For more therapists, when you first open your private practice, you are the therapist, social media manager, sanitation specialist, content writer, marketer, office manager and personal assistant. Probably before you realize you’re ready, you’ll want to begin to outsource some of your work. If you plan to keep a busy practice or you want to scale your solo practice to a group practice, you’re going to need help. Virtual assistants can be used for many tasks. The most popular ways therapists can outsource work to a virtual assistant are listed below:
1. Answering the phones
Please stop answering your phone! You are in sessions for an hour at a time. How many more clients would you be able to schedule if someone returned called faster than an hour later?
2. Posting on Social Media
A virtual assistant can schedule posts on Facebook. They can create content for you, including making cute pictures on Canva and posting them on Instagram. We use an app called “Later” to schedule out IG posts. They can find articles and blogposts for you to share. It’s time to let go of social media and hire someone to post for you.
3. Billing insurance and following up on payment issues
Another use for a virtual assistant is to have them bill for you. If you have an EHR that allows for you to bill directly, you may still need someone to help you with creating paper claims for those insurance companies that require an extra step. A VA can check out of network benefits for clients who want to use their insurance but you don’t accept insurance. This is one of the most popular ways our practice gets private pay clients.
4. Writing and posting Blogposts
Depending on who is hired for your VA, they may be able to write blogpost content for you. At the very least, they can do some research and create an outline for your posts. You can go back in and fill in more information in the blogpost to put your spin on it. The VA can post it to your website. The person I use to do this ensures the SEO is looking good for each blogpost that gets posted.
5. Responding to emails
It’s time for you to let go of your inbox. Let someone else answer appointment inquiries. Let someone else delete the spam. Let someone else prioritize your time for you. Handing over your inbox can take a lot off of your plate and give you time to work on bigger ticket items.
A few things to consider when hiring a VA. You may need to hire more than one person. Professionally, I have one person handling phones, emails and billing and another person handling blogposts, social media and newsletters. Be sure each person signs a Business Associate Agreement and provide HIPAA training where applicable. Having a signed contract for each VA is another important step, both to protect yourself and the VA. In the contract, you’ll want to address compensation, duties and HIPAA. Depending on your local state laws, you may be able to have them as an independent contractor; however you may need to hire your VA’s as an employee, especially if they don’t have an established business. You can utilize short-term VA’s from companies such as Fiverr.com, where you can have them do projects for you.
Having a VA can help catapult your practice. Having multiple VA’s with clear directions and specific duties can definitely free up your time so you can do what you do best: Provide Therapy.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP, NCC is the owner of Caring Therapists of Broward, a group practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She specializes in working with young adults and teens with depression and anxiety. She is the founder of “My Private Practice Tribe”, a Facebook group for therapists looking to build successful private practices. She helps therapists with business, financial and market planning. To schedule a 15-minute consultation on your private practice needs, visit her website here: https://www.amandapattersonlmhc.com/work-with-amanda/.