For years, I have wanted to create a Free Counselor Directory. Basically, a simple “Psychology Today” style product that counselors could use to promote their practices online, but without the $30 a month price tag…or any price tag!
My first attempt at this was in 2008.
I registered a domain name, and spent a few thousand dollars in website development. While the website looked nice, the process to create a practice profile—which should have been simple—was both too complicated and unstable. Try to create a profile and you might succeed, or you might have the website crash on you halfway through the process (upload a picture, and you have a 50-50 chance of the website freezing).
Basically, it sucked!
It drove me crazy that the website didn’t work right. So, even though I didn’t have the money, I threw thousands more at software development.
And it worked! Sort of…
The “create a profile” process was better, and it didn’t crash. However, the website still had glitches. For example, while counselors could CREATE a profile quickly and easily, if a counselor ever wanted to CHANGE his or her profile, those changes might not register.
Even though the website was free, I got plenty of angry emails (and threats of lawsuits) in all caps: “I CAN’T CHANGE MY PROFILE!!!” There was little I could do. I’m not a software developer, and I didn’t have any more money to hire developers to re-build the website. After about a year of trying to get the glitches fixed a few at a time, I shut the website down to focus on new projects and products I could manage well (and that would also help pay the rent).
Getting it Right
Fast forward to 2013. My company now has about 40 employees, and I’m in a meeting with my technical team. I’m telling them about the 2008-2009 web project and how rough it was. I say, “As a company, it’s important to focus on what we can do well—even be the best in the world at.”
How do they respond? Hearing my story, they want to create another Free Online Directory! I say,
“I think you missed the point.”
They disagreed, pointing out A) The idea was a good one because it would help counselors, and B) While, I didn’t have the technology to execute it well then, they are much smarter that I am.
What I struggled with for over a year, they built in much less time! I am thrilled with what they’ve developed. It’s been 5 years in the making (so to speak) but we finally have a top-notch Free Online Directory for Therapists. Check it out! http://Thriveworks.com/find-counselor Anthony Centore is a Counselor, is Private Practice Consultant for the ACA, and helps counseling practices across the US thrive. For more information on private practice and insurance panels go to http://thriveworks.com.