How to Add a Virtual Assistant to your practice with James Marland | POP 898

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What is the fundamental hiring problem and how do you solve it? What are the three simple ingredients for hiring your best-fit candidates? Have you been thinking about hiring a virtual assistant?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to add a virtual assistant to your practice with James Marland.

Podcast Sponsor: Alma

A photo of podcast sponsor, Alma is captured. Alma is an insurance company for therapists. Alma sponsors the Practice of the Practice podcast.

Going in-network with insurance can be tough. Filing all of the right paperwork is time-consuming and tedious, and even after you’re done, it can take months to get credentialed and start seeing clients.

That’s why Alma makes it easy and financially rewarding to accept insurance. When you join their insurance program, you can get credentialed within 45 days, and access enhanced reimbursement rates with major payers. They also handle all of the paperwork, from eligibility checks to claims submissions, and guarantee payment within two weeks of each appointment.

Once you’ve joined Alma’s insurance program, you can see clients in your state of licensure regardless of where you’re working from.

Learn more about building a thriving private practice with Alma at

Meet James Marland

A photo of James Marland is captured. He is the founder of Course Creation Studio. James is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

James Marland, MBA, has always been driven to create a business that would provide for his family and impact the world. Before founding Course Creation Studio, James worked for over 20 years in management and administration in the mental health and social services field. James believes that anyone can use what they know to be the hero of their own story. That’s why he Created The Beginner’s Guide for Creating Knowledge Income. His courses are designed to empower people to break free from the fear of failure and let go of the idea that others dictate their path. Through his courses, he hopes to help therapists and mental health professionals create freedom and security for themselves while making a massive impact in the world with their expert knowledge.

Visit Course Creation Studio and connect with them on YouTube.

In This Podcast

  • The fundamental hiring problem
  • 3 simple ingredients for hiring success
  • Consider the virtual assistant
  • The first rule of hiring

The fundamental hiring problem

The fundamental problem of hiring is that you don’t know if you have a good hire until after you have hired them.

Something that might look good ahead of time could not be true after the fact is over. So, keep this in mind, and remember that the hiring evaluation process can extend beyond the initial agreement.

There are all sorts of things that you need to know before you hire somebody that you can’t test. You only know if the person’s a good fit for your practice based on their future behavior, and that’s a fundamental problem in hiring.

James Marland

However, there is a solution! You have to ask about their behavior or what happened in the past when they were in similar situations.

For most people, the best insight that you can have about them is to know what happened when they were in a similar situation.

3 simple ingredients for hiring success

1 – Raise your standards: the people that you bring in have to have a high impact on your business. A higher standard also slightly reduces risk.

The key action step: know the necessary behaviors that you need for a candidate to be successful in this role.

  • State your vision and mission
  • Compile a list of all the necessary duties within this role
  • Identify the key behaviors of success

Then you create a job description using the duties, behaviors, [the] mission, and desire … you’re telling people exactly what you want.

James Marland

2 – Require those standards: use these standards actively in your work and assessment of your employees.

3 – Filter out the people that are not a good fit: it doesn’t mean that these people are not great folks, it’s just that this is not the right environment for them, or for you.

The key step: eliminate the bad first. Choose the people that will thrive in your company through the job posting and the interview process.

If you put things in your posting that indicate the behaviors that you want then you’re going to get better results with your filtering.

James Marland

Consider the virtual assistant

Virtual assistants generally do all the tasks that can be done from a computer or a phone for your office. These could include:

  • Monitoring emails and responding to client enquiries
  • Listening and responding to voice messages
  • Posting on social media

You can even have specialist virtual assistants such as independent contractors that can handle your website, social media, and other maintenance.

So, depending on what you need, you can filter the job descriptions and postings, and look for evidence of the behavior that you want to hire into your practice on the resume of candidates that have responded to your call.

Where would the behavior of being detailed show up on a resume? Where would timeliness show up on a resume?

James Marland

The first rule of hiring

The first rule of hiring that can help you to hire well: don’t think about hiring when you are reviewing resumes. Look over applications as if you were not actively hiring, because that mental exercise will help you to spot potential red flags that you might’ve missed if you were desperately hiring just to get someone on soon.

One of the reasons that we hire people that are not fit for [the job] is because we don’t understand the job of a hiring manager which is to look for the things that don’t work because it’s so easy to hire people [and say] … “Oh, I think I could work with this person”.

James Marland

As well as evaluating the benefits, also be sure to evaluate the cons. Look for any potential red flags and assess them as well as the reasons why this person would work.

For a virtual assistant, try this for a great hiring practice:

  • Helpful lead-in: explain the situation and give them an open-ended question to respond to which would reveal their past experience with this behavior, if any.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

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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