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Welcome back, everybody. Glad to be back with you for the Testing Psychologist podcast. And I am really glad to have an old friend on the podcast today. Many of you have heard me talk about Joe Sanok, especially if you’ve been listening for a while. So Joe was my original business coach way back. He was the [00:01:00] individual who really motivated me to start the Testing Psychologist Podcast and the Testing Psychologist consulting business.
So I have a lot to owe to Mr. Sanok. But over the years we have been fortunate enough to get to be really good friends as well. And that really came to the fore this fall, Joe and his family have been traveling around during the pandemic. And they stopped in our area for two months and we just got to hang with Joe and his family and kids played together and it was amazing.
So yeah, I’m honored to have Joe back on the podcast for the first time in about four years since the podcast started, he was one of the original guests. And it’s really cool. It’s really cool to have a conversation now at this stage of our relationship. So we really run the gamut here. I mean, we talk about the business of course, [00:02:00] and Joe’s focus on helping people level up their practices. We talked about some of the new apps that are available to connect with others. So Clubhouse is one of the big ones that we talk about. We talk about differences in getting to $50,000 in the annual income versus $100,000 versus anything beyond a hundred. Gosh, what else do we get into?
It’s a pretty wide-ranging conversation. So we talk a lot about relationships and the power of relationships in building your practice and the value of slowing down and taking breaks. So if you’re interested in any discussion around just lifestyle, big ideas, building your practice, this is a good one.
Let me tell you just a little bit about Joe. So Joe is the host of the Practice of the Practice podcast, a TEDx speaker, and an author with a book coming out next fall. He sold his clinical practice in [00:03:00] 2019. And over the years has been awarded many awards, Podcasts of the year, consultant of the year, and best blog. His NextLevel Practice community is the most comprehensive membership community for psychologists and counselors in private practice trying to level up.
So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Joe. Like I said, it was great to chat with an old friend and bring it into this context. So without any further delay, here is my discussion with Joe Sanok from Practice of the Practice.
Joe, welcome to the podcast, my friend.
Joe: Oh, Jeremy, I’m so excited to be here.
Dr. Sharp: Man, me too. I was thinking back, [00:04:00] and it has been almost four years on the dot from the very first testing psychologist podcast, which you played a huge role in helping me launch. So it feels fitting somehow that we’re circling back here after four years to have you back on. So I’m really interested.
Joe: It’s crazy to see what you’ve done with this podcast and just all that it’s done for you. And just to be a small part of that is just so exciting.
Dr. Sharp: Oh my gosh, man, you’re humble. You’re a huge part of it. I would never have thought to start a podcast if it wasn’t for your suggestion quite a few years ago. So don’t be humbled. You played a big role.
Joe: Actually, I’m pretty awesome. I really got this thing going for you too. I should get all the credit.
Dr. Sharp: There we go. That’s more like it. That sounds good. No, it’s been great having you come on the podcast. I’ve really been thinking about and reflecting on the journey and where it has come. And you’re right. It’s a totally different animal these days than back at the beginning, which is really cool. It’s [00:05:00] everything that I hoped that it would be. So it’s nice to just share.
Joe: Yeah, it’s crazy to see just like what a podcast does for one’s career, but then really how little it takes you to stand out in the podcasting industry.
I was the other day looking at some numbers for one of my consulting clients who’s launching a podcast or has just launched a podcast. It’s After the First Marriage podcast. So she’s a therapist who helps people after they get divorced. And she just launched, I don’t know, she’s at episode 10 or 15 and we were looking at the numbers and she was hovering around 200 an episode.
And she was kind of down on herself. And we were looking at the stats. And if you have 200 listeners per episode, you’re in the top 10% of all podcasts. So it’s just like what? And so it’s really to say, what’s it take to be successful in the podcasting world or to level up in these different ways that we often talk about. It often doesn’t take much, but it feels like such a big mountain when you don’t know how to launch a podcast, launch a practice, all those things that were never taught in grad school. But once you actually get into it and get the flow, and I don’t [00:06:00] know if you feel this way too, but when I get in the flow of podcasting, it’s just fun. I’m talking to all these interesting people and somehow I’m figuring out how to make money off of it. Like that’s pretty crazy.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, it’s amazing. I always say it’s the coolest thing in the world. I get to just like call up experts in the field and say, can I ask you all these questions that I have? And they say, yes. And then a bunch of other people benefits from that. That’s incredible that that format exists to be able to share things like that.
Joe: Well, and it’s like, you never know where those connections are going to go. I remember it was probably two years ago the Gottman Institute reached out to me to see if they could be a sponsor on the podcast. And we actually figured out some kind of in-kind different things where they were a sponsor on the podcast, and then I was featured on their blog and they emailed their list. They were like, “Can we please have Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman on your podcast as part of this deal?”
And I’m thinking. Yeah, that’s funny that it’s on your side. You’re saying like, please give us this whereas, for me, I would be like, can that be part of the deal to have [00:07:00] one of the Gottman’s on my show? And then it’s like over time I’ve developed a connection with Julie and she wrote a kind of testimonial as to why I should get a book deal and she’s going to be one of our experts with NextLevel Practice. And just like that, it all happened because of a podcast and because of thinking differently about how we do this counseling and helping the world thing.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, you make such a good point and I’m excited to talk with you about a lot of this because I think this is really… like your wheelhouse in this world is figuring out how to help people take their ideas and turn them into something magical and really thinking big beyond the typical butt in the chair, hour-long service therapy or testing services, you know, really expanding the horizon. And there’s a lot of room for that in our field. So I’m glad
Joe: I think that inside we want that too. Sure maybe we want to keep doing counseling or doing testing or things like that, but we also probably have a million other [00:08:00] ideas that we think would help the world but oftentimes we don’t know how to do that. We aren’t surrounding ourselves with peers. You know, even just thinking about hanging out with you and Carrie and my wife, Christina, when we hang out, yes, e talk about family. Yes, we talk about big ideas, but we also talk about work stuff too. And just being around other people that are thinking differently. I imagine one of the reasons that Carrie started a podcast is she saw how much it helped you to start a podcast or just being around people like me or having a peer group. It’s really amazing when you think about it if you surround yourself with people that are thinking like yourself over where you want to head, just how much that just multiplies and magnifies things.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. It’s so true. Everything you said I totally agree with. But that’s also a problem I think for a lot of people in our field. I mean, I work in the testing realm, of course, and talk with a bunch of folks who are primarily doing testing. So I don’t know what you’re hearing on the counseling side, but I feel like at least [00:09:00] 75% of the calls I jump on for people who want consulting., they say I don’t have anybody else to talk to about this. People are so protective or people are competitive in my area, or I just don’t have anyone I can trust to talk through the business stuff. And that’s a big problem, at least in the testing world in a lot of geographical areas.
Joe: Yeah, I hear that a lot in the counseling practice world too. And I think people tend to fall into different camps. I remember when we were moving back to Trevor city and I didn’t have a private practice at the time. We were moving back to our hometown that we want to be in and be close to family, close to the water and I emailed pipe 10 or 15 different therapists in private practice and just said, I’m wondering what the scene is for private practice and like, how would you describe it? And almost all of them were such Debbie downers. They were like, don’t move back. You’re never going to make it. This is a terrible place to open a practice and it was very competitive like we don’t need another therapist moving in to try to [00:10:00] steal our clients.
And I think a lot of people think that way. But if you really ask yourself, of all the people in the world that need therapy and need testing, are they all getting served or are there may be a ton of people out there that don’t even realize that they could benefit from testing or therapy? And when you think that way, you say, okay, for every person that’s in therapy or getting tested, there’s at least another one or two people that don’t even recognize how valuable of a service that is.
I think that’s a marketing and a mindset change to help society understand just how beneficial testing is, how beneficial private practice is, how beneficial going counseling can be. And then that competitive mindset when it’s like there are two to three times more clients out there easily than we all could handle. We actually do need more therapists. We do need testing psychologists because the reality is people are underserved in the mental health space.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s such a good point. I mean, just doing the math. I think about our local school district and even just the kids, there are 25,000 [00:11:00] kids in our school district and if each psychologist was seeing 20 of them each week, that’s over a thousand psychologists I think, or therapists that we would need. And we don’t have that many people in our town. We don’t have that many therapists. So there’s plenty of people out there, but like you said, that mindset…
Joe: what do you say to people when you’re on those pre consulting calls and they say they don’t have anyone else around them. How do you share with them the value of being in the community?
Dr. Sharp: Well, I just first validate it and say, I hear that all the time, literally all the time. And then that’s a nice entry into just say like, Hey, that’s a big reason that I have these groups going on so that you can connect with people who know what you’re going through and will support you and hold you accountable and be there when you need it and answer those questions that you can’t get answered elsewhere.
And you can just see people love that. They really need that connection [00:12:00] with other professionals and to feel safe. I think that’s the thing because when we get in those conversations with the Debbie downers like you said, or the scarcity mindset folks or whatever, then it poisons our own thought process about it and makes us feel bad if we’re in a different space or want something different. And it’s a whole ball of wax.
Joe: And I think then you have people around you who would’ve guessed 2020 was going to be how it was. If you’re around a whole bunch of people that have big goals like you have, then they’re going to be thinking through tools and resources and mindsets and ways that they’re switching so that you can adapt way faster than if someone’s just on their own.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. I think I’ve talked to you about this. We had to make a big pivot back in March to figure out ways to do an online assessment when we couldn’t see people in person. So, I think about the communities that were out there and thank goodness there were Listservs and Facebook groups and things like that where there were folks who were like, yeah, I’m [00:13:00] going to figure out a way to do this and get through it. And they were able to connect with some like-minded folks. But then some people said, I don’t want to do that. And that’s totally fine. But yeah, it’s all in the way that you look at it, right?
Like there were a ton of opportunities this year. And if people wanted to take them and there were also plenty of opportunities to hunker down and take care of yourself but it’s all out there. That mindset piece is so important though. It’s what you make of it.
Dr. Sharp: So I’m curious, you know, we started talking about connecting with other people and I know that that’s something that you have really focused on with Practice of the Practice is bringing people together. Can you talk about the ways that you’ve got that happening within the Practice of the Practice umbrella?
Joe: Yeah, we have a bunch of different ways we do that. And I think it all comes out of when we were doing live events when there wasn’t a pandemic. To see people come together and say, Oh my gosh, this is my tribe. These are my people. Where [00:14:00] have these like-minded professionals been my whole life?
And whether it’s slowdown school or Killing It camp That is when I’m most invigorated. And so sitting on the beaches of Northern Michigan skipping stones and having a conversation with John Clark and Jeremy Sharp. That’s amazing. You have these connections with people that then you just can’t get online. And so I think it comes from just that we’re so much stronger as a community when we collaborate than if we ever try anything individually. And so a number of years ago, I started brainstorming as a team. Like what would that look like? Because we had mastermind groups where we have hot seats and people connect and I think those are really good.
But where we’ve seen people really accelerate is with our membership communities. And so we have NextLevel Practice, which is aimed at people that have a solo or growing group practice that are under $100,000. And there’s a bunch of things we can talk about in there. And then we also have Group Practice Boss, which is aimed at group practice owners that want to work together and share ideas.
And we’ve got around 300, some people in Nextlevel [00:15:00] Practice. I think we’re about to 100 group practice owners and group practice boss and so just the idea is that I’m never going to be able to consult as well as a group will be able to. And so we have events called, What’s Working and we get together once a month and come together and might have a topic like marketing. So what’s working with marketing and we’ll break up into small groups of four or five people share all of our best tips around what’s working in marketing and then come back together as a large group. And people will popcorn share things that were really just game-changers for them. So it’s a way to quickly get information from a large group of people by breaking it up into small groups.
And that’s one of many examples of how we build community. But we’ve seen people like their first thank you note, or their first piece of mail was from their accountability partner from NextLevel Practice, or when people are struggling the community coming together to really help somebody level up and get those new clients. And people moving into new communities. We all want to make money in our business, but it’s to have this community of people that just takes care of you [00:16:00] in a way that is very hard when you’re a private practice owner.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, sure is. It’s such a valuable asset. That makes it sound like a transactional thing, but it’s valuable to have people like close relationships. We talk about acceleration when you get together with people. And I think back to that original slowdown school experience where my roommate was a guy named John Clark, who I’d never met before. And I’m at Kelly Higdon during slowdown school and a bunch of other really cool clinicians and…
Joe: Have you seen what Dana’s doing from slowdown school with her EMDR, Instagram?
Dr. Sharp: Yeah.
Joe: Dina Credit Stein. I mean, I forgot what her handle is, but Dina Credit Stein, she was there also. She is blowing up with the whole EMDR world, which is so cool to see those original people that were at slowdown school and what they’re doing.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Well, and I think that a big part of that was just being in this group [00:17:00] and feeling so supported. And I know there’s a neurological, like biochemical stuff going on during those moments when you’re in the group and you’re pitching your ideas and people are supporting you and you’re connecting and there are emotions and it like really cements it in your brain and gives you some crazy motivation to move forward after that.
And yeah, it’s been amazing. John and Kelly are two of my best friends now at this point. And I just think that everybody should have that opportunity and maybe give themselves that opportunity to connect with others and see where it goes. So I love that you’re doing that.
Joe: Yeah. And I think it’s one of those things that if you… it’s hard to break in sometimes to say, “Well, how do I get into those communities? I want that but like, what does that even look like to become friends with Kelly Higdon or John Clark or Jeremy Sharp?” For me, not that it always has to be a paid event, but I do think that there’s something about saying I’m going to mutually [00:18:00] invest either with you or in you, and we’re going to jump into this together. You can totally start your own mastermind groups, your own small groups but there is something about knowing like slow down school, everyone invested to be here. They want to level up. There’s an energy of I’m taking time away from my practice for a week to fly into random Northern Michigan and get picked up in a big yellow school bus.
Like, we’re all in this together. And let’s really like to make the most of this short period of time that we have together compared to just when I’ve been in volunteer mastermind groups where we all just opt-in and it’s like pulling teeth to get people to show up. And I’m just like, what the heck? There’s such a difference there between the groups that sometimes you pay for and the groups that are just organically formed. Not that those can’t happen, I think is a little bit harder.
Dr. Sharp: No, I totally agree. I wanted to go back to something you started to talk about which is… this is supposed to be a business-focused episode. So I want to share what to give people, some things to take away rather than listening to us talk about our friends and [00:19:00] experiences over the past few years, which is cool. But with the crowd that’s like under $100,000, so what are some of the characteristics that you see that are both helping people to reach that $100,000 mark and then pushing even beyond that? Are you finding common characteristics from all the folks that you work with?
Joe: Yeah, let’s first start with the things that we’re taught or believe that oftentimes are totally wrong because I think that we have to undo some of those negative mindsets or those unhelpful mindsets before we can move into the things that are most helpful for scaling up. And it’s the same side of the same coin or two different sides of the same coin. But I think that one thing that a lot of people think is that I have to take insurance to be successful.
Now, there are times and communities to take insurance. There are definitely benefits to taking insurance. But I think what that does is you’re thinking, do I put my time into the systems such as all the billing or do I put my time into the marketing? And so [00:20:00] whether or not you take insurance, you have to have a mindset as if you don’t take insurance. That we’re going after customers, we’re having good marketing, that we need to have multiple ways to get leads to come to our practice.
The second thing that I see a lot of people do early on when you have time, there’s a tendency to say, I need to do everything. And that is appropriate when you’re trying to keep your costs low. So when you’re just getting started, sure. Maybe you put together your own website or you do your own Facebook ads, or you answer the phones and return calls and do the scheduling. All those things are very appropriate early on, but most people don’t recognize how quickly they need to start taking hats off in order to scale faster.
And so I would say when you’re half as full as you want to be, so if you think 20 clients is full when you’re at 10 clients, that’s probably when you need to have a virtual assistant of some sort, answering phones or returning emails, getting people scheduled because that’s one of the worst uses of a psychologist [00:21:00] time to be doing all those phone calls.
And it also sets a barrier to entry that adds professionalism. I mean, you think about if you had primary care doctor or a surgeon and they were doing all their own scheduling and taking all the insurance information, you’d be like, ” Why is this surgeon taking my insurance card? Don’t they have somebody that they can pay to do that?”
Dr. Sharp: Right.
Joe: And then the third one I would say is really very quickly off of that second one, taking hats off. So outsourcing your bookkeeping. Making sure you have an attorney and accountant that you get those systems locked down early on so that you can scale later on because once you get past that $50,000 a year Mark, it really starts to accelerate quickly.
The hardest is that $0 to $50,000. The next hardest is that $50,000 to $100,000 and then going from $100,000 to $200,000. It just starts to scale. It starts to double upon itself. I mean, it’s like in that book, the one thing where they talk about how a domino can push over a domino, that’s a third of the size larger than it.
And if you just keep doing that, I think it’s within 11 Dominos. You go [00:22:00] from a regular-sized domino to like a two or three-story domino. It just that it starts to accelerate in a way that if you don’t have those systems down early on, it really can make it difficult to scale.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. What are some of the systems that you found people really need and were overlooked early on?
Joe: Yeah. I think that we’re seeing a huge shift with millennials and people during the pandemic and COVID wanting to have clear automation to schedule. Overwhelmingly, millennials like talking on the phone less than Gen X or Baby Boomers. And so making sure that you have a very clear automated way that someone can schedule directly from your website without ever having to talk to somebody, that’s often overlooked. Because we want people to be able to say, okay, I want an appointment, when do I want it? Boom. I got an email confirmation, maybe even a text reminder. That’s obviously through a HIPAA compliant platform.
So let’s say that… I would say having integration with your Telehealth into your [00:23:00] EHR.So yeah, if you have an electronic health record you probably don’t want to have multiple systems. So TherapyNotes, they’re a sponsor of my show, but I followed them very closely. They now offer Telehealth totally free as part of their EHR. And hopefully, other places will do that as well. And so I think it’s really important to make sure that those systems talk to each other really cleanly and follow HIPAA compliance.
And then the last system is just understanding how do you sound like Joe? How do you sound like Jeremy? How do you sound like yourself, but not be the one that’s doing it?
And so capturing your voice in your frequently asked questions, capturing your voice if you’re going to have someone return emails, capturing your voice throughout your website, you still want to have that heart within all of your systems. And so instead of having things sound super robotic, you may want to have a little bit of fun with it.
And depending on what type of psychologist you are, if you are a pure testing psychologist by the numbers, make sure that’s reflected in how you’re talking, how you’re emailing, how your assistant is answering phones. Because when you have an assistant, [00:24:00] they’re not going to nail it the first time or the 20th time, they need that ongoing feedback.
And I think people think that they’re going to hire someone they’re going to know how to do it. And then they’ll never have to give feedback. Feedback needs to be a part of the weekly conversation of what they did well, what they didn’t do well, and then how they’re going to improve.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I think that’s such a good point. This whole process of setting these systems up and training someone else is really intimidating for a lot of clinicians. But for me, a big part of that is that we don’t spend a lot of time initially setting up our own systems or processes or values or scripts or whatever it might be.
And then it makes it hard to train someone else because we’re not super clear on how that works in our own mind. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but for me, one of the biggest challenges with myself and the people I work with is taking all the information out of your brain and putting it on paper. That can be really challenging for a lot of clinicians. Do you see [00:25:00] that?
Joe: I think that sometimes people think through like they have to write a whole policy and procedures manual, which depending on your state, you may legally have to but from a functional standpoint, I tend to say, let’s not just sit down for an afternoon and write all the policies and procedures out or how I’m going to do something.
Instead, for example, when I brought Jess on as our director of details she handles email scheduling. She’s the catch-all. She texted me last night because I usually don’t work Thursdays and she’s like, just a reminder, Jeremy’s interviewing you tomorrow. And so she catches all the things I might screw up.
And so training her as we go to me is more important than trying to capture all at the beginning. So the way that looked when she first took over my email, for example, was I had probably five or six different types of emails that were very common that I said, Jess, you should be replying on my behalf.
So Hey, Jess here responding for Joe, here’s the script. Those were easy for me to say, here’s exactly what I want you to write. So that’s phase one, the easy stuff let’s hand that off. Phase two [00:26:00] was I would BCC her on any email that she had started for me that she thought I needed to answer that I actually thought she could have answered but she didn’t know-how. And so the idea is she’s constantly learning how to sell them like me more and building out that library rather than build it all at the beginning.
The third step then is when there’s something new to have her come up with the system and then her document that, to me, that’s really important for a couple of reasons because first, it creates buy-in for her because she’s creating a system that she has to follow. So she might as well do it her way. Second then if we have to bring someone on to offload things, which we’re actually doing right now for Jess, we just hired someone yesterday to offload some different things for her. She then can teach it better than if I had given it to her. Because otherwise, she’ll say, well, Joe said he wants it this way. I don’t really know why, but we do it this way. Versus here’s the exact reason why we do Pinterest this way, Instagram stories this way. And then you’re empowering that person to make changes as you go, because if they created the system then in our [00:27:00] conversation each week, which is only like a 15-minute check-in, she can say, you know what, initially the system I set up for Instagram stories is this, I realize this and just read this article and I just want to switch that around and give you a heads up. She just needs my approval and sign-off more than, Hey, Joe, will you read this whole article and create this whole new process because I don’t understand why I’m doing what I’m doing anyway.
So I really think that when people overthink it, it’s that they’re taking more of that policies and procedures manual approach that honestly just sits on a shelf in most businesses compared to let’s have an actual function in a way that we do the process that empowers the staff to be the ones that make those changes and improvements to it.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I forget who told me about this strategy, but someone shared. At one point when you’re trying to train someone to take over some of these activities for you, this would maybe be like step two or three in the process you just talked about is [00:28:00] to have them…Basically, if they’re sending you a question or an email or a thing to reply to, or address, they can of course ask your opinion, but have them put in the message. Here’s what I would do. And like take a guess at it. And the majority of the time it was probably going to be pretty close and over time you come to learn, you come to trust them and they come to trust themselves that they can handle whatever it is that gets thrown their way. So having them take a guess at it first before getting your opinion can be super helpful to too.
Joe: Yeah. Rory Vaden has this thing called the focus funnel and he says to run pretty much any activity through it. And so first you look at, should I eliminate this and just not do the task? Second, could I automate it? Third, could I delegate it? And then fourth, should I procrastinate it? Because there are times when it goes through all that stuff. It still lands on my plate, but is this the best use of my time right now? Or should I intentionally procrastinate? He [00:29:00] calls it to procrastinate on purpose.
And the idea is that you want to be putting your very best energy into the things that matter most. And so if you’re early in your practice, you’re just getting going. I mean, that’s going to be working on your marketing. That’s going to be doing Online, networking connections, virtual coffee dates, things like that, where you’re connecting with people that would likely refer to you.
So if you see teen girls and that’s your main specialty areas doing psychological assessments with teen girls, maybe connect with another psychologist that focuses on teen boys or on parents. So our on custody evaluations, people that maybe aren’t going to see teen girls, but are also going to get referrals that they could send your way and say, Oh, I know this great psychologist that works with teen girls and in doing assessments.
And so that’s the best use of your time to spend an hour or two dropping emails or calling places or, learning about people’s websites locally, writing blog posts, all of those things are going to have a higher return on investment for your time and money compared to answering the phones, [00:30:00] reading other emails, all those things that spend energy, but actually aren’t moving that needle forward for you.
Dr. Sharp: I think what I’m hearing from what you’re saying is just being deliberate from the beginning, really and you say start really early when you’re half as full as you want to be. Just being deliberate about how you’re spending your time and whether it’s the right way to be spending your time, right? And if you’re getting the best return on investment for your time, or if somebody else can do those activities more cheaply.
Joe: Yeah. And I think that each year I say to myself, what’s the big thing that if I had that done by the end of the year, it would just be a game-changer. And early on, when I was at my full-time job I think it was five full pay clients at $150 a session. I could almost be replacing my community college income off of that. And then I did that first year, and then it was if I can bring in two 1099 they can be bringing [00:31:00] in as much as my community college income that would be a game-changer for me. And I held onto that job probably two or three years longer than I should have. But I wanted health insurance. It was the sole income provider and my daughters had heart issues. So it’s like, yeah, I didn’t…
I wanted to make sure that I was really making a good decision by leaving a very solid job. And then the next year it was if I can start to get consulting clients that are at least two to three times my private pay income like that’s a game-changer. And then it moved into if I can have a mastermind group where I have six people that are paying a certain amount.
And so every year thinking about, wow, what would give me a ton of freedom if this happened? And so a year and a half ago, that was, Hey, if I get a traditionally published book through a big book company, that’s going to propel me differently than I just keep playing small. And so went through that process and have a book coming out in October through Harper Collins and all those things, then I’ll have to revision what is 2022 look like or 2023, and just keep saying, [00:32:00] what is that next big thing that’s going to make everything else easier.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I love that. And that’s one of those things I was talking about at the beginning like big ideas have always been your bread and butter. It’s very inspiring to be able to talk with you and be friends. But the component here, I think that gets lost for a lot of folks is really that process of stepping back and saying, what do I want to be different or what could be better or what’s that North star. I think a lot of us really can get wrapped up in just day-to-day, trying to get clients or trying to keep on top of our reports or whatever it might be. And it’s really hard to step back and take that time for ourselves to do that visioning.
But I’ve been saying, I don’t know it was very timely, but it’s been coming up in my mastermind groups where we talk a lot about, like, you need to be thinking at least six months ahead in your practice to take action now because it takes a while for momentum to build on things to actually [00:33:00] change. I think that’s a huge thing. How do you do that for yourself? Like, what’s your process for stepping back and being reflective and being deliberate with where you’re headed?
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Alright, let’s get back to the podcast.
Joe: Yeah, I think it’s hard sometimes because you see people that are maybe like where I’ve landed, where I’m working a day a week and we’re living on the road. And it’s just so far from where maybe I initially started. But the process is the same. I think it starts with, well, Is my life, how is where I want it to be. And so for me right now, I could go on cruise control and I would be totally fine financially. I would enjoy it. And I’m in a very privileged position in that sense. And I also realized that I feel like I have ideas and expressions and things I want to give in to the world that is much bigger than how I’m playing right now. And so I think wherever someone’s at to just start with, am I at more of a cruise control right now or do I want to accelerate?
So just yesterday talking to one of my consulting clients and you over the last nine months we’ve worked together. [00:35:00] He went from, I think, five clients a week and he’s now at 21 and he just wants to stay there. And so as he and I talked, it was he’s like, I don’t even know what to like, spend our last consulting sessions talking about, because I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve so much faster than I expected. I’m making more money than I thought. And I said, well, First let’s just take a deep breath and say, you’ve worked really hard, like celebrate this. Maybe for a bit, we just relax within this. Not that we stopped doing things, but you have to have our essential list. Like instead of having two blog posts a week going out, we give ourselves permission to write a blog post every other week.
And what we did is we created a what’s a maintenance list to just keep the cruise control going. What’s the, Ooh, there’s some danger ahead list. And so if you went from 21 clients, I asked him what number would you start to say, Oh, like, I need to do some things? If you knew three clients or five clients were going to discharge in the next month or two like, would that be a freakout or would that be like, Ooh, I think I can replace it? So you let me know if I lost three clients, then I’d start to say, well, I got [00:36:00] to amp things up a bit. So then we made a list of what does that looks like?
You start blogging, start reaching out to network more. And then we had the full freakout list. So if he lost five or six clients, I was like, Whoa, this is really going to slow down my work. And, that’s when maybe we’d start running some aggressive Facebook ad campaigns and some other things. And then we also look at do you think if over the next three months you expect to lose three people, do you think you’ll get three phone calls to replace that? He’s like, yes, well, I give you permission to be on cruise control. So then what happens in the brain is we say, okay, I’m safe. I can keep doing this. This feels secure, or even more secure than a full-time job. Now I can start to dream to get to that next level. And that’s where the people that really start to go after the big ideas and to accelerate, they’re the ones that start to really aggressively limit their time in two different ways.
So one way is to have what I call hard boundaries and the second to have soft boundaries. And so hard boundaries are things like I’m never going to take a consulting client that wants to meet with [00:37:00] me on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. I don’t want to work on those days, so I will never take a client that says I can only see you on one of those days. So that’s a hard boundary.
A soft boundary is I’m not going to work very much on Fridays, but I may check email for an hour, but I want something that’s flexible to do on those off days. And so when you start saying, okay, I’m only going to do clinical work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and that’s when I’m going to do all my testing. I’m going to have my intakes on the first Tuesday and the third Tuesday of the month and you really reign in that schedule and you try to fill it so that you just get into this flow state of boom, boom, boom. I’m getting so much done in this period of time. On Tuesday of this week, I remember it was 11:00 AM and I had already done a podcast interview. I’d done consulting. And then I had done two other podcast interviews and I was like, I feel like I’m done for the day and it’s only 11, Holy crap. I’m getting a lot done today.
Like that’s what starts to happen when you just rack out these intense days. Then you can give yourself another day that’s more for that [00:38:00] creative effort. And so maybe it’s the Thursdays are your creative day and you explore big things or you read books or you listen to podcasts or you get on the clubhouse and you start to learn a lot through that app.
Dr. Sharp: Joe, what is clubhouse? What is going on with the clubhouse? Why are people talking about it?
Joe: I had the same question like a week and a half ago. The clubhouse is this new app you have to get invited in. So Jeremy, if you join the waitlist, let me know, and I can let you in. It’s a great marketing model because letting peers in. It’s just like when the g-mail rate started and they were like, you have five invites for Gmail and everyone was like, can I please have an invite? So if you view clubhouse as breakout sessions at a conference. So there are panel discussions, there are individuals talking, there are people listening, people raising their hands, people that want to contribute.
The other day I hosted one and it was all on how to monetize a podcast. And I had Wendy pap, Roseanne, she and her husband, Jay. Jay wrote the one thing and they have a whole amazing podcast network. Who else did I have in there? I had a few different people from interviews of [00:39:00] LA other podcasters that I know?
We had this panel discussion and then a bunch of podcasters jumped in there and some raise their hand and they would contribute for a while. It was like an hour and 15-minute discussion that would have been one of the best discussions at any podcasting conference I go to bringing together people that are never in the same room together all sharing ideas around something.
So for a while, I’m going to on Tuesdays at two o’clock Pacific be hosting a clubhouse on a variety of different topics and just see who shows up. I mean, we had 50 or 60 people that were hanging out, which for any conference would be a decent breakout room.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah, that’s crazy. I’ve heard stories of celebrities are on the clubhouse and we’ll just pop into these breakout rooms sometimes. That’s the thing that caught my attention.
Joe: Yeah, Amy Porterfield was hosting one the other day and I mean, there are like a thousand people in there listening about e-courses. I think it’s the first social media that I feel like I really enjoy. Instagram, Facebook, I’m on that for business. We share a lot of stuff on it. I do it because you have to have a presence, but this one, I find myself wanting to just go learn and learn and learn because there’s… so you can choose what topics you want to learn about. And so to just go like, Oh my gosh, Amy Porterfield’s talking about e-courses. I want to learn about e-courses from her. So you just go listen to the discussion as long as you want to and then pop out. Yeah, I like it a lot.
Dr. Sharp: That’s wild. Okay. I just had to ask people who are talking about it.
Joe: Oh yeah, text me when you’re on the waitlist and I’ll let you in.
Dr. Sharp: Okay, it’s good to have a hookup. Thanks. So I totally interrupted you to ask about this clubhouse thing to make sure I’m getting hold of facts.
Joe: No, that’s good, It’s a conversation. I was on my soliloquy there. I think the big idea is to make sure that you’re providing space for your brain to rest and be creative. Most of us when we enter the business, don’t have much business training. So then when things take off, we’re like, I can’t believe I’m successful. This is more money than I’ve ever made. Even if you do 20 clients a week at $150 a session, if you’re not even doing testing, that’s more money than most non-profits, most CMH, most government jobs. And so most of us are then shocked and like, Whoa, what do I do now? And so you just end up putting out fires whereas if we really start to then structure our days and our weeks, and then allow our brains to rest and allow our brains to be creative, that’s where I think we really start to notice the things that your potential audience is asking for.
So as testing psychologists to say, okay, I’m noticing that a lot of my assessments for autistic people have the same five questions. What if I had an e-course about those five questions that I gave for free as part of my package? So it started like, okay, here’s your assessment, but here’s a parent’s guide to these results. And you’ve got maybe some videos in there and then maybe you sell it for $197 on teachable and you go on other people’s podcasts and you say, did you just get an assessment? You’re shocked that your kid is on the autism spectrum. You don’t know what to do. I’ve got this promo code where you can get my e-course for $97 and you do a handful of those. And that recording is out there for years and you may build [00:42:00] thousands of dollars a month in just passive income off of something like that.
That’s just one example of how our testing psychologists could start to notice the questions their clients are asking and say, am I tapping into something that’s more global than just my local people here that are asking these questions? Is this something that my expertise could actually go way beyond my practice? But if you’re stressed out and maxed out and putting out fires, you’re not even going to think that way.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. I think I just want to put a fine point on that because I’ve talked so much on this podcast largely because of experiences like slow down school and other times of really stepping away and giving my brain time to rest and be creative. I think that’s so important for us to build that time into our schedule somehow. And even if it’s not during the workweek, like if we can’t do this every Friday or whatever, Tuesday afternoon, set aside some time on a Saturday morning, if you can to go walk your dog, but make sure to do voice memos on your phone if you have ideas. Like just have some dedicated space [00:43:00] to let your brain rest and record ideas. Building that muscle is super important.
Joe: Well, I love how you actually get away for a retreat for yourself to work on your business to really make sure that you’re intentional about the neighborhood you’re in and where are you going to eat? And you plan it all out. I actually, after I interviewed you about that process, that made it in the final cut on the book as a great example of how to do retreats because you’ve eliminated all the barriers that will get in the way for you to have a great retreat. And so some people that work better for them to go away for a bit and work rather than to have it every week. I tend to be more of, I need to have every week I need to have that downtime and that rhythm.
But you’re right. I mean, it’s more a matter of how does it work for you than it is to say, like, just do Joe’s or just do Jeremy’s method, but find a way to give yourself that space to just rest and then be able to kill it more later.
Dr. Sharp: Let me ask you about your process. So when you’re doing this each week, [00:44:00] is this structured kind of thing? Are you sitting down with a notebook and note this and note that or is this just like, Hey, I’m gonna make sure to have two hours each week to go on a walk or think about stuff, or is it more structured, less structured? What’s that look like?
Joe: Yeah, I would say it used to be way more structured because I was working three days a week. Every Thursday was my creative day. For a while, it was the day that I was writing my book but now because Tuesday’s my big Workday. Next month that’s switching to be a Tuesday on a Wednesday and then having a week off then a Tuesday and Wednesday. And so that’s a great schedule for anybody, but then on those off days, I’ve really tried to be intentional about if I’m even just doing the dishes that I’m listening to a book that pushes me forward in some way. So right now I’m listening to Think and Grow Rich. The Book from the 1930s. It seems like everybody’s listened to, except for me. Yeah, I’m listening to that.
Dr. Sharp: I haven’t listened to it yet.
Joe: Okay. It’s free through the app Libby, which you can connect with your public library account. So I’m listening to it through that [00:45:00] app or even listening to a clubhouse while I’m doing dishes or doing something. So there’s that side of it where I’m just filling my brain with good information, but just as important, if not more is just have downtime that you’re not thinking about the business because walking with my daughters, hanging out with my wife, trying to learn to surf but failing miserably, those experiences are going to allow me to just be open to the world and to notice things that maybe I wouldn’t normally notice or bring into my business world.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. That’s fair. I think that’s one of the things I appreciate about your podcast is that you talk with people who are not in mental health? You’re always open to things outside of work. And I think there’s some good research around that. It’s actually good for us to expand our experiences instead of zoning in and ultra specializing that actually puts blinders on us a little bit.
Joe: Yeah, I think that siloed approach sometimes, like when you look at whether it’s Steve [00:46:00] Jobs or Rob Bell, or there are all these creatives that when they talk about what helped them come up with really cool products or ideas, it’s almost always linking things together. Rob bell calls it tying clouds together.
And so even looking at Steve jobs who took a calligraphy class in college and sat in on that. And he says that that was one of the biggest things that influenced his design of Mac and, or when you look at when Uber was created, it was people that were linking established ideas on-demand video, which was out when Uber came and smartphones, but nobody had then tied that to taxis.
And so it’s really that downtime when our brain just freely roams and goes down rabbit trails. That’s when we have these ideas that we’re like, Oh my gosh, that would be amazing. That would be so helpful for my audience.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. For sure. I’ve heard some stuff I’m terrible at remembering where I get things from, but I know that I have heard some good research too around [00:47:00] top leaders, CEOs even athletes, basically top performers. If you really dig into their lives, they all have at least one separate hobby that is not related at all to what they’re famous for. So like, I don’t know, I think this is an example, like Winston Churchill, amazing politician, whatever statistician or a strategist, he painted all the time. I don’t know, I’m just, I guess, reinforcing and agreeing with you that we got to make time to slow down to give ourselves hobbies outside of our work. And just give our brain space to do other things.
Joe: Yeah, 100%. I mean, before the whole pandemic, I was regular into improv group and we continued it throughout the first half of the pandemic when everyone was stuck in their houses completely and it was such a creative outlet, but then I would always have applications for the business world that it wasn’t intentional. Like how can I do improv for my business but it helped. Even just the [00:48:00] idea of yes. And instead of killing someone else’s idea to say, how do I join them in that world? And what does that look like? And I mean, that’s such an important thing, even with my kids, like. Yes. And then the unicorn did this and we have a creative story that happens and it helps with parenting it’s helped me with business. So having those things that you can do I think are really important.
Dr. Sharp: Yeah. For sure. I love that yea and idea. I mean of all concepts. That’s an amazing concept to hold onto in every aspect of life. Don’t shut it down immediately. Do a yes and try to build off of it and see where it goes. I think that’s very applicable to our businesses and our family and any number of things.
Yeah. So, man, I feel like our conversation has run the gamut which they often do, it’s nice to have it in this format. And even though I miss seeing you in person but let me see, we talked a little bit about Nextlevel Practice. What else is going on with Practice of the Practice, either with Nextlevel [00:49:00] Practice or just projects y’all are working on, you always have cool stuff going on through Practice of the Practice.
Joe: Yeah. We have a growing team which is really cool. So if we start with starting a practice, we still got our one-year practice plan which helps people to know what to do in their first year of practice. And then the next step up is Nextlevel Practice, which is our membership community where we bring in experts like pat Flynn, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, other folks that we’re bringing in at that level, we have small groups accountability. We have several zoom calls a month to help people really grow their practice.
The next step up from that is we have a six-month program that Alison Pidgeon and Whitney Owens are running around starting a group practice. And it’s a private Facebook group and calls for people that are solopreneurs that want to step up into a group practice. And then after that, it feeds into group practice boss, which is our membership community for group practice owners. And so we’ve got all that going as well.
Alison Whitney and Latoya are all doing consulting with private practice owners. Then where I come in is I really focused on the people that are ready to either reduce their caseload or exit out of their practice. And that’s usually through some big idea wanting to be a public speaker, a published author. I hosted an event called the Art of Dreaming Big, back in November where I surprised the people that came to that event by having my writing coach and then my publisher, my agent talk about what they look for in published books. So helping people do podcasts everything from podcasts launch school, which is our e-course all about podcasting. And then we’ve got a bunch of new services we’re offering in regards to support for podcasters. And the podcast is people like therapists, coaches, people that they have some service-based business and they want to get to that next level by going national or international.
And then helping to continue coach people by our done-for-you services. So if people are like, it’s just not worth my time to start a podcast for me to do all that backend tech, we have a whole sound engineering team. We now have six sound engineers. We’ve got a podcast producer. We’ve got all sorts of other things that can support people. So we’ve got a lot going on most of which isn’t me it’s a huge team now. I think we’re up to 12 or 13 people now supporting people in private practice and in the podcast world.
Dr. Sharp: That’s fantastic. Yeah, it seems there’s something for everybody at every level of practice development. That’s the cool part.
How do people find you or find any of those things that you just mentioned?
Joe: Yeah, I think that if someone’s stuck, they can always go to Practice the Practice that comes in the bottom right and just has a chat with us button that you can say, Hey, I’m interested in this where can I get more information? So rather than list a million of those different links. I’d say if you’re stuck and you don’t know what to do, you can go there. If you want to apply to work with us, you just go to email@example.com/apply. Jess will do an interview and then connect you with whichever consultant would be best to do a free 30-minute pre consulting call.
I think for most of your audience, they are testing psychologists that want to grow their practices. NextLevel Practice would probably be the best fit for them. So if they go over to practiceofthepractice.com/invite. We have a cohort opening in February. We only opened that up a couple of times a year. So if it’s between cohorts, you can be on the waitlist. But we’ve got our experts. We’ve got our small groups, we’ve got a lot of testing psychologists in there already, and it’s only $99 a month. I mean, if you get one client that comes one time, it pays for all of that. And we’ve got 30 plus eCourses and all things to really support you to get to that six-figure Mark.
Dr. Sharp: That’s super cool. Yeah. It’s always good to chat with you and hear what you’ve got going on. And we were due for a good one. We haven’t seen y’all in two months, so it’s nice to sit down and have a conversation that maybe other people will benefit from as well. So, thanks for coming on. Always good to talk to you.
Joe: This has been awesome. Thanks so much, Jeremy.
Dr. Sharp: All right, [00:53:00] everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode with Joe Sanok. I had a great time talking to my friend here in this context and hope that you can take away a few things for your practice as well.
Like we talked about there a ton of links in the show notes. So definitely check those out if you are interested. And stay tuned. I am hopefully going to be doing a little bit of a Practice of the Practice takeover, at least on the business side for the month of February. Next week, I have Whitney Owens talking about private pay tips. And beyond that, my hope is to be talking with someone about systems, diversity, and hiring.
So stay tuned if you’re not subscribed to the podcast now it’s a great time to do that. It’s really easy in iTunes and Spotify. Those buttons are pretty prominent. And once you’re subscribed, you will make sure not to miss any episodes as they come out.
So thank you as [00:54:00] always for listening and take care. We’ll see you next time.
The information contained in this podcast and on the testing, psychologist’s website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here. And similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health [00:55:00] practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.