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.
Welcome to part two of my year in review episode, where I am now going to talk about the online business that I run for nature based pediatric therapist of which this podcast is a part. This episode will be all about. The things I've learned this year. I and I will also, as I always do share my numbers, share the revenue, share the expenses, share what I paid myself. And some goals for next year.
So if you did not listen to the past episode, the one right before this. I did year-end review part one, which was all about my nature based pediatric practice, all the numbers and goals and things like that. If you have not listened to that. Go back and listen to it. If that is something you're interested in. And I actually asked online, if you all wanted me to do this episode about the therapy in the great outdoors business, because I wasn't really sure if. It was relevant to nature-based practice owners and. Kate Glennon.
Who's a speech therapist who I have interviewed for the podcast and we'll be publishing her episode in a month or two. I just have lots of content coming out, already scheduled and. She messaged me back on Instagram and said, it's helpful to hear about creating alternative. Diverse revenue streams in your business.
So it would be really helpful. So I appreciated that comment. And I think that it shows some wisdom on her part because a lot of times in our work as entrepreneurs in general, I think that we think that creating a new revenue stream is just set it and forget it. And we forget that any new revenue stream that we create requires marketing and sales and a delivery system, and a bunch of systems and processes all around it. And I've definitely learned that in the last 18 months or so that I've been running the TGO community.
It has been a process for me to learn how to build it. And for me to learn how to. Create an offer suite. If I may call it that to really serve people at all different points on their journey as a nature-based pediatric therapist.
In the TGO community, we have different levels of involvement that you can have. So I'll go through those first and then I will get into the numbers. So the free TGO community is for people who are just dipping their toes in the water and just interested in nature-based practice and want to learn a little bit more in a free format. To have community with other people who are doing nature based work, as well as get questions answered for free and the discussion forum. Now, this is something I may talk a little bit about on future podcasts. But I want to mention it here, that I do think that there is an absolute limit to what you can learn from free content.
There is benefit in paying to have access to more immediate responses from people who have experience and getting coaching and being in programs and things like that. So there is a limit to what you can learn in free spaces, but I do think that the free community and the therapy in the great outdoors space actually. Provides a good kind of dipping the toe in the water and just getting in contact with people, seeing what other people are doing in the nature-based space with kids.
Okay. So there's the free area where we have our free discussion forum and there's a members area where you can search for other members to find people near you. And you have access also to a jobs and volunteers board to find positions in nature-based therapy all around the mostly us, but maybe in some other countries, too.
And as the community grows, I do think it will become more of a global kind of resource for people.
So that those are our free spaces inside of the TGO community. We also have my book, which is on Amazon. It's called therapy in the great outdoors, and that is available for a low cost resource for people who are again, are dipping their toes in the water and just want to start out in nature-based practice for very low cost.
Inside of the TGO community.
We also have supporting memberships. So when you become a supporting member, it costs $9 a month. There's literally no minimum commitment. You don't have to stay in. You can cancel any time. And the $9 a month membership as a supporting member allows you access to our treatment activities space, which is a crowdsource space of different treatment activities.
You also get access to resources and trainings that I have done in the past that are very useful and give you a lot of information about nature-based practice. As well as our access to our monthly TGO together calls where we gather as a community to talk about nature-based practice and sometimes business to. Those calls really tend to be.
Whatever people bring to the call.
So we come to hang out, we meet each other it's time for you all to get to know each other. Get to know what other people are doing in the nature-based space with children as therapist, and really just get support in your work and not feel alone and connect with like-minded people. So we hold those monthly. And again, you get access to those for nine bucks a month.
Okay. So those are our low cost and free offers inside of therapy in the great outdoors. Now the other offers that I have are higher ticket offers. And the reason they are higher ticket offers is because you get access to me and you get access to mentors that are in the community that I have vetted.
And I know that they provide value to you as a nature-based pediatric therapist. And so the first one is the ConTiGO approach, nature-based therapy certification and mentoring program. So I stopped calling this an online course. Because it is so much more than that. It is really an entire program intended to help you become an expert in nature-based pediatric therapy.
So it is a practice based course. We talk about clinical reasoning. We talk about a framework to use to guide your nature based work. And we give you resources for nature-based therapy practice with children , as well as ongoing mentoring for as long as you want to access it.
So the ConTiGO program is the next level for people who are wanting to really delve in to nature-based practice and really become experts.
So a lot of times, once people have taken ConTiGO, they have the practice information and mentoring they need in practice, but then a lot of them want to develop a business around this concept. I also run a program called the business hive. And this is my signature program. It is where I spend my most time and energy with the people in this program, because it is a year long and it is an investment in the future health and longevity and success of your nature-based business.
So the business hive is for anyone who wants to run a profitable and successful and long lasting nature-based therapy practice or nature-based business. So this program, I teach the business bedrocks, which is my business curriculum that I started teaching in 2020 and has been wildly successful and completely given great reviews by the people who have been through it. And we also do group coaching calls and events throughout the year.
Like a yearly planning session at actually two yearly planning sessions at the end of the year. And you get ongoing support and coaching from me and from mentors that have been in the business hive communities. That program is the highest level offer that I have inside of the therapy in the great outdoors business.
Now. It sounds like it all flows greatly. But honestly it has taken, I started the therapy in the great outdoors community in April of 2020. Two. And this is December of 2023 when I'm recording it. So we have almost been a community for almost two years now. It has taken that long for me to. Figure out the. Array of offers that actually make sense in the business.
So I am maxed on offers. I can't, I often you guys often messaged me, like you could create this, or could you ever offer this? And. I maxed on what I can offer. And I do feel like what is in place right now, as far as having a variety of very low priced, very accessible offers for a wide number of people. And then offering to higher paid programs that are very intensive and are intended for people who are wanting to go much deeper into this topic and learn more and become experts and run successful businesses. I feel like.
The offers now are well aligned with the intention I have in the business to support. Therapist, getting more kids outdoors. And
yeah, I feel good about the offers now going into 2024. Okay. So that is all of the things that I have on offer for 2024. My plan for 2024 does not include creating any new offer. I am not creating any new things. I'm going to stick with what I have and then analyze at the end of next year. To determine if new offers are needed in the business. Because the business has not made much money. That's the reality.
I think a lot of times too, we think that online business is just going to be easier. It's an easier revenue stream and. I have to remember too, that I've really only been at this online business stuff. Since I started offering while I was doing one-on-one coaching much, much more before 2020, but I started my first group program, really doing an online program in a group format. In mid 2020. So I've really only been at this online thing three and a half years.
So I need to give myself some grace in that. I also was working on my PhD until may of this year. And so I finally finished and now I feel like I have more brain energy to spend thinking about how to grow the online business as well, to grow the TGO business. Those things being said, let's dive into the numbers and talk more about what I learned this year.
So the total revenue and the therapy in the great outdoors business as of December 15th.
So I'm recording this on the 19th, but I. Had time to get all the numbers written down a few days ago. We probably will have a little bit more money by the end of the year, but it's not going to be significantly different than these numbers. So the total revenue as of December 15th, 2023 was $73,537. This is actually down from last year.
So I did not hit my revenue goal. I had a revenue goal of making 120, I think this year in the TGO business. Last year we made $107,527. So this year, My spring was just really crazy. I did not have time due to my PhD. Like. And especially in the late fall, the year before this which impacts the money you make at the beginning of the year.
I was so stressed out with my finishing, my PhD and all of the final things that had to be done. And actually, it's good for me to talk about this right now, because. I am remembering. How awful. I felt at the end of last year. And I actually am in a much better place mentally, I think, than I was at the end of last year.
So it's just a huge relief to have that degree done. It was five years of work and I'm so glad it's over. So any of you out there working on a PhD, I am I'm rooting for you because man, it is a slog. It's such a slug. It does teach you a lot of really great things about taking constructive criticism and sticking with things even when they're really hard and doing the hard work and being disciplined and persevering over time.
And. There's lots of great things. I learned through my degree, as well as the knowledge I learned from it about nature-based therapy and, doing research and all of that. Just critical thinking. There's lots of benefits to doing a PhD, but. Man at the end of last year, I felt very beat up.
So I'm very thankful that right now. I don't feel as beat up. I feel in a good place with the business and. I think it's great because it's an example of how. The numbers do matter. I do. You heard me say this? If you listen to the last podcast, I do believe that the purpose of a business is to be financially viable, to make money and to serve people as well.
But it's okay. In fact. It's not just okay. Your business has to make money in order to survive. The, this is a good example though, of, I didn't make as much money in the business. As I did last year. And yet I feel in a better place and more hopeful about the business now. I do think that things take time.
And this was the first year that I tried doing a year long group coaching program. It's been amazing. It's been really great to have a long time with people. And I don't want people to feel like they are drinking out of a fire hose. And in total overwhelm, when they're trying to build their business, And a year is honestly, if you give a good year in a program to building your business effectively and putting those foundations in place for your business to do well in coming years, It is a hundred percent worth the time that you spent.
Those small steps over time, they make great gains. So that is the purpose of a year long program. So I'm loving it. I'm loving the things I'm doing in the business right now. And I just really don't feel any embarrassment about that. I made a lot less money this year than I did last year in the business.
Now I'm embarrassed about what I paid myself, which I'll tell you in a moment, but. Okay. So it was down from 1 0 7 and a half last year. And at we're at about 74,000 this year. I also think that due to my PhD, I wasn't. Consistent with marketing. I wasn't consistent with the podcast. I wasn't consistent showing up online. 'cause I just was physically unable to, and mentally unable to, I had so much work to do in other areas. So a lot of. The work that is. Done that is meaningful, is done behind the scenes.
And I want you to remember that. Sometimes. I feel like I say this over and over, but sometimes I just think it gets hard to see. Cause social media makes people's highlight reels in our face all the time. And. I think it is helpful to remember as a nature-based therapist, as a nature-based practice owner. That a lot of the work that is done in secret is the really important work. Personally and in your work life as well.
Remember that. So anyway. That, and that is making me feel good too, about the fact that, oh, we had less money, but I also feel like I did good work in private. The other thing also that I'm going to just address. Straight on is that there is competition in the market now. So when I first started doing this work leading in the space of nature-based therapy and helping therapists with their practices and providing consulting and. heLping people get started with the ConTiGO course and then doing business coaching.
After that, with my other business programs. THere wasn't much competition there,
there weren't other that I knew of, because the reason I developed it is because I saw a need for it. There weren't other programs online helping therapists to take their work outdoors with children. There was a lot available for educators for psychologist. But. The allied health field of OTPT and speech.
And I would also include in that umbrella, like social workers and play therapist. And. Other people, educational therapists, people who work with children who have special needs, but. Maybe aren't under the allied health umbrella. Like I, I was thinking about those kinds of people and. There wasn't really a course or any kind of training available to them besides the courses provided by educators or by psychotherapists.
And now a few years later, because this is such a trending topic. And so many people are moving into nature-based work. There is competition in the market. I have direct competitors to the ConTiGO course and to some of the offerings that I have in, even in the, there've been the great outdoors community.
And. I think this is something that I'll just be really honest. It's something that's been very hard for me personally. Because. I want to be all inclusive, right? Like I want to feel like anyone who's offering a nature-based. Course or program or something to support nature-based therapists is someone that I want to support.
And when I originally started the therapy in the great outdoors community, I wanted that to be a space where people could. Share their offers and things like that. But I also realize too, that I spent a lot of money and time setting up this community. And I think I have stepped more into. Or I'm trying to currently step more into really leading and being okay if there's competitors. But not feeling guilty if I'm not promoting my competitors things because. That is not good business sense.
Y'all. It's a fine line, right? Like I want to be really supportive of people doing this work. And at the same time, if someone is a direct competitor to what I am doing and has created something that is directly competing with my product. I need to not be afraid to be confident about my product and to promote its benefits and to know why it's better and why I feel like people should enroll in it and who it's for and who it's not for.
Yeah, I'm feeling. Vulnerable and. Maybe like I already said too much. So I think I'm going to move forward.
Maybe edit this out later. We'll see. But I do think part of the reason revenue might be down is that there is competition in the market. And along with, I did not have time to market well and be very consistent with my marketing. And those two things probably impacted my revenue in the business. So the expenses, so revenue was around 74.
I'll just round off to the nearest thousand because it's annoying to say $73,537. So around 74,000. Which I'm sure it will be there. And beyond that by the end of the year or two more weeks of income. 74,000 expenses were $57,879, which is freaking ridiculous for an online business. You guys. I should not have had expenses this high.
That includes my pay. Which was a whopping $9,503. So if any of, you think I'm getting rich on this TGO community? You're wrong? I, again, This business kind of. I was not intentional and good about managing the finances in this business. I, every two weeks do my business budgeting. I knew we were staying profitable, but I was not intentional about. Really managing expenses in the business. I paid contractors a total of $19,827.
And this is one of the learning things I'll talk about in a minute, but I hired way too early to help in this business. And didn't pay myself even as much as I paid contractors, which was a huge mistake. And I became very resentful of it as the year went on. I just noticed my own frustration with having to pay contractors when I wasn't paying myself out of the business. But we did have profit of $15,658.
So technically if I wanted to, I could pay myself some more money this year. I'm not going to cause I don't need to like I can leave that profit in the business for the coming year. And I think that's fine. The. The takeaway here is to prioritize yourself first. And I know that will sound totally counterintuitive to all of you loving people out there who are helpers, and just want to take care of everyone else before yourself.
But. I really think that we have to be paying attention to what our pay we're paying ourselves from our businesses, because we will become resentful if we have to work for a really long time and not be making any money from our businesses,
so I think the reason that I did not pay myself a lot out of this business was that I do see this business as still in startup phase. So I think. The large amount that I was able to pay myself from my private practice allowed me to not pay myself as much from the online business while we were getting started.
That's a lesson as well, too, that when you are starting something, don't think that it's immediately going to be able to give you a livable salary. It would take me, I want to do the research on this and crunch some numbers because it would take me. A lot of work to make $95,000, which is what I paid myself from my therapy practice this year.
So I did hit. The $100,000 mark from both businesses. So I, that makes me. Proud because that is a goal I've had for many years to pay myself a hundred grand for my businesses, took me eight years and. A second business. I guess running the therapy and the great outdoors community is a second business.
So it took. Development of all of this in order to get me to that hundred thousand dollar mark. But I'm pretty happy with that. And I think y'all can hit it quicker if you get the right help, just FYI. I really do. I think that all the lessons I learned, I wish I had a community or help when I started my business.
I really do, because I think I could have hit this goal a lot sooner. Okay. So let's talk about some of the things that maybe affected the expenses being so high in the business. So I talked about the first one. That I hired contractors too early to help with a lot of the admin. And I do think that.
This is a lesson because a lot of times. We're told by like gurus online that you should outsource as soon as possible delegate as soon as possible. And. I think. The word possible is a good thing to think about there. So making sure that you are actually able to generate income. If you hire that contractor in order to cover their salary, make sure that hiring them actually adds to the bottom line of the business.
Cause it, it clearly didn't here because we didn't make as much money as we did last year. And I just was outsourcing things that maybe didn't need to be done. I don't really know. I haven't delved into it enough. I also is paying someone for podcast production. So that was part of my, the contractors.
And that was something. That I have replaced with technology. So descript is a platform that is really easy to use for editing. And so that gave me a savings of about now $600 a month. Now that I'm doing weekly episodes. So that will be a significant increase in money that will stay in the business next year. I also traveled to several different conferences, so it was well worth it, but, that's like several thousand dollars for air travel and food and hotel and all of that. The circle platform for hosting the TGO community was a thousand dollars. The platform where I host my programs and my website was about $2,000. And I think those were some of the expenses that, that.
ate to the profit in the business essentially.
Okay. Now for some reflection and things I learned, and then I will talk about my goals for the business, for the coming year. So the main thing, the main, the big thing that I learned this year running the TGO business is that.
I need to keep on keeping on, even when it seems like no one is listening or responding. When you are getting started doing something. You have to really give it a go.
You have to really give it a go and stick with it for probably much longer than you think you need to before. It's like a well-oiled machine and running very successfully. So that is. What I have learned, and I keep reminding myself of the. Mission, I guess that I have, which I don't formally, I have it somewhere written down, but. The mission of the TGO business is really to get more kids outdoors for therapy, more kids that need desperately need nature in their lives and who probably don't access it as much as other children do and to help you as therapists, love your work more and just enjoy what you're doing and be proud of the work you're doing and the offers that you have out to your community to serve your community.
I hope that is encouraging to any of you who are in the process of starting maybe your nature based work is that I really think a lot of times we give up before we know if it could have been successful.
So I want you to stick with it and get the help you need to persevere.
I think I already touched on some of the other things I learned, like leaning into being a business owner who is not afraid to promote my services and to be confident in my services. And to really continue to invest in my own personal development as a coach and as a leader in this space. My PhD was part of that was like educating myself in order to be able to help you all with what I learned in my program.
And also Just investing in myself and. Getting coaching in order to be a better coach to all of you, if you are in any of my programs. I will continue to do those things in the coming year. I, myself am in a year long group coaching program as well. So it's been really great.
All right. Let's talk about goals for next year, 2024 goals for the TGO business. My revenue goal is 120 K in revenue. I want to pay myself 60 K that's a huge jump from this year. So in this book, profit first by Mike Micalowicz. He recommends that any business under $250,000, you should, the owner should be getting 50% of that. As pay that should be their compensation.
And so I'm going to try to do that in this business, which should be possible. If I actually hit the 120 K and I it'll force me having that goal will force me to actually keep a tight eye on where I'm spending elsewhere in order to be able to pay myself. I don't think I had a goal this year for what I wanted to pay myself in the business. So I'm making myself pay attention to that this year by setting that goal. I also have a goal that by the end of 2024, we will have a thousand people in the free TGO community.
We have 547 people there now. And I'm very excited because I'm starting to see more social workers, more speech therapist, physical therapist. I'm starting to see people outside of the field of OT come into that community. Now, OTs are very welcome to be there, but it was heavily OT when we, and probably still is honestly, When we first got started because I'm an OT and I know OTs, so it's makes sense because of my professional background, but I really long for that community to be a place of multi-disciplinary interdisciplinary.
I'm not sure what the right word would be to use there, but I want it to be a place for any pediatric professional to come. And I have a podcast episode. Interview with a social worker, Tammy. She's great. It was a really beautiful conversation. I can't wait to publish that episode for you all, but I have again, other stuff in queue.
So it's coming out in the next few months. So she's, she gave me really great insight as to like how social work looks in an, in a nature based setting. And I'm excited to share that with you all as well, but I want. The community to be a space like that, where we can really learn from one another and learn from other professions as well.
So my goal is to speak at two non OT. Conferences next year, I'm trying to be brave and branch outside of the people that I know in love, my OT people, I just feel very comfortable around OTs because I am one. And last year I spoke at a PT conference this year. I'm going to try to find a speech conference to speak at. And I'm also speaking at the growth code conference in February in Florida for pediatric private practice owners.
I am excited about that one. I'll admit. A lot of my excitement is because it takes place in February and Florida. And I live in Madison, Wisconsin.
I love the cold, but also. The beaches nice in the middle of February. So I'm excited to go.
So in my yearly planning guide episode, which was two episodes ago. I talked a little bit about profit planning. And so that is when you take a number that you want to make in your business for the year. And you reverse engineer figuring out how you are going to hit that number. My goal is to enroll at least 15 therapists in the business hive. And 30 therapists in ConTiGO. We are launching ConTiGO three times and the hive two times. So we have cohorts for the business hive that start in January and in July, and then ConTiGO will open three times throughout the year.
And that would allow me to hit that 120 K goal. The supporting memberships is really not a significant in the TGO community. It's such a small amount of money that it's really not a significant amount of money in the business. So I really focus more of my time on promoting the larger ticket offers because they do take more time to promote.
You have to, when you are offering something that costs two to four. $4,000, you have to be. Very available to people to answer questions and to talk them through the decision-making process for it, because it's not right for everyone. I don't want people enrolling in these programs if they are not right for them.
Those are my goals for the year. The same thing for the book the book income that I make off of Amazon is so minimal. It like really just offsets the cost of the. The tech that I need to run the TGO community.
Okay. That's it, all of my goals for next year, and I would love to hear yours. If I could ask a favor of you. After I have bared my soul on this podcast. I would love if you would. Anywhere you see a post about the podcast, if you would comment or like it, or leave a review or. Leave me feedback.
I can't express to you all, how much that encourages me. When I get a. Little piece of encouragement from you all that this is helpful to you because again, podcasting is weird. Like I don't have in the moment feedback. So I would love to hear your goals for the year or hear if you learned something from this podcast.
So please comment wherever you see it. If you're. in the TGO community. If you're on Instagram, If you're on your podcast player right now, and you have time to leave a review, that would be so helpful for the podcast. But if you can give me feedback, I thrive when I can communicate with you all. So I am available to you.
Please reach out if you have any questions, if this brought up anything for you, I'd love to hear it.
Before I sign off here. I want to remind you all that the Contigo approach nature-based therapy certification and mentoring program will open for enrollment from January 15th to the 19th 2024. Contigo includes all the essentials. You need to become an expert in nature-based pediatric therapy. So if you are interested, join the wait list and we will notify you. You can do [email protected]. It's C O N T I G O. All right, I will see you on the next episode. Bye.
Laura Park Figueroa: 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. 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.