Hold onto your seats, because this episode featuring Shara Ruffin is an absolute roller coaster ride! Shara bares it all as she opens up about her incredible journey and how she transformed her life from rock bottom to self-made success.
Prepare to be amazed as Shara shares her secrets to acing the LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) exam on the very first try, something she’s helped countless others do as well. This phenomenal woman has truly found her calling, using her own experiences to guide and support others on their path to success.
But it’s not just about career success – Shara’s life story is one of resilience and strength in the face of adversity. She’s overcome tremendous obstacles and turned her setbacks into opportunities to make the world a better place. With her infectious spirit and positive attitude, Shara is a joy to be around and an inspiration to us all.
So sit back and get ready to be moved by Shara Ruffin’s incredible story – a tale of perseverance, passion, and the power of the human spirit.
Website – https://linktr.ee/SharaRuffin
Nobody Wants To Work Tho Website – https://www.nobody.chat
Subscribe To The Newsletter – https://www.switchintotech.com
Be A Guest: https://nobody.fyi/guest
Switch Into Tech – https://www.switchintotech.org
Nube: Switch Into A Cloud Career Book – https://nobody.fyi/book
Tech Freebies – https://nobody.fyi/freebies
Monthly Seminars – https://nobody.fyi/seminars
Full Tuition Scholarships – https://fullscholarships.org
Data.gal – https://www.data.gal
Alternate Titles For The Algorithm:
Pass Your Social Work Exam
Pass Your LCSW
Should I Become A Social Worker?
Should I Get My LCSW?
Get A Coach To Pass Your LCSW
Get Coached For Your LCSW
Hey y’all this is your host Elyse Robinson. With Nobody Wants To Work Tho podcast I hope the stories were inspire you to switch careers. I was an Auditor in my past life and I’m in tech, then let’s get to it
we are switch into tech tech resources to accelerate your career in information technology, monthly classes on tech topics. We offer free or discounted exam vouchers, scholarships for you to meet courses, free events, free boot camps and more. You can find us at www dot switch into tech.org record on
hey y’all this Elyse Robinson with nobody wants to work though podcast and today I have Shara. She is a social worker and she does this fascinating business on the side which that’s how I found her on LinkedIn. So go ahead and introduce yourself.
Hi everybody. My name is Shara and I am a licensed clinical social worker by training. Former psychotherapist been in the field social for over 20 years. Think I don’t look like. But nonetheless, I am in a business for myself now. I’ve been in business for about two years and had a lot of success with it, which we’re probably going to go into so I am thankful to be here. Thank you for inviting me, Elyse.
All right, yeah, I didn’t want to pick your age, but I was like talking cheap and they’re doing that 20 years. That’s crazy. fun question. What did you want to be when you you know, were a little child.
I wanted to be at first, the next Mariah Carey because I thought I was saying, I bought after that I wanted to be an astronaut. After that I wanted to be a lawyer. And then I turned to social work. So there you go,
got most people have said bet too. So that’s a new one. Can you see? I can do it. Okay. Um, let’s see, what did your career begin what got you into social work?
I would say it had to be maybe my sophomore year of college where originally, I went from criminal justice to psychology and I’m in my advisor that time, it’s like, you got to see it. So, you know, intro to psych, I think you should think about social work if you want to go into private practice. And really what I didn’t tell him was that I was distracted by avoiding my class. And I was like, I was not paying to do nothing but But nonetheless, it was actually a good precursor because psychology is more ScienceBase and I was like, I’m not gonna I just don’t want it. So I was like, I like talk therapy. So he told me about social work. And the first thing that came to mind was don’t they take away people kids and that’s that’s the stigma of social work. So when I got it switched my major I never looked back. I love the field is soul transport is versatile in terms of what you can do with your bachelor’s degree, what you can do with your masters and if you get licensed, which is a must nowadays, it’s it’s very versatile fields beyond child welfare. So I I’ve loved it. I’ve had many different roles. psychotherapist, medical case manager, working for a nonprofit working for for profit psych hospital. It’s been mostly in mental health direct practice work. So that’s where my passion, my first passion lies. And it eventually morphed. I knew I always wanted to do therapy. Growing up in a family where mental health, especially in the black community is not talked about often stigmatized. I grew up with that. So I always had an underlying passion for wanting to understand people’s behaviors, why they do what they do, but also wanting to understand myself. Which Social Work gave me a very heavy groundwork and being able to understand myself better. Oh, gotcha. Um,
what was the catalyst that made you go into your business your entrepreneur
endeavors? Yes. So that is the big question that people ask me, especially on LinkedIn. So I have generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD. I talked about that a lot. When I started out on LinkedIn in 2018. I was a burnt out social worker, and I was mostly talking about the military. I’m a former military spouse. I also grew up in the military. My father was in the Navy. And we have a long history of military and our family. And I start sharing stories about the military and the stigma and and how misunderstood that community is. Talking about it from a standpoint of being a therapist, but also being a military spouse. Being a military child, I started sharing stories that are now back then with LinkedIn. Telling stories using articles was the thing, not as much anymore newsletters are right now. But back then I started sharing stories about myself, I started being more personal when people were like they weren’t really doing that, if it blew up is actually one of the first stories I ever wrote. And I started sharing more stories and trying to just break the stigma of a therapist and having all the answers which I didn’t, a lot of mental health professionals go into it because they know what it is to have emotional plane, or they may be still working through that, sometimes unethical ways through their clients, which is not supposed to happen. But that’s why people come into the field. A lot of times it’s because of their own personal experiences around mental health. So I start talking about that morning, it gained traction. So LinkedIn was actually the probably the first place where originally I was looking for a job. And it turned into so much more over the years for me, building it, learning how to connect with people build community, I became like literally obsessed with, with LinkedIn. So the story probably goes back further than just my current business. But if I can fast forward from 2018, to the last two years, when I started my business, it’s called Journey to licensure, which helps social workers, from a holistic perspective, work on getting their license. Why? Because that was my difficulty. So on LinkedIn, I want to say back in 2019, I started sharing my journey that I needed to get my clinical license now for social workers. It takes two years. It took me literally 10 years, postgraduate Howard University to get that license. Why? Because I had life happened to me. So 2010 graduate from Howard, and then I ended up getting my first level license, I failed it the first time at three points, took it again, two years past it, and then I just go into the field of working. Surely after I became pregnant with my first child, my daughter ages she passed away. I gave birth as had her seven months a year old. The guy I was dating at the time, which became my future husband. He was really struggling because when I was pregnant with her, he was overseas. And during his 23 year career in the army, he had never been in an area that was war torn. He was in Kabul, Afghanistan when I was pregnant with her. And when I told him that I lost her he was just devastated. We both work. And it was one of those things where I really struggled with depression. And the best way I did that was just it was unhealthy at the time, but I just fueled it into my career, I just became hunkered down and wanting to focus on building it. Life happened again, I when my ex husband came back from Afghanistan, I became pregnant with my son, Jaden was born with an abnormality where at six months he had to get have a very serious kidney surgery, that if he didn’t have, he might have died. He’s now almost nine. Now in June, he has a clean bill of health, but back then it was pretty rough. Having him and then going through a divorce. My ex husband had a baby daughter marriage, which I found out about later. And after that, it was like a, it’s like a blur. Now looking back, my son would constantly get sick. I work two to three hours away from my home, catching a bus or train walking hour and a half rain, sleet, snow, to make sure that I can provide for him because my ex husband wasn’t doing that. So working as a therapist until five o’clock in the afternoon, and then taking care of a sick medically compromised child sometimes ending up in the hospital with him overnight and still having to go to work the next morning sometimes barely, buddy sleep sleep. I did that for five, six years. On top of trying to work and provide for him. I went through postpartum depression, almost giving up for adoption because of my depression. Trying to figure out well how am I going to piece my life back together. So it was a whirlwind ride and I shared a lot of that on LinkedIn. And then I took my first clinical exam after it taken 10 years to qualify. And I failed it miserably by two points. I was devastated. Why because it took me so many years to get my hours so many years of pouring into my work to get to that point. It it was one of those things where looking back now I can smile and laugh because back then I was just that depressed about it. In our field, we need that license in order to go to private practice. We need it for career mobility and marketability. We needed to be able to practice in our field and also to have opportunities open for us. So especially for black clinicians, there’s not a lot of us. And it’s because the clinical license, the license exams are pretty hard. And there’s a actual, our board came out with a recent report saying that the people that don’t pass the exams are people that are black people that are older test takers, or people that have don’t have English as their first language, right? Those are using marginalized communities of people that usually need help, they need social work services. If we don’t pass those exams, we can’t reach those people. So when I share that story of when I failed, I took it again eight months later and passed it. When I shared a snippet of this decade long story of what it took for you to pass the exam. It literally blew up to like maybe I think was like 150k in comments. Because I share with people the journey of how many things happened to me along that could have deterred me. So when I passed my exam, I ended up going to this app called clubhouse clubhouse at the time was very huge two years ago, and I got on there and wanted to share with social workers what I did to pass my exam. So I started coaching social workers for free for the first six months. Now I have my license, I could have went directly into private practice. I did not. I still tried to figure out did I want to do therapy? I wasn’t sure if I did. So I ended up coaching for six months on clubhouse free every Monday night consistently with a study group. People started passing their exams. Then I ran into what who would soon be my future publisher. He said, Hey, sure. What are you doing? You’re doing something that works for people. It’s benefiting? Why? Like, are you still are you monetizing this? I said, No, I’m just trying to help. He said, Okay. So I want you to think of it this way, you now have something that people want, that people need, and you’re providing a service that’s needed is an untapped market. I need you to change how you value yourself. When he said that, to me, this lovely, white guy in Atlanta, it changed my mindset, I made my first $10,000 in July of 2021. As social workers, we’re taught not to look at money, we’re in it to serve others, which is true at the same time. What I’ve learned very early on is that the price that we set for ourself is a direct reflection of our value of ourselves. So I started pricing, slowly, learning how to build my community, learning how to leverage social media learning to build my brand. It took a lot of work. My first year, I ended up in Business Insider, within the first five months through LinkedIn, I ended up my first book, it’s called 90 days of prayer, it hit five time Amazon bestseller within 72 hours of the launch. That was last January, I became a well this year, I became a LinkedIn adviser to LinkedIn platform, the only African American social worker that has that title. So a lot of magical things happened. This past year, I closed out 150k In sales, which is about $30,000, more than what I did last year. It took 20 years to do what I didn’t to. And that’s what I tell a lot of my social workers, it was a long road. The things I needed to do, how I needed to market myself how I needed to build trust and community over time. So people, a lot of people like them would see that success. But I’m constantly reminding them through my story, sharing it over and over again that it took a long time. I tell my social workers that, you know, they can do exactly what I did. No, no, I can’t do that. I don’t have the skills I need just like yes, you do. It’s about what you do well, showing social proof for that building community and knowing that’s going to take some it’s going to take some grind. But if you stick with it and you’re consistent with it, it will prove its dividends. So that’s a summary of the story of what I do. I’m now launching two other services of what I do but a lot of I guess what has helped my business be successful is that building relationships with my clients, they relate very much to my story. Two years ago, almost three hours broken on food stamps for three kids.
And even after I started my business for first six, seven months, I was broke. April 2022. I made my first $24,000 in month. It wasn’t till the end of December that my account was like You know, your business is expanding, right? And I’m just like, I’m just gonna grind. I’m just trying to help. If you go in with intention of making money, you’re in trouble. If you go in it with intention of serving others, you’ll always be a fruit. And I’ll pause there, because I noticed that a lot.
I, it’s heavy, and it’s inspirational at the same time. I didn’t mention to you when I did my introduction that I lost my mother, and that was the that was a catalyst for me. So yeah, I totally understand all the blockers that go into life. And that’s another reason why I wanted to do this podcast because things take time. And you have blockers. You have ups and downs. You have the hills and the valleys then. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know what else to say on that. But um, congratulations, condolences. I mean, you, you are doing it. Let me see.
I didn’t hear Can I did mention to you. We talked about blockers. And you talked about the death of your mother. Last February, February, some teeth. It’ll be a year next month. my eight year old brother was killed six blocks away from where I lived. And he’s, I’m the oldest of five now for when I look at the year that I had last year, in terms of the success of my business, I would trade it all just to see him again. When I was in the throes of working, he had got done down. And so when I’m thinking about the barriers of what I’ve been able to do in the in the year, still still the grind of you know, going and trying to implement resilience within the framework of also making sure that I take the time out to remember why I’m doing it in the first place. I wanted to share that with you because when you say Greiner, Italy dotted my brother Samir.
Definitely, definitely I told you in my introduction, that I’ve moved to another country in Mexico, and my mother had never left the country. She always wanted to travel and do these things. So you know, I do it partially for her and partially because I enjoy it. But um, yeah, I mean, it. It changes you, hopefully for the good, but I mean, that it just changes you forever. And what did you have support when you wanted to pivot and do these things? What did your babies say? And, you know, your friends, your family, you know, they consider you to be crazy.
Yes, and no. I felt like I kind of got lucky in a sense that I over time. A lot of people when they go into business, they’re building, they’re building a business before they build their community for it. For me, I had already built a community. It was just capitalizing on it. For my family, they saw out I have a story to tell you about that. For my family, they were just happy to support me to a degree. But I mean, first generation college graduate first generation to get a master’s degree first generation to be author of first generation to have a business a successful one at that. It’s one of those things that I’ve kind of had to roll with the punches with my family. It wasn’t until they saw me actually the money part of it that they were like, okay, because I did have some pushback when I was like, okay, when are you going to get a job like? And it wasn’t until I’ll tell you a funny story. And I hit my mother, I took her I remember my first year in business. I think that around the time I made like 10 grand. And I took her to a xhale store and I spent like a couple grand and I’ll remember and I told her to go get her a brand new iPhone now. When I was in my popup days, that don’t be on a payment plan, okay, so and I just bought a trade off. So I called Kay mom. She’s like, Wait a minute. She’s like, you spent about a couple of hours without blinking an eye. Are you doing drugs? That’s what she said to me. Okay. That’s what she said to me. And I said, No, Mom, I have arrived and I walked off. And she didn’t say anything else after that. I think when it comes to family, especially if you know they love you and they care about you. Sometimes you kind of got to show patients and leave them where they are. You have learned that you can’t take everybody with you. And sometimes that’s family and you got to leave them where they’re at. Until they’re able to, you know, accept what you’re doing. Or you just let your behavior and let your actions speak for themselves. Not everybody’s gone standard grind. Even now, my father’s like, oh, you work so much, but yet you need help with your bills. But yet, how do you think I can help you like, my dad was homeless over the summer, and I got an apartment, and was able to get him what he needed and be done. Being able to do things for my family, financially, has been a blessing, a godsend to be able to do that as having a title as a social worker, because again, that societal stigma is there. So I’m constantly even now fighting the stigma of that social workers don’t make money or they’re working for somebody, or they’re in private practice. I’m not in anyone else things. I’m in private practice. But it’s not a therapeutic practice in the sense that it’s not therapy, it’s coaching. I’m just using my skills in a different way. But going back to your question it took did even now sometimes, like, even though they see the money coming in, and they were like, do what you got to do, I’ll talk to you later, they understand that, you know, I got, I’m doing stuff, but it’s still a fight, you’re working too much. You’re doing this, you’re doing that. I don’t have a regular nine to five job. So I have to, I have to be visible, I gotta grind, I have to. And I love my work. So it’s not just me working, the passion for what I do shows. And that’s the other thing I tell entrepreneurs, social selling is the way to go. It does take longer, but it always pays dividends. I have a sales coach that actually really capitalized on that with me, because one of the things he says is that people don’t call people like Gabrielle ever have consultations. And people will call you to like, you checking up on them, either they don’t respond. If they’re listening, they may not respond to you right away. But they I’ve had so many sales from building relationships with people that even if they said no initially, because I consistently care because I can simply showed up for them. Even if they return it, it pays us dividends, it takes time, it takes patience. On LinkedIn, I see a lot of people just cold sell and cold calling. And they wonder why I’m so successful is because I listening to the needs of the people I’m serving, listening to their pain points, and generally wanting to help them without selling, sharing, being vulnerable on that platform and sharing that I’m not human. A lot of people feel like they know me because they see me constantly they’ll see Jade and my son on there. Or I remember one time I deep fried a turkey on LinkedIn on Thanksgiving. I’ve gotten engaged on didn’t share that video, like sharing pieces of my life, for me is is very much a posing of what I did as a therapist. So learning how to connect with people for me has been, I guess, my superpower, I won’t say superpower. But having a mental health background has definitely helped learning how to be patient with people. And they may you know, you’re not for everybody. But you’re for somebody. So I’m gonna stop here because you know, I could just start reading all day. So I know that I dropped some
Yeah, you drop in Jim’s definitely definitely um, I don’t even know what else to say on that, you know, I’ve read that you have to build your community before before you start selling. And that’s what I did with with my own business this time around is that I built a community before I started selling to them so and that took that took about six months I totally get it um, and you know, tell like being being human like you said and telling your story where you come from and how you got there because I don’t know I don’t want to say there’s not a lot of stories out there about that but there’s not a lot of stories out there about that because me and my friend go back and forth about it my entrepreneur friends and we’re like okay, well how did they get there? You know, they say they’re making all this money and stuff like that but what was the journey I want to know the journey here No, I don’t want to know details on Oh, well you check this box and did this and talk to this person but I mean what what you know, how did you get there? You know, no one just started off Hey, I made you know, $200,000 this year like how did you get there? So I can appreciate you you know giving the background and the story and you know what you do to get there and you know generalizing it to a deeper to a certain detail but but yeah, um, let me see what else we got. Huh What are some of the positives and negatives of being, you know, in this in this coaching business? Oh,
we’re gonna start, okay. So I’m positive, I’ll start there, being able to control my schedule, being able to have freedom, being able to set my own boundary, and reinforce them as needed. But also growing in confidence, I did not start out as coffee confidence I did now I had to kind of grow into that growing into pricing. Asking, right, not assuming that people are going to know my value, but showing them and being able to ask for what it is that is a value to them, and seeing how I can work with them learning how to be flexible. Now price ranges, you know, being able to gauge pricing, learning how to sell, you know, learning how to close a deal. And also allowing patience with people, when they come to you and may just be at first just for advice. They may have been something they saw on a post. But there’s a reason why they came to you foster that relationship. Even if it doesn’t end in a cell right away, stay connected to them. Because calls go a long way than just email. I’ve call I text I check in with people, even if they don’t ask for my services right away. Because if they call me I’ll let them know you’re stuck with me. So I’m gonna check in or you even if you’re not like needing help with your license right now you call me for a reason. So if I can be a support to you, I’m going to try my best to do that. So learning how to sell how to be a businesswoman. It that’s like the grind the negative, that’s the self sabotaging part of imposter syndrome. Learning that I am a value. That’s something I’ve had to fight with with myself. So ensuring that vulnerably on LinkedIn like yeah, made all this money, but I still have thoughts and I’m not good enough. I still have thoughts that this could be better. Like I’m always trying to figure out how I can serve my community better. The pitfalls of sometimes I’m on the grind, and I’m missing things with my family. So making sure that I’m spending time with my fiance spend time with my kids spend time with my family, self care, I had an incident and yours that was very negative actually shared about it on LinkedIn, early post that I ended up in the ER, right before New Year’s because I had I get debilitating migraines. But with the migraines for the last two weeks, between Christmas, even New Years, it was happening every day, I would get up with a migraine go to bed with a migraine on one side of my eating. Now, when I went in to see the doctor, they gave me a migraine cocktail. After IV they did a CAT scan and nothing was there, which told me it was more stress and psychosomatic trying to be everything to everybody I cannot my family looks at me as the go to I’m the go to person, the person FIX IT person, what I’ve learned is that I cannot be everywhere. Nor should I be expected to be everywhere. And I’ve had to set those boundaries with my family. And even with my soon to be spouse and having to learn that self care has to be a front row, I can’t coordinate anybody, I’m no good. You know, people don’t want pieces of me, they want me as a whole rounded person. So I constantly have to remind myself of that which can be positive and negative, right. But it’s what you do with the insight, you know, to implement action that’s going to mitigate that you know what that outcome could be? So negative things, you know, learning that as you grow, as you become more visible, it’s going to attract various types of people. Me and my girlfriend, talk about this all the time that we always yelling the drink shots are no new friends. And the reason why is I’ve learned the hard way that some people come into your life to take some people coming into your life for reasons that you may not know. And not because of the money that I make. Now I it draws a lot of attention. So I now have to be very cognizant, and very careful because I wear my heart on my sleeve, how I connect with people and really figure out what someone’s intention is. Now I’m not saying I’m not going to distress, you know, distrust every person I meet. I give you my trust and so you break it, but it’s one of those things now that I have to be very cognitive and how I move because you never know who’s watching. I’ve had an incident happened to me where my book was copyrighted on like, not on LinkedIn on Amazon, by somebody in another country, six different coverage with the same content. And it was hella high water for me to get it off another incident where my Facebook account was hacked, and my Instagram account was hacked and it I lost like half my community. But the good thing was I was on variety of platforms and had an email list. So I still made up fine. So learning that in, there’s negative and Pogs, there’s tons of things I probably could say. But the one thing that probably sticks out the most is making sure that I’m okay, like everyone wants a piece, not everybody should have a piece and that time is the most precious thing you have. And to make sure that people value it that they respected, and that you respect your time, because it’s something you can’t get back. That’s something I’ve really had to learn and not to overextend myself. Because you know, at one point, the people pleasing girl comes out, and I gotta check her, like, No, you just filled me with them for an hour set that boundary there. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do not your problem, you told them what to do, like, just making sure that those boundaries are set, and I’m constantly adjusting them as I go. But also checking in with myself to make sure I uphold them because that people pleasing, wear my heart on my sleeve, it doesn’t go very well in business and people when they realize you know that they will take advantage of it. So just try to be really cognizant of of that. So I know I gave another
is perfectly fine. It’s all about you. Yeah, three things. I used to have terrible migraines, too. And I got a daif piercing. Um, you know, I was trying any and everything. And I was like, Well, let me try this and see if it works. And it actually did, I don’t I don’t have them at all. So maybe try it, try the Dave piercing in your ear for that, and number two, the giving yourself away and people wanting to be all up in your business and mix. And I call it I call it people want to touch me. That’s what I call it. When I moved to Mexico, you know, there’s not very many people there that look like me, right? And so everyone was curious about, you know, the black woman in Mexico and things like that. And I was like, they just want to touch me. That’s what I call it. They just want to talk to me and know more about me. And I’m like, Well, I have all these resources over here already. I don’t I don’t want to talk to you personally, you know, like, go watch a video or read my blog or something like that, you know, so I totally get you on it. And the third thing about the negatives of telling people Oh, yeah, this is what you were supposed to do. And they didn’t do it. I referred someone to Microsoft. I mean, what the one of the largest tech companies on Earth, right? And about three months after I referred him, he came back and was like, Yeah, I didn’t fill it out. Like, can you refer me again? I’d have left it on red. Like, why would you squander an opportunity like? So? I get you I do. I’m kind of touched on a little bit, but what do you think are some of the traits that someone would have to go into social work? Um, I mean, you could talk about social work. And you can also talk about, you know, the type of business that you’re into,
um, in terms of social work, because I get questions like on LinkedIn all the time, because social workers are very visible on LinkedIn. I’m still trying to teach a lot of my colleagues, it’s a very powerful platform for networking, not just resume. You know, that’s what it was when it first started was so much more in terms of building your community building your brand before you need it. So really, I would probably have to say, for social work, you gotta be willing to talk with there’s some of us are introverts. I am by nature, you probably like No, she’s not an introvert I am. I’m very introverted. But there’s the other part of me that has to be extroverted or I’m not going to be able to get my gifts. So, so social work, you have to be versatile in the sense that you have to love working with people. You have to be willing to be flexible. And you have to be willing to get support to social workers, just like any other profession, especially are in the direct service field. I believe that social workers should have therapists I was a therapist, I had a therapist, because you got to know what it’s like. To be on the other side of the seat of being vulnerable, you’re asking someone to bear their bearings in, you don’t know what that feels like. So how are you going to help somebody in that position, you’ve never been there. So there are varieties I could say about social work. But I do think that it’s a beautiful field. It’s evolving. Always. There’s traditional social work, where there’s case managers, there are people that are politicians, there are people that are head of organizations, professors, there’s people that are educating up and coming social workers. Me I’m on more side, I would say more the coaching aspect, I am directly not in social work right now, I do give clinical supervision to social workers that are needing hours in Pennsylvania, because I’m in Philly, I do give professional development to social workers who are trying to learn how to build a brand, how to use LinkedIn, how to maybe wanting to be a best selling author, learning how to build a brand, that can be that can work to their benefit, but also provide them with more opportunities, and just the job. Learning how to, if you’re a direct practice worker, learning how to build your clinical tool bed before you need it. That’s something I teach a lot of my supervisees is, when you’re first starting out in the field, it is low pay, I mean, that’s when anything, right unless you’re like in tech or something. But it’s all about how you use your place of employment, you know, adding value to the employer going beyond your responsibilities. And to give you a good example of that. When I was a therapist for about 10 years, about 22 specializations that I have on LinkedIn are from that one job. Because I was an outpatient therapist, they oftentimes needed different types of specialties. Some of my clients had schizophrenia or psychosis. Grief and Loss was something I saw that was a untouched need. So I became a certified grief counselor and provided that to them. They needed it play sandtray Play therapy, I became certified that was my own supplies provided that to them. What it did was it also trained social workers that were new as I became a C seniority in my position, I trained other social workers. So I taught teaching other social workers, how to take the positions that they’re in, and gain their value through experience. But also investing in themselves is something that we’re not taught to do. So. And when I’ve been by investing, licensing certifications, experience mentorship, I tell a lot of my colleagues that what took me 20 years to do, guess what you can learn from me faster and get there faster than I did, then 20 years, skip my mistakes, you know, align yourself with people that you know, wherever it is that you want to go, that you, you know, you’re around them, you are what a certain percentage of the people that you hang around. So just really trying to be versatile in social work, but teach people that just you know, being a case manager or a therapist, nothing wrong with those positions, because I’ve done them. But know that there’s more of the social work than just traditional child welfare, or working in social services, that you can really build your career in a way that can be beneficial. A lot of my colleagues like I just they see the money, but they don’t always see what it took for me to get there. So that’s why I do a lot of sharing on LinkedIn. About how I started out, it was, you know, if I’d go back 10 years, I would never have thought I would have got to where I am now. Without being in private practice, working from anywhere, being able to go to Disney World with my kids. And a couple of days I’m spending on the computer, but yet the bills are getting paid. Things are looking good for me now. But it wasn’t always that. So again, I know that was probably a really mouthful. But in social work, we’re told that were the backbone of society. When we are oftentimes society looks at us, and we’re not valued as much, hence the little pay. Hence, the licensing discrepancies that are there, especially when it comes to marginalized communities that need social workers the most. It’s a struggle right now. They’re actually revamping the licensing exams because of those discrepancies. But it’s not happening soon enough, which is where I come in to try to support as many social workers no matter what they look like or where they’re from. I’ve had many success stories that simply come from people that were like me struggling with neurological disorders or we’re busy parents demanding jobs, anxiety, depression, or really just have life happened to them, because they can relate to the story that I tell All, they end up coming to me and I’m more relatable than a self care like a self study program that they go to, or our program like that. Sorry, that was my mama, I thought I turned my phone on vibrate. But yeah, so I gave you a mouthful, but it’s a very versatile field, I love it. I’m just helping social workers from the extinct now that from my own experience, to me is more valuable than just working in an office that in a building, where path of people that I would serve when I was a mental health therapist wouldn’t even come in.
Definitely. You touched on so much. I’m introvert too, when people are shocked. And I said I become extroverted when I want to get my money. Yes, yes. Right. Like, I’m gonna get my money for the day. So I step out of myself. And like, I guess like Beyonce becomes I forget Yonsei or something like that, like, I become a totally different person. So, but yeah, I get you on that outside of that. Are there other like services that are doing what you’re doing? Because I find that, at least in tech, there’s all these boot camps in schools and things like that, but like you’re saying, you know, it’s not something where you’re literally being handheld, you know, a lot of times in order to pass these exams, and, you know, the experience portion and things like that. So, um, I want to say what differentiates you from from something else? But I’m curious to know, because I’m not familiar with social work outside of the you have to get 2000 hours, I think it is and a master’s degree, like, you know, what type of coaching and services do they have like, like, I guess more so like the the bar exam for lawyers and stuff like that, they have a whole bunch of stuff for that, too.
Yeah, so I can actually talk about that a little bit more. So with my services on a journey to licensure. I’m like a self study program, where you’re stuck, they, you know, you’re given a book, and you just kind of got a half at it on your own. My services are very much holistic in their personalized to the person at the time, there are many self study programs that I usually get end up getting the clients from those self study programs, because they’re either don’t know how to study, they’re overwhelmed. They’re, they have underlying diagnosis that they don’t even know that they have, or they take the exam so many times that they’re frustrated, and they’re stuck in this defeatist mindset. And because of what I struggle with, a lot of people relate to my story, they end up coming to me than just going to a self study program. Or if they’re in a boot camp, boot camps are usually a which is a group program, usually one or two days, here’s all the things you need to do, go do it. See you later. My program is about seven, eight weeks, which is unheard of. I like to see my group members through their study process, I like to build their study process for them, make sure they have resources. But being a clinician, the other piece is having a holistic view of the whole person. And not just on the exam portion of it, which separates me because when I meet with my clients, you’ve probably seen a whole bunch of testimonies of people that are passing most of those people either have anxiety, ADHD, a neurological disorder, or they’re really struggling with how to study for these exams. And there is a tutoring part to it, of course, but it’s more so the structure, the emotional support that they get, I’m pushing them, I’m giving them tough love. But I’m also nurturing and patient, where a tutor is only going to meet with you in an hour, I’m meeting with people daily, they have my number, my personal number, have virtual office hours with that they call me and we talk through their mindset, their fear, their anxiety. So it goes a lot deeper than just an exam. A lot of the programs that are out there, it separates me a sense that they’re getting a hands on live instruction, but they’re also getting someone that profession is a clinician so when it comes to diagnosis, or stress or anxiety, I’m more equipped to deal with that than someone that’s just a tutor. Right? So, which probably accounts for my success. I’ve had over 325 social workers so far pass their exams within two years by myself. So it’s it’s been quite a ride, but when I think about what to bring chase me when people call me, they’re like, oh, I need tutoring. I’m like, if you need tutoring, this is a unit so I let them know how my system is built. I either work with people in 12 weeks or 16 weeks, and then I’m gonna kind of be their motivational on call coach partner throughout their entire process, yes, they’ll get the tutoring part, the structure the tools needed, but they’re also going to get the support because a lot of times, especially when people fail, they’re fighting themselves. I’ve done that so I can recognize it and hold the space in a different way than somebody that’s just you know, going to the normal practice questions. So, hopefully it kind of gives you a better understanding. The give you an example of the type of people I’ve worked with, I had one lady who was deaf. I didn’t know she was her and I didn’t know she was deaf at all. Her name is Shannon Shriver. She’s actually on Instagram. And Shanice Shriver contacted me through Facebook. Now, I’m thinking this lady I’ll never forget. It’s like May of last year she was just like, hey, I need some help. Are you past people’s like, cool, cool, cool. This happened a phone call. I was very confused. When I found out it wasn’t me. And that was what I was on the phone with. Because I was like, Excuse me, this is not shaming, like, Oh, this is her interpreter. I was like, oh, and in my mind, I was like, oh, Lord, I’m not gonna be able to help her. I don’t do American Sign Language. This is just, and I just start putting myself in a box. And she says, No, I think you can help me. Let’s work together. I pass my practice exam. I just I’m really nervous. It’s my first time taking the test. We’ve worked together for six weeks THROUGH INTERPRETER, I’m nervous. I was like, I don’t know if I’m going to be to help her. I do it. Anyway, she texted me at 10 o’clock at night. So she passed her clinical exam, which is the highest license you can have. She was in Boston, Massachusetts, what I didn’t know about this lady. And I didn’t find out until later, looking at her Instagram, her husband died during a pandemic. from cancer, she had two small boys she was cared for. So she was a recent widow, on top of the fact that it her job was pressuring her that if she didn’t pass, you probably lost her job. I had no idea until I looked because I didn’t know her story. But when you talk about impact, those are people that I think of another guy, his name was Jimmy Ruffin, we’re not related. Six kids lack male social work, which is rare, right? Because social work is predominantly predominantly women. even rarer for black clinicians, especially males, not a lot of them. And I remember he came, he said, I need some help, I need somebody who’s going to be on me, he’s a busy parent, six kids has a heavy job. And we work together for about four weeks twice a week. Along with building him a structure for being a busy parent. Some people need more prioritizing. Some people need more support motional support, he passes the exam with flying colors. But if you said it was because he has somebody that he knew he had to check in with every week, and I was on like white on rice, sometimes people need that push, but they also need to feel supported, to know that someone else has been there before and that they’re not alone. So when I think about what differentiates me, I will probably sad to say more so looking at the person for what they need, and trying to do my best to hold the space for them, if they cannot see themselves passing the hole, that vision for them until they can hold the vision for themselves. So trying to have a nurturing space where they can, as they’re building confidence that they can go through the process and have someone there that can support them. So I know you’ve run tech world. But in terms of for social work and licensing, it’s been pretty rough. I mean, when people take those exams, a lot of times it’s based off of book knowledge, if you’ve been at school a long time, it it’s they gave me rough, because you’re working from a brain of what you know in the field and not from a student point of view. A lot of students who come out of school and take their exams right away, they do better than people who have been out longer. So there’s a lot of things changing with the Social Work license exams at this point, but it fully won’t. The changes won’t fully be in effect for two years. In the meantime, you have social workers that still have families, they got to provide they got bills, they got student loans. They have to pass those exams just like a doctor would get. You know, it’s because he says medical jury, he still has passed his medical boards. A lawyer you mentioned has to pass the bar exam to be licensed as a lawyer. It’s a safe rate for social workers and most people don’t know how hard our licensing exams are despite how undervalued we are paid in the field. So
so so enjoy this. Thank you sir, for coming on the show any last word? Tell us where to find you.
Um, you can find me on 5g platforms, you can find me on Tik Tok. You can find me on LinkedIn you can find Eat on Twitter, YouTube, clubhouse and Facebook I have a personal page and the business page that you can find so on if you Google journey to licensure or Shara roughen app pop up there. All my stuff is public. So I’m pretty visible.
All right. Thank you for listening and or watching. Nobody wants to work though. My name is Elyse Robinson and please subscribe and I’ll see y’all next time.