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Have you considered creating multiple streams of income? How does passive income boost your overall profit margins? Instead of thinking “outside of the box”, can you challenge yourself to get rid of the box entirely and pursue your dreams?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about building multiple streams of income to boost your business income and recognition with Azizi Marshall.
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Meet Azizi Marshall
Azizi Marshall is the founder and CEO of The Center for Creative Arts Therapy, as well as being a speaker, author, mental health expert, creative entrepreneur mentor, and pioneer in harnessing creativity to heal burned-out hustlers. Azizi helps stressed out and overwhelmed private practice owners and female leaders reclaim their health, their time, and connection with themselves… without sacrificing their passion to hustle hard and achieve greatness.
Visit her website and see also The Center for Creative Arts Therapy and Artful Wellness. Connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
In This Podcast
- Launching your business
- Why you should consider creating multiple streams of income
- Passive income boosts your profit margins!
- Get started on your passive income
- Azizi’s advice to private practitioners
Launching your business
First off, you need to create awareness around your business. Your business doesn’t automatically launch with your website, even though the website is an important starting block.
Put your business name out there, and then work towards building awareness around it.
So that was the biggest lesson, which is [that] the website is not the one-and-done. It is getting out there and letting other trainers know that you’re offering these courses, putting things out on social media, and then bringing them to the website as a link.
Then, you have to “play nicely” with other associations and businesses within your niche. How can you make sure that you are checking the boxes while completing entrepreneurial work?
When offering those trainings, I had to really learn who those associations [were]: what do I need to do [to] stay in compliance with them so that people can come through the training program and actually get what they need?
Why you should consider multiple streams of income
1 – Maintain consistent income over seasonal changes: clients will come and go, especially throughout the year over school holidays, festive seasons, and so forth. Passive income can help you and your business to stay afloat while customers come and go.
2 – Backing your income over slow months: sometimes business is low when clients are few or the cost-of-living increases and people shift their spending habits. Small but consistent sources of income can carry you over these months.
We set it up so that when we know there’s going to be some revenue disparity … we have the trainings to help supplement any sort of [financial] loss.
3 – Take time to rest: if you have money that comes in whether you interact with it directly or not, it gives you the chance to also take a breather, reducing your risk of burnout. Passive income is therefore both a good business and a good health decision.
Passive income boosts your profit margins!
Often what you pay for – your expenses – like your staff, tech, outsourcing, and marketing, provides you with your profit. You are essentially paying to make money and keep the business running.
With passive income, it creates itself. You spend some time, effort, and money to create the source, and then it can continue doubling up on itself. It will pay itself off and then continue to bring extra revenue that you don’t pay for.
Get started on your passive income
- Delegate work that you specifically don’t need to be doing to free up your time
- Look at who you are marketing your services towards, and get specific
Who ignites that passion in you that every time you show up, you [think], “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to do this group, I can’t wait to work with this client”. That’s who you want to design the program for.
- Create your dream-client avatar and hone in on what they struggle with and how you can help them
- Record your content, put it together, and launch it on a platform as an offer
Azizi’s advice to private practitioners
Believe in what you can accomplish! Instead of thinking “outside the box”, realize that there is no box!
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
Check out these additional resources:
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 791.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. We cover all things about starting, growing, scaling, and exiting your private practice and today we’re going to be diving into some topics around multiple streams of income. What’s interesting is I remember the moment that I launched my first product, that was through Practice of the Practice and it was this thing that I called the 52 Week Startup Private Practice email newsletter. It was a terrible name. Now it’s called the One Year Practice Plan. It was $149 a year that people would pay and I remember because I had one person sign up and I was so excited because I had this $149 and I just stayed two or three weeks ahead of her. I would write the, I knew she was like at this point she’s on email four and I would write email six and seven and eight, just stayed a little bit ahead of her over a year.
Then I only had like one person a month sign up for it so I’m making 150 bucks a month and eventually it was passive. Then this one Black Friday, or Cyber, I think it was a Cyber Monday, I decided for one day I’m going to drop the price to a one-time $17 amount. I think I sold a hundred in that day. It was like $1,700 comes flooding in. Since then we’ve kept it at $17 and a lot of those people that came on early on we’ve given them extra bonuses as a way to thank them for their early purchase. But it was that moment of realizing, sure it’s a lot of work for 150 bucks a year but once it was built, it was pretty automated in a lot of ways. So, I’m so excited today to have a conversation with my friend Azizi Marshall.
Azizi is a delightfully, is delightfully changing the way the world views mental health. She speaks on stages around the world and mentors scores of heart-led businesses each year to enhance their employees quality of life and their businesses. As a licensed professional counselor, board certified trainer and creative arts therapy and accomplished author, cultivating a lifestyle freedom and emotional wellness is her passion, which is why we like each other. This is awesome. She’s been featured in Oprah, CNN, NBC, Thrive Global, Bustle, Readers Digest, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Glancer Magazine. Azizi, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. Thanks
For having me, Joe. I’m so excited to be here.
Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to have you. I mean, the more that I learn about you and how we align and how we think it just feels like we should just each have a cup of coffee and hang out. It’s more that than like some big interview. Like I feel like you align in so many different ways. I want to go back to when you first started practicing and started first thinking about multiple streams of income. How did that transition happen? Because I know you didn’t learn it in grad school. Neither did I. Somewhere we picked it up that we could earn money outside of just doing clinical work. How did that start for you?
Actually, when I started the practice, it wasn’t for therapy. I actually started a training program for therapists to become certified in drama therapy and that’s how I started. I never really sought out to open a group practice. It really was, I wanted to train other therapists so they could use the arts as part of their tool bank in order to help their clients. So that’s how it started. I then slowly went into the private practice route, but it originally started with training.
Wow, so you started with teaching, why did you start there?
I didn’t know how to run a private practice but I knew how to teach. I’ve always been involved in theater and directing, and so that was easy for me. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’m trying to think of a job that was actually like a real job, but it was always something of I went into someplace and said, “Hey, I can do this thing,” and they said, “Okay, great, cool, let’s set that up and do that.” For me to do the nine to five wasn’t, I guess, in my vocabulary growing up. It had always been that hustle mindset. So when I had the opportunity, once I became certified as a trainer in drama therapy, I was like, oh, it’s time game on. Let’s do this now.
Wow, so totally different than my upbringing where it was like, work hard enough and someone will hire you. You had this like, background of like entrepreneurship. As you grew that, I know you help a lot of therapists now but would love to hear more of the story of how that unfolded. I imagine there were some bumps and some things you did wrong and like, how did, as you started building this training program, how did that unfold?
It’s funny you say that. I remember a conversation with one of my friends when I first put out the website. Everybody thinks, okay, once you put out the website, all things will come to you.
That was right.
That was lesson number one. Nobody came to me and it took a long time for me to build longer than I thought it was going to take. So when I put that website out there, I was thinking immediate students would flood and that was not the case. It took a year before I had a great cohort of students that were with me moving through the training program. So that was the biggest lesson is the website is not the one and done. It is getting out there, letting other trainers know that you’re offering these courses, putting things out on social media and then bringing them to the website as a link. That was the way I was able to grow the training program. So that was lesson one, website.
Lesson two was really how can I do this in a way that aligns with other associations because that’s the other part, when we think of offering training programs. A lot of times you have to be in compliance with other organizations and you have to play nicely with those other organizations, even if they’re not playing nicely with you. So that political, how to be PC, politically correct and make sure that I’m playing nice was hard for me when all I wanted to do was just train. Then you have people saying, oh, you need to make sure check this box and this box and this box. It’s like, I don’t like checking boxes. It’s why, I’m an entrepreneur. I hate checking boxes. So that was the other part is if when offering those trainings had to really learn who are those associations? What do I need to do in order to stay in compliance with them so then people who come through the training program actually get what they need.
Are there examples without naming the organizations of when others didn’t play nice with you and you just had to suck it up and know like, okay, like I just got to keep playing nice of just? Because I think sometimes people see people that are successful and they think it’s always just been easy, it’s just been a smooth road and sometimes hearing stories of things falling apart can be really helpful.
There was somebody who, I remember at the very beginning, I needed somebody to teach a specific course. I was like, I was so excited because they’re known in the field and they’ve written books about it and I was like, yes, bring them on because that will bring in other students. I remember some people within the organization that I offer trainings in conjunction with, they reached out and said I just want to let you know that if you have this person teaching, we are not going to send our students to you. I said, well, why? Like, I’ve talked to this person, they seem really cool, all these things and things sounded like it was great. It’s like, well we’ve had some challenging situations with them. They’re not as supportive as we’d like. They could potentially cause some harm to your students, so we don’t feel comfortable sending our students to you.
It’s like, what? Then I had to backpedal out of that because that was half of my community that was saying, we’re not sending our students to you. So I had to go back and have some very difficult conversations with that individual running into them. Then of course, within our community for conferences and things and that awkwardness and then also having to hustle really hard to find somebody else to fill that spot because there’s not many of them that offer what they do. So that was another challenge. I remember walking with my child, I think she was maybe two if that, like in a stroller as I’m talking to this person saying, so can you do it? Are you certified yet? Okay, are you going to be certified by the time we offer this training? She was going to get certified like a month before the training came. So I was like, you have to pass that test, otherwise we have to cancel. It was happy happenstance because they ended up being one of the biggest advocates for our center and we’re the biggest advocates for what they’re offering. So it goes, we connect really well and we share students, which before that would have happened.
So when you think about the average therapist and the opportunity of leveling up with multiple streams of income, I know you just spoke at group practice exchange and, what are some of the things that are maybe the bullet points that you tell people of why to think about multiple streams of income?
Well, first I’m seeing it in Facebook right now, everybody’s going, ah, where are all the clients? It’s summer, your clients are out having fun, which you should also be doing. So that lull during the summer times, especially if you work with kids and teens and then that lull over the holidays for any clients, you’re going to have these slow months and I’m talking months, not just weeks. So how we structured it is during those slow months, that’s when we offer the majority of our trainings and those slower weekends and things, that’s when we offer it too. So we set it up so when we know there’s going to be some revenue disparity, basically we have the trainings to help supplement any sort of loss.
Yes, so what are other reasons that people should consider adding another stream of income?
I talked about this at the group practice exchange summit. It is, the profit margins are just, they’re beautiful when you think about working with clients. I think one person raised their hand and said that they’re at 25% profit margins. The majority of the people in the room didn’t even know what their profit margins were and then the rest raised their hands at around 15% to 20% Majority, it’s about 20% profit margins and you’re working so hard, your team’s working super hard and when you can offer trainings, especially if you are the one providing those trainings, profit margins are more around 80%. Corporate wellness is around 60%. Community programs around 60% because again, you’re paying for more team members to come in and you have supplies. But again, when you think about 20% sitting one-on-one with a person and that’s it, like you’re stuck to that time period versus training programs, especially if you can put them online, we talk about that residual income for any sort of membership type of thing for access to trainings, all of those are beautiful. I’m just thinking, what was it last, last night I was sleeping and when I woke up, I had sold three courses overnight just while I was sleeping. I was like, this is a good day. Let’s just, yes and I didn’t, I mean, not that I did nothing, but I was sleeping and still somebody came to our website and purchased those things.
Yes, yes. Now for the people that are listening, they’re like, wait, profit margins, 20%, 80%, will you break that down for folks that are listening and saying, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Yes, yes, so profit margins, think about all of the money that comes into your practice. That’s all of the revenue that’s coming in. Then you have your expenses, you have your overhead, you have utilities, you have, usually staff is the highest expenses that you pay out. You have all of your tech, so your website, if you’re using a sort of EHR billing system, all of that are expenses. So once you calculate that, you look at the percentage of how, what your expenses are versus your profit and then if you’re at a certain percentage, that 20% profit margin is the money that you made, that revenue that’s coming in, that’s the profit piece.
It seems like a lot of the things you were talking about are just have a bigger profit margin because you don’t have as much overhead or other things. Will you break down some of the different types of income that, like you had just said doing corporate wellness or things like that, what categories do things typically fall in from your perspective?
There’s multiple streams and so there, it really depends on what your passion is and why you’re doing it. So I have, I don’t coach people who do this, but who write books, who self-publish. So that’s how they actually bring people into their own personal coaching programs. There’s products, which I’ve dabbled into that. I don’t know if I’ll ever dabble into that again, but there are some really cool products that you can offer that again, align to your practice. There’s eBooks then that you can sell online. There are training programs, especially if you offer CEUs. All therapists around the country need CEUs. So that way you can offer those. There’s really cool ways that you can offer those without going through the long paperwork to get everybody signed up for it.
Then there’s also what I have found really amazing to offer, our corporate wellness programs, businesses right now are struggling on so many levels. So to be able to go in and support their employees to offer their leadership training get everybody on the same page as what the culture is supposed to look like as far as supporting mental health, that’s been a huge one where we started offering that a little bit pre-pandemic, since the pandemic happened. It’s been so many businesses that are saying, can you come in and do a talk? Can you come in and do a workshop? We need you for at least three years because we need to change the culture. So there’s so many opportunities for corporate wellness trainings as well.
Now would you say that for the average therapist that are leveling up into some sort of either in-person or online, either live or recorded training, that that’s probably the best and easiest first step for them?
I’d say, yes. The easiest one is to create just a really, like a really strong online program. Because when you’re looking at corporate wellness, again, it’s the website scenario where, okay, you put it out there that you’re offering this, but it takes at least a year to develop those relationships for people to trust you, for them to know you before they sign a huge contract with you that you’re going to offer to their business
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So if someone wants to do an online program, what would their first three to six months look like of what they should be doing, which they should be thinking about? Walk us through what that would look like.
So the first thing would be to figure out what you’re going to take off your plate. That I think is the hardest for therapist to go, I don’t know what I could give up. How am I going to put this program together when I have all these things? Well, that’s when you need to look at your team. It doesn’t have to be employees, but it could be contractors that you can delegate, here, take this, take this, things that you don’t need to do that somebody else could do that they have a passion for. So delegate the things that you don’t need to get them off your plate to give you the time to work on it. Then once you have the time to really look at who you are marketing towards. And it’s not just here’s a cute population that you’re working with moms between this age, this age, it goes deeper than that.
It really is like, who ignites that passion in you that every time you show up, so you’re like, oh my gosh, I can’t wait to do this group, I can’t wait to work with this client. That’s who you want to design the program for. Once you know who that ideal person is, create that avatar and really figure out what those problems are that you can fix. That’s just, those are the first steps. Then after that it is recording the content, putting it together, and then putting it on some sort of platform to then have it as an offer.
Yes, I think when we look at we, so we have Audience Building Academy of just having people build as big of an audience as they can before they have a product so that they’re not creating a product and then squeezing people into the product as much as just hearing what the audience wants and then creating the product from that. How much do you put into building an audience before you launch a product versus just like, get the product out there and adjust as you go?
We have a program called Revolutionize Your Private Practice, and that’s to teach therapists how to do, how to create corporate wellness programs and training programs within their own practice. Before I even said, hey, here’s a course that I’m offering, it was probably a good three months of just saying, hey if you want, popping into those other groups and saying, if you’re interested in this come on into my group check it out, see if it’s something that that resonates with you. Then the content in there was just a ton of business tips, lots of free videos and trainings lives for them to then engage with me, ask lots of questions. Those I did weekly and they got to know me, they got to know my personality and what I could offer as far as feedback to them when they had the questions. Then I would trickle in, “Hey, I’m working on something. What are some things that you’re struggling with? What are questions that you have that you want answers to?” That helps to drive the creation of that program.
Yes. Well, and I think that just like getting an audience to tell you something about what they want can really change things. Are there things that you were going to include that you like didn’t include or were there things maybe that you weren’t going to include that you didn’t include based on that feedback?
Yes, so we did a beta test. I was just like, whoever would like to come into this and we have this many and once we tested it, we realized that there were certain pieces that before they even come into the program, they needed to have. Because we could spend basically an entire training program teaching them certain things that they needed to understand before they even started. So branding was something that they had to have strong branding awareness of their own practice. They needed to have systems in place so that they could have the opportunity to step back and really work on their program. So those are the two things that we realized we don’t need to teach within that program because the focus really is how to create those training programs, how to make the content really strong, and then how to market and sell because that’s what they needed the most help on.
Now how do you think through things once you’ve created it? Like now that you have some different streams of income coming in, what do you analyze? What’s on your dashboard? How do you look at leveling up, up beyond where you’re at right now?
I think that’s where I struggle actually, is because I have so many ideas of where I would like to take our center, what I would like to do. We have some things in the works as far as a TV, TV channel, more YouTube, but a channel to help explain what creative arts therapy is for the lay people to understand what exactly it would look like if they came into a room to do a session with us. But then also for them to get to know who we are as people, for people to understand what is creative arts therapy as a professional too. So we’re looking at building out a channel to create more of awareness of the work that we offer for people. That would be one way, but again, I’m not seeing anything in my mind right now how that would change things financially. It’s really just to get the awareness out there so then when people go, oh I wanted to get trained in that, they immediately think of our center.
Yes, I mean it’s sort of like how do you build that top of funnel type of thing where you know, like, and trust that Zig Ziegler talked about, if people don’t know you exist, they’re not going to want to like you or trust you. So just getting people to know your name, know that you do it, like that’s going to speed people through that funnel for sure. So I guess like, I’m also interested in, so you’ve had a lot of media that you’ve attracted what are some tips around that as people are building an audience and building their passive income?
Yes, so media coverage is actually something that we cover and revolutionize your private practice, the training program, because that is so important. The biggest tip, and this is out there and anybody can find this out, is Help A Reporter Out. That one is awesome because the reporters are saying, “Hey, I need somebody to give me quick tips on this, or would you be available for an interview or could you go on video?” That is a great way to sign up for HARO, Help A Reporter Out, so then you can answer those quick questions. And there’s ways to respond so then people will actually go, okay, now I’ll talk to you. Sometimes they will just take your tips and then you just see it come up on Google in like a couple months later.
Totally. Well, I think if you’re not going to get a publicist, I’d say HARO is like the best. I mean, the majority of our big time things other than what we got with a publicist is, I mean, it was all through HARO.
Yes. I’d say the other thing is showing up on social media too. That was huge. That’s how I’ve gotten most of my, “Hey, are you available for a quick interview on NBC or CBS?” I would go, “Yes.” “Hey, we saw you do this. Could you talk about, recently we did a marketing campaign my husband called it Gorilla Marketing, where we did the hashtag therapy rocks and we hid these green rocks with the QR code that people could be entered into a raffle. So we hid them all over the downtown areas of our suburbs here and somebody, a producer from NBC, yes, NBC reached out and said, “Hey, could we cover your story?” “Absolutely.” But nobody would’ve known about that if I wouldn’t have put that out there on social media and said, “Hey, this is what we’re doing.” I had some cute pictures of my kids hiding the rocks and some videos. So, I mean, it’s come from more social media exposure that, I mean, producers are looking for stories, so if they see you’ve got a cool one, they’ll reach out
For Sure. One tip that I got from our publicity, our publicist was to find authors that are writing the type of stories that you think would want to be interested in you, and then follow them on Twitter, and then when they write a story that aligns with you, give your own take on it. Then they’ll see that you’re commenting on their stuff and who is this person and you’ll be more on their radar if you want to pitch them.
Yep. I’ve been doing that a lot on LinkedIn too, with business owners who will say, oh, mental health is so important. Great, I believe that too and I’ll put in there, like, I’d be interested to have a conversation with you anytime. So, yes, that is definitely a good tip.
Well, Azizi, the last question I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
I would say for them to just believe in what they can accomplish. A lot of the people that we coach will put roadblocks in front of them, and I like to say, instead of thinking of thinking outside of the box, think that there is no box. So that’s, I would want to drive that home for people that there really is no box except for the one you put around yourself. So,
There is no box. I love it. If people want to connect with you or your work, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
The best way would be to go to my website, azizimarshall.com, A Z I Z I M A R S H A L L.com, and then there’s a contact page on there and just send me a message and we can start talking.
Awesome. We’ll have links to that in the show notes. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast today.
Thanks for having me, Joe.
There is no box. What a great final takeaway. I love that. Who made up that we had to be in a box? It’s something that we can step out of. We are a month away from Killin’It Camp. Killin’It Camp is going to be in Cancun, Mexico, and we’re going to be at the Club Med and the tickets are on sale right now, assuming they haven’t sold out at the time of this recording, that they’ve not sold out. That’s October 20th. Come hang out with us poolside at the Club Med, it’s less than $200 per night for the all-inclusive, so we have really reasonable rates, we were able to negotiate. The tickets at this point were past the early bird so the regular price ticket’s $297. Make sure you grab your ticket over at killinitcamp.com. We’ll have links to that in the show notes.
Also we could not do this show without our sponsors. Our sponsors help really us be able to do such creative and innovative shows here. Therapy Notes is our sponsor today. They are the leading electronic health records out there. Use promo code [JOE] at checkout to get some free months and they’ll also help you transition from your current EHR. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day. We’ll talk to you soon. Alright.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publishers, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.