Ep. 31: Embrace the Numbers
When we want to look deeper at our business (or our side business), it can seem overwhelming to think about looking at the numbers, doing projections, figuring out what it is that we want to build, how it will affect our bottom line, what kind of profit we’re going to have, how much it’s going to cost to do that kind of work, the expenses related to it and how much time it’s going to take.
I want to focus on looking deeper into the numbers to show that they’re not scary, but they’re actually going to give us a lot of clarity and reduce anxiety around making money, around planning things and especially around trying to make the right decisions on what to do next.
This episode is the last of the two part series on the numbers, where we’re talking about what to look for in the numbers so you can make the right plan for what you want in your business and life.
Here’s what I talked about:
- How to look at how to spend your most important resource (it’s your time!)
- Looking at your revenue (I keep it super simple!)
- What action step you can take to start figuring out your finances (it’ll help you know where to put your energy into!)
- Breaking down your expenses (I show you what they can be for an online business!)
- Getting down to your actual profit (I use examples from my past and current business model!)
My goal with this episode is to really laser focus you on what information you should be engaging with, consuming, working on – and we need to look at the numbers to do that.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes about how to plan for your business:
Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below
Stephanie: Hey there, welcome back to another episode. I’m excited that you’re here with me for part two, all about the numbers and finances and how it doesn’t have to be scary. If you haven’t listened to the episode before this one, I want you to go back and listen to Episode 30 that was released on September 26th, called the $100K Mat Leave. You can listen to it now before this one and come back or you can listen to it after. You can listen to them separately, but they definitely go together as we talk about finances and what’s possible.
When we want to look at our business or our side business, you can call it a side hustle, or something you want to work full time in, whatever it is you’re working on, thinking about this idea of looking at the numbers and doing projections – and figuring out what it is that we want to build and how it will affect our bottom line, what kind of profit we’re going to have, how much it’s going to cost to do that kind of work, the expenses related to it and how much time it’s going to take.
So last episode, we ended looking at those three things of what are your financial goals? Where do you want to get to? What kind of revenue do you need to bring in – but then looking at the expenses as well, depending on the kinds of products, programs, services you offer.
Then what type of work is scalable for you so that you can work, I want to say the least amount of hours, but I feel like that sounds rude, you know what I’m getting at, right? Like so you don’t have to work 40, 50, 60 hours to make a million bucks or whatever you want to make. What kinds of services can you scale to grow a supportive team around or whatever. So you’re not just trading that dollar for hour, or maybe it is trading an hour for dollar, maybe it is that.
But just looking at what you’re offering and the numbers that come behind it. So that was in the $100K Mat Leave episode, which is the episode released before this one. So that’s what we talked about there, a little bit more about my story and we talked about how, I talked about, you listened and then messaged me any information and thoughts you had about the episode.
I talked about how when I had Deacon in 2015, I still made six figures in my business, and how I actually did that, what products and services I offered and how I looked at my own money and figured out my own plan. So whether you are on mat leave, planning a mat leave, a mama or a papa, that episode just showed you how I worked way less hours, but still brought in a lot of revenue.
Your Health Business Numbers
Today, I want to focus on looking deeper into the numbers to show that they’re not scary, but they’re actually going to give us a lot of clarity and reduce anxiety around making money, around planning things, around trying to make the right decisions on what to do.
So if you’re someone who is building a practice or building a business, or maybe you have a full busy practice or business, and you’re trying to figure out how to make more money or see more clients or grow that and you’re trying to figure out how the heck to do that. Or if you’re thinking of this kind of side hustle or small business and you just need another stream of income coming in, you just need to raise the numbers, you need to make more money, see more clients – then the numbers, looking at finances, looking at what things cost to make, cost of goods, whether those are services or programs or whatever, looking at those expenses, looking at what you can charge for things is going to help us make the right decisions and the right investment of our energy.
Because here’s the thing, your time is limited. Your time is the most valuable thing. And even if you didn’t join, like a paid program or paid a coach, even if you’re just reading a book that costs $30, and takes you 10 hours to read. Or watching a free webinar, or downloading a free guide or listening to podcasts, you’re spending your biggest asset- time, minutes, hours – on that content. And it can be really distracting and it can lead you astray from reaching your goals.
So my goal with this episode is to really laser focus you on what information you should be engaging with, consuming, working on – whether it’s a paid program, or free stuff, or whatever it is – and so we need to look at the numbers to do that.
Figuring Out Your Business Revenue
So the first thing we want to look at, we’re gonna look at three things. Okay? The first thing we’re going to look at is revenue. So revenue is all the money that comes into your business. This is where a lot of business coaches and flashy Facebook ads are saying, “I had a six figure launch, or I run a million dollar business or whatever.” That’s revenue. So that’s how much money is coming in. So we’re going to get real basic with the finances cause I’m not a financial expert. I think I was pretty good at math when I was young kid. But you know, we want to keep it super simple.
So the first thing we have to look at is revenue, how much money you’re bringing in. And so I want you to open up like a word doc or an Excel spreadsheet or something fancy or whatever feels comfortable to you. And write out all the ways that you’re making revenue right now.
Are you working a side job? Are you working a full time job? Are you offering a couple of different things in your practice? For some of you, you might make money when you see clients, but then also make some money when someone on your team sees a client. You might do consulting work, or spokesperson work or sponsorship work or all kinds of things.
So you want to open this up, if you haven’t before and write down where the money’s coming from. Maybe look at this year, as a whole, maybe look at last year, whatever you want to do. Just write down where money is coming from and you can put some numbers beside that. Or we can just kind of keep it real simple and just look at where money is coming in.
So, lots of different ways that we as health professionals can be making money – events, recipe development, group coaching, all kinds of stuff. So you want to first think about how you’re making the money. And when we talk about how you’re making the money, I really want you to look at the numbers, but I want you to also stop and think about how much time and how much energy you have to put into these various projects to bring this money in?
How many hours does it take to make $1,000 in consulting? How much time does it take to make $1,000 in spokesperson work? Or recipe development or event work or one to one coaching? Or whatever it is that you’re doing. How much time does it actually take me to make that thousand dollars in that particular area?
This is where I draw your attention to group programming. Whether that’s an online group course program, membership site, workshop, whatever you have, or in person. Those are two separate products. You might be teaching group coaching, or a group program right now in person, which I’ve talked to a lot of people about and it’s pretty hard these days to fill up those group coaching or counseling or therapy sessions. To get a bunch of people to drive to your office all at two o’clock on a Tuesday, and drive and park and take it off work and be there for 90 minutes and come back next week. That’s a lot to ask people and it’s a lot for people to commit to.
The group program in person has some costs to it, like a facility and like your time and travel and other things for your clients. And then a group coaching program or counseling program or therapy program, whatever you want to call it, a health program online, also has some associated costs. Some simple associated costs to get started at least. That’s gonna have some costs as well.
When we look at those products individually, and we compare them, I think that you’ll find, well, you have to decide what you’re going to find. What’s going to make you the most revenue? Are you going to double down on one product or service? Or are there a couple? Is there a portfolio of products or services that you want to offer that together can bring up your revenue.
So I want you to really sit down and reflect on the revenue and how it’s coming in right now. And what time it takes to do that and what your options are for products and services that you can offer with that lens of, what can I grow and what’s not going to take me 50, 60 hours a week to grow that.
I think where you should put your energy is those things that you can grow and scale. Those things that you can put more people in with less amount of time. And that’s why you hear me every single week, every single day, talk about online group programs, because they are an asset that you can build.
Even if it’s additional to what you’re doing, spokesperson work, consulting, one to one counselling events, whatever it is that you’re doing – it’s this additional product that can come in that can be really leveraged to put a lot of people in or a few people in and make that extra money without a lot of extra hours once you get it up and running.
Calculating Your Business Expenses
The second thing that comes in there, so we’ve already talked about hours and time with revenue, but the other thing that comes in is expenses. And let’s get real, real today on this podcast, and think about how much stuff actually costs.
So if you have a small practice that’s in person, you would be renting an office. You can be renting an office, anywhere from probably like $500 a month to like $2,000 a month or more, depending on your office and where you’re at and what you’re doing and that kind of thing. So if you have a location or a venue for a group counseling program, events that you run, one to one support, whatever it is, those things are going to add probably the biggest amount of money to the expenses that are coming off from you.
You also may have some technology that you use, like an EMR or other kinds of software, email marketing tools, that kind of thing, website. Other tools that you use, maybe you have physical tools or physical resources that you have in your practice. Maybe you mail things to clients, or maybe you have printables in your office, maybe have a fax machine, or a printer or computer or pens. I don’t know, all kinds of chairs, desks, like all kinds of these resources and tools and things that you need.
For me, I have a webcam and a microphone. I have a really great computer. I have some really simple stuff. But you know, investments in technology for the way that I run my business. So those kinds of tools are going to cost money.
Any kind of money that you put into marketing and selling. So this can be additional courses, education, trainings, tools, services. Maybe you’re hiring someone to do Google ads. Maybe you’re running local events and going to trade shows. Maybe you’re doing lunch and learn. All that kind of stuff can cost money and resources.
And then there’s people. So those are the two biggest categories for me, is the marketing budget and the people budget. So the people that you bring into your practice or your business to grow it, to get more clients, to make more money is one of the biggest expenses. And I think a lot of products and services are people-heavy, especially as we grow.
And so thinking about what those people actually cost in order for you to take the services and products you offer and grow them and put more people in, put more money down into your business. That is a good thing to consider how much people-time do you need in order to grow and make more money. So we want to really make sure that we map out all of those expenses.
Technology Needed for An Online Business
Now if you’re curious and considering more about remote counseling or an online business, like I run. Some real simple technology is what you’re going to need. So a lot of- I’m going to just do a sidebar here, because this is the biggest question that I get and I think where a lot of people get sticky is like what tools and resources and tech do I need to do this? Like I don’t feel tech savvy? And can I just start with like a free website? No, I mean, you can but we’re building a real business here, right. And so let me give you some simple tips for what your expenses would be with a technology heavy business that would be offering online services.
So the first thing you’re going to need is a website. And I recommend investing in this. This is like your office when someone walks through the door, you know, do they smell something lovely? Do they see a plant or they greeted? How do they feel walking into your home or your office? How do you feel walking into a grocery store versus a warehouse versus a fried chicken restaurant. And your website is that home base for people to walk in and first get a taste of you and experience you and feel welcome.
So I would invest. You don’t have to invest $10,000. But I would invest hiring a website strategist and developer to get something up that feels good for people to come to and get a sense of who you are and what they can get in working with. You need a strategy behind your website.
So I would recommend a little bit of time and energy and money behind a website, a strategy, a brand, a message, you know that kind of work. That doesn’t have to be perfect on day one. You can get something up there and grow it and change it as you go. So you need a little money for a website, setup, website maintenance. Ongoing just keeping your website working and getting backups and all those those technology things that come to a website.
Outside of your website, you’re going to need a couple of really small simple tools. Like if you’re doing remote counseling, you might need an EMR if you’re going to do group counseling or group programs like I would highly recommend you do. You’re going to need some kind of home base for those, some kind of piece of technology that your clients can log into and get all the resources and tools. Even if you’re teaching live group classes every week, a home base to have all the different materials, resources, how to contact support, all the information is going to save you a ton of time long-term with customer service, because there’s just one place for them to log in and get everything.
So this is where, now, it’s so much easier to do this. Like when I started in 2013, I spent $3,000 and hired a company I never met or really talked to on the phone in Pakistan to build me a platform that was installed on my website and deleted six months later, because it was garbage. There was just so little people and so little access to finding a good company to work with. And I never even talked to them and they were on a different time zon than me. It was just such a challenge.
And so now today, oh my gosh, you can get started for free with some of these great platforms. And the sky’s the limit to what platform you want to use. I’m a big fan of Thinkific because it’s very customer and client focused. I’m very concerned about my client and customer experience, and I’m very concerned about your client and customer experience.
Because a lot of people have never used online technology before. So we want to really build out a great online program that they can walk through step by step, get all the resources, all the tools, just like they would be working with you one to one in your office. And I think Thinkific does a great job of doing that.
There are lots of other platforms to consider from Kajabi to Teachable to Podia, to MemberVault to Kartra. There’s a ton of different ways to do this. And so you will need to pay for one. There are free versions of Thinkific and a lot of the platforms that you can start with. So starting with the free version is great.
I always instruct my clients to start with a free version just to get up and going. But then it’s about $50 to $100 a month. And just think about this as like your rent. As your place where people are going and accessing your content and getting this user experience with you. Just like if they were coming to your office and seeing you in a comfy chair with a lovely plant on the windowsill and nice lighting and a cup of tea, or whatever it is.
So that’s what that is. So pretty affordable, I think to get started at zero or $50 or $80 a month, $100 dollars a month, something that. Pretty, pretty affordable to start delivering services that way.
Beyond that, you need some kind of email marketing software. And this just think about it as communication. So where you might be using an EMR to see clients one to one, when you’re talking to groups of clients, you need to be connecting and communicating with them. And the best way to do that is with an email software.
There’s lots of free versions you can get started with. I’m a big fan of ConvertKit or Active Campaign, there’s some bigger ones like Infusionsoft. But you can also get started with MailChimp. So some simple options as well. So you need some kind of email tool and that can be started on a free plan, where it can go up to $30, $40, $50 a month and more as you grow your business and your email list and you’re connecting with more people.
And then you need a way to show up and support people. So this is where you might build a community with a forum or social media or you’re going to offer some kind of office hours or email support. And that’s where we use Zoom. Zoom is a simple tool you can start with for $15 a month, very affordable and that means you can go live and teach live or have office hours and be with one person or a group on the internet. So those are some real simple tools that I would say you’d get started with, and I have.
Beyond that I use a lot of other little pieces. Like I use Canva to build images and templates and stuff like that. There’s a free version of that. I’m trying to think, I should have my credit card bill open so I can look at all of this stuff. We also have just a couple of other little tools that we’re using like a calendar to book appointments and that kind of thing.
So pretty, I would say pretty affordable being someone who ran an in person business where I saw clients one to one. My rent was, I remember, it was $661 a month. And I also had furnished the entire place for like $3,000 and had ongoing paperwork and printables and all that kind of stuff, so for someone who ran a one to one business
I also ran an in-person events business where I was running group workshops, programs, training around the country, live in-person, and I would do anywhere from, I think like 25 to 65 people at an event – and that was very costly.
That was my probably my most costly business. I loved it, it was so much fun. But there are flights, hotels, resources that we have to purchase, venues. We hardly made any money. I say we because I worked with a partner to do this and we hardly made any money doing it. Because it’s so costly to run in person events. I’m not saying that’s not possible, but you definitely want to look at your monetization of those events and what you’re doing.
There’s lots of different ways that you could do it differently than I did. But it’s just important to sit down and look at those numbers.
If you want to run an events based business or you want to do live in person events, you want to look at those numbers and how much it’s going to cost you and how much you need to charge and how big you have to grow that.
When we look at an online business where we can run these group workshops, programs, symposiums, conferences, whatever you want online, look at those expenses, look at what it’s going to cost, look how much time it takes, look how many more people maybe you could get in as well. So those are some things when you start to think about your expenses.
And truly I know this is annoying for many of us, sit down and map them out. Estimate them. Look on the internet for how much, you know MailChimp costs or ConvertKit costs or Thinkific costs. Like map it out. Or if you’re running a business right now or planning, you know, to grow your business right now, look at how much it costs you right now to run the services and products you offer. And as you think about this additional stream of revenue, this additional product or service or program you want to bring into your business, look at how much it’s going to cost you.
So remember, we’re looking at how much money it’s going to bring in, revenue. We’re looking at how much time it’s going to take to deliver that service or product or program. And then we’re going to look at the expenses, how much it’s going to cost for me to do that work.
What’s Your Business Profit?
Finally, you’re going to get to profit. So you’re going to get to this experience of seeing,”Well, if I continue to see people one to one and I increase my hours by 10 a week, and I’m charging $200 an hour, I’m just estimating that. That’s an extra 10 people for $200 an hour. 10 hours is $2,000 a week. That sounds great, right? $200 an hour 10 extra hours, that would bring me $2,000 in a week.
However, we need to stop there and think about all the other things, because there are a lot more minutes and hours and time it takes then the 10 hours to deliver 10 hours of one to one right? We all know that.
It takes way more than the one hour you’re sitting in a chair talking to someone, so really calculate out the hours that it takes. What expenses does it take? How much marketing budget do you need to have for that? What technology do you need? What is your venue or location look like? What kind of additional training do you need on a monthly or annual basis?
Put all those factors and when you look at $2,000 for 10 hours of time, and what that actually means for time and what that actually means for bottom line profit. Whereas if we take another thing, like let’s say a live event like I would do. So my events were very inexpensive. They were $200 to $300 an event. So let’s just take $200 again, per person, and I want to put 50 people in there. So that’s $10,000 for a live event, one day. A one day event, $200 person 50 people that sounds great. That sounds like a huge win!
It’s not one day. Again, think about how much time it’s going to take for you to market and sell that talk to people. Customer service before and after the event. What else is going to need to go in? What resources or books or printables or videos are you going to need to offer. You need to have staffing to help you run the event. What’s the venue going to cost? What are all these things that go into this live event?
Very quickly, you will see that a $10,000 event isn’t just for one day. It probably takes, I don’t know, a month to do it. And if you add up all the hours, and you’re not going to make $10,000 dollars. In my experience running live events, gosh, expenses are at least 50%, if not more.
So if we take an online program, if that’s something that you’re thinking about doing this group online program, and we run the numbers for that, we can then look at the time. An online program is something that has an upfront investment where it has to fit into your long term plan, in that, it’s going to take you some time to figure out how to build it. So how you’re going to map it out, how you’re going to deliver it, how you’re going to launch it out in the world.
There’s probably a learning curve for most of us. That’s why I run this podcast and that’s why I teach a workshop. And I teach and coach clients in order to do this. There’s a bit of a learning curve. So whether you’re going to spend money to move up that learning curve, or you’re going to spend time reading books, listening to podcasts, you know, trying it and seeing if it works for you, there is an investment of energy, time, and maybe even a little bit of money to kind of get started building something.
But then you have a product. And if you look at running an online program, let’s say even not on a monthly basis, an ongoing basis. Let’s just even say like three times a year, you run an online program three times a year, you put those 50 people in at $200, let’s say and that’s a real small. That’s a real small estimate. $200 50 people, you know, that’s 150 people. Oh, my gosh, I’m losing my math, how much is that? I have to do it differently. $2000, no, $200 for 50 people is $10,000, right?
We do that three times a year, that’s $30,000. That’s $10,000 every quarter by putting 50 people at $200 into an online program. So out of that $10,000, three times a year, what are our expenses for that? Well, I told you some of the simple expenses are like $50 a month for a platform, $15 a month for zoom, maybe a couple other things, let’s just estimate $100 a month.
So over the year, that technology piece is $100 a month. That’s about $1200 a year. You’re making $30,000 with those three programs. How much money and energy is being put into launching that program, getting people in, having customer service, all of those things, you want to map that out and think about those things.
The thing about the online program is that it’s so scalable, like you aren’t maxed out by a room size that you can only get to 100 people. You can grow that program, you can offer four times a year, you can offer a secondary program. There’s all kinds of things that you can do to grow it.
It does take work and everything takes expenses and resources but really look at what everything is costing you in regards to money, time, energy. And then figure out what your long term plan is for your side hustle? For your practice? For your busy business?
For this thing you’re building over the next three, four or 5, 10, 20 years. What do you want it to look like? How big do you want to grow it? How much money do you want to bring in? And please think about the expenses and the revenue. Okay.
So that is, I’m just looking at my notes here, that is some of what I want you to think about as you’re thinking about the numbers and trying to make decisions on what to do next in your practice.
Is it the right time to create an online group program? Is an online group program, something that you want to even invest your energy and time into? How much time do you want to be working? And how much time do you want to not be working? And what kind of supportive services or products or programs are going to get you to that balance of hours? How much money do you want to make and bring home to your family, that profit not just revenue? How much profit do you want to bring home? And what kinds of ways can you make revenue minus expenses to bring in that profit?
Why I Switched to an Online Health Business Model
Think about what you enjoy doing. What kind of work you love to do and think about things that you can bring in that is less time dependent. You know, that’s the biggest thing. And that’s why when I changed my business from one to one programming, one to one counseling, or coaching in nutrition with IBS, and I had a social worker and we had a team and we did all kinds of stuff.
When I switched over from providing that, we had first switched to remote virtual counseling. So all of our clients – and I had a team, we were seeing clients on the internet. So it was still like kind of a better model because it was remote. So we didn’t have as many expenses.
But we switched out of that to group. So when I did that – and I’ve never gone back again – when I did that I really thought about how much money I was bringing home with these one to one consults, having a team and growing a team and having other people do them and how much time it was taking me to sell and market and put these people into the program just for how much money I was bringing home.
So when I switched over to running group programs, I ran group programs for a bit and then I ran a membership, did all kinds of things over the last five years. When I switched over to exclusively doing only group programming, meaning my portfolio looked like professional trainings online offered several times a year, that brought in as I said, in our last episode anywhere from $6, 7, 8 thousand dollars at our lowest selling point, or our lowest launch to up to $20,000, or more than $20,000, a launch for these professional programs.
Again, offered several times a year, plus running online membership and group program for IBS in my clinical business, bringing in people that way as well. That’s what added up to a different model of work, a different way to work, a different way to spend hours, a different way to grow. And so when I did that, that was some of the stuff that I just naturally ended up looking at and saying, “Wow, I’m doing it this way and I don’t love it this way. I also don’t love the effectiveness of this kind of work. And I think I could do a better job with a different model.”
You know, if you’re feeling that way, if you’re like, “Oh, I feel like I could do this differently more effectively than a group program.” Maybe it’s time for a group online program.
But you know, that’s really the shift that I went through, is I looked at the numbers, I looked at my experience, I looked at the life I wanted and I was like, “Well, man, like the growth plan for this is a lot more staff and little bits of money each time and managing, and I’m just not sure.” I was also doing consulting and spokesperson work. So I know that looks super exciting and bringing in money that way.
For me, it was always I want to say, like on and off, like I never had a consistent… I did have consistent spokesperson sponsorship work for about six to nine months where I was on retention. I was held , is that what you call it? I was on retention, I was retained by a company doing its spokesperson work for them and I was doing pretty good with that kind of a role.
I just found that I didn’t love the work. Oh my gosh, like the dream right of having that monthly paycheck of ongoing spokesperson work. And I just didn’t love the work. Oh my gosh. And then that also ended. And so I’ve always had, you know, these kinds of contracts that have come and gone and been a sweet amount of money for a short period of time. And the work was enjoyable at times. But it was also, it turns out to be a lot more work than you think it’s going to be.
So yeah, so I mean, that’s me, that’s my background. I’ve run these live events. I’ve done these ongoing spokesperson contracts. I’ve built online group and membership programs. I’ve done one to one clinical work, like I feel like I’ve done everything, and I’ve could have gone in any direction with my business.
I just believe that for many of us that this online Group Health programming thing is either the bulk of your business, or it’s a sweet asset that’s an additional revenue stream that’s really going to help boost you up to a higher amount of money and serving more clients. And so that’s just the shift that I went through.
If this resonates with you, my story, if you want to hear more about my story, or you want to sit down down with me and talk through what you’re going through right now, what your business looks like, what your goals look like, what your numbers look like. If you want to sit down and really talk about if an online group program is the right fit for your business model, or what that might look like or what numbers you could potentially hit, let me know.
You can find me at TheLeveragedPractice.com. You can book a call with me there, you can send me an email, you can also find me on Instagram @TheLeveragedPractice. I’d be happy to sit down and spend a few minutes with you talking this out.
Sometimes that’s what we need. We just need someone who’s been there and gone through this process to sit down with us and talk about what’s possible and what the right direction is. And you can ask anyone who gets on a call with me. I am not scary. I don’t pressure you into doing anything. We simply can talk about you and what you’re working on and what the next step is. And if I can help I am right here to help you anytime I can. I hope that you found this episode helpful, practical, useful. It’s been such a great time sharing this with you today. I hope that you sit down and look at those numbers and I’ll meet you back here next time.