Three ways the Mindfulness Cubicle is Transforming Private Practices (and you should expect your VA to transform yours)

This was NOT the plan was it?!

Getting the end of an exhausting but fulfilling day of counseling sessions only to be greeted by…

 

  • emails begging for an answer
  • unfulfilled insurance claims waiting for you to make a phone call (assuming you want to get paid)
  • not to mention picking your kids up from school and getting something on the table for dinner.

You’re a good therapist.

Helping hurting individuals live lives of freedom is your jam!

  • Paperwork…
  • Phone calls…
  • Deductibles…

…Not so much.

Balancing the business-side of a practice AND the counseling-side of a practice may not have ever been part of your plan.

The good news is: It doesn’t have to be.

How do I know?!

Well, my friend was drowning in a schedule jammed with one-on-one sessions, followed by long nights of paperwork. Instead of creating a plan to master the business-side of her private practice she decided to delegate it by hiring the Mindfulness Cubicle.

Her joy-drained days transformed into joy-filled hours of counseling session (which she already was a master at), creating online courses, and launching group coaching programs.

See, Mindfulness Cubicle is a Virtual Assistant Agency started by licensed therapist, Kim Keller (READ: operates a HIPAA compliant VA agency)!

Through a series of events Kim found herself moving from CO to NC, which meant leaving her clients and successful private practice. While struggling to get her NC license and find a job she decided to do something from home that would make money.

About that time she responded to a therapists comment asking for help on the business end of her practice. Since that comment Kim has been able to free up countless therapists to focus on what they love, scaling their business, and enjoying life (she even hired a team member to be able to tackle more projects).

The three ways Mindfulness Cubicle transforms private practices (and you can expect your VA to transform yours):

COMMUNICATION

Answering emails, scheduling appointments, and returning phone calls takes A LOT OF TIME! Time you could be serving more clients or getting new clients. You can ask Virtual assistants to assist you in the following areas (and manner) of communication:

  • Inquiry inbox: Responding to questions and even scheduling first time appointments!
  • Professional email account: Organizing it, unsubscribing from all those email lists you really just wanted the handy-dandy-cheat-sheet from, and (if you want) answer the emails they are qualified to handle and flag the rest for you to get to.
  • Phone calls: Most virtual assistants won’t answer phone calls live, however they will care for and follow up with voicemails.

INSURANCE

You got a new client…woohoo!

They hand you an insurance card…boohoo!

Don’t get me wrong you’re excited about another client. That’s another payment, and let’s be real, another life impacted in a positive way. But couldn’t there be an easier way to keep up with verification of benefits, deductibles, and billing?!

There is: Your Virtual Assistant.

 

Ask them to…

  • Call the insurance company of each new client and get all the deductible information.
  • Follow up on the deductible monthly.
  • Track the payments from insurance companies and call insurance companies about any denied or delayed claims.

SCHEDULING

Obviously there’s a lot of scheduling that goes on with your private practice. But there’s a lot of scheduling that goes on with your life, too. Things like dentist appointments, hair appointments, booking flights to grandma’s house for thanksgiving, ordering that last minute Father’s Day gift, and making it to your kids soccer game on time!!

You hired a virtual assistant so you could do more of what you love, scale your business, and enjoy life with the people that matter to you. Don’t hesitate to ask your VA to free up some time for you by scheduling some personal appointments!

CONCLUSION

As I wrapped up my interview with Kim, this was the piece of advice she wanted to make sure you received:

“Regardless of who you hire, be sure to hire someone you connect with.

You wouldn’t hire a therapist you don’t connect with, so don’t hire a VA you don’t connect with.

Working with a virtual assistant is a day-in-and-day-out thing. They will be involved in the nitty-gritty of your business. Make sure they’re someone you like communicating and working with.”

Moral of the story: Throw yourself into what you do best – the counseling-side of things – and hire a virtual assistant, whom you connect with, to handle the business-side of things.

Who knows, you might watch your business soar to new heights by planning to focus on what you’re good at and delegate what you’re bad at (or at least drains your energy)!

 

To get some of this transformation in YOUR Private Practice, contact Kim at Mindfulness Cubicle HERE.

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Three ways the Mindfulness Cubicle is Transforming Private Practices (and you should expect your VA to transform yours) Counselors

The five most important questions to consider when choosing your online payment processor.

You deserve to be paid.

At least, that’s what we believe.

But as a therapist running an online practice, we realize getting paid isn’t as simple as receiving a paycheck. It’s as complicated as making an apple pie…

You’ve gotta make the crust, peel and slice those apples, sprinkle the right amount of sugar on everything, and bake it just enough so the apples are soft, but don’t turn into applesauce.

Half those things you didn’t even know to consider before you started making a pie, right?!

Whoever made up the saying “easy as pie” was nuts!

We don’t want you to be caught off guard when choosing an online payment processor, so while we can’t hand you a recipe, we can walk you through the five most important questions to consider when choosing your online payment processor.

Overwhelmed already?! Just want to talk to A PERSON about all this?! Making your practice simple is why we got into all this in the first place, so skip the rest of this post and schedule yourself and one-on-one call with our team member to cut through the chase and get your questions answered ASAP!

 

1. What are the fees? Are there any hidden fees?

 

We’re pretty familiar with the 20% processing fee with paypal, right?! And that’s pretty common across the board. However, some processors have a monthly fee, transfer minimums, and/or fees to move money from the payment processor to your bank account.

Make sure you are fully informed so you’re not surprised when the end of the month rolls around!

 

2. Who does the processor favor when a claim is filed or refund is requested?

 

Kinda crazy to think about, right?! But it’s legit. In the case of a disputed payment or requested refund, does the processor you’re considering have a track record for considering both sides – yours as the provider and their as the client?

No shows are a real thing in your world, that should always mean no-pay for you.

 

3. How long does it take for YOU to get the money once the transaction occurs?

 

Processing funds and transferring funds takes time, but you shouldn’t have to wait a month to get your money. I’m talking one to two business days or less! Get clear on how long it will take to process funds (ie, the transaction between you and client) and how long it will take for you to transfer the money into your account!

 

4. How user-friendly is the platform?

 

Paypal is widely recognized and therefore widely used. It’s trusted and it’s easy to use. Take your payment processor search to the next level by not only finding a processor that’s secure, but also easy to use!

 

5. Does the platform store credit card information?

 

Let’s be real, hopping onto amazon and checking out in a matter of seconds because it saves ALL your information is the BOMB! Also, means you probably spend more money on amazon and are more likely to shop on amazon (and…free two-day shipping with prime probably helps, too).

Steal the saved-and-paid strategy to make sure your user experience is smooth and speedy.

Now, if you’re one of those people who goes to the store and buys a Mrs. Smith Apple Pie, pops it in the oven, and says “tada” an hour later with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, we’ve got something for you!

A secure online payment processor that integrates with your client management system AND saves payment information. It’s simple, just like our mission: Your practice made simple!

Want a free demo to see how this works?! Schedule one here.

If not, we wish you the best of luck finding the ideal online payment processor for you and your clients, because we believe you deserve to get paid, whether or not you work with us!

Why a Military Wife is stopping at nothing to serve and support Service Members and their families through providing exceptional counseling.

“The military teaches our service members how to go to war. But the military does not teach them how to come home. I’m here to change that.”

Have you ever walked away from a conversation thinking, something amazing is about to happen?

That’s how I felt after talking to Jamie.

A young woman who fell in love with a man in the military during undergrad.

The next 20-something years of Jamie’s life (ie career) took many shapes and forms as a military wife.

Working for the army special forces clinic as a substance abuse therapist her favorite part quickly became how her clients could talk about serious stuff and still laughed a lot

“You’ve got to,” Jamie said, “It’s heavy stuff.”

When her husband was suddenly deployed, four months after their baby girl was born, Jamie moved to FL (aka, closer to her parents) and started working full-time at the VET Center. Here she enjoyed the family-practice environment with couches in the waiting room and no fluorescent lighting as well as working alongside many veterans.

Fast forward to her husband’s retirement. Jamie got a fulltime job working for HUMANA MILITARY after months of sending in resumes and sitting through interviews (let’s be real, it got a little scary when the job hunt stretched on and on).

While she’s good at what she does, loves working from home and being able to serve military families (even if it is behind the scenes) something was missing:

Good ol’ one-on-one face-to-face counseling.

So, she started her own online practice to give service members and their families the care they deserve. “These are my people,” Jamie said, “I need to take care of them!”

Experience at the VET center had taught her that, “There’s nothing like working with people who really get it, not because they’re empathetic, but because they’ve really lived it”.

That’s who Jamie is: Someone who really gets it, because she’s lived it.

As a military spouse, with two young children and a substance abuse counselor for the military, Jamie is familiar with the strain frequent moves, long-term deployments, and being on the front lines puts on individuals and the family. She knows what it’s like to deal with tricare, shop at a commissary (the military grocery store), and the PX (the military Target).   

“The military does so much for us, the least we can do is provide exceptional care and transitional support,” said Jamie.

But she’s not stopping there!

While Jamie’s practice “Mission Ready Counseling” is currently an online solo practice the vision is to expand into an online group practice to provide military family members with a job that’s portable through deployments and relocations (no endless months of searching for jobs after relocations for her employees!).  

That’s why she chose iTherapy. Not only do they have some of the best customer support, but their online HIPAA compliant video services are set up to empower group practices.

Yep, I’m just as convinced that Jamie is about to make something amazing happen as I was when I got off the interview. I hope you’re convinced now, too!

If you are interested in participating in Jamie’s vision please contact her HERE.

If you are a service member or know of a service member who would like support at this time you can contact Jamie HERE.

If you’re just SUPER inspired and want to stay in the loop, follow Mission Ready Counseling on Facebook!

Here’s to:

Taking the scary out of getting help.

Creating a coming-home bootcamp for service members.

Talking about the tough stuff and still finding reasons to laugh.

And supporting service members and their families in the way they deserve!

Some of our
Why a Military Wife is stopping at nothing to serve and support Service Members and their families through providing exceptional counseling. Counselors

What is a Two-Way No-Show Policy?

Tired of illness and weather canceling your sessions?

Wish people would show up for their online sessions or shoot you an email the day before?!

Yeah, us too!

Through a series of conversations, we heard of a friend who establishes a two-way no-show policy.  At the time of our discussion she couldn’t recall a single no-show. Sounds like a dream world, right?!

Here are three ways we’ve seen two-way no-show policies be effective:

MUTUAL COMMITMENT

Chances are you don’t offer free counseling sessions?  Why?! Because you know that if your client is financially invested they’re more likely to show up and complete the assignments you might give them.  

It boils down to commitment.  We want to work with people who are committed.

Well, guess what?!  So, does your client.  

When you openly agree to the same terms you have asked of your client they are fully aware of your commitment to their sessions.  You’re not just someone just doing their job and checking their session off as money earned.

GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE TO ENFORCE YOUR POLICY

Therapists are nice people.  Too nice sometimes. So they back out of their no-show policies.  But when you have put your own skin in the no-show policy you will be more motivated to follow through, not only that, but more often than not your client will be more compliant in honoring the policy.  

Again, it’s the two-way street that gives your client confidence knowing that you have made the same commitment to them.

PROVIDES YOU A SPECIFIC TIME FRAME FOR RE-SCHEDULING

One of the greatest benefits of the two-way no-show policy is early communication.  You’re both committed to these sessions so specify how many days in advance rescheduling needs to happen without it being considered a cancellation. We recommend rescheduling being required 3-5 days in advance so that you have the opportunity to fill their slot.

No-shows are no fun.  You’re good at what you do and you’re committed to seeing your clients thrive.  Establishing a two-way no-show policy has the potential to not only decrease your no-shows, but make your commitment more evident to your clients.  

Here’s to more clients and fewer no-shows!

Wish scheduling, re-scheduling, and accepting payments was easier! We’re committed to making your practice as simple as possible so you can spend all your energy on the things THAT transform lives. Schedule a call to see if we can help you free up any time or brainspace (because you know you’re using the best HIPAA compliant resources)!

 

Should I have Private Pay Practice or Accept Insurance?

Are you a DIY person or a I’ll-just-buy-it person?

I have friends that LOVE scouring pinterest for their next project. Curtains?! No problem, they have about a million ideas and a sewing machine ready.

It’s about a personal touch and crafting those curtains exactly the way they want (at least that’s what I imagine, because…).

Me? I LOVE scouring the internet for the exact thing I want. Curtains?! No problem, I have a shopping cart and a debit card ready.

It’s about skipping the how-do-I-do-this and having the exact curtains I want.

And just like that two people who want the same thing went about it in two very different ways.

That’s private practice and payment options for you, too!

Private-pay or Accepting Insurance.

Neither method is wrong, they’re just different.

Let’s think about a Private Pay Practice as a DIY person and Accepting Insurance as an I’ll-just-buy-it person.

PRIVATE PAY

At the end of the day a DIY person is willing to go the extra mile to have things their way and personalized. But they get to enjoy the benefit of knowing their curtains are exactly the way they want and they made them!

In a similar manner Private-pay Practices go the extra mile to find and book clients but have the potential to earn more money, receive payment sooner, and have less administration and follow up work.

Private-pay practices do not have a natural referral source established in their business from insurance (or doctors who accept insurance sending them clients). From finding their clients, recieveing payment, and conducting sessions the fingerprints of the owner of a private pay practices are on everything.

Pros

  • Potential to make more money
  • Quicker Payment
  • Less Administration/Follow Up

Cons

  • Limited range of clients
  • Build your practice quicker
  • Lacking natural referral source

If you’re leaning towards a private-pay practice, set up a call with us. We’ve got a list of HIPPA compliant platforms to conduct sessions online, handle payments, and store records in one easy monthly payment.

ACCEPTING INSURANCE

I’ll-just-buy-it people would scour the internet a little longer and pay a little extra to find exactly what they want and have it delivered to them without having to do anything once it arrives. While this means they don’t have to do ANYTHING once their curtains arrive (except for hanging them up) they don’t get to put their personal touch on them.

Practices that choose to accept insurance do extra paperwork, agree to accept the payment amount an insurance company provides. But they also enjoy the credibility that comes with being associated with an insurance company, referral sources, and a wider range of clients (because they are not limited to only the clients that can afford them).

If building a therapy practice that accepts insurance is the way you want to go, let us know! We’ve got credentialing partners to connect you with that will allow you to be approved faster and serve more people (we all know insurance can take FOREVER, let us help you speed it up – at least the getting approved part).

Pros

  • Credibility
  • Referral Source
  • Wider range of clients

Cons

  • Additional paperwork
  • Must accept what insurance pays
  • Need to collect copayment/co-insurance

If you’re just starting out as an online therapist we believe you would do well to accept insurance until you develop a reputation and referral base.

In many areas such as mine- where it is very rural, not many people can afford self pay.

If you’re still on the fence The Practice of the Practice has an incredible round up of therapists personal opinion in regards to having a Private-Pay or Accepting insurance.

Whether you’re a DIY person or a I’ll-just-buy-it person…

How would you like to have a platform that not only keeps all your information and your clients information but ALSO keeps track of insurance info and billing?!  

Pretty sweet, right?!

All our clients get access to a HIPPA compliant platform that does all of that AND MORE.

What are you waiting for? Book a call with us to see if we can help you make your practice simple!

5 Proven Marketing Strategies Therapists use to Make Sure the People Who Need Them can Find Them

If you’re not telling anyone about what you do, does it really matter what you do?!

We believe what you do does matter and we want to see you tell people about it.

So, here’s 5 different ways to tell the world what you do.

NOTE: Instead of being overwhelmed about how you’re gonna execute all of these we recommend that you choose your favorite technique and use it for three months .

REFERRALS

When Carol first mentioned this I was like, “Wait.  What?! You’re starting an online practice, but you’re networking with local therapists.”

“Yes,” she said.

She explained that she was meeting with them for two reasons:

  1. To ask about insurances they accepted and typically worked with.
  2. To build a referral list.

Before she knew it she was getting referrals from the therapists she had met with.  Now she is referring clients to them. Talk about a win-win!

ADDING A CALL TO ACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT

As a counselor, life coach, or therapist you’re an influencer.  Especially if you choose to show up on social media. You’re sharing a tip or trick to help your ideal client live from a place of freedom and confidence.

But all too often those posts disappear into cyberspace, don’t they?

Probably all because your audience didn’t know what to do with your post.

  • Should they like it?  
  • Leave a comment?  
  • Hold up, comment what?  

Next time you share that carefully crafted post of yours ask yourself, “What action do I want my audience to take?  Do I want them to “like” this photo, leave a comment, tell me how they’re gonna change, leave an emoji, grab my free ebook, ask me a question in my DMs?”.

Here’s five call to actions you’re welcome to steal:

  • If you agree, give me a “thumbs up.”
  • Tag a bestie.
  • If you loved this, let me see you in the comments!
  • Wanting more on this thought?!  I created a whole ebook on this that you can get for FREE at the link in the comments…
  • If you’re with me on this leave “I choose joy” in the comments.

TWO THINGS A CLIENT-CONVERTING WEBSITE HAS

When creating a compelling website it’s easy to throw around words like “clean visuals” and “clear messaging,” but at the end of the day, every image and word on your website needs to do two things:  

  1. Eliminate distraction
  2. Guide to a specific action

SELF-TESTS

Have you ever filled out one of those quizzes floating around on the internet? Like, “What’s your secret-sauce for marketing”, “What type of sleeper are you”…?

No?!

Well, then you’ve probably taken a personality test at some point or done one of those facebook things that tell you what celebrity you resemble or what you will look like in 30 years (why do we even click on that one?!).

You’ve done one of those right?!

These test are compelling and intriguing because there’s something in us that wants to be unraveled and demystified (at least to ourselves) and if a random internet test can “figure us out” we feel less alone and a whole lot more understood.

Ya with me?

This curiosity and desire in all of us provides a unique opportunity for therapists to not only market their practices, but serve their audience, by giving them something they want.

Self-tests.

Self tests are a series of questions an individual can answer on their own. When completed the self test provides results based on the answers provided and the topic of the test.

PERSONAL PROFILE

When you work with iTherapy you get your very own profile on our website.  By writing a short bio, tagging the services you provide, and linking your website you have the opportunity to be found by someone who hops onto our website looking for a therapist (don’t worry, we’ll help you set this up).

People should know about what you do, because what you do matters.

If you wish that telling people about what you do was a little easier, you’re in the right place! From providing everything you need to own and operate an online HIPPA compliant practice to giving you an official profile, simplifying your practice is what we do.

Ready for owning and operating your own practice to get easier? Book a call!

Self-tests: The unique and trendy link to serving your audience, growing your online therapy practice, and building your credibility.

Have you ever filled out one of those quizzes floating around on the internet? Like, “What’s your secret-sauce for marketing”, “What type of sleeper are you”…?

No?!

Well, then you’ve probably taken a personality test at some point or done one of those facebook things that tell you what celebrity you resemble or what you will look like in 30 years (why do we even click on that one?!).

You’ve done one of those right?!

These test are compelling and intriguing because there’s something in us that wants to be unraveled and demystified (at least to ourselves) and if a random internet test can “figure us out” we feel less alone and a whole lot more understood.

Ya with me?

This curiosity and desire in all of us provides a unique opportunity for therapists to not only market their practices, but serve their audience, by giving them something they want.

Self-tests.

Self tests are a series of questions an individual can answer on their own. When completed the self test provides results based on the answers provided and the topic of the test.

Following are two ways to grow your practice, build your credibility, and serve your audience by leveraging self-tests.

BLOG POSTS

What are you an expert at? What do you want to help people overcome most?

Write a blog post about the five most common symptoms or the three techniques that have helped your clients the most. Throughout the post and at the end link to the self-test most related to your post.

Three blog post topics we recommend:

  1. Common Symptoms
  2. Most Helpful (or time efficient) Techniques
  3. Recent Research

Close the post with an invitation to work with you. You can even say something like, “If you took the self-test, I would love to hear what your results were. Schedule a call here.”

Writing a blog post about a specific topic positions you as the expert. Leaving the link for a reader to test themselves will clarify for them whether or not they need help. Inviting them to work with you makes an easy transition; you’ve already established yourself as the expert, after assessing themselves with the test YOU provided – if they want help after all that you’re it!

Who else would they choose?!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Not only is social media where quizzes are hottest right now, but it’s also the place your blog post has the most opportunity to get viewed (if you know how to rock pinterest that’s good, too).

Write a post teasing the topic you want to feature with a self test. Invite the reader to take the test. At the end of the post slip in a few words about how you’re here to help. Or just share a snippet of your blog post and link to the post (afterall, you’ve spent a bunch of time crafting epic authority-building content).

Feel free to customize the following captions for your own social media post:

POST #1: Curiosity

Wonder if you’re [insert “depressed”, “anorexic”, “struggling with speech anxiety”…]?

End the fear-infusing “what ifs” and find out for yourself by answering these questions: [insert self-test link]

If you want to talk about your results or skip it all and talk to a real therapist get yourself on my calendar [insert link to your calendar].

POST #2: Authority

“For the next two weeks I want you to [insert what you would prescribe someone to do that is struggling with the self-test you want to feature].”

The next time we talked my client reported that they were [insert positive results that have been experienced from such a prescription/assignment].

Want to know if this assignment would work for you? Check out this quiz: [insert self-test link].

Remember, we want to be understood, even if that’s a computerized assessment that tells us we’re not the only one.

Here’s a list of self-tests you’re welcome to link to in your posts.

Whether linking self-tests in a facebook post or sharing them in an email newsletter you’re adding value to your audience, establishing yourself as an expert, and creating awareness of the services you provide!

Wanting more ways to simplify your practice?! We got you. Book a call here to see how we can help!

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Self-tests: The unique and trendy link to serving your audience, growing your online therapy practice, and building your credibility. Counselors

5 ways to stay personally and professionally engaged while running an online therapy practice

Running your own practice as an online therapist comes with its own set of challenges.

Sure you don’t have to choose between your love for therapy and love for your family (or travel) anymore, but it can get lonely.  Not only are you a therapist listening to others and helping them navigate their problems, you’re a business owner. Self-care takes on a whole new meaning.

We trust that you know how to take a day off and golf or get a pedicure, so instead of giving you a “pampering list” we’ve rounded up five effective ways to staying engaged and productive as a therapist who runs their own online practice for the long haul:  

SCHEDULE TIME FOR BEHIND THE SCENES TASKS

Filing, sending emails, staying on top of insurance (if you accept it), keeping up with your CEs can pile up. A lot of therapists have found that setting aside time to knock out these mundane tasks gives them peace of mind. Instead of trying to fit it in “here and there” you can have confidence knowing you’ve scheduled time to care for your business.

You might want to schedule this first thing every morning so that you know everything is taken care of before you get on your first call. You might be someone who wants to dedicate one afternoon a week to these tasks. Either way, your brain-space and self-care meter will thank you for SCHEDULING the admin time (or hiring a virtual assistant).

QUESTION: if I look at your calendar will I find dedicated time to the business-side of your practice?!

LEAVE BUMPER ROOM BETWEEN SESSIONS

Ever feel emotionally drained when you get to the end of your sessions?! Like making dinner is even too much to ask, forget helping your kids with homework?!

There’s nothing wrong with going from session to session to session. But making sure you end one session on time so you can start the next session on time can be emotionally draining. Scheduling bumper room between your sessions could be all it takes for you to get to the end of the day and with enough energy to be the family person you want to be.

Even if it’s just 15 minutes between sessions that would be enough for you to grab a cup of tea or move through three yoga poses. Space for you could even mean forward planning your sessions so you do all your session at the beginning of the day, and knock out some admin work before stepping back into your personal life. Space means different things for each person. You can do this!

Not only will your sanity benefit but so will the service and attention that you’ll be able to give your clients. Adding 15 minutes between sessions might feel like it’s gonna add up to a lot of the end of the day, but how would it feel to get to the end of the day and not feel miserable as you walk into your kitchen to make dinner?!

QUESTION: How can I schedule my calls so I’m able to show up to my personal life in a way that make me proud even after a long day of sessions?

SPEND TIME WITH LIKEMINDED PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO YOU

Let me guess, you work from home!  It’s great, isn’t it?! But it can also get VERY lonely – I know. Whether networking or scheduling a coffee date, it’s important to be intentional about spending time with like-minded people who are willing to listen. Consider booking a flight to visit a friend that really gets you or a scheduling a standing phone call to chat about life with someone you trust.

You spend most of your time listening to people. It’s okay – healthy even – for you to talk to someone who listens to you. That doesn’t mean you need to schedule a professional therapy session for yourself (although that might not be a bad idea), but it does mean you need to make sure you’re living your life, voicing to your feelings, and not losing your humanity to your work. Afterall, you’re a human serving humans!

QUESTION: Who do I (can I) talk to weekly just about life?

GIVE YOURSELF OFFICE HOURS

Ever feel like you’re eternally accessible?! You control that. Office hours are like boundaries in the relationship, while a lot of people think boundaries are for the people you’re in relationship with they’re really for YOU. To tell you when someone has gone too far or you’re giving too much. Boundaries are to help you protect what’s important to you.

If you feel drained by continually answering emails and picking up phone calls give yourself dedicated office hours. “Between this time and this time, on these days I can schedule calls. For this many hours a week I commit to knock out the admin side of my business.” Protect your business and your person life by establishing office hours.

You might make an exception now and again to schedule session outside of these hours, the hours might even shift week-to-week, but you’re giving yourself a structure to work within more often than not.  Sound good?!

QUESTION: What are my dedicated office hours?

SET UP A DESK FOR YOURSELF

A desk can mean a lot of things but at the end of the day is a designated space where you work. Somedays that looks like a coffee shop for me. Other days it’s my balcony. Some afternoons it’s the library. Once upon a time I even had a legit desk, no-clutter zone, lots of space, and a picture that made me smile.

I don’t think it was the space or location that made my work effective, but the mental dedication that space allowed me to enter into every time I sat down. When I show up to my desk (wherever it is) it’s to work – focus and work. Setting up a physical desk also provides a sense of official-ness and helps keep office hours (if you were inspired by the previous section).

QUESTION: Where is my designated work space?

Now that you made it to the end we’ve got two things for you:

1) We’d LOVE to hear where your designated work space is in the comments.

2) Did you know we’re in the business of simplifying the business-side of your practice?! Book yourself a call with us to see how much sanity we can save you by simplifying your practice with around the clock live support and easy streamlined payments!

Three things Therapists wish they had thought about before providing therapy to out-of-state or international clients.

You’ve spent hours with your client and they’ve covered a lot of ground.  Your client recently received a promotion and is now moving. Because they’re thankful for all you’ve done together and want to continue the work they ask if you can continue being their therapist via online sessions.

It’s an epic moment, right?!  Until you realize you don’t know what to say…  

Don’t worry, after extensive research we discovered what you need to check off your list when providing therapy online to out-of-state clients, overseas clients, and internationally.  We even snuck in a few bonus thoughts at the end!

One thing you don’t want to miss and will apply regardless of where you’re providing therapy: make sure you’re following the guidelines of your licensing board.  In other words, figure out what your licensing board guidelines are FIRST and give them the most weight!

Now that, that’s out of the way…

Providing therapy online in different states.

Let’s say you live in North Carolina, but you just moved from Virginia.  What’s gonna happen to all your clients?! You can refer them of course, but what if they want to keep working with you?  After all you’ve spent a lot of time building a relationship to get to where you are today.

You already have a license in Virginia, the state you originally practiced in.  So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Is the state your client resides in telehealth friendly?
  2. What are the state’s regulations for telehealth that you client resides in?
  3. What regulations does the state you reside in have?

As Roy Huggins of Person Centered Tech says:

When you work with a client in a foreign state, your work is in both that state and your state. The purpose of the licensing board(s) in the client’s state is to regulate who is working with that client (Can I Practice “Skype Therapy” Across State Lines?).

In other words, you need to make sure you’re practicing legally in both states that therapy is being provided to and from.

Providing therapy online to overseas clients.

Your current client, in the state you’re licensed in, is traveling and wants to continue sessions while abroad.  More often than not, you’re good to go (finally, a simple answer), but it can never hurt to check your state’s regulations!

You have a client living overseas, you’ve crossed all the “t”s and dotted all the “i”s to provide them therapy internationally, but they’re moving stateside.  You need to abide by the regulations of the state your client will be resident in – more often than not you’ll need to be licensed in that state (make sure that state is telehealth friendly).  If the state is not telehealth friendly it would be a good time to build your referral list.

Providing therapy online while living overseas.

You’re living overseas (gosh, I’m jealous) and want to provide therapy online, right?!  All I have to say is you’re one brave and dedicated therapist.

There’s three areas you’re going to want to check:

  1. The regulations where you are certified.
  2. The regulations where you are located (providing therapy from).
  3. The regulations where your client is located/resident.

You can do further research on this here.

Additional thoughts to consider…

  • Is the online platform you’re using HIPAA compliant?
  • Does your insurance cover practicing in other states and overseas?
  • If you’re sued by an international client have you taken legal actions to be protected?

Basically, every everything we talked about today boils down to: if you’re providing therapy to someone outside of your state or nation you’re technically providing therapy in two places and therefore need to meet the regulations of both locations.

If that sounds like a lot of work to you, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the business end of an online practice AND finding a HIPAA compliant video platform book a call with us.  Making YOUR practice simple is what we do!

The Best Kept Secret to Owning and Operating Your Online Therapy Practice Independently

You’re sitting in front of your computer screen after seven in-person counseling sessions.  You’re exhausted, but determined to get to the bottom of this starting-an-online-practice thing.

Your cursor blinks in the search bar…

Hold up!

Before you go to bed another hour later we’d like to invite you to a virtual work-with-us experience (your family, your clients, and your tomorrow-morning-self will thank you for reading this to the end!).

Go back to your cursor in the search bar and type: how to have a simple online therapy practice

iTherapy pops up.  You click it. Here’s a summary of what you’ll discover:

  1. DEMO
  2. LIVE TUTORIAL
  3. LIVE SUPPORT
  4. EMAIL UPDATES (so you don’t forget about any features or miss updates)
  5. MONTHLY PAYMENTS
  6. PROFILE

DEMO

Your experience with iTherapy will start with a video chat to briefly walk you through our features.  Two things you should know going in: 1) We’re question friendly – the more the better. 2) Because we want you to be able to choose the best package for your practice we’re gonna throw a lot of information at you.  Hence, question-friendly.

Brief demo overview:

  • HIPAA Compliant Online Counseling Platform
  • Online Scheduling Feature
  • Client Management and Notes
  • Secure Communications
  • Client Invoicing and Payment Procession
  • Electronic Insurance Claims Submissions
  • Personalized Form Creation and Storage

TUTORIAL

You loved the demo and selected your package.  Congrats! You’ll receive a link to schedule another video session to get all your log in set up and make sure you know how to navigate all the features (including entering insurance info, scheduling HIPAA compliant video sessions, and filing notes).  

SUPPORT

Ever sat on the phone with Customer Service?!  Eats up your time, doesn’t it?! Believe me, we know.  But we’ll sit on hold for you. That’s right, we provide 24/7 live support.  All you have to do is let us know what the challenge is. If we can’t fix it, we’ll get to the bottom of it for you!

EMAIL UPDATES

As a business owner who helps people we know there’s a lot on your mind, not to mention any of the hats you might wear like parent, spouse, daughter, friend… We get that it’s hard to keep up with all the updates and remember all the features at your disposal.  So each month we get all those updates and reminders into one quick and catchy email so you can stay at the top of your game in life and business.

ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT

Like we said, we know your brain is in a lot of places at once, the last thing you need is seven payments to have all the platforms you need to run a HIPAA compliant online practice.  So we’ll send you ONE monthly payment. Pay it and you’re good to go for EVERYTHING!

PROFILE

When you work with iTherapy you get your very own profile on our website.  By writing a short bio, tagging the services you provide, and linking your website you have the opportunity to be found by someone who hops onto our website looking for a therapist (don’t worry, we’ll help you set this up, too).

In summary:

iTherapy is the brainchild of Carol Pulley, a practicing therapist, and her husband Forrest Pulley with 20+ years of business experience, who saw a need for a one-stop shop to owning and operating an online therapy practice independently.   

All that to say, we’re not here to sign you up with HIPAA compliant platforms and turn you loose.  

We’re here to help you – answer your questions and provide live tech support – as you help others, we just happen to provide all the HIPAA compliant resources you need to run a successful online practice.  

CEO/Founder of Village Mindset, LLC, Katesha S. Broadus, LCSW, BC-TMH, said this about providing online counseling for her clients through iTherapy:

“When I found out about iTherapy I was a few days from launching my practice. I cancelled everything and switched to iTherapy, because of their inclusive virtual office package (phone, fax, email), business coaching, and online platform that supported family/group counseling sessions. Without a doubt, iTherapy was a one stop shop for all of my business needs.”

If you’re like “This is the kind of simple I was looking for,” get your online therapy practice started by scheduling your real-life demo TODAY!

Is Online Therapy a Good Fit for You?!

You’ve finally crept all the way out to the edge of the high diving board.  Your toes are wrapped around the final centimeters of the white sandpaper-y bendy piece of something.

“You’ve got this,” your mom calls from the other side of the pool, video camera poised.

“Common, you’ll love it,” your friend yells from below.

“Yes, but…” you adjust your goggles.

2 breathless seconds later you’re pushing hair and water away from your face frantically scanning for the nearest ladder.  You did it.

“I did it!”.  You beam at your friend, “Let’s do it again!”.

And just like that you did something new, grew in a new layer of confidence in your capabilities, and had a blast (if I do say so myself).  Tomorrow, you’ll be the friend yelling, “Common, it’ll be fun!”.

But, let’s rewind real quick, just seconds before you were unsure…scared…wishing you hadn’t made it all the way to the edge because then you’d be allowed to walk back down.  And in a fraction of a minute you became a believer, right?!

What flipped you from scared and unsure to confident and excited?!  Experience.

That’s it.

And, believe it or not, experience is often the deciding factor between whether or not online therapy is a good fit for therapists looking to build or scale their practice.

Sure online therapy has its share of scary moments, so does face-to-face therapy, and so does jumping off the high diving board.  But fear and uncertainty, don’t make face-to-face therapy ineffective or dangerous in itself, just like fear and uncertainty don’t make jumping of the high-diving board not-fun or dangerous.  It’s the same way with online therapy.

Here are the three areas we have seen EXPERIENCE make the biggest impact in whether or not online therapy is a good fit for you – yes, you!

BUSINESS

There’s this whole business side of things for online therapy that still have to happen, right?!  Like a place to keep all your client records, notes, billing, and scheduling. Having a reliable platform or system to process and store all this information is critical in you being fully present during sessions and online therapy being a successful experience for you and your client.

I mean, if you’re hosting a session, but subconsciously freaking out about all the details and admin stuff for the session….probably won’t be a great session.

This is kinda like the ladder and everything holding the diving board….structure first.  You gotta get up those stairs in order to jump. So, make sure they’re sturdy (shameless plug alert: serving you in such a way that you can focus on your clients is what makes us proud, so schedule a demo with us to see if we’re you’re missing link to a thriving online practice).

TECHNOLOGY

Now.  The. Tech.  Basically, anyone’s worst enemy unless you’re some tech genius, which might mean you should join our team.  Seriously though, how familiar are you with the platform you will be using to host your online session (also, is it HIPPA compliant)?  

Have you hosted a mock session?  Do you know what all the buttons are?  Do you know how to mute the other person – mute yourself, for that matter?  How is the audio on your device/microphone? Are you even comfortable with video chat?

In other words, do you know how to swim?  Swimming lessons generally (most definitely, should) come before jumping off a high diving board.  Being comfortable with video chats should definitely come before an online session.

Get good at video chats.  Get comfortable talking to your friends and having a genuine conversation via video.  You. Can. Do. This.

PEOPLE

How good are you at building rapport with people in general?  Most therapist are concerned about online therapy with the simple thought that they won’t be able to build rapport.  But, are you good at building rapport with your clients in a face-to-face session?  What if your experience building rapport with clients face-to-face is the very thing that gives you a leg up to building rapport with clients via an online session?!

Thought of that, yet?

The fact that you could swim meant you weren’t gonna die jumping off that board.  Okay, maybe you wouldn’t have liked it and never done it again, but you knew you would surface and swim to the edge.  All you had to do was jump. That single jump would rule out an experience for you or open a whole new thrilling world.

So, jump.  Give online therapy a chance.

Chances are, online therapy isn’t as scary as you think and it’s probably more of a fit than you ever imagined.  You just need to decide if you like “the thrill of falling through the air” or not.  So all I have left for you today is…

What if you jump and find that online therapy isn’t a fit?!  You tried it so you’ll never have to wonder, “Could I have made more impact and income with online therapy?”.  

What if you do jump and online therapy ends up being the link to you not having to choose between your love for therapy and your love for your kids EVER again?!

In other words, what if online therapy is a fit, but you never knew because you never jumped?!

P.S.  We get it, this whole jumping thing can be scary (even after our epic post) so if you have questions or you’re just ready to get started with someone you trust schedule a demo with us.  Helping people who help people is what we do!  Seriously, the demo is on us, so book it!

 

 

7 Tips to Build Rapport with Your Client via Online Therapy

Tell me if this sounds familiar:  

“I’ve never been super interested in offering online therapy sessions because I think you’d lose valuable information, such as body language, tone, and pacing.” Turns out, you’re not alone.  When we asked, “Why would you NOT want to offer online therapy sessions?” 15 out of 30 responses had to do with concerns related to challenges to building rapport with their client through online sessions.

Building rapport with your client via online sessions is a skill that can be developed.  The more comfortable a therapist is with the video platform, the more likely they will be to build rapport with their client.  So, ask a few colleagues to let you do a session with them as you get familiar with the platform.

In the meantime, here are 7 practical tips to build rapport with your client via video:

CREATE A THERAPEUTIC SPACE

Find a blank wall to stand in front of, make sure the fan is turned off, and adjust your lighting (pro tip: stand next to a window, there’s nothing better than natural lighting when you’re on camera).

MINIMIZE YOUR FACE

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but pose throughout my conversations when I can see myself in the video chat.  Minimize distractions by minimizing your face so that all your focus can be on your client!

WEAR HEADPHONES

Ever put your earbuds in when you really just wanted to escape the noise around you?!  Same idea. Minimize distractions and increase your focus by wearing earbuds during your sessions.  Not only do earbuds increase connection but they improve the clarity of your voice on the receiving end!

LEAVE SOME SHOULDER ROOM

I know we’ve been discussing how to create a better connection with your client via video sessions, however, no one wants you up in their face.  An easy way to make sure you’re not too close to the camera is to make sure you’ve got some shoulder room in the screen.  Sound good?

PRE-ACTIVITY DISCUSSION

I’ll admit it, there is some information lost on a video session.  For instance, if you’re writing notes about the session on a separate piece of paper your client might not understand why you’re looking down and to the side in the middle of a session.  So, just let them know at the beginning of the session, “If you see me looking down, I have my notepad right here, so that’s just me taking notes on our discussion.”

STRONG WIFI

Nothing is worse than a bad connection. Pre-scout wherever you’re gonna set up your tablet to make sure you have strong enough internet.

DISCUSS BACK UP PLAN

That being said, sometimes WIFI has a mind of its own even when you’ve scouted strong connections, so make a plan with your client about what you will do if you get disconnected: “If we get disconnected try to get back in.  If you can’t get back in is it okay if I call you?”.

We believe that online therapy is such a powerful tool to living life on your own terms and serving those who otherwise wouldn’t get treatment.  Here’s to you using these seven tips to give online therapy a chance or serve your current clients with MORE excellence!

If you’re interested in trying online therapy, but don’t know where to begin schedule a demo with us!

The Best Way for a Therapist to Get Their Blog Read

“So basically, you need to be an expert at SEO if you want your blog to be seen?” I interrupted.

“No, not exactly…” Marissa explained.

Oh good, I thought.  There’s hope for us: the writers, the therapists, the business people – the person just trying to get their stuff into the world to influence, impact, and inspire.

Lucky for us, Marissa went on to explain three ways to get your blog post seen (and, yes, SEO is included):

  1. Frequency
  2. Formatting
  3. Marketing (wish I could come up with a word for marketing that started with “f”)
social media marketing for therapists; establish yourself as an expert through blog posts

FREQUENCY

Turns out, frequency is not as important as consistency.  Marissa explained that it would be better to post once a week on the same day and the same time each week, than three times at random days and times.

Anyone else like, “I can sign up for one blog post each week on the same day and time?!”.

“Depending on where you’re at in your business depends how frequently you post,” Marissa elaborated.  “If you’re in the building phase of your practice, your visibility online needs to be weekly – same day, same time.”  

You should keep this up for a minimum of twelve months.  After you get to twelve months, you’ll have fifty-two blog posts.  Now you’re maintaining visibility so you can do bi monthly or monthly.  When you’re not introducing fresh content to your audience you can direct your audience to the previous content you created via push marketing (we will talk about at the end of this post).

FORMATTING

Formatting is a combination of font, emphasis, and images.  

You want your font to be a comfortable reading size, but more importantly, you want there to be sufficient space between lines, words, and in the margins so that the content doesn’t feel like a cramped textbook.  Think about creating a therapeutic environment for your text online.

With the speed of the internet we’re all culprits for scanning content.  Emphasis, whether that’s putting quotations in a box or italicizing sentences that you don’t want people to miss.  Taking the time to emphasize the sentences that carry a punch will dramatically increase how many people read and apply the content you’re giving them!

How many blog posts do you read that don’t have pictures?  Unless it’s some sort of research or business post, probably not many.  Images keep your readers attention and break up text in a similar way to adding emphasis.  We recommend 2-3 images for every 5000 characters.  

MARKETING

There’s push marketing, which is anytime you’re pushing your content into the world.  Think social media. And there’s pull marketing: SEO.

Choosing the best social media platform to be on comes down to knowing which platform your audience predominantly uses.  If you don’t know, no worries, facebook is still the most used social media platform, so you can’t go wrong starting there (while you’re at it steal these ideas for leveraging facebook).

Marissa was clear about the following two things when it came to leveraging social media:

  1. Join facebook groups that cater to your ideal clients; get busy encouraging and serving the members.
  2. Only start with ONE social media platform: Until you can track your conversions and have a solid social media strategy there’s no point in spreading yourself thin on more than one platform.  In other words: Before you add a platform get clear on how you’re converting clients, growing your audience, and increasing views on your current platform.

Pull marketing is when you’re attracting viewers by leveraging systems that are already in place.  SEO (search engine optimization) is the way google connects related information and generates results for what people search.   

“You don’t have to be an SEO guru,” Marissa was a welcomed voice a reason.  “There’s 10 MUST DOs for SEO just shoot for 5-7.”

Here’s a list you’re welcome to use for yourself:

  1. Do a keyword search
  2. Choose your post title well
  3. Include keywords in your url
  4. Use your image text
  5. Optimize your heading
  6. Use relevant internal links
  7. Write a meta description
  8. Link your post to old posts
  9. Choose tags and categories strategically
  10. Check for rich result in SERP (search engine results page)
social media marketing and increasing blog views for therapist.

Now, you have a choice:  You can be overwhelmed by all these techniques and not post until you can get them all right (which, let’s be real, might never happen), or you can choose one of these techniques and commit to sharing your wisdom in the off chance that it will fall into the hands of someone who desperately needs it.

Here’s what we recommend: Just pick one day of the week to post and what time of day you’re gonna share your wisdom with the world.  Commit to it for three months, six months, twelve months – whichever length of time you believe you’re capable of.  And gradually, you’ll find yourself adding formatting, push marketing, and pull marketing techniques.

Before you go, I want to leave you with this encouragement from Marissa:

As a therapist you are a professional at emotion and communication.  When you realize that you have all the skills you need to establish yourself as an expert, online blogging and social media marketing can go from something that’s really hard to something that’s really fun.

P.S. If you liked this post you’ll probably like “The most productive blog post a therapist can write…”. Feel free to connect directly with Marissa Lawton and take the survey to discover what your natural marketing style is!

How to write the most productive blog post as a therapist

Missing Out On Clients

If you don’t have these two things on your website you might be missing out on new clients.

Something awesome just happened. Wanna know what it is?!

Lucy was given a referral to five therapists and one of them is you!

She’s so excited about taking this step toward letting go of her past that she stops at a Starbucks on the way home. While she waits for her pumpkin spice latte she whips out her iPhone and googles each of the therapist.

Guess what pops up?!

That’s right: websites.

In your journey to build an online business you may have heard once or twice that you don’t NEED a website. Okay, they’re kinda right. But if you’re going to be receiving referrals YOU NEED A WEBSITE.

And not just any website. You need a website that sets you apart as THE therapist who can help Lucy walk into the next level of herself.

When creating a compelling website it’s easy to throw around words like “clean visuals” and “clear messaging,” but at the end of the day, every image and word on your website needs to do two things:

  • Eliminate distraction
  • Guide to a specific action

 

 

ELIMINATE DISTRACTION

Make sure your images match your words.
Images should match and amplify what you’re saying or add to the story. In other words, if you want to help women like Lucy overcome trauma don’t use a photo of yourself coaching a man. Use a photo where you’re compassionately listening to a young woman. Maybe you specifically work with women but can’t quite fit that into your tagline. So you add to the story by showing who you serve through the image you use.

Stick to a theme.
Whether words or images pick a theme and stick to it. If you want to use photos of yourself coaching others, use those on every page. If you want to show people living their best life in nature, do it.

But don’t use a cartoon character on the home page, a photo of yourself in a pretty building on your about page, and people on the top of a mountain on your “package description” page.

The same goes with the words you use. If you’re gonna use a playful voice on your home page don’t switch to a professional voice on your about page.

Remember, the images and words on your website are all about minimizing distraction and pointing your viewer to taking the action you want them to take.

GUIDE TO A SPECIFIC ACTION

Let your visuals inspire curiosity.
One of the most challenging things about creating a website that converts is that you only have a few seconds to captivate your audience’s attention. A simple question to ask yourself is, “What do I want my viewers to do when they see this page?”.

Let’s pretend you want them to actually READ your “about me” page. We suggest you use a photo of yourself doing something random; one that makes you feel inviting and relatable, but also begs the question, “What are they doing?”.

Our minds are wired for closure, meaning whether it’s a musical piece, puzzle, or story we want the ending. So, every visual you use should guide you viewer to take the action you want them to take, which ultimately completes the story they have found.

Let your words inspire action.
This is where I tell you to drop the poetic lines we assume taglines are made of. Get straight to the point.

When Lucy finally makes it to your website she only wants to know what’s in it for her.

Are you the right person to help her walk into this next season of her life?

So your website needs to simply and directly state who you serve and why you are perfect for them. You can say “I help trauma survivors walk in triumph.” Or you can suggest, like our featured professional Lyda: “It’s time to get unstuck.”

Simple and direct works because if you’re a survivor, you’re like, “That’s me and I want to walk in triumph, what’s next?” Lyda’s suggestion works because if you’re feeling stuck, you’re like, “Heck yes, when will our schedules fit.”

Want to SEE what we’re talking about?! Check out Amber Lyda’s website.

therapist dr. amber lyda

Here’s what you’ll see:

  1. The action Lyda wants you do take is “scheduling an appointment.”
  2. The photo shows she’s available to work with you on YOUR time.
  3. The pages are consistent with images of her working and give a sense of space.

We realize getting these words and visuals right isn’t easy. If you’re getting hung up by all the time and money this suggest we have two shortcuts for you.

  1. Therapists who work with iTherapy get a profile on our website. If anyone comes to our website looking for a Therapist you’ll show up. If you just need to get your web presence started now, we’re here for you. We’re even happy to help you set it up!
  2. iTherapy has partnered with Shire Digital Solutions to create websites for you complete with graphics and logos that eliminate distraction and guide your viewers to taking specific action to complete the story they have found.

Speaking of story…

When Lucy finally landed on your page she saw a photo of two women talking over cups of coffee and read the words:

You’ve lived from your past for long enough.
Get help clarifying what you want your life to look like
and start taking the steps to get there.

appointment website
Lucy thought, “Yes, I’m tired of my past guiding my life. I want to take the next step to a new life.” Before she finished her pumpkin spice latte she scheduled an appointment with you for next Monday.

Three secrets to fill your Online Therapy schedule in less than twelve months

“I was told that you couldn’t make real money if you had your own practice. Well, all I can say is, ‘I wish I had started my practice sooner.’ I’m earning the money I need, doing what I love, and running my own schedule, all because I started my own practice.”

As Carol and I talked I realized that while she took risks to build her own practice her risks were calculated. Her intentional decisions allowed her to start well and less than a year after opening her practice was already compiling a client waitlist.

If there was ever an epic start to a thriving online therapy practice it’s Carol’s. The best part is, she let me in on her secrets and I’m here to share them with you…

COACHES

Tell me if this sounds familiar: How will I find clients? How am I gonna be compliant? How do I deal with insurance? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, right?! Coaches give you a safe place to ask these questions AND find the answers. Not only is a coach someone who knows the way but they will also provide you with accountability and encouragement.

Carol had one coach who helped her navigate starting an online practice and another coach who helped her navigate the business/personal side of things. Now she works with iTherapy to handle payments, schedule compliant video sessions, and file client information.

CAREFUL SPENDING

Starting any practice means you have to face financial questions. Instead of getting paralyzed by the financial weight of starting a practice take a moment to answer these questions:

How much money do I NEED to live on?
How much money would I LIKE to make?
How much money do I WANT to save?

When you are able to break down the amounts into monthly and weekly figures you will be able to calculate how many clients you need in order to have a sustainable practice.

Carol was careful to point out that she didn’t pay for every single feature to get her practice off the ground. She spent what she had on exactly what she needed. As her practice grew she was able to add features to her business that made her practice more simple and streamlined.

CONNECT WITH LOCAL THERAPISTS

When Carol first mentioned this I was like, “Wait. What?! You’re starting an online practice, but you’re networking with local therapists.”

“Yes,” she said.

She explained that she was meeting with them for two reasons:

To ask about insurances they accepted and typically worked with.
To build a referral list.

Before she knew it she was getting referrals from the therapists she had met with. Now she is referring clients to them. Talk about a win-win!

Needless to say, starting your own practice is risky, but being intentional about the risks you take can lead to a thriving practice. Get yourself a coach or two where you can dump all your questions and create strategies to overcome your fears. Get clear on your financial goals and don’t spend more than you have. Get connected with local therapists and ask if you can add them to your referral list.

Before you go, I want to be the one who tells you, “You can totally earn money as a private therapist. And you are capable of starting your very own practice!”.

Let us know which tip you’re gonna do first, in the comments.

Also, later this month we will be talking about making sure your website content is on point so stick around!

Ten ways to double views on your Facebook posts

Have you ever used a ladle to flip pancakes?  Probably not. But if you had you would have realized that flipping pancakes with a ladle didn’t work so good.

In actuality you probably used the ladle to pour the pancake batter onto your pan and then flipped the pancakes with a spatula, right?!

Yeah, that’s how I make pancakes, too.

My point is, sometimes it’s not the tool we’re using that’s wrong, but the way we’re using the tool.  I think this is exactly what most of us do with Facebook.

Facebook is a powerful tool to connect with ideal clients and give your business visibility, but all too often we use the tool wrong.  And guess what?! We get “crickets.” And “crickets” are what make us want to throw in the towel on Facebook.

Facebook posts

Without further ado, here are 10 ways to use Facebook right and avoid the “crickets:

  1. Add photos.  Post with photos get 39% more interaction.  The two most popular photos are photos of yourself or epic eye-catching photos.  Check out pexel.com for free stock photos (because we want to be compliant with the photos we use AND in our business, right?!).
  2. Timing posts.  Posting when more people are on Facebook, means your post will show up higher in your audience’s feed. High times on Facebook are lunch hour and between 5 and 8 pm (if you’re audience is largely stay-at-home moms you’re gonna want to go for right-after-the-kids-leave-for-school).  I typically post between 6pm and 7pm; I find that 9pm is a good time for Instagram.
  3. Call to action.  All too often your posts disappear into cyberspace, not because they go unseen, but because no one knows what to do with your content.  So, tell your audience what you want them to do with your post. If you’re wracking your brain to come up with calls to action check out this post!
  4. Respond to comments.  Facebook ranks posts based on the amount of engagement they see on each post.  And they rank posts with comments even higher than posts with a lot of likes. Guess what?!  Your comments count too! Not only that, responding to each comment let’s your audience know that you’re there for them and you’re not just trying to be seen.
  5. Time your comments (this is not only my BEST KEPT SECRET, but my MOST REWARDING SECRET when it comes to Facebook marketing).  Respond to comments in intervals: 1-2 hours after posting, the following morning around 10am, and the rest of the comments between 6 and 8 the following evening.  Why?! Because, every time there is a comment Facebook puts your post higher in the feed. Facebook prioritizes your post with each comment! Getting the most life from your carefully crafted Facebook post can be as simple as timing when you respond to comments.
  6. Get social.  There’s a reason social media is called social media, but all too often businesses use social media as all-about-me media.  No one likes to talk to someone who only talks about themselves (unless of course you’re getting paid for it, like yourselves, *cough* therapists).  Before or after you share a post take five minutes to leave likes and comments on others’ posts. I do this by going to my last few posts, clicking on the people who engaged with my content and interacting with their content.  That way, I’m not only interacting with my audience, but building loyal followers. Also, don’t be afraid to hop into someone’s DM. If you see they asked a question or are thinking about something you’re an expert on message them and offer them a free ebook, 30 minute consultation, or just an opportunity to explore the topic more with you.
  7. Where to share your links.  Share your link as a comment to your post, not in the post itself.  Seriously?! Yes, seriously. Here’s why: First of all, your link will count as a comment – score!  Secondly, Facebook will be less likely to slow down your post. Facebook wants their audience to stay on facebook as long as possible, not get side-tracked to a different website by your link. Make sense? So, make your post a catchy sentence related to the value in your link or a quote from said link and drop a quick sentence about how the link to such-and-such is in the comments.
  8. Short posts (3-5 sentences).  Think about the posts you typically read.  Are they a few sentences or a few paragraphs?!  They’re probably only one sentence unless your best friend wrote it, right?!  So, a good rule of thumb to writing highly-read posts is: whatever can be read ABOVE the “read more” button, which is about 3-5 sentences WITHOUT “enters”.  When you go to write a short post, don’t make short be your goal.  Write your complete thought – it can be three paragraphs if you want.  Then, go through and highlight the epic sentences. Now ask yourself, “How can this post make sense with just the highlighted sentences?”.  After adding some transition words, a photo, and a call to action you should have 3-5 sentences!
  9. Mix it up.  Give some value.  Leave a gif that makes people laugh.  Share a video or blog post that inspired you.  Ask your audience to leave a photo in the comments of what they did this past weekend.  Share a client testimonial.
  10. Analytics.  I’m not exactly a numbers person, and chances are, since you’re a therapist, you aren’t either. But I’m gonna ask you to read this whole paragraph, because what I’m about to tell you is basically gold dust for the internet.  Knowing what is performing best on your page means you can create more of the best performing content.  Whenever you create new content, first click on your analytics and scroll through your feed with the single goal being: noticing of what your audience is engaging with most. Now you can do two things: a) create three posts that are similar to your best performing posts; b) re-share your best performing posts about 30 days later. Have you ever re-read a book or movie, just because you loved it?!  That’s what reposting a well-liked post is like to your Facebook audience.

Now that I just gave you 10 spatulas, figuratively speaking, for Facebook here’s what I’m gonna challenge you to do: pick 2 or 3 that you use.  I just don’t want to see you try to use all these tips and get burned out (can you imagine trying to flip pancakes with ten different spatulas?!  Some of the pancakes would get burnt as you tried to keep up). All of these tips will improve your facebook views, but if you do them all for a week and then fade out, you won’t see the results you were hoping for.

So, choose 2 or 3 and let us know which ones you chose in the comments!

How adding a “call to action” can increase your Facebook engagement and get you seen by more ideal clients.

 

If I could give you ONE tip that would help you increase engagement on Facebook, get your audience in the habit of clicking your links, AND open the door for you to invite ideal clients to work with you, would you stop everything you’re doing and give me a three minutes of your time?!

Okay, good.  Because that’s exactly what I’m going to give you. 

Have you closed your Facebook app, yet?  Because, here it is…

Add a call to action to all your posts.

As a counselor, life coach, or therapist you’re an influencer.  Especially if you choose to show up on social media.  You’re sharing a tip or trick to help your ideal client live from a place of freedom and confidence.

But all too often those posts disappear into cyberspace, don’t they?

Probably all because your audience didn’t know what to do with your post.

Should they like it? 

Leave a comment? 

Hold up, comment what? 

 

 

 

So next time you share that carefully crafted post of yours ask yourself, “What action do I want my audience to take?  Do I want them to “like” this photo, leave a comment, tell me how they’re gonna change, leave an emoji, grab my free ebook, ask me a question in my DMs?”.

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Here’s five call to actions you’re welcome to steal:

  • If you agree, give me a “thumbs up.”
  • Tag a bestie.
  • If you loved this, let me see you in the comments!
  • Wanting more on this thought?!  I created a whole ebook on this that you can get for FREE at the link in the comments…
  • If you’re with me on this leave “I choose joy” in the comments.

Okay, now you’re probably thinking, “Adding a call to action on each of my posts will make me feel WAY too sales-y.  I’ll just add a call to action on one or two posts a week.”.

I have three thoughts for you:

  1. Social Media is super fast paced.  Facebook posts have been known to reach between 16% and 2% of your audience, so it’s safe to say you won’t be spamming your audience with “call to action”s.
  2. You’re posting to help people make changes.  Great ideas don’t create change.  Acting on great ideas creates change. If your audience does not interact with your content they are less likely to experience change from your great idea. 
  3. Humans are creatures of habit.  At the end of the day, we buy from people we trust.  Every call to action is an opportunity to build not only engagement but also trust with your audience.  Before long they will be used to you asking them to take action on your posts, so when you have a offer you want them to click on, they’re much more likely to click.

I know I said the ONLY thing you needed to do was add a call to action to each of your posts, but I’m gonna add one thing: respond to all the comments.

 

See, Facebook algorithms prioritize posts with comments because it means users are spending more time on that post, so other people will want to see it.  Every comment you respond to, is another comment facebook sees.  Every comment you respond to, is another potential client that you make feel seen and heard.  Every comment you respond to, is one step closer to inviting someone to work with you and experience more freedom and confidence in their life.

In the end, adding a “call to action” increases engagement, increases your “click” rate, and increases your opportunity to offer your services, but my favorite part of a call to action is the possibility it has to help someone create change in their life. 

Okay, you can go back to your Facebook app now, especially if you make a post with a call to action, and tag us in the comments!

What’s your favorite call to action?  Let us know in the comments!