We all want to have entrepreneurial confidence as we run our business. Today’s topic is how we connect our mindset to systems to achieve that confidence. Join us to learn more about translating an entrepreneurial mindset into systems and processes that will boost your profitability.
Our Featured Guest
Kasey Compton, M.Ed, LPCC-S
Kasey Compton from KaseyCompton, lives and works in KY, where she has built a very successful, seven-figure group practice. When I thought about a show highlighting systems and processes, I knew Kasey would be the perfect person to cover this topic for us. We’ll discuss the dangerous trap we get stuck in as business owners, thinking that we can only be successful if we do everything ourselves. We’ll also get Kasey’s thoughts on why running your business as a therapist is not the wisest idea. We will break down a system and process that Kasey developed that’s based on the work of Mike Michalowicz and his Healthcare Hierarchy of Needs (HHN). Using this tool will help you target three areas of focus in your practice for profitability and peace of mind.
● Why running your business like a therapist is NOT the best idea
● Why we lose sight of the goal of our business, which is profitability, when we neglect foundational pieces that are crucial in operating a business
● How “systems” are defined, and how they are connected to confidence, freedom, and peace in the health of a business
● The Top Three Indicators of Business Health: leads, profitability, and order
● How the two levels of leads for group practices, clients and therapists, work to balance prospect-provider attraction
● How to determine priorities using Michalowicz’s Healthcare Hierarchy of Needs and channel the overwhelm of being a business owner
● Kasey’s advice for the overwhelmed therapist/business owner
● Why you should treat the core need of the business and not just the symptom
● Why your to-do list is probably full of symptoms and not core issues
● How to combat overwhelm in implementing new systems through a three-step process
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Hey Kasey, welcome to Selling the Couch.
Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
We were talking about this right before we got started, but I feel like we have been in the same like orbit, maybe for the past several years, but we haven't yet connected. And I'm just so grateful. For one, all of the things that you are doing for our profession and just all of the things that you're doing in the world. You're an extremely busy person. And I really am just grateful for our time together.
Well, thank you so much. I mean, right back at you, I’ve been following some of the things that you've been doing, and I love this podcast. So it's an honor to be here and be a guest.
When we connected end of 2020 -- thank god 2020 is over by the way, I was thinking a lot about, like what we should talk about, and I felt like one of the most common struggles that a lot of health care providers, mental health providers folks outside of the mental health space have is connecting this idea of like an entrepreneurial mindset. But how do you actually connect that to systems? And how do you implement some of that stuff in your business? And I'm so glad you reached out because you are definitely the person that I would talk to about this stuff.
Yeah, so, systems are just kind of my thing, I love them. I love everything about them. I think I was born with this nature of craving, efficiency and craving order, it makes me feel comfortable, it makes me feel at peace, it makes me have clarity. And there's just so many things that systems do for me on a personal level. And so whenever I was thinking about those from an entrepreneurial mindset, it was not really a question of is this important? Because I knew it was, it was just, how am I going to make this as usable in business as I do in personal life. And so I think a lot of it is just when you're talking to therapists that own businesses, sometimes we try to run our business like a therapist, and to a certain extent, that's good. But then there are certain pieces of that that really can get us into trouble. And I think that's where it's so important for therapists to really think about systems in a way that comes naturally to them. And I'm sure you're going to ask me about that. So I won't ramble on that.
All of that sounds really good. I actually wanted to ask you a random question before we jump in. When you think of the word systems, like how do you define it?
That's a really good question. Honestly, I've been thinking about that question in various forms since I've been doing what I'm doing and it just depends on when you ask me, and what's going on in my business is, it's usually how the answer goes. But systems really, to me, and through all of the research that I've done, and I've done quite a bit of research on this, it really equals a couple of things. Systems mean competence, systems mean freedom and systems mean peace, and you can take those three things and take them each and on whatever direction you want to take them. Peace to me means peace of mind, it means that I don't have to worry about the minutiae, I don't have to worry about the little things. That's the things that get me anxious and get me in a place that I like to be. And I think systems are the best way to prevent that.
I love the fact that you connected it to, like, just deep like core emotions, confidence, freedom and peace because that's so true. I think for many business owners we jump in, because we are passionate about a topic and niche, whatever it is. But we quickly get overwhelmed. But initially, we're thinking by jumping in, like, I'm going to have confidence and freedom and peace. And yeah, I sort of see systems as I guess that bridge or that thing that gets us from our ideas, to where we want to go kind of thing.
Yes. And they're very good indicator of your business's health too. When your systems are not strong, or they are off, or sometimes I'll say, if they're wonky, then you're going to feel that. You’re going to feel that in your chest, it's going to be a visceral response, it's going to be that, oh my gosh, feeling like the world is on your shoulders. And that is a systems reflection right there.
Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that you said earlier was, a lot of times therapists run their business like a therapist. I think I know what that means. But in your words, like, what does that mean for you?
Well, I think that there's a good side to that running your business like a therapist. And then I think there's also a challenging side to that. So when I mentioned that earlier, that a lot of therapists run their business like a therapist, they forget one thing. So in therapy, we are often looking at the client's goal. And we set that goal on that treatment plan, and we're working to achieve that goal. So that part, we know, but when we are trying to run our business, sometimes we forget that and we run our business, really based off of our purpose, which is our why and which is why we're doing this and we want to help people, and we have this passion and all these things.
And we laser focus in on that which, I'm not saying that that's wrong, I am kind of saying that that's wrong. I'm not saying that that's bad. I'm just saying that when we run our business like a therapist, we lose sight that the goal of the business is actually profitability. And the purpose of the business is entirely up to you. But whenever we shift those, or flip those around and we're running the business off of a purpose, we are neglecting some of the foundational pieces of operating a business that is crucial. You can't make a profit off of purpose alone. And that's where I see people running their business as a therapist and not as a business owner.
Yeah, so I guess, let me just sort of understand that a little bit more so almost like a super hyper emphasis on purpose, to the point where purpose can almost become, like blended with the goal. Whereas what you're saying is, the goal of any business really should be profitability. And that's sort of what like goal and purpose should be distinguished as opposed to like, blending together.
You also mentioned, there are like several indicators of business help. What are like the top three indicators?
I always start with the numbers. So really looking at those numbers and specifically your leads. And I know as therapist that people don't typically call this a lead, but just to kind of use a common word, how many leads are coming into the practice, both on a client level and on a profitability level? Because what I see often is this dichotomy that the business owners get stuck in is, it's very hard to find the balance between having enough therapist or having enough clients, they're always bouncing between the two. So the numbers to reflect that scenario is one way to assess your business's health and that KPI, key performance indicator, or that metric falls on the foundational level of our business, which is sales.
Also, something else to assess the health of your business is profitability. If that is the goal, if that is what we're doing here, then our profitability and what that looks like is going to tell us if what we are doing is working. So that's a big one. And then the third one is really going to fall in the third foundational level of any business which is order. And that is where we are minimizing bottlenecks, congestion points, making the client journey easy and nice. I mean, we want our client journey to feel smooth.
When things are out of order, you're going to feel it. And that's what I was talking about earlier, just feeling that sense of pressure. So really, you can assess the health of your business by looking at the numbers in your sales level, the profit margins and your profit level and the amount of chaos you may have in your business and the order level.
I love the fact that one, this is like so organized. The fact that you're both looking at things like numbers and profitability, but you're also looking at the client experience, there's like a nice blend, which I really do appreciate. I wanted to go back to the leads one, you explained it well, but my mind is not registered quite in my mind. So I wanted to make sure I really understood it. So with leads, there are two levels. There's client, the clients, like potential clients, I could call all of those things, and then there's the second level therapists. Tell me a little bit more about that, because I think that one I didn't quite understand.
So this is actually a core need. In the healthcare space, your business has about 15 coordinates. This coordinate, it's one of the foundation five. And so what it is, is prospect and provider attraction. And what this is basically saying is that if we're not attracting enough of the right clients, or enough of the right providers to work in our business to see those clients, we're going to have an unmet need in that area.
Think about it, if you have, I would say 95% of every person that I've ever worked with, in the small group form or even individual, they have one of two problems. They have a waiting list, or they have too many therapists, and they can't fill their schedules, and it's usually one or the two. So that's why I'll lump those two together as a coordinate there because they usually go together and play off of each other.
Got it? I think what you're saying is this really applies to group practice owners. What about someone that might be a solo practitioner, for example, maybe they want to stay a solo practitioner, but how does this like therapists element, or does it like apply for someone that is a solo practitioner?
Yeah, that's a really good question. Even someone that is a solo practitioner, it's still going to apply, it just may not have the same meaning as it would if you were a group practice owner. So if you're in solo practice, and you want to stay in solo practice, then that coordinator of prospect attraction, you just ignore that because you're not even -- but usually I see what happens is people in solo, they get so many leads, that they start to ask themselves, “Should I start a group because I have more clients than I can handle?” And that's usually how it start.
Got it? So they get to that point where they're asking, or I guess, getting to that crossroad where they're saying, Okay, do I want to stay solo? And if so, what I do with these leads, or do I want to go into a group and kind of figure out how to house those leads within my own business.
Right that in the solo experience has given them the confidence to even be able to ask themselves, oh, what about hiring more? Most people don't start out and say right out of grad school, “I'm going to start a group practice.” They usually say, “Let me just dip my toes in the water and test this out.” And then when they know that they have a strategy that gets clients in the door, and it works, then they're like, “Okay, maybe if I can do this, then I can do this for another, or another therapist or a group of therapist.” So that competence is a big factor there, too.
Got it. So a little bit of a shift here. How do you determine like, what you have to prioritize when it comes to business, like meaning? I feel like a lot of times healthcare providers, they get stuck in this mindset that they have to do everything in order to be successful, and they don't even know where to start. So how do you prioritize where you start?
I love this question. And I'm sure that some of your listeners have read Mike Michalowicz books. And I'm sure many of them have read Fix This Next. I know that though his book profit first really took the Mental Health Group Practice robust storm. And so I'd say even if someone hasn't read his book, they're familiar with his methodologies and how everything works. So when he wrote Fix This Next, even before I read the book, and I was on a webinar with him, and he was talking about the methodology of the system and using the -- he calls it the business hierarchy of needs. But whenever I decided to write the derivative for this book, specific to healthcare providers, I sort of saw this from a different angle.
Mike's book is really heavily focused on this compass, and how using this BH in the hierarchy of needs, will help someone, point them in the right direction of where to start. I know that that is very important, because one of the questions I get asked the most is, what do I do first, but I also know therapist very well. And I know that they have more struggles than what would have ever been possible for Mike to put in a very general business book. And so with Fix This Next for healthcare providers, you will see woven throughout the entire book, my thoughts on time, and how it is so precious, it is so valuable.
And as healthcare providers more often than not, we are selfless when it comes to giving everything we have to help others, whether it's time, energy, money, whatever. Most of us have a really good heart, and we have a very strong purpose. And so what happens is we end up sacrificing time, and we have this huge to do list. And we get really down on ourselves, because we're doing all of these things for our practice, but it's not really getting us where we think it's supposed to get us. And so there are lots of conversations and lots of back and forth, we came to this conclusion that it's not really that people are doing the wrong things.
In fact, most therapists are doing all the right things to work on their business, they're just doing them at the wrong time and in the wrong order. And so, how to prioritize the to do list is actually really easy according to this system. And for health care, it is called the healthcare hierarchy of needs. And it is a really quick diagnostic assessment of your practice. And you answer 15 questions, yes or no. And you choose the one that has the lowest unmet need, which would be a, no, on the lowest foundational level, and that is always your starting point. It takes three seconds, well, maybe more like 10 if it's your first time.
That's cool. I love just the idea of like, creating hierarchy because you said it so well. I think that is where a lot of healthcare providers get stuck. They have like the analogy of like, learning to ride a bike, but not knowing how to ride a bike. So still having like training wheels or something. It’s like trying to do the Tour de France. When you still have training wheels, I guess.
Yeah, this is a good way to support that point too. For me, I've been doing this for so long, it comes naturally to me now. But it didn't always. And in the book that my first chapter one is called the penny, the pirate and the compass and I tell a story about how, or about a time where I was just giving everything up for this business, I was giving away all of my time, I was staying up late, I was doing all these things and a disaster happened. It was just bad. And so from that experience, I learned that I'm never going to be able to do everything in the business, it's just not going to happen. And if I do, do everything, what I have done is not going to be done very well.
And so I had to change the way that I thought about time and priorities. And it was so obvious to me, I started having membership community. And we started this track within the membership community called groom your COO, just Chief Operating Officer. And so I wanted to teach people how to groom someone to take over the operations in their business in a way that is slow and meticulous and very safe. And so as I'm doing this, I'm grooming my own COO in my own business.
And she comes to me right in the beginning and she was like, “Kasey, there's just so much to do, I have four pages, I'm really stressed out, I don't know what I'm supposed to do.” And I said, “I'm going to teach you the healthcare hierarchy of needs, and I want you to use it every time you have this feeling.” And that she did. And ever since then, she has never had that issue. And she told me that she always now feels like she has a sense of direction. And she knows that she's not going to be able to do everything, but that she knows that things that she can do are going to make the biggest impact on our business. And that is really what we're trying, or that's what we're going after here.
Yeah, and I love the way you said it, and I just wanted to like clarify. But I think what you're saying is, by creating this healthcare hierarchy of needs, we in a way separate the overwhelm that comes with business ownership. And we're able to almost channel that overwhelm into a hyper-focus, knowing what we need to prioritize and focus on.
Right, and think about how easy it is for people to get down in these rabbit holes. Look at all these online Facebook groups, all these communities where you see therapists saying, “Oh, well, what are you doing about this? And how do you do this? And how should I do this?” And it's just information overload. And I like to joke and say, therapists are content hoarders, and they are. But they get into this thing where everybody is around them, is so hyper vigilant on improving their businesses, and I love that about therapists world. But it can hurt to because it can make you feel as though you have to do it all to be successful. And that is not true. It is just not true.
That's like a very liberating thing to hear. If that's not true, I guess how would you almost reframe it, like, what would you tell a therapist that is hearing this and is completely feeling overwhelmed in their practice?
Just say that you do not have to do all of the things. In fact, you shouldn't do all of the things, you only need to identify the one thing that is going to make the biggest impact on your practice and start there. You know this, and I'm sure every therapist that's listening knows this, what we end up doing sometimes is we treat our business’s symptoms. So think about your business, like a client or a patient. And what we end up doing is we treat the symptoms, because those are easy.
Those are just the little things that, “Oh, I need to fix this or clean this up on the website or fix this phone system or route this here.” Those are the business’s symptoms, those are not actually the business's core needs, the core problems. Instead of treating the symptoms, if we treat the actual diagnosis, a lot of those symptoms are going to go away on their own. And that's one way that you can just knock out a massive to do list if you treat the core need rather than the symptoms of the business.
Again, not to put you on the spot or anything but like in a situation like that where people are like oh my gosh, I got phone lines and this and that. What it sounds like the core need is a more efficient way of community for client. What would you say is that coordinate?
Yeah. So let's say that you have a phone system issue and your clients, they're calling but no one's answering the phone because of whatever. There's a problem. Obviously, yes, you need to fix the phone system. There are things that you just clearly have to fix. But I would look deeper than that and say, “What is it about this client journey? Are we having a phone system problem because we don't have enough people to answer the phones? What is the reason this is happening? And then what is the core?” And maybe the core is that client journey or that client experience, and maybe that needs to be changed, and then that will, in turn modified the phone system issue.
I'll give you another quick example. If you're thinking, well, I have a lot of clients on a waiting list, but I can't find a good therapist to hire, I need to hire more people, but I just can't find them. And when you start investigating a little bit, and that's what I love about this model is it's really empowering people to do what they already do really well, which is treat their patients. So if we treat our business like we treat our patients, what would you do in that scenario? You're not going to have a client that comes in and tells you a problem, and then you’re just going to start telling them how to fix it. That's not how it works.
You're going to gather more information, you want to make sure that you're understanding what their problem is. You want to look at all of the surrounding information. What is their history of this? And you want to do that the same way with your business. So what may end up being the case, once you start digging in is that you really don't even need to hire anybody, your therapist just need to be utilizing the client list that they've already been assigned. Maybe that's the real issue.
And so the to do list is just it gets added to and added to and added to. And usually what's on there is symptom. So looking at a massive to do list, I would look through there and say, “Okay, which one of these are the symptoms of the problem? And then let me try to get to the real core issue because if I fix that, then a lot of these things are just going to take care of themselves.”
Yeah, that's beautifully said. It's almost like holding the initial overwhelm that you feel, and almost having the humility or the foresight to take a step back and say, “This is a symptom of a larger issue. And so let me figure out what that larger issue is.”
Right, and think about how you feel when you have a to do list, and you start knocking stuff off, when you just strike everything through. You feel really good. You're like, “Oh, I'm getting stuff done.” And so this whole busyness concept, it's kind of a trap, because we get really busy, and we have lots of things to do. And so we start working on that massive to do list to knock things off of it to make ourselves feel good. But what we're doing in the meantime, is we're actually neglecting the core diagnosis that our business really has.
And so that To Do List makes people feel better, because they feel like they're doing something but when they go back and they assess the health of their business, like we talked about in the beginning, with the profit margins and the leads in the order, it's really not changed, it's not getting any better. When you match those two things up, that's when you know you have a problem. You're working really hard, but nothing is changing. You have a you have a diagnosis in your practice, and you have to find it.
Last question, I feel like we could probably talk forever about this kind of stuff, because I'm like, so fascinated by systems. And I think that systems don't look like yours. I imagine, and this is something I've struggled with, when I take a step back, and I start to look at my business and look at these different systems, at least for me, there's a initial sense of like, overwhelm. And I think this is for a lot of folks. What do you do in that moment? Do you like, push on and actually like, look at this stuff.
Yeah, you breathe. That's what you do first, because you're right, I love systems too. And I get lots of joy out of implementing and streamlining and automating them, but even whenever I am facing a new system issue, I feel overwhelmed. And so one just telling yourself that this is perfectly normal, it is supposed to feel like that. And one thing that has been really helpful for me, I have it on my website and I'll send you that link so people can go on there. And if you follow me on social media, I post a lot of systems related tips.
Systems feels overwhelming because it's big, and it can be clunky and it is uncertain. It's filled with a lot of trial and error. And a lot of people don't want that. They just want you to tell them what to do so they can fix it and go on. But systems don't always work that way. So what I have found is there is a very, very simple three step process. And if you can learn that process, and implement it into every time you feel this way, and all it is, is a diagnosis of the actual problem. And then streamlining the process, so the steps.
And then the last thing is applying an automation, and when you do that every single time, it reduces that overwhelm, because you have a plan, and it feels doable, and it is doable, you just have to follow those three steps. And in that order.
Pretty awesome. I love that. Kasey, I'm just so grateful for you, grateful for our time together. Where can we learn more about you about the book that's coming out? Please let us know.
Yeah, I have a brand new website. And so people can go on there. It's just Kaseycontent.com. There is a section specific to the book there. It's Fix This Next for healthcare providers, you can see all of the feedback. I have lots of downloads, we have about a 15 or 20 page workbook that people can go on and download that will walk them through the whole entire process of understanding the healthcare hierarchy of needs, diagnosing their business, and we didn't talk about this but creating a treatment plan for the business. So all of that can be found right there on the website.
Perfect. Kasey, thank you again for this and have a great rest of your day.
Thank you so much.
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Hi. I'm Melvin. I'm a psychologist (PhD), entrepreneur, and online creator living in Philadelphia, PA.
In 2014, I began to think about how to use the therapy skills we learn in grad school, and in our clinical work into different realms (e.g., podcasting, consulting, online course creation, etc).
This allows us to serve others on larger scales while diversifying our income beyond 1 to 1 work.
I make podcasts and videos about business, tech, productivity, and lessons I'm learning from becoming the CEO of a lean, mean 5 person 100% remote team (we're not really mean..it just rhymed =P).