Talking About Money with Mark Butler | POP 597

A photo of Mark Butler is captured. Mark Butler is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast where he talks about money.

How do you become a CFO for your new business? What are some mindsets that might be stopping you from charging what you should be? How does raising your rate reflect positively on your true clients?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Mark Butler about all things money and planning the financial year of your dreams.

Podcast Sponsor: Gusto

An image of Gusto is featured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice, a podcast for therapists. Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes, it’s super easy to use, and you can add benefits and HR support to help take care of your team and keep your business safe.

Everyone loves payday. But loving a payroll provider? That’s a little weird. Still, small businesses across the country love running payroll with Gusto. Gusto automatically files and pays your taxes, it’s super easy to use, and you can add benefits and HR support to help take care of your team and keep your business safe. Plus, listeners get three months free when they run their first payroll.

To get 3 months free once you run your first payroll just go to www.gusto.com/joe

Meet Mark Butler

An image of Mark Butler is captured. Mark Butler is the founder of the accounting startup Let’s Do the Books, as well as the bookkeeper, CFO, and confidante to top online entrepreneurs. He speaks with Joe Sanok on The Practice of the Practice Podcast, a podcast for therapists, about all things money and planning the financial year of your dreams.Mark Butler is the founder of the accounting startup Let’s Do the Books, as well as the bookkeeper, CFO, and confidante to top online entrepreneurs like Brooke Castillo. Before working in finance, Mark co-founded three online businesses that brought in close to $2 million in total revenue.

Today, Mark combines his business savvy with his certification in life coaching to help business owners take control of their finances and work through the shame and anxiety that almost always comes up when dealing with money.

Visit his website. Connect on Instagram and Facebook.

In This Podcast

  • Leveling up the finances in your business
  • Transactional mindsets to curb
  • Commonalties between financially positive business owners

Leveling up the finances in your business

To level up the finances in your business and minimize financial anxiety, the first step is to create a clear separation between business finances and personal finances.

That involves first acknowledging that their new online venture or their coaching venture is its own entity. It’s not a hobby, it’s not something that they carve out some of their personal dollars to put into … it is its own entity, and since it is its entity it needs its own … accounts in which all of its transactions take place. (Mark Butler)

This sounds simple but it is in separating the personal accounts from the business ones that someone can fully keep track of and see how the transactions are moving, both in their personal lives and to see how successful or busy their new business is.

At this initial level, you do not need to have some fancy corporation calling your financial shots for you. A basic system that you can follow is to:

  • Go to the bank and open a new checking account,
  • Get a new credit card,
  • And then, as the CFO of your new small business, your only job is to be aware of how much and how often money is moving in and out of your company.

If they will just keep an eye on those things, in a non-judgmental way [and] in a non-self-critical way, then the information they have about how much is going out and how much is coming in will help them make decisions that they end up being happier with. (Mark Butler)

Transactional mindsets to curb

When people evaluate their transactions, most people get unnecessarily hung up on mixing in self-judgment and self-criticism while working with the numbers: try to avoid doing this.

Instead of dispassionately seeing the numbers, recognize the positive benefits that came from all these transactions.

How has spending this money positively impacted your business? In which ways will these investments bring about growth and change? These numbers do not reflect on you as the business owner. Think about money as a tool as well as an asset but try to not get hung up on the idea that the goal is only always “more money”.

Commonalties between financially positive business owners

1 – Awareness of what is being sold and what it is being charged for it. A good business owner will know the difference, and benefits, of selling few and charging more, and between selling many and charging less.

2 – Confidence in knowing that the service a business owner is providing is going to lead to positive change in a client’s life, and bringing the cost of that service in alignment with delivering it well to the client.

3 – Knowing the value that they have put into their work. Financially strong business owners know the worth of their work because they are the ones that have put in the hours and practice to get to where they are now.

Your audience is the same, where they’re in a position where their clients know that when they give a thought when they give an opinion, it’s coming from a place of such deep experience and expertise that it means a lot more than something that the person would’ve read in a $20 book. (Mark Butler)

In the pricing that financially positive business owners set, there lies the person with authority and confidence in the experience and knowledge of their skillset.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Image of the book Thursday Is The New Friday written by Joe Sanok. Author Joe Sanok offers the exercises, tools, and training that have helped thousands of professionals create the schedule they want, resulting in less work, greater income, and more time for what they most desire.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] Taking care of employees has never been more important. For years, Gusto has been helping more than a hundred thousand small businesses run payroll, offer benefits, onboard new employees, and more. They call it the people platform. And it doesn’t just look nice. It works. Your payroll taxes are filed, deductions are calculated and your team gets paid. You can even offer health insurance and 401ks. Get three months free after your first payroll when you go to gusto.com/joe. That’s gusto.com/joe.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 5 97.

Well, I am Joe Sanok, your host, and I am so darn excited about this episode today. As well, I was just at Podcast Movement. It was the first live event I’ve been to in a very long time. They did such a great job with masking and social distancing and still making it feel like a really great event. It was just wonderful. I mean when you’re at these in-person events, it’s amazing the people you’ll meet. I was in line for an espresso and I turned around to the lady behind me and said, “What’s your podcast about?” She said, “Oh, I oversee all of the podcasts for The Wall Street Journal.” Come on. I pulled out a pre-release copy of my book, Thursday is the New Friday and handed it to her. We talked a little bit about the book and about what The Wall Street Journal is up to.

I met this other lady that is in charge of the speakers at Ted in Monterey and just kind of had a great conversation with her as we were walking around the event center at the Gaylord Opryland hotel. So it’s just my voice, you may hear it in my voice, it’s a little bit scratchy, did a lot of talking, a lot of podcasting and as one of the sponsors I gave away some Thursday is the New Friday sunglasses. They are this cool, like would look to ’em. A whole bunch of people have been booking me to be on their show, trying to do 200 podcast episode interviews. So if you have a podcast all you got to do is go over to joesanok.com/bookjoe, and you can book a spot to have me on your show. So really great hype on Thursday is the New Friday. John Lee Dumas was promoting the heck out of it, which was incredible. I mean, that guy with EO Fire, such a great podcast.

So live events where you can connect with people in a safe way are just so amazing. We’ve got Killin’It Camp coming up soon in October. If you do that bulk book, buy five books and then you just head on over to thursdayisthenewfriday.com, you get a free ticket. So instead of spending the $200, you get five books and you pay like $125. So you pre-order it. It’s a great way to get that book. You can get the eBook on audiobook, even cheaper. So if you want to get the audiobook or eBook you can order five of those too, and we’ll give you a ticket. Also if you do a book buy of 10 or 25, we have other bonuses that you get access to like half a day hanging out with me.

So many cool things going on in the Practice of the Practice universe. But today I’m so excited that we have Mark Butler who’s going to be talking all about money and we dive in deep. So without any further ado, here’s Mark.
[JOE] Well today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Mark Butler. Mark is the founder of the accounting and startup firm Let’s Do the Books, as well as the bookkeeper, CFO, and confidant for the top online entrepreneurs. Before working in finance, Mark co-founded three online businesses that brought in close to 2 million in total revenue. Today, Mark combines his business savvy with his certification in life coaching to help business own take control of their finances and work through the shame and anxiety that most always comes up when dealing with money. Mark, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[MARK BUTLER] Thank you, Joe. I’m really grateful to be here.
[JOE] I’m super excited to have you here. Now, money mindset, coaching, business savvy, I mean, you’re talking my language. So tell us a little bit about how you brought together kind of the worlds of finance and life coaching. Because when I think of kind of the typical accounting type person, and this is definitely a stereotype I don’t picture life coach typically. So how did that come together for you?
[MARK] It’s a great question. So what’s interesting about me having a bookkeeping business and having online entrepreneurs all call me their CFO is that I actually don’t have an accounting background. I took an accounting class in college, but I came into the world of bookkeeping and helping coaches and business owners manage their cash flow through my own ex experience as a online business owner and feeling like I wasn’t really great with the money and feeling like I had some success in my business. But even as those first businesses wound down, I didn’t walk away from them. You know, even in a position to take a year off, I had this great run and I’m going to take a year off. I was like, oh, I had this fun experience. Now I got to go get a job. It just happened to be that the job I landed after I sold some businesses in 2012 was with my good friend who owns a business called You Need a Budget.

Super fans of You Need a Budget call it YNAB and it’s a personal budgeting system and software that help people manage their cash and their personal finances. He gave me a job as the staff writer because I’d been the main copywriter in my previous businesses. So I went to work writing for him and learning his system and really having it transform my personal finances. In doing that, it helped me realize what a difference it could have made to my business finances. So after about a year of working for him, I asked him if he would let me take his system and his software and implement a kind of a consulting business within his company for his customers where we just, we actually implemented the software and then advised them on how to manage their cash.

It just happened that the very first person to ever hire me for that when he said yes, was a life coach and I’d heard the term life coach, but I’d never really interacted with a life coach and didn’t really understand what it meant in a practical way, but she was my first client. And then she generously started to refer a bunch of other life coaches and the next thing I knew, I was sort of the money guy for life coaches. And I kind of carved out my niche there. I eventually ended up buying my clients from my friend and leaving and becoming self-employed again. And then at some point I met a coach whose name is Brooke Castillo. Brooke runs the life coach school and I became her CFO. After being her CFO for about three years, we decided that it might really benefit our work together if I went through her coaching certification.

So I became certified by the life coach school in 2018 and it really helped me sort of marry my love of the numbers and my love of the people behind the numbers. So understanding the mindset and the hopes and fears and concerns of the person who’s generating those numbers. So it just ended up being this sort of winding journey into becoming the guy who’s like not an accountant, but doesn’t accounting and didn’t really know what life coaching was, but is now kind of a life coach and bringing those things together to try to make them useful to people who are trying to grow an online business.
[JOE] That’s awesome. So when you think about kind of what it takes to level up your finances in your business, what are some of the steps, like people like Dave Ramsey, he has his baby steps and will teach you to be rich as their method. What do you see as being the kind of modality that it takes for people to kind of really level up their finances?
[MARK] Well, since I deal mostly with online entrepreneurs and primarily coaches and trainers and course creators, people whose businesses are beautifully simple, elegant where there isn’t a bunch of inventory to manage. We’re not manufacturing, widgets, we’re just creating content and monetizing that content, either through courses or through one-on-one coaching experiences or group coaching experiences, whatever it is. And since that’s the case, the finances in these businesses are also simple and elegant. One of the first things that an online entrepreneur needs to do is sort of breathe the sigh of relief and realize that they don’t have to learn a bunch of accounting jargon. They don’t have to become an expert in business finance. They don’t have to understand complex principles of finance because online businesses and especially coaching businesses are so simple that they really need to just do maybe two things.

One is to create a clear separation between their business finances and their personal finances. And that involves first acknowledging that their new online venture, their coaching venture is its own entity. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something that they carve out some of their personal dollars to put into. It’s its own entity and since it’s its own entity, it needs its own checking account. It needs its own credit card if you use a credit card. It needs its own PayPal account. It needs its own accounts in which all of its transactions take place. It sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at how different a person’s view of their finances can be if they create that clear separation and then they’re able to look at and evaluate and make decisions on based on the business’ own transactions, not mixed with their clothing and their vacation and their grocery purchases.

That’s the first thing. It’s just, you don’t have to have some fancy corporation. You don’t even have to incorporate, although a tax advisor would probably tell you to do that at some point. My point for people is go to the bank, open a new checking account, just separate from your primary personal checking account, get a new credit card separate from your primary personal credit card so that the transactions can take place there. From there, your only a real job as the chief financial officer of your own online business is to maintain some awareness of how much money is going out and how much money is coming in. And I know how simple that sounds, but most of the problems that online entrepreneurs face come from ignoring, or just sort of staying willfully ignorant of how much money is going out and how much money is coming in. If they will just keep an eye on those things in a nonjudgmental way, in a non self-critical way, then the information they have about how much is going out and how much is coming in will help them make decisions they end up being happier with. So the amount of regret goes down, the amount of stress and anxiety go down just because they know how much is going out, how much is coming in, and then they can decide, am I happy with those patterns, or do I maybe want to tweak those?
[JOE] And what are kind of some things that people get hung up on or spend too much time on or not enough time on that, like have a little more focus in looking at that money coming in and going out?
[MARK] I think the biggest things they get hung up on is mixing in sort of self-judgment or self-criticism as they look at the numbers. So instead of just kind of dispassionately seeing the transactions and saying, okay, I spent this much money on Mail Chimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, whatever it is, I spent this much money on my own coaching or my own mental health this month, I spent some money on training. I spent some money on travel. Instead of just looking at those numbers and then one by one evaluating what they think the impact was on the business from those expenses, meaning what was the positive benefit that came from that trip you took? Or how does that piece of software that you subscribed to, how does it make your business easier to run?

Instead of looking at those things dispassionately the biggest hang up seems to be criticizing themselves because I shouldn’t be spending so much. I must be dumb for spending as much as I’m spending, or I must be dumb because I’m not spending as much as I should be spending. I’m amazed at how people can get upset with themselves, sort of for every reason and any reason not just the ones that we might predict. So that ends up being the biggest hang-up, is instead of evaluating the numbers, just as numbers on a computer screen, they make those numbers mean something about them and about their success and their validity as a business owner, which then messes up the evaluation and messes up the decision making and sometimes can lead to spiraling. Does that make sense?
[JOE] Yes. And what are things that like, so I see here, a lot of these financial folks that are just like, cut your budget, cut your budget and they’re not showing people how to actually make more money or there’s other people on the other side that are saying kind of, you got to spend money to make money. And they’re not kind of paying attention to the budget. When you look at the coaches or counselors that you’ve worked with that actually are successful, what are the commonalities that you see amongst those people that have really grown faster than you would’ve expected them to grow?
[MARK] It’s such a good question. So there’s a couple of things. Number one, and I mentioned this to you a little bit earlier, I think before we hit the record button, because finances in a private practice or in a coaching business tend to be so simple, a lot of what ends up appearing in the finances are not directly financial things. They’re more sort of marketing and business model decisions. And by business model, I mean, am I working one to one, or am I working in a group setting? Am I selling courses? Or what is it that I’m selling? What am I charging for it? That ends up being, having a huge impact on a person’s growth rate in their business because the simple reality is if you’re charging a few thousand dollars for a thing instead of a few hundred dollars for a thing you end up being able to go places much more quickly.

Again, that’s very, very obvious, but when people ask me, what’s the difference between business A and business B, I point to very fundamental things like, well, have you noticed that business A charges this many thousand dollars for a group experience and business B charges this many hundred dollars for a one to one experience. And one of those just lends itself to growth, to more rapid growth. So that would be one thing, is what are we selling and what are we charging for it, which may not seem directly related to the bookkeeping and the accounting, but it ends up being one of the main drivers of what I see in the bookkeeping and the accounting, the other big —
[JOE] I want to just pause you right there, because I remember just yesterday, I was talking to one of our Practice of the Practice consultants. She had just had a pre-con consulting call with someone and that person was like, “You charge so much. There’s no way I would pay that.” And I’m thinking, okay, do you want a consultant that makes the same amount as you make in your counseling business? Because if so, like, what does that tell you about that consulting? If they’re like, yes, I’ll do this for 150 bucks an hour, it’s like, no, of course not. You want someone that’s going to push you and has done it before. So if just that rate alone was close to where that person’s own rate was like, I wouldn’t work with someone that charges the same amount per hour that I charge because I want to make more. So that idea of just kind of looking at your rates and saying why is this how much I’m charging for this?
[MARK] I’m going to say this, Joe and I hope it doesn’t sound glib or too simplistic, but I will often have consultants, coaches, counselors, people ask me, what can I do to go to the next level? You’ve seen so many businesses, I’ve seen so many businesses saying to me, “You’re looking at my business. What can I do to go to the next level?” And I’ll say, “I know that this is going to sound like I’m being too simplistic or glib, but whatever you’re charging X for today, if you felt confident and certain and enthusiastic about charging five X for it, your business would transform. Hold everything else in the business constant and just shift your thinking about the value of what you deliver and the return that that yields for your client, for your customer.”

If you can shift your thinking about that and get excited about charging multiples of your current price or your current rate, that would be the decision you’d look back years later and say, oh, that kind of was the turning point. Oftentimes, when people talk to me, to the point you made earlier, people think that since I’m the bookkeeping or the accounting guy, that I’m going to be very expense focused and we can trim here and we can cut there. And I’m not that guy. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a pure accounting background, but I look at a business and I say, well, the biggest lever we can pull here is not whether we shave $15 or $150 off of your monthly subscriptions. Although if there’s fluff there, then sure, let’s take two hours out of one day and cut the expenses in our business.

That’s really about all it takes by the way. I mean, if you sit down with your finance and say, oh yes, I’m not really using that. I’m going to cancel it. And oh, maybe I won’t take that trip next month. It only takes a couple of hours and you’re done. If you really want leverage, you look at you’re bringing the money in, you evaluate am I undercharging relative to the true value, the problem that I’m actually solving in my customer’s life and then I try to bring my price more in alignment with the value I’m delivering? That is where magic happens in businesses like yours and mine. It’s in asking our clients to make a slightly bigger commitment because of all the value that we’re going to deliver them in the, whatever it is, days, weeks, months to come.
[JOE] I learned that lesson the hard way recently of my value. So I had a consulting client that was selling their product, their business and I charged them hourly for, I don’t know, three or four hours to do that. Then the business sold for over a million dollars and I helped negotiate up an extra probably 400K and it was like, oh, my word, if I had just done a per percentage of the final amount, I would’ve made so much more money because the value is clearly there. Like I’ll only take a percentage or I’ll take my hourly and then if we get X number of K above what you think they’re going to go, like basically if I’m worth it, then I get it. And it was just such a hard lesson to say, oh man, I should have done a percentage of the sale instead of just like the flat hourly consulting. Lesson learned
[MARK] It’s one of the hardest lessons to learn, partly because I think we’re all kind of wired with an hourly mindset. I am too. I kind of, I sort of view pricing generally or often I’ll view pricing through an hourly lens even as just a reference point. And I don’t think, personally, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that, unless it puts us in this situation that you were just in where we don’t have an honest evaluation of the value we delivered there. It’s also hard for people in your position, especially, and in your audience’s position where they’ve spent in some cases decades in their field and their expertise is the water they swim in. They don’t, it’s so familiar to them that they’ve stopped understanding how different, what they know is from what their clients know and how transformational, what they can do will be for their clients.

So they might think, you might think, well if I put a few hours into something I’m going to charge either a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for that time, and that’s a fair trade and it’s not really that it’s an unfair trade, but we’re missing and we’re choosing not to acknowledge the leverage that our clients get from our years or decades of experience in the specific problem that they’re dealing with in their life. So in that case, your expertise and the years and years you’ve spent developing it was what drove the bigger sale price for that business, largely.
[JOE] Yes, a hundred percent.
[MARK] But it’s probably too easy for you to look at that and say, well, yes, but it was giving that advice or having those calls was probably the easiest thing in the world for you.
[JOE] Yes. It’s like, I remember when I hired Jaime Masters from Eventual Millionaire. I don’t remember how much she was. She was over $2,000 an hour and it was a huge stretch to buy. I think it was like six or seven hours of her time. Her one insight in regards to why don’t you have Slow Down School, our conference just be included in the price of your mastermind group and then if people don’t come, they don’t come, but then you can charge more because of that? And instead of then trying to sell tickets to this event, we just included it in the mastermind group. It was just, I mean that next year I probably made a 100K off of just that one quick insight she had, but she had to know me. She needed to understand me. She had to have that background of looking at what had worked too. And for her, it was like a two minute that conversation, but it yielded so much over that next year from that.
[MARK] Yes. And see Jaime, someone else giving you that opinion, somebody else could have given you an opinion, say, “Hey, Joe, I really think you should just bundle those things.” But if they did not have the experience and the insight that you knew Jamie had because of who she was and what she had done and what she had seen, that opinion coming from someone else could be useless. You could have read it in a book, you could have read it in a blog post, you could have heard it on a podcast, but it would’ve meant nothing to you without it coming from that specific person in that specific context. And your audience is the same where they are in a position where their clients know that when they give a thought, when they give an opinion, it’s coming from a place of such deep experience and expertise, that it means a lot more than something that the person would’ve read in a $20 book.

So that’s why it’s worth so many thousands of dollars, not just because it’s a quality opinion, but because of the person giving it. And that’s, you are that kind of person, your audience is that kind of person. And in our pricing, I think we just need to remind ourselves that it’s not just what we’re saying. It’s the fact that we’ve become the person who can say it with authority and then have it be something the person that actually implements and uses to transform their life.
[JOE] Yes. Now earlier you had said five times your price or worked towards five times again. What are some of the mindsets to get over in that? What are some of the ways that if customers are like, what? You charge how much, that you get over that and work through it. How do you attract customers that are willing to pay five times what you’re charging right now?
[MARK] It’s such a good question because it’s slightly counterintuitive. The counterintuitive answer is price is such a strong signal, that you attract the customer who’s willing to pay the price by asking them to pay the price. I know it sounds circular, but as soon as it becomes known that that is your price, that customer suddenly views you in a new light. There’s a vivid, vivid memory from my own experience in my CFO business. And this is now probably five years ago. I was having an amazing sales conversation with a guy who ran a business that I was really interested in. I liked him. I was really excited to have the experience of being his CFO. We had a great conversation and before I really even invited him to become a client, he basically said, “This is great. I can’t wait to have you working for me. How do we get started?”

And in the process there, he said, “Oh, and by the way, what do you charge for this? What’s your fee?” And the way he asked me my fee, he asked in a way that made it clear to me that it was a formality. He was just like, basically like, how much do I put on the check, was why he was asking the question. I told him my fee and I had the split second before I told him my fee where I thought this is too low, but I just went ahead and said my standard fee and he paused and then he laughed. And then I said, “I just lost you. Didn’t I?” And he said, “Mark, I’m going to be honest with you. If that’s what you charge, this must not be what I thought it was. So yes, unfortunately, I think you just lost me.”

At that point you can’t backtrack. You can’t be like, “Oh no, no, it’s triple that. It’s triple.” You have to be like, yes, I blew it. I blew it, lesson learned, and then you have to go forward from there. So that’s such a vivid memory for me. Well, fast forward, a few years later, a core group of my clients are all friends with each other. And I happened to be at a sort of like a retreat where they were all meeting and hanging out and then I was there seeing them and we were just kind of having a good time and we were all at lunch together. One of my clients said, “Hey, by the way, what are you charging clients these days?” She’s kind of putting me on spot in front of the group.

I told her, and she said, “That’s a joke. You’re not paying nearly, that’s ridiculous if that’s what you’re charging.” And then one of my other clients at the table said, “Yes, I’m trying to get him to charge me five times that, and he won’t do it.” And at this point, it’s the weirdest experience I’ve ever had Joe. My client started piling on and basically by the end of that lunch, my rate had increased 500%. They sort of demanded it and what I learned from that was that my price was reflecting poorly on them. It was disconnected from their view of themselves. So in this lunch, I raise my price 500%. I proceed to have a panic attack, like I don’t sleep that night, and then I have to go tell the rest of my clients, “Oh, by the way, I’ve increased my rates 500%.” Well, it turned out that I then over the next three days lost 80% of my clients. But I ended up with more money. I ended up earning more with 80% fewer clients. It transformed my business. It sort of turned me from kind of a busy CFO guy to, I mean, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but it almost turned me into somebody who’s sort of semi-retired at that point because I had so few clients paying me so much money that I just didn’t have a lot going on, but they were all thrilled to be paying me that much money.
[JOE] Well, and even your, I imagine your stress level would be less than your ability to absorb new content or to, if something, some fire happens within that group to put it out quicker, because you have 20% of what your capacity is, is your clients. So you then have that space to be even better at what you do. Like they’re paying that 500% more. You’re going to raise your game too even if it’s the same amount of time.
[MARK] That’s exactly what happened. Honestly, I did not predict that. I was so sort of thrown by the whole experience that I thought I don’t get it. They’re paying me all this extra money for the same fundamental service. I had this sort of nagging fear that then they’re all just going to fire me anyway and then I’m going to have nothing because I got rid of all the other clients who wouldn’t pay the big rate. And now I just have these well, what ended up actually happening is I did improve my service and there were areas in my business where I’m just not good at them. They’re not my core skillset. They’re not my zone genius, whatever you want to call it. I ended up hiring an assistant who was the most expensive assistant I had ever hired. And I sort of plugged her in as kind of a client concierge.

And it wasn’t too many months that went by before one of those people who had been at that table at that lunch, she sent me a message and she said, “Hey, I just want to let you know that hiring Heidi is the best thing you’ve ever done in our relationship. And now that you have Heidi, my view of you and your service is so much improved. I already liked you. I was happy to pay you the rate, but now my confidence level is higher than it’s ever been because you’ve made this higher in your business. You sort of plugged a whole in your basic skillset, at your aptitude.” And I wouldn’t have predicted that either. I probably should have been able to predict that, but I didn’t.

So then I learned another lesson, which was when you step up to the bigger price, when you can do it confidently and sort of get over your panic attack, which I had, maybe your audience won’t have it, but once you can get over that, then what you’ll find is it does create not for you just to be a healthier, happier service provider, but it creates room for you to bring help in that improves the overall quality of the business. So I would say yes, my service quality is very different today than it was pre-price increase. So I’m really grateful for sort of that group of clients pushing me off the cliff and making me become that person.
[JOE] Oh, that that’s so awesome. Well, Mark, the last question that I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[MARK] I would want them to know that, it’s my opinion, that success is a mathematical certainty in their business, in their practice if they will just continue to move forward. I think that a lot of people in your audience are probably walking around every day, wondering if they’re going to succeed and worry that they’re going to fail. And as the numbers guy, who’s seen so many businesses and seen the commonalities between them, the universal truth among those business owners is that they just keep moving forward and iterating and improving based on what they’re experiencing in their business. And what I want them to know, what your audience to know is if they’ll just do that, success is guaranteed. They don’t have to worry about failure anymore. They just have to worry about evolving and staying on the path.
[JOE] So good. Mark, if people want to connect with your work, if they want to work with you and learn from you, where’s the best place for them to go?
[MARK] The best place today is at letsdothebooks.com. They’ll find, on that homepage, they’ll find a link to a five day course on business finances that I think they’ll find useful and powerful. So letsdothebooks.com. I hope we can be of service to them.
[JOE] Awesome. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[MARK] Thank you Joe, for having me.
[JOE] Well, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I hope you are taking action from these podcasts. You know, you can consume, consume, consume, but you’ve got to take action. Go out there and take a couple things that Mark said and put them into your plan, pull out your schedule, make them happen. We’ve got a ton of things coming up especially Thursday is the New Friday. That book is now available for pre-release. It’ll be sent to you the day it drops on October 5th. So really excited about that. We are on track right now for New York Times bestselling status. Who knows if that’s going to happen. There’s a lot of variables that can happen in the world. I’m just trying to do my best by doing a whole bunch of interviews and meeting people.

Also Gusto has been a long time sponsor of the Practice of the Practice podcast. I actually use Gusto for all of my bookkeeping needs in regards to just like the payment of staff, the payment of myself out of that. It’s been so easy to, as my attorney and accountant need to have certain reports to just pull that from Gusto and send it over. Gusto really is the best payroll solution out there. So if you’re not using them and you want to try I them for three months for free, all you have to do is go over to gusto.com/joe. They’re the payroll solution that you need. And it’s what I personally use. I always look for sponsors that are super aligned with me and that I can stand behind. So go check out gusto.com/joe.

And thank you for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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