Recruiting is something you need to be doing as a business every year. Like a flywheel, you need to create a system with your principles. You also need to be able to retain the right people so that you can grow further. Join Nathan Shields as he talks to healthcare entrepreneur Will Humphreys about how you can grow your PT business. Will has plenty to talk about PTs in business, and this episode proves it. Learn what’s working for owners in finding PTs to recruit, how Will scored tons of government cash through the Employee Retention Credit, and the upcoming PPS event (and why you should attend). Also, discover the wonders a virtual assistant can do for your business growth.
Listen to the podcast here
Following Up With Will Humphreys – Recruiting PTs, PPS, And The ERC
I got my good buddy on the other side here, Will Humphreys. How are you doing?
I’m doing great.
It’s good to talk to you. We’re going to get into a few topics here because we have to revisit some things and follow up on some stuff. The last episode was about recruiting and your program with Rockstar Recruiter. Let us know what you are seeing now in the recruiting space. How are you doing things differently? Is anything changing? Tell us about the program if there are some updates on that as well.
It’s been fascinating to watch the evolution of working with companies across the country. I’ve worked with over 25 since we launched the program. It’s been interesting to learn. One thing that’s interesting to know is that there is a seasonality to recruiting, which I’d never thought of before because I went from thinking it was impossible to do to never thinking it was hard after learning how to do it. For people in the mid-step journey of figuring it out, there is this huge post-summer influx where most schools are graduating students that surges in a whole new flux of physical therapists into the economy. It creates less fear and necessity.
It was funny for me because this is the consistent cycle of people who join Rockstar. They join Rockstar because they want a hire or two hires. I convince them that what they want is a full-time solution that they can work year after year. They join the program and learn how to recruit well enough to get 1 or 2 hires quickly. I either don’t see them on the calls again, or a small percentage of people stay with it, and then they build out their solutions. There is some seasonality to it, which is interesting.
With inflation going up, there has been less of this discrepancy between what people expect for salaries versus what’s getting. Beforehand, you have new grads who are coming out wanting six figures. After the inflation and items like that, they’re not coming out thinking anything in that regard. They’re more wondering if they should even stay in the profession, which is a common theory from the students I mentor. It’s an interesting shift in that regard. There’s a real question of, “Should we stay in this at all?”
It’s interesting what you said about the program, and people get what they need out of the program and take off. What you’re trying to promote is that this isn’t an ongoing thing that can help you forever. If you put a little bit of juice on the fire every so often, you won’t have to jump back into the pool all the time learning how to swim and if you keep the program going a little bit.
It’s that concept that you teach a lot from Jim Collins’ The Flywheel, where at first, when we’re starting a new business, there’s all this initial inertia that’s required to create traction and get a movement going. When we learn systems, processes, and these different skills as leaders, eventually, the company starts getting so much momentum. It starts pulling us and creating this perpetual motion. That’s when people experience this enormous shift.
The same goes for recruiting. If you think about recruiting and marketing as the two sides of the coin that we call business development, it makes sense that recruiting is like that flywheel that we have to put a lot of initial energy in. What we don’t know, know how to do, or believe in is that once we get to a certain stage of inertia and create a system that goes year to year, it’s not work. It’s about applying the principles in an organized, repeated manner. It’s not this overwhelming task. That’s part of the reason why companies like ATI do so well in recruiting is that they understand this concept, and they have built a system that generates new hires all the time.
When you say system, you’re talking about calendared scheduled actions. On September 1st every year, we do this. We know that graduates are coming out in May, June, or July. As of May 1st, we’re going to ramp up recruiting to the schools. It’s stuff like that that you’re talking about.
I feel like you’ve already done my program. At the end of the program, the final product is that you have this template that you fill in, and it teaches all the concepts you learn in Rockstar Recruiter, finalized and accumulates into this Excel spreadsheet that you could hand to someone that says, “This is how we recruit.” It’s broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities. The daily ones are no more than fifteen minutes. Once you get the quarterly ones established in routine, it’s like nothing. You just do it. Very few of my clients get to that point because once they get a couple of hires, they’re super freaked out about marketing now.
Onboarding them and training them and, “We’ll come back to that later.”
It’s unfortunate. For those who can stick with it, it’s pretty awesome to watch. Another person got on the Marco Polo app we use and was like, “I got another hire,” and we’re all freaking out. I love that. That’s the moment that we live for in Rockstar.
If people want to check it out, what’s the website?
Here’s the other thing you shared with me regarding your own businesses, and I’ve been trying to get a specialist and financial expert here to talk about it. The ERC program, the Employee Retention Credit, is being handed out to business owners who had employees through 2020 and 2021. They can apply for the employee retention credit and receive a significant amount of money because they stayed in business. They get people employed through the lockdowns and pandemic. Tell us a little bit about your experience because if there is a small minority out there of owners that haven’t heard about it, I want you to look into it quickly.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t signed up for your ERC package, stop doing everything. Don’t even join Rockstar until you get this going. This is immediate money. As a side note, it’s a real reflection of how we’re destroying ourselves as a country because we are just printing money. If you’re not smart enough to take it while they’re doing it, they’re doing it anyway. There’s an allotted sum of money that the government has pooled to help sustain and support businesses. In our network, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, these are men and women who catch these waves quicker than PT owners typically do.Employee Retention Credit is a reflection of how we're destroying ourselves as a country because we are just printing so much money. Click To Tweet
True story. I have a friend who has a business. It’s a slightly bigger business, but his check was $15 million. It’s government money. Forty percent of all money and circulation was printed in the last few months. Inflation is crazy. It’s going to get worse, but don’t worry. Get in line. Get your money because it’s going to go to someone else if you don’t get it. Here’s my story on it. Someone I know said, “Have you done this?” I said, “No.” He says, “Don’t be stupid. Here’s my CPA.”
The CPA texted me and said, “I’m doing this for a fee. You pay me 10% of what I determine you’re going to be able to get now, or you pay me 15% after you get it.” I said, “Let’s do the 15% after you get it for me.” I gave him access to my payroll software. He generated everything that needed to happen. They had my personal CPA bless it first, so I didn’t get taken. I spent maybe fifteen minutes on it altogether. I haven’t gotten my money yet, but I’ve been preapproved for a lump sum of money I don’t think I deserve. I won’t throw that into a Tesla. I’m going to take that money and build these businesses and create bonus opportunities. It still is great. I’m super excited.
Stuff that you can reinvest in yourself or the businesses that you have would be a blessing for sure. The thing I want to note, and what I’ve heard from my financial advisor is, “You’re going to spend a little bit more for people who are ‘ERC specialists,’ and that’s okay. They know the ins and outs, what boxes to check on the forms and how to extract the most amount of money for you. Leaving that up to a CPA or bookkeeper who hasn’t dealt with the forms before will lose you a substantial amount of money.”
My financial advisor at least said, “Someone had their bookkeeper go through the forms and figured out that they were going to get $18,000 credit.” He recommended a specialist. I went to the specialist and said, “No, you’re due for about $100,000 more than that.” It’s worth the extra cash that you might spend on a specialist.
In addition to that, with where we are now, most of the world already knows about this. It might even be too late. I don’t think you have a choice. If you’re reading this and you haven’t done it, reach out to the CPA immediately for the sake of speed. Having that person jump on your account to get your money before it runs out is going to be key.
There is a time deadline. There might be a money shortage. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. If you had employees in 2020, your deadline is the end of 2023. If you’re reading in 2023 and still haven’t done it, look into it. The 2021 payroll has a deadline of 2024. Check it out with a specialist because it’s more than worth it.
Do it. Don’t even worry about it. Everyone I know and respect is doing it. Nathan knows and respect is doing it. It won’t be bad.
We talked about Rockstar Recruiter and ERC. We have to follow up because before, we did an episode about PPS.
Before we get to PPS, we’re going to talk about virtual assistants because it relates to Rockstar. I hired a virtual assistant to help me with Rockstar because, in our program, I have a virtual assistant now that helps my clients get mailing lists to help run some campaigns.
How long have you had a virtual assistant?
It’s one month. I was thinking that might be good because it connects to the Rockstar piece. It was big for us to bring in this virtual assistant. She’s from the Philippines. She’s $10 an hour. She has completely freed up a massive chunk of my life. I’m able to provide additional benefits to my Rockstar Recruiter clients because she’s out there doing some of the legwork of producing email lists and some other items that are creative-based and helping people get started in launching their programs for them. For me, personally, it’s been huge. She’s been doing everything from helping me pick my wife’s birthday presents and ordering those down to setting up my travel to creating PowerPoint presentations if I teach online. She’s been phenomenal. That’s been a huge benefit.
What made you decide to get a VA? You’ve had VAs in the past, even when we were partners in business. That was decades ago. What made you decide, “I need one. Now’s the time.”
The biggest thing was a coach of mine was selling it to me. I told him I had worked with VAs before. He goes, “Yes, but you weren’t good at creating processes then.” That’s the key thing. People who hire VAs expect the VAs to coach them on how to be used. The truth is you have to know in advance what you would use them for. This is the whole process for people who don’t know how to create processes. I look at my list of to-dos and go, “Which of these things should I not be doing? What are the things that I shouldn’t be doing? Who can do them?” The first person who comes to mind is Pat, who’s my VA.
“What can Pat take on?” Pat can take on pretty much anything that can be done remotely that requires a little bit of instruction. What I’ll do is I’ll use a software called Loom that captures video and audio, a screen share software. It gives you five minutes. If I can’t do it in five minutes, it means it probably needs to be done with multiple delegations. For example, tomorrow in Rockstar Recruiter, we’re doing this cool presentation on how to interview candidates for value alignment and long-term buy-in.
What I created is an outline that took me twenty minutes. I did an outline in Google Docs. I shared her on the link. I Loomed and said, “Pat, I want the slides to have these colors. Here’s what I want you to do for the slides I want you to create.” It took me two minutes to delegate, and the next day I woke up to this amazing PowerPoint with like animation and levels of professionalism I would’ve never put time into that would’ve taken me hours. It took her an hour. That’s it. It’s cool.
I use software that shares passwords to websites that keeps them encrypted so that no one in between or her can’t see the actual password. It gives her access to my travel information or Amazon account to order gifts, and I’ll give her a five-minute delegation, “It’s my wife’s birthday. She loves cooking. I was looking at these kinds of knives. Is there anything else you can find that you can create?” She presents five suggestions the next day. I click on one. She orders it and gift wraps it the whole nine yards. There’s a lot to be said about having a VA in terms of helping. I’m leveraging mine to help my Rockstar Recruiter clients hire people. There are a lot of applications, but you have to know how to delegate, and using the software is the best way to do it.
Thinking about it would give me a little bit of angst, or I could feel inside of me that I’m going to have to get my crap together enough to be able to delegate. The idea is great. What you ideally want is a VA that thinks ahead for you of what your next move is going to be like and can read your mind. That’s not going to happen. It makes me think of The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, where he talks about, “If you’re just busy, you’re just lazy because you’re not focused on your top priorities and delegating you shouldn’t be doing.”
That’s where the hard part that comes for me. It might come for some owners as well who are seeing patients a ton, overwhelmed with “too much” to do and all the fires to put out that they have to sit down for 15 to 30 minutes and go through the exercise you explained and create the process. That effort right there, even though that 15 or 30 minutes could save you 2 or 3 hours on the back end, could be initially stressful, especially when you have the stress of this VA in the Philippines. I’m paying them, and they’re waiting for me to give them something to do. I’m like, “I can’t think enough to give you something to do. Go find something to do.” Did you see where I’m coming from, where it’s difficult for me and some owners? Did you have any of that?
I did the first time years ago, and then I did it initially with Pat at the beginning because I had all these ideas. I didn’t understand what I was talking about with you until later. I gave her whatever I thought I could to keep her busy for the first week, which was I had her use this software that scrapes LinkedIn for emails. That’s how we’re creating email lists for our clients. Pat will go through and find every Idaho physical therapist on LinkedIn and create an email list, and then later, she will go through the actual email campaigns for my clients, which is awesome. For now, I gave her that because I didn’t know what to do.
I talked to my friend or my coach. He was like, “You got to look at your list of what you want to get done that day and start delegating little by little to her. Once you understand how to work together, you’ll start building on that, and you’ll start exploring things you never think about doing that you’ll start giving to her.” That happened. She has her own YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel. I have her editing my videos. I’m going to start delegating that to her. That is a big one. I’m already paying another company $300 a month. I pay her $1,000 a month for 20 hours of work a week. She’ll be doing that in addition to lots of other things. Eventually, what was big for me was realizing that it’s a mindset of organization versus coping.
In business as owners, we’re only either organizing or coping. Coping is keeping any activity going that keeps us alive. Organizing is structuring the business so that it operates without us. I’ve only been with her for a month, but the value has been realized. That’s the main thing. After organizing my tasks into, “This is a 5-minute thing that’s going to take me 10 minutes to teach her,” but that five-minute thing is every week. It might take me ten minutes to do this week, but then how many hours over a year is that saving me?As business owners, we're only either organizing or coping. Click To Tweet
It’s just little things. In the end, I’ve seen what happens when a friend of mine uses one. This virtual assistant knows his business is so well now. He handles a high percentage of the emails that come in. He unsubscribes from email groups that aren’t helpful, but then there’s a certain class of email that comes in that this person emails back. Some of those things are sales. People are like, “I’d like to get and learn more about it.” This person knows the process of how to schedule that person on the calendar and sends them through an email chain of connection. The whole time the owner shows up to that call being prepped by their VA, “This is your call this week. Here’s the valuable information you need to know about this person. I’ve researched them. This is what you need to know.”
They show up with five minutes of prep time showing up like they have done hours because their VA has done hours of work for that. It was neat. He even asked me, “If you want to see my VA in action, email me asking me for this handout I give.” I emailed while we were talking, and I got an email back from him while we were talking from his VA on his behalf, saying, “Thanks for your email. Here’s the handout you asked for.”
I’d have to give myself some space. This is a learning process. I’m not going to be perfect at delegating to a VA right off the bat. I’ll give myself a couple of months. Give some room to breathe and start throwing little things out there and figuring out the relationship. The cool thing about those VAs is that it’s pretty easy to interchange them. It might seem callous, but you’re going to interview a few, but there are plenty of people looking for work, and you can interview different ones and find better ones. We’ve used them in the past in the business. It’s been nice to be able to transition from one to another if we’re not aligned and working well.
There are a lot of companies that offer that. You can go to Fiverr or Upwork and find a VA. If you want, there are companies out there that train their VAs. I pay my VA more money than most. I’m paying her $12 an hour, which isn’t that cheap, but she was pre-trained on how to create processes. I don’t need to create a creative, detailed process. I brain dump, then she creates a process and runs it. The idea being is that she can delegate that to other VAs as we grow. In this company I use in particular, the average number of VAs per client is four. I reached out. I’ve thought about hiring someone specifically for sales for me with my companies to handle 80% of the communication building up to the final call with me. It starts to catch on. It’s exciting. It’s very affordable. $10 an hour? Come on.
I know two owners I work with intimately, and their whole billing department essentially is VAs. Not to undercut In The Black billing, but these are singular practices that they have a VA that does verification, billing, and posting, and they swear by it. You have to have a lot of faith in that process. You have to put your processes in place and train them appropriately. They’re not just doing billing. They’re doing other things as well as administrative tasks like you’re talking about. There are a couple of PT owners that are using them to some great success.
I love the idea of people using VAs for billing. It’s ironic since I own a medical billing company. Our waitlist now for In The Black is in Q2 of 2023 because most services suck. People ask me all the time, “Should I outsource my billing?” I’m like, “It depends. If you have a good internal solution, don’t. If you’ve already done the work of figuring it out, don’t, unless it’s person-dependent, then yes. If you’re worried about them leaving and you being in a bad position, there’s a waiting list for the good ones.”Should you outsource your billing? It depends. If you have a good internal solution, don't. Click To Tweet
The other idea is if you want to create that with VAs, that’s a brilliant idea. I’m like selling people against my company, and I know this for a fact. There are many highly medically billing trained VAs that you could very easily figure out. There are risks in that relationship, but whatever. It’s another way for you to do your billing.
It goes back to the same thing. The problem with most billing and the management of billing services in-house or outsourced is that the owners don’t know how to hold them accountable. They don’t know the systems or KPIs well enough to know if they’re doing a good job. Whichever direction you go, it ultimately doesn’t matter too much. If you don’t know what the process is, how to measure the processes, hold those people accountable to expectations, and what appropriate expectations are, you still have to know those things. That’s the difficult part for most people when it comes to billing and collections.
It’s why we have a successful business in that regard. What’s funny is my partner and I, whom you’d know very well because she worked for you as well, have talked. We’re like, “It would be cool to be in a world where our company doesn’t need to be in existence at all for PTs to be able to have a system where they can get their cash.” It’s almost like physical therapy. I don’t hold that secret trade of self-care internally because lifestyles are getting what they are. People get injured. We need more physical therapy. We need more help in the physical therapy owner space for medical billing. There are plenty of ways to cut that pie, but you have to know how to oversee it no matter what.
If people are out there saying, “What are those KPIs for billing and collections?” They can reach out to you or me. We’ll share it with you.
Maybe we should do a show all about, “How to manage your billing?” We could go through all the steps. We had it years ago. If you read this, you know how to manage your billing.
We probably need to do it again so we can do a refresher. I can’t remember when we did it. It was back when you started the billing company. Was it 2019 or before COVID?
We launched it on February 1, 2020.
We did want to write about that time. It might have been before COVID or soon after I did a mass of COVID-related episodes for a few months there, but it was somewhere around probably in 2020 that we did it, “What are the KPIs? What are you looking at? How should you measure it?” We talked about the AR aging report, those stats, and that kind of stuff. We might have to revisit it. If people don’t want to go back and read the episode, they can always reach out to us. We’re screaming at people to plan on going to APTA PPS Conference in 2022, which is in Denver the first weekend in November 2022. I’m sure you’re planning on going still.
I got a booth. We’re doing breakfasts and dinners. I am all over that PPS. I’m excited.
I’ll be there as well. The main idea behind this is if you haven’t registered, go to PPS. Even if it’s a matter of showing up to get some CEUs, going through the convention hall, and seeing what new products are there, it’s an investment in you, your learning, and your business. It also sets you apart. That’s what business owners do. Business owners network, go to a conference and get value out of these things every time they go. It separates you from the clinic and puts you in the owner’s seat. If you’re one of the owners that are treating a significant amount of time and you’re not taking the time to act like an owner, then your business is probably floundering and languishing. We’re screaming from the rooftops, “Do things like this on a regular basis so that you can be an owner.”
We’re not trying to take a stance on the APTA at all. There are a lot of great people in it. There are a lot of debates around their effectiveness and stuff and how much we should or shouldn’t support, which is crap because we should support it. The most important thing is that you come to meet Nathan and me. Come hang out with us. Let’s talk about your problems. Let’s talk about what we can do to serve you. We’re not talking about selling you. We’re talking about building friendships because, at the end of the day, when we meet with other owners, connect and brainstorm solutions, it goes from being this overwhelming isolated experience to being an owner becoming this journey of fun and excitement.When you meet and connect with other owners, your experience as an owner goes from being overwhelming to exciting. Click To Tweet
We have to leverage these opportunities to get out of our practice. People who are reading this are like, “Yes, but we’ve got many patients. I don’t know if my boss would let me go.” There is nothing better for your business, mental sanity, and the industry at large than us organizing, coming together, and talking about the bigger problems. We can’t get to the bigger problems until we solve the smaller, more immediate ones that are keeping you from feeling balanced as an owner.
It’s in these conferences, and it follows my mantra. I haven’t expressed it a lot on the show. It’s the reach out, step out, and network. You’ve got to reach out to other people in your industry, so you don’t feel alone on an island in your activities as an owner. You’ve got to step out of your business to work on the business and see it from a higher 30,000-foot perspective. You also have to network. There is much leverage that can be made against your network to move you along in your personal and professional business career. The slogan says, “Your network equals your net worth.”
The higher-valued network that you have represents your net worth. You’re going to have a higher value as well as you make those connections. Going to a conference like this meets all the criteria that successful owners do. This is a successful action that owners and all industries do that is very easily replicable. I love how you said that it’s best for our industry as well. We need to be sharing successful actions and best practices. We need to come together to consider what the solutions might need to be in order to come to our collective issues.
It is such an amazing experience to go network. I have a friend in my network named Chris. Chris is wildly successful with a business that’s outside of physical therapy. I asked him once, “Where is the secret sauce to your growth and success?” He had grown exponentially for a while. We’re not talking about a small company of 1 or 3 million. This is a massive company. I said, “What was your secret?” He goes, “Have you ever read the book Never Eat Alone?” I said, “No.” He goes, “Neither have I.” He goes, “Several years ago, I saw the cover of that book and went, ‘I got it,'” and he scheduled a lunch every day. The lunches were for people he wanted to learn from, serve, mentor, and people he wanted to get mentoring from.
He did that every day. He told me this cool story once about how one of those lunches resulted in $400,000 of income for him. It was someone he didn’t think he would get any value from in terms of business sense, but it was someone cool who was doing something different. He wanted to learn about it. That guy three months later had a good friend of his who was in an industry that would be served by my client’s company. He was looking for this type of business.
He’s like, “This guy I had lunch with months ago was amazing.” He put him in a contract of $400,000. Our network is our net worth, and it doesn’t take much. It’s funny because that stuff that we feel like we don’t have time for. We’ve got to treat our patients. Dorothy’s hip will be waiting for you when you get back from CPS. It will be there with all the Bengay and the smelly goodness waiting for you. The PPS is once a year. You got to get there.
I love being that drum again. They need to plan for scheduling out that stuff, but it’s important that they take the time to do so. You can’t go expecting to be entertained like, “I’m here. Now, show me why I’m supposed to be here.” Now when I go to conferences, I like to go with some goals in mind, “What exactly do I want to get out of this? Whether it’s 1, 2, or 3 things? What are some of my goals for this conference? What do I need to do to make this a successful trip for me?” I work my experience around that. It does become valuable.
You reminded me of another good friend of mine in my network named Dallen. Every time he goes to an entrepreneur organizational event, he gets the guest list, which you guys can get for PPS. He researches people he wants to ask for lunch, dinner, and breakfast or a fifteen-minute discussion. He’ll reach out to these 5 or 6 people and have this amazing connection. One of those people was a guy by the name of Jordan Peterson, who many people here may not know, but he is a very popular author and thought leader in our country and the world. He’s a massive thought leader. He met with Jordan Peterson and had lunch with him.
In our industry, the Jordan Petersons might be our Blaine Stimac. They’re these amazing leaders that are cool that having lunch with them will change your trajectory immediately. You’ll have a lot more money, but the learning of what we do at work becomes who we are at home. The whole point of this whole thing called business is that we’ve got to put food on the table, but we have a chance to do it in a way that changes our leadership to become better mothers, fathers, and parents. All these things are universally applicable and by learning these rules from incredible men and women gives us a chance to be better human beings across the board.
If people want to get in touch with you, how do they do that?
If anyone wants to talk to me about Rockstar Recruiter or In The Black medical billing. Remember that In The Black, we’ve got a six-month waiting list. Reach out early if you’re interested in learning more about that. If you just want to pick my brain on something, reach out to Nathan first and let Nathan do the intro. I want you to be that gateway. We did training with about ten companies on how to leverage National Physical Therapy Month to generate new patients. It turned into this tearful mess about people and how much they love physical therapy as an industry. That would be fun.
We have content for episodes planned out as well. There’s National Physical Therapy month or state of the industry. According to Nathan and Will, we have that stuff that we can talk about as well.
Thank you for the opportunity to be on this show. Because we’re close, it’s never lost on me on this incredible opportunity to be able to serve your audience together.
It’s always good to have you on.
- Will Humphreys
- Last Episode – Busy Clinic? Should you Hire a PT or Drop a Low-Paying Insurance? Discussion with Will Humphreys
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- In The Black
- APTA PPS Conference
- Never Eat Alone
About Will Humphreys
I am a father of 4 boys, married 20+ years and am passionate about healthcare entrepreneurship.
Teaching entrepreneurs how to maximize their income, profits, and net margin is what I do, but helping them change how they think, reclaim their freedom, and discover what is possible is who I am.
I teach the value of this key phrase: Profitability unlocks possibility.
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