Hello, you new therapist you!


In my previous post I mentioned several things you can do to get started on your business before you've even graduated, before you have your license.  After all, this is a business.  You are a provider, but you work for your business.  So I'm going to make a few posts on how to start your business.  

Get it? Now. Let's begin. 

So, you may have lots of cute ideas for a name for your business.  Maybe it's a name that references an obscure phrase in a book.  Mabay it's something "catchy".

Throw them all away. Now.

Your name is your business.  

Why?

Let's say you meet someone at a meet-and-greet.  You introduce yourself. Later one, they're talking to someone who needs a therapist - and they're full.  They remember your name, remember, because you introduced yourself. They may or may not have your card any more.

So they give you name to someone else--who googles it.  Are they going to find your cute business name domain and web page?  Maybe.  But if your business is your name, they'll find you.

I named my business Pilgrim Behavioral because my husband is a psychologist and might be doing some work for me at some point in the future.  But honestly, my LLC is my full name (no middle) and people can find me by typing in my name.  

So use your real name. Type it into a search engine and make sure that someone else doesn't already have it. Make sure it's not associated with some horrific crime or weird past time.  

In most cities the mental health community is relatively small.  You want people to remember you, and you want to give them as little to remember as possible.  So for how, keep it simple.

Now you need to be a business.  First, get a gmail address.  Make it just YOURNAME@gmail.com if you don't already.  Then, make sure you're signed into Google as yourself, and go to Google Domains and find out if someone owns your name domain. If they do, then just add "counseling" to it and buy that domain. 
--> Seriously, it's $12 a year and you can buy it for up to 3 years.  I have purchased my business name (pilgrimbehavioral.com) but it redirects to my name domain (mistypilgrim.com) because I think that's easier for people to remember and find and spell.  I also own a domain related to my art work (mistypilgrim.studio). More on redirects later.

Now you need business communication. In the future, you're going to be filling in all sorts of forms that ask for email and phone number and fax number.  Make sure you have those now, and that they're HIPAA compliant.  

Once you're purchased your domain name, making sure you're signed into yourself, go to "Gsuite" and purchase a single user business account.  There's a ton of videos on how to set up your email. 


Finally, while signed into Gsuite, sign up for the add-on for Google Voice - the paid version, not the free version.  FREE GSUIT IS NEVER HIPAA COMPLIANT.

Google voice is SO COOL.  You can set it up to ring through your phone, and you can make phone calls from your computer or tablet with a reliable wi-fi connection.  Clients can text you, once you're HIPAA compliant.  You can choose a setting so that it doesn't ring when you're in session by using Gsuit calendar to block out certain times.    

Finally, go to Faxage and get a cloud-based fax service.  Make sure you ask them for a Business Associate Agreement - nothing is HIPAA compliant without that document that you've both signed.  

Then, make a file on Gsuite Gdrive and keep your BAAs in there.  

Next: Be a business.  A real business, legit A.F.