In the first of our Customer Spotlight series, we are excited to talk with the very first SimplePractice customer, Katie Malinski! Katie is the founder of HIPAA For Therapists and an LCSW practicing in Austin, Texas. Combining her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for therapy and parent coaching, Katie has built a thriving private practice from the ground up, in addition to providing education and workshops to therapists in Texas and beyond.
Hi Katie! Tell us about your practice:
I‘m a clinical social worker, and I specialize in parenting. A long time ago I did lots of play therapy and family therapy. But once I had my own kids, I realized that I wanted to help the kids by helping the parents. Usually, the parents I see have hit a bump in the road or there’s a divorce or something else that they don’t know how to deal with, and so they come to me for parenting support. I work with most of my parents using a coaching model, though I also still have some therapy clients.
I’m also the founder of HIPAA For Therapists, a website and online training program to help therapists get their practice HIPAA compliant. In addition to the website training and support, I get to do live trainings to large groups of clinicians and I have a great time doing that.
You were the first SimplePractice customer! Tell us how that happened.
About 3 years ago, I had tried many many practice management software tools, and because I know about HIPAA, I know that not many were great choices. I would try to create systems that were efficient, but then I would have concerns about privacy or cost. If I focused on privacy, they were inefficient. If they were efficient, they weren’t private. I hadn’t found a program that met my needs so I started to look into cloud-based programs. I tried another product and found it very clunky to use. At that point I was doing a lot of research around HIPAA and I found some LinkedIn article where [SimplePractice CEO and Co-Founder] Howard talked about this cloud-based software he was working on. So I sent him an email and told him “I’m really interested in this thing that you’re doing!” The rest is history!
What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner?
I felt like my graduate program discouraged social workers from going into private practice. I had to do a lot of values examination to figure out how to be an ethical social worker and also not go into bankruptcy trying to run a small business. When I first started 17 years ago, I had zero skills in accounting and marketing, or even just saying, “This is what I charge.” There was a big learning curve and that was the hardest thing initially.
Sometimes there is some isolation as a therapist in private practice that can be a challenge as well. I miss the watercolor aspect, and I’ve had to create connections in other ways. One way that I’ve dealt with this is that I have a consulting job where I go to a local private school one day per week as a consultant, and I really love connecting with the people there.
What has been the most rewarding part of your practice?
I am extremely passionate about working with parents. I find my work with parents to be incredibly rewarding. I’m good at it, I get paid for it, and I get to help people all day long. I truly feel like I won the job lottery.
What is your best advice for growing a private practice?
My favorite way to grow my own business has been to give talks and workshops on parenting. I’ll go to PTA’s or other groups and speak to them on relevant topics. Plus, I think, word of mouth.
What is your favorite feature in SimplePractice?
I love that I can send my forms to clients before they come in for the first time. It has made my life a whole lot easier.
Tell us a fun fact about you:
I’m a mom with two daughters, ages 10 and 5. And I love to Zumba! It’s a great way to relieve stress. It’s basically a loud active meditation.
Katie Malinski is the founder of HIPAA For Therapists and an LCSW practicing in Austin, Texas. You can also follow her on Facebook!