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How do you invest in the right things for your business? With Kelley Stevens

Cover art of Money skills for therapists the podcast episode 62 with Linzy bonham and Kelley Stevens

 “The reason that I got into this business was to have more time with my family. In order to do that, I had to streamline my process much more, and I needed a platform that was much more automated. I needed a team that could run my website without me, and so I decided to make that investment. It was all behind the scenes.”

~Kelley Stevens

Meet Kelley Stevens.

Kelley Stevens, LMFT is a private practice business consultant for therapists. Kelley teaches online courses for therapists looking to build successful and sustainable private practices. www.theprivatepracticepro.com

In this Episode...

How do you assess and take the right risks when investing in your business? When is the right time to invest? Linzy and guest Kelley Stevens of Private Practice Pro dive into how investing in your business can significantly benefit your business and your life. Linzy and Kelley share the kinds of investments they’ve each made in their own businesses, and how to think strategically about making investments in your private practice or scaled business.

Listen in to hear Kelley break down the actual numbers that she invested as she set up and grew her online platform. Kelley shares how much she invested and how she made those decisions as she expanded her business.

If you liked this episode, you might want to listen to Kelley’s previous podcast episode with us. Listen here.

Connect with Kelley




Kelley has two special offers! The first is her online course, the Private Practice Roadmap.This course gives therapists the tools, information, and confidence they need to launch a cash-pay private practice. Kelley also has a new book coming out with scripts for private practice therapists.

Want to work with Linzy?

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

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

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

Episode Transcript

Kelley [00:00:02] The reason that I got into this business was to have more time with my family. And so in order to do that, I had to streamline my process much more and I needed a platform that was much more automated. I needed a team that could run my website without me. And so I decided to make that investment. And it was all behind the scenes. 


Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapist 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. 


Linzy [00:00:50] Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s guest is Kelley Stevens. Kelley Stevens is the owner, the mastermind behind Private Practice Pro. I first came across Kelley on Instagram, which will feature heavily in our conversation because she really has built her business on Instagram. And I saw her on Instagram. She had this like big following and I was like, “Who is this?” like and so the first time I talked to her, I asked her, Where did you come from? Who have you worked with? Like, who did you learn from? And she was kind of like, I don’t know, I kind of came out of nowhere. So Kelley has in the last couple of years, three years, two years, really gotten a lot of traction on Instagram with her content as the Private Practice Pro, where she teaches therapists how to start up their private practices. She describes in one course she described to me off mic is really about taking people from the idea, the dream of starting a practice until that first session that they have. And today, Kelley and I get into the topic of investing and taking risks in your business. If you’re listening and you’re either starting off in private practice or you already have a private practice and you’re thinking about expanding beyond it. My conversation with Kelly today we get into the emotional experience of making big and financial investments how to think about financial investments when it’s the right time to make financial investments and the things that she spent money on her business versus what I spent money on in my business, which are actually quite different things and why we’ve made those decisions for ourselves. So this is a good episode to listen to if you find yourself kind of wondering when to spend money or finding it hard to spend money, if you have a hard time spending money on your business, this is going to be a good episode to get you thinking about what is really worth spending money on for you and what is not. Here’s my conversation with Kelley Stevens. 


[00:02:54] So, Kelley, welcome back to the podcast. 


Kelley [00:02:56] Thank you for having me. It’s so nice to be back. I feel like we just were together.


Linzy [00:03:03] It was a little while ago. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:03:05] Time is flying. And I also think, you know, things have evolved and there’s been a lot of growth for you, I think, since we last chatted as well, which is part of what we’re going to chat about today. 


Kelley [00:03:16] Yeah, I’m excited. 


Linzy [00:03:18] Yeah. So today we were going to have a chat about kind of like managing risk and growth. So can you just tell folks just to give folks a sense who are listening of your own experience, what has been like your business trajectory or growth for this business that you’re in now that we’re talking about now? 


Kelley [00:03:35] Okay. So first of all, I feel like, you know, in podcast land, it’s like you could go so depth there, but I’m just going to give you the kind of overview. Okay. I run a company now called Private Practice Pro, and we teach therapists how to open private practices through online resources. So that’s like online courses, primarily workbooks, live workshops, mini courses, everything online, right? We don’t have any physical products and I don’t currently do any one on one coaching. I do some, but I’m not taking anyone right now. So it’s primarily all online resources. So when I decided to launch this business, it was really different. I had launched my own private practice. I moved it to three different cities because of my husband’s job, and I had experience doing marketing for a large treatment center. So I’d always been kind of that 1 to 1 client model. And I thought, well, why not try to create online resources? And with that, that required me to take on some risk. So I think when you and I were talking, you’re like, let’s talk about risk and especially risk as it comes to money. You know, I think it’s one of those things like people don’t want to, you know, everyone wants to open online course or an online platform, but no one wants to be like, well, here’s how much money, you know. 


Linzy [00:04:49] Yes! 


Kelley [00:04:50] Let’s talk about the money, because that’s what your podcast is. 


Linzy [00:04:52] Yes, this Is what the podcast is about.  Yes. So the money piece, then, so what I’m hearing is like you, you had not just like had a private practice, but kind of had a private practice three times, you know, like opening in three different cities. So you have a lot of experience with starting up a private practice. Yeah, I’m curious. Like first off, what has been the difference in the let’s talk about like the emotional experience of kind of the money of private practice and starting in private practices versus this like scaled online offer that you have helping therapists with their private practices? 


Kelley [00:05:24] That’s a good question. So, yes, I do. So I’ve essentially opened three different private practices, even though they functioned under the same business entity. You know, it was essentially like starting over because of my husband’s job. We had to move. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. And this was prior to COVID and prior to telehealth being so predominant. The third move that I did, I saw more virtual people, but there’s like not more virtual people, like more virtual appointments. 


Kelley [00:05:53] More people virtually. Yes. 


Kelley [00:05:54] Yeah, exactly. But prior to that, it was like starting a whole new client base of in-person clients. And then prior to that, I also did the marketing for a large private practice. There were about 12 of us. Yeah, that was a kind of its own experience because even though we functioned as a group, it was a group practice owned by owners. Everyone still needed to bring in their own clients. So, you know, I think I got to see really firsthand different personality types and bringing in different types of clients and how people could market themselves as introverts and as extroverts. And, you know, there’s no one way to do it. But what I always think of private practice, and this is what I tell a lot of the people I work with as I help them over their private practices is there’s a lot less startup than if you were going to say like open a McDonald’s, for example, or. 


Kelley [00:06:42] I mean, McDonald’s has a huge startup clause, right? What do they say? It’s like an average million to sort of McDonald’s or… 


Linzy [00:06:47] Sure, I believe it. 


Kelley [00:06:48] Yeah. But for private practice, you know, I think the beauty of our job is like, first of all, nowadays you could totally start just telehealth or you could start with an office too. And it’s not like you’re buying tons of dental equipment or tons of products or warehousing a ton of stuff. I mean, it’s really you are the product and you have your office, you have some malpractice insurance, you need a billing system and things, but the actual startup cost is very feasible without going in saying like getting a loan or a line of credit. You know, you’re not necessarily going to go into debt by opening a private practice. Some people may choose to, but you don’t have to. Whereas when I decided to open an online platform, I very quickly realized that there was going to be some startup cost. And what I feel like any time you have startup costs, you say to yourself, okay, I need X amount of money to do this. And then it’s like, now I need X amount of time to get to sell enough to be out of debt. And then, I’m going to start making money! Whereas in private practice you might be profitable in your first month. You might not be, but potentially I think the get out of debt, you know, card is quicker unless you have start-up money to begin with, you know. 


Linzy [00:08:09] Yes. Because what I’m hearing is, you know, your experience is that that online, online platform, had a lot more expenses associated. So I’m curious for you like what have some of those expenses been. Yeah. The money you had to put in before you could even start selling the thing to make your money back. 


Kelley [00:08:26] So, okay, so I, I thought it would be really helpful just to break down the actual numbers. Because I really wish when I had started out, actually somebody did do this for me, but I talked to plenty of people that were like, You’re going to need some money, right? 


Linzy [00:08:39] Some money… 


Kelley [00:08:39] Okay, but like, how much? You know? So my original estimate when I said to myself, okay, I’m going to create one online course, that’s it, and I’m going to market it through Instagram and a website. My original estimate when I first started was 20,000 U.S. dollars. I ended up spending about 40, but I think I could have done it for 20 had I not trained to do it so quickly. 


Linzy [00:09:09] Right? So yeah. 


Kelley [00:09:11] So when it comes to online business, there are things where you can choose to DIY or you can choose to outsource. So for example, filming an online course, right? You might choose to film your first online course on Zoom and use PowerPoint slides, or you might hire a professional video team and have them film it. There’s no one right way to do that, right? I’ve taken some online courses that are filmed on Zoom and PowerPoint and they’re great, honestly, maybe better than some of the ones I’ve seen that are professionally shot because sure, there’s less nervousness about a new online course right now from home. And I’ve had courses professionally shot and I think the one that I’m shooting from home is better. But for example, when I shot my first online course, I did choose to have it professionally shot and that alone cost me $9,000 and it turned out beautiful. And I wanted that first kind of flags to turn out beautifully. But so you’re going to make choices along the way. You know, another choice would be, am I going to hire somebody to make a professional website or a professional kind of e-commerce site, or am I going to do it on my own? Certainly it’s possible to do it on your own. Again, I chose to hire somebody. I had like a quick timeline and very quickly realized that I couldn’t do that on my own in the timeline that I wanted to do it, so I chose to invest in having somebody build me a really professional website. 


Kelley [00:10:36] So by the time that I launched my first course, I had spent about 40,000 and I was lucky enough that, you know, I have a private practice and I was doing well in my private practice, so I subsidized my own. I didn’t have to go out and get a loan. But that being said, I have a family, I have a mortgage, I have a child. And so my husband and I kind of sat down and I said, okay, you know, realistically I could float 20, but then I ended up floating 40. And it was like, I really need to pay this 40 back to us as a family within a year. And why I went and decided to do it so quickly, right? Because I was like, we can’t float it more than that. You know, we have other expenses in our life that we had to pay for. But that was a huge motivator. That was like, well, even if nothing works out, even if this platform does not work, I at the minimum have to make 40,000 in this next year. Doing this, even if I’m not profitable, which I did it. I mean, that happened really quickly. So … 


Linzy [00:11:38] Yes. Yeah, you did pay back. 


Kelley [00:11:39] I did pay back. And it was a fun day, you know. 


Linzy [00:11:41] Yeah. When you crossed that threshold. 


Kelley [00:11:43] Yeah. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:11:44] I mean, as you’re saying this, there’s a few things that stick out to me. First of all, I need to just say this is the nerdy money part of me, but like, I so appreciate the clarity that you had on your numbers and like, you and your husband sitting down and talking about it and agreeing on your timeline and like, because I think that that makes it very tangible, too, in terms of setting goals, right? Where it’s like the tangibility of it, I think is really motivating because what I see a lot of folks do when they’re starting either their private practice or their second thing, their launch or their scaled offer, their their course they want to build in the side, is when you don’t have clarity on those numbers, there’s just kind of this ambiguous, like “I’m spending a lot” and like “Ugh,am I going to make it back” in like, “Oh, do I have more to spend”? And that ends up making it this very emotional kind of blurry experience. And what I’m hearing that you did is you were very clear, like, this is what we can afford. Okay? I went beyond that. And by going beyond that, this is exactly the timeline that we need because this is what we can afford in terms of carrying this debt. Just like very clear, clear-minded in your relationship to these amounts. 


Kelley [00:12:46] Yeah. I mean, it really had to be that way. I think that tends to be how I function financially anyway. You know, I want to know. Exactly. You know how long I have to pay it back, how much it’s going to cost me. And I agree with you. And I think that I’ve seen many entrepreneurs and therapists in particular kind of continue to take on like, oh, I need this, and then I need that. And there were certainly things even within the 40,000 that I would have liked to do right away where I said, no, this is our hard and fast number. We’re not going to do that right now. That’s going to take another year. I have to be profitable before I’m willing to put more money in. 


Linzy [00:13:25] Yes, And that’s exactly the second thing that stuck out to me is this time-money equation. Right. And I think this is a decision that as we’re growing businesses, we’re always making these decisions. Whether or not we’re naming them as such as it’s like, for instance, I could take this course and learn how to do X, Y, Z from somebody who lives and breathes this topic, but it’s going to cost me $1,000 or $750. Or I could take the time to try to like learned it and maybe read some books and like talk to people and kind of learn this skill more organically. I won’t have spent $1,000, but it might take me like nine months or a year or even two years to really feel like I, like hammer down these skills, right? And I think that there’s endless things that we could pay people to do for us and to teach us. And any of those things, we could also try to figure out on our own or to do ourselves. And what I think I’m hearing with you, it is a lot of ways there was a priority on making it happen faster. So you made these investments to accelerate the process for yourself? 


Kelley [00:14:24] Yeah, definitely. And and the reason I know that to be true is now, you know, I’m a few years into this thing and I’m about to launch another two courses. And certainly since that initial course, I’ve launched a lot of other things. So workbooks and ebooks and mini courses and all sorts of other stuff. So now I’ve done it a few times and for the quality of product I like to put out, I know I can get out the door with 10,000 or below. Now take into account my first time I went through it. I spent 40. There were many reasons why that was. One, it was my first time one, you know, and I don’t know that I would have done anything differently. Now because I’ve done it a few times, there’s things I don’t have to outsource. There’s systems that I know how to use. There’s programs I now know how to use, so I don’t have to pay someone to teach me how to do it in the same way. That’s number one. 


Kelley [00:15:12] And then number two, I’ve given myself more time. You know, I think the first time that I launched a course, I thought from this time I started filming it until the time I launched it, I gave myself three months. This time I gave myself a year. So I’m a little smarter, you know? I’m like, No, there’s no way I’m going to do this in three months again, you know? And I think the second part to that is that I’m a mom. And so there’s always this equation of when will I have more childcare, when will I not? I’m also, I’ve told Linzy, I’m also pregnant, so it’s like I have to time out all of that. And so I think any time you balance motherhood or parenthood with business, there is that relationship too of like how much childcare do I have? I’m paying for that. How much time do I have before I’ll have another child or not or, or whatever. And all that time and money go together, you know, with the childcare element too. 


Linzy [00:16:02] So yeah, there’s an equation there I think that’s constantly kind of evolving. And so for you then, Kelley, like having made a larger investment because of you wanted things to happen faster, you wanted things to be a certain way, so you invested quite a bit in your first course. How did you relate to that investment emotionally? Like what emotions went with that for you? 


Kelley [00:16:23] You know, it was so scary and depressed. Like to me, $40,000 is not a little bit of money. That was how much I spent on my MFT degree, my master’s degree, which nowadays sounds like not a lot of student debt, you know, I mean, programs are really expensive, but back when I went to school was that was exactly how much I took out as a loan for my master’s degree. And I think I took like 39,500 or something and had a full time job during that time. So I was able to float some of it. But so to me, thinking about the number of 40,000 and just in terms of our own family and our, you know, it was a lot of money and it required just so much belief in myself. I had to have some inclination that I knew I’d be able to, at the minimum, pay it back. And I did, you know, I knew I had a lot of experience in the area that I teach in. I went ahead and just like done it once by myself and then said, okay, well now people replicate how I do it. I had done it for other companies. I’d done some consulting work for other companies. So I taught into a master’s program. So I knew I knew how to teach it, and I knew I was a good teacher. So I knew enough to say to myself, like, okay, I know I can think of myself as long as I suspend the fear long enough. As I got toward the launch, on my first launch day, I made no sales, not one. And now we have like 600 people or something in that original course. But on day one, I sold no courses and I remember thinking, God, it was like a horrible day. It makes you want to cry. I remember thinking, like, at that point, when I launched my course, I had about 11,000 Instagram followers, and I remember thinking “At least a thousand are going to buy this course”. Please. 


Kelley [00:18:16] I really luckily had some really wonderful mentors and other therapist friends in the online space that said to me they were like, Kelly, I think a conservative number would be 1% of your audience in the first year. And I was like, “No way, really 1%”, you know? But now at this point, my audience is about 45,000 and we’ve done about 600 courses in that original course. So we’re a little above 1%, but not much. 


Linzy [00:18:46] Yeah, not much. 


Kelley [00:18:46] A really good estimate. And now when I launch products and I make investments into different products, I use that number and I say, okay, if we were just going to sell 1%, to 1% of this audience, how much do I think, can I afford to spend on the creation of the product? 


Linzy [00:19:04] Right. Yeah, I’m with you for that equation. Like when you think about how much to spend on investing in something, thinking about the 1% of your audience, how much money are you trying to make above the investment to like, like what makes it worth it for you? Because it’s not just paying back the the cost of it, but also how much do you want to see yourself make to be like that was worth it. 


Kelley [00:19:23] Oh, 100%. Yeah. I’m not in this to like, make no money. Right? So yeah, in that initial year I thought like, okay, I want to like break a 100 in revenue, so I want to do 40,000 in debt, you know, get rid of that 40,000 debt and then take home a 100. Which I did in that first year. So that was like I launched like, like what, say January, I launched the course in March, and then I had to get to December. You know, So really in terms of billing time, that’s more like seven or eight months, you know. But yeah, you have to do all of that because it’s not just that you can get out of debt, right? I’m a mom, I have a mortgage, I have kids to put through preschool, which is like basically the cost of my mortgage. Like to break even in life is not the same thing as breaking even in just in terms of my cost. Yeah. So and then also I was I’m running, you know, I’ve run a private practice. I had to take time away from my other business to launch this business. And certainly for many weeks and months there was a floating, you know, it was a little crazy for a while. It wasn’t like super balanced for a long time. Now it’s a lot better. My schedule is better than it even was in private practice. You know, when seeing full-time 1 to 1 clients but it took a minute to get there. 


Linzy [00:20:37] Yeah. And you know what? I’m the way that I think about this and talk about this sometimes with students in Money Skills For Therapists is like, it’s an investment period, right? So it’s like, how do you manage an investment period emotionally? And also in terms of making those decisions. Right. And something that I think is important as we’re thinking about your course and like the money you invested, you did just say you had an Instagram audience of 11,000 people. That’s also a good reason to bet on yourself, right? Like, I think if we’re thinking strategically, it’s like, yes, mindset wise, we need to believe in ourselves. We need to commit, you know, be like, I’m going to do what it takes. But also, you had already taken strategic action beforehand that showed you like you already had a brand. 


Kelley [00:21:15] Yeah. And I should say that and that you’re so right. Linzy like, I think that was the best piece of advice I ever got. I had a few friends that were in the mom space, the mom influencer space who had launched like very successful courses way, you know, had just ridiculous audience sizes. And multiple people told me, well, first somebody told me you shouldn’t launch until you have 5000 followers. And I remember thinking like when I first opened my Instagram account, like, how am I going to get 5000 followers? I mean, like, like I have 2. You know? And I don’t necessarily know that that’s true, right? I think depending on the product, especially if you have a high touch consulting, I don’t think it has to be a certain number. But I knew that if I was going to take the risk, I needed some proof of concept. And for me I decided that that proof of concept was going to be an Instagram audience. And so I didn’t even start writing the course, building the course, trying to sell to my audience until I actually was at 10,000. Had I not reached 10,000, I would have waited a few months to launch. 


Linzy [00:22:26] Right, okay  


Kelley [00:22:29] At that time, part of the appeal of 10,000 and this is no longer the case on Instagram is you got that swipe up feature, you know. 


Linzy [00:22:36] Oh yeah, I remember that. 


Kelley [00:22:37] Like swipe up for this, you don’t get that anymore. So at the time I was like, Oh, I’m not going to launch until I have that feature. And then it became more so the fact that I felt like the more of a following I built, the more I knew what the audience I was actually going to sell to needed. The products that I might have designed at two followers was going to be really different than the product design at 5000. 10,000, now at 40 something thousand. I’m much more clear on what my audience wants. So we’re going to redo the course and do a lot more. And then everyone who’s already bought it will get the same updated version again, you know, included. You know, I think when therapists come to me and they say, you know, I really want to launch this online course, but I haven’t built a following yet. You know, you can build a following and not spend any money doing it. Instagram is free, you know. And so I always tell people, like, spend time really getting to know the people you’re going to sell a product to and nobody. And it also, you know, I think shows that you’re willing to stick with it because if you’re… 


Linzy [00:23:41] Yes. 


Kelley [00:23:43] … posting Reels, posting what whether it’s Instagram or TikTok or a podcast, you realize there’s like a lot of just background work that you’re not getting paid for. So if you really want to be doing that and serving the people that you want to sell to, one day you’ll continue doing it and you’ll work at building an audience prior. If you’re not willing to put in that time to build an audience, then and you spend $40,000 to launch a course and you get crickets. I mean, I had a big audience and I got crickets on day one. Now the launch went way better later on. What if I had no followers? Like, I can’t imagine. And I’ve seen people do that where they’ve launched a course and they’re like, Why isn’t anyone buying this? And then I’ll say well, who is going to buy? 


Linzy [00:24:26]  Yeah, who is it for? And, you know, yeah. And I, you know, that is, you know, for folks listening, I will also say Instagram is one way to do that. You, Kelley, are amazing on Instagram. You’ve built a huge audience. How what’s your what’s your follower account now? 


Kelley [00:24:41] 43 something. But if you ask me how many followers I have on YouTube and it’s 100. Okay. Oh. 


Kelley [00:24:49] Follow me on YouTube, please. 


Linzy [00:24:53] Together we can double your follower account if a 100 folks just jump over now, if you’re listening, go follow Kelley on YouTube. Yeah. And we all have our thing, right? So, like, you know, you mentioned like the 5000 thing, don’t sell until you. Kelley, like I hit 5000 followers, like two weeks ago. 


Kelley [00:25:06] Yeah, exactly. So, right. 


Linzy [00:25:08] So it’s like but I’ve been running an online business successfully for four years. So, you know, but, you know, I will say when I first sold my course, I sold it through email and I had an email list of 600 people. So it’s like much smaller number, but emails, higher touch. At that time too, it was easier to sell an email. There were less people in the space. But it’s like, yeah, you need someone to sell to, when you’re going to build something. You need an audience somewhere.  Even if it’s your local network and you have a really great, like, you know, high profile in your local community, you need to have a, you know, name recognition somewhere so that people know that you’re selling and they’re, you know, you’ve got their attention somewhere. And I think that’s such an important piece as we talk about financial risk, because I think sometimes there is this mentality of like. Well, there’s two mentalities. One is the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. The other one is like bootstrap it, don’t spend anything, figure it all out yourself. Don’t spend money on these. Like, you know, one of my colleagues just contacting the other day about a course that we’re both in together and she’s like, I thought it was a scam at first. Like, I wasn’t sure. I was like, it’s not a scam. Like, there’s lots of amazing courses out there, but it’s like, you know, easy to be skeptical. And I think that first school of thought, though, like, the more you spend, the more you get out of it. I’m curious your your thoughts on that mentality, given that you invested quite a bit in yours. What do you think about that kind of type of thinking about investing? 


Kelley [00:26:25] It’s a good question. You know, I would say I tend to be a DIY person. So, for example, when it came to my private practice, it was like I DIYed my own website. I thrifted all the furniture for my first office, you know, I mean, it was like. But I felt really confident in my ability to do so. Do you know what mean, like I knew I could make a good website for my private practice. I knew. And when I went to move into the online space, I was really aware that I wasn’t an expert. 


Kelley [00:26:59] And that there were questions that I didn’t even know to ask the question. Do you know what I mean, like as a therapist, starting a private practice, I’d had a ton of training. I’d spent five years as a marketing, you know, as a marketing person for another practice. I learned on the job. But I it wasn’t like I worked for an online course business or I worked for something where I learned on the job. So going from very little knowledge to a course launch in four months, I knew that there were pitfalls that I couldn’t even see, you know? And for that reason, I felt like I’m investing in the knowledge of other professionals. And I think that, that regardless of whether I’m investing my time, you know, which I think that’s one, you know, you bootstrap it and you’re investing your time in learning from people so you can do it or you’re investing your money and they’re going to help me do this. And ideally, I’m going to learn along the way. But I don’t always, you know, like I’m still my email funnels, man. I like I’m I still ask for help on those, but I think either way, it’s an investment. 


Linzy [00:28:02] Right, investing time or investing money. Yeah. What comes to mind for me too, with that first the first school of thought, the like, the more you invest, the more you make is it does need to be strategic investments. 


Kelley [00:28:13] Oh a 100% 


Linzy [00:28:14] And you need to be able to look and say okay based on these factors, based on my audience size, based on the interviews, like before I made Money Skills for Therapists, actually before I even started offering any financial services to therapists, like any coaching, I did like eight information interviews with people, like really like. And some of those people are like people who are my friends still today, you know, But like, I met them at like a training together. And I was like, tell me about your relationship with money. Like I really drilled into those ideal people. So that before, again what I might have made would have been different if I hadn’t had those conversations. Right? And if I hadn’t, like, put things out there, I’d been getting feedback on those things. I wouldn’t have been able to make the right thing if I had not actually kind of immersed myself in my audience. But I think what I what I want to make clear for folks listening, at least my perspective is you can’t skip that step, right? You can’t just spend money. 


Kelley [00:29:05] There are some steps where you can’t skip it. 


Linzy [00:29:07] You can’t skip it. 


Kelley [00:29:08] I believe if you’re not an expert in the material that you’re teaching and you don’t really know the pain points and the struggles and the solutions to the people you’re going to teach it to, you can’t just hire someone to do that. You know, especially if you’re going to base the business around your knowledge, because then you’re just going, I don’t know. You know what? Yeah, No, I agree with you on that. 


Linzy [00:29:29] Yeah. And so I think, you know, something that I encourage folks to think about is return on investment. Like when you are making an investment, think about first of : right thing, right time. Is this the right thing for you? Is this actually what you need? Do you actually have the bandwidth to take it on and fulfill it? Because there’s lots of amazing courses, but if you don’t actually do them, yeah, you’re not going to get the results right. 


Kelley [00:29:49] I have a couple of those courses. 


Linzy [00:29:51] Yes. Yeah, I’m sure I have some of those too you know, that were never touched, it is basically like a book on the shelf that you never read. But then the other thing is, is putting it into that context of like, is this the right thing in this stage of my business growth? Am I trying to skip steps because you can’t actually pay to skip steps. 


Kelley [00:30:05] You can’t. 


Linzy [00:30:06] In your business, whether that’s private practice growth, whether that’s, you know, online business growth, there’s some things that you just have to go through. So, Kelley, I’m curious then for you. First of all, I do really appreciate to go back just a little bit. I really appreciate you talking about how scary it was to make the investment and those early days of launching. Launching, you know, and I had Annie Schussler on the podcast last season. We chatted about launching like it is. It’s not fun, okay. 


Kelley [00:30:31] I hate it so much. I even hate the word. 


Linzy [00:30:35] I think the only folks I know who really seem to like launching are people who are like really, really high extrovert, really high like stimulation seeking because it is intense. So if like, really intense things make you feel calm, you’re going to like launching. Otherwise, like, yeah, it’s stressful, right? So there’s that. Yeah, but you’re betting on yourself and then you’re kind of waiting to see if you did it right or if you’re doing it right and if it’s going to come back. I appreciate you saying that because I think that’s a good reality check. Because sometimes, like when we watch somebody else, like when we see their business,. 


Kelley [00:31:04] I’ve launched and I did 300 sales on day one. 


Linzy [00:31:07] Yeah. Oh, yeah, there’s that too. Yeah. And I was going to say to you, from the outside, I think it always seems like somebody’s business is going well. Rarely are they going to like go on their Instagram or write an email being like, “it’s dark days here guys. I haven’t had a sale in three months.” But for you thinking about that 40,000 you spent first of all, I’m curious what was in that $40,000? 


Kelley [00:31:27] My two biggest expenses were number one: trademarking I hired an attorney to do and that cost me… well, actually wasn’t my biggest expense, but it was an expensive one, it was like 2500. Shooting the course ended up costing me about 9000 at the door. Part of that was because I did it in a hotel I like. I didn’t do it at home. I have a toddler and it was COVID and you know, there’s was just no way. So I did it in a really nice space. I hired a professional video team, editing team, all that. So that was one of my bigger ones. I could not use my private practice website, you know, like I was using Squarespace at the time. I switched into a platform called Kajabi, which I’ve actually switched away from, but and I liked Kajabi. That’s a whole other episode on that. So I needed to hire somebody to build me a new website. I knew I could build it Kajabi. And actually I like to joke with my website editor because I called him and I was like, Can I just pay for like three or 4 hours of your time to just teach me how to use Kajabi? And then I’ll build the website. And, you know, that was like a good idea, but in the end it wasn’t going to get done in the timeline I wanted it to get in. So I ended up hiring him to do that. And I can’t remember how much, I want to say, spent around 7000 on that and then trademarking and then shooting the course. What else? Oh, I spent a lot on ads. I bought a lot of Instagram ads. I knew, well I don’t know if I knew, but I do know now that for me I think I’m pretty good at converting people who find me into buying from me. So I was willing to spend money on ads. So I spent probably another five or 6000 on ads in the course of a year. And then I needed some gear to film. So I bought like a nice camera. Even though I’ve had it professionally filmed, there was just supplemental things that needed to be filmed, that I filmed from home. I had to start a new company. So originally I thought that I could run my consulting and online course business through my private practice. I had, had a private practice business, and very quickly, my attorney who did my trademarking was like, No. You need a separate S corp. So yeah, and I spent four or 5000 setting up a new corp doing, you know. Again, I could have done it for significantly less than I did it for. But I hired an attorney to do all the people I just like, Yeah, went through it pretty quickly to make sure it was really clean and separate from my and that includes like, you know, at that point I had to pay 2500 to pay for my taxes for that year for that S corp. 


Linzy [00:34:06] Yes. 


Kelley [00:34:06] I don’t just mean just the course, but I mean. The launch of the course, which also meant the launch of a business. 


Linzy [00:34:13] Yeah, you really set up everything. And also you made investments on like I’m sure the camera. Hopefully you still have it and you can still use it. And those kinds of things that are like those long-term startup costs. You paid for it then, but will continue using it. 


Kelley [00:34:26] Exactly like, for example, trademarking. I didn’t have to trademark at that point in time, so I could have never spent that 2500. But I very early on had heard a story about a friend of a friend who had started a company, branded, built a huge Instagram following, and then the same name was used by like an adult industry thing. And they had to but like they had to redo all their SEO. And I knew that, that 2500 would save me money down the road if I had to rebrand. I was going to spend money on my search engine optimization. I was already, I knew, at the point that I was making this investment that I was going, growing pretty quickly on Instagram and that rebranding my Instagram would cost me money. So at that point I was like, no, I need to spend the money on trademarking. Even though at this point in time do I want to spend $2500 on something that feels to me like a piece of paper which is promoting my brand. But I was like, You’ve got to be kidding me, You know, out of this precious, like investment nest egg, I’m going to spend 2500 of that to trademark something? You know, and it takes a long time, in the States. A trademark comes back in eight months to a year. 


Linzy [00:35:37] Oh, wow. 


Kelley [00:35:38] I just like, yeah, it was even slower than that. And I just finished wrapping mine up and we had some like back and forth with other companies and things which again, I had to pay my attorney for. But now I like own my brand, which is very valuable, yeah, I don’t want an adult film private practice pro to come out and then I have, you know, like a different name. Anyway. 


Linzy [00:36:00] It seemed like not very likely, but not impossible. 


Kelley [00:36:03] I know, can you believe like I have a podcast and that’s the first episode of my next season is talking is talking to the person that happened. 


Linzy [00:36:09] Oh, yeah. Who went through that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because what I’m hearing is like that 40,000 for you. It really was foundation building. It wasn’t just making a course, it was it wasn’t making a course with polish. Like, I’m sure you know, my, my course Money Skills for Therapist, which is still my main course, I shot myself. Sometimes the camera angle is weird. Sometimes I’m like, that was a weird choice I made that day. But the content stands up and has continued to stand up and, you know, and like 450 people have gone through the course so far. So it’s like we, we make decisions. I think of like again, that time-money equation, the like what feels important at the moment where we want polish and where we’re willing to DIY. And that’s going to be different for everybody, based on like our circumstances and our energy and like what’s important to us as well. 


Kelley [00:36:50] 100% I don’t think I’ll ever professionally shoot a course again. I’m literally, after we hang up today, I’m going to shoot video for my next course and I will shoot it from home. Now, you know, because I realized that did I need to spend that 9000, like, could I buy a beautiful camera and pay an editor? So like, now in my next course, you know, just the filming won’t cost me anything because I’ll film it, but then I’ll pay my editor about like 2500 to edit the whole thing. It’s a lot less than 9000, so, you know, But we live and we learn. 


Linzy [00:37:19] And we all have our own thing, right? So like, I think I’d rather get hit by a truck than make a website. Yeah, I hate making websites passionately for some reason. Doesn’t make sense, but I really dislike it. But I like doing my own film editing, so I edit my own videos. 


Kelley [00:37:33] Really? I’m the exact opposite! I would make a website any day of the week. Yeah, I hate editing. I hate like sitting down and working the camera. Oh my God, that’s so funny. 


Linzy [00:37:44] Yeah. So we all have our thing, right? But yeah, yeah, we would. We would be a good team. I am curious. I have one more question for you about investing. What is the best investment you’ve made in your business financially? 


Kelley [00:37:56] This is a good question. You know. Okay, so this is apart from the launch initially, and I should say, you know, caveat to the launch thing, I actually don’t do live launches now anymore. I felt like it didn’t align with my values. And even though I think I could sell more if I did it in that model, it’s not who I am as a person. So that could be a whole another episode about launching. Anyway, in about a year into my course, we were cranking, we had, you know, about 500 or so people in the course, and I was still at the point where I was running the company by myself. Meaning handling like all, you know, when you run a course, there’s questions, there’s Facebook groups, there’s emails, there’s technical, “I can’t log into this. I need help with this”, all of that kind of stuff I was doing. And I was still in my original platform. And at that point I decided to bring on a subcontractor to do a few things. One to help me rebrand my website, and two, to help me move platforms to a different. I decided to move to Thrive Cart. And that decision was not something at the time that I needed to do. I could have very easily stayed in the platform I was in, stayed with the website. It was beautiful and I’d really been open less than a year. And so at the time, you know, I had just like had a profitable year. And I was like, oh no, like, I’m going to I’m going to make another investment? But I was aware this was about a year ago now. Number one, that I wanted to have another baby. And number two, that the reason that I got into this business was to have more time with my family. And so in order to do that, I had to streamline my process much more. And I needed a platform that was much more automated. I needed a team that could run my website without me. And so I decided to make that investment. And it was all behind the scenes. Like, none of it made new profit, we’ve subsequently made new product, it’s been great and I love that. But at the beginning, the decision to hire a couple of team members was terrifying because I knew I could do it all technically, but I couldn’t do it all and stay within my values of being the mom I wanted to be. And so that was the best investment. And since bringing them on, we’ve been where I’m convinced that we have been more profitable than had I, had I continued to DIY it. I wouldn’t have created new products. They wouldn’t because I didn’t have the time. So you have to be more creative. 


Linzy [00:40:35] Yeah. And that’s I think that’s great for folks who are listening, who are thinking about making a hire to hear. Because, you know, sometimes I’ll, you know, often actually I’ll hear therapists even hesitating around like hiring a VA for a couple of hours a week. And it’s like, because I could do that, I could, I can answer the emails like I can, you know, whatever little tasks we want to do, post my blogs to my website. But what you’re saying, I think, really gets to the core of the value of having help is like: you are reclaiming your time and your bandwidth. You know, you’re allowing yourself to use that however you want, whether that’s making new things, you know, offering new things in your business or whether it’s reclaiming time for your life and time is very, very valuable. 


Kelley [00:41:15] I think for myself as a young mom in my thirties, with young kids being pregnant, having a toddler, time is my absolute most valuable, most limited commodity. And so I am willing to pay more to get that and make less. Now, that obviously comes with a certain amount of privilege because I am willing to make less. But it also means that I make some financial decisions where I’m like, Yeah, we could have more money, but I wouldn’t be able to pick my son up from school or that he still goes in, let’s be really clear. 


Linzy [00:41:56] Yeah, yeah. 


Kelley [00:41:56] But I mean, like, I’m done by 2:00 every day. 


Linzy [00:41:59] Oh, nice. 


Kelley [00:42:00] And in my previous life of full time private practice where I was seeing 20 to 30 clients a week, I was never done by I mean, I was done by seven or eight every night. 


Linzy [00:42:12] And I love that. And then I’ve made the same decision in my own business. I’ve been reflecting recently about how I could really get paid like a lot more in my business, like a lot more than I get paid. But every time I think about taking the tasks that different team members do on my own plate, I’m like: first of all, hell no! I don’t want to do their job. But secondly, it’s like for me, I think about I like to distinguish to even be on time, it’s like bandwidth. Like how much are we frying ourself during the day? Because it’s also for me about like how I am able to show up with my son or the other people in my life that I love. And I could cram some more tasks into my actual day and maybe still finish at the same time. But I’m going to be tired, right? I’m not going to be like I’m not going to have that energy to like this morning, by some miracle, my son and I both got amazing sleep and woke up at 630 and great moods and had this great morning together. 


Kelley [00:43:02] That is a miracle. 


Linzy [00:43:03] It was, it was a true miracle. And he was talking about breakdancing. So I was like, well, I’ll show you a breakdancing video. So we watch a breakdancing video. And then he wanted to have a breakdancing pad. So went under the basement. I set up like there was like a little pad down there that we already had. And like, he did some breakdancing moves and like that, for me, like, that’s about quality of time spent because I’m rested. I’m attentive. Like I’m not distracted or stressed by something. And like that to me, I know is my top priority, and my top value. And if my business is interfering with that, then like we have a problem. 


Kelley [00:43:34] Oh a 100%. And I, you know, one day, I got to see, you got to take up breakdancing. I think we need like a viral Instagram reel of you breakdancing. 


Linzy [00:43:43] That is so far from what is possible in this dimension. But thank you so much. I would do probably 100 thing before I would do breakdancing. But my son, on the other hand, does a lot of breakdancing moves already, which is why I was like: you’re breakdancing. He was like: what’s breakdancing? Like, he kind of like, does like the worm and stuff. So anyways, he must have learned at preschool. It’s super cute. Well, yeah. Kelley, thank you so much for coming back to the podcast today, talking about your experiences with investing and risk. If folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you and follow you? 


Kelley [00:44:16] Yeah. So obviously on Instagram at the Private Practice Pro. Same thing for our website, the Private Practice Pro dot com. I’m venturing my feet into all the other platforms and TikTok and YouTube follow me on there. All the same name, the Private Practice Pro. So. Yeah. Thank you, that was awesome. 


Linzy [00:44:36] Yeah. Thanks so much, Kelley. 


Linzy [00:44:50] From my conversation with Kelley, something that I really took away and that really stuck out is what we each spend money on in our businesses, and what’s worth it for us at certain times is going to be different for everybody. I think it would be hard to argue that there’s very many things that everybody needs to make a major investment to have it happen. I guess there are certain things like lawyers that you can’t really DIY, your own trademarking or whatever, but even when Kelley is talking about trademarking, I don’t have a trademark on what I do. I should actually go out and do that. I haven’t done that yet. Right. And I’m so far, knock on wood, doing just fine. Right? And so we’re all going to have different things that feel important or that given our circumstances, are important to spend money on. And those are going to look different for each of us depending on where we are in our business, what our needs are, what we’re good at, and what we like. Like I was saying, I like video editing. Kelly hates it. She’s going to make her own websites. I’m never going to do that. I have somebody on my team who does that for us. So really connecting with yourself and thinking about what is worth it for you to spend money on, either because of where you are strategically in your business or things that you’re just never going to do yourself and you’re never going to be good at. And the emotional pain of it is worth spending money on versus what is worth taking the time to do yourself either because like we talked about some things you can’t rush. Like you can’t rush, for instance, your audience research as you’re trying to figure out a niche and figure out your language. Like that is a process that has to happen through like communicating with the people you want to serve, gleaning things from a client that you’re seeing to start to understand who’s your niche. Those are things that take time. I don’t think you can really pay to cut corners on those kinds of things. But other things you certainly can do yourself. And it’s up to each of us to make strategic decisions as to where we want to spend our money in our businesses and where we would rather do things with our time instead, which is also a valuable resource. I really appreciate Kelley coming on the podcast today. 


Linzy [00:46:45] If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can follow me at Money Nuts and Bolts. Like I shared with Kelley, we’ve just passed 5000 followers, which is a very cute little number compared to her followers, but we’re very happy to have 5000 folks joining us on Instagram to have these conversations. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts. Leave me a review. I’ve said it before because it’s true. It is the best way for people 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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