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Owning Your Role as the Leader of Your Practice Coaching Session

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“That’s why I signed up [for Money Skills for Group Practice Owners] because I knew that was something that was missing is really understanding what these numbers and reports are saying. I know I have the data now; I just need to actually pull it and understand it. And then all of the things that I have crunched and looked at are still helpful, but I need to do more time nurturing the leader of this organization.

~Danielle Ritsema

Meet Danielle Ritsema

Registered social worker and psychotherapist Danielle Ritsema is passionate about helping people find healing from past hurts and build resilience and coping strategies for current struggles. Since completing her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Social Work degrees (WLU ’09, ’12), she has worked in a variety of health care settings and has honed her trauma therapy skills through specialized trainings in EMDR and IFS. She took the leap into private practice after her third baby was born, in April 2020 (Woodstar Counselling and Consulting), and has developed a strong reputation for helping people experience positive change in their lives and relationships. Danielle’s practice filled quickly, with a waitlist just 5 months after opening, so she began adding members to her team to help with the need. She now has a team of 5 therapists and 1 administrator. 

Originally from rural southwestern Ontario, Danielle and her husband relocated to Sault Ste. Marie in 2013. In 2022, Danielle was awarded the Young Professional of the Year award through her local Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group for the Health Sciences sector. When not working in her clinic, Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children hiking and exploring the beautiful outdoors.

In This Episode…

What beliefs do you have that impact your view of yourself as a business owner? Linzy and guest Danielle Ritsema dig into Danielle’s group practice numbers in this coaching session. They explore practical tips such as how to make sense of profit and loss statements and how to get all of the right numbers in one place so that more informed decisions can be made.

However, as the conversation pivots, Linzy and Danielle ultimately dig into the stories that Danielle carries about what it means to be a business owner and how those identity beliefs are impacting her business. Listen in to hear how to work through the beliefs that hold us back in our businesses.

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Episode Transcript

Danielle [00:00:01] That’s why I signed up, because I knew that was something that was missing, was really understanding what these members of reports are saying. I know I have the data now. I just need to actually pull it and understand it. And then all of the things that I have kind of crunched and looked at is still helpful, but I need to do more time nurturing that leader of this organization. 


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. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today we have a coaching episode with Danielle Ritsema. Danielle is group practice owner in Sault St. Marie, Ontario. She’s lovely. You’re going to hear that she’s a grad of Money Skills for Therapists and she’s also actually currently in Money Skills for Group Practice Owners, which at the time of this recording is just like we’re just at the beginning of that course together. I just kind of like rolled out the first two modules so far. So in our conversation today, Danielle and I get into dealing with overwhelm, like feeling overwhelmed by all the things to do in the business, talking about how it’s hard to make time to work on the money, even though you should, just feeling like you never get to it. And ultimately we start to dig into some beliefs about identity and being a business owner and kind of the ick that can come with that. So if you’re someone who struggles to prioritize your money, especially if you’re a group practice owner and you have folks working for you. But even as a solo practice owner, if you struggle to prioritize actually getting to your money, and if you find that you struggle with the idea of like being a business owner, like that doesn’t feel good for you, then this is going to be a great episode for you. Here is my coaching session with Danielle Ritsema. So, Danielle, welcome to the podcast. 


Danielle [00:02:19] Thanks for having me. 


Linzy [00:02:20] I am so glad that you are here. We were joking earlier that we’ve been trying to record this podcast for no joke like six months and every time we go to record, somebody’s kids are sick. So this is really nice that this is lined up for us. 


Danielle [00:02:31] Yes, it’s the post-COVID plague season. 


Linzy [00:02:34] Yes. Yes. So thinking about our time together today, tell me what’s coming up for you that you could use some support with today? 


Danielle [00:02:42] I think there’s been a lot of change. It’s hard with private practice when you’re one on one. So I have a group practice. And when I was one on one, I think I did a lot of work to be very intentional with how I chose my schedule. And I listened to great people like you and Allison Puryear and other people. And did all the things, did all the research, and was so intentional in setting up the foundation and was really happy with that. And I always thought I might want to add people down the road. I had supervised students in the past, but I didn’t expect to do it early on and I just happened to open my clinic just before COVID hit. So in March of 2020, it was when I was sort of getting ready to move into an office in April. And then everything kind of changed. So that threw things off too. But shortly after that, when we were back in office, I had a student reach out and it made sense for me to take her on because she was just so fabulous and she reached out to me. So I wasn’t looking for it. But a lot of the things that have happened over the last year and a half to two years since I started growing a group practice have felt really organic and people have come along the path at times when it just made sense to offer a different specialty. Space became available in the same building where my office was. And so it just it felt fairly easy to bring in amazing people and to be able to offer great services to my clients and to our greater community. At the same time, I didn’t realize when I first opened my private practice how much I was going to miss having people around. But it was those in-between things and the team meetings that I really, I really did miss. And I went through a whole grieving process around that. And so I got really comfortable in my private practice, my one on one, like just myself, my solo practice. But there was a little piece there that was like, Oh, it would be nice to have these bigger things and be growing something and have more community outreach and just I was looking for more. But I think part of what motivated me early on was I’m going to do all of this work upfront and then I’m going to get to a point where the systems are in place, people are settled and then I’ll be able to settle again like I did in my solo practice, will be able to schedule my day with these nice lunch breaks, schedule in my self-case and going to work out when my kids are in school, and having more of that autonomy and freedom. I think I thought I’d be there already. And I also thought that the payoff would be better in terms of like all this time that I’m pouring into it and then not necessarily getting that back financially. It gives me more stability. So when my kids are sick and I have to cancel my full clinical day, I’m not left with no income because I’ve got a team. And that was a huge benefit. But I think I also thought I’ll be able to do a little bit less clinical time and be doing more of the business things which uses these different parts of my brain, which I enjoy, I’m curious about. The problem is now that’s just unpaid time. So I’m finding like, Oh, I almost need to work the same number of clinical hours. But now I also have all this work to do because the settling isn’t happening. 


Linzy [00:06:09] And what I’m hearing is you wanted more, you got more, but it wasn’t necessarily the more that you were envisioning. 


Danielle [00:06:17] Be careful what you ask for. 


Linzy [00:06:17] Or like, Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. Okay. You’re still working almost the same amount of clinical hours that you were before. And how many hours a week is that right now? 


Danielle [00:06:26] Actually, I would say it is a little bit less. It’s less maybe because I’m squeezing more people into less time clinically. It’s about like 10 hours per week.  I think when I did Money Nuts and Bolts with you, I was like averaging closer to eight and you were like, Oh, like you might need to go up based on my goals then. So I was working four days a week. Keeping my Fridays or my Mondays – one day a week – as like an admin day? 


Linzy [00:06:52] Yeah. 


Danielle [00:06:52] One of my therapists needed office space. I gave up my office for them so that I could work from home. And I made another day, a second day more of an admin day. And that was an attempt to get a little more balance back in my life. But then I found that that’s not enough clients, so now I’m actually adding an extra clients. So the other three days – so that they’re fuller days. 


Linzy [00:07:14] So you’re at about ten clients a week, but I’m hearing that it sounds like there’s a lot of admin. Tell me what that’s looking like in your week. Like what? What is your week looking like? 


Danielle [00:07:23] So my Mondays, I always have to review contractor invoices and the payroll for my admin, and then I do that on Mondays. So I did hire a bookkeeper. I had been debating it for a long time and was just drowning more and more in bookkeeping. So I hired a bookkeeper as part of with my accountants firm. And so that has been very helpful. I wouldn’t say it’s offloaded a whole lot of time per say, but it’s cleaning things up and it’s things that I wasn’t getting to that would have been a mess down the road on top of. And they’re really good at emailing me anything that’s missing. So that has been helpful in that sense. And they are the ones that process the payroll. So after I’ve checked it and made sure all the numbers are right, which often there’s a- there’s always a mistake. Everybody’s always late and I’m having to remind them to send me their invoices and then tracking them down and then they send me and then somebody has made a mistake so then I’ve got to go back and forth and I’m waiting for them to send it again. And then, you know, maybe half an hour, 45 minutes on Monday like that that takes then there’s just the emails back and forth. And my admin is fabulous. But there’s a lot of things that is my call so then on Wednesdays I often will have a chat with her at some point in the day about new clients coming in, different situations, what she’s doing. And then I have somebody helping me with my social media, which is one of those things that I’ve really debated. But for me, a lot of my clients are in the age range that it makes sense for me to make sure that that’s a consistent presence. And I’ve had a number of clients come through social media, so I try to stay up on it. When I was doing it my own, it just didn’t happen. So having a social media manager. 


Linzy [00:09:04] Yes. 


Danielle [00:09:05] Yeah. Is really helpful in the sense that it also forces me to do things. She’s fabulous, but then she’ll send me the things and then I have to review everything and make my edits. And then she does it. And it’s weird, right? Because it’s again, it’s like more work than before I had her. But it’s also keeps me accountable to do the work that I should do that I want to do. 


Linzy [00:09:28] Yeah. Yeah. It’s harder to slack off when you, first of all, are paying someone, so like, you’re trying to fill your whole practice now, not just yourself. 


Danielle [00:09:35] Yeah. So it’s kind of same with the bookkeeper, like I outsource, but also it didn’t really take things off. Yeah, it kind of added some things. 


Linzy [00:09:43] Yes, because that was being done probably more thoroughly. 


Danielle [00:09:46] Because it’s just better. Yeah. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:09:49] Right. Yeah. Okay. What is really not working for you about the way that things are looking right now? 


Danielle [00:09:55] I think it’s not making progress. Just really thought that I would be further ahead. I racked up some debt when I furnished a second office and that’s just kind of sat on a credit card because I didn’t have anything else. And I haven’t been able to chip away at it like I thought I would. I haven’t been able to pay myself the amount that I thought I would have been able to buy now, like, I really thought, okay, it’ll take a couple of months to start filling them up, but now they are a little more full and still I’m not getting to that level that I thought I would. I brought on a student in January who is a virtual student, and I have had the hardest time. I can’t- which I have somebody helping me with Google Analytics and Google ads. And they said like no one clicks on the keyword virtual. So that is a huge loss that like she’s now extending her placement because she hasn’t had enough clients, which I feel bad. I’ve been putting money into Google ads trying to get her clients. It’s not been working. So that’s a loss there too. 


Linzy [00:11:00] This is like a slight aside, but is there a reason she needs to be working with folks who are in Sault Ste. Marie if she’s virtual? 


Danielle [00:11:06] No. So we also have a second ad in the Ottawa area where she is because although people might be more apt to do virtual, but then we are fighting with Better Help and large corporations, you have way more money to spend on your ads so we don’t show up so much. 


Linzy [00:11:23] Okay, so you’re competing. Yeah, because that’s that’s a thought there and that’s for your Google Analytics person. But like, what are the places- because she could be serving anywhere in Ontario. So as we think about your numbers, like I’m hearing you’re talking about your own sessions, right? Like that you need to keep your own numbers at ten a week. How many sessions a week are being done right now by your team? 


Danielle [00:11:41] I think close to 40. 


Linzy [00:11:42]  40 sessions week. 


Danielle [00:11:44] Yes. I have one therapist that consistently does like 14, one that does about probably closer to that too, 14, but she’s the one that’s leaving. And I have another that does closer to 10 to 12. Then another that’s also a winding down that only does about four. And then my student who has been doing two or three a week. 


Linzy [00:12:04] So where does that put us then? What were those numbers? 


Danielle [00:12:06] Yeah, so 46, maybe? 


Linzy [00:12:08] Okay. Okay. So 46 sessions a week. 


Danielle [00:12:10] Which is a lot like that’s a lot of sessions. 


Linzy [00:12:13] Yeah, it is. Right. I’m hearing that your brain goes to or has been focused on how many sessions you need to work. Because as we’re thinking about this, like what I am noticing, you know, it’s helpful to know that these are the numbers of your team, what your team is doing. And I’m hearing there’s some flux in your team, but also there’s there’s folks leaving, but there’s also folks coming. And some of those folks are students. And so these numbers are going to shift. But, you know, what I’m hearing is your brain, you know, is noticing how many sessions you need to work or you need to get up those extra three sessions. You need to be at ten or whatever. But this variable is a really big important variable, which is your team, right? And like how many sessions your team is bringing. Because what I’m hearing is something right now in your group practice machine, the money is not working in such a way that there’s really profit, there’s not extra. You know, I think sometimes people only hear, they hear profit. They think like extra like extravagance. In this case, by profit, I mean extra money that you could be putting down on these debts – is not there in the way that the numbers are working right now. Thinking about your group practice, the way I visualize it is kind of like this machine with all these different cogs, right? And each one is like a variable that we have control over, right? Like there’s your operating expenses, how much you’re paying for rent and like your systems that people are using. There’s how much your team is charging, like the fees that they’re charging, which might be consistent across your clinicians or they might vary. There’s the wages that they get paid for those fees, which determines how much goes to them, how much goes back to your business. There’s your administrator and how much you’re paying for that non-income-generating employee. But they help you run the machine, right? Like there’s all these variables. And thinking about those, I’m curious like, do you have a gut hunch of where those numbers might not be working? 


Danielle [00:13:56] I think I’ve really questioned the operating expenses. Like some of that- the Google ads has worked really well for us to get people, but it does not work well for me to get clients for my virtual student. So that’s a piece where it just feels like the money is just going and it’s not going anywhere, which is frustrating. Yeah, the social media too. It’s like helpful for me to have a presence, but I don’t know how much it’s really bringing in clients, but it’s also it’s not really that much money per month. It works out to be just over 600. It’s like 590 plus tax or whatever. So it’s like a 150 per week or something like that that I budget. And I’m like, that’s not that much money. 


Linzy [00:14:40] No. 


Danielle [00:14:40] When I think about how much content she helps me put out, that’s high quality, way better than anything I ever did before. 


Linzy [00:14:47] And if that gets you one client who’s coming weekly, then it’s being covered. 


Danielle [00:14:51] When I think about the numbers that are ongoing and something that pops up that I chew on and I question, but then I go like, I think that’s pretty good. I don’t know that there’s a whole lot of wiggle room in terms of people’s fees. Like I feel pretty good about that. I don’t see that. I think it’s like making sure people are full. I have one clinician that for whatever reason isn’t consistently full. There’s a little bit less follow up. So my admin is contacting their clients to follow up and rebook and things like that. 


Linzy [00:15:19] There’s a suspicion that it might be OpEx, but I’m not hearing anything that’s glaring at this moment. But I do know there’s been big OpEx in the past, right? Like there’s those large investments that you’ve made. And I know you’ve mentioned one that that we’ve talked about previously that didn’t really pay off like you made a big outlay and didn’t see direct return. Do you know right now, Danielle, like what your monthly profit and losses looking like? 


Danielle [00:15:42] I have a report from QuickBooks. I don’t know really what it means. I don’t understand it because I don’t see that profit. Yeah, like I don’t have the money in the bank. 


Linzy [00:15:57] As we think about this, like, I guess one question is: would you want to look at your profit and losses together? 


Danielle [00:16:03] Do you think that I- 


Linzy [00:16:05] I know that you don’t. 


Danielle [00:16:05] Download it, cross my mind. I’m like, Oh, maybe I should have her help me understand what this even means. 


Linzy [00:16:13] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Contextually, in terms of like this work that ongoingly, this is in module two of Money Skills for Group Practice Owners, which I just released. So- which is coming your way as you work through the materials. There are lessons on like learning how to read your profit and loss and your balance sheet because I’m hearing here there’s a disconnect right now. It’s like the numbers you see aren’t making sense for what you’re actually experiencing in the bank, because something that I’m hearing, you know, as we’re talking, the reason that I’ve steered us this way is I’m hearing like kind of like overwhelm and fogginess and like, you’re not where you want to be. It’s like something’s not working, but it’s not clear what is not working. And that information, at least some of it, is going to be in here, right. We’re going to start to see where the numbers are not doing what we would want them to do. So we are looking at your profit and loss now. We’ve got two months side by side, which is nice. It’s like a little bit of a snippet. We’re looking for patterns. I’m going to grab some numbers. So in terms of income, if we look here, your income is is pretty very close between the two months. So April, it was like 30,467 and May it was 30,288, which is super close. So do you have a sense, Danielle, is that a pretty normal looking number to you as far as you know? 


Danielle [00:17:24] I guess so. I was doing a good job every month, like kind of checking and yeah, and making goals. And then that just disappeared after, I think, January. So, yeah. 


Linzy [00:17:37] I think you you built your systems really well for solo practice and then you grew a lot faster than you planned. Kind of like an accidental group practice I remember is what I kind of called it at first. But you enjoyed it and you’re called to it. It’s not like it’s like I never wanted to do this, right, but it’s happened quickly. Like there’s been a lot of flow to it, but maybe like flow, like being pulled down a river. So a little overwhelming and chaotic. And then I see here, there’s your contractor fees, which vary- are very different between those two months. 


Danielle [00:18:05] Yeah. I don’t know why that is. 


Linzy [00:18:07] That’s a point of curiosity. Right. Whenever we’re looking at a financial statement and there’s something that’s like, Huh, then that’s an opportunity. Like if you were in QuickBooks right now, we could actually like click on those numbers and be like, Why are these so different? Why? Like, because what we’re seeing here is that in April it was like $7500 for contractors, and in May it was only $3800, which is really different number. 


Danielle [00:18:26] I think that that’s because we switched from me paying by E-transfer. We switched to adding them on direct deposit like payroll so that they look like employees now. Okay, So they may show up here. They may show up in wages. 


Linzy [00:18:43] Oh, there you go.  


Danielle [00:18:45] I think. 


Linzy [00:18:46] Yeah. And if I look at these numbers, when I add your contractor numbers and your employee numbers together, they’re actually- it’s just the money is kind of allocated differently. That’s I’m just like recording these numbers roughly. So if we look at your contractors, it was like 75, 75. And if we go down to the employees total wages and payroll, 71, 72 and I’m just going to add these numbers together so we can see like what was your total payroll run regardless of whether they were employees or contractors? In April, it was 14,647 and in May it was 13,208. So like a 1500 dollars difference. I’m curious, what is it like for you right now looking at these numbers? 


Danielle [00:19:27] It’s a lot of money that I paid there. 


Linzy [00:19:29] Okay, so you’re noticing money going out. 


Danielle [00:19:31] That makes up a huge amount of my expenses, which isn’t what I would expect. 


Linzy [00:19:34] Yeah. And this is why it’s good to look at these numbers, right? Because, like, now we’re starting to understand, like, Oh, okay. But that makes sense. If we just look at these numbers. Danielle, it’s like, okay, you’re April was 14,647. So what I’m going to do is see like what percentage of your revenue did it cost you to pay your team? So in April it was 48% of what you made went to pay your team. And are you included in these payroll numbers or are you somewhere else? 


Danielle [00:19:57] I think I would be somewhere else, but I am included in the service total. 


Linzy [00:20:03] So we’re not seeing your paycheck come out of there. If we scroll down to the bottom, okay, there’s your profit. 


Danielle [00:20:07] There’s compensation. 


Linzy [00:20:08] Right? So they put it aside. 


Danielle [00:20:09] This looks really sad. I’m like, Oh, that’s not what I want to be making. 


Linzy [00:20:12] It’s not. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like that puts your owners compensation for May is about 10%. So it’s like for every dollar that came in the door, you got paid $0.10. And for April it’s like a little more than that, it’s probably more like 15%. So you are on here. So yeah, I do see that there is profit showing at the bottom after your owner’s compensation, which is something. So tell me about these numbers we’re seeing at the bottom. 


Danielle [00:20:35] And I’m wondering if there’s some things not being accounted for in this report because I usually do the profit first system and I actually have a separate account for retirement and for time off. Yes, those things are not being accounted for here, which I do then sometimes draw from. 


Linzy [00:20:54] And that’s something to look at too, because when you make those draws, depending on how your accountant or bookkeeper classifies them, they’re probably not on your profit and loss here. They’re probably on your balance sheet. What I’m noticing as we’re looking at these numbers is it’s like you don’t have like a real handle on these numbers right now. Right. Like these are not familiar numbers that you’re like, Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s typical. This is the percentages I aim for, right? I’m curious right now, like, what is your relationship to your numbers as a group practice owner? 


Danielle [00:21:19] Avoidance. 


Linzy [00:21:20] Okay. 


Danielle [00:21:21] So I do, on a weekly basis because I do payroll weekly and I do my disbursements weekly, I pull the payments from that week and I look at those numbers every single week so that I see exactly how much money came in, what went out in terms of like the fees, what do I need to set aside for HST taxes? And then I do my disbursements that way. So I have a bit of an idea of like, ooh, like this contractor only saw this many that week or I only saw this many that week. 


Linzy [00:21:50] You got your eyes on case loads. 


Danielle [00:21:52] I have my eye on the number of clients and like on a weekly basis that they have money that’s coming in and out. But not the monthly. Yeah. No, I’m really not looking at the monthly numbers. And even before like it was a very surface-level number that I would pull out of my platform and just see like, oh okay, what’s the total number of sessions? And that was more like, okay, I don’t really know what that really means. I’m just looking at this number like, okay, well, that’s bigger than the month before or whatever. So that’s good, I guess. 


Linzy [00:22:21] Yeah. Part of what I’m hearing here and I mean, this is why you’ve joined Money Skills for Group Practice Owners, which we’re just starting. I’m not hearing yet like a real kind of ethos of like being the financial boss, right? Like being the financial leader and being like, these are my numbers. I’m in charge of these numbers. I understand these numbers. When I see these numbers, this is what I know to do. And then I do it. 


Danielle [00:22:41] I feel like I’m chasing fires.  


Linzy [00:22:45] Yeah. And that chasing fires, like, where does that leave you personally and professionally? What does that do for you? 


Danielle [00:22:52] Tired. 


Linzy [00:22:53] Yeah, for sure. Yes. Because it is tiring. Right. And I think, too, when you’re used to chasing fires, everything looks like a fire because your feet aren’t really on the ground. Does that ring true or does that feel not true? What do you notice with me saying that? 


Danielle [00:23:07] Like I feel like I go from just total avoidance to chasing fire to total avoidance, like I go in and out. 


Linzy [00:23:14] Yes, and want that makes me think of like from a therapy perspective, right. Is like dysregulation on both sides of the window of tolerance. Right. It’s like swinging into like, ah, fires, emergency, urgent, down into like shut down, avoid, don’t look. 


Danielle [00:23:30] Or just distraction, like I would say like because there’s so many other things to do that I’ll just kind of like I’m just going to shelve that and I’ll just focus on this thing and making this new post about this new person or ordering some new brochure. 


Linzy [00:23:45] There’s always things to do, you know, thinking about, about this piece of your business, like the financial leadership, financial management, understanding your numbers, being able to make empowered decisions with your numbers. I’m curious like what would be different for you if you really owned that part of your role, which is a role that only you can do. What would it be like if you stepped more into that space? 


Danielle [00:24:06] I would really, really like to. I think my struggle is I still haven’t booked CFO time and that was a month ago, you know, that we talked about it. I feel this hole between like I need to see as many clients. I don’t want to block my schedule. I know that I avoid when I don’t know what I’m doing. And I think with the profit and loss, I was like, I don’t know how to make sense of these numbers, so I’ll avoid it. And also, it’s a lot of time I find it takes to, you know, to even punch out. Like I spent an hour last week just budgeting and planning the expenses for this other office, which part of me is like, Well I just want to buy the things like and then it’s done. Doing the planning sometimes can feel like twice the amount of work than just doing the thing, make better decisions maybe when I’m planned. 


Linzy [00:24:58] And I think another piece is when you do do that kind of planning, you’re basically kind of building out infrastructure. You’re building SOPs, right? Which means the next time you go to furnish an office, you don’t have to do that thinking again. You pull up the spreadsheet and you’re like, okay, this is what we budgeted last time. And then based on how it actually worked out, this is where the numbers landed. So this is how much it costs me to furnish an office. And I know it’s real because these are numbers that have been tested and now I can make a financial plan, right? It’s thinking that you have to do well once and then you get to reuse it. It’s like you plan for those like emergency situations, like we just got hate mail. I was like, Oh, I just came back from a day of the spa. I was like, so chill, was like, Oh, I’ve been on the Scandinave, I feel amazing. And then I like open my email when I shouldn’t have. And I saw hate mail and I was like, Oh, And I was like, All right, we don’t have an SOP for hate mail, so we just need to make one, right? And then when hate mail happens, instead of being surprised and it being a fire, you’re like, okay, hate mail happened. Activate step one, which by the way, step one, if anybody listening ever wants to send me hate mail, step one is that I do not read it. And I have my partner who’s a politician, who works for me, read it, because he has very thick skin and then he deals with it and he doesn’t tell me what’s in it because I don’t need to see that. 


Danielle [00:26:04] We have a complaint process too, that I just created last week. 


Linzy [00:26:08] Yeah, that’s right. So it’s like once you make it, then it’s not a fire anymore. It’s just something that it’s like, okay, here’s the situation that arises and we’re going to now activate this SRP that we’ve created previously that we know works. And working out your numbers is the same thing, right? It takes a lot at first because you’re building new neural pathways. You’re having to think of new things, right? You’re having to learn new things in this case, right? Because this is not how your brain actually works. But once you build that in place and you have a process, you’re just repeating the process. You’re not having to learn it and build the process over and over. 


Danielle [00:26:40] I think my fear is I’m going to look at these numbers, spend all this time understanding it, and they’re not going to change. There’s not going to be any new money somewhere, because I’ve thought about the OpEx and I thought about, OK do I really need this? No, I really do feel like I need it. So I think there’s just like that weird nagging on me where I’m like, Is it going to make any difference if I sit down and spend hours looking through all this stuff, punching out all the numbers? Am I still going to be making a lot more clients? Like, I don’t know. 


Linzy [00:27:07] If you look at the numbers then and you find there’s not like a fast solution, chances are like when we look at our numbers, there’s not a magical solution. But there will be some solutions. If you look at the numbers and you don’t like what you see, and there isn’t like a fast fix, what does that mean? 


Danielle [00:27:21] I just can’t accept it. Like, I feel like I have to find a way because there are things that I keep putting off that I can’t put off anymore. Like, I can’t put off the credit card bills. Personally and professionally. Like, I can’t keep putting them off. So I have to find a way somehow to make more. 


Linzy [00:27:42] And what I want to reflect to you is, until you actually understand your numbers and dig in and do the work, which we are going to be doing together in Money Skills for Group Practice Owners. So in this case, I’m not like, Go do it, Danielle, it’s like we’re going to be doing this over the next four months. Let’s be real. But once you dig in and you do that work, you are going to see where things need to happen and you are going to understand those numbers. But until you do that, it’s like a black box. 


Danielle [00:28:04] Yeah, it’s a blind shot in the dark. 


Linzy [00:28:07] And when we’re shooting blind, we tend to go for like, either the things that we like to do the best or the things that are emotionally stressing us the most. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re strategic. How strategic do you feel like you’re able to be in this moment, like with kind of this strategy of not really looking at this stuff and just trying to- 


Danielle [00:28:24] Yeah, no, you know, it’s not strategic. I feel like it’s a little strategic, but not really. I look at, okay, how many are they seeing and how many is this one thing and when this one leaves. So I have an idea of like, okay, that should give me this amount of profit. I have that amount of strategy. I know how much weekly I need to be going to OpEx, so I have that kind of nailed down. But that’s like my- and I know that that’s not going to be the exact number, which that’s where like a report like this is helpful because I can see the actual numbers that I’m spending on expenses, not planned. 


Linzy [00:29:01] Yeah, the real story. You know, taking the time to do this work would give you a six-month perspective to start because that’s what you’re about to find out in the Money Skills for Group Practice Owners videos that I’m going to coach you to do six months of this and also looking at like what’s on your profit and loss but also what’s not on your profit or loss. Because right now even this record is a bit of a black box for us until we dig into your balance sheet to see, okay, you’re telling me that there’s not been $9,000 of profit that you can see. So it’s like, where’s that $9,000 going? You know, is that profit draws for you? It could also be going to furniture because that also shows up on your balance sheet like going into assets. So if you buy big things for your business, it goes onto your balance sheet. It doesn’t show up here, right? So that’s another place where there’s like some information that once it’s gathered together, you’re going to have like tangible information to work with. So thinking about this then, like we’re talking about how, you know, that there is strategic value to really understanding these numbers. It’s also not fun and it’s not where you want to be putting your energy. So let’s talk about this resistance to CFO time, which for folks listening, CFO time is Chief Financial Officer time. It’s time to like specifically put aside for group practice owners because it is more complicated, like the level you’re at is more complicated and there is learning to do at this point. It’s kind of like you learned what you needed to do to run a great solo practice. You were doing that and then you added a whole bunch of stuff on top. So tell me about what’s coming up that’s making it hard to actually get to your CFO time. 


Danielle [00:30:24] I think the fear of giving up client time, clinical time, loss of income there, that risk because that’s 100%. 


Linzy [00:30:33] Goes right to the business. 


Danielle [00:30:34] Also being afraid of getting in there and not like not knowing where to start. Right. I got that email from my accountants and was like, okay, great. I don’t know what any of this means and save the email. I don’t like to do things if I can’t do it well and if I don’t understand, then I’m like, Oh, I don’t like this. I can be tunnel vision. If I am digging into a topic, there’s like no stopping me. Blinders go on and I’m like, All in. I’m going to learn this and I’m going to figure it out if I feel like I know how to figure it out. But when it comes to some of this stuff, which I had with accounting in the past, I’m like, I don’t know what to do. And that makes me a little dysregulated and spiraling. So I’d rather just avoid it because I don’t know how to figure it out. Yeah, and I know there’s a lot of money stories for me in terms of my dad owns a business. My parents had a lot of messiness around finances, and so it was something that then I was left really to kind of build things on my own more independence before I was really ready and then took on a lot of debt in school and just it was just up to me to figure it out and dig my way out. And so when I dig into my money stories, I think there’s a lot of fear around. Like there’s never enough money is messy. I’d be really careful. So I diligently use You Need A Budget and I track everything. And I had tracked things with a spreadsheet for years all through my undergrad, for decades. I tracked that because I had to, because I had to be careful. And also. I didn’t want it to kind of get away from me. So I think I have this fear of like, money is just going to get away from me and I’m not going to be able to. And now I feel like with the credit cards kind of going, like setting up and fees, I’m like, Oh, okay, this is getting away from me. You don’t know what to do to get it down. And nothing I seem to be doing is helping. So that’s where I think a lot of the overwhelm kind of comes from. 


Linzy [00:32:38] You know, I’m curious hearing about these stories like and it makes a lot of sense, you know, coming from a family of origin situation where you didn’t get help with these things and then you did really like you were on your own. I’m curious, like, if that part of you that really holds that story strongly. Has that part integrated yet that you’re in a course, that’s like guiding you through how to learn these things like that there’s a process that you can do. 


Danielle [00:33:02] Maybe. But also I’m avoiding the time like I, I it’s on my brain is like, okay, I’ve got to find the time. I’m going to do that today. But then something else, another fire pops up and I’m like, okay, after this fire, then I never get to it. 


Linzy [00:33:16] Yes. Yeah. So you haven’t got to the course yet, Really. Like you haven’t-. 


Danielle [00:33:21] Done some. 


Linzy [00:33:21] Yeah. Because something that I’m noticing as we’re talking is like the stuff that you’re talking about. I’m like, Danielle, I just made a video for you about this last week. 


Danielle [00:33:29] Like, I need to get to it. 


Linzy [00:33:31] Yeah, like, it’s hard to get to the support that you’ve already enrolled in because, you know, you want to work on these skills. How can you maybe bring more support into this experience for these parts of you that like, feel alone or think it’s going to be so overwhelming to be with these things Because, you know, you have purchased support, right, to like walk you through this process and like those videos are waiting for you. And also like our coaching calls in our community. How can you integrate more of that experience of having support? 


Danielle [00:33:57] I need to set aside the time and actually do it. Time is just always feels like it’s too tight. There’s just not enough time. It’s just how it feels in my life, which is really hard. But I need to find the time. And I did do a big chunk of module one just before our very first coaching call because there was like, okay, I’ve paid for this and this has been available now for a week or two. Like I need to do some stuff because other people are probably going to be further. And then, and then it was fine, right? So now I’m like, okay, now the pressure’s off, which is not so good. 


Linzy [00:34:28] Yes. 


Danielle [00:34:31] I have so many other things that have deadlines and pressure. And I think the only option is blocking out the time on my schedule, not seeing a client, which I have a hard time doing. I had some time blocked today. Yeah, an hour before we were going to meet. And then I was like, I’ve got some other gaps in my week. I need somebody to fill that if that’s their ideal time. And I cleared it. Now I do have some other gaps in my schedule for whatever reason this week’s. 


Linzy [00:34:57] Yeah, what I am still hearing is like, it’s almost like you haven’t caught up to yourself. You’re now a financial leader. You have folks in your business who are doing like 46 sessions a week. They also get paid for that time, right? So it’s true that your one hour brings in relatively more than their one hour, but you have these folks who are here to receive your support and your leadership so they can be seeing clients and like doing that clinical facing work. But it’s kind of like, you know, when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. But I think you might not be noticing other tools that you have available to fix this problem. Because when I hear this problem, I’m hearing there’s like deeper things about your numbers that are not working, that we don’t know what they are yet. Right. But like, you’re the person who will be able to figure them out, but your problem-solving brain goes to you just like seeing more clients rather than working on this deeper problem. 


Danielle [00:35:44] Yeah. Also something I’m wrestling with, which we’ve kind of talked on is just even like taking that on. I feel like as soon as you’re like, you’re the leader, I’m like, oh, like I get like the icks around like, oh, you’re the finance or you own a business or like, I don’t want to be like a business owner making money off of their, I don’t know, like, it’s a whole thing. 


Linzy [00:36:07] Okay. Oh, there, there it is. Okay. Yeah. 


Danielle [00:36:11] Oh, it’s really hard. 


Linzy [00:36:12] Yeah. So there’s negative beliefs there about being a business owner. Now you’re shrinking. You’re literally shrinking in front of me. 


Danielle [00:36:20] I’m just gonna go hide. Yeah. 


Linzy [00:36:23] There’s negative beliefs about being a business owner. It’s like you are a business owner, but you don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing. Or part of you has a lot of judgments about that. 


Danielle [00:36:31] I’ve always been so like socially justice wired. I am a social worker at my core. I was a social worker when I was five and would watch World Vision commercials. I have that in my core and I can’t. That’s a good thing, right? But there’s also someone who just has made choices that I really disagree with at an ethical level, knowing that I’m like, I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be this person that like, takes advantage and just like, reaps all the benefits to live this life of luxury on the backs of my clients and my contractors like that is just like not okay. So it’s hard to find this balance place between. I’m a business owner and also and a good friend of mine was just challenging me on this this weekend because she works in health care and was like, you built such an amazing thing. And look at all these partnerships you have in all of the work you’re doing. And I was like, Yes. And so I have to remind myself of like that outreach piece and the ripple effects of those choices, that it’s not just about making money, but I have to make money in order to be able to do those things. So yes. 


Linzy [00:37:41] Yeah. Part of what I think I’m hearing is you’re not owning your power. Maybe because power is bad or you’ve seen other people abuse power. Right. But by not owning your power, you know, not owning everything you build and the fact that you do, you have created this brand and this presence and folks want to work for you like folks are coming to you to say like, I want to be part of what you’ve built. By not owning the power of that, you’re also not owning the responsibility of that. Yeah, you’re not claiming the fact that, like you’re the leader, you’re the CFO. Nobody else can do that. Even your bookkeeper can’t do that for you. There is a problem here that only you can solve, but you’re over here being a clinician because that’s where you’re comfortable and that’s what you know, and that’s where you’ve always been. Rather than claiming this role that you’ve grown into because you’re a badass who’s like, built this beautiful presence that like the people want to be part of, right? There is an ownership of that. Yeah. 


Danielle [00:38:27] When you say badass, I’m like, Oh, I’m like, I have a hard time owning that, but I do want to be that. But I also really want to be warm and really like- so it’s so hard to find that balance between the two. But I think you’re right. Like that is a real struggle for me to be like, No, I am a leader. I am. 


Linzy [00:38:45] Yeah, yeah. I think this is an identity issue coming out in all these different ways. It’s like if you have a really hard time owning that leader role, then like, Yeah, why is it important for you to look at these things? Like you’re unconventional in many ways, although it sounds like there’s a belief you wouldn’t be able to solve those problems. Right? And so like, why look at them. But you are a leader. You’re already a leader. So for you, like, I’m hearing that there’s this image, this Brené Brown image of I think of like soft heart, soft front, strong back. What would it look like if you embodied that a little bit more? 


Danielle [00:39:13] Yeah, I think it’s that vulnerability, right. But in a lot of ways I’m good at leadership type thing. It’s public speaking. Yeah. It’s like stepping out and being okay to be in that bright space, not hiding in the shadows. Yes. 


Linzy [00:39:29] Yeah. And when you say that, it’s like I kind of get this image, like you’re already in the spotlight. You’re like, hanging off the edge of that. You’re like, This isn’t me. This isn’t my spotlight. But you’re already there. People know who you are, right? Like you’ve built a reputation. 


Danielle [00:39:41] Yeah. And there’s been really funny instances of that where I’ve been like, Oh, like I own this. And then people are like, Oh, yeah, I know who you are. I know that you own that. And I’m like, Oh, oh, okay. 


Linzy [00:39:53] They see you. 


Danielle [00:39:53]  But then there’s enough other people where I say what I do and what I own, and they’re like, I have no idea what that is. So yeah, of course, yeah, yeah, that makes sense. 


Linzy [00:40:01] So coming to the end of our our time together, I feel we’ve crossed many valleys and mountains today to arrive at this place. What do you see as your next steps coming out of this conversation? 


Danielle [00:40:11] Booking CFO time, taking ownership of that, digging into the content in the group practice Money Buts and Bolts program. That’s why I signed up, because I knew that was something that was missing, was really understanding what these members and reports are saying. I know I have the data now. I just need to actually pull it and understand it. And then all of the things that I have kind of crunched and looked at is so helpful. But I need to do more time nurturing that leader of this organization, knowing like instead of functioning out of fear or like, Oh, like this is happening for now, but who knows if that’s going to last. Like, I think I have this idea of like, well, next year it might just all be gone. Like, you know, really owning that. No, this isn’t going anywhere. I need to have a better idea of where it’s going and making better informed decisions moving forward. And that’s just going to take time, which means maybe not having the initial payoff that I want right now. 


Linzy [00:41:11] Yeah, business is a long game. I think that especially with like, I mean, I’m in the online business space, which is like so much worse in this way. But like, I think there is still in some ways this like get rich quick narrative around, like you’re good at business and then you make $1,000,000 in a year. And for most folks, that’s not how it works. Or if you make $1,000,000, you usually spend 950,000. So this is a long game. But two other things occur to me coming to the end of our time. Like one is, I know how deeply you care about people, right? And how much you want to do well by them. And the best thing you can do for your team and for the clients that you serve is to show up and own that leadership role. Right? They’re looking to you for that. And by doing that, you can make the business sustainable and healthy and you can move into a place of offering them better wages and better splits or better opportunities because you actually know what you can afford and you can plan those things strategically over time and make it a really great place that folks want to stick around. Right? Or that they cherish the time that they’ve had with you. The last thing is I would really encourage you to dig into these stories about business leaders. What would it say about you if you really were like a business leader or business owner or whatever, wherever the ick is? Follow the ick because there’s something there. Right. And I think that that identity story is going to trickle into all these different places and it’s going to show up in all these different ways of having trouble prioritizing or other things being important or wanting to see clients. It’s going to have like, you know, 100 different faces. But I think that that is so important to help you shift your relationship to this part of your work. Thank you, Danielle. I appreciate you coming on the podcast. 


Danielle [00:42:43] I appreciate you having me. This was helpful, even if it was painful. 


Linzy [00:43:01] In this conversation with Danielle, I think we kind of took a winding path to get to where it really felt like, oh, that’s it for me, that oh, that’s it, which you would have heard, is around the identity of being a business owner. If the idea of like being a business owner, especially like being a boss or an employer, if we have a lot of charge or ick around that, if that’s something that we don’t want to own, then we’re not going to own it, right? And that’s going to show up in all these different ways around not doing the things that we know we should be doing, shirking those responsibilities and avoiding the parts of the job that really show us that we are in charge. But whether or not we own that part of our business, whether you’re a group practice owner or solo practice owner, regardless of whether or not you own that part of your practice, it’s still yours. Like nobody else is taking care of that for you. Being curious about what that is for you like, what are the stories? Who do you think of when you think of a business owner? You know, like, is it somebody who, you know, buys yachts while all of their employees are on minimum wage and needing to go to a food bank, then it’s like, interrogate that story, be curious about it. Think about where that came from. What are some exceptions to that? Like, you know, folks who are listening, who do mental health work or coaching work are going to you know, we know some good questions to ask ourselves, to interrogate stories. It’s a real barrier, right, when we’re not owning that role. And as Danielle and I talked about, like there’s a power that comes with that role, which you have whether or not you’re owning it, right. Whether or not you own the power that you have even as a therapist, but also as a business owner or a boss? Even if you don’t own that power, you still have it. And if you don’t own it, then you’re not able to use that power in really thoughtful ways to really reflect your values, right? So by avoiding it, we can actually end up doing the opposite of what we’re trying to do is like we’re trying to be a good boss. So we don’t really want to think about the fact that we’re a boss or a business owner, but by not really owning it and like looking at the numbers and making the numbers work, we can end up building practices that are unsustainable or we can be outside of our own needs and boundaries and start having things like resentment come up towards our team or towards our clients. And then, you know, we end up with the opposite of what we want. We end up having negative impacts in our businesses by avoiding that power and that responsibility rather than the positive ones that we’re looking at. So because I’m working on going with Danielle, I’m very excited to hear how this unfolds for her in our next- we have four and a half months together, still in Money Skills for Group Practice Owners. Leaving those questions with any of you that are struggling with these kinds of things today, to be curious about your own stories about being a business owner. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would super appreciate if you’d leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. It is the best way for new folks to find us and be part of these conversations. Thanks for listening today. 

Picture of 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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