Episode 60: Mixing Creativity, Mental Health, & Corporations [featuring Azizi Marshall]
What do corporations, mental health, creativity, and fun have in common?
In this episode, I talk with Azizi Marshall, LCPC, board-certified trainer in drama therapy, group practice owner, and the owner of Revolutionize Your Private Practice.
We talk about...
- how she used rocks (yes, the ones you find on the ground) to market her business
- how to use creativity to bring awareness to mental health and art therapy
- how to be visible with marketing when you're an introvert
- how LinkedIn was the best tool for her business and connecting with corporate clients
- how she created a name for her practice in the corporate world and what it's like to work with corporate clients
- why and when it can actually be good to say no to big corporate contracts
- and more
More about Azizi:
Azizi Marshall is a leading mental health and workplace wellness expert teaching businesses around the world how to create and sustain the healthiest, most successful versions of their business possible – by actively engaging employees, leaders and business owners through interactive trainings and creative wellness programs; engaging the whole business.
Azizi Marshall is the Founder & CEO of the Center for Creative Arts Therapy, an arts-based psychotherapy practice and training center in Chicago.
In a world flooded with burnt out employees, high turnover rates, and mental health dis-information, Azizi’s creative mental health approach and straightforward business advice draw thousands of inspired clients to her work. Best known for her fun and accessible approach to mental health, she’s built a wellness empire from scratch on her laptop and across the globe. Hundreds of businesses have had success using her online programs, such as Mental Health @ Work and Sexual Harassment 101, and her in-person speaking engagements and trainings on topics such as Crisis Resolution, Anger Management, Burnout Prevention, Resilience, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management, Uncovering Implicit Bias, and Creative Self Care to name a few.
Azizi is delightfully changing the way the world views mental health. She speaks on stages around the world and mentors scores of heart-led businesses each year to enhance their employees’ quality of life AND their business. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board Certified Trainer in Creative Arts Therapy and accomplished author, cultivating a lifestyle of freedom and emotional wellness is her life’s passion.
Azizi holds graduate degrees in community mental health AND theatre. She has been featured in Oprah Magazine, CNN, NBC News, Thrive Global, Bustle, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Glancer Magazine. She speaks on stages and podcasts regularly throughout the country on mental health and Creative Arts Therapy, and guest posts on national news articles about workplace wellness and creativity.
Azizi's Website: https://www.azizimarshall.com/revolutionize-your-practice-retreat
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.
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PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by Azizi Marshall. She is an LCPC, and also, a certified or licensed drama therapy instructor. I think I just butchered that really badly, a group practice owner and the owner of Revolutionize Your Private Practice. We're going to talk a lot about getting corporate clients in the door. We're going to talk about how to incorporate creativity and art into your practices, in your businesses, and really, really happy to have you on here. And how did I butcher that, by the way?
AZIZI MARSHALL: So, it's a board-certified trainer in drama therapy. So, you were close, you were close.
PATRICK CASALE: The concept was there, the name escaped me. I was just thinking, I was like, "Oh, man, why did I not write that down?" But it's really nice to have you on and I'm excited to talk about this today.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, thanks for having me on.
PATRICK CASALE: So, tell me a little bit, you know, I've been following your Facebook and a lot of what you've been doing recently. And one thing that stood out to me that we can talk about, that I was really excited to see was, like, that whole concept that you had, where you, and I think it was your children, like, painted on rocks and put them all throughout your community. And you ended up on the news, did you not?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, we did. It was one of those just happenstance conversations we were having in our admin team meeting about how to bring awareness to mental health, and also, tie it into what we do as creative arts therapists. So, we were like, "Well, therapy rocks and… Because we think of music and music therapy, so what about rocks? And how can we gorilla market this whole thing and bring people more to the center and bring more awareness to mental health?"
And we decided on painting these rocks green and putting a cool QR code so people can hashtag therapy rocks and get entered into a raffle. And it just kind of blew up with the local news. And they were really excited.
And after that, we had other people reaching out saying, "Hey, can we bring that to this neighborhood and into this neighborhood?" So, we have plans in the works for next year. But it was a lot of fun being able to do that and bring awareness to mental health.
PATRICK CASALE: That's awesome. I saw that and I was like, "Wow." Not only do I think that idea is amazing, but it just looked like such a cool creative way to get your name and to expose, you know, mental health even more to the community at large and spend time with your kids. I imagine you just had them, like, helping you placing these things all over the community that you live in?
AZIZI MARSHALL: They did, yeah. I had to bribe them with pizza and Starbucks, so it worked out really well for me. They were pulling the cards, and distributing them, then they'd say, "I'm so tired." And I said, "Well, let's think about, you know, why we're doing this." So, I sprinkled in some purpose-driven type of incentives as well. And yeah, they loved it. It was a good memory to have with them, for sure.
PATRICK CASALE: How long did it take you to… I don't even know how many rocks you painted. But how long did that take you to get that all set up to be able to go and like, distribute those?
AZIZI MARSHALL: I want to say if you weren't breaking it down into breaks, actually, it was probably five full days of nonstop work, spraying… you know, cleaning the rocks, spray painting them, and you have to let them dry, and then, putting the stickers on. I had my team showing up to my house, coming into my garage, and putting stickers on intermittently. And like, "Please help me, come to my house." So, it worked out really, really well. It was definitely a team effort for that one.
PATRICK CASALE: Nice. And I imagine that there's been some return on that investment of those five days of like putting that together?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, absolutely. I made a new friend who's a producer for a local TV station here. And we're working on an event coming up in October. So, because of that, because she interviewed me, we're now, I would say, we're now, I can't say we're besties, but we're friends at this point.
PATRICK CASALE: Very cool. And for those of you listening, I mean, there are so many cool, creative ways to get your business out there. I think so many therapists have this understanding, like, "The only way to get my business out there is to network. I hate networking. I don't want to do it. I don't know what else to do. I'll just reshare some social media graphics that somebody else created. And hopefully, clients will find me." The answer's like, "Yeah, that's probably not going to happen."
So, can you talk a little bit about, you mentioned just creativity and business ownership. And that seems to be a passion of yours. How that really blends well together to get clients coming in the door, to get businesses, like, really more aligned with your values too?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, I'd have to… I'll definitely jump on that because I am 100% introvert, and so, I'm the same. Networking events, I can do them. I have to prepare for them, and then, when I'm done, I'm literally like, "Nobody talked to me. Please just don't even make eye contact. I just need to go back in my bubble."
So, to be able to do something that harnesses social media, because then, you know, you're interacting with yourself, basically, in that time when you're making your videos and things, and you're hoping that what you're putting out there that's authentically you connects with the people that you want to work with. And I've noticed that when I can just show up as me, and not, I guess, tire myself out with the networking and being in person all the time, it really helps bring people in.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that's really important. Like, if you can get aligned with who you are, and make it really authentic, and fun too, then promoting your business, promoting the things that you're creating, I think it feels a lot more enjoyable instead of feeling like I've got to sit down one at a time with therapists or whoever in my community and talk about myself. Like, I don't want to do that.
And what you did in five days clearly shows that your team at your group practice is also bought in, which means that you've probably created a culture where people enjoy working at your group practice. And in order to do that, a lot of things have to go right. And that also means that you have a great mind in terms of being a visionary, in terms of doing things differently.
And for the therapists listening or even entrepreneurs listening, there are so many cool, creative, like things that you can do to get your business out into the world to share the things that you've worked really freaking hard on without having to do the grinding, like grueling effort of like, reaching out, being vulnerable, asking if someone wants to meet for coffee, etc. But those five days were labor intensive, like you said, but they're going to be… there's going to be a return on investment, because people in your community found these things and I imagine you started to see calls really increase quite a bit after that.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, we definitely saw calls increase. And even just the news coverage alone was astronomical, as far as people going, "Oh, oh, I can see you." Especially, with telehealth too. You know, it crossed those boundaries that we haven't been able to serve people and some more people have been able to find us. And so, that was awesome.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, talk about accessibility to care, just getting it out there that like, yeah, it's as easy as just a click of a button. And then, here, you and I are sitting here and talking together and, and communicating in that way, and we can help you with your mental health support. So, have you had to hire since that time? Because I was just curious about like, how much of an increase in contacts did you all get after that?
AZIZI MARSHALL: We have had to hire, we're at that point where we're really determining how much we want to grow. And I like a smaller group practice. And I've seen my colleagues do the multi-site places. And I feel like that's not where I want to be with my team, because I want my team to be tiny but mighty, basically. And that's really helped in the corporate wellness place, because then I know that anyone who I send out to work with our corporate clients is going to be super strong. And so, I don't have to worry, well, I don't know who's so and so who's working in this building yet I haven't even met up. So, it really helps to know my team and their strengths, and then, put them in the corporate contracts that fits them.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, sounds like a lot of focus on intentionality, then. And we're talking, you know, quality over quantity in terms of hiring and in terms of culture, too. That's really important to create a cohesive group.
Talk about the corporate wellness side of your business and the things that you do, because I know a lot of people listening are thinking, how can I do more, you know, get in front of more corporate clients? How can I obtain more contracts? How can I become someone who is not solely reliant upon my SEO, and my Google ads, and my Psych Today profile page, but really trying to get innovative in terms of how you get in front of the right people?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, I'd say this is where the introverts are going to cringe a little bit, because it is a lot of networking, it really is. Getting actively involved in your local chamber helps a lot, especially, if you're in the right groups. So, if there's a business-to-business leads group, you definitely want to join that and it takes time. It's more of a marathon than a sprint.
So, the connections I've made two years ago when I started networking more with a business-to-business now, just now they're saying, "Oh, I think we're ready now for that contract." So, it's been two years of, "Oh, here's an article that I found and this is great." And, "Oh, by the way, you should come to this talk that I'm giving."
And it's just been that continued connection I have. Some of them were even at our Labor Day party. So, like, my husband and I are very intentional on, oh, yeah, okay, who do we want leads from, but then also, who do we want to, you know, drum together with during our Labor Day party? And so, we invite people, just business colleagues so then they can get to know us on a personal level, because that's really what it is. It's not just a cold call saying, "Hey, I want to train your team." It's more of a, "Hey, you know me, and you know, I'm going to support your people because you know what type of person I am."
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and you trust me, right? Like, that's a big part of this too. If you're going to be spending this amount of money on a contract for us to do this thing, then it's important that you know me and that you trust that I'm going to do a good job and deliver the product.
And I like that you said that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Like, I get it. For all of you that are introverted I do understand that the cringy like nature of, "Oh, my God, I have to put myself out there." But it really is fostering and developing those relationships, right? Like, it's really nurturing them. It's not going into these with an ulterior motive, it's more so like, I can benefit you and there's probably ways that you can benefit me, and then, we can both win at the same time.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah. And I'd say for the introverts too what has helped me is being very active on LinkedIn for those corporate accounts. So, I had somebody, actually, several people reach out to me who are in HR, HR as HR consultants, and they've seen just randomly the posts that I've been putting out there. And they remember, because that's all I talk about on LinkedIn. And so, they have reached out to me, "Hey, do you do this by chance? I have a client who's interested?" "Absolutely, I do." And it's just because they've seen the stuff that I've put out on LinkedIn. So, LinkedIn takes a lot longer to make those connections. But it is possible to do it that way.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that you just named that, because I've talked with other people on here before about how you can't really show up everywhere in terms of your social media marketing, you have to be really strategic. I mean, I guess you could be everywhere, but it is helpful to be more strategic and honed in.
And if you're going to really focus on corporate clients, if you're going to focus on people who are in positions of leadership, or entrepreneurialship, or business owners, I mean, LinkedIn is probably the place to be, it's probably not going to be Facebook, it's probably not going to be TikTok, it's probably not going to be Instagram. So, it's really good to hear that. And if you can sort through all the, like, cold call DMs into your LinkedIn inbox of like, "Hey, I'm a person that can do this thing for you. How do you want to give it a shot?" I think I have like 5000 of those right now.
But that's good to hear that that's successful for you in terms of what you're building? Do you… I don't know a whole lot about your history here. But coming out of grad school, I imagine, you didn't envision sitting here like, hey, I've done all of this, you know, as you were graduating?
AZIZI MARSHALL: I did, but I did. I knew where I wanted to be. And I remember going back to books that I had, you know, all my notebooks that I had, future plans and goals. And I recently looked back at them with my mom when she came to visit. And I was like, "I've done this, I've created this program, I've created this training, I've done videos, I've done all the things that I wanted to do." And now it's at the point of where do I want to go from here and what's the impact that I want to make as I continue to make those ripples.
PATRICK CASALE: That's really cool to hear, because so many of us, I think, in grad school were just kind of like, "Yeah, I just want to become a therapist, and I don't really know where else to go other than community mental health and I don't really have any plans." So, it sounds like you were pretty entrepreneurial throughout all of that time when you were in school and just thinking about, like, what could I be doing with this degree?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, and I have to thank my parents for that, actually, because they were, I was a child, the product of two therapists, parents, so you can kind of imagine what that was like growing up, as well as them both being trained in the group psychotherapy method of psychodrama. And so, like, whenever we had an issue, I always joke like, we would act it out. We wouldn't just talk about it, we would act things out to, like, process any sort of challenge.
And that really helps because I watched both of my parents in different roles. You know, my mom was very much the advocate, she was the one that was doing all of these law changes and things, and then, you know, more in that community focus where my father was more of the entrepreneur. And so, he was also a chef as his side gig, and just watching him kind of hustle with that, and just seeing how much joy it brought him to not just be a therapist, but also, do these other things that brought him joy.
PATRICK CASALE: That's wonderful to see and be able to witness and like, it sounds like that's really helped develop your outlook on terms of the businesses that you're creating too. And is there a major influence there with the arts, having that degree or that certification, being able to incorporate that into your businesses, into your goals, into your visions? How does that kind of play a role?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, so we talk about our mission at the Center for Creative Arts Therapy, is that we want to be the go-to resource for anything creative arts therapy. So, we're building upon that. And it really comes from the work that I did with my dad, with him being trained in psychodrama. And I was a theater kid growing up. So, we worked really close with the American Red Cross and did educational theater going out.
And as teenagers, you know, putting together these plays and performing them at the schools and in different organizations to talk about, at the time it was huge to talk about HIV/AIDS, to talk about domestic violence, substance abuse, and so, we'd have these performances, and then, have the talkbacks with the students. And they would ask questions, and then us as youth talking to other youth, we were able to make deeper connections than if it were a group of adults performing. And I just remember that being such an influence in my life in not only the performance piece, but also, the creation with my fellow teammates.
And so, I wanted to make sure that I'm bringing that, the arts into whatever I do, even though corporate contracts too, that's why they choose to work with us is it's, we're not just coming in and doing a PowerPoint, we're actually engaging around roleplay, getting in there. And so, I think that's what really drives me to continue moving forward is that the arts can connect with people in so many different ways than we're even aware of. So, I like to be able to bring that into those corporate contracts,
PATRICK CASALE: That definitely feels like it sets it apart too, in terms of like, hey, I can come and lecture your staff for three hours or like, hey, we can have some experience, and actually movement, and actually participate, and have these scenarios and vignettes. I think I would be a lot more engaged if that was the case, instead of the ones that I've had to sit through where I'm like, "Oh, my God, I got to get the fuck out of here and I don't know where to go." Which happens far too often.
That it is very cool, though, because I think, you know, bringing in playfulness into your business is really important too. And whenever I hear, "I'm stuck, I can't think of these ideas, I can't, like, put this from thought to action." And I think about, like, going back to play, and how important it is to kind of have that childlike state so that you can be more curious, so that you can think outside of the box, so that you can kind of tap into that other part of the brain to say like, "All right, I need to really get out of my head, I'm really in this concrete thinking mode." But if I can get into movement, if I can get into the arts, if I can get into expression, probably writing your content becomes a bit easier, thinking of your next business idea becomes a lot easier, and how it just becomes a lot more enjoyable, too and more or less, it's like a grind or less grueling when you're like, just kind of going from motion to motion to motion all throughout the day.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, it definitely helps.
PATRICK CASALE: Tell us a little bit about, you know, Revolutionize Your Private Practice and what you've got going on there too, because you've got a lot of cool stuff going on. I think you also have a retreat coming up. I mean, you've got a lot of stuff happening. And for those of us who are more entrepreneurial, I think that's kind of the case, right? Where it's like, yeah, I've got like nine ideas or 15 ideas, or I'm working on three things simultaneously. So yeah, tell us a little bit about that.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, so the Revolutionize Your Private Practice Retreat is actually, I can announce it here, is actually sold out.
PATRICK CASALE: Oh, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:18:25] congrats.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, thank you. So, we actually started it during the pandemic, because we were seeing so many therapists just, even you saw the pictures on Facebook and Instagram of just therapist just passed out on their couch, or just falling asleep in front of the screen. Just… it was a very trying time I feel for a lot of us.
And so, while we were kind of sitting back, we realized that our trainings were the things that were keeping us alive and were actually energizing us to continue to do the work, because we're like, here's another thing you can do now so you're not so stuck in the weeds with the clients that you're working with.
And we also understood that people didn't know how to start a training program, or were saying, "Oh, this is a great thing." People were like, "Well, how did you get into it?" I've got so many messages saying, "How did you start? How do you do this?" And I said, "Well, you know, let's put together a training program so people can understand step by step all of the pieces that they need." And we were doing it online for a while. And then, I just personally as an entrepreneur, I'm like, "I don't want to do this online anymore. So, hey, what is my thing, so let's change it." And the retreat was really more in line with being able to get in there with a group of people who have the same idea of what they want to do, just don't know where to start.
And I can be there with them, the other part… the online space was hard to navigate, because I'm like, "Okay." I would check in with emails, "Did you do the thing? Have you done it yet? Did you check with the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:19:53]?" And just email instead of me sitting in front of you going "Okay, where's your stuff? Let's get going."
So, a different feel, and I am looking forward to being able to work with them, because there's so much more I can do with them when we're in person than we could do online.
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. I agree 100%. I got into doing retreats as well last March in Ireland. And although I have been doing group coaching programs for the last two years, virtually, I mean, there's something to be said about, like you… exactly like you just said, like, sitting in front of the person and being like, "All right, you're in this stuck point, you're in like major impostor syndrome, or perfectionism mode, and like, you don't want to press, like, launch to the world. But like, we're going to do that together. And then we're going to process like how that feels to have that out there." And it just feels like you can really capture momentum.
And also, I like the idea of, like, being in a group and being in an incubator, and kind of having, like, this ability to, like, bounce ideas off and see that other people are doing other cool things, too. And that can be really empowering. And it can create a lot of positive energy.
One thing that you said that kind of stands out to me, though, is like, we're doing the thing, and then you were like, "well, I don't really want to do this anymore, so I'm going to change it." Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I think that's basically like entrepreneurial 101.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, I tend to do that a lot. And so, I'm lucky to have a team that… like you were saying earlier, Patrick, about, we have nine or a dozen different ideas of things that we want to do. And sometimes they get stuck in icon phase instead of momentum and strategy phase. And so, having a team that I can bring my ideas to and say, "Okay, here's a thought, here's another thought, what about this? What about this."
And we've, as a team tried so many things. We even tried a product, that's a whole other story, but that did not go well. But we tried it. Now we know if we ever want to do a product, we know exactly what to do with getting the codes and all of this stuff.
And I really think it's important for us as entrepreneurs to know that we can change our mind, we can close a program that doesn't fulfill us anymore, because if it doesn't fulfill us anymore, and we're still doing it, then the people we're trying to help it's not going to be as fulfilling for them. So then, do we pivot? Do we close it? Do we, you know, change it? Like, what do we want to do to make it more fulfilling for ourselves and for the people who will be involved?
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, love that. What do you think the hardest thing is when it comes to pivoting? I tend to see it like, I have this great idea, I'm trying it, it didn't work out. And then, pivoting is crucial, right? Like, because like you said, you learn from those things that didn't work out or maybe those things you need to edit, and improve, or tweak or that aren't bringing you joy anymore.
But I see a lot of people get hung up on things and hold on to them for too long, because they have invested that energy and they're like, "I just can't let this go. Like, I've tried so hard to make it work and now, like, it would be soul-crushing to pivot if I really decided, like, I don't want to do the thing I just spent a year of my life trying to do."
AZIZI MARSHALL: It's hard. I've had to pivot multiple, multiple times. And I think as long as we're aware of that grief stage that we need to go through, like all the stages of grief, because I remember pivoting into more of the coaching space, helping other therapists with the corporate wellness stuff, and having to let go of a lot of the clients I was seeing, because there wasn't time for me to see all my clients and do all the new things I needed to do. I had to let go of some of the marketing stuff, which I loved the marketing stuff. And that was hard for me to let go because I'm like, "Oh, that's my baby, though. I don't want to let that go."
But I couldn't be as consistent as I knew somebody else on my team could be and they loved the marketing. So, it's being able to let go and allow other people to step into those things that fulfill them too, because then when your team is excited about what they're doing, you can let it go a lot easier.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's really well said. I love that you named the grief process too, because I experienced that. And I know a lot of people listening are experiencing that as they're considering either growing their businesses or shifting their businesses.
And I've been doing this practice coaching thing for now about two years. And when I started it, I had 35 clients on my caseload and a solo practice. And transitioning into a full-time practice coach, an entrepreneur, and group practice owner, I had to transition almost 95% of those clients out. There's a lot of grief.
There's also grief around like, am I leaving this profession behind? Am I leaving this, like, license that I worked so hard to get? You know, all of those thoughts come up. And then, the ability, like you said, to almost outsource or hand things off to people who are more excited to do something than you are. And I think that's really a profound statement, because if you're not really passionate about that thing, you're really doing a disservice not only to the people you're trying to help but also, to yourself.
And I think the ability to pivot, fall down, learn from your mistakes, outgrow something, no longer be excited by something, I think, that's kind of, like, that's just the entrepreneurial journey. I am really excited about things right now in my business that in a year that may not interest me anymore. And I know that and I'm okay with that.
But I've also had to, like, work through a lot of that stuff too, to know, like, it's okay to let something go. I just created this four-month coaching program that we did from April to August, and my VA and I took about a year to create it, kept pushing it back, kept pushing it back, which probably was a sign that I maybe wasn't interested in doing it anymore. And then, we finally launched it, we filled it, we finished it. But in the meantime, I'm doing these retreats all over the world and traveling and my VA messaged me and she was like, "So, that first Take the Leap will be the last Take the Leap, I assume." And I was like, "Yeah, it is."
But there was, like, this major grief process of, but we just worked so fucking hard on this for a year. And, but it really does make the most sense at this point in time. And I think you do have to kind of shift how you move through this entrepreneurial journey when something isn't really holding your attention anymore as well.
It's a hard thing to do. But I think these are good lessons. And for those of you listening, you know, even if it's as simple as like, I want to start a private practice, and I chose this niche or like I want to do this thing, it does not have to be the finish line. And like Azizi said, it is a marathon, not a sprint. I think being an entrepreneur is a marathon. And I think there are lots of stop points and rest areas along the way, because a lot of us are neurodivergent, a lot of us just have multiple interests, and a lot of us have a lot of creativity. So, the odds of you being satiated or satisfied by one thing for the rest of your career, I think, are pretty slim. And that's okay. And I just see a lot of people almost shame themselves when they're like, "I don't want to do this anymore."
AZIZI MARSHALL: I think if we can reframe it, right? As therapists, if we can reframe it as we're not giving up on our profession, or the schooling, or all the crap kind of work that we put into it, it's more of we're serving our profession in a different way.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I had lunch with a mentor a couple… about a year ago, and we were having this exact conversation. And that's exactly what she said. She was like, "I don't think you're giving up on the therapy profession. I think you're helping therapists in a different way." And I was like, "Oh, yes, I needed to hear that." Because I think it's easy to get caught up in that headspace of like abandoning.
And I think it's wonderful, though, that we can do so much with a degree that we often over times overlook, like how many different skill sets come with the qualities of being a mental health professional included, because I see a lot of people overlook that as if like, all I can do is one-on-one clinical work with this degree. And that's just not true. It's just about recognizing there is a lot of potential and there's a lot of need for the skills that come with being a trained and licensed mental health clinician and professional.
I imagine in the corporate world, especially, you see more and more opportunities now for mental health workers to get involved because they can work on leadership, they can work on de-escalation training, and creating culture in the workplace. I mean, there's so much that we can do that we kind of overlook, if we only think that we can be of service 60-minute increments of our time.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, absolutely. You're actually reminding me of a client that I coached through the Revolutionize Your Private Practice program. And she super creative, art therapist, and she had a social-emotional learning program she wanted to sell to schools. And schools, it's a full long, long game for that one, where you have to get in the door and make those connections and then, have board approval on all of the things, they have to look through the curriculum. But she went through it and it took her two years of initially making those connections to them signing, but then, once her program got into one school district, the other schools saw it and the school that they signed up with was saying, "Oh my gosh, this is great. This is better than the little cartoon things that we've been dealing with. This is like… the kids are actually engaged with the..."
Like, it was amazing what she put together. And then, the other schools were like, "Well, I want that. I want that too." And so, it's just once you get your foot in the door with one corporate programs, the other businesses that are similar in industry want to do the same thing too.
PATRICK CASALE: That's good to hear. I think that's really useful to hear, actually. So again, going back to it just saying, like, long game marathon, nurture the relationships. And you're also going to strike out, right? Like, there are definitely going to be times where you give this a shot, or you put yourself out there, and someone's just not interested in what you have to say or what services you're trying to provide. And they could be the best services in the world. And I don't think it's a reflection of you. It's more so just not the right fit. And it's a good opportunity to continue to focus on the relationships that are worth building and strengthening and coming back to.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, and it's definitely goes both ways, too. Because there have been, I'd say, a couple, I can count on one hand of contracts where we walked away from the contracts, because it was not a good fit from the start. And we could tell just through communication, through expectations. Like, this is nice, we can't serve you. Here are some other places that we think we that can better connect with what you need. But it also saved us a huge headache, because then we [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:53] a contract, and the other people who picked it up were like, "Oh okay, well, I'm glad we didn't take that one, because it would have been more of a hot mess than what we started with."
So, it's okay to walk away from some of those, because it has to be a good fit for both.
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely, that makes sense. And I imagine it being a good fit for both means more long-term relationship to you in terms of renewing contracts. And also, the same thing with any other service where those people are also probably going to recommend you elsewhere to their colleagues as well.
So, that's really cool that you're doing this. I like to see more and more therapists doing these types of things where they're getting involved in the training and consulting the organizational level stuff, because you don't see a lot of that still. And I mean, around here we have some EIPs that do some stuff like that.
But like, going back to what you were saying about boring, like lecturing, PowerPoint, things of that nature, I don't find that that useful, so it's nice to have different options as well.
In terms of, you know, first steps for people who are thinking, "I want to get involved in the corporate world." What kind of advice would you have? I know you mentioned joining, potentially, a local Chamber of Commerce. Is there anything else that immediately comes to mind?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, the very first thing I did was update my LinkedIn profile, the very first thing, and even like that header, that banner you can put on top to put an announcement there, like, put whatever title you want to put, some sort of fancy thing like corporate wellness authority, or whatever it is that you want to put next to your name, so then people when they're just skimming through your profile they'll stop if that's what they want, right? They're not going to dig deep into it, they're going to look at that first, like, top line, and decide if they want to click on you. So, that was the very first thing I did.
And then, after that, I started reaching out to chambers and figuring out which one we wanted to be a part of, and what type of events they had, if it was an active chamber, if there were leads groups involved. And then visiting. We didn't join right away, we sat in on some of the meetings because they'll invite you if they want you to be a member. So, that was really important too, to decide, okay, this is a leads group for business to business, but none of these people seem like they want to talk to me, right? Because it's very different. Like, so it's, you want to make sure that the groups you join are going to be ones that you're going to feel comfortable making connections with.
PATRICK CASALE: Love it really, really tangible stuff right there. All of you listening, go update your LinkedIn profiles right away, change your titles, make them fancy. I mean, attention grabbing, and we spend so little time and have such short attention spans, you really have to be able to stand out. So, don't be afraid to take these risks either. And that's what we try to do on this podcast is highlight the fact that so many people are doing so many cool, creative things, and that there's room for everyone to be involved in these as well.
I really appreciate you sharing all this. It's also got me thinking of a lot of ideas, too. I've been thinking of ideas since I saw your therapy rock, like hosting. I was like, "Oh my God, that is so fucking cool."
AZIZI MARSHALL: Thank you.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I really liked seeing that. That was really awesome. I actually reached out to my staff and was like, "Anyone, you know, see this post? Anyone want to brainstorm some cool creative ideas?" And, you know, my team was like, "I hate marketing, I don't like networking." I'm like, "All right, thanks, guys. I appreciate you. See you on Friday. Thanks."
But yeah, I think having that creativity, ingenuity and just that vision in marketing is really important for everyone listening, especially, getting your names out there, growing your businesses, and just getting clients in the door consistently.
Azizi, do you want to tell everyone where they can find more of you and find more of what you have to offer?
AZIZI MARSHALL: Yeah, I'd say check out my website. It's azizimarshall, A-Z-I-Z-I M-A-R-S-H-A-L-L.com. You can see what I'm up to, it's updated, I probably update that website every month on different things that are going on. And I'd say, if you want to see what's going on in the corporate wellness space and kind of take some cues from what I'm putting out there, definitely check me out on LinkedIn. That will give you some ideas of how to get started just by the profile page.
PATRICK CASALE: Love it. Thank you so much for that. And that will be in our show notes as well. And do you have any upcoming retreats planned? Are you doing any events like that coming up in the future? Or is that on hold for right now after you get through this one?
AZIZI MARSHALL: That's on hold for right now. But we do have a mental health at work summit. It'll be in Oak Brook, Illinois. It's more for training corporate leaders and HR executives on how to bring mental health into the culture of the organization. So, that'll be in July 21 through the 23rd.
PATRICK CASALE: Very cool. And if anyone needs that information, all of that will be in the show notes again, and Azizi, I just want to say thanks for making the time and coming on and it's really been enjoyable listening to you talk and you've honestly got me thinking about a lot of things right now. When I get off of here I'm like, got to jot all this stuff down.
AZIZI MARSHALL: Well, thanks for inviting me. I appreciate it.
PATRICK CASALE: You're very welcome. And to everyone listening, All Things Private Practice Podcast is on all major platforms. New episodes are out every Sunday morning. Listen, download, subscribe and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. Go to allthingspractice.com for coaching, retreats, podcast episode information, and any upcoming offerings. Join the All Things Private Practice Facebook group. See you next week.
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