Brighter Spotlight with Jessica Tappana
Introducing December’s inspiring Brighter Spotlight, Jessica Tappana. Jessica is a therapist who turned her own experiences as a group therapy practice owner into the opportunity of a lifetime.
Jessica quickly learned the importance of online marketing when building her own successful group practice and a well-ranking website has been the #1 marketing tool for her therapy practice. In fact, she went from nonexistent to a thriving group practice with 6 therapists in less than 2 years!
Sit back with us as Jessica walks us through her whirlwind journey from starting a group practice, to opening a second business providing search engine optimization for other private practice owners.
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Q: Tell us a little bit about you and your practice – what do you specialize in, where is your office, how often do you see clients, why did you become a therapist, etc.
A: I initially decided I wanted to become a therapist when I was 12 and some friends started telling me all their problems because I was the “good listener” in my friend group. I was in counseling myself at the time, so when my friends started talking to me it dawned on me that I could help others the way my therapist was helping me.
My group practice, Aspire Counseling, specializes in offering evidence-based counseling services in Columbia, MO. We have 6 therapists and a virtual assistant and are completely self-pay. I personally specialize in helping survivors of sexual assault heal from PTSD and college students overcome anxiety. I currently see about 10 clients per week and generally devote two days per week to my private practice. All of my clinicians are 1099s, so they’re very self-sufficient. We’re able to offer them a really supportive, comfortable environment with everything they need to offer excellent counseling to clients and a steady stream of referrals.
My “second job” is helping therapists get to the top of Google. I joke that I started this business accidentally. I learned to do SEO for my own business almost out of desperation. Everyone who was calling Aspire wanted to work with me personally, because they’d heard about me from their friend/doctor/school counselor. I needed a way to fill the caseloads of the new clinicians I was adding to my practice.
Once I learned my own SEO, other therapists started asking me for help. I quickly learned that the same concepts that helped me on my own website were getting my friends websites ranking very, very quickly in much larger, more competitive areas. Before I knew it, I was helping people on a regular basis and needed to create my own LLC and Simplified SEO Consulting was born!
Simplified SEO Consulting now has a small team of SEO specialists and takes up more of my time than my private practice. We offer both SEO training for therapists who want to learn to do their own SEO and “done for you” services for therapists looking to outsource and needing really in-depth SEO work.
Q: What is the biggest reason you’re glad you became a therapist / SEO consultant for therapists?
A: I believe in the power of counseling. I’ve seen so many lives transformed. I continue to see clients myself because of those breakthrough moments where someone realizes that they truly feel better keep me going.
But I also love that I’ve been able to expand my impact through first my group practice and now helping other practices. My favorite is when someone has a niche and they are worried that they’re “too niched.” Then, we get them ranking really well on Google and they’re able to see exactly the type of client they want to see. I believe that when this happens, I’m helping match the right therapist with the right clients and everyone benefits.
I recently had a new private practice owner reach out to me. She named two practice owners I’d worked with before and said she met each completely separately and both had said working with me was the single best business decision they’d ever made. Both have completed our initial work together, have thriving group practices now and have grown by leaps and bounds since I first worked with them. That is why I love what I do. I’m able to see my impact on the individual level through my counseling sessions, but then I know I’m helping excellent therapists around the country (and now the world) grow their practices so they can help more people as well!
Q: What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working?
A: It sounds cliché, but the answer is to spend time with my kids. On a daily basis, my kids and I love to craft or go to the park. On a bigger scale, I LOVE to travel. We’re huge Disney fans, so Orlando is probably our favorite destination most years but right now we’re planning a family vacation to Europe in the Spring.
Q: When did you become a Brighter Vision client, and why?
A: I became a Brighter Vision client because I’m terrible at design. With both businesses, I first tried to make my own website. But the truth is that I’m terrible at design. They looked awful. So, I’d heard about Brighter Vision through Practice of the Practice and decided to give them a try with my private practice. The process went smoothly, and I was happy with my website.
When Simplified SEO Consulting became a real business, I again tried to make my own website primarily so I could teach myself Wix. But I again learned that I’m not a designer and decided to have Brighter Vision design that site as well. Plus, I love that there’s unlimited support so if I decide I don’t like the way something looks (even though some things I now know how to do on my own), I can e-mail Brighter Vision and they’ll very quickly make the change for me.
Q: What methods were you using to attract new clients before you had your BV website(s)?
A: I got my first Brighter Vision site so early on, that I hadn’t really done a lot to attract new clients. Mostly, I’d gotten referrals from other professionals in the area. To be honest, those referrals filled my individual caseload but they just weren’t cutting it to get other clinicians filled when I transitioned to a group practice.
Q: How did your process of attracting and attaining new clients change after your BV website(s) went live?
A: At this point, my website is the primary source of marketing for my private practice especially. Don’t get me wrong, we still get plenty of referrals from other professionals and former clients. But over half of our referrals now come from our website. We might run a quick Facebook Ad when we add a new clinician, but otherwise, our website is pretty much the only marketing expense I have for my private practice.
For the SEO business, we are having some therapists find us online, but the majority probably still hear about us first by word of mouth. Then, they find us online and contact us through the website.
Q: What is your favorite part of your therapy practice’s BV website? How does it represent you and your practice?
A: Honestly, my favorite part is how easy the website is to use…
But more specifically… I love the “Our Team” page.
It gets a lot of views and is a quick and easy way for people to get a quick overview of all our therapists. We have a picture of each clinician along with a very brief description and a list of their ideal populations. Then, people can click on a button to go to the therapist’s individual page and learn more. I just feel proud anytime I see the page though. It reminds me of what high-quality clinicians I’ve brought on. I also list myself last on the page since I’m generally not looking for new clients. Most of the time, the newest clinician is listed at the top since that is the clinician whose caseload I am most interested in filling.
Q: What is your favorite part of your SEO consulting BV website? How does it represent that particular business?
A: I love that the website integrates easily with Mailchimp & Acuity. So, people can easily join my mailing list by signing up for my 7-day SEO e-mail series (Mailchimp) or schedule an initial consultation with one of our SEO specialists (Acuity).
It makes everything really easy for people viewing my sites and I literally get new people entering my funnel or scheduling appointments straight from my website while I sleep! It represents the way that we’re trying to simplify things for our clients. We take something our clients are fearful about (technology) and simplify it from the very beginning by making it easy to get started!
Q: What is something you now know about marketing your practice, or making a private practice website, that you have learned from your experience with BV?
A: That it’s ok that I don’t have an eye for design! Sometimes it’s worth it to outsource things. Creating a website was worth having someone else do. Brighter Vision generally makes the process easy and that allows me to focus my time and energy on the marketing activities I’m really good at – namely SEO.
Q: How do you keep organized and on-schedule in your day-to-day life?
A: I keep a very detailed planner! I have personally found that a written calendar works better for me than an electronic. There’s something about seeing things on paper that just “stick” better for me. But that also means I have to be careful about keeping my availability updated on my scheduling software since people make SEO appointments with me directly on my website!
Q: How do you make time for self-care with your busy schedule?
A: First, I try to remind myself that everything is a season. For instance, I always say any schedule I create is only for a semester and then we re-evaluate based on the needs of my family and businesses. This helps when I feel stressed about my schedule because I remember that I can always tweak my schedule in the not-so-distant future.
Importantly, I draw boundaries in certain areas. For instance, picking up my children several days of the week is non-negotiable for me. Then, the precious time between 3-5 pm when it’s just me and my kiddos before my husband gets home, I absolutely do not answer work phone calls or check work e-mails. On the rare occasion, I do sneak a peek at my phone, my son will say, “Mommy, I thought I’m more important than work. Can you please put your phone down and not work right now?” I’ve taught him that if he’s polite like this I’ll do exactly that because my kids ARE the most important thing in my life.
Lastly, I have a variety of other self-care activities I fit in. These include social activities (I have a couple of friends that I have monthly standing coffee or dinner dates with), attending sporting events with my family, traveling and working out.
Q: What other tools or services do you use to help boost your business?
Q: What have you found to be the most important piece of advice someone has given you about being a private practice owner?
A: Wow! I’ve received so much advice that this is difficult to answer! Probably the best answer was to build my business around my family. That was hard to understand sometimes. Sometimes, I think I need to be 100% flexible to meet the needs of clients and keep them happy. But the truth is, the more I know my own family’s needs are met the better work I do. So, I’ve had to make some hard decisions. For instance, working fewer evenings meant seeing fewer teenagers. However, things with the business have worked out and it’s always been worth it when I’ve made decisions with the intention of balance home/work.
Q: Do you have any pieces of advice for someone just starting their own private practice journey?
A: Find a niche! I know this one comes up a lot. But it’s so true! From an SEO perspective, it’s easier to rank for a specific counseling niche. However, there are a million other reasons to niche! From a general marketing perspective, people are more likely to want to see an “expert” and will often drive up to an hour just to see someone who really specializes in the thing they are coming into counseling for! From a burnout prevention standpoint, you’ll be happier with work when you’re doing the type of work that most excites you. From a client care standpoint, you’ll be better at your job when you focus on gaining a lot of training & experience in just a couple of key areas of practice. So, for all of these reasons and more, I think it’s really smart to niche early on in the process of starting and marketing a new private practice.
Want to follow in Jessica’s footsteps? Give your practice the very best and try out the world’s leading therapist website service – Brighter Vision.
Reach out to our customer happiness team today and learn how one of our custom-built websites can help you grow the practice of your dreams.