How To Quit Your Job For Private Practice Angela Blocker | POP 779

A photo of Angela Blocker is captured. Angela Blocker is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Houston, Texas. Angela Blocker is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Are you ready? Do you want to finally make the full transition from your job to your new private practice? What will be helpful to have in place to make the switch easier?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok discusses how you can quit your job for private practice with Angela Blocker.

Podcast Sponsor: Level Up Week

A photo of the Podcast, Sponsor Level Up Week, is captured. Level Up week sponsors the Practice of the Practice Podcast

You’re probably entering that phase where you start to set yourself up for 2023, you’re thinking about what your goals are gonna be, what you’re not going to do, and what you hope to achieve.

But regardless of where you are within your private practice journey, I’m challenging you to make these last few months count, to dig deep, and to make next year the one for big changes within your business – and more importantly – within yourself.

So if you’ve been looking for a sign to either start your own private practice, grow from solo to group, or become a next-level group practice boss, this is it…and you’re certainly not alone, because Practice of the Practice is doing something we’ve never done before.

We’re so convinced that now is the time for you to grow that we’re dedicating all our resources to help you do it. We’re all in. Every single one of us. And we’re inviting you to go all in and level up.

From September 12 to 15 we’ll be running ‘Level Up’ week to help you decide what will work best for you in your private practice journey. There will be webinars, Q&As with experts, and a chance for you to meet your accountability partners, facilitators, and community.

So if you’re ready to make a change and level up, register at practiceofthepractice.com/levelup and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages @practiceofthepractice for live updates and event details.

Make September 2022 the month that you start your journey and level up.

Meet Angela Blocker

A photo of Angela Blocker is captured. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the owner of Briargrove Family Counseling Center. Angela is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Angela Blocker started Briargrove Family Counseling Center to provide excellent relational, trauma-informed, and culturally humble counseling services to individuals, families, and couples. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive specialized training in working with couples and families.

Angela is certified in Prepare/Enrich and she works with couples in every stage of development. With a specialty in family trauma, she helps families work through difficult events and move toward healing.

Visit Briargrove Family Counseling and connect on Instagram.

Connect with Angela on Instagram and Psychology Today.

FREEBIE: 6 Ways to OWN Your Next Transition

In This Podcast

  • The most difficult parts are sometimes easier than you expect
  • What does the life that you want look like?
  • Network to boost yourself and the business
  • Angela’s advice to private practitioners

The most difficult parts are sometimes easier than you expect

A lot of people are nervous about making the transition to private practice because they are worried that they may be losing money, or that they will not make as much as they did at their previous job.

However, have you considered that you would make more than you did?

I made more than I made at the school in the first three months than I did … that’s a huge fear, quitting your job for the first time [and] relying solely on private practice income. (Angela Blocker)

At first, Angela was scared about making a loss, she doubted her skills, and whether her services were wanted by the community.

She thought that she wasn’t able to pull it off, but she did, and she ended up more than doubling her caseload.

You are more than capable of making enough income and creating the kind of work-life balance that you’d like to have. (Angela Blocker)

What does the life that you want look like?

How do you envision your best future life at this stage? Who do you want to become? List these lifestyle qualities and the traits that you want to embody, and work backward.

Challenge yourself: can you base your prices on the life that you want to create for yourself?

What is the life that you want first? Then work backward and say, “Okay, if I need to make this much money and if I’m only going to work this many hours then how much do I need to make per hour?” That sets a different dynamic of owning your business and owning who you are. (Joe Sanok)

Network to boost yourself and the business

Angela recognized that networking would be a great way to leverage her skills and get her name out into the community, apart from standard marketing.

She looked for the “friendliest faces” and invited them out for coffee to greet and meet with the hopes of supporting each other’s businesses.

They refer to you [and] you refer to them … and you also create a solid network for yourself in the area and so I think that played a huge role as well. (Angela Blocker)

Connect with other businesses as well, especially those that connect with the services you provide and the mental health industry in general.

Angela’s advice to private practitioners

You can do it! You have gifts and skills that the world needs. Remember that there is abundance out there, so get to it!

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

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.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 779. I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. This month we have been doing the How I Leveled Up Series. In our last episode we talked with Andrea, who started a practice in, started doing online intensives. Before that we talked with Mark who hit 120K a year in just 18 months. We also talked with Dana about trending on Instagram, all sorts of just amazing ways to level up your practice this month. This is all in preparation for our Level Up Week, which kicks off September 12th. We’re going to have over 15 free webinars trainings on a million different things, not a million, probably 15 different things. I guess if each one had three main topics, we’d have like 45 different things. Either way, lots of stuff that’s going to help you level up. We’re going to have ones that are focused just on if you are starting a solo practice, also ones where if you want to add your first clinician, then group practice stuff, and then also if you want to level up beyond your practice. So all sorts of things coming up in Level Up Week. You can sign up for that over at practiceofthepractice.com/levelup. Well, I am so excited. Today we have Angela Blocker, and Angela is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Houston, Texas. Angela started Briargrove Family Counseling Center to provide excellent relational trauma informed and culturally humble care to individuals, families, and couples who are going through difficult life transitions with a specialty in family trauma. Angela helps families navigate challenging events and move forward in their healing. She uses Family Systems Theory Act, DBT, and Principles from David Snarks, Crucial, so much in my mouth right now. Good morning. I’m just going to say good morning, Angela David Schardt. How’s his last name pronounced? I should have asked you that when I said, David’s crucible Therapy as modalities. [ANGELA BLOCKER] Oh, you got it. [JOE] I’m going to leave it all in there. I’m going to leave it all in there. This is how the morning’s going, Zencaster where we record changed their entire way that things are laid out over the weekend. I was just saying to Angela that holy cow, like a lot of stuff to navigate right away first thing in the morning. But Angela, welcome to the Practice of Practice podcast. [ANGELA] Thank you so much, Joe. It’s a pleasure to be here. [JOE] Well, you have a lot of amazing things that you do. I would love to just start with like, why’d you go into therapy? What’s that journey? What was that journey like for you? [ANGELA] Sure. So I say that therapy found me, which I’m sure a lot of other clinicians might say. I actually started being a peer mediator in fourth grade. I had just transitioned between schools and I was having a very difficult time on the playground. I had an excellent fourth grade teacher who suggested why don’t you become a peer mediator? So you went into the office and there was a little cabinet that had a little orange belt that you would get right before recess started, and you would put it on and you would help kids who were having conflict on the playground. I actually did peer mediation from fourth grade all the way through high school, and I, yes, which is really neat. I love when schools have that. So I went to a school for intercultural ministries though, so my undergrad degree is in intercultural ministries with an interdisciplinary in psychology. I was interested in different cultures at first so by the time I reached my, I think this was my junior year of a college I had a professor who said you need to take a few electives and so I was like, oh, what’s an easy elective that I can take? I took a psychology course and I loved it and I loved working with people, especially from a culture perspective. I learned about systems theory and then I pursued a master’s in that and I’ve been doing counseling ever since. [JOE] Wow. Now, when did you know you wanted to start a private practice? [ANGELA] Probably pretty early on. I remember being in graduate school and they were talking about private practices and other sort of things that you can go into. My internship sort of trained you to go into private practice. However, I was pretty nervous about doing it as a single person they say to wait until you’re married or you have a family or another support system in order to do private practice. But those listeners out there, that’s a hundred percent not true. You can do it and you can find a way to have insurance and benefits and that sort of thing as a single person. However, I didn’t go into a private practice until 2020, so when everyone else was sort of quitting their jobs and I followed that trend [JOE] Now, so it’s always interesting, like I’ve interviewed a few other people in this series that started their practice in 2020. What part of 2020 did you start it? What were some of the steps that really helped you launch quickly? [ANGELA] Sure thing, Joe, thank you for asking. I was working as a wraparound and sort of a wraparound case management role for two high schools at the time. So this was the beginning of 2019 into 2020, and I was sort of charged with creating two psychol, two counseling programs on two different early college high school campuses. I would spend a few days a week at each campus and I would work with the school counselor. One school had a school counselor, the other one did not and so I was it, and I started off pretty small intensively working with five to 10 students on each campus. Then of course, 2020 hits. I’ve been thinking about private practice for a while but my caseload quadrupled and I was very overwhelmed. I think I did a pretty good job as most clinicians probably are doing a pretty good job with the work that they had to do with 2020, managing their own fears and anxieties about helping those that they’re charged to help with while also taking care of themselves at the same time. It was January of 2020 where I said, why don’t I just start doing one step at a time towards private practice? I loved working with the kids but I also wanted to reach out in a way that I knew was going to be more fulfilling for my overall wellbeing to do the things that I really wanted to do. So I remembered sitting down with an accountant, sitting down with a lawyer the first few steps that you get going and by August, actually, I can’t remember the episode, but I remember listening to a private, the Practice of the Practice podcast in August of 2021. It was about how to start a private practice and it was for solo practitioners, I believe so. I remember that was the point that I actually quit my job. It was actually in August, so I was really nervous about it but that episode was pretty pivotal for me. [JOE] I would love to know how many bosses if they knew my podcast had something to do with their folks quitting, how many bosses would be angry with me because that’s great to hear. It’s also great, glad that we had some steps that helped you out there. What were some of the, when you think back on it, what were some of the first steps that you really remember were big steps for you that maybe you thought were going to be hard, but they weren’t nearly as hard as you thought they were? [ANGELA] That’s an excellent question. I think the hardest part, I remember quitting my job, and because I was working in the schools you get paid through the summer and I remember thinking, okay, I need to be very sensitive. I need to budget really well. I made more than I made at the school, like in the first three months than I did. That’s a huge fear, quitting your job for the first time, just relying solely on private practice income. I was very scared about my skills at the time, wondering if I had a service that was going to be wanted by the community. Of course, during 2020 in the pandemic, of course, counselors, were in pretty high demand. But I think I thought that that was going to be something I wasn’t going to be able to do, or I might have to work another job part-time. So in terms of the initial first steps that were difficult, quitting, telling my boss that I wasn’t going to come back in the fall was challenging but then seeing that you’re more than capable of making enough income and having, creating the work life balance that you’d like to have. So I guess that would maybe be my second one. I was convinced that I did not want to work on Mondays. Mondays are my least favorite day of the week, and I’m sure that’s true for many of the listeners out there too. I was starting my practice only four days a week, so I was working Tuesday through Thursday, and I knew I didn’t want to work really late into the evening, so I said, and I didn’t want to start really early in the day, so I had pretty set hours I was going to work Tuesday through Friday. I’m sorry, Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I was pretty concerned about having clients that were going to fill that time slots, those time slots. I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to have more than five or six clients a day. So I think I was very nervous about being very, I was going to say rigid, but I think it’s just choosing the life that you want to have. So that was really what I wanted to do and — [JOE] I want to just pause you right there, because that’s one thing in one of our webinars we really talk through is how to decide your prices based on the life you want, instead of just saying, well, everyone else is on all these insurances and accept $91.12 cents for their sessions. But to say like, what is the life that you want first? Then to work backwards and say, okay, if I need to make this much money, if I’m only going to work this many hours, then how much do I need to make per hour? That just sets a different dynamic of owning your business and owning who you are. Also if someone says, sorry, that seems too high to say, well that’s the life that I’m choosing to live. You may not say that to a client, but I just, I love that you started with that because I think so many people build a business, it gets busy, and then they’re like, what have I created that I hate this monster? So it’s so smart you did that right on the front end. [ANGELA] I see that as a challenge that is not easy to continue. Like, it’s continuing to remind myself of that, I think. But the pandemic was just so, there was just so much happening. I just remember thinking, okay, I really would like life to look very differently and so how can I set my practice up in a way that really works for me and serves my clients well? Because if I’m tired and exhausted and not liking what I’m working, then unfortunately my clients are going to see that. And I didn’t want that. I wanted to encourage them to live the lives that they want to have, especially if they’re working through transitions of some kind. [LEVEL UP WEEK] I think it’s time that we speak about you and your goals for a minute. Hear me out. For a while now, we’ve been speaking about, about how to market your practice, how to grow your practice, and how to be a better boss and encourage a company culture but isn’t it time to start making it happen? I’m serious, I’m challenging you to just do it. Take that leap of faith, put yourself out there and level up in your practice. Think about it. You’re probably entering that phase where you start to set yourself up for 2023. You’re thinking about what your goals are going to be, what you’re not going to do and what you hope to achieve. But regardless of where you are within your private practice journey, I’m challenging you to make these last few months count to dig deep, to make next year the one for big changes within your business and more importantly within yourself. If you’ve been looking for a sign to either start your own private practice, grow from solo to group, or become a next level group practice boss, this is it. You’re certainly not alone because Practice of the Practice is doing something we’ve never done before. We’re so convinced that now is the time for you to grow, that we’re dedicating all our resources to help you do it. We’re all in every single one of us and we’re inviting you to go all in and level up. From September 12th to September 15th, we’ll be running level up week to help you decide what will work best for you in your private practice journey. There will be webinars, Q&As with experts and a chance for you to meet your accountability partners, facilitators, and community. If you’re ready to make a change and level up register at practiceofthepractice.com/levelup and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages at Practice of the Practice for live updates and event details. Lastly, before I jump back into this episode, I just want to say that I really hope to see you there, even if it’s just online. Remember that leveling up week isn’t about us. It’s not about me or about Practice of the Practice. It’s all about you and growing your practice, whether it be your first solo practice or growing you from group practice boss to reaching a national audience. Make September, 2022, the month that you start your journey and level up. [JOE SANOK] So where, when you look at your first year and that you were making more than you were when you were working in the schools and wraparound, what would you attribute that success to have people find you that quickly? Like sure, the pandemic, everybody wants counseling, but there had to be more than that because if people didn’t know you existed, if they weren’t able to find you, it doesn’t matter how much people want counseling, if they don’t know you are out there, then they’re not going to find you. What did you do that really helped have that level of people coming into your practice that quickly? [ANGELA] Okay, excellent question, Joe. Thank you. I did start off in Jan, like in January. I gave myself about six months to gain clients. One of the things that I started off doing was writing a few blogs. That was something that was really helpful for me. I didn’t know very much about SEO at the time but I was able to learn a little bit about SEO and learning how to define my clientele and learning how to create or target a certain audience through my SEO with certain keywords and that sort of thing. Then also networking. I am not very comfortable with networking or at least I thought at the time. I was sort of very shy in putting myself out there. I remember going on Psychology Today and I remember saying, okay, I know I need to network. Who has the friendliest face like in my area? That’s what I did. I looked for another private practice owner and I just sat down and I had coffee with her and I sort of asked her about her own experiences and how she was doing in the field and just got to know her as a friend. From there she actually invited me to this other networking event for therapists in my area. I sat down to coffee with each of those, I think it was six or seven of them, and just got to know them. Just as you naturally meet people, they refer to you, you refer to them, or you just, and you also create a solid network for yourself in the area. I think that played a huge role as well. I am I’ve been in the Houston area for a while, and so I was familiar with a lot of the other businesses in my community, a lot of the other therapy practices in my community. People really want to help you, I think, I think that’s something that needs to be said. I think if they see that you’re doing quality work and you are passionate about what you do even if you have questions or you don’t know what exactly to do with moving forward people will help you. So I think that contributed to a lot of the success that I had in the beginning, because even in the beginning, I didn’t take any insurance. I don’t think I started taking insurance until January. Then I totally regretted doing it and so I’m moving back to cash pay, but yes. [JOE] How much networking were you doing just so that people know okay, if not that it’s always going to equal a full practice, but yes, were you doing one coffee day a week? Were you doing one a month? Were you doing like five a week? Like how frequently were you doing networking things? [ANGELA] So I wanted to have two networking lunches or coffees a week. That’s where I started. [JOE] Would you recommend people have at least two a week if they’re just getting going? [ANGELA] I think it’s a helpful practice if you are just starting off, because when you meet other people, they naturally going to introduce you to other people. So from there, you’re creating a solid network of people to refer to, people to consult with, people who have expertise in different areas. Because as you continue to niche down, you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of clients coming in your way that don’t exactly fit your practice. It’s helpful to have a network of other professionals whom you can refer out to. [JOE] Now if someone’s just getting going, they’re starting their practice or they’re even considering it, what would be the maybe three or five things that you’d say, this is what you definitely need to have on your radar to get to that next level? [ANGELA] Things to have on the radar [JOE] Or steps or checklist, bullet points that, just things to definitely get done in the first couple months when you’re starting a practice. [ANGELA] I would say watch your mindset. I think doubt can come in very quickly. So just to be mindful, probably in the same way that we would say to our clients, to be mindful of the ways that doubt can come in and to not allow that to seep into all of the wonderful things that you can do, so to be mindful of your mindset and then also be surrounded by a community. It’s so hard to try to do this by yourself and there’s so many people who want to help you. I think that’s something that I would say is very important. People are there to, in the same way that you would probably, a lot of clinicians who are listening would probably go out of their way to help another person who’s just starting off, I think to trust that there are more than enough people out there who are willing to return the favor. [JOE] Then when you think about how you’re moving forward, how you’re thinking about the next year or so for your practice, how do you think through your next level that you’re getting to? [ANGELA] I have been considering moving into group practice. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like yet. I have enjoyed working as a solo practitioner. I have seen great success come from that. I’m just looking to see what opportunities might exist for group practice and bringing another clinician onto the team and just allowing things to grow as the business needs. [JOE] Now, when you think about bringing people on the team, how are you thinking about preserving the value set or culture or mindset that you have with the practice? What are you going to look for? How are you going to sort through that first hire? [ANGELA] That’s a great question. So I am looking for clinicians who I know, who I’ve known to have valued, to have valued the same things. In fact, one of the clinicians that I’m thinking about has a specialty working with a certain cultural population and that’s only what she works with. So I think it’s important to find clinicians who share some of the same values and offer and who are known in the community to give good work already. So that’s how I’m starting to think because maintaining a sense of vision with helping people through transitions, but also knowing that culture plays a humongous role in understanding how a person sees the world and navigate through the world. So bringing on clinicians who share that would be very important for me. [JOE] Yes, I think that’s so important to, especially as you’re adding people to a practice, just make sure that from a personality standpoint, from a needs of the niche, from a way that they view the world, that it’s aligned with the practice. Of course, we want to have people that challenge us and help us think differently, but also to make sure that your values and your core values set of why people come to your practice is respected because you’ve worked so hard to build that networking referral base. So yes, it sounds like, I mean, sounds like Group Practice Launch, like that sort of cohort is the next step for not necessarily you, but someone that’s in your position. Not that I’m having you on my show to sell you on that, but I mean, we have a whole group of people having clinicians. So yes, if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, oh, I’m at that same point that I’m adding a clinician, if you don’t know about Group Practice Launch, that is something that we’re launching during Level Up week starting September 12th. It’s a cohort that goes for six months. We have a weekly meeting where we talk through adding people to your practice, and we have all sorts of different e-courses that go along with that. Well, the last question, Angela, that I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [ANGELA] I would want them to know that you can do it. You have gifts and skills that the world needs, and it’s so easy to live in a mindset of scarcity but there is abundance out there and you can do it. [JOE] Such great advice, oh my gosh. If people want to connect with you, if they want to follow your work, where’s the best place to send them? [ANGELA] Sure. My website is briargrovefamilycounselingcenter.com. You can find me on Instagram at Briargrove Family and on LinkedIn at Briargrove Family Counseling Center. [JOE] Ah, so awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [ANGELA] Thank you, Joe. [JOE] Oh, go take some action. Two to three sessions a week of networking, I mean, that’s a lot of action that Angela took. I want you to go out there and take some action whether you’re just getting going or you have a mega group practice. Figure out for this fall what your next steps are for yourself. If you need some help, we are doing so many amazing webinars during that week of September 12th around just starting a practice. So if you are thinking about doing a solo practice and you want some help around that, we’re going to have a bunch of webinars there. As well, if you’re adding that first clinician, we have some Q&As with myself, with Ashley, with LaToya. Then we also have some full-on trainings about adding clinicians to your practice. If you are looking for that, join us for one of those webinars that week. You can sign up over at practiceofthepractice.com/levelup and all of our membership communities and the dates that they open up that on September 12th, that’s all going to be on that page as well. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/levelup. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day. I’ll talk to you soon. Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. 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, the producers, the publishers, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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