I love getting questions about how to start a private practice. Today is all about what I would have done differently and how you can start a private practice.
Today’s Private Practice Sponsor
Resources from this Podcast
Name your private practice: Naming a private practice can be tough. Do you name it your name or something else? Quick tip: Don’t name it your name, so if you ever want to sell it, it is easier. For tips: https://www.practiceofthepractice.com/naming/
Create a website: If you do it yourself, Bluehost has a number of videos to help you set up a website through WordPress.
Set up your legal structure: I had an accounting friend help me, but recently my wife used LegalZoom. She filed her PLLC in about 15 minutes. Usually a PLLC is best, but consult a local attorney or accountant if you aren’t sure.
Have private practice paperwork: Make sure you have your intake, progress notes, informed consent, and HIPAA forms in order. You can create it yourself or save time by purchasing a paperwork packet.
Learn to be media savvy: Engage the media using Help a Reporter Out. Private practice owner, Julie Hanks says in her article 10 Reasons to Become a Media-Savvy Therapist, “This decision to become media-savvy has altered the course of my professional life in exciting and new ways”
Start an e-mail list: An email list is one of the best ways to connect with readers, potential clients, and non-local clients in the future. Say your niche is angry kids. You may have an email list that offers a PDF of “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Your Child’s Anger.” Then create an automated email sequence that sends an email 1-2x per month with a tip for that population. You don’t want to be sales-pitchy just offer great content. I use Aweber.
Set up your private practice phone system: Landlines can be crazy expensive. I use Grasshopper for our lines, but there are tons of options that use your cell phone. I don’t think Google Voice is professional enough to use.
Set up a payment system: I use Square for my private practice. Yes, credit card companies take 2-3% however, think about the math. If every 33 times you get a payment that you would have lost because of forgetting their checkbook, not scheduling because of non-payment, or some other reason. I use Square.
Sign up for the How to Launch a Private Practice Newsletter: This weekly newsletter will walk you through exactly what to do in your first year of private practice. You’ll get step-by-step instructions on exactly how to plan, launch, grow, and thrive in private practice. For the cost of one counseling session, you can launch a whole practice!
The Consultant School
Spots go on sale October 1, 2015, but only to those who opt in to get invited. Get your invite now! This school will help you discover:
- How to add consulting to your private practice
- How to enhance your hourly rate
- Finding nation-wide consulting clients that will pay premium rates
- A community of individuals that will support and challenge you to grow more
To get an invite go to TheConsultantSchool.com
Follow Joe on Periscope @JoeSanok
What you’ll discover in this private practice podcast:
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .
Podcast 98 | A Step-By-Step Guide To Launching A Private Practice[0:00] Music. [0:26] Hello i hope you’re doing fabulous today it st record this podcast today am in shorts and a t-shirt.
I don’t have any clients today other than consulting clients and doing this podcast because today was my daughter’s first day of the school year as a five morning a week preschool or,
so she was excited it’s so fun to watch that transition were last year it was her very first year doing three mornings a week preschool and she was like grabbing entire legs wasn’t really that into the idea of it too much and this year she was,
off and running she knows the school it is great,
how do are focused school where it’s these old cabins and maternity classroom so each grade has their own cabin and they get money in the complete with sd,
she is this awesome community up here in northern michigan and we just we just love it and this year will be more involved it’s preschool all the way through eight grade separate quality can stay at this cabin outdoors the school,
so it before i dive into the today show i really wanna think the national association of counselors in private practice they are supportive community of counselors and other therapists the,
want to thrive and they want to succeed in the army awesome in private practice and through coaching training reading motivational tools group forum,
the association health clinicians do so much in regards to growing their practice that,
they are exceptional seeing it hundred bucks off if you just head over to.
Privatepracticecounselors.com ford slash joe and it’s really awesome so heading over there now i believed skinny through the end of the month but there’s gonna be i’m going fifty bucks after that so. [2:08] Head over there while supplies last that’s the thing slide national association of counselors in private practice for sponsoring all these episode you guys are amazing you doing really great working some really good things about that community so.
I am so excited series episode,
he’s been a while since just you and i talked often i’ve been having gas on the show which i think is super valuable super awesome it’s really fun and interesting to see where those conversations ago but today he,
i have to listen questions they are related to one another,
and they are going to be all about growing your private practice when your first starting out in me kind of reflecting back in what.
But didn’t work and i’m really really excited about this episode so that any further ado let’s listen to jeanine’s question. [2:58] Hey joe this is jeanine hurst that’s and ponder the to florida from puzzle piece counseling.
I was getting ready to launch my podcast its and planning a january launch and i was wondering.
If you could do it all again what would you do differently.
I’ve been listening to you since session number one on practice the practice and so i was just wondering are there pitfalls that you would avoid of things that you would do differently if you had to do it over again.
Thanks joe but first i want to give a huge shout out to jenny news creating a podcast.
Watching january i actually investigated into it it’s autismblueprint.com to really cool concept she’s working and where she’s gonna be talking to clinicians and families and.
All sorts of experts all about autism,
and i love the idea of autism blueprint because she’s gonna have like different rooms have different themes and it just sounds like me super cool so if you guys want information on that,
i got you need permission to send you over to autismblueprint.com where you can sign up for her newsletter letter to hear about,
just like what’s going on with this thing so her question what would i go back and do.
And the question is coming up is actually gonna kinda feed into this as well.
But when i think back to when i first started i think there’s a couple things that really stand out to me. [4:31] The new just took a while for me to really understand anything one was understanding that i could do it,
it took me a long time to really feel like i can make that jump from my private practice job to talk with you a lot about how processed through that,
and i’m the only person is bringing income into our family my wife is an occupational therapist we’ve decided she’s gonna stay home with our girls,
and so it was a big jump for me but i think that one of the first things i would have definitely done sooner.
Is added more clinicians to the practice right away and you can do that a few different ways i think.
The two big ways is to add people and is either a ten ninety-nine contractor w two employee so that.
Or choose sublease out parts of the office the renting and so maybe do that and chunks of time like for hours are eight hours or a few hours.
I think that would have been so they were done sooner to help offset some of the costs of the business.
The second thing i think i would have done sooner is to really evaluate my business avatar to think about who is my ideal client.
And really sketch out who that person is where they hang out,
what schools the kids go to um what yoga studios they attend by doing that with my consulting clients i see such a rapid change in their referrals because all the light bulbs go off in regards to.
Holy cow like i could be doing so many more things than what i’m doing right now if i only knew exactly where my clients were hanging out.
So that and then i would definitely invested and a higher ranking website and creating a website browser blogging regularly. [6:08] Updating it regularly making it look really pretty i waited a long time till i invested that money in their into me.
There’s just no reasoning with things like brighter vision are legendary lion are even doing it yourself through blue host you can go to practiceofthepractice.com/host to sign up for blue host.
That’s an affiliate link but it’s really like those are things i should of put some money into earlier i think that would’ve been a lot easier to scale.
But i’m gonna give you a few more chips in a minute but this other question kinda relates to that and so i.
Go to this other question from shawn hey joe this is sean o’brien and celsius to view.
And counselor in new jersey and i just started my practice among the questions i had was so many things to do initially.
Are you from the llc paperwork to the website and getting the. [7:07] All the different numbers and it to get the of the different paperwork that have to get a divorce forms to so many pieces.
But what if you could do when your pockets and just okay here european you decided you wanna start your practice.
Here are the first twenty things you wanna do it so overwhelming and something to keep coming up with i keep thinking he got something.
Did you just can’t do a practice an introductory practice and the starting the practice of just the things that you have to kinda do.
Right out of the gate that would be great to thank you of your mother pockets thanks. [7:49] Shawn i’m gonna do you one better i’m gonna give you twenty eight things to do when your first launching a.
Private practice in this is actually twenty eight day checklist that i put together,
if you guys head over to the show notes practiceofthepractice.com/98 if you opt in there you can get you will the twenty day checklist and this is gonna i can walk you through with a little more detail what i’m gonna do.
But i want to go to twenty eight things that i think are essential beginning is always more that you could do maybe guys want put some comments on things that you,
i miss that would like this to be dialogue to help sean and well starting a private practice,
but i’m just gonna go through this twenty two checklist of things i would highly recommend the first.
Thank you and name for your private practice and i really don’t recommend that you have just be your name because if at some point.
You want to sell your practice if you want to be able to bring other people into your practice it can be a lot easier if it’s not doing it now i know there’s a lot of successful people that have named their practices after themselves,
i personally think,
but you shouldn’t even after yourself actually be head over to practiceofthe practice.com/naming there’s a whole article about that on the ceiling fan also and the check was to be download that. [9:06] So i can i would say than by your url and you can do this in a couple ways you can go through places like name cheap.
Or if you sign up through blue host for hosting one comes free,
so if you go to practiceofthepractice.com/hosting arts a host you can get free tickets three or four bucks a month,
also hosting for those of you that don’t know is it’s really the foundation of a house we think of a website as your house,
you got your foundation you got can we all the information is stored,
you’ve then got the architecture so that would be something like wordpress or square space or the design aspect of your actual website,
and then you have your address or your url of your house and so this can be the www you dot practice of the practice check our one of your practice name is.
So i would say giving that url even before you file your other paperwork because.
That way you know if you have a url when you start your business it would be terrible to have.
Traverse city counseling of any of your practice and then realize that traverse city council is not free as a website you really want your website to match the me of,
switches wiped the very beginning before you even file your llc paper.
Next no those are things you could even start to do even before you graduate grad school to just secure those things to secure the in the particular website everything. [10:34] Next lecture license correctly interstate if you need supervision if you need a license in your state you always wanna make sure your license so that means being no duh thing but i want to make sure i put that in there. [10:47] Next i would see start to create a quarter of a quarter plan to keep track of your first year of goals and a lot of you’ve got up interest paid you got my start a private practice,
page so that’s practice and the practice that come ford slash start dash today,
that’s a page right talk how to start a private practice for under two hundred dollars and one day how do you get the basics going.
But i have a quarterback order free downloadable can walk through of your marketing and logistics,
delhi help or maybe come up with your own on to just say what do i want to achieve in the next ninety days what i want to achieve in quarter to quarter three in quarter four.
Having their plan is gonna really help you stay on track even if this is just a side gig where you’re not may be doing a full time.
It’s really important to have that planned next.
You’re gonna want start to get liability insurance and this is gonna probably go hand-in-hand with setting up your legal structure which will talk about in the second,
but almost always there’s very few situations unless you’ve an attorney advise you,
you are so is one have the one million three million coverage i currently i use a hp so i’m not sponsored by them or anything i’ve heard from some people that they’ve been moving away from hp so i i don’t have enough details as to why,
bit look around find places at the same maybe a professional organization your part of to get the liability insurance.
I would then have bump ahead on the checklist its a few more down. [12:20] But setting up that legal structures really important to set up your llc remember my wife was watching sprout their products services a home base occupational therapy business.
Which she likes but then we both decided it wasn’t her one thing right now that her one thing was hanging out with our girls at home and not running a business but.
She was on legal zoom and she is just kind of like poking around on it and then it was literally like ten minutes later she’s like can i have the credit card and i was like i thought you was poking around and she’s like i’m ready to file.
And she file that within fifteen minutes and did the pay you pay a little extra to sign one document in the file everything for you.
Set was about three hundred dollars which for the ease of it was worth it for us,
i know you can do that paperwork yourself and most it’s pretty easily also you wanna check your state of heard from people that listen in new york they having llc isn’t the best framework i’m actually probably january first be switching over to an escort.
Where then i get quarterly salary from mental health counseling and practice the practice missing tax benefits that i’m working with an accountant that.
So you wanna maybe pick some friends brains of your friends that are accountants or lawyers or figure out that tax structure.
That’s gonna be best for you if you do go through legal zoom in the us if use my affiliate link it’s just practiceofthepractice.com/legal.
But i found it super easy to use filter for carrot turn-key solution. [13:50] Next i would say getting into a website yeah get a website going you bought the url you bought the hosting,
now build your website and i’d say there’s a couple that i recommend i would definitely look at greater vision deep and sponsor the show and i love the look of their websites,
i think you get a month free future brightervision.com/joe i don’t get any sort of kickback for that they’ve just been really great sponsors the show.
I i’ve used legendary lion if you let another senior think he gives you ten percent off but in regards to cost you look it.
How do you make sure you keep the cost low so provisions gonna be like fifty nine dollars a month and that’s gonna help you be able to have some as ceo some technical support,
that’s me about same prices parasites but it say the quality is so much better,
the other side is legendary lion or other people build a website from scratch that can cost anywhere from the penny what you want you to five thousand dollars as an upfront cost so make sure you’re prepared for that kind of cost.
But honestly you if you have the time and you want to learn how building a web sites not that hard.
You got to blue host and you get your url you install wordpress on it you can pick out a theme and suggest getting one of the upgraded teams that free themes and things like theme forest or other places.
You pay like fifty bucks one time fee to download the theme yet upload into wordpress it looks really pretty just go through create your pages. [15:21] Super easy to do once you know how to do and there’s a million you tube videos on how to set up your websites and maybe in version one of your practice you just set everything up yourself.
Version two you upgrade to a brighter vision are legendary lion or something like that um let’s see.
I would also say then getting rid of that email so once you have that website set up.
Get rid of your at g-mail at yahoo at aol home house i saw counselor recently the head and at aol email in it so easy,
in g-mail to just redirect and still be three g mail to have at practice of the practice to come at mental illness comes at me with your practice.
As your email just looks so much more professional change that for during your email.
So that it has your name and has a legal disclosure have a talk about confidentiality how to get ahold of you all that. [16:16] Then as you get older legal paper done i would say find a bank for your private practice look for free business checking,
i may be able hundred dollar minimum amount that you really hunt around so you don’t have those long term fees and i’m totally against giving money to people that don’t deserve it,
and there’s people that need the money to upgrade what you’re doing that’s a great return on investment of your money and i could use of your expenses but.
Don’t just throw me away because you didn’t pay attention look around spend an extra hour looking for a bank,
it has free business checking often credit unions will have them sometimes i have even incentives re an extra hundred bucks procedure account if you open of them.
Next is se have private practice paperwork so you have your intake your progress notes your disclosure statement,
a social media statement do you have a doctor referral form get those sorts of things set up i do sell those through the website,
but you can make them yourself as a ton of great free templates out there.
Look into what’s your specialty gonna be if you say i do individual couples and family counseling you’re not gonna get people over and over.
People that i do consulting with they just they don’t have that specialty or they have they haven’t figured out articulated so what you’re saying earlier,
what is your specialty what is your business avatar where to hang out what do they do to really focus and identifying that specialty. [17:53] So for example i hope angry kids frustrated parents and distant couples.
And there’s some other groups that help but that’s kind of what i focus on when i’m just quickly articulating what i do.
I’ve generally office she house parents of really little kids so kids there inside still so prenatal all the way up to age six and seven and then we talk about what counseling the young person often looks like. [18:20] So next after that you’re gonna want to start to read your private practice space there’s a few different ways you can do this overall it’s in your first starting out don’t take on the risk and the liability of a long term space.
Find a way you can rent either by the hour or by the half day wednesday as a percentage of your income.
Especially when you’re in the area where there’s a lot of landlords so often times you can negotiate with somebody and so that if you think of the average counselor working twenty maybe thirty hours a week.
As your launching practice there’s gotta be like a thursday night practice isn’t being used in your town so what if you could you thursday nights and saturday mornings and then as you can grow your practice then you can bro ho much you spend,
so really keeping a liability down asking people he can pay you ten to twenty percent of.
When i bring in is my as my rent towards sub leasing from you could i pay you fifty dollars per day for exclusive use of your office on fridays our tuesday night so whatever it is finding ways to make sure that’s based on your income coming in. [19:27] The next i was surges say start really trying to be media savvy having a lot of people that are more introverted say to me go i just can’t get the radio right for the paper in blocking all the stuff. [19:41] All that stuff is showing the skills that you are have and so being on the radio and talking about your specialty area talking to a principal talking to parents talking to school counselors.
All is demonstrating your expertise think about this podcast so the people that and doing consulting with me.
Almost always have been longtime listeners of the podcast the been reading the blog it’s not like they just googled private practice consultant and then said joseph looks awesome the usually do the research the same is absolutely true.
With people that are looking for counselors in private practice and so if you have no connects out there if you’re not rating for your paper if you’re not being courted by people you’re not on the radio for not blocking if you’re not active on anything.
It’s gonna be really hard for people to figure out whether or not you’re the best fit for them.
First as if you don’t get a couple of those things i think julie hanks dr julie hanks she has this ten reasons to become a media savvy therapist which i willing to in this downloadable checklist for you so i would definitely check that out.
Next i was start an email list and you want to be able to capture people that are not just interested in your private practice but people also or around certain topics to demonstrate expertise.
So sorry if you can were talking so much usually get a break and i’m like interviewing people should take a breath go learn to breathe for that radio hosts often learn to breathe.
I’ve learned that i just go and go and go. [21:11] So stern email list think about your population is if you help parents have an email list for parents it could be once or twice a month the email that list if you help grandparents that are raising their grandkids,
stereo ceramic there’s all sorts of free.
Or really cheap ways to do that i use a webber a whatever if you go to practiceofthepractice.com for such you ever on this a really good way to set up automated e-mails i do their paid subscription i think it’s nineteen bucks a month. [21:44] When someone subscribes to one of my email list the automatically get a welcome email a week later they get another email.
And then i can some broadcasts also out everyone with more time sensitive. [21:56] Next i would say this is something off of jeanine’s question as to what i should earlier is getting a really good logo design there’s a bunch of really great options out there.
But you know for a hundred to three hundred bucks you can get a really quality love on you can go on something like that see your five or five are you gonna for five bucks but they usually look kinda generic who live sure we on.
Me and sleeping all day why my awning products and not breathing how. [22:26] Take a moment to look out of the water take a breath to sell good there’s no hurry you know it.
Something max phone calls like an hour logo created. [22:37] Alright so your ninety nine designs that’s one option i think for two or three hundred bucks you can get a logo there in five or use your own network i’m legendary lion does branding all sorts of options out there. [22:51] Next i would say.
Buy somebody lunch if you determine your specialty find like ten people that you’re gonna reach out to buy and one.
Just send an email it says something like hey good afternoon so on so i was looking website and see that you help people really similar to me with angry kids i love your video about what to do in tough situations that love to just like,
pick your brain over else and downs of private practice and learn more about what you’re doing to get lunch sometime i’d love to buy it for yeah.
Then i say focus on one social media.
Don’t feel you have to be everywhere all at once actually focus on one that you like and also matches your business avatar,
he pinterest don’t be and interest if you love instagram be in instagram go with the one that you like and really dedicate yourself to doing that. [23:44] Next it’s a set up your private practice phone system actually my idea little earlier,
because what you can get the website count the phone system to use grasshopper and you can check amount different supports that count for slash grasshopper,
for our lives i don’t think google voice is very professional oftentimes phone systems are pretty expensive to.
I have installed new practice i love the virtual nature grasshopper but look at all the different options that are out there.
I would say determined are you gonna take insurance are gonna be private pay again to insurance again to both of you like how are you gonna structure of actual payment system,
and there’s pros and cons to both you know being an insurance you have kind of dalton referral network but you also built in headaches,
that’s a order some business cards business cards are really still really important people love good-looking business cards go through someone like move if your packs the packs that come for session of cash it,
gosh i feel like there’s so many feelings and dropping in this so sorry if you’re feeling overwhelmed by that but.
It’s just a great way to both my it has website and keep going south and give you really good discounts i weigh a person is move because they have so many beautiful amazing.
Differ business cards but there’s tons of other business card places and see the free vista print ones.
The thickness of the car just feels really kinda cheap to go with.
And appropriate sickness wherever you buy a card it’s just gonna feel classier. [25:18] I see them on started schedule few community talks see if you can.
Speak at church and then speak at school events if i know who is doing an event and ask if you can help them out in any way. [25:32] Then start to look your electronic medical records system there’s a lot of gray cloud based systems out there,
simple practices on that i have the best relationship with but you don’t have to do an electronic medical records unless you’re gonna be billing insurance and it’s almost always essential.
But you really huggins or and say that runs robert heard from the practice you did a great review on humor and numerous cloud based systems,
he said even when you’ve narrowed the field there are so many factors to consider to be very difficult to make a final choice very rarely will readers find that one of the solutions,
with every single other need in most cases you will need to prioritize the features that most are most important to you and choose from those. [26:16] I would say next then i would set up a payment system so look it look it square look at other options as a bunch of options out there on most of them are going to two to three percent in which a lot of people book.
Welcome back at. [26:33] But i figure this week so sitting three percent it means one hundred thirty three times if someone makes a payment for comes to a session that they would not have.
It’s worth it so if someone forgets their checkbook or forgets cash and then they feel guilty about how they forgot and they don’t wanna pay twice and they deliver session next week when they are coming weekly. [26:56] Then you’ve lost an extra session.
Whereas if at once every thirty three time someone comes when they wouldn’t have because you to credit card to make sure that. [27:07] And what number am i but i have just a handful more of these i don’t have twenty this point.
Start blogging really quickly really you wanna be blogging probably when you for setting up three times a week which seems overwhelming i have this video how to block quickly.
It’s so simple think about your business avatar ounces is angry capacity angry kids so passive angry kids,
let’s think of five things that they need to do so five ways to get started for the school year when kids angry,
and then come up with five quick tips quick paragraphs on each of those a few bullet points your done this is in an exam paper this isn’t,
some academic paper doesn’t matter with the academics a because they’re not your target audience is parents angry kids. [27:53] Next up to my website if you completed everything we ever talked about go to your website optimized for your keywords which would be.
Having your city your knees she counseling therapy counselor those words in so for example.
Drama would say all that’s a.
Counseling practice or practice i say traverse city counseling practice so that the words traverse city counseling sit next to each other. [28:25] And then when the last things i would do is become an amazon associate you know you’re gonna be listing resources and your resources page on your website.
So you should be getting that two to three percent of amazon collects humans will get it so easy to do you just disclose that you’re doing it.
And then i say signed up for my how lunch private practice newsletter it’s a fifty two week weekly e newsletter its i think a hundred fifty bucks a year,
and so cost of counseling session coming in you get step by step email by email advice.
Damn that was a busy podcast on so again if you go over to practiceofthepractice,com/98.
You can download the whole checklist of everything i just talked about seeing take notes i think i told you at the beginning sophie didn’t take too many notes sang and get behind especially if you’re running or driving or chopping up onions,
we’re watching your kids are whatever you’re doing so let me just check my notes real quick see there’s anything else that i missed all in. [29:35] Alright hundred episode is coming up soon if you wanna leave me a message about that but we have one person that congratulated me on that hundredth episode you can do it right from your phone right from your computer i don’t care about audio quality.
Also what are the best ways that i have learned to monetize my practice is to level up by doing more consulting as many of you know many of you have taken me up on consulting if you are interested in learning about how to become a consultant.
Head over to the consultantschool.com.
Pretty soon here in october first that is gonna open up for our january cohort and it’s gonna be awesome it’s gonna be so stinking awesome so again.
National association of counselors in private practice you can check them out at.
Privatepracticecounselors.com/joe for hundred bucks they’re awesome you’re awesome thanks honey in two years not your brain.
You ever want to leave a message for me to use on the podcast again, you guys rock.
Next week looks fun while learning the family tree has ever after how to. [30:52] Music. [31:16] Special thanks to its ounces sexy and telling me is like music in this podcast is design.
Make sure parking subject matter covered is giving me understanding that is a host or the publisher of legal accounting clerk or other professional information.
You. [31:33] Music.