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How counselors can double their income (without doubling their your hours.)

I'm writing a series of new blog post. A few of the upcoming ones are on how to make more money as a counselor.


In the process I've stumbled on this idea that would allow many therapist to double their income.


Crazy, I know.


But for a few reasons this idea isn't fitting well in the blog I'm currently writing. Still I'm so excited about this idea that I wanted to share it with my mailing list now.


Thank you for reading this stuff. It's a gift to write for you.


Best,


Jordan (the counselor)

 

Raise your rates.

The easiest way to make more money as a counselor is to simply charge more money. A lot of therapists are afraid to do this because they feel they would lose clients.


And you would.


But the thing is, if you charge more, you need fewer clients. This is because of a rule of business I just learned: in every business customers are fractal. That's a fancy way to say that clients follow the 80/20 rule.


This means 20% of your customers would pay 5 times more.

  • So if you served 100 customers at 100$, then 20 of them would pay 500$.

  • And if you served 20 customers at 500$, 4 of them would pay 2500$.

  • And if you served 4, then probably 1 of them pay 12,500$.

Now this is a general rule of business. So while those numbers probably don't work for therapy (I don't think even Ester Perel is charging 12,500$ an hour) the principle does holds true for therapists and counselors. 20% of you client's wouldn't pay 5 times more.


But half of them might pay double.


When I was working for a group practice my hourly rate averaged to 91$ per hour. I'll use that number for some quick math. And the group practice I worked for billed 80$ -165$ an hour, so let's use 165$ as our max number.


So at 91$ per hour if I saw 25 clients in a week that means I'd take home 2,275$ (91$ x 25=2,275$).


If I raised my rates to 165$ I'd probably lose half my clients. Let's just say 12. That means I'd take home 1,980$ per week (165$ x 12= 1,980$).


Did you catch that? I cut my hours in half, but I'm making almost as much. Because clients are fractal.


But it gets better.


Because clients are fractal. Some percentage of those 12 could pay even more. Let's just say 3 of those 12 could pay more.


All you have to do is offer them the opportunity.


Upsell your services

There's this idea in business called an "upsell" where you offer a customer more of what they already buying. When McDonalds offers to "supersize" your meal, they're upselling you- offering you more of what you've already bought.


You can upsell your clients.


You can offer clients more sessions per week. This is an upsell based on frequency.


You can offer clients longer sessions. This is an upsell based on duration.


Say out of your 12 clients, 1 request an 80 minute extended session which you bill at 240$ and 2 request twice a week sessions.

Your first 9 client earn you1,485$

Your extended session client earns you 240$

And twice a week clients earn you you 660$


All together you've now made 2,385$ a week seeing 14.5 hours of therapy just by changing how you monetize clients.


If you then adjust your hours and see 25 clients per week you'd make 4258.92$ a week.

You just went from making 2,275$ to making 4258.92$.


The math works.


Most therapist have a marketing problem, not a rate problem

The problem most therapist will say is "how do I get people to pay that rate?"


Which is a good question, but also reveals most people's real problem. They can't get clients.


That's the real problem. The problem isn't that you can't charge premium rates, the problem is that you don't know how to market. So lean into that. Learn to market.


Or not. Just keep doing what you're doing and work half as hard for the same amount.


Interns and provisionally licensed therapists can also do this

Here's the real kicker. This also applies to interns.


There's no reason your interns can't be billing premium rates right now. We, therapists, limit what not-yet-fully-licensed therapists can make. Not clients.


Think about it this way, when you go to the doctor, do you know who's a doctor, who's a PA and who's a nurse practitioner? When you go to the dentist do you know the difference between a dental hygienists and a dentist and orthodontist?


Do you really think clients know the difference between a not-yet-fully-licensed therapists and the clinical supervisor? Most don't. Which means it's not a barrier for them. It's us who downsell new therapists at a lower rate. Which means, if you have an intern, the best way you can help them (and yourself) is to promote them at a high cash rate.


Best,


Jordan (the counselor)

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