How to Get Paid During Seasonal Slumps in Your Practice Coaching Session

How to Get Paid During Seasonal Slumps in Your Practice Coaching Session
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How to Get Paid During Seasonal Slumps in Your Practice Coaching Session

How to Get Paid During Seasonal Slumps in Your Practice Coaching Session

“[If I did this plan, I would know] that I was taking care of myself, taking care of my business, and not relying on a credit card or something else to help me out, which is amazing that I was doing this all and moving money around and taking control over a situation that sometimes feels out of control.”

~Donna Peters

Meet Donna Peters

Donna went back to finish her undergrad when her youngest son went back to school. While finishing her bachelor’s degree, she volunteered at a domestic violence shelter on the days she was not in class. Social work was clearly her calling, as a wise woman pointed out, so she went to get her masters. She has enjoyed every minute and has never looked back. However, money had been an ongoing struggle until she found Money Skills For Therapists.

In This Episode…

Do you find yourself saving money but then feeling like a failure if you need to use that money? In this coaching session, Linzy and Donna dig into the way that our perspective on savings can really shape how we feel about using them to manage the ups and downs of our income, and they work through some actionable strategies that can make our money work for us.

Listen in to hear practical tips that can help reframe the way that you see the savings that you put aside each month. 

Want more support with your private practice finances?

Free workshop: Setting Enough Aside for Taxes (in 5 Easy Steps) 

A FREE workshop that teaches private practice therapists how to teel totally calm about your private practice finances knowing you have more than enough in the bank to make tax time a breeze!

In this pre-recorded online workshop, I teach you:

  • the real steps to make sure your taxes are totally taken care of,
  • what mistakes to avoid when setting aside taxes for your private practice,
  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:03] So thinking about this plan, if you were doing this, what would you know about yourself? 

Donna [00:00:07] That I was taking care of myself, taking care of my business and not relying on a credit card or something else to help me out, which is amazing that I was doing this all and moving money around and taking control over a situation that sometimes feels out of control. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s podcast episode is with Donna Peters. Donna is a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists, and this is one of our coaching sessions. So Donna went back to school after her youngest started school himself and finished her her undergrad, which she had not done before. At the time, she was also volunteering at a domestic violence clinic, and one of the women there said to her, This is obviously your calling. You need to go into social work. So she went on to do her master’s in social work, and as she put it, she’s enjoyed every minute and has never looked back. She works for a group practice and does some online work and also is looking at moving more into private practice. So Donna and Is conversation today is around a very familiar pain point for those of us in private practice, which is weathering those slumps that happened the summer slump, when suddenly all of your clients are off having wonderful summer vacations and the December slump when they’re off with their families and suddenly your income hits the floor. We explore how to build a buffer in anticipation of this and plugging this into the system she already has. Notably in this episode, because most of Donna’s income is as an employee of a group practice, we’re exploring actually how she can work with this issue at home because she gets paid a paycheck from group practice. So if you’re in group practice, and if sometimes it feels like these private practice things don’t quite apply to you, this is going to absolutely apply to you because we had to figure out how to solve this problem for Donna, not in her private practice, but actually in her home finances to be able to weather these ups and downs. So here is my coaching session with Donna Peters. 

Linzy [00:02:38] All right, Donna, welcome, thank you for coming today. 

Donna [00:02:41] Thank you. Thanks for having me. 

Linzy [00:02:43] So Donna, you came on today that the question that you submitted is about basically weathering this summer slump, like that summer income drop. Can you tell me more about what’s going on with that? I have always noticed that July and August, the first weeks of August, really there is a huge drop in clients coming in. And then of course, when school starts, you get a huge influx of clients coming back. But it seems like this year there was a huge drop. And that was probably because everybody was like, yay, we’re free, we can go. But I was not expecting that big of a drop, where I really had to dip into my savings account to cover things. And I was – that’s very scary, when you start having to do that kind of stuff and it’s like, Well, how do I cushion myself for these type of situations, especially since I know another one’s coming up in December. 

Linzy [00:03:36] Yeah, there are all these like natural ups and downs in the season, and as you say, COVID is going inside and having fun for the first time, in a long time. 

Donna [00:03:44] Right. In a long time, but when you have a really good, steady income where you see all these different clients, all the sudden they’re like, I am going on vacation, I will see you and whenever. You don’t know if they are going to come back or not, because now they have all this freedom and they’re like, they’re using their coping skills that what they’ve been used to in the past. 

Linzy [00:04:03] Right. Yeah. 

[00:04:03] They’re building those up again, so they might not be coming back. And so it’s like, Oh, OK, where where am I going to find all these new clients? How am I going to reinvest in all this? 

Linzy [00:04:15] Yes. So my my brain is kind of going two directions, so you tell me which one will be more helpful, first. One is the policy side of it, of how your practice is set up and the questions for you there. Or we can think about creating a financial buffer, which one would be more helpful for you? 

Donna [00:04:30] Probably the financial buffer because I think there’s still some COVID laws still in place where they don’t have to pay cancelation fees. I think those are still in place. 

Linzy [00:04:43] Because these are insurance based clients? 

Donna [00:04:45] Yes. 

Linzy [00:04:45] OK, let’s talk about the financial buffer side of it. So during the year, how are you managing your money? What is that looking like right now? How do you manage the money in your business?

Donna [00:04:56] What do is, I take 30 percent because I have a group practice that I’m still part of. And then I still have my telehealth, which I’m almost – I’m so proud of myself that I have whittled down to very few clients. So I’m not overworking, I’m not burnt out anymore. And what I do with that money is I automatically take 40 percent because I want to have a little bit more cushion for taxes after the end of the year. Because 30 percent is a great amount, but 40 will give me a little bit extra and I know I’m not touching that money whatsoever because that’s not my money. 

Linzy [00:05:33] Yes, OK. So that 30 percent you mentioned in your practice, is that what you’re paying to? The practice is what you mean or that’s what you’re Setting Aside Enough For Taxes? 

Donna [00:05:41] That’s what I’m setting aside for taxes. 

Linzy [00:05:43] Ok, great. 

Donna [00:05:43] I’d always call that one the telemedicine, the telemedicine part of the job. I just set that aside for my “just in case, emergency money,” I really – because there is not that much money coming in lately because of me scaling back. 

Linzy [00:05:57] OK, so from your group practice income, then you’re sending 30 percent of taxes, from your telemedicine, you’re basically using that as kind of like a little emergency fund. 

Donna [00:06:08] Yeah, telemedicine, I’m taking 30 percent off and then using the rest for set aside for just in case money. 

Linzy [00:06:13] OK. The rest of the remaining 70 percent is just in case money. 

Donna [00:06:16] Right. Because the group practice, is a W-2 company. So I don’t have to worry about taxes whatsoever. 

Linzy [00:06:21] OK, I see. Right. So with the group practice then, you are kind of being paid as an employee? 

Donna [00:06:27] Mhmm. 

Linzy [00:06:27] Yeah. So you’re not necessarily able to kind of manage how much you get paid. You get paid, whatever you’ve kind of earned in that period. 

Donna [00:06:34] Right. I get a percentage of what I earn. 

Linzy [00:06:37] OK. And so with that, if we were talking about a private practice, Donna, actually, you know what, with that, though you are, are you getting paid? It’s a W-2, so you’re getting paid right to your personal bank account. 

Donna [00:06:48] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:06:48] If that was your own practice, like if we were talking about you being out on your own, there be a different way of managing this right, which is kind of like you might make and have the money to pay yourself four thousand in a month, but you pay yourself like thirty five hundred. Right, that’s how we would manage it in practice. But I see how this would be extra painful because it’s kind of like you’re getting a paycheck and then suddenly your paycheck starts to really suck.

Donna [00:07:09] It does suck, bad. 

Linzy [00:07:11] Yeah, OK. So this is more actually about how you manage the money at home, in this case. So how do you manage money at home when it comes in the door? 

Donna [00:07:19] I have my own personal bills and I just take care of those. 

Linzy [00:07:23] Ok, you have your personal bills and then, is there any saving that happens? 

Donna [00:07:27] Yeah, that’s automatically taken out, I take that out at the very beginning of every paycheck. 

Linzy [00:07:32] OK, great. And what are you saving for? 

Donna [00:07:34] I have no idea. I just do it. 

Linzy [00:07:35] OK. Well, that’s an interesting thing right there. So these would be the savings that you actually dipped into this summer?

Donna [00:07:43] Right. My savings, I dip into when – because I’ve been trying to start a private practice, but because of – during COVID and the telemedicine, that kind got huge. 

Linzy [00:07:53] Yes. 

Donna [00:07:54] I was never able to really start a private practice because the telemedicine component took up so much. 

Linzy [00:08:01] Yes. And are you still looking to eventually start a private practice? 

Donna [00:08:04] Yes. I’m still in the process of doing that, and that’s why I still have this overhead, of you know, simple practice, a phone – which I do get phone calls and I do get people who want to be part of my private practice. But if they have insurance, then I just move them over to the group practice. 

Linzy [00:08:21] OK. So coming back to this piece about, how do you manage these ups and downs? I am hearing that you already have a savings system at home, but it’s saving for savings. 

Donna [00:08:31] It’s that rainy day savings account that like, Oh, I have extra money I can use it for here. 

Linzy [00:08:36] Right, OK. So I’m curious, is the summer a rainy day? It feels like a rainy day because you just – it really does, because you don’t have the normal like, like a normal amount of money that you’re used to coming in. And all of a sudden it’s cut in half, you’re like, Whoa. 

Linzy [00:08:52] Mm-Hmm. Yeah, because what I would suggest Donna, is because you are getting paid a paycheck and there’s this W-2 situation, you are going have to manage that money at home. But the way to manage it would be to kind of squirrel away a little bit of those high times. So when the low times come, you’re like, I planned for this. Here’s my summer, my summer slump fund. 

Donna [00:09:13] Right. It still is like, I don’t want to touch my savings. 

Linzy [00:09:16] Yes. So tell me, tell me about that. Tell me about not wanting to touch your savings. 

Donna [00:09:20] Because it’s like that nest egg that it’s like, No, I don’t want to spend that money because I don’t – it’s kind of like, you know that plate that you put in your cabinet and say that I’m going to use that for a special occasion. Is that my special occasion plate? But I use my special occasion plate all time. But my money is a totally different story.

Linzy [00:09:40] Uh huh.. Right. So what would be the special occasion, that would warrant those savings being spent? 

Donna [00:09:46] I guess if I if I could not pay, I couldn’t pay for something like my rent or something like that. 

Linzy [00:09:53] OK. So it’s like emergency money. 

Donna [00:09:55] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:09:56] But this summer, is not an emergency because you see it coming. So I wonder, Donna, like what would it be like if every time you got paid, you squirreled away some money, planning for the summer? 

Donna [00:10:10] I see what you’re saying, that it’s just seeing in a different way, like this is not really an emergency. This is just, this part of the game. 

Linzy [00:10:21] It’s like, you know, and it sounds like based on the fact that you’re on insurance, like having a robust cancelation policy, which can help to offset this in private pay isn’t possible right now, potentially, that’s something to still look at. So you know that naturally, there’s going to be this decline, in especially July, kind of like a like a six week decline, like July into two weeks of August? 

Donna [00:10:40] That’s it, yeah. 

Linzy [00:10:40] And I will tell you, this happens like across the board in so many types of businesses, except for people who sell like, I don’t know, like beach inflatables. For the inside people, this is normal. So, yeah, so if you did expect this and if this was just a normal, neutral event, a normal low in the year, what would it look like? How would you be saving for it? 

Donna [00:11:00] By probably putting a little bit extra and the closer, it got to the summertime. So that I would know that, like if I was doing it in the springtime, like, OK, we need to pay a little bit extra, summer is coming up. But we don’t know what that summer is going to look like, if it’s going to be a really hot summer, then people are going to be out. 

Linzy [00:11:20] Yes. So based on your experience, how much does it tend to drop in the summer? 

Donna [00:11:24] I wasn’t expecting it to drop this much. I think that kind of threw me. 

Linzy [00:11:29] Because this was, did you say like a 50 percent drop? 

Donna [00:11:31] I almost want to take a 60-70 percent drop off. 

Linzy [00:11:35] Ok, huge drop. 

Donna [00:11:38] It was a huge drop. 

Linzy [00:11:38] Ok, so being concrete about it, how much money would you have needed to have to kind of just cover you for these six weeks? 

Donna [00:11:44] Probably to feel comfortable, about two thousand. 

Linzy [00:11:47] OK, so it’d be having two thousand dollars saved. 

Donna [00:11:49] Mm-Hmm. 

Linzy [00:11:50] And so those two thousand dollars like I’m hearing, there would be this, one plan could be you save for it kind of as it’s coming, like in the spring, do you mean? Winter or spring? 

Donna [00:11:58] Well, adding a little bit more in the spring just to make it a little bit bigger or make the pot a little bit bigger. 

Linzy [00:12:03] Yeah, I mean, another way you could look at it, Donna is kind of with your paychecks. What is the paycheck amount that’s like, that’s enough? And that covers for my home and that gives me that extra. And there’s kind of extra on top of it and putting away that extra. Right. So if you know that you need twenty five hundred dollars a month to cover your bills and be healthy and you get a paycheck for twenty nine hundred, you automatically put that four hundred into your summer fund. 

Donna [00:12:27] That makes sense. I never thought of it like that. 

Linzy [00:12:29] Because then, rather than potentially having to like squeak away those savings on a tougher month, you’re kind of like, you’re taking the fat off the top. 

Donna [00:12:36] Yeah, that makes more. 

Linzy [00:12:38] How did that feel for you? Do you think emotionally, if you did that? 

Donna [00:12:40] I think I would feel much better about it emotionally. It’s still, it’s like I hate using my savings account. I think I was just taught, don’t touch your savings, whatever you do, don’t touch your savings. That savings is supposed to be there. 

Linzy [00:12:51] OK, so what if this wasn’t a savings account? 

Donna [00:12:54] And just a checking account? 

Linzy [00:12:56] Or it’s a savings account that holds your summer fund? 

Donna [00:12:58] Yeah, that I would probably use that, only in the summer, then. 

Linzy [00:13:01] Because what I’m hearing is there’s a specific story about savings. Can you tell me a little bit more about that story, about savings? 

Donna [00:13:09] It was just like 20 – I can’t believe this – 27 years ago, when I got married, my husband and I really sat down and talked about what we wanted to do with our money. And one of them was -because my family was not very good with money and his was, was that we’re going to do this with our savings and savings is not to be touched. And so I’ve always had that, and ever since I had a job where I was like, I always had this savings account and I would, if I needed the money, then like, this is an emergency, I need to pay this bill, that I put in there. But as soon as I had enough money, I’d put it back right back in. 

Linzy [00:13:42] And is there like a certain number you try to keep your savings at? Or is it just, whatever it’s at? 

Donna [00:13:47] Wherever it’s at. As long as – I should take that back, as long as it’s not under like a certain amount, a certain amount makes me kind of go, Oh God. 

Linzy [00:13:56] So, there’s a minimum you want to see. Can you tell me what that number is that you want to see? 

Donna [00:14:00] The minimum amount or the minimum amount is like five hundred dollars where I’m like, Oh, this hurts. 

Linzy [00:14:06] Yeah. OK. So you always want to see it above five hundred. And then if you take money out, you put the money back in? 

Donna [00:14:13] I always put the money back in. 

Linzy [00:14:14] OK. So I’m hearing that that’s kind of a rule that you and your husband established. 

Donna [00:14:21] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:14:21] I’m wondering, is there any cost to that rule? 

Donna [00:14:25] Emotionally for myself because I’ll beat myself up, if I take it out or if it gets lower, I’ll beat myself up like nobody’s business. 

Linzy [00:14:32] OK? Because what does it mean about you, if you took money from it? 

Donna [00:14:36] I think it means that I’ve wasted away money. 

Linzy [00:14:39] You’re wasting money, right. So with this Donna, like what I’m wondering is it seems like it’s a bit of a bind, right? It’s like you have this mechanism and you are saving and you do save, but then you’re not allowed to touch or use it. And if you do have to use it, then it’s like, it’s a failure, you’re wasting the money. 

Donna [00:14:57] Right. 

Linzy [00:14:58] How else could you possibly think about savings? 

Donna [00:15:00] That it’s there for very specific reasons. You know like if I plan to buy a pair of shoes or something fancy and I put it aside just for that. And I would say just for that. 

Linzy [00:15:13] Right. So like earmarking it for specific things? And what would it be like, do you think to save money for like a pair of shoes? And then when you have that money, you be able to buy the pair of shoes. What would that be like emotionally? 

Donna [00:15:24] I’d be fine with that. Yeah. As long as it doesn’t go to a certain amount, then I’m OK. 

Linzy [00:15:29] Right. OK, so there’s still that minimum. And we all have those numbers, right? And they’re just kind of random numbers, usually. And sometimes those numbers can creep up, too. I will say, like the where we have the last of the year, is also very stressful. Thinking about this summer slump. What if, rather than it being savings, you had like a specific account that’s for the summer slope?

Donna [00:15:47] I could do that and I could do that for just like slump month. 

Linzy [00:15:51] Right because there’s December as well. 

Donna [00:15:53] Right. 

Linzy [00:15:53] But for those low months. Because as I say Donna, like if this was just within your private practice and when you are in your own solo practice transition, where you know you’re going to be, you could manage this differently. Like what I would advise and what I teach in the course right, is like if you have those high months and you make more, you still pay yourself that same normal, reliable paycheck. And then that means on the low months, there’s extra money there to pay yourself. Because you’re that W-2, you don’t have the ability to do that. You can’t make them pay you less, you know, on a higher month. But you can, you can mimic that at home. 

Donna [00:16:20] Right. 

Linzy [00:16:20] Where you are consciously putting away money for the normal things that you know are going to happen. And thinking about it practically, how would you do that? Do you have a separate bank account? Would you just keep track of Post-it Notes somewhere? How would you know that money is for your slump months? 

Donna [00:16:35] I definitely would open a different account and just put it in there. It’s easier for me to transfer it that way. 

Linzy [00:16:42] Yes, OK. And I’m hearing two thousand dollars for the summer. 

Donna [00:16:46] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:16:47] And then what about for December? How much would you need in there for December? 

Donna [00:16:50] Probably not as much, hopefully not as much. 

Linzy [00:16:53] Yes, because it’s like a quiet couple of weeks rather than six weeks. 

Donna [00:16:57] Right. And plus I would be taking time off at that time, too.

Linzy [00:17:00] True, yes. And so maybe for December, something like $700 or something? 

Donna [00:17:06] Probably, something like that. 

Linzy [00:17:08] So that means over the course of the year, you would be putting like twenty seven hundred dollars into this account and taking it out when you need it? 

Donna [00:17:14] Right. 

Linzy [00:17:15] So thinking about this plan, if you were doing this, what would you know about yourself? 

Donna [00:17:20] That I was taking care of myself, taking care of my business and not relying on a credit card or something else to help me out, which is amazing that I was doing this all and moving money around and taking control over a situation that sometimes feels out of control. 

Linzy [00:17:37] Mm hmm. Right. So this would be you proactively taking care of this situation. 

Donna [00:17:43] And taking control over it. 

Linzy [00:17:44] And taking control. Yeah. Is there anything about this that could be tricky or that you anticipate might not work? 

Donna [00:17:51] No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just, it’s always being in the mindset of I’m going to work on my money time and getting that money time in and looking at all your cookies. I like to call them my little cookies. Looking at all my cookies, including my cookie jars. 

Linzy [00:18:07] So cute. 

Donna [00:18:08] So as long as I can – I have this cookie, I can move this cookie over here and I can do that. 

Linzy [00:18:15] Right, OK. And so you’ll have a a slow cookie jar. 

Donna [00:18:19] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:18:19] And then when you need it, you take the cookies out. 

Donna [00:18:21] I can take my cookies. 

Linzy [00:18:22] So coming to the end of our time together, what are you taking away? 

Donna [00:18:27] That I actually do have more control over this than I actually really thought. 

Linzy [00:18:30] Hmm. Right. 

Donna [00:18:31] It’s so anxiety based feelings and all of this stuff because you’re like, I’m doing it wrong. I know I’m doing it wrong, and just having somebody else say, Well, think about it differently. 

Linzy [00:18:42] And I mean, even with the summer, you know, something that you may want to consider is, do you want to be taking time off in the summer or just taking more downtime in the summer, knowing your clients will be around? 

Donna [00:18:51] And that’s what I have been doing, I’ve been doing my CEUs. I’ve been taking some really great time just to recover from COVID burnout and removing a whole bunch of clients. 

Linzy [00:19:03] So there’s also opportunity in this downtime, and especially if the anxiety was removed, I wonder how much more opportunity it would feel like.

Donna [00:19:09] Right. Yeah. I don’t know if you remember, I was the one that went from 52 to clients. I was seeing 52 clients in a week. 

Linzy [00:19:15] I do  remember that, that was very memorable. Yes. 

Donna [00:19:18] Yes. And now I’ve got it down to twenty five.

Linzy [00:19:22] Which is a huge reduction. And like, I’m sure, was no small feat. 

Donna [00:19:26] I think that’s another component to it is like when you have all this huge influx of money and then all the sudden it goes “woosh”. 

Linzy [00:19:33] Yes and something, Donna. Maybe a coaching session for some other time would be about getting your private practice really, really rolling right and commanding those fees that you know that people are willing to pay you for the work that you do. 

Donna [00:19:45] Yeah, I’m slowly working on it, I’m getting paneled, I’m working on all that. So I’m getting there. 

Linzy [00:19:51] Yeah, great. Well, thank you so much, Donna, for joining me today. 

Donna [00:19:53] Thank you so much for having me today. 

[00:20:08] Something that really sticks out to me in my session with Donna is just how powerful the names or categories that we can put on money, can be. So even though she already had a system in place where she was automatically saving, because those savings were kind of vague or emergency savings, it was really hard for her emotionally to be dipping into them. But just by realigning the way that she was thinking about it and recognizing she already had the system and the tools set up. But it’s recognizing that actually she does need specific money for the summer slump. How relieving that was and how it removes the emotional weight of having to use that money, just by saying, this is a normal thing that happens every year. Every year my clients go away and I have less sessions at these times a year, so I’m building it into my system. I’m naming that my slump of money and suddenly there’s no difficulty with taking that money, right? Suddenly, it doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong or you’re stealing from somewhere else. It’s money that you’ve intentionally set aside from a problem that you know is going to come up every year, which makes it no longer a problem, when we have that intention and we have that solution already in place. Sometimes it’s those little tweaks that we can make and also noticing our intention around it, noticing we’re already doing so many things around money that can really shift how we feel about our money and how we feel about ourselves in relation to money. By taking that time to be with what we’re already doing and tweak and tune up the things that we’re already doing to suit our needs. If you want to hear more from me, you can check me out on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share free, practical and emotion focused money content on there all the time. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I know I always say this, but it’s because I mean it. I would love it if you would take a couple of minutes to review it on Apple Podcasts. That is the best way for people to find the podcast. Thanks so much for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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Does the tax season fill you with dread? Rather than being unkind to yourself for the things you didn’t do the way you thought you should this year, listen in to these tips and action items that Linzy shares.

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Breaking Free From Negative Money Stories with Kim Wheeler Poitevien

Breaking Free From Negative Money Stories with Kim Wheeler Poitevien
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Breaking Free From Negative Money Stories with Kim Wheeler Poitevien

Breaking Free From Negative Money Stories with Kim Wheeler Poitevien

“If I don’t have [money], it’s not like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t have this. I’m a bad person. I’m not worthy.’ It’s literally like, Okay, if you need to dig out a hole, and your shovel isn’t there, you would kind of panic. It would be the normal thing. It doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving of a shovel. It means, ‘I need a shovel! Where’s my shovel? This is really hard to dig with my hands! How can I get a shovel?’”

~Kim Wheeler Poitevien

Meet Kim Wheeler Poitevien

Kim Wheeler Poitevien is a Licensed Clinical Social Work specializing in childhood grief and loss. She also treats children experiencing racial disparity and discrimination in private white institutions. Kim is the owner of Amel Counseling and Consulting, a group therapy practice specializing in treating children and teens located in Philadelphia.

In This Episode…

Do you struggle with emotional responses when you start working on your finances? Do the stories that you carry with you impact the way you view your relationship with money? Kim and Linzy really unpack the impact of the stories we tell ourselves about money and how detaching ourselves from those stories allows us to feel freedom – both to make more money, increase our impact, and to resist judgment when we make mistakes with our money. Linzy and Kim also discuss the impact of systemic oppression on the way we view money and feel scarcity, and how recognizing that can help us find our way to a more abundant mindset.

Listen in to hear how viewing money as a tool can help you cultivate a more abundant mindset free from the emotional stories that might be holding you back. 

Connect with Kim Wheeler Poitevien

Here’s how you can connect with Kim:

You can find Kim on Instagram @ameltherapy or

You can also find her at

Want more private practice finances support?

Free workshop: Setting Enough Aside for Taxes (in 5 Easy Steps) 

A FREE workshop that teaches private practice therapists how to teel totally calm about your private practice finances knowing you have more than enough in the bank to make tax time a breeze!

In this pre-recorded online workshop, I teach you:

  • the real steps to make sure your taxes are totally taken care of,
  • what mistakes to avoid when setting aside taxes for your private practice,
  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:03] What else does that mean for you, when you say money is a tool? 

Kim [00:00:06] If I don’t have it, it’s not like, Oh my God, I don’t have this, I’m a bad person or I’m not worthy of something. It’s literally like, OK, if you’re trying, if you need to dig out of a hole and your shovel isn’t there, you would kind of panic. It would be the normal thing. It isn’t me like, Oh my god, you aren’t deserving of a shovel. It means like, I need a shovel, where’s my shovel? This is really hard to dig with my hands. How do I get a shovel? 

Linzy [00:00:35] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them and both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So before we get started today, I wanted to share another review from Apple podcast. It’s so nice to have these reviews and your feedback on the podcast, and this review was titled “So Needed”, they said, “loving this podcast so far, having real, honest conversations about our money stories, what it means to work through our money stuff, and how to use our money for our personal lives and our businesses as healers. Such a needed discussion. Can’t wait to hear more.” Thank you for your review and whoever left that review. This episode is going to be right up your alley. Today’s podcast guest is Kim Wheeler Poitevien, she is a therapist in Philadelphia. I’m not going to go into introducing her to too much because we actually start her interview with her talking about the wide range of work that she does. Our conversation today is kind of more of an interview than I think I’ve done before in terms of getting into Kim’s transformation around money. She’s a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists. We get into where she started, her money stories, the money legacies that she inherited from each of her parents. And then we talk about how that fear of having too much money, the fear of taking up space and being ambitious that I think so many therapists can relate to, was showing up in her relationship with money in these really specific behaviors. Along the way, we also get into systemic racism, and she makes some really insightful points about how scarcity and competition between therapists can actually be facets of systemic racism and systemic sexism. It’s a really rich conversation. I so appreciate Kim’s openness and honesty in sharing her story, and I hope you enjoy it. 

Linzy [00:02:51] So, Kim, tell me about yourself and your practice and what you do. 

Kim [00:02:55] So I am a child and teen therapist. I have a small – well now is actually a group practice that’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and my specialties are that I work with kids of colour who are dealing with racial trauma and also kids who are dealing with grief and loss. So now that I’ve expanded, I’ve added on two new associates who are working with truancy, school refusal and mother-daughter Relationships. And I also have a huge population of transracial adoptees that I work with. 

Linzy [00:03:26] And you do therapy and coaching, is that correct? 

Kim [00:03:29] Yes, I do. So along with my practice AML Counseling Consulting, I also own a parent coaching firm, Eskimo. So there we do, one on one coaching, and we’re also starting small cohorts of six week parent coaching. 

Linzy [00:03:43] Great. So, Kim, I think it’s fairly obvious to everybody listening that you are very ambitious and very confident. But tell me about your relationship with money, kind of like going back a year or two. Like, how did you know that something needed to change with your relationship to your finances? 

Kim [00:04:00] Let’s see. About a year and a half ago, pre-COVID, well, I made the most money had ever made, in my like my solo practice. And I was like part time, but I was like, I did really well. I was really proud of myself, and then I ended up paying like $600 in bank fees because I had mismanaged my money so poorly. So I was really ashamed and really upset. And so then I was in this Facebook group that I was in with other practice builders and they mentioned actually your program and they were like, You should do this. And I was like, OK, I should do this. This Is the first time I actually am honest about the struggles that I’ve had with money, and I knew that I could build a practice, like I knew that I could get people in, I knew that I could be successful. But what is the point of working so hard when all of your money is just like kind of just flying out the door? So that was the time that I knew I really needed to get a handle on it. But I, from the beginning, since I was a teenager. Like, I always had this belief that I can’t handle money, I’m going to mismanage money, I’m not going to be successful, or someone else needs to manage my money for me. 

Linzy [00:05:06] And do you have a sense of like where that came from in your life? 

Kim [00:05:09] Family wise, like my mom, did all the finances and she’s like, mis-managed money. And so my parents would just have these arguments about, you know, this and that. And I didn’t realize until I was older that it was really the fact that my mom just didn’t manage the money well. And it was like part of the reason why, you know, we had struggles. And it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s and she passed away that my dad had kind of taken over things and I was like, Wow, there’s like, there’s money here, this is amazing. There’s less income, but there’s more money. And I saw that in a different way of managing it. But then I just said, OK, I’ll just have my dad manage stuff. And that was OK when I was in grad school, until like he passed away like, you know, a year or two later. And then I was just like, I don’t know what to do. 

Linzy [00:05:59] Right. So I mean, it kind of sounds like you inherited, in some ways, a story that was kind of about your mom’s behavior. Is that a fair understanding? 

Kim [00:06:07] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:06:07] Right. 

Kim [00:06:07] So it’s like, I’m like, I’m a shopaholic or I like to spend things or spend it before it goes, robbing Peter to pay Paul, even when it’s there. So even the notion of me having money in my account, if there was like, if it hit a certain amount, I was like, This has to be spent. It can’t stay here. But if it was less than a certain amount or I knew, OK, I need this to last for this amount of time, then all this stuff that my dad taught me would pop up and I could manage things and I could know like how to prioritize things. But it was just this dichotomy thinking of like, OK, it’s either this or it’s that. That it was never in this space of actually being able to apply the things that he was teaching me, like consistently so that I could have these things called budgets and savings. And you know, have plans, you know, and I look around and be like, all these people are making these moves because they have some kind of stability or they have some kind of plan. Where it’s, I’m like, the only way that I’m ever going to be successful is if I feel like this windfall of money and I plop it into something and it will generate more. And so I’ll just always have money to just like kind of spit out. 

Linzy [00:07:22] Right, yeah. And I think like for a lot of us, when we’re struggling with money, there can’t be like that fantasy of like if only I had a bunch of money winning the lottery, right? There’s that fantasy. But I think, something like you pointed out, it’s like, so true, which is that when you have that behavior, though, because it sounds like for you, there was like this number that above that number, it’s like in a way, the money’s got to go. Like you would spend above that. And like, there’s yeah, there’s kind of this concept of the financial thermometer where it’s like, what’s the range that we’re comfortable with? And it sounds like for you, there’s like a range above this range, you do a certain thing, below this range, you do the opposite thing. And what was happening in the middle of those behaviours?

Kim [00:07:56] I mean, in the middle, it was like I was not spending anything. I was like, OK, there’s like this like this spot where I was like, I’m OK. Like, as long as nothing comes out or as long as nothing touches because I would look at my account and say, OK, I could go an entire month without spending anything. And I was like, That’s kind of interesting, you know, even if something was like, Oh, that looks nice. I have no desire to buy it because I didn’t have a need to buy it, you know? And so then it was like, OK, is it that I need this particular thing like because of their function? Or is it because it’s serving another purpose for me? 

Linzy [00:08:31] Yeah, right. And with that piece of like money being above, I’m curious now like looking back at it now with the eyes you have now, what do you think that was about? Why was it uncomfortable to have money above a certain amount? 

Kim [00:08:43] Because money above a certain amount. For me, it was like, OK, this is good and this is safe, right? So you have a certain amount of money above, like it’s safe and you can dream and you can want more and you can expand, right, because you have all these things. But that comes with risk that something’s going to – there’s also this thing in the back of your mind. If something is going to take that and then you’re just going to kind of fall and there’s no net. You know, when you have more of a resource, you’re more likely to kind of stretch out to try and look for other things. But if you’re kind of hoarding that, you’re not going to do it. And so I think that I would consistently try to find – sabotage and say, OK, I’m not going to have this money because I’m not going to kind of go out and actually try to make more money. You know, I’m not going to try like, I don’t want to have more money. I have these thoughts that if I had more money, then something bad would happened to me or somebody is going to take this or is going to change me? Or having money is bad, I wasn’t realizing that I was keeping myself in this really crappy pattern. 

Linzy [00:09:51] Yeah, yeah. Like in a way, were you keeping yourself small? 

Kim [00:09:54] Absolutely. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:09:57] So I’m wondering, Kim, like as you start to become aware of these things and decided you wanted to change and work on your finances, your relationship with money, what were the fears that came up about that? 

Kim [00:10:09] The fear was a lot of shame, you know, or a lot of like, I should have done this before or if I had done x y z, I wouldn’t be in this particular position. And then also, I would have to be honest about how much I was making, how I was collecting money from my client when I wasn’t collecting money because another part of the reason why I would have these overdraft fees and all this is because I would not collect no-show fees and late cancelation fees from my clients because I would feel terrible about it because I would be like it’s around the holidays. And then they’re going on vacation. And I was like, they’re living their best lives, you know, and I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, I have to pay my office rent. So I knew that if I actually looked at my bank account, I would see how much it was. And I would – every time I opened my bank account anyway, I would just be like, kind of pressed myself for it. Let me see a negative. Let me see – and I would just feel really bad about myself, so I conditioned myself to like not looking at my bank account unless I absolutely had to. And so I knew that if I was going to start actually working on my money stuff, that I actually had to look at it. I had to really look at what I was spending, and changing those habits, even if they were comforting for me. So it does. It stirs up a lot of shame. It stirs up a lot of fear. But the bigger thing this also stirs up this drive to do more and to make more money. And that was really what I was afraid of. Like, I wasn’t afraid of working hard to make the money, but I was really afraid of all the other things that you need to do to make money, which is raise your rates, collect, have difficult conversations with people. That was what I was struggling with. 

Linzy [00:11:58] Right. I mean, to connect it back to what you said earlier about, like in a way you were keeping yourself small. Making more money means you have to like, take up space. You have to say, like, I deserve a good rate for my expertise. This is the agreement we have and you didn’t show up, which means you owe me x amount cancelation fee. You have to really like be there, be present. Yeah. Like what you’re describing, I think a lot of people experience when they start to look at their money is like, it’s not comfortable. It kind of sucks, especially if there’s stuff that you know is a problem. Like when you look at it, that stuff is there and then you have to face it and you have to face the shame and face – yeah, just looking at the consequences of your actions. So I’m wondering for you now, Kim, what’s different about your life now because of that work that you did, and because of the fact that you did look at it, push through the shame, make these changes. 

Kim [00:12:44] I think I probably, I looked at my – actually looked at my bookkeeping system because I have a bookkeeping system now. So I looked at that from when we actually worked together, like January 2020. And I think I had made like, I don’t know – I felt really good about myself. I made like four thousand dollars that month, and we’re not at the end now, and like I have taken weeks off and I probably made, like double that. Me, I’m probably going to make ten thousand this month. So and I’m like, That was cool. That’s cool. That’s an understatement. But I was like, That was cool, and I didn’t have overdraft fees. I think that’s the big thing. There were no overdraft fees. So before, yeah I could make four thousand, but again, I’m making like three thousand or thirty five hundred because I’m paying all this money in fees. Where as, now I’m like, you know, I actually have that money. I mean, it’s great to write it off on my taxes, but I would have liked it to actually help with something else. 

Linzy [00:13:46] Yes, that’s not a strategy to save money. Money being gone, doesn’t mean you save money on taxes. So I’m hearing, like part of you, of getting more of a handle on your money and like being present with it, is you have more. Like, you’re making more, for doing the same amount of work, or are you working more now, than you used to? 

Kim [00:14:06] I’m actually probably – I’m working – I’m probably working the same amount, honestly. I’m working that same amount and I have, you know, associates under me part time and I feel comfortable with like letting them gradually build their caseload. So, I’ve tripled what my take home is because I actually was really clear about what I actually was taking home. I have a plan for growth, which makes sense. It opened me up to actually start to do the parent coaching things and actually plan those other things to join Masterminds, and to do all these other things that I was saying that I didn’t have any money to do. I would never be able to do. 

Linzy [00:14:46] Mm hmm. Yeah. What have you learned about yourself, seeing yourself now doing all these other things that you never could have done before? 

Kim [00:14:54] I mean that I’m actually a business owner and like, I’m not playing therapy, and I’ve always known that I’ve been a good clinician. But this is, you know, it’s a difference in that, you know, I actually have a viable business. And then you go into bank to open a bank account and they’re like, Oh, this is good. And I’m like, Oh, OK, like, I don’t feel like this is a lot, but they’re like, This is good. Like, they see like your company has grown, you know, for the past two years, and it’s like your revenue is like consistently quadrupled. So that’s huge. And I wouldn’t have had the energy or the desire to keep going, had I not actually looked at where is all my energy being used? Am I actually maximizing my potential, which I definitely wasn’t doing before. 

Linzy [00:15:42] And something I hear in you too, as you’re talking about your group practice growth as well is like, you seem calm about that, like they can grow at their own pace. Sometimes I see people when they step in a group practice, there’s this like urgency like – I need you to build your case load and I need you to earn this much, right? Because there’s a void there that needs to be filled, right? There’s like a need for revenue, and I’m hearing something very different in you, the way you’re talking about yours. 

Kim [00:16:04] I definitely occasionally have that, where I’m just like, Oh my gosh, like, I’m running, you know, I’m running at a deficit. And my husband’s like, what are you talking about? Again, because we sat through and we looked through all the stuff like, I looked at what my operating expenses are, they went back down, you know, and I was freaking out because they went up again and then I was like, OK, but I’m going to transition into a business. So that’s what it’s going to be. And it’ll go back down and I have a target for what I need to do, and I have to come up with a plan with it ,for it. I mean, occasionally I do still look at that and say, oh I need them too. But then I also think about, but I don’t want just any client in our practice, like that’s – I don’t, I’m not taking money out of desperation. I’m not setting them up to do that. And I have a bigger, a bigger plan and we’ll be OK. 

Linzy [00:16:54] Yeah. So how do you think about money, now? 

Kim [00:16:58] I think of money as a tool. The emotion is – I look at my bank account like every day now, which I never did, I look at it basically just be like what’s the date, I’m expecting to be in there. OK, that’s what’s in there. I’m OK, I’m good. Huh, this thing right here, is off and I look through it today and I was like, OK, this thing’s off. And you know, I had those initial twinges of like, really beating myself up again. Like, I mismanaged this and then I look through and I’m like, OK, well, then obviously what I need to do is then reset a date to look at things. Like instead of it being a shame spiral. It was like, OK, well, what am I going to do about this? Like, I need to be on top of like, what exactly is coming out, and then make a plan. How do I pay this? I’m going to break this into an installment, I’m going to talk to this person about this. How much I’m paying for payroll? And like, really looking at it that way, instead of, my life is over. And I say that very quickly to my husband who looks at me and says, OK. And then I go on and I figure out what I’m going to do. Like, it still has to come out.

Linzy [00:18:00] A little twinge of, my life is over. 

Kim [00:18:04] My life is over. And he’s like, I need you to center yourself. 

Linzy [00:18:08] That’s a therapist husband phrase. 

Kim [00:18:11] Do you need me to call you back, so you can centre yourself? 

Linzy [00:18:16] Right. So money being a tool, then it sounds like there’s this neutrality to that. Like, it’s information. You use it to do things. What else does that mean for you when you say money as a tool? 

Kim [00:18:25] If I don’t have it. It’s not like, Oh my god, I don’t have this. I’m a bad person, or I’m not worthy of something. It’s literally like, OK, if you need to dig out a hole in your shovel, isn’t there, you would kind of panic. It would be the normal thing. It isn’t me like, Oh my god, you aren’t deserving of a shovel. It means like, I need a shovel, where is my shovel? This is really hard to dig with my hands. How do I get a shovel, right? And then it also isn’t, OK, well, what is it that’s keeping me from getting a shovel? Is it like this A-hole over here who is saying you can’t give it a shovel? Is it because you lost it? Is it because you misplaced it? Did it break? And then what are your strategies to get it, right? So I look at it, like it literally is a tool. That’s exactly what it’s worth. That’s why it was created. And there all these other emotions that are tied to it. And oftentimes, that’s kind of intentional. And it’s because of people who have more money. 

Linzy [00:19:25] Right, like the system is set up that way. And in terms of how the system is set up, something that you mentioned before is like, that it’s set up to make us feel scarcity. Tell me more about what you mean by that. 

Kim [00:19:37] There’s always this message that there isn’t enough. And I know, and this is just for me as a black woman and I’m in the US that the system is set in a way that I am not meant to be successful. It just is. I’m just not meant to be successful. So when we look at like, in my viewpoint of all of these isms, you know, classism and racism, it’s really like kind of set into this idea of scarcity. That there are only a certain amount of people who can have something. And so it’s much easier to pit people against each other when we’re all fighting for a particular resource that has artificial scarcity placed upon it, right. You know, we’re all fighting and we’re spending all this money on diamonds, but no one’s saying how many diamonds are really out here, right? Let’s be real. It’s that thing like, oh my gosh, only so many people who can have power. There’s only so many people who have it can have money. And it’s like, That’s not true. It’s really not. So that’s what I think of when I say that this is kind of a system that is designed to make you believe that and it’s not to your benefit. Now, a lot of people think it sounds really woo-woo to say, if you kind of think about it, you will actually have abundance. But I think it’s – part of it is also saying, no, there’s a dude over there who probably has like a billion of something, and he doesn’t need all of them. Right. So that’s yours for the taking. Right? They’re not even going to miss that. 

Linzy [00:21:12] No, absolutely not. And in terms of like systemically, I think you’re absolutely correct. And I think something that I think about sometimes is like, how much is actually required to like, really experience abundance, right? Because there is a certain amount, a system that’s designed to push wealth to the top, and there’s people at the top who have an amount of wealth that is unfathomable and really at this point is not improving their life at all. Whether you have $10 billion or $500 billion, your life can’t really get better. You’ve peaked. Any dissatisfaction you have is spiritual, mental health, relationship, right? But the difference that moving yourself from $40000 year to $200000 a year for the rest of us is massive, in terms of what that means for your life and what you can do for your community and how you can empower initiatives around you. And like the change that you can make with that money is huge. I think especially in therapy and health professions where we also have that additional layer of being caretakers or empathetic people, we really buy into that story. I think it’s trained into us to think that we are not entitled to ask for anything above survival. 

Kim [00:22:25] Yeah. And the thing is, I was watching something that was on channel four. It was like a clip and it was like, you know, like poverty or during the lockdown or something. And it was like, it just showed, like this family and they were really poor. And I’m like looking at it and like a lot of the things I could kind of relate to, as a kid. And it was just like this twinge analysis, like, Oh my gosh, I feel so guilty for like minding all these other things, when this kid and his family are like struggling and then I was like, No, because at the end he’s like, I want to get out of poverty. And I’m like, Yeah, so how is me being impoverished, helping him to get out? You know, there’s a difference. It’s like, Yes, if I have abundance and if I have more, then I’m sharing and making sure that he and his family, or whomever could also get out of the same situation. But me being down there with them isn’t helpful, but that’s the thing that I constantly have to like challenge myself because there’s a lot of shame about that. A lot of times, if we kind of do buy into this, the system, is – especially white supremacy, that when you buy into it and you make it, that you just hoard all your stuff and this is like, OK, well, you should have done what I did, to do that. And when you’re growing up, and you don’t have a lot, you kind of like, abhor anyone who is like that or has money because that’s really typically what you encounter. It’s people who are spending – who are giving all these judgments about money. So, yeah, you kind of say, OK, well, I’m going to be successful, but I’m not going to be rich, you know, because rich has like a very bad connotation, right? Or some people who like, I want to be rich, like, I want to floss on everybody. I want it to be like, shoo poors, because that’s what they want to do. 

Linzy [00:24:16] Yeah, well it’s like, I want to win, so other people lose. And I didn’t – be on that side of it. 

Kim [00:24:21] Yeah. And in that respect I’m like, you still aren’t winning. But I don’t have to play that game, and I think that’s the thing in this whole year and change that I realize that that’s not the only way to be wealthy, hoarding all this money and having all this and looking down on people and throwing out a couple of buckets here and there, to make yourself feel better, that there are other ways. 

Linzy [00:24:44] Yeah. Another piece that you mentioned earlier that I want to go back to is, you know, with money being a tool, and I hear that what you’re saying now too like, we can choose to use it like when we build more money, so we’re not hand-to-mouth and we’re not in survival mode. We can choose to use that money in all sorts of ways, right to make the world around us better. But also, when you talk about money being a tool and like not having money, something you said that stuck out is like if you look at your bank account, you’re like, Oh, shoot, the money’s not there that’s supposed to be there, it doesn’t say anything about you and your value. Can you tell me more about that? 

Kim [00:25:12] Yeah, I look at it and I’ve learned that you’re going to run a business and you’re going to fail. And so this week, I fail to remember that something comes out like once a month. And that’s a system fail, right? And so it’s not – I mean It’s like, probably, it’s definitely a human error, but it’s also like, you know that was – I need to check that. Not oh my gosh, like, I just screwed up this other thing about like, and I’m never going to be able to like, make money, which is not true because I made that money back today. So, it literally is like, I look at something and I’m like, OK, I just need to figure out, how do I fix the system? How do I get more of this resource to keep me running, right? If I burn through all my gas, I’m not going mad at myself about it. I’m going to be like, How am I going to get some more gas? Like, I got to get the gas. 

Linzy [00:26:05] Yeah, if you run out of food, you got to get more food. 

Kim [00:26:08] I should get more food. Will I be upset that my child literally eat a whole bag of bagels in two days? Absolutely. But I can still go and get –

Linzy [00:26:17] That sounded like a real life example.

Kim [00:26:18] It’s like, Oh, well, that I got some carb hands over here. And once I kind of detach myself from that, I felt, you know, and also didn’t feel as bad about more money coming in because that was the other thing, I was feeling really bad about more money coming in, really guilty about some of my colleagues who weren’t doing as well in private practice because that pops up and they’re like, Oh, you know, you constantly get the, “I’m not in this for the money.” And I’m like, OK, well I am. So like there is no reason that I could just be making a salary somewhere and be miserable. It’s this sanctimonious, like, I’m not doing this because of blah blah blah. And you know, or therapy should be whatever, it should be free or these things should be free. And and the same people who say those things, also have a salary. So it’s like you have a fat salary. So you have money, like you have something guaranteed that’s coming in. You have an income stream, but is a judgment of you shouldn’t want more than that because you want to. More than that takes away from people who can’t afford what you’re providing. And it was one of the things where once I realized that if I raised my rate, then all these like pro bono charity things that I was doing, I could actually afford to do them, like legitimately afford to do them instead of sitting here and starting to feel resentful because people weren’t paying me, or I’m reducing or sliding your fee. So instead of me running a charity, which charities get grants, they need to make money, they get grants. My grant writing is collecting my no-show fees. Like, let me do that. So fighting through all that, fighting through other people’s opinions about making money. The message that we get consistently about the fact that we shouldn’t be in it for the money, that we shouldn’t even look at this – you shouldn’t even try to increase your revenue. You should just be so happy about this. Or you shouldn’t be resentful, or making a little bit of money like, Oh, I do this, so I feel fine. It’s like, that’s great. But we also have to realize that not everyone has a partner or a spouse at home who has that income that’s coming in to stabilize. And not everyone has the bandwidth or the ability to work another job and to do multiple things, to do that. Or some people – seriously, I like to drive a nice car. I’m a social worker. I’ve spent years driving really crappy cars, I like my nice car. So those things that keep me, you know, happy. 

Linzy [00:28:56] Well, something that occurs to me. And this is kind of like a response that just popped into my brain when you said like therapy should be free. When I hear that, I think, yeah, sure, therapy should be free and therapists should get paid like doctors. So if you want to value the work that we do, at the impact it actually has, then set up a public health care system, which we have in Canada. And doctors here are free. The consumer, we don’t pay for them, the patient, but they get paid really well by the government as they should because they’re dealing with life and death situations, as are we. Right. And so I think there’s that piece there, like what’s not said is like therapy should be free. And also we should just struggle and suffer because we’re doing it out of the good of our hearts, which is just keeping us small, just stay small. That’s what I hear over and over. 

Linzy [00:29:40] And also, when we’re looking at particular fields that are dominated by women, is that, you know, all of this is just like charity work, it’s just this some busy work, like you don’t really need to make any money. There’s no value to that or thinking about the fact that in our field, a lot of times to be able to get these post bachelor degrees, that’s a lot of money and time and privilege to be able to do those things. And so those are different classes, those are different, like – and so we’re not really thinking about the fact that like you have the resources to be able to do that. If we really care about diversity, if we really care about inclusion, then we have to also understand it in order for us to have a more diverse population of providers, than we need to be able to like increase what the pay is. And even with entrepreneurs, we should do this. I mean, I know that I was looking at this stat for in the states. It was a stat in the states that basically said, out of psychotherapists in private practice or something, that there were about 80 something percent like high eighties that were quite – there were maybe three or four percent that were like Hispanic, Latino, two percent there were like black, one percent for Asian and there was like zero point whatever percent of indigenous therapists. Now if we’re looking at what the actual population is, and we’re looking at the fact that there’s lack of representation – then one of the big reasons for that is because of the gatekeeping to actually have access to education, to provide that and then also the incentive to actually go into these professions that are typically low paying because everyone wears this mantle of, I’m not in it for the money, but the people who are able to say I’m not in it for the money literally have another way to live and survive. 

Linzy [00:31:28] Yes. They probably have generational wealth. 

Kim [00:31:30] Absolutely. Yeah. They can drive into these impoverished areas or work with the less fortunate and then they go home. Note, there’s a drive because they have cars. They get access to these things. It was those that are things that like once I really started looking at it and recognizing like just my privilege in itself, the fact that I’m educated and have access to that, like I have access to business advice because I have relatives that are successful in business and really being OK with that, acknowledging what it is and then saying, yes, this is the privilege, and I’m going to make the best use of it so that I can help myself and I can help other people. And I can be an example that you can actually be successful, even if I’m not necessarily like Mother Teresa and like shelling out a whole bunch of stuff, to me, actually being out here and being vocal and being present in, you know, mentoring and helping other people, shows like you can charge your worth, you can be successful. And that’s huge, and I think that that’s absolutely huge. 

Linzy [00:32:36] Yeah. And in that, I’m kind of hearing your taking that tool that you have, right? And using it intentionally. Right, and like setting an example, taking up space in a way that the system is designed agains, it’s not what it wants you to do. So Kim, for other people who are thinking about doing what you’ve done and improving their relationship with money and like looking at it and like, you know, I’m hearing that there’s kind of two stages to what you’ve done, right? There’s the practical skills. But then also there’s this mindset work that you’ve done right, so people who are knowing that maybe they need to do this. What advice would you give them about stepping in to doing that work? 

Linzy [00:33:13] I think the first thing would be to be kind to yourself, know that there are a lot more people out here who have many issues than you think and a lot of us dress very well, and drive very nice cars. We look really good on the outside because we’re masking all this other stuff. And, you know, so that we all kind of have our own struggles. And that, one of the things I would say is that be kind to yourself, be honest about your situation. If you’re like, Well, I’m really struggling with money, just be honest with it. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be successful in business. It just means that that is just something that you’re going to have to learn. That’s not something that you’re born with. Wealthy people teach their children, if their children actually know, wealthy people teach their kids about money, that’s what they do. And it’s a skill, literally it’s a skill. And you have to you have to practice it. And that sometimes you’re going to feel really embarrassed. And that’s OK. 

Linzy [00:34:13] Great. So Kim, what offers do you have? What are you doing right now that our listeners who might want to work more with you could be interested in? 

Kim [00:34:22] So, if you’re in the Philadelphia area, I have two amazing clinicians who are taking new clients. We’re actually running a bunch of groups. I’m running child anxiety groups, a parenting group, a parenting talk therapy group, I’m running a group for transracial adoptee teens. I’m also offering a six week coaching cohort for parents on my Ask Amel parent coaching firm. 

Linzy [00:34:48] And where can people find you and follow you? 

Kim [00:34:50] So the best way to reach me would be through social media. So I have two. On Instagram. It’s @ameltherapy, a m e l t h e r a p y and ask AskAmel, a s k a m e l . co, also my website 

Kim [00:35:09] Great, and we’ll put those in the show notes so people can check you out there. Thank you so much, Kim, for coming on today and sharing about your own changes around money and some of these juicy ideas and thoughts that you shared with us today. Thank you so much. 

Kim [00:35:23] Absolutely. Thank you for having me on. 

Linzy [00:35:39] Re-listening to this conversation I had with Kim, now a few months later, as we’re putting together this episode. I was struck by how inspiring she is. You know, the work that she’s done, how she’s worked hard, the ways that she is taking up space now and working to take up more space and challenging narratives around therapists and wealth and race. Just such a transformation that I’ve seen in Kim in the time that I’ve known her. And at the time of her recording, I don’t think she was doing this work. But I will also say that Kim is now also doing some coaching with Alison Puryear at Abundance Practice Building an Abundance Party. So if you were inspired and if you felt connection with Kim, I know she’s doing some coaching work over there, so you should definitely check that out over at Abundance Practice Building and the Abundance Party. So, such interesting points that Kim made today, especially her metaphors, I found around money being a tool. That’s just such a neutral metaphor for money that she described so well. And just thinking about money as a tool, it’s just a neutral thing. If you don’t have a tool, if you don’t have a shovel, how can you get a shovel? It takes so much of the emotionality out of it. And as she shared, it doesn’t mean she never has emotional moments around money, and it doesn’t mean she never has scarcity or fear pop up. But she’s really obviously connected to this grounded, practical way to relate to money that allows her to take action and keep moving, and she’s taken so much action. If you would like to hear more from me, you can follow us on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are sharing practical and emotional money content on there all the time. And if you’re joining the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me review. It is the best way for other therapists to find me. Thank you so much for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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Putting Yourself First to Become a Better Therapist with Nick Bognar

Putting Yourself First to Become a Better Therapist with Nick Bognar
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Putting Yourself First to Become a Better Therapist with Nick Bognar

Putting Yourself First to Become a Better Therapist with Nick Bognar

“We didn’t get taught in school to take care of ourselves first. So many of us joined the field because we want to help. We sign up, we get the degree, we do the tremendous amount of sacrifice financially, making all of these sacrifices to learn so that we can help other people. The result is you get newly licensed clinicians who don’t really know how to care for themselves, and they get burned out or they go deeper into debt or they learn to resent their clients, or they hate the field! There are just so many pitfalls that they do not discuss at all, and it all starts with taking care of yourself first.”

~Nick Bognar

Meet Nick Bognar

Nick Bognar is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Pasadena, California. Although Nick’s clinical focuses are men’s issues and codependency, his mission is to help people become who they wish they could be – both in self-acceptance and in leading a more exemplary life. Nick also offers Action Practice Building to clinicians who want to take matters into their own hands and fill their caseloads. Nick is looking forward to meeting you, and is pretty sure that he already likes you.

In This Episode…

Do you struggle with figuring out the balance between setting fees that help you live a full life and your desire to help other people? Do you have trouble putting yourself first? Listen in to hear Nick Bognar share his thoughts about setting fees and taking care of ourselves first. Nick shares about how setting appropriate fees can help us have more time to also serve in meaningful ways through volunteering and pro bono work. He also talks about the problematic nature of sliding scales and about the importance of discussing rate increases with clients.

Don’t miss this episode full of tips and perspectives that you might not have considered when it comes to your rates and your work helping others. 

Connect with Nick Bognar

Here’s how you can connect with Nick:

@nickbognarmft on Instagram

Want more private practice finances support?

Free workshop: Setting Enough Aside for Taxes (in 5 Easy Steps) 

A FREE workshop that teaches private practice therapists how to teel totally calm about your private practice finances knowing you have more than enough in the bank to make tax time a breeze!

In this pre-recorded online workshop, I teach you:

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Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Nick [00:00:00] We didn’t get taught in school to take care of ourselves first. So many of us join because we want to help. We sign up, we get the degree we do the tremendous amount of sacrifice financially and making all these sacrifices to learn so that we can help other people. The result is you get newly licensed clinicians who don’t really know how to care for themselves, and they get burned out when they go deeper into debt or they learn to resent their clients or they hate the field. There’s just so many pitfalls that they don’t discuss at all, and it all starts with taking care of yourself first. 

Linzy [00:00:29] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s guest is Nick Bognar. Nick is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He’s in Pasadena, California. His clinical focus is men’s issues and codependency, but he also has this broader mission of helping people become who they wish to be, both in terms of self-acceptance and leading a more exemplary life. Nick, in addition to the clinical work that he does, he’s going to tell us more at the end of this interview today about the work that he’s doing with supporting therapists and filling up their practice through Action Practice Building, which helps therapists take matters into their own hands with filling their caseload. So if you’re someone who is waiting for your caseload to fill and you feel like everybody’s telling you to just like, wait and it will come or do these little things, but nothing’s really working, stick around till the end. I think Nick is doing some cool work in this area and bringing in some knowledge from outside of our field, which is always a good thing. Today, in our conversation, we get into money and the therapeutic relationship. We get into how to set yourself up to be able to actually really give back in your community. And ultimately, we dig into this idea that kind of made my brain a little twingey, of separating our private practices in our businesses from the idea of helping, which was a little bit of a mindfuck for me. You’ll hear that. If you are looking to get a new perspective on how to be effective in our practices and think about money, Nick’s got some interesting stuff to say. Here he is. All right, Nick, welcome. 

Nick [00:02:35] Thank you. Thank you for having me on. 

Linzy [00:02:37] I’m very excited to have you here. We were just talking off-mic about all of the various connections we have in the therapist’s consultant universe, but we have not actually met until just now.

Nick [00:02:47] Isn’t that something? You know, some of my very, very favorite people in the world and I was listening to your episode with Tiffany. Anything Tiffany, you know, if she was on – anything she talks about, I want to hear it. It could be on any topic. So it’s so nice to finally close the loop.

Linzy [00:03:01] Yes, absolutely. Starting off, Nick, we wanted to start by getting into kind of like, where we start as therapist with our education, right? We all start by going through these various educational programs, you know, regardless of like what type of designation – and people listening to this podcast, Nick. Just so you know, we have mental health therapists, but we also have like nutritionists and massage therapists. 

Nick [00:03:19] Oh, right on.

Linzy [00:03:20] Yeah, and acupuncturist, we run the gamut. So, you know, but I think that this probably equally applies in so many fields. So I’m curious from your perspective, what is the main thing, the number one thing about money that we didn’t get taught in our professional licensing degrees, that you think that we should have?

Nick [00:03:38] Well, I hope this doesn’t apply to acupuncturist and nutritionists, but if it does, I’m hoping they’re hearing this. We didn’t get taught in school to take care of ourselves first. So many of us join because we want to help. We sign up, we get the degree, we do the tremendous amount of sacrifice financially in terms of time. Some of us are working jobs at the same time as we’re getting this education, you know, making all of these sacrifices to learn so that we can help other people. And then I think without a little bit of sort of up guidance on taking care of ourselves or do a job meeting our own needs before we try to meet other people’s needs. And then just the fact that a lot of the sort of pre licensed hours that you can get are hours that are not paid. The result is, you get newly licensed clinicians who don’t really know how to care for themselves and they get burned out or they go deeper into debt or they learn to resent their clients or they hate the field. There’s just so many pitfalls that they don’t discuss at all, and it all starts with taking care of yourself first.

Linzy [00:04:32] Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, you know, you make a very fair point that even in doing that education, most – the vast majority of the time, we’re incurring debt.

Nick [00:04:40] Yeah.

Linzy [00:04:41] Depending on where you are, it might be a large amount of debt, it might be a humungous amount of debt, depending on where you go to school and when you go to school for. So we’re kind of starting in this financial loss position. We start off our careers, before we even get to practice, we are putting ourselves into financial debt. And yet at the same time, we’re not being taught to actually take care of ourselves. You know, I would say financially or in general, out of the gate, like we kind of start behind and then we are set up to fail, burnout.

Nick [00:05:11] Yeah. Well, at least, you know, to be operating from that place of deep debt, which I think is psychologically taxing to people, you know, to emerge. And I remember feeling this, you know, to emerge feeling like, Oh my God, I am starting this with a $50000 debt. I attended a talk from a, you know, very notable, very smart speaker who said, you know, I used to work in the admissions part of a grad school, and one of the things that I’m kind of ashamed of was that for years, people would ask me about the cost of it, and I would say, you know, those are just at the bottom of the page. And I don’t think that came from a place of dishonesty from that person. But I think that they hadn’t really put into their mind or really gained an understanding of what it means for somebody to gather $50000, $100000 in debt. And especially, you know, I don’t know if this is true for you, some of the people that I went to school with didn’t become therapists. So what does that mean for them that they’re $50000 in debt and they’re not even going to partake of the thing that is supposed to pay that debt off, you know? So I hope that we see some change in terms of people being told sort of the real ramifications of that debt and then also people being set up to emerge in the field, to take care of themselves so that they can just feel great and do great work.

Linzy [00:06:22] Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And with that too, I mean something that I notice, the word that comes to mind for me when I often talk to therapists about their student debt is like, defeat. There’s this defeat about it from the beginning because it’s like this inconceivable amount of debt. You know, it’s an amount of money you’ve certainly never held in your hands in the positive. And now you owe it in the negative with interest. And I do have to say too, like the way – I’m a Canadian, and so I have this like a bit of more like distance on some of the American policies and the way that American loans are set up are shocking. The way that you can make a payment so small that you’re actually not even paying down principal, you’re just accumulating more and more interest, like the machine that grows your debt while you’re trying to get your footing professionally and doing a job that is about taking care of others, it seems crushing to me.

Nick [00:07:12] I mean, I think it is crushing. I think it does crush people. And I think that one of the most important things we can do as stewards, or sort of elder class people of the field is to teach the people who are coming up after us to take care of themselves and not offering, you know, I think there are supervisors that do predatory practices in terms of how much they pay their associates. And I think we kind of owe it to the field, ourselves, our community is not to perpetuate that system. Well, whether or not you and I fix that, whether or not therapists fix that, that thing will still very much be in place in the United States and there will be a few people getting very, very wealthy off of the debt of other people. And that’s a shame. So we really need to talk about it.

Linzy [00:07:53] Yeah. And with that Nick, I’d be curious, like your thoughts on specifics, like what are the things that you think we should actually have been taught? Like, what are the specifics of taking care of ourselves financially that you think would be a game changer for anybody who’s new and just starting their practice?

Nick [00:08:06] Well, one thing that I learned from painful experience was that my first sort of business model, when I was pre licensed and really looking to build up clients that didn’t know how that worked, was that I was the inexpensive guy. Which is a terrible business model – people, if you’re out there and you hear me, don’t be the inexpensive guy. There are more inexpensive guys out there than, you know, and you don’t want to be them. It’s a miserable way. And I remember, you know, seeing clients for like, you know, I, you know, 20, 40 dollars, you know that I was splitting with my supervisor, then they’d cancel, chasing them around, you know, and then only getting referrals for really, you know, people who couldn’t afford anything else because I was the inexpensive guy. And that was such a painful lesson, but I didn’t have it in my mind that I could charge more. I didn’t have it in my mind that people would pay me more. And honestly, I really only had one person in my life that was kind of, you know, I had the benefit of a great mentor who told me really not to believe the bullshit and that you really can charge more. You can make more, you can take care of yourself. And I’m glad that eventually I believed her. But it took years of practicing, taking Tiffany McLain’s excellent course and really working to build up that kind of a thing. So I wish that I had gotten a lot more like, Hey, listen, I don’t want to clap because there’s a microphone here, but somebody clapping my face and going like, hey, hey, listen, seriously, you got to take yourself really seriously here. I know you’re happy to pay your therapist X amount ever having to pay your couples therapist x amount. You go out there and you charge that much.

Linzy [00:09:30] Well, that’s interesting. So you were happy to pay other people a higher fee, but you were not charging that yourself.

Nick [00:09:37] Linzy, I was waiting tables and I was – I used to have this joke for ages that I needed to wait tables to pay for my therapy, but then I needed therapy because of the waiting tables, and it was like kind of one of those jokes, that’s not really a joke.

Linzy [00:09:51] Yeah, like, LOL, LOL, this is terrible.

Linzy [00:09:55] Laughs in pain.

Nick [00:09:56] Oh my god. Exactly. Yeah, parentheses, right? And so, no, I was happy to, and I still see that therapist. You know, my therapist is invaluable to me, she does incredible work. We’ve worked through so much stuff. I notice it, you know, if one of us has to cancel, I notice it. I notice the difference in my mood that week. It’s an important punctuation mark to my week, so I have never had qualms about paying her, her fee, which is lower than mine now, as it happens.

Linzy [00:10:20] Yes, that happens.

Nick [00:10:22] But I never believed for a minute – and you know, maybe this is some of my own stuff that I sort of came into the field equipped with in a negative way. But like, I just didn’t believe that anybody else would think I was as helpful as she was to me, which is bullshit. Plenty of people don’t, but plenty of people do.

Linzy [00:10:36] Yes. And there’s that mindset piece there, like those deep beliefs about yourself, you know, articulated or not, are you know, underpinning that. And then the other piece that I think of Nick, like I’m big on thinking about kind of the emotional piece of money. So there’s that story that like, well, nobody would pay me that much, even though I pay other people that much, I couldn’t possibly be as helpful as my therapist. But that on the other side of that, I think about the actual practical, like the math, like, I’m sure the math was not mathing, right. Like, it’s easy to build a practice where just the structure of your fees, the amount of hours that you would need to work a week to make you know the money that you need to make – it’s not a workable model. Right. If your people are paying you $40, but you’re getting paid $20 because half goes to your supervisor, you would probably have to be working 50 hours, 50 client sessions a week to be able to pay your rent and like get some groceries and still waiting tables, right? It’s not a workable model, but those stories are so profound that I think it keeps us from like actually being able to sit and do the math and be like, Wait a second, even when I do have a full week, does the money work for me?

Nick [00:11:36] 100 percent and that – and forgive me, I’m probably just saying something that you know, and I’m probably frankly saying something that you teach and forgive me if I’m stepping on your toes here. But like the big thing that I find myself thinking about all the time and telling other clinicians all the time is that it doesn’t have anything to do with you, what people will pay. There’s not a thing of I am an x number of dollars therapist. I’m a I’m a $200 therapist and my clients know that, and that’s why they’re willing to pay me. It’s like the client is going to pay based on their own finances. You know, there are people who love you and will never pay you $200 because it’s never going to be in their width to do that. There are going to be other people that are going to pay you way more than that, or people are paying terrible therapists way more than that because they have that amount of money and it doesn’t mean anything to them. You know, they have the money, they want the change. And so we get so caught up in making my fee about me, making my money about me when really what it is is it should be calculated on the basis of what I want or need to make. And then you find people who can pay it.

Linzy [00:12:29] Yes. Right. For people listening then, if somebody is listening and they’re like, Oh, God, that’s me, this is my situation. I think many of us realize that at a certain point where we realize, OK, these numbers are not working either because they never worked or because they used to work. But now, like, I have a kid, like this is true. I have a kid now, his child care is $1300 a month. What used to be a livable income for me is no longer a level income because just that expense alone drastically changes our family’s financial picture, right? So for people listening who maybe have had a change like that happen or are realizing like, OK, my fee is too low, I think there’s this temptation when we raise fees to send an email, send a letter, like just kind of like just slide it over. But we’re scared to talk about that in the clinical relationship. I’m curious, what is your opinion on this? Why is it important to actually talk about it?

Nick [00:13:16] Yeah, I do. You guessed my stance on this, I hate the letter. I actually received the letter from a clinician that I work with, a day after I had the session with my nutritionist. And they’re terrific, they do great work. But it was just like, Why the fuck are you sending me this? Why didn’t you tell me this yesterday and not even because I wanted to discuss it, I was happy. Their fees are still too low, frankly, and I did tell them that. Maybe that’s battery failure on my part, but I feel like if I say it once, it’s not battery failure. But I got that letter and just thought, like, why in the world? It feels almost a little bit like a sniping, like, I turned my back and then they sent me this thing, which to me feels like and I know it’s not, but it feels slightly adversarial. And I think it does come from a place of like, I don’t know how you will take it. And so I want to send this to you. And if you flee, you know, if you get mad, you can do it via email and then I won’t have to deal with it, right? When the truth is, there’s a really, really rich and wonderful and therapeutic conversation to be had around our fees. We want to be able, just in this one place to be wanting and needing in front of our clients, right? That’s the only thing that we really can ask them for. Every other need in the relationship needs to be us, you know, transferring the energy to them, needs to be taking care of them. But this is the one thing that they have to do for us. So we have to get it right because otherwise we’ll build resentment and all this other stuff. But even beyond that, when you start that conversation with clients, there’s so much material, you get into the clients beliefs about money, you get into the clients beliefs about worth. Maybe they’re under charging at their job and they don’t know how to get out of it. And then also, you model the ability to advocate for yourself and to say, Yeah, I need a raise and this is how much it’s going to be. And if you can’t make that work, I’ll respect it and I’ll understand it, but you and I will have to terminate together. And people have never had that conversation, they’ve never seen that conversation, they don’t know how it works. They think you either send – if you’re in a position of power, you send a letter to somebody or they think you have to go in on your knees and beg, Please, would you please give me a raise? And neither of those things needs to be true, especially not in this relationship. So I think when people send the letter, it’s fine. But I think it’s missing several enormous opportunities.

Linzy [00:15:23] Yeah, I would agree with that. I think it is rich therapeutic material. And even even if you say with your nutritionist, even there was a little element and you’re – that’s not a therapeutic relationship on an emotional sense. But even still, there’s a little bit of like, I just saw you yesterday – like, this is a little funny and probably not a good analogy, but it makes me think of like having a great time with somebody, having a great day. And then the next day, they’re like, I actually don’t want to hang out with you that much. And you’re like, what? I just saw you yesterday, I thought we were good? I don’t think it’s a good analogy, but it does like, there is an emotional component that feels a little bit like that, where you’re like, Oh, this other thing that we probably should’ve talk about in person, but instead, I’m emailing you about later.

Nick [00:16:00] I actually think that’s brilliant because I think that’s exactly what it’s like. On some level, it forces you to just sort of recontextualize the past bit of relationship. It’s almost like, it’s not exactly like, but you know, when people cheat, then the person who’s been cheated on has to go back and they have to re-understand the relationship in the context of the person cheating on them. This is why it always blows my mind when people are like, Well, listen, I want to break up with him, but it’s his birthday next week, so we’re going to go to Six Flags. I’m going to take him out to his favourite dinner and then the next week, I’m going to lower the knife and finish him off. And it’s just like, Oh my God, I mean, like, there’s just not – like you’re either going to ruin, maybe ruin his birthday a little bit or at least give him an opportunity to drink irresponsibly. Or you’re going to give him a great birthday and then you’re going to snatch it away from him right afterwards.

Linzy [00:16:45] Yeah. And as you say, it does make them wonder what was going on in your head when we were having those interactions. Was this sitting there? Whereas I think when you bring it up with a client, whether it’s a mental health therapy client or, you know, other kinds of caring work that you’re doing, it does give you the opportunity to receive their response, answer their questions, let them see like, I love working with you, this is my fee, let them have that response. And that’s always what I advocate, right? Say your piece and then like, let your client do whatever they’re going to do and half the time, they’re like, OK, when is that again, November, OK? Good. Anyways, like my mom called me yesterday and she said this thing, right? Like so often it’s a non reaction. But we’re not letting them have that reaction with us if we’re not actually communicating it face to face, as much as possible. Obviously, there’s going to be circumstances where you haven’t seeing a client for a while. There’s always exceptions to every rule, but I think it’s like putting faith in the relationship by actually communicating in person.

Nick [00:17:39] One hundred percent and one of the best things that my therapist ever modeled for me was that, you know, when she would bring up tough stuff, she’d say, I want to know, does that bring anything up for you? And I think clinicians don’t often ask that question, either, whether it’s because we worry that we’re going to invite something that’s painful for us, or maybe we’re worried about the client going, No, I don’t give a fuck how much you charge. Why are we not talking about my marriage or something like that? It really – it’s clinicians are afraid to open up the space. And again, I just think like there’s no time wasted in asking a client for their response to this stuff, and it can be so healing.

Linzy [00:18:08] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And there is an opportunity there for modeling, as you say, like, it makes me think about the closest thing I can relate it to, which is even more extreme is like, I’ve shut down my therapy practice twice, just like fully closed the doors. And it’s not a fun thing to talk about. It brings up a lot of feelings, let me tell you, I have a book of feelings that I’ve talked through with clients, that run the whole gamut. But what it ultimately is, is it’s an opportunity to model to your client, this is what healthy closure looks like. This is me giving you lots of notice, this is us talking about all the different stages of grief that are coming up in the next few months as we work together, knowing that our work is ending. This is us getting to like, look back and summarize the work that we’ve done and this is me transferring information to somebody else so they can support you and supporting you and thinking through who’s the right next person for you? Like, that’s an opportunity we so rarely get in life to have healthy closure, and we have the opportunity to model that. I’m talking about mental health therapy specifically right now, obviously, but I think it’s the same with fee raises, as you say, is it’s this rare opportunity to show somebody, this is what I’m charging now. You don’t even have to explain your reasons, but obviously for your own life and your needs, and because you have a kid and you know, outdoor preschool. And you get to just be in that and let them respond and be open to it and just own the fact that you also have needs.

Nick [00:19:26] Yeah, and that it’s actually really OK, if they don’t like it, it doesn’t have to be adversarial. They can be mad or sad or upset or resentful, and it’s all OK. I have room for all that stuff. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to be raising my fees, doesn’t change the fact that this is what it’s going to do. But how often do you get to have a really negative response to something in the moment as opposed to having to sit on it and smile and go, oh I’m very happy for you and then going home to your partner or your parents or somebody else and going this mother fucker, I can’t believe they did this thing. You know it’s so healing.

Linzy [00:19:56] Yes, absolutely. So for people who have identified that they do want to be building up their fee, that they do need to actually be making money and want to be making money in their practice; there is the story out there that by doing that, by saying like, OK, I need to make this much or I want to make this much, that by building that into our practice, we’re like neglecting and rejecting, you know, the helping element of the work that we do, which is usually the reason we got into the work in the first place. So I’m curious from your perspective, like how is it possible to build up a lucrative practice that does support you and your family and your needs and your wants, but still also provide help and services to people who legitimately can’t afford the fee that you’re charging to make that happen?

Nick [00:20:35] I’ve tried it both ways, Linzy. And what I have found is that setting up a lucrative practice that supports me and meets my needs is actually the better, easier and more effective way to give back, and I will clarify. I did plenty of giving back when I was in the inexpensive guy. Plenty of people got clinical services from a boundaried, educated person who was an associate and sometimes a licensed professional for pennies on the dollar. And that was plenty nice, but it was rough on me, and I think I was still so desperate enough that it still created a power imbalance in the relationship that wasn’t necessarily great in terms of like me kind of really needing them. What I did eventually, was once my practice started to build up a little bit, I actually took some time off from giving back and I just finally said, You know what? I just have to build something for me. And so I spent a little time and I built this beautiful, thriving practice where I charge real money to get my needs met, work with the clients I like, and that’s great. And now I don’t have to haggle over 40 dollars for somebody, I can actually volunteer. I do volunteer supervise. I’ve done volunteer pro-bono work for organizations. Like, you can do so much and you don’t have to worry about leaving stuff on the table, right? Like you can give so freely once your needs are met. And so many times have I seen – this is one of my least favorite things that clinicians do, and I get it, but we need to stop doing it, is the sort of like using the sliding scale as the name for something that is actually negotiating, and then negotiating when we don’t need to negotiate. So how many times have I heard a client say, Well, you know, my fee is a buck 75, but I slid down to 150 for this person, and I want to say, who the fuck are you helping? Right? Like, if they can afford one hundred and fifty, they can for sure afford 175. Maybe they don’t want to, and that’s fine. But like, really, you’re helping somebody who can afford low-fee retail therapy, you’re giving them a discount. So you’re supporting that person and then you’re sort of helping yourself make money, and that’s all fine. But let’s not pretend like that’s charity, and let’s not pretend like that’s something that you’re doing, that’s really making the world a better place, that’s you negotiating with somebody, to find a fee that you can arrive on. Right? I like the sliding scale where I don’t slide for people, you know, rarely do I. I have a very few clients that I do that for, and it’s only when I’m really, really certain that it makes sense, right? And then I go find other places where I can virtually give it away. And I’m very comfortable with that because the people that receive my pro bono services really, really need pro-bono services and can’t afford stuff. You know, the 5, 10, 20, 50 dollars or whatever is is dear to them and they show up for the work and they’re excited about it. They know they’re getting something incredible, they know they’re getting an incredible value and they take it really seriously. As opposed to the person who’s paying a buck 50 instead of a buck 75. And they’re resenting paying a buck 50 anyway, which is why they talk to you down there to begin with, right?

Linzy [00:23:23] Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you’re actually making a bigger impact by holding to your fee.

Nick [00:23:29] I think so. 

Linzy [00:23:29] Because that $25 difference actually is not going to make – hugely change that person’s financial picture. I’m sure about $100 a month that they’re saving by negotiating with you is not changing their financial life, if they’re able to pay 150 or 175. Whereas for someone who truly does not have the money, you giving them that service, is immensely valuable to them.

Nick [00:23:51] I think so. And I mean, I think that’s a way for us to, you know, ultimately we wanted to get in, we wanted to help people who really needed it. And I think we get so caught up in our own stuff and we get so caught up in the not enoughness and the, you know, wanting to help but also wanting to make money that we confuse those things. And I’m always very clear with myself that the therapy works that I do is commerce, and I never lose sight of that. I don’t love the like narrative that were such wonderful people and were saints for giving back to people. I charge money for that. I do, right. And I mean, I think I do a good job of it and I’m proud of what I do and I’m happy. But, it is commerce. And then I have this other side of myself that I do as charity and it’s actual charity, and I feel really good about it.

Linzy [00:24:30] That’s interesting. That’s making my brain a little niggly. 


Nick [00:24:33] Oh, tell me.

Linzy [00:24:34] Well, I like, I mean, niggly in a good way, niggly is not the right word. But it’s like, I think for so many people in the field and mostly like myself and the folks around me, we tend to be kind of like the sensitive therapist types like I’ve been a therapist since I was like, 12, Nick. Like, that’s the first time I had somebody be like, You’re my therapist and I remember my 12 year old brain being, That’s bad. This is not friendship. So it’s like such a part of – for me, it was such a part of my identity long before I was a therapist that this is how that I help people and like – and I have these abilities and I’m the person at the party who’s like talking to somebody quietly, you know, while everybody else is partying like and they’re pouring their heart out to me. And this is how, this is how I support it and this is how I give back. Like such an identity piece there right, which obviously has been unpacked in therapy and more unpacking, you know, will happen in the decades to come. But I think for so many of us, there is that identity piece coming into the work that I am a helper. I am, you know, they’ve usually been the therapist in their family for years and years. So it’s interesting to me, just the clarity that you have between like, this is my business, this is commerce, this is how I make money, and that’s what this is. And then over here is where I’m just like, truly just giving. And I think for most therapists, and I’m going to guess, like most therapists listening right now and practitioners, those things are very blurry. It’s not so clear cut in their hearts.

Nick [00:25:50] Yeah. And that was what was making me uncomfortable, for me. I mean, if it works for somebody else, God bless, that’s great. But for me, it was really making me uncomfortable to have those two things overlap. So, so very much. And again, I haven’t given up the notion that I’m a helper, but I think it’s for me, it’s clearer. It just makes everything clearer and cleaner to me, and it makes me feel better about the work, the pro bono work, or the charity work, or the helping work that I do, makes me feel better about that. And it really takes away a lot of the static that I think we get or the white noise about, if a client, you know, wants to negotiate, or if a client doesn’t feel like a great fit, but they still really want to work with me. Or all of the other stuff that keeps us from just really getting the clients that are great for us and enjoying our work and helping in ways where we’re really effective and then also not working with people that we’re not terribly effective with, right?

Linzy [00:26:42] Because if it’s a business, I’m thinking through this out loud, I’m thinking through your framing here. So because if it’s a business and somebody is not a right fit, you’re like, Well, my services aren’t really a fit for them. There’s someone else who could be of more benefit, I’m going to move them along. Right. I’m going to help them find the right person who will serve them and then I can be better serving somebody who is a fit. They’ll have more success with my model because ultimately what my business is trying to do is generate money by helping people achieve x y z, whatever, you know, our focus is, as a therapist. Yeah, taking that kind of like, I’m a helper and I’m helping them out of the equation seems like it would help you think much clearer about, Does this make sense?

Nick [00:27:16] Yes, and it does. I mean, that’s the clarity that I wanted. And just for me, I got rid of a sort of icky feeling that I was having where I felt like my ethical wires were a little crossed, prior to that, doing that kind of thing. I want to say as emphatic as I speak about these things, I’m emphatic about them, for me. If somebody else has a great way to do it, I’m not trying to like crap on somebody else’s wonderful model that they have for themselves. But for me, this felt really important and for me, it really used to bum me out when I or somebody else would say I slid for this person and the fee would still be very high. That really bugged me because in my mind, sliding scale is something that we really put in place, I think the only reason it exists was at some point fifty years ago, somebody said, Wow, poor people really can’t afford this. We really need to make this accessible for them, and this is how we will do it, we’ll have a sliding scale. And then that became the norm for us. It became a thing where we go – it makes me crazy when I see people’s Psychology Today profiles and they say how much you charge? Oh, one hundred or three hundred dollars. That means one hundred, that’s what it means. Nobody looks at that and says, Well, maybe I can pay them two hundred. Everybody says, maybe I can pay them one hundred. It’s just gotten so perverted over the years into something that just doesn’t mean at all what it used to mean or what the stated purpose of it means and that kind of incongruence, like makes me feel icky.

Linzy [00:28:27] Interesting. Yeah. And something that occurs to me, I mean with that, is that in many cases, it probably impacts the clinician more than it impacts the clients, that financial hit, right? Like you taking a hit where now every month you’re making, you know, 100, 200, 300 dollars less on the spot of time, which is finite, you only have so many spots in the week that you have energy to see people. You losing that money is probably having a greater negative impact on you and your business because if you’re running your business too, with any kind of budgeting, actually only half that money is going home to your paycheck. The rest of it is going back into like growing the business, making sure money is there for taxes. So like, that’s actually significantly reducing what you are getting paid more than it’s probably impacting your clients quality of life. That two or three hundred dollars.

Nick [00:29:07] Yes. And I was listening to one of your episodes, I think it was the six figure student loan debt one, so maybe that’s why this is on my mind. But the thing that is in the room and we we think we can handle it and we can, but it’s not a good idea; is that when you slide for somebody, then every vacation they take, every raise they get, every sort of little step forward that they get becomes something that lodges in your mind and affects your part of the relationship. Hopefully, you hide it and the client doesn’t have to deal with it, unless you’re really willing to have one of those hard conversations with them about it. But I’ve had that situation where, I had a situation years ago where a client, their partner wanted to go do something different with their life that wasn’t going to make any money and so the client was going to be the sole income earner. And could we please lower our fees? And I said yes. And then afterward I thought, why in the world did I do that? I’m subsidizing somebody’s career who I haven’t even met. And then I stayed in that relationship and the client – and they weren’t messing with me, I know this, you know, without sharing history. They weren’t messing with me, but their career continued to improve and they continued to have, you know, financial windfalls and wonderful things happening and taking vacations. And it never occurred to them that, in fact, that actually should also translate into them raising the fees back up. So unless you’re the type of person that gets off on having that conversation with them, don’t put yourself in a position to have that conversation with them. 

Linzy [00:30:24] Yeah. Oh gosh, yes. It makes me think of what you said earlier about what happens when you actually build a practice that works. And I think you use the word like prosperous and people can’t see Nick because it’s a podcast, but he’s kind of made these expansive motions when you were talking about that version of your practice, right, which is when you have now. It occurs to me that when you are in that place, then you could actually, you know, have those pro bono spots and you’re not impacted because you are actually fine. Your needs are actually covered. You can go on vacation, right? You can save for your life goals. And so you can genuinely give just from a place of like wanting to help and support somebody or a place of justice without the resentment because you’re actually OK. Right, but when we slide for someone and it actually is not OK on some level, then that is going to be coming up and there’s going to be static there for you in the relationship.

Nick [00:31:10] Yes, 100 percent. And for me personally, the other added benefit was that it allowed me to help the people that I actually wanted to help.

Linzy [00:31:17] Right, right. And can you say more about that?

Nick [00:31:19] Yeah. Well, so I mean, I love the clients that I see for money and that’s meaningful to me and I enjoy them and I’ve curated that population. I’m happy to send people out that I don’t think are a good fit, and I keep the ones that I think are good fit and I’m really pleased with that. And then on the other side of it, there are clients who I would love to work with and who need help, who cannot afford me. And this allows me to help them and feel really good about it. That is the thing for me is, I do, you know, we talked about sort of the American economic problems that, you know, the many of them and how some people get crushed under it. You know, there are millions of people in this country who desperately need services and can’t get them at all. And I think that by saving our sliding scale spots for people who can pay one hundred and fifty instead of hundred and seventy five, we’re tricking ourselves into thinking that we’re helping those people and we’re not. I can’t help a ton of those people, but I can help a few of those people and I’m able to do it and I’m delighted to do it.

Linzy [00:32:10] Yeah, because I mean, functionally, what we’re doing is we’re subsidizing the middle class, who have like luxury spending that they can do, rather than just fully giving to people who legitimately are living hand-to-mouth.

Nick [00:32:23] Yes. A thousand percent.

Linzy [00:32:24] All right. I feel like we could keep talking for a long time, but we should start to wrap this up. So I know that you do therapy work and you also do some work as a consultant for therapists. So can you tell me a little bit about that work?

Nick [00:32:34] Yes. Thank you for bringing that up. OK, so I have a new thing. I’m really excited about it. It’s called Action Practice Building. It’s a sort of a response. As all things we know, we become therapists to live out our own traumas in a healthy way, right? Like we ultimately are going to do to work on the stuff, that worked for ourselves. So one of the traumas that I am working through actively as a consultant is the one where I emerged into the field and no one could tell me how to build my practice. I had – my first supervisor really wanted me to get out there and build a case load. She didn’t know how to build a case load. She took all insurance clients, but she had this notion that I was going to find all these clients, and then I was going to make her rich. And she would even say stuff like, other clinicians will never send you cash for your business. They will keep it all for themselves. So that is where this person was functioning from. That is what she knew, right? So I got out of that and I got into another private practice where the supervisor said, I will never bother you, but I also have no referrals for you. So I moved over there, and that was when I had to start learning how to build up my caseload. And to do that, I actually had to build on networking skills that I learned from a previous career, and I’m happy to report that it was very, very effective. And as I’ve maybe overstated it during this podcast, I have this really wonderful practice that’s full and that has clients that pay a lot of money and are happy for the work and happy to work with me. And I love sending our business to other people, which I do all the time. So I kind of achieved the dream that I didn’t think was possible and that somebody told me was possible. But then they told me like, Oh, it just takes time. I’m here to tell people, Yeah, it takes time. And the truth is, if you don’t do anything, your practice will fill up no matter what, because there are not enough therapists. But if you’re sitting there, you have your degree, you have your $50000 in debt, you have the student loan goons breathing down your neck and you’re sitting there in your office going, Oh my God, I want to work. Then you can use Action Practice Building because it’s finite skills to tell you how to use your time, this week, next week, next month, to be able to get out there and find people who can send you the clients that you want. And this is the hidden part, that you can send them the clients that they want because a huge part of this is helping other people. So that’s sort of the main thing. It’s a daylong intensive. It’s individual attention. It’s not a group thing. People who join this are going to get to sit with me all day. And then there’s 20 days of accountability via Voxer and the closing thing. My goal is to get people in a place where they don’t ever have to sit there and think, I’m sitting on my hands today. Where they can say, I know what I’m doing today to build my practice, and then they’re seeing results.

Linzy [00:34:47] So there’s this group thing or just a one on one?

Nick [00:34:49] One on one. It’s all one on one.

[00:34:50] Ok so this is like an intensive VIP day model. Got it. With support afterwards. I really like this model. Nick, I’ll say in general, I’ve done a little bit of this for some of my grads, although I’m now building on my level two, so I’ll be doing different programing for them. But there is something so focused about, like really doing that intensive work together and then being like, OK, here we go. We know your plan. So now I’m going to actually help you have the accountability and the support to do it, right. Because how often do we know what we need to do, but we just don’t get to it because other things are being prioritized or because the things we have to do are scary and hard sometimes.

Nick [00:35:22] And the plan is different, for different people. We really want to take into account when we’re doing this kind of thing, where a person comes from, what their expertise is, you know, how comfortable they are talking to other people. I have this thing about the three different reasons that somebody sends you a referral. One of them is location, one of them is expertise and the other one is I just saw them, right. It’s one of those things where I want to find – location, maybe not so much, but I want to find whether it’s expertise or whether it’s your ability to relate to people and have them like you, that we’re going to build off of and then create a plan that really works for people individually. So, yeah, I really believe in the individual sort of model.

Linzy [00:35:52] Perfect. So that’s action practice building?

Nick [00:35:54] Yes,

Linzy [00:35:56] Okay, perfect. And that’s where they find you. So go over to to check out Nick, and I’m sure you’ve got some other stuff on there that they can dig around.

Nick [00:36:05] Absolutely.

Linzy [00:36:06] Yeah. And I think this is really, I think, filling a gap, Nick, because I think your approach to like networking, relationship building, bringing in some of these like business skills you acquired before, I think our skills that we tend to really lack in the therapy field even though we are professional relationship havers, it can still be hard and scary. And I think also a lot of therapists are actually introverts, so that makes it even harder. So I love that you’re giving this very focused support around this way to solve this problem that so many of us have.

Nick [00:36:35] Oh, thank you so much.

Linzy [00:36:36] So, check out Nick. We’ll put the link for that in the show notes. Thank you so much Nick, for hanging out with us today. Oh, and one more question if people want to hang out in your world, your social media world, where should they go?

Nick [00:36:44] Yes, so I’m on Instagram @nickbognarmft. It is a fine mix of contemporary issues that matter to me, clinical issues and then also a lot of stuff about, you know, little freebies and little things about how to build your practice.

Linzy [00:36:56] Beautiful. Awesome. Thank you, Nick. It was great talking to you.

Nick [00:36:58] Thank you. It was a pleasure.

Linzy [00:37:14] Something that stuck out to me while I was talking to Nick and then I commented on a little bit during our conversation was when he was talking about, you know, the version of his practice that he has now and what happens when you do actually set up your practice to support you and to allow you to thrive? He was making these like big, expansive arm motions. And it makes me think about what it feels like in our body. You know, when either our practice and the practices that we have within it are working for us or not, right? And how it feels when we aren’t charging enough and we don’t think that what we do is valuable and we’re financially stressed because the debt that we have or because the fee that we’re charging is not actually supporting our life. That feeling in our body and that like heaviness or collapse or anxiety and how that’s showing up in our daily life and also probably in our clinical work vs. what happens in our bodies when we do take these steps to align our practice with the needs in our life. Whatever that is, that’s very personal, right? That doesn’t look the same for all of us at all. But just by owning our needs and building a practice that helps to sustain us and nurture us and allow us to thrive. How much more embodied we be and how we are taking up space financially, which allows us also, as Nick was saying, to have these impacts in other areas of the world and just be able to actually genuinely volunteer or do pure pro bono work for people who couldn’t even pay us $15 an hour. What that makes possible by allowing yourself to take up space, you’re also able to impact your world in all of these other ways. Very interesting, very cool conversation with Nick. If you are curious about his approach to building your practice, which is all about networking and building relationships, check him out. I think that what he’s offering is really filling a gap, and him and I had talked before we started recording today just about how networking can be so hard for us as therapists. Even though we’re professional relationship people or professional healers that are all about connecting with other people on these profound ways, how scary and hard and counter to our nature it can be to reach out and build relationships. But how ultimately, so often people refer to us because we’re top of mind, right? Because they’ve recently had a pleasant contact with us that makes them think of us when they’re looking to send out a referral and how valuable that is when you’re building a practice. So you can check out the link in the show notes to get over to Nick’s website and his Instagram. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you want to hear for more from us, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are always putting out free money content there, both on mindset and practical pieces of money. And of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, I know I always say this, but please jump over to Apple to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. That is the best way for other therapists and health practitioners to find the podcast. Thanks for listening today!


Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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Reducing Tax Season Stress with Angie Noll

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Reducing Tax Season Stress with Angie Noll

Reducing Tax Season Stress with Angie Noll

“That is the good thing to know about money is that it is not permanent. I like to call money a renewable resource because if you lose it all, that’s okay! You can! You can lose it all, and you can still come back stronger than ever!”

~Angie Noll

Meet Angie Noll

Angie Noll is the owner of Reconciled Solutions where she and her team of bookkeepers, accountants and Profit First advisors help small and micro size businesses find visibility and clarity to their financials. She is a steadfast believer in business sustainability not only through ensuring long-term profitability but also lifestyle sustainability. Above all, Angie is a believer in having the heart of a teacher. Since so many small business owners are intimidated by their financials and tie money and success together with fear and sacrifice, she wants to help small business owners overcome their anxiety and tell the deeply personal story about our business and our lives through accurate and actionable financials.

In This Episode…

Does tax season have you feeling fearful and overwhelmed? Are you hoping to set yourself up this year to have a better experience by the time taxes for 2022 are due? Listen in as Linzy talks with Angie Noll, a bookkeeper who focuses on helping people in private practice take charge of their finances in order to get their money working for them.

Angie gives some great actionable tips that we as private practice owners can implement right now to improve how our financials are working for us, and she talks about what we can do today to get better control over our finances as we move forward in 2022. Angie also shares about how looking at our finances more routinely can help us take stock of what is working and what can be done to improve our work/life balance to ensure we’re looking at the whole picture.

Do not miss this practical episode full of great ideas just in time for tax season! 

Connect with Angie Noll

You can find Angie here: 

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Subscribers of the Money Skills For Therapists podcast can qualify for a 10% discount for 12 months when they sign for Balance Solutions Bookkeeping at $400/month AND $100 off Angie’s Group Coaching:  Startup Solutions and Profit First!

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Want more private practice finances support?

Free workshop: Setting Enough Aside for Taxes (in 5 Easy Steps) 

A FREE workshop that teaches private practice therapists how to teel totally calm about your private practice finances knowing you have more than enough in the bank to make tax time a breeze!

In this pre-recorded online workshop, I teach you:

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  • what mistakes to avoid when setting aside taxes for your private practice,
  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Angie [00:00:04] So that’s the good thing to know about money, is that it’s not permanent. So I like to call money a renewable resource because if you lose it all, that’s OK. You can, you can lose it all and you can still come back stronger than ever. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello, and welcome back to today’s episode. So today’s podcast is with Angie Noll. Angie Noll is a bookkeeper. She’s the owner of Reconciled Solutions, where she has a team of bookkeepers and accountants and profit first advisors. They work with small and micro-sized businesses, so for many people listening today, our businesses are actually right in the range of who Angie works with. And as you’re going to hear in this episode, a big part of what Angie believes is in financial sustainability and business, and helping business owners to achieve that and achieve profitability, but also at the same time, lifestyle sustainability. And that was actually a really pleasant, almost surprise for me, actually in this conversation with Angie is that we really got into talking about balancing money and numbers with your life and your lifestyle. Not necessarily what we would expect when we think of that stereotype of a bookkeeper, but we chat about that today. We also talk about how we’re all learning in terms of money and as business owners. Angie shares some of her own experiences with learning as we go. So, yes, even bookkeepers are learning as they go when it comes to money sometimes. And finally, we get into some real, tangible tips on how to set yourself up to be in a better position come tax time. So if with tax time coming, you’re feeling super stressed right now, we talked about ways to catch up that are not going to be as painful as what we sometimes tend to do when we need to catch up, but also how to set yourself up for a better tax season next year. Here’s Angie Noll. So, Angie, welcome to the podcast. 

Angie [00:02:40] Thanks, Linzy. I’m so excited to be here. It’s a good day. 

Linzy [00:02:43] It’s a good day, I’m excited to have you here. So Angie, you are a bookkeeper, and so I’m especially excited to have you on, like on the podcast we have that account inside before, but mostly we have therapists, right? Like mostly the folks that I’m chatting with on this podcast are people whose brains are, like, pretty similar to my brain. Right. We’re kind of the same kind of human now, something I want to start with right away, talking to you as a bookkeeper is kind of the elephant in the room, which is that I think that therapists can have this story about accountants and bookkeepers, like numbers people, that numbers people have like no baggage around money that they’re just like perfect money, perfect at math, it all comes very easily. They’re just like, they have this in the bag and they’ve always had it in the bag. Can I ask you for your thoughts on that kind of story that we might have, even unconsciously, that we might have about bookkeepers?

Angie [00:03:31] Well, Linzy, it’s not true. I mean, I don’t know how much we want to go into this. 

Linzy [00:03:38] Sure, sure. 

Angie [00:03:38] Yeah, we certainly don’t have our act together. And it was kind of funny, when I started my business years ago – I’ve been in business for 15 years and when I started my business back in the early 2000s, I just could not figure out that triangle between me as the business owner and the deliverable to my clients and the person that was working for me and to keep everybody on all three sides happy because the person that was working for me was always wanting more money and I wanted money to, and the clients wanted, you know, wanted to pay less and wanted less for their money, but they still wanted the deliverables. So that relationship was super hard and I had so many money shortages. 

Linzy [00:04:32] Sure, right, yes. 

Angie [00:04:32] And I’ve had to reinvent myself. So what it started out looking like 15 years ago, is not what it looks like today, and that’s because I’ve slowly made changes. So that’s the good thing to know about money, is that it’s not permanent. So I like to call money a renewable resource because if you lose it all, that’s OK. There’s – you can, you can lose it all and you can still come back stronger than ever. I mean, I think that Shaquille O’Neal, he went bankrupt. He talks about this story about spending $1 million in one day, and he really only had like seven hundred thousand to spend, but he blew a million, so he was in the hole three hundred thousand dollars for a single day. 

Linzy [00:05:15] Wow. Right. And he came back from it, I assume. 

Angie [00:05:19] Yes. Yes, he came back from it, he’s a wonderful businessperson. So, yeah, I think therapists might have that expectation that maybe all accountants and bookkeepers never make mistakes with their financials, but we do. And I would say, you know, on the reverse side of that, we’re thinking every therapist has got their crap together as far as other relationships in their lives. You know, they must have perfect relationships with their mom and their dad and their kids and their spouses and all that kind of stuff? 

Linzy [00:05:50] Yes. And obviously, that is also not true, right? So which is, I think, great to hear, though, Angie, and I’m sure like people know that logically, of course, bookkeepers and accountants are humans who are also learning as they go. But I think that’s especially important for – if I think about the therapists I work with in the course, and the health practitioners in the course. And I think about myself like, I think when you are used to being good at things and when you’re used to being a high achiever in other areas, it can be really demoralizing and defeating when money is hard or when the business isn’t working or, as you say, like the way it’s set up is just not working and you’re struggling at something and it feels like it’s not going to work. And I think a lot of therapists at that point, think about giving up and just like going back to group practice, right or even changing careers. And what I’m hearing from you is you can reinvent yourself, like even if you start off on the wrong feet or with the wrong structure, that’s not going to work. You absolutely can learn these things as you go, and even people who literally do numbers and finances for their business have to learn the financials as they go sometimes. 

Angie [00:06:52] Absolutely. I’m still learning things every day, 15 years in business. We’re talking about intimidation factor, and so many people have intimidation factor when it comes to their numbers. But it’s interesting that therapists, when they’re working with bookkeepers and accountants, they might have this intimidation factor fear of their financials, understanding their money demons and all this kind of stuff. But I’m sure that we can flip that around 100 percent because think of the clients that you’re meeting with day to day, people are scared to go see a therapist. They’ve probably got their stuff together. There’s intimidation factor there. We don’t want to tell them our dirty underwear. You know, all that kind of stuff. And I almost think we’re in the same business because bookkeepers and accountants, we also know our clients dirty underwear. We just have a different way of doing it. We know where they eat, we know what they spend too much money on. We know its clients are slow paying them, which clients are really good about paying. We know lots of stuff about their business. So I think it’s just overcoming the fear, the inadequacy, the do I deserve this? You know. 

Linzy [00:08:12] Because what I’m hearing is like, you know the intimate details of your client’s financial lives, right? We tend to know the intimate details of our client’s emotional lives, their relationships, their inner worlds. You know their financial lives. And I’m curious, Angie, with that, like what do you see as kind of like your role? How do you think about what you’re doing with clients when you are working with those numbers with them? And when you do know their numbers, what are you trying to accomplish with them? 

Angie [00:08:36] Well, the biggest thing that we’re trying to accomplish is that they have visibility and clarity to their financials. That’s super powerful. There is power in understanding and absorbing and being able to make decisions more than just on how we feel inside ourselves and on our gut, but based on numbers and data and the story that the numbers tell. So the numbers do tell a juicy story, and that’s what I want therapists to understand is if we set this up, we’re going to be able to tell those details about your business and you’re going to be able to make better decisions knowing this. 

Linzy [00:09:16] Right, having that clarity and that’s empowering, right? As much as that can be scary to face. And I mean, you and I are doing similar work in different areas supporting in different ways, but helping people get that clarity, it can be scary. Sometimes we don’t want to know what it is, but it’s only when you have information that you can actually do something about it and improve it. 

Angie [00:09:33] Yeah. And then I think, you know what happens after fear, the fear of the unknown, the intimidation and stuff. And if you let us get past that and work through those numbers with you, well, then the next thing that might happen is there’s a bunch of guilt that comes in, right? Like, why did I spend that? How did I get this credit card debt? You know, I’m in this position where I am, not where I should be at this age or stage of my life and all of that kind of stuff. So then, we’re probably not your favorite person because you’re feeling guilty, right? 

Linzy [00:10:09] Yes. To draw it back to therapy because now you’re getting me thinking about all these similarities. I feel like it’s the same thing with therapy and the way that we work with clients or we also have folks in the course who are like dietitians where you’re helping your client look at what they eat, right, or like, look at their exercise, their relationship to their body. And yeah, sometimes that’s not actually the fun role to be in because you’re sometimes, you’re getting people close to stuff that they’re avoiding because there’s hard emotions there. Right? And so, yeah, that’s interesting to think about how we probably project a lot of our feelings onto bookkeepers and accountants in the same way that our clients projects feelings onto us as therapists or practitioners where it’s like, Oh talking to her is stressful. 

Angie [00:10:46] Yeah, right. 

Linzy [00:10:47] But it’s about things that are there anyways. 

Angie [00:10:50] Right, and if you think about it, if your client is coming to you with their personal issues and they’re having that conversation, you don’t want them to feel, you know, judged or guilty or upset about how they’ve handled stuff because we cannot change the past. So that’s why it’s so important to remember this whole concept of money being a renewable resource. We can change things today for the go forward, so that we won’t make those mistakes again, and we all have that ability to fail forward to fail faster. We know that the fail is coming, but can we learn from it and move forward faster and reestablish our financial health and wellness? 

Linzy [00:11:37] Right. Because as you say, it’s a renewable resource. There’s always opportunity to make more money as long as you’re working and able to work right, which for most of us will be for a long time. There’s always the opportunity to make more money, make it in a more strategic way, put it to more strategic ends and have your financial picture look really different, even if you’re like 20 or 30 years into your private practice. There’s still always opportunity to turn it around. 

Angie [00:12:00] You know, I know you talk some about Profit First, but I just completely believe in this ability to draw the line in the sand and say, You know, I may have made this mistake in the past, but no more. Today, I declare permanent profitability, and I think that’s just super powerful. And that’s what you get when you have good clean books and visibility and clarity to your financials. 

Linzy [00:12:26] Absolutely. Now, Angie, we’re coming into tax season, dun, dun, dun. I’m sure – I was going to say a busy time of year for you, but maybe not. I guess you’re really helping folks throughout the year so that tax season is not that crazy of a time for you, right, like everything is done already by taxes season? 

Angie [00:12:43] Yeah, January and February and March are really, yeah, we’re busy. 

Linzy [00:12:46] OK, you are. Yeah. So, for people listening today who are maybe not feeling quite so clear about taxes, I’m curious if we can dig into taxes a little bit. I’m wondering from your experience, Angie, what are some of the biggest mistakes that therapists end up making, that makes tax time harder? 

Angie [00:13:04] OK, so let’s talk about taxes. There’s a few things that we can do with our financials, and I think that the most is to keep it organized throughout the year because, well, now we’re sitting on February, the end of February, going into March as we record this. I can tell you that next January or February, when you’re trying to pull together your taxes, you’re not going to remember what happened in 2022. So just keeping organized throughout the year, and it doesn’t have to be a super complex system. You can have a January through December hard copy folder and a digital folder, and just put stuff in receipts that happens in January in the January folder and stuff that happens in July in the July folder. And that is one thing that really helps, so I would suggest that. Another thing that I could suggest is that as a small business owner, I don’t care if you’re a solo entrepreneur and you’ve been in practice for twenty five years, you still want to keep your personal expenses separate from your business expenses. That’s super important because that business is your livelihood, and we need to be able to extract its performance from your performance because the business may have had a good year, but you may have had a crappy year. I bet that happened for a lot of therapists during pandemic, like their businesses were going crazy. But personally, they’re like, I’m struggling with the same stuff, the same lockdown issues that everybody else is, and my personal mindset isn’t good. So that comes into play with our financials. We have to have it separate so that we can view it separate. It’s not an end all situation as far as if you didn’t do that last year, oh, no, I’m screwed, I didn’t do it last year. You know what? We can still make do and what I would suggest, if you’re a person who’s, you know, just getting started and you haven’t separated business from personal from a bank account level and a credit card account level, that what you can do is go to your banking or credit card institution and download your activity into spreadsheets and then just highlight the ones that are separating them. If you have more personal transactions, just highlight the business transactions. If you have more business transactions, highlight the personal transactions. It makes it a lot easier for us as bookkeepers to get the year end totals correct and to get the right numbers in the right spots. 

Linzy [00:15:46] So just taking that time to pull it out, and that’s a very systematic way to do it that you’re talking about, like just grab everywhere that your financial information is. And I love that, that’s such a simple tip, but I can see that making a huge difference, like highlight the thing that there’s less of. So if you’re looking at a personal bank account and for every one business transaction, there’s five personal, then just focus on picking out those business transactions, highlighting those, so that they stick out. Yeah, you are absolutely speaking my language. I always suggest people do that bank account separation first because I think, as you say, like it creates such blurriness of not being able to distinguish what’s even happening with the money. But as you say, too, it’s like maybe your business is doing really well, but you can’t see that information because personally, you’ve had a hard year and maybe you’re spending quite a bit of money and you don’t feel the gains in the business because you don’t even see like, oh, the business actually made a lot of money, but then I spent a lot of money at home. But if they’re mingled together, you can’t separate that information and see what’s actually happening. 

Angie [00:16:39] Yeah, I mean, so many people say at the end of the year, like, where did all that money go? I don’t see it right? Well, you’re really going to have troubles seeing where all the money went, if you’ve got it all lumped into one bank account. So really, the very first thing you need to do is to set up separate business and personal bank accounts. 

Linzy [00:17:00] That’s the biggest thing. And then, you know, the second piece, as you mentioned, is if you haven’t, here’s a process to do it. Print that stuff out. And I would suggest, like this is my therapist brain, like set up a reasonable amount of time to work on it. Figure out what works for your brain because I’ve definitely heard stories, Angie, of people, they take like an entire weekend. 

Angie [00:17:16] Oh yeah. 

Linzy [00:17:17] It’s just a weekend of hell, of just like, you know, and they lock themself in a room because I think there’s also this element of like, now I have to punish myself, you know, like, I didn’t do this all year. So now I can make this easy on myself, I have to get it done. So they set it up in a way that’s even like, not that pleasant. Like, I’m going to close myself in this room and I’m not allowed to come out until I’m done, which is like a pretty like hard line way to treat yourself.

Angie [00:17:38] Yeah. No food or drink in here. You know, this is strictly work. And you know, got to have somebody standing over me, beating me a little bit. 

Linzy [00:17:47] Yeah, right, so I never do this again. Yeah. And like, I would be curious to hear more from you about like, what would you suggest therapists or health practitioners, if they do find themself in this situation, it’s like they’re coming to tax time. All their money’s mingled together, they’re going to have to pull it apart. What is your suggestion for like how they should think about this, how they should treat themselves? What’s your bookkeeper perspective on this? 

Angie [00:18:07] Well, I do think that, you know, it goes to kind of those successful mindsets or I’m a big person with understanding the Atomic Habits by James Clear, he writes a book about atomic habits. And so setting yourself up for success, I know that dealing with your financials is something that might be very painful for you. But we do our best work in the morning when we’re full of energy and setting yourself up for success means maybe setting aside thirty minutes or an hour, you know, consecutively for a week to work on that. And when the timer goes on, your time starts and you get to it, you have to focus. And when the timer goes off, then you get to quit and just reward yourself. I mean, a big thing is just saying, I did it, I did the task. I ate the frog, I did the thing that I didn’t want to do, and now I can go on to the other parts of my job that I like a little bit better. 

Linzy [00:19:05] And with that Atomic Habits, I’m not familiar with – I know the book, but I have not read the book. Is there a certain period of time that’s suggested there or do you find your own period of time that works for your brain? How does that work? 

Angie [00:19:15] No, I don’t think there’s a period of time. Atomic Habits is about, just establishing ourselves for success and what success means to us, and how can we take our bad habits out and regrow into good habits, right? Replace those habits. So that’s a really great book. But that concept of, we do our best work in the morning is very well documented in a lot of business sources – will document that. And working in snippets, it’s not working in a – I’m going to lock myself in this room for the next 72 hours until the job is done. Nobody can work like that. 

Linzy [00:19:57] No, certainly not. And I think with that, something I think about a lot Angie, is when we do stuff like that, if you already have the story that money is hard and negative, that’s only going to deepen that story so much more, right. Because now you’ve actually created a situation that is hard and uncomfortable. And you know, now when you think on finances, you’re just going to remember this like horrible experience of like, well, finances is when I lock myself in my room for three days to do all the tracking I didn’t do all year, right? So it just reinforces that negative story and negative experience of money, when we do punish ourselves in trying to catch up in that kind of restrictive way. 

Angie [00:20:32] Yeah, I mean, I really think that money is something that we need to look at every month and probably more than once a month. Even if you’re a solo practitioner, I would say at least twice a month, you need to be kind of adding up the totals, seeing how things are going. So if we follow that Profit First concept of the 10th and the 25th of the month, you know, we generally have to look at our personal bills about twice a month. So why not be looking at the business at the same time? And as you think about it, on the 10th of the month, you should be wrapping up what happened in the prior months and paying the bills from the prior months. And then by the time 25th comes along, you should be able to be saying, well, this month is looking pretty good or it’s not looking good, and why is it not looking good? And what am I going to do to change the trajectory as I move forward? A lot of times too, I think that when you think about bookkeepers and accountants, you think about us as being historians and we’re always looking at the past performance of the business. But really, managing your financials, past performance, that’s a lag major, it’s stuff that you cannot change. But a lead major is stuff that you can change. We have to change that mindset, of thinking about our financials is something that’s all historical to something that is, history is going to give me good clues about solving the way I want to move forward and what my future looks like and how do I lead into the success that I’m trying to reach? 

Linzy [00:22:17] Yeah. I mean, something I think about a lot Angie, is having presence with money, right? Like, as you say, not just looking at it later to see what happened because it’s done, as you said earlier, the past is the past. Right. And so now you’re looking and you’re thinking, Oh, I really overspent on business expenses this year. It’s too late at that point, right? I think about it as developing, especially for therapists who have like anxiety or shame, or all these hard emotions about money that make them avoid it – developing the ability to be present and be with. And I think, if I think about kind of what the ideal of bookkeeping is in my mind, that’s what it’s about, right? Is having a relationship with a bookkeeper who is going to give you information ongoingly and quickly and be able to help you look at things that have just happened so you can adjust your behavior like, now. Not look back and wish that you had done it differently. Is that an accurate description of kind of what bookkeeping is about or would you describe it differently? 

Angie [00:23:10] I think so, I mean, I think it’s all about marrying the history with how we want our financial health and wellness to be. So what is really powerful for me is setting yourself up as an observer in your business. You know, not the business owner, but I’m just a random observer, and I’m going to look down on these financials and see how it feels. OK? So for example, if you have determined in your business that you want to see twenty five clients per week, then if you’re doing a 10th and a 25th review, then you can look back at the past two to three weeks and say, OK, I saw 20 this week, I saw twenty eight that week, I saw twenty three this week. That felt for me, it felt good. You know, this way it didn’t feel good that way. It wasn’t worth Work-Life Balance for taking care of my kids and whatever responsibilities I have outside of my job. But just kind of having that ability to set yourself aside from the financials and see, well, look, when I did twenty five sessions per week, that resulted in this kind of financial gain. And was that financial gain feasible and reasonable for me as it relates to work life sustainability and how I felt about my day to day and my positive and getting all the things that I want to focus on in my life, done. 

Linzy [00:24:38] Yeah, I like that. That’s a very balanced approach to money. I really like trying to balance right, between the numbers of what the numbers tell us, because you might look at the numbers be like, that’s a great number. Wow. When I see 30 clients a week, I’m frickin rich. But then if you do think of the other side, like you said, like what was how did I feel that week, was able to be present with my kids that week? Oh, I forgot to pick my kid up at school that week because I was so busy and distracted. That gives you different information. 

Angie [00:25:02] It gives you different information. And like I’ve been hearing from a lot of therapists over the past year that so much had gone virtual, right? And there’s a virtual burnout. And maybe the emotional exhaustion that comes with being in person is different from the virtual exhaustion. And maybe it’s better or worse. I mean, everybody’s individual, but you know, taking some of those into accountability is going to help you determine what you’re shooting for in the business. Does that make sense? Like what are my goals? 

Linzy [00:25:37] Yeah, because both matter. Numbers matter, but also, what is your actual experience? Is this sustainable? Is this the business that you want to be running? I sometimes see therapists and business owners where we get so fixated on a certain number that we’re not being honest with ourself, that this is not sustainable or this isn’t actually the life that I want to have. But the numbers, I think also when we get fixated on certain, what I would maybe call vanity metrics. Like, this year is going to be my like, six figure year or I’m going to hit three hundred k this year. And usually I find those metrics are about revenue because that’s an easy, quick – that’s your biggest number, right? Is your revenue number. We don’t necessarily stop to think about, does this actually fit how many clients I’m able to see? Am I actually being my most effective self or am I actually like pretty tuckered out by the end of the week and not doing my best sessions? You know, am I actually getting time away? Am I able to like, have quality energy left for my spouse or my partner? Like, those questions, in my mind are just as important because that’s about your actual life. 

Angie [00:26:36] Well, I would say that this is something that accountants and bookkeepers have in common with therapists because we get really hooked on those vanity measures. I know I do, personally. That would be a money sin for me, is that I get hooked on the vanity measures, and I’m really not measuring it against what it feels like in my lifestyle. 

Linzy [00:26:57] Right? That’s only one piece of information. I always think about it, and maybe this is a little morbid. But like, first of all, life is short and unpredictable, but also like if this is our one and only human life and I don’t know if it is, is this how we want to be spending it, right? And it’s so easy sometimes, especially when we’re in certain age ranges, like I find or maybe it goes on like this forever, like in your thirties, you’re kind of establishing, you’re building. Your forties, you’re trying to create like stability for your kids, be able to send them to school. But then I’m sure probably retirement starts to become a big pressure in your fifties, if you’re not already set up. There’s always some reason to be working extra hard or seeing more clients than you really ought to be, right. 

Angie [00:27:32] My high school girlfriend, she told me that it’s just wrong. We should have babies when we’re in retirement so that we can be spending all that time nurturing. 

Linzy [00:27:43] Totally. 

Angie [00:27:44] You know, and when we’re young and our joints all work and we have the energy and then we should work when we’re getting older, because then we’re more mature anyway. 

Linzy [00:27:55] Yes, true. Yes, there’s always some sort of life stage that maybe makes us – we’ll work on that. So Angie, I’m wondering for people listening, what is the biggest thing that you would suggest, that’s like a good enough, that can make tax time better next year. Like I heard, bank account separation, but you and I were chatting before about some other things, too. What would you suggest if they’re like, OK, I want to get a little bit better at this tax time? I know it’s going to be hard. I want to make next year’s tax time not this painful. What would be like a minimum, doesn’t have to be perfect thing, that they could do to improve their relationship with taxes? 

Angie [00:28:29] Yeah. OK, so then we’re going to go back to keeping things organized throughout the year. We’re going to get to the bank and separate those accounts and start using them separatingly. And if that means taking a certain credit card or debit card out of your billfold so that you won’t use it, then do that. OK, so just being very purposeful about that and then just kind of generally knowing your categories, I mean, if you set yourself up to look at your financials twice a month, any bit of organization that you can do twice a month is going to help. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but I would say there is really two types of expenses, and dumping it into two categories of expenses would be really useful. So the two types of expenses would be what accountants refer to as cost of goods sold or cost of services. And the other one would be operational expenses. So your operational expenses are made up of the general and administrative stuff, it would be: your email subscription, your phone service, your medical biller and all that kind of stuff, people that might answer the phone for you, paper supplies, business cards, all that kind of stuff, listings, all your sales and marketing stuff, like if you paid for a listing in a professional directory, that kind of stuff all goes in OpEx, and those are part of general and administrative. And then on the flip side of that is the cost of goods or the cost of services. So that is if you are paying someone else to deliver services to your clients. So if there’s therapy services that are delivered by somebody else, the type of expenses that you are paying to that other therapist are going to be considered your cost of services. And really, there is no money in your business until the cost of services is covered. So you have total revenue coming in and then you’re going to pay a contracted therapist or specialist to help deliver that service to the clients. And then from there, that’s where you have this real revenue and you’re going to pay different operational expenses out of that, you’re going to pay yourself out of that as well. Being able to separate that into the different hats, so to speak, in the business, I would say, is super important. 

Linzy [00:31:07] So even just having those two things separated, like just make sure whenever you pay one of your subcontracting therapists or practitioners, categorize that one way, business expenses the other way, even that is a huge start. 

Angie [00:31:18] Yeah. And one other thing I want to mention, Linzy, that I see people make a mistake on is paying themselves in different ways. So what I mean is, this month I’m going to pay my rent from my business checking, but next month, there’s enough in my personal account this month, so I’m just going to pay it for my personal account. That’s a mistake. Either you’re going to pay it from one or the other account, but not both. And so then setting yourself up for a systematic owners pay, just paying yourself, is my owners pay going to be a transfer from my business bank to my personal? And I always set it up in that direction every time I have a little bit extra versus, oh, my credit cards really expensive this month, so I’m going to pay as much as I can for my personal account. And then the rest of it, I’m going to pay for my business account because I’ve got money in my business account. That’s a no no. 

Linzy [00:32:15] And what is it about that, that is a no no? 

Angie [00:32:17] We can’t trace it back. Again, we’re sitting there a year later trying to figure this out. We don’t remember? We can’t get a clear idea of how much you’ve been paid, and we need to know how much you’ve been paid. 

Linzy [00:32:30] Absolutely. Yeah. And something with that, Angie, that it makes you think about is, you mentioned this a little bit earlier in passing. Like when we do it, you’re suggesting right now, do it the same way, do it the same way, so you see what it is. But also when you do that in February, when you pay, you know, your credit card half from the business and you pay your rent from over here. You think you’re going to remember, but you won’t remember. You won’t remember next tax season, right? And so that’s also where I think that wisdom of what you’re talking about of like just working on it regularly, you know, like every couple of weeks. Like in the course, I suggest every week because people tend to be more avoidant. So with more avoidant, it’s actually better to touch it a little more often, realize that it’s not too scary, you don’t die. Come back the next week, do it again. Those things are fresh in your mind and you’re able to – even if you do something imperfectly, you’re able to label it properly, so later you remember what it is. Rather than a year later, almost being like an archeologist on yourself. It’s just so much more mental work and emotional work later, than if you’re keeping, even just kind of good enough records as you go. 

Angie [00:33:26] Good enough, right. And you know, what happens is, if you put it on your calendar every week and you’re going to spend an hour a week on it or two hours a week, it becomes less cumbersome and burdensome because, you know, you only have to spend an hour. I only have an hour scheduled. All you do is get through this one hour and I don’t have to do it again for a week, you know, then it just becomes less of a big deal and more of a, Oh yeah, I can get that done and it feels OK. 

Linzy [00:33:55] Yeah, it takes the charge out of it. And I would say, you know, it takes the phobia out of it because you do it, you don’t die. It’s not that hard the next week, you’re like, Oh, you know, well, I did this last week and it wasn’t that bad. And it gets easier as you go along. Awesome. So, Angie, one final question I have for you is, when would you say it’s time for a solo practitioner or a group practice practitioner – we have both who listen to this podcast. When is the right time for them to hire a bookkeeper? What would be the things that would let them know, it’s time to start looking around for a bookkeeper?

Angie [00:34:25] If you’re not able to pull it together, to get the work done, or if your time is just too burdened. A bookkeeper is probably the easiest first thing that you can outsource. So if your schedule is jam packed with clients and you’re going to be more profitable and more peace of mind satisfied by not having to do the books yourself, it’s OK to hire a bookkeeper and you can still be mindful and know your finances, even if somebody is putting it in into the books for you, right? It doesn’t have to be that you have to categorize every transaction. Your bookkeeper gets to know very specifically about your business and understand how you go to market. 

Linzy [00:35:11] Yeah, the way that I think about is your bookkeeper, they’re doing the labor for you, right? Like they’re organizing things, they’re making sure everything’s together, but you’re still responsible for it, right? And you can still have an empowered role in running your business finances. It’s just now your bookkeeper is taking their time to do something that you have better uses for your time. 

Angie [00:35:30] Exactly. I mean, if your superpower is doing something else other than bookkeeping, then don’t do it, right. Use your superpower where it’s most powerful. 

Linzy [00:35:40] That makes sense. So, Angie, if people want to get more into your world, where’s the best place on social media for them to follow you? 

Angie [00:35:47] Probably LinkedIn, Angie Noll, is my number one spot that I hang out on social media. And that’s Noll, N-O-L-L. 

Linzy [00:35:56] And Angie, do you have any special offers and promotions for our audience? I know you do. 

Angie [00:36:02] I do for Money Nuts & Bolts listeners, we have a 10 percent discount for 12 months when you subscribe for our Balanced Solutions Bookkeeping. And also, I have a group coaching course, it’s called Startup Solutions and Profit First. And it’s about marrying your financials from a compliance tax standpoint with financial health and wellness, and putting permanent profitability into your business. So we can offer a $100 discount for that group coaching course as well. 

Linzy [00:36:37] Great. OK. So 10 percent off bookkeeping services for a year or $100 off that coaching course. And Angie, you are a profit first consultant. 

Angie [00:36:45] Yes, I’m a Profit First Mastery Member. 

Linzy [00:36:48] Correct, so you live and breathe this stuff. So if you’re interested in that, we’re going to have the links in the show notes. You can click the link. We’ll put Angie’s LinkedIn link in there as well. You can check out those offers that she has, that we have a discount code with her. Angie, thank you so much for joining me today. I feel like this is – even for me, this was a very like, therapist and bookkeepers, maybe we’re more of the same than different. 

Angie [00:37:12] Perfect. I think we do have a lot in common. 

Linzy [00:37:15] Awesome. Thank you, Angie. 

Angie [00:37:17] All right. Take care. 

Linzy [00:37:32] There are many things that stuck out to me from this conversation today with Angie, but one of them is about that intimidation factor that she talked about. You know, where when we tell stories about certain types of people, certain professionals, how that actually makes it harder for us to work with them because we are telling a story that they’re perfect and they can’t relate to the fact that our business numbers aren’t working or that we’re not paying ourselves in consistent ways. When often, probably they can relate more than they’re going to let on. Just like us therapists and practitioners, sometimes we can relate a lot to what our clients are talking about. But because we’re in a position in that role to support them and treat them and serve them, we’re not going like, Oh my God, me too. But we probably could, a lot of the time. And it makes me wonder about how many accountants and bookkeepers might actually be a lot closer to what we’re experiencing than we think, because so often, you know, we apply our gifts to other people before we apply them to ourselves. So something to think about the next time you’re sitting across from an accountant or your bookkeeper and you’re thinking that they have this perfect relationship with money and they live and breathe numbers and can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, they might understand more than you think. And I hope that that reality check helps you to ask more questions, not assume that they’re judging you, but actually build a relationship with them to help you get the most support that you can because they do have skills and knowledge that you don’t. And they’re also humans who want to support you and teach you. If you’d like to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We’re posting content on there all the time about both the practical and emotional parts of money. And of course, as always, if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would love it if you would take a minute to go review it on Apple Podcasts. That helps other therapists and practitioners find us, which is wonderful. It’s always wonderful for me when new folks find the podcast and it helps to help them have a better relationship with money. That’s what I’m all about. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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How to Motivate Yourself to Prioritize Your Private Practice Finances Coaching Session

How to Motivate Yourself to Prioritize Your Private Practice Finances Coaching Session
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How to Motivate Yourself to Prioritize Your Private Practice Finances Coaching Session

How to Motivate Yourself to Prioritize Your Private Practice Finances Coaching Session

“I also had this belief system that if you were wealthy and had money and were rich, the money was going to ruin you in some way. Everybody was anti-wealth, anti-capitalism, anti all these things. And I had that belief system, and it definitely didn’t do me any favors to think that way. Now I think about money more as being part of like an energy or exchange and something that is part of our wellbeing rather than it being this ugly, dirty, negative thing that we don’t talk about.”

~Kristen McAdams

Meet Kristen McAdams

Kristen is a LPC-Associate in ATX, podcaster, and aspiring speaker. Prior experience in addictions and doctoral level studies in trauma and addiction. Her practice focus is on therapy for the modern world and practicing what she preaches; this includes real world approaches to health, money, and mindset. 

In This Episode…

Do you ever feel stuck when it comes to managing your finances? Do you find yourself putting off the financial planning you need to do even when you’ve set aside time to do it? In this coaching session, Linzy and Kristen really dig into Kristen’s financial goals and what might be holding her back when it comes to working on her finances.

Listen in to hear Linzy work with Kristen using Kristin’s real numbers and her real goals to see how you can work your way through your own finances using this approach! This is a very practical episode with so many good tips that you don’t want to miss!

Want more support with your private practice finances?

Free workshop: Setting Enough Aside for Taxes (in 5 Easy Steps) 

A FREE workshop that teaches private practice therapists how to teel totally calm about your private practice finances knowing you have more than enough in the bank to make tax time a breeze!

In this pre-recorded online workshop, I teach you:

  • the real steps to make sure your taxes are totally taken care of,
  • what mistakes to avoid when setting aside taxes for your private practice,
  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Kristen [00:00:00] And I also had this belief system that if you were wealthy and had money and were rich, the money was going to ruin you in some way. Everybody was like anti-wealth, anti-capitalism, anti-all these things and I had that belief system, and it definitely didn’t do me any favors to think that way. Now I think of money more as being like an energy in exchange and something that is part of our health and well-being, rather than it being this ugly, dirty negative thing that we don’t want to talk about. 

Linzy [00:00:29] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. So I wanted to start today by sharing a review that we got on Apple Podcasts. I’m so appreciating seeing the reviews come in from those of you listening, and this review had the title A Must, the reviewer says, I cannot accurately describe how refreshing it is to listen to a podcast about money/finances, that is 1) specifically for therapists 2) talking about how it’s OK to make and have and enjoy money, and 3) encouraging listeners to explore and recognize the emotion that comes with their own beliefs, values, perceptions of money, and how that impacts our behavior with money. I have always struggled with all things money related, except how to spend it. Despite being well aware that the numbers are very black and white, and finances come down to simple addition and subtraction. Listening to this podcast has felt like my own personal light bulb moment, and I could not be more excited. This podcasts gets me. Thank you so much to whoever wrote that review, it’s so nice to get your feedback. I am so enjoying making this podcast, putting it out in the world, and it makes me so happy to know that it’s connecting and useful and inspiring you. So today’s episode is with student Kristen McAdams. Now, she’s not a student anymore. We’ve recorded this episode back in the summer, and we recorded this episode when Kristin was, like, very much kind of in the beginning stages of Money Skills For Therapists. Kristen McAdams is an LBC associate. She’s a podcaster and inspiring speaker. She has experience in addictions and doctoral level studies in trauma and addiction. And in this coaching episode today, we got into this issue that is so common for therapists and health practitioners and coaches, which is getting stuck when trying to work on your finances. So even though she was like in the course and committed had, you know, made that commitment to work on money, it was summer and she was getting stuck. She was going on vacations, getting distracted, other things were coming up and becoming a priority. And that time that she told herself that she was going to be using to work on her finances was just always going to other things instead. So if that is something you can relate to, if you have set the intention before of like, no, this is it, I’m going to be working on my finances and then suddenly you find everything else becomes a priority except for finances, when those times in your schedule come along, then this is a great episode for you. In the process of digging into this issue and helping her get more connected and clear around it, we talk about growing up with the experience of both privilege and poverty simultaneously in her childhood, and we really get into her real numbers. Kristen was so open and generous with sharing her real numbers with us to understand exactly where she was in her practice, and we get into the real numbers of not just where she is, but where she wants to be, which ultimately is one of the things that we identified was helpful for her, for actually getting really motivated and clear and actually making this a priority. But I don’t want to give too much away. So check out this episode if you feel stuck around your finances, if you often find yourself not prioritizing it. We really get into how to make money a priority with your actions, not just with you’re thoughts. Here is Kristen. All right, so, Kristen, welcome to the podcast today. 

Kristen [00:04:18] Thank you. Thank you for having me. 

Linzy [00:04:20] So, Kristen, for our coaching session today, you submitted a question about getting stuck, talking about this experience of getting stuck as you’re trying to actually kind of sit down and make changes and and work on these things. So tell me a little bit more about what is happening and what you’re noticing. 

Kristen [00:04:39] Well, it’s interesting because it’s like, when you think about getting stuck, it feels like this very broad sort of like, I’m just stuck. But when I started thinking about it, you had asked me a specific question about like the avoidance, and then I realized how many different pieces of things were getting me stuck because it wasn’t just one thing. So when I was able to break down sort of the stuck points, I saw that it was sort of a multitude of factors that were contributing to this overall feeling of like, What am I doing? I’m not moving forward. And then, you know, you go into this like panic downward spiral of like, I’m not doing it right or I’m not doing it well, or I won’t finish it. 

Linzy [00:05:12] Yeah. So there’s actually a lot that’s happening in this getting stuck, it’s not one thing. 

Kristen [00:05:15] Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot going on. 

Linzy [00:05:17] So tell me about that – the getting stuck, we’ll pull it apart a second and try to shift it and look at it, what is it looking like right now? 

Kristen [00:05:27] So right now, I was moving along in the program and I took a vacation, went out of town, and I had these time constraints that were coming up, so I had originally put time blocks on my schedule to address some of these financial goals. But the time constraints are getting all messed up and then I wasn’t meeting the blocks that I had assigned, which for me is one area, like one stuck point of like, I bounce back and forth in my life about, do I do an hour block at a time? Like mental health therapists do, right. Like we know how to join in like one hour blocks or do I do like a flow state sort of situation where I can, like contribute like a big chunk of time to learning something specific? So I’ve realized that I do better with the flow, for personal use, flow type of work because I can really get into it because the second thing I realized about getting stuck was that learning how to tackle my finances has been a complete rewiring of how I think about money and the act of actually addressing them and looking at them and plugging finances into individual categories and boxes and numbers and stuff, is having to come up against like, OK, you think of it this way, but that’s not working for you. Now, I have to figure out how to think of it in a new way through the process of practicing this. So I was like, OK, flow block chunk is right. 

Linzy [00:06:48] Yes. So you need to have like a good period of time and for you, what is a flow block, like how long do you need to get into flow? 

Kristen [00:06:56] Probably like chunks of three, like three hours. Maybe so I have like some some leeway. I don’t like to feel rushed, so I noticed that strongly in the last year, I’m like, oh, it feels way better to not be rushed and feel like I have to get everything in 45 minutes. 

Linzy [00:07:13] So these blocks then. Is it the three hour blocks that you’ve had in your calendar already, then that you’re kind of not getting to? 

Kristen [00:07:19] Yeah. So I had them in two hour blocks and I had them on particular days, but I noticed that they didn’t like fit into the day. So like, for instance, like one day last week, we were supposed to be home from traveling Sunday night and we didn’t get home till Monday night and then it messed up my Tuesday. And then this last Tuesday, I had a health issue that came up, so I had to erase that block. So it’s like these things that were taking priority or preventing me from hitting those time blocks was – and then that was like, What happens is I get frustrated and I hit this like spiral of like, you’re not doing it right or you’re not doing it well enough. And then I had to step back from that stress and like, manage that differently so that I can feel like, OK, no, realistically, one’s happier. I use the word avoidance. You were helping me and I realized also that like avoidance is sort of like an easy cliche tag term that I put on. Yeah, I must be avoiding and then I was like I’m not actually avoiding this. 

Linzy [00:08:16] Right? Yeah because it’s not like the time comes to do it and you’re finding yourself like on Facebook. 

Kristen [00:08:21] Right, right, right. Just, the time’s just not there anymore. 

Linzy [00:08:24] Yes. 

Kristen [00:08:25] I think it’s taken up other priorities, yeah.

Linzy [00:08:26] Yeah. And that’s – I was just going to say, that’s the second thing I’m hearing. Like, I’m hearing there’s a time crunch, but there’s also a priorities peace. So that is something that I’m curious about is for you right now. How much of a priority is it to be working on your finances, working through the course, making these shifts? 

Kristen [00:08:44] So I like to say it’s the biggest priority because it’s sort of the last thing in my life I have to address. Like I’ve addressed all these things over time, like depression and anxiety and like way in my past and all these things. And now last year, it was like really into health. And this year I was like, All right, well, the finances is the last piece that was underestimated. And yeah, it – I would like to say it’s highly prioritized, but realistically, I can tell that it’s not because I tend to over commit myself – so I’ll over commit myself to like social activities or other training. That’s really one of my biggest hang ups is like taking the priority and keeping it a priority and focusing on it. 

Linzy [00:09:25] Yeah. Like your actions are showing you that it’s not a priority, like other things are taking precedence into your schedule. 

Kristen [00:09:31] Totally. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:09:32] Yeah. So let’s let’s focus on that piece then, tell me why. Why is this a priority for you? I’m hearing. First of all, I’m hearing like a really common and relatable kind of journey or progression. Right? It’s like you move through like mental health staff and physical health stuff and now you’re onto money. I think that’s something that like I certainly do to, and I think a lot of people listening will relate to because I think money is one of those things that comes later as we kind of like work through our shit, right? And you’re here now. 

Kristen [00:09:57] It’s like survival mode, type of situation where it’s like, All right, well, if I don’t feel well enough, I can’t make decisions and if I can’t make decisions, you know, I’m just living paycheck to paycheck because that’s just like white knuckling thing was financially, while you’re trying to get everything else up on your feet. 

Linzy [00:10:10] Totally. Yes, absolutely. So now you kind of, it sounds like you’ve gotten grounded in some other ways. So now you’re working on money, your company finances. So tell me, why is this important for you? 

Kristen [00:10:21] So I grew up with a really crazy sort of money story where my parents were separated, my dad had filed bankruptcy and was living in his parent’s attic, and my mom had married this really wealthy man in town and he had had a stroke. So I grew up kind of with two different – like a lot of privilege and a lot of poverty on all sides. So growing up in the privilege, it was interesting because it sort of deteriorated like my right to have a bad day or right to do something wrong. And I lived in this very like weird, privileged bubble, and I always knew that the money wasn’t mine. So we had these like really extravagant spending habits and things like that, and I was at that age where it was like, All right, you would think that school or something like that would provide financial accounting information, or you would learn some kind of skill right through like high school or maybe a family member. But I was just sort of on my own, living in privilege and having no idea what to do with it. And then when we, when my mom moved on from that marriage, what I had expected came true, which was that, that money was not ours, it did not belong to me and I knew from, I knew from a very young age I was going to have to figure out money. Like when I was a little kid, I was like running around my neighborhood, trying to sell balloons and like getting a dollar here. Like, I always worked, it was always a thing. But I just didn’t know like what to do with it, you know, if I had it or how to keep it if I had it or how to spend responsibly. So it went through this very long term tug of war between, you’re doing something right versus you’re doing something wrong. You’re being frugal in this sense, but overspending in that sense. So it was like, a lot of shame and guilt I feel like was wrapped up in that because there was just so much like chaos and confusion. 

Linzy [00:12:03] Yeah, right, OK. And that messaging that you got, where did that come from? Like, are there actually particular voices that go with that or was that more societal? 

Kristen [00:12:14] I think it was a little of both. Like, there was this expectation that we lived a certain way and we did live a certain way. But underneath that sort of bubble, was like, there was no direction or structure or any sort of tools that I could use to effectively budget or use finances. I tell people all the time, like you could give two people each $10000 and depending on what they know how to do, one will invest and make a ton of money and one could lose at all. So, having the tools and the skills at that time, I think would have been helpful. And I was like very thirsty for that and couldn’t figure out how to get it. 

Linzy [00:12:48] Yeah, right. Yeah. And it sounds to me like from what you’re describing, there was this like insecurity that, you know, as part of that, like knowing, like this money is here. We’re living this certain way right now but this isn’t really ours. 

Kristen [00:13:01] Yeah, it was like fluid. It was like liquid, like it was like quicksand. You know, it’s just like, like, I could just see money just falling through our fingers. And I also had this belief system that if you were wealthy and had money and were rich, that like the money was going to ruin you in some way. You know, like everybody was like anti-wealth, anti-capitalism, anti-all these things and I had that belief system, and it definitely didn’t do me any favors to think that way. Now I think of money more as being like an energy and exchange and something that is part of our health and well-being, rather than it being this ugly, dirty negative thing that we don’t want to talk about.

Linzy [00:13:38] Right, OK, yeah. So then it’s like, I’m hearing, you’ve already kind of made some shifts then, in how you think about money. Now you have more this energetic way of thinking about it, rather than this kind of shame based way. So let’s come back to this piece about priority. Why is it important for you to develop these skills now? Because what I’m hearing is you were hungry for these skills as a child and you wanted to figure out what to do with money. You were making money as a kid. You and I could have been friends, by the way. We could have some little businesses together. Yeah. But now, as an adult, you’ve worked with these other things, you’re coming to money. So why is this important now? 

Kristen [00:14:16] Now I’ve worked, you know, 20 years studying psychology, and I always – I think my reasons for being in the mental health field have always sort of fluctuated and changed over time as I’ve grown and developed as a person. But the underlying theme was always like, I want to open my own business. And now I’m finally at that point where I’m like, Oh, wow, this is happening. I have a business, I have an income, I have clients, I’m building the skills because, you know, in mental health schools, they don’t teach you business and marketing at all. Yeah. So it’s like you have all these skills and it’s like, again, what do I do with them? You know, how do I, how do I build this? So I’m at a point now where it’s like, if I don’t make the finances work, then I’m going to have to go back and work for somebody else, And I know I could always go get a job someplace else and work for a corporation and work for somebody else. But that was never my goal or my dream like, this was the goal or the dream. So if I don’t figure out how to make it happen now, then I’m not going to figure it out, right? And I’m the only one that’s in control of that. 

Linzy [00:15:15] Right. So there’s something on the line now. If you don’t figure this out, you’re going to have to go back to working for someone else. You’re not going to get to have this business that you’ve wanted for so long. 

Kristen [00:15:22] Yep. And I really do love the business, I love the quality of life, I love the lifestyle, I love what I do, so I’m realizing that as I’m doing it and going, Oh, wow, this is actually really important. This is not just like a job that’s replaceable anymore, then I can just go get another job. 

Linzy [00:15:38] No, once you go self-employed, it’s hard to go back. 

Kristen [00:15:43] It’s tough. And I’d like to build from here, like my dream, ultimately, I run a podcast, I’d like to monetize that. I’d like to build the podcast company into a total health and wellness business outside of being a therapist. So I feel like this is the foundation, and this is the place where I get to develop the skills now. This is the time. 

Linzy [00:16:05] So, yeah, so it’s not just where you are now. There’s this whole possibility that the foundation of that possibility is having this healthy business that works. 

Kristen [00:16:13] Yes, absolutely. 

Linzy [00:16:15] So what you’re describing to me now, the importance of making this work – like it sounds like there’s a little bit of like do or die, which, you know, I would wonder like how absolutely true that is. But you know, there’s certainly a lot hanging on this right? The business working. This is getting you a lot of what you want in life and sets you up for even more of what you want in life. 

Kristen [00:16:32] Absolutely. 

Linzy [00:16:33] How connected are you to that on a daily basis? 

Kristen [00:16:35] I think the days that I’m working, I’m connected to it, I don’t know, kind of fluctuate. It’s kind of hard to ask me now because it’s July and we travel a lot. 

Linzy [00:16:43] On summer mode. 

Kristen [00:16:44] Yeah, like little in vacation mode, like my time like off, but I don’t think I am connected to it as I could be. I think that I could be more connected to the reality of, You’re doing this and it’s happening and you’re building the skills. 

Linzy [00:17:03] Yes. And I’m wondering, Kristen, like, what are you doing? How are the numbers working in your business? Are they working? 

Kristen [00:17:11] I have to say that after COVID, they’re really not working. As a mental health professional, I just felt this immense pressure to like, show up and and help support in any way that I could. So I dropped my prices to the absolute bare minimum, I did pro-bono sessions, I have done peer support sessions. I’ve done all these things where I was working really hard and having no income, and now my caseload started to build and I don’t know where we’re at in COVID, but I don’t care anymore. Like, you know, I can’t keep these types of rates and these types of behaviors and the guilt that comes with being a mental health professional, I can’t let that dictate my finances anymore. I can’t allow that to be the the foundation. 

Linzy [00:17:59] And do you have a sense of your numbers, like how much you’re bringing in each month, how much you’re actually able to pay yourself each month, those kinds of things? 

Kristen [00:18:07] So right now, I have to admit it’s kind of ugly because it’s just – I just set up the separate bank account. So I’m trying to navigate how that all is going to flow because it’s just been like income in and bills out. And that’s it. And having to separate it, I think, has also been a little intimidating just because I can’t see how it’s going to work yet. I haven’t plugged the numbers in, so my business itself is doing great because it turns out I’m actually really good at what I do and people talk about that. So my caseload has filled up quite a bit and I have some more consistency with that. Now another thing I run into, I think a lot with owning your own business and it being a private practice is sort of the unpredictability of the income. It’s not like a steady paycheck that you can just balance, you know, a weekly similar income every week. 

Linzy [00:19:00] No, it’s not. Yeah, you need to create that stability with your systems. 

Kristen [00:19:04] Yeah. So that’s another part that’s like really, feels insecure for me. 

Linzy [00:19:10] Yeah, we won’t dig into the tool here because we’re on a podcast. But have you played with the – first of all, have you actually layed out your numbers so you know exactly how much you’re making and exactly how much you want to make? 

Kristen [00:19:24] I think I did loosely, but I don’t think I did clearly. 

Linzy [00:19:28] That’s, you know, that’s something I would say, first of all, Kristen, for how do you snap this back into a priority? Right is like, there is this process – when you’re describing kind of like how every things a mess right now, it makes me think of that process where it’s like, you’re like cleaning a room. And so you like, pull things out and you’re in the middle of organizing and it’s just like, this just got worse. Like, there’s no way this could get better. We’re kind of there it sounds like, in terms of just like your bank accounts getting set up and systems. 

Kristen [00:19:53] It’s going to get messier before it gets tidier. 

Linzy [00:19:56] Yeah. And part of it too is actually being real about your numbers, right? Like having those real numbers, like right in front of you to actually see what’s happening. Because what I’m hearing is, you know, intellectually that your rates are too low. You know that you’ve done like a lot of bending out of caring and compassion during COVID. But you know, you’ve done a lot of work for free and you know you’ve basically set your your fee as low as you can, but you also know that that’s not working. Right.

Linzy [00:20:31] So that would be a question for you. Would you be open to pulling up some numbers here that we can look at together or talk through together? 

Kristen [00:20:38] Yeah, we can talk, yeah. 

Linzy [00:20:38] I’ll just run some numbers. So do you know what your revenue is right now each month, like how much comes in from clients? 

Kristen [00:20:44] So it’s recently increased. I was making on average a thousand a month, and now I think I want to say it’s probably doubled, 

Linzy [00:20:54] About two thousand a month? And with that, like, are you saving for taxes already? 

Kristen [00:21:00] I’m not, no. I never do.

Linzy [00:21:02] So we know with that two thousand, you’re not seeing your taxes yet. I mean, you’re not going to owe a lot of taxes, frankly, you know, with income at that level, but still, you will owe some taxes. How are you paying yourself? 

Kristen [00:21:12] I just get my payment directly. So I am an LPCA, right now, so my supervisor pays me, it goes through her company, so she’ll pay me directly. And then that just goes, right now it just goes into my personal account. I do have the business account set up, but there’s nothing in it,. 

Linzy [00:21:28] OK, Right. Yeah. So what I’m hearing is like right now, it’s almost like you’re functioning kind of like an employee. You just kind of like, get paid. 

Kristen [00:21:35] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:21:35] And then you’ve been paying the money out of your own mixed personal money. That’s how you been paying for this. So, yeah, so I can see how like you’re kind of in this like messy midway, now that you have the business account because you are going to have to, like, get stuff flowing through it because that’s when you’re really going to start to see, Kristen and get real because there’s two pieces here in terms of making this a priority. One is the pain. 

Kristen [00:21:57] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:21:57] How in touch are you with the pain of the situation? Basically, like, how real is this to you at this point? And I’ll ask you that question, how real is it to you that right now your revenue is about two thousand a month? 

Kristen [00:22:09] So I feel like I’ve been operating so long on so little that the increase in pay feels safer and healthier, even though it’s still a very low number and nowhere near where I want to be. It’s still been steadily increasing since – because even before when I was interning, I worked for free. I was making like, you know, one hundred and fifty bucks on the side, working the front desk at a gym and then, you know, working 11 sessions a day for free interning and craziness like that. So. 

Linzy [00:22:41] Yes. 

Kristen [00:22:41] And then on the flip side of that, right after college, I went and worked in addictions and made the most money I’ve ever made. But it was so stressful that the amount of money that I used to offset the stress between tolls to get to work and coffee in the morning, just like dumb things. 

Linzy [00:22:57] All of it. Yeah. 

Kristen [00:22:58] It didn’t matter. So now I feel in a healthier space, and I feel like this is a space that I can actually start to build with. 

Linzy [00:23:07] Mhmm. Yeah. And I mean, it is interesting that you mentioned like the internship because it almost sounds like in a way you’ve been conditioned to work for free. 

Kristen [00:23:15] Yes, big time. 

Linzy [00:23:16] So the fact that you’re even making two thousand a month now feels like, pretty good, that’s a lot more than nothing. 

Kristen [00:23:22] Yeah. Yes, exactly. 

Linzy [00:23:24] So I’m hearing that the pain right now, you’re used to being so low that two thousand is feeling OK. We are not saving for taxes, so that might be some pain that’s coming, that you haven’t experienced yet. Tell me now about the flip side of it, which is the pleasure, the vision, like where you want to be. How much do you want to be bringing home to your family? Let’s start with that. 

Kristen [00:23:45] It depends on what we’re talking about because there’s a lot of things I want to do. I want to open this business, I want to do public speaking, I want to finish publishing books and the podcast and everything. So I have all these multiple streams that I would like to tie together in a consistent, efficient way. So, but just from the mental health practice alone, like, I would like to be able to keep my fees relatively low, but – and have everything else sort of offset that. So I would like to build it into like three, maybe four thousand a month and like double it from there, not including the other income streams, so. But again, as you’ve pointed out, which is totally accurate, I haven’t had – I don’t have a clear picture of it, right? I haven’t really thought about what I want to make. 

Linzy [00:24:29] Yes, yeah. And I think that that, you know thinking about how it’s been hard to make this a priority, that makes sense to me. One, because it’s summer and there are actual things in your life out of routine. And that’s great because it’s summer and it’s been COVID and like, go places, be with humans, that’s nice. It’s so worth. So that’s one thing right, like, first of all, it’s totally fine to have times when we’re like less motivated and less on the ball and just living our lives. But the second piece is like when you’re talking, I’m hearing about vision of kind of like what you would like to be doing and the kind of work you want to be doing. But what I’m not quite hearing yet is like a compelling reason how money comes into it. 

Kristen [00:25:11] Right? There’s no numbers attached to any of it.

Linzy [00:25:14] No numbers attached. So it’s kind of vague right now. 

Kristen [00:25:16] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:25:17] Right. And it’s hard to be motivated by that, especially when it’s sunny outside. 

Kristen [00:25:20] Yeah, exactly. 

Linzy [00:25:23] So if we were going to like hone in. Tell me about your peresonal goals in your life. What do you want to be accomplishing? 

Kristen [00:25:29] My life goals, I would really like to – I would like to be a millionaire. Like to be honest, like and it’s hard for me to even say that if you notice me like hesitate because that whole old story of like, you shouldn’t want to be rich, right? But I’ve always had this dream of like being really wealthy and doing it in a way that supports other people around me and that using that money with a purpose. So I’ve definitely thought about like what I would like to do with money once I get it. But there is a big chunk missing of –

Linzy [00:25:59] That middle piece. 

Kristen [00:26:00] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:26:01] Yes. OK, so you want to be a millionaire? And how much money do you actually want to have? 

Kristen [00:26:06] Have, like specifically in terms like how many millions? 

Linzy [00:26:11] Yeah, what do you want? Let’s say, how much money do you want to have like in the bank? Like how much cash you want to have? 

Kristen [00:26:16] I would like to have at least twenty thousand in the bank. Just I mean, for now, and that’s not really millionaire status, but.

Linzy [00:26:24] Twenty thousand in the bank would be like a starting place and twenty thousand in the bank. What about like tangible goals that would involve money? Is there any kind of trips, home investments, gifts to family, anything like that? That’s exciting. 

Kristen [00:26:42] So we would definitely like to buy our forever home in South Florida in the Keys, which is a very high priced home, you know, they’re usually in the million to 1.2 million range. That’s been a goal. And we, me and my partner have recently decided that we aren’t necessarily trying to have kids. But we’re open to the idea.

Linzy [00:27:02] You’re not, not trying. 

Kristen [00:27:03] We’re not, not trying. Exactly. So that is another piece of the picture and I have student loan debt. I mean, the thing that takes like the biggest amount of space in my brain is debt. 

Linzy [00:27:15] Yeah. 

Kristen [00:27:15] Student loan debt, debt revolving credit card debt. Paying off my car, things like that. 

Linzy [00:27:20] Yeah, OK. And that student loan debt. How much is that? 

Kristen [00:27:23] I believe it’s one hundred and forty thousand or something like that. 

Linzy [00:27:28] OK, 140. And then credit card debt?

Kristen [00:27:31] I believe it’s like eleven thousand, I want to say. The credit card debt kind of revolves, though, like I’ll pay off like a ton of it and then it goes back up. 

Linzy [00:27:40] So I’m hearing like, there are some quite specific things that have number value associated with them. 

Kristen [00:27:46] Yeah, it’s usually debt, though. 

Linzy [00:27:49] That is part of it, for sure. But there’s also this home in the Florida Keys, right? A million dollars or a million plus, there’s going to be a specific down payment number there. You can name for it. If you have kids, that cost dollars, let me tell you. You know, so thinking about when you want to have a maternity leave, you know, when you have those kids, how much time would you want with them? What kind of life do you want to be offering them? Do you want to be saving for their education, you know, so that they have support when they do post-secondary? It’s these things that I think might be a missing piece of your equation. 

Kristen [00:28:20] So putting clear definitions to the future, to the bigger future goals rather than the individual? 

Linzy [00:28:27] Yes. So it’s – what I’m going to encourage you to do, Kristen, is find these numbers. And then actually start to set a timeline to these numbers, when do you want that house? When would you potentially be taking a mat leave? It could be as soon as nine months from now if you’re not, not trying. 

Kristen [00:28:42] Right. 

Linzy [00:28:42] And you know, and so too to use mat leave as an example, because that’s a potentially a shorter term thing. You know, if you’re talking a mat leave, let’s say, a year from now. Right? And for that mat leave, how much time would you want off? 

Kristen [00:28:55] I’m not really sure. I never thought – we only just wrapped our head around having kids. So that’s a great next question. 

Linzy [00:29:05] Yeah. Just to give you a sense of like making this concrete, right? Because what I am noticing is there’s quite a gap between what you’re bringing in now and and where you want to be. The way to get where you want to be is by changing what’s happening now. And making it so that money is working for you today. So there’s down payment money building up every month, today. Right. That’s going to build up towards that hundred thousand dollars or two hundred thousand dollars that you need for that down payment. And same with kids, right? That’s, I bring that one up because it’s a shorter term one. I’m hearing it feels a little abstract. But you know, if it’s in a year and you want to save $12000 to cover you for like three months of mat leave, that’s a thousand dollars a month to set aside between now and then. And so that’s a very concrete number that you would want to be making your business work to serve those numbers and those goals. 

Kristen [00:29:59] It helps actually to like, get rid of some of, not the imposter syndrome because like, I believe that I can make these things happen. It’s the tyranny of how I get wrapped up in and sort of like how to get there when you’re not tackling like the how and like putting numbers like you just suggested. Like when you’re not doing that, it makes your dreams feel like they’re like some weird fantasy. 

Linzy [00:30:23] Yes. Well, I mean, really, they’re wishes at that point, right, they’re not goals, they’re wishes. Yeah. Like, a wish is a goal without a plan. By putting a goal and a plan in place, then you’re actually making these things happen. So thinking about this, then Kristen and starting to come to the end of our time together. How can you connect with this? How do we use this to help to make money a priority today? What do you need to do next? 

Kristen [00:30:47] I think just answering your question and tacking on realistic like financial timelines to what it is that we’re trying to accomplish and trying to figure out if if I can tack on those specifics to the dream right? And have it become a goal with action steps. Then it helps carve out my time management as well. It helps carve out like what I’m doing with my time, how I’m going to spend my money and what that money is going towards. Because right now it’s that mindset of like, Oh, I have some extra money in the bank this month, like, let’s go out to dinner and that money never gets put toward anything that is building toward that goal, so. 

Linzy [00:31:28] OK and knowing yourself, what will be the process to keep this front and center for you? Once you’re connected to these numbers, how do you make that actually present in your life? 

Kristen [00:31:39] I think it would have to be sort of similar to the way of – I prioritized health, which is to tend to it every day, something you tend to every day. You know, I keep telling people, I”m like can we normalize mental health as something that’s like a standard daily behavior rather than like something that’s this bold, courageous move? Because I feel like health, mental health and finances being part of my health like I, I look at them every other day, but I want to, like, attend to them and make sure that financial base right? 

Linzy [00:32:10] And what will that actually look like? 

Kristen [00:32:12] Probably setting aside maybe an hour a day or setting aside, I kept saying, I want to do the flow state thing. So I think training wise in terms of like tackling how to think about it might take a little bit more time than that, but actually attending to it and being clear about where the money is going day to day, that could be more of a behavioral habit. 

Linzy [00:32:38] Yeah, I was going to say it could be less than an hour or two. And something about that, Kristen, that might also be helpful, is it just kind of breaks down the phobia to just like touch it a little bit every day. Even if you’re just like looking at where things went, looking at like your budgeting before you make a purchase. Just being with it a little bit every day, it demystifies it. 

Kristen [00:33:01] Yeah, I don’t want to be like blindly throwing darts at the wall anymore. Take the blindfold off.

Linzy [00:33:08] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And taking the plunge is also the only way to actually get where you want to go and there are places you want to go. 

Kristen [00:33:15] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:33:16] So it’s like, getting clear about the present and also like setting that path to the future. 

Kristen [00:33:21] Yeah. Absolutely. 

Linzy [00:33:22] And I’m curious, once you do these things, what that’s going to do to your ability to prioritize working on this stuff and how it might shift on the priority list, even one other things come up in the space you planned. 

Kristen [00:33:36] Yeah, I think just even having like the conversation or just even having the quote on quote permission to be like, OK, yeah, yes, attend to this every day. It’s like, that’s motivation enough to just be like, OK, yes, you can now incorporate these things and focus on these things and bring them into focus, rather than ignore them for so long. 

Linzy [00:33:56] What is the biggest thing you’re taking away today? 

Kristen [00:33:59] I love the clarity around the plan, right, the clarity around bringing clear numbers and clear direction and laying that out for myself in a way that isn’t like, OK, well, I need to make more money first. If I can’t figure out how to work with what I’m working with now, then why would I be able to work with more money later? Like that – I want to develop these habits now that are mildly limited, you know, then just wing it later, so. 

Linzy [00:34:29] Yeah, and that’s – there’s such a myth about that. I will say, like, there is this idea in the culture, like. And then when you have lots of money, then you know what to do with it? 

Kristen [00:34:38] Yeah. it’s fine. 

Linzy [00:34:40] And that is absolutely not how it works. So I love the idea of you developing this now because that’s also going to get you there a lot faster. 

Kristen [00:34:49] Yeah. I feel like I’m looking at it now more of as like a consistent relationship, like I did the same with health, right? Like, I got all the stats and information that I needed, and I know what I need to do now and now I can just execute it. So I feel the same way about the wealth piece, now. It’s like I’m building that skill set and the tool – and picking up the tools. And once I have that a little bit practiced and learn how to look at it in a different way, then it can be a healthy relationship with money. 

Linzy [00:35:17] Great. Awesome. Thank you so much, Kristen, for coming on today. 

Kristen [00:35:21] Thanks for having me. This is actually very, very helpful and very enjoyable. 

Linzy [00:35:26] I’m so glad, thank you. Something that stuck out to me in this coaching session with Kristen is how, even though her finances were essential to getting where her and her partner want to be in terms of their goals, their dream home, their new plan to possibly have kids. Without having that clarity of the actual numbers, it wasn’t really motivating. It wasn’t real, right? And so that piece that we got into about making those numbers real and also for me, really seeing the gap between where she is now and where she wants to be is so clarifying. And as we talked about, turns that wish, those wishes, you can actually turn them into goals when you know what you’re actually working towards and you can reverse engineer from there, a plan to get there. That can help to create so much more clarity in our businesses about what our businesses need to look like today, when we know what it’s actually going to take to get us where we want to be tomorrow or in this case, a few months or years from now. So that clarifying is so, so valuable and just helps to make it an actual executable plan that we can do something about, rather than this kind of like vague more, which is always really difficult to achieve, both in terms of how we structure our business, but also in terms of making it compelling or motivating to sit down and work on money and figure these things out when we don’t really know where we’re going. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow us on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are putting free private practice money content there all the time. Practical, emotional, mindset. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you get it by now, we cover all of that. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over and review us on Apple Podcasts. It’s so nice to get your feedback, and that is the best way to help other people find the podcast. Thank you so much for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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