Almost a year into my (most recent) private practice, and here is what I am learning:
• Insurance is a great thing. For the client, for me. They get services, I get paid. Also, I realize that whereas a flat-out Coaching Business (which I thought I wanted, and probably do, eventually), would require my getting out and selling it, I do not currently have the time or inclination to do that. I could go talk to the Elks Club, and the Rotary, and blah blah, to try to get myself known, or I can sit in Betterday Coffee Shop at 7 AM, refine my profiles on Psychology Today and GoodTherapy.org, and let people with insurance find me. This is an Introvert Entrepreneur’s dream. Yay for insurance.
• Hire a person to deal with the insurance, if you are not made that way. I am not. I did. Quality of life, KABOOM. Done.
• Coaching/Counseling/Therapy work, in my world, never conformed to the “50 Minute Hour”, not even the “Hour Hour.” I have the choice to NOT work that way, and I make that choice. The unit of interest to me is the “Encounter”, the “Meeting.” On average, I would guess maybe I go an hour and 20 minutes. Sometimes two hours. Sometimes an hour and 5. I don’t care. I do not like the hour, and I am OUT of the mindset that I charge for an hour. I GET that you have to do that in agencies, of course, but I am not an agency. I am Jim. Done. Typically, I schedule every hour and a half. So if you do three billables in three hours and I do two, I don’t care. My life is better for it, and so are my clients’ lives. I’m doing it.
• I do more “Coaching” than “Therapy”, whatever “therapy” is—I never quite got that completely. But then, I’m still young and learning…
• I am hugely synched with CBT, Narrative, and Abraham teachings. Eventually, I am going to point everybody back to their own Inner Knower, their own resources, their own commitment to their own happiness, their own responsibility for their experience on the planet. For creating or influencing heavily their own reality, for taking more control of their own thoughts and their own Inner Narrative. I make that clear in my profiles, so that if you think this perspective on life is horsecrap, you don’t call me. We’re both better off for that. People who want to blame the “Other Guy” or “Thirty Years Ago” or for their experience this afternoon probably want to talk to somebody else. I don’t know what the “Truth” is. Maybe “Thirty Years Ago” and “That Awful Person” ARE responsible for your experience today. But that is not my belief, and I am going with what I believe.
• The number of people who think they can make a living working outside the insurance realms is way, way bigger than the number of people who actually can.
• Most of the people I see could not afford to pay the going rate for Counseling/Coaching services. Most of the people I see have IQs over 125, and if Emotional Intelligence had numbers, they would have over 140. It would be just fine if they did not. But I’m attracting, for now, high, high quality, really smart, articulate, inspired, motivated people. They don’t have six hundred bucks a month to talk to me. Or four hundred, or whatever my fee would be. They just don’t. Maybe I am Abrahamming that financial thing. Probably I am. So it goes.
• The overall learning is, “Try to do it your own way”, to whatever extent you can. “Be your own authentic self” so that you do not have to try to remember how you are supposed to “be” in a meeting with your clients. Be who and how you are. Boom. Done.
• If you don’t think the universe brings you clients with your own issues, so that the both of you can dog-paddle through them together, you’re nuts. It does. All the time. I sometimes wish it would do so less often, but then, I really don’t. But it IS uncanny.
• This is a great profession. If you are early in your career, and it is not yet great for you because you are supposed to do twenty million bill-ables a week, with no training, no supervision, and comfortably numb administrators, remember that it gets better. You MAKE it better. You have to be increasingly empowered to make it so. An Independent License helps a lot. Yeah, I know, you have to get your hours at some agency. Do it. It pays off.
• That’s all I got this morning. It’s five to eight, and I need a refill. Hope this was helpful…