Many entrepreneurs find themselves living paycheck to paycheck each month and private practitioners are, unfortunately, no exception. This can be a difficult cycle to break and ultimately comes down to developing an abundance mindset as far as money is concerned.
One common question from therapists is “how can I afford to take vacation time when I’m not even sure I can earn enough money to pay my bills?”. This uncertainty can leave you feeling afraid to spend money or take time off because the focus is always on not having enough.
Money Mindset in Private Practice
The first step to setting yourself up to take vacation time is to begin developing an abundance mindset. By focusing on what is possible in your practice rather than worrying about what you might be lacking, you can work towards meeting your financial goals.
An easy way to work on your money mindset is to use a daily mantra such as “I will have more than enough clients to support my money goals” or “I have a positive relationship with money and know how to spend it wisely”. Even the simple practice of repeating your money mantra daily will start to dispel the fear you may feel around money. It’s important to mind your thoughts (and particularly limiting beliefs) because oftentimes, what we think, we become.
Consider Profit First
Next, consider how you think about money as an entrepreneur. It is likely that you view money in terms of income and expenses but it is time to start thinking about profit. The most important step you can take in order to master your money mindset as a private practitioner is to pay yourself first before spending your revenue on your expenses. It is also important to set aside savings for vacation or even retirement each month in the early stages of your business.
By looking at your profit first, you can then determine how much money you have remaining to pay your expenses. In doing this, you can begin to optimize your practice and make sound decisions when it comes to the programs, apps and systems you use (and perhaps opt for more cost effective options).
Because of this ‘income and expense’ thought process, you may think that when you start earning more, you’ll have more expendable income to pay off debt, afford a nice home or office, go on that vacation… but that is rarely what happens. If you aren’t thinking about profit first, a larger income won’t necessarily translate into the financial abundance and freedom you yearn for.
Set Aside Money for Time Off
As a private practitioner, it is possible to feel a sense of burnout, especially in the early stages as you develop boundaries and begin to build a business that suits your lifestyle. Taking vacation is a necessary part of running your practice so that you can ensure that you are rested and practicing self-care in order to show up for your clients as your best self.
Start setting aside a percentage of your income to cover your time off through the year. I’d recommend enough for 4-6 weeks each year. Alternatively, calculate your total annual expenses and divide the amount by 11 months so that you can take one month (or 4 weeks) off each year.
You might feel as though this step can wait until you are ‘more established’ or seeing more clients but I’d caution you to reframe your thought process. By not taking regular vacation in order to take care of yourself, you may end up needing more time off in the long run as you work through fatigue and burnout!
Money blocks can result in a lack of action toward your financial goals. If you notice that talking about money is triggering for you, or the idea of having an abundance mindset feels like a foreign concept, spending some time working on your relationship with money can make all of the difference. Consider booking a free 20-minute consult to discuss.