Expanding Beyond a Solo Practice Coaching Session

Episode Cover 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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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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Heidi is a therapist in private practice in Colorado specializing with spiritual humans who want to move from self-doubt/suicidal thinking into self worth, confidence and freedom. She is also a single mom by choice to a one year old. Heidi is a dynamic human who is curious about life experiences and making something beautiful out of pain/darkness.

In This Episode…

How can you get your money working for you in a way that supports and nourishes you? How do you balance supporting yourself with the resources that you need while also saving up for the future? In this coaching session, Linzy and Heidi dig into what it looks like when you’re making more money in your private practice than ever before, but find that you’re also spending more too.

Heidi and Linzy talk through these common problems that many of us face in private practice, and establish some practical strategies that Heidi can use to take control over where her money goes, while also valuing what she needs to nourish herself. 

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Episode Transcript

Heidi [00:00:03] That also just clicked in my head of how, Oh if money can also be that support in my account and I can see it, that could be really helpful. Like knowing that it’s there to actually use, that money is to be used and then it flows back in. 


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 of the Money Skills For Therapists podcast is a coaching episode. My guest is Money Skills For Therapists graduate, Heidi Lindeman. Heidi is a therapist in private practice in Colorado who specializes in working with spiritual humans who want to move from self-doubt and suicidal thinking into self-worth, confidence, and freedom. She’s also a single mom by choice of a one year old, and that definitely factors into the conversation that Heidi and I have had today. So in our coaching episode today, Heidi brought forward this challenge that so many of us face, where she has started through some hard moves that she’s made in her practice, some big moves. She’s making more money than ever before. And yet somehow that money seems to be going away. She’s made some big purchases, and when she looks at her bank accounts, the amount of money that’s there is not what she wants to see, considering that she is making more money than ever before. My conversation with Heidi almost has two parts. At first, we really dug into some practical pieces around identifying goals and setting up systems for her to be able to actually save for goals, which when you start to have more money, it’s kind of this new level, new devil situation, right? Like you have to start to learn new skills to manage money. And so we get into some very practical pieces of how to save for goals and identify goals to make sure your money is going where you want it to go when there’s more of it around. Then in the second part of our conversation, Heidi and I really sunk into a more kind of emotional and meaning based conversation about what money needs to do for her in her life. What is the value of money? What are her real needs? And how can money help her meet those real needs as well as how can she meet those real needs in other ways so that it’s not all on money to have her needs met? So it’s quite an expansive conversation. We covered a lot of ground today. Really interesting conversation. Here is my coaching episode with Heidi Lindeman. So, Heidi, welcome to the podcast. 


Heidi [00:02:55] Thank you. I’m so excited. 


Linzy [00:02:57] I am also so excited. We were just chatting in advance. I feel like there’s 7000 things to talk about, but we’re going to dig in. We’re going to dig in today to what you wanted to bring to this coaching episode. So. Heidi, just to kind of frame it out for folks, you are a Money Skills For Therapists grad and you finished up in the course. Where are we at now? Like two months ago. Three months? 


Heidi [00:03:19] It was recently. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:03:20] Just a couple months ago. 


Heidi [00:03:23] January? February? I don’t even know. Time is weird. 


Linzy [00:03:26] Yeah. 


Heidi [00:03:27] So, recently. 


Linzy [00:03:27] Fairly recently, I think we could agree. Okay. Okay. So tell me, what did you want to work on today in our coaching episode? 


Heidi [00:03:37] So I really want to work on the growth that I have, but then to like- I spent a lot of money and I don’t think I really like, manage that well or maybe- I don’t know exactly what was happening there. So just for a little context, when I was in the program, the big thing that I was really working on was like, how do I get enough money just so I can pay my personal bills, my private practice bills, that was all working okay. It was that I wasn’t making enough money to buy groceries and, you know, pay for basic things. So there’s a lot of focus on that, raising fees and stuff like that that I did. And then. Oh, some fun news. So during the course, I raised my fees to 225 for new clients. In the last two-three weeks, recently, I’ve had conversations with people to raise my fee for current clients to 225. So everyone’s getting bumped up as of July 1st. So like it feels like things are going really well in that way. And then the last two months I would say I’ve had, as far as income coming in, it’s been really great and like enough to pay for my personal life and things like that. And it’s like, Oh, I can actually make myself a salary and here’s what the number is. And then there’s still extra money left over in my owners pay account, using profit first. Awesome. But then I was literally looking at my money this morning and was like, okay, I have $37 or something in my personal checking account and I overdraft. Crap. I was trying to stop doing that. And then my business account, the expenses are- it was lower than I wanted to see it because I bought some big things. So I bought a new desk and I bought a new chair. I bought this thing behind me, like, really just trying to set up my office space better. But then I had some big personal expenses as well. Like a home organizer? 


Linzy [00:05:38] Yes. 


Heidi [00:05:39] Was it necessary? No. 


Linzy [00:05:40] Yes. 


Heidi [00:05:40] Did I want it? Yes. Did I buy it? Hell yeah. But then I’m at this place of like it’s really it’s more my personal than my business. But my business pays my personal. So. 


Linzy [00:05:52] Yes. Okay. Yeah. 


Heidi [00:05:54] Eugh, money. 


Linzy [00:05:57] Money. Right. So deposit in this respect like I do. I do wanna reflect back to you. And I know you know this intellectually, but like, how much progress you’ve made in terms of that fee. Right. Like I remember when you came to Money Skills For Therapists, I think it was like literally on our very first call that you attended, that we ran your numbers with a tool that we have in the course and you identified like, okay, my fee has to go up based on like my needs. And you are, you have a child, your solo parent, so it’s all on your shoulders, right? So you identified this fee had to go up and you spent a lot of time that you were in Money Skills For Therapists you were working on that project, right, of like raising your fee for new clients. And that is hard and scary to have those conversations when you have more of a premium fee. And now what I’m hearing is like it’s starting to actually have effect. You are seeing more money than you saw before. There’s more money now because of that work that you did. 


Heidi [00:06:45] Yeah. Yeah. And I had – two weeks ago – ten clients, which is my ideal weekly. Like that’s the goal that I’ve been trying to get to. In the last couple of weeks it’s been nine clients. So I’m like… 


Linzy [00:06:54] You’re right there,. 


Heidi [00:06:55] Right at like where I want to be at ideally. Okay, things are working or should be working. 


Linzy [00:07:01] So I want to reflect back to you. This is like- this is what I would call like a a new level new devil program like problem I should say. So it’s like, before, your problem was like, okay, I need to raise my fee and I want to be working ten clients a week. And so you’re going through the fee raising and having those conversations and trying to find the right people and call in the right clients. And now you’ve gone through the work of like raising your fees with your existing clients and that’s rolling out and now you have more money coming in. But what I’m hearing is the money’s not necessarily staying around. 


Heidi [00:07:29] Yeah, particularly the last two months really has been the last two months where it’s there’s been a like feeling of relief, like I can breathe and I don’t have to worry about buying groceries. Like always goes back to buying groceries. Like I used to go to the food bank to get food and it’s like, Oh, I can just buy groceries. And I had my budget, I think set at like 450 or so for groceries, for my personal budget. And then I was just looking at the reports today, which I haven’t done until literally today, like, oh, I’m actually spending closer to like 500, 600, 650 on groceries. So there’s a. 


Linzy [00:08:08] Yeah, so you’re getting like a bit of an increase. So yeah, yeah. So let’s, let’s pull this apart a little bit more because what I’m hearing is like you’re seeing your grocery spend is going up at home. Are there other things you’ve made this big – I don’t know how big of an investment – you made this investment in having a personal organizer. 


Heidi [00:08:26] It was 2000 something. It was a big investment. 


Linzy [00:08:28] That’s a chunk. 


Heidi [00:08:28] Yeah. Okay. 


Linzy [00:08:29] Yeah. Okay. So you’re that you bought a nicer chair. You bought a nicer desk, you bought what you were referring to behind you was like this really beautiful screen, you know, to, like, screen off your space. So it sounds like you’ve been making some purchases that you just wouldn’t have been able to make before. 


Heidi [00:08:44] Yeah, yeah. And they’re- I mean, those ones are I know that they’re like one time kind of purchases. Like, I’m not going to buy a desk every month. And I’m not going to pay for an organizer every month. It’s like I paid her entire fee up front. So like she works with me for- 


Linzy [00:08:58] Yes, so that’s it. 


Heidi [00:08:58] A while. Yeah, but there was part of like how this is something I’ve grappled with for a long time. Like, how do I know when I have enough money for something? So like how I buy bigger things- and some of them don’t feel bigger. Like this thing behind the screen behind me was like $70 or $90 or something. It’s not a huge purchase. No, the desk was like 300 or something. 


Linzy [00:09:20] Yeah, okay. 


Heidi [00:09:21] The chair I think was like 70 or 80. It’s like they’re not huge. Huge. But no, like altogether it it adds up. It adds up. 


Linzy [00:09:29] Yes. Okay. 


Heidi [00:09:29] But like, how to know when do I have enough money to actually do that? And I tried to track it. I used You Need A Budget and like I was looking at it now, like there was enough money in my operating expenses to spend it to like buy something. But then when the number is so low, when I get down to like – I don’t know what it was – a couple hundred dollars sitting in there in my account, it makes me really nervous and I’m like, I have to have more in there because I feel like it’s too low. And yeah, and I’m like, Oh, crap, I overspent now. I should never buy anything, ever. 


Linzy [00:10:01] Yes. Yeah. It makes you swing between extremes when you don’t have clarity on- okay. So yeah, so let’s zero in on this part first. So in terms of your operating expenses, so you’re using profit first. So for folks listening, Heidi is using profit first. So your specific kind of bucket of money, that’s for operating expenses, which is the money that it costs to run your business. Right. So the desk and the chair and the screen that you bought would have come out of operating expenses, as do any courses that you buy. You know, so that’s the bucket of money you’re referring to. So with that, it is helpful to work towards having a buffer in it. That’s an actual number that you know when you’ve reached it. So you can be done, right. So what I’m hearing is, for you, you know that this couple of hundred dollars that you’re at, you’re like, this is too low. That’s not enough money sitting there. So the general recommended buffer, Heidi, is is two months. Right. So having enough money in there to pay for two months of like regular operating expenses, do you know how much money that would be for you to get towards a two month buffer? 


Heidi [00:10:56] My expenses are somewhere around 800 or so a month. 


Linzy [00:11:01] Okay. So in your case, then, 1600 would be like two full months ahead on operating expenses. 


Heidi [00:11:08] But when I have that much money in there, like I have so much money, I can do whatever I want. 


Linzy [00:11:13] Yes. Yes, okay. 


Heidi [00:11:14] So there’s that. There’s also the other – just to throw in another little thing in here – is I started saving for another maternity leave for another baby. And that was also one of my goals. And it’s so cool to actually have started that. And I used a lot of my tax refund money, so there’s actually like $5,000 in it. So like, I have this really- like I can actually set myself up to have a kid when I want to. But then I forget about, Oh, wait, I also need to have that extra money in my operating expenses because the mat leave or the money for that is just to, like, pay my salary. 


Linzy [00:11:47] Yes. Yeah. You’ll still need to pay any recurring expenses for your business. 


Heidi [00:11:52] So then I need like, I don’t know. Do I need five months saved up or- 


Linzy [00:11:56] Yes, yes. This is like kind of a new level that you get to start to build into your your systems, Heidi, which is starting to get clear on like what are those goals, right? And what are those numbers so that you can actually make a plan to get there and so you know when you’ve gotten there, too. Right. So like with your operating expense number, for instance, what I’m hearing is because you haven’t been planning on a specific buffer number, when you get up more around 1600, there’s almost this part of you that’s like spend it like maybe you spender part of yourself comes out. Is that do I understand that? 


Heidi [00:12:27] I mean, it might be a spending part, but it’s more of a like, oh, I can be relieved in like, ha, I have money for whatever I want. I don’t have to stress about it. And because I’m not stressing about it or like focused on it. Then I end up spending it. 


Linzy [00:12:40] Yes. 


Heidi [00:12:41] If I look, I’m like, oh, I’ve got money, I can whatever. Go buy something that’s not budgeted for. That’s what tends to happen. 


Linzy [00:12:48] So if we think about like this piece of the puzzle of kind of having a bit of an operating expense buffer builds up. So, you know, when it’s enough for you, how much money would you want to see there? Let’s think about just your normal one even before mat leave. Right? Because let’s almost think about mat leave as a separate project. Just for your normal standard, there’s a there’s a buffer there just in case, for some reason you don’t work for a month or two. How much money do you want to see there for yourself knowing your practice? 


Heidi [00:13:14] The first number that came into my head is really low, so I think it’s an interesting things like at first I’m like I want to have at least $500 in there all the time. That feels like. If it- when it drops below the 500, there’s a little bit of like, ooh, is it going to be okay? When it’s at 500, I’m like, I know more money is going to be in there in a week or whatever, because I do my money stuff every week. So I guess I’m always going to have what I need in there, but I think it would be better for me to have it higher. To have it more like 1600 by two- two months. Because that might also then give me more relief in like knowing I can take vacation. That’s also a thing. I’m just going to work forever. Even though I haven’t planned with my fee to have vacation, it hasn’t quite clicked. Like, how do I actually do that? 


Linzy [00:14:06] Yes. Yeah, yeah. And we can jump on that part in a minute. That’s a whole other conversation. And I can also guide you back to the resources in the course. Now that you have more money coming in, you’re going to be able to add some elements that are built into money skills, but at the time wouldn’t have been so relevant for you. But yeah, so what I’m hearing is like intellectually, you know, that getting more around like a 1600 dollar mark makes sense. That would give you a buffer in case there’s times that you’re not working because if you’re not making money, you know, you still need to pay for your clinic management software and any kind of recurring expenses. So for you, Heidi, to make that concrete and real, how would you set that up in your systems as like a goal to work towards? How do you specifically save towards goals. 


Heidi [00:14:47] Randomly, random? You know, it’s not actually randomly. So I have, I’ve been trying to do things and then getting into places like this and then feeling like it was for no reason or doesn’t matter. So like I have a- 


Linzy [00:15:03] Yes. 


Heidi [00:15:04] Line item on my- only on my one personal checking account, like a buffer line on a budget and I put money in there. But then this month I was like, well, I have $34. So like, let’s take that money out. 


Linzy [00:15:17] Yes. 


Heidi [00:15:17] It’s not there anymore. 


Linzy [00:15:19] Yes. 


Heidi [00:15:19] So like I want to use you need a budget to try to to build it in. But the buffer line just feels weird to me because You Need A Budget- sometimes I get confused if it, so like if I put money in a like a buffer line or a buffer expense, I don’t know, whatever. If it pulls forward to the next month because then I’m like always trying to assess do I have enough money and do I have – not do I have enough money, but is it accurate? Is what You Need A Budget is saying accurate to what’s actually in my bank account. 


Linzy [00:15:48] Right. 


Heidi [00:15:49] And then constantly like making the profit numbers match my bank account. I mean, when there’s money assigned to future months, it makes it feels like it makes it weird or if there’s- 


Linzy [00:16:01] Yeah, yes. 


Heidi [00:16:03] So I get really confused. So then having the buffer line makes it really hard. So like I think I need a different system because it’s just mind confusing, boggling. 


Linzy [00:16:13] Yeah! And this is part of it, right. Is like how do you make it tangible and clear for you, so that you can set a goal and you can see when you’re on track for it and you can know when you’ve reached it and when you no longer need to be working on that goal. Right. I’m hearing separate, separate bank accounts you already have in place with that, something they’ll be helpful for, for not just this goal, but other goals that you’re thinking about because you’re kind of like you’re moving into a different stage of your finances. Heidi, I think is is part of what’s happening. Right? Like I said, new level, new devil, where it’s like now you actually like have some money that you can push forward into the future or that you can earmark for certain goals. That has not been your situation. Right? So this is kind of like- now your systems need to adapt to the fact that you’re making more money and you get to do more things with that money. 


Heidi [00:16:56] Like you mean creating a separate bank account for like the buffer? Like having a buffer account? 


Linzy [00:17:02] Yeah, that would be an option. That’s thinking about like what would make your brain happy? 


Heidi [00:17:07] That’s a one that feels very clear and it’s direct and it’s like. And then I use a spreadsheet to figure out my- how much to put into each account. 


Linzy [00:17:15] Yes. Your profit first. Yeah. 


Heidi [00:17:16] Yeah. Then I could just, like, add that to that and just pick a percentage and then it keeps going until we get to… 


Linzy [00:17:25] Exactly. And then you’ll see – because it’s a separate bank account – you’re going to see when there’s $600 there. And then, you know, that goal is complete, that money is there. And then in the future, if you take vacation and you find that your OpEx is a little low that month because you’ve earned less, because you’ve been away, then you know that exactly what that OpEx buffer is for and you get to like draw that 100 bucks over to fill it back up and then you can replenish it again. So it gives you a very distinct pool of money over there to know when you have enough of that buffer, like when your buffer is complete. 


Heidi [00:17:57] Right. Yeah. No, I like that. I just then have to be okay with I mean, I move money all round all the time, but there’s sometimes when like I put money in a certain account and feel like I can’t ever touch it. I think that’s more like my personal savings or my like a joint family savings account I have, my mom told me it’s my money and I’m like, it’s not my money. So there’s, like, just $2,000 that sits there for if I end up with a $0, then I can use it. 


Linzy [00:18:26] That’s your role for yourself, which is probably not your mom’s role for it, I wouldn’t guess. 


Heidi [00:18:31] It’s not. But like, I create these weird rules. I like being able to actually move it or like knowing maybe it’s not move it, but like more specifically knowing when do I move? It’s like, at what point of my expense account, when it gets below, like what number do I then use the buffer. 


Linzy [00:18:53] And that’s something that like you can think through and decide, right. Like I’m hearing for you, emotionally, $500 has meaning. Right. So maybe it’s that you plan to have $500 sitting in that OpEx account and like there’s like kind of like OpEx you about account does its own thing. You’re going to fill it up, you’re going to pay out of it. But on months where you earn less because you’re working less, you’re away. Then if you see it dip below that 500, you can fill it up, you know, from your OpEx buffer account. And like part of it is like, as you say, Heidi, being really clear on when are you allowed to use that money. Because sometimes what can happen when we have more of like an anxious or scarcity relationship to money is that we can almost like hoard it. Like it’s like we put it away and then we’re like, I’m not allowed to touch it. I’m never allowed to touch it. Even if I’m in the hospital, I can’t touch it. And I’ve seen people do this that it’s like we need to make sure that we set clarity and intention around those buckets of money so it’s clear like it’s there to support you, right? It’s there to make your life better. 


Heidi [00:19:46] Yeah. Yeah. I definitely have a little bit of that. A little bit of the like, Yeah, I would might be the person who ends up in the hospital and I’m like, I have to see a client because I don’t have any money. Yeah, I have $1600 sitting over there and. 


Linzy [00:19:58] There’s $2,000 from your mom over here, too. Yeah. 


Heidi [00:20:01] Actually, there is money somewhere, so. 


Linzy [00:20:03] Yes. And that’s you know, that is something to be curious about. And I think this kind of also comes back to, you know, your bigger piece that we started with is, are you able to accept money into your life as something that makes your life better? 


Heidi [00:20:17] That’s a good question. Mm hmm. I want to intellectually say, well, of course,. 


Linzy [00:20:21] Yes. Logically. 


Heidi [00:20:23] But then I have this like hesitation or the like, oh, can I? Am I actually open enough to allow money to flow in to actually support me? And I don’t know that I have an answer for that. Yeah, it’s a really I don’t know. 


Linzy [00:20:36] Because something that I notice thinking about kind of what you described at the beginning of this situation where it’s like you have literally been in a place where you have not been able to pay for all your groceries. Right. You have like used food bank resources to live, to eat. Right. Yes. And so now because of these moves that you made in your business, which have been hard moves to make. Right. And which have taken work and like there’s been like I want to, again, just like recognize and validate the work that you’ve done to get where you are. Right? Because it has been hard, but now you are starting to see the impact of that and there’s more money and as you say, like you actually have money left in your business account now. Right. And what I’m hearing is there’s relief there. And you have acquired some things that you just like would not have been able to acquire before. Right. Like a nicer workspace for yourself? Yeah. Getting help. Having help of somebody to come in and, like, create more order in your life, like with a professional organizer. And, you know, something that I wonder is like, can that be okay? 


Heidi [00:21:33] I think it’s okay. Like, I’m growing in the direction of it being okay, but also just noticing, I don’t even notice, but like a quick snap back or this like flashback or quick like, yeah, well I want it to be okay, but I also feel like I’m stuck in this other place if I don’t have enough money anymore because I spent. Because I bought these big things. 


Linzy [00:21:57] Mm hmm. Yeah. 


Heidi [00:21:58] All of them together. And they bought them all really close to each other. So like I don’t know why I did that. 


Linzy [00:22:04] Yeah. 


Heidi [00:22:04] Well, in, like, a week, I was like, I want new stuff in my life. I can’t handle this, like- 


Linzy [00:22:09] Yeah! Okay. There you go. So that that is my question. So why did you do that? Why did you buy all these things within a week from each other to, like, dig even more? What compelled you to do that? 


Heidi [00:22:17] Let’s see. So I went to the store to get a new chair because my back has just been so messed up because the chair is just terrible. So, like, I actually wanted to support myself in a chair that- 


Linzy [00:22:31] Physically. Yes, support yourself. 


Heidi [00:22:31] Works my works for my body. It helps my spine. Yes. It’s like that’s the whole intention I went to the store. I had no intention of buying a desk. And when I was there, I just found a really cool desk. And I was like, oh, that’s really cool. And I had budgeted for the actual chair. So I felt like I was doing great with actually budgeting because I haven’t budgeted for things like that before in my life. When I want something, I just buy it if I have money. Right. Not thinking about the impacts that that might have later on of like, oh, you have to pay rent in a couple of weeks too. 


Linzy [00:23:02] What that money was for, I guess. 


Heidi [00:23:04] But then somehow it ended up into- so sitting in all the chairs, looking at the chairs, and then it’s like, Oh, I really like the desk. And then because the desk is a bigger desk than my other one, it kind of really only fits in one place, which is then why that the screen came in, right? Behind there, there’s kids toys and. 


Linzy [00:23:21] Yeah, I understand. Yes.


Heidi [00:23:22] Right. Maybe don’t need to be seeing the kid’s toy like it could be distracting. Like, let’s have a calm environment. And then the person organizing literally just came because I was watching too many organizing shows, and it was like, I want to be on that show. Then it’s like, oh, there’s maybe people who live closer by. As I’m just looking at mess around my house. So that felt like a very emotional purchase. 


Linzy [00:23:47] And with these purchases, Heidi, what’s the need that you were trying to meet? 


Heidi [00:23:53] I want to be comfortable. That’s what comes up first. It’s like, I just want comfort. I just want ease. I just want it to work well or to flow. I definitely want things different in my life. There’s like a, if I buy new things, maybe that will make my feelings be different. Maybe I don’t have to be sick all the time. I mean, this isn’t logical, but like having a kid, you’re sick all the time. You feel like crap all the time. But I just want to not feel like crap. Like, what can I do to not feel crappy? Right. If I had a clean environment, that might help it. It’s really hard to keep it up. As a single mom. 


Linzy [00:24:27] Absolutely. Yes. 


Heidi [00:24:29] Like if I had a better organizational system, it might help. Just like relieve some of the pressure, some of the anxiety or some of the, like, constant Ugh that I live in. That’s the best I got. Something like that. 


Linzy [00:24:41] Yeah. And I mean, that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, like another word that I heard, like where you start with the chair is like support. You know, you need more support. Right. And sounds like you’re you’re needing more support. You’re needing a little bit more order. You’re needing support in terms of having somebody come in and help you to create some more order in your life and like, you know, I will I will reflect to you, Heidi, like you’re a solo parent that’s- you’ve been a solo parent from the very beginning. This is your experience in parenthood. I will tell you that my partner and I, as two people parenting, look at each other all the time and are like solo parents are fucking incredible. Parenting with two adults to one child is hard enough. Right. And so I want to reflect that to you. Like it makes a lot of sense that at this point in your life you are seeking like support and and order and organization because it’s a very messy, demanding, germy, sicky, tears and not-a-lot-of-sleep time of life. 


Heidi [00:25:32] Yeah. And I’m crazy enough to be like. And I’m doing it again soon. 


Linzy [00:25:36] Pronto. 


Heidi [00:25:38] You know? Whatever. 


Linzy [00:25:39] I know biology is incredible, but. Yeah, so, like, reflecting that back at you, I mean. 


Heidi [00:25:44] That also just clicked in my head of how I, with money, can also be that support in my account and I can see it. That could be really helpful. Like knowing that it’s there to actually use. That money is to be used and then it flows back in. That’s another like- I know I have like 18 million things, but when I- so I’ve been- I had to take some out of my savings account like a significant amount. So now I only have like $400 or $500 in there, which I don’t like that number, I would rather have like at least 1500 in my savings account. Sure. Yeah. So, like, that number is low. So like, my plan is like, I’m going to be refilling that to get that back up to where I need it to be. And it actually should probably be much higher than that. It should be. That’s just my comfortable number. It should just be three months or two months of expenses, which is like ideally, like $10,000. Like, I don’t know how you ever have this much money. I don’t know how you can get there, but like not even really knowing how to start building those buffers or how to start building that back in. Like when I do take from one place to pay bills. Yeah. And both accounts are low, so it feels like the priority needs to be the checking account or like the OpEx account before additional stuff. But then it feels like I’m going to be putting like $30 in these additional accounts and it’s like it’s going to take forever. 


Linzy [00:27:06] Yes. And this is where I think getting a sense of your priorities and how these things kind of fit together. Right. Because it I think that especially given your situation where like you are the person bringing money into the household, right. If you’re not sending money home, money is not appearing. That like, this is it. So, you know, going back to that piece of like money supporting you, is your money really supporting you? If you’re prioritizing so much, getting two months ahead in your business budget, that you’re, you know, not eating well or feeling deprived at home? Probably not. So, I mean, this is something to think about, maybe coming back to this piece of identifying that like you’re looking for support and order, and like what you are looking for your money to bring into your life. Once you’re clear that this is what you need at this stage of life, because it’s also chapters, right? In different chapters of our life, like money, it has different potential and possibilities for us. But when you’re really clear on what’s important to you right now, then you can make a plan from that place of understanding how your money serves you best, right? So if you know that it’s about what what word – if we’re going to synthesize the words down into like one idea – what is the most valuable thing that money can be doing for you in your life right now, Heidi? 


Heidi [00:28:12] There’s two words that, I mean, that come up. It’s the support and nourish. 


Linzy [00:28:16] So support and nourish, right? So coming from that place, thinking about, okay, how can your money that you’re earning more and you’re building up more of that income, how can that money be really supporting and nourishing you in your different needs and then making a plan for the money to reach that? Right. So like that’s the emotional piece is looking at how can money support and nourish you. And then you get to make a budgetary plan, a numbers plan for how you prioritize these things when money does show up, right? So when money comes into your world, what are the basic goals you want to be hitting? Like how much goes to maternity leave every month? You know, how important is that compared to what’s the number that you want to make sure you hit in your groceries every month. Because I know groceries are such an important thing and you have experienced not being able to buy the groceries that really nourish you, right? So groceries and then replenishing your OpEx, you know, buffer is is part of it. But that should never take precedence over you actually being well. Right. Because you’re the machine that makes all of this happen. If you’re not well, none of this is going to happen. 


Heidi [00:29:16] That’s helpful. Thank you for saying that, because I totally would be the person who would be like, well, the goal is to build the the buffer. So like I have to build the buffer, which means the only place I could take it from is my pay. 


Linzy [00:29:28] Yes. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. Don’t do that. The purpose of your business is to support you in being well and allow you to thrive so that you can be a fucking amazing therapist who changes people’s lives. Right? Like there’s a loop there. And if we cut it off, and if we don’t let our business like let money flow into our life, and if we don’t let ourselves be well, and if we don’t let ourselves thrive, then we’re actually, like, starving the business, right? Because we’re starting to decrease our ability to, like, show up and be our best and be creative and increase our impact and call our people and all of the things that need to happen to keep that money flowing and to keep those clients being served. 


Heidi [00:30:04] Right. Right. Yeah, I have a very big narrative that is not just about money, but about so much other stuff. Talking to my therapist about it a little bit today, but I thought of like, there’s never going to be enough. There’s never going to be enough to meet my needs specifically. So like. There’s not enough time to meet my needs. There’s not enough money. So it’s like if I really was going to be nourished, what that might look like is that if I go to the chiropractor and I’ve been trying to budget for going every other week, so going two times a month, but I actually need to be going every week because when I don’t go every week, it’s problems. Like she’s like you need to come every week, at least for right now. That increases that bill. Then there’s other dreams. Like it would be great to also get a massage regularly. I did have one recently, but the one before that was like six months ago. 


Linzy [00:30:57] Yes, yes, yes. 


Heidi [00:30:58] It’s like it’s a full extra thing right now. Like, so like there’s those kinds of things and then the like the grocery bill just seems to keep getting bigger. And I don’t understand how. And I, I want to eat really healthy and well food, but I honestly don’t have energy for it. So, like, I’m buying Amy’s frozen dinners cuz it’s like what can I microwave and fast? 


Linzy [00:31:20] Yeah. Yep, for sure. And I mean something that- it’s risen in my mind that may or may not resonate with you. But this idea of maybe like creating like Heidi’s nourishment plan and it’s like writing out for the month. These are all the things that can nourish me. Right. And then looking at the money that you have and it’s a budget, in a sense, but it’s from that perspective of how do you get fed physically, how do you have your pain cared for, you know, like physically, how are you nourished, your food. And starting to think about how do you distribute this money that you’ve generated through your gifts? How do you distribute that to kind of get the the most potential out of it, knowing that not everything might be able to happen right now, but thinking about how can it have the most impact for you where it is right now, which also gives you the potential to grow your impact later as you have the potential to grow your business more or have different types of offers or whatever you want to do. What do you think about that, that idea of kind of approaching it that way and being curious about your numbers that way? 


Heidi [00:32:21] I really love that. I actually did a whole big Phew in my head, like, not just my numbers, but like nourish my life. And what is that? And like, some of those things are going to have financial costs like groceries and the chiropractor and massages and whatever. But some of them aren’t. Like hanging out with my friends, my mom friends, hanging out with some friends who maybe don’t have kids, going for a cup of coffee with somebody who I really enjoy, that has a small impact, $5 or whatever. 


Linzy [00:32:53] Yeah, exactly. But emotionally, it might have quite a large impact in terms of nourishing you. 


Heidi [00:32:57] Yeah. Like that. There’s other things I could do that could also go into some of my- like the organizing thing I’m doing is like wanting to create a little space for me, a little sacred space a little- a chair where I can read and journal. That’s like, this is my space to recharge and I so desperately need that as I like- I’m about to tear up just thinking about it like. 


Linzy [00:33:18] Absolutely. 


Heidi [00:33:18] Yes. Oh, yeah. We need more nourishing, so much more in my life. If my money can support that, that would be like ideal. And that it actually can if I just think my way through it. 


Linzy [00:33:32] Yeah exactly. And I think when you take that lens with it too, like if you spend time to be actively thinking about nourishment and noticing nourishment, it also deepens the experience that you have of it. When you do have that coffee with that friend, knowing that you’re like, okay, this is my chance to connect. This is my chance to say the things I haven’t been able to say or catch up or whatever certain friends give to you. I think also when we’re more present with those experiences, they’re more impactful, right? Like they fill us up more when we let ourselves like really drink in what it is that we need from them. And then in some ways we end up needing to spend less money because we’re more filled up and we’re doing less of that, like fast spending to just like relieve pain. Because I notice myself, at least, even though I consider myself like an ambivalent, I’m like in the middle of the spectrum when we see friends on an evening, even during the week, if I’m like so tired and I drag myself and we see friends, the next morning, even if I’ve slept less, I’m more energetic, I’m more creative, I’m more able to do things. Like it actually creates energy, which decreases my need to like buy a drink out, grab pizza for dinner because I’m like, God, I can’t. Right. Like, it actually saves you money to be more fulfilled. 


Heidi [00:34:40] That’s so true. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I meditated the other day after having a really, really tough morning with my kiddo, so I was just, like, about to fall apart. Sat down, I was like, I’m going to sit down and just check in with myself. I did that and my entire day shifted, and I was like, I’m okay. Yeah, I’m good. I actually felt more nourished. 


Linzy [00:34:59] Yes. So I mean, there’s 75 other things we could talk about, but I’m going to start drawing us towards wrapping up. So, you know, Heidi, coming into the end of our conversation today, what sticks out for you? What are you taking away? 


Heidi [00:35:13] Well, I think there’s a couple of things. Is one that like looking at the things that I need to nourish, like I actually want to write them down and like put it on a little tool, almost like a little vision board or something. Nourishing things. And like let that also be a creative, nourishing thing to think about it because I feel some creative energy around that. And then also to work on building buffers for my operating expenses so that I have money to draw on when I get to a place where I might want to buy something a little bit bigger. And that it can be there and it doesn’t have to be so unknown of, Do I have enough money? Or because I operate like almost too close to like a budgeted like- so I know exactly like every single thing that’s going to come out of that month. And so I have my operating expenses are like $50 more than that. It’s like I’m operating really close to. 


Linzy [00:36:09] All very tight. 


Heidi [00:36:10] Yes. Yeah. What needs to be in there? So, like, to increase that in a different space that I really know what I have, I think that would be helpful. The nourishing one is definitely like I think overall a bigger emotional impact, which might help to get to that other goal. 


Linzy [00:36:26] Yeah. Because it makes you think about, I mean it makes a lot of sense to me that you are seeking nourishment so much. And I think we can see that by like when you had the opportunity, you’re like, there’s these things I’ve been needing and I just need to like have order and I need to have support and I need to have a chair that doesn’t hurt my body. Right? There’s this need there. And then also, though, as we start to actually fulfill that real need, which is the need to be fed, which money helps us with, and money makes possible, but money isn’t the only way that that happens. Then from there you can start to be more intentional, more planful about how you want to start to work towards these other other important goals and you know, take some paid time off too, which, check out Money Skills module five for that by the way, the paycheck and time off, go back and dig into that now that there’s more money to play with. 


Heidi [00:37:08] Yeah, definitely need it come holidays because I’m not in daycare and well, I have to be her mom. 


Linzy [00:37:14] Yes. Exactly. Exactly. Yes. Yes. So thank you so much, Heidi, for coming. And talking with me today. 


Heidi [00:37:22] Thank you so much. This was lovely. 


Linzy [00:37:36] In my conversation today with Heidi, it felt like when we got to the point of sinking into talking about why she was spending this money, that we really got into the root of it. And I think that’s such a good question for all of us to ask ourselves when we notice certain behaviors coming up around money, like spending a lot of money or not spending money is asking yourself like, what is the need that I’m trying to meet here? There are so many ways that money can help us meet our needs. And in Heidi’s case, it was this need for nourishment. You know, money literally can be turned into food that nourishes your body, right? It can be turned into health care that takes care of your body. So there is all these ways that money can help us meet our real needs, and yet also our needs can be met in other ways that are not just about money. And we don’t need to rely on money to meet all of those needs. So that example that she gave of like having coffee with a friend might cost her $5, but the impact of that on her need to be nourished is going to be quite great by probably a lot more than, you know, your average $5. So when we can start to really identify what our real needs are and a lot of ways it gives us so much more depth in our experience of money, because when we are meeting our needs with money, we can really let ourselves take in and notice that our needs are being met. And also it was through our efforts, you know, and the work that we did in the world that allowed us to earn the money to meet these needs. That’s a really beautiful way of receiving kind of the fruits of your labor. But it does also mean that you can identify other ways that those needs do need to be met so that we don’t throw money at needs that that money will not solve. Right. And that’s so often the case that we are feeling lonely or unloved or not good enough. And so we spend money in ways that maybe gives us like a quick dopamine hit, like buying some beautiful thing. And it does make you feel good for, you know, when you first order it and maybe when it first arrives, but it very quickly it stops having impact and we can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars trying to get our needs met. That way, when we really identify our true needs, it does just give us so much more opportunity for mastery or intention with money, because then we’re attending to what really needs attention rather than kind of throwing money at things that maybe money can’t always help us solve. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are posting free practical and emotional money content on there all the time. I always say free. Of course, you know Instagram is free, but it feels important to mention that. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. I’ve said it so many times, but it remains true. It is the best way for other therapists who would benefit from 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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“I’m just imagining a woven tapestry where it’s like these two chapters of your life are woven together, and I think there’s power in using your private practice as this beautiful vessel that is basically funding you exploring who you are becoming in your life. How cool is that that you get to fund your own personal exploration?”

~Maegan Megginson

Meet Maegan Megginson

Maegan Megginson is a business coach, group practice owner, and licensed psychotherapist on a mission to help business owners create unique, burnout-proof businesses that honor their needs and bankroll their lifestyle.

As an ambitious introvert and highly sensitive person, Maegan is intimately familiar with the struggle that arises when your need to take a nap conflicts with your desire to create a profitable business. Maegan is living proof that it’s possible to do both and believes all entrepreneurs deserve to be deeply rested and wildly successful. 

In This Episode…

How do you know when it’s time to retire from private practice and move onto something new? What could the transition look like as you move into the next chapter of your professional life? Maegan Megginson comes back on the podcast to share her expertise around when it’s time to transition out of private practice and what that transition period could be like.

Linzy and Maegan, both of whom have moved out of private practice and into other professional arenas, share their authentic experiences with this transition and answer this question that listeners have been asking. Don’t miss this important topic, and consider what you can do today to help yourself avoid burnout to stay in private practice, or take action steps to eventually transition into something new. 

Connect with Maegan Megginson

Download Maegan’s free guide “Four Business-Building Mistakes That Will Leave Your Burnt Out And Broke (and How to Avoid Them)” here: https://megginson-consulting-group.ck.page/d739179df2 

Check out more of Maegan’s work at: www.maeganmegginson.com 

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Episode Transcript

Maegan [00:00:02] I’m just imagining, like, a woven tapestry, right? Where it’s like these two chapters of your life are woven together. And I think there’s power in using your private practice as this beautiful vessel that is basically funding you exploring who you’re becoming in your life. Like, how cool is that that you get to fund your own personal exploration? 


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 is a special one for me. I brought back my friend Maegan. Maegan’s in to talk about a topic that was actually requested by one of our listeners, which was How do you know when it’s time to stop being a therapist and do something else? So Maegan and I have both gone through the process of closing down our therapy practices with, as she mentions, much therapy and also in my case, a lot of tears, probably a lot of tears in her case, too. I feel like that’s a safe assumption. And today we talk about how we knew it was time for us personally to shut down our therapy practices. We talk about the distinction between burnout and the actual kind of innate knowledge, the intuition, that you should stop being a therapist. Because I think so many times burnout can kind of masquerade as we’re done in this profession, which when really we need to change some other things and take a break and recover. And we get into some steps that if you are starting to suspect that you want to retire from therapy one day, things that you can start to do today, before you get too far into burnout or resentment, to allow you to start building out other possibilities for yourself beyond being a therapist. I’m so excited to share this episode with you today. Here’s my conversation with Maegan. Megginson. So Maegan, welcome back to the podcast. 


Maegan [00:02:31] Linzy I’m so happy to be here. 


Linzy [00:02:33] I’m always happy to be with you. So I brought you back. I mean, we could talk about probably 20 different things, but specifically, I brought you back today to talk about a question that came. We kind of polled listeners as to what they would like to hear on the podcast. And we got this question of when do you know it’s time to stop being a therapist? And time to move on and do something else instead. And I thought, who better to talk to than you? 


Maegan [00:03:02] The one and only, no longer a therapist, Maegan Megginson. 


Linzy [00:03:06] Precisely. Precisely. So the first thing I thought we could maybe dig into is, why do you think this is a question that circulates? Because I don’t think the person who asked is the only therapist listening who has this question in the back of their mind. Why do you think it’s so common that therapists are sometimes thinking or wondering when our escape time should be? 


Maegan [00:03:27] You’re right. I think most therapists in my stratosphere, at least therapists that I work with in my coaching programs, are all really sitting in a kind of just imagining, like being in the middle of a hurricane, you know? And there’s just all of these like thoughts and questions swirling around you. And one of the big ones is, Can I do this forever? Do I want to do this forever? Why am I doing this right now? You know, it’s one of many questions, but it’s one of the most profound because it’s so connected to our identity. Right. Becoming a therapist and being a therapist for most of us is like in the top three parts of our identity that we show to the world. So why do I think people are really thinking about this question? I think we can look at it from two angles. Sometimes I think people are just burnt out. 


Linzy [00:04:17] Yes. 


Maegan [00:04:17] And I we’ll talk about this more today. But I think people are burnt out and they don’t know that there is another way that they can do their work that is more sustainable and fulfilling. So they default to, I guess my only option is to burn the therapy license and get a job at Starbucks. So sometimes there’s like black and white thinking that really is about burnout and not about the work. And then there are those of us who, what we’re actually experiencing is a fundamental shift in our identity. Many of us became therapists really early in our lives as adults. You know, we might even, for me, you know, went straight to college, straight to grad school, straight to becoming a therapist. Maybe there were a few years sprinkled in where you did something else. But for all intents and purposes, when you become a therapist in your twenties, your late twenties, you’re going to change, like you were going to evolve as a person. And I think what happens for many of us is that we do our own healing and we begin to see that there is actually a life for us outside of being a receiver of other people’s emotional information, as we’ve likely been doing that from early childhood. And we recognize like, I’m ready for something new, I’m ready for a new chapter in my own development. And that, I think, is when the conversation about retirement and switching career paths is really fruitful. But those are the two kind of ends of the spectrum that I hold in my mind. Is it really burn out? Or is this a developmental transition and it’s time for you to try on something new? 


Linzy [00:05:54] Because when we’re burnt out, it’s easy to have the escape fantasy of like life would be easier if X-Y-Z. I used to have the Bookkeeper Body Piercer. That was my dual like burnout plan. I was like, This is like more – this is kind of going back ten years when I first started therapy and I was like, When I burn out – it wasn’t if – it’s like when I can’t do this anymore because I feel like I saw the end from the very beginning, for myself, that was my original fantasy. It was kind of like, I’ll be a body piercer and a bookkeeper. And then at some point I was like, I’ll do financial therapy. Like I was already eyeing multiple exits from the beginning, I think, because I felt the burnout-ness already from the start that’s kind of baked into the profession, right? 


Maegan [00:06:34] Or there was a deep inner knowing, an intuitive part of you that was like, Hey, this isn’t going to sustain you forever. Both are true. I think we know how exhausting it is, and intuitively we know it’s probably not the thing we’re going to do for literally the rest of our lives. 


Linzy [00:06:51] Yes. And I think, you know, I wonder if we get a bit of like a distorted perspective around how many therapists feel this way, because we work with folks who tend to be, like more ambitious, want to be more empowered. You work with folks who are already taking steps towards building something else. So I wonder, almost like representationally, if we actually get an accurate representation of how common this is. Because I know there are definitely therapists who are like 30 years in, love it, still love to work every day. Like, there are certainly folks who are like made for this. And I think no amount of healing would change the fact that this is like what they want to do. But then there’s other folks like us who – I remember at one point very clearly saying when you and I were at a retreat a few years ago, that I feel like I’m healing my way out of being a therapist. It’s like I could see that the healthier that I get, the less the work was fulfilling me and the more I was feeling the hard parts of the work through that healing. 


Maegan [00:07:44] I mean, there’s definitely a confirmation bias element to this conversation, right? Like where we’re looking around and seeing the other people who are going through something similar. But I think we can – I imagine this is true for almost any profession, that there are some people who land on the right profession early in their life and are deeply satisfied on a social level for 30 or 40 years. And then there are people who start, you know, start in one direction and and need to pivot and transition. I think what’s maybe different about this industry in particular is the over identification with profession as who I am, profession as identity. I am a therapist. I think it’s harder for therapists to pivot and change course professionally than it is – I think about when my husband Jonathan decided he didn’t want to be a chemical engineer anymore. There was no like deep soul searching around, you know, there was no push back. There was no judgment from other engineers that he no longer wanted to be an engineer because it wasn’t as internalized a part of his identity as – there’s some enmeshment here, I think, that makes it hard for us to explore. 


Linzy [00:08:56] I completely agree. And when you said earlier that often therapist is like one of their top three identities, I feel like it was my top. It was my number one. Like I feel like I could not go to a party and not immediately be like, I’m a therapist. 


Maegan [00:09:09] That’s right. It was my number one. 


Linzy [00:09:10] Yeah. Like and I think that there’s a lot to that. I think that that enmeshment in terms of us being so attached to identity, I think has a lot to do with being helpers and maybe some of the wounds that that helper-ness is connected to. 


Maegan [00:09:24] Yeah, because really, I’ve been a therapist since I was four. 


Linzy [00:09:26] Yeah. Yeah. 


Maegan [00:09:27] You know, so it’s like. 


Linzy [00:09:28] Yeah, twelve was the first time I had a friend be like, you’re my therapist. I was like, Oh, no, I took a long time to get paid after that too. Right. And so, yeah. And so like there is that old deep stuff of like, this is how I’m helpful, this is how I count, this is how I’m safe, this is how I am accepted is when I’m helpful and I listen and I’m of service to others. 


Maegan [00:09:47] So of course, it’s really it’s really terrifying to intentionally step away from that, or it was for me. I mean, that was my- I probably spent close to two years with my therapist, like, am I a therapist? Am I not a therapist? And I know she was bored as shit with me by the end because she was like, Maegan, like, you know, get off the pot already. You know what you want to do, right? It was the hardest decision I have made in my life. 


Linzy [00:10:11] Mm hmm. So for you, then, I’m curious. How did you know it was time to close off that part of your career and, like, close off that identity and stop being a therapist? 


Maegan [00:10:23] I mean, I think, honestly, it was a thousand moments of mini knowing that sort of culminated in arriving at the point when I had enough courage to take the risk. And then I think there were a lot of safety nets. So if we’re thinking more pragmatically for a moment, I had so many safety nets in place. It’s not like I was a therapist in private practice and that was all I had done. And I was just saying, I’m not going to do that anymore and I’m going to walk away and I’m going to give myself the next five years to figure out the next chapter. No, I had built a robust group practice that I was running. I had created my personal brand, my coaching business. I had a thriving coaching program that I was facilitating. The next chapter of my life was already happening. And that made it less scary to say, I’m going to stop doing therapy now. I also think I- every time I felt afraid, I would remind myself that I wasn’t throwing my license away. I still have my license. I just renewed it for another two years because I’m like, you know what? I like the safety net. I like knowing that if everything else goes to shit or if I realize I’ve made some big, terrible mistake, I can just take a training to freshen up my skills and go right back to what I was doing before. For me, the hardest part I realized over time was the identity piece. It was symbolically what it meant for me as a woman to sit with clients and to say I am no longer going to be a therapist as of October 1st. And to say that in relationship over and over and over again, I am no longer going to be a therapist. I’m I’m retiring. I’m closing my therapy practice. 


Linzy [00:12:11] Talk about boundary setting. 


Maegan [00:12:13] That was the deep work for me. 


Linzy [00:12:17] Yeah. 


Maegan [00:12:17] But. But it was also like doing it, doing it, doing it. By the time I was done, having all of the conversations, I knew with more certainty than I had ever known before that I had just made the best decision of my life. You know? So I guess it’s it’s not like there was one eureka moment when I was like, I’m ready to do this. It was it was a thousand small moments that all culminated in knowing I’d made the right choice. 


Linzy [00:12:40] And those, you know, thousand small moments of knowing that came before, as you mentioned. I’m curious, cause I’m sure folks who are listening are like, but how did you know? How do you know it’s not burnout? How did you know? That it really was time to stop that work. 


Maegan [00:12:55] Great question. Yeah, well, two years of talking about it in therapy and now, you know, it’s like like I was doing a lot of really active creation around this. But the piece about burnout specifically, how do I know if I’m just burnt out? I think the first thing that you should do is recover from burnout. 


Linzy [00:13:11] Mm hmm. 


Maegan [00:13:12] Right. Recover from burnout no matter what. And then do the hard work of making really strategic changes in your private practice so that you don’t hate the business, the structure of the business that you’re running, and then maybe experiment with a couple different types of things therapists can do, maybe run a group, host a retreat, create a course. I think, recover from burnout, restructure your practice so that it doesn’t suck, and try something new as a therapist. And I think if you do that, let’s say it takes a year for you to do that. At the end of that year, you are going to have so much clarity about if it is the work or the business, if it’s burnout, if it’s identity. But you’re not going to know until you recover from burnout and make some experimental changes to try to make it better. 


Linzy [00:14:00] Mmm Yeah. Something else that I sometimes see and something I think I experienced in myself is like there was a lack of energy over here with therapy. I noticed that like I stopped wanting to take trainings. Trainings would come through my inbox and I used to like go to like go to trainings, you know, and be so excited by like the names that I recognized coming, all the trauma folks coming. And I would read trainings waiting for one that I’d be excited about. And I just never got excited again. But then I noticed that this other stuff was giving me energy and was exciting, so it’s not like I didn’t have the capacity for it, but kind of the content had changed. What was getting me going was not what it used to be. 


Maegan [00:14:42] I remember you and I were talking about this a couple of years ago that we noticed we had like two stacks of books on the nightstand. There was like a stack of books, you know, in our clinical areas of specialty. And then there was like the business building. So for us, like business building is what we moved to. And it was like, you know, the pile started where there were like ten therapy books and one business building book and then, or the other way around, there were like ten business building books and one therapy book because I finished reading them all. And then as time went on, like the number of therapy books I wasn’t opening was growing and growing and growing, but my business book stack was like, you know, I was always done because I was like- 


Linzy [00:15:19] They were getting read. 


Maegan [00:15:20] Look at look at that. Look at that relationship. I think that is- I think your energy and your excitement is worth paying attention to also. And I don’t know that we’ve talked about this. I’m I’m curious what this was like for you. I noticed that my energy in relationship with clients in the therapy room was changing as well. That I was starting to feel- like I could always turn it on and do good work. I could get myself into the flow of the moment, but I no longer felt the same flame. When I was like really into being a therapist, like thinking about the client, seeing them in the waiting room or on the screen, sitting in the room with them, like something would come alive inside of me. And I just felt this, like, energetic connection with the person on the couch. And that just sort of fizzled over time and eventually got to the point where I like resented when they would email me between sessions or I had like dread and heaviness in my body walking into the room to sit down for the 45 minute session. And it just started feeling so wrong in my body. That was one of the big indicators for me that, like, something fundamentally needs to shift about what I’m doing with my work. Did you feel any of that in the room with your clients? 


Linzy [00:16:37] I felt it coming. I mean, I did I did my transition a little differently in that I, you know, we’ve talked about this metaphor before with our friend Annie, right? Of burning the boats. Like, if you want to take the island, you need to burn the boats, which is this idea. If you want to really make something happen, you need to get rid of your safety net, right? Like you need to make it so that this is the thing that needs to work. And that’s the way that I built Money Nuts & Bolts. Right. Is like it was kind of my side thing. And then I closed down my whole therapy practice when I went on mat leave for a year. So I kind of had already done the saying goodbye to everybody and the like, you know, a year is a long enough time that already folks had like gone off and connected with other people. And then when I came back, it’s like I had this decision as to whether or not to go back into therapy or like try to go all in on this, you know, coaching, financial consulting business. And I saw this moment where I was like, I can go back into that safe room where I already knew before mat leave that it wasn’t feeling so right anymore. And I could go back in that door and it’s safe. I’m going to make money. Or I can like open this new door that I have no idea what’s behind it and maybe it won’t work at all. And I did that. And the reason I could do that is because I had had a profitable enough year before I went on my leave that I had money in the business. So I kind of had like basically, truly, like three months of money. So I did it a little differently. And then the actual closing down of my practice was actually me recommitting to what I already knew because I did still let some folks in the door at the same time because they were folks that I loved. And I think that’s what I wasn’t prepared for yet, is like I knew that I didn’t want to go back into practice full time and I was focusing on Money Nuts & Bolts. But then when like a client who I loved came back and was like, Oh my God, there’s this crisis in my life, can I please see you? And it’s like, I need the money. They need the support. I really like this person. We work well together. I said yes, and I only did that with five clients. But suddenly I had this caseload of five clients and I could really notice like, okay, now this is kind of getting a little bit bigger than I intended. I was right before mat leave and knowing that my story is not here anymore and then I had to like close it all down again. So I kind of had my practice practice closing and then my real practice closing. 


Maegan [00:18:47] But, you know, the reality is rarely in life are there these clear divisions between one chapter and another. Right. And for the Americans listening, mat leave, I have learned, is maternity leave. I’ve learned many isms from Linzy, but it’s like I mean, there was something really beautiful about that going on this big mat leave, maternity leave, it created this like dividing line between this chapter and this chapter. There was still some, like, bleeding over. And I think sometimes it happens like that, but more often than not, it is this. I’m just imagining like a woven tapestry, right? Where it’s like that these two chapters of your life are woven together. And, and I think that’s actually great because most of us, like you alluded to, you can’t afford to just switch careers with like no period of overlap. Like we need the income from the private practice to fund building the coaching business or the income from private practice to fund going back to school or becoming a teacher or whatever. Whatever it is you’re moving into in the next phase of your career. So I think there’s power in embracing the overlap and like using your private practice as this beautiful vessel that is basically funding you, exploring who you’re becoming in your life. Like, how cool is that that you get to fund your own personal exploration? 


Linzy [00:20:13] Yes, absolutely. And I think one of the powerful things about being a therapist and like and also like being a therapist, like identity-wise, when this is what we’ve done for so long, is I do think that it’s work that comes naturally and it’s an easy backup plan. If you have been good at it, you will continue to be good at it. Like for me, you know, sometimes there’s not, you know, that question that’s supposed to help with anxiety of like, well, what’s the worst that can happen? Which frankly, I don’t understand how that doesn’t lead anxious people to spiral out and just live in a box. But I understand the helpful application of it. And whenever it- 


Maegan [00:20:47] CBT was never our clinical uh- 


Linzy [00:20:49] No, it was not. 


Maegan [00:20:50] Framework. 


Linzy [00:20:50] But when I ask myself that question, it’s like, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s like, okay, I restart my therapy practice next week and I do work that I’m not as excited about as I am with this- 


Maegan [00:20:59] Lowest risk transition. 


Linzy [00:21:00] Truly, truly. So there is like a lot of safety, I think, that’s available there and a lot of support financially. You know, as long as you’re not so done with the profession that you’re actually concerned that you’re not being helpful – and doing harm – anymore. And I think that’s something I was very aware. I wanted to get out long, long, long before I was starting to question, you know, my clinical aptitude. But there is something comforting, I think, still, to me about knowing I can become a therapist again when I’m 50. 


Maegan [00:21:24] It is. It’s the safety net. I mean, even thinking about this, you know, recession that we’re moving into and how scary it is for any business owner. When my anxious brain is like, oh, recession, are people going to stop wanting to work with me? Or are there people going to stop doing business coaching or all of my group practice employees going to like quit? I don’t know. You just go to crazy places and like, you know what? People will literally always want and need therapy. So I will just keep my therapy license, I don’t know, until maybe forever. Yeah, because it’s such an easy safety net. I mean, maybe I feel like this is what we’re circling around, Linzy Which is, if you’re questioning, A) recover from burnout, no one makes any inspired decisions when your nervous system is fried. But B) like play, experiment. You know.


Linzy [00:22:12] Totally. 


Maegan [00:22:12] Like, try something else, you know. And that’s- I think that’s another gift of the private practice business model is it is perhaps the easiest business model to- it’s so malleable. 


Linzy [00:22:22] Yes. 


Maegan [00:22:23] Right. So if you see 30 clients a week right now, see 20. If you see 20 clients right now, see ten and use that extra time to try something new, to take a class, you know, take on a client in some different capacity. Like you won’t know who you are until you start trying on some new costumes. 


Linzy [00:22:44] Yeah, that’s so true. That’s so true. 


Maegan [00:22:46] Which I think is what we both did. And you don’t have to become a business coach. 


Linzy [00:22:53] No. 


Maegan [00:22:54] People say to me sometimes in my coaching programs like is the only other way to make money besides seeing therapy clients to become a business coach. And I’m like, I see why you would think that. But no, like you can literally make money doing whatever you want to do. You just have to do it to see if it feels right. 


Linzy [00:23:10] Yes, precisely. And I think it’s that kind of catching yourself early enough. Like, I think that’s something that we pondered for a while. But I think we also started taking action when we started to notice, and that allowed us to not have some sort of terrible, jarring disruption in our life when we stopped being therapists. I can completely see how that would play out very differently. I think if I had been in denial about the fact that the work wasn’t feeding me in the same way anymore and and the work that I did was also like particularly kind of demanding work intellectually and emotionally and doing dissociation work. And I could see that if I had not been honest about myself, I could have gone back into the work after I had my son and like I’m no longer sleeping as well and he needs my emotional energy. And I see how I could have become very burnt out and resentful and not as effective. And being honest with yourself early and starting to be curious like before you get into that- those like yucky places, being curious and playing. Yeah, I think there’s so much potential in that for like literally anybody listening who’s starting to question if they want to be a full time therapist for the rest of their career. 


Maegan [00:24:13] And I think as you’re doing that exploration, really do track it back to how long have you been the healer in your life? Right. Like, again, I do feel like most of us started when we were kids. Like we came out of the womb highly sensitive and empathic, probably in a family that wasn’t. And, you know, we were just soaking up the feelings and the needs of everyone else. We became over functioning perfectionists. So there’s – and this is what took me two years in therapy to really see clearly, is the reason it’s feeling really scary. For me to even say maybe I don’t want to be a therapist is because really what I’m saying is maybe I don’t want to be who I’ve always been. 


Linzy [00:24:53] Yes, yeah. 


Maegan [00:24:54] Like my whole life. And so it’s not just like my professional relationships that are going to change when I shift this in myself, like my family of origin, relationships are going to change. My friendships are going to change. Like everything is going to change. So of course, it feels big and terrifying. And I love what you were just saying about just play, just experiment. You don’t have to – don’t wait until it’s so bad that you have to turn your whole world upside down for transformation. I have a little post-it. I have a bulletin board up behind my computer here with a bunch of stuff on it. And I have a little Post-it that says, you saw your first coaching client in March of 2018 for $200. 


Linzy [00:25:33] Aww. 


Maegan [00:25:34] And I wrote that down after because this person, her name’s Ann Marie. She’s incredible. She’s still my coaching client. She’s in my mastermind. And she told me that a couple of months ago. She was like, Did you know that? I checked my QuickBooks the other day and March 2018, you only charged me $200. And I was like, Wow, look how much I’ve done since 2018. Like, and I wasn’t even thinking about business development. I was thinking about, like, personal work. 


Linzy [00:26:00] Totally. Yes. 


Maegan [00:26:01] So it’s like March 2018. I was like, Sure, I’ll do a 50 minute business coaching session with you for $200, which was my therapy fee at the time. And then I just did another and then another, and then I was like, Maybe I should make a business entity. And then I tried that. And then I was like, Maybe I’ll try a group program, and I did that. And it’s just been this growing and developing. And then last year it was like, Oh, it’s time. I’m ready to not be a therapist anymore. And this other thing is bringing me so much life. And it’s been almost a year since I saw my last therapy client, and I haven’t missed it even a little. 


Linzy [00:26:40] No. No, me neither. Me neither. And you know, something else that kind of occurs to me in this conversation is about chapters of life. That’s something I think about a lot lately, like having a child, like I do, and having a toddler. And there’s these very specific kind of like, especially when you have a kid, like you’re literally going through developmental stages with your child. Yeah, right. But also in life, I think like as we go through different ages, as our parents are in different stages and have different levels of need for support from us and stuff like that, and something that I noticed in myself is being very clear that in this chapter of my life, being a therapist doesn’t make sense. And for me, a big part of that is just emotional capacity like I, the type of therapy work that I did, or maybe just the type of therapist that I am. I give a lot emotionally, which means there’s not enough, not a lot left, and sometimes not enough left for my own life. And something that I realized for myself. I think even intuitively before when I went on mat leave and before I was a parent is I cannot be an emotionally present parent and be using my emotional energy all day long. I just don’t have that much. So in terms of chapters, it’s very clear to me that at this stage of my life, I want my son to get all of it. 


Maegan [00:27:52] Yeah. 


Linzy [00:27:53] You know, like I think in in the work that we do, we do use our emotional intelligence and like presence and capacity, but it’s like, you know, I’m using maybe 20% of what I used to. But it also makes you wonder if someday that might shift. Like, I’m kind of just open to the fact that like, this is where I am now and that could really look different in the future. And for me, there’s something very comforting about that. And I’m curious, do you think of this in terms of chapters, or do you know for sure you’re never going back to being a therapist? 


Maegan [00:28:19] I don’t know anything about anything. 


Linzy [00:28:23] Well, that was honest. 


Maegan [00:28:24] You know, I don’t know. It’s in I think of it chapters. I think chapters is great. I think I tend to think more into seasons because I like I like the kind of overlapping of one season to another versus like a start and a stopgap. I think that I love knowing it’s available to me if I want to go back to it. I love the way you were describing for you. It’s like you knew you wanted your emotional energy to go towards your son. And at my point in development, as a person who’s childfree by choice, like I reached a point where I said, I think I actually, for the first time ever in my life, want my emotional energy to go for me. So I just wanted to like say that to reflect that like that. It doesn’t matter why this is happening for you or what you need. It’s not selfish, it’s it’s not bad. It doesn’t make you a, you know, a bad person. It doesn’t make you a bad therapist. It just makes you human. And I agree, like we have to give ourselves permission to flow from one season or one chapter of our life to another. And if you think you might want to go back to being a therapist, just keep your license active and you can. It really is as simple as that. So simple. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:29:34] It’s true. So, Maegan, coming to the end of our conversation and I’m wondering, you’ve already laid out some really, I think, thoughtful advice for folks if they are starting to notice, like just start to explore a little bit of what else you like, is there any other thoughts or advice around this or do you feel like we’ve covered the gamut for folks who might be bouncing these questions around in their heads? 


Maegan [00:29:55] I think we’ve covered a lot of ground. I wish I would have had access to this conversation two or three years ago when I was first starting to explore this. I think, again, it’s- if you’re burnt out, you need to recover from burnout. You can’t- nothing productive will ever happen from a place of burnout, recover from burnout and get into therapy. If you’re not or if you’re not with a therapist, a coach or a community of people where you can talk about identity and where you’re going and who you’re becoming and weave that into some really strategic experiments, professional experiments where you try on some different careers or some different types of working and just trust that if you just stay in the flow of the work personally and professionally, you’ll figure out where you’re supposed to be. And then you will. I mean, March 2018, I tried coaching for the first time, and here we are in 2022, and I feel like I’ve been doing this my whole life, you know? So trust your process. 


Linzy [00:30:55]  Trust your process. And I do want to say too, you might be very surprised by what happens. Like something- I feel like 2018, I was like on fire. I don’t know how I did all the things I did in 2018, but I did the first round of Money Skills For Therapists. I had my first, I guess my first, my very first like, Money Nuts & Bolts client was the year before where I really had not worked stuff out, but I did have like eventually I had my first successful client, 2017 and 2018. It’s like I started this course. I was pregnant and so tired, of course. And then I got this contract, a financial consulting contract, which still blows my mind, for $50,000 USD. I went from like charging like 150 an hour and therapy to getting paid like more than $5,000 a month. But it was only because I kind of bet on myself and stuck my neck out and, you know, dared to own my gifts and met the right person in the right place who needed the work. And we had a fit. And it was yes, it was like it wasn’t a fluke, but it also kind of, I think, blew apart my perceptions of what was possible for me. I wish that for everybody listening right now, that you also get an experience like that that helps you realize that there is so much more, so many more ways for you to show up and contribute and take up space and be excited about the world beyond therapy, if that’s something that’s calling to you. 


Maegan [00:32:13] Couldn’t say it better myself and I hope you get paid $50,000 for it too. 


Linzy [00:32:17] Me too. 


Maegan [00:32:18] Me too. Linzy, thank you for having this conversation with me. It’s feels really special. I know this is something you and I have. We’ve been swimming in this river together for many years now, and it does feel really special that we are in a place where we can share this with the people who are ready to hear it now. So real pleasure. 


Linzy [00:32:37] Agreed. Thank you so much, Maegan. 


Maegan [00:32:38] You’re welcome. 


Linzy [00:32:52] It felt really good to have this conversation with Maegan about retiring from therapy. You know, for both of us, it was such a huge journey and very difficult decision to make. And I think that’s a good thing. It’s not a decision to make lightly, especially since, of course, we know that when we finish up work with folks, whether it’s that you’re a mental health therapist or doing manual therapy, it is a disruption to our clients’ lives. And that’s why I think there’s so much value, too, in noticing and being curious kind of early on as you start to suspect that maybe you want to not be a therapist anymore, start adding things in early when you still have energy and you can explore and you can start to see if this is burnout or if you are really ready to leave the profession and you can start to build your escape hatch. I remember thinking sometimes about how building Money Nuts & Bolts was kind of like building my escape hatch from therapy. At first I didn’t know if I was going to use it, but I knew that it gave me other options. There were definitely times when I was practicing therapy where I felt stuck and that this is it and this is who I am and I don’t have other options and I’m good at this work. Therefore, this is the work I have to do. That’s a whole other conversation Maegan and I could have had, and that we did have a lot as we both went through our journeys of closing our practices of staying in your, you know, just because you’re good at something, just because you have aptitude and a gift doesn’t mean that it’s where you need to spend all your time. Right. You don’t owe it to the world to be a therapist just because you’re good at therapy, you get to do what actually suits you and your energy and your passions and what lights you up. So, so many- I feel like I could just keep talking about this, but I’m just so appreciative of Maegan. And if you are not familiar with her, Maegan Megginson, check her out. She is a business coach for therapists. She especially supports therapists who are expanding beyond, but she also helps therapists build their brands. Check out the link in the show notes. She just has so many amazing resources and does all sorts of cool free offers in addition to her paid programs. Just very honored to know her. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share free practical and emotional money content on there all the time, and if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. Super helpful and it’s the best way for other therapists 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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Fear of Visibility is Impacting Your Private Practice

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Fear of Visibility is Impacting Your Private Practice

“I get so worried about marketing like I won’t be able to remain consistent so I don’t start at all.” 

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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. 

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Here at the Money Skills for Therapists Podcast, we love when women and marginalized folks have direct, honest and empowering conversations about money. That’s why we’re so happy to share this podcast episode with you from Lindsay Bryan-Podvin at the Mind Money Balance Podcast. In this episode, Lindsay explores how the fear of visibility and scarcity thinking can stop us from marketing our practices  and attracting our ideal clients. 

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Check out Lindsay and the great financial therapy and coaching she does at mindmoneybalance.com and on IG @mindmoneybalance

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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

“I get so worried about marketing, like I won’t be able to remain consistent. So I just don’t start at all. ” “I know I should blog or email my list or post on social but this fear of being seen consumes me.” “I’m so worried that marketing is going to eat up all my time that I just don’t have.” If any of those three statements sound familiar to you, then you might be struggling to market your private practice as a therapist because you’re scared of being seen and being vulnerable, and experiencing marketing fear. In today’s podcast, I’m going to cover how this scarcity mindset shows up in our business, covering some of the top marketing fears that I’ve heard from clinicians again and again, and we get into this fear of being vulnerable. Before we dive into this episode, I want to invite you if you’re a therapist in social justice, or have a marginalized identity in private practice, to this Friday’s group coaching, it is on Friday, June 24. If you are listening to this in real time, Friday, June 24th 2022, I am going to be answering your questions about private practice–it is completely free. The first five people who register and show up live will get to ask me their questions. Please come even if you don’t get the opportunity to ask your personal question, because oftentimes, hearing from others helps you to understand what other people are going through. And sometimes they’re going through something almost identical. And being there and in community with others can help you be seen and heard to register for that again, Friday, June 24 11am Eastern, go to MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeCoaching and if that’s not you, but you know, somebody else who’s in private practice, who could use a little bit of coaching from me had tell them to head to MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeCoaching and they can join total transparency, this is completely free. And I will be talking about Grow a Profitable Practice From the Inside Out just a touch at the end. Because if you join Grow a Profitable Practice From the Inside Out between June 24 And June 30 of 2022, you are going to get access to a discount, and access to an extended payment plan that is completely markup free, both of my payment plans are record free. But on the waitlist, you have the choice to pay over the course of seven months instead of over the course of five months. So it gives you a little bit of financial breathing room if that is important to you. So again, MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeCoaching to register and show up live on June 24 for some free group coaching. With that exciting announcement out of the way, let’s talk about fear of visibility and how it’s impacting your private practice.


Here’s the thing, as therapists in private practice, we actually do have to market ourselves. Now that is not meaning that you have to send 1000 business cards to a bunch of people, it also doesn’t mean you have to go live on Instagram or dance on Tik Tok. But you do have to market yourself. And what that means is getting really clear about your niche. That’s who you serve and how you can help them and get really clear about the different ways that you are going to let people know who you are, who you help and how you help them. If you want help figuring out your niche, I have a free guide, lots of free stuff today at MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeGuide that will take you through the five top resources I have from taking your private practice from on the side to full-time. And it includes a very thorough resource on how to actually go about carving out your niche. So if you don’t have a niche yet, or you have a broad niche, or you’re struggling to narrow it down, you might want to grab that resource at MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeGuide. So you need it to be marketing yourself so that people know that you are around and that they can work with you. You get to decide how you want to market where you want to market.


But we have to get over this fear of visibility and this fear of scarcity and I find them really intertwined in this place of scarcity mindset when it comes to doing the work that you do when it comes to the visibility scarcity mindset in your private practice. It’s this idea that there’s already somebody out there in the world who does what you do, and therefore there’s not enough to go around. There’s already someone who does eating disorder recovery in New Jersey, so might as well not bother or there’s already somebody that does gender-nonconforming care in Oregon, so better just decide on something else to do or you do continue doing what you’re doing, but you do it really quietly, really coyly, you don’t really let people know. And that is actually making it harder for you to help the people who you are called to serve. And it’s actually so negatively impactful, not just on you in your business, but also on the clients you are meant to serve. Because here’s the thing, there are more than enough people out there who need good quality psychotherapy. And the more you hide yourself, the harder it is to get out in front of others. And when we think about having a full practice, let’s just be super, super clear here, that full when you are doing it, right, and which means it’s in alignment with your energy, which means you’re pricing your services appropriately, which means you’re seeing the types of clients you’re meant to see. Full is between 15 and 20 clients, or 12 and 15 clients a week. And that means you need to get out there and make sure that those 12 or 15, or 20, people know that you exist and that you are available to help. So getting comfortable with this idea that there’s more than enough to go around. Even if there is somebody who has the supposedly exact same niche is you in your same city, we don’t know that the type of client who you are meant to serve, doesn’t, doesn’t want to work with that other person, maybe that other person they’ve already tried working with and they weren’t a good fit. Maybe that other person works, days, hours that don’t work for this person. So getting really comfortable that it’s not competition out there. There’s having other people who do what you do means that there is “proof of concept” means that there are other people out there in the world who have businesses or have private practice of serving the types of clients that you want to serve. And because they are in business, it is proof that the type of work that you want to do has a market. So let’s not get caught up. And if I do this, and somebody else in town or in my state does it, then I’m out of here, let’s really practice getting into this idea that there’s plenty to go around. Okay.


Let’s get into the four common marketing fears that have, let me be really clear, nothing to do with the logistics. It’s not about should I market on social media, should I do email marketing? Should I, you know, optimize my website for SEO? The logistics, let’s put those aside. Because these are more about emotional and psychological fears, the fear of getting canceled, the fear of not knowing enough, the fear of showing up differently, and the fear of deservingness. I’m going to break all of these down for you. The fear of getting canceled is one that I have started to hear more and more in the past couple of years, as you know, cancel culture or accountability culture has taken hold. And when we are fearful of getting “canceled,” we can freeze and get fearful of speaking our truth. And when I say speaking our truth, when we’re talking about our private practices, it’s just saying, I help these types of clients. So they can feel better in this type of a way. And here’s when I work, here’s how I work. And here’s the type of people that I serve. That’s it. So when we think of it that way, we want to really get comfortable knowing that somebody can’t cancel us for not working with, I’m gonna be really extreme here, but just bear with me not working with like NRA members, if for us, we are advocates of sensible gun control. And we’re really clear about that you can’t get in trouble for saying I don’t work with NRA folks. If that is something that is in alignment with your values, and is important to you, and you don’t work with those people, you’re not going to get in trouble. Or if somebody comes at you and says How dare you not work with people who, you know, are members of the NRA, you can say look, that is another therapist for another person for another day. That is not who I’m meant to see. And I’m gonna go on a sidebar here for just a second. This idea that we are meant to serve everyone, and when I see it on people’s websites, I know that it’s well-meaning when they say things like we’re welcoming and inclusive of everyone. I think that that is incredibly well-intentioned, but it also misses the mark. And I know what they’re trying to do most of the time, is say that people who have traditionally been excluded from health care or from mental health care are welcome there. But the way that it reads is that you see anybody and everybody, so let’s also get clear about who you see and who you don’t see. And again, you can grab that free guide MindMoneyBalance.com/FreeGuide to get my tips on niching that should help you out. So back to this idea of this fear of getting canceled. Is that a real fear? Sure and also people really like canceling people who have lots of status or lots of clout in the world. And not to say therapists don’t have status and clout. But most of us are not, you know, Brené Brown sorry, unless Brené Brown’s listening, we’re not her, okay? Most of us are not on that type of stage. So we cannot fall as far as we are so fearful that we will fall. Let’s get really comfortable speaking on the topics that you can back up if a troll were to comment. Like for me, if somebody were to comment on like a popcorn post of mine, since I’m often posting it on Thursday evenings, when that’s like my go to thing. If someone’s like you, Ew how dare you put nutritional yeast on popcorn, ugh, that is going to be something that I’m just going to be able to kind of like laugh and roll my eyes at because it really to me doesn’t matter, they can be offended that I didn’t put butter on it, or salt on it, or whatever they think I shouldn’t be putting on my popcorn, but it’s like not going to really impact me, okay? Other things that are going to probably roll off my shoulders are you know, being clear that I’m child-free by choice, I’ve made that pretty clearly. And if somebody comes at me, and they’re like, well, aren’t you worried about who’s going to take care of you when you’re old? Like, those types of comments just aren’t going to like, really weigh me down. And there are certain things that I just don’t talk about, because they are too close to home, or that is a boundary that I’ve put up. And so that helps me kind of navigate what I do market about or what I do share about and what I don’t. And let’s say you do offend someone, and it actually you’re like, totally taken aback, you said something, you did something, and you didn’t think it was offensive or harmful at all. And a group of people from that marginalized group or from that group that you offended, says, Hey, you messed up, make like lizard when take accountability of it. Okay? Say I’m sorry, I made a mistake, fix it, and do better to model for others the importance of being open to learning to be open to change when a community lets you know, hey, you just stepped in it. So as therapists we are really good at sitting with discomfort. So let’s say worst-case scenario, somebody says, Yo, you said something on your website that was harmful. Take it down. You could like quietly erase that word. Or you could say, You know what, I did put a word there that I’m not super proud of, or that I wasn’t aware of was harmful. I’ve learned from it. I appreciate my community for letting me know that this was bad. And I’ve made remedies to fix that mistake. That is also something that as therapists we can do. How many times have you been in a session? Hope you know what a client says to you? Whoa, Lindsay, that did not land well with me, that actually is kind of bringing something funky up for me. I’m not cool with that. We don’t say well, you shouldn’t be cool with it. You shouldn’t be okay with what I say. We say, wow. Tell me about that. I’m so sorry that that landed in that way. How can I remedy this? We are constantly modeling for our clients the importance of taking accountability and being humble. So this fear of being canceled, I get where it comes from. And as therapists, we are really good at owning when we’ve made a mistake sitting with that discomfort and fixing it. So that’s one thing to kind of help you move through that fear of getting canceled.


The next marketing fear that I hear from therapists all the time is this fear of not knowing enough, I don’t have enough certificates. I haven’t read enough books, I haven’t done enough supervision. I’m not going to repeat everything that I said in the last episode, Episode 103. But I covered this in-depth. And it’s this connection between imposter syndrome and not feeling like you’re smart enough or you know enough, or you’re gifted enough clinician, and then over-consuming content and information that only furthers this spiral of feeling like you don’t know enough. So let’s just acknowledge that you don’t know everything. I’m raising my hand and you can’t see me because this is a podcast. None of us know everything. That’s okay, that’s a part of being human. And that’s again, part of being a clinician, but you know enough about the types of people you serve, and about how you’re able to help them and of course, you’re open to continuing to expand your knowledge and learn different interventions or therapeutic techniques, but nobody is going to be quizzing you on this when you mark it your private practice, nobody’s going to say, or if they do, again, go back to point one on this fear of getting canceled. But nobody’s going to say, you know, I can’t believe you said that you help people with eating disorders. And you know, you didn’t get this particular certificate, how dare you. It’s like what? yYu know enough to help the clients you’re meant to help. And you are humble enough to continue learning to continue improving, being a clinician. So let’s sweep that one to the side too.


The next fear is this fear of showing up differently, which, like, can we just acknowledge this is the whole point of marketing is to help yourself stand out from the crowd, being different is a gift, being the type of therapists that you are, whether you advocate for folks in different ways through social justice, or whether you show up truly embodying parts of your identity, both marginalized, and privilege, that helps to dismantle this idea that all therapists look and walk and talk and interact in the same way. Showing up as yourself, actually is a gift when it comes to marketing, because you are the only person who does therapy in the exact same way that you do it with your unique lens and viewpoint. And that is powerful, my friends showing up and saying, Yeah, I have tattoos and piercings, or I have gray hair, or I live in a bigger body, or whatever it is, helps again, your clients who are meant to work with you find you. The last fear is this fear of deserving this, does my voice deserve to be heard? Do I deserve to be seen? Am I allowed to do this. And this ties into a little bit this idea of not knowing enough, but it’s deeper than that. It’s about being allowed or about deserving to show up in the way that you need to show up that is most in alignment with you. And I’m here to tell you that you do deserve it. You absolutely deserve to be seen, and your voice deserves to be heard. However you choose to share it with the world, through your marketing channels, it is meant to be seen and meant to be heard. And all of these fears if I were to take all of these fears and put them into a basket, I would comfortably be able to say all of these fears are rooted in this fear of being vulnerable. And the fear of saying this is who I am, this is my face. This is my voice. This is my approach. These are the clients I meant to help. That fear of being vulnerable is incredibly scary and can make marketing incredibly difficult. Because most of us have been trained to be blank slates to not make waves to lead with our credentials, to lead with the alphabet soup of the therapeutic interventions that we do, instead of showing up and being a little bit vulnerable, as the parts of ourselves that we bring into our therapeutic work. And if you’re of a marginalized group, you’re a woman, you’re BIPOC, you’re queer, you’re undocumented, you’re disabled, you’re of a religious minority group. I could go on forever. It also might be internalized oppression, that’s making it really hard to be visible and market yourself. Yeah. When we think about internalized oppression, just a quick refresh here. It is when a person of a marginalized identity turns that oppression on themselves. And this internalized oppression can often show up is editing, editing what we say editing what we do editing how we show up in the world. This is when code-switching really comes into play. It can show up as voluntary isolation, not going to certain group outings, not putting your face on your website not recording that reel that you want to for Instagram, self-sabotage, spending a lot of time on Canva to create the perfect post and the perfect graphic, only to get ready to hit post and just scrap it altogether. Deciding not doing it or sit down to write the website copy again, that’s the words on your website, for your about page. get really comfortable being on the edge of discomfort and being like vulnerable but not oversharing. And then just deleting that entire thing and just saying like no, I’m Lindsay, I’m a therapist. I work in Michigan, the end. Internalized oppression can also show up as deferring to whiteness. And when we think of whiteness within the context of psychotherapy, we think about like the status quo, and the status quo in psychotherapy, is as I mentioned that blank slate to show up. very stoic to show up without reaction to not emote. And that’s really hard to do in marketing to not emote to not show yourself. And then finally, internalized oppression can show up is not-enoughness. I’m not enough, right? I don’t know enough, I’m gonna get canceled. I’m going to show up two differently. I don’t deserve this. Those all fall under the category of not-enoughness. So if you are struggling to market, it might not be the logistics. It’s not what platform do I need to be on? How many times do I need to post what you know, audio trend is trending? It really may be that underneath this fear of vulnerability, is that deep-seated internalized oppression, and you’re isolating, editing, self-sabotaging deferring to the status quo, and engaging in not-enoughness. That’s not a judgment, let me be very clear, been there, raise my hand, continue to experience it also raising my hand, we have to acknowledge that it is not just about the logistics of marketing your practice, and it could absolutely be about who you are the body you live in, in the work that you do that makes it hard to market. And that is why I am over the moon thrilled to be getting ready to open the doors again, to Grow a Profitable Practice From the Inside Out. This time around, I’m being crystal, crystal clear. Let’s talk about a niche for a second, that this program is only for therapists in social justice or of marginalized identities. Because I cannot go into a group and say, do this thing, if I’m not fully showing up and saying, These are the folks, these are my people. These are who I meant to work with. And it’s so interesting, because I was talking to some past alum of Inside Out if you’re listening Hello, and thank you about this change and getting some feedback about making that change. And one of them said, like, Lindsay, you already do this work, I was drawn to you because of your lens of approaching therapy and private practice through the lens of social justice and for people of marginalized identities. This isn’t like out of alignment for you, you’re just being more clear on your messaging. And hearing that you know who you are, if you’re listening was beyond affirming. And it again ties into what I’m talking about today. This fear of visibility and this this scarcity. And had I not said this is what I’m going to do. This is how I’m going to format the group moving forward really clearly. Like who would I be isolating? Who would I not be speaking to? And also, as you’ve been here listening to me on this journey, I mean, you could say, oh, Lindsay is a flip-flopper. You could say, oh, no, that girl, she evolves and she changes and she takes us right along with her. And for some of you, you’re like, Oh, I can’t stand this podcast anymore. Because I don’t know what I’m getting. When I tune in. Some of you are saying, Oh, thank you. Thank you for showing up being super messy. As you talk about all of this stuff. That was completely off the cuff. By the way. FYI, behind the scenes of this podcast, I usually have a handful of bullet points and then I just riff that was a big riff was a big riff.


Anyway, where was I? Grow a Profitable Practice From the Inside Out is my small group coaching program specifically for therapists in private practice, who work in social justice or are of marginalized identities. And in our time together through the course of five months, we will cover money mindset, without the spiritual bypassing, I will help you figure out what fee you need to set for your therapy session so that you can not only sustain your practice, but have profit and move towards more than enoughness. And then we will talk about how to niche down and get the foundations of marketing while developing that self-trust. Because it’s not about me saying yes, you can do that. No, you can’t. It’s about you saying I’m ready to do this. And I just need to be held within the container of other people who are cheering me on as I show up and as I’m vulnerable. And if that’s you, I encourage you to go to MindMoneyBalance.com/ProfitablePractice you can get on the waitlist, the waitlist is running from June 24 Through June 30. And if you add yourself to the waitlist, you get a discount on the program and the option of that mark-up free payment plan. And again, if you want to join me on June 24, I’ll be doing a free group coaching session to give you a taste of what it’s like to work with me and to offer some more information about the program, and answer any questions you might have. I am just so thrilled that you’re here. I’m so thrilled that you’re listening. I know that I’ve been changing things up and I also am just, you know, sometimes I think about this is also not on a bullet point, you guys. I was gonna say y’all, and then I said, You guys, and kind of blended anyway. I don’t know where I was going, but I’m just thankful you’re here. Can I just say that? I’m thankful you’re here. I’m thankful somebody listens. Sometimes I think I’m speaking into the void. And then I’ll have a comment like the one I mentioned earlier about my Inside Out alum or I’ll get an email in my inbox. I got the loveliest email a couple of weeks ago about somebody who read my book, you know who you are. Thank you for sending that beautiful message. Talk about being vulnerable. It’s vulnerable as hell to show up on this podcast and record and wonder if anyone’s going to listen. So I’m here with you. It’s scary. It’s not always easy, but I don’t push myself to the point of traumatizing myself or making myself anxious. I keep myself on that edge of discomfort on that growth edge. So that’s what I got for you today. I will be back in a couple of weeks.

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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Overachieving and Money with Heather Stevenson

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Connect with Heather Stevenson

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CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

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Episode Transcript

Heather [00:00:02] I also see it as this, not being able to notice and just reflect on what they actually have and have achieved already whether that’s in life for a career status or a financial amount. The focus is always on what’s not there as opposed to what is. 


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 this is our final episode of Season three. I’ve got these seasons to give myself some breathing room and a break. It’s nice to be able to share a kind of a group of episodes with you folks and then stop and take a breather. I know for me and the way that I’m wired, that it’s essential. So if you listen to episodes as you go, this is your chance to to like take a break, take a breather, enjoy the summer. I’ve been joking lately that summer in Ontario is like 5 minutes long. It certainly feels that way. So this year, I’ve been really trying to be more present in summer and enjoying my home and enjoying the weather and enjoying my son. And I’m going to say I’m really enjoying it. It’s going really well. So taking a break from podcast, we will be back in the fall. And if you’re listening to this later and it’s already the fall or there’s already a whole bunch of other Money Skills For Therapists episodes after this one, you can disregard this because you’re already at the season four point. So today’s podcast guest is Heather Stevenson. Heather should have been on this podcast like two seasons ago because she is the coach in Money Skills For Therapists who supports me in supporting the therapists who are going through the course. She’s a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists. She is a therapist who supports folks in New York City and California. And today she’s talking about the people that she specifically tends to support in her private practice, who are overachievers. So if you identify as an overachiever or suspect, you might be an overachiever. If you find yourself in your head a lot, if like nothing you do is really ever good enough, you’re always like striving for more. If you set a goal and then as soon as you hit that goal, it’s like, Well, that goal must have been easy because I hit it. Therefore, I’m going to set this harder goal. This episode is going to be of great interest to you. Heather talks about how overachieving and money tend to relate. The relationship that overachievers tend to have with money. She gives us a nice zoomed out picture of overachieving and money, but then we also really get into the specifics of some small, tangible things that overachievers can do today to start to shift their relationship with money. Here is my conversation with Heather Stevenson. All right, Heather, welcome to the podcast. 


Heather [00:03:15] Thanks for having me, Linzy, I’m excited to be here. 


Linzy [00:03:17] Yes. So this conversation, this podcast recording, is long overdue because you are actually the coach in Money Skills For Therapists. I can’t believe it’s season three and I’m actually just having you on now, so. 


Heather [00:03:31] I can’t either. I can’t believe you’re in season three already. I mean, you’ve been banging it out. 


Linzy [00:03:36] To be fair they’re short seasons, it’s like a dozen episodes. Gives me a little buffer. So it’s not we’re not talking big seasons, but I’m so glad to finally have you here. So as I mentioned, for folks listening, Heather is the coach in Money Skills For Therapists. So Heather, you’re a grad of Money Skills For Therapists from a couple of years ago. You graduated. 


Heather [00:03:55] 2020. 


Linzy [00:03:57] Yeah. And now you’ve you’ve been a coach in the course now for like a year and a half. 


Heather [00:04:01] Yeah. So I see how time flies, you know. 


Linzy [00:04:04] It does. It does. So I’m so excited to have you on here today to talk about a topic that’s near and dear to your heart. And that certainly applies to me as a human. And I’m sure many people who are listening to the podcast, which is overachievers. And money and overachievers. So I think this is like the population you tend to work with in your clinical work, is that correct? 


Heather [00:04:23] Yes, absolutely. 


Linzy [00:04:25] And I know that there are potential musings in the future of expanded offers around this. So overachievers listen up: Heather Stevenson, pay attention to her. But I wanted to dig in with you today about money and overachievers and how these things kind of go together. So for you in your work with overachievers, what have you noticed about how money shows up for people who tend to be overachievers? 


Heather [00:04:47] So, you know, it’s interesting because I see it sometimes playing out in different ways, but there’s for sure a lot of themes. And I think the biggest one that I tend to see from people is this sort of feeling and belief of there’s always got to be more or there’s never enough, or that sort of have to keep climbing the ladder to try to hit some magical number or some either ‘need to make this amount in my income’ or ‘I need to have this much in savings’. But there’s always the never enough kind of feeling this constant quest. Right. That doesn’t ever seem to have the end point that they’re hoping for. 


Linzy [00:05:29] It’s like a moving target or. 


Heather [00:05:32] A moving target. 


Linzy [00:05:33] Give them the reward they want. When they do get to that point. Yeah, they’ll just the number will go up. 


Heather [00:05:37] Exactly. Yeah. Yes. It just keeps changing and so it’s definitely a moving target and I really see this. It doesn’t even matter how much money a person is making or how much they have saved. Like I see people on a broad spectrum. And so this shows up with people who are already making multiple six figures a year and still feeling this way or trying to work their way towards seven figures a year, or have huge savings accounts of tens of thousands of dollars. And so, yeah, it’s always interesting to kind of pick up on and notice how it’s how it’s really showing up. And there’s that feeling of that’s kind of this inadequacy sort of internally, never enough. 


Linzy [00:06:18] No matter how much there is, there’s never enough. And I’m curious how they’re like, have you noticed any patterns in what that might look like in terms of like somebody’s career or their relationship to work? Like, how does that like kind of show up or ripple out into their life, I guess. 


Heather [00:06:31] MM Yeah. So the other way I describe these folks that I see a lot is kind of the workaholic, sometimes a bit of a perfectionist in that they’re just so focused in that realm around work, career, getting to a certain level in business or not being able to take breaks or give themselves time off and really kind of enjoy life because they’re so focused on, I’ve got to hit whatever that metric is that they decided for themselves that it seems like they’re they’re really out of balance in their life. And they’re not kind of living as fully or as fully as they would like to, that they think that magic number is going to give them. But it never does. 


Linzy [00:07:15] Right. So the fantasy is once they make that number, then life will become like fulfilling or rich or whatever they’re looking for. Yes. Interesting. So, I mean, it sounds like and I mean, I say this as somebody who probably has been an overachiever for most of my life. Recovery? Question mark?


Heather [00:07:32] Yeah, same. 


Linzy [00:07:33] Yeah. Is it sounds like when this is really activity around money like work can kind of become the center of your life or like be over prioritized over other things because there is this like quest to hit whatever arbitrary goal you’ve set for yourself. 


Heather [00:07:49] Yeah. I also see it as this not being able to notice and just reflect on what they actually have and have achieved already with that in life or a career status or a certain financial amount. You know.


Linzy [00:08:04] You’re hurting me, Heather, this is like too personal. 


Heather [00:08:08] It’s the focus is always on what’s not there. As opposed to what is. 


Linzy [00:08:15] Right. Okay. Okay. And I’m curious, do you see any, like, variations in how this shows up like, say, between like genders or or race or anything like that? 


Heather [00:08:24] Yeah, some- I do sometimes. So I try to avoid the general blanket statements like this applies to everyone, obviously. But I’ve spent a lot of time really working with men for a long time and that was my passion and really just focused on that. But I also have a lot of women in my practice as well, and so it’s like the same kind of issue really playing out, looking slightly different I think, between folks who are more male identified versus female identified. And so for guys, it’s often this like drive to prove yourself, to really keep climbing the ladder. I’ve got to get to the next promotion or the next income bracket or the next thing. This sort of feeling of I have to keep showing up in this certain way. Whereas for women I often see it as I’m really not feeling worthy enough. In particular, if I ask for more money or if I ask for a raise, or maybe if I’m told no, there’s often this feeling of I don’t want to take up that space and ask for more. Or if I’m sort of not met there, it’s this very strong personal feeling. 


Linzy [00:09:34] Right. So it sounds like like women or people with more female energy like would pursue it or want it, but we also don’t feel as entitled to it exactly. And are more likely to like personalize or like have shame if… 


Heather [00:09:47] Yes. 


Linzy [00:09:48] …there’s some barrier or somebody doesn’t recognize how hard we’re working or how much we’re accomplishing. 


Heather [00:09:52] Yeah. And I think the thing that I see on all sides is, at least with this particular population, is this difficulty around setting boundaries and about being able to kind of acknowledge that it’s okay to stop and sort of let things just be for a little while without always having to keep showing up or overdoing something or taking it all on. Yeah. And that really seems to be across the board, right? 


Linzy [00:10:23] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I’m hearing we’re talking here about how this overachieving shows up with money, but I’m guessing money is not the root of this. What do you notice are kind of like the deeper things that are going on or that go with this this overachieving and drive around money? 


Heather [00:10:42] Yeah, because here I am talking about how it can show up at work and play out at work. And yet it’s all just- to me it’s like it’s all just what’s living on the surface versus what’s really underneath and what’s happening at that deeper level. And so for the folks that I tend to work with, there is often a very highly intellectualized or overthinking component. They’re really in their heads a lot and not necessarily down in their body or really in there with their feelings. So there’s a lot of disconnect. And so the money is never just about money. It’s it’s always about something deeper. It’s always about something more emotional. I mentioned just a little bit earlier the kind of self-worth or feelings of inadequacy that can come up all of all of this stuff that really lives in the emotional body, that these type of folks who I see the most are just really cut off from and they’re not accessing and they’re not paying attention to. So there might be a non kind of felt sense of safety a lot of the time. Is it safe in my body or is it safe to feel, is it safe to feel my emotions or is it safe to feel in my body? Or do I have this sense of trust with myself and how I’m going to show up in the world or trust that things will work out for me or trust that things will be okay. And I don’t have to work as hard as I have in the past. A lot of the times this can come back to this kind of what I tend to see most often over parental side, early childhood experience, having to really step up and kind of take on more responsibility or more roles in some way from a young age. And so that kind of this gotten drilled in really early on. And then I also tie a lot of that in because this is how I tend to work to attachment styles and this kind of insecure attachment correlation that I just see over and over and over again. 


Linzy [00:12:49] Between, like, overachievers and insecure attachment. 


Heather [00:12:51] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And there are many piece of like, yeah, these really maybe more anxiously kind of attached and worried about that. That anxiousness might also show up in their money behaviors or if they’re more avoidant attachment that also might show up. 


Linzy [00:13:07] Yes, maybe with money there is a relationship. Yes. Right. So like our way of kind of coping or protecting ourselves translates into that relationship. 


Heather [00:13:17] Exactly. 


Linzy [00:13:18] I wonder I’d be really curious if maybe one day one of us will do research on this about how much our like general attachment style translates over to money, like whether it’s almost always the same or whether we can have like very different attachment styles between like our relationships, you know, like a partner, not our relationship with money. Because I think based on like your money experiences, maybe you could have like a lot of, you know, there could be distinction between those two. But I suspect often the way we cope is the way we cope. 


Heather [00:13:45] Mm hmm. I mean, the way I see it, there seems to be such a strong overlap. Yeah, absolutely. 


Linzy [00:13:51] Yeah, yeah. Makes sense to me. 


Heather [00:13:52] And so it would be interesting to see if there was a whole lot of difference there. Yeah. I mean, I would love to do that kind of research. 


Linzy [00:14:02] For your next Ph.D.. 


Heather [00:14:03] Yes, save that for someone else. 


Linzy [00:14:07] So for folks then who are in this situation, so who are kind of up in their heads. Not sure if they really want to even be in their bodies and feel things right in this. Like very overachieving, like the energy that I imagine is an energy that sometimes I notice with myself when anxiety comes into my relationship with money, and sometimes I see this with our students in the course is like this very like, Ugh, like you’re really- people can’t see me because this is a podcast, but I’m, I’m making the face that accentuates my “thinkles”, which I’ve also learned are called Elevens, which is the lines like, you know, right kind of in the middle of my forehead that like- where you’re just like all of your energy is concentrated like right into the front of your brain and you’re just so stuck up in your head. And I see that so often with the folks that we support, the therapists in Money Skills For Therapists, where it’s such like a overwhelm in your head, all the energy is up there. So I’m curious for folks who are listening right now and they’re like, Yeah, that’s me. When when you were saying earlier, like, is it is it safe? Can I trust? In my head there is voice going, nope, nope, nope. Like my inner overachiever is like, mm mm mm. So for folks who are listening and resonating with this, like, what are some things that they can start to do to address, you know, these tendencies and how it shows up around money? 


Heather [00:15:16] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it’s funny, before I even answer that, what just kind of was coming up as you were talking about all of that is how it feels like it also really maps onto, for me, those concepts of abundance versus scarcity. 


Linzy [00:15:30] Yeah. Yeah. 


Heather [00:15:31] Because the abundance mindset is there’s always enough there’s more than enough food, plenty for everyone. Just as the scarcity of not being enough and not having enough. And that real fear of like, is everything going to be okay? It’s the same kind of thing that’s showing up, right? And so when we can kind of first drop into our body and actually just sort of discover, Hey, I’ve got one. It’s down here, it has a whole constellation of feelings and emotions. 


Linzy [00:16:06] Holding up my head the whole time. 


Heather [00:16:08] It’s startling to me. And then at the same time not surprising how often I will sit with folks and they have no awareness whatsoever of their body, their neck. Yeah. You know, and so the first step is always just like, we’ve got to drop down and we’ve got to learn how to just sit with and feel and explore the terrain of our body and our sensations and then our emotional experience. And so I do a lot of that with folks of like, first, we’ve just got to slow down and start to get comfortable and familiar with that space and see what that is. And then a lot of it is also like, can we tolerate learning how to sit with when it feels uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel good? Yes. When scarcity is there, when the feeling of it’s not enough or, you know, I’ve got to hit that next level. What’s actually like where is that in your body? Where is that showing up? And how do you sit there with it and kind of make friends with it and explore it a little bit? And so I usually really start there with folks just to kind of make that bridge. And from there, we’ll often go into things like self-compassion practice, or learning how to kind of move towards a more secure attachment, maybe even doing some like re parenting inner child kind of work with people that are up for that. A whole variety of things. 


Linzy [00:17:37] Oh, sure. Well, and I think, you know, like the work that you do as a therapist and the work that we do with folks in Money Skills overlaps. Right. And makes me think about the work that we do with folks in some of the conversations we have behind the scenes, which just like helping people slow down, like actually feel there are successes and wins and like normalize that this is hard, you know, and, and allow people to make space for those feelings and not have to, like, push through them, you know, because I think that’s so often an ignored part of money in general, you know, which is why we talk about it so much, is that if you’re not actually in touch with those body sensations and you’re just kind of kind of power through with your mind, which is what overachievers tend to try to do. Yes, you have these parts of you that you’re almost dragging behind you. Right. Like the the scared part and the anxious part and the ashamed part. And if you’re not actually, like, letting those emotions have release or being present with them, then eventually they’re going to catch up to you and it’ll be overwhelming. And you know, what we often see is folks avoid or whatever that emotional experience is going to be, but it’s like you’re not you’re not actually having an integrated experience with money until you bring your body online. 


Heather [00:18:43] Yes. And this is something that I had to go through firsthand myself to really even get to those next layers with. You know, I’ve done lots of- I love money stuff, but I love learning about it, money, psychology, talking about it and doing different programs. I did yours. I’ve done Lean In Make Bank. I’ve done a variety of things, but I really got to see firsthand the practical skills only took me so far. I need those practical skills, right? But without really getting at that emotional piece and that embodied piece, it was only- it felt like half the equation. And half was missing. And so it was very much that kind of sense of it only takes you so far to just do that from the head level. And to have that fuller- again, it’s like that full whole body experience. Got to address the whole body of who we are. 


Linzy [00:19:37] Yes. Yeah. And something that makes me think about is just like that that takes time. Right. Like, I think our bodies, you can’t just, like, tell your body like you’re safe now. Your body’s, like, okay. Right. Like, it has to be this kind of recurrent experience of, like, taking in information, whatever that is. If it’s if it’s like, helping yourself learn to be safe. It’s like you have to take in that experience of noticing that the money’s there, noticing that like you, it keeps happening, that you have all these skills, that people appreciate what you do. You have to like notice it kind of over and over and over, I think because you’re overwriting like really deep, deep stories and like and traumas and experiences. 


Heather [00:20:16] Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of my teachers says – I love this line – is move at the speed of trust. And it’s just such a beautiful reminder that our brain wants to move so fast most of the time, especially for this kind of population who are fast thinkers, racing thoughts, really good at thinking through things. So it’s that quick, quick pace. But our body and the emotional level is a totally different speed, a different pace. And moving at that speed of trust is really the kind of gets at that like neurobiology. Like our our nervous system wiring is so different. And so it is really relearning and and doing things in these, as you say, like these deep grooves, in a different way to integrate the two. And that often seems to be the hardest part for folks. Is that slow down. 


Linzy [00:21:13] Totally. Well, I. I don’t know if on social media you’ve like heard this clip. There’s there’s this song, Vienna by Billy Joel, which is an old song, but there’s these covers that are going around. I think there’s a couple of different covers by like female artists. And the lyrics have become my own little personal mantra lately, and the words arw: slowdown, you’re doing fine, you can’t be everything you want to be before your time. And like, even when I say it, it gives me a little body chills, because I think in our culture and when you are an overachiever or like for so many reasons, we try to make life go fast and we try to make money go fast. We try to hit our goals fast. And like, sometimes I even notice myself and I wonder, like, do I think I’m not going to be able to work in like two years or five years or ten years? Like, what do I think I’m going to be doing? But this feeling that I, that I need to get there and I see it in my peers too. Like I see it in my business friends. I see it in so many therapists that we work with because I think we attract high achievers for some reason. I don’t know why. But it’s like just reminding myself, like, slow down, like life is now, right? And that can be really hard to do because I think there’s so many forces that make us want to go fast. 


Heather [00:22:20] Yeah. And yet at the same time, isn’t it- you know, I don’t know how it goes exactly, but people are saying it’s always like fast money is going to go just as fast. 


Linzy [00:22:28] Oh I haven’t heard that one. Yeah. 


Heather [00:22:30] Yeah. And so yeah if it comes in too quickly you cannot- like people will do things unconsciously to make it disappear again and go away. Lottery winners, you know. 


Linzy [00:22:44] Yes. 


Heather [00:22:45] It will go just as quickly because you have not integrated and similarly kind of built your way to a more sustainable place. And that only comes through time and repetition, practice, being really present. 


Linzy [00:23:00] And it makes you think about meaning too. Like as we’re talking about this, which is like one of my like driving values is being connected to like the richness behind things. And I think when you, when you earn money regularly, slowly, through things that you’re building and you’re really feeling that experience, like you integrate the work that it took, you’re like, This is my money that I made a appear. And I think I wonder if there’s more kind of reverence or respect or meaning behind that money, like, you’re not going to waste it on something dumb when it’s like, you know, something that has- I don’t know it’s yeah the pace. I don’t know what it is, Heather, but like, I totally understand what you’re saying. Whereas when money appears fast, it makes it seem like money could appear fast again. It kind of devalues it. There’s not a lot of meaning if something happens fast, like if you’re gifted $50,000, you’re much more likely to just like spend it on like a new car and a trip. And it’s going to be gone because it’s like there isn’t that like meaning or richness or-. 


Heather [00:23:48] Connection. 


Linzy [00:23:49] Connection. Yeah. I was going to say work, which I think is getting into like my Protestant work ethic, my stories that have been passed down. But there is something about it’s like money you’ve gotten to know. 


Heather [00:24:00] Yes. And I mean, I just love the word reverence so much. One of my favorite words, because it has that sense of connection and the feeling to it, which is what so much of this is tied to, is if you don’t have that connection, if there is the disconnect, then you know, you’ll never be able to make those changes and hold on to it. 


Linzy [00:24:24] Yeah. And what I’m hearing from you in terms of overachievers is there is this disconnect. There’s the mind body disconnect. Right. Or there’s the disconnect from, you know, our accomplishments. Right. Where you hit a number and they’re like, well, that number was too easy. Next number. Right. And so that disconnect, I think. Yeah, connection, disconnection. There’s a lot of things of that as we’re thinking about overachievers. 


Heather [00:24:45] Yeah, I just literally had somebody tell me that last week who I was working with, who’s talking about I’m on this path to seven figures. I feel like I’ve got to get there and then when I get there, things will be good. I was able to just say also, and yet I’ve never felt good about anything I’ve done so far. 


Linzy [00:25:05] So why would that be different. 


Heather [00:25:07] How is this going to really work out for you? 


Linzy [00:25:10] Totally. 


Heather [00:25:11] And I think planning that out that, you know, wait a minute. Yes. You’re being a little antithetical here, what’s going on, and just start to bring that awareness 


Linzy [00:25:21] Totally. And this is like a theme that I’ve talked about on this podcast before and that I think about a lot. And just this week, I made a post in Money Skills about this, which is like life is now, right? Like enjoy your life now. And if you’re not building those muscles to enjoy life now and be present with your successes now and be laughing with your friends now, that’s not going to magically happen when you hit some arbitrary goal. 


Heather [00:25:43] Right? 


Linzy [00:25:43] Presence is kind of like an ongoing skill. 


Heather [00:25:46] That is. 


Linzy [00:25:47] That we need to be cultivating. 


Heather [00:25:47] Yeah. And it’s sad to me. How much we’ve lost our ability to play and have fun and just be free. 


Linzy [00:25:59] Yes. 


Heather [00:26:00] And I think that really it does come in from that early parentification when you don’t get to play and have fun in childhood, you don’t learn those vital skills. 


Linzy [00:26:12] Absolutely. 


Heather [00:26:13] Just how to really to live and be in the moment. That’s I mean, kids are amazing at that and they don’t have to try. 


Linzy [00:26:20] So. 


Heather [00:26:21] Yes, happens. 


Linzy [00:26:23] And certainly for me as an overachiever, this is something that I’ve been consciously and unconsciously doing. Having my son, who’s three, is like, we play a lot and I really let myself play because I don’t- as a child, I have memories of kind of playing, but they feel a little fraught at the same time. It’s so nice to just like just be and just play because also those moments are fleeting. I think, too, as an adult, I know that, you know, like childhood is short, this kind of- and even the types of play that he does are going to change. But just allowing myself that presence, because that does feel very meaningful, having an overachiever streak in myself as well. 


Heather [00:26:57] Yeah. And so the thing I always like to talk about with people and kind of create this shift around is that again, it’s never about the money. It’s not about hitting an income goal or a certain number of things. But a rich life is rich in all of these ways outside of just dollars and cents. 


Linzy [00:27:19] Yes. 


Heather [00:27:20] And when we feel into an experience, the richness of life through play, the creativity or just having open space or being present, then you’re really like living it and embodying it every single day. It can be so moment to moment like that, that you get off that workhorse of always pushing yourself. 


Linzy [00:27:45] Yeah, yeah. Because you’re you’re already here like you’re already in your life. That’s not a destination for later. 


Heather [00:27:51] Yeah. 


Linzy [00:27:51] So, Heather, I’m curious for folks who are listening to you right now, if they were just to do like one little thing, what would almost be like a little starter thing that they could do if they’re an overachiever and they notice they’re kind of in their head or they’re focused on the future, like what would be like a fun little thing that they could try or like a first step to start to move towards what we’re just talking about here, more of that embodied, present, playful place. 


Heather [00:28:16] Yeah. To me, the simplest thing is always just to do like a body check in and to really just start to in the moment notice what you notice. I think for people who are really disembodied, we’re not connected. The easier way to do this is really like grounding into either what’s actually around you, kind of supporting you, holding you up, or what is around you kind of in space. What do you – like really stop and look and take in what you see and notice these things because it’s all about these minute small moments that are just getting passed over every day on the rush to do the next thing, do the next thing. So whether that’s doing a body scan, kind of where you’re going like from top of your head down to your toes and checking in with your body, and noticing whether it’s tense or tight or doing a kind of scan around the room just to start to bring more awareness in is always a really great place to absolutely begin. 


Linzy [00:29:22] And it’s just just little steps. 


Heather [00:29:24] Yeah. I mean, that’s. Yes. The smaller, the better, I always say to people. The big leap is not better. Smaller is better. Yes. 


Linzy [00:29:34] Agreed. Agreed. Well, Heather, it’s been so wonderful having you on the podcast today. And I’m I’m curious if I could shift gears for you for a second. Of course, for folks who are listening now who’ve maybe been, you know, following me or Money Skills for a while and thinking about the course, but they haven’t kind of pulled the trigger. It’s such a violent term. They haven’t taken the leap. 


Heather [00:29:57] Yes. 


Linzy [00:29:58] Or the baby step, whatever. Well, I’m curious, like, what would you say to them? Because you’ve gone through the experience of doing the course, now you’re coaching the course. What would be your words to someone who’s thinking about the course but not sure? 


Heather [00:30:10] It’s funny because I think I will answer this differently now than I would have back when I had finished up or even a year ago. Because back then I would have said, you know, like, just do it. It’s so amazing. And you’re going to get so much out of it, take the leap and it will meet you there. But I think now, as I’m really also myself trying to embody more of this slow down embodiment practice, like feel in to when it’s right for you because the course will be here. The program will be here. We know it’s fantastic and gonna help you out. But if you’re not in the place where you’re ready to show up and kind of do that work and give it that energy. It’s not going to be as helpful or effective. 


Linzy [00:30:58]  Right thing. Right time. 


Heather [00:31:00] Yeah, exactly. 


Linzy [00:31:01] I love that very sage advice. So feel into it. Check in with your body, your wisdom, and when you’re ready, we’re here. We’re ready to walk you slowly through the steps. Thank you so much, Heather. For folks who want to get further into your world. Where is the best place for them to find you and follow you? 


Heather [00:31:20] Yeah. So I’m not a huge social media person, although I do have social media accounts, so you can find me on Instagram @DrHStevenson I’ll say that I’m not on there a ton, so probably the best way truly is just through email, through my website, because it’s definitely going to come through to me. I will always check that and see that. If you want to connect on Instagram, it’s a little outdated and I might not see it right away. 


Linzy [00:31:49] Okay. Okay. So email. So we will put your website in the show notes so folks can find you and always reach out if they want to connect. And you are in New York City. You’re doing therapy in New York City. 


Heather [00:32:00] Yeah. 


Linzy [00:32:01] And you’re in Money Skills For Therapists. So if you want more of Heather, you can also join us in the course and get lots of both of us for success. 


Heather [00:32:06] We talk about this every month on our Money Mindset Seminar and I love it. It’s so fun. Yes. Yeah. Please come on in. 


Linzy [00:32:14] Awesome. Thank you so much, Heather, for joining me. 


Heather [00:32:16] Thank you, Linzy. 


Linzy [00:32:30] I really enjoyed this conversation with Heather Stevenson. And also, as I said, a couple of points in the conversation, it felt very personal. Being a recovering-ish overachiever myself and having done the work that I have done and am doing in my own life to be present, be in my body, just enjoy the now, not be focused on the future. I think what we just talked about today, I’m sure, connects for a lot of you, because I do notice in many schools we tend to get a lot of overachievers, probably because you feel my overachiever vibes pulling you in. So I’m hoping that there are some helpful pieces today to get you thinking about it. And this is something that we do talk about a lot. And Money Skills For Therapists, as we said, is just helping folks to like slow down, feel your body, feel the discomfort, take care of yourself in the discomfort, because that also allows you to feel the wins. You know, when we are tuning out the difficult things that are happening in our body, the anxiety or the shame or the fear. We’re also tuning out the joy and the excitement, right? When we’re not present in our body, we’re just not present. So something that I found for myself and for therapists going through Money Skills For Therapists is when you do take the time to start to be present in your body and feel what’s happening while also engaging your brain as you’re learning these skills and working on these things, having that integrative experience of being present in your body and having your brain online really does shift your relationship with money and also create a capacity for joy with money and excitement and possibility that a lot of the graduates who’ve come on for coaching episodes, I found a lot of them have talked about that happening for them, and I think so much of that is about being present and letting those difficult emotions start to like shift and heal and get caught up to the present. So then you could also feel the positive emotions, like the satisfaction of having hit a goal, right? Or the joy of rewarding yourself for something and actually feeling the reward. All of that involves getting back in your body. So super important stuff that Heather was talking about today. So that concludes season three of the podcast. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. It really means a lot to me. This is actually the way that I really enjoy connecting and sharing my thoughts and learnings and ideas about money is in this kind of more quiet, thoughtful format. So thank you for joining me and listening to the podcast. We’ve been so, so pleased and touched by how much folks are enjoying the podcast and sharing that with us. And just seeing you folks listening to every week really means a lot. So thank you so much for being part of our podcast community. And if you are listening right now and it is the summer and you’re at the end of season three, enjoy your end of your summer. I hope that you can also, as we talked about in this episode, slow down, tune into your body, enjoy what’s happening in your world, take in all the good stuff that might be around you that’s easy to miss. And I so look forward to connecting with you again when season four comes out in just a month and change. If you want to stay in touch, especially between podcast seasons, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share practical and emotional money content on there every week. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I know I’ve said it so many times that please do jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It really means a lot, and it is the best way for therapists who want to be part of these conversations to find me. Thanks for listening.

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.

Latest Episodes

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Building a Group Practice That Reflects Your Values Coaching Session

Episode Image Building a Group Practice That Reflects Your Values Coaching Session
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Building a Group Practice That Reflects Your Values Coaching Session

Episode Image Building a Group Practice That Reflects Your Values Coaching Session

“Is it possible to have a sustainable group practice that is also value-aligned in terms of being anti-oppression oriented? It’s just challenging to strike that balance.”

~Leah Cohen

Meet Leah Cohen

Leah Cohen, LCSW (they/them) is a psychotherapist and the owner of Kindred Therapy LLC, a private therapy practice serving queer, gender expansive, and neurodivergent clients through an anti-oppressive, trauma-focused lens. Leah supports people who feel constantly overwhelmed and “different” to embrace their innate strengths and adapt life to fit their needs; instead of trying to mold themselves around their environment. 

You can connect with Leah on Instagram @kindredtherapyllc or at https://www.kindredtherapyllc.com.

In This Episode…

How do you manage the numbers when starting a group practice? In this practical coaching session, Linzy and Leah dig into real numbers for a new group practice to figure out how to make the finances work for both the group practice owner as well as the clinicians within the practice. They also explore the importance of aligning with your values as a business owner and providing benefits to employed clinicians. 

Listen in to hear how to think about everything that goes into establishing and running a successful group practice and how the developmental stages of business impact the decisions we make. Don’t miss these concrete tips if you’re looking to expand your practice. 

Want more support with your private practice finances?

Free Workshop Series: How to Feel Calm & Confident About Money

Are you tired of feeling confused, ashamed, and stressed about your private practice finances?

CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

I’m also giving away $500 cash to one lucky participant! Make sure you secure your free seat by clicking here and all you have to do is attend the workshops for your chance to win.

Episode Transcript

Leah [00:00:04] But is it possible to have a sustainable group practice that is also value-aligned in terms of like being antioppression-oriented and it’s just challenging to to strike that balance. 


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 is a coaching episode with a current student in the course – they’re about halfway through Money Skills For Therapists – Leah Cohen. Leah is a psychotherapist, they’re the owner of Kindred Therapy, which is a private practice therapy that serves queer, gender expansive, and neurodivergent clients. Today, Leah and I really got into this kind of ethical dilemma that I think so many therapists feel when they want to be really good group practice owners of How do you balance taking care of your therapists who are working with you and running a healthy, sustainable group practice? I know this is something that so many of us struggle with because therapists tend to be caring people and we usually don’t want to be exploiting other people. The best group practice owners don’t want to exploit other people, I should say. We think about other people’s experiences. Sometimes we overly think about what’s happening for other people, maybe try to do a little bit of mind reading and it can be really nerve wracking when you’re starting a private practice and you’re trying to set it up well, make sure that your folks are paid well, make sure that you’re taking care of them in the way that you want to, but also needing to make sure that you’re not driving your business into the ground and you’re not setting things up in a way that is unsustainable and will mean that you go out of business and can’t serve anybody. So Leah and I get into their numbers today, but more importantly, we get into their values and the ways that they can be supporting their first employee that also go beyond how much they are paying that employee. Here is my coaching session with Leah Cohen. Leah, welcome to the podcast. 


Leah [00:02:44] Thank you. 


Linzy [00:02:45] So, Leah, you are a student in Money Skills For Therapists. Are you still with us now or have you finished up? 


Leah [00:02:51] I am. I’m still in the middle of it. 


Linzy [00:02:52] Yes, in the middle. Okay. So that’s where you’re at in terms of course content. And with our time together today, what do you want to dig into during this coaching session? 


Leah [00:03:03] Well, I think that the most pertinent issue that’s been coming up lately in the practice is the fact that I just hired a, well, my first clinician. As if money wasn’t complicated enough when it was just me. Now I’m adding to the picture. Somebody else who’s an employee and trying to reconfigure some of the financial piece to support other therapists. 


Linzy [00:03:33] Yeah. Okay. 


Leah [00:03:33] And wanted to just get your thoughts on that. And if you have worked with other people who’ve made that transition from solo to group. 


Linzy [00:03:41] Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yes. Okay. So this is your first hire. And how long is this person been working with you now? 


Leah [00:03:47] Really not very long. Like their first day was June 20th, so that’s a couple of weeks. 


Linzy [00:03:55] Okay. Well, yeah. Really fresh. Okay. Yeah. So tell me, you know, with bringing somebody else into the practice, what do you notice coming up in terms of financial questions or feelings? Thoughts? What’s going on? 


Leah [00:04:07] Sure. Well, I can imagine that other therapists that have joined your course did so because there’s this avoidance that you talk about. Right. With regard to like looking at the numbers, sitting down with making those plans. And I’m not immune to that. I think early on in my practice, I was a lot more on top of it. Had some of those routines in place already that you talk about in the course that sort of like fell to the prioritization of everyday life. But now that it’s not just me, I really want to almost reestablish some of those habits. And the big question that’s been coming up for me is- so in doing some other work around money mindset, I raised my fee about three months ago and the question of fee setting has been challenging in general, more specifically because – I think it is for all of us – but I see, you know, like I sort of specialize in a very particular population. So I support mostly queer and gender expansive and bipoc individuals who are healing from trauma and who are often neurodivergent or highly sensitive. So given sort of a lot of the multiple marginalizations that I see coming through my office, fee setting is complicated, you know, wanting to make sure that I’m making enough to support myself and that this question of accessibility is still like within reach, which is really just a challenge that I’m grappling with every day, but now with like additional expenses of being a group, I’m concerned about like how to make sure that I’m not hemorrhaging money, I guess is like a big concern. 


Linzy [00:06:05] Right. Yeah. How do you have a group that’s sustainable? 


Leah [00:06:07] Right. 


Linzy [00:06:08] Also honoring your values and the folks that you serve and thinking about accessibility. Yeah, those are a lot of things to try to balance. 


Leah [00:06:15] And is it possible I mean, I’m sure that it is, but is it possible to have a sustainable group practice that is also value-aligned in terms of like being antioppression-oriented and it’s just challenging to to strike that balance. 


Linzy [00:06:34] Yeah, absolutely. And with your own fee, and the decision you made about your own fee, tell me, first of all, what fee did you end up setting for yourself when you did that fee increase? 


Leah [00:06:44] I set a full fee of 200. And it’s probably on the higher end of what’s available in my area. You know, we’re always sort of talking about location, but I am EMDR trained and you know, I’m a multiply marginalized therapist myself. 


Linzy [00:07:05] Yes. That’s right.


Leah [00:07:06] And so I figured that that was a good decision. You know, I do have a like a reduced fee program. So most people are not paying that full fee, but setting it there felt good. 


Linzy [00:07:20] Yes. And financially, what have you noticed the impact has been for you of having that higher fee as kind of the full fee that you have? 


Leah [00:07:27] Well, it’s so it initially had an impact where, you know, I kind of immediately increased my revenue. But that lasted maybe one or two months before I decided I actually needed to reduce my caseload to be able to do some of the more administrative things. 


Linzy [00:07:49] Like running a group. 


Leah [00:07:50] Yeah. And so I have been sort of slowly, not super intentionally, but slowly reducing. And so I won’t say that there’s been like a financial benefit from specifically that fee raise because I then like reduced the number, right? Yes. 


Linzy [00:08:10] But I’m curious if you had not done that fee raise and you did those reductions, would you still be in the same place financially or would you be making more than you are now? 


Leah [00:08:18] Oh, I’m sure that I’m making more than I would. 


Linzy [00:08:20] So although you’re not like- it’s not like a huge abundance that’s come upon you because you have decreased. It’s still had a financial impact for you. Yeah. So with your clinician who’s come in, what have you done so far in terms of the numbers that you’ve set with them? 


Leah [00:08:34] We had a lot of preliminary conversations about setting fees and about how they were going to structure, like balancing their caseload of people who they would see with reduced fees versus full fee. They did not feel comfortable with a $200 full fee, even though I think that they could definitely have that fee and justify it. It just wasn’t comfortable, being somebody who was coming straight from community mental health, which I can sort of understand. You know. They have a full fee of 150, which I feel fine about, particularly because we’re trying to fill them versus me. 


Linzy [00:09:18] Sure. Yes. That is strategic, you know, to have them at a lower fee than you. So their full fee is 150 and yours is 200. Okay. So, I mean, with these numbers, what have you noticed so far in terms of how well these numbers are working? Like, first of all, how much is your clinician making? Are they making a livable income? No. Okay. 


Leah [00:09:40] And I mean, they’ve been with me for only a few weeks. 


Linzy [00:09:43] Yeah, that’s true. Yes. 


Leah [00:09:45] I think I anticipated that they would have more of a caseload waiting for them than actually, like, ended up being the case. 


Linzy [00:09:56] So they’re taking a while to fill up, which is normal. That usually takes a little while to fill a caseload. So have you done the math here to see, based on the split that they have with you and their fees, the way things are kind of falling for them so far, what they will be able to make once they’re working full time. 


Leah [00:10:14] Yeah. So if they were seeing the full time caseload then they would make… I have a spreadsheet for this. 


Linzy [00:10:24] That’s one of my favorite sentences. 


Leah [00:10:28] Essentially, like, let’s say 20 sessions. Times 50. Times 4. 


Linzy [00:10:35] Because they get paid $50 a session. 


Leah [00:10:37] They’ll be $50 a session. Yeah.


Linzy [00:10:39] Yep. Okay, so let’s just do that math. Yeah. So that’ll be $4,000 is what they. So $4,000. 


Leah [00:10:46] Gross. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:10:47] So 4000 gross. And then are they like a W-2, like an employee with you? 


Leah [00:10:52] They’re an employee, yeah. 


Linzy [00:10:53] Yeah. Okay. So there’ll be some taxes taken off of that, and you’ll also be paying some taxes on their behalf as the employer. So 4000. So that would make their kind of salary like if you were, you know, a company offering a salary. 


Leah [00:11:06] 48, right, is what it comes out to?


Linzy [00:11:06] That’s right. 48,000. 


Leah [00:11:08] And I think it’s probably with taxes like more like 45. 


Linzy [00:11:12] Yeah, I would expect it to be actually less than that. Yeah. Yeah. Like generally income taxes, I mean, a safe number to assume is like 30%. That’s high. Most people I see pay somewhere around like 20-25%. So but 30 is kind of like that safe number. But let’s just say 25 and let’s say 20 because 48,000 is not a high tax bracket. So times point eight. So about 38,000 is what they would take home. If we divide that by 12, that’s a cash paycheck of about 3200 a month. 


Leah [00:11:43] Yeah. See, I don’t feel good about those numbers. 


Linzy [00:11:45] Yes. That’s important. 


Leah [00:11:46] And I think that is what I’m struggling with. 


Linzy [00:11:48] Yes. Okay. Okay. 


Leah [00:11:50] I really don’t feel good about those numbers. 


Linzy [00:11:52] So your gut reaction is not a good one. 


Leah [00:11:54] That’s not good enough. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:11:56] Yeah. Okay. Okay. So that’s important, right? Because that’s a- probably that’s a values feedback from your system of like, no, that’s not what I’m going for. 


Leah [00:12:06] There’s a part that’s like, Uhhhh What? 


Linzy [00:12:08] Yes. Okay. 


Leah [00:12:09] So I knew these numbers when I was setting the fee. I did sit down with an accountant to do this. And we had established this flat rate specifically because they wanted a flat fee. So we sort of negotiated that. Yeah, because the sort of stability of that felt better to them. But we talked about it as being something like with the potential to grow. 


Linzy [00:12:33] Right. And that $50 a session that they’re getting paid, they get paid that do they get paid that for full fee sessions and insurance sessions or how does that work in your practice? 


Leah [00:12:43] We’re currently not in network with insurance. We’re in the process of credentialing with one insurance company. Currently it’s a flat fee for- depending on where the- it’s this weird hybrid pay model that I- that we sort of came up with together, frankly, because it’s my first employee and we’re colleagues. We’ve known each other for several years, but so we just decided on a flat fee for sessions that where they were charging $100 and up and anything that they wanted to do on a slide lower than 100, that we would do a fee split for those. It was sort of a way of compromising, whereas I wanted them to do less sliding scale. They wanted to do more. 


Linzy [00:13:29] I see. Okay. So if they do more sliding scale, they can do so, but. 


Leah [00:13:32] They can do it. But it’s a 50- 


Linzy [00:13:34] Yeah. That will impact their split. 


Leah [00:13:36] Yeah. It would be a 50% split for anything under 100. 


Linzy [00:13:41] Okay. Okay. Okay. Interesting.


Leah [00:13:42] And then anything above that it’s like- 


Linzy [00:13:44] I can see totally see the wisdom of that. 


Leah [00:13:46] Does that make sense? Does it? 


Linzy [00:13:48] Absolutely does, yeah. Okay, great. 100. And so the number that you gave me then is that assuming that they’re doing 20 kind of like non sliding scale sessions that are above 100 sessions. So they may also be doing some below 100 slides depending on their clients. 


Leah [00:14:05] Yeah. And I would imagine it would be not that much lower than 100, maybe 85. 


Linzy [00:14:11] Okay. So, yeah, so they could be getting paid less than that 48,000, depending on how they’re choosing to manage their fee. Okay. Tell me that sigh that just came out. What was that? 


Leah [00:14:20] There’s definitely parts that come up that are like, this is not what you wanted. 


Linzy [00:14:25] Yes. 


Leah [00:14:26] From being an employer. Yes. And there’s definitely this huge like polarization between the part of me that feels really crappy about that number. And then the part of me that, like, sees the reality of what I’ve been able to do so far and what the expenses look like and everything like that. And it’s just. 


Linzy [00:14:52] Yes, because this is, you know, the kind of this puzzle of trying- in some ways, you’re trying to do it all. Like, how do you do as much as you can? How do you be a good employer? Right. And take care of a clinician who I’m assuming is within the folks that you serve, who’s also a queer, gender expansive, bipoc person. So you don’t want to be exploiting somebody. They’re supporting folks who, through marginalization, are not going to be earning as much as folks who are privileged and favored by the system. And at the same time, you have to be covering business expenses and making sure that you have a sustainable practice. 


Leah [00:15:27] And one of the reasons why we said, you know, that I decided to set the fee at where it is, is because something that was important to me as an employer was to have the potential for employees to get health insurance through my practice, which is typically a benefit that people do much later, but that I did first. 


Linzy [00:15:52] Okay. Right. So does your employee have health benefits? 


Leah [00:15:56] Yeah. I mean, the applications processing. Yes. 


Linzy [00:15:58] Okay. But that’s under in the works. Okay. Yeah, because that’s something else to think about as you think about your values on building a practice that is like, yes, this is why I’m doing this is what are the other nonfinancial benefits that folks are getting or that you’re providing that make it a good place to work and that in some ways might be more valuable to folks than earning, you know, $500 more a month. Right. I’m hearing one of those things is health- 


Leah [00:16:22] People don’t generally join group practices to make the most money that they can. Right? It’s sort of, you know, well-known that you can make- do you want to make the most money you can that means solo is probably the best way to go. 


Linzy [00:16:36] For sure. That’s the most lucrative path because you’re not sharing the money with anybody else. Yes. Okay. So what I’m hearing then is your clinician didn’t join you to make as much money as they possibly could. 


Leah [00:16:46] They join the group practice intentionally. We talked about the differences. 


Linzy [00:16:50] Yes. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And why did they join the group practice? What was their actual motivator. 


Leah [00:16:55] For the stability, for being able to like share responsibility, I think, or not have as much responsibility for like aspects like administrative tasks and all of the sort of back end stuff that I do. 


Linzy [00:17:14] So you’re creating that, that structure that they can plug themselves into. They don’t want to be kind of running the more business-y admin parts. 


Leah [00:17:20] Right. They’re not really like interested in business so they’re able to just be a clinician and that’s what they really want to do.


Linzy [00:17:29] Okay. And you’re providing health benefits. Is that something that was important to them or is that more something it’s important to you? 


Leah [00:17:36] It was something that was really important to them. 


Linzy [00:17:37] Okay. Okay. 


Leah [00:17:39] And it is to me, too. I mean. 


Linzy [00:17:41] So they’re getting the support of the structure. They’re getting health benefits. What else are they getting by being part of your group practice? 


Leah [00:17:47] So reimbursement for like certain licensing fees, like application fees and some reimbursement for CEUs. There is also a paid earned sick time. 


Linzy [00:18:03] Mm hmm. Okay. Okay. 


Leah [00:18:05] Because New Jersey actually has some regulations around that and Pennsylvania doesn’t. But because we’re a two-state practice, I just sort of made everything across the board. 


Linzy [00:18:14] Okay. Yes. So I’m hearing that there are lots of what would have some financial benefits, like paid sick time is a financial benefit and health insurance is a benefit that if you weren’t paying for it, they may eventually pay for their own out of pocket, that are coming along with this $48,000 salary. When you notice that, what does that do for your feeling about the number? 


Leah [00:18:36] Well, it’s why I was able to get here, number one, because we’re talking about one person. I’ve talked to them in depth about what’s important to them. Right. And so I feel confident that the things that I’m offering are the things that they have said. This is what I’m looking for in a job. 


Linzy [00:18:53] Okay. Okay. 


Leah [00:18:54] And also, big picture wise, I think that people come to group practices. I created a group because I wanted to be supportive. So I want clinicians to be able to focus on clinical work if that’s what they want to do in an environment that isn’t exploiting them and you know, like not providing any amount of security. 


Linzy [00:19:23] And it sounds like you are doing that. 


Leah [00:19:26] Hopefully. I mean, I. I think so. 


Linzy [00:19:29] Yeah. Yeah. 


Leah [00:19:31] So I fear, I guess, is that I will over commit. 


Linzy [00:19:35] Mm hmm. Yes. 


Leah [00:19:36] And then it won’t be very stable because then it won’t be sustainable. 


Linzy [00:19:40] Yes. And so this would be the next piece of it. Right. Is starting to understand your practice numbers, not just in terms of the fee, like your clinician’s fee, that they’re getting paid for the work, you know, which is one equation. But the cost of the benefits, assuming like let’s say they did take all their sick time. You know, what would that cost your practice on a monthly basis since they’re going to be paid for that time? Do you have that information anywhere yet, Leah, where you can see the full cost of running your practice? 


Leah [00:20:06] I do. 


Linzy [00:20:07] Okay. 


Leah [00:20:08] So the employer. Yes. Do you want those numbers is not what you’re. 


Linzy [00:20:12] Yeah. What is the total per month. If you could give me an overall number. 


Leah [00:20:17] And so the sort of like cost per clinician between expenses and benefits is- not including like salary. 


Linzy [00:20:28] Okay. Yep. 


Leah [00:20:30] Is  969.50. 


Linzy [00:20:35] 969.50. Okay. Yeah. And that includes assuming that they’re taking sick time. 


Leah [00:20:39] So I think I included like one sick day per month because of the way that the hours accrue. 


Linzy [00:20:47] First of all, it’s great that you have these numbers and I’m hearing you sat with an accountant, you know, to to set the fee. And that shows. Right. Because this is actually really concrete information that you can work with to see not just what happens with this clinician, but what happens when you add a couple of conditions, right. Like what that would do and I don’t know what your your plan is. Do you want to grow a group practice that’s a certain size? You want to stay small? What’s your vision? 


Leah [00:21:12] I would like to bring on a few more therapists. And my vision, I suppose, is to become whatever size I need to become to be so that it’s like a mutually beneficial arrangement for everyone. And I don’t know what that is right now because I think there is more control of the numbers than I could do there. Right. Sort of what you’re getting at. Like I won’t say that I’m, like, looking to expand greatly. But I would like to bring on a few more people once I have, I guess, like some of these things more in place. 


Linzy [00:21:49] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I wonder if, like, that you’re being very thoughtful and strategic about this. That’s what I’m hearing is like a lot of, like, thought in terms of like, you know, thoughtfulness about your values and who you want to be as an employer and the environment that you want to create. But also thinking about your numbers and like what is sustainable and what will build a practice that can last and keep employing, you know, other clinicians and yourself and like serving your folks. I can really hear that in the way that you’re talking about this. 


Leah [00:22:19] Appreciate it. 


Linzy [00:22:19] And, you know, thinking about kind of where you’re going, I would say, you know, you probably could run those numbers for a little bit. There’s always going to be the growth and costs that come. But one way you could think about that is like, you know, your cost per clinician and then figuring out your operating expense cost of like what are those other costs that go with running a practice? And then especially if you’re an online practice and there’s not rent involved, which rent is like a big stepping expense where you’re like, I was paying for one office and it was 1400 and now we’re paying 2800 because we’ve got a second office. Those are big steps. But often online practices have like kind of simpler expenses where it’s like you just add another person to your simple practice or you add another Zoom subscription. They tend to be smaller. And so something that you could play with as you’re thinking about numbers and kind of where would the numbers start to shift and changes. Running these numbers forward and assuming that your operating expenses will kind of like grow proportionately with the folks that you hire unless there are any big step up expenses. And then just start to be curious of like where does there get to be a point where there’s kind of extra money left over after operating expenses and after you cover staff based on them working a certain caseload? Because, as you say, like profitable practices become more profitable as they get bigger. And that’s where you have kind of the ability to be an even better employer because they’re just you’re generating more resources among you that then can be shared between your staff. Right. And there’s kind of like an equation there. And it’s figuring out based on how you set it, you know, what that number is. But, you know, going back to where we started in terms of like setting your fee and what you’re paying your clinician, what are you noticing now that we’ve talked about it and talked about kind of those other pieces of what you’re you’re providing as an employer and as a culture in the work that you’re creating, like the workplace you’re creating. 


Leah [00:24:05] I think that one thing that as I really examine some of this money values and barriers like mental blocks to certain things, I think about how I am just one of those people who feels like it’s never enough. And I don’t think that I’m alone in that. As a therapist, there’s I’m like, We’re not doing enough. We’re not helping enough people. We’re not. And I don’t want to perpetuate that mindset. Like, part of why I became a group practice owner was because I wanted an environment where therapists, like, didn’t have to be steeped in, you know, Be as productive as possible and do as much as you can for other people. And just this like continued narrative around us being essentially like public servants or almost like- I had a coach who once referred to it as like we treat our profession like we’re monks, almost like in a monastery, that are having all their expenses paid for, that are having their meals and lodging taken care of so they can focus on their work.


Linzy [00:25:18] Doing good, right? Yes. 


Leah [00:25:20] That’s not the reality that we live in. Certainly not. So whenever I sort of hear like parts come up, or stories come up around not doing enough. First of all, I usually have to say to myself, like, okay, it’s one step at a time. And I think that’s the the hardest thing for me is to start at one and to start, okay, what can I do for this one person? And then to think, okay, more resources means I can offer more. And it’s just that ability to hold myself back, which has just always been an issue. 


Linzy [00:25:59] Yes. Right. Yes. Yes. And also, as you progress through the course, through Money Skills For Therapists, and you get into module five and get into profit first or creating those separate accounts, you’re also going to start to see over the course of your practice in the next few months what the money’s doing, how much money is building up, is there extra that’s building up, is there room to pay your clinician a little bit more, or is there room to offer a different kind of benefit that you can’t offer right now but that, you know, like your next benefit on the list, you’re going to see how the numbers shake out as they shake out. Right. But right now, also, you have such like a a baby private practice. 


Leah [00:26:33] I know it’s such a baby. 


Linzy [00:26:34] We can’t ask too much of a baby. You know, like the baby’s still, like, crawling along, trying to figure out how to stand up. You know? And so as your numbers start to solidify, you’re also going to get a lot of feedback as to how the system. It’s kind of like in a way I think about it when we build a business or building a machine in some ways. You’re setting up, okay, when this happens, this gets divided like this, the money goes here, you’re going to see how your machine starts to work as your clinician starts to fill up and find their folks and, you know, see people regularly and you’re seeing folks and there’s money flowing into the business and it’s flowing out. You’re going to start to see basically how well it’s working and where there’s room to add things or where there’s room or where there’s requirement to be like, okay, we actually have to hold back on this thing that I wanted to do for a while, or we actually do need to bring on another clinician because that’ll change our numbers in the following way, which will get us closer to where we want to be. 


Leah [00:27:24] It’s a good reminder that having to change things as you go along isn’t that it doesn’t mean you did something wrong. 


Linzy [00:27:31] No, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not. And I think especially when you’re building, when you’re building something that’s bigger than just you and you’re bringing in other people and you’re figuring out how to work with those folks. Like I certainly know in my business, it’s not a group practice, but you know, like things like H.R. policies, like, you know, benefits, all these things have kind of evolved as we’ve gone along and we’re like, Oh, we’re like kind of standing up and working now. Maybe we can think about official policies around these things that maybe informally we’ve done some things, but you start to grow up right, like businesses do grow up. And it does make me think about this thing that Joe Sanok said when he was on this podcast, just to counter this maybe a little, like, don’t call your business your baby, because sometimes you have to like kill your business and you don’t wanna feel like you’re killing your baby. So we don’t want to be too precious about our businesses, but at the same time, they do go through developmental stages. 


Leah [00:28:20] Developmental stages. I’m getting that point there. 


Linzy [00:28:21] Yeah. So it’s just being in the stage that you’re in and thinking about what are your values at the next level, the next developmental stage. Because when we first start, we can’t give somebody an amazing salary and health benefits and all the vacation time. And like all of these things that we want to do when we want to be good employers, the money’s just not there. But it’s thinking, being really aligned with yourself. And I think you already are. And clear on what’s next. You know, as the business grows, what are the next things you want to be offering? Maybe it is a raise, maybe it’s a different type of benefits. Maybe it’s some other kind of beautiful thing you’re going to bring in. Like I don’t even know, as some one of my coaches said the other day, like giving people like a book fund where it’s just like every month, like-. 


Leah [00:29:03] Oh! I love that! 


Linzy [00:29:04] -and it’s like but it’s like, yeah, finding those things that light you up and that are going to light up the folks that work with you. Because for some folks, those things are more valuable than money. People who really want to earn a lot will either go into private practice right away or they’ll get there as soon as they can because, you know, maybe they have to be. Maybe they’re a breadwinner or maybe they live in a very expensive place. 


Leah [00:29:22] I’m sure there’s many reasons. 


Linzy [00:29:24] So many reasons. But folks who are more interested in being part of a community and having supports and having like support both like interpersonally and business support, they’re often looking for other kinds of benefits that are not just a salary. 


Leah [00:29:38] Sure. Because also the salary in some ways stays pretty stable around the same kind of setting. Right. You have group practices. There’s a range, sure. But it’s it’s not anything like it’s not like another practice. 


Linzy [00:29:51] Wildly different. 


Leah [00:29:52] So much more, right? Or so much less. So what kind of sets the workplaces apart, I would imagine, would be the different things that you offer. 


Linzy [00:30:01] Yes. And something that I’ve noticed for our business as we’ve gone through some developmental stages and grown up a little, is how good it feels to also think about like, what do you really want to offer? Like when we looked at our benefits for Money Nuts & Bolts, we looked at Scandinavia because even though in Canada we have much better benefits than in the US, I was like, I want to do so much better than Canada. 


Leah [00:30:21] Scandinavia! 


Linzy [00:30:24] And we looked and like truly all of our policies. And my partner is really good at policy. He’s a politician and he works in Money Nuts & Bolts and he wrote our policies are based on Scandinavian leaves and we have all sorts of leaves that have had to do with things that have happened in our business, like we have bereavement leave and caregiver leave because one of our employees has a loved one who has a terminal illness. 


Leah [00:30:46] How do you kind of create benefits? From one system while operating in the Canadian system, because some of the ways that Scandinavian benefits exist are also like I would imagine the structure that exists around. 


Linzy [00:31:04] Yeah, there’s some governmental structure there and that’s the thing like you have to think about what can you actually sustain as a business? But for us, it was just offering more than the minimum. 


Leah [00:31:13] More than the minimum. 


Linzy [00:31:14] Yeah, we’re like the minimum is not even remotely good enough. So minimum vacation time to two weeks a year, like fuck that. 


Leah [00:31:20] Two weeks a year is not enough. 


Linzy [00:31:21] But that’s also like thinking about the values of your business. And as your business grows up, your values will also become clearer and clearer. And one of our values is live to work, not work to live. So we live that out by having a lot of vacation time and being like, No, go on vacation, don’t talk to us. We will see you when you get back. Have a life, right? Like we don’t want this to be your life. And so we’ve cut that in because those are our values. But for another business, that might not be as important, right? But you get to do these things and then you get to think about them strategically, right? Because of course, we want to give the moon in the sky, to the folks that work for us who we love and we want to support and we want them to be well and you get to roll- that’s why the gradual rollout makes sense. As you see your numbers and you see kind of the buffers you have to work with. You get to decide how to use them to take care of yourself and take care of the folks who are working with you. How does this land with you, Leah? 


Leah [00:32:12] Great, great. I think it comes at a good time. Like, really. I know we had to sort of move things around a couple of times, but this is I really appreciate it because I do think that as as solidified as you can be in your values day to day, you know, imposter syndrome starts creeping in or like not good enough-ness starts creeping in. And it was just a it was great to talk to you and remind myself why I am doing what I’m doing. 


Linzy [00:32:45] Yes. Yes. And not you know, I think, Leah, like not everyone who goes into group practice comes at it from the heart, heartful place that you are. Like the whole hearted place, I will say that you are coming at it from. And I think that that is going to show in the ways that you build a practice that really is about creating good environment for the folks who work with you. And if you create a good environment for the folks who work with you, that’s sustainable, you know, balancing these things, folks will stick around. They will want to be there because most group practices, unfortunately, are not like that. So, Leah, what are you taking away from our conversation today? 


Leah [00:33:18] Oh, wow. Well, I am taking away the fact that I am doing things better, technically, logistically, financially, I guess, in terms of like at least knowing these numbers than I thought, because the voice that says you have, you know, dyscalculia, like you hate math and numbers and everything that has to do with like that, but want to be a responsible and good boss, but also business owner. And I’m not doing as badly as I thought I was doing. 


Linzy [00:33:56] No, not even close. 


Leah [00:33:58] And and also just that like roll out slow is important. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not ahering to like an ethical business or a value based business because I’m not able to give everything upfront. Because it’s so new. The business is a baby. 


Linzy [00:34:17] Business is a baby. And babies can’t give everything.  


Leah [00:34:21] No. And they’re not supposed to, right? 


Linzy [00:34:26] Well, thank you so much, Leah, for joining me today. 


Leah [00:34:28] Thank you. 


Linzy [00:34:42] One thing that sticks out from my conversation with Leah that is maybe true of many of us is I think that Leah underestimated just how well they’re doing at this. They already had spreadsheets that had numbers. They had sat down with an accountant to work things out in the first place. They had been very thoughtful, not just about the salary and making sure the numbers were sustainable, but already including health benefits and sick time and all of these things that so many group practice owners don’t think about till much later down the road. Leah’s values really showed in the way that they prioritized those benefits upfront and made those available to their employee from the get go, even when the practice was still getting off the ground. And I think it’s so easy as therapists and business owners to underestimate ourself or downplay how thoughtful we have been about something. Right. Or the efforts and the strategy that we’ve put into things. And I definitely saw that with Leah. They were way further ahead than they thought they were. And also that piece that we got into about developmental stages. I do just find that such a helpful way to think about business in general, because it’s so easy on day one of our practices to want to be like a ten year practice and to have everything established, you know, whether you’re in solo practice and it’s that you want to like have that full caseload, you know, have that perfect way of speaking about things, have all of your policies perfect. It’s so easy to want to be ahead of where you are. And so much of business and life is a process that we’re figuring out as we go. And that’s okay, right? You put the foundation in place from the beginning and doing things like Leah has done and is doing of like running her numbers, getting the support through Money Skills For Therapists and working with other coaches to build a healthy foundation from the beginning is so essential. And also our businesses develop as they go and has kind of new levels and new problems arise. We can solve them and we can trust our future selves to solve them and to be able to change and adapt things as we go. We don’t have to figure it all out today. So if you feel like you do, I encourage you to release yourself of that burden. Let your business grow naturally, like everything grows naturally. Be thoughtful and strategic about it. And with your clarity about your values and clarity about your numbers like Leah has, you will be on the path to build a great place for other people to work if a good practice is what you want to do. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We are posting emotional and practical 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’s so helpful, such a good way for other therapists to find me who want to be having these conversations alongside you and I. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

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

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How to Create an Online Course with Nyssa Brown

Episode cover image - how to create an online course with Nyssa Brown
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How to Create an Online Course with Nyssa Brown

Episode cover image - how to create an online course with Nyssa Brown

“You are actually the perfect teacher for your perfect students, which has nothing to do with being perfect. It just means that your unique constellation of experiences, trainings, degrees, and humanity, your natural gifts and personality… when all those things come together, you are actually the best teacher for the people who are made to learn from you.”

~Nyssa Brown

Meet Nyssa Brown

Nyssa Brown is a course and curriculum design specialist who helps busy therapists stop trading time for money by channeling their expertise into a profitable online course.

Over the last two decades, Nyssa has empowered therapists, educators, and course creators on six continents to share their expertise, expand their impact, and grow their businesses through their bespoke courses. As a career-long professional educator, she has served nationally and internationally as a teacher, state-level curriculum coordinator, graduate professor, and global curriculum consultant. Nyssa has certifications in coaching, curriculum design, and learning leadership. Since 2020, she has created and released 7 online courses that have served thousands of people, including multiple 5-figure launches. Outside of curriculum nerdery, Nyssa adores cats, espresso-roast coffee, caramel-sea-salt gelato, global travel, hiking pilgrimage trails, meditation, and yoga.

In This Episode…

Have you considered creating a course as a way to share what you know with more people? Would you like to grow your income without stretching yourself too thin with one-on-one sessions? In this practical episode, Nyssa Brown outlines the actionable steps you can take today to help you get started creating a course or program  for the people you love to serve.

Nyssa and Linzy discuss how to start outlining course content, common barriers to getting started, and how to overcome those barriers to build a course that will best serve you and your audience.

Connect with Nyssa Brown

You can learn more from Nyssa at: http://bespokecurriculum.com 

Find Nyssa’s free resource “Mini-Course Magic: Serve Clients, Save Energy” here: https://musicedforward.mykajabi.com/offers/WLtKLgLk

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Free Workshop Series: How to Feel Calm & Confident About Money

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CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

I’m also giving away $500 cash to one lucky participant! Make sure you secure your free seat by clicking here and all you have to do is attend the workshops for your chance to win.

Episode Transcript

Nyssa [00:00:01] You are actually the perfect teacher for your perfect students, which has nothing to do with being perfect. It just means that your unique constellation of experiences and trainings and degrees and humanity and just natural gifts and personality – when all of those things come together. You are actually the best teacher for the people who are made to learn from you. 


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. My guest today is Nyssa Brown. So Nyssa is a teacher by training and now she has turned her teaching superpowers to helping busy therapists increase their impact and get out of that 1 to 1 time for money equation by turning their expertize into profitable online courses. She’s been a teacher for more than 20 years, and she’s coached therapists, educators, and course creators on six continents, sharing their expertize and creating courses that transform them, their students, and their businesses. And I think you’re really going to see and feel Nyssa’s expertize come through in our conversation today. We really got into the how of turning what you know into a course, not just kind of the what and the options, but really that kind of like embodied experience and the steps to go through to actually turn what you know as a therapist or health practitioner into a course. She talked about why therapists actually make great teachers. Some of the overlaps that we have that make teaching very natural for therapists. And how imperfect is exactly what your students need from you when you’re creating a course. And then at the end of our time together, we get into the actual steps of turning what you know into a mini course very concretely. So some really helpful action steps to take away. Very thoughtful, interesting conversation with Nyssa. Enjoy my conversation with Nyssa Brown. 


Linzy [00:02:29] Nyssa, welcome to the podcast. 


Nyssa [00:02:30] Thank you, Linzy. I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for having me. 


Linzy [00:02:33] I’m so glad to have you here. So your zone of genius, your expertize, is in helping therapists turn what they know – they’re gifts – into courses, which is something that probably some therapists who are listening have probably thought about a little bit before, because as therapists, we do run into this problem where it’s kind of like there’s only so many people we can see in the course of a week. So we might have like our gift, our thing that we do really well, that we’re really passion about. But one on one, there’s only so much work that we can ever do with folks in that area that we’re so experienced and skilled. 


Nyssa [00:03:08] Absolutely. 


Linzy [00:03:09] You help folks then turn that into courses. Is that correct? 


Nyssa [00:03:13] Courses and programs. So helping therapists take their their zone of genius, their expertize and increase their impact while hopefully conserving some of their energy and potentially increasing their income as well. 


Linzy [00:03:26] Yeah. Okay, beautiful. So we were chatting a little bit beforehand that we’re going to have another episode this season that gets more into like the what of like different options. So today we want to lean more into like the how of like, what does this look like? 


Nyssa [00:03:39] Awesome. 


Linzy [00:03:40] You know, how do therapists kind of like become teachers? And I know that you have this idea that actually therapists are natural teachers. Can you tell me a bit about that? 


Nyssa [00:03:49] Yeah, absolutely. So we have a pretty strong research base within education. So I’m a career long teacher. I’m a good 25 years in at this point, working with pre-K through grad school and a lot of teacher education. And the research that we have on relationships being the foundation for learning is compelling and therapists are incredible at building relationships. So when that relationship is in place, people will learn almost anything from us, right? And I’m sure therapists, any therapist who is listening, has been in that situation where you realize, wow, this person and I really are connecting right now. And the transformation because of that is exponential. If that connection weren’t there, the transformation couldn’t be there as well. And so from my perspective, therapists build on that skill of transformation via that super power of relationship. And so that’s- it’s just such a naturally honed piece of being a therapist. And I should say natural, but also a practice to skill, not to be taken for granted. So when I when I say therapists are natural born teachers, that’s what I mean, because the relationships are the foundation of that transformation. 


Linzy [00:05:04] That’s really interesting. I mean, that makes my brain go in all different directions. But certainly I remember when I was in grad school, there’s this research on kind of the common factors of what makes therapy successful. And like one of the top factors is just like trust and connection. Right? Like that’s such a big part. Like regardless of what models you’re using or the language that you’re working on, if there is that like real authentic connection, right, and trust between you, that’s very transformative. And it sounds like teaching is very similar in that way. 


Nyssa [00:05:33] Yes, absolutely. I always say that people will learn anything from you if they trust you. It’s pretty powerful. 


Linzy [00:05:39] Right. So then as therapists, like with that skill set that we have of building relationships, knowing how- I think also like we know how to maintain and repair relationships because that’s also part of relationships. Because, as a therapist, you know what to do when you’re like, Oh, I said the wrong things on the wrong direction, you know, like we have the skill to kind of keep people online right in various ways. And that’s something that very naturally I’m hearing can be beneficial when we want to expand and start kind of teaching what we know, not just doing the therapy work that we know how to do. 


Nyssa [00:06:09] Yes, absolutely. 


Linzy [00:06:11] What I can hear, though, some therapist saying is, like when you’re in that one on one space with somebody, there is that connection. And like, maybe there’s room for mistakes because you have like so much time with something. Right. So I’m just kind of thinking through like the folks that have taken my course and like people who I know are like so skilled and so amazing what they do, but they don’t necessarily know that, right? Because like we sit in rooms, kind of like by ourselves having these private conversations. And I think there’s all sorts of ways that like a therapist can make up stories about how like, well, you know, it works, but it’s only because of this or it’s only because of that. Like, well, we’re pretty hard ass, is what I’m saying. Yes, we tend to be achiever types. We notice what we don’t do well and we probably fixate on that. Yes, we probably disregard a lot of what we’re good at. And something that I notice is sometimes that’s a barrier for people to kind of honor or think that they can do this work in some other way. Right. Think that they could have a course or workshop. So what is your thought on that? Like for therapists who struggle with kind of their imperfection or being perfectionistic, not being where they want to be, that being a bit of a barrier sticking out their neck a little bit? 


Nyssa [00:07:17] Yeah, absolutely. I fully and completely understand that sort of leaning towards perfectionism. It’s something that I definitely deal with on a daily basis. So I have a lot of empathy for it and a lot of compassion for it in others as well as I try to in myself. So I totally get that and I think I try to because it is a daily practice. I think the thing that I notice in everyone that I work with and that’s – this is true of whether I’m working in professional development with teachers or if I’m working with therapists who are creating courses or programs – we tend to completely take for granted what we know. And there’s this sense that if I know it, then everyone else knows it. 


Linzy [00:07:55] Yes. 


Nyssa [00:07:55] And I’ve done it to myself and I’ve seen it for decades. I’m not kidding you. I’ve been doing adult professional development and teacher leadership for decades. And I watched people do it before they present workshops. Before they present courses. Everyone always assumes that everything they know, everyone else knows because how could they not? It’s so familiar to us. And therapists are, you know, in my experience, notoriously self-aware and able to say, Well, of course that doesn’t make sense. Just because I know it doesn’t mean everyone else knows it. But that’s a cognitive response. When we’re in that moment of I don’t know if I have anything to say in the course. I mean, I don’t know if I’m good enough, frankly, or I don’t know if my constellation of experiences is course worthy. And my response to that is usually just to mirror that back, first of all, and just say, this is such a common thing to take for granted. What would we know? But let me say to you, and it’s usually by this point, we’re usually relatively at least knee deep in their content as I’m coaching them on how to organize their content. And I’ll be like, Listen, the number of things that you’ve said already that I don’t know is like a mountain, and we’ve just gotten started, so you can assume that, right? And that’s an authentic reflection from me. And then the next piece that I usually talk about is that we take for granted not just what we know, not just our degrees or our various trainings or certifications, but also the experiences that we’ve had that make us uniquely able to create a network of ways that things connect in ways that are transformative to people. And I think in the therapy space, that probably seems maybe more approachable, right? Like I understand when I put things together for for my clients in certain ways based on their background experiences, they can experience healing or transformation. But the same thing is true when we’re teaching as well. Teaching is transformation in its own way. It’s transforming learning. It’s building on what people know and helping them move further. So I always say that you are actually the perfect teacher for your perfect students. Yes. Which has nothing to do with being perfect. It just means that your unique constellation of experiences and trainings and degrees and humanity and just natural gifts and personality, when all of those things come together, you are actually the best teacher for the people who are made to learn from you. And as a matter of fact, I’ll take it one step further and see that other people who may have more degrees or more trainings would be worse teachers for your perfect teacher because you are the person who will resonate with them most because exactly of who you are. And that’s my experience time and time again in working with people is that that’s where people learn. It goes back to that relationship piece, right? When we connect, we can be open enough to learn and transform. 


Linzy [00:10:54] Yeah. And I mean I love hearing you say that. And I’m hearing echoes of I’ve said that phrase before, but more to teach a therapist when they’re in Money Skills For Therapists and we’re kind of looking at like the value of their work. And like I see someone who is so passionate about a certain topic, but not only that, they’re educated on it, they have certain experiences, they have a certain energy and way about them. And it’s like nobody can serve the people you serve in the way that you do. Just literally nobody on Earth, because nobody on earth has your unique combination of traits and experiences. 


Nyssa [00:11:23] Yes. 


Linzy [00:11:23] And so I completely agree with you. And I think that I see how therapists struggle with sometimes owning that in the therapy space, which in some ways is very private, safe space, I would say. That’s certainly been my experience of moving from being a therapist to like an online course creator and like kind of more of a public teacher is like it’s scarier to do it in front of everybody. 


Nyssa [00:11:43] Yes! 


Linzy [00:11:43] It’s scarier to do it when you have like 50 students in your course at one time or when you’re teaching public facing, you know, like on Instagram or a podcast or you’re running some sort of public event, you know, like there’s a lot more exposure there, but it’s, it’s the same thing where it’s like that unique combination that you have, literally nobody has. And for the folks who connect with you and find you, and they’re like, Oh my gosh, this person is the person I’ve been looking for. There literally isn’t anybody else like you, which also means that if you’re not offering it and if you’re not putting it out there, then – I say this to my students sometimes – you’re depriving people of the opportunity of having a- if we’re kind of hiding and staying small because we’re waiting to be perfect when what I’m hearing from you is being perfect is actually not at all what needs to happen to be great teachers and to have folks. Probably the opposite actually. 


Nyssa [00:12:29] Being real and vulnerable. That’s what people resonate with. Right. If you if you’re kind of a stone face, everything looks great from the outside, you know, perfection. I personally, that’s hard for me to resonate with because that’s not me. Right. And so and I find that when people- when I’m real, people say, thank you for just being honest about that, that’s harder. Thank you for just being real about that didn’t work for you the first time or that it didn’t go well the first time you tried that. And that’s- there’s just something so permission-giving and beautiful in that. 


Linzy [00:12:58] Totally. And it makes you think too. Like for some of the topics that folks who are listening, that might be their course topic that would make sense for them, often too we are working with folks around vulnerability right? Like we’re working with folks around pregnancy loss or caregiver fatigue or, you know, raising a kid with complex needs. Those are very vulnerable experiences where we feel our human failings and where we tell ourselves that we’re not good enough. And I think when we show up as a as a therapist or a teacher – and we’re putting these things side by side right now, they’re so similar – as perfect, and we don’t let a little bit of our authentic self come through as appropriate, right, it’s not your therapy session. That’s not your course to learn. It’s their’s. You know, but when we all share those things kind of thoughtfully, we do kind of in some ways reinforce the story that they might have, that they’re the only one who’s struggling with this, that they’re never going to figure this out because you obviously have to figure it out from start and you’re perfect, like it actually can reinforce and blocks connection and relationship. 


Nyssa [00:13:55] Exactly. Yeah, exactly. 


Linzy [00:13:57] You had just mentioned earlier one of the key ingredients of folks learning where the key ingredient is relationship. Like if they can’t authentically connect with you and see themself in you and feel safe with you, they can’t really learn from you. 


Nyssa [00:14:08] Yes, absolutely. And one of the things that I dive deeper with than anyone has ever asked me to dive deeply when I start working with clients, is is a series of questions about who are you? What were your most transformative experiences? What makes you unique? Why are you here? And then ask sort of similar questions about who do you serve and who are you uniquely qualified to serve? Who learns from you? Who comes to you naturally already? And then ask some questions about and how do we put those two things together in a way that you uncover and own the gifts that are yours? And that’s pre-work for the VIP days that I offer. But people show up on those VIP days almost 100% of the time and see those reflections are changing. How I’m looking at this course that I want to create because I know me better, I own me better. And I also have seen the people I’m trying to serve through a different lens. So I think there’s something really, really important, the work that we do before we think about the content even, right? That helps us to know how we can serve in a way that no one else can. And that’s our gift, right? 


Linzy [00:15:21] Yes. And I can see how having that as your foundation that you build your course on is so powerful, right. Because you’re getting out of- in some ways it seems to me like you’re starting with heart instead of with head, which is very much how I like to teach. And what I do in Money Skills For Therapists is like we start with the body and the heart because like there’s so much wisdom there. And there’s also – in the case of what I teach with money skills – like there can be so much like shame or overwhelm there that that locks the head, right? Like we need to take care of all of these things. And I’m hearing from you, by really connecting with that and that kind of like embodied wisdom and that like who you are, what matters, then you can build content on top of it that is going to be so much more effective because you’re really connected to kind of like the deeper meanings or the, you know, the deeper importance of it rather than just facts and information, which facts and information can bounce off if the soil hasn’t been prepared properly. 


Nyssa [00:16:12] That’s such a beautiful way to say it. I think one of the other stories that we tell ourselves as well, I mean, if I have a course to create or a program to create, somebody else has already done it. 


Linzy [00:16:20] Yes. Yes. 


Nyssa [00:16:22] And and that’s a safe story to tell ourselves. Right. Like, that’s a way to let ourselves off the hook from something scary. But if we take that step back and we say, who am I and who am I uniquely qualified to serve? How do those things come together? And then we put content on that. There’s nobody that will ever have a course like yours because it came from a place that is so authentic to you that only you could create it. And I think that that’s a powerful place to stand. I’m kind of like putting my feet on the floor, as I say, that that’s a powerful place to stand, as a facilitator of learning when that can come through you, because it’s the most authentic thing to you. And when our students receive that, it feels completely different than something that was just simply crafted between our ears. 


Linzy [00:17:10] Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Because I think like learning also needs to happen on that level. Right? Like, yeah, intellectual information – especially like when we’re talking about the types of courses that students are going to building like this – is not astrophysics that we’re talking about courses about. Right. This is going to be courses that are very much probably about like human experience, and human emotion, and human abilities, as we said. So that seems like such an essential component, which I’m sure can get missed a lot if you don’t really intentionally bring that into building your course. 


Nyssa [00:17:40] Yeah, it’s easy to go to the intellectual. It’s also safer. 


Linzy [00:17:44] It is safer. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. 


Nyssa [00:17:46] Not necessarily the most impactful and not necessarily the most powerful. But safer. So it takes some courage on the part of a course creator or a learning facilitator to go there and ask some of those questions. But if there’s anybody who’s up to the to the challenge, it’s therapists hundred percent. 


Linzy [00:18:03] So, yes, and that’s I mean, that’s interesting to me when you say that it’s safer because like I’m a trauma therapist by training. That’s the work that I did before I stopped practicing and just do Money Skills For Therapists now. And it makes me think about, you know, there’s this concept of like wise mind or like being in a window of tolerance and that’s when you’re rooted in present. And for that, you both your body and brain need to be online. And I think what’s safer about just jumping to facts when we’re teaching, trying to teach, just the best of the information is it’s a bit disconnected. Right. We don’t- we’re not feeling that like vulnerability of it, which is part of learning and it’s part of life. And so I just got to thinking about like, right, that’s wise mind. That’s when we are really in self is when we have both the emotions and the embodied experience and the brain online. And that’s where like integration and learning happens as much as sometimes it’s harder because it’s you feel more of the feelings, right? We’re not just like letting people hide in their intellect. It’s not intellectualized, right? It’s actually like a fully present experience. 


Nyssa [00:18:59] And where synergy can happen. 


Linzy [00:19:01] Right? Yes. Yes. 


Nyssa [00:19:02] That’s when more than we thought was possible can happen is when we’re aligned like that for ourselves, but also for our students. 


Linzy [00:19:10] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So for folks who are listening and they’re like, okay, this sounds good, I’m kind of convinced that I have something to offer and that I should bring, you know, like myself to the table and like my emotions and experiences when I’m crafting this curriculum. How do folks get started on like thinking about packaging up what they know is for many course, what are what are the steps for that? 


Nyssa [00:19:31] Yeah, I think starting with that, those questions about who am I and what am I meant to teach, why am I here? What matters to me? If I were to ask someone else what makes me unique? And that’s a great question. By the way, it takes a lot of courage to ask someone, how do you perceive me in terms of my unique abilities or my unique combination of abilities? Obviously, ask a person who’s going to be a safe distance. 


Linzy [00:19:59] Don’t ask your mean neighbor. You’re not going to like it. 


Nyssa [00:20:03] Exactly. But it’s really starting with some of those questions about the self and having some courage to say, you know, if I were going to create a course, what would matter enough for me to put together a program or a course? Right. And, you don’t have to start with the most vulnerable part of yourself on your first course, I’m not saying that. But, you know, just so you can show up with the kind of energy that will make you want to finish creating the course and will also be most transformative for your students. Right. And then also taking a look then also at who our students are, which I said earlier as well, who in your experience, have you had the most synergy with? Have you had the most transformations with? Who can you help the best and who are those people? And then where does who you are and who they are come together? And then that’s the heart sort of space that we want to start in. And once we have a sense of that and we can get a little more tactical, this is where my curriculum nerd comes out. My curriculum design nerd, are you ready? Start to think about, you know, what would be the goals of a program or a course that you would teach. And so we talk a lot about backward design in the education space, and that’s certainly not unique to education, but thinking about what are the goals like what’s the finish line, right? Like what, what will people know differently, be able to do differently, understand differently? And perhaps most importantly, this is sort of one of my broken record things is what will they be able to apply after they’re done? Like, what will they actually be able to do in their real life outside of this course as a result of the course? 


Linzy [00:21:35] Yeah. 


Nyssa [00:21:35] Those get to be sort of the end goals. And once we know what those end goals are, I really recommend sort of with those end goals in mind just doing a – and this is a challenge even for me – a non perfectionistic brain dump of everything that you know that relates to those things. So in relationship to the goals, just start writing or typing or whatever works for you or drawing or painting, whatever it is that gets all of these ideas. What do you know? What frameworks do you use? What resources do you use? What online quizzes could it could be helpful. Who are the guest speakers? What books have you read? How about articles? Any journals that are on this? Like literally just get everything that could be helpful in the service of those goals in one place and then start to look for chunks like if I could start to put those ideas, activities, topics into some kinds of chunks. Those chunks can become modules. 


Linzy [00:22:35] Mm. Yes. 


Nyssa [00:22:36] And it could be like start here, then do this next, then do this next. Like module one, two, and three. And it often is. If it’s more sort of just knowledge based, it might be like module one is one topic. Module two is another topic. Module three is another topic, right? And that’s a more sort of knowledge based or I want you to know these three frameworks, but then at some point you probably want to teach people how to apply them. So maybe module four is application, right? So basically once we know our goals, we dump out everything that we know in service of those goals and then we start to organize them in chunks. We have a decent outline for what- a course that could start to take shape. And then, you know, how we organize within those modules and potentially lessons. How people learn gets to be a bit more granular, but those first few steps are pretty powerful in empowering because people say, Oh gosh, I first of all, I know something. I know way more some things than I thought I did. Yeah. And hey, look, they kind of fit together in a way that might be helpful to people, and I know what I want them to take away in the end. Yes. And once you get that, you’re kind of vulnerable up over Boulder downhill at that point, right? You’re like, hey, maybe I can do this, right? And that’s usually what people need in order to say, yeah, when the time is right for me to create a program or course, yeah, this, this will work, right? So those are my introductory steps recommendations. 


Linzy [00:24:00]  But I mean, I love what that brings up too, because I think that as long as you let yourself flow with that and like don’t censor yourself and just like let it truly be just like put it all out, you will see that you probably know a lot more than you think you do. And I will say for a lot of folks listening, you probably know more than you can fit in one course. 


Nyssa [00:24:19] 100%. 


Linzy [00:24:20] Because I think that’s something that I’ve seen and certainly that I’ve worked on and thought about as I look to build other things after Money Skills For Therapists is it can be tempting sometimes to put everything, you know into like a six week course. And the reality is you probably know way more, way more than can fit in a six week course, right? So it’s almost like you might realize, okay, I know this much and I can actually only teach a small portion of that. What’s the starting point, which I would hope if people do this process – and I encourage people actually do it – would be also a good reminder of like, you know a lot. You have a lot to teach. You could do more than one course in you by letting yourself just like see everything that is in your brain. 


Nyssa [00:25:00] Well, and what usually happens is once people get on a roll a little bit, one of the first questions I always when I work with people, I always ask is, what’s the green size of this? Like, is this going to be a workshop is going to be a 90 minute workshop that you’re working on? Or are we talking about some kind of like a signature course that could be six to 9 to 12 weeks depending on. And then, you know, obviously we craft according to that. But what people then start to see is they start to see more than like, oh gosh, I do have more than one course in me. And then we start to see transformation not just from session to session with clients, but we start to see through that idea of like a more of a customer journey, right? Well, I could create a 90 minute workshop that would help people get to know how I work and what’s important. And then maybe I’ll do some kind of a mini course. And those two would be related, but not the same. Yeah. And that mini course then really could prepare people for that bigger signature, six to 9 to 12 week course. That would be the most robust transformation. But then after that, there are certain deep dives that could be like advanced trainings on things that we could really only sort of touch on in the signature framework. And so now after that, in the customer journey, you start to have more advanced trainings and deep dives, and people who used to think they didn’t have a course in them are all of a sudden looking at a customer journey that looks like that and like it feels like a whole new world. It’s really exciting to be a part of. 


Linzy [00:26:19] Yeah. So I mean with this Nyssa for folks listening, to kind of make it feel more tangible, like we’re kind of talking about the how. Yeah, what about like examples for therapists like folks who are listening to this podcast are going to be mostly mental health therapists. We also have acupuncturists, physios, massage therapists, coaches. What would be some examples of some topics that you’ve seen or you would possibly see being really great for therapists to create kind of outside or in addition to the therapy work that they do. 


Nyssa [00:26:49] The best topic for people is going to really depend on who they are, of course, it kind of comes back to right. And so I fully respect the question and I don’t mean to evade it, but so let me kind of let me walk that balance between giving some examples and also wanting to empower people to really stay reflective on what’s unique to them. So, you know, if we’re thinking about wanting to invite more people into our practice and maybe having a short training or something on our website that’s available, you know, thinking about like what’s our specialty, like you mentioned being a trauma therapist or a somatic therapist or an EFT therapist. And so what is it that you want people to see from you before they’re likely to book some kind of a consultation call or a discovery call of some kind, to potentially consider being one of your clients. So thinking about, you know, what is it that is a representation of who you are and how you work, not just in the techniques that you use, but also your approach that they can kind of see, see who you are and how you work with the techniques that you do. Right. So, you know, so that would be one example of sort of a way to to invite people into the practice. If you’re trying to build either your own practice or you’re trying to build a group practice to sort of help people see like, what do we do here? Who are we and what do we do? Right. I’ve also heard so many therapists talk about if I have to say the same thing one more time. 


Linzy [00:28:10] Yes. 


Nyssa [00:28:10] And it’s there’s sort of like this a body of knowledge that you want your- or a set of skills that you want your clients to have because you know how transformative they are. So creating a course that matches whatever that is that your clients could have access to, that would be a way for them to do that asynchronously, not during the 1 to 1 time, but that they could do outside of that time. So that, again, would go back to your specialty, would go back to, you know, is it about guided meditations? Is it about a somatic experience of some kind? Is it about just understanding the techniques that you use and where they come from? So that would be, you know, another approach. And then I work with group practice owners who have talked about, you know, just simply having courses that are onboarding courses. So that we don’t have to spend 1 to 1 human time of training for things that, you know, we just it’s the same for every person. So that’s a completely different approach than a therapeutic or supporting a therapeutic approach. Right. But it’s it’s very time saving and energy saving. Right. So I feel like there’s there’s a huge gamut of things that just give you. But I hope it triggers I hope it’s open enough for people that it sort of triggers in their mind, like, well, what would that be for me in my practice? 


Linzy [00:29:22] Yes. Yeah. 


Nyssa [00:29:23] So I hope that’s helpful. 


Linzy [00:29:24] Yes. Because I’m hearing like those are all kind of examples that to me seem like those are different ways for folks to use like courses or workshops kind of in your clinical work that you’re currently doing, right. Like in your group practice, rather than training folks one on one, have like a course which really encapsules your approach as a practice and your practices and whatever. So that you know, when folks are being onboarded, they’re all going through the same quality training, right? So that sounds like a way to almost like streamline a process and probably a great quality of a process, right. You know that your new hire is going to get the same quality as your old hire. Even though you have the flu this week, they’re still going to get the same quality of training as the person you hired or having like as you say something on your website for folks to see can give them a sense of of how to work with you. What about people who are kind of thinking about doing something different like they’re kind of me, what is the course inside of you is like not your clinical work that you do, but you’ve got some other passion and or you want to expand. Can you speak a little bit to how you’ve seen therapists manage that situation? 


Linzy [00:30:23] Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve worked with therapists also who are creating a second business really outside of their therapy license. Right. So I guess it now is probably a really good time just to say, you know, before creating any courses or any content like this, you definitely want to check in with your attorney and make sure that your what you’re creating works for your license and keeps your license safe and all of these things. So what I’m what I’m talking about right now is outside. And I think this is what you’re asking me, right, is something that we outside of a therapy license. So I’ve worked with folks to create like second businesses. So, for instance, I have a dear friend who is a therapist and also a copywriter. So she has created a copywriting course for therapists, actually. And so this this course is is brilliant and getting rave reviews. And she also separately in her other business under her therapy license, still sees clients a few days a week in addition to her separate copywriting business. So that would be an example of of how to do that separate from your therapy practice. 


Linzy [00:31:22] Yeah. And I think like for mental health therapists, we were talking a little bit off mic before we started recording about how there are specific considerations for us when you’re doing mental health therapy because our licensure is- our colleges or regulatory bodies are stricter because we do have so much influence over clients. There’s like stricter code of ethics in terms of what we can do. So I know for me, when I made Money Skills For Therapists, I created a separate corporation for businesses. To be very clear, I am not being a social worker right now. This has nothing to do with my social working license. This is me being a business coach and a business consultant and having to keep that super clear. Because if I didn’t keep that very clear, the things that I do to actually promote Money Skills For Therapists are actually in violation of my social worker code of ethics. That’s also something for you to consider, folks who are listening. Like if you know that the courses in you is copywriting or teaching finances to therapists or something that is outside of what you do, making sure that you speak with a lawyer and set it up so it’s very clear if something that does not fit with your license is very distinctly separated from the work that you’re doing under your license because you have to keep mindful of that in our particular field. 


Nyssa [00:32:30] Absolutely. Yeah. And I just I think that I’m sure that the people listening would also feel very comfortable to know that that was taken care of well. Right. That would be a comfort to you, that person involved. Exactly. So. 


Linzy [00:32:47] Right. Well, Nyssa, for folks who want to get further into your world. Where’s the best place for them to find and follow the awesome? 


Linzy [00:32:54] So my company is called Bespoke Curriculum Design and you can find that at Bespoke Curriculum dot com and there’s lots of information there and I am open to any questions along the way. If people have them, just, just shoot me a message. The contact information is there. 


Linzy [00:33:10] And you mentioned earlier that VIP days are the main way you’re supporting folks right now. Yes. So if you want to do some deep dive work with Nyssa, help pull your brilliance out of you, which I feel like is this is the vibe I’m getting from you is this is part of what you do is you help to assess people’s brilliance and help them to see it’s both their kind of embodied experiential brilliance and their brain and their intellectual brilliance. So that is a way that you can get Nyssa’s supports. And is there anything- any freebies that you have or anything you’re offering that you want folks to know about? 


Nyssa [00:33:41] Yes, absolutely. So I do have a freebie that has gotten really, really positive reviews. And it’s it’s a video training that’s similar to the process that I outlined today for outlining a mini course. And it’s called Mini Course Magic: Serve Clients, Save Energy. And I’m happy to give you the link and you can pass it on to folks. So 45 minute training and there’s a PDF that goes along with it that really sort of helps organize the things that we talked about today if you’re interested in doing that work. 


Linzy [00:34:09] So thank you for that. So we will put the link for that in the show notes. So if you want to have a taste of working with Nyssa and kind of some support in organizing your your brilliance and our expertize, that sounds like a great resource. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. 


Nyssa [00:34:23] Thank you for having me, Linzy. It was truly a pleasure to talk to you. 


Nyssa [00:34:39] In my conversation with Nyssa, that piece about kind of bringing your embodied experience, your imperfections to creating, of course, I think there’s just so much wisdom in that. As I talked about, I really do believe that all of us just have something extremely unique to offer that literally nobody can offer in the way that you do. And Nyssa and I are definitely on the same page about that piece. And I think that by starting with your experiences and your imperfection and starting from who you are and who you want to serve, I can absolutely see how her approach that way creates this great foundation to then layer knowledge on top of, right. So much of what we do with our clients is so much more than like facts or information. It’s really about how to integrate these things in. And I just totally see the wisdom in what she’s talking about. A kind of like start- she didn’t say it like this, but the way that I’m thinking about it is like, start with the heart. And from there, you can build something really powerful for the folks that you love to serve. So I hope that this conversation today has been inspiring for those of you listening. Expansion has been a theme that I’ve been thinking about a lot as I’ve been building and launching a mastermind for folks who are graduates of Money Skills For Therapists and just how much we have to offer and how much impact we can make when we do start to build things out beyond 1 to 1 therapy. And that’s why I’m taking the space to talk about it in this season of the Money podcast, because I think money is so much more than just our private practices. There’s all these other ways that we can start to generate income by sharing the gifts and the knowledge that we have in ways that go beyond 1 to 1 practice. And then I’ve seen it happen for folks. When you do commit to really teaching what you love and finding those folks who need to hear it and making that connection, not only do you get to transform them, but you also get to be transformed. And your business gets to be transformed by having this whole new way of serving folks that goes beyond just those 1 to 1 treatments or 1 to 1 sessions. It’s really powerful. So, so appreciate my conversation with Nyssa today. If you want to hear more from me, you can check me out on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. We are sharing free practical and emotional content on there all the time. And of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please take a minute to jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review. It is the best way for other therapists to find me. Thanks so much for listening. 

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 a Group Practice Coaching Session

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Expanding a Group Practice Coaching Session

Episode Cover Image - Expanding a Group Practice Coaching Session

“It’s a two-fold process for me right now, since I am losing a clinician’s income from one location and moving her to the second, where I am going to increase my expenses… I’m really just looking at how that can happen.”

~Courtney Fields

Meet Courtney Fields

Courtney has been in private practice for 10 years and started a group practice specializing in high-conflict divorce/child custody support services. She took Money Skills For Therapists as her group practice began to grow because she had always avoided deep diving into financials as a solo practitioner related to her own “money issues.”

In This Episode…

How do you move effectively into growth mode within your practice? When is the right time to expand, and when is it better to gather? In this coaching episode, Linzy and Courtney dive into a big change coming Courtney’s way as she looks to expand her group practice to a third location. They discuss the financial and emotional resources it takes to grow and consider different options that can make that growth more manageable for everyone in the practice.

Check out this practical episode full of useful tips that can help all of us in private practice stay grounded during times of change and transition. 

Want more support with your private practice finances?

Free Workshop Series: How to Feel Calm & Confident About Money

Are you tired of feeling confused, ashamed, and stressed about your private practice finances?

CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

I’m also giving away $500 cash to one lucky participant! Make sure you secure your free seat by clicking here and all you have to do is attend the workshops for your chance to win.

Episode Transcript

Courtney [00:00:01] It’s a twofold process for me right now, since I am losing a clinician’s income from one location and moving her to the second where I’m going to increase my expenses, really just looking more so at how that can happen. Perhaps if she needed to do telehealth before signing the lease, just to have that time to create the equilibrium between two offices. 

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 is a coaching episode, which always makes me so happy. I love recording these coaching episodes. And my guest is Courtney Fields. So Courtney is a therapist in private practice. She started a small group practice a few years ago, specializing in high conflict and divorce, which quickly grew into a large group practice specializing in high conflict, divorce, and child custody support services. And our conversation today is around this decision that she is in the process of making around expanding into a third location. So we dig into, in the ideal scenario, how to make decisions around expansion and taking on a third location. Or this really applies to making any kind of big investment in your business where there’s kind of an outlay in advance. And you need to think about: would it be worth it? But we also, of course, because it’s this podcast, get into the mindset and emotional pieces of also the seasons of a business and being grounded in your decisions of when to expand or when to kind of gather together, is the language that we used. So if you have a group practice or if you have a practice where you’re thinking about branching out, making a big investment, maybe taking a bit of a risk upfront to grow your business, this episode is for you. Enjoy. All right, Courtney, welcome to the podcast. 

Courtney [00:02:27] Thanks for having me. Linzy, it’s good to see you again. 

Linzy [00:02:29] It’s so good to see you. So, Courtney, you took Money Skills For Therapists. 

Courtney [00:02:35] During the pandemic. 

Linzy [00:02:35] I was like, where are we in time? Two years ago.

Courtney [00:02:36] About the beginning of the pandemic. 

Linzy [00:02:39] Yes, very beginning. So 2020. So it’s been a couple of years since we worked together. So this is exciting for me because I also get to hear, you know, where you’ve landed since then. So tell me, what would you like to have more clarity on by the end of our conversation today? 

Courtney [00:02:52] Well, when I first took your class, I was in the middle of building a group practice, and it had grown really fast before I really knew how to even assess financial health of it. So I was really winging it. I was putting the cart before the horse. I was trying to pretend I knew business, had a business mindset. I never even heard of profit first before I took your class. And so it was something I had not thought about at all. I had put the mission and the services and the idea out there. It was successful. It grew really fast, but with great power comes great responsibility. And I was the only person. I was doing all the admin, seeing the clients, to supervising and marketing and doing all those things. And so I tended to avoid the things that I did not enjoy, which were the numbers.

Linzy [00:03:47] Yes. 

Courtney [00:03:49] You’re in at all the numbers. So what’s happened since then is that COVID did not slow us down. I think I got like a two week break to chill because the whole world was in shock. 

Linzy [00:04:00] Yes. 

Courtney [00:04:01] Yes. The shock wore off and business was booming because I do specialize in divorce and many of the courts shut down during that time. So we really had to help people navigate very long limbo transitions. And so I started hiring and I went from just myself and two other people to a year later I was up to six therapists, went up to eight plus interns. I would stress every time payroll came around, I wasn’t paying myself. I didn’t know what I could pay. So on the surface, I really had to make my team feel really comfortable with what they were doing. But on the inside I was very anxious and uncertain. 

Linzy [00:04:44] Kind of like parenting that way, isn’t it? You have to be like, Yeah, that’s fine. 

Courtney [00:04:48] Right now everything is fine. Dumpster fire behind you. Exactly. Exactly. That was my my mode. So once I got some – and I’ll just I’ll just chalk it all up to your brilliance with spreadsheets. Spreadsheets. I feel like really just it was like a way to organize my brain. And so I was able to answer business, like open ended business questions, with a spreadsheet. What can I afford here? If I want to pay myself, how can I do that? So really started diving into the numbers and was able to – wasn’t planning the timing of my second location, but I went through a personal change and had to relocate myself to a different city from where my practice, my group practice had been. So I’m like, Well, now we have a second location because I’m in a different place. 

Linzy [00:05:41] Here I am. 

Courtney [00:05:42] Here I am, and put a lot of forethought into it. It just had to happen. And that’s when I really realized how much more these type of services, that I did, was needed. There’s a great response to the second location and now I’m in- it’s kind of a similar situation. I have a wonderful therapist that’s been with me since she was an intern and she has gotten licensed since then. She’s been with me from the beginning. She’s very invested and she’s relocating. And so now it’s like third location that’s been thrust upon me by her life change. 

Linzy [00:06:21] Yes. Gotcha. 

Courtney [00:06:21] So each time I’ve done this, I’ve had to, like I said, put the cart before the horse and just hope and pray it works out. Some of the numbers in advance- You know, when you go to a different community, we work a lot with the court system and there’s a lot of subjectivity to different jurisdictions, and so you don’t know where you’re starting. I’ve learned since I’ve opened a second location. So I really haven’t had a chance to figure out a way to make a strategic decision to grow. And so here I am again, in the same- in a similar situation, and I just wanted to kind of get some feedback on, if I had had the choice to time it and choose the right location and all that, what could I do? What kind of information would say yay or nay, right? 

Linzy [00:07:07] Yes. Yes. Because at this point, is this location happening no matter what? It sounds like it. 

Courtney [00:07:11] If I want to keep this amazing therapist. 

Linzy [00:07:14] Yeah. Okay. So there would be a high cost potentially to not having this third location, which would be losing this therapist. Okay. Right. So, yes. This is about strategic decision making. Is what it is. It’s like, when do you make a move like expanding? This is an expansion move. And what information do you take into account to know if it’s the right move or how to make it a good move? 

Courtney [00:07:37] Yes, absolutely. 

Linzy [00:07:39] The first thing with this, Courtney, is your solution, you may be happy to hear, is spreadsheets. 

Courtney [00:07:46] Great! 

Linzy [00:07:47] And it’s running the numbers to understand, you know, two things. First of all, what does it cost you to open a location and to run a location? This is going to be an in-person like a physical office that she’s going to have. 

Courtney [00:07:59] Going to build a team. So part of her task is going to be not just clinical anymore. She’s basically be expected to do outreach and… 

Linzy [00:08:08] So you’re not like- this third location is not going to be just her. This is going to be another hub of therapists. Okay. So the first thing to think about is looking at how much baseline, how much is it just going to cost you to get started? Right, because there’s always startup costs. It’s very different now with online therapy where like the startup cost is like opening your laptop up, there’s your startup costs, but having an actual physical location.You know, there’s any deposits that you need to make, there’s like furnishing the space, there’s decorating, there’s all this front end money that goes into opening a space. Do you have a sense from your previous locations of how much it costs you to furnish like a single therapy office, let’s say? 

Courtney [00:08:45] Well, I am very thrifty. They also do play therapy, and I’ve found it’s been a wise investment to have a storage unit as I stumble upon great old fashioned wooden toy kitchens and other good kind of vintage things and just take advantage of sales when they happen. Knowing this concept of growing this particular office that we have found, it gives you the option of furnished versus unfurnished, and so I do- I have found a way to lower the cost of furnishing by collecting over time.

Linzy [00:09:21] Great. Okay. So in some ways that’s money you’ve already spent. 

Courtney [00:09:24] Yes. 

Linzy [00:09:25] Okay. So that would be the first thing that I’d want to figure out, because that’s kind of your lump sum upfront, is I do hear that you have collected a bunch of stuff, which is great. That thrifting, I don’t have that bone in my body. I wish I did. It seems very handy to have the thrift thing. 

Courtney [00:09:38] Yeah, it has to feel like fun. It didn’t always feel like fun when my mother dragged me around as a child.

Linzy [00:09:44] Yes, but as an adult, you get it? 

Courtney [00:09:46] Seeds were planted. 

Linzy [00:09:47] Yes, yes, for sure. What I’m hearing is that is going to reduce your startup costs because you already have some of those the furniture or the toys. You might already have some of those things that you need. So the one number that I would want to know is what is the rest of it going to cost? Right. And it’s going to be an estimate because it’s kind of like construction, like we’re we’re building a cottage in our backyard right now. And it’s just laughable when you throw a number at the wall because who knows where it’s going to land. You’re going to have a much smaller range with an office, but you’re going to think about, okay, how much does it cost to paint a space? If I know I have to paint these spaces. If I have to buy a couple chairs, what does it cost? You know, putting a certain dollar amount to give yourself at least an estimate of that initial outflow of cash. Because at the beginning, when you’re starting a location, money goes out. Long before money comes back. Right, like there’s that initial push, setting it all up, and then you’re set up for folks to come in and actually do sessions. 

Courtney [00:10:37] That makes me think of the question of it sounds like there needs to be a cushion. You need to have some money set aside as part of this timing decision. 

Linzy [00:10:47] Yes. Yes. And so, yeah, in that optimal scenario, you would be setting aside that money specifically bookmarked for like, new location, right? So you would say, okay, I’ve run the numbers and to open a suite that has four offices, it’s going to cost me about $6,000 to get carpets and furniture and paint it. So I’m going to start my third location startup fund in my budget. And in addition to having a couple of months operating expenses set aside just for, you know, if life happens, I’m going to have the specific goal that every month I’m putting aside $500 and you know, until I hit that goal. Or I’m setting aside $800 a month. So that would be the optimal. Right, is like you’re really planning it from this really grounded place of like, okay, in November we’re going to set up this third location and in order to make that happen and have it be no skin off our back, we are funding that goal well in advance. Right. That would be like the really kind of grounded long term view, not quite exactly where you are, but that would be, you know, thinking about your fourth location and your fifth location, a way to do it so that you’re not putting yourself in kind of financial stress or risk right off the bat. 

Courtney [00:11:51] Yes. Yes. 

Linzy [00:11:51] Right. So that would be the first thing to look up is that startup amount. But then you also have, you know, rent to pay as you go, and it’s just taking a look at the data that you already have, Courtney. So that kind of planning is what you could do for like your fourth location and your fifth location, right? Of like really settling and being like, okay, by the end of this year, we’re going to open our next location in this place. And you’ve thought through why that location makes sense either because there’s quite a demand there or you know that there’s a need, that would be kind of the long view. Right. But with it is as it is now, you’re going to not necessarily have the full runway to save all that money, but it’s starting to understand how much it’s going to cost you to start and then how much you’re going to be able to start bringing in and kind of mapping that out and figuring out how you’re going to fund the startup. So there’s two sets of numbers. The one that we just talked through was the expenses, right? What’s that initial start up? What’s the monthly rent? How much does it add to your subscriptions, your dues and subscriptions, like your software to have that location? And then you get to do the fun part, which is start to project forward income, right? Client sessions. So the way that I’m picturing this, Courtney, and this is how I would do it- and in the next little program after Money Skills For Therapists, Money Boss, I teach this skill because it’s a really important skill, right? It’s financial projection. The next thing is projecting forward reasonably how much money you’re going to be making a month one, month two, month three, month four. Right. Starting to map out what that road can look like. And again, it is projection. We don’t know the future, but it’s starting to understand even like what would need to happen for you to start to become profitable at that location because you might look at it and realize like, Oh, I actually need three clinicians working pretty fast in order to start to cover everybody’s wages and the expenses and have any money left over to pay me for running this group practice. And you should have profit as well. Right? So it’s running forward those numbers. Can you visualize kind of what I’m describing when I’m talking about what that would look like on a spreadsheet? 

Courtney [00:13:46] I can. I actually consulted I think around the same time I was working with you, I consulted with the Small Business Administration locally in Athens. It was through University of Georgia. And they gave me some financial projections spreadsheet. 

Linzy [00:14:01] Yes, exactly. 

Courtney [00:14:02] You know, one of the issues I’ve had with this, though, is that, you know, I’m basing it on, okay, so this person works full time. And then in this business, it’s so hard to predict what- how long it’s going to take to do that full time. You know, there’s so many other variables that can happen. And so I can get the numbers and they look great when everybody’s full. And I’m fully you know, I’m fully staffed. But really, there’s then still a lingering effect from the pandemic to get fully staffed. I really saw that happen in the second year and that difficulty hiring, it’s just now started getting better. Yeah. And then this person is leaving. The first location’s her place. 

Linzy [00:14:41] So that’s a loss. Yes. Yes. Okay. And with that, I mean, the way to offset that is to have conservative numbers. And you could start to pull those conservative numbers based on – in worst case scenarios before – when somebody’s taking a while to fill up. How long has that taken? Right. And it might be that you don’t project on them being full in three months. Maybe you project on them being full in five or six months to understand for yourself, even in that kind of like baseline scenario, what needs to happen to make this profitable. So I’m not losing money on this third location and really understanding like what is the minimum that needs to be happening, how many sessions need to be happening, whether it’s between two clinicians, three clinicians, four – what needs to be happening. For me to be paying everybody’s wages and paying for this location and not losing money, which I think is an experience you’re familiar with, right, is like we can go the other way without realizing it when the numbers don’t work. 

Courtney [00:15:34] Yes. We’re just not just doing it and not knowing. I’ve definitely had- I appreciate now having this abundance mindset because knowing how to run the numbers helps you have more of that mindset. But I have erred too far on that leap of faith. 

Linzy [00:15:51] Yes, yeah. 

Courtney [00:15:53] Not enough. 

Linzy [00:15:54] Yeah. And I mean-

Courtney [00:15:56] Run the numbers, then take the leap of faith, not the other way around. 

Linzy [00:15:59] And sometimes the way that people think through these scenarios is like good, better, best, you know, like what is your good? What is like, what has to happen for it to run? Because then you can also understand it allows you to make informed decisions quickly. Like if you realize looking at your numbers after you map this out thoughtfully that you need to be seeing 50 sessions a month happening out of this location to – because you’re paying your therapist for those sessions. So in order to have enough to pay the expenses and have enough money to make it worth your time and some profit in the business, and you have a clinician who’s like just really not not getting clients and there’s a lot of resources going to them. And for some reason it’s just not working. Like as hard as that can be, it does let you really understand the minimum that needs to be happening in order for this to not be like a drain on your business and potentially put financial stress on other parts of your business that are working because it’s kind of like you make this ecosystem and if one part starts not working, it’s going to be pulling the other parts, right? So having that clarity can help you make informed decisions faster rather than waiting to figure something’s really not working and you’re not sure what it is. 

Courtney [00:17:03] I love that you use the word ecosystem because that’s a perfect analogy for what I’ve seen happen already. With the office in the second. And even right now, I have people that I’ve brought on with the expectation to reach a certain caseload number and it hasn’t happened for various reasons and so it is like, well, now I need to strengthen and take a closer look at the types of contracts that I use. You know, so strength in that area as well as the projections as well. So it really is an ecosystem. I love that description. That really helps comprehend. 

Linzy [00:17:39] And it allows you to understand as a boss, like what are – the kind of corporate language for this would be metrics – what are the metrics that you need to see from your clinicians to know that they’re actually doing their job and contributing to the business and allowing the business to run and be well? And if they’re not, you know, what are your steps? How do you support them? How do you address it? What language you use to talk about it? Like how do you lead, to either support and empower them to work on the things that aren’t working and get full and retain clients or, you know, convert consultations like whatever, wherever the issue you’ve identified. Or if it’s just not a fit, what is your process for saying goodbye to someone and setting them on a path that will be a better path for them? 

Courtney [00:18:19] It all works together, and it all has to to be able to have those accurate numbers. 

Linzy [00:18:22] Yes. Yes, absolutely. So coming towards the end of our conversation today, what are you taking away? What would be your next steps coming out of this discussion? 

Courtney [00:18:30] Okay, this is where I have to settle my brain down because I get excited about having strategies and knowing what to do and then figuring out how to prioritize them. You know, I really think that it’s a twofold process for me right now, since I am losing a clinician’s income from one location and moving her to the second where I’m going to increase my expenses, really just looking more so at how that can happen simultaneously. The timing would be- it would need to be simultaneously. So even perhaps if she needed to do telehealth before signing the lease. Just to have that time to create the equilibrium between two offices. That’s something I hadn’t thought of before as strategy. 

Linzy [00:19:16] Yeah. Because I think sometimes, you know, our businesses can feel like forces that are pulling us along. It’s like, oh no, no, I have to open a third location because I love her and I can’t lose her. And, and we end up making moves that actually are not strategic, because the other part of it, Courtney, is thinking about your energy and your focus. Are you in a place where you’re ready to, like, grow and support a clinician in recruiting other clinicians, training them, expanding your brand in that direction? Does that make sense for you right now? Does that make sense for the business? Or I mean, this path that you’re describing, this kind of transitional path of maybe she moves there and for a while she is on telehealth until X, Y, Z falls into place, the money falls into place, the time and energy falls into place. You’ve replaced your income at the old location. And so you’re not kind of taking a loss over here while you’re trying to grow over there, asking yourself, like, what needs to be in place so that I have the stability to branch out and grow again? Because with business too, there’s this concept of expansion and contraction or gathering. I like gathering more, you know, as a more neutral. And so there’s times when it makes sense to grow and you’ve positioned yourself to grow and you’re like, Yes, let’s do this. I’m going to like- because grow times are tiring, takes a lot., You know, you’re putting yourself out there, you’re trying things. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. You get you interview a new clinician, they seem great. They don’t take the job. Like there’s rollercoasters that come with that. Right. So when is a natural expansion time for you? When are you really ready to lean in to expansion and take risks and do what it takes to make a location work? And when is it more of a gathering? Time to kind of get your ducks in a row, think it through, set a plan, and then move into expansion when the time is right. 

Courtney [00:20:48] That’s it. Because I definitely see that with all these- even just asking you about these questions, I’m obviously in a gathering time. 

Linzy [00:20:55] Yes. 

Courtney [00:20:56] That I need to really focus my mind on that type of activities before picking out furniture. 

Linzy [00:21:06] Totally. But yeah, furniture is fun. Yeah. Yeah. But we want to make sure you’re furnishing a location that’s set up to succeed and thrive and make your business better. Not become a stressor. Or a liability. 

Courtney [00:21:18] Don’t we all need less stress? 

Linzy [00:21:20] Yes, absolutely. And the image that comes to mind for me for that is just like getting your feet firmly on the ground, you know, like being planted before you reach. I don’t know. Is there another image that is more resonant for you? Like, what do you think of this gathering space? 

Courtney [00:21:37] Oh, well, when you said grounding my mind immediately, but immediately went to just like grounding techniques that we help clients from. Yeah. You know, it’s even like settling the anxiety, like getting your- my own anxiety about this decision to a more manageable level. And so working on both the emotional gathering and the informational gathering at the same time. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:22:02] Wonderful. Thank you so much, Courtney. 

Courtney [00:22:03] Thank you, Linzy. 

Linzy [00:22:19] So in this coaching episode with Courtney, that metaphor that we ended up spending some time on – of the time to expand and time to gather – was really powerful kind of shift, right? I think in our businesses it’s so easy, so often that it feels like business is happening to us, life is happening to us and we’re reacting, right? We’re just responding to what’s happening rather than us sitting down, gathering together, looking at the information and deciding when we want to grow, how we want to grow, if we want to grow. Having that grounded center as we’re intentionally growing our businesses, whether it’s a group practice or whether it’s a practice where you’re expanding into courses or workshops or or making maybe that first hire, you know, these are things that sometimes an opportunity comes along and it feels like we have to jump on it. You know, our anxiety ramps up, we get kind of activated and we feel like this is now, it’s now or never. And so rarely is it actually now or never. And as Courtney came to in our discussion, there was actually this other kind of middle path that she hadn’t even thought about yet around, you know, having her clinician who’s moving to another city work online for a while, which means she doesn’t have to make a big move at this very second and can be more intentional and thoughtful about expanding into another location in a new city. So really helpful image around that expanding and gathering. I’ve always liked that one and I’m glad that it landed here. I’m excited to hear what Courtney ends up doing. If you are enjoying the podcast, you can get more free content from me on Instagram, you can follow me at @moneynutsandbolts. We put out practical and emotional Instagram content on there all the time. About private practice finances. I’ve also started to do stories. I’m not really a social media person, but you might sometimes catch me in stories hanging out on my hammock or talking about something. So if you’d like more from me @moneynutsandbolts on Instagram and if you’re enjoying the podcast, please take a minute to jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. It is the best way for other therapists who would benefit from these conversations about money and private practice and emotions and money stories and capitalism and all of it to find me. Thanks for listening.

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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Using Online Programs to Grow Your Private Practice with Stephanie Clairmont

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Using Online Programs to Grow Your Private Practice with Stephanie Clairmont

“And there’s this aspect that we just can’t give our clients one to one, which is probably why you’re carrying the burden on your shoulders is because it’s just you. You’re all they have. And when you can build out communities as a part of your service offerings, you don’t have 100% of the load anymore. They can share that with other people. It’s also an interesting way to create boundaries, too, but still provide ongoing, consistent support.”

~Stephanie Clairmont

Meet Stephanie Clairmont

Stephanie Clairmont, MHSc, is a retired Registered Dietitian, entrepreneur, founder and lead facilitator at The Leveraged Practice. She has been delivering in-person and online education since 2012 to health professionals and health clients and has been a part of national conferences, television shows and online symposiums. After creating 20+ online programs and launching (to-date) over 100+ times, has enrolled over 5000+ students through her programs. Stephanie is passionate about helping other health practitioners create an online program for their practice. She combines her unique expertise with the best practices and research in online education to help others leverage their experience, see more clients and make a bigger impact on the health of the world.

In This Episode…

Are you looking for ways to simultaneously grow your practice while also making it more sustainable with less one on one interaction? Do you want to reach more people and also make your work week more manageable? Stephanie Clairmont specializes in helping people in private practice build out course programs that they can integrate into their practice to enable their practice to grow without burnout.

Listen in to hear Linzy and Stephanie dig into how course programs can be beneficial to your private practice and to the people that you serve. Stephanie shares tips about how scalable assets within your business like programs can drastically strengthen your private practice.

Connect with Stephanie Clairmont

Check out Stephanie’s podcast, The Leveraged Practice, wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

Watch her free training at leverageyourpractice.com.

Find her on Instagram @theleveragedpractice

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Free Workshop Series: How to Feel Calm & Confident About Money

Are you tired of feeling confused, ashamed, and stressed about your private practice finances?

CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

I’m also giving away $500 cash to one lucky participant! Make sure you secure your free seat by clicking here and all you have to do is attend the workshops for your chance to win.

Episode Transcript

Stephanie [00:00:01] And there’s this aspect that we just can’t give our clients 1 to 1, which is probably why you’re carrying the burden on your shoulders is because it’s just you. You’re all they have. And when you can build out communities as a part of your service offerings, you don’t have 100% of the load anymore. They can share that with other people. And it’s also an interesting way to create boundaries to but still provide ongoing consistent support. 

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 guest is Stephanie Clairmont. Stephanie is the founder of The Leveraged Practice, which supports health practitioners to grow their private practice with online programs. Today, Stephanie and I dig into how to supplement that one-on-one work that we do with online programs. We talk about this bind that we can get into as health practitioners and therapists where we are already at the max capacity of the amount of clients that we want to see each week. And we’re both maybe feeling that like edge. Maybe we’re seeing more clients already than we need to see. But financially, that’s where we’ve kind of landed. Maybe you’ve already increased your fee and you’re sitting in kind of the highest fee that you think is feasible or that you feel comfortable with. And now you’re starting to think about other options for how do you bring more revenue into your practice, but also how do you get more of your gift out into the world? There’s a natural limit on the amount of folks that we can support, regardless of what type of work that you’re doing, when we’re just doing one on one. And so if you have really honed a niche and you know, you have a real gift to share with the world, this is also a way for you to start to think about how you can reach even more people and affect even more people’s lives far beyond any amount of one on one work that you would ever be able to do. As you can tell, I’m a little passionate about this topic, and Stephanie really digs into some specifics today of how different online programs can look or what kind of people they would best serve so that you can reach more folks and share the gift that you have and help more people solve the types of problems that you solve. Here’s Stephanie Clairmont. Stephanie, welcome to the podcast. 

Stephanie [00:02:48] Thank you so much for having me, I’m really excited to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:50] I am so excited. I think that what you offer, which we’re going to dig into more about what you do, but so many students that I teach in Money Skills For Therapists, folks listening to the podcast can feel so exhausted and trapped in the work that we do. That’s basically like, to put it really bluntly, right? Like the work that we do can be hard. So, you know, a lot of folks listening to the podcast are mental health therapists or physios or acupuncturists or massage therapists. And I feel like when we’re in healing professions, as you are, there’s such a love for the work. But also the work can get exhausting. It can be a lot to see clients week after week after week for like years and years and years. And I’m so excited to have you here today because you have some other models that you can share with us, some other options that we have available as health practitioners. 

Stephanie [00:03:36] Yeah, absolutely. And I come from dietetics for those of you listening and don’t know who I am, but I was a dietitian for 12 years and I was doing 1 to 1 and then started my practice very quickly. So I had that private practice. I saw people in person, I did the 1 to 1, and I never thought I was going to get into the 1 to 1, but I just ended up getting in there. And I loved I love how you just said we have this love and passion for the work and the change and seeing people when they when they get cross that line to the other side, that’s where the love is. And very quickly, I just found myself repeating myself over and over again. It’s driving me crazy, like very early, you know, I just repeating it over and over again. And so that’s when I started to explore, Gosh, what else can I can I do to serve my population? And very early got into online programing myself as a practitioner in 2013. So I get where you guys who are listening are, because I was in it. And in a different way though, in dietetics, we are all a little different. We do a little differently. But if you feel that you can feel something kind of in your soul that you like, you love the people and you love the work and the outcome. But it’s also just too much to do it all the time. And I was there and I get it. And that’s why I get so excited about the work that we do here at The Leveraged Practice is because we work with you, those practitioners, to help you break out of that. A lot of our people still love to do the 1 to 1, like they have that 1 to 1 and it’s not that you let go that completely, but you do less of it and still make an impact. So I totally get that that problem area that we lie in where you’re looking at your heart and your soul is almost like, Gosh, I got to be able to impact lives and do this work, but there must be different avenues or ways to do it. 

Linzy [00:05:16] Totally because yeah, a lot of folks listening, Stephanie, they probably also resonate with like the idea of being highly sensitive or just kind of lower energy or they do really heavy work, you know, like you do work that it’s like it’s really hard to have that same conversation 20 times a week or to like deal with heavy subject areas, you know, for 20 hours a week. And I think for a lot of folks, they might feel that they’ve kind of hit their wall like they can’t see any more clients in a week or they’re already seeing too many already. They can feel that like this is not sustainable, even though they love the work. It’s like it’s starting to take too much and you have some options for us when we find ourselves in that place. 

Stephanie [00:05:50] It’s like you can see it coming, like they’re not burnt out. Like you’re not burnt out, but you should see it coming, right? You’re like, Oh my gosh. Like, I don’t want to end up over there. You know, that’s primarily who you’re probably listening and that’s where. 

Linzy [00:06:04] You’re on a path that you know is not sustainable. You can’t do this for another 20 years. 

Stephanie [00:06:08] Absolutely. We work with quite a few eating disorder therapists and dietitians in the dietitian field because that is such heavy work and it’s such a loving work, like they love it. But we’ve built a few amazing programs with our clients in that area because there’s so much room for group conversation, community, or supporting parents. Like if you work with pediatrics, you know, building a support program for the parents is really, really exciting and fun and it fulfills a different side of you that wants to do that good work. So yeah there’s hope, just know that there’s hope. 

Linzy [00:06:45] I feel hopeful and something that you mentioned that I think is also a neat part of this is the problem is not just that like we have our own limits in terms of how many one on one folks, but it’s like there’s so many more people out there who probably need to hear our message or experience our gift and our approach and our way of dealing with whatever topics that we’ll just never be able to serve in a 1 to 1 model. Like we’re always going to be serving only a fraction of the folks who can benefit from the gift that we have in the work that we love to do. 

Stephanie [00:07:11] I had someone refer to me today, a therapist. I know this is a variety of people listening, but especially for you therapists like she had such a good therapist, she’s like, Please go call Stephanie like the world needs what you have to offer. So whether you’re a therapist or someone else and you feel that power in the work that you do, I’ve had a therapist forever. Love it. So important to my life. But you know, when you’re around someone who’s really good at what they do, whether it’s therapy or dietetics or acupuncture, whoever you are, and you’re around their presence, you’re like, Oh my gosh, can you share this with the world? So if you feel that inside of you, that you have this light, but it’s still going to kind of get dwindled with all of that heaviness of the client load. The world is your oyster. There’s so much for you to be able to do that. 

Linzy [00:07:52] So if that is our situation and if folks listening already feel like, okay, I’ve hit my capacity, I need some other way to make money, or I have this thing I want to share, and I want to share it with more than just 16 or 20 or 30 people a week. Tell us our options. What are different things that we can do to expand beyond 1 to 1 work? 

Stephanie [00:08:10] Yeah. So let’s start with our models here at The Leveraged Practice. So one of the things is you’ve probably heard about courses, or programs, DIY, like, you know, maybe, maybe you’ve even written a book or you’re thinking of writing a book, but you’ve thought about transferring your knowledge in some other way. I have been in online programing since 2013, a very long time, and so I built everything from DIY self-study courses to memberships to mentorships to masterminds, professional development and clinical, because they come from the digestive health world. And where we land in The Leveraged Practice, and what we’ve really focused on in the last four years, is helping our clients to build comprehensive and results driven programing. So less about that book on the Internet, that course that people just watch or videos, which, to be honest, right now people aren’t really paying for anyways. There’s so much free information that your people don’t need more information and you probably already know that like they don’t. They come to you with information and be like, Which of these three things is right? You know, I don’t really need a lot more of that, but what they need is a supportive, organized, step by step program. And so that’s what we teach with a lot of practice. We have four core models, actually, three core models and some secondary models that we teach our clients. I’d love to share that with you guys here on the podcast. If that sounds interesting for you, it’s going to help you visualize what it looks like. And I find that’s tricky for most people in the 1 to 1. What does my program look like? Like, how do I even do that? And so let me share with you the three core models. So we’ve found after working with hundreds of people, that a collection of technology and deliverables and ways to support people together, now formed three models with the work we’ve done with clients. Super cool, something that I’ve developed, but in in partnership with the clients they work with, here’s the three models. The first one, which is exceptional. If you are someone who finds yourself repeating yourself like I was in my practice just all day long is a 1 to 1 hybrid style program. And so this program blends the 1 to 1 work that you’re doing but helps you reduce it so it’s needed less often, or your appointments are shorter along with online education and digital programing. So what we have is, let’s say, a six month program where instead of seeing someone weekly, you see them biweekly, or instead of seeing them for 45 minutes for a follow up, you actually only see them for 15 minutes of a follow up because all of that repeatable education component is available online and is dripped out over those four months or six months and they’re accessing it in between your appointments and your appointments are purely for customization and not for the education part. We can also build in a community, or guest experts, email support, other features into that style of program. But generally it can very quickly, like if you build this into your practice today, it can reduce the 1 to 1. You start to have the same amount of clients. You still have 30 clients, but instead of spending an hour with them every week, it’s like half an hour every week or it’s every other week instead of that. So the your time, you can cut your time in a third, like right now, by implementing a program like that. And then with that time you can take it back, you can go make more money, do whatever you want to do. So that’s one model. We call it the hybrid model, and it integrates 1 to 1 in. And it’s for that practitioner that still wants to include or feels like they need to include a 1 to 1 private session with their clients. What most people find is that with that model, there’s also room for another model because there is a group of clients and maybe you’re not seeing them right now in your practice. So if you’re just providing 1 to 1, what we have found is there’s a whole other group of people that want to give you money and want to work with you, but just don’t want that high level of 1 to 1 ness. Maybe they don’t want to pay that money. Maybe don’t have that money. They don’t want to pay it. They don’t want that intensive work. And so with one of the other two models, our clients will implement both of them and then have a whole new group of people coming in for services. So the next model is something that we call small group cohort model, a small group cohort, and it’s just as it’s described as a maximum number of participants. Our clients find that between five and ten is about the average number of people that you can have in a small group. These small groups generally meet every week and in small group they get enough attention from the facilitator and practitioner, but they also benefit from the group setting because so many of their questions overlap or problems overlap. 

Linzy [00:12:39] Oh, always. 

Stephanie [00:12:39] And our clients use this cohort model to facilitate. So quite a few of our clients use it for a group that they facilitate conversation and discussion. And it’s less about teaching, less about kind of giving those lessons, and more about presenting experience or exercises or options or teaching a concept and then allowing people to integrate or implement their lives. So that’s a model for all of our clients that all of our clients that use that, it’s so close to their heart. They just they love facilitating a small group. Still can be super profitable, like we’re not talking about the biggest scalable model. It’s still super scalable. Still a model you could build six figures, multi six figures with our clients that are moving and scaling up and growing their programs in that small cohort have hired or trained other colleagues to help facilitate the programs. So that’s our small cohort. That is something like a weekly group, small group max, ten people with one practitioner. And again, we have an online education library. We can have resources online. Some of them will have a monthly guest speaker that comes in so we can still integrate some of those features. 

Linzy [00:13:48] Right. Yes. 

Stephanie [00:13:48] And then the third model is more for that practitioner that wants the biggest impact possible. How do I help hundreds of people or thousands of people? And that is with a community group coaching model. So we call it a community group coaching model because the community is so powerful and you really are growing a large community of people. And in this model we have more recorded education. So you’re not teaching live, you’re really having recorded bite-size lessons or modules that people are working through. And then you have some sort of office hours, which would be maybe live Q&A. It could also be pre submitted questions and recorded Q&A. It can also be email support or a forum or community where people are asking questions. So you always want to have a way for people to to get that private support and ask questions when you’re having such a volume in there. I think in health it’s important to have a privacy option. So I really encourage email support in that option. But no repeating yourself. It’s all recorded. And then you come in and offer these great calls that are group dynamic and conversation. So this is what I eventually scaled to with my IBS business, had hundreds of people, actually thousands at one point, into the IBS program, and I found really beautiful experiences that I wouldn’t have guessed with the community sharing different like recipes or sharing things that were working for them. And there’s this aspect that we just can’t give our clients 1 to 1, which is probably why you’re carrying the burden on your shoulders is because it’s just you. You’re all they have. And when you can build out communities as a part of your service offerings, you don’t have 100% of the load anymore. They can share that with other people. And it’s also an interesting way to create boundaries too, but still provide ongoing, consistent support. So those are three main core models. The fourth model I was talking about, we call it our secondary model. And where we find that program comes in is we call it a maintenance membership model. So after your initial program, whether that’s a group or 1 to 1, so if you’re seeing clients right now and they have a problem and it takes four months for them to kind of get through that initial problem, but you find that they want to see it forever because they really just need to either keep the change or they have like a new level of the problem that kind of just keeps coming up in life, which is literally everyone who comes to a health practitioner, you can build an ongoing model that’s more like a membership. But after that initial service, ongoing on a monthly basis, they have access to things like the community, like email support, like office hours, but it’s a lot less. It’s not as much about comprehensive program. 

Linzy [00:16:25] Like their maintenance package. 

Stephanie [00:16:26] Totally. Less of your time, those people don’t usually require any 1 to 1. They just have access and they don’t want to be alone when they’re stuck. So those are the four programs that our clients are building into their practices to really do more than one thing. The first thing you and I talked about was to decrease your 1 to 1 facing hours so you don’t get exhausted, you don’t burn out, and you still have that passion for work and life. But also the models help them increase the profit of the practice. And you and I were talking about money a little bit in that we have a certain maximum we want to charge or we’re allowed to charge or it feels reasonable in our area. And I think there’s this difficult mindset thing that I’ve seen in practitioners is like going above that rate. For me, it was 150 when I was in practice and once I hit 150, I was like, I can’t go over 150. Like, who am I. 

Linzy [00:17:16] You’re at the ceiling. 

Stephanie [00:17:17] Oh, my gosh, yeah. Like forever till you die. And so, you know, I was like, what else am I going to do? And so if that’s, you know, that you can still keep your rate at 150 or whatever it is, but you can have another stream of revenue with your programing that you can charge for, and that people are willing to pay for, because it’s more positioned as a program, not a service. And sometimes people do have in their mind like, one hour you want me to give you $200 for an hour of your time? Like, sometimes there’s kind of like a separation there. But once we’re selling a program, a three month program, a six month program, it feels different. And so, one, we can charge different amounts for that. But two, it’s so much more profitable to your bottom line revenue, which I think is so important, because if you have a practice, it costs money and maybe you’re charging 150 or 130 an hour or whatever it is. But the profit you get to take home, you’re probably looking at your salary going like, Is this enough? It’s probably not. And so that’s how you act to increase your profitability of your business, which is incredible. 

Linzy [00:18:22] Yes. Yeah. And in like scalability, I mean, there’s so many thoughts that I’m having as you’re talking because I’ve I’ve walked some of this path. Right. And first of all, creating Money Skills For Therapists, which first I started doing one on one and realized that it was obviously not scalable to do one on one work. But also I found that it wasn’t as effective. Right. Because as you say, you can’t give somebody community. Right. And so I think especially when you’re teaching something that people might have a lot of like emotion or shame or whatever around, unless in mental health you’re actually doing like depth work with them and you’re helping them process those feelings. Those can actually be a barrier, I think, to them making progress with you, it was just the two of you. But when they’re in a group, suddenly you have this magic that’s added where they see like other, in terms of the folks that I serve, in terms of therapists working on money, you see these other amazing badass therapists who are so good at so many things, but they struggle with money and you’re like, Oh, wait a second, maybe I’m also a badass, and maybe this doesn’t mean that I am failed because I’m not good at money. But just like, ha, I’m learning about money and I can learn like about money. Just like she’s learning, right? And it gives you something that a practitioner or a coach individually just can’t give you, right? Which is that experience of walking with people and being peers with people and growing together with people, which I think is so powerful and can help people actually, like stick to making changes and motivate people to make changes in a way that an individual practitioner is just never going to be able to do with you. Like they can’t replace a community. 

Stephanie [00:19:44] Yeah, absolutely. It reminds me of my very first job as a dietitian and I developed into a kid’s cooking program. And so for anyone who has kids, this may hit you. 

Linzy [00:19:53] Yes. 

Stephanie [00:19:54] Now I have three kids and they’re all 7 and under. I don’t know if you will know this or not, but for me, I was the cooking instructor, so they came to the after school program or they came to the summer program and I taught them how to cook. Well, I was a dietitian, so it was a secret, healthy cooking here. But what I found was, in community with nine or ten of their friends, those kids will do anything good or bad. You got a lot of good or bad. But parents would come in and be like, she ate a tomato, like he had a broccoli. Like their minds are blown. And I didn’t even know tomatoes or broccoli was a problem for them. We just made pizzas and I made them put one vegetable on it to try, or we had salad with like fishy crackers in it or something, you know, like we just did some fun things and they watched other kids put a tomato in their mouth and they did it. And so there’s something about that power, that we can use for that evil or for good. I prefer good use, good when we’re around our peers and we’re around our colleagues and it’s motivating, inspiring, and it keeps that energy going, especially in health, when you can get so down. Like you can get so damn down on making change in your life because change is so hard or it’s it’s rocky, right? You fail. You’re going to succeed and you’re also going to fail one day, or you’re not going to work out at some points. But to be around people who are like, that was me last week or last month, like, here’s what it looks like on the other side, is just so powerful. Like if we all just included online programing. Oh my gosh, the better off- Linzy. 

Linzy [00:21:30] Is that your dream for the world. 

Stephanie [00:21:32] We could learn in community. We could stop repeating ourselves. We could have these accessible ways for our clients to remember. They’re not going to remember what you say when they leave your office, right? Then they are going to actually do the work and they’ll watch it. Like when I was a dietitian and family health team, like in local practice, government paid for. I’d see people every four weeks. And when they came back in four weeks, they were like, the first week was great. I did all these things and then I don’t know what happened and I haven’t done anything for three weeks. 

Linzy [00:22:00] Right? Yes. 

Stephanie [00:22:01] And I think part of it is memory. They care about so many things that were their lowest priority. So when you put things online, people can go back to be like, wait, what was I supposed to do? What was that exercise, or what was that reflection journaling thing, that prompt. And so it’s just like such a better way to learn and remember the poor people. So I truly think every practice could have a program, even if it’s just removing the repeatable stuff right now. 

Linzy [00:22:27] Right? So giving a program that has like some teaching content because it also makes me think about how Money Skills For Therapists, my course, has recorded teaching content. A lot of that content I made in 2018, I don’t remember exactly what I said in all of them, but people will quote me back to myself and I’m like, Well, that was good. I don’t have to be actively teaching it. It’s kind of like you get to bottle up. In some ways, you’re best teaching material, right? Because you’re teaching it in a very intentional way. You’re really thinking about, What’s my best way to explain this? You’re saving your best take. And then they get to watch your best version and absorb, like, your best explanation of the information, not the explanation that you gave on like a Friday afternoon when you were tired. And this was like your 20th time saying this this week, and you’re like trying to, like, make it fresh, but it’s just not feeling fresh. 

Stephanie [00:23:09] So funny. I’ve never heard it put like that. And you know what’s funny is my team’s always like, Oh, do you remember how you said it like this, exactly like this when you did this, you do that over here. And I was like, No, I have absolutely no memory of what I said. It is gone, but I love that. So for me, I do really well. I’m not a morning person, but for some reason, like in the morning, like I’m talking ten, guys, not six o’clock. 

Linzy [00:23:30] Right. Okay. Yeah. 

Stephanie [00:23:32] But I like ten or 930. That’s when I feel the freshest. That’s when I do my hair and make up. That’s when I do my recording. That’s when I make my training. Like four, or five, six at night is not the best time. So I love that you’re talking about like get it out of you in those situations on Tuesday morning. Before you feel dead on Friday. Like that is perfect because it’s it’s not always the same. It’s not always consistent. We can capture that and we teach our clients to outline it, you know, kind of script it out, make a couple slides if you want to that are going to trigger you or remind you, but don’t teach over a giant slide deck. That’s not what you do in practice. Like be personable about it, but highlight some of those specific things that you want to cover, like you said in that kind of best version of it. I love that you said that. I’ve never heard it like that before. It’s so true. It’s so smart. 

Linzy [00:24:19] Yeah. I love what you’re saying about, kinda do it in the way that you would do it in person? So like something I know with teaching and video that I’ve very quickly realized is like little short videos. I have videos, my videos are like 5 minutes. It’s only if I’m deep diving into something and teaching how to do something that it might be up to 20. That’s like Max, Max, Max. Right. Because I know too, like you got to think about your audience and like, what where they’re at when they’re watching it, how much are they going to be able to actually absorb? Right. And when we’re talking to somebody in a session, we don’t just talk at them for 45 minutes. We know that’s not effective. Right. And so you get to translate that over and record it in a way that people are really going able to receive it. Knowing what you know about the folks that you work with. 

Stephanie [00:24:55] The industry type wording is mic learning and that’s you get between two and 8 minutes. That’s like standard. However, I’m always telling my clients like, how are people learning right now? All they’re looking at is 15 seconds. Like, so, I’m not saying make 15 seconds lessons. 

Linzy [00:25:10] TikTok has changed us forever. 

Stephanie [00:25:12] But that 2 to 5 minute is even more important. And my team just had me rerecord like I just restructured our entire course. One of our courses we have three core courses on three core areas that you need to build a leveraged practice. One of them is that scalable asset. So it’s that product like we’re talking about with the models. So I just redid the course training this all under 6 minutes, all of it, even if I wanted to deep dive, I broke it up into like three or four videos. Like, Stephanie, stop telling all the stories. So some of my videos are two and a half minutes. And that’s what we need to give our clients. That’s how they’re learning. That’s what’s helpful when we think about one hour appointments to listen, to assess, to coach, to instruct. I just think like probably less and less people are going to book that and more and more people are available and willing to do programing that they can learn in 15 minutes a week or half a week instead of these one hour consults that they’re going to drive to. So the one thing that I want everyone to remember about programing is that what we’re talking about today is a scalable asset for your business, a program that you can scale into the hundreds of thousands or more if you want to, that’s helping you impact people. But it’s not just a course on the Internet. It’s not just information. It’s truly support, feedback, and a smart way to educate people. That is really the key and that is the future. It is here right now in 2022, but it is the future for the next years of people learning how they’re going to access health care, how they’re going to want to learn. They’re going to still want 1 to 1, or they’re going to still want customization. So if anyone’s listening who is has tried to launch a program and it’s failed, it’s probably because of the offer. You know, if you try to just sell a course now, and you’re like come buy my program, or come buy my course, no one’s going to buy it. They need to know that there’s still assessment and customization and someone who knows their name and they’re not just a number. That’s really important and we will need to do that. We can leverage so much expertize and technology to make it easier to help people that, like you and I were talking about, we don’t have practitioners burning out and changing professions because they just can’t do it anymore. 

Linzy [00:27:21] Yeah. So to give some examples for folks who are listening, who are like, that sounds great, but I’m a I’m a trauma therapist, I am an eating disorder therapist, I’m a physiotherapist. Can you share with us some different examples of programs that you’ve supported folks to make or seen folks make that might replace some of that clinical work that we’ve been doing? 

Stephanie [00:27:38] So let’s talk about manual people. So someone like the physiotherapist who’s listening and I think you also said acupuncturist, and quite a few massage therapists, you’re a physical therapist. This is what I would encourage you to think about. I’m closing my eyes, I know you guys aren’t watching me but I’m closing my eyes. This is what I want you to think about what is the problem that your client comes to you with? Let’s say you’re in massage or physio or any of those, and it’s back pain. Probably the most common pain, right? We’re coming to you with back pain. So you do some physical work on them and they feel a little bit better and they’re going to come back a few times. Now, you know, there are some reasons why they got that back pain in the first place. And you might take a couple of minutes to explain it to them, maybe sitting in the chair, maybe like how they lift things. Like there is actually a lot of education to either prevent that. Maybe there’s some treatment where they can go home and do certain things that you can build a program around. So one of the physiotherapists that we worked with during COVID, so she was like, Ah, I got to get online right now. And we were like, okay, let’s do this. Was on ergonomics. So as a physiotherapist, she has a magical gift of healing the back and healing the body. But she had information and knowledge that she could put into a program that helped people to reduce that back pain and even prevent that back pain with the way that they work and the way that they sit in all settings. So that’s an example of a program that one of our clients made, Sasha, sets an example, but for all of you listening, if you’re in that physical space, the question is what are people coming to you with? What’s that problem and what- how can you support them in that way? Another one I think of is for me, when I was pregnant, I always had back pain. I did lots of physio and now I’m doing pilates and I’m all good. But so other people have taken my money and taught me different courses to make my back better, no one wants to have that forever. But pregnancy and like that group of human beings who are doing exceptional work, probably have a lot of different issues and pain. So if you’re physically supporting them during pregnancy, imagine what you could be teaching them that they could be doing at home to keep that change or to feel good in their bodies. So that would be the way that I would look at that. In therapy, again, I think I mean, we could talk about eating disorder, we could talk about trauma, we could talk about the intuitive eating space. There’s quite a few people over there. Some of that is needed 1 to 1. So that hybrid program works really, really well. But actually, when I was working with one with my therapist, I know that she she taught me a lot about parts work. She gave me a book like there’s like a whole bunch of stuff, I don’t even remember. 

Linzy [00:30:10] Internal Family Systems. 

Stephanie [00:30:12] There was no program on it. 

Linzy [00:30:13] Yes, yes. 

Stephanie [00:30:15] Think about those educational pieces in therapy, especially for those of you in trauma or those of you that are in like disordered eating or that like those kinds of things where there’s underlying issues you do teaching on that, right? So you could be sitting with a client for 30 minutes unraveling what’s going on and then prescribe them a training on parts work or on like what you were saying, like family. And there’s a family thing, right? 

Linzy [00:30:41] Internal family systems. Yeah. Which is parts work. 

Stephanie [00:30:44] Which is parts work. 

Linzy [00:30:44] Probably the parts work you did. It’s the most popular right now. Yeah. 

Stephanie [00:30:47] I am not the expert on the subject matters. That’s you wonderful people. I am the expert on the putting it all together into a structure that will sell. But those kinds of pieces, no matter what health practitioner I’m working with, but in therapy, specifically, understanding is like crazy, right? Like that’s changes your life is someone who understands to you some kind of system like you were explaining about the family. Like that influences why you’re acting the way you are. It’s just it’s amazing. And so with, I would think, like with some of our programmers that are doing, I mean, even weight loss, but intuitive eating, disordered eating, trauma. We have some individual consults, but then we have the learning underneath, which is dripped out either on a weekly or monthly basis or it’s prescriptive where the library of resources, and in that you’re saying, okay, this week I want you to look at this chapter. This week I want you to look at this chapter. We’ve also had, like I was saying to someone, not just one person, but several people create parental programs. If you’re working with a teen population around again, like I’m thinking of disordered eating, but any kind of any kind of trauma or any kind of behavior issues. Having a program that educates and supports the parents so the child is in the 1 to 1 work, but the parent is in a comprehensive program that supports them in how to support the child. That has been really well received by our clients, clients who have bought into those parent programs. That has been amazing as well. 

Linzy [00:32:19] Saying something that’s coming up for me and like I don’t know if there’s any basis in this, but I guess one question I have is, Stephanie, have you encountered any professions where in their like licensure or with their college – we’re both Canadian, in Canada, we call it college – your regulatory body doesn’t allow them to sell courses to clients. 

Stephanie [00:32:37] Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a good time to ask this question because you may be thinking, yes, I’m going to do this. I’m excited. Oh, no – my college. 

Linzy [00:32:46] Oh, yes, I’m from the College of Social Workers in Ontario and I’m like, I don’t think I would be allowed to do that. 

Stephanie [00:32:51] So we’ve worked with a lot of people, especially in Canada, who start within their own province. So if you’re in the province of Ontario, for example, you can practice outside of just your own city, right? I’m in the city of Hamilton. I can practice. I mean, if you’re just going to drive. Actually, I was in Kitchener-Waterloo when I had my practice and I had people drive up to 3 hours to visit me. Now, they wouldn’t have driven from Ottawa or from Sault Ste Marie. Way too far. And we weren’t doing virtul back then. So your practice could at least expand to your provincial lines. That’s the first place to think about it and look at it. You could help more people that are just in your city and you could even help the people in your city in a bigger capacity. So some of our clients are literally just practicing in their state and increasing their profitability, decreasing their hours, and growing their revenue just within their state or province lines. So I would first start you there. 

Linzy [00:33:44] Yeah. 

Stephanie [00:33:45] Yes, you’re right. The licensure for mental health professionals, dietetics, physiotherapy, for many of them, it’s going to be you are licensed in that province or state for that particular title. Okay. And so you can still do some of this stuff and work larger than just your local city. So that’s where a lot of our clients will start. Outside of that, what I have found and I know everyone has a different licensure, so here’s just some thoughts for you now. Disclaimer: My lawyer says I cannot give legal advice, so this is not legal advice. Always go and talk to your own college and your own lawyer. But some other ways that people are doing this is they get licensed in more than one state or province. We see this in Canada, we can do this in the US. I find it’s more affordable for our U.S. friends, for them to get licensed in different states. And also in the US, there are some states that don’t require a license. I know that, especially for dietetics. 

Linzy [00:34:37] Oh, interesting. 

Stephanie [00:34:38] That you can practice dietetics and it’s just you don’t need to be licensed in that state. So every country, every state, every province, every industry has some different rules. So you want to talk to your college that you’re governed by first and then talk to a lawyer and understand it. So another, like I said, is that you can be licensed in different places. Another way to do it is some of my clients have partners in different prep in different states. So one of my clients right now has this goal of going national across the US. So she’s licensed in a few states and she’s just hired two professionals who are licensed in other states and together they’re licensed in 12 states right now. Right. So as you grow and scale them, you can actually grow your model because you don’t want it to be just you anyways if you’re serving all of the United States of America, so you’re going to need to grow your team. And that’s an amazing and very cool, very innovative way to do it that people are doing it. So that’s why I always say like, start in your own state or province or I know some of our American friends, they might be registered in New Jersey and New York and like a couple of them and build that up and get that working. And then once that’s working? The sky’s the limit. You can get bigger. Other clients might function with a different title, so they may be a registered whatever, but in their program they are a consultant, or they coach. That’s another legal question, ask your lawyer about that. 

Linzy [00:36:00] Yes. Ask your lawyer. Ask your lawyer. But what I’m hearing is there are creative solutions. Right. And like finding ways to do it creatively and then, you know, also thinking through for you and what you’re doing, what is ethical, you know, like what are the ways that you can expand that, you know, are meeting your client’s needs and ticking all the right boxes? 

Stephanie [00:36:17] I think it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. It’s really easy to leave this podcast and think of five reasons why you can’t do that. You know, it’s really easy to look at your schedule and think like, where am I going to find the time to build this out? It’s so- it’s it’s too easy to go that way. Which is sometimes why- and you know this because you’re a coach, like you need to hire a coach, you get into a program, you need to just do it. 

Linzy [00:36:37] Give yourself a structure. 

Stephanie [00:36:38] Yeah, give yourself that. But other times, like I just think with practitioners it’s so easy to give ourselves all these reasons and I want to encourage you to start at the beginning. You have too many clients. You can’t see people 1 to 1 for 40 hours a week for the next 40 years, like you cannot. 

Linzy [00:36:54] Right. 

Stephanie [00:36:55] They should have taught us in school, online programs are great and because this is not sustainable and you have the ability to build a sustainable practice, even if it’s local within your own city, I’ve seen it be successful or in your own state or province. Even if you don’t, even if you give me those excuses, you can absolutely do it locally at the local level. Because remember, one of the things I said, I know I’ve talked a lot on this podcast, but one of the things I said was the 1 to 1 clients that come in and do that face to face or Zoom 1 to 1. There is a segment of clients that will never do that work. And when you create another offer for them, another, you open a window, another opportunity for them to work with you. You will get more sales than you ever have, even if it’s within your own city or within a three hour area. And, you know, three states that you’re registered in. So it can still help you decrease your hours and increase your profit. Locally, the other part of it, is it can literally just- what if you just made the same money but you worked half the time? What if you just work like 2 days a week? But you made the same money because you stop repeating yourself. You leveraged community and online technology and you just worked less. Like that is absolutely possible. I just want to add, I can’t hear what you all are thinking, but I do. And I know there’s some reasons in your head that you can’t do what I want to offer you a few things to think about. Like what if all it did was decrease your hours? What if all it did was bring in an extra $10K a year and decreased one day in your schedule? Right. To me, that is totally worth it. That is incredibly worth it. 

Linzy [00:38:34] Yes. Like this doesn’t have to be your plan to become a multi-millionaire. It can still have very positive impacts on your financial life and your ability to reach people, even if you decide to make it something relatively small. 

Stephanie [00:38:46] Yeah, and it can be, but that’s a conversation for like once you do this and you’re killing it and you’ve reached six figures, then then we can talk about the million. That’s a different- bit of a different model. We definitely need a lawyer then, that like that’s a different- 

Linzy [00:38:59] At least. 

Stephanie [00:39:00] Start where you start. And you start with that first goal and then you keep going. 

Linzy [00:39:04] Well, thank you so much. I’m sure you’ve planted seeds with folks of like, oh, and that’s what I want to encourage is like, as Stephanie said, like I know sometimes, especially mental health therapists. I don’t know, Stephanie, if dietitians are a certain type of human, but mental health therapist we tend to be over thinkers, over functionaries. And it’s possible that folks are like, well, I can’t because X, Y, Z and I, yeah, I am with Stephanie. Like be creative. Start to think about like, well, but what if I just this little thing or what if this thing that I say all the time, what if I did just have a few videos instead that I, you know, shared with folks or sold as a little package, or educational materials for parents I love because therapists talk about that. Like you’re working with the kid, you really don’t want to actually have like, necessarily a ton to do with the parents, depending on what the situation is. And yet, you know, what happens to the parents is everything. So having like a course that those parents are going through at the same time as you’re working individually with that kiddo, like that seems like a huge added value, you know, to what you’re providing for that family. So many possibilities. 

Stephanie [00:40:01] Everyone I work with is feeling overwhelmed and they’re also struggling with perfectionism. I think I could have a whole show on overwhelming perfectionism. 

Linzy [00:40:09] Oh, yes, yes, yes. 

Stephanie [00:40:10] So, yes. And I’m recovering. I was a dietitian. I’m recovering perfectionist. And I think the biggest thing for me and I think you would probably have great advice on this as well, it’s overwhelming to grow a business. It’s overwhelming to shift from a health practitioner to an entrepreneur. It’s always been exciting for me, though, like, I like chaos, so I’m okay, but it’s still overwhelming. And you have those overwhelming days. So having people around you, like you were saying, you have a community in your program, having that being around people who dream big like you and want to be an innovator and want to be a leader and having someone that gives you that structure and support, for me, that is how I changed my life. I don’t think I was there without all those supports. 

Linzy [00:40:51] Oh, Absolutely. 

Stephanie [00:40:51] So if you really want to do this, you know, do it, but like get some support around it. 

Linzy [00:40:56] Yeah. I mean, there’s that expression of like you are, you know, kind of the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. And I think that’s absolutely true. Like who we surround ourselves with really defines what’s possible and what we think is possible. And so if you are listening to Stephanie and you’re like your interest is peaked. I would say get around her and get around other folks who are doing the kind of stuff that you want to do and you might be surprised what possibilities open up for you and what becomes suddenly possible and might even seem like a no brainer once you get those right support. So Stephanie, on that topic, if folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you? 

Stephanie [00:41:29] Yeah, the easiest thing to do is check out my podcast. So my company’s called The Leveraged Practice, you can find The Leveraged Practice podcast on iTunes, Spotify, all the podcast places. And if you’re listening to this, then I know you’re podcast listeners, so you cannot, you cannot, you can’t. I’ll find you. No, you can find me, you have no excuses. So The Leveraged Practice podcast, find me there. We do episodes every week. There’s lots of really great stories. We have clients sharing what’s worked for them. So if you need a little more underneath to inspire you, it’s a great place. I share strategy and what’s working now as well. And then we run a free training. And so if you go to leverage your practice, go to leverageyourpractice.com, you’ll sign up for our next training. Sometimes it’s live, sometimes it’s just available right away on demand. So you go on over there and you’re ready to understand more about the frameworks that we teach and the different systems that you need to build into your practice so that you can do this. That’s a great place as well, but you can find me in either of those places or you can find me on Instagram @theleveragedpractice if you want to send me a message or you have a question. 

Linzy [00:42:29] Great. Awesome. Thank you so much, Stephanie. 

Stephanie [00:42:31] Oh, my gosh. This was my honor, everyone. Thank you for letting me jump into this podcast you listen to regularly. It’s just such a pleasure to share what I care about and I hope that it makes a difference for some of you. 

Linzy [00:42:42] Awesome. Thank you. I was so impressed in my conversation with Stephanie about just how many different kind of distinct models they have clarified and support people with creating for their online offers. And of course, I definitely recognize some of those models as Money Skills For Therapists has been a couple of those things over time. And I love that Stephanie specifically is for health practitioners and therapists because it is a little different for us. The work that we’re doing is a little different. There’s different considerations that need to be made of how to either translate what you do online or even thinking about how to integrate that effectively into the work that you’re doing. And ethically, you know, there’s there’s rich territory there. But if you did find yourself getting caught up as Stephanie and I thought that maybe you might be in thinking about why you- this can apply to you. I really do encourage you to almost put that aside for a second to think about if you could offer a program online, if that’s something interesting to you, what would it be about? What is that thing that you talk to your clients about over and over again? Or what is that topic that just lights you up that you would love to be able to talk about and just create specific content and space in your schedule to be digging into that with people? Being curious, letting yourself be excited is a really good place to start. Before we start to stop ourselves and tell ourselves why it wouldn’t work or why our college or licensing body would not allow it. And there are certainly lots of different options and creative options. And you could always talk to lawyers or talk to colleagues who are doing it to see how they are making it work, so that they can have different ways of supporting and helping people besides one on one. They can point you in all the right directions, but I hope that it got some of your wheels turning today. If it’s something you’ve considered before about what it might look like for you, if you decided to expand beyond 1 to 1 practice. If you enjoy the content that I’m putting out, you can check me out on Instagram. You can follow me @moneynutsandbolts. I am sharing free – of course, because it’s Instagram – practical and emotional private practice money content out there all the time. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. Even if you’ve heard me say this like 20 times and you haven’t done it, let this be the time that you do it. I would love, love, love to hear your thoughts and feedback and get a review from you about the podcast so other therapists can 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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How to Balance Chronic Illness and Private Practice Coaching Session

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How to Balance Chronic Illness and Private Practice Coaching Session

“I feel like there are those two mes. And sometimes I try to live in that more hopeful state. And I’m definitely a more positive person than I used to be. I’m able to do that a lot more often because I’ve had these opportunities of taking these courses, and raising my fees, and getting somewhere. And I’ve been so blessed with so much encouragement and support along the way, and I just want to name that.”

~Sherry Merriam

Meet Sherry Merriam

Sherry is an LPCC in Minneapolis. She has been in practice for 13 years, and working in the healthcare industry for 22. She’s worked at various group practices, including co-owning a group practice, but left her last group practice in October to start her private practice, and opened a collaborative practice in January.

In This Episode…

Do you struggle with setting limits when it comes to the number of clients that you see or the number of times that you say yes? As someone who lives with chronic illness, Sherry Merriam seeks to find more balance in her work life so that she doesn’t spread herself too thin, which can jeopardize her health.

Linzy and Sherry plan out how to make her schedule and her money work for her in an actionable way that will allow her to take better care of herself while also meeting her professional and personal goals. Don’t miss this practical discussion with key takeaways that can benefit all of us in our private practices.

Want more support with your private practice finances?

Free Workshop Series: How to Feel Calm & Confident About Money

Are you tired of feeling confused, ashamed, and stressed about your private practice finances?

CLICK HERE to join me for a free, live Zoom workshop series happening September 26 to 30 that will help you go from money shame and confusion, to calm and confidence. 

I’m also giving away $500 cash to one lucky participant! Make sure you secure your free seat by clicking here and all you have to do is attend the workshops for your chance to win.

Episode Transcript

Sherry [00:00:02] I feel like there’s those two “me”s and sometimes I try to live in that more hopeful state, and I’m definitely a more positive person than I used to be. I’m able to do that a lot more often because I’ve had these opportunities of taking these courses and raising my fees and getting somewhere, and I’ve been so blessed with so much encouragement and support along the way. And I just really wanna name that. 

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 Money Skills For Therapists episode is a coaching episode. My guest is Sherry Merriam. Sherry is a LPC in Minneapolis. She’s been in practice for 13 years, working in health care for 22 years, and she’s worked at various group practices in the past, including co-owning a practice before. Just last October, she started her private practice and opened a collaborative practice in January, which we’ll talk about a little bit more during our coaching call today. Sherry was bringing forward today the challenge of how to structure your private practice and think about money and plan money when you have chronic illness. She shared about the limitations that her chronic illness puts on her clinical ability, but even her ability to do other things sometimes, and trying to think about this and actually build it in to the way that she’s built the practice. You’ll hear in our conversation she’s already made a lot of gains in this area. She’s definitely not starting from scratch. She’s already been very thoughtful. And we dug more into the details of how to build a healthy practice that financially meets her needs with that limited energy that she has. And the reality that if she does push herself, she pays the price in exhaustion and needing to crash. And so it’s not something that she’s able to push through. So if you are somebody who has chronic illness, if you are lower energy or find that you’re just your clinical limit is not as high as the people around you, this episode is for you. We really think through a lot of the pieces involved in making sure you’re setting up a practice that suits you and your energy and your needs and enjoy. Sherry, welcome to the podcast. 

Sherry [00:02:47] Thank you. Very glad to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:49] Yeah, I am excited to have you here. So we were just talking off mic about how you’d like, just finished Money Skills For Therapists. So I was just noticing that I haven’t seen you in a couple of weeks because I saw you quite a bit. You were very active in the course. 

Sherry [00:03:01] Right. I wanted to get everything out of it. 

Linzy [00:03:03] I’m very familiar with your your background. And and so for our time together today, tell me what you want to have more clarity on by the end of our call. 

Sherry [00:03:12] So something that has always been present in my work as a therapist is balancing the work, the money, and the chronic illness. And it continues to be present. And so just I always try to find ways to get support with that and to support myself through that. 

Linzy [00:03:32] Okay. So tell me right now, let’s say you start with right now, what are you noticing that are the challenges around that in this moment or recently? 

Sherry [00:03:40] Well, a perfect example is literally just this weekend. That’s how still present it is. We – my family and I – went away for a little mini vacation and it was lovely. And it was planned to be sort of a work retreat slash vacation, like do some fun things maybe during part of the day and then maybe do some do some work during part of the day. And my husband’s a writer. He likes to write. So he was going to get some writing time in and I was going to get some working time in catching up on some things. But my my energy levels just didn’t quite keep up. And so we had our fun adventuring. And then when we get home, I would need a three or four hour nap. And to most people, a nap is 30 minutes but, I lost all of my work time every day. And that was frustrating.

Linzy [00:04:30] Yeah. So a perfect example where even on a vacation you get depleted and you need a lot of rest in your day, it sounds like it’s hard to do all the things that you want to be able to do in the day. It’s just not possible sometimes. 

Sherry [00:04:43] Right. Right. Exactly. And I’m and achiever, like you saw in the class. I’m just always present. I want my A. I just listened to Jenn Fredette’s episode with you and you guys talked about we’re going to get our A. 

Linzy [00:04:56] Oh, yes. 

Sherry [00:04:57] And I’m there with you guys and I want to do well in my business. And I’m always trying to do everything which does not balance well with my illness. I have chronic illness, chronic migraines, chronic pain. And I push myself too far. And just like a lot of people with chronic illness and I just. I just want to do it all.

Linzy [00:05:16] Absolutely. 

Sherry [00:05:17] So that impacts my income, of course. 

Linzy [00:05:19] Of course. Yeah. So in your business and in your practice, tell me so far, what have you done to suit your practice to your energy and your needs? 

Sherry [00:05:29] There’s quite a few things I’ve done. I’ve tweaked a lot over the time and I’ve been a therapist for 13 years, and one of the main things that I’ve done is with my schedule and limiting the number of clients that I see in a week. I’m currently at about eight a week and I’m working my way up to ten. I just booked another new client today and I almost didn’t. I’m starting to build up my my new practice and I don’t work for other people. I don’t like to work for other people. Other people get mad. When you take sick days, the last group practice I worked for took it really well, but the one that I worked for not long ago did not take it well when I took sick days. And I understand it affects their bottom line. So I don’t like working for other people. I work for myself. 

Linzy [00:06:14] Yes. Yeah. Okay. 

Sherry [00:06:15] But I have to limit the amount of hours that I see clients or when that creeps up, then the sick days creep up as well. Because I have a system that’s a bed of energy, right? 

Linzy [00:06:24] So the more you work, the more your body’s actually going to say no or push back or whatever metaphor however you think about that. 

Sherry [00:06:31] Yeah, exactly. 

Linzy [00:06:32] It does it not let you just push through. 

Sherry [00:06:34] Up to a certain point, but then I will pay the price. 

Linzy [00:06:37] Yeah. The first thing occurs to me is just how good it is that you have built the skills to have your own practice. And I relate to you – not in having chronic illness, but just in not being able to see a lot of clients. Right. And that when we work for ourselves, we can do that. And as you say, when you’re working for someone else, their feelings come into the mix if you’re not able to work because you’re affecting their income. But it sounds like you’ve solved that problem, right? No longer are you having to deal with anybody else’s opinions or feelings or their financial anxiety. You’ve moved your business just completely into your own space and you’re doing your own thing. Now, something that I’m curious about, Sherry, is have you got the numbers working yet so that the amount that you work is enough for you financially? 

Sherry [00:07:18] No, that has always been an obstacle from the beginning because I’m so limited in the number of clients that I can see, the the income just doesn’t cut it. And you know, when you can only see a certain number of clients, and I’ve been insurance based up until last year, I took Tiffany McLain’s Lean In Make Bank class. And so I left that group practice in October of last year. And I went 100% private pay and that is helping a lot. And so I’m finally starting to make some real money, which is fantastic. And we’re trying to buy a house this year. And turning over my tax records was very discouraging when I looked at that bottom number. 

Linzy [00:08:00] Yes. 

Sherry [00:08:01] So, yeah, I’m definitely not there yet. Crunching some numbers and looking at what I’m charging and I just increased my fee again. So I’m trying to get there. 

Linzy [00:08:10] Yeah. Because I mean, that’s something that I would be curious about is, given where your fee is at this moment, you know, projecting forward, whatever that manageable number of sessions is not making yourself have to plan to work more but projecting for that a manageable and you said 8 to 10 is that clients in total or sessions per week. 

Sherry [00:08:29] That is sessions per week. 

Linzy [00:08:32] 8-10 sessions per week. So with that 8 to 10 sessions per week, do you know where you would land after business expenses this year? If kind of like that becomes the normal going forward minus the vacation time that you want to take? Do you know where you’re headed. 

Sherry [00:08:44] After expenses? No. 

Linzy [00:08:47] Okay. 

Sherry [00:08:47] Yeah, I’m working on that. Thanks to the tools that I learned from your course. 

Linzy [00:08:52] Yes. 

Sherry [00:08:53] I’m working towards that. I’m still plugging those numbers in. 

Linzy [00:08:56] Because that would be the first thing to figure out is, with the changes that you’ve already made, what do they mean? Because sometimes with business, I think it’s easy for us to want to see change happen fast. Right. And want that magic thing that suddenly we see the magic number of whatever number we’ve set for ourself, which is often an arbitrary number. And and you would get a lot of arbitrary numbers thrown at us about what success looks like. But for you, I’d be curious about what is your success number and how close is this path that you’ve already started to carve for yourself, the hard work you’ve already done of, you know, like doing the mindset work to be able to raise your fee and get off insurance. Now raising your fee. What does it mean for you this year? Minus business expenses. And in terms of resources that could be helpful for you with that at a high level, it could be the salary play sheet from Money Skills For Therapists to get you zoomed out. So once you have a sense of kind of your average business expenses, you can plug those in, but then you can set your goal and see how many sessions a week and your fee and have that zoomed out view on it because there is actually an equation there that will work. So it’s also just being curious of how high would your fee have to be to see that 8 to 10. And I would personally set it at eight, to see that 8 a week, and have all the numbers work. 

Sherry [00:10:10] Yeah. And that would leave me a little wiggle room, too, because I have a couple of supervisors that I see once or twice a week. And I love doing that work. And there’s also a consult group that I want to run. And so that would leave me a little room for those things. And I like that kind of variety as well. 

Linzy [00:10:26] Totally. Absolutely. 

Sherry [00:10:27] And I want to have energy for that. That’s one thing that keeps my energy up. 

Linzy [00:10:31] Absolutely. 

Sherry [00:10:32] Doing that kind of work. 

Linzy [00:10:33] And that’s absolutely the next place my brain was going is what are other income sources that maybe don’t tax you in the same way and you might be able to add on top of clinical work that you would still have a good week and make that a little bit extra money and not run the risk of of crashing. Right. And being depleted. And so I’m hearing clinical supervision is one of those things. Right. I know you also have a group practice. I don’t know a lot about that. Is that an income source for you? 

Sherry [00:10:57] It’s not yet. And what it is, is it sort of a group practice? Sort of not. It’s basically a medium sized sublet, but it’s run on a more collaborative model than most sublets. So we offer more amenities so that we can create more of a collaborative vibe, more of a community vibe. And so I’m charging rent and then they get a lot of perks. And then that way I’m nobody’s boss and they’re not my boss because I want everybody to feel independent and be able to run their practice their way. 

Linzy [00:11:27] Yes, I love that vision. Yeah. 

Sherry [00:11:29] Oh, and yet we have this great vibe. Like our last couple of staff meetings, we’ve been discussing these cases that we’re working on together, sharing families and that sort of thing. And it’s exactly the vibe that I wanted. 

Linzy [00:11:43] Great. Okay. Yeah. So with that, I hear, yeah, it’s not a typical group practice in the sense that, you know, you’re not getting a cut of people’s sessions and not their boss, but you are creating a space, you’re creating a community space, you’re kind of a clinic space where folks are independent clinicians, but there’s also all these nice sharing community elements to it. 

Sherry [00:12:04] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:12:05] So with that, my understanding that that’s not really profitable per say?

Sherry [00:12:08] Not yet. I need more tenants to help cover the bills. And so I’m currently still trying to build that because we just opened in January. Yes, I’m doing some networking, trying to get some more tenants in and then once I have enough tenants, I’ll be able to not only pay the bills but make some money on it.

Linzy [00:12:25] And do you know when that that flipping point is where you do become profitable and there’s some extra money above the bills? 

Sherry [00:12:30] It depends on who takes up how much space, because I’m offering full time, part time flexible this or that. 

Linzy [00:12:37] Okay. Because that’s something I would also encourage you to get some more clarity on because there’s kind of a couple paths here. And if that something I mean, it sounds very energizing, but you’re describing this beautiful community and I know being in the right space with other clinicians like it just adds lightness and support, which we all need in the work that we do. And I wonder how much that may be a path to creating more income for you that would be less tiring than clinical work and less taxing now. 

Sherry [00:13:09] And I do love it. I love the work that I, you know, creating this space was exhausting. It was four months of 80 hour weeks, which I do not recommend as someone with a chronic illness or for anybody. 

Linzy [00:13:24] Yes. 

Sherry [00:13:25] But now that it’s now that we have it, I love it so much. I’m so proud of it. 

Linzy [00:13:30] Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. So that would be something else I would encourage you to find out, because what can happen to us when we have clarity is then you can, in a focused way, go after who you’re looking for, right? If you run the numbers and realize like, okay, if I have three people doing kind of these like small subsets, it ends up being the same as like one person. Then maybe you- one full time, then maybe it’s spending your energy really putting out those feelers of like, I’m looking for someone who wants to join our community full time, incredible community, tell people that, you know, like then you can be very clear and envisioning what you’re looking for. And often that focus goes a long way to, if you want to be woo about it, calling in the right people, if you want to be practical about it, finding the right person because you’re asking the right questions and you go in the right direction however you want to think about it. How does that sit with you? That idea of this being another way to really offset the amount of clinical work you have to do? 

Sherry [00:14:22] Yeah, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. 

Linzy [00:14:24] Yeah. Because I mean, you built the machine, right? And worked very hard at it. And so it sounds like you’re actually very close to it working for you at this point. So that little bit of extra is going to tip you over into more ease. Because then the final piece, Sherry, that I’m curious about is do you know what your number is? Like what is your number of enough? Or that’s, you know, your sufficiency number where your needs are met. It’s good. You’re not going to be- there’s not going to be financial stress. And you don’t have to push yourself any harder. 

Sherry [00:14:55] Really. I don’t know. I’ve I’ve gotten so used to, for so many years, living on so little that – and I mean so little. I make less than my supervisee does. 

Linzy [00:15:06] Yes. Yes. 

Sherry [00:15:07] And both of my supervisees. And so I really should run some numbers. You’re right. That’s a good idea. And I think I’ve been afraid to, to be honest, I’ve been afraid to set my my sights on any kind of financial goal because I changed careers to become a therapist, to make more money. And I have not, in any one single year, made more money as a therapist than I did in my previous career. So there is a pretty distinct feeling of discouragement. I love what I do so much and I have no regrets in any way. I do really love what I do, but there’s so much opportunity for abuse and being taken advantage of, especially as a supervisor and those sorts of things that at this point I’m pretty discouraged, which is why I’ve taken such efforts through these courses and now I have hope, but I’m also afraid to have hope, you know what I mean? 

Linzy [00:16:02] Yes. 

Sherry [00:16:02] So so I think I’m on that cusp and I’m definitely seeing more money, you know, in the past, since October. But until I see it on my tax return, it won’t feel real. 

Linzy [00:16:14] That’s when it’s real. When it’s on your taxes. Yeah. 

Sherry [00:16:16] Until I see a number that’s bigger than, than what I was making when I changed careers. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:16:21] And I mean in that I hear, Yeah. That very familiar fear to hope. Right. It’s safer to not look or it’s safer to- I don’t know if it’s about staying small, like, well, where are you now? Like, what is the state that you’re in that you’re maybe going to move out of? Well, how would you describe where you are now when it comes to your numbers or your relationship with your earning? 

Sherry [00:16:44] I think I vacillate there’s the motivated business woman who listens to the courses and the podcasts and does the homework and looks around at what I’ve accomplished so far and feels so proud and encouraged and can do the work and make the accomplishments and get somewhere. And so there’s that. There’s that woman. Yeah, but then there’s the woman who, you know, is trying to apply for a mortgage and, you know, looks at the hard numbers and sometimes gets really discouraged. And so I feel like there’s those two mes and sometimes I try to live in that more hopeful state. Yes, I am definitely more positive person than I used to be. I’m able to do that a lot more often because I’ve had these opportunities of taking these courses and raising my fees and getting somewhere. And I’ve been so blessed with so much encouragement and support along the way, so much I never could have believed how many people have supported me and been there for me and helped me along the way. And I just really want to name that. And so I’m- it makes it easier for me to live in that headspace and do the work. And get there so that I don’t give up. 

Linzy [00:17:55] Yeah. 

Sherry [00:17:56] And that’s that’s a big thing that I think that really helps me. 

Linzy [00:17:59] Yeah. And I mean, with that, like that headspace or, you know, that motivated business woman part of yourself, how are you thinking about that part of you. I mean, what does that part of, you know, that maybe the the disappointed part doesn’t know about yet. 

Sherry [00:18:14] Like it’s possible. I’ve seen others do it. I’ve already accomplished so much and I’ve had so much help. And so many people believe in me, even when it’s hard for me to believe in myself. And if and when I do struggle, there are people to hold me up. 

Linzy [00:18:34] Right. Yeah. I’m really hearing this piece about support and community, and it sounds like that’s a big value for you, right? Because you’ve also created this community space to practice within. Right. And to share with other people. So thinking about your path forward with this then, Sherry, I mean, first of all, I’d like to invite you to think about what would it be like if you just let yourself work eight sessions a week and that was your normal, first of all, what would that be like for you? 

Sherry [00:19:00] That that is lovely. That is lovely. That’s what I was working about when I left the group practice last year. I had cut back to that. Yeah. And just the ease of that. 

Linzy [00:19:10] Yeah. And with that ease, what else then becomes possible in terms of your income, your life, what does that open up to? 

Sherry [00:19:18] It leaves so much more time for things like these other projects, like being able to get this practice off the ground, this clinic off the ground, and being able to focus on these sorts of things that I’m really excited about. You know, I was able to take on these two supervisees, which was an important value of mine for a variety of reasons. And so that’s that’s really special to me and really nourishes me as a, as a person, as a supervisor, as a clinician. And in a variety of ways helps me feel like I’m giving back to the community, to the professional community. Right? And so that allows that, which is fabulous and it gives me the space to just have a little brain at the end of the day. 

Linzy [00:20:00] Yes. And having a little brain at the end of the day. What does that mean for your life? 

Sherry [00:20:04] Yeah, there’s there’s possibility to- I’m home for dinner every day, except the one day that I decide to work late, and that’s mostly so I could do a workout class online in my office. 

Linzy [00:20:17] Yes. So is that something then that you’ve already kind of sorted out? Are you saying then like being home for dinner? 

Sherry [00:20:22] That’s a marker of like. Mm, I’m home for dinner with my family like every day except that one day that it’s because I’m working out, I’m able to adjust my schedule any way I want so I can work out in my office. And I love that, and I love those workouts. And I can do that because it’s my damn office. 

Linzy [00:20:41] Yes, yes, yes. And this is, you know, something that’s kind of coming to my mind as you’re talking is how do you continue to build out your practice as something that nurtures you, right? So that balance of the clinical work that you love, but maybe might at some point become a drain balancing in that clinical supervision work that, you know, lights you up and then the community pieces like you’re already in so many ways bringing that nurturing into your practice. So it makes me curious about like what little tweaks you make to make that even better. Where are the limits that you need to be setting, trusting that those other ways that you have of bringing in income are going to be there and allow you to function right and be well while supporting yourself financially. 

Sherry [00:21:22] Yeah. Variety has always been one of the best and worst things about me because I love to write. Because I love to do all the things. Yes, all the things. And the problem is, is I need to remember to do all the things that bring in revenue. So that’s that’s one thing that I need to stay focused on in my work is I can do all the things. But does it bring in money? 

Linzy [00:21:47] Yes. Yes. Well, and the beautiful thing is, once you’re clear on your numbers – and I am encouraging you to do that after we speak, like looking at that, what is the number you actually need to live? Right. And maybe holding the hand of that disappointed part internally, like doing that care because it is hard, you know, when when the numbers have not been what you want to see. And I can relate I will say in terms of mortgages because I always start businesses and then try to get a mortgage, which is like – wrong order. You’re not supposed to do it that way. I’ve done it twice now where I’m having to show like start up numbers and I’m like, No, no, but it’s going really well and be kind of judged really. You are being judged by a financial body. So I can relate to that experience. I will just say, but getting clear on what it takes to live. Right. And and maybe that’s a conversation that you have with your partner. What do you need to be earning between the two of you? Right. To support your household? And then getting clear on what is your hard boundary with clinical work? And then what are those other things that you want to be focusing on to maybe increase your income beyond what clinical work can bring you to hit that number that you need to not just live but be well. 

Sherry [00:22:50] Exactly. And that’s the be well part. It’s like, well, I’ve gotten by on a little up until now but the be well part, like since October roughly, or even more recently, I started doing monthly massages. And that’s been one of my. I’ve never done such a splurge on myself as pay for a massage and now I’ve started doing that and I would love to do that more often, but to splurge on it just once a month is already it’s just such a nuts thing for me to do. But my body as badly messed up as it is, I would love to do that more often. Just, just the fantasy of doing something like that. 

Linzy [00:23:35] Yes. Well and I think part of the thing is when we do have health issues going on, you know, or higher sensitivity or lower energy or whatever your version of being well might require more of those things than someone else who, you know, has a body that just lets them run all day and doesn’t ever seem to really, like, catch up with them. I would speculate that most people eventually we burn out, you know, when you push yourself hard enough for long enough. But certainly not everybody’s body speaks up or protests or shuts them down for 3 or 4 hours after, you know, like just a nice morning of doing vacation things. So. Part of it, too, is really looking at what are your specific needs? Maybe for you, a massage every two weeks or every week is basic self-care. Maybe that’s what your body needs to offset the things that are happening in it. Right. And I wonder what it would be like for you if you really made friends with those self-care needs and built them into the way that you think about what is just normal wellness for you. Baseline wellness, not a splurge, not a treat, but like this is what I do to take care of my body because my body lets me do literally everything else. 

Sherry [00:24:44] Mhm. Yeah. Put that as a line item in the budget. 

Linzy [00:24:47] Exactly. 

Sherry [00:24:49] Because it needs to be there. 

Linzy [00:24:50] Exactly. Exactly. So Sherry, coming towards the end of our conversation, what are you taking away from our session today? 

Sherry [00:24:56] It’s really helpful to to think of these things as as fundamental and to think of that kind of self-care as part of not only, you know, who I am as a person, but also who I am as a therapist because it’s so necessary to the work to keep this machine going. This therapy doing and other thing doing machine. 

Linzy [00:25:17] All the things doing. 

Sherry [00:25:18] All the things doing. Yeah, exactly right. Yeah. And I think that that’s that’s so important to the functioning. Functioning is such a high priority to me, which is, I guess, ironic, since functioning is something I struggle with so much. And I think that it’s always useful to hear that feedback that it’s- because I eventually I’ll get it through my brain that it’s okay to need those things. It’s not only okay, it’s encouraged to utilize that and to not only to utilize them, but to work them into the budget and work them into the financial goals and to do what I need to do to make them fit into my professional life. 

Linzy [00:25:56] Absolutely. Yeah. And I wonder how those can just be neutral, matter of fact things or positive self-care things, but very much as you say, just built into your numbers and how you plan your money every month. 

Sherry [00:26:09] Right. Yeah. I think the more I hear that, the more- the sooner I’ll get there. 

Linzy [00:26:13] Yes. Yes. Thank you so much, Sherry. 

Sherry [00:26:16] Yeah, thank you. 

Linzy [00:26:32] Something that really sticks out for me in my conversation with Sherry today is, first of all, how easy it is to want to push past our limits. You know, whether you have limits because of chronic illness or even if it’s just that your clinical capacity, you can only see so many clients a week before you start to find that you’re getting drained, you’re not enjoying the work, you’re not being as effective. It can be so easy for us to want to push past those limits and, you know, set a range of, well, my ideal is this, but I can do up to this. I see this so much in Money Skills For Therapists when I’m talking with clinicians about our limits at our range. We are so used to pushing ourselves too hard and we’re so used to putting our own needs aside. That can be hard to really own. This is my boundary. This is how many sessions a week that I can do. But when we do set that boundary and when we set it in a clear and neutral way, it can open up so much opportunity. Like Sherry was talking about in this episode, to be curious about exploring other ways to bring money into your life and to, you know, top up that private practice paycheck from other places. If that’s something that energizes you, if you’re someone like Sherry and you love variety and you want to be doing multiple things, then setting a limit on the area where there might be limits already, which is one on one private work, that clinical work, then you have the opportunity like Sherry has to open up that collaborative practice, you know, do a consultation, start a clinical consultation group actually by saying No over here we’re able to say yes in other places. And that can be so nurturing and actually give us energy rather than depleting energy, which is what can happen when we push ourselves too hard. That second piece that I want to really emphasize again at the end of this episode is just how valuable it is to be clear on your numbers, to be able to make these decisions. Once you know how much you need to make, then you can see how much you need to earn. And to see how much you need to earn, you also need to understand what your business expenses are. Once you’re clear on how much you need to bring in the door because it costs you this much to run your business. So this is how much you can bring home. Then you can actually build your business to suit that. And like I was just talking about, that might not be that it all comes from one on one sessions, but then you have a number to actually aim for rather than just kind of feeling like, I need to earn more, I need to earn more. That’s a losing game, which makes us feel like it’s a never enough. But if we don’t actually have clarity on what enough would be, we’re never going to have relief from that. We’re never going to win. So that clarity is huge in letting us build practices that actually take care of us and giving us permission to stop and rest when we’ve actually hit that place where money. There’s enough. You’re okay. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. I am posting free private practice content on there all the time about both the practical and emotional sides of money. And of course, if you’re enjoying this podcast, please take 3 minutes to jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. It is the best way for folks to find us. I would love to have so many more years listening to these episodes and being involved in these conversations by proxy. And so if you could take a minute to review the podcast on Apple Podcasts, I would greatly appreciate it. 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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