Helping Shouldn’t Hurt: 5 Financial Boundaries to Set with Jelisha Gatling 

Episode Cover Helping Shouldn't Hurt 5 Financial Boundaries to Set with Jelisha Gatling
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Helping Shouldn’t Hurt: 5 Financial Boundaries to Set with Jelisha Gatling 

Episode Cover Helping Shouldn't Hurt 5 Financial Boundaries to Set with Jelisha Gatling

“Normally it looks like, ‘I’m going to slide my fee for this person’ or ‘my client is going through something, so I’m going to slide their fee,’ but that also can come with some resentment, especially if it’s just ongoing, and you haven’t really talked about if this is going to shift at any point. I like to help therapists to explore ways to give back that aren’t at your financial or emotional expense.  Helping shouldn’t hurt.”

~Jelisha Gatling

Meet Jelisha Gatling

Jelisha Gatling is an LMFT who works with couples and helps therapists to boost the boundaries in their private practice. With an “anti-hustle” style, she helps therapists thrive financially sans burnout.

In this Episode...

Do you struggle with setting and enforcing boundaries? In this important episode, Linzy talks with guest Jelisha Gatling whose work focuses on helping therapists better serve others by taking care of themselves. Jelisha outlines some clear boundaries that benefit therapists and help them have healthy, sustainable practices.

Listen in to get concrete advice on specific examples of boundaries that therapists often need help establishing and enforcing. Start putting those boundaries in place today so that you can have more fulfilling and sustainable practice.

Connect with Jelisha Gatling

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At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

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Episode Transcript

Jelisha [00:00:02] Normally it looks like, Oh, I’m going to slide the fee for this person or my client is going through something, so I’m going to slide their fee. But that also can come with some resentment, especially if it’s just ongoing and you haven’t really talked about if this is going to shift at any point. I really like to help therapists to sort of explore ways to give back that aren’t at your financial or emotional expense. Helping shouldn’t hurt. 

 

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 episode for our season closure for season four of the podcast. I invited back Jelisha Gatling. So Jelisha is a therapist. She was a coach in Money Skills For Therapists for about a year. She’s a grad of Money Skills For Therapists. She used to coach for LIMB as well. Lean in Make Bank, Tiffany’s program. Now she does her own consulting with therapists. She does VIP days focusing around boundaries. And that is exactly what I invited her to talk about today when I was thinking about how do we finish off season four? Jelisha immediately came to mind because I love the work that she’s doing around boundaries. Looking at private practice from a boundary perspective, looking at how not enforcing our boundaries leaves money on the table for therapists. But also, you know, being aware of the costs of not enforcing our boundaries, even in a personal sense. So if you find yourself feeling frustrated sometimes in your private practice or annoyed, resentful, exhausted, this episode is definitely for you. Jelisha shares five Financial Boundaries That Therapists Struggle With, where setting and enforcing those boundaries will completely change your experience of your practice. And we also got into this really powerful conversation about helping and beliefs about helping and how things should feel and how that also connects to our boundaries in private practice. Here is my conversation with Jelisha Gatling. So Jelisha, welcome back to the podcast. 

 

Jelisha [00:02:34] Thank you so much for having me again. It’s an honor to be back. 

 

Linzy [00:02:37] I am so excited to have you back. This is going to be our season closer for season four. Not to bring up the pressure again, but as I was thinking about who would I want to have, you immediately came to mind. And the thing that I actually immediately thought about is all this work that you’ve been doing around therapists and boundaries in their practice. Can you tell folks just a little bit about kind of that work that you do with therapists? 

 

Jelisha [00:03:01] Yeah, so I work primarily- I do some VIP days with therapists and also have some extended 1 to 1 work that I do with them working on really recognizing where they may be leaving money on the table. And I find that typically that’s always tied to a boundary that is not firm, that’s not clear, or that needs to be reset, because sometimes you do have to reset boundaries as your practice grows and changes. And really helping them to see where they may be leaving money on the table and what kind of boundaries they need to firm up and what really aligns with their values. If that’s around policy, that’s around really like walking the walk, not just talking the talk, and really helping them to have a language to communicate to clients and exploring how to communicate that to clients if they have fears or anxiety. Because a lot of therapists have anxiety about losing clients or clients getting mad and so really giving them a lot of support around all of those fears that can keep them from having a practice that really works for them. 

 

Linzy [00:04:04] I love that framing of boundaries because I think this is a topic, you know, that we could talk about in a lot of ways. And certainly folks think about like their policies or their fee. But I think framing these things as boundaries shows where they’re all kind of similar. And also, to me, speaks to the fact that these are really personal. You know, boundaries are personal. What is one person’s boundary – what’s your boundary – might not be my boundary. And so I love that, too, of really highlighting the fact that these are very personal and kind of linked to our emotions and our feelings and probably like messages in our body can give us clues about what’s working and what’s not working. 

 

Jelisha [00:04:39] Yes, they absolutely do. Mm hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:04:42] So I’m curious, what are some of these boundaries that you see therapists struggling with in their private practices? 

 

Jelisha [00:04:49] Well, so one that I see that I think, for a lot of therapists I work with, they haven’t really recognized. It’s something that I tend to assess for, is when you have clients who are hitting their goals and they say, hey, how about we start seeing each other bi-weekly or monthly? Or maybe you even make that suggestion because it makes sense clinically. I think it’s really important that you sort of preplan what spots in your calendar are going to solely be for bi-weekly or monthly or whatever, less frequent clients, let’s say maybe you even do check-in sessions. I have specific blocks on my calendar that are for those specifically, and this really helps because I’ve heard so much frustration, I’ve experienced that myself where I’ve said, okay, you will do that, and I give them the same spot and then someone, you know, wants to come in and I am stretching myself to try to find a spot for a new client that actually isn’t in my ideal schedule, if that makes sense. 

 

Linzy [00:05:50] Yeah. 

 

Jelisha [00:05:51] So that you’re not just saying yes to someone or saying yes to be a people pleaser, if that’s something that you maybe struggle with, you want to say, hey, actually I have specific bi weekly spots. This is what I have available right now. Literally on my calendar, I have any biweekly spots that are open available. You know, I think it’s really good to set sort of an amount, a minimum amount and make sure that’s during a time that isn’t going to annoy you. So, you know, something that might be before your last session and let’s say it’s not full at that time, that might not be the best place to put your moments of instability, but let clients know upfront. I just had a new couple starting and they said, So what happens when we want to become less than once a week? Like, do you do that? I said yes, but you will not be guaranteed the spot. It’s based on what bi weekly availability I have, which is different. And they were like, okay, that makes sense. So it’s not a surprise. And really it helps you not to stretch yourself too thin, but also it affects your money. It really does. So, it’s just something that you want to be- when you think about your ideal schedule and you’re laying that out, you want to also account for those kinds of shifts that will likely happen. 

 

Linzy [00:07:02] And something that occurs to me when you’re talking about this, is again thinking about it being boundaries and personal. It’s also going to depend on how you like to work with people and how you tend to work with people. So what I’m kind of gathering from what you’re saying is biweekly is not probably your ideal or common way of working with folks. Is that accurate or. 

 

Jelisha [00:07:18] Well, not initially. 

 

Linzy [00:07:19] Yeah. Like in my practice, if I think back, something that was really caught to me is I also had biweekly spots, but those spots were really popular, right? Because I did EMDR and, you know, worked with folks on often like family of origin, like old, old stuff. And some folks coming bi-weekly actually worked quite well for them because it was like so intense. The work was so intense that it was like nice to have sat a long time in between. So it’s really common that I had biweekly clients, but I had the specific biweekly spots. So it’s like two clients would be sharing a spot, but they would be very much set in my schedule. So I don’t have like one bi weekly person hanging out here on Thursday at three, but then got nobody the next week. Like it’s like that was very common in my, in my practice. But again, having that clear spot, you know, what I’m hearing is part of the pain of it is if you have spots that you don’t think through and then it’s biweekly, you can have it so that, as you say, like it’s a spot before your last spot. So every Thursday you have like a three hour gap in your afternoon every other week that you’re like, God damn this gap. 

 

[00:08:13] Exactly. 

 

[00:08:13] Right? And so again, that’s very personal. But I love, yeah, that bringing that intention to what your schedule needs to look like and being proactive about it too. 

 

Jelisha [00:08:22] Yeah, being proactive about it. And yeah, it’s, it’s really helpful to set up those expectations upfront. And I’ll talk at the end about my, my freebie that sort of addresses how to sort of change if you’re already in the thick of, Oh my gosh, this is a mess, how can I change it? There there are ways to reset that. 

 

Linzy [00:08:40] I love that. And something else that I love about this proactivity is like sometimes I think that these things kind of take us by surprise, but they shouldn’t because we know we know that when we’re working with somebody for long enough, eventually they’ll be like, I don’t think I need to come so much. We’ll be like, I don’t think you need to come so much. So it’s not a surprise. But when we don’t plan in advance and set those boundaries in advance, it can take us by surprise. And then we’re like, Oh, okay, yeah, you can just stay in the spot. Like, I love the boundaries, not just being reactive in this case, but being proactive. 

 

Jelisha [00:09:09] Totally. Yes. And it’s like all you have to do. All I have to do is look at my calendar and I can tell you what biweekly spots I have available. Same with when someone needs to reschedule. I have spots in my calendar. 

 

Linzy [00:09:21] Yes. so good. So what other boundaries? 

 

Jelisha [00:09:26] Okay, so the second one, it’s very connected to the first one, but you want to set clear expectations for clients when they come in for what they have to- I guess what expectations do you expect them to meet, to hold their spot? So this can come up when you let’s say you have a client who they cancel kind of frequently, but they always do it within your cancellation policy. So that’s 48 hours perhaps that they’re always getting in there within that 48 hours to cancel. But maybe it’s two weeks before you see them again and you’re holding this like primetime spot for them. And so I run into that initially. And, you know, it’s kind of uncomfortable and difficult to try to talk about that if you haven’t outlined that in your paperwork and it hasn’t been an issue that you verbally express. And so- and this can be anything, I’m not going to say that there’s a perfect way to do it. But what feels right for you. For me, if you don’t reschedule within the same week for more than two times, basically once goes past two times, we’re having a conversation and your spot may be released. Well, that’s kind of how I go about it, but it really can look- it can look however it works for you. It’s really personal, and it may change also, but it needs to be clear so that you’re not, Oh, I hope they don’t do this again. Or, you know, you’re going back and forth. 

 

Linzy [00:10:45] Or like, Ugh, they did it again. Now what do I do? Yup. I love that extra layer because, as you say, like sometimes we have policies that are like, as you say, like cancelation window, you know, like give me 48 hours notice. So it’s like technically they’re following your policy and yet you’re still getting that like, “Oh, no” reaction. Right. Yeah. Which is a sign that maybe your policy is not clear enough. So being clear about those expectations. Yeah. And something that I think about with this too is like, it’s going to depend on you and also your client population, right, and who you want to serve. Who you do serve. So like sometimes, sometimes I noticed this with folks like in Money Skills For Therapists, for instance, like when we’re having these conversations where it’s like, well, that doesn’t feel good to me. And it’s like, that’s an example, you know, we need to set our own, but it’s thinking about like, who do you serve? Who do you want to keep serving? You know, what makes sense for that population, but still having expectations, not just like anything goes. Just because you work with moms who are busy, it doesn’t mean that your schedule is just whatever. 

 

Jelisha [00:11:41] Exactly. Yeah. So just being clear on- because the boundary is only as good as the response. Right. That’s essentially what you want to set up. So attendance and around rescheduling, I mean that I can name four or five different ways that you might approach that. So yeah, really being clear about that and going over that in that initial session. And again, if that changes at some point in the middle of treatment, bringing that up and saying, hey, there are some changes going on in my practice. This is what’s up. 

 

Linzy [00:12:11] Okay, so what’s our next boundary? I know you have a few that you brought so I want to make sure we hit them all. 

 

Jelisha [00:12:17] So another one is this. This idea of a therapist wanting to give back and giving back in their business. And so that normally it looks like, oh, I’m going to slide the fee for this person. Or my client is going through some things, I’m going to slide their fee. But that also can come with some resentment and sort of especially if it’s just ongoing and you haven’t really talked about if this is going to shift at any point. And it’s frustrating. And so I really like to help therapists to sort of explore ways to give back that aren’t at your financial or emotional expense. And so especially if you’re in a position where you really can’t afford to have a pro-bono spot or a sliding scale spot. And I think it’s because I think you can set up sort of an idea of what that would look like when I am able to do that. But in the meantime, this could be creating a course, a workshop. You know, people create really cool things that clients or potential clients could utilize while they’re maybe continuing on their search or in addition to referrals that you might give them. It could be a page of really great book resources. It could be, you know, running a group that would be a lower cost that’s still serving the population that you like to work with. Really highlighting that sliding the fee isn’t the only way to give back. And I always say, like helping shouldn’t hurt. Helping is- that’s supposed to be like a generous feels-good thing. If it hurts and it doesn’t feel good. You’re not helping. 

 

Linzy [00:13:43] Oh, my gosh. That’s so good. 

 

Jelisha [00:13:46] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:13:47] Yeah. That- helping shouldn’t hurt. And the other thing that you said that similar idea, but so good, of giving back in ways that doesn’t cost you emotionally or financially. Because, you know, I think that that helping shouldn’t hurt piece really gets at something that is a belief that I think a lot of therapists unconsciously have that helping hurts. Right. Like so it makes you think about the opposite there of like the conditioning that we have often before I think we get into this field from experiences of our life or our family of origin or just societal messages about being women or being people of color and sacrificing yourself and you’re not valuable. I’m getting like chills in my body. 

 

Jelisha [00:14:25] No, I- but even like as a black woman. I mean, it’s you know, there’s this narrative of be the strong black woman to the head of the household. You you take on everything. You’re strong. And so I think a lot of therapists can almost approach it like, well, they’re really going through it. It’s not as bad. Like, I have more privilege or things aren’t so bad. You know what? I can I can just sort of give this away even though I make it tough because they need it. So it’s really putting them first. Right. But again, I say, is that coming from a full cup? If you’re stressing about making rent, if you’re stressing about, you know, you want to do more supervision, but you’re not able to. Yeah. You know, you’ve got to really weigh that out. And again, I don’t say, okay, you don’t have to do anything, but just explore what else giving back could look like during this period in your in your practice. 

 

Linzy [00:15:16] Yeah, because something I think about, too, and I think if folks are listening and the idea of, like, taking care of yourself or having a full cup is like too far. Maybe a first step to thinking about this is how is it impacting the folks in your life, like your kids or your partner or your ability to be present for your parents who need you when you’re giving so much that you’re depleted financially or emotionally? Right. So like, if you can’t think about taking care of yourself yet, think about those people who are actually your inner circle and who you love and who who really need you like. I often think about this that being a parent, like my clients used to think that they really needed me. My son really needs me. Right. There’s a difference there. Right. Anybody can find another therapist. My son is not going to fight another mom if I’m emotionally unavailable and exhausted and not present for him. So that might be something like as a gateway thing for folks who are listening to think about is, yeah, there’s costs to us and there’s cost to people around us when helping hurts. 

 

Jelisha [00:16:12] That is such a great- I’m so glad you brought that piece up because it’s making me think of a lot of therapists that I’ve worked with who have said to me, I’m like, if this were to be helpful to you, what would be happening, right? Like in the future? And they say, I would actually want to talk to my partner when I get home. I wouldn’t want to curl up in a ball. I wouldn’t be annoyed at my kid wanting to tell me about their day. And those are the things that like matter. And yeah, this is so much bigger than just money in the bank. 

 

Linzy [00:16:39] Mm hmm. Totally. Yeah. Okay. What’s your next boundary? That was so good. 

 

Jelisha [00:16:45] The boundary is not giving away your professional services for free. So when I say this, when I’m talking about therapy specifically, I’m talking about maybe acquaintances, friends, family who try to really utilize you and emotionally dump on you as a therapist. So that can be costly, it’s draining, and you just don’t want to set that precedence that you’re available for that. In addition, there are so many therapists who have who maybe do consulting, who are supervisors, who maybe do workshops. And I’ve been in the position where I’ve had old colleagues, schoolmates from grad school reaching out like, Hey, can I pick your brain or can I have this workshop for free? I would do it. But I would become resentful after a while. And I realized this is like- this is money I’m leaving on the table. But also I don’t feel good about it because people sometimes can push. You know what I mean? And so there’s there’s something about charging for your services. Like, for example, if you are licensed as a supervisor and you provide supervision, I mean, unless it’s totally in your heart, I mean it completely in your heart. And it’s good. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it, but if you are saying, Hey, I need to make more money, I am stretched thin, I need more free time. And you’re making time in your calendar to give away professional services that you actually charge for. You know, you’re contributing to that. You’re playing a part in maintaining that. And so I help therapists to really how to have that conversation, how to respond to those emails that say, Hey, can I pick your brain? I saw you on X, Y, Z. How to do that kindly. You know, it goes something like maybe responding with, you know, hey, is this- I think this might have been something that you maybe shared with me years ago, Linzy. You remember, don’t you? 

 

Linzy [00:18:36] I do, yes. 

 

Jelisha [00:18:37] You say it’s something to the effect of, you know, is this going to be sort of just a like catch up friend kind of thing or are we talking business? If so, here’s my link. 

 

Linzy [00:18:47] Or here’s the schedule here. 

 

Jelisha [00:18:48] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:18:49] Yes. And the line that I have used in the past is, if you want to talk about business, let’s make this a consulting session so I can bring my full consulting brain and give you, you know, exactly what you’re looking for, like making that clear delineation, right? Like, are we friends who are catching up or are you getting business advice from me? Because if you’re getting business advice, I’m not going to come with stories about my kid. I’m going to come ready to actually serve you and you’re going to pay me for it. Something that I’ve been thinking about the last couple, especially in the last year, I’d say, Jelisha, is also the cost to you in terms of your experience of yourself when you let this happen. I know for me personally, I was not good at building healthy relationships in my younger life. So I’ve built relationships where there’s a precedent, where I am the therapist and I am the caregiver, and when we get together, they’re going to emotionally lean on me and they’re not going to ask me about myself or they’re not going to ask me about this hard things happening in my life. And especially in the last couple months, I would say like I’ve really made a decision of like, I’m not doing that anymore. And it’s hard. It’s hard, right? Because in some cases, that actually means saying goodbye to people. 

 

Jelisha [00:19:54] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:19:55] Yeah. Like that. That actually ends up being the boundary of like this is not actually a relationship I’m going to continue investing in. You know, it’s not because of who they are. It’s nothing fixed, but it’s like we’ve built this thing that works a certain way. And I think if we met today, we probably wouldn’t become friends. And who I’ve grown into, I’m not willing to put myself into this position because I notice for myself, like feeling that like, you know, empowered boss energy, if you want to say it a certain way, like, yes, what I do is valuable and I’m like, I’m changing people’s lives and I’m getting emails from people who are like, You totally change the way I think about money. Feeling that way over here and then going for a friend date where afterwards I feel, like, used and uneducated and like I don’t matter. And then like it’s not, it’s not worth the cost, right? The cost becomes so much more clear when you do start to have people who value what you have to offer. And so, yeah, this one for me really like I feel it deeply and it’s a hard one. It can be a really hard one to either change those dynamics or have to say goodbye to folks. 

 

Jelisha [00:20:46] Yeah, definitely been ghosted by some people that I thought I would be like lifelong colleagues. But yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:20:54] Yeah, I’ve been ghosted, like when you set a boundary like this or- 

 

Jelisha [00:20:58] Oh yes. Like responded with that, like, never heard from them again. All of a sudden I can’t see them on Instagram. I mean like-

 

Linzy [00:21:03] Oh wow. 

 

Jelisha [00:21:05] That are like, come on, we worked together. And I’m like, no, actually, like this is something I- literally this is like a part of my income. This is how I make a living now. You know?

 

Linzy [00:21:13] And that tells you so much about how much they actually value what you do. I’ve had folks before ask me if I could give them consultation, but charge it as like social work so they could use their insurance. I’m like, first of all, that’s insurance fraud. Secondly, you’re literally willing to pay me $0 for this thing that I’m like, that is my specialty and that like I really thrive in and have a lot of gifts to share with you. You literally value it, not even at $0, but like will you fraud for me? Like, wow, no, I will not fraud for you. Yeah. And like, what is that? You know, what is the impact of on us of that when folks like so devalue or are willing to talk to us again when we set a boundary around what our services are worth? Oof. 

 

Jelisha [00:21:58] Yes, it can be tough. 

 

Linzy [00:21:59] Yeah, it can. And I think, like, that’s something to really recognize and validate, like, as we’re talking about these boundaries is some of these might be easier and some of them will be harder and some of them you won’t be able to set right away. They might be things that you need to like get support from your partner or other friends to like shore yourself up to have conversations. Boundaries are hard. Boundaries are hard. 

 

Jelisha [00:22:18] But it does get easier. Like, would you like you feel like this particular one has gotten easier for you? I feel like it’s gotten easier for me. 

 

Linzy [00:22:24] Yeah, I think so. Like, I think that the parts of me that believe that I have something of value to offer, that I have value, that my friendship is also valuable. Those parts, I think, have started to get bigger relative to the parts that that put me into these positions and that help me build relationships where I wasn’t valued and where I was kind of used for many, many years. And so I think that that it’s been a big internal shift that by doing it’s kind of like fake it to make it right. Like you set the boundary first. And the first I was like, Oh, that was so hard. And then you do it again. And then eventually you start to actually believe like, No, I actually don’t deserve to be treated like this. Yeah, it’s so it does get easier. But I think in this kind of like profound deep work way, something changes on a deeper level that makes it easier the more you do it. 

 

Jelisha [00:23:09] Yeah. And you get responses that are like, okay, or they show up in your calendar right away and you’re like, oh my God, totally. 

 

Linzy [00:23:16] Yes. That is the other side of it. Right. And I have had those responses too, where people are like, oh, no, no, of course I’m paying you like, you know, set up a time and then we do great work together and then it feels great and we still have this, like, friendly relationship over here. But now – and I can think of a particular colleague who comes to mind, but now it’s also like they’re like, you know, I think of one wonderful colleague who sent me a text out of the blue of like, I have built a successful practice. It is all because of you. Thank you so much. And so it’s like we have this, like loving, collegial relationship. But also she’s actually gotten the full success of having worked with me because she paid me and we actually work together rather than her trying to pick my brain over coffee. 

 

Jelisha [00:23:49] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So everybody wins. 

 

Linzy [00:23:51] Everybody wins when boundaries are held. Do you have another one? 

 

Jelisha [00:23:54] Yeah. It’s kind of like when it’s more like let’s say you’re in a position where you’re like, I don’t really know. What if I need to set boundaries? I feel like I have them. I’m not sure. I’m wondering what I might not be, what I might be overlooking. I say, ask yourself and sort of maybe just clock over a week or two. What’s annoying you? What’s on in your business? What email are you maybe avoiding? Or are you rolling your eyes when you see? Because a lot of times that will highlight something that you- a boundary that needs to be set, reset, or clarified and likely is tied to money in some way like. It impacts your money in some way. And so that would be a way to sort of try and assess where your boundaries might be a little blurry. And so, yeah, just that’s the place that I tend to start with with clients is just kind of listening for where are their annoyances, what are, what are their frustrations? And they usually are reoccurring ones. If every week you’re like, Oh, I have two cancelations, you know, you want to like look into that and see what that might be about. 

 

Linzy [00:24:55] Yes, totally. When I think of that, too immediately comes to mind. I’m like, what are the the messages that I’m avoiding responding to? Those are also showing me like for some reason there’s something there that I don’t want to deal with. And when I think about the examples that come to my mind, they are boundary things with folks asking for things that I should probably be paying me for or asking another professional that they’re paying rather than asking me. So that’s a good one. And I feel like that comes exactly full circle with what I was saying at the beginning that I love about this boundary approach is like it is so personal and your body is going to tell you, right? You’re going to feel in your body like that annoyance or contraction, or you’re gonna see yourself avoiding if your boundaries are not being respected somewhere or need to be reinforced. 

 

Jelisha [00:25:34] Yeah. Yeah. So good glance at your calendar. Just like looking at each name I’ve done that look for and seeing what comes up and if I’m like, Oh, I can’t wait for this one to be over. It might be because these people, this couple goes over 20 minutes. They don’t go over. I let them go over. 

 

Linzy [00:25:50] Right. Yeah. 

 

Jelisha [00:25:52] You know, that’s a boundary that I need to set. And so, you know, that’s an example. 

 

Linzy [00:25:56] And clinically, too, it makes you think about also clients that are not right fit or where they are being inappropriate and violating your boundaries. And and I’ve talked to a therapist about this before of like how having even one or two clients on your caseload that are stressing you out or there’s just like a whole load of like transference and it’s very messy. Can like completely change your experience of your practice. Yes, you can have ten other lovely sessions that week, but those two sessions that stress the shit out of you can really impact your relationship to the work that you’re doing. And I found for myself, you know, when I talk about boundaries, those are cases where I’ve had to like refer clients out and stop working with them. And that has been really hard for me. I remember getting tons of supervision around having to have these conversations and that fear of clients reactions and like, but it was 150% the right decision in those cases where there’s somebody that I’m just dreading and I feel awful after I see them. It’s not worth the cost. I’m not I’m also not being effective as a clinician, if that’s my internal response. Exactly right. I’m clearly not actually vibing with this person in a way that’s going to be helpful for them. 

 

Jelisha [00:26:58] Yeah, I can totally resonate with that. 

 

Linzy [00:27:00] Jelisha, thank you so much. 

 

Jelisha [00:27:03] Thank you for having me. 

 

Linzy [00:27:04] So if folks want to get further into your world, first of all, where can they find you, follow you, learn more about you. 

 

Jelisha [00:27:12] Yeah, they can find me at @savingthesaver. S-A-V-E-R, not savior. Saver. 

 

Linzy [00:27:19] Saver. That’s you, listener, are you are the saver. You save others. And Jelisha’s going to save you. 

 

Jelisha [00:27:24] That’s my title on everything. The website, Instagram, TikTok. 

 

Linzy [00:27:29] Beautiful. Yeah, you’re on Tik Tok, eh? 

 

Jelisha [00:27:31] Yeah. I think with that I have a different persona over there. 

 

Linzy [00:27:36] Do you? I know it’s good. It’s good. I quit it because I was deeply addicted, but it’s good. There’s so many good things about it. We’ll have that conversation off mic. And then if folks want to get something from you, you’ve made it- like you’ve alluded to. Tell us about this offer you have. 

 

Jelisha [00:27:49] You know, this is something that’s been a long time in the making that I have. I provide it to a lot of the VIP’s I’ve worked with and I’m like, People need this. And so I’ve created a set of templates, emails that you can save in your Gmail. And I’m just I’ve come up with four that are real must haves. There is a set that is just simply that you can have for when you have just general inquiries coming in. And it really like for me at least lays out and articulates the dealbreakers, all the things that might come up so that you don’t spend precious time on a consultation. And then at the end you’re, you know, having to talk about insurance or this that third and so this is the I about has tremendously increased my consultation to client conversion rate. Yeah, it’s just been helpful. So I have that. I also have one when you are raising your fee because that’s a really tough one that a lot of therapists struggle with and I say email you’re going to have the conversation. So like you’re stuck doing it. You can’t keep avoiding it. Also, if there’s being a change in availability or like what we were talking about with the the rescheduling, I have one for that. If you have a chance for that and then consultation follow up. Yeah, this is not something that I do with every consultation. But have you ever had that consultation where you’re vibing you- this client is like 110% your ideal client, you know, you’re going to book them. And then there’s a little bit of, Oh, I got to check on my work. If I can get off earlier, I have to check my husband or whatever. And so I follow up about a week later, only if I felt like, Oh, we are set, and say, Hey, just checking in, I know you were checking on X, Y, Z wanted to let you know, my door is still open. Let me know if you want to start, here’s what I need from you. If you want to start and have the time, they just need a friendly nudge reminder. I just think sometimes therapists will leave money on the table in that way. 

 

Linzy [00:29:41] So you’ve got these four great templates. People can just like load them into their Gmail and what is that called on your website so folks can go and get those template. 

 

Jelisha [00:29:48] Four must have email templates for therapists and private practice. 

 

Linzy [00:29:52] Beautiful. And I love this because you’re automating boundaries. Yeah, well, the last ones reach out, but like a lot of these are like, you know, it seems to me like, kind of like proactive. So go over to Jelisha’s website, Saving the saver, get these four templates. Jelisha, thank you so much for joining me today. 

 

Jelisha [00:30:08] Thank you, Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:30:23] In that conversation with Jelisha. You know, I said it at the time, and I will say it again. I got chills talking about beliefs about helping and how helping should hurt, you know, would be the opposite. You know, she said helping shouldn’t hurt. I think that so many of us believe that helping should hurt. And we get that message from society because of who we are in society, because of our gender or race or our class. We’re told that we’re not important, we’re positioned to give ourselves away to others and not think about our own needs as valid. We also get it in our profession, right from our professional training or from our experiences of being helpers. That helping does hurt. Helping should hurt. And I think there’s even the belief that if you don’t hurt, you’re not helping. So powerful to dig into those beliefs that can really stop us from enforcing our boundaries. But if you want to have a career that lasts, if you want to stay in this profession and I think also if you want to be able to do this work, not at the cost of your your partner, your family, your parents, your kids, it is so important to find a relationship with helping that doesn’t hurt and that feels good. And where you are, you know, as Jelisha said, you know, you’re giving from a full cup, not depleting yourself for the sake of others. And these five boundaries that she shared with us today are so powerful and definitely jump over to Jelisha’s website, Saving the Saver. Love the name of her business. To get those templates, but also just to get further into her world. Because I think the work that she’s doing and the way that she’s talking about boundaries and money and private practice is such a powerful framing and such a helpful way to come at what can often be very difficult conversations to have or difficult changes to make, recognizing it as boundaries. Listening to your body for those cues that your boundaries are being violated is a really powerful way to cover that. If you want to get more content from me, you can follow me on Instagram. We are sharing free. Of course, because it’s Instagram. Practical and emotional money content on there all the time. And if you’re doing the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is the best way for other therapists to find us. 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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Considering the Whole Picture When Setting Your Fees with Roxanne Francis

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Considering the Whole Picture When Setting Your Fees with Roxanne Francis

Episode Cover Image Considering the Whole Picture When Setting Your Fees with Roxanne Francis

“I say to people, ‘Take a look at what you need to earn over the course of the year. If people are coming to you asking for a sliding scale, you need to do the math ahead of time. How much of a reduction in fee will that be for you? How far are you willing to slide that scale? And set that limit, and make it permanent.’”

~Roxanne Francis

Meet Roxanne Francis

Roxanne is an award-winning Registered Social Worker & Psychotherapist.  She is the CEO of Francis Psychotherapy & Consulting Services, where she runs a group therapy practice and offers organizational workshops on multiple topics related to race & equity, mental health, parenting as well as wellness at work.  Roxanne supports, coaches and mentors other therapists in the field and is also the media’s go-to mental health expert, providing answers to many of life’s difficult questions.

In this Episode...

How do you set your fees and what other considerations do you need to include when deciding what to charge? Guest Roxanne Francis shares about her supervision work with therapists in private practice; she helps them figure out how to navigate their finances and shares common questions and concerns with Linzy.

Roxanne and Linzy take a pragmatic perspective on setting your private practice fees in a way that enables you to live comfortably and to account for life events like vacation and medical events. Listen in to hear solutions to common questions and issues that arise for therapists.

Connect with Roxanne Francis

You can find Roxanne on her website and on social media @francispsychotherapy (on Instagram & Facebook) or @FrancisTherapy (on Twitter).

Roxanne will be running a VIP Day for individuals who want to take their part-time practice full-time. Slide into her social media DMs or send her an email to get on the waitlist (hello@francispsychotherapy.com).

Want more private practice finances support?

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Roxanne [00:00:04] I say to people, take a look at what you need to earn over the course of the year. If people are coming to you asking for a sliding scale, you need to do the math ahead of time. How much of a reduction in fees will that be for you? How far are you willing to slide that scale? And set that limit and make it permanent. 

 

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. This week we have a conversation with Roxanne Francis. Roxanne Francis, as I mention at the start of our chat, is local to me. She is a Toronto-based, award-winning registered social worker and psychotherapist. She runs a group practice. She offers organizational workshops on lots of topics like race and equity, mental health and parenting. And she also supports and coaches and mentors a lot of other therapists in the field about starting a practice, everything that goes into that, and that is very much what we dug into today was her expertise in that area of mentoring so many other therapists. Roxanne and I talked about the biggest questions that therapists ask. You know, starting out their journey into private practice. We get into fees, sliding scale. And she talks about the biggest oversight that she sees therapists making as they are planning out their practice. It was a lovely conversation with and I’m really excited to share it with you. Here is Roxanne Francis. So Roxanne, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Roxanne [00:02:07] Thank you so much for having me Linzy, I’m really excited. 

 

Linzy [00:02:10] Yeah, I’m excited too. We were just saying – off mic – I was just saying that I’m excited to finally have you on because you are- I mean, to me, you are local-ish. You are Toronto-based. 

 

Roxanne [00:02:20] Yes yes. 

 

Linzy [00:02:20] I mean, we take what we can get on the Internet, right? You’re only like an hour and a half or maybe an hour drive from me. I go to Toronto to the aquarium sometimes with my toddler. 

 

Roxanne [00:02:28] Oh, awesome. 

 

Linzy [00:02:29] Very close. And your focus and your- part of your niche, because you do a lot of things. You’re a woman of several hats. 

 

Roxanne [00:02:37] Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:02:38] But you you supervise a lot of therapists. 

 

Roxanne [00:02:40] Yes. Yes, I do. So I have certification in clinical supervision. And so I mentor a handful of therapists, but I also run group supervision programs. And I also do individual supervision with a handful of people. I coach therapists who are new to the private practice space or who are turning their private practice from part-time to full-time. And I also supervise placement students through the University of Toronto, so I kind of liaise between the classroom and their placement location, making sure about, you know, all of their practicum needs are met and that they’re managing their practicum well. 

 

Linzy [00:03:22] Mm hmm. That’s like, such an impactful kind of role or multiple roles there that you play. 

 

Roxanne [00:03:26] Yeah. Yeah, I enjoy it. I mean, it’s multiple, but I find that it’s more or less some of the same work. 

 

Linzy [00:03:32] Sure. 

 

Roxanne [00:03:33] And it’s important to me because I find that when I was in grad school, you know, and they spread out these new clinicians, there were still a lot of questions in the how of doing the work. And so a lot of people who are new to the field or who are new to private practice have a lot of those questions and they’re not sure where to turn. So I’m happy to to provide that. 

 

Linzy [00:03:54] Absolutely. Yeah. I remember just how hungry I was for that kind of like mentorship and support when I was like, you know, brand new in private practice. And I was basically like kind of a brand new therapist and brand new in private practice at almost the same time. It’s like I practiced for, I think, just a year before I went to private practice. So I remember being on the other side of those kinds of relationships. So I’m curious, with all of this support and all these conversations that you’ve had with all these therapists, what is the biggest question you find that they ask over and over again? 

 

Roxanne [00:04:26] Yeah, it’s usually a money question. As we’re here on this podcast. It’s usually about, you know, what should I set my fees at? Right. To me, it’s such a simple question, but again I’ve been in the field for a little bit, but people will say, you know, you know, I’m new to the field. I’m not sure if I should charge this much. Or everybody else on this directory is charging this fee. I guess I should charge that as well. Or, you know, I’m a registered psychotherapist as opposed to a registered social worker. Maybe my fee should be different. Or I’ve been working at agency and I’ve never had a private practice, so maybe I should start at the bottom. And so there are all these discrepancies and misnomers about what I should charge. And I’m always telling people, first of all, think about your experience, think about your education, think about the transformation that you’re providing to people, right? I also walk them through, you know, how many weeks are you going to be working throughout the year if you are leaving a full-time job, an agency job, to get into this private practice work? You know, are you looking to replace that income? Are you looking to only make a percentage of that income? 

 

Linzy [00:05:32] Right. 

 

Roxanne [00:05:32] And so then if you plan that out over the course of the year, how many months are you going to be working? How many days per week are you going to be working? What do your bills and expenses look like? Right. And sometimes people will add up, you know, rent, car payment, electricity bill, phone bill, and then they’ll come up with this much. And then I will say, well, do you plan on eating? Do you plan on going to brunch with your girls every once in a while? You need to live. Right. And so what do those things add up to? And then let’s compare those numbers and then we can talk about what that will look like in terms of a feasible fee for you. Right. Oftentimes, people just pluck a number out of the air and say, well, everyone else is charging that, so maybe I should charge that, too. 

 

Linzy [00:06:17] Yes. 

 

Roxanne [00:06:18] You have to look at your lifestyle. And is it- is the math going to be mathing? Is it going to be adding up? 

 

Linzy [00:06:23] The math needs to math. It does. Yeah. And what I love and what I hear in that is even if you’re X, Y, Z, even if you’re new, even if you’re this, even if you’re that, you still need to live your life and be okay. 

 

Roxanne [00:06:35] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:06:36] Right. Because, like, almost sometimes I wonder if there is this bit of this ethos that we, you know, that’s ingrained in us as like New X, Y, Z. 

 

Roxanne [00:06:45] Yes! 

 

Linzy [00:06:45] You know, whatever your field is, that you need to pay your dues and like you’re supposed to suffer at first. 

 

Roxanne [00:06:50] Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:06:51] You know, you’re not thinking about brunch with your friends because you’re like, well, I’m I’m not supposed to do well at first. Do you feel like that might be in there? 

 

Roxanne [00:06:58] Yes, I find that all the time. And as recent as last week, I said to someone – and I will put a disclaimer: no shade to dentists – but when you go to the dentist’s office and you have whatever procedure. We don’t say, well, has a dentist been in the school for 20 years or did they just graduate last year? When you go to the front desk and they tell you what the huge price is without, you know, without batting an eyelid and they’re smiling. We pay the amount and we just leave. But when it comes to our profession, we tend to ask ourselves: Mmm.. Only been in the field for a year, maybe I shouldn’t charge that much. You know – what you know is what you know – and the transformation that you provide is a transformation that you provide. And we’ve been in school for a really long time. 

 

Linzy [00:07:41] Yes. 

 

Roxanne [00:07:41] And we would not be doing this work unless we had a certain baseline of knowledge. And that knowledge has tremendous value. And so we have to charge the fee that is appropriate for you. We have to charge what we’re worth. And someone in the field for ten years and someone in the field for two years. Their value isn’t you know, there isn’t a huge difference in. Right. So we have to be mindful. 

 

Linzy [00:08:07] Absolutely. Yeah. Like that kind of earning your due narrative has a lot of holes in it or problems. 

 

Roxanne [00:08:13] Oh lots of holes. 

 

Linzy [00:08:14] And something that I’ve thought about before and I think I even observe this in myself is like when you’re a new therapist, you might not have five years of experience, but you’re fresh. You’re remarkably not burnt out. When you meet somebody, they’re new and you see them as a new thing rather than like, Oh, this is my 60th person with depression that I treated, right? Like, I think I, you know, I think in certain ways, you know, we do become better over time. But in other ways we don’t. Right. Like, it’s not a guarantee that you actually become a more effective clinician over time. Many people become less effective over time. Right. Yeah. And that’s something that I would always notice. This was actually one of my reasons for retiring from therapy at this time is I started to notice, like going to conferences, you know, with people who are working in my niche. And I see people were in the field for like 40 years and I’m like, oh dear. 

 

Roxanne [00:09:04] Gosh. 

 

Linzy [00:09:05] First of all, I don’t want your life. Secondly, you seem really like kind of like numb and like very blasé about like ritual abuse. That’s not a great like response to have to something so horrific. But you know, we become kind of vicariously traumatized in our own ways or we numb out to certain things to cope, right. You know, as part of kind of the occupational hazards of what we do. And that doesn’t necessarily make you a better clinician decades in. So longer is not always better. Yeah. 

 

Roxanne [00:09:35] You’re so right. 

 

Linzy [00:09:36] So, I mean, thinking about fees, like something that I know I grappled with when I was actively practicing and that I see students grapple with all the time in Money Skills For Therapists and you know, in every therapist Facebook group under the sun, is balancing what we just talked about, that fee you need to live – that like cold, hard math – with like wanting to be accessible and wanting to serve and wanting to have a sliding scale. So I’m curious, like in your perspective, can these things coexist? 

 

Roxanne [00:10:04] Yes, I do believe they can. And, you know, as someone who used to work in agency myself, I see the need. Right. And there are people who desperately need therapy and they can’t afford the big dollars. And there’s this creation of the haves and the have-nots and who can get therapy and who can’t. Right. And so I understand the need to- wanting to create a sliding scale. And again, I can’t tell everybody what to do, but- or anyone what to do, really, but I say to people, take a look at what you need to earn over the course of the year. If people are coming to you asking for a sliding scale, you need to do the math ahead of time. How much of a reduction in fee will that be for you? Right. How far are you willing to slide that scale? And set that limit. And make it permanent. Right. But also to ask yourself, can I see this person ongoing at this fee or is it I can see one person sliding to this point for eight sessions and then that’s it. Right. Or am I going to have one pro bono client for four sessions and then that’s it, you know, or maybe three pro bono clients for the year. Then set yourself a certain number of sliding scale clients, then set how far you’re willing to slide that scale. And then work that into your math of how much money you need to live for the year. 

 

Linzy [00:11:27] Right. 

 

Roxanne [00:11:27] Right. Otherwise, we find ourselves in a situation where we’re giving our services away because we’ve got this giant, giant, bleeding heart. 

 

Linzy [00:11:35] Yes, we do. 

 

Roxanne [00:11:36] And then we can’t afford to, I don’t know, buy shoes for our children or put food in our fridge. 

 

Linzy [00:11:41] Yeah. Yeah. That piece about, like that bound- the boundaries and clarity, right? It’s like, absolutely. Do it. But be clear on, like, what you can do, how long you’re willing to do it, and having that clarity. Cause I think when, when we go in and you have one person at $50, so then the next person calls and you give them $50. And what I found, you know, this happened to me when I started my practice. This is one of the things when new clinicians in Money Skills ask me. Like, What is the thing- what’s the mistake I should not make that I’m probably making right now? This is one of the things I talk about is like, yeah, you’ve got to be super clear on sliding scale from the start because I think also at first that we want to be accessible and that like, you know, bleeding heart but also, you know, social justice values and all of these that also can collide with our desperation and fear that we’re not going to fill our practice. 

 

Roxanne [00:12:28] Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:12:28] You know, I remember at first making the joke, like, I was almost like going around like, will you be my client, will you be my client, begging everybody, I’m making a begging motion which people can’t see because it’s a podcast, but these things can combine and then suddenly, you know, you’ve made this commitment to all these people because you haven’t put limits on it, right? Because that’s part of it, too, is what I’m hearing is like have that clear conversation up front of this is the timeline of what we’re doing so that you’re setting appropriate expectations because that’s also like clinically appropriate. To make sure you’re being clear about, you know, the- what your work together is going to look like. 

 

Roxanne [00:12:59] Definitely, definitely. Set your quota. Stick to it. 

 

Linzy [00:13:02] Yes. Because something that occurs to me sometimes too- and I’ve heard people say this in different ways, but I just read an article today in The Globe and Mail, one of our Canadian national newspapers, about a woman in Ottawa who’s a single mom. She has a daughter with autism. She bought a building like I think it was like half of a duplex for her first rental property. And the tenants refuse to pay rent and they’re refusing to vacate. She was a financial advisor, so because her credit started to suffer, she lost her designation as a financial advisor and like can’t get into this building, can’t get people out of this building. And something that she wrote in there that I think – it’s very extreme her situation, but I think it also relates to a therapist is like she was like, I can’t afford to take care of these people. Right. Like, and you know, when we are sliding our scales, we’re making a conscious decision to say like, this is what I generally need, but I can help these people in this way by being clear about what you can do, because there are people who do sit on millions or billions and they could actually afford to have somebody living in their property not paying rent for a long time, and it wouldn’t impact them. This woman, it’s like literally destroying her life. Other extreme. And so for us, it’s like, what will be the impact of this for you and how long can you support this impact? Because we are kind of making this trade of we’re kind of giving them that money back rather than it coming home to our families. 

 

Roxanne [00:14:18] And, you know, what I also find is that there are some clinicians who I talk to who do not have a sliding scale, but what they do is they might have a very active social media presence, and so they might share general mental health tips and strategies they have. They’re very busy with, you know, email newsletters that go out, that share ‘these are some things that you can do when you have anxiety’, you know, this does not replace therapy, but here are some tips. Right. And so, you know, they leave what I like to call breadcrumbs that people can pick up if you can’t necessarily afford therapy at this time. Right. So, you know, if you have a sliding scale or if you don’t, there are still ways that we can try to do what we can to be, you know, quote-unquote, socially responsible or to offer support to the community. 

 

Linzy [00:15:03] Mm hmm. Yeah. I love that perspective, because that’s even still within your same brand. Like I’ve heard folks, too, talk about the idea of like volunteer, like be engaged in your community in other ways, right? Right. Yeah. What I’m hearing is even under your, you know, your therapy brand and within that, however you do, you can be helping people for free in other ways besides your one-on-one time, right? So working with all these therapists, as you do, I’m curious, what do you find people usually like overlook or forget when it comes to setting themselves up? 

 

Roxanne [00:15:33] Well, yeah, I find that I have a day where I sit with therapists as they’re trying to build out their practice. And one of the things that they often forget to point out is that they are going to be taking time off. Right. Or there might be a time when they might need to take some sick time away from the practice for whatever reason, as they’re setting their fee or planning, you know, the income that they expect to make, they are forgetting that they will need income during the time that they’re on vacation. Or they will need income when they are ill or when they’re taking sick time. Right. It’s really important that you factor those things in because you will need to eat when you’re on vacation. Your bills will still come when you’re on vacation. 

 

Linzy [00:16:17] They will. Even if you’re not home. 

 

Roxanne [00:16:19] Even if you’re not- and you’re expected to pay it, right? Even if you- let’s say you have to have surgery and you’re on a bit of a short-term leave, those bills will still come. I find that therapists will plan for things like maternity leave or parental leave, but they don’t plan for when they’re taking a vacation. And so you have to build that in as you’re trying to add up, you know, how much am I going to be making for the year or for the month? We need to factor that in. And so you will need to also think about that when you’re planning to set your fee as well. 

 

Linzy [00:16:50] Right. 

 

Roxanne [00:16:51] Same thing for if you expect to see a certain number of clients per week. But you know, three people no-show or they cancel within, you know, within reason and you can’t get those filled. You know, we need to factor some of those things in as well. 

 

Linzy [00:17:05] Totally. 

 

Roxanne [00:17:06] Otherwise, you set yourself up for, you know, financial uncertainty. 

 

Linzy [00:17:12] For sure. Yeah. And I find, like, if we’re not thoughtful like that, if we don’t think about, like, wait, what does life actually look like? Right? That’s where you can come up with magical numbers, right? Like the math can look beautiful. You’re like, okay, I’m going to see 20 clients a week and I charge 175. I’m going to work, you know, obviously, I’m working 52 weeks a year and I’m going to make a bazillion dollars. Exactly. But, yeah, that’s not how life works. And, you know, I’m curious, why do you think therapists don’t think about this? Like, what is it about a therapist as a type or as a profession that we’re not thinking about our vacation time, our sick time, when we’re planning out our futures. 

 

Roxanne [00:17:45] We just don’t think of ourselves. I think we, many of us who are in this field, we live this life of service, of taking care of other people, making sure other people are well. We put ourselves last. Right. We live this life where we just don’t consider ourselves. We put ourselves last. We take care of other people first, and then we wind up not planning for vacation. We wind up burnt out. We wind up ill. Right. And I also say to people, pay attention to if you’ve been a therapist for a year or two, think about, let’s say last year, when did you feel most burnt out? Maybe that’s the time you need to take vacation. Maybe that’s- as you’re planning for the next year, maybe that’s the time when you’ll need to take vacation, when you will now need to plan financially. I’m going to be off for two or three weeks this season. How can I ensure that I will have enough money for when I’m on vacation? Or there are certain seasons throughout this sort of therapy life cycle throughout the year that are not as lucrative where clients don’t come in as much. So you will need to- what will they need to put in place? Think that season. Is that what I take vacation? Is that when I run a group session? A group offering? Is that when I offer a webinar? And then you can start to supplement that income or think to yourself, okay, now it’s time for me to take vacation, but I will still need to eat, pay bills, do all these things during that season. 

 

Linzy [00:19:09] Absolutely. And I think, you know, that’s really helpful to think about zooming out on that. Like, I know something that I did this year, which I’ve never done before, is I took off a lot of time during the summer because I think I had this story that I don’t like summer because I do- I get really hot, I’m really pale, I’m easily sunburned, I get sunstroke. Like, I’m like kind of not maybe for, you know, hot Ontario summer. But at the same time, what I had found is a couple of years in a row, it’s like the summer goes by and it’s fall. And I’m like, Oh, man, summer’s over. Like, you know, I can’t go to the beach anymore. I can’t go for a nice hike. And so I realized that I was ending my summers with, like, regrets, that I hadn’t really taken the time to enjoy it. And as you say too, in the therapy world, often our clients are away the summer. So something else that comes up for me is like you don’t want to feel regret, like resentful because your clients are off doing fun stuff and you’re like sitting in your office being like, Doesn’t anybody want to talk to me about hard things? And so yeah, it’s also like that. Like think about, you know, like what are those kinds of trends because that can really inform. And something that, that I did this year, which I found immensely helpful, is I plan my vacation the year out. 

 

Roxanne [00:20:11] Yes! 

 

Linzy [00:20:12] So not not when it’s right like on the cusp, not when I’ve already accidentally booked something into that week I was thinking about taking off, but make that the default. Yes. And then I actually have to cancel vacation time you know, rather than try to fit it in later. That worked really well. I was really pleased with the results but yeah, I think you’re you’re absolutely right. It’s that like life of service piece and I think functionally when we build a business that basically financially doesn’t work unless we are working all the time because we haven’t paid for that time off. You do end up having to work all the time, right? Because you literally can’t afford to take time off. 

 

Roxanne [00:20:44] You can’t afford to take time off. 

 

Linzy [00:20:45] And then you’re going to get into that like worn down, possibly resentful. 

 

Roxanne [00:20:50] Exactly. And then, you’re no help to your clients and they don’t come back! 

 

Linzy [00:20:53] And you’re not living like the life that your clients think you are. 

 

Roxanne [00:20:57] Right? Exactly. Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:21:00] Well, Roxanne, it’s been so lovely having you on the podcast today. 

 

Roxanne [00:21:04] Oh, it’s been great. 

 

Linzy [00:21:05] If folks want to find you and follow you, where’s the best social media place for them to connect with you? 

 

Roxanne [00:21:12] Yes, I hang out a lot on Instagram. You can find me @francispsychotherapy. You can also find me on Twitter sometimes @FrancisTherapy. You can just search my name on LinkedIn. But yeah, I’m happy to connect with individuals if they want to hang out with me. If they want to chat slide into my DMS, I’m always here. 

 

Linzy [00:21:29] Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you so much, Roxanne. It’s been wonderful talking with you always. 

 

Roxanne [00:21:33] It’s been my pleasure, Linzy. It’s wonderful to talk about this stuff. It’s my joy to pour into therapists and if therapists are out there wanting to build out their part-time private practice into a full-time private practice, I run a therapy day just for that, so people can just slide into my DMs or hit me up if they wanted to go on the waitlist for that. 

 

Linzy [00:21:51] Awesome. Thank you. I think that Roxanne’s point about therapists kind of living lives of service is a really good one when that is kind of our general ethos. That’s what we’ve maybe been raised to do. You know, even from a young age, always taking care of others. And then we go through professional training that just encourages that. Agencies that foster that. And then you get out on your own and what are you used to doing? But just serving others all the time and thinking about their needs. But as she pointed out, if we don’t think about things like our vacation time and our sick time, if we don’t plan those things, then we end up with practices that don’t work or we end up, you know, trying to skip being sick and skip taking vacation because we desperately need the money. So just thinking about yourself as a whole human who has needs as you’re setting up your practice or if you find you already have a practice that isn’t working, that’s something to think about, is have I actually worked in my real needs financially, energetically into my practice and my practice is taking care of me as a full person, not just my kind of like my maximum productivity version of myself, but me as I actually am. If we are not thinking of that, then we end up making practices that really don’t take care of us and actually can be quite harmful to us. So wonderful thoughts and insights from Roxanne today. If you want more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share practical and emotional focused money content on there all the time, and if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review. It is the best way for other therapists 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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Owning What You Actually Want (and Don’t Want) Coaching Session

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“But for me, without all the noise of the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session, I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor making very little but being able to do the work whenever I want to, going to school lunch with my kids… I have this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get.”

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Meet Paula Miller

Paula Miller is an award-winning dietitian who loves Lindor chocolate.  In her weight neutral, size inclusive nutrition practice, Paula & her team passionately help individuals challenge harmful nutrition beliefs, reclaim joyful eating and find peace with food.  Her greatest satisfaction is helping people let go of guilt to embrace all food, ending chronic eating struggles. 

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Do you struggle to make your business numbers work for you even though you’re budgeting? In this episode, Linzy talks with Paula Miller, a dietitian with a group practice who is struggling to make her numbers work for her now that she has more staff. 

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Want more support with your private practice finances?

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Paula [00:00:01] But for me, without all the noise of the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session, I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor, making very little. But being able to do the work whenever I want to, going to school lunch with my kids, just like I have this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get. 

 

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. Today’s podcast guest is Paula Miller. I don’t usually read people’s bios, but her bio is so good that I do want to share it with you. Paula is an award winning dietitian who loves Lindor chocolate. In her weight-neutral size-inclusive nutrition practice, Paula and her team passionately help individuals challenge harmful nutrition beliefs, reclaim joyful eating, and find peace with food. Her greatest satisfaction is helping people let go of guilt and embrace all food, ending chronic eating struggles. Paula is a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists and today’s podcast is a coaching session where we get into Paula’s struggles with the fact that she is running an insurance-based group practice. There’s lots of questions that spiral out of there, but basically, Paula came in with just a lot of doubt and confusion about whether this practice is workable. Should you be doing something else? And this conversation takes an interesting bit of an unexpected turn. If you are an insurance based clinician or if you’ve ever felt the pressure that you should be charging more, should be doing things differently, should be private pay. This is going to be a really good episode for you. Here is my conversation with Paula Miller. Hello. Welcome to the podcast. 

 

Paula [00:02:17] Thank you, Linzy. I’m so excited to be here. 

 

Linzy [00:02:19] I am excited, too. So just to give like a little bit of context for folks listening, you are a Money Skills grad. And remind both of us. When did you finish Money Skills For Therapists? 

 

Paula [00:02:30] I can’t remember exactly when I graduated, but it was about a year and a half ago. 

 

Linzy [00:02:35] Okay. Okay. 

 

Paula [00:02:36] I could go back to my financials and tell you because I can see in my financials the difference. But I think I started in like January, February, March of last year. 

 

Linzy [00:02:47] Okay. So year and a half. So you’ve been very busy since we first worked together. That’s kind of the related to the question you wanted to bring today. So just to get us started, what would you like some coaching support with today? 

 

Paula [00:03:00] Yeah, so I have a small group practice and I’ve hired four employees since November, which is not something I could have done without your support in Money Skills For Therapists that set me up to be able to do that. So my question is, there’s a few different reasons I grew the group practice and what people told me when I was in coaching prior to growing it was that you have to have at least five full time dietitians – I’m not a therapist, I’m a dietitian – to be profitable or not profitable, but to really make money at a group practice. We’re insurance based and it provides a really important need for our community that wasn’t there. We specifically focused on food peace and so we do a really individualized service with that. I have learned from growing the group practice, what everybody told me prior to, which is you need to have a lot of dieticians. I don’t want to have a lot of dieticians. And I have been feeling a little bit like this is an abusive relationship with me and this practice that I am working really hard for, not a whole lot of financial benefit. And I would really love to be able to give my husband the flexibility to do whatever work he feels like he wants to do as well and not have to do a job because of his income. And so my question is, my thought is I have a personal brand that I’m thinking of doing, which is food peace with Paula. Is it wise of me? Because I feel like my private practice is so important in this community and it is so important to keep it insurance based? Is it wise to continue to run this group practice while continuing to be the CEO of it? But take myself clinically out of it and do a personal brand so that I can actually see financial income. 

 

Linzy [00:04:56] Yes. Right. So basically, at this point, it sounds like you have concluded that at the scale you’re at, it’s not going to be really much of a money maker and you’re not interested in growing it to the point that it could be. Right. Like you said, you have three, three dieticians working for you right now. 

 

Paula [00:05:14] Well, I am one of the three. So I have two dieticians. I have an office assistant and I have a biller and I, I am not afraid to spend money on support. And so I could be doing a lot more in the business, but I can pay someone else to do those tasks at a lower wage. I also don’t have the capacity to see more than like 10 to 12 clients, like mental health-wise. Yeah, I do really good work at like 10 to 12 clients a week. And so while I could see more clients because I have other people doing the admin tasks, I don’t have the energy for that. 

 

Linzy [00:05:54] Yeah. So that’s not an area that you would expand much, are you at 10 to 12 right now, like you’re capped out at this moment? 

 

Paula [00:05:59] I am. One of my other therapists is capped out and I just opened a second practice. She is 2 hours from me in a college town and we have tons of people on the waiting list, but we’re still waiting on some credentialing things. And so she’s not full yet. But I expect that she will, you know, within a normal amount of time, be able to get full. 

 

Linzy [00:06:22] Okay. 

 

Paula [00:06:22] I am very- I grew up really frugal. I’m very good about doing things with really low overhead. So we rent office by the day. So we have very low rent. I mean, our costs are really low, but I’m just kind of a lot in I feel like I’m spending a lot in admin support, etc.. 

 

Linzy [00:06:40] Right. Okay. Yes. For that. For that administrator and that biller. 

 

Paula [00:06:45] Mm hmm. Yeah

 

Linzy [00:06:45] Yes. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Because that’s that’s kind of my first curiosity is how the numbers are working now with this. You have, you know, three of you who are providing service to people who are providing support to your service team. What have you noticed in terms of the monthly trends, like what’s coming in the door, what is being spent on on operating the business and what’s left? 

 

Paula [00:07:08] Yeah, it doesn’t feel like a lot less right now because I just opened the office 2 hours from here, and there were startup costs for that. I hired my biller a month and a half ago, so there was a lot of training start up with her. Like, I feel like- I feel like I’ve kind of been bleeding money in startup for this business. 

 

Linzy [00:07:27] Sure, sure. Yeah. 

 

Paula [00:07:29] So I don’t know if I’m in there answering you as clearly as.. 

 

Linzy [00:07:32] I mean, I did. I did just ask you, like, a very specific question that I did not prepare you for. 

 

Paula [00:07:39] I have my spreadsheet and YNAB right here. 

 

Linzy [00:07:42] Beautiful, beautiful. Great. So let’s look at what YNAB was telling us. 

 

Paula [00:07:45] Okay, so, gosh, what do you want me to give you? 

 

Linzy [00:07:49] Do you have an averages column on that spreadsheet? 

 

Paula [00:07:51] I do. 

 

Linzy [00:07:52] Averages – that’s a very important tool for folks who are listening. YNAB is “you need a budget”. It is a tool that many of the folks who take the course choose to use to track and plan with their money. And it has nice reports and that averages column. Paula, what’s so valuable with that is it’s going to like take out those ups and downs that can be kind of distracting and it tells us like, okay, over whatever date range you just search there, if you- it looks like you probably have a year of data just based on what I just glimpsed. However, that date ranges, this is an average of all of that period of time, which is that’s kind of the numbers that really start- that really matter ultimately. So what are you noticing with those numbers? What comes in? I mean, I know that things have changed in that time. You’ve made hires, so you might choose to look at a different date range. But is that year a typical period of time, or have things changed a lot over the course of that year? 

 

Paula [00:08:37] Things have changed a lot. I started out and so this goes from January to September. I started out in January as an individual clinician seeing too many patients and I am now in September and I have three more employees than I had in January. 

 

Linzy [00:08:55] So it changes. Okay. So let’s maybe look at September as a snapshot. We know that things might change in October, November, December. But looking at September, how much money came in the top? What was your revenue on the top? 

 

Paula [00:09:06] Around 7000. 

 

Linzy [00:09:08] 7000 revenue. And how much did it cost you to operate the business? What was your operating expenses? 

 

Paula [00:09:14] So my operating expenses on this, it says 4400. 

 

Linzy [00:09:19] Okay. And does that include your staff payroll or is that separate? 

 

Paula [00:09:22] That did include payroll. 

 

Linzy [00:09:23] Okay. That includes payroll. Great. Okay. What about your pay? Yeah. And then what about your payment? How much are you getting paid for this work you’re doing? 

 

Paula [00:09:31] I’m embarrassed to say, Linzy, because last time I told you I was paying myself this, you said, please pay yourself more. 

 

Linzy [00:09:36] No, that’s okay. You don’t have to do what I tell you. I’m not the boss of you. 

 

Paula [00:09:42] I am still paying myself $2,000 a month. 

 

Linzy [00:09:45] Okay? Yeah, yeah. 

 

Paula [00:09:47] I am- my husband- we can live on my husband’s income. Yes, I have pretty much just been leaving all the rest of the money in the business trying to build up buffers. 

 

Linzy [00:09:57] Okay. Yep. 

 

Paula [00:09:57] And then I figured when my buffers were built, then I would start paying myself more. 

 

Linzy [00:10:02] Yes. And with that, Paula, like I know the last time we talked, I told you to stop doing that. And also, we all have our own unique financial situations. If you and your husband are fine on his income, then you have financial stability there. And you know, when you are growing a group, because when I spoke to you, I don’t think that was the case yet. You’ve done a lot of growing since we chatted last. When you’re growing a group and any kind of scaled larger business. So my business, for instance, I don’t have a group, but we have a lot of liabilities month after month. Growing a buffer is a really big priority because then you’re creating financial stability for everybody, right? You’re creating financial stability in the business, which in turn is financial stability for you and it’s financial stability for your staff. So I think that that, you know, that actually sounds like quite a strategic way that you’re doing things right now. So I want to give lots of credit where credit is due. I’m very happy that you’re building up buffers, you know, while you’re also building this bigger business. 

 

Paula [00:10:53] Okay. Thank you, Gold Star from Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:10:56] Gold Star. Okay. So looking at this then, is there anything else in those lines? Like any expenses that we didn’t catch between operating spend salary? I know taxes you paid Quarterly’s last like in that September period. Yeah. How much- do you know what percentage you’re putting aside for taxes? 

 

Paula [00:11:11] 15% and I will tell you the funny thing, if anyone’s considering your course, is that after I took your course and started saving for taxes, we literally we had $0.52 more than we owed in taxes saved. And my husband was like that Linzy. Honestly, for her, because taxes was always this like point of contention in our relationship because I did not pay attention to it. So anyway, thank you, Linzy and YNAB. 

 

Linzy [00:11:39] You’re welcome. And I’m sure YNAB says you’re welcome as well. Okay, great. So you’re having taxes taken care of. So those are kind of like their own thing. So I mean, that month, for instance, just to give us a picture, though, how much did you put aside in taxes? Do you see what you- I guess we can just see what you’ve spent. I’m curious, like, I guess 15%. I can I could do the math here. I’ve got my little phone calculator. If you’re saving 15% of everything and you brought in, 7000, then you’d be putting aside about $1,000 for taxes. Does that seem right, that about what you put away each month? 

 

Paula [00:12:07] That would that would be about right. 

 

Linzy [00:12:09] So I’m just going to see here, just to give us a sense of the cash flow. So if I take 7000. Minus the 4400, which was what it cost to run your business, including paying your dieticians who work for you. Subtract your payroll and then I subtract taxes. That looks like it was a super tight month. Did it feel like a really tight month? 

 

Paula [00:12:27] Every month feels really tight. 

 

Linzy [00:12:29] I’ve got -$450. 

 

Paula [00:12:31] And let me say that that is the month that I. Well, that August and that month. 

 

Linzy [00:12:37] Yeah. 

 

Paula [00:12:38] Is training month. 

 

Linzy [00:12:40] Yes. 

 

Paula [00:12:42] I’m paying more for my second clinician than I am making from her right now. So it is not- in a year it’s going to be more accurate numbers. But right now it’s for sure start up. 

 

Linzy [00:12:52] You’re in startup phase. Right. And that’s also normal. Like, I mean, we zoomed in on a month here because we want to kind of see like what’s happening now and the information we have from January is not going to be that accurate given all the changes you’ve made. But also, we know that there are more expensive times in business where we’re building and creating a foundation, and we shouldn’t be afraid to spend at those times because, you know, you’re training someone who will generate revenue for your business, who wants to help you buy back your time, who will make things more efficient. Like these things are all very valuable. But yes, there are these times in our business when are more expensive and that’s where, too, as you go forward Paula, like continuing to keep your eye on that averages column is going to let you start to see like okay September was kind of like a like well that was we you know spent more than we made but October and November and December, things started to really change. And this is what our average is now. Okay. Right. So that’s going to give you that zoomed out perspective that you really need, especially when you’re you have a lot of moving parts like you do. 

 

Paula [00:13:44] That is very helpful because I have not paid attention to the averages. And I actually had wondered and we can talk about this separately if this doesn’t fit right now. But I have also wondered about creating a separate account to move all my tax money into every month so that it shows like it went out of white out in that month. 

 

Linzy [00:14:06] Yes. So it shows as money spent? 

 

Paula [00:14:08] Mm hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:14:09] Yeah, you can definitely do that. I mean, that would be a way to kind of, like, create clarity and make it extra real, because basically, that’s that’s like a profit first kind of method, right, where we’re actually moving the money where it belongs. And so it’s super clear like that, money, taxes and nothing else. So if you feel like that would give you more clarity, I think that that would be a great addition to your system. Okay. 

 

Paula [00:14:27] I think it would, because also what I’m realizing now is these numbers don’t include the payroll taxes because I don’t have a special section for payroll taxes that I’m saving for. So. 

 

Linzy [00:14:41] Because are you paying those on a quarterly basis? Monthly? 

 

Paula [00:14:43] Quarterly. 

 

Linzy [00:14:44] Okay. So that needs attention in your system. 

 

Paula [00:14:46] So it needs attention. 

 

Linzy [00:14:47] Yes. Yes. So good. Good. That we flagged that now. Always good to think about these things before we’re like, oh, shit. 

 

Paula [00:14:53] Yes, but I already feel that way. 

 

Linzy [00:14:54] Yes, yes. And I can see that like these numbers feel they’re tight. You know, as we said, this is- part of it is situational. You’re in startup, but part of it is also, you know, if you’re bringing in about seven and you’re paying your team 4400 and you’re getting paid already, that’s like a pretty tight month. And I guess you’re not- you’re not paying your team 4400. What are you paying your team? That’s actually a good question. 

 

Paula [00:15:15] My team. So for September, my clinicians were just a little under 2000. My office assistant, she usually runs around 700 a little bit over. My biller, she was at 300. And so I really my goal for her was like 200 to 300. But she’s been higher each month because she’s essentially having to train herself on our simple practice billing system.  

 

Linzy [00:15:42] Okay. So because I’m just getting a sense of that. So 2000 for clinicians and then we’ll also add 700 for admin, 300 for biller. 3000 divided by 7000. So you’re looking at like kind of 43% for staff besides you, which of course is going to vary and change because your administrator, she might be a flat fee regardless of how busy you are in a certain month, but your biller is probably going to be pretty variable at a certain point. You know, the busier you are, the busier she is. So that is decent. That’s, you know, a good number. You’re not in that number. If I put you in that number, actually, let me just see here. 

 

Paula [00:16:15] I’m 29%. I ran these numbers, Linzy, because I was trying to figure out how to I was putting too much in my salary for my YNAB and so I needed to adjust it. 

 

Linzy [00:16:25] Okay, so you’re 29? 

 

Paula [00:16:26] Yeah, 29. 

 

Linzy [00:16:27] And 29 is fairly low for the fact that your business is not making 15 or 20,000 which which we know because you’re getting paid $2,000, which is maybe not where you want to be. And so the reason that I wanted to take the time to get this snapshot is to kind of start to try to feel out. And there’s lots of specifics here that we’re not going to get into. But can you make this a business that does generate enough money that it’s kind of like worth the time it’s going to take you to run it? Right, because what I’m hearing from you is something that I see come up with lots of therapists. When you get to a certain point where you’re like, I think I just want to like do this other thing. I want to run the group practice as a CEO, but I don’t necessarily want to be practicing in the same way, and I want to just like get paid as a CEO. But what’s really necessary for that to happen, Paula, is there needs to be extra money. 

 

Paula [00:17:11] Yes. And I have to say that I am very much about my values and about life balance. And the more hours the clinicians work, the more insurance paperwork there is. And I do not want to do that. 

 

Linzy [00:17:25] Yes, yes, yes, yes. 

 

Paula [00:17:28] Quite honestly, Linzy, I’ve considered making this business a not for profit, a nonprofit. 

 

Linzy [00:17:32] It kind of is. 

 

Paula [00:17:34] It is, right? Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:17:35] Yeah. And so I mean, that’s maybe something to think about as well. And that’s that’s an area that’s kind of getting outside of my lane in terms of getting registered as a nonprofit. But I mean, the way you talk about your work, Paula, like, really has that ethos to it, right? Where you’re very mission driven. You know that this is like a group of people who otherwise probably won’t get service because, you know, as a dietitian, it’s not like there’s a dietician on every corner and there’s certainly not a dietitian on every corner specializing in what you specialize in. You know, that might be something for you to consider because I think there’s always this kind of like fundamental conflict I think that all health providers experience, which is like, you’re in the work because you care and you love it. And usually most of us have had some sort of lived experience with the kind of work that we’re doing, right, and we’d like get viscerally the value of it. And also you need to live and be well and have a life and like you don’t want to feel like you’re in an abusive relationship. So there’s like a fundamental conflict there. And so part of this might be thinking about, first of all, how important is that mission to you? If it’s 100% in your soul, you want to be providing like insurance based services for folks to make peace with food. Then it might be start to think about what are creative ways to do that that don’t come at your detriment. Right. Because I’m curious, like you said earlier, like it kind of feels like an abusive relationship. I know you said that part of it is you’re putting so much work into it and getting so little out of it. But I’m curious, is there more to that metaphor? 

 

Paula [00:19:00] So I think that this is where it all comes from. I have always not worked for a lot of money. I taught college. I have always chosen jobs because of the lifestyle they afford me. Not- well I actually, my first job was for the money and it wrecked my health, right? 

 

Linzy [00:19:17] Yes. 

 

Paula [00:19:18] And I just- I’m so much more like I choose jobs for the lifestyle, not for the money. And so that’s how I built my business. Like the clinicians I have and the staff I have, I wanted to be able to let them let their life be really important. So they all they all work part time and have kids and they don’t all. But, you know, that’s kind of what I had imagined. And so as I’ve been a business owner and learning about business for the last three years, I have loved it. I have loved learning. I’m really good at getting business to the business and I’m really great at building relationships and like I feel like getting our business a good reputation. What I struggle with is all the business education out there that I’m with or looking at is like, raise your fees. You need to be charging a lot of money for your services, etc. And like I feel like my life, the only thing I would add to it, you know, there are not- is not a lot I would add to my life if I made more money. I feel this pressure that I don’t know if it’s mine or if it’s the business community’s, that I have just taken on through all of my business education. That maybe isn’t that purpose for me, right? 

 

Linzy [00:20:29] Maybe it’s not yours. 

 

Paula [00:20:30] Yeah, yeah. Maybe it’s more like what I would really love in my life is to fly first class on our vacations. We already go on three vacations a year. Like, I mean, we live really- we live really in a really wonderful life, you know? And like, I would love to put a pool in my backyard and have a pool boy like those two things I would love to do. So I like even if I had a lot of money, like I would love to support my husband and being able to be as flexible as he wants to. But I feel like I have taken this thing on from the business community that I don’t even know what to do about, you know? And I feel like, like that feels like mindset stuff almost. 

 

Linzy [00:21:07] It is. Absolutely. And I mean, something that I do want to reflect to you is, you know, when we are getting those messages of like, yeah, you have to you have to charge a premium fee to value yourself, you know, these kinds of phrases that can be almost like made two dimensional, right? Like those messages are going to people who live in New York City and pay $3,000 in rent for like a month for a terrible apartment. They’re going to people in San Francisco who pay $4,000 a month for, you know, like an apartment that has leaky water, you know. And so this is part of it is like there’s a simplified narrative that’s being projected to everybody and that for some people does need to be true. Right. If you have a kid with complex medical needs, then you might need to make $12,000 a month because your kid needs incredibly complex care. Right. Those financial needs are going to look very different than it sounds like yours do. Right. And so something that I’m curious about is like I’m hearing that you do have some things that would be like really nice to add, right? They don’t sound like they’re things that you desperately need. But being able to fly first class, being able to have a pool, have a pool boy, how much more money would you have to be making to add those things into your life? 

 

Paula [00:22:12] Yeah. I’ve run these numbers before. Honestly, like I could fly first class right now. And they really don’t have the space in my backyard because of a big, beautiful oak tree that. 

 

Linzy [00:22:25] Like, tree or pool. That’s a hard choice.

 

Paula [00:22:27] Exactly, right? Yeah. So like that, that’s not even a possibility for me in my life. And so I’ve run these numbers before. And like, we’re kind of right where we need to be. 

 

Linzy [00:22:38] Right. 

 

Paula [00:22:38] With the kind of life we want to live. 

 

Linzy [00:22:40] Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Paula [00:22:42] So where does this pressure and why do I feel like my business is this abusive relationship? I think there’s just so much more to that than just needing to make more than just needing gas. You know what I’m saying? 

 

Linzy [00:22:55] For sure. So I’m curious when you think about those messages and you can anonymize if you want, and like whose voice are you hearing? 

 

Paula [00:23:03] Some business coaches. 

 

Linzy [00:23:05] And those business coaches. Is there a reason that you’ve kind of like got into there or because there’s like, you know, probably thousands of business coaches out there? Is there a reason that you’ve been around to hear what these coaches have to say? 

 

Paula [00:23:16] They have sold themselves as people who put their lives first and charge very high rates because they put their lives first. Yet they are discouraging doing things that they do do, like growing a group practice. Like I had a business coach who has a group practice but very much told me not to grow group practice and that’s that I think. So, yeah. That’s kind of where it all is. It’s like these voices that are like charge more money because I do. And the way to have your life be a put first like your lifestyle, but first you have to charge more money. 

 

Linzy [00:24:01] So for you, is that true? 

 

Paula [00:24:04] I need- I feel like the edge of my September numbers being so close. I do need. I do need a little more room. But for me, without all the noise and the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session – without that noise, like I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor. I’m making very little. But being able to do the work whenever I want to. Going to school lunch with my kids every week, you know, just like I have this this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get. 

 

Linzy [00:24:43] Yes. And part of that is you live in Kansas. 

 

Paula [00:24:46] Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:24:48] Because we plunge you into the middle of New York City in Brooklyn. And we’re like, okay, Paula, now, like buy a house in Brooklyn. You know, you would have different pressures. You would have different solutions almost to get you back to where you are now. But something that I’m hearing is you are already there. You’re already at that lifestyle that these coaches are trying to help to get people to. And they’re teaching the solution that works for them because of their geographic circumstances, their financial circumstances, their own personal needs, which are different than yours. And it sounds like in some ways there’s there’s a mismatch there, right? Like even if they’re folks who you like respect and their grades and like they might not be teaching what you actually specifically need. 

 

Paula [00:25:28] Yeah, you’re exactly right. 

 

Linzy [00:25:30] Yeah, you were just nodding a lot. I feel like I should say that because it’s a podcast. 

 

Paula [00:25:34] Yeah, no, you’re right. And even, quite honestly, I’ve been thinking about this recently, even my desire to like to to be able to replace my husband’s income, he would still work. Yes. He just may not work where he’s working. And so I really need a lot less than what I’m imagining I would need if that were going to try to do that. 

 

Linzy [00:25:56] Yeah. And I mean, it does sound like there is a little bit of room here where you’re like a little bit more would be good. But also we know that September is your startup month. It’s your training month, as you settle into October and November and like folks are settling into their roles, caseloads are getting fuller. You offer a group or two, your numbers are going to start to tell a different story. Right? And so my encouragement is be curious as to what that story starts to become as it unfolds. And then I think maybe a quarter from now. So let’s say, you know, we’re we’re recording this conversation together in October, so let’s say end of January, then you can check back in with your numbers again and see like, okay, what is happening now? You might already be there, Paula. Right. And I think you know what what you’re talking about makes you think a couple of things. One, it makes me think of that old adage, and maybe this is very cheesy to bring up, but have you ever heard that kind of like old- I don’t know, it’s like a educational tale of like a rich man who sees, like a poor fisherman on the beach. Do you know this story? I’m I feel like it’s kind of just in the culture. So the idea is that this wealthy man sees a fisherman on the beach and he’s like, wow, you’re really good at fishing. And the guy’s like, Oh, yeah, I really love fishing. And he’s like, Well, you should you should get a boat. And he’s like, Yeah, I mean, I have a boat. Like, it’s kind of good. He’s like, Well, you should get a better boat get a loan, you know? And so basically the idea is that this man, this rich man, encourages this guy to do what he’s done, which is like build a company, get employees, get a better deal. And then at the end, you know, it’s like, well, why would you do that? And the rich man says, Then you’d have time. You can do whatever you want. And the guy’s like, I already have that. 

 

Paula [00:27:27] Yes 

 

Linzy [00:27:28] Yeah, right. And it kind of makes you think about that. It’s like, what I’m hearing is there’s noise. Right. And so something that I would encourage you to think about is what do you actually want to disengage from? What is it time to unfollow? What are the email lists it’s time to get off? What are the social media accounts it’s time to stop following? Because comparison can be the thief of joy. And I’m hearing that you like your life and that everything is good, right? And that you have a lot of things that a lot of other people have to work hard to get and have to charge a lot to get for their own reasons. But that’s actually not your problem, right? How does that land with you? 

 

Paula [00:28:04] Very, very well. And like, one thing one thing I talk to my clients about is curating their social media for body image and feeds. And that single piece of advice from you today is exactly where I need to be and exactly what resonates with me, because that is the noise that I do not need in my life, because my practice is doing really good work. Yes. And really important work. And these numbers are start up numbers. There’s going to be space. There’s going to be more space than this eventually. 

 

Linzy [00:28:38] Absolutely. 

 

Paula [00:28:39] Yep. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:28:40] Yeah. And this is where the curiosity comes in, because if three months from now, you look and you’re like, oh, it’s still tight, then they’re spots to be curious and be like, okay, what about my numbers is not working right? But that again is going to bear out over time. We don’t we don’t know that yet. And you could probably look at that now. You know, after we talked today, you could always look and be like, okay, what was the startup cost this month? Eliminate those from your you’re kind of like, you know, profit and loss and see what would this month have been if we weren’t paying for this extra, this extra, this extra. But I mean, there’s nothing here that’s like a screaming red flag to me that tells me that this is not workable for what you need. 

 

Paula [00:29:12] Yeah. Oh, that’s a beautiful salve to my little soul. 

 

Linzy [00:29:16] Thank you. You’re welcome. So, Paula, what are you taking away from our conversations there? 

 

Paula [00:29:22] Gosh. So I think what I’m taking away is just that stay the course of this business, don’t buy the next boat, which is the personal brand at this point. Anyway, someday maybe my time will free and I’ll want to do that. And that’s okay. But don’t pressure myself to do that any time soon because these numbers, while narrow, they will change and they will evolve. And I believe that a year from now I will feel very differently about the money and my business and the relationship I have with it. I don’t think it will be as much of this abusive feeling because we will be both. My clinicians will be full, my biller will know what she’s doing and she will – I will pay less to her. Because she will just be better at her job. So yeah, super, super helpful. 

 

Linzy [00:30:14] Good. Wonderful. It was really lovely to talk to you again today, Paula. 

 

Paula [00:30:17] It was great to talk to you, too, Linzy. I always enjoy it. 

 

Linzy [00:30:33] I think the question that Paula ultimately came to and what we kind of ultimately like dug into and came to our new conclusions around is this piece about noise. We live in such a noisy landscape. That’s actually one of the reasons that I have a podcast and I like to spend my time here rather than spending like a ton of time on social media is I like the quiet and more thoughtfulness of podcasts. And I think that, you know, the online space that I, I work in, sometimes I feel like I live inside the Internet is really loud. There’s a lot of voices, there’s a lot of advice. People are telling you how to do things that worked really well for them. That could totally work for you, but not everything is going to be for you. And so if things are having a negative impact for you, if you’re noticing it’s bringing up a lot of negative emotions, a lot of compare and despair. And I think maybe most importantly, if you’re not planning to actually learn from that person because you don’t actually feel aligned with what they’re teaching. There’s a lot to be said for unfollowing. Right. Cleaning up our mental space, giving ourself a little bit more quiet, making sure that what we’re consuming is actually feeding us and nurturing us and inspiring us, not making us kind of doubt ourselves when actually, you know, as Paula situation was, for example, she’s actually really feeling good. She’s actually content in her life. $2,000 for her household is actually sufficient and allows her to do the work that she’s extremely passionate about, which is providing insurance based dietician care to folks who struggle with their relationship with food. I think if she gave that up, there would be a huge gap for her at this point in her life. And so for her getting rid of that noise, it’s telling her to do things differently when her gut says otherwise is the wisest decision. So I’m going to say the same to you. If you’re noticing, you’re following somebody and it’s creating stress for you, unfollow that includes this podcast or me. If I’m not helping you feel more inspired, more clear. Unfollow. Right. Our mental space is so, so precious and so valuable. I know. I found myself. I recently got off TikTok kind of by accident, a blessing that it didn’t switch over to my new phone and I use that as my out. And I have been really noticing the difference that it’s made to my mental space to not have all of that stimulation, all of that noise all the time. So so appreciative for Paula for having this conversation with me today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram. As I said, I kind of spend more time here than there, but I am on Instagram. You can follow me @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please let me review on Apple Podcasts. It is the best way for other therapist to find us. 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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Three Investments to Save You Time, Money, and Energy in Your Private Practice with Aisha R. Shabazz

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Episode Cover - Three Investments to Save You Time Money and Energy in Your Private Practice with Aisha R. Shabazz

“That’s the first thing is really allowing ourselves to open our minds to the idea that there is a relationship between time and money. It isn’t a one for one exchange, although it feels like that – when a client doesn’t show up, we don’t get paid – there’s a one for one exchange there. But I’m talking about sustaining your business so that you can serve people with an open heart and so that you can get your needs met at the same time.”

~Aisha R. Shabazz

Meet Aisha R. Shabazz

Aisha R. Shabazz (she/her) is a private practice strategist that loves to help mental health therapists create sustainable businesses.

In an effort to help therapists keep the private practices they worked so hard to build, she created The Thriving Therapist Shop, a place that offers time-saving templates, solutions, and tools to help tame to-do lists, implement strategic marketing plans, and seamlessly manage client inquiries.

In this Episode...

Do you struggle with figuring out how to best invest in your private practice? In this practical episode, Linzy and guest Aisha Shabazz dig into a few specific investments that reap major dividends when private practitioners put them into action in their business lives.

Aisha breaks down what investments cost us as far as our time, effort, energy, attention, and focus; she examines which aspects of private practice are well worth the initial investment. Listen in to hear three specific investments Aisha recommends to all therapists in private practice.  

Connect with Aisha R. Shabazz

You can learn more about Aisha on her website or tune into her podcast, Beyond the Session with Aisha R. Shabazz.

Want more private practice finances support?

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Aisha [00:00:01] That’s the first thing is like really allowing us to open our minds to the idea that there is a relationship between time and money, that it isn’t a one for one exchange. Although it feels like that, right, when a client doesn’t show up, we don’t get paid. There’s a one for one exchange there. But I’m talking about sustaining your business so that you can serve people with an open heart and so that you can get your needs met at the same time. 

 

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. Today’s episode is with Aisha Shabazz. Aisha is a therapist in private practice and she’s also a private practice strategist. Her passion is helping mental health therapists create sustainable businesses, and she is absolutely a strategic thinker. And you’re going to hear that today. In our conversation today. Aisha and I dug into the three things that therapists have trouble investing in that are totally worth their time and money. And I really appreciated her answers, definitely feel like I kind of had some aha moments myself today listening to her talk, and just so appreciated her strategic thinking around ways that we can kind of reclaim our time and also reclaim money by investing in the right places in our business. Here’s my conversation with Aisha Shabazz. Aisha, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Aisha [00:01:58] Thanks for having me, Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:01:59] So for folks who are listening, who have not had the pleasure of finding out about you yet, tell me a little bit about kind of your journey into the work that you’re doing now for therapists. 

 

Aisha [00:02:11] Yeah, so my journey started off after graduate school. I was really excited to enter into this new career field. I graduated with a master’s degree in social work and a master’s in social policy. So I was always looking at the systems that we were living in and the systems that our clients were interacting with. So I found myself starting my career as a medical social worker, and in the work that I had with my patients at the time, I was looking at how much time I was spending, helping them live their life with more dignity, mostly because as they were interacting with me and my colleagues, they were at a place where they didn’t know how long their life was going to last. They were entering into the medical field, recognizing that like, Oh, I haven’t been taking care of myself. How much time do I have left? So there was always this perpetuation of, of time and we would often talk about – in support groups that we would run for our patients – talking about being on borrowed time. The unique aspect of my experience and being a provider of care was that I was not necessarily taking the time to take care of myself the way that I was encouraging them to do so. 

 

Linzy [00:03:30] Sure. Yes. 

 

Aisha [00:03:31] So on one hand, I felt really great about the work I was doing. And then on the other hand, I felt like a hypocrite because I was not practicing what I was preaching to them. And so when I had the opportunity to go into private practice, I noticed that a lot of the things that I was having a lot of ease with, my colleagues were not having ease with that. Where, you know, we’re building a foundation for our practice and not necessarily going ad hoc with all of the things that we have to do because we can’t just show up to session and offer our clients care and then everything else is taken care of. Someone has to do that work. And when you’re in private practice, you essentially are doing all of that stuff and some people feel like they’re going at it with no guidance at all. So I looked at the relationship between how I was valuing my time a lot more, and I wanted to make sure that therapists had the opportunity to infuse not only their values, but also being able to ethically blend their skills with entrepreneurship. Because a lot of therapists feel very uncomfortable with the idea of selling and marketing and business because we’re oriented to not think about those things when we’re providing care. 

 

Linzy [00:04:44] Mm hmm. That’s so interesting that you came into the work with that, like, policy, social work blend. That gives you such a strong like systems and structure orientation that like a lot of therapists don’t have that, right. We can get really in the weeds with our clients and really into, as you say, like the care aspect, but not necessarily having the education or the kind of orientation towards thinking about the structure that we’re creating around the care that we’re giving people. So with that work that you’re doing now, with this beautiful blend that you have of like social work and systems and policy, tell me more about what that work is is looking like in terms of how you’re helping therapists. 

 

Aisha [00:05:22] Yes. So I consider myself a private practice strategist because I want things to feel like there is intention behind the decisions that we’re making. Again, we’re oriented as helping professionals to think about the client from a heart centered place where our feelings are leading our decisions. And yet when we’re running a business, that’s not necessarily always the only thing that we need to think about when we’re making decisions. So I help therapists in private practice strategically make decisions so that they can sustain their practice and not have it feel draining and overwhelming. Most of us have experienced burnout at this point in our careers. And, you know, my goal is to help therapists not feel as burnt out as they did before they were working for themselves. Because no one sets out to run a business to say, I can’t wait to hate this one day. They want to have some aspects of enjoying it. 

 

Linzy [00:06:22] Totally. 

 

Aisha [00:06:23] What that looks like for me is really teaching them how to look at not only the business side of things, but looking at the ethical fusion of their clinical skills. So when we’re talking about marketing and sales, how can you do this in a way that is not sacrificing the values that you have? When we’re talking about discharging clients, can we think about the ways in which we’re entering them into a different phase of their treatment without just saying, okay, we’re done, bring in the next one. So because there are a lot of business systems that are in place that we have experience working in nonprofits and agencies. And I’ve experienced this in working in the hospital system where I feel so rigid and regimented, where there is no room for us to bring in our personality and our creativity. So really helping people blend between the two. And the thing that I see therapists struggle with the most is time management, because there are so many things on our plate that we have to figure out how to manage it all. 

 

Linzy [00:07:25] Right. And that goes back to what you’re saying, the beginning of that work that you first started doing with folks who are on borrowed time. Time is very valuable for everybody. But certainly, I mean, I completely get and understand what you’re saying. When you talked about like starting a business, it’s like nobody builds a business being like, I can’t wait to exploit myself and hate this. But I think what often happens is we replicate the systems that we know or we don’t put structures in place, and then we create something that’s just totally overwhelming and overt, like over demanding of our time and energy. So, I mean, for folks who are listening right now, like something that I noticed sometimes with folks who do struggle with kind of like almost like stopping to work on the business, right? Or stopping to put things in place when we’re so in it and we’re so – the phrase that I use with one of my students last week is like, sometimes your business can feel like a runaway train. Like, you’re just like, you’re on it. You’re being pulled along. She kind of made the joke like, And all your money is flying out the window, right? Like just this kind of chaos that can happen. It can be really hard for therapists in that kind of space to, like, stop and and take time to, like, pay attention to things or invest in things. And I’m curious from your perspective, what have you noticed are things that therapists are reluctant to like take the time to stop and invest in or work on, but that are like absolutely worth it for them. 

 

Aisha [00:08:42] Yeah. So I’ll start with saying that the reason why there’s a lot of reluctance is because they don’t necessarily remember that there is a relationship between time and money and there’s an investment or an allocation of time that comes along with either making money or saving money. Oftentimes, I hear therapists say, I cannot spend this dollar amount because I can’t afford it. And I like to encourage people to consider, well, can you afford not to? 

 

Linzy [00:09:14] Yes. 

 

Aisha [00:09:14] Invest in this and this task and this technology tool and this and this and this. So that’s the first thing is like really allowing us to open our minds to the idea that there is a relationship between time and money, that it isn’t a one for one exchange, although it feels like that, right? When a client doesn’t show up, we don’t get paid. There’s a one for one exchange there. But I’m talking about sustaining your business so that you can serve people with an open heart and so that you can get your needs met at the same time. So one of the things that I noticed that therapists are reluctant to invest in is using technology tools. And for me, technology tools are a way to make things easier and putting things in an automated process, right? So one thing that I have automated in my practice are my therapy consultations. I’m still showing up for my therapy consultations and interacting with people one on one. But all of the things that go into what it means to schedule a therapy consultation, what it means to screen someone before getting on a therapy consultation, I’ve automated those things because it saves me time, it saves me energy, it saves me effort so that when I show up to the therapy consultation, I’m ready and I’m able to meet with this person who is interested in therapy as opposed to thinking about all of the things that I have on my to do list or trying to jam pack everything into one day. 

 

Linzy [00:10:48] Right. Yeah. And I mean, when you just said that, I notice for myself, having gone through the process of automating some things, I probably could have automated more. I’m not practicing actively right now, but I’m thinking about the difference between what I was doing every single step of the process manually versus like when I even had some automation. Like the relief that can come with that is like palpable because it’s a lot of pieces to be managing to and like, you know, a lot of to do list items, as you say, a lot of little tasks to be juggling and taking care of that. Take energy away from your ability to do your work, be present, enjoy your life. 

 

Aisha [00:11:22] Yes, absolutely. And it also creates what we call friction with the the client relationship. And it also delays rapport and trust being built and marketing. We talk a lot about know like and trust factor. And if we are spending time playing email and phone tag, this client on the other end might think that we’re disorganized and that possibly is further from the truth. Right? 

 

Linzy [00:11:49] Totally. Yeah. 

 

Aisha [00:11:50] And that is discouraging for us, for them to think, oh, you know, this therapist must be disorganized. I don’t want to work with them. And it just might be a simple thing of I haven’t left the time on my schedule to figure out how I can automate this process. So by not having technology tools in place, you’re potentially losing out on clients that you are well aligned to serve. But they didn’t even get the chance to meet you because they already have this idea of who you are or who you’re not. 

 

Linzy [00:12:19] Right. I mean, our clients come to us very vulnerable. Like, I’m thinking myself of an experience I had a couple of years ago trying to find a, like a perinatal therapist who I really needed and having a bumpy kind of experience with part of, like, the registration. Like, I think I like signed on onto her automated calendar but never got a confirmation. And it was very disorienting as a potential client. Like it’s like I think we’re so sensitive as clients when we’re going to see therapists, but people who are coming to find us are also sensitive. Like they’re looking to make sure that like you’re reliable, you’re present, you know, like you’re clear in your communication, like, and they’re looking for those things long before the first session. They’re looking for clues about who you are. 

 

Aisha [00:12:59] Absolutely. And I love the example that you gave, because it’s not a far stretch to the imagination that people would expect this out of any service, let alone a therapeutic service. So if you can think, well, I can’t set up automations. Well, when was the last time you scheduled an appointment and you had an automatic confirmation? Or when was the last time that someone reminded you that you had an appointment? I can’t imagine having to call all of the people that schedule consults with me, reminding them that they had an appointment. All of that is automated for me so that they can remember because life is busy, so that I can remember, and so that we can both show up prepared for our interaction together. 

 

Linzy [00:13:41] Yeah, right. And the investment in that on a monthly basis, like what would you say is the ballpark of how much it would cost you to kind of automate some of the types of things you’re talking about on a monthly basis? 

 

Aisha [00:13:51] Yeah. So I like to think of investment in in five parts. So we’re investing time. Certainly, we’re also investing energy as far as like is something energy draining or energy giving. We’re also investing effort. So how much effort does it take for me to open up my laptop? Little effort versus how much effort does it take me to write a comprehensive email? Right. Those two things are important. But what is the the effort behind it? We’re thinking about finances, of course, and we’re also looking at time and attention. So when we’re putting these five pieces together, when we’re looking at like time, attention and focus. Attention and focus is the fifth one that’s like a two for one there. But when we’re thinking about putting all of these things together, that’s what I like to encourage people to consider. Like, what is the investment and what is it costing me to not invest? But overall, I would say maybe an hour’s worth of time collectively to figure out what aspects of your therapy consultation process that you’re going to automate. As far as the costs, it really depends on how much you’re charging for a therapy session. Right. How much can you afford to lose if a client gets lost between finding your website to scheduling a therapy consultation? If there are ten people that fall between the cracks in that and you’re charging $200 a session, right? I mean, is it worth it to you to do that? I would say so. 

 

Linzy [00:15:27] Yeah. I love that perspective, looking at both kind of the potential lost revenue. Right. Like what is what is the kind of potential that’s right there that you’re losing because you’re not investing this? But I also love your perspective of of really delineating those different types of investment because what I see therapist struggle sometimes is they’re like, oh, like 30 bucks a month to pay for the scheduling software or something. Like, I’d rather save the money. And usually I’m like, No, don’t do that. Because as you say, there’s all these other parts of it. So it’s like maybe you’re not paying for that scheduling software. But then as you say, there’s like all this time and energy and effort that you’re doing that work instead. So you’re still investing, but you’re investing what I think is probably for most therapists, much higher value, which is your time, your you-ness, rather than investing $30 or $50 or whatever it adds up to for these automated software subscriptions. 

 

Aisha [00:16:19] Absolutely. In addition to the fact when you’re investing in something, you could ask yourself, what’s the return on my investment? So if I’m giving an hour of my time, but I’m getting back five because I’m not playing email tag, I’m not having to send out reminders manually. I’m showing up to therapy consultations. And those people who are scheduled are also showing up, right? So giving an hour to get five back, I would say that is also a worthwhile investment as well. 

 

Linzy [00:16:49] That’s great. I love that. So that’s your first one then is like these automating technologies. What else do you see therapists being hesitant to invest in? 

 

Aisha [00:16:58] Yeah. So marketing. 

 

Linzy [00:16:59] Yeah. 

 

Aisha [00:17:01] I cannot say it enough that marketing is definitely a worthwhile investment because, you know, the biggest secret that I tell people behind marketing is if you don’t do it, you won’t have clients. And if you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business. And that’s why we have a private practice is to serve people through therapy. When you’re thinking about marketing, I want to whittle it down even more specifically and say your website. So there are so many therapists that I meet that are saying, you know, I know a therapist that doesn’t have a website and they’re doing just fine. And it’s like, Well, let’s consider the landscape that we’re currently in now versus the landscape that that therapist is in. Did that therapist start their practice before the global pandemic? Did that therapist graduate from their program earlier than you did, meaning that they possibly have a deeper referral network behind them because that therapists have a built in referral network. There are a lot of people that have deep networks where all they have to do is pick up a phone and their caseload is full. You don’t have the same access to those resources. It would be wise for you to consider what is working for them might not work for me. And I don’t know many digital marketers who are my tried and true friends that would recommend a business owner not having a website. So having a website is something that is going to be able to give you the freedom and flexibility to explain to a potential client why you and your clinical skills are well aligned to help them with their goals, challenges and aspirations. Right. There are so many people that are like, why have a therapy directory? Isn’t that enough? No, it’s not enough because the therapy directories job is to drive traffic to their website, right? Yes. Not only from therapy seekers, but also people that are offering the therapy. That’s their primary goal. And sure, they’re going to get benefits from people giving reviews and saying, you know, oh, I was able to get a client from this therapy directory. But if we look at the percentage likelihood that people are scheduling consultations and actually becoming active clients on your caseload, if you have more space like character counts, if you have more ability to be creative, let’s say your unique voice and how you present therapy and a limitless opportunity, you’re going to be able to accomplish that through your website. 

 

Linzy [00:19:28] Mm hmm. I love that. And I think it makes me think again of your point about time, like investment. Right. Like, I think this is one that a lot of therapists can feel daunted just because therapists on the whole don’t tend to be very techie people. There’s not a huge amount of overlap. So there’s a lot of, I think, room for making excuses, as you say, of like, well, that person is fine. And like, you know, and I love what you’re saying because it’s basically like don’t compare apples to oranges. Right. Like, are they actually in the same context as you are? Like, are you actually the same or are there other important differences? But yeah, I think a lot of therapists are scared of tech and I see that in my own students. Some of my money students like my mastermind students who are working to expand, like websites feel like a huge hurdle for them. And I’m curious if you’ve noticed that too, or what your thoughts on for why people can have this resistance to websites specifically? 

 

Aisha [00:20:15] Well, I do think the reality is it’s it’s hard. It’s not easy to put your words out there. Right. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and say, here I am world. I’m ready to help you. So looking at having to put yourself out there literally and figuratively is a difficult decision to make because we’re used to being that person behind the scenes. We’re not used to being the face of a business. You know, most of us, even if we were in leadership positions, were supervisors or managers. We weren’t necessarily the face of the organization that we were working within. We were protected by several layers and boundaries within the business. But when you’re running a private practice, it’s your face on the website, it’s your face on that therapy directory. It’s your face that people are connecting with in that therapy consultation. So that can be very intimidating. And I find that that is the biggest barrier for people wanting to put out a website. The second barrier is the fact that they don’t know what to put on their websites. 

 

Linzy [00:21:21] Yes, right. 

 

Aisha [00:21:21] Like, well, what do I say? You know? And there are so many resources out there that teach you how to put your words together and present them in such a way that inspires people to say, I think I want to work with you. And lastly, the other thing, I mean, I can go on and on about websites and the the folks that are used to hearing me, they know that I’m very passionate in talking about websites. But one of the things is, is that sometimes they don’t understand the versatility of a website. So for those that are marketing on social media, the intention for social media is to keep people on their platform. And so there are people that are just going to stay on the platform if you don’t tell them to do anything otherwise. But there are opportunities for them to know you, to like you, and to trust you a little bit more deeply. And that’s where your website comes in. If you’re interested in connecting with journalists and being featured in major press publications, your journalist is going to go to your website to find out more information about you. And that’s how I’ve been able to be featured in multiple publications, because people went to my website, they looked at my blog, they said, Oh, I read this blog, and I was intrigued and that’s why I decided to reach out. Yeah. So there are multiple ways to nurture your potential audience and your potential client base, but also just serving the general public. I think that’s another of the long list of reasons why having a website is important. 

 

Linzy [00:22:51] Yeah, I think we are at the age of the internet where it’s like if you don’t have a website, are you real in terms of a business? I know that, yeah a Psychology Today is that when I’ve tried to find a local therapist for this, that or the other thing. Right? Like to connect somebody or to to network with them. When I find somebody on Psychology Today and they don’t have a website, there is this pause which like, of course, intellectually, I know this person really exists, but you’re kind of like, Oh, they don’t have a website. It’s kind of weird, right? Like I think that is kind of our real calling card and our real like, this is who I really am. That as you say, we get to control, right? All those platforms are about keeping you on the platform. You know, you can have a great Instagram following, but Instagram doesn’t want people to know that much more about you. They want people to keep scrolling on Instagram, but it is really powerful. But I, I completely resonate with what you’re saying about the barrier that therapists have to being seen, because I know for me in my business, both of my therapy practice, but in this business that’s been one of my greatest growth areas, is being like, here I am. Because we’re not here I am kind of people most of the time. We’re that person like at the party, like over in the corner, having a heart to heart with somebody. I just think you’ve nailed it in terms of those things. Like there’s so much truth in what you’re saying about all these barriers that we have to websites. But as you say, there’s a million reasons to have a good website. 

 

Aisha [00:24:02] Absolutely. And it’s okay to just start somewhere. You know, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I know that we want to put out the most polished version of ourselves because that’s what we’re used to. You know, when you’re labeling yourself as an overachiever or someone who like is perfectionism is like a coat of arms, you’re just like, no, it has to be good. And if it’s not good, I’m not going to put it out there. But here’s the thing. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not going to be able to accomplish the goals that you have, revenue or otherwise. So you have to start somewhere. 

 

Linzy [00:24:36] Yes. And I will say that my website is not very good and I know that and I’m still doing fine. I just had a conversation the other night with a friend who’s doing a massive website overhaul, like a $20,000 website overhaul. I was like, Oh, maybe I should do that one day. And she’s like, Yeah, but you’ve done great without it, so it’s like, it can be good enough, is what I’m saying. It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to still serve that function that we’re talking about. 

 

Aisha [00:24:59] Yeah. If you’re getting results with where your website is right now, I would say if it isn’t broke, there’s no need to fix it immediately. But if you’re looking at growth and sustainability and you know that there are some areas of your business that you want to tighten up where you want to see like, oh, I keep getting the same question over and over again, right? Is that an area of my website that I can expand. Or you know, I’m offering this new service and the service is going off really, really well, but I’m finding myself having to talk about the service one on one with referral partners, as opposed to allowing people to find it on my website for a little bit organically. So again, you could invest in the $20,000 website, or you can invest in the free templates that come along with most domain providers at this point, or somewhere in the middle. But the design element of your website, in addition to the words on your website, there is a relationship between those two and as someone who’s very passionate about writing and who works with a copywriting teacher. I am a firm believer in fine tune the words and then let the design come with time. Because, you know, branding people get stuck in there like this brand. 

 

Linzy [00:26:14] Totally. 

 

Aisha [00:26:15] And all that. And it’s like, that will come in time. 

 

Linzy [00:26:17] Yes. The words really matter. That’s where your voice really comes shining through. Okay, great. So number two, wonderful marketing, specifically websites. What about a third thing? I think you had a third thing, too, that you find therapists are hesitant to invest in.  

 

Aisha [00:26:30] Yes. So the third thing is outsourcing. And many times people think about outsourcing their therapy. They’re like, I’m in solo private practice, I’m going to start a group practice because I need to outsource therapy. People are calling me, I’m on a wait list. All these things. That is not the only way to outsource. You can outsource things that you don’t necessarily need your clinical expertize to do. So for example, do you have to have clinical expertize to go and check your mailbox? No, you don’t. You can outsource that to somebody and say, you know what, I need someone to check my mailbox, because the amount of time that it takes me to run across town, check my mail, go back. Maybe you can outsource that to somebody. Doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that is on the payroll. Right. You could have someone that you trust, like if you have a partner that is intimately involved with your business. Hey, can you go and check my mail for me? That’s something that you can outsource. So don’t think outsource, meaning, like dollars and cents you can outsource. You know, preparing for dinner. What are we going to eat for dinner? There are a lot of decision fatigue that we have to have in our business. Like after a long day. The last thing I want to do is make another decision. So if I can outsource decision making, that’s also something you can do. And again, not entirely directly related to your business, but something that can influence how you show up for your business. 

 

Linzy [00:27:58] Absolutely. 

 

Aisha [00:27:59] When it comes to business specific things, you can hire a virtual assistant to help you. One thing that I recently brought on on the consulting side of my business was a virtual assistant, and I asked her to help me archive all of my content. So I have tons of content on social media and my blog PR features and I said, you know, would be really great if I had it in one spot. So when I go to repurpose my content, I’m able to click one file and open that file and have it all there, as opposed to having ten windows open and trying to find out what email newsletters I sent out and what posts I had. So that’s something that saved me hours and hours and hours of time. Could I have done that task? Absolutely, I could have, but I didn’t need to do that task because there were other things in my business that needed my time and attention that only I can do. So outsourcing tasks is very, very important. I encourage people to consider that. But then also, it’s the timing of outsourcing as well. And I’ll speak for myself in my solo private practice. I haven’t outsourced anything. And the reason being is because everything is working really smoothly. The other reason is, is that you have to take the time to figure out how you’re going to teach someone to do the thing that you need them to do. And right now, things are running so smoothly that it’s like there isn’t anything that’s falling off my plate that I need to outsource. But with my consulting work, I’m like, there are a lot of things happening over here, so I need to outsource this thing so that I can keep them moving. So depending on the type of business you have, will determine what type of things are outsourcing and how you do those things. And you can think about them from the business perspective, but also the personal aspect as well. 

 

Linzy [00:29:53] Mm hmm. Yeah. I love that point about the personal because I think something that certainly a lot of folks that I work with in Money Skills is they are also parents and especially mothers. And I think, yeah, there’s 400 other decisions that you’re making that day outside of your business that all take the same bandwidth, right? Like it’s all the same brain and body doing this work. So I love that idea of it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your business to have a positive impact on your business, is what I’m hearing. Those adjacent tasks can make a big difference. 

 

Aisha [00:30:22] Absolutely. I think we’re often reluctant to think about ourselves in the many roles that we have and how they influence each other. So I encourage therapists to consider themselves as a person first, because we are human beings just like our clients are. Think about yourself as the therapist that’s showing up and giving care, but also the business owner and the entrepreneur. And depending on how we’re able to show up for ourselves as people, that’s going to impact how we show up as a therapist and how we show up in our business. So if you find yourself showing up more as the business owner and that’s dominating a lot of your time, take an inventory of what the other aspects of your life look like and dial it back a little bit. It’s okay to refresh things over time. 

 

Linzy [00:31:11] Mm hmm. Yeah, we can get really, like, as I said earlier, like, that runaway train thing of, like, a feeling like you’re being pulled along. And I think there’s also something that can feel very comfortable about overworking and like being in that role all the time, because as therapists, we get to be competent and effective and help other people and make everything better. And something that I’ve noticed is sometimes there’s other reasons why I want to stay in that space. But what I’m hearing is if we look at outsourcing, we can start to maybe reclaim other parts of our lives more too. Rather than having all of our time going to this one one hat that we wear when there are many other hats that also need our attention or that we just want to spend time being. Aisha, it has been so great talking to you today. So for people who are listening, if they want to find you and follow you, first of all, where is the best place for them to find you online? 

 

Aisha [00:32:03] Yeah. So it may come as no surprise the best place to find me is on my website. That is the one stop shop for everything that I talk to people about. So you can find links to my blog there. You can find links to my podcast Beyond the Session where I focus on everything that we have to do. That happens beyond the therapy session with our clients. And you can also find the checklist for things to help you figure out what to say to inspire your ideal client to say yes to working with you. A lot of times people get tossed up in this, you know, what do I say in my marketing and how do I market? And what do you mean know, like, and trust? So we really break down. Very simply, it’s a it’s a growing list of questions. I think at now it’s about 20 questions where you can infuse and the different phases of your – what I call your therapy consultation process – or looking at the things that you’re going to do before your therapy consultation. And a lot of that marketing and attracting people what you’re doing during the therapy consultation or that acquisition or acquire phase and then after. So that retention phase and if we have all three of those things together, then you’re more likely to have a sustainable practice. So that free checklist is available to you there. And if you are interested in learning more about how to automate things, especially when it comes to welcoming people into the therapy consultation process, I do have a client inquiry form template where it walks you through how to create a client inquiry form so that you can automate some of your processes for your practice. 

 

Linzy [00:33:43] Beautiful, beautiful, wonderful. So you can find those on your website because websites are important. That’s what we’re taking away for today. So thank you. Thank you so much for joining me today. So many valuable pieces and folks are listening. If you’re curious, definitely take a minute now to go check out Aisha’s website and get those great, great freebies. In this conversation with Aisha, the thing that really stuck out to me just so much was about automating those onboarding processes. I think that her her point about, you know, think about how many places now have automated and you know, what it’s like to like not get appointment reminders both as a client not having that and having to manage it, but also as a therapist, you know, getting somebody booked in and not having the systems in place to make sure that they actually are reminded of their appointment. Both of you lose that client loses that appointment with you. You lose that client income depending on your policies. And I see so often therapists be kind of fearful and sometimes mistrustful about technology. And certainly, you know, it’s up to all of us to find what is comfortable with us and really jives with the experience we want to create for our clients and our own beliefs. But certainly, as I was saying, a little automation can go a long way. And clearly, she has a lot more to offer around creating a smooth onboarding process and an automated client consultation process with your client. So this is an area where you’ve had any kind of like bumps or you struggle or you find yourself doing things that maybe could be done automatically. Instead, I would definitely suggest that you check out Aisha’s resources. I think that a little bit of effort here goes a long way and saves you a lot of time and energy and money. If you want more from me, you can follow me on Instagram, we post free, practical and emotional money content on there all the time. You can find me at @moneynutsandbolts and if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over and leave review on Apple Podcasts. It is the best way for other therapists to find us and take part in these conversations about therapists and money. Thanks for joining me 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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Episode Transcript

Kelly [00:00:04] They don’t want to know what it’s really going to take to get to the practice that’s ideal. They’re like, I’m okay with just enough for now. But we really try to challenge that and be like, You need to understand what the full picture is to take care of yourself so that you can do this work long term. 

 

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 guests are, as they say, not quite the O.G. in like the therapist consultant space, but pretty close. And that is Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe. Today we get into so many things. This conversation covered a lot of ground, starting with the importance of understanding your business numbers. We talked about the business numbers that often therapists try to ignore and why you shouldn’t do that. We talked about having your eyes on the overall numbers and the importance of understanding your overall picture in your private practice and your business finances. Not just focusing on those kind of vanity numbers, those sexy numbers that we all like to talk about, like revenue or profit. But ultimately, we really got into the importance of building a business that actually supports you and your life, and that at the end of the day, no number is going to replace meaning balance connection. And it was just such a rich conversation. I just I was very much vibing with Kelly and Miranda during this conversation. We are on the same page on many, many things. It was exciting to talk to them and we also covered at the end we get into that very first step. If you’re listening to the episode and you’re like, okay, I do want to get my business aligned so it actually takes care of my life. We talk about the first step that you can take to building a business that actually takes care of you and your life. Here are Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe. So Miranda and Kelly, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Miranda [00:02:38] We’re so delighted to be here. 

 

Kelly [00:02:40] Thank you for having us. 

 

Linzy [00:02:41] Yeah, I was I was just saying I’m sure many, many folks listening know who you are. You were one of the names that was around when I started building Money Nuts & Bolts, my business, in 2018, which seems like eons ago in the online business space, because I think there weren’t a lot of people doing what you do at that time. Is that true? 

 

Kelly [00:03:01] We’ve been together since 2010, and before that Miranda was also doing consulting. So it’s been a long time that we’ve been around where that kind of- 

 

Miranda [00:03:10] We’re not quite the O.G. 

 

Kelly [00:03:11] No, we’re not. 

 

Linzy [00:03:13] You’re not?

 

Miranda [00:03:14] Actually part of like the handful of maybe five people. And we were kind of the newbies coming in at that time.

 

Linzy [00:03:23] Right. Yes. So you’ve worked with a therapist or two over the years, I would assume. 

 

Miranda [00:03:27] Just several tens of thousands. It’s fine. 

 

Linzy [00:03:31] Yeah, yeah, okay, okay, okay, okay. Tell me a little bit about kind of your courses now. Like we don’t have to get that deep, but what are what do you do with therapists, just to get us kind of grounded in where you’re coming from? 

 

Kelly [00:03:43] Yeah, we have a primary course. It’s our business school for therapists. It’s a lifetime access program that grows with every stage of practice. So- and our way of looking at things is we believe in having great outcomes clinically, while also improving your income and financial well-being and having a good life, whatever that looks like to you. None of those should be sacrificed. That’s how we define success. The client benefits, the clinician benefits, and your legacy benefits. So that is a- that’s our main course that we’ve been working with therapists on for- since two- I mean, long time-. 

 

Miranda [00:04:22] 2013, we did a couple of other courses before that where we would do a standalone course for different aspects and then we would find all the holes where people really didn’t understand how to be a business owner. And we saw how it was impacting them clinically. They would come to us, Yeah I want to launch a course. We’re like, Cool, let’s launch a course. And then we find out, Oh, your whole business, your private practice, is kind of a dumpster fire right now. You’re trying to build a course to save that. But like, what if we, like, put the fire out and we took care of that and then we could still do a course. But like let’s do this first and that, let’s not just replicate the same issues that made you hate your private practice in another core offering. 

 

Linzy [00:05:07] And isn’t that the temptation? I think. Like the next shiny object, the next exciting thing. Yeah, yeah. 

 

Miranda [00:05:14] So many times. And I think that that place of understanding and breathing into and it’s it’s a trauma response. Right. Let me run from this thing that’s not working. Let me fight about this thing. Let me just people please. 

 

Kelly [00:05:28] Stick my head in the sand. 

 

Miranda [00:05:28] Stick my head in the sand. Yeah, and it doesn’t help. 

 

Linzy [00:05:31] No, no, certainly not. So in the work that you’ve done with tens of thousands of therapists over the years, I know that you also, you know, dig into people’s numbers with them, which is essential to have a healthy business. So I’m curious, with the work that you’ve done. First of all, tell me about kind of what some of the things that you’ve done with folks around business finances, because I feel like there’s lots of folks who do money mindset, fees, but like business finances the more like nitty gritty. Not a lot of folks are doing. But I know you do this. So tell me about that work that you that you do with folks. 

 

Miranda [00:06:05] We started years ago when we started the business school with like, oh, here’s a little mini calculator of like calculating your fee. And then we realized people were missing things, right? They weren’t planning for retirement. They weren’t paying for savings. They didn’t know what expenses they needed. And so over time, we developed basically a piece of software with like macros and things built into Excel where they could fill out all of these questions and then it would say at the end, here’s what your fee should be based on all this information. And it even integrates their ideal schedule, how many weeks off they need for sick, for whatever- there are for all of these different things that we saw that people were missing over time. Yeah. And then in our business school, they could come and, now that they have everything in one place, they could ask for support. They could upload it to us, we could look at it, make a video, and give them feedback. And what we found, which is really fascinating, was that even now that they have the cell by cell question by question, there were certain things that people kept skipping. And that they would still ignore. And now it wasn’t, Oh I forgot. Now it wasn’t, Oh, I didn’t know. It’s right there. 

 

Linzy [00:07:13] It’s like right in your face. 

 

Miranda [00:07:15] It’s right in your face. So for us as business coaches, we could then see that and then we could dive into what was underneath. And that’s where sometimes some of the- not just money mindset, but also family of origin issues, some of the like real deep wounds that people were carrying around, around their sense of worthiness, am I good enough as a human? Am I good enough as a therapist? How these are showing up even in just answering questions on a spreadsheet. 

 

Linzy [00:07:48] First of all, that spreadsheet sounds like a dream. I’m like salivating at the thought of that spreadsheet. So high five. Because I have spreadsheets that I’ve made that play with aspects of that and- but like the idea that you have this all built together over the years is incredible. So. And so telling that folks would skip questions that were like literally right in front of them. So, of course, I want to know, what did people like to skip. 

 

Kelly [00:08:16] That big one that they skipped understanding the tax situation. 

 

Linzy [00:08:20] Oh, yes. 

 

Kelly [00:08:21] They want to skip self-employment tax. They literally will take it out sometimes, even though we have it automatically put in there. 

 

Linzy [00:08:28] No way. 

 

Miranda [00:08:29] Someone just today. Just today. Literally, went and like they just deleted it. They didn’t even put zero. They just took it out.

 

Linzy [00:08:35] Right. They’re like, No. 

 

Miranda [00:08:38] And left themself with 15% taxes, federal and state. Everything together. 

 

Kelly [00:08:40] And then there’s this lack of- really it’s a Google search ya’ll. Just go see what your state income tax rate is. For those that are listening here who are like, I don’t know: you can Google search it and find out. So the taxes are a big one. The other thing is, is we teach from the perspective of here’s the must haves in your expenses and this is the ideal practice expenses. So, for example, when you’re starting out, maybe you aren’t going to account for your disability insurance. You’re not quite there yet because you’re just getting the essence of what your expenses are. But essentially, we want you to build into saving for tech changes. Your computer will break, your phone will break. You will need upgrades. You will need sick leave that you save for yourself. Retirement. Maybe health insurance. And those are often people just leave them blank. They don’t want to know what it’s really going to take to get to the practice that’s ideal. And they’re like, I’m okay with just enough for now, but we really try to challenge that and be like, You need to understand what the full picture is to take care of yourself so that you can do this work long term. 

 

Linzy [00:09:51] Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Miranda [00:09:52] And they’ll do things like, which is really interesting, they’ll have this as their side practice and they’ll have an agency job or another position where they’re getting their health insurance and where they’re getting paid, you know, $18 an hour or something like ridiculous. But they’re so scared of what the numbers would look like if they were to put that health insurance. And it looks like such a big number that they don’t compare and realize, oh, I’m actually not really getting paid that much at an agency or this nonprofit. I really could do this on my own. And they will create this dynamic where they’re trapped because of their benefits when it’s really not true. 

 

Linzy [00:10:33] Yeah, I think it’s this idea that benefits need to be provided by somebody else. Like they’re really expensive, really prohibitive. It’s better to stay almost anywhere if you can get benefits. 

 

Kelly [00:10:44] I mean, it’s just a new system to understand and learn. And as we’ve grown, where we used to get benefits on our own, and now we provide them for our staff. You know, it changes. Just the way you do it in your business. But I think taking in consideration especially group practices like learning how to grow into what those benefits may look like, that’s another thing that sometimes they’re like, I’ll just pay them more. Well, actually, you may do better to increase their benefits first than to pay them more. So we have like pay scales to figure out, like, how do you give a raise, not just randomly, how do you do it in a way that’s equitable and we’re really big on equitability, like when it comes to money. So that’s something that group practice owners also struggle with when they not only do the benefits for themselves, but then they bring that into providing something for their employees. 

 

Miranda [00:11:36] I think that’s the other thing that I see in general, too, because our our Excel spreadsheet, at the point that they’re ready to go into a group, they they actually put- they check a box and the spreadsheet completely changes for them as a group practice owner. Like how cool is that? 

 

Linzy [00:11:50] Oh, man, I’m really- I just need to say this spreadsheet sounds like the bomb. 

 

Miranda [00:11:58] It’s so juicy. But what we would find is that people would, before we had this spreadsheet and help them see the numbers of the profitability, they would create a dynamic where having employees, their gross income would go up, but their actual net income would go down over and over again. And they would be working more. They would keep a case load. They wouldn’t at all adjust for any of these things. So to help them understand sweat equity, help them understand how much time it’s going to take to launch the group practice, the additional expenses, and to see that it’s not just, oh, well, I don’t want to take 50% of their money, because they haven’t adjusted for you’re going to be spending 100 hours maybe in launching this group practice and an extra 5 to 15 hours a week sometimes. In a large group practice, maybe more. That you realize, oh, I’m working so hard to make sure they’re paid well, you’re not being you’re not paying yourself. And you would have made more money to just stick with what you were doing and increase your fee by $10. That would have been a better decision than bringing on your friend because it’s going to be really easy and it’s going to be pure profit. 

 

Linzy [00:13:09] Gosh, yes. Yes, all of that. Yeah. I think everybody I think – because I think it’s a societal message – but certainly I see therapists fall into this like you do. This idea that more more is more right, that like more revenue means that you’re going to have more money. But if you don’t build the machine properly, I’ve been thinking more and more lately of this metaphor of like our businesses are machines and group practices are such complex machines. There’s so many variables that you need to set and that like so many decisions to make, and if you set it up wrong, you can absolutely build something that makes you less money, loses you money, will never make money, even if you’re seeing a thousand clients a month in your group. But it’s easy to want to skip that part and just go with, you know, Oh, more money’s coming in the door, so everything is better. 

 

Kelly [00:13:50] And I think some of that can come from people pleasing or just a lack of not understanding the systems, not really understanding how payroll works and all the expenses. Because when you hire, there’s just a hiring cost. You got to know like how long it takes before you even break even, let alone when there’s a profit. So it’s just a new level of learning and coming in to- I think some people definitely I struggle with this- hate the system. We struggle with some of the systemic issues and so we avoid it. But the reality is, how do I work within it so I can still serve well and not burn myself out? We talk about standing in the gap. There is systemic issues and oppression and brokenness that not you as an individual can fill. You can hold to your values and then fight for a better system. But I think there’s some of that that also comes up. We talk a lot about like intersectional lens when we look at money and why people sometimes avoid these things. 

 

Miranda [00:14:52] I think the other thing that I see a lot and it’s and it’s I think there’s I really believe in community. I believe in therapists coming together and supporting each other is absolutely magical. And I’ve really seen that if you’re in the – I’m going to say the wrong community or if you’re in an ineffective community – you can end up like you’re going to look like the rest of your community. And so a lot of times you see people say, oh, people say you can’t make money with insurance. I made $1,000,000 last year. Right. Now, they’re not talking about profitability. They didn’t share how many hours a week they worked. They didn’t share whether they were paying their employees well, right. They they shared nothing more than this big number on the top. And they didn’t share their reimbursement rate. Because in Ohio, you might be getting a reimbursement rate for a 90837 of $143, and the average house price is 300,000. And in L.A., it’s $68 and the average house price is 650 for like a one bedroom. 

 

Kelly [00:15:58] If that. 

 

Miranda [00:15:58] So yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s this like weird space where sometimes people are sharing things out of context. They don’t even know what they don’t know. They don’t know what their own profitability is. And then I see these, these really well-meaning people go, Oh, I’ve been successful. I’m going to have another stream of income and I’m going to start coaching other therapists. And now I’m going to share how to replicate what I did when I don’t- and I need more income because what I did isn’t actually profitable. That’s what I have- that’s why I got to make time to do this. And then they take them down the same path, just completely unaware. 

 

Linzy [00:16:37] Yeah. And I mean, it kind of goes back to exactly what you were talking about at the beginning, which is knowing all of the numbers. Right. We’re talking about a different set of numbers right now, but it’s still the same thing. It’s like, sure that there’s a number on the top, but all of the numbers are actually what paints the picture together, not just like your revenue or your fee or the sexy numbers, as you say. Those tell such a small portion of the story. Like sometimes I almost like to say like revenue is is almost insignificant and that’s obviously being hyperbolic. Obviously revenue matters, but you really could be bringing $1,000,000 into a practice and spending, you know, 999,950 on running the business. Like that- that is actually possible if you’re not talking about the rest of the picture. 

 

Kelly [00:17:20] Yeah, I think too, that goes with profitability too. I know people think like, oh, that’s the number. But at the end of the day, you can make all the money in the world and if you’re not happy, if you aren’t healthy. If you were working like 24/7. That’s not really great to me. I’d rather make less money and be a good human. 

 

Miranda [00:17:38] Yeah. I mean, we’ve been in groups with other practice coaches and people who are out there and you’re like, It’s two in the morning, you’ve been drinking for 6 hours and you’re running payroll. At 2am. Like, What is happening? Like, something’s out of balance. Like, you know,. 

 

Linzy [00:17:54] Is this your best life? 

 

Miranda [00:17:55] Is this really like- and you’re helping other people. Or I was sitting with an amazing business owner, amazing human. Love him. And we’re having this conversation. We haven’t seen each other in like a year. And he’s every every 2 seconds he’s on his text. And he said, Well, you know how it is. And I said, No. I said, No, that’s just not how I do do life. We had a very different vision of what this is going to look like, and we had a different set of circumstances of like, Hey, here’s the age of my child and I want to pick them up from school and I want to be present with him. And that makes- that’s more important to me than a big payoff right now. And, you know, I want to make sure that I’m making a great income and making great profit. But if it’s at the expense of a connected relationship with my child, like, No, thank you. 

 

Linzy [00:18:46] Absolutely. And you’re- I mean, you’re very much speaking my language. I literally talk about this topic because I- my son is three and a half. 

 

Kelly [00:18:53] Awwww. 

 

Linzy [00:18:54] And three and a half is such a precious age and it’s different than three and it’ll be different than four. You know, like when they’re little, they change so quickly. And I’m sure it probably feels that way all the way through parenthood, but especially the way that I came into doing this work full time, is I had a one year mat leave because I’m Canadian, so I had a long time to think about like, what do I want my working life with my child to look like? And I even personally made the decision to stop being a therapist. I stopped practicing to be emotionally available for him because of the emotional impact of the work I was particularly doing. And I think it’s such an easy part of the picture to want to skip because there’s so many stories about money that like money in itself brings happiness. That like that you’ll be happy later. It’s like when you hit this milestone. 

 

Kelly [00:19:34] When I retire. 

 

Linzy [00:19:35] When you retire. And like some people don’t retire, like we don’t all make it there. And so, you know, I have almost this very like heavy mortality view of it, but it’s just life is happening now. We know that for sure. And financially, I don’t think it’s a great thing to bet it all on the future. 

 

Kelly [00:19:50] Yeah. 

 

Miranda [00:19:50] No. 

 

Linzy [00:19:51] To bet that fulfillment and connection and meaning will come later. You know, in ten or 20 years when you built up a certain number. 

 

Miranda [00:19:57] It’s absolutely now. And I you know, I was thinking about that actually over this weekend, we went to a retreat and there were people there in their sixties on this retreat saying, I’m still trying to find my sense of self and value. Right. 

 

Kelly [00:20:09] And I don’t know how to stop work. 

 

Miranda [00:20:10] I don’t know how to stop working. I don’t know how to find value. When is enough enough? What does this look like? I don’t know what life is going to look like. I don’t know how to be connected to my partner. I don’t know how to be connected to another human because this has been my focus. I don’t want to be there at 60. I think there’s a better way. 

 

Linzy [00:20:28] Yes. Yeah. Well, I think it sounds like you’re already living the better way, you know, to give credit where credit is due. Is that fair to say? Is it still a work in progress? 

 

Kelly [00:20:37] Yeah, and that’s taken a lot of intention and it’s been a lot of foibles with money. Like as this has grown and we’ve added staff, I’ve learned too, you know, of different ways to do it even better and to and to instill this in our staff, to promote this in our staff. Like at the end of the day, like we’re in the middle of a launch, messaging them of: you are not to overwork, be proud of what you’ve done to contribute to this, you’re an integral part, and you have a life. Go live your life. You know of those kinds of things of like really creating a culture of not just within our family and our family legacy, but in the lives of people who work with us so that they know that work is just one outlet for using your gifts. And there’s many other things about life that are good. 

 

Miranda [00:21:23] And like you get to set a schedule that works for you and you don’t need to work Fridays. There’s no reason for us to be doing five days a week. And let’s make sure that you’re taking time off and that we’re like really getting to know you as a human, although sometimes that goes badly. We had a staff, we’re like, how can we like say thank you to the staff? And I was like, He loves haunted houses. And I’d heard about this haunted house. And I was like, What about this? He’s like, Have you read the reviews? I’m like, No, I don’t do a haunted house. He was like, They shave 17 into people’s heads. 

 

Kelly [00:21:52] And they electrocute you.  

 

Linzy [00:21:58] We’re trying to connect with you. 

 

Miranda [00:22:00] You know, pieces of knowing someone to be human and be like, I want to like speak to love language of my employees. And and support them in a way and not just put my stuff on them.  

 

Linzy [00:22:14] So, you know, for folks who are listening, you know, we’ve been talking about the numbers. We started by talking about how it can be hard to look at certain numbers. And now I think we’ve landed on one of my passion topics, and obviously yours too, which is the balancing of life and meaning and how money can bring that into your world. But money doesn’t replace connection, time with family, meaning. So for someone who’s listening right now who’s like, okay, I’m kind of buying in. Maybe I need to start getting my numbers working. Maybe I need to. Maybe that’s the key to actually getting the life that I want. What would be a starting place for them? Where would you suggest that they start? Just a little baby step that they could take, even today. 

 

Miranda [00:22:55] Perfect day exercise. Yeah. Doing a: if I woke up in the morning, not on a vacation day, not after I won the lottery, but like a perfect day; if I was moving through my day at a pace that really worked for me; if I had time for my family, my relationships, for myself, or for my health; if I was really doing the work that just inspired me and that energized me throughout the day and working at a pace that really worked for my body. What would that look like moment by moment? Can I set a foundation for what that looks like? So now I know what time I would go into work, how many clients I would see, what kind of break I would have between them, if any. How much of a lunch break? What I would do. What I would eat. When I would come home. What kind of connection time I would have. How many days a week I would work. All of these different pieces. And then that sets this foundation for the numbers. How many clients can I really see? How many hours am I working total? Because there is going to be some working on the business, not just in the business. 

 

Kelly [00:24:07] Maybe there’s some additional expenses that I need to be considering, like having a VA, having a bookkeeper, or having a financial advisor, so that these things in my life are easier. So that day informs, then, the expenses. Then to know how to, based off of what Miranda is saying in the caseload size and how much you’re working. You take those expenses and then you can get really clear on the numbers. Instead of doing: this is the practice I have to have right now. If you’re starting, you are in at at an advantage. You can actually create, from now moving forward, the practice you want. If you have been in practice for a long time, it’s not that you’re at a disadvantage. It’s just that you have to undo some things, like take a few steps back and rebuild and revision. All it takes is really knowing where you’re headed. And that can change. We recommend that perfect day exercise any time you feel stuck. Any time there’s a life change. Once a year at minimum. Is this still on- online for what I want for my life and business? 

 

Linzy [00:25:09] I love how that exercise starts with embodiment because I think that that’s a piece that can so often be missing, both in business and in finances. And this is part of my passion of talking about money in the way that I do is actually bringing like our bodies and our emotions and our ourselves into these conversations because it can be so tempting. I think even as therapists, too, and helpers and self-sacrificers and overachievers to like live up in our heads and like find the number that’s the right number. And you live your life from your head of like hitting a certain amount of clients a day, helping everybody, living up here. And if you’re overdoing it, you actually have to live in your head because your body feels terrible. You don’t want to be down there because you’re exhausted. And so I love how you start with the body. It’s just such a wise place to start as we’re thinking about how money can support us and build the life that we actually want. 

 

Kelly [00:25:57] Yeah, we just finished a training where we talk about if you look at indigenous cultures and what they really value is that body, mind, heart, spirit balance. Right. Of working, operating in alignment with all of those four things. And so that’s something we try. We’ve been bringing more and more to our work of what does your body say? What does the heart say, what does Spirit say? Because we know probably what the mind says. Most people in Western culture have the mind locked down and it’s these other three that need attention and integration in order to lead you towards that vision. 

 

Miranda [00:26:33] And it was interesting again during doing this training last week and it was all about business planning and everyone’s like, Yeah, on the mind. And then we got to the other part and people were like, Oh, oh, this, I didn’t even realize, oh, I’m, I’m crying like I’m tearing up. Like, this is what I’ve been missing. And again, here’s this group of, you know, hundreds or thousands of therapists that are living up here. And we’re trying to teach our clients to be integrated, but we’re not. Because there’s no space, because that’s not what they taught us in grad school.  

 

Linzy [00:27:12] No, no. Oh, that’s beautiful. That makes my body feel very happy to know that that work is happening. So, Miranda and Kelly, if folks want to find you, where is the best place for them to follow you? Find you?

 

Kelly [00:27:24] Yeah. The best way to find us is to go to ZynnyMe.com and if you go to free, slash free, you’ll get- we have over 15 hours of free training. 

 

Miranda [00:27:33] Can’t really go wrong with that. 

 

Linzy [00:27:35] Yeah, that’s a good place to start and stay. 

 

Kelly [00:27:37] One of them has that perfect day exercise in it, actually. 

 

Linzy [00:27:39] Oh perfect. 

 

Kelly [00:27:41] Anyone want to try that. 

 

Miranda [00:27:41] Yeah. And of course, you can get on the interest list for our next round of business school if you want something holistic to come and play and a wonderful, safe community, we’re going to dig in with all the numbers and also do meditations and marketing and SEO and all that juicy stuff. So check it out. 

 

Linzy [00:27:59] Sounds wonderful. Great. Thank you so, so much, both of you, for joining me today. 

 

Kelly [00:28:04] Thank you. 

 

Miranda [00:28:05] Thank you, Linzy. I love that someone who’s so deep in the numbers is so deep in the embodiment and the spirit in the soul. Like as we’re having the ending part of the conversation, like I got tingling all over. Like I’m just like, yay, I feel like we just met a new, like, friend. 

 

Linzy [00:28:23] I feel exactly the same. This was- I’m very glad to have met you in this context, and I’m so excited about the work that you’re doing. 

 

Kelly [00:28:30] Thank you Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:28:44] I was so appreciative and also kind of pleasantly surprised that the conversation with Kelly and Miranda ended basically with embodiment and starting from your body. I think it’s so easy as therapists, especially for perfectionists and overachievers, and I know many of you identify those ways. It’s so easy for us to live from our heads, live from our heads in our businesses, live from our heads in our lives, trying to, like, do it right, you know, do it perfectly. I hit these certain goals that we’ve decided are important in our minds, but not actually listen to our bodies and not actually be in ourselves in the work that we do or in our daily lives, because we’ve set up businesses that kind of exploit us and that exhaust us and that have us serving others so much that our own life is actually kind of pale and and tired and we’re not showing up and being present in the way that we want to, and we don’t feel proud of that. So I loved the wisdom at the end of just like coming back to embodiment, being present with yourself, thinking about what you actually want your life to look like and thinking isn’t even the right word. Really connecting with what you want your life to look like. That perfect day exercise I think is so valuable. And building a practice that actually serves you not just in your head, not just in your goals, not just in your numbers, but in your body. And that actually creates a life that nurtures and supports you. There’s so much wisdom in that. Just so appreciative of this conversation today with Kelly and Miranda. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. I share free, practical and emotional money and private practice finance content on there all the time. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It will take you like literally 2 minutes, and it really helps other therapists who want to be hearing these conversations to find me. 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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Learning How to Invest with Kaci Schmitt

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Learning How to Invest with Kaci Schmitt

Episode Cover Image Learning How to Invest with Kaci Schmitt

“Having financial professionals on your team is incredibly important. And one thing that I always want to let people know is that it also really, really important to have the education around how do you know who you can actually trust? There are very trustworthy individuals in the financial expert space, but then there are people who are basically sales people.”

~Kaci Schmitt

Meet Kaci Schmitt

Kaci is a therapist in private practice who has also created her second business, Invested Therapist™, where she helps therapists go from feeling confused and overwhelmed by their finances to becoming confident, secure stewards of their money able to save and invest for retirement and other financial goals.

In this Episode...

How are you investing your money for retirement? In this practical financial episode, Linzy and Kaci dig into what it looks like to wisely invest our money as private practitioners so that our money can grow for us.

Kaci is passionate about helping therapists in private practice learn more about effective investing so that we can work our way toward financial independence. Listen in to hear her tips and find out how you can connect with her to get more help with financial planning and investments.

Connect with Kaci

Check out Kaci’s Facebook group “Financial Self-Care for Therapists”: facebook.com/groups/financialselfcare 

Learn more about Kaci’s membership: investedtherapist.co/membership

Or use her free calculator: investedtherapist.co/calculator 

Want more private practice finances support?

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Kaci [00:00:02] Having financial professionals on your team is incredibly important. And one thing that I always want to let people know is that, you know, it’s also really, really important to have the education around how do you know who you can actually trust? There are very trustworthy individuals in the financial expert space, but then there are people who are basically salespeople.  

Linzy [00:00:30] 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 Kaci Schmitt. Kaci is a therapist who has the unusual interest of being really interested in investing, so much so that she is creating an offering and has an online community called the Invested Therapist, which is all about helping therapists with investing. Today, Kaci and I get into the importance of investing. We get into the ethical murkiness of investing and how it can be troubling for those of us concerned about capitalism and companies that are not doing great things in the world. How do you reconcile that with your need to have your money growing? We get into ETFs, so if you’ve heard about ETFs and you’re like, What are ETFs? Everybody keeps talking about them. Kaci I get into that today as well as both of our preferred method of investment, and we talk about managing feelings when investing. Just like all areas of life, investing your money comes with feelings, triggers, stories that may want you to take certain actions or make you have certain behaviors. And we dig into that today talking about the importance of managing your feelings when you have money invested in the stock market. This is a fun conversation with Kaci today. It’s always nice to talk to a therapist who’s also really like geeky and interested in money. And we covered a lot of ground. Here is my conversation with Kaci Schmitt. So, Kaci, welcome to the podcast. 

Kaci [00:02:34] Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it, Linzy. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:02:37] I am excited to have you on because you and I occupy a very small space together of therapists who are very interested and enthusiastic about money and finances. 

Kaci [00:02:50] Yes. Yes. 

Linzy [00:02:51] There are not a lot of us. 

Kaci [00:02:53] We absolutely. Excited to be able to connect with you. I know, it’s interesting, like what brings people interested in finances? I think it can be really different. But, you know, I’m just so happy to be here. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:03:08] So for you, then, let’s dig a little bit into what got you to where you are now. And we’re going to talk to you about about what you offer in a sec. But what got you to the place where you are now, where you’re really passionate and interested in helping therapists with finances and specifically investing in your case? 

Kaci [00:03:26] Yeah. Yeah. You know, my personal finance journey has been really interesting because it’s not something that I was ever interested in going to school for. It’s not something I really thought too much about, other than making sure that I could take care of my finances, not get into credit card debt. Like that was kind of my mentality- and save some. That was my mentality probably until about five or six years ago because I just kind of thought that wealth building didn’t really apply to me as a person. I initially decided professionally I wanted to become a teacher, and so I did. I went to school for that and then I went to school to become a school counselor and I kind of thought to myself, Oh, I will like maybe do a very little bit of private practice on the side. Or maybe when I retire because I’ve got this retirement account set up with a school district that I’m in, maybe then I’ll do private practice full time. But what I realized, and this is kind of what like led me to become really passionate and curious about personal finance, is that I had always been placing my sense of financial security on whether I would be able to be employed in this school district. And I know that the public education is different in different parts of the country. And here in Canada it might be different, but in the parts of the country that I have lived in and in the time period. So I graduated right after the Great Recession in December 2009 from my undergrad degree. So I’ve kind of always had this like financial scarcity, this feeling of it looming over me professionally because there was the recession going on and I couldn’t find a job as a teacher. And then in pretty much every district I’ve ever worked in, there’s always been this threat of budget cuts and that, you know, if you’re a teacher or a school counselor or just employed in any way in public education, if you’re not in it for, you know, five, six, seven years at the point that they start talking about budget cuts, you’re probably going to be one of the ones to go because they just know based on however long you’ve been employed. Right. So I, I remember right around the time I started getting really interested in personal finance, I was driving home one day from a meeting that I had had as a school counselor at the district that I was employed in at the time. And it was yet again another talk about budget cuts. And it just kind of clicked for me that my sense of financial security was always based on whether I would be employed or not by like something I couldn’t control. I started learning about personal finance and specifically investing outside of just what was being taken out of my paycheck through my public education job. And I realized that I actually could create a sense of financial empowerment and autonomy from really building my financial literacy. And of course, in tandem with all this, I eventually decided to become full time in my private practice. So now I’m completely not dependent on any other employer, totally self-employed. And when I realized kind of how these pieces were clicking into place for me of building that financial literacy and learning about saving and investing for retirement and other financial goals, I realized that, like what that frees up in my mind to know that I don’t ever have to go back to a school if I don’t want to, you know, I don’t. Nothing is- how I’ll be in retirement has nothing to do with whether someone’s going to fire me right now or not because I got up for myself, you know? 

Linzy [00:07:05] Yeah. I mean, I hear so much in that about autonomy and, like, claiming our financial power, you know, that’s something that I thought about a lot. I especially I found myself thinking about it a lot around the time of, you know, the George Floyd protests. And as therapists, we often have so much fear about having too much power. Right, because we have power over our clients. We’re so aware of power. And like power’s got a bad rap because we’re so aware of, like, oppression and systemic oppression. Systemic discrimination. And I think we’re very much- we can end up being afraid of power or feel guilty if we have privilege or power. But also what I’m hearing and what you’re saying and what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is all the positives of power and having your own financial power, it means control over your life, right? It means not being dependent on a system that doesn’t really care about you. Right. Where you’re going to get cut, even if you’re the best teacher in the school because you’ve only been there for two years. It really is kind of like claiming your autonomy. And I think private practice is such a powerful way that we do that as therapists where we’re like, This is mine, I’m going to build this. And I was just chatting with somebody the other day about the recession, the R-word that’s looming over us. That kind of, you know, remains to be seen what exactly it’s going to mean for all of us, how powerful it is to be self-employed in a recession. Right. Because we have the ability to create things and like pivot. And we have so much control and ability to make choices that you don’t have when you’re an employee and you’re working for somebody else. And really, it’s about their choices. You know, all these things are kind of coming up for me as you’re talking about your journey. So it’s kind of like you stepped into your own professional power working for yourself, no longer being dependent on employment from somebody else, but also stepped into your financial power, developing this skillset around like investing and personal finance. 

Kaci [00:08:46] I think you have said so much. There’s there’s so much rich content in there. And I absolutely agree that, you know, we can’t talk about money without being aware of all all types of systemic oppression, all types of inequity that have existed that continue to exist. Right. And it’s it’s a really interesting conversation because, you know, I really do. I look at it as we are a part of this system of capitalism, we are a part of there are certain structures in our lives. And, you know, I think there are some really amazing ways that we can affect systemic change, whether it’s voting, being very vocal with our beliefs. You know, there’s there’s so much that we can do. But also individually, we can’t say, I don’t want capitalism to exist if- I’m not saying necessarily right. But like, if said, I don’t want this thing to exist. We can’t just say, well, then it’s not going to happen for everybody. Right? Like we are still operating and and to know the rules of the game, I think can be- can allow for that personal empowerment. And when you have that personal empowerment, my intention, my hope with everything is that like just when people have access to information that- and opportunities that they’ve historically been denied, that they will then be able to make those choices in their individual lives that might free up, you know, now I have the energy to go and effect change in this other way. Right now I have the time, the resources, the money to be able to donate, if that’s something, you know, if you have a cause that you’re passionate about, like when we know how it works, we can affect change in a different way than if we just don’t have those financial literacy tools as kind of a nation. 

Linzy [00:10:41] Yeah, absolutely. It opens up this new kind of like realm of influence or ability to impact change both in like your own family’s life. Like I think about even in my own family, you know, family members who are like living basically in poverty, right. Who are very precarious. And it gives me the ability to functionally support them on a monthly basis and help them with certain things in their life. But also, as you say, like to support our community to make things happen that otherwise wouldn’t happen, like to empower causes. There’s so many ways because money is such a fluid thing and it can turn into so many different things. There’s so many ways that that power- we can use that power, right? That if we don’t have access to it, that we just don’t have the ability to to make any change or influence over without money. 

Kaci [00:11:27] Absolutely. Yeah. Whole-heartedly agree. And it’s just something that I think it’s still so new in a lot of ways for us to like even be able to have this type of conversation. You and I are having right now- not only because there’s like often taboos around talking about money really openly, but like here in the United States, it wasn’t even until the 1970s that women and I know I’m kind of talking about it from like a cis perspective like that women were able to get bank accounts and lines of credit on their own without a man as a cosigner. And to me, someone born in 1987, that blows my mind. That’s where we very recently have come from. 

Linzy [00:12:09] Yes. These are very new conversations and very new power that’s in the hands of more women and more just not white men than it has been before. Yeah, absolutely. So your area of passion and actually you and I kind of do adjacent work, but we don’t do the same work. So your area of passion is investment. So tell me about that world and why you’re so passionate specifically there when it comes to therapists and knowing how to invest and understanding the investing world. 

Kaci [00:12:40] Totally. Yeah. Yeah. So I remember it was probably maybe even ten years ago or so that I first heard about the fire movement. And if people are not familiar with that acronym, FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. And I was reading about it. So basically it’s these people, it’s this loose collective of people who just have decided that they’re going to take the traditional- traditional advice about investing for retirement is often to save sometimes 10 to 15% to a pretty low number, and for your gross income to be able to eventually support you in retirement. If you start at a young age, you need to increase if you get started at five compared to 20, right? But that’s kind of a very broad, you know, what financial advisors might tell people who are starting early and the fire movement, these are people who are investing more than that amount, and have to say, here’s how much I need to invest to be able to eventually become financially independent. And financially independent in this context means you have enough accumulated and assets to be able to support you. So that work is optional for you. Yeah. So that just kind of to like lay the groundwork of what all that is. When I first started reading about it, I was like, Wow, this is really interesting, but it doesn’t apply to me as someone who is like at the time I was making maybe $43,000 a year. Right? Doesn’t apply to me. 

Linzy [00:14:08] It’s hard. 

Kaci [00:14:08] Yeah, absolutely. So I just like it was in the back of my mind, but never something that I even really googled beyond. Just like hearing about it and kind of had a, you know, a non-linear path in terms of my career progression, trying different things, you know, I guess I became really interested in all of this when I first started learning about the process of buying a home. And I realized I have not a lot of information in my mind at all beyond like, I should save some money, I should stay away from credit card debt. And then when I started learning that actually starting- I, I think I was probably in my late twenties when I got really interested in this and I started playing around with some calculators online and I realized that if I got serious about it now, I could have a seven figure or more investment by the time I hit retirement age. And that to me was just never something I’d been told was possible for me. I never even knew. Like, What does it mean to be a millionaire? I just had no context for that. So once I realized what was possible, if I got really clear on how much I wanted to start investing, I started learning about, okay, I want to build this for myself, but I don’t know how to invest. I don’t know what this is. So I started consuming podcasts and books and just learning as much as I could, and I learned that actually investing is way simpler than we think it is, like the type of investing I teach therapists. Because you could make investing really, really complicated for people. 

Linzy [00:15:45] Yeah, you can make it your full time job if you want. 

Kaci [00:15:47] You could be full time job. And you know what’s fascinating, Linzy is like even people who – and this is I think it helped click something together for me – even people whose full time job is to be managing other people’s investment portfolios about 80 to 90% of the time. Those people who have way more access to information than I do, yeah, those people do not beat index funds, which are a passive type of investment that literally all you have to do is learn what an index fund is, purchase index funds on a regular basis. And if we have continued into the future, what we historically have seen with returns in the stock market, your index funds, it’s like set it and forget it. And so I was like this is so easy. But we think it’s so hard because it isn’t being talked about. 

Linzy [00:16:36] Totally. Yeah. I mean there’s that whole thing of like, you can’t really outsmart the market. As you say, people who try failed, you know, 80 to 90% of the time and the people who I’m sure do outsmart it more, you’re paying them a massive amount of money to, you know, have that that level of attention and expertize. And I think you’re you’re so right. I think I see this in terms of business finances and, you know, getting into kind of the foundational financial skills that I teach in terms of business finance skills, that the language can really throw us because it’s like learning new terms, it’s learning new concepts, and new kind of ways of thinking about something. But once you have those, you realize that it’s not as hard as you thought. Right? But there is like that bit of a learning curve to like learn what an ETF is. As you say, I’m also an ETF investor. That’s that’s what my spouse and I do as well. I feel like we had a similar journey to you. We read a lot of blogs, and I think one of the biggest things that I have learned with investing is like, don’t touch it, don’t freak out, like that’s one of the hardest parts is just like leaving it alone. And I’m just like, you know, trusting in time. Like, our investments have dropped significantly in the last couple of months, and that’s just how it goes, right? And so it’s like part of it is just being able to like put aside your anxiety and just ride it out. I had one one student say to me, she was told that the stock market is like a roller coaster. It’s just like a ride through the ups and downs and don’t jump off. That’s she’s going to stay on the ride. But I think that, you know, we- when we are outside of that world, it’s much easier. It’s easy to think that it’s way harder than that. 

Kaci [00:18:06] Oh, my gosh. I love everything that you said because you’re also really normalizing that like- so, you know that investing can be like a roller coaster ride, like we just don’t hop off yet, stay in. Yep. Stay in if you have decades to go. And you were not planning on taking that money out right now. There is no reason. In fact, it’s not advantageous whatsoever and statistically speaking, incredibly difficult to time the market both the right time to get out and to get back in. Yes, like the market does not announce. 

Linzy [00:18:38] It would be sheer luck if you did that. 

Kaci [00:18:39] You would be the luckiest person if you happened to time it just right. And you and I both, like when you said, you know, it emotionally brings up stuff for you watching your investments like have their like value on paper kind of drop this past year. Yeah, I feel that same way too. And so I think it’s just really important to normalize that. Like even, you know, if you know about this, even if you know that time is that key ingredient. Time and being able to like just, you know, don’t act on those impulses and we’re still human and we still have those emotional responses come up. And it’s working with those instead of, you know, trying to, like, pretend like we’re ever going to make that fear of loss go away. Right. It’s deep fear. It’s it’s valid. You have it for a reason. But based on the historical data that we have, based on what we know about the stock market, it’s working with our emotions, you know? 

Linzy [00:19:35] Yeah, it’s making sure that your emotion doesn’t drive you to an action that is not wise. Right. And I think this is where what you and I do occupies like a funny little corner. I’m making a little Venn diagram with my hands, which nobody can see because this is a podcast. But, you know, there’s kind of like those two circles. It’s like kind of like finance people who just, like, live and breathe finance. And then there’s like therapists who, like, live and breathe emotions and relationships. And you and I occupy this little slice in the middle where these two worlds overlap, which is a very small slice. As I say, there’s not a lot of folks who are really actively interested in both of these spaces. And something you and I have chatted about before is like, neither of us are trained financial professionals. Yeah, right. And there’s a big difference between what we do and what a trained financial professional does. So for folks who are listening right now, what do you see as as the value of of this space that you and I are occupying? And how does the work that we’re doing differ from a financial professional? 

Kaci [00:20:30] Yeah, that’s a really good question. You know, I definitely think having financial professionals on your team is incredibly important. And one thing that I always want to let people know is that, you know, it’s also really, really important to have the education around how do you know who you can actually trust? Because there are very trustworthy individuals in the financial expert space. But then there are people who are basically salespeople. Right. And actually they are the vast majority of financial advisors are essentially salespeople. So I think what you and I do, we provide education, we provide mentorship. And also this sense of, you know, really being able to determine each person for themselves, how do I want to make decisions about my money, about who I invite in to my financial team? And that’s something that can feel so either overwhelming or like you just have no information at all. And so you’re like, okay, well, I guess I should just trust this person because they’ve got this, like alphabet soup behind their name, which is what I did at first. Like, I just like, Oh, this person is in the break room at my school and I’m 23 years old at the time. This person is in the break room. They must be a financial professional I can trust. And knowing what I know now and what I teach therapists now, I think there’s this space where therapists and just people in general who work with us can cultivate that financial wellness and awareness for themselves. But part of that, too, is knowing how to determine who do you trust, you know. 

Linzy [00:22:03] Yeah, as you say, not everybody has your best interest at heart. And so just to spell that out a little bit more for people, how how can they discern kind of who’s a salesperson and who’s not, in the financial advisor world? 

Kaci [00:22:16] Yes. So what I always tell people is that you would think that every person, just like licensed therapists, you know, we go through we go through training. We have to get our licenses. We have codes of ethics. That we have to follow financial professionals. And I don’t know everything about what they have to do in order to have certain designations behind their name, because I’m not one. But for example, the term financial advisor, I could call myself a financial advisor because it’s not a protected term. But I’m very clear that that’s not the role that I occupy in a person education and mentorship. You know, that’s more the role that I occupy. But a person can call themselves a financial advisor, but unless they are fee only – so that means that they are not putting you in investments that they receive any type of a kickback from in any way – and a fiduciary. I always tell people, look for a fee only – not even fee based, because fee based means they can charge you a fee upfront, but they can also put you in products through insurance products and different investment products where they receive some type of a commission or some type of they have an agreement to be able to get some type of payment that way – and a fiduciary. So fiduciary means in this capacity that someone is legally obligated to work in your best interest. And I think that that’s something every financial professional should be, but they’re absolutely not. And they will tell you if they are one. So their websites all over their website should say fee only and fiduciary. Those are terms to look for. And if you don’t see those terms, you can always ask the person, are you a fee only fiduciary at all times to me. So 100% of the time, because oddly enough, they can switch from a fiduciary role and into a non fiduciary role even in the same business meeting, like in the same meeting with you. So that’s what I would tell people to look for. 

Linzy [00:24:14] Yeah, and it is good to be clear. Like I’ve certainly chatted with people before where it looks like they’re a fiduciary on their website and then I asked them the question directly and suddenly they can’t answer me directly that they don’t sell anything or receive any kickbacks. And this is my very biased perspective, but I think you will share it. And my perspective is that I don’t know if there’s really any financial products that are better than just ETFs, just investing directly in the market. So in that case, you know, the role of a financial adviser, again, unprotected term, is to help you understand your big picture and really set a financial strategy for how you’re going to be using your different investment vehicles that are available to you. Like, what do you keep tax protected? You know, how much do you set aside each month? What do you keep kind of like unprotected so that you can take it out for shorter term stuff? They help you do that big picture strategy. But at this point, I don’t know if there’s really anything better than just directly investing in ETFs, which we should define them for folks: exchange trade funds, which are pegged to a whole bunch of stocks. So it’s kind of like you’re buying a basket of stocks all in like for whatever the cost of that one ETF. As you say, you pay $35 and you have, if it’s the S&P 500, you have the top 500 stocks are in your little basket. So you’re really spreading out your risk. And that’s what ETFs are. And I think that things have really changed. That used to be mutual funds. I remember even probably maybe like 18, 20 years ago when I first started investing, mutual funds were more the way to go. But it’s really changed in the last five or ten years. 

Kaci [00:25:44] Yeah, absolutely. You know, index funds and ETFs, they operate fairly similarly. But like you’re saying, ETFs and index funds, which are you know, there’s an S&P 500 index fund is like these are very low fee, like super low. And the thing that I always like that really surprised me that I always want to mention to people when we’re talking about the importance of these low fee ETF and index funds, is that 0.5% or 1% doesn’t sound like a lot, but it actually- if you solely invested in these actively managed mutual funds that had, you know, a 0.5% to a 1% expense ratio, which means they would take that much off of your money. It would over time end up being hundreds of thousands. It could be even more than that, just from tiny little percent, right? Yeah. So low fee. I think there’s been a lot more dialog and conversation about these really passive strategies like you’re talking about where they they are, they’re like baskets of, you know, if you have the S&P 500, it’s the 500 of the largest companies that you have little slices of every single one. And then if you get total stock market index funds or ETFs, they are thousands of companies. Right? They’re super fortified. And as companies perform poorly, like when they no longer are in that top 500 in the S&P 500, for example, then they get kicked off. Automatic. And then another one that’s performing better, it’s added

Linzy [00:27:34] So in a way, they’re kind of automatically managed because there’s a certain criteria for that particular, you know, stock the representation of a stock to be in in your basket. I love that using little metaphors because it makes it easier to visualize, it automatically will be taken out of your basket. And something else – the company that is now doing better – will get in instead. So it’s like that’s that’s where it’s, you know, once you find your original or your once you commit to your strategy of how you want to distribute things. That’s where you just like, leave it alone. Once you’ve got it set in place. 

Kaci [00:28:07] And that’s the beautiful thing, too, is that you don’t have to spend hours learning about how to analyze a single stock. You also are not putting all of your money into a single stock, and then it’s not really you don’t even have to really watch the financial news at all because let’s say Tesla is in the S&P 500. If you solely have Tesla stock, you’re going to want to be watching the news like glued to the screens. Sure. That you’re like you’re doing well. 

Linzy [00:28:36] Every time Elon Musk blinks, you’re going to be watching. 

Kaci [00:28:38] Oh, my gosh. Or tweets. It’s true. But having this more passive strategy, if Tesla falls off and it’s not on the S&P 500 anymore or what, fill in the blank for company. You’re you’re benefiting from this really passive strategy and you get to live your life. And I think what just surprised me so much and made this such a key factor for me was learning that it is the easiest way to do it and it is by far the most successful way to start. So to answer your original question, I totally agree with you that like, is there anything better than an ETF or S&P 500 strategy- or sorry or index fund – like this? Yeah, statistically, the answer is no, it’s absolutely not. 

Linzy [00:29:19] Yeah, yeah. Especially for people like us, where we’re not going to be watching it full time. We don’t have the, you know, an extra 100 K a year to pay somebody to like really watch our stuff and be on top of everything. It is the, the accessible, easy, reliable way to have your money growing for you because that’s the other piece. Like if folks are listening right now – and I know I felt this way before we started investing and my partner, especially when we got together, he was like very kind of like ethically tied in knots about the world and how terrible things are and you name it, right? The evils of capitalism and companies that exploit people and all of that is real. I’m just thinking about- I feel like part of what I have noticed in myself, as I’ve had to start investing, is also kind of like accepting that there are little slices of this in your money. But if you don’t put your money into the stock market, there’s no way to actually keep up with inflation. I’m curious about your thoughts about that kind of ethical practical conundrum. 

Kaci [00:30:17] You are asking, I think, such – again – such a really rich question, because I really think about this, too, from an existential perspective like, oh, gosh, I mean, if we’re thinking about like if we could just be completely creative and just create a system that works for us, I mean, I don’t even I don’t even know what exactly I think that either should look like or but but I really want to speak to the fact that I feel that same sense of, you know, knowing that there are evils, there are things about capitalism that are not good that I – like from a personal, ethical perspective – I don’t support. And so it’s like that both/and that I think you often really want to work with our clients on. And I think I live my life from that perspective too of like, okay, I could decide I’m going to sit this out completely, but then, you know, what might that mean? If I do that, that might mean that I have to work with such a high number of clients that I then become burned out and I (indiscernible) options and I’ve built resentment, not necessarily towards my client specifically, but like toward the way that I’m working. And that wouldn’t make me a good therapist. It would give me fewer options to put money in places that I actually want that money to go to. Whether it – like you’re talking about – it’s on a very personal level with your family or creating generational wealth or it’s, you know, donating to causes that you really care about. I do think that we we operate within this system. And I look at it from this perspective of I might want to change the rules completely, but I as an individual person, I don’t have the power to do that. What do I have the power to do? Right. Yeah, I learned these, these practices that, you know, allow me to then make more decisions in my life, like as a cis-gendered woman, you know who that has not been something that we’ve been allowed to do historically. Thinking about like from a western perspective. Right. 

Linzy [00:32:21] It’s pretty brand new. Yeah. Yeah. 

Kaci [00:32:24] Yeah. It is. And I just want to really speak to the fact that like, I agree with you, it’s very much and. And I mean, in a quote unquote like normal year, inflation is typically like 2 to 3%. And we’re seeing that this year. I mean, we know it’s been in the 9%, right. And so it’s sort of like winning the lottery or having some type of windfall or like something else, you know, really having some lucky streak of something happening. I don’t see another way other than being able to understand the rules and be able to bend the rules. And that frees me up to try to give the way that I absolutely like. 

Linzy [00:33:04] I love what you said about how it’s, you know, controlling what you can. Because we can’t just rewrite the system. And and I think there’s a real parallel here that I see with therapists when we struggle with, like, fees and accessibility and we take on these huge things that are systemic issues, but we take them onto our individual shoulders and we like, you know, try to create accessibility off of our family’s income. And we’re basically like subsidizing 50 other people’s lives, you know, off of our one life. And the individual cost of that ends up being so great. And the cost to like our kids and our their future and like, you know, the ripple effects that comes up from there. And so, yeah, it is. I appreciate you kind of, you know, being up for naming the fact that it is ethically troubling, but also that it’s not it’s not an all or nothing. It’s a both/and, right. Like you can have your money in a system that you don’t really believe in, but and let’s be real that we’re all participating in by like buying clothes and going to the grocery store and getting in our cars, driving gas vehicles. Right. Like we’re all- it makes me think about an acquaintance of mine years ago had this this phrase of like we’re all ethically fucked. It’s just a matter of degrees. 

Kaci [00:34:08] I love that. 

Linzy [00:34:09] So it’s like, you know, there’s this fantasy that we could somehow be just, like, totally extricated from these systems, but that’s not actually possible. But it’s like, right, so what can you do? And what I’m hearing from you is, you know, it’s it’s about these individual choices that we make, the way that we use money to, like, impact our communities, to to lift up our family members. That is where we have control and power. We don’t have control over the way that our economy works or over the stock market and who’s in it and who’s not. 

Kaci [00:34:37] I completely agree with you. And I do. I feel like that’s the place that I – you know, I think it’s always worth continuing to explore. I mean, to operate intentionally within this system that we have, there’s a conundrum, right? We have problems with. And and also, like, you know, one thing that I heard a colleague say one time about education that I think can also maybe be applicable here is like it’s okay to be passionate about something, but also equally critical of it. Right. And can be passionate about financial independence, for example, or autonomy and choice and equitable access to opportunities for for people who are not just white men. Like we can be passionate about that, but also critique. Like, there’s a lot of squishiness here. There’s a lot of gray area here, right? 

Linzy [00:35:26] Yeah, absolutely. And it doesn’t have to be kind of like pure in order for us to engage with it. Right. And do kind of the best that we can for ourselves and our families and our communities. So I feel like, you know, we could talk for another 4 hours, but we should start wrapping up. So for folks who are listening, maybe this is like, you know, the first time they thought about investments in a little while and where can they find you? Tell us about your offer. Tell us more about what you’re doing. 

Kaci [00:35:55] Absolutely. So I would say first and foremost, because I know a lot of therapists are on Facebook, I have started a Facebook group and it’s called Financial Self-care for Therapists. If you just Google that, you’ll find it. And I would love for people to join the group. We talk a lot about debt, saving, and investing, money mindset stuff, living really intentionally with money, so that’s a free offer. I just would love people to join if they feel so inclined. And I am also launching right now, I have my founding members launch of this membership that I have created just for therapists and of course, people who are not therapists, you know, teachers and all the adjacent fields are welcome to join as well. There will just be more therapists in the group than not. I’m launching a membership that will start in November and we will talk about, you know, there will be lessons regarding all the areas I just covered: debt, saving, and investing, really specifically focused on financial independence like we talked about, and living really intentionally with money. There will be lessons, there will be money accountability dates where we can work on goals together, and also office hours to ask questions about saving and investing. That membership starts soon so they can hop over to investedtherapist.co/membership and learn about it. And by the time this goes live, they’re welcome to join. And I’d love to meet anybody who’s interested. Join us. 

Linzy [00:37:25] That’s November 2022. So if you’re listening and that date is in the past. You can go to see that website again, Kaci. 

Kaci [00:37:33] Yeah it’s investedtherapist.co/membership and they can also go to investedtherapist.co/calculator. I’ve created a free investing calculator that will show you just like those calculators I talked about earlier that really got me so interested in this. You can plug in your information and it will show you based on the percentage returns that you you plug into the calculator, what you can expect to have in retirement. So they’re welcome to check that out. Check out the membership. 

Linzy [00:38:04] Nice. I’m very excited for what you’re doing. And I hope folks check out your Facebook group and check out your membership site and something that I see that you offer that I resonate with because I think it’s so valuable and it’s the space that I also occupy is just emotionally intelligent conversations about money. I think that so often there’s like folks who are really good at money, often like lack the emotional intelligence or relational intelligence or the ability to talk about money in a way that makes sense to people who are not super into money and geeky about money all the time. And I love that you’re like occupying this this space in this emotionally intelligent kind of teaching kind of way, which is also how I like to be in this space. I’m just so excited for the therapists who are going to have access to you. 

Kaci [00:38:46] Thank you so much. I really appreciate you saying that Linzy and I just am so- I love that you are in this space as well because I know what you have to offer people is so incredibly valuable and just so appreciate your time here today and collaborating with you. 

Linzy [00:38:59] Yeah. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. 

Kaci [00:39:01] Absolutely. Thank you. 

Linzy [00:39:15] In my conversation with Kaci, something that stuck out to me was how she started out as a teacher, which is also where I started out my aspirations. When I went to university, my plan was to be a teacher and I was talked out of it. But I’ve often reflected about how I’ve kind of ended up being a teacher anyways via therapy. And you can really feel that Kaci has the heart of a teacher wanting to teach therapists and help them understand the world of investing. That can be difficult and daunting and hard to understand when you’re outside of it and don’t understand the language. So definitely check out Kaci’s offer or The Invested Therapist. We’ve got the links for her in the show notes. So if you’re at all interested, you can join her free Facebook group or join her membership site and start getting support if you feel like you’ve been stuck with investments, I think having somebody who actually understands feelings and knows how to talk about the world of investing with emotional intelligence and relational intelligence is so valuable. So check her out. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram. We’re posting free, practical and emotional money content on there all the time, and please head over to Apple Podcasts to leave me a review. It is the best way for folks to find out about the podcast, to listen to the podcast, and just your feedback also means so much to me. 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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Overcoming Our Money Stories with Catherine Quiring

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“Getting through your program helped me get through money feeling overwhelming to ‘I can do this.’ That enabled me to get through the battle with insurance companies, and changing my EIN, and getting off of some insurance companies and dropping clients out of the blue. I was able to feel like, ‘I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by this. I can do this. That experience [gained] through your program is what enabled me to do that in other settings, too, which has been really huge.”

~Catherine Quiring

Meet Catherine Quiring

Catherine is a Mental Health Counselor with a private practice in Pensacola, FL. She specializes in helping people come home to themselves, trust themselves, and live fulfilling lives. Catherine has 2 little kids and a wonderful husband. She loves paddleboarding, kayaking, and doing Zumba in her spare time.

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Do practical and emotional obstacles around money prevent you from taking the next steps to level up your private practice? In this episode, Catherine and Linzy dig into how working through those money stories and obstacles has opened up so many opportunities within Catherine’s practice and in her life.

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Connect with Catherine Quiring

For more from Catherine, or to learn about her new coaching program “Helping Exvangelicals Learn to Trust Their Desires and Reconnect to their Inner Wisdom,” check out her website: cqcounseling.com

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Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Catherine [00:00:01] Getting through your program helped me get through money feeling overwhelming to like I can do this. That enabled me to get through the battle with insurance companies and changing my EIN and getting off some external companies. And I’m just like dropping clients out of the blue. And I was able to feel like I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by this. I can do this. That experience, and experiencing that through your program, is what helped me be able to do that in other settings too, which has been really, really huge. 

 

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 Money Skills For Therapists podcast. So today’s podcast episode in all transparency was supposed to be a coaching episode, but when graduate Catherine Quiring came on and we started talking about where she’s at and kind of her next steps and the things that she wants to dig into, it quickly shifted it into a conversation about her transformation and what has happened with her about money that has enabled her to get to where she is now. So today’s podcast is actually a Money Stories interview with therapist Catherine Quiring. Catherine is a mental health counselor in Pensacola, Florida. She specializes in helping people come home to themselves, trust themselves, and live fulfilling lives. And that is very much what we start to talk about today and what I got from Catherine as we were interviewing her about her experience with going from feeling really tight and guilty and scarce around money to where she is now of feeling grounded and starting to expand. She talks about how doing her money work allowed her to make more in her practice, expand the time that she has with her kids and the time that she has for herself, and now has actually created the grounding for her to expand beyond therapy into coaching exvangelical to come home to themselves, as she has. It’s a very rich conversation exploring what money means for us emotionally as therapists and the way that we show up in the room, but also as people in our lives and what doing our work around money starts to open up in terms of possibilities about who we are and what is possible for us. Here is my interview with Catherine Quiring. Catherine, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Catherine [00:02:53] Hi, Linzy. Nice to be here. 

 

Linzy [00:02:55] So, Catherine, you are a grad of Money Skills For Therapists and you did the program. How long ago now did we work together. 

 

Catherine [00:03:02] I don’t even remember. The days roll together. I have little kids.

 

Linzy [00:03:06] I get it. I get it. 

 

Catherine [00:03:07] Two years ago? A year and a half ago? 

 

Linzy [00:03:08] I’d say two years ago, I think it was like January. It’s like a year and a half. 

 

Catherine [00:03:11] It was ’21, right? January 2021. 

 

Linzy [00:03:14] I remember. Yeah. Okay. So we worked together back at that time and I’m curious, before we did that work together, what were kind of the stories that you were carrying about money? What did you believe about money going back to January 2021? 

 

Catherine [00:03:28] I definitely thought it was something you shouldn’t talk about. The whole weird place to feel guilty if you have too much. But also don’t be in a place of scarcity because that’s really painful and hard. So you’re kind of bouncing back in like in the middle. And how do you achieve that and how do you find enough space for yourself to exist? So, I mean, in my career I was in social service, right? I was in like really low paying jobs, extremely low paying jobs, really high pressure, lots of hours. And I loved it. And I was able to do a lot at that point but I was able to do that right out of college because my parents had saved money for my college education. So I didn’t have to have the loan, right? So I was able to be like, It’s okay if I only make a little bit of money in a year and I’m going to be okay. So that helped me. My parents have done a good job of saving money and prioritized education. I don’t know that we talked about money a whole lot growing up other than getting an allowance and saving money and that kind of thing. And I tended to be a hoarder. So as far as like I like I remember I would save all my stickers or save all my Halloween candy and I wouldn’t eat it because then it was going to be gone. So yes, but all of my like everything else was provided for. And it was so hard when I went when I was out of college. And I think mostly when I went back to grad school because I didn’t have like an even well-paying job. Right. You’re like it was not much at all during grad school and like working at Starbucks for like a few hours a week. And I had all sorts of health complications at that point, like 15 years of like trying to figure out what was going on. And so there was just a lot of desperation and scarcity feeling then. Like I knew I had a safety net. Like my parents were like, you know, if something bad happened, I had a safety net. And I’ve always felt that way. And honestly, I think that’s part of what’s enabled me to like launch into new things because I’ve always felt like it’s okay, I have a safety net. 

 

Linzy [00:05:27] Totally. I mean, that that privilege is huge. 

 

Catherine [00:05:30] Yes. Yes, it is huge. Yes. Right. Because I’ve always felt like I have a sense I have a safety net. If something doesn’t work, it’s okay, even though there’s a lot of stress around it. But yeah, I was definitely in this place of I don’t want to make too much, like you can’t be those people, right? And but like, I can’t just keep scraping by. I mean, things changed for me as careerwise when I had kids because I had just come out of an agency that I didn’t like working with and we were moving and it was just like, okay, it’s time for a change. And I was so like, I was on board, like I’m doing private practice. This is great. My husband was like concerned because he was the primary breadwinner and it took a while to build it up. Right? So that was a lot to ask of him. And he’s been really grateful now because my private practice is doing really, really well. But yeah, I because I’m a therapist, I love working through money stories. That’s a lot easier than working through the actual, like, nitty gritty of finances. That’s a lot more fun. 

 

Linzy [00:06:26] Yeah, right. 

 

Catherine [00:06:29] You know, I’m like Ben Stein on Tiffany McLain’s podcast. Right? So like all of the the money stories, the money mindset kind of stuff and just eat that up. And that’s the first thing that got me thinking about my rates. Because I started out just doing the thing most people do and like what is everybody here charging? 

 

Linzy [00:06:46] Yeah, look around. 

 

Catherine [00:06:47] Okay, that’s going to charge. And so I set it at 100 to start and then everybody tried to talk me down like would always want sliding scale. And when I changed it, from listening to Tiffany’s podcast, to 125, nobody tried to talk me down anymore. 

 

Linzy [00:07:00] Interesting. 

 

Catherine [00:07:01] That’s good! Great. 

 

Linzy [00:07:03] So you crossed a line out of, like the bargain hunters kind of like. 

 

Catherine [00:07:07] I did. Right? Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:07:08] Yeah, that’s interesting. 

 

Catherine [00:07:09] Part of that may have also been because I was renting space from a nonprofit, right. So that the people who were already like around that space that I was renting would have needed lower income support. So I mean that complicated that. But yes, it made a big difference. There was something about that 125. And so like I think psychologically the way that money comes across to people is really important, right? And like, it just felt like that was such a big difference, even though it was only a minor difference for me pay wise at that point because I was still building. Yeah, it was such a huge difference. Me being an expert, that’s worth that money, right? 

 

Linzy [00:07:45] So I’m hearing like with that mindset, like you binged Tiffany McLain’s The Money Sessions, which – recommend we we love – so I’m hearing that helped with mindset shift but there was still this like actual you mentioned like the actual financial, right. Gritty financial. 

 

Catherine [00:08:02] Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:08:03] What was happening with those at that time when you had like already raised your fee? What was happening with your actual financial systems or management? 

 

Catherine [00:08:10] So I feel like across the board in my life, that was not as great as I had been in the past, once I had a child. 

 

Linzy [00:08:17] Oh, yes. 

 

Catherine [00:08:18] Yeah. So I started my practice four or five months before my first child because we just moved. So like, I mean, there was really nothing else I could do about that, but it gave me time to like really be able to research and start my practice even though I wasn’t making much that year. And so where I used to record everything I would buy personally as well, that kind of went out the window because there wasn’t time. You just, you’re in and out. It isn’t like put a note on your phone about what you paid. And because our finances were different with my husband, he is a money guru and- or like he just loves accounting and planning and spreadsheets and like figuring out like the best combination of things with accounts and and so it gets really overwhelming to me. So I had this kind of combination of those things happening where before, like I knew how to keep track of it for me, just for myself and without like the complication of like pressure on my time with a child or a baby at that point. So I didn’t have enough knowledge of that. I started out with a ledger, right? I started with a spreadsheet, just a ledger, of my clients. And then I ended up going to like an EHR and using simple practice and that helped me and that was like a learning curve. I don’t understand how you’re putting the numbers in here. You know, I figured that out. So it’s all been a huge learning curve. And then once it was like, okay, I’m full, but this is still not working for me at my current rate or with how much I’m working. You know, I had some miscarriages in there, that was COVID and quarantine, and then also being exhausted being pregnant. And so like there were just so many things. It was like lifestyle just kept having to change. Like, I just kept having to update things based on what I needed so that I could have a pretty good life, so that I could be present for my kids. I could have some energy. I can be present for my clients. That was one of the biggest things I got out of Tiffany’s mindset stuff was that I’m going to be a better therapist if I’m paid well and if I am present and if I really want to be there and my time is valued. And I felt like really valued in my first job working at a residential center, even though I didn’t make very much, I felt very valued. And then I was at an agency for not very long before we moved, and I didn’t feel valued. I just felt like this is all about like how much money you can make. And I was doing like 38 clients a week and it was awful. I hated it. 

 

Linzy [00:10:42] Inconceivable. I don’t understand how that works. 

 

Catherine [00:10:45] It was awful. So I was just in a daze. Like, there are a few clients I really felt like I connected with. I’m sure I help people, but, like, I just was, like, constantly in a daze, like, just trying to survive. I do not want that anymore. And so that’s why I decided to do private practice. And any time I start feeling like it’s too much, like I know what that feels like inside. And then I’m like, okay, something has to shift. Schedule, how much I’m charging, what insurances I’m taking, and how much they pay. So I’ve been like progressively just like shedding insurances and raising my rate, working fewer hours. Like I worked a lot more when I had my first child than I do now with two kids. Like, I take Mondays off because I know the weekends are really busy. And so like Mondays are my day to just- I need to rest and it cannot be appointment days, it cannot be take care of all the little things, it has to be Catherine rest time and like that is so huge and really protecting that or fun time. It really seems to be more fun time. So I go paddleboarding and kayaking and go to Zumba and stuff like that. And then Tuesday through Friday, at this point, I work 10 to 4/4:30. So I have time with my kids in the morning and then I can hopefully exercise or cook dinner or something in the evening. That’s shifting because my daughter is going to have to go to school earlier pretty soon. So we’re moving things around for that and I’m taking a day off to work on uplevelling now because I’m doing Maegan Megginson’s Spotlight program starting next week. So that’s shifting things too. But that’s been made possible because of these changes. Like I made the biggest change in your program when I went from charging 125 to 175, because I did the Salary Play Sheet and I was like, 150 doesn’t cut it. Like there is no dent in any of the numbers if I do 150. Like the numbers are so important and having a way to look at them that wasn’t just overwhelming of like, I’m just trying to plug in this and that and like I was trying to do that all the time with spreadsheets before that and just overwhelming because I didn’t have the right tools to do it. So like you gave me the tools and the confidence and like the way to work through that. So I have good systems. 

 

Linzy [00:12:50] And what I love with that is, is hearing, Catherine, how like you I mean, it sounds like intuitively you were already shifting things probably before you took Money Skills. Is that fair to say? 

 

Catherine [00:12:59] Yes, right. 

 

Linzy [00:13:00] But now you also have like this clarity and information to make like really informed shifts. 

 

Catherine [00:13:05] I had the numbers then, right? Like before it was just mindset shift. Just what feels right. Not like I also then had the numbers. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:13:14] And what I love about that is I think so often – I see some of this in myself sometimes and I certainly see it in folks around me too – is sometimes I think we feel like we have to do it now, you know, like it has to happen now. Like I have to make my money now. But when you have like little kids at home, that’s like such a specific chapter of life. And I’m really starting to come to think about money and work and our time in terms of chapters, right? Like different things will make sense in different chapters. When you have a newborn at home, different things make sense that when that kid needs to be at school at a certain time, that’s a shift that happens, which is going to be different when they’re actually all in like public school, and then maybe they actually get out earlier than they did before. Like our schedules need to shift, you know, depending on kind of the roles that we want to play as parents. Right. But also our fees might need to shift to keep the money working within those schedule changes. Or as things become more expensive because our kids are doing X, Y, Z, that suddenly adds like, you know, in my family, my son’s preschool is 1300 dollars a month. Like, that’s significant. That’s real. I used to live on, 1300 dollars a month when I was in my twenties. Right. So, like, that’s that’s very real and that’s like a certain chapter. And at some point that chapter ends and then maybe the 1300 will be called somewhere else, or maybe that will go back into our retirement fund. But really like being attuned and something that I think is so powerful. And what you’re saying is it sounds like you’re you’ve been attuned and true to yourself in actually like building your practice and your schedule to suit your needs rather than trying to wrap your life around a practice with a rigid schedule. 

 

Catherine [00:14:43] Right. And you’re asking me some of the ways that the mindset shifts have impacted me. So I was just thinking about even like, I’m able to listen to my desires, not just my overwhelm, right? Not just like, Oh, no, I’m overwhelmed, I need to change something, but I can listen to my desires about my business, right? Just like I’m teaching my clients to be able to like they can listen to their desires.  

 

Linzy [00:15:06] Isn’t it nice to practice what we preach? 

 

Catherine [00:15:08] So great. Feels good. And then you’re like, I just want to share it. I want to share it with everybody. 

 

Linzy [00:15:14] So, Catherine, what do you want to get more clarity on in our conversation today? 

 

Catherine [00:15:18] Well, I feel like I got so much out of the Money Skills For Therapists program and now I’m kind of- that’s enabled me to move to the next level of my business. So I’m starting a coaching program next week and will be upleveling my business and adding coaching and programs and stuff. So that will be a whole new thing to do. Yeah. Lots more to consider there. 

 

Linzy [00:15:41] So it sounds like you’ve built out kind of your foundation and now you’re able to, like, expand from it. 

 

Catherine [00:15:46] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:15:47] Okay. So tell me about what’s coming. What are some of the things you anticipate that’ll be helpful for us to think about together? 

 

Catherine [00:15:52] So one thing is I just incorporated to be an SCorp by the end of last year, and it was a nightmare updating EINs and everything. So I’m like, Well, at least I won’t have to do that for insurance panels now. So it should be easier for a coach. Like it should be way easier. That’s something else. We don’t know – this is the first year that we’ve had the taxes from that – like how much of a tax advantage that is or how much I need to be making there for that to be a tax advantage. And I’m not sure if I end up scaling that back a little bit, how that might affect that decision or if there’s a way to change that designation or if there’s any point that I need to think about that or kind of how to keep tabs on that is something I’ll need to be. 

 

Linzy [00:16:37] Yes. Because you’re therapy practice is now an SCorp, but you maybe you’ll be scaling back that work in order to start the coaching work. 

 

Catherine [00:16:44] Right. And right now it’s only by a few clients, but, yeah, I don’t know if that will change more in the future. 

 

Linzy [00:16:52] Yeah. And do you know, kind of what container like what kind of corporate structure you’re thinking of for your coaching business?

 

Catherine [00:16:58] I was assuming I would need to start with just LLC sole prop and then move into S Corp if it’s- when and if it’s taking enough to do that. 

 

Linzy [00:17:06] So you’ll be running that one as a sole prop with an LLC. Okay. So- and for Canadians listening, I should say that means that there’s like some legal protection as an entity, but you still get taxed as an individual person. It sounds like there there is like some math there that could be interesting. As you’re anticipating, what is your ultimate vision with the coaching? Like, do you envision yourself being a therapist and a coach at the same time? 

 

Catherine [00:17:27] At this point? Yes. I don’t know if at some point I will decide I like that so much more and it’s hard to do both. But at this point I love my one on one clients and doing that work. So I’m going to try to hang on to that if I can. And at this point I’m just going to try to split it and then we’ll see kind of once I get into coaching stuff, how that goes.  

 

Linzy [00:17:46] Okay. Yeah. So right now, for the foreseeable future, you’re going to keep being a therapist. 

 

Catherine [00:17:49] Right. And like we had talked about in Money Skills For Therapists, my goal is to be the main breadwinner for our house. So this is part- I mean, I wanted to do this anyway just because I want to do it, you know, I’m ready for the next thing. I want to reach more people. But it will also I’m keeping that in mind that I do need to be mindful of that. 

 

Linzy [00:18:10] Yeah. 

 

Catherine [00:18:10] You know, how much money I’m making there. 

 

Linzy [00:18:12] This is not just like a fun little side thing for you, like, this is the money that supports your family. Okay. So thinking about your next steps with the coaching then, in terms of finances, like I’m hearing there’s this question about like the S corp and will that be an issue? So that’s one where I’m actually going to suggest that you keep in communication with your accountant about that, right. To say like there are certain lines where if I cross them – like in this way you might be crossing them going down instead of up – is there a certain point where I need to think about changing anything? Can I even change anything? Because S Corp gives you a tax advantage. S Corp is a certain type of incorporation, for Canadians. It’s like us incorporating in Canada and it gives you a tax advantage. But it also like does it cost money to maintain? I’m actually not even sure about that. Or does it just cost money to set up? 

 

Catherine [00:18:53] It does. 

 

Linzy [00:18:54] Okay. 

 

Catherine [00:18:55] Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:18:56] So it’ll be weighing out. 

 

Catherine [00:18:57] Just a little bit. And it’s more just because it’s more work to send in your paperwork for. 

 

Linzy [00:19:01] Yes, and I know, for me, too. Like being a corporation now, I pay more to my accountant for taxes. It’s like everything’s a little more when you have a certain structure. Okay, so that’s something to just, like, keep an eye on. But it also sounds like that’s a future problem. Like it’s not like you’re planning to halve your therapy income next week, so you’re kind of scaling one down a little so you can scale the other one up. 

 

Catherine [00:19:20] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:19:20] What about on the coaching side of the building up? What are you noticing are some like financial questions or challenges systems pieces with that? 

 

Catherine [00:19:27] Oh, I have not even gotten there enough. I mean, they’ll be there. How much do I charge and how much time am I putting into it for value. You’re right. Like, how much time- my time do I have to put into how frequently I’m touching base with everyone in the program. And what that looks like and everything. So that’ll be partly a financial and time calculation. 

 

Linzy [00:19:49] Yeah. And that’s always an interesting thing when you’re building something new. Right. And especially in your case, do you have clarity on like how much you do need to be earning per month for supporting your family? 

 

Catherine [00:20:00] Not enough. And that’s something that is better partially from going through Money Skills For Therapists is that I have less shame and I have more clarity about money so that I’m able to collaborate with my husband better, but he enjoys the money. So it’s so much more that he is the keeper of our finances and he loves it so much that he makes it unnecessarily complicated. And in my view, it’s too complicated for me. And so that’s where the collaboration comes up. Like if I have enough understanding of what I’m doing. So, like I ended up going to use the spreadsheet or I tried using YNAB at the beginning and then I was like, the spreadsheet is going to work much better for me and that is so much better. And then I can just keep track of what’s in front of me for my business, and he can keep track of where that goes for our family after.  

 

Linzy [00:20:43] Okay. So that’s kind of how you’ve divided. 

 

Catherine [00:20:45] And then he tells me about it. We have meetings about it, but. 

 

Linzy [00:20:47] Yeah, yeah. Okay. You do have meetings. 

 

Catherine [00:20:49] Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:20:50] You’ve divided that financial labor, because that’s, I think something to think about as you start to step into coaching. And this is like that transitional piece of what is kind of your safe number that you need to be earning for home. 

 

Catherine [00:20:58] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:20:58] That’s also going to give you the foundation to not have financial stress. So you can like be creative over here. It sounds like right now your husband probably has those numbers in his head and in his beautiful, complicated spreadsheets. Maybe they’re not beautiful. Complicated? 

 

Catherine [00:21:11] No, they’re beautiful. Color coded and like like lovely and big and. Yes, they’re beautiful spreadsheets. 

 

Linzy [00:21:20] Yeah. Okay. Okay. Because that that piece, there’s a number there and there’s also an emotional piece of like what that needs to be for you to be okay. And I guess that’s a question kind of thinking about making this step. Do you feel like there’s enough money at home? Is there wiggle like emotionally? Do you have a sense of what’s happening with your money at home? 

 

Catherine [00:21:39] There is enough money at home. It’s been a little bit deflating that inflation has happened at the same time. I’m making more so like it’s nice because I don’t feel as pressured because I am making more. But I don’t feel like I have as much wiggle room as I was hoping because of that. Right? Because everything’s just more expensive. 

 

Linzy [00:21:57] Totally. So you’re earning more, but everything costs more, right? 

 

Catherine [00:21:59] Exactly. But I am still making 2 to $3000 more a month than I was before. 

 

Linzy [00:22:04] Wow. 

 

Catherine [00:22:05] So, yeah,. 

 

Linzy [00:22:06] That’s a big difference. 

 

Catherine [00:22:06] It is a big difference. 

 

Linzy [00:22:07] It is a big difference. Okay. So thinking about then maybe the financial piece of coaching and expanding, do you have a sense of what you want to be regaining by starting to move in, into coaching, away from therapy? Are you trying to earn back time? Is it about expanding your impact? Like, tell me what’s making you drawn to to expanding beyond therapy. 

 

Catherine [00:22:28] Mostly expanding my impact. There are, I don’t know, messages or things that I want to get out there very close to my heart that I really feel so limited sometimes that like, with that part of it, it being just one by one hour by one person, you know, and that there’s more that I would like to be able to share and impact. So that is most of the impetus for that. 

 

Linzy [00:22:49] Okay. Yeah, it’s about your reach, which I love, because I feel like that is a very creative place to come into expansion. Right. Rather than like I need to make more, which can be- I need to make more can be very motivating, but it can also be stressful. Right. This seems more like an opening for you. 

 

Catherine [00:23:04] Yes. And I think I will appreciate the extra time that I have in my day to put into that, because that does give me more space to just be and have creative space that not just interactive all the time. So there will be more space, which is nice.  

 

Linzy [00:23:18] Okay, so, that sounds like that’s part of the equation too, which, which you already kind of outlined before, but it’s like I’m starting to like work with groups or have a program so that it’s not just- it’s less of your individual time, more like a group impact. 

 

Catherine [00:23:30] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:23:30] Yeah. And I am curious, since we’re on the topic, what is your topic that’s close to your heart? Because I feel like for therapist listening, I’m sure lots of people have their topic that they love. What is yours that you’re going to be expanding into coaching? 

 

Catherine [00:23:40] So the big picture is just coming home to yourself. My- when I’m planning for my coaching program is specifically for exvangelicals to be able to trust their desires. 

 

Linzy [00:23:50] Oh that’s cool. 

 

Catherine [00:23:54] Yeah. Yeah. But my overall counseling practice has been like helping people pleasers and victims of relational abuse to be able to come home to themselves. And then this is my like, for now, specific niche for my coaching program. 

 

Linzy [00:24:08] So I’m curious like what has lined up to allow you to now step into making this program, doing this work? 

 

Catherine [00:24:15] So your program is one of the big things, the Salary Play Sheet that you have for understanding, like what happens with how much you want to make and what your current rates are, what your rates need to be, and how many. You need to work on what your expenses are, all of that kind of figured in together. That’s what led me to raise my rate by $50. So I went from 125 to 175 and that was a big deal and it took some processing. And I have also recently just started only taking new self-pay clients. So I’m working my way- I got off of most insurance panels. I still have some through headway, but just to keep current clients that I really wanted to be able to keep. But any new clients have been self-pay. Only doing that then has allowed me to make more than I was even anticipating when I was going through the program and how much I wanted to make so that I can have space and be making enough to be able to start something new and have enough time for that. 

 

Linzy [00:25:08] Right? So it’s given you like the spaciousness to build something different, right? I like that so much. 

 

Catherine [00:25:15] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I have two kids. They’re young, they’re toddlers. And so, yes, I feel like my work environment needs to be restful and it needs to be really manageable so that I can be really present with them too. There isn’t go home and relax and just process stuff that’s going to come during work time. So that’s been a lot of the motivation too, of like how to make this work for me and my family. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:25:39] Yeah. Because that time is very precious, right? That’s something that I think about a lot lately because I have a son just a little older than yours I think. My son is three. These are very precious years that you don’t get back. I mean, we never get any time back, of course, but especially like your children’s. 

 

Catherine [00:25:53] When they really really want to be around you. 

 

Linzy [00:25:55] Yeah, like childhood is short. Right? Right. And something that I heard recently that really struck a chord with me is you might be living your normal adult life, but for your children, this is their only childhood, this is the only one they get. And that really, really struck home with me, just like thinking about that, like, childhood is short and it’s so it shapes us so profoundly, right? And so as parents, we have this opportunity to really make space for that. Yeah. 

 

Catherine [00:26:21] Yeah. I mostly just wanted to say, like, how impactful your program was to make all these changes and get me to the next place. Like even just getting through your program helped me get through money feeling overwhelming, to like, I can do this. And that enabled me to get through the battle with insurance companies and changing my EIN and getting off some insurance companies and then just like dropping clients out of the blue. And I was just a whole big nightmare. I was able to feel like I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by this. I can do this. That experience of experiencing that through your program is what helped me be able to do that in other settings too, which has been really, really huge.  

 

Linzy [00:26:59] To reflect kind of what I’ve seen of your growth from, you know, the outside, is like I remember you thought for a long time before joining Money Skill, like we were in touch like a couple of times. 

 

Catherine [00:27:10] Right. Like a whole year! 

 

Linzy [00:27:13] Yeah 

 

Catherine [00:27:13] Covid had just hit when I wanted to join. It I was like, I have a little one, I’m pregnant, and it’s covid. There’s no way I can do this right now. But I wanted support. 

 

Linzy [00:27:24] Yeah. And so you kind of touched base a couple times and then you, you joined the program and I’m curious like, having done this work, like I’m hearing it’s opened up the space for you to expand. It’s sounds like it’s increased confidence, your ability, and like maybe resilience. Stick-with-it-ness. To get through these really hard things like insurance that can be so such a headache and so discouraging. 

 

Catherine [00:27:45] Yes, right. I got to the point of doing my finances is just like putting in my notes. It just feels like a regular part of my day. And there’s still parts of that that I want to add into, like those key indicators that you talked about with another guest, you know, some other things that I’d like to expand and more collaborative meetings with my husband so like we’re really on the same page, but there’s so much more space there and there’s the opportunity to add those things in. Yeah. Like, I feel like I have a good foundation. 

 

Linzy [00:28:09] Absolutely. But I’m curious, like having done this work and having built these skills, how do you see yourself differently as a business owner and and as a person. 

 

Catherine [00:28:18] I feel much more capable instead of before, I think I was leading with a part of me that just thought like, this is the only way to do it. And feeling really overwhelmed and stuck to like, No, I can be calm and capable and just think through this. I don’t have to be overwhelmed by it. I can figure this out, even if it’s really hard and it takes a long time and these people are obstructionist and like, I can still do this. Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:28:43] That capability, like the image that I’m getting, we said, is like now you’re like solid. You’re solid in yourself. And now you’re able to use the solidness to like expand. Like it’s almost like a tree, you know, like growing out of the ground. I’m curious, what has changed in your life, even maybe things that are like we’re like a little bumpy or difficult. What’s changed around you by you making these changes and doing this work on yourself so much? 

 

Catherine [00:29:06] But I don’t know necessarily what tangibly. I mean, just little things also from my therapy work of just being able to show up more and be myself and be able to share that with the world. So that’s like my nose ring that I got after all these years and years, I was like I’m going to get it. 

 

Linzy [00:29:24] Yeah. Love it! 

 

Catherine [00:29:25] And I did get some of the responses that I was like worried about but that was okay because I wanted it, right? 

 

Linzy [00:29:32] Yes. 

 

Catherine [00:29:33] And I had a- one of my best therapist friends told me a few months ago just that she could see the changes in me, which was really encouraging, just the difference in just my whole being. So part of it is like I’m also this this journey of coming home to myself more and more, right? And just even this past week, I had this sense of like, okay, I am, I’ve really like put online and connected my brain, my heart, my voice, my gut and my inner wisdom. And that is part of that feeling solid, right? And feeling like, okay, I have what I need and I can figure it out and I can handle whatever is in front of me, which is really amazing. 

 

Linzy [00:30:13] Yeah. And I feel that difference in you too, just in the way that you hold yourself. And I do remember you saying very specifically at the point, because in your case, like, what part of what you identified, like you said, is you needed to raise your fee, right, which not everybody does identify that. But in your case, that was part of your picture. And I do remember you talking about how when you did raise your fee and started showing up to those sessions at that higher fee, like how much more confident you were and like clinically present by charging more money. And I’m curious if you could speak any more to that experience of like what it feels like to charge- for you, what it felt like to go from 125 to 175? 

 

Catherine [00:30:51] Yeah. I mean, I remember at the time I just felt like as a buyer, like, I’m doing this! Great. Like I think even now just to be kind of normal at this point. But also there’s a lot of I’m a very cut to the chase person and I’m just much more like, this is what’s essential. I am going to see this type of client that really fits me and I can really help and like I am happy to charge that much because we are doing amazing work, right? Like even in a few sessions people will be like, You changed my life and I’m like, I hardly did anything. But they already, you know, it’s just that synergy and that amazing like therapy magic, right? That comes out and it’s just really incredible. So yeah, there’s a lot more satisfaction there and fulfillment and confidence, right. And that if this isn’t working, it’s not necessarily something I’m doing, it’s not a good match. And that’s okay to say that. And it’s okay to stick to what I need and make that space for myself. 

 

Linzy [00:31:45] Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting that it’s kind of stopped you from personalizing when therapy doesn’t work, because it sounds like you really know now because you’re charging a higher fee, you know who you serve, like you’ve got clarity around who you serve and also the impact like changing somebody’s life in a couple of sessions for like, what would that be like $350, $525? Your life is changed. That’s a good deal. 

 

Catherine [00:32:05] Right? That’s a very good deal. It is a good deal. 

 

Linzy [00:32:08] And so that’s that’s interesting to hear because before, it makes me curious, where are you personalizing more and where are you kind of seeing folks who weren’t a fit or weren’t really in your niche? 

 

Catherine [00:32:15] I was a little bit. I don’t- I think I was still honing my niche. Right. And then once I knew what that was or what that felt like, and then it’s like, okay, Maegan’s one of the people that is giving me permission to be myself in sessions and I’m doing that more and really that like that relationship with me in the client is so important and it’s okay for that to be important to how it feels to me as well. To talk to the client and be better for the client. Feels good to me too. Instead of I’m just enduring this. Like I’m just here to support them, this blank slate thing, right? That is part of like, I’m moving away from that for myself and I’m moving away from that for clients. It makes a big difference. 

 

Linzy [00:32:54] Yeah. And that’s Maegan Megginson you’re referring to, I should say, for folks listening, who is a business coach and one of my business besties, who’s brilliant and encourages us to show up as ourselves. 

 

Catherine [00:33:04] It’s her her program I’m about to start. 

 

Linzy [00:33:06] Yes, yes. So by showing up as who you are, it sounds like that. I mean, that also sounds like it connects right back to your coaching that can be offering like coming home to yourself, like letting yourself be yourself, nose ring and all. Yeah. 

 

Catherine [00:33:19] You know, and that’s taking a lot of courage even to say, like, I can offer something for exvangelicals in a very evangelical place. There’s a lot of people that I love that are still in that culture and I don’t want to offend them. But at the same time, I need to be able to hold that space and say, like, this is how it’s impacting me and this is impacted others and I need that space to help them heal. 

 

Linzy [00:33:40] Yeah, right. So it sounds like you are also having to kind of maybe be a bit countercultural or go against the grain a bit doing what you’re doing, where you’re doing it when you’re living in Florida. Is that correct? 

 

Catherine [00:33:49] Yeah, northwest Florida, southern Alabama. 

 

Linzy [00:33:53] Yes. So, which I think when we’re in those situations as well, we need to be even more in ourselves. Right. Like to have that solidity because people might not always like what you do, right? Our family members or friends might not always be that enthusiastic or supportive. Yeah. So with this work that you’ve done on yourself, like the money work and, you know, showing up with yourself as yourself more as a therapist. And I’m assuming that coming home to yourself also expands to your life. I’m curious, Catherine, like what feels possible or is possible for you now? That wasn’t before you did this work on yourself. 

 

Catherine [00:34:25] Expanding into coaching for sure, and having a practice I really love and really works for me. Yeah, the thing I’m still trying to figure out is like my schedule is not currently working for me, but that will be sorted out. 

 

Linzy [00:34:38] That’s fixable. 

 

Catherine [00:34:39] Yes. But other than that, like, I have the power to make it work for me however I need it to work for me. 

 

Linzy [00:34:45] So, yeah. And what do you think might happen in your life because of this? Where do you see yourself going? 

 

Catherine [00:34:50] Who knows? The sky’s the limit. 

 

Linzy [00:34:54] I love that. Is that your final answer? It’s like just sky’s the limit. It could be anything. 

 

Catherine [00:35:02] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:35:03] It sounds like you’re you’re kind of stepping into this because something that I noticed, I mean, I guess part of my reason for asking that question is I think sometimes when we are small, like when we keep ourselves small, when we don’t want to offend, when we’re tight around money, I think that really connects to that smallness and centricity and not trusting ourselves. Our futures can also feel small, right? Because it’s like, this is it, this is what I know. And like what I’m hearing is for you at this point, with this work that you’ve done, anything could happen. 

 

Catherine [00:35:29] Right. I still have to be able to step into expert status and still working on that. But I definitely don’t feel any imposter syndrome. I don’t feel any like sense of that. I am just following the next step. 

 

Linzy [00:35:43] So, Catherine, for folks who are listening, who might be relating to you and who are thinking about taking maybe their first step of starting to work on their money, maybe joining Money Skills For Therapists. Right. What would you say to them? 

 

Catherine [00:35:57] It’s life changing and I think you should do it. And I know I had heard a bunch of people say that, and I was like, I don’t know, will it be worth it? And I had just come off of a really bad coaching experience. And so I was more hesitant, I think, than normally. I’m just like, Sounds great, I’m going to do it. So I appreciated you took the time and space and were just present with me and just dreaming like a person, right? And saw me, even before I was in the program, and that was really helpful. Like, I knew I enjoyed working with you and that meant a lot to me. Right? So I was like, Well, even if I don’t get a whole lot out of the program, I’m going to get that. And I got so much more. So, so much more. 

 

Linzy [00:36:37] And what enabled you, I’m curious, to take that step to kind of like get off the fence? Right. Like, I’m hearing you could tell that, personally, we’d be a fit working together, which is so important, right? Because like, coaching is like therapy. Not everybody is going to be a fit for you. Right. So in your gut, you’re going to get a sense. But I’m curious, like, what tipped you over into joining? What made you finally take that leap? 

 

Catherine [00:36:56] I think I knew when I had the time and space to do it a little bit more because the pandemic wasn’t quite so pressing where I could actually be in the office and even have lunch to myself. And I knew that I was expanding what I was doing. And I needed support to figure that out because even at that point, like, I knew I needed to change something with my fees or clients or something like I was feeling. Any time I feel too like pressured, like there’s too much and I need to make space, I’m like, okay, that means some sort of policy change. And sometimes it’s time to change something. Yes. Right. And so that was part of. 

 

Linzy [00:37:29] Yeah, yeah. It sounds like I mean, right thing, right time, I think is is important. Right. Like things opened up, the pressure to become enough, that you were motivated to do something, and so you jumped in and joined us. Well, thank you so much, Catherine, for joining me today. It’s been wonderful and I’m so excited to see what offers you’re going to come up with over the next year or so. 

 

Catherine [00:37:48] Yeah, me too, thanks! It’s been so great to talk to you Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:38:03] In my interview with Catherine. What really stuck out for me is, even in an embodied way, how different Catherine is now from when I first met her and before she started doing kind of the more practical pieces around money, like she mentioned in the interview, she had already done some mindset work around money for sure, when she started working for me and there are certainly things that she had already done and like wonderful mindset work that she had done through, as she mentioned, listening to Tiffany McLain’s The Money Sessions podcast, which if you are not listening to, I definitely recommend. So she had already made some moves around money, but when I first met her, she was very kind of tight around money and her systems. She felt like there was one right way to do it. She didn’t feel like she could learn how to do it her way. And noticing the difference now in her body and of course also in like the things she’s talking about and saying, you know, like when I asked her, what does this make possible for you? And she was like, Sky’s the limit. It’s like, you know, the vastness of her sense of her future, but also just her groundedness and her presence and just she’s more herself than I think she was when I first met her, through this very practical work that she’s done around money and the mindset work that she’s done around money. It just makes me feel so good to talk to a grad and just see how their life has been transformed around money. And as Catherine says, if this is work that you’re thinking about doing, what you’re going to get out of it is often so much more than you think, because those practical pieces around money and how we get tight and small and unsure and how much it undermines our confidence when we don’t know how to make money work for us is often limiting what is possible for us so much more than we realize. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. We’re sharing free, practical and emotional content around money on there all the time. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is so helpful to get more therapists who want to hear these conversations connected with 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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“I think the piece that really gets me so excited is being able to mentor and be, in a way, that anchoring and grounded person for somebody else [who is] encouraging and inspiring. For me, I had that. I left agency work, and I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine, and she said, ‘Let me show you the way! Private practice can be so amazing! You don’t have to be burnt out with agency work working all these hours and not getting paid enough.’ And so I had that as a model, and I would love to be able to do that for other people, and especially for clinicians who are working moms.”

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Meet Ilene Gold

Ilene is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Owner of Discover Peace Within in Denver, CO. She supports women in their 20s and 30s navigate life transitions and changes. Ilene combines traditional talk therapy, EMDR, and Yoga Practices to help her clients gain a deeper understanding of how their past impacts their present day. By doing so, they can heal and let go of what doesn’t serve them and move forward into the future with intention and mindfulness. As a working mom running a Group Practice, she strives to uplift and empower other working moms who want to engage in good clinical work, and then go home to their families. Ilene is a proud mama to a 3 year old human baby and a 9 month old fur baby. She and her husband live in Denver, CO where they enjoy hiking, biking, and being outdoors.

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Episode Transcript

Ilene [00:00:02] The piece that really gets me so excited is being able to like, mentor and be in a way like that anchoring and grounding person for somebody else, but encouraging and inspiring. And I think for me, I had that. I left agency work. I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine and she’s like, Let me show you the way. Like, private practice can be so amazing. You don’t have to be burnt out in agency work and like work all these hours and not get paid enough. And so I had that as a model, and I would love to be able to do that for other people and especially for clinicians who are working moms. 

 

Linzy [00:00:45] 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. Welcome back to the podcast. So today’s episode is a coaching episode with Ilene Gold. Ilene is a licensed clinical social worker. She’s a registered yoga teacher, and she owns the Discover Peace Within Counseling Center in Denver, Colorado. She is a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists and she’s also – as we mentioned in our conversation today – in Money Boss, which is my level two program after Money Skills, Money Boss Mastermind. So we reference that a little bit. You’ll hear in our conversation today. And today, Ilene and I dug into burnout, which is a topic I’m sure that many of you are familiar with, and specifically about starting to expand the group practice part of the work that she does so that she can produce for clinical work. So if you’re someone who’s been considering group practice or if you already have a group practice and are looking for ways to start to decrease the clinical work you do, and think about kind of that that equation and transition into supporting your clinicians more and bringing money into your group practice rather than clinical practice. This conversation is exactly for you. But I think it’s also relevant to all of us who are experiencing some burnout and starting to look for what are other ways to work and what are ways to adjust the way that we are working to heal from and prevent future burnout by thinking about what else is possible in the way that we’re doing our clinical work and what else can we add? Here’s my conversation with Ilene Gold. So. Ilene, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Ilene [00:02:47] Thank you. Thanks, Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:02:49] I’m excited to have you here. We actually just had some time together, like literally half an hour ago because you are in Money Boss, which is my level two program. So we’re having more time together lately and I’m excited to be able to do this podcast with you to dig into something that is going on for you. And as I’ve seen you before, this podcast is very much like what we do together when we have one on one calls in Money Boss or in Money Skills For Therapists. So tell me about what you’re bringing to our call today. What do you want to get my support with or have more clarity on today on the podcast? 

 

Ilene [00:03:20] Yeah, I think for me, what I’m really starting to recognize in our work together in Money Boss is I’m clinically burnt out and at the same time I have a lot of excitement and energy and passion for keeping my feet in the therapy world, but expanding in other ways. I started a group practice in November of 2021. It’s very small still and I think in large part it’s me remaining small because I’m seeing too many clients. So maybe some support around how to start to shift what my day to day looks like, saying goodbye to some clients, helping them kind of transfer to maybe some of the new therapists in my practice, kind of terminating and just figuring out how to kind of move in that direction of building the group practice. 

 

Linzy [00:04:09] Okay, so thinking about this just gave me a sense of kind of where you are. I’m sure, first of all, burnout is something that I’m sure many people listening have either been through or are experiencing right now, because it is definitely a hazard in our profession right now. How many folks a week are you seeing clinically? 

 

Ilene [00:04:25] So I’m seeing on average about 25. 

 

Linzy [00:04:27] Okay. Okay. That’s that’s a lot. That’s a lot. 

 

Ilene [00:04:31] It is a lot.

 

Linzy [00:04:32] That makes me feel very sleepy when you say that. Okay. So 25 clients and what do you want to be seeing right now? Given where you are? This might be a different number than what it was like six months ago. Right now, if you think about what would be kind of a sustainable week, recognizing that you are feeling burnt out and probably need to recover, how many clients a week do you want to be seeing? 

 

Ilene [00:04:55] I think if I could see four a day. 

 

Linzy [00:04:59] Okay, okay. 

 

Ilene [00:05:00] Maybe even less right now. I feel like that still feels like a lot. Okay, maybe, maybe like three a day or maybe, you know, some days I have five, but others I have two. Okay. 

 

Linzy [00:05:13] Yes. So let’s start with that. So do you work five days a week? 

 

Ilene [00:05:16] I do. 

 

Linzy [00:05:17] Okay. So with this question, what I want you to think about is what is a day that, when you work it, you go home and you still have energy, you still have spark for your life. You’re like excited to see your family. You’ve got some play left in you, some creativity. What is that amount of clients per day? 

 

Ilene [00:05:36] Okay, a gut check is three. 

 

Linzy [00:05:38] Okay, great. Okay. And three, five days a week. Is that still kind of leave you feeling that leftover extra energy at the end of the day or does that start to wear you down towards the end of the week? What does that look like? Thinking about- yeah. 

 

Ilene [00:05:53] Yeah, that’s a good question. I think because I don’t have that right now, it’s hard to know what that would actually feel like on a Friday. I think for now, let’s go with three a day, for five days. 

 

Linzy [00:06:03] Okay. So you’d be going down from 25 to 15. Mm. Okay. Okay. So that’s helpful for you to think about where you want to go as you’re scaling up. Like there’s a bit of an equation here, right, of like thinking about what needs to happen to start to replace that clinical income for you. What do you need to start doing to help folks in your practice generate income so that you can start to work less clinically right now? I mean, just to give me a sense of like, how quickly do you need this change to happen, thinking about your burnout. 

 

Ilene [00:06:32] Like three years ago. 

 

Linzy [00:06:34] Like yesterday. Okay, great. Yeah. 

 

Ilene [00:06:35] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:06:37] Yes. Which makes a lot of sense because you are in burnout. What I’m hearing about is like this is not a change you want to make over necessarily six months. It’s like, what can you start to do now? So tell me about your group practice as it stands at this moment. 

 

Ilene [00:06:49] So I have two clinicians that work with me that are very much in part time mode. One works another full time job and one works a part time job. And so in the fall she is looking to build out her caseload. So she’s seeing about three clients a week. And I think that she might bump up to like ten or 12. And then I’m hoping to recruit another at least 10 to 12 or more. Or a therapist that could see ten or more clients a week. 

 

Linzy [00:07:19] Okay. So you would kind of have like clinician 2 is going up to like 10 to 12 people a week in the next couple of months. You have somebody else- what was that second number that you mentioned there? About the same? 

 

Ilene [00:07:29] Yeah. So hopefully I could hire a third clinician. 

 

Linzy [00:07:31] A third clinician. Yeah. 

 

Ilene [00:07:32] Yeah. About ten plus. 

 

Linzy [00:07:34] Ten plus per week. Okay. And your first clinician, how many are they seeing. 

 

Ilene [00:07:38] About three. 

 

Linzy [00:07:39] Three per week. Okay. Yeah. And that’s how it’s going to stay. 

 

Ilene [00:07:41] I believe so. 

 

Linzy [00:07:42] This is their part time, like on top of full time, stuff. 

 

Ilene [00:07:44] Exactly. 

 

Linzy [00:07:45] They’re extra. Okay. So, I mean, thinking about this, what is the split that you have with the folks who work for you? 

 

Ilene [00:07:51] So I pay them 60% and my practice takes 40. Okay. 

 

Linzy [00:07:55] So they get 60, you get 40. The reason I’m asking you these questions is to figure out how many of their sessions would replace your sessions. So that’s a little quick and dirty, but it just can start to help us like wrap your mind around what would be required for you to replace this money that you’re getting from clinical sessions? Is your fee the same as their fee? Is it higher? 

 

Ilene [00:08:18] I kind of did a fee increase when we built a website for the group practice, and although like my fee says one thing, I’m actually charging the same as those clinicians and I felt like if I took anybody new on, it would be at a higher fee. 

 

Linzy [00:08:34] Okay. Yes. 

 

Ilene [00:08:35] So I know that kind of isn’t a very direct answer, but. 

 

Linzy [00:08:38] Yes, yes. So you have a higher fee for like new folks who would come in. But your your clients are all the same level as your clinicians, which actually makes for easier math. So that’s kind of convenient in a way, because what we need to think about is basically what it means is when one of your clinicians works ten sessions, there’s money coming into the practice as though you’ve worked four, right? Because you get 40%. So for every ten that they work, there’s four sessions of money that comes to you. Does that equation that makes sense? 

 

Ilene [00:09:06] Yes. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:09:07] So that can help us start. I think about how many sessions to your folks need to be working, your therapists, who work for you, for you to replace that ten. So it would be if they do ten sessions, that’s four. So when they do the next ten, that gets you up to eight. So basically, once you have your team doing 25 more sessions a week, that replaces the ten sessions that you would drop down. So thinking about that, the idea of supporting your therapists and going up another 25 sessions a week between all of them. What do you notice? 

 

Ilene [00:09:41] Oh, it’s not as bad as I thought. 

 

Linzy [00:09:43] Okay, that’s good. Yeah. Not as bad as you thought. Yeah. 

 

Ilene [00:09:46] Not as long as I think in my mind that number was going to be higher, actually. 

 

Linzy [00:09:51] Yes. 

 

Ilene [00:09:52] But if clinician B goes to 10 to 12 and if clinician C comes in and is seeing 10 to 12, I mean that about. 

 

Linzy [00:10:01] You’re pretty close. 

 

Ilene [00:10:02] Pretty close. 

 

Linzy [00:10:02] Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And then are you bringing folks on as contractors or employees? 

 

Ilene [00:10:07] So they’re contractors right now. Buy my hope is – and this is something, you know, maybe podcast recording number two, or in one of our one-to-ones and we can talk about like the cost of a W2 versus the cost of a 1099, how much profit I would need in my business to, I think, transition to W2. 

 

Linzy [00:10:30] Yeah. Because with that, I mean, part of the difference of having an employee versus a contractor is with an employee, you can set more expectations about how they work or when they work or whatever. And as a boss, you get to still decide what that looks like. It doesn’t mean you have to be rigid, but you are able to say, you know, in order to be fulfilling your employment contract, I need you to see 12 people a week, which is certainly not- it would certainly not make you an exploitive practice owner. 

 

Ilene [00:10:54] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:10:55] Right. That would be one of the benefits of employment. But yeah, we could look at those numbers and compare a contractor versus W2. What I’m hearing is your first response to 25 more sessions is like, Oh, that’s not as bad as I thought. What do you notice comes up around thinking about possibilities of how to make that happen? Do you already have kind of a game plan set out? I mean, I guess already there’s some natural changes you’re looking for. A third clinician will be part of that. What comes up when you think about looking for that third clinician and just supporting your clinicians and getting those 12 clients a week? 

 

Ilene [00:11:24] I think one thing is like, why would somebody come work in a group practice versus just starting their own private practice? 

 

Linzy [00:11:30] Yes. Mm hmm. 

 

Ilene [00:11:32] One thing that comes up for me, especially if this is going to be their primary source of income or if they’re spending more time in my group practice versus whatever other side things they are doing or part time work they’re doing, why would they want to come work for me? Or why would they want to come work for a group practice rather than just starting their own? 

 

Linzy [00:11:51] Okay, so you tell me. If I’m a practitioner, I’m thinking about maybe working for group practice. Why should I come work for you? I mean, what do you offer me? 

 

Ilene [00:11:58] What I believe I offer. I think what’s important to me and my group practice is that we’re all mothers who are also therapists. 

 

Linzy [00:12:05] I said I’m a mother who’s a therapist. That sounds nice.

 

Ilene [00:12:08] Yes. So I think something that is really important to me when I bring on clinicians is knowing that we all get it. We all get what it means to be a working mom. We all understand that like things come up, we’re flexible, we’re understanding, we’re compassionate. We have that sense of like mindedness and understanding of those struggles. And I think especially being a working therapist in the pandemic, as a mom as well, like how much that weighs on you? And I think that there is like that sense of we understand and we get it. We want to support you in being able to come to work, do your excellent clinical work with your clients, and then you go home like you don’t have to worry about the marketing, you don’t have to worry about the billing, you don’t have to worry about the networking. You don’t have to work your business. You can just come and be a clinician with a bunch of other clinicians who also get it. 

 

Linzy [00:12:59] Mm hmm. Okay. Right. So they’re getting emotional support of having, like, a community of like minded people. They’re getting the practical support of having, like, the marketing and admin support those sound pretty appealing. 

 

Ilene [00:13:10] Yeah like I want you to also like work when you want to work and not work when you don’t. Different from working in an agency or in a nonprofit setting that they’re going to tell you when you need to work and how often you need to work. I think and especially with the 1099, I’m not really allowed to say how many hours. Right. So especially the way that the group practice is set up now, I’m sort of like, hey, you work when you want to work and don’t when you don’t. And we understand that and that’s cool. And that we do that here, you know? 

 

Linzy [00:13:38] Yes. Yes. Okay. So it sounds like a value for you as an employer is giving your- or your contractors autonomy. 

 

Ilene [00:13:44] Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:13:44] Right. To be able to choose when they work and when they don’t and something to be mindful of, something to notice as your group practice continues to develop and grow, is are there boundaries that are required for your practice to be well and for you to be bringing enough money? Because especially as your income increasingly relies on your contractors and not on yourself, it does mean that if you do have a month where everybody takes vacation, suddenly the bulk of your money is not coming in anymore. 

 

Ilene [00:14:11] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:14:12] Right. So that’s something to just kind of be aware of in terms of balancing those values. Because if you’re going to be working less, then you don’t have the option to just like, work more to make up money if you’ve reduced your own caseload. 

 

Ilene [00:14:24] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:14:24] Right. So that’s something that you can- and, you know, we’ll continue to explore this together in Money Boss. Thinking about fine tuning your numbers. But that is something that’s kind of picking up on my radar. Just thinking about when you’re making your practice more reliable on your contractors’ income, what are also maybe some of the things that need to be minimums that would be more like employee stuff just to keep your practice running and healthy and keep the money coming in so you’re not losing money on certain months in a big way. 

 

Ilene [00:14:48] Yes. Linzy, and thank you for saying that, because I think that’s important for me as I move forward into this sort of new role as a business owner. And thinking about this as a group practice owner is that I’m not really good at those sort of like anchoring, grounded, sort of like, let’s logistically look at this and let’s talk about it because I can be like, Oh, I have this great idea. Let’s just like go for it. It’ll all work itself out. So that’s really helpful to think about. 

 

Linzy [00:15:13] Yeah, I’m used to being a bit of a buzzkill. It’s kind of like a bit of my role in life. So that was maybe a bit of a buzzkill for you. But like, you know, in Money Boss, we talk about this this visual of kind of like keeping your feet on the ground, while also like being expansive and in giving yourself that ground because that would be a grounding piece, is just understanding what needs to be happening in the practice to make everything good. And then that expansion is like bringing in the values, bringing in the right people, like really letting your therapists be humans in the workplace or whatever those values are that you really want to be living out. 

 

Ilene [00:15:43] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:15:44] So I’m curious, you know, Ilene, and this is also for folks listening because I think I’ve done a couple podcast recordings now where I’ve talked about how I often talk people out of group practice, and I’m not doing that with you. And I’d love if you can share with me and with the folks who are listening. What do you love about being a group practice owner and what draws you to running a group practice? 

 

Ilene [00:16:05] I think the piece that really gets me so excited is being able to like, mentor and be in a way like that, anchoring and grounded person for somebody else. Like I’m also good at it myself. For myself. But I can be that for somebody else. Yeah, right. But encouraging and inspiring. And I think for me, I had that. I left agency work. I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine and she’s like, Let me show you the way. Like, private practice can be so amazing. You don’t have to be burnt out in agency work and like work all these hours and not get paid enough. And so I had that as a model and I would love to be able to do that for other people and especially for clinicians who are working moms. I started my solo practice full time before I had my kiddo, and in fact the week that I went into my private practice full time, like the second week later, we found out we were pregnant. So I had to learn a lot real quick about how to save for taxes, how to have a healthy profit in the business, how to see clients in a way that still helps me feel energized and sustained energy at home for my kid. And I would love to be able to do that for other people, to give them an opportunity to not be so stressed. 

 

Linzy [00:17:27] Yes. 

 

Ilene [00:17:28] Just do their clinical work and go home to their families. 

 

Linzy [00:17:31] Yes. Yes. And we were talking earlier in a workshop that you and I just did together this morning, where we were kind of laying out financial projections and what’s possible about like following what excites your body, right? Like tapping into that, that wisdom that you also have. And I can see like you have such spark around this. This is something that, like, you want to lean into. So there is like this real kind of embodied Yes that you get when you think about leaning further into group practice. Yeah. Which is very different than the like. Well, people tell me to and it’s an easy way to make money because of my practice as well. I’ll just pass them on to other people, which is sometimes where it’s not always the most- the best reason to take on group practice, because group practice is a lot of work. 

 

Ilene [00:18:11] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:18:11] Which I think you were talking about earlier too. 

 

Ilene [00:18:13] That I’m finding out like there’s a lot of moving parts and pieces, which also feels exciting because again, like kind of going back to what we were saying at the beginning, it keeps me anchored in clinical work without having to be the clinician. 

 

Linzy [00:18:26] Yes, yes, yes. I 100% get it. That’s kind of where I live now. Yeah. It’s I’m not a practicing therapist, but I get to support therapists and like still bring in my clinical lens, but without doing that direct clinical work at the moment. So thinking then about where we started, come back to the beginning. You’re talking about feeling burnt out. We talked about this idea of going down to 15 clients a week. When you check with your body about going down to 15 clients a week and doing more work instead to support your clinicians to get them up to 25 more sessions a week, what do you notice? 

 

Ilene [00:19:01] A lot of guilt and having to say goodbye to current clients. Because I love working with them. And I love the work we’re doing together and I feel like I would let them down in some way or like, how am I gonna choose like which 15 stay with me and how do I get to help the others transition on? Like there’s a lot of guilt that comes up there. 

 

Linzy [00:19:23] And what is the guilt? Like, what’s the narrative? Why do you feel guilty about things like that? 

 

Ilene [00:19:28] I’ve committed to this relationship and I’ve committed to our work together, and then I’m supposed to, like, stay in it until they’re ready to say goodbye. 

 

Linzy [00:19:36] Okay. Right. So you’re committed indefinitely. 

 

Ilene [00:19:40] Indefinitely. 

 

Linzy [00:19:40] 20 or 30 years, if that’s what it takes. Okay. 

 

Ilene [00:19:44] I see where you’re going with this Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:19:45] I’m curious, did you have you closed on your practice before? Have you gone through this experiance? Like with mat leave? You probably didn’t say goodbye to all your clients, did you?  

 

Ilene [00:19:55] No. But we took a four month pause because it took four months and then I went back part time for the first year of my daughter’s life. 

 

Linzy [00:20:03] So yeah. And what was that experience like? 

 

Ilene [00:20:05] It felt easier than this for some reason because I was doing it for her, you know, like I was taking the time off for my daughter. 

 

Linzy [00:20:13] It was for somebody else. 

 

Ilene [00:20:14] It was for somebody else. 

 

Linzy [00:20:16] Okay. Okay. And what makes it easier about it being for somebody else and not for you? 

 

Ilene [00:20:21] Feels like there’s, like, no room for a client to, like, not argue. Not that a client would be argumentative, but they’re- like a client could see that that would be totally justified. Like, Oh yeah, see, over these last six months, like, your body is changing and you are growing a human, like, of course you’re going to take time. 

 

Linzy [00:20:37] We all see what’s happening here. 

 

Ilene [00:20:38] Yes, of course. You take time off to be with her and then we’ll see when you’re when you’re back. But this sort of feels like I am saying I need more time to grow this thing. Well in a way like I’m growing another thing and just not a human. But so it feels like it’s just not as justified, I guess. Hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:20:55] Okay, so I’m curious, like, for the folks that you work with, do they struggle with doing things for themselves? 

 

Ilene [00:21:01] Yes, they do. 

 

Linzy [00:21:02] So clinically, how could this actually be maybe a positive thing? 

 

Ilene [00:21:08] Yeah. Modeling that, like, permission to take time for yourself to do the things that excite you. Yes. That parallel process is very clear. 

 

Linzy [00:21:17] And what do you notice thinking about that? 

 

Ilene [00:21:19] Don’t be so hard on yourself. 

 

Linzy [00:21:20] Yes, yes. Yeah. I mean, like, I think I’m very passionate about closure. I’ve closed my practice twice now. Yeah. And I’ve also taken a six week leave before, like for my honeymoon. We went to Europe for six weeks. So I’ve done like that where it’s like a long pause and then I closed it for mat leave. And when I went on Mat Leave, I really closed it because I was gonna be off for a year. And then I kind of reopened my practice, but kind of didn’t and then said, Actually, never mind. And then I closed that down, right? And so I think the closure process is underrated, something that I personally noticed clinically. And I don’t know if this is something you agree with, but I think a lot of people don’t get good experiences of goodbyes in their life. A lot of goodbyes are abrupt or confusing and disorienting or just sad, and there’s no chance to actually like close it off. Right. And something that we’re able to offer as mental health clinicians when we know that a change is coming, is we’re able to offer people a different experience of goodbye, right, a goodbye that is intentional. That leaves space for all the emotions and all the grief that comes up right a goodbye that is respectful, where you actually get to see the things that you want to say and express, like the gratitude, but also maybe the frustration, the space for all of it. We usually don’t get space in our lives just as people for that kind of goodbye. Is this resonating with you, what I’m saying? 

 

Ilene [00:22:41] Yeah, absolutely. I talk about closure and termination in my first meeting with a client. 

 

Linzy [00:22:46] Yes. 

 

Ilene [00:22:47] It’s very intentional part of my practice. 

 

Linzy [00:22:49] Yeah. The end is there at the beginning. Exactly. Yes. Yes. So this is actually an opportunity for you, if you accept this framing, to give them this experience that most people don’t get this kind of intentional, thoughtful goodbye. How does that idea land with you? 

 

Ilene [00:23:04] I think, you know, what I’m noticing is just like the sadness in my own heart about my own experiences with goodbyes not being helpful and meaningful. And that could possibly be the barrier to some of, you know, like my inner child is having a hard time thinking about saying goodbye to these clients. And it’s not really about my clients and their challenge with saying goodbye, but maybe even more of my own. And I’ll have to talk to my own therapist about. 

 

Linzy [00:23:28] Yes. So content for therapy, which is always helpful to find. But yeah, like, I mean because we do have our own experiences and our own traumas around goodbyes. But I have certainly found in my own experience at least, that having these experiences of goodbyes is so healing and refreshing, both for the client and and for you as a therapist. Right. To be able to give both of you an experience that is intentional and thoughtful, that’s maybe less coaching more than me, like being like But this… But so I’m hearing there’s that piece, the goodbyes like, you know, sometimes goodbyes are hard. I also was hearing about kind of how do you choose what clients stay and what clients go? Tell me more about that piece. 

 

Ilene [00:24:05] Well I think because when I think about my caseload. There are 50 people on my caseload. I don’t see them all weekly. Obviously some are as-needed basis, some are once a month, some are every other week. Some are weekly. If I’m only reserving 15 slots a week, how do I even choose that? How do how do I do that? 

 

Linzy [00:24:23] Well, I think this goes back to your needs, thinking about this kind of new I want to say upgraded. However you want to think about it, this new intentional version of your practice that’s going to help you recover from burnout and give you the bandwidth to help other therapists be expansive and reach and do their best work. For you as a clinician and a person, how often do you prefer to see clients? What is the piece that makes sense for the work that you do in the way that you work? 

 

Ilene [00:24:49] I mean, I think weekly makes sense. Yeah, I think that’s how you really gain momentum. That’s how I want it. I like to see my therapist weekly. I think it makes sense with the with the in-depth type of work that I do. Yes. I mean, that weekly makes sense. 

 

Linzy [00:25:04] So that would be the first place to look is like who’s weekly? Who wants to be weekly? If you just count those folks who are weekly and are really doing the work and that way, that feels really productive and clinically helpful for you. How many folks is that who are in that category? And that’ll let you start to see like, I mean, this is an opportunity for you to really decide as a clinician, what are your boundaries, what is the best way that you work? Because you can’t work all the ways when you’re only seeing 15 folks. 

 

Ilene [00:25:29] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:25:30] What do you notice when I say that. 

 

Ilene [00:25:31] It kind of goes back to this like interesting boundaries idea around like, oh, yeah, I haven’t seen you in six months. Come on in for a session and check in and like this. Well, that can be helpful for the client. I don’t know that if moving forward, if I’m really going to try to create bandwidth and energy and time on my calendar to grow the group practice, if I can just be available to anybody at any time. 

 

Linzy [00:25:54] Right. Okay. So that’s good information for you because that will also help you start to see like kind of whittle down who’s doing the work that you really love to do and that you do best and who is looking for more like occasional or check in or biweekly that actually one of your therapists might love to do that kind of work. 

 

Ilene [00:26:12] Right. Right. 

 

Linzy [00:26:12] Because we all have kind of our difference, just kind of like frequencies and styles as therapists. Like, I know for me when I was practicing, I was totally fine with biweekly work doing EMDR, which I did. Some folks who do EMDR are like, No, never biweekly, always weekly. Like, we all have our own thing. And so sometimes the, you know, the style that doesn’t work for you might work perfectly for your therapist on the whole. 

 

Ilene [00:26:33] Mm hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:26:34] So that would be a starting point. And the name is popping into my head right now. To Ilene is Jelisha Gatling. Do you know Jelisha? 

 

Ilene [00:26:40] I don’t. 

 

Linzy [00:26:41] She used to be a coach at Money Skills For Therapists. She’s done workshops that I’ve offered to Money Skills grads. She’s awesome. She also used to coach in Lean In Make Bank. Jelisha. 

 

Ilene [00:26:51] Yes, yes, yes, yes. I know her. 

 

Linzy [00:26:53] Yes. So she does work in this area around like as a clinician, setting your boundaries and being clear about like your boundaries and expectations and creating a practice that really serves the way that you work. So she’s also someone to look to for resources like specifically on this. This is like her niche, but really putting yourself and your needs at the forefront of the work that you do. Mm hmm. Because sometimes with burnout, too, burnout happens when we haven’t been doing that. 

 

Ilene [00:27:18] Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:27:19] Am I saying something accurate? 

 

Ilene [00:27:20] You are hitting me so hard here in my heart, like. Oh, yeah, I’m not. I’ve not been doing that. Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:27:28] So coming towards the end of our conversation today, I mean, what are you taking away from our time together? 

 

Ilene [00:27:33] So breaking down the numbers and seeing how many clients a week feels sustainable to me. What’s really helpful then? Thinking about that next piece of, okay, how do I then help my group practice replace those hours, and then eventually grow past that and expand past that? But hearing the number like yeah, though that will require work- marketing, networking, you know, I’m not naive to think that that will require work to get those clients and fill my clinicians case loads. But it didn’t feel like overwhelming. It wasn’t as high as I thought. Yeah, so that felt good. And then thinking about this piece around saying goodbye, really coming back to some more like intentional and sustainable boundaries for my clients because all really good stuff for me to play around with moving forward. 

 

Linzy [00:28:22] I’m excited for you, I think you’re going to build something awesome. Thank you, Ilene, for joining me today. This conversation with Ilene today makes me really think about just like listening to where your excitement is in your practice. So in her case, you know, the clinical work, she said that she knows she maybe hasn’t been holding her own boundaries, kind of working more sessions that she wants to are working in ways that aren’t actually how she really loves to work as a clinician. And now she’s experiencing this burnout. But when we talked about the idea of her, you know, working ten less sessions and supporting her clinicians in working 25 sessions, it was like, oh, that’s easy. So noticing where that kind of like ease is and where you do have energy for it, because I think sometimes when we’re experiencing burnout, sometimes it’s total burnout, of course, and everything just feels like blunted and difficult. But sometimes it’s that we have too much of a certain thing on our plate and we’re like burnt out on clinical work. But there still is actually a spark and interest kind of going out in different directions. So rather than moving into an all or nothing space of like, I need to stop being a therapist, I need to shut this down, which is like definitely where our brains can go when we’re feeling so exhausted. It’s being curious as to are there still places that you do feel spark even within the work that you’re doing? Or are there things that feel exciting to pursue that are like a little bit beyond or outside? And noticing where that energy is, there’s definitely a difference between the work that you actually kind of know what it feels like and escape fantasy. Ilene and I talked was it in this episode it might have been beforehand about, you know, that fantasy that you can have of like, I’m just going to go start a new profession that’ll solve everything. And often that’s an escape fantasy and doesn’t actually really represent what it would be like to be in that profession. I think when we think about making massive overhauls, sometimes it’s good to pause and ask ourselves like, Is that actually going to solve my problem? But in this case, where Ilene already knows that she likes doing her practice work, she’s already in it, she’s already doing marketing, she already has folks working for her. She actually knows she’s already living what it’s like to be a group practice owner, and her body is saying yes to doing more of that. So there’s a lot of wisdom in that Yes that she’s getting. If you are enjoying the podcast, follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. I’m sharing content on there all the time about the practical and emotional sides of money. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is, as I’ve said, the best way for new therapists 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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Managing Financial Anxiety and Preparing for a Recession with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

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Managing Financial Anxiety and Preparing for a Recession with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

Episode Graphic Managing Financial Anxiety and Preparing for a Recession with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

“We can’t change certain things, but we can change how we are prepared for them or how we adapt to them. So as we experience a recession, we have to think about [how] I can’t change how the stock market performs or whether Amazon is going to lay off more people. I have no control over that. But what I do have control over is figuring out what will make me feel more financially secure in the face of this recession weather.”

~Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

Meet Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

Lindsay Bryan-Podvin (she/her) is a biracial financial therapist, podcast host, speaker, and author of the book “The Financial Anxiety Solution.” In her coaching practice, she helps therapists in social justice or of marginalized identities grow their profitable practices from the inside out; so they can stop feeling icky about money, and start setting and sticking to sustainable rates that allow them to grow their businesses in alignment with their values. She lives with her partner and their dog on the occupied land of the Fox, Peoria, Potawatomi, and Anishinabewaki peoples also known as Michigan.

In This Episode…

Do you have anxiety when you think about your finances? In this episode, Lindsay Bryan Podvin shares about the emotional side of money, and the ways that anxiety around money can show up as either procrastination or perfectionism. Linzy and Lindsay discuss what the recession can mean for therapists from a practical and emotional standpoint, and what we can do now to be more financially prepared for it. 

Connect with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin

Take Lindsay’s free quiz on understanding your money archetype: www.mindmoneybalance.com/quiz 

You can also find Lindsay on Instagram: www.instagram.com/mindmoneybalance 

Want more private practice finances support?

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Lindsay [00:00:00] We can’t change certain things, but we can change how we are prepared for them or how we adapt to them. So as we experience a recession, we have to think about, yes, I can’t change how the stock market performs or whether or not Amazon’s going to lay off more people. I have no control over that. But what I do have control over is figuring out what will make me feel more financially secure in the face of this recession weather. 

 

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 guest is Lindsay Bryan-Podvin. She is a financial therapist. She is a consultant who helps therapists with their finances. And I’m so excited to have her on today because as we talk about a little bit, once our conversation gets rolling, she brings such knowledge and experience around the emotional pieces of money that I’m so passionate about and that I feel like are just you know, there aren’t a lot of people who are really like in that world. Today we get into discussing financial anxiety, what it looks like, its relationship to procrastination and perfectionism, and how sometimes it can disguise itself. We also get into the word that is kind of on everybody’s lips right now, at the time that I’m recording this, which is recession, what a recession means, what it means for us as therapists and how to actually respond to and take care of ourselves in this time of recession. And finally, of course, there are even more useful tidbits from Lindsay about those first steps of what to do if you do identify that financial anxiety is a big part of your relationship with money. Here is Lindsay Bryan-Podvin. So Lindsay, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Lindsay [00:02:16] Thanks, Linzy. 

 

Linzy [00:02:18] I was going to say, obviously, we have to make that joke immediately two Lindsays who like to talk about money in the same place. And I was on your podcast like a few years ago. A couple of years ago. 

 

Lindsay [00:02:28] Yeah, I was gonna say, at least two years. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:02:31] It’s been a little while. And I don’t know why I didn’t have you on two seasons ago, so I’m so glad you’re here. 

 

Lindsay [00:02:35] Well, happy to be here. 

 

Linzy [00:02:37] So, Lindsay, you know, we were just chatting a little bit before we started recording about how I have lots of different folks who come on the podcast, lots of folks who have knowledge of a private practice building and like kind of different facets of money, but like something that you bring to the table that I think is really different than folks who’ve come on the podcast so far is such a knowledge of like the psychology of money, given your training and the work that you do. And something that you and I see a lot that I was hoping we could dig into today is financial anxiety. So I was curious. I know that this is a topic near and dear to your own heart, because folks who are listening can’t see this on Lindsay’s bookshelf. Behind her is the financial anxiety solution, which is a book that she wrote. So Lindsay, how do you define financial anxiety? 

 

Lindsay [00:03:26] Well, I think given that your audience is therapists, they will get this pretty quickly. But if we first just think about anxiety as a sensation that all of us have at different points in our time – not clinical anxiety, but different points in our lives – is feeling nervous, worried or on edge about a certain thing, or experiencing intrusive thoughts or having physical reactions because of that worry. We just layer money on top of that, right? So financial anxiety is feeling worried, nervous, or on edge any time you are engaging with thinking about or doing stuff with your money. And I think all of us experience financial anxiety at different points in time. It could be as quick as like, Oh shit, did my paycheck get deposited and refreshing your bank app going, Oh, it’s there. Okay, cool. It’s like very time limited. Not a big deal. Or it could be pretty insidious where it’s kind of this ruminating thought at all hours of the day of I’m bad with money, I don’t have enough, I’ll never learn. I’m so worried. And that is more of what I’m interested in, is how can we help people, who are experiencing kind of consistent financial anxiety, dial it down. The one time financial anxiety is more of like, let’s be curious about that, right? So again, putting on our therapist hat, why is it that I get nervous when my paycheck gets deposited? Or why is it that I feel anxiety when I look at my retirement account? Now we can kind of dig in there and get into it. But with anxiety, just with financial anxiety, just like traditional anxiety, it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good to have your heart racing. It doesn’t feel good to have thoughts kind of running through your head. It’s a sensation that most of us dislike. And so we do whatever we can to avoid it. Yes. And so oftentimes in my work, I see people fall into two kind of buckets of how they cope with financial anxiety and it’s perfectionism and procrastination. And I can dig into that a little bit more, but I’ll pause for now. 

 

Linzy [00:05:27] Well, yes, I mean, perfectionism and procrastination. I feel like in my own work in Money Skills For Therapists, I feel like people tend to fall into either of those two camps, pretty much two different manifestations of the same thing. So let’s dig into procrastination first. This is what I tend to see kind of more of, at least with the folks that I see in Money Skills For Therapists, so probably folks who are listening tend to be more on the procrastination side. Also, statistically speaking, what do you notice or what can you tell us about that procrastination response? 

 

Lindsay [00:05:57] Yeah, often times I think with procrastination it is perfectionism just by another name in that a lot of the times when I’m working with clients who have procrastination, the surface level thing they’ll say to me is, I know I should do it, but I’ll do it later, right. When we dig under it, it’s really, I don’t want to make a mistake, right? I don’t want to not know what I’m doing. I don’t want to feel dumb. So instead of taking messy, potentially making a mistake, action with your finances, people just don’t do it at all. So if I can’t do it exactly right, I won’t do it at all. And so oftentimes procrastination can look like, I’ll do it later, I work better under pressure, I’ll do it in tax season, right? A lot of these kind of external things. But when you dig under it, it’s usually this fear of not enough ness. I don’t know enough. I’m not smart enough, I don’t get it. And that’s where we can really kind of use some of our skills to figure out what would it take for you to feel comfortable enough to take that next step in relationship to your finances. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:07:03] Yeah. I mean, I love what you’re talking about right now because I think that this is such a missing piece so often in talk about money in general. Yeah, like I think probably similar to a lot of different topics is like the people who talk about it the most are often the people who it comes – as long as it comes easily – it’s like if these parts are there for them, they don’t talk about this piece. They talk about the stuff that they do. So if you look at like blogs about how to save enough money, they’ll just do….. or I just did….. And it’s like seems like nobody else is struggling with these things and that they’re just like taking action even though probably, under the surface, you know, there’s other things happening. But when people talk about money, they don’t talk about all like the hard feelings and the things that might be happening for us simultaneously. I find that sometimes it’s just a very kind of robot-y content about, Just do this, which totally ignores this whole other part of the experience. 

 

Lindsay [00:07:51] Yeah. And you’re speaking to this thing that happens in the personal finance space, which is it’s very individualistic. If you have debt, it’s 110% your fault. If you didn’t negotiate a raise, that’s on you. Instead of acknowledging that there is this both/and. Yes, we live in a society that makes it hard for certain people to move forward and to have access to this knowledge. And it’s important for us to get the knowledge that we need so we can take care of ourselves. But in so many personal finance spaces, it’s just about it’s all your fault. You’re bad with money. And as we know, that’s not a great motivator for change, like, oh, I feel like garbage. Yeah. Now I’m going to start doing good things that, like, never happens. And we know this as therapists, we know and we’re thinking about motivation and behavior change. It’s really about self-compassion and values. So why we don’t apply that to money, you and me. 

 

Linzy [00:08:49] Well, and I love you naming that both/and, because I find that something that I think I, I even grapple with sometimes how to hold those things simultaneously. 

 

Lindsay [00:08:57] Yeah. Oh 100%. 

 

Linzy [00:08:57] I think sometimes with money and even in the therapist space when we talk about like just like raise your fees and just do it, there is under this this kind of stripping away or ignoring of the systems that have got people where they are, that continue to make things ten times harder for Person A than they are for person B, right. Like when we ignore all of that and individualize, we blame people for things that are so much bigger than us and not in our control. And at the same time, there are things that are in our control. So kind of holding those things. I love how you named it as a both/and, because I think that when we lean too much into either, we become in some ways a little bit powerless – or not powerless – just disconnected. I think there’s truth in both of those, I guess, is what I’m saying there. 

 

Lindsay [00:09:39] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. 

 

Linzy [00:09:41] So we talked a little bit about the procrastination then, which you’re saying is often perfectionism. Just manifesting differently. What about the perfectionism, just straight up perfectionism that you see related to financial anxiety? 

 

Lindsay [00:09:54] So related to financial anxiety, I often see it kind of take shape in consuming a lot of information, listening to a lot of podcasts. Hashtag meta. Listening to a lot of podcasts about personal finance, doing a lot of research. Which bank is the best bank to bank with? For my private practice therapist, which electronic health record is best? Which website provider is best? Right? So spending a lot of time kind of splitting hairs over things that might not be the best use of our energy. And for perfectionists, I love kind of creating a little arbitrary deadline, which is like, you can research this all you want until this time tomorrow, you set a timer for an hour and you can look at the difference between therapy notes and simple practice. But you have to make a decision at the end of that hour. Right. And what that does is it gets us out of our own way, because at the end of the month, is spending $2 more or less really going to make or break it? No. But taking action to get an electronic health record up and running will likely pay you back in terms of energy that you gain back in making it easier for clients to schedule, making it easier for you to bill your clients, make it easier for you to communicate with them. All of those things are just so much more seamless when you have something like an electronic health record. But in non therapists there’s a lot of this researching and consuming information. But then oftentimes what that does is it makes it even worse. As in if I’m just trying to figure out how to create a budget and I start reading books about budgeting, there’s always going to be a little appendix about investing or about life insurance or about, you know, saving up for your kid’s college. And then I’m going to go down the rabbit hole of kids college, investing, saving for retirement. And before I know it, I’ve spent all this time and energy researching things, and yet I haven’t started on my budget, which is again how it comes back to procrastination. Yes, but I want to name that that perfectionism around money also comes from that feeling of discomfort. I don’t like feeling like I don’t know enough. I don’t like feeling like I’m not smart enough and it comes from that place. So if we can be kind and gentle with ourselves again to take forward action, it’s good. And the other thing about money, Linzy, is like, it’s not if we make a mistake with money, it’s when, right? Absolutely. When. And we have to normalize that. We will make financial mistakes, that none of us are perfect. I make plenty of financial mistakes and I will continue to make them sure. And it doesn’t mean that I run full force ahead and I don’t do my due diligence. But there’s just things where, you know, when you look back, that wasn’t the wisest decision. But you keep going. 

 

Linzy [00:12:40] Yes, absolutely. Yeah. The saying that I say sometimes to students in Money Skills is perfect is the enemy of done. 

 

Lindsay [00:12:47] 100%. 

 

Linzy [00:12:48] Because, you know, and the other thing that I’ve started to talk about a lot more with students, is just being in the weeds. You get so in the weeds, you’re so caught up in this, as you say, $2 a month. The detail of like, oh, this one’s kind of better, but it’s $2 more expensive and like that, you miss the big picture. Right. You have to zoom out to the big picture and realize, like, right, regardless of what system I choose, having a system, as you say, that like gets me paid, allows me to keep track of cancelations and bill those people and get people into my schedule makes immediately probably, you know, a 30x return on that $2 that you’re worried about. You know, if it’s a whole session fee for you, but it’s so easy for us to get caught in the little things that don’t matter and not take those like bigger, if imperfect actions that do actually count. 

 

Lindsay [00:13:32] And I can share with your listeners, too, that I am a person who did that. When I first started out in private practice, it was a $40 surcharge or addition to add on electronic billing to my electronic health record. And I was new to starting out and I was like, $40. That’s ridiculous. I’ll do it. And so I did I manually like did my own insurance billing, but it took me between two and 4 hours a week. 

 

Linzy [00:14:00] Whoa okay. 

 

Lindsay [00:14:01] A week! Yeah. So if we think about. Wow, what would I have done? Forget the money, I potentially lost seeing 2 to 4 clients a week that I could have seen, but just the energy spent. When I think back to that time, I’m like, I wasted so much literal time. I missed out on money because I was so scared of spending that $40. 

 

Linzy [00:14:20] Yes, right. It’s like that tightness. I mean, whenever I notice myself or my students in a space of kind of like tightness or restriction, right. Of like $40, that’s a lot of money, when from an outside perspective, somebody to be like, well, is it a lot of money with the money that you’re about to make? That’s always a good clue of like, oh, maybe there’s another way to look at this situation and and valuing your your time too. Because like something that I also think about in terms of our time, in that time for money tradeoff, is like time is not equal, right? So like time, if you choose to do some of your own graphic design because you actually love doing graphic design, that is like time that although you are maybe could be seeing a client making more, you’re enjoying yourself, you’re engaging your creativity, you’re like, Oh, that blue is so pretty, right? That’s very different than time where you’re doing something that like you’re not good at and you hate, which is like going to have an emotional impact on you, which goes beyond that time where, okay, you’ve saved $40, but now you’re in a wretched mood and you’re going to just like eat McDonald’s and like binge on Netflix all night because now you’re like, you know, you feel like you’re bad at things. So I think, yeah, there’s there’s so much nuance to all of these details. And like being connected with those different impacts too, I think adds a lot more to that equation. It’s not just a financial equation, it’s an emotional equation. 

 

Lindsay [00:15:29] Right. And that pressure to scale, to grow to 3x your income or whatever. I also think it’s worth kind of figuring out whose message is that, whose story is that, and is that something I’m willing to take on? Because I have been really intentional and see like no part of me wants a group practice. Could I do that? I have a very full practice with a waitlist of 170 people. Like. That’s ridiculous. A very easy solution, right, would be to hire another clinician. But I don’t want to do that. I have no interest in doing that. It’s no shade to people who do. But I know myself well enough to say that is not going to be the best use of my time and energy. And I’m- I just surveyed my audience to figure out what they want. And, you know, I’ll figure it out. But I’m not willing to sacrifice my mental and emotional well-being just for the sake of earning more money. 

 

Linzy [00:16:17] Absolutely not. Yeah. Like I and the phrase that I think of and this may not resonate with everybody listening based on their spiritual things, but like if this is my one and only human life, how do I spend it? This is my time here that I know for sure I’m going to get. And so it’s like, yeah, if, if you know that managing people is like but yeah, like don’t do it right. No amount of money is going to be worth that. Absolutely. So, yeah, really valuing your your time and your emotional experiences, not just dollars on a page because, you know, dollars in your bank don’t actually make your life better. 

 

Lindsay [00:16:45] Right? 

 

Linzy [00:16:46] It’s everything else that’s happening around them and what you do with them that actually matters. 

 

Lindsay [00:16:50] Mm hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:16:50] So for folks listening, especially if folks identify with this term of financial anxiety, there’s something hovering over us right now that is very financial anxiety inducing for people, which is the R word. Recession. Running around. Yeah. So I’m I’m curious, how are you thinking about the recession and how therapists and health practitioners- how we should be thinking about this looming recession. 

 

Lindsay [00:17:17] Well, first to folks who are younger than me. I’m a millennial. This is not my first recession. And if you’re younger than me, welcome. This might be your first one, but it will certainly not be your last one. And if we go again, to your point, Linzy, of zooming way out, and we look at economy when we think about a recession, it just means that there has not been growth in the economy. Stock markets have gone down for two quarters in a row, which let’s be really clear, these types of things happen all the time. But when we zoom out, there are periods of good economic times and periods of not so good economic times. So the other thing that as therapists we can do, and I’ve been using this analogy all the time, so apologies for folks who know me. You’ve heard this analogy before, but we’re going to go there is that I’ve been saying to my clients and particularly to my therapist clients, we deal with something every single day that we have no control over and we’ve learned how to deal with that. And that particular thing is the weather, which is different from climate, which is a different discussion for a different day. But if you think about the weather, you and I are both you know, we’re a handful of hours apart. So we’re used to when it’s winter here, we’re getting our wool socks, we’re getting our long underwear out, we’re getting our hats or our touques, as you say. And we’re getting all bundled up so that we can make sure that we feel comfortable and safe outside. Same thing if you’re in like Portland or Seattle, you probably have an umbrella on you at all times. If you’re in the South, you’re used to wearing shorts, whatever. Doesn’t matter. I could go on and on. But the idea here is we can’t change certain things, but we can change how we are prepared for them or how we adapt to them. So as we prepare for a recession or as we experience a recession, we have to think about, yes, I can’t change how the stock market performs or whether or not Amazon’s going to lay off more people. I have no control over that. But what I do have control over is figuring out what will make me feel more financially secure in the face of this recession weather. And for me personally, I’m looking at bulking up my emergency fund a little bit more. I had topped it off or so I thought, and now I’m like, You know what? I think I’m going to start contributing to it again just to give myself a little bit more breathing room when it comes to my private practice. I actually just de-paneled for my last insurance provider, which some people would say Lindsay isn’t insurance a guaranteed income stream. But for me, I’m like looking at that gap in what insurance pays me versus what my out-of-pocket fee is. And I’m like, that no longer makes sense given the context of where we are going. Other things that therapists can consider is making sure that if looking at their retirement accounts, it’s causing them a ton of anxiety because it’s all red numbers and arrows pointing down right now. You don’t have to look. And I know it sounds weird to like do nothing with money, but when it comes to retirement, if you’re listening to this, hopefully you’re at least ten years out from retirement, which means the numbers that are in that retirement account right now will not be the numbers that they are when you do need that money. So saving more, continuing investing and then increasing your income. I know I talked about my fee, but also as therapists: marketing. Marketing invisibility is a way to kind of protect us from the weather. As awful as it sounds, as therapists, we know that we’ve been in more demand in the past two and a half years than ever. We’ve had crises on top of crises on top of crises. And the demand for therapy continues to be high. And as we enter into a recession, some people are saying like, oh, people are going to stop therapy to save money. And I’m like, no, they are not. If anything else, they’re going to make sure that they’re taking care of their mental health and they might cut other things like that Netflix subscription. And also there are so many ways to be accessible, which is a different tirade for a different day. But those would be the things that I would tell private practice therapists is increase your savings if you can, check your sliding scale, check your insurance rates and see if you can still afford to offer them. At that rate, make sure that you’re marketing your services and showing up consistently. And when it comes to retirement, just like don’t really look at it as often right now. 

 

Linzy [00:21:32] And there is a distinction to be made there, as you kind of indicated, between not looking at your your investments. Right. And that that other kind of like procrastination avoidance we were talking about earlier, one of my students told me the phrase that she was given is like, you know, stock market is like a roller coaster. So like buckle up and don’t try to jump off yet. So don’t try to jump off. You don’t jump off. Right. If this is really the money that you are going to be using to do stuff with your grandkids or go on amazing trips, you know, when you are retired, you don’t need it for so long, like leave it alone. And that’s very different than avoiding. This is like very mindful. Don’t react, right? Like don’t don’t panic. Basically, don’t panic. But which I think is very different than what you were talking about earlier of procrastination, because the procrastination is about the things that we can control. Right. Those things that you’re talking about, like the emergency fund, that’s something you could do something about. You know, looking at your numbers and calculating if they still work for you, you can do something about that. But we can’t, looking at our investments doesn’t make them any better. Right. But it is a good way to make yourself feel very stressed if you’re looking for a good shot of stress. 

 

Lindsay [00:22:36] Absolutely. Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:22:39] And I love you put it in context, because I think I am also a millennial, an elder millennial, not to brag, but and so there have been other recessions, certainly in my lifetime. But I also think that just where I was in my career and my life, I wasn’t necessarily paying attention to them then like I am now. And so I think kind of like as we get older, we start to notice it as we’re running businesses. But that definition that you give of a recession where it’s just a time where the economy like where, you know, stocks do not increase, the stock market doesn’t increase for two quarters. Mm hmm. That doesn’t mean that everything’s burned to the ground. Exactly right. And I think that we have this idea, obviously, in capitalism, the story is endless growth, endless prosperity. And that’s not actually how it works. So it’s just like this is just how it works. Market correction is the other term. Right? Yeah. If we want to let you frame it. Yeah, it’s a little market correction. Things have gotten a little out of control. But I agree. I don’t think that it’s going to be massively impact us in our sector. Yeah, if I was working at Amazon, I might be nervous. Right. Because there’s certain areas where big corporations are going to make these big moves. But none of us are working for those big corporations and like good for us that we’ve created financial security. And your boss is not going to fire you. 

 

Lindsay [00:23:47] Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Linzy [00:23:48] Because you’re your own boss. So, Lindsay, if folks who are listening are thinking, well, yes, I do have financial anxiety. You’ve, like, hit the nail on the head. This is my life with money. What would be some small first steps that they could take to start to shift this financial anxiety for themselves? 

 

Lindsay [00:24:07] I think it’s a blend of the the practical and the emotional, which is basically what we’ve been talking about during this entire podcast interview. But thinking about what is the area in my personal finance life that is the most important for me to start feeling less anxiety around. So kind of choosing that area that feels the most important because the reality is all things with personal finance are important. And getting started with one area is better than getting started with no areas. So if for you, saving an emergency fund feels like the most important thing to do, then that’s what I would invite you to do and just start working on that one thing. Just like we don’t tell our clients to just do life overhauls, we tell them, try one thing for a week and let me know how it went when I see you next week. Right. We have to give ourselves that type of permission to take steady steps, not small steps, toward making change and giving ourselves permission that we’re so much smarter than we think we are around money. I think so many therapists say things like, Well, I went into therapy because I’m not good at math or science. And I’m like, Yeah, I failed college algebra. The type of math that we need to be to have a good relationship with money is like very, very minimal. And also the internet exists. So Google a calculator and you’ll be fine. So giving ourselves more credit that we are smart enough to understand this stuff. 

 

Linzy [00:25:35] Yes. And I think too, you know, therapists, this is one of the things that I think can make therapists and health practitioners especially anxious around money, is I think that we’re used to being really good at things. At least, certainly the folks that I see and work with in Money Skills, is like we’re usually achievers who are used to just being like, Oh, I learned that easy peasy. And so when something is not easy, I think it’s especially tempting to want to like avoid it and spiral into shame because you’re like, Well, if I’m not good at this, it must be because something permanent and fixed about me rather than like, we’re never really taught this. And also people talk about this in a very specific way that is not your language. And like once you get it translated and once you have kind of a corrective experience, what I do find is, as you say, it’s not it’s not the hardest math. It’s arithmetic. Mm hmm. And you can do arithmetic. It’s just, I think oh, so much of it is like when that anxiety starts to calm and you start to shift, then your brain can come online and start doing the math thing that it absolutely is capable of doing. Yeah, absolutely. So, Lindsay, if folks want to get further into your world, what is the best way for them to find you?  

 

Lindsay [00:26:41] Yeah. My business is called Mind Money Balance, and you can pretty much find me all the places under that handle. My website. My podcast is of the same name. My Instagram handle is of the same name. So you can find me there if you’re interested in learning more about your personal relationship to money, I have a free quiz that’s fun to take. It helps you understand a little bit more about your money archetype at mindmoneybalance.com/quiz. Pretty easy to remember. And then, yeah, as you mentioned, Linzy, my book is over my shoulder. It’s called The Financial Anxiety Solution. And it’s a workbook that really kind of comes at money from kind of an active CBT acceptance based lens. And it’s not really about the mapping to your point, it’s more about the emotions. So that could be a good starting point for therapists. And If you’re going to order my book, I really encourage you to call or email your local bookstore and have them order it for you. It’s just a good way to keep those dollars kind of flowing throughout your community versus, you know, overnighting it on Prime. 

 

Linzy [00:27:41] Yes. Yes. Awesome. Thank you so much, Lindsay, for joining me today. It’s been really wonderful talking with you. Thank you. 

 

Lindsay [00:27:48] It’s fun chatting with you again. 

 

Linzy [00:28:02] I really appreciated, in my conversation with Lindsay, that analogy about the weather. When it comes to recession, I think recession is a word that’s so scary and so loaded, and it can definitely spiral us into the kind of anxious thinking that everything’s about to go sideways. Nobody’s going to come see me anymore. My business is going into the ground, you know, endless opportunity there for catastrophic thinking and black and white thinking and all of those things. And as she mentioned, we all have the capacity to do certain things to support ourselves around the things that we can’t control. So those things that she mentioned around, you know, building up your emergency fund or looking at your numbers just makes so much sense in terms of we can’t control everything about it. And I don’t think it’s going to be that bad for us. But there are things that we can do. And even if those things just give you a little bit more of a sense of like grounding and control, if you have found yourself feeling anxious about the recession, then you’re doing something and you’re taking action and you’re letting those feelings that you have do something in your life rather than carrying them around. And frankly, it’s almost never a bad idea to shore up your emergency fund a little more. So if you don’t have an emergency fund and you’re like, Oh, that’s bringing in financial anxiety for you, then that is a great first step. Just getting a little bit of money put away, that is for those rainy days. Even if you’re only putting away, you know, a couple hundred dollars a month. What I’ve often found is just seeing yourself taking those actions in your finances can start to alleviate anxiety because it makes you realize, I can do these things. These things are within my reach. And there’s something so powerful about that, taking small actions and then pausing long enough to take in the fact that we are taking action and notice and start to shift our beliefs around what we are capable of and let ourselves have new stories about how we act and what we do around money. It’s very powerful. So great advice from Lindsay and definitely check her out on Instagram. She has a wonderful Instagram presence. She also has so many different ways that she supports therapists and people in general with finances and private practice. Definitely worth checking out. I’m so glad you joined me today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share practical and emotional money content on there all the time, and if you’ve been enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is the best way for new therapists who want to be part of these conversations to find me. 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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Expanding Beyond a Solo Practice Coaching Session

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Expanding Beyond a Solo Practice Coaching Session

Episode Cover Expanding Beyond a Solo Practice Coaching Session

“And this would have my name on it, and this person would be a representation of me, and my practice, and the way I work. I’d really have to trust someone. I don’t know who this magical person is!”

~Natalia Buchanan

Meet Natalia Buchanan

Natalia has been working exclusively with those that struggle with disordered eating in her private practice since 2007. She has a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Kansas. Natalia also holds a Texas license as a Licensed Professional Counselor and is an active member of the Central Texas Eating Disorders Specialists.

In This Episode…

Are you considering ways to expand beyond your solo practice? In this coaching session, Natalia shares that she has been at capacity as a solo practitioner for quite a while and is considering whether it’s a good time to expand into hiring someone and creating a group practice.

Natalia and Linzy dig into what it actually means to transition from being a solo practitioner to a group practice owner, and they talk through the benefits and limitations of making that transition. The conversation takes a surprise turn, so tune in to hear what Natalia and Linzy wind up exploring as they consider ways to expand beyond the limitations of being a solo practitioner.

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At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you.

Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Natalia [00:00:03] And this would have my name on it, and this person would be a representation of me and my practice in the way I work. And I really have to trust someone. And I don’t- I don’t know this magical person. 

 

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 before we get started today, I wanted to share a review on Apple Podcasts that one of our listeners left. The review is from Eileen. Eileen says Profound gems, and each episode she says, As of writing this review, I’ve listened to all of Linzy’s podcast episodes. I have to say that I’ve taken away profound nuggets of insight, advice, wisdom and tangible skills to try in each episode. My only regret is that I listened to most of these while driving in the car. Next time, though, I’ll be ready to have a pen and paper ready in order to capture the gems sprinkled throughout her episodes. This podcast is a must for healers of any kind. Thank you so much, Eileen, for your podcast review on Apple Podcasts. It’s so appreciated. I’m so glad that the podcast has been connecting with you and that you’re finding value in every episode. And for other folks listening, if you’re also enjoying the podcast, jump over to Apple Podcasts. It really helps. Today’s podcast episode is a coaching episode with Natalia Buchanan. Natalia is a therapist working in Austin, helping those who struggle with disordered eating. She is a graduate of the original beta course of Money Skills For Therapists, as she mentions towards the end of our conversation today. And she came to our coaching session today wanting support with feeling blocked around expanding beyond solo practice. If you have a full solo practice, you’re really going to relate to Natalia in terms of having a wait list of people that you just can’t serve. You just never get to it and realizing that you really are not being able to help those people. But also, she talks about this feeling of kind of like leaving money on the table, like all these people want her help and yet she’s not able to see them. So she talks about these blocks and concerns she had around expanding and hiring an associate moving into group practice. Very quickly, our conversation shifted, and I’m not going to give it away, but if you are someone who has a full practice and you’ve been contemplating moving into group practice but are finding yourself hesitate, this is going to be the episode for you. Enjoy. Natalia, welcome to the podcast. 

 

Natalia [00:03:15] Thank you. I’m happy to be here. 

 

Linzy [00:03:17] I am so happy to see you. I was just saying this off mic. It’s always so nice to see you and I’m really excited to have you on today. So let’s just dig right in to what you want support with today. So tell me, what do you want to have more clarity on by the end of our session? 

 

Natalia [00:03:32] Yeah. So I think I would like to look at my fear of, I guess it’s continued success, bigger success, up leveling. 

 

Linzy [00:03:44] Okay. Okay. Yeah. So tell me about what that fear is looking like right now. What are you noticing about it. 

 

Natalia [00:03:50] Right now I am feeling resistant to hiring an associate in my private practice. My private psychotherapy practice. I have not been able to take a new client in quite a while and I could really use the help.  

 

Linzy [00:04:12] Okay. Yep. So you’ve got more demand than you’re able to meet. 

 

Natalia [00:04:16] Mm hmm. And there’s a part of me that feels very afraid to take it to this next step. 

 

Linzy [00:04:24] Okay. And what do you notice? Kind of the stories around that fear are? 

 

Natalia [00:04:28] The word that’s coming to mind is I will lose control. The secondary fear is it’ll be too expensive. I won’t be able to generate the income, the referrals, whatever it may be, to support an associate. 

 

Linzy [00:04:48] Right. So first off, you’ll lose control. The second one that sounds like it’s like it won’t work, like the numbers won’t work or the marketing won’t work, that it ultimately won’t be successful. 

 

Natalia [00:04:58] Mhm 

 

Linzy [00:04:59] Okay. So that fear of control piece, like what control do you see yourself possibly giving up by bringing on an associate in your practice? 

 

Natalia [00:05:06] Well, I can’t control the way they do therapy. No, the way I do therapy. 

 

Linzy [00:05:13] Right. Yes. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So what actually happens in that room with clients you can’t control? 

 

Natalia [00:05:19]  And this would have my name on it, and this person would be a representation of me. And my practice is the way I work. And I really have to trust someone. And I don’t know this magical person. 

 

Linzy [00:05:34] This hypothetical human. Yes. Okay. Okay. Right. So you’d have to you’d have to trust. I mean, a question that I have is thinking about this, like branching out to an associate is I’m hearing that part of it is like it kind of solves a problem that you have, right? There’s like more demand than you can meet. You haven’t been able to take a new client in a while. And I think this happens to a lot of us. Like when you’re good and when you’ve built your reputation and you’ve carved out your niche, you do naturally get to a point where you just can’t serve everybody who wants to work with you. It’s just not possible. And even if you have a waitlist, you’re never going to work through that waitlist. Kind of at the pace that people are coming right now, it just doesn’t work. So a question that I have looking at it in the positive is what other needs would it mean to work with an associate? Like do you want to be a manager or do you want to be a mentor? Do you want to, you know, like work closely with someone else? Is there anything like that in the mix for you? 

 

Natalia [00:06:29] Well, since this is a financial podcast, I am very money minded and I realize that’s money on the table that I’m leaving. 

 

Linzy [00:06:39] Right. Yeah. So that idea that you’re leaving money on the table. Okay. Yep. So there’d be a financial opportunity cost that you’re missing by not having somebody on. 

 

Natalia [00:06:48] That’s one reason I like the idea of being a mentor or supervisor. Being a manager? I’ve never done that before. I don’t have any experience with that. 

 

Linzy [00:07:00] Yeah. Do you think you would like it? Just knowing yourself. 

 

Natalia [00:07:03] I’m not sure. 

 

Linzy [00:07:05] Okay. You know, the reason I’m bringing this to the forefront of this conversation right now to tell you is I think that when we are in the situation that you’re in, which, again, I have been in that situation to myself where it’s like, okay, this is it. Like I’m at my capacity of who I can serve. The natural thing that comes to mind and that everybody else will tell you is just hire somebody. Just start a small group practice. Like just hire somebody. I had like my next door neighbor tell me that, like, she’s a teacher. Even she, you know, was like, well, obviously you need to hire someone. And we kind of get that message from from all corners. Right. And so it’s easy to think that that is that is the move we have to make or that, as you say, we’re leaving money on the table if we don’t make that move. What I have noticed, though, is that, like, that’s a specific job that you’re signing up for. Even if you just have one associate you are signing up to become, as I say, you’re becoming a manager, you’re becoming a mentor. You’re going to be that that point person for clinical issues. And maybe you could hire out for supervision. But no matter what, as you say, what’s happening in that room directly reflects your brand. Right. Any things that are going wrong in that room do come back on on you and your reputation. And so that is part of what you’re signing up for, right? You’re not just signing up for more money. You were signing up for a job of being a manager. And I’m curious for you. Pure gut check. Do you want to be a manager? 

 

Natalia [00:08:21] No. 

 

Linzy [00:08:23] Okay, so let’s think about some other options. 

 

Natalia [00:08:26] I like that idea. 

 

Linzy [00:08:27] Yeah, because there are other ways to also get certain types of service to folks who want to come to you for your reputation. So here’s some of some other options that might be there for you. One would be creating a course on your area of expertize. How does that idea land with you? Just kind of off the top. 

 

Natalia [00:08:48] If I could snap my fingers and say I have my course up and running. Absolutely. Put it up there. I would be happy and proud and excited. 

 

Linzy [00:08:56] Okay. Those are words you are not using when it comes to having an associate. Happy, proud, excited. 

 

Natalia [00:09:02] That is how I feel. Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:09:03] So that’s helpful information for us, right? Like on a gut level. That sounds a lot more energizing. And so I’m hearing that like getting to that destination of having the course, that would be exciting. What about between here and there? Of creating, of course. What comes up when you think about that? 

 

Natalia [00:09:19] I would worry that I wouldn’t have the discipline to do it alone. 

 

Linzy [00:09:22] Right. Okay. So lacking the discipline. And is that something that you know about yourself, that sometimes you can lack discipline when you’re left to your own devices? 

 

Natalia [00:09:31] Absolutely. Okay. 

 

Linzy [00:09:32] Okay. So what would be a solution for that? 

 

Natalia [00:09:35] I work really well with accountability. If I’m checking in with someone, if I’m taking some sort of course or mastermind, I will show up. I will do the work. 

 

Linzy [00:09:49] I know that about you. And I’ve seen you do that. Yes. You’re an excellent student. Right. So that’s that’s something that you can use to your advantage. The good news is, Natalia, there is a ton of courses about making courses and a ton of master minds out there that would love to support you with this, I’m sure. Right. So there there’s like a support that basically is like sitting there waiting for you if this is something you want to do. Because what I would be curious about with this and tell you too is like even just running your numbers what financially could look like for you if you did a course as opposed to an associate, because something about associates is they also get paid, right? Yes. Because they’re actually the one providing a service. And even if you do a 50/50 split, you know, which is kind of it depends on in your area what is kind of like a normal split. But what I see kind of the steeper splits, I see it’s more like 50/50. That means there’s only 50% of the money to then also like pay for any expenses associated with that associate. You’re also putting in time and work. Right. We know that there’s taxes that come off of that because you’ve done money skills and you’ve got your systems worked out. So it’s like it often doesn’t pay as much as people think it does. 

 

Natalia [00:10:51] Right. 

 

Linzy [00:10:52] Yes. Which is why often people scale into larger practices, because it’s when you start adding five clinicians, seven clinicians, that money really starts to come in. Of course, all of that money is for you. Right. All of those sales that you make, some of those will go to like running software and stuff like that. But the cost of software is much less than the cost of paying an employee. Yes, significantly less. 

 

Natalia [00:11:12] Mm hmm. 

 

Linzy [00:11:13] So that’s one idea. Would you like to think about other ideas for this? 

 

Natalia [00:11:18] Absolutely. I like the idea, number one. That’s a good one. 

 

Linzy [00:11:22] We started good. So another I mean, I’m going to tell you, I’m biased towards courses because I think that, like, you can package up your gift and you have a gift, right? There’s a reason that you are full. You can package up your brilliance and you can sell it for a good amount of money because it literally changes people’s lives. So I’m a huge fan of that. Other kind of options would be a membership site. Right. So have a place where folks can join like a lower price point. Right. But it’s like a larger community. You’re offering more of a community experience rather than content. You would have content in that membership site. Membership sites, I find, probably work better. It’s like a longer term model, right? And you’re kind of like always on. So I find it works well for people who are very extroverted, who love building community, who are excited at the thought of kind of like it’s always going on. How does a membership site land with you? 

 

Natalia [00:12:09] Gut check reaction is no. 

 

Linzy [00:12:13] Yeah. Okay. I’m sorry. Maybe I could have sold it better, but my gut for you is also No. So, I mean, with this, like, I don’t know if you’re going to do better than a course, truthfully, like you could do info products, like you could sell like smaller courses, you could write a book, but books, we don’t make money off of books. Books more like establish your credibility. Right? Unless you’re a writer and you love to write, is writing something you love to do? 

 

Natalia [00:12:37] It is something I’m good at. It’s not something that I do often. 

 

Linzy [00:12:40] Okay. Yes. So and there’s a writing component to your to creating a course. Right. But what I have certainly seen is like when you have expertize like you do, having a course is where you can really like package that expertize. You know how your clients learn. So you can think about how to set it up for them to succeed. You can think about how much support do they need and when. Like, is this something? Are they really going to want to do it by themselves? Would you have calls that you do every couple of weeks? Does it work? Well, if they go through in a cohort, so they’re with a group and they feel that momentum of a group or will people kind of want to do it at their own pace? Like there’s all these little tweaks and variations, but ultimately. What you’re doing is packaging up those conversations that you have over and over and over and over again with your clients. Yes, you’re packaging those up, but in a way you’re packaging them like the best version of that talk you get to record. Right. And then you get to create the worksheet that goes with it. It’s like those key pieces that you wish every client would take the time to think through. And then you think about what is their journey? What is your client journey like? What are the key things that need to happen for them to get them on the other side of the transformation that you’re offering them? 

 

Natalia [00:13:44] Yes. Yes. And as you’re saying that, I’m thinking that sounds fairly easy for me because my specialty is I work with people who struggle with emotional eating, and I can tell you, the first five sessions, what I’m- the things that I am trying to find out about. 

 

Linzy [00:14:03] Totally. Yes. So something for you to think about. And like I’ve had a couple of people on season three that we’ve recorded with and they haven’t come out yet episodes, but who are course creator people who are like, talk to a lawyer, talk to a lawyer, talk to a lawyer. So I’m going to say that to you, too. You know, you want to make sure that you’re staying within the bounds of what’s appropriate for a course and also helping people to flag when it’s time to seek medical attention. Talk to a professional. Right. Like we don’t want to be saying that you’re replacing therapy, but you are you can package up some of those therapeutic resources that you have that people can self-study. Right, and then offer some amount of support. So that’s something you want to think about, too, within your licensure, making sure that you’re saying, you know, like above board and within your code of ethics. But those are all figure out all things. 

 

Natalia [00:14:47] Yes, agreed. 

 

Linzy [00:14:48] So what do you notice about about this idea as opposed to hiring an associate? 

 

Natalia [00:14:52] I feel a lot more energy and flow behind it. I have tried twice now to hire an associate, seriously,  yes. And each time it has not felt right. Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:15:06] And why do you think that is? 

 

Natalia [00:15:08] It’s not the right way for me. 

 

Linzy [00:15:09] Yes. And I think that that is true for a lot of therapists. Maegan Megginson and I have joked before about like sometimes we feel like we’re the people who try to talk people out of group practice. And I’ve seen people who love group practice. Natalia And like they light up at the thought of like mentoring and like creating a community. Like it’s like the stuff that lights them up is all the content of your practice. But I’m not really hearing that. 

 

Natalia [00:15:33] For, you know, that is not what liked me up. No. Yeah. Okay. 

 

Linzy [00:15:39] So what I’m hearing is, of course, seems to be much more energizing. 

 

Natalia [00:15:44] Yes, yeah, yeah. I like that idea. 

 

Linzy [00:15:46] So thinking about that then, knowing yourself, what are your next steps to get you started down this road? What do you need? 

 

Natalia [00:15:53] I would probably need to start investigating, seriously, a side hustle slash course mastermind. 

 

Linzy [00:16:02] Yes. Okay. So I don’t know her, but I am going to recommend to you, as we’re recording, Marissa Lawton. 

 

Natalia [00:16:08] She’s actually who I was thinking of. 

 

Linzy [00:16:10] Yeah. Therapist side hustle. So I would definitely check her out. She’s kind of like a colleague of colleagues. I just. I hear good things about her. So, you know, there are people like her who have programs specifically about this. 

 

Natalia [00:16:21] Yes. 

 

Linzy [00:16:22] So it sounds like knowing yourself, you know, that that structure is important. 

 

Natalia [00:16:26] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I like being around other colleagues and hearing their ideas and what they’re doing. And I like that energy.  

 

Linzy [00:16:39] Are there any other pieces that’ll be helpful for us to dig into while we’re thinking about this together? 

 

Natalia [00:16:44] I feel pretty good about this piece that we’ve just done. 

 

Linzy [00:16:47] Did we do it? 

 

Natalia [00:16:48] I think we did. 

 

Linzy [00:16:49] Beautiful. Coming back to your original question, I guess now a question I have for you is, is it that you have a block around expanding or is it that you’ve just been maybe looking at expanding in a way that you knew in your gut was not right for you?

 

Natalia [00:17:01] That is a great differentiation. I was attempting to expand in a way that was not right for me because you and I were chatting before we started the podcast that I also had a side hustle of flipping used books, and that started during the pandemic because basically I was bored and yes. 

 

Linzy [00:17:25] Need a challenge. 

 

Natalia [00:17:26] And there’s a part of me that’s very much an entrepreneur. I like, I like a challenge. I like figuring things out. How is this going to work? This didn’t work. Let’s make it better and it’s something I’m still doing and it’s very, very fun. 

 

Linzy [00:17:40] Yes. Yes. So yeah. So I think that this it sounds like in a way, you kind of maybe generalize the story that it’s about expanding. But what I’m hearing is actually like you like a challenge. You do have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s just finding the right thing. 

 

Natalia [00:17:52] Yes, yeah, yeah. Okay. 

 

Linzy [00:17:54] Anything else before we finish up? 

 

Natalia [00:17:57] No, this was really fun. 

 

Linzy [00:17:58] This was great. I feel like we almost got to the point so fast. But I’m excited for you and, for folks listening, Marissa Lawton, as I say, a colleague of a colleague, I hear great things. She’s got resources around exactly that. So I always say like the value and I mean Natalia. You’ve paid for my course and mastermind. You’ve paid for other people’s stuff. I think you and I both know the value of just like getting the right help. Right. Not trying to reinvent the wheel all by yourself. 

 

Natalia [00:18:25] Absolutely. And I want to say here publicly on the podcast, I would not have the kind of thriving, full, private practice that I do. I wholeheartedly believe if I had not taken their courses. Thanks for the mastermind. 

 

Linzy [00:18:42] I am so glad. Like, that’s very touching to hear. I’m so glad to hear it. And like you, you’ve accomplished incredible things and I’m so excited for you to now take that next step and package up into your course and just like expand, keep expanding your you’re doing amazing things. 

 

Natalia [00:18:57] If I could say before we got on, I found my journal that I started at the beginning of 2018 when I first started your beta course. 

 

Linzy [00:19:09] My very first round. Yep. 

 

Natalia [00:19:11] And I was going through all the questions and my fantasy of what it would be like when I have arrived. 

 

Linzy [00:19:17] Yes. 

 

Natalia [00:19:18] And one of them was I would only look at money – I forgot exactly what I said – maybe once a week or something like that. But now I’m only having to do that once a month. 

 

Linzy [00:19:30] Right. Because it’s all working. 

 

Natalia [00:19:32] It’s all working. The systems are in place. 

 

Linzy [00:19:35] That’s it. Yes. And I think that’s like I appreciate you you saying that, because I think that’s a misconception that people have as they think that once you’re more in touch with your money, it adds more and more work to your life and it becomes like it’s arduous forever. And what I’ve seen is like it is more work for a bit as you’re building systems, because systems take time and energy and if you have to clean up a mess from before, that takes work. But once you have your systems working and once you have your numbers set up so that they’re working ongoingly. It actually takes very little work to keep it up. 

 

Natalia [00:20:06] Yes. Yeah. I love that idea that maybe in five years because I think it’s been about five years since we first started talking that four or five years, maybe in four years I could have a class get her a course. Now it’s just going on my website because. 

 

Linzy [00:20:25] Yes, totally. 

 

Natalia [00:20:26] I love the idea of somebody waking up and seeing that two people signed up. 

 

Linzy [00:20:30] Oh, yes, it’s a good experience. I can tell you. It feels good. It feels good. And similarly, Natalia, I will say, it’s kind of like you build out the system. You know, this is how course courses work too. Right? You build out the system. At first it takes a lot of thought. You’re trying to package up all you know, you’re trying to figure out how to talk about it in a way that people understand what they’re buying. But again, once you do that and you set it up like, you know, you literally wake up to somebody having bought your course, right? Because all of these things that you’ve seeded out in the world, they’ve had enough experience of you that they’re like, Yeah, Natalia is the person who I’m going to, you know, who’s going to help me with my emotional eating. And they’ve bought while you were literally unconscious. It’s pretty good. 

 

Natalia [00:21:11] That that idea makes me light up. 

 

Linzy [00:21:12] Yes. Yes. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Natalia, for joining me today. 

 

Natalia [00:21:17] Absolutely. Thank you. This was fun. 

 

Linzy [00:21:32] In my conversation today with Natalia, the energy shifted so quickly once we moved away from the idea of her hiring an associate. Because I know Natalia and she is a money skills grad and also did a mastermind with me a few years ago. I know that she’s tried before to hire an associate, so that’s kind of maybe part of what was happening on my side that led me so quickly to just gut check with her whether she really wants to hire an associate. I know that this is an idea she’s had for a while and she hasn’t moved on it. And I was really curious what the reason for that was. I think so often, as I mentioned in the episode, we get so many messages just to like just hire somebody, just hire somebody as though they’re just making it seem like that’s a very simple thing to do. And the reality is moving into group practice and having associate has a whole other list of responsibilities and roles that you’re going to be playing for that associate, even if it’s just one. If you really want to be having an employee who is supported and well cared for and wants to stick around. There’s work involved in that. So it’s important to ask yourself, is that the job you want to have? So often with expanding, we focus on, as Natalia mentioned, the money that’s being left on the table or the opportunity or the fact that this is what we’re being told to do and we don’t stop to think about, is this the job I actually want to have? Am I creating a job that I would want? And often when we ask ourselves that question, we’re going to get a gut response that gives us some good clues of the directions that we might actually want to lead when expanding. As soon as I shifted into suggesting the idea of a course to Natalia, her language change, she talked about feeling excited and happy, thinking about it. She immediately knew what her content would start to be like. You could see that immediately there was starting to be flow and possibility around it, which just did not exist around the idea of her hiring associate and had shown up when she had tried to hire an associate before and it had never really taken off. So if you’re in a similar situation to Natalia, I do encourage you to be curious and think about what are some other ways you might be able to expand what you’re offering to clients or different types of side hustles? Like Natalia mentioned, flipping books, that is distinctly not therapy. And sometimes it’s nice to to just do things that are income generating, that are not therapy, and those are all valid options and all valid ways to bring more money into your life and create more financial stability for your family. If you like what I do, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are sharing free, practical and emotional money content there all the time. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would so appreciate if, like Eileen at the beginning of the podcast, you would jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review. Let me know what you think about the podcast, what’s helpful about it? It helps other therapists to find the Money Skills For Therapists 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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