OKOT Year end review
Laura Park Figueroa: Welcome to Therapy in the Great Outdoors, the podcast where we explore the business and practice of nature based pediatric therapy of all kinds. If you're an outdoor loving pediatric practitioner in the fields of occupational, physical, or speech therapy, social work, or mental health, this podcast will help you start and grow a successful nature based practice or program.
I am the ever honest, always 100 percent real, you'll hear it all on this podcast, Dr. Laura Park. My name is Laura Park Figueroa. I'm a pediatric OT with over 20 years of experience and I run a thriving nature based practice with profitable locations in two different states and multi six figures in revenue.
I also host the free online community at therapyinthegreatoutdoors. com to help you pursue your nature based therapy dreams too. Are you ready to take action on those dreams? Let's jump in.
Hey everyone. It's that time of year, it's time for the year end review the year in review. However you want to say it. It is the episode that I have done in every podcast that I've ever hosted. I always share my numbers and my reflections on the year. In the hopes that it will encourage you and help you. In your practice as well.
So today is part one, and I'm going to be talking about my practice, my nature-based therapy practice, outdoor kids OT. I'm going to share revenue. I'm going to share what I learned this year. I'm going to share what I paid myself. All the nitty gritty little numbers that everybody loves to hear, because you don't really hear this stuff publicly.
Like most people don't talk about this. This is something that I am very passionate about in business is pulling back the veil being transparent. And I am starting to do this in my programs, encouraging people to actually share their numbers in order to hold us accountable. This is the way that you will make progress in your business.
And as a business owner, if you talk about your goals publicly, if you share them with people, if you get over the fear of feeling weird or not hitting the goal, maybe if you get over that fear and actually share things publicly, there is huge power and accountability. And yeah, I would encourage all of you all to think about sharing things more publicly.
But before we get started, I need to make an announcement so that you have plenty of notice that the Contigo approach nature-based therapy certification and mentoring program will be opening again. In January, I plan to open the cart from January 15th to the 19th. If you are interested, We are doing a new format, this coming cohort, it's going to be more like a cohort model.
Now our calls are always going to be accessible to anyone that has taken the Contigo approach in the past. But we are going to be running our calls in a way that is. More compressed. So we were doing the monthly and people gave me feedback that it was really hard to find the time on a once a month basis in order to make the calls.
And so now what we are doing is. We're running the enrollment in January, and then we are going to have four mentoring calls in a row in February. It will not in a row every week for four consecutive weeks. We're going to have mentoring calls. So that you go through each module and that there's a little bit like I was just talking about of accountability. In order to progress through the content and actually engage in learning with your peers.
So we will be opening cart again, January 15th to 19th, and the calls will be on Thursdays. In the month of February, you can get all the information on the [email protected] to join the waitlist there. If you are interested in, you want to get a reminder. When the cart opens, please join the waitlist Contigo approach.com. C O N T I G O.
Now let's dive into the yearly review and all of my numbers.
The revenue goal this year for my business was 300 K. At least in revenue. And I wanted to pay myself a hundred K in take home, pay from both the practice and this business therapy in the great outdoors, my online business, where I support therapists. So I wanted to have a combination of income from both of those businesses to pay myself a hundred K I have never hit that in previous years.
And for some context here, I just did an episode. A couple episodes ago called six things you must do to be successful in nature-based practice because I read a book called The long game and it was all about sticking with things, even when they're hard. One of the learnings from that book that I read.
And in that episode that I share is that. Looking at other people's timelines can help you. know for yourself, what the timeline might be. Okay. So I have been in practice for eight years now in my nature-based practice. And I will tell you in a minute, if I hit that a hundred K take-home goal. So that just gives you an idea of how long it may take. To build a practice to make more than $300,000 in income.
And to be able to pay yourself close to a hundred grand. Are you ready for the total revenue? I did these numbers this weekend from my budgeting software. And. The total revenue as of December 15th was 360 8, 5 22.
So $368,522. But I just checked in with my accountant about some things today, and we hit the three 70 mark in the last few days. So that's really exciting. So we are over $370,000 in income. I am very proud of my team. They made this happen. They are the ones providing these excellent services that then allow other families to come find us because. People are saying that it's a good service.
I'm very thankful to them. And just very proud of the team for doing this. Now. I think my last year in review episode was named something like why $50,000 in the bank does not mean your business was profitable. And that is what I want to say right here as well. So I have about 60 grand, I think in my bank account right now. But that doesn't mean that we are profitable.
I had to do a lot of work in looking at the numbers in the business and making sure that the revenue from this year was more than the expenses. That is what it means. If your business is profitable, that you. Spent less money than you made. Okay. You kept some of the money that you made.
What happens in your business is that you usually, as you've been running the business for several years, you usually, if you've been running a profitable business you come into the year with some money right in the bank already.
So you can't just use bank balance budgeting. This is a thing I teach in my programs. You cannot use, look at your bank account to see if your business is profitable or to see if you have money in the bank. It doesn't. Mean anything. So right now I'm sharing this example of exactly how much I have in the bank saying I have around 60 grand because. The expenses in the business were actually $353,560.
Now those are numbers from Friday. Maybe they're a little more few things may have come in over the weekend, but. I had to just get this episode recorded and I'm going to use the most recent numbers that I have. In my data here. So basically what I'm looking at is I had around 370,000 come in this year. But I spent around 354,000.
So I really didn't have that much of a profit it's around 15 grand. And that is. Not a lot of profit for a business. My size, my goal next year is going to be, to have at least 10% profit. So this was about a 5%, little less than a 5% profit margin. So I need to be better next year about managing the expenses and making sure that we are having. More profitable months than months, where we are spending more than we are bringing in.
So your revenue is going to ebb and flow in your practice. Now with planning, you can really get to a place where, how much revenue is coming in, but. When a business grows, it becomes very hard to manage all of the numbers and really understand where every single. Dime of money that's coming in, where it's coming from.
So I have people that help me with that in my business and run those reports and things for me. Because when a business is this size, you, as the owner cannot control everything, you can't be the one in charge of everything. It's something that, this is a thing that I talked to a lot of business owners about is that you really have to be able to give up control and to let other people have responsibilities in your business because you can't do it all.
When the businesses, this size. Right now I have two locations, five employees. Probably, I think it's 14 groups going. So we have probably close to 25 volunteers that are working with us. I think I just said this on a previous episode. So sorry if I'm repeating something you already know, but just to give you the size of my business. And two admin people.
So it's a pretty big team and me. It's around 30 people. Okay.
The point of that first sharing of the numbers of the revenue and the expenses is to make sure that you have a budgeting system in place in your business, and really look at your numbers and make sure that you're profitable from month to month.
Because just because you have money in the bank at the end of the year does not mean that you are profitable. You have to really know how to look at your year revenue, yearly revenue and yearly expenses. paYroll was a large part of that. So in relation to the business being large, now, payroll was 131,000.
I believe this does include the December payroll. It might be a little bit higher than that. I think this number does include the December run of payroll cause we run payroll at the beginning of the month. Payroll was $131,612. So around 1 30, 2 K. TaXes. We're $57,760. Now that does include paying some of my personal taxes out of the business bank account.
So that is totally legal. The business should pay your taxes for you. That is part of what Mike Micalowicz. Teaches in his book profit first, which if you don't have, you should get so I did not pay all of my personal taxes. I don't know why. I think I just forgot and got lost and forgot that I was supposed to pay them out of the business bank account.
Honestly. But I did pay $9,200 of my personal taxes from the business bank account. So in some way, that's like the business paying me, right? Like it's like a paycheck to me as the owner, essentially that the business is going to pay those taxes for me. But that's still a really high tax bill that includes payroll taxes and all the other taxes that we had to pay like federal and state taxes. .
Time for my pay. Are you ready to hear what I paid myself? From Outdoor Kids OT my total compensation, including my profit first bonuses, my pay for the work I provided for outdoor kids OT, and that payment of my taxes. Was $94,656. So I did not hit a hundred grand from this business. However, you'll hear tomorrow, how much I made in the therapy in the great outdoors business.
And. Then you'll see if I made a hundred grand. That means that the profit in the business that was left over was $15,000.
So I feel pretty good about this number because I do run the business part-time and I have been working on a PhD until may this year when I finally finished. And I have not really been full time running the business for the eight years that I've been running it.
I've been working part-time in the business, running the business for the last five years or so. I think that is a really good amount of pay for the amount of work that I am doing in the business. If you are thinking that you will make a hundred grand in your nature-based practice, I'm here to encourage you, that you can do that. It might take you a little longer than you think, but also you, you can do it working part time.
If you are willing to grow a team. That is. Another thing I often talk about is you have to hire, if you really want to grow your practice.
One of the things that I want to talk about is why our profit was lower than it. Maybe I wanted it to be, and that is, we had some pretty big expenses. The practice donated $8,124 to start the therapy in the great outdoors foundation. We scholarshipped $8,000 worth of kids to attend therapy services. I moved away from the bay area and I used to have a home there and we sold our home this summer.
So we had to in the practice rent a storage shed, which costs $311 per month, which is about four grand a year, a little under four grand a year. And then also with me as the business owner, flying back to California and having to get an Airbnb and rent a car and all of that, like that costs a lot of money when I go back to California to be with my team.
So I try not to go very much. The team is very self-sufficient there. So I really do not need to go back as frequently as I thought I was going to have to, when I moved away. And I'm thinking this year, I need to really watch those travel expenses because it does add up.
What are the things that I learned this year?
I've already alluded to a few of them, but. One big thing is that a bigger business takes more money to run. You have to be able to meet payroll. You have to be able to buy supplies when people need them. You have to be able to pay for marketing materials. There's just a lot of like added expenses that come with running a bigger business, like holiday gifts for employees cost more.
There are just very simple things that you don't really think about until your team gets really big. And then you realize wow, it really does add up a lot of expenses when you have more people in the business. The other thing is that I completely rely on systems now. I. I can't run my business without systems.
And I've been teaching this in my business coaching program for many years now, but. It's to an exponential level. When you have a large team, like you have to run on systems, you have to rely on the policies and procedures and do things according to the policies and procedures. Or else chaos will reign.
So one thing too, that I've been working on is. Having boundaries, firmer boundaries with employees, actually and me personally, as the business owner, having to have a. Clear policy and procedure, even for HR kind of stuff, like time off and things like that. So it's really hard as a business owner, especially as a therapist business owner, it's really hard to. Manage the people pleaser part of us that we just want everyone to be happy.
We want everyone to love their jobs, but as the business owner, you have to do what is best for your business. Okay. That is you're responsible to yourself and to your business or else you will not have a business. So you can't bend over backwards trying to make everyone happy in your business all the time.
And it's something that's really hard for me because I really want my employees to be happy and to love their job and to work, work and outdoor kids are T forever. And it's, but I've noticed that it's been stressful for me because I'm trying to juggle both of those. So I'm trying to. Really have clear policies and procedures for all HR stuff.
. Another thing that I would encourage you to think about. Is to hire for more hours, not less.
When you go to hire people. So when I first started out, I hired three people to run one group a week and it would have been much better for, I loved them. They were great employees don't get me wrong, but like in retrospect it would have been much easier in the business to manage just me and one employee working three groups a week,
one person to manage rather than three people to manage. And what my experience has been in businesses that the less people work in your business. They actually then have other things that they're committed to because they probably aren't just working like one group for your business or one afternoon for your business and not having another job too. So a lot of times I have found that if you hire someone to work more hours, they actually are more invested in your business.
And so that is like a requirement now in my practice that everybody works at least eight to 10 hours a week. And I have just seen a huge change in. The amount of work we can get done, really because everyone's on board. Everyone's committed. Everyone has the time and they're scheduled to commit to the business.
So good employees are so worth keeping happy. Y'all I'm telling you I think that's why I've struggled this year to just give everyone what they want, because. I want these people to stay. They are really great people. I'm so grateful for all of them. Special shout out to Elizabeth.
She's my lead therapist she's been without her kids or T for seven years. Now, almost said since the second year we were in business and she's really a good mentor to the employees. This is something to, I should say, hire for your weaknesses. Okay. So I am not someone who I, with my brain on the business.
It's very hard for me to delve into therapy mode and work with people on for example, if they have a. Particularly challenging kid in a group or something like that. So she provides that kind of clinical expertise and mentorship. That's why she's a mentor in the Contigo approach program with me because. We work really well together on that.
And so she provides a lot of support to our whole team at outdoor kids, OT.
Okay. The last thing is that I'm learning. There's a fine line between transparency with employees and also sharing too much in the business. So as the business has grown, I've had to become a little more private about some of the backend business stuff, because it's just too much to share with employees.
Like at the very beginning of the business. I was super transparent about things they were seeing behind the scenes all the time. Now that I'm running a larger practice. I really have had to embrace the idea that I'm going to feel alone a lot of the time. Because you are responsible for your business.
I am responsible for the success of outdoor kids, OT. Like it is my responsibility to make sure that we remain viable, that we remain profitable, that we have staff in place. I'm hiring. If anyone's listening to this and in the bay area, I need someone very badly right now. Let's talk if you're there. I need an OT that is available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, starting in late March.
Okay. Now that's back to our regularly scheduled programming. So I really want to encourage you that if you are running a nature-based practice and you own the business, then. It is okay. If you feel a little bit alone at times, and you need to find that camaraderie and other places, maybe with other business owners, instead of with your employees. I really encourage you to be honest with employees.
But I do feel like. It's hard for me to not share everything because that's just how I roll.
What I will do differently next year. One, I want to be, I was a little nervous at the beginning of December that we were not going to be profitable because we had we, we just had ebbs and flows this year. I won't get into all the details of it, but basically there were ebbs and flows with income because people pay for camp in early February.
And then we had a full-time employee started in June. And so there were just ebbs and flows in the income. So we did have a few months where we brought in less money then we spent in the business. I want to be better next year at every single month, really paying attention to the profit loss statements that my accountant sends.
So I do my budgeting in the budgeting software twice a month. I'm very consistent doing that. But again, you don't really know if you're profitable, if you're not looking at that profit and loss. So I want to look at that in my budgeting software every month. After I account for all the money and give all the money, put all the money where it needs to go in the categories and things like that. I really want to make sure to save money for those summer months.
That's what that's a goal too. So I have, I now have a line in my business budget where I'm saving for summer staffing, essentially for paying people through the summer when we're offering camp, but we're not physically getting paid for that during the summer. We're getting paid earlier.
And that's really it for what I'll do differently next year. I don't think, I think I had a good year. I feel like I had a good year this year, as far as who we have on our team hiring the right people and managing things well, cause we were profitable, so I'm thankful, but there was a moment in December where I was like, oh my gosh.
Because I am really big about saying my business has been profitable every year since we started. The number one thing, a business's supposed to be profitable.
That is what your job is to keep the business profitable.
All right. My goals for next year. I have a revenue goal of 350 K. You may notice that is not even as high as the goal is this year. The challenge is that we have two therapists going on maternity leave. So for nine months of the year, no 10 months of the year. We are going to be down one person. So I am thinking that three 50 might even be a stretch goal because as of right now, I have not found a therapist to replace either of these people.
So we may be canceling a lot of services because. If we don't find someone, then that's loss of revenue. I'm trying really hard, but man, it's just, I've had no one apply yet. So we'll see. That is why the revenue goal is a little bit lower than it was this year, because I think that will even be a stretch for next year. Next year.
I want to end the year
next year. I want to end the year with 35 K in profit. So I want at least a 10% profit margin. And I am thinking about hiring another therapist to grow the Madison Branch of our business, and to add a few more groups or individual services here in Madison. I didn't really talk about that. But I started the second branch of the business here, where I live in Madison, Wisconsin, this fall. So that is it.
So I hope these numbers and the takeaways encouraged you a little bit. If you learned anything on this episode, I would love to hear from you. I always say podcasting is such a weird communication method because you don't get immediate feedback from people, even though I see all of y'all are downloading it and listening to it. So please let me know if you learned anything or if there's any questions I can answer for you.
I'm always available to you inside of the therapy and the great outdoors community or on Instagram at Laura Park fig. I will see you next week for the year in review for therapy in the great outdoors, the online business, which this podcast is part of. And you can learn all about how I plan to serve you in that business in 2024.
And I'll share my numbers too, because I'm an over-sharer like that. Okay. Love. Y'all see you soon. Bye
Thanks for joining me today for therapy in the great outdoors. If you want valuable advice, as you start or grow your nature based pediatric practice, get my free ebook, the nature based practice roadmap. It is a guide to help you focus and avoid costly mistakes as you start or grow your outdoor work with children. In it, I share the four stages of nature based practice, what you need to focus on and common mistakes to avoid in each stage, plus a checklist of specific action steps for you to take at each stage in the process.
Get it at therapyinthegreatoutdoors. com roadmap. So until next time, get outside, connect, reflect, and enjoy therapy in the great outdoors.