Have you set goals for yourself in your practice? How can you go about achieving these goals? Who are the people who can help you get there quicker?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Theresa Leskowat, Dawn Brunkenhoefer, and Jenny Emerson about meeting a year’s worth of goals within 3 months.
When you’re in private practice it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed.
Whether you are a seasoned clinician who’s current website needs to be revamped, or a new therapist building a website for the first time, Brighter Vision is here to help.
By first understanding your practice and what makes it unique, Brighter Vision’s team of developers will create you a custom website catered to your specific marketing goals. Better yet, they provide unlimited technical support to make sure it stays updated, and professional search engine optimization to make sure you rank high in online searches – all at no additional cost.
To get started for $100 off, head to brightervision.com/joe.
Meet Theresa Leskowat, Dawn Brunkenhoefer, and Jenny Emerson
Theresa Leskowat is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the owner of Clear Vista Counseling and is passionate about working with clients to help them learn natural remedies for anxiety and stress management.
Dr. Dawn Brunkenhoefer is a licensed professional counselor and group practice owner of Curae Counseling & Consulting. She jumped from a 24-year career in community mental health and her position as Regional Director to becoming a group practice owner with a mission to provide compassionate care to her community.
Jenny Emerson is a licensed therapist and single’s coach. She helps women find their joy regardless of their relationship status by creating a love story and life they desire.
In This Podcast
- How Theresa, Dawn & Jenny met
- Setting goals
- The 3-month deadline
- Theresa’s goals and how she achieved them
- Dawn’s goals and how she achieved them
- Jenny’s goals and how she achieved them
How Theresa, Dawn & Jenny met
Dawn first met Jenny through the Killin’ It Camp Facebook group, arranging to meet for dinner before the camp started. The next day, Dawn met Theresa in the lobby and introduced her to Jenny. Jenny was the only one with a car so they traveled together and became a little tribe throughout the conference.
Killin’ It Camp had them all fired up about what they can do to improve their practices. Although the three of them were all at different growth marks in their practices, there were a lot of the same tools that they could all use. They would feed off of each other and share ideas, resulting in a very exciting last night at Killin’ It Camp.
The 3-month deadline
Theresa, Jenny & Dawn approached Joe after one of the Happy Hour sessions and asked if they could discuss their goals for the next year. Joe told them that they weren’t playing big enough and gave them the challenge of achieving their goals by 31 January 2020 with the incentive of an interview on his podcast should they achieve their goals.
Theresa’s goals and how she achieved them
I think just realizing that whatever I choose to do, I can do. Which is most exciting and scary all at the same time. And after I met the goals that I set for myself, I kind of said like, okay, now what? And so, I spent some time really digging deep like, what does my long term look like and maybe I should work towards that.
Through one of the talks at Killin’ It Camp (by Gordon Brewer from the Practice of Therapy), Theresa realized that she was not utilizing G-Suite to the best of its abilities. Within a couple of weeks after Killin’ It Camp, Theresa had set up a new inquiry form and started tracking data through Google Forms.
Theresa was inspired by Jessica Tappana from Simplified SEO. Jessica gave her some tips and training on how to improve her SEO. It was a lot simpler than she had originally thought and after spending a weekend optimizing all of her blog posts and web pages, her Google ranking went up by 2000 points.
She realized that she wanted more savings in order to cover three months of her salary and rent, in case anything went wrong. Now, during this global pandemic, she can sleep soundly at night, knowing that she has those savings.
Theresa went to the SEO training with Jessica, and also went to a restorative yoga teacher training. The restorative yoga helps her to tap into her parasympathetic nervous system and also helps with anxiety.
Dawn’s goals and how she achieved them
Well, I definitely feel like any goal that I set I can accomplish and my goals should be big enough to make me nervous. I feel like if they don’t make me nervous a little bit, then maybe they’re not big enough.
Add therapists to her practice
Dawn had already hired two 1099 counselors to work at her practice and wanted to hire another three. Upon her return from Killin’ It Camp, her two 1099 counselors gave in their notice so Dawn was left at square one again. Alison Pidgeon gave her some great tips on hiring therapists and also what to do in the time after the two 1099s left
The two 1099 counselors leaving gave Dawn the time that she needed to update all of her systems before taking on any new counselors. She rewrote contracts, created an onboarding process, updated her intake and billing processes. Dawn hired a W2 office manager which was worth every penny. It gave Dawn the opportunity to focus on growing the business instead of spending time doing things that someone else could handle.
Dawn pushed $10,000 into her savings which helped her during the time she was rewriting the job description, posting the ads, and interviewing for the additional therapist positions.
Jenny’s goals and how she achieved them
It was a huge wake-up call that I had been playing small in a lot of ways in my life. What else can I get done? And what else can I make happen? And so, it’s just really helped me have some more drive and hold myself more accountable. And then also look at who do I need to have in my life as accountability partners, and people that helped me see beyond what I’ve been seeing in the past. So, it’s really been a huge mindset kind of shift for me.
Launch coaching practice
Jenny launched her completely online coaching practice, working with single women who have been single longer than they expected, and trying to make peace with that.
Take her therapy online/launching a podcast
Jenny started this but soon realized that she didn’t enjoy this as much as face-to-face so she changed her goal to launching a podcast. Jenny launched a podcast “Real Talk About the Single Life” for her coaching business.
Jenny wanted to keep her coaching and her therapy practices separate. She redid her therapy website, focusing on the grief work that she does. Laura Long’s breakout group at Killin’ It Camp really helped her with this process
Have four speaking engagements, with a minimum of 30 people in the audience
She was quite overwhelmed by this but Joe said that her podcasts could count towards that which made it doable for her. She got interviewed on one podcast, was in another interview on Facebook Live, and then did two speaking events organized by her friends, Theresa and Dawn. These were all a huge learning curve for Jenny and she used it to learn how to pack, plan, and market better if she’s going to be traveling for speaking.
- Duff Gardner on Startup Thinking | PoP 456
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- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
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- Killin’It Camp
- Next Level Practice
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- Apply to work with us
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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POP457 Theresa Leskowat, Dawn Brunkenhoefer, and Jenny Emerson
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 457.
When you’re in private practice, it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed. Whether you are a seasoned clinician, whose current website needs to be revamped, or a new therapist building a website for the first time, Brighter Vision is here to help. By first understanding your practice and what makes it unique, Brighter Vision’s team of developers will create you a custom website catered to your specific marketing goals. Better yet, they provide unlimited technical support to make sure it stays updated and professional, Search Engine Optimization to make sure you rank high in online searches all at no additional cost. To get started for $100 off, head over to brightervision.com/Joe. Again, that’s brightervision.com/Joe.
Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. Hope you are doing well during all of this changing world. It, for our family, you know, it’s been an adjustment but our girls are doing well, and, we’re doing a daily walk, we haven’t missed a day even when it was snowy. It’s just crazy Michigan weather. We always seem to get some snow in April and May. We often call it third winter, because we get these warm ups in like March and April oftentimes, and then it’ll be warm up, I mean, like in the 50s. And we’re like, oh, it’s so warm, I should wear shorts. And then it snows and we’re just like I can’t believe it’s snowing in April or May, but it always happens and this year I have tried my best to not complain about weather because I choose to live in Traverse City, Michigan, and I choose to be here because it’s close to the water, and it’s a beautiful town, and both our sets of parents live here, and we have a bunch of friends and we love the community, and so we are choosing to live here. And so why complain about that?
Well, this is the first time that I’ve recorded the intro and outro since I signed a contract with HarperCollins for a book, I have been going through this process, since it would have been December of 2018. I started asking podcast guests if they would introduce me to their agent. In April, I connected with my agent. And then in June of 2019, I met Nancy, my writing coach, who is a former HarperCollins editor, worked with her from June all the way until February of 2020 working on my proposal. And that’s one of the big things I learned from this, I’m going to definitely talk more about getting traditionally published in the future, but you know, building an audience and having people that not only follow you, but also purchase from you, is a huge thing if you want to traditionally publish a book, because you know, for me to be able to say, hey, people want to go through these E-Courses, or they join Next Level Practice, or they come to Slow Down School, and Killin’ It Camp, and all these different things that I genuinely offer help to people when they have something they can’t overcome. That was huge in regards to the selling of this book. And there’s a timer going off, I set timers all the time. So that I don’t forget, when I’m wrapped up and things like this, because I have a podcast interview in three minutes. And so, I’m gonna, you know, obviously do this intro and then the outro and then dive right into a podcast interview. But, I think it’s really important that you fall in love with the pain and the people before you pitch the product. And I say that over and over, especially with podcast launch school, people are saying, oh, I want to like launch this e-course, but it’s like you have to have people that care about you and care about your message before you go selling to the world. And so, today I’m really excited because I have three guests that are Killin’ It Campers. They are founders of Killin’ It Camp, meaning that they came that first year when we had 130 people or so, they came. And they set some big goals at Killin’ It Camp. They’re walking through kind of that process. And so, without any further ado, I give you Theresa, Dawn and Jenny.
Well, today in the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have three people that were at Killin’ It Camp. We have Theresa Leskowat, who is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and owner of Clear Vista Counseling. Theresa is passionate about working with clients to help them learn natural remedies for anxiety and stress management. Also, we have Dr. Dawn Brunkenhoefer, a licensed professional counselor and group practice owner. She jumped from a 24-year career in community mental health, and her position as regional director, to becoming a group practice owner with a mission to provide compassionate care to her community. And we have Jenny Emerson, who is a licensed therapist and singles coach. She helps women find joy, regardless of their relationship status, by creating a love story and life they desire. Ladies, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.[Theresa, Dawn & Jenny]:
Thank you. [JOE]:
Well, I just want to start with you all are Killin’ It Campers and you created this posse at Killin’ It Camp of goal setting and all this stuff. Let’s go back to, at Killin’ It Camp, when did you start talking to each other? How did that happen? [DAWN]:
Day one, yeah. [JOE]:
Dawn, why don’t you kick it off for us? Like, where did you, where did you guys like start talking at Killin’ It Camp and then we can kind of talk about how. [DAWN]:
Yeah, I first met Jenny through the Facebook group, the Killin’ It Camp Facebook group, when she put out a post that she would be there early and wanted to know if anybody wanted to meet her for dinner. So, I jumped on and said, yeah, why not? I will. And it’s nothing like me to do that. So, I was a little concerned afterwards like, what did I do? But I met Jenny there in the lobby of the lodge, and we went and had dinner. And then the next day, I was sitting in the lobby, and I had to check out one room and wait for another and I saw a girl sitting on the couch, and it was Theresa. So, it just sparked up a conversation with Theresa and introduced her to Jenny, and Jenny was the only one of us that had a car. [JOE]:
Like high school. Like, who has the car, okay, they’re in. [THERESA]:
So, we just kind of traveled together and now we were a little tribe throughout the conference and it was awesome. [JOE]:
And Jenny, when you guys started talking about goals and direction for your practice, Maybe Tell me a little bit about what you remember about your own goals or but how you also maybe resonate with Dawn’s goals and Theresa’s goals. [JENNY]:
Well, we were so fired up because we had worked so much at Killin’ It Camp, and we were like, okay, so what things can we do? So, I was in the process of launching my coaching business. And so, I was sitting there going, okay, so how do I continue growing my therapy practice, and launch this whole other business, and the same practices we use for, you know, growing our therapy practices apply to the coaching business. And so, just talking about how to build another business, and then Dawn and Theresa were, you know, at different growth marks in their practice, but it’s a lot of the same tools. And so, we would just feed off each other and share ideas, like oh, try this or what about that or what do you see happening at XYZ point? So, it was very fun, exciting dinner on that last night. [JOE]:
Yeah, and Theresa, I’m interested in what do you think it was about the environment of Killin’ It Camp that helped foster these relationships or this cool setting? [THERESA]:
Oh, man, therapists are so supportive and I so much appreciate that because I’m a solo, you know, person in my practice. And I went and the first person I met was Dawn and pretty quickly I found out, oh, Dawn has her PhD and she’s a group practice owner. And then it so happened the second person I met also had their PhD and a group practice owner and I felt totally out of my league. But they were just so supportive, and open, and we just had so much fun that pretty quickly that was just a non-issue. Also, you really fostered as well because it was my goal to, like, meet you. And I met you before you know, before Killin’ It Camp even started. So pretty quickly. I was like, okay, I’m gonna get a picture with him, and I did, and then I never imagined that like a few days later, I’d be doing goat yoga with you and your wife. [JOE]:
One thing, for those that are listening, so we had on the calendar, yoga, and then we didn’t tell the group that it was going to be goat yoga. And so, we had all these goats that were climbing all over us, and it was just so funny and ridiculous. And yeah, that was some fun goat yoga. Yeah, and I think I mean that for me, that’s something that I love about conferences that I put on, is that, you know, people maybe come into it thinking, oh, Joe’s this podcaster. And my hope is that, you know, by the end of it, it’s like, okay, Joe’s just this regular guy. He’s the same way on the podcast as he is in real life, and I hope that when people see that, that it’s less scary for them to go after big things, because it’s, I hope it’s like, well, if Joe can do it, I can do it. [THERESA]:
Well, I definitely had that lightbulb moment during goat yoga where I was like, oh, man, I did not dream big enough for this Killin’ It Camp, and maybe that’s also true for my business. [JOE]:
Hmm. So, the three of you there was, I think it was the last happy hour that we had, and I don’t remember if it was Brighter Vision or Therapy Notes that sponsored that, but it was awesome because you know, we had these happy hours that was open bar that from our sponsors, and we’re all hanging out, we’ve got music playing, and I think it was it the last night that that we all talked? Yeah. Okay. So, the three of you approached me with some goals and why don’t we go through what those goals initially were, and then kind of how that conversation went. So, Dawn, what was your goal that you said to me that night? [THERESA]:
So, we said, hey, we got these goals an you’re like, read them to me now. So, the goals the three goals that I had were hire three to four new counselors, update my systems within my group, and increase my savings and my revenue. [JOE]:
And then Jenny, what were yours? [JENNY]:
I was going to take my therapy practice completely online and, which I ended up switching, I tried it and I didn’t like it. And so, then I came back to you and I asked, can I do a podcast instead? And you’re like, sure. So, I launched a podcast for my coaching business. And then I also did four speaking events by January 31. [JOE]:
Awesome. And Theresa, what were your goals? [THERESA]:
Streamline my systems, improve my SEO, increase savings, and add training? [JOE]:
Yeah, I remember, kind of pushing the three of you saying that you weren’t playing big enough. When I said that, Jenny, how did you feel about when I said I don’t think you’re playing big enough. [JENNY]:
I wanted to throw up and I was excited at the same time. [JOE]:
Killin’ It Camp, where you want to throw up and you’re also excited. That’s our new tagline. [JENNY]:
But it was right. It was one of those things, I was like, oh my gosh, that is so true. And it was like you said something that I knew inside me but I was too scared to admit. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, you know, and I feel like when you guys shared those goals, they felt realistic. And they felt like a little stretch, but it just felt like you can do so much more. And I said to you, alright, so I want you to play bigger go after these big goals, and if you meet them, what did I say it had to be met by February 1, was it? By February 1, that I would have you on the podcast to talk about it. And let me just read this email that came from Theresa. So, “Dear Joe. Once upon a time, I met two amazing friends at a faraway place called Killin’ It Camp. We bonded immediately and made a pact to see each other again next year and set our goals for the year. Dawn shared our goals with you and told you told us we weren’t dreaming big enough, and that we could if we could do them by February 1, you’d have us on the podcast. After much hard work and some long days, here we are. We have all met our goals by February 1. You told us that if we met our goals, you’d have us on the podcast, and I have video proof attached below if you need a reminder. I have also included our written goals along with each of us stating how we met them.” So, that was the part that stood out to me that I knew you guys were serious because you pulled out your phone and said, Joe, will you say that again on video that you’ll have us on the podcast and I thought these three ladies are absolutely going to reach these goals because they’re taking even that I’m saying I’ll have you on the podcast seriously. Did that help kind of add some extra fuel to the fire in regards to kind of going after your goals? [Theresa, Dawn & Jenny]:
Yes, definitely. [THERESA]:
And I give full disclosure, like you know credit to Dawn for that because, originally we said these are our goals for the year, and then you said oh no, you can do them by this date, and Dawn was like what will you give us if we do? [JOE]:
Yes, yeah, cuz I think I set an earlier date then because you guys were planning on doing it by the next Killin’ It Camp right? And I said February 1, and then yeah, well good thinking Dawn. [DAWN]:
Well, I mean, it was really stemmed from you admitting that you have, you’re forgetful. And so, I thought, well what if you forget that he committed to this? And so yeah. [JOE]:
Yeah, you know, and I, you know, that’s something I own publicly all the time that I, if I have an idea I have to pass it off to my team or write it down that I don’t want to have my brain be full of all these to do list items. And so, it just shows you that if you kind of tell your audience how you are and you’re authentically yourself, that they’ll, they’ll guide you know, they’ll get video evidence of you. Alright, so here we are. What I want to do is kind of walk through with each of you kind of those specific goals and then the steps that you took. So, Theresa, why don’t we start with you. So, Theresa, remind us of those goals and then let’s walk through kind of what happened from late October to February for you to be able to reach these goals so quickly. [THERESA]:
Sure, sure. So, I’m just kind of gonna go by them one by one. The first one was “streamline systems”, and that was really inspired by one of the talks we had at Killin’ It Camp, where I learned there’s a lot available through, like my G-Suite, that I wasn’t utilizing. And so, [JOE]:
Is that Gordon’s, Gordon Brewer? Ah, Gordon’s awesome. [THERESA]:
Yeah. And so, you can do forms and things in G-Suite, and I just I had no idea. So pretty quickly, I, I think, probably within a couple of weeks, I set up a new form are every time I get a new inquiry for a client and tracking that data through these Google Forms that then automatically go into an Excel spreadsheet. That way I can check my business data and crunch it however I need to regarding where I’m getting referrals. [JOE]:
That’s awesome. And so, for some of that data, were there any decisions you were able to make that you wouldn’t have been able to make had you not set up those Google Forms? [THERESA]:
I’m still really collecting that data. My husband’s actually a data analyst, and so he very much encourages me to, like, collect a lot of data and then I can, you know, pull a lot from there. So, I’m still kind of getting that data collecting stage. But I realized, you know, I was getting a lot of my clients through Psychology Today, which was good information and I kind of knew that, which kind of leads to my next one, which was I needed to improve my SEO and my data just really backed that up. [JOE]:
So, what did you do to increase the SEO? [THERESA]:
So, this one, again, was inspired by one of the talks at Killin’ It Camp, and, you know, from Simplified SEO. [JOE]:
Yeah, Jessica Tappana. [THERESA]:
Yes, we met her I think one of the first days sitting around the fire and we just picked her brain. And she’s so brilliant, and she knows what she’s talking about. [JOE]:
Yeah, and she actually, her whole backstory, and I don’t remember if she told this at Killin’ It Camp, was she was at Slow Down School, just helping people with their SEO on a couch, and like every night just helping them and having a business that she did that wasn’t even on her radar. And then at the end of the week, people were like, can we just hire you to do this? And I think she left with 10 new clients for a business she hadn’t even started. And now she makes more off of her SEO business than she does offer group therapy practice. [THERESA]:
Wow. Wow. [JOE]:
Yeah. So, what exactly did you do that helped you with your SEO ranking? [THERESA]:
Yeah. So, this kind of actually goes to one of my other ones, which was add trainings. At Killin’ It Camp because I was just really intrigued by her and this was really picking her brain but realizing there was not enough time to learn all that I wanted to from her. And she said there was a training she was doing, it was going to be a live training in Kansas City. I think that’s our first live like few days is like a long weekend training. So, I went to her training and previously I thought SEO sounds really complicated, but she just made it really simple. And I realized, I’ve just been making it more complicated than I needed to. [JOE]:
Oh, yeah, she did some of that training at Slow Down School. And even I was just like, oh, those are tools I’ve never heard of, and that would make my life so much easier. [THERESA]:
So that weekend, I stayed up late, I woke up early. I was optimizing every single blog post, every single page on my website, and I had like, over 30 blog posts, I think. So, I just, I spent that whole weekend doing it and by the end of the weekend, my Google ranking, according to the brighter insights tool, I had gone up 2000 points. [JOE]:
Oh, my word. Holy cow. And have you been able to track how that has affected the business? Or are you still in the data collection of that one, too? [THERESA]:
Yeah, I’ve noticed I’m actually getting more clients that are saying they found me via Google. [JOE]:
Wow. Now, are there, I lost track of how many goals you had. So, were there more goals than that? Or was that the final one? [THERESA]:
Nope, that was not the final one, I got two more I would have the next one was increased savings. I, you know, I had enough in my savings to like, cover rent if I needed to, but I realized I really wanted more than that one day at least, like, you know, three months’ worth but where I can pay my salary plus cover rent. And so that one was probably the hardest one to like stretch into in the course timeframe that you gave us. But I, you know, I, essentially, yeah, I built it up to three months to cover all of that. [JOE]:
Aren’t you glad you did that now? [THERESA]:
Oh, my gosh, like who would have known that what was gonna happen with the world? [THERESA]:
Yeah, I’ve been able to like sleep so soundly at night knowing I have savings. I’m really not worried about my business, no matter like what comes. So that’s been, I’m so glad that you’ve pushed up on that one. [JOE]:
And it just positions you to make decisions, not out of a place of lacking, or anxiety, or like I kind of feed my family, instead it comes from what’s some opportunity here that I can double down on? And in a lot of ways, when there’s a, whether it’s a pandemic or a recession, a lot of things go on sale, and those that are positioned, can then can, not that you ever want a recession or pandemic for your own business to thrive, but then you’re positioned in a way that you aren’t just scrambling to try to make ends meet, you can actually look at opportunities that are there. [THERESA]:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been really cool. [JOE]:
And what’s the last one? [THERESA]:
Add trainings, as I mentioned, I went to that SEO training. And then I also, I have like a yoga room attached to my office actually. So, I went to restorative yoga teacher training out in Massachusetts, I believe, with the like creator of restorative yoga, which is all about tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system and helps with anxiety. [JOE]:
Wow, that’s so awesome. And we’re going to talk a little bit about future goals on the podcast. But I want to bounce over to Dawn and hear your goals and kind of how you achieved those. Theresa, thanks so much for sharing and walking through all of those. Dawn, take us through your goals and how you achieved those. [DAWN]:
Sure. So, I am a little bit unconventional. I left my position working for the local mental health authority, and with the goal of opening a group practice. So, I opened a group practice and then kind of scaled into it, which is not always how therapists do that. So, when I opened it, [JOE]:
And when you say, “scaled into it”, what do you mean? [DAWN]:
So, I opened it and I anticipated maintaining my job as a regional director, while hiring therapists to move into this clinic. And I had opened multiple mental health clinics for the mental health authority in the past, so I had an idea of what I needed to do, and I had been in private practice before. So, I knew the systems that I needed to have in place. And right away I had three 1099 therapists working. So, I had hired the attorney, did everything I needed to set up the practice, and had all these contracts in place. So, when I went to Killin’ It Camp, my goal was to hire an additional three to four 1099 counselors to add on to the group. What I didn’t know is that when I came back, literally the second day when I came back, their contracts were coming up and they gave me notice that they were leaving. [JOE]:
Oh, wow. [DAWN]:
So, I panicked because I knew that I needed to make this change and add therapists I also knew I needed to update the systems, which I’ll talk about in a second. And Killin’ It Camp kind of helped me solidify a plan. So, when I came back, I was excited to put that in place and I lost my two full time 1099 counselors. [JOE]:
Were there any tracks, or kind of things that people said at Killin’ It Camp, whether it was speakers or other people that really helped you? You said, Killin’ It Camp was helpful, that you got some kind of ideas and plans, but which speakers helped you with some of those ideas and plans? [DAWN]:
Yeah, so, I kept kind of just networking and talking to people and trying to find other group practice owners and everyone that I spoke to, including Theresa and Jenny said, you need to meet with Alison, you need to meet with Alison Pidgeon. So, I just approached her and asked, “Can I have lunch with you? Can I meet with you and pick your brain?” And she said yes. And even with the baby and Jessica I think helped watch the baby. [JOE]:
Let me just give some context. So, Alison had had a baby in June, no July, she’d been on maternity leave from Practice of the Practice and her group practice, and Killin’ It Camp was one of the first things she came to and she had her baby there the whole because she was still nursing and everything and, and what’s great about Killin’ It Camp is we do all of our meals communally. Like there’s a great kind of big area where we all eat together and so we don’t break off and go off to different restaurants, we’re all together sort of like a camp. But the food is a step above camp, but it’s not great. That’s the biggest area of improvement. So, just so people kind of can visualize what you meant by hey, let’s sit together and eat. We set it up so that it is so easy to network with the speakers and get to know the speakers so that you get the most out of it, not just in their sessions. So, all right, go ahead. [DAWN]:
That was one of my favorite things about the conference. But, I was able to tell her, you know, like, here’s where I’m at with my group practice. I feel like I need to bring on additional 1099 therapists and of course, she talked to me a lot about switching from 1099 to W2. And then I told her, you know, I feel like my group practice is set up in a way where I’m not really protected and I kind of told her like, I feel like I need to change the entire system of how it’s structured and how going from individual NPIs to group and, and just really went through everything with her and she said, you’re right on. That’s what you need to do. That’s exactly, you have an idea of where you need to go and that’s what you need to do. So, the second part of my goal was to update all my systems. So, I emailed her right away and told her when I got back like, this is what happened, I’ve lost my contracted counselors and she said, “Don’t panic. Use this time, this is a perfect opportunity to upgrade and change all your systems.” So, that’s what I did, rewrote contracts, created an onboarding process, we updated the intake process, and just billing, and got the group hired a credentialing person to apply for all of my group NPI and group contracts with the NCOs, gives them insurance space. And changed, before I had all of my finances coming to the counselors and then they paid their percentage to me at the end of the month, and that left me really unprotected. [JOE]:
Yeah, for sure. [DAWN]:
Yeah. So, I had to change all of that which required, you know, getting a bookkeeper, I did hire a W2 office manager during that time as well. And that was worth every penny, it has been one of the best things I did. [JOE]:
I am amazed at how many people will, even in their solo practice, still be answering their phones, doing their scheduling, and just how much time they’re spending on that compared to, you know, you could hire someone at 20 bucks an hour and get a really good quality person. And if you did one extra session a week you could pay for most of their week. It’s so amazing to just see when people make that switch, they’re like, I am never going back. [DAWN]:
Yes. It’s just been, and listening to you and some of the others talk about outsourcing what you need to, your ROI, your return on interest, your time versus, you know, what you’re doing, what’s bringing you the most to your practice and to your revenue? [JOE]:
Yeah. And if you haven’t ,and I’m not just talking to Dawn, anyone listening, if you haven’t checked out Alison’s new podcast, she has her own podcast on starting a group practice now. We’ve launched now three extra podcasts. So, we have the how to market your practice podcast that Sam does, we have the Faith in Practice podcast that Whitney does, and then the start a group practice podcast that Alison does, so we have all sorts of even more niche podcasts that you can now access in addition to mine. [DAWN]:
I was gonna say, Whitney was another person I reached out to because during the conference, there was a panel discussion with you, Whitney and Allison. And she had shared a story of losing contracted counselors. So, I reached out to her immediately when that happened and she was awesome. She is someone that I have stayed in touch with and followed as well. And so, she’s another great person to kind of follow. [JOE]:
Awesome. And were there other goals that you had on that list? Or was that the final goal? [DAWN]:
The other was increasing my savings. Right when I came back, I did push a lot of money into savings and I’m glad I did. I pushed 10,000 over there. And that helped me during the time that I was trying to rewrite the job description, and post, and interview, and bring on additional therapists. I did hire four additional therapists, and I’m still interviewing. So, we have contracts with all of them. So that money really helped me and I had to use it. And I continued to save, even when it was just kind of me carrying it for now. So, I’m pretty blessed in a position to not have to take out much or ask for a lot of help. That may change depending on how long this lasts. But yeah. [JOE]:
Yeah, well, I mean, I recommend that people, until they get to their savings goal of you know, three to six months of expenses, you know of your business expenses, but also, personally having three to six months of your family expenses saved, to only take out 50% of your net, because then you have more than enough for taxes, you’re building up that savings. And until you get to, you know that 10 or $20,000, or whatever your three to six months is, you really are kind of on a razor’s edge. Anything can happen that’s gonna kind of push you over the edge with your business. And so that’s so smart that you did that and I’m really glad that you did it especially with this whole pandemic thing going on. Well, let’s bounce over to Jenny and hear how Jenny you worked through your goals and what they were and how you worked through them. [JENNY]:
So, I was in the process, like I said earlier, launching a coaching business as well as trying to also grow my therapy practice. I’m a grief therapist, in Nashville, and my life coaching business is working with single women who have probably been single longer than they expected to, or, you know, try to make peace with, you know, doing life alone when they really thought they might be doing it with someone and various stories like that. So, one of my goals was to launch the coaching practice, and I did get that done, it’s completely online. And then another goal was, I wanted to take my therapy practice to strictly online, as well. And so, I started that and got going and I realized I don’t enjoy it as much as face to face. That’s when I had reached back out to you and said, okay, can I change a goal? And I asked if I could change it to launching a podcast. And so, what I’ve done is, pre-pandemic, was back face to face with my therapy clients. And then I launched a podcast called “Real Talk About the Single Life” for my coaching business. And I’ve got about seven episodes out now. That’s been a growing experience as well. And for my therapy practice, I also redid my entire website, and really honed it in on the grief work that I want to do. And so that’s gone well, and then. [JOE]:
And I want to pause you there. So, what did you evaluate on your website? And how did you change it? How did you better identify your ideal client? Like, what were some of those steps that you took to update your website? [JENNY]:
So, Laura Long’s breakout group at your Killin’ It Camp, was what really helped me in that process. And so, I kind of created the avatar, if you will, of my ideal client, and the grief process. And so, from that I wrote pages within the site based on that avatar, I have included grief for like loss of a loved one, so I wrote an avatar for that. And then grief, loss of a dream, and then loss of a job, things like that. So, I had multiple, if you will, like sub avatars, I guess you could say, to help me write those, but that was all based on her workshop there. And then I also had purchased her online class that she was offering there to do post the conference. [JOE]:
Awesome. And so, when you were building out your coaching business, in addition to this, how did you differentiate kind of between the two because I think a lot of people, they’ll say, oh, I just want to have coaching be a part of my counseling business. And then it gets kind of messy. How did you separate those out in regards to how you attracted clients? [JENNY]:
So, the way I kept it clean was to focus on two different groups of people, two different processes. So, my therapy is around grief work, and emotionally processing and healing that wound, and helping people learn how to integrate their grief into their life and live anew. And then my coaching business is about making peace with what is, and it’s more future focused, and is more empowerment based and things like that and it has a whole different group of people that I’m focused on. [JOE]:
And do you have a separate website for the singles one? From your counseling practice? [JENNY]:
Yes, my counseling practice is jennyemerson.com, and then my coaching, singles coaching business is realtalkaboutsinglelife.com. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s so important to have two different websites because you think about the average counseling client that’s looking for grief help if they’re on a coaching, like business site, they’re gonna be like, wait, what? And then the coaching people, they’re gonna be like, I don’t have grief. And so, it’s a rare website or person that can combine the two of those. And so even with a podcast, usually you want to have that be on a separate website as well. So, awesome. And so, were there other goals beyond those ones? [JENNY]:
Yes, I became a fan girl of Amy Parks at Killin’ It Camp. [JOE]:
Oh, Amy’s awesome. I love all the shout outs to all these people that I’ve worked with for years that have been kind of growing their brand and their influence and yeah, so you’re a fangirl of Amy Parks. I am a fanboy of Amy Parks. [JENNY]:
So, I came away with a goal to have four speaking engagements, with a minimum of 30 people in the audience, and so when I share that with you that night that last night, at the happy hour, you were like, you know, first of all, you said firstly, do this by February 1, and that’s when you kind of get a little sick there. Panic. Okay. But then you also said, you know, you can be on podcast interviews, that counts and stuff like that. So, I was like, oh, this is doable. Well, so to reach my goal, I got interviewed on a podcast. And then I also got interviewed by another coach on her Facebook Live, she has a huge following and does a big interview once a week, and so I was on that. And then my lovely friends, Dawn and Theresa, both hosted an event for me each, and I traveled to Charlotte and I traveled to Austin and did speaking events there. [JOE]:
Oh, that’s so awesome. And what’s the impact of doing those speaking events been, like can you trace any either business or influence or impact back to any of those events? [JENNY]:
Um, these first events mainly were a huge learning curve for me. I’ve increased you know, followings on Facebook, and planting the seeds for my podcasts, so I don’t have a lot of data like tracking a lot of things yet. But for me, it was just mainly learning how to do all this, learning, you know, if I’m going to travel and speak, how to pack better, how to plan better, how to market better in the city, where I’m going, you know, things like that. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, I think even just getting over, and I’m not saying that you had the fear, but for a lot of people, just the fear of being on Facebook Live, the fear of being a podcast, that you just become a better storyteller, you become better at conversation. It’s a different medium when you’re, you know, I’m standing in my home office staring at a wall, you know, like, how do I still have an engaging conversation realize there’s three other people I’m talking to even though I’m totally alone in northern Michigan. There’s a mindset switch there where you have to be able to jump into that conversation differently than maybe you would if you were just typing an email. So, no, that’s awesome. Well, I want to kind of bring back Dawn and Theresa. Oh, wait, were there any other ones that we had to hit on there, Jenny? [JENNY]:
No, those were my goals. [JOE]:
Awesome. Cool. So, I want to bring Dawn and Theresa back in and kind of the last question I’d love to have each of you answer is by going through this experiment of so that was like October, November, December, January, so three months and a handful of weeks. So, getting a year’s worth of goals done in a quarter of a year. What does that do for your future goal planning? How is this going to affect your next year? What does it do for you as a professional? Why don’t we start with Theresa, for you, what has this experiment done for you, as you kind of reflect moving forward? [THERESA]:
I think just realizing that whatever I choose to do, I can do. Which is most, you know, exciting and scary all at the same time. And after I met the goals that I set for myself, I kind of said like, okay, now what? And so, I spent some time really digging deep of like, what does my long term look like and maybe I should like work towards that. And I ended up joining Alison Pidgeon’s “Start a Group Practice Mastermind.” [JOE]:
Hmm, awesome. Yeah, so many people, I had a friend that joined that. And she, within six months of being in it, had eight clinicians. She went from being a solo practitioner to having eight clinicians. It’s just insane to see how fast people move when they join that. Yeah, I think one thing that I noticed is that as you continue to level up, the playbook gets less and less clear. You know, it’s like, you know, when you leave, you know, grad school, you know, get a job at maybe a nonprofit or CMH. And then you get to private practice. And that’s a little less clear, because it’s your own business, and then a group practice and then if you launch a podcast or coaching, and then from there, it’s like, well, what’s the playbook now? And that’s scary, but it also then comes back to like, what do I actually want out of life? You know, and Theresa seems like you’re kind of touching on that of, alright, like, I can do what I want to do here. [THERESA]:
Yeah, yep. Exactly. [JOE]:
Awesome. Well, Jenny, what about you? How does this frame out your future and how you look at goal setting? [JENNY]:
It was a huge wake-up call that I had been playing small in a lot of ways in my life. And so, interesting, you know, that we had that experience, we met those goals by January 31. And within, you know, five, six weeks, we’re starting quarantine and pandemic and so, there in this time, I’m like, okay, what else can I get done? And what else can I make happen? And so, it’s just really helped me have some more drive and hold myself more accountable. And then also look at who do I need to have in my life as accountability partners, and people that helped me see beyond what I’ve been seeing in the past. So, it’s really been a huge mindset kind of shift for me. You know, I came away thinking, Okay, I’ll never tell Joe my goals again and then a part of me wants to tell Joe my goals every time and then he’ll push me. [JOE]:
That’s awesome. Oh, and Dawn, what about you? How does this maybe change how you look at future goals or what you’re going after? [DAWN]:
Well, I definitely feel like any goal that I set I can accomplish and my goals should be big enough to make me nervous. I feel like if they don’t make me nervous a little bit, then maybe they’re not big enough. And, you know, I had, I think I sent Whitney or Alison an email, I came back, I took the enneagram test, found I was a three. [JOE]:
Me too. Do you know what your wing is, are you a three two or a three four? [DAWN]:
I don’t know. I was a three and a six. But, so I, you know, I had to battle a lot of my fear of failure and this fear of like what other people think. And so over, recognizing that for what it is and pushing through and kind of like, I’ve named my ego and I’m like, here we go, you’re coming with me, kicking and screaming, and it’s okay, but we’re going to do this. And so just recognizing I’m a business owner, barriers are not failures, they’re just something that I can easily target and like set a goal and overcome. And that’s just being a business owner. And it’s exciting. I feel like I can accomplish pretty much anything I put my mind to. [JOE]:
That’s so awesome. Well, I want to talk a little bit about Killin’ It Camp, since we’ve been chatting about that. The dates for that are October 4th through 7th, they’re going to be, that’s going to be in Estes Park, Colorado. If you are worried about the pandemic and all of that, it’s going to be fully refundable if you end up not being able to come because of the pandemic. We’re working with the YMCA of the Rockies to make sure that everything will be refundable from their side. In fact, Eventbrite won’t even pay us till five days after the event and so we’re putting out. It’s a huge risk to us but we’re still planning to put on the event. And if not, we’re going to pivot to something digital and online because we know that just because we can’t physically go to Killin’ It Camp, that need is still there to learn how to kill it. And so, we’ll be doing something online, an online version of Killin’ It Camp if we don’t end up doing it in person. So those Tickets are on sale right now over at killinitcamp.com. We have amazing speakers. Love that you referenced so many of these speakers that I love, you know, you referenced Amy Parks and Gordon Brewer, Jessica Tappana, Alison Pidgeon, Whitney Owens, Laura Long, and there was you know, tons more. This year we’ve taken the feedback of the Killin’ It Campers, the founders from last year, where they said that they really wanted more tracks than we had this previous year. And so, we’re actually going to be doing three different tracks. We’re doing one that’s called Pillars of Practice, and these are going to be fast paced half hour sessions, all about different pillars of practice that apply whether you’re brand new or whether you’re scaling. We’re having another track that is all for scaling a practice. So, group practice, getting to that next level. And then we’re having a third track all on new income sources. So, podcasts coaching, e-courses, membership communities, those sorts of things. And so, it’s gonna be an awesome dynamic conference. Therapy Notes and Brighter Vision or sponsors. We’ve got some other sponsors that are planning to come on as well. Dawn, Jenny, Theresa, one question I always ask people at the end of the podcast is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? And why don’t we start with Dawn? [DAWN]:
If every practitioner was listening, I would want them to know that if you have a goal and you have a desire to open a practice, whether it’s solo or group, that you can achieve it. And if you reach out and you find the supports, and like-minded people and help, that, you know, you would have a community of people that could help you through that who have been through that and that’s pretty much what I’ve relied on is speaking to people who have been there and done that and it’s been great, you can do it. [JOE]:
Awesome. And Jenny, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know [JENNY]:
That old adage, and I’m probably gonna butcher the wording on this but, it’s if you believe you can, you can and if you believe you can’t, you can’t. [JOE]:
And either way, you’re right. [JENNY]:
I’ve come to find out that’s really true. [JOE]:
Such good advice. And Theresa, what about you? [THERESA]:
That you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That whatever you’re dreaming, there’s probably someone who’s done it before you and find them and learn from them because they’ve made mistakes along the way, and they’ve learned from them, which means you don’t have to make all the same mistakes they did. [JOE]:
Such good advice. We’re gonna have links to Dawn, Jenny, and Theresa’s information in the show notes as well. We’ll be linking to all of those consultants that they referenced in the show, links to Killin’ It Camp, all of that. We can’t wait to see you at Killin’ It Camp. We have over 40 speakers this year. It is going to be amazing. We hope it’s in person. We hope that we can do goat yoga, but maybe we will have to send a goat in the mail to everyone if we want to do that, that would be a really unique thing to figure out how to do goat yoga online. So, awesome. So, if you want to join us, you can head on over to killinitcamp.com and thank you so much for letting us into your ears and into your brain today. Have a great day everybody and thank you for being on the show. [Theresa, Dawn & Jenny]:
Thank you. [JOE]:
I absolutely loved this interview. It just wasn’t even long enough, even though it was one of our longer episodes, but Theresa, Dawn and Jenny, way to kill it from Killin’ It Camp and way to keep it up. And it was just so inspiring to hear your goals, how you were helped through that process by our speakers. It was so great to hear all the people that I just adore that helped you. I love that Killin’ It Camp wasn’t Joe’s thing, that it was this community of speakers that they were approachable, they were connected, all these things. It was so awesome. So, if you want to join us at Killin’ It Camp 2020. head on over to killinitcamp.com. We are giving full refunds if Coronavirus cancels or we’re going to pivot to an online conference which you’ll have the option to do or get refunded your money. And so just make sure that you sign up at killinitcamp.com, head on over there. Also, we want to think Brighter Vision. Brighter Vision has been an amazing sponsor, and they have some serious services right now over at brightervision.com/telehealth. They have all sorts of free things that will help you transition to telehealth with your website, so make sure you go over to brightervision.com/telehealth.
Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome day. 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 this 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.