Last year I grossed $456,983.53. That’s a crazy chunk of change, considering I got paid $30k/year at my first job. That’s really crazy considering that the mean wage, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, is $46k with 90% of mental health counselors making under $70k.
Let me start with a few things about these numbers:
- These are gross numbers: The “gross income” is the total amount before taxes and expenses. So this is the total money that came through Mental Wellness Counseling and Practice of the Practice. To see every month’s break down and most current reports, check out my monthly income reports.
- It’s not about the money: When I started this journey years ago it was never about the money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a more flexible budget and schedule, but money was not the driver. In 2009 when I launched my private practice, I just wanted to pay off student loan debt. My biggest goal was to make $100k someday…maybe when I turned 50. For me, being a present father, husband, and world citizen was the most important thing. So lifestyle was always the biggest part of the equation.
- I’m nothing special: Yes, I may have talents or gifts different from you, but you’re probably awesome at things I suck at. So what did I do? I took the next reasonable steps. I started a side private practice and as it grew I added clinicians. I started blogging about what I was reading about business. Then I talked about it on a podcast. At every stage, I just kept taking the next reasonable step. You can too!
Set One Big Step Each Year
Every year, I ask myself, “What the one thing that would make everything else easier?” I got this from the book The One Thing. For example:
- 2018: My goal is to serve 500 people in a supportive community (Click here to get an invitation for Next Level Practice)If I have monthly recurring revenue that serves a really large group of people I can increase my income, influence, and impact on the world.
- 2017: Move from 1:1 to one:many. By serving people in Mastermind Groups and Slow Down School, I knew I could level up my income and serve people better.
- 2016: Have more 1:1 consulting clients. In 2015, I had a few one-on-one consulting clients, but still needed my counseling income. Knowing I wanted to shift away from counseling, I started pursuing more 1:1 consulting clients.
By identifying the biggest step forward, it keeps me focused on that one thing. By doing this, I progress quicker.
Automate Each Step
In my experience, a virtual assistant is almost always a multiplier. What do I mean? Imagine you charge $150/session. If you do one session extra that’s $150 (not counting expenses and taxes) if you pay an assistant $15/hour, then that one hour is worth 10 hours of VA work!
Before I move on toward new goals, I always look at what I can brutally take off my plate. For example, a year ago, I stopped doing all of the show notes for the private practice podcast, images for podcasts, and follow-up with guests. I loved the design side, but it was smarter to have Sam do it.
Even though I love art, I love free time even more!
By automating each step of your goal you do a number of things:
- Free up time to work on the next level of growth
- Build a company that can run itself
- Switch from a solopreneur mindset to a CEO mindset
- Create distance between yourself and the customer in a positive way
If you don’t automate and take things off your plate, you just add more stress and eventually will drop the ball.
Invest in Tools to Grow
My last big take-away from grossing $456k is to invest in professionals. Examples of re-investing are:
- Bank and accounting automation, like Quickbooks
- Private Practice Consultant or Mastermind Group
- Insurance billing services
- Personal assistant to check email, phone, and scheduling
- Upgrade website hosting
- Attend a conference or learn a new skill
Putting money back into your business is one of the smartest ways to grow tax-free by using profits for growth (always consult your accountant first). This is because you get the tax savings for reinvesting, while building a healthier business. What are your lessons?
Joe Sanok is a consultant with Practice of the Practice. If you want to do 1:1 consulting, join his Mastermind Group, or Next Level Practice, apply here.