Meaningful Connections with Nick Mancini

Relationships are everything. In this week’s episode, we speak with Nick Mancini, owner of Collective Counseling Solutions, and we discuss the importance of creating authentic relationships. Something that can be difficult to do in the digital space when not executed correctly.

Nick’s websites:

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado bass small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Nick Manzini. Nick is a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. He is passionate about the mental health field and empowering his clients and colleagues to live a value based lifestyle. Nick and his business partner, Eric recently launched a company to support mental health clinics in developing and growing their private practice. Currently, they are in eight different cities across the country and slowly building a community based on their values of advocacy, collaboration, accessibility, generosity, and autonomy. Nick, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Thank you. So let’s start back at the beginning, tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what your life was like growing up.

Nick Mancini 1:04

I grew up in Akron, Ohio, which is like the northeast part of the state and mom and dad, I have a younger brother who’s three years younger than me, fairly fortunate in the sense that we had an extended family nearby, we had a lot of good friends. No, we’re able to, you know, have good access to education. And, and so, you know, kind of did the typical Midwestern things where we now have like Sunday family dinners, we, you know, played a lot of sports and just kind of hung out, you know, this this time of year is an exciting time, because it’s the summertime and just getting together going over to people’s friend, you know, people’s houses and being with them. And, yeah, so that’s, that’s where I primarily grew up. And it was really, I think, marked by like, a lot of community. And, and I think that’s been a theme and a value of mine throughout, you know, so been really fortunate to have a lot of meaningful friends and in each stage of my life, and so that when I think about, like businesses, and you know, creating a practice and my own professional goals, at my core is, how am I, you know, who am I surrounding myself with? And how am I, you know, being able to, like, cultivate something that is not just, you know, meaningful for me, but it also has an impact. You’re trying to

Katie Brinkley 2:33

build a good community in each location. Yeah. And I’m actually unfamiliar with Akron back in previous life, I was a flight attendant, and Akron was one of our layover destinations. So I am familiar with Akron, I also consider you, Ohio State fan.

Nick Mancini 2:53

I’m not okay.

Katie Brinkley 2:54

Thank goodness. Otherwise, stop podcast now. Yeah. So

Nick Mancini 3:00

I went to the University of Dayton, which is

Katie Brinkley 3:04

another place? Yep. Awesome. Well, you know, how do you think that your upbringing, you know, impacted your eventual career professional journey, I know that you said that you try and kind of establish a good community for when you’re opening up these new locations? How do you think that a lot of this has impacted your eventual professional journey?

Nick Mancini 3:25

So primarily, through I think, my education, I, you know, I grew up going to Catholic schools. And so there was a lot of focus on service being of value and, and how we kind of live our days and interact with others, and particularly in high school, the high school I went to, had a strong component of being of service to others. And so, no, fortunately, I was able to be involved in a lot of different activities, whether it’s going on retreats within community, you know, within the community of the client, my classmates, being a part of service projects, and things like that. And so there was a often a lot of reflection and discussion around what, you know, what we did, how we did it, what we think about it, how it impacted us, how did it impact others and so, I feel like a lot of my upbringing cultivated a lot of this like reflective process and, and so when thinking about, you know, where I am today and being a mental health provider, it seems to align a lot with with that teaching and that process of engaging with others.

Katie Brinkley 4:47

So take us through your career journey a little bit. I know you said you kind of started doing a lot of reflecting and mental health awareness back all the way back in high school. Tell us where you started out and the different professional stops that you’ve taken along the way and What led to where you are today.

Nick Mancini 5:02

So upon graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I moved, that’s what landed me in Denver, Colorado is because I joined a service organization, and it’s an AmeriCorps affiliated program. And, you know, I was placed at the St. Francis Center, which is in downtown Denver, and it’s a homeless day shelter. And so I lived in community with 12 other people that are also placed at different nonprofits throughout the city. And it was really geared towards providing service to marginalized populations, you know, those those who who don’t have strong supports who have struggled with various, you know, mental health, physical health, just traumas in their life. And so, that really jumpstarted my, my interest in pursuing something more and being able to impact on a deeper level. And so upon completing that, I actually kind of shifted gears a little bit, I worked for a for profit University in admissions, and it wasn’t exactly aligned with what I wanted. As far as my career, however, it did provide me an opportunity to start exploring what it would be like to get a some higher education, you know, so I kind of landed upon this master’s program that focused on marriage and family therapy as a clinical counseling program. And that I started taking classes there. And once I started taking classes there, it really started to kind of highlight a career path for me and, and while I was in graduate school, I transitioned out of working for the university and started working for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless as a case manager. And so it was this blend of doing social work as my career day to day job. And then learning the clinical counseling skills in school to really kind of my hope was to build like a well rounded experience of ways to be able to be of service to others.

Katie Brinkley 7:22

That’s awesome. So tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now. And these these new clinics that you’re opening,

Nick Mancini 7:29

right, so I, upon graduating with my masters, I worked for a community mental health center for seven years. And it was a great experience. It was an adolescent day treatment program, it was a very team oriented position. And it was a lot of fun, it was a good group of people. And the work that is is very much needed. And so while I was doing that, I started my private practice on the side. And just at the end of 2018, my wife was pregnant with our second kid. And with with two coming along, I quickly realized I wasn’t able to work a full time job, and do private practice, and show up as a partner and a parent, like I envision and so I decided to make the transition to full time private practice. And so 2019 was my first year of full time private practice, I really have enjoyed it. And I’m really fortunate to get connected with some other groups and partnerships that have helped me navigate insurance, billing, credentialing, some of that administrative stuff that you didn’t receive in graduate school. And so my business partner, Eric, he was I got connected with him through one of these groups that I’m a part of, and he was relocating from Philadelphia, and wanting to start a private practice. And so I offered him some space to rent and just to get started to get his feet on the ground. And over the last year and a half, we’ve really felt very fortunate because we’ve thrived in this partnership of being able to streamline some of these services that really take away from our time to be able to provide direct care to clients. And so last fall, we incorporated as collective counseling solutions. And our intention is to bring this model that we’ve created where it’s, we’re kind of a group practice, but really everybody that we’re working with are individual clinicians that are looking to develop and grow their own practice. However, you know, But benefit from streamlining some of these credentialing, billing services, kind of the community and collaborative efforts of marketing and things like that. And so, this so we started that IDM reform forum in the fall. And then in January, we started our initial recruitment talking to clinicians throughout the US, we we kind of highlighted 10 different cities that we either were connected to, or we thought were really cool and, and replaces that we’d like to visit and support. And so, so we’ve slowly started to grow our network. And, and that’s where we have established these values of really wanting to be advocates for the field. So making, you know, by helping people be able to make offer insurance, as you know, in to clients, that’s, that helps, you know, close one of the gaps for accessing services. And so we really want clients to be able to have increased accessibility to care for mental health for mental health services. And we want like clinicians to also be in a place where they’re not stressed with a whole bunch of this administrative headache, where sometimes you can spend hours on the phones, just trying to get an explanation of benefits or payments and things like that. And so, kind of managing that. So they are able to then focus on what they’re most interested in doing. And that’s providing that care been really exciting so far.

Katie Brinkley 11:39

Yeah, I think that, you know, you brought up a good point decided to go private practice, there’s all these other pieces that about running a business that you like, I didn’t learn any of this stuff in grad school, you know, talk about that process of finding, finding good mentors and, and help to kind of help guide you in the process.

Nick Mancini 11:59

I think that one on one of my main values, and I think is it’s also been really useful, and my transition is really fostering this spirit of curiosity. And so I like to ask a lot of questions, I’ll sign up for something. And she’ll say, like, why are you doing that you have no interest in that. It doesn’t even apply to your your job. And I’m like, I don’t know yet. I’m just gonna go and learn about it and try it out and see and whether if it does, or doesn’t, at least I find out something you know that it wasn’t a good fit, or, or maybe I was able to glean something from it that is useful the road. And so I think that it’s been really helpful to maintain a spirit of curiosity. And then the other part of it is utilizing resources, I feel really fortunate to be in Denver, because Denver is really small, business friendly. And so I’ve done some work with the Small Business Development Center. And it’s been really great to utilize their free consultation services. And there’s really this entrepreneurship spirit in the city that you can connect with other people who are have ideas and wanting to to learn how to realize their hopes and dreams.

Katie Brinkley 13:22

I think that brings up a great point. I mean, and I have found a lot of help with other small businesses and entrepreneurs in this in the city. Do you think that’s one of the one of the biggest appeals to having your business and your life here?

Nick Mancini 13:35

Yes, definitely. I think that’s it’s been, it’s been really fun to to have that support. I think the other appeal is just personally, coming from Ohio, where it is kind of rainy and gray. And you know, we had talked before starting this podcast about preparing for chilly and chilly weekend and some rain. Well, that last very, I mean, it’s very quick here in Colorado, where in Ohio, that that can stick around for a while. And so, you know, it’s sunny here, there’s clear blue skies, the access to the mountains and nature is, you know, a really short drive away. And so it’s the appeal is also I think, very much connected to a desired lifestyle.

Katie Brinkley 14:25

Absolutely. Now, what do you think that a lot of the small business owners and, you know, private practice therapists might make? What do you think some of the mistakes that they might make when they’re first starting out and trying to grow are one of the

Nick Mancini 14:39

one of the things that comes to mind is, you know, kind of setting up some certain expectations up front and thinking this is how it’s going to go and the trap can be some rigidity in that and and I think that when you’re just starting out, it requires a lot of flexibility and adaptability to be able to I understand that you might need a form that you didn’t think you needed, or you might need to, you might come across an issue, whether it’s with payment, or providing a service or feedback or something like that you didn’t even think was going to be an issue. And you kind of have to think on on your feet or on the fly there. And so I think it’s really important to have some grace with yourself, and allow some space to have that learning. And so really having like, flexibility and adaptability is important. What

Katie Brinkley 15:34

does your model look like for finding and engaging and selling to your ideal clients and customers these days?

Nick Mancini 15:41

So fortunately, I think in, in the field of mental health, there’s some major, like, partnerships already, like established. So Psychology Today is, is a huge company that therapists can create a profile and, and generate referrals through there, and, and there’s a few other ones as well. And so I, you know, I’m a part of those organizations, I think that it’s also really important to connect with other clinicians too. And so there’s been a period of time where I’ve had a consultation group, where I invite a handful of other colleagues that are practicing and, and that’s a way to build relationships, and also support each other, not only through, like, clinical stuff, but also just in some of that business areas as well. So I think it’s really important and building meaningful relationships with people, and, and making sure that they also align with with like, the values that that I hold, and that I’m looking to promote within within the community,

Katie Brinkley 16:54

what type of marketing Have you found works best for you in your business?

Nick Mancini 16:58

So that’s a great question, because we currently are in the process of discussing that. This, this first phase that we’ve had was primarily recruiting. And so we’ve we’ve posted some ads, through Facebook groups that we’ve joined, we’ve done some posts through zip recruiter, and we’re really trying to build our network first, because we, you know, we know that there’s a need out there. But we want to make sure that we have people to connect to services before we start marketing for referrals and things like that. We are in the works of developing a marketing strategy. And I think that, again, this kind of is connected to the previous question where you asked about kind of my business development and growth. And I think that we, it’s a really important value of ours to build meaningful relationships with not only like the people that the clinicians that contract with us, but also the clients, other businesses, other you know, maybe it’s medical offices that are needing mental health services. And so really having this word of mouth and this organic growth by building meaningful relationships with people.

Katie Brinkley 18:14

And I think it’s great that you brought up that you’ve joined Facebook groups. And I think that a lot of business owners don’t even really want know that they exist or even think about using it for a business standpoint. Talk to us a little bit about the strategy behind that.

Nick Mancini 18:29

In some ways, I have a lot of mixed feelings around social media being in mental health, I, you know, there’s research that indicates that, you know, overuse of social media can really have detrimental effects on your mental health. And so there are days where I feel like it’s almost like a necessary evil for, for businesses to just be able to have a presence because people might be utilizing that as a way to learn about what’s going on in their community, get feedback, read responses about how people are doing and everything like that, and reviews. So it’s been okay for us, I think that we are, again, kind of in we’re very much in a startup place where we recognize that we also have to have content to be able to push out. And so I think what’s unique about collective counseling solutions is that Eric and I are both working a full time private practice. And so we see, upwards of, you know, 30 to 35 clients a week. And we’re also trying to help support clinicians develop their own practice. And so I think that’s unique because we’re practicing and we also want to be able to help other clinicians doing this. And so we’re trying to figure out our schedules to be able to kind of develop content that is meaningful that also connects people and not only connects us with potential clinicians who’d like to join our network, but also is useful information for potential clients that are needed that are seeking out services.

Katie Brinkley 20:14

I think that’s great. And I think that you’re, you’re definitely trying to do it the right way and build that sense of community, which, you know, one of the things that I always trying to push out there is making social media, more social again, and you don’t want to just be that person that talk, talk, talk talk talks, never asks, but how are you doing, you have to listen to your audience, and your audience will tell you what type of content that they want to hear. So I love that you’re trying to build that community and put yourself out there in these different Facebook groups and just embrace the idea of doing social media the right way? What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And how has it impacted your business or your life?

Nick Mancini 20:57

No, I was really fortunate in graduate school that I did have one professor who just presented information about doing a private practice or creating your own business. And, you know, I think that what was really helpful is that one day, he walked us through going to the Secretary of State website, and creating it thinking of a name. And basically going through all of the steps until like payment and is like, you can, you can have a business right now, if you want to pay with it, pay for it, or just just hold off. And, and I think I, what I took away from that is if you have an idea, and you have some passion around it, taking some of these initial steps, start to create some own accountability start, you know, then you can start to talk to people about it, and the momentum slowly builds. And so I really have found that to be a useful, like, approach, because Eric and I, you know, we, we had this idea, and then we talked about it for a while, and then we decided to do it, and then you know, it from October to January, we didn’t really do anything, you know, we slowly started talking to people, and then we’re like, Okay, well, we have this, what’s the next step. And so it’s been really nice to be, I think, really have the privilege to go slow. And to allow it to kind of organically grow. That represents like the direction that we’re wanting and, and allow us to connect with people that are a good fit for us. And so setting it up and just taking care of those some of those initial logistics doesn’t mean like, you all of a sudden have to have everything in line. It’s just step one. And so it’s been really valuable for me to just remember, just take step one, and then and then the other steps will start to present themselves.

Katie Brinkley 23:03

Awesome. Well, Nick, this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?

Nick Mancini 23:10

Great. Our our company is called collective counseling solutions. And our website is www dot collective counseling And on there, you will have our phone numbers, our email address, if you want to reach out to me directly. My phone number is 937-681-1547.

Katie Brinkley 23:34

Thank you again so much for coming on the show today. Thank you. And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.