Do you struggle with setting and enforcing boundaries? In this important episode, Linzy talks with guest Jelisha Gatling whose work focuses on helping therapists better serve others by taking care of themselves. Jelisha outlines some clear boundaries that benefit therapists and help them have healthy, sustainable practices.
Owning What You Actually Want (and Don’t Want) Coaching Session
“But for me, without all the noise of the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session, I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor making very little but being able to do the work whenever I want to, going to school lunch with my kids… I have this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get.”
Meet Paula Miller
Paula Miller is an award-winning dietitian who loves Lindor chocolate. In her weight neutral, size inclusive nutrition practice, Paula & her team passionately help individuals challenge harmful nutrition beliefs, reclaim joyful eating and find peace with food. Her greatest satisfaction is helping people let go of guilt to embrace all food, ending chronic eating struggles.
In This Episode…
Do you struggle to make your business numbers work for you even though you’re budgeting? In this episode, Linzy talks with Paula Miller, a dietitian with a group practice who is struggling to make her numbers work for her now that she has more staff.
After taking Linzy’s course, Paula uses YNAB, and Linzy and Paula look together at the specific numbers within YNAB to see where Paula might benefit from making some changes in her group practice. As they dig into the numbers, the conversation takes an enlightening turn, so be sure to listen in to hear where they land with their discussion.
Want more support with your private practice finances?
Want to work with Linzy? Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.
At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you. Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!
Paula [00:00:01] But for me, without all the noise of the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session, I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor, making very little. But being able to do the work whenever I want to, going to school lunch with my kids, just like I have this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the Course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Today’s podcast guest is Paula Miller. I don’t usually read people’s bios, but her bio is so good that I do want to share it with you. Paula is an award winning dietitian who loves Lindor chocolate. In her weight-neutral size-inclusive nutrition practice, Paula and her team passionately help individuals challenge harmful nutrition beliefs, reclaim joyful eating, and find peace with food. Her greatest satisfaction is helping people let go of guilt and embrace all food, ending chronic eating struggles. Paula is a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists and today’s podcast is a coaching session where we get into Paula’s struggles with the fact that she is running an insurance-based group practice. There’s lots of questions that spiral out of there, but basically, Paula came in with just a lot of doubt and confusion about whether this practice is workable. Should you be doing something else? And this conversation takes an interesting bit of an unexpected turn. If you are an insurance based clinician or if you’ve ever felt the pressure that you should be charging more, should be doing things differently, should be private pay. This is going to be a really good episode for you. Here is my conversation with Paula Miller. Hello. Welcome to the podcast.
Paula [00:02:17] Thank you, Linzy. I’m so excited to be here.
Linzy [00:02:19] I am excited, too. So just to give like a little bit of context for folks listening, you are a Money Skills grad. And remind both of us. When did you finish Money Skills For Therapists?
Paula [00:02:30] I can’t remember exactly when I graduated, but it was about a year and a half ago.
Linzy [00:02:35] Okay. Okay.
Paula [00:02:36] I could go back to my financials and tell you because I can see in my financials the difference. But I think I started in like January, February, March of last year.
Linzy [00:02:47] Okay. So year and a half. So you’ve been very busy since we first worked together. That’s kind of the related to the question you wanted to bring today. So just to get us started, what would you like some coaching support with today?
Paula [00:03:00] Yeah, so I have a small group practice and I’ve hired four employees since November, which is not something I could have done without your support in Money Skills For Therapists that set me up to be able to do that. So my question is, there’s a few different reasons I grew the group practice and what people told me when I was in coaching prior to growing it was that you have to have at least five full time dietitians – I’m not a therapist, I’m a dietitian – to be profitable or not profitable, but to really make money at a group practice. We’re insurance based and it provides a really important need for our community that wasn’t there. We specifically focused on food peace and so we do a really individualized service with that. I have learned from growing the group practice, what everybody told me prior to, which is you need to have a lot of dieticians. I don’t want to have a lot of dieticians. And I have been feeling a little bit like this is an abusive relationship with me and this practice that I am working really hard for, not a whole lot of financial benefit. And I would really love to be able to give my husband the flexibility to do whatever work he feels like he wants to do as well and not have to do a job because of his income. And so my question is, my thought is I have a personal brand that I’m thinking of doing, which is food peace with Paula. Is it wise of me? Because I feel like my private practice is so important in this community and it is so important to keep it insurance based? Is it wise to continue to run this group practice while continuing to be the CEO of it? But take myself clinically out of it and do a personal brand so that I can actually see financial income.
Linzy [00:04:56] Yes. Right. So basically, at this point, it sounds like you have concluded that at the scale you’re at, it’s not going to be really much of a money maker and you’re not interested in growing it to the point that it could be. Right. Like you said, you have three, three dieticians working for you right now.
Paula [00:05:14] Well, I am one of the three. So I have two dieticians. I have an office assistant and I have a biller and I, I am not afraid to spend money on support. And so I could be doing a lot more in the business, but I can pay someone else to do those tasks at a lower wage. I also don’t have the capacity to see more than like 10 to 12 clients, like mental health-wise. Yeah, I do really good work at like 10 to 12 clients a week. And so while I could see more clients because I have other people doing the admin tasks, I don’t have the energy for that.
Linzy [00:05:54] Yeah. So that’s not an area that you would expand much, are you at 10 to 12 right now, like you’re capped out at this moment?
Paula [00:05:59] I am. One of my other therapists is capped out and I just opened a second practice. She is 2 hours from me in a college town and we have tons of people on the waiting list, but we’re still waiting on some credentialing things. And so she’s not full yet. But I expect that she will, you know, within a normal amount of time, be able to get full.
Linzy [00:06:22] Okay.
Paula [00:06:22] I am very- I grew up really frugal. I’m very good about doing things with really low overhead. So we rent office by the day. So we have very low rent. I mean, our costs are really low, but I’m just kind of a lot in I feel like I’m spending a lot in admin support, etc..
Linzy [00:06:40] Right. Okay. Yes. For that. For that administrator and that biller.
Paula [00:06:45] Mm hmm. Yeah
Linzy [00:06:45] Yes. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Because that’s that’s kind of my first curiosity is how the numbers are working now with this. You have, you know, three of you who are providing service to people who are providing support to your service team. What have you noticed in terms of the monthly trends, like what’s coming in the door, what is being spent on on operating the business and what’s left?
Paula [00:07:08] Yeah, it doesn’t feel like a lot less right now because I just opened the office 2 hours from here, and there were startup costs for that. I hired my biller a month and a half ago, so there was a lot of training start up with her. Like, I feel like- I feel like I’ve kind of been bleeding money in startup for this business.
Linzy [00:07:27] Sure, sure. Yeah.
Paula [00:07:29] So I don’t know if I’m in there answering you as clearly as..
Linzy [00:07:32] I mean, I did. I did just ask you, like, a very specific question that I did not prepare you for.
Paula [00:07:39] I have my spreadsheet and YNAB right here.
Linzy [00:07:42] Beautiful, beautiful. Great. So let’s look at what YNAB was telling us.
Paula [00:07:45] Okay, so, gosh, what do you want me to give you?
Linzy [00:07:49] Do you have an averages column on that spreadsheet?
Paula [00:07:51] I do.
Linzy [00:07:52] Averages – that’s a very important tool for folks who are listening. YNAB is “you need a budget”. It is a tool that many of the folks who take the course choose to use to track and plan with their money. And it has nice reports and that averages column. Paula, what’s so valuable with that is it’s going to like take out those ups and downs that can be kind of distracting and it tells us like, okay, over whatever date range you just search there, if you- it looks like you probably have a year of data just based on what I just glimpsed. However, that date ranges, this is an average of all of that period of time, which is that’s kind of the numbers that really start- that really matter ultimately. So what are you noticing with those numbers? What comes in? I mean, I know that things have changed in that time. You’ve made hires, so you might choose to look at a different date range. But is that year a typical period of time, or have things changed a lot over the course of that year?
Paula [00:08:37] Things have changed a lot. I started out and so this goes from January to September. I started out in January as an individual clinician seeing too many patients and I am now in September and I have three more employees than I had in January.
Linzy [00:08:55] So it changes. Okay. So let’s maybe look at September as a snapshot. We know that things might change in October, November, December. But looking at September, how much money came in the top? What was your revenue on the top?
Paula [00:09:06] Around 7000.
Linzy [00:09:08] 7000 revenue. And how much did it cost you to operate the business? What was your operating expenses?
Paula [00:09:14] So my operating expenses on this, it says 4400.
Linzy [00:09:19] Okay. And does that include your staff payroll or is that separate?
Paula [00:09:22] That did include payroll.
Linzy [00:09:23] Okay. That includes payroll. Great. Okay. What about your pay? Yeah. And then what about your payment? How much are you getting paid for this work you’re doing?
Paula [00:09:31] I’m embarrassed to say, Linzy, because last time I told you I was paying myself this, you said, please pay yourself more.
Linzy [00:09:36] No, that’s okay. You don’t have to do what I tell you. I’m not the boss of you.
Paula [00:09:42] I am still paying myself $2,000 a month.
Linzy [00:09:45] Okay? Yeah, yeah.
Paula [00:09:47] I am- my husband- we can live on my husband’s income. Yes, I have pretty much just been leaving all the rest of the money in the business trying to build up buffers.
Linzy [00:09:57] Okay. Yep.
Paula [00:09:57] And then I figured when my buffers were built, then I would start paying myself more.
Linzy [00:10:02] Yes. And with that, Paula, like I know the last time we talked, I told you to stop doing that. And also, we all have our own unique financial situations. If you and your husband are fine on his income, then you have financial stability there. And you know, when you are growing a group, because when I spoke to you, I don’t think that was the case yet. You’ve done a lot of growing since we chatted last. When you’re growing a group and any kind of scaled larger business. So my business, for instance, I don’t have a group, but we have a lot of liabilities month after month. Growing a buffer is a really big priority because then you’re creating financial stability for everybody, right? You’re creating financial stability in the business, which in turn is financial stability for you and it’s financial stability for your staff. So I think that that, you know, that actually sounds like quite a strategic way that you’re doing things right now. So I want to give lots of credit where credit is due. I’m very happy that you’re building up buffers, you know, while you’re also building this bigger business.
Paula [00:10:53] Okay. Thank you, Gold Star from Linzy.
Linzy [00:10:56] Gold Star. Okay. So looking at this then, is there anything else in those lines? Like any expenses that we didn’t catch between operating spend salary? I know taxes you paid Quarterly’s last like in that September period. Yeah. How much- do you know what percentage you’re putting aside for taxes?
Paula [00:11:11] 15% and I will tell you the funny thing, if anyone’s considering your course, is that after I took your course and started saving for taxes, we literally we had $0.52 more than we owed in taxes saved. And my husband was like that Linzy. Honestly, for her, because taxes was always this like point of contention in our relationship because I did not pay attention to it. So anyway, thank you, Linzy and YNAB.
Linzy [00:11:39] You’re welcome. And I’m sure YNAB says you’re welcome as well. Okay, great. So you’re having taxes taken care of. So those are kind of like their own thing. So I mean, that month, for instance, just to give us a picture, though, how much did you put aside in taxes? Do you see what you- I guess we can just see what you’ve spent. I’m curious, like, I guess 15%. I can I could do the math here. I’ve got my little phone calculator. If you’re saving 15% of everything and you brought in, 7000, then you’d be putting aside about $1,000 for taxes. Does that seem right, that about what you put away each month?
Paula [00:12:07] That would that would be about right.
Linzy [00:12:09] So I’m just going to see here, just to give us a sense of the cash flow. So if I take 7000. Minus the 4400, which was what it cost to run your business, including paying your dieticians who work for you. Subtract your payroll and then I subtract taxes. That looks like it was a super tight month. Did it feel like a really tight month?
Paula [00:12:27] Every month feels really tight.
Linzy [00:12:29] I’ve got -$450.
Paula [00:12:31] And let me say that that is the month that I. Well, that August and that month.
Linzy [00:12:37] Yeah.
Paula [00:12:38] Is training month.
Linzy [00:12:40] Yes.
Paula [00:12:42] I’m paying more for my second clinician than I am making from her right now. So it is not- in a year it’s going to be more accurate numbers. But right now it’s for sure start up.
Linzy [00:12:52] You’re in startup phase. Right. And that’s also normal. Like, I mean, we zoomed in on a month here because we want to kind of see like what’s happening now and the information we have from January is not going to be that accurate given all the changes you’ve made. But also, we know that there are more expensive times in business where we’re building and creating a foundation, and we shouldn’t be afraid to spend at those times because, you know, you’re training someone who will generate revenue for your business, who wants to help you buy back your time, who will make things more efficient. Like these things are all very valuable. But yes, there are these times in our business when are more expensive and that’s where, too, as you go forward Paula, like continuing to keep your eye on that averages column is going to let you start to see like okay September was kind of like a like well that was we you know spent more than we made but October and November and December, things started to really change. And this is what our average is now. Okay. Right. So that’s going to give you that zoomed out perspective that you really need, especially when you’re you have a lot of moving parts like you do.
Paula [00:13:44] That is very helpful because I have not paid attention to the averages. And I actually had wondered and we can talk about this separately if this doesn’t fit right now. But I have also wondered about creating a separate account to move all my tax money into every month so that it shows like it went out of white out in that month.
Linzy [00:14:06] Yes. So it shows as money spent?
Paula [00:14:08] Mm hmm.
Linzy [00:14:09] Yeah, you can definitely do that. I mean, that would be a way to kind of, like, create clarity and make it extra real, because basically, that’s that’s like a profit first kind of method, right, where we’re actually moving the money where it belongs. And so it’s super clear like that, money, taxes and nothing else. So if you feel like that would give you more clarity, I think that that would be a great addition to your system. Okay.
Paula [00:14:27] I think it would, because also what I’m realizing now is these numbers don’t include the payroll taxes because I don’t have a special section for payroll taxes that I’m saving for. So.
Linzy [00:14:41] Because are you paying those on a quarterly basis? Monthly?
Paula [00:14:43] Quarterly.
Linzy [00:14:44] Okay. So that needs attention in your system.
Paula [00:14:46] So it needs attention.
Linzy [00:14:47] Yes. Yes. So good. Good. That we flagged that now. Always good to think about these things before we’re like, oh, shit.
Paula [00:14:53] Yes, but I already feel that way.
Linzy [00:14:54] Yes, yes. And I can see that like these numbers feel they’re tight. You know, as we said, this is- part of it is situational. You’re in startup, but part of it is also, you know, if you’re bringing in about seven and you’re paying your team 4400 and you’re getting paid already, that’s like a pretty tight month. And I guess you’re not- you’re not paying your team 4400. What are you paying your team? That’s actually a good question.
Paula [00:15:15] My team. So for September, my clinicians were just a little under 2000. My office assistant, she usually runs around 700 a little bit over. My biller, she was at 300. And so I really my goal for her was like 200 to 300. But she’s been higher each month because she’s essentially having to train herself on our simple practice billing system.
Linzy [00:15:42] Okay. So because I’m just getting a sense of that. So 2000 for clinicians and then we’ll also add 700 for admin, 300 for biller. 3000 divided by 7000. So you’re looking at like kind of 43% for staff besides you, which of course is going to vary and change because your administrator, she might be a flat fee regardless of how busy you are in a certain month, but your biller is probably going to be pretty variable at a certain point. You know, the busier you are, the busier she is. So that is decent. That’s, you know, a good number. You’re not in that number. If I put you in that number, actually, let me just see here.
Paula [00:16:15] I’m 29%. I ran these numbers, Linzy, because I was trying to figure out how to I was putting too much in my salary for my YNAB and so I needed to adjust it.
Linzy [00:16:25] Okay, so you’re 29?
Paula [00:16:26] Yeah, 29.
Linzy [00:16:27] And 29 is fairly low for the fact that your business is not making 15 or 20,000 which which we know because you’re getting paid $2,000, which is maybe not where you want to be. And so the reason that I wanted to take the time to get this snapshot is to kind of start to try to feel out. And there’s lots of specifics here that we’re not going to get into. But can you make this a business that does generate enough money that it’s kind of like worth the time it’s going to take you to run it? Right, because what I’m hearing from you is something that I see come up with lots of therapists. When you get to a certain point where you’re like, I think I just want to like do this other thing. I want to run the group practice as a CEO, but I don’t necessarily want to be practicing in the same way, and I want to just like get paid as a CEO. But what’s really necessary for that to happen, Paula, is there needs to be extra money.
Paula [00:17:11] Yes. And I have to say that I am very much about my values and about life balance. And the more hours the clinicians work, the more insurance paperwork there is. And I do not want to do that.
Linzy [00:17:25] Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Paula [00:17:28] Quite honestly, Linzy, I’ve considered making this business a not for profit, a nonprofit.
Linzy [00:17:32] It kind of is.
Paula [00:17:34] It is, right? Yeah.
Linzy [00:17:35] Yeah. And so I mean, that’s maybe something to think about as well. And that’s that’s an area that’s kind of getting outside of my lane in terms of getting registered as a nonprofit. But I mean, the way you talk about your work, Paula, like, really has that ethos to it, right? Where you’re very mission driven. You know that this is like a group of people who otherwise probably won’t get service because, you know, as a dietitian, it’s not like there’s a dietician on every corner and there’s certainly not a dietitian on every corner specializing in what you specialize in. You know, that might be something for you to consider because I think there’s always this kind of like fundamental conflict I think that all health providers experience, which is like, you’re in the work because you care and you love it. And usually most of us have had some sort of lived experience with the kind of work that we’re doing, right, and we’d like get viscerally the value of it. And also you need to live and be well and have a life and like you don’t want to feel like you’re in an abusive relationship. So there’s like a fundamental conflict there. And so part of this might be thinking about, first of all, how important is that mission to you? If it’s 100% in your soul, you want to be providing like insurance based services for folks to make peace with food. Then it might be start to think about what are creative ways to do that that don’t come at your detriment. Right. Because I’m curious, like you said earlier, like it kind of feels like an abusive relationship. I know you said that part of it is you’re putting so much work into it and getting so little out of it. But I’m curious, is there more to that metaphor?
Paula [00:19:00] So I think that this is where it all comes from. I have always not worked for a lot of money. I taught college. I have always chosen jobs because of the lifestyle they afford me. Not- well I actually, my first job was for the money and it wrecked my health, right?
Linzy [00:19:17] Yes.
Paula [00:19:18] And I just- I’m so much more like I choose jobs for the lifestyle, not for the money. And so that’s how I built my business. Like the clinicians I have and the staff I have, I wanted to be able to let them let their life be really important. So they all they all work part time and have kids and they don’t all. But, you know, that’s kind of what I had imagined. And so as I’ve been a business owner and learning about business for the last three years, I have loved it. I have loved learning. I’m really good at getting business to the business and I’m really great at building relationships and like I feel like getting our business a good reputation. What I struggle with is all the business education out there that I’m with or looking at is like, raise your fees. You need to be charging a lot of money for your services, etc. And like I feel like my life, the only thing I would add to it, you know, there are not- is not a lot I would add to my life if I made more money. I feel this pressure that I don’t know if it’s mine or if it’s the business community’s, that I have just taken on through all of my business education. That maybe isn’t that purpose for me, right?
Linzy [00:20:29] Maybe it’s not yours.
Paula [00:20:30] Yeah, yeah. Maybe it’s more like what I would really love in my life is to fly first class on our vacations. We already go on three vacations a year. Like, I mean, we live really- we live really in a really wonderful life, you know? And like, I would love to put a pool in my backyard and have a pool boy like those two things I would love to do. So I like even if I had a lot of money, like I would love to support my husband and being able to be as flexible as he wants to. But I feel like I have taken this thing on from the business community that I don’t even know what to do about, you know? And I feel like, like that feels like mindset stuff almost.
Linzy [00:21:07] It is. Absolutely. And I mean, something that I do want to reflect to you is, you know, when we are getting those messages of like, yeah, you have to you have to charge a premium fee to value yourself, you know, these kinds of phrases that can be almost like made two dimensional, right? Like those messages are going to people who live in New York City and pay $3,000 in rent for like a month for a terrible apartment. They’re going to people in San Francisco who pay $4,000 a month for, you know, like an apartment that has leaky water, you know. And so this is part of it is like there’s a simplified narrative that’s being projected to everybody and that for some people does need to be true. Right. If you have a kid with complex medical needs, then you might need to make $12,000 a month because your kid needs incredibly complex care. Right. Those financial needs are going to look very different than it sounds like yours do. Right. And so something that I’m curious about is like I’m hearing that you do have some things that would be like really nice to add, right? They don’t sound like they’re things that you desperately need. But being able to fly first class, being able to have a pool, have a pool boy, how much more money would you have to be making to add those things into your life?
Paula [00:22:12] Yeah. I’ve run these numbers before. Honestly, like I could fly first class right now. And they really don’t have the space in my backyard because of a big, beautiful oak tree that.
Linzy [00:22:25] Like, tree or pool. That’s a hard choice.
Paula [00:22:27] Exactly, right? Yeah. So like that, that’s not even a possibility for me in my life. And so I’ve run these numbers before. And like, we’re kind of right where we need to be.
Linzy [00:22:38] Right.
Paula [00:22:38] With the kind of life we want to live.
Linzy [00:22:40] Yeah. Yeah.
Paula [00:22:42] So where does this pressure and why do I feel like my business is this abusive relationship? I think there’s just so much more to that than just needing to make more than just needing gas. You know what I’m saying?
Linzy [00:22:55] For sure. So I’m curious when you think about those messages and you can anonymize if you want, and like whose voice are you hearing?
Paula [00:23:03] Some business coaches.
Linzy [00:23:05] And those business coaches. Is there a reason that you’ve kind of like got into there or because there’s like, you know, probably thousands of business coaches out there? Is there a reason that you’ve been around to hear what these coaches have to say?
Paula [00:23:16] They have sold themselves as people who put their lives first and charge very high rates because they put their lives first. Yet they are discouraging doing things that they do do, like growing a group practice. Like I had a business coach who has a group practice but very much told me not to grow group practice and that’s that I think. So, yeah. That’s kind of where it all is. It’s like these voices that are like charge more money because I do. And the way to have your life be a put first like your lifestyle, but first you have to charge more money.
Linzy [00:24:01] So for you, is that true?
Paula [00:24:04] I need- I feel like the edge of my September numbers being so close. I do need. I do need a little more room. But for me, without all the noise and the business community and these coaches who want to charge lots per session – without that noise, like I’ve been really content in my life. I’ve been really content being an adjunct college instructor. I’m making very little. But being able to do the work whenever I want to. Going to school lunch with my kids every week, you know, just like I have this this lifestyle that I don’t have to charge $500 an hour to get.
Linzy [00:24:43] Yes. And part of that is you live in Kansas.
Paula [00:24:46] Exactly.
Linzy [00:24:48] Because we plunge you into the middle of New York City in Brooklyn. And we’re like, okay, Paula, now, like buy a house in Brooklyn. You know, you would have different pressures. You would have different solutions almost to get you back to where you are now. But something that I’m hearing is you are already there. You’re already at that lifestyle that these coaches are trying to help to get people to. And they’re teaching the solution that works for them because of their geographic circumstances, their financial circumstances, their own personal needs, which are different than yours. And it sounds like in some ways there’s there’s a mismatch there, right? Like even if they’re folks who you like respect and their grades and like they might not be teaching what you actually specifically need.
Paula [00:25:28] Yeah, you’re exactly right.
Linzy [00:25:30] Yeah, you were just nodding a lot. I feel like I should say that because it’s a podcast.
Paula [00:25:34] Yeah, no, you’re right. And even, quite honestly, I’ve been thinking about this recently, even my desire to like to to be able to replace my husband’s income, he would still work. Yes. He just may not work where he’s working. And so I really need a lot less than what I’m imagining I would need if that were going to try to do that.
Linzy [00:25:56] Yeah. And I mean, it does sound like there is a little bit of room here where you’re like a little bit more would be good. But also we know that September is your startup month. It’s your training month, as you settle into October and November and like folks are settling into their roles, caseloads are getting fuller. You offer a group or two, your numbers are going to start to tell a different story. Right? And so my encouragement is be curious as to what that story starts to become as it unfolds. And then I think maybe a quarter from now. So let’s say, you know, we’re we’re recording this conversation together in October, so let’s say end of January, then you can check back in with your numbers again and see like, okay, what is happening now? You might already be there, Paula. Right. And I think you know what what you’re talking about makes you think a couple of things. One, it makes me think of that old adage, and maybe this is very cheesy to bring up, but have you ever heard that kind of like old- I don’t know, it’s like a educational tale of like a rich man who sees, like a poor fisherman on the beach. Do you know this story? I’m I feel like it’s kind of just in the culture. So the idea is that this wealthy man sees a fisherman on the beach and he’s like, wow, you’re really good at fishing. And the guy’s like, Oh, yeah, I really love fishing. And he’s like, Well, you should you should get a boat. And he’s like, Yeah, I mean, I have a boat. Like, it’s kind of good. He’s like, Well, you should get a better boat get a loan, you know? And so basically the idea is that this man, this rich man, encourages this guy to do what he’s done, which is like build a company, get employees, get a better deal. And then at the end, you know, it’s like, well, why would you do that? And the rich man says, Then you’d have time. You can do whatever you want. And the guy’s like, I already have that.
Paula [00:27:27] Yes
Linzy [00:27:28] Yeah, right. And it kind of makes you think about that. It’s like, what I’m hearing is there’s noise. Right. And so something that I would encourage you to think about is what do you actually want to disengage from? What is it time to unfollow? What are the email lists it’s time to get off? What are the social media accounts it’s time to stop following? Because comparison can be the thief of joy. And I’m hearing that you like your life and that everything is good, right? And that you have a lot of things that a lot of other people have to work hard to get and have to charge a lot to get for their own reasons. But that’s actually not your problem, right? How does that land with you?
Paula [00:28:04] Very, very well. And like, one thing one thing I talk to my clients about is curating their social media for body image and feeds. And that single piece of advice from you today is exactly where I need to be and exactly what resonates with me, because that is the noise that I do not need in my life, because my practice is doing really good work. Yes. And really important work. And these numbers are start up numbers. There’s going to be space. There’s going to be more space than this eventually.
Linzy [00:28:38] Absolutely.
Paula [00:28:39] Yep. Yeah.
Linzy [00:28:40] Yeah. And this is where the curiosity comes in, because if three months from now, you look and you’re like, oh, it’s still tight, then they’re spots to be curious and be like, okay, what about my numbers is not working right? But that again is going to bear out over time. We don’t we don’t know that yet. And you could probably look at that now. You know, after we talked today, you could always look and be like, okay, what was the startup cost this month? Eliminate those from your you’re kind of like, you know, profit and loss and see what would this month have been if we weren’t paying for this extra, this extra, this extra. But I mean, there’s nothing here that’s like a screaming red flag to me that tells me that this is not workable for what you need.
Paula [00:29:12] Yeah. Oh, that’s a beautiful salve to my little soul.
Linzy [00:29:16] Thank you. You’re welcome. So, Paula, what are you taking away from our conversations there?
Paula [00:29:22] Gosh. So I think what I’m taking away is just that stay the course of this business, don’t buy the next boat, which is the personal brand at this point. Anyway, someday maybe my time will free and I’ll want to do that. And that’s okay. But don’t pressure myself to do that any time soon because these numbers, while narrow, they will change and they will evolve. And I believe that a year from now I will feel very differently about the money and my business and the relationship I have with it. I don’t think it will be as much of this abusive feeling because we will be both. My clinicians will be full, my biller will know what she’s doing and she will – I will pay less to her. Because she will just be better at her job. So yeah, super, super helpful.
Linzy [00:30:14] Good. Wonderful. It was really lovely to talk to you again today, Paula.
Paula [00:30:17] It was great to talk to you, too, Linzy. I always enjoy it.
Linzy [00:30:33] I think the question that Paula ultimately came to and what we kind of ultimately like dug into and came to our new conclusions around is this piece about noise. We live in such a noisy landscape. That’s actually one of the reasons that I have a podcast and I like to spend my time here rather than spending like a ton of time on social media is I like the quiet and more thoughtfulness of podcasts. And I think that, you know, the online space that I, I work in, sometimes I feel like I live inside the Internet is really loud. There’s a lot of voices, there’s a lot of advice. People are telling you how to do things that worked really well for them. That could totally work for you, but not everything is going to be for you. And so if things are having a negative impact for you, if you’re noticing it’s bringing up a lot of negative emotions, a lot of compare and despair. And I think maybe most importantly, if you’re not planning to actually learn from that person because you don’t actually feel aligned with what they’re teaching. There’s a lot to be said for unfollowing. Right. Cleaning up our mental space, giving ourself a little bit more quiet, making sure that what we’re consuming is actually feeding us and nurturing us and inspiring us, not making us kind of doubt ourselves when actually, you know, as Paula situation was, for example, she’s actually really feeling good. She’s actually content in her life. $2,000 for her household is actually sufficient and allows her to do the work that she’s extremely passionate about, which is providing insurance based dietician care to folks who struggle with their relationship with food. I think if she gave that up, there would be a huge gap for her at this point in her life. And so for her getting rid of that noise, it’s telling her to do things differently when her gut says otherwise is the wisest decision. So I’m going to say the same to you. If you’re noticing, you’re following somebody and it’s creating stress for you, unfollow that includes this podcast or me. If I’m not helping you feel more inspired, more clear. Unfollow. Right. Our mental space is so, so precious and so valuable. I know. I found myself. I recently got off TikTok kind of by accident, a blessing that it didn’t switch over to my new phone and I use that as my out. And I have been really noticing the difference that it’s made to my mental space to not have all of that stimulation, all of that noise all the time. So so appreciative for Paula for having this conversation with me today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram. As I said, I kind of spend more time here than there, but I am on Instagram. You can follow me @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please let me review on Apple Podcasts. It is the best way for other therapist to find us. Thanks for listening today.
How do you set your fees and what other considerations do you need to include when deciding what to charge? Guest Roxanne Francis shares about her supervision work with therapists in private practice; she helps them figure out how to navigate their finances and shares common questions and concerns with Linzy.
Do you struggle to make your business numbers work for you even though you’re budgeting? In this episode, Linzy talks with Paula Miller, a dietitian with a group practice who is struggling to make her numbers work for her now that she has more staff.
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