Interview with Debbie Cherry, LMFT
How do you find Zen amidst the chaos?
I started with traditional private practice doing counseling and licensed marriage and family therapy. I was looking into other ways to schedule and collect payment that was easier and HIPAA compliant. I had moved from Dallas back to Florida, where I grew up and was looking for different solutions. I saw Talkspace coming out and Better Help. I realized I could do messaging and that started opening my world to what I can do. I found online coaching and I started an online coaching program for relationships. I realized that I’m good at business stuff and marketing and love helping other practitioners get free from the medical model and have more flexibility and freedom.
What is your relationship with PocketSuite?
PocketSuite has been with me from the very beginning. I tried so many different platforms, apps, and tools and it was just the most intuitive and customer friendly. You guys have always been super helpful and creative and innovative. I’ve just kind of kept working it for my business. It’s flexible and very cool stuff.
Can you give any advice to people sequestered at home because of Covid19 to sustain healthy relationships?
I always go to the deep solution, and I don’t know if there are any tricks other than reframing it. It’s an opportunity to reassess, reconnect and reevaluate and take a step back from how we’ve been doing things where we’re so busy, and we’re so disconnected. We always want that immediate gratification. To know we did a good job, it’s in your face. Your relationship with your kids, your spouse, you can’t run from it. So reframe it, reframe it as an opportunity and take it as a time to grow.
I thought I’m amazing at marketing and I can have an even bigger impact. I was in other coaching programs and saw a lot of holes for really heart-centered people like me who just weren’t all about business. They could have a sustainable business, but want to be of service… Between the need, my skills, and seeing what’s possible, I was like, okay, I’m going to make the leap and do this other thing.
What is your focus?
I got gung-ho on Practitioner Freedom, the business that I have now. I have now let go of Relationship Remedies, my previous business. I did that for about three years and I’ve done Practitioner Freedom for about two and a half years.
How did you make that pivot?
It’s interesting. Until you go into entrepreneur land, you don’t see what’s possible until you start opening some doors and then things exponentially open up. I realized I love relationship work. I especially liked working with couples with young kids. I have a specialty in early childhood mental health and development and there’s so much bang for your buck in those first years to do it properly. I did it with my husband, and we were talking to couples most nights on group calls and group chat messaging and giving feedback and support and recording videos. It was great, but I was like, wait a minute I’m spending more time now talking about other people’s relationships with my husband than hanging out with my husband. I thought I’m amazing at marketing and I can have an even bigger impact. I was in other coaching programs and saw a lot of holes for really heart-centered people like me who just weren’t all about business. They could have a sustainable business, but want to be of service. They were falling through the cracks. Between the need, my skills, and seeing what’s possible, I was like, okay, I’m going to make the leap and do this other thing.
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Who do you mostly work with?
Many therapists, school counselors, clinicians, psychologists, and people like that come to me because of who I am and where I’ve been. I’ve also helped chiropractors, doulas, reiki healers, physical therapists, and speech therapists. Anyone in that one-on-one medical model type of industry, whether for a company or themselves in private practice. I teach them how to go online and open them up to the freedom of how they practice and how they manage their lives, resources, time, and energy to serve people at an even higher level and have more freedom.
Aren’t Therapists traditionally adverse to branding?
One of the biggest things that we help people with is that they are used to not being transparent and not being front and center, and instead of that, they are used to being a blank slate. It’s super uncomfortable and weird for them to show up and be on camera and stand up for something. They even take flack for it here and there online, that’s so much of what the new model is in general, people want connection, and they want transformation. If you’re not vulnerable and authentic, people aren’t going to respond and connect and trust you to help them. We say from clinician to changemaker – so we really are for the people.
How did you build your sizable community?
It sounds crazy, but we keep it super simple. It works if you are clear on your offer and then start a free Facebook group. That’s the same model I’ve done with Relationship Remedies and Practitioner Freedom, just show up and be helpful and do “Facebook Lives” one to three times a week. Anything with marketing, the more specific you are, the more people know that it’s for them and engage. We also help people get good on camera and get good at leading and stuff like that.
What is the process?
We have workshops where we lead people through a week-long experience where they taste what is possible and what they can do by putting themselves out there and wrapping their heads around this model. If they’re interested in working with us, we have a 12-month program, then we invite them on calls and make sure they’re a good fit. We make sure we can help them invest in, get ready, and ride.
How do you coach introverts in this industry?
Once you get that community, that momentum, it becomes bigger than you. It’s not so much about me and I’m showing up and everyone’s looking at me and what do they think? It’s like, I’m creating something else. I’m just a part of it. There’s a lot of identity shifts and transformation that we help people with.
What things do you think are going to be important in our society moving forward?
From what I can see as a mother and business person online is creativity, connection, and collaboration, totally different skills than are being taught. The ability of children to manage their own time, projects, and feelings.
What is your business model?
We keep it super simple, as simple as humanly possible. Our clients can show up, and they don’t have all this stuff in their way to success, because so many entrepreneurs get stuck in that energy-time-money cycle. They just wear out and don’t last through the whole thing. We clear the path, move the boulders, and keep it moving to get out there.
How important is your environment to reach people?
I think it’s more paying attention to the interests and the needs and providing the resources to explore whether that’s a different setting or options of settings or options of materials or people or nothing at all. It’s about following their lead and making things available and opening paths.
You sound like you have a full life, can you really have it all?
There are times where I have to push hard and stay up late and get stuff done for sure. I’m so fortunate that my husband and I have this dynamic. He has tons of time and we have the grandparents around, but I still get way more time with the family than I ever would if we both were working full time. I work hard, but I still have so much more flexibility and freedom and time than I ever would any other way. So yeah, there is a way to do it for sure.