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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: What’s going on, y’all? This is Dr. Jeremy Sharp. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, episode 8.

Welcome everybody to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m Dr. Jeremy Sharp. I am really excited to have you with me today, Joe Sanok. You may know of Joe from hosting the number one podcast for counselors and mental health practice consulting, the Practice of the Practice podcast.

Joe is also a speaker, a mental health counselor, and a business consultant. On his podcast, he has interviewed a number of very well-known, very cool guests, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Chris Ducker, Rob Bell, Glennon Doyle Melton, and Lewis Howes. Joe is also a writer. He’s written for Psych Central, Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Bustle, and Yahoo News. He also is a keynote speaker and has authored 5 books. Joe tends to talk about things like the DNA of the human brain, how to slow down to spark innovation, and seven practices of the practice- how to set, achieve and outsource ideas.

Joe, welcome to the podcast.

Joe: Jeremy, thank you so much for having me. This is great. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for coming on. 

Joe: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Sharp: I imagine you hear this a lot. I feel like I have known you for a long time because I’ve been listening to your podcast, but we have just been introduced over the last 6 or 8 months. I’ve been working with Joe on some consulting. It was interesting when I was looking around for a consultant, Joe, and interviewing folks, I kept coming back to you because we have these interesting connections that keep [00:02:00] popping up. One of them is that it seems like both of us had our first introduction to our wives via snowboarding. 

Joe: That’s awesome. I want to hear your snowboarding story.

Dr. Sharp: Well, my wife still tells the story about how we drove up. This was our first date. I picked her up at 5:00 in the morning. That was one thing just to start off. We were both bleary-eyed and kind of like, oh gosh, what do we do? So we drive two and a half hours up to the nearest mountain. We went to Keystone here in Colorado and it was snowing so badly all the way up, which is great for snowboarding, but not good for a conversation on a first date. So she’d still joke about how I am just like white-knuckling it in the car and trying to be cool and calm and do this date thing with her. 

Joe: That’s gutsy for both of you to go on a two-and-a-half-hour drive with a person on their first date. I think I would meet up and have my friend call me halfway through or something. So that’s amazing. 

Dr. Sharp: Right. Yeah, we just went for it. So, that was interesting. And we both had dreadlocks. Any number of things. So I’m excited to have you here.

Joe: Oh, I’m really excited to be here too. 

Dr. Sharp: Very cool. Joe, I wanted to start off and just talk with you a little bit about your practice. I know that you have recently hired a psychologist who does assessmentss for you. So I’d like to get to that. Just tell us a little bit about your practice and what you do as a director of your practice, and then we’ll go from there. 

Joe: I started in 2006 as a contractor for a small group or actually a pretty large group practice down in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And then in 2009, my wife and I moved back to our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. I had filed an LLC when I was a contractor, and so, I just moved it up here. It was really just a side [00:04:00] gig to pay off student loan debt.

I was a foster care supervisor, I had this small practice going on the side, and then I got hired by a community college and I added 2 clinicians because I was so full that I couldn’t do it outside of that 40-hour job. And I had 3 other people working for me while I was still working my 40-hour-a-week job.

Over time, I started to look at my numbers and realized that in this 10 to 15 hours a week running this little side gig, I was making as much as I was in my 40 hour a week job. So about two years ago, I left that full-time job and really just decided that I wanted to do full-time practice.

In the summer, we got up to 11 people in the group practice. I haven’t looked back. It’s been such an amazing change for my life. I’ve slowed down in so many ways where I work 3 or 3.5 days a week and have 4-day weekends with my two little girls and my wife. it really for me has been such a positive health change and professional change, and the bottom line income has gone up as well. 

Dr. Sharp: That’s fantastic. There’s a lot to unpack there, I think, in what you said. Congratulations, of course, on growing your practice. It sounds like you have a lot going on. So, of those 11 clinicians, can you tell me how many are counselors? How many are psychologists? I know one does testing. Is that right?

Joe:  Yeah. This summer we peaked at 11. At that time, 2 of them were moonlighters where they’d see 5 or 6 people a week, and then other ones were aiming towards full-time or they were full-time. And so I was thinking, I actually want to downsize a little bit and just focus on a handful because when you get that big, everybody has opinions and I wasn’t really good with people telling me what to do.

So wait, actually, it naturally worked itself out where people moved. Actually, 4 of them moved and left in a really short period of time. The rest of the practice was like, what is happening? Everybody’s leaving. And it was for all legitimate reasons. They all left on really good terms.

So [00:06:00] now we’re actually down to 5 clinicians, which is actually been really nice to just invest in those 5. So I have 1 psychologist. I have 3 licensed professional counselors, 1 social worker, and then myself. I’m an LLP; a limited licensed psychologist in Michigan, and then I’m also a licensed professional counselor.

Dr. Sharp: Got you. I want to ask about the psychologist, of course. We talk a lot about testing here but I’m also curious just for you as a practice owner, how much are you actually doing counseling each week these days versus more administrative or testing stuff?

Joe: For me, I have really noticed a change for myself over the last two years. I have really being drawn to doing the consulting with people that own practices. And so, I would say that’s the big thing that I try to spend most of my time on. I only do 3 to 5 sessions a week now.

I bet I spend half an hour a week working on the actual practice and doing admin-type things. I’ve really outsourced a lot of that. I have right now 4 virtual assistants that do a variety of different things for me. And the more that I can take off my plate and really do the things that I do best, the easier it is for me to continue to level up in those areas of consulting, podcasting, and helping people grow their practices. 

Dr. Sharp: Sure. It sounds like you have really done a good job of slimming down, and like you said, slowing down, which I would love to talk about here later as we go along. That’s been a big focus for you over the last few months.

Before that though, let’s really dive into the psychologist part and the assessment part. How did you decide that you wanted to bring on a psychologist who focused on assessment? 

Joe: My dad, he is a PhD level psychologist. He worked in the schools and did assessments. Whenever it was Take Your Son to Work Day, I’d go with him and go to schools. I could never sit in on the assessments, but I would see what he [00:08:00] did.

In 2nd grade, I wrote a paper about why I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up. And so for me being a psychologist, like I never wanted to be a firefighter or anything like that. I did want to be a railroad conductor at one point when I was a kid because we lived by a railroad for a little bit, but other than that, my whole life, it was just like, I’m going to go into counseling or psychology. And so it was never a question. It was more of how it fit my own personality.

And so when I launched the practice, I really had discovered that for me, personally, testing and assessments wasn’t something that I enjoyed. I think they’re awesome. They provide such valuable feedback, but it wasn’t where I personally wanted to spend my time.

But I was out for coffee with a friend of mine who is an attorney locally, and she was venting about how she was sending almost all of her custody evaluations down to Grand Rapids, which is two and a half hours south of here. So people would have to drive down there multiple times. They would have to bring their kids down and go through this assessment with someone that didn’t know their community and how she was just so frustrated by thsi.

I knew that I was going to be looking for someone that would come on and really aim to be full-time. And so, as I talked with this attorney more, I said, “Could you send me some custody evaluations that you’ve really liked with the names and everything redacted. I’m just getting a sense of what you like. And then maybe we can talk about what you’d want improved upon as I look for somebody that could join the practice?”

So really, the stars aligned when Dr. Marilyn Fitzgerald reached out to me and we started to talk and really she wanted to do custody evaluations. And as she met with this attorney, they talked through what would meet her needs as an attorney, and what would be best for a kid-focused custody, evaluation? What are the things that are really log jams in the system right now?

There were 2 people in Traverse City that were doing custody evaluations, but they often wouldn’t get the reports to the attorneys till two days before they went to court, which just isn’t enough time for the attorneys to really talk to their clients. And so, speed, quality, all of those were things [00:10:00] that Marilyn really focused on providing, especially because she wasn’t full at that point. And so it was easier for her to say, okay, I’m going to give this over-the-top customer service to attorneys and the families that I work with.

So for me, really helping her frame who she helps was what I did as a practice owner to market herself more for me to market her. And then she is reaching out to continue to get custody evaluations. 

Dr. Sharp: Gosh, you said a lot of important stuff in there. One thing that really jumped out to me is just the value of turning a report around pretty quickly. I think that just cuts across any discipline of testing. Having a quick report turnaround is so valuable to everyone. 

Joe: Yeah. And I think that even beyond just the reports, when you think about customer service, if you called your primary care doctor to schedule a new appointment, and then you had 4 or 5 phone calls back and forth, and you just couldn’t schedule it, you would get frustrated by that.

But in a lot of counseling practices, that’s the norm where you don’t have somebody that’s answering the phones and you feel like, well, until I have a really big practice, then I can afford to have somebody. But realistically now with virtual assistance and with your phone systems that can be forwarded to people’s cell phones, it’s really easy to have somebody just answer your phone so that you can schedule new appointments.

And so, I think at every level, we have to evaluate our speed and our quality that we’re giving so that we can stand out in our markets. So that’s going to be in the form of your tests, the test’s speed, just returning emails and phone calls. And if you don’t have the time to do that, having an assistant do that’s trained and obviously has signed a business associate agreement and all of that to be in compliance with HIPAA, but we have to level up what we do in regards to customer service on every level. And I think testing would just be one aspect of that.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I totally agree with you. And I’m gosh, somewhat ashamed to say that it took me a lot longer than it should have to bring on a full-time assistant here in the practice. But all I can say is that since we have done that, it has [00:12:00] revolutionized our practice even more. We were successful before that, but it has just been a huge leveling up. Clients are happier, things are running smoother. It’s super important. 

Joe: I can’t think of a situation unless someone’s getting zero phone calls that they’re not going to be cost positive. Jeremy, if you get a new evaluation for you or one of your clinicians, or if even a counselor gets someone that’s $100 an hour and they come for 10 sessions, that that phone call is worth $1000 to $5000 or $10,000 plus all the people that person would refer and talk positively. And so, how many hours of time would you have to pay for that person to make that up? I mean, they’re almost always cost positive where you’re spending less and you’re getting more. 

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. I think for us, or at least personally, for me, a big hurdle in bringing on someone to answer the phone was not knowing if they would be able to describe testing services like I would, and I think just for anyone listening who might be considering that, it’s definitely trainable. My admin personnel honestly knows a lot about testing just over the past few months, from talking about the services on the phone with folks. 

Joe: Yeah. The rule of thumb that I’ve heard is that when you’re training someone to do something that you’ve done, you should expect to spend about 20 times, however long the task is. So if it’s a 10-minute task, it should take you about 200 minutes or so to teach them how to do that exactly like you. And when you hear that, you’re like, whoa, that is a ton of time for a 10-minute task, but you figure if they do it 20 times, and take that off your plate, then all of a sudden, you’re in the black bag again.

And so it’s not going to be where, oh my gosh, this was a big waste of time. Instead, it’s going to be, I trained somebody to take this off of my plate. Now, after that 200 minutes, I can do whatever I want with that time because they’ve taken it over and can do it as [00:14:00] well, if not better than how I did it.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, for sure. And if you do the math, at least in our clinic, that 200 minutes sounds like a lot like, oh gosh, almost four hours, but that gets made up for us in like two days, maybe three days. So, a little bit of investment upfront and then good to go for the long run.

Joe: Right. And you think about what your hourly is when you’re doing an assessment, you’re the most overpaid person answering the phones and doing scheduling. And so, I think that’s just one area to say, how do we remove things off your plate so that you really can spark those big ideas inside of you?

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I love that. Another thing that you said with regard to bringing on Dr. Fitzgerald was helping her get connected with folks in the community. I imagine that some of my listeners will be really interested in that if they were to join practices as testing psychologists. How did you support her and get her connected with other folks?

Joe: I think it starts with before you ever are bringing people on, making sure that you know what the value is that you’re bringing from the percent that you’re taking from people that are joining your practice. A lot of people will say I’m taking 35% or 50% or whatever’s appropriate in your community, but really making sure that that value goes beyond just I provide a space.

And so one thing that I’ve developed over time is these connections in the community. For example, every month I have an article in our local newspaper. Every other week, I’m on local radio. I have these different connections with like the Traverse City Business News or different magazines that are in our town where it’s easy for me to do a press release and get them coverage.

So right away, I invited Maryland to come onto WTCM-the Christal Frost show where I’m on there talking about pretty much anything I want that has to do with counseling or anything in the news that she wants to talk about. And so, I’ll send Christal an email and say, Hey, I have this new clinician, she does custody evaluations. I think we could talk about how to have a healthy divorce. We could talk about [00:16:00] divorce. We could talk about co-parenting. What kind of alliance with where your audience is right now?

And then Christal will email me back and say, oh, that sounds awesome. Let’s just talk about kids of divorce in general. I’m a kid of divorce and would love to chat about that and see what Marilyn says. So then, Dr. Marilyn Fitzgerald comes on the show with me. The first time that they go on the show, I’m always with them. And I encourage them to have show notes that they bring to the radio station with their main points to make the host sound smarter. And she goes through and she chats it up and does an amazing job.

And now I know that I can just be like, Hey, I don’t want to go to the radio. Marilyn, will you fill in for me? Yep. Okay. Sounds good. Now you’re on your own. You’ve been onboarded. I’ve done some training for you to be successful on radio, and now she can then go do that herself as well.

Dr. Sharp: I got you. It sounds like there are some, Gosh, what would you call it, just extra benefits to coming on board. It sounded like she knew that she would get some of those benefits and get to go out in the community when she joined your practice. 

Joe: Yeah. And I think that as a business owner, I want to always be making this, the premier place for people to refer for counseling, but I also want people that work here to say, he may take a higher cut than other people, but we love working here for these reasons.

It can be something as small as all their clients have access to., we have a refrigerator when people walk in that is full of Starbucks, frappuccinos, coconut water, and we have a team machine. We do all sorts of things to really make this feel like it’s an exclusive experience for people, no matter what their price point. They can be coming in and be a sliding fee. And we’re not going to say you can’t get coconut water.

No, we’re going to make everybody feel like they’re really special when they come here because they’re bringing their biggest issues in their life to us. What a gift for them to give us of giving that time and that hurt to us and saying, please help us. And so we want to really have that reflected in our branding, our customer service, and the way that our counselors feel about working here. 

Dr. Sharp: I think that’s so important. There’s [00:18:00] value built into working at your practice, it sounds like, and maybe, hopefully, some pride that comes along with working there too, knowing that they’re serving clients well, and it’s a nice environment and all those pieces. That’s great.

It’s interesting. I’ve hired a few folks over the last several months as we continue to grow. In the interview, I really emphasize with people. I ask, what do you really want to do here? And it’s been interesting to me how several people are kind of like, what do you mean? I’m going to do whatever I need to do to have a job, right? And I’m like, no, no, no, no, I want you to really like being here and really enjoy what you’re doing. And that’s almost like a foreign concept sometimes for clinicians to be catered to, I guess. 

Joe: Well, I recently interviewed Brian Canlis who’s one of the co-owners of Canlis restaurant in Seattle, which is oftentimes a James Beard nominated restaurant top five restaurants in America. And one thing that they ask in their interview is how is working at Canlis going to positively affect your life? And I just love that question as part of an interview where they’re looking to hire a person, not a role.

It may be that this is a one-year job, but it’s going to make them a better person in some way. And if they know that even in the interview, they can say, okay, we want to give you different leadership opportunities because we know where you’re headed, than if you just said, Hey, I just want to cook for your restaurant. 

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. I love that. I think the takeaway, maybe from folks who are listening, if they’re testing psychologists looking at jobs in practices, is that maybe you can ask for some of these things and you can be a little choosy and look for a place that really takes care of you a little bit, right? 

Joe: Absolutely. And I think just like how you didn’t see a specific job you wanted in Fort Collins, you created a job through your private practice, or you didn’t see a podcast that was out there and so you launched a podcast that [00:20:00] would speak specifically to testing psychologists. And so for people that your community may not have this amazing practice, well, that’s an awesome opportunity for you to say, how do I create a practice that is the kind that I would love to have worked for but just didn’t happen to be here?

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, exactly. So, let me ask you, now you’ve had Dr. Fitzgerald on for a few months, right? Maybe several months in your practice. So can you speak a little bit, just to the value that you may have seen from adding a psychologist who can do testing? 

Joe: Yeah, I think that the value, what’s really great is we can now refer internally in a lot of ways that we wouldn’t in the past. Marilyn does counseling as well. And so she has the testing side, but she also does some clinical work as well, but she can say, we have clinicians here that can help with what I’m recommending. We can also refer outside of here.

To have these sorts of things all internal to say, we have a substance abuse counselor that does substance abuse assessments. We have a psychologist that’s doing custody evaluations. We have a counselor that does ages 0 to 7, and then we have one that does 7 to 18. And then we have 3 that are working with adults. So to be able to cover the spectrum in a number of ways makes it a lot easier for us to grow, not that we’re always going to refer to each other. We always have to look at who’s going to be the best fit in our community for a referral. And if we’re not, then we would obviously refer out. But to just be this one-stop-shop if people want to has been such a valuable thing to add.

And I think that also so often counseling or social work is viewed as this nebulous woo woo. You just come and talk. And having things like substance abuse assessments and custody evaluations, adds a little bit more science to it, a little more data to it, so that it really pulls in that feeling that we’re closer to the medical field than we are to like the social science fields. And I think that’s really important for a practice to continue to look at not just assessments, but [00:22:00] technology and ways that they’re going to try to genuinely provide the best quality services in your town. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. Now have you noticed an uptick in phone calls and referrals since you brought her on just people being interested in this assessment?

Joe: Yeah. She’s by far been the fastest launch of a new clinician we’ve had. I have a new model for onboarding people where there’s a certain level of income they have to bring in in a month to move from being in an onboarding phase to being in a full clinician phase. She’s probably done that faster than any clinician that I brought on.

And part of that said, she really wanted to hustle. She really wanted to grow. And I think in her personality, she was at a point where she’s like, just bring on the clients. And so she was networking herself and she’s really connected with rotary and has a lot of connections in town. So I think part of it’s that just her personality fostered that, but then these custody evaluations are needed. And so that was an area that we did enough research on the front end that we knew that people were already referring down to Grand Rapids. So now they can stay up here.

Dr. Sharp: That’s fantastic. So have you noticed anything, I know you talked about just introducing her around and the radio show and things like that, have you noticed anything so far in your experience that’s been particularly helpful with regards to marketing testing services there in your community? 

Joe: I think connecting with the people that are going to make the referrals. It sounds so simple. But just like we sat down with that attorney, to continue to do that and get a gauge for what’s frustrating these people.

So, when we look to attract partners for mental wellness counseling, we want to find people that are going to be relieved that we’re offering a certain service. So that attorney who was sending her clients down to Grand Rapids, when we announced, Hey, we do custody evaluations, she’s going to be relieved for that. It’s not going to be marketing to her and trying to get her convinced. Instead, she’s going to say, thank goodness you [00:24:00] guys.

In the same way that if there is a doctor that didn’t have anyone that they knew that was a clinician that worked with eating disorders or girls that cut or whatever, as soon as that therapist starts offering that service and expertise, that doctor is going to fill you up right away.

And so for us really doing that front-end research in finding partners that are thrilled that we’re offering custody evaluations, I think was probably one of the biggest things we did that was able to help Marilyn be able to grow as quickly as she has. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I think that’s so true. There’s often a need for testing in the community, but you sometimes have to search that out because it’s maybe a lesser known niche, I think, compared to therapy.

Joe: Yeah.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. 

Joe: Well, I even think about almost every medium-sized town may have a college, a community college, some sort of higher education within 50 miles or so of you. I’m sure there are spots where that’s not true. But when I worked at the community college, if someone had had an IEP or a 504 plan in high school, that didn’t automatically move over into college.

And so oftentimes, the students, if they wanted accommodations, say they needed to have extra notes or have a note-taker in the class or have the seminars recorded, whatever the accommodation was, they had to oftentimes have a new psychological evaluation to confirm the diagnosis, even though they had had an IEP since kindergarten.

So even just connecting with your local community college and just talking with whoever’s in charge of disability services and just saying, I do testing, I’m looking to continue to develop this. How do you guys confirm diagnosis to be in alignment with the Americans with disabilities act? And they may say, oh, we, we don’t. And then they may then have some discussions over, are we going to have some liability here if we’re not confirming this diagnosis? Or maybe they have a very clear process. Finding out what for them do they need, do they need a really bulky one? Do they need [00:26:00] a quick diagnosis? What does that look like in your community? And what does that look like for you ethically?

In most communities, colleges are searching for people to do testing. I know for us at the college, to find somewhat affordable testing to confirm a diagnosis was often cost-prohibitive for our students. So if you’re just starting out, I think that would be a great place to receive some new referrals. 

Dr. Sharp: I think you’re right on. I especially like what you said about catering to referral sources and offering the evaluations that they need, but also balancing that of course, with ethics and what’s appropriate testing and that kind of thing.

Joe: Yeah.

Dr. Sharp: Switching gears a little bit. I wanted to talk with you. I know you’ve been doing a lot of work over the last several months around slowing down and taking things off your plate. I think this is really important for folks who do testing because we’re unique in that regard that half of an evaluation, give or take, is face-to-face, but then the other half is often scoring or writing the report, which is something that we can do out of the office. And so, where a lot of us I think get stuck is we fill our time and the office with face-to-face appointments and then end up with a ton of work to outside the office. And so, this value of slowing down and being really mindful of your time and how to keep that work-life balance is huge. So I wonder, could you talk about your process with that over the last few months? 

Joe: Yeah. So it was about a year ago, I did a podcast interview with this guy, Rob Bell, who went on tour with Oprah, and we were talking afterward about just lifestyle- how to continue to grow in our careers. And he had said, think through what you’re really good at. And if you were to turn that into, whether it’s a handout or a book, write it down somehow.

It was really hard for me to think about that. So I started asking some of my friends, what do you guys think I’m good at? What I kept hearing was you [00:28:00] tend to innovate a lot. And if there is a way you could teach people about how you innovate, that would be really helpful. And so then I’m like, well, how do I innovate? I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know this structured process. But then when I really started to zoom out from it, I realized that I had some pretty strong habits of slowing down.

Our best ideas usually come when we’re in the shower, we’re on a long drive, maybe it’s right before you fall asleep. It’s not usually when you’re on your Facebook feed or when you’re checking email that your brain goes, oh, I have this great idea. Usually, it’s that we’ve slowed down in some way.

And so I’ve created some habits in my own life. Like on Fridays, I stop between 12:00 and 17:00 depending on what I decided with my wife and our schedule to just totally be done with work. And so, I won’t check email. I won’t listen to podcasts. I won’t read business books. I won’t talk or brainstorm with my wife about business because she gets sick of it. As entrepreneurs, we’re excited about our businesses. We’re always thinking about them. And so then by Sunday I’ll have had usually two full days of just totally being with my family, with my friends, doing things that matter to me. 

And I’ve noticed that I go through three phases where the first phase is this purging phase where I go to pick up my phone and I go to click on Facebook or my email. And it’s like, wait, no, Joe, you’re taking a step back from your business. And so, I go through this purging phase and then we move into what I noticed was this practice phase, where when I do things, and that could be as simple as cleaning the house, going for a hike with my daughters or my wife. It could be having friends over and playing board games and making dinner with them. Some sort of practice that focuses me on the here and now versus on what I could be creating for my business.

And then what naturally seems to happen each weekend is I then get into this presence where, okay, I’m here. I’m excited about my family and these practices have really helped me to be centered on what’s most [00:30:00] important. So when I do that, what often happens is I have all these ideas that start coming out. And that’s where I’ve developed the seven practices of the practice of how to set, achieve and outsource goals. I don’t know if we have time to go into all that, but I’m happy to go into it or if you want me to just keep the big picture overview, I can do that too. 

Dr. Sharp:  Well, can you just touch on the seven practices of the practice and let us know what those are? We can go into more detail as it comes up.

Joe: Sure. So I like to think of goals as sort of like mountain. I’m a hiker. I love being outside. So the first three practices are more planning and getting into the goal. The middle three are all around just like achieving that goal. And then the last one is moving away from that goal and taking it off your plate so that you can move on to the next goal.

So the first three are evaluate what’s worked in the past. You often hear that 20% of what you’ve done gets you 80% of the results. So doing time studies. Looking at what’s really bringing in the clients. What are the referral sources that you should foster and maybe the other ones that you should move away from spending as much time on.

So then moving into the second step is to define. Define whether you’re starting something brand new. Are you launching a brand new podcast like Jeremy did or are you amplifying something established, like adding clinicians to your practice when you already have a thriving testing practice?

So then after you’ve evaluated and defined, then moving into planning, looking at what success within a year would look like, and then breaking that down for this month, what would be a big step for this month? And then this week, this day, and breaking it down into micro-moments so that if you’re stuck at a coffee shop and a friend is running late, you can do something that’s going to keep moving that needle forward, where you’re using your best time to take steps forward. So, evaluate, defined, plan is the way up.

Then once you’re at the top of that mountain, the next step is usually creating content. So this could be copy for your website. It could be blog posts. It could be a podcast. It is offering something to show your ideal client or your ideal person for whatever this goal is that you know what you’re [00:32:00] talking about. That you are an expert in that area. You’re growing expert in that area. And then you want to move into that attracting partners. We already talked about that, where you find people that are thrilled that you’re doing whatever this goal is, so that they’re going to refer people to you.

So then we’re onto that last one, which is over-serving, which I already talked about a little bit to where we start to get busy, we start to maybe get more clients and then we aren’t returning phone calls or we aren’t filling the refrigerator with frappuccino. You want to make sure you sustain that over-serving where people get way more than they expected. And they’re surprised by how well they’re served. So we’ve then achieved the goal.

And then the very last step, and this is the one that most entrepreneurs miss is outsourcing. And I think at the beginning of the interview, we talked about this too, where we fill our plates, our brains go wild when we achieve goals. We’re so excited. We have this release of energy inside of our body. And then often we move on to that next goal and really quickly, we then are overwhelmed and we get all that stress on top of all of those sparks of innovation that could come out and you need to be outsourcing as much of your goals that you’ve achieved as possible.

So getting an assistant that’s going to answer your phone, is going to refill your refrigerator, going to do all those things that you don’t have to be doing so that you can move on to that next, really big idea. 

Dr. Sharp: Yes. Goodness, how to summarize all of that. That was a lot of good info in a really short period of time. I don’t want to speak for everybody who does testing, but I think as a group, we gravitate toward structured, planned out, data-driven kind of stuff. So the fact that you, it sounds like, have really thought through these and laid them out in specific steps is really attractive, at least to me. 

Joe: Yeah. And I have three videos that I go deeper into talking about specifically how do you do that because for me, I like to learn and go back to things and think about it and pause it. And sometimes it’s hard when it’s just like, boom, here are the steps. So I go more in-depth on the seven practices and then how [00:34:00] to slow down.  And I can give you that link for the show notes for people. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. We’d love that. I think that’s maybe a nice segue actually to, you know, if people want to learn more about your consulting, which I can totally vouch for, Joe’s an amazing consultant and has really helped grow our practice here. If people want to reach out to you and learn more about consulting or slowing down or these seven practices, what’s the best way to get in touch with you? 

Joe: For consulting, I’d say, go to practiceofthepractice.com/consulting. There’s a whole page that has testimonials from people, talks about what the packages look like, and how the typical packages are. I only do catered consulting approaches where I talk to people and then decide with them what would be the best steps forward. If people want to get those three videos, they can get those at practiceofthepractice.com/slowdownvideo.

And then this summer, I’m launching a conference that’s called the Slowdown School and that’s just at slowdownschool.com where we’re going to spend a week together slowing down and then sparking innovation and then taking those big ideas and putting some meat on them. And then we’re going to go wine tasting.

Dr. Sharp: Well, that’s ought to be.

Joe: Yeah, I know. It’s going to be awesome. 

Dr. Sharp: That sounds like a good weekend. Well, that’s awesome. Thank you.

Before we wrap up, any words of wisdom, anything you wanted to share with folks, specifically folks who are doing testing, maybe building a practice or looking to join a practice?

Joe: I think for testing psychologists, because you’ve gone through grad school, you’ve written amazing reports, you’re trained to do everything at an A-plus level. It’s really easy to feel paralyzed by perfection. And so, I would say it’s more important to take small steps in the right direction in an imperfect way than to get paralyzed and not do something because you don’t want to do it wrong. I think that’s really natural specifically for psychologists with testing, because you need to do good reports. You need to have them look awesome. But in moving forward in whatever your goals are, step away from that being paralyzed by perfection and just get some things done.

Dr. Sharp: That’s great advice. I think that really will resonate with folks who do testing. You nailed it there.  

Joe: Thank you so much, Jeremy.

Dr. Sharp: Thank you, Joe. Take care.

All right, everybody. Thanks so much for listening to that interview with Joe Sanok, host of the Practice of the Practice podcast, and one of the top mental health consultants here in the country. Joe gave us a lot of good information. I’ll have a lot of links in the show notes to all the cool stuff that he mentioned.

As always, thank you for listening. And if you haven’t already, please do me a huge favor, take 30 seconds and go into iTunes or wherever you might be listening to the podcast and hit that subscribe button. If you feel so inclined, I’d love if you gave us a rating or even wrote a review. I really appreciate it.

If you are looking to take some pretty concrete steps to really build your testing practice, you can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/fourweekblueprint and sign up for the email course that’ll give you an email each week with pretty concrete action steps that have the intention of building your assessment practice within four weeks. So that’s there on the website. I also got plenty of blog articles and resources there.

If you want to connect with other testing psychologists or mental health practitioners, come check out our community at Facebook. You can search in the Facebook search bar or go to thetestingpsychologist.com/community.

So, thanks again for listening. Keep tuning in. I’ve got some really cool interviews coming up. Next time, I think I’ll be talking with Dr. Amy Connery at Colorado [00:38:00] Children’s hospital about transitioning in and out of private practice, having a private practice on the side, and performance validity testing in kids. So, I hope to see you next time. Thanks. Take care.

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