Having been brought up in a family that prioritized helping others and having experienced firsthand the power of having someone who listens, pursuing a career path as a Licensed Clinical Social worker was a natural choice for Katie. She now works with the modality of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to facilitate direction, support, and balance in her clients’ lives. Her interview inspires us to establish a routine in our personal and professional lives and to build in time for ourselves.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
I always had a love for people. Growing up with my father being a pastor, we always had people who needed some love and direction living with us. I didn’t realize until I was in college that my calling would be so similar. I had been through some struggles of my own and was able to get through them with the help of a supportive therapist. I knew that if I could get through it and live a life of freedom, other people could as well. I truly know what it’s like to feel at rock bottom, scared, and unsure which way to go. There is only one way in my eyes. And that is up! All you need is a hand to help you up and then you can begin living your life. I knew I wanted to be that person to offer a hand and get others on that same track I was pulled up to.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In graduate school I was trained in a modality called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This is a skills based therapy that provides tools to assist in the areas of Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Mindfulness. These skills provide guidelines that help encourage balance and acceptance. This means, accepting the things that we cannot change, finding meaning from it, and learning to move forward. I also have a Post Masters Certificate in Addictions. I have worked with individuals addicted to food, sex, drugs, shopping, relationships, you name it. I facilitate direction and support to encourage my clients in finding balance in their lives. This usually begins with digging deep within and evaluating self worth. Most of the above issues can be traced back to low self-esteem. When we aren’t feeling good about ourselves, we look for fulfillment in unhealthy ways. Our life then becomes unbalanced by focusing on what we think will fulfill that void. This is what needs to be uncovered. Life does not start becoming balanced until self-love begins.
What is your current business model?
I have a private practice. I see primarily individuals, but from time to time at the clients request, I will invite a significant other or family member in to offer support. I also offer therapy groups and women’s workshops. Because I do not work with insurance companies I find this to benefit my clients. This allows us to have phone or Skype sessions when they are too busy to get to the office, are on vacation, ill, or during inclimate weather. Many have said that this offers a sense of peace knowing that pretty much no matter what, we can make a session happen.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
Oh when clients say “Kate, I have been feeling great. I can’t believe how my dreams are actually manifesting. I feel I am ready to come in for only maintance sessions”. No business owner wants to lose customers, but in this case when I lose customers I feel I have done my job. And clients will then refer friends and family to you!
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Maintaining personal balance! All that I do with clients is preach balance and I myself find this to be a challenge at times.
How have you overcome those challenges?
What has helped me is having a routine. I set aside three days per week to be my days I see clients in office. Then the other two days are for meetings, paperwork, outreach, follow up, supervision, and networking. Then I spend at least one day per week working on personal and professional development such as webinars, research, writing, and goal planning. However, I ALWAYS make sure that I set even 10 minutes a day to do something nice for myself. Whether it’s taking my puppy out for a long walk, or catching up with a friend over coffee, or relaxing with a cup of tea, I always make sure I build this time in for myself. And you should TOO!
How do you find new clients?
This is one of the questions I ask when someone becomes a new client. They usually say “I googled DBT Therapist in this zip code”. I have found that having my specific training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been something that sets me apart from other practioners in the area. My philosophy is that I would rather be really good at one modality rather than “ok” at several. Some may see this as limiting to my practice, but I see it as growing my practice. I chose to see an orthopedic specialist for my tendinitis surgery rather than a general surgeon. Was I pleased with my results? Of course! My surgeon had done this procedure so many times he could practically do it in his sleep. All mind/body services should be treated the same way.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. I find this is extremely important. Email and websites can only tell us so much about each other. I can generally tell within the first 15 minutes if we will be a good fit for each other. If not, I will always offer a few referrals to colleagues or clinics I believe will be the best fit.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
We are constantly working on new issues at arise. I may have a client who feels stuck in her career and then accomplishes securing a new job. Once that new job comes, new issues will arise, which is a part of the discovery process. We may need to work more on confidence or assertiveness to succeed in order to move up in that new company.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
A planner! And scheduling EVERYTHING. Every Monday morning I write an “itinerary” of what needs to get done each day of the week. I allow extra time each day for “life happens” type things, but really make a conscious effort to stay on task with my schedule.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would have been more confident in the beginning. I would have asked for a fair fee and been ok with saying “This is my fee, if it does not work for you I can offer you referrals to a low fee clinic.” Luckily, I caught on quickly and was able to switch my mindset after being in practice for only one month!
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Taking every client that called! I was so eager to get clients when I first started I would take clients for almost nothing who couldn’t afford my fee. I was actually paying more in rent in the beginning than I was collecting in fees.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
- Facebook support groups 2. Your voice….networking with local business owners 3. A really detailed planner. I use the Passion Planner. It gives you space to write down your goals for the week/future and also room to journal. I took so many notes in the beginning. Every time I had an idea I would write it down.
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Genuine connections. I have found that connecting with other practioners in your field is one of the most valuable and free methods you can utilize. Meet with them and ask them to describe their specialty and ideal client and then you do the same. We all have different expertise and preferences. I may have a client with a young child who is dealing with school anxiety. I now have a list of other local practioners who I trust and admire and can then refer my client’s child to them. It’s all about complimenting one another’s work and thinking outside the box. That same client may also need family therapy, which I do not offer. I have another colleague I can refer the whole family to. Think outside the box even so far as your local hair stylist. A client may ask where I get my hair colored and I can refer them to that salon. Then my hair stylist may have a client who is spilling her life story in the salon chair and she can gently refer her client to me. Now again, these connections must be genuine and you need to be confident that who you are referring to can deliver exemplary services. One rule of thumb for me, if I would trust you working with my loved ones, I will refer someone to you.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
Taking a leap of faith and quitting my full time job to focus on building my practice. People thought I was crazy, leaving a stable paycheck to “maybe” grow my business. Well miracles come to those who work hard. Seven months later my practice is fully booked and continuing to grow.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Talenti Salted Caramel Gelato
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
I’m going to be honest. I am not too adventurous trying new food. But when I think exotic I think mango!
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Charleston, SC. I’ve always been in love with the quaint southern charm it encompasses. I love it so much my husband and I visited for our honeymoon.
Last book you read?
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. LIFECHANGING. I’ve read it several times.
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Hmmm this is a no brainer for me….pizza! Growing up in NY I have been exposed to so many different types of incredible pizza!
What is your go-to breakfast?
I’m a cereal and almond milk kinda girl! And coffee is a MUST. My day doesn’t officially begin until I’ve had my coffee.
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
The way that it can heal itself. When we are kind to our body it is kind back to us. When we fill it with toxic substances and self-hatred it does not run optimally. The most amazing thing is that it CAN repair itself even after a toxic time.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Freedom and creativity. My practice is evolving each day. I can try new techniques, add new services, and expand my expertise when I choose to. If I feel it is important to spend extra time and investment in one area, I have the freedom to do so. If I feel my niche is evolving, I can choose to only take new clients who fit that profile. Having the freedom to be creative only benefits my clients. I love seeing my clients grow with each session we have. It makes me feel like I’ve done my job when I hear them say “ I feel better, I feel I have more control in my life, good things are manifesting. I am ready to just come for monthly maintenance sessions. “ I love seeing clients leave my office inspired and ready to create change in their lives. When I see this, I can say I am truly making a difference.
Kate Crocco is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Therapist/Coach) based out of Fishkill, NY. You can find out more about her and her business, Kate Crocco Therapy, at katecroccotherapy.com.