TTE 28: Knowing Your Cost of Acquiring a Client Per Marketing Channel
SPECIAL FOR THIS EPISODE — Melissa and I talked a great deal about the importance of knowing your Costs of Acquiring a client per channel. I created a very basic spreadsheet on Google Drive that you can download and use in your own private practice.
Once you see the spreadsheet, just click File > Download As and you can edit it on your computer then.
Be sure to add the channels that best reflect your business. And I strongly recommend using at least 6 months of data to ensure it is statistically relevant.
OK… On with the show…
Truly understanding where & how clients hear about you as a therapist is crucial to creating a thriving private practice. This podcast episode with Melissa Weiler shares how.
We really dive deep into important business metrics that every therapist needs to know if they’re looking to expand and grow.
CAC, or Costs of Acquiring a Client, is one of the two most important business metrics you need to know. The other is CLV, or your customer lifetime value.
If you understand CAC and CLV, you know how much you can spend to acquire a customer. And if you have your CAC broken down by marketing channel, you know which marketing channel is the most valuable to you and how much energy and money you should spend per channel.
Melissa and I dive into this, amongst many other important details, in this tremendous episode.
One of my favorite lessons from this episode: The AH-HA Moment Melissa has when she realizes the most important marketing channel for her to focus on.
Best Marketing Move for Business
- Getting listed on PsychologyToday
- Note from Perry: Do you know about Brighter Vision’s partnership with GoodTherapy.org? Click here to learn more!
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- MYOB with Stephanie Adams
- MYOB Facebook Group
- Beginning Counselor Facebook Group
- The Influential Therapist
- Melissa’s Website
Thanks to Melissa for joining me this week. Until next time!
TranscriptClick here to read the Transcript
Perry: In this episode of The Therapist Experience, I’m speaking with Melissa Weiler from Starting Point Counseling. This is The Therapist Experience episode number 28. Welcome to The Therapist Experience. The podcast where we interview successful therapists about what it’s really like starting and growing a private practice. I’m Perry Rosenbloom, the founder of Brighter Vision, and I’m so excited to introduce our guest today Melissa Weiler from Starting Point Counseling. Melissa, are you prepared to share your therapist experience?
Melissa: I am.
Perry: Alright, Melissa. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Let me tell our audience a little more about you here. Melissa is a licensed professional counselor with both a master of science and education specialist degree in mental health counseling. For the past seven years Melissa has worked specifically with teens, young adults, and their families. She’s helped teens and their families navigate blended family issues, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma responses, substance use, physical and sexual abuse, and many other complicated issues. In addition to providing individual and family therapy Melissa has supervised unlicensed counselors, master’s interns, and doctoral externs for the University of Denver, Colorado State University, and Naropa University. Melissa, I gave a little overview of you there but why don’t you take a minute, fill in the gaps from that introduction and tell our audience a little bit more about you personally and about your practice?
Melissa: Great. So I’ve lived all over the US so I kind of got my start working with teens in Anchorage, Alaska. While I was there I worked a lot with children who are exposed in-utero to the drugs and alcohol. So I have a lot of work working with kids experiencing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. And from there I got my master’s in Florida, so I flew all the way from Anchorage to Tallahassee to go to Florida State, and I worked a lot in juvenile detention facilities in Florida. In Tallahassee and Broward County specifically. And then I finally followed my dream of wanting to live in Colorado, it’s something I wanted to do since I was I think 12 or 13–
Perry: Best state in the union.
Melissa: Yeah, it’s totally awesome. And I tell people all the time it’s the perfect blend between Alaska and Florida because I get my mountains and my snow, and I get to go skiing. And then I also get all the sunshine.
Perry: Just no ocean.
Melissa: Yeah, just no ocean which is fine. You know, I don’t really care about the beach so I am a mountain girl and this is where I’ve always known I wanted to be. So yeah, here I am. That’s kind of a little bit more of where I am and how I got here.
Perry: Fantastic. And so where did you grow up Melissa? Did you grow up just sort of all over the country?
Melissa: I spent a majority of my time in Anchorage but I was born in Ohio, lived in Houston, moved to Alaska, then Florida, then back to Alaska, then back to Florida, and then Colorado. So yeah, I lived all over, a well-rounded experience.
Perry: Most certainly, yeah. And I’m definitely in agreement with you there on the beach thing. Not really my thing, I’m not a big fan of sand. I’m much more of a mountain guy as well.
Melissa: I just don’t care for sand, I really don’t. I don’t know. Haha.
Perry: Yeah. Anyway Melissa, it seems like a lot of your history and your background has been working with children, young children, juveniles. What sort of attracted you to working with children and teens specifically?
Melissa: So I’ve known since I was a teenager that I wanted to work with teens.
Perry: So you knew since you were a teenager that you wanted to work in mental health as well then?
Melissa: Kind of. That’s where it started for me. When I was in high school I was dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety myself and I went to a counselor. Her name was Gwen and she really had a pretty big impact on me when I was 15-16 years old. So I went to therapy and worked through a lot of stuff there. And then I kind of put it in the back of my mind for a while. I was like, okay, cool, that’s over and done with. So I went to school, I went to Florida State for my bachelor’s and moved from Anchorage to Tallahassee to do that. Haha, smart move. I started majoring in political science and a minor in German, and it was about halfway through my college career I was like, I hate this. I don’t care about state politics. I really don’t. This is just so dry. I was getting I think Bs and Cs, I was so disinterested in it and I was like, you know, I feel like if I’m majoring in something I should really enjoy it and I should probably be getting better grades. And like it’s clear day I still remember this, I’m sitting on my state politics class, it was like the worst class ever. I was bored out of my mind, I was so disinterested. And it was like a light bulb just exploded in my head, and I said, I’m going home and changing my major to psychology. And I did and I never looked back. So then when I finished my bachelor’s degree I was kind of like, cool, what do I do with this? Where can I find a job with this? And I graduated in 2008. So the job market in Florida was horrible. So this is why I moved back to Alaska, because it wasn’t as impacted by the kind of the crap fest as the rest of the contiguous United States were. I moved back and got a job working in a residential treatment facility for teenage boys with severe trauma. And from there I was like, this is what I want to do. I really want to be hands-on, I want to be working with these kids. So that was kind of what really got me into it, I realized then. Like, I could do what I wanted to do with just a master’s, and all through undergrad they kept throwing, oh, when you get your doctorate, when you get your PHD. And it was like, I don’t know if I want to spend another five or seven years at school. So the therapist at this residential facility was like, why don’t you just go get your master’s? And I was like, I don’t know. Yeah, I’m doing that. I don’t know why won’t you say that to me before. So the rest is kind of history.
Perry: So did you go back to FSU to get your master’s?
Melissa: Yes. I really missed football games, I really missed Tallahassee, I still had a ton of friends living there, and I was like, I’m going back. And I never actually gave up my Florida State residency so I could actually still get in-state tuition which was another big reason for that. Money is really hard-earned.
Perry: Yeah. My wife’s a– Hopefully you don’t hate me for this. My wife’s a Gator.
Melissa: My boyfriend is a Gator.
Perry: Oh, actually I think we talked about this on a flight back from ACA or right before our flight back from ACA.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah.
Perry: So just a little backstory. Melissa and I bumped into each other at American Counseling Association in Montreal a few months ago. And we definitely talked about our significant others being Gators. So yeah, the in-state tuition with Florida is just so reasonable compared to everywhere else. So you went back to Tallahassee, got your master’s and then after you graduated you started working at juvenile detention facility, is that accurate?
Perry: So after a few years you moved out to Colorado, is that when you started Starting Point Counseling?
Melissa: Yes. I really only lasted six months after graduation in Florida. I moved down to Fort Lauderdale to be with my boyfriend and I hated it. So I was like, I’m leaving, you can come with me. And he did. Haha. So we moved out to Colorado in 2014. So I didn’t start my private practice until February 15th, but I’ve known since before I went to get my master’s that I wanted to do private practice. And just that has always been the end goal, that’s always been the dream.
Perry: Why has it always been your dream?
Melissa: Because that’s the only way you can make money. I remember a friend of mine was getting her doctorate in clinical psychology. She started the year before I started my master’s and she was talking to me about some of her classes and one of her professors has said to her, if you ever want to see money in this field you have to go into private practice and you have to be fee-for-service. And that stuck with me, and from that point on I’ve only ever focused on being fee-for-service and being in private practice. Working with community mental health centers was kind of a means to an end to get licensed, but I knew that if I ever wanted to actually make a decent living where I wasn’t always living paycheck to paycheck or cutting coupons all the time and making sure I save all my digital coupons to my card, I knew that I needed to be in a place where I could control my income. Because relying on agency to give me the cost of living pay increases, or bonuses, or just meet me with a pay that’s commiserate with my experience, I wasn’t able to do that. So private practice has always been the end goal. So we moved on 2014 and the year leading up to me finally signing a lease and opening my doors was a lot of research. I spent an entire year joining Facebook groups for private practice. Stephanie Adams is one, I joined her MYOB for Counselors group. Dr. Deb Legge, her Influential Insider’s Group. They were both really integral in my development as a business owner and really helping shape– Yeah, getting into like the entrepreneurial mindset and putting my entrepreneur hat and kind of just honing in on what I really wanted and what I really wanted to do, and who I really wanted to see. So I did like a whole years-worth of intensive research.
Perry: And that was before you even opened your private practice?
Melissa: Yes. I was like, I’m going to be prepared.
Perry: Absolutely. So you sort of answered my question here but I’d love to dive a little deeper into this. Since you’ve always had private practice as an end goal and you always wanted to be fee-for-service, how do you feel like that impacted how you approached your education in getting your master’s, if at all?
Melissa: Yeah, I don’t think that necessarily impacted my education or how I chose to get my degree or anything, but I definitely knew in grad school– I’ve also always known that I wanted to live in Colorado. So even in grad school when we were talking about licensure, you need to start looking at the state you want to get licensed in. I had had the application for the LPC saved on my desktop for like four years before I even got here. I’ve always known this.
Perry: It’s such a Colorado thing. People who want to live out here just are so passionate about wanting to move out here and I know personally I fantasized for at least two years before moving out here about– I spent time on Craigslist just like looking at apartments I could possibly rent. Hahaha.
Melissa: I already have like places identified that I wanted to apply to when I moved out. If you can’t tell, I’m a planner. I had had everything mapped out for years before I finally made the jump out here. But no, I don’t think knowing I always wanted to be in private practice shaped my education kind of experience at all. At least not my formal educational experience. It definitely shaped what I did in my spare time.
Perry: So MYOB, Deb Legge, Steph Adams, all these fantastic resources. MYOB, which I just mentioned as well, we’ll all have these, of course, in the show notes at Brightervision.com/session28. So Melissa, that entrepreneurial hat that you wear, what have you found to be a major struggle in being an entrepreneur and opening a private practice? One of the biggest struggles that you faced and that has brought you down to potentially your lowest point as being an entrepreneur? And then more importantly, can you share with our audience how you overcame that struggle and persevered through it?
Melissa: Well, I’m not sure if I overcome it yet but something I’m kind of working on is just kind of the fear and anxiety of putting myself out there and being rejected. So a lot of marketing tips is calling, for my demographic, pediatric clinics, or doctor’s offices, and trying to setup lunch-ins and calling schools. So there’s a potential for a lot of rejection there or people saying like, you know, we’re not interested, we don’t want you, we’re full, or just being rude. Why are you calling? So for me there’s a lot of anxiety about that and like, oh, what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t want to meet with me even if I’m going to bring donuts? What if they don’t like me? And so kind of dealing with that, so really it’s a lot of kind of cognitive behavioral stuff I do with myself which is, A, it’s on the phone. They’re not saying no to your face, they’re not saying no to you as a person, they’re saying no to the phone call really. So I have to really prepare mentally every time I’m about to do marketing like that because it’s hard for me. I really don’t like doing that kind of marketing. So that is always still struggle and I think it’s something that I just have to continue to improve on and work towards to where I just kind of get a thicker skin, so to speak. I think it’s really hard for a lot of therapists because we are very sensitive and emotional people. That’s why we’re good at what we do. So the salesy aspect kind of like that doesn’t feel right. It feels uncomfortable.
Perry: Yeah, sales and marketing can be uncomfortable. Especially that kind of marketing where you’re really putting yourself out there. For us here at Brighter Vision I can create a landing page, I can create a Facebook ad and drive traffic to it, and test and see. And I’m removing myself from it but when we first got started I was picking up the phone and calling therapists and being like, hey, so I got this company and we do these websites for you and– No, thanks! hang up. And that’s hard. So eventually we did a little– Emailing as well, but even still getting on the phone and telling somebody and spending 20 minutes talking about how you can help them, which is a lot of what sales is, and then being told, no, thanks, or, no, I’m not interested, or, no, I went with somebody else. It never gets easy but it’s just one of those things that as an entrepreneur you always have to do. You got to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and figure out how do I make myself better for the next call?
Melissa: Yeah, and I also feel I’m way better selling my services in person than on the phone. If I’m talking to somebody about my practice I can sell it and it’s perfect and it’s awesome, you can hear how much I’m passionate about and I how much I love doing what I do. And you can see my facial impressions and my mannerisms, which I think are really important, and on the phone it’s kind of harder. It is, it’s just a different technique.
Perry: So do you primarily call these potential referral sources or have you tried emailing? Just a short email to try and get a lunch setup? What’s your strategy with that?
Melissa: I do generally a letter-email and then a followup call. So in a letter-email it’s, and I’ll be calling you. So I think in some regards people are like, oh yeah, you. You know?
Perry: But at least they’re expecting it.
Melissa: Right, they’re expecting to be mean. They’re expecting to shut me down. And then there are others who are like, oh yeah, we knew you were going to call. But I would say those excited phone calls are very few in fact.
Perry: We were talking about marketing and sales here, do you feel like reaching out to potential referral sources has been the best marketing move for your practice or has there been something else that you’ve done that has been just as, if not more effective, to help you grow Starting Point Counseling?
Melissa: Yeah, I would actually say marketing I’ve done but also word of mouth and Psychology Today have actually been relatively equal. I actually think I’m getting more referrals from other professionals, like psychiatrists that I’ve not worked with. That has actually been more beneficial than I would say even cold-calling and Psychology Today combined.
Perry: So why haven’t you reached out to more psychiatrists then?
Melissa: I know. I should do that. Yeah, that’s a good place to start, another place to start.
Perry: Melissa, we were just talking before this started that it’s too late for you to go to APA, you need to buy a ticket and go to APA next weekend. If psychiatrists are working out so well for you, you got to get a ticked and get to APA next week in one way or another. I’ll have to look and see, maybe we have a free ticket with our sponsorship that I can give you. I’ll take a look, I’ll reach out and see.
Melissa: Awesome. I’ll totally show up with all business cars, and pamphlets, and fliers.
Perry: Absolutely. Because it’s like, hey, you’ve recognized that psychiatrists are a really great referral source for you. So you need to go to where those referral sources are, where they’re congregating. How can you reach them in other ways? Is there a database that you could advertise on that markets specifically to psychiatrists in the Denver metro area, there’s all these– Once you kind of identify a marketing strategy that works and works really well, you really want to pour your heart and soul and all your resources into that strategy until it gets to a point and you’ll get to a point where there’s eventually diminishing returns from it. But right now it doesn’t seem like you’re there and so you got to be reaching out to psychiatrists left and right, forget about all the other referral sources and go after the people who are giving you the best referrals, right?
Melissa: Yeah, for sure. I just love seeing with marketing I kind of– I get overwhelmed by it sometimes because there’s just so many different options. I really want to start doing video blogs on my website and just start doing short little ones like, how to do a behavioral chart, how do you actually implement these parenting skills that you read about online or these things you researched? So there’s so many things. I always have a running list of things I want to do, things I want to explore, so sometimes I get very almost distracted like, oh, I want to this. No, this one’s shinier, i want to do that one. So it is, sometimes it’s hard for me to stay focused with so many different options at times. So just keeping a running list is what keeps me organized.
Perry: And I completely agree. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Trello but Trello is sort of a great way to create lists and organize thoughts. And I have a Trello board of probably I’d say 50 to 60 marketing strategies to implement but everything that you were saying there, videoblogs, it’s all really important. But I want to go back to psychiatrists here because you’ve identified that they’re a really great referral source for you. So there’s this ideology and there’s this book, which I’ll put in the show notes this week, called Traction. It’s written by Gabriel Weinberg who’s the founder of DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track you. And the idea behind it is positioned towards technology startups but I think it can be very useful for really any business. And the idea is let’s say you identified a few different marketing strategies, three different strategies. You try them out and you hope and think that one of them is going to work really well, and you’ll identify that one of them– Hey, that one works really well. Now that I know that this one works really well, let me throw all of my resources that I possibly can into this one strategy so that I can maximize my returns out of it until it gets to a point where the returns will begin to diminish. So for you Melissa, you identified psychiatrists as a great referral source. If you want to start videoblogging you want to make sure that you’re positioning that videoblogging and that marketing towards psychiatrists, not necessarily towards parenting or towards parents. Even though parents are your target market, right now you sort of identified that psychiatrists are best referral source for you. So throw all of your efforts towards marketing to them, maybe create a handout or a PDF guide for them of some sort. Create an email drip campaign that might be helpful for them. And then reach out to them like, hey, I created this for you. Take a look at it. Maybe they’ll look at it and maybe they won’t. But the ones that do look at it you’re going to start building that relationship up with them. So I really, really encourage you specifically to throw more eggs in that psychiatrist bucket since you know they’re such a great referral source for you. And to anybody that’s listening to this podcast right now, think about what marketing strategy has worked really well for you? And forget about the others for four, five, six months and pour all of your efforts into that marketing strategy so that it’s running on autopilot and it could even fill your practice up.
Melissa: I would love autopilot. That’s what it’s for.
Perry: Absolutely. And there’s ways to get marketing strategies on autopilot. And you have entrepreneurial mindset Melissa, pour your efforts into psychiatrists and figure out what’s working with them, and then you can figure out how to put things on, not fully autopilot, but automate it a little bit or hire somebody to handle that for you while you go out and pursue other marketing strategies or see patients, or you get to a full practice. Lots of opportunities there. I think it’s important to change that way of thinking. You don’t like cold-calling all these people but maybe you don’t have to, maybe you should just be focusing on psychiatrists, right?
Melissa: It’s great. I love having conversations like these because I wouldn’t be able to identify that on my own. Oh yeah, psychiatrists are actually really beneficial for me.
Perry: Absolutely. Just recently I did an exercise like this with Sam Chlebowski, our director of customer happiness, and basically I looked at the last six months and I took all of our marketing dollars and attributed them to different sales channels. Okay, here was all the money we spent on Google Display advertising, here was all the money that we spent going to conferences and sponsoring trade shows. And I was able to identify through all of that what our cost of acquisition, or CAC, was per channel. And through that we identified, hey, there’s this one channel of ours which I don’t want to share publicly because it’s just personal business details. But we identified the specific channel of ours that our cost to acquire a customer was a tenth of any other channel and it was sending us 20% of our customers. And I was like, hey, if we pour more resources into this channel and brought our cost of acquisition to our standard rate, could we increase the number of clients we actually get from this? And our hypothesis is, yes. So we hired somebody to handle this job specifically and her job is to grow this one channel and make that one marketing channel even more successful for us. We sort of got off the track there of private practice marketing but I think it all applies.
Melissa: It does because I’ve seen it over and over again, it is. It’s identify a channel and if that’s where it’s coming from you want to direct more of your resources into that channel. So if that’s what’s working for you and you’re pouring XYZ dollars into this channel and not getting any return for it, stop giving money into that one and put it into this other one.
Perry: I agree entirely. And hopefully to everyone listening here, you’ll take some action with that and what I’ll try to do and try to get this prepared for this week’s show notes, I’ll try and create like a Google Drive spreadsheet that therapists can then access through this session and be able to input their financial dollars per channel and have it spit out their cost of acquisition. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do that properly but I’m going to try. So for anybody listening, you can go check out Brightervision.com/session28 and hopefully there’s a link there for that. We’ll find out. I’ll do my best though. So Melissa, you went to school to become a therapist, not to get your MBA, but you knew all along that you wanted to open your private practice, what’s the one thing that you wish you would have learned in school about starting your own business that they did not teach you?
Melissa: Actually it’s kind of funny, I was thinking about this before the call today. They actually did teach me quite a few things about– Some things you need in private practice. And I remember taking a class where we had to build a website, we had to blog, we had to research apps that can be used in counseling. And at the time I was like, this is lame, never going to use it, why do I even? Apps and counseling? You know, ridiculous. So now going back I found my old syllabus and I’ve gone back and found the websites we’ve made and the list of apps that as a class we’ve created. So I actually have used it.
Perry: So you guys came up with app ideas that would help you in private practice?
Melissa: No, we found apps.
Perry: What are some of the ones that you found that you guys thought would help you back then?
Melissa: I don’t have a list in front of me, I’m trying to find a few of them. A lot of them were meditation apps, things that track moods, things that you can have clients use that would maybe them more engaged and more readily focused throughout the week and between sessions on what they should be working on. So I did have a class at Florida State that I kind of maybe didn’t take as seriously as I should have. But more importantly I think it’s just the amount of time it takes to really get a business to a solid place of functioning. Whenever people talk about it, oh yeah, just start your private practice, as if it’s no big deal. Oh yeah, you just get your LLC and open the door and people will just come on in. So I think just the reality check of that it takes months and months of you doing so much work and preparing before you might even start to see any kind of response or return from it. Just a reality check of that would be nice and how much effort it really, really actually takes.
Perry: And you know, in our culture there’s so many books, there’s so many higher profile bloggers, there’s so many television shows that kind of glorify entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship is great. I love it, I think you love it. I can tell that you love it, your passion’s coming through so much in both working as a mental health professional and owning your own business. But it’s kind of hard, it’s a slog and I can always vividly remember Mark Cuban on Shark Tank. Have you ever watched the show?
Melissa: Oh yeah.
Perry: So you know, he’s one of the few people on the Shark Tank where he’ll actually say something like– He’ll talk about the grind and the daily grind of entrepreneurship and how difficult it is to actually do it. And he’s more likely to invest in people who have shown that they’re willing and have done that entrepreneurship grind and the entrepreneurial grind. And it’s challenging but gosh the rewards are amazing, aren’t they?
Melissa: Yeah, the payoff is well worth it.
Perry: And something else I found interesting, and this should be an ad for FSU’s master’s program here, because this is the 29th episode we’ve done and you are the first person who has said that your master’s program prepared you even just the tiniest bit to be in private practice.
Melissa: Yeah. And I was thinking about that, I was excited about that. I was like, I don’t think most graduate programs have a class on technology in counseling.
Perry: Yeah, everyone’s always like, hey, yeah, my graduate school prepared me for nothing. I wish they would have given me some advice or have one class for me to take. Which is great, for everyone listening out there, FSU has great master’s program if you’re interested in going to private practice.
Melissa: Yeah, and actually a lot of my professors had private practices and were also teachers. So they did, they talked a lot about working in private practice so I guess I did got a lot more private practice kind of geared information from that program than maybe most programs. I wasn’t wise enough to really take advantage of that several years ago.
Perry: You know, you still have your syllabus, you still have your notes. I remember– I actually majored in film in college because it was the lazy man’s English degree. Just kidding, I actually wanted to be in screen writing. And I took a few screenwriting classes and I remember our screenwriting professor being like, hey, most of you might never even move to Hollywood and pursue screenwriting. And I’m raising my hand right now. That was definitely me. I never moved and pursued screenwriting other than my own side-passion. But hopefully one day when you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s and you want to start again, save these notes because they will still be applicable then. So when it comes to education, especially when you’re talking about pursuing something off the beaten path– Entrepreneurship, private practice, it’s not what most therapists go into. So it’s important to save those notes and it’s not going to applicable today, it might not be applicable tomorrow. But a year, two years, five years on the road you’ll be able to take that knowledge and make it work for you again. Alright Melissa, now we’re going to move into the final part of our interview, the part that I like to refer to as Brighter Insights. And what I love about this is we really get to distill down your advice and your experience into little sound bites and quick answers so that therapists listening to this show can use that to inspire and motivate them in growing their practice. Are you ready?
Melissa: I am.
Perry: What or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Melissa: Kind of already touched on this. My own experience with therapy and then the residential clinician that was a therapist for the unit I worked at right after my bachelor’s degree. He’s the one who actually opened my eyes in the fact that you can be a therapist with a master’s and don’t need a doctorate.
Perry: And her name was Gwen, was that right?
Melissa: Gwen was the therapist I meant. Mareen Young is the therapist of the residential center I worked at who also now has a very thriving private practice in Anchorage, Alaska. So yeah, she was a pretty big mentor in terms of getting me into a master’s program and helping me kind of narrow down what I really wanted to do and who I really wanted to work with.
Perry: What is it that you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Melissa: I make my bed every morning. I can’t stand it if it’s not made. If no other things go right in my day, at least this one thing is the way I want.
Perry: Oh gosh. It’s much nicer coming into a made bed than a messy bed.
Melissa: Yes, it is. It’s just nice, I come home, I’m like, oh, it’s so peaceful in here. Haha.
Perry: What are some tools that you’ve used to leverage the power of technology in your private practice so that technology is no longer a hurdle but instead an asset for you?
Melissa: I thought about this answer and I think this is one that I think I’m answering it. One of the best things I did was actually hire Robert E Lee and Associates, the law firm, to review all of my forms, specifically the ones that involve technology. So that I am completely covered legally through the use of technology and my private practice. So texting apps, any apps that communicate with me. Like sometimes your clients can type in like an email address for updated to go to and they can come to me. So really getting the legal side of things nailed airtight so that that way I’m covered legally and that way I can use these apps without any, oh, I don’t know if I can do that. Can I? Should I? I need to call my law firm.
Melissa: It’s really nice having a team knowing that I can pretty much call anybody really, Lora, Michelle, or Robert himself, and say, hey, I want to use this, can you check this out? Am I good to do this? Is it legal? What are some of the ethical concerns. That has been super helpful. Just knowing that I have that protection.
Perry: And do they specialize in working with mental health professionals?
Melissa: They do. I think it might be just specific to Colorado. They’re really on top of the laws and statutes regarding the mental health professions here. They do a lot of work with Dora and just making sure there’s clients who are all LPCs, LCSW. LPs are covered legally. They’re also who I have a retainer with in case I get grieved or sued.
Perry: Important. And we’ll have links to their firm in this week’s show notes of course at Brightervision.com/session28. Melissa, what’s a quote that you hold near and dear? Something that has helped formulate your perspective on life or has inspired and motivated you throughout your life?
Melissa: I think the most important one is by Earl Nightingale and it says, “Never let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something keep you from doing it. The time will pass anyway.” And I always think of that one whenever I think about, oh, I’d really like to go do this but it’s going to take like a year and a half to accomplish that. Or I really want to do EMDR and get certified and I think about how much time and effort that’s going to take but time’s going to pass anyway and I might as well have this awesome new skill and certification that I can use that would benefit myself, my business and my clients. So I just have to always remind myself of that when I start thinking about, whoa, that’s going to be a long endeavuor. Haha. It’s going to pass anyways. It might as well pass something to show for it.
Perry: I like that mindset and yeah, I think it’s really applicable, especially as an entrepreneur, because it’s a long process and you definitely will have something to show for in the end though.
Melissa: Yes, and never regret doing something, never regret taking action. It served me well.
Perry: If you could recommend one book to our audience, what would that book be?
Melissa: I think one of the ones that really helped me when I really kind of started to go full speed into it was Building Your Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodzki. I think what I liked so much about it was that it was actually written in a way that I could understand easily. I didn’t feel like I was reading a bunch of dry business material that left me feeling more confused. She really did a good job of breaking things down and helping guide my mindset and really teasing apart who my ideal client is and who I really need to market towards, and who I really want to see in my office every day. So it was a really great book and then I’ve also heard a few live webinars or podcasts she’s done, and she’s really engaging and really interesting. Her book is really awesome, I think it’s helped a lot.
Perry: Alright Melissa, last question. If you moved to an new city tomorrow and you didn’t know anybody there and all that you had with you was your computer and 100 dollars to start a new private practice, what is it that you would do on your very first day?
Melissa: Website for sure.
Perry: That’s an important one.
Melissa: My monthly website subscription with Brighter Vision. But seriously, I laugh all the time when I think about the website that I created on my own. And then I look at the website that I had you guys create and it’s just like mortifying to believe that I have once tried to do it on my own. And I wish I still had screenshots of how terrible my self-design website was, because I really thing the website has been really integral in getting new clients. I’ve actually gotten several clients who have said, I found your website. Like, it wasn’t through Psychology Today, it wasn’t through a psychiatric referral. They found me by searching. And they’re like, yeah, I found your website and I really like it and it seems like you’d be a good fit. So I’ve gotten a lot, maybe two or three in the last three to four months just from them searching for my website. So it is nice to be able to put forth that professional look and it flows really nicely, so definitely a website.
Perry: Absolutely. Well Melissa, getting people to your website that’s one thing, the SEO we do for our clients, we’re really proud of that because you got to get people to your site. And then, getting people to your site is only half the battle, and what people don’t even think about is if someone gets a word of mouth referral from someone or another professional they most likely have gotten two, three, maybe four referrals and they’re going to look you up and they’re going to look up everybody else. And they’re going to contact usually only one of them. The one that resonated with them most. So having that professional presence that communicates your practice to your ideal target market and your ideal client is so key. So there’s referrals that you don’t even know about. Yeah, doctor so and so referred me to you. But you don’t know the impact that your website played on getting them to actually contact you as well.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah.
Perry: Well Melissa, this has been so much fun. I’m so glad we got to do this this morning. Any parting advice for our listeners here?
Melissa: Yeah, I think maybe dealing with your own fears and anxieties and really addressing them is going to be so integral and vital into success because I think we see with our clients how those fears and anxieties about doing something to kind of inhibit them, the same is true for us as business owners and private practitioners. I think really being unafraid to kind of address your own issues you have had on is really going to help you be successful.
Perry: Great. And where can our listeners find you to connect and learn more about you?
Melissa: You can go to my website. It’s just www.startingpointcounseling.com or Facebook.com/startingpointcounseling or you can use my email which is [email protected].
Perry: That’s brave of you Melissa.
Melissa: To put my email out there?
Perry: You never know. That’s fine. Of course we’ll have the links to everything Melissa has mentioned here and all the great resources at Brightervision.com/session28. Melissa, so after we get off the phone here and we hang up, the first thing I’m going to do is pick up the phone, I’m going to call APA and see if we have a ticket that we can get to you so you can attend the conference next week.
Melissa: Thank you.
Perry: Fingers crossed, I hope we can. And Melissa, thank you so much for being so generous with your time, your expertise and your knowledge. I think this was one of my favorite episodes, I think it’s going to be one of our most popular ones. I know that everyone listening here appreciates all the great advice you provided and the therapist experience that you have shared. Thank you again.
Melissa: Thank you, it’s been a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it.
Perry: Thank you so much for tuning in today. If you have a question for us you can email it to us at [email protected] and, of course, if you’d like to launch a website don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in website design for therapists. For less than two dollars a day you’ll get a website that’s as unique as your practice is. We’ll give you unlimited tech support, and provide you with complementary SEO so people who are searching online for a therapist will actually be able to find you. To learn more head on over to Brightervision.com and drop us a line through one of our many contact forms. That does it for today, thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.