How can you expand your impact within your community? Can you step into creativity to grow your audience? Have you been thinking about creating a course?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about expanding your impact by creating a course with Andrea Dindinger.
Podcast Sponsor: Heard
As a therapist, the last thing you probably want to think about is doing your own bookkeeping and taxes. Heard is here to help with that. Heard is the financial back-office built specifically for therapists in private practice. They combine smart software with real humans to handle bookkeeping, taxes, and payroll.
Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.
When you sign up with Heard, you’ll be matched with an accountant who will help you track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and maximize tax savings. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments. Focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.
Pricing begins at $149 per month for solo practices and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up for a free, 15-min consult call today at www.joinheard.com.
Meet Andrea Dindinger
Andrea Dindinger is a San Francisco-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with more than 15 years of experience helping people create meaningful, fulfilling intimate relationships. She specializes in couples, individuals, and adolescents, as they navigate relationships, addiction, grief, and general disconnection from their heart’s desire.
Andrea is a graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She’s trained in Somatic Therapy which focuses on the relationship between the mind and body in regard to its psychological past. In addition, she practices the Brainspotting method, which helps process sources of trauma and distress in the body.
To best attract people to grow your audience, get into a mindset and headspace where you exude creativity, want to give back to your community, and know what you want to say and provide to others.
You are more successful at growing your community when you focus on helping your community.
Create a course
Andrea noticed a huge need. She was referring out, and everyone was full, and people still needed help.
She decided to design and publish a course that could help people while they found something more permanent.
I was like, “Well, OK, I can see in an hour, if I do this course, I can give them something can be some sort of foundation to weather the storm that they are going through right now. (Andrea Dindinger)
Listen to what your audience is asking for, and provide it to them.
Even say, “Yeah, I went from helping one couple [at a time] to four or five couples at a time”, you know, that’s a huge impact change. (Joe Sanok)
Differentiate the logistics
If you provide multiple services to different clients, be sure to be on the right side of the logistics.
Demarcate what constitutes as therapy and what constitutes as coaching so that you cannot be liable.
It’s more a coaching course than an individual therapy course, and everybody knows that. (Andrea Dindinger)
In your courses and any intensives that you provide, make sure that you get some support. Have people help you flesh these projects out, and sustain them, while you provide the rest of your services.
Andrea’s advice to private practitioners
Have clear boundaries around your policies, your time, and your communication. Be transparent, open, and clear, because it enables you to do this incredible work much more easily.
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
Level Up your practice and business mentality on September 12th to 15th
When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. Sign up now at www.joinheard.com.
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 778.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. We are doing the How I Leveled Up series right now, all around how people leveled up in their private practice. It could just be they started a practice, so we’ve had stories around just getting a practice going. We’ve had stories around starting a group practice, we’ve had stories about people leveling up beyond their private practice and this is all in preparation for September 12th; we are kicking off Level Up Week. This is a Monday through Thursday, because you all know I don’t work Fridays, a whole week for me of Monday through Thursday where we are going to be having tons and tons of webinars. I think we’re at 15 webinars right now from people like myself and some of our consultants. We’re bringing in some guests all around leveling up.
If you’re just getting started and you’re saying I might want to start a private practice, we have some webinars for you. If you’re leveling up into adding your first clinician, we have webinars for you. If you are a group practice boss and you’re rocking it out and you want to know how to do that even more, we have webinars for you. Then we also have some leveling up beyond private practice. Nancy, my writing coach who helped me with the proposal that I ended up getting the Harper Collins book deal with she’s going to be joining us and we have a number of other people joining us in areas like Instagram reels and how to be a good podcast guest in so many different areas. So make sure that you sign up for whatever webinars look like they suit your fancy over at practice ofthepractice.com/levelup. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/levelup. We haven’t done this before. In the past we’ve done our quiet launches, little emails about Next Level Practice and Group Practice Launch. We really, as a team have come around this week and said, how do we just really help people level up with a bunch of free webinars? That’s what we’re doing during Level Up Week. So I would love for you to join us.
I’m so excited about our guest today. We’ve got Andrea Dindinger, who is a San Francisco-based license marriage and family therapist with more than 15 years of experience helping people create meaningful, fulfilling, intimate relationships. She specializes in couples, individuals, and adolescents as they navigate relationships, addiction, grief, and general disconnection from their heart’s desire. Andrea, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast, so excited to have you here.
Thanks so much, Joe. I’m excited to be here.
Yes, I mean, you’ve been all over the place. You’ve been in People, Parade, Bustle, Huffington Post, real simple. I mean, the list is very long and as we talk about leveling up, I’m super excited to just chat with you today. Where does this story begin in regards to your private practice journey?
I guess grad school. I was at a counseling center for my practicum hours. I started there and I remember my very first client, so anxiety producing, I didn’t even charge her. I was so nervous. Then I went on to join another counseling center but after I graduated, for me it was really important for me to get licensed as quickly as possible and that’s partly financially and also, I just wanted to do this work. So I was working at a private practice counseling center here in San Francisco called the Marina Counseling Center. They do sliding scale and it’s amazing but I that was probably 10, 12 hours a week. I got a job working with adolescents and that’s how I fell in love with adolescents at a high school in Marin County.
I was doing that and doing my private practice and working with these high school students. I have been, I’m married now with two children, but I was married previously and I think it was that divorce that brought me to my knees as well as brought me to this career. I think I’ve always been a therapist, like looking back but it was that tremendous heartache and it was a failure on some levels for me that brought me to this work that I’m doing. That’s where I was so drawn to work with couples as they navigate their marriages and their relationships.
I want to pause you right there. People that have listened to the podcast for a while know that last November of 2021, my divorce was finalized and last summer did a whole, how I got through it series where I dug into that story and other people’s stories. How for you, did that divorce change or shape the way you view business, the way you view life, your posture towards the world?
I think that divorce changed every single thing about me in every single way. I think in terms of finances, it was this idea like I had to take care of myself financially. I got married super young, so my ex-husband and I were very much connected in terms of our finances and there was a real pride that I felt of taking care of my own self financially. Then I think it was the sense of, I think the divorce and that whole journey really got me in touch with my appreciation and my gratitude for the really difficult and uncomfortable things we go through in life. It gave me such a tremendous trust in that we get through these difficult, hard times that when we don’t think we’re going to in the moment. I think it’s like those two things really stand out for me in terms of what massively changed for me.
I resonate with that for sure. How did that then lead into the work that you’re doing now? How did that make you want to dig into relationships even more?
Well, I think we are hurt in relationships and we heal in relationships fundamentally. I look at couples primarily, but even individuals, adolescents our world has gotten so disconnected and so polarized and I feel like there’s been a real sense of loss of community. So in some ways I think I view my practice sort of as like a bowl that holds the people or the person that I’m working with. Then that bowl and the people who I’m working with and myself create a relationship that is able to discuss and talk about just about anything. I tell my people there’s nothing we can’t talk about and I don’t think most of them have ever been given that permission. So I’m a bit of a bold, like I don’t walk on eggshells. If something’s in the room, I name it. So I think my confidence in being able to talk about anything as well as I do bring it up when it’s there I think it gives people some confidence that they can actually lean into those hard conversations. Then when we lead into those hard conversations, we actually build greater connection and greater intimacy and I think people don’t really understand that.
Now, there was a moment you were telling me before we got rolling in February of 2020 when you had some realizations, sketch out what your practice looked like at that time. What did your life look like? Then I would love to talk through how you leveled up through the pandemic despite it being a pandemic in 2020.
So it was March 1st, 2020, and it was my husband’s, my anniversary and we were having dinner with a bunch of our friends. One of our friends is the chief medical officer at One Medical, and he came to dinner late and came in like, so, so intense speaking about how our world was about to change. It was unnerving for sure, but I didn’t really believe it. I went to a workout class the next morning and people were sweating all over and I just thought, oh, shoot, this is about to change. Then boom, everything changed. So my practice before that, I had been seeing anywhere from like 25 to 27 people a week and then the pandemic hit and my practice jumped up to 34, 35 people.
The need was so was so high and because I was working from home I could start earlier and work later. I still didn’t work Fridays like you but it got really intense so then the spring or the summer of 2020 I started thinking like, I have something. There’s little tools that I have that would help people. I’m working with 35 people, but there’s like 3.5 million people who need what I’m saying. There’s 35 million people. There’s so many people who, there’s little things you can do in relationship that can make such a big difference. So I started sending out this monthly newsletter for free with homework each month, like, here’s your homework for the month. It comes out twice a month and people are like responding like, oh my God, you are talking to me from the loneliness of being so close with somebody and feeling so distant to dealing with your in-laws to driving together or not having conversations.
I think the biggest thing is that, so I started doing this and people are just like, yes, people are signing up. It felt really great. I was getting interviewed at all these different publications, which also was super fun just spreading what I knew that could be helpful to people, to more and more people. Then I was like, well maybe I start doing a short four-week course where couples can join either as individuals or in a couple and just do a little bit of some really basic skills that can reboot your relationship. So I called it the Relationship Revival Bootcamp.
I want to go back to as you start doing these emails and creating content that’s really what you say are simple things that help relationships. I think a lot of therapists have this imposter syndrome, negative self-talk where they may say, well the Gottman’s are already doing this and have studied this for years or there’s all these other practitioners that have done more than I have. Who am I to start reaching out to the general public? Did you have any of those sorts of negative self-talk? If so, how’d you overcome it? If not, why do you think you didn’t have it?
For sure, I definitely had it. I remember this article that came out from, it was all on me from the Huffington Post. It was on medium.com and it came out and I felt so insecure, like insecurity from childhood insecurity that came up. I called one of my friends, one of my dear, dear best friends just sobbing. I’m like, I just feel like, I’m afraid I’m going to get in trouble. That was the feeling. It was so deeply rooted to being a little girl and standing out amongst my peers or standing out amongst some of my family members. That standing out thing is, it can feel really dangerous and so I had to go back and reexperience the danger that you have to go through in order to stand out and to have your message be heard.
But I mean, Joe, that night was really, really deeply terrifying. I’m really grateful that I had both my mom and my friend Sabrina to walk me through it. Then I guess I probably still have that feeling of like what I’m saying is not new but I guess I keep doing it. What pulls me through that imposter feeling is there’s only one Andrea Dindinger and how I show up is a little bit different than how one of my best friends shows up or how the Gottman’s show up or I’m not them and they’re amazing and I respect the hell out of the work they’re doing. But I also really deeply value and see the revolutionary change I’ve been able to witness in my practice and in these smaller group courses. Even the people who aren’t working with me who are getting my emails, they’re just saying like, Andrea, we danced last night and something about that shifted everything. Thank you. So I think it’s like those responses that keep me going.
I think it’s amazing how, you would hope that we don’t do our work just to get the feedback, but then also that feedback is so helpful when someone says, the way you said, it just really resonated with me, that there could be all sorts of other people that are teaching people to grow a private practice or to be a strong couple. But specifically, the way that you said it, the example you came up with, the angle you took that resonated with them, that sure there can be people just researching it, but then your tone and your approach and your history is all going to be so different from how someone else might speak about it.
So then a lot of things, one thing that we talk about in Audience Building Academy is to grow your audience before you really grow your product because a lot of, especially highly educated people that have masters or PhDs are so used to doing the research and creating curriculum and all that. So they’ll start that and then they’ll wonder why no one’s buying it because they think that that’s just the thing instead of like what you did growing an audience. So when you were growing that audience before you launched the four-week intensive, what did that look like in regards to your emails? What schedule did you have? What platform did you use? How did you track it? Or was it really just for fun and didn’t really track it that much? What did that look like as you were audience building?
Initially I was just, it was more like my heart was like, I need to get some help out there. I wasn’t even paying attention to the audience building. I just was like, there was like creativity that was coming out of me probably much in the same like you do the research, you write the thing, but you don’t care. Then you’re like, oh, is anybody going to read it? So I think I probably did a little bit of that as well because there was so much that I wanted to give and then I started tracking it; first my social media followers and then just on MailChimp just seeing like, oh, how many times the newsletter was forwarded or how many subscribers, how many new subscribers came on with that newsletter. So I think I probably tracked it in that way.
Do you think it was easier to be playful or creative or just focused on the content because you had the money from the private practice already coming in?
Yes, for sure. I mean, so I was telling you earlier about how I worked at a counseling center and I worked at a school. So for years my private practice felt like my little special thing, my hobby. I had this work at the school, or I worked for a family therapy company for years. But my private practice was like my little hobby that I just loved and it was fun and it nourished me. Then after my first child was born, I decided to just do private practice only. So I started making money doing what I loved, which was incredible and because I don’t need any more clients, my my practice is totally full. Even right now it’s even maybe a little bit too full that I financially I wasn’t in it to make any money. I was in it to just get more people, more support. I think we’re going to be seeing the impact of Covid for the rest of my career for sure and so I think that’s where it was. I didn’t need any financial response. There was no financial response to get from it. It was just like getting more people to receive to receive the newsletter.
As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.
When you sign up with Heard, you’ll be matched with an accountant who will help you track your income and expenses, file taxes online and maximize tax savings. You’ll also receive financial insights, such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to pouring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments, focus on your clients and Heard will take care of the rest. Prices begin at just $149 per month for solo practices and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up for free for a 15-minute consult today at www.joinherd.com. Again, that’s www.joinherd.com.
It’s interesting, just this week my 11-year-old, Lucia she, a while ago bought kidscreative.tv and she had designed a logo and got a bumper made for a YouTube channel. That was something that she was just excited about. This week we were able to link it all to her iPad to start uploading videos. Yesterday she made four YouTube videos, it was just insane and it looked great, but it’s just, she’s playful with it. She’s like, what would I want? Oh, I would want someone to read me a story. So she’d read them a story and then she had all these other, she made cookies and videoed the whole thing and was just hilarious like, and I may use this one.
And it’s like, what do other kids want? When she goes into it with the posture of, this is just fun, this is what I would want, it’s so much easier to build an audience when you’re almost not trying to build an audience, but you’re just saying, I want to really serve the world. Now when did you know you were onto something and you thought, I really need to create some sort of product? Because different people have different philosophies on how big your audience should be before you launch your first product. How did you know when, for you, it felt right to launch the four-week course?
That’s a great question. I think the course was born out of, I guess there was so many people who kept reaching out, “Do you have space?” My husband and I my fiancé and I, my boyfriend and I, there was so much of, I was getting probably in up to maybe five emails a week of people needing space and everybody I was referring to was, was full. So I think it came out of that. I was like, well, okay, I can see, in an hour if I do this course, I can give them something that can be some sort of foundation to weather the storm that they’re going through right now. So I think it was, I launched the first, my first newsletter went out in February of 2021, yes, February of 2021 and I launched the first course this January of 2022. So it was basically about a year, but I’d been working on the newsletter and doing some of those interviews probably August of 2020. Then I did a second course in May and June of this year, and then I’m going to do a third one September, October of this year. But I think it was just, there were so many people that I was trying to figure out a way to support them in some fashion.
So it sounds like your audience really was asking for it and saying like, we want more before you really dove into it. You didn’t have to guess, oh, do they want a membership community? Do they want a course? Do they want a podcast? It was, people were reaching out and you could have conversations with them, even if it was just over email of what is it that you’re looking for to then craft that very thing so that if you created something, then it hopefully sold out right away.
Yes, I mean, for me it wasn’t even like sold out. I thought, well, if two people show up, that’s worth it to me. So if one person shows up, maybe that’s not as worth it because then that would be doing more one-on-one work. But basically, I was like, if two people show up it’ll be worth it. So, I mean, only four families showed up and then in May and June, I think five families showed up. So it’s not like earth shattering numbers, but it’s in one hour I’m helping four different families, four different couples or five different couples in an hour. To me, that felt important. It wasn’t like I was helping a hundred families. And I’m not sure that this course would be right for that many people. I think this time around it’s going to be probably about eight families or eight couples that are showing up. So it’s bigger. But what’s so beautiful about this course in particular is there’s such a sense of community and that feeling like, oh, yes, we do that. That sense of not being alone, it gets rid of the shame of having the same argument with your partner over and over and over again. Then, I don’t know, it builds community really.
Now, I love that you just focus on going from one-on-one to one to a few, and maybe someday one to many or one to like a ton but to even just say, yes, I just went from helping people one hour at a time, one couple to four or five couples at a time that’s a huge impact change. When you think about just liability and ethics and state lines, that’s a question I get all the time when people look at leveling up beyond their practice, how did you think through that, make sure you’re protected? Were there liability forms? Did you say this isn’t individual counseling? What were the things from the logistical background side that you did?
It isn’t counseling. It isn’t therapy and I think of it as a coaching course. So to me that covers the logistical. I do an intake with each couple to make certain that there’s no physical abuse taking place and that there’s not real like suicidal or pretty significant addiction. I say that about the addiction, but I think we’re an addicted society. So one of the things I ask my group is not to drink alcohol from Tuesday through Thursday, so taking three days of that week to omit that substance from your, from your body and just see what it does to your relationship. So I guess those are like the logistical and legal things I do. It’s more a coaching course than an individual therapy course. Everybody knows that. But I’ve got people from Europe who’ve signed up, people from San Francisco Colorado, I’m trying to think where else people are from but a bunch of other places, Washington DC, New York. And I’ve been in the process of actually trying to get licensed in those other states to do one-on-one therapy for people who do end up moving or traveling around, which that’s sort of a pain, but it’s just a process you just go through.
What advice would you have for people that are looking to level up beyond their practice into e-courses, live events, intensives, email courses, things like that?
I guess I would say get some support. I work with a virtual assistant and I work with a, she’s like a jack of all trades. She’s a copywriter, editor, coach. Those two women really, really support me when I get scared, support me in like knowing some of the things that I don’t know about, whether it’s MailChimp or Calendary or there’s a bunch of things that I just don’t really know very much about. So that support felt really, really important. Then I work with a woman who does PR for me, so when a publication comes in and asks me for my opinion about something I write up my response, but then she goes through it and submits it on my behalf. So I think you just need, I think we just need support.
Yes. The last question I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
What would I want them to know? I guess the number one thing, I’ve supervised a bunch of new clinicians and I feel like something that I’m very, very good at and I think has enabled me to be as both as successful, but as flexible as I’m comfortable with that feels warm and genuine, but also very, I’ve got very clear boundaries, I think, I think when people in this work get very clear about their boundaries around their cancellation policy, around their communication between sessions I think that enables you to do this work, which is incredible work. It can be burnt, a lot of people get burnt out from it but I think you just know what your boundaries are. I never work Fridays. I don’t even do my course on a Friday. That’s like my day to take care of my family, take care of the things I haven’t been able to. So I’ve got a strict, strict cancellation policy and it goes in both directions. You don’t give me 48 hours, you pay no matter what the excuse. If I don’t give you 48 hours, it’s even a little bit more extreme. Obviously, we don’t meet, so you don’t pay but the next time we do meet, you get that session on me.
I love that. I have always hated that when it’s like a therapist or doctor cancels last minute or they’re running two hours late and it’s like, if I was running two hours late, I’d have to pay you. I love that.
Yes. I think it’s been one of the things that’s really helped me just be really solid in who I am and what I’m giving.
Oh, that’s so awesome. Andrea, if people want to sign up for your course or send clients to your course or connect with your work where’s the best place to send them?
Just go to my website, andreadindinger.com.
Awesome. We’ll have links to that in the show notes as well. Andrea, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
Thank you so much, Joe, it was so fun. So nice to meet you.
What a fun series this is hearing about people’s level up stories. A lot of what we covered today was about leveling up outside of your clinical work, but still taking that clinical work with you. Audience Building Academy is that thing that will help you really level up. We have a cohort starting in September. You can read more over at audiencebuilding.academy. It’s a six-month program where we meet twice a month. It’s milestone-based, meaning that every single month we have the exact milestone that you’re supposed to meet. So we focus on your niche, we focus on your email course, we focus on getting onto podcasts and getting into as seen on just like Andrea positioned herself to be in front of people and get known. We walk you through that exact process and we do it as a cohort.
Then after that six months we now have a membership community once you’ve gone through level one that you can be around other people that are doing the same thing. So you’ll first be with your cohort for six months, then you go into the general community as well. So many amazing things going on. Also we just decided this, that if people level up, anyone that levels up during Level Up Week if you go from not having a practice to going into Next Level Practice, if you’re in Next Level Practice and you go into Group Practice Launch or Group Practice Boss or Audience Building Academy, we’re giving away a hundred free tickets to Killin’It Camp. That’s our event, October 20th through 23rd in Cancun, Mexico where we’re bringing therapists together to hang out poolside, talk about private practice, talk about leveling up, talk about absolutely killing it.
The first hundred people are going to get access to that. Then we also just secured a deal with TeleWellness Hub, which is an amazing new directory where you’re actually going to get CTV ads up. That’s video ad commercials as part of your membership for the rest of 2022. The first hundred people are going to get that as well when you level up during Level Up Week. So make sure that you’re leveling up this year. If you want to register for any of the free events that we have during Level Up Week, you can head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/levelup.
As well we could not do this show without our sponsors. Heard is an amazing sponsor. They’re an amazing tool for you to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and maximize your tax savings. You also get financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to all those spreadsheets and guessing what your tax deductions are, and actually focus on your clients. Heard is going to take care of the rest. That’s Heard spelled like I heard it, not like a herd of Elk. Prices begin at $149 per month for solo practices and can easily be tailored to fit your business and financial needs. You can have a free 15-minute consult just to see if they’re a fit for you. Head on over to joinheard.com. Again, that’s spelled like Heard, like I just heard that not herd like in Elk of Herd. So joinheard.com.
Thank you for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.
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