Podcast 86: Don’t Wait. Private Practice Advice from Jessica Richards

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Jessica Richards fromBeginning Counselors of Florida talks to me all about starting a private practice and how to be successful right out of graduate school!

Today’s Private Practice Resource


As most of you know, Kelly and Miranda and I have been working together on a number of projects. Their Business School Bootcamp is so freakin’ awesome! I’ve met so many people that have gone through it and they truly help people launch really quickly! Click here to get 10 hours of free training and an interview for their new Business School Bootcamp. Also, if you sign up you get:

  • 30 minutes of consulting with me free
  • My e-book for free!

PoP Culture Meet Jessica Richards

jessica richards

Jessica offers individual, couples, and group counseling, and works with a wide range of issues and concerns. She specializes and has particular interest in working with physical and emotional abandonment, relationship concerns, life transitions, depression, anxiety reduction and social phobia, self-esteem, women’s issues, career concerns, multicultural concerns, grief and loss, and trauma recovery.

She is the brains behind Beginning Counselors of Florida.



What you’ll discover in this private practice podcast:

15:44 How to navigate what you can and can’t do as a registered intern

19:58 How to take your background and use it

24:48 More about Meet Your Supervisor

30:50 What to know about group practice

39:54 Why you should not wait!

Resources from this podcast

How to become a LLPC in Michigan

Beginning Counselors of Florida Facebook Group

Business Cards: Moo and VistaPrint

Divi Theme for WordPress

Hosting for WordPress

Website 101 blog post

richards FB

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

Joe Sanok Private Practice ConsultantJoe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He 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+ .

Here is the Transcription of This Podcast

Don’t Wait. Private Practice Advice from Jessica Richards

This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, Session 86. Well, hello. I hope your week is going great. Sorry for my raspy voice. I’m getting over a cold. Many of you sent me Facebook messages and emails that you’d picked up on the fact that I was feeling a little bit under the weather, and I sound like a chain smoker. How are you kids doing out there? So I might do the rest of the podcast like this. Wouldn’t that be Crazypants?Anyway. So I’ve got my cup of coffee here. It’s a beautiful day. Despite being sick, I pumped myself up with cold medicine and went with my wife to go see Mumford & Sons on Tuesday. And we took my little daughter, who’s nine months old. Her name’s Laken and there was this other little baby that was nine months old too, and they each had like their headphones on and it was the cutest thing. We got pictures with this family, and that family ended up talking to security afterward and they got set lists for both of the girls so they are mailing us our copy of the set list, and so pretty cool that my wife like became Facebook friends with this lady while we were all chatting and hanging out and just like amazing you know.

If you’re still in a full-time job like I know it’s tough to like try to do a private practice, but now I’m full-time private practice, like I kind of see, I feel a little bit guilty like taking a Tuesday and a Wednesday off to just like go see Mumford & Sons and hang out with friends and it was interesting. My wife and I had a conversation on the way back, because I just did my monthly income report for May, and it’s live on practiceofthepractice.com.

You can check it out and it just you know, last month was you know, grossed I think around like 13 grand and every month if you don’t know, I post my income and you know that felt like a down month for me. As we were talking, I realized though, like I took a ton of time off. I mean, I went and did The Most Awesome Conference. I took some time to go down and get some health stuff checked out at U of M and all these things that if I was in a full-time job, I couldn’t just take that time off. And I don’t know. It just – I’m getting over that guilt.

I’m getting over like that I have to have that mind-set of working 40 hours a week, that I can create the life I want and honestly like you know, my gross was 13, but then when I looked through the expenses I think that the amount that I actually took home was probably about five grand, which you know, isn’t that great for a month.

But when I think about my full-time job when I had that, I mean, I was getting a pay check of like 1300 every other week. And so it’s like, man, like I made quite a bit more than that last month, and I took a lot of time off.

So you know I don’t know. I just kind of wrestle with that and you know maybe that’s something you wrestle with, too, and you connect with that, but I think that’s just part of the process. It’s part of the process of mentally like being my own boss and seeing what kind of life do I want to live? Do I want to be okay like going having breakfast with people before you know, a time that I typically wouldn’t have, if I had a full-time job you know. I just had breakfast at 9 o’clock with my web developer. I slept in and you know, I’m getting over this cold. It’s just it’s so different. It is so different to have just a private practice and have that be your only thing that you’re doing and to really hold yourself accountable to what your goals are. And man, having a little baby. It still wakes up like three times a night. Let me tell you, it’s nice to sleep in once in a while and not have someone say, “Hey, where were you?”

Let me take a sip of coffee to help my voice. Hmm, it’s good coffee.

Anyway, so my resource today, it’s not a sponsor but it is some people that I am connected with. So Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe a couple times a year, they do this thing that they call Business School Bootcamp and you know, I’ve been promoting this on the podcast for a while. But I got to at The Most Awesome Conference meet a bunch of people that went through the Business School Bootcamp. And to see how quickly, in just two weeks, they went from like nothing like I mean, literally like they were just starting a private practice to revamping everything. If they already had one or if they didn’t have one, these bootcampers learned so much in those two weeks and it’s a bootcamp. It is kick your butt like get things going, amazing just – it was so cool to just like meet these people that have gone through bootcamp.

And Kelly and Miranda are launching another one that the cart’s going to be open pretty soon, and I want you to be involved in it. You know, I do a lot of consulting and some of my favorite consulting clients are people that have already gone through bootcamp, because they understand sales. They understand like what it takes to run a private practice. It’s the E-course that I wished that I’d created and it’s not just an E-course. It’s live. Like they do these calls. I mean, it’s just amazing.

So if you go to practiceofthepractice.com/bootcamp you can sign up for an interview. So they interview you, to make sure you’re a good fit, make sure everything works well. They also have 10 hours of free training videos, whether or not you do the bootcamp.

Please let them know that I sent you. If you go through that affiliate link, that’s the way that I get credit for sending you their way. And as a bonus, and this is really cool, so they’ve got all these affiliates. So people that you know, are promoting what they’re doing, that believe in the work that they’re doing, and so I’m one of them.

This time, they’re encouraging us to give something additional away if you sign, and so actually I’m going to be giving away a free copy of my E-book to people that sign up through my link and then also, 30 minutes of free consulting with me. That’s about $385 value that you’re getting on top of the bootcamp, already. So I would love to just chat with you for half an hour and help you just really just grow in your practice beyond bootcamp. You can either do it before bootcamp or after bootcamp. I think probably after bootcamp would be better, because then you kind of have that starting point. We wouldn’t cover things that have been covered in bootcamp. So again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/bootcamp and that will redirect you to ZinnyMe’s page, all about their bootcamp and everything else.

Man, excuse me.

A couple of other things. Pretty soon here, the How to Become a Consultant Podcast is going to go live. I’ve almost 20 weeks of five days a week podcast content that I’ve already recorded. Many of you have been following this through becomeaconsultanttoday.com, and this is all about how do you continue to grow even beyond your private practice. And so how do you start consulting with people about the work that you’re already doing, how do you consult with companies, how do you consult in new ways to get larger incomes? How do you make that $300 to $400 an hour as a consultant versus you know maybe the $150 or $200 you’re making in private practice?

So becomeaconsultanttoday.com is now updated and live, and I’m shooting for hopefully, around July 1st launching that new podcast. I want to make sure that I have eight weeks of content that can be all set so that I can just really focus on building the community and not worry about just editing the podcast. And Mike, my podcast editor up in Canada is working on that diligently. This week I was going to batch together 15 episodes. I was going to do the beginning and end of each episode, but with my voice sounding like this, I didn’t want to sound you know, for the first couple of weeks of podcast, to sound like a chain smoker.

All you chain smokers out there, I’m sorry for insulting you over and over. It’s not really that good for you. You should probably stop, but sorry that you’re not here to hear why you should stop smoking.

Anyway, so yes. So I’ve already got three weeks recorded of that new podcast and on Day 1, I’m going to launch kind of my intro to it and then all five days of the Pat Flynn interview and then Chris Ducker’s first day interview and so Monday is going to be, how do you grow a specialty as a consultant? Tuesdays are always going to be how to grow an audience. Wednesdays are how do you grow an income? Then Thursday’s like a wrap up kind of call with that person and then Fridays I answer questions that I get either on the Facebook page or via email or via my SpeakPipe widget.

So if you want to leave a message for me for either Practice of the Practice or for the How to Become a Consultant Podcast, you can over to speakpipe.com/practiceofthepractice, and you can leave it right there from your computer or from your phone.

So wow! I’ve talked a lot. I had a lot to cover. Didn’t I? And it takes a little longer when you’re like hacking up a lung.

Anyway, so Jessica Richards is someone that I met at the ACA Conferencek, and she is doing some really cool things with Beginning Counselors down in Florida just is one of those people that she has positioned herself so well to be a resource to people that are in Florida that are newly licensed and you know, you meet those people that are just really just they’re go-getters, they get it, they’re excited, they’re good at networking.

Jessica is – she’s new to counseling, but she just seems like this old soul that really just like gets it. Like you don’t have to teach her about these things, and she’s amazing things on Facebook. When I give her ideas about things, she just implements it like it’s like the moment it comes out of my mouth, she does it. And it’s really just cool to see her creating a community of people in Florida that are these beginning counselors and creating just great content for them and a great community, and she’s just becoming the go-to person. I know it’s going to help just as she grows in private practice.

So this interview with Jessica is just so awesome. I just loved talking with her at the conference but then also, in this follow-up conversation on Skype and I guess, without any further ado, I give you Jessica Richards.

Joe Sanok: Jessica Richards, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast.

JR: Hey, Joe. How are you? It’s great to be here.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, I’m doing great. It’s great to hear your voice, again. So I met Jessica at the ACA Conference, and she is just a part of this whole cohort of people that are kind of beginning counselors that are trying to change the world and I thought, “It would be awesome to have Jessica on the podcast.”

So Jessica why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself, and then we’ll dive in from there?

JR: Okay. So thanks, Joe. Well, I’m in Florida and I graduated with my master’s in 2013, and so I kind of realized that I had always wanted to be in private practice, but as I graduated, I realized that there wasn’t as much support as I thought there would be. A lot of people had guided me towards agency work and outpatient therapists kind of you know nonprofit kind of work.

And so I felt lost and I spent a lot of time delving into figuring out how to go in private practice and the laws in Florida regarding a graduate registered intern in private practice. So when I realized how difficult it really was and how the information really is not readily available, I decided that I really wanted to help other graduate students jump on that and be able to provide the help and the support and resources for them.

Joe Sanok: So what are the rules in Florida, specifically for going into private practice after you graduate?

JR: Well, the rules in Florida, they’re not really black and white, and so the rules in Florida state that in order for a registered intern to be in private practice, we have to have a licensed person physically on site. So this can get really confusing for a lot of graduate students where they think that that person has to be their qualified supervisor.

A qualified supervisor is someone who is supervising our licensure hours. So we have to have a certain amount of hours in order to get our full license with a qualified supervisor. There’s also a gray area that has been brought up before where if the qualified supervisor is the same person as the licensed person on site at the time that you’re providing services, that it can be a dual relationship so if something goes wrong, they see that as, will that qualified supervisor be able to make the best decision in that situation or will they want to protect the practice?

So in order for us to be in private practice, we have to make sure we have a licensed person on site. Right now, the law does not specifically state that we have to be employed by those licensed individuals, so that’s where it gets really confusing. And I think a lot of graduate students fear that, and so they don’t think that they’re allowed to go in private practice so they turn the other cheek and they kind of tread along a little bit.

Joe Sanok: Sure. So they like work in agency until they’re fully licensed or something like that?

JR: Right and then I see that they have to start all over from the beginning even after that point, you know. They don’t have the business structure and the difference between working in an agency and private practice. They don’t have that background and the resources. So they have to start from ground up even after licensure.

Joe Sanok: Well so, I mean, you just graduated in ‘13 so how did you figure all those rules out? I mean, just hearing you explain it to me, I’m just like, “Oh, my word. Like that’s just a lot to try to navigate when you’re just getting out of school.”

JR: Yeah. And it’s kind of funny because I literally took four months off of — right out of grad school, I went into an agency and I was working with them for a while and I realized, “This is not what I wanted. I wanted you know, to work in private practice and how do I get that? Why is there nobody telling me how to do this?” And I had asked questions, I had researched, and I just felt like I was hitting a brick wall.

So I have seven years of legal experience that I worked at a law firm for the last seven or eight years while I was going through grad school. So that helps me a lot. I was able to pull all of you know, the laws and the rules and the county laws and I literally went through page by page and I was highlighting and I was emailing our board, and I found my way through. And it was tough. It was really tough and a lot of people you know — yeah we have the laws and rules in our grad school but to have that actual black and white, to have the resources, it really helped a lot.

How to navigate what you can and can’t do as a registered intern

Joe Sanok: I think it’s common in a lot of States where it’s sometimes tough to navigate what you can you do, what can’t you do, whether it’s as a counselor or as a registered intern? Some States have or in Michigan it’s a limited license professional counselor to really sort through, when do you have to have a supervisor?

So for people outside of Florida what would you recommend if they can’t find the information like where they start?

JR: For people outside of Florida that might be moving to Florida?

Joe Sanok: No. I’m sorry. People just like in their own State. So say there’s somebody that’s in California or in California there’s a lot of people writing about that source. Say someone in Idaho and they want to practice Idaho like what should they do first to figure out what Idaho’s law is?

JR: I would probably start with the State statutes and go you know, sometimes you can google you know, Idaho State statutes, and that is usually like where you will find your information and then I would break it down into the counties.

So if you’re wanting to know what basically the top umbrella is that’s going to cover you, it would be your State and then wherever you are located county-wise, you would go to the county district and you would look at their laws and all of them, they’re all public. They’re very unique. And sometimes they’re not easy to find. And if you have a hard time navigating you can always call your local, your board and they will help point you in the right direction, too.

So you do have the resources, but sometimes what I’ve noticed here in Florida our Florida board if I have a specific question and I’m asking how can a registered intern be in private practice? They literally will send me the link for their law. And so the law is not black and white and it’s hard to say, “Okay. Well, it says this.” But does that mean that I can do X, Y, and Z? And they won’t answer the question for you. They just keep referring you back to the law.

Joe Sanok: And is that because they want to like they don’t want to get stuck in the middle or like why do you think that’s the case?

JR: Absolutely. I think that that is why they don’t want to get stuck in the middle and tell you, “Oh, yeah. Sure you can go do X, Y, and Z.” And then you go off and you do it, and you get in trouble. They don’t want to be in the middle of it. They don’t want to be to blame. So they would rather you look at the law and read it and decide for it for yourself, because it gets into a lot of legal issues because they’re not attorneys. So they can’t you know quote the law as if an attorney would.

So there are other resources, as well. I know here in Florida there’s a law firm called The Mental Health Law Firm or the Health Law Firm and I can send you the link for that.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, that would be great.

JR: But I have found out that they will if you have a question, they will answer certain amounts of questions for free via the email. And they will also review documents for you. But before they review them, if you send them the documents they will tell you how much it’ll be. So it won’t be a full hour’s worth. But if you went to an attorney, if you wanted to actually go sit with them, I think they were like $150-$200 for an entire hour and you could bring all of the questions with you. So you have options to get an attorney.

Joe Sanok: And I think that’s smart to point that out because you know, I would kind of look around and if I didn’t know especially right out of grad school and then I’m making a career-changing decision, and like I’m just relying on my own ability to read the law and interpret the law. You know, it’s probably worth it to just sit down with an attorney or find in your own State, somebody that’s going to help you review that to make sure you’re kind of on track with it.

So that’s great that you guys have that resource in Florida.

JR: Yeah. And I know that I had found out with you know, sometimes with your liability insurance they offer a certain amount of legal kind of reviews throughout the year. So that’s always an option, as well.

Joe Sanok: Well, they definitely have vested interest in seeing you not get sued.

JR: Right.

How to take your background and use it

Joe Sanok: So you get all this information. You know, you take your background of kind of being in law and in all of that and you apply it in Florida. Then you just keep all the information to yourself or do you share that with other people?

JR: No.

Joe Sanok: I know the answer. I’m sorry.

JR: Yeah. I know. I actually have a huge notebook that I kept. I went out and I bought this five course and five-ruled notebook and it has different sections when I was researching all of this stuff. I have it and I keep it and I have been loading blogs and different resources on the Beginning Counselor of Florida website. So it’s www.beginningcounselor-florida.com. And so there’s a bunch of blogs on there and there’s also Dr. Waltz, who’s a professor. She teaches the laws and rules courses at USF. And she also has provided a lot of blogs herself on the topics of registered interns being in private practice and things like that. So it’s a really great resource.

Joe Sanok: And what a great way to just position yourself early on to be a resource to people, but then if you get to the point and you decide you want to be a supervisor, I would guess that if you want to do consulting or supervision that it positions you that you have a lot of choices for the future?

JR: Well and that’s what I hope. I hope to be able to help you know, registered interns if they want to be in private practice, to be that supervisor for them that they can come to and get that support because it’s hard. It’s really, really difficult.

Joe Sanok: Well, I don’t know how even just the application process is right after you graduate but in Michigan, applying for you LLPC it’s like the paperwork for becoming a fully licensed counselor, becoming a counselor moving to Michigan from a different State and for people that are fresh out of grad school, it’s all the same packet, but probably two-thirds of it doesn’t apply to the beginning counselor. And so to even understand that packet, I put together a blog post for counselors in Michigan because like just the – here’s the step by step guide. Like do pages 1 and 2 and then do pages 6 and 9 and like it just, it’s a lot easier and when you provide that, that really functional content, you’ll see that people just kind of keep coming back to it and I know that for myself like that blog post ranks second to Michigan.gov which is the one that has all of the counseling like paperwork and then it’s like my step by step guide for how to get your LLPC.

JR: And I’m glad that you have brought that up too, because it’s the same here. I see questions all the time in our Facebook group. People will ask you know, I’m trying to fill this paperwork out and I have no idea. I don’t have a qualified supervisor yet, but a lot of the qualified supervisors won’t become your qualified supervisor until you have their registered intern number. So the paperwork you kind of feel like you’re in a catch 22 like do I fill it out? I don’t have a practice location yet so what’s the address I use? And so a lot of those questions keep people from submitting their paperwork, because they get so caught up on that. So a step by step guide is very useful.

Joe Sanok: Right. Well, and in Michigan, you have to get all your hours in within I think, it’s six years. And I know someone that recently didn’t. They went over their six years to become fully licensed, and they were told by the State of Michigan, “Well, you should probably just move out of the State and then move back.” I’m like, “That’s your solution?”

JR: Oh, no. So heart-breaking.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. So yeah. It’s good to have those people that have been through it before. Tell me a little bit more about you said your Facebook group. How did you launch that? How’d you get people to join it? What kind of stuff do you guys cover?

JR: I had launched the Facebook group probably this time last year. And I had launched it, and it was just going to be a small little support group of you know, asking questions and simple questions like that. How do I fill out the paperwork? What about student loans? Like the whole time we’re in grad school we hear about student loan forgiveness for counselors, and then you get out and you’re like, “Okay. Where’s that again? Who’s going to show me how to get that?” And so we share a lot of resources, and it’s kind of blown up. People will request other people to join and so we do make sure that they are counselors. We ask them to fill out just a brief you know, form stating you know, what school they’re going to and what program. That way, we don’t get a lot of spam and a lot of people in here that we don’t want.

More about Meet Your Supervisor

But we share resources as supervisors you know, links. There’s meetyoursupervisor.com. She’s wonderful and she’s created a directory because even here in Florida, we don’t have a directory to go to, to find qualified supervisors. The State will send us a list of them. It’s a PDF and you have to ask them and half of the people on there are no longer providing supervision and you have to go one by one and call them. So this website that she had created is really great and so we share it in our resources and we just kind of help each other and guide each other through the whole process.

Joe Sanok: That’s great. And how many people do you have in the group right now?

JR: I think we’re almost up to 600, right now.

Joe Sanok: Wow! And that’s all throughout the State of Florida?

JR: Yes. And we actually had created a while back some meet-up groups. So local meet-up groups. I know Jacksonville, they have once a month if it’s once a month – like ours here in Orlando is the first Saturday of every month, and so we have one location that we go to. If say I can’t make it, the rest of them they’re all you know, they can go and meet up with each other and get resources and so Tampa is really great about having their meet-ups.

So it’s really to get us out of the Facebook group and networking right when we first get out, too.

Joe Sanok: Well I think, I mean, that’s so applicable to so many things outside of even just Beginning Counselors in Florida that you know, when you’re creating any sort of community that’s starting online, figuring out ways to go deeper beyond just you know, a few Facebook posts and you know in person or even doing like phone calls or mastermind groups. All those things just are so important for building that connection with, with other people.

JR: Right.

Joe Sanok: So tell me about your practice like in where you’re doing counseling and how’s that been going?

JR: This time last year I really, I had started my LLC right before I left grad school because I knew – I had a professor tell me that you can be in private practice as an intern but never really explained how, and I think that was because there’s just not a lot of resources, again, as to how that can happen. So a lot of people stay away from guiding.

So I started my LLC in 2012. I graduated 2013. I didn’t completely launch my private practice until 2014 when I was more comfortable with going with it. And so I did that. I did my websites, got my business cards, was really going for it and then…

Joe Sanok: Well, let me pause you right there. So tell us a little bit about starting your website and getting your business cards. What did you look for that kind of make yourself stand out a little bit in those areas? Because I think that’s even just you know, for you and I maybe, that’s easy to launch a website, but for other people they’re like, “I don’t even know where to begin.”

JR: Right. Well that was – one of it. I laugh at it now. I fell flat on my face with my website. I used weebly.com in the beginning and it was great. It was a basic website. And then I started doing more research and I realized that I needed something a lot more than just a basic one-page, two-page website, and I started learning about SEO. And so then I had to move everything over from Weebly on to WordPress, because after doing all of my research, I realized WordPress was the way to go, and that alone has been a learning curve.

So I used – I forget what the website is. It’s like beginner WordPress, WordPress for beginners or something and they have a lot of great blogs and things, of widgets and different plugins that you can get, and what they’re used for and how. But once I got my WordPress website up, it really helped with my marketing and advertising. The website I had before just was not working for me.

Joe Sanok: And did you use one of the free themes or did you find one on like ThemeForest or something like that?

JR: In the beginning, I was you know, trying to cut cost so I did use one of the free themes until I had put it in my mind that if once I had X amount of clients, I would you know, invest something in my business. So I do that every so often. That way, I don’t feel overwhelmed and feel like, “Okay, which direction do I spend money on now?” So after that, I had invested in the Divi theme and I think it was $69 to $90. I can’t remember. But I paid that and I think it was for the entire program or the entire year or something. But that program, the Divi theme is fantastic. It’s drag and drop and if you want to a video on this page or in this column, you just drag it over and drop it. So it’s really, really great.

Joe Sanok: And I love that idea that you kind of had in your head. Okay, when I’m at this point, then I’ll spend this. Like just recently, we decided as a practice or I decided because it’s my money, that we’re going to sponsor the local TEDX. And you know, that’s a pretty expensive sponsorship but for the last like three years have been like I really want to be a sponsor of TEDX, because there’s just all these business leaders that are here locally and amazing speakers and to like to be in all the programs and all that was just really, I thought, good exposure for us. But you know, last year and the year before, like I wasn’t at the point that I could justify spending that amount of money to try to get new clients, and I love that idea of just slowly investing a little bit more into your private practice. So well done.

What to know about group practice

JR: Yeah. My consultant he’s great and that’s one thing. The first you know, year or two years, I had nobody. I was on my own. And now, I’ve moved my practice into a group practice because I just felt like I wanted – I was at that time where I needed someone to answer the phones. My phone wasn’t being answered because it was just me and my practice was growing, and I couldn’t do it all on my own.

And so I moved over to a group, and we’re still independent contractors so we’re independent, but I love it over here because we help support each other. My consultant, he gives that advice and things like that, and he’s really great on keeping me like, “Okay. Well, if you’re going to put X amount of money into your business, at what point do you want to do that? And how are you going to figure that?” Because it can get really overwhelming and especially if we’re a new grad. You have student loans to worry about, you have you know – you’ve probably been eating Ramen Noodles for six years. You’d like to have a nice meal every now and then. So you know, it’s really great to sit down and have that black and white. Okay, I’ll do this and then that. And this on a budget.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, I love that. And so how did you do the business cards? Like who’d you do that through?

JR: I did my business cards through Vista Print. I love groupon so I’m always looking for when Vista Print has a groupon special. Sometimes they’ll have it for like 15 bucks and you can get $150 worth of stuff. So I use that a lot. Living Social is another one that you can find resources on, and Vista Print itself they’ll give I think it’s like $10 for 500 business cards. So those are always really great resources to start out.

Joe Sanok: Well, and again, I think that it’s like you know, you start with what you can afford and what you can do, and then if later on you decide you want to upgrade your business cards or your website or whatever like it’s like more of the idea of just get going.

JR: Great.

Joe Sanok: Like don’t wait it for it be perfect, because honestly like our first office was okay but I mean, like our office we’re in now is like it’s us. But it took like five years of building and having people you know, other than myself, seeing clients here to warrant spending the rent that we’re spending now for this beautiful office. I think that’s awesome.

So I’d interrupted you. You were saying. “Okay. So I did website. I got my cards and then…” and that’s when I interrupted you. So what happened after that?

JR: Yeah. And so then that’s when I was starting to get going, and I had about six or seven clients a week, but I was still working a full-time job at the law firm. So I needed to make a decision like how am I going to grow and six or seven clients a week was just not really doing it for me. I was paying rent for space and so it just wasn’t working out so well. So that’s when I decided I needed to really figure out what my next step was. How can I continue to grow without having more expenses and no income?

So I had joined the group practice. I had come over here and you know, it’s great because we support each other like I said. So we sit down once a week with – it’s me and one other registered intern, and we sit down with our consultant and he helps keep us inline and keep us in check and we have all these ideas. Sometimes he gets – sometimes I get overwhelmed because my mind goes in so many different directions, but he helps me to say, “Okay. Well, let’s do put this on the calendar. We’ll do this first and then that.” And so, that’s where I am at right now is just trying to keep everything organized, so I don’t go in all these different directions and then not have a sustainable practice.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. Now you say you’re a consultant. So you’ve got your supervisor and then there has to be the LPC that’s in-house. And how does the consultant fit into that? How is he paid?

JR: He’s paid – right now, we do a 60-40 split. So we kind of split the fees and I’m going to put a little disclaimer on that because in Florida, we’re not allowed to do 60-40 splits. So what it is really is we’re paid our hourly rate as $89 and then we get paid a flat fee. So, that’s my disclaimer for that one. Even though it works out to be 60-40, we do get a flat rate, and that is something that is mentioned ahead of time.

So that’s how he gets paid and we sit down and we just you know, once a week, we brainstorm ideas like last month, we had our very first open house and it went over really, really well. We had maybe 30 to 40 people who had showed up. We had raffles, we had you know, goody bags, and just all kinds of different things so that’s kind of where that fits in.

And he’s the owner of the business with his wife who is my supervisor.

Joe Sanok: Oh, okay.

JR: That’s how that works.

Joe Sanok: And I imagine it’s just splits not just it’s 60-40 like you couldn’t do 59-41, right?

JR: Right.

Joe Sanok: And that’s been a pretty substantial discussion within ACA, because the new code of ethics talks about fee-splitting, and when you look at that section, it’s really around like giving money to someone like as like a kickback. Like it’s in that same section as kickbacks, and so the most recent version and you know, of course, you have to consult your own folks. Say that if your own State says that kickbacks for counselors or fee-splitting is illegal, then it’s unethical in your State, but if an attorney signs off on it in your State, then you’re good to go. So that’s been the most recent discussion. That’s of course not in the ACA code of ethics yet, but there’s a pretty lively discussion going on right now within ACA, if you’re following that, too.

JR: Yeah.

Joe Sanok: The thing you’ve thrown that disclaimer in there, I think that’s good to make sure that people can understand the ways that that can be structured. So, one thing I always ask people that I interview is, if every counselor in America were listening right now, Jessica, what would you want them to know?

JR: Well, I’m going to edit that question a little bit and say if every counselor in America that were listening right now were wanting to go into private practice, and if they were still in grad school, the one advice I would give them is to not wait. Don’t wait it out. Don’t like you said earlier, “Don’t wait until it’s perfect.” Don’t wait until you have all the money in the world to go and open your doors and have your website. Get started now. Go ahead and play around. Make some business cards. Fail. Do it again. Have them come out you know, okay. And then try it again.

Start with a website. Play around with it. You don’t have to publish it but you know, make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t be scared to take that first step, because that’s what helped me back in the beginning. My website took forever. If I would started that you know, in grad school in my last year and just kind of started it out, I think that it would have helped me in the long run.

Joe Sanok: Well, and even just you know, the blogging sometimes, like you can be writing those blog posts. Don’t make them go live until you’re ready. And then you have a whole bunch of content when you’re ready to go live, too.

JR: Right. Yeah. That’s such a good thing because like in grad school, you have all these ideas that you would like to put out there and you might be fearful because you think that you’re a grad student and nobody’s going to you know, listen to you but then you have to look at all of the people that don’t have master’s that are out there blogging and you know, getting their names out there.

Joe Sanok: Well, and in the show notes, I’ll put a link to an article I wrote called Websites 101. It’s how to set up the hosting in WordPress for a website so people can start tinkering with that. So that will be in the show notes, as well.

Jessica Richards, if people want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to connect with you and follow the work you’re doing?

JR: The best way to get a hold of me would be the Beginning Counselor website or the Beginning Counselor Facebook groups. So the Beginning Counselor website is www.beginningcounselor-Florida.com and there’s a contact form on there that you can also email and you could connect. I have emails all the time, people asking how to get started. So that’s one great way to connect with me via email or the Facebook group is a private Facebook group is you do a search on Facebook, beginning counselors of Florida, it should pop up and you could submit a request and join and I will accept it.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. And thanks for having me in that group. It’s been fun to be able to consult with some of the people that are kind of just starting out.

JR: Yeah. That’s been great. It’s fun to watch them you know. They’ve been following you for so long and to be able to actually interact, that’ really neat. It’s like they appreciate all your hard work, too.

Why you should not wait!

Joe Sanok: Oh, yeah. It’s a lot of fun. I just feel like you know, when you’re first starting out, like you just sometimes don’t know up from down or left from right, and it’s like just to give a little bit of like, “Here’s a video that might help you” like it’s just for me, just really fulfilling to see people say, “Oh, that’s really helpful. Thanks.” Cool.

Well, Jessica Richards, thanks so much for being on the podcast, and I look forward to staying in contact with you.

JR: Yeah. Thank so much, Joe. It’s a great pleasure to actually sit down and do this. I know we talked about it a while back. That is really great. So thank you so much.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. Have a great day.

JR: Yeah. You, too.

Joe Sanok: I love Jessica’s final comment there which she said, don’t wait. It’s just so important to not wait. And you think about how much momentum you can get even if you make something that’s not 100% great.

And usually the things that paralyze us by perfection, you know, like I could have said, “I’m not going to record because my voice sounds kind of crappy.” But instead, you know, you just see a little bit of my personality and my awesome funny voice.

And it’s just like you know, be yourself. Like let yourself go into your marketing, go into your website and kind of you know, plan as you go. Just don’t wait. Just don’t wait. And I just love that from Jessica. I’m so happy to just see what she’s doing, and she provided such a great perspective when you’re a beginning counselor on things that you should be doing so that you can grow your practice and grow your influence and grow your income. I mean that’s the big two things that we talk about here, all the time.

So if you want to go back to any of those links that she gave, I have a whole bunch of them from and you know, I took the notes for you. Just go to practiceofthepractice.com/session86 and we are fastly approaching that session 100. And I kind of think about something really cool to do for session 100.

But let’s also – you know, don’t forget about ZynnyMe. They are doing this Business School Bootcamp that you are going to love, and it fits so well with this interview. It’ll fast forward your progress and please use my affiliate link. It’s just practiceofthepratice.com/bootcamp. And that would just be great if you let them know that I sent you. Also, you’ll get a free half hour of consulting with me and my E-book. I mean, come on. Like that pays for the thing itself. It’s just so awesome.

So we’d love to have you do that. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from people that have gone through it. And they just have their stuff together.

So I look forward to talking to you guys more. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome week. See you.

Special thanks to the bands Silence is Sexy and ALM Productions.

And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.  It is given with the understanding that neither the host, nor publisher nor the guest is rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one. See you.