All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 35: Wonderful & Terrifying: Use Your Fears As A Gas Pedal [Featuring Ken Clark]

Show Notes

Starting and Growing your business is scary, terrifying, and exciting.

Ken Clark and I talk about starting your private practice, when to grow and scale, and creating and fostering a culture of respect, appreciation, and leadership.

We talk about how growth doesn't always equate to financial success, how putting effective leadership in place is crucial, and how empowering your leadership to make decisions is vital.

We also talk about stepping into and embracing your fears, as well as using them as a Gas Pedal, not a Brake.

Ken owns Chenal Family Therapy and SemiPrivatePractice. He's grown his group practice from 1 employee to hundreds, all while implementing strategy, intentionality, and leading by example.

More about Ken Clark, LMFT, CEO of Chenal Family Therapy, Practice Coach at

With a reputation for confidentiality and extensive experience bringing collaboration to high-conflict environments, Ken has a unique ability to tap into the human elements behind complex situations and quickly move towards effective solutions.

When not leading his award-winning system of mental health clinics, he loves helping entrepreneurs and corporate leaders develop multi-year scaling strategies, working with family-owned businesses to manage change, and helping companies build better teams by developing talent optimization strategies.

He and his companies have been the winner of numerous awards including being ranked four times as one of America's fastest-growing companies by Inc. Magazine, Arkansas Business of the Year, Top 40 Business People Under 40 (Arkansas Business Publishing), and the Mentoring Excellence Award (The Investment News).

As both a CEO and a trained psychotherapist, Ken is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and media-friendly subject matter expert, and he welcomes conversations about helping you or your company.

Offer: 30 days free of Coffee With Ken (weekly Zoom call for practice owners) for solo or group practitioners (different times each week) 


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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!

would also like to thank Diversion Center for sponsoring this episode.

If you are looking to tap into a cool niche that can take your private practice to 6 figures or more, check out my guy Derek Collins at He helps licensed therapists expand their practice by working with court-mandated clients. So if you are burned out, and tired of writing notes and dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance abuse, shoplifting and theft prevention, and more.

This niche could be the breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to and watch the free webinar to get started.



PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone. If you are looking to tap into a cool new niche that can take your private practice to six figures or more, check out my guide, Derek Collins at

He helps licensed therapists expand their practices by working with court-mandated clients. So, if you are burnt out, tired of writing notes, dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance use, shoplifting, theft prevention, and more. This niche can be a breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to and watch the free webinar to get started. Remember that is

Hey, everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I am your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by Ken Clark. He is the owner of Chenal Family Therapy. He is also the owner and CEO, the Practice Coach at, LMFT. He has 21 locations between Arkansas and Texas, which is unbelievably impressive. And we are going to talk about entrepreneurial loneliness, scaling, CEO mindset, and whatever else comes up today. So, I appreciate you listening. And Ken, I really appreciate you making the time. You're a busy man.

KEN CLARK: It's felt a lot in the vein of loneliness, right? Like, I love this stuff, because it's the only time I really get to hang out with people that may be truly get what my journey is like, even though it might be different sizes. So, you all are my people. I'm glad to be here.

PATRICK CASALE: I'm glad to hear that. And I think you're right. I mean, a lot of us are just head down, working, all of a sudden the day is over and you haven't talked to anybody who isn't a client or someone that's a part of your business. And, you know, COVID has definitely changed things. And you and I wouldn't be sitting here probably without it. And I think it's really remarkable. So, can you just take us on your journey, man. It's impressive. You show up all over the place, in the group practice exchange, and offers so much support, and you clearly have become very successful and I think it's something that can be really inspiring for the clinician who's just leaving their agency job and doesn't know what the hell comes next.

KEN CLARK: Yeah, well, I don't know whether that changes. I mean, we're 225 employees and 12 million in revenue. And I don't know what the hell comes next. I was in one of those forums and somebody asked about what owning a group practice was like, and I think my comment was that it literally feels like you won the lottery the next day and a week later you feel like you're about to go bankrupt. And it's such a roller coaster time in our business for sure.

So, the quick backstory, in my former life I was a financial planner. So, I've always kind of been a numbers geek and did that. And it turned out I hated that job. Thought I wanted to do that all grown up, hated it, took a detour through youth work, did some youth mentoring type stuff, loved that, hated the paycheck. So, I went back to grad school in mid-2000s. And nighttime school in Southern California, I wasn't in Harvard or anything like that but was all taught by very practical, adjunct professors who are all in private practice. Like, my entire grad school experience was taught by private practice folks. So, it's really a unique experience in the sense that they always taught you what brought results, and what brought people back, and kind of had a little more practical mindset.

So, we were in Southern California, didn't want to raise our kids in that hustle and bustle, so we looked around the country for someplace to move and we picked Arkansas, Little Rock, because it had the most number of divorces and least number of therapists in the country. So, in other words, if you're going to go be a marriage therapist, shooting fish in a barrel, right? You're going to say something?

PATRICK CASALE: I'm just loving the intentionality behind that, like, the recognition that that's exactly how marketing works is understanding the analysis, and the clientele, and what they need, and filling the gap. So, that's really, really impressive.

KEN CLARK: Yeah, all along the way, I mean, I think that's something that we've had to force ourselves back to. It's so easy to throw money or energy at what seems like a cool vision. But if the numbers aren't there, it becomes tough to sustain.

So, we moved here, I chickened out on taking the licensing exam like four times, finally got around to taking it, started a solo practice in a subleased room, had no aspirations of growing a practice, ended up taking on an intern when I had no idea what I was doing. I was still a brand new clinician myself, right? But took on an intern and we literally shared the room. So, I'd see a client, she'd see a client, and then, somebody in my supervision group said, "Hey, I'm interested in private practice. How do you do that? Can I buy you lunch?" And he worked with kids and I said, "Why don't you just come see kids on Saturdays when I'm not there, and you can pay me some rent or whatever."

But pretty soon that's four or five people that were all kind of different specialties and that we're all working together and when you got that many people they kind of look to a leader, and that's my wiring, is to kind of create a direction. So, we became more intentional, again, I think what was accidental at first, probably like a lot of group practices are kind of accidental and I kept running into people who were at really lousy agency jobs, and burnout, and mistreated, and all that stuff.

So, kept glomming on folks. We were kind of a refugee camp for therapists. And then, it just kind of took on a life of its own, and then, somewhere along the way I had big moments of mentoring and getting into business, peer advisory, and coaching that I received that absolutely changed the course of it, saved the day at times, all that kind of stuff.

And so, now we're four-time, be a five-time Inc. 5000 company this year, fastest-growing company. We're about 12 million in revenue this year, about eight last year. So, I mean, we exploded again this year, 225 staff, 100,000 client interactions a year, and still figuring it out. There's still a lot of days where I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing actually. Nobody trains you for this stuff. So, it's wonderful and terrifying.

PATRICK CASALE: Maybe make that the title of this podcast episode, Wonderful and Terrifying. I hope that-

KEN CLARK: And I bored, I may die early, but I bored, so…

PATRICK CASALE: I can relate to that. And I think that, hopefully, for anyone listening this thinking about, "I don't feel competent, or I don't know what I'm doing, or I'm just like flying by the seat of my pants." That's not uncommon. You know, you're listening to a major success story right now. And thinking about how many clients you're helping throughout all of those interactions with all of these practices, supporting all of these therapists to have well-paying jobs, and it sounds like you really intentionally want to treat them well, it's really not a hard sell to attract therapists and clinicians in a group practice if you do those things right if you pay them well, you treat them well, and you have good leadership in place. And I think that's something you seem to talk about a lot, is just that culture that needs to be instilled in a practice, especially, of that size.

What are the things, you know, that you've noticed really work and people respond to you, and maybe you can tell us about some of the mistakes along the way and some of those learning experiences too.

KEN CLARK: You know, I think what's interesting, what's humbling about being a practice coach is you'll run into somebody from some other opposite end of the country with, you know, three or four clinicians and they're building something, and they pitch you on this great idea that they have to build something different, where clinicians are treated with dignity, it kind of feels like private practice, yada, yada, yada. And you're sitting there as a coach going, "Wait, that was my idea, you know?"

One of the things that I think a lot of us are recognizing is the idea of a better place to work in our industries is not unique. Like, there's a lot of us that are like-minded and have come up with this on our own and together, so that is not what has been the X factor, I think, for us, because I think a lot of you listening have that vision and I applaud it.

What has been hard is dealing with… our industry is in a state of flux that most industries are not. There's never been an easier time to leave Patrick or Ken's practice and go start your own practice. You don't quit the Ford factory and go start your own car factory, you don't you don't quit Trader Joe's and go start your own Trader Joe's. All you need is therapy notes for simple practice subscription, hope you get paid on that one. And, you know, and a little bit of guts and some clients to follow you, and you've got a viable business.

So, as a group practice owner, keeping your head on straight with what is a revolving door right now in our industry, that's been the X factor, because it's so easy to get afraid. And I get afraid a lot, so easy to get afraid, and reactive, and punitive, and cynical, especially, when… and maybe in group practice around for a couple of years, you'll find that when people leave, they create narratives that help them make sense of leaving, and they usually don't paint you in the best light, and you're thinking, "Holy cow, I lit myself on fire for this person." You know? So, just not becoming an angry cynic, learning how to let go and let people be on their journeys and not take it personally has been huge.

One book I would recommend that really changed the way I saw that is a book called Super Bosses. I think the guy's name is Finkelstein. But just this idea of if you're doing a great job your people are going to both leave to do their own thing and get recruited away. That's proof that you built a good place not proof that you built a bad place. So, just working through that… I mean, people say that work is not personal, that's the biggest lie there ever is, man. Everything I am is wrapped around this, so when somebody tells me the coffee sucks, you know, it's hard to not register that as a failure. 

And I couldn't do without peer advisory, without hanging out with other practice owners, other business owners, a spouse who talks me off a ledge a month, all that kind of stuff.

PATRICK CASALE: A lot of that is just so practical and powerful too to think about leadership in that way. And I think I see a lot of people who feel maybe the opposite where it feels like a lot of insecurity, a lot of feelings of abandonment and rejection, or like how did someone not appreciate what I had to offer them? And I think you're spot on, you know? When I've started my group and I started thinking, "Why me? Why are people going to come work for me if they could go work for themselves?" And I'm pretty intentional about asking that.

But I also want to encourage and support them to eventually do their own thing if they want to do that, because I wouldn't want to operate in a different way, because I think that creates some lingering resentment on their part, and maybe the desire to leave from day one if I tell them, "Hey, I've got a non-compete, you can't leave, these are my rules and objectives." And I just want to empower them to do good work. I believe that that feels like good leadership in a lot of ways, and just being transparent, and walking the walk too.

But I do ask myself, you know, I have some clinicians where I'm like, "Why the hell are they still here?" You know, a year in, they're flourishing, they're thriving, everything is always done correctly. But I just want to, you know, acknowledge that and always show that appreciation, too.

And you're right, we get so wrapped up in this because we spend so much time and we're so invested. And I think that can really hurt sometimes if it's like, oh, this wasn't run properly, or like you said, the coffee sucks, or, you know, we don't have enough two-ply toilet paper in the bathroom, and you're like, "I'm trying to do everything I can to make sure that this is a viable venture." And it sounds like you have a lot of intentionality behind what you do. And I would imagine you have to, to be able to scale that much and to grow that big.

KEN CLARK: Yeah, it's probably part intentionality, part stupidity, part narcissist, like, it's cluster B, and a few too many, you know, blows to the head grown-up or something. But the reality is, I think most entrepreneurs are, I mean, one of the running jokes is were smart enough to dream it up and dumb enough to believe you can actually pull it off and that takes that mix sometimes. I think from, you know, the point of view of culture and stuff like that, you talked about non-competes, we dispensed with non-compete years ago.

Our industry Patrick and I'm preaching to the choir, I know you know this, it's filled with some of the most unhealthy people or at least people acting in unhealthy ways, I guess, it's maybe a fair way to say it, but that can happen to any of us when we get into leadership, right? That kind of absolute power corrupts.

And so, you know, the non-competes, the holding on to people, the scarcity mentality, it works until it eats you alive, you know? It works until it consumes the business. And so, we dispensed with those years ago and we believe that we have to live what we sell, which is acceptance, and if people's journeys lead them out, we need to accept that.

And by the way, when they take their clients with them, clients only stay 12 sessions, 16 sessions, 20 sessions, if you're lucky. Like, what are you actually even fighting over, you know? So, I think a lot of that, I'll tell you that as a CEO it is imperative that you continue to do your own work, because we can become so unhealthy so quick. You can get so eco-chambered, and bitter, and resentful, and confused about why things happen, can't read your own label from outside the jar, you know?

PATRICK CASALE: I like that. I agree 100% that, you know, our profession has a surplus of very, you know, people who are struggling with their own mental health and maybe haven't worked through it. And it definitely shows up in your business, and how you run it, and how you approach it. And you're right, scarcity versus abundance mentality, having that same fearfulness of, "If I don't have a non-compete if I don't let people leave in a certain way if I want to retain the clients."

Like, I just think that leads to such bitterness and such self-implosion and destruction of like, I believe the client should just follow the therapist if they have rapport and if they don't have rapport that's okay. And you will then be able to hire a new therapist to take that spot. And maybe you've learned from those interactions along the way, instead of saying, like, I'm just fearful that people are going to leave. I see the same mentality, and I'm sure you do too, around like the platforms, right? Like the better helps, the talk spaces, the Walgreens therapists now.

It's like a lot of group practice owners are pretty fearful that it's going to really destroy their businesses. And I just don't see it that way, because I think there's a difference in terms of how things are run and how things are operated. And if they take clients great, but that doesn't mean there's not more people who are looking for help. We're in a fucking mental health pandemic.



KEN CLARK: Well, and one of the things that we see in our practice, or I say in our practice, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:17] repeat it but everybody's going to leave this practice eventually including me, you know? And it may be for a better job or in a box. Nobody's indispensable. There's CEOs that run companies out there like our size longer than me, so they would be better at it, right?

So, this infinite mentality is toxic, right? Therapists leave, maybe you won't hire another therapist, maybe you'll go out of business, and, by the way, it'll be fine. Like, I had to come to terms, that's the only way I can operate on the high wire that I operate on is by having a fuckup plan. If it all burns to shit, if they all leave at once and stick me with 50,000 hours a month in leases, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go be a Lyft operator in Snowmass, Colorado and live for happy hour half-price appetizers and spend the rest of my life being, you know, bankrupt and have my paycheck garnished and it'll be okay. And I think if you can't operate with that level of acceptance at the downside, then all your decisions becomes so reactive and survival-based, you know? And that was a big pivot for me. It still scares me.

But, you know, we've done poor as a family, we've done struggling, you know? And I'm a good therapist, and could go sit in a room by myself, again, and by the way, it's a short life, you know? One of the things we say a lot if you ever hear me talk about, some of the keynotes I give around like the future of the industry. Like, I don't think our industry will exist in 40 years in anything that resembles the way it is now. And it's not going to be the better helps of the world, it's going to be gosh.elon and his neuro link. You'll, you know, adjust your serotonin on your phone in 40 years. So, you know, and the last guy making buggy whips thought he was a genius kind of thing. So, we say that you got to prepare for the death of your current model.

The job of a CEO is to constantly pivot and read the horizon. And if it ends at some point, you know, we'll have done three, four, or 500,000 hours of mental health. I will have employed a lot of people, we'll have launched a lot of entrepreneurs. And, you know, I'll be asking people at the end of the day, do you want whipped cream with your Sunday? You know, like, it's okay, it's a short life, and I try to not take it too seriously. I'm not great at it all the time, but so…

PATRICK CASALE: I'm trying to let that sink in, because I love that perspective and I operate from the same way. And I just think it's so valuable for people to hear that we can do other things, God forbid, this comes crashing down. And inevitably, it will, right? Like, this career is really hard to be sustainable long term in a lot of ways, anyway, given what we absorb and go through on a daily basis, let alone just we have different interests, we pivot. Entrepreneurs are changing their minds a lot of the time. I even believe in clinical work of working myself out of the job constantly.

So, I start from day one, you know, knowing that I should not be dependent on the client, and then client should definitely not be dependent on me for them to be able to get through the week on their own. So, I just think that it's a good perspective. And you're right, like the era of psychotherapy is changing right now. I think people are embracing personality more so more often, authenticity, not, you know, being robotic and a sounding board, but at the same time in 40 years, you're right, things are going to look very different.

And we have skills that are applicable elsewhere. And I think we forget about that a lot of the time too. I always think I can go back to bartending if I really fucking had to, it's basically therapy without the [CROSSTALK 00:17:31].

KEN CLARK: …you're allowed to do you do that.

PATRICK CASALE: So, I mean, there's plenty of options and I like that you look at it that way. And I think that's what creates successful CEOs and leaders, in general. One thing I wanted to ask you-

KEN CLARK: [CROSSTALK 00:17:47] be the next crop of CEOs, you're going to start to see more and more people with our background and training rise through the ranks of non-mental health corporations. The reality is the businesses that don't automate completely at some point still rely on humans and humans are their biggest cost, and their biggest profit center, and people that understand how to not just lead but connect, and care for, and be vulnerable with, and all that stuff, that's who we want to follow. That's who will get you to make more widgets or march into battle.

So, I think, you know, for a while, if you wanted to be a CEO, you got a management degree, and then, an accounting degree was a big deal. Right now, human resource, you know, CHROs, Chief Human Resource Officers are getting promoted into the CEO seat faster than ever before. Well, that bodes really well, you know?

My son's in college. The college he's going to has a JD/MSW program. You can become a lawyer and a social worker at the same time, you know? He wants to be a lawyer. I'm like, "Dude, you got to do that. You can probably work in management at just about any company." Like, that's a powerful combination, understanding the letter of the law and the complexity of humans, you know?

PATRICK CASALE: What program is that just out of curiosity?

KEN CLARK: That's at University of Arkansas [INDISCERNIBLE 00:19:11]. But yeah, they got to it. And I brought it up to other people, they were like, "Yeah, our law school just added that or whatever." But yeah, JD/MSW, it's like you add one extra year and, you know, I mean, that's who should run a company like mine, not me.

PATRICK CASALE: I think that's such a good point, you know? And also, you know, I was having this exact same conversation with Dr. Jenna Robinson the other day on the podcast of like, that's where the future of mental health is going. And if you can realize the strengths, and the skill sets, and the assets that you have without thinking about working within one-on-one therapy world, right, there are so many things that people can do and people can accomplish if they can really understand how those skills are useful in all areas of life. And I think we just lose sight of that so often because a lot of us can't see the forest for the trees, you know? We leave our agency jobs, we go into private practice, we're fearful, we're insecure, we're anxious. Maybe we become successful, open a group, maybe we become a coach. And I think the possibilities don't start to become possibilities until you have more clarity and more understanding.

And like you said, surrounding yourself with mentorship and colleagues who are doing similar things, who can build you up and offer that perspective, because if we exist in an echo chamber, we don't really grow.

KEN CLARK: No, that's completely right. There's a bunch of, well, I'm in a peer… my peers call it business therapy, because none of them are therapists. But it's a peer advisory group called Vistage. It's similar to YPO or some of these things. One day a month for eight hours, and we basically sit in a circle and chew on each other's problems, and more importantly, the person at the center of the problem. And you get to hear all great speakers in there. And somebody recently in there was talking about, like, one of the number one statistical traits that they find in Fortune 500 CEOs that are making a difference for their companies is the amount that they read on a daily basis, right?

It points back to perpetual learners, people who don't exist in the echo chamber, people who are obsessed with their blind spots and want to know what they're missing. It's not that they don't fail, it's that they're able to harness failure, learn from it, apply stuff, and pivot far more than people who just want to dig their heels in and believe the world is flat, you know?

PATRICK CASALE: And there are a lot of those people, surprisingly.

KEN CLARK: And again, if rising required podcasts like yours, and I run weekly support group for owners, like, all these things, they're crucial. You can't do this by yourself. That's a dumb, westernized notion, you know? So…

PATRICK CASALE: It really is and so many of us have this paralyzing perfectionism or I have to do it alone mentality, because that shows weakness, I can't fail. I think failure is so humbling and so necessary, and important. And I can't think of anything I've ever tried where I've leaped and not made a mistake, not failed at one time, but then you're right, learning, blind spot recognition, just really making sure that you approach it with a different mentality the next go around.

And I want to normalize fear and failure in the world of being an entrepreneur, because it's fucking scary. I don't go through a day of being a practice coach or a group practice owner where I don't have some anxiety or fearfulness, because we're constantly being, you know, put in the light. And I think that creates a lot of insecurity for people, that visibility.

KEN CLARK: Well, and I think it's really crucial to say that, you know, when you get somebody with 10, or 12 therapists, or 200, what I think happens, I get these folks all the time as coaching clients and work hard to, you know, remove this notion, but the answer is, "I want to grow, so I can stop being afraid." You know? And my wife gives me a lot of shit. She remembers moments where I say, "If we could just get to 150 clients a week then we'll be good." You know? And now we're 2300, or something a week. And she's like, "When did it stop?" You know, but in my mind, if we got to 150 weeks, and there'd be enough money running through the business, and I could see a few less clients, then I wouldn't be afraid.

You know, there's this point where she or I thought, if we could just get over this hump, then there'll be no fear. And I see practice owners all time that they attempt to scale because they think there's going to be safety on the other side of it. And all it is, is a higher payroll, you know, more money moving around. You know, when your payroll is 250, $350,000 every two weeks, it exponentially scary compared to, you know, 20 grand or something.

So, that belief that somehow scaling will lower the fear, actually, propels people into scarier situations. And if we could just normalize like, you're always going to be afraid, we're all not wanting to be wounded, we're all not wanting to be humiliated, then maybe we wouldn't grow just for the sake of growing?

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely and how many people listening or that you know of that are "successful" took the leap anyway, were scared, they pushed through it. I like the analogy of, don't let fear be a break, but let it be a gas pedal. And, you know, you're right. I mean, the more you grow, the more open you are to being vulnerable, and that creates some insecurity. I mean, it allows to have a little bit more liability, too.

I also see a lot of group practice owners, this is a two-part thing, because I was actually talking with one of my coaching clients about you the other day with the comment of like, do you go from eight therapists, because when you get past eight what's the next level, right? Like, where does it stop? And I think that very much for myself, where I'm like, okay, I started with one, five was the goal, and now it's 12. When do we stop? Like, when's the growth, you know, come to an end?

But I also see a lot of group practice owners who come to me for coaching who want to start group practices, they're very successful private practice owners. I ask them why they want to start a group practice and a lot of the time it's like, "I just have so many client referrals coming in, I want to refer in instead of out." And I say, "Do you want to be a boss? Do you want to be a leader? What are some of your values? What's the culture going to look like?" And a lot of them are like, "No, I don't want to do any of that." And I always advise, "Well, maybe it's worth pivoting into coaching or some other side venture that doesn't involve managing and supporting other individuals who are doing this work within your business." So, I want to know your thoughts on that, if you don't mind?

KEN CLARK: Well, yeah, one, there's some pretty famous statistics out there. You can find them I think in the book called Scaling Up. That is a good book on all industries. But, you know, the stats are somewhere around eight to 10 people under you becomes unmanageable. Like, you can't do your job and properly mentor and provide accountability to those people, so…

You know, there's a pinch point that I see in most practices in somewhere around 20 people where you now have to hire admin, more admin, then then you've got revenue coming in at that point to be able to manage the next level of growth. And so, that's where I see a lot of people's they've gotten themselves into this, like 20, 25 clinician practice and not panic mode.

A couple thoughts there, one, the need is never-ending and the altruist in all of us will die trying to meet the need if we're not careful. You just cannot meet the need. And that's kind of one of those, like, don't set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. Like, somewhere in there you got to do that. I really encourage people to Google and spend some time thinking about right sizing, you know, like, in the end, what's the workable number for your family, and aim for that first, maybe add enough to your bottom line to be able to hire replacement if he fell down the stairs.

But then, when you're there then decide what's the merit to your point, Patrick, of growing more? Do I really want to do this? And there's a lot of other ways to support, you know, like you go help other people be business owners instead of taking it all on yourself. I mean, the problem is, I think a lot of us that are entrepreneurs have some level of trauma in our past that make us uniquely prone to this. Like, I'm one of them, you know? There's just a lot of bullied kids that entrepreneurship was the first thing that we were really good at and the best feedback loop that we found. And I got way more friends now than I ever did in high school or middle school, but with one catch, right? I got to keep making sure they got a great job.

So, there's some ego and stuff, and not in a bad way, but an attachment way that gets wrapped around this and all that really needs to be in check before you grow or under the microscope.

There's two or three points where we grew where I should have stopped, that there's no doubt I should have stopped. And it was the rescuer in me that is carrying wounds from my own childhood that carried me past the point of sanity and the growth again, and you know, we pulled it off so far, but I wouldn't recommend it, you know? So, I think that there's a lot of merit to what you're saying.

I think one of the things I recommend is the thing that launched me into coaching was something I got to share on Maureen's…. one of her calls way back when on the group practice exchanges, you need to know your exit from day one. Like, whether it's one, or eight, or 200, like, how do you get off Mount Everest, right? Like, most of the bodies on Mount Everest are facing downhill, right? They were trying to get off the stinking mountain. And as a practice owner, you always need to be thinking about your exit. Whether it's one, or 10, or 100 clients, they're clinicians, so keep all that stuff in mind, get lots of consultation, talk to lots of people who have done it to make sure you want to do it. It's not all that it's cracked up to be. And yet for those of us that have pulled it off, we probably wouldn't pick anything else either. But it ain't easy.

PATRICK CASALE: So well said, I hope everyone can soak that in, and hear that, and really, really take it in and think about it. There are many days where I think to myself, "What the fuck am I doing." But I agree with you that I probably wouldn't want things to be going any other way. And I'm just that type of person like working towards the next thing obsessively, and it's hard to take it in sometimes. I think that's my own attachment ship unit and working very hard through that doing some IFS work, that's been super helpful. But, yeah.

KEN CLARK: Yeah, back in my Clubhouse days, you know, I got the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:29:07] Clubhouse at the front end of the pandemic. I went through like a three-month stretch on Clubhouse, that social media app, I didn't sleep at night, but it's like live chat, and even kids of the 80s we remember like chat lines. It's like a chat line.

So, you get in these business rooms. I was in there with listening to this one guy speak and a very successful guy and he said, "You know, the reality is if you have 50 good days a year as an entrepreneur, you'll be a millionaire." And that's an attractive thing until you think about the math on that, because that means about 300 really shitty days. And I'm not sure that's not inaccurate, right? Like, far more days than not I wake up [INDISCERNIBLE 00:29:46] you know? You get an hour like this once in a while where you get to toot your own horn or whatever, but it's a hard gig. You know, it can cost you a marriage, it can lead you to maladaptive coping mechanisms, you know? I've got entrepreneurial weight and probably an entrepreneurial liver. So, you know, are you sure you really want to do it?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that's perfectly said. I think that I wake up so many times now with so many different people messaging me and responsibility, you know? I start my day and I'm like, "Oh, shit, I've got to start my day not looking at my phone for a half an hour, you know?" Like, messages from my group practice, coaching clients, my VA, and I'm like, "All right, I got to take a break, got to go walk the dogs." Which is not relaxing, either, it's just a different type of stressing. But yeah, this is great information.

And for everyone listening, I hope this was helpful because Ken brings a very unique perspective. And if you're trying to grow, if you're trying to scale, if you want to become a CEO or a leader, try really hard to embrace what Ken is saying, because it's so invaluable right now. And I think it's really well said, and obviously, the success and the results speak for themselves.

Ken, I really do appreciate you making the time, and yeah, just tell the audience like where they can find more of Ken, coaching, group practice, anything you've got going on?

KEN CLARK: Yeah, well, I mean, if you're anywhere in Arkansas and Texas, we'd always love to talk about working with you if you're looking for a fun place to work. But for anybody else, I run two calls a week. It's kind of like paid therapy for me. But we do a Zoom call on Thursdays for group practice owners and one for solo practice owners, that is commiseration, collaboration, here's what's working in my practice, it's topical, so you can find that and a bunch of other kind of self-study stuff on our practice coaching website, which is or find us on Facebook. We've got the Semi Private Practice Facebook group, and the No Surprises Act Facebook group, which is my runaway surprise hit, 16,000 members in three weeks, four weeks. So, there you go. But yeah, come hang out. We'd love the company.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I appreciate you starting that No Surprise group. And God, what a shit show that two weeks was for everybody in the therapist community. And now it's like, "Yeah, it still exists, but it doesn't exist, right?" It's like, we're still worrying about it, we're still dealing with it, but it's not on the forefront anymore for a lot of us. So, thank you for being one of those people who were supporting a lot of those anxious questions and just a lot of uncertainty.

KEN CLARK: I mean, it's funny, we went from 1000members a day joining to 50, so at the end of the month it'll pivot and it'll become a broad compliance one for therapists, HIPAA, ADA, all that kind of stuff. So, come hang out and our motto is No Lawsuits, No Jumpsuits, so come brainstorm on how to not go to court or jail, so…

PATRICK CASALE: I might use that as the podcast episode. You've given me so many good lines, man. Ken, I appreciate you coming on and for everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, you can find more information at, the All Things Private Practice Facebook group if you want individual or group coaching for starting your business or growing your business. Every episode comes out on a Monday. We're releasing new episodes every week having really real conversations with different people in the industry who are doing really great things outside the box. We will see you next week.


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