Productivity

Framework for Delegation & Systems Success

 October 19, 2022

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Delegation is a word we hear often. In this special webinar-episode, fellow group practice owner, Katie May, and I share with you some tactical tools to help you delegate more.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • Why delegation is so vital for group practice owners
  • How you can figure out what to delegate
  • How to actually delegate it!

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Become A Group Guru - Katie May
Therapist Events 2023
Productive Therapist

⬇️ Click for full episode transcript ⬇️

Katie
Okay. Hi, everyone! Uriah from Productive Therapist here with me today. We're so excited to have you all here! So there's a couple of reasons I thought we would just start out with sharing why we put this together. And it all started on a boat with a shark and a giant slide and Uriah and his wife Sarah and me and our friend Valerie Harris and her husband on a boat in Hawaii. And just kind of like, chatting about what we do as group practice owners and also enjoying being on a boat disconnected from our phones, from any kind of, like, questions or needs from our staff and being able to really soak in both sun and downtime without working in or on our practices. Right. What would you add to that?

Uriah
It was a great time and it was a beautiful place in Hawaii, and we were supposed to be vacationing and doing fun things, but we were also talking about what we love the most, which is systems delegation, creating a business that allows us to do cool, fun things. I mean, so much so that my wife was like, hey, if I knew you all were going to talk about all these things for so long, I probably wouldn't have come.

Katie
This is true. But I'm there. She's very fun.

Uriah
I know for sure. So that prompted this. And I think for both of us, these are some of our favorite topics because we figured out some things that work and have allowed us to create lives and businesses that we actually love. And so it's like, hard to not want to share that with everybody, right?

Katie
Exactly. And so when we talk about today, like, why we're gathered to make a case for delegation, the biggest case is that because it allows us to do these big things outside of being practice owners, like go on vacation, like have consulting businesses, like, do all of the other things in our lives that are important. Like Uriah and his kids making Tik tok videos at one time, many times. How often has that happened?

Uriah
It was not a regular occurrence. It was one in 2020. Yeah. We might have to bring it back, though.

Katie
We could. We could. OK, so that's why we're here. And we're going to share a lot of what we've done to get to this point. And we do welcome your questions. We do want interaction, but for some reason, my Zoom doesn't want us to have interaction. So if we could use the Q and A for any kinds of questions or comments, and your I and I will be moderating that back and forth so that we can have interaction questions, all that jazz while we present, right?

Uriah
Yes. And when I'm talking, you can check out Amanda's question where she gave us a tip on how to fix that. So we'll work on that in a minute.

Katie
Thank you. So what we wanted to do is just start out with giving you some tactical tools to really look at your schedule, pare down your schedule, figure out what it is that you're doing now, what you don't want to be doing now. Actually, I'm going to ask you to use the Q and A to type in what's something you do not want to be doing right now that you are still currently doing.

Uriah
I'll tell you one of mine. While we wait for people to chime in on that, I'm still the main person managing my email and my schedule. So currently working on delegating that so that I only do some of it, not all of it. So that's mine. Right now.

Katie
I'm going to get personal with you and I'm going to ask you why is that so hard for me to give up? Because I don't do my own emails in my practice or in my consulting business and I don't manage my own schedule. And I know that was the hardest thing to give up because there's that control. So why are you still on it? You're like the king of delegation.

Uriah
Why are you still I know, well, you'll be talking about the delegate and elevate a little bit and identifying the things that you love and you're really good at. And email and scheduling falls in that category of things that I actually like and I'm good at. So I've hung on to it for too long and it's 100% sort of a control issue, but I'm working on it. I'm working on it. Yeah.

Katie
Awesome.

Uriah
Okay, so we've got, Angie says seeing a full case load of clients for sure. Mandy says emails right there with you. Brittany says marketing groups in Facebook groups and listservs. Carrie says billing and managing my schedule totally anonymous. I was going to say emails delegating intake and new client calls for sure. Emails chasing folks with insufficient funds. Okay, we got a lot of good.

Katie
Answers, a lot of good things to get us started. Okay, so here's some themes. Themes are like emails, chasing down billing, some of those admin tasks that just stick around on our plate for a while. So here's my first challenge to you and we're going to talk about how you break this down. But I want you to start to think about everything you do in a week. So what I do when I'm doing this task and I do this quarterly, what I'm going to teach you today, I look at my calendar, what did I do this week? I actually also put in my simple practice calendar. Like if I have a task that I have to do, I block out how much time I think it's going to take me because I am notoriously think everything takes 20 minutes, whether it takes 3 hours or whether it takes five minutes. So I have to try and project, how much time is this going to take? In my day, you really want to look at. If you are someone who has a 30 hours a week capacity for work, what are you doing within those 30 hours?

Katie
Whether it's answering emails for 90 minutes a day, whether it's seeing clients for 3 hours a day. So I want you to start to think about tasks in terms of your time. And along with that, and we'll circle back to this, like, what is your capacity for doing during the week as it relates to your business? One of the things we talked about on that boat, your eye, if you remember, was like, how we all are so jazzed about being business owners and entrepreneurs that we're working a lot and not all of it is like, working on our current businesses, ideas for new businesses or new things. And so really thinking about how much space and mental energy and actual time in your day, you have to complete tasks. So as we're talking, I want you to start thinking, listing out what are all of the things that you do in the weekend. Don't leave anything out. If it's like, I have to go pick my kid up from school, but on the way home, I'm making a call to the billing claims department because it's the only time I have in a day to do that.

Katie
Put all those things in there, right? All right.

Uriah
Yeah. I usually call that a time on it, and I do it maybe six months or so. Literally write down everything you do for a week or more and then you can kind of get an actual visual of what you're doing with your time. Because most of us don't know. We just kind of like, do the next thing. The next thing, the next thing. And we don't know how we're spending our time or how we could be spending it better.

Katie
Exactly. And I always think about a long time ago when I worked with the productive therapist, and it was the first time I'd ever had somebody come in and do scheduling and calls and things like that. And I remember you were like, yeah, they're using 16 hours a week. And this is when I was small, like a three, four person group practice. And I was like, Holy crap, I was working. I remember that or the week on top of all these other things that I'm doing. It was a mind blowing moment for me about how much time I was actually investing into the business part of my practice, in addition to seeing 24 clients on my caseload and all these other things. So it really is it's a time inventory or activity inventory about how much time you're taking. So I'm going to share my screen and we're going to talk about what to do with this information. Once you actually have these answers, you should have this workbook. It was emailed out today. If you don't have it, let us know in the Q and a and we'll make sure that you get it.

Katie
Okay. So this tool is called the Delegate and elevate. It comes from the book Traction by Gino Wickman. A lot of us have read it and love it and implement this within our practice. A lot of the principles. So the idea of The Delegate and Elevate is you want to be elevating yourself to what your unique ability is. The things that you do best. The things that you were born to do. That you wake up every day excited to do. And you want to be delegating the things that are not in your disability. The things that someone else can do better than you. That you could pay someone to do while you make more money doing something else. And so when you're looking at the list of things that you do on a weekly basis, start to think about what do I love, what am I great at? Not. I think I know I love And I'm great at making an impact at scale. I love doing webinars, I love doing groups, I love speaking and doing things like that. So anything that's like one to many is something that really lights me up and I think don't give me feedback otherwise, but I think I'm great at it.

Katie
Now you can tell me otherwise, but those are the things that I feel like I'm meant to do, I'm born to do. I'm here to do, like sharing my stories, creating change on kind of a bigger scale. That's something that really excites me. What about you, Yuri? Anything that you would put into this category for you?

Uriah
I mean, of course I love coming up with the big ideas and creating something out of nothing. And I've got one that I'm working on right now and I'm unbelievably pumped about it. I love collecting and sharing resources. That's one of the things I love the most too.

Katie
You do, and you do that so well. So that resource you just put together about all of the travel and all of the conferences for the next year, that's something that the urine on that.

Uriah
Yeah, for sure.

Katie
So the next category over you're looking at what do I like and what am I good at, what are the things that I'm good at? I like doing, maybe they're not like my soul on fire love doing, but I like what I'm good at. I think that in this category I would put like I think therapy in general, I would put DBT therapy and love and great, but like talk therapy or ongoing clients. I like it, I'm good at it. But like I don't know, ongoing things on my calendar I don't love too much. So these top two levels here, these are the things that really should be your job description. These should be the things that you are doing regularly again that show up on your calendar regularly. That is the ideal that's what we're aiming for. And then we have these two categories underneath. So we have the don't like and Good right away. I already know I put supervision in this category. I'm good at it. But I don't like weekly scheduled appointments that are the same thing every week. It's just boring for me. That's what it is. Do you have anything that you know right away that you're good at, but you don't really like?

Uriah
Yeah, for sure. One of the same things, too. I'm not a great manager just because I don't love it. I don't want my calendar to be full of appointments and meetings with people to talk about anything. Yes, for sure.

Katie
Exactly. I see some great questions coming in. We'll definitely get to them. So then the last category here is that don't like and not good. These are the things that you don't like doing and you're not good at anyway. For me, the one that always comes up is cleaning. I'm not good at it. I don't like it. We have a cleaner that comes to our practice. Some other things are, like, really putting together furniture, setting up printers, anything that's really tactical. My brain doesn't compute it. I can't do it. I don't like it. I'll hire a TaskRabbit. I'll empower somebody else active to do it, but I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to hang a whiteboard on the wall. It's never going to happen, but it will get done. So those are the kinds of things that I delegate. Go ahead, Riya.

Uriah
Can you just say something quick about TaskRabbit and what that is? Because some people might not know, and it's really cool.

Katie
Oh, okay. So TaskRabbit, there's an app resource. You can also go to TaskRabbit.com, and they have all different I'll tell you what I use it for. It's for, like, if I need a picture hung, if I need a whiteboard, hung. If I need a piece of furniture put together, you can see them hourly, and they'll come, and they will take care of the tasks for you. And it's all regulated through those companies. So it's people that you can trust. It's people that have been vetted. And I find it really helpful. I was actually talking to somebody that's in one of my programs right now, and she was looking to hire an admin person. And part of the role of that admin person, she was like, well, they can do all these things, but they said they can't put furniture together. They can't run little errands. And so she also didn't know about TaskRabbit. So we talked about, like, hire this person that you know is a great fit and just use a Task rabbit for those, like, intermittent time to get something else done. And the person who loves TaskRabbit the most is my husband, Adam, because otherwise he's putting the furniture together and having passwords.

Katie
So, you know, it might help your marriage as well. When you're looking at your delegate and elevate. Again, I do this every quarter, and I have my leadership team do this every quarter. That you want to be working within your unique ability in these top two and anything that's in these bottom two, you want to think about who can do this better than me, who's going to love doing this, who can I pay to do this while I go do other things to make more money? And a fraction of that money is going to a task rabbit or to someone else that can do this task. The other way that I use this, that feeds into the office admin being overwhelmed, one of the big, I guess, like, pain points that came up as your eye and I were planning was a lot of people saying, like, there's so many tasks that just don't get done because they're either mine or my office team is overwhelmed because of demand. So when we were mid pandemic and I have a very lean office team, I have a full time office manager, and I have a local person who does virtual assistants for me.

Katie
And so we were looking at, like, Tracy, my full time office manager, she could not meet the demand of all of the new client inquiries coming in. I had her do a delegate and elevate, and what showed up was that she was the one who, like, in the morning when we take all of the forms that come in or all of the voicemails that come in and we put them onto our new client spreadsheet, she was like, that's eating up my time. I don't like doing that. Like, it's just transferring data from one place to another. So that was a light bulb for me. Like, you don't like doing this. It's not intuitive for you. It definitely takes up brainpower. Let's delegate that to our virtual person who loves a repeatable task, who actually can't do direct client contact because of the set up that we have with her. And so now we have this smoother system where we have somebody else doing the part that Tracy doesn't like and isn't good at. And so it's working really well as a way to separate out who does what and what's everybody's role and how are we all really fulfilled in practicing selfcare in the process while being held to our accountabilities?

Katie
Anything you ask.

Uriah
That's cool. Yeah. I was just thinking while you were talking there. When you as a practice owner and everybody on your team. Whether it's a small team of one or two or a large team. When everybody is working in their sort of zone of excellence and doing what they really love and what they're really good at. It's almost impossible not to reach your goals and not to grow your practice. Because when we show up to do something that we're excited about, we naturally bring our best self. We bring our best energy and the thing gets done and maybe even done better than it would have, obviously by somebody that was like, I got to do this. So it really is a really useful thing. And I think also in that book where that comes from, they recommend that every 90 days you take one thing off one of the lower two quadrants and try to delegate it. Right. And that's challenging, but it's a good challenge to take on.

Katie
Yeah, I love that you said that because that is exactly how I use it. I follow instructions. Right. So every quarter we're looking at what's one thing that we can delegate, especially me and my top leadership team is like, how can we delegate out so we can then elevate up and continue to make an impact but more at scale? It was actually something we just had our quarterly planning meeting this past Saturday and it was like a lesson that I had to impart to basically my assistant manager, her title is Team supervisor, but she was like, I don't think I'm doing enough. And so we had to have this conversation around what it really means to be a leader and having to have this energy to hold to support other people, like that open door policy, so that when people are coming crises or things like that, you have the ability to do that. So doing enough is really like a relative term for what are the things that you can do that make the greatest impact, given your role. And so when you're delegating out that don't like, not good at you're allowing yourself to be more in this leadership role where you have capacity to support because you're not overwhelmed with tasks.

Katie
And I think one of the things that feels really important about that to me and that was an AHA moment for her, was that we're not just measuring doing by hours on the calendar, but by the mental space that your role takes up as well, especially if you're a practice owner. I think with my ADHD brain, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs have ADHD, you have to think about the mental load of what you're doing and how that impacts the actual day to day. So here's my question for all of you. Scale of one to 1010, being you're doing everything that you love only on a daily basis. One being like, you have a lot of work but you'll get there. Where do you think you are? To what degree do you think you're doing only what you love on a daily basis? I think I'm at a nine.

Uriah
That's a good question. Are you at nine? That's amazing. Good for you. Yeah, I think I'd probably be like seven or eight.

Katie
Yeah.

Uriah
We got some answers here. We got to turn the chat on. There's a lot going on.

Katie
I know.

Uriah
Angie is a six, Hannah is a four to five, Leia is a four. Kelly is a two, got a 32356. Okay, so definitely some room for growth and improvement. And listen, everything that you're hearing from us today represents years of work, so much work. And so it is a process and you just have to be patient with yourself. But if you're intentional, like Katie was saying, every 90 days doing this exercise, applying some of the things we're sharing today, you're going to make progress. And that's the most important thing.

Katie
And just speak to some of the barriers because I think, like, myths, barriers, all of these things come up and they get in the way of people actually doing more of what they're intended and meant to do and they keep themselves stuck in all these tasks. I'll use an example for my husband, Adam. He is a business owner as well, and he's in the hair salon business. I'm his walking billboard. Don't judge by right now. So he has been in the process of hiring up a leadership team. And one of the things that his previous manager would always say is the team likes to see you around. You need to be in the building more, which I don't think is completely accurate. I think the manager actually wasn't who was no longer there, was actually not comfortable, like, managing, so she wanted another presence there. So what I supported him through, and it's still a process, was like working through this guilt of, no, I'm not in the building every day. Like, no, I'm not working 40 hours a week because I'm also doing because I'm the one that's on call in Hawaii when we get burglarized and I have to talk to the police right, what actually happened, because those are the other things that we're taking on as business owners.

Katie
So no, we're not in the building 40 hours a week. And so I think Gilt can be a big one. Worry about what our employees think of us. I once did coaching with someone who was really worried about like, well, who does she think she is that she gets to leave at 03:00 when I'm here till 09:00? Realigning what it means to be the CEO of your company and really what that looks like and being unapologetic for it. It's still a process for me. I had a new therapist come in and she said and it was an innocent, factual question of, I just want to understand what your business hours are like, when do you work so I know when I'm allowed to reach out to you. Do you typically work more of a nine to five? And I felt it. I was like, oh, like, I felt guilty, but I didn't act on that guilty urge. And I was like, yeah, you know, usually I work eight to three, but if you need something at another time, I am available and here are the routes to connect with me. I don't know your Iowa.

Katie
Where are you at in that process that's so interesting.

Uriah
There is so much tied up in that. I'm glad that you supported your husband with that. I like to do my own thing. Last week I was sick and so I wasn't coming into the office and I wasn't here for a good seven days and today is the first day I'm back in the office. Absolutely nothing changed. Everything got done. Almost nobody messaged me. You really can design your practice around your lifestyle, whether you're a sole practice or a group practice. And that's important to know. For some reason, as therapists, we think we have to always show up and be there for everybody else and just be the helper and the giver. But what about, what about what you want to do? And I like working from home in my pajamas, so I do that.

Katie
I love you said that. I'm going to pass it on to you in a minute for this next step, but really thinking about what's your vision for your company that you built and you didn't grow a company and build it and employ other people so they could be your boss and tell you when you need to be in the building and tell you what you need to do. I know I left a company because I am unbossable. I don't want people to tell me what to do. I want to be able to follow just like what my vision is and go from there. And so really about how are you living within the values of what you created. And then my challenge to you before I pass it on to your RIAA is what are you willing to delegate this week, this month, this quarter, by the end of the year? I want you to think about one thing, go ahead and put it in the chat or in the Q and A and then I'm going to fix the chat. Hopefully let us know, like, what are you willing to delegate? Commit to it.

Katie
Put it on Facebook and tag us and let us know. You're going to get a bunch of tags here. I get ready.

Uriah
Yeah. Awesome. I want to say that that might be the most important thing that you get out of this webinar today, honestly. The thing that you write down one or two, a few commitments that you're willing to make to yourself to work on delegating, that might be the best thing you get out of this. I know that we're sharing a lot already and so we're only like 24 minutes in and your wheels are turning on and seeing the questions and Katie's turning on the chat, but write that down, what are you willing to do? And then follow through with because that's going to make a big difference. OK. So the thing that I like to talk about a lot is outsourcing and delegating, of course. And it's either because and I do this so much either because I'm very ambitious or because I'm lazy. I'm not sure. Maybe a little bit of both. Right.

Katie
We'll see.

Uriah
Yeah. Right. A little bit of both. So I honestly have a lot of tips to share with you on hiring and building a support team. And we actually don't have enough time for me to share all these things with you. So I want to tell you, if you're interested in hiring, admin support, hiring an assistant, maybe even a virtual assistant, I have a free course for you. It's called hiring your assistant. Pretty aptly titled, right? And so if you go to productive therapist.com, you'll find the hiring your assistant course. And basically we distilled all of the things that we have learned over basically the last five years of hiring admin support staff. And we just share that freely with you because it is really important to find and hire and retain the best people. One of the reasons why my group practice has been as successful as it has been over the last seven years is because I've had a consistent team supporting me, supporting my vision. And I was actually telling my group of therapists last week, no, the week before that, they don't realize it, but we're incredibly lucky to have the same intake coordinator and the same practice manager for four and a half years.

Uriah
I don't know anybody listening. You probably know that that's pretty exceptional to have that kind of consistency. So, for me, I mean, I think I'm good at a lot of different things. I know I'm good at a lot of different things, but really, I give a lot of credit to my team and what I've been able to accomplish with that. So this is actually not even in my notes to share with you, but it might be just an easy way to approach this. And this is something that I do with my coaching clients as well. Okay. Carrie says can see your chat, but still says disabled. All right. She's working on good. Okay. Building your dream team. Right. And I think one of the things that can be most helpful is giving yourself sort of a visual of who you want on that dream team. If you're a solo practice, that might be a bookkeeper, might be a business coach, it might be any number of support people to help you do what you do. If it's a group practice, it might be an intake coordinator, a practice manager, a clinical supervisor. What else? A site supervisor.

Uriah
Any number of things. A biller, insurance biller. So what I want you to do I don't have a visual for you on this one, although there is a page on the workbook for you that you can kind of jot down on this or put it wherever you want. Just make a list of all of the roles that you want to fill. I don't like handling QuickBooks, so I have a. Bookkeeper that does that. I can't stand insurance billing, so I have a practice manager that does that for me. And if you fill out that list, you'll pretty quickly see where the holes are. And what I want you also to do is put your name by every single thing that you're doing. So if you're doing all of the submitting all the insurance claims and putting in all the EOB information, if you're the one that's answering the phone, responding to email inquiries for new clients, put your name on all those different areas and you'll probably see, like most of us, that you're doing more than you.

Katie
Want to be doing, way more than doing.

Uriah
Right.

Katie
I remember when somebody like that, I had highlighter all over all the places I was and I didn't want to be in almost any of them.

Uriah
Right. That can also help you kind of take a look at what are the things that you actually like. Katie was saying, what are the things that you love doing? So, you know, some people love blogging, I love writing actually. And so maybe you want to be spending more time blogging and less time answering the phone, whatever that might be. Everybody has things that they're pumped to do and then I guess basically what we're trying to tell you is that you should delegate everything you don't want to do, everything that you don't like doing and create a system plus the right person in the right seat to make that happen. Right.

Katie
Can I ask a question? What's in the chat, please, or the not chat that's not working? I'm very sorry. This is a question that I see come up a lot. Finances are a big part for me. I know I need to hire people to delegate some of this out, but I can't do that due to lack of money. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Uriah
Definitely. I mean, for sure you don't want to add an expense that you can't afford that's not sustainable. But if your business doesn't have enough profit to afford support, then you have to address that first. Right. And some of the best advice I ever received was never skimp on admin support. So if you're listening to this right now and you're like, it's just me or I have a small team, but it's not enough, the chances are if you add the right person and pay the money, it's going to give you the results that allow you to afford that. What would you say, Katie?

Katie
I think so. I think it's about prioritizing. Where are the biggest pain points for you and then how do I want to say this? You know, if you hire a therapist that they're going to bring in billable hours and that's going to create revenue for you. So it's about looking at what is needed that's going to amplify that revenue for you. And if it's that you're missing 20 calls a week because everyone's in session. But if you had an intake coordinator that they could catch those calls and schedule more clients, it's like the projected return on investment. So that's where I would start. I wouldn't just hire people willy nilly until I knew that they were going to make me that money back. I like to look at what's the possibility there.

Uriah
Yeah. What most of us need to the role that we need to fill first is intake Coordinator, and you'll get a lot of lot more leverage from that. Hannah says, can you speak the difference between practice manager versus intake Coordinator versus executive Assistant? So, intake Coordinator, we all know what that is. Client care coordinator, whatever title you want. They're handling all the inbound inquiries. They're responding as quickly as possible. They're connecting those potential clients with the ideal therapist, if that's you or somebody on your team. That's changed my life, honestly, when I got my first actual VA, who I'm still working with, and that has been one of the biggest difference makers. Executive Assistant, I think of them as somebody who generally handles email, scheduling, random admin tasks, all the other stuff that's not related to intake. And then practice manager does so many things. We could do a full webinar on that. But for me, between my intake coordinator and my practice manager, those are the two most important roles in my group practice. What would you say, Katie?

Katie
I think that, well, the first thing I would say is probably some of you are calling one thing and one another, and they do different things. So for me, I would get clear on what are the functions that I need in my business, and then I would decide what I want to call them as compared to other similar roles in my local community so that I can price out what it looks like to pay them. So there's that. Our coordinator is the person who does all of the scheduling. She follows up on all outstanding balances, and essentially, she is like the office manager as well. She does inventory, she takes care of our plans. She just takes care of the office and all of the scheduling and billing. I do have an executive assistant that's the person who I said is local and is also virtual. She manages my calendar, she manages my email. She also manages my personal appointments and plans my vacation. She planned Hawaii for me. I showed up and that was it. So she's kind of like all the things outside of that and crosses into the consulting business as well.

Katie
Practice Manager, I don't have one of them, so I don't know what they do, but I guess I don't know.

Uriah
Yes. Actually, by the way, I just want to say I love spending time with you, Katie, because I'm learning from you. As you're talking, I'm like, okay, I'm on boarding my executive system right now. I want to definitely have them do the things that you're having yours do.

Katie
All things.

Uriah
Yeah. I love it. Practice Manager I've actually never hired for that role. I promoted somebody that was my Admin years ago, and she took over that role. Mine happens to handle the insurance billing as well as HR, as well as payroll, as well as kind of a lot of different things. But I think practice Manager what else would you call that? Office manager, maybe?

Katie
Yeah. Speaks to the next question that's coming in and starting the hiring. Should we hire a full time staff to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, or hire a very part time specialist for each role? I have answers. Do you want to take it, gerald.

Uriah
Yeah, I'll say quickly, I think you can grow your business quite a bit with only part time support. In our experience at Productive Therapists, and again, we're a virtual assistant company that support mostly group practices, we find more and more so often that people are actually paying more for admin support than they need to. In one example, we had somebody that we talked to who had three different people spending 50 hours a week, and we actually absorbed all those roles with one virtual assistant who worked 10 hours a week. So I would say, no, you don't need a full time person, most likely. And then I got some other thoughts on that too, but I'll pass it off to you, katie, what do you say?

Katie
I'm aligned. I agree. So well, there's a couple of things. One, I am someone who likes to do each role myself and build the system before I hand it off to someone else. That was something when I talked about, like, a learning curve. At first I was like, let me hire support, but I didn't know what I was doing or what to tell them to do. And one of the questions further up was, I feel like I'm not utilizing my VA as much as I could. I think you're going to speak to some processes about that and how to do that better, but in terms of hiring out, I think that choosing people that can be contracted to do certain things is going to give you a better return on investment. I have a social media contracted. I have a Google Ads person that's contracted. I have an HR person that's contracted per hour. So if I were to hire any of those people into my business as full time or even part time salaried people w two people, it would be costing me more rather than them getting paid only for what they're delivering to me, which is really, I think, more effective people, like an office manager.

Katie
Intake coordinator? Yes, I have a full time intake coordinator because our volume demands that. But other things, I don't think you need to hire in full time.

Uriah
The reason I started Productive therapist was to solve my own problem. And that problem was essentially trying to find highly qualified, very part time admin support. At that point, years ago, I think I only needed like maybe 5 hours a week at most, maybe only 20 hours a month, something like that. And that's tough to find because there's not a lot of people out there that are like, going to raise their hand for a five hour week job and also be amazing at it, right? So that's why I think the virtual assistant that we offer are really ideal for small to medium sized practices because it's just really efficient and it's really affordable when you consider what you're getting. Like I said before, I have so many tips on finding, interviewing, onboarding, hiring, holding accountable admin staff, but go to Productivetherapist.com and go ahead and it's totally free. We're actually not trying to get you to buy anything today, totally free hiring your assistant course and check that out. But I will share a couple of sort of top tips, if you will. One is don't look for a unicorn. So everybody wants, especially when it's your first hire, I just want one person that's going to work 20 hours a week or 30 hours a week that is a social media whiz, is also really good at QuickBooks, can handle intake and also do all those things, and you might be able to find that person.

Uriah
It's challenging to find somebody that's truly good at all those things. And then what happens is if they get sick or they leave, then all of those roles vanish. Right? Don't look for unicorn. Like Katie was saying, use contractors when you can and hire people part time if you can.

Katie
Is there a link to the free course I can put in the chat?

Uriah
People are asking, yeah, productivetherapist. Comptm p as in Paul, t as in Tom, m as in Mary. I just want to tell you legitimately that you deserve to have an amazing team, because I know that everybody that's on this webinar, you've got a vision, you've got a purpose, you're here, you're trying to accomplish something, and it matters, right? So you deserve to have amazing support and it's worth it. And don't settle for running yourself ragged or hiring somebody that's not ideal for your business. So that's a message that I hope that I wanted to share. And if there are specific questions about hiring, I'm happy to answer those. But generally speaking, your options are hire somebody locally that will come into your office. Number two, hire somebody local that will work remotely. So I call that local remote, obviously. And then number three, hire a virtual assistant. And virtual assistants can do all kinds of things, not just intake coordination. They can handle social media, they can handle anything done. You can find a virtual assistant to do, essentially. So I think those are your three best options. I don't have all of them. Actually, my practice manager is local remote, so she's about 40 minutes away and she's actually here in the building today, which is amazing.

Uriah
And then my intake coordinator is about 600 miles away. Actually never met her in person. Hopefully I hope to do that soon and then everybody else is virtual.

Katie
That's awesome. Can you speak a little bit too? I know one of the questions was when you have a new VA coming on, how do you like one of the, I guess again, barriers or fears? Is it's so much work in the front loading process? How do I impart everything that I've been doing to another person? I know some tools that I use, like I loom everything as I'm doing it and I talk through it. And I also use Tango US, which you told me about, and I tangled everything at this point. So it basically captures your screen and it writes out the step by step for you. But Yuri, I know you have some really proven process for onboarding someone with a new VA and you're willing to share.

Uriah
Yes. Oh my goodness. So number one, don't outsource until you optimize. Which means if you haven't documented what you do, you can't teach somebody else and you can't hand it off to somebody else. So the best thing that you can do, honestly, because here's a little secret that you all don't know. You think you're here to learn about systems from us and you're thinking like, I don't have any systems, I need systems or I need better systems. Every one of us in our business already has systems. All but a system is and tell me if you agree with this, Katie. All the system is the way you do things. Yes, that's all it is. It might be only here, it might be on paper, it might be in Google Docs, it might be somewhere else. But the system is just the way you do things. So the time audit, what did you call it, Katie? You have another word for it?

Katie
Activity inventory.

Uriah
The activity inventory. Do that for the next week. Write down everything you do for your practice and then identify the things that you want to outsource and give to somebody else and the things that you want to hand off. Just write down how you do them. Make a video document what you do. So then when you find the person that you want to hand that to, you have something to hand them. To. Hand to them. Does that make sense?

Katie
It makes sense to me. I've been thinking about the value in having somebody to sit with while you write out your processes. Like you and I got on a zoom and I was like, alright, how do you on board a new VA type? Like build it all out? I feel like that's what I needed in my practice. We got our leadership team together. We were like what are all the things that we do? And then we actually just, oh, there's a puppy outside. We actually just sat and wrote them out together. And I think sometimes that collaboration because systems can feel boring when you're writing it out, am I right?

Uriah
I'll make a confession. I love having beautifully organized and beautifully efficient systems. I actually can't stand created, like documenting them. Documenting them. I love to design an amazing process, but I don't want to go document it. So doing it together with your team, or even if you have another business owner friend that you want to go do a work retreat with and like just document your system, it's really worth doing. So really quickly, I'm going to share checking the questions here. Nice, good resources. Loom. I think Loom.com and Tango dot us.

Katie
Jessica loom is video and Tango is actually like a PDF. So what I do is I loom while I tango. What I get in the end is like a PDF that has screenshots of a step by step. And then I add in a last step with the link to the Loom that says to watch me explain this in a video, go here because I have reading visual learners and I have those that want to hear it and see it. And so I just do it all at the same time.

Uriah
That's cool that you do both of those. I like that. So the three mistakes that people often make when delegating to a virtual assistant or just honestly, anybody that you're delegating to, especially in the beginning. The first one I already kind of touched on, but it's not being fully prepared. It's delegating and outsourcing too soon because if you're underwater and you're like scattered and you're disorganized, it's not going to work well. Right. So do what you can do to prepare yourself to actually delegate effectively. It's just going to work better that way, I promise. Trust me. We've been through this for many years, doing this with so many practice owners, and it just works better when you got your ducks in a row. And in fact, we designed a process we call the VIP Prep Package. It takes like a month for us to prepare a practice owner to actually even talk to the VA, which might seem like a long time, but we want to make sure all the ducks are in a row so that they have a good experience, right? So make sure you do that for yourself. The second one is simply underestimating the amount of time it takes to onboard somebody and really effectively delegate because you haven't actually delegated anything until you're no longer managing it or overseeing it.

Uriah
Right? So a lot of us are trying to delegate things and we think that we're delegating, but we're still managing it. We're not delegating the outcome. We're saying here, can you handle this spreadsheet? I'm going to pop in like every 4 hours and make changes and make sure you're doing everything right. I've done that before. Oh, my gosh. I can make a confession right now, but I don't know if that would help anybody. I used to do that, and my intake coordinator, years ago said, you're right. I got this. Like, stop. Right? And truly, that's the last one, which is essentially not trusting the person you brought on, not trusting them enough to let go of control, trust to verify. Obviously, you want to have a good system and the right person handling it, and then you want to have some oversight, and we could spend time talking about accountability, but that's probably another webinar.

Katie
Those are the three things sorry, go ahead.

Uriah
Yes, if we have time for that, that would be good. So those are the three mistakes that I think I see most often, and you can save yourself a lot of honestly, trouble and heartache by following that.

Katie
I agree. And I think I'm being mindful of time. I know we want to wrap up within the next five minutes or so, but I similarly used to jump into Tracy, my intake coordinator's, inbox all the time until she was like, you're messing me up. Stop doing this. She was like, you're making my job harder. Please get out of here. And I was like, lesson learned. Also, I do want to call out that I had my 245 alarm go off that says, Stop working. So now I stopped working every day at 03:00, and so that he's no longer there. So let's just celebrate that. I wanted to, real quick show you some of my dashboard, where when you said Trust but verify, this is how I do it. I can do it very quickly. I'll have more questions, but we can talk about them later. This is part of my dashboard, and I have many different tabs within this dashboard, but this is my intake department. And so in terms of Tracey, whose job is to convert calls, right? So we look down here every week we meet. We look at how many calls were booked on the calendar, how many intake she booked, and what her conversion rate was.

Katie
Same thing with my group coordinator who's been away. So this is very low. How many calls are on the calendar, what did she convert? And so when we're looking at, like, Can I let go? Can I see whether people did their job or not? Yes. Because we're looking at the outcome. We're looking at the numbers. And if Tracy's conversion rate was not an average 60%, if instead it was, like, every week she was only converting ten clients, it might be like, Tracy, what's up? What's going on? That we're not getting to the end result that we want? And then we would do some troubleshooting. But when you have the right metrics in place and the right meeting cadence in place, you can start to have these checkpoints of are my virtual assistants doing what they need to do? Are the people I'm delegating to doing what they need to do without you micro managing in the process. And I think that's really empowering to the people that you're delegating to to say, like, you know how you want to get this done? And here's what I expect from you on this week. What do you think, Riya?

Uriah
Everyone's going crazy about your dashboard.

Katie
90 IO for my clients in 90 IO who joined my program for group practice owners, which I'm not here to sell, but I'm just sharing details.

Uriah
And that is a paid software that helps you implement EOS right traction.

Katie
Also, like, real quick. I just talked to a software developer this morning. I might be developing my own, but that's like a year away.

Uriah
Stop.

Katie
Okay, go on. What do you think? You're right.

Uriah
Where do I sign up?

Katie
I'll let you know.

Uriah
Yeah. So, I know we only have a few more minutes left. We were going to talk all about how to apply all this so you can take an extended vacation. I wouldn't mind if it's okay with you, katie saying there's a few quick things about that, and then we can maybe focus on questions. Okay. Okay. I was actually driving to the office this morning. This is funny. This is pretty meta, but I was listening to a training on creating systems while I was coming here to talk to you about this, and they were talking about how the point of starting your own business, I think we all did this or thought about this in the beginning, is to create the lifestyle that we want and the freedom that we want. We didn't create our own business so that we could work harder than we ever worked in community mental health or wherever else. So if your business plan is not moving you towards more freedom for yourself, for your family, for your hobbies, for your life, it's just take a look at that. But I guess the end result, hopefully, is if you create good systems, they don't have to be perfect.

Uriah
You create good systems and you build a good team. You continually build a good team and delegate. Then you'll have the space to do cool things, like Katie and I were doing on a boat in Hawaii. And I've got a bunch of tips on that. But essentially, I just want to say apply intentionality to this. And if you can, mike Mccallow is in the book clockwork, which just got updated and revised, recommends that you plan an extended vacation. Twelve to 18 months out, and then you force yourself to do the work to get ready to actually do that. There's so much I want to say about that, but I just wanted to plant that seed that if vacation is something you want to do for three, four weeks or more, if that's something that excites you, then make that a goal. If it's something else, by all means, replace that with something else. I don't know. What would that be? Anything, really. If you just want to have a staycation for two weeks and, like, garden great. Build your team so that you can have exactly what you want.

Katie
I love that. Are you trying to pander to Debbie with the gardening reference?

Uriah
Because, you know, she's here unintentional, but hopefully appreciate it.

Katie
Kelly. It's 90 IO. I put it in the chat. And so I totally agree with what you're saying. I think I had to bring it back to why we're here. That's what we both did. So my Hawaii vacation was a year in the making with all of our systems and processes and elevating people. And I know you took like, a four week trip to Europe that you didn't just decide twice, you didn't just say you planned for it and you made sure that you had the right systems in place.

Uriah
Yes. And also add to that, you don't have to have everything perfectly dialed in to do that. And in some ways, I wouldn't say do it. Haphazardly. But if you unplug from the business, then guess what? You learn about what doesn't work without you, and then you come back and then you address that. Right.

Katie
And I will say the biggest thing that I learned was that I actually don't need to be as on in my business as I thought I did because nothing broke or burnt down. And I think it was more of like, I was creating this code relationship where I felt like I needed to get involved. And so I was like, Pull your jets, Katie, back off. Let people do their job. And I think that that's working better. Like, they actually did really well in problem solving without me there, so I didn't have to be the one to solve all the problems.

Uriah
It's amazing. And you know what happened to me the first time in 2018 when I went to Europe with my family for it was only three weeks. Well, it was three weeks. It was great. But actually when I wasn't there answering the questions and jumping in the chat and fixing things, people actually talk to each other and then figured it out, which is also true of parenting. Like, if you don't solve all your kids'problems, guess what? They're going to learn some independence. And that's what we want for our team. Yeah. So we take questions. I know some people are popping off, but it seems like we've got some really good engagement and interest.

Katie
Somebody asks, how are you tracking all the incoming calls while I look through and see if there's anything else. Do you have a response to that?

Uriah
You and I might do it differently. In my practice, we actually just have a very simple Google spreadsheet, but it's very meticulously managed, so that's what we do.

Katie
Well, we do that too. Because you set that up for me through Therapist. We use your process and then you.

Uriah
Take that information and put it into 90 IO. Is that how it works?

Katie
No. We track all of our incoming calls in the spreadsheet that Productive Therapist created. I'm sure we've tweaked it over the past five years, but it's very similar. And then we just take the number. So, for example, like five calls booked this week, three clients converted this week, and we put those numbers in 90. But in terms of all the names and things like that, it starts in a Google spreadsheet.

Uriah
It doesn't have to be complicated.

Katie
Yeah, I think start simple, too. And that's the thing, is, like, start your numbers are going to change over time. So start with free and simple, and then iterate until you're at where you want things to be more fancy.

Uriah
For sure. Let's see, anonymous says my patients tell me how much they are goofing off remotely. Besides metrics, how do we make sure they're on it? I'm not sure if that's the clients or the admin staff. Maybe it's about managing remote employees or remote staff.

Katie
Yeah. What else do you need to manage? Besides when I'm looking at my therapist, I'm looking at are they meeting assessment agreement number? Are they delivering sessions? Like we market that they are. We do that by coding tapes monthly and quarterly. And are their charts compliant? Is all the paperwork in there? And we have a chart coding for them. Other than that, who falls all you want. If you're doing your job, then what else is there? I don't know.

Uriah
A lot of people, at least early in the pandemic, we're worried about, like, are people really doing their work if they're working remotely, if they're virtual, if they're at home? And that's just because in the past it was all about like, hey, I see you in the office, I see you working. That's how I know you're working. But in this sort of new environment, you want to make sure well, for one thing, for admin staff, we haven't tracked all their time by the minute. We do that because we have to, because we're a virtual assistant company. But we use a tool called Harvest. And so I can see what my team is doing right now, including notes on what they've accomplished in that given in that time. I think that's helpful. And then you are delegating. You're tracking outcomes, you're tracking results. Not sort of just button feet time, like clock in, clock out. Yeah, it is a little bit trickier, but it's totally possible. I hope that answers the question. I'm not sure.

Katie
Okay, what else do we got in related? So I think that answers you. Yeah, perfect. If you're not booking calls, then it's a problem solving, but that's what you're measuring, really. Like, how many new clients are getting.

Uriah
Angela, angie, another question. Any suggestions on tracking productivity? I hate. Doing that once I have something over. I have no interest in micromanaging, but that philosophy has bitten me before. Any suggestions on how to balance micromanaging versus not monitoring at all? Good one. I don't like micromanaging. Anybody? I've done it in the past, but I'm not like, a fan. I want to trust people to follow through and then just be there to cheer them on when they do. There's an in between.

Katie
If you expect it, you need to inspect it, and it doesn't mean you need to be looking over somebody's shoulder all the time. But, like, for example, in our last team meeting, hey, chart audits are coming up one per quarter. It's a random chart, so get your shit in order. Sorry. Get your charts in order, and let's make sure that everyone's doing what they agreed to be doing. Same with like, if you agreed to full time with benefits, you agree to at least 22 sessions a week. So you're reporting on if you're not at 22 sessions, why not? And how do we get you back on track? For me, it's all about mutual agreements with people. And I employed you to do this, so you agreed to do this for the paycheck. But I don't think that's micromanaging. I just think that's, like, quality assurance.

Uriah
It's accountability. Yeah, it's accountability. Entrepreneurial Operating System talks about this, and it's about scorecards. Like, okay, so what numbers, what metrics are you responsible for? Maybe it's the number of clients seen. Maybe it's like completing your notes on time. So you want to monitor those things, and that's how you do quality assurance. But, yeah, I would also say, like.

Katie
All of your client numbers go in here.

Uriah
Oh, my gosh, you're so good at this. A little bit.

Katie
They all enter their own. Like, they enter their own so that they're reporting to me. I'm not even reporting to them.

Uriah
There you go. That's so cool. Yeah. If you do get nervous and overly anxious about if things are getting done, you got to pay attention to that and explore, because we've probably all had the experience of delegating something to somebody, even if it was our kids, and it's not getting done. And then all we can think about is it getting done. Because if you get to the point where you're monitoring your intake coordinator and checking up on them all the time, maybe it's not the right person. Maybe you don't have good systems. Something else is going on. Right.

Katie
Have you ever heard that quote, like, if you're in a position where you need to manage someone so consistently that's your queue that you've hired the wrong person? I had that experience, yeah. All right.

Uriah
Makes sense.

Katie
Any imparting wisdom for our crew here?

Uriah
You know, we shared a lot of things, and I hope that folks are able to grab just what they need right now. You don't have to do all this. Like I said before, it's a process. You have to be patient with yourself, patient with your business. But if you pay attention to what you need to delegate in the next 90 days, and what else will be the other top takeaway? I like the idea of making a list of your dream team and then filling in whoever. How many of those roles are you doing versus have you delegated? And then use those two things to kind of guide you forward.

Katie
I love it. All right, so to recap, go on to social media. Tag me in your eye. Tell us, what was it what you're going to delegate in the next 90 days? Start to make a list of your dream team. I also want to know what's your why are you trying to go to Tahiti next year? Do you just want to stay home and garden? Do you want to start a dog walking business? Whatever. Tell us why you're aiming for this. And I really, actually want you to tag me and let me know. And I want to see all of the beautiful plans coming into place.

Uriah
I'd love to see that.

Katie
Yeah.

Uriah
And also, this is a plug for something free, but I'll share a link with everybody somehow. I just created a list of all the most amazing retreats summits, all the events that are happening for therapists next year. Those can be goals for you, too.

Katie
Yes. Places to visit and see us. Awesome. Thank you all for being here.

Uriah
Thanks, everybody. Yeah.


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Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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