5 episodes

The Fearless Practice Podcast is for anyone who is either thinking of starting a private practice or who needs help with growing their practice in Canada. Julia Smith takes you on her journey from starting as a counsellor to totally killin’ it and growing her own practice in Halifax. After starting in 2016, she battled to find resources and help that related specifically to building a private practice in Canada. Today, she's sharing her tips as well as her not-to-be-repeated mistakes for fellow clinicians, therapists, social workers, and psychologists interested in starting and growing their own practice in Canada.

Fearless Practice Julia Smith

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

The Fearless Practice Podcast is for anyone who is either thinking of starting a private practice or who needs help with growing their practice in Canada. Julia Smith takes you on her journey from starting as a counsellor to totally killin’ it and growing her own practice in Halifax. After starting in 2016, she battled to find resources and help that related specifically to building a private practice in Canada. Today, she's sharing her tips as well as her not-to-be-repeated mistakes for fellow clinicians, therapists, social workers, and psychologists interested in starting and growing their own practice in Canada.

    EP 04: HOW I GREW MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR THREE

    EP 04: HOW I GREW MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR THREE

    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.
    The stage was set for me to grow my private practice.
    IN THIS EPISODE:
    Starting my 3rd year off on a good note Burn out started to creep in Too tired to do anything Starting my 3rd year off on a good note
    ‘In my first year, I started to set those foundations for my private practice: the website, the video, marketing, networking, blogging… I also made a Psychology Today profile.’ – Julia Smith
    With everything that I had done in my first year, setting up the Psychology Today profile and then getting referrals from the clinic, networking, and a doctor at Dalhousie, my private practice continued to grow in my 3rd year. 
    For 2 days a week, I was working in my Canadian private practice. I would see up to 6 people on a Saturday and up to 6 people on a Tuesday. At Dalhousie, I was also seeing up to 6 people a day, twice a week. But because these were intakes, it was a lot of work and high energy output.
    When winter came around, I was offered to work a 3rd day at Dalhousie, it was really busy, but it was so worth it and I was gaining so much experience.
    ‘Being able to work 2 days a week at the clinic in my private practice and watching it grow, and building my clientele… It was just a great time.’ – Julia Smith
    Burn out started to creep in
    As winter was coming to an end and things started getting quieter at Dalhousie, I was offered to work there 1 day a week during summer and I was now at a point where I needed to add a 3rd day to my private practice. So now, I could see clients on a Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
    By September 2019 juggling my private practice and my job at Dalhousie University, it was getting to be just a little bit too much.
    When I wasn’t working, I didn’t have much energy to do anything else. With the busy schedule that I had, it was difficult to go out and socialize. The thought of interacting with people on my time off didn’t sound like fun.  
    Too tired to do anything
    When I was invited to social events, I couldn’t go because I was working on the weekends. After working a long week, I was sitting in my apartment watching Netflix.
    ‘It was becoming a concern, I was starting to see that I needed more than just 1 day off a week, of not doing anything. I wasn’t unwinding, I was just watching TV and then going back to working on my business and then seeing clients throughout the week.’- Julia Smith
    I started to notice that I was getting headaches when I was counselling clients. This had never happened before. On the one hand, my Canadian business was growing and I was making money, but my personal life was not great and I was just burned out.
    ‘I’m getting what I wanted, I have my dream job at Dalhousie, my private practice is doing well… But I feel like sh*t. So, I knew that some things needed to change.’ – Julia Smith
    In the next episode, I will share with you how that change started to happen.
    Connect with me:
    Website and Instagram
    Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:
    Ep 03: Dealing with Unexpected Changes in my Canadian Private Practice – Year Two
    Psychology Today
    Sign up for my free e-course on How to Start an Online Canadian Private Practice
    Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon, and TuneIn.

    • 12 min
    EP 03: DEALING WITH UNEXPECTED CHANGES IN MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR TWO

    EP 03: DEALING WITH UNEXPECTED CHANGES IN MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR TWO

    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. My private practice was slowly growing and life was good. 
    But then January 2nd happened, one of the worst days in my private practice career and I had to deal with some unexpected changes.
    IN THIS EPISODE:
    Losing my office space Jumping into problem-solving mode Finding the perfect space Making some sacrifices Growing my private practice for the rest of the year Losing my office space
    ‘January 2nd, 2018, I’ll never forget that day. At that point in time, I was looking forward to a new year of continuing to grow my private practice, continuing to work at Dalhousie, continuing to meet other counsellors and practitioners, to blog and market my private practice, and just hopefully watch it grow.’ – Julia Smith
    I received an email from the owner of the clinic that I rented from. They let me know that they had decided to close the clinic and they were giving me 30 days’ notice. This was totally above board contractually, but now I had 30 days to change my location, update all my contact details online, and notify my clients of where my new space was going to be. If I could find a new space….
    Jumping into problem-solving mode
    I immediately started looking for office spaces to rent, I reached out to everybody I had networked with over the past year to find out if they had any space available, this was now my main focus – all whilst still working at Dalhousie and seeing my current clients.
    With all the networking that I had done, and the owner of the clinic reaching out to their contacts to try and help me, there were a few places I could potentially rent if I wanted to.
    ‘It’s always scary not knowing what’s around the corner, what my next move was going to be, so my stress levels were really really high.’ – Julia Smith
    Finding the perfect space
    Right away I started to meet with other Halifax practitioners to see what they had to offer. Some of the new places that I looked at weren’t as nice as my previous space, or the location wasn’t ideal or it wasn’t as affordable. 
    I contemplated renting a space by myself so that I could rent it out to other practitioners, but I had just moved to Halifax a year ago and I wasn’t sure if I could commit to a 5-year contract or whether I would find anybody to help pay that rent. The stress was just too much.
    Luckily, I found a space that was the perfect fit for me, it was just starting up, everything was brand new and I could walk there. I was able to rent it by the day and there were great flexible options.
    ‘At that time, I was just making enough to support myself and didn’t have a lot of extra money, and wasn’t sure how quickly I could fill an entire day, every single week and pay the rent every single week.’ – Julia Smith
    Making some sacrifices
    I decided to rent the space for just one day, on a Saturday. I signed the contract and by February 2018 I had moved my entire practice to the new clinic. It was really great; the owners were lovely; it was a multi-disciplinary clinic and I met more professionals who ended up referring clients to me.
    I settled into a schedule of Saturdays being my days for my Canadian private practice. This meant that if a client wanted to see me any other day of the week, I couldn’t offer that flexibility. There were also no late Friday nights or weekend getaways.
    ‘I lost my weekends a bit, I lost my weekends for a couple of years in order to continue this private practice journey, but it was totally worth the loss of my Saturdays. It helped me get to where I am today.’ – Julia Smith
    Growing my private practice for the rest of the year
    My job at Dalhousie was only during the fall and winter, and even though I was starting to fill my Saturdays

    • 18 min
    EP 02: HOW I SET UP MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR ONE

    EP 02: HOW I SET UP MY CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE - YEAR ONE

    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! 
    In this episode, I am going to talk you through how I set up my private practice in that first year.
    IN THIS EPISODE:
    Having to stick to a budget and have minimal expenses How I started my private practice The top 3 things I focused on in the first year Supplementing my income Having to stick to a budget and have minimal expenses
    It was really important to me that I found someplace that was affordable. I wanted to put most of the money that I had saved and that I would be making from my private practice, back into my business and create the vision that I had for my Canadian private practice. 
    Being able to find an affordable bachelor apartment in downtown Halifax was such a huge win for me.
    ‘For that first week or so I was just sleeping on a yoga mat, in an empty apartment, questioning all of my life’s decisions.’ – Julia Smith
    How I started my Canadian private practice
    In that first month, I was finding my way and just getting settled into Halifax, but once I had everything figured out, I was ready to start building my private practice.
    ‘I was really fortunate to have a consultant. That really helped my anxiety level, knowing that somebody had my back and that they had been through starting a private practice and they were going to help me.’ – Julia Smith
    I already had office space where I could see clients, but here are a few things that I did to set myself up to start my private practice:
    Registered my private practice Became certified with CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) Got on an insurance (you can do this through CCPA) Found a Narrative Therapist who could supervise me so that I could be licensed in Nova Scotia Established my niche Built my website Got an HST number Purchased and EMR (Electronic Management Record System) subscription  Designed a logo Took professional photos Determined my intake and session rates Secured a business phone number Opened a business bank account Network, blogged, and created a video To get the exact steps I followed, sign up for my free e-course on How to Start an Online Canadian Private Practice
    The top 3 things I focused on in the first year
    Blogging Networking Creating a video Blogging ‘I didn’t have a lot of money to put into marketing, to pay for advertisements. And blogging is free, it just takes up your time. And in that first year, I did have more time.’ – Julia Smith 
    I wanted to market myself as much as possible to get my name out there. So, for me, blogging was really important, I made a commitment to blog every single week.
    Networking After blogging for a while, my consultant really pushed me to network with other Halifax therapists in private practice, as well as other practitioners. This was nerve-wracking but it was a really good benefit to my private practice as I met other therapists in the area and built a community. We all learned about each other and I was able to build a network of people I could refer out to, or could refer to me.
    Creating a video ‘I think it’s important to not only have a professional photo, but to also have yourself speaking on your website in a video where people can see you, hear you, and then hopefully feel connected to you. And, choose you to be their therapist because they feel a connection.’ – Julia Smith
    This is also a great way to talk about your niche, who you are, who you help, and why you help. Creating this video was expensive, but it was so worth it because I definitely started to get more clients.
    Supplementing my income
    In that first year, I was seeing a few clients but not enough to feel secure. As I was building my private practice and doing all these things, I got a job for 2 days a week, counselling university students at Dalhousie Uni

    • 17 min
    EP 01: WHY I STARTED A CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE

    EP 01: WHY I STARTED A CANADIAN PRIVATE PRACTICE

    Welcome to Fearless Practice Podcast! This podcast has been a year in the making and I am so excited to finally talk to you about how to start and grow a Canadian Private Practice, and sometime in the future, how to make it into a group private practice.
    IN THIS EPISODE:
    Meet your host Starting my counselling career Figuring out my next move How I started my private practice Meet your host
    My name’s Julia Smith, I did an undergrad at McMaster University, a double honours in Health Studies and Psychology. The research tired me out and I took 3 years off to work in fashion. It was great to do something completely different, but after a while, I felt that I wanted to do something more with my career. I craved doing something interpersonal and I wanted to help and interact with other people.
    I got into Acadia University to do my Masters of Education in Counselling, the degree that I finally graduated with in 2015. 
    Starting my counselling career
    After spending a year living at home with my parents while I was writing my thesis, I was ready to start my counselling career. I got a job working for the BC Government as a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician. 
    This job was perfect, it was a 1-year contract and it allowed me to explore and learn so much about counselling as a profession. I was also the only therapist in the community who helped anybody under the age of 19, so it was quite a bit of responsibility, and I loved it!
    Figuring out my next move
    I was trying to figure out my next move, then, a colleague of mine suggested that I start my own private practice. 
    ‘I had never even fathomed starting a private practice just with 1-year of professional counselling under my belt.’ – Julia Smith
    This was an absolutely wild idea; but as I started to think about it more, it became more of a possibility that I could actually start my own private practice. I just had a couple more months left in BC and there were parts of me that knew I was not ready to commit my life to 30 years in a government job, so I knew what I had to do next.
    How I started my Canadian private practice
    I found a consultant in the States that helps counsellors start their own private practices, and watching his videos made me realize that I could actually do this if I just followed all the steps. I had money saved up and I knew that after my 1-year contract was over, I’d be able to support myself even if I didn’t have any clients.
    ‘I decided to take a huge risk and start my own private practice. There were definitely people in my life that thought that it was wild, and there were lots of people who were very supportive.’ – Julia Smith
    In October 2016 I moved across the country from BC to Halifax, NS. In the months leading up to this, I had to find an apartment, I registered my business, and I also had to find an affordable place to counsel people. 
    Luckily there was a clinic at that time that was offering office space by the hour and you only paid if you booked.
    ‘It was like everything aligned to move to Halifax. I could afford to live there, cheaply, I could afford to start my private practice cheaply, I didn’t have to pay my monthly rent, I could just book the times when clients booked with me and then have an office space.’ – Julia Smith
    This is why I started a Canadian private practice! I can’t wait for you to join me on the next episode where I share with you how I started my private practice. 
    Connect with me:
    Website and Instagram
    Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:
    Sign up for my free e-course on How to Start an Online Canadian Private Practice
    Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon, and TuneIn.

    • 13 min
    Trailer

    Trailer

    Welcome to The Fearless Practice Podcast!

    • 25 sec

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Alison SC ,

Normalizes the ups and downs of starting out

Thanks for a look into your journey, Julia!

not fearlesss ,

So personable!

Julia, congratulations on being fearless and succeeding! Your approach is so personable and relatable! I will definitely tune in again!

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