How To Use Storytelling To Increase Your Brand with Anthony Butler | GP 172

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How To Use Storytelling To Increase Your Brand with Anthony Butler | GP 172

Have you been trying to create content to boost your marketing, but to no avail? Are you exasperated by the idea of marketing to Google’s algorithms rather than to your ideal clients? What stories can you share to connect with your audience?

In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about how to use storytelling to increase your brand with Anthony Butler.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using TherapyNotes. They make billing, scheduling, notetaking, telehealth, and E-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available 7 days a week.

You don’t have to take my word for it – Do your own research and see for yourself – TherapyNotes is the #1 highest-rated EHR system available today, with 4.9 out of 5 stars on and on Google.

All you have to do is click the link below, or type promo code JOE on their website, and receive a special 2-month trial, absolutely free.

If you’re coming from another EHR, TherapyNotes will import your demographic data quickly and easily at no cost, so you can get started right away.

Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.

Meet Anthony Butler

A photo of Anthony Butler is captured. He is the founder of the digital marketing agency Can-Do Ideas and the creator of the Primal Storytelling content system. Anthony is featured on the Grow A Group podcast.

Anthony Butler is the founder of the digital marketing agency Can-Do Ideas and the creator of the Primal Storytelling content system. A highly regarded expert in brand storytelling and digital marketing, Anthony graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and the US Army Ranger School. He is a combat veteran and commanded an infantry company in Iraq during the invasion of Baghdad. He is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt and currently resides in Montana with his wife and two sons.

Visit Primal Storytelling and connect on Instagram and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • How can you get the word out about your business?
  • How to tell your story
  • Remove the obstacles
  • The three core stories you should tell

How can you get the word out about your business?

Of course, you need to market your private practice. Of course, you need to get people to know you and see your name and understand your services.

However, you need to get the word out to the right people about your business. So, rather than advertising anywhere for anyone, be specific, and work to truly connect with your ideal clients.

I think the big mistake that every business is making is that they create content because they want organic traffic, so they’re writing for Google, they’re writing for the bot that Google sends out to the website … they create content that they think is pithy and smart but they’re not thinking about who their actual audience is.

Anthony Butler

Due to the importance of SEO and keywords and backlinks, many companies have focused on writing for Google and the algorithm more so than they have for their clients, and that can backfire if you don’t find the balance.

Sure, write for the algorithm to market you, but also write for the person who is actually looking for your help.

How to tell your story

Focus on a group of people that you love working with and on the main problems that they face, and talk about them.

How can you help that person overcome, heal, or resolve that problem?

How do we impact someone’s life? I’m sure in a [private] practice, maybe you’re helping people overcome anxiety … if you have a specialty, focus on the audience and who you’re really wanting to work with, start with them. Talk to them, [and] create content for them.

Anthony Butler

You might feel like you don’t have a story but think deeper because you do.

  • Start with your origin story: how did you get started?


  • Putting yourself on a pedestal: people don’t connect with that.

People appreciate and are drawn to authenticity, and that means that a person is honest, upfront, and genuine about their successes and failures.

Remove the obstacles

There is always hesitation in a person when they are about to start a new relationship, whether that relationship is with a therapist, the new neighbor in the building, or a potential friend.

So, make it easier for your ideal clients to talk with you. Remove any obstacles or things that could prevent them or dissuade them from trying to reach you.

How do I alleviate the fear ahead of time so that when someone wants to make the decision to work with you, you’ve already taken away all [of] those obstacles right up front … make it as easy as you possibly can.

Anthony Butler

Explain what you do, how you do it, and what you can do for them. Explain some of your background, your skills, and how they can benefit your clients. Finally, explain how they can get in touch with you through a simple and easy-to-follow process.

The three core stories you should tell

1 – Your origin: how you got started and why you are going it.

2 – Vision story: what are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to help?

What are you trying to accomplish? In [this] vision story, you really want to talk about who you are trying to help because you want to connect with your best audience, and not everyone is going to be a good fit for exactly what you do and that’s okay.

Anthony Butler

3 – Value stories: a story with a takeaway that your audience will find either inspirational, aspirational, or educational.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Anthony Butler – Primal Storytelling: Marketing for Humans

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet LaToya Smith

An image of LaToya Smith is captured. She is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling. LaToya is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcomes.

She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.

Visit LaToya’s website. Connect with her on FacebookInstagramStrong Witness Instagram, and Twitter.

Apply to work with LaToya.

Email her at [email protected]

Podcast Transcription

[LATOYA SMITH] The Grow A Group Practice Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Network, a network of podcast seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like the Practice of the Practice podcast, go to You are listening to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast, a podcast focused on helping people start, grow, and scale a group practice. Each week you’ll hear topics that are relevant to group practice owners. I’m LaToya Smith, a practice owner, and I love hearing about people’s stories and real-life experiences. So let’s get started. Welcome back to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast. I’m your host, LaToya Smith. You know we are on here talking about basically to any practice owner, to somebody aspiring to be a group practice owner, or even a solo practice owner and you want to level up to a group. You know we’re always on here talking about ideas, strategies, tips, giving you a blueprint just to build scale grow. But today we are going to talk about one of my favorites. If you’ve been following me as a consultant with Practice of the Practice you know that I love storytelling. I love the idea of connecting with other people through stories and emotions and stories and growing our businesses, growing our brands through stories. I’ve always loved stories since I was younger. Like I always used to think to myself, don’t tell me any theories, tell me a story so I can get it right. [LATOYA] Today, my guess is Anthony Butler, he’s the author of Primal Stories and Founder of Can-Do Ideas, and he’s going to talk to us about storytelling. Anthony, welcome to the podcast. [ANTHONY BUTLER] Hey, I appreciate you having me on. [LATOYA] Yeah, I’m excited. I have to remember that I want to stay like on task. I can just go off on so many things. Even in reading your bio was just so exciting. I was just about to go completely left with all of it. But tell us a little bit about yourself before we jump into it, my deeper questions. [ANTHONY] So I run a marketing agency, Can-Do Ideas. Been doing that for about nine years. Before that, I had worked in the startup space, in the tech space and had done a lot of B2B sales and marketing and just a few years in into this business, I had, I came up with the Primal Storytelling methodology because I got fired by a client. We’re doing really good work and I had clause in contract that said if you don’t feel like we’re delivering results you can cancel at any time. And one day the CEO calls me up and he is like, “Hey, work’s on time. The work is good, but it’s just not moving the needle. We’re going to try something different and we’re going to move on.” That was a shock because it’s first time I’d ever gotten fired as an agency. It was for cause because they weren’t getting results. It’s one of those things where people, you publish online, you use social media, you blog, you do all these things trying to get attention, and it’s just really difficult sometimes to really know what should I publish, what’s really going to move the needle, what’s going to build my business? That one single event, it led me to really to really deeply study what makes people buy, why are people, why do people join groups? Why are people part of something? And it led me on this journey of researching and looking at a body of data on like, why do people make decisions? I’ve stumbled on this thing called evolutionary psychology and I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s a little-known practice and it has enormous, enormous influence on marketing and on why people make decisions. That that body of work led to the Primal Storytelling system, which is, it’s a way that whether you’re in B2B or B2C, I know you guys do practices and group practices, it’s like, how do I get the word out so that I can connect with people on a human level so they can understand how I can help them? And I think the big mistake that every business is making is that they create content because they want organic traffic. So they’re writing for Google, they’re writing for the bot that Google sends out to the website. They’re creating content that they think is pithy and smart, but they’re not thinking about like, who their actual audience is? That, anyway, that’s how I’ve, where I’m at and how I got started and where Primal Storytelling came from. [LATOYA] So it sounds like you started this, you learned you had to pivot because you felt like, okay, I wasn’t successful in this area, or when that client said, even though you put that out there, like, hey, we can cancel any time, then when they did cancel, you’re like, hold on, I don’t want this to happen again. So you learn to pivot to build what you have now. [ANTHONY] That’s exactly right. When you’re really good at something and it’s easy to make a guarantee thinking, oh, well, no one’s ever going to take me up on this, and then when they do, you’re like, what? [LATOYA] So let’s just talk a little bit about that. Now, for those therapists that are listening, the private practice owners or anybody listening with the business, with the brand, wanting to build their brand, how do they tell their story? Who do they tell their stories for? Is it any and everybody or do you recommend pointing out, like you said a minute ago, a specific audience? [ANTHONY] Yeah, I would say go narrow. Focus on, in therapy that people have lots of different kinds of problems. I would focus on a group that you really love working with, and on that one problem and talk about it and how can you help and what are the results of the people that you do help. You know there’s different kinds of stories that you tell. If you ever like look in the weight loss industry, well, what does every coach do? Well, they show the before and after pictures of all of their clients. She’s like, oh, well Jane, she lost 50 pounds after she had her baby. This is her when she first had a baby, and this is her six months later. She’s got six pack abs and she’s getting ready for a pageant. In other industries, we do the same thing, but we do it through this story of, hey, how do we impact someone’s life? I’m sure in a practice maybe you’re helping people overcome anxiety or maybe they’re, they have confidence issues or maybe they’re having relationship issues. So if you have a specialty focus on the audience and who you’re really wanting to work with, start with them, and talk to them. Create content for them. So if your best audience is 40 year old divorcees, then focus on those 40 year old divorcees. If you really want to work with young people who are having anxiety about their career, where they’re getting out of college, and they majored in math because dad thought that would be good, and they hate their life, they’re graduating and they’re unhappy, it’s a different market. It’s a very different market because those people are in a different place in their life and they have different problems, and they have a different language and a different outlook. What I did in Primal Storytelling is I laid out a way that an individual or a team, you can really start to understand an audience. I say, okay, we’re going to call that audience a tribe. We’re going to think of this as a group of people that I’m dedicating myself to help and then what we want to do is we want to think about them, and not just what is the problem that we help them with, but holistically. Maybe if they have anxiety, it leads to other things in their life, maybe they’re overeating and that’s leading to weight gain, maybe it’s affecting their relationships and they’re having more tension with their kids and tension with their partners and family members and all those things. Well, you can help with a broad range of things in a single audience, and you can actually create content around those other things, even though you might not address that exactly in your practice. Does that make sense? [LATOYA] It does. And that’s a lot of what I share with the individuals that I consult with. Somebody said it to me years ago, and I just love it, make sure you get in front of your target audience. What I heard you saying is, once you get in front of them, you got to have content to connect with them. So that’s where the stories come in. I know we’re not talking about making up stories, so where do people, a lot of times I say people like, share your story or talk, and they’re like, I don’t have one. Everybody got a story but it doesn’t have to be the woe is me story. Sometimes it’s a funny story or something to touch your audiences, like to spark their emotion, to get connected. So when people say to you, well, I don’t know what story to tell, like, I can’t think of anything. Like what do you tell to them to just, okay, let’s get these wheels running? [ANTHONY] What I do in the book is I lay out a number of different story structures that you can use, and then what you do is you’re going to overlay your life and who you are as a person, as an authentic human being. You’re going to talk, you’re going to start out with your origin story, how you got started. Because, think about this, you go to a party and let’s say it’s a big party and there’s a few hundred people there and you know just a few people, and you stand in the corner and you listen to what people are talking about and what are they doing. They’re telling the stories of their life. Like what’s the most common, what’s the most common question you ask? Like you and I, we just met and before we were on the podcast, and we’re asking, oh, where are you from? Oh, well, I used to live in South Jersey. Oh, I lived in New Jersey for a little while. So then you suddenly have this commonality because we just want to know where people come from. We want to know, because we think of where they come from as being an aspect of who they are as a person. And whether you believe it or not, is that people want to like others and they want to be part of their lives. We want to connect with people that have a common background with us. You tell your origin story and that origin story will help connect with the audience. What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to try to put yourself on the pedestal as like this idealistic person who’s just perfect in every way. You’ve got the Instagram life, you don’t want that because people don’t connect with that. It’s why, like, if you ever use LinkedIn or some of the business social media sites, the company pages are just a disaster. Like, no one looks at them, no one follows them, no one reads that content. Why is that? Because it’s not a person. We want to connect with real people. That’s why the subtitle of the book is Marketing for Humans. I just want to remind everyone, like no matter who you’re working with, they’re a human being and if you connect and you create stories that are for a human being, that’s going to make all the difference for you. [LATOYA] So we’re marketing the humans. We know our niche, we know our target audience, what emotion do we think this audience is feeling when it comes to this topic? What emotion may it be feeling when it comes to this topic or this day? So it’s a lot about, I like what you say, okay, the origin story. Or even, listen, this is why I enjoy working this issue. Sometimes that’s a beautiful thing, just saying, listen, I’m personable, I’m human and I want to connect with you to have this human experience. [ANTHONY] That’s right. That’s exactly right. I’ll give you an example. When we start to think of the emotions, we’re going to connect with people on one of the first ones that you need to address for an audience is their fear of working with you. Okay, because there’s always hesitation when you’re going to start a new relationship and whether that relationship is with a therapist or something that you’re going to buy or a service or whatever it is. So people have this fear. It’s deep, and a lot of times it’s irrational. So what you need to do is start to think through what is driving it? How do I alleviate the fear ahead of time so that when someone wants to make a decision to work with you’ve already taken away all those obstacles right up front. Right up front, make it as easy as you possibly can. Talk about how easy you are to work with, how you’re going to help them get results, what’s your experience, how you’ve been successful with others who are just like them and you connect with them as a human being. Like that’s how you move the needle. That’s how you build an audience. [THERAPY NOTES] As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using Therapy Notes. They make billing, scheduling, note-taking, telehealth and e-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available seven days a week. You don’t have to take my word for it. Do your own research and see for yourself. Therapy Notes is the number one highest rated EHR system available today with a 4.9 out of 5 stars on and on Google. All you have to do is click the link below or type promo code [JOE] on their website over at and receive a special two-month trial absolutely free. Again, that’s and use promo code [JOE] on the website. If you’re coming from another EHR, Therapy Notes will also import your demographic data quick and easy at no cost so you can get started right away. Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time and try Therapy Notes. [LATOYA SMITH] Do you think people like, because it’s the other part, okay, this is who I am, this is how I do it, how do we keep these stories ongoing? Because I think, again, when I talk to people about building stories, I think they think like this dramatic storyline and I swooped in and I saved the day or something that’s so like, I overcome this huge mountain. It doesn’t have to be that. So is it something that you recommend people, okay, if this is my branding strategy for a quarter one, do I plan out stories for every week or do I just say, hey, I turn the push record button and I just speak from my heart and that’s my story. [ANTHONY] So I like to do both. What I do is I have, I actually have a service I offer people where I help them plan a year’s worth of stories, a year’s worth of content upfront. Then what we do is we’re going to overlay those opportunistic stories, like something goes on in your life that you really want to tell to your audience, you really want to share it like you do. You add that on. Because you can’t predict what’s going to happen, because you know what life is happening to all of us, whether we like it or not. But what we can do is we can plan out quarterly, I like to plan quarterly, I like to have, think of it like your favorite Netflix special, and it’s got seven seasons. In season one, there’s an overall theme of what the characters are trying to do. Then with each episode, each episode is, it’s got its own little plot, it’s got its own little story, but it’s connected to the theme for that whole season. Whether you watch like Game of Thrones or the Vampire Diaries, whatever it is, like, these, like long story shows, these long like shows that have been going on. Is that each episode is its own story. It’s connected to the whole series. So think of your content like that. So it’s your life, it’s the things that’s going on, it’s the things that you’re doing, the things that you’re thinking, the people you’re connecting with. It’s all the above. What I like to do is make a list of the kinds of content that you want to talk about. So maybe you want to talk, make a list of the common problems that you help solve and then you make a list of, okay, what are some examples in my life that I could share without giving away anything that’s confidential that will help people understand the kinds of people that I help. And then give examples. Like, I know one of the things that people love is a story structure. Think of Rocky. So you got this guy and he’s a bum and he’s at the bottom of his career, and then suddenly this giant opportunity comes where he’s going to fight the champion of the world. So what’s that story? Well, that’s the underdog story. Everyone loves the underdog. Well, because what happens is that story structure where it’s the unlikely hero overcomes a giant problem. Okay? Guess what? Watch Harry Potter. It’s the exact same story. You got the kid who’s living under the stairs, and eventually he saves the world from the evil emperor. Look at Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, he’s the unlikely hero. He is like this kid who lives in the desert, he’s an orphan, he’s living with his aunt and uncle and suddenly he gets this call-to-action to go and save the universe and eventually he brings back the Jedi. Now most of us are not Luke Skywalker and we’re not Harry Potter. We’re real people. But we’re overcoming struggles in our life. One of mine that you mentioned a little bit in the intro I spent a very long time at war. I spent a whole, very long time deployed well. I came back and I had some problems. I had some PTSD and I got a lot of physical problems. Those led into problems in my life and problems with relationships with my kids and my wife. You know what, I personally, I went to therapy, I got some help and now looking back, I can tell people the stories of the things that I overcame, the things that happened to me. They can then use that as an example. It’s like, well if Tony Butler can do it, you can too. He did it so I could do that too. It gives them some inspiration. [LATOYA] I like that, and what you said, I like just the, again, like you talked about just being the authentic human being, like okay, this is what I went through, this is where I was at, this is what I can plan out. But I love, I can’t get away from the fact like authenticity. Like I’ve never been to war, like I told you, like, my father retired from the Army. I was never in the army. I don’t have that experience but I felt your emotion when you were talking and if I, if this wasn’t, if I was in the audience and you were telling the story, like I’m locked in just off the strength of the emotion and how that made me feel. You said I went to war for a while and then I came back and then PTSD, oh, now I’m locked in because I want to hear more because you evoke these emotions within me. It’s a little bit of curiosity, it’s a little bit of woo. The wind knocked at me just when you spoke about it. But I love, that’s what I try to tell people, listen, your audience is pulled in by that. Don’t mean, don’t come out here lying to your audience. Like the practice owners go mix stuff up. But everybody has something and I think that if we dig deeper, what we think is, oh, that’s nothing, nobody wants to hear that. Like, no, that’s the beauty in it. So the next person may not have the depth of background that you have in so much that you’ve literally fought through and had to overcome. I know in your bio you’re an army ranger, I think that’s so fascinating, I think that’s amazing, just that’s a story by itself. Like But we all have something that we can pull from. At some point in our lives, most people have been an underdog. Rocky’s a beautiful story. And it may not be Rocky, you didn’t go off the wind and some championship belts, but at some point. So now how does this look, can we do the same storytelling on Instagram reels? Is it like Facebook Live videos and YouTube? Can we do it in short, can we do 30 seconds? Go ahead. [ANTHONY] Absolutely. So story can take any form, TikTok, Instagram reels, little 30 second, one-minute stories, just little snippets of goodness, those work. You can also tell long form. You can use a blog, you can do a video blog, like a vlog on your own website, can be a Facebook post. There’s very little, there’s very few limits to how we can tell stories. What’s the same across all the different social media types is that stories, they’ve been around since the beginning of human history. The technology changes, but the stories don’t. So whether it’s TikTok or Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, it doesn’t matter what the platform is or what even the actual form of it itself. But what is the same is the structure, the beginning, the middle, the end, the story that you’re telling. I outline a whole bunch of different kinds of stories that you can use in the book. Then at the, towards the back, I give three core stories that you want to tell, that you would just want to write first. So you want to tell your origin story, how you got started, why you’re doing it, and then the vision story. This is important for every businesses. What are you trying to accomplish? And in that vision story, you really want to talk about who you’re trying to help, because you want to connect with your best audience. And not everyone is going to be a good fit for exactly what you do and that’s okay. Then the last part of it is, and you’re asking you’re saying, hey, well how do I tell lots of stories long term? Like how do I create content over a whole year? Well, then we’re going to look at value stories. They can take lots of forms and there’s lots of structures that you can use, but what a value story is, it’s a story you tell for a specific audience that’s going to have a takeaway for them, that they’re going to find valuable to them, whether it’s inspirational or aspirational or educational. It’s going to be something that is for them from you. It’s your gift. What I always try to do is tell people, tell entrepreneurs is like, think bigger about the kinds of stories that you can tell and in ways that you can help your audience? So like, if let’s say and I don’t, I don’t know what practice that you have specifically, but let, let’s say you’re really good at helping people overcome stressful lives. Everyone’s got stress. Who doesn’t have stress? [LATOYA] Right [ANTHONY] Well, that stressful life, it can take many forms. Could be stress eating, it could be arguments with your kids, it can be adversarial relationships with your lover. I mean, it can have lots of things. Well, you could tell stories of how reducing stress can improve your relationship with your kids, how it can improve your relationship with a spouse, how it can improve relationships with parents, all the above. How can it make us better people. Talk about those things. I mean, you can make it really wide. [LATOYA] I love how you broke it down the origin story, which is your why, your vision. You basically telling people how you plan to help them. This is my destination where I’m going, this is how I’m going to help, this is the value that I bring to you. So if the listeners don’t know where to start with stories, you just broke it down, like the three places they can start and then from those three places, they’ll find that they can break off into anything, in any which area. How can people find your book if they want to grab it, read it? [ANTHONY] Well, I’ve been really, really lucky. The book is, it’s an international bestseller, so it’s everywhere books are sold. You can also go to our website, I’ve got some resources there. I just came out with the audiobook and yeah, paperback, hardcover eBooks. [LATOYA] That’s awesome. That’s awesome. What about the Can-Do Ideas? Do you do like one-to-one consulting or group consulting for people? [ANTHONY] I do. I do one-on-one consulting. I help companies develop their own stories. I help individual entrepreneurs put together a plan. I call it a Primal Storytelling Foundation. What I do is I just put them on a fast track to implement this on their own and if they’re not going to have a team do it or because there’s a lot of small businesses of doing their own marketing. So I wanted a tool where they could pick up this book, read through it, go chapter by chapter, and at the end of it say, all right, I can do that. That was the plan behind it. [LATOYA] That is awesome. Thank you so much. So tell people how they can find you too on social media or. [ANTHONY] Well, you can find me on Instagram. I’m Anthony L. Butler, and then on LinkedIn, those are my two big social medias that I use, Anthony L. Butler. And then I’m on Facebook a little bit also. You can find me there. [LATOYA] Awesome. Awesome. Well, Anthony, thank you so much for just even telling us a little bit more about storytelling, how to share, what to share, again, being authentic so we don’t have to, we love the movie Rocky, but you don’t have to act like Rocky to get people to want to come to your business. [ANTHONY] Oh, exactly. That’s right. [LATOYA] But being authentic to you, getting in front of your target audience, tell stories that connect with their emotions and like Anthony just shared, like really the three stories that are amazing to start with; your origin story, your why, your vision, where you’re going, how are you going to help people, and then the value that you’re going to leave with people. So Anthony, thank you so much. I want everybody, I hope you do go out and grab the book, connect with him on social media and also reach out to him for consulting for a little bit more on storytelling. [ANTHONY] Well, I really appreciate you having me on. [LATOYA] Thanks once again to Therapy Notes for sponsoring this episode. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three free months to try out Therapy Notes for free, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription for free. If you love this podcast, please be sure to rate and review. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.