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Hey everyone. Welcome back to another business episode on The Testing Psychologist. Today we’re talking about my three keys for getting your practice under control.
Many of us start private practice with a lot of excitement, right? Private practice is exciting, a little nerve-wracking, but [00:01:00] exciting. We’re transitioning out of another job. We’re launching something new. The potential is endless, but before we know it, we are often overwhelmed, not making money or not knowing what to do with it and working more than we would like.
Today, I’m going to be talking about three ideas or three strategies to get your practice under control if it is starting to run a little wild.
Before we totally dive into that, I will invite all of you to Join a Testing Psychologist Mastermind Group. If you’d like to be in a group with other psychologists who are right at your stage of practice development, learn from them, get support from them, and have some accountability and some homework to move through some of those problems you may be facing in your practice, it could be a good fit. You can learn more at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and schedule a pre-group call.
Okay. Let’s talk about getting your practice under control.
Okay, y’all, as usual, let’s get right into it. Running a business is hard, right? I often tell people that it is shocking how quickly we move from the question of how do I get more clients to what do I do with all these clients?
In a lot of cases, I liken this to having a baby where at least in my case, we spent so much time developing the birth plan and what was going to happen during labor for our first child, but then once we actually got home from the hospital, we found that we had not [00:03:00] thought about that at all, even though that was literally the rest of our lives was how do we take care of this baby? We spent so much time focusing on the birth plan and these relatively few hours in the hospital, but now that we are home, it’s kind of like, do they really let us go home with this baby? What are we going to do?
And so I liken that to running a business where we spend so much time thinking about how to launch the business, how to get clients, the office space we’re renting, and all these startup things that it’s really easy to find ourselves at home alone with a baby, so to speak. In the practice world, that means that we are surprisingly overworked, underpaid, and just generally unhappy with the practice that we’ve built.
I was thinking through this. I think this episode was inspired by a topic of [00:04:00] conversation in one of my mastermind groups where we touched on some of these things and it made me think about three keys or three strategies that I found that can really help in getting your practice under control if it’s out of control and it can also really help if you do these from the beginning, so you don’t have to get it under control, it’s always under control. So let’s dive into those.
The first one, set goals or have a clear vision. I did an episode relatively recently about visioning in your practice. But I think setting goals is really important. When you have a financial goal, a lifestyle goal, or both, it gives you peace of mind and clear boundaries for what you’re working toward.
There’s no more just taking every client that calls. There’s no more overbooking just because you think you need those clients. When you [00:05:00] know how much you want to make and or how much you want to work, and these are related by the way, it automatically just puts boundaries on your schedule.
I find a lot of my consultant clients struggle with schedule boundaries. I’m often asking the question, why are you doing so many evaluations? And the answer is often, I don’t know, or it’s some version of, I need money. Well, how much money do you need? I don’t know.
So it’s really easy if you don’t have goals, if you don’t know what your financial goal is or what you’re working toward or what you want your life to look like, it’s really easy to just take all the clients that call and fit them in somehow and find yourself overwhelmed. So key number one is setting goals and giving yourself a true NorthStar or something to work toward in your [00:06:00] practice.
The second key that I will talk about is setting a consistent schedule. I’ve talked a lot about day theming and time blocking. You may have heard these terms. These practices are pretty important to keeping your schedule under control. I mean, even if you don’t care about either of those and only do one thing though, here is my advice to you. It’s very simple. Limit your Intake.
You may have heard me say in the past that intakes are the gateway drug for testing. So if you don’t have a limit on the number of intakes that you’re doing, then it’s off to the races. And it’s a really quick way to let your practice get out of control because if you do an intake, the chances are really, really good that you’re going to have to do testing and write a report for that client. So if you at least set a concrete [00:07:00] number of intakes that you do per week or month, it keeps you from overbooking and not having time for the testing and report writing down the road.
So again, this is where I see people stumble a little bit. They do not have that structure built into their schedule and they’re doing a random number of intakes every week or month. There’s not a lot of routine to it and then find themselves way overwhelmed when it comes time to do the testing or maybe they don’t even have time to do the testing and report writing and end up working on the weekends most often.
Again, limiting your intakes is a super simple step that you can take that will naturally titrate the work that you were doing and keep you from getting too busy.
Now, the assumption here, of course, is that you limit your intakes according to how many total evals you want to do in that time period and [00:08:00] you’re realistic about it. If your evaluations are 15 hours a piece, you can’t do four intakes a week, but if your evaluations are three hours each, you could maybe do 10 evals a week or 10 intakes a week. You just have to be realistic.
I’ve talked about this before, but we, in our practice, have what I call a rule of two. What that means is that every week our full-time clinicians are doing two intakes. And then that creates on a rolling basis. Every week they’re doing two intakes, they have two testing days and two feedback appointments. Now sometimes things have to be rescheduled, it’s not a perfect system, but that provides a little guideline, a little rubric for our clinicians as they are managing their schedules.
For us, evaluations range from about 15 to 18 hours each. So [00:09:00] our full-time clinicians are doing again, two intakes a week. That’s it. And the way that we manage this is we block out time on the schedule on our EHR and each clinician has two spots each week that just say hold for intake. We set that as a recurring weekly appointment forever. So there is no temptation to do any more than that. And our scheduling team just knows you only book intakes in those hold for intake spots. And what that does is create a nice testing cycle where we’re never getting out of balance too much with the ratio of intakes to testing to feedback and vice versa.
So again, be realistic, but really work on setting a consistent schedule and limiting your intakes to match the number of evaluations you want to do in that time period.[00:10:00] Let’s take a break to hear from our featured partner.
Conduct a broad based assessment of personality and psychopathology with the gold standard personality assessment inventory or PAI. 22 non-overlapping scales cover a full range of clinical constructs, so you’ll get the information you need to make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan. Plus, for your clients who speak Spanish, the new PAI Spanish revised translation retains semantic equivalence while updating language to be clearer and more inclusive. Learn more at parinc.com\pai.
All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
The third key that I’m going to talk about is simply knowing your numbers. Having basic financial literacy is incredibly important. I’ve done several episodes on financial stuff that you can go back and check out. And then there’s also plenty of information online.
But knowing your numbers is super [00:11:00] important. It will help reduce your anxiety. It will give you a great idea of the finances in your practice and it will help you know pretty much anything you want to know like, do you need to take on more clients? Should you raise your rates? Are you spending too much on rent or testing materials? To me, knowing your numbers increases your confidence to make pretty much any other decision about your practice.
For some folks, money is not as important and that’s totally fine. So unless this is a hobby that doesn’t need to make money for you, I think you need to know your numbers because the most important aspect of any business is profitability and financial sustainability. If you don’t have profit, you cannot continue to do your business.
So again, unless this is [00:12:00] a hobby and you are externally funded by some funding source or you don’t care about losing money, you need to know if you are profitable or not. And a good way to do that is knowing your numbers.
Now, if you want some help with that, there are people that can help with that. I highly recommend getting a good bookkeeper at the least. So even if you want to do your own taxes for some ungodly reason, you could do that, but at the least, I would recommend getting a good bookkeeper who can manage your QuickBooks or accounting software. That person would also walk you through your financial statements each month and just help you understand what is happening with the money: how much income you’re taking in, how much revenue you’re taking in, how much you’re spending, and whether those numbers are in line with your goals.
I’ve talked quite a bit on the podcast about my own [00:13:00] ignorance and naivety with money when I started my practice. It definitely hurt the financial sustainability of the practice. And I’d love for y’all to avoid that situation if at all possible. So the third key is just knowing your numbers, getting some basic financial literacy, and hiring the professionals that can help you navigate the financial picture in your practice.
Just to recap, three keys: set goals, set a consistent schedule, and know your numbers. Honestly, if you can put these three things into place, these do not take a lot of time, some relatively small tweaks to accomplish most of these, it can make a huge difference in your practice and go a long way toward helping you to be less overwhelmed, more fulfilled, less confused, and [00:14:00] ultimately more engaged and have a better sense of wellbeing in your practice.
All right, y’all. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Always grateful to have you here. I hope that you take away some information that you can implement in your practice and in your life. Any resources that we mentioned during the episode will be listed in the show notes. So make sure to check those out.
If you like what you hear on the podcast, I would be so grateful if you left a review on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast.
And if you’re a practice owner or aspiring practice owner, I’d invite you to check out the testing psychologist mastermind groups. I have mastermind groups at every stage of practice development: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have homework, we have accountability, we have support, we have resources. These groups are amazing. We do a lot of work and a lot of connecting. If that sounds interesting to you, [00:15:00] you can check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. You can sign up for a pre-group phone call and we will chat and figure out if a group could be a good fit for you.
Thanks so much.
The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website are 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 [00:16:00] 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 an expertise that fits your needs.