Meet this week’s spotlight, Dr. Erika Martinez! Hailing all the way from Miami, Florida, Dr. Martinez helps millennials and other young professionals get unstuck in love, work, and life, so they have authentic and engaged lives.
Hi Erika! Tell us about your journey.
After 10 years of teaching and a stint at a university counseling center, I look the leap into private practice. I had no clue what I was doing, but I was fortunate enough to have the guidance of Kelly Higdon and Miranda Palmer from ZynnyMe as I started out. They’re an integral part of my practice’s success over the past year. I’ve been able to niche down my target population and get clearer about my offerings for clients. It’s not always been an easy road, but I love the things that I’m learning in this process, which speaks to my core value – always learning.
Nice! I’m curious, how did you go from teaching to being a therapist?
Well, it all started when I was an undergrad. I had no idea about what I wanted to major in and so I just went in with a psychology major because I had to declare a major, but I ended up switching majors four times. I was attracted to the idea of a bunch of different fields such as Political Science and Economics, but I finally realized that what drew me to these fields was people, and the way people think and interact. Long story short, I ended up with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
After my undergrad, I went on to pursue a Master’s and eventually my Doctorate, and along the way, I started working at a school with a self-contained unit of emotionally disturbed children. I worked with kids ranging from oppositional defiance disorder all the way to autism, it was a very broad spectrum. Once the recession hit in 2008, the school system could no longer afford to maintain that level of service for those children and they had to dismantle the program.
Soon after this, I happened to get very, very lucky and wound up teaching at a school for academically talented and gifted children. The main reason I pivoted into teaching was because I wanted to avoid getting laid off again and also needed to focus on putting myself through graduate school. I went to school for my doctorate, taught, and then went on to complete all of my training hours. During this time, I realized that the economy would not be getting better anytime soon and that it made sense to pursue private practice since I had just gotten licensed. Quite the journey!
Quite the journey indeed. What’s your favorite part of being in private practice?
I love the freedom it affords. I wouldn’t be able to be on the phone with you right now if it weren’t for that! Plus I get to enjoy a nice mix of other things outside of my job. Being in private practice means that it’s not the same thing every single day, which was always the case in my previous jobs and honestly something that was always a contentious issue for me.
I would get bored very quickly! When I worked in HR, it was the same thing every day; I’d have to deal with the same kind of issues and the same kind of administrative stuff. You have to maintain that structure and the continuity and for me, it happened to be very monotonous. Luckily that’s not the case with private practice. Every day is different!
Top 3 tips for getting sh*t done:
- Blasting Classic Rock anthems.
- Side-by-side personal & work to-do lists.
- Run errands early in the morning when there are fewer people out, starting with the farthest place first and making your way back to home (or office).
How do you use SP in your day to day & how has it helped your practice overall?
SimplePractice is my daily hub. All my events (clinical and personal) are scheduled into my SimplePractice calendar so I only have to look in one place. Everything is at-a-glance and it keeps me organized and honest with my time. I also appreciate how simply Insights digests my financial information.
Insights helps fuel my competitive streak in the sense that I compete against myself. When I look at Insights, every bar represents last month’s competition. My main goal is to try and get this month’s bar higher than the previous month’s bar. That’s the way I see it! Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t happen, I reframe it and really try my best to not be demoralized by it.
My other favorite thing about SimplePractice is the morning overview e-mail. I look forward to it every morning since it gives me an outlook for the rest of the day. Never get rid of this!
Do you have any words of wisdom for people aiming for success in private practice?
Just remember: Private practice can be a rewarding, but lonely, endeavor. Connecting with other like-minded providers is 100% invaluable to your success.