Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

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How Does the Online Idea Party Work?

You have a dream or a wish, and an obstacle to getting there. (If you don’t think you know your wish, work through my kick-starter and read this post. To learn why you must put logic aside to find your dream, read the following.)

The online Idea Party is here to help you – and the other fellow party goers – with your wishes and obstacles.

Voices from Success Teams and Idea Parties:

Having a team to report to and hearing what everybody did each week is very exciting. It’s kept me moving all year. In the past I made some good starts on my own, but found, every time, when the energy ran out, I ran out. Now it doesn’t run out.
Jade G.
Children’s Playroom Therapist, New York Hospital

I would do a painting a year, a sketch a year. If it was only me I know I would never do it. Having to tell you makes all the difference. It’s crazy why I didn’t do this years ago, it’s so easy all of a sudden.
Caroline R. Personnel Executive, Macy’s Dept Store

Post Your Wish and Your Obstacle Here!

And help your team mates out when you can. Use the Reply link to help, the form below the comments to add your own Wish and Obstacle.

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3,708 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. Hi Mary Ann,

    Dream Number 1:
    Would it be possible to share a space with other therapists?
    A few years ago I had rented a room in a shared practice for two days a week as I also had only a few clients (for teaching Alexander technique) and it was great to have colleagues to talk to.
    Do you have shared private practices in the U.S.? (I‘m in Germany)
    And when you have more clients you could see if it is possible to get your room for more days a week or even open your own private practice.
    Or you could try to find one or more colleagues who also wish to open a private practice and open a shared practice (or is group practice the right word?).
    Saves rent and, as mentioned, you get colleagues to talk to in breaks, meet in the kitchen, you could even start a supervision group, plan events, open house…

    • Dear Daniela,
      I have done the legwork and the homework, and, incredibly, know of a property management company that rents office space cheaper than the office sublet rate. They were telling me about an office space for $250 per month, utilities included, and a parking space out back. The prices I’ve been quoted for subletting have ranged from $460 per month for one day a week, to $640 per month for one day a week. We don’t have shared private practices in the U.S. Everyone builds their own practice. So I need to open my private practice. And do it promptly.
      I have two stimulus checks sitting here on my desk that expire by April if I don’t use them. That money is enough to start the practice, and set up the office, so that’s not the problem. The problem is, and the scary obstacle is, how do I sustain and build the practice over the first bumpy year or so? As I described, you may start with 5-7 clients the first month and then be down to 2 the next, and the rent’s still due! That’s what’s scared me to the point where I’m procrastinating, setting this up.
      We do have group practices here in the U.S., where, say, a group of therapists form a nonprofit agency as an incorporated business, and get a fairly large office with various consulting rooms within it. Each therapist has their own room. And each therapist builds their own practice. And they collaborate to pay the rent, utilities, and other expenses of running the office building that they’re sharing. And they form a business together and incorporate like that. I have supervision in place for my practice. It’ll take me at least another 2 years before I am able, by law, to supervise anyone. I think my best bet for starting is to go with the property management company I’ve found. But, as I say, sustaining the practice through the first year or so is the scary part. How to get clients? And get more of them, so as to build the practice? The large building required for group practice would, all by itself, of course, be a lot more rent than a single office. And this may mean a savings in rent or not.
      With my own office, I have it all month long, and I can use it for life coaching and other events. $250 per month is hard to beat. I may also be able to sublet it myself.
      I like the idea of the group camaraderie. Gatherings of people, (clients) in group therapy cannot happen here on account of COVID. Nor can gatherings of any kind. We’re all having to run around indoors with masks on and six feet of social distancing and avoid eating together, because you have to take your mask off to eat or drink anything. And telehealth is extremely costly and difficult to implement, and goes way over the top of what I can afford. You can’t do it on Zoom, but must use special encrypted platforms, have special encryption software, install security cams within your office space, get a special phone with the right encryption, get a lawyer who can draft business associates’ agreements with everybody who even touches your business, from your tecchie person, to your landlord, to your accountant, to your cleaning lady, etc. I just have the means to rent and furbish an office. Existing group practices that may have room for one more therapist tend to run well over $600 per month. There are some support groups for counselors that meet once a month. I don’t know if they’re meeting now or not on account of COVID. They may be doing it remotely. And I will have supervision, which should help somewhat.

      • Regarding what you wrote about telehealth being so expensive, I think you are not correct. I had written to you there are many companies offering assistance with all of that, like http://www.helloalma.com, I have heard of one called http://www.simplepractice.com, they offer the HIPPA compliant platform etc. I suggested you search on indeed.com, there are many ads for remote mental health therapists.

  2. I have two dreams and at least two obstacles.
    Dream Number 1: To open a private practice in psychotherapy.
    Obstacle: The first year is typically up and down sharply, with, say, 7 clients one month and 2 the next. And the rent’s still due. This seems to be true until the practice reaches 20 clients or so, when it stabilizes.
    Although I have the money to start the practice, I don’t have the startup capital that I need to survive the first rough growth period. Banks and my credit union won’t lend or extend me credit because of my student loan debt. I have no family or friends I can go to for support. I’m really scared to start my business without any backup.
    So what’s the answer? How do I raise the capital and stabilize the business during its growth period?
    Dream Number 2:
    This is a large-scale business, the Center for Indigenous Wisdom. Its purpose is for the presentation, preservation, and promotion of the values of Indigenous cultures worldwide. It would be a presentation venue with ongoing guest speakers, an art and photo gallery, and performance space for Indigenous dance performances. The Center would also partly be a retreat center.
    It would not be limited to Native American cultures. In its fully developed form, it would be a multi-million dollar facility. I see this being formed in Canada, in B.C. Down here, Breitenbush Retreat Center, which mostly burned and has plans for being rebuilt, and Esalen are examples.
    Obstacle: My main obstacle, besides overwhelm, is lack of know-how. Could you develop this from scratch without an MBA? Or would it be necessary to go back to school and get the MBA so as to become a CEO? And without the MBA, how would you develop such an enterprise? What would you do first, second, third, right up through the 10th step or so? What would be some beginning steps? Even small ones? This is a Most Precious Vision!

    • Hi!

      Regarding opening a psychotherapy practice, nowadays there is lot of therapy being done remotely, that means online through telehealth services. I just renewed my NY state license to start practicing this way,
      after not practicing for many years. It is much easier, as you don’t have to open an office! If you are in the US, I suggest you search on Indeed.com, there are many job ads for remote therapists and there are agencies looking for people to fill these positions! Some have online directories they list you in, and have their own clientele seeking services that they will match you with. Others help you get listed with insurance companies so you can accept insurance. Good luck!

    • Dream Number 1: what might help is an online workshop (Zoom or FreeConferenceCall) for the same population as your practice. You keep writing to them, promoting both. The workshop brings in money when you have gaps in your therapy schedule. It also introduces potential clients to you.

    • The first step in launching a non-profit business is not an MBA. It’s to find good people who want to work for you, and then ask their opinions on the mission, the organization, the budget, and what roles they want to play initially and down the road. And given that your love of the work does not fall in managing people and budgets or handling paperwork, make your longer-term role board chairman, with a great CEO and CFO taking care of all that for you. In the short-term, get all the help you can from SCORE (part of the SBA, staffed by volunteers with CEO experience) and any state agencies or tribal organizations designed to assist non-profits. Hire a CPA to get your bookkeeping set up and monitored. And don’t build any buildings until you have programs running smoothly that you can move into those buildings. Rent any campsite or B&B by the event until that income is secure, because a mortgage you can’t support is far more deadly to your future than a program that doesn’t get enough takers.

      • Yes, absolutely, Patty. Thank you for your good advice. This helps to get me steered in the right direction. I already have a mentoring appointment set up with SCORE. And I’m approaching the SBA about my practice. It’ll be awhile, because of COVID, before retreat centers open back up again, but I do have good material to present.
        And I’ve done at at retreat centers and on private land before.

    • I just found out about a free HIPPA compliant platform for telehealth sessions, it’s called doxy.me. Check it out! Also, I found out about a free platform called Headway.com that lists practitioners and helps them get registered with insurance companies to provide in-network therapy. Both are FREE!

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