Knowing Your Ideal Client & Strategically Mapping Out Your Time to Acquire Them
Camille Braxton has become an expert marketer & this has allowed her to grow a thriving business. After discovering her specialty three years ago, she hired a consultant to help her understand her ideal clients (professional women struggling to find a work/life balance). From there, she strategically chose to market to professional groups where her ideal clients congregate, and her private practice exploded.
Best Marketing Move for her Practice
- Hiring someone to handle her social media
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Apple TV
- Recommended Book: She’s Valuable (But Does She Know It?) by Dominique Clark
- Camille’s Private Practice Website
Other Therapist Experiences Mentioned
Thanks to Camille for joining me this week. Until next time!
TranscriptClick here to read the Transcript
Camille: Yes, I’m definitely prepared.
Perry: Fantastic. Camille, so excited to have you on the show here. Let me tell our audience a little bit about you.
Perry: Camille Braxton is a licensed professional counselor as designated by North Carolina board of licensed professional counselors. She’s also certified as a nationally certified counselor and distance certified counselor. Camille has had the pleasure of earning her master of education in counselor education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And she obtained her bachelor of social work from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. As a professional Camille has had a decade of experience working with adults in a hospital setting, private practice, as well as education with a varied population of students. During the spring of 2016 Camille had the pleasure of teaching in counseling course at a university in Raleigh area. It reminded her of her love for teaching and so in addition to teaching at college setting Camille began a doctoral program and is a PHD student at Eastern University. Camille’s goal for receiving her PHD will be to teach up and coming therapists and to also provide more in-depth clinical experience to her clients. Camille, 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 us a little bit more about you personally and about your practice?
Camille: Well personally I am originally from North Carolina. I never lived outside of North Carolina. I’m from the Eastern part of North Carolina. My practice consists of myself where I provide one on one counseling to individuals, families, and couples. I also consult with individuals who may live outside of the state, and we do that teleconference consulting. My specialty is working with women with work to life balance and I just want them to have peace and prosperity.
Perry: Love that. How did you end up coming into that specialty of working with women to really help them find work and life balance?
Camille: Well, I think that process started with myself. I was juggling so many jobs. Like you said, I worked in hospital, I worked in school, and a private practice, and I was doing all of that at the same time. And in the private practice what happened to me is I found a mirror of myself sitting on the couch. So I said, Camille, you’re experiencing this and you basically made a process of how can I balance out my life? That means that I work on my time-management, my organizational skills, I look to see who’s toxic in my life, and I saw where I needed to improve. I saw my plus or minuses and worked on those. So from that place I started working with women. I’m going to say, this is my niche, this is my calling. So that’s how all that started.
Perry: And how long ago was that when you discovered that this is really your niche and your calling?
Camille: 30 years ago. I was in the private practice as a contractor about five years ago and I was seeing that mirror, and then I started working with women to balance their lives for two years, and I thought, hmm, I can start my own private practice. And during that time I started my private practice and basically that’s what my clientele was, women who needed balance.
Perry: How have you found marketing your private practice going with understanding like, hey, women who are looking for balance is my ideal clientele and who I want to work with and who I do a great job working with. How have you found your practice marketing has been knowing and understanding that’s your niche?
Camille: Well, I feel like I had been on roller-coaster of marketing. Thinking that I needed to run out and say yes to everything. Yes to different opportunities, yes to different speaking engagements. So at first I started saying, I will see everyone, which was not good. Then what I did was I hired consulting to assist me and identified where I can find women who look like me. Professional women who need balance. So what I found is a lot of my clients referred to their friends and invite me to different events where I would speak. And then women would come up to me and say, I really need to come and talk to you.
Perry: So this consultant that you hired, is he or she local to North Carolina area?
Camille: Yes. So on my process of consulting, I’ve had numerous consultants, I’ve had a consultant in the Raleigh area, I’ve had a consultant in Georgia. I began with a marketing coach. She did a wonderful job but when I started growing I felt like I needed someone who understood clinical work as myself. So I worked with Camille McDaniel in Georgia and we grew to where now I’m working with a branding consultant and she’s out of Maryland.
Perry: And who’s that branding consultant?
Camille: Her name is Natasha Brown.
Perry: So you hired Camille McDaniel as a consultant to help you find your clients and really market to them. What were some of the things that she encouraged you to do?
Camille: She encouraged me to get out and put a face with my name to let people get to know me. So what I did was I joined different groups that focused on women. Like when women in networking, I attended some I believe it was called B&I Groups, also to introduce myself in the brand. And I strategically chose these because women who are professionals are in this group and my network would be larger doing that. She also encouraged me to blog, to use social media because a lot of people are looking to Facebook, to Instagram, and Twitter for assistance.
Perry: Strategically choosing where to go and how to spend your time is a point that I feel like a lot of therapists don’t consciously do. Oh I have to be here, let me do that, oh someone told me I have to blog, let me do that, oh I really should be in a networking group, let me do that. When in fact just spending a solid day mapping out who your ideal client is and what they do with their time, what they read, where they go, there they would even drink coffee and what would they eat for lunch, will help you understand where and how you should be spending your time. And it seems like you’ve done that to a really great level of success.
Camille: I feel that I’m more comfortable now in networking and I’m more comfortable in knowing that I cannot speed the process. When I began with the business consultant I expected immediate results. And when I didn’t receive those immediate results I became frustrated. So during this process has helped me in stating what my goals are, being clear about my goals, and understanding that it is a process.
Perry: It absolutely is, you’re building a business. Everyone likes to hear about these overnight success stories but the facts are that an overnight success story is years in the making. You’re putting the time in and the energy in and if a company has had an overnight success story, it’s likely failed a few times along the way whether it’s that company or a different company. And so you got to put the time and you got to put the work in and strategically come up with your goals and how you’re going to accomplish them.
Camille: And another thing that I found is working with other therapists. Consulting with other therapists, talking about my practice, stating what my ideal client is, and cross-refer because I don’t see a lot of children like four to ten, but one of my therapist friends does. So when I receive a referral I will say, well, I have a therapist who actually specializes in this age group and I will refer to her if she does the same for me. So developing a community is also very important.
Perry: Absolutely, and it’s sort of like a– Before you can even develop that community, you need to know what your niche is. Because there’s no way that you can go and develop a community of therapists and a network of potential referral sources if you say you work with everyone. Because they’re not going to refer to you and you’re not going to know how to refer to them properly. So knowing who your ideal clientele is allows you to go network, it allows you to attract those ideal clients to you and tell everybody, hey, this is what I specialize in. If you see someone who could use help with this, I’m your gal, I’m the right person for them. And I don’t see any children so, hey, I had someone come to me who is looking for play therapy, I’m going to refer them all to you for their child.
Camille: Yes. And yeah, one of my professors or I should call her a mentor that I look up to, when I told her that I was going to open up a private practice in Raleigh area she said, Camille you have to have a specialty. And I was thinking a specialty will narrow me and my reach will not be as large as if I just asset to everyone. And she said, you have to have a specialty, you have to know with who you want to work with and who you’re good at working with. Because if not, you won’t be able to grow. So you’re definitely right.
Perry: Gosh, you are so fortunate to have had that mentor and that guidance so early on in your career because I think people flounder for years over-working, over-stressing, without narrowing down who they want to work with and it just ends up being more work. You’re not going to lose clients. So Camille, one thing we see therapists really struggle with in the early days is with pricing themselves well. Would you mind sharing with our audience what your current session rate is to see your clients and what your journey to that rate has been like?
Camille: Yes. Currently I charge my out of pocket clients 110 dollars. Now, when I first started I did not charge that rate. What I did is I kind of negotiated with clients and I was very nervous about stating what I wanted to charge. So I took clients that paid 40 dollars an hour, I took clients– I mean, I even took clients that did not pay at all. And I looked at myself and I said, look, this is a business. I have to charge what I feel my worth is. So how I worked my way up to it and Camille McDaniel, she made a wonderful suggestion. She stated that if I wanted to use a discounted rate for my clients I need to choose at least one or two rates and have a quota for those two rates. So if I’m going to accept clients at 40 dollars, let’s say I can only have three clients at 40. And if I need clients or if clients wanted me– If I’m willing to take someone to pay 75 dollars then I’ll say, I only have three clients that will pay 75 dollars. So if someone calls me, I really want to come see you but I can’t afford 110, I’ll say, you know, I’m at month quota but if I have someone that is not on– Let’s say if I lose someone I will call you back. So they’ll be on the waiting list. Nine times out of ten they’ll call back and say, I’ll pay the full price.
Perry: That’s really interesting. A good point you mentioned is this is a business and one of my favorite episodes that we’ve recorded was with Eddie Reece and I believe it’s session number 8. I’ll have the links to it in this week’s show notes at Brightervision.com/session36 but you are not a psychotherapist. It’s session 9 actually. You are not a psychotherapist, you are a business owner and you need to treat your private practice as a business. And he even mentioned that when he like does workshops for therapists in the area– He’s over in I think the Alpharetta area of Georgia. He will work with them and he’ll say, what’s your rate? Uh, well, my rate is– No, no. What’s your rate? You need to be firm on that. I charge 150 dollars a session and I will take three clients at a discounted rate of a 120 dollars a session. You need to know what your rate is because if you can’t be confident and effectively communicate what your rate is, why should a client pay you that rate?
Camille: Exactly. And I used to struggle with that. Because, you know, as a therapist or anyone in helping profession, we want to accommodate, we want to help, and we will actually do it for free because this is what we love to do. And when someone will call, I will hear the hesitation, then I will become nervous and I will become hesitant. And then it did not show me in a confident light. So if that’s the first impression then a probability of them continuing with me will be slim.
Perry: Yes, absolutely. I agree entirely. So Camille, over the years we’ve found therapists really struggle with marketing their business or they feel like marketing and sales is kind of a dirty word. What do you feel like was the single best marketing move that you’ve made for your private practice and why do you feel like it’s worked so well for you?
Camille: Well, right now finding the correct person to do my social media. The difficulty of why this was so difficult for me is because I really didn’t have the time. I was teaching a class, I was a clinician. The paperwork for being a business owner, and also having this too. I couldn’t find time to really concentrate on my social media. But once I delegated the social media aspect and started really marketing the way that I wanted my business to be portrayed, I saw growth and acknowledgment, or people being aware of what I do. I received affirmation to know that the content that we were putting out was helpful. And also the return of new clients, new people calling. So that has worked tremendously for me.
Perry: So who did you hire to handle your social media and what does he or she do?
Camille: Natasha Brown. I’ve went through more than one person but I had to find the right person for me. But right now Natasha Brown of B&D Brand out of Maryland, she and I discuss my vision of what I want my business to look like, we discuss my likes or my dislikes, she presents the information to me, what it will look like. The information that it will say and she’s in charge of posting everything on my social media.
Perry: Great. And so you’ve really noticed an uptake in business since you’ve had somebody fully handle your social media for you?
Perry: That’s fantastic. Social media is such an under-utilized channel by so many therapists and I think there’s so much opportunity for you there to really have a successful marketing campaign on social media if it’s utilized properly.
Camille: Right. In August we’ve just had 31 tips for new you, so we named it a New August. And every day we sent out 31– Well, we sent out one tip per day to discuss what can you do to prepare for fall. We don’t want to wait until 2017, we want to prepare people now for the new season.
Perry: That’s great.
Camille: That was wonderful.
Perry: 31 tips for a new you. What’s your Facebook URL Camille? We’ll definitely have that in this week’s show notes so people can come over and like it and see what you’ve done.
Camille: Thank you. My Facebook business name is LC Braxton Counseling PLLC, my Instagram LC Braxton Counseling, and my Twitter, because we had to shorten it, LCB Counseling.
Perry: Great. And of course we’ll have the links to all three of those in this week’s show notes at Brightervision.com/session36. So Camille, you went to school to become a therapist. You dedicated a lot of time and energy to your education. But one thing you never got was your MBA. But you decided to open your own private practice which is very, very common. I don’t even know a single therapist that got their MBA and opened a private practice. I just don’t think it happens. What’s the one thing that you wish you would have learned in school about starting your own business?
Camille: Well, my situation is totally different because my graduate school was a combination of school counseling and clinical counseling with the focus on school counseling. But what I wished is that we received more education in small business. One class that really focused on starting a private practice and actually having individuals who started a successful private practice come and discuss what they did, what their journey was, and actually offer mentorship for students to be successful.
Perry: That’s so key. You know, it’s something that we would love to be able to implement here. And one of the reasons why I guess we have The Therapist Experience Podcast is sort of offering that mentorship in 30-40 minute segments every week. And obviously it’s not the same as one to one mentor but any bit of value that we can add back to helping people be more successful in private practice is something that we stride for here.
Perry: Now we’re going to move on to the final part of our interview. This is the part we like to refer to as Brighter Insights, and what I really love about this part is we get to distill down your experience and your advice into little sound bites and quick answers so that our audience can use your advice and guidance to inspire and motivate them in growing their private practice. Are you ready?
Camille: I’m ready.
Perry: What or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Camille: You say it quickly, right?
Perry: Oh no, it’s fine. We want the real answer here. Think about it, that’s perfectly alright.
Camille: Well, I believe working in positions that weren’t for me, bad situations moved me towards being a mental health profess– Or, in the private practice as a therapist. But I believe my mom had a lot to do with just going into the helping profession. As you stated, I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and my mother was a social worker. And I saw my father and mother both be very community-oriented. So I believe that it was destined for me to become some type of helper in the mental health profession.
Perry: I hear that so often. It sort of runs in the family. Maybe it’s a gene or something, I don’t know. But it definitely seems to run in families, the mental health community organization, helping people, empathy, all that fun stuff. It’s in your blood I think.
Camille: Yeah, and it’s a learned behavior.
Perry: Yes, absolutely.
Camille: Once you see and you observe and you experience, you learn that’s how you should be. I mean, it’s taught.
Perry: It’s what my wife keeps telling me every day. Haha. What do you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Camille: Let’s see. I am a night owl. I’m not too first in the morning. So what I try to inform my clients, and some of them take this advice and some of them do not, but I believe finding an area and providing peace and tranquility, which is quiet. I make sure that before I go to sleep I am at my most peaceful state, I take long showers, I give myself facials. I tell my clients, you have to love yourself. But I don’t rush through it. I take my time and that’s my time that no one else can steal from me. I’m not on my phone, I’m not trying to watch a television show. It’s just peace full time with myself. And I probably play some low John Coltrane.
Perry: Haha, nice. You can’t go wrong with that.
Camille: Cannot. 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?
Camille: So I love the new Apple TV. I’m unsure if that is what you’re referring to. Hahaha.
Perry: Do you use any practice management software? Do you use any tools to help you with social media management, newsletters, things of that nature?
Camille: So I give that all to Natasha.
Perry: Got you. So Natasha is the tool that lets you leverage the power of technology.
Camille: She’s definitely my tool.
Perry: Natasha and Brighter Vision, right?
Camille: Hahahahaha. Yeah, Natasha and Brighter Vision. I mean, you are awesome.
Perry: Thank you.
Camille: Whenever I have a question, whenever I need something– And I always receive any answers immediately. But I do want– I did not realize I had an Apple TV and I was using it for personal use. But my friend who’s a media specialist in the school system, she said, Camille, you know you can use this in your practice? And I was like, how? I can actually show individuals what I’m searching for on my phone, they can view on my TV screen in session. I use an app called Relax for my individuals who have a lot of anxiety, instead of showing them the information on the phone, it mirrors onto the TV screen.
Perry: Oh, that’s cool.
Camille: Yes, and I also use it on presentations because you can mirror it off of your laptop. I’m an Apple freak so–
Perry: I am as well. That air play is key.
Camille: Yes, yes, definitely.
Perry: If you could recommend one book to our audience, what would that book be?
Camille: My friend, her book just came out and she it’s She’s Valuable by Dominique Clark. Awesome book. Because my specialty is women I see a lot of women who don’t know their value and this book speaks to knowing your value so I would definitely recommend that book.
Perry: And what’s a quote that you hold near and dear, something that helped formulate your perspective on life or provided guidance and motivation for you?
Camille: So it’s my own quote. Hahahaha.
Perry: I love it, let’s hear it! Those are the best quotes there are.
Camille: I always tell my clients to not set expectations for others because you always lead yourself to disappointment.
Perry: Very true. Alright Camille, last question. If you moved to a new city tomorrow, didn’t know anybody there. We’re talking about out of state of North Carolina for sure. And all that you had with you was your computer and 100 bucks to start a new practice, what is it that you would do on your very first day?
Camille: So my very first day I will google network meetings and I will try to find the closest network meeting to go to and introduce myself to those individuals.
Perry: Would you prioritize a certain kind of networking meeting?
Camille: Yes. It depends on your specialty. And with my specialty it will be women. So I will try to attend a network meeting that involves women.
Perry: Perfect, Camille. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time, your expertise and your knowledge. Where can our listeners find you to connect and learn more about you?
Camille: They can connect to me on my Brighter Vision website which is www.lcbraxtoncounseling.com and that also has all of my social media information that you can see the different social media that I spoke off during the interview.
Perry: Fantastic. And of course, we’ll have the links to all the great resources Camille mentioned, her website, and all of her social media accounts in this week’s show notes at Brightervision.com/session36. Camille, thank you so much again for joining us on the show and for the therapist experience that you have shared.
Camille: Thank you Perry for having me on this show.
Perry: Thank you so much for tuning in today. If you have a question for us you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and of course, if you’d like to launch a website that speaks to your target market and gets your ideal clients finding you and contacting you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. For less than two bucks a day we’ll get you a website that’s as unique as your practice, take care of all your tech support and provide you with complementary SEO so your ideal clients will actually be able to find you online. Head on over to Brightervision.com and drop us a line through one of our contact forms. That does it for today, thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.