just allow me to come over here and pick your brain and ask some questions and figure out where to start.
[CHRISTY]: Absolutely. Well, I would say that your kind of final takeaways is I would say, buy a URL that you align with. So see if, you know, thegoalsgroup.com or goalsgroup.com or friends, friends goals, or whatever combination you want. I’d say, go see if that URL is available. Second, start building out a basic website that just outlines what it is. And third I’d say, go get on a whole bunch of podcasts and start sending people to the application page to join the goals group. And then when you have enough, you can start some goals groups.
[CHRISTY]: I love it. I’m going to do that. And I actually already have a URL and the, I saved it maybe a year ago, so this is how long it’s been kind of in my head, but now I just need to build it. So thank you for giving me the action steps to steer me forward.
[JOE]: What’s the URL, because maybe by the time that this comes out it’ll be ready to launch?
[CHRISTY]: Absolutely. That’s a great idea. So it’s actually inspiringpossible.com. So and really that’s the whole thing for goals is to create —
[JOE]: Inspiring Possible?
[CHRISTY]: Inspiring possible. Yes.
[CHRISTY]: So maybe by the time we launch, it will be open.
[JOE]: That’s awesome. Well, now you have a deadline of, you know, what, six weeks or to get this website.
[CHRISTY]: I’m going to make it right now.
[JOE]: If you’re listening to this right now and you’re hearing Christy, hopefully you see yourself in Christy because she is like every other Next Level Practice person that comes in and says, “I want to clean up my practice. I want to grow.” But we don’t end there. We help people dream. We help people push beyond just their solo practice, if that’s what they want. You know, some people don’t want a group practice and some people do, but being in community with other people is so important when we’re looking at getting to that next level. Next Level Practice really is that community for you. So if you are a practice owner that’s not yet making a hundred thousand dollars, Next Level Practice is the perfect place for you to start. So head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/invite, and you will get an invite for our next Next Level Practice launch. It’s coming up soon. So you’re going to want to do that soon. So again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/invite.
Christy, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[CHRISTY]: Thanks for having me and go sign up for Next Level Practice. You won’t regret it.
[JOE]: Thank you so much for saying that. And thank you for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Everyone have a wonderful week and I’ll talk to you soon. Bye
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.