Today I discuss the cutting edge vertical of Brain/NeuroFeedback and how scaling too fast almost ended her business. Today, Braincode is thriving with a multi-location scale, all due to rethinking an original plan. If you'd like to brainstorm a gameplan together for your business you can schedule a quick free strategy call with us here: http://bit.ly/practicegameplan
About the 6-Figure Practice Program:
The Six Figure Practice with Sasha Raskin, is an online program and community for helpers such as counselors and coaches, who are building their private practice. If you’re looking for a clear, step-by-step road map for creating and marketing your private practice, you're at the right place!
Free resources to grow and market your counseling private practice or coaching business:
Free 22 minutes crash course - "How to Create a Thriving Counseling / Coaching Private Practice": https://www.the6figurepractice.com/free-22-minute-crash-course
Free resources about marketing for therapists and marketing for coaches: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/blog
Free 30-minutes strategy session with Sasha Raskin: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/schedule-a-free-30-min-strategy-session/
Our accelerator program for creating a 6-figure business:
The 6 Figure Practice Program: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/the-6-figure-practice-program-accelerator/
More ways to connect:
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2174406112863019
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the6figurepractice
Chat with me on messenger: https://m.me/the6figurepractice
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCITSmYvj-vpwuWrOuwqYr5w
My name is Sasha Raskin. I’m a Number 1 Best Selling Co-Author in 12 Countries, a Doctoral student in Counseling Education and Supervision, a coach, a psychotherapist and an adjunct faculty at a graduate counseling program at Naropa University.
One of the things I’m enjoying the most is helping other therapists and coaches build their successful private practice so that they could actually help the clients they were taught to help, and thrive themselves. I’m almost always fully booked, so my ability to work with individuals is limited. That is why I’ve created this program to deliver powerful results and create a community where you will feel supported by each other!
This program's primary goal is to help you build a thriving private practice, in a fun and authentic way. Counselors and coaches invest an incredible amount of time, money, and effort into building their helping skills. However, when their training ends, they usually find themselves lacking the business skills that are needed to start and run a successful private practice, feel isolated, discouraged and not knowing where to start.
I believe that to be truly helpful to others, therapists and coaches have to learn to thrive themselves and definitely know how to get clients whom they can help.
This is where this program comes in. If you're willing to learn and work hard, a 6-figure private practice is within your reach in a year - 2 years. This program will give you a clear outline, and detailed instructions on how to get there.
rachel braincode interview
Sasha Raskin: Hi, Rachel.
Rachel Ragsdale: Hi, Sasha. How are you?
Sasha Raskin: I'm doing well, having a busy and exciting day. How about you?
Rachel Ragsdale: Same, business owning is always fun and exciting, right?
Sasha Raskin: Yes, totally it is, which is what we'll be talking about today. This is The 6 Figure Practice program podcast. And I'm excited to talk to you, Rachel, because you did something incredible with your business and I think it would be (a) inspirational, (b) educational for the listeners/watchers to hear about that. So first of all, who you are and what you do in your business?
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely. My name is Rachel Ragsdale; I am the CEO of Braincode Centers. So I wear multiple hats within the business, but that is the position that I run now.
Sasha Raskin: And how long have you been in the business?
Rachel Ragsdale: I have been in this field for almost over a decade now. Our company is going on year five.
Sasha Raskin: Wow. That's a long time.
Rachel Ragsdale: Time flies, doesn't it?
Sasha Raskin: So what do you focus on in your business in terms of clients? And what problems do you help with?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yeah, absolutely. Probably very similar to you, Sasha, right? We're all in the mental health world so that's going to span a ton of different symptomology and you're going to get a lot of different patients. On our website we've narrowed it down to I think the top 10 symptoms that we work with, but neurofeedback is a very, very good slam dunk for something like anxiety, it's really good for ADHD and attention issues with kiddos or adults, depression, trauma, TBI. So that would be a lot of kind of what we see. Anxiety I feel like ... I mean, nine out of ten people list anxiety especially nowadays. But we'll also work with a lot of CEOs for stress management and just keeping their cortisol levels down. Professional athletes doing peak performance. But those would probably be the top handful.
Sasha Raskin: So when you went into the field you obviously had the two paths of I'm going to do it on my own or I'm going to be an employee. Did you go the employee route first and then you started your business?
Rachel Ragsdale: Great question. So I started off as an intern with another doctor and she kind of trained me up and taught me everything I know and simultaneously I was getting a lot of coaching from just gurus in the field, people that were highly respected from the science standpoint. So any chance I got I was eating up, looking at raw EEGs and learning all the intricacies of the different patterns that can be present when you're dealing with mental health.
And I essentially kind of just grew this business under this doctor's wing at this specific office that I was at. And it just got to the point where she was like, "You are essentially crushing it on your own. I need to push you out of this nest." So there was some story in between that, but that was essentially ... I was an employee, she hired me on to her company after I was an intern working essentially for free and then she was paying me a small amount. So I was an employee there for a little bit. And then started the business, I had no clue what I was doing, zero business education background. So it's been a fun ride.
Sasha Raskin: That's not a coincidence, right? Not a lot of mental health practitioners actually get business education when they start the business which is sort of weird if that's one of the routes to go. How did you have the courage to start something on your own without the business education?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yeah, that's a great question. I've always been ... talking brain maps, right? So I know, Sasha, you are pretty educated in brain maps, but I have quite a bit of beta, I also am very into the enneagram and temperament testing. And I'm that like very small percentage of females on the Myers-Briggs, I'm an ENTJ and on the enneagram I'm a three, so threes are achievers. So I think it was just intrinsically in me. I'm not a very fearful person. I'm actually probably on the opposite. I take a lot of risk in my life. I thrive when my adrenaline is pumping. And I would also say just like the kind of cheesy word of resilient, I'm a pretty resilient person. So I think the courage was just pretty intrinsic.
I've told other people we now do some business coaching as well. And not that you cannot create courage and start to dampen your fears, but I do think that some people are more wired and they will be more successful being a business owner than others. There's just some people that will stay captive to their fears and it will end with a limited amount of performance output. And being able to tell people, getting them on the right seat, on the right bus, going in the right direction is very important for anybody to be successful for whatever that looks like for them.
Sasha Raskin: So you started under that doctor's wing and you went at it on your own. And fast forward to today you have multiple locations I think, right?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yes, we grew actually too quick. We did the ignorant entrepreneurial ...
Sasha Raskin: Interesting.
Rachel Ragsdale: ... mistake you could call it or it was a learning experience. I think we add up to like 12 clinics a couple years ago. Between wanting to downsize and take some of the different offices and put them all in one and then Covid that kind of naturally let that happen. We now have ... I think we are ... we have four main clinics but then we are also inside of three different other places, so we partner and collaborate with specific facilities that want QEG brain mapping and neurofeedback under their roof as well.
Sasha Raskin: That's incredible, so you have joint venture partners and you do it on your own.
Rachel Ragsdale: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: You don't need to choose. Could you walk me through the milestones? How you got from then to today? For example, at the beginning, what were the main challenges and how did you overcome them?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yeah, gosh. Oh, my gosh, that's such a good question. There's been so many. I think the first thing that comes to mind is choosing the right people to partner with. I have worked with a number of different doctors, a number of different professionals, a number of different people. And sometimes working with people, a lot of people do business completely by their own because it's very difficult working with people. We're all wired differently, we all have our different intricacies, all of our different agendas, and so if you are not with the right people on the right team and the team that's going to champion you that's going to be pretty hard. And so I think some of my challenges would have been ... I just learned a lot working with some of the people that wouldn't have been the best for me to work with long term, that would probably be number one.
Number two - moving a little bit too quickly, like signing leases and not knowing contracts, not having business lawyers help us look at all of the different agreements that we were making. I've learned so much about that over the past year and it has been a game changer. So that was all stuff I had no clue. And there was definitely some contracts I signed and I would pay so much money right now to wish that I had not signed those.
So other milestones - Covid obviously has been a very interesting learning experience for everybody involved, but from a business standpoint I think the biggest thing that we learned that we did very well was we acted swiftly. If we had tried to hold on to different things too tightly or not make decisions quickly that we needed to do I think that we actually could have gone under.
Sasha Raskin: So the importance of flexibility, right? And acting quickly, making decisions fast.
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely.
Sasha Raskin: So it's the different kind of fast that you're talking about with growing too fast, right? Growing too fast is like, "We're excited, let's go, let's go, let's go." And the other one is, "Okay, we need to adjust. It's scary to adjust, let's try something new."
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely, yes, sir.
Sasha Raskin: So maybe fast forward a year or two years, what were your main challenges then in continuing the growth?
Rachel Ragsdale: Two years from now?
Sasha Raskin: Oh, no, no, no. Two years from the moment you started, let's say three years ago basically.
Rachel Ragsdale: Okay, what were some of the challenges? I'd say one of the number one things and I know anybody that has their own business and then they've gone from they're seeing the clients to now they're not seeing the clients. It is a very, very hard thing to surrender that control, right? So many people they want to grow, they want to do it, they want to teach other people how to do it but they ... and I've heard this from other business owners, they'll say, "Well, no one can do it like I can do it."
Sasha Raskin: Yes, that's the classic one.
Rachel Ragsdale: It is. And there might be some truth to that. I will still always think that I provided absolutely excellent client experience and I think that I'm just the best neurofeedback practitioner that there is. My egotistical self will think thoughts like that. However, my goal is to impact and have as much influence on as many people as I can in this world. I want to give them a new brain, I want to give them a healthy brain and I'm only going to be able to see this many people and impact this A++ many people if I don't extend my hand and teach other folks how to also deliver the same excellent client experience.
So that was probably one of the hardest things was for me to stop seeing clients and move into a more of a leadership role, actually just running the business, because if one bad thing happens your mind starts to go, "Well, that wouldn't have happened if I was in there." So instead of looking at it like that you have to change your mindset, and how do you go in and coach your team and look back at yourself like, "Well, what did I not do to teach the person how to respond this way?" It comes back to us and it's our job to coach them and help them be the best that they can be, the employees and the technicians and stuff that we have now.
Sasha Raskin: That makes a lot of sense.
Rachel Ragsdale: But that was hard. That was harder for me.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, surrendering, it's like, "Okay, something needs to give, I cannot do one-on-ones and also run the business and also work with people that I hired." What would your advice be to let's say a mental health counselor who's thinking they fill their practice, they have let's say 20 clients a week that's the maximum they can do, and they're thinking, "Well, should I grow more, maybe hire or build a group practice? Or should I maybe just keep it the way it is?" What kind of questions they need to ask themselves to make that decision easier and more true for them?
Rachel Ragsdale: That's a great question. I would go back to the answer I gave, is knowing how they are wired, knowing their blind spots, right? If you can be pretty rigid and controlling and a little bit more stepping with caution, that's going to be hard for you to grow your business with that mindset and with that wiring, you're going to not make it very easy to grow your own company. I'm not saying that you can't, but you have to be aware of those and what about your personality is going to hold you back and then what are you going to do about those areas that do hold you back - do you have a plan? So I would do a lot of digging with that.
I would also hire a coach. I have been so blessed to have some of the most fantastic business coaches, just actually coaching, I didn't go have to go sign up for them, whether the world gave them to me or God that let them land in my lap, but without them I wouldn't have had any clue what to do, so if you grow and you want to grow well, especially from the business side, get somebody that knows how to do it and that can challenge you and that can hold you accountable. I'd say those are my two big answers.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, I really agree. I learned so much for my coaches, I constantly invest in my own coaching, I have a coach right now. Those 2400 I pay a month it's like, yes, take my money, like I get so much more value out of it and it translates into a higher revenue for me. So it's an accelerated way to grow in a smart way, right? Why would I need to make mistakes that people already made before me and can guide me into not taking them or guide me towards the faster path?
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely, Sasha. I'm so glad that you do that. You got to invest in yourself and your practice.
Sasha Raskin: Well, and that's the main goal behind our program, the 6 figure practice program, is to close that gap between the zero business education that mental health practitioners and coaches even, coaches that's the only thing they can do is basically have their own business, right? There's no track for being an employee almost. Closing that gap and between the need to have that business education and you can bleed, do the blood, sweat and tears route and make mistakes, pay the price for it or you can get the guidance of others. And I think you talked in plural, right? It wasn't one mentor, it's okay to have a few that created different businesses, learn different lessons.
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely. Yeah, you're going to get different insight from different people.
Sasha Raskin: What would be ... I know it's a complex question, but let's say that person, that mental health practitioner decided, "Okay, I'm going to go for it. I'm going to work for it. It might be a little challenging, new things to learn, but I'm going to build a group practice." If you could break it down to maybe three to five steps to organize this whole process, what would you suggest starting with and in which order?
Rachel Ragsdale: I almost feel like I need to write these down. I would say the first thing is starting with yourself - dig in to who you are, what you're capable of doing, not just what you think you're capable of doing but truly what are you capable of doing right now - financially, emotionally. A wire ring goes into that - what is your intrinsic self capable of doing? Yeah, just really dig into that.
Sasha Raskin: What you already have to work with, right? What you already got.
Rachel Ragsdale: Yes. Number two then I would probably actually have the coach lined up, that would be my next step. This is not the order by the way for everybody listening, that I did any of this ... so the point hopefully you don't have to fall on your sword as many people did.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, well, that's the benefit of hindsight, right?
Rachel Ragsdale: Right. So hiring that coach second off and having someone that can walk you through every single step is going to be important. We had a gal that opened up a Braincode ... well, it's not a Braincode Centers yet, we might change it into that but she started her own neurofeedback company in Alabama. And that was what we did first. First off we already knew the answer to number one - she could totally do it. We're part of the people that encouraged her to do that. But she said, "You guys will be my consultants. Will you do that for me? Because I don't want to do it without you." I mean, she's I think a year in and she's already planning on hiring her first employee and we're going to walk her through that. But we have been there as a support system before she even pressed go, so I would say that would be number two.
Number three just very basic business stuff, like figure out loans, banks, set up your LLC or your S Corp or whatever it is. You kind of check those boxes off before you do it. And then with that, and this could be part of step three, but I'm a firm believer in the SEO platform for business, at least a business ...
Sasha Raskin: For sure.
Rachel Ragsdale: And if you need to get part of your loan to start an SEO, yes, you can go network and fee on the ground networking and marketing but that's just going to take you a pretty long time to grow. And so don't be afraid to invest in that SEO. And if you need to go back to step three and take out a bigger loan, I do think that it pays off.
Sasha Raskin: For sure. I do have something to say about SEO, search engine optimization if someone doesn't know what it is, that's the process that gets you ranked higher in the search results on any search engine. So the thing is you can do done for you, hire someone or you can do it done with you - if you get actually trained in that, it's not rocket science, right? That's part of what we do in the program. We train counselors and coaches in SEO so you can do that on your own. You don't necessarily need to hire someone to do that. Or if you hire someone to do that you'll be able to have more control in overseeing their work, right?
And it's been so helpful to me, even with Covid this has been my best year so far in my business. And one of those things ... thank you ... one of those things is because of SEO, right? I'm like on every first page, on Google for every country I'm on the first page for ADHD coach, right? And the world is a pretty big place right so I have people reaching out to me even when crisis is happening.
And what were the results for you with SEO, with those efforts?
Rachel Ragsdale: First off, Sasha, it's so exciting. I don't know about you but I don't know a lot of counselors in private practice that put much into their SEO. Some people will get on search engines for therapy sites maybe or just put a small amount in because that's kind of a scary thing to do especially as a private practice, but it'd be interesting to know how much you're putting in to get you to the top like that, but ...
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, zero. Zero dollars.
Rachel Ragsdale: Oh, awesome.
Sasha Raskin: I just adjust my ... well, yes and no, right? Time is money so I'm putting in the effort or put in the past at least to create that optimization on my page which I'm now just packaged and every counselor can do it or coach. And also finding ways to generate content in a way that's fun for me. Guess what we're doing right now, right? Our interview will become a transcript that would be optimized for SEO, that would bring my website up and it will bring your website up as well with the link that I'll put to your website, right?
So it's not that difficult if you find a way to make it fun, right? I think you found ways to make your business fun for you and actually do the things that you enjoy. What are the things that you enjoy doing by the way the most in your business?
Rachel Ragsdale: Well, really when I'm not working I enjoy golfing, I'm just kidding, working out. So I enjoy it all to be honest. There are some days that I'm like, "Sell the company, get rid of it, I'm so over it." And that's just me being dramatic and amateur honestly, letting my frontal lobe get the best of me. But I really do love it. I love the challenges, I love being in control of my own schedule. I absolutely love being able to have a team of people and employ people and give back to them and get Google reviews about moms that said that we gave them their kid back. Like, there's not much I don't like about it. Like, yes, it is hard, there are some days it's so hard and I question my abilities. And I think that that's part of life.
But I love it. I'm grateful every single day that I have this company and I get to lead it and grow it and figure out things when they're not working and have a team of people that I absolutely love. My business partner Carly is amazing. Angie is our VP of business development; she's one of my best friends. Like, our team is fantastic. So that brings me a ton of joy. I mean, I could keep going.
Sasha Raskin: So you have a big impact on the world and on your clients, you surrounded yourself with a team of people that you would be hanging out with anyway, right? And you see them on a constant basis. That's kind of awesome. And yeah, what you mentioned a lot is you created a business that would fit your personality and your skills and your strengths, right? And you're stepping into the leadership more and into the go get it mentality.
It's interesting that you mentioned golf. I had a client who's a consultant, together he took the leap of faith, he quit his job of 10 years. And like within I think it was two months he created the same revenue in those two months as his previous year of work. And we did some assessment, right? What's the main source of clients? And for him it was golf, right? So marketing doesn't have to be suffering. He just had golf with his potential clients, right? Not doing SEO, not doing Google ads, not doing anything, just chats and fun. So I think the whole world of business is so big that it's totally doable finding your own path of building it, like you don't need to do something that your neighbor does.
Rachel Ragsdale: Absolutely. To that point, back on that golf comment, one of a lot of our leadership team does golf and we very much so enjoy it. And one of the other things, this is definitely more of a religious piece or whatever you want to call it, a faith piece - our company we tithe 10%. That is just something that's very close to our hearts. I would also say that's one of the number one reasons that we're successful is because of that.
Sasha Raskin: You donate.
Rachel Ragsdale: Sorry, what?
Sasha Raskin: You donate part of the revenue.
Rachel Ragsdale: Yes. So we donate our tithe, whichever you want to say it, our first 10%. And I truly do believe that that is why we've been honored and blessed how we've been blessed. But that being said, we get to take that money sometimes and we put in the summer as our favorite thing to do, now we have this lump sum of donations that we have to go use. And guess what? Non-profits that do golf tournaments all summer long.
Sasha Raskin: That's interesting.
Rachel Ragsdale: Then you just sponsor all of them, play golf, have your name and brand everywhere. So to your point, yes, there's a ton of creative ways that you can get your name out there and give back at the same time and get exposure.
Sasha Raskin: I know that we're out of time, and you just mentioned something super important and I think it's important to highlight - many times people have this money stuckness, right? It's like two different boxes - I either help people or I take money, right? And those cannot, like on a deep level, cannot coexist together. Well, yeah, actually when your revenue grows, when you get more successful as a business owner you can create more good with that money, right?
We are doing a similar thing. We are donating 100 meals to the hungry in the US when a new member joins. And it's awesome, it's great, right? It's you're magnifying your positive impact on the world.
Rachel, what would be, maybe to finish this awesome interview, your advice to people who are maybe struggling a little bit with building their practice or just with the ebbs and flows of having their business?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yeah, I would say truly as silly as it sounds like face your fears, step into the why, why are you scared, why are you worried, why are you not willing to challenge yourself - there's something deeper there obviously. Like, we're in the counseling field, maybe I over psychologize it, haha. But truly like why are you so stuck, what is keeping you stuck? Stuck is not going to get you anywhere. So figure that out and pull that root, and once you pull that root beautiful things can happen.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. Hint - it's probably not the economy, it's not probably because the market "is saturated" with other practitioners, right?
Rachel Ragsdale: Correct, I agree. It all goes back to you. There's reasons people make it and there's reasons people don't.
Sasha Raskin: I love it. Rachel, thank you so much. If people want to find you, your company, your services - how do they do that?
Rachel Ragsdale: Yes. And thank you so much, Sasha, it's always a joy talking with you. You can just go to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit braincodecenters.com and feel free to dig into our website. We also have an Instagram, again, just @BraincodeCenters. Those would be the quickest and easiest ways to learn more.
Sasha Raskin: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Rachel.
Rachel Ragsdale: Thank you, Sasha. It's great seeing you. Good job impacting the world yourself.
Sasha Raskin: You too.
Rachel Ragsdale: All right, bye.
Sasha Raskin: All right, bye-bye.
Okay, I finished the recording. How's that?
Rachel Ragsdale: Great. You do so good at interviewing. So thank you so much.