Ep 50: Live Business Coaching Call for Devin Hatch, OTR/L, CSRS: Growing a Team in Your Nature-Based Therapy Practice
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. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to therapy in the great outdoors. This episode is going to be so full of value for any of you who are running a nature based business. I just know it. I can't wait for you to listen. Devin hatch came on the podcast for a live business coaching call. He initially told me he wanted to talk about. Really just growing their nature-based therapy part of their business.
You'll hear about his business in a bit. They do a lot of different things in his practice. And we ended up talking a lot about hiring and teams and. Devin shared so many valuable lessons that he learned in his early days, working with a contractor.
So we. Cover so much in this podcast. I know it is going to be very helpful for all of you.
Please forgive my voice. I just got over being very sick. So I feel like I sound kind of froggy still. Froggy. It's a nature based podcast. Right? Okay.
Before we jump into the interview with Devin though. I want to tell you all that this week, this podcast is coming out on
monday, January 29th and enrollment is open for. The business hive, which is my year long business coaching program for nature-based business owners. We are going to get started in February with a new cohort that will go from this February to next February.
We do weekly group coaching calls, you get access to a huge library of templates inside of the business hive to help you run your business. Pretty much anything I've ever created in my practice. I share those resources with people that are inside the business hive.
You also get access to my business bedrocks course, this course is set up to help you set up automated systems in the areas of mindset, operations, finances, and marketing in your business. If you spend a year inside of the business hive with me and the other members of the hive. Your business is going to be set up to be successful for many, many years to come. These are all the things that you think you're going to do someday.
And you never do because you don't have accountability. You don't have a team around you. You don't have anyone encouraging you and cheering you on and celebrating when you make those wins in your business, because it's the boring stuff behind the scenes that you have to do in order to set up all these systems.
So inside of the hive, there are lots of people there to help motivate you and encourage you and do this work alongside you. As you set that foundation to grow your business. So. Please check it out. If you are interested, you can go to therapy and the great outdoors.com. Backslash hive HIVE. And get all the info there. I do need to make a new walkthrough video.
So this will motivate me as I record this to get that done before this comes out. So by the time this comes out, there should be a walkthrough video of the community in there that you can see. So you can really have a visual of what you get inside of the business hive. So go there and check it out. Therapy
in the great outdoors.com/hive. And now let's dive into this episode with Devin. Oh, enrollment closes this Friday, February 2nd, 5:00 PM central. Okay. Now we're going to dive in.
Welcome back everyone to therapy in the great outdoors.
I am so excited today to have Devin Hatch here. He is, I feel like you're an old friend of mine, because I've seen you at so many different like events and you came to the very first ever ConTiGO approach retreat in 2019. That's where we originally met. And I'm So grateful for your support of my work and trusting me at that early of a stage when we first launched the ConTiGO approach.
So I'm so excited to have you here for a live coaching call. So let's dive in and tell people a little bit about yourself and about your business first.
Devin Hatch: Okay, so I'm Devin Hatch, . I've been an occupational therapist since 2010. I did my schooling down in Las Vegas at Tuoro University. I'm currently living in Spokane, Washington, where I started a couple years ago.
I started my business, which is now 509 Therapy Hub started a couple years ago as a side hustle, hired a PT, Ended up partnering up with him. So now we have a partnership. And so we have our business. We offer physical therapy, occupational therapy. I do adult therapy for like stroke and concussion and brain injury patients.
And then we also have obviously the nature based therapy line for kids. We have massage therapy personal training, cardiac education, and bike fitting. So it's grown into this massive smorgasbord of stuff. But it's the vision that I had initially is like I wanted a one stop shop for health and wellness.
The nature therapy got me into business and I was like, okay, I'm going to do this, but yeah, it's evolved into this greater hub, which is why we recently changed it to the 509 therapy hub.
Laura Park Figueroa: And it's 509 the area code where you are? Yeah, that's what I was assuming. That's the Spokane area.
Yeah, that's cool. I love your logo too. It looks like a little bike hub. It's a cool logo. Okay. So that was one of my first questions I was going to ask you. So I took a peek at your website. And I know we want to talk about, we're going to, we're going to be focusing on like contracting employees, nature based kind of services.
There's a lot we're going to delve into here. And I told you before we hit record that I feel like this episode is going to be very helpful to people. And truly, I am grateful to you for being vulnerable enough to come on and say hey, I have these questions and I'll talk about them publicly to help other people in the nature based pediatric community.
So my question is for your website, the nature, it looks like all your photos are nature kid photos, right? But you offer all these other services. So tell me. Tell me how the nature-based stuff is going right now, since that's the focus of this podcast. Talk to me about the Nature-based line of your business or the services that exist right now in your business for nature-based peds.
Devin Hatch: Our, just to pre our website's a mess right now. We're trying to figure out how to it's always a work in progress. Peds, and then it went to okay, now I add pt. Yeah. So there's a lot cha of changes coming, but sorry, what was your question?
Laura Park Figueroa: The question was, tell me about your, because on the website I see the photos of kids in nature, but I don't see how people can sign up for the nature based OT services.
Tell me about that.
Devin Hatch: Okay. So the way we've been getting it going is we've been, I started doing like screenings for I contacted as many like nature schools and private schools, preschools in the area to say, Hey, like here's, I'm an OT. Here's what we can do to help you to add value to them saying, Hey, that's great.
People are paying you to come and bring their kids to you. So I want to be able to add value to what you give them instead of just preschool or just daycare. So I said, I'll come in and do these free screenings to see if you have parents that are concerned about, their child development.
Or if there's any issues like with the schools, any issues with behavior or anything that an OT would address, like we'll come in and do a free screening for that. Great. And so from that, we've gotten, that's most of our kids have come from that. And so we'll do the screening, send a, just a short hey, here's what we saw in the screening.
Our recommendation would be either to. Do a full initial assessment for your kid with, for OT, or just like your kid's a typically developing kid, just keep an eye on maybe these one or two things, but don't worry about anything right now. So we've picked up most of our kids doing that so we haven't really...
Like our website is terrible right now for being able to book with us. Like here's our stuff. So it's been more like calls. We've had a couple of inquiries from the website. A lot of it's just been like through the schools and preschools that we've
Laura Park Figueroa: met with and stuff. That's great. I think that's a great marketing strategy.
Do you know any. Do you have any idea how many screenings you're doing per, like, how many screenings does it take to get one client?
Devin Hatch: So far we've hit home runs on all most of the kids we've screened have come in. But with Spokane, there's a lot of, there's a huge wait list at most.
Pediatric clinics and that's why I wanted to get into some of the PEDS stuff is because there's a huge population that's not being served. The challenge is a lot of them are on like state insurance, which in Washington is horrible reimbursing. So most of our screens have turned into evaluations.
Okay. And somehow we got like a lot of siblings, like one kid had more of a problem, but they'd be like, Hey, I want both my kids evaluated. It's Oh, okay, cool. Yeah. Yeah. So far I know that's not always going to be the case, but so far most of them have turned into evaluations and purchase packages from us.
Laura Park Figueroa: Okay. So the reason I brought this up is because I feel like your practice is going to, and I totally hear you with the website redesign. Like I just had to redesign my website. I ignored my website for eight years and it was abysmal. I had, I paid someone website audit and I redid everything. It was a big, it was a big deal.
So it's maybe fresh in my mind now because of that. But before we delve into, I know we're not at your questions yet cause I know what you want to talk about but When you are working on that website, I really want you to think about making it very clear when people land there, what they should do, because right now it's we offer bike fitting, cardiac rehab, post stroke rehab, children, and there's pictures of kids in nature, but you're not really saying it's nature based OT, you're just saying we offer OT, PT, all these things, and there's pictures of kids in nature Like when someone lands on your website, ideally you have three seconds for them to know whether or not they are in the right place.
And so if someone's coming looking for kids in nature or, nature based OT but, or maybe it's a cardiac rehab patient, they come and they see a kid outdoors. They're like, what, this is not, I'm in the wrong place. So just making sure if they land on, maybe it's Three category adults, pediatrics, and they click and they go to different pages or something like that so that it's just very clear for people when they land on your website, because I think the challenge is you need to have an ideal client for every single one of those services.
And every single one of those services is probably the way your business is structured right now. A different ideal client. Yes. So you have to be really thinking about. Building those pages for each individual service with the needs of a different ideal client in mind, and that makes it really challenging to create a website for a comprehensive kind of therapy hub like you're like your business is.
It truly is a therapy hub where people can come to get. A lot of different services. So it's a challenge when you do a business like that, because your ideal client is so important in your marketing and your messaging and your website design and all of that. But when you're serving, Seven different ideal clients.
It increases the complexity seven fold or maybe more. Totally. So just making sure when you're redesigning that may, I think the simplest is like adults, pediatrics, and then they go maybe to separate pages that lists the things for. Adults are pediatrics because that might be the most simple defining, but there might be another way to do it.
Maybe it's OTPT. I don't know how you want to define it, but it needs to be very like separate and clear to people. Yeah. But let's talk about your nature based services. So I think I like the idea of screenings bringing kids in. I think that's a really great strategy. And I love how you're thinking so clearly about experientiality being so important.
Adding value to the people that you're reaching out to, to bring referrals into your business. It's not about you, it's about them, right? And so you really have that in your brain, I can tell. Do you need more clients right now for your nature based service? Or are you at capacity? I guess that's a question
Devin Hatch: I would have.
So my contractor's doing all the work. And he was, he went into pediatric OT. Got burned out. The company was working for him and then it just didn't jive like all the productivity stuff. So he left OT entirely and went into appraising but he was a former student of mine. So I was like, Hey, I love what you do.
I love your I think you have a great personality for this. I think you would really like. Nature therapy. So I brought him back into OT and he's can I bring my kids with me? I was like, please bring your kids with you like that'd be fantastic So I have to balance like how much work he can do So I'm trying to figure out like that sweet spot for him of what's your full caseload?
He's talked about hey, can we get a CODA? Can we start to push some have me focus more on just the evaluations and push them to a CODA, to the actual treatments? So I've talked with a couple just to see hey, are you interested? Here's what our program is. Here's what we're going to.
I think, especially if we get a coda, I want, I need more so that is part of it, is that I do want to pick up more clients, but, so that he, again, especially if he goes to where he's just in the vowels, push him to a coda, keep the coda full, but also have him still doing some work. Because I would like to, my goal is to get to, right now we're just doing individual sessions because we have six to eight kids.
Sure. But we're trying to start saying, start forming groups so they can add that group component to it as well. And that's where I want a CODA to come in and pick up those groups.
Laura Park Figueroa: Yeah, I think that sounds like it could be a good strategy. So groups take a lot more logistical coordination behind the scenes than one on one therapy with one child.
You have to consider like extra staffing to make sure everybody's safe because you'd never want a therapist with just, you Five kids out in the woods by themselves, right? Yeah. So you either need like fieldwork students or volunteers. And you also need a large number of people applying because the first five kids that apply might be 12, two, seven, four.
Nine or siblings,
Devin Hatch: Like all their first, like two or three applications were all siblings. I was like, Oh, you're not going to want to be grouped with your sit. Like you could, but yeah.
Laura Park Figueroa: Although sometimes parents want that. We have had parents ask that in our group. Sometimes there's a child who's a sibling who doesn't even need OT and they want the child to come with.
And so we do like a peer playmate, a reduced rate, but the kid can come with them. And that the parents tend to really like that. So that might be something to think about too. So just thinking along those lines, I really am thinking you need to make sure that you are capturing people who are interested now in order to be able to grow.
And so do you have an email list? Do you have a way that people, you can capture those leads when they come to your website so that they can tell you, Hey, I'm interested in this service. Or is that not something you, you have in place yet?
Devin Hatch: On our website, which again, needs to change a lot, there is a spot where they can submit their information saying, Hey, like I'm interested in this.
Can you call me? But I don't have a great system yet to capture email and start pushing it out that way. I would love to. And I've heard you talk about like the email marketing and all that, but I'm like I don't have, I don't have emails. So how do I, how do I get those? That's one of the questions I had too.
Laura Park Figueroa: Okay, I feel like I might have a podcast episode called email marketing in your nature based podcast somewhere. So I think you do. Yeah I will check on that one and maybe do some follow ups because it's a big, it's a big topic I could go into a lot more. But essentially, my reasoning, the reason I brought it up is because you said you want to do a group and for a group, you definitely need it.
A good chunk of people that are on your email list so that you can reach out to them and say Hey, we're opening to groups at these locations. And if you're interested, apply now. If not, then you're relegated to posting on social media when Instagram decides if as your post viral enough to see from people outside your network, maybe and maybe they only show it to three people in your network, so yeah.
You really need to own your leads. You need to have a way on your website where you can capture those people who might be interested in the future. And that might be like, while you're redoing the website, right? They go to pediatrics and then they go to that part of the website and they, you say nature based occupational therapy, and that's the picture of the cute kid on the swing outdoors or whatever.
They click on that. And when they go to that page, that is where you have a. Form that says interest. Currently our services are full that builds demand, right? Because you are full right now. You don't have staffing to provide enough services. It doesn't matter if you have six kids, you're still full.
Okay. So currently our services are full. We're starting a wait list and. Ideally you have this linked up to a real email service provider. Like I love flow desk. I tell everybody flow desk is great. Convert kit is another one. Constant contact I think is another one. I hate MailChimp. You can use MailChimp if you want to, it's free, but I hate it.
So you have it tied to an email service provider so that all those people are organized. And when you log into that email platform, nature-based OT wait list, and you just go in there and you have your list of 70 people, a hundred people, 200, however many it is when you grow that list, right?
And ideally you're offering them something instead of just join our wait list. It's hey, get our list of five outdoor activities you can do with your kid to. Boost their confidence today or whatever it is. Yeah, I made one eight years ago. I still use it. I haven't changed it. It literally is a word document that is just five ways nature can help boost your child's attention.
And it I, it is. A word document. It's not fancy. It doesn't have graphics. It's just a list of five. Yeah. It's just very simple. But they, but it is something that people, the way to think about what to offer is like, what questions are we hearing? You may need to ask your OT who's running the services right now.
Like what questions are you getting from parents that we could answer and offer to answer for free as a lead magnet, basically something you're giving them to get their email and exchange. So that, that'll build the runway then for getting at least a list of people that are interested in the service.
And then you'll be able to launch other services and grow. The business that way, because you'll know if people are interested in it because they'll be joining that waitlist. Yeah. So thoughts on that.
Devin Hatch: What do you think? I know it's something I need to do, but it's always been like. But that means I have to get my website going and I don't know, but that's been my thoughts.
I need a website to do that and right now it's a mess and if I just don't look at it, it's not there. We
Laura Park Figueroa: have all been there. I'm telling you, we've all been there. Literally when I was doing my PhD, I was like, I know the website is horrible right now. And oh like I just, it was like the basics that we needed.
Here's the link, here's the new link to register everybody, like it was just very. Basics that we needed. It might help you, Devin, actually, to go look at my website. I know I'm not the same because I'm very focused on nature based, but one of the things that I learned in the process of doing this audit of the website is that because we now have branches in Wisconsin and California, It's really confusing to people, right?
Because they go in and they're not sure where to go. And so I have very clearly now on the website, like these three buttons that are like California individual services, California group services, Wisconsin group services. And it's similar to what you'll need to do, where you have. Buttons for people to go different places.
So you can peek at that later if you want to and just see because I just duplicated pages. Essentially, the group pages are the same. They just have different photos and a little bit of different information about some funding sources and things that are applicable only in California. Or only in Wisconsin, but I do think it's, it goes along that line of the ideal client, right?
Like they want to know they're in the right place. And if they see photos that look like their environment and their location, they know they're in the right place. If they see photos that don't look like California E or Wisconsin E in there. In there in the page, it just is a little confusing. So yeah, mine's still not perfect.
I'm, I don't think a website is ever perfect. Honestly, it should always be changing and growing with what your business needs, but your website is going to be, this is happening, right? I told you before this call, we might go down rabbit holes that we don't know. And we're talking about website now, but it is really important because I feel like if you're gonna, if you want to do groups, it is essential that you're capturing people.
When they land on your website, when they're interested, even if they're not ready to apply, because 1 percent of them might actually be ready to enroll in services, but you want to stay in touch with them. And then you want to send like helpful emails after that, but that's a whole nother thing about email marketing.
Okay. So let's talk about your current. what we wanted to talk about on this call. And I never asked you the first question. So I really want to know too tell me in six months to a year, what do you want the nature based side of the business to look like? Let's focus on that one piece for this, the rest of this time here.
Devin Hatch: whAt do I want it to look like in your dream world? In your dream world. My, my ultimate goal, as much as I love therapy, I want to be able to step back and manage the therapy services. That's been helpful, having someone else do the work, because I just don't know what I'm doing, and so it's been easy to do that.
But in six months, I would like to have where we are doing at least a couple groups. A week. Yeah. That's about as far as I've gotten. Yeah.
Laura Park Figueroa: No, that's fine. I think that's a total. But see that's. That's why it's so important to think about it, right? Because then we know what we're going for. We know what we're aiming for.
And a couple of groups a week is very feasible to get started in the next six months to a year. That is a very feasible goal. And if you've built out that part of the business enough that you have several groups going, I think that's a great goal to have for six months from now. So let's talk about what you need.
We've talked some about what you need to get there already. I'm glad we were focusing on your dream, even when I did forgot to ask you that right away at the beginning. But so you have this person who's providing services and I don't think we mentioned it while we've been recording, but you are not a pediatric therapist.
You're running the business. And that is why you've hired someone to do this work. Tell me why. Or, tell me, legally, how can he be a contractor, is my question. Okay
Devin Hatch: And we so what I did is I talked to him, I said, hey as a contractor, you're in control you schedule everything I don't, I provide you the clientele, and you just run with the rest of it.
I can't tell you when to schedule, how to schedule, I can give you the where, because I have a place. But the rest of it I let you use my documentation system and so at first I was, we had it, we just renegotiated with them because they realized we didn't have anything formal and so it was just hey, I'll give you this hourly rate I'm not you're in charge of your taxes, so it's going to be higher than normal and so went off of that, we just renegotiated to hey here's like your, Contract that we have now of what's expected of you as a contractor.
And what's, we would like you to do this with the business, like we're going to have quarterly meetings with all our contractors that we have, and I can't require you to be there, but it'd be great if you did as like a team building thing. So that's the route we've gone with making sure he's.
And I'm not an employee.
Laura Park Figueroa: Yeah. So I just would be really careful with it. It sounds like you did your due diligence to look into it and you have some things in place, but I just know that several years ago before I moved, so we moved two and a half years ago from California and this was a year or two before I moved.
I want to say it might even be before COVID, but California made this big sweep of basically. The law in California now, and what I have heard the IRS is moving towards is a contractor cannot, if you have someone in your business that does the activity that the business exists to provide. So if you are running an OT business and you have an OT in your business they legally have to be an employee.
So I don't know if that is the case in Washington. I just want you to be very careful about making sure, because what can happen is if. If you do get audited, if they technically should not be a contractor, then they come back and take a lot of taxes from you.
Devin Hatch: They'd probably be like, here's all the money you owe for taxes.
Laura Park Figueroa: So it's like you didn't save any money. And ultimately I do think everybody loves contractors because it's very simple, right? You sign a simple agreement and they start working. It's not the same as an employee where there's a lot of like laws and requirements around that.
But I do think you have some argument for it and that you are not a pediatric therapist. So there may be some kind of I'm sure you've done your due diligence, but I just feel like I need to say this because it's important for people listening really to understand that you cannot necessarily hire someone as a contractor just because you feel like it or just because you think you want to and that's easier or whatever.
The thing is, Sometimes I think having employees is actually easier because you do, you as the employer have more control. You are allowed to say. You need to use this approach. You need to use this EMR. You need to use this specific I don't know, like in anything you're dictating to them of what you want them to do, even if they're going to wear one of your logos, like your business logo on their shirt, like just simple things like that, that you don't think about that are like.
Exerting control over an employee or a contractor when you can't do that technically with a contractor. Let's talk about pay. I know you wanted to get into pay and what are you paying? How can you keep this profitable? I, you know me, I'm like, I believe that we should be running profitable businesses.
It sounds like he wants to move out of doing like the direct service, move more into a assessing and kind of supervising role, which I think. Could be great. And maybe it could be justified that you need someone outside of yourself who's an expert in that to do he could be a contractor.
What I guess it's hard because I don't know how much you want to show. He could listen to this, right? So we don't want to like, we don't want to like publicly share things that you don't want to share, but let's talk about what you're charging and how much. Maybe you're paying him or how the whole contract is set up with him.
Can you, do you feel comfortable sharing that? I know that's what you wanted to talk
Devin Hatch: about. So yeah. And at first, like I say, at first what kind of led to this question was like, so we agreed on 45 an hour for him and I like in my head when I was thinking like, because we do the profit first accounting method and so when money came in, like our first package got sold, I distributed all the money I set aside okay, it was for 10 visits for the package that they bought.
So I said, okay, 45 times 10, here's the money I owe him. Everything else got distributed. And then he sent me his timesheet and I was like, Oh crap, I forgot. He's going to charge me for everything like calling and setting up eval and documentation. I was like this is, so what happened was a lot of the money that I would get from packages, a lot of it, I had to pay him because his expense was variable.
I didn't know what. Like how long it was going to take him to do everything for the session. And so it made it really hard to like on a couple of the packages we sold, like I think we made a penny and
Laura Park Figueroa: it's totally, yeah, you broke even essentially
Devin Hatch: crap, but what's the point of this? Yeah. And talking with my partner, we were like, we can't keep doing this.
So we finally did just recently restructured to where it's like, Hey, we're going to pay you more, give you a higher rate, but that's. Everything that goes into the session
Laura Park Figueroa: okay. I like that better.
Devin Hatch: Any preparation that you have to do, any documentation, you have to do any travel time, everything in that Yeah.
Is included in that rate. So we made it to I don't wanna be like, Hey, we just wanna get milk everything out of it and get the most out. I want this to be beneficial to you. So we said, Hey. If you sell a package, we're going to give you a bonus for that. Depend if you sell a 10 pack, we'll give you X amount of dollars so that there's some incentives like, Hey, on your eval yes, it takes more time on your end, but if you sell a package with it, you're going to make more for that eval than you would have just at the flat rate.
We're trying to get some incentives for him. To want to sell packages because that's the model we're trying to do. And then, let's see. So we bumped it up it was 45 an hour, we bumped it up to 70 for an individual session, 75 for an evaluation. Or if he gets a caseload of over 10 kids a week bump it up to 75 per session.
If he does groups, the rates go up depending on how big the group is. caUse he, he countered back and was like, cause we sent him the offer and Hey, we need you to sign this. And he was like let's talk about a few of these things. And he wanted like a double on some of it. And I was like we can't pay that.
Sorry, I'd love to give it. If that's your request, I can't. And so we negotiated with him to see what, what would incentivize him to stay. And we came up with. With his rates, our rates that we charge,
Laura Park Figueroa: let me... Yeah, I was going to ask about that too, because maybe there's room there to raise them a little bit?
Like... And that's, yeah,
Devin Hatch: I... So right now, currently for time of service, we're doing 195 a session.
Laura Park Figueroa: Okay, yeah, that's pretty good. That's a pretty good rate. But then,
Devin Hatch: so our, if we, if they buy a 10 pack, it drops it to 174 a session, because it's divided, yeah, they get a little discount. And then 15 pack is 2400, so it drops it to 160 a session, and then our biggest, the 20 pack, is 150 a session.
Which I'm trying to stick to the 10 pack but currently, because with our PT, we have 10, 15, 20 so we're just trying to keep everything uniform
Laura Park Figueroa: that way. I wonder if you could simplify it too by just not doing some of those, like you have oh, if they buy 10, it goes here, then 15, then 20.
Then if they buy 20, maybe you just have just keep it at 10. Or yeah. Like just, we only sell 10 packs and then you get the discount. And then that's then you're not losing money. The more People and you're also not tracking as much. It's like simplicity. That's what I want you to take away from this call is simplicity because your business is complex already because of how many things you're offering and how many ideal clients you serve.
So you have to think simplify. Every service that you offer needs to be as similar as possible. And if you can across the board, just be like every single service we offer, we do 10 packs or one off. That's all here's the single session rate. Here's the 10 pack.
I think that would help your brain have more energy to focus, to develop the systems and create good customer service, all the things you have to do, as an entrepreneur. So you're, so essentially if I'm doing the math, like in some situations, if he does sell a really big pack and you're only getting one 50 a session, you're giving him 50 percent of that money.
Devin Hatch: yeah, that's what it
Laura Park Figueroa: Came down to. Yeah. So that's a good, that's a, you want to try to keep, I think I shared this with you in the TGO community too, because you had posted about it. Thank you for posting there too and sharing stuff there. I really appreciate it because it helps get other people engaged as well.
It's helpful when other people share what's going on or share their questions. But I think I shared it with you and I'll just say it here for the record. I've said it on the podcast before, but ideally you want payroll below 50%. I think sometimes in therapy practices, we have to go to 60 percent of whatever that person is bringing in.
Okay. So not of total revenue, but of whatever, well of total revenue, if you're accounting for everyone, but ideally you can do the math to say, okay, if he works. This many sessions, then we're going to make X number of dollars and then we are allowed to pay him up to 50 percent of that. And I think that's a good metric to hold to.
And it also, I hear you saying like he wanted to negotiate and stuff. And if you're listening, we love you, but also he's probably not listening, but I do think I do think as business owners, the more that we can. The more that we can see their side and also see, help them see our side that we're not trying to just take, cause it look, it can look crazy.
Like in my business, we charge 204 and the pay scale goes to I think 65 now these are employees. So I'm paying a lot of taxes on top of that. Okay. So really it's add 20 to 30 percent to everyone. But. The payroll, I think we cap it at 60, 65. I can't remember off the top of my head, honestly.
But so really it can look to an employee like you're making 204 and I'm only getting 65 or whatever. They don't see the taxes. They don't pay attention to that. They don't know that I'm contributing to their social security every month and that they do know, but they don't feel it. It's not like money in their pocket right now.
And so I think helping them understand that the more that. The more that you can, and maybe I'm speaking more to employees here, so this may not, I'm just going to say it anyway. So take it with a grain of salt because contractors, it may be a little different, but the more that you can help them see what you are offering to them as an employee or a contractor for example.
The opportunity to work outdoors and not be stuck in an office all day. That is really for people that like outdoor work and that Nate that are, gravitate towards nature based that is a huge benefit. Like the ability to do groups where you can see five kids in an hour and a half or two hours and then go home and have freedom to do your notes at a coffee shop or your house or sitting on your couch at night, whatever that may be, that's worth something even to a contractor.
Okay. Think about those things that are value ads and try to talk with your people about those people that you're even going to hire in the future. I wonder about, I wonder your thoughts about hiring an employee to do this.
Devin Hatch: mY initial thought is oh crap, all the payroll stuff it just scares me oh great, like, how do I do this?
Now I have to pay someone else to do payroll and manage all that stuff that's my initial thought. Other than that, I haven't really thought about it much, eventually, I would like to have someone that I could have a little more control. Not that sounds
Laura Park Figueroa: awful. It's not awful, though.
I want you to say that again, because say it again for the people that didn't hear it the first time it came out of your mouth. Because I want more control over my business. Yes. Yes. It's okay as the business owner to control your business. If you don't think spiral out of control and you lose your business goes under.
Okay. Yeah. Totally okay to want to have employees that you can exert control over. And we don't mean it in a negative way, but like a real like wanting to really, if you think about culture, if you think about team culture and like any place that you worked that had a positive team culture where everybody was going after the same thing, it was not made up of contractors. It was made up of people who were all on board with the mission or vision of whatever was going on in your business. And I really think that hiring employees, maybe the way we reframe it from like control is like culture. I just want a culture in my business where everybody's done it.
I learned that early on. I had, when I first started and this is, this relates, I'm not going to go on a story about my business. This relates to what you're going to say. What we're talking about for you is that. Really early on in my business. I thought that it would be easier.
This is what I want you to hear. It is easier to hire very part time people, like just hire a therapist who works in the schools, who wants to work like one group after school hours. And you might do that. Devin, when you first get started, that's great to have people that work a few hours and just their employees.
So they have to be there and they have to do what you're setting up for them to do. But yeah. But what I found was having a whole team of people that were divided in their attention and had most of their energy and focus being on a different place, like whether a school or clinic or whatever, it didn't lend to a positive team culture at OKOT because in my business, because everybody.
Everybody was doing it as their side gig that they really loved, but it didn't lend time. Nobody had time to do new projects or to offer new services or to lend their ideas for some new project or whatever. And And if they did it, it wasn't like a culture of the business.
I don't know how to describe it. And now that I have the lowest hours that someone works in my business. Now I made it a rule essentially that everyone who works at outdoor kids, OT has to work at least two groups. Or 10 hours per week. That's like the minimum. Two groups. That was a
Devin Hatch: question I had for you too.
Like how do you start doing that with employees?
Laura Park Figueroa: Yeah. So just set it as your standard. Like I'm not going to hire someone that'll only work one group. I'm only going to hire someone. I'm only going to hire an employee that has at least eight hours to give to the business. And that has, we have a full time employee.
Now we have one who wants to come on more hours. We have one working like between 15 and 20 hours a week, and one that works two groups. But the vibe is totally different and some of it could be like just the vibe of the people and like we've grown as a business and there's just more going on but really I do think that is crucial and I.
I am not sure if, I guess it's not impossible with contractors, but do you get what I'm saying? It's a different feel like they're on their own, like they're running their own business. Essentially legally, they are supposed to be running their own business. Like you're contracting them to provide a service that you give them the clients for, and they do the service.
Devin Hatch: No, that, that makes sense. And that was part of the question I was wondering is okay, if I do want to switch to an employee I can't be like, Hey, we have two groups, three hours of work. Like, how do you structure that? So that I don't in my brain, I can't figure that out.
Like, how do I structure it? So part time equals this full time equals this, because I'm just, I'm used to 40 hours as full time. So I don't know how that's, break away from that model and go to like doing groups. And so what you said, two groups at least is that part time in your business?
Laura Park Figueroa: So I think the key thing that I want to tell you is there's a lot of freedom even when you have employees. So just because you have an employee doesn't mean that they can't just work three hours a week in your business if you want to hire them for that. Now, I wouldn't recommend that. I want them more on board with you, and more committed.
But you could do that. You have freedom to do that, I guess is what I'm saying. There's a lot of freedom here. And I do think that You as the business owner can post a job for an employee on any on Indeed or in the therapy and the great outdoors community wherever you may want to post a position and you can say what it is.
You can say it's eight hours a week. It's going to be. Two weekdays of your choosing after school to run outdoor therapy groups for kids between these ages, whatever it is, you market it, however you want to market it. And see if people bite, see if people want that.
There's a lot of people out there that don't want to work full time, yeah. So you can do whatever you want. And I would recommend for that type of role, I would recommend just doing an hourly. Pay, right? Like you just get paid. I, what I do is hourly pay. So I don't do with a contractor.
It totally makes sense. Like a per session rate. There's some weird laws in California about that too, that I can't pay people that way. But California is the worst state to run a business. So nature based people, if you were thinking about
Devin Hatch: move
Laura Park Figueroa: somewhere else before starting it's fine. I do, I love it there.
I love my team there. I wouldn't change it for the world, but I. It is. There's a lot of legal stuff in California that there's not in other states. So anyway, you can't do like a per session rate for employees in California. So the way I do it is an hourly pay, but I have very specific expectations written out for them.
So it's every group that you lead, you get, I think it's 30 minutes to plan for the group. So I will pay them to plan for the group because I want my therapist to have mental space and energy to be able to sit down and plan, right? I don't want them flying by the seat of their pants. We all do that as therapists at times, I want them to know I value them being able to plan for therapy.
So they get 30 minutes to plan. They get 15 minutes before and after each group. So to, to be there on site with volunteers, to talk with parents and before and after the group, the groups are 90 minutes long. So we're already at two and a half hours for a 90 minute group. And then we give them.
I think it's around 10 minutes per child that's in the group for documentation which is pretty generous. I feel like you should be able to get notes done for four or five kids in about 30 minutes. I just tell them use your, it's going to be harder at first cause you're going to be getting to know them.
But so they have a very clear standard of three, I think it's 3. 25 or 3. 5 hours per 90 minute group that they lead. And they're also paid hourly. We do package pricing, but we do it on like a school year because in California, in Wisconsin, we're doing it semester. So that might be something to think about too, because 10 weeks goes super quick and then you have to do another enrollment.
So yeah, Wisconsin when I started my practice here, the second branch of the practice, I was like, I don't want people to have to commit for a year. They don't even know us yet, yeah. We did like a semester long, like September through January. And then we're going to do February through May as the second semester.
So that gives you a little more time on the admin side to be like, you're committed for longer than 10 weeks. And it saves you a little bit of admin, but they also, so our packages include The semester of services, but then there's also a pre and post like call, like a consult call with the family.
So the therapist also get paid for those like their hourly rate. But for the weekly groups, we just have a standard, it's this is what we expect. You're going to. Get your work done in this time, because what's that law that says a task will expand to however long you have for it.
And I wonder if maybe a little bit of that was going on with your contractor at first Oh, it's taking me an hour to do. I don't know, but yeah. And at first things take longer, right? That is legit. That things do take longer when you first start out, but what are your thoughts?
What are you thinking? No,
Devin Hatch: I like, cause like I said, the biggest challenge we found was what you were just saying you don't know if you get stuck in traffic I'm paying it's so variable that I can't, as a business owner, I can't account for what's coming in, what has to be delineated for each thing that we have for rent, for pay, for, all the distributions.
And so to make, to keep this viable and that this is what we told him with our negotiation was like, Hey, like I want this to remain viable. And so I need to be able to have an exact accounting of what's coming in. So I think having that, yeah. Just trying to figure out that structure of what it would look like for an employee.
I Don't know if that sounds, I like the sound of it. Cause again, I want to create the culture of what our hub is, like what, who we are, what we do. And have them be more bought into that. And not that he's not, but I could see how having an employee versus a contractor would Totally. Create that even more.
Yeah. Which would be something
Laura Park Figueroa: I'd want. Yep. And you're like, I know you well enough to know like you're very, you're a heart centered entrepreneur. Like you want to do great things in your community and I think you'd be really good at leading a team. So I feel like. What's your, my question that I'm, I'm noticing the like, uh, every time I say employee, what do you think it is that you're afraid of?
What do you think? Let's talk about it. I want to hear, what do you
Devin Hatch: think? Probably just the, I don't know what I'm doing. Like the, I don't know,
Laura Park Figueroa: nobody does. That's the secret. Everyone, nobody knows what they're doing when they first
Devin Hatch: hire. It's all just struggle through but
because even like last year, when we did our taxes this year for last year, it was I had this moment of oh my gosh, I didn't I forgot to set aside money for am I supposed to be taking out like, all the FICA taxes and all that stuff, and I talked to my accountant in a panic, and he's calm down because of the LLC setup it's different don't worry, but so I know I guess that anxiety of what do I need to make sure I'm doing so that I don't get slapped with this huge Hey, here's what you didn't do, and here's how we're going to fine you, and good luck paying that, because we're the IRS and we're not going to budge, so have fun.
I guess that's part of my fear is like, making sure I'm doing things right. And then okay now the cost of now I have to pay a bookkeeper right now I just, I have a spreadsheet on my computer that I do all my fantasies on. I know that's horrible, but it works. Get a bookkeeper. You said that before the call crap, Laura,
Laura Park Figueroa: that's me.
Get a bookkeeper. Yeah, you need a bookkeeper. Just especially with a partnership. You need a bookkeeper. That's money well spent. Even if it's 300 a month, like it's money well spent because you need to make sure that someone is looking at what you're doing. It's accountability too.
I think if you're, if you use a person to do it, who's helping you with it. Oh, what was I going to say? I wanted, Oh, I just I think the same thing. I just wanna encourage you a little bit. I know I'm really pushing you towards this employee idea. . No, this is good. Can you tell? No. I'm like huge employee, but I wanna encourage you that I don't think it's actually much different than having a contractor once you get all of the formal stuff done, which.
You're, we're living in a digital age. You can go on Google and say how to hire an employee in a business in Washington, like how to hire an employee in Spokane Valley. You could, you can search these things and you will get checklists from the Better Business Bureau or whatever that will like really walk you through okay, you need to report them to the state and you need to, have the I nine forum that where they show you that they legally can work in the U.
S. and things like that. But honestly, Devin, think about it like a checklist. It literally is a checklist. It's the same difference as hiring a contractor and having to make sure you meet the legal requirements for that contractor to be a contractor. So I don't want you to be afraid of hiring because really it's I get that you're afraid because I was too.
We all, anyone who's ever hired someone, it's a huge step in your business and it shows that you're a responsible business owner that you are thinking that way, that you're like, I'm nervous. I want to make sure I do it right. I want to make sure I'm ready that I have money to pay them. Like you don't want to hire someone before because that's the thing with a contractor.
You could tomorrow be like, Oh, we don't have clients anymore. Sorry. No work for you. Yeah. It's trickier with an employee you it's it feels like more a contractual relationship to support them and make sure that you have the money to pay them right. Yeah, so I want you to be smart about it but I also want you to know that it's not any more legally risky I guess for you as a business owner to hire an employee versus having a contractor.
Devin Hatch: So I think what you just touched on I think there's that fear of Oh, if you're my employee now I have to have work for you. If this dries up, like with coming up with winter, like today is officially the first day of winter here because it's freezing. But I don't know how it's going to go during the winter.
Cause there's still that, the education piece of the community of Oh, a parent texts me today. They're like, are we still meeting outdoors? I was like, yeah that's the whole program.
Laura Park Figueroa: So write those things down and put them on an FAQs on your nature based OT page, like all those questions you're gonna get from parents.
That is one of our questions. Do we cancel in bad weather? It's Nope, we don't, so
Devin Hatch: yeah, so having that fear of okay, what if it does dry up over the winter? I don't now. Now I have an employee that I don't have work for. And so it's and I guess to not knowing that I could again, stuck in that mindset of an employee equals
I'm just so used to that. So I think I thought that the contractor kind of gave me the ability to be like, Hey, if any things are up, I just, you just don't work. And if I have more, like I can give you as much as you can take. Yeah.
Laura Park Figueroa: I mean with an employee too, with an hourly employee, there's not really.
There's not really a I don't know. I guess it depends. You have to provide a certain amount of hours or anything, right? An hourly employee means you're hourly and you work. What you work is what you get paid, right? So if there's not. If there's not money coming or if there's not clients coming into the business, of course, you as the business owner, do everything you possibly can to help them get those hours.
So a good example. I had an employee. Actually, no, she was salaried. I and I This could be a whole hour long more and we, I know we need to wrap up, but but I have a full time employee right now who is hourly. And she, I am very motivated to find things for her to do to get her hours.
Because I want her to work 40. She wants 40 hours a week. I want to give her 40 hours a week. Now before. When I had a full time employee the first time I had them on salary now they were making a lower if you figured it out they were making a lower per hour rate but that we had all these like complex bonus things in place where if you see this many kids per month but if you get another kid then you add this much money it was so complex and also like I just I just didn't, I didn't really like the salary feel like I didn't, I, she was amazing.
She was amazing therapist. If she moved back to California, I would hire her again. And I heartbeat, I would hire her and I want her to start a branch of OKOT where she moved. But the reality is it was hard for me to know What's feasible for someone to work when they're on a salaried position and doing, she was doing some other projects in the business, but also seeing kids and really an employee should be used to maximize the revenue that is coming into your business.
So I have a couple of therapists in my practice right now who the topic has come up, like they were like I'm willing to do mentoring of other therapists. And I'm like, but that doesn't bring money into the business. And so I can't afford to pay you for that. If I don't need that right now in the business, I need you to see more kids or pick up another group or start a new program or something that's actually going to bring.
Finances into the business so that I have money to pay you for the extra hours, so I think it's fine to talk to our. Potential team members about this and just say like my job is the business owner is to keep the business profitable like we have to it takes a lot of money on the back end to run a business and until you run a business you don't even have a freaking clue you don't have a freaking clue I'm sorry you have no idea how much everything costs on the back end like the admin support and billing and all of the invoicing and the appointment communicate EMR and the platforms that you use for scheduling and all the things, like it adds up.
And so I think it's fine to tell our potential team members like, Hey, it does cost a significant amount of money to run the business. And if they want to go run their own business, they will learn very quickly. It takes money to run the business. So yeah.
Devin Hatch: Would you on that? Would you have your hourly employees do with the screenings?
Would you... Pay them just our hourly rate to go do some of the screenings to, to help bring in clientele.
Laura Park Figueroa: Yeah, I think you'd count that as marketing, right? You treat that as a marketing budget, essentially, like you're not that's maybe not even like it might be revenue producing, but it's really marketing is what it is. It's building know, like and trust and expertise, awareness of your services in the community.
And so I think of that like an investment in The like I'm paying an employee this week to go meet with a school in California that has reached out and so she's going to go meet with them and I'm paying her for that. But that's not, that might eventually generate revenue, but it's not directly producing revenue.
You just have to keep an eye on that spending, right? Like you have to make sure that it's actually. I'm really delving into right now this topic of using data, like truly using data to drive decision making in my business. And so really looking at metrics and looking at numbers, like how many screenings were done and how many inquiries did we get from those screenings?
So if we know that if our OT goes out and does four screenings, we, and we have enough numbers, let's say you, you end up. over the course of a year, you've done a hundred screenings just for easy math, because a hundred is an easy number to deal with. And you get 10 clients from that. Hopefully you get more, but let's say 10, then you know that you have to do 10 screenings for every one client you bring in.
And you can reverse engineer is it worth it? Like how much can we afford to pay? If we're paying him I don't know what it would be. It's let's say he does two screenings an hour, you're paying him 75. So it's. 35 a screening. That means you have to spend 350 or so to get one client.
If you have to do 10 of them to get one, are you following my math here? So then. If that client is going to sign up for a package of 10 services and that's going to make your business almost 2, 000 and it's very worth it to spend 350 to make almost 2, 000, I guess your total revenue wouldn't be 2000 cause you spent that 350, but you get what I'm saying.
Like using the data to actually decide what you're going to do in your business rather than just fly by the seat of your pants or what you think might be or, or. with therapists doing what's nice, you know, doing what being the martyr and doing what's nice. And I think we need to start thinking as business owners, of course, to make sure our business exists to serve people in future.
Okay. We're a little bit over time, I think, but I want you to, I always end these coaching calls with, I want you to tell me like what your top three or so takeaways are. What do you think you need to do next? Like what is, Off the top of your head, it doesn't have to be like perfect, but off the top of your head, what are you taking away from this call that you should do next to get traction on this?
Devin Hatch: I need to simplify my website, simplify, or and use that to as a means of getting like email marketing leads. Yep. Because if I, my goal is to get the groups, a couple of groups in the next six to 12 months, I need to. Start getting more people in that way. I need to check out the legal stuff for contractors in Washington.
And employees. And employees. That was my next sentence. That was your next sentence. Make sure they're used correctly as is, and then see weigh it and see, okay, what's, employee versus contractor, and what's going to be most simple for our complex.
Laura Park Figueroa: Business. I think those are great.
Devin Hatch: Okay. Not that I can think of right now. I'm going to have to go through and listen to this again
Laura Park Figueroa: to process everything. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Yep. Yeah.
Devin, I just, I love your work. I'm so grateful to be connected with you and I'm so grateful to you for making time today to do this and for being vulnerable and coming on to share everyone how you're running your business.
Laura Park Figueroa: You're doing great. Everybody has these exact same questions. So it'll be really helpful to people. So I
Devin Hatch: hope so. That's my hope. Good.
Laura Park Figueroa: So appreciate. All right. I'll see you soon.
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.