You’re undeniably a kick-ass clinician. Yet, you are clueless when it comes to developing helpful money systems for your business.
You check your bank account daily, yet you have no clue how much money you’re actually making. You started a spreadsheet to track expenses, but once it became too complex, you fell behind. You have no clue if you’re setting aside enough for taxes, operating expenses, and – let’s not forget – your own salary!
You’re surprised by how much emotion is attached to the money side of your private practice. Who knew setting fees and talking to clients about sliding scale could bring up so much shame and discomfort?
You hoped you would leave any money shame behind as you built your practice. But it’s still there. Beneath the surface. Lurking. (*Cue Jaws soundtrack*)
If you don’t bring healing and awareness to your money trauma, it will make itself known in your business.
The good news is there are some clear and concrete steps you can take to support your money healing so your money trauma doesn’t sabotage your business.
Setting up a money management system can help you heal money trauma
I believe if you – the sensitive therapist – can deeply understand how money management systems actually support your money healing, you will make it a priority. You’ll start to see your financial management system as a form of self-care, as opposed to a laborious chore or a trigger for money trauma.
Let’s talk about the five surprising reasons your money management systems actually support your money healing.
1) Systems minimize the emotion of money choices
One strength of a money system is it allows us to make choices around money ahead of time when we are calm and collected. Thus, when a money event happens (an unexpected bill, increase in clients), we already have some choices on how to handle it.
For example, let’s say one of your top money goals is to pay off student loan debt. Let’s assume you’re just starting to make a profit and have some modest business reserves. You can decide, ahead of time, that 10% of any unexpected additional business income will go towards debt and the remainder will go to your business reserves.
Down the road, you increase your fees and your income increases. Your money trauma brain might flare up with the belief you don’t deserve this money and so you go blow it on something you don’t need. Or money trauma might tell you to throw extra money at your debt without considering the need to have some money available to invest in your business.
Fortunately, you have made the decision ahead of time of where this money will go and you have a system in place to support that path. Thus, when your money trauma brain wants to take the reins, it can be met with compassion, reassurance and a gentle reminder that it’s not in charge anymore.
Here’s another example. Let’s say we set goals around what percentage we want to go to operating expenses. We pick this number strategically by consulting with colleagues, looking at our long term financial goals, and a little trial and error on how much money you need to run your business.
Imposter syndrome (a close friend of money trauma brain) is known for spewing bullshit about what we need to do to “measure up” as a therapist or entrepreneur. This may include getting trained in an expensive new modality (that you have no interest in) or upgrading your office furniture when your current stuff is just fine.
Imposter syndrome purposely creates discomfort. Then money trauma jumps in and says “Hey, if you buy THIS, you’ll feel better!” You know how this usually ends. Buy. Feel better for a bit. Regret. Repeat.
With your money management system in place, you can give this scenario a different ending. Since you have a system in place that tells you what and how to spend your money – based on logic, intuition, and planning – you don’t have to give in to this dialogue. You can watch imposter syndrome throw a fit with cool detachment while you tend to the underlying emotions or fears, in a way which doesn’t involve impulsive money choices.
2) Systems free up your mental and emotional energy
Choices create mental fatigue. We have to make many critical choices as a therapist. Which intervention do I use? Do I need to make a mandatory report? Is this treatment helping?
Let’s not forget the countless business decisions we make every day. Should I attend this group networking event even though I know I’m better with one-on-one? Is my website getting enough traffic? Do I need to be more visible on social media?
Most of us didn’t go to business school nor have an accounting degree, so these choices are often met with avoidance, uncertainty, or overwhelm. If you have money trauma, you avoid making choices around money until you’re forced to OR you obsess until you’re second-guessing everything.
Systems allow us to create a routine and set procedures so we don’t add more mental labor to an already hard-working clinical brain. Systems allow us to stop overanalyzing our money, so it can flow and do its job, while we do OUR job as therapists and healers.
3) Systems build evidence against the story of your money shame
As you start to get really comfortable with your system, it becomes second nature. You almost look forward to the time you set aside to manage and plan your finances. You start to believe you might actually have this money stuff down. You find yourself on top of bookkeeping, organizing receipts, having a plan for the leaner months, and strategically investing in yourself and your business.
Suddenly your old money story doesn’t ring true anymore. You start to dismantle the long-held myths about who you are with your money. This success and confidence help rewire your brain. You realize the money story you have been told unconsciously by your parents, partner, or culture is no longer true. You start to create a new money story that entails harmony, emotional flexibility, and stability.
4) Systems teach you to be strategic as opposed to reactive
The fluctuating income that accompanies a private practice can trigger all sorts of money trauma and result in a ‘feast or famine’ mindset. When the money is flowing and we are exceeding our goals, we feel on top of the world. When it’s a leaner month, we take it personally, decide we are a failure at running a business and spiral into money shame.
A good money management system has predetermined action steps to respond to any scary or exciting money fluctuations.
When we have a system in place which accounts for the money fluctuations, we can remove pain and shame from the equation. We have a plan in place for this! Preparation for this plan often entails assessing your fee, your budget, and also setting aside reserves for the slimmer months.
5) Systems show where we still need money healing
As you develop and refine your system, you’ll watch your confidence soar. You’ll be making money choices based on strategy and intuition. When your income dips one month, you’ll have enough in your reserves to ensure your bills are paid. When you raise your fees, you’ll have a plan in place for exactly where that extra money goes based on your values and vision.
And yet…this nagging feeling still shows up every time you check your bank account. You can’t shake the feeling you really don’t deserve the money you’re making. Thus, you might sabotage your systems because being in crisis with money feels “safer” than actually having enough money for all your needs and then some.
We’ve all been there. Our business finances are merely an extension of our values and attitudes around money. True healing from money trauma requires us to look at our business AND personal finances, excavate our money myths and stories, and truly heal the shame that often drives this self-sabotage.
Despite the amazing skill we wield as sensitive therapists to help our clients, we often avoid investing in our own money healing.
That can change today.
Do some reading. I have a list of my favorite money healing books here.
Get community support. Gather a group of friends or colleague who wants to work on their money healing together.
Consider a 1:1 coaching session. We can dive deep into your money story and identify strategies to help you feel comfortable with money in your business.
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