Omolara [00:00:01] How do we make sure that these practices that we have, how do we really make sure that they become not only impactful to patients but impactful to populations? Right. And the way to do that, a lot of times, the easier way to do that is through these partnerships, because it’s just so much slower to try and get one by one by one by one to make the impact that I think a lot of your listeners really want to make.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills for Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s guest is Dr. Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo. She is a pediatrician and professor turned health equity entrepreneur and funding consultant who helps mission driven health practitioners, like the folks who are listening to this podcast, connect with funding to be able to do the work that we do. Today we get into how to partner with nonprofits to be able to serve the folks that you love to serve. This episode is going to be so great for folks if you serve a population who typically cannot pay very much for therapy, if it’s really hard for you to serve the folks that you love to serve and that you’re passionate about serving while also getting paid enough to be okay, to have that financial stability that we talk about on this practice. Dr. Omolara brings this really interesting solution to this equation. By teaching how to partner with nonprofits and get access to grants and money that are out there, you know, that is available to serve those folks that you love to serve. And by creating these partnerships, you can have access to serving these populations that often are underserved and could really use your expertise. She gives us a rundown today on kind of the world of the contracts that are out there, what this looks like. We talked about mindset shifts for pricing contracts when you’re moving into doing contract work and bringing your expertise to organizations in this new way. And this really does strike me as a beautiful solution to maintain access for folks while also making sure that you are being paid well for your expertise and also that you’re able to increase your impact by taking the expertise that you might take for granted sitting alone in your office, just being really good at what you do and not necessarily recognizing that taking that expertise and not just being able to access funding to allow you or your team to serve folks directly like direct clinical services or therapeutic services to the folks that serve. But also you being able to go in and start to train people who work with a population that you know so much about. So like so many so many possibilities here to expand your impact through this world of contracts. Here’s my conversation with Dr. Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo. So, Dr. Omolara, welcome to the podcast.
Omolara [00:03:28] Thank you so much. I’m super excited to be here.
Linzy [00:03:32] I’m really excited to have you here. And we were just chatting just a little bit before we started recording that. I’m excited because what you teach, like this world that you help folks access, is a world I certainly know very little about. And I think the folks who are listening are also going to be new. So can you tell us a little bit more, just give us like that intro to these health contracts and yeah, this world that you help folks navigate?
Omolara [00:04:01] Yeah, I think the best way to frame it is always – and this probably comes from my medical background – is a case vignette.
Linzy [00:04:09] Beautiful.
Omolara [00:04:10] And I can use kind of how I got into this, you know, Strong Children Wellness is my practice. And ultimately when myself and my co-founders were thinking about how do we get the initial capital to really start our practice, which I’ll share a lot about more later, we really were very, of course, hesitant about getting into debt because of course as medical doctors. Yeah, yeah, a lot of trauma there. Yeah.
Linzy [00:04:37] Yeah. You probably have a little bit of debt already, right? Yes. Yeah.
Omolara [00:04:40] And so ultimately, one of the things that we had all brought from our academic lens was the fact that we had really always, when we were starting programs, try to get grants. And what we found from that was that we had this opportunity, even as a for-profit, to partner with nonprofits that were serving the populations that we wanted to serve. And actually, as they would seek grants, they would bring us on as contractors to be able to deliver the services. So primarily the work that we do now is really trying to make sure that we can develop these partnerships. I like to call them for-profit nonprofit partnerships or as profitable practice partnerships where you have a target population that a nonprofit has. And now you guys can come together, but there’s this pot of funding that only the nonprofit, a lot of times, can access, right? They’re able to bring you in and develop a contract. The other way that we’ve seen this is that sometimes even if a grant is not available or there’s not a past funder, a lot of nonprofits are doing really well, but really struggle with bringing mental health services, other services in for their clientele that they know will absolutely be transformational. And so even in their own budgets, they usually will be open to being able to subcontract these practices and have retainers, which provides recurring stable revenue. That you can have and know – a lot which allows for you to diversify your income streams – Of course, from just patients to these partner organizations or income streams. That’s right. Yeah. That ability of the practice.
Linzy [00:06:28] Well, it’s something that immediately comes to mind for me is I know a lot of folks who listen to this podcast can struggle with the question of like how you make the business work well, so that you are financially okay, right? And so you’re not living much hand-to-mouth, but also serve the folks you love to serve. And what sometimes folks end up having to do is pivot. They end up having to serve different people who can’t actually pay them what they need to be paid. But when you have like a passion for serving people who are never going to be able to pay you $200 per hour, what I’m hearing here is like, this is this beautiful opportunity because there is funding for those folks to be served. There are nonprofits already focusing on those folks that are in a position to get money to pay for services that those clients can’t necessarily pay for themselves. So it sounds like this beautiful bridge to be able to serve the folks who literally can’t pay out of pocket for services, but who might be the people that you personally, as a therapist, would love to keep serving?
Omolara [00:07:24] Yeah, I talk about these costs like I do a math class and I’m always talking about these three costs that when you’re you aren’t able to navigate your practice by doing both profit and purpose, that there seems to be a cost that you’ll have. And the one that you mention is the access cost, right? The cost where, because I’m focused on profitability, which we need to be focused on business, we don’t because we haven’t had an expanded view of where we can get our cash flow, we aren’t able to provide that accessibility to those that maybe we were even called to serve when we entered the profession. And then you have that quality cost, which is really around the fact that you are working so hard and you’re having these really small margins of profit that you can’t- you don’t really have the bandwidth to bring in the types of services that you know would improve the quality and impact for your clientele. And so those are the things that become really difficult for our families and for a lot of the practices who want to serve that.
Linzy [00:08:31] Yeah, absolutely. And I think that access piece ends up being a piece that some folks end up having to let go because of those other pieces you’re talking about. So this sounds like this beautiful bridge. So for folks who are listening and they’re like, okay, I’m here, I now understand that there is this like other pot of money. There’s this other avenue to be able to build your business serving folks who are not going to be out of pocket people. How can therapists start to approach, you know, this world? Like where do you start to start to be able to create these partnerships you’re talking about?
Omolara [00:09:05] So where do you start? So I think the biggest place that we try to start is being able to start to survey who it is. I like to say the riches are in the niches.
Linzy [00:09:16] Yes.
Omolara [00:09:16] So, thinking about your practice, right, and thinking about where is the gap? So where is that moral tension? So what I mean by that is, you’re serving people, but there might be groups that you’re just like, I wish we could get to these people. This looks so different from many of the practices we’ve had, people who want to work with domestic violence survivors or want to work with immigrants that want to work with those different populations. There could be certain ethnic groups that aren’t getting to them, youth, other things. And so ultimately what you want to do is identify who is that population. And then what you want to do is you want to start to survey and look at who are the organizations that actually are already bought in and connected to those populations. And once you do that, then the goal is for us to be able to start to think about, okay, these are the populations, this is who I want to serve. Now, how do we get in front of the decision makers? That’s a lot of the work that we do in terms of how they put together, like the right email and elevator pitch and being able to connect with them. And once that connection is made, that allows me to have discovery and start to find out where the synergies are, Right?
Linzy [00:10:28] Yeah. Well, it’s, you know, as you’re talking, I was down with COVID a couple weeks ago and I feel like I’m still coming back up. So I like, you know, I had a forced horizontal holiday is what my grandmother used to call them, where you’re just like, I am on the couch. This is where I live. And while I was on the couch, I read two business books, which I don’t generally advocate to do when you’re down. But my brain was looking for stimulation, and I read a book which is like an entrepreneurial book called Who Not How. And that’s coming to mind for me as you’re talking, because the premise of that book is basically if you have a problem – and in this case the problem is like, I really want to serve folks who are survivors of domestic violence, but I know that they can’t pay me what I need to get paid to live. How do I do that? The book would say, Don’t ask yourself how. Ask who? Who can help you solve this problem? And what I’m hearing is the who in this case would be these like nonprofits that already have these established relationships with funders and already are in this world. That’s like a beautiful relationship that you can form, which is going to let you serve those folks right and and access that funding by connecting people who are already in that world, who already have access to those resources, which makes so much sense.
Omolara [00:11:36] Yes. And I think one of the things around this in particular is being able to just not be as limited. I think a lot of the times what we do as practitioners is we see what has worked for other people and it takes away our creativity. Okay, this is how you’re supposed to open a practice. This is what it’s supposed to look like. It’s supposed to either be private pay or insurance. And then, you know, we’re supposed to just build up and grow by volume by any means necessary. And what this allows for people to do, I like to say, is it allows for them to expand outside of just clinical care. Why I say that is because I think many of your listeners probably already know the term social determinants of health and know about this idea that health outcomes, whether it be mental health or physical health outcomes, only 20% is actually due to clinical care. And 80% is due to all of these other things: where they live, work, play, how they move throughout the world. And my goal is really for us to think about – if we want to make impact in our patients lives – thinking really broadly, does that include training, you know, staff at other organizations about how to address mental health? Does it include health education? Does it include consulting with these organizations to be able to help them think about how they can do maybe psychological first aid or support? So all of us have expertise that we’ve built up over this time that- clinical care is like minuscule. It’s probably the lowest hanging fruit of what we’ve accomplished and what we have to give to organizations.
Linzy [00:13:17] I think, you know, that’s such a good reminder to have, because I think so often, too, I know, you know folks who tend to be around in my world tend to be perfectionistic and we can be hard on ourselves and we’re always thinking about the things we don’t know and that new training that we want to take or that client that we couldn’t really figure out how to help them. And we’re not necessarily owning that expertise that we’ve honed over years or decades. The things that we just live and breathe everyday that for other professionals or other folks would be a total revelation, right? Would blow their minds.
Omolara [00:13:50] Exactly. And sometimes it’s easy in the way that we do that and think about the funding piece is starting to think about, you know, what are the populations that you’re already serving who a lot of other practices have difficulty serving or have a lot of or don’t serve. And you just always like they seem to just have great outcomes when they-[cuts out]. And then starting to break down what is it that I actually do like, What do we do differently, whether it be how we structure our practice or how we engage and start to build out what your framework is. Because once you’re in that, that becomes something that is actually sellable to other organizations, whether it be through trainings, whether it be through the education piece that you probably insert into your practice that you don’t realize. All of those things. I think the funnest part about doing this is being innovative about the contracts and like, okay, what is the service offer? What are the service offerings that we really think are going to be the highest impact for reaching these populations through these organizations?
Linzy [00:14:57] Yeah. So, you know, as people step into this work, something that occurs to me is they’re going to have to move into thinking about contracts rather than hours. So I’m curious, like from your work of supporting folks making this shift, like what are the mindset shifts that need to happen as they start to move into pricing out a contract rather than like a clinical hour?
Omolara [00:15:18] That is that’s a good question. I didn’t even like think about that- should but yeah and it comes up of course. I didn’t think about that. So I think one of the biggest things for our practice owners is getting used to the numbers. Numbers are big where we do contracts with organizations and they’re kind of like, someone’s going to pay this?
Linzy [00:15:38] Yes.
Omolara [00:15:40] That’s the first thing. I’m like, Yes, this is extremely valuable. So I think thinking one of the parts is paying like getting money for value instead of money for time, which is what we are used to as clinicians getting money for time. And so what I try to think about and help them think about is let’s do- let’s say you weren’t able to provide this, what would that organization have to do to pay someone to come in full time and do this work that you’re doing and let’s compare? And they’re like, Oh yeah, they’re going to need to hire this type of person. They’ll probably need this. And then we start to see how big that number is. And you’re like, Oh, okay, this is why this number is so big, because there’s a certain level of value not only on how much it’s going to cost, but also trying to position what is it after you do this that they’re going to be able to do? And so when we start to do that, then it starts to unravel and say, okay, value based pricing, not time based pricing is the first probably mindset shift. The other piece that we start to think about as well is thinking about not their rate as a clinician, but their rate as a consultant and starting to back into what those numbers cost. So we usually think about what is your ideal salary as a consultant? What is the number of hours that you can do this work? And we actually do the math of that into what their hourly rate is, not in a way that needs to be broadcast in the contract. But as we think about how many hours they’re contributing to the work, we’re able to now insert that in so that we can price it accordingly, make sure that they’re getting the salary they deserve, but also making sure they are able to, you know, keep that as something internal for them, but also allow for these contracts to make sure that they have the right pricing and they’re not underpriced. I often say to my clients that underpricing can actually make you lose contracts.
Linzy [00:17:47] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. You know, there is something about kind of the authority, right, of really owning what I’m going to do has been really valuable, you know, being rooted in, Okay if they had to do this without my help, they’d be bringing in a full-timer for a whole year and they would have to have these kinds of resources. Yeah, like you really sitting in that and putting out a price that’s a kind of respectable price. It’s so true, because if people see the cheapest, like the cheapest doesn’t have a connotation of quality to it, they don’t expect the best if you go with the cheapest. So yeah, and that values-based piece I think is so so important because something that occurs to me too, with with this opportunity, this way of expanding your practice, is it really is scalable. Right? And that’s something we kind of talk about in the business world a little bit. It’s scalable, kind of the same way that like a course is scalable where you are now doing like possibly one too many education, like you were coming in and you’re bringing your expertise that you’ve honed over the last five years and you’re training like 150 of their staff to now be able to like implement a new approach or, you know, whatever it is that you’re bringing in your expertise, you are multiplying your impact so much. And so that is worth so, so much, that organization and really recognizing that impact.
Omolara [00:19:04] Yeah. And then I think other people don’t think about. So I like to say that our work helps improve revenue, reach, and impact. And the reach part I think is really important also in terms of thinking about making these partnerships and it becoming almost this referral ecosystem, right? That not only provides a new revenue stream through contracts, but also allows for your name to come up and be the go-to like if they do have clients that actually are able to come in to your services on their own. So I think it’s really important. And one of the things that’s happened for us is that we as a practice, I don’t think we’ve done social media marketing since like 2022 or something like that. It’s great. We have 20% monthly growth, but it’s because we- it’s not because we don’t market, but because this type of marketing, right, is just having calls with different organizations that are aligned has now allowed for us to be able to have our name in the community as the go-to for this. And so whether that be people that we access through organizations or people who access organizations and then we become the referral to come through. So I just want to point out that this also has this dual fold benefit of a new revenue stream, but also really supplying a distribution channel towards your original revenue stream as well.
Linzy [00:20:30] Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, in my mind that’s some of the best type of marketing, which is just pure relationship building, right? Like you’ve just really you’ve built relationships that allow you to actually get in front of people and they know who you are. They have a real sense of you and your expertise like you’ve, you know, you’ve built up your expertise and your reputation by just doing what you do best, which is the actual work that you do.
Omolara [00:20:51] Exactly. It’s been interesting because I think, you know, a lot of our work has really focused on. So I like to say our theory of change. I’m very into health justice. Our theory of change for health justice, specifically for communities of color, is increasing the presence and reach of diverse teams, diverse clinicians. And so I’m always just trying to think about how do we make sure that these practices that we have, if that’s your goal, how do we really make sure that they become not only impactful to patients but impactful to populations? Right? And the way to do that, a lot of times the easier way to do that is through these partnerships because it’s just so much slower to try and get one by one by one by one to make the impact that I think a lot of your listeners really want to make.
Linzy [00:21:44] Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, part of what I’m hearing with this is there’s this funding that’s kind of out there that, you know, as an individual sitting in my office by myself, I don’t have access to, but by, you know, building these relationships, we then have access to these funding conversations that are already kind of happening that just right now we’re not privy to. I’m curious, like, what what is the size of these kinds of grants that exist? Like how much money are we talking about that is out there for the kind of folks we might love to serve?
Omolara [00:22:14] Yeah, it depends, honestly. So we’ve had people who work with us for six months and they’ve gotten like $600,000 in grants and contracts. We’ve got people who worked with us for three months and have gotten $250 or, you know, I think what it looks like usually the midpoint is probably $100,000. Yeah. And what we do is we try to make sure that you’re not putting all your time and energy in one bucket. So we try to have at least a quarter in five organizations who are target organizations. And that way not only are you bringing our services to them to say, Hey, there’s an opportunity to partner, what also happens is that now that we’re on their radar, we might find two of those organizations who are like, Yeah, we have the bandwidth. We want to bring you in. We’re going to go through our budget and bring you in that way. We might have two other organizations who are like, We don’t have that funding yet, but we’re going to go to our past funder. Even though there’s not a grant available right now, we can go to a past funder and tell them this is a new opportunity. And usually those past funders, because that organization already has showed, you know, impact, they’re easily willing to actually give another 125, 150,000 to start this programing and move that forward. And what happens is, while that money is coming through, when you’re delivering those organizations, you usually are working with the development office to identify more funding for the future in order to keep you going. Because I like to say that a lot of it you can have either bigger contracts or even some smaller ones, about 50 or so that are what we call gateway contracts. And what that is. It means that you might- it might be training, it might be education for six months. What that looks like is you getting your foot in the door, them falling in love with your work.
Linzy [00:24:08] Yes, Yes.
Omolara [00:24:10] And then, okay, we have to we just have to find the funding to keep going. Right.
Linzy [00:24:14] Got to keep it rolling.
Omolara [00:24:15] So I like to say that most people from like a small contract to now having, you know, years and years. Some of our contracts right now are at the three-year mark at this point. It’s because they now can’t see their organization without the service that you provide.
Linzy [00:24:33] Right. And I’m curious like to be really tangible about you know what these contracts are tied to, like say like a $100,000 contract. Would that be for education and training? Are we talking service contracts? Like what are some of the specific examples just to get folks like really get their wheels turning on what they can be offering these organizations?
Omolara [00:24:52] Yeah. So if we look at the like gradation of price, basically your smallest contract is usually going to be maybe a health education contract. So what I like to say is usually we don’t price our contracts any less than, you know, take a month or something like that. And we don’t we don’t actually like to have our contracts any less than six months. You know, it depends because it always depends on the model, the modality of how you’re delivering that education. That’s always important. And what that looks like is kind of the baseline. The next here is usually training. So training staff at an organization, even training leadership at an organization that is usually next tier and garners you a lot more per month, maybe somewhere between the 20 to 30,000 or more monthly retainers. Then the next step is consultation. So leadership where you might be brought on because you’re a mental health specialist in LGBTQ mental health and they are seeing that there’s a lot more of those populations and they want to figure out kind of how to work their services to be more informed. So instead of providing services, you are talking to the leadership, giving them support on how they need to format their programs. The highest here is direct services because we know teams are needed, people are needed. So that usually starts to garner you probably the 50 K per month or more, depending on how intense that is. A lot of times what we recommend is people not directly providing the one one-on-one therapy, but that looks like dropping groups or close cohort groups where it’s like cohorts or it looks like evaluations and assessments to see where they’re at and then usually they’re funneled into your practice potentially to be able to get more ongoing psychotherapy. So that level of care. So that’s kind of the gradation that we usually see. Those numbers are very different of course, depending on what it looks like. But yeah, so as you can imagine, the cash flow piece becomes really much better tool where they’re able to know for the next 6 to 12 months. This is coming in regardless of like how many patients I see. The last thing I did want to say is that, how I always like to position these contracts is that as a solopreneur or whatever kind of practice you have or group practice, our goal is to make sure that these projects don’t rely on you. So a lot of times we insert a therapist or a staff or other staff member who will be able to deliver this, right? And so that then allows for you to make hires with the money in hand and de-risk the hiring process.
Linzy [00:27:48] Yes. Yeah. We don’t want to just give you thousands of sessions a month to do. That’s not good. Yeah. Yeah. So also what I’m hearing too, is like helping to make sure that folks are taking on these contracts in sustainable ways. Right. And you have the right people in place to be able to fulfill the contracts without, you know, burning yourself out. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Omolara [00:28:09] Very important.
Linzy [00:28:10] Very important. So this is all very cool. It’s a lot of information, like it’s a whole other world. So for folks who are listening, if they’re curious about learning more about what you do, more about this world, where can they find you?
Omolara [00:28:23] Yeah. So I’m- my stomping grounds are usually on LinkedIn, but we have a quick links and resources. It’s bit.ly/melaninandmedicine. Or you can just go to melanin and medicine dot co. So that’s melaninandmedicine.co. I’m on LinkedIn, on that quick resources, you can find all the places that we’re at. But yeah, I think, you know, we do masterclasses every month. We have an on-demand webinar so that you can learn about the process because like you said, it’s a lot of information, but at least there you can pause it.
Linzy [00:29:00] Yes, Yes.
Omolara [00:29:03] So yeah.
Linzy [00:29:04] Awesome. Yeah. And I did. I was looking at your website this morning and you’ve got like a whole range of ways to support folks with getting into this world, which is so exciting.
Omolara [00:29:12] And we also have a podcast too.
Linzy [00:29:15] So we’ll put all those links in the show notes so that folks can easily find you. Thank you so much, Dr. Omolara. This was like so informative today. Really, I’m sure folks’ wheels are turning.
Omolara [00:29:25] Thank you so much for the opportunity. I’m just trying to get this information out to so many more of us. So thank you.
Linzy [00:29:31] Thank you. Something that really sticks out to me from this conversation is it’s easy for us as health practitioners, kind of, you know, in our own little silos, sitting in our office, to forget that there’s this whole huge world out there of funding that exists to serve the folks that we are passionate about serving. So really appreciated Dr. Omolara’s perspective today and just this world, you know, that she helps folks navigate of being able to form these relationships, These, as I named them, how I’m thinking about them is these who do not have relationships, who is already in touch with the folks that you love to serve and who already is in a position to get this funding that you can get on your own, creating those beautiful relationships so that you can bring your expertise to the folks who already are serving or interfacing with the people that you know so well, how to serve, and also bring you into contact with funding to give you stable income into your business to do what you do best. So lots of really cool possibilities out there and I hope that some folks listening today are inspired to go out and start to pursue these opportunities and and let your expertise reach more and more people who will benefit so much from what you do. You can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, it really, really, really helps if you could take 2 minutes to jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. That is the best way for new folks to find us and be part of these conversations. Thanks for listening today.