Are you interested in structuring your business around your daily life, instead of constantly stretching your life around your business? What are some practices you can do to take back your time? How can you make impactful changes to your mindset about working alongside your practice?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks about how to design your business to fit into your lifestyle.
In This Podcast
- You need to be intentional
- Writing down your business and personal goals
- Writing down different distractions and how much time they take
- The money-part
You need to be intentional
In the beginning, when you are setting up your group practice, you need to be intentional with the direction in which you want it to move, otherwise, your practice will start to run you instead of you running it.
If you don’t ever stop and think about what you want your business to actually be and how that actually fits into your life, you might just be working all the time, you’re working hours you don’t want to work, you’re missing out on stuff with your family – so we just want to be really intentional with helping people think about how do you want to design your business so that it works for your personal life.
This might mean:
- Being done by 3 pm to pick up your kids
- Or work virtually at the beach during the summer
If you do not have freedom of time, then working hard at being an entrepreneur may not feel as worth it.
Writing down your business and personal goals
When you own your own group practice, these two goal-streams can often overlap.
- Write down your business goals and then write down your personal goals, and do not censor yourself. Just focus on writing it all down without restriction to get everything on paper so that you can visualize it all.
- Do not worry yet about how – just write it all down.
Writing down different distractions and how much time they take
Do a time study or a time audit and see what things you do and how much time you spend doing them. Focus on the things that you go on autopilot on and do without being aware of it.
When you do your time audit, you can use a pen and paper or a digital system and evaluate it yourself to see where your time goes. Observe the little pockets of time that you could utilize in between the things you do in a day.
It does boil down to the time and money ratio. You can write down your money expectations or goals and write down an estimate of how much these goals would cost you, and compare that to the income you receive from your practice to see how much or little you need to shift things to bridge that gap. You might not be as far away from your goals as you think you may be.
Books mentioned in this episode
- Dr. Laura Louis Helps Therapists Book Paid Speaking Gigs | GP 39
- Group Practice Boss
- Group Practice Boss on Facebook
- Email Alison: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PoP Group Practice Owners Facebook Group
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Work with us
- Consult With Alison
Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
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Hello, and welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I’m Alison Pidgeon, your host. So today we’re going to be doing a solo episode all about how to design your business to fit your lifestyle. And it’s actually great that we’re doing this topic this month, because I am finishing up a month-long vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my family. So we were able to leave for that long because my kids are going to school virtually, my husband and I are both working from home because of the pandemic. So we decided there’s no reason why we have to stay at home, we might as well go live where we can be just a few minutes walk from the beach. So that’s what we’ve been doing. And it’s been wonderful. I know this probably sounds really silly but when we are obviously working, or parenting or whatever, it feels pretty much the same as it does at home. And then when we’re not doing any of those things, when we have free time, it feels like vacation. And I think I didn’t realize that before we came down here. But it’s been super relaxing. And it’s just been so nice to have a change of pace, especially after being cooped up in the house for so long in quarantine. So that’s what we’ve been up to. If you are inspired by that, or you’ve been thinking about that for your own family, I say do it, it’s definitely worth it.
So today I want to talk to you about the group that Whitney Owens and I started, called Group Practice Boss. And I’ll tell you a little bit about the group just so you kind of understand what the podcast episode is about today. So we came up with Group Practice Boss because we realized that there was kind of not a lot of resources in the Practice of the Practice, you know, all the stuff that we offer for more established group practice owners, I don’t know a better way of saying it. So we created a membership community where there’s a Teachable full of content, specifically geared towards group practice owners, and there’s a Facebook group where people can interact and ask questions. And so we have it designed so that every month is a different theme. And for the month of October, the theme was ‘design your business to fit your lifestyle’. So I wanted to talk a little bit about that because even if you’re not in the group, there’s still things related to that that you could do on your own. And just kind of wanted to hit the highlights of what we’ve been covering in the group this month.
So, what do I mean by designing your business to fit your lifestyle? So essentially, I think if you’re not really intentional about how you set up your business, it very quickly feels like it starts running you and you’re trying to do all the things. And, you know, you’re trying to maybe get your group practice off the ground and so you understand in the beginning, there might be more of a commitment to having to work hours you don’t want to work, or something like that, in a temporary period of time, just to get things going. So, you know, if you don’t ever kind of stop and think about what you want your business to actually be and how that fits into your life, you might just be like you’re working all the time, you’re working hours you don’t want to work, you’re missing out on stuff with your family. And so we just wanted to be really intentional about helping people think about how do you want to design your business so that it works for your personal life.
So for many people that might mean, you know, I want to be done by 3pm every day so I can go pick up my kids from school. Or maybe it’s, I want to go away every summer, and work virtually, and live at the beach all summer. That’s my plan, actually, and the pandemic has sped up that goal. So, yeah, because if we don’t have freedom of our time, or if we don’t have money to do the things that we want to do, then, you know, working so hard at owning your own business and being an entrepreneur isn’t really worth it.
So I’m going to tell you a little bit about kind of the things that we did in the group this month. And, again, these are things you could certainly do on your own, if this is something that’s interesting to you. So the first thing we did was we talked about writing down your business and personal goals. So you may realize this being a group practice owner, or you may not – a lot of times these things sort of dovetail together. If your goal is to be able to not see clients anymore, like I do, then you’re going to have to make a certain amount of money to be able to achieve that. Or if you want to have such a flexible schedule to spend time with your kids, you’re going to have to figure out a way, okay, how am I going to delegate things to other people so that I can have a flexible schedule, or I don’t have to see clients anymore, or whatever that is? So all of these things kind of end up intersecting with one another. So I would encourage you, write down your business goals, and then write down your personal goals. And don’t censor yourself or don’t think about, you know, what you should write down, what the politically correct answer is, what your mom wants you to write down on that list, like, it really needs to be what you want. Because if it’s not something that you really want, then you’re probably not going to be very motivated to do it. So, if it’s, you know, I want to work less to spend time with my kids, great. If it’s, I want to buy a luxury car, great. Nobody’s judging you, this is just for yourself. So write down whatever comes to mind.
And then, the other thing, too, is, don’t worry so much about how you’re going to get there. The how is not as important as just sort of letting yourself daydream and think about, you know, what exactly you want. We can worry about the how of it later. But just right now, just write down what you want, even if you’re not sure how you’re going to achieve it right now.
So the other thing we did was just looking at sort of the low hanging fruit of like, what in my life is a distraction that maybe I could eliminate? And writing those things down and adding up how much time that takes you. So, for example, let’s say, every morning you wake up and you’re, you know, spending a half an hour scrolling through social media. You know, if you’re doing that, let’s say five days a week, well, there’s two and a half hours. But if you chose to do something else with that time, you’re getting two and a half hours of your week back. Um, so it’s those kinds of things that, you know, we just sort of go on autopilot, and we don’t think about, but a lot of times, you know, we really have to look at our time if we want to achieve some of these goals. And so that’s just like a really easy way to start doing that.
So then the next thing we did was, we had everybody do a time audit in the group, and we kind of let them pick how they wanted to do it. So some people like to do, like, paper and pen, you know, keeping track of what they’re doing that way. There’s an app called rescue time that we had recommended people use if they wanted, like, more of a tech solution, I guess you could say. And then I think Whitney had found there was a kind of time audit in the book, Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz that she kind of talked to the group about. So whatever way people wanted to keep track of their time, they did, and then kind of discussed insights that they found from doing the time audit and figuring out where they could be better utilizing their time or where they were wasting time, all those kinds of things.
So if you’ve never done something like that, I would highly recommend doing it. I think you might be surprised how much time gets frittered away, like, you know, you might get ready in the morning, and then it’s like, oh, well, it’s ten more minutes before we have to leave and you just sort of sit down on the couch. And then, you know, in that ten minutes, you could be unloading the dishwasher or, you know, pulling something out of the freezer to make for dinner that night, or something like that. And again, it’s just little pockets of time that we don’t think about, or we don’t use in a productive way. So that’s another suggestion for you.
And so then the other thing we did in the month of October was we’re always going to do a ‘Ask the Expert’ webinar and so this month we talked to Joe Sanok about how he is running his business while traveling around the country in an RV with his family. So he has definitely designed his business to fit his lifestyle. He’s able to do everything from his camper, and he has delegated enough things in his business that he doesn’t need to be kind of available every minute of the day. So he came on and had a nice conversation with Whitney, and the group got to ask him questions about, you know, how he’s setting up his business to make that all work for him and his family.
And then another thing we’re doing is monthly office hour, so people can show up and ask questions about the topic that we’re learning about that month, or if they have other questions related to group practice that they need answered, Whitney and I are taking turns doing that.
And then the last thing that we did for the month is talking about the money part of how to design your business to fit your lifestyle. So, like I said earlier, it kind of boils down to, like, the time and the money, right? You kind of have to have both elements to make things work. So I have a worksheet that folks filled out about, you know, how much it would actually take for them to kind of live their ideal lifestyle from, like, a financial standpoint. So, you could write down, like, well, I want somebody to come clean my house once a week, or I want to be able to afford to send my kids to private school, or I want to be able to go on a European vacation every year. And so you wrote down, you know, an estimate of how much you thought that would cost you. And then you added that all up and compared it to what you actually make now. And so you could sort of see like, well, how far away am I from this kind of ideal lifestyle in terms of the financial piece of it?
So what I really like about this is I actually did the same exercise, or a very similar exercise, in a coaching group that I’m in. And I was pleasantly surprised that I’m actually not that far away from my goals. And when I actually wrote down and, like, assigned a value to each of those things, then I started to see, like, oh, wow, I’m really not that far away from having all of these things I want, that are, you know, really, if I had all of these things, I would be thrilled, right? Like, if I have a cleaning lady every week come to my house, that would be awesome. Probably doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy. But in any case, I think that that can be really impactful. And then thinking about how do you, you know, how do you start to make more money? And that’s really something that I think we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about in Group Practice Boss. Almost everybody that joined was saying how they really wanted to make more money, they wanted to work less hours, they wanted to feel less stressed out. And so, again, that’s what it’s all about, right? Like, why do all of the hard work of being a business owner and taking on all that risk if you can’t have that freedom on your time, and also be making more money than if you were working for somebody else? So I think that helps people to see how they could get to that place.
So that’s just a little overview of what Group Practice Boss was about this month, and the different things that we did. And so, I would challenge you, if this sounds interesting to you, we will be opening up Group Practice Boss in January again. So we opened it up the beginning of October and we were super happy with all the folks that have joined. We were in the middle of Killin’It Camp when we launched it, and lots of people who we’ve kind of met through the Practice of the Practice community joined, lots of really awesome, seasoned group practice owners who really just want to take things to the next level. And it’s so cool to see people in the Facebook group, lik, posting questions and getting feedback from other people. So it makes me so happy to see the community that’s growing out of this group that we just started a few weeks ago.
So in the month of November, we’re going to be talking about delegation. So again, that was a big thing that people were saying they really needed help with, like, I don’t understand how to delegate or what to delegate. I know I need to work less, but I don’t even know what that’s gonna look like. So the whole month of November, that’s what we’re talking about in Group Practice Boss. And then in December, we’re going to be talking about goal setting. So in anticipation, obviously, of the new year, and I’m going to be helping people work through a strategic plan for their practice for the year 2021. And that’s something that I did a couple years ago at Slow Down School that people found super helpful. We’re going to have… I can’t remember her name now… Michelle Hardman, who is the creator of The Primed Practice Planner, she’s going to be our Ask the Expert. And I think it’s going to be really great to help people sort of think through all those elements for planning for the new year, and making sure that they, you know, feel good about the plan that they have, and how they’re going to grow and all of that kind of stuff.
So that’s all I have for today. We have a shorter episode today, but I appreciate you taking the time to listen and, you know, take some time to think about how can you design your business to fit your lifestyle? Because that’s what’s going to help you really stay in business for the long term. And yeah, if you’re interested, again, in getting on the waiting list for Group Practice Boss, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss. All right, I’ll talk to you later.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.