I had researched and thought and wrote and debated. I had talked the ears off of all my colleagues. I had drafted forms and paid for all kinds of official documents. I found an office to rent and painted it with my friends. I had bought furniture and hauled it around and put it together and then it was time.
May 1, 2012 I began seeing clients in my new office. The space was beautiful and the clients were magnificent. Most of my clients from my old place of employment joined me in my new spot. I knew them, they were familiar with me and my work and they were only too gracious to continue working with me even if it meant driving a little farther to get to their appointments.
Enter: The SQUARE. Throughout all my research and driving my colleagues crazy consulting with my peers, I learned that the Square was one of the most affordable ways to accept credit cards. It is a tiny little, uhm, square thing that plugs into my phone. I can swipe a credit card and voila, get paid. It is really cool the way it has clients sign on my phone and then sends the receipt directly to their email WHEN.IT.WORKS!
On day one, I am pretty calm and collected despite this huge new endeavor. After seeing my first client, I pull out the Square. The good news is that I know and am comfortable with the client because the bad news is, the Square doesn't fair. I swipe and swipe and swipe....sweat starts building, my heart starts beating and I am moving into panic. In that moment every anxiety, worry and fear that I had about this new business venture was directed on.to.the SQUARE.
In some ways it was really perfect. The anxiety had a place to go. I was never concerned about my clinical work because I had been doing it for years, that part was simple, the business part was new and scary. Forms, billing, marketing, these things had my in a panic, but sitting with my clients in my new and beautiful office was just fun. At the end of many of those first several sessions, though, I knew I had to accept the payment. I often would subliminally think "check, check, check", but most of my clients (like me) would pull out the plastic and I would begin to get nervous. Would it work this time?
I have had a fabulous year. I can honestly say that I have not had a bad day at work, not even once. I have been blessed with new clients throughout the year via marketing, referrals and just good grace. I am also lucky enough to still be working with some of the clients that came over with me a year ago.
As for the Square. It continues to be my nemesis. We have a love/hate relationship. My clients know the tricks; one client advises me to swipe quickly twice, another thinks his daughter has the magic touch so she gives it a whirl, we all know that I stand by the window hoping for better service, and many have seen my dance to the Square G-ds. The good news is that my panic has subsided, all that initial anxiety is gone and the Square is just a finicky little gadget that has helped me tremendously.
I can not thank you all enough for your wonderful support and encouragement throughout this very special year. Let's raise a glass to many more therapeutic, fun, helpful and productive days at the office of Laurie Levine LCSW LLC.