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Starting and Growing Your Private Practice: a Business Plan Primer
Develop a Plan to Start and Grow Your Therapy Practice
Whether you’re just thinking about starting your own private practice, or have an active client list, you need a plan to grow. Join us for this free webinar and create a tailored primer for developing your own business plan.
Come ready to work with Cory Miller in this interactive and highly practical workshop as he talks through each step of building a business plan primer.
Cory will coach you through:
- Understanding your practice’s own unique strengths and challenges
- The questions you want to ask yourself, and what the answers mean
- Creating a plan for nurturing your practice that you can start using right away
Download our Starting and Growing Your Practice workbook now and get started!
Everybody, welcome back to another AllCounselors.com live event. Today I’m excited to talk about this now, starting your private practice. And we have put together, the team at AllCounselors.com, put together this really highly interactive worksheet for you that I put a link in the chat for you to download. It’s a fillable pdf, meaning you download it, put it on your computer’s desktop, open it back up. And then you can actually type in your words, and I’ll show you that in just a second.
But I’m excited for this webinar today, because I know many of you are just starting your private practices. And I want to, we at AllCounselors.com want to help you. So first and foremost, let me tell you real quickly who I am and why I might be qualified to talk on this subject. My name is Corey Miller, I’m the founder and CEO of AllCounselors.com.
In 2008, I started a company called iThemes, a software company essentially. I started, built, grew that company to be a multi million dollar software company over 10 plus years. In 2018 we were acquired, I worked for that company for another year and left in 2019. But one of my core passions in life is mental health. And how I fulfill part of that passion and calling into my life is by helping you therapists to be able to take some of the nuances, the frustrations and little irritations of just running the private practice and helping people heal in the world. And our team at AllCounselors.com wanted to take as much as we can off your shoulders from like business marketing, and technology to help you in your practice to focus on the key part of what you do every single day, which is help people in their healing journey.
I’m a teacher, coach, a mentor on digital marketing, entrepreneurship. I’ve got several projects, going right now startup projects, and existing businesses to after leaving my my, my first love, my first company, a year and a half ago, almost two years ago now. And again, I said, you know, my life purpose is to obliterate the stigma around mental health and to point people to you, to go sit down with a counselor like I did back in, let’s see, it’s been 2010 when I walked into a counselor’s office for the first time, in a very long time, and got that healing journey started. And I have a counselor I see now every two weeks. But I you know, I love what you do in the world and want to help you.
Special thanks for putting on this webinar today is Integrative Life Center. They’re based in Nashville, Tennessee, they do substance abuse, eating disorders, but also broad mental health work. So if you have someone that you need to refer, that needs a little bit more intensive help Integrated Life Center is amazing. I’ve been there several times on their campus. They have very good practices in place for COVID too but they accept in person residential clients today, Integrativelifecenter.com. You can learn more about them. And if you if you have questions about ILC, please let us know it all counselors. I’ll share my email a little bit later. But thank you to ILC for helping put on this free training for you.
Okay, real quick. So the outcomes from this is we we have talked to dozens of therapists, we’ve done our research, and found that a lot of just starting new counselors, I mean, the biggest question that we found is, how do I get clients? You know, you go through and by the way, I’m married to a budding counselor, she graduates this month with her degree, and then will start studying for the exams and doing her supervisory supervisory work. Anyway, I’m butchering that, but you know what I’m talking about. So one of your flock I live with and love and adore. So I with this, I want to help you kind of answer, ask and answer some of the key questions to start and grow your private practice. So one of the key things we hear from counselors, one things we see from our research too. And so this is going to be highly practical for you today. I have put a link in the chat to this worksheet, Starting and Growing Your Private Practice the workbook part of this and I’m going to be going through this in a second. But you can see here you can actually enter things in. You want to download this first into onto your desktop and then open it and start to fill it out and you can save that on your desktop.
But the outcomes are you know so much of this. You spent so much training in mental health and I’m so glad for that. Right but likely the school that you went to didn’t teach you or share anything about how to actually start a practice, the nuts and bolts of building a business, and growing a business, sustaining the business, all those little nuances. And so this is your primer. And so we put the workbook together in this presentation today to help you walk through that to give you more confidence, so at the end, you should, you should feel more confident to at least have the start of a basic plan. I’m gonna give you some homework too, by the way. So those are some of the outcomes, but we want you to be get started on the right foot, and have the best chance to make a great living doing your work as a helper in the world.
We have a mantra at AllCounselors.com, by the way, is that if you do good in the world, you should do well in the world. We don’t shy away from we want you to make good money and great money and a lot of money if you do really good work in the world. And I know you do as therapists and counselors, and clinicians. So with that, let’s get rolling.
The first thing you’ll see in the workbook is goals and objectives. And by the way, if you have questions, hit the q&a button or the chat, I’ll be watching those as we go. Because again, this is intended to be highly, highly helpful to you. I want you to make progress and answer your key questions. So please let me know. Okay, goals and objectives. So I always start out when I’m talking about any budding entrepreneur, I always start out what do you want to do? You know, what business unlocks something for you, some dreams, some aspiration. So what do you want to accomplish? And it really starts out with, you know, obviously, you’re probably passionate about being a helper, being a therapist and helping people in their healing journey. But, you know, nuance that, what really, you know, what, what is the fulfillment you get from doing the thing you do in the world.
And I like to start here, because if you know, what you are most interested in, we can, you can help guide what you do in your practice to meet those people, those prospective clients, those type of ideal clients that you can help and work with most. But you know, that could easily also be the modalities, you know, what things do you really, really like doing in the actual practice of therapy work? What do you want to offer and so all of these are really good.
The homework I’m gonna tell you ahead of time is take this weekend, take a weekend, and if you’re married or have a significant other, do this together, walk this through. Starting a business is tough work is it’s a, it’s very tough. You’ve been through all this education, all the certifications, and testing and all this stuff. And you get to this point and it’s like, okay, I’m ready to start my private practice at some point. These things are so foundational. So always start with goals, objectives, but really passions and then what what kind of impact do you want to do out there?
This one is a good question. So you can go through this on your own. I won’t belabor this, because I want to see if you have questions, and I can help you through this. But so starting with what do you really want to do in your work. But some of these I know, this might be hard for you, and I love your feedback on it too. But is what makes your practice–private practice. If if you’re just, if you’re planning out your practice, or you just kind of get started or you’re early in your private practice, how do you stand out? What are the things that you offer that maybe others in your, you know, region don’t offer your state? I know, you know, licensures pretty much state by state now, there’s some reciprocity, I think, but you know, what differentiates you in the in the market, and I’m going to use business terms, by the way, because running the private practice is a business. And I think you need to approach it seriously, and with thoughtfulness. And so again, the do well, do good in the world and do well in the world. I don’t apologize for talking about marketing, because I believe if you are doing good and world you have, you have an obligation to market which is simply sharing your message of what you do, and how you can help people. So what is different or unique? That could be modalities.
Say for instance, you offer you know, you do EMDR, with your patient, your clients, or you focus on you know, marriage in relationships, and then even then try to focus what is the one thing that you do, that you emphasize or is helps you to stand out? So if it’s, let’s say marriage and relationships, so what is that? Is it faith based, you know, marriage in therapy, marriage and relationship counseling, something like that. But think through all those things. Could be modalities, it could be all that but in any business, you want to be able to stand out from the crowd. You want to be able to showcase your specialties too. And the things that Make you distinctive.
You’re probably already been thought of thinking about price. But see how this is all just really, it’s just prompting you, these questions that we’ve used the prompting you to at least put something down. And by the way, in 2008, when I started my first, first full time business, I probably had more of the napkin version of a business plan here, all we’re trying to do is get you a foot to just think about things that you might not have think thought about: the gaps and to fill those in, and so that what’s the right price to sustain your business? So the easiest way to say is what do I need to make in a year? You know, it’s, it’s $50,000, or $100,000. And then and then divide by month, and then get down to what’s realistically, you know, how many hours Can I see clients, and if you have veteran therapists in your network, and I hope you do, and that’s part of what we want to do at AllCounselors.com is build this community of veteran therapists that have been out there that want to share their wisdom, and help pull new therapists into our community, help them walk with business and marketing and technology helps.
Can you deliver on your vision? How do you deliver it? So we’re in the era of COVID, as I’m giving this, giving this training, and so likely, it’s a mixture of remote or telehealth, telehealth therapy, and maybe a mixture of in person, depending on where you’re at. But how will you deliver it?
Now, as a tech entrepreneur, I’m very happy that if there are positives that have come out of the pandemic, one of them is that the use of technology in the mental health industry I’m very excited about because the tools are there, and they’re getting better and better. I’m able to do this, you’re, you’re listening in from all over parts of the nation, and perhaps the world. And that is amazing. Now I know there’s licensing things and stuff like that you have to deal with but you know, or work around. But how do you deliver it? You know, and you may be opposed to telehealth or remote therapy long term, but how do you deliver the services. And that could also mean not just technology or in person at any breathing the same air, but it could be workshops, intensives, those type of things?
What other ancillary services do you offer? So think through this think through, I believe it’s called the EAP. But you know, do you offer something for businesses or organizations to have access to your therapy services? So I like to think about as an entrepreneur by ancillary services, because it’s likely you’ll draw your main income from one on one client work. But do you also do group work paid group work? Do you offer consulting? As an entrepreneur at one point, I actually engaged a counselor to help me with some in our team with some team dynamics. So what are the other things besides let’s say your core thing is one to one, therapeutic services, what else would you might be interested or could provide and write those down?
Okay, now, second thing is clients. Now we’ll go back to our slides, I’ll just use this as our base, but clients, who do you want to serve, and I realized that you may have qualms about you go, hey, it’s whoever comes to my door and knocks I want to help all people, but the practicality of being in business is that you will likely serve a set population of people, mostly. You know, a lot of therapists that I work with, you know, perhaps are in the suburbs, so they’re serving a different type of clientele. They’ve got maybe a higher income there, here’s some of the sets of things but really, if you just push away for that second, say Who do you want to work with? Maybe you discovered your internship, your supervision or if you’ve been working with an agency or another practice, who do you draw the most fulfillment from? Who do you help and and start to write those things down.
And the practical business reason you do that is because you can coordinate some of your marketing efforts to make sure you’re reaching those people. And I know you have a heart for a certain set, maybe group of people however you identify them, and so putting that down that just helps see in your marketing efforts. Yeah. And are they using identifiable–in marketing most times we talk about demographics, age, sexual identity, gender, marital status, or relational status, those type of things, but once you start to drill down, this is the type of composite pers- you know type of person or persons I can help now. What are the common characteristics they have together? And are they easily identifiable? And I bet you if you start thinking through those people in your mind, some of the clients you’ve dealt, you’ve worked with in the past, that they probably have some common themes, you know, and really to in today’s therapeutic world, it because of the licensing and certifications and things like that, I know it’s probably the first step is the geography. Except if you’re doing a lot of remote work, like I’m based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, so this is our largest Metro. But if you’re doing remote care therapy, you might be serving somebody in a smaller town, you know, an hour and a half away, but still in the same same state. So write all that down. Easy to reach, you always want to find be able to find somebody easy to reach.
And by the way, I’ll say on the getting clients and who you serve, we just did a webinar training you can find in the, in the vault at AllCounselors.com if you sign up for a membership, you can find that training on five tips, the five tips for digital marketing that don’t cost a fortune, that’s in the library. What are they looking for the common things, you know, and I think you might be tempted as a therapist and clinician to say like, well, they need help, you know, they need they’re, they’re trying to solve some issue that’s going on in their life, perhaps it’s a crisis or something. But I bet you if you think about the people that you serve, and these ideal clients, they have common, again, things they need, they come to your doorstep for. Write all of those down, because over time, this will shift, this will get clear. But this is the first step to do that. And so when you know what they’re looking for, and these type of things, you can do messaging, on your website, in your marketing, that helps draw showcase that, hey, I’m speaking to you, these are this is right, if you’re, if you’re suffering with these particular things, I’m, I’m your person. And you fit this kind of profile, perhaps even, you know, it helps in your marketing, niches, industries, people, you can see all that stuff, I don’t want to belabor that point.
But uh, give any context in the field or experience with them. So, okay, that is clients clients is big, picking who you work with is a key thing in any business. And, in fact, when we’ve thought through what we’re doing at AllCounselors.com, you know, we think we think about you, we think about the types of therapists we can help best. And that helps us to really focus what we’re doing for you. So same goes for your private practice.
Marketing is one of my favorite items. And I know sometimes it causes therapists and clinicians to cringe, but I love marketing. I feel like if you do really good work in the world, you have an obligation responsibility to share that message with others and to say, like, Here I am I can, I can serve you in some capacity. So now we’re really down into how do you reach them? You know, is it a Facebook page? Is it a profile on Psychology Today? Or another directory? How are you going to reach those clients? Is it primarily based on referrals, a lot of the clinicians we talked to built their entire practice on referrals, you know. Maybe there’s a clinician, you know, in your area, who is maxed out, can’t take any more clients, but would be willing to refer people to you. And so, put that down here, those are keys, everything helps, especially when you’re starting your practice out your business out.
Okay, this is something I really love is that educational content, so you’ve spent years training for what you do. And so it’s likely you’ve got those areas of expertise we talked about here up above about fulfillment and things that you really like, enjoy, and that you find, you can help your clients with best. This is not–in your marketing efforts to potentially maybe it’s start a blog or a podcast or post, you know, Instagram is pretty, there’s a lot of therapists, counselors, clinicians on Instagram, for instance, and some big brands on there using that. So you know, what content could you do? Do? Have you written a paper, have you, you’ve got a little ebook and all that stuff for things that we want to offer you and we’re interested in hearing more about through AllCounselors.com and how we can help you. Educational content.
How much will it cost? So you go okay, maybe maybe it’s, you know, as in your ideation phase here, maybe it’s, you know, I gotta have my business card, you know, on, there’s this restaurant down the street from here and they have all you know, the tables are basically ads or something. I don’t I’m not suggesting that necessarily. But how much does that cost? How are you going to reach those people and how much does it cost? So if you only say up here, how you gonna reach ideal clients, I’m going to get referrals. It’s going to cost, maybe not financially, to get those referrals, it’s time to build relationships with those referring therapists, or other professionals in your field.
How many clients do you need to sustain? What I like about this is to say, okay, find a round number, you know. So we’ve done some work on our goals and talked about our finances, and what we need to potentially bring in every month to pay your bills. And so breaking that down by your hourly rate, or however you charge to say, Okay, I need 40 clients. I like to break numbers down as small as I can to go, this is not overwhelming, I just need to think all I have to reach is 40 people a month, and probably not because some are going to be consistent like me, I go to my counselor every two weeks, and even in the past have gotten more regularly. So I’m a repeat client, for for my counselor. So how many clients you need to reach and sustain in your business and one month would be a good benchmark and say, Okay, I need to consistently make sure I’m reaching, let’s say it’s 40 people.That helps you think through and right size. Like it’s not overwhelming. It’s 40 people, how do I get my first 10? How do I get my next 20? How do I get my 30 and 40. All that. So how many clients do I need? It’s the same business, do some math on that.
And just think, by the way, this is all penciled in. It’s just for you to have something, a basic plan, a lot of people will ask you questions as you’re starting your practice. This is just another tool again, to help you have something answers for some of those questions, or at least the start of something.
How do you generate leads again, that might be referrals, or my Facebook page? Or my I wrote a book and it’s on Amazon or something like that. And then how to value proposition is essentially here in number six on this area is essentially the What value do you offer to me? Now, I know this can get tricky, a little bit, but, you know, think through healing, think through all the different things that you do in your practice, that are benefits to your clients. You know, and maybe that is part of that is let’s say you want to dive in and wholly embrace telehealth and remote therapy. Well, that is you don’t have to drive 30 minutes in traffic to get to my office, you can do it right here. By the way, my my counselor a couple months ago with with COVID. You know, went going fully to telehealth. I hope selfishly he always offers that because even though he’s only 10 minutes down the street for me, it’s still getting in the car. It’s now December. So one day, it could be snowing, for instance, and I’d have to get in the cold and maybe wipe off some ice and drive in. And you know, I’d prefer that so. So if that’s something you do and you want to do, that’s part of your value prop proposition.
Number seven, of course, you’ve got ethical things that you have to do. And that’s a good thing and part of your practice, but represent your best work while maintaining confidentiality and privacy. So maybe you anonymize a particular case study you’re talking about on your website or come up with one thing as suggested. And again, the disclaimer here is you need to you need to make your own decisions and with the things that you have to do as part of your ethics and compliance and things like that with you’re often sure, but maybe it’s a composite sketch, like we’ve just talked about previously, a group of people that in your mind, these are the people I love to work with, or you know, and they find the best healing and results and steps forwards and all that thing kind of thing. But through that, you could say maybe you come up with a composite sketch of a type of person, but it’s not an actual person. A composite sketch of, okay, here’s here’s a case study example. And again, I’m gonna leave that to you for the legal and ethical implications of how you share that but how do you represent your best work on online maybe and in your marketing, that’s a key thing.
Finances, this is the one I don’t always like to talk about personally as an entrepreneur, because I like to make enough money where I don’t have to think about okay, but it is so critical to your business. I’ll tell you, a couple of your key partners in business, I believe are going to be some familiarity or connection to a lawyer to help you get set up, to help you with your however you incorporate your legal entity if your practice and I highly highly– I’m not a lawyer, but I highly suggest you do it. And I’m sure you’re already in that mindset as you start to build a private practice. But a relationship with a lawyer is a key thing.
The second related to this particular section is an accountant, a bookkeeper, someone that knows how to properly keep your books in order and help you prepare for taxes. I cannot stress too often, and not just clinicians, private practice clinicians, but entrepreneurs cheaped out on hiring a bookkeeper, they try to do it themselves. I’ll tell you, I’ve had a bookkeeper for 10 years now, I guess. And well, longer than that. But a professional, someone that this is what they do in the world, they help people with their books and things. And we just engaged a new accountant this month, actually. And it’s just a relief to know I get as, as Rachel is our accountant, and she’s doing our books. She’s also advising me about best practices in view of taxes, she also does my taxes, and she even passed this on to me and I’ll share with you is whoever does your business taxes should probably do your personal taxes, okay. And some legal entities. Again, disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer. But some legal setups, how you do it legal entities flow through straight to your personal taxes. This is why you want a CPA, someone that is certified just like you are, to do your finances. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. But please, please, please consider getting a CPA to help you with your finances to manage your money to, to bounce things off of. I like to have a collection of experts that I can call anytime, in a lot of different areas. But legal, and financial are two key areas I don’t cheap out on. I have a lawyer business org, I can call and have three times this year, on different projects, we have enough relationship I’m not having to start over. By the way does is sound familiar. It’s the same reason I share as you search for a clinician or a mental health Pro, that you should have a relationship with the therapist because when you know everything bottoms out in your life, you don’t want to have to go back and like start from scratch with a counselor. This is why I say keep an ongoing relationship with the therapist. It’s just other people do same thing for a lawyer and an accountant. So okay, I think I’ve hit the point home.
How and when will you get paid. A lot of clinicians that I’ve talked to still do you know, checks, for instance, or cash. I’ll tell you and they always balk and this isn’t just clinicians, it’s also any entrepreneur, they balk at why don’t I don’t want to do an online thing like square or take a credit card, because it’ll take 3% out. I don’t know about you, but I like to get paid, I like to get paid fast, I like the money to be sitting in my account as fast as possible. I don’t mind 3% it’s a convenience fee for me to make sure I have money. So if you’re not taking electronic payments, through like a square type of option square up, I think is the domain or, you know, there’s things on your phone, you can even apps you can get, and they’ll give you a card reader, even PayPal does this, I highly suggest it because again, I want I want the cash flow is a key cash flow is oxygen for your business. And getting that cash in your bank account having access to it is so key. So please consider that if only for the convenience factor and having that oxygen in your account as fast as possible.
So an accountant, what also helped us, so if you pay others from your landlord, if you have an office or expenses. And again, the reason why I say accountant is because I want you to think I want you to focus on what you do best. And it’s a practice of what you’ve done for therapy for healing in the world, and helping other others in their journeys. And I don’t want you to think–maybe you can do your own taxes. But to me, it’s a frustration for me to try to learn the tax code every year, which changes. Rachel, my CPA who I’ve known for a very long time, she takes care of that. That’s her mastery, and she gets to give me advice for that. So how will you pay others, 1099 contractors, your rent, or software or things you need for your practice and your taxes and that accountant hope I beat the horse dead here.
What are your expenses? So think through that you’re gonna every start a spreadsheet, start listing everything out, you can google budget, you know budget tools for personal stuff, and they can equally apply for business. In fact, like for instance insurance, so you need health insurance, you maybe have to go to the the ACA, the health care exchange, list, everything you can list. Do you need to print things? Do you need some software to keep your records? Do you have a monthly office payment? Are you going to have to buy a computer? List all those one time and recurring expenses out again, you can you can google some spreadsheets. There are tons and tons of tools to get a budget, they even if they have personal budget, you can apply those categories to your practice.
Okay, cash cushion here. So cash cushion, you’ll likely at some point, want to start a business bank account. So when you get those checks, however you take your cash or you get the deposits, they can be deposited in your business account. And and then on a regular basis be dispersed to your personal, you want to keep separation of church and state. Business expenses over here. Apart from my personal expenses, don’t use your personal business as your discretionary personal spending stuff you want to create in conjunction with the CPA and accountant structure where you disperse this money over to your personal and then you pay for personal things over here. You pay for business things over here, keep those separate. A good business attorney, I’m not a business attorney will tell you keep those separate.
But cash cushion sorry, got off track there but cash cushion is how much money do you need to keep in your business account to pay for things. At some point, if you’re able to, let’s say your significant other spouse can help you as you’re getting off your ground, you know, pay for your personal expenses over here, maybe you can get a couple months and get some cash cushion in your account to be able to pay for things like your liability insurance, your office rent or whatever other expenses you have. I like having a good healthy cash cushion. It’s called retained earnings sometimes in in my business account, because I don’t know what might happen. And I don’t want to have to do a contribution from a personal, I don’t want to disperse money over here and have to put it right back for things.
So I keep some cash cushion and all of my businesses over here for things so I can pay, keep those separate, keep expenses and be able to pay things like if you have an assistant or you have other things to be able to pay that person. But here’s specifically the cash cushion to go full time as you know, think through what’s your confidence, what’s your comfort level of the cash cushion you need to be able to pay your expenses that we’ve been trying to document through here. And also get by in the lean times. In most businesses, there’s highs and lows financially of revenue, you know, I don’t know how, where it is in and with therapists like is there a down season of time, you know, is it in the summertime? In my software business it was in the summertime, but we our theory was it sloped down that ramped up during the winter months. Our theory was, in the summer months, people don’t want to be in front of the computer in America, mostly, we take our vacations by and large during the summer. So we get a lot out of office emails and our sales dip during the summer. So we bank cash up into about May, Memorial Day was kind of Memorial Day to Labor Day in the US was kind of our two little things that was going to be our signals, it’s we’re going to start a low period and we’re going to end a low period here on Labor Day. Theory is School’s out during the summer. Typically in non pandemic years. And you know people are on vacation, but ramps back up kind of timed around Labor Day with our school. So you want to be watching for that. And that’s where some of this cash cushion can help you too.
And then starter investments: laptops, you know, computers, internet. Business internet is very expensive, at least in Oklahoma City here through Cox internet, I pay more for my internet here, because I want really good internet. But it’s already more expensive than my home internet. Because I need it than I do for this office, by the way. So it’s crazy. So think through this starter investments that you need to make. And those are more than one time items. Okay, that’s fine.
Next, legal. How do you structure your practice and keep it legal? I highly recommend because I am not an attorney, and will never pretend to be one that you get a business attorney that you can ask other therapists, clinicians in your field, who do you use someone that’s at least enough familiar with maybe your work that they can help you not just give you you know, get your LLC or however you structurally you know, in your state, you set up that corporate structure, but can advise you on those things and maybe has other clients in those and has navigated with other people some of those issues that might be nuanced in your field. And so I highly recommend and then just every maybe twice a year or something, you just ping them and just just kind of keep up to date and keep the contact fresh so that if you have a question or need a big name, hopefully you never do you have somebody to least call.
I’ve had a good dear friend, who was my go to business lawyer. And he got, he is in the reserve Marines. Think you say that right, and was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, when I had a big deal coming through that I needed his help on. He’s overseas. So I had to go looking for it. And that’s how I remember how tough that was to start and maintain that relationship. So please, please, I implore you to find someone that you can lean on that you can have, you know, regular enough contact with and familiarity with what you do. So that when something comes up, after your initial start of your corporate, you know, structure that you can, you know, bounce things off of, even if you have to pay, you know, a 15 minute increment a bill on something, it’s good to be able to just call somebody and just ask a question.
You know, maybe some of the therapists you might know your field have contracts and agreements that can share with you and then but if not, that business attorney helps you do all that. And then the ongoing help here, we said here, okay, so that’s legal for just a second, it’s just having somebody in your corner when you need it.
People and partners, so who’s helped you need? What big picture help do you need? And what kind of day to day help? Do you need? Do you need someone to help you run your office or schedule clients? Now? I’ll tell you, there is online appointment booking software online, most the telehealth remote therapy video stuff has it involved. We’re going to do some reviews on that at AllCounselors.com too, as well. But you know, one of the things that you need from a day to day partners, we talked about lawyers, we talked about accountants who else might you need? Liability insurance, who’s that person? Keeping that contact up to date, and maybe they can help you with other things like trying to find from the marketplaces, some good health insurance for you and your, your family if you have one.
But I think about this, this people and partners, I want to take a second just say, I, this is critical for me people and partners. I think about it like this, and I hate to say it like in a dooms way. But it’s, it’s it’s really key, and it’s helped prepare me for the worst. I was in webelos at some point in my life. And so be prepared is always my little motto. But if the bottom falls out, in your life, in your practice, whatever else, who are the people you need, who are the people that are going to run into your life, when everybody else runs out. We’ve covered two huge basis, you know, accountants with financial stuff, including taxes, lawyer with God forbid you ever have to deal with a lawsuit. But is there just think about that, if everything bottoms out? Who would I need?
Then you start to think through your team that you need, I need a banker, I need an insurance person I need, you know, who are those people? Big Picture wise, if everything bottoms out, this is one that just helps you fill in the gaps. I did this, it felt morbid at the time, but I did as a part of my business. And it made me think you know, who I’m missing is people that have access to money to capital. Now that was for my software business back in a day. And I was thinking, Well, I’m going to start building relationships with those people. Please put that down here. You know, and it’s not just the, you know, the bad stuff. It’s the good stuff. It’s the things like what happens when I don’t have enough bandwidth to see clients and I want to hire my first therapist, who would I need? Would I need an HR person, just think through those type of things. And again, I’m just trying to help you be a good Weeblo, like me, is be prepared.
Now, again, this is version one of your plan, okay. And I like to put it down here and something in the habit, and then come back to it every quarter, maybe even every year and just say, okay, what’s changed? You know, what things do I need?
So the last section here is accounting software. Do you need that? Like QuickBooks, for instance, I, our CPA I talked about with Rachel, I’m happy to provide her information to you as well. She has a QuickBooks account as I want to say it’s like $15 account through her and I’m like, he that’s very easy to me. So then I can go in, we can look at the financials, the books together and see how it’s going. There’s another, I throw another reason you might you need to have an accountant, is because they can also you can also ask this question, what areyou seeing? Like you’ve been doing my books was it you know, when you’re doing your review with them, or whatever is like, Hey, I said this to Rachel. Last week, I said, Rachel, what do you see? You know, and she’ll give me some insights and she’ll go, I don’t know your business, but I see these things and I go, I don’t want you to I don’t want you to be as embedded as me. I want you to come in as your expert outside opinion, and say, do you see any sales trends? What things do you see? Because I want to prevent my blinders, I want to get perspective from other people and invite experts in my life for that.
Insurance billing. So, you know, BlueCross BlueShield, for instance, we’re at now or whatever insurance you bill, do you need, you know, tools for that computers and software, we talked about continuing education and training. I’ll give you a blurb. We’re working right now for continuing education units CEUs at AllCounselors.com This is one reason I want you to sign up for a free membership, if you haven’t already, because first quarter of next year 2021, we’ll be rolling out our fingers crossed our first CEUs, and we’re starting with ethics, which we have found from our research and talking with clinicians that ethics is a great foundational course or CEU to start with, but Well, they’ve been doing more and more that but think through how do you get those CPUs that you’re required to by your state licensing board? To keep your licensure up to date? How much does that cost? COVID has thrown everything for you know, a lot of the conferences that we used to go to non mental health are now being canceled or pushed online. How much does that cost?
Okay? And then finally, is what else do you need to if you get stuck? What do you you know, these are just again prompts for you, to help you get started on the right foot and have confidence in what you’re doing in your practice.
So, here is your homework. If you have a significant other spouse, significant other, I highly recommend you take a weekend. And you’re getting ready and you’re right, you’re working for an agency, maybe you’re at another practice or wherever you are in your state, you’re working through your supervision. And you’re thinking I can’t wait to get my private practice started. Take this as a starting conversational tool. Maybe you do your first pass, and then you get away with your spouse or significant other but if you’re single, go do it by yourself a weekend and go through the worksheet again and talk it through specifically with your spouse significant other they are your first partner in business by the way. My wife Lindsey is my first primary and essential partner in business. And so getting away and so when I started my next chapter things with my projects, we we found some time to just talk to be aligned. What do we want out of our life asking some of the first questions were we asked about what do you really enjoy doing?Where do we want our life to be, you know, in the future, some sense in the future and talking this through.
Now, if you’ve already done your first pass, and then you’re meeting with your significant other, you know, on a weekend, you’ve got a date day or something, you can just kind of get away, wall off and just be you two. Or if you’re single just yourself, just get clarity, maybe pulling your best friend just kind of bounce some things off, you just take some time set aside, to think through these things to get the first version of a plan. That’s it. Because it will change. By the way, as you start to roll your purchase out it every business I’ve had every project I’ve ever been involved with the strategy, the first version of strategy always changes. When you get live action, we get clients and money and things going it just it just changed in this tweaks.
And then I would invite you AllCounselors.com is here for you. We are serving only clinicians, mental health therapists, counselors. We are here for you, we want to be a resource for you. Ani, my coo and I and our team and partners are dedicated to make your life awesome and better. We have some key areas we think we can do that with but if you have questions, if you just want to share your worksheet with us, I’d invite you to hit our Contact Form over at AllCounselors.com it’s right there. It’s that big blue button. You know, I think it’s on this next slide. There’s a button right there and all AllCounselors.com but you can go to all counselors.com for slash join, join our free membership hit the contact button and share it as Hey, I just wanted to share my first version of my business plan primer that you shared and some of those things and ask questions. We’re here for you.
So but let me just say before I we open it up for questions. Part of being a part of the membership is the things we’re going to plan in 2021 and beyond CEUs and and more training like this and business marketing and technology to help you run your practice to reach more people to reach more people even better. You’re gonna want to be a part of the membership. We we want to help make your life better so that you can go make that important impact in the world. I don’t want to be a coach and I just want to help you go out there and resource you and support serve and support you in what you’re doing. Here’s some of the things you get and things we’re working on. But also here’s my email cory@AllCounselors.com you can send me an email if you have a question, but share your share your very first version Your worksheet we’re here for you, counselors to calm and thank you so much for being here today.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai