You’re growing your practice. That means when you’re not seeing clients, you’re returning phone calls, answering emails, marketing, networking, and trying to tackle a huge to do list. Overwhelmed yet?
I spoke with Frances Harvey, founder of My Solution Services about how to get out of overwhelm. She and her team help therapists with all of the everyday tasks of running a solo or group practice.
In this conversation, Frances talks about how to take tasks off your plate so you can focus on what matters to you.
At the end of the interview, you’ll see 2 surprise guests.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
What Frances says to overwhelmed therapists
#1: Breathe! It’s common for therapists in private practice to feel overwhelmed.
#2: You’re not supposed to do it all yourself. You need to offload the things you shouldn’t be doing so that you can focus on the things you should be doing, like providing excellent therapy.
Some things you probably shouldn't be doing
The most common things therapists ask me for help with are #1 phones and scheduling and #2 billing.
Phones and scheduling are critically important to your private practice. That’s your life line, so it’s scary to hand them over. But most of the time I hear therapists say that they often can’t return calls until 10 at night or that it’s sometimes 3 or 4 days before they can return a call. That’s not good!
When you’re at the point where you’re not returning calls promptly, you need help.
I've developed a step by step system for handling phone calls.
Here’s the structure we use when a potential client calls your practice:
1. Create the relationship with the potential client. “Hi, how are you? I’m glad you called. My name is Frances.” Within a few seconds we’ve created some rapport.
2. Create a safe place and ask them to tell me what why they want to come in for therapy.
3. Create value. We have a detailed profile for each therapist in our system. We know how long you’ve been a therapist, your fees, what you specialize in, and everything you can possibly imagine. We pull up that information right away and it seems like we’re sitting right there in your office and we’ve known you for 10 years. We’re able to create value for the client and let them know why it would be a good idea to come and see you.
4. Handle logistics. We give them all of the information they need including fees, length of session, and what to expect in the session. Then we move into scheduling an intake.
5. Do the follow up work, which may include a confirmation email to the client and a message letting the therapist know we’ve booked a session. It’s a very structured process.
My staff receives about 15 to 18 hours of training on this process, including role-playing the calls.
What tasks should you hand over?
When I talk to a therapist, I help them make a big list of everything they need to offload. I help them prioritize the top 3 most important things they need to take car of, and then we identify the #1 task that we will start with.
If you know you need help, but don’t have any idea what to offload, I give you an assignment. Take a week or two, and make a note in your smart phone every time you’re doing a business related task. For each task, ask yourself: Should I be doing this task? Should I be using my time on this? Note your answer next to each task.
Why you SHOULD offload some tasks
I often ask therapists: If I gave you back 10 hours a month, what would you do with it?
It’s critical for you to market and network with your colleagues. And what about spending time with your family?!
You may have to push yourself to hire help before it’s easy to afford because you may need those 10 hours to take your practice to the next level.
To get in touch with Frances and set up a consultation, go to mysolutionservices.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.