Preventing Mistakes when Starting a Group Practice with Janeen Herskovitz | PoP 677

A photo of Janeen Herskovitz is captured. Janeen Herskovitz is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling, LLC. Janeen Herskovitz is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Are you wanting to start a group practice on your own? Which makes do most new group practice owners make? Which mistakes can you avoid by joining a Mastermind group?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Janeen Herskovitz about how to prevent mistakes when you are starting a group practice.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

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Meet Janeen Herskovitz

A photo of Janeen Herskovits is captured. She is a therapist and group practice owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling. Janeen is featured on the practice of the practice, a therapist podcast.

Janeen Herskovitz is a licensed mental health counselor and the owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling. Janeen has been helping parents of children with Autism Spectrum Issues since 2006. In an effort to meet the specialized needs of autism-mothers, she created the Extra-Special Moms Therapeutic Group Counseling Program. This group program has helped hundreds of special-needs moms find the help, connections, and support they need.

Janeen is also the creator and host of the Autism Blueprint Podcast, which focuses on navigating autism in the home for families and caregivers.

Visit the Puzzle Peace Counseling Website, and connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.

Connect with Janeen on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

FREEBIE: Self-care Course For Special Needs Parents

In This Podcast

  • “I can start a group practice on my own”
  • Janeen’s experience in Group Practice Launch
  • Investing in your practice
  • Janeen’s advice to private practitioners

“I can start a group practice on my own”

You probably could start a group practice by yourself, but it will take a lot longer, and you may have more mistakes and speedbumps to go over in the process.

It is really expensive to make these mistakes … it is an expensive mistake to make to hire people when you are not sure how to set it up … when it [came to the time] to grow [the practice] I didn’t know the first thing about hiring. (Janeen Herskovitz)

Working in a group and learning alongside other people not only helps you with accountability but provides you with the opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes as well as your own.

Starting a group practice is labor-intensive, and being in a community provides you with support and answers.

Janeen’s experience in Group Practice Launch

What I loved about it was the community. There’s so much information … the community was great. One of the things that I gained from it that I didn’t expect to was [being] able to share [my] fears and doubts. (Janeen Herskovitz)

Like most professionals, Janeen struggled with impostor syndrome and felt like she did not know what she was doing while thinking that everyone around her did.

Being a part of the Masterclass group with Whitney and Alison showed Janeen that she was in the same position as so many different clinicians.

Her experience was shared, and it made her feel comfortable, more secure, and less afraid to practice growing her business.

So to be able to meet weekly, learn something new, apply it to what I’m doing … was priceless. (Janeen Herskovitz)

Investing in your practice

Some clinicians are nervous to take part in a Mastermind group due to the expense. However, through the success of growing your practice, the Mastermind group pays for itself.

I had been wishing that there was a graduate program or course in grad school that I could’ve taken, and that would have been probably more expensive than what I paid for Group Practice Launch. (Janeen Herskovitz)

It can seem like a big financial jump to invest time and money into your practice to such an extent.

Nevertheless, investing in this can make your practice more successful, and in turn, your practice will help you out by earning you more money.

Janeen’s advice to private practitioners

If you are interested in growing a group practice, Group Practice Launch is the most effective way to do that.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

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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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 677.

Well, am so excited about this series that Alison and Whitney are doing. Session 672 is why to start a group practice in 2022, 673, we’re going to be talking about how it’s easy to start a group practice, a step by step guide and in 674, Alison is going to be interviewing someone from Group Practice Launch and giving real behind the scenes. 675, same thing, except it’s Whitney. They’re going to be doing all sorts of interviews with people from Group Practice Launch to give some real life stories of people that have launched group practices. Then session 680, which is going to be on the 3rd of March, group practice story time where Alison and Whitney are going to talk all about different things that have gone on in group practice.

I’m just really excited that the two of them are putting on this series because leveling up oftentimes means going beyond starting a practice where you only make money when you show up and having a group practice is one of those great ways to add another stream of income. There’s lots of other ways. It can be doing a podcast, can be doing e-courses, offering other sorts of consulting. But a group practice really is that low hanging fruit for most people. So without any further ado here is that series with Alison and Whitney all about starting a group practice.
[WHITNEY OWENS] Hello, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. This is Whitney Owens today doing a podcast takeover with my friend Janeen here. I want to tell you a little bit about her before we get started into the interview. It’s Janeen Herskovitz. Say it for me, Janeen.
[JANEEN HERSKOVITZ] Herskovitz.
[WHITNEY] Herskovitz. All right, here we go. Janeen Herskovitz is a licensed mental health counselor in Florida. She’s the owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from Rowan University in New Jersey, and then her masters of arts in mental health counseling from Web Streete University. She’s married to her husband, Joe since 1995, and they have two young adult children. Her private practice, Puzzle Peace Counseling is located in Jacksonville, Florida, where she helps autism families live more peaceful lives. Her podcast, Autism Blueprint covers a variety of topics running autism in the home. Janeen, thanks for coming to the show.
[JANEEN] Thanks for having me, Whitney. It’s great to be here.
[WHITNEY] Thanks for giving me when I botch names. I never was very good at reading as a child and obviously I still have not.
[JANEEN] Well with a name like Herskovitz, my mom said you don’t have to take his name and I did, anyway.
[WHITNEY] Oh, that’s funny. Awesome. Well, we were talking before we got on air, that there was so much we could say about you and your practice. So we’ll just get at it here, but I also want to really focus on Group Practice Launch. So I’m thinking let’s start there and then we can also talk about some of the other things that you do as far as working with autism families and more about your podcast cast because I want to talk about that as well. So let’s first start out with what made you decide to start a group practice?
[JANEEN] Well, I had a solo practice when I first started and brought in a few 1099 contractors here and there. None of them really stuck and it just seemed, in the beginning when I first opened the practice in 2010, it seemed like it was too much work. I don’t know that I knew enough about private practice to even get it up and running for myself. So I wanted to get that going. Plus I have a child at home with special needs. He’s an adult now, but at the time I had two kids going through puberty. So I really just wanted to keep things low-key. Well, since then the practice has grown. The children have grown. My husband is now retired and home with my son who has special needs. So it made it a little bit easier for me to focus on the practice. When the pandemic hit, I was turning so many people away that I thought I think it’s time to grow.
[WHITNEY] It sounds like you jumped into private practice a while ago and added contractors, because that’s what people were doing and then realized, eh, this might not be for me. Then you came back. Am I saying that right?
[JANEEN] Yes. Yes, that’s correct. I don’t think I was really intentional about having a group practice. I just had my thing going and every once in a while I would find another clinician that wanted to work with me. One was an art therapist and then she went off and opened her own practice, which was wonderful. She’s doing great. She’s local and we still refer to one another. Then I had another really bad experience with a 1099 where she went out and bought advertising for the practice to promote herself in the practice but she used my practice name and destroyed my credit. So I decided I wasn’t —
[WHITNEY] Oh, that was terrible.
[JANEEN] Yes. I went, the pendulum swung the other way and I was like, okay, no. Never again. No more 1099’s. Then I had the pleasure of hiring a young lady, an intern named Catherine who’s a marriage and family therapist and she just fell into my lap. Contacted me for some information about how to get into a private practice. She had no desire to run her own practice. We clicked immediately. There’s just some people that you just click with right away. So I hired her two and a half years ago and she’s been with me ever since. So when it was time to grow, I said to her, “I think I’m going to hire more clinicians.” She said, that’s awesome. So she and I have, I’m the group practice owner, but she is now my assistant clinical director. So she helps me with a lot of the heavy lifting.
[WHITNEY] That’s great. So sounds like you learned a few mistakes there at the very beginning, as far as starting on your own. Could you talk a little bit about that? Because I think a lot of people say, oh, I don’t need to have a consultant or a group to help me start at my group practice. I can do this on my own. So what would you say to somebody like that after your experience?
[JANEEN] Oh, I would say it’s really expensive to make these mistakes. So it’s an expensive mistake to make, to hire people when you’re not really sure how to set it up. And I felt like it, and I’ve been following Practice of the Practice since I opened my practice when it was just Joe and a podcast and not his big consulting firm. He taught me pretty much everything I know about running a private practice because you don’t learn that in grad school. So I followed his lead and a few of other of people in the business and set it up the way I wanted to. But when it came time for me to grow it, I didn’t know the first thing about hiring. Like I said, these people, these clinicians just fell into my lap. They were friends of friends and things like that.

But this was the first time this past year that I actively put out job listings on Indeed and did a interview process and screened people. It was a lot more labor intensive than I thought but from being in the group, I had a community that could support me through and step by step, week by week, if I had question, they were all right there. You and Alison were just invaluable. I mean, you guys are just, you know so much and are such a pleasure to work with. It’s just been so much fun. I don’t want it to end.
[WHITNEY] Oh, you’re sweet. Janeen, it doesn’t have to end. We can go to Group Practice Boss after this. So that’s fun. Anyway, okay, I love this. So you joined Group Practice Launch, I actually remember when you texted me on Facebook Messenger and you were like, “Hey, is there still room?” I was like, “Oh, I’d love to have you. You’re so great. Please join, because I want to work with you.” I was like at the Chick-fil-A. We were getting an extra Sprite for my daughter and then she got to the bathroom and I was like, oh, I have time to text. I was so excited, you know those moments where you’re sitting and you remember messaging with someone that you’re excited about.

So I loved that you wanted to join and we do have a very clear start and stop to the group because it is a very structured program and you slid in right after we started. I feel like maybe it was like the first week. So anyway, could you talk a little bit about the experience? Someone who doesn’t know a Group Practice Launch is how do you explain to them the experience of going through the program?
[JANEEN] Yes, sure. So it’s funny that you remember me texting you because I remember exactly where I was when I texted you. I had gone out for a walk and I had thought let me just listen to, I decided I was going to grow the group practice. I thought, well, let me look up like some Practice of the Practice and Whitney’s podcast and just see what I can find about group practice. So I listened to a couple episodes, it was an earlier episode, because like you said, I jumped in late. Just hearing you guys talk about what I could gain from it, I knew it was going to be a little bit of an investment, but I didn’t really invest a whole lot of money in the practice. I bootstrapped it for so long, but I thought I’m going to do this. I’m going to go go big or go home.

So what I loved about it was I think mostly the community. I mean, there’s so much information. At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but once you told us you can just take your time with it and then we’ll have different topics every week. The community was great. I mean, one of the things that I gained from it that I didn’t expect to was to be able to share our fears and our doubts. I had this idea. A lot of us do that. Everybody else has it all together and they all know what they’re doing and I don’t. So I’m coming into this group, like I’m going to learn from everybody else.

What I realized is that we’re all in the same boat. We’re all human. We all have fears. We all have that imposter syndrome. It was really scary interviewing and hiring a clinician. Now I’m planning to hire another one in the spring. But it was scary because it’s just that you don’t really know how it’s going to go. So to be able to meet weekly, learn something new, apply it to what I’m doing, it was priceless. And I just started my virtual assistant a week ago, and everybody says this, I know, and it took me forever, but I wish I had done this 10 years ago.
[WHITNEY] Yep.
[JANEEN] Oh my goodness. I just sent her a, when you have somebody that’s good and knows what they’re doing, I just sent her a list of things this morning, “I need this, this, this, this,” she had them in less the time that it would take me. And less energy for sure.
[WHITNEY] Oh yes. My admin is way better than me at stuff.
[JANEEN] So letting go of control, I think was a benefit
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[WHITNEY] All right. So we started the group in September and now we are in month four, I believe. I think I’m doing my math right. How far have you come in four months? What’s changed in your practice since September?
[JANEEN] Wow, so much. We moved locations, so I had a very tiny office because I wanted to play it safe. I was renting from a friend who is a doctor. I don’t advise that, just FYI. It was difficult to leave when it’s a friend and it was a little office in that we had two treatment rooms and a waiting room and a bathroom. We shared a back space with the doctor that I was renting from. So it never really felt like my space because we shared some of it. Then moved into a bigger, now we have a five treatment room space and it just feels, Catherine and I keep saying, we moved in day after Christmas. So we just keep looking around and saying, wow, I feel like a grownup now. I feel like, we’ve arrived as professionals. It just feels right, a big jump financially for us. So that was scary. I hired another clinician, so now I have two clinicians and a virtual assistant. I’m in the process of hiring a bookkeeper.
[WHITNEY] All right. So I’m going to say it back to make sure we got this, in four months of starting Group Practice Launch, you have moved to a bigger space. You’ve hired two clinicians and hired an admin.
[JANEEN] Yes.
[WHITNEY] Wow. Did you ever think you’d get all that done in four months?
[JANEEN] No. I never, it’s funny, my husband said to me last night, did you ever think you’d be here? I said, I don’t know. I don’t think it was even on my radar. So didn’t think I wouldn’t be, but it just wasn’t a goal of mine. Now I feel like I really do have the skillset to do this. I just needed the guidance and I needed the hand holding.
[WHITNEY] So this is what I hear from people all the time. I want to hear what you have to say about it. People always say, oh I can’t do that program because it’s too expensive to do Group Practice Launch or it’s too time consuming. I mean, would you say the time and money that you’ve put into Group Practice Launch has paid for itself at this point and you haven’t even finished the program?
[JANEEN] Yes, I think so. Like I said before, I didn’t go into a lot of debt to start my practice. I bootstrapped it, I got furniture hand me downs and things like that. But when I decided that I really wanted to get serious about this, I thought I can put this on a credit card and then pay it down and I’ve been able to do that. it wasn’t anything that I thought I don’t have this money just lying around, but it was the thing where I was like, well, I’ve been wishing that there was like a graduate program or a course in grad school that I could have taken. That would’ve been probably more expensive than what I paid for Group Practice Launch, and not nearly as effective.
[WHITNEY] That’s right. That’s right. I mean, Alison and I have seen, I mean, hundreds and hundreds of people start group practices. I think I was talking to somebody, it might have even been the other person I talked to before you was, I really can’t think of anybody that came back to me and said, I’m unhappy that I did this. I wish I hadn’t worked with you. Wish I hadn’t started a group practice. Most people say I was so scared to ever do it like you were and then they’re amazed that it worked and that they’re making income and getting to the lifestyle that they want.
[JANEEN] Yes, absolutely. That’s important for me, because like I said, I have a child, an adult child at home with special needs and I don’t want to work six, seven days a week. And I never have in the practice. So I just assumed when I was on my own that I would have to stay on my own in order to keep doing that.
[WHITNEY] Yes.
[JANEEN] At this point I’m still only seeing clients three days a week and I’m going to start seeing less and less. Right now I’ve still got a decent caseload of about 10 to 15 a week because we just moved into the space and I have to pay the rent but the clinicians that I’m hiring, I can see how it’s really going to pay off to be doing what I’m doing.
[WHITNEY] Yes, definitely. I remember that feeling. Now I have a practice and there’s nine of us. I’m actually in the process of hiring right now as well because we are maxed out and I see about five clients a week. But I can even tell the weeks I have three and other weeks I have five. It’s a big difference in the amount of time that you have to devote to the practice. Felt the same way when I was in your phase though. So let’s talk about your work with the special needs community. I know you do that in your counting practice, your podcast. You want to share about the work that you do?
[JANEEN] Yes, sure. So when I first started out, well when I first started out as a mom and my son was diagnosed with autism, it was back in 2001. So it was a long time ago and there was no support, very, very little support. People didn’t even know what autism was then. Now it’s just grown exponentially. I wanted to create something that I wished was there when my son was diagnosed. So my goal is to, my ideal client that I work with and I’m able to, by the way, now that I have a group practice, I’m able to pick and choose and just work with that ideal client and then send the rest to my other clinicians, which is a beautiful thing.

But my ideal client is a special needs mama, particularly autism or neurodiversity, where they’re just at the beginning of that journey, they don’t know what to do. There’s a lot of grief involved. They’re grieving because they’re wondering, did they do something wrong? How do did this happen? What do I do now? I don’t necessarily know what they should do, but I think that my skillset is hearing where they are and encouraging them in whatever place that they are, if that makes sense. Being able to your mom talk about how she feels and how she’s running ragged and to say you don’t have to be running your child to eight different therapies, six days a week. You can slow down. It’ll be okay. You’re not going to be alone in this. It’s a very isolating feeling.

So being on the other side of it both as a clinician and as a mom, my son’s now 24, there’s a lot of mistakes I’ve made and then there’s a lot of things that I know that I did right and I’m glad that I did. So I try to pass that down to my clients. That’s why I created the podcast, Autism Blueprint, because the therapies are one thing that you’re taking your child to and the education, I mean, it’s just all encompassing, but the peacefulness in your home, it just feels like, am I ever going to have a peaceful home again? Because these are kiddos that can’t self-regulate emotionally. They have such a hard time with change. Their sleep is interrupted a lot of times. The way that they eat is a problem. They have difficulty communicating. So every facet of their life is affected. So then every facet of your life as a parent is affected. There’s just no way to get through it and to cope with it unless you have somebody to help you, I think.
[WHITNEY] Well I appreciate you speaking to this and obviously I can hear your passion and hear your experience. I personally listen to your podcast and benefit from it. As you know I also have an autistic daughter and so you’re preaching to the choir when I hear you. I also find comfort in that and it is a very isolating experience. You can all day long tell other parents, this is my situation, but until you’re in it, you don’t get it. You just can’t. It’s a whole different world. So I love that that’s your work and that’s your mission. I would love to find out, so for people, let’s say there’s someone listening right now who doesn’t live in Florida, can’t come see you for counseling, but they’re thinking, gosh, I wish I could gain some information from you. You’ve got the podcast. Is there anything that they gain or other ways to connect with you?
[JANEEN] Yes, certainly. So autismblueprint.com is where the podcast is and it’s also on iTunes and Spotify and Stitcher. Then I have a new site that I’m launched called Autism Blueprint Classroom. There is a link to that just on the podcast site where I’m launching courses. The first course that launched is a self-care course on just taking care of yourself as a special needs parent and particularly an autism parent, because like I said, it is so encompassing. So I’ve taken just the knowledge that I share in my sessions about caring for yourself and put it a half hour course. It’s an easy one to get through.
[WHITNEY] Oh awesome. I’ll have to check it out. Well, wonderful Janeen, this is always a pleasure chatting with you and I love working with you. So as we bring this to a close, I’m going to ask what Joe asks people on the show what do you believe all counselors need to know if they were listening right now?
[JANEEN] I would want them to know that if they are interested in growing a group practice that the Group Practice Launch really is the most effective way to do that. It’s just, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I wouldn’t have the courage, I think is the main thing. I wouldn’t have the courage, but also the skillset to be able to get it off the ground. I think it would’ve been a lot more blood, sweat and tears if I hadn’t had the community support. So if you’re thinking about doing it, jump in and give it a try. You got nothing to lose really?
[WHITNEY] That’s right. I tell people that all the time. I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Like you don’t like having a group practice? You just go back to being a solo practice owner. But I can tell you that rarely happens.
[JANEEN] In the process you’ve learned some skills. If you decide you just want it to be, you’ll have a kick butt practice of just you.
[WHITNEY] That’s right. Well, we’re going to be launching our next cohort of Group Practice Launch in March. So if you’re interested in joining that, or even if you’re listening to this after March, we have a cohort every six months. So to get more information, go to practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticelaunch. I encourage you to sign up for that email list because you’ll get emails as soon as we open the doors. We do offer an early bird special, typically our first two days of every cohort. So you don’t want to miss out on that. Janeen, thank you so much for being a part of the show today.
[JANEEN] My pleasure Whitney. Thanks for having me.
[JOE] Well. Go take some action and think different. In grad school, we weren’t taught all this. We weren’t taught about marketing or business or ROI or profit and loss statements. Be surrounded by the people that you want to become. Find that community of folks that can just surround you and you can learn from and grow from and maybe you can even contribute your ideas to; whether that’s Group Practice Launch, Group Practice Boss or find your own community. Find that community so that you can level up in 2022.

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Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.
[JOE] Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. 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 publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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