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Building Your Dream Team: A Q&A with Nicole McCance

Business 101November 14, 2023

Over the past five years, psychologist turned business coach Nicole McCance built a psychotherapy practice from the ground up, hired more than 50 team members, and sold it for multiple seven figures. 

Now, Nicole is a business coach, helping other therapists grow and scale their businesses sustainably. Her credibility comes from walking the path and knowing firsthand the challenges of being a solopreneur trapped in the dollars-for-time cycle. Nicole has since created proven step-by-step programs guiding service entrepreneurs to build freedom through systems and teams. While her background is in psychology, her wisdom applies to many small business owners, and we’re excited to share her insight on scaling with Found customers. 

Q: Tell us about yourself and your path to self-employment. 

A: I jokingly tell people I used to be an overworked therapist, but I'm a psychologist turned business coach. I was in private practice for 15 years and loved what I did. I felt honored I got to help people every day and make a decent living. After years of doing this, though, I started to get burnt out. At the time, I was a mom to twin toddler boys, and all I wanted to do was spend time with them. But I was too tired from my late-night and weekend working sessions. I knew I needed to find a better way. After working solo for many years and hitting my capacity to grow any further, I realized I needed to work differently. In 2018, I opened my clinic in Toronto, and within three short years, I was able to scale it to 55 therapists and multiple seven figures. 

Q: That's impressive growth in such a short time frame. How did you know it was time to hire and grow your practice?

A: Being an entrepreneur is hard at times. It can be difficult to wear all the hats and do everything in the business yourself. But ultimately, I was tired of working in my business instead of working on my business. I'd hit a ceiling, and it was time to hand stuff off to focus on what was next.

Q: Tell us about your first few hires. How'd you know what role to hire first? 

A: When it came time for my first psychology practice hire, I had to get really clear on what I needed. I started thinking about what set my business apart and attracted clients. I had built the business from the ground up, so I wanted my first therapist hire to emulate my energy and offerings, so I knew I could offer the same experience to clients. I looked for the gap in my services based on client inquiries. As a psychologist, I was working with adults and couples. But I kept getting inquiries for child counseling. And do you know what I did? I referred those clients to another group practice until I realized "I should help my practice grow, not theirs." My next hire was a child therapist, who complimented my existing offerings. And then I just kept hiring! 

Q: You brought on more than 50 team members in a few years. What's your secret? 

A: You have to hire the right people, and the secret to that is simple: Write a detailed job description that attracts your ideal hire. Every job description has two parts. The first half should focus on why someone would want to work for you. Tell the prospective hire what's in it for them and what you can offer. This clarity helps your job posting stand out and bring in a talented pool of candidates. The second half of the posting should explain the job requirements and qualifications you need. Focusing on selling potential hires in my practice was vital to finding the right people to help me grow and not making hiring mistakes.

Q: How did you decide which of those team members would be contractors vs. hiring employees? 

A: Hiring is where the magic happens. Hiring removed the ceiling from my business, so I'm passionate about this. But you have to be smart about it. I recommend hiring contractors because cash flow is important in the beginning. You want to avoid finding yourself in a situation where you are paying a W-2 salary when you need to invest your money back into your business. Over time, I expanded my practice with a healthy mix of contractors and salaried employees.

Q: What advice would you give a small business owner ready to outsource and hire help?

A: My advice for anyone looking to hire or outsource is first to make sure you are truly ready for that change. It's normal to want to grow your business but still love being hands-on in your current role. Take time to envision your days with a team supporting you and how your role will shift. Is it exciting? Great! If it feels overwhelming, find a business coach to guide you through growth. Don't let fear hold you back. Also, remember why you started this business in the first place since that original purpose and motivation will help fuel you through the changes ahead. 

Q: Outside of hiring great people, how did you quickly scale your practice without burning out? 

A: I don't know numbers; I know feelings. But I knew I couldn't use that as an excuse for putting the right contractor onboarding, invoicing, bookkeeping, and marketing systems in place. Systemizing my business was a priority initially, but it didn't happen overnight. You start to systemize your business one step at a time! Start recording how you want everything to be done, and hopefully, you can pass those tasks off to a contractor one day. My goal was to ensure my business could run without me so it would be healthy when I wanted to retire or sell it.

Q: You sold your business last year for multiple seven figures. Tell us more about that decision and what you're doing now. 

A: Building my psychotherapy practice from the ground up taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do. I didn't learn business in graduate school. But I faced those challenges every single day, and I was forced to learn in isolation. But we all have the same questions at the end of the day. That’s what fueled me to build out the Clinic Growth Map after selling my practice. I'm passionate about sharing what I've learned with other psychotherapists. I want to help others systemize their practice, build their team, and grow their revenue so they have the same freedom and flexibility I have. 

Q: What one piece of advice do you wish you’d been given when you were starting out?

A: Enjoy the process. The building and growth phase of any business can be tiring. You are going to get to your goal, but don’t forget to live while you do it! 

Huge thanks to Nicole for sharing practical advice to help take your business to the next level. Check out Nicole’s website, follow her on Instagram, and subscribe to her business podcast.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only.

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