Episode 55: Retired Therapist & Beyond! [featuring Katie Lemieux]
What does life look like for a retired therapist, and where do things go from there? Therapists have skills that can be applied to way more things than just butt-in-the-seat therapy, but we often have a hard time seeing our potential for ourselves.
In this episode, I talk with Katie Lemieux, Retired Therapist, Licensed Realtor, Real Estate Investor, and Owner and Co-Founder of The Private Practice Startup and La Rosa Realty.
We talk about...
- How and why Katie retired from being a therapist to start other entrepreneurial ventures
- How "systems" can be used to create TRUE freedom
- How having a business a business partner is like getting married (and why business partner "divorce" plans should be discussed at the beginning)
- How to create Passive Income that is ACTUALLY passive!
- How the ego can be the killer of having a true business
- How systems and trust are needed for a healthy business that can function well without you having to do all the work
Grab Katie's Free Offer: "Your Dream Private Practice Playbook"
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.
Chances are you've paid special attention to making sure your clients feel welcomed and at ease from the moment they walk into your practice's space. Make sure you don't overlook one very important step, their check-in experience.
The Receptionist for iPad is the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.
The Receptionist for iPad is a simple, inexpensive way to allow your clients to discreetly check in, notify providers of a patient’s arrival, and ensure your front lobby is stress-free.
The software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in, and can even ask if any patient information has changed since their last visit.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial of The Receptionist for iPad by going to thereceptionist.com/privatepractice, and when you do, you’ll also receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
PATRICK CASALE: Are you tired of running to the lobby to see if your next appointment has arrived? Would you like a more discreet, stress-free way for your clients to check in? Take a deep breath. The Receptionist for iPad empowers your practice to create a Zen-like check-in experience.
This episode is sponsored by The Receptionist for iPad. It's the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.
The Receptionist for iPad is a simple inexpensive way to allow your clients to discreetly check-in, to notify providers of a patient's arrival, and to ensure your front lobby is stress-free. The software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in and can even ask if any patient information has changed since their last visit.
Start a 30-day free trial by going to thereceptionist.com/privatepractice. That's thereceptionist.com/privatepractice. When you sign up, you'll get your first 30 free days.
Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I am your host, Patrick Casale, here in Asheville, North Carolina. Today I am joined by a good friend and colleague of mine, Katie Lemieux. She is an LMFT in the Fort Lauderdale area. Most of you probably know her as one of the co-founders of The Private Practice Startup and The Private Practice Startup Podcast and is now a real estate company owner. So, I'm really excited to have Katie on to talk about systems, to talk about her journey into the private practice startup, and retiring as a therapist, and moving into a different venture.
KATIE LEMIEUX: Oh, thank you so much for having me.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I'm excited for you to be here. I've been on your podcast a couple of times and have always really enjoyed it. And, Katie, I just want to start talking about, you know, I know you love systems, we'll get there. I know you love the, like, Private Practice Podcast, or Private Practice Startup paperwork that you've all created. But I just want to talk about your journey into that.
So, becoming an LMFT, then moving into creating this wonderful company that helps therapists start their businesses, because I imagine when you started out that wasn't something that you foresaw.
KATIE LEMIEUX: No, definitely not. So, you know, I always say, I grew up in community mental health, because when I moved to Florida back in 2001, I started in community mental health while I was going through my master's program, and being there for, I don't even remember if it's 11 or 13 years now, but either way, it's a long sentence, either way, what it is. But I'm very grateful for my time in community mental health, because I learned a ton about, not only, like, therapy, but business, because I actually was in management and leadership roles for the majority of the time that I was there.
And then, I always say it was my staff that pushed me out, because they're like "You're too good to be here. You should do private practice." And I was like, "Oh, I guess that's just the next step." And I wasn't sure that I wanted to do full-time therapy, again, because I really enjoy management and leadership.
So, I did that anyway and went into practice full-time. And this is back in, like, 2010 when there was barely any practice-building resources out there. I mean, there was Casey Truffaut, How to Be a Wealthy Therapist. There was a few books, but there was definitely no Facebook groups, no coaching. I mean, you know, I had coaching from business coach, but there was nothing specific for clinicians, and Kate, you know, shared the similar stories. We struggled, we didn't know how to build a business, I wanted to quit every day for probably a good year. But just kept with it and interviewed people, and asked, and made all the mistakes, and finally, like, figured business out, and really gotten in groove, and got a niche, and, you know, became an expert in the area, and learn how to market.
So, it was natural that Kate and I were both beginning to attract people who were curious as to how do we do that. So, we started off with kind of, like, individual coaching, group coaching. Kate had always wanted to build an e-course. And we did that several years ago and created the e-course really to just be, you know, evergreen, and now it serves people and we're completely hands-off. But it was a lot of many years in the making. It took us probably like a year and a half to make the e-course. So, that took quite a bit of time, because you really have to understand your process, and structure, and communicate it, and then, make sure that's effective.
So, it was a lot of testing, right? It was like the individual, then we did group beta testing, and then, we launched the e-course, and did more testing to be able to make it now an evergreen product. So, it was not very passive in the beginning, but it is very passive now.
PATRICK CASALE: Can you talk about that? Like, I'm just seeing you laugh about the passive statement. Like, I see so many people say, "I want passive income. I want to have, like, hands off." But I don't think that many people think about how much work goes into creating passive income and the behind-the-scenes part. So, like, what are your thoughts on creating that, and how much actual work goes into something like that that's going to, you know, bring in money when you're sleeping?
KATIE LEMIEUX: So, it's funny, because I actually have two thoughts on this. So, I remember years ago when Allison Puryear was on our podcast for the first time, she had mentioned that passive income really isn't passive. So, my two thoughts on this are one, really from the real estate world. So, I got into real estate in 2015 by being a private money lender. I've always been a great money saver. And I learned about private money lending where you lend out your money, like the bank, and you get a return on it with interest and you really do nothing.
So, there are definitely truly passive income vehicles that we can tap into that are truly passive, and so much that I remember my spouse, Seana, saying, "Hey, I got to go, you know, okay, this property is almost done, you know, I'm going to go and clean it up. Like, do you want to come with me?" And I'm like, "No, I'm the passive, you know, private money lender. Like, that's not my role. I'm not there to sweep up floors." So, it really gave me that taste of true passive.
Now, of course, there's other things that can create passive income, but the work on that can be a lot, like, the marketing e-course. You know, it was really years of the coaching, and understanding, and implementing, working with other people, you know, getting it prepared, you know, and then, when you have a product or system, it's the constant tweaking, and what else is the audience needing, but it's not all that difficult work. I mean, Kate and I did quite a few weekends away, where we just solely worked on the e-course. And then creating it, and recording, and editing it, and then, working with tech people to get it on WordPress, and back and forth with that it was a ton of work upfront. But now it's a very lucrative thing for us.
PATRICK CASALE: So, very different perspectives on what is passive versus what can also take a lot of legwork on the front end and the back end becomes successful.
So, you're creating this e-course, you're seeing this need for, like, private practice startup coaches, and you decide with Kate, "We should start The Private Practice Startup business." So, you've talked to me about starting something with someone and how that almost has to be like a marriage. Like, there has to be document sign, there has to be an understanding of what happens if this doesn't work, and you know, the breakup happens. So, can you talk a little bit about that process?
KATIE LEMIEUX: For sure, it's funny, right? Because we don't even talk about that, getting married to our partner. We don't want to talk about what if we get divorced? I think we should honestly. I think that's an important conversation. Yeah, so, one of my very wise good friends, Lisa Wintu, is an attorney, and also, a therapist. You know, I reached out to her for some advice and she's like, "You need to talk about your relationship like as if you're getting divorced from the onset." And I was like, "Oh, this is interesting." And interestingly enough, she actually had a partner or a business partner breakup so she went through this herself.
So, I thought that was really good, wise advice. And Kate and I definitely did that. And, you know, we have an operating agreement that kind of details things out, and even things like you don't think about, right? Like, I mean, early on, now we're in a different place, but having the conversation about, "Okay, well, what if in this course of us working together we don't part ways because of bad blood but it's like, well, what if I just don't want to do this anymore, you know?" Or, "God forbid, one of us dies? You know, like, does the spouse get interest? Do they get to buy it? Does the other person just get to have…"
Like, there's all these, like, discussions that need to be had, which I think, just in general, in life, are good discussions to have, especially, like, it's relevant also too to a marriage, right? Because most of us don't expect to pass away at a young age, but that does happen. And so, do you have an estate plan, you know? Do you have life insurance? All these things are really important conversations to have. When we do that work upfront, it just creates security and safety overall in our relationship when there's a plan.
So, Kate, and I actually, we've known each other for a long time, I forget exactly, I think we've known each other since 2006. And the way that we met was licensure supervision. And then, we did supervision of supervision. So, we're double EFT. And our supervisor hadn't, we say twisted our arms [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:07] victim's statement there, twisted our arms to [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:11] the route Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and we complied [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:15] you know, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Kate was the president and I became the vice president of BMLT. We just realized we worked really well there.
So, we had an opportunity to work together a little bit before we entered into the business relationship, you know, without a whole plate, the marriage part. So, we realized that we did that very well. We actually started… The Private Practice Startup started as [PH 00:09:37] Ketu Visionaries and Ketu Visionaries was a local statewide training company that actually we had launched the 16-hour supervision course, you know, for clinicians in Florida to take so that they can supervise. And then, you know, we discussed and we wanted a bigger reach. And that's when Kate started like, you know, looking at podcasts, and things like that, and then, that's where we shifted the brand into The Private Practice Startup.
But overall, you know, I don't know if being a therapist is helpful, but, you know, it's interesting, I was with her last night. I haven't seen her face to face in a while, but, you know, her son's going to be seven, her oldest son's going to be seven, and I was like, "Wow." Like, I was there when she got pregnant, you know what I mean? Like, and you really, as a business partner goes through life with someone. I mean, you get to know, you know, the most intimate moments, because there's times when you have a meeting, and your partner's, like, there's some crap going down over here, and I can't get on or, you know, so and so has cancer. So, you become an intimate part of their life. And I think that's something not to take by lean and it's something also that you really have to learn how to navigate.
Kate and I are very good at, you know, being self-aware. So, there'll be times that she comes on and she's like, "I'm just in a bad mood today. So, I'm coming up short or whatever, it's not new." And I'm like, "All right [INDISCERNIBLE 00:10:50]." Or I'll be like, "Something just happened to me before we got on, I'm not in a good space." And so, it's like that open communication with each other. You know, Kate is… one of her love languages is verbal praise. So, she shared that with a lot with me and how she, you know, models that, and it's like, "Oh, okay, this is what she wants." So, it's very much like a marriage, you know? That's how she responds, that works for her. And so, I've become even better at verbal phrase in my life, thanks to her.
So, those are just kind of some things of being able to balance the relationship. And at first, I think we stepped on each other's toes, but not in a bad way. It would be something like, you know, someone's emailing us, and we share an email, and we're both responding. We don't do that anymore, because we have an assistant that takes care of all of our email. That's a godsend for anyone who's listening, I can't say enough about that. But it was never in any like, you know, harsh way. And then, naturally, a lot of our natural strengths, just kind of highlighted, like I take care of all the finances of the business. So, you know, I'll tell her, there's a business decision to be made about money. But other than that, I'm the one that pays everybody, I'm the one that handles all our taxes. So, it's just, you know, just kind of naturally falls into those areas, and we stay in our lane.
PATRICK CASALE: Sounds like really complementary roles to each other. And that probably creates a lot of success and healthy communication, too. Did you ever foresee the private practice startup taking off the way it has with the podcast, with the coaching, courses, with the recognition, you know, on a global level?
KATIE LEMIEUX: I don't know if I saw that, specifically. But I do know, like, we were one of the kind of early adopters in the space. Like, there were several people coming into the space, like [PH 00:12:33] Nolan was there, Allison was there, Kiki Zimaey was kind of coming up into the space. So, there was like, I think, zynnyme, of course, several big people. It wasn't like a very saturated space at the moment. And then, I don't know, I think that we just continued to work on what we were doing and it just kind of naturally evolved.
PATRICK CASALE: It's really cool to see and how many years has that been since you've started that business?
KATIE LEMIEUX: This is our eighth year.
PATRICK CASALE: Wow. And you have a very big reach and a very good reputation for people who know their shit. I mean, you have great topics that you talk about on the podcast. And I think that's really, your marketing is fantastic, and you're so systems-oriented, and like, you're very good at the business side of things, I always get the sense just even being your friend that you are very, very, very good and honed in on that. And you're constantly working and evolving and learning. And that I think plays a big role, too. I mean, how important are the systems that go into something like that and even other business ownership in general?
KATIE LEMIEUX: It's interesting, you asked that, because I'm listening to the book right now called Atomic Habits. And I'm just early on in the book, and he talks about, I don't remember exactly what he said, but it's like, the goal is something to achieve, but it's the system that's going to help you get there. And I was like, "Ah, no wonder why I limit so much, right?"
Because the reality is like, you know, we're recording this in the beginning of the year, most people are like, "I'm going to eat healthy, lose weight." Whatever. But if we don't have the system in the process of how that's going to happen, and how we're going to stay committed, and how to be held accountable, most likely it might not happen.
So, you know, I was like, okay, this makes sense. And I don't know, I just think very systemically and systems must truly allow us to have true freedom. What I've also known about systems and kind of jumping a little bit into a different topic, one of the difficult things I see a lot of therapists or just people in general who want to have a big business is the hiring process, right? It's kind of like, finally, someone comes on, you're just ready to unload, and you just want to give it all to them but there's no system. And also, like going into the therapy world, right? Like, in marriage or family therapy, like we learn systems, and we talk about feedback loops.
And so, in business everything is a feedback loop, right? It's like, well, if I shared an email and it didn't really get any, you know, hits, or conversions, or responses, well, that's a feedback loop for me. Like, something's not working there, it's not landing right. The same thing in business is we're constantly looking at the system, right, and tweaking it, and, you know, upgrading, and/or fixing, or working.
You and I were just having conversation earlier this week about, you know, podcasts, and data, and stuff like that. And so, knowing your system, but also then gathering the information from the system will help you improve it.
So, systems to me are huge. And I do think that they allow us to live a more relaxed life.
PATRICK CASALE: And I think that's what we want, right? As entrepreneurs we probably want a lot of similar things to live a more relaxed life, to have more autonomy, and freedom to travel, or just follow other passion projects, too. And I think that is such great advice. And I think that's missed opportunities a lot for people, because I mean, 99% of the therapists out there don't really understand that, and don't have business training, and business experience. And I think we can overlook that and maybe fly by the seat of our pants too often of like, I'm going to start a practice, I don't know how but like, it's going to happen, because that's the goal.
But you're right, like, the in-between gets missed a lot. And I think as people grow that also gets missed, too. And then, it's like, I have all these great ideas, but I don't really know how to implement them, I don't know how to put them in place so that they flow and run smoothly. And that can create a lot of like, overwhelm, and stress, and just frustration too, when things aren't going the way you thought they would.
KATIE LEMIEUX: Right and I think, you know, part of the reason that people don't create systems, you know, one of the benefits, I would say, of having a business partner is that, you know, we just might just do something because we do it because it's easy, it's quick, we just always do it. But when you have a business partner, and you're constantly reflecting back and forth to each other, or things are changing, and saying, "We need to change this." And it's like, "Oh, yeah, let's look at that, we do need to change that."
Other reasons why people don't develop systems is because it is hard work and it is a lot of like work. I remember when we developed our, I think it's like 30-something step podcast system. It took like a few field days to actually create that, and draw it out, and, you know, it's a pain in the butt initially.
But, you know, I've laughed and when systems work really well, you know, we've been hosting some master classes, and I was doing them at first, and then, I was watching what I was doing, and systemizing, and documenting every little step of the way to then train our assistant. And I laughed because the first time we finally like, gave it to her and she did it. I was like, "Could you remind me what I'm supposed to do?" Like, that's the beauty of how greatest system works.
Now, I had a document and what I was supposed to do but it was like, it worked so well and so seamlessly that that's what's supposed to happen.
I'm going to also, think a lot of times people don't know how to trust other people, right? And they feel… And I feel like I was lucky to learn that lesson very early on in my career when I was promoted into management at 26 years old. I was a micromanager. I did not know how to trust my staff. I legit stayed in [INDISCERNIBLE 00:17:55] their charts till 11 o'clock at night because we were having an audit and, gosh, if that audit goes bad, it's going to reflect bad on me. And that's where I really began to start to do a lot of my own personal and professional growth work on how to… And then, going to be a true leader, but it's like how do you impact people? How do you let them know that you trust them? And how do you let them know that if they make a mistake, it's a mistake, and that's okay.
Even our assistant now and our assistant's virtual, she lives in Africa, there was a time that something happened and somebody like got our paperwork for free, and she felt, you know, we brought it to her attention and she felt so bad that she was willing to pay for it. And I knew that would be like ridiculous. And we actually incentivized her and paid her for her honesty, and her willingness, and it was just, you know what I mean? It's like, they're going to make mistakes, and most stuff isn't too, too bad. You know, it's not like completely dumb saying to a business. So, you know, I think being able to roll with that in your business, that, that is going to happen, and again, it's a feedback loop, right?
And we try to look at, you know, do the people that are on our team, do they have what they need to do their job? Have we asked them if they need anything else? Is this working for them? Is this in their wheelhouse? You know, are we putting people in positions that this is just not in their wheelhouse? So, it's always a feedback loop. Always, always, to me, it's always a feedback loop and goes back to systems, but that's me.
PATRICK CASALE: No, I mean, I think that's really well said, and I think that makes so much sense. I think you're right, a lot of people shy away from it, because it's a lot of, like, work in the front end and it's not the fun stuff for a lot of people. It feels like torture, and I know how much you love it. But I think the majority of people are like, "Oh, I don't want to do this at all." But if the goal ultimately is to have something that runs seamlessly, or not seamless, but without you having to be involved all the time, and to be able to step away from things, and focus on other areas. And I think you're right about, like, trusting the people you hire are.
And there's two sides to that. One, I see a lot of people who don't want to outsource, because maybe financially they can't or because they can't trust other people. The thing I always hear is like, "Well, nobody's going to do it as good as I'm going to do it." And maybe that's true. But like, you can't do it all, right? Like, you can't be involved in every aspect of the businesses that you run, because you'll burn yourself out.
KATIE LEMIEUX: That's interesting, you say that, because I do believe that ego can be the killer of having a true business. So, that's what you want. And to me, my definition of a business is a system that works without you. Now, if you're a solopreneur, and listening to this and be like, "Well, it can't work without me." But I mean, that's okay, because if that's what your business is, that's fine. But if you're a group practice owner, and you don't want to do private practice, or see clients anymore, it's always about having that option. But if you don't systemize it, and learn how to trust people, it's not going to happen.
And you know what? It's funny, because this is a conversation in my personal life lately with someone else about, well, they want me, they want, and time and time again, and all the other in the real estate world, right? It's like people fall in love with your standards and your process. Why can you go to Starbucks or wherever fast food, or whatever, and get the same product over all the time? Because it's a process. It's not about the person that's taking your order, it's not. And that's how it allows business to grow.
So, you know, yeah, there are things that we can only do, and we're great at doing. And I guess it's like, where each person wants to be in their own business. You know, for me, like, I have a desire and a dream to have several multimillion-dollar businesses that just completely work without me, you know, either I'm an angel investor in a business, or I've come into a business and, you know, help systemize it, and utilize my skills, but then, step back. Like, that's just exciting for me, that's what I would love to do.
PATRICK CASALE: And I know you're working really hard on that. And I know you consider yourself a retired therapist now as I'm hearing that term thrown around a lot from a lot of colleagues that I have in this world. And, you know, when you decided that was the case, like, I'm no longer going to be a therapist, I'm going to step away a little bit from Private Practice Startup, and I'm going to start really investing my time in the real estate company that you and Seana own together, like, were there feelings, emotions around that? Like, was there, you know, I know when I thought about leaving the therapy world, I almost feel like I'm abandoning it. I almost feel some shamefulness, like, I'm leaving the profession behind. And I wonder about that for you.
KATIE LEMIEUX: 100% and honestly, I would say it took four years for me to step away. And there's a few factors in that. And therapist Sheen was definitely part of it. I mean, Ernesto and I did a podcast on that and we actually have it on our podcast as well. But there was some shame around that, right? Especially because people perceive you as a big figure in this arena and now you're going to step away. And you know, what's the impact over there on them?
You know, other things to consider were obviously, I was working three half days making six figures, like, that's hard to leave. So, that was one, and then, it's like, well, what do I do next? And will I have the finances to do the next thing?
But really, the precipitating event was the pandemic for me, because when we went on Zoom full time, I'm sure this has been there, but I discovered I have like a slip disc and degenerative disc in my neck. And even today, I can't be on Zoom like consecutively for hours. For the time that we first went into the pandemic, and we were on Zoom for time, I was in chronic pain for six months. And it was just excruciating. And it was that thing that I was like, "I just can't, I'm not going to be able to do this." Like, I was suffering for sure.
So, that was like the precipitating event. But then it's like, you know what? I had clarity and if I really look at and I've been saying this so much more lately is where I'm best served, right? Like, there's a sadness for me to be like, you know, people are like, "Oh, do you miss therapy?" No, I don't miss therapy, because number one, I'm just a therapist in my being. Like, I'm always going to ask the questions, I'm always going to be engaged with people, I'm always going to want to know more intimate details. Like, that's just who I know myself to be.
But if I look back over my career, you know, I only did therapy, like, full-time for seven months. And then, I did it part-time, because I went into management leadership. I am best served from one to many, I am best served in leadership roles, I am best served in team, I am best served in systems. And each business needs that. So, it's like, I think, you know, for a while now I have owned where I'm best at and not that, you know, I didn't… I love my couples work. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed doing that, but I am not best at one-to-one. So, being able to finally just kind of own that, I think that's also just kind of allowed some separation.
And the other thing too is, man, we have an amazing industries that we could be successful anywhere. Sales and marketing, hostage negotiation, and whatever it is. I mean, our skills are relevant everywhere. So, you know, knowing that we're always using our skills, and especially, in real life, because as the dollar amount increases, people's emotions increase. So, you're definitely helping people navigate a lot of stuff. And, you know, sometimes people are living for happy reasons, and sometimes they're not. So, using those skills [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:12].
PATRICK CASALE: I really respect that response. You know, it's shows a lot of introspection and a lot of self-awareness to say, this is where I'm best served and this is how I can help people with the skill sets that I have.
And Ernesto and I have talked about this too. And stepping away from the profession, in some ways, brings up a lot of emotion. But then, I think about how can our skills help people in a different way? And how can we support people even if we're not doing one-to-one therapy work anymore?
And I see a lot of people, because of the pandemic, maybe because of burnout, because of whatever insurance bullshit, like, wanting to change how they work, and, you know, really not wanting to have 60-minute increments of their time be the sole source of their income. So, I certainly understand that and respect that a lot.
And I think you just made a really good point that stands out to me, like, supporting people through real estate ventures, you have to put on a therapist hat sometimes. Like, you have to be able to calm them down, you have to be able to help them regulate, support their decisions, you know, validate and reflect, I mean, and you're right, our skill sets are so transferable.
I often see therapist not be able to understand that or think about how those skills can be applicable elsewhere. Do you ever see that? Like, what else could I do if I wasn't a therapist?
KATIE LEMIEUX: Well, to answer the first part of the question, all the time, and like Kate and I constantly drill into therapists, that you are primed to be amazing marketers. And I would talk about like, therapists, we believe, like [INDISCERNIBLE 00:26:48] I think unconscious level, it's like, oh, when I'm in the room, the therapy room, whatever that is nowadays, right? These are my skills. And this is what I know how to do. And it's like, but no, even as a supervisor your therapy skills are, well, it's like when you come out of the four walls, or the couch, or whatever, like, your skills are so applicable.
And I always talk about therapists do make the best marketers. Why? What are we asking right up front? Client language, their problems. What are we giving back to them? What they said, reframing, summarizing. Like, that's what marketing is, right? And that's also, like, you're talking about, like, helping people emotionally regulate. So, it sounds to me that you're really upset that this inspection went bad. Yeah. Like, that's just a therapist skill. You know what I mean? Great. What would you like to do about it? Social focus, you know, helping them identify… like, it's all relevant.
PATRICK CASALE: You're absolutely right. I mean, and I preach that too, about the marketing piece, and even the networking piece. I see a lot of therapists say like, "I don't want to do networking, it feels sleazy, it feels like I'm a car salesman, like I don't want to talk about me." Well, great. Networking isn't about talking about me, right? It's like, let me learn about you, let me build a relationship with you, let me be curious about what you like to do, who you're passionate about working with, how to support you in that way, take the pressure off, and we're very well versed in these skills, I mean. But I think we also lose sight of that when you lose, like you said, the four walls or the Zoom room, or whatever the hell we're doing therapy on these days.
I really hope that resonates for people who are listening, because you all can be wildly successful as entrepreneurs, and grow, and scale, if that's what you want to do. And you do have those skill sets to be able to do so successfully. It's just about taking a step back and realizing that those are applicable in all situations in life. And they can be used as superpowers in business ownership.
KATIE LEMIEUX: 100%.
PATRICK CASALE: So, I know you wanted to talk a little bit about your real estate venture and how you transitioned into that, and what that looks like these days. And I want to give you space to do that, because I think it's really fascinating and just allowing other therapists and small business owners to know that there are a lot of options out there. And you mentioned systems also being really important in real estate as well. So, I want to let you take charge of that.
KATIE LEMIEUX: Yeah, it's interesting, you know, there's this parallel process, you know, now I've been in real estate full time for a year and a half, and coming into the business, you know, I'm very much practice what I preach, because I know how to build a business. And so, that's really starting with a vision, and mission, and culture, your clear brand, your core values, and it literally took us eight months to figure that out.
So, I felt very, like, stuck. Like, it's harder than to identify the ideal client if we don't know this and finally, it kind of all came together, which I see, and has happened even as a therapist, and so, finally, all came together and it just felt right, right? And we have our name, and our brand, and even now today, we're still even honing in on our niche and our ideal client even more, because just like as many therapist's experience, you don't come into this field of being like, "Oh, I'm going to work with addictions, especially, teens, and this certain population, and the LBGT community. That is what I'm going to do. I was called to do that. Hurray!"
No, it doesn't work that way. Right? Like, you do your internship like that, or I definitely know I don't want to work that, but I'm not really sure. So, it's kind of in this, like, navigation process. And as we've gotten more clear, it's like, okay, this feels right, I enjoy this or even like marketing strategies. You know, coming into real estate, one of the difficult things that I've been, like, fighting might not be the right word, but we've been pounded with, you've got to make calls, you got to make calls, you got to make cold calls, you got to make calls, this is what you do.
And it's like, "But no, I teach people how to market their business. And you should do strategies that are align with you." By no means does cold calling align with me. But it's like stealing the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:40].
And it's like, "Urgh" So, it like kind of set me back a little bit, because I did allow all that noise to kind of infiltrate even though I knew exactly what I wanted to do is create funnels, is do videos, because that's what I'm most aligned to. So, now I'm finally like, redirecting myself.
And so, it's been this interesting process of having compassion for myself, as I know what to do, I know "Better." But also, just being human and navigating the role and not being so clear, because I didn't come into real estate like this is exactly what I want to do.
And real estate to me is very similar to therapy. There are so many options to niching. But it's like what is aligned to you. So, that's been a very interesting process. And, you know, I'm very much, you and I were speaking about this, I'm very much like, I hit the goal, and it's like, okay, what's next, right? There's no like celebration, there's no acknowledgement, it's on to the next, which is not a good trait of mine. And I remember, I think back in October, you know, Kate was like, "Well, how's real estate going?" I was like, "Oh, well, like double the numbers I've seen I have last year." And she's like, "That's amazing." And I'm like, "That is amazing, right?"
And here, we don't have everything worked out, right. And it's going to evolve, and stuff like that, and that was pretty amazing for that, you know, first full year together to do what we did. So, as things continue to get aligned, and it's hard, right? Like, as humans, we want to have that done now, right?
I remember when I designed my first website, you just like had this expectation that it's going to be up and running. Well, I'm probably on draft number five with my web designer going back on our real estate website. So, you know, it's an interesting parallel process in regards to just building any business really.
And also, you know, the other thing too, so Seana and I, I got into real estate because… as a real estate investor, first, not as selling residential real estate. And when I realized being able to truly have passive income investments, but also, what real estate affords people in the sense of the numerous benefits of depreciation, appreciation, cash flow, things like that, it makes a lot of sense and it's interesting. One of the systems that I put into place several years ago when I went through, I always forget the name of it, I think it's called The Millionaire Mind Intensive. It was like a three-day weekend thing. And, you know, Dave Ramsey talks about the envelope system, I know other people talk about that to kind of pay off debt, well, they talked really about a wealth building system which was 55% is your expenses, 5% is give, which is donating to charity, and if you can't give with your money you give with your time, 10% is education, another 10% is like for, like, long term retirement and things like that, 10% was play which was a big thing that changed my life, because I've been a money saver, I was a vacation time afforder, just in case which was all related to scarcity, was not related to freedom.
So, when I learned about the play box, the play whatever, having my own play account is that you are required to blow that at least once a quarter. Like, that's the requirement of play and it created this new energy around money for me, and then, the other last category is your financial freedom. So, for me, I've kind of changed the percentages of all that, you know. I kind of live on a certain income, and then, the majority of my money goes into financial freedom.
So, it's exciting to me, you know, if I'm paying myself whatever $7,000 this week, whatever, and I have enough for expenses, I've put money in play, and then, I'll put in the rest in the financial freedom, because the game for me is live on this income, take as much money as you can and invest. You know, I'd really like to be able to get up to like $10,000 passive income a month this year. And you know, obviously, real estate is the main vehicle that we do that with and Seana has been really amazing with creative financing. I mean, they talk about that, but she's just won the game at that, I would say, that most often when you're investing in investment property you're either putting 20% down.
So, our triplex that we just got, not only do we have equity in the property, we used a private money lender at first, because it's all about the numbers, right? So, it's still cash-flowing, we actually request a little bit more from our private money lender so we're not really putting any money out. We get money back, we have money for our reserves, and then, in six months, because there's already equity in the property we'll be able to do a cash-out refinance, and probably won't have to put anything down, because there's enough equity in the property, where that kind of covers that 20 or 25%.
So, it's really cool in that as real estate professionals we actually get other tax benefits. So, that was like one of the questions like, "Well, why do you need your license?" Well, number one, I want to be able to have access to everything and not have to wait for people. And number two, you know, it offered other tax benefits. So, it just made sense. Is that a long answer?
PATRICK CASALE: You're just such a super savvy, business-minded person. And it's always impressive to me, because I just know that like, everything you just mentioned has intention behind it, right? Like, there is reason, and motivation, and intentionality, and structure, and like, understanding that there's a longer-term goal instead of just focusing on the short term. And I think that's really important.
And what also resonated to me was, like, the cold calling piece, recognizing like, don't put energy in places that don't light you up, or don't excite you, because you're not going to do it well, and you're not going to want to do it. And instead, right, like you said, videos, and marketing, and being really savvy, and knowing what works, focusing on the things that light you up that you're really good at, because I think that also opens up space for growth and opportunity. And to also, you know, ultimately, bring in more resource and income, because you're doing it well, instead of like, dredging through and just being like, "Fuck, I don't want to call 200 names today." Like, that's not going to be useful in my time.
And I think what I also hear you saying is just how important your time is, and how valuable that that is for people too.
And one thing I want to say Katie as a friend, and a colleague, like, I hope you can take it all in. And I know we're both working on that, because we both struggle with like, "Okay, I did this and it was successful, I'm on to the next thing, I can't even stop to like, feel it or acknowledge it." And I'm just really impressed with everything you've created. And you've influenced and impacted a lot of people. So, I just want to say that on this podcast and just name it.
KATIE LEMIEUX: Thank you. I appreciate that.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, for people listening, any advice on just startups or like, things that feel really important, like some quick points that are like, you should probably focus on these things or do these things if you want to be successful?
KATIE LEMIEUX: I am definitely, I mean, as we've been talking most of this podcast is, I'm a lover and believer of systems. And if you want to accelerate your growth, coaching, mentoring, I mean, if you have the money to do it right off the bat, because otherwise, you're just, as we say, throwing spaghetti at the wall, you're not even really clear on what you're doing and hoping something works inevitably, well, but it's really not the most effective way to utilize your time, it's not the effective way to grow your practice.
Another thing I would say is, you know, one thing that afforded me going into real estate is I no longer had to worry about money, right? And so, if you're in a position where you're thinking about coming into practice, is please save some money for marketing. Like that's so very important. So, marketing, coaching, website, you know, I did all the things wrong. Even though I had like eight to 10 clients, and I thought I could leave, I was, you know, matching my income. But I didn't plan, I didn't have money saved to invest in my business. I just think that's critically important, because it's those systems that are going to help accelerate your growth, take out the overwhelm and exhaustion. I think that's just really important.
And also, to, you know, and this is probably me saying this to myself is just also have some compassion for the dirty, right? Like, I would love to have come into real estate and be like, this is our niche, this is our deals, right? We're doing this, and I can show you here we are. And that's just not the case. But we are still having success. And it will evolve. So, it's just having compassion for the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:38:44] of the journey. Yeah, that's what I would say.
PATRICK CASALE: That's really well said, it's great advice. And I know you're also naming some of that for yourself. And compassion for the journey is important for everyone listening. You're going to make mistakes. It's not going to be clear right away, especially, if you're leaving community mental health and going into private practice. You may not foresee the end goal and that's okay. Be compassionate when you get into perfectionism mode, when you feel like the website isn't good enough, the Psych Today profile's not good enough. Just allow it to be visible. I believe that present and visible is better than non-existent.
And I really like Katie's advice about, you know, understanding the importance of marketing, and website, and just, you have to treat your business like a business if you're going to be a small business owner, and I do think we throw things against the wall to see what sticks, because a lot of us don't have business training in the therapy arena.
And I know a lot of you coming out of community mental health maybe don't have the money saved up for some of those things that she's mentioning. But really try to understand that by reinvesting in your business, it's going to create growth and success, and just more revenue in the long run. So, taking the profit and putting it into marketing, putting it into coaching and mentorship, putting it into your marketing plan and your website, really crucial, really important. I think it gets overlooked a lot.
So, great advice from someone who has been wildly successful, and continues to grow, and is very influential in the therapist's communities, and the small business startup communities, and the coaching communities. And yeah, just a wonderful, wonderful human being to learn from and I've learned a lot from Katie along the way, too.
Katie, do you mind just telling people where people can find more of you and just learn more about what you're offering?
KATIE LEMIEUX: Sure, privatepracticestartup.com. Like Patrick said, we have our podcast too, which is the Private Practice Startup Podcast. A lot of stuff is on our Resources section, check out what we do there. Our main things that we do, though, are attorney-approved private practice paperwork, and our e-course, and coaching programs, and our free podcasts.
PATRICK CASALE: And your real estate company. Can you talk about what it's called?
KATIE LEMIEUX: And my real estate, so our company is The Homeowners Agent. So, obviously, real estate is overall, pretty local, but one of the main pillars, one of our core values of our company is education. So, it doesn't matter if you're in Mississippi, or Alabama, or Alaska, you've got a question about real estate, we'd love to talk about it. We just really want people to be educated consumers so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their family. And our other two core values are passion and financial freedom. So, we want you to be financially free, whatever that means for you, because we're working on that for ourselves. And we're pretty passionate about what we do. So, it's The Homeowners Agent on Instagram, as well as Facebook. And you can see our ever-evolving website at the moment if you catch this podcast early, you'll see all the drafts.
And I appreciate that you saying that. You know, I always think about Brene Brown, done is better than perfect, or perfect… Done is better than perfect, is that what she says? I don't know, I think done is better than perfect, I believe that's what it is.
And it's funny, because going back and forth on the website, I actually asked our web designer on like the first round to make it live. I was like I want it live, we'll work on it. It doesn't matter. The longevity is more important, the directing people to the website it will evolve. So, yeah, thank God I got over that one, right? Because I have to be different. It took me a year to put up one of my websites because it was never done. So, don't do that.
PATRICK CASALE: I really want people to listen to that, done is better than perfect. Everyone that's thinking about this right now, that's an impostor syndrome perfectionism mode, done is better than perfect, visible is better than non-existent. People need to know that you exist.
And another thing Katie didn't mention is how good of a social media marketer she is. Like, look at her Instagram posts, look at her Facebook posts. Like, you can learn a lot from them and what works and what doesn't. And I think that's really important to capture your personalities, and your authenticity, and what you are really passionate about.
So, I hope this was helpful. If you want to find more of me, allthingspractice.com where my coaching courses, my retreats, and my podcast links, the All Things Private Practice Podcast. Please like, share, subscribe, download, and the All Things Private Practice Facebook group, just continue to look forward to having conversations like this. So, Katie, thank you so much for making time and being a part of this.
KATIE LEMIEUX: Thanks for having me.
PATRICK CASALE: You're welcome.
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