Overachieving and Money with Heather Stevenson

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Overachieving and Money with Heather Stevenson

“I see [overachieving] as not being able to notice and just reflect on what they actually have and have achieved already, whether that is in life or a career status or a financial amount, the focus is always on what’s not there as opposed to what is.”

~Heather Stevenson

Meet Heather Stevenson

Dr. Heather Stevenson is a licensed psychologist in private practice in NY and CA, where she helps overachievers, perfectionists, and people pleasers build a stronger mind-body connection in order to live a more fully embodied, rich life. She’s also an alum turned coach in the Money Skills For Therapists program. 

In This Episode…

How does overachievement show up when it comes to money? How can we slow down and settle into our bodies and feelings to better manage our relationship to money? Heather Stevenson shares about what overachievement often looks like when it comes to finances.

Heather shares some actionable steps we can take to help manage the tendency to overachieve, so that we can be more present, happier, and healthier in our relationship with money right now. Without having to wait until we reach that next goal.

Connect with Heather Stevenson

You can connect with Heather and learn more about her work through her website: www.drheatherstevenson.com.

You can work with Heather AND Linzy in Money Skills for Therapists by signing up for the free masterclass below!  

Want more private practice finances support?

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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.

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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

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“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.”

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

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

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

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

Want more private practice finances support?

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

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

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  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

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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Understanding What Numbers Matter in Your Practice with Kathryn Esquer

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Understanding What Numbers Matter in Your Practice with Kathryn Esquer

“A lot of times I think we put too much emphasis on the art of building a private practice, but there is a lot of science behind it. A lot of this is predictable. We can have more control over the number of calls we get than we give ourselves credit for.”

~Kathryn Esquer

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In This Episode…

Do you dread events like the summer slump but feel like it’s out of your control? Are you leveraging key performance indicators (KPIs) to help your business yet? Kathryn explains the value of KPIs and breaks down the difference between leading and lagging KPIs that therapists can use to strengthen the financial aspects of their business.

Listen in to hear how, by tracking and understanding certain numbers in your private practice, you could significantly improve your business. During the episode, Kathryn and Linzy give you everything you need to get started tracking this valuable information in your own practice so that you can make more informed financial decisions. 

Connect with Kathryn Esquer

Check out the Teletherapist Network at http://www.teletherapistnetwork.com  

New members get $25 off when they join the Teletherapist Network using code NUTSANDBOLTS

You can also find them on Instagram @teletherapist.network 

Want more private practice finances support?

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

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

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

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Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Kathryn [00:00:05] A lot of times I think, you know, we put too much emphasis on the art of building a private practice, but there’s a lot of science behind it, right? A lot of this is predictable. We can have more control over the number of calls coming in than maybe we give ourselves credit for. 

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 with guest Dr. Kathryn Esquer. She is a licensed psychologist. She’s an MBA graduate, which you’ll definitely hear coming through in our conversation today. And she’s the founder of the Teletherapist Network, which is a private consultation community for the next generation of therapists. She is passionate about eliminating isolation and burnout in the field of mental health and has made efforts to prevent that by prioritizing connection and community through the Teletherapist Network, which brings together forward thinking therapists to create unparalleled success and their clinical skills, professional businesses, and personal lives. So today, Kathryn and I dug into the important information and numbers to be looking at and understanding in your private practice. These are called KPIs or key performance indicators, which I know is a very business term. That may not be the most appealing. But really what it’s about is understanding the numbers that tell us how our business is doing, and that can also tell us what we need to do to see that what we need to see in our practices, whether it’s revenue or a certain number of clients. By understanding these numbers that Kathryn and I are going to dig into today, you’re able to actually have some more control over what’s happening in your private practice. We talk a little bit today about how private practice can sometimes feel like something that’s happening to us and that we don’t have control over things, like the summer slump. But Kathryn really asserts that we actually can do a lot more than we realize. And understanding some of those key numbers and the information of what’s happening in our practice is the way to offset those things that it can feel like just happen to us. Here’s my conversation with Dr. Kathryn Esquer. Kathryn, welcome to the podcast today. 

Kathryn [00:02:50] Thanks Linzy. 

Linzy [00:02:51] So, Kathryn, you and I had the pleasure of meeting pretty recently, like within the last month or two. 

Kathryn [00:02:57] Like last week. Time flies when you’re having fun, Linzy. 

Linzy [00:03:03] Because of Instagram. I think that’s how our we became aware of each other. And you run the Teletherapist Network. That is your gift to therapists. And can we just start by talking just a little bit about what that is, so folks kind of a sense of who you are and what you do? 

Kathryn [00:03:17] Sure. So I am actually a clinical psychologist in private practice. And during the pandemic, I was feeling professionally isolated. My house was full of people. So I wasn’t personally isolated. 

Linzy [00:03:27] No. 

Kathryn [00:03:28] But professionally I didn’t have people to connect with. So I created the Teletherapist Network. So we’ve been around coming up here on two years and we are a private consultation community for therapists both in telehealth and also we have a lot of members who practice in-person but don’t have people, other therapists, to consult with. So we all know we can’t practice therapy in isolation. 

Linzy [00:03:48] No. 

Kathryn [00:03:49] Part of our ethics code. So we try and make it easy and affordable for clinicians to find consultation groups and meet their peers. 

Linzy [00:03:56] Great. So you’re connecting therapists in a quiet, kind of thoughtful way? I don’t know if quiet is the word you go for, but that’s a very positive thing to me. The word quiet because it’s like curated. 

Kathryn [00:04:07] Purposeful. Purposeful. 

Linzy [00:04:08] Yes, yes, purposeful. 

Kathryn [00:04:09] It designed it so that so we’re not on Facebook, we’re not on social media. It’s a private community away from social media. Because what I wanted in my life is somewhere I could go purposefully, log in, fill out my professional connection cup, and get out and get on with my life and my family. Like not get dings throughout the day. Like totally get there, get to fill my cup and move on with my day. So it’s not supposed to be a shiny object. 

Linzy [00:04:32] Yes. Yes. And something I find too, sometimes about like Facebook as a platform, is there’s so much blurriness between personal and professional that sometimes it does- it’s not the best place to actually have professional conversations like it’s a little bit of a messy space. And so it seems to be very much ‘you get what you’re paying for’. You get in, you get the information. There’s no other noise. You don’t learn about somebody’s dinner or their divorce. And you get out and you go on with your day. 

Kathryn [00:04:56] Absolutely. 

Linzy [00:04:58] So today, when we were talking about, you know, what you wanted to spend our time digging into on the podcast, you came up with a word that is near and dear to my heart, but probably not super familiar for a lot of therapists and health practitioners listening, which is KPIs. 

Kathryn [00:05:14] Yeah. Key performance indicators. 

Linzy [00:05:15] Yes. So Kathryn, to get us started, what are key performance indicators? 

Kathryn [00:05:20] Yeah. So KPIs or key performance indicators are basically a measurable value that tells you how well are you meeting your practice goals? I mean, generally speaking, they’re business objectives, but we’re going to talk about them in terms of practice goals. Are you meeting them, are you not? It’s a measurable, identifiable value. And this is something we- I did a lot of. I actually have a business degree. I have an MBA in addition to the Psy.D. And so I really love blending both my business education and consulting experience with like private practice and helping people succeed and thrive in private practice and beyond. 

Linzy [00:05:55] Right. 

Kathryn [00:05:56] I mean, you can have KPIs for your whole life, too. I love I love key performance indicators, right? Like a family, you have KPIs. So I think that it’s not talked about enough in the general private practice world. 

Linzy [00:06:10] So KPIs they turn what’s happening in your business into numbers that then you can understand. Are those numbers on track? Are they what you need them to be? Or are you off track? 

Kathryn [00:06:19] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:06:20] Which I mean, immediately, you know, of course when I hear that, I’m like, oh, numbers, numbers are clear, you know, because it takes something that can feel, I think a lot of times as therapists, because we’re such emotional beings and often have such rich inner worlds, we could have a lot of stories about what’s happening. Your business, does it feel good? Does it not feel good? But sometimes there’s actually information that could be extracted that will actually tell us if something is working or not. That might actually give us a very different perspective than how we feel about what’s going on. 

Kathryn [00:06:49] Yeah, like the thing I was thinking about as I was getting ready for this episode was what’s an identifiable use of KPIs? And the thing that pops in my head is everyone talks about the summer slump, right? Of therapists. 

Linzy [00:07:00] Yes. 

Kathryn [00:07:00] Everyone talks about how people go on vacation. They don’t come in. And we all feel it, like no one debates that. Everyone knows it’s a thing. We all have more cancellations, more no shows, and people take breaks during the summer. Right. But I’ve never heard anyone talk about actual numbers going into or coming out of the summer. Like, so we all feel that it’s happening, just feel it in our business. But what are the KPIs? What’s actually showing us that it’s happening or not? Right. Yeah. So I thought that the summer slump was a great example of a situation where we can use KPIs. 

Linzy [00:07:32] Right? Yeah. So let’s dig into that. Like I guess first of all, what would be some of the KPIs for us to be paying attention to? The summer slump is a great one because I totally agree. Yeah. And that’s I mean, that goes exactly back to what I was just thinking and saying a moment ago of like there’s such weight around the summer. Like, Oh, people aren’t coming, but it’s like, in your week, is it actually four people who are canceling or is it ten? Is it half your caseload? Is it a quarter? Is it three quarters? We know emotionally it’s difficult. But what that actually means in terms of numbers, most people don’t know. So that sounds like one. That would be one thing that you could measure. What else should we or could we be measuring in terms of KPIs in our businesses? 

Kathryn [00:08:09] Yeah, so I think it’s important to delay between leading and lagging KPIs because they serve two different purposes. So the first thing is a lagging KPI, which is basically a snapshot of an actual performance within our private practice. That’s what most people think of when they think KPIs, like how much revenue did I bring in this month’s revenue for the month of May? Number of clients, the number of clinical hours worked. These are snapshots of something that is a performance of our business. But the thing that’s more difficult, I shouldn’t say more difficult, probably more difficult to think of to measure are the leading KPIs. So leading KPIs are these measurable factors that start to indicate we’re going on a particular trend. They come before the actual performance, right? So when we think about leading KPIs, we would think about what trends are happening before the summer slump that indicate we’re probably going to have a dip in revenue or a dip in number of of clients seen, right. So some leading KPIs are like the number of interest calls. We should always be tracking that, right? That’s a leading KPI because we should know our conversion rates, which is another KPI. How many interest calls do we have to take before we get one client out of ten calls? Do we get one client? Do we get two clients? We get five clients? And what’s our average intake process like? How many clients, after an intake, come back? How how many sessions do they typically have? Right. These are all things that we could be tracking and perhaps the summer slump, sure, maybe some people are just not seeking out therapy as much. And maybe it’s also about a lot of people start therapy at the beginning of the year and maybe our average length of retention for a client, we on average, we discharge clients after 4 to 6 months. That’s also timing around the summer slump. And those are two very separate things that you could be accounting for leading into the summer months. 

Linzy [00:10:00] Right. So those leading KPIs, those leading key performance indicators, they tell us kind of like what’s coming down the road, right? So if it’s like meh and suddenly you’re getting no client inquiries, that’s going to tell you that if you don’t change that, you’re about to have a big drop because you have folks actually drop off. You’ve got nobody new coming in the door to fill those spots. And that’s even before the summer has started that that trend is starting to show itself. 

Kathryn [00:10:25] Yes, these leading KPIs are where, in my opinion, the real gold is because you can alter that trajectory. Spending more time making networking calls. Another KPI you could be looking at is – and this is something that I started tracking – is how much time do I spend networking, how many hours a month do I spend networking versus how many new clients are referred to me? You can actually come up with a number that if I spend 5 hours a month networking on average, I get a return of five new clients a month, 1 to 1. But you can you can really put a price tag on those times spent networking with other clinicians. 

Linzy [00:11:05] Yeah I can hear your MBA shining through right now by the way. 

Kathryn [00:11:09] I get so passionate about this and haven’t used it in so long. 

Linzy [00:11:12] Yes, I don’t want to get ahead of us, but it’s very clear to me why that would be so helpful. So maybe, you know, let’s dig into that piece a little bit. If folks are listening, they’re like Kathryn, like, I’m not a tracker. 

Kathryn [00:11:25] Oh, I know. 

Linzy [00:11:26] I don’t even track my finances. Why would I track networking hours? What would be your response? Why is it worth it for us to, first of all, identify what we want to track and actually put in the energy?  

Kathryn [00:11:37] Yeah, I mean I can completely relate to that. Even with the Teletherapist Network. Like it took me a long time to actually start tracking KPIs because I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to see.

Linzy [00:11:47] Oh I’ve been there. 

Kathryn [00:11:48] Our old friend avoidance popping its head. 

Linzy [00:11:50] Oh yes. 

Kathryn [00:11:50] And so I can completely relate to that avoidance. And I think that we as therapists know very well that we avoid things due to some of our own internal scripts. Right, and some of our own internal assumptions or beliefs about ourselves. And so really identifying the resistance obviously is number one, right? Like why don’t I want to look at how many clients I get in a month? Why don’t I want to track that? Like what- how does that make me feel? So this is a therapist question. You know, does it make me feel like I’m less than? Does it make me feel like I’m falling short? But the more we look at it, the less scarier it feels. As we all know. The more we look at it. 

Linzy [00:12:25] Yeah, that exposure makes you realize that you don’t die. When you look at that, you’re okay. 

Kathryn [00:12:29] Yeah. Yeah, I think one of the most underutilized KPIs for therapists is cost of acquisition. How much time or money does it take to attract a new client? Lots of us today have directory profiles for x number of dollars a month. Or we spend 2 hours a month networking. Or we send out five different referral letters a month. But, you know, understanding how much time and money it takes to attract a new client, especially for premium fee practices, is really important because take this example. If we spend $100 a month in ads, which might seem like a lot to some, $100 a month in advertising or marketing, and we get one new client, that’s actually a great conversion rate if your price for your first session is 250, right. That’s actually a great, great cost of acquisition. You pay $100 to get 150 back for the first session. And then if your average retention is ten sessions, you know, that’s $2500 that that client is on average – obviously, we have to be clinically ethical and not keep, you know, obviously – but on the average, we can expect them to stay for about ten sessions, that you pay $100 for cost of acquisition and you get a $2500 return. That’s a great like we should be spending more money on marketing and more time, more of our hourly time to be networking and getting those high, high price point referrals. 

Linzy [00:13:57] Right. Yeah. What I’m hearing, though, is if we don’t actually know those numbers, we can’t know if we’re making an investment. Right? Like, oh, is that $100 of marketing worth it? If you’re getting no leads, then no, it’s the wrong place, but. 

Kathryn [00:14:08] Right. 

Linzy [00:14:09] Yeah, because what I’m hearing in that is understanding too, by knowing kind of your average, your average amount that folks say an average is always an average. Some people might be two sessions and some might be 55. Right? So somewhere in the middle of all of your clients behaviors, there is an average we can aim for, by understanding that, you get how much it’s worth to do what you need to do to get that one client, whether it’s like networking, lunch with a colleague, whether it’s a Psychology Today ad, appearing in front of like a community group. You know how much it’s worth it for you to do those activities. 

Kathryn [00:14:40] Like a $250 lunch for a physician’s office to get consistent stream of referrals, that’s nothing, right? And I think therapists, generally speaking, I think it’s difficult for us, given the amount of time and money we invest into ourselves, into our education, and into the risk of of starting going out on our own and our private practice. I think it’s difficult to spend that money when we don’t see an immediate or a definite 100% chance of return. Right. So we buy that lunch, which seems like a lot, but the chances are you’re probably going to get some better referrals. 

Linzy [00:15:10] Yes. Yeah. And what I’m hearing is if you’re tracking, you’re going to know if it’s worth it. 

Kathryn [00:15:13] Yes. 

Linzy [00:15:14] Right. So let’s get into ‘the how’. I’m a big fan of the how. How do we track those KPIs in our practice so we actually know what’s happening? 

Kathryn [00:15:24] I’m a big fan of free Google Sheets. I think that most therapists out there probably already use Google Workspace, even if it’s just for a backup compliant video platform, but definitely take advantage of that. Google Sheets. It’s an easy way that you can have up on your desktop that you can easily track number of calls in and number of calls out. Google Sheets has a I think it’s called Google interface sheets interface. I forget what it’s called, but they have a really great way to visualize. You can you can start pulling the numbers and visualizing graphs and pivot tables and charts over time. So I really think Google Sheets is a great way. And if you keep it up on your desktop, you know, when you log into therapy notes or simple practice, whatever EHR you use, you log in to your Google sheets that has all of your metrics on there and you can just keep track as it goes. It’s a great way to keep it, remind, keep it fresh, keep it in your brain and make sure you track those. And to start off, I would really encourage people to track number of incoming calls. Absolutely. Number of new clients, number of sessions the client has gone through when they discharge. So you can start getting some very basic KPIs. What’s the average session retention? What’s the average number of calls I get a month to number of new clients? And then once you start seeing the correlation between number of calls and new clients, then you could start thinking, All right, so I get ten calls a month and I get two new clients. How do I get 20 calls a month? So I get four new clients? Yes. What can I do to increase those referrals? Right. So you can kind of work backwards in terms of starting, you know, where the money is and then working backwards to how many eyes you need to get or how many calls you need to get to get that conversion rate. 

Linzy [00:17:01] Because there’s an equation there, right? It’s like if you want to have three new clients a month, you realize it takes you ten calls to get three clients and you need to be putting yourself out there enough to get ten calls a month. 

Kathryn [00:17:10] And what does it take you to get ten calls? Maybe it takes you two networking events or $50 in Google ads or something like that. What does it take? So knowing that a lot of times I think, you know, we put too much emphasis on the art of building a private practice, but there’s a lot of science behind it, right? A lot of this is predictable. We can have more control over the number of calls coming in than maybe we give ourselves credit for. 

Linzy [00:17:32] For sure. Yeah. And the other piece of it that it brings to mind for me, and this is in my business, we use KPIs a lot for our online business. In fact, every Monday we kick off our week with our KPI meeting where we have this like massive complex spreadsheet that my spouse who works with me has. It’s really become a little overly complex. But to really understand, okay, what’s happening here, what’s happening here, what’s happening here? And part of what we have there is benchmarks. So there are certain numbers that we want to see. Like we want to see, for instance, like if folks watch our masterclass, there’s a certain amount of folks that we expect will buy off of that. And if we see that that number starts to drop, we know there’s something wrong. I’m curious, Kathryn, do you see that opportunity in private practice as well? Like, how much do we try to improve our KPIs when we identify them versus how much should we just kind of work with them as they are? Like, if I see that I’m only converting one out of ten client calls, how much do you think I should, like, accept that that’s the case? How do I know what that KPI should be? You know what I mean? Like where something needs to be fixed versus where does something just give us information? 

Kathryn [00:18:31] I think that it depends on a lot of different factors. Obviously, the market you’re in and of the sources of your referrals, I think a really good way to get those benchmarks, which is what we’re talking about here. How do I know if this is good or bad? How do I know if this KPI is good or bad? How do I know if I have to improve it or if this is excellent? Is really having that network of of peers to be able to talk about these really vulnerable- having these vulnerable conversations with being able to ask them like, hey, let’s do this together. I don’t know where my numbers are at, where ar yours at. Let’s do this together. Let’s improve together because different markets, different areas, different cities are going to have very different conversion rates. And different- you know, not all referrals are good referrals, right. So you have people perhaps on maybe the massive directories who mass email a dozen or so therapists, but then the warm handoffs from a fellow colleague, that’s going to be a higher quality referral, right? 

Linzy [00:19:25] Yes. 

Kathryn [00:19:25] So understanding what types of referrals you’re getting and what those specific ones are are going to give you a good indicator on what you should be looking for and comparing them, talking to your friends, again, trusted peers about what they’re seeing in their markets as well. KPIs are so different across all industries and when I think industries in private practice, I think geographic locations and also specialties. If you are a very niched down therapist, you’re going to have lower interest calls or referral rates, but they’re going to most likely be a higher conversion rate, right. So it depends on a lot of different pressures. 

Linzy [00:20:02] And it’s interesting because as you’re saying that, like, I’m thinking about my business now, like Money Nuts & Bolts and teaching Money Skills For Therapists since this is what I’m now doing all the time. And we have found that like since we’re very specific, it’s a very specific person we’re talking to, we’re not going to get a whole bunch of people coming into our world because like, first of all, you have to be a therapist or health practitioner, then you have to like have some struggles with money. You have to want, you know, to work on that, right? So there’s a whole bunch of kind of qualifiers that need to happen. But by the time those folks do connect with us, there’s a much likely higher chance that they’re going to want to work together because they’re like, You’re who I’m looking for. And it’s the exact same if you’re a very niched practice, right? Like if you are like you specialize in like CBT for dog walkers, you know, you’re not going to get a thousand inquiries. But those dog walkers that find you are like, Oh my God, I’ve been looking for you my whole life and you’re going to convert at a much higher rate. So that makes a lot of sense to me what you’re saying there.  

Kathryn [00:20:54] And you can also tie in a time cost to this. How much time do you devote to attracting new clients for each new client you got? Right? So say you take ten interest calls at 30 minutes each, right? Goodness of fit calls. And you only get one client. That’s a pretty low conversion rate for a pretty high cost. Right. 5 hours of your time. So having that niche can actually help you spend- make the cost of acquisition, especially in terms of your time, lower. 

Linzy [00:21:23] Right. Okay. So to kind of like summarize for folks who are listening and they’re like taking notes and they’re like, how do I do this? So your suggestion for getting started would be having a Google sheets. 

Kathryn [00:21:33] Absolutely. It’s free, easy peasy. 

Linzy [00:21:35] And the key things that they should. You would suggest that they start by tracking. I think the first was the number of inquiry calls. 

Kathryn [00:21:41] Number of new clients. 

Linzy [00:21:42] Mm hmm. 

Kathryn [00:21:43] Number of clients discharged in a month. 

Linzy [00:21:46] Mm. 

Kathryn [00:21:47] I’ll give you I’ll give you a little bit of a list here. And then with each discharge client, what’s the average number of sessions? So this might take a couple of months as you continue to discharge to get a really accurate average number of sessions. Right. Consider sample size. You also want to be tracking the number of clinical hours you put in a month. So how many hours did you work? Really, the clinical hours and then your your revenue, obviously. So you can tie that back. There’s a lot of different KPIs out there financially that are quick and easy numbers like, you know, your operating expense, what’s the percentage of that to your revenue and whatnot. But the in terms of marketing and attracting new clients, I think these are the really low hanging fruit that you can begin to track so that you can start to see, okay, x number of calls equals X number of new clients. How do I increase those calls? How do I get quality referrals? 

Linzy [00:22:35] Yes. Yeah. And to make this really explicitly about money, you and I know this is all about money because this is about, you know, how your business is functioning and your ability to kind of control your revenue, let’s, let’s dig into it a little bit more. If somebody is listening, they’re like, I’m still not sure if this is worth it financially. Why is it worth our time to do spreadsheets if maybe we don’t really like spreadsheets and we don’t want to? 

Kathryn [00:22:58] Well, that’s it. That’s a juicy question. Why is it worth our time? Well, I assume that the worthiness of our time, we can put a dollar amount on that. Right. So even then, you could have a KPI for how much time do I spend tracking versus what? How have I been able to grow my revenue? Odds are, is that when you start looking, knowledge is power. We all know this, right? We have a knowledge of what how we bring in money and what brings us in more money that is going to allow us to start tailoring our time to the things that bring in the revenue right to the to the tasks that bring in the revenue as opposed to the feeling of what we think we should be doing. Right. So I think that there is – I haven’t done it – but you can absolutely assign a time, a value on our time and our time spent tracking KPI. I think it’s going to bring in more money than it spent you in time. 

Linzy [00:23:52] Absolutely. And something that makes me think about is it really is you sinking into that role of like the leader of your business or CEO, you know, kind of money boss thinking where probably it’s actually not going to take that much of your time. But it’s time where you’re being thoughtful and analytical and zooming out on your business. Right. And so it might actually take you only an hour to go back through your last few months and compile this data just going through like your call records. How many calls did I get? How many new clients who left? How long did they stay? And I know for me too, I used Jane App, which is a clinic management software which is really popular in Canada. And they actually gave me some of these metrics. They would actually tell me my average amount of sessions per client, like they were running that number for me all the time. Right. So sometimes these numbers are actually like maybe more on hand than we realize too. But by me taking an hour of my time to set it up and then maybe another 15 or 20 minutes every week, I’m able to make strategic decisions rather than kind of flailing a little bit in the dark about what is actually making a difference in my business. And it sounds like you’d actually able to get ahead of things, too, if you identify in May, like, oh, shoot, I’ve had a huge drop in my inquiry calls and I know that every month I have about five clients finish up. Yeah. If I don’t do something to up my inquiry calls, I’m about to be in like a desert in August. So you’re able to be thoughtful and strategic because you’ve taken what is not a lot of time, but you’ve put thought into your numbers. 

Kathryn [00:25:18] Absolutely. And like you said, working ahead is the key here. This is giving you info about what is true, what is likely to come. We should say it’s not guaranteed, obviously. Pandemic has taught us that. 

Linzy [00:25:29] Yes. 

Kathryn [00:25:30] But what is likely to come in the future and not only tell you what’s likely to come, but it also gives you the steps to change that course, right? It gives you the steps of, okay, if this drops, here’s how I can increase this number. Here’s how. These are the steps I could do to make this number likely to increase, which would increase the following number. You can see the chain of events. 

Linzy [00:25:50] Yes, yes. It’s empowering people to see that. Right. And I think sometimes as therapists, too, because most therapists don’t have an MBA and didn’t come into private practice because they’re like, you know what, I love business, right? And so often I think therapists and health practitioners, we experience our practices, which are businesses, as something that’s happening to us. 

Kathryn [00:26:11] Yes,. 

Linzy [00:26:12] Happening to us. We don’t feel empowered or like we have control over what’s happening. And what I’m hearing with this is this is a shift into you understanding the trends, understand what’s happening and seeing where you can actually take actions. 

Kathryn [00:26:25] Absolutely. 

Linzy [00:26:25] That would change the course of what is happening because you’re actually taking stock and then you can make decisions and do things to change the outcome. And as you say, we don’t have ultimate control like we can never control all of our clients staying or magically conjure up 50 inquiry calls. But we certainly know what some of the things that we can do to bump things in that direction, but only if we actually have the information in front of us. 

Kathryn [00:26:48] Yeah. And I would encourage anyone listening to you to start tracking them, even if you don’t – if you feel overwhelmed by going backwards, start checking from this point forward. Ideally you get, you know, six months of data, but start tracking from this point forward and see how it goes. I think it’s really, really empowering, like you said, because the summer slump doesn’t happen- we all feel like it happens to us and there’s nothing we can do about it, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. There are clients out there, right. And so when we know that this trend is on the forefront, we can be taking the steps to mitigate it in terms of our business. 

Linzy [00:27:19] Ahh. Thanks, Kathryn. Tell us a little bit more- first of all, I wanted you to talk a little bit more about the Teletherapist Network and how folks can find that or get a taste of that. 

Kathryn [00:27:31] So I’m there all day, every day, so come on and join me. I would talk your ear off with KPIs, despite what this podcast is about, it is not about practice building, although we do support clinicians in practice building with referrals and some master classes. Linzy was just on with an awesome Q&A session about finances and private practice. But we mainly support clinicians in preventing isolation and burnout through consultation groups, making sure we’re delivering clinical our clinical services are up to par and that we’re not missing anything. Identifying those blindspots.

Linzy [00:28:02] Yes, yes. Which we all have.

Kathryn [00:28:03] So you can find us. Exactly. I found like three today. You can find us at WWW dot Teletherapist Network dot com or you can find us on Instagram app Teletherapist dot Network and I would love for any of you listening to try us out and join us, see if our close knit community is for you. And we’d love to give you $25 off your first subscription with the code NUTSANDBOLTS all one word. So hopefully you can you can join us there. 

Linzy [00:28:35] So it sounds like a great way to try it out. Yeah, I got the discount code and we’ll put all of those links and the code in the show notes for this episode. So you jump over there on your phone or on your computer to get those links. Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing that offer to our listeners. Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for coming on and talking about KPIs and numbers with me today. I really enjoyed it. 

Kathryn [00:28:53] I loved it, any time. Any time you need the the business, the numbers end of private practice. I am so your girl. Love it.

Linzy [00:29:00] Awesome. Thank you. In my conversation with Kathryn, it really sticks out to me how, you know, knowledge is power. Like she said, it can be so tempting for us to not want to look at certain numbers. And I have definitely been there at different stages of my business as I’ve been scared or as Kathryn says, you know, if there’s the possibility of stories coming up like I’m failing or this isn’t working, it makes it really hard for us to look at what’s happening. Right. Because it triggers all of those thoughts and feelings and it’s just a terrible experience. But on the other hand, by actually looking at and understanding, first of all, you know what matters, what are those? As in KPI, speak lead indicators and leg indicators. Lead indicators are things like how many calls are coming in, how many of those folks are converting? And then the lag indicators, how much are you making? Right. That’s what happens later as a result of those early things, by understanding those things and what is normal for you and your practice and your your niche, then you actually have the information and power to do something, to improve things, to take actions that are going to set you up, to have the amount of clients that you want to have and ultimately have the revenue that you need to have to get paid. Well, at the end of day, this all comes back to how well our practices are doing and taking care of our practices so that our practice can pay us well and take care of us. And we continue to be well in doing the work that we do that can be very demanding work. So it’s that knowledge is power piece taking the time to settle in and spend what might only be half an hour or an hour to start to get yourself acquainted with your KPIs might give you some really helpful, interesting information that will allow you to make more informed, more strategic decisions in your private practice, regardless of what level you are or how new or how many decades you’ve been in your private practice. If you would like to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at Money Nuts & Bolts. I am sharing free, practical and emotional money content on there all the time. And if you are enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is the best way for other therapists and health practitioners to find the podcast. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

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

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Overcoming Perfectionism with Dena Omar

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Overcoming Perfectionism with Dena Omar

Episode Cover Overcoming Perfectionism with Dena Omar

“The word expansiveness keeps coming to me as I think about what is the opposite of perfectionism, and expansiveness includes so much bigness. And being out there, and risk, and reward. And connection.”

~Dena Omar

Meet Dena Omar

I am an antiracist, feminist therapist who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As an Arab American who was raised Muslim, I know how it feels to be outside the mainstream. As a person with fair skin and a feminine appearance, I know how it feels for my identities to be “invisible.” Because I have white privilege, I am working hard to unpack my racism so that I can do my part to dismantle white supremacy. I have a casual style sometimes punctuated with NSFW language. I’m an over-thinker who never stops learning.

In This Episode…

Do you struggle with perfectionism when it comes to money? Is it hard to be vulnerable and to ask for help when it comes to finances? Listen in to hear Linzy and Dena Omar discuss how Dena had to face their perfectionism and desire to independently control all financial decisions. They talk about how recognizing those attitudes and opening up to vulnerability can bring about freedom and relief.

Listen in to hear about how difficult situations can bring about important changes that can help us loosen our grip to have more financial freedom. 

Connect with Dena Omar

Dena has created an amazing program called The Anti-Oppressive Therapist. It is a 6-week introductory course that helps therapists begin or continue their journey toward liberatory counseling, so that they can do less harm to queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) clients and colleagues.

Registration is open right now, but only until June 17th! The course starts on June 23rd with a 90-minute coaching call. Click here to get the details and to register.

Connect with Dena and learn more about their anti-oppression work and how you can get involved! Visit their website to learn more. You can also find them on Instagram

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Episode Transcript

Dena [00:00:03] The word expansiveness keeps coming to me as I think about what’s the opposite of perfectionism. And expansiveness includes so much bigness and being out there and risk and reward and connection. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course, Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s podcast guest is a returning guest and Money Skills grad, Dena Omar. Dena is a therapist who focuses on working with marginalized folks. They are a clinical supervisor and they are the creator of a brand new course for therapists called The Anti Oppressive Therapist. Today, Dena and I dig into perfectionism in money. We talk about what that looks like, what that has looked like for Dena specifically, and looking at hyper independence and fear as part of perfectionism, Dena gets into how perfectionism is an extension of white supremacy and also shares about how a cancer diagnosis shifted their relationship with both perfectionism and money and vulnerability. We get into alternatives to perfectionism, talking about what that can look like, both in money and in business and in life. And really, we ended up having a lot of discussion about vulnerability and connection, and about how vulnerability and letting go of perfectionism a bit. This kind of visual of loosening our hold on needing to have control and be super independent actually leads to more connection in our personal and our professional lives. Here’s my conversation with Dena. Right, Dena. Welcome back to the podcast. 

Dena [00:02:21] Thanks. Linzy, I’m really happy to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:23] I’m so happy to have you here. I’ve had really great feedback from folks about our previous conversation about private practice finances, corruption, and money, and now we get the chance to talk about something different today. I think we could probably talk about like 12 different things. I think we’ve got at least twelve episodes in us. But today, we’re going to take some time to talk about perfectionism. So, Dena, I know from having worked with you in Money Skills For Therapists a couple of years ago now, that perfectionism has something that you have grappled with with money, and I have as well. And so I’m really curious to get us started, how did you notice that showing up for you in your relationship with money? 

Dena [00:03:08] Yeah, that’s a great question. So perfectionism for me manifested as fear, and that fear manifested as I need to do all the things all the time without breaking, without slowing down. So I was – I’ve said this to you before – I was over-systemed. I was using all the tracking methods. I had QuickBooks and Excel and YNAB and probably one other one. But I can’t even remember right now because I was so scared of not doing it right, whatever right was. I knew that if I had all these things, I would do it right and I would be perfect and nothing would ever fall between the cracks or fail. 

Linzy [00:03:46] So yeah, because I think with the fear, like there’s kind of two ways that I think that can manifest in the extreme right. The one that I see a lot and that I think is probably maybe a little more common is avoiding. Right? You’re afraid, so it’s like don’t want to know, can’t even handle it. But what I’m hearing is for you, like that fear manifested in this like looking all the time, like always tracking, always, you know. Were you a checker? Did you check a lot? 

Dena [00:04:11] Oh, yeah. Yeah. First thing in the morning, I’d wake up, grab my phone and check my bank account. Like that was my habit. It was a lot. 

Linzy [00:04:18] Yes. And for you, on an emotional level, what was that experience like of like waking up, grabbing your phone, looking at numbers? 

Dena [00:04:25] Oh, Linzy, it was exhausting. It was just exhausting. And I never had time off because I was always worried about the business and that worry and that fear. It just sneaks up on you everywhere. There’s no time to enjoy. You don’t get joy when you’re steeped in worry and fear. I think the other thing that fear, worry, perfectionism connects with white supremacy culture, which is the thing that I’m all in right now, doing research and doing my Ph.D. program and all the things that I’m doing. And one of the things that that does is it disconnects us from others, and it really pushes us away from talking to people about the places where we feel vulnerable, where we feel scared, getting help in ways that we really need it. So that was one of the biggest hurdles for my joining the Money Skills was. Oh, I have to ask for help and recognizing that that was a big deal and that I needed to do that and connecting with others around it. Yeah. Changed everything, really. 

Linzy [00:05:25] Yeah. Like, I’m curious. Well, just to stop. I’m so glad it did, Dena. I’m so glad it did. And I love all the things you’ve done since then, which we’ll talk about later. But I am curious if you could unpack a little bit more about this piece of perfectionism and white supremacy. If you have like an elevator pitch version of that, like, tell me how these things are connected, because I think a lot of folks probably don’t think about it that way. 

Dena [00:05:46] So white supremacy culture – and I’m going to pull on a lot of the work that Tema Okun has done. She’s pretty amazing. She wrote a White Supremacy Culture article back in 1999 that’s been pretty defining in the world of what is white supremacy culture kind of thing. So it refers to the ways that elite or ruling class culture took over every other culture that it encounters. We talk about decolonizing. I don’t know if you heard that podcast Decolonizing Social Work, but we talk about decolonizing. The work that we do really means kicking out the ways that European influences came into this culture and settled here and made the only way that we could be the right way, which was the white way. 

Linzy [00:06:36] So there’s one right way which is like superior, like in that too, I would hear that there’s like a superior or an inferior. You have to be on the right side. You have to be doing it right. 

Dena [00:06:45] And yes. And those things include being focused on the written word rather than the spoken word. And so when we look at our practices and we all have to write notes, that’s one of the ways that white supremacy culture comes into therapy practice, because we get in trouble if we don’t write notes. I can’t just tell you what happened. That’s not right. I can write an email to somebody. That’s a legitimate way of communicating. But, you know, they can say, Oh, I didn’t get your phone call. And that might not be legitimate. So there’s ways that it impacts us in ways that we don’t even think of. 

Linzy [00:07:18] Oh, sure. Yeah, of course. Right. So this kind of, like, rigid, right. You know, that is steeped all throughout our culture that, like, you could do things either the right way or the wrong way. I mean, obviously, you can show up in so many ways in our lives. And in terms of money, like for you, it shouldn’t be like over systems checking. Fear of doing it wrong. Right. Like needing to have that. It sounds like to me – I’m making these motions that nobody can see because this is a podcast, but I’m like, clenching my hands tight, like you need to have rein on it, you need to have control. 

Dena [00:07:51] Tight. Yes. 

Linzy [00:07:52] Yeah. So I’m curious for you Dena, like you had mentioned that money skills was part of your unwinding of that. But I’m curious, what have been your your turning points in starting to let go of that perfectionism in your relationship with money? 

Dena [00:08:06] Yeah. So I think after doing money skills and getting some actual skills for doing money in a different way, the fear, the fear decreased quite a bit. And I was able to say, okay, I can do this without magical thinking. I can do this by asking for help and having other people involved in my business. I went on to some other coaching and then life happened and last September I was diagnosed with breast cancer and things just sort of were out of my control. And I finally just had to say, I’m not in charge here as much as I want to be, and that’s okay. How do I be okay with rolling with things as they come, having a looser – you’re doing the tightening grip – and I’m like, how do I have a looser grip on the things and still be motivated and moving forward and doing good work and all of those things and have a looser grip on it because I’m really not in control. I’m not in charge here. So it was a quite a journey of coming to that realization. It’s okay. I can be okay and not be perfect. 

Linzy [00:09:13] Yeah. And I mean, I think that in some ways that’s the ultimate wake up call when we’re faced with our own mortality. Because I certainly know for myself, like I’ve seen other folks go through experiences that, you know, like I try to remember it and inform, but it’s so different to have an embodied experience of like coming up against your own mortality and like, I’m hearing for you, this like loosening, like control is kind of an illusion. 

Dena [00:09:36] So much an illusion. 

Linzy [00:09:37] And you know, at the same time balancing with not being, like, powerless and like it’s happening – everything’s happening to you. And I’m curious, like, for you, is there like an image? You’re like, how do you understand kind of where you’ve come to rest with that loosening or letting go? How do you think about that? 

Dena [00:09:55] Yeah, I really feel like I’m going to go back to the word connected and disconnected and really say that letting myself be vulnerable in ways that I never expected to, letting go of that perfectionism, of the image of who I wanted to people to see me as, has really let me connect much more deeply with people and let them help me carry things which I never expected either. There’s part of that perfectionism and that toxic independence that we do and that those of us in solo practice we tend to do because that’s why we’re in solo practice, because I don’t work for somebody else, right? So like letting other people in and to see the vulnerability and to realize that people care about you not in spite of your vulnerabilities, but because you’re vulnerable, was a big shift for me. 

Linzy [00:10:50] Absolutely. I mean, there is – and I could be like totally misquoting this, but I, I had a client once who told me this story about the Benjamin Franklin effect. I’m going to tell the story now then I’m gonna ask the internet later and we’ll see if it’s real. But it is this idea. It’s kind of like the story, like Benjamin Franklin was this very like respected, learned man, you know, like kind of very accomplished in his community that he lived in. And he had like a little bit of like a nemesis who was the other respected learned in town. Right. And like they weren’t friends. Like, they they did not get along and they probably like, had ego clashes because they each thought of themselves as, you know, extremely distinguished. And Benjamin Franklin had this incredible library. And this other man also had an incredible library, but this other man had a book that Benjamin Franklin didn’t have. And so he asked the other man if he could borrow this book. Right. Which was this real kind of like having to put a side of these airs and like is a vulnerable act. Ask if he could use something so valuable that this other person had. And the other man lent him the book and ultimately they became friends over that exchange because people want to help you and they want to know you and they want to – like our vulnerabilities are so much closer to the core of who we are than that polished like in parts work you would be talking about managers right then that manager presentation that like perfect put together like armor that we wear. And I think a lot of people are hungry to connect with us as individuals in ways that we don’t let them do when like, I’ve got this under control. I got it. And we’re not letting them connect with us as humans or help us. I think that there’s there’s a lot of beauty that comes from when we do. 

Dena [00:12:37] Yeah. Share the vulnerability and it gives people permission to be vulnerable in return. And when we’re aloof and then people shut down, that’s not what we’re trying to do. 

Linzy [00:12:47] I’m curious with you then, with the money piece of it. What does it look like now? Like what’s different now that you have gone through this experience of breast cancer diagnosis and you have shared with me before we started recording that you are stable and everything’s… 

Dena [00:13:05] Yeah. Seems to be good right now and so that’s that’s been a coming back around. So when I was going through treatment I had radiation and it when everything kicked off, I was working a lot less. And so some of that fear came back and, and it wasn’t an imaginary oh I don’t – scarcity fear. It was actually legit. Do I have enough money here. 

Linzy [00:13:28] Where there is a real number. 

Dena [00:13:29] Right. Yeah, it’s a real number. So I was able to share that with the people close to me and talk with my wife about it in a way that was very different than I would have. Much more honestly and much more directly than I would have in the past. And get some support around it and recognize that I don’t have to do it alone, that I don’t have to be the only one. So again, that connection and disconnection, I did not go through it alone and that was a huge shift for me. I would have just bottled it up and kept it inside and strong and stoic. And I don’t want to be that. 

Linzy [00:14:06] Yeah, it’s exhausting and it’s lonely. 

Dena [00:14:08] And lonely. Yeah,. 

Linzy [00:14:10] Yeah, yeah. So it sounds like in some ways what I’m hearing is like you, you let go of this being a project that you always have to do well. 

Dena [00:14:17] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:14:18] Like financial responsibility that you take it on your own shoulders. And what has it been like in your relationship to, at least for that time, having kind of shared that vulnerability and like maybe pooled responsibility more or whatever that. 

Dena [00:14:32] Yeah, it’s been really huge and being able to talk openly has been really shifting in how we do a lot of things in our relationship and get through a lot of difficult things. We have intentional conversations, not just conversations about money or about household tasks or things that need to be done. We can be much more direct with each other and I have come to believe that I’m supported and that I don’t have to be out there on my own. And and that’s a big shift for me individually. That’s big change. That I can be helped, that people can help me, and it’s okay. 

Linzy [00:15:12] Yeah. And I think that makes you think about how even so often, like in partnership, whether it’s marriage or dating partnership or in, like in families, so often we perfectionism does keep us like alone and separate, even though there are people that like we’ve literally legally combined our situation. 

Dena [00:15:29] Yes. 

Linzy [00:15:30] How much we can still be alone in that when we are like in that I need to take care of myself in more of that like rigid independence. I’ve got this space now. There’s a missed opportunity for connection. Yeah. Even with that on paper, it would be awesome that we are connected about this. And of course we feel supported by our spouse. 

Dena [00:15:49] And I feel like that toxic independance goes right back to the systems of oppression that we face. Yeah, patriarchy, capitalism. Last time we talked, we talked a lot about capitalism. I still haven’t found a workaround for capitalism. I think it’s really hard and white supremacy for those of us who are people of color, like all of this creates a trauma that we respond to and that toxic independence is a trauma response. And when we start to heal that, we realize we don’t have to be so independent. So. 

Linzy [00:16:22] I mean, thinking about what the alternative looks like, right? Perfectionism kind of puts us in this like tight little box. Whatever your specific narrative of what perfect is semantically, it just feels very tight, right. And rigid. I’m curious, Dena, from your experience, how do we break out of that box? What does it look like to live differently? 

Dena [00:16:44] That’s a really good question. I think we need to have a vision. I always say to clients, we need to have – we need to know where we’re going in order to get there. Otherwise we’re just going somewhere. And I think about the word expansiveness keeps coming to me as I think about what’s the opposite of perfectionism. And expansiveness includes so much bigness and being out there and risk and reward and connection. Another word that comes to me is emergence. As as we emerge, I think about the the most basic therapy metaphor, which is the butterfly in the cocoon. I feel like for the last year I feel like I’ve been in the cocoon, right? I moved from the larva stage and now I’m in the cocoon and it’s messy and gross and icky. And then you emerge and you become another stage, another thing, another vision of yourself and all the time being who you are. So I think about those two words emergence, and it kind of just goes against perfectionism, thinking about getting bigger and taking more space and getting more. 

Linzy [00:17:56] And something that comes to mind with me. To me, when you talk about like expansiveness into your space, which are like currently pet topics of mine that I think and talk about a lot because it’s been my own kind of journey and work that I’ve been doing the last couple years. This is also being imperfect in front of people, not having this like polished specific presentation, but almost like trying different stuff and seeing what lands and seeing what, you know, if it’s in your business, then it’s like seeing what attracts the right people to you. Like, what are your people getting excited about? And just like trying a bunch of stuff and seeing like how to call them your people. And that means that a lot of times you do things that don’t land or that you’re like, Wow, that wasn’t it good.  

Dena [00:18:38] That wasn’t quite right. Yeah

Linzy [00:18:39] Yeah. And like, I know in my business sometimes it’s like trying something and they’re like, okay, I can see why that works for this other person, but it doesn’t work for me because of this. But I only know that because I’ve tried, right? I’ve only know it because I did it in front of a lot of people. I recently launched a level two mastermind and you and I have masterminded together before and I’ve kind of shifted and added some curriculum and then I launched it. I was like, Okay, let’s go. And I launched it and I called it CFO School and the email went out and my gut was just like, that wasn’t it. So then I pivoted in front of several hundred people and said, Actually, that is not the name of the program. Yeah, this is the new name. It’s Money Boss Mastermind. But it’s like I actually had to say it in front of several hundred people to realize, Oh, that didn’t sound right. And nothing bad happened.  

Dena [00:19:26] No. The world didn’t swallow you up. 

Linzy [00:19:28] Nobody swallowed me up. Nobody was like, I’m embarrassed and I can’t believe you. Nothing. In fact, it only called in my people more. And I had folks who were thinking about the mastermind saying the fact that I’ve just seen you pivot in front of all these people just makes me even more want to take the mastermind because I was – not consciously but actually like demonstrating being vulnerable and and shifting in front of a whole bunch of people and not pretending that I have it all figured out and it felt fine. Yeah, it was actually not as hard because I think I’m getting used to it. 

Dena [00:20:00] Yes, something about exposure. 

Linzy [00:20:03] It’s that exposure. And when you have to look and realize, oh, I’ve done this so many times and literally nothing bad has happened, it’s like maybe I’ve gotten a couple of emails from men who were like, you know, not everybody is a woman. And I’m like, Goodbye Sir. Thank you so much, you know, you don’t belong on my email list. But that’s literally the worst thing that’s happened is I’ve upset somebody who is like, What about me? So yeah. 

Dena [00:20:28] Which is a sort of patriarchal response. Let’s call that out. 

Linzy [00:20:31] 150,000%. And that’s something I’ve even learned about it with my team is like, now we’re very good at spotting that and being like, No, we’re not even remotely going to spend any of our precious human energy on – what would the word be… humoring a conversation we now know we just like shut that right down. No, give it no more of my precious energy and and move along. 

Dena [00:20:51] So so here’s the other thing that that’s making me think of is what you’re saying is that there really isn’t a connection between perfectionism and excellence. We think that there is. If I’m perfect, I’ll be excellent. Yeah, but here you demonstrated how to be not perfect and excellent, and you filled your program. And people are going to benefit so much from what you have to give them. 

Linzy [00:21:16] And that’s an excellent distinction. Thank you. And I remember actually, like, a would-be therapy exercise that I had working with somebody who had perfectionism talking about that distinction. But I think that’s a really clear illustration of it is it’s like when we are in that tight space with our money or with our businesses and with our branding, we do think that making it perfect makes it excellent. And as you say, that’s absolutely not what it is, because I think excellence is like authenticity. It’s stumbling and letting other people see that you too stumble, right? Like the people who want to work with you want you with all of your humanness, because they’re coming to you in all their humanness. And if you’re asking them to do vulnerable work with you, it’s not fair to do that from this polished like that. That’s not what you call it. But that almost seems like more of an authoritative relationship where I get to the perfect and you have to be messy. 

Dena [00:22:06] Exactly. The power dynamic that that sets up is really ugly and really, really goes towards replicating all of the problems that we’re talking about.  

Linzy [00:22:19] So I’m curious because you are launching a program yourself. 

Dena [00:22:23] I mean, talk about scary. 

Linzy [00:22:27] So I’m curious, can you speak to your experiences of like putting yourself out there and like being expansive as someone who’s been more used to being perfectionistic in your life? 

Dena [00:22:36] Yeah, it is a big shift. And I said to somebody the other day, I’m like, it’s nerve-citing. So it’s nervous and so exciting both at the same time. Yeah. And you really do. You put yourself out there. And this is a thing that I’ve been working on for a long time and I’ve been planning for for a long time and goes with so much of my personal work, my professional work, and now my academic work that I’m doing. And the fear is, Well, what if people think I’m wrong? What if people think I’m full of it? What if people don’t? What if I am too vulnerable and people don’t see my authority in this? All those questions come up. That question of who am I to do this? And again, going back to the mastermind group that I’m in right now and how those folks have supported me and encouraged and helped me see that perfectionism isn’t going to get me there and that being vulnerable, being authentic. One of the things that’s been really helpful in those groups is identifying things that are going right and reflecting that rather than the things that are going wrong. Hey, you failed in this doesn’t encourage anybody, doesn’t make anybody more expansive or bigger. And connecting really does. And this is key. Yeah, this feels crummy. And look at this great thing you did. This is really helpful. 

Linzy [00:23:59] Because I do think that, too, when we have been perfectionistic in nature and certainly has been my story for most of my life, you amplify that thing that didn’t work work. You miss all the amazing things you’ve accomplished, whether it’s, you know, finances. You miss the fact that you’re actually making more money than, like, literally ever before. 

Dena [00:24:15] Than you think you are. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:24:18] You know, or like you, you’re working less, but you’re making the same, like, whatever those – and this is what I tell my students in Money Skills For Therapists – is sometimes it’s like if you have that tendency, you will find the number on your spreadsheet that’s the one you don’t like because that’s always going to be in the mix somewhere, right? And you’re going to miss the 14 numbers that are telling you an amazing story. And it sounds like what you’re getting in the mastermind. I think the beauty of masterminds and what I’m so excited to be running my mastermind that just started is like you do get that real in-depth support for folks to like really reflect to you like, okay, you know, I’m hearing this, but also I know that the da da da da da. And they do know several months of you like kicking ass that you’ve just overlooked to focus on this, like micro thing that didn’t go how you want it. 

Dena [00:25:00] Right and builds that connection. I don’t think we can understate how much how important that is connecting to people. 

Linzy [00:25:07] Absolutely. So, Dena, for folks who are curious about your program, can you tell us about your program that you’re launching? 

Dena [00:25:16] I’m so excited. I’m calling it The Anti Oppressive Therapist and it’s a six-week introductory course to help – white therapists are my target audience right now – who are struggling with becoming more anti oppressive. So we know that we do, you know, our 3 hours of cultural competency every two years. And we know that that’s just not enough. We know that we’re struggling with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, all the things. And we don’t know how to do it in our sessions with our clients. We don’t know how to talk to our colleagues and coworkers about it. And we’re scared. We don’t want to get it wrong and we don’t want to hurt people. And we realized that we don’t know. So this is a place where we’re going to do a little bit of education. We’re going to do a whole lot of talking and a whole lot of community making. That’s really part of my big goal is that we do create a community of people who can really talk about hard topics with each other in a safe, nonjudgmental. All the things that we want to find place but really push each other like what’s okay and what’s not and be able to call each other on things that are hard in ways that feel gentle and kind. But we still have the hard conversations, so that’s what I’m hoping to create and I’m really excited about it. 

Linzy [00:26:36] I mean, it really does make you think about the statements you made as we’ve been talking today about like vulnerability and connection, it really fosters ways to be vulnerable, which sometimes means getting called in on shit, having things reflected back to you that maybe you don’t want to see, but doing that in community, which allows everybody – everybody’s doing that, right. And everybody is going to be connecting and supporting each other through this. Just learning. 

Dena [00:27:00] Yeah, yeah. Yep. That’s the goal. I’m super excited. 

Linzy [00:27:03] I’m so excited. I know. I, I feel like I’ve known about this program since it was a little seed. 

Dena [00:27:08] You did. 

Linzy [00:27:09] I’m excited to see it coming to fruition. So, Dena, for folks who are listening, they might be listening like, you know, soon with your first round, but they also might be listening in the future when you’re on subsequent rounds. So where’s the best place for them to follow you and hear about The Anti Oppressive Therapist when it opens next? 

Dena [00:27:25] Probably my website will be the easiest thing: DenaOmar.com. All the information for this round is there and I will keep it updated when I do subsequent rounds for the program and then when I expand, you’ll be able to find info there as things grow. 

Linzy [00:27:41] So, DenaOmar.com and we’ll put that in the show notes so it’s easy for folks to click over and get into your world. Thank you so much, Dena, for having this conversation today. It’s so lovely to have you on again and I’m so excited about your program and so excited for the folks who are going to get the privilege of learning from you. 

Dena [00:27:58] Thank you, Linzy. I really appreciate being here. 

Linzy [00:28:14] I so appreciated Dena’s vulnerability in sharing their experience with having their cancer diagnosis and what that forced them to do in terms of how they were managing money and thinking about money both in their business and in their marriage. And I just so appreciated their insights about connection and vulnerability and how perfection, as much as it makes us feel safe, and especially with numbers, it’s so easy to live in this space of like if I have control, if I understand the numbers, and if you’re someone who who leans this way with your anxiety towards money, you know exactly what I’m talking about of checking the numbers like Dena was talking about, rolling out of bed, checking the numbers, looking at your spreadsheet, checking your numbers again and again, making them line up, trying to be perfect. How that tightness actually blocks us from so many things, including connection and getting to share what’s really happening for us, or share the responsibility with the people in our lives and realize that we’re not actually alone and we don’t have to always do everything by ourselves. Even if financially, you have to make things work by yourself emotionally. You can invite people in to that space with you, and you don’t have to do the emotional work of money all by yourself. So, so appreciate Dena and everything that they brought the table to the table today. If you’re listening to this podcast, when it first comes out, I will say that you do actually have the chance to jump into Dena’s very first cohort of The Anti Oppressive Therapist, and I would definitely recommend that you check it out. The link is going to be in the show notes: DenaOmar.com. You can go take a look and have that opportunity to be in their beta course with them. It’s always such a rich experience being in somebody’s beta course, because they’re really building that course with you as they go. Obviously, they’re an expert and they know what they’re doing, but also you get to really be part of the creation of that course. It’s going to be built for you and with you. So check that out. And if you’re listening to this podcast a little later, you can still check them out and see when The Anti Oppressive Therapist will be offered next. If you are enjoying the podcast, check me out on Instagram. You can follow me there for free practical and emotional content about money and private practice at @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, head over to Apple Podcasts and please leave me a review. I know you probably hear me say that every time if you listen to the very end of the podcast. But I really am asking you to do that because that really is the best way for other therapists who would benefit from these conversations about money 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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Creating Work-Life Balance in Private Practice Coaching Session

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Creating Work-Life Balance in Private Practice Coaching Session

“There is this idea of making your life more compelling than work so that your life is actually more interesting and richer and more fulfilling than the work that you’re doing. So, for you, to have a life that you really enjoy, what are some of the minimums? What are some of the boundaries that you would need to have in place?”

~Linzy Bonham

Meet Darya Zuychenko

Darya is an acupuncturist, massage therapist, and osteopath (thesis candidate) from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She’s a current student in Money Skills For Therapists and absolutely loves learning and talking about money in such a realistic but also emotionally conscious way. Darya owns a clinical practice, and has an employee working with her, so having good boundaries around business finances is something that was missing from her life before taking the Money Skills course.


In This Episode…

Do you struggle with balancing your work with your life outside of work? Is setting your schedule up in a way that works for both you and your clients a challenge? Linzy and Darya dig into the importance of prioritizing not only our clients’ needs but also our own needs in order to maintain balance and to prevent burnout.

Listen to Linzy and Darya explore how to establish what Darya’s work schedule should look like in order to reach both her financial goals and her personal goals of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Want more support with your private practice finances?

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

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

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:04] There’s this idea of, like, making your life more compelling than work, right? So that your life is actually more interesting and richer and more fulfilling than the work that you’re doing. So for you to have a life that you really enjoy, what are some of the minimums? What are some of the boundaries that you would need to have in place? 

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 practices 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 we have a coaching episode with Darya Zuychenko. Darya is actually a student at Money Skills For Therapists who has paused her time in the course. You’ll hear us refer to that in our conversation. She got a month in, life got a little bit too much to get the benefit of the course, so she’s kind of one month in to her time in Money Skills For Therapists and now, a year later, we’re doing this recording together. She is an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and on the road to become an osteopath. And is a clinic owner in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Today, we dig into that kind of classic question of work-life balance, getting into the nitty gritty of how to balance her clients and their specific needs, which can be around, you know, pain and injury and how she balances their needs for treatment with her own needs. But we also spend quite a bit of time exploring what her needs are. Something that we really got into in this conversation is not just kind of a straight, easy idea of work life balance, but starting to understand boundaries. What are her hard boundaries around things? Where does she have some flexibility? What are the things she’s absolutely not willing to compromise on, but also how to make life interesting and compelling enough that she doesn’t want to work. And that’s just something that I see can be a struggle for so many of us as therapists, practitioners, whether we’re manual practitioners or mental health practitioners, is we love our work and we love serving the people that we love. And we have a passion for the healing that we help people do. And it’s very easy for that to start to bleed into our life and take up our time and start to say yes to all sorts of folks. That means that we kind of spend our life working, which is easy to happen, and bend our boundaries a lot because it’s so compelling to work with folks. So we dig into, as well, how to make life more compelling than work so that you don’t just want to work all the time. So if you struggle with saying no to clients or finding balance, this is a great episode for you. Here’s my coaching session with Darya. Darya, welcome to the podcast. 

Darya [00:03:11] Hi, Linzy. Thank you so much for having me today. 

Linzy [00:03:13] So it is a super pleasure to talk with you again. We were just chatting off mic and saying how you started Money Skills For Therapists a year ago and you took a little pause and you’re about to jump back in, which is like so exciting because it’s been really exciting so far to support you in Money Skills For Therapists. And now we get to have this extra side conversation now for the podcast. 

Darya [00:03:33] Absolutely. Yes. And yeah. And it’s a perfect, perfect time. I just this morning basically finished the process that I took the hiatus for. Yeah. And I can actually dedicate the appropriate amount of time and mental energy to it. 

Linzy [00:03:47] Love it. Right thing at the right time. I’m a huge believer. So I’m glad you’re coming back at a good time and let’s start to dig into what you want support with today on our coaching podcast session. So what do you want to have more clarity on by the end of our conversation today? 

Darya [00:04:02] So I think there’s two big two questions that I’m working with right now, both with getting back into the course and as well as what to do with my general practice. And so they kind of work with each other and really the big questions are how to achieve a work life balance without really falling into one category or the other. So without sort of achieving that, ‘I’ll take a 3-day weekend’ all the time. And as well as feeling comfortable with the amount of money that comes in with those – of course – patient fluctuations. 

Linzy [00:04:35] Yes. Okay. 

Darya [00:04:37] Our jobs aren’t typically salary, but we can expect a certain amount of income. So how to work with those highs and lows. Oh, and the other question which is going to be how to deal with that kind of perfectionism, both working with things that you can control and kind of just accept the things that you can’t, and find comfort that eventually it’ll work out. 

Linzy [00:04:59] Yeah, and it sounds like these things might go together a little bit from what you’re saying, wanting to figure out maybe that perfect balance. So let’s start with that work life balance. That’s kind of like the phrase about it, right? Work life balance piece. So I guess my first question is, what are you noticing is happening with that now? Or if it’s not happening now, what do you worry is going to happen? Kind of what’s the problem for you at this moment? 

Darya [00:05:21] For sure. So I have recently chosen to take a very, very flexible schedule in day-to-day life. I noticed that at least at this point in my career having set time, say Monday mornings, wasn’t necessarily fulfilling all the gaps that I knew that other people needed. But I also didn’t want to take every single evening and work. So at the moment I guess am totally fluctuating. If someone needs an evening appointment and I already have someone in a slot and the evening’s already taken for work time, then I add them in there and that’s great, or not. So what I’m noticing happens is that I am noticing I’m building blocks of those times that already exist and then just expanding them to you know an amount of patients are not really comfortable treating in a day like that I give them as much as they can and then sometimes having that fluctuation of one today but nine tomorrow isn’t a great balance. 

Linzy [00:06:13] No. Okay. So yeah, so in that quest for flexibility for your clients, you’re actually ending up kind of packing some days and then other days are quiet. So you’re, you’re lacking kind of day to day balance, even in just your client load. 

Darya [00:06:23] Exactly. And with coming out of the pandemic, just finished from school and finally no longer paying tuition, all those things. I find it very hard for me to say no to that money that’s about to come in for that hour. And, you know, it’s a challenge to be like, no, no, I’ll set my own boundary for that. I’m going to try to see someone in the following week, whereas I know that I can do it. It’s just that, what’s healthy for me, and I think that’s the struggle that I’m finding. 

Linzy [00:06:49] Yes, because I mean, in terms of a starting point, it’s kind of like, in a way, if we started at the ideal and worked backwards. My question for you – and this is a gut question and I think for context, Darya, for folks listening, tell folks about the type of work that you do, because that’s also, I think, part of this equation. What is the type of work that you do? 

Darya [00:07:05] Absolutely. So right now, I work as a registered therapist, registered acupuncturist, and this morning I actually finished my case report thesis for osteopathy. So again, it’s a manual therapy-based thing. So it’s fairly physically demanding and I have to be very mentally, emotionally and physically present for people. 

Linzy [00:07:26] Yes. Okay, that’s important context because it’s, I mean, for for mental health therapists, we know what the limits are in terms of our like emotional limits of the day. You feel the difference in that first session when you’re like fresh ready to go. And that last one when you’re like, I’m not really – this is not the best me. And so you’re going to have versions of that too. But yours also involves your physical body and the physical effort. Okay. So I’m going to ask you a question that’s very much I want a gut answer from you, and that is, what is your ideal amount of clients to see in one day? 

Darya [00:07:52] Five. 

Linzy [00:07:52] Five is great. Okay. And why? How do you know five is great? 

Darya [00:07:55] Because I know that when I have four, I’m like, that was great, but it feels like an easier day. 

Linzy [00:08:00] That’s a light day? Okay. 

Darya [00:08:02] Yep. And I definitely know that six, with the cleaning breaks with of course cleaning protocols, all those things with that half an hour gap of charting and everything else. Six people in a day really works out to being about between 8 to 9 hours. I know that that’s quite a bit. 

Linzy [00:08:16] That’s a long day. 

Darya [00:08:16] And so I think five was tends to be a sweet spot.  

Linzy [00:08:20] So five is your sweet spot and then what is your ideal amount of clients in a week? 

Darya [00:08:25] Probably between 20 and 25. 

Linzy [00:08:27] So 20 to 25. So I mean, just very quickly, if we mapped that out, you know, 20 to 25, that would be 4 to 5 days of like five client days. 

Darya [00:08:36] Yes. 

Linzy [00:08:37] Would kind of be like that ideal scenario if everybody lines up well. Okay. Okay. And in terms of the finances, from what you know of your financial picture. Financially, is that a sweet spot for you or are you able to get it by on a little bit less? Do you need a little bit more? 

Darya [00:08:53] In a perfect world, where all bills are covered for both myself, all bills are covered for the clinic, there’s ability to save any kind of investments, whether I want the machine to perform or to hire on someone to do some work, or whatever. Ideally, probably I would say 30. But I also think, if I’m being really honest, I think that the 30 is more of not to hit rough boundaries. And I think that 30 is like a very comfortable surplus versus I think it’s doable at 25, just a little bit more tension. 

Linzy [00:09:23] Right. Okay. So 30 would give you lots, but 25 would probably give you enough. 

Darya [00:09:26] Yes. 

Linzy [00:09:27] Yes. Okay. Okay. So, I mean, the number 25 has now come up twice. So that seems to be like a good indicator of it’s within your range of your sweet spot. It’s kind of the outer edge of your treatment sweet spot. And financially it also ticks a box in terms of being probably enough for a given week. So that 25, Darya, I’m curious right now, how close are you to hitting that 25 a week, even though people are distributed differently? How close are you to that? 

Darya [00:09:51] I’m actually I’m pretty good. I’m about 20 to 25, actually.  

Linzy [00:09:58] Great. Okay. So it’s not that you don’t have enough folks to fill those spots, maybe, but you’re moving them around. 

Darya [00:10:04] Yes. 

Linzy [00:10:06] Okay. Yes. Okay. 

Darya [00:10:08] If I’ve got a whole family of four people that just dropped off, that I’m not going to see for few weeks. 

Linzy [00:10:12] Yes. 

Darya [00:10:13] They’re gone for a little while. 

Linzy [00:10:15] You mean because they have COVID. 

Darya [00:10:16] Yes. Exactly.

[00:10:16] Yes. We’re at that phase of the pandemic where everybody’s just getting it now. Okay. So, yeah. And this is what I’m hearing and curious about is like it seems like there’s a bit of scarcity fear, right. Which is leading you to be very flexible with your schedule where you’re like, I’ll just stack them in after that other person who’s already kind of later in the day and all. So you’re really like piling folks in where you can fit them into your schedule. Tell me more about the thoughts that come up when you think about just having spots and saying to folks, you know, I don’t I have this Monday morning spot or we’re looking at like next Thursday. 

Darya [00:10:47] It definitely brings up a fear of like, if they can’t wait until next Thursday, then, you know, will they find someone else? Will they try to book in to different therapists? And if that brings them relief, that’s awesome, but also, I think part of the fear as well is that if that therapy isn’t what they need and now they’ve potentially gone and started looking for treatment, that may not be necessarily what they’re expecting or what they’re hoping and then potentially having to address that the next time that they come in. Yeah, I think that’s a that’s an issue. 

Linzy [00:11:15] And tell me, why is that an issue? Like, what does that mean if they do see someone else and it’s not the right course of treatment? 

Darya [00:11:19] I think particularly with people that have really, really chronic pain or really chronic conditions, where we sort of manage it as much as we can in day to day life rather than the acute, you know, sprained ankle kind of thing. Often people, again, coming out of the pandemic with different mental health concerns if they’re sort of butting up against not having hope for treatment or if – depending on the therapist – if they’re not listened to very, very well, and not really taken in as the individual coming with the problem, rather than just the problem itself. Yeah. I just worry about them not having a great, healthy experience, especially if they reach out to me and I sort of put my needs at that moment before theirs. 

Linzy [00:11:58] So I’m hearing, you know, like a lot of care for the folks that you support and a lot of maybe like a sense of responsibility of making sure that they have the right type of treatment, that, you know, you’re providing them available when they need it and protecting them from maybe having a bad experience somewhere else. 

Darya [00:12:13] Totally. Or referring them to specific people that I have seen or I have experienced that I know that they’re great and other people have, you know, resonated with that experience and say, yes, this was what I was expecting. This was – this helped or it didn’t, but for expected reasons, rather than like, you know, coming in and not being heard, not being seen or being cared for. 

Linzy [00:12:34] Right. Okay. Okay. So that kind of sense of responsibility for your clients, that care that you have, that like ‘want to make sure their needs are met’, I’m hearing like that’s kind of over here, and that seems like that’s part of the driving force of wanting to make sure that you get them in. Right, because you want to make sure that they’re getting the treatment they need. On the other side is kind of the situation you’re ending up in, which is having lots of folks piled into a day. So tell me about that side of it. What’s it like for you if you do treat nine folks in a day? 

Darya [00:13:00] It’s a funny balance at that moment because when I look at it in the morning, like, it feels very overwhelming, like prep for like a marathon day. Right. You bring your snacks. You bring your-

Linzy [00:13:12] Yes. 

Darya [00:13:12] You make sure that there’s coffee somewhere in the building. But it’s also one of those things when you’re like really on a roll, like, it’s okay. Like you’re just going from one thing to another and it feels like you’re really in the zone, which is good. 

Linzy [00:13:25] Totally. 

Darya [00:13:26] It’s not really being in that day that’s the challenge. I think it’s the desire of, will I have enough energy for that day? You know, like if it’s on a Monday and I’m looking at my schedule and I see Thursday is absolutely slammed, it’s kind of that lead up anxiety of, ‘it’s a big day’, will I have a good sleep the day before?

Darya [00:13:42] Yeah. 

Darya [00:13:43] Are the people that are coming in coming in with things that I’m already expecting to treat them with? Like, you know, you have the people that come in for typically a standard issue that you’re working with and you’re not really ready for a curveball to be thrown. So I feel like it’s also an issue of what to expect in that day and that anxiety that, if something goes totally off the rails, how is the rest of the day? 

Linzy [00:14:04] Yeah, because that day is kind of like an event. 

Linzy [00:14:06] Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. 

Linzy [00:14:10] So, I mean, with that, I guess one question is kind of like, what is the cost of that event to you? Like, are you able to do that more than once a week? Is once a week okay? Like what happens? How are you after that kind of day? 

Darya [00:14:25] I feel like I recover pretty well? Like I don’t feel like the next day is really affected. Like, as you know, I have good food in the evening. I have a good sleep. I do some wind down stuff like that. I think it’s more – and this is I feel quite unrelated to work actually, I feel like it’s my own life aspect of this of, you know, it’s becoming slightly nicer weather. I’ve just come out of this this period of time of just being in school for like ten years and writing this thing and all that stuff where I’m finally beginning to understand the freedom of being an adult. 

Linzy [00:14:56] Yes. No longer a student. That’s nice. 

Darya [00:14:59] Exactly. Yes. Yes. The freedom of just working rather than being in school and everything else. And I think those days, while they’re great and and I do feel awesome that I was able to help some people or at least put them on the right track for something else. Those are days that feel like they’re not mine. Like I don’t feel like I’m getting anything done for me in that. And so it gives me a bit of stress that the following day, that I have to accomplish the mandatory adult things, right? Whether it’s dishes or laundry or whatever, as well as self-care things if I want to read or draw or write. 

Linzy [00:15:32] Yeah, because it almost seems like that day, and I don’t know if this language will resonate with you, but it’s kind of like you didn’t exist in your own life that day. 

Darya [00:15:38] That’s exactly it. Yes. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:15:40] And so with that, like, I mean, there’s a couple of ways that we can think about this. We can construct your ideal. Right, and think about like, what would it take for you to like hold to your ideal? And how do you also work in things like emergency spots for folks who might be in pain? That’s always an option. So we’ll come to that in a second. But the other thing that I think about is understanding kind of like your flexible boundaries versus your hard boundaries. Like where can you flex for clients? Because maybe they are really in pain and you do need to be fit in. And I had a discussion with my own osteopath about this, actually talking about business and osteopathy. And like when you have that person who’s like your star client who also send you all their friends, and they’re in terrible pain. You say yes to them, you make it work. You show up on Saturday morning, right? Like it’s understanding that this is a relationship. And also as a business, you want to be taking really good care of the folks who are your kind of star clients, but at the same time, saying like, where’s your hard stop? Where you’re like, okay, now I’m costing myself something that I’m not willing to give up. 

Darya [00:16:39] That’s actually a really great point. Yeah. And I don’t think I possibly just aware enough of where that actual effect for for me. 

Linzy [00:16:49] Yeah. And that’s something that I encourage you to start to be curious about. Curiosity is like my one of my things. Is starting to just be curious and notice like, okay, I had one nine-client day this week and I didn’t feel like I exist in my own life. And it was kind of like an event, but it also felt good in its own way. And then just start to notice like, how did I feel the next day? How did I feel the day after that? Would I be able to do that again in the same week, or is that a boundary? Is that like something that I can do one day a week while in practice building? I’ll push myself, but no more than that, right? Starting to be curious about like where those hard lines are, where it’s like, okay, I might overextend myself one day a week, but that’s it. Right. And I’m curious, as you’re hearing me talk about it, do you have any kind of numbers or conditions rise up that, you know, is like a hard boundary? Where it’s like no more than X? 

Darya [00:17:37] Yes, I would definitely say – it’s funny, actually, what comes up is that it’s a boundary of the ratio of acupuncture and/or osteo style treatments that I do. 

Linzy [00:17:49] That make sense. 

Darya [00:17:51] Like possible Swedish massage that I would do. 

Linzy [00:17:54] Yes. 

Darya [00:17:55] I know that a day of like 8 pure massage therapy treatments in a row, I don’t think is very great for my hands, for long term or even for just a day. 

Linzy [00:18:04] I bet not. Yeah. 

Darya [00:18:05] I think I can have a really good balance. I feel comfortable that if I had an acupuncture, an osteo, and a massage, and then a massage, and then a couple acupunctures, like it would give me enough break in the day and variety for my brain not to kind of get into just to look at everyone’s diaphragm, for example, whether or not that’s what they’re coming in for, but not to get biased, I find it and just kind of go with the thing that’s been the theme of the day. 

Linzy [00:18:29] Okay. So it sounds like some variety. 

Darya [00:18:32] Yes. Variety is good. 

Linzy [00:18:33] Okay. And so that’s something that I would encourage you to sit down and almost write out for yourself. When I say almost write out, I mean actually. Write. In a day, what is your limit of, like Swedish style massage that you do? You know, how many of those are you willing to do a day before it’s like, nope, this is not worth it for my hands. This is not going to be sustainable for my career. This is where I draw the line. What is kind of an ideal mix that you’re trying to accomplish that you can keep in mind as you’re scheduling folks in, to construct days that meet your needs to as you go. 

Darya [00:19:04] Right. 

Linzy [00:19:04] And then the other idea that we had just talked about for a second here is this idea of emergency spots. Do you have any system like that right now in your practice? 

Darya [00:19:13] That’s the day of the nine. 

Linzy [00:19:19] That’s a long emergency. 

Darya [00:19:20] Yes. That was the original day of like seven. And then the one person who’s like trying to go into labor can you induce me? Sure I can, come in at nine. No big deal. And then the person who’s like, I need to drive wherever and I can’t move my neck. 7:30 it is. And that’s how you end up with a big day. So I think it’s not a great strategy. Something that I did think of when you said that about the boundary, I also wonder – when we started this conversation, it was about how many are comfortable in a week – and I think maybe having a boundary for a week. 

Linzy [00:19:50] Mm hmm. Yeah. 

Darya [00:19:51] Is also helpful idea. Not to freak out if I only see two people on Monday and not to be concerned that that’s going to be the rest of the week with that variety and flexibility. If I am within a comfortable zone, I think of meeting my weekly goal, I think I might be a little bit more comfortable as well, saying like, how acute is this? Is this something that has to be dealt with today? Can I maybe talk to someone home care, something about it, whether it’s a stretch, whether it’s icing, whether it’s a certain technique that they can do at home. Kind of let them chill out for a couple of days. So maybe even having it like a weekly goal. 

Linzy [00:20:26] Yeah. Because within a week, it can kind of balance itself out if you have some quieter days, like if you’re a busy day at the beginning, but some quieter days later, that kind of balances out within the time frame for you. 

Darya [00:20:36] Yeah. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:20:38] And then for the idea of like emergency sessions that are actually planned into your week, not just piled into a given day, if that is something that you think could be helpful. What days do you think that those like emergency spots would make sense to put on, just knowing your clients and what tends to happen? 

Darya [00:20:55] I think if it’s Friday night or Monday nights, it’s definitely an evening slot because, as I’m sure you know, the majority of people are 9 to 5 people. Right. So and a lot of them have flexibility in the evenings rather than two o’clock in the afternoon. I guess the flipside of that, too, is that if it is an emergency thing, maybe prior to –

Linzy [00:21:13] That, that’s when I was just going to say. Is it really an emergency? If they could work all day and then see you at night? And that can be kind of the spirit of the spot, right? Is that it’s like for folks who really do need it and those folks will make it work to come in at 1:00 if they’re in pain. I almost put my back out a few weeks ago and I knew what was happening because it’s happened four years ago. But now I have a toddler and I can’t afford to lie in bed crying for several days anymore. I don’t have time for that shit. So as soon as I felt it, of course, I just got in the car because I’m 38 years old. And that’s what happens when you’re 38. 

Darya [00:21:46] Yeah. You sneeze the wrong way and it’s over. 

Linzy [00:21:48] Yes, that’s it. I knew that it was coming. And so we contacted my old osteopath who happened through a pure miracle to have a spot that day and I will tell you, I would have canceled anything to show up for that appointment because that’s a real emergency. Right. And so something that I would encourage you to just be aware of is making sure that your clients are taking their concerns as seriously as you are. And like that you’re not putting yourself out if they’re not willing to put themselves out in some way. Right. There’s this thing in mental health therapy we talk about, like, don’t work harder than your clients. 

Darya [00:22:21] Oh, that’s brilliant. 

Linzy [00:22:22] Yeah. So, you know. If you want to make sure that you’re not overspending yourself, making sure that they’re also being flexible and respecting your time and boundaries so you can meet in the middle and you can give them the help that they need, but you’re not putting yourself out while they’re just kind of having a normal day. 

Darya [00:22:39] That makes perfect sense actually. And you’re totally right. Like I definitely in the past, if I put something wrong, particularly where I so much use my body in my job, right? I’ve definitely come to people and said like we’ll see any like my handful, my team of practitioners that I see that like keep me going. I definitely have re-scheduled people for me to be able to, you know, to see care so that my cup is filled so I can help them. 

Linzy [00:23:02] We prioritize things. If it’s really a priority, we make it happen. 

Darya [00:23:05] Yes, absolutely. I think there’s a disconnect in my head of what my hands or my body needs versus like with these things needs. 

Linzy [00:23:12] Yes. Yes. So the other piece of this equation then, is the life part of work life balance. So that’s something I’d also encourage you to start to be curious about is like, what is your minimum? You’re like, no less than this for your life. What do you need to see in your life, Darya, to like enjoy yourself, feel fulfilled, have meaning. There’s this idea of, like, making your life more compelling than work, right? So that your life is actually more interesting and richer and more fulfilling than the work that you’re doing. So for you to have a life that you really enjoy, what are some of the minimums? What are some of the boundaries that you would need to have in place? 

Darya [00:23:51] More time for myself, whatever that looks like. Right. Like whether it’s a delightful bath, whether it’s touching the piano that I haven’t touched in a very long time. Any of those things. Relationships with people are not quite as one-sided. And of course, like as I’m sure it’s probably the same in your work where it’s very one sided, where you kind of it’s all about in that whatever type of work you have. 

Linzy [00:24:15] That’s what you’re there for. 

Darya [00:24:16] Which I’m beyond thrilled to do. But I think it’s also important in my life to have relationships, whether it’s friends or other relationships, to have it be really dual, rather than me sort of having to naturally stay in work state. Yes. Yeah. So I think it’s that. I think it’s freedom and control for like, what I want to do in that moment, like my work is work. We don’t all want to be at work at 9:00 on Monday morning, but we’re going to be because we have to. But I think it’s the difference of if I want to spend the weekend doing my own thing, I can do that. Or if I have that desire and flexibility to do something with somebody else or go on a mini trip or do whatever, I have that control, that kind of ‘what I want to do is my my driving force’ rather than because someone’s available to do it. Similarly to work. If someone’s available to come in at 1:00, they’re going to. Versus what I want to do.  

Linzy [00:25:06] So it sounds like really consciously putting the things into your life that you enjoy, making sure you’re doing them, even if somebody else doesn’t happen to be available, seeking those balanced relationships as well, like having more of those dual interactions. And what I would encourage you to think about, and maybe as you’re doing your boundary setting, writing that out for your practice, then think about the other side. So like what is maybe your minimum amount of evenings you want to be home a week? If time of day is important to you or minimum amount of mornings that you start late, like we all have kind of like our sweet spots where we’re like, Oh, it’s nice to be home in the morning, it’s nice to be home in the evening. It’s nice to go out, go for lunch, or do yoga. How about a break in the middle of the day, whatever that looks like for you? What are your minimums around that kind of self-care? But then also, what are the components you want to add into your life so that you also have a reason to want to leave work? 

Darya [00:25:51] Yes. 

Linzy [00:25:52] Right. So you’re like, oh, well, Tuesday night I could squish in is client who’s really not actually being super flexible and I could fit them in at 7 p.m. But I don’t really want to because I’m actually going to see this like great concert with a friend and like, I’ve been looking forward to it for two weeks. Right. And so thinking about also like, what are the things you add into your life to make it exciting and to make you want to stop working and go and just be a human who’s enjoying her adulthood and not being a student? 

Darya [00:26:16] Yes, absolutely. Actually, that brought up a wonderful point. If I have something pre committed, I won’t cancel unless I’m in the hospital. So last week was a very particularly odd week because all of the concerts in town happened to happen that I had tickets for for like three years. All of them were like Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, whatever. And because they were already there, that was a non-flexible boundary for me. Right? I wasn’t going to cancel a friend up who I was going to go to a concert with who was relying on me for transport or whatever. But I think if I was choosing to like go upstairs and watch Suits all day long, I feel like I would have put people in. I think if I had an outside commitment, I would be more likely to to hold up that boundary like I think is really important to me. 

Linzy [00:27:02] Yeah. And that’s good to know about yourself. Like, you’re probably more externally motivated if, if you told somebody you’re going to show up, then you’re going to show up for that. Whereas like it sounds like for you, maybe just like time by yourself is not going to be as compelling. 

Darya [00:27:13] Yes. Yeah. And I think it’s because I’m more accountable to other people than I would be for myself. Like the worst thing that happens if I, for me, right now, what I’m trying to work on is that for right now, if I don’t get my evening time, self time, self-care or whatever and I just like go to bed early, I went to work early and rested it didn’t fill my soul, but like it was fine. I think I’m trying to create a harder boundary for for me to follow, even if someone’s there or not. 

Linzy [00:27:39] Yeah. And some of that might be, you know, figure out ways that commitments to yourself, that either it’s something that you just like so much, you don’t want to deprive yourself of it. Or there’s maybe some sort of structure that’s still individual and you’d have to think about what that looks like for you. But yeah, also learning how to show up for yourself is what I’m hearing would be a nice priority as well. 

Linzy [00:27:56] Yes, absolutely. 

Linzy [00:27:57] Then the very last piece, we don’t have too much time left together, but I just want to name the perfectionism about this. I’m curious, how can you stay out of perfectionism when it comes to your schedule and your boundaries and let yourself kind of figure it out as you go. 

Linzy [00:28:12] I feel comfortable with very big blocks of time for me. If I have an evening off at the moment, that means that like 430, I’m done. Therefore, 5pm and on is completely and truly my time and generally, in like if it’s 5pm and my time, I feel like I’m like, yeah, I can go to the movies, I have time for this or I can take a nap and then do something else versus if I’m done at like 6:30 or 7 in the evening, then 2 hours I will accomplish nothing and yet also not doing anything for me either. And I feel like that’s where that perfectionism line comes in, where I’m, I’m already working. I’ll just put in another patient. 

Linzy [00:28:48] Right. I see. Because that time is not going to be productive or worthwhile. So you might as well do something. 

Darya [00:28:55] For sure. Yeah. Like if I have someone at, like, 10:30 in the morning, I’m like, I don’t really have a lot of time to do anything in my day, versus if I start my day at 3, I’m like Oooh I’ve got 6 hours. I can go to the gym and do laundry. That’s my perfectionism issue. 

Linzy [00:29:09] Yeah, it sounds so it sounds almost like a little bit like perfectionism around productivity and about what is like a useful amount of time. Right. Like 6 hours is useful. You can get a lot done in 6 hours, but like an hour and a half, it’s like, eh, might as well work. 

Darya [00:29:23] Yes, that’s exactly. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:29:25] So that would be another thing to start to think about is how else can you think about your time? Is your time really just about accomplishing things now? 

Darya [00:29:37] It shouldn’t be like when you said that, I was like, I can make a list of like five minute tasks that I can accomplish. That’s not it. 

Linzy [00:29:44] Yeah, that’s. That’s not it. That’s not it. So it’s just something to kind of notice and notice when it pops up. Because in some ways what I’m hearing is you are prioritizing being useful, right? In this case, it’s easier to be useful to somebody else if they’re like, Oh, can you squeeze me in at 930 and you already have a 1030? You’re like, Yeah, sure, I could. I could squeeze you in for an appointment because that’s useful and I’m not going to use that time. How else you can think about the value of time besides being useful or productive? 

Darya [00:30:09] Anything for me, whether it’s breath, whether it’s like literally anything, whether it’s exercise, meditation, oh my god – enjoying the sun – we haven’t had the sun in like a week here. 

Linzy [00:30:18] The sun is great, eh? Darya and I are both Canadian, by the way, we live way too far north. It’s not great. 

Darya [00:30:24] Yeah, no, it’s just rain all of the time here. Rain and wind. Yeah, things for I mean, as I said earlier, like enjoyment of life, like enjoyment of just being an adult. And I love the work piece to just be a third of my life. Rather than the whole thing and then bedtime. 

Linzy [00:30:41] Yeah. So in a sense that’s kind of at least an energetic ratio to be aiming for is like work is a third of your life, which notably is not even half. It’s like you want work to be less than kind of half of how you think about or experience yourself. So then it’s starting to dig into these other ways of how how to make life rich. What do you want to be adding in? What starts to build out the rest of your life so that you’re not tempted to creep up that third of work to start take over the rest of your your time and your energy? 

Darya [00:31:07] Yeah, that’s exactly it. Yeah. I think part of it too. Once you said that, it occurred to me that if my chunk of time that’s my chunk of time that I don’t think is equal to potentially helping someone else or another person. I think I will value that more than currently what is my me-time. Or that third or two thirds actually of what I want. 

Linzy [00:31:32] Right. Yeah. And you’ll value it more because if like how you’re relating to it or treating it, is that what you mean?

Darya [00:31:37] Yeah, yeah. 

Linzy [00:31:38] Yes. Darya, coming to the end of our conversation today, what are you taking away? 

Darya [00:31:43] A lot, actually. I know you’ve given me a lot of really good examples and tools of how to actually set my boundary, like enforcing will be a whole separate situation, but how to actually set them both with being flexible day to day, and also having a broader picture of not being stressed out one day or the other. And that really I don’t – you know how like when you’re a kid and you think your school teacher only exists at school and you see them at the grocery store? 

Linzy [00:32:11] Right? 

Darya [00:32:11] It occurred to me that I need to start thinking of my own self as existing outside of the clinic, versus the time that I spend actually in it. 

Linzy [00:32:19] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. 

Darya [00:32:22] Thank you so much for helping me. I’m actually so excited to implement these things. 

Linzy [00:32:25] Awesome. 

Linzy [00:32:39] In my conversation with Darya, it stuck out to me when she stopped and reflected on how she didn’t necessarily know exactly what some of her boundaries are. So if you’re finding yourself in a similar situation to Darya and you’re finding that you’re ending up working longer days than you want or seeing more clients than you want to. A great starting point is just stopping to ask yourself, What are my limits? You know, we talk in this episode about the kind of hard limits versus where there’s some flexibility or ideal kind of mixes that you want to see. But just start to really start with you and your needs. What is your maximum for the week? What is your ideal amount? What is your sweet spot amount where you see all your clients, you finish your day, you feel like that was a good full day – as Darya said, it wasn’t a light day – you know, she said four felt light, five felt like a full day. That’s her number. But you still have energy to go and have a life. So that’s part of it, is like setting those boundaries. But then this other piece that we talked about I think is actually equally as important, which is we need to have a reason to want to leave work. Right. So adding things into your life that are interesting, that add texture, whether you’re into art or music or sports or movies. Right. Or having dinner with friends, going out to a café. Like what are the things that, once you have that on your calendar, you are in no way going to compromise that and sacrifice that for a client because that is your life and that is what makes life rich and meaningful. And you are going to naturally prioritize that because that is what you love. Adding more of those things into our life makes it much more natural to set boundaries because we actually want to leave work because we have something that we want to do. So that’s something that I find can be very helpful, is not just like where we say no, but what are we saying yes to that makes life enjoyable and makes us want to stop working. It’s also very easy to want to override our boundaries for the sake of our clients. But of course, in the air and my conversation with Darya is the fact that it does make the work unsustainable. You know, in this case, because she’s doing largely manual practices, there’s a physical limit there, you know, but if you’re also doing mental health therapy, there’s a limit there as well. And when we override that, we’re actually putting the long term ability of us to do this work at risk. And as much as we think that we’re doing folks favors in the short term, of course, in the long term, we’re starting to deplete our ability to be as effective as we want to be. And so many folks who push themselves for too long end up having to take time off or leave the profession. So being clear with yourself about where your boundaries are from the beginning just helps you set yourself up to stay in your career and enjoy it for a good long time. If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at Money Nuts & Bolts. I share practical and emotional private practice finance content on there all the time. And of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is the best way for therapists and practitioners 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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Streamlining Your Finances When You Have Multiple Businesses Coaching Session

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“And if I think, too, that it’s not just me on this ship, that it’s also my clients and my future clients, that is part of the mindset shift that helps me find the motivation… and a little bit of a sense of urgency. Not so much that I overwhelm myself, but a little bit is great for me.”

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Meet MereAnn Reid

MereAnn Reid helps smart, resourceful parents feel more connected with their kids. She’s the founder and host of Raising Family Resilience, a 7-week online parent group. She co-authored The Embodied Brain and Sandtray Therapy: Stories of Healing and Transformation, and regularly hosts workshops on regulation and attachment. 

MereAnn collaborates with a limited number of parents for private coaching and adoption support, with a passion for supporting therapists and teachers who are also parents. Learn more at familyzest.com.

In This Episode…

Do you need to get your money systems in line to help you as you continue to grow your business? Are you wondering how to manage multiple income streams and expense accounts in effective ways? Check out this coaching session with MereAnn Reid, who has multiple businesses and is working her way through more effectively managing the finances for those businesses in a way that works for her.

Linzy and MereAnn talk through both the practical and the mental aspects of finding workflow solutions for this kind of business journey. Don’t miss this practical coaching session episode full of helpful action steps!

Want more private practice finances support?

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

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

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

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  • how to use a simple and pretty tool that will tell you exactly how much to put aside to cover your taxes each year!

Click here to register for the free workshop today.

Episode Transcript

MereAnn [00:00:03] And if I think, too, that it’s not just me on this ship, that it’s also my clients and my future clients, like that is part of the mindset shift that helps me find the motivation and a little bit of a sense of urgency. Not so much that I overwhelm myself, but a little bit is great for me. 

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 Money Skills For Therapists podcast is a coaching episode and this is the first coaching episode I’m actually recording in season three and it feels so good to be back into doing these coaching episodes again for the podcast. Our guest today is MereAnn Reid. MereAnn is a play therapist and she’s a former teacher and she’s also the founder of Raising Family Resilience, which is a seven week online parent group. She’s written a book, The Embodied Brain and Santry Therapy Stories of Healing and Transformation, and she regularly has workshops on regulation and attachment. She collaborates with a limited number of parents for private coaching and adoption support, and she has a passion for supporting therapists and healers who are also parents. So MereAnn, in the time that I’ve known her, when we first worked together back in 2018, which we refer to a little bit at the start of our call today, she was a private solo therapist. I remember she touched base with me at one point along the way to say that thanks to the work that she’d done in Money Skills, she had saved up a nest egg and was able to start a play therapy center. And then in the pandemic, she let me know that she really leaned in and created this coaching practice. Our call today focused on how to manage your business finances when things have become more complex. MereAnn no longer has one business. She actually has a therapy business and she has a coaching business that has a couple of different offers. And she was finding herself again, falling into this fogginess and avoidance around money. That is kind of where she had been with her private practice finances, was coming up again at this new level, now that she has so much more complexity and so many more numbers to understand and try to manage. This is a great episode for you, if you’re thinking about branching out from therapy or your main health practice that you have, into things like coaching or courses or other offers, and you want to make sure that you maintain clarity and actually can understand your numbers even as things get more complicated, that’s exactly what MereAnn and I dig into today. Enjoy. All right, MereAnn, welcome to the podcast. 

MereAnn [00:03:08] Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here. 

Linzy [00:03:10] I’m excited to have you. So, MereAnn, we worked together – you were in Money Skills For Therapists a few years ago now, we were just talking about this off mic, so 2018. So we’re going back like almost four years at this point. And so since you’ve been in Money Skills For Therapists, I think there’s been some developments in your business which are really exciting, which I know are related to what you want to talk about today. 

MereAnn [00:03:31] Right. Yeah. Things have been growing. 

Linzy [00:03:33] Yeah, in exciting ways. So I’m excited to learn more about that too, as we talk through today. So coming onto the podcast today, MereAnn, what do you want to get some support with? What can I help you with on our call? 

MereAnn [00:03:45] So since we met four years ago, I have built a second business and it’s related to my therapy practice in that that was the jumping off point. But essentially, I have now an Umbrella LLC with two DBAs under that. So I have one business, which is my counseling practice, and that is continuing to go well and I’ve seen a sustained income increase there. So that’s one big change and it’s almost double there. And then at the same time, when everybody went online with the pandemic, that turned into a separate parent coaching practice for me. And that is a new income stream that has two parts. One is one on one parent coaching, where I’m meeting with them for a short series of meetings. And then the second one is a six week group and I’m also teaching workshops. So this second coaching practice is really what I’m leaning into now and I’ve seen good income boost, but I don’t have the systems to track everything as well as I would like to. 

Linzy [00:05:07] Yes, OK. 

MereAnn [00:05:07] And you know, this is familiar because it’s what brought me to Money Skills For Therapists in the first place. So I recognize this habit of mine. And part of what’s tripping me up this time is, number one, I didn’t expect the growth to happen so quickly, so there’s just more to track than I was anticipating. And secondly, I had figured out the system so well, I’d gotten my counseling practice to a point where my softwares and my electronic health records were doing a lot of the money minding and reporting what I needed and I got that really streamlined. So I know what’s happening in my counseling practice. 

Linzy [00:05:47] Yes. 

MereAnn [00:05:48] I’m starting to recognize this feeling of bobbing up and down in the water with my coaching practice process, where sometimes I can see above. And then other times, it just kind of goes over my head. 

Linzy [00:05:59] Yes. You’re you’re under water again, yeah. 

MereAnn [00:06:01] As soon as I have a few minutes, I’m going to sort out this new business. And I’m now getting help from a tax consultant because I am filing as an S corp. So that’s not something I’m trying to wrestle on my own. I have a pro to do that part for me. 

Linzy [00:06:17] Yes, great. Perfect. 

MereAnn [00:06:19] But record keeping is even more important because I’m – the LLC is new and the S corp filing is new. 

Linzy [00:06:25] Yes. Okay. Yeah. So it sounds like you honed in your system and you got your system working for your private practice, which was kind of like a solo practice. But now you have this new, more complex business in addition to your solo practice. But you haven’t figured out your systems around just yet. 

MereAnn [00:06:41] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:06:42] And then I’m hearing that there’s an old habit that’s emerging at a new level. And this is what I noticed MereAnn like, I see it in myself, I see it in other therapists. As you expand, it’s like old things show up in new ways when we get to kind of new levels. Right. It’s something that we kind of, sounds like you overcame the avoidance when you figured out that solo system. But now at this new, more complex level, the avoidance is back. Which also makes sense because I’m sure you have a lot of other things going on that need your attention. 

MereAnn [00:07:05] And that idea of like, the pride I feel and like, wow, I’m an entrepreneur twice over, is so exciting. 

Linzy [00:07:12] Yes. 

MereAnn [00:07:13] And what taps me on the shoulder is I have an old story, that I don’t understand money talk. 

Linzy [00:07:19] Okay. 

MereAnn [00:07:19] And so that’s one of my barriers. 

Linzy [00:07:21] Yeah. So that’s coming back. Did that quiet down for a little bit when you did have your systems working or is that still kind of been around? 

MereAnn [00:07:28] It did. It did quiet down because when I, one specific example is when I automated credit card payments, basically when I had client credit cards on file, that tightened up so many things, that tightened up my cancelation policy. It tightened up, you know, any kind of back and forth communication or, you know, needing payments updated, like it just streamlined so much of the income side of things that then the reporting was really clean because I had everybody on the same system. 

Linzy [00:07:58] Yes. 

MereAnn [00:07:59] In this new setup, I have people coming in from lots of different places. They’re not all entering at the same kind of portal to work with me. I’m having to sort of screen when I get an inquiry. Are they counseling? Are they coaching? Okay. And what does that mean about what forms they get and what fee they’re at? And I’m kind of holding it in my head. 

Linzy [00:08:23] Right. Okay. Yes. Yes. Well, yeah, you’ve got two distinct businesses that need their own systems and their own paperwork and everything running at the same time. Okay. So starting with the practical, with your private practice. What system are you using to track, like your expenses and putting all the information together? What do you do in your private practice for that? 

MereAnn [00:08:43] Until just recently, I was doing QuickBooks and I changed accountants and the new accountant said, I don’t need QuickBooks. That’s too complicated for the kind of reporting that I need. You don’t need to be paying that much every month and I was glad to let the expense go. So I recently signed up for Wave and am switching my private practice finances over to Wave, from QuickBooks. So it’s in transition, but I have a handle on it. Right, because we just filed taxes. So I’m up to date. 

Linzy [00:09:12] Yes, and Wave is another accounting software. It’s a free accounting software, but it still is full suite accounting, a real accounting software where it’s going to give your accountant like double entry bookkeeping is what they call it on the back. Like it’s still going to give them a lot of information. But I’m hearing that they coach you to simplify, which is nice. That’s not usually what we hear from accountants. They don’t usually tell us to simplify, they usually tell us the other way. So I’m glad that you’ve got that support. So you’ve got wave then as your system and then in terms of bank accounts, do you have these two businesses distinct? Are they in the same bank account? What’s happening there? 

MereAnn [00:09:44] I have three bank accounts. The LLC has its own bank account and then the counseling practice has one and the coaching practice has one. And I’m doing coaching, consulting, speaking all with that coaching practice. And just every month I go in at the, you know, the 10th of the month and I transfer operating expenses from each of my businesses into the LLC. So I’m only spending out of the LLC. 

Linzy [00:10:11] Oh, Interesting. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. So you’re using that again as kind of your umbrella bank account, just like it’s your umbrella entity. It’s your umbrella bank account. Great. Okay, so that’s nice and simple, sending money up there. And then so you do have these two distinct, three distinct bank accounts already to where you’re receiving money and then the one that you’re paying your expenses out of. 

MereAnn [00:10:31] Yes. 

Linzy [00:10:31] Okay. Well, that’s I mean, that’s a really great start. It’s a very good start because you already have separation and clarity between these businesses and you already have even a system of simplifying the payments that you’re making out of the LLC. So that’s beautiful. So it sounds like the clarity is needed then more around like the tracking and actually understanding what’s happening with those numbers. 

MereAnn [00:10:50] Right. I can’t at a glance tell what is my most profitable service in my coaching practice right now. 

Linzy [00:10:57] Okay. And then do you also have anywhere that your expenses are being tracked for that coaching service? 

MereAnn [00:11:04] I do my online banking for each of those three accounts, and right now I just go in monthly and reconcile each account. So that’s where I’m tracking them, but I don’t have a budget from coaching practice. 

Linzy [00:11:16] Yeah. And you’re not ever seeing the income coming in and the money going out in the same place to help you understand the cash flow and like how things are working. Okay. 

MereAnn [00:11:23] That’s right. 

Linzy [00:11:25] So, I mean, I think that would be the first piece to think about plugging in, right. Is like you already have it in your private practice. You had it in QuickBooks, but now you’re transitioning to Wave. So I know there’s a transition period there, but it sounds like that’s a normal process. And when you land at Wave, you know, you should have that information on your solo practice. And the first thing that I would think about is, is there any reason not to use Wave for your coaching practice as well? Do you have any objection to using Wave? 

MereAnn [00:11:50] I think that does help me simplify. I think I am just starting with Wave. And so I’m just learning it and it makes sense to me that I would take all three of my accounts to Wave. And so I’m glad we’re having this conversation now because what I’m not totally clear on is, does Wave accomplish that goal of helping me see the cash flow for each of them? 

Linzy [00:12:16] Yes. And what Wave will show you – and I’m not a wave expert. So if they do have like super cool reports and stuff, I’m not sure about them. But with general accounting software, what it can show you is what’s called a profit and loss, which is money coming in, money going out. Right. And so if you start to get your coaching business information into Wave, you’re going to be able to run reports and start to see, okay, I brought in this much in May through my coaching groups, I brought this much through one on one. Because even that together is going to start to give you information, right? Like as you categorize that money coming in, you’re going to start to see, okay, this month I made a $1,300 in groups and I made about the same on one on ones. And then you can start to balance out even to the questions of like, how much energy does it take you to do one on ones versus group? Like you’re you’re going to start to have that information on the top. But then what I would encourage you to look at in Wave, is how can you then also think about your expenses as different so that you can start to see what are the expenses associated with the therapy practice. Because we don’t want to get those blurred together. Right? 

MereAnn [00:13:16] Right. So if I’m spending out of the LLC, is it a matter of categorizing expenses differently? 

Linzy [00:13:23] Yeah, that would be one way to do it. Like some programs like QuickBooks will also have like tag options. And with Wave, you’d have to see basically like what are the different ways they let you categorize things? Are there tags you could use where it’s like, well, these were both rent, but this half was for my coaching business, this half is for therapy. Are there tags or do you just make two different expense categories in that account where you’re like, rent/therapy, rent/coaching, right? So you can start to separate those things out. And part of that will be understanding how the system works. If your accountant is suggesting Wave, they could be a really good resource for that. To tell them like, I want to have clarity on how these numbers work together and because it’s all out of the one LLC, it makes sense that, you know, the information is mixed to some extent, but you need to figure out how do you want to see it? So in your brain you can immediately see, okay, this is how much I paid in expenses for this business. This is how much I made and this is how much I made off what kind of service. Because it sounds like in your coaching practice, that’s one of the questions that’s floating around, right? Is like what is actually profitable? Which is a great thing to wonder about because sometimes we can really put a lot of energy into something that actually is not making us that much money at the end of the day, because it’s more expensive to run. It takes more of our time. Because we’re making a lot, we lose the fact that it’s also costing us a lot in other ways. 

MereAnn [00:14:39] Yeah. So I’m thinking, you know, it’s not enough to just say, this is a software expense. I need to be saying like, this is my electronic health record expense, this is my Zoom account, right? For my different names. 

Linzy [00:14:53] Yeah. I mean, if you’re really wanting that analysis, that would be the way to get it, right is just getting down to the level of detail that you can see the information that you need to see. Right, to start to understand how your numbers are working. And then first of all, checking in about that, how does that sit with you, thinking about making your system a little more detailed that way? 

MereAnn [00:15:12] Well, the part that makes a lot of sense is so far, I’ve just gone as far as what my tax preparer needs from me. I haven’t taken that next step to think about, okay, what will make sense to my brain? What kind of map do I need? 

Linzy [00:15:29] Absolutely. Because especially at this point, MereAnn, like, I don’t know what language resonates with you, but like you are definitely in CEO territory. Like the leader of your business, CEO, boss, whatever, whatever resonates with you. Like you’ve got a lot of kind of pots on the stove right now. Right. And so part of what that requires, folks cannot see me doing this because this is a podcast, but this is the motion I always do for grounded, which is like I have my hands together holding in front of my chest, just like grounded, calm, clear minded, right? That kind of money boss footing where you’re looking, you understand how things fit together. You can see the information that you want to see. So when you have a question about what’s happening, you know where to get that information. And also you kind of, you know how to put that information together to understand, oh, this thing that I spent so much time on, I actually make very little money. And then you also get to ask those emotional questions of like, but is it worth it for you? Or do you also not really like that thing? Right. But without getting – the first step is to put that information in a way that you can actually get it, right. And right now, you’re not able to do that quite yet. Right. So it’s setting it up for that information to be available to you in the way your brain needs to see it. 

MereAnn [00:16:37] And the part that feels daunting about that is the part that brings me to the old story, which is, gosh, that sounds like a lot of work. And I know cognitively, I know Wave just imports the information, it’ll be like magic. The big “but” is like wrapping my head around my new systems is a whole nother part of the new system. It’s not just deciding, it’s not just connecting the bank accounts. It’s like, okay, how will I dance with this? And it’s feeling like a lot. 

Linzy [00:17:11] Yes, it is more complex, you know, like that’s the word that you and I were talking about a little bit off mic before is like, it’s gotten more complex and it is, it is truly more complex now. Right. You have like multiple ways you’re making money. There’s different like expenses associated with those different moneymaking avenues. And so it’s not just one thing anymore, right? It’s not just you sitting in a room one on one or teaching a small group as a therapist. There is that piece. And so part of it is mindset, right? It’s like, it’s a lot. And how do you want to think about that fact? What does that say about you? That you’ve built a business where there’s a lot going on because there’s so many people who want to pay you in so many different ways for the things that you’re doing. Thinking about it, you know, connecting to what would feel more powerful or resonant or positive for you. What does it say about you and the work that you’ve done, that you’ve gotten to this place where there is more to keep track of? 

MereAnn [00:18:04] I think that it’s the fact that I’ve built relationships and reputation that extend beyond the therapy room is the part that brings me back to like, oh, yeah, I’m steering. Okay. 

Linzy [00:18:18] Yes, you are. 

MereAnn [00:18:19] And I’m wearing all those entrepreneur hats again and doing that heavy lifting of starting. Right. Like if I think about myself as the captain of the ship, I’m not just steering which way we’re going. I’m actually inventing the map. 

Linzy [00:18:37] Yes. 

MereAnn [00:18:38] As we’re already underway. And that’s the part that I think, okay, I know because I have plenty of clients right now. I know that I figured out some things before and people want to talk to me about some of those things. And they’re not trying to copy what I’m doing. They’re wanting to collaborate with me to help them steer themselves. Right. But in order for me to steer myself and help steer them, this money ship is something I have to get a handle on because I’m leaking energy. 

Linzy [00:19:15] Yes. In a way, I’m going to say you’re kind of blowing my mind right now about the metaphor that you just came up with because I’ve been talking about that metaphor for the last couple of days, for the next level coaching program that I’m doing. It’s a metaphor I ran by somebody last week who just joined this Money Boss Mastermind is this next level program, which is about strategy. And I ran the metaphor by her, the exact metaphor you literally just said. And I said, I don’t know if this resonates, but like I have this image of like it’s your ship, right? And you’re building your ship, but you’re also building the strength and capacity and the knowledge to steer your ship because it’s true. Like, at a point, our business has got to be this size where there’s kind of a gravity to them, right? Like a cruise ship. You don’t just, like, turn on a dime, right? It kind of starts going in a direction. So what you’re doing right now, as you say, is you’re thinking about how to patch the leaks in the ship. Right. There’s energetic leaks that aren’t working, that are taking money away or taking time and probably also money. 

MereAnn [00:20:04] And money. 

Linzy [00:20:04] But certainly time and energy away from you being able to come up with new offers, find the right people, change people’s lives. That’s your zone of genius, right? And so patching these leaks and starting to take that grounded captain position, you know, means that you get to not only have something that’s working, but as you say, you get to point it in the direction that you want it to go. And that’s that’s a very powerful thing. But it’s also scary because you probably didn’t grow up wanting to be sea captain. 

MereAnn [00:20:30] And I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to have a six figure business. I have been more intentional about planning this second business, and I can see that that six figures is within reach in, you know, 18 months. I have a plan to do that. 

Linzy [00:20:48] Yeah, absolutely. 

MereAnn [00:20:49] So avoiding or sort of not leaning in to my systems is really going to continue to leak energy. And if I go, it’s going to keep me from following my business plan. 

Linzy [00:21:03] Yes, it is. And it means that you’re kind of steering blind. Right. To extend the metaphor, you know, you’re not really looking where you want to go. You’re not looking at the winds. You know, you’re not understanding how decisions you’ve made have worked or not because you’re not looking at the information that you have. Right. And so thinking about this, MereAnn, you know, the next level of it would be once you have that information marked out in your tracking, because tracking is one thing, then it’s developing a system for yourself to look at those numbers easily on a monthly basis and understand, okay, this is what happened in May, this is how much it costs me. This is how much profit I made on each side of my business. You can even break it down to this is how much profit I made in each service in my coaching business. You know, if I divide the operating expenses in half between the two of them, this is how much I brought in here, this is how much I brought in here. And then you can start to make informed decisions about where you want to spend more of your time, what’s worth your time. And that’s not just financial, right? It’s also emotional. You know, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, it’s not just about maximizing, you know, your return on investment financially. There’s also going to be work that lights you up and that’s fun or that you can only do so much of A so it’s good to have B in the books, right? Like those are part of it too, but it’s putting that information together somewhere. And for my business, I use spreadsheets for this. So every month at the end of the month, I take the data from the month before, I transfer over like the summary numbers that I use QuickBooks for my business now. You would transfer over the summary numbers from Wave, into a place that you can kind of separate them out nicely because Wave may or may not let you do that. It takes probably about half an hour of your time, but then you’re going to spend that CEO time or that captain time, however you want to think about it, to just reflect on where you’ve been and make some conscious decisions about how you want to steer things for the next month. 

MereAnn [00:22:44] And if I think, too, that it’s not just me on this ship, that it’s also my clients and my future clients, like that is part of the mindset shift that helps me find the motivation and a little bit of a sense of urgency. Not so much that I overwhelm myself, but a little bit is great for me. Because things I can learn from getting in with my numbers is like, how many scholarships can I offer exactly to my summer series that’s coming up? And oh, if I can do a full scholarship, how many partial scholarships can I offer? 

Linzy [00:23:18] Exactly. 

MereAnn [00:23:18] Okay. This tells me where to find people who need this information, who need this community, how to communicate. It shapes the messaging and marketing of my business. 

Linzy [00:23:30] Absolutely. 

MereAnn [00:23:31] If I know what I am working with. 

Linzy [00:23:33] Exactly. Because then you’re setting an intentional path, that is informed and then you can follow that path. Right. And and be doing – taking steps that make sense for your business. And then also let you just be very grounded and clear in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. 

MereAnn [00:23:48] And that’s it. Like a part of why I’m doing it is, is because I run a private pay counseling practice, which is not in everybody’s budget. And so part of my my idea with running groups is that it’s another entry point for support where I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting, where everybody in the community participates and that group energy is shared. But then if I’m all about creating this group energy, but I’m not plugging my own energy leaks, it’s not sustainable. 

Linzy [00:24:23] It’s not sustainable. No. And that will show up in different ways in our work. Right. When we do start to get into that out of balance place where we’re starting to get depleted, that’s, you know, an invitation for resentment or burnout or just generally feeling less excited about the work. And it sounds to me like this, I mean, this is the work that you’re so passionate about, right? That it’s part of how I’m thinking about as you’re talking about it now, is it’s a way to honor yourself and the work by taking the time to be intentional and looking at this information and making informed decisions. 

MereAnn [00:24:52] And allow me to continue offering something that people have really shown that they’re interested in and they’re benefiting from. 

Linzy [00:25:01] Absolutely, yes. 

MereAnn [00:25:01] And so this idea of the leadership coming with the responsibility for the money piece, that needs to be part of my new story. 

Linzy [00:25:11] Yes. So, MereAnn, coming towards the end of our time today, what are you taking away from this conversation? 

MereAnn [00:25:17] I think this is managing my money in my business is an area where I need support and I keep learning that over and over again. And so, having people on my team that help me both stay accountable and who are right there when I have a question, is part of how I keep myself from getting flooded and getting stuck. And so coming back today, you know, as an alum of the Money Nuts & Bolts program, I’m remembering that feeling of having a community, having a cohort to go to. So that’s what that’s part of where I’m thinking about this is is not only how do I support myself, but I really am craving more community around this because it’s easy for me to get stuck, it’s an old habit. 

Linzy [00:26:11] Absolutely. Yes. 

MereAnn [00:26:12] And also that I have a responsibility to my clients and to my, the health of my businesses – plural. 

Linzy [00:26:20] Yes. 

MereAnn [00:26:21] To find a way to get on top of this. And it doesn’t have to be rigid, but it does need to be something that I can feel like I’m capably steering. Quickbooks was probably too much for me too. 

Linzy [00:26:34] Yeah, it’s finding the right tool that gives you the information that you need and too much is a problem. And hopefully Wave will hit more of a sweet spot for you. But then I would also encourage you to add the things to Wave that Wave’s not telling you about, that you want to know about as the leader of your business. 

MereAnn [00:26:48] Yeah, yeah. 

Linzy [00:26:50] Great. Well, thank you so much, MereAnn. 

MereAnn [00:26:52] Oh, thank you. It’s always nice to have a chat with you and I appreciate it. 

Linzy [00:27:10] In my conversation with MereAnn, there were a couple of things that stuck out. The first would be the ocean metaphors. She had her metaphor about, you know, like bobbing up and down in the waves and then we had the metaphor of the ship. And I think that really gets to the heart of how it can feel sometimes when we’re overwhelmed by money and we feel, you know, we don’t have control, it can feel like this very vast, overwhelming experience like the ocean can be when you’re bobbing up and down. But I loved how she also then came up with that metaphor of the ship and how different it feels when you have built something that works and you are the captain and you are steering it confidently. It’s a very different feeling, and I really felt that shift in energy in the course of our coaching session. We kind of started like up in our heads and I certainly started off in my head just trying to understand, you know, the way that things are working and the way that things were laid out in her business and what was, what systems were already in place. But then as we moved into the mindset piece, that is such an important part of the equation, I really found that both of us, our energy settled into our body. You know, and MereAnn felt so calm and I felt so calm talking to her, just this kind of like settled, empowered, strong, peaceful stance that she started to have in our conversation, which was very different than when she started when she started to play with the idea of really being this captain and setting up the systems and all of the positive that comes from actually taking the time to look at her numbers and make sure she understands them and is making thoughtful decisions as she charts her path. If you would like to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandnolts. We are sharing free, practical and emotional private practice money content on there all the time. And if you have 1, let’s see 3 minutes right now, if you have 3 minutes. I’m going to ask you if you can please hop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for Money Skills For Therapists. It’s so helpful in having other therapists who could really use these conversations to find me. I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much for joining me today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

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

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