How much does a counselor make? Monthly Income Report September 2014

how much does a counselor make?

In a minute I will talk about the question: How much does a counselor make? But first, as you probably know:

We had a baby!

As a result, here are some changes in my life in September that are reflected in the amount of money I made:

1. I took from September 4-22 off. No work, no blogging, no podcasting, private practice consulting, none of it. I just spent time with the family. As a result, I had my new assistant, Zoe, reschedule about 10 sessions, worth around $1,500. But if you can’t take time for a new baby, what is it all worth?

2. I’ve returned to my full time job only 2 days a week, therefore I actually have more time for the practice and family!

The new schedule

So here is what my new schedule looks like:

Monday: I work at my full time job until 5:00. I then do private practice sessions at 5:15, 6:00, and 6:45. Lunch-time walk with my friend that keeps me centered.

Tuesday: I do private practice consulting, counseling at my Traverse City counseling office, and counseling podcast work. I’ve been doing the Entrepreneur Habits 10x10x10 Challenge, which I’ll talk a lot more about in a minute. I do evening sessions until 7:30 pm.

Wednesday: I’ve been taking every Wednesday off, except for things like chiropractor appointments.

Thursday: 8:00-5:00 my full time job, lunchtime walk with friend.

Friday: Work at private practice, make counseling videos like the new one about how to start a private practice, or develop other things. Try to be done by 3:00 pm.

How much does a counselor make?

So how much does a counselor make, for real? The Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts out information about jobs, careers, and salaries, such as how must a counselor makes on average in the United States. Here’s what they say (my summary):

  • How much does a counselor make? Mental Health Counselors make around $41,500 per year or $19.95 per hour
  • Is the counseling field growing? The counseling field is growing faster than expected at a rate of 29% over the next 10 years.
  • Are there counseling jobs? There will be around 48,000 new counseling jobs between now and 2022.

Last year I made $54,513.97 doing part time private practice work. How is it that I, a normal counselor can do this and most counselors make $41k per year? I actually think that there are a number of things that counselors do really poorly. These things contribute to why they don’t make more money:

  • Counselors don’t learn about business or marketing in a private practice.
  • Counselors often fear money and view self-sacrifice as equating with being a person that values people and wants to improve the world.
  • Counselors make excuses for a lack of networking and become a subject matter expert.

I believe that anyone can grow their income!

Usually this is where you hear a sales pitch to “BUY NOW” but it’s not coming. Everything you need is on this website completely free! Of course there are people that choose to have more focused private practice consulting, but that is them choosing to grow. It’s not necessary. You can totally do it all on your own. Below I’ll outline my steps this month and what worked and didn’t work to grow my counseling income.


Great counseling and marketing articles and podcasts from September




Great podcast about 5 tools to grow a private practice

entrepreneur habits

Podcast Entrepreneur Habits: 10 things to do by 10:00 am for 10 days.


niche marketing

Finding your counseling private practice’s niche market and specialty.




Article: 8 free ways to market a counseling private practice. I think you’re really like #6 and maybe have a hard time with #3. Maybe not. Did you try any of these free counseling marketing ideas?


This month’s accomplishments

There are two things I’m really excited about, the first is my Thunderclap. I’m trying to get 100 people to do the 10x10x10 Challenge and tell the world about it. Will you join? It’s totally free!


The other things I’m super excited about is the newest counseling private practice training video. It’s all around how to start a private practice in a day! My hope is that:

  1. It is really helpful in giving tools and resources to people that are wondering how to start a private practice. Also, it should save them time.
  2. People use the affiliate links to create more revenue.
  3. It directs people to the website more.

Past Monthly Income Reports

People often ask me why I disclose all this information? To me, I am inspired when other people are open and honest. Then I can learn from how they succeed or fail. My hope is that this helps others to grow in their businesses!

August 2014 Monthly Income Report $11,541.71

July 2014 Monthly Income Report $8,477.47 (Accompanying podcast)

June 2014 Monthly Income Report $8,486.38

May 2014 Monthly Income Report $8,113.28

April 2014 Monthly Income Report $7,834.16

March 2014 Monthly Income Report $10,645.70

February 2014 Monthly Income Report $6,483.14

January 2014 Monthly Income Report $4,834.57

2013 Annual Counseling Income: $54,513.97 (January-December 2013)

December 2013 Monthly Income Report $4,774.58

November 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $5,148.16

October 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $4,689.99

September 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $3,137.30

August 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $3835.74

July 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $5691.65

June 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $4,471.29

May 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $6,022.91

April 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $2,116.96

March 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $2,476.92

February 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $2,685.12

January 2013 Monthly Income Report total: $2,707.09

December 2012 Monthly Income Report total: $2,287.97

November 2012 Monthly Income Report total: $1,219.18

October 2012 Monthly Income Report total: $3,213.87

September 2012 Monthly Income Report total: $1,361.60

September 2014 Earning Report

What I’m going to be reporting about how to make extra money and what I’m not going to be reporting

Full-time Job

Since some of you are new and some of you have been around Practice of the Practice for a while, I’m going to give a quick summary of where I make income. My full-time job is at a community college as a counselor. I love the job and it gives me great opportunities. Also, since my wife stays home with our daughter it is an income we can count on, health insurance, a pension, and a really great environment! I’m not going to disclose my full-time wages there, since it is not something that is part of my private practice.

Private Practice

I do 4-7 sessions a week in my private practice. I don’t take insurance, so it is private-pay. As a result, I don’t have many expenses in time or actual money. I also do consulting with private practice clinicians and supervision for LLPCs in Michigan (Limited Licensed Professional Counselors), a 100 hour requirement in Michigan.

Passive Income

The term “passive” makes it sound like I don’t have to do work. What I mean is money that I make that is not in direct exchange for my time. I will outline what these are under each item.

How I increased revenue in September 2014

Disclosure: many of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them, it’s one way that I help support the work I put into the website. Please click on them to help support Practice of the Practice.

A few things that started working

  • My contract counselors really started focusing on ways to increase their own client loads.
  • I continued offering free 30 minute consults before people started consulting. I think this increased connections with counselors and also helped us know whether we are the best fit for private practice consulting.
  • My Bluehost page continued to really help people to build counseling websites.
  • I was able to continue making money, even when on paternity leave…pretty cool!

Private Practice: $3,004.25

Other counselors: I have two counselors that work for my practice as 1099 contractors and I get a portion of what is brought in: $869

Building Websites: $0

Paperwork Packet: $189.70

Consulting: (this sometimes includes building a website as part of the private practice coach session) I do private practice coaching.

Usually there are three parts to private practice consulting:

  1. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis
  2. Website redesign or re-optimization
  3. Coaching: developing a niche within the private practice, building stronger referrals, increasing rates, and launching products to grow income

In my August Monthly Income Report I had a number of new private practice consulting clients start with me. Because of having the baby I wanted to make sure I provided excellent service to those I’m consulting with, so this number is way lower than normal. But, I spent 2+ weeks with my new baby. I don’t feel bad about this one bit!


LLPC Supervision: $1,280

The Motherload: $0

E-books: You may have noticed that the Practice of the Practice book has been showing up in the 3-D fashion on the website, this has really helped drive traffic, but isn’t in your face selling. $69.60

Paperback Copy of my book Mental Wellness Parenting: A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier. Most people would see this as a really bad thing, however, when I wrote the book, I really wanted to focus on it being something to hand out to clients or potential referrals. It’s sort of an over-sized business card. It’s great when people buy it, but I’m not disappointed when they don’t, since I see it more as a marketing tool: $0

Member’s Newsletter to Launch/Grow a Practice

Member’s Newsletter: This is the weekly newsletter that walks people through exactly what they need to do when starting a private practice. $109.23

Affiliate Marketing to Increase Revenue

Aweber: This is the service I use to create emails, manage lists, and create follow-up emails where they can be in order for the person. It’s super cool! $8.70

BlueHost Referrals: If you are setting up a website, this is the best hosting because of their customer service and the ability to have unlimited websites hosted! $390

Amazon Affiliate Referrals: If you are buying something on Amazon, it’d be great if you clicked the link. I get a small commission without you having to pay anything more: $20.06

NameCheap is who I use to purchase my URLs, they are so easy to work with when you’re setting up a website!: $1.60

Google Ads: I have a few ads through the website and these bring in a bit of passive income. Since my podcast interview about How to Rank Higher in Google with Sarah Barnes I’ve been doing a lot less of this: $11.46

LegalZoom: This is the second month that someone has clicked and bought something through this link! It’s so exciting, also my wife bought her PLLC so I got to really see it firsthand. It is amazing and super easy to use. $0

Grasshopper: This is the amazing virtual phone system I use, rather than an expensive land line system. I have the $12/month one and it is awesome. At least check them out and watch some videos. $0

SpeakPipe: This is what i use for people to leave me a message for my podcast. Click here to ask me a question for the podcast, tell me what you like, or vent about what you hate. $0

ZynnyMe: I recently connected with Miranda and Kelly to become an affiliate. They have a Business School Bootcamp that is what I wish I could build. Maybe sometime in the future, but for now I’m just going to refer folks to them! $500

September 2014 Total: $7,084.45

It’s crazy and really humbling that this month I made this month. I looked back and in all of 2013 I never made this much in a month. To think I had a baby, took 2 weeks off and continue to go at a fairly part-time pace. I’m truly blown away every month that I do this private practice monthly income report. I know that I could not do it without your support, reading the private practice articles, listening to the counseling podcast, or clicking on my affiliate links while learning about what is affiliate marketing?

I so appreciate you being involved with this community, whether it is here or on our Facebook or LinkedIn page!


Some of the numbers from Google Ads, Amazon, NameCheap, and my e-books will not be paid until they reach a certain amount or 60-90 days after the sale. I report what has been sold in the month it was sold. Also, I do not take expenses off of this report.


private practice consultant headshot

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Joe Sanok is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant.

Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI.

To link to Joe’s Google+ .

Photo by Rob Lee

1 Comment

  • Hi Joe,

    Let me first say, you provide a wealth of information on your website! WOW.
    Being in pp as well, I know that what you bring into the business, income wise, can be quite different from what you bring home for a paycheck, after you make necessary business deductions.

    I like your transparency regarding the money you make in private practice. I saw above that you also keep a FT job for stability and benefits. Do you feel having a practice is good but not reliable for benefits and financial stability?

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