Ep.30: The $100K Mat Leave - The Leveraged Practice

Ep.30: The $100K Mat Leave


Some of us are afraid of the numbers and we don’t look at the spreadsheets. Some of us are not and we look at the spreadsheets. 

I know that financials can be an uncomfortable topic, but we have to talk about it.

I want to challenge everyone to look at the financials, when you are thinking about the work that you do now and the work that you want to do in the future.

This episode is the beginning of a two part series on the numbers, where we’re going to dig a little deeper into the money. I share my mat leave story with you and go deep into what those numbers look like to help you take a step back and look at your own ideas for business.

Here’s what I talked about:

  • The actual process of how I made that much money (and the changes I made when I looked at the numbers!)
  • How many hours I worked that year (it’s less than what most people would expect!) 
  • Hiring a dietitian to help with my clients (and what I did when she quit!)
  • Your first step towards outsourcing (you can start with 5 hours a week!)
  • The 3 things you need if you want to work less and make more (it is work to get there, but for me it was work that I loved!)

This experience of my first mat leave and seeing what the financials showed me allowed me to change the model of my business forever! 


If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes about how to start creating a leveraged income:

Ep. 03: Where Do I Start?

Ep. 25: The Next 5 Years

Ep.28: Where Does an Online Program Fit Into My Practice?


Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below

Stephanie: Don’t fear the numbers, don’t fear them. Let go. Today we are going to talk about the numbers. I’m going to start the beginning of a two part series on the numbers, where we’re going to dig a little deeper into the money. I know that can be an uncomfortable topic, but we have to talk about it.

It’s why I do what I do and why I push and encourage and boast and share all about this message of creating online programs for health practitioners. It’s because part of that comes down to the money that we make. So we’re going to talk about money in the next two episodes.

Before we dig into today’s episode, the $100,000 Mat leave, I want to just let you know that I have a brand new Getting Started Guide I created just for you. If you are someone who’s wondering about an online program, if you’re feeling a bit curious, and you’re wondering when the right time to offer an online program is or where an online program fits into your practice. Maybe you’re trying to figure out that best idea for the first program or how to develop a program people want to enroll in. If that feels like questions you have, I’ve created this guide, The Online Health Program Getting Started Guide, a long title, but you can find it at TLPresources.com. That’s TLPresources.com.

Head on over there and you can grab that Online Health Program Getting Started Guide, with six different exercise activities, questions that I will ask you to guide you through this process and get you much more clarity on some of these questions and just get you started and thinking about this process. Alright, so head on over there to TLPresources. com, download the guide, and then you’ll get an email with from me with that guide. And let me know how you do with it. Let me know if it’s helpful.

Alright into today’s episode, so firstly, yeah, I did have a mat leave, the first year I had my first babe 2015 and still continued to bring six figures into my business that year. Just over $100,000. Now, I’m not saying that to boast it, I’m saying that because I want to walk you through the actual process of how I made that much money and what I did to do it.

Okay, we’re going to get real today. I think you might have heard me say this before, but one of the things is, when you’re going out in the world, and you’re thinking about joining a course, or buying a book, or paying for a program, or hiring a coach or whatever that is investing in learning something new – whatever that is, whether that’s learning karate, or learning how to grow a practice, or create an online program or market your services, whatever it is – I always want you to think about, and this is just my shared experience with you on spending a ton of money on all kinds of programs and coaches and things is, please really just be a bit discerning about who you are giving not just your money to but your time to.

You know, you can always make more money but time is just so, so precious. Even if it’s a book that you’re buying for $30 and you spend 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 hours reading a book, and that book sucked and did nothing for you, it’s a waste of time. Never mind that it was only $30, right? What could you have done with 10 hours? Besides reading a book that doesn’t do you any good?

So please think about, who you’re listening to on podcast, what books you’re reading, what courses you’re spending money on and really ask tough questions. Like ask what that person’s experience is, ask how they know what they know, and what their clients are saying genuinely. Please know that testimonials can be a bit fake, I don’t want to say fake, just a bit shinier than they actually really are in real life. So be wary, be discerning, think about who you’re hiring to work with you.

Hiring For My First Business Leave


I’m going to share with you my story of my babe, the first year I had my first baby, I have two at the time of this recording, maybe more on the way who knows. The future is you know, is exciting. But right now I got the two babes. They’re wonderful. Deakon is four and a half years. He was born in 2015. So that was the first year that I really worked a lot less and took some time off. And that year, I still brought in six figures in my business.

Now when I thought about entering into that year of having a baby, I thought about the options of going on – here in Canada, you get 12 months of a mat leave paid by the government, but it’s very little money. I think it’s under $2,000 a month, but it’s sweet. It’s great for all those mamas or papas who want to take that time off of work, spend time with their baby, get a little bit of money from the government, and you can take up to 12 months. Pretty cool. So I had to think about if my family could survive on that money, or if there was something else I could do to keep money coming in for my family.

So when I thought about it, I looked at my business style, the style of business I was running in early 2015, late 2014. And I wasn’t doing too bad with leveraged products, which is what I teach you all about, with group coaching programs, classes, and I was still doing one to one with my clients. So I kind of thought, okay I think I can not take that government money and still make money in my business, because I have to shut down my business and not really bring any income in to take that money from the government as well. And I just wasn’t really willing to shut that whole thing down.

So what I did was, probably near the end of 2014, I hired a dietitian to see all of my one to one clients, this is pretty classic. If you want to take some time off, or you want to take time off with a babe, then you hire someone to replace you. And so I hired a dietitian to replace me, for my one to ones. We were doing remote counseling then. So I wasn’t going into an office. Everything was online, everything, you know, all of our chart notes and the processes and I had to get some of it setup, you know, to hire someone else as well. So that’s part of the process.

I hired a lovely younger, newer dietitian to do my clients. At the time, I kind of thought maybe we would have a few less clients because I wasn’t there. So I was thinking, maybe somewhere between five to 10 client hours a week, something like that, not too many. So I hired the dietitian, I trained her. I spent a couple of months training her.

My baby was due in March. And then in February, I think it was early February, about a month before I had to go off, mid-February she quit. She quit on me. She just couldn’t handle her job. She had a job already and then this job as well. Her job gave her more hours and so my job didn’t fit into her schedule anymore. She didn’t mean to hurt me, she didn’t mean any harm. But as an eight month pregnant woman, I was like, “Lord help me! What am I going to do?”

Okay, cried for a minute, picked myself back up and put out, you know, the job posting again. Plastered it everywhere, started conducting interviews and hired an incredible dietician who ended up working for me and with me for two years, seeing all of my one to one clients. She had worked with me for two years because near the end of those two years, I stopped offering one to one coaching and I transitioned into a complete group model.

So that’s the story on why she eventually didn’t work for me, I think was around a year and a half actually. She was a godsend, lovely, lovely woman, lovely dietitian, so good with our clients. So lovely, empathetic, kind and smart. I trained her in my ways, my digestive plan ways, and she did great.

So, but back it up a little bit. Because in March 2015, when Deacon was on the way, not while I was in labour, but you know, around that time, we transition Tara into the business. I thought it was wonderful, and I brought her on.

Then, I think it was after I had Deacon, so within that first month, I was looking at the financials for, you know, taking time off with Deacon. I never prepared to take 12 months of no work, like that was never on my plan. I didn’t want to do that at the time and I wanted to get back into work.

I didn’t want to do one to one clients. Like, it’s so time consuming and I just didn’t want that on my brain while I was spending time with Deacon. I wanted to work less, a lot less. Like I did not want to work five days a week, when I started working again. And so I was looking at the financials. And let’s stop here and think about our financials for a second, right.

Looking at The Business Financials


This episode here is to tell you a story about looking at financials and what the financials showed me. And how it allowed me to change the model of my business forever.

I want to share that story with you and go deep into what those numbers look like to help you take a step back and look at your own ideas for business, whether you you currently work full time for someone else and you want to bring a side hustle and have an online program, or you want to transition from that work and work exclusively for yourself, or you have a busy clinic now and you want to add an additional stream of income, wherever you are in this curiosity for an online program, I want us to be really logical about it.

Some of us are afraid of the numbers and we don’t look at the spreadsheets. Some of us are not and we look at the spreadsheets. So, I just want to challenge everyone to look at the financials, when you are thinking about the work that you do now and the work that you want to do in the future.

So for me, I had hired Tara, I had this little baby, I was looking at the money. And I was thinking like, “Oh, my gosh”. I paid Tara a certain amount of dollars per client visit. Okay, so that’s how we had it. She made X amount of dollars per client visit. I think at the time it was like $70 or $75 for one client visit. And I was obviously charging a certain amount per hour. And I think at that time, it was like $150 or $200 an hour. I can’t remember exactly.

So there was like a discrepancy, right. There was a difference that I got to keep. So whether you’re doing a split with someone, you know, they keep 35%, 40%, you keep 60%, 65% that’s how some people are paid. Others are given an hourly rate. Others are given a per client rate, whatever that is, there’s a discrepancy, there’s a difference.

You take that difference, and you multiply that maybe in a month for how much revenue is leftover. So we have this top in revenue, we just decrease the staffing expense, and you have a remainder. And with that remainder, you have to think about the other expenses you have.

So we didn’t have a physical office. But I think I paid for Tara’s either internet or phone because she was a remote counselor, right. I paid for an online software EMR system. I think we had Jane at the time, which was about $80, $100 a month, something around there. We had our website maintenance. We had you know other fees, other things, other expenses.

And so when I looked at it, I was like, well shoot, if I only have Tara working, covering my one to ones and that’s all I did all year, I’d be bringing in around $1,000 a month, maybe like around that. And that just didn’t seem like enough money to survive.

Running my Online Health Programs


What I had been doing since 2012, for those of you who have tracked my journey, for those of you that have never heard about me before or what I’ve done. In 2012, I started doing live in person group training, professional trainings for dietitians, and health professionals. In 2013. I started running them online.

So now we’re in 2015, right. So I had been running online programs for dietitians for a couple of years and I had a couple of online programs. And so when I looked at those numbers, I was like, Oh shoot, this is not going to cut it for me to hang out with my babe.

So I started to plan out the year, not super well planned because I had a baby. But I started to think about how I could do some products launches during 2015 to bring in that extra money. And I’ve always done really, really well with my launches.

The first program I ever ran, the in person Demos for Dietitians program, we sold out in a week. Our first event and we sold, I think we sold out in four days. And then we sold out our second event in two weeks. And so you know, some sales, some launches went better than others, but I always had real good, just real good launch plans. If you haven’t listened to the episode on launching, go back and listen to launching if you want to know more about the four step process to launching that I use.

But the point is here is that over the last couple of years, I’d really built up a little bit of a reputation here in the health professional world to teach great programs and I was offering them online.

So I was looking at my schedule, looking at not wanting to go back to work full time to make money. Wanting to you know, work a little bit but bring in extra money, and I’m thinking you know what, I can run some product launches this year.

So at the time, I had been running a program called Demos for Dietitians, as I mentioned, which was teaching dietitians and other health professionals how to teach cooking. It was a live program, we brought it online. I had a partner, Adam Hudson an incredible dietitian. We had so much fun teaching this program. And we had a manual and we gave out certificates and all that good stuff. So we had that program going that we would launch, you know, once or twice a year.

And then I was also teaching dietitians about the low FODMAP diet. That’s what I used in my digestive practice and in my own life since 2011. And so at at least in Canada, I was pretty well known for educating on the low FODMAP diet. And that was an important time in 2015. Because we were all just starting to get to know it. So it was really hot, was a really good topic. It was a really needed training.

And I thought, well, you know, maybe I can offer the Demos for Dietitians program once this year, maybe I can offer the FODMAP training once or twice this year. And so I looked into my online programs. I also started to offer online programs in my clinical job.

So this gets a little confusing, but I basically had two areas of work. I worked offering professional programming to health professionals and registered dietitians. But I also had this IBS business where I helped clients better manage their IBS and reduce their symptoms, right. So I had two areas that I was working in and making money in. And that really helped me to hit that six figure mark early in my entrepreneurial career.

The amount of work that I had to do to run a group program was significantly less than if I had to do one to one coaching and the amount of money I made was very different. So very often, throughout all of my professional launches, I would do between, I would say like at my very smallest launch maybe $5000, $6000, $7,000 to $20,000. And so throughout that year, I did several more launches of these programs. Every time I launched, you know I did $10-$15K, maybe, I don’t think I did any small launches that year. And so I did a couple of these launches, and then ran a little bit of the figuring out FODMAPs program for clients and made a little bit of money there.

My Weekly Business Schedule


What that looked like in my work life was that I worked half days, and I had my mother in law, my mother watch Deacon, about two to three days a week. I worked like a half day, like three or four hours in the first six months of his life. And then in the second six months of his life, so the second half, he was born in March of 2015, I put him in daycare in September for two days a week. So two days a week Deacon was in daycare, and I worked and ran these group programs and marketed them and launched them and supported my clients. And then the three days a week I hung out with Deacon. So we did the play groups, and we hung out with friends and you know, we did all this stuff.

With that kind of a schedule working a couple of half days, and working a couple of full days near the second half of that year, I brought in over $100,000. There’s no way I would have been able to do that with one to one coaching. If I got back into one to one coaching two half days a week and two full days near the second half of the year, I mean, with the prices I was charging, it would just be really hard for me to have hit that number with one to one coaching.

I just feel like there’s so much more involved. Like you have to do a lot more email checking in and customer service and food journal reviews and all kinds of stuff like that. So for my brain, it wasn’t going to work.

So I want to share that with you. Because that’s really what happened. I really worked a couple of half days and then starting in September, I worked two full days, and I had some support from my mom and my mother in law as well. It wasn’t easy.

For those of you that want to have a baby and take a whole year off and not even think about work, that’s not for you. You know, it wasn’t easy, because I was still working while my baby wasn’t sleeping. You know, while we all got sick, like being a mom, or a dad and raising kiddos, and having a job or working for yourself, it’s tough. It’s really tough. It wasn’t a vacation year at all. But for me, it was what I wanted to do, because I didn’t want to let my business die.

So I thought, “Okay, what do I have in my arsenal? What programs do I have that I still feel solve a problem that people need? And are there any other new programs that are needed in the market right now for me to offer?” And so I started to look at that, and think about what I could offer, and how I could make money in that way. And so that’s what I did. That’s what I was looking at.

But I was trying to say that in the clinical business I have where I help people with IBS, I replaced all my one to one work, right. Tara was seeing all of my clients one to one, and I was making a teeny tiny little bit of money there. You know, leftover money from paying her and paying all the expenses.

But I had started in 2014 to offer online programs, mini courses, things like that for my IBS clients. So using my website and using my audience, I was bringing out 12 week, oh I forget, it was lots of different models.

So at first it was a DIY program, like a self study, then I brought it into a 12 week format. And so I had just started playing around with that. I was like, well, let me see if I can run some of those as well. Now that was just starting. So those brought in a smaller number of dollars. But the professional workshops that I had been building up for years, did really well. Throughout 2015, besides having someone replacing my one to one where we saw a few clients every week, it wasn’t a huge part of the business.

I also launched several times online programs. And what that really means is, I went through and I, you know, ran a professional webinar. I promoted the webinar, I got people on, I announced and released the program, I marketed the program. And then I ran the program and the program was a group program where there would be a support community. So I’d answer questions, and I’d have office hours. So things like that, where it wasn’t live teaching, it was pre-recorded teaching.

So if you are someone who, you know, this is for you, if you want to have kids, or if you already have kids, and you’re just listening to my story about, you know how much I can work and how much money I can make, in the working less area. If you want to have babies, or you want to work less, you know, this is definitely a model that you can do it. I’ve done it, I did it.

Even today, I would say that my Monday to Friday schedule is much different than what it was in the past when I was doing one to one client. So that’s what I wanted to share with you and how I brought money in. Again, like to get to the real like nitty gritty, you know, we were doing, I don’t know between probably like 10 to 25 clients a month. It changed drastically each month and so there was a little bit of money coming in from there. But the majority of my money was coming in from these group program launches, specifically more money coming in from the professional launches and some money coming in from the client focused health programs, which was about FODMAPs. And that’s how I ran them.

Like I said, when you look at running a group program, if you have any questions, go on over to theleveragedpractice.com right now and hop into my schedule. Book a call with me, let’s chat more about it. I can only give you so much in these podcasts recordings with me, right? We can talk more in calls, if you have an idea, and you want to do this.

The Logistics of Running an Online Program


Let me just share with you that the logistics of running a program is a lot more leveraged than trading one hour for one client call and making $100, $200 in that hour, right? It’s very different. And so maybe I’ll do a whole podcast episode on what it’s like to actually run a program and what your hours are spent, you know how to be productive in running a program, what your hours are spent on.

But I can tell you that there’s a bit of marketing and promotion, right. There’s a bit of customer service, answering emails, getting on calls with people, you know, helping them get the answers they need to sign up for your program. But in running a program, you can either run it live, where you’re blocking off an hour every week to teach live, or you can do some pre-recorded video content, if that feels more comfortable to you. And then you’re blocking off a few hours every week to provide customer service to your students. So whether that’s office hours, or you’re jumping into a support group or doing a Facebook Live, a forum like whatever you’re using, you are showing up for clients on a weekly basis in a group program to answer questions and help them get support.

If you’re new, if you’re launching a new program in the first year or two, and even in the future, you are always assessing your program and making sure that it’s providing people with effective results. Maybe you’re creating a new handout or a new video. It’s the same in any job you do.

You’re always looking at the work that you’re doing and seeing if you can do it a little bit better. Or if you need a new tool or a new resource or a new thing to help, right? And that’s what you’re doing. So you can really block off your time, so that you’re working, you know, Tuesdays and Thursdays or whatever it is, Mondays and Wednesdays or whatever it is that works for you and blocking off this time to do more of this group work. Right? So that’s how it worked for me. And it was great.

Outsourcing Admin Support


My goal was really to hold the webinars, you know, sell people, get on the phone with people, send them emails, answer their sales questions, promote, and deliver the service. I had a virtual assistant helping me at the time. I’m trying to think, I did not have Elizabeth who’s worked for me now for two and a half years, back then.

So I had some help. I might have been paying Tara or a small assistant to help me a little bit, which would be doing – this can work for you as well- which is someone who can do supportive customer service, provide receipts for people, certificates for people, technical help, you know if someone forgets their password, call recording.

Anytime I go live now I have an assistant, Elizabeth, who’s incredible and wonderful, and so I go live in my teaching – like today I get to teach a class – after the class, Elizabeth will export that video, she’ll import where it needs to go, she’ll cut and paste it somewhere else, she’ll timestamp it, she’ll send an email out to our group and let them know that the recording is there.

That kind of stuff doesn’t need to be done by you. And it’s a great thing to pass off to someone else. So that, again, you can work less. But you can do more of the things that bring in more money into your business, like teaching and showing up and delivering that service. Or running those webinars or creating new handouts, like that kind of stuff while someone else helps you with the admin support. And that will help you grow. And that will help you make more money. So now in this stage of my business in 2019, I have more hours with my assistant and she helps so much more and she’s been here for years. So she does a really, really good job.

3 Things To Do to Grow Your Income


So you know, a couple of takeaways here in order to make $100,000 in a year and only work two days a week. Okay, a couple takeaways if that’s what you want to do, if that’s your goal. Here’s some of the things that I want you to think about and a couple takeaways.

One, it was work. It wasn’t completely passive income for me in no way, it was work. I had to show up. And some times on my days off, when Deacon was napping, I would you know, check my email. I would connect with my assistant. I would have a call with Tara. There’s a little bit of work to do on almost every day.

At that time in my business, I wasn’t good at just shutting down and not doing any kind of work. So it was work. It was challenging having a young baby, so for those mamas and papas out there with young kids who are thinking you want to do this, when you have young kids, it is tricky. It’s really challenging, you need good support.

So it was work, I want that to be very clear. But it was work that I loved. If you’re a teacher and educator, if you love supporting people, if you love running classes like this, oh gosh, I just loved the work I was doing, which was really helpful.

Point number two is that I used a team. So I did have other people helping me out with some of the administrative tasks, probably not as much as I have now and that would be something that I would change. If I could go back and talk to Stephanie, in 2015, I would say get more administrative hours, pay for that because it was a lot of checking in, and you know, doing a lot of this admin stuff that now my assistant does a lot of. And so it does require a team for you to work two days a week and make $100,000. And so that is something that you want to kind of wrap your head around.

So if you want to move towards that right now, in your business or your practice, you might start to think about what are the things that only I can do? And what are the things that other people can do, whether you’re passing those off or not.

Right now you can at least start to map that out. So when the time comes for you to bring an admin on, it’s very clear for that person, you know, or not very clear, but it’s starting to get clear of what their first five hours a week might look like. So really, you know if you can separate that out.

A good book for that is ‘The E myth Revisited’. And that talks about the different positions and jobs within your business. Even if you’re doing them all, you can kind of separate them out.

So those are the two main things. One is that it’s work. So know that, know you’re walking into some leveraged work. It’s fun work. Two, I used a team to do it. So that’s how I did it.

But the third thing, the most important thing is the type of work that I was doing, which is that really leveraged work. Which is group programming, where I don’t charge you $200 for one hour of my time I charge you $200, $300, $400, whatever it is, for entry into a program. Where I teach you every week for eight weeks, or for 12 weeks. Where you have access to these pre-recorded videos, or you have access to office hours with me to answer questions. You are paying more for a product, a program rather than one hour of my time.

When we move into that model, we can put 100 people into a program for $200 and make $20,000. We can put 50 people into a program that’s $400 – Oh, that also, I didn’t even mean that to also add up to $20,000.

But you see, we can take these programs that are $100, $200, $500, whatever they are, and put a number of people in them, run that program over eight weeks, and then we have that $10,000 or whatever it is or more coming in from that eight weeks and then do it again, and again and run different group programs.

This might mean a couple of different group programs for you in your practice. This might mean having a professional program like I did, as well as having a client facing program. It could mean all kinds of fun things. It could mean one program. It could mean multiple programs.

For me, it’s always been multiple programs. But that’s the work that I’m doing that I can lean in on and leverage to work just one day or two days a week, and then have my team to support me as well, because it’s not trading that one hour for money.

So as I leave you today to think about all of this – I hope your mind’s blown a little bit – know that you can always reach out to me and find me on Instagram @theleveragedpractice. I love hearing from you how this episode resonated. If you have questions, you can also find me at TheLeveragedPractice.com. You can send me an email, book a call with me. I love chatting about all this with you.

So if this has sparked something for you, and you want to talk more about it with me, I would love to. We are going to open up enrollment for our next semester very soon. It might be open by the time you listen to this.

So a couple things to leave with one, please consider your financial goals. How much money do you want to make? How much is the right amount of money for your family? And what does that look like in regards to revenue as well as profit , what you take home.

Two, that was my second point is, What is revenue? What is expenses? And what is profit? Look at different styles of work, different businesses, renting an office and delivering one to one in your city in an office space. What does that cost you? What do those expenses look like? What do your hours look like? Can you make enough profit with that model?

Or what are the expenses it would take to have an online business? It’s not free. You can’t walk into an online business and just throw a free website up and not pay anything ever. It does still cost something. There are a few tools that you’re going to need, like an email provider or a maintenance plan for your website. And so there are still expenses. So think about the style of work you want to do, what it costs you to do that and then what you’re left over with.

Then that leads into thinking about the type of work that you’re going to do. Okay, those are three things, financial goals, your revenue and your expenses and your profit as well as then the type of work. What do you like to do? What do you want to do? And what is scalable in a way that will help you reach those targets, those goals that you have? What can you bring in?

The sky’s the limit of the different things that you can do. I know health professionals do all kinds of things, from spokesperson work to recipe development to group programming, but you really want to stop and just reflect on these three things.

Today’s episode leaves you with a reflection. Whereas next week’s episode, the follow up to this episode, we’re going to talk a little more about the nitty gritty, a little more about how to look at the numbers. Okay, so that’s for next week.

But this week, I want to leave you with thinking about those financial goals, the expenses that it’s going to cost you to make the amount of money you want and the type of service that you can run. Okay, think about those things.

Sit down, think about it and meet me back here next week when we can talk more about the numbers and get a little more into the nitty gritty of what things cost, what we need to be looking at, what we can track and maybe even how we can do some financial projections as you think about the future of your career, the future of your practice, the future of your business and what you want to do.

Thanks so much for joining me here today. I’m so happy to spend this time with you. I hope that you found this helpful. And please reach out to me if you have any questions or you want to chat more about this. I love hearing from you. Okay, I meet you back here next time.

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