Starting Your Practice

Building Your One Page Private Practice Website

Watch the replay with Lindsey and Cory Miller as they walk you through creating a simple, impactful website for your private practice.

Lindsey and Cory use their combined expertise to help you:

Identify the key elements for your one-page websiteChoose from expert recommendations for website software, domain names, handling email, and morePut all of these components together so you can build your own one page website

Webinar Transcript

Speakers: Lindsey Miller, Cory Miller

Cory Miller 00:03Hey everybody, welcome back to another webinar. And today’s topic is building your one page practice website. Now we talked about one page for specific reasons, we’re going to get into all of that. But first, I want to introduce my guest expert I’ve had I have on the webinar, her name is Lindsey Miller. I’ll give her Give me a second Lindsey to introduce yourself and tell us more about what you do on on this webinar today, but I want to first thank ILC Integrative Life Center based in Nashville, Tennessee, a mental health treatment center in Nashville, awesome, awesome people. I think Lindsey even you work with them quite a bit, and a great, great center and a team there. And they are today’s sponsor for this webinar. So thank you for being here, too. Okay, so let and you can go to and learn more about ILC. So first and foremost, Lindsey, could you introduce yourself to the audience? And then I’ll do so as well.

Lindsey Miller 01:10Yeah, absolutely. So Hi, everyone. My name is Lindsey Miller. I’m the founder of content journey, which is why I’m here today so I can talk to you about content and websites. And that’s what I get to do in my everyday life. Fun fact, though, is this month, I will be graduating with my masters in clinical mental health. And will be sitting for the National OPC exam in the spring. So I have a little bit of a dual background and to be able to talk to anyone at and because I do have both perspectives. So thanks for having mehere. And I’m excited to be talking.

Cory Miller 01:46That’s exactly you, you’ve got a wealth of experience why we had you on asked to be on the this particular webinar, but we’re gonna have you on more, because you have one: extensive content marketing, digital marketing experience. And it’s what you do every day with, but also that you’re getting ready to start studying Well, you’re graduating this month, and you’re going to be studying for your exams and tests and things like that and so you represent part of our, our community here too, as far as a new clinician in the world.

Cory Miller 02:19So yeah, okay, well, Lindsey is going to be chiming in, I’m going to be asking her questions, because I want to leverage her expertise and experience. But here’s some of the outcomes from the building your one page, website, practice website, is, we want you to know what’s really important and why you should have a website. I’ve been doing Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Cory Miller. I’m the founder, co founder of prior to that, I had a software company for 10 years starting in 2008. In 2018, it was acquired software company, but really this, what I did in my past pertains what we’re talking about today, my company built products for a platform called WordPress. And you may be familiar with WordPress, it’s kind of known as a blogging software. But the big deal about it is it’s it powers one third of the Internet, and my company, my previous company, built products for it. So I’ve been doing web design, digital marketing for quite a long time. And I’m really excited to share some insights of my own too as well as Lindsey’s and help you make progress on establish, establishing your website. So, you know, we want you to know, what are the purposes and goals really of the website?

Cory Miller 03:31We’ve been thinking through Lindsey and I and our team at and thinking about, okay, how do we help clinicians, counselors, therapists get a plant their flag on, you know, on the web. And as I’ve worked with counselors over the last year or so, one of the, we realized, we, I want people like you, Lindsey, for instance, your little unique in that you’ve got both this online experience, and you’re becoming a therapist. But for most, we want you to be able to, you know, focus on your practice on your what the work you do with your clients, and not have to have all these irritations known as technology or marketing, things like that. So we put this together to help you get started. So we want you to have just that, that’s number two there and then have confidence in what you’re buying and building along the way. And so one page website is really about just getting a flag planted on the web, but we’re gonna give you some tips and recommendations that’ll be a start, and that you can grow from too. So I have this mantra you’ve heard this a lot, Lindsey is Don’t you know, how do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time: that’s not mine. It’s something I adhere to a mantra of my life. And that’s really the principle here. Lindsey, you know, in built in starting with just a one page website. I think actually, we get some questions in before this is why not just a website, you know, and as you and I talked in preparation for this, it was okay, plant a flag in a one page website. Go Make it a very easy bite for you, for clinicians to make.

Lindsey Miller 05:06Yeah, absolutely. There’s always like going up from there. You know, even for It’s mainly a one page site. But it does everything I needed to do. It speaks to my potential clients, and it does a really great job. And maybe I’ll build it out further. I do have a blog, and I do have a contact. But mostly it’s, it’s everything’s on one page. And I like that it’s streamlined, it makes it easy for people to understand what I’m offering and why I’m offering it. And so I think that can apply across other industries as well, like for counselors or other clinicians.

Cory Miller 05:40What a great case study. I mean, you’re a service based company, you offer content marketing, meaning blog posts, and ebooks and things like that for your clients. But even as your business, you’ve got a great business there. You’re saying, like, you just need one page to basically showcase what you’re trying to do. That’s a great example for our therapists today, because a lot of the tenants will see can be reflected on the homepage.

Lindsey Miller 06:06Yeah,for sure.

Cory Miller 06:09Well, let’s dive in. And as always, every webinar we do live event we do at We want to make sure this is highly practical, number one and two interactive. So if you have questions, please post those in the QA button right below the video where you’re seeing our screen share and our pictures, and we’re here for you or use the chat. We’ll be watching that as we go.

Cory Miller 06:30Okay, so step one is, this is where we start. Lindsey, you know, I know you work with your clients extensively about, hopefully, they’ve got the website kind of under, you know, this purpose statement. But I know you say, Okay, what do you want your content to do? And you help lead and guide them too but when we’re talking about therapists, this is a this is a key question. What do you want your website to do for you? Because we believe it should work for you and your practice.

Lindsey Miller 06:59Absolutely. I think that there’s like this idea where a website’s just sitting out there, and what is it doing? And I know that you’ve started doing this with people, AllCounselors and talking about it, but like, setting up appointments, handling payments, like there’s something else that can be done with that website. So is it really just a resume and a business card? Or is it something that can actually be, you know, more integrated and useful? So aren’t? Do you want to set up meetings from there or schedules from there? Or take payments? And if no, is the answer, that’s okay, too. But that’s why you come back to this core question of like, what do you actually want your website to do for you?

Cory Miller 07:41And I think that’s key because like, if we use content journey as a parallel, is that like, that’s your number one, I would guess your number one sales mechanism, the way you help pull clients in to what you’re doing, showcase what you do and sell. So I mean, it’s pretty vital to kind of step back, and but I know you do a lot of referral base, which is very parallel to what I’ve heard from therapists and counselors. But it’s, it’s your main marketing vehicle.

Lindsey Miller 08:10Absolutely. I mean, I want somebody cuz you’re right, we do get most of our clients through referral basis. But I think that typically, when someone’s referred to us, they say, go to, and then call Lindsey or email Lindsey, it really always does start with that website. And you can schedule a meeting from there, you can also go ahead and like make purchases. So kind of similar to what you would do, even as a therapist, like, I schedule a call or schedule a session. But I still feel like that’s the first place people start. Are they going to like me? Are they going to like what I have to say? And are they going to make that next step to actually contact me?

Cory Miller 08:49Yep. Oh, this is so good. I don’t want to steal her Thunder here. But, you know, I didn’t even think about how good that particular example would be for for this, but Okay, so let’s talk about what we believe the purpose and goals of a website should be. So, you know, we were talking about a one page website, some of you might already have websites out there. So we’re trying to get those that have not started a website started. But the principles you’re gonna see can be grown from not just a one page, but to a multiple page or site, you know, a bigger site kind of in question.

Cory Miller 09:23But when I think about one page website and thought about this for you all at allcounselors, it’s, it’s a one pager, which is just a starter flag to plant on the web. But it’s probably what I typically think about and I think you do, too, Lindsey is a brochure or bizcard kind of site, just to get you started. Like, I don’t want you to do too much that you know, isn’t needed. I want you to get the bare essentials, but it should serve every website. Lindsey should serve a purpose for the business or organization that involves that that’s not always the case. We see a lot of people just wanting, you know, to build beautiful, like, beautifully designed websites. And really you’re like, what’s, what’s the point of this? I know from your work, like everything you do, like a blog post, for instance, has a, what’s called a call to action. You know, we think of that at the same as you know, a one page website should have a purpose and goal. But also, can you talk a little bit about the home base of all of your marketing efforts?

Lindsey Miller 10:27Yeah, so one other thing, too, is I think that whenever you’re figuring out your purpose, and your goals of your website, there’s also this pressure to say, like, I love x psi, and it may be 15 pages, and then you like, never get the website launched, because you’re like, I have to create 15 pages here has to be perfect. And it has to be huge. And so I think that we need to like really lean into that fact that the reason there’s a one page site is because it is easy. You don’t have to have 15 pages, you don’t have to compete with I don’t know Psychology Today, or some you don’t have to do that you really can start out really simply. And I do think it is home base for all marketing efforts. Because you see people that have really robust social media following followings. They’re in a Facebook group, maybe they’re on Instagram, there’s some really cool people doing therapy work through Instagram right now. But if you look like there’s one notes from your therapist, so that’s a an account that I follow on Instagram, it’s really cool. And so this person is writing notes, they take these awesome pictures they put on Instagram, but there’s no link back to the website, like for Instagram, in general, doesn’t do that super well, because they want you to build their platform, they don’t want you to take people off of Instagram to your site, which is really what you want. You want everything to have go to your website, because you control the message, you control the journey, you’re asking people exactly what you want from them to call email, schedule a session, whatever that happens to be. But if it’s on Facebook, or Instagram, you’re just building Facebook and Instagram, you’re not building your brand. And so the website really is the core of everything.

Cory Miller 12:08It’s it’s we talk about this a lot specially in digital marketing and online work is the difference between owning and renting. Can you unpack that? Because one thing we didn’t we didn’t talk about ahead of time. But really like, know, somebody might be asking today, why should not just have a Facebook page is my online presence. And I mean, you’re you’re hinting at that. But could you share a little bit about the difference between owning and renting?

Lindsey Miller 12:32Absolutely. So you know, I do content marketing. And so everything is about owning the content. So for example, if I’m writing about specific modality or something along those lines, there are people out there that are paying for advertising for that same modality. So if I would do brain spotting in my practice, for example, and so I’m talking about that on my website, because I want people who are interested in that, and I am an expert in it, and I actually but I’m, you know, qualified to do it. So here’s the thing, well, then there’s people who are buying ads against the same things I’m writing for. So what that means is when they buy those ads, then they could get some of that traffic that I’m writing for The best thing is, is when they run out of money, or if people will rather read some great quality content, I win that and I own that, and one piece of content or a really well done website can actually outperform some of those ads for a longer period of time. So you spend effort on it once. And you may rank on the first page of Google for years to come for that piece of content. So you pay for it one time, that’s kind of the buying and versus renting.

Cory Miller 13:45Well, and also the renting side is so if you’re only on social media, and that’s your web presence, your at the whims of a Facebook, Twitter link, right? And whatever social media, but if you have your website, you own the domain, and your website and all of that. And we’re going to get into all of that in a second. But that’s why it’s important. And I think the difference between it’s we’re not saying that you shouldn’t have social accounts, but we’re saying it’s the hub and spoke model. So well, if

Lindsey Miller 14:15if everything’s built on Facebook, and Facebook goes down, then you lose all of your potential referrals overnight and you can’t do anything about it.

Cory Miller 14:22Yeah. Or they change on a whim which they do. You’re, you’re at their you’re at their whims. But the hub and spoke model is to have the center be point back, just like you said, with Instagram, you’re doing this great built this great presence, but they’re not pointing back to the hub. It’s important to have that spoke for instance, that person’s probably got a great presence there. But it needs to point back to your point to the hub, which which is your website.

Lindsey Miller 14:49Right? Well, if anyone here follows integrative Life Center on Facebook, they do this as a really great example. So every single time that they post about something at ILC on Facebook, there’s always a link that goes back to the website. So they may very well, you know, be saying something, but they’re not really giving you all the information on Facebook, because don’t really want you to stay there, they want you to go back to the website. So if you’re not following them on Facebook, go ahead and go like them. And watch how their content is ran.

Cory Miller 15:20Yeah, so the spoke over here on facebook facebook page pointing back, but engaging people there too. Yeah. Okay, of course. Right. So that’s the purpose and the goals that we wanted to kind of share with you and lead and guide you. So you don’t have to make this up from the start, we want to give you our guidance for you as you start to build your web hub.

Cory Miller 15:39So next part is let’s talk to the key elements of the website. And by the way, there’s many of you are came to, to get exactly this, I’d invite you to pull up like Microsoft Word or a document or something and start writing down some notes about your website. Now let’s get started. This is this is part of the practical side, we want you to okay intro put intros at the first and start typing, you know, some thoughts there maybe an outline. But the key in the key elements of a website, the one page website, and this is specifically thought through for therapists, clinicians, counselors, is you know, when you go to the website, the one page, you know, the first is an introduction to who you are, and your practice. So once your practice name is probably, you know, somewhere off the top of the left side. But, you know, we were talking before, in preparation for this Lindsey that, you know, it needs to include likely a prominent picture of you as the therapist like, you know, if you’re going to share the vulnerable things in your life with someone else, you probably want to know, you know how to recognize them in the crowd, for instance. And so you know, that top section is a great place to showcase your photo, as well as Hi, my name is Sally. And I do this in in the world. So when we get into the key elements, we’re talking about the nuts and bolts, and this is where your outline can be really and we start to type, Okay, first part, you know, the header section of website, this top part showcases maybe says your name, and it might not even have what’s called a navigation or menu side that you see on many websites. one page is designed to like everything on one page. And we tried to boil this down to the keys that we’ve seen across many looking at many websites for therapists and helping therapists to do this. So the first key element is just, hey, they’re coming to know who’s the therapist on the other side of the website, right Lindsey?

Lindsey Miller 17:35Yeah, absolutely. And I think anybody like this feels like a no brainer. If you’re a clinician, right. It’s like sometimes people feel nervous about coming into your office. And so if you’re able to show your picture and help them feel more comfortable before they ever even make that appointment or come in to see you, then like that relationship has already begun in some ways. So it’s all about especially for this niche is helping them feel comfortable with you before they ever make a phone call.

Cory Miller 18:05So by the way, so you’re like hey, I don’t really have a nice headshot right now. So if you have an iPhone or smartphone like an Android, those typically have really really good cameras in them now, then one way to do that and this is a sidebar for you all kind of a bonus but one way to get a headshot especially in the era of COVID that we’re under right now. Make sure you’re well lit maybe you know dress up a little bit as you would be if someone walked in the door because you want them to to know the expectations like okay, this is probably what Lindsey’s gonna look like when I come in, you know the door or see her on zoom or some telehealth video option. Get outside in natural environment where the clothing that you’re probably going to be wearing is similar to what you would be on a normal day. Make sure the sun is hitting your face and filling up your facial features. So there’s not like a dark side there’s a window right here so it hits natural light here but also have you can’t see it ring light coming over here to make sure my face looks pretty good next day probably a little darker a turn my ring light on

Lindsey Miller 19:06I don’t have that that’s why my face is half and half.

Cory Miller 19:09So get maybe not not high noon but somewhere where you’re not like looking directly in the sun but you’re well lit naturally lit and have your partner spouse or friend you know take some pictures and get you laughing get you smiling and things like that. And make sure there’s green space behind you or something you know, and or maybe it’s at your desk you know, or where you would be sitting in your therapy office and take a bunch of photos and be relaxed and then crop those for your website and there’s some little tips to get a profile picture that works you know it’s not necessary taking a selfie. But you can do these things and don’t you know make sure the phone I’ll show you make sure the phone is not here you don’t want to go up you know you don’t want to see from it. For instance me Here You want to get the photo more kind of like this and as relaxed as possible. So don’t take the first three shots you do cuz you’re probably going to be tense and a little feel a little artificial in your smile, get relaxed, have the person start talking to you and get you in your element. Like right there, Lindsey, I could have taken a picture of you and go Okay, that’s more, you know, you know. So there’s,

Lindsey Miller 20:21let’s go back to the website.

Cory Miller 20:22Well, this is important, because I mean, you need to have a good photo on your website, we’ve been across a lot of counselors, websites that don’t have good photos of themselves, or it’s maybe an ancient photo, you know. So, okay. Intro you and your practice. You mentioned to Lindsey like, also what the building looks like, also, what your inside of your office looks like, in preparation for this, and I think those are key to to be able to show. Okay, somewhere on your website.

Lindsey Miller 20:51Yeah, I agree.

Cory Miller 20:52Okay, because of your background stuff. Can you talk a little bit Lindsey about who you help and what you offer?

Lindsey Miller 20:59Yeah, so

Lindsey Miller 20:59I think that, um, sometimes we definitely as like clinicians get into, we can, we can use acronyms. And I think that whenever you’re writing your content for your site, you really need to, like, explain things and not say EMDR, like, not, not necessarily, right. And really make it so that anyone can understand what is on your site, make sure it’s easily read that, you know, I think when we get to writing, sometimes we want to use big words, I want people to see that we’re really, really smart. But the truth is, we want to make it like at a lower reading level so that anyone can access it and not feel like we’re out of touch or out of reach. And so when you’re talking, you know, go ahead and put it exactly on there like who it is that you help. And what you offer. Are there specific groups of people? Are there specific you know, things that you’re helping, so is it are you LGBTQ plus, is it trauma focused or like, what is it that defines you? And who are your ideal people that you’re working with? And that just helps people self selected? So they say, Oh, yeah, I want to talk to this Cory Miller person. Oh, and look, he says he specializes in grief. And so you know, and then they automatically look okay, this could be a person that I want to talk with. Because that’s, that’s the thing that I want to come in and talk about. And so whenever you, you probably have these identified in your head already. And it’s okay to put it it okay to put it on your site. And you should, but just whenever you do make it so that anyone can understand it. Does that make sense Cory?

Cory Miller 22:39Yes? Yeah. Like as not the clinician here, you know, I, I know what EMDR is, for instance, but not everybody knows the jargon, you know, these names that you spent years practicing and training for, but think about your client, in this scenario, who you help says, Okay, I work exclusively with adolescents, for instance, you know, or these age frames, or couples. And then the what you offer is to, you know, be really careful, I see a lot of the profiles, for instance, on Psychology Today, and they’re like, well, they have all these modalities. Now, someone could be searching for those. But for the person that ends up on your website, they may not let’s say, they don’t know what an EMDR is, maybe you list it. So those that know what it is go Yes, I’m like, I’m, I’m where I need to be. But say this is kind of what that is. So people understand that’s a part of your approach to therapy. And from a marketing standpoint, I’ll say that’s great to put on a website, you got to put it, you got to translate it for those of us that haven’t been to the years and hours of training that you have.

Cory Miller 23:47Now, this is a key one, Lindsey, because I know most of for instance, you drove almost all of your client interactions, prospective prospects to through a simple contact form. We highly urge you don’t just put your email address. That’s spammers know how to harvest that and put you on the spam list. And also, it’s just not as easy. Someone has to click on that. And maybe it fires up their phone. Like for instance, I’m on an apple laptop. And I don’t use Apple Mail. For my stuff. I use Gmail. So if I click that, it always fires because I don’t have a setup, right? Probably. But it always fires by Apple Mail, much rather do a contact form. Now, Lindsey, could you walk that through for just a second for people a contact form on your website?

Lindsey Miller 24:30Yeah, I mean, I think everything comes down to making it easy for your users to do whatever it is you’re wanting them to do. Like that’s kind of sounds like a complicated answer, but like, is it contacting you? Is it booking an appointment? Is it downloading something that you’re offering, and so you got to make it easy to do. So the contact form is, you know, like we said about It is a single page website, but we have a separate we have a contact form on the main page. We have a separate Page, that’s just the contact form. And then we have a blog, which kind of keeps this like new and fresh content coming. But really the main of this is the one page site. And we make it really easy. Like there’s several different buttons where it’s like, call me call me call me book an appointment, or email me. And so we just make that like in front of everyone, because that’s really what I want them to do. I want them to come to the site, I want them to like what I have to say, and I want them to contact me in whatever way they’re comfortable contacting me.

Cory Miller 25:29And, and so you know, we have a bonus here, it’s book an appointment online, you mentioned content journey, for instance. I mean, that’s part of your call to action and go on purpose, you know that if somebody contacts you through your contact form, you can reply back. But you really would love to get on the zoom call with them, and be able to walk through stuff. And that might be similar for your practice. So the bonus we put here is book an appointment online. And I know there’s software out there that you might be using for your telehealth remote therapy work in the era of COVID. That might help you with the booking software. But one of the we can talk about this in recommendations next, but is calendly. And I’ll put a link to that in the chat, depending on what video service you’re using. But I’ll tell you if you’re not using a video service, and you just want an easy way to save the back and forth from clients of figuring out what the time is, for instance, my counselor, it’s every time we meet, it’s like okay, when do you want to meet next? And I’ll go, Well, what do you have open next Monday and he’ll go, Okay, I’ve got 9, 10, 11, you know, or something like that. And I have to go to my callin and go, do I have 9, 10 and 11 open. This is self service. This is like a concierge using a service like calendly. And I’ll put that in the chat right now allows people it hooks into your calendar, but allows you to have a link so somebody can self serve and find it appropriate time for them, and book it instantly. So you save that back and forth. I remember the first time I’ve had my I’ve my current counselor, I’ve been working with him for about a year now. And I remember the first time we’re going back a couple emails about you know, what are the what are the openings and stuff? I’ll tell you we’ve talked to therapists specifically said this was the biggest time saver in their practice is just using something to book their appointments. Some telehealth services will integrate also like their video option, you can integrate the video option into a service like calendly. Like for instance, I use calendly. And we use it at And it books, it automatically gets me a zoom meeting and does the calendar and all that stuff. It’s beautiful, because I never have to do that back and forth anymore. So that’s the last little bonus that we had too Lindsey. But any other thoughts or ideas for the one the key elements of a one page website?

Lindsey Miller 27:49Yeah, I just want to like give one more example of the calendly thing because I think it makes people really nervous not to like continue down it because I think that we’ve you know, showcased it already. But it reminds me of so my mom’s a naturopathic doctor. And when COVID hit, she had to try to transfer everything to her own form of telehealth, instead of in person and so we meet like got is her domain, you go on, you can book an appointment, and it goes into calendly. And she has three different locations. Now she exclusively uses that even for in person people. She’s constantly just sending people her booking link, they make their own appointment, it’s kept up to date with her calendar, and it has made her so happy. So anyway, this is definitely a good useful tool. Oh, Cory, you’re muted.

Cory Miller 28:42I’ll give you real quick. I’ll show you. So let’s say I go this is self service. I’ve gone to let’s say you’re on my calendar, but you go 15 Okay, okay, Tuesday, then I see the available appointment times. And I can pick, you know, right there. And then you go through the confirmation process for for your clients. They see something similar to this with calendly. Yeah. All right.

Cory Miller 29:04Next is recommendations. And we’ve got we’re saving times for QA and sheraz I believe is your name you’ve got questions here. I want to answer those really soon. Like, how does one get a domain in fact, we’re going to share that right here. But if you have questions, queue those up right now go ahead and post those in the q&a time Lindsey you’re going to be and I are going to be here until the top of the hour to help answer those questions and walk you through those. So at all counselors in my background specifically, we love WordPress. WordPress is open source software again, it powers about one third of the internet most so one third one out of every three sites you go to probably has some version of WordPress on the site using the site but for domain names, okay, so we want to make sure you don’t just rush out and buy something real quick. please email us hit our contact form and all counselors would love to help you walk this through, I don’t want you to do something and get into like non ultimate good long term thing. But for domain names, specifically to your question sheraz is is the number one or the top, you know, domain name registrar in the world. And also you can use Now, I’m going to suggest, because you can also get web hosting. And that’s part of our recommendations today. So domain names, you can go to GoDaddy or, web hosting and web builder. GoDaddy does this too. And I’ll pull this up in a second and show you some other WordPress specific hosting. So domain name is like your PO Box, it points to where your server is, and GoDaddy, or and these others, they do the web hosting. But they also have software that’s called like website builders. Squarespace in particular has, it’s all in one, you can get your domain name, you can build your website, and it does hosting, all in one for one price and all together. Now, so we want to, we want to show that there’s a couple here, GoDaddy,, and Lindsey and I’s background is all WordPress. But these are great platforms too. So we want you to just give you options that are good, and allow you to pick with some of the guidance we’ve offered here. Do you have any comments on domains or web hosting? Lindsey?

Lindsey Miller 31:28No, not really, I think it can get really complicated. And once you have your site out for a couple of years, if you’re ready to like go bigger, or you have a lot of traffic and you need something else, then like maybe our recommendations would be a little bit different. But since we’re trying to stay very close to this is, you know, a startup website, for counselors who haven’t really done this before. This is probably where we would land. If you happen to be listening to this and you’re like, Okay, but I have you know, several 1000 people who are visiting my my website already, then, you know, hit up the contact form on and the recommendations may be different.

Cory Miller 32:08Good point. Okay, so domain names, I hope we’ve kind of run through that. But domain names. That’s where it points to your server where your website is actually like the HTML and the CSS, the code and all the things that run your website that’s mostly there, right. So domain names point to the hosting, which is like GoDaddy or Squarespace.

Cory Miller 32:27The next I’ll tell you, this is some something I see time and time again for and frankly, my counselor has this, I think your you told me yours does, too, Lindsey, is using like hotmail for their email, or even the non the Gmail. So it’s like kind of thing. And I’ll tell you this is this is one way you can just showcase your professionalism to is by going ahead and getting an email professional email software with your domain name. And you can do that through the two I’d recommend. It depends on your familiarity. But Google workspace used to be called G Suite. But basically what that means is, it’s Gmail for your domain name, you can use the Gmail email software, with your domain name so, for instance, we use G Suite or Now Google workspace, I’ve given a link there for that. The other is, depending on where you’ve worked, maybe you’ve been an agency or whatever, and you’ve worked and you’ve got you use Outlook, for instance, use the one you’re most familiar with. But our our recommendation is use your branded domain name instead of a Gmail or an, or You know, thing, you’re going to have to pay a little bit for that. But there’s benefits to having either Gmail or, or I’m sorry, workspace or Microsoft Outlook. And that is you get all of their you get storage. And you get access to apps and things like that, like Google Docs, and Google Sheets, Google Slides, which is what I’m using here, actually. Or if you’re if you like Microsoft products, you can buy the office suite. And by the way, GoDaddy has some of those options with some of their packages where you can get that with your domain name and make it like the easy button. Any thoughts on email before I go on to the bonus, that is really your specialty? Yeah,

Lindsey Miller 34:17just that you said that it can cost you a little bit of money. He literally means like a little bit of money, it can be as cheap as five to $10 a month to get that professional email. So there really isn’t an excuse not to go ahead and do it. And do you want me to start the bonus? material? So yeah, get it get a Google My Business profile, especially when we’re talking about location specific services, like a counselor who is in Phoenix, Arizona, and really only seen people in Phoenix, Arizona, they should have a Google My Business profile so that when people are getting on Google and looking for therapy that they find you easily. This is also a place where people can leave reviews, there can be more Photos if someone’s like that, what does that building look like again, that is the place that everyone is looking for. And so for all of my clients that we do content marketing for, basically at the if they are location specific service, we are doing a Google My Business profile. Oh, let’s see Cory’s gonna show us one location pack.

Cory Miller 35:25So yeah, here we go a little bit ago, this is what Google My Business is, is basically I just googled therapist, I could do this the same for plumber, right? Mm hmm. And so you get this right here. So the same is this is a free service. And like Lindsey said, she uses this one all of her clients, this is this is totally free. And you’d be amazed how much leads clients you can get from this. So to your point, Lindsey, do this, it’s free, and it’s really easy. gonna wait a couple days to get in now and get the card and start doing your profile. And if there’s interest from our community, we’ll come back and ask Lindsey to come back and talk more about Google My Business. But there’s why it’s key. Now in this, you look at the profile. And just like I think you were saying Lindsey is like, okay, I can go to their website right here, you know, and see who they are.

Lindsey Miller 36:22You’re gonna read reviews, all that. So that’s another aspect right is get in there and have some of your clients who feel comfortable because their names do show up, and leaving a review for your services so that other people can also get a feel for you and the services that you provide.

Cory Miller 36:38Google My Business is, again, here’s the hub, your website, your one page website, the spoke is one of the spokes is Google My Business now. There, they find you From here, you want to point back to this nice site that you built that showcases your, it gives you more freedom and flexibility, and also all your eggs aren’t just in Google My Business. Okay, thanks, Lindsey. If you do have any questions about that, please post those and the q&a button right below our video here. And we’d love to help you.

Cory Miller 37:06Okay, so that we’ve tried to give you a primer on building your first website, building a one page website, something also you can grow. Now I kind of highlight WordPress the reason why we say WordPress is just like you were talking about with your business content journey. You can have a one page website in WordPress, highly recommend you go with one of the good WordPress hosts. GoDaddy is great one they partner with us on other projects. And we actually know people at GoDaddy and work with them. WordPress people specifically. But with WordPress, one reason to go there is simple. You start out with a one page and you can grow that website. So you decided I need something else. I need a blog. Well, that’s pretty much built in with the themes that WordPress and before I go on, I should probably show them Linds, the GoDaddy, let’s see here, let me pull it over to my site, I was going to show some of the free what’s called themes that GoDaddy has, again, I want you to pick what works for you best, but part of their package and I’ll put this link here in the chat is, if you buy one of their WordPress hosting packages, which I believe start at $6, you get these simple, but elegant and beautiful designs. So you can you can customize to your own liking. Maybe that’s not the best one. Here’s one.

Lindsey Miller 38:27Yeah, that’s the one I think I pulled up earlier when we’re talking.

Cory Miller 38:30So maybe this says Lindsey, and then hey, I’m here to help you. This is contact now see that just have a contact button, you have some photos, maybe this is modalities or who you help things like this, maybe you’ve got testimonials down here and the like so I just wanted to show you real quick this is a real fast and dirty to just like there’s really good base themes, starter themes that you can use in your website that you don’t have to pay 1000s of dollars to a web designer to do.

Cory Miller 39:02Okay, so we’ve got some homework for you. So what I highly suggest what we started with a beginning is hopefully you’ve got that you know you’ve got some kind of text document open you got Microsoft Word often or Apple pages whenever you use and you’re starting to write down you’re going okay, what’s my intro section introduction section my about me, how am I going to talk about myself get next session bold it and then put some outline points is what who do I work with? I work with adolescents or couples or whatever that is, and then my modalities and explain this a little bit. What are the specialties I do? And then just start that that’s your homework. In most every webinar, we’re going to do it at all counselors calm, we’re going to give you a little bit of homework. And it’s not really to just throw stuff on your plate. It’s to help you take action to make progress to get your website going to help get you clients and getting more clients that you help on their healing journey in the world. Any any parting thoughts before we open open it up for q&a. Lindsey?

Lindsey Miller 40:04No, just that it’s not, it’s not as scary as you may think it is. And it’s okay. And these some of these, like starting places really do help you get a good like foot in the door, so to speak, so that you aren’t starting from scratch.

Cory Miller 40:20That’s great.

Cory Miller 40:22Okay, so please post your questions in the q&a or the chat here. We want to help you make progress in this way we do that as you ask a question. We help you give guidance to take those key next steps. There’s already been some questions through and we’ll allow Lindsey some time to answer some of those and me as well. But while you’re doing that, I want you to know is here for you, we have a free membership, you go to And or just go to and click the big blue button that says join, join for free, it’s no strings attached membership. But you have access to our upcoming members, member events and training like we’re talking about now. And early q1 2021 we’re already prepping for some CPUs to roll out too, but please join the membership so we can help you. That’s what is here for you today. You get access to a lot of these things and things we’re working on next. Last but not least, I’ll tell you, thank you first Lindsey, for help for coming on the webinar today and sharing your experience and expertise. If you have questions for us, or don’t want to bypass that, that contact form fire up your email and say, and invite you to do that. See, so Okay, with that. Let’s see. Here’s a question that came in. And I know you’re ripe to answer this question. How do we keep people interested? This is exactly what you do. So you’re going to be smiling. How do we keep people interested in our website, if they have been on it before, but create new content all the time on a blog?

Lindsey Miller 41:59Yes, absolutely. And I don’t think it’s just necessarily to keep them interested to come back. But I think there’s something really important about providing information, education, and just generally like being a resource to people who may be looking for the service that you’re providing. And so there’s lots of ways of getting new people to your website, and one of those is through the blog. So it’s not just about, you know, trying to keep people interested, it’s not actually about trying to get people to your website on something that you’re not actively doing. So it’s not ads, it’s not Facebook, it’s nothing else. It’s you sharing your expertise. And then people are googling about that specific expertise. They find your website and are like, Oh, my gosh, well, that’s exactly what I wanted. And now I found a new counselor, because they’re talking about, you know, this thing that I need, or this thing that’s affecting me. And again, you can actually go to go look at the wellness blog and look at the type of content that they’re doing. It’s stuff that Yeah, thank you, Cory. It’s all content that applies to the programs they offer. And they’re constantly adding new content there. Because people are finding because of the blog. And then once they find it, they’re going okay, so like PTSD, that’s the top one right now. So they go, okay, they know PTSD, I have PTSD. And now they’re talking about all of these things, speaking directly to me, I’m more likely to use them as a service, or go to them for what I’m looking for. And but yeah, this is a great example. So yes, yes, is the answer. I think a blog is a really important second step after you get your one page website open. And make a deal with yourself that you’re going to write two posts a month or one post a month, or you’re just something that you’re putting together and you’re putting on your site to showcase your expertise and who you want to help. Is there something else you want to add to that to Cory?

Cory Miller 44:06Yes, so it’s all about, you know, time and effort. You, you might be searching for ideas for that for a blog and blog is one way to do this, you know, you could say, well, I just don’t like your point. Your example earlier was the Instagram therapist, for instance. And maybe you want to be able to, again, use the hub and spoke, you know, but a blog is great, because I I’m sorry, I was trying to get over to the website. Not sure if you mentioned search engine optimization getting found

Lindsey Miller 44:37I didn’t.

Cory Miller 44:40So search engine optimization is basically if you don’t know the concept, if you’ve ever looked for anything, and went to Google and typed it in, that’s it’s optimizing for that type of search thinking through someone might be saying it Forgive me for just using the same example but EMDR Google knows if I type that in, I’m sitting in my office in Oklahoma City, and knows that so like, that’s trying to go okay EMDR like, the profile came up, actually, I guess I was on the–. So on that, yeah. But see, okay, this person likely has EMDR in their, in their Google My Business profile. That’s one facet of optimizing for Google, for instance. And a blog is a great way to get found in the search results and get virtually free leads. Because this is what Lindsey does everyday for her clients is helped help them get found in the search engine rankings, pairing, what the prospect or the customer wants, with the products and services you’re offering. This is a multi billion dollar industry, by the way, but it’s something simple that if you do do a blog, you’re not just to your point a second ago, Lisa, you’re not just keeping them coming back to website, but you’re potentially being found by new people.

Cory Miller 46:05Okay, please use the q&a button at the bottom of the zoom app, we’re here for you will stay. We’ve got until the top of the hour, we get Lindsey until the top of the hour. But if there’s no questions, we won’t keep you here belabor this anymore more. But the key is we want you to make progress on establishing your website, your online hub, which is your one page website. I think some people in in the, in the pre, we’re in the registration process that already had existing sites. If you have that, if you have questions about this, put them here. Now we’re here for you.

Lindsey Miller 46:39I think one thing that I came in today kind of wanting to talk about to something that I’ve noticed with my my current clients, one ’cause I look at analytics, and I’m looking at SEO and like how people are finding their stuff. And that I think really could apply here is that people aren’t just googling modalities, they’re actually googling your name. So like, we have a friend who is like a, he has an accounting firm. And so whenever I was looking at his sites, like it wasn’t people looking for necessarily his business name over his personal name. So we have to like think about that, too. So when you’re doing your one page site, your about me section is actually vitally important. It’s important that your full name be there. And that you own that so that if somebody is looking up, you know, googling Cory Miller, that they’re not finding Cory Miller’s name on, I don’t know, waterbottle site because he like reviewed it or something. But that it really does go to You know, and but I think that really applies to therapists, especially, we may have, I don’t know, the peaceful sanctuary therapy office as our LLC name. But really, people are going to be looking for your name, too. So you really have to optimize not just for your business name, but your personal name on your website.

Cory Miller 48:05Shiraz says asked, does one need to pay to create or keep up a website? Once they’re in then what’s a reasonable amount to be paying given I have a small part time practice. The first quick answer is we highly suggest you do pay only because there’s free options out there and the but the best options, and I’ve been doing this a long time Lindsey’s been doing this a long time is is you pay you get what you pay for. Now, what’s a reasonable amount of price to pay, you can get plans for what we’re talking about, like a domain name typically costs about $10 a year, a web, your web hosting, like, I think Squarespace might be $25 a month. That’s a reasonable expectation to pay for a website. But you can get there are cheaper options. In fact, GoDaddy that we mentioned earlier, does have the $7 a month, I believe, website option. And do you have any thoughts on that?

Lindsey Miller 49:05No, I totally agree with you. I mean, yeah, you don’t want to really go out there and get free stuff. Because the worst thing that could happen with that is that you get hacked, which happens all the time, even on really, really small sites, you may not think it does. And then next thing you know, you have advertisements for things that have absolutely nothing to do with your business or your practice on your site. And sometimes it can be really difficult to get that off. So yeah, you know, $5 to $30 a month is probably what you what you want to do. And also so I see this as well, especially with early starting sites for therapists is they’ll use WordPress, but they’ll get like, or whatever it is thanks I started using anyway. So they’ll get that big, huge long thing because for them, it’s easier to do that. And then they get that domain little like, that doesn’t look very professional either. So it really is worth either purchasing your business name or your personal name at a .com. And owning that domain forever. Because it’s I mean, it’s short, cuz it’s like real estate these days. It’s like, you know, buying a land or buying a house and renting it out and selling it 25 years later, for more, you can do the same thing with your name. So it really is worth the investment to get that domain name.

Cory Miller 50:30Yes, absolutely. we didn’t mention is one of the options, but there are pretty good services I believe it’s around $100, roughly for to use That’s what’s called the hosted version. That’s the version. The word I won’t get into this tech, I don’t need to complicate that. Okay, we have another nine minutes on the webinar. If you if you have a question for us, please let us know. We’re here for you hit the q&a button at the bottom of the zoom app. And hit us with your with your best shot, we’re here for you.

Lindsey Miller 51:21I’m not seeing any new questions coming in.

Cory Miller 51:24So I’ll tell you real quick. We have some great events coming up next week. And we’ll be scheduling more coming soon. So next Friday, actually, December 17. We’ve got lee McCormick, He’s a legend in the recovery space. At one point, he had the ranch outside of Nashville, Tennessee, and now is one of the owners of integrative Life Center, he’s going to be talking about some spiritual and recovery type, work reenergizing work that you as a counselor can do. And I’m excited about that. We’ll get his event up here, but I’ll click the events calendar thing and share that with you. And then on Friday, we have your 2021 marketing plan to grow your practice. So we’re going to be talking about let’s plan out 2021 and help you with marketing, specifically your private practice.

Lindsey Miller 52:21Okay, we got a good question. Again, back in my wheelhouse. So I struggle with writing content that I worry other therapists are also writing about, how do I find out how to keep my content fresh and relatable and not be repetitive. And so the truth is like, none of us are going to have unique ideas, especially when it comes to things that are research based, like, it all comes from somewhere may even come from the same book. However, I guarantee you thatyou have a unique approach a unique perspective and unique way of using it. whatever it happens to be. So just because so like the post that Cory brought up from ILC tips to stay home step tips to stay sober at holiday parties. And you may have your own tips, they may be different, they may be sort of similar. But that’s something that you could also write about. And that’s okay. Because you’re going to have a unique perspective, you’re going to have unique tips, or even experiential activities or how to do art therapy at home. Like all of those things are great things to write about. They’re things that other people are writing about, but you’re going to have your own unique spin on it. You definitely don’t want to plagiarize, Google will go ahead and go ope that is duplicate content. So we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to take that plagiarized post and not index it, meaning if somebody was looking for how to do art therapy at home, you just went ahead and went to the ILC site, copied the blog post and put it on your site so that you have fresh content, Google’s gonna see that and be like, Nope, it’s duplicate, like, we’re gonna send it to the original site. So as long as it’s uniquely written, even if it is inspired from something else, it’s totally fine and awesome. And that’s exactly what people do. And so just think about it and, and write your own thing. I one of the tips I tell people too is keep like your notepad on your phone open. And every single time you have an idea about something, you put it in there. And then when it’s time for you to sit down and write about it, you open up your notepad and see the ideas that you had, and then write about them then.

Cory Miller 54:29Lisa, I love your question. And so it’s likely that you hear common themes in your client base now. And when you start to hear a theme, you know, once or twice, you’re probably on to something you could write about and that you’re not going to share that. Obviously you’re not going to share the client specifically but you can say hey, I hear often in my practice this and that’s great content. Because you know people and multiple people are struggling with that. Please don’t worry about other therapists writing that. So I’ll tell you real quick, I started this whole entrepreneurial journey in 2006. Because I wanted to start a blog in my field at the time, which was communications work for nonprofits. And I had all of the imposter syndrome stuff come up. And I thought, Man, I actually knew people in my same city that were way, like experts, but I was the one that chose to put myself out there, type it up, click Publish. And so first and foremost, please put your your work out there, because you all have so much good to do. And I love you being able to share that through your website, or your social media or whatever that is to put that on the world. Now, fresh content is right there. So look at our we’re in December 2020, we’re getting ready to in the united states do Christmas or holiday season or, you know, well, most of us are used to going to a big family gathering and well that probably not going to happen this year. So there’s an idea and but I’ll tell you, you’re hearing contextually likely from your your clients, what’s going on in their life. And you can, that’s such good stuff, put that out there. Now you’re going to naanum eyes, you’re going to do all that, you know the right way, because that’s what you’re trained to do. Right? So I’m going to tell you about that. But that’s great ideas, fodder to put out say, Hey, you know, you probably find yourself I would say in in in Lindsey, even you in supervision, I’m sure did this, or your internship, sorry, is probably reciting things across clients over and over and over little sayings or exercises and stuff. That’s great stuff, too. But then don’t let Mr. Mr or Mrs or whatever imposter syndrome, you know, the evil little devil on your shoulder go? No, no, no, someone’s better at that. No, no, no, someone’s already done that don’t do that please because you have an opportunity through your website to make even a bigger impact than just your one on one face to face for telehealth type clients. And by the way, I love that. But this is an A plus one that you can show your impact in the world by sharing that expertise.

Lindsey Miller 57:26Well, and honestly too Cory, you showed exactly why would when you put in EMDR and Google just a minute ago, it didn’t pull up EMDR at Wikipedia, right? It’s pulling up EMDR with therapists that are local to where you are today. And so when you’re writing about that content, even if you’re using the acronym that we told you not to, but even if you’re using the acronym, or whatever it is that you’re talking about tips to say sober holiday parties, Google’s going to pull up sometimes, right people that are location specific, depending on the service that’s being offered to.

Cory Miller 58:01So that’s really helpful use the acronym, but then just tell me as the lay person, what that means. How that helps, you know, maybe that’s your approach and stuff. So yeah, absolutely. Great points there. Okay, we’re here for you, Lisa, and others. And thank you, I’m glad that it was getting encouragement for you. But this is our purposes, our mission, at That’s why we pull in experts like Lindsey, to come and talk to these things. We want to help you with these things, you have such opportunity to make an impact in the world. And we just want to help you with it. We want to take some of the frustrations out some of the gaps in knowledge out we don’t expect you to be I don’t want you to be a website expert. By the way. I don’t want you to be a digital marketing expert. That’s what our team does for you. That’s what Lindsey pulling in and coming helps. I want you to be the best you can be for your clients.

Cory Miller 58:49All right, well, thank you everyone. I hope you’ll come join us at or just go to all counselors calm, hit, join, fill out the onboarding stuff. And we’re here for you long term. We want to walk with you as you do your work in the world and be there for you we’reyour sidekick and your buddy Lindsey, thank you so much. You can reach Lindsey at And to learn more about what Lindsey does too, and hit the contact form I guess if you want to say hi Do you mind them doing that? Lindsey?

Lindsey Miller 59:23I’d love to. Hopefully it works perfectly.

Cory Miller 59:28Alright, the is where you can find Lindsey and is where you sign up to have more events like this. Thank you so much for being here. Good luck. We’ll see on the next events.

Lindsey Miller 59:40Thanks Cory.

Lindsey Miller 59:40Bye, everybody.
Starting Your Practice

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 business plan to fuel and support your growth. In this webinar replay, Cory walks us through all the ins and outs of creating a business plan for your therapy or counseling practice.

Resources to Help You Grow:

Download our supporting ebook.Download our supporting workbook.

Webinar Transcript

0:03Everybody, welcome back to another live event. Today I’m excited to talk about this now, starting your private practice. And we have put together, the team at, 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.

0:32But 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 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

0:57In 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 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.

1:50I’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.

2:40Special 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, 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.

3:28Okay, 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.

4:51But 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.

5:38We have a mantra at, 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.

5:59The 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.

6:53And 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.

7:24The 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?

7:57This 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.

9:16Say 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.

10:01You’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 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.

11:11Can 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?

11:32Now, 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?

12:25What 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?

13:18Okay, 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.

14:14And 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.

15:47And 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 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.

17:07But 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, 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.

17:40Marketing 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.

18:32Okay, 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 and how we can help you. Educational content.

19:29How 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.

20:10How 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.

21:19And 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.

21:35How 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.

23:01Number 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.

24:13Finances, 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.

24:54The 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.

27:14How 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.

28:23So 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.

29:14What 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.

30:09Okay, 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.

31:03But 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.

31:50So 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.

33:33And 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.

34:04Next, 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.

35:01I’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.

35:58You 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.

36:15People 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 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.

37:06But 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?

37:54Then 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.

38:48Now, 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?

39:05So 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.

40:09Insurance 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 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?

41:11Okay? 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.

41:26So, 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.

42:34Now, 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.

43:14And then I would invite you 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 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 but you can go to all 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.

44:09So 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 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.
Starting Your Practice

10 Tips For Building Your Private Practice With Steve Lackey

In this webinar replay, Cory Miller interviews veteran entrepreneur and clinician, and treatment center founder Steve Lackey. Steve shared the key tips from his decades of experience in mental health for the rookie clinician looking to start and grow a private practice.

Steve obtained his Bachelor’s in Science (Business Administration and Accounting) from Wiley College and a Master’s of Arts in Psychology from National Louis University. He is certified in sex addiction and multiple addictions.

In 2008, he became co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of a leading counseling center in the Chicago area. Steve is a collaborator. Bringing multifaceted teams together in and outside of the mental health community increased visibility and accessibility to quality programming for treating trauma and addiction. As a result, the counseling center has grown exponentially since its beginning.

You can connect with Steve on Linkedin.

Webinar Transcript

Speakers: Cory Miller, Steve Lackey

Cory Miller: Sure. Everybody welcome back to another all webinar I’m with my friend and all counselor advisor. Steve Lackey. I’m going to let him introduce himself a little bit and tell us about his background, but I’m excited. This has been building for months because back in, like, what was it, Steve?

January? I think we talked about this. We have so many clinicians inside of all counselors that are just starting to practice and nobody better to talk about how to start one. Then Steve, he and his wife, Lisa have been, how do you call yourself partners and businesses? It

 Steve Lackey: was co-founders co-owners if you will.

 Cory Miller: So you’re in store for a tree. We’re going to have a conversation today about starting your practice. Things Steve’s learned over the years wants to pass on to you. If you have questions for Steve right underneath our video here is a Q&A button, and that’s where you can ask questions and I’ll be watching that as we go.

So Steve and I say, we just jump in here, but first, could you tell us. Those of who are on the webinar, who haven’t heard of you or don’t know who you are. Could you give us a little bit of your background and what led you to today? Sure.

 Steve Lackey: Sure. Thank you, Cory and it’s really good to be here with you.

I’ve been looking forward to this since we met and talked about this and and we’re here. So yeah, my wife and I, Lisa Started out in private practice, 15, 18 years ago, actually. And at that time we had no idea what the heck we were doing. We just knew go to school. We knew what our passion was. We knew what we wanted to do, but we had no clue how to do it.

And what we learned was that being in school teaches you how to be a counselor. It in no way teaches you how to run a business, how to start it, develop it. So we literally just got in there, put our heads down and started really roughing it out. Not understanding the need for cultural support, a networking system, a mentor tech support and all of these kinds of things.

We, so we basically did everything wrong and. Thank goodness. We’re still here. We’re still thriving. And we learned from those mistakes, which is how I was able to crystallize it into these 10, 10 tips and how to start a private practice. But we were successful and we were able to launch eight individual clinicians to start their own private practices.

We know that. Doing agency work versus private practice is a big bill and a lot of people want to start. And so we were part of our passion was to get people into their passion. And so that’s kind of what we did. And again, we made every mistake and we learn from them and W we just, we’re a good team to console agenda to hug each other.

We must stop here. Let’s get up and try it again. And that’s what we did.

 Cory Miller: I, there’s two things that stick out to me is when we were saying you made all the mistakes when I was running mine and I’m not a clinician, but when I was running my software business, Over 10 years. And we exited in 2018 when people would ask how reflect back and look back.

I said, if we wrote a book, it would be called stumbling successfully, not making mistakes that would just do must, you know, fall flat on the gut. But at that point we, weren’t not like running like this. Right. And that’s what stuck out to me

Steve Lackey: Yeah. Yeah. We I coined a little moniker for us and it was bubble gum, grace, mercy, and spit.

That’s how we sort of held our practice, but also how we held our marriage together because being in business with a partner. It sounds ideal and how to speak an idealistic, but it’s really challenging on a lot of levels themselves. Yes. We made those mistakes and we’ve gained and profited from them and I’ve learned a lot.

 Cory Miller: I mean, that’s the first thing is one is just creating and running and growing a successful business is tough, but second also managing. Marriage relationship, you know, Lindsey and I, you know, my wife, Lindsay worked together for several parts of my past software business. And then now we work together, but I say she’s definitely the boss.

How did is that helpful advisor when I can, but there is some navigation there. So that’s part two down the road for us to talk about, get Lisa on here and talk to you and her and navigating business together. All right. Well, okay. So I want to jump in because you’ve got a wealth of experience to share and I want to make some comments as we go too.

Cause I know I’ve seen your outline your list and it’s fantastic. And I think, Oh, this was the second thing I want to say. Donations, you all spend so much time in an academic work. And get these advanced degrees. Didn’t have to go through licensure and a good reason for all that. And then supervision and then continuing education credits.

And I’m not disputing any of that. I’m just saying it’s a lot. It is to add all that, but there’s no. Here’s how you run a practice. Here’s how you run a business training at all. And I’m glad we can help fill some of that gap for our clinicians looking to do that. So, okay. That was my second observation.

Now I just want to say what’s the first thing you want to talk about. If you want to share.

Steve Lackey: What I like to do, Corey, I love talking to you. And I like how we kind of pull from each other as I’ve always said, but what I want to make sure I do on the front end is get the nuts and bolts information to emerging and new clinicians, things that we wish we knew how to do on the front end, being in business 18 to 20 years.

I just wanted to go right into that. And the first thing is to maintain hope confidence. And belief in yourself by having a community real important, to become a part of a network of people that are active in your area of interest. And you want to marry yourself with organizations that will continue to stretch you and help you grow example where members of the international Institute of trauma and addictions professionals.

We’re also members of. The association for group and psychotherapy association, where members of the C-SAT community, which is the certification for sex addiction therapy as well as multiple addictions therapy. Then we’re also members of the society for the advancement of sexual health. So I’m spouting these acronyms, these organizations, but it took years to learn that we needed to be a part of them.

And thankfully we had people to help kind of direct us there when we. Yeah. What I failed to mention that naturally was we worked at a private practice together with a different private practice for five years, which is where we cut our teeth and learned about our need to be in community. So that’s one and the second is to become properly licensed.

To know what licensure requirements for whatever state that you’re in. You want to make sure that you are properly licensed, three is to get or find your national provider number. And that’s the NPI number. And that number identifies you to your health care. Including all payers and they comply with HIPAA scandals and transactions.

So there’s a lot of anonymity and protections in that regard, but you need an NPI number. And then get malpractice insurance will important make sure it covers you and your business. If it’s a corporation and you’ll want at least a million dollars to $3 million coverage, give you an example real quickly.

If I can, about a breach that we had, we have a new intern. And so again, we had a demographic of sex addiction. We had betrayal partners, trauma survivors, and all of that. The intern inadvertently did email blast to everyone in our practice. So she literally, he literally blew the cover to the trauma and partners of betrayal and exposed.

Our clients that were recovering sex addict and boy, Oh boy, the phone start ringing. The lawyers were calling and we were, you know, we were scared to death. Actually. We thought we were going to lose the business. We’re going to go bankrupt, but it didn’t happen. We hadn’t shared rights. There was an honest mistake and we were able to rectify that with each client on 150 or 200 of them.

So make sure you get that. Now practices, and then you want to get your employee identification number. So that will be used instead of your social security number, but just the thing you definitely want to have. And

 Cory Miller: it’s like the social security number for. Your business gives you another set of liability, potential liability protection also puts thing in Nate’s buckets, expenses, your business expenses, personal stuff, and keeps separation between us, which I’m glad you mentioned that EIN number.


 Steve Lackey: And it also identifies you as a business. That’s in good standing with the state, always. So healthcare providers, payers, people will recognize. Through your EIN number that you’re in good standing. So that’s real important. Also, if you want to take insurance start that process as soon as practice, as soon as possible, real important.

We are a fee for service since the very beginning. We don’t accept insurance. And there’s a lot of pros and cons to that. The pros to having it sitting on an insurance panel and having insurance is that. You can appeal to a broader audience, a larger demographic and get more clients. Some of the cons to that is what insurance companies, insurance panels are willing to pay.

So you may charge $150 an hour, but they’re only paying $60 an hour. So you have to be mindful that represents. Sort of a sliding scale kind of scenario. So we’ve been fee for service since the beginning in Korea. I’m real fortunate to be able to say that it’s worked for us, but it’s also scary because there’s cancellations, there’s acts of dye, the health issues, you know, and people don’t come or show up or call, then you don’t get paid and they, you can’t eat.

So it’s a compromise.

 Cory Miller: Well, maybe come back at some point because I have worked primarily with independent professionals and I completely different profession, freelance web designers. And when I find doesn’t show up or some, if time is your money and there’s boundaries that you got to put around those types of things, because even though you all are doing some amazing work in the world, you also deserve rightly to be paid for people to show up and to pay you promptly.

 Steve Lackey: Absolutely. Absolutely.

And also have a nature you want to have a physical virtual space. That’s HIPAA compliant. Well, important to find out your space that you’re running from is HIPAA compliant.

 Cory Miller: You’re talking specifically the office space.

Steve Lackey: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So everyone’s migrated to tele-health and 95% of our business transferred to telehealth with us and all of our clinicians that work for us.

So we were real fortunate with that as well. Having email plan, a HIPAA compliant email you may have to pay a small fee, but it’s real important to have a practice management system and to automate as much as possible, you know, in all of your features within your practice will be within that management system.

And that includes, and I’m sure some of you have heard of this simple practice. And therapy notes. They separate out, they correlate bait, they correlate and they put things in order for you in such a way that when Lisa and I approached Daria, we were doing all the people work with intake forms on clipboards.

I mean, assessment sheets out of the lobby. It was really difficult until we joined simple practice and learned about therapy notes. Also you want to be aware of informed consent. Because informed consent gives you the opportunity to know what treatment you’re getting. You know, what services ahead of time and gives you the option to accept and or decline.

So it’s important that you sign and have your client sign, the informed consent, and it also offers you an opportunity for service and health providers should communicate with each other through a release of information, as well as your informed consent. Real quick. And I’m gonna go through this real fast Corey so we can get through our discussion release of information.

Superbills superbill are just the bills that health CA health providers receive for reimbursement. And that’s done monthly. So that’s where the client submits to their insurance company. The super bill that has colds diagnostic holes from the DSM and that sort of thing to make sure we’re in compliance intake paperwork.

Or now everything is online written practice policies, assessment forms that are needed to be completed during a session for your clients. Have a way to keep track of your money. You know, because we’ve had a lot of money hanging out there because we were submitting and charging all the time because that, you know, doesn’t become the most important thing is helping the client.

And sometimes over weeks you forget the charge. So make sure you have to have a way to keep track of your money. Have a telephone script for your voicemail. And for your new client calls, make sure that you have that up to date and ready. So now you’re ready to see your first client. Those were the nuts and bolts.

Now you’re ready to see your first client. So you’re going to open a business bank account with lower fees and promotions. You’re going to decide with an accountant or lawyer, which kind of corporation you’ll be. If it’s an escort, which get creases, the amount you will pay in taxes and your accountant will set all this up for you and guide you.

Compare practice management systems with reviews from colleagues, get feedback from your feedback from other clinicians on what they do and how they do their management system. Choose your business cards. And then the best is either build a website or outsource this. And what I’m going to do is welcome everyone to become a member of the all counseling, our recovery and all counseling family.

We’re talking state-of-the-art. State of the art technical support that we had no idea about. You know, we had no idea how to do webinars, podcasts, eBooks can have coaching, but the idea is you want to be found everywhere. And that’s what all counselors does. We make sure that you’re exposed on a lot of different platforms.

And so you want to look that up. Because that will offer you maximum exposure, maximum traffic and maximum support that will be there with the 24 hours a day. As long as you need that support. And then lastly if you’re establishing a. Sliding scale plan, be clear about what the parameters of that.

So for instance, with interns, we can’t charge clients before fee because they’re. Being seen by someone who was still trying to get their licensure and they’re being supervised. So we can’t charge clients the full fee. So just be aware of the parameters of that. And and so there you have it. I hope.

You got a lot of those nuts and bolts. Those are the things that we didn’t know we had to learn. And we had to do ourselves.

 Cory Miller: That’s a lot drank from the fire hose. And if you paid attention and you wrote down three things, your score as someone who’s started a business to not in a therapy business you’ve covered some really key things.

I want to go. I want to scroll back for a second and emphasis and things, everything you said is amazing. But the first is a community of people. That’s something that I didn’t have first couple of years of my business. And I found a group local group that I met with. They became my best friends over 10 years.

My success and my struggles, I got to share with them and vice versa. And I can’t. Underscore what you said there, and I’m so glad you led with it. Is that so much being a business owner? Entrepreneur is like living on an Island by yourself. Yeah. My parents have had jobs. Their whole lives haven’t started businesses.

You’re going to be in this different thing, even though you’re thinking therapists, I’m a therapist, I’m a clinician counselor. But you’re a business owner. Right. And that’s that you’re parked in the majority of the population. And it’s not easy so that, you know, that’s having a group of people, like-minded people on the same path to meet with regularly.

I appreciate you said that first and foremost. Yeah. The other thing I wanted to say too is I cannot, you said this close to the end, the two people, besides your, if you’re in a relationship, serious relationship, the two allies you need are a lawyer. And an accountant. Absolutely. And I’m so glad you said that too, because as you’re prepaying your practice, there’s a tendency to try to go save as much money as you can do it all yourself, you will be better off.

And I bet you Steve’s got the same thing. Find experts to own those areas. Or as an accountant, you’re going to talk to every month, that’s going to help you with things. I mean, for instance, tax day was yesterday. I was calling mine. I bless five, six years. I’ve been doing extensions. How about you have to, and like, you know, and because that’s part of restaurant business is just, you know, trying to do all these things at once.

It a good CPA. Second is have an ongoing relationship with the lawyer when stuff happens like this. I mean, if you know, I don’t know if he had a lawyer at the time, Steve, but being able to just go. Oh, this just happened. What do I do? And having somebody, if not, even on retainer, just a good relationship that you can call and ask for, you know, The questions are so vital when you’re starting growing a business.

Thank you for those three things.

 Steve Lackey: You’re welcome. I strongly reiterate that because remember I talked about that email breach. That’s when we got a lawyer, we got one on retainer and it’s just worth the money. I can’t tell you how much money we spent. Unnecessarily without the advice of a good attorney, as well as the an accountant.

So yeah, I implore you to do that really important.

 Cory Miller: I want to get to your pin real quick. Melanie had a question. I have an attorney. I still need to get my materials together and request. They review my paperwork and business foundation. What would you suggest? I have the attorney review for my practice.

And I wanted to say for my 2 cents, even though you could probably likely in your state create your foundation as the, you start, you know, filing with your secretary of state, most likely, at least in Oklahoma here, and that will help you trigger your EIN, which is the IRS, by the way, in the United States, for something like this.

I would suggest that I’m not a lawyer to have the lawyer do that for you. It would probably cost I’m going to guess between 600 to $1,500 to do that with an attorney. But that way they’re, they’ve done everything. And it’s all baked in from the beginning to know industries like yours, that. Are highly licensed and certified in there.

You know, you want to get all those things dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Steve. I don’t know what you think about that, but before we go on, I want to give you the chance to respond

 Steve Lackey: yeah. So what we found out. Well, is that there are attorneys that specifically address what specialized and private practices and counseling centers.

So you want to make sure you know who those are and get, you know, introduce yourself to one. Cause they specifically deal with. Everything that you asked and your question, they go and they sort of help frame and put a, some architecture around your practice that will protect you. But also have you thinking about growth and thinking about selling and thinking about a lot of types of things.

And so it’s real important to get an attorney that knows the clinical world.

 Cory Miller: Okay. I know if we don’t keep going, we’re gonna run out of time and you’ve got a lot to share. So this minority, I can already predict Steve, we’re going to have part two of this.

Steve Lackey: I know because I have like five pages here that I’m so anxious to get to new clinicians.

That’s real important. Real quickly. If I can go through this again also. I want you to you all, to understand that, to prioritize during your own work, prioritize, to not let down your need for self-care real important. We learned this early in the game, my wife and I would both be burned out. Stop exercising, stop boring on walks.

And we come home, we bring the office here and we’re doing work and we’ve never really continued to develop this deep self-care practice. And that needs to be there. Whether it’s therapy, whether it’s meditation, whether it’s a consult group or whether it’s just an accountability group. Real important to, you know, for your spiritual development or emotional development exercising.

I, at my age, I’ve gone back to the gym the last couple of months since COBIT and and then also to work on your business and not in your business, it’s one thing to, to know how to be a counselor. It’s another thing to know exactly where you want to go with your practice. Do you want to continue the daily, hourly grind?

Do you want to hire additional staff? Do you want to train them? Those are things to really continue to consider. Not guess working in your business would work on the business because you want to grow it. To be able to transfer it, sell it or whatever else you want to do. But we were able to launch, as I said earlier, eight clinicians and Karen and private practice.

And so that became a thing for us to bring qualified people on board as interns teach them as we were taught then. So that’s working on it. So now we have this amazing. Support system of people we’ve launched. So they in turn become a great referral source and vice versa. So that’s really important. And then you want to tame the inner critic and try to eliminate the shirts and embrace, adjustment, and change, embrace it like it’s supposed to happen because when you try to resist, you’re gonna.

Fall down a rabbit hole that you don’t, that you don’t want to go down. And that’s the term that I call him Korean. It’s called X scary. When you don’t embrace change and adjustment, it’s scary. It’s exciting to start the practice, but it’s also scary and it’s okay to walk through that fear because that’s where your power.

Yes. That’s where your power is going to come from. You embracing that fever and walking through. So again, I have a ton. I know we need a private tutor, so I don’t want it. I don’t know how long or how far you want me to go, but I have a turn here.

 Cory Miller: Yeah, let’s start. So let’s start with your first big PIP and let’s see how far we can get in the next 30 minutes.

 Steve Lackey: Okay, great. So here’s the other thing learn how to take toxic showers and understand that your autonomic nervous system know what the messaging is of your autonomic nervous system. We know it clinically as fight flight freeze or collapse, but you need to know what’s messaging for you. For instance, guys, terms that we know.

Transference and transference, you have to know what triggers you and know the things that are limitations for you example. We didn’t know we were going to be dealing primarily with sex addiction and codependency. And so first of the few clients that we had were offending. Offending behavior. We didn’t know I was taking on all commerce, but what I didn’t know is when I started hearing about underage kids and trading cars and porn for underage, it really hit me really hard.

And I realize that’s the limitation for me. So we learned of a group called the center for contextual change. That deals specifically with offenders. So doing the assessment. Is really important to find out what your limitations are and to know your demographic know who it is. You want to be your client real important.

If you want to do trauma addiction. Be specific about what that is and you want to learn and grow, whether it’s EMDR, somatic, experiencing there’s so many different types of modalities that are available. I chase and follow neural science. I love it. I like to know how the brain works. I like to know that’s the one thing.

And a lot of you will agree that in school, we studied everything, but the thing that’s wrong with everything about it, but not it. So that’s important. And then another thing is what’s your passion, you know, what’s the reason you’re really doing is it to help others? Is it to make money or is it to create a well world?

Is it to create a world that’s our marching orders. It all counts phase. We want to make a will world. How do you do that? You do it one person at a time, but it has to begin with yourself, your own healing, your own recovery, your only system of support for health for yourself.

 Cory Miller: Cause that’s how I’ve worked more closely with clinicians. I’ve heard the do in your own work. You got to do your own work so well, I’ve adopted from our own self I’ve. I’ve been in therapy for six years now and on a very regular basis and the doing your work. I love that, but let’s say for clinicians, I w I mean, I want you to do as a potential client.

I want you to do your own work, right? I’m doing my tough work right now at 45, and I hope you’re doing your own work. And I love that phrase so much. We put it on a mug.

 Steve Lackey: Yeah. Yeah. Here’s the second part to it. Every great therapist has a therapist. I went to so many people and even in my own recovery journey for decades, going through clinicians, psychologists.

Yeah, just had the credentials, but they hadn’t done the work. They had no idea. There were no cultural considerations. There were, they were absent of the experiential part of this. And so it’s important. And Lisa and I, and we shared this, make sure you have a therapist that has a therapist. They need to continue to do the work no matter what.

 Cory Miller: That’s a great question for us to ask on our all counseling. We’ve got this in play for our directory. Is, do you have a counselor? Do you have a, your own therapist? That’d be a great question to ask. I appreciate it. I want to quit every great therapist has a therapist. I love that

 Steve Lackey: every great therapist has a therapist and the keyword is great.

So you don’t want to just be good and Monday, and you want to stick out what is it that will have you stand out where people were refer you word of mouth within their family, their community, their business environment. And we get a lot of referrals. For family members, what do we fix that?

Well, we all do our own work. All of our clinicians, Cory, do their own work. They had their, it’s not a mandate, but it’s something that’s for us in our culture that we require that everyone has a therapist find out. You know, as I said earlier, real briefly, as what led you to pursue this? Was it your family of origin?

Was it your personal history? Or did all roads lead to you going in school to become a clinician? I have a corporate history. I was in the corporate arena for 20 plus years. I worked in state government as a bureaucrat. And then I got the social service bug. I just happened to take this part-time job, working for misplaced displace workers for ITT.

The now gone international Telegraph, the telegrams service and teaching them communication skills and interviewing skills and the like, and then I worked for a family focus group. For at-risk youth where I would do case management at schools. And then I worked for, I have a dream, which is a mentoring and tutorial program to follow kids from junior high through under you after school.

And then for the state, I worked as a non-custodial parent program manager that rolled out non-custodial services throughout the state. Well, all of those experiences. One led me to know I have a passion for helping people. You know, people have come to me, family members and friends have shared secrets all of my life, but I really got the bug in those environments.

And I say, you know what, maybe I need to follow Lisa back to school and become this counselor. And I’m so glad that I did And also last two. One is sometimes you got to walk around the world, just the cross, the street. In other words, you will learn what not to do for the nuts and bolts that I’ve given.

You will help you all to cut across. The field, so to speak. So you don’t have to make the same mistakes or hinder yourself or throw roadblocks or self-inflicted wounds. You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to walk around the world to cross the street, but we did. So learn what not to do, learn what you’re not capable of doing what you’re not interested in doing, and what’s not helpful for others, but also helpful for you and your practice.

And then lastly, and it goes along with self care, have healthy outlets to be stressed and enjoy your life outside of the business. And I will reiterate this in closing. All counselors are recovery. All counseling is the one stop shop. That will help you be stressed, take away a lot of struggle and trauma will help mentor and support you technically.

Yes, hugely important. The importance. If you’re open for podcasts, webinars, eBooks, and the light, you want to make sure you have a steady of the technical team that will show you how to do that. We’ll design a website for you and help manage it. So you don’t have to do that. I can’t even tell you how many thousands of dollars I’ve spent having guys that had website design as a hobby, and we didn’t have a professional.

So. That’s a bonus. Yeah. It’s to become part of the family.

 Cory Miller: Well, thank you for that, Steve. And all of this that was drinking from a fire hose. So do you have questions for Steve, please post those in the Q and a button right below, but in the meantime, while you’re posting your own questions for Steve, I have a couple for you.

How do you get your first clients? You came from private private practice. But you know, like, you know, Lindsey, my wife’s going through this right now. She just graduated in December and now needs to get her date for her exam. And you know, it’s a big question is I want to do this out, you know, and she has a long road with supervision and all that, but like, I’m ready to go move from agency work.

And to my own private practice, how would you recommend those thing now start defined and identified and get the word out about your practice?

 Steve Lackey: Yeah. One is what we offer is the digital marketing, which is huge. But in that culture of support that I talked about early on is where others will become aware of what your strengths are and what your interests are and what your practice is all about.

So it’s through networking collaboration. And just putting yourself out there, like, as I said, be found everywhere. So once your name, your practice is out there, people will know that you’re available, this declined. But what we did is we went to every symposium, every seminar, every group function, even in different States and introduced ourselves to people and make sure that our name.

And our practice got out there. So again, it’s the networking that’s the most important to get your first client

 Cory Miller: when you talk about two and then networking? I think about like my wife and her just finished her degree is staying in touch with colleagues, people that are already in agencies.

Professors. She has had a great mentor professor that she’s continued to stay involved in. And then as I’ve gotten deeper, you’ve helped me understand a ton of things about the industry about this particular profession. Supervising clinicians. My, my assumption is the one that’s not the therapist here is supervising therapists do that because they want to help people even more than just their clients.

And so that’s gotta be a great. A wealth of information, but you mentioned way back in our conversation about business cards. It’s just having sent to one people saying, what do you do? I’m like, well, I’m a counselor, I’m a therapist. I’m a clinician.

 Steve Lackey: Yeah, definitely. You want, and now there’s digital cards.

So. I have, as you and Ani both know, I have a box full of cards, which are very helpful, but you also want to combine that with digital cards so that you can email and send to as many people as you possibly can because of COVID we’re not needing like we normally do. So make sure cards are real important.

People have called me that said I got your card four years ago. I had a guy just called me a few days ago. I, you gave me a car four years ago. So you never know people. Remember when you share with them, when you’re giving you information, they keep it. And when they get in trouble or they need some help, they’ll call.

 Cory Miller: Well, as I’ve talked about my personal publicly, for things that haven’t well in the past that have healed from when I share my own mental health story, people often say, first question is, how do I find the therapist? And so my therapist here in Oklahoma city had on his desk, or, you know, right where you walk in the business cards.

No. I was say easy, I’d say two or three, because I, all the time people ask me and having that ready resource with, like you said earlier, attached to a website and a phone number and an email that they can contact you or easily forge your information is absolutely vital. We talk a lot about this at You know, just the beef found everywhere strategy. You’re talking about where website. Phone number, email address all Lincoln back to you is the best way to get your word out. And then we also talked about listings. I mean, it’s further down the priority scale for me when I make recommendations, but having your profile on things like therapy, who has three listings, psychology today is paid, but you know, those are great ways to be found everywhere for sure.

 Steve Lackey: Yeah. And I know for me, Corey and I shared with you are an AMI, my recovery story that so how I found that therapist was because of my specific issue and partly it was grief and loss of losing five members of my immediate family. I went around for years. Not knowing that trauma was stuck down there.

And I was in a corporate arena and my tie untied. I had a cigarette in my mouth at the time I had the phone and I was sweating and I just started crying all of a sudden, well, I found a grief and loss therapist and she said, Steve, it’s been 12 years and you haven’t greed. And that. Really led me to this long journey of healing around grief and loss which still requires check-in and maintenance.

Because, you know, as you all know, as clinicians, the body remembers every experience it remembers. So you want to always be in a process of healing more and more going deeper and deeper. And so I just looked up those that deal with grief and loss, those that dealt with specific addictions, those that dealt with.

The trauma of grief and loss, but any trauma story that you have find trauma specialists, everyone can’t treat trauma. As thoroughly and as effectively as you want it to do that, you want them or need them to do,

Cory Miller: I mentioned therapy, Dan, put that therapy, I put that in the chat and also make sure you’re in our free membership that Steve alluded to appreciate that a free community membership allows you to.

Get in and get access to all this stuff. And then we’re also working on a therapist directory to, of our own, to help you get more light and that you, with those that are hurting. So, someone asked, is there value, you mentioned conferences. And I love that. Cause I’ve seen that in industry that changed first conferences and networking groups, but is there value in joining networking groups that require a membership fee or that requires you to bring referrals to other businesses such as BNI international and by the way, just.

I heard about this, like two weeks ago, it’s a group that you would only have one counselor per networking group, but I would be required to bring a Pearl to other members as well each week. Or are there others that are free?

 Steve Lackey: That one I’m not as familiar with, to be honest. But anything that requires you to bring a client or a referral, I’m not sure about.

But there are like for Aqua, for instance, I talked about American group psychotherapy association. There is a minimal fee to participate, but what we did was over a year or two, we put in a proposal to present. And so we presented and as a result of us presenting, we’ve got the membership. For free. So there’s other organizations that you can join that are free, just starting out.

You don’t want to get too top heavy with paying membership fees and dues. And if you do you want it to be. At the minimal cost for the one-stop shop that I talked about with all counselors in our recovery and our counseling, because it’s it’s not going to cost you a Harmon and leg, but it’s a one-stop shop.

So be real aware of what’s being offered. And is it cost effective for you?

 Cory Miller: That’s a that’s great information. And so I appreciate you. They said be careful the overhead of a lot of the fees. I appreciate that so much. As of now I do marketing and technology, but so when I think about how to best position therapists there’s gotta be free groups in your area.

Like. Let’s say B and I, for instance, but one that doesn’t charge, like there’s rotary in Oklahoma city. That’s very renowned a way to now you have to have a friend or whatever, but yeah. I like if you have time, you being a part of those things as a clinician budding from this specifically, because you’re swimming in circles that aren’t just clinicians for support.

I think you need clinicians, but you’re also in these that you’re giving back. So find things that are interesting to you, and it’s a great way to bring your business card, you know, and now we’re instilling the pandemic here. So I know in-person stuff is a little bit harder, but if you have more time than money, beep be known.

You can start building these relationships. I know I’ve known Steve for almost a year now, and I know one thing you always get from Steve Lehman is he is all about building relationships with you. And so that is such currency capital for your business or your career. And there’s a reason why Steve talks about that first and foremost is I want to build long-term relationships because.

The ripple effect that I’m here today, Steve, and you know, my story because of people, I can’t claim all my success at all born on third base. I don’t think I hit a home run. I know I was born on third base, but like, but my relationships from past employers leaving every place that I ever worked at better than I left that when I got there and being good quality person in the world who has such big benefits.

 Steve Lackey: Absolutely. Absolutely what I didn’t know, Corey, and by all means what we shared today, what I shared is by no means exhaustive or panacea, but eluding to what you just talked about. We didn’t know that becoming a part of your local chamber of commerce. And part of the Evanston department of health and mental health services.

So we’ve reached out and created relationships across the board with the mayor’s office. Who’s about to do a round table around race and and so. The chamber of commerce, the school system here in Northwestern university, we’re known up there. So the referral sources there are amazing and it’s been kind of a good high school.

And what I didn’t say is that we have two offices. One is downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue. And another office is here in Evanston, which is a suburb North of Chicago. And so whatever business or office you may be in, look at the legend as well. And know who’s the psychiatrist, psychologist, therapists, clinicians that are there.

They all see us values and develop relationship. Relationship building is the social equity for your girl.

 Cory Miller: What you just named. And I mean, when you’re talking about university of Chicago be found everywhere. So think about your purpose, your passions, your interests in life, have your business cards in your pocket at all times.

He, he pulled us the first little chitchat question people ask is what do you do for a living? You know, you’ll have your little one-liner if you don’t want to just say, well, I’m a psychotherapist or whatever, but those that’s perfect. And you have the cars. Oh, needs just asked me about this. You know, one thing I was thinking about too, Steve is as so many people over the years, and you’re not working on a project together with this have asked me, how do you find a therapist?

And I go, well, my therapist. That’s been almost 10 years ago, 11 years ago now actually came to me as a referral, by the way, I’m a lawyer. But as I started to, you know, get the ass, this question more often, I started going, there’s not a lot of resources for this. And one thing I always go back to is your primary care physician.

So on the flip side of a therapist is great relationships with doctors in the area that need analysis say, okay, this is not just something we need to prescribe medicine to something you need to also be talking with a trained licensed practitioner.

 Steve Lackey: Yeah. Yeah. I again, Lisa, my wife, she’s the social butterfly.

He’s the one that gets out there literally recommended and referred a therapist to me as we have with other family members and friends itself. It’s just important, as we’ve said, over and over is building relationships and allowing yourself to be known. To be found to be known and expression, eat don’t hide, isolate, or think that it’s something wrong with needing to get help or having support.

Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t still be married. We just celebrated 30 years in December. And trust me, that was a long journey. But. We both do at work and we both get help. We both refer out, people know us, they know that we’ve probably processed that we’re both in, but also now comes to trust.

Now people can trust because they know you’ve been vulnerable and transparent about your life. And people are always willing to help when you’re honest and above board and transparent

oh, I lost your audio.

 Cory Miller: That’s me. I try to mute when I’m not telling you. But. Hey, all, we have another 10 minutes here with Steve. I want to make sure you get your questions answered by this veteran therapist and by the way, congratulations on you. Lisa’s 30 years impressive.

 Steve Lackey: More than, you know, it’s more impressive than that.

 Cory Miller: So true. Yeah. Well, if you have questions for Steve with the last couple of minutes we have here, be sure to post those, anything he’s covered in he’s covered a lot. Recording will be up on all shortly afterwards. Steve’s here and you heard his heart. He’s trying to help you learn from his own mistakes, but also I’d say the wealth of experiences he’s had building practice and the treatment.

Yes. So I asked the survey real quick in the chat to Steve, a quick survey. Do you have a website? Website is your virtual business card. Yeah. Right.

So if you could put post that there, how can I find okay. Kesha ask how can I find a mentor? I’m an LPC

 Steve Lackey: again. Yeah. Again, the networking, the organizations, but also. All counselors are recovery. I can’t say that. Not all counseling, be aware that there’s mentorship opportunities there, but any association that you.

Connect with you. We’ll find someone you’ll hear someone speak or moderate or facilitate a session and you’ll be drawn to them. And you could just go up and ask, would you mind in the interim while I get my licensure mentoring me, it’s as simple as just asking someone, but you gotta be seen and know to do that.

So any agency at you, any organization, any related collaboration that you could find, you will find a mentor in those environments. You really will.

 Cory Miller: I liked how you gave the examples of the associations and different things from certifications and things like that. I know we’ve talked a little bit about brainspotting for instance, and.

You know, specifically if there’s somebody not in your direct area that we have zoom, we have the internet to be able to do that. And I found by and large, I don’t know about your experience, but other successful business owners and entrepreneurs. When you asked, I’m just starting out. Can you give me some tips like you’re doing here are so gracious and generous with your time.

 Steve Lackey: Yeah, it is. And you know, and I think we, we spoke about this a while about an upcoming opportunity was a panel of, or a summit for number. We talked about doing a summit, so there’s going to be some really exciting things coming on board as we grow and go. But in the interim, the associations, and I mentioned the C-SAT community.

I mentioned. You know, some of the certifications that Lisa and I have, she’s a part of them, Julia Shiva, EMDR trained, second level of training. She is a sematic trained. She does Reiki. So it does a lot of different things and she has to, so we’re both in session all the time in our marriage. We’re checking each other out, but we share a ton of information.

She exposes me to so many people and so many things and vice versa. I share a lot with her and which has led her to grow in certain areas as well. So exhaust your list, exhaust your community, but above all, be proud of one really important.

 Cory Miller: All right. If you have any questions for Steve Lackey, veteran clinician. Practice and treatment center builder visionary, let us know in the Q and a there. So I think there’s some excellent stuff you can go back and record. It will be an all cancers. DICOM. You give a fire hose of information. Stevia. I would say in our partying in there partying thought, I would just try to say, okay, this is the lot.

Now you covered your bases, everybody. If you’ve, if you listen to what Steve’s statements you, this is gold for you. You could have the tendency though. If you’re like me to get her overwhelmed, just start one baby step at a time, layer these things in. If you have a full-time job and I want to hear your advice and coaching stay for a full-time job, you can work on these on, you know, piece by piece as you go get your LLC limited liability corporation or company, depending on your state.

Get your website going on the side, make sure you’re doing right and not jeopardizing your job, but you can layer in these pieces as you work in an agency or a full-time job. But that was just my thoughts. Steve were in, in our partying comments here. What advice were you would you have for those have been in attendance today

 Steve Lackey: is to not let anything stop what you’ve dreamt.

What’s in your heart, what’s the passion of yours and what you want to contribute to this planet. With the time that you have here, don’t let anything impede your pursuing that exhaust all avenues are exposures, all collaboration’s, everything you possibly can, but don’t ever stop. I don’t care what the setback may look like.

Cause we’ve overcome so much. I know that you we’ll not have to deal with all of the things that we did on the front end. So do not let anything get in the way of what your passion is and what’s in your heart and what it is you want to do to help others on this planet to create a world really important.

 Cory Miller: So I want to tell you real quick in the closing minutes, unless anyone has a question, but something we’re working on with Steve is a whole series of Webinars like this on how to be an inclusive therapist. And I’m so eager to get to that series one as just a student and to listen. Stephen Lisa taught me so much about race and helped me look in the mirror and go.

I have my work to do for sure. And it’s been, they’ve been so incredibly gracious about that, but we were Steve’s great direction assistance. We’ve got a list of things and now we’re touching base with some key people, including Lisa and Steve to come in. You’re not going to want to miss that at all. by the way. So if you want to be a more inclusive therapist, Stay tuned with how much we’re going to be rolling out some things in the very near future. And I’m pumped about that. Steve. I am too.

 Steve Lackey: I really am. Thank you.

 Cory Miller: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for being here today. And I know you’re you can’t stay at, I don’t think Steve, but everybody’s just gone.

Thanks. Thanks. Thanks for a great webinar. So have to go back and replay everything because what’s your giving and I’m sorry if I rushed you. I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to make sure we had appropriate time for everything. You’re going to need to go back and watch the replay. Steve gave you some gold and just start making check marks some things I made progress on this.

I made progress on that. Yeah. Steve, my friend. Thank you so much for today.

 Steve Lackey: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you everyone. Hope that was helpful.

 Cory Miller: All right, we’ll see you back at the next time. Thank you.

 Steve Lackey: All right. Bye-bye.
Starting Your Practice

Incorporating Your Therapy Practice with Nellie Akalp

In this recorded webinar, Cory Miller and Nellie Akalp talk about the benefits of incorporating your therapy practice and give helpful tips for getting the process started.

Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, business expert and mother of four. She is the CEO of, a trusted resource and service provider for business incorporation, LLC filings, and corporate compliance services in all 50 states. Nellie and her team recently launched a partner program for accountants, lawyers, and business professionals to help them streamline the business incorporation and compliance process for their clients.

Learn more about CorpNet’s top services for therapists:

PLLC registrationRegistered agent servicesAnnual report filingsS corp elections

Webinar Transcript

Speakers: Cory Miller, Nellie Akalp

Cory Miller 0:03Everybody, welcome back to another all counselors comm webinar. I’ve got a great guest today that’s going to be presenting on a key subject. And I know a lot of you counselors and clinicians therapists asked all the time when you’re thinking about starting your own private practice. And so she’s going to be talking about incorporating the business, giving you an overview of all that if you have questions along the way, we hit the q&a button, and we’ll try to get to those if we have time. But first, I want to introduce Nellie. Nellie’s a passionate entrepreneur, business expert and mother of four. She is a CEO of ct, a trusted resource and service provider for business incorporation, LLC filings and corporate compliance services in all 50 states, Nellie and her team recently launched a partner program for counselors, business professionals to help them streamline the business incorporation and compliance process for their clients. So you can go to, they’ve got fantastic services that will help take you through the process you could share about corporate structures related to clinicians, excellent service, I’ll tell you, I was looking on this site. And I’ll be putting a link here in a second to you’ve got this, your team’s got this amazing.

Cory Miller 1:18What’s it called, it’s basically a walkthrough, kind of guide you what structure you might need, I’ll put that in the chat soon as I find the link to that. And also, we’ll have that in the show notes for for later on. But Nellie, thank you so much for being here today and presenting on this vital subject to our counselor, tribe and community and another gonna learn a lot of stuff and get some great thoughts about how they can incorporate and the structures and all that kind of stuff. So thank you so much for being here today.

Nellie Akalp 1:48Thank you, Cory. It’s such a pleasure and an honor. I’m humbled. Thank you so much. For all of you listening out there, my name is Nelly a cowboy, I’ll be your webinar presenter today. And I have an amazing passion for health and wellness and recovery. I’m an entrepreneur who’s just like Cory really, really invested in and really leading a life filled with courage, compassion and connection. And I think mental health is a part of it, and a huge part of it, otherwise, we wouldn’t be surviving and, and, you know, thank God for all of you who are in business, providing mental health, what a great you know, business to be in and we’re gonna get you all the tools, all the information, everything you need to take your business to the next level.

Nellie Akalp 2:42So without further ado, I want to get into the presentation. Today we’re going to be discussing the importance of incorporating a business and providing you on a refresher course on the different types of business entities out there. A little bit about myself, I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve been incorporating and helping professionals like yourself, entrepreneurs, business owners, CPAs, any type of professional or entrepreneur, getting them started with legalizing their business, expanding their business and taking their business to the next level. Together with my company corpnet we can provide business incorporation LLC filings, any type of business compliance, business expansion, payroll and sales tax registration to your, for yourself or for your clients, even in all 50 states.

Nellie Akalp 3:41And business incorporation, in my opinion is one of really the foundations of starting a business and making sure your business is started up properly. And so that you can expand your business having that peace of mind that God forbid, if you end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, you are protected from personal, you know, liability. And if you have any type of assets, your assets are protected.

Nellie Akalp 4:12So let’s talk about you know why it’s so important for you as a professional for you, as a counselor to think about placing your business into a legal entity that’s going to be protecting you protecting your assets and protecting you from liability. In addition, why it’s so important to become a corporation or LLC to give your clients that are dealing with you that peace of mind that you’re an established business soby default many business owners and even business owners that are providing services in the area of mental health operate as a sole proprietor or general partnership

Nellie Akalp 5:00sole proprietor is basically a person operating under their own name or under a fictitious business name. Similarly, a partnership is two or more people operating under their own name, or under a fictitious business name. And with a sole proprietorship or general partnership, there is no liability protection, there is no asset protection. So you are the business. And if you’re, you know, in a partnership with another business owner, you and your partner are in a business, which means there is no corporate veil, there is no liability protection. And if somebody comes in sues you for providing them subpar services, they can potentially come after you personally, your house, your car, your savings account your retirement. So hence, being a sole proprietorship or general partnership, although it has its perks of being very simple to form and simple to manage.

Nellie Akalp 6:08There’s a lot of downside to that in that there is no corporate veil, there is no liability, or asset protection. So although it’s a simple option for people starting out, there are many advantages of why someone would want to incorporate their business place their business into a corporation or an LLC. And first and foremost, the first benefit is actually liability, protection of your personal assets.

Nellie Akalp 6:35As a corporation or LLC, you’re creating a bubble. So think of yourself as the business owner, inside of this bubble, this veil, so that when God forbid, you as a corporation, or LLC are being sued by somebody who you’ve provided services to, they cannot go after you as the owner of that corporation or LLC personally, because there’s a corporate veil, there is a corporate shield around you. So the first and foremost benefit of considering incorporating or placing your business into a corporation or LLC is liability protection of your personal assets.

Nellie Akalp 7:17If somebody sues you, if you’re a corporation or LLC, they cannot go after you personally as long as that as long as that corporation or LLC is, you know being complied with and being operated in accordance with the state laws, that corporation or LLC is protecting its shareholders its members from being personally liable. So if there’s a judgment entered against that corporation or LLC, they can go only to the extent that the corporation or LLC has assets, they cannot go personally against the shareholders of that corporation or the members of that LLC. So that’s the main foremost, first and foremost benefit. second benefit is separation of, you know, it’s a separate legal entity, the corporation or the LLC once form, it’s separate from that business owner.

Nellie Akalp 8:13It’s a separate legal entity. So that business owner, although a shareholder of that corporation or LLC, although a member of that LLC, is separate from the business. So again, there’s a separation, and this corporation or LLC when it’s formed, you know, the shareholders and members are within that business entity, but there’s a veil around it, there’s a veil a shield, and that it shields that shareholder and shields the owners from being personally liable.

Nellie Akalp 8:46Next benefit is added credibility by having the IMC or LLC next to your business name. You’re giving the public notice that you are an established business, you’re more likely to want to have clients deal with you because they’re looking at you as more of a credible business have more established business there because they’re they’ve seen you taking the steps of legalizing your business. Another benefit is that with a corporation or LLC, there’s perpetual existence, meaning that if one of the shareholders or members of that LLC pass on the corporation or LLC still continues on and unless it’s formally improperly dissolved.

Nellie Akalp 9:31Lastly, there is also tax flexibility as a benefit of placing a business into a corporation or LLC, a lot of tax flexibility as to how the LLC or the corporation can be tax and lastly, deductible expenses as a corporation or LLC, you’re able to deduct expenses that you would otherwise not be able to deduct As a proprietor or a partnership with that said, I want to take you through a little refresher course of the different types of popular business entity choices. And the popular business and indie choices are obviously as we discussed a sole proprietorship or partnership, a C Corp, S corp, or an LLC, the thing that’s not on this graph is also a professional corporation or professional LLC, which is really a C Corp.

Nellie Akalp 10:36But when we call it a professional Corporation, it’s really a C corporation designed for professionals, such as people like yourself that has to be licensed from the State Board of professional Corporation in all other aspects is a corporation, but it’s really for somebody who’s a professional, providing a professional type of service that’s required to have a license from the state board. Similarly, a professional LLC is simply the same thing as an LLC in all other respects, except for again, in many states, professional LLCs are recognized. And it’s for a professional in the practice of a profession that requires a license to be issued by the state board.

Nellie Akalp 11:24So let’s start with the sole proprietorship, sole proprietorship, partnerships are the most simplest type of entity out there, there’s simple to form and maintain. There’s really no financial statements or lengthy pay paperwork to stay compliant. So basically, here’s what a sole proprietorship is. It’s me, Nellie a cow, okay, wanting to do business, either under my own name as a consultant, or let’s say I want to get really creative, and let’s say I want to provide services under and are a consulting services. Okay, however, I don’t want to incorporate I don’t want to form an LLC.

Nellie Akalp 12:08If I’m doing business under NRA, which is my initials of my name, NRA consulting services, because people are going to be writing me a check to NRA consulting services, the bank is not going to accept it. If I just, you know, have the bank account under nearly a cow in order for me to be able to deposit checks. Under NRA consulting services, I need to file what is called a DBA, or doing business as filing also called a fictitious business name.

Nellie Akalp 12:42So a sole proprietorship is basically someone doing business under their own name or under a fictitious business name. There’s no separation of personal or business assets, you are the owner, you are the business and you are liable for any acts of the business whether right or wrong. One of the disadvantages of being a sole proprietor or partnership is the fact that you cannot really gain business credit, take out business loans or raise capital, unless you personally guarantee those types of applications.

Nellie Akalp 13:20So where the fictitious business name or the DBA filing comes in is the fact that as a sole proprietorship, you can start doing business under your own name and start accepting funds for those services that you provide. And if they’re writing a check out to you, you can, you know, automatically deposited into your bank account. And then at the end of the year, you’ll have to report the income you received as a result of providing those services on the schedule C of your personal income tax returns.

Nellie Akalp 13:54However, if you wanted to start accepting payments and checks under a different name under then other than your name, you would have to go File what is called a fictitious business name filing also referred to as a doing business as filing with the county recorders office in your state. And the reason why is because when you accept the check under a different name other than your own name as a sole proprietor or partnership, the bank is not going to let you deposit that check.

Nellie Akalp 14:26They’re going to ask you for that fictitious business name statement. So the sole proprietorship if that business is being formed, and if it’s being formed to provide a service under a different name. Other than that proprietors name, a fictitious business name filing is required. And you need to file it with the state or the county recorders office in the state you’re located in. Once it’s filed, you take it to your bank, you file that fictitious business name with your bank and then you can start accepting checks and payments. Under that fictitious business name, this is whether you’re a one person IE sole proprietor or multiple people as a partnership conducting business, where you’re not wanting to be a corporation or LLC.

Nellie Akalp 15:14Again, as a sole proprietor or partnership, there is no asset protection, there is no liability protection, there is no corporate veil, which means God forbid, if you get sued, they can come after you personally go after your car, your house, your savings account, whatever you have. That is why it’s so important in light of how easy it is these days to consider no matter how small you are to incorporate or form an LLC. Moving on to the C corporation, the C corporation is the most formal type of business entity there is when it comes to placing your business into some sort of a corporate shield.

Nellie Akalp 15:58Okay, a C corporation provides you with the maximum level of liability protection asset protection, typically with a corporation, the owners of the corporation are the shareholders. The shareholders elect a board of directors who run the corporation, who in turn elect officers who run the day to day business of that Corporation. With a C corporation, the owners are often shielded from personal liability. With a C corporation. A general C corporation is often subject to double taxation. What does that mean? double taxation means when the corporation provides, you know, produces profits, it’s once taxed at the corporate level.

Nellie Akalp 16:47And then once the corporation pays out a distribution or dividends to each of the shareholders, the shareholders are again taxed, again on the individual level, thereby the concept of double taxation. Now, with a C corporation, I don’t recommend this for a small business owner, because of the fact that there is double taxation, and with the S corp coming into play, and if you’re a business owner who can qualify as an S corp, there’s no need for you to pay that double taxation.

Nellie Akalp 17:22However, for those who don’t qualify as an escort, after the passage of the JOBS Act, C corpse are now taxed at a flat percentage of 21%, which is substantially lower than the 35%. That used to be the tax rate prior to the passage of the JOBS Act. So with the C corporation, highest form of legal protection, liability protection, most formal type of entity out there, lots of administrative paperwork, lots of compliance paperwork, typically not ideal for a small business unless you have a roadmap unless you are thinking of being acquired unless you’re thinking of seeking VC funding or going public. Okay.

Nellie Akalp 18:13Next is the S corporation. Now, there is a very, very big myth out there that people think that an S corporation is a is a type of business entity. And that’s corporation is simply a C corporation that elects pass through taxation by the IRS. So an S corporation is really a C Corp, that files a form with the IRS if they qualify to be treated as an S corp as a pass through tax entity in the eyes, in the eyes of the IRS. Okay, so an S Corp. It’s not an type of business entity. It’s really a tax designation that’s given to a C Corp that’s been formed.

Nellie Akalp 19:00So generally, why would people want to form an S corp? Well, a C Corp would want to elect us for status to avoid being taxed twice. So what an S corp does the benefit of an S corp is that it allows that C Corp to become a pass through tax study tax entity in the eyes of the IRS, thereby avoiding double taxation. So there are strict requirements as to who can qualify to become an S Corp.

Nellie Akalp 19:30However, if you meet those requirements, that C Corp is now recognized as a pass through tax entity whereby all the profits and losses are flown through and tax once on the individual shareholders level. As I mentioned, there are strict requirements as to who can qualify to become an escort. First and foremost, you can only have up to 100 shareholders all the shareholders must be resident aliens or US citizen that election has to be made within 75 business days of the corporation or LLC coming into existence. And you can only have one type of stock.

Nellie Akalp 20:10However, if you meet those qualifications, the S corp is great for small business owner because you’re not paying that double taxation that otherwise a C Corp would have to pay. In all other aspects, the S corp is ran just like a C corporation. And you know, it’s owned by the shareholders. It’s run by the board of directors and the officers. And as far as corporate formalities go, again, heavy, heavy corporate formalities whereby you have to have the annual meetings of the shareholders and the Board of Directors and file annual meeting minutes and meet all the other compliance requirements that are often required by Corporation.

Nellie Akalp 20:54Moving on to the LLC, the LLC stands for a limited liability company. Now, the way I like to characterize this entity is that you get to have your cake and eat it too. Why is that? Because the LLC combines elements of the sole proprietorship and a partnership with elements of a corporation. And the the reason why I say this is the best type of entity whereby you can have your cake and eat it too, is because of the fact that with an LLC, it’s the it’s an entity that provides maximum liability protection, asset protection, but without all the corporate formalities and the paperwork that is often associated by being a corporation or an S Corp.

Nellie Akalp 21:40So with an LLC, the single piece of document that controls the LLC is the operating agreement. So for somebody who wants to have that liability protection, asset protection, but does not want to deal with all the corporate formalities and paperwork, the LLC is the way to go because you get that liability protection, asset protection, without all the complex maintenance and management and paperwork. Also with an LLC, it’s very flexible for taxation. As an LLC by default, if you’re a single member LLC, it’s taxed as a sole proprietorship, whereas a multi member LLC is taxed as a partnership. Thereby, by default, if it’s taxed as a sole proper partnership, you’re likely to pay higher self employment taxes.

Nellie Akalp 22:36However, with an LLC, you can opt whether you’re a single member LLC or multi member LLC to be taxed as an S Corp. If you meet the requirements of that S Corp. requirement provided by the IRS You can also opt to be taxed as a C Corp. If you can’t meet the qualifications of the S corp, but still want to avoid paying those higher self employment taxes you can offer to elect to have your LLC be taxed as a C corporation, Place yourself as a on payroll as a member of an LLC and draw a paycheck, which will likely lower your self employment taxes because generally speaking by default, a single member LLC taxed as a sole prop or multi member LLC tax as a partnership can’t become an employee of the LLC, they can only take a draw.

Nellie Akalp 23:36And as a result by taking a draw your higher likelihood of paying, you know, higher self employment taxes. So a way to get around this is although you can have the foundation that the structure of that business be an LLC, you can get around it by electing S corp or C Corp status. And by electing S corp or C Corp status, you maintain the minimal formalities of the entity. But now as a member of an LLC, you can place yourself on payroll and draw a paycheck from the LLC. Now, owners of an LLC are referred to as members whereas owners of a corporation are referred to as shareholders. And again, really the main difference between a corporation and the LLC is really flexibility in how you manage how you tax and less paperwork, less compliance, really, really easy to manage and run.

Nellie Akalp 24:40Moving on, there is as I mentioned at the beginning of this webinar, what is called the professional Limited Liability Company, also referred to as a pllc. So in many states, if you’re a professional, which your job requires professional licensing by yourself You’re not legally allowed to just form an LLC. Instead, you have to form what is called a professional Limited Liability Company. As long as it’s recognized by your state, the rules and requirements for a professional LLC really vary from state to state. And if your state recognizes that and they recognize the professional LLC, you can form that professional LLC but all the members of that pllc have to hold the same license and they have to be practicing the same profession. With pls LLC, there are difficulties

Nellie Akalp 25:40that are faced when it comes to continuing the business. For example, if one of the business owners you know leaves or you know, one of them passes on, the PLC will automatically dissolve as long as the other members also hold that same professional license. But in all other respects professional LLC is offered the same type of liability protection and that that an LLC offers and they differ in the following areas one pllc does not protect individual members from their from their own malpractice lawsuits. So you still have to carry malpractice insurance in a professional LLC and also with a pllc. Some banks may require the members of that pllc, for personal guarantee in order to lend money to the pllc.

Nellie Akalp 26:40But again, in all other aspects, think of a professional LLC, very much the same as an LLC when it comes to how it’s run, how its manage how it’s taxed. Except the main difference here is that a professional LLC is really for a, for a professional offering a professional type of service, such as a doctor, a lawyer, a chiropractor, an anesthesiologist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and some sort of profession that requires licensing from the state board. Similarly, there’s something called a professional Corporation.

Nellie Akalp 27:21A professional Corporation, again, is a corporation that’s formed by professionals. So a professional corporation is for a professional who really wants that maximum level of protection, they don’t really mind the paperwork or if it’s for someone who has no choice but to form a professional Corporation because their state doesn’t offer a pllc or recognize a pllc. Again, a professional Corporation and all other aspects is very similar to a C corporation, professional corporations can become S corporations, as long as it satisfies the requirements of the S corporation. And really, the professional corporation is typically considered by the IRS as a corporation, and it’s taxed as a C corporation.

Nellie Akalp 28:17Again, the only difference is that with a professional Corporation, the shareholders of that Corporation are professionals offering a professional type of service such as doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, anybody who needs to have a license from the state board in order to be providing that type of professional service. I’ve gone ahead in the next slide, and really, really summarized all these the different types of entities for you. And I’ve also summarized the type of initial filing requirements, the annual compliance filing requirements, and whether a Registered Agent is required for the type of entity that you would want to be considering to form for your practice.

Nellie Akalp 29:07As you can see here, with a sole proprietorship, there’s really no initial filings required. There’s really no annual type of compliance filing requirements and you’re not required to have a Registered Agent. Whereas with a C corporation, you have initial filing requirements in order for that C corporation to come into existence. There is something called an article of incorporation that must be drafted in some states an initial report is required after the articles of incorporation are filed with the state. Some states also require publication fees.

Nellie Akalp 29:42There’s also annual compliance requirements that are associated with forming a corporation and maintaining a corporation. Most states require an annual Statement of Information also referred to as an annual report to be filed with the state office. With a corporation you have to have annual meetings and draft annual meeting minutes. And in any type of business structure, whether it’s a C Corp, S corp, LLC, or pllc, or professional Corporation, a registered agent is required. Now what is a Registered Agent?

Nellie Akalp 30:16When you form a corporation or LLC, you must designate a person which is over the age of majority in the state where the corporation is being formed to accept Service of Process on behalf of that corporation or LLC. Generally speaking, the Registered Agent has to be 18 years of age or older, they must be at that location physically between the normal business hours of eight to five. And that Registered Agent office has to be a physical business address that cannot be a peel box, or a private mailbox.

Nellie Akalp 30:53A lot of people don’t like designating themselves as a Registered Agent, because it really refutes the whole idea of that layer of privacy that you’re creating for yourself by becoming a corporation or LLC. So we here at corpnet, offer Registered Agent services in all 50 states, and we can act as your registered agent of record for any of the 50 states for your corporation or LLC.

Nellie Akalp 31:20Now, here are questions to ask yourself, when you’re considering wanting to put your practice into a corporation or LLC, you want to number one, figure out Do I have any type of personal assets? Am I concerned with personal liability? Do I need to live off the business’s profits each year? Do I want to keep paperwork in administration as simple as possible? Or is it not really a big deal for me? And do I want to keep that business forever. And when you ask these questions, it can really guide you to figuring out what type of business entity would be best for your practice. And also, which will give you the best tax consequences at the end of the year. In addition, we have a great tool on our website, which is on the front page of our website located at, which is our business structure wizard.

Nellie Akalp 32:17It’s been created by a team of attorneys and accountants. And it’ll lead you to a series of questions about your business. And at the end of that wizard, you get to ask have the answer of which business entity is really recommended for you, which will give you maximize liability and asset protection, in addition to the best tax savings. So again, check it out. It’s called our business structured wizard. And it’s located on

Nellie Akalp 32:50And it will be posted in the notes here on this webinar as well. So now that we’ve kind of gone over the different types of business entities, the question becomes, okay, how do I get started? What are the steps to get started? Well, for those of you who want to really keep it super simple, you come to Corp net, and we take care of everything from A to Z for you. However, again, incorporating a business or for me, and I’ll see is not something that has to be done by a lawyer and accountant, you can, your One option is to go to a reputable company, such as our company corpnet.

Nellie Akalp 33:28Another option is to do it yourself. Okay. And then of course, the last option is to hire an attorney or an accountant, we recommend against the last option because it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. How do I know this? I’m an attorney myself, I used to practice law. And I used to charge each client upwards of $5,000 to form a corporation or LLC. And why I don’t practice law. And I’m not licensed. It’s because of the fact that I see, you know, I wanted to become an entrepreneur. And I wanted to streamline the business startup process so that everyone can benefit from it. And we can we can offer a service, streamline it and offer it at a fraction of a price that you would otherwise have to pay an attorney or an accountant to provide these services to you. So again, it’s not something that you have to hire an attorney or an accountant, you don’t have to hire corpnet you can do it yourself.

Nellie Akalp 34:30But when you do it yourself, you run the risk of making a lot of errors and also it becoming a little bit more time consuming for you. So what we recommend for you is to let a reputable company such as our company handle this for you so that you can focus on doing what you do best is providing mental health and recovery to your clients. So what are the steps to get started to incorporate a business first and foremost, you want to make sure your income With licensing and zoning laws, you want to conduct a business name search to make sure that name is available in the state you’re planning on incorporating your business or forming the LLC. One name a Registered Agent.

Nellie Akalp 35:14Again, you can choose a Commercial Registered Agent such as our company to act as the agent, you draft the articles of incorporation, you file those articles with the state. And then you write up corporate bylaws, applying a paper federal tax ID number, and then you have a corporate record book where you maintain all the corporate records and corporate minutes to keep that corporation or LLC in compliance throughout the lifecycle of that corporation or LLC. And then you want to make sure you stay compliant annually by filing all the necessary paperwork with the state on an annual basis, and especially as a corporation or an LLC.

Nellie Akalp 36:01Even if you’re a single personality, you have to have annual meetings, and you have to make sure you draft your Annual Meeting Minutes again, a service that can be utilized and is offered by corpnet. Similarly, the steps to forming a limited liability company very similar to a corporation I have listed here again, choose a name file articles of incorporation, choose an agent for Service of Process apply for the tax ID number stay compliant. Now, a lot of you may be asking, Well, what is a federal tax ID number, a federal tax ID number is basically the social security number for that corporation or LLC.

Nellie Akalp 36:44Because the corporation or LLC is a separate legal entity, it’s like giving birth to a baby. So when that corporation or LLC comes into existence, it’s like giving birth to a child. So when you give birth to a child, they’re assigned a social security number. Similarly, when you bring a corporation or LLC into existence, you have to assign what is called a federal tax ID number to that corporation or LLC, because that’s how the IRS identifies the transactions that are run through the corporation or LLC.

Nellie Akalp 37:22Now, when that corporation or LLC is formed, if you’re a shareholder in a corporation that meets the requirements of the S corporation election status, after that corporation or LLC is formed, and you decide you want that corporation or LLC tax as an S corp, you you have to take steps, another step to elect S corporation tax status with the IRS. So businesses that are first incorporated as a C corporation or have filed as an LLC, have to file IRS Form.

Nellie Akalp 38:05I’m sorry, I IRS Form 2553, with the IRS in order to elect S corp status. Now, if you’re an LLC, again, if you want to be taxed as an S corp, you file form 2553. However, if you’re an LLC, that does not qualify as an S corp, but you want to opt to be a C Corp, then that LLC files form 8832. Again, if you have questions about this, you can post it in the chat. I’ll be more than happy to answer those questions for you.

Nellie Akalp 38:40Or simply go to We have live agents standing by where they can answer your questions, you can simply email us to or simply come on to the side and there’s a live chat expert that can answer any of your questions. Now we have some helpful resources for you. If you have any questions because I’m sure you know I had to go ahead and cram all this information into an hour. So I’m sure there’s a lot of questions that you may have.

Nellie Akalp 39:17Again, simply reach out to us at you can send us an email to info at corporate or simply pick up the phone at www I’m sorry, simply pick up the phone at 1884492638. Again, we provide a plethora of resources, a lot of content. We have an amazing blog that I ride on at least three times a week with anything and everything that goes through the lifecycle of starting a business managing a business, expanding a business all the way down to winding down the business and closing down the business. notice some helpful resources and tools for you that you should be aware of. We have our business name search tool.

Nellie Akalp 40:10So if you’re thinking about you know a name for your corporation or LLC, right on the homepage of our website, we have a business name search tool, which you can check that name for availability to see if you can be utilized as a corporation or LLC. We also have a trademark search tool that you can utilize to see if that name is available in all 50 states. And if you can have an end game federal trademark protection rights to that name, we also have our business structure wizard, which is a great tool for you.

Nellie Akalp 40:43If you’re not sure about what type of business structure you want to form, whether you want to be a corporation or LLC, we’ve put one of the highlights of that business structure wizard here for you. But the wizard is great because it takes you through a series of questions specifically related to your business, and it then recommends a business structure for your particular business. We also have a great compliance portal, which Corey was very excited about. Because as a business owner, when you form a corporation or LLC, you often think your job is done.

Nellie Akalp 41:18But as a corporation or LLC, there’s a lot of compliance formalities that go along with maintaining a corporation or LLC. And our compliance portal is free of charge and helps keep you on your toes by providing you with monitoring alerts and proactive alerts to make sure your corporation or LLC is in compliance. Again, it’s free of charge, you don’t even have to use our services. And you if you’re already a corporation or LLC, you can sign up for our corporate compliance portal and start receiving alerts and we’ll monitor that corporation or LLC for you.

Nellie Akalp 41:57We also have a meeting minutes template and Annual Meeting Minutes service where we can help you with drafting annual meeting minutes for you, if you’re a corporation, we have plenty of guides and business checklists for you. And then we have an amazing blog that we post timely blog posts and news on there for you. With that said, I’m going to go ahead and thank you guys for the opportunity to present. And again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. It’s been wonderful presenting to you guys, feel free to check us And I’m going to go ahead and hand it over to you, Cory, if you want to go ahead and you know, open up for some q&a, or whatever you’d like to do.

Cory Miller 42:49Yeah, if you have any questions, post those in the q&a app, I’m going to say a big thank you to Nelly a cap founder CEO of I put bunches of these links in there, into the chat, and they’ll be in the notes underneath the recording for this, if you’re watching this at a later time, from the business structure, which wizard which is awesome, because you gave us this fantastic overview that you can go through and actually, you know, answer the questions on the wizard. The compliance thing, Nelly, he did sign up today.

Cory Miller 43:22If I had done court net for several of my businesses, I wouldn’t have to worry. And then I’ve been the one that has been not compliant and had to when I sold my software business a couple years ago, we were we were getting all of our due diligence, go into that and go, Oh, I need to go do my compliance, you know, like I’m at a compliance. So that is such a fantastic thing. I’m going to be signing up today personally, and I put a link to that in in the chat here for everybody. But while you have questions, I’m wondering nilly. So tell me a little bit about CT net and how you got started.

Nellie Akalp 44:00Oh, thank you. So I’ve been in this industry for Oh my god, since 1997. My husband and I met in college and we decided we had similar passions of wanting to go to law school, and we went to law school and we thought, okay, we’re going to both become lawyers, I really wanted to become a trial lawyer. And then in our last year of law school, we really realized that, you know, the entry level salary for what a, you know, entry level lawyer would make is not going to be really sufficient for the lifestyle we envision for ourselves.

Nellie Akalp 44:36You know, we both come from very dysfunctional families. And we’re both in recovery very, very, very grateful to be in recovery. And, you know, we we, we love this community, you know, because we believe in mental health, we love mental health and we wanted to have a big family, you know, we’re both only children. So um, Coming from that background, we an envisioning having a large family because I am a mother of four. And it wasn’t, you know, be working, you know, in a law firm wasn’t really going to, you know, provide us with that lifestyle that we envision.

Nellie Akalp 45:14So, back in 1997, the internet was right. And, and the internet was really, you know, coming on, and it was the birth of the internet. So, starting businesses, for people on the internet was a really hot topic. So we decided to put up a one page website, and, you know, launch our first company, that company soon, and, you know, really grew, you know, really fast. And fast forward to 2005, we sold that company to a private to a publicly traded company into it, and then took some time off and started all over again, with cork net in 2009. And CorpNet has just been such an amazing blessing. My kids are a lot older now.

Nellie Akalp 46:03You know, my twins are 20. So my daughter works for the company. She’s actually one of our top sales experts. So if you have any questions, you can reach out to Nadia, Akalp, Again, that’s And she is one of our business filings, experts that can assist you in helping set up your company in any of the 50 states. And if you already have a corporation or LLC, she can also help you in keeping that corporation or LLC, in compliance in all 50 states.

Cory Miller 46:46Okay, that is a first Nellie when you can say, so I had part of my software business. I had my mom was our salesperson for a very long time. And as I say sales, it was just incoming emails. But this is the first to say, here’s my daughter’s email address. She’s awesome. Go. That is fantastic.

Nellie Akalp 47:06Yeah, I’m really honored to help my daughter worked for me because, um, you know, in this day and age No, I’m, I’m one of those parents who really, you know, likes to equip my, my kids with courage, compassion connection to kind of go out and seek what they want. And her passion was just, I guess it’s genetic, I don’t know. But she’s really passionate about actually taking my position as the CEO of a company. I said, Well, you know, that’s gonna take some time. Why don’t we start here, and she’s just killing it. And she’s very, very personable, very knowledgeable. And she can definitely help when it comes to helping any of you start a corporation or an LLC in any of the 50 states.

Cory Miller 47:53Fantastic. So one last question. And we’ll wrap this up again, we know you’re super busy. And we thank you, and we’re going to be asking you to come back, because phenomenal presentation. Thank you. A lot of you’ve been in business for a very, very long time. And you see a lot of mistakes, I’m sure. One thing I see over and over is when you kind of started out, you talked about sole proprietorship, but thinking I can just do these things without getting legal without it. And it’s not, it’s not just legal to, as you mentioned, it’s protection from your own assets. But are there some as you think about people that are thinking their budding entrepreneurs, or, in our case, private practice, you know, clinicians’ some of those mistakes you see people making when they’re getting their business started. And this can go outside of legal, I’m just curious, as an entrepreneur, very accomplished entrepreneurs, yourself, you know, mistakes you’ve seen, budding business owners make over the years.

Nellie Akalp 48:53So first and foremost, first and foremost mistake I see a lot of entrepreneurs making is they’re not really taking the steps to research for example, that business name that they want to choose for their business entity, and all of a sudden, they get a demand letter from some other business entity that says, hey, you’re violating my name, you’re violating my trade name.

Nellie Akalp 49:19So it’s really really important to check that business name before you start conducting business under that name, because it’s all that time you wasted on you know, printing out business cards, letterhead, whatever can really go two ways if you don’t take the proper steps, and do your due diligence to check that name for availability. Next Big mistake we see is for those professionals who you know, are ready to incorporate or form an LLC. And they typically go after those, you know, hyped up incorporate in Delaware Incorporated, Wyoming incorporated in Nevada. And this is really a myth and it’s going to really bite People in in the behind if they don’t incorporate in their home state because although Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming are really, you know, business friendly states to Incorporated, if you’re not located in that business in that state, if you’re not operating within that state, if you don’t have employees within that state it you’re subjecting yourself to multiple states filing fees and state laws.

Nellie Akalp 50:29So, really, at the end of the day is if you’re considering incorporating or forming an LLC, incorporate in your home state where the business is located. Lastly, the another big, big big issue we see is, once they’ve incorporated or formed an LLC, failing to keep that corporation or LLC in compliance throughout the lifetime of the LLC, so not, you know, properly aligning themselves with a compliance service, such as our company that can keep their corporation or LLC in compliance. Because, you know, by by incorporating or forming an LLC, your main, you know, you want to maintain that corporate shield, you want to maintain that corporate veil. And by failing to keep that corporation or LLC in compliance, you’re likely going to lose that corporate veil, that corporate shield, which, in essence, you’re going to lose protection. And ultimately, if your corporation or LLC is not is not in compliance, the state that you’re incorporated or formed as an LLC is going to put your LLC in bad standing. And ultimately, that corporation or LLC will become administratively dissolved by that state.

Cory Miller 51:52Gotcha. Good to know. Good to know for sure. Which is why the your compliance check your free compliance check is so critical. Excellent. Yes,

Nellie Akalp 51:59yes. And it’s easy. I mean, literally, how hard is it, go to our website, go to our compliance portal? Literally, it’s three to four questions that you have to answer. And then we start monitoring your company. And we’ll even give you a courtesy call to let you know when it’s due, like, Hey, your corporation is coming up due for its annual report or its annual meeting minutes. And you either tell us, hey, you can take care of this for me, or we you know, you’ll do it on your own. And we’ll dismiss the alert for you for that for that year. So really great service free of charge and something that I feel anybody should participate.

Cory Miller 52:44Yes, absolutely. Okay, so one final question. And then we’ll let you go. And thank you so much on this Friday, of course, of course. So sometimes the therapist will relocate from another state actually talked to a couple and and there are licensure things for them that they have to deal with to correct. Let’s say you started a private practice in Oklahoma. You moved to Texas? Yes. Now, the licensure they’re figuring that out, but from the incorporation. what’s the what’s the best practice for for that?

Nellie Akalp 53:16Great question. Great question. So two options here. One is called Read, read dama seiling, also referred to as read domestication, okay, I read the domestication or read domicile is basically where a corporation or LLC is formed in one state, and they don’t really want to lose the tenure ship of that corporation or LLC. And they want to keep the longevity of that corporation or LLC that they started out with in that original home state. Okay, if that state that they’re moving into offers a read domestication, that’s their best option to ridden, read domesticate, meaning, converting out of one state and converting into the other state.

Nellie Akalp 54:05Okay, if the state doesn’t offer we domestication basically what that business owner that’s formed as a corporation or LLC has to do is they’ll need to dissolve that corporation or LLC in their home state and form that corporation or LLC into the new state. Now, there is a third option. Let’s say that business owner is still wanting to practice in that home state and they want to maintain their licensure and not home state. The third option is they can keep that business entity in that original home state and foreign qualify that Corporation into the new state and expand into the new state or multiple states. So lots of different variances as to how this can be done.

Nellie Akalp 54:56And again, we offer all these types of services out corpnet let’s say for example, your practice is growing and you’re hiring additional, you know, counselors and professionals to work under you or you know, have a receptionist or someone as an administrative assistant that you want to place on payroll, well, by, you know, paying people on payroll, you have to register for payroll tax, wretch number, employer tax rich number, we can also assist you with those services as well in all 50 states. So we are a one stop A to Z, business filing service that provides services in all 50 states to you.

Cory Miller 55:42is fantastic. Any, any budding entrepreneur out there not just clinician therapist, Korematsu, fantastic have your friends that have worked with you nilly and coordinate for years and, and amazing services, you’ve really fleshed out the whole suite. Thank you, Nellie, thank you so much. And one, two, I meant to mention this, thank you for sharing that you’re also in recovery and your passion for mental health. And, and then finally, just thank you for your time today and sharing your expertise.

Nellie Akalp 56:13Of course, of course, it’s been a pleasure to present to all of you, I am very grateful and honored to be here, Corey, and again, post your questions in the chat box, because Corey and I are going to design a series of webinars to come back at you and come back to you with more and more education. Again, this is my passion, my passion, really, other than being an entrepreneur is really to teach and Blaze and really help you as an entrepreneur grow as a professional and helping you grow your business. So I’m really, really, really humbled to be here and to be presenting to all of you. Thank you.

Cory Miller 56:57Yes, ma’am. Okay, Nellie, have a great weekend. Thank you again, we’ll be talking about that series because I can’t wait to do that and our clinicians in the community. You’re ready for that. Thank you, everybody. Have a great Friday, and we’ll see you all next time. Have a great day.


Starting Your Practice

Starting Your Own Counseling Business

You’re thinking about starting your own counseling business. It’s not surprising that you want to. After all, about half of professional counselors work in private practice. Establishing a practice is a significant milestone for counselors. Aside from feeling ready, this post provides practical tips for starting your own counseling business.

Gain Critical Experience

It’s probably not a good idea to finish your degree and credentialing requirements and immediately open your own practice. Instead, work for an established group to gain experience, connect with other counselors, and have a guaranteed paycheck. 

Working with a group also gives you an inside look at how to run a business. You’ll learn which practices you want to mimic and which ones you want to leave behind when you start your own practice. 

Once you’re ready to start your practice, you may consider doing so part-time. Starting a practice is expensive, so you’ll need to save enough money to set up your business. And it could take months or years to have a large enough clientele to pay the monthly bills. 

Keeping your full-time job and starting your own practice part-time is an excellent way to guarantee your income while working toward your goal. You also may consider renting a shared space with another counselor until you get a steady flow of clients. Sharing space helps you save on all the expenses associated with setting up your own office.

Other benefits of starting your private practice part-time include:

Time to Learn: You need some business knowledge to start your practice. Starting part-time gives you time to learn as you go.Niche Testing: Having a part-time practice allows you to focus on your niche to see if you can find clients.Increased Savings: Because you’ll have two incomes, you can continue building your savings to help with your full-time private practice.

Identify a Niche and Create a Business Plan

When you are a new counselor, you may feel the need to take whatever clients need your help. Although, we learn in graduate school to take only those we feel equipped to help. But as your practice develops or you move into private practice, consider what specialty niche you may want to serve. The best income and the most rewarding counseling careers often result from serving a population you enjoy and are best at treating. 

It’s not a good idea to decide to start a private practice and jump right in. Instead, you’ll want to do some planning, including creating a business plan to guide your decisions.

Consider the following for your business plan:

Mission Statement: Who do you serve? What do they need? How do you fulfill that need? These are the essential components of a mission statement. Answering these seemingly simple questions in a short, focused statement can help guide all of the decisions you make for your practice. Goals: What do you want to accomplish through your practice? Write it down, then assess how realistic your goals are and how best to achieve them.Clients: Understanding everything you can about who you want to serve is essential in finding and identifying your ideal clients.Location: Where will your new practice be? What opportunities or challenges does the location present? How will you take advantage of opportunities while solving challenges?Budget: How much will it take for you to run your business? Consider start-up costs and monthly expenses. Some budgetary considerations include office space, utilities, employee salaries, supplies, equipment, furnishing, insurance, taxes, and marketing.

Consider Legalities

A private practice is a small business regulated by local and state laws. You may need to hire an attorney or other expert to help you legally establish your practice. You want to make sure your business is compliant with all local and state laws and regulations. 

Laws and regulations to consider when setting up your private practice include:

Zoning Codes: Zoning codes regulate the types of businesses that can use specific spaces and how you can use or alter the physical spaces. Building Licenses: Some cities and counties require business licenses to give you authority to operate your business. Professional Requirements: Do you need special certifications or licenses to practice in your counseling niche? Check your state licensing to make sure you have the necessary credentials. Insurance: You’ll need malpractice insurance before you accept clients. You also may want liability insurance to protect you if a client gets injured at your office. Oh, and you’ll want to make sure the physical location of your business is insured for things like weather damage. Taxation: Be sure you are aware of and have budgeted for all business-related taxes in your area.

Develop Business Skills

Unfortunately, the knowledge and skills that make you a great counselor aren’t all you need to run a private practice. You’ll need to learn business skills. As you develop your business plan, you’ll likely recognize areas you need to know more about, like all of the legalities mentioned above. Study these areas so you feel comfortable making decisions related to them. If there’s an area you think is beyond your understanding, like the types of insurance you need to protect you and your business, hire a professional to help you.

Set Your Fee

You became a counselor to help people. The desire to help may make setting an hourly rate for your services uncomfortable. But you have to charge an appropriate fee to keep the doors open and continue helping others. 

Advice for choosing the right fee for your private practice:

Consider Others: Review what other counselors in the area charge for similar services. Reviewing others’ fees will help you understand what’s standard and what clients will pay.Don’t Undercut: You are a professional. Don’t choose the lowest fee in the area. Instead, consider your clients and services, then set your fees accordingly. A good starting point may be to set your fees to match the top half of other local counselors. Do Math: How much do you need to make from each client to meet your financial obligations? Review the budget in your business plan. Be realistic about the number of clients you can see in a week and how easily you can book them. For example, if you can only book one client a day, you aren’t ready for a full-time private practice, but you may be ready for a one-day-a-week part-time private practice.Be Consistent: Charge all of your clients the same fee. It’s less confusing for your clients, office manager, and yourself. Adjust: Your fees are not forever. Many counseling services raise their fees a small percentage each year to keep up with increases in costs like insurance and utilities. 

Decorate Your Space

The way your office looks and feels to clients is essential to your private practice’s success. You want to make your office cozy and welcoming so clients feel comfortable and want to return. You don’t have to allocate a huge chunk of your budget to your office space, but you should consider how it looks and feels. 

Colors and smells touch our senses and can either create a welcoming space for clients or turn them off. So, when choosing these details, be very thoughtful.

When decorating your office space, consider:

Function: Provide clients with comfortable seating. Consider comfortable chairs instead of or in addition to the stereotypical counseling couch. Have a place for them to set their belongings and a coat rack for them to hang their coat or store their umbrella. The goal is to make the space as functional and stress-free as possible. Tone: Consider the tone of the office. Again, you want it to be relaxing and stress-free. Decorate in relaxing colors, like blues and greens. Put plants and calming art in the office. Allow as much natural light into the space as possible. Use lamps instead of overhead lights for additional lighting.Make It Official: Help clients feel confident in your expertise by hanging your diplomas and other credentials or honors on the wall.

Create a Marketing Plan

You can’t create a private practice, even part-time, and expect clients to discover it magically. Instead, you’ll need to advertise your counseling services. To build a marketing plan, you’ll need to determine the clients you want to reach and how best to connect with them.

When planning marketing for your private practice, consider:

Launching a Website: You want a strong, professional online presence that introduces you and your services to potential clients. Writing a Letter to Physicians: If you establish yourself as a trusted mental health resource with a specific medical practice, the doctors will send you patients. A marketing letter to physicians helps you introduce yourself and your practice. It also provides an opportunity for you to tell the doctors more about what you do and the patients you serve.Enrolling in Directories: Enroll yourself in various online therapy directories, like this All Counselors directory. Using Google: It makes sense to use Google if you want people to find you via Google searches. Create a Google My Business account. The account will include a business listing, a free business profile, and it will make your service appear in Google maps. Google My Business listings also appear at the top of search results.
Starting Your Practice

How to Write a Therapist Bio

You’re on your way to fulfilling your dream and starting your own counseling practice. As part of the process, you’re setting up a website to help clients find your services. But now comes another challenging part. You have to write your bio for your site, and you have no idea how to do that. Don’t worry! We’re here to help. This post outlines how to write a therapist bio. 

Why You Need a Professional Bio

Writing about yourself is difficult. So much so that you may consider skipping the whole bio thing altogether. After all, your website is about your practice, not you, right? Actually, that’s incorrect. People seeking counseling decide where to go for help based on a set of factors like location, insurance, and specialty. But you are the most crucial factor. People want to find a therapist they can relate to. Sure, they want someone with the right expertise, but even more, they want someone who makes them feel comfortable, shares their counseling goals, and understands them. 

The About page of your practice’s website houses your bio. It introduces you to the site’s visitors. It establishes your credentials and helps them get to know you. It also is where you place a photo of yourself. Make no mistake about it — potential clients look at your photo to see if they think you look like someone they can trust.

5 Elements to Include in Your Bio

Ok, so you can’t avoid the bio. It has to be on your website. So how do you write a therapist bio? It’s a relatively painless process once you know what a therapist bio includes.

Introduce Yourself – Put your name in the first sentence of your bio so the reader knows immediately who they’re reading about. Think of the first sentence as your virtual introduction. You can even make it creative. Like, “I’m Dr. Jill Smith. I’ve worked as a licensed psychiatrist for 15 years. And when I’m not working, I make the best apple pie you’ve ever eaten.” Think of a little fun fact you can provide about yourself that will keep the visitor reading.Outline What You Do – After introducing yourself, provide information about your practice. Think about the types of questions a potential client likely has about your practice and answer them. Questions to include:How long have you been in your current location? What is your specialty? Are there certain types of patients that you’re seeking? Why should someone come to your practice? What can clients expect during sessions with you?Also, consider telling potential clients why you decided to become a counselor. What attracted you to the discipline?Establish Your Expertise – In this part of the bio, explain why you’re an expert and worthy of consideration. This explanation includes listing your degrees, past professional experience, and any special certifications you may have. You want to establish that people are in safe hands if they choose you as their counselor.Relate Personally – The next part of your bio is to attempt to relate on a more personal level with the reader. Tell them a few things about yourself. Why did you decide to start your practice? Why now? Then go into something more personal like your hobbies or interests outside of work. You may even want to talk about your partner or children. For example, “I live with my husband, two children, and our three dogs. When I’m not working, I love to spend time hiking and watching football. Go, Browns!”Tell Them What’s Next – The final part of your bio is a call-to-action. You tell the reader what you’d like them to do next. For example, “If you’re interested in scheduling an introductory session where we can learn more about each other, and you can assess how I can help you, click on the scheduling button below.” Your goal at this point is to gather contact information from the reader or get them to schedule an appointment.

Finalizing Your Bio

Once you write your bio, you want to make sure it reads well, everything is spelled correctly, and it’s grammatically correct. Read your bio out loud. If there are any places that you stumble over as you’re reading, rewrite them to make them easier to understand. Run spell check and maybe ask a friend or partner to read it for you too. Once you feel confident that it’s ready, post your bio on your website with a photo of yourself.
Starting Your Practice