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How to Develop a Money Mindset - Page 3

Some of it works and some of doesn't, but overall, the seminar is remarkably helpful. Despite Jay's disorganization, I begin to be aware of a coherent core of ideas filtering through the noise. Even better, once we break down into small groups to discuss application of these ideas, I'm delighted to discover that many of the businesspeople I meet are kind and unselfish. I talk to the man who makes his living as a clown, the guy who sells fortune cookies, and the accountant. At first I feel cheated because these people couldn't possibly have anything useful to tell me, but then I realize that none of them wears the blinders that all therapists unconsciously wear—for example, assuming our clinical skill is all we need to succeed—and they can offer feedback I'd never hear from another therapist.

Furthermore, I learn, there are common business principles that apply to all of us who run our own shops. These include the Three Ways to Grow a Business, the Lifetime Value of a Referral, and the importance of Business Planning and carefully tracking results. As Jay reminds us, no matter what we do, we're all selling something. I cringe inwardly at this thought before reluctantly admitting to myself that he might be right.

I spend a lot of time during breaks informally talking with a funny, balding, fiftyish man named George, a high school dropout who's a chimney sweep in Washington, D.C. Sheepishly, I admit to him that my only association to chimney sweeps is Mary Poppins. But when he tells me he has six centers and an annual income of $2 million, I drop my prejudice against blue collar work and suddenly develop enormous respect for chimney sweeps. George asks me how I'm funding my practice and I tell him it's been profitable from day one, and that's how I've managed growth. He looks at me incredulously. "What? You can't possibly get where you say you want to go without funding!" I think of where I want to go—middle-class security for my family of five—and feel a lot less smug. It becomes obvious that in comparison to most small-business owners, we therapists are incredibly risk averse and well, cheap.

George urges me to get a "small" $100,000 business loan to fund a major expansion of my marketing efforts and hire additional staff. The thought of huge loan payments every month fills me with dread, and, seeing my expression, he laughs out loud, yelling above the din, "Hey Doc! Who's the psycho, you or me?"

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