TTE 4: Diann Wingert Shares Her Journey to Working with Only Women Over 50
If you’re not charging enough as a therapist, you must listen to Diann Wingert share her journey from charging $100 per session to $220 per session. By going from a generalist to a specialist, Diann realized she could charge more, provide better counseling, and enjoy being in private practice more.
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
- Why becoming a specialist can allow you to charge significantly more than if you were a generalist.
- How to overcome the fear of niching down and to do it in baby steps, if needed.
- How to make it ridiculously easy for people to refer you.
- How to get a raise from your existing clients without even asking for one.
Best Marketing Move for Business
- Getting a great website
- Getting a video added to her website
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- FYLMIT.com & Ernesto Segismudno (You can listen to Ernesto’s episode here)
- Simple Practice
- Recommended Book: Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
- Diann Wingert’s Website
Weekly Website Tip
From Brighter Vision’s Andrew Oetjen:
One of my favorite design tricks is using a subtle shadow in headline text areas. You don’t always want to use a shadow in your entire website text, but if you apply it to just your main headline and tags or the big bold call to action blocks on your website, it can really help your website pop. I personally like to make headline tags themselves mimic the primary navigation color.
For example, if you have a blue navigation menu take the headline or make the headline itself blue. Then whatever color is the hover color on your navigation menu, make the shadow on your headline tag that same exact color.
This color trick helps your website to pop off the page drawing attention to important areas of your website and incorporate your color scheme through a very subtle, non-intrusive way.
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for joining us this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share? Please leave a note in the comment section below!
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Also, please leave an honest review for The Therapist Experience on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely important to get this podcast in front of other therapists who could benefit from it. The ratings matter in how iTunes ranks the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.
Thanks to Diann 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 Diann Wingert from Diann Wingert LCSW. This is The Therapist Experience episode number four. Welcome to The Therapist Experience. The podcast where we interview successful therapists about what it’s really like growing a private practice. I’m Perry Rosenbloom, the founder of Brighter Vision, and I’m excited to introduce our guest today Diann Wingert from Diann Wingert LCSW. Diann, are you prepared to share your therapist experience?
Diann: Absolutely, Perry. Bring it on.
Perry: Alright. Awesome, Diann. Diann Wingert is the founder of Diann Wingert LCSW. She is passionate about working with women at midlife who feel stressed out, frustrated, stuck or just plain tired of life as it is, but just aren’t sure what to do about it. Diann helps through a combination of counseling, coaching, and skill building to support and inspire women to embrace the vision that a second half of life can truly be the better half. She guides women through this goal by helping them to reduce stress, enlarge their comfort zone, find energy and excitement again, and to create new habits that result in healthy and sustainable change. A special area of interest for Diann is working with empty nest divorcees who have recently ended a marriage after 20 to 30 years, as well as those who are contemplating taking this step. Diann, I gave a little overview of you there but why don’t you take a minute, fill in the gaps from that intro and tell us a little more about you personally and about your practice?
Diann: Thanks. That was a lovely intro Perry. Well, I am a woman in my 50s so I have a tremendous amount of excitement, enthusiasm and passion for working with women in their 50s. And I’ll be honest with you, some of the issues that I deal with my clients are the very same ones that I have dealt with in my own life over the last few years. This is a time of life that is full of change. Your kids are leaving home, your parents are aging out and having different needs. Many marriages do end, women change careers, lifestyles, religions, you name it. So i find it a really exciting population to work with.
Perry: That’s so great Diann, and you know, one thing that we’ve noticed with interviewing successful therapists and speaking with clients is how well they’ve nitched down to focus on a specific area and how that’s helped them grow their practice. So, when did you start focusing on this specific area for your practice?
Diann: I’ve been in private practice for five years and I left many, many years of working in community mental health and hospital environments. I was a field instructor, a supervisor, a program director, an administrator, as well as a practicing clinician since the mid ’90s. So when I finally ended up in private practice it was honestly by surprise. It was not intended. It was not planned. It wasn’t even something that I thought I could do or would do, but there I was in the fall of 2010 with a private practice. Now, given my background I guess I just thought I’ll see anybody that comes through the door and is willing to pay me. Which I think a lot of people do start off that way. And it wasn’t until I’ve been in practice for two to three years that I started learning that there was such a thing as private practice business building and private practice coaching, and I started to avail myself of that. And I started to hear the riches are in the niches and all this other talk. You need to have a niche, you need to have a specialty, you need to have a focus. But I’m a licensed clinical social worker with a vast amount of experience in both my profession and in life. So it seemed to me that specializing would really be limiting and I really fought it for several years. Well I can tell you it turned out to be true. You really do need a target. You really do need a niche. And now that I’m there I completely understand why that’s been the advice all along. I think I just needed to personally grow into it and to be at this stage of my life where nothing makes more sense to me than focusing on working with women like me. But it took me five years to get there in a private practice journey, and hopefully your program and our conversation will help people get there quicker.
Perry: You know, this is the fourth episode we’re doing and the previous three have all mentioned how they have niched down or niched down to focus specifically on a target market. You said you’d been in private practice for five years and you just started focusing on this specific niche. When exactly did you make the leap to say, “You know? I’m not going to be everything for everyone. I’m going to be Diann Wingert and focus on helping women who have just ended their marriage after 20 or 30 years or are entering this new stage of life.” What made you make that shift and how long ago was that?
Diann: I’ve been gradually working my way to this niche over the last two years. When I first went into private practice, Perry, at one point it was ridiculous. I had an office that was set up– Half of the office was set up for kids and the other half was set up for grownups, but it was really the same room. So it was ridiculous and it looked kind of ridiculous. And what I realized is while I’m very nimble, and very agile, and very skilled, it was exhausting. So the first group that I eliminated about four years ago was little kids, because I just didn’t want to be on the floor doing play therapy and I couldn’t get the toys cleaned up quick enough when the next client coming in was an adult. So I eliminate– You know, I really learned the hard way over time. So I got rid of serving little kids and that was unfortunate because I had been at children’s hospital for 10 years and I had most of my referral sources for kids and teens. So it was kind of a scary step, but I knew I needed to do it. In my personal life I was a single parent for many years. I raised three kids. And I just realized I really don’t want to work with the little bitty ones anymore. So I stopped marketing to that group and those referral sources. The next group to go was couples because I realized while I’ve had some good outcomes with couples, I didn’t have the specialized training that’s necessary to be really good at it. Then the next group I eliminated was families because it was just so much more work and I realized I was seeing six or seven clients a day and when some of those sessions were with families I just got so depleted and exhausted that I really wasn’t so good for the next day. So what I did was I just kept– I think of it like a funnel. Everybody– At one point in time I had a range from age 6 to 82 in my practice.
Perry: Oh my goodness.
Diann: Ridiculous, right? But I eliminated group by group by group by just really going in and saying, “Diann, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Does it bring you joy? Are you highly skilled? Is there a market? And can someone else do this better?” And when I would go through that process I realized, you know, all those years of being a single mom, I don’t really want to do that anymore. I don’t want to work with little kids. So the last two groups to go were young adults and men. And I do still have a couple of men that I see, that I’ve worked with for a while. And I do still have a number of young women that I’ve worked with for a while. But I’m no longer looking for new referrals in that area and I’m actually finally starting to turn away the referrals that are not in my target. And that’s been a difficult process, but it has been so good for me in so many ways.
Perry: Turning away referrals. People who could be potential clients, who want to be potential clients, but you don’t feel like it’s best for you to work with them. That is such a challenging thing to do.
Diann: It is. It is. And I’ll tell you Perry, when I first started in my practice five years ago I was told that I needed to go on insurance panels and I needed to get on everyone that would take me, so I did. Six months into that and I went into a very small group practice with one other individual that I didn’t really know, and six months later what I realized is I was doing more paperwork than I was as the DMH contractor. And anybody who’s listening, who was worked for Department of Mental Health Contract Agency knows what I’m talking about. You probably spend twice as much time on the paperwork as you actually spend doing therapy. And I didn’t go into this business to do paperwork. I went into this business to do therapy. So I was really deterred by that and at the sixth month mark I made the decision to leave that practice. To go private pay and to just see what I can do with it, and I’ve never looked back.
Perry: Diann, you’ve learned so many lessons in such a short amount of time and been able to see your situation, see the world around you, contemplate those hard decisions and make them. That’s such a difficult thing to do. So over the last five years you managed to journey to this place where you have a thriving successful private practice where you focus just on one specific niche. But you weren’t always here. It wasn’t always this thriving, this successful. So let’s go back to a point in your career in private practice where you could have called it quits. Where you were as low as you could possibly be in your entrepreneurial journey and you were ready to throw in that towel. And then share with us how you overcame that moment.
Diann: I’ve learned something about myself over many, many years and I’m very grateful that this is true about me. I know change is hard, I know it’s scary and I know as humans we all resisted, but for whatever the reason I think I might be just a little bit less vary of it than others. So I will make changes even when they’re hard and even when they’re scary. I think one of the hardest times for me came when– I’m now in the third office. The very first office I went into, I went into because it was what was offered to me with this other individual in the group practice. It was not in a nice area. There was a bus stop right outside that was very noisy and I just didn’t feel comfortable. So when I left there I was looking for something that was more comfortable and in a nicer area, and I got it. But after two years in that location I realized if I really want to be able to raise my fees, which I have continuously done over the five years, I need to move to a nicer part of town. I need to get better furniture. I need to be in a location that attracts a higher paying client. And let me just say right now because nobody who’s listening probably knows me, I’m not doing this because I’m a greedy person. I didn’t go into this field to be rich. None of us did. But what I realized is all the years of being a single mom and all the years of working in community mental health, I really wasn’t putting any money aside for my retirement. So since I don’t want to be a burden to my kids and I don’t want to be really financially impaired in my old age, I kind of need to make up for it now by having a practice that serves clients who are able and willing to pay a good fee for my services. And I had to grow in to the belief that I was worth it. Well, going back a couple of years I had just made a commitment to sign a five year lease where my rent was going to be tripled over night and one of my primary referral sources became medically ill and needed to close his practice. And several of my clients had a change in their work environment and could no longer see me. So I had just made the commitment to drastically increase my expenses and then I suddenly had a big loss of income. Well, it was a bit of a crisis to face, and a crisis of confidence. And I thought, “Oh my gosh.” So I kind of tumbled down the rabbit hole for a little bit and thought, “What have I done? I’ve tried to go too big. I’ve pushed too hard and the universe is pushing back. I can’t do this.” I think it’s a place that anyone who’s on any kind of entrepreneurial journey has experienced at least once if not multiple times, where you realize, “I have to believe in myself in a bigger way than I have because my circumstances are pointing in the opposite direction and I cannot afford to go there.” So I just really had to hustle and I think that was when I first started realizing I needed to niche down. Partly because I do a firm on networking and I enjoy it, but when you go to networking meetings and people have 30 seconds to stand up and say who they are and what they do, if a therapist stands up and whether it’s a room full of therapists in a professional networking meeting or whether it’s something like BNI where there’s one person– that’s Business Networking International. One person from each category. Whatever the environment is, if you stand up and say, “I’m a therapist and I see children, teens, couples, families, adults, sex addicts, elderly.” If you rattle off all these things, no one’s going to believe you and no one’s going to remember you.
Perry: Mhm. That is so key there.
Diann: I can’t help myself when I go to meetings and people say– Even if they say three things. Like, “I see kids, adolescents and families.” That still doesn’t make them memorable to me. So that’s why I realized I had to start getting really, really clear about who I am and who I serve so that I can be more memorable and so that I can be top of mine for those referrals. And it worked.
Perry: What do you know about that? You niched down. You go to these networking events where you actually tell people who you are and what you specialize in, you work with just one thing and all of a sudden people remember you. It makes people easier to refer you and for you to refer others and be referred. I used to go to networking events as well. I think that the last one I went to was like a BNI style format. And ironically enough one of my good friends, Dan Schultz, he’s a financial planner. Whenever he would get his 30 seconds he says that he focuses on women over the age of 50 who are recently divorced or widowed or made a head of household for one reason or another. And that stuck with me. I ever heard him give his 30 seconds in probably about 2 years but I could recite his 30 seconds for him right now. That makes it easy to refer and be referred. So Therapist Experience audience, when you’re listening to this make sure that you niche down. That you focus on who you want to work with and be able to distill who you work with into a clear concise sentence. You don’t want to work with everyone or anyone under the sun because you won’t get referrals that way.
Diann: It’s not only that Perry. Not only will you not get referrals and you won’t be memorable in order to get referrals, it feels to the one who’s hearing that pitch kind of desperate. Even though you’re not saying, I’ll see anybody and everybody, I’ll take in whoever comes through the door who’s willing to pay me. That’s really kind of how it comes across and nobody wants to refer to someone who seems desperate because they assume you’re not very good. So it’s not just a matter of nicheing down, it’s a matter of really believing that you are going to provide a better product and a better service when you’re focusing on the specific audience. It took me a while to get there but I am absolutely a die hard fan of this concept now.
Perry: That is such great advice there Diann. We hear all the time with people we speak with, therapists we work with, be memorable, niche down and show your authority. Show how you’re an expert in this and you’ll come across as being someone who people know, like and trust. So Diann, I want to take a step back here. Earlier you had mentioned how you raised your fees over the last five years and then you sort of touched on the fact that you wanted to clarify to people, “Hey, I don’t want to sound greedy. I didn’t get into this business to get rich.” We find so often with our clients and people we speak with that there’s sort of a guilt around charging a livable fee and width. Charging a fee that you could make a good living from. You’ve come such a long way in your five years. From an office where you had play therapy on one side and working with adults on the other, to where you are today working just with women over the ages of 50 who are experiencing a major life event. But so often we see therapists struggle in the early days with pricing themselves well. Can you share with our audience what your current hourly rate is to see clients and your journey to that rate?
Diann: Absolutely, Perry. My current rate for a 45 minute session is 200 dollars and my fee for the intake session, which is 50 minutes, is 220. I do not accept any insurance and I haven’t for the last four and a half years but when I first switched over from being paneled with insurance companies and accepting whatever they would pay me, which was usually around 56 to 66 dollars. And that didn’t of course compensate me for any of the time I spent filling out paperwork or calling the insurance company and begging to be paid for the work I had already done. I first charged a 100 dollars because frankly, that’s what I thought I could comfortably ask for and what I could reasonably get. What I realized is that part of my reluctance to ask for more was simply because I didn’t know. I was kind of ashamed to ask other people what they were charging so I really just kind of guessed at it. Which is, I look back now, seems very silly to me. But I think there’s several reasons why I had difficulty setting a good fee and why it took me several years to work my way up to my current fee, which by the way I now have no trouble asking for. Initially I thought, this is what I can get and this is what people will pay based on no information. It was fear and ignorance. But then when I moved to my second office I thought I should probably start to check in with other people who seem to be at my level of experience and who’ve been in private practice about the same amount of time. That made sense to me at the time, asking other people who’ve been in practice three or four years and maybe had a long career in community mental health before that, “What are you charging?” And a number of them told me at that time they were charging 150 or about that. Some a little more, some a little less. So I thought that’s what the market will bear and that’s what I should charge. How I went from 150 to 175 and 175 to 200, and I may very well increase my fees in the future, was a result of three things probably. One, understanding that a specialist naturally charges more than generalist and people expect to pay more for a specialized help. So in conjunction with nicheing down, nicheing down went hand in hand with my rate going up. I also had an experience of one of my clients when I was still at the 150 rate saying, “You don’t charge nearly enough for what you bring to the table. I want to give you a raise.”
Perry: How did that feel?
Diann: Perry, my hair blew back. I thought, “Oh my God. That’s never happened.” I never would have expected something like that. So that gave me a lot of confidence and I realized maybe I am not charging enough. But the other thing is I am licensed clinical social worker and when you go through a clinical social work masters’s program and get an MSW, no one in any graduate school anywhere in the country talks about private practice. There’s almost a subtle disdain for private practice as being elitist and selling out. The people we serve as social workers are people who are disenfranchised and poor and don’t have the resources for private therapy. So it almost felt like I was betraying my professional identity and my professional colleagues when I went into private practice. Charging a handsome fee on top of it would have meant I was a complete sellout. So as long as I had that mindset it was really keeping me in the lower end of the fee spectrum. But what I found out Perry and I think would be really of interest to your listeners is that working in a community mental health agency doesn’t mean that people are not being charged a handsome rate for your services. I found out that years ago when I was working as a therapist in the community agency, somebody was paying 200 an hour for my services. It just wasn’t my client. It was the government contract that was paying for my client services. And that’s true whether you are a season professional or a graduate student intern. So once I understood that the value of an hour of therapy is this amount, then it wasn’t so difficult for me to allow that understanding to evolve and my mindset to evolve around it.
Perry: That was such a great journey Diann. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I’ve heard you mention before, you said that starting your private practice you sort of felt– Might have been made to feel from your education like you were selling out a little bit. And that they never taught you anything about private practice. Which is really a shame because we hear that all the time, because ultimately there is a very large percentage of therapists that enter private practice and even though you went to school to become a therapist, not to get your MBA, somewhere along the way you decided to open your own private practice. What’s the one thing you wish you would have learned in school about starting your own business?
Diann: That’s a great question Perry and I have thought about this many times because over the many, many years that I worked in agencies and hospitals I had a number of people ask me, “Do you have a private practice on the side?” Because I know many people who are in private practice, it’s a side gig. They’re working full time for an agency, a hospital, a non-profit. And then they have a private practice on the side. Couple of nights a week, or a weekend day. So a lot of people do this on a part time basis so that they can keep their salary job and their benefit. I totally get it. But for many years people would ask me, “Do you have a private practice.” And I would say, “No.” And they would say, “Why not? You really like it and you’d probably do really well.” And I’d say, “Oh thank you.” But I just somehow didn’t think that applied to me. And obviously as I look back now it was my mindset. I was fully indoctrinated into the mindset that that was just not an option for a person who had integrity and really wanted to help people. I was uninformed. I was ignorant. I did not know that private practice was, is, and always will be a viable option. So I wish that I would have at least been curious enough at that time to ask when the person would ask me, “Do you have a private practice?” And I would say, “No.” To ask them, “Why do you ask?” Or when they would tell me, “You would probably really like it. You would do well.” Ask, “Why do you think so?” Or even be curious enough to find out who among my network is doing it and to find out more about it. That really didn’t enter my mindset for many, many years and as I look back now, I guess I just wasn’t ready or would have. But I think it’s fascinating to see how many clinicians now are not only going into private practice pretty quickly after grad school, but some of them are going into it directly after grad school. That was unheard of in the ’90s when I went into the field.
Perry: Why do you think that is? Why do you think there’s been such a dramatic shift recently?
Diann: I would probably say my best guess and it isn’t educated guess, but it is a guess, is that the internet has opened up the world to all of us in ways that previous generations couldn’t have even imagine. People can find anything that exists on the internet now and that was not the case 20-30 years ago. So a person would develop a private practice 20 years ago by maybe doing something small on the side and marketing themselves to a few trusted physicians, psychiatrists most likely. And would build it that way. Now with the internet, you can build a practice without having those local referral sources or depending on those local referral sources, especially if you have a specialty niche. That was an opportunity that did not exist 20 to 30 years ago. So I think it really is a whole new world. Now, I personally believe it is important and necessary to market to your local community and to have a presence in your local community, but the internet is certainly a huge help in getting known.
Perry: It most certainly is, and you just mentioned the M word. Marketing.
Diann: Hahaha. The evil M word.
Perry: The evil M word, but it’s not. You have to market yourself. You’re trying to run a business. You’re trying to help people, but in order for you to help people, you got to get people in the door and there’s no way that you can grow a thriving private practice without marketing. And there’s no way you could have grown this amazing brand that you have and this amazing practice you have without marketing. Whether it was conscious or not. So Diann, I’d love to know what was the single best marketing move you made for your practice and why do you feel it has worked so well for you?
Diann: I’m going to give you a twofer.
Perry: Alright. Go for it.
Diann: It’s really two things. One is getting a really great website, which by the way I have through Brighter Vision. So thank you.
Perry: You’re welcome Diann.
Diann: And two was adding a video to my website. The combination of– You know, this is my third website and I previously paid private individuals to create websites for me. Web developers. The first one was okay, but it was just okay. The second one was really complicated and I wasn’t happy with how it looked in the end. So when I went to Brighter Vision everything became so much simpler, so much cleaner, so much clearer and has made it so much easier for the right people to find me. But the addition of the video where you can actually see me, hear me, experience me the potential, perspective client is already having the opportunity to make a determination. Is Diann Wingert someone that I feel comfortable with? Does she seem knowledgeable, does she get me, and can she help? They’re already able to start making that decision before they’ve even taken the next step of picking up the phone to contact me. And it’s because the video is on my Brighter Vision site that they can do that. So that turned out to be a really smart decision that has really helped me a lot.
Perry: Diann, we hear so often people talk about the knowing me, liking me, trusting me. And people do business with those that they know, like, and trust. Someone’s going to hire a therapist that they know, like, and trust, and a video is such an excellent way to communicate that. People, they click on your video and they get a sense of who you are. Who produced your video, just so we can put in our show notes here?
Diann: My video was produced by Ernesto Segismundo from fylmit.com. And by the way, if you don’t know Ernesto yet. He is the only videographer that I know of who is creating promotional videos for therapists an Ernesto himself is a licensed therapist. So it’s a winning combination.
Perry: Ernesto is awesome. He’s such a good friend of mine and he does just phenomenal videos as well. We’ll have a link to fylmit.com in this show notes here at brightervision.com/session4 where you can learn more about Ernesto and maybe we’ll even throw your video in there Diann so people can see it as well. So Diann, we talked about technology here a little bit with your website, with your video, with the power of the internet to sort of get more people starting private practices right away. But you know, when you started your private practice five years ago, the internet wasn’t evolved to where it was today. There’s so much more that you can do and so much more technology. And our audience would love to know what are some tools that you’ve used to leverage the power of technology in your private practice? So the technology is no longer hurdle. It’s not a struggle and not something you have to just deal with and overcome, but instead is an asset to help you grow your practice.
Diann: Well, outside of my Brighter Vision website, a couple of other ways that I have embraced technology and made technology work for me is I use the Dragon naturally speaking platform to dictate my notes because it’s just a lot quicker and I like talking as you can tell. So it’s easier for me to speak my notes and it learns my voice and learns the kind of terminology and verbiage that I use. So that has made life easier. And I’m also a big fan of Simple Practice which is a private practice platform that allows me to schedule my clients, send reminders, build them, it’s connected to Stripe, and keeps my calendar, my progress notes, it’s hypo compliant, stores their credit card information. It’s really a one stop shop and now that I’m developing my coaching business I’m working with simple practice to expand my platform to include my coaching.
Perry: Awesome. And again, we’ll have all this in the show notes just so our audience is aware. You mentioned Stripe. Stripe is a payment credit card processing software that people use online often times for subscription services, but it can also be used for one-off payments. And Simple Practice, they really do a great job of simplifying it. When you’re able to leverage so much technology through them and have like a whole suite of tools for you to use Diann and grow your practice without having to build all those tools yourself and figure out how to manage your practice yourself. Let them do it for you, right?
Diann: It’s fantastic. And you know what’s really great is now that I have a full practice, I’m actually upgrading my Simple Practice account to the highest level so that my clients and perspective clients can do online scheduling with me. What’s really nice about that is there’s always been a lot of back and forth, somebody finds you on the internet or is referred to you. They go to your website, they look at it, they decide to call you, maybe you’re in session when they call so they leave a message. You call back, then they’re not available. And you don’t even know if this is someone that you want to work with or who is right for working with you. So there’s a lot of time invested. Moving to the higher level with Simple Practice where someone can schedule with me online really simplifies that, and with the video on my website a lot of people have already decided I’m the right person for them before they even call. So it’s streamlining the process of the client deciding if I’m the right one for them. I of course still have to decide from my end if I want to work with this person and if I can deliver a good outcome for that. But I will usually make it a point to contact them once they’ve scheduled that first appointment, just to make doubly sure.
Perry: And what a luxury to have that Diann. To have practice that you don’t need to work with everybody. You’re only going to work with people who you feel are a good fit for you. And that allows you to provide a better service. Allows you to charge higher fees, because you’re specialized and can do such great work all while reducing the stress of seeing eight clients in a day, which we definitely know a lot of therapists that do have to maintain such a full plate just to make a living.
Diann: Well, I think Perry that’s such an important point because ultimately our profession is very demanding and it comes with a very high likelihood of burnout if we don’t do what we need to do to take care of ourselves. So what I learned is that if I charge a higher fee and I see a more specialized clientele, I don’t have to schedule as many sessions in a day. So that means I have more energy for each person that I do see. And I also have time in between to take care of myself, to take care of other parts of my life, and to look for ways that I can provide even better service to the folks I work with. Now, when I first went into private practice I was working five days a week and I would often see eight or nine clients in a day. I cut back over the last year. I’m now seeing clients four days a week and I go to the gym every morning now. So I make sure I take care of me first, and I will see no more than six clients in a day, and I prefer five.
Perry: Self-cared. That is just so key as an entrepreneur. You’re going to be busting your butt all day long to get your business off the ground, but even once it is off the ground and even in those struggling times, those early days, you got to take care of yourself. Get to the gym. Take care of your own physical and mental needs which so often can be forgotten as you’re trying to help others. So Diann before we move on to my favorite part of the show, we’re going to take a quick break for our weekly website tip from one of Brighter Vision’s lead developers. We’ll be right back.
This week’s website tip comes from Andrew Oetjen. A lead developer at Brighter Vision. The worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. To learn more go to www.brightervision.com
Andrew: Hey everyone. Andrew Oetjen here. One of my favorite design tricks is using a subtle shadow in headline text areas. You don’t always want to use a shadow in your entire website text, but if you apply it to just your main headline and tags or the big bold call to action blocks on your website, it can really help your website pop. I personally like to make headline tags themselves mimic the primary navigation color. For example, if you have a blue navigation menu take the headline or make the headline itself blue. Then whatever color is the hover color on your navigation menu, make the shadow on your headline tag that same exact color. This color trick helps your website to pop off the page drawing attention to important areas of your website and incorporate your color scheme through a very subtle, non-intrusive way. To see this in action, be sure to go to this week’s show notes at www.brightervision.com/session4.
Now back to our conversation with Perry and Diann.
Perry: Okay, Diann. Now we’re going to move into the final part of our interview. The part we like to refer to as brighter insights. Where we can really distill down your experience and your advice into little sound bites and quick answers that therapists could use to inspire, motivate, and excite them in growing their own private practice. Are you ready?
Diann: Never been readier.
Perry: Alright. Fantastic. So Diann, what or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Diann: Like many people in our field I was inspired by my ability to overcome a very challenging childhood. And that’s because I had some really great therapy of my own. So I realized it was possible to heal, to change, and to grow. And that maybe I’d like to help others do that too.
Perry: That was such a great answer Diann. What do you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Diann: Well, I start my day with exercise and when I have a break I do meditation. I’m a big fan of the head space guided meditation app. And you can set that for any amount of minutes that you have, minimum of 10. Or a quick walk around the block because my office is in a beautiful neighborhood.
Perry: What’s a quote that you hold near and dear? Something that has helped formulate your perspective on life or any quote that has inspired, motivated, or provided guidance for you in your life?
Diann: I share this one often. It’s by Jim Roan and it’s, “Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
Perry: Ooh. I love that one. We’re going to need to put that on to some Brighter Vision websites. Haha. If you could recommend one book to our audience, what would that book be?
Diann: I really loved reading Steven Pressfield’s “Turning Pro” It’s a deceptively short and simple book, but really speaks to the entrepreneurial journey and to the fact that we need to go from being amateurs to being professionals if we really want to achieve our full potential and be successful.
Perry: Alright Diann, last question for you. If you move to a new city tomorrow, knew not a single soul and all you had was your computer and 100 dollars to start a new private practice. What would you do on your first day?
Diann: This is a no-brainer Perry. I would call Brighter Vision and pay for my first month of web development, which includes hosting, SEO, the whole shebang. And then I would take what’s left over to get some really high quality business cards and start calling people.
Perry: Awesome. Love it Diann. And just full disclosure for our audience, Diann, as you can tell, is a Brighter Vision client but she has not been paid or compensated for her time here. She’s really just here to share her experience so thank you so much. Diann, any parting advice for our listeners?
Diann: I would say if you’re asking yourself if it’s possible to have a thriving feed for service private practice, even in these days and times. It absolutely is and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. So if it’s in your heart to do it, I say go for it. Get some coaching, get some support. Get a Brighter Vision website and make it happen.
Perry: Fantastic. Well, Diann thank you so much for your time. Where can our listeners find you to connect and learn more about you?
Diann: My website is www.diannwingert.com and that’s spelled D-I-A-N-N-W-I-N-G-E-R-T.
Perry: Great. Well thank you so much again Diann for your time and remember everybody, you can find all the great resources Diann has mentioned at brightervision.com/session4. Diann, thank you for being so generous with your time, your expertise, and your knowledge. We here appreciate all the great advice that you provided and the therapist experience you have shared. Thank you so much again.
Diann: Thanks, Perry. It was fun.
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 if you’re interested in launching a website, please don’t hesitate to reach out for us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. For just 59 dollars month you get a website that’s as unique as your practice. Unlimited technical support and complementary SEO so people can find you online. To learn more you can email us at email@example.com or just head on over to our website and drop us a line through one of our contact forms. That does it for today. Thank you again so much for letting us into your head today, and have a wonderful week.