Interview with Wendy Wright -A Money Therapist Shares the Money Mindset Secrets She Teaches and How She Built and Runs her Successful Business. Wendy is teaching Private Practice owners how to manage their success and money mindsets. Her niche is also a niche practice that you may not have heard of, until today. She is living proof you can evolve a practice into entirely new type of business.
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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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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.
Private Practice Therapist: An Interview with Wendy Wright
Sasha Raskin: Hi, Wendy.
Wendy Wright: Hi, Sasha.
Sasha Raskin: I'm very excited to have this call because you are doing some exciting things that not a lot of providers are doing. So a good way to start would be if you could say a little about who you are, what do you do, who do you help.
Wendy Wright: Absolutely, yes. Thank you so much for thinking of me and inviting me on. I love what I do and I love talking about what I do, so I might get too excited while we're talking, but that's cool.
Sasha Raskin: Oh, please get excited.
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: The world needs more excited people.
Wendy Wright: Yeah. I am ... so my name is Wendy Wright, you can find me at wendywrightcounseling.com. I am technically a licensed marriage and family therapist, been one for over 20 years, and I am specifically a financial therapist which is a relatively new sort of niche I guess you'd say of therapy. That I kind of tiptoed, found my way into actually through the doorway of being a certified eating disorder specialist and an intuitive eating counselor, so it's kind of a unique story there that I'll share more of.
So currently what I do right now is I'm in private practice and based in Denver, but I work with clients in different states and different countries because what I do is so rare. Financial therapy is like, as I said, it's pretty new, Bari Tessler wrote The Art of Money I think maybe eight or ten years ago, it's one of the first people to really coin the phrase financial therapy. I've been through her course and read her book and all that. So if anyone's familiar with that, what I do is help people both one-on-one and in groups really process through some of that work. And then I also do what I call foundational money coaching as well, I'm trained through Karen McCall’s financial recovery institute for that, and I use tools.
But even before that my undergrad was in business and computer information systems and marketing. So when I think about therapy, I have therapists that are my clients and I help them figure out their money story, and also organize their money in their therapy practice, which it's so freeing, it's so exciting to see them, they're no longer losing sleep over it, they feel comfortable. Like, when I say a lot of times to my clients, I'm like, "What if I told you, you could have a mindful and meditative experience with your money?" And at first they're like, "Oh, no way. That's not possible." And it happens, it begins to happen.
Sasha Raskin: What if your emotional experience that's related to the word money would actually be positive, right?
Wendy Wright: Exactly.
Sasha Raskin: Wouldn't that be nice?
Wendy Wright: Exactly, yeah. And it's possible. So that kind of gives you enough popcorn to pick from, all the different pieces. Where would you like to go from there?
Sasha Raskin: Well, I would love for you to kind of share your journey throughout your different milestones in your business. Since you are successful at what you do, you already have this information about what would be good shortcuts for people to take and to focus on and what not to do right in terms of getting that information out there. So to start with what do you think are the main milestones in your practice helping others?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, the milestones, that's a good way of looking at it too, I think because there's a very, very small subset of therapists who also are business undergrads, so I've been a mortgage banker, I was a realtor, I've had my own business and all this kind of stuff. Then I went back to school to be a therapist. So that is a little bit unique because sometimes when you're in school to be a therapist you're not even thinking about the business part. And so one of the things that I think is really ...
Sasha Raskin: Sadly.
Wendy Wright: Sadly, yes. And that's what we're here and your six figure practice, the courses that you're offering also, because one of the things I think is really important is to recognize that you are a business owner. If you have a private practice you're a business owner and all that that entails, which also part of my journey and part of anyone's journey as a business owner is to recognize what you do well and do more of it, and what you don't do well. Like, for me, personally I'm the type of person that if I'm working on something and I have to pick the font, I'm one of those, I will admit it, I can spend hours picking the font and the color and get locked into that. You guys know who I'm talking about, raise your hand, don't be ashamed.
And so what I recognized, one of the best investments that I made was to have somebody create my brand. So that way the font and the colors they're done and I don't lose time doing that. So there's little places where you find out what do you do well - do more of that; what do you not do as well. And also connecting with other people, like the people who I found the gal who helped me with my branding by looking at other people's branding, looking at, "Oh, I really like the way I feel when I do this," and that kind of stuff too. So thinking of yourself as a business owner is a big one.
And also if that in and of itself creates anxiety or you feel like, "Ugh, I can't be. I don't want to be a business owner." That's totally fine, because one of the big principles that I use to approach to money work came from my ... as a certified intuitive eating counselor, if you've read intuitive eating, if you're familiar with it, it is really helpful to understand the ... to me, what is so life-changing is approaching everything with compassionate curiosity and not judgment, so looking at if you're feeling like, "Ugh, I cannot be a business owner." Well, Sasha, we're here to tell them you are a business owner whether you want to be or not, right?
Sasha Raskin: Exactly.
Wendy Wright: But looking at that with curiosity and zero judgment. We'll look at what are the fears that are coming up, what's the worst thing that could happen if you are a business owner. Like, unpacking that. That's a lot of what I do, both one-on-one with clients or in ... one of my groups is called money mindfulness mastermind, and that is what we do - we kind of journey into where are the blocks, how's it getting in the way, how does that show up? So those are a couple of the big milestones that I have my practice.
And then as a lot of people do, you know, there's the whole like do I take insurance or do I take private pay. I had a coach help me through that question, because that brings up a lot of emotions, it brings up a lot of like if there's any scarcity. One of the things that I help people a lot is identifying scarcity mindsets and how that shows up, because it can show up a lot with money. And it doesn't always look like you think it's going to look. It doesn't always look like I'm scared to spend my money, sometimes it looks like maybe you scream and yell at somebody who overcharges you a dollar. That might be coming from a scarcity mindset. So there's places just to unpack what the mindsets are and how that shows up.
So I had people helping me, encouraging me in this path. Karen McCall was a big one; Bari Tessler's work is a big one for that too of really knowing, "Hey, this is important. You can do this." And setting up your business right and marketing right helps that. So those ... I think those are some of the big milestones that come off the top of my head.
Sasha Raskin: So one big thing that they hear is you practice what you preach, right?
Wendy Wright: Drastically.
Sasha Raskin: You're saying, "Well, I help clients, why not get help from others that know the road ahead," right?
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: Who can help me walk through those things, right? Many times I speak to counselors or coaches who their main goal is I need clients right now but they don't have their own coach or don't have a support system because they "save money," right? They don't have money.
Wendy Wright: Right.
Sasha Raskin: But it comes out, comes through on the phone consultation with their potential clients. So something that we talk a lot about is this balance between finding your niche, in the six-figure practice program, and so limiting yourself too much and not allowing yourself to be open to working with various population versus just doing everything. And I'm curious about your transition from marriage and family therapy, right? You said marriage and family therapy at first, and to financial therapist, and you said before we started recording this call that there are around 100 people who go with that name. How's that for you? That's a pretty strict I guess ...
Wendy Wright: Niche.
Sasha Raskin: Niche right there.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, well, I do believe in the power of the niche, like finding your target market. But I also get that it's super scary, like for me one of, as many therapists maybe, I want to help everybody, I don't want to rule anybody out because everybody like, especially when it comes to a lot of ... I really think of myself as a shame buster, so I'm really helping people bust through money shame, and so it's hard sometimes to think about that. But there's a lot of power in bringing to yourself the clients that you want to work with and the clients that are ready to do the work.
Sasha Raskin: Yes.
Wendy Wright: And I find that developing sort of your target market and your target audience and then having some support around who is this, and it's not hard to find, there are a lot of people who'll give you sort of the basic exercises of naming your ideal client and getting really specific. I've done several of those through the years. But if that feels overwhelming sometimes it's easy enough to just say, and I have one of my coaches tell me this too, "Think of yourself 10 years ago. What did you want to know? What did you want to hear?" Okay, there's your target market, like if you're struggling to be like, "Ugh, how do I boil this down or whatever." Sometimes it's easy to go with just that easy step. And so that is something that has been easy for some of my clients.
Because part of what happens when you get really overwhelmed is then it's hard to make a decision, so part of what I'd like to help people do is break down their decision making, I call it their decision-making matrix. And we kind of look at it, and I can say a little bit more about that later, but that ... so when you're really identifying your target market it's part of what you're doing, you're making some decisions and you're breaking it down in a way that's manageable.
Sasha Raskin: How did you handle that fear of moving to ... well, even marriage and family therapy it's by itself kind of niche within the counseling profession. And how did you shift towards being a financial therapist?
Wendy Wright: Well, it's a little bit of a story through the doors of eating disorders and back. Do you want me to tell the whole story?
Sasha Raskin: Yeah. Yeah, how are those connected?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, so I became a marriage and family therapist, it's funny because it's kind of a niche but to me it's also kind of very broad because everybody has a larger family, it's kind of like ...
Sasha Raskin: Good point.
Wendy Wright: So that part was ... that's the degree I went for. Through the years, probably over ... well, time frame like I don't know. I also then began working ... I had a private practice, then I got divorced, then I needed a full-time job because I needed a little more stability. Had I known then what I know now about my money mindset and my money story I wouldn't have needed to do that. But at the time I believed it, believed that I needed the outside structure and support in a steady paycheck. So that happened.
In that I specialized in eating disorders. Now I'm in recovery from my own and I truly believe in the intuitive eating philosophies for recovery there. And so as I was working at high levels of care and eating disorders, and I think it's because I have a business background I have a comfort level with money, I began to notice that my clients with eating disorders began to as they shut down the eating disorder they began to show the same behaviors with money. So they began to ...
Sasha Raskin: They just shifted.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, they just kind of shifted it. And it was whether it be scarcity or chaos. I think of it often in terms of rigidity or chaos. So if you tend to be highly rigid with food, body or exercise then we see a lot of rigidity around money; chaotic - the same. So I have another group that I run called the intersection of money and milkshakes because is it is where we process what it's like when you begin to really can understand that you have a similar relationship and patterns and behaviors with food and money. What I find in that is that it helps bust through shame, because instead of thinking you're just stupid and have bad habits and things like those are shame messages, so then we look at, "Oh, no, we see this in more than one place. There's some underlying messages here." And so that group really focuses on that. It's a 12-week experience, there's homework and we do process groups and things like that.
So as I began to see this showing up in my clients I literally started Googling. "Has anyone else noticed the emotional connection with money?" And this was probably maybe eight years or so ago. And then I found Bari Tessler's book and then I found Karen McCall’s book which is called financial recovery, and I was just thrilled that I was like, "Okay, I'm not the only one. They see this." And so then as I began to move into private practice I really started wanting to do more and more financial therapy with this sort of hybrid therapy coaching sort of thing that I do with people that helps them not only identify their money story, their money blocks but also then set up money patterns and many practices that are doable, that can be mindful, meditative and create less anxiety. So it's kind of how I got there was very unexpected course, but I love it. I'm so excited to be able to do this.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, it's wonderful. You really connected the dots, right? It's as if like one of my coaches, Rich Lipton, he says, "The way we do one thing is the way we do all things." So in a way you said, "Well, money is kind of like a digestive system as well, right? The way we spend money and earn money." And you found that connection.
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: And you're combining therapy and coaching as well. I just had, we had our monthly call with the six-figure practice program participants, and ... well, what I said is that I wish for all of them, for the counselors on the call, to add coaching to their services and all the freedom that comes with it. And I can talk forever about it, but I want to hear from you, how has that transition for you, to add kind of more coaching elements to your counseling practice?
Wendy Wright: So I find it very lovely to be honest, because what happens when we're therapeutically guiding, so that's kind of what I would call it, especially with something that can be so fraught with shame and judgment, and I'm talking to someone about money - first I get to know them and their story and I also get to ... I want to know things like, "What is your learning style?" Because that often really explains a lot about how they manage numbers.
Sasha Raskin: Interesting.
Wendy Wright: Some people are very comfortable with the spreadsheet, some people are way more comfortable with ... sometimes we'll use a deck of cards and we'll use something a little more tactile. I start everybody with writing. And so if you are interested I have a freebie that's sort of a way, a prompt of journaling about your transactions and this helps everybody. And I start with writing because we want to go down all the way to the basic learning style, so we'll start with that.
And then we'll begin to move from that. Once we see ... so they'll write down the transaction, so it may be like, "Today I went to target. I got tennis shoes and shampoo." And then a thought and a feeling. So that's where therapy and coaching meets. We're tracking the money and then we're adding the thought and the feeling.
Then as we get to know the thought and the feeling, we have a better idea of what tracking system is going to work best for this person and what kind of support they might need from me. Some people can meet with me once a month and be fine, some people need a little more support and encouragement, a little more chance to ... or benefit from more one-on-one as far as let's get it, let's really look at how this is and look at what gets in the way, because as you know, that's a lot of where therapy comes in. It's kind of the way I describe therapy, when you've tried to do something over and over and over again and you see yourself breaking promises to yourself or doing the same thing over and over, then therapy can come in to sort of go into looking in where is the block here then because it's so obvious.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, nicely said. I'm curious for you, what were the main challenges at the beginning of your private practice, and both financial mindset and maybe blockages for the extent you want to share. And also as a fresh business owner, it sounds like you weren't really fresh in that regard, but knowing myself I had a marketing agency for 15 years before I went into counseling and coaching and still I came across some specific challenges to the counseling.
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: I'm curious what was your journey at the beginning.
Wendy Wright: Absolutely. I appreciate you asking that too because what's so important to remember is you and I are humans, so none of this is above us, like I really like ... at first when I first started therapy I was like, "Oh, my gosh. What am I doing? And how is this happening?" And then even as I began to move into having my own private practice, my own business, we all have those moments of like, "Oh, my gosh. People are paying me for this? What is this about? How is this happening? And is this a fluke," and that kind of stuff.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, it's totally random.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, and it'll just pop up every now and then. And so what's helped me because ... well, okay, so one of the things that I first recognized with eating disorders and is also true with money disorders which money disorders is ... Brad Klontz in his ... I can't think of his ... we can share a link to it if we want to, but he was one of the founding people to recognize financial therapy too, and so he kind of really coined and said, "Yeah, there's a money disorder."
Sasha Raskin: That's a good name.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, so what happens though is when you're in recovery, and this is where in the intersection of money and milkshakes group we kind of talk about this some too, it would be so nice if your hair turned purple the more serious your money disorder got and got less purple as it got better, because so much of it's in your thought life, it's not super obvious. So when we're a therapist who is in business and part of our business is sitting with people and guiding and listening and all of these kind of things, it would be really nice if at the beginning of the session we could tell the difference in how purple their hair was, right? So it's not so obvious.
So what I've developed or kind of in my mindset, I'm like, "Okay, what are the kind of things that tell me that I'm doing an okay job and that this is working?" And there's some of them, and this is some of the stuff I talked about in the mastermind group, is looking at, "Do they book the next session? Do they book 10 sessions in a row?" A lot of times I'll have my clients pre-book, and so that's a good sign that they're getting a value for their investment. "Do they do the homework?" Or, if they don't do the homework, do they feel comfortable talking about it? Because I always say when I'm giving therapy homework and like this is ... this isn't ... if you do it that's one thing, if you don't do it that's another thing. We want to talk about it with curiosity and not judgment.
So there's little markers that we have to devise as therapists that will tell us, "Okay, am I on target here? Is this working? This is how my business is growing, when is it time to raise my fee? How does that look?" And I have a whole section on pricing. I just gave a talk on pricing too, I think we're going to load that onto my website soon too, but a lot of this shows up in that too.
And then having mentors, coaches, people or peers, colleagues who are saying, "Yeah, you're doing a good job, this is really needed." Like, I need that, it really helps me. Because like my parents don't know what the heck I do, they can't tell me if I'm doing ... like they're really proud of me, so, hey, mom and dad. They're really proud of me but they also ... my dad was in insurance and my mom worked in administration.
Sasha Raskin: So they're probably employees, right? The majority of counselors and coaches, business owners, they get advice and feedback from employees and employee mindset is very different from entrepreneur.
Wendy Wright: Very good point. Yes, exactly. And so for me, and I'm just more ... I'm more entrepreneurial minded, like I have another business right now too that is separate, this is part of how I manage all this too because I have this other business that is called recovery roadmaps, recoveryroadmaps.com. It is specifically a webinar series for families of eating disorders, of people with eating disorders. But it's taken ... so my private practice is really focused on financial therapy and this is a whole other business that I run. And then I just have ideas all the time, so that's fun for me.
Sasha Raskin: I love that. And I'm thinking about Emily Wapnick’s idea, the multi-potentialities, many times business owner get into the trap of thinking, "Well, I just need to focus on one thing. And if I need to focus on one thing, how do I choose? I have many interests." It's okay. Who said you need to choose, right?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, right.
Sasha Raskin: Well, you need to kind of hyper focus for a while on one business, that probably would be helpful, right? But, yeah, it's great to hear that you run several businesses around things you're passionate about. Do you remember any specific challenge that you had to overcome as an new business owner in private practice? And how did you overcome it?
Wendy Wright: Yes, so a couple different challenges come to my mind; one would be just that I get a lot of ideas and so I have a hard time sometimes thinking where do I want to focus this. And I think this might seem ironic, I don't know, like I have a marketing degree, I've done ... I had different kind of marketing experiences and different jobs too. When it comes to my private practice I find it a lot more helpful to have someone else do the marketing for me. And so I think that because I understand the power of marketing, and I did my first few Instagram posts and I did my first website and things like that too, but when I was able to find the right marketing people and I'm really enjoying the people who are doing my marketing right now, and that's part of what we talked about in the mastermind too is finding people who understand your voice. I've had it both ways - I love to write but I also have help sometimes doing the writing so that I don't get bogged down in the details.
And so knowing kind of where I can get really locked up is some of the flood of ideas, and what's the best vehicle and how do we do it, and do we do podia or (kajabi?), like how do we know what format I want and things like that. So I look for mentors who can help me with that.
Sasha Raskin: People that know the road ahead, right?
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: Get me unstuck.
Wendy Wright: That are a little bit ahead of me. Totally.
Sasha Raskin: They already made those mistakes, so why would you pay the price if they can pay the price for you?
Wendy Wright: Exactly. And I think it makes me a better therapist because I'm more present in my sessions.
Sasha Raskin: For sure, yeah.
Wendy Wright: I'm more grounded and more able to bring myself to help people in the moments that they're needing me too.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, you're working in your zone of genius, right? The fact that you can do other things doesn't mean that you need to do them.
Wendy Wright: Right, which is really important. And it really helps to have, like that's what I try to encourage my clients and their therapist that were working on their business coaching and things like that, really helping reduce their decision-making loops, really helping reduce decision-making fatigue. And some of that's looking at, "Hey, yes, you can do anything." I mean, I'm a single mom so I can do anything, let me just tell you. I've learned that. But I don't have to.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, you already run the most complicated business on earth.
Wendy Wright: Exactly. And so finding that help and then recognizing, and I like to tell my marketing team, "You guys are playing a role in helping change people's lives with their relationship with money." Like, I want to empower them that they are having a role in this. So it's all kind of a loop.
Sasha Raskin: So what would be the stage when a therapist in private practice or a coach should think about starting building a team? And what would be the first person to hire?
Wendy Wright: Well, that's such a good question. So I would say, and because I work with other entrepreneurs, like I have some gals who are talented artists with hair and makeup and some that are acupuncture and some that are coaches and some that are therapists - I think that it's really helpful actually to start at the beginning with a mentor or a business coach. That's one of the things that we do in my mastermind group is we make a business plan. And I have a little tool that helps break it down, because one of the first things that I'll have people do, which anyone who's listening is welcome to do, is what I call the four quarters page. And just taking one page, breaking it into four boxes, quarter one, two, three and four and writing down as specific as possible, there's something about putting it on one piece of paper and handwriting it that a lot of my clients have found helpful to break down some of that overload.
So having a plan and also recognizing too ... another really important thing is knowing your personal money before you try to figure out your business money. That I found to be really important, because unless you know how much money you want your business to bring in you're going to feel unsatisfied. So that's a really important issue. And I use a tool, it's called money grit, it's through the financial recovery institute, it's called money grit and it is kind of like Mint meats Tiller HQ meet you need a budget, like it's all of these different pieces with some therapeutic components put into it. And we use one for business and one for personal, but we do the personal first because you want to know, you know?
When you go into, especially for therapists, often I find they go into, "I just want to help people." But if you go into I just want to help people and then you can't pay your rent then ...
Sasha Raskin: What about your own oxygen mask?
Wendy Wright: Exactly. And so having some sort of business mentorship I think can be really important. There are some really nice companies now, simple practice does one, there's other ones that will help you. And even just Squarespace, things like that, will help you build a basic website. Don't over think it.
Sasha Raskin: Yes.
Wendy Wright: So get support and overpaying ...
Sasha Raskin: Like music to my ears.
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: We have a lesson in the six figure practice program, it's called build your website in 17 minutes. So literally just follow step by step what I show you and you will have a great website, done. Like, why does it need to take years, right? You can do it as you go.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, and that's where curiosity and not judgment comes in, because then you get to name what are the fears. Because spending a lot of time, I find spending a lot of time, hours and hours and hours on building the perfect website is often a tool of avoidance because you're afraid of failure.
Sasha Raskin: Oh, good point. Very nice point.
Wendy Wright: So we want to look at that and we want to say, "Okay, what's coming up with this?" And then go with, "Okay, go with something." Because a beautiful website is kind of like having a beautiful piece of paper in your backpack that nobody sees if you don't have the SEO to back it up.
Sasha Raskin: It's my masterpiece book I've been working on for 20 years but no one is never going to see it, right?
Wendy Wright: Exactly.
Sasha Raskin: Because I just need to finish the last chapter, but that last chapter never happens.
Wendy Wright: Yeah. Because the fears get in the way. And that's okay, it's okay to name the fears. I have fears too, like one of my early coaches asked me once that I thought was really helpful, "What do you ..." How did she phrase this? "Think of yourself three months from now, what do you want to look back and say you did or didn't do?" That helped me bust through some places where I was stuck. So little places like that, getting that kind of feedback, remembering you're a business owner not just a therapist. Being a therapist is a big deal too, so yeah.
Sasha Raskin: I think what you just said is super important. Many times I see counselors and coaches when they build their practice they get stuck in two extremes - on the one hand is a DIY, do it yourself, "I'm going to do everything myself. I'm going to figure it out myself." The other side which in my mind is also total extreme is DFY, right? Done for you. "I'm going to hire people and just throw away money so that they can just take care of it. I don't want to look at it. I don't want to hear about it." And those are two extremes.
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: I think what you are talking about is done with you, right?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, I love that. I like it.
Sasha Raskin: It's from my coach, Takimo, he's great. So why not hire a coach or a mentor or just join a group or buy an online class like yours or like mine, the sixfigurepractice.com? Just saying.
Wendy Wright: Right.
Sasha Raskin: And take the steps and save that time, money and, honestly - frustration, with trying to throw that spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks, because the majority won't stick because you're just doing the trial and error.
Wendy Wright: Yeah. And that's a really good point too, because I see a lot of times when I'm working with therapists who struggle with fear and anxiety also, and I think anyone can look at this too, when you see a coaching program of some sort that is real, like $10,000 or something like that, like they want to rush into that. It's more about alleviating anxiety than really recognizing is that what I need. And so that's where we want to pause and say, "What do you need?" Because maybe what you need can be $50 a month.
Like, I started out with marketing at $50 a month. I try to keep marketing ... and these are some of the markers that I like to give my clients too, like I like to keep marketing between 1 and 10%, depending on what I'm doing. So if I know that or if I know my coaching ... I want my own coach to be with this ... once I know my business plan, and part of that can be put on one page, like that's part of what we want to do is we want to build a plan, then we can say, "Okay."
And that's one of the things I do with my clients it's business and personalized. We want to move from living out of your bank balance or your sort of like mental markers of what feels like enough or too much to living out of a plan. So once we build the plan then we know, "Okay, this marketing makes sense to this plan, not just makes sense to the world."
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so you're saying really outcome-based, right? Figure out the outcome and reverse engineer it, right?
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: Versus trying and seeing what works and then finding yourself in a place where you don't want to be in the first place, right? I worked with a coach who was doing just EMDR, just trauma work. And was burned out, so much vicarious trauma, and she hated it and I guess it wasn't good for her clients either. And she's been doing this for more than a decade but she didn't figure out, like she didn't do the initial work of figuring out who I actually want to help and how would I feel if my week is filled with working just with these clients, right? And I think she was ready to quit, and that's a shame, right?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, absolutely.
Sasha Raskin: So [unclear/cross talking 35:15] and then making it happen.
Wendy Wright: And doing the analytics. There's a lot of analytics that are set up for us now when we have someone that knows what they're doing, hiring someone to help you analyze your marketing and where your clients are ... even just simply asking where did you hear about me and tracking them, not just asking it, but tracking it is very powerful, very powerful. And looking at it every ... I like to do things by quarters because monthly is too much and a year is too long.
Sasha Raskin: Yes.
Wendy Wright: So coming in each quarter and looking at some of these specific points is another part of the advice I give people.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, you're talking about assessment, right? Knowing your numbers and asking your clients how they find you. This is super important, many counselors don't do it or don't do it consistently. And in our program we use like little script for phone consultations, question number two is ... well, I'm blanking out on it right now.
Wendy Wright: Where you found me or how you found me?
Sasha Raskin: No, that's actually a challenging one because usually it would be Google, I did Google research. That doesn't really help you. But a better one is, "Why did you think I'm the person to call?"
Wendy Wright: Oh, that's a good question.
Sasha Raskin: And that does two things - one they will mention how they find you and then they will say what was the most effective marketing strategy within that, right? So many times people will tell me like, "You have like the most reviews I saw like in the whole area." And then I know, "Okay, so reviews are important."
Wendy Wright: And it's important, it's a part of caring for your client too, you want to know how that client came to work with you so that someone else can ... you can build that path so others can come too. So for those who might feel, "Okay, that's too salesy or that's too personal," or whatever, I encourage to see that as part of client care.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, exactly.
Wendy Wright: Absolutely.
Sasha Raskin: And then they qualify themselves to me, right?
Wendy Wright: Absolutely.
Sasha Raskin: Basically why kind of, you know, kind of say out loud why do we actually, do they actually want to work with me. You said too salesy, I hear it a lot in questions from the participants, like different things they want to try but they're scared because they think that it would feel too salesy to their potential clients. Do you ever come across that with the people you work with?
Wendy Wright: That fear for sure, yes.
Sasha Raskin: The fear of sales.
Wendy Wright: The fear of feeling that way too, which, again, I'm going to sound like a little bit of a broken record but I find it a good one - we want to look at that with curiosity and not judgment, because what's happening here is you're naming your relationship to sales. So we want to look at what is the context, what are some of your early memories of sales. And I have a marketing undergrad so I definitely understand, there's some people still using those classic sales pitches that were developed a long time ago.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah.
Wendy Wright: And I can hear them, I'm like, "You read a book, didn't you?" But when you are talking about the passion you have for what you do and there's ways to look at both exploring your relationship to sales and then also creating a place where you can feel more and more comfortable talking about what it is that you do out of your passion not your desperation.
Sasha Raskin: Yes.
Wendy Wright: And there's a lot more to that, but I think those are some really easy places to look at how that can work.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, like what's the impact, right? I had a call today with my client, he sells marketing products to a specific industry. And we talked about this kind of sales reluctance, like there's actual term for that, right? That he has sometimes. And then we calculated real quick, in 25 years if he keeps on doing that what is the minimum impact, how many lives he can impact. And it was two million, like the minimum amount of life. That's a pretty good, positive impact on the world, right?
Wendy Wright: Yeah. It's really helpful to have someone help you think it through and talk about it and break through some of the fear that might ... or it might be someone's money story coming up, because they might feel like, "Oh, I'm asking for money," or whatever it is, it's like curiosity not judgment really helps you understand it.
Sasha Raskin: And I think that just shifting from sales in terms of taking to sales as giving, right?
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: So can you structure, for example, your sales call or intake call, whatever name you put on it, like you need to be hired in order to work with clients, right?
Wendy Wright: Right.
Sasha Raskin: So what if you structure it in a way that you give value whether they work with you or not. That would be kind of a good use of your time, their time, and many times I have situations when for some reason it wasn't a good fit but those potential clients refer clients to me even though they don't ... just because they got value out of the quick call, right?
Wendy Wright: Absolutely, yeah. Because it's very energetic, whether a therapist is a good fit, so it's okay very to not take it personally if somebody doesn't feel that initial connection with you. That's okay.
Sasha Raskin: Yes.
Wendy Wright: That's okay.
Sasha Raskin: Would it be okay for you as a business owner if you don't feel a good fit with them to say no?
Wendy Wright: Oh, for sure, yeah. Because it's important from ...
Sasha Raskin: You didn't hesitate.
Wendy Wright: Oh, yeah, no. Because it's important, like if I'm not the right fit for someone, if I'm not going to be able to bring them what it is that they're looking for we're both going to feel pretty lousy.
Sasha Raskin: So usually it's two-way street.
Wendy Wright: Yes, definitely.
Sasha Raskin: After your private practice grew, maybe a few years into it, what were the new challenges then?
Wendy Wright: New challenges will be ... probably will continue to be some of the same like how do I help the most people in the best way with my energy limitations, because I'm human so I have energy limitations. And so continuing to find ways of helping people with this will probably continue to be a challenge. And also continuing to, although I think I'm in pretty good spot with the team right now, but that will always be sort of a challenge and sort of a part for long-term business, sustaining a business, having those key pieces, those key players there will be something to pay attention to as well.
Sasha Raskin: So you're seeing kind of later stages. Like, you move from one person to a team, like you have to. What was your order, like in terms of hiring, either freelancers or in terms of bringing people on your team? You said you started with a mentor, what's next?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, I started with a mentor and then I began working with a copywriter and then I began ... I did a little bit of work with a virtual assistant, but I found that the marketing team, once I got to the next level of having a marketing team, there are several people that work within this group and so they do things like ... things that the virtual assistant was doing for me and things that the writer was doing for me. So once I got to that place, and it's kind of like a lot of things too, I was kind of piece milling the financial commitment to the help. So now I have it all in one place and it's more streamlined, it's not terribly much more expensive but the whole work is being followed by them and so it actually I think I feel lifted up by the process.
Sasha Raskin: So you simplified the whole process of working with a team as well.
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: How many hours do you have people working for you and what are the tasks that they're doing if you want to share?
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: And at what point would a counselor or a coach need to do that? Would it be, for example, when they are full, I don't know, 20 to 40 clients a week and they are ready to switch from one-to-one to one-to-many or maybe it makes sense to do it even before?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, let me think, okay. I would say to start small and have someone do ... I like to kind of try people out with some social media posts first because then I get to see if they get my voice. There's certain things as therapists that are very different, very unique to us.
Sasha Raskin: Very true.
Wendy Wright: I don't like to make bold statements or like I don't like to say, "You're going to change your life completely." Like, because that's not true. But therapy has a lot more language of like we want to experience change, things that indicate that for me, I like to indicate there's going to be a flow and change and things like that. So starting out small can be really helpful to see if they get your voice and they get your style.
Starting out with a virtual assistant might be a really nice place. That was a nice place for me to start because I could spend a little bit of time writing up an email, for instance, a newsletter, and then the virtual assistant could come in for just a couple of hours and actually load it into Mailchimp and load it into whatever social media that I might be doing at the time. So it was kind of like baby stepping into it, and that was really helpful.
Sasha Raskin: So it can all be gradual, right?
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: It doesn't have to be you're going to hire a team of five people and everyone has ...
Wendy Wright: Right. And I find that to be helpful to take it that way. For me that was helpful and that everybody has their own story and their own path.
Sasha Raskin: Where do you find people to hire?
Wendy Wright: Ah, well, word of mouth has been really helpful for me to be honest.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so filtering people out by ...
Wendy Wright: Yeah. And looking, I like to look at ... if I see someone else's marketing that I really like then I want to find out who's doing their marketing.
Sasha Raskin: Oh, that's a good idea.
Wendy Wright: That helps me too. If I see someone's writing I really like, yeah, so I think that's a really helpful tool as well. And interviewing more than one person. Remembering you're a business owner and this is a part of your team, and so it's okay to interview. You don't have to go with the first person even though they might be lovely, but you might ... you want to hear from two or three different people, you want to see how their style and things like that too. That's okay.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, wonderful. Wendy, this is more of an invitation than a question because it's a little vulnerable one but you don't strike me as a person who shies away from vulnerability, I'm wondering if you could share one mistake that you wish you hadn't done in your business. And maybe it can be like a little warning for the listeners, the people who are watching this.
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: As a business owner.
Wendy Wright: Absolutely. So the one that comes to my mind, off the top of my head, and I guess since we're talking about marketing is last year I had some lovely human beings doing marketing for me that we ended up parting ways. I guess you could say I fired them. I don't know how you want to phrase that. But because ... so I felt like it was I learned from it but also ...
Sasha Raskin: It was what? I'm sorry.
Wendy Wright: It was an experience that I learned from, but it is something that we spent three or four months together and I was having to rewrite everything because they just weren't getting my voice. So it was taking more time than not. And there were just things ... that thing is it just wasn't gelling, which, again, they're lovely people, they have their niche, it just wasn't me. So that part definitely ... it's hard to say it was a mistake because I learned a lot from it and I feel like I'm better equipped to help other therapists find their marketing people from the experience, but it was definitely something that took me several months to figure out and then I was like, "This isn't working," so we parted ways.
Sasha Raskin: So what would be, if you would do it again, what would be different in the process? Like, would you be more discerning in hiring, would you be letting them go earlier, what would that be?
Wendy Wright: Yeah, I would have started slower, because we jumped into a more of a package mindset. I would have ... there were a few things that I saw, and again, this is just my personal taste.
Sasha Raskin: Of course.
Wendy Wright: So everybody's a little different, but there were a few things that I saw in some of their existing work that I was like, "Oh, I'm not quite sure they're going to understand what I'm doing," but I didn't listen to that. So listening to my intuition a little bit more, starting slower, interviewing a few more people, and then also but still recognizing, hey, sometimes we just do something and, okay, it doesn't work. So having that ability to cut ties with someone and say, "Hey, this isn't a good fit." That's important to be able to do that.
Sasha Raskin: Wonderful. Many of the people that are listening right now they have ... well, and counselors and coaches in general, like the big question is how do I find more clients, right? That's a big one, right?
Wendy Wright: Ah, yes.
Sasha Raskin: So knowing what you know already, what were some of the great marketing strategies that really worked and that you might be thinking, well, I should have done that earlier or more of that? And which ones potentially were a waste of time and money?
Wendy Wright: Well, I'm going to say even for me with marketing and computer information systems, so I understand how computers work and the internet and all that stuff, I was a slow learner when it ... or slow adapter of really knowing it's important to get some SEO help. So that I wish I had picked up faster.
Sasha Raskin: SEO, yes.
Wendy Wright: And not tried to do it myself, because I found that once I handed that particular, that one thing, off to somebody else especially because people are looking for a financial therapist from, not just in Denver, so they're looking for this all over, so internet searches are important for people to find me. So being quicker to move into hiring that helped. I think that would be one thing. And not getting too worked up on doing everything myself I think is another thing that comes to my mind.
Sasha Raskin: Yes, wonderful. What would be an advice for people who are just starting out?
Wendy Wright: Wow, well, I would say, "Don't try to do it in isolation." That's one of the things ... like one of the things that means a lot to me when I know I'm not alone, when I know I have a coach or a mentor or colleague or somebody who's like, "You are not alone in this." That's one of the reasons why I work one-on-one with people but I also do this group format because in the group you just, as you know, anyone who's done groups especially therapists who lead groups come to this group because you get to know you're not alone. And there's a lot of power in that. It really helps generate hope.
Sasha Raskin: Find a community.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, don't feel like you have to do ...
Sasha Raskin: Like people who are doing ... Sorry.
Wendy Wright: Yeah, exactly, people who are doing the same thing. Finding that community, find that group support, find that. Just remind yourself you don't have to do this in isolation, because therapy in and of itself is very isolating so we have to be pretty intentional. And a lot of things are, acupuncture, the list goes on. So we have to do this in a way where we're very intentional about our communities.
Sasha Raskin: That's wonderful. And what would be your advice for people who are already kind of further in their business development? Maybe they're almost full and they'll starting to think about, "Well, what's my next adventure. I'm going to hit a ceiling soon here with this one-on-one and the only way to grow as I know, if I keep on doing the same thing it's just add more hours, right? I don't want to do that."
Wendy Wright: And we can't do that, we're human, yeah. One of the things that helps me a lot is to take a day off and do sort of a little mini retreat. Start the day with some gentle like yoga, meditation kind of thing. Pause and then do just kind of a brain dump on a piece of paper and really ... but include numbers, I think it's really important to include numbers of like, "Okay, I would like to have this much income, how can I back engineer it?" Or what would you like to see yourself doing? Really visioning it as specifically as possible so that you can begin to see how else you'd like to show up for yourself. But it kind of have to take that pause, take that day off, take that, or a weekend ... not a weekend, take a day off in the middle of the week instead of working because by the weekend you need to refresh anyway.
And recognizing what is your limit, what are your limits of what do you want your day to look like. I have a lot of people do what is your dream week and I'll have them write it out and like be as specific as possible. "I want to get up at this time. I want to walk the dog at this time." Or, "Hey, you know what? I want to hire someone to walk that dog," or whatever, like what is that dream week? And do it with curiosity ... this is my phrase all the time - abundant compassionate curiosity and zero judgment and let it flow. And that can be really ... that can be really helpful.
Sasha Raskin: And zero judgment if you still have judgment, right?
Wendy Wright: Absolutely, yes.
Sasha Raskin: Wendy, this has been so much fun.
Wendy Wright: Oh, good.
Sasha Raskin: Yeah, so much information. And you're doing such an important work. I would many times talk to new clients, they would tell me about their biggest trauma as if it's not a thing, right? In the first, second session if I don't start talking about money with them they won't talk about it ever. It's like I think like bigger taboo than sex in a conversation.
Wendy Wright: That's what research shows.
Sasha Raskin: Oh, really? I didn't know that. That's so interesting. So it's just incredible to break this taboo, to talk about money, talk about therapists and coaches about fees and the emotions around money.
Wendy Wright: Yes.
Sasha Raskin: It's so important.
Wendy Wright: It's life-changing. It's life-changing. My clients will come and tell me that they're less reactive, they're fighting less or they're sleeping better or they're not having the racing thoughts, like there's just so much change that occurs once we approach money in a safe space.
Sasha Raskin: Wendy, if people want to get to know your work more or get more resource or maybe work with you, what are some ways they can do that and how do they find you?
Wendy Wright: Yes, cool. Okay, well, wendywrightcounseling.com is my basic website. We have two groups, the groups kind of run in 12 week cycles and so right now the next one starts the end of January, right now we're talking of January 2021 in case someone's finding this much later. And I do have a discount code for your listeners, so it's you'd go to wendywrightcounseling.com/groups.
Sasha Raskin: Do you mind spelling it real quick?
Wendy Wright: Yes, okay. W E N D Y W R I G H T C O U N S E L I N G.com/groups. And then the discount code is going to be the six figure practice 21, for $21 off either of the groups that you might enroll for, whether it be the money mindfulness mastermind which there's a whole bucket of information on the website about that of us really sitting and we spend, we meet every other week and I give you homework in between and we really identify your personal money, your relationship to money, money mindset and how that's showing up, so you can use a discount code for that; or the process group which is more process-y is the intersection of money and milkshakes, if you want some support and some ... again, homework as well for really breaking through some shame around money and food, and that theme is parallel and so we have those; or you can book a free consult if you want to talk about working with me individually - that is also on my website as well.
Sasha Raskin: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
Wendy Wright: Thank you, Sasha. I'm so thrilled you're doing what you're doing.
Sasha Raskin: It's my mission to close the gap. I teach at a counseling master's program, like there's ... I love it and there's zero information about how to build your private practice. And good luck with helping clients with your counseling skills if you don't have clients if you go into private practice, right?
Wendy Wright: Yeah.
Sasha Raskin: So that's my mission.
Wendy Wright: Love it.