S. Frances Robbins Joined the Air Force at Age 42 | PoP 239

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S. Frances Robbins Joined the Air Force

In this episode, Joe Sanok speaks with S. Frances Robbins on how to she joined the air force at age 42.

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Confused by all the advice on starting a private practice? I’d love to help. I put together a checklist of the top 28 things to do to launch a private practice.

Meet S. Frances Robbins

As a 10 year veteran of the United States Air Force, I am now beginning a private online therapy practice.
Reaching out to a global community needing private advisement via on-line secure, private therapy. Straight talk from me to you.

S. Frances Robbins’ Story

After her kids went off to college, Frances decided to join the air force at 42. She has now been there for 10 years. She has worked as the Launch and Recovery Nurse on the front line.

“It’s been an interesting and rewarding time.”

Frances then realized, however, that the military life was not the type of life she wanted. She found it to be very taxing on her personal and relational life. She ended up doing things that she would tell her clients were unhealthy. So, she decided to leave the military and then connected with Joe.

At this stage, Frances asked herself what she wanted her future self to look like. She realized that she wanted to prioritize time and mobility. Eventually, she hopes to go into group practice and help with medication management.

In This Podcast


S. Frances Robbins takes us through her journey of joining the air force at age 42, spending ten years working for the military, and then deciding to build an online private practice. She is a qualified nurse and has written a book on how to improve sleep / overcome insomnia. She provides tips and advice on how to improve sleep hygiene along with how she went about setting up her online practice.

S. Frances Robbins’ Therapy

A lot of ex military members complain about sleep / insomnia. Other clients come in with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some clients are able to go back to duty, but a lot of people in the military fear going for therapy incase their medical records will result in them not being able to report back for duty.

Top Six Methods To Improve Sleep Hygiene

In an attempt to improve a client’s sleep, enquire about their sleeping habits. These could include:

  1. Using alcohol to fall asleep
  2. Computer exposure
  3. Not a dark enough room
  4. Not going to sleep clean
  5. Where their head is, i.e.: thought patterns etc.
  6. Not having a regular bedtime / wake up time

Lack of sleep leads to being irritable / anxious / having poor concentration / second-guessing yourself / and having no coordination.

“Sleep is foundational to our life. And when you don’t get enough sleep, things will start altering.”

Building Blocks To Having An Online Practice

  • Look at people who are doing it already
  • Go through your licensing board
  • Make sure the platforms you are using are HIPPA compliant, i.e.:
    • Zoom
    • Vsee

5 Ways To Launch / Market An Online Practice

  1. Figure out your ideal client and structure website / marketing around that person
  2. Identify where your ideal clients are located, i.e.: LinkedIn
  3. Network with your ideal client
  4. Get a consultant
  5. Start blogging
    • Write about what you know

Useful Links:

  • Frances’ book:

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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Podcast Transcription

File: POP 239 – S._Frances_Robbins_Joined_the_Airforce_at_Age_42
Duration: 0:50:03

Actually, my kids, they grew up and they became adult people, went off to college, and my husband and I were trying to reflect on what was going on from there. At the time, I was working various nursing positions, and I decided to join the Air Force.


This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, Session #239.


Joe Sanok: Welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok. I am so glad you are here. I am here in the Radio Center Two building in downtown Traverse City at Practice of the Practice world headquarters, where just number of weeks ago a bunch of the Slow Down schoolers came and we had lunch at Taproot which is this cider house that’s literally like half a block from where my office is, and I am still just… I am cloud nine after Slow Down School. It was one of the pinnacles, if not the pinnacle, of my career at this point. To see that many people have some such aha moments in a week and have a vision for something and have it actually play out. It was unlike anything I have done – you know, a lot of the conferences that I have done have been partially my vision and other people’s vision. So like most awesome conference with Kelly and Miranda, or if we are looking at Brew Your Practice with Allison and Jane. Awesome times. Very unique conferences. But this was a 100% me. And we went hiking and I had a yoga teacher come in and do yoga with us and chair massage and… I mean just that very first hike we went, we went to Pyramid Point where my wife and I went when we were super stressed about our wedding and to be up there looking out over the water. And everybody had taken their phones and put them in their Zenvelope. Zenvelope is like this amazing product where you put your phone in it and you kind of wrap it up and then…. it’s like a buffer between you and just jumping to your phone. And so everyone had their phones in their Zenvelope. They can pull it out for pictures, but that’s it. And the conversations… we took a big yellow school bus to hike and we were sitting on this bus and it just… I don’t think I realized how much the school bus was going to add to it. But sitting on those like leathery seats that we had as kids and… like it was perfect temperature. The windows down and you know, we were getting to know each other and slowing down enough that we can just let our brains settle to clarify what we need to do our businesses. And also you have a sense of the impact it’s going to have on people. But it’s just mind blowing when it all comes together. So I am going to tell you a couple takeaways I took from that, because today the show is all about doing something new, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks, because Frances Robbins, she joined the Air Force at age 42, and she has some pretty interesting things she is doing. She is actually in Bali right now. She is going to talk about why she is in Bali. It’s just an incredible interview. But before I give you some of my insights from Slow Down School, I want to first share with you what a couple people said. This was on the morning of day three. So they had already had their first two days of slowing down. We hadn’t done any of the business coaching side of things yet, but just listen to what happened after two days of slowing down together.

First Slow Down Schooler: Yeah, I think shifted after that first day of really kind of slowing things down. It was amazing how important that was and the next day it was like, oh my gosh. The creativity kind of started coming forward in the real me that I have been looking for, came through it little stronger.

Second Slow Down Schooler: Ah man, the last two days have been great and also a challenge. If you go over like me, if I am like most people, I spent a lot of time just running 100 miles an hour all the time.

Third Slow Down Schooler: Kind of at the end of the first full day, the end of Monday, and into Tuesday, going in. The first day it was felt really hard not to get my phone, not to be checking stuff. I felt kind of ill at ease, but once I adjusted to that and started becoming more purposeful about my time, it really started feeling like, oh okay, this is awesome and this is easily translatable into my real life. I can be purposeful about how I use my time.

Joe Sanok: So couple of takeaways from this event that I would love for you to think about is just the benefits of first slowing down. So many of these high achieving practice owners were going in unsustainable pace and growing their practices at the sake of their health or their family or even their big idea. There weren’t necessarily spending their time on the exact thing they needed to be spending their time on. I think it is easy as your practice grows when you are in that startup phase. You know, you are hustling. You just want to get clients and you create systems that will make it work, but to step back and say is this the best system? You know I have had consulting clients where they have kind of hotch-potched their insurance billing together and it’s like why don’t you just use an electronic medical records, to have a biller take over. And you got to kind of zoom out and say, is the way that I have made things work to get to this point sustainable to triple or quadruple the income that I want to make? And so I think stepping back and really saying like are the systems I have set up okay. And really slowing down helps you clarify and edit out those things that you just shouldn’t be doing. The other thing that I think is really important to think about is going to live conferences. There is something that happens when you are face to face with people, when you are on a school bus or when we were caught in the rain at Tandem Ciders and the owner came in and was giving us all this cider and we had to wade through like almost knee deep water to get to the school bus, there is something that bonds people differently than if you just know them online. I think about Dr. Jeremy Sharp who has a Testing Psychologist Podcast, and John Clarke who has got the Private Practice Workshop, it’s just… the two of them were roommates. They were running partners at Slow Down School. They have so many ideas on how to collaborate, and that never would have happened if they just connected on LinkedIn or on Facebook. They didn’t know each other, they didn’t maybe like each other’s work. But when you are face to face with someone, it really helps you level up who you are. And I think that’s just so important to find the right event for you. And that may not be Slow Down School, might not be Brew Your Practice or most awesome conference, but finding that face to event or hosting your own to really take your practice to the next level. And then the other side of it is finding fun people to collaborate with. So, Kelly, I invited her in, Kelly Higdon from ZynnyMe to come help with this. She did consulting. We hung out for four days afterward where her family and my family played together. We went to beach together, went to the splash pad, and you know when you have those relationships with people that are at your point or maybe ahead of you in different areas, that helps you raise your game as well. So I am just so excited about the way Slow Down School happened this year. I am not launching next years’ yet except to my Scaling Mastermind Group, which is my Mastermind Group just for people that are scaling on their practice. They get first dibs on it at this year’0000s price and then later on probably in the year in the fall… I am not sure exactly when. I will launch tickets for 2018 Slow Down School, but it’s one of those things that you just… it won my heart so much to just see this cohort bond together and just do so many things together to improve their practices, but also to improve their life.

Today, we have Frances Robbins on the podcast and she is an amazing woman. I have been doing consulting work with her while she has been kind of growing a very interesting project. We are going to get into all that. So without any further ado, I give you Frances Robbins.


Joe Sanok: Well, today on the Practice of the Practice Podcast we have Frances Robbins. She is an adult psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and she works with helping people to improve their lives and their relationships. She is the author of The Complete Insomniac’s Workbook to Restorative Sleep. Frances, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast.

Frances Robbins: Hi Joe, thank you.

Joe Sanok: It’s so nice to hear your voice. You are like eleven time zones away from me right now…

Frances Robbins: (laugh)

Joe Sanok: … and it’s like super early, and what time is it there right now?

Frances Robbins: It is 04:42 and running.

Joe Sanok: Wow.

Frances Robbins: I am on Friday, you are in Thursday.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. How does the future look?

Frances Robbins: It looks really good. You had a great Thursday.

Joe Sanok: Aha, thank you (laugh).

Frances Robbins: Yes. You are going to love Friday.

Joe Sanok: (laugh) That’s awesome. Well, I am so excited to have you on the show because we work together in a consulting relationship and it has been so fun to see you grow and launch your big dream. Why don’t we kind of reverse back, maybe a couple of years, and let’s talk a little bit about… later in life you decided to make a really big jump that a lot of people don’t make… you know, when the kids left the nest and you decided to kind of do something different. What was that different thing?

Frances Robbins: Thanks Joe. So actually my kids, they grew up and they became adult people, went off to college and my husband and I were trying to reflect on what was going on from there. At that time, I was working various nursing positions and I decided to join the Air Force. So at … oh my goodness, how old was I? Forty two. I contacted a local recruiter and said is it something I can even do and surprise, surprise. They actually took me (laugh). So I joined the military. I joined the Air Force and I started… I joined in 2007 and I have been there for 10 years. And it’s been a very, very interesting and rewarding time as well. Just working with the different veterans and kind of seeing what’s going on. I have been deployed. I worked primarily as a Launch and Recovery Nurse on a flight line and…

Joe Sanok: So Launch and Recovery – what that mean?

Frances Robbins: So that means that you are the nurse that actually goes out to the aircraft that has the wounded inside and that are coming out of… at that time they were coming out of Afghanistan. And then you transport them, you take them… you literally what’s called [inaudible 00:11:11.02]. So they are on a stretcher, you unwrap then from a stretcher, you manage whatever kind of needs they need, whether it’s pain medicine or monitoring all the different equipment that they are attached to, and then you carry them with another person on other end of the stretcher to a bus, and then we load them up on a bus and then we take them to our local hospital, and then from there manage their care. So I did that for, gosh, about six months, and then came back to the States and worked in various nursing roles and then the military sent me off to nurse practitioner school and so I became a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. And from there I have been working in the military installations pretty much as a community health setting, outpatient setting, and then sometimes I do some inpatient rounds and that sort of thing.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. Well, my mom is a nurse practitioner, my sister is a nurse, and one of our best friends is a flight nurse up in the Northwest…

Frances Robbins: Oh yeah?

Joe Sanok: …so when it comes to nurses, I have immense respect for the work . It’s just… I can’t imagine what you saw being in like war zones and helping people come out of Afghanistan. That’s just… like, I don’t think I would have the emotional capacity to do that…

Frances Robbins: It’s very interesting and I will tell you that being a psychiatric nurse practitioner is really awesome because we have… we’re trained in all modalities of psychotherapy and also medications. So I feel like I have a foot in each camp as far as the kind of tools I have available that help my clients.

Joe Sanok: So as a psychiatric nurse practitioner what were the kinds of things that vets were coming to see you about?

Frances Robbins: Well, a lot of people have concerns about… Well, primarily they come in, like the very first time, typically people come in complaining of problems with sleep. In the military setting, mental health stigma is very real and it’s very predominant, and a lot that has to do with… the reality is that our medical records are not… they are not as secure as what we would think or maybe what would be out in the community, out in the civilian world, and that’s because if a military member wants any kind of a special duty assignment or their being tasked for [inaudible 00:13:48.13] flagged for maybe a deployment or maybe they are going, they really want something in particular or security clearance, then their medical records are always looked at just to make sure there is nothing underlying or concerning and I can see the point of that to some extent, but that does tell you that there is going to be people looking at your medical records. So that in itself causes a real stigma that happens. So lot of times the military member would come in primarily with concerns about insomnia and then from there we would discuss…

Joe Sanok: Now, is that because that’s a diagnosis that’s maybe more approachable for people. Like they don’t like having insomnia on their records, but really there is something underlying that?

Frances Robbins: Right, right. Or they… it’s kind of the acceptable, the acceptable illness that you would go to are clinic are called mental health, so acceptable thing to come to mental health. So you have somebody that walks in and can say I can’t sleep, I need to talk to someone about helping me get some sleep. But then after further assessment you may discover that they have depression or they have anxiety or they have panic attacks or different things that are going on and perhaps their job is so chaotic in that they don’t have a regular sleep schedule. And so there is lots of reasons why a person has poor sleep. But that’s primarily the thing. And then sometimes, I would see people who would come in with posttraumatic stress disorder and we would work through that as well.

Joe Sanok: So someone gets a diagnosis of PTSD, like would that eliminate them from being able to serve in certain capacity since they can see all of their records?

Frances Robbins: It would really depend on the overall… what’s going on, what’s the whole picture, but a lot of [Inaudible 00:15:45.3] have those kinds of diagnosis is that I saw typically once they went through treatment and then they had a period of time where they were doing just fine, then they were completely back to a their normal work schedule and everything is fine. So I think the stigma is that people are fearful of coming in, but the reality is they go through treatment and then are able to go back to the, what we call, return to duty. They are able to go back to duty. But some folks do have such fears that it prevents them from ever coming in.

Joe Sanok: Mm-hmm. So then what’s some of the work that you did on ongoing basis with the military? So people come in for sleep or other things. What were some of maybe the patterns that you saw in some of the patients that you were working with?

Frances Robbins: Typically what I saw was just really poor sleep hygiene. And you know, a lot of military members… I am the odd ball in the sense that I am old enough to be everybody’s mommy. Right (chuckle)… so typically, folks would go to high school, graduate from high school and then join the military. This might be their duty assignment when I see them and their sleep is just horrible. There’s lots of things that are stimulating them and keeping them awake at night and preventing them from going to sleep. And then they seek help for attempting to fall asleep in the wrong places like through alcohol or they will think if they go out and they exercise a lot, it will make them really tired and fall asleep. So some of the things I saw which is basic sleep hygiene and just teaching them that.

Joe Sanok: So what are for your counselors that don’t know kind of some of the basics of sleep hygiene, like what are maybe like the five top things that they should be teaching their clients about sleep?

Frances Robbins: Well, the biggest thing I think is find out what the heck they are doing for their sleep because people are doing something, and alcohol is a big factor. I have a lot of service members… well, and their families too. We saw families as well who use alcohol for sleep. So they will fall asleep, they will drink, it will make them sleepy and then they will typically wake up a few hours later after the sugar has metabolized in their body and it gives them a little energy boost. So one of the things I ask them is, kind of what is their sleep habit. What time do you typically go to bed, what time you do wake up through the night? Is your sleep fragmented? And most times they tell me, oh, yeah, I wake up, like four hours after I go to sleep, I don’t know why, it happens all the time. Then I start thinking, okay this is alcohol. Are they using alcohol? The other thing is the computer exposure, the blue light from our monitors and then also from our phones. That’s a huge one. People are very connected to their phone. Unfortunately, they are so driven to look at that phone and that keeps them awake. Not sleeping in a comfortable environment – the room might be very warm or it’s not dark enough, sometimes it is not been clean when you go to bed. So like sometimes these guys and gals would get off the flight line and they are just exhausted and they just collapse. Well, they’re not even preparing their body for sleep, so getting into a sleep routine. I would also see that where their head is. Right, so if they are sitting there in bed and then they are just kind of reflecting about the whole day and they are anxious about what’s happened and they are fearful. That’s going to keep them awake as well. And then not having a regular bed time and a regular wake up time. Sometimes they just kind of go rogue and they think that they can do that. They might be able to do it for a little while, but then after a few years of that kind of craziness though, they will start having more problems with their sleep and they’ll come in to see me.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, so when people don’t address kind of their sleep hygiene, what do you see in regards to it magnifying kind of underlying issues?

Frances Robbins: When a person isn’t sleeping well… well, sleep is foundational for great next day, right? So if they are not sleeping well, they are going to be irritable, they are going to have a lot of anxiety. There is poor concentration. They will be second guessing themselves frequently, and then their coordination will be certainly will be off. We know that sleep deprivation is… mean it’s not… it’s pretty dangerous. Right? The CDC has come out and talked about how important it is to have good sleep for driving and just how it affects our bodies for just repairing of illnesses inside. So I mean sleep is foundational to our life and when you don’t have enough sleep, then certainly things are going to start faltering. So I really look at whoever walks in my door, whoever I am talking to – where is their sleep, how is their sleep. To me that is as important as their [Inaudible 00:21:22.24].

Joe Sanok: We kind of have the [Inaudible 00:21:25.18] mental illness counseling where we look at sleep, we look at what they are eating and we look at exercise before we really do anything else because it’s just like if that baseline is off, it’s going to magnify kind of everything else that’s going on.

Frances Robbins: Correct.

Joe Sanok: So then you decided that you are going to go beyond just kind of working with the Air Force. When did the idea of doing something after the Air Force… like when did you start brainstorming that?

Frances Robbins: Well, I actually started probably about two years ago. I really had anticipated that I would stay in the military and kind of go from military to, you know, med care (laugh) and just retire and be that. But what I discovered at this current assignment is that as I was meeting more people and I was kind of seeing what was going on and look at the folks that were higher ranking than myself, and just kind of see where their career path was going, what was going on with their life, I really started to reflect if that was something that I wanted. And the rigours of…. we call it the rigours of command or the rigours of the military surface can be very taxing, and it can be very taxing on families and it can be very taxing on an individual as well. And what I saw was a life that I was not interested in pursuing to be really honest. The hours of the work, the demands. I think that people can do that for certain period of time and perhaps it could be my age as well, but I felt like I wasn’t taking care of myself as much as I needed to. There is a thing, you know, we all practice is, we preach about it actually is the work life balance and I know you just had your slow down school as well and you guys probably spent a lot of time talking about…

Joe Sanok: We sure did. It was all about like whether your lifestyle is matching what you are doing in your business and how to focus on creating the lifestyle you wanted first and then did make business decisions out of that rather than just reacting to your business.

Frances Robbins: Well and so what I was seeing is that I was in a place where I was doing the things that I would constantly tell my clients that were unhealthy. And so with the military, you have a service commitment and once my service commitment was completed, I had to really sit down and think, okay, this is a real fork in a road. Do I continue to go on the trajectory that I know already and I see the people ahead of me on what it is doing to them or do I venture off into something different. It was not an easy decision and over a great period of time discussing that with my family and friends and really spending a lot of conversations – deep conversati0ons with my husband – we made the decision that we were not happy with the trajectory of how things were going. So I made the decision to separate and then I connected with you. Gosh, it’s been like around Christmas time of last year.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, yeah.

Frances Robbins: So connected with you because I knew that I wanted to have more control over what was going on in my life. So that’s why I was trying to think about what would fit in my lifestyle or with the lifestyle that I was going to have.

Joe Sanok: Well, I know, one of your big elements was having an ability to travel, that your husband is a photographer. So that was big part of it. So how did you start brainstorming what you wanted to do next step to the military?

Frances Robbins: Well, I started looking at what was my future self going to look like? What was it that I really wanted? What was important to me, and then in talking it back and forth to my husband. So what we decided was having the ability to have time to spend on things that were important to us whatever we wanted to find that is. So time and then mobility. So how easy could we get up and move. My husband, Keith, he is a photographer and he is also a nurse and he does destination photography workshops. So one of the things we wanted to do is to be able to go to, like Bali. So we are going to be going to Bali here shortly and he will be doing some workshops and such there, and I wanted to be able to be there with him while still maintaining my practice. So that’s where the online practice started to kind of getting formulated in my head. So online would give me the ability to do that and then we are eventually going to end up… because we are going to spend about three months in Southeast Asia… but we are eventually going to end up in Oregon, and while we are in Oregon that’s when I will start looking at how do I incorporate my medication management piece and hopefully partnering up with some established group therapies, group practices rather. That’s kind of my hope is that I get a chance to go into a group practice and help with some medication management, maybe for practices that have clients that are just kind of having a difficult time in therapy and could use the benefit from medication to help them engage in therapy.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. So what are some of the building blocks for you as you start this, because I’m sure there is people… I can even think of one of our participants at Slow Down School. She has an established practice, but she wants to kind of transition it to be entirely online, so that she can be location independent. If someone is saying, you know, I love that idea of travelling. I love that idea of being able to have time to spend on the things I wanted to spend time on. Where do I start? Like, what would you say that kind of the first couple building blocks to move towards that kind of goal.

Frances Robbins: Well, what I did is I started looking at the people who are doing it already, who are the folks that I could connect with. So I reached out to Kay Cockerill. I reached out to you. I reached out to some other folks, just kind of brainstorming this as even possible. I had to go through my licensing board to find out, you know, is this even legal?

Joe Sanok: Right.

Frances Robbins: And I’ll do this, right, and what I discovered is it is definitely a new frontier. A lot of people are excited about the possibilities, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of regulation outside the United States. So I just really started developing in my own mind what it was that that I would want to see. So I wanted to have the mobility. I wanted to have the ability to connect with folks. So that means setting up an online platform, so that everything is HIPPA compliant and you can actually talk to somebody online because you can’t really do that with a lot of the traditional online, like you can’t do FaceTime audio and you can’t do Skype right now. You have to have… there’s certain rules and regulations that you have in place. Patient Centered Tech, is that Roy… Roy at Patient Centered Tech?

Joe Sanok: Person Centered Tech, yeah.

Frances Robbins: Person Centered Tech, okay, Roy.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, right.

Frances Robbins: Person Centered Tech. He was super helpful and he has got great information on his website and he has got somebody there. I would really suggest people at least get on his email list, so you can start getting stuff that you are emailed. But [Inaudible 00:29:30.28] at the place where I am starting to bring everything together, so I am not really able to, like, articulate this is the best way to do it because I am kind of figuring this out as I am going along….

Joe Sanok: And I think this is fun of bringing you on at this phase rather than a year from now when it’s like “I am hyper successful. I don’t remember how I did it, but I made this rock out.” But it’s like to really get a glimpse into… yeah, you do the research. You may bring on a coach, someone that can walk you through it. I know that we made a giant checklist and it was just like do these things first and it [Inaudible 00:30:07.20] the checklist and look at that in Trello. What are some of the platforms that you’ve landed on in regards to HIPPA compliant video and just some of those nuts and bolts things that people that may want to launch an online practice. What did you discover?

Frances Robbins: Well, through I have, so certainly Zoom is one that’s HIPPA compliant, then Vsee. That’s actually the one I am going to be going with. And then there is… See, what other ones… there is various ones. I actually just kind of googled what [Inaudible 00:30:52.07] HIPPA compliant online platforms and just try to see what was out there. The reason why I went with Vsee is because… I am starting [Inaudible 00:31:03.08]. So I have a lot of potential expenses, but I don’t have any clients set up as of right now. And as of this recording, I am still in the active duty classification. So I haven’t been able to actively start soliciting for clients as of yet. So my money is very limited. My available revenue, available expenses… [Inaudible 00:31:37.13] but I don’t have a lot of money. How do I….


Joe Sanok: So, [Inaudible 00:31:44.02] coming in because you can’t be promoting yourself yet, and when this goes live because we can promote you, it will be when you are no longer in active duty, so…

Frances Robbins: Yes. So Vsee, the reason I like that, the reason I have gone with that one is because they actually offer a no cost – how awesome is that – for sole practitioners. So, as sole provider you actually can reach out to them and they will set you up with their professional platform.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, that was something you found, I loved how much you bootstrapped this. Like you found it on some old blog post that Roy had written or something like that. Tell that story of how you discovered that they do that for free.

Frances Robbins: Well, so I google almost everything and then I google things to ridiculousness. So I might search HIPPA complaint video platforms available for free (laugh). So one of his blog post, I think it was from February of 2016, Roy was basically doing a comparison of HIPPA compliant of platforms. And I read his whole blog, and it was pretty lengthy and it pretty involved detailed information, and deep in the bowels of the blog, deep, deep, deep in there was a little line about Vsee and it said if you contact this person you save these things. They will provide you a free membership for a sole provider. So I thought that’s interesting. So I did all those things that I was prompted to do. I was contacted by Vsee and they did set me up. So I can tell you it really worked. That’s pretty cool.

Joe Sanok: And I have Sam, our director of marketing or chief marketing officer, kind of dig through that. We will put that in the show notes, so that hopefully you guys can all take advantage of this awesome discovery that Frances has made. So then, what you hope over the next year or so to do with your practice like and then you said eventually kind of land in Oregon which is awesome. My brother lives in Oregon. But take us through what your marketing plan is, what you want to do to get clients. Once you are free from the military and you are allowed to go out there and promote yourself, what’s your plan?

Frances Robbins: Well, I have actually set up my website and one of the first things that you and I did is we talked about like what my ideal client would look like, and the type of person that I really want to spend time with, who I really get some joy out of that person when they walk into my physical building. Right? So what I have really discovered is those with the mental health stigma, people who are in places of higher ranking or higher executive positions who have a lot of resp0nsibility, yet are fearful about seeking help. So I set up the website primarily with that person in mind. A person who has mental health stigma, who is unwilling or unable to go to basically a brick and mortar building, that’s the person that I want to connect with. And in a military setting, a person could connect with me on their phone, they can talk to me via online in their office or in their home or wherever they can define as a safe place. So knowing that I really wanted to connect with those people, I had to start thinking about where are those people at. Right? Because the folks I am talking to or trying to target have a stigma. They are not going to be a great referral source…


Frances Robbins: I cannot tell anybody.

Joe Sanok: I want to target people that don’t want to talk to me (laugh).

Frances Robbins: Yes, yes. And the reason is because as you know and as I am sure many of your listeners know, how cool is it when you see someone who comes in to your space for help and they come in under thinking that they need help for this one thing, but really it’s lot of other things and then when you guys get that worked out, like things are awesome in their life, right? So they are in a much better place and when you have folks who are in charge of other people, especially in a military setting, if you have a leader who has their own issues going on, [Inaudible 00:36:32.29] down and the lowest ranking person feels it hard. So really when I think about treating these leaders, I also know that I am helping improve their families and helping to improve those subordinates that they are leading. So, back to your question. So my website, it’s all about making sure that the understanding is a safe, secure, online platform. Nobody is going to know about any of this unless they tell someone. And then those clients where they hang out at, that’s like a [Inaudible 00:37:07.12]. So with LinkedIn, I started doing LinkedIn searches of where those people would be working at or what their ranks were. So I would have numerous folks who come up on my search command on LinkedIn, command US air force particular base and then all these names would come up, and honestly I just started trying to reach out to them and connect with them. And so over a period of about two or three months, I went from just a few connections on LinkedIn to now I have almost 900 connections on LinkedIn.

Joe Sanok: Wow, that’s incredible.

Frances Robbins: What’s awesome about that is when I post something on LinkedIn, the blog gets seen, gets in their news feed, right, and so all those people get to see it. Now it’s really interesting, is when you go on LinkedIn and we see the analytics that are there of your post, you can see how many people clicked on it, you can see how many people looked at it, all that good stuff. Now I have some posts that several hundred people have, like, read it which is awesome. Nobody likes it [Inaudible 00:38:26.28].

Joe Sanok: (laugh) That’s crazy. Yeah, you don’t want everyone else to know, but they will read it. You know, it’s funny. When I first launched Practice of the Practice, I was in this group of therapists that liked marketing. And the rule on the group was you couldn’t just, like, promote your blog post in the group. But if someone asked a question, then you could like reply if you had a genuine resource. So what I would do is I would find questions that I would want the answer. I would go, write a blog post and then I would come back and I would put that link and say, hey I actually recently published this blog post, recently meaning like 2 minutes ago.


But it was a great way to like really questions that people had, and i could have wrote 200 to 300 words in an answer, but I am like. “I may as well turn this into contest.
When you are first staring out, I think that LinkedIn could be a really good way to find what people are asking, kind of jump in there as a professional and maybe even write a bunch of blog posts.

Frances Robbins: Yeah, it was really helpful and so the things I started, putting on LinkedIn [Inaudible 00:39:27.06] I started writing about from my own blogs was basically what was kind of the theme of the week [Inaudible 00:39:32.03] I didn’t have a lot of time to write a blog post every day, but I tried to do at least one a week. And so I would just kind of take notes from my clients and what was going on with them and then kind of, what was I kept telling everybody over and over again? And so that’s when I started writing about…

Joe Sanok: Yeah, and I think that’s really important to write about what you know, and what’s amazing to me is before you even opened your doors to clients, you brought on a consultant, you got your website going, you started blogging, you are like on LinkedIn, and so many people they open their doors, they find a place to rent or whatever their business is going to be, and then they are like, oh, I am struggling. Now, I should get some help and it’s like you have taken so much time to really think of your launch. There you feel like, whenI have seen that, I think of Dr. Mark Mayfield of Colorado who did the same thing before he launched his practice. Within 18 months of us doing consulting, he had I think 17 or 18 counselors working for him. So it just shows that when you do lot of that preplanning and do the research and make sure you have a clear checklist on focus that you can have a strong launch.

Frances Robbins: Yeah, I am fairly excited and it’s very interesting to me Joe… I mean really what I am doing, a lot of people dream of doing this and they to have the ability to travel, to have the freedom to see their clients to still be able to nurture and do those things that we love to do, why we are therapists to begin with, in a setting that also nurtures ourselves. People love this, and I have been approached by multiple people asking about hey, can I be a part of this, I really want to do this. Sign me up, I want to be in your practice with you. So I definitely see that in my future. Right now, I am kind of like, well, I might want to just kind of think this out for myself (laugh)…

Joe Sanok: Yeah, [Inaudible 00:41:28.03] you do, you want to figure out kind of all the different components of the business, what’s working, but keep in contact with those people as you grow so that when you are ready to just start scaling, you know it’s easier to bring them on.

Frances Robbins: And folks are watching too. So I have many colleagues that are watching and they are just kind of sitting back to see where is this going to lead.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. Well Frances, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

Frances Robbins: I think it is really important that you reflect on what’s important. Right? So reflect on what you would like to do. I spent time really thinking about writing a book, I spent time about how do I go forward and make things happen and I really would say, practice what you preach. And if there is a desire in your heart to do something, then you can make that happen. Reach out to those around you and make it happen. If it’s scary, that’s okay. Right? That’s all part of it. So…
Joe Sanok: Yeah. Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, Frances Robbins. She is the author of the ‘The Complete Insomniac’s Workbook to Restorative Sleep’. Y0ur website www.precisionmentalperformance.com. What is the best way for people to connect with you? Is it through the website?

Frances Robbins: It is through the website and there is also contact forms to the website or they can just email me directly at [email protected].

Joe Sanok: Ah, thanks so much and I can’t wait to see the photos when you guys go to Bali and when you get to just go all over while you are doing this fun stuff. So I will talk to you soon. Thanks so much for being on the podcast today.

Frances Robbins: Thank you Joe.

Joe Sanok: Bye.


Thank you so much for listening to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. If you are at the very beginning of your journey where you are under $20,000, I would love for you to download my free 28-step checklist on how to start a private practice. You can get that over at www.practiceofthepractice.com/start and you can get that totally free and then you will get a whole bunch of emails. Every week, they will walk you through exactly what your next step is. So it takes all the confusion out of what you need to do next. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. This is what coming up next week.

Marriott: Hi Joe, my name is Marriott and I am an LPC. I am in the process of beginning to work toward starting a private practice. I was wondering if you could speak to how you coordinate with11110 a client’s interdisciplinary providers such as psychiatrists, primary care doctors, specialists etc. when that need becomes apparent with all of the other demands that are placed upon you. Thanks.

So the entire episode is going to be Q&A. If you want to send me questions for this episode or for future ones, you could just go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/question and then you can leave it for me on the SpeakPipe widget. Also if you ever have a question, you can tweet me. It’s @OfThePractice or drop me an email and let me know that I can use it on the podcast. Have an awesome week. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Talk to you soon.


Special thanks to the band Silences, sexy, for your inter music, and this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered, is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guest surrender any legal, accounting, or other clinical information. If you need a profession, go find one.


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