MereAnn [00:00:03] And if I think, too, that it’s not just me on this ship, that it’s also my clients and my future clients, like that is part of the mindset shift that helps me find the motivation and a little bit of a sense of urgency. Not so much that I overwhelm myself, but a little bit is great for me.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question, How can therapists and health practitioners go from money, shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s episode of Money Skills For Therapists podcast is a coaching episode and this is the first coaching episode I’m actually recording in season three and it feels so good to be back into doing these coaching episodes again for the podcast. Our guest today is MereAnn Reid. MereAnn is a play therapist and she’s a former teacher and she’s also the founder of Raising Family Resilience, which is a seven week online parent group. She’s written a book, The Embodied Brain and Santry Therapy Stories of Healing and Transformation, and she regularly has workshops on regulation and attachment. She collaborates with a limited number of parents for private coaching and adoption support, and she has a passion for supporting therapists and healers who are also parents. So MereAnn, in the time that I’ve known her, when we first worked together back in 2018, which we refer to a little bit at the start of our call today, she was a private solo therapist. I remember she touched base with me at one point along the way to say that thanks to the work that she’d done in Money Skills, she had saved up a nest egg and was able to start a play therapy center. And then in the pandemic, she let me know that she really leaned in and created this coaching practice. Our call today focused on how to manage your business finances when things have become more complex. MereAnn no longer has one business. She actually has a therapy business and she has a coaching business that has a couple of different offers. And she was finding herself again, falling into this fogginess and avoidance around money. That is kind of where she had been with her private practice finances, was coming up again at this new level, now that she has so much more complexity and so many more numbers to understand and try to manage. This is a great episode for you, if you’re thinking about branching out from therapy or your main health practice that you have, into things like coaching or courses or other offers, and you want to make sure that you maintain clarity and actually can understand your numbers even as things get more complicated, that’s exactly what MereAnn and I dig into today. Enjoy. All right, MereAnn, welcome to the podcast.
MereAnn [00:03:08] Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Linzy [00:03:10] I’m excited to have you. So, MereAnn, we worked together – you were in Money Skills For Therapists a few years ago now, we were just talking about this off mic, so 2018. So we’re going back like almost four years at this point. And so since you’ve been in Money Skills For Therapists, I think there’s been some developments in your business which are really exciting, which I know are related to what you want to talk about today.
MereAnn [00:03:31] Right. Yeah. Things have been growing.
Linzy [00:03:33] Yeah, in exciting ways. So I’m excited to learn more about that too, as we talk through today. So coming onto the podcast today, MereAnn, what do you want to get some support with? What can I help you with on our call?
MereAnn [00:03:45] So since we met four years ago, I have built a second business and it’s related to my therapy practice in that that was the jumping off point. But essentially, I have now an Umbrella LLC with two DBAs under that. So I have one business, which is my counseling practice, and that is continuing to go well and I’ve seen a sustained income increase there. So that’s one big change and it’s almost double there. And then at the same time, when everybody went online with the pandemic, that turned into a separate parent coaching practice for me. And that is a new income stream that has two parts. One is one on one parent coaching, where I’m meeting with them for a short series of meetings. And then the second one is a six week group and I’m also teaching workshops. So this second coaching practice is really what I’m leaning into now and I’ve seen good income boost, but I don’t have the systems to track everything as well as I would like to.
Linzy [00:05:07] Yes, OK.
MereAnn [00:05:07] And you know, this is familiar because it’s what brought me to Money Skills For Therapists in the first place. So I recognize this habit of mine. And part of what’s tripping me up this time is, number one, I didn’t expect the growth to happen so quickly, so there’s just more to track than I was anticipating. And secondly, I had figured out the system so well, I’d gotten my counseling practice to a point where my softwares and my electronic health records were doing a lot of the money minding and reporting what I needed and I got that really streamlined. So I know what’s happening in my counseling practice.
Linzy [00:05:47] Yes.
MereAnn [00:05:48] I’m starting to recognize this feeling of bobbing up and down in the water with my coaching practice process, where sometimes I can see above. And then other times, it just kind of goes over my head.
Linzy [00:05:59] Yes. You’re you’re under water again, yeah.
MereAnn [00:06:01] As soon as I have a few minutes, I’m going to sort out this new business. And I’m now getting help from a tax consultant because I am filing as an S corp. So that’s not something I’m trying to wrestle on my own. I have a pro to do that part for me.
Linzy [00:06:17] Yes, great. Perfect.
MereAnn [00:06:19] But record keeping is even more important because I’m – the LLC is new and the S corp filing is new.
Linzy [00:06:25] Yes. Okay. Yeah. So it sounds like you honed in your system and you got your system working for your private practice, which was kind of like a solo practice. But now you have this new, more complex business in addition to your solo practice. But you haven’t figured out your systems around just yet.
MereAnn [00:06:41] Exactly.
Linzy [00:06:42] And then I’m hearing that there’s an old habit that’s emerging at a new level. And this is what I noticed MereAnn like, I see it in myself, I see it in other therapists. As you expand, it’s like old things show up in new ways when we get to kind of new levels. Right. It’s something that we kind of, sounds like you overcame the avoidance when you figured out that solo system. But now at this new, more complex level, the avoidance is back. Which also makes sense because I’m sure you have a lot of other things going on that need your attention.
MereAnn [00:07:05] And that idea of like, the pride I feel and like, wow, I’m an entrepreneur twice over, is so exciting.
Linzy [00:07:12] Yes.
MereAnn [00:07:13] And what taps me on the shoulder is I have an old story, that I don’t understand money talk.
Linzy [00:07:19] Okay.
MereAnn [00:07:19] And so that’s one of my barriers.
Linzy [00:07:21] Yeah. So that’s coming back. Did that quiet down for a little bit when you did have your systems working or is that still kind of been around?
MereAnn [00:07:28] It did. It did quiet down because when I, one specific example is when I automated credit card payments, basically when I had client credit cards on file, that tightened up so many things, that tightened up my cancelation policy. It tightened up, you know, any kind of back and forth communication or, you know, needing payments updated, like it just streamlined so much of the income side of things that then the reporting was really clean because I had everybody on the same system.
Linzy [00:07:58] Yes.
MereAnn [00:07:59] In this new setup, I have people coming in from lots of different places. They’re not all entering at the same kind of portal to work with me. I’m having to sort of screen when I get an inquiry. Are they counseling? Are they coaching? Okay. And what does that mean about what forms they get and what fee they’re at? And I’m kind of holding it in my head.
Linzy [00:08:23] Right. Okay. Yes. Yes. Well, yeah, you’ve got two distinct businesses that need their own systems and their own paperwork and everything running at the same time. Okay. So starting with the practical, with your private practice. What system are you using to track, like your expenses and putting all the information together? What do you do in your private practice for that?
MereAnn [00:08:43] Until just recently, I was doing QuickBooks and I changed accountants and the new accountant said, I don’t need QuickBooks. That’s too complicated for the kind of reporting that I need. You don’t need to be paying that much every month and I was glad to let the expense go. So I recently signed up for Wave and am switching my private practice finances over to Wave, from QuickBooks. So it’s in transition, but I have a handle on it. Right, because we just filed taxes. So I’m up to date.
Linzy [00:09:12] Yes, and Wave is another accounting software. It’s a free accounting software, but it still is full suite accounting, a real accounting software where it’s going to give your accountant like double entry bookkeeping is what they call it on the back. Like it’s still going to give them a lot of information. But I’m hearing that they coach you to simplify, which is nice. That’s not usually what we hear from accountants. They don’t usually tell us to simplify, they usually tell us the other way. So I’m glad that you’ve got that support. So you’ve got wave then as your system and then in terms of bank accounts, do you have these two businesses distinct? Are they in the same bank account? What’s happening there?
MereAnn [00:09:44] I have three bank accounts. The LLC has its own bank account and then the counseling practice has one and the coaching practice has one. And I’m doing coaching, consulting, speaking all with that coaching practice. And just every month I go in at the, you know, the 10th of the month and I transfer operating expenses from each of my businesses into the LLC. So I’m only spending out of the LLC.
Linzy [00:10:11] Oh, Interesting. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. So you’re using that again as kind of your umbrella bank account, just like it’s your umbrella entity. It’s your umbrella bank account. Great. Okay, so that’s nice and simple, sending money up there. And then so you do have these two distinct, three distinct bank accounts already to where you’re receiving money and then the one that you’re paying your expenses out of.
MereAnn [00:10:31] Yes.
Linzy [00:10:31] Okay. Well, that’s I mean, that’s a really great start. It’s a very good start because you already have separation and clarity between these businesses and you already have even a system of simplifying the payments that you’re making out of the LLC. So that’s beautiful. So it sounds like the clarity is needed then more around like the tracking and actually understanding what’s happening with those numbers.
MereAnn [00:10:50] Right. I can’t at a glance tell what is my most profitable service in my coaching practice right now.
Linzy [00:10:57] Okay. And then do you also have anywhere that your expenses are being tracked for that coaching service?
MereAnn [00:11:04] I do my online banking for each of those three accounts, and right now I just go in monthly and reconcile each account. So that’s where I’m tracking them, but I don’t have a budget from coaching practice.
Linzy [00:11:16] Yeah. And you’re not ever seeing the income coming in and the money going out in the same place to help you understand the cash flow and like how things are working. Okay.
MereAnn [00:11:23] That’s right.
Linzy [00:11:25] So, I mean, I think that would be the first piece to think about plugging in, right. Is like you already have it in your private practice. You had it in QuickBooks, but now you’re transitioning to Wave. So I know there’s a transition period there, but it sounds like that’s a normal process. And when you land at Wave, you know, you should have that information on your solo practice. And the first thing that I would think about is, is there any reason not to use Wave for your coaching practice as well? Do you have any objection to using Wave?
MereAnn [00:11:50] I think that does help me simplify. I think I am just starting with Wave. And so I’m just learning it and it makes sense to me that I would take all three of my accounts to Wave. And so I’m glad we’re having this conversation now because what I’m not totally clear on is, does Wave accomplish that goal of helping me see the cash flow for each of them?
Linzy [00:12:16] Yes. And what Wave will show you – and I’m not a wave expert. So if they do have like super cool reports and stuff, I’m not sure about them. But with general accounting software, what it can show you is what’s called a profit and loss, which is money coming in, money going out. Right. And so if you start to get your coaching business information into Wave, you’re going to be able to run reports and start to see, okay, I brought in this much in May through my coaching groups, I brought this much through one on one. Because even that together is going to start to give you information, right? Like as you categorize that money coming in, you’re going to start to see, okay, this month I made a $1,300 in groups and I made about the same on one on ones. And then you can start to balance out even to the questions of like, how much energy does it take you to do one on ones versus group? Like you’re you’re going to start to have that information on the top. But then what I would encourage you to look at in Wave, is how can you then also think about your expenses as different so that you can start to see what are the expenses associated with the therapy practice. Because we don’t want to get those blurred together. Right?
MereAnn [00:13:16] Right. So if I’m spending out of the LLC, is it a matter of categorizing expenses differently?
Linzy [00:13:23] Yeah, that would be one way to do it. Like some programs like QuickBooks will also have like tag options. And with Wave, you’d have to see basically like what are the different ways they let you categorize things? Are there tags you could use where it’s like, well, these were both rent, but this half was for my coaching business, this half is for therapy. Are there tags or do you just make two different expense categories in that account where you’re like, rent/therapy, rent/coaching, right? So you can start to separate those things out. And part of that will be understanding how the system works. If your accountant is suggesting Wave, they could be a really good resource for that. To tell them like, I want to have clarity on how these numbers work together and because it’s all out of the one LLC, it makes sense that, you know, the information is mixed to some extent, but you need to figure out how do you want to see it? So in your brain you can immediately see, okay, this is how much I paid in expenses for this business. This is how much I made and this is how much I made off what kind of service. Because it sounds like in your coaching practice, that’s one of the questions that’s floating around, right? Is like what is actually profitable? Which is a great thing to wonder about because sometimes we can really put a lot of energy into something that actually is not making us that much money at the end of the day, because it’s more expensive to run. It takes more of our time. Because we’re making a lot, we lose the fact that it’s also costing us a lot in other ways.
MereAnn [00:14:39] Yeah. So I’m thinking, you know, it’s not enough to just say, this is a software expense. I need to be saying like, this is my electronic health record expense, this is my Zoom account, right? For my different names.
Linzy [00:14:53] Yeah. I mean, if you’re really wanting that analysis, that would be the way to get it, right is just getting down to the level of detail that you can see the information that you need to see. Right, to start to understand how your numbers are working. And then first of all, checking in about that, how does that sit with you, thinking about making your system a little more detailed that way?
MereAnn [00:15:12] Well, the part that makes a lot of sense is so far, I’ve just gone as far as what my tax preparer needs from me. I haven’t taken that next step to think about, okay, what will make sense to my brain? What kind of map do I need?
Linzy [00:15:29] Absolutely. Because especially at this point, MereAnn, like, I don’t know what language resonates with you, but like you are definitely in CEO territory. Like the leader of your business, CEO, boss, whatever, whatever resonates with you. Like you’ve got a lot of kind of pots on the stove right now. Right. And so part of what that requires, folks cannot see me doing this because this is a podcast, but this is the motion I always do for grounded, which is like I have my hands together holding in front of my chest, just like grounded, calm, clear minded, right? That kind of money boss footing where you’re looking, you understand how things fit together. You can see the information that you want to see. So when you have a question about what’s happening, you know where to get that information. And also you kind of, you know how to put that information together to understand, oh, this thing that I spent so much time on, I actually make very little money. And then you also get to ask those emotional questions of like, but is it worth it for you? Or do you also not really like that thing? Right. But without getting – the first step is to put that information in a way that you can actually get it, right. And right now, you’re not able to do that quite yet. Right. So it’s setting it up for that information to be available to you in the way your brain needs to see it.
MereAnn [00:16:37] And the part that feels daunting about that is the part that brings me to the old story, which is, gosh, that sounds like a lot of work. And I know cognitively, I know Wave just imports the information, it’ll be like magic. The big “but” is like wrapping my head around my new systems is a whole nother part of the new system. It’s not just deciding, it’s not just connecting the bank accounts. It’s like, okay, how will I dance with this? And it’s feeling like a lot.
Linzy [00:17:11] Yes, it is more complex, you know, like that’s the word that you and I were talking about a little bit off mic before is like, it’s gotten more complex and it is, it is truly more complex now. Right. You have like multiple ways you’re making money. There’s different like expenses associated with those different moneymaking avenues. And so it’s not just one thing anymore, right? It’s not just you sitting in a room one on one or teaching a small group as a therapist. There is that piece. And so part of it is mindset, right? It’s like, it’s a lot. And how do you want to think about that fact? What does that say about you? That you’ve built a business where there’s a lot going on because there’s so many people who want to pay you in so many different ways for the things that you’re doing. Thinking about it, you know, connecting to what would feel more powerful or resonant or positive for you. What does it say about you and the work that you’ve done, that you’ve gotten to this place where there is more to keep track of?
MereAnn [00:18:04] I think that it’s the fact that I’ve built relationships and reputation that extend beyond the therapy room is the part that brings me back to like, oh, yeah, I’m steering. Okay.
Linzy [00:18:18] Yes, you are.
MereAnn [00:18:19] And I’m wearing all those entrepreneur hats again and doing that heavy lifting of starting. Right. Like if I think about myself as the captain of the ship, I’m not just steering which way we’re going. I’m actually inventing the map.
Linzy [00:18:37] Yes.
MereAnn [00:18:38] As we’re already underway. And that’s the part that I think, okay, I know because I have plenty of clients right now. I know that I figured out some things before and people want to talk to me about some of those things. And they’re not trying to copy what I’m doing. They’re wanting to collaborate with me to help them steer themselves. Right. But in order for me to steer myself and help steer them, this money ship is something I have to get a handle on because I’m leaking energy.
Linzy [00:19:15] Yes. In a way, I’m going to say you’re kind of blowing my mind right now about the metaphor that you just came up with because I’ve been talking about that metaphor for the last couple of days, for the next level coaching program that I’m doing. It’s a metaphor I ran by somebody last week who just joined this Money Boss Mastermind is this next level program, which is about strategy. And I ran the metaphor by her, the exact metaphor you literally just said. And I said, I don’t know if this resonates, but like I have this image of like it’s your ship, right? And you’re building your ship, but you’re also building the strength and capacity and the knowledge to steer your ship because it’s true. Like, at a point, our business has got to be this size where there’s kind of a gravity to them, right? Like a cruise ship. You don’t just, like, turn on a dime, right? It kind of starts going in a direction. So what you’re doing right now, as you say, is you’re thinking about how to patch the leaks in the ship. Right. There’s energetic leaks that aren’t working, that are taking money away or taking time and probably also money.
MereAnn [00:20:04] And money.
Linzy [00:20:04] But certainly time and energy away from you being able to come up with new offers, find the right people, change people’s lives. That’s your zone of genius, right? And so patching these leaks and starting to take that grounded captain position, you know, means that you get to not only have something that’s working, but as you say, you get to point it in the direction that you want it to go. And that’s that’s a very powerful thing. But it’s also scary because you probably didn’t grow up wanting to be sea captain.
MereAnn [00:20:30] And I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to have a six figure business. I have been more intentional about planning this second business, and I can see that that six figures is within reach in, you know, 18 months. I have a plan to do that.
Linzy [00:20:48] Yeah, absolutely.
MereAnn [00:20:49] So avoiding or sort of not leaning in to my systems is really going to continue to leak energy. And if I go, it’s going to keep me from following my business plan.
Linzy [00:21:03] Yes, it is. And it means that you’re kind of steering blind. Right. To extend the metaphor, you know, you’re not really looking where you want to go. You’re not looking at the winds. You know, you’re not understanding how decisions you’ve made have worked or not because you’re not looking at the information that you have. Right. And so thinking about this, MereAnn, you know, the next level of it would be once you have that information marked out in your tracking, because tracking is one thing, then it’s developing a system for yourself to look at those numbers easily on a monthly basis and understand, okay, this is what happened in May, this is how much it costs me. This is how much profit I made on each side of my business. You can even break it down to this is how much profit I made in each service in my coaching business. You know, if I divide the operating expenses in half between the two of them, this is how much I brought in here, this is how much I brought in here. And then you can start to make informed decisions about where you want to spend more of your time, what’s worth your time. And that’s not just financial, right? It’s also emotional. You know, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, it’s not just about maximizing, you know, your return on investment financially. There’s also going to be work that lights you up and that’s fun or that you can only do so much of A so it’s good to have B in the books, right? Like those are part of it too, but it’s putting that information together somewhere. And for my business, I use spreadsheets for this. So every month at the end of the month, I take the data from the month before, I transfer over like the summary numbers that I use QuickBooks for my business now. You would transfer over the summary numbers from Wave, into a place that you can kind of separate them out nicely because Wave may or may not let you do that. It takes probably about half an hour of your time, but then you’re going to spend that CEO time or that captain time, however you want to think about it, to just reflect on where you’ve been and make some conscious decisions about how you want to steer things for the next month.
MereAnn [00:22:44] And if I think, too, that it’s not just me on this ship, that it’s also my clients and my future clients, like that is part of the mindset shift that helps me find the motivation and a little bit of a sense of urgency. Not so much that I overwhelm myself, but a little bit is great for me. Because things I can learn from getting in with my numbers is like, how many scholarships can I offer exactly to my summer series that’s coming up? And oh, if I can do a full scholarship, how many partial scholarships can I offer?
Linzy [00:23:18] Exactly.
MereAnn [00:23:18] Okay. This tells me where to find people who need this information, who need this community, how to communicate. It shapes the messaging and marketing of my business.
Linzy [00:23:30] Absolutely.
MereAnn [00:23:31] If I know what I am working with.
Linzy [00:23:33] Exactly. Because then you’re setting an intentional path, that is informed and then you can follow that path. Right. And and be doing – taking steps that make sense for your business. And then also let you just be very grounded and clear in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
MereAnn [00:23:48] And that’s it. Like a part of why I’m doing it is, is because I run a private pay counseling practice, which is not in everybody’s budget. And so part of my my idea with running groups is that it’s another entry point for support where I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting, where everybody in the community participates and that group energy is shared. But then if I’m all about creating this group energy, but I’m not plugging my own energy leaks, it’s not sustainable.
Linzy [00:24:23] It’s not sustainable. No. And that will show up in different ways in our work. Right. When we do start to get into that out of balance place where we’re starting to get depleted, that’s, you know, an invitation for resentment or burnout or just generally feeling less excited about the work. And it sounds to me like this, I mean, this is the work that you’re so passionate about, right? That it’s part of how I’m thinking about as you’re talking about it now, is it’s a way to honor yourself and the work by taking the time to be intentional and looking at this information and making informed decisions.
MereAnn [00:24:52] And allow me to continue offering something that people have really shown that they’re interested in and they’re benefiting from.
Linzy [00:25:01] Absolutely, yes.
MereAnn [00:25:01] And so this idea of the leadership coming with the responsibility for the money piece, that needs to be part of my new story.
Linzy [00:25:11] Yes. So, MereAnn, coming towards the end of our time today, what are you taking away from this conversation?
MereAnn [00:25:17] I think this is managing my money in my business is an area where I need support and I keep learning that over and over again. And so, having people on my team that help me both stay accountable and who are right there when I have a question, is part of how I keep myself from getting flooded and getting stuck. And so coming back today, you know, as an alum of the Money Nuts & Bolts program, I’m remembering that feeling of having a community, having a cohort to go to. So that’s what that’s part of where I’m thinking about this is is not only how do I support myself, but I really am craving more community around this because it’s easy for me to get stuck, it’s an old habit.
Linzy [00:26:11] Absolutely. Yes.
MereAnn [00:26:12] And also that I have a responsibility to my clients and to my, the health of my businesses – plural.
Linzy [00:26:20] Yes.
MereAnn [00:26:21] To find a way to get on top of this. And it doesn’t have to be rigid, but it does need to be something that I can feel like I’m capably steering. Quickbooks was probably too much for me too.
Linzy [00:26:34] Yeah, it’s finding the right tool that gives you the information that you need and too much is a problem. And hopefully Wave will hit more of a sweet spot for you. But then I would also encourage you to add the things to Wave that Wave’s not telling you about, that you want to know about as the leader of your business.
MereAnn [00:26:48] Yeah, yeah.
Linzy [00:26:50] Great. Well, thank you so much, MereAnn.
MereAnn [00:26:52] Oh, thank you. It’s always nice to have a chat with you and I appreciate it.
Linzy [00:27:10] In my conversation with MereAnn, there were a couple of things that stuck out. The first would be the ocean metaphors. She had her metaphor about, you know, like bobbing up and down in the waves and then we had the metaphor of the ship. And I think that really gets to the heart of how it can feel sometimes when we’re overwhelmed by money and we feel, you know, we don’t have control, it can feel like this very vast, overwhelming experience like the ocean can be when you’re bobbing up and down. But I loved how she also then came up with that metaphor of the ship and how different it feels when you have built something that works and you are the captain and you are steering it confidently. It’s a very different feeling, and I really felt that shift in energy in the course of our coaching session. We kind of started like up in our heads and I certainly started off in my head just trying to understand, you know, the way that things are working and the way that things were laid out in her business and what was, what systems were already in place. But then as we moved into the mindset piece, that is such an important part of the equation, I really found that both of us, our energy settled into our body. You know, and MereAnn felt so calm and I felt so calm talking to her, just this kind of like settled, empowered, strong, peaceful stance that she started to have in our conversation, which was very different than when she started when she started to play with the idea of really being this captain and setting up the systems and all of the positive that comes from actually taking the time to look at her numbers and make sure she understands them and is making thoughtful decisions as she charts her path. If you would like to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandnolts. We are sharing free, practical and emotional private practice money content on there all the time. And if you have 1, let’s see 3 minutes right now, if you have 3 minutes. I’m going to ask you if you can please hop over to Apple Podcasts and leave a review for Money Skills For Therapists. It’s so helpful in having other therapists who could really use these conversations to find me. I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much for joining me today.