Why should you always move, even if it is sideways instead of straight ahead? What does it mean to take imperfect action? What are some top tips for marketing a new group practice?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Laura Long about her group practice and going beyond the therapy room.
Meet Laura Long
Laura Long is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based out of Greenville, South Carolina, and the founder of YourBadAssTherapyPractice.com, where she helps ambitious, driven, Type-A therapists push through their fears and unleash their inner badass.
Laura offers free practice-building tools (and hilariously obscene emails) through her mailing list, and her signature 8-week online course has successfully graduated over 360 therapists. She also runs small mastermind groups as well as a private online community reserved for her students.
Laura is best known for her off-the-cuff coaching style that includes colorful language, a witty sense of humor, and an uncanny ability to keep it real. Her unique approach to marketing and customer service challenges the status quo and helps therapists to become better business owners.
Take her FREE, 4-part video e-course and learn how to turn your Psychology Today profile into a client-generating powerhouse!
Your Badass Onboarding System is available for $99- use coupon code youareabadass
In This Podcast
- Taking imperfect action
- Laura Long’s marketing tips
- Get admin support
Taking imperfect action
Success hardly ever feels like success when you are in it, and doing the work and putting the long hours in. You often only get to experience success at the end of all the hard work.
So, when you are grinding late at night, know that even though it may feel futile, you are building the foundation for your success to sit upon.
As I go through my story, I don’t want it to sound like a linear journey like, “well, this worked out well and I just kept going, and I always knew where the next step was” [because] most of the time I had no clue! I just did it anyway, I call it taking imperfect action: just take the next best step based on the information that you already have. (Laura Long)
Imperfect action means always moving forward with the next best step that is in front of you. If this choice you make does not work out well, then you can pivot and try something new. If it does work out well, then you can celebrate! But keep moving forward.
Do not let setbacks totally stop you from doing what you feel drawn to. Always take action, even if imperfect, because imperfect is better than none at all.
The transition from being a solo practitioner to starting a group practice … I think that there is a really big mindset shift that is required for that shift. (Laura Long)
- There is a mindset shift that you need to make from marketing yourself as the solo practitioner to marketing the group practice as something other than you.
- Set the ego aside: when you are starting a group practice there might be a boost in your ego because you are the creator of this new entity, however, when it comes to marketing, you have to put that ego aside because your face is not the face of the practice.
Your group practice is its own entity outside of you that you are merely helping to bring to fruition.
- Rethink your website: make it more client-focused. You do not need to market your practice as “your” group practice. Instead, highlight the therapists that are a part of your group practice.
Get admin support
Once you have your group practice running and things are moving fast, do not delay hiring admin support to help you grow your business.
You are the CEO of the group practice, and it is impossible and not sustainable to run the business as the CEO, possibly still see clients in session and answer the phone.
It is important for you to know when you hire out help because it does not mean that you are incapable, it means that you know that you – and the business – is stronger and more resilient with a team that supports it.
Books mentioned in this episode:
- What’s Next? Series: An interview with Katie Read | GP 77
- Group Practice Launch
- Group Practice Boss
- Email Alison: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PoP Group Practice Owners Facebook Group
- Free resources to help you start, grow, and scale
- Work with us
- Consult With Alison
Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
Thanks For Listening!
Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!
Hi, welcome to the podcast. I am Alison Pidgeon, your host. We’re doing a series right now called What’s Next? and this was inspired by group practice owners who may be in a position to start a new business, maybe they’ve scaled up their practice, maybe they’re just tired of doing clinical work and they want to try something else. So I have interviewed several people who have stepped away from the therapy room and started other businesses or now help other therapists do the same thing. And today I am interviewing Laura Long. She’s a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based out of Greenville, South Carolina.
She started a business consulting company for therapists called Your Badass Therapy Practice, where she helps ambitious-driven type A therapists push through their fears and unleash their inner bad-ass. So Laura is definitely a very kind of off the cuff coaching style, that includes colorful language, obviously, hence the name of her business. She has a very funny sense of humor and she has an uncanny ability to keep it real. So if you’re looking for somebody who will tell you like it is, Laura is definitely one of those people. She definitely kept me laughing all through the interview. And I did ask her quite a bit about how she started the business coaching practice and I hope you find it valuable. Hi, Laura, welcome to the podcast.
[LAURA LONG] Hi Alison, thank you so much for having me.
[ALISON] I’m so glad that we took the time to chat today and I’m already laughing and we haven’t barely started recording yet. So for anybody who isn’t familiar with you, do you want to give us a quick introduction?
[LAURA] Sure. I am Laura Long, the infamous Laura Long from yourbadasstherapypractice.com. I help people generally in the beginning stages of building their practices and I’ve been doing that since 2016. I’ve got various e-courses, group coaching programs and I am known to sip wine while giving workshop presentation.
[ALISON] Excellent. And I know you also do something where you wear your pajamas or a robe?
[LAURA] Oh yes. You know about that? It’s called wine live. So anyone who is in my eight week signature program, it’s called Your Bad-ass Therapy Practice, every Thursday night, we hop on Facebook Live or I hop on Facebook Live. It’s pretty entertaining. It’s kind of, it has this like monkey dance vibe to it. I wear this robe, I drink something red wine, gin is another favorite of mine and we basically just cut up. We’ll talk about that week’s module, but it’s really meant to be more entertaining than informative. And sometimes I’ll hop on the piano.
[LAURA] Yes. It’s like a little Laura talk show. Sometimes I’ll have special guests on, but they’re all required to have a beverage of their choosing. It doesn’t have to be alcoholic. When it is though, it’s really fun because I usually make them or encourage them to have a little bit too much so those interviews can be really saucy.
[ALISON] Nice. I did want to ask you about how you started your coaching business, because you obviously are a clinician and you still have your own private practice.
[LAURA] I do.
[ALISON] You still see some clients and at some point you decided to make the move to coaching. So I’m just curious, like, what was that like for you? I know there’s probably a fair amount of people who have thought about, oh, maybe I’ll start another business and —
[LAURA] Serial entrepreneurs.
[ALISON] Yes. So what was that like for you and what was easy about it? What was hard about it?
[LAURA] Yes. What was that process? So I do think that there’s a lot of people out there who, you know we like a challenge, so we may start off with a solo practice and that goes really well, so then we decide to add clinicians, we start a group practice that goes really well and at some point after a couple of years of doing that, I’m sure there’s a lot of group practice owners who are like, “Okay, what now? What’s the next thing?” We like challenges. So yes, I was in private practice for maybe three years. And what happened was, it was very organic. I just started naturally helping people who are local to me. They would call me, or we would grab coffee and they would say, “You know what? I want to start my private practice. What do I do?” And at the time there were people doing it nationally, of course, like Joe was doing it, Alison was doing it, but there was no one local to me. And every state is slightly different too. So I was just thinking, okay, I want to help these people because South Carolina, where I live it can be a little bit tricky and you don’t really know, can I have a private practice as an associate or not?
So there’s more state specific regulations that I obviously knew about. So I helped maybe like a handful of people over a year long period. And I was like I could probably do this on a larger scale. I would just have to know a little bit more about each state specific regulations, which I guess I just figured out along the way, I don’t know every single state’s regulations obviously, but so at the same time, there was a parallel process happening because I had this like massive student loan debt that I wanted to pay off and my husband and I had just had, well, let’s be clear, I had a child. He had nothing to do with it other than how it started. But I just had a child. I will take full credit for the birthing, of that small human but we had our daughter.
So it’s like this weird process of being in private practice that’s going well, helping other therapists who want to start their own private practices local to me, having this child and having student loan debt and trying to figure out like how to get myself out from underneath that debt and support my daughter and keep my private practice without adding more client hours because I was already seeing a full caseload. So yes, so it kind of was this perfect storm, if you will. At the same time, I also had some really significant postpartum insomnia. I’ve talked about it on other podcasts before, but I was often awake sometime between 11 and four. Most of the time, it was always between 11 and four. And so I’d go to sleep at nine o’clock, wake up at 11 and then just be awake. So I had time.
I was miserable, don’t get me wrong, but I just had this time where my daughter was sometimes awake, sometimes not and so even during the day, I’m seeing clients I didn’t have much time, but I also just so happened to have this like uninterrupted four to six hours most nights. So I used that time to start this online coaching business, as miserable as I was at the time. It also gave me life because it was fun. It was something that I got to do that was just mine. So I would do market research, I would figure out what kind of offerings I could put together that people would really like or need. So I probably came up with the name, Your Badass Therapy Practice at three in the morning when I was just exhausted and needed a name. And I was like, well, how do I want their best to feel? I want them to feel like freaking bad ass. Okay, Your Badass Therapy Practice, there we go. And the name stuck.
[ALISON] Yes. That’s great.
[LAURA] So anyway, that was like kind of, I wanted to give that background because it wasn’t as simple as here’s a good idea. Let’s run with it. You also have to think about all of the other things that were going on in my life at the time and the context around it. So there was a sense of urgency with having a newborn, having the student loan debt that I wanted to pay off as quickly as possible. So that was sort of like the financial sense of urgency and then also just being awake all the time and wanting something fun to do. And I love private practice, I love therapy. So it was just a natural fit.
[ALISON] Yes, that’s amazing. I mean, I feel like that ends up being, not those exact details, but like so many people started businesses out of like bad situations, you know, having like a major life transition, like having a child and then that really motivates you like I got to, I can’t work 60 hours a week anymore. I got to do something different. Because that’s what happened to me too. I was working in community mental health and just got super burned out and just one day it just hit me like a ton of bricks like I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to do something else. So I gave them six weeks notice and I left and started my practice and never looked back.
[ALISON] Yes. I love that story. And I think when people, when they start to get the bug in their ear about, or the glimmer in their eye of wanting to do a coaching business or sell online courses or do anything online, every sponsored ad on their newsfeed is saying how great it is, how easy it is. You can make money while you sleep, run a six-figure launch. And all of those things are true. I’ve experienced those things, which is awesome and I also always want to be as honest about the experience because I don’t want it to seem like this idealistic, like this romanticized view of having an online coaching business and getting started as the hardest part. So in my mind, I’ve read somewhere that in order to become an expert on anything, you need to practice it for 10,000 hours. Have you heard that before?
[ALISON] Yes, which is like what? 10 years, right?
[LAURA] Yes. So in my mind, I think similarly to starting an online coaching business where you’re doing e-courses, you’re running group coaching programs, you’re doing one-on-one consulting, let’s say that in order to start that business and have it up and running, you need to dedicate 10,000 hours to it. Well, if you are running a successful group practice with 20 clinicians and you have a full caseload, how are you going to find those 10,000 hours? It might take you a very long time to accumulate that many hours of hard work. Whereas in my case, when people look at my timeline and they say, “Wow, you started in 2016 and by 2017 you had your course up and running, you had like, people knew about you that quickly. What did you do?” And it’s time. It’s that I had 10,000 hours, I’m using air quotes here, how many hours it takes you to start that coaching business? I had it because I wasn’t sleeping. It’s not because I had some magical like, oh, overnight success. There’s no such thing as overnight success. I just couldn’t sleep and I had the time. So that’s why I usually bring it back to that part of the story, too, that I didn’t have this like secret that other people don’t have. I just had time and I did the thing and I didn’t stop.
[ALISON] No, I’m really glad that you brought that up because I feel like that’s such an important thing to remind people, especially when they’re just thinking about getting started. And I am the same way. Like we coach people through starting a group practice and I will tell them, “I’m not going to sugar coat this for you. The first few years are going to be really hard and you’re going to have to put a lot of work in the front end, obviously to get it to the point where I am now, which is where I’m doing very little work and making the most money I’ve ever made.” Obviously that’s a success story, but that’s six years in the making. So yes, I think that’s, that’s a really important thing to keep in mind, is that it’s definitely playing the long game as they say.
[LAURA] And while at sometime it, or sometimes it doesn’t require a completely different set of skills. You know, I’m able to use a lot of what I do in the therapy room, a lot of what I’ve learned just through like the school of hard knocks. It’s also a separate business. So anyone who wants to start a coaching business or start anything online, even if it’s related to what they do for their full-time work, there’s going to be nuances to it. And there’s a learning curve.
[ALISON] Yes, absolutely. It is very different. Even, you know, I obviously don’t own Practice of the Practice. I work for Joe, but just seeing kind of behind-the-scenes of how he runs his business is very different to run a practice for sure.
[LAURA] Yes, yes, yes. Let’s see. So you would ask me some questions about the process of setting it up or like putting together my first offerings and challenges, things like that?
[LAURA] So it’s so funny because when, and I think this is true for a lot of people, like when you look back and you start to tell the story or paint the picture of how you got from here to there, it almost always sounds like this very linear process. Like, well, yes, this happened and then that led to this and here I am. I’m successful now. It almost never feels that way when you’re in it. It feels like there’s this fork in the road, which we’re like, which direction do I take? There’s this pivot? Oh no, that failed. Let me change it up. So as I go through my story, I don’t want it to sound like this linear journey of like, well, this worked out well and I just kept going and I always knew where the next step was. Most of the time I had no clue, I just did it anyway. I call it taking imperfect action. You just take the very next best step based on the information that you have. If it works awesome, you can feel a genius. If it doesn’t work, you just pivot. But the purpose though, or the important thing is that you just keep going, even when you screw up or even when you experience a failure.
So the very first thing that I did was I put together, what’s now my signature course, Your Badass Therapy Practice. It was a 60-day challenge and at the time it was actually a free offering. It was my very first thing. No one knew who I was. I didn’t know awesome people like you, I wasn’t on any podcast, so to get my name out there, I just put the course together as a 60-day challenge, instead of like a typical free opt-in, might be like a five day; like let’s do this and then there’s the thing you sell after. I didn’t know to do that. So I just put my best stuff together, sold it for free as a 60-day challenge, and I had about 150 therapists join. We did that January of 2017. So of the 150, I would say probably 30 to 40 of them took it seriously and actually did it and I got a ton of really great feedback.
At the end of the 60 days or the eight weeks, a smaller group of them came to me and said, so what’s next? And I was like, shit, well, I didn’t think about that. I don’t know. This was my thing. I don’t know what to offer you. So based on their feedback, they said, well, why don’t we just do a mastermind group together? I think there were six or seven of them and we did, I think it was like a 12-week or three-month mastermind and they just picked what they wanted to work on for that period of time. And we met every single week and I can’t remember what I charged, but I know it was a very, very little. I mean, it might’ve been like $197 or something for a 12-week mastermind. Yes, it was bananas, but it was really fun and I learned so much. It was like trial by fire.
After that I was like, okay, I want to do that eight week course again, but this time I want to charge for it. So by then I had gotten to know other coaches. I had been on a few podcasts, I had started my blog, so I was starting to get a little bit more traffic. So when I actually launched the course for the first time paid, I can’t remember exactly how many people joined, but it was, for me, it was huge. I think it was like maybe 18 or 20 people. I didn’t charge very much but every single time I would run this course, I would add to it, most of the time based on feedback I was getting from the students. So like, we want to hear more about this, or we want to learn more about this other thing, or we want to have more Q&A interviews. So the course did start to grow pretty exponentially. It became this like foundation 101 course that I think everyone needs to have in grad school. So at this point now we’ve run it 11 times. I’m sorry, we’re on our 11th cohort. We’re about to enroll our 11th cohort since 2017.
[ALISON] Wow. That’s awesome.
[LAURA] Yes. So that’s been sort of like the primary product, I guess, that I’ve had. And I have some other like smaller courses that I’ve put together. I started a YouTube channel a couple of years ago and then my camera man slash editor, extraordinary, his wife had a child, so he couldn’t work for me anymore. And I was like, “Well, crap, I’m not going to edit my own videos.” So I haven’t really posted anything on YouTube in awhile, but I’m trying to think of all the other things that we’ve had going on. We still run masterminds. We tend to just run them with students who’ve done the flagship program before and I have a coach who works for me, her name is Ann Marie, and she is our official mindset mentor. She provides a lot of help for students in the signature course. That’s kind of like the quick quickest version.
[ALISON] Sure, sure. So like looking back on it now, like, do you wish you would have charged with that very first cohort to go through the course? Like, do you think that was like an imposter syndrome that like —
[LAURA] Yes, it was imposter syndrome. It was my way of sort of validating whether people are even going to give a crap about this, although you certainly need to validate by having people open their wallets. So since then I have done two different masterminds where I’ve helped people create their online businesses and with every single one of them, I tell them that if you’re going to put together a program you’re going to charge for it. So I’ve learned from that. At the same time when I look back on it, I don’t think I would have done anything differently because how I did it ultimately got me here. So yes, when I’m coaching or consulting with other people who want to do the same thing, I’m a hard about it and I’m like, you need to charge. You spent a lot of time and effort putting this program together. Do you have an email list of people who want this? You’ve done the work you’ve tested it, you validated the idea, you better charge for it. But also, I don’t know if I would have charged if I did it all again. I just learned so much.
[ALISON] Yes. And I think we always have to, I mean, whether you charge or not, that first group is always just like your beta test.
[LAURA] Yes. We call them the OG bad-asses.
[ALISON] That’s awesome. I wanted to mention that, I recall, and I don’t remember how long ago this was, but you had put up a post on social media about how you had paid off your student loan debt from the money you made from the consulting business, right?
[LAURA] I did.
[ALISON] And I just felt like that was such a cool thing to share because obviously therapists have such big hangups about making money and I just really took notice of that. Obviously it’s sticking in my mind because it’s probably been what, like a couple of years now?
[LAURA] Yes. So October of 2018 is when I paid them all off. So my first paid offering was March of 2017 and within 18 months I paid off $80,000, all with money I got from Your Badass Therapy Practice.
[ALISON] Yes. And I don’t want to put words in your mouth, I’m just curious, what was that like for you? What did that do for you?
[LAURA] Oh my gosh, it was like the noose around my neck was chopped off. I finally felt like everything that I did for the consulting business could actually be for fun. I felt much more experimental because there actually was nothing to lose anymore. It was like let’s try this new thing or let’s put together this new thing. Like, it doesn’t matter because if I make money, awesome, and if I don’t, they’ll learn from it. So I think my focus absolutely shifted starting in October of 2018, a way from how is this launch going to do to how can I help more people, because that’s ultimately what I want to do.
So I think, there’s a book called The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek and I had a mentor who had recommended that book to me about a year ago. I was looking back going, that’s what happened. So from 2016, when I started Your Badass Therapy Practice to the time I paid off my student loans, I had a very finite mindset. I was just focused on paying off the loans. And of course I’m helping therapists along the way and if I don’t help them, I don’t get paid, but I don’t think that was my primary focus. It was paying off the debt. And once I did, once that was no longer a thing in my life my focus got to be, I’m just helping people. Like making money, obviously we need to make money to survive and to live amazing lives. That just wasn’t my number one anymore and that made me feel free.
[ALISON] Wow. That’s cool. I think I’m glad that you shared that story because I see therapists sometimes get in that like victim mindset of, “Oh, I have all these student loans and I’m never going to be able to pay them off,” and, “Why isn’t the government helping us pay off our loans?” And I just love it, but like, you were just like, ‘Nope, I’m not going to earn this money,” and in 18 months, I mean, that’s incredible. So that’s just the power of like you decided to get it done and you did it. It’s amazing.
[LAURA] Yes. I had look into a few years back about the loan repayment programs that are available and yes, I don’t know exactly, it wasn’t like a switch moment. It wasn’t just like this, oh, epiphany I can do it myself. But I think just after you run a bunch of numbers and think, okay, how long do I have to be a slave to this agency to then hopefully get my loans forgiven versus how can I bust my tail? I’m not a huge fan now of hustle culture. It’s hard to say that word with my Invisalign and by the way, hustle culture. So I don’t like to encourage that. However, that is how I got there. I hustled, I busted it out and I sacrificed a lot. So again, I don’t want to sugarcoat it. I don’t want it to sound like, “Oh yes, I threw this program together and within 18 months I paid off my student loans.” That’s like the most simplistic version of it.
I spent many hours every single day. I was probably on my phone a lot more than I was watching my daughter crawl around the floor. But yes, I did it. I followed Dave Ramsey at the time. So he talks about the debt snowball. He’s kind of a hard-ass. You either like or hate that about the man, but when people would call into a show and I would listen, that helped motivate me too, just seeing how people were so quickly paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. And I was like, okay, this couple paid off a quarter million dollars of debt in three years. I can pass 80 grand in a year and a half. I can do this. So that was, it’s like I had support, but it was indirect because it was through his podcast that I would listen to.
[ALISON] That’s awesome. Switching gears a little bit, one of the things that you do really well as a business consultant for private practice owners is teaching them about different marketing strategies. I know that you created a course about how to sort of write your Psychology Today profile in an optimal way that I often refer people to because —
[LAURA] Oh, I’m so glad.
[ALISON] Yes, because it’s so good. Yes, people will ask me like, “How do I write my psychology? I’m like Lauren Long already did it. Here’s her course.”
[LAURA] And it’s free. Just go.
[ALISON] Yes. So while we’re talking about it, if people want to find it, how do they find it?
[LAURA] Yourbadasstherapypractice.com. It is right there on the homepage. Enroll today, click the button, there you go.
[ALISON] Yes. So I know that you don’t specifically work with a ton of group practice owners, but you’ve probably worked with enough at this point that you’ve definitely given them some marketing tips. So do you have any to share with us?
[LAURA] Yes. And a lot of what I do with solo practitioners, they become successful and therefore, then they find you guys and want to start a group. So it’s like I take them when they’re newbies, I polish them up, they get successful, they use all the marketing strategies we talk about and then they’re like, “kay, I’m ready to start a group practice.” So a lot of what I talk about, I think still translates, but there’s like this intimidation factor of, well, I don’t actually have a group practice. How can I help people with group practices? And then I’m like, “Wait a minute. It’s all the same.” Like fundamentally marketing a group practice is very similar to marketing a solo practice. So that’s not so completely different. Now the nuts and bolts of setting it up are different but the marketing component is still very much the same. So one thing is that I think when, so the transition from being a solo practitioner to starting a group practice, whether you’re just, you bring on one associate, it’s an independent contractor W2, it doesn’t matter, whether you’re doing that or you are just starting this group of five, six clinicians, I think that there is a really big mindset shift that’s required for that.
Because when you’re a solo practitioner, it’s all on you. You are the brand of your business. So when you transition into a group practice and when you’re starting to build that, I think on one hand, there’s a little bit of like an ego boost that is experienced where it’s like, wow, I’m building the thing. Like this is my group that I’m starting. How cool is that, that these people are working for me? That’s valid. Kudos to any group practice owner at any stage because it takes so much work. And yet from a marketing standpoint, I think it’s really important to take that ego and set it aside because you’re no longer the face or the brand from a marketing perspective. It now has to be about this group, this community that you are creating.
Something that I was telling you about, I think over email, Alison, is that I see in a lot of Facebook groups for group practice owners, they feel very frustrated at times because they they’ve worked so hard to build this group and then when prospective clients reach out, they just want to see the group practice owner. And the group practice owner is like I can’t keep seeing 25 clients a week and run this group, but how do I convert prospective clients to see these associates who I think are really cool, who I think are amazing, but clients don’t want to see them because they perceive me as being like the best because I’m the owner. So I do think that there’s a mindset shift that needs to happen because you cannot market your group practice as your group practice anymore. It’s not about you.
‘m thinking as a prospect of client, myself, if I were to go to a group practices website, and I see I go to that button where it’s like our clinicians and the group practice owner is like front and center. The first clinician on that page, like Sarah Jones, owner, founder, CEO, it’s like, why wouldn’t I want to see Sarah Jones? So everyone’s calling Sarah Jones and Sarah Jones is like, I can’t take on any more people. And I’m like, well, I don’t want to see your people. I want to see you because you are like, you’re the boss bitch. So one thing from a marketing perspective that I would tell group practice owners is rethink your website, make it more client-focused, don’t, don’t think so much about you being like, put your ego aside basically.
You don’t need to market your practice as this is my group practice. I’m the boss here. Instead highlight the therapists that you’ve worked so hard to bring into your group practice. So make them front and center. And this can look like on your clinicians page, putting yourself dead last. You don’t need to be the first clinician on that page. It could also look like on your service pages, linking to the therapist’s bio page who works with that particular population or treats that specific issue to make it easier for a prospective client to self select someone other than you.
[ALISON] You know what? I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, but I’m amazed at like the amount of websites I’ve seen where they you go to the staff page and the only person on there is the owner and their picture. And they don’t put up the pictures and the bio’s of the rest of the staff, or they just have the staff like listed by name and don’t bother putting up their pictures. It just seems like, oh, this is your show and like, you can’t show anybody else.
[LAURA] This is my show. These are my monkeys. You don’t want to see my monkeys. Why not? Or the group practice owner’s headshot is this like beautiful professional looking headshot and the people working under them it’s like these selfies taken in a bar.
[ALISON] Yes, or like a bad DNB photo. I’ve seen that.
[LAURA] The mugshot. They’re just standing in front of a brick wall.
[LAURA] So yes, definitely take the time if you’re a group practice owner to highlight, really emphasize how wonderful these therapists are that work under you and systematically remove yourself from the spotlight. And that will help you convert clients who reach out to you because they won’t see you as, they won’t perceive you as the best. They’ll see, oh, this therapist might be best for me because they treat X, Y, and Z and this is what I’m dealing with, as opposed to just going straight to the group practice owner, who they automatically perceive as being the best.
[ALISON] Right. I actually took it one step further. I changed my bio to basically talk about me as like the owner of the practice and the story of how I started. It said nothing about who I work with, I see this type of client or whatever. I left all of that out. And when I did that, I stopped getting a lot of calls specifically asking for me.
[LAURA] That’s a wonderful idea because it became about your vision and less about who you serve from a clinical standpoint.
[LAURA] There’s another, something else that I wanted to touch on really quick is that, and I know that there’s a process here, so when you are transitioning from solo to group and you’re, you’ve hired your first one or two or three clinicians, I totally get that there are things you need to do that you just have to cut some corners financially along the way until you start getting enough clients in, your bottom line starts going up enough. So I know that it’s not as simple and easy as I’m about to make it sound, as basically what I want to say. However, in order for your group practice to be successful, long-term you do not need to be a prospect of clients, first point of contact. You can not serve as the person answering the phone, responding to every email, you are not the intake coordinator. I know at first it might feel like you have to serve that role, or maybe you literally have to serve that role. I just want you to really think of that as a very short time bandaid solution or short-term bandaid solution. Did you say amen?
[LAURA] Yes. You can not maintain your sanity if you’re also manning the phone. So as soon as possible, I recommend getting a VA, getting some sort of admin support to handle consults, to handle the email, phone calls, whatever method you have for onboarding new clients. It does not need to go through you. I.
[ALISON] I have this conversation all the time with my consulting clients, but they’re like, but I know how to convert the clients. I’m a self-pay practice so I really have to massage them in order to get them to come to an appointment. And I’m just like, “You don’t. I mean, there’s other ways of doing it that would still work just as well.” But I think it’s like they have that issue with letting go.
[LAURA] Yes. And I get it. I would have that issue too. And I would still need to work through it, but you can’t actually be the best leader if you’re also doing all of the work while trying to build up this team. And I think that that also goes back to having a hard time converting clients, to see one of your associates, because if you’re also answering the phone, so not only are you the group practice owner, you’re perceived as the best, because the way you’ve outlined your website is you are the founder, you’re the CEO, you’re the big kahuna. Now you’re having to deal with prospect of clients on the phone, say you’re doing a consult with them. They already are connecting with you. You are a therapist, you are the owner, they’re talking to you telling you about their issues. They don’t want to see Johnny. They want to see you. So having someone else take that role for you can also help convert clients to the proper therapist rather than feeling this pressure of having to take on more clients when you really don’t need to. As the group practice owner, you need to be sending them to your clinicians.
[ALISON] Absolutely. Yes and it’s so much easier to have the assistant say no than for you to be on the phone and saying no.
[LAURA] Yes. Sorry, Sarah Jones doesn’t see clients at this time or it sounds like you would actually be a really great fit for Johnny.
[ALISON] Yes. Awesome. I was just going to say, I know you had a giveaway. Can you kind of explain that to us?
[LAURA] Yes. So I have a mini course called Your Badass Onboarding System. It’s BOSS for short and it originated from me basically hacking my EHR, which was Simple Practice. I hacked into it and figured out a way to automate and streamline all prospective clients so that I’m never playing phone tag with them, we’re not doing email tag. They can literally schedule a consultation. I created a custom consultation screening form that they fill out. So every time I even had a consultation with a prospective client, I never came in blind. I always knew what they were looking for help with, outlined some of my policies up front. So I just made it very streamlined and easy. That is a module now in my flagship program. But I actually took that module and turned it into its own course called BOSS.
So I tested it out with solo practitioners and group practice owners. And there is some very, very slight modification if you’re a group practice owner and have, say an intake coordinator who does consults for you. But I did have it tested out and it works beautifully with both. It also works if you use a different EHR, but if you use Simple Practice, it’s obviously going to be a little bit easier because all of the video tutorials in the course are using Simple Practice. So that course is actually $197 but for your listeners, I’d love to offer it for 99.
[LAURA] Yes. So what should our coupon code be Alison? You pick.
[ALISON] How about “you are a bad-ass”
[LAURA] “You are a bad-ass,” all one word, “You are a bad-ass.” So use that coupon code. I didn’t know if you were going to say like Practice of the Practice, group practice owners unite. Alison Pidge is the fun code. So we will make it “You are a bad-ass, all one word and your listeners will get it for 99 bucks.
[ALISON] Sweet. Thank you so much.
[LAURA] You’re so welcome.
[ALISON] So if anybody wants to connect with you or check out some of your courses what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?
[LAURA] Yes. So the best way to do that would be to go to yourbadasstherapypractice.com. You can also come hang out with me in Facebook. My antiques can be found at facebook.com/yourbadasstherapypractice. I did a little piano tuner last night. I don’t know if you caught that video playing living on a prayer. But yes, so that’s another way to connect with me on social media. I’d love to have you. My email list is, I really work hard to send emails that are worth reading. So rest assured if you end up on my email list, if you take my free Psychology Today course, and you get some emails from me, I really do work hard to send stuff that is super helpful and valuable.
My general rule of thumb is if I couldn’t charge for it, then I’m not going to send it. So I do get a lot of great feedback about people who read my emails and are like, “Oh wow, thank you. That was like actually helpful and you weren’t just spamming me with like offers left and right.”
[ALISON] Nice. That’s cool. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. It was awesome.
[LAURA] Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you, although I want to see your baby and I cannot see your baby through this medium.
[ALISON] Yep. I’ll show you. I’ll show you pictures. He’s a big boy now. It’s not a little baby anymore.
[LAURA] I know know, sad.
[ALISON] So sad. All right, have a good day Laura.
[LAURA] All right. Thanks. You too, Alison.
[ALISON] If you haven’t yet given us a rating and review, wherever you listen to podcasts, could you please take a minute and do so? It will help colleagues and other people in our field find this podcast and will hopefully help them start and grow their own group practice. So if you would do that, I’d really appreciate it. And I will see you in the next episode.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.