When I started my first private practice back in 2014, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew how to do therapy, but I didn’t know the first thing about running a business. I started guessing at what my rate should be and guessing at how much or how often I should offer reduced fee slots to those who wanted to work with me. Like most who are early in their business, I kind of just accepted whatever folks wanted to offer, and usually, that went really well, but sometimes it REALLY didn’t. I found that I was struggling to create a balance between a few different and important factors:
Let’s start with number 4 - as many of you may know, or have guessed, I’m someone who tends toward over-working. My first private practice in Savannah, GA, was what I did during the evenings and weekends AFTER my full-time job in the Army. I was working 60-plus hours a week, at least. Even then, it felt like I was taking it easy, compared to some periods in my life.
Since moving full-time to be my own boss, I’m sad to say that my desire to serve and “stay busy” kept me from taking almost any days fully off or setting any specific times that I’m not working. Work seeped into almost all of my waking moments (and even sometimes my sleep).
My first couple of years in private practice helped me realize that this is not sustainable. I cannot work this much. My body simply can’t take it, nor can my mind or my heart. I need to be sure that I’m not doing so much that everything but my work life suffers.
As I’m sure you can also guess, I often find myself in a tug-of-war between numbers 4 and 1. While I know that I cannot be productive without adequate rest, I spent the first year and a half to two years out of the military struggling to just scrape by. The piece of my brain that is attached to that scarcity and fear about money tends to tell me to just say “yes” to everything. Throw everything at the wall, see what sticks, and hope it all brings in enough money that you don’t have to panic when you open your bank statement.
No one can do good work when they’re living off of ramen noodles and fear. It’s what I want for all my clients as well: a life where they can thrive, not just survive. I have to be sure that my work is structured in such a way that thriving is possible.
This leaves us with the last tug of war, one between my desire to value my services appropriately and to make those services financially accessible to those who want and need them. If there’s anything I’ve seen as an entrepreneur, it’s that pricing is a nightmare. Figuring out where to price yourself calls up questions of your own value, your worth, the relative market(s), training, education, expertise . . . If you want to really shake the core of your self-image, think about pricing your services (or writing a bio, but I digress).
Activism is one of my core values. I believe in doing the work to right societal wrongs, and a big piece of that is financial accessibility. If I were to price myself like a high-end coach, or in line with my experience, training, and expertise, I would price myself out of reach for a majority of the folks I know I’m here to serve. And, unlike some, I’m not willing to say it’s okay for people to go into debt (or take out a new credit card) just to work with me.
I continuously wrestle with these four factors to try to figure out how I can embody my values and also be true to my own needs. I’ve come up with a plan that, at least for right now, I think will get me closer to a balance that feels sustainable and in alignment.
I know that this plan is just a step, and definitely not the endpoint. I’m going to keep working on ensuring that I live up to my values when it comes to these areas. As such, I’ll be sure to follow up on this post anytime something changes and talk about what is changing and why.
If you have any questions about this policy or want to talk with me about it, please let me know.
I am truly grateful that my business has grown to the point where I can do this work in bigger ways and serve more people in the world. I truly believe that Great Sex Can Change The World™, and my hope is that these changes will make it even more possible for everyone.
And if you're looking to make some changes to bring more Great Sex into your life, book a free 30-minute consultation call with me to see if I'm the right fit for you!