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Working with a Coach – Why Do It and What It’s Like

Judy's been practicing for many years, seeing 25 or more clients a week on average, mostly from Medicaid (and spending too many hours chasing reimbursements). Despite all those hours of work and the difference she was making for her clients, she had a hard time getting ahead. She felt frustrated, upset, and resentful at how the system (including insurance providers, Medicaid, and even client expectations) kept her stuck with her head just above water financially, working much harder than justified by her income.

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How Solving 3 Problems in Your Practice Can Make Your Life Easier

Building and running a successful therapy practice isn’t easy. You have to figure out who your ideal clients are and what services you want to offer them. You have to choose how to set up the business. You have to find the right space, lease or buy it, and furnish it. Then, you have to build your referral network and set up your marketing to get clients to start calling and coming in. And all that is just the logistics. Once clients start coming in, you have to provide therapy. You know, sit in the chair for hours on end hearing people pour out their pain, day in and day out. My wife Risa loves being a therapist, but some days she comes home and she’s completely wrung out from all the pain she witnesses. If you’re a therapist, I’m sure you know what that’s like. Aside from the therapy part, these are all challenges that a good coach can help you solve. Today I want to tell you about three challenges that I helped one therapist (let’s call her Jane) overcome that made her life much easier. So much so that she recently told me, “Your help gave me the SPACE, the breathing room to get creative. I couldn’t stop the flow of ideas now if I tried! I have more money with less time spent… though I feel busier, with meaningful, nourishing steps toward my goals and dreams.”

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To Slide or Not to Slide?

A common question many therapists struggle with, especially if their practice is private-pay only, is whether or not to offer sliding scale fees, and if yes, how much to charge. If you’re struggling with this yourself, know that there’s no single “right answer” for everyone, so whatever you choose to do is fine, as long as you’re comfortable with it. Having said that, here are the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision, and best practices if you choose to “slide.”

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Are You a “Walmart Therapist?”

“You get paid what per session?!” I asked my wife after noticing her low monthly payment from the group practice. “On average insurance pays them $60 so my split is $30,” she replied. “That’s outrageous!” It wasn’t her fault, and if you’re getting paid similarly ridiculous amounts per session, it’s not your fault either. You’ve probably become what I call a “Walmart therapist,” suffering from an extreme imbalance of power.

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The Surprising Reason Why Charging Higher Fees Helps Your Clients as much as It Does Your Wallet

Therapists in private practice are mostly driven by two commitments, not necessarily in the following order. First, to help their clients find relief from their traumas, emotional pain, and relationship problems. Second, to help their own families achieve a prosperous future. My commitment when coaching therapists is to help them realize that even when the two commitments appear to conflict, you can reframe them and see how not only are they not in conflict but are actually intimately aligned, like the pronghorns in the photo.

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The Simple Mistake that's Costing You Thousands of Dollars Each Year

If you’re like most therapists in private practice, I can almost guarantee that you’re making this simple mental mistake that’s costing you thousands of dollars every year. If your practice is full, that may even be tens of thousands of dollars. What’s worse, beyond the simple loss of income, it’s forcing you to see too many clients, making it harder to keep bringing your best self to the chair.

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How Does Your State’s Median Income Stack Up (and Why It Matters)?

One of the most human things is to want to compare yourself, your town, your school, your state, your country, etc. to others. So when I saw this headline “This Map Shows the Average Income in Every State—and What It's Really Worth” I was intrigued. Why does your state’s median income matter to you, and where does it rank compared to the rest of the country?

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3 Things to Remember that will Help Reframe the Sliding Scale Discussion

Some clinicians have concerns about clients possibly claiming to only be able to afford a fraction of your full fee while driving a much nicer car than yours. This is a completely human thought, resulting from seeing sliding scale discounts as pitting your client’s interest (getting the best therapy at the lowest price) against your own (providing the best therapy while maintaining sufficient profitability). Here are some thoughts on how you can set things up to reframe the sliding scale discussion so it doesn’t trigger your own emotions.

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3 Things to Remember if You Struggle with Raising Your Fees

Setting rates is hard for any solo business owner. I still struggle with it myself. A few weeks ago, a new client asked for help with something he was working on, and I didn’t think he could afford my full rate. Ultimately, he asked for a discount for the first few hours and paid my full rate after that. So many therapists also struggle when it comes to setting their fees, agonizing that some clients may be left suffering because they can’t afford therapy. While such concerns prove your empathy, in the final analysis they serve neither you nor your clients. In the following, I point out three things that can help you win this struggle within yourself.

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Plug the Money Leaks in Your Practice

When you think about it, water can be a good metaphor for money in your practice. It flows in and out, once you use it it’s gone, and without it your business withers and dies. Unless you’re a business mega-star (I’m not), your business has a bunch of money leaks that leave your practice thirstier than it needs to be. Do you know where these money leaks are in your practice?

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Financial Myths that Can Hurt Your Practice – Expensive CEUs

Mark Twain is quoted as having said, “It's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know for sure that ain't true.” So, what is it that you know for sure that ain’t true about the business of your practice? Let's start with the CEU. You know, that pesky requirement that catches you unaware at the end of the year because you forgot to plan for it?

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11 more Ways to Make Your Solo Practice more Profitable - Services

These 11 tips are based on lessons my wife Risa and I learned on how to reduce our costs for business services while running her therapy practice and my consulting business. You can use these to cut your own practice's costs and increase your profits. For example, we see health insurance as an affordable means to prevent financial ruin, not a way to avoid paying for any health services. That lets us buy much cheaper coverage.

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Next 11 Ways to Make Your Solo Practice more Profitable – Financial Wisdom

Like my wife Risa, I’m sure you work very hard to make a difference for your clients, which makes it that much harder to focus on keeping your practice profitable. Here are 11 more tips to make smart financial choices that will help do that. This isn't about pinching pennies, but rather cutting where you can do so without being miserable, so you have more money to invest in bringing in clients, making a difference for them, and making your own life simpler and easier.

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First 12 Tips Guaranteed to Make Your Practice more Profitable – Your Space

From our experience with my wife Risa’s practice, I’m sure you often feel overwhelmed trying to not only make a difference for your clients, but also juggle all the hats you have to wear to make your practice profitable. Here are 12 tips to make smart choices about your space that will increase your profit. This is not about pinching pennies, but rather cutting where it makes sense so you have more money to invest in bringing in clients and making your life simpler and easier.

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Business Budget Sanity Check

For the purpose of this post, you’ll need to refer to my free “Set Your Rates the Right Way” worksheet. In the sheet, fill in the blanks on page 4 with your numbers, referring as needed to the sample sheet on the following page (if you have questions or comments, post those at the bottom of this related post and I promise to respond). After filling in your numbers, compare them to the sample entries. Unless you simply copied entries over, I’d bet a nickel your budget is very different.

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Why Free Isn’t Always so Great

It almost seems like you can get something free anywhere you turn these days. That’s because people don’t hesitate to accept something for free, where they may be very reluctant to pay for it. It’s no surprise that the threshold for saying “yes” to something is much lower if it’s free. If you’re trying to establish yourself in a new niche, offering something for free allows you to reach a wider audience, which is great. And if you make that giveaway really valuable, it helps you establish credibility with that audience, which is even better.

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