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[00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

All right y’all. Hey, welcome back to The Testing Psychologist podcast. Hey, today is episode number two in the informal Beginner Practice Launch Series. I say informal because I did not come up with a catchy name this time. So, just bear with me on that. We’ll just call it the Beginner Practice Launch Series.

Today’s episode number two. If you didn’t catch the first episode, I went over the first five steps in my Beginner Practice Checklist for testing folks. Today, we’re doing the second five steps in that Beginner Practice Checklist. We’re going to cover things like paperwork, your testing flow, setting your schedule, phone script, and buying testing materials.

Now, if you are a beginner practice owner and you are thinking of launching or have launched over the last two months, you can look at the next cohort of the Beginner Practice Mastermind, which is enrolling for a start date in April or May at this point. This is a group coaching experience where we really dig in, we help you stay accountable, we give you support and guidance, and homework to launch your testing practice. And you get to connect with other psychologists who are in the same developmental stage that you are with their businesses. You can get more information at thetestingpsychologist.com/beginner and check it out.

All right, let’s get to the discussion.

Okay, everyone. Here we are. Thank you again for being here. I really appreciate it. Like I said at the beginning, we are talking about the next five steps in the Beginner Practice Checklist for launching a testing practice. These steps are going to build on the previous steps that I discussed in the last business episode. So if you did not check that out, please go do that. I’m going to jump right into it here.

The first step, step 6, I suppose in this 10 step process is getting your paperwork ready. This was one of those things that again, is building on the previous step. So you have your business name, you have your office space and your address, you have your fees, and now you’re ready to put together some paperwork.

Paperwork is important. There are so many options for paperwork out there, both testing specific and not testing specific. I do offer a paperwork packet with some forms, logistics, informed consent, things like that. You certainly don’t have to use mine. There are a ton of options out there, but you need to get your paperwork together.

There are a few primary components of paperwork: informed consent, office policies, financial agreement, HIPAA or privacy, and I think demographic forms. People have plenty of forms, but those are the core forms that you want to make sure that you have.

When I say get it together, I just mean gather those documents, revise those documents, tailor them to fit your practice, and make sure that your paperwork is ready for the moment that you need to deploy it to your first client. You can have an attorney review your paperwork. [00:04:00] I don’t know that it’s necessary in some cases. If you are building your paperwork from scratch, it can be helpful to have an attorney review it, but in this day and age, the paperwork examples that are out there are largely derived from employee-reviewed paperwork.

So, some paperwork packets that you might purchase will explicitly say these are attorney reviewed. I think those can be super helpful, but most of the paperwork you find will have been reviewed by an attorney before. I think I said employee reviewed a bit ago. I meant, attorney-reviewed. So, you don’t necessarily have to do that, but that’s always a safeguard just to make sure, especially if you have any funky consents or you’re doing anything outside the box with finances or billing or a testing process. If you’re testing in someone’s home or something like that, you’ll have guidelines that fall outside the typical testing practice.

After you get your paperwork ready, I think it’s important to figure out your testing flow. What do I mean by testing flow? I mean, the process that you’re going to use to conduct your evaluations. So are you going to do your evaluations all in one day where you do the intake, the testing, the feedback, all in one shot? Are you going to separate the intake and then do all the testing in one day? Are you going to split testing into two days or four days? Are you going to do feedback immediately? Are you going to do feedback in a couple of weeks? When do you want your report ready? All of these things.

I think it’s important to set the expectation for your testing process pretty early. It will inform the next two steps that we’re going to talk about. So you can [00:06:00] make that decision based clinically or personally, or what your schedule allows, but you do need to make some kind of decision about your testing process because otherwise, the next step becomes very difficult.

Our next step is setting your schedule. This is setting your work schedule. Anyone who has listened to the podcast for any amount of time knows that I’m a big fan of predictability, time blocking, and day-theming in your schedule. And when you know your testing flow, that really helps to build your schedule in a predictable way.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with beginning practice owners or later practice owners is that they get into practice, take on referrals and schedule people wherever they fit in without any rhyme or reason. What often ends up happening is folks get overworked because they don’t set aside time for report writing or they book too many intakes and then don’t have room for the testing appointments and everything just gets out of whack.

So if you figure out your testing flow and then use that to build your ideal schedule, that can be a nice to punch to keep you sane and keep your clients happy because they know what to expect and you are giving yourself plenty of time and a structure to get the evaluation done in a way that makes your client satisfied.

So setting your schedule is important. I’m a big fan of having a relatively rigid schedule where you’re doing the same type of thing on the same days each week. And each week is relatively consistent from one week to the other. For example, maybe you do intakes and feedback on Mondays and maybe you test on Wednesdays and Thursdays and your report writing day is on Tuesdays. And then Friday is a catch-up day, [00:08:00] something like that. And then that’s the same schedule every week. That way, you know when the referrals start to come in, it’s a natural limiter or titration of how many intakes you can do. And it keeps your testing flow pretty stable so that you don’t get out of whack and in one direction or another. So setting your schedule is step 8.

Step 9, finally, is writing and practicing a phone script. Why is this an important step? This is an important step and it’s an important later step because it incorporates so many elements that we’ve already talked about. So when I say practicing your phone script, I mean, writing the script that you’re going to use when clients call and ask about testing services.

So you’re going to want to know, way back to some of the early steps, you’re going to want to know what the fees are. You’re going to want to be able to describe what the testing process looks like. You’re going to want to describe what they can expect to get from the testing process. You’re going to want to be able to describe to them how you will send their paperwork and onboard them. So there are so many elements that go into the phone script, but essentially this is a sales call. That’s why you need a script of sorts.

I’ve done an entire episode on phone scripts for testing services, but essentially you want to be able to position yourself as the bridge between the client’s distress and the client’s desired outcome. So it will take a little bit of tweaking to write a script that satisfies that criteria, but once you have it dialed in, it can be so helpful. And it will also help if you have this literally written down for the time when you decide to hire admin help because they will be able to [00:10:00] use a similar script to sell your testing services. So writing and practicing your phone script is step number 9.

Now, we’re finally to the last step in this Beginner Practice Checklist. And the last step is buying testing materials. Now you might ask why is this the last step in this process? Well, because it’s actually a relatively easy process. When you order testing materials, you can expect to receive those within a week to two weeks depending on who you order from and what you’re ordering. That’s not too long.

So you don’t have to make, at least for most of us, this is not a labor incentive decision. This is easy. You know what you want to buy, you know what you’re going to be assessing. You can get feedback from colleagues and you just purchase your measures. If you want to use your newly acquired business credit card, hopefully, you got one with a 0% interest rate for the first year, this gives you a little cushion to pay that off as you bring clients in, but this is the last step. Buy your testing materials and have those completely ready to go for when the phone starts to ring.

All right. That concludes the 10 step Beginner Practice Checklist. Now, there are a few little things that I didn’t talk about that you will need. Obviously, you will need an email address. You’ll need a phone for people to contact you and reach out. There are little nuances in there, but if you address these 10 steps, you should be in a relatively solid place to launch your testing practice.

I hope that you found this helpful. Like I said, if you want to do more of a deeper dive into some of these topics, there are further episodes in the show notes where I’ve done just that. And there’s also the Beginner Practice Mastermind [00:12:00] group where you can join other psychologists at the exact same place that you are, and we’ll dive deep together and support one another in launching our testing practices. The next cohort is enrolling for later spring, April May 2022. You can get more information at thetestingpsychologist.com/beginner.

All right, y’all. Stay tuned. Next business episode, we’ll continue this Beginner Practice Launch Series. I hope to see you there.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website [00:13:00] 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 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.

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