“Turn off the lights when you leave the room.”
“Reuse that, don’t throw it away.”
“Finish all the food on your plate.”
These are things I heard as a kid, and I’m sure you heard similar messages. The bottom line, save money wherever you can. Although turning off the light in your private practice office will save money and energy, it is small potatoes next to what I’m about to talk about. I want to challenge you to make more cash, but also to save more money!
Unlocking Money Tip #1 | Use Office Space More Efficiently
Do you use your office every day? Probably not. Maybe you don’t come in until 10:00; someone could focus a niche on seeing business people before they go to work. Maybe you play golf every Thursday night, why not rent out your space just on Thursday nights? Are you there Saturday mornings? Rent it out!
Whether it is a sublease or a contractor, efficient use of your office is essential to saving and making more money. Imagine this:
Your rent is $1,000 per month for an office. This rent may be high or low for your area. You are approached by a new counselor to the area; you could structure it three different ways:
- S/he gives you a percent of what they bring in, say 20% for rent. If s/he saw four people in the month for $100, that would be $80. Like adding an extra session.
- S/he gives you a percent as a contractor within your practice, usually 40-50%. But, you do the marketing and add other things that make the other 30% worth it. Imagine you added her to your practice and she saw four people at $100 that would be $200 for you. If you are renting, part of this may go toward rent, but it is added income that was not there.
- You charge a flat fee per hour, day, or month. Maybe you charge $20 per session or $50 per day.
Google Calendar makes it easy to view calendars without sharing confidential information. (Here’s an article about it: Sanok on Rent | Share Google Calendar in Two Minutes).
Unlocking Money Tip #2 | Don’t Have a Waiting List
Many counselors feel good about themselves if they have a waiting list. I see it differently, it’s like when you buy meat when it is on sale and rather than put it in your freezer, you leave it in the fridge for a while. At some point, you lose the meat. It goes bad.
When someone is ready for counseling, they usually want to start right away. The hutzpah dies over time or they find someone else. Here are a few ways to unlock money in this situation:
- Raise your prices. If people are coming to you so much that you have a waiting list, raise your prices. It will make it worth it to you if you need to stay later and it may deter some folks from seeing you. Say you jump from $100 to $150 per hour, something that a lot of counselors may have a hard time handling emotionally. Even if only 2/3 follow through that would have at the $100 rate, you still make the same amount of money, and work 33% less!
- Hire a W-2 or 1099 counselor (article about adding a 1099) for your practice to help with overflow. Again, you would get a cut from their work for building your brand.
Unlocking Money Tip #3 | Reduce Phone Calls and Emails
Your time is where you can make or lose the most money. Being efficient with your time is one of the keys to unlocking hidden money. Imagine you make $100 per session. That breaks down to $1.66 per minute. Maybe you have decided that you only want to see a certain number of clients, because you feel totally spent beyond that number. But what if part of why you feel spent is because of the phone calls and emails you have to do?
Create email templates for common questions, have a FAQ section on your website, have clear directions with integration with Google Maps, all these things make it easier to spend less time doing calls and emails and more time counseling.
You have everything to gain! Think about it this way. Say you currently waste 1 hour per week of emotional and actual energy on emails and phone calls for which you don’t get paid.
If you reduced that and took on an extra client, at $100 per session, that would be $5,200 per year!
Unlocking Money Tip #4 | Get All the Paperwork on the Front End
Just like Tip #3, wasted time is wasted potential to earn money. If you don’t have the correct paperwork on the front end, it can delay payment, cause time to be wasted, lead to time on the phone, and loads of hunting around for the correct items.
What are the most common time wasters regarding paperwork?
When are you most frustrated?
What are you doing to change that? Like we just talked about, there is a lot of money to be gained from getting organized!
Maybe you don’t have time to make new paperwork, can I help? Check out my paperwork packages.
Unlocking Money Tip #5 | Have a Website that You Can Easily Change
About a year ago I was having coffee with a friend. He told me that he was spending $20 per month on a counseling website! I almost fell out of my chair. My first thought was, “What a waste of money!” My second thought was, “I should try and teach these people, so I can make money off them and save them money!”
As I have talked about many times before, you can set up your own website for around $15. A domain through NameCheap is around $10 and hosting through Bluehost is $5 per month, depending on what plan you get. I talk about this so frequently for a few reasons.
- I can change my website to keep up with all the new apps, plug-ins, widgets, and changes that happen every day, WITHOUT PAYING SOMEONE!
- I save a ton of money! If I paid $20 per month for a website, that looks similar to 90% of counselors, I would be paying $240 per year, whereas I pay $10 for my domain + $5 per month so that is around $70 per year, and I am getting a better product that stands out. Also, with Bluehost, I can have multiple domains, so I have my private practice domain and this domain through them; so actually, my cost per website goes down as I expand.
- I can look different than other counselors in my area, which gives me a marketing edge.
- I don’t have to pay someone to build new pages for me.
I’d love to help you with your website if you need a little bit of teaching on the front end, let me know.
Unlocking Money Tip #6 | Have Efficient Marketing
Whenever I participate in marketing I look at several factors: target audience, past performance, and return on investment. I rarely spend much money on marketing. I appear on radio shows, write articles, and do all my own search engine optimization around the search terms: counseling, counseling private practice, therapist, Traverse City, depression, angry kids, how to name a private practice, passive income, and improving a private practice.
When I run a marketing campaign, I always run two and see who wins. I learned this from the book The Best of Guerrilla Marketing: Guerrilla Marketing Remix
. Then, whichever one wins, I keep that and run something else against it. By looking at the statistics with Google Ads, Facebook Post promotion, LinkedIn Ads, or traditional advertising, I can use my money in the most efficient ways possible.
Unlocking Money Tip #7 | Don’t Duplicate
This last tip is similar to tip #3, but it is more of an overall review of your counseling private practice. Where are you duplicating? Where are you typing the same thing again? By doing an overall evaluation of where time is being wasted, you can better serve your clients and find new opportunities to unlock money!
Here are a few resources that I have found to be ways to speed up my own progress; I’d love to help if I can:
To link to Joe’s Google+ follow the link.
Thank you to Aaron VanHeest for the awesome photos!