Are you thinking about starting a group practice? Should you look at finding a niche? Do you want some advice from someone who has been there and done that?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks to Juan Santos about his YouTube channel, his experience in her Mastermind group, and its effect on his group practice.
Success comes with a new set of challenges. Seeing more clients means extra work, and you can no longer wear “all the hats” in your practice. A backlog of emails and voicemails needs your attention, and so does insurance claims and administrative work.
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Meet Juan Santos
Juan was born in the Dominican Republic but has lived in Greensboro, NC all his life. He utilizes a blend of strategies with the focus always being on the client’s goals and ambitions.
Juan is a husband, father of 2, clinician, and consultant. He and his wife operate a group practice in North Carolina, called Santos Counseling PLLC.
Juan helps counselors cultivate success as they journey in the field of private practice.
In This Podcast
- Juan’s motivation to start the group practice
- Building the group practice
- Executing the steps in a group practice
- Mastering Immigration Evaluation Training
- Finding niches where you can charge self-pay
- Things Juan is working on besides running the group practice
- Juan’s future plans with the group practice
Juan’s motivation to start the group practice
Juan has always been the type of person to jump first and figure it out later. He dove straight into private practice after graduation, and after many bruises realized he needed a consultant. Juan and his wife own the practice and work there together, and together they sought out someone who they could connect with to help them with their practice. They found this person in Alison who, through her Mastermind group, helped them, transition clinicians, in using her practices versus Juan’s hard-knock practices.
Building the group practice
Juan went in with goals to create structure around his systems. He wanted a specific intake process (which could be written down), inspired by Google and Facebook who have clear policies and manuals for training. This would help to just get the ball rolling right away. He wanted a clinician to be able to come in and have patients, knowing the process – how to do their email intakes, phone intakes, how to communicate with patients, billing, etc. He got this out of the mastermind group.
Executing the steps in a group practice
The Mastermind Group helps you to go from A-Z while skipping half of the alphabet and still learning. The manual that Alison had for processes implemented very well into Juan’s practice and they could put their own “Santos Counseling” language into it. When it came to bringing in and training new clinicians, Juan would get stuck in certain positions but now, after the Mastermind Group, there’s no more “stuck.” The process is flowing really well from an entrepreneur side and on the revenue side, it brings in passive income to reduce Juan’s caseload which was a goal. Now that that goal has been achieved, he is able to do other things as well. Training up other clinicians in Juan’s specialties enables them to charge a higher fee and bring in more money which, in turn, decreases the time Juan spends on face-to-face counseling and increases the time that he can work on the business and spend time with his family.
Mastering Immigration Evaluation Training
Clinicians become advocates for people to change their legal status. They are maybe going from undocumented to documented which will completely transform their lives. Juan knew that he wanted to do something related to immigration as soon as he got out of graduate school. He had an amazing supervisor who showed him what the evaluations look like, what happens in court, what they’re looking for, and it provided him with a level of grounding and he realized that this is what he wants to be doing and just started working with it. Juan is now training other clinicians to advocate for people wanting to become citizens, through his Hardship Evaluation Training. A lot of the work done in the Mastermind Group with Alison is about hiring some clinicians. Now that Juan can hire clinicians and train them on this specialty, it’s more people helping people which is great.
Finding niches where you can charge self-pay
Finding a niche that you can charge self-pay for, ultimately adds to the financial viability of a business. These things are not covered by insurance so are out of pocket. This allows to pay the clinician doing the service while turning a higher profit. Alison encourages practices, even if they’re mostly insurance-based, to try and find those little niches that might help them bring in some more self-pay types of service.
Things Juan is working on besides running the group practice
- YouTube Channel – The Mastermind Group allowed Juan to really slow down what he was doing and get really good at building his practice. Juan has a YouTube channel called “Counseling Talk”, where he breaks down psychology in a very average Joe way. It doesn’t take the place of clinical counseling but it gives people the resource, the first step of the transformation that can happen when working with a clinician.
- The response to Juan’s YouTube channel – It started as a passion project but it has actually brought in patients. It also leads to referrals, as well as other clinician referrals when Juan has different counselors as interview guests.
• Course Creation – Juan does the immigration course mentioned earlier in the podcast, and from time to time creates courses that speak more to patients. For example, a course that helps couples engage in conflict resolution. It gives them something that they’re able to work on from their end and if it’s a deeper-rooted issue then they’re able to seek clinical counseling.
- The platforms Juan uses for his courses – Teachable and Gumroad, both platforms that host your course and take a fee.
- How long it took Juan to create the Immigration Evaluation course – It took about 6 months to create (in Juan’s spare time). He knew it was for clinicians so he wanted them to know their role going into the court setting. He also wanted to create templates for all of the different types of cases that they might get. Juan wanted the clinicians to be able to understand the legal knowledge, so he teamed up with an attorney who helped him create some of the content. So, clinicians are able to get the legal knowledge as well as the clinical knowledge from A-Z.
Juan’s future plans with the group practice
For the next year, Juan and his wife want to put everything that they learned in Alison’s Mastermind Group into play, keep it clean, and just let it work. Once they hit the one-year mark, they want to evaluate how effective it has all been, and continue to skill up or bring in more clinicians while not losing the authenticity of the practice. They are building a small community and don’t want to lose the essence of that. As Juan reduces the time that he is doing within the practice, he wants to use that spare time to continue to train clinicians coming in, writing evaluations for immigration cases, and with Alison’s nudge, probably go in the podcast direction.
Click here to get $200 off the Immigration Course by using code: Alison
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Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
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Welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I’m Alison Pidgeon, your host. I’m so glad that you decided to join me today. I have a special interview with Juan Santos who was a participant in my most recent mastermind group on starting a group practice and he is also quite the entrepreneur. He has created an eCourse, he has a YouTube channel, he’s really doing a lot of cool things. Not only just starting a group practice but trying to start other streams of income as well and it was great to talk with him and hear about all the things that he’s up to. I know a lot of people, once they started a group practice, also started thinking about other streams of income and so Juan is definitely doing those types of things. So, I’m really excited to introduce you to Juan Santos.
[ALISON]: Welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I’m very excited to introduce you to my guest today. He is one of my mastermind participants and he has been doing awesome things in his practice. His name is Juan Santos. He is the owner of Santos Counseling PLLC located in North Carolina. He is a husband, father of two, clinician and consultant. Juan helps counselors cultivate success as they journey in the field of private practice. Welcome Juan, it’s so nice to have you on the podcast.
[JUAN]: Yeah, thank you. I’m excited. I guess I can add the additional title. I’m not only like a masters level clinician, but a master of a mastermind, if that’s a thing.
[ALISON]: Tell us what is that?
[JUAN]: I don’t know. I’m just thinking, you know, being in a mastermind. Like if we’re graduates do we get a graduation certificate where it says you are a master of a mastermind group?
[ALISON]: Yes, I should hand those out. That’s a good idea.
[JUAN]: It could be a good incentive.
[ALISON]: Yeah, yeah. So, tell us a little bit about your practice as it stands now in North Carolina. Tell us how many clinicians you have and what your focus is.
[JUAN]: Yeah. So right now, we’re recording this on a Wednesday, the first of April. So April Fool’s. On a side note, my daughter got me this morning, told me there was a cockroach downstairs. And she got me which is… That’s my personality there so I told her, I said, Good job.
Right now, with the virus I’m at home a lot, managing telehealth, which a lot of the clinicians out there, I think… A lot of you get that, looking at, how do we do telehealth? Switch from face to face? The group practice, it has four clinicians and we focus on different areas: mine is couples, immigration work, and some of the other clinicians hit women’s issues, substance abuse, which was part of like the theme of Santos counseling. A small family practice where we’re able to help the community with just different issues that they’re challenged with in life.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s great. So, what was your original kind of motivation to start the group practice?
[JUAN]: Yeah, I’ve always been the kind of person where I’ll jump in the pool without learning how to swim and then I’ll figure it out. And I did that out of graduate school, graduated in 2014 and just dove right into private practice, and I’ve got a lot of bruises. So, I got to the point where I kept telling myself I was like, you need a consultant. You need to reach out to someone that’s going to be able to just make sure you’re not falling in those potholes, especially if you can avoid them. And I can be stubborn in certain ways and overly ambitious, like, Well, I’ll skip over that and go to the school of the hard knocks: Google and YouTube. But my wife, she’s like you, Alison. She’s very level-headed and precise and detail oriented and structure oriented. I guess that could be because I’m from Dominican Republic so, islander time if you will. And I sought out or we sought out as a couple – because we both own the practice and work together there – you because you’re a mom, and you have a lot of hats, which we really connected with. We wanted someone that wasn’t just [unclear]. But someone that was living life, like they get what it’s like to have a practice, have kids, to just be pulled in different directions. And we really saw that and connected with you before even getting to know you. And of course, did some research, stalking you and stuff. And then it led to a really beautiful experience of getting to know a lot of clinicians just from random places in the US. Seeing their story, their journey, getting to know similar struggles. And having a place where you can say, Hey, this is where I’m at, this is what I’m struggling with and you’ve got people, right there. It reminded me of almost like a graduate school cohort, you know, people that are going through similar challenges, but then you’re kind of on top, Allison, where you’re saying, Hey, this is what I’ve done. It’s been very successful. And then you’re guiding all of us in the right direction. And then today, I got exactly what I needed from the mastermind group where I’m able to transition a clinician in using your practices versus my school of the hard knock practices and it speaks volumes. I mean, it creates a very clean process versus… And I’m sure clinicians out there get it when you start things on your own. You mess up a little bit on marketing, you learn things on the 10th trial. So, it’s nice to get it right the first time through the mastermind group.
[ALISON]: Yeah, thank you for saying that. I think it’s… It sounds like you have that experience of just the dynamic of the group and hearing what other people are doing and trying and bouncing ideas off of each other. And I think the group that you were in ran for five months, correct?
[JUAN]: Yeah, yeah, that sounds right.
[ALISON]: Yeah. So we just finished up not too long ago. So where did you start at the beginning and where did you end up in terms of building the group practice?
[JUAN]: I went into it with goals, goals of wanting to create structure around my systems. So structures meaning I wanted a specific intake process so that it can be written out, just like if you go to a great organization, Google, Facebook, they’ve got these policy and manuals that are so clean where you can walk in, you can get trained. And then it just gets the ball rolling right away. And I wanted that – I wanted to be able to bring a clinician in, get them to have patients they’re working with, give them a process where they’re able to know what to do: their email intakes, phone intakes, how to communicate with patients, billing, etc. And then that’s, that’s what I went into the mastermind group with. That idea of wanting that and that’s what I got when I came out.
[ALISON]: Yeah, great. Yeah, I think a lot of times because I am so, like, nuts and bolts and just logical step by step kind of person and I present that to the group. And then a lot of people then are just like, Oh, yeah, that’s what I need to do and they just sort of like, hit the ground running and execute all the steps. So, was that kind of your experience as well? You were just like, Oh, yeah, I see now step one through ten and I’m just gonna get it done.
[JUAN]: Exactly, yeah, very well painted. We went into the mastermind group and if you’re out there listening, definitely jump on that bandwagon so that you’re able to go from A to Z while skipping half the alphabet, and still learning the entire alphabet. But I went in there and I saw that manual that you had, as far as Here’s how to do this process, Here’s how to bring in a new clinician, Here’s how to train the clinician, Here’s some phone system options and I jumped on it. My wife and I studied it well, put our language into it, the Santos counseling language and it’s implemented very well. So like now with the clinicians that we had and the new ones that came in I like the process because in the very beginning, I went school of the hard knocks and I had to clean up a lot of things like bringing the clinician in, just training and retraining, you’ll get stuck in certain positions. But now there’s no more stuck. It’s, you know, here’s the process, and it’s just flowing really well. From an entrepreneur side, I think that’s a good blessing and then from a revenue side it brings in that passive income to reduce my caseload, which is a goal that I had and a goal that’s been achieved and I continue to work on as I go forward. And then it gives me time to do things.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s great. So you’re already starting to see how you can kind of supplement some of your salary with what the clinicians are bringing in, even in a short amount of time, less than a year that you’ve had the group practice?
[JUAN]: Absolutely, yeah, because one of the goals that I [unclear] was I wanted to hire a clinician, but I wanted to make sure that I can add my specialties to those clinicians too. So, one of my specialties is that I’d write immigration evaluations, and those I can provide at a higher fee than typical psychotherapy. So I wanted your mastermind group to help me bring that person in and expand the practice in a very clean way with step by step, no error. And then I’m able to train that clinician with a higher income niche – the immigration evaluation – they have that under their belt, so as they’re working they’re able to bring in a larger amount of monies which decreases the time that I’m doing face to face. I can do more of working on the business, oh, and then working in the business. And I’m able to, you know, be a dad, hang out with the kids. I’m very family oriented so that that was always vision one of my wife and I: we wanted to give time to the kids, to our life, and set the practice up where it can run itself.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s so great. I think a lot of times when I’m talking to other practice owners, that’s usually the goal right? Like, I want my freedom of my time back because they do want more time with their families or whatever it is that they want to spend their time on. And I think that’s such a cool outcome of having a group practice is that you really can design it how you want it to be, and it sounds like you really value spending time with your family and now you’re able to get some of that time back without having that worry of like, Oh, I need to see X number of clients just to bring in my usual salary or pay the bills or whatever the case may be.
[JUAN]: Yeah, and that pressure there, I’m glad you mentioned it because maybe a lot of clinicians out there relate to, I got to pay these bills, I gotta pay rent or Psychology Today, my marketing team, and they create such a profound level of psychological stress that you may find yourself overworking, reaching burnout, writing eBooks, when you’re not having a fun time writing it just to bring in the income. And those things I get, you know, they happened in my counseling journey but going through this journey with Alison here and the mastermind group, it lets you kind of take a step back, as Joe Sanok would say, and slow down and then look at where do I need to invest my time in so that the money’s coming in? I’m working effectively and I get to create the lifestyle that I’m looking for.
[ALISON]: Yeah, for sure. We’re all about that. Yeah. So, I definitely wanted to ask you about… I know you do those immigration evaluations, and I know you’ve developed a whole training around how to do those, right? Is it for therapists or can you tell us more about that?
[JUAN]: Yeah, I appreciate the filler, you know, putting me in there. Thank you. So those are for mental health professionals all the way from psychologists to licensed social workers or LPCs, etc. Overall, you just need to be licensed and it’s something that I’m very passionate about. I’m from Dominican Republic and came here, where my dad came first and then brought my siblings and my mom and I. And we were really able to go from extreme poverty where we had like chickens outside and a dirt floor. We had a mosquito net when we go to bed because there was so many bugs. I don’t know if I told you the story but growing up… Peanut butter, I remember mom would say, Hey, we’re going to get peanut butter this weekend and I would get so excited. It makes me want to cry now because I would just get so excited about this peanut butter because it was, in our condition, it was a luxury to get something like that, or juice, you know, to get things like that. And coming to the US it really opened up so many opportunities, so many doors. My mom, she wasn’t able to reach high school education, my dad wasn’t able to pursue a lot of education. So, they had to work really, really hard to set us up. Where here, in the US, there are always doors available. And I’m able to be where I’m at today.
So, working in the immigration field I think as clinicians, one of our foundations is that we’re advocates. And as clinicians, you are able to write what are called immigration evaluations. And these evaluations are pretty much like an intake, let’s say, just to keep it black and white. It’s just a lot more detail. So as your intake, you do the first session, you write about the client’s whole history, you give them tests, you figure out why they feel the way that they do. I’m giving you the gist of it just so that it’s comfortable and it’s easy to transition into. And then at the end they submit the client, they submit that to their attorney. And overall, what the client is doing is they’re applying for a change in legal status. They’re maybe going from undocumented, meaning they’re not able to drive, have a job, etc. to documented. So, they’re able to completely transform their life. And again, we as clinicians, we do it in a very neutral way where it’s not biased – you’re writing a professional evaluation.
So, if you’re interested in it, I’d love to have you on the team. There’s a Facebook page, where there’s tons of information on there called Navigating Immigration Evaluations. Or just hit me up. You can Google ‘Juan Santos immigration evaluations’ and it’ll come up right away.
[ALISON]: That’s great. So how did you get into doing that kind of work?
[JUAN]: I got really lucky. Other than my story, I knew that I wanted to do something related to that out of graduate school. I had this amazing supervisor named Dr. Robin Dock and [unclear] and she has a background in a lot of attorney and legal work which, for clinicians, unless I’m the only one in that boat or was in that boat, it can be scary, like going into court and doing this. But she really provided such a strong level of leadership and supervision, and showed me what the evaluations look like, what happens in court, what they’re looking for, and it provided this level of grounding where I was like, You know what, I can do this. And then I just started working with it. I’m thankful to my parents that I speak Spanish, so it does help being bilingual but again, there are very good translators here in the US where you don’t have to be bilingual and you can still provide the service.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s great. I think it’s so cool that you’re, you know, you had that experience as a kid, and now you’re advocating for people to become citizens as well. And then on top of that, you’re training other clinicians how to do that. So that’s awesome.
[JUAN]: Yeah, and I like how it tied into the mastermind group because a lot of the work that you’re doing, what you did with us was, Let’s hire you some clinicians. And now that I can hire clinicians, I can train them on this specialty. And it’s more people helping people which… Who doesn’t like that?
[ALISON]: Yeah, and I think too, I’m a big advocate too for even if you are an insurance based practice, like finding these little niches where you can charge self-pay, because I’m assuming insurance doesn’t pay for these immigration evaluations?
[ALISON]: Right. So, you can kind of find those little niches that are self-pay that ultimately add to the financial viability of the business as well. So, we have gotten into that a little bit in my practice with doing infertility evaluations. So, if somebody is going through infertility treatments, and they are going to use their own genetic materials, they have to undergo a psychological evaluation and it sounds somewhat similar to what you’re talking about. Just like writing up a report and sending it to the doctor. So that’s been a really nice kind of niche for us to be able to provide that service because it’s not very common, but also, it’s all out of pocket. So that allows me to then pay that clinician more but then also we can sort of turn a higher profit on that type of service as well. So, I always encourage practices, even if they’re mostly insurance based to try to find those little niches that might help them bring in some more self-pay type of service.
[JUAN]: Yeah, absolutely. Great example. I definitely think a lot of clinicians can get stuck in that mindset of, we’re only gonna be sustainable through insurance, or How in the world are we going to have a practice that makes my private pay. And I haven’t done many mastermind groups, other than yours which has to do with building a group practice, but yours did such a wonderful job of bridging those two worlds. And then you can have both sides. Let’s talk about creativity and innovation. That’s what’s gonna get you there.
[ALISON]: Yeah, and that’s actually a really good transition because I wanted to ask you about all the things that you’re doing because I know you have a lot of ideas and you’re kind of trying out different things. I know you have a YouTube channel. So, can you tell us a little bit about the other things that you’re working on besides running the group practice?
[JUAN]: Yeah. Well, today I was wrestling with my son while my daughter came behind me and got me with a leg lock. So, I can tell you about those things that I’m doing. Those would be the fun ones. No, I have a lot of fun with those other ones that I do too. So, I’m gonna go back because I think a lot of it relates to the mastermind group. The mastermind group allowed me to slow down what I was doing, and get really good at that, building that practice, to then give me the time to go into those other buckets. I think a lot of clinicians out there, I’m really going to push you where, you know, you are amazing. You’re able to help someone with anxiety to go from feeling anxious to feeling calm or you help couples go from feeling stuck to deeply in love. So, you’re really good at what you do. And that can expand, if you want it to, with some creativity, innovation and time. It could expand to you doing courses, you having a podcast, you having a YouTube channel, because your patients tell you how good of a job you do. So, all you have to do is just transition that into a different platform. And that’s what… That’s the journey that I’m on now, where what the YouTube channel… I’ll get on there, it’s called Counseling Talk and I break down psychology in a very ‘average Joe’ way as far as, Hey, if you’re struggling with this, this is how you can get from point A to point B. It doesn’t take the place of clinical counseling but my thought was, I’m a minority and I know within the counseling realm seeking help as a minority through research, you know, Dr. Sue and Sue, they highlight a lot of that. It’s often a barrier or just more difficult to do. So I thought if I create this YouTube channel – Counseling Talk – it can give people that resource, that first step to dip their toes into the water of the transformation that can happen when working with a clinician. And then on there too I’ll interview clinicians and ask them about certain topics like, you know, how do you help somebody with anger and then they’ll walk me through a process and it helps them build a practice of course, but it also helps the community grow.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s awesome. I think I’m such a huge advocate too of, like, breaking down that stigma of people accessing mental health services. So, I’m really glad to hear that you’re kind of just putting that out into the world especially, like you said, for minorities who… Their culture may be telling them, like, accessing mental health services is bad or you should just keep asking your family for help, but not necessarily seeking out a professional. So, I think that’s really cool that you’re trying to break down that stigma.
[JUAN]: Thank you. Yeah, I think we all hold hands on it in the clinical field, as far as working to do that, and I think we do it in different ways, which is great.
[ALISON]: Yeah, so like, what type of response have you got from the YouTube channel? Do you get clients from it or is it more just like a passion project or…?
[JUAN]: It started as a passion project which… A lot of the things that I do start as passion projects. I guess that would be my leadership style. And I do that because it drives me. I want to be able to wake up with purpose. So, it does help as far as bringing in patients. I’ll have just different individuals and they’ll be like, I was watching your channel for like a year and then here I am. And I’m like, it’s all good, keep watching it as long as you are moving forward, and you’re getting the help that you need and you’re crossing off boxes. I love that. And if it means that we’re working together then great. So, at times, it does lead to referrals. It also leads to other clinicians getting referred, where I have, like, just different counselors on there, I interview them. And then next thing I know, they’ll shoot me an email and say, Hey, that interview we did, I actually got a referral from it. So, you know, it’s awesome. That’s amazing. And then there’s one more thing that it’s helping with and I just can’t think of it now. Hopefully it comes later.
[ALISON]: That’s okay. Yeah, I think that’s cool. Because I think a lot of times when we start something like that, it can be hard to tell like, Okay, what is going to come of it or you might think, Oh, it’d be great if this brought me some clients. It may not be your initial motivation but it’s always gratifying when you’re like, Oh, wow, that actually paid off.
[JUAN]: Yeah, it’s that level of gratification. Absolutely.
[ALISON]: Yeah. Cool. Yeah. So, what are what are some of the other things that you’re doing outside of seeing clients and running the group practice?
[JUAN]: I am doing some course creation. And with that, there’s the course I shared with you, the immigration one. And then from time to time, I’ll create courses that speak more to patients. So as an example, a course that helps couples, couples engage in conflict resolution. So again, it just gives them something that from their end they’re able to work on. And then if it’s a deeper-rooted issue, then they’re able to seek clinical counseling.
[ALISON]: Nice. Do you use a particular type of platform to make your eCourses or what have you learned about making eCourses that might be helpful to someone in the audience?
[JUAN]: Yeah, so first off, I’m not an expert. I used what’s called Teachable and then also use Gumroad. So, both of those are platforms that host your course. And they host your course and they take a fee from the courses that you do depending on the plan that you have. From there, you have the course creation process, which is almost like creating a treatment plan for a patient, right? You’ve got your goals, your interventions all the way down. So with your course you focus on what is the overall purpose – you’re getting somebody from A to B, and you’re getting a couple that has conflict issues, all the way to an issue where they’re able to address conflict. And then the middle, the meat of it, is what are the strategies that you’re going to use? So then that’s what goes in there, and you could tie in video or worksheets. And then overall, what I encourage clinicians… From time to time we’ll have a commission that would seek some support with consulting on that. And then I’ll ask them, you know, what’s something that you’re really good at? And let’s say they say, you know, I’m good with anxiety, I can help people tame their anxiety. I say Okay, awesome. Now imagine that the patient is with you, you’re sitting with them. What are the questions they’ll ask you, and then we write those questions down. And then then I would say, Okay, what are solutions that you provide for those questions, and they’ll write those down. So then from there, we have the Question, which is now the title of a video. And then I’ll say, Okay, let’s get behind the screen and go into solving that question for them, which is literally what you’re doing in the counseling office, except now you’re speaking to a screen, you know, a camera versus an individual. And then we break down that video into a worksheet, you know, what are you telling them video wise, and then let’s write it down. And then there you have the course. So, there’s a creation process. And then there’s the marketing and sales, which is a little bit different.
[ALISON]: Right. Yeah, no, that was super helpful for you to break it down that way. So, when you, for example, when you created that immigration evaluation eCourse – how long did that take you?
[JUAN]: That…let’s see. I did that two years ago, I believe. Yeah. And it took about six months to create. Because that one… I knew it was going to clinicians, and there are so many parts that go into working with a client and also working with an attorney. So, I wanted the counselor to go in and know what their role would be like in that setting. There’s also different templates to an evaluation because there’s different cases that you can work on. So, I have templates for every case, because I wanted the client, the counselor to feel comfortable if ‘x’ case came in well, cool, I’ve got a template for that. If ‘y’ case came in, no biggie, I’ve got a template for that. And then I wanted them to understand the legal knowledge. In that course I teamed up with an attorney who’s in there, creating a lot of this stuff with me. So they’re able to get that legal knowledge which is effective, and then that clinical knowledge all the way from A to Z, this is what you need to not only add it to your counseling practice, but to be very effective of it – in it.
[ALISON]: Okay, so I’m assuming six months doesn’t mean working full time on it for six months. I’m assuming it means you’re in there when you had time.
[JUAN]: Yes. Yeah. Late nights, kids are in bed, wife’s in bed, writing on it, doing research to make sure things are effective and appropriate, getting behind the screen, making sure the video as well…making it user friendly. You know, just creating a product that that I was proud of.
[ALISON]: Right? Yeah, I think especially with what’s going on right now, if you know most of us under quarantine, a lot of people have free time on their hands. Yeah, so yeah. So, if you have some free time right now, and you’ve been thinking about creating an eCourse probably a great time because you can’t go anywhere or do anything. And I think it probably depends too on the type of course that you’re creating and just the amount of information there is related to that topic probably depends on how long it would take you to put it together. It sounds like there were a lot of details and then obviously, too, having to have the lawyer contribute to it probably was the reason it maybe took you a little longer than normal. But yeah, it might be something good for people to work on right now.
[JUAN]: Yeah, this quarantine time can have benefits.
[ALISON]: Yes, yes. So, tell us what your kind of future plans are with the group practice and what you’re hoping to do with working on your big ideas? Because I think it sounds like you’re off to a really good start with the group practice so I’m curious to hear what your plans are over the next year – if you’re planning to scale it up or what you’re thinking?
[JUAN]: Yeah, good question. So, the goal is… My wife and I sat down, because we just finished your mastermind. For about a year we want to put everything into play, and just keep it clean and let it work. So then once we hit that year mark and we see how effective it is, then we want to continue to skill up on bringing in more clinicians, while not losing the authenticity of the practice. So, the practice, from our mission and vision, is people are coming in and it’s not this overly crowded clinical practice. It’s where they may see the kids run in and everyone’s cool with that. We’re lowering the stigma. We’re building almost like a small community if you will, so I don’t want to lose that essence to it. And then as I reduce time that I’m doing within the practice, I want to use that to continue to train clinicians coming in on writing evaluations for immigration cases, as well as with your nudge, Alison, that you gave me, probably go into the podcast direction because you’re a good nudger, if that’s a word.
[ALISON]: You said… We had a consulting call recently and you said…it was funny because you said something about, you know, I’m going to ask you a question and I know you’re pretty blunt so I know you’ll tell me your honest opinion. You said something along those lines. That was funny. Yeah, so I was very blunt about, yeah, you should start a podcast, right?
[JUAN]: Yeah. And I love that. It’s… These are businesses we’re running, right? You’re a counselor, but you’re also a business owner. And I think we need to have, if you’re gonna do consulting, if you’re gonna do the mastermind group, which I recommend yours, is having someone that is willing to tell you those hard things that you need to hear, because they want you to move forward in life. They want you to achieve the goals that you have. And there’s no sugarcoating that. So, it’s being direct. So, I really appreciate having that from day one from you.
[ALISON]: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Because I think that that’s been really fun for me when you’re in the counseling chair and you have to sort of, you know, suggest or dance around what you think the person should do, because ultimately, we all know the client needs to make their own decision, versus like business consulting: I can just say like, No, that’s a bad idea, don’t do that. Which is a lot more my personality that I just want to come out and say what I think so that’s been fun for me, you know, in that consulting role to just be blunt about things.
[JUAN]: Okay, very appropriate. Yeah.
[ALISON]: Yeah. Good. Yeah. So, it sounds like you’re looking to continue hiring more clinicians and building up the practice. Do you have a size in mind of how big you ultimately want it to be?
[JUAN]: I don’t have that yet. Right now, my wife and I, our kids are six and three so they’re in that kindergarten pre-k stage and I think, due to that, we have a lot of time that we’re investing and want and desire to invest with them. And as they get older that may shift certain things where they’re like, Listen, I want to hang out my friends. And I’m like, wait, son, I’m a cool dad, and then he’s like, No, you’re not cool, Dad. So that made me…that may shift my wife and I have to put a lot more attention into the practice and double in size or keep going that way. So, I don’t have a definite answer for that. We’ll see how my dad points work.
[ALISON]: Yeah, yeah. When they see how old they are before they don’t hang out with you anymore. My oldest is eight now and I feel like that’s already starting where he’s like, getting a little embarrassed by us.
[JUAN]: Oh, don’t do that. I’m gonna hang up on you.
[ALISON]: I know, I’m like, you’re only eight. How are you embarrassed by your parents already? But I don’t know. It happens early, I guess. Yeah, so one more question before we start to wrap up. I’m just curious, just having been through the experience of starting a group practice and now you’ve had this time where you’re, running it for several months now, do you have any specific advice or anything that stands out to you for maybe people who are just at the beginning of the journey or just thinking about starting a group practice?
[JUAN]: Yeah, I think something that really goes a long way is writing down processes or systems that you create as you go along so that whenever you get to the point that you’re bringing in enough cash flow from clients, you can pull someone in to do that work, and then there’s a training for it. It also decreases you having to spin the wheel all over again. A simple example of that would be, you have an email intake process and you create that template, and then you save it, so that every time a patient reaches out to your practice, instead of writing everything all over again you can just utilize that. And then when you bring in enough money, that person that you’re gonna hire, you can give them that content that they can use. And that reduction in time, it will save you headaches, but it’ll also allow you to have more freedom to do some of the other things that you want to do. As far as when to make the transition, I think it really speaks to where you’re at in your practice. In our mastermind group, I think we had some individuals that were just right away jumping into a group. Is that right?
[ALISON]: Yeah, I mean, everybody was sort of in a little bit different place in terms of… Yeah, some people had already gotten started before the group started and then other people were really starting from scratch.
[JUAN]: Yeah, so you know, I mean, there’s the answer there. As long as you’re willing to take that dive know that you have a great coach. I mean, it’s sort of like learning how to swim but you got Michael Phelps, and Michael Phelps now is a woman named Alison.
[ALISON]: That’s an awesome metaphor. I’m going to use that again.
[JUAN]: Yeah, there you go.
[ALISON]: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s good advice. I think that establishing those processes… Practice owners are so used to just doing all of those things when they’re in solo practice, and they don’t ever write it down because it’s in their head and they just do it and they, you know, they never thought to write it down before. So even just taking that time to write it down, maybe even if you’re not ready to yet hire an assistant or whatever is important because you probably have the time now to write down all those processes. And then when you are in that position to hire somebody, it’s already all done.
[JUAN]: Yeah, absolutely.
[ALISON]: It sounds like you put a lot of things in place to automate the processes and things in the practice, which is great.
[JUAN]: Yeah, yeah, I learned it in that mastermind group. You know, one thing that came in mind, and [unclear] myself because we were talking about it in a consulting call, and maybe my stubbornness over the years took a while to learn it, but if you’re able to in your practice, and you’re listening to this, and you’re trying to figure out if you want to take that next leap of faith, you know, to starting a group practice, to joining a mastermind group, look at your numbers. Look at – and here’s a very simple example, I’ll give you – look at phone calls coming in, and how many of those phone calls you miss, and then give those numbers an imaginary figure. Let’s say each phone call is $100, right, for a patient. And let’s say you missed five of those. Well, imagine you have somebody picking up that phone, and you got three of them. And then imagine that those three went into your pocket. Going into the mastermind group can help you get to the point where you’re able to make that hypothetical situation a reality through some intensive and hands-on training.
[ALISON]: Yeah, I appreciate you brought that up because I think that return on investment is sometimes hard for business owners to wrap their mind around. And they’re just sort of seeing the immediate like, well, I’m putting this money out today, and they aren’t thinking about, but six months from now, I’m going to be making this whole other stream of income from the clinicians I hired. I think that if you’ve never done that before, it can be hard to think about the actual dollars that translates into.
[ALISON]: Yeah. So, I know you said before we started recording that you had something to give away to our audience. So, do you want to tell us about that?
[JUAN]: Yeah. If you’re interested and, again, I know that you’re all able to do it as clinicians so I would love if you would, I have a training and I’m taking off $100 from the immigration evaluation training to add it to your practice. Something that you can add to your skill set, to your niche in your practice, or you could train your clinicians on it. And then all you have to do is go to the link that Alison, I’m putting you on the spot now that Alison will provide in her show notes for you.
[ALISON]: Yeah, they’ll be it’ll be in the show notes. Yeah, because I see you have it set up through Gumroad.
[JUAN]: Yeah. And then once you guys hop on that boat, and you’re taking the training on there with you, 100% available, there’s verification as far as people who gave reviews and their experiences, a Facebook group that keeps us as a community to help each other. So I’m excited. I’m excited, hopefully, that you take that leap with that course. And then, of course, you know, taking that leap with Alison.
[ALISON]: Yeah, thank you. Yeah. That’s very generous to give the listeners a discount code. So yeah, that’ll definitely be in the show notes. And then if the listeners want to get ahold of you, how can they get in contact with you, Juan?
[JUAN]: Yeah, so, um, I have a YouTube channel called ‘A Counselors Journey’. And I’m assuming everyone on here listening, you’re all clinicians or mental health professionals, right? That’s a big Yes, that I’m hearing from you. So, on that channel, I interview clinicians about their journey in private practice and I do that for several reasons: I do it so that all of us can do better, overcome challenges and not fall down into a lot of those holes that we tend to fall down into. But also to build a relationship. I love getting to know people, building relationships with them. So, if you’re able to check that out, ‘A Counselors Journey’. It’s growing, it’s a small community, but hopefully soon will be a big family.
[ALISON]: Yeah, that’s awesome. And I so appreciate you coming on the podcast today and talking with me and I really appreciated your participation in the mastermind group and everything you contributed just, it was a great group and I really enjoyed it. So glad that I got to know you and thank you so much.
[JUAN]: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Alison.
[ALISON]: I hope you found that interview to be valuable and enjoyable. I really enjoyed having Juan in the mastermind group and just hearing about what he’s up to and how he was growing his group practice. And he’s definitely going to be one to watch. I’m excited to see what he is going to do in the future with his entrepreneurial spirit. So, hope you all have a great day and I’ll talk to you later. If you love this podcast will you please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player? This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.