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Building A Sustainable Private Practice With Allison Puryear

Building a Sustainable Private Practice

“If you knew you were the best in the world at what you did, how would you do it differently? And when I think about what would I charge? The number’s not different. Like, how I show up would be different, like there’s more confidence, all that kind of thing, but my fee is my fee because that’s what I want and need, I’m not going to charge two thousand dollars a session just because I’m the best in the world. I’m not interested in that. I’m also not going to charge 20.” 

– Allison Puryear

Meet Allison Puryear

Allison Puryear is a therapist with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. After nearly burning out at agencies, she built successful private practices in three different states and she realized that she had a knack for helping other therapists do the same. She has done the work to figure out the logistics of building sustainable, full, and happy practices. She knows she can help you do the same.

In This Episode…

Do you need a reality check about money? Sometimes we can get caught in the idea that more money will make us happy. Money does provide SO many things, but it doesn’t change who we are, as Allison has discovered. Allison Puryear has a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development, which she uses to help therapists build sustainable, full, & happy private practices.

Allison and I talk about the contrast of growing up in a working-class family and now running her own highly successful practice building business where she makes more than her parents ever could have imagined. Allison challenges the idea of charging as much as you can, and we discuss a practical and grounded approach to setting your fee as a practitioner, to create a sustainable business while making an impact.

Website: www.abundancepracticebuilding.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abundance_practice_building

Free resources: www.abundanceparty.com/free

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Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about the new cohort for my course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners and apply click here.

Episode Transcript

Allison [00:00:04] Right, right, I’m not I’m not you know, there’s this idea of, like, if you knew you were the best in the world at what you did, how would you do it differently? And when I think about what would I charge? The numbers not different. Like, how I show up would be different, like there’s more confidence, all that kind of thing, but my fee is my fee because that’s what I want and need, I’m not going to charge two thousand dollars a session just because I’m the best in the world. I’m not interested in that. I’m also not going to charge 20. 

Linzy [00:00:48] 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 to the podcast. Today’s guest is Allison Puryear. I owe a lot of my own business success to Allison and you’ll hear us talk about that a little bit at the beginning of the episode, because Allison is a true rock star for helping people, first of all, launch and grow private practices. But secondly, she’s done some next level program, which she actually called Next, which I took with her and Tiffany McLain several years ago, which launched me into this business, Money Nuts & Bolts and my course Money Skills For Therapists came directly out of the work that I’d done with Allison. I have huge respect for her. She is such a rock star in the practice building space. And in our conversation today, we get into how she grew up working class. So if you grew up working class, Allison’s got some great things to say about the transition between growing up working class and now, in her case, making really good money in the business that she’s built that helps other therapists build their private practices. She has a really cool tip, something that you can do today if you have a bunch of unspent gift cards sitting around. Allison has some great advice for that. And then she also gets into something that we don’t talk about a lot, which is the things that money doesn’t fix or change. I think it’s so easy for us to pin our total happiness to money and create a story of when I have this much money, my life is going to look like this. And Allison has some really great things to say, bit of a reality check, but also some positives around what money can do for you and what money can’t. So here’s Allison Puryear. Allison, thank you so much for being here. 

Allison [00:02:57] Thanks so much for having me. 

Linzy [00:02:58] So glad to have you here with us today. Yeah. So, Allison, I had I want to say the pleasure, but the word is stronger than that. I had the serendipitous luck of coming into your world several years ago. And I say that because I honestly believe that the work that I did with you and with Tiffany McLain years ago when I took Next set me on the trajectory that I’m that I’m on. That’s what that’s when I met you when you offered that program, which I don’t think you do anymore, helping therapists kind of with their next level offer, if private practice is kind of done what do you do next? And this is what I’m doing next. Money Nuts & Bolts. So that’s how I met you years and years ago. And a lot of the things that you talked about years ago have stuck in my head in that time. And one of them I want to start with today, and that is I remember you talking about particularly I remember you sharing that you make so much more money now than your father like ever did. Just the contrast between, you know, your financial situation and what your parents were. So I’m curious for you, Allison. Like, how how did growing up working class, how does that affect your relationship with money now? 

Allison [00:04:11] It’s a good question. Well, I think there was a phase. I felt really guilty for a long time. I grew up in an interesting area because my family was working class. They, like, built this house and what was the boonies right outside of Atlanta and then became like McMansion land. And so I was always surrounded by people with wealth. But our little tiny starter neighborhood that I lived in until I went to college was full of people who were not wealthy. So I think there was a certain amount of of jealousy I had growing up that I then to kind of protect myself – we’re going to do a little therapy – to kind of protect myself I had to go into like, well, rich people are jerks and they’re totally, like, disconnected from the real world. And so that really came back to bite me when I not just, like, started my first private practice, but particularly when I started Abundance. It was just really thrilling when I was doing my private practice, being able to make a really amazing living. And then when I moved to Abundance and I was making more and more and more, there was a lot of guilt that my parents both worked their butts off. They are hard working people and to literally make as much in a minute and a half of work and recording a podcast ad as my dad made in a whole year and he was the breadwinner was a gut punch. And so there was a period of time where I kind of I didn’t self sabotage because I’m far too ambitious for that but I I questioned how I could sabotage, you know, I felt not deserving of the kind of money I was making that like, you know, I’d watch my dad work his entire career at a company he did not enjoy working for at a job he hated that contributed to anxiety, depression, things like that for him. Never like once, I don’t think considered quitting or moving on to something else, retired from that job and became a new man. And so there was a part of me that was like, how come I get to not only enjoy what I’m doing, make a lot of money, and feel really good about what I’m putting out into the world? Like, it doesn’t seem it doesn’t seem fair. 

Linzy [00:06:33] Yeah, and I think a lot of therapists and health practitioners can relate on some level to that situation, because even even in private practice, even before, you know, getting into the kind of situation that you’re in words a more scaled business and you can, as you say, make these larger amounts because of the reach that you have, even in private practice, you know, like I think therapists come up against that when it’s like I can make one hundred seventy five dollars for sitting here for an hour. Right. And like, if you come from a family where, I know a lot of students coming through my course and probably your course too, went through experiences where maybe there wasn’t food in the house or there was fear of losing their house or there was money and then there wasn’t money. Like when you’ve come from situations like that to suddenly be able to earn by doing something that you love is a real disconnect from where you come from. 

Allison [00:07:20] Right. And it’s like a thrilling disconnect on one level, if we can just kind of like step into it ourselves. But then, like, I have a really good relationship with my parents. I still like I’ve always had a good relationship. They’re amazing parents. And so I think if I’d had a more contentious relationship, I might be a little bit like haha. But instead, it’s more like, you know, like I watched you guys work your butts off and worry about money your entire lives. And I don’t have to worry about money now. And that also doesn’t feel fair. 

Linzy [00:07:53] Yeah, so I’m curious, how does that look for you now, is the guilt still there now, like now, a few years in? What does that look like for you today? 

Allison [00:08:03] I don’t feel guilty any more. And it might be one of those things, you know, sometimes we, like teach what we need to learn. I think I probably ended up talking to enough private practitioners who were feeling that guilt that like if all the things I was saying to them finally sunk into me. I think too, like my parents are proud of me in a way that isn’t like jealous or snarky in any way, shape, or form. They’re just kind of like amazed that so many great things are happening and I’m creating great things. And I think that that probably helps too. Like my my dad doesn’t begrudge me a dime that I make. Right. So I think also being friends with Tiffany McLain always helps because you can’t just be friends with Tiffany and not get in deep sometimes. So. And I think just surrounding myself with other people who have wealth and realizing, like none of these people in my life are jerks, like I only hang out with great people because, like, why waste my time with other people and a lot of them have wealth. And so it’s like this challenge to my younger self around like I kind of had this idea that as you made more money, you became less human or less good. And I’ve always been very concerned with being a good person. And so to be able to to see that like there’s there’s not a causal relationship there, it helps. 

Linzy [00:09:43] Well, and the word good really sticks out to me when you say that they’re Allison because like, this is my therapist brain going, a lot of ways too I think good is connected with being small, especially for women. Right. Like good from like a trauma perspective is about being small, out of the way, not drawing attention to yourself, like passing under the radar. Right. And I would say that you are not being good now. You are taking up space. You are making an impact. You are being seen. Right. Like you’ve changed probably thousands of practitioners lives at this point, I would guess. I know you’ve certainly changed mine. And I did a short program with you. I haven’t even done like all of your programs. Right. So I’m curious about that. Like that idea of good. I mean, I guess if we’re not trying to be good, we’re not trying to be small, what can we try to be like? What’s a more empowering narrative to aim for around money and the work that we’re doing? 

Allison [00:10:38] So it’s interesting, yesterday I was talking with my team about like if we were just like working on some copywriting examples for the people in my membership. And so I was like writing an About Me to a different niche than I have. Like, it’s the niche I would change to if I was trying to change my practice. And it it is, you know, like many of our niches, like really me at a different stage of my life of like female identifying or women identifying people who have been told throughout their life they’re a little too much. And so they learn to tamp themselves down and they’re trying to re-learn how to take up space and how to use their voice and even just find their voice. And honestly, like, I think this business has helped me find my voice in a way that nothing else could have. No hours of therapy have done this. So I think that I would encourage people to search themselves, not necessarily the stories they’ve been told about who they are or what they’re worth. I think that would probably be my response there because I think we know most of this stuff, like we learn tasks and techniques and things like that around our businesses, and we can our viewers can get enlightened as we get more experience. But I think many of us, myself included, historically, have looked to experts in how to do things. And so rather than like filling the role of that expert right this second, I want to tell people to, like, just be still and quiet, which I hate it when people say that to me. 

Allison [00:12:24] But it always gives me great information. So I’m going to project and assume it’ll do the same for others. But to be still and quiet and listen to what you know to be true. 

Linzy [00:12:37] Mhm, yeah, yeah, yeah, and and when you say that, it makes me think about. Kind of like stepping into like a more authentic version of yourself, like who you would be if you weren’t trying to follow all the rules that have been put on you, or all the stories that have been put on you. And part of that, I think part of when we do that, we often do start making more money because we’ve like this like I want to say the word vibration and I don’t know why I want to say it because I’m not a vibration kind of person. But it’s like people feel that you’re, like, really speaking from who you really are and that you’re really grounded and that this is really real. And they respond to that, you know, and if you build your business in a way that you get paid for that expertize you do start to make more money. And in making more money, I would say the opposite of being good and small is you get to have impact and you get to have power. And make that money make a difference in in your life, other people’s life, your community. Right. You get to take up space. 

Allison [00:13:33] Yeah. I had a business coach once tell me money is the power to do and I’ve held on to that because I’m like yeah that is a way to take up space and yeah sure, it can be wielded for evil but absolutely can be used for good. And when you have more of it, there’s more good you can do if that’s how you’re choosing to use it. Yeah, the taking up space thing. I’m real into it right now because I realize, like even where I was back when we worked together, I think was still a quieter, nicer version of myself than I am today. And that’s just the beauty of the thing business does to you. Right. Like it puts you through the fire. 

Linzy [00:14:16] Yes, I am on the same road. I am further behind you by a lot. But I have noticed the same thing. Like, you have to you have to show up. You have to put yourself out there. You have to say things and then be like that was not quite what I meant. And yeah, yeah. You need to really, like, put yourself out there in this consistently over and over and over. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m curious for you then all of a sudden like coming coming from that working class background where you didn’t have a lot of money. I’m wondering, are there any kind of like little leftover habits that you notice that tell you that some of that may be scarcity is still there? 

Allison [00:14:52] So there’s a habit that I, I held on to. I’m a natural saver. I have been throughout my life. I feel much safer with a nice, healthy savings account. And the second it dips below whatever number it is climbed to that month, I start getting terrified that, like everything’s going to fall apart. So to that end, I was also a saver of gift cards. And any time I got a gift card, I would like stash it in either my wallet or this particular drawer and not touch it. It’s saving it for a rainy day, which, we just went through a pandemic. If that wasn’t a rainy day, I don’t know what was so.

Allison [00:15:34] One of the things I actually have in the Inner Circle, when we talk about money, is I implore those of us who are gift card savers to spend them all in the next week. Cash all those puppies in and see what happens. It’s kind of terrifying when – at least it was for me to feel I mean, because it was almost like they were like a savings account, but like I don’t need a savings account to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Like, it’s really fine. I don’t even think that massage therapist lives in town anymore. Like, spend it and get in. If it’s if it’s hard for you to spend money, which it used to be really hard for me to spend money to just make sure that you have a rule for yourself that if you get a gift card for any reason, those of us who have a hard time spending money, I, I have a theory that we get a lot more gift cards. That’s another thing. But spend that thing, within two weeks, so that you can have the experience of like flow, financially, like it comes in, it’s OK for it to go out too. Yeah, I think about Keri Nola and she’ll say “thanks, more please” as she spends, I love that.  

Linzy [00:16:53] And I love that you bring this up because something that I see a lot in my course in Money Skills For Therapists, is people come in, a lot of people come in who are spenders and spenders they know they’re not supposed to be spenders. Like we come in with the shame of like, I don’t know how to hold onto money. It just goes away. I don’t know where it goes. Like, that’s something that’s kind of like I have a bunch of credit card debt. There’s like obvious indicators there that your relationship with money is not in balance. But I also have students who are more on your side of things who I would, you know, call hoarders and hoarders don’t necessarily get called out for their relationship with money because there is this narrative, which is probably more of like a working class – I know certainly in my family coming from like a farming background where there was not money – hoarding was kind of like what you did because you didn’t know if next season was going to be a good season and nothing was kind of to be relied on. But in our practices, when we can keep seeing, you know, clients money is going to come, money’s going to come in the work that we do. Hoarding has its own kind of pain associated with it. And I’m curious if if you be open to telling us a little bit more about for you, like what the experience is what is what is that that happens when you’re just, like, holding on to money. 

Allison [00:18:03] So for me, I think of it kind of like – so I’m an eating disorder therapist, right, and I’m somebody who has recovered from an eating disorder – and so I think about like the number going up for the number that feels safe, like when you’re hoarding, it just keeps going up. Right. And how that is so similar to someone wanting to lose weight and how, particularly with folks with anorexia, but not exclusively, that number going down like there’s no basement number that’s going to be good enough, just like there’s no amount of money that I can save that’s ever going to be enough enough. So for me, the hoarding money historically has felt almost – honestly almost a little manic, like when I got pregnant with my first and my husband was working, I was the only – was in school, I was the only one working, and the baby was going to be born before he was out of school. And I was like, well, if I want to take a maternity leave, which I think I probably should, I’m going to have to save. And I saved almost manically, like every dime, every bit of me that is good at saving just leaned right in. But it was not a peaceful or a measured experience. It was very much like, I need more and more and more and more. And I saved, I save so much money for that maternity leave, just stressing myself out the entire pregnancy, way more than I have ever spent in a three month span of time in my entire life. Even now, when I make much more money like there’s no – it was ridiculous. 

Linzy [00:19:39] Yeah, because there’s there’s a belief there, as you say, that there’s never enough. There’s never enough. Like, when you’re coming from that place, nothing will satisfy you. There’s no it sounds like in that case there was no. No. You would have hit to be like, oh OK, my maternity fund is full, now I’m going to relax some more or I’m going to like put some money to these other places, it was like insatiable need to save. 

Allison [00:19:58] Absolutely. And I think, like, I don’t know how much of that is just my personality. Like, there’s never enough of anything. Like you can give me praise, but it’s still like an endless hole where I would love some more. You know, you can do the same with me with money. Like, I’m just kind of like, a deep well. And I know that about myself. And I also know that, like, none of what anybody tells me and none of what I get paid actually fills it. Like none of that’s actually all that important as long as I’m taking care of myself. So being really clear about those aspects of my personality, whether or not they came from just temperament or growing up working class, I mean, I do think a lot of my money hoarding historically was about being working class. And I think a lot of my, um, I still even though I, I would definitely be considered wealthy at this point, I’m still very impressed with wealth. Like when I go to a friend’s house and they’ve got a really nice house, I’m like almost like, oh my gosh, you know, when it’s like it’s a house, it’s fine. It’s like some wood and some like steel and some, you know, like quartz or something. I don’t know. Or marble sometimes like yeah, it’s some nice materials that they live in, and sometimes I almost fetishize it a little and I have to really pull myself back from that. I have a recent experience of making some other friends with wealth. A lot of them have generational wealth. And that’s been a really it’s pulled up a lot of my stuff because most of my life, the people I knew with generational wealth, which was kind of like my earlier years through, you know, middle or high school, and then I was with kids in my SES until recently, there was this sense of like, um, they’re better than me that I was walking around with that I didn’t realize was still lurking and still until I started making these other friends. And so it’s been an interesting step back to be like good for them that they have generational wealth. Like, it means literally nothing about them as people. And I like I love these women. I love these families. They’re great human beings. That’s what matters. And I’m not less than and I’m not better than. Like the money piece means freaking nothing. It really doesn’t mean anything. But my brain keeps trying to make it mean something.

Linzy [00:22:28] Yeah. And I think it’s as we kind of grow right, it it digs up different layers of of our stuff. It’s one of the lovely things about growth is there’s all this new pain that comes up at every level and something that sticks out to me. And what you’re saying too, what I so appreciate about what you’re saying is like you have the self-knowledge to know that, like, this thing about me is actually something that money can’t fix. Oh, yeah. Because I think that’s something about money, especially when we don’t have money, there’s always this fantasy of like, oh, well, when I have more then this will be fun. Or when I have more than I’m going to feel good enough or then my anxiety will go away and I’ll feel calm. Right. And sometimes there are actually material needs that are not being met that money does meet and I absolutely believe that. Like, money is real. It means that you can have like a house over your head, food that is good food that’s healthy for your body. There are real things. But then there’s beyond a point where money doesn’t actually make your life that much better anyway. And I think the issues that are there at that point are more like mental health, spiritual, like human existential issues. That money doesn’t actually change. 

Allison [00:23:36] Absolutely. And I think part of that is just the way that I’ve been thus far in my life. It’s never like, well, let’s now at this point, I’m like, well, we have enough in savings, like enough, enough like my husband is like enough, really. Like I’m like, well, what do we want to do with this money? And then I create a bunch of work for myself ultimately that like, I could have maybe gone on a vacation or something like that. But instead I’m like, well, let’s let’s save this money for an investment and blah, blah, blah. So it’s it’s not as if it’s creating an easier life for me outside of, like, being able to pay all my bills without worrying about it. But it’s. Yeah, it’s like I’m still going to be me in the face of whatever my bank account says, and I’m always going to overcomplicate things and I’m going to like know like hold on to my security and who I am and the confidence that I have and who I am. But I’m still going to have these little like divots where old stuff creeps in. 

Linzy [00:24:37] Mm hmm. Yeah. And so, like, what I’m hearing is there’s lots of things about your life that are different now, but you’re still you at the end of the day, like the things that are like challenges for you or like your quirks or the those are still there. Yeah, those have not changed despite having money. And I think that’s helpful for therapists and health practitioners to hear because something that I notice a lot and this is just a human thing but I certainly see this with therapists and like business friends that I have is like, well, I’m just going to keep working till I get to this marker and then I’m going to relax and hang out with my kids or I’m just going to keep working until I can get like a down payment and then I’m going to relax. And from an outside perspective, I don’t think that’s true. I think, like, we kind of are who we are. And if we’re not stopping to try to, like, change the things that we want to change now, there’s not some magical point where we, like reach a milestone with our bank account that we suddenly become somebody different. We’re still going to be that person. 

Allison [00:25:30] And at that point, when you have been pushing that hard or working that much, it’s kind of like you build a tolerance for it. And I always, especially when we have really busy times at work, like if we’re doing a launch or something, I have a hard time slowing back down. I feel like I’m I feel like I’ve been pedaling up a really big hill as fast and as hard as I can. And now I’m going downhill. But I’m still pedaling my legs for some reason. So I always have that image where I’m like, it’s downhill, Allison, you can just like, take a pause. 

Linzy [00:25:59] Yeah. Yeah. And that’s true because we do kind of train ourselves to have a certain pace or certain. There’s certain things in our lives that we’re going to like, ignore and close off because we don’t bandwidth, because we’re focused on this project and it’s hard to just switch gears out of that. And that’s why, you know, I know I certainly teach in my course, and I think you’re doing your course too like, how do you actually build a practice that makes your life look the way that you want it to work? Because life is happening like now. 

Allison [00:26:24] Right? Here we are. 

Linzy [00:26:25] It’s not someday in the future where you hit a milestone and then your life starts and then you start, you know, like doing whatever you want to do, like taking that painting class or spending more time with your kids or like traveling overseas to see your family like those those things. You know, that’s that’s for now. Yeah. Not for some magical future. Yeah. So something that I wanted to ask you about, too, Allison, is you and I have a lot of overlap in terms of helping therapist with fees. Right. Like we work with therapists and, you know, who are new to private practice or in my case, who have maybe been in private practice for a little bit and start to do like real math with real numbers and realize like, oh, there’s there’s a fee that I need to charge that is far from where I am. And so I’m wondering for you, like in terms of the usual kind of like narratives that there are setting fees, what’s something that really gets your goat that you want to set the record straight? 

Allison [00:27:13] So there’s this there’s this dichotomy that really bothers me. And I think both of them are wrong. One of them is charging what you’re worth and the other one is like that basically, if you’re charging a premium fee, you’re clearly like you don’t care about people and you’re just in it for the money. And I find that these two whatever side of this you’re on, they’re usually coming from not a whole lot of depth of thought about it. So, like, maybe pieces of that could be true of each of them. But like the “charge what you’re worth” gets me because like, OK, let’s take an example of, like, your average listener, right. They are going in and they’re seeing clients. And over the period of time that they are working with this client, this clients relationships improve, their job performance improves, they are feeling more steady and stable in themselves, they feel like they can accomplish far more than they ever imagined that they could, they’re able to be more loving and generous with everyone around them. Right. You can’t put a number on that. There’s like literally no number you can put on that, you know, like it’s too formative, it’s too life changing, like there’s no – you don’t pay for that, you know. So like this idea of charging what we’re worth, which I hear therapists say a lot. Like how in the – like six million dollars, you know, like, what are you worth, Linzy? You know, like there’s not a number. There’s not a number for that. And so I find that people who are feeling empowered around setting fees will often say that  like yeah girls, like charge what you’re worth to encourage one another. And I appreciate that they’re often trying to lift up other folks, trying to lift up folks in our in our fields. But it’s not accurate. Like, I think the best we can do is figure out what we need to live the lives that we want to live and to make this a sustainable career. Do the math for that and boom, there’s your fee. I think that, like a lot of like online marketers, like us, will sometimes talk about, like charging your worth, like if you’re doing a course like charge based on the outcome. But like, if you told me, like, all your relationships are going to get better, you’re going to become confident, you’re no longer going to be weighed down by the things that are weighing you down, at least not to this extent. There’s no amount of money I wouldn’t give you.

Linzy [00:29:56] All the triggers that you have will be gone. You’ll be able to, like, just be calm in the face of… Yeah. 

Allison [00:30:00] So we can’t like – that model doesn’t work for us. And like on the the other side of this spectrum are the people who are like basically like you should be working for pennies on the dollar if you’re really a therapist and you’re in it for the right reasons, whatever the right reasons are. Like, you should be sacrificed. Let’s get a little martyr-y up in here. But this idea that you should not be charging your clients a premium fee or whatever fee you happen to come up with when you do the math. And gosh, if that’s the case, like I had – I mean, I had somebody comment, I said something about that and I had somebody comment like, “oh, my gosh, are you actually arguing for more expensive therapy? Like, you’re ridiculous.” And I was like, well, maybe I am. If it means that the therapist gets to retire and they, you know, can set up a college fund for their kid and they can take a vacation however many times a year they need 

Linzy [00:31:02] Which are like not exorbitant things, like that’s it’s not a wild thing to be able to retire.

Allison [00:31:06] Right. Right. I’m not I’m not you know, there’s this idea of like, if you knew you were the best in the world at what you did, how would you do it differently? And when I think about what would I charge? The number’s not different. Like how I show up would be different, like there’s more confidence, all that kind of thing. But my fee is my fee, because that’s what I want and need. I’m not going to charge two thousand dollars a session just because I’m the best in the world. Not interested in that. I’m also not going to charge 20. 

Linzy [00:31:40] Yes. Yes. And I love what you’re saying about, like, grounding it in numbers. Of course, you’re like speaking to my heart right now because, yeah, I think, like, it’s easy to kind of move into this also, like, pie in the sky. Like there’s lots of guidelines on how set your fee. Some of it is like set the number that you want and then go higher, like scare yourself. And like, those are all interesting, I think, like mindset exercises to do and like ways to challenge yourself. But like, ultimately there is a real number. Right, for you. 

Allison [00:32:05] Yeah. It’s math. 

Linzy [00:32:06] Based on like – yeah it’s math, it’s math. It’s like based on your retirement goals, like how many kids you want to send to school, what’s your mortgage, do you want to do some home improvements. There are real numbers in your life and that’s the beautiful thing about having the skills to work with them is like you can reverse engineer your practice to fund your life. 

Allison [00:32:25] 100 percent. 

Linzy [00:32:25] And part of that is, for me I know this is hugely important, how many sessions can you actually work a week and like be a functional human who enjoys their life and has, like, relationships? 

Allison [00:32:35] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most of us have been in that position. 

Linzy [00:32:38] That number is lower, right? Yes. Yeah, yes, yeah. I like I’m more on the HSP light side of things. So like for so many years I was kind of feeling like I wasn’t seeing enough clients, but like I knew my number. Right. Right. And so that’s part of the equation too is like, based on where you want to be and how many people you can see a week and how much vacation time, there’s a real number that that would be the fee that would actually make your practice sustainable. 

Allison [00:33:01] Right. And your niche determines some of that, too. Right. Like you worked in trauma for a really long time. 

Linzy [00:33:07] I did. 

Allison [00:33:08] That is a heavy, hard niche. And it’s going to take more out of you no matter how well trained you are. That’s going to be it’s going to be harder for the vast majority of clinicians then, you know, like the the twenty something woman who looks like she has everything on paper but maybe doesn’t and feels insecure. You know, like I could do way more of those second sessions than the first. And we love who we love workwise, you know, like that’s it. So, yes, that’s it. 

Linzy [00:33:39] Yeah. Yeah. And I do think that, you know something about therapists, mental health therapists, like I also work with health practitioners, but specifically mental health therapists. We also, as you say, tend to go into work because it’s maybe the work that we need or have needed a certain point in our life, which I think also makes us vulnerable to undercharging or not holding our boundaries because there’s a vulnerability there. Right. Like we we have some personal investment with our clients or there are things about the work that are also triggering for us because we have close lived experience. And so I think also having awareness of of that. Right. Of not kind of continuing a self sacrificing pattern or like being sucked into whatever that dynamic is in your practice, because that’s easy to do, too, because you get how important the work you’re doing is and you relate to your clients and you understand where they’re coming from. But you can’t live in that space with them and also be self sacrificing and not well, that doesn’t make for good therapy in the long run. 

Allison [00:34:37] Right. 

Linzy [00:34:38] Yeah. So. I’m wondering, coming to the end of our chat today, Allison, as someone who’s, you know, kind of had some transformative experience around finances yourself, certainly like where you’ve come from, where you are, are very different places, I’m wondering what would be some advice that you would give someone who wants to improve their relationship with their finances? 

Allison [00:35:03] I think to expect it to be a trauma experience. Sorry. I mean, I think for most of us, like I would say, most of us who have unhealthy relationships with money or questionable relationships with money, and I’m going to say this, the vast majority of therapists too. 

Linzy [00:35:28] True story. 

Allison [00:35:28] We’d love to just like check some boxes and do some things differently. But it’s it’s funny because I’ll be talking to one of my clients about raising their fee. And I’m like, what’s holding you back? And they’re like, oh, no, I just wanted to be really sure about the number. Now that I’m now that I’m sure about the number, I can do it. And then like a week later, it’s like, how’s it going? Like I didn’t do it. I know. I know. Because it’s never just about the simple act. It’s never just behaviorism. There’s all this stuff underneath that like zero percent of us really love to delve into. And just like any trauma work, it gets a little worse before it gets better sometimes and then it gets way better. And like, yeah, I’ve got money stuff, it’s still going to pop up in these secret ways. Like I feel like I’ve got it, you know, like pinned down workwise and like homewise. But then it’s like starts popping up with new friends, like, ooh, what am I doing here? So it’s like playing whack a mole to some extent and OK, so it’s whack a mole. I’ve got my mallet. We’re good. 

Linzy [00:36:35] Yes, yes. Yeah. And I completely agree with you and I see that all, all the time that like those stories and that stuff, it’s going to be there and it’s there and like owning it and working with it is transformative. And the key is like don’t let it get in the way of actually making money work for you. 

Allison [00:36:54] Right? 

Linzy [00:36:54] Yeah, right. So that stuff might still be there. You still have new stuff coming up now, but you’re like working with it and aware of it. So it’s not stopping you from like making those new friends and it’s not stopping you from like doing that next launch where you’re going to make more money than you’ve made before and that’s maybe going to be uncomfortable. Right. You’re still letting yourself develop the skills and like live and make money work for you, even though you don’t have this, like, idyllic, perfect, serene relationship with money. 

Allison [00:37:18] Right. I’ve literally met one person with that. So, yeah, I don’t think that’s most of us. It’s certainly not me. And it’s okay. You know, like, there are lots of things I don’t have completely like placid relationships with. And that’s part of what makes for the complexity of life that makes it so interesting and enjoyable. 

Linzy [00:37:41] It’s just part of being human. 

Allison [00:37:42] Yeah, yeah. 

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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