In this episode, Gordon talks with Michelle Hardman, LPC from The Primed Practice. They discuss the importance of understanding how to run a business when starting a private practice. Therapists do not get training on how to run a business, so starting a private practice can be tricky. However, Michelle wants to bridge that gap of knowledge and coach therapists through the intricacies of running a business. Plus, Michelle tells us about her Primed Planner, the perfect tool to remind private practice owners to practice self-care, network, and follow-up with clients.
Meet Michelle Hardman
Even though she knew at 15 years old she wanted to be a therapist, life always has some interesting detours! After nearly 16 years in corporate human resources leadership, Michelle decided to follow her dream to counsel people in the context of their whole life rather than just their career life.
Now, as a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of a successful private practice, Michelle enjoys working with adults who have anxiety and/or trauma histories. Michelle is also a Certified Daring Way Facilitator, teaching curricula based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. While Michelle is honored to be in this clinical space, she still loves all things “business!”
By leveraging her unique combination of corporate and clinical experience, as well as her MBA in strategic management, she is an exceptional business coach to fellow clinicians in private practice. By teaching clinicians about critical business elements such as marketing, branding, networking and business planning, as well as creating invaluable tools such as The Primed Planner™, Michelle is committed to helping amazing clinicians become confident business owners!
When Michelle grew her private practice, people kept asking how she did it. Michelle took for granted the things she knew from her MBA; she applied all her business knowledge without even knowing it. The idea of coaching on the business side of private practice grew organically. Michelle doesn’t have a secret sauce; she loves talking with clinicians and breaking down business for them. Clinicians will have an epiphany that the business side of practice doesn’t have to be so scary.
Brené Brown Workshops
Brené Brown’s work is so relatable and easy to break down into digestible bits. Her research and the way she presents it fascinates Michelle. Brené’s work is part of the human experience, so that is why it is easy to relate with. Michelle works with people who have anxiety and trauma, so shame almost always presents itself in those situations. Clinicians also feel guilt when they go into private practice because they feel like they are supposed to know how to run a business even though the courses were never taught in graduate school. Even though Michelle has an MBA, she still thinks it’s still scary.
It’s easy for self-care to fall off the radar; sometimes, therapists are the worst ones to stay on top of it. Michelle felt like an outsider coming into the world of private practice. In graduate school, we are taught to feel shame about running a profitable business. We are told that therapists shouldn’t be working to make money; they should be working to make a change. There’s a stigma that marketing and business do not help people; that is not true. We got into this business to help people; however, we deserve to have thriving lives of our own.
Private Practice Sales
Michelle says, you don’t have to be a salesperson; you need to showcase your strengths and skills. Marketing is about relationships and cultivating those relationships; it’s not about selling. We should never be making a sale. Instead, we should be putting ourselves out there. If you repel people, then they are not the right fit for your practice. The small things matter most. We can only do so many things in a day, so think about the little things you can do today to move the needle forward.
The Primed Planner
If we are not trained in business, and it feels overwhelming and scary – having a tool that has those prompts along the way to keep us engaged will help our practices flourish. Michelle wanted to put an engaging structure around the business of private practice. The Primed Planner is published and available! It was developed in the spirit and love of Michelle’s company. The planner creates prompts for self-care, networking, and follow-up items. Yes, it’s a monthly and weekly calendar, but there is also an annual roadmap. Michelle’s planner allows us to take the time to think about our goals and the things that energize us.
Michelle is a big believer in knowing what your core values are. When building a house, you want a strong foundation for it to sit on. In your business, if you do not have a strong message, your marketing will come off as inauthentic. We deserve a solid foundation. Think about your core values and how you align your business to build on those values. Then, we can start thinking about our goals for the actual business. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?
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Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT
Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook