Season 1,

Episode 110 – Creating Products

June 12, 2018

This episode’s sponsor
The “Must Have” for a Therapist’s Toolkit


Rob and Roy discuss generating semi-passive income through the creation of a product. They are joined by Joe Sanok, of Practice of the Practice, who shares his experiences in developing various products for therapists

  • Describe Expanded – Kickstarter campaign for Describe – Deck Two. Available through June 25th!
  • Joe Sanok – Annoyance fixer, private practice consultant, and product guru from Practice of the Practice


Show Notes
  • :13

    Products? Why Products?

  • 4:41

    Turning Idea Into Reality

  • 8:57

    What Tools to Use?

  • 12:09

    What’s This About Market Research?

  • 21:14


  • 22:25

    Guest Spot – Joe Sanok – Creating and Marketing a Product

  • 39:02

    Describe Question – Joe, how do you define “valuable”?

  • 42:00

    What is crowdfunding?

  • 49:27

    Marketing & Semi-Passive Income

  • 53:07

    Continuing Education as a Product

  • 40:19

    Three Levels of Email Security

  • 57:12

    Informed Consent

  • 1:01:00


Episode Transcript
  Section 1 of 3          [00:00:00 - 00:21:04] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Introduction: "Therapy Tech" with Rob and Roy, the most fun therapists can have listening to a podcast about technology.  
Rob: Welcome to "Therapy Tech" episode 110! I'm Rob Reinhardt from Tame Your Practice.  
Roy: I'm Roy Huggins from  
Rob: And we're here to talk about?  
Roy: We're talking about products! Making products!  
Rob: Yeah!  
Roy: Yeah!  
Rob: Yeah! Great products!  
Roy: Right! It kind of surprised me when you proposed this! I was like, "Making products? What?" But, hey, you know, you actually do a lot of that.  
Rob: Yeah. And there's a lot of technology that goes into it, at least I use a lot of technology.  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: So, it really fits with the kind of stuff that we talk about.  
Roy: Yeah, it does.  
So, I think we could just jump right in. Hey Rob, I notice you make products. That's a thing you do.  
Rob: I do!  
Roy: You have a couple e-books. Yeah, you have two e-books. You have "Describe", which we always do with our guests.  
What's up with that? Why do you do that?  
Rob: You know, I think it's a little bit that I'm just one of those people that's always doing something. You know, a busy body.  
Roy: That is true.  
Rob: I like to be doing things. I have a constant stream of ideas and have to prioritize and decide which ones happen and which don't.  
I think it's also kind of a natural developmental cycle for therapists, especially those in private practice. Many of us get to a point where we've been doing some clinical work, but we'd like to do other stuff. And so, there's this kind of natural evolution that some people go on to create continuing education courses, or do [inaudible 00:01:43] engagements. Or, do come adjunct teaching, any number of things as a secondary part of their career.  
And for me, it's helping people with technology through retainer practice, reviewing HR and creating these other things, like "Describe".  
Roy: Right, yeah. You were just describing me there. And speaking of describing, hey! Kind of I do the generic thing, right? Like, I do CE teaching and I also teach at the school. In fact I was just talking to my students about this last night. After a while, in private practice ... Actually no, I said, once you've got your license, you're like, "Okay, I'm done with all these milestones. What's next?"  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: We do tend to diversify, especially in private practice. It's often a thing you want to do, whether it's going to other things or maybe try to expand into a group. There's all kinds of things you can do. And you're talking about, like, writing books and making card decks and stuff.  
Okay, we're gonna talk about "Describe", but I'm curious. The first one I saw you do was to make the "Private Practice Preparedness" book with Nancy Wheeler.  
Rob: Yeah. So, that's the cool thing. All three of these things that we're talking about just kind of happened organically.  
Roy: What's the story behind that? I mean, seriously, that's just kind of out of nowhere, it seems, right? Tell me the story.  
Rob: Yeah, with "Private Practice Preparedness", it was several years ago. I was at the ACA conference, the American Counseling Association conference, and Nancy Wheeler, my coauthor, who I did not know at the time, was there. And she has long been the ethics/legal spokesperson for the American Counseling Association. If you call and ask legal questions, she was often the support person that you would talk to, and she's written a million articles, and she's the coauthor of "The Councilor in the Law" book with Bert Bertram, which is an excellent book that everybody should have on their shelf.  
And so, I'm just at the counseling conference, and took the opportunity to meet her in person. I had read things she had written but didn't know her. And, just struck up a conversation. We're in the middle of the conference having a conversation, and we ended up on the topic of mental health clinicians not having a plan for what happens to their business and their clients if they disappear, whether they die unexpectedly, whether they have a family death that they have to go tend to, whether they retire. Maybe it is a plan thing, but any number of things could just draw you from that.  
So, we again hit up on that topic, and were like, "Man, there's not a lot of resources out there for people to deal with that." And, "Hey, let's write a book!"  
Roy: Wow! Okay!  
Rob: It was pretty much how it happened. And there it is.  
So, yeah, I think that's why I enjoy doing those things, it's 'cause they are the "Private Practice Preparedness", the EHR book, "Describes", they're all things that happened organically that, "Hey, this is an extension of my work. This is something I thought of. And, hey, this is something that other people can use, so let's turn it into something."  
Roy: Yeah, that sounds good. I kind of feel like I probably have that kind of conversation with somebody a bazillion times. You know, "Let's write a book! Let's do a thing!" And then nothing happens. You just don't really follow up on it.  
What happened differently with your projects that cause you to actually complete them?  
Rob: Well, certainly I prioritize things, 'cause I have ideas all the time. A part of the process is saying, "Okay, which of these is really feasible? Which of these am I really going to enjoy doing?", and going through that process. And that way I'm able to narrow it down to, "Hey, this is something that I'll enjoy doing and that will help other people, and they'll desire it and use it, and it will actually be a buyable product." And that is the things that make the short list.  
And then there's just the personal, "Okay, I'm gonna do this." That step you take. I can't remember what the quote is or who said it but there's a quote out there about, "It's not about the idea, it's about the execution", or something along those lines. Lots of people have ideas. Lots of people even have the same ideas, but the success comes from the execution.  
Roy: That makes sense, yeah. I remember when I was four years old, I invented GoBots before they came out in the United States.  
Rob: Yes! Yeah, I'm sure most people have had that experience, that something comes out and blows up and it's everywhere, and you're like, "Wait, I thought of that 10 years ago!"  
Roy: Exactly! Right, yeah, right. I was just too little to have the resources to do die casting, right. Yeah, exactly.  
Rob: Yeah. You were an underachiever at four, Roy.  
Roy: Yeah, I know. Already underachieving. Well done, me.  
So, okay. That makes sense, right? You said an important thing there, that I learned to realize in my years of self-employment, which is that you don't have to be first to be good, or to be wanted, right? You don't actually have to have an idea that's 100% original.  
Like, I'm a counselor, you're a counselor. And we're both counselors. There's people in need of our services. We both can serve them. The fact that there's hundreds of thousands other therapists out there doesn't mean that I can't be a therapist.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: And same way, if I have an idea for something, even if it's already been done, maybe I have an idea because I have my way of doing it. If nothing else, it's just my version of that thing, and there's nothing wrong with that.  
Rob: That's right. You know, that's part of the human experience, is constantly evolving and growing and improving across the board, or at least trying to innovate and make things better.  
Roy: Yeah, absolutely. Right.  
So, definitely all our listeners, and if they've got these ideas, and they feel like ... Okay, you said I'm going to enjoy doing it, people will want it, and it'll be helpful. I think those are the things you are looking at, right?  
Rob: Yeah! Yeah. And there's more to it, because people will want it, you really need to do some market research and things like that to be sure that it's not just your perception that they want, that they really do.  
There's a lot involved in there, but yeah, those are the core pieces. It's, "Hey, are people gonna want it? Are you gonna enjoy doing it?"  
And, that enjoyment part, some people are on the fence about that. If it's a big enough thing that people are gonna want it, who cares if I don't enjoy it for a year or two if it brings in a lot of revenue. So, that might be a deal breaker for some people.  
But for me, where I'm at, all I want is extra activities to be something I really enjoy.  
Roy: Yeah, I think it's gonna be real hard to spend a lot of your time on something you don't enjoy.  
Rob: Yeah. That's partly because you've already got, "Hey, it's gonna take a lot to accomplish this in your time. How am I gonna motivate myself to actually execute the idea?" It'd be a lot easier to do that with something you feel passion about and enjoy.  
Roy: Yeah, that's a rough one to do if you don't. Okay.  
Rob: And I have a lot of advantage in pulling these things off. Again, it comes back to our primary topic for the podcast, it's technology.  
Roy: Yeah, that was my next question. Yep.  
Rob: Nowadays, you incorporate so much technology in creating products, and I was lucky enough that I've got that background in technology to lean on that in creating some of these.  
Roy: Yeah. I actually remember Nancy Wheeler saying on a presentation once, 'cause she mentioned the book you guys wrote, and she's like, "It was really nice having a partner who's very tech savvy."  
Rob: Mm-hmm (affirmative).  
Roy: "'Cause he can figure out how to do all this stuff."  
So, what tools did you use to produce all your stuff?  
Rob: So, the e-books were produced in Microsoft Word.  
Roy: What? That's so far out!  
Rob: And that's pretty common in the publishing industry, because of ... And, a lot of people use Adobe, but Adobe, if you're talking about the paid version, it gets a little pricey. It's a little more affordable [inaudible 00:09:20] now that they do the monthly subscription model.  
But those are the two primary tools that are used for creating books, whether it's e-books or publications these days, are Microsoft Word and Adobe Publisher or Acrobat, whatever the publishing version of it is these days.  
So, and it's also easy to collaborate. With the first book, I was collaborating with Nancy, and so it was very easy to share a Word file and track changes and all those fun things.  
And then there's a process you have to go through to then convert that into e-book. That, in and of itself, can be pretty complex. It's gotten easier since we originally published that book, 'cause it was much easier to do the second book than the first book.  
But, part of that was because, with the EHR guide, the "Choosing an EHR" book, I decided, "You know what? I'm gonna exclusively do this on Amazon as an e-book first."  
And there are some details there that we probably don't have time to get into involving ... Well, you give up this and that to do that through Amazon, but it makes all these other pieces easier.  
Roy: Well, yeah. What does it make easier? Does Amazon ... Do you just, like, upload a Word file and Amazon makes it an e-book in all the formats, and everything's ready to go, kind of thing?  
Rob: Yeah, they've got a conversion tool. It can still be tedious if you haven't done some initial research and really made sure that Word file is clean right from the beginning.  
So, if you've got a habit of going in and doing hard returns in lots of places, and spaces and tabs in places in a Word document, that's gonna cause you a lot of headaches when you go to convert it with a tool like Amazon's e-book tool, because it wants it in a really specific format.  
The good news is they have guidance out there on how to do that. "Hey, this is how you should do your headers and headings, and this is how you should do paragraphs and so forth." And if you follow the rules, the conversion process isn't too tedious.  
But, if you've spent all this time writing this book and formatting it just right, and then you put it through the conversion process and you have to go through with a fine-toothed comb again and say, "Okay, are there any weird spaces? Do they lunge in any of the headings?" There's a lot of work involved, but it's worth it.  
Roy: Okay. Can I just hire my nephew to do that?  
Rob: You could, if your nephew knows a good bit about Microsoft Word and converting to an e-book. I'll make sure we post some links on our podcast page so people can read -  
Roy: Yeah, that'd be useful.  
Rob: What's involved, because you certainly want to do that before you dive in. And take a look at, "Okay, does this look like something I could figure out?"  
There are certainly services out there where you can pay them to do the conversion for you. But, again, that's where, "Hey, I've got that tech-savvy, I don't need to do that because it's pretty straightforward as long as I follow the rules and take care of business.  
Roy: Right, yeah that makes sense. Right.  
You mentioned, though, about market research.  
Rob: Mm-hmm (affirmative).  
Roy: I mean, generally speaking, when I've done market research, it's mostly like, I go into social media groups and just say, "Hey, what do you guys think of this?" I mean, isn't it more complicated than that?  
Rob: Well, it can be, but that's market research, yeah. Market research is figuring out what a need it, or examining a need and seeing how you can meet that need.  
So, if you go into a social media group and you're like, "Hey, what does everybody think about creating a plan for retirement?" And everybody's like, "Yeah, man, I should do that but I haven't been able to find any resources." If you're hearing that over and over again and realize, "Oh, there's a need here that needs to be fit."  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: With "Describes", seeing the number of people in groups that are regularly asking, "Hey, what tools are you guys using to interact with clients?"  
Roy: Oh, okay.  
Rob: "What are you able to pull out that initiates conversation?" And you see that enough and you say, "Okay, there's room for this tool. There are already some tools out there, but there's probably room for" -  
Roy: Probably room for more.  
Rob: "Room for more."  
Roy: Right, yeah.  
Rob: But again, it can get more complicated, 'cause then you get into, "Okay, what needs to be in this tool?" And, "Okay, I already have an idea what I would like to create. Let's put that in front of some people, lets make a prototype and put it in front of some people and have them use it, and have them give us feedback." "Oh, here's how you could make it better." "I wish it did this thing."  
And then you refine it and iterate and get it to the final product.  
Roy: Right, makes sense.  
So, it occurs to me, maybe you should describe "Describe". It just occurred to me that listeners may not necessarily know what it is.  
Rob: Yeah, so "Describe" is a deck of cards that I created. And it actually was about a seven year process. We talked about that -  
Roy: Okay.  
Rob: Coming up with the idea, creating the prototype, play testing it, getting feedback from others. It was about a seven year process.  
So, it's 104 cards. Every card has an adjective on it, as well as three questions related to that adjective.  
I developed the idea when I initially was doing my internship coming out of grad school. When we meet people, we're meeting clients for the first time, we're trying to establish rapport and trust. But also, we're trying to get to know them.  
Roy: Yeah.  
Rob: We're gonna have to know them at some level of depth in order to be able to do that work with them.  
So, often, if you ask somebody, "Hey, tell me about yourself?", you're gonna hear surface stuff. You're gonna hear nouns. "I'm a truck driver", or "I'm a computer programmer". You're gonna hear what they do.  
You might hear, "Oh, and I'm married and I have two kids." These are all facts and their important things for us to know, but none of that tells us how they feel about any of that.  
Roy: Okay.  
Rob: With that kind of information, we don't hear whether they like their job or don't like their job, how they feel about their relationship.  
And so, I recognized the real meat, the real substance of what we're usually getting at in our work are the adjectives.  
Roy: Okay. Alright.  
Rob: How does this person describe their work?  
And so, that's where I ran with it. I'm like, "Okay, well I'm gonna" ... When they're sitting here, they're already feeling a little pressured, a little anxious. Maybe they've never gone to counseling before, they're spilling their guts to this stranger. And, maybe if I can hand them some words that they can use, it'll get them out of their head a little bit. Instead of them trying to come up with the words, they can just look through this deck and pull out the right words.  
And it turns out that it worked really well. It made people, "Oh, yeah, I can pull these words out!" And it takes the pressure off and it creates some really great conversation.  
Roy: Nice! Okay, great.  
So, okay. So, I think I want to ask some questions about "Describe" specifically. I mean, I think e-books are a very available thing for people, 'cause it's kind of a simple concept to be, like, "I have an idea, I know a thing, sharing it would be valuable, people want to know about it." It's easy enough to be, like, "I'll write it. I'll write it out. I'll write a book. I'll make some pictures, I'll make some tables." Whatever, there's all kinds of things like that that fit the e-book way of looking at it, right? Or, just even a CE course, which is another thing.  
Rob: Well, and e-books can honestly be as simple as just converting a word document to a .pdf.  
Roy: Yeah, that's true, right. You can just have people download that. The e-book format is good for things like reading in a Kindle or something like that, right?  
But, yeah, that's very true. Or, you can turn it into a CE course, which is another thing if it is a continuing education topic, right?  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: "Describe", though is not like that. "Describe" is more complex. You're making cards. And, you know, I have a "Describe" deck. It's like professionally produced cards, like you buy a Hasbro game. It's those kinds of cards.  
And so, I think, probably, our people have no idea where to start to make a product that's not just writing something and then putting in the right digital format. How do you make a thing like "Describe" cards?  
Rob: Well, yeah. And that's where my love of board games came in handy.  
Roy: Mm-hmm (affirmative)!  
Rob: I've been following board and card games my whole life, and then even Kickstarted other games and followed the process of, "Hey, what does it take to produce a board game, a card game?" And so, I had already been reading on it for a long time. And there's a lot of information there.  
The short version of it is, you've got to decide what the product is first, and then do some research, "Hey, who makes this product? Who manufactures?"  
And then you've got a lot of difficult decisions. Like, okay, am I gonna manufacture this in the country I'm living in? Am I gonna have it be imported from another country because it's much less expensive to produce that way?  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: One thing that I felt was really important, because I am an avid board and card game player, I wanted these cards to be high quality.  
Roy: Yeah.  
Rob: And so many products that are produced for therapists are printed on flimsy card stock that wears out, and you can only really do the -  
Roy: Yeah.  
Rob: You know what I'm talking about.  
Roy: I do.  
Rob: And I wanted these to be top quality. I wanted these cards to last. And so, hey, I've got to figure out who can manufacture cards of this quality, what price point is that gonna make this be. How much is it gonna cost me to manufacture it and how much am I gonna have to charge people?  
And that's part of the market research, too. You can have a wonderful idea, but if you have to charge more than people are willing to pay then it's not gonna go anywhere.  
Roy: That's very true, right.  
So, here's the big question. I kind of have my answer but I want to know your answer. So, when you're looking for someone to actually produce your idea ... I mean, you design it, but they build it, right? They build it or manufacture it.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: So, if I want to make cards, do I just go to Google and say, "card manufacturer", and just go with one of those result? Or, really should I put more into it than that?  
Rob: You should probably put more into it than that. If it was specifically cards you'd want to make, then I'd tell you to go to site.  
Roy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).  
Rob: And you'll find all kinds of forum articles from actual game publishers who have published games, and who've they used.  
There's even threads there saying, "Hey, here's the manufacturers that we've found", and giving feedback on their experiences with those manufacturers. So, these were all great time savers for me.  
Whereas, if you're creating some widget, some unnamed widget, we don't know what it is yet, you might be hunting around somewhere else to find out, "Hey, who manufactures this widget?"  
Roy: But, looking at forums, that sort of thing came to my mind as well. Like, where do you find people who interact with this kind of product?  
Rob: Right. So once you know what the product is or have a general realm, you want to look for, hey, who talks about this product, who else sells this product? And that will lead to a manufacturer, typically. You can do a search online for card printers. You will find a million results.  
And even within that realm, you've got to look at, okay, who actually prints custom cards? Because you will find people that are more of a promotional company, like people that print pens with your logo on it, and notepads with your logo on it. And they'll do decks of cards with your logo on it.  
But they're typically -  
Roy: With playing cards.  
Rob: Playing cards, right. They're gonna have the ace of spades in the deck.  
Now, they may turn around and say, "Oh yeah, we can do cards that are custom front and back." But is that something they're really accustomed to doing, and is that something they're going to be able to do in the quantity that you need at the quality that somebody else is that you used to do on completely custom decks?  
Roy: Yeah, and that's a really important piece of advice. I mean, I think it's very easy for somebody to ... I know from working with other colleagues that it's very easy to do what might be construed as cutting corners, when in fact it's not necessarily them cutting corners, it's just the person doesn't necessarily know what they're looking for, right? Or, know what exactly should be seen as high quality, so someone will just sort of take the first thing that comes along.  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: And it's probably not the best way to go. You -  
  Section 1 of 3          [00:00:00 - 00:21:04]
  Section 2 of 3          [00:21:00 - 00:42:04] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Rob: The first thing that comes along.  
Roy: Yeah.  
Rob: And it's probably not the best way to go. You really want to make sure you know your options, if you're going to try to make a thing that, you know, really has a level of quality that you care to put your name behind.  
Roy: Yeah, that's an absolutely excellent point.  
Rob: You're really good at doing things yourself, and you're happy to do things yourself. Like, you have a lot of the energy for that. There's a lot of people out there who talk about trying to actually sort of form teams, or utilize other services. It would be useful if there is, you know, somebody that we could talk to who is also a therapist who likes to make products, and is good at producing products kind of in a way that's high quality but requires a kind of reuse of, or takes a reuse of stuff and uses a team to do that. It'd be kind of cool if there was somebody like that that we could also bring on here to talk about another process for making products. I wish we had somebody like that.  
Roy: There's so many different ways you can do it, and even the creative process and the way you come about your ideas and approaching them can be different for different people.  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: And, you know, if I had done, if I hadn't already had some artwork ideas for Describe, I might have wanted to get a graphic designer involved, so forming a team is often a part of the process because very rarely someone's going to know all the pieces to the puzzle, so yeah, I think it'd be very helpful to talk to somebody who's done that kind of team collaborative kind of effort.  
Rob: Yeah, I wish we had someone like that here. Oh wait, that's the door. Who is that?  
Roy: Oh, let's go see who it is.  
Rob: Oh look, it's Joe Sanok.  
Roy: Oh my gosh, wow. I haven't talked to Joe in a while. This is going to be great.  
Rob: It's going to be awesome.  
I'm Rob Reinhardt, co-host of Therapy Tech with Rob and Roy, and creator of Describe. Since publishing Describe in 2015, I've continued to add activities, interventions, and games, and now new cards. My passion for Describe has only increased as I receive wonderful review and requests for more cards. One review on Amazon reads, the prompt of one of these cards produced more therapeutic content in one session than in the previous few sessions. These cards are an awesome tool for therapists.  
Head to for more testimonials and information. And if you're listening prior to June twenty fifth, 2018, be sure to click on the links to the Kickstarter so you don't miss your chance to get deck two.  
Roy: Hey everybody, here with Joe Sanok. Rob, hey, who's this Joe guy that we're hanging out with?  
Rob: Oh Joe, Joe, Mister Joe, he's the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling, a private practice consultant, a TedX speaker and podcaster.  
Roy: Wow.  
Rob: His Practice of the Practice podcast gets over a hundred thousand downloads a month, and has been downloaded over a million times. He's been featured in Huffington Post, Forbes, Reader's Digest, and Entrepreneur On Fire.  
Roy: Wow, man.  
Rob: [crosstalk 00:24:00] if that's wasn't enough, he helps private practice owners start, grow, and scale private practices. But in reality, he helps people design the life they want, and have their businesses be a part of that equation.  
Roy: Wow.  
Rob: Joe, Joe, thanks for joining us.  
Joe: Thanks for having me, guys.  
Roy: Hey, good to see you Joe. I actually do know who Joe is, everybody. I just, that was just [inaudible 00:24:20].  
Joe: You guys are awesome. So, I'm so happy to be here. Excited you guys are finally doing a podcast because the world needs it.  
Roy: Thank man, appreciate it. All right, we had some questions for you Joe, because we're talking about making products, and I thought to call you about that because that's a big thing you do, like, every time I talk to you, you're making a new product.  
Joe: Yeah, yeah, I have a lot of ideas.  
Roy: Yes you do, right, and you make them work. So, I know Rob is also a big product maker, so I figured, I'd get you two talking on the podcast.  
So go.  
Rob: We've been already talking about some ways of creating products, and we realized, you know, there's lots of different ways to come about it, we figured it'd be great to talk to you and ask you about your creative process. So tell us about your creative process and how do you come up with ideas and decide which ones are worthy of pursuing.  
Joe: Yeah, I think there's a lot of ways to do it. For me, ideas really aren't the problem. It's more the implementation and making sure I'm putting time into the best ideas. So I usually start from a place of annoyance, honestly. Like, what's annoying me, what do I wish was there, when I hear my consulting clients talking about their practices, talking about what they wish was out there, usually it's why isn't there something that solves this problem here already.  
And so, I don't think of myself as being someone that's annoyed at the world, but unfortunately, my first step usually is is annoyance, like, come on, there has to be a better way to do this. And so I start there, and then I ask myself, like, what would it take to really test this idea out? So I say, I wish there was something that solved whatever problem. So for example, probably six months ago, our team with Practice of the Practice, the five of us were talking about how for people just starting a practice, there wasn't something that really was start to finish what they needed to do, that had a community component, that had an online component, gave them like the tools, like logos, things like that.  
So we had this idea of, what if we had some sort of kind of ecosystem that went beyond your typical elearning, went beyond just a Q and A session, but really tried to be all inclusive. And before I jumped into, all right, I'm going to create this whole thing, spend a bunch of money and time on a website, distracting from my main mission with Practice of the Practice, I said, well, how do I test this. And so I emailed my email list and said, hey, I'm considering doing this thing where we would create this ecosystem for people that are starting a practice, would ten or twenty of you want to sit down for 15 minutes for me to just pick your brains, so that I can make sure that I really understand the needs of what people starting a practice have.  
And so, I created a [inaudible 00:26:51] invite, people signed up for these 15 minute times, and I sat down with probably 14 people via Skype, and I just asked them three questions. I said, what has been your experience in starting a practice, good bad ugly. What do you wish was out there if you just could wave a magic wand and say, man I wish there was something that did X Y and Z? And then, how much would you pay for that? And so then I had some data, and the way that my ideal client would then speak about this new product. So then, the next step was, how do I test this even further than that? So decided to do a launch that was going to be in January 2018 for 50 people. Told people this was just going to be a beta test. I don't know if it's going to work, we might have some really terrible webinar platforms, which we did. We went through three in a month. We're going to screw things up, but that's why you're going to get a discounted price on this, so that this first cohort gives us some feedback, and we can figure out if this is something that we can do long-term.  
So after we've tested it, which oftentimes people will make the product and then try to find an audience, after we tested it, and had an audience that really wanted to hear about it, we then looked at how do we amplify that, once we worked out the kinks. And that's when we then launched bigger cohorts, more frequently, and then the last step for me is then how do I automate it, because it's easy to add things to your plate and to keep doing things, but then if you don't take something off your plate, if you don't automate it through people, or processes, then what's going to happen is you're just going to have more on your plate, you're going to get frustrated, you're not going to be as innovative because you're not slowing down.  
Roy: I'm really impressed there, Joe, that you were able to lay out in bullet points exactly your process.  
Rob: That's pretty cool.  
Joe: Thanks! I actually have bullet points on a piece of paper because I thought you were talking about products, so-  
Roy: That would explain it.  
Joe: I know we talked a little bit about what we were going to talk about with product launch, and I just thought, you know, this is something that I go through every day and it's just comes natural, but I wanted to make sure it was laid out, and Roy, I see to impress.  
Roy: Yeah, I know you do, right. Can I actually reflect what I think is on that bullet list, like, you're saying, like, because Rob also talked about testing, and so clearly that's important. You know, I'm a former engineer, obviously I think testing is pretty awesome, right, so like, the thing that I'm hearing you say there is that the first thing you do is you have an idea, and then the next thing you do is try to reach out to see does anybody care about this idea.  
Joe: Yeah, and I think what, it's counter-intuitive because when you think about the typical artist or creative or book writer, you know, they sit down and they write that classic novel overnight because the inspiration hits them, and we have this image of someone has the first idea for the Apple computer or the iPhone, and then that night they sit down and they just make it, but that's not really the reality of how we do something. We want to really know that there's an audience that is going to resonate with this because maybe your idea is way too complex, maybe people want just step one, they don't want step five through ten, and so if we talk to our audience, if we have built an audience and really say, well, what is it that you want, then you have built in buyers, rather than starting with, I've created this thing, why won't anybody buy it and I invested all this money and time into creating it.  
Roy: Right. Yeah, makes a lot of sense.  
Rob: So a good nickname for you would be the annoyance fixer, is what you're saying.  
Joe: Sure, that could be on my business cards, yeah. I'll go to ACA and say, I'm the annoyance fixer.  
Rob: You're not the chief executive officer, you're not head honcho in charge, you're annoyance fixer.  
Joe: Annoyance fixer, yeah. I used to call myself chief vision officer but now I guess it's annoyance fixer.  
Roy: So, you kind of answered our second question, part way, in that we were going to ask, how you come up with the idea, how do you then take it and make it a reality, and you kind of melded the two things into one process.  
Joe: Yeah, I mean, I would drill into the reality of it a little bit more. Typically, you want to have some sort of wait list or an interest list of people that want first access to whatever it is you're doing. Then, you can really gauge how many people are there, and when you get to a certain amount, you may say, for this to be worth it, I need to have ten people on this list, I need to have a hundred people, I need to have 200. So for Next Level Practice, for us, we wanted to have 200 people on the interest list for our 50-person cohort. When we actually launched, we realized that having four times more people on the interest list is what really the formula is to fill it up. Because just because people are interested and put their name on a list, when they actually have to pull out their credit card and buy something, they don't always do it. They get distracted, things have happened in their business, they choose not to do it, and so you want to have an interest list that's several times more than whatever your, kind of, bottom line is.  
And after you have the interest list, then I'd say you want to tap into current clients, and of course if we're talking about your counseling clients, there's going to be some different ethics there than if you're talking about consulting clients or just a general audience. But, you want to look at who has purchased from you in the past. They're going to be more likely to purchase something else from you, than just someone who hasn't met you before, has never purchased something from you.  
So you want to start with them, give them early access. Say, hey, because you bought my paperwork packet, because you signed up for this other member community, you get very first access and you know, we only have 50 spots in this, and then you can be one of those first 50 spots. And then after that, I would say you really you really want to, like I said before, do a lot of that beta testing. Get that feedback because even if it feels like right now, whatever your product is it's working, there's going to be situations that you didn't anticipate, and so you always have to be iterating, making it better, giving extra value to it, and then I'd say, after that, really going into affiliate partners, and so that can look different in a variety of ways. But, finding influences that have an audience that kind of aligns with you, and so, like with Describe cards, Rob, you're done a great job in connecting with people that are in the field that aren't creating a competition to Describe cards but really could benefit from those. And so, finding other people that can get your message out for you out into the world and in a way that is an authentic partnership.  
Rob: And I agree, those partnerships are incredibly important and just like you said, you want to just keep going.  
Right, you never stop.  
So, I'm curious, at one point you mentioned earlier, you know, needing to automate, needing to either hand some of these processes off to other people, or technology, how do you know what that should happen?  
Joe: Yeah, I would say, as soon as possible because I would say that the best ideas come when you slow down. It's when you're driving and you have the radio off. It's when you're taking a shower, it's when you're on a hike. It's usually not when you're stressed out and freaking out. And so, if you want to keep having good ideas, if you want to keep coming up with solutions and creating products, slowing down needs to be a part of it, and in order to slow down, you need to have boundaries and you need to not have all of this ongoing stress. And so as soon as you see there's something you can take off of your plate, you really want to look into doing that. And so it could as simple as looking at your private practice, I know a lot of your listeners have private practices, why are you still answering the phones? Why are you still doing your own scheduling? Why aren't you using an electronic medical record? These things that are technologies or people that for a much lower rate than whatever your hourly is, can be doing something. So even if it's not to do with your product, look at throughout your entire business, how do you outsource things from what you're doing, and then, how do you train people to continue to level up with you?  
So for example, several years ago, I brought on Sam, who she's our chief marketing officer now. And so Sam started just doing images for Twitter and Facebook and Instagram that were quote cards. So they had people's quotes on it and the Practice of the Practice logo, and then she'd make those. And then I asked her, do you want to learn WordPress? I'll do some videos and teach your WordPress so that you can take over the show notes for the Practice of the Practice podcast. So then she learned that. And then I was doing all the images for it. I loved the art side, but it just wasn't a good use of my time to spend two hours making an image for this podcast. So then I handed that off to her. And over time, now I put her through a course for her to learn video editing, so now we have better quality videos for our YouTube channel. And you want to find those people that are willing to grow into the position to take more and more off of your plate.  
And then what happens is, rather than just you dictating, hey let's take this off your plate, as they learn more, they say, here's some opportunities that I see that you didn't see, and it actually then expands what you're doing beyond your own abilities.  
Roy: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-yeah, I actually got to agree with that one. Like, Person Centered Tech members all know Liath, who's now the deputy director of Person Centered Tech, and she used to be our assistant. Right, and like, that's how she started. Yeah, it was exactly like that. I'd be like, why am I still doing this thing, it's taking forever, I asked Liath, hey can you do this, and she'd be like, of course. Like, she wouldn't say this but she can do anything basically, and so, like, she sort of takes over tasks and takes over tasks, she learns to do it, she learns to do it, she eventually ended up being one of the leadership in the company one. Because a lot of the ideas and a lot of the actual operating of everything because she grew with the company.  
Joe: Right, and that's like with Next Level Practice, we actually do a profit-sharing when we hit certain measures of our membership just because it's like, people are putting in time beyond just what their typical role is, so they might help with a webinar, or they might notice something, and that then encourages them to be active in the Facebook group, within Teachable, within all of our different areas, and to go above and beyond, because they know when we hit 50 people, when we hit 100 people, when we hit 500 people, all those different levels, they then get a portion of those profits too. And so, by doing that, they genuinely are a member of the team beyond just kind of their typical salary.  
Roy: Nice, and I do got to say, for those because anyone listening to this is ostensibly just thinking about getting in to making products and like surveying other therapists or surveying the general public outside of their counseling clients, these are people who you have to go through a lot of relationships to find the person who matches like this. Like, you don't just instantly come along ... Sam didn't just pop up in your life one day and go, great, you're going to be the perfect partner for this company-  
Joe: Yeah, and I think that's a misconception that people can just find this virtual assistant that will do it all. It's a lot of training on your way. And to kind of back up a little bit in regards to generating ideas, because I know we got kind of advanced there, for people that are just starting out, a couple questions that people can ask themselves that are really helpful is, what happens right before someone comes to me? So lets say someone owns a private practice. In the month or two before they decide to come to counseling, what are the questions that they have, what are the products that would help them. So it might be, if your counseling is around angry kids, that you create just like a three video course that helps with some basic parenting techniques. And so for people that aren't quite ready for counseling but they want to be able to talk to their teens about a variety of different topics, how do you do that?  
And so, then you say, in counseling, how do I make this a better experience for people? And so, within it, maybe you have an e-course that's aimed at current clients. Maybe you take a bunch of your blogs and you put them together into a tangible book that you can hand out to people. So that between sessions, hey, go through this workbook, it's going to help us go so much faster in counseling, you're going to save money by not being here for six months, instead you'll just be here a couple months. And then you want to ask yourself, well, what about after counseling? Or after they have experience with me for my core service, what do they need then? So maybe it's, they step down from EMDR to a group of people that are working through their trauma. Or someone that's past the crisis point right after having a divorce, to now we have a support group or we have an online community, we have something that is going to help with that. It could even be an automated email sequence that for a year after, you get a weekly email that just supports you through that post-divorce process.  
So when you're doing that, when you have that sandwich of what happens, what happens during, what happens after, all of a sudden, all these ideas flood in based on who your ideal client is already.  
Roy: Right, yeah. And of course, you said earlier there's a number of ethical things that come up, but and we're just going to not talk about them here because we don't have the time for that, just sort of be aware, yes we know that comes up, but all of those things Joe is talking about are feasible. You know, there are ways to do it ethically.  
Joe: And of course, you know, the assumption that we have in being people that value HIPAA compliance, value tech, is that you're going to follow all of the privacy laws, all of those sorts of things that are in your own code of ethics.  
Rob: Like Roy said, it can be done, it just takes some time and effort.  
Roy: I think it's about time for the Describe card, don't you think, Rob?  
Rob: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Are you ready Joe?  
Joe: I'm ready.  
Announcer: Describe comes with over a dozen activities that can be used with clients of all ages. Find out more at  
Rob: All right, today's Describe word is valuable.  
Roy: Oh nice.  
Rob: How do you define valuable?  
Joe: How do I define valuable? You know, I think I would say I define valuable as something that I would go--so I'll bring it down into kind of personal, and then into maybe something beyond personal. So in my personal life, I would say, something's valuable is something that I would go above and beyond for. And so, I think of my family, I think of activities I enjoy, things I would make exceptions for maybe would be a way of saying it. Within my business, things I find valuable I would say are things that support my values outside of my business, and so one of the core values I have is time with friends and family. Time to slow down, time that I'm not going full tilt thinking about entrepreneur stuff all the time. So, something that's valuable in my business is going to be something that supports that lifestyle outside of the business, so it could be a virtual assistant, that could be a tool, that could be infrastructure, that could be the clinicians that work with me. And then I would say, you know, going more global, I would say valuable is something that impacts other people in a positive way, and so that could be work that people don't get any sort of recognition for but it's of high value to the overall human experience.  
Roy: Nicely said, sir.  
Rob: Wow.  
Joe: Thanks, I didn't even get to bullet point that one because I had no idea what you guys were going to ask.  
Roy: No one ever does.  
Rob: You can bullet point quickly on your feet.  
Joe: Oh thank you. I am a feet bullet pointer and a what was it-  
Rob: Annoyance fixer. Somebody acronym that really quickly, I can't do the letters now.  [crosstalk 00:41:11]  
[inaudible 00:41:17]  
Joe: It's so bad it's right around being good again.  
Rob: So Joe, where can people find out more information about everything that you're doing?  
Joe: Yeah, probably's the best place. If people are starting practices and they want to join Next Level Practice in one of our next cohorts, we have cohorts of 50 that launch every other month, then go to If they're interested in more advanced things like our Master Mind groups or one on one consulting, they can go over to  
Rob: Excellent. Thank you Joe, appreciate you joining us today.  
Joe: Yeah, thanks for having me on the podcast.  
Roy: Yeah, thanks Joe. I'll see you next time we're in Honolulu or something.  
Joe: Sounds good.  
Rob: All right, that was really helpful. It's always good to-  
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  Section 3 of 3          [00:42:00 - 01:02:16] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Roy: Sounds good.  
Rob: All right. That was really helpful. It's always good to talk to Joe. He's really appreciative. He's involved in so many things and has great feedback about the creative process and making products, as well.  
Roy: Yeah, he does. And he's gotten really good at being able to take an idea from like idea to actual product. You know, he has like a big process for it, which is really nice. You know, it's good to hear about how he develops that process. And it actually reminds me of something, Rob, we talked about how you make things, but I noticed that you are really big in this like crowd-funding thing. Like you're always doing that. I saw you on Facebook the other day like with your head leaning up against your desk because you've been doing Kickstarter all day. Okay. What's up with this whole Kickstarter thing? How does that work? Is that something we should be doing?  
Rob: Yeah. I don't think it's the answer to everything, but it can be a real viable option. I kind of touched on earlier when you were talking about "Hey, can you produce this thing that people want at a price where you can, it'll end up being a price that they will pay?"  
Roy: Yeah.  
Rob: Part of that process is finding out what is it gonna cost to manufacture it? And then how am I gonna pay for that manufacturing piece? And that's where crowd-funding comes in. It's essentially a form of pre-ordering.  
Roy: Yeah, okay.  
Rob: Some people think of it as a modern concept because of Kickstarter and some other platforms like Indiegogo, but that's actually been around for awhile. I've got an article on my site, I'm sure we'll link to, the Statue of Liberty was actually in part crowdfunded, believe it or not.  
Roy: What! No way.  
Rob: Yeah. Yeah. Crowdfunding is this concept that "Hey there's this thing that we collaborative as a community would like to see happen, and we're willing to put up the money to make it happen. Hey you put up these rewards like a Describe deck, and I will pledge this amount of money." As the crowdfunder, you set what those pledge levels are. Hey, if you pay $20 you'll get the second deck of Describe for example, and it includes shipping, and you pledge that money. Typically, at least on the Kickstarter model, you set a goal. This is where that manufacturing, "Hey, I know it's gonna cost X dollars to manufacture this item, this is what I've got to collect to be able to pay the manufacturer, so that's going to our funding goal. If we get enough people to pledge, that we reach that funding goal, then I know we can pay that bill to the manufacturer and get these things made.  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: Everybody pledges. You at least set about a 30 day timeframe to collect those pledges, so there's this sense of urgency that "Hey, we can all work together and make this happen or it won't happen at all."  
Roy: What were the rewards for the Statue of Liberty pledge process? Were you like-  
Rob: It was the Statue of Liberty.  
Roy: There's just one thing. Okay, alright.  
Rob: Sometimes, you know, in the Kickstarter model, you're really, according to their terms of service, supposed to be providing something to the people, but a lot of people ... you know, people have produced movies-  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: Funds with Kickstarter. Now they may have some extra quirks in their rewards like "Oh, you're gonna get a signed [inaudible 00:45:14] photograph from the movie", various, you might, if you pledged a really high level you can be a VIP at the premier of the movie. You can do all kinds of things like that. In essence, with the Kickstarter model crowdfunding, you're supposed to be providing something to people who pledge.  
Roy: Right. Isn't that kind of the Indiegogo idea, is that Indiegogo is more for pledging to produce creative work?  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: Whereas Kickstarter is to produce something that you actually are giving to people?  
Rob: Yeah that's the general idea. There's some crossover, and people use each platform differently. Kickstarter is still a little more prevalent, so people will still do the creative works on Kickstarter because they believe they'll get more traffic there, so.  
Roy: Sure, sure, sure.  
Rob: Yeah, what you said is the general idea of the difference between the 2.  
Roy: Yeah, that makes sense, okay. Is Kickstarter hard to use?  
Rob: I don't think so. Again, I'm a little biased on [crosstalk 00:46:06]. Kickstarter is not hard to use, I'll go ahead and say it. I don't think it's hard to use. Our audience is using EHR, and other pieces of [inaudible 00:46:17], which I don't think is any more complicated than any of that.  
Roy: Okay.  
Rob: What's hard, what's difficult and challenging is creating a successful campaign. There is a lot of work that goes into creating a successful campaign, and you've got to start that work early. You can't just decide, "Hey, I'm just gonna launch that day and I'll do all the work during the campaign." There is a lot of preparation of the chance of it being successful.  
Roy: Wait, so you're saying if you build it they might not come?  
Rob: It's entirely possible.  
Roy: Yeah. Okay.  
Rob: About 35% of Kickstarter projects are successful.  
Roy: That's not a big percentage. That feels small.  
Rob: Yeah. It's not a big percentage. Look, you're talking about billions of dollars at this point for the projects that have succeeded. Now I'm not saying every project is making a million dollars. Most of them don't come even close to that. 35% seems small, but the actual physical number of projects that have been successful is somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.  
Roy: When I take my objective mind into it, 35% is actually pretty big.  
Rob: Yeah, that's 35% of a very large number.  
Roy: Right. Yes. Okay, so Kickstarter seems useful, but you still have to market it right? You have to prep for it. One thing we see as a consistent thing is that if you're gonna make a product, you can't just make it an leave it. That doesn't work.  
Rob: No, and I know you've experienced the same kind of thing with Person-Centered Tech and your continuing education programs and your subscription service, and we were talking right before the podcast about the ebbs and flows of producing a product. You'll see bursts of people interested, and then a dearth. It's kind of like riding a roller coaster.  
Roy: It is, yes, it is. You definitely see that roller coaster. You'll have weeks in which you're like "Oh yes! This is it! This is the way it's gonna go. This is gonna be successful." Then the next week, no one buys anything.  
Rob: Right, yeah. It's crickets.  
Roy: It's crickets. Totally, right. If you use a proper spreadsheet or something and make graphs of the overall trends, you might see the overall trend going up. That's another thing where it takes work. There's a lot of work involved, and even just making sure you keep yourself on track with the knowledge that you're doing well.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: [laughs 00:48:31] Because even that can be really, really tricky to keep track of.  
Rob: There's all kinds of research out there, if you dive into one of these projects, whether it's a Kickstarter or whether it's continuing education, you may very well end up doing a lot of social media marketing, newsletters, and there's research out there that will say "Hey, Tuesday at 1 PM is the best day to hit up social media for this kind of thing, and this is when you're going to get the most pledges on average for Kickstarter." That's where that work up front comes in.  
Roy: There's a ton of work up front, and even if you start to get to maintaining systems, like Person-Centered Tech, we have a decent sized newsletter list at this point. Even with that, it still takes a lot of work to keep it going. It's not like you kind of get on top and then it's everything's fine, you just sort of ride it out. I mean, there can be a point where that happens.  
Rob: Sure.  
Roy: But it doesn't come for a very long time.  
Rob: Right, well and you're always needing to generate content and interest.  
Roy: Yes, exactly. Right.  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: With Describe, you've been very active. Since you first made the first deck of Describe. You don't stop trying to work on in getting it out there. You go exhibit at conferences. It's in our podcast during the guest spot, and even then you're still trying to advertise on social media to find ways to make something as useful to people where you can mention it. You know, that kind of thing. It's still ... it's not making you a million dollars, right?  
Rob: No [laughs 00:49:58].  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with how popular it has been. The reviews on Amazon are amazing, but no. It is not making me a million dollars.  
Roy: Right, right. That's the thing, one thing talking about making products and such, is that there's a phrase that's always frustrated me that gets thrown around called "passive income". People talk about like "Oh, what's your passive income?" Like, "Oh, I'm gonna help you make passive income." It just makes it sound as if there's some kind of easy way to make money where you don't have to do anything.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: I get when people say that. Once you've built up a business for a long time and you got it to self operation, you can be semi-passive, but we're talking like 20 years.  
Rob: Yeah. I like that. Yeah, I hear that related to bring other clinicians to your group.  
Roy: Yeah that's it.  
Rob: And Oops, and this that and the other, but there's always still work involved. I really like your term semi-passive.  
Roy: Semi-passive, yeah, because you get to the point where you kind of retire from being the one who makes it go all the time because someone else is doing that, because you've developed enough of these employee's skills and relationships so they can operate for you, and are they willing to operate for you. That takes a long time. You don't get there fast. You can do something like Describe, where you're running the whole show, but that means you have to keep running the show if you want to keep making money or you can develop a business where others do it.  
Rob: Right. The concept is universal and I know you've examined this with your continuing education as well, and that is that yeah, there's a balance there. How much of the work do I want to do? Because I could have approached publishers and said "Hey, I've got this great idea for a card game", and I could have sold it to them and contract with them, and then ended up earning pennies on the dollar when they make a sale.  
Roy: Right, right.  
Rob: That's one way you can turn it into more passive income if you ... you know, you publish a book, or with your continuing education, you could certainly do those things through someone else, but you're gonna have, equal less as the money when it comes in.  
Roy: That' right.  
Rob: That's one of the things you have to examine. You know, how semi-passive do I want it to be?  
Roy: Right. And that can be okay. Making less can be okay. For example, I do the ... pretty much all the tech related stuff for the [inaudible 00:52:19] now, and we get royalties from it. You know, we do get royalties. If I did nothing else, I'd get those royalties and that would be pretty good, but I chose to do both things. The thing I'd like to say is the only passive income is royalties and investment dividends. For royalties you have to work to get them in the first place, and they're not that large. Investment dividends, you have to already have money. It's the ... there's very little that's actually truly passive.  
Rob: Well and even your royalties, it would be hard to argue that it's 100% passive. It can be, but the chances are you're still cultivating that relationship, you're still putting a little bit of effort in helping people find those things at the [inaudible 00:52:59] Institute.  
Roy: Right. Yep.  
Rob: It's still, you know, it's more a matter of degree of semi-passivity than being completely passive.  
Roy: Right. That reminds me, you're talking about the CE, maybe I should ... people have asked me many times, "How do you goa bout being able to do continuing education?"  
Rob: Yeah. I've asked you about that, yeah. Tell us more about how you craft your courses.  
Roy: Yeah, sure. Well, I'll tell you about the process of being able to offer continuing ed, because that's actually a bigger piece in terms of what advice I can give that's useful. The thing with continuing education, that's really interesting about it, is that it's an artificially created market. There's probably wouldn't be a market for my courses, you know, people would be interested in it, but they wouldn't be half as interested if they didn't have a artificially created requirement to get continuing education hours. They have to get that from somewhere. Some people may go "Okay, I'll go take Roy's courses because I have to get hours. I'm looking for hours. I'm choosing among the different things I can do. Okay that topic is interesting to me, so I'm gonna do it." They probably would not have the internal motivation to go do my courses. Most people wouldn't, if it wasn't for that.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: That's part of my continuing education, is a market with a lot of people in it. Meaning a lot of people trying to offer it.  
Rob: Sure.  
Roy: It's also why it can be very viable if you have something really good to offer because all our colleagues need it. You have to have it, so there's an artificially created market for it. If you've got some way that you can say "Hey, I'm doing continuing education, either through a topic or in a way that's especially appealing, you can definitely have income from that." Right, because people have to get it.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: The problem is that it's now pretty saturated, because a lot of people have figured that out. There's a lot of places where you can get continuing ed at like $2.42 an hour and stuff like that.  
Rob: Correct and there's [crosstalk 00:54:53] bureaucracy you've got to work through to get approved.  
Roy: Yes, and that's exactly the next thing right. To do continuing education, you have to have approvals, right. There's a myriad of different things. You start with the national approvals. Often that's the place to start, unless you're in a state where they have a state approval, in which case you might want to start with that because it's always easiest to market to your local community where you may be known already or where it's easier for you to go be seen in person and get known. Oregon doesn't have our own such things going on. In fact, all of the professions, counselors, MFT, social worker, addiction specialist, psychologist, all can use NBCC approved courses. Which is interesting, a lot of state psychologists have to have APA, but in Oregon the psychology board basically says "You have a doctorate. You can figure out what's appropriate for you." Which I always found, I always appreciated that.  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: All we really needed to have was to be approved by somebody who does a real process. We start with NBCC, because I'm a counselor, and NBCC has a very accessible process for getting approved. If you look around at CE providers who are starting to get into it, you'll often see, kind of the first approval is through NBCC. That's often what they have. Also, because NBCC is not like "You have to be one of our people in order to be approved by us," or something like that.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: They're like "If you have something that genuinely is of need to counselors, and you do it right, and you do all the processes right, we'll approve you." Then there's kind of ... APA is very difficult to get. We were extremely happy to finally get APA approval. The Ohio Social Work MFT Counseling Board, had it's own approval process that we went through, and actually wasn't super hard to get, but we had to form an advisory board in order to get it because you have to have somebody from all the professions who advises in all courses. Now we have a process where any course we make has to be approved by the board. Which, actually we found to be useful. It's actually good.  
Rob: Yeah.  
Roy: We think it makes things better because we have these colleagues in all the professions who advise. It's also in some ways just useful to know, people from all the professions all agree that this is relevant to them. Sometimes it can be like "Well, I'm just talking about the counselors need and I'm assuming psychologists need it too right." Then Sarah Fairchild our psychologist advisor says "Well in this case, yes, you're right." Right? Or she can say "Well I don't know, what about forensics", for example, "That's a legit thing. Let's talk about forensics." That's a useful process. As you grow, you can really grow in the complexity as you try to expand your credentialing. It's kind of like licensing and trying to do [inaudible 00:57:37] mental health. If you try to move towards the whole nation, right?  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: Except, that it's not like one license, one state. It's like, one license, a bunch of states, and only a certain profession. This other license, a bunch of states and then all of the professions. Like APA covers a lot of people, right?  
Rob: What we really have, yet another reason to try to find some way to have an allied behavioral set of standards across all the states.  
Roy: Yeah. That would be useful, right. Well, but once again, it's kind of ... the same thing with TMH, with telemental health, is some states have different concerns than others.  
Rob: Right.  
Roy: Like, for example, the state of New York, all 3 of the Masters level boards, actually require that you be registered with them in order to be able to give their licensees CE's. That's social workers, counselors, MFT's, if you want to give any of those professions in New York CE credit, you have to be registered with their board, and it costs $900 a year per board.  
Rob: Wow.  
Roy: It costs $2,700 a year to be able to do CE's for them. The psychology board takes APA, like most psychology boards. That's the thing, is you're looking at it and going "$2,700 a year, I mean like, yeah even though we're national, we're not that popular, that it's easy to afford that." The thing is, people who practice in New York City, the kind of fees they charge because of cost of living-  
Rob: That's just to say, you're dealing right with economic differences here.  
Roy: Right. Exactly. For them it's not that people who practice in New York City are necessarily rich, but the volume of the cash they deal with are larger. If you're charging things based on being in Portland, Oregon, which is kind of pricey but not terribly so, suddenly people in New York can afford your fees because to them, it's cheap. Not that they're rich, it's just cheap for the kind of cash flow they deal with, and the New York board is like "Right", so basically everyone's got a gold rush on that. So the New York boards say, "You've got to pay us, if you want to do that." Which is kind of fair, if you think about it, but it's also annoying [laughs 00:59:31]. And it's annoying for the New York clinicians who suddenly find themselves unable to use all these CE sources they want to use.  
Rob: I think, we've pretty much established in our time here today Roy, that this is yet another topic that has layers of complexity, and we've kind of done another broad overview-  
Roy: Yep.  
Rob: We'd certainly love to hear from our listeners if there's something aspect about what we talked about today where you'd like for us to do a deeper dive into, and that really goes for all of our episodes. If we ever cover something that you'd like to hear more detail about, we'd love to hear from you.  
Roy: Yeah. Absolutely, please let us know.  
Rob: Any last parting words of wisdom, Roy, from your side of things with regard to creating products or content?  
Roy: Oh man, I was about to just quote Mike [Louser 01:00:15] or something, oh you mean products are content? Okay, alright. I think, the big word of wisdom is don't hold back on research, and take your time to do it right from the beginning because if you establish a shaky foundation, you will regret it later.  
Rob: Yeah, I agree. I think that goes for every bit of content creation out there.  
Roy: Yep.  
Rob: I know I said the same thing with regard to choosing an EHR, so let's just say it applies to almost everything that you do.  
Roy: Right.  
Rob: Unless you're on vacation. When you're on vacation, you can be totally spontaneous. You can kick back, do things on the spur of the moment. When you're talking about business decisions, whether it's choosing EHR or deciding given the continuing education, publishing an E-book, or a deck of cards, you definitely want to do some research first.  
Roy: Yep absolutely, right. And the other side of that wisdom coin of course is, but be aware that there's certain things that you're going to realize later that you did shakily.  
Rob: Oh yeah.  
Roy: Even though you tried not to.  
Rob: Yeah, don't paralyze yourself with research. Don't research to the point that you're goal is to not make nay mistakes because that's a fool's errand.  
Roy: Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).  
Rob: Mistakes are okay. You learn from mistakes, but you want to at least go in with a nice solid base knowledge. Enough information that you can make educated decisions on.  
Roy: Yep, absolutely. Well, until next time, I'm Roy.  
Rob: And I'm Rob.  
Roy: We'll see you guys on the next episode.  
Rob: Woohoo!  
Speaker 1: Thank you for tuning in to Therapy Tech with Rob and Roy. This episode has been sponsored by Describe, the versatile therapy conversation deck for all ages. Find more information at Episode notes and helpful resources can be found at Until next time, may your ideas flow freely and your conversations be meaningful.  
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  1. Paula Prober says:

    Loved this topic. I’d like to hear more details, specifically about how to set up CE courses, webinars (ie. what are the best platforms…), video courses, ebooks, etc. And are these all allowed by licensing boards?

    An unrelated question for another podcast would be how do we differentiate counseling from consulting or coaching so that we can work with people out of state and internationally.

    You provide such a great resource. Thank you!

  2. RobReinhardt says:

    Thank you for the wonderful feedback. These are all excellent ideas. With regard to your licensure board question, are you asking whether licensure boards approve such things for CE credit? Or whether licensed professionals are able to produce such things? The answer to the second question is a complex one worthy of a podcast.

    Thank you for listening!

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