In this episode, Jamal Jones chats about navigating the hurdles of partnering with a tech company and transitioning to a sustainable private pay model. We explore his growth, financial transformation, and improved relationship with his work. Beyond his personal journey, Jamal dives into profound topics like faith, abundance, and financial wellness, providing insights into mental health entrepreneurship and the adoption of value-based pricing. Join Jamal in recognizing the worth of mental health professionals, navigating industry challenges, and embracing a mindset that transforms setbacks into success.
Meet Jamal Jones
Jamal Jones is a dedicated Professional Growth Coach who focuses on empowering therapists, non-profit leaders, and fundraisers to achieve personal and professional excellence. With a strong emphasis on empowerment, Jamal helps his clients take inspired action with clarity, confidence, and courage. He assists individuals and organizations in enhancing their practices, navigating challenges, and preventing burnout by promoting well-being and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Understanding the importance of taking calculated risks without regret, Jamal guides his clients to embrace risk as a pathway to growth and success while upholding authenticity and integrity. Offering a personalized coaching experience tailored to the unique needs and goals of each individual, couple, or organization, Jamal’s coaching encompasses clarity, self-confidence, courage, empowerment, and impact. Connect with Jamal Jones today to begin your journey towards a more purposeful, impactful, and fulfilling life.
Jamal Jones is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Prepare-Enrich Couples Facilitator based in Fresno, California. After receiving a bachelor’s degree of Arts in Communication from Fresno State University in 2005, Jamal served as the Fresno State football team Chaplain and western region director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He received his Master’s Degree of Science in Counseling; Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from the University of Phoenix in 2012. Jamal gained experience working as a therapist in various environments, including adult rehab centers, school campuses, community mental health, group homes, hospitals, child welfare and penal systems. Jamal has been licensed since 2017 and in private practice since 2019.
From Setback to Success: Jamal’s Journey in Private Practice
Jamal reflects on his experience working as a mental health care professional, acknowledging the challenges in the field. Despite obtaining his license in 2017 with the expectation of maintaining a high level of excellence and achieving a better work-life balance, he found himself facing increased pressure and anxiety. In 2019, he was let go by his employer, leading to a difficult period of uncertainty and self-doubt. However, this setback became a turning point as Jamal decided to pursue his dream of starting his own private practice. Initially partnering with a tech company for marketing and client acquisition, he faced the challenge of unsustainable compensation. Learning from this experience, he eventually transitioned into a proper private pay practice, undergoing a journey of personal and financial transformation. Jamal now shares his success in generating substantial income through premium therapy packages, highlighting his growth and improved relationship with both himself and his work.
Faith, Abundance, and Financial Wellness
Jamal, reflecting on his faith and professional journey, discusses the contrasting beliefs of the prosperity gospel and the poverty gospel in mental health. He acknowledges the prevalent discourse on operating from fear and scarcity versus abundance in the field. As a person of faith, Jamal recognizes his natural tendency towards the poverty gospel, emphasizing sacrifice and humility. However, he shares the importance of learning to be a better steward of his time, resources, and education. Jamal advocates for the idea that being a person of faith does not contradict financial success; instead, one can be congruent with their beliefs while generating income and using resources for positive impact.
Insights on Mental Health Entrepreneurship
Jamal emphasizes the crucial role of mental health professionals as entrepreneurs and the evolving landscape of mental health awareness. He notes the increasing acceptance of seeking mental health services and highlights the responsibility mental health entrepreneurs have in managing their businesses effectively. While their dedication to the clinical aspect is evident, Jamal urges fellow professionals to recognize their role as CEOs. He underscores the importance of considering various business aspects such as retirement, taxes, CEUs, and operational expenses. By understanding the weight and responsibility of small business ownership, Jamal gained confidence in increasing fees, emphasizing the need for mental health practitioners to be mindful of the broader business context.
Value-Based Pricing and Premium Therapy Packages
Jamal challenges the traditional one-to-one fee-for-service model in mental health, particularly for private pay practitioners. He advocates for considering a private pay business model to take greater ownership of income but emphasizes the importance of setting appropriate fees to avoid burnout. Jamal shares his journey of adopting a value-based pricing mindset, recognizing the significant value mental health providers bring to clients in distress. He highlights the impact of offering premium therapy packages, sharing a success story of a client who started with a $75 session and later invested $4,000 in an $8,000 therapy package. Jamal encourages fellow practitioners to embrace a healthy relationship with money and recognize the potential for clients across the country to invest in high-level mental health services.
A Call to Recognize Worth and Navigate Industry Challenges
Jamal delivers a powerful message to licensed mental health care providers, emphasizing their worth and value. He encourages professionals, including LMFTs, LCSWs, and LPCCs, to recognize their qualifications, training, and inherent value. Jamal addresses the imposter syndrome prevalent in the industry and calls for a collective acknowledgment that mental health professionals are good enough and crucially needed. He contrasts the rise of the coaching industry and the potential departure of mental health professionals, stressing the continued and vital importance of mental health services. Jamal reassures those facing self-doubt that they belong, are valuable, and can strategically increase their rates while maintaining accessibility for those in need.
Gordon: Well, hello everyone. And welcome again to the podcast. And I'm so happy for you to get to know today, Jamal Jones. Welcome Jamal.
Jamal: Thank you Gordon. I'm glad to be
Gordon: here. Yes, yes. And we were just kind of touching base before we started, but Jamal is a start with everyone. Tell folks a little bit more about yourself and how you've landed where you've landed.
Jamal: I am a PK. My father is a pastor. My mother is a devout woman of faith. So I was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home in the Bay Area, born in San Francisco, raised in East Oakland, the youngest of five kids. So for me, faith has always been an intricate part of my family background. When I was 13, that's when I decided to embrace my own personal profession and Christ as my Lord and savior.
And sports have also been a major part of my life. And so I was fortunate to get a scholarship. To go to college at Fresno state and play football. And that's where I got introduced to an organization called the fungible Christian athletes, FCA. And in 2007, 2008, I was on staff with FCA, um, as a pastor and I just experienced all this anxiety and fear.
around fundraising and whether or not I could continue to fundraise my entire ministry budget and do it long term. And I literally got scared back into graduate school. And in that process, I was trying to think through, well, if I'm not going to continue doing ministry through FCA or somewhere as a pastor, how do my skills transfer into the secular world?
And that's how I ended up enrolling in the MFT program and get my master's in marriage, family, child therapy. And I always knew I wanted to be a pirate practice. I didn't know how I exactly get there, and I didn't fully understand what I was asking for, but it was a dream. It was a goal. And as you probably know yourself, working as a mental health care professional in health care, it is not for the faint of heart.
When it comes to like the productivity requirements and the high caseloads and the ability to consistently meet the demands of the Client care and documentation and collaboration. And it's tough. So when I got licensed in 2017, I had a belief that I was going to continue to be able to serve at a high level of excellence and impact lives.
I wanted to obviously increase my income, but I also wanted to have a better work life balance. And that didn't happen for me. As a matter of fact, once I got licensed. The pressure was even higher. The companies I worked for were understaffed. And I found myself showing up like really anxious and afraid to take time off from work.
And eventually in 2019, I was actually let go by my last employer. I was 38 years old and that was one of the worst times of my life. Now I was 38 with a young family, LMFT, unemployed, and all I can do is Like, what am I, what in the world am I going to do now? I felt like a failure. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated.
But that's when I decided to pursue my dream and start my own private practice. And in private practice, one of the first moves I made looking back, I would now call it more of a mistake, a learning experience that I had. Was I partnered with a tech company and it was great initially because the tech company took care of all the marketing, the advertising, the billing, they matched me with clients and built a caseload fast, but I was only getting compensated 25 if I had a full 50 minute session.
And as you know, Gordon, that's just not sustainable. Right, right. So I did leave that tech company and eventually I would transition into being a proper pay practice and I had this journey. Of where I converted some clients from the tech company to private pay. And I would eventually do some work around money mindset and the coaching program and learn to increase my fees and clients began investing at two 50 for a one off session.
But God has really had me on a journey over the course of the last two years or so, where I've really seen some transformation in my own healing and having a better relationship with. With God and a relationship with money. And I've gone from getting paid, you know, $25 to a tech company to receiving two 50 for a one-off session.
Mm-Hmm. to literally generating thousands of dollars with premium therapy packages. Yes.
Gordon: Yes. That, that's amazing. And I think, yeah, I think all of us have experienced different. Times in our life where we've really struggled and I think also just being able to get your head around the money mindset. So yeah.
So when you say money mindset, what do you, what do you see change for you and just thinking about money?
Jamal: As a person of faith, I've always been aware of things like stewardship. And, um, there's a thing out there called the prosperity gospel and, um, there's also a, a poverty gospel set of beliefs, um, here in mental health, there's lots of, uh, there's a lot discussed about operating from a place of fear, um, a belief that there just isn't enough clients are enough opportunity are in contrast to operate from a place of abundance.
And so for me, integrating my faith and my understanding of best practice in psychology, my story, I kind of match, I have a natural tendency toward the poverty gospel, where that sense of life. To be in alignment with my higher power and to be righteous are a good follower of my faith, you know, sacrifice it all and be broken, be poor.
And so I had to learn that and being a better steward of my time and my resources are. My licensure, my education and background and being a better steward to become comfortable with the idea of that you can be a person of faith and you can be congruent in who you are. And at the same time, you can. Uh, make a lot of money, uh, generate income and take those resources and use it for good.
Gordon: Yes. And I think that's, I know that's a struggle a lot of us have had just around, you know, naturally we're helping professions and, uh, two, I come from a background of faith as well. And there's some messages around that, that I think can be taking to. Taken to the extreme about, you know, the whole thing about scarcity mindset and particularly, you know, what, you know, poverty, but there's also poverty of spirit part of poverty of, you know, our own wellbeing and, uh, That's what we're, you know, as mental health providers, we're there to help people with that.
And if we're not getting paid, and if we're not getting making a living, you know, a fair living and doing that, then we're not able to help people. And so I think being able to overcome those kinds of things is important.
Jamal: And our clients, they need us so desperately. As you know, we live in a time in history where there's less of a stigma around mental health.
People are recognizing the need for mental health services. It's more normalized to seek out help. And it's, it's not our client's responsibility to know what our needs are for our businesses. That's where we as mental health entrepreneurs. How to not only embrace the clinical aspect of our work, because many of us are obviously licensed and many acquired multiple certifications and we upkeep with our continued education requirements, all of those things, because we're so passionate.
And as you said, we are helpers and healers. That's the way we're wired. Um, but it's also important for us to realize that we are also the CEO of our company and as a CEO of our company, we've got to be cognizant of things like retirement. Um, taxes, um, CEUs, um, all our operational expenses, how much, how much money does our company need to generate so that we can bring home our, a salary to take care of ourselves and our family independent of the business.
There's all these things that's tied to being a small business owner, the marketing, the advertising that we should be providing the company. And that's where I've really become passionate. About us. Once I began to realize the weight and responsibility of being a small business owner and how that's tied to our fee structure, it really just gave me more of a sense of common confidence with increasing my fees as opposed to under charging
Gordon: for service.
Yes. Right. Right. Yeah. That's a real important step, real important steps rather. So I know Jamal, one of the things that we, one of the things that I know you're passionate about is just helping people with burnout and just getting kind of stuck or spinning our wheels in the mud, as I like to call it sometimes.
So, yeah. So what, what have you learned about that through your own journey?
Jamal: In my own journey, Gordon, I've discovered that the traditional one to one fee for service model when it comes to serving our clients at the highest level of excellence and protecting ourselves for burnout may not be the best business model to have as a therapist, if I were practice.
Especially if you're a private pay, I'm an advocate for insurance. It's important for us to be accessible to as many people as possible. But the reality is tech companies and insurance companies usually underpay the provider. So now we get caught where we're underpaid by the are not reimbursed at the highest level for our services, and now we have this huge caseload.
So for those who are comfortable, I recommend really considering adopting a private pay business model, because once you're private pay, you now take more ownership and responsibility of your income. But once you're private pay, you still got to be mindful of what are your fees. Because if you're undercharging, I basically experienced burnout in private practice, either because of undercharging for my services or getting reimbursed at too low a rate.
And that one to one, trying to see so many clients on a weekly basis throughout the year, for me, it's just not sustainable. So last year, in being part of a mastermind, which really stretched me and grew me. I began to adopt this mindset of value based pricing, where I began to think about what's the value of somebody coming to our practice and they're not wanting to live anymore.
Them having complex trauma, having unresolved grief and loss over a period of decades, and they're not being able to show up for their work and be productive and at risk of losing their jobs. When people come to us. Oftentimes they're in a lot of turmoil and distress, and what value do you place on our ability as health care providers to actually resource these people and instill hope in them and help them find purpose beyond their suffering and to help them overcome trauma and to help them have closure in their grief?
The value of what we do is so significant. So with that context, uh, last year, I began offering these premium therapy packages and Gordon, I've gone from just for one story to kind of highlight this for you in terms of my money mindset and the spiritual journey. And a psychological insights tied to it.
One client left a tech company with me and invested, he began investing 75 per session. I would then later level him up to 175 per session. Um, last year, uh, this same client put down a 4, 000 deposit. Um, toward an 8, 000 therapy package. That's great. And that just speaks to the, the power of having a healthy relationship with money.
But it also speaks to there's client, there are clients out there in every part of the country who want to invest in themselves and they want to invest at a high level. Uh, but it's, but if, if we as providers are comfortable with that. Then we can do it as well.
Gordon: Right. Right. Yeah. You make a really good point.
You know, I think about, you know, one of the things is really looking at creative ways to, to bring in income in different ways. And as you, as you alluded to earlier, you know, the, the one to one model of providing therapy is good and it's necessary. We need to keep doing that, but there's a, there's a ceiling to it.
I mean, there's only so much you can charge and only so many sessions that you can provide. And so looking for other ways to diversify income streams and to be able to find other ways to, to help people is so important. It's going from the one to one way of helping people to the one to many. And so being able to look for ways of doing that is, is, is such a good thing.
And the, the other thing that you kind of mentioned is I think you're right, burnout. Burnout occurs when we feel like what we're doing is undervalued.
Jamal: It does. And as a W 2 employee, I can remember working different jobs in different settings, whereas a W 2 employee, you might have a life goal and your income is tied to that life goal, and you might want to decide to work overtime or to work two jobs or to have that annual evaluation and get a raise, a merit increase.
That's the norm when you're W 2 employee. Um, but once we embark on this journey of entrepreneurship and being a small business owner, uh, once we're aware of it, cause oftentimes, even though we transition into small business, we might still be operating with that W 2 mindset. And so it's really important for us.
to have our own process that we go through to kind of realign ourselves and come to realize as an entrepreneur, we are now responsible for determining our income, our merit increase, our lack thereof. And if we are comfortable under charging for our services as professional service providers. That's on us.
And so we want to be mindful of that so that we're not being resentful toward our clients are angry toward, you know, insurance companies are frustrated with tech companies are, you know, being miserable within ourselves. Uh, because if, if we're struggling with burnout, which is very common for many of us, uh, it doesn't have to be that way.
Uh, we can grow our, uh, raise our beliefs about our services and really just recognize the value of our services and learn to communicate that to our clients. And there are people out there who are on our caseloads and who want to be on our caseloads. Uh, but if we are comfortable around money and talking about money and having conversations about raising fees.
And being comfortable and confident and stating our fees, things of that nature, then now we're, we're actually hurting ourselves,
Gordon: right? Yeah. It's so important for people to kind of get past the imposter syndrome that I think can affect a lot of us. So just feeling, feeling like, okay, I'm not, I'm not worth that amount or I'm not worth that much.
But yeah, when you look at the amount of money that all of us spend in getting through advanced degrees and being able to do what we need to do to get to where we are. It really, we are really worth that much.
Jamal: Oh, if you are a LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, if you are a licensed mental health care provider. I just want to remind you that you are, you are worth every penny.
You are worth every dollar. You are trained. You are qualified. You are gifted. You may be led to get an under certification because you're dedicated to your personal growth and development. Excellent. Um, but you're not obligated to do that to be good enough. So I just want to tell all our colleagues out there listening, you are right where you're at, you are good enough and you are valuable.
Your services are valuable. They are desperately needed. So that imposter syndrome it's real. And I think that's one of the keys for us as an industry to move our industry forward is for us as a community to begin to speak out and recognize that we're good enough. When you look at what's happening at this time in history with the rise of the coaching industry, you could be someone who does not have the same background or training or level of education and decided and decided to become a coach and you can niche down and develop your framework on how to help people.
And the coaching industry is, has grown leaps and bounds and some mental health professionals are actually leaving mental health to go into coaching. I just want people folks to know that mental health services are needed desperately. solo practices, group practices. And if you're called to serve mental health, um, and you're having any self doubt, are you feeling like you don't belong anymore?
I want to remind you that you belong, you are valuable, your services are valuable, and within you and with good counsel from a coach or a trusted financial advisor, accountant, resources that are available, you can increase your rates. Substantially, and at the same time, still be accessible to those who may not be able to invest at that same level,
Right. Yeah, that's so much truth there. So, yeah, so you've made dipped your toe in the water around coaching. It says, say a little bit about that.
Jamal: I'm actually now a growth coach with therapist in private practice because I believe that so I have my clinical practice. But also, as I've been on my own journey, I just see the need to help other therapists with their money mindset, with their marketing and their sales.
Um, if you're going to be a private pay practitioner or a therapist in private practice who has a private pay practice, the trade off, right, when you're with insurance companies, they do the marketing, they do the advertising, and you don't have to sell anything, really. But when you're private pay, that money mindset work, the marketing and sales play a huge role.
So I'm now on a mission this year in 2024 to help at least 12 therapists in private practice. With their money mindset, their marketing and their sales. And help them adopt this package model, if that's what they would like to do. And that would allow me to have a greater impact. Because if I can help 12 therapists increase their fees, and improve their marketing, and have a healthy mindset around sales.
Because for some, there's a strong stigma tied to the idea of being a sales professional. But to be a sales professional isn't necessarily a bad thing. A dirty word are, you know, it's not a, you don't have to be a dirty, nasty, bad car salesman necessarily. Right. And so that's an area of growth for me that I'd have to also work on is I'm glad to pay it forward to help others.
Gordon: Right, right. Yeah, I think when it comes to marketing and the way I like to think about it is it's really just being able to to put yourself out there in a way to help people find you because there's more than enough people out there that need our help and want our help and want to want to work with each of us for different reasons.
So, I mean, yeah, I think that's important point. So Well, Jamal, I've got to be respectful of your time. And, you know, I've really enjoyed our conversation. Tell folks how they might be able to get in touch with you and the things that you can help them with.
Jamal: People can find me on, on LinkedIn, Jamal Jones LMFT, and you can also find me on Facebook, Jamal Jones.
I also have a YouTube channel for my coaching business, the purpose driven therapist. And you can also go to my landing page, the purpose driven therapist. com forward slash home and learn more about my offerings. And I look forward to serving those whom I'm called to serve. So feel free to reach out.
Yes. And we'll have links here in the show notes in the show summary and be sure and check it out. So Jamal, thanks for being on the podcast. And I hope that we'll have some more conversations here in the future.
Gordon: Well, hello everyone. And welcome again to the podcast. And I'm so happy for you to get to know today, Jamal Jones. Welcome Jamal.
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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 wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Instagram @practiceoftherapy, and “Like” us on Facebook.