Can you run a successful business that’s based on teaching? Where have you noticed the gap that can be filled, both within your community and within your business? How can you properly invest in your employees for their success as well as yours?
In this Seven Figure Practice Series podcast episode, Joe Sanok discusses launching a teaching practice with interns, practicum students, and registered interns with Shari Linger.
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Meet Shari Linger
Shari Linger is an LMHC in Florida with 25 years of experience in the field. She is a group practice owner, Qualified Supervisor, and Certified Parent Coordinator. Her background is also in teaching, at middle school for 16 years and also an adjunct professor with Nova Southeastern University and Pasco Hernando State College.
Shari has built a 7 figure group practice. She continues to drive forward her company’s mission of providing quality mental healthcare to her community by offering 3 levels of care through Licensed, pre-licensed, and graduate-level interns.
In this Podcast
- The true lines of your business
- Noticing the gap
- Taking on a teaching approach
- Shari’s advice for starting a teaching practice
- Shari’s advice to private practitioners
The true lines of your business
I’m a teacher at heart … It shows up even in my sessions with clients, but I have always enjoyed teaching and counseling. So my group practice mission, part of our mission statement, is to offer quality counseling to the community. (Shari Linger)
For Shari, who she is and what she has seen in her professional career as both a teacher and a counselor to kids and adults, is that people need access.
Her group practice needs to take insurance as well as Medicaid because she knows what it’s like for some people who do not have access to vital services.
For her, providing therapy and making it easily accessible to those who need it have been some of her guiding principles in running her group practice.
Noticing the gap
And then I thought; “If I bring in students, I can offer free counseling to the community or highly discounted counseling. I can offer different tiers to give people that [access], and then it was in bringing in students … I realized there was a huge gap. (Shari Linger)
From registered interns to students, Shari identified a huge gap in learning and gaining experience.
As both a teacher and a therapist who went through training, Shari knew that she wanted to bridge this divide and offer something additional to the upcoming therapists.
Now my company has two missions, two brand promises; the one to the community, but to back that up and to be able to offer that, I have to have my brand promise to clinicians that I’m gonna teach you and offer you stuff from me, and where I lack that knowledge, I’m gonna get it for you. (Shari Linger)
Taking on a teaching approach
Shari started with registered interns.
She was focusing on supervision, but when she hired the registered interns she noticed that most of them had their degrees from online schools. Shari knew that she could offer something better to students before they became registered.
She knew that if she was already doing this with registered interns she could adjust and replicate this model with students.
Shari got into contact with local universities and colleges to partner with them for referrals. Later on, she hired people, rented office space, and began seeing clients on a rotating basis.
After about six months I’m working with the registered interns in this huge group room which, in the beginning I had these visions for having a wellness center … My husband said, “Why don’t you hone in on what you’re really good at instead of spreading yourself too thin in starting a group practice?” (Shari Linger)
Even though Shari had a big dream for a full wellness center with massage, yoga, and other offerings, because her business was new, she decided to focus on just managing the counselors and getting that right before adding all the rest.
Now, her wellness center is up and running, but it was because she built it slowly from the ground up and focused on one piece at a time.
Shari’s advice for starting a teaching practice
- Be prepared to feel like a university!
- Be committed to educating them as well as yourself
- You can turn your students into employees
- Hire a team to work alongside you in teaching and managing the students and interns
I think when you’re a small group practice doing that, it’s just you. When you become a larger group practice like myself, and you’re teaching registered interns and you’re doing it to students who are far more needy and needing so much from you to offer quality counseling … To churn out quality counselors, then you have to have other people on youe staff who have bought into that as well and want to partner with you. (Shari Linger)
Shari’s advice to private practitioners
It’s great to have plans for the future, but let things unfold. It’s okay if things have to slow down or don’t go at the timeline of what you originally planned. Just keep the goal in mind and take intentional steps toward it without pushing life away.
Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:
- Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
Email Joe at [email protected] to suggest guests for the show
Check out these additional resources:
Apply to work with us — a decision-making matrix for your next steps
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 who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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