Are you spending long hours every day working all the jobs in your business, even as the owner? Are you still doing tasks that you can outsource? Why should you outsource wherever possible?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Matt Yahes about how he went from 14 hour days to 3 hours in 45 days.
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Meet Matt Yahes
Matthew has 20 years of experience in Business Strategy, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. After years on the traditional corporate path, in 2009 he was laid off which began his journey to start his first company at the age of 36. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride ever since.
In This Podcast
- Mindsets that keep you stuck running in the wheel
- What can you outsource?
- Virtual assistants to consider when starting a group practice
Mindsets that keep you stuck running in the wheel
They think, and I thought, I was special. That I was the only person who could possibly do all these tasks [because] they’re so complex. I would hire someone to get it done as well and if it didn’t get done the way I did it, oh my goodness, the sky is gonna fall and the business is gonna fail. (Matt Yahes)
- “I like things done this way and I don’t think anyone else can do it like this”
For Matt, it was difficult to let go of the smaller aspects of the business such as overseeing operations such as the customer service team.
This feeling ties back in with the old entrepreneur mindset above that feels protective of every aspect of the business and is nervous to delegate anything out.
What can you outsource?
It’s my opinion [that] if your time is worth a $120 or $150 an hour, that if you can have someone do everything or do a lot of tasks for you for $17, $18, $19 an hour, you should do it because it frees you up to go make that $120. (Matt Yahes)
- You can get people that can run your entire business: interface with clients, handle your billing, do social media, post blogs for you, act as a buffer for you between clients so that you can focus on high-quality work and conversations.
Benefits of having a buffer:
- The service provided by counselors goes both ways: you have to work with them and they have to work with you. When that relationship is once sided, the counseling is less effective.
Having a buffer, a receptionist or assistant who handles potential clients and only sends you ones that they believe will work well with you saves you the time and energy you need to keep providing excellent service to the clients that you already see.
I don’t think people should see it as removing yourself from the business. Your job as a clinician is not to run the business, your job is to be a clinician. No one I know of in any sort of service-oriented business got into it to do billing or filter potential clients. That’s not why you got into it, you got into it to help people. (Matt Yahes)
Virtual assistants to consider when starting a group practice
- Hire the most experienced person first. This is someone who could be a business manager or a practice manager. This person will help coordinate clinicians, help run the business through the business which then frees up your time.
- Hire the next most experienced person who can handle the more everyday tasks and admin side.
How to create effective communication with your assistants:
- Have standup meetings: a daily meeting for 10 to 15 minutes to coordinate what is going on for the day.
- Have a task manager such as Trello: these are easy-to-use tools to organize and task manage and track the completion of certain tasks. This helps to make sure that everyone is on board with what needs to get done and what still needs to happen.
- Create standard operating procedures. This helps the person know what to do and helps them anticipate issues by teaching them the system.
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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.
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[JOE SANOK]: This is the practice of the practice podcast with Joe Sanok session. Number 548.
Well, how are you doing today? I hope you are doing awesome. If you’re a new listener to Practice of the Practice, I want to encourage you to rate, review and subscribe. Don’t miss an episode. We have some huge experts coming up soon, and I just can’t wait to introduce you to them. If you want to hang out with people like John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, we’ve got Matt Yahes here today, so excited to have some big names coming onto this show. And you don’t want to miss an episode and if you do, then you’re going to be behind. Also if you’re on Clubhouse, I recently joined Clubhouse, it’s an app where you’re able to kind of have breakout rooms similar to when you’re out in a conference.
And it’s just Joe Sanok, is me on Clubhouse. Follow me on there. I am doing weekly clubhouses at two o’clock Pacific on Tuesdays, that’s two o’clock Pacific, three o’clock central, nope, three o’clock mountain, four o’clock central, five o’clock Eastern. Would love to hang out with you. They’re bringing in awesome experts to just talk about a variety of business things. So find me on Clubhouse. It’s my new favorite place to hang out and if you need an invite, I’ve only got five but try to find someone that’s in there.
[JOE]: Well, today I am so excited to have Matt on the show. He is a serial entrepreneur, avid traveler, diehard, snowboarder, and helps entrepreneurs to grow their own business by getting them out of the day-to-day grind. We’re going to be talking today about how he went from working 14-hour days. I mean, I’ve been there. I worked at the community college, had a private practice, had that hustle mindset, but then within 45 days, he went down to three hours a day. So Matt, welcome to the practice, the practice podcast.
[MATT YAHES]: Thanks, Joe. Excited to be here and talk to you today.
[JOE]: Yes. Well, tell me about these 14 hour days. What were you spending your time doing?
[MATT]: I mean, it was brutal. So I own an e-commerce portfolio and I even had a team, but I was just socked into day-to-day operations of managing low-level employees, their questions, trying to figure out how to grow their business, dealing with problems like engineering problems and really just overwhelmed with all the things that you just have to deal with a business. And we have a lot of automation and we were doing 4,000 orders a month, but even with the automation, none of it mattered. I was just getting crushed.
[JOE]: Yes. I mean, I think so many of us feel that way, you know you get a private practice going and then it starts to grow and the next thing you know, you were just working your tail off, you’re checking emails in the evening. As you meet people that are at that phase, like what are some mindsets maybe that keep them there? And then I’d love to hear how you kind of deconstructed those mindsets over a really rapid period of time, over 45 days. But we’d love to first just start with what are those mindsets that keep people stuck working those real really long days?
[MATT]: I think the thing that keeps people stuck is that, this is how I felt at least, and I talk to people all the time and I know it’s a very common thing for entrepreneurs. They think, and I thought I was special. I thought that I was the only person that could possibly do all these tasks, they’re so complex and that I would hire someone, it wouldn’t get done as well. And oh my goodness, if it didn’t get done the way I did it, the sky’s going to fall and the business is going to fail. Over and over, I talked to entrepreneurs and they have the same issue. You know, “Well, I like this done this way. I don’t think anyone could ever do it like this. This report is of critical importance and I have some secret sauce.” And you know, they just don’t want to let go. It’s not uncommon. I mean, it was my problem.
[JOE]: Yes. So what did that look like for you? What was hard to let go and then how did you work through that?
[MATT]: Well, what was hard to let go was a lot of the operational efficiency stuff, because I enjoyed it. Overseeing the customer service team, I shouldn’t say it wasn’t hard to let go because you know, this is three and a half years of those kinds of days. So at the point I was ready to let go it was really easy because I was just exhausted. But throughout the three and a half years, anything that was operational efficiency, making the operations run smoother, maybe new ideas for the business. I just couldn’t fathom giving this to someone else.
[JOE]: So what’d you do?
[MATT]: Well, it’s actually a funny story. So my wife and I were going to China and we were going on a family trip and she said, you know, I was working all these hours and she says, “I really hope you don’t work on this trip.” And are you married, Joe?
[JOE]: Yes, I am.
[MATT]: So I think you’ll agree when your wife says, “I hope you don’t do something,” it’s really not a hope. It’s kind of like a command.
[MATT]: So she said, “Why don’t you go, you know you have these people in the Philippines who work for you.” And they were lower level people. So she said, “Why don’t you find some in the Philippines to run your entire business?” And I just had a rough like a pushback immediately where I said, “No way. Listen, there’s just not that kind of talent. I don’t, I know a lot of people running similar businesses and a lot of people that outsource, I don’t know anyone that’s gotten a high quality operator.” And she looks at me with the, “You’re not so smart,” look and she says, “Well, it’s a country of a hundred million people. I think there are some people that can run your business for you.” I know the business was doing mid seven figures and few thousand dollars a month. So I said, “All right,” begrudgingly, and I spent six, eight weeks interviewing a hundred people, going through countless resumes until I found one person who really just impressed me. And she was chief of staff for a hundred person business, I had a six person company at the time and I convinced her to work for me. And so she came on board.
[JOE]: What was it that you did that convinced her that working with you and leaving that other company was worth it?
[MATT]: There’s a saying in management that people don’t leave companies, people leave people or they leave their managers. And I think this was the case. She was in an environment that where she wasn’t respected, she was overworked, she felt taken advantage of and not appreciated. And somehow I convinced her that things would be different. And you know, I see it actually time and time again, since then that people just want a nice environment to work in and a lot of the Filipino companies are just not great environments. They’re coming from a situation where it’s, I’m boss. I’m God. You’re a worker, you’re stupid.” And no one, who wants to be there? Like who wants to get treated like that? And I’m just offering a better way or different ways.
[JOE]: Yes. And I think this is so common. People listening right now might say, “Man, I’m not even that big. Why should I even think of outsourcing or things like that?” But so, I mean, just this week I was doing a consulting call with somebody and the person was at the point, because their podcast is growing, they’re getting to that next level, they’re ready to do more consulting, but their clinical work is getting in the way and they have to kind of make a decision, “Am I going to just see fewer clients at a higher rate or am I going to totally retire from doing counseling?” And they’re starting to exit that. But even before that final exit, I think people miss the opportunity when they’re just in that startup mode to be most efficient with their time. When you think about counselors in private practice or coaches in private practice, what are things that maybe they can outsource that they don’t even realize that they can outsource? Things that they would like, “I can’t believe I can take that off my plate.”
[MATT]: Sure. So let me just give you from my own experience on, let’s talk about specifically to coaches and counselors, but one thing that coaches and counselors have a great view into, as you know, is what’s their time worth. Because you bill an hourly rate or you bill on a session. So it’s my opinion, if your time is worth $100, $150 an hour, that if you can have someone do everything, do a lot of tasks for you for $17, $18, $19 an hour, you should do it because it frees you up to go make that $125 or $150. So what can they do? Within that pressure, as I just talked about, you can actually get people that can run your entire business, hands down, interface with clients, do all your billing. If you do social media, can do that. You do blogging, can post things for you. They’re not necessarily going to write high quality content that speaks to your audience, but they can certainly distribute it the way you want. And they can also act as a buffer for you, between you and all your clients and everybody. And so you’re able to focus on high quality, high value conversations that make you money and you let the lower level person just manage your practice or think of it as a practice manager or a business manager.
[JOE]: Yes. The idea of a buffer. I think a lot of therapists think, “Oh, I answer the phone. I do my own scheduling. I connect with new clients.” And they think that’s a value add but in reality, I think it makes them look more desperate and cheap. I mean, you think about if you had a high quality doctor and she was doing all her own scheduling, she was making a copy of your insurance card, at first, you might say, “Wow, that’s really nice that she’s so involved with me.” But then you’d probably say, “Wait, why is she so free that she can do all the scheduling?”
You start to second-guess yourself if your dentist was the only one in the office and was like checking you out and billing your insurance. And so, and even just like thinking about when someone’s leveling up and maybe seeing fewer clients to have your old clients reach out to you and say, “Oh, I want to come back and work with you,” but now your rates twice, what it used to be, you’re going to take their sob story and where they’re at, and you’re going to have that heart around it, knowing that you probably shouldn’t take on those old clients at the old rate. Now it feels heartless to all of us healers and helpers in the world but if we look big picture and say for me to be my best therapist, for me to be my best counselor, I need to do 10 sessions a week at 200 bucks a session.
Okay, that’s great. If that’s where you need to be, then we need to have that buffer. We need to have that person that can kind of be the bad guy or bad girl to say, “You know what, they’re not taking new clients or they are, but they’re at a higher rate than you used to be. We have these other clinicians that we can refer you to.” That’s really hard for therapists to do. Maybe speak a little bit more about that idea of a buffer. What are other examples of having someone else speak on your behalf and the benefits of that?
[MATT]: Well, you can have people. So a lot of in-service businesses, and at the end of the day, a clinician is in the service business. They’re serving potential clients with their health, with their mental health. So there are people who are just not the right fit. You know, for me, I have to, I have a buffer, certain potential clients are not the right fit for me. So Angelica could act as an intermediary so I don’t have to focus on that. And I only focus on the clients that are of value. So I don’t think people should think about it as you’re removing yourself from the business. Your job as a clinician is not to run the business. Your job is to be a clinician. No one I know of in any sort of service business service-oriented business, got into it to do billing or to filter potential clients who were never a fit.
That’s not why you got into it. You got in to help people. I started my business to help people and people just need to remember that. So you can have someone filter everything for you, give better service than you can. If a client has a question for whatever it is having you answer it is just of no value. They don’t even think by the way, they don’t even expect that people are trained to have a buffer outside of treatment time. That’s just how people are trained. I mean, think of when did you ever go to a doctor’s office, like you said, Joe and the doctor themselves gave you the bill. Probably never, probably never. So think of it like that. So you have a population which is the entire country trained to know you are the doctor, you help them with problems, everything else goes to someone else.
And you know, when it comes to new business, let’s just say you are at that $200 an hour level. Fantastic. Someone says, “Hi doc, I can afford $100.” Well, if you take that person, you’re crowding out yourself where someone $200 and you, and you may feel bad, like you said, take the person, your business manager can say, “Sure, no problem. Our rate is $200. Now, they’re not going to play on the business manager’s heartstrings because it’s not you. They’re going to pull on your heartstrings because they know you might say yes and do the sliding scale.
[JOE]: Yes. It’s like when my six year old, and not that our clients are like six year olds, but she knows which one of us at what point of time is going to cave. And you know, if my wife is a little more stressed out, she’s more likely to be like, just go on the iPad and you know, to have that person that can say, “No, no, I’m going to stand in here and protect Joe’s time.” It’s amazing. I mean, even just thinking about this podcast, so I’m going to do this podcast. I’ve entered your information into our shared schedule. From there my sound engineer gets triggered to then do the audio, to upload it to our hosting, then our show notes coordinator does the show notes and coordinates with guests. And then our image coordinator does all of the image and social media management. Literally, when I’m done with this, I’m done with it. And so many even podcasters and two or three hours after a show doing their show notes and their editing and all of that, and it’s just, you can produce so much more content when you show up, you do an interview and you’re done.
[MATT]: A hundred percent. Ironically, right before I got on with you, I had a sales call with a podcaster who I appeared on his podcast. And that is exactly the problem he faces. He has all these tasks pre and post-production and he’s managing it. So what happens, everything gets dropped because he doesn’t have time. And so the business suffers. Every business, I don’t care what it is. You’ve never heard of the most successful people in your field doing it alone. 100% of the time they have a team. If you recognize that and people say, Oh, well someone like this to outsource some tasks, that’s going to cost money. It’s a cost center. Well, yes, it’s true. But think about it a little differently. It actually is an investment to make more money. If that person being there frees up your time to do something else, that time has a value. And if that person frees you up to let’s say, grow your business, which ideally that’s what they’re doing you make more money because you made an investment and your life is better because you’re doing what you love to do versus sending out a bill or talking to people that are just tire kicking your service.
[JOE]: Yes, and I think, especially for people that are growing a group practice they’re moving away from the one-on-one being there. You know time in the seat is when you get paid. And so when you start to say, “Okay, if I had two or three other people that were doing counseling during the same time that I was, or even while I’m not, that’s then bringing in money, that’s not based on my hourly.” And so once you start to add extra clinicians, it’s pretty amazing to see how it scales because, you know I can market this business and get all five of my clinicians full. I mean, that’s a ton of extra revenue coming in compared to if you didn’t. And we see that in our Group Practice Boss community all the time where people are helping each other to level up their group practices. When people think about having a group practice when and what kind of virtual assistants would you say will help open up their time to really work on that business?
[MATT]: For me, and this is counter-intuitive, in my experience, you hire the most experienced person first. That’s someone who is like a business manager or a practice manager. When you talk, talking about outsourcing, it may be different if you’re talking about on people, but the reason you do that, and by the way, again, you’re not talking about, I mean, you’re talking about not much more than minimum wage in the United States and you’re going to get a really good person. So then that person can help coordinate through multiple clinicians, can help run the business of the business, which then frees you up. I like to say, hire the highest paid person first, then backfill to lower-level tasks and watch how your business grows because now you have a partner who’s helping you just do things and you don’t need to give very, very specific direction versus someone that is extremely low level and you have to really spell it out, which I can tell you is utterly painful.
[JOE]: Yes. I know that having those high level people like Sam and Sam and our team be able to oversee different aspects of it is just essential. They can do the interviews, they can do the onboarding, they can help pick out really good talent compared to, I remember years ago when I brought in some people that were very entry level to have to manage them. It felt like such a waste of my time. I totally agree with you. So how do you find those kinds of people? Like, what are, well, actually before that, like once you have one of those types of people how do you make sure that there’s good communication? Because I learned early on that just as much of the problem is my own communication and a lack of articulating my expectations as it was the actual person. Early on when I started outsourcing I just expected people knew how to do it like I wanted them to. How do you encourage people to give feedback, get feedback, have KPIs, key performance indicators versus giving the person a bunch of autonomy? Like how do you think through the ongoing management of those top level people
[MATT]: First and foremost, that’s a great question, first and foremost you need to have stand up meetings. Now, depending on who you are and the size of your business, if you have a very large group practice, it’s going to look very different than if you’re a solopreneur.
[JOE]: Now define, I know what a stand up meeting is, but define that for people that don’t.
[MATT]: Sure. You would have a daily meeting called for 10 to 15 minutes maximum just to coordinate what’s going on for the day. So for one business, I have it for another business I don’t. It’s really just about the size, but at a minimum, you need to have weekly meetings on video with that person coordinating. I encourage it twice a week or more, but that’s really up to you and the person as to what works best. You also need to have a task manager, which is such as a Asana, Monday, Trello, all these free to use tools. Monday actually costs money, but the other two are free. All these easy to use tools to organize or task-manage so you can write down exactly what needs to be done and that you can track when that person finishes it. Lastly, the other thing you need to do, which will be a little bit foreign for most people is create standard operating procedures.
Now, this sounds like you’re writing a big dictionary but you’re not. Thankfully in today’s day and age, there are free tools or very low cost tools where you click a button on your computer. It can record you speaking the task of what you want done, or can even record your video screen. And this is one click. This is not very difficult. And when you do the combination of all three, what will happen is the person knows what to do and over time they will likely be able to anticipate issues and cut them off before you even know what happened.
[JOE]: Yes. I’m with you in regards to that ongoing feedback and meeting regularly. Since Sam and Sam came out at the beginning, she was my first kind of real hire that wasn’t a consultant. Man having that feedback and ongoing discussion and ideas, you just get in a great flow with those people rather than feeling like you have to catch up once a month or every quarter.
[MATT]: Well, I would also think of it like this, if you, first of all, now everybody’s virtual. Not everyone, but many, many people. So there’s no difference between sitting in Manila and sitting in Manhattan. Now, if you were down, like, just think of that as another person. It’s not you know, I actually don’t like the term personal virtual assistant because it makes it sound like not a real person. If you were on the other side of that, would you like to just get your tasks via email? No, you would like to be part of something and being part of something requires video, requires conversation, requires getting to know each other. And through those things, what you’re going to find is that these people will go through walls for you because they’re happy, they want you to be happy, they’re very family oriented, at least in the Philippines. And over time, they’re just going to know your needs. And I truly enjoy all the people I work with.
[JOE]: Oh man. Well, the last question that I ask, and then we’ll hear a little bit more about kind of a call to action for the audience, but the last question I ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[MATT]: Sure. Stop thinking you’re special. You got to get out of the day to day monotony of running your practice. It just does not add value to you or frankly, your clients. You have a lot more to give. And just remember that. Remember why you got into the business or the practice in the first place and just don’t get sucked into working 14 hour days like I did, or Joe did. There is a better way. You just need help to do it.
[JOE]: Such awesome advice. Well, how can people connect with you and hear more about how you can help them?
[MATT]: Sure. So if you’re interested in learning more, go to extendyourteam.com/freedom, and you’ll see all, you’ll see our website. You’ll be able to book a meeting with me directly, and I’m happy to just jump on a call, walk you through what this could look like. Even if you’re not ready now, don’t worry about it. It’s fine. I really just like helping people to just grow their business. That’s a passion of mine. So again, extendyourteam.com/freedom. It’ll go through an assessment. You can contact me at the end and I look forward to speaking to everyone.
[JOE]: Oh, thank you so much for being on the practice of the practice podcast, Matt.
[MATT]: Thanks, Joe. A lot of fun, really enjoyed our conversation.
[JOE]: Wow. My big takeaways from that interview are just to continue to push myself to outsource, to think differently, to really level up at every single level to try to do what I do best and outsource the rest. That’s a concept I’ve really tried to live and it’s something we need to be reminded of. You know, whether you’re just starting a business, a lot of times we think we got to be at a certain scale, but for me, I just think it’s so essential to get in early and have people helping you. It also kind of forces you to say, “What can I give this person?” If you’re hiring someone for 10 hours a week and you feel like you only have four hours of work, it pushes you to then find that extra thing to take off of your plate. And honestly, outsourcing and finding team members has been such a great way for me to continue to level up year after year.
Well, if you’re looking for a community of people that are going to help you get to that next level, our Group Practice Boss, curriculum, community, and experts are here for you. Alison and Whitney are our two Group Practice Boss leaders. It’s a community of people that are all group practice owners. So they’ve done their first hire, they’ve already launched their group practice, they are in it and the conversations going on within this community are just phenomenal. It’s helping you get to the next level, it’s 1099 versus W2, it’s how do you do compensation? All sorts of things that are the nitty gritty that people have done before. There are some cohorts opening up soon. You can read more over practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss.
And as always, thank you for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome week.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And 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 publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.