Growing Your Private Practice as a Counselor and a Coach_ Interview with K. Michelle Johnson

An interview with K. Michelle Johnson, gender, relationship & sexuality Counselor. She is sharing her incredible journey from graduate to the owner of a thriving counseling & coaching practice. 

 About the 6-Figure Practice Program: The Six Figure Practice with Sasha Raskin, is an online program and community for helpers such as counselors and coaches, who are building their private practice. If you’re looking for a clear, step-by-step road map for creating and marketing your private practice, you're at the right place!

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About the 6-Figure Practice Program: 

The Six Figure Practice with Sasha Raskin, is an online program and community for helpers such as counselors and coaches, who are building their private practice. If you’re looking for a clear, step-by-step road map for creating and marketing your private practice, you're at the right place! 

🔥 Free resources to grow and market your counseling private practice or coaching business: 

🔰 Free 22 minutes crash course - "How to Create a Thriving Counseling / Coaching Private Practice": https://www.the6figurepractice.com/free-22-minute-crash-course

🔰 Free resources about marketing for therapists and marketing for coaches: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/blog 

🔰 Free 30-minutes strategy session with Sasha Raskin: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/schedule-a-free-30-min-strategy-session/  

🔥 Our accelerator program for creating a 6-figure business: 

🔰 The 6 Figure Practice Program: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/the-6-figure-practice-program-accelerator/ 

🔥 More ways to connect:

🔻 Website: https://www.the6figurepractice.com

🔻 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the6figurepractice 

🔻 Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2174406112863019

🔻 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the6figurepractice

🔻 Chat with me on messenger: https://m.me/the6figurepractice  

🔻 Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCITSmYvj-vpwuWrOuwqYr5w 

🔥 About me: 

My name is Sasha Raskin. I’m a Number 1 Best Selling Co-Author in 12 Countries, a Doctoral student in Counseling Education and Supervision, a coach, a psychotherapist and an adjunct faculty at a graduate counseling program at Naropa University. 

One of the things I’m enjoying the most is helping other therapists and coaches build their successful private practice so that they could actually help the clients they were taught to help, and thrive themselves. I’m almost always fully booked, so my ability to work with individuals is limited. That is why I’ve created this program to deliver powerful results and create a community where you will feel supported by each other! 

This program's primary goal is to help you build a thriving private practice, in a fun and authentic way. Counselors and coaches invest an incredible amount of time, money, and effort into building their helping skills. However, when their training ends, they usually find themselves lacking the business skills that are needed to start and run a successful private practice, feel isolated, discouraged and not knowing where to start. 

I believe that to be truly helpful to others, therapists and coaches have to learn to thrive themselves and definitely know how to get clients whom they can help. 

This is where this program comes in. If you're willing to learn and work hard, a 6-figure private practice is within your reach in a year - 2 years. This program will give you a clear outline, and detailed instructions on how to get there.

Transcription

Growing Your Private Practice as a Counselor and a Coach_ Interview with K. Michelle Johnson 

Sasha Raskin:  Hi, Michelle.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Good morning, Sasha.

Sasha Raskin:  And good morning to everyone who's listening and watching and reading this podcast/vlog/blog post. So this podcast is about giving therapists and coaches some good tips and advice on how to grow your business. And probably one of the most exciting things you can do for your business is to surround yourself with people who already know the road ahead, hence, this interview.

Michelle, you've created a few successful businesses already and I think it would be very inspiring to hear how you did it, what were some of the struggles. I know that you are a couple's therapist, you are a coach, you created a few centers already. So take it away, tell us a little bit more about who you are, what you do and who you help.

K. Michelle Johnson:  So as you said, I'm a coach and a therapist. I'm also proudly adding entrepreneur and online educator to my titles and really owning those aspects of myself and my business/businesses. So on the therapy side I specialize in sex therapy and couple's therapy, and I think this is maybe the business that we'll kind of primarily talk about at first because I know a lot of your participants in the program are therapists. I also, in addition to my own private therapy practice I co-own, co-direct a therapy and coaching center called the love, sex and gender center with my business partner, Lindsay Lyons. And we offer sex therapy and sex coaching and relationship coaching and as well as offering online and education around relationships and sex. Our newest offering will be in July.

So there's private practice, there's the love, sex and gender center, and I'm also excited to embody more of the coaching and coaching side. I also coach and have an online education program to help entrepreneurs become more productive and live more work-life balance and just live more fulfilling lives by educating themselves and practicing the power of flow and flow states. So I might kind of end up telling you a little bit more about that as it actually relates to my journey and kind of weaves through all aspects of my businesses and the entrepreneur side of myself.

Sasha Raskin:  That's wonderful, that's just such a good example that you can start with private practice working with people one on one or one and two. And it can take so many different turns and you can go further than where you just started. So maybe going back, rewinding right to the beginning of you even thinking about going into private practice I think you already knew you going to go the solo route during school, right?

K. Michelle Johnson:  During school and actually even before school. And before I forget, something that comes to mind even as we're talking about it, I remember during school at my internship, asking one of the pieces of advice that I would get from my mentors, one of the questions that comes up for kind of new therapists is what should my business be named, should it be a name of like some kind of center I can grow in, should just be a name, what should it be? And I remember more than one mentor said, "You can have different websites down the line but start with your name because on your journey you are going to transform over and over again," right? So what you kind of feel like you are specializing in now you may or may not stick with that. You're always going to have your name though. And they were absolutely true. That was absolutely true because while I still am passionate about sex and sex therapy and coaching around flow and flow state is what I'm really enthusiastic about now, so ...

But I'll rewind because I actually knew that I wanted to go into private practice actually before I started graduate school. And one of the books that had really helped me was this very popular book that's had a million different editions called what color is your parachute. I don't remember if you and I've ever talked about this. Do you know this book?

Sasha Raskin:  No.

K. Michelle Johnson:  I mean, it's a very famous book for kind of finding your life's purpose and kind of career changers. At that point I had my undergraduate and ... or no, I didn't even have my undergraduate in psychology. I had like a two-year community college degree in like liberal arts and photography and I was teaching yoga, and I was kind of feeling directionless. And so one of the exercises in this book had you visualize your perfect work day. There were other things in the book around like your personality and what you would be good at and what you enjoyed doing, and it was a lot of kind of like helping profession things. You can be a helper and not have your own business for sure, but for multiple reasons my ideal business day actually felt like having my own office. I remember visualizing being in my own office, on my own couch and having clients come in and out and seeing a very manageable amount of clients, kind of being in a state of flow and then still being able to enjoy my life after.

So the visualization practice was not just what's your ideal work day at work, it was like what time do you wake up, how do you get to your office, when do you start work, when do you end work, what do you do when you get home?

Sasha Raskin:  That's so interesting. My first coach did that exercise with me. Fast forward a few years later this is like I literally was coming into the office that looked like in my vision, like same colors even. It was incredible.

K. Michelle Johnson:  This is what I'm getting at. And it was when I actually got to that moment like there comes a moment where it's happening over and over and you actually don't realize it and then there's a moment where I'm sitting on my couch, I have this gorgeous view out the window and I'm kind of like, "Why is this so familiar?" This is exactly what ...

Sasha Raskin:  That's funny, yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  I do want to disclose this part about my journey, this may or may not be relatable though too, but like a part of what really contributed to this vision is the appeal of independence, the appeal of being able to serve people enough and feel nourished while I'm nourishing people. But I also have a chronic illness, so I have a chronic pain disorder called endometriosis that is pretty debilitating maybe for like a week, week and a half out of each month. So it's like my productivity gets slammed, my capability, energy level, pain level fluctuates, and so I also knew that in order to have a sustainable work life I needed something that I could actually really take care of my body, really take care of my energy. And so in this way that was also a part of my vision.

So I kind of had this vision, so I had the end goal in mind and I think as you're kind of talking about, I forgot what the podcast is, but you said the path or the roadmap, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  You don't start the roadmap with kind of with one foot in front ... you go one foot in front of the other but the destination isn't just one foot, like when you're in Google Maps, you've typed in the destination, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Yes.

K. Michelle Johnson:  You type the destination, and that's kind of like that visualization, like where am I going? You start with the end goal in mind. And it's not like you wake up ... there is a sense of like, "Oh, I woke up one day and it's like, oh, yeah, I had manifested this," right? It's not without challenge. But having the goal there, I think the clear goal, specific goal creates that focus and persistence and motivation. In this process of kind of like how did I visualize it and then kind of actually make this happen, I started getting getting into learning about flow and flow states so there's this kind of sense of flow in like a lot of eastern philosophy like Taoism, of like kind of moving not against life but with life. And not necessarily mean being passive. So it's kind of like setting the goal and noticing kind of opportunities would come and kind of following that.

Sasha Raskin:  Doing without.

K. Michelle Johnson:  In non-doing everything gets done, right? Like, that's a big paradox. And I think in the helping profession too and especially a lot of therapists who are incorporating mindfulness, a part of flow is non-doing, a part of flow is kind of surrendering and allowing opportunities to open up and being regulated in your nervous system and close enough in contact to yourself and your purpose to actually recognize and move forward on those things. So kind of this eastern philosophy flow. But then even researching flow and flow states, and I don't know how familiar you are with this.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, the Polish researcher whose name I can't ever remember.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, oh, I can remember but I always ...

Sasha Raskin:  Can you pronounce?

K. Michelle Johnson:  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I know what I said, but I'm a big fan of this book. And this is kind of ...

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, it's called flow for people who are just listening and can't see the video.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And he talks about flow, he talks about the difference between pleasure and enjoyment. Anybody can experience pleasure, pleasure when you have like a good food or a good sandwich. Enjoyment a lot of times comes from flow and flow states. And this is not a passive state. One of the flow triggers that he talks about that really feels like central to my path in private practice and central to what I want people to understand in their personal growth in my coaching program too is he talks about flow happens when challenge meets your skill set, when skill meets challenge. So if I'm challenged but my skill is not there I'm going to be overwhelmed.

Sasha Raskin:  Oh, good point.

K. Michelle Johnson:  If I'm skillful but I don't have enough challenge I'm going to be bored. And so this like skill set and challenge idea can actually put me into a flow state where actually it becomes enjoyable. And so it's kind of a game-changing concept. So they talk about this state a lot when it comes to like performance, like Michael Jordan's like flow state and his like consecutive three-pointer, like getting in the zone. They talk about it Jazz musicians being in the pocket.

As a couple's and sex therapist I always think about even like couples in relationship and relating of like being in flow with your partner. But when we're talking about growing and building your private practice there is workflow, and I know you've experienced this, of like being in the zone and then flowing at work and being an enjoyment, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And I think what happens in private practice with new therapists is we come out of our programs that ... I went to Naropa University, you know, between Naropa University and my internship it just felt this like really confidence and high level of skill in relating to clients and doing good solid healing work and what I had to offer. The skill set though was not there in business, right? I learned how to be a good therapist but not a good entrepreneur, marketer, business person. And so I feel like what happens is like we don't have the skill set and we have all this challenge backed against us, and so we are not ... like I've noticed like while I had that fantasy and that goal and the destination, this journey was not without challenge and a lot of times I felt overwhelmed, like my skill level and the challenge ahead were too overwhelming.

Sasha Raskin:  Yes.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And getting into flow kind of circles back to what you said of getting support to actually raise my skill level to meet the challenge and support, a lot of times it looks like learning from other people who have already traveled that path, who have traveled the road. It looks like building your skill set through seeking books and new information. And you're building your skill set just through your experience, but it's kind of it's going from overwhelm because you don't have that skill yet to the skill and the challenge start to become more and more aligned and you start to become in flow.

And I cannot believe I'm saying this, but this is why like I'm kind of adding entrepreneur to my title, like I never thought I would say I would enjoy business. Because initially it was I didn't have the skills, it fell over my head, and I think because of that also I had like judgments around it that I also was like, "I don't want to be like a skeezy sales person. I don't want to learn this like manipulative marketing." And this journey has totally kind of reframed what all these things mean.

Sasha Raskin:  So how did you personally deal with ... well, at the beginning, at least the first six months I would say, the amount of marketing and honestly sales and operations and all of those business structures that need to be built, even measured in time, are much more than the actual clinical work, right? You are starting a business without having the business skills, but actually to succeed you actually need to do more "business" stuff than the actual clinical work that you've been trained in. How did you, well, succeed in growing your business if that's such a big missing point?

K. Michelle Johnson:  I mean, and again, it comes to that initial I had the goal, this is kind of so like a flow concept too of like coming into flow state there's a clear goal.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, of course, you know where you're heading.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, know where you're heading, but again, at the beginning point there's my skill set didn't meet my challenge level and on top of that I was working with like the chronic illness and the energy fluctuations. So it's you're investing in learning, right? So there was a point where there were certain things I was trying to do myself, things like the bookkeeping aspect. There are certain things that I could do myself. I'm very artistic, I'm very design-oriented so designing my own website and branding, I'm a photographer too, I have photographer friends. So it's like that part like I could meet the challenge, I had those strengths, but there were other places it was so hard for me to like buckle down and get just like certain admin tasks or organization pieces done. So I needed the support.

So there was the trying to do it by myself. I sought out a coach and a coaching program that was really helpful. It's a big personal growth journey, starting your own business. You're learning all these skill sets but also you're really getting in touch with your deeper purpose and what you're offering to the world. And that's so vulnerable too. There's an identity question of, "Does what I offer like have real value to people?" So kind of having a coach to both hold me accountable for moving forward on my goal, show up whether I want to or not and we're going to keep moving forward, the accountability was big. The support and helping to regulate my nervous system kind of step by step, the learning the skills and then like kind of working through.

I just think that there's also a lot of emotional blocks that come up around worth and value and like who am I, like even when you're like, "Okay, it's like find your ideal client." Well, who is my ideal client like? Where's that alignment with what I have to offer and what I enjoy offering?

Sasha Raskin:  I'm sorry, what?

K. Michelle Johnson:  It's a real self-discovery process.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  So the coaching program was one piece. I mean, it was just getting as much support as I could. There was also another big, a huge advice that I would get from one therapist in private practice would be talk to as many ... take as many people out for coffee as you can.

Sasha Raskin:  Exactly.

K. Michelle Johnson:  That are in private. Just pick their brains, get a mentor. And so sometimes you're hiring a coach, sometimes it's I also had multiple mentors that I would ... I wasn't paying them, they just kind of took me under their wing. And one of my mentors in the beginning let me ... like wanted to help me, so would refer clients to me and let me like you use her office part-time and like just kind of nurtured me. And you better believe that whenever ... this is why I get excited of like, "Hell yeah, I will do your podcast." And anytime someone asks me for coffee I'm like, "Yes." It's like this pay it forward mentality. And kind of like this feeling like I've been so appreciative about the mentors that I've had, that have kind of taken me under their wing and supported me, whether it's just going out for coffee or whether it's a mentor that I've had a longer standing relationship with. There's being in an abundance mindset, right?

Sasha Raskin:  And abundance mindset you're also talking about information abundance mindset and relationships and mentorship abundance mindset, right? You're always one conversation away with a person that knows the road ahead and the steps you need to take. It's not rocket science. You just reach out.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And it's a joy. It's a joy for me to be able to give that.

Sasha Raskin:  Exactly.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And so I think maybe initially when I've heard this I would almost like feel a little shame like, "Oh, I don't want to take up your time."

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, fear of rejection.

K. Michelle Johnson:  A fear of rejection. But it's like if they can't, if they don't have space they'll say no. If I don't have space I'll say no, right? So I'm like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't make this time for you. Here's a recommendation of somebody who's more free or I am free but it's not till next month."

Sasha Raskin:  And you're actually giving them a gift of feeling like an expert in mentoring someone. Like, who hates positive respectful attention, right? It's like even getting an email, "Hey, like I really ..."

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, totally, that somebody's like ... yeah, that feeling, I won't lie, there's a little ego boost.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  [Unclear/cross talking 23:15] credential and like looked up. And so there is that ... there, again, is that kind of that moment of I had that vision of where I wanted to be and I was looking up to other people and getting advice from them and now I can mentor somebody looking up to me and it feels kind of radical and exciting and rewarding.

Sasha Raskin:  Michelle, I have a specific question for you. People who are growing their practice, kind of those like very crucial first six months to 12 months, what was your main way of creating clients?

K. Michelle Johnson:  What was my main point of creating ... I think I just want to say that that's the hardest part, because it looks like you might have a little success, "Oh, I got a client."

Sasha Raskin:  It's not linear growth. It's ups and downs, ups and downs and clients live, right?

K. Michelle Johnson:  So I think the biggest thing was having a ... I think there are different ways for people to grow in their different places. I grew pretty fast I think relative to my peers. And I think the investment in a solid website, the time investment for me, so I built my own website and kind of pride myself on that and that's a skill set I had, so if you don't have that skill set reaching out to somebody that can help you. So it was a solid website and honestly I invested in paid advertising to grow my practice quicker. And I think the word investment is key. I think a lot of times therapists will be afraid to spend money, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Because spending money is scary. Investing money is a little easier.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Spending money ... well, no, even investing money is scary. There's this mentality of like I can't spend money until I have clients. And it's like you're never going to get client ... at least you won't grow as fast if people don't know about you, right? And then not only if people don't know about you, but they ... so the paid advertising got people to my website but then my website and my visuals, my way of relating to them got me the call, right? And then the phone call got me the client. And then my solid work continued the client and then spread the word of mouth.

So the word of mouth I do get a lot of referrals now from previous clients, from other colleagues, but the word of mouth kind of takes time to build. You have to get in front of people, you have to get in front of people. And I think another reason that paid advertising was especially ... another way to get in front of people is maybe to do more networking, things to offer kind of workshops for free, but physically I kind of coming back to my chronic pain and health conditions, like that also wasn't realistic for me. So it was scary and nerve-wracking because online advertising isn't cheap, and at the same time it started to work relatively fast so that I could kind of see like, "Oh, I'm just going to do it for a couple months and see how it goes." But then it starts to pay for itself quickly.

So I mean, that's just ... and also I'm not ... I'm trying to be better about social media, you're so good at this when like I see you posting all the time and I just like ... yeah, we'll see if I get better at it down the line.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, it's my robot posts for me.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, your automated robot posts.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah. Well, it takes time to prepare them in advance though. But, yeah, I feel you, it's a really about finding your ways to market and outsourcing when needed. You found a great company to do the Google Ads for you but you used your skills and talents to build and write your copy. Your copy on your website is incredible, right? It's not just about a nicely designed website, it's can you have a conversation with your potential client without you being there? That kind of pushes them towards reaching out.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And your copy isn't about ... and I think another thing to learn about is that your copy isn't about you, it's about them. So there's just kind of nerve-racking process of like I have to talk about myself.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, no one wants to read the resume.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Actually no, you don't. Like, it still takes work and self-reflection and non-doing everything gets done, that kind of slowing down, meditating, like visualization like who ... like when I'm in the office, who am I working with? But then like why are they in pain, right? Like, how can you be like why are they in pain and how can I serve them, how can I relate to them, how can I serve them? That you're kind of getting across. And so having that, right? It's there's a process, there's getting in front of people and then there's connecting with them.

For each point of interaction like your website, like your branding and your website even before you get on the call with them you're already showing them what kind of therapist you are or coach you are.

Sasha Raskin:  Exactly right. That's how they have their first conversation.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Like, even the things that aren't text, right? So I'm a very visual person so always it drives me crazy when people have ugly websites, but even if it's like you go to your ... it's like being in somebody's office for the first time, because like how do you want them to feel, does it feel welcoming, does it feel soothing or do you get on the website and it's like, "Oh, it's cluttered." There are websites that I'll look at and like feel stressed looking at, and so there's the text in what you're saying, there's also the visuals and the branding pieces.

And the word branding like it's just a marketing term but it's like you want to show your clients that you're nurturing them from start to finish. So even like if I look at somebody like a helper, if I'm like looking up on my website like just you're feeling you're nurturing them kind of from start to finish.

Sasha Raskin:  I love that. And you're doing that based on your vision. I love what you said about kind of figuring out where you want to go and then reverse engineering that. This is exactly what we're doing in the 6 figure practice program, like literally the first model, we do a lot of exercise to make sure that you end up with the private practice that you actually want to have, right? Be careful for what you wish for because if you work for it it will come true, right?

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, so many colleagues too when they are coming up, when you ask a question who's your ideal client they'll start to say, "Well, in my internship I saw a lot of people like this. Well, I tend to be working with ..." No, that's not the question.

Sasha Raskin:  Oh, good point.

K. Michelle Johnson:  The question is not who you're working with now, the question is like what's your ideal, the question is what ... and again, kind of coming back to the flow and the flow state thing. Again, your skill level meeting the challenge, like you don't want to be working with clients that are over your head, you don't want to be working with clients that are making you bored, you want to be in that zone of enjoyment where you ... it's like kind of ... for me it kind of feels like we're both growing in therapy, right? Like, I can feel that sense of ... another quality of flow state is this sense of you kind of like lose time. So like even in this conversation right now I feel so juiced up talking about all this stuff.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, it's exciting.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Like I have no idea where we are in time, but also that's like when I'm in session with somebody or it started to become when I'm in a workflow in my business and I'm brainstorming ideas, I'm creating course content, I'm connecting with other people, like I've started to be in this flow state of enjoyment in all these different areas.

Sasha Raskin:  I love that. Michelle, can you say ... well, let's fast forward a little bit. Let's say two years, three years into your ... yeah, sure, go ahead.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Oh, wait. Oh, yeah, I was going to say that I think that I would just say like starting out I did paid advertising. I needed to take my paid advertising down because I couldn't keep up.

Sasha Raskin:  Okay, that's ...

K. Michelle Johnson:  I had to take the paid advertising out because I felt bombarded with clients. And I still kind of at that level, I just contracted another coaching therapist because I ... and I am not worried about filling her up because I still haven't turned on the paid ad, like I might take on somebody ... like I haven't needed the paid advertising again, it's almost like, "Oh, no, send them away, two months."

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, exactly.

K. Michelle Johnson:  That's that point, right? Like, you might start with paid advertising to get in front of people but then ... I think maybe you and I were talking about this another time, but that like you're ... that then word of mouth spreads, right? Like, then eventually like the word of mouth advertising becomes more powerful and you don't need that paid advertising.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, exactly right.

K. Michelle Johnson:  I'm not somebody that ... maybe I'll get to that point and want to do that point maybe I'll just say like no to social media because I'm not a huge fan of it, but I don't do ... I rarely do any like Facebook or Instagram or anything, like at this point it's word of mouth and organic SEO.

Sasha Raskin:  So this is a great point, you're talking about different marketing strategies for different stages of your private practice. In the 6 figure practice program ... by the way, for anyone who's listens and watches this, there's a free training I did. It's just 20 minutes. I'm kind of taking all the marketing strategies that exist and packed them, like fast-paced training into 20 minutes, and you can get it on the6figureofpractice.com website. So in the program I kind of came up with this model to maybe explain what you just said, that there are different strategies for different places in your private practice because some are paid, some are free, some take longer to see results and some are faster, right? There is hunting, farming, battering, gathering. And first you get those clients as soon as possible because you need the cash flow and the psychological wins of, "Oh, this is actually doable." And later on you rely more on lengthier free marketing strategies.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And I think that that's important to note because I don't think paid advertising is the only way. Like, I think I could have gotten in front of more people without paying if I had invested more of my time instead of my money into social media, but, yeah, so different things for different people. And I think but investing I think doing it ... I do think doing it all on your own isn't realistic, like every part of it isn't realistic. I think the other piece that gave me a lot of relief that wasn't directly towards marketing but just gave me a lot of relief in my business is having my own bookkeeper and accountant. Like, I used to do that on my own, like I tried to do it on my own and I made a big mess and then ended up having to pay somebody to clean it up for me.

But just this idea like you are a professional who wants to be valued and paid for your work. So it is okay to pay and to value other professionals and pay them for their work.

Sasha Raskin:  This needs to be put on a t-shirt and spread it out.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Right. And it's good to give when it feels authentic too, right? Like, saying like, "Oh, yeah, I'm like down to go out for coffee for somebody and help them out," and things like that. And it's good when you have that friend who will volunteer to help you for something, but I think there's also ... I think that you can kind of get into a mode of like trying to be stingy and trying to get squeeze favors out of people, and I don't like that mentality. And it's like the same kind of mentality, like you want to do sliding scale, you want to do favors but you don't want to be squeezed, you also want to get paid for your work by people who are willing to invest in you.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  So kind of, again, that mentality of finding the sweet spot of giving and receiving. But I think I just want to encourage paying ... you said this the other day, Sasha, letting people shine where you don't want to shine, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah.

K. Michelle Johnson:  But, and also it's like you want to be valued and paid what you're worth. Value and pay others what they're worth to help you I think.

Sasha Raskin:  And there's this weird dichotomy especially for counselors I see, after at least 50K into their master's programs and, well, you need the bachelors to do the master's program so let's talk about that one, right? And all the revenue you lost all those years while not working full time, right? And after that what if you could pay like a thousand bucks for a program, a private practice accelerator program, for example ... well, I've created literally the most affordable program because I want any counselor to have access to it regardless of their economic. But even like even programs that are 5,000, right? Comparing it to all those years of investment, that can help you create like ...

K. Michelle Johnson:  You don't need more training, like also it's like at the drop of the hat and I feel like this is like an identity piece, I see people filling private practice, they're willing to take on thousands and thousands of dollars on more training, more training, more training and they're already training and it's like you actually don't need ... I mean, it's great, I'm not discouraging getting more training and things, that's wonderful, but investing in a new skill.

Sasha Raskin:  Yes, don't learn what you already know, learn what you don't know.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Right. I mean, and deepening into whatever you are learning different skills, right? But like, no, like if you're trying to grow a private practice, you need business skills, you need business and sales skills. And again, like you're going to kind of stay stuck in that overwhelm, you're not going to get into flow in your business if the challenge is constantly over your skill level.

Sasha Raskin:  Exactly right.

K. Michelle Johnson:  You have to invest growing your skills to get into that flow. And again, I never thought I had such an aversion to all like the business and marketing, and now that I feel more equipped, I feel more confident. It's even kind of like ... well, like think about your clients, it's like your clients coming into therapy and they're not having the emotional tools and skills, they feel overwhelmed. And slowly you're starting to teach them and they feel more equipped and confident and they're achieving more, right? They're achieving their goals in therapy because you're helping them to rise to their skill level, they're getting in flow with themselves and their partners. There's more enjoyment in their lives. It's very similar in business, but I think it's very hard for helpers to see that.

Sasha Raskin:  Nicely said. Michelle, we have just a few more minutes. I'm curious, fast forward to today, right? If you're talking from a place of where you're at today in like running multiple business, what would be your advice for private practice therapists and coaches who really feel they kind of reached their cap of trading time for money? And like in the first place, how do you even hold those time boundaries, how do you know when to turn clients away? And if you still want to grow, how do you do it if you're capped full time? 20 questions in one, good luck.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Yeah, you're asking people who met their goals.

Sasha Raskin:  Well, let me give you an example. Let's say a private practice therapist who already has let's say 25 clients a week. They feel they're kind of like getting a little overwhelmed, but they still want to grow. They're already in this flow state of like growing my business, but now what do I do? Do I go kind of scale back with my clients? Do I add another business? What are your thoughts on that?

K. Michelle Johnson:  So again, happiness isn't about ... happiness isn't a 6 figure practice.

Sasha Raskin:  Though it definitely adds to it.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Happiness, but like happiness isn't ... happiness isn't necessarily a 6 figure practice. Happiness is being in flow, to me, is being in flow and being in enjoyment. And part of being in flow and enjoyment is having a goal and reaching it, right?

Sasha Raskin:  Yes.

K. Michelle Johnson:  And so once you've had the goal and reached it, again, it's like in therapy with your clients, this is why I in therapy like even with my clients, get very specific on what are you trying to accomplish, so then when once we hit it we're like, "Okay, you did this." If we're kind of plateauing again and flow is skill meets challenge, so if we're in that plateau we might be perfect here, we might be like this is wanted and now I have it, and maybe there's a different direction of your life that's actually not related to your business.

Sasha Raskin:  Interesting.

K. Michelle Johnson:  Maybe it's like, "Okay, I have what I wanted, now I get to practice my guitar more or now I get to invest ... like I get to be in flow in these other ways." But if the flow continues to want to be in business and your skill hasn't met your challenge, now it's like you have to increase to be in the flow state again, it's increase the challenge to match your skill level. So the goal has to adjust. So it is kind of going back to square one, like of slowing down, just like here's where I am now, it's always about where am I now and where do I want to be, where are my next goals? When I visualize myself a few years now, what is my ideal workday?

And for me that shifted, it used to be being an office serving clients, now mine is more ... my more ideal workday is like seeing a few clients but then educating people on a larger scale through your life and coaching program and having more space to work on artistic pursuits. Yeah, my music, family, having more time with family and travel. And a lot of it comes back to that visualization, right? The new goal. The new goal is more challenging, but what do I need on a skill level to rise up to the challenge and then kind of just step by step move forward on it?

And so hopefully, so this program, the online education is relatively new so maybe you'll do another interview with me in two years because I'm kind of starting this process over with this new business and I can tell you about the successful business in this realm. So kind of whether it's somebody else it comes back to that visualization and goal.

And I think the thing is that don't ... this is why the ideal workday practice, ideal workday start to finish is so powerful, because, again, you might not want to grow, you don't need to keep ... the more money isn't going to necessarily make you happy, it's what's kind of going to put you in flow. So if you feel like, "Yeah, I got what I wanted and it actually stresses me out to grow more, I don't want to grow." Like don't. I bet you a million dollars there's another area of your life that you want to invest time into. So don't feel like you have to keep growing unless it feels exciting and satisfying to you. But again, it's your ideal vision of what do you want your life to look like and then the reverse engineering.

Sasha Raskin:  I love it. Michelle, this has been so ...

K. Michelle Johnson:  I don't know. Wait, wait, wait. So got to shamelessly plug.

Sasha Raskin:  Yes, that was my question, how people find you, how do they find about your services, how do they find about your program? And if they want to connect, how do they do it?

K. Michelle Johnson:  So I have two online education programs, so I'm so excited about flow and flow states and helping people weave it into their work, their work-life balance, their relationships, so your life can flow course starts July 5th. You can get onto my website kmichellejohnson.com, and you see it's the letter K, it's my initial kmichellejohnson.com. And the other course is also listed on my site, the erratic fulfillment course, I've been doing with Lindsay Lyons, and the love, sex and gender center, to help couples invite more play and deeper bonding into the bedroom.

So that's how you find me. And it's been such a pleasure talking with you, Sasha. And I think I really ... I think I hope the takeaway just can be around limitations, because I definitely didn't think especially with chronic illness and chronic pain issues that I could achieve what I've achieved and keep growing. But it really is that clear vision, persistence and investing in your skills and the support you need to grow and be in flow, I think are the biggest takeaways. You can do it, you can do it.

Sasha Raskin:  Yeah, for sure.

K. Michelle Johnson:  If I can did it then you can do it.

Sasha Raskin: Thank you so much, Michelle. It's so inspiring.

About the Author Sasha Raskin

Sasha Raskin, MA, is an  international #1 bestselling co-author , the founder of  The 6 Figure Practice, a  life coach, and business coach and a  psychotherapist in Boulder, CO. He is working on a P.h.D in Counseling Education and Supervision and is an adjunct faculty at the Contemplative Counseling master’s program at Naropa University, from which he also graduated. Sasha has been in the mental health field for more than 10 years, worked with youth at risk, recovery, mental health hospitals, and coached individuals, couples, families, startups, and groups. He has created mindfulness stress reduction and music therapy programs within different organizations. Whether it’s in person or via phone/video calls, whether as  a counselor , a  life coach or a  business coach, Sasha uses cutting-edge, research-based techniques to help his clients around the world to thrive.   As a  coach Sasha Raskin provides individual and group  coaching in Boulder, Colorado, and worldwide via video and phone calls, drawing from over ten years of experience. His services include:  life coaching,  business coaching,  career coaching,  ADD coaching,  ADHD coaching,  ADD coach,  ADHD coach,  leadership coaching, and  executive coaching. Schedule your free 20-minute  coaching phone consultation with Sasha Raskin As a  counselor in Boulder, CO, Sasha provides  individual counseling in Boulder, CO ,  family therapy in Boulder, CO, and  couples therapy in Boulder,  marriage counseling in Boulder, and  couples intensives /  couples retreats, drawing from over ten years of clinical experience.  He does  couples therapy Boulder,  online couples therapy,  Online Marriage Counseling  ,  online relationship counseling,   and marriage counseling boulder.

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