Learning to Invest Time and Money
A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a cash based physical therapy practice owner about their marketing strategy and they were getting frustrated that they had to make an update to their email marketing software to help them advertise their services. Basically, they were paying to be able to increase the number of emails or contacts they could reach. Because of this, they started talking about how nothing is free when it comes to advertising yourself as a practice owner.
I was taken aback at first by this comment. I started thinking about how social media is free or even going door to door is free marketing. Doing cold outreach is also free. Because I immediately came up with several things in my head I knew were free versions of advertisements, I was confused.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that something like this can become a roadblock for many of us. We get frustrated because we want success, but we want it to happen as soon as possible so we can live our best life or leave our miserable clinic job. I'm here to tell you, success comes with a price, whether that be in the form of time or money.
Marketing is a Long Term Business Investment
More often than not, we don’t see immediate results when starting a cash based practice, and this can be frustrating. Believe me, if it were possible to upgrade email software and then the next day get a patient because of it, I’m sure as practice owners we wouldn’t bat an eye at spending the money. But the way advertisement, or marketing your practice works, is not instantaneous. It’s a long term investment and there are a lot of background factors that come into play to ensure success either short or long-term.
The practice owner I was speaking with was frustrated that they were having to spend money on something. I don’t know if she realized this, but this same practice owner would have to invest more time to replace the monetary investment she was frustrated about making.
The Sacrifice of Being a Business Owner
I wanted to share this experience because I feel like this is a good lesson to be learned by all business owners. You have to shift your mindset when trying to grow a business. You have to be willing to make both sacrifices and investments and you won’t necessarily see results immediately or even in the short term.
You have to be willing to sacrifice personal time, whether that looks like changing social aspects of your life, changing jobs, or spending less time in the clinic. You also may have to make monetary sacrifices like investing money into your business that you would have previously spent on fun and personal things. Disclaimer: when starting a business as a cash based practice owner, or any type of entrepreneur, it is highly likely you are going to be sacrificing both your time and money.
The more that you can become at peace with these sacrifices at the starting phases of a launching a business, the faster you are going to get where you want to be because you understand the commitment to yourself you’re making. I get it, the fear of the unknown is scary, but it’s practically impossible to grow a business if you’re not in the right headspace to make investments, whether that be in time or money. Looking to conquer fear of the unknown? Check out my blog post here.
My Experience Coaching Cash Based Practice Owners
With providing business coaching for cash practice owners, I have met several therapists all across the country. These are people who are potentially interested in getting help and guidance to start and grow their practice. During these calls, a very common theme I hear from these therapists is that they are all on a super tight budget. Most of them are coming right out of school, may have a family, a lower income, etc. and that’s okay. It’s still possible to launch a cash practice and grow your business.
What’s key to understand is that if you are unable to make a marketing investment or hire a business consultant for your business, you’re unable to save yourself time. With that being said, you sacrifice your time to keep your money. Because of this, it takes a lot of hustle that is commonly associated with the entrepreneurship culture - the 5 to 9 after the 9 to 5 kind of thing. That’s what it takes to get your practice and your business up and running.
Putting in this amount of effort will help to get you to a place where you can leave your job or drop to part-time/PRN and move into a full-time role with your business. Again, it’s okay if you are unable to invest money into your business. You’re just going to have to increase the amount of hustle you put toward your business, which will determine how quickly you are able to get things started.
How Long Does it Take to Create a Successful Business?
Over the past three years of doing business coaching, what I have seen is that if a person is working a full-time clinic job (usually Monday to Friday 8 to 6), it takes this person much longer than 6 months to build a full caseload of their own. I would say it typically is going to take these individuals close to a year with all of the things required when starting from scratch. Keep in mind, when starting from the ground up, you typically don’t have a network of contacts and so you’re putting yourself out there in the community and having to build relationships so that people start to see your credibility and build trust.
If I’m being even more realistic, twelve months of time is not necessarily foolproof to building a full caseload. Just looking back at the over 50 therapists I’ve worked with over the past three years, they end up achieving their goals in twelve to eighteen months. To do this, it takes a lot of consistent effort on their part over that timeframe, but it can be done.
On the other hand, the practice owners who are working part-time/PRN or are solely focusing on their business may be able to reach a full caseload in three to six months. This is obviously more ideal, but they are more likely able to achieve their goals in this timeframe because they had more time to dedicate to their business rather than spending a majority of their time working a full-time clinic job.
Underestimating Time to a Successful Business
I really wanted to point out this “mini case-study” I’ve done because sometimes I feel that we underestimate how much time and energy it really takes to grow a business. There’s this common misconception, especially on social media, where you’ll see all of these business owners talking about how amazing things are and they’re only working two hours a day. But, what did it take to get to that point?
I’ve been very fortunate in my journey so far for the experience I’ve had and what I’ve been able to grow my life and business into, but it’s taken a long time. I started this journey in 2019, so it’s taken me four years of actively going after what I really wanted for myself and my business.
I could go on and on about this topic, but I really just wanted to drive home that it takes a lot of effort and energy to grow a business. When you make the decision to do so, it’s important you understand the full weight of what you’re going to have to invest to reach your goals.
When starting a business, your time is made up of solidifying foundational concepts for your business. This includes things like setting up a business entity, setting up basic marketing materials, developing confidence and sales skills, building relationships, and creating a clear message to help generate leads over time. These are the things that require “hustle” and if you don’t have a lot of time because you’re working a full-time job, it’s just going to take you a lot longer to succeed.
Time May be More Valuable Than Money
I could argue that time itself may be even more valuable than money. You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of time to invest, you’re going to have to invest money. This may look like purchasing a course, hiring a coach or consultant, hiring a marketing agency, paying for advertising, hiring an assistant or other therapist. These options cost money but save you time with the goal of helping you to make money at a quicker pace. This route may cost more money upfront, but the intent is to invest financially so that you see at least two to ten times return on your investment over time. When going this route, you have to think past the initial investment and look toward what it is saving you and how it is going to help you reach your goals a lot faster.
Holding Yourself Accountable to Achieve Your Goals
New practice owners often have the mindset that they can’t invest money into their business or marketing strategy because they’re low on funds. That’s okay, but it means you are going to have to invest the same amount, if not more time to see the same results. All marketing tactics are good and will work, but in order to have success it will take patience, consistency, and dedication over a long duration of time.
In that same token, if you’re torn between investing in a coaching program like DPT to CEO versus just figuring things out yourself, at first it may seem like the better option to figure it out yourself if funds are low. This strategy can definitely work, but it’s going to take longer, require more patience, and still require consistency and dedication probably over the duration of at least a year.
Regardless of the route you choose to go, investing time or money is going to require you to be dedicated and consistent. You are going to have to hold yourself accountable, do the boring things, and stay committed to achieve your goals. If you don’t do these things and don’t commit to yourself, you end up stuck and likely won’t see the results you are hoping for.
Upholding the Integrity of Your Cash Based Practice
The last concept I want to address, because I think it’s important to remember the next time you get frustrated about marketing or things costing money, is that as a business owner you are expecting people to pay you. You are expecting patients that you treat to be willing to pay you what you decide you’re worth. A lot of us practice owners charging a cash or out of network rate, are charging a pretty penny for our services. If we are expecting our patients to invest money in us, we shouldn’t be the ones unwilling to invest in ourselves. It makes it hard to run a business with integrity if these concepts aren’t aligned. Just food for thought ;)
In the end, starting a business and marketing your practice costs money. There’s definitely truth to the saying “you have to spend money to make money.” I would also add that if you can’t spend money, then you’re going to have to spend time to make the money you’re hoping for. Just as the old saying goes: YOGOWYPI, “you only get out what you put in.”
Launching and Growing Your Cash Practice
Without being willing to invest in your business and the marketing of your business, either with time, money, or both, your business cannot grow. If you are motivated to see your business grow or would like to start your own practice, definitely check out the information on my DPT to CEO program here.
If you’re looking for a plan or strategy to invest money into a coach or consultant, or you’re just looking for advice, I also offer complimentary consultation calls. These can be found on our website as well or you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Either way, whether it’s with me, somebody else, or on your own, if you’re looking to grow your business this year, now is a great time to give it the “good ole college try” to finish the year off on a high note.
Ask yourself: are you willing to start investing more time or money into your business? Whatever answer you come up with, respect that decision and trust that you’re going to get back whatever it is you’re putting in.
Listen to this episode on my podcast!