The Podcast for Counsellors Interested in Planning, Starting & Growing Their Private Practice in Canada.
About Julia Smith
Where are you in your private practice journey? How’s it going for you? I’m Julia Smith and I’m so glad you’re here.
This podcast is dedicated to help you know exactly how to start your private practice in Canada, while also sharing tips to growing it, filling your schedule, and going from solo to group practice owner. I’ll take you on my journey from starting as a counsellor to totally killin’ it and growing my own practice in Halifax. I also feature expert guests and industry leaders and together, we’ll help you plan, start, and grow a successful private practice in Canada.
Thanks for listening!
Do you know some of the sweet spots to streamline your business processes? Is your Canadian private practice set up to support you, while you support your clients? Are you looking for some tips and tools that you can use to simplify your practice needs? There are so many different platforms and apps out there that it can seem overwhelming. If you are looking for some guidance and advice from lived experience, listen and read on! In this podcast episode, I share the different services and platforms that I personally use and recommend in my practice with you.
Are you having trouble deciding on a starting rate for your private practice? There are so many ways to figure out how to start off. For example, your college or association may have a recommendation, or basing your rate on what other therapists are charging in your area - but these guidelines may not be enough to allow you to be profitable! You may need to look at your budget to know where to set your rates in order to give your Canadian private practice the best shot at being successful. In this podcast episode, I talk you through a basic exercise that you can do to help you decide what your rate should be.
As a Canadian therapist, one of the things that you know needs to get done is to build a website. It’s part of the deal of being a business owner, and having a great website is the cornerstone of being seen by your local community and getting your Canadian private practice noticed. I think everyone has one or two horror stories about trying to get everything up and running when you are launching your Canadian private practice, or your latest marketing campaign - I’ve had some as well! But a great website is necessary, and it’s not as impossible (or expensive) as you may have thought! I’ve partnered with an incredible company that offers you easy, affordable, and professional website packages. Depending on your needs, budget, and desires, there will be an option that fits your budget and business like a glove. Keep listening to be introduced!
Do you often let fear stop you from taking a break and resting when you know you need it? Are you often pushing yourself beyond your limits but haven’t stopped to wonder why? Have you been feeling resentful towards work that you used to enjoy in the past? I get it, I really do. It can be incredibly difficult to take the time that you know you need to rest when it seems like everyone around you is going a thousand miles a minute. Taking the time to properly rest is something that can help you to feel more present with your clients during sessions, and to enjoy what you do. Resting allows you to tap into your creative energy and appreciate your daily tasks, as well as your needs, instead of only chasing deadlines. In this podcast episode, I share my history with overcoming the fear when I know I need to settle down for some time. Join me, and learn about how I - and you - can become Fearless!
100 episodes! What a milestone, and it was an achievement that I can share with all of you who listen to the Fearless Practice podcast. In the beginning, I really wasn’t sure what would happen. I knew that I wanted to try podcasting but I had no idea what to expect. However, once I knew that it would be something I would enjoy and that it would be a great way to connect with you, I committed, and here we are two years later! In this episode, I talk about the whole experience from the start to the present moment. I share my learning curves, my process, and any tips for you - if you are thinking about doing this too. To my listeners, thanks for joining me on this journey, and here’s to another year of the Fearless Practice podcast!
Even though you might be hearing about how private practices are all the rage, it is still a choice of preference. Owning and running a private practice may not be well-suited to you, or your goals for your work, and that’s okay. Your work in the mental health industry does not need to look the same as others. It is best for your clients, for you, and your mental health to structure your work environment in the way that best supports these three aspects, and if a private practice isn’t it, then something else will fit you better. If you haven’t felt a pull to start a private practice but you can’t pinpoint why, or if you think you’d like to try one but you’re not sure if it will suit you, then listen in on this episode. Here, I discuss the reasons why you might not be suited to private practice, and what you could do instead.
We all have intentions for the new year when it begins, and ideas of what we’d like to do differently or in a new way. And it’s often the case that things don’t go as planned! However, it can be part of the overall process, and in the end new lessons are learned and new skills are acquired. At the beginning of my seventh year in Canadian private practice, I had a vision for the year and how I wanted it to go. Of course, it wasn’t what I expected, but now I have better systems, a strong team, and new strategies for handling stress and the unexpected. In this podcast episode, I recount my year, what I went through, and how I ended up feeling more confident and ready for what will come my way.
Do you ever feel a call to reorganize, restructure, and get things back in order when a new season begins? Is your mind feeling refreshed and full of ideas after your summer break to relax? It’s officially fall, and these beginnings can sometimes provide you with a great opportunity to begin afresh, anew, or something different, and get to working on these ideas that you’ve been developing. But I know that money can sometimes be a little sparse after the summer holidays - I’ve been there myself! That’s why I want to offer my audience the opportunity to have a free consultation with me, as well as a chance to win a grant that can change the trajectory of your private practice, because I want to help you create a strong, profitable practice that fits with your values and serves your community. Listen to the episode to find out how!
It’s September, the start of a new season! If you’ve been reflecting over summer and you are coming up into the warmth of change with a desire to do something different, then consider this the time where you can get your own business going. Even though there are challenges, don’t let them get you down. There are going to be challenges no matter which way you turn, so choose to work in a direction that will take you where you want to go, and will help you to build a life - personally and professionally - that you want to live. So, come listen! I’ve got tools, deals, tips, resources, and support that will help nourish and boost you to make this change of season in your life one of success!
Are you searching for ways to save money in your private practice? Have you considered looking into the grants that you could qualify for? Have you heard of the micro-grant “Canada’s Digital Adoption Program” (CDAP) that’s specifically for small businesses? I decided to find out some more information about the CDAP grant after it came up in conversation a couple of times in podcast episode 85 and episode 87. I tried it out and now I can share my experience and insight with you! This grant is definitely worth applying for. Check below if you meet the criteria, and get to it! It’s a great way for you to help yourself succeed! As you know I’m all about seeing you succeed in your Canadian private practice, so in the spirit of keeping things real, check out my Tools and Deals page where you can get free access to my online private practice checklist, as well as discount codes and subscriptions specials on EMRs, website builders, and online practice essentials. Visit www.fearlesspractice.ca/deals to claim your discount codes and to get more info!
Are you going into your master’s degree knowing that you want to start a private practice as soon as you have graduated? Be assured – and inspired – that this is totally possible! With your master’s degree and clinical supervision, you can be well on your way toward your Canadian private practice. There are a couple of things you can do for your private practice while you are in grad school to build a good foundation and to make it easier for you to launch and dive in once you have graduated. In this podcast episode, I go over the three simple steps that you can take to get yourself ready for your private practice – and to get your private practice ready for you! – if you know that this path is one of your goals to walk.
Does your branding need a little refresher? When last did you make sure that your branding is consistent across all the branches of your business? Branding is more than just the colors you pick or the layout of your website. It’s the feeling that you want your clients to have when they interact with you or your business materials. To create cohesion and maintain professionalism while attracting your ideal clients, it is important to be intentional with your branding decisions, In this podcast episode, I share my top recommendations for simple, affordable and high-quality tools that you can use to brush up the branding for your business!
Social media is here to stay, but it doesn’t have to be difficult for you to do. There are enough people out there with all sorts of skills that you don’t have to bootstrap it and do everything – frankly, it’s better if you hire out and let someone do what they’re good at so that you can focus on providing great therapy! So, do you want to expand your Canadian private practice by connecting with more of your ideal clients in a way that feels authentic to you and your brand, but you don’t know what the first step is? Consider hiring a social media manager. I’ve done it, and I can attest to how much it’s helped me and my business. Give this episode a listen to see how I did it, what I learned, and what I would recommend you try!
Do you feel satisfied with your current work-life balance? Does your current work routine work for you, or does it feel a little misaligned with your rhythm? Are you wanting to shake up your work routine? Would you like some tried and tested ideas on how to do that? I’ve been experimenting with changing my professional hours because everyone deserves to do the work they enjoy without having to sacrifice their mental, physical, or emotional well-being. If this resonates with you, then give this episode a listen! I explain how I tried some new systems, what worked, and how it helped me to rest and grow my business.
Do you want to make sessions available to the clients that you know need them the most? Have you often wondered how you can contribute to making therapy more accessible, but have the ethics left you feeling uncertain of how to do that? The business world is loud with different ideas, tips, and tricks on how to “grow” your business and reach your audience, like the famous price-bundling marketing strategy. Of course, Canadian private practices do often run like businesses, but because they are part of the therapy world, they have to go about things differently. In this podcast episode, I discuss clear ways that you can offer your clients accessible and affordable therapy while being ethical, especially through the help of Open Path Collective!
I recently found out that Brighter Vision has started to create their websites on their own proprietary platform instead of on WordPress. This also means that if your Brighter Vision website was created on WordPress, any switch to a different Brighter Vision template will require you to move your website to their new proprietary platform (and off of WordPress). Proprietary platforms can make creating a website easy, but there are big issues with them. In this podcast episode, I discuss the limits and concerns of using a proprietary platform and why you should instead build your Canadian private practice website on WordPress.
Are you ready to start your Canadian private practice but don’t know how to build it? Are you looking for long-term successful solutions that can work on a tight budget? Are you searching for something else besides joining a group or a subscription plan to help you start private practice? If any of these questions resonate with you, give this episode a listen. I know what it’s like to want to build your Canadian private practice by hand, your way, and I know that doing anything on a budget is tough. With the lessons I’ve learned along my way into launching my Canadian private practice, I want to help you with yours. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to start a Canadian private practice right now, you can do it! In this episode, I share with you the 3-in-1 Canadian Private Practice Startup Package that you can use to launch your practice. All answers provided, no questions needed.
Are you up to date with your CECs? Do you need some extra help? Do you want to know a great, quick, and professional way to get them while meeting other exceptional Canadian therapists? CECs are important for all Canadian therapists to have, whether you work for someone else or if you run your own Canadian private practice. They help you to stay up to date with new research, develop yourself as a skilled therapist, and can even be assets when it comes to marketing your practice. Whether you’ve accidentally left things too late and you need some help, or you’d like to learn more about CECs and how to structure them to avoid last-minute stress, I’ve got all the information and tips for you in this podcast episode!
As a therapist – especially in private practice – there is much to know and to make sure to do in your everyday schedule, besides seeing clients. It can feel like a lot, so this is a quick, simple, and informative episode that you can keep on hand to make sure that you are staying within the guidelines while working towards your goals. If you are unsure about what is standard practice, great practice, or could even be malpractice and you might not realize it, then give this episode a listen! In this podcast episode, I go through the main aspects of everything related to private practice in Canada. Use it as a guideline for what you should do more of, less of, or even something to try differently in the future.
Does the change of seasons also create a change in your energy levels? Do you sometimes find it difficult to maintain a faster working pace in the colder months? Is there a way to work slowly and still effectively? Life fluctuates! Very few things are static, and change happens often. It might not sound like it, but you are often happier, more productive, and more successful when you adjust your work-life balance according to your needs. In these colder months when your energy levels can shift, it could be best for you and for your work to also adjust your pace, allowing you to continue doing great work without burning yourself out. In this podcast episode, I explain how you can do just that!
Are you looking for ethical and effective ways to market yourself? Is there a fellow counsellor in your field that you want to recommend? Have you heard about the new Psychology Today feature? Even though the endorsement feature on Psychology Today has been around for some time, they recently revamped it, allowing you to clearly showcase your endorsements and recommendations on your profile to potential clients. It’s a great, free marketing tool that benefits all therapists! In this podcast episode, I explain the process of writing endorsements for other clinicians, as well as general communication guidelines for when it comes to sending and receiving recommendations from other therapists.
You might feel uncertain as to where to begin when it comes to marketing yourself on podcasts – it’s something new! Even if you are a little nervous, it’s easier, more lucrative – and more fun – than you might think. Being a guest and talking on someone else's podcasts or even starting one for your Canadian private practice are great, creative, and versatile ways for you to showcase your practice. Podcasting can offer you tools for connecting with your ideal clients, like dynamic marketing and boosting your SEO ranking. Listen to this episode where I take you through the benefits, the process, and how to get started on becoming a podcast guest!
Have you been considering expanding your Canadian private practice? Can you counsel people who live in other provinces besides yours? What are the protocols? Online counselling is here to stay, and many counselling therapists and clients alike prefer this system with its flexibility and the autonomy it can provide them. However, there are some important regulations to be aware of when it comes to online counselling, especially when you want to broaden your reach and work with more clients. In this podcast episode, I take you through the process of finding out which provinces you can – at this time! – advertise in, and how to go about it ethically and safely, both for you and your future clients.
Do you want to take insurance in your Canadian private practice? Are you feeling frustrated with managing your direct billing? What is the best way for small business owners to handle their energy and time when it comes to collecting payment? Once you have your license number, it is much easier to be recognized by Canadian insurance companies as a provider. Unfortunately, a lot of plans don’t recognize Counselling Therapists or Psychotherapists yet. Although, this is slowly changing day by day! It may seem complex, but there are solutions that you can offer your clients, and in this podcast episode, I talk you through that process.
We all know that testimonials are the gold standard for marketing. People trust and value the opinions of others, and so they will often look for endorsements or referrals when they are deciding on who to work with or which services or products to buy. However in private practice, it is highly unethical to ask clients for testimonials. So, how can you connect with your ideal clients and market your Canadian private practice in an ethical yet effective way? In this podcast episode, I discuss how you can go about finding ethical endorsements for your practice without crossing any boundaries with your regulator or other standards of practice. Do great work in an ethical way, and here are some tips on how to get started!
Do you want to explore different ways to market your Canadian private practice while diving into new skills? What are some unique ways to promote your Canadian private practice? Could podcasting be an easy way to market and connect with your ideal clients? Whether you want to diversify your marketing efforts, develop new interpersonal and business skills, expand your network, and increase connection with your client base, podcasting is a powerful and creative tool that you can utilize! In this podcast episode, I discuss my personal experiences with podcasting for my Canadian private practice and offer you a couple of tips to keep in mind when you give it a go!
As the end of the year comes around and it’s time for celebrations, seeing loved ones, and appreciating those around us, you may be considering giving bonuses to your staff! Are you considering giving gifts or a financial bonus? Which is better? How can you factor inflation into your decision-making process? Managing a Canadian private practice is a difficult process, but one way to make everything run smoother is to take care of your employees and show your appreciation for all the hard work they do. In this podcast episode, I discuss my approach to embodying my values and gifting my employees the amount that sits comfortably with myself, my ethics, and my bank account.
2022 is almost over, and 2023 is right around the corner! As the year draws to a close, how do you consolidate your finances? What are the goals that you have set for yourself? Have you been thinking about planning for retirement? Whether you are reassessing where your money has gone in your Canadian private practice, to where you want to spend less or more, or redirect a new stream of income, now is the time to look at the books. In this podcast episode, I discuss doing a small bank audit of your Canadian private practice to make sure that your plans and your finances are in order, which will help you start the new year with a spring in your step!
What has your year of private practice looked like? Which lessons have you learned, or are currently learning? Starting and running a Canadian private practice is a journey of continual growth and education. As you develop, so does your practice! And what impacts you in your personal life may also influence the unfolding of your business. In this annual episode, I take a little dive into what my year has been like, what I’ve learned, and what my focus will be for the next one!
Are you concerned that you may have missed important details on your consent forms? Have you been spending hours figuring out which questions you should ask in your paperwork packets to comply with ethical laws? Does admin work in general make you anxious? I’ve been there! In fact, I spent almost a year drafting up a Canadian practice paperwork packet that is suitable, editable, and concise. You can change, edit, and modify it to suit your private practice like a glove, and it’s available to you right now!
Sometimes your private practice schedule needs to change to meet your needs because your needs have changed, or you started a side hustle and you need to re-prioritize your time, or you moved to a new location, or hired an assistant! Whatever your situation is, as life shifts, you shift as well. One of the ways to stay on top of the ever-evolving and moving life is to create systems and schedules that are flexible and can be adjusted to suit you and your Canadian private practice.
Are you daydreaming about a life that you want for yourself, personally and professionally? What’s been on your mind to try out? Is there something still nagging you that is asking for your attention? If you are putting off exploring your dreams – why? The sooner you can explore the outlines of the possibilities for your dreams, the sooner you can get started on creating them. In this podcast, I share my recent experiences, and a cautionary tale. Learn from me, take away what resonates, and I hope that it inspires you to take action.
Are you still emailing your clients back and forth to set up sessions? Do you need to free up some time in your schedule and automate the admin? Did you know that setting up an online booking system is really easy? Setting up an online booking system has saved me so much time! And switching to an automated booking structure allows my admin staff to work on other important tasks, and get more done, which helps my Canadian private practice to grow steadily and smoothly. Online booking is a great tool for counsellors in private practice, and in this episode, I show you how to do it!
How do you keep your online data private? Are you willing to spend a couple of extra dollars a month to secure your – and your clients! – information safely? Do you know which Canadian platforms you can use to get started? In our increasingly digital world where we store our data online and risk hackers and data leaks, digital security cannot be undervalued or overlooked. Our clients trust us with not only their healing but also their information, so be proactive in becoming digitally safe! In this podcast episode, I discuss the essentials of digital protection and a bunch of great, Canadian services that you can use today.
When was the last time you raised your hourly rate? Do you feel anxious or nervous when it comes to addressing your hourly fee with new or current clients, especially when you know you need to increase your income to continue providing top-quality therapy? There are a lot of emotions involved in setting and raising your rates and they can sometimes hold you back from making progress in your business if you don’t address them. I have struggled with this too. So I hope this episode will help you to decide how to raise your rates ethically and where to start when setting your rates.
Are most of your social media postings and marketing efforts static pictures? Do you want to elevate your practice in the eyes of prospective clients? Or would you simply like to boost your Canadian private practice’s online presence? Whatever your goals are, making a video to advertise your Canadian private practice is the next best thing to connecting with your ideal client face-to-face! In this episode, I share my experience and share with you some of my secret tips to help you to create your first video, and how to make it great!
When last did you make time for your hobbies? Do you feel like you are on a constant hamster wheel within your job? What does success mean to you? At the beginning of my private practice journey, I thought that business success would help me feel happier and fulfilled. But over the last five years, I realized that I had to make a change. In this podcast episode, I open up about my Canadian private practice journey and how my idea of what success means has changed. I hope that my experience will give you some food for thought about what success means to you, and how to find that invaluable fulfillment while starting and growing your own private practice.
At the beginning of my private practice journey, I knew that I wanted to run a group practice. I didn’t know how or when! But I knew that it was something I wanted to do because I liked the idea of passive income and not being burnt out by seeing a lot of clients. Though a lot of work at the beginning, I’m so glad I committed to the journey! In this podcast episode, I share my story of starting my Canadian private practice and hiring my first therapist in the hope that you will see that it’s not as difficult as it may seem to be.
When I started my Canadian private practice I did all the admin, from answering the phone to responding to emails. It took up a lot of hours that could have been focused on seeing more clients or building my practice. But finally I hired a virtual assistant and now my practice is growing and I haven’t looked back! Are you still doing all the admin within your private practice while providing therapy to your clients? Do you find yourself stretched thin between all the deadlines and to-do lists? Maybe it’s time for you to hire your first virtual assistant (VA)! In this podcast episode, I tell you my story and explain exactly how you can get started.
I love to look at numbers and create a flexible yet profitable budget, but it’s entirely another story to follow a budget. Learning how to effectively manage money is an important skill to master as a Canadian private practice owner. If in the past you have found it challenging to create and stick to a budget or you don’t yet know where to begin in developing one, I discuss helpful tips and advice in this episode to help you get started.
As soon as I started my private practice, I started blogging. Over time, it has helped me grow an audience, rank high on Google, and maintain a consistent connection with my clients. If you find blogging daunting, or you have been meaning to start but just don’t know how to get going, in this episode, I discuss helpful tips from my personal blogging experience to help you get started.
This episode is a little nerve-wracking because I am going to recommend NOT DOING certain things in your Canadian private practice, that many counsellors do. If you do any of these things and it works for you, that’s cool, no judgment. These are just tips that I’ve found helpful in my private practice journey in order to get a work-life balance.
Why should you have a niche? Are you still figuring out what your niche is? Being able to say who I can help and how I can help them has allowed me to expand my practice, make myself known while getting to work with my ideal clients. In this episode, I help you to figure out how to find your niche, why they are important, and small mistakes to avoid.
Do you use Psychology Today? Are you unsure about how to go about setting up an outstanding profile, or how to edit your already existing one for the better? I have received a lot of new clients through my Psychology Today Canadian profile, and I would like to help you to do the same. Today I am sharing a list of things you can do today to help you stand out on this amazing platform, and help clients not only find you, but also, choose to work with you.
Networking was an important factor in my marketing. Even though direct referral sources from other clinicians and doctors were helpful, networking itself could get expensive. Some aspects of it worked well, while others were a waste of time and money. I needed to branch out my Canadian marketing and network strategies to suit me and my practice.
As I started to get busier in my Canadian private practice, I had to make a decision of how many clients I wanted to see each week. I needed to find my sweet spot. I figured that if I got to see 8 to 9 clients a week, that would be my capacity to do amazing work with those clients. If I started to see more than that, I would start to feel drained and not do my best work. I now knew that I was getting to a point where I needed to grow my solo private practice, to a group private practice.
I was getting really busy in my private practice, this was exciting, but I was starting to burn out. I had some tough decisions to make so that I could free up some time and energy. However, nothing could have prepared me for a global pandemic and having to transition my Canadian private practice from in-person to online counselling.
By the end of 2018 things were going pretty well. I was working in my private practice 2 days a week and I was teaching at Dalhousie. I was making money and all the hard work I had done in setting up the foundational phase of my Canadian private practice was paying off.
I was in my second year of running my Canadian private practice and things were going really well. I wasn’t stressed about finances and I was able to gain some really valuable experience with my job at Dalhousie University whilst being able to pay the bills...
I decided to move across the country to start a Canadian private practice in Halifax, NS with only 1 year of professional counselling experience under my belt, but I was pretty determined and really excited!