TTE 9: I’m a Psychotherapist … No, You’re Not. You’re a Small Business Owner
If you are in private practice, you are not a psychotherapist. You are a small business owner.
Sure, you have clients to see. But that’s only half of your job. The other half of your job is running a business. And if the business owner doesn’t do their job, you won’t have clients to see.
And in this absolutely amazing interview with Eddie Reece, we dive into how to change your mindset to start thinking like a small business owner, set your prices, and grow your practice.
It’s nearly an hour long, which is double the length of our typical interviews, but you don’t want to miss a second of this one!
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
- How to change your mindset to be a small business owner
- Why you need to be on Kudzu right away
- Why you should never waver in what your fees are. Your hourly rate is your hourly rate. (This is a GREAT nugget you don’t want to miss and is around minute 18)
- How to begin networking your practice and whom to network with for referrals (HINT: Hairdressers are a phenomenal referral source!)
- Marketing is not the same for everyone: Your personality should dictate how you market
- And so much more!
Best Marketing Move for Business
- Having a website and a presence on Kudzu
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Eddie himself. You really need to listen to this episode!
- Recommended Book: Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw
- Kudzu in Atlanta
- Eddie’s Kudzu Page
- Skype (But don’t use it for Telemental Health!)
- Eddie’s Website
Weekly Website Tip
From Brighter Vision’s Sascha Montgomery:
There are tons of contact form tools out there. Some are easy to use, and some are incredibly challenging.
At Brighter Vision, we prefer the ease of use and functionality of Gravity Forms. Gravity forms allows for the drag and drop building of a contact form. But the additional functionality and feature-set is what we really love about it.
Some of the ways we utilize Gravity Forms for clients includes:
- Creating newsletter signup boxes
- Accepting payment through PayPal or credit cards
- Event registrations and payments for events
- Directory listings for local counseling associations
- And so much more!
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!
And if you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of this post.
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 Eddie for joining me this week. Until next time!
TranscriptClick here to read the Transcript
Eddie: I sure am, Perry. It’s good to talk to you today.
Perry: Good to talk with you as well, Eddie. So glad to have you on here. Eddie Reece helps people get along. His insatiable curiosity about human behavior causes him to still be fascinated by his work as a psychotherapist and business consultant after nearly 30 years into his career. Eddie, 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 bit more about you personally and about Getting Along Incorporated?
Eddie: Well, Getting Along is the name of the corporation that I formed for practice and that came out of, I think, some stored away memory of my mom yelling at me and my brothers. “Why can’t you guys just get along?” So it was probably, might have only been about 12-15 years ago that I made the change and put that title in there, because I also use that when people ask me what I do. I think one of the worst answers for that question if you’re a therapist is to tell somebody you’re a psychotherapist.
Perry: Why’s that?
Eddie: Well, because most people don’t even know what that is. I’ll get responses like, “You mean like a physical therapist?” They honestly don’t know and that may just be more here in the South. But my answer to that question is– “Oh Eddie, what do you do for a living?” I say, “I help people get along.”
Perry: That is one of the best pieces of advice we’ve had so far. Right there Eddie, you said you don’t tell people you’re a psychotherapist.
Perry: You tell people you help them get along. And there’s a distinct difference between those two. If you’re a psychotherapist– When you’re trying to sell something you don’t want to sell the features. You want to sell the benefits. And by telling people you’re a psychotherapist, that’s just a feature. That’s just a label. But by telling people you help them get along better, there’s the benefit. All of a sudden someone’s hooked. All of a sudden someone can say, “Oh. My wife and I, we haven’t been getting along too well. Tell me more.”
Eddie: Exactly. And that’s what it does. It encourages people to ask me what I mean by that. Then I get to give them my pitch. So I called my answer to what I do for a living the shortest elevator speech ever.
Perry: Let’s hear it?
Eddie: Which is, I hope people get along. That’s it.
Perry: And someone says, “Tell me more.” How do you proceed from there?
Eddie: Well, depending on the audience I’ve gathered, who I think I’m talking to. I’ll say, “Well, most of the time you probably experienced this in your life that you just don’t get along with people.” And they go, “Oh, yeah. That’s certainly the case.” And then especially if they give me some bit of information. Maybe about their marriage or their relationship with kids or something, I’ll tailor what I’m saying to that. But basically what I’m saying is that I meet with people and I teach them a skill-set that they never learned and that our culture doesn’t teach us which is how to get along with people. How to work with folks in a way that is collaborative. So that everybody can get what they want out of that. So I still continue to put off saying that I do that as a psychotherapist because as soon as that word comes out most folks just go blind. And they really don’t know what that means so there’s no reason to say that.
Perry: They just shut down as soon as they hear that word?
Eddie: Right. And I’ll talk as long as I can and as long as they’re interested about what I do, how I do it, without ever really mentioning any kind of jargon in any way. I talk about– You don’t get along because you don’t have the skill-set for that. So I help people develop a skill-set that works when you’re talking to people and you’re having a difficult time.
Perry: So Eddie, you said you transitioned to naming your business Getting Along Incorporated about 12 years ago?
Eddie: Somewhere in that neighborhood.
Perry: What was the name of your business before that?
Eddie: It was what most therapist do, which is Eddie Reece. And that’s the worst thing you can do because nobody really cares what your name is.
Perry: And when you were just Eddie Reece, not Getting Along Incorporated, were you still very clear on your marketing message or were you working more as like a generalist, seeing anybody who had any sort of issue that wanted therapy.
Eddie: Well, the nature of my practice changes all the time and I’m always working on the marketing aspect of it and trying to generate as much business as I possibly can. So it certainly continues to change and it changed a little bit last night. I went to one of your partner websites goodtherapy.org and put a profile up there. And to my horror they said, “You can’t copy and paste from any place at all.”
Perry: It has to be all unique.
Eddie: Yeah. And I’m like, “Oh, crap.”
Perry: “I got to actually write right now? I don’t want to write.”
Eddie: And it was a terrific experience because it forced me to say again the things that I do and a lot of things came out differently. And I’ll take that and incorporate it. So in terms of advice to therapists, that’s one thing to keep in mind is you want to constantly be working on this to make it as simple as possible. And it takes a lot of work to come up with something simple.
Perry: I think you’ve done a great job at coming up with something simple here Eddie and I know you worked really hard at it. But you definitely deserve a big pound on the back for how simple your tag line is. But one thing you mentioned before that I want to dive a little more into is change. As an entrepreneur, in order to survive as an entrepreneur, you need to be adaptable to change. You need to see when there’s an opportunity or when there’s a fault in your business and change, and adapt to it, to continue to thrive. To continue to be on a path to success. I want to take a step back actually and talk a little more about the why. We love to explore with people on the Therapist Experience, why is it that you’re working in this market? Why is it that you want to help people get along as opposed to working in other niche market? So can you tell us about why you chose a career in therapy and to focus specifically on helping people get along better?
Eddie: I think the really, really good therapists are trained as children to be therapists. I honestly believe and there was some debate among my peers. We just had this debate on one of my professional research about what really brings people into therapy and my story, I think, is pretty common is that I came out of my childhood with some very poor training in terms of skill-sets about how to live my life, how to be in relationships and have them turn out the way that I wanted to. And I’m also blessed with the insatiable curiosity. So turning my curiosity to why do things not go the way I want them to in my life, and that led me to studying psychology. And when I found that I was like, “Oh my gosh. Here’s some people who really kind of get this.” I was completely fascinated by it and I’m still fascinated by it today. I never get bored listening to a story from a client, working with somebody, is how human beings behave in this world is endlessly fascinating.
Perry: 30 years in private practice, Eddie. That’s amazing. We’ve spoken with therapists who have seen great success after two years. Some after five or 10, but you’re the first person we’ve spoken with who has had this much success for this long. So congratulations. I mean, it’s hard not to get burnt out in this field.
Eddie: Let me interrupt you there because I think there’s an important point, Perry. It’s that burnout in my opinion happens for one reason and one reason only. And this is across the board in any job or endeavour. If you’re burned out, it’s because you’re doing something you don’t want to do. That’s all there is to it. Because if you’re doing something you like, there’s no such thing. I’m an avid golfer. I play anywhere from a 140 to 180 rounds in golf a year.
Eddie: And I absolutely love it. That’s the modern zen experience for me. There is no way I could even imagine being burned out on golf. And the people who quit golf simply don’t like it. They’re not burned out. Therapists who go, “Oh, I’m really burned out.” It’s because you’re doing something you don’t enjoy.
Perry: It could also be– Perhaps it’s not that that they’re doing something that they don’t enjoy, but that their business isn’t structured in a way to allow them to enjoy it. We’ve often found that– I certainly agree with you, Eddie. That some people just are in the wrong field. But sometimes it can be really challenging. We’ve spoken with people and we have some clients that could see seven, eight people a day four or five days a week. And that can lead to burnout just because of the amount of work that you’re doing. So maybe you never felt any sort of burnout before but there had to have been a point in your entrepreneurial journey, I’m sure, where you were probably as low as you could go. Because as an entrepreneur you have ups, you have downs, it’s just a roller-coaster ride. Can you share with us a time in your therapist experience as an entrepreneur when you were ready to throw in the towel? Take us back to that, tell us the story and then share with us how you overcame it?
Eddie: I can answer it in this way, in that– One of the things that I do in my practice is I consult with therapists about starting practices, building their practices, how to market, advertise, all those sorts of things to help them be successful as therapists. And one of the questions I asked them in the beginning is, “What you do for a living?” And they go, “Oh, I’m a psychotherapist.” And I go, “No, you’re not. You’re a small business owner.” And they all look at me strangely. And I go, “You have two jobs. You have a business to run and you have clients to see. And if the business person doesn’t do their job the therapist doesn’t have any clients.” And answering about a low point for me, there has never ever been a low point with seeing clients. The therapist part of me is eager, ready to go, and I’m all over it. Where any sort of burnout comes from and business kind of goes along with doing something that you don’t really enjoy is in the marketing, in the advertising. And I think you and I are actually kind of saying the same thing, definition of burnout, in that I don’t enjoy doing marketing and advertising that’s not working.
Perry: That makes sense.
Eddie: I don’t enjoy that. I love doing marketing and advertising that works. And what has changed in my thirty years is how a therapist has to market and advertise and build their practice to get their name out there now. It was simple back in the early days of the internet, when I started my practice. You had a website– And I was one of the first therapists, I think, in Atlanta to have a website. And that’s about all it took. And there weren’t just unlimited places where the therapists can put a profile. There was one or two. So if you had a profile there you were one of the only therapists with a profile. So, marketing and advertising was easy.
Perry: So Eddie, you mentioned marketing a few times. How has marketing changed? What are ways that you advise therapists these days who have to wear that business owner cap to market themselves?
Eddie: Well, there’s two main approaches, and depending on your personality, which is what I focus on, you want to choose how you go about it. And the two main approaches is you can get out, put your feet on the ground and go out and meet people, and tell them what to do, and pass your card around. The other way is get on the internet. 90% of my clients probably find me on the internet, and the rest are pretty much kind of self-referrals, or maybe somebody I’ve bumped into. So that’s what you have to do. You’ve got to get your name out there and that’s becoming increasingly difficult as the number of places you can show up increases.
Perry: It definitely is becoming increasingly difficult but I’d love to hear– Going out there and networking, going out there and getting a website, those are all really important– But where do you go out and network? How do you begin networking? Do you go to just like a BNI or you’re going and recommending people, and network with doctors and physicians to get referral sources? What’s your strategy and how do you educate your therapist that you coach to start their marketing practice?
Eddie: Well, again it depends on their personality and one of the things I do that I think is really different from a lot of business consultant is that I’m going to tailor my approach, my suggestion, that advice to your personality. If you’re very much an introvert I would never suggest you go out and try to network. If you’re an extrovert I’d say, “Go at it! Get yourself out there! Go talk to people!” Where to go if you’re going to network is doctors, dentists, chiropractors, people that hear complaints about people’s lives. Hair dressers.
Eddie: Hairdressers are great resource. They hear all the stories. Massage therapists. My wife is a massage therapist. Massage therapists hear stories So anybody that hears stories. You can go out and talk to those folks and tell them what you do.
Perry: That’s some great advice there, Eddie. Especially the hairdressers line. I’ve never heard that before but that makes so much sense. I mean, the hair dressers that are cutting your hair, you’re seeing them regularly, they know who you are, they know your style. And you’re going to start a relationship. You’re going to start communicating with them. What else are you going to do in that chair for a half hour?
Eddie: Exactly. I always carry some cards with me anyway but when I go and get my hair cut my hairdresser gets another handful of cards.
Perry: Hahaha. That’s fantastic. We’ll definitely be sure to put that in the show notes so that everybody can see and be reminded of that. Eddie, one thing we find that therapists struggle with in the early days, and even the later days for some of them, is actually pricing themselves well. Can you share with our audience what your current hourly rate is to see clients and then sort of tell us how you got to that specific point?
Eddie: Yeah, my sessions are 45 minutes long and my fee is 200 dollars. I’m one of the pricier therapists in Atlanta and this is a big soapbox for me, Perry. So feel free to limit what I’m saying.
Perry: Soapbox away. Haha.
Eddie: Yeah, I can go forever on this. In workshops that I do, when I do a practice building kind of workshop I talk to my attendees and without telling them why I’m doing it, I say I’m going to go around the room and I’m going to ask you what your fee is. So, I’ll say, “What’s your fee?” And the general kind of answer is, “Oh, well I–” And I go, “I already don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want you to my therapist. What’s your fee?”, “Oh, well–“, “I don’t want to talk to you either. What’s your fee?”, “Well, I charge 85 dollars but I also have a sliding scale.”, “No, I don’t want you to be my therapist either.” And they’re all like, “Oh my God. How am I supposed to answer this correctly?” And the correct way to answer the question is just the way I answered it. My fee is 200 dollars. Period. That’s it.
Perry: But your fee has not always been 200 dollars, I would imagine, right?
Eddie: No. It’s not. And here’s another piece of my soapbox is that when I get to preaching with my consultees I’m like, “Look, when you can hang out a shingle as a master’s level therapist. Let’s not even think about PHDs but get master’s degree and get your license. You have more education and training than an attorney who can go out and hang a shingle up. And you’re charging 85 dollars an hour. Show me the worst attorney right out of school who’s hanging up a shingle that would work for that. Why?” So the real crust of the how to set your feet issue is in my opinion the sense of self-worth and lack of self-worth that therapist has for themselves and their service. I price myself where I am today because I’m right at the top in Atlanta and you can’t price yourself out of the market. But an attorney with as much experience as I have and being as good at their job as I am at mine would never in Atlanta work in less than 300 to 500 dollars an hour. I should be charging the same thing.
Perry: Right, but unfortunately like you said the market won’t bare 300 to 500 dollars an hour for therapy but–
Eddie: It won’t and I blame that squarely on therapists.
Perry: Hmm. That’s really fascinating, Eddie. So how would you recommend then somebody who is just getting started in their private practice? Who has no clients, maybe one or two, how do you recommend that they price themselves?
Eddie: They price themselves– First of all you’ve got to look at the market you’re in. If you’re in a small rural community you’re not going to be able to charge as much as you are in a big city. And there’s actually laws. I think this is certainly in the state of Georgia because I know that for a fact, but it could be nationally that therapists cannot among themselves in a public forum discuss their fees. It has to do with price fixing. So you can’t just put out on a research, “Hey what do you guys charge?” So you’ve got to do some research. You’ve got to go to the therapy site and take a look at what people are charging and how much experience they have. But more importantly Perry, it’s that sense of self-worth. You have to be able to say your fee with utter confidence. That what you’re doing is worth that. So that’s what I really work with therapists on is to how to be able to spit out a number without stuttering.
Perry: I agree. That’s knowing your price and having confidence that you are worth that amount. As long as your fee is within what the market is and it’s a reasonable fee. Say it with confidence. I charge 150 dollars for a 45 minute session. Or, I charge 125 dollars for a 45 minute session and a 150 dollars for a 45 minute session with a couple. There can be some flexibility but know what your rates are and say them confidently because you’re worth it.
Eddie: Exactly. And that’s what I think therapists as a group really needs to work on and learn.
Perry: Do you have any resources that you would recommend for our therapists to learn more? Obviously, besides the Therapist Experience here. Any great ways for them to learn those techniques and those strategies?
Eddie: Well, just in terms of the pricing and being able to price yourself and say that you’re going to have to go to therapy. Therapy is the only place that’s going to change. Because it really is about your own sense of yourself. And that changes in therapy, which is another soapbox of mine that if therapists aren’t going to therapy something’s wrong with them. Who would want to go to a service provider that doesn’t believe in their service enough to use it?
Perry: Eddie, have you ever used a business coach? You seem very in tune. First you mention marketing many, many times which is often sort of like a dirty word for therapists. It certainly shouldn’t be but it seems like you have a really great sense of business.
Eddie: I do. And part of that is that I was born an entrepreneur.
Perry: What do you mean by that?
Eddie: Well, I think that– One of the things when somebody first comes to me, a therapist first comes to me, for consulting is I give them kind of a little quiz by just talking to them. I want to find out genetically where they are on the entrepreneurial scale. And I’m absolutely convinced this is a genetic trade. On one end of the scale is a government worker, very happy to get the same paycheck every week and have that pension, and it’s all mapped out and they don’t have to think about it. On the other end is me and I’m maxed out in that. And the way that I describe that end is that if someone came to me and said, “Eddie, I’ll tell you what. I want to hire you. You’re going to be an employee and you can do exactly what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, the way you’re doing it. I’ll never say a word about any of that. All you need to do is ask me what time to show up for work, when to take a lunch hour, how long that lunch hour is. I’m only going to give you two weeks of vacation a year and you have to ask me if it’s okay to take those two weeks. I will pay you 10 million dollars a year.” I certainly would take the job but I would probably be fired within the first hour and a half.
Perry: Entrepreneurs make bad employees.
Eddie: They are horrible employees. So the first thing you want to find out is where are you. And I’ve told a number of people who’ve come to me for consulting, who want to have a private practice, “Go get a job. You won’t make it because you’re so far down on the scale. If you’re in the middle of that scale, you can make it if you’re able to hire a number of people to handle these things for you. Because you don’t have the personality for it.” And the primary trait that therapists lack is being able to sell. I’ve got a background in sales. I was a sales trainer and a lot of what I learned as a sales trainer and as a sales person applies directly to therapy. Being able to say your price, being sure about what you’re doing, believing in what you’re doing and closing the deal. All of that sounds like– Like you said, that’s just awful. For therapists it’s bad words but I explain to them that is exactly what you do in therapy. You are in the business of persuasion.
Perry: Most certainly. You’re to persuade people to change their lives.
Eddie: Exactly. And if you can’t sell that idea, if you can’t close that deal then your clients won’t change.
Perry: Eddie, what’s the single best marketing move you’ve made for your practice and why do you feel it’s worked so well?
Eddie: Single best move… I guess, historically, getting involved with the internet. That changed everything in terms of marketing. But I guess as I kind of maul your question around is my own self-development is the best thing that I’ve ever done. And these terms of having a good sense of what I’m worth and what I do, what that’s worth. That’s the single best thing anybody can do in terms of trying to run any kind of a business or be successful in that business. To have a real true sense of confidence and self-assureness. Not in any sort of narcissistic way but to be quiet and– A quiet sort of sense, being able to say, “I’m really good at what I do.” People sometimes say, when I tell them what my fee is, they’ll go, “That’s a lot of money.” And I go, “It sure is.”
Perry: Hahahahahahaha. That was awesome.
Eddie: And they generally do what you do. They start to laugh. And then I go, “And it’s worth every penny and more.”
Perry: And that’s sales but sales doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sales is a good thing.
Eddie: Sales is a great thing and the way that I talk about sales is that you are selling so much of the time in your life. When you go out and you’re trying to get a date you’re selling. When you’re trying to get your kids to go to bed you’re selling. So learning sales techniques will apply to virtually everything you do.
Perry: That is so incredibly true. And I wish I could remember the name of this book. It’s by Malcolm Gladwell, I believe. Who wrote Outliers. He also wrote a book about this specific thing. About sales and how everybody is a salesman.
Eddie: Was that in his book Blink?
Perry: I’m not sure. I’m looking– I can hear you typing away as well. Everybody being a salesman but I can’t find it. I’m pretty sure it was Malcolm Gladwell. I have the book at home.
Eddie: Goliath? No.
Perry: Anyways, the idea is the same. It’s that everyone’s a salesman in life. It might be in a Tipping Point actually. Where whether you’re trying to get a date, whether you are trying to sell your kids to get into their pajamas that night which I struggle with every night with my three year old. You need to know how to negotiate and how to sell. You need to persuade people. The art of persuasion. And as a therapist you need to persuade people and sell them to change their lives. So we’re all salesmen today, whether you like it or not.
Eddie: And we’ve always have been. Our species didn’t survive because we were the fittest. People get that wrong about Darwin. Darwin talked about adaptation. You mentioned earlier we were talking about being able to adapt in marketing and advertising. But we survive because we cooperate and that’s how our species survive. And we do that with selling, with negotiation, with working out deals that work well for everybody involved.
Perry: Eddie, I think that is a great spot for us to take our break here before we move on to my favorite part of the show and have one of our lead developers come in here and give our weekly website tip. So, let’s hold that thought, let’s keep talking about sales. I love sales and marketing, you love sales and marketing. Hopefully the therapists listening to this will learn to love sales and marketing. Because once you do it makes things a lot easier. We’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be back in about a minute.
This week’s website tip comes from Sascha Montgomery. A lead developer at Brighter Vision, a worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. To learn more go to www.brightervision.com.
Sascha: Hey everyone. Sascha Montgomery here. There are tons of contact form tools out there. Some are easy to use and some are incredibly challenging. At Brighter Vision we prefer the ease of use and functionality of gravity forms. Gravity forms allows for drag and drop building of a contact form. But the additional functionality and feature set is what we really love about it. Some of the ways we utilize gravity forms for clients includes creating newsletter signup boxes, allowing clients to accept payments through Paypal or credit cards, event registrations and payment for events, directory listings for local counseling associations, and so much more. To see some examples in action go to this week’s show notes at www.brightervision.com/session9.
And now back to our conversation with Perry and Eddie.
Perry: Alright Eddie. Now we’re going to move into my favorite part of the interview. The part we like to refer to as brighter insights, our goal is to really distill your experience down into little sound bites and quick answers that therapists can use to inspire, motivate, and really just get them excited about growing their private practice. So are you ready, Eddie?
Eddie: Fire one.
Perry: Alright cool. So what or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Eddie: Oh my gosh. It really isn’t a whom, it’s a what. As I mentioned earlier in the program, it was my own experience of my life just not working the way I wanted it to and being really curious about that that led me to go take psychology 101 course. And I was hooked from the moment I started.
Perry: What do you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Eddie: I exhale.
Perry: Just exhale?
Eddie: Exhale. I teach relaxation, meditation, stress management, those sorts of things but I have my own name for it. I call it Regulating the Nervous System, and exhaling is the very best single thing you can do. So I exhale and I stick to a routine as best I can. Being a golfer– If there are any golfers listening to this they know the importance of routine. Do the same thing every time before you hit a shot or make a put. Try to do the same thing in the morning when you get ready. So that clicks in, this is what I’m doing. My mornings for golf are a little different than my mornings for the work.
Perry: What does your morning for golf look like?
Eddie: It looks like getting up excited, having breakfast, running through my mind all the things that I want to accomplish that day, and putting myself in a frame of mind that I can form on the golf course. Whereas starting work is a matter of really centering myself. I’m one of those therapists that believes that the instrument I play as a therapist is me and that who I am as human being has everything to do with how well therapy is going to go for my client. So it’s a matter of being centered, and genuine, and authentic, and real as I possibly can before I go into that session.
Perry: What are some tools that you’ve used to leverage the power of technology in your practice, so that technology is no longer a hurdle but instead an asset for you?
Eddie: Well, my first thought is– It is an asset and a hurdle. It’s one of those things that I have a love-hate relationship with. Some of the best things are what I just recently did. I recently got certified as a certified distance counselor so that I can see clients online and meet all the requirements of being able to do that legally and ethically. I honestly think that as we move forward tele-mental help, tele-health, just like tele-conferencing is going to be really big.
Perry: I agree entirely. What tool do you use for tele-health? Are you with WECouncil or Teralink or have you not even gotten that far yet?
Eddie: The platform I use– I’m not going to say any names because I tried several and I’m not happy with any of them. So any developers out there who want to develop a really terrific site for therapists, the market’s wide open right now. Because you’ve got to have a hypo-compliant. You’ve got to be able to protect confidentiality. There’s a lot of things that a platform has to have. You can’t do that on Skype.
Perry: Most certainly not.
Eddie: And Skype wouldn’t be a great platform anyway. There’s too many approaches in it. So yeah, picking a video platform but the key is to find a really good place to go and get full training on. Because it is a different animal than sitting with somebody.
Perry: What’s a quote that you hold near and dear? Something that has helped formulate your perspective on life and has helped inspire, motivate, or provide a guidance for you?
Eddie: “In the end only kindness matters.” And that was Jewel quoting Budhist philosophy.
Perry: I love it Eddie and it’s so true.
Eddie: It’s really that being kind is a better way, really, to say get along because it’s kindness. And what I really teach more than anything else is how to be kind and most people do not have any idea what that really means or how to really do it. And the way that I prove to people that they are not very good at being kind is I say, “Just do me a favor and spend, whenever you’re by yourself, 15 minutes listening to the way you talk to yourself. And then come back and tell me how kind you are.”
Perry: And how does that go?
Eddie: It goes the same every time. “I’m not very nice to myself.” And I go, “Exactly. If you truly knew how to be kind you would be kind to yourself.”
Perry: Eddie, if you could recommend one book to our audience, what would that book be?
Eddie: Ooh. Boy, that’s a toughie.
Perry: Wait ’till you hear the next one. Haha.
Eddie: Alright. Probably it’s somewhat dated but it’s still the book and I’m going what book has influenced me the most. And probably the book that ripped me apart more than any other book was John Bradshaw’s Healing The Shame That Binds You. John was a world leader back when I started my business and became a therapist. And he sort of has faded it as his career winds down. Brene Brown is sort of the person who’s picked up the shame issue and ran with it. And she’s doing a fine job but she hasn’t said anything new that Bradshaw didn’t, say, early on. That book really blew me away. And when I recommend it like I’m doing now, I get a little cabiat. Do not sit down and read it cover to cover in any quick amount of time. Take your time with it. There’s so much painful truth in that book that will absolutely change your life, that it’s difficult to digest, but if I have to go with one book that would be it.
Perry: And as always, everybody listening here, we’ll have the link to that book and all the other great resources and advice Eddie has provided here, in the show notes which you’ll be able to find at brightervision.com/session9. Alright, Eddie. Time for the last question, and I think it’s going to be a little bit more challenging. It’s my favorite though. If you moved to a new city tomorrow and you didn’t know anybody there. And all you had was just your computer and 100 dollars to start a new private practice what is it that you would do on your very first day?
Eddie: I would log on to all of the counseling websites, and Google Adwords, and Bing and if I didn’t have the accounts, I’d set them up and I’d get my sites on there and that’s how I would go to work.
Perry: So Psychology Today, goodtherapy.org, buying traffic on Google and Bing. Any other places that I missed out there in the directories that you like?
Perry: Oh yes, you’re big on Kudzu.
Eddie: I’ll tell you what, when Kudzu started– Kudzu is based here in Atlanta. It’s Cox Communication. They’re huge in terms of radio, TV, newspapers, and the internet. And when Kudzu first started I somehow connected with them before they ever launched and actually helped them develop the part of Kudzu that therapists use. And going, “No, you can’t do it that way. You can’t do it that way.” Because we’re different than landscapers and plumbers.
Perry: Just a little bit.
Eddie: Yeah. So we had set the site up and just applied for Kudzu. The very first I ever got from Kudzu, however many years ago that was, provided enough income between that client and the clients that were referred through that client have paid for all of my Kudzu advertising for the rest of my life.
Perry: Oh my gosh.
Eddie: And I tell that story to help therapists really wrap their head around something that is so basic in business that everybody knows it. You spend money to make money. Therapists are terrified to spend any money, right? So you go out and you spend the money on the advertising and marketing, and even making mistakes at it, it will come back to you. There’s not a month that’s gone by in my practice since I’ve spent money marketing and advertising that I didn’t make more in that month than I spent on marketing and advertising. I think it’s impossible unless you have no idea what you’re doing. So that’s really it.
Perry: So Eddie, tell us more about Kudzu. Do you pay to keep your listing at the top? How does the advertising work on Kudzu because I don’t know– We have over 500 clients and I don’t think any other client except you has a Kudzu profile.
Eddie: Oh my gosh. The way that it works is like most other sites like that, but the difference with Kudzu is that you’re able to review the services. That’s a huge difference. And other services are starting to pick up on that a little bit, but I pick Kudzu to have my little profile the same way that Psychology Today does or any of those sites. And I also pay for the featured listing. I buy the most of whatever it is they sell.
Perry: That good?
Eddie: Yeah. Because again, you’re competing against other therapists and it’s kind of funny here in Atlanta Kudzu market, if you take the top 10 therapists in terms of reviews and ratings and things like that on Kudzu in Antlanta, I probably twisted eight of those 10 arms to get people to advertise on Kudzu. Because, again, therapists don’t want to spend any money. But the money’s well worth it because– Back to, I think, where my point was going is I spend as much money as I can there because it’s going to set me very far apart from every other therapist on the site. Because all they’re doing is a very basic little profile with just a little bit of information and if you go to Kudzu, you can try this out. Pull up kudzu.com, go to Atlanta and search for a counselor. What you’re going to see is at the top of a page you’re going to see a banner ad for my service. On the side of that page you’re going to see what’s called a skyscraper ad for my service. And even if you click on Joe’s Therapy and you go to Joe’s site on Kudzu, you’re still going to see that skyscraper ad from Getting Along Incorporated on there.
Perry: I just did that same exact thing. 100% correct. And these are really nice profile sites for Kudzu.
Eddie: They are. They do a terrific job and Cox Communications is deep, deep pockets. They are right in line with Coca Cola. They’ve been around since the beginning of Atlanta and their names– The Cox name is all over the place in terms of donating money to build simphony halls and things like that in the arts. So they’re a terrific company, the customer service is fantastic. They bend over backwards. Not everything I’ve done with Kudzu works but I will try everything with them once.
Perry: Well Eddie, we’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. We’ll include Kudzu profile and also kudzu.com so anybody who’s interested in seeing what’s going on over there and maybe checking it out for your own business, you’ll have an easy way to do that. Eddie, any parting advice for our listeners here?
Eddie: If we’re talking primarily to therapists about the therapist experience, the single best thing I can say– I’ve already said it once, is go to therapy. I tell prospective clients, it’s on all of my websites. If you’re choosing a therapist, there’s only one question to ask, “How much therapy have you been in?” And I tell folks that if the therapist hesitates at all just hang up the phone and go to the next name on your list. Good therapists have had good therapy and a lot of it. I honestly believe that I could take anyone of the street who wanted to be in therapy, put them in therapy, never once show them a text book, a self-help book, anything. But give them a good five to ten years of their own personal therapy and I would be very comfortable putting him in front of a client and walking out of the room. That’s what makes a difference. in terms of therapists. So that’s the best single piece of advice I can give to any therapist.
Perry: Well Eddie, where can our listeners find out more about you and connect with you online?
Eddie: They can go to my Brighter Vision website. It’s a gettingalong.net. They can find me there, they can find me at Kudzu. Just do a Google search and my name will popup from a lot of different sources. I hope you can tell I’m extremely passionate about this subject matter. I want therapists to be successful. I want therapists to learn to sell and market and promote. I want the general public to never ever look at me with blank stare if I say psychotherapist. Before I die I want to have the experience of somebody going, “Oh my God. You are? That is awesome.”
Perry: Well Eddie, we’re going to have you back on the show here just like a sales course. Just to give our audience a sales course. Sales 101 for therapists and we’ll get that scheduled maybe for like the fall because I think you have so much great advice and so much that our audience can learn from you and take away and apply to their own practice. Something really fascinating before we get going here. Eddie was actually, I’m pretty certain Eddie you were one of the first 12 Brighter Vision clients ever.
Eddie: I was.
Perry: And we’re actually in the process of revamping your website because our quality standards have shifted dramatically since then and we want to get you a new great website up here. And it’s just crazy, you know, just how far Eddie your practice has come in your entrepreneurial journey. So thank you so much for being so generous with your time and expertise. Again, any questions you have or if you want show notes or connect with Eddie you can go to brightervision.com/session9. Eddie, we appreciate all the great insight and advice that you provided, and the therapist experience that you have shared here. Thank you again.
Eddie: Oh you’re welcome Perry. I really appreciate you guys and all that you do. And all the listeners out there, don’t hesitate to contact me. You get me going on this and I’ll get going. I’ll have a good time talking about this. I really do want therapists to be successful
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 new website please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. For just 59 dollars a month you’ll get a website that’s as unique as your practice. Unlimited technical support and complementary SEO so people actually find you online. To learn more head on over to brightervision.com and shoot us a note through one of our contact forms. That does it for today. Thank you again so much for your time and for listening and you will hear us next week.