Episode 25: Startup Struggles — Tears, Snot, & Fears [featuring Allison Puryear]
Self Doubt, Crying, Snot running down your face... Starting a small business is PAINFUL. The combination of constant questioning, pain, and a lot of imposter syndrome is the perfect recipe for entrepreneurship. Too many people try, fail, give up, and chalk it up to "no one can be successful."
On the flip side, the ability to take risks, pivot, learn from mistakes, and authentically show up allows you to create the business that you've always dreamed of. If you can work through the very real struggles of small business startup, you can absolutely be successful.
In this episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast, I talk with a good friend and visionary in the private practice coaching field, Allison Puryear. Allison is the owner and founder of Abundance Practice Building, helping more than 10,000 therapists start and grow their businesses throughout the country.
Allison and I talk about:
- Her journey from Georgia to Seattle to Asheville and her struggles along the way
- Her creation of Abundance Practice Building — from a small idea to a household name
- How showing up authentically attracts your ideal clients
- The concept of abundance: there's enough to go around
- How it's OK to struggle with small business startup... and how to work through the struggle
- Ways to combat imposter syndrome so you don't convince yourself that reaching your goals isn't possible
🎙️ Listen to more episodes of the All Things Private Practice Podcast here: www.allthingspractice.com/all-things-private-practice-podcast
🎙️Apple Podcasts: atppod.com/apple
🎙️Google Podcasts: atppod.com/google
🗨️ Join the All Things Private Practice FB Community: www.facebook.com/groups/privatepracticebuilding
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank Spruce Health for sponsoring this episode.
Spruce Health is a HIPAA compliant app for phone, text, fax, and telehealth.
Their customer service is fantastic, and their staff has the mission of not only making it easier on us as practitioners and practice owners but also easy for our clients to make sure that their communication is protected. I’d highly recommend them as a one-stop shop to have all your HIPAA-compliant communication under one roof.
Visit sprucehealth.com and use code PODCAST 20 at checkout to get 20% OFF your entire first year!
Mentioned in this episode:
A Thanks to Our Sponsor, The Receptionist for iPad!
I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode. As you prepare for the new year as a private practice owner, one area of your business where you might be able to level up your client experience is from the moment that they enter your office and check in with you. For many private practices, the client check-in process can be a bit awkward and confusing. Clients often enter into an empty waiting room. And chances are you're wrapping up a session with someone else, so there's no way of knowing when they arrive. With a visitor management system like The Receptionist for iPad, you can provide clients with a discreet and secure way to check in for their appointment while instantly being notified of their arrival. What's more, The Receptionist offers an iPad list check-in option where clients can scan a QR code to check in, which negates the need for you to buy an iPad and stand. Go to thereceptionist.com/privatepractice and sign up for a free 14-day trial. When you do, you'll get your first month free. And don't forget to ask about our iPad list check-in option.
PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, coming today from Asheville, joined by another Asheville legend practice builder, an LCSW, Allison Puryear, owner of Abundance Practice Building. And we are going to talk about her journey and some of the rocky parts of kind of creating all of the cool stuff that you see all over social media, especially, for those of you who are thinking about starting your private practices. So Allison, I'm really happy to have you and thank you so much for making the time.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. You know, it's always fun to talk with an actual buddy. So, it's good.
PATRICK CASALE: It's interesting, you know, to be here in Asheville, and kind of look at it in a way of like having a therapist Mecca, so to speak. We have so many private practice clinicians, it feels like. Every day on the Asheville area counseling page I see, like, nine new names pop up, and they're like, “I'm in private practice now, I'm here.” And I'm like, “Oh, shit, this is cool and it's interesting.” Because I don't think it's the norm for a lot of regions too. You have experienced creating, so to speak, “Kind of like an empire in Seattle and in Asheville.” And you talk about like your journey through both of those places. Do you want to talk about kind of how you've got to where you are today? And what that's looked like along the way?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Sure. Well, I'll say I started my very first private practice in Georgia. I was working for the University of Georgia for their counseling and psychiatric services. And I had this, like, part-time. Now I would call it a hobby practice, because I knew what I was doing clinically, but I didn't know anything about what I was doing business-wise, I didn't have like a business bank account, I didn't have, like, my tax stuff organized in a way that made any sense, that kind of stuff. But I did that for five years of having a part-time practice, but it was easy to keep it full, because Athens, Georgia is a fairly small place, shout out to all my friends there.
It's a fairly small place and I knew a lot of people from my work, you know? I did undergrad there, I moved away, I came back for grad school, and I worked for the University. So, I just knew a lot of people. So, I did that for a really long time, partly because I knew we were going to be moving across the country, or we would be moving period, and I didn't want to like go whole hog with private practice right before we moved. This was way before virtual was like a thing anybody talked about.
So, then we moved to Seattle for my husband to go to school and I guess we could say I was a little overconfident. So well, this is where we start getting real rocky aside from just like working 50, 60 hours a week in Georgia, which is not fun. But it started getting really rocky when we first moved to Seattle. And I think this is the experience I project onto most of my students when I first meet them. I'm like, “Oh, you were probably like sitting in your living room crying and like snot’s dripping into your mouth, because you're like can't keep it together anymore. Like, you've been trying so hard.” So, I project a lot. You know, that's me, I acknowledge it.
But in Seattle, I had networked while my husband was interviewing for school. And so I had networked with somebody who was like, “Oh, you're going to be full in three months, it's going to be so easy. Like, you're such a go getter, it's going to be smooth sailing for you.” And so I thought she was right. But it was not smooth sailing. It was really rough and I hadn't factored in moving across the country where I knew no one.erson, I was like, [INAUDIBLE:
So, I ended up busting my butt and I didn't realize that I was planting seeds all along the way. I just thought I was failing. So, that's one thing I want everybody to hear is like, things don't happen immediately. Like, you don't network with somebody, and the next day they send you referrals. I think that's literally never happened to me. And I've been doing this for a long time. But you develop an actual relationship with somebody, and you trust one another, and you like one another, when somebody calls them, that's a great fit for you, they send them your way, you know? But that doesn't happen the next day, it just doesn't.
So, I just kept doing everything I could to try to be successful. I got a part-time job in retail because I was like, “Well, I got to make some money. My husband can't work right now.” And we were running through our savings really quickly because as you can imagine, Seattle's a lot more expensive and that could probably challenge Georgia, it’s stressful. Then it just took off. It was one of those when it rains, it pours, I was full. I think, it was somewhere between four and six months, I was like full and trusting it, and feeling pretty good, really about like, “Oh, this is what I hoped for.” There was a lot of crying, and a lot of self-doubt and a lot of, “I'm never going to make it, I'm inherently flawed in some way.” There's, you know, all my stuff. That's the joy of early private practice. It brings up all your stuff.
PATRICK CASALE: It does bring up a lot of insecurity, and a lot of imposter syndrome, and a lot of harsh criticism too. And you're so right about that. Like, it doesn't happen immediately or overnight, right? Like, you build these relationships and it's more of a long term investment, not a short term investment. And the reality is like you go out for coffee, you meet someone for lunch, you hit it off, you connect, you're going to refer to one another, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen tomorrow, in a week, in a month. It just has to be the right fit for the client too and I see so often like people give up in that process, right? Where you're describing like the sadness, the tears, the snot dripping down your nose. Like, people are like in that headspace and are like, “Yeah, fuck this, I'm done, I can't do this. I'm going to go to something else. And what do you kind of attribute that to? Like that tenacity to just keep going and just like pushing through, especially during a cross country move with your husband being in school? How do you kind of keep yourself going, like what was going through your head?“You've got this [INAUDIBLE:
But I think like, there was just, like, I couldn't, you know, my $9 an hour retail job wasn't going to support me, or my husband, or my dog in Seattle. Like, I literally spent almost as much money taking the bus there and back as I made, so there was just no way that I was going to go back to an agency, either, after the experiences I had had. I didn't have any sort of hope that it would be better there. And in talking to therapists that I had become friends with and agencies, I was real clear, like, this isn't a geographical problem in Georgia, so I had to make it work. And I'm wired that way. Like, I've tried to make all sorts of things work that shouldn't have been made to work admittedly. Like, its strength, but it also really bites me sometimes. But this was one thing that I guess was dogged about.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, so there was that internal drive to just say, “This has to be successful. I'm going to just embrace how challenging this feels right now.” And I'm sure it was challenging personally and professionally to just be in a new place, and a new city, and you know, going from like college town Georgia to Seattle, major city, it's a big shift. And, you know, I think that that had to bring up a lot of shit to in the interim. So, you get this practice going, it's like four to six months, so a couple months after this other person told you you’d be full, and you're thriving, and you're like, “Okay, I've got this shit down. I'm networking. I've got like referrals coming in.” Does there ever come a place where it's like, “Okay, now, what's next?”
Because I'm wired that way and I felt like when I conquered private practice, then it was kind of like, “Huh, now what? I'm kind of bored of this, and I want to move on to the next thing.”
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah, I call that business bored. I ended up serving on some boards of directors like, you know, and it was an interesting life. I like had all sorts of fun. Like, it was one happy hour with my friends, and like, I had a big social life, and a way that like I really enjoyed. So, I think that that itch to do something new hadn't really started. But then we needed to move back to the southeast. My mother-in-law was sick, and so we needed to, like, you know, take care of her. My husband was finished with school, and so, we moved down here, and I was like, “Well, I'll start another private practice.” Because I'm completely unemployable at this point. Like, I am not going to like follow a dumb rule for the sake of being a rule despite being a rule follower.”
So like, I start my practice here, it starts faster than it did in Seattle, I bring up like a networking event for therapists that I love helping people start their private practice that just flies out of my mouth. It's not what I was planning to say because, you know, I was planning, you know me. Patrick and I, by the way, are complete opposites in like 40 different ways, one of which is like the planning versus the spontaneity.
So yeah, I was, like, planning about talking about, like, eating disorder therapy, and blah, blah, blah, but instead, I talked about helping therapists for private practice, because I'd been doing that for all my friends all over the country, because I was like, “Oh, this is a different world. Therapy is so cool. Work is so cool. And you can actually make real money. And like, I don't want to-”
PATRICK CASALE: I don't want to share this with all of you, right?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah, yeah, I'm like proselytizer about private practice. So, I literally like bullied several friends into private practice.
PATRICK CASALE: Did that have any regrets?
ALLISON PURYEAR: None?
PATRICK CASALE: Probably none, none whatsoever?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah, I don't know anybody who went into private practice with like a play on who had regrets. So, I have like all these people come up and say, “Hey, you mentioned that. Like, can I get your number? Or can I get your email?” And that's essentially how Abundance Practice Building was born. It was local, initially , for a while. And yeah, it was initially called Abundance Asheville because we live in this fairly woo woo town and like, I really do believe that there are more clients than any therapists than any town could handle if we just know how to speak to them in a way that makes it seem like something they want to do. And I had felt in a lot of different communities the scarcity and this competition between therapists and I didn't want that. I don't want that between therapists. There's plenty to go around and we can support one another, so started out local.
I think the next really big hiccup was my first big national launch. I did not have numbers to go by. I just like picked a number out of the air that I thought would be really cool. And so, I did this big national launch this like… like I had a business coach, I had all these things and I was really like excited about taking it to the next level. And I did this launch.
And looking back, I had just these really unrealistic expectations. I was expecting like 20 or 25 people on my email list to join. And like Oprah can't do that. Like, nobody is going to have 20-25% of their email lists join, whatever you do. But that was my hope. And so I felt like I did when I was sitting, like, in front of my sofa in Seattle. Like, the biggest failure, everybody knows, I've been deluding myself, just a lot of tears. Jane Carter, our common friend like she bore the brunt of a lot of my tears.
And so, I really thought I'd failed. And for anybody out there trying to do a launch in that way, like usually, it's between like, yeah, like three to 5% is what most people convert from, like a non-webinar launch, like, just like a launch, and I converted 6%. Like, it was freaking awesome. But I was sitting there thinking I had failed, and I was an idiot, and I had risked my family's financial well-being and I should have just stayed in private practice and not embarrassed myself, essentially.
It was really tough and I almost gave up. But I had all these people who signed up. So like, I needed to still do the thing that they bought. And I just loved doing it so much that it reinvigorated me, even though like I started out that first day internally feeling like a total sham who is talking to people about marketing and apparently can't market. I'm like, “Hi, I'm a total imposter. I'm, like, really getting into knowing, like, I know what I'm doing. I know what I'm doing with therapists building their practice, it feels amazing”. And that kept me afloat in a time when I really felt like an idiot.
PATRICK CASALE: If you're in private practice, like me, and you don't know what the hell you're doing when you start out, you probably don't know that you should be having a HIPAA compliant phone system. A lot of us use Google Voice, a lot of us use our regular old phone number, some of us even go and get a second line at our cell phone carrier. None of those are recommended. I learned that the hard way.
HIPAA compliant phone systems are really important in private practices. You want to protect your client information, you want to protect yourself. I've been using Spruce Health for almost four years now. I don't ever represent services that I don't believe in because I believe that's my reputation as well.
Spruce Health is just a wonderful resource for private practice clinicians, group practices, medical practices. It's a wonderful resource to be able to have a HIPAA compliant phone, text, fax, and telehealth. The faxing is wonderful to have, the telehealth quality is fantastic.
You can schedule send messages, you can save auto responses, you can even charge clients via Stripe. It's really easy. They’re a wonderful little company out in San Francisco. Their customer service is fantastic, staff have the mission of not only making it easier for us as practice owners, but easy on the clients and making sure that their communication is protected. You can use a code that we've created called Podcast 20 and you can get 20% off your entire first year. Go to sprucehealth.com, I highly recommend it.
I appreciate you sharing that part of the story because I think on the outside perspective, looking in, it's so easy to see, like, successful human beings and be like, “This shit was easy for them. They just have it come so naturally, right?” And I know how much insecurity and vulnerability comes up with launching because you're kind of like, “Hey, this is me, this is what I offer. Like, our business is revolving around how we show up for people. So, if people don't buy it then you're like, “I suck, I'm incompetent, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing.”
Like, I'm launching right now and I'm already experiencing that which I do every launch, and then I sit in front of all these therapists, and I do exactly what you just said, “I'm the biggest imposter here, why would anyone purchase this from me?” And then once you get into the groove, and you're like, “Oh, I know what I'm doing.” Then it feels really inspiring, and really energizing, and really empowering, and you see the group like energy come together.
So, it's interesting, you know, because I started similarly, like in Asheville, six people at a time, I didn't know what I was doing. I just threw a price against the wall. But you figure it out as you go, right? And you also have to experience those times where you are questioning your abilities, and you're considering giving up. I think that makes successful entrepreneurs successful though, in a lot of ways, is like experiencing it, I want to give up, and then either pivoting, and shifting, and changing, and evolving or continuing to work through that fearfulness and that anxiety to get to that other side. So, you have 25 people on your newsletter, you get six per se, you do this first launch, then what?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Then… what did I do? I just started growing from there, really. Like, I think I got the confidence of, okay, well, that launch sucked, and I never want to launch again. And like, I probably have to anyway, and now I have more realistic expectations. And in the end like that launch was great. Everybody who signed up was freaking amazing. Like, I really enjoy everything I'm teaching. I really love kind of getting people share a little bit, and like the businessy way, it's so fun, and I just kind of was invigorated by it. And I also had a full practice at this time. I should mention that too. I was still seeing like 25 clients a week which was entirely too much for the amount of work I was doing.
And so, I was pregnant at some point during this, and was like, “Okay, well I'm going to slow down after I have this baby. Like, I'm just going to, like, run to the finish line, refer a lot of my clients to other people when I go on maternity leave, dedicate actual time to this other business.” Because I was doing things where I'd see like a consulting client and then a therapy client, and a consulting client and a therapy client. And my poor brain was like, how deep are we going on feelings here? Am I strategizing with this person? No, no. And so, it was messy. It was a lot of task shifting. And so to be able to devote, like I went down to one or two days at that point of therapy work, and the rest were all abundance, plus a newborn, and a toddler, and all that.
PATRICK CASALE: A lot of roles.
ALLISON PURYEAR: A lot of roles. But ultimately, like, I was having a really good time. Like, I really enjoyed what I was doing and seeing the difference. And once I gave myself some time and space to do that thing I loved, the outcomes will always matter to me because it's how I'm wired. Like, I wish it mattered less. I'm working on it.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, Puryear, on the Enneagram, I imagine, yeah., I am. I'm such a [INAUDIBLE:
PATRICK CASALE: I think that's why this is a good balance because I'm a seven you’re a three, I think this is really important, you know?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: But being wired that way, right? And then feeling like, “All right, I need to do more, I need to do more, I need to do more.” Does that ever feel like this unrelenting pressure?
ALLISON PURYEAR: It feels more like an adventure, yeah. I think most of the time it feels like an adventure because now I've learned how to set like realistic expectations. I think it felt like pressure when my expectations were not realistic. And I remember that first launch, I was like, “Wow, I'm going to make money on this launch, put a down payment on a house.” Did not happen, did not happen.
And then I literally was like, I had told my husband, like, “We're going to have a down payment by the end of that week.” You know? And then I had to feel like, “I'm really sorry, babe. Like, I let us down.” And he's like, “You didn't, babe, you didn't let us down? It's fine.” But, you know, if there's the possibility of putting pressure on myself, I'll do it. And then I have to just take it off. Like, I'm not good at not putting it on. But I've gotten good at recognizing that's just me doing it. I don't have to hold on to it.
PATRICK CASALE: Right. Yeah, I'm sure that helps really help crown too and to like give yourself permission to say, “Okay, I put this here, but it doesn't have to be as heavy. And I can like take a step back with more clarity and more intention too.” So, the realization of like, “Okay, my launches were successful, I'm going to continue to do this thing because I'm really enjoying it. It's really invigorating.” And isn't that the interesting part of it. Like, I imagine when you started your private practice in Georgia, and then Seattle, it was like really invigorating and really exciting. And it was new, and in there was that, like, enjoyment in working in the business. And then you start to realize you're transitioning to a different role, you're still helping therapists, you're still helping the field, but as a different role, and it's more mentorship, and guidance now, right?
And did you ever experience feelings along the way, like, I'm experiencing this all the time, I cut my caseload from 35, way too many, to five right now, because I was doing 35, doing launches, like you said, changing hats all the time. And my brain couldn't sort it out. And I almost felt this guilt and shame of like, am I abandoning the profession? Like, I worked so hard to get my masters and my license, but now I'm like, transitioning all of my clients out to really focus more on podcasting, and coaching, and consulting. Did you experience any of that at all?
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah, I mean, I still have a very small caseload just because like, I love these clients that I have. I'm not taking on anyone new, but I love-
PATRICK CASALE: Everyone listen to that, don't send Allison clients.
ALLISON PURYEAR: I mean, I've got a group practice, so you can send me. I'll just give them to somebody else that I trust. But you know, like, I really love therapy and I like being able to stay in it so that I like remember what it's like to sit across from someone who feels like their life's falling apart. I never want to lose sight of that. I feel like that's something that we get to see as therapists that helps keep things in perspective for us as human beings. And yeah, I just love it. But it stopped making sense to do so much of it just both with my energy level, with money, with all of that, but I honestly don't know if I'll ever retire from therapy. I don't know.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I like that.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Part of what you're saying of like, it would feel like I lost a part of my identity or a part of myself that also is just really amazing work.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I love everything you just said because I've maintained about five to seven people on my caseload that I, you know, I can't see them weekly anymore, but every other week is what we've agreed to. And I've been working with these people for almost four years now, and I'm like, these relationships are really meaningful to me, and I think I want to remain humble in that approach of like, I know what it's like to sit on the other side of the couch or a Zoom screen now, and struggle, right? Like, we need to maintain that, especially, if we are wanting to maintain our clinical prowess and like help therapists as well. I like that you said that though.
I think a lot of people are moving in the direction of like, the retired therapist label, and that's okay, for everyone out there, you know? No judgment, but I know these last couple of years have been really fucking hard on our profession, too. And I just think it's an interesting shift in where this field is going.
It's really cool to see the evolution though because, like myself, I imagine you didn't leave grad school and anticipate, like, having a successful podcast and coaching business, and having like worldwide recognition and acclaim. Did you ever foresee any of that coming to fruition?
ALLISON PURYEAR: No, no, like, I wanted to be a therapist, I wanted to own like a wellness center that served. Looking back, I'm like, “That's kind of weird.” But I wanted it to serve women with eating disorders, women coming out of domestic violence situations, women with substance abuse issues. It was kind of like in depression and anxiety. It was like, I don't know how that would have worked, honestly. Like, I think, there's a lot of overlap with those things. But I really wanted to, like, have a wellness center and be able to serve a lot of people.s, people who have [CROSSTALK:
PATRICK CASALE: …with like sleaziness, and like, always get the car sales many vibe, right? Of like, this is how business works, you kind of run people over. But I think your messaging has always been pretty consistent about not only your business name, but the philosophy behind it, of like, we can all be successful, right?
Like, we can all do similar things, and have different voices, and have our own success, and it doesn't mean I have to be jealous, or resentful, or even not be able to support one another in order to achieve that.
And I actually think it's quite the opposite, right? Like, it's like your success equates to my success, especially, if we have a relationship built because that's kind of how human nature is. We want to see the people we care about and connect with achieve their success and also pursue their goals. So yeah, I think you're spot on.
And it's always interesting to me, because again, referencing your point about you and I having very different styles and personalities, like, I watch your social media marketing, and I'm like, “Damn, I wish I could do the things that Allison is doing on screen on camera.” But I can't because it's just not my personality. And I think that's a really important part for anyone listening to this because we are both in the same city, we both do similar things, we both have very different approaches to it, and that works really well because people resonate with different voices and styles. So, if you're out there thinking, “I can't start my practice, I can't start my coaching business, I can't do this podcast because someone else is already doing it.”
We're always duplicating and replicating content that's out there. Most of our ideas are not brand spanking new, so just putting your own spin on things, your own voice to things and just really realizing there's space for everyone. I think that's a really important piece. And Allison is kind of really at the front and center of pushing that philosophy and that mindset in our industry to which I really appreciate.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Thank you. That's really nice to hear. Yeah, and I mean, like, we're both really successful, right? There are people that are totally overwhelmed by me, right? Like, I can get that, I'm a lot. There are people who need somebody who's… I would even say like taking it more seriously, like I'm real goofy. Like, I know what I'm doing but I'm going to infuse some goofiness.
And for some people, like, they need to bring more seriousness or they need to bring more calm. Like, they're already activated enough, their nervous systems don't need some like intense lady dancing and like singing it at them. Like, sometimes people say, like, “I don't know whether to do you do your program or so and so's program.” And I'm always like, “Like you just said, like we're teaching the same stuff. It's a matter of like which process in terms of how its presented is going to work best for you?”
I trust the practice builders, I don't I can't think of a single practice builder that your audience has heard of that I'm like, “Ooh, shady.” You know, like, we know what we're doing. It's just a matter of who are you going to listen to most? Who are you going to tune in for whatever they're offering, whether it's the structure of their program, whether it's them, like, you really know, like, and trust them because like, we’re all out here teaching the same stuff, ultimately, because marketing is marketing, and building a sustainable practice is building a sustainable practice, and systems are systems. Nobody's got the magic bullet.
PATRICK CASALE: No, no, not at all. And that's really well said, and I think that for, again, like anyone listening, even if you're thinking like, “Should I start my private practice? I live in an area with so many therapists.” Or like, “I don't offer A, B and C.” Or, “I don't do EMDR.” Or, “I don't have this license behind my name.” Like just fucking do it, because you're going to attract and repel based on how you show up for people.
And it's all about rapport and connection. And you all know how to build connections if you're in the helping profession. You all know how to build relationships. And it's really important to remember that because I think we can get so caught up in the like paralyzing imposter syndrome, perfectionism process of like, I can't take up space because someone else does it better or I don't know what I'm doing comparatively. I don't have as much training, as much experience. I hear that all the time.
And in practice startup, it's like you just show up and hold space for your clients. Like, obviously, more in depth training and skill comes with it but that is 90% of what this is and if we can get past the like qualification piece, like, you all have master's degrees, you all have licenses, you all went through supervision and internship, you know what you're doing? And it's okay to be humble and question your abilities, and question yourself. I think that's really important starting out, but the recognition of like, you don't have to have all of that done in order to launch. Like, you can launch, and you can be successful, and you can grow along the way, as Allison's process has grown along the way from practice in Georgia, to Seattle, to starting a consulting business in Nashville, to now being a worldwide name, I think it's really important to see the evolution as an entrepreneur to know that the starting point is not the finish line.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yes and I think too that, like, we're all good at connection, and like, that's literally a huge part of our job. We're also really good at marketing, we just don't know it. Like, those marketing companies that, you know, they're selling widget 1,2, 3, right? And so they do all this market research to try to see like how people feel so that they can speak to the emotion in their copy, in their images.
Like, our clients are literally telling us how they feel. We know what's going on inside the head of our ideal clients and we also see the themes in that across clients. We are so well positioned to be able to like show people, yeah, it's hard, and it's this specific brand of hard, and I get that. And I help people move through that. That's literally what I do all day. So, we're great at connection, we're great at marketing. Like, we're really in good positions to own our businesses.
PATRICK CASALE: Our skills are really applicable in so many ways and I think it's just about recognizing that, right? Like you're so spot on about that, and you're allowed to show up authentically, for everyone listening. Like, you don't have to be a blank slate. That actually doesn't attract anybody and if you don't highlight personality, or show that you understand what your clients are experiencing, that you speak their language, not clinical jargon that only like 1% of the population speaks in, like who the fuck says, do you experience or feel this in your body on your website copy? Or like, I practice 19 modalities, and I've been trained in all these things? Like, clients don't care about that. They just want to know that you get what they're experiencing, and that you can help them. And I think we lose sight of that so often, of like just showing up as you and being real, and just acknowledging what the client’s experiencing while they're calling you, before they're calling you, while they're searching for a therapist.
Like, think about how many times I scroll through like Psych Today pages now when I'm teaching courses on them, and how many of them are just so freaking bad, and it drives me crazy, and I have my coaching clients read them out loud. And I'm like, “Would you call this person?” And 99.9% of the time’s like, “No, absolutely not, I would not call this person.” So you're so right, like good marketing, good copywriting. Knowing what you bring to the table is really important too, because I think we discount that in this profession as if like, all we're doing is listening. And it's like, yeah, but we're trained to listen, therapeutically. It's very different than just lending an ear at a bar or like at a barber shop.
ALLISON PURYEAR: And I find a lot of therapists are friends with therapists as like their primary social group, and so we also forget that we know and understand emotion and behavior at a level that the average person doesn't because that's what we studied, right? So like, you can be like, well, everybody knows like imposter syndrome just happens when you're trying something new and hard, and it'll go away. And no, not everybody knows that. Just you know that. So, we're so quick to, I don't know, like discount our own expertise and we don't have to be the top expert in the world or whatever your niche is to be fucking amazing for your clients.
PATRICK CASALE: Yes, absolutely. That is perfectly said. And if you're listening, and you're a therapist, and not just a general entrepreneur, like how many times your friends, or colleagues, or partners like tell you to stop therapising them. My wife says that to me all the time. She's like, “Stop talking like this. This is not how I want to have a conversation.” I’m like, “All right, I have to switch gears.”
But more importantly, I even think of the basic term anxiety and how many times in my clinical setting I've like been like, “Oh, man, you know, I think you really are experiencing major anxiety.” And then the client says, like, “I don't have that. But if you describe what it's like to experience it, and you break it down like in normal layman terms?” Then it's like, “Oh, yeah, I have all of those things. I definitely like struggle with A, B, and C.”
And it's just like, wow, that is such a mindset shift from speaking a certain way realizing that 99% of the population doesn't talk that way. And I think we lose sight of that, and I think community mental health and grad school programs really kind of beat that into our heads of like, this is how we have to show up, this is how we have to move through the world, this is what you can't do, this is what you can do. And I'm like, I'm just kind of sick of that shit because I don't think that lends itself to being successful as a small business owner or practice owner at all.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Agreed, wholeheartedly, yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: I want you to, if you're open to just like talking about how you've kind of transformed into this force in the industry because I think when people ask about private practice startup, private practice coaching, what's been really helpful? Your name and your business comes up all the time. And starting out in Georgia, crying in Seattle, questioning yourself back in Asheville, to now where you've got this massive audience, this amazing podcast, this incredible Facebook group. Like, you have a such a big presence. I'm just wondering about the transition, you know, between the Asheville startup to like now?
ALLISON PURYEAR: I think a lot of confidence got built over these last few years. I think like people ask me like, “Oh, do you miss Seattle?” Which I do desperately, also love Asheville to both end, but I feel like I grew up in Seattle even though I didn't get there until like, I don't know, my early 30s because I stepped into my own there. Like, I really was completely reliant on myself in a way I'd never been before. I had my first kid there. Like, there's just a lot of transition and a lot of figuring out who I am.
Since we moved back here and especially since I started Abundance, probably the biggest transformation for me personally has been letting go of the desperate need to be liked, and I think that in letting go of that desperate needing to be liked I was liked by way more people and disliked by some, sure. But like if I had stayed my neutral people pleasing self in everything I said or did, and I never said anything controversial, and I didn't share my real opinion, my audience would be much less engaged. They’d think I was wishy washy, or kind of boring, or whatever, but being able to have the confidence to really be myself, fully and completely, as goofy as I want to be even though, yes, I can be serious as like call you on your shit as I want to be, which is another big part of to me. I feel like the personal transformation overshadows even like the great business success. Like, I feel like my business grew me up, you know? So, yeah, confidence and exploring, and a lot of pain, a lot of pain, and a lot of tears. Like, I want to be really clear, like from the outside, I'm sure it looks like I'm just having a great time all the damn time. But I'm not having a great time all this time. A lot of it, yes, but not all of it.
PATRICK CASALE: It's really important to take everything else and just set in. That personal development and growth often leads to professional development and growth and vice versa. And once you can let go of the, I'm so concerned about image, or like how people perceive me, and I can really step into who I am, people are going to be attracted to that because a lot of people can see through the people pleasing. Like, I just show up and I don't know, like, waver from the middle in terms of how I approach things in general. And it makes a big difference, I think. And I know I've realized that with what I do.
And I want also for all of you to take it in that it isn't always glamorous. I mean, for those of us who have created audiences and followings, there's a lot of pain that goes into creating those audiences and followings, too, and a lot of heartache, and a lot of questioning, and self-doubt. And the good thing is there is always a pivot point. There's always like, “Okay, this didn't work, but how do I adapt it so it does?” Like, my practice building started because pre COVID I wanted to start a travel coaching business, I still don't even really know what that means. But helping helpers like step away, experience culture, travel more actually, like step out of their comfort zones, and deal with the emotional side of travel, which I still really want to do.
But then COVID hit and I was like, well, I'm really good at helping people build their private practices like you I was helping people in Asheville for like coffees and lunches. And I was like, “Oof, could this be a business?” And self-doubt creeps in, right? And I'm like, “Well, Allison’s here. Do I really want to create a business in Asheville? Like, who's going to hire me?” And I think working through a lot of our own insecurities, and fearfulness, and anxiety, like really helps propel us.
But then we also need to have the resolve to work through the really hard, shitty, difficult, painful moments of being an entrepreneur because there are a lot of those, and a lot of people just don't see that. And I hope that everyone can kind of embrace that because it is a big part of the journey, but working through it is also extremely transformational, and powerful, and so fulfilling because you can create endlessly, and you can do the things that you want to do, and starting out you may not have that clarity or that foresight, and that's okay.
Because if you just want to leave your community mental health job then that is a good first step and seeing where that goes from there, and I will never go back, and that just can never be the mentality again. So yeah, I feel very grateful to be sitting here with you and to have become friends, and colleagues, and just I don't think I ever foresaw this, you know, a couple of years ago, and if I hadn’t just taken that first step we wouldn't be sitting here.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Yeah and I love that you did, you know? I love that there are more people out there helping therapists have what makes this sustainable because this career is not something that we can do till retirement in the way that we've been doing it.
PATRICK CASALE: No.
ALLISON PURYEAR: It's too fucking hard, this job, and yeah,
PATRICK CASALE: And I think nine to five, punch your clock, like, be here when you don't need to be here, all the rules that don't make sense, the micromanaging, like, that was never going to work for me. And you do deserve to retire, and make money, and help people simultaneously. And you can do all of those things. And it is just about putting one foot in front of the other and embracing the risk, and also, recognizing and giving yourself permission to fail and make mistakes, because those things are going to happen, and just learning from them, instead of letting them defeat you saying, I'm going to go back to my agency job, don't let that be your mentality.
You know, I think that, like Allison said before, something that really stood out to me was I wasn't going to let this fail. I was going to make this become a successful business. And we do need that perspective, and that that mentality if we're going into this, and we want to create our own pathway and our own way.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Absolutely.
PATRICK CASALE: Allison, I really appreciate you coming on, and making the time, and please just tell the audience where they can find more of you and how they can access your services too.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Sure, abundancepracticebuilding.com is a lot of letters, but the best way. We've got lots of freebies on there as well as some paid offerings.
PATRICK CASALE: Cool and she's being humble and not mentioning her podcast, but Abundance Practice Building Podcast, yeah?eah, that one too. [CROSSTALK:
PATRICK CASALE: That one, too.
ALLISON PURYEAR: …since you already like podcasts, come join us there too.
PATRICK CASALE: Right, exactly. This will all be in the show notes for all of you and just a different offer because we're both on the podcast together, Allison and I are co-hosting a small retreat in Asheville, North Carolina, June 9th to the 12th. We still have two spots left, so by the time this airs that might not be the case. But that is going to be a really cool offering as well to get two really cool different styled coaches in one space, and lots of good food, lots of good activities, and Asheville is just a really beautiful, wonderful place. So, if you've been wanting to visit, I mean, I don't think there's a better reason to come right now, especially, in June.
If you want to find more of my information go to allthingsprivatepractice.com for coaching, small retreats, and the podcast, All Things Private Practice or joining All Things Private Practice Facebook group, new episodes of the podcast every Monday. Like, download, subscribe and share. And Allison, thank you for making the time.
ALLISON PURYEAR: Thanks so much for having me.