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What are the two fundamental aspects of private practice? What does it take to create your dream private practice and make it a place that you want to work in? How can you manage success without burning out?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about growing through your team with Danielle Levy.
Podcast Sponsor: Blueprint
Providing great therapy day after day can be challenging – even for the best of us!
At Blueprint, they believe that nothing should get in the way of you doing your best work, which is why they created a platform that provides therapists with an array of clinical tools – things like therapy worksheets, intervention ideas, and digital assessments – that are designed to help you and your clients can stay connected and confident throughout the care journey. Even better, Blueprint helps streamline your documentation so that you can spend less time on your notes and more time on the things that matter.
To learn more and request a free 30-day trial, visit blueprint-health.com
Meet Danielle Levy
Sought-after business coach and strategist, Danielle Levy, helps six and seven-figure online business owners expand with clarity and efficiency. After her experience in the traditional business world, Danielle established The Boardroom League™ to give other entrepreneurs a little black book of trusted industry professionals to help them grow and scale their businesses.
Visit Danielle Levy’s website and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.
FREEBIE: Identify and Prevent Blindspots in Your Business
In This Podcast
- Danielle’s learned skills that could benefit therapists
- First steps for your dream practice
- Tools for managing your success
- Danielle’s advice to private practitioners
Danielle’s learned skills that could benefit therapists
In any service-based business, there are two aspects to consider:
- The practice of it, the teachings, and the technical skills
- The process of applying this knowledge and these teachings
So, as a counselor, when you are evaluating your company, you are balancing both your personal expertise as a therapist with the skills needed to run a business. There are those same dual aspects.
What is important to [you]? What kind of practice do [you] want to have? How involved do [you] want to be with your patients? What is the culture that you want to have? Is this a small … or large practice?
You need to make sure that the vision of your practice brings you the joy that you are looking for. Business is not necessarily supposed to be fun, but it is often a lot more successful and productive when it is fun.
So, make sure that you (and any of your employees) are enjoying the work that you do each day.
First steps for your dream practice
1 – Think about what your place is in the business.
Really define and write a job description for yourself. Is that day-to-day with the patients, or is that more the face of the team? … really understand what your role is, what lights you up, what you’re really good at, and then build your practice around that.
2 – Make sure that your practice is not fully dependent on you.
You need to create your business and its processes so that you can step away when you need to (or want to) and things can continue to function well without you being there to oversee everything.
3 – Test the strength of your business. Once you have applied this advice, try it out, and step away for a day at a time. Later, a few days. Later, a week, and then more.
Really think about [what] cross-training is involved, what the client experience is, [and has] the business been set up so that any person, including the main practitioner, can step away, and [remains] on solid footing.
Tools for managing your success
- Don’t think of someone in your business as the unicorn that knows everything about the business just because they have worked there the longest.
- The knowledge of how your business runs need to be accessible and available to whoever needs it.
- Remember to train your employees correctly. Train them to be authentic, accountable, proactive, and creative.
- Document all processes and procedures. Review them and edit them often and as necessary.
Even if you find that person, they’re going to leave at some point, and if all of that [information] is with that one person, you’re never going to be able to replace them.
Danielle’s advice to private practitioners
Consistently reflect on who you are now, who you want to become, and make sure that your activities and choices are taking you from where you are now to where you want to go.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
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Meet Joe Sanok
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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Hey, it’s me, Joe, here. I have three questions to ask. First, are you wanting to have a side gig that will bring in extra income this year? Second, do you want to add an e-course, podcast or membership community to your existing business? Third, do you want something more scalable than private practice? If you answered yes to any of these, I’d say you’re the perfect candidate for Audience Building Academy. Here’s why. To build your side hustle or sell a product like an e-course or podcast, you need an engaged audience. You could have the best product or idea in the world, but no one to sell it to, and that’s where Audience Building Academy comes in. It sets you up so that when you’re ready with your product, you have an audience eagerly lining up to buy whatever it is you are selling. Join this intensive six-month course where myself and a team of experts will teach you everything you need to know about building an audience. You’ll get access to the entire Practice of the Practice specialist team at a discount. That’s right. I’m talking graphic designers, copywriters, podcast sound engineers, social media gurus. I mean it, you get everyone. Visit audiencebuilding.academy to read more and sign up for the next cohort. Again, that’s audiencebuilding.academy for more information,
This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 860.
I am Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I am so excited to be with you. Our team spent so much time planning Level Up Week for all of you, and that was in late March, and to just have so many people have attended 20 plus webinars, and we gave away over $30,000 in gifts and prizes. So many of our speakers that joined us said we want to give away stuff to this community as well. It really infused just so much energy into the team. You know when you do something like that, you never know how it’s going to go. You hope that it goes well. We know it went well even though I’m recording this before Level Up week even happens, looking at the numbers of people signing up already. It’s really exciting for our team to have a much more organized approach than I had back in September of 2022, which was our first level up week.
I just threw it together in like six weeks and the team just about killed me. They were like, Joe, come on. But I wanted to see if it would work. I wanted to see if people wanted to do it without overthinking it. Sometimes that’s what you have to do but then you learn from it, you get feedback from the audience, you get feedback from the speakers, feedback from your team, and you make changes and you make adjustments and you make it a little more professional. This time, oh my gosh, Sam R, our chief operations person, had knocked it out of the park. I think it just about killed her, but she was so organized. I think she had a Trello board for just about every single aspect of this and so when we do this again in the fall, it’s going to be so much easier for us just because we documented our process as we went through it this time, way more than when I just threw it together in the fall of 2022. So it went well, speaking about it, as how I want it to go. I wanted it to go well.
I’m so excited to have Danielle Levy with us today. And Danielle is a business coach and strategist who helps six-and seven-figure online business owners expand with clarity and efficiency. After her experience in the traditional business world, Danielle established the Boardroom League to give other entrepreneurs a little black book of trusted industry professionals to help them grow and scale their businesses. Danielle, welcome to the Practice of Practice podcast. Really glad that you’re here today.
Thank you so much for having me.
I always love interviewing people inside and outside of the counseling world. The last couple episodes have been people that were outside of the counseling world. Then before that we had a ton of people that were in the counseling world. Would love to hear a little bit about your background of how did you get into this work?
Sure. So I am born and bred in, just north of Boston, Massachusetts. I definitely, when I came out of undergraduate hit the ad scene pretty hard. You can think like Modern Day Mad Men sort of scene. I did that for, I don’t know, maybe 15 years or so, and just got to a point where I said I’m feeling burnt out. What am I going to do? I have no idea. So what do you do when you’re burnt out? You go to graduate school and you try to forget that you’re burnt out and you come out even more burnt out. I had a milestone birthday right around that time and I had a very specific way I wanted to celebrate that birthday. I didn’t want a big party. I didn’t want attention, but I wanted some adventure, I guess, is what I was craving. One thing after another fell through and my travel partners fell through and I was like you know what? I am so tired and so burnt out, and this is a big birthday for me. I’m going for it anyways.
I ended up in Asheville, North Carolina just for an amazing experience but what I didn’t understand was while it was, must have been August it rained the entire trip and some of the biggest influencers in the online space were also attending this same event. Now, had I known who they were in advance, I probably would’ve chickened out, but I didn’t know what the online space was. I didn’t know who these women were, I just knew I was there for my birthday, and it ended up being a defining moment in my life, life that I took this chance on this birthday celebration flying solo as an introvert and all of the other things that went through my mind not knowing who was with me at this event. It just set my career off in a whole new trajectory that’s been fantastic.
Wow. So then what were some of your first steps when you had this big shift happen? Did you jump right into the online space? Did you spend some time learning? Like what, how’d you even figure out what you wanted to do in the online space?
Yeah, so one of the key introductions that were made to me was essentially the executive director or COO of, not Oprah, but probably like next in line to be Oprah. She was under a non-compete and couldn’t take on additional clients so I ended up, people would come to her because of her position and she didn’t really know anything about me except for that rainy period in Asheville, North Carolina. For whatever reason, she just started referring these very, very high-end clients to me. Again, I had no perspective at this point. So on the one hand, I was trying to juggle all of these clients and learn what all these fancy words were, like open cart, close cart, and launch, and all of these things that I just take for granted now.
On the other hand, I was I didn’t, I don’t think I could articulate it this way at that time, but I had gone from the it girl on the Boston ad scene to like the new kid on the playground. So what I would do is actually get contracts through different agencies like a launch agency or a funnel agency or all the different agencies that are out there to learn the best practice of how these things were done. But when you’re an agency you’re just doing these same sets of tasks all the time, so you can really, really expedite the timeline and the learning curve. So I was sort of on this dual trajectory of like just figuring it out as I go, enjoying these amazing clients and keeping my fingers crossed that no one was going to figure out that I had really no idea what I was doing.
Now what were some of the like initial jobs you were taking on or consulting gigs you were taking on at the beginning?
They were always an extension of the corporate skills that I had had. So I was in the marketing space or I had gone sort of like to next level executive project management or done some consulting in like organizational structure and organizational change. So more, it was a change in the environment and the application of this new e team and how we were going to apply these same concepts and experiences rather than sort of the brick-and-mortar experience that I had been having.
Now, when did you start to launch more of your own thing, like launching the Boardroom League or things like that?
Yeah, I was definitely several years into it. What I found the common thread was I consistently didn’t have all the answers. I was getting hired more and more by bigger and more influential clients, and they kept coming back to me because I was a connector, because if I didn’t know how to do the thing, I always knew who to get in touch with that was the best of the best to get the problem solved. Quickly what I figured out was there’s so many people in the market with sloppy on whatever job title they want to put on themselves, whether they’re qualified for it or not. Like there had to be a way for other entrepreneurs that I wasn’t directly working with that would still have this trusted book of like vetted people that even if I wasn’t making the direct introduction, that they would have confidence that if they spent the time and spent the money. They were going to get the results that they were looking for.
So when you think about the average therapist what are some of the skills that you’ve picked up along the way that you think is really applicable to their practices?
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s always, in any service-based business, there’s, there’s two sides of it. There’s the practice of it, there’s what you go to school for, there’s the technical skills involved and certainly all of the hours and hours of training that go into it. Then there’s the other side of it, which is, well, how do I actually run this business and make sure that I am making a profit? It’s interesting, sort of a different spin on it, but I grew up, my dad was like, he was a family dentist. I always think about like, that man could polish teeth or fill a cavity or do any of those things, but he didn’t know how to make sure he didn’t, wasn’t ordering like too many toothbrushes or that the insurance claims were going in and out as they should, or how to bring in a backup hygienist or any of those like, things that you need beyond the passion, beyond the skills to make sure that practices are running the, the way they should be not only, I mean, of course profitability is a huge piece of it, but in terms of the patient experience.
Providing great therapy day after day can be challenging even for the best of us. At Blueprint, they believe that nothing should get in the way of you doing your best work, which is why they created a platform that provides therapists with an array of clinical tools; things like therapy, worksheets, intervention ideas, and digital assessments that are designed to help you and your clients stay connected and confident throughout the care journey. Even better, Blueprint helps streamline your documentation so you can spend less time on your notes and more time on the things that matter. To learn more and request a 30-day free trial visit blueprint-health.com. Again, that’s www.blueprint-health.com.
So what should counselors think through when they’re looking at evaluating their company?
I think what is important to them and what practice do they want to have? How involved do they want to be with their patients? Is it, what is the culture that you want to have? Is this a small practice? Is this a large practice? What are the complimentary services to the services of the main practitioner that you want to offer? You want to really make sure that the vision of your practice brings you the joy that you’re looking for, because I think as soon as any business becomes not fun, and don’t get me wrong, every business isn’t fun all the time, but as soon as it’s a dread to go to work that’s when something’s gone wrong. I think especially when you’re a founder of a practice, like that’s heartbreaking to think you went through all of this time and money and effort to set up the business of your dreams and it’s not at all what you wanted.
So when people are starting to evaluate that and they’re, they’re diving in, what would be some of the first steps you would walk them through?
Sure. think about what your place is in the business. Like, really define and write a job description for yourself. Is that day-to-day with the patients, is that more of the face of the team, and maybe being out there doing a little bit more visibility? Really understanding what your role is, what lights you up, what you’re really good at, and then build your practice around that.
All right. Then what should they do next?
Make sure that the business isn’t dependent on them. So you want to be able to step away, go on vacation, go to a conference, deal with life as it happens, and not have the business come to a halt because a sole individual has all of the answers. Like you’re building a business, you’re building a legacy, you’re not building a high-paying salary.
How would you recommend people do that?
Well, I think one great way to do it is actually to test out doing it. Can you step away from the practice for three days? Is everything okay? Can you step away for a week? Is everything okay? Can you step away? I mean, I think the dream is to be able to step away for a month or more, and is everything okay? Really think about what the cross-training is involved, what the client experience is, is the business to set up so that any person in including the main practitioner can step away and is on solid footing.
I know that the book Clockwork walks through a lot of that too. When you think through being able to step back from your business what are some pitfalls people typically experience in regards to that?
I think people don’t realize how much time passes. We’re in the day-to-day of our businesses and it’s like, you feel like you just got your new website up. But really, it’s been maybe several years. Oh, that password that I needed, it’s tucked away somewhere. Or just forgetting like, oh, we have this piece of software that does this thing. You don’t need to buy the next piece of software without cutting back on the former piece of software. So really just not losing track of your assets, not losing track of time and making sure that everything that you’re investing in and all of the assets that you have are working for your business.
Now, when you think about people having all their assets work together like what are some techniques that you’ve found that keep it all together when you’re continuing to grow? I mean, I’m thinking of a lot of our group practice owners. They started in solo practice and they’re thinking, oh my gosh, like this thing’s exploding and I didn’t expect it to and then next thing they’re this group practice owner. A lot of the stress that a lot of them experience is going from the hustle that they were able to do early on, got them the initial clients, but that hustle, you just can’t scale that. So like, what are some either ways of thinking or some direct tools that, for you really help people to keep those assets working together without it being reliant on the business owner?
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really important not to think of any team member, the business owner or an assistant or whomever it might be as this unicorn that knows so many things because they’ve been with the practice forever. At a certain point, a business hits a stage where, okay, I need someone that’s responsible for hiring. I need someone that’s responsible for paying the bills. I need someone that’s responsible for client care, those kinds of things. I also think training and creating a training repository, creating SOPs. I don’t, I always tell people I don’t care if it’s a bulleted outline, I don’t care if it’s a video. if you want to sit down and write the full procedure out, that’s even better, but really making sure there’s like a regular pause to make sure that processes and procedures are documented in a common area, reviewed, updated. That’s the worst thing. Like you don’t want business to stop because of a small piece of information that someone just didn’t know how to do the thing.
Yeah, I think that idea that, oh, I want to find this unicorn that can answer phones, check my emails, do the billing, do my marketing, write blog posts. It’s like, even if you find that person, like they’re going to leave at some point. Then if all of that is with that one person, you’re never going to be able to replace them. Oftentimes, what happens is they’re adequate at all of it. I would much rather split up the time and have a person that does two hours of blog posting and two hours of marketing, and then another person does two hours of checking emails or billing and they’re all really good and like what they’re doing instead of having one person that does it all.
And just a couple of things to add to that, because I think it’s such a fabulous point, is one, I think a lot of solopreneurs start by hiring like, oh, this was my next-door neighbor, or this was cousin Susie. That’s while in invest intentioned I have yet to see that work out really well for the long-term as much as I think it can be hard to sort of like let go of some of the pieces of the business. So it feels better to do it with someone that you know and that you trust. I would strongly argue against that. Then I think the other piece of it is you just mentioned having a few different people working fewer number of hours. I think oftentimes, people associate that with more time and cost, the more people that are involved, there’s more management involved, or maybe there’s higher rates involved. Time and time again, I just see experts in the thing that they’re doing. They are so much more productive and the quality is so much higher that there’s, for the most part a cost savings in working with specialists.
Like even recently I hired an executive assistant who had been an executive assistant for 10 years, and to just see her level of productivity, like her first weekend, she read my email in a way that just blows my mind. So it’s going to save time and frustration with the team too, because yeah, great, someone’s $10 less an hour, but if they’re spending more time and then they’re wasting other people’s time, like you’re paying for that in a different way it may not be as apparent, but to really look at that time savings. Now, Danielle, when you think through your own use of time, how do you think through it?
So I’m not sure if you’re familiar with, I just, I listened to the audiobook a while back and I know it’s a book, but the Lazy Genius, so I don’t want to take credit for these philosophies, but basically it’s understanding when I’m most productive, bundling the tasks together that logically make sense, that don’t because me to go down to a rabbit hole or aren’t having me switching to screens a hundred times. So I really just, I don’t consider myself a lazy person by any means, but I have gotten to the point in my career where there’s just, there’s a limit of capacity. So how, when I’m working, when I’m managing my home life, when I have this brilliant new idea that I just have to get out into the world, how can I be most productive in all areas of my life at once?
So I really have gotten to know myself really well and when I’m most productive and really think about like batching as much as I can or what can I do when just in terms of smart multitasking, there’s so many studies on why multitasking isn’t effective. And I agree with many, many of them, but I try to stretch every minute as far as it will go without creating rework, without creating error. Like sloppiness just is a pet peeve of mine, but like, just how can I be a genius with every moment that I have?
Yeah, I think that sometimes it’s like easy to get sucked into the fires of the business, but then to start to over time look at the source of those fires, was it that I don’t have the right people in the right spots or do I need to create better systems or are they things that we’re just doing because we’ve always done them and maybe we’ve outgrown? So really understanding that as much as possible.
Yeah, and what you just touched on too is, and I should have said it I wholeheartedly trust my team. I would say it’s a beg for forgiveness approach, but I don’t even think of it that way. They are empowered, each of them knows what they’re empowered to make the decision of. I have like a chief of staff type person that can make ultimate decisions. I know that I don’t want to be the bottleneck, and it’s taken me a long time to find the right combination of players. I had one of the team members, she’s quit on me twice now, different things going on in her family. Inevitably we come back and we fine tune like, nope, you’re just going to work on this area of the business. You’re just going to do that thing. I think having that support team really has just taken the pressure off for me of the fires and things because things don’t get to that point anymore.
Yeah. Well, 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
Consistently take a moment to think about who you are and what you want to be creating and make sure that your activities match that.
Danielle, if people want to connect with you, if they want to follow your work, what’s the best place to send them?
Instagram is probably the best place to find me and I always love to find people slipping into my DMs. It’s Danielle_C_Levy.
Awesome. Well, we’ll have that in the show notes as well. Danielle, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast.
Thank you so much for having me.
Oh, well thank you so much for joining us here on the Practice of the Practice Podcast. Hope you are doing amazing today. We have all sorts of things that are going on this month including my webinar with Dr. David Hall that is coming up right around the corner. That is actually going to be on April 13th. You can register over at joe.mavenwebinar.com. Then also thank you so much to Blueprint for being a sponsor of today’s show. If you are looking for a wide array of clinical tools, things like worksheets, intervention ideas, and digital assessments, you’re going to want to head over to www.blueprint-health.com to get a free 30-day trial.
Thank you so much for having your ears and your brain on this podcast today. So much great information about leveling up and let us know how we can help.
Thank you for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Have a good day. Bye.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.
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