Episode 31

Episode 31: Practice Building Pioneers [featuring ZynnyMe Founders Kelly Higdon & Miranda Palmer]

Have you ever told yourself that you, as a therapist, can't make money and help people?

Often therapists don't know where to begin when building a business, so they get stuck before they can even really get started. That's why business training for therapists makes such a difference in their success.

In this episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast, I speak with Kelly Higdon and Miranda Palmer, the co-founders of ZynnyMe, one of the pioneers in the private practice coaching world.

We talk about:

  • how it is more than possible to build a private practice that will sustain you so that you can stop "selling Tupperware door to door."
  • the correlation between "burnout" and "bleeding hearts" and why you DO need to actually be paid for the work you do
  • the need for conversations about money and therapy
  • the need for a collective effort from therapists to heal their money trauma
  • how a side hustles aren't always the answer to burnout
  • why a business partner is like a marriage (and harder to get out of)
  • the possibilities that come when you leave the door open for change... planned or not
  • the courage to walk away and "detox" from agency work

More about Kelly Higdon, LMFT:

Kelly Higdon, LMFT, believes that private practice is one of the solutions to increasing access to quality mental health in our communities. Her passion lies in empowering private practice owners to serve at their highest and best, improving clinical outcomes through their business planning, and breaking the statistic that mental health clinicians are the worst paid Masters’ degree. She has helped thousands through training, education, and coaching.

More about Miranda Palmer, LMFT:

Miranda Palmer, LMFT, loves helping therapists bridge the gap between what it takes to be a great therapist who gets great clinical outcomes and what it takes to run a successful therapy practice. She has helped thousands of therapists from around the world make the mindset shifts that allow a more effortless application of marketing strategies that grow a private practice that is not just financially sustainable, but that gets great clinical outcomes.

Kelly and Miranda have over 10 hours of free training, including some that are CE eligible here: zynnyme.com/free

Website: zynnyme.com

Join the waitlist for the Zynnyme Business School here.

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www.allthingspractice.com/all-things-private-practice-podcast

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🗨️ Join the All Things Private Practice FB Community: www.facebook.com/groups/privatepracticebuilding

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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!

I would also like to thank Diversion Center for sponsoring this episode.

If you are looking to tap into a cool niche that can take your private practice to 6 figures or more, check out my guy Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com. He helps licensed therapists expand their practice by working with court-mandated clients. So if you are burned out, and tired of writing notes and dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance abuse, shoplifting and theft prevention, and more.

This niche could be the breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started.

Transcript

PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone. If you are looking to tap into a cool new niche that can take your private practice to six figures or more, check out my guide, Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com.

He helps licensed therapists expand their practices by working with court-mandated clients. So, if you are burnt out, tired of writing notes, dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance use, shoplifting, theft prevention, and more. This niche can be a breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started. Remember that is courtmandatedtraining.com

Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, coming today from sunny St. Pete Florida, where it's 75 degrees. I am joined today by the cofounders of ZynnyMe. We've got Kelly Higdon, we've got Miranda Palmer, both LMFTs in California, and they are going to talk about their story and how they were kind of the pioneers of private practice coaching and building, and I'm just really happy to have you both here.

KELLY HIGDON: Pioneer of that, I'm not sure about that. I think Casey Truffaut was the pioneer.

MIRANDA PALMER: Lynn Grodzki.

KELLY HIGDON: Lynn Grodzki were more of the pioneers, however, I think-

MIRANDA PALMER: We've been around a while though.

KELLY HIGDON: We've been around a long, long time, and the other pioneers have mostly retired and left. And I think we did things in kind of a new and different way that went beyond what they had been doing, so…

MIRANDA PALMER: But, thank you for that introduction.

KELLY HIGDON: Yes [CROSSTALK:

MIRANDA PALMER: For sure.

PATRICK CASALE: I liked that you named that, that you're like wait, wait, wait, wait. Like, we've been around a while, we know our stuff, but like, we got to give some credit over here too.

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: I totally respect that.

MIRANDA PALMER: We got 25 years between us and there's still more people out there.

KELLY HIGDON: I think this is the other part too, is that we did not set out to buck the system, we weren't trying to like, "Oh, we're going to like do something amazing and great." Initially. Like, I think we both stumbled into this in a really heartfelt and just joyful way of just seeing a need and wanting to be of service and having a need ourselves and wanting it to be filled. And this is sort of what happens with that plus a lot of intention, a lot of mistakes, a lot of planning along the way.

The other day, like, we were sitting in the office, and we have to add like 401k plans and things like this, right? And I was saying to Miranda like, when we first started, I didn't dream this big. And while I really do encourage my clients to dream, I also tell them, like, hold it loosely like you hold it, but then you're also open to all the possibilities you never thought of because my mind could not have imagined where we are now. Like, I could not have thought that's how it would go, so funny.

PATRICK CASALE: How does that feel to see that and reflect back on, like, I left my agency job or wherever you started your practice journey to now?

KELLY HIGDON: How does it feel?

MIRANDA PALMER: I mean, right? For me, I think it's always funny. Like, my process started in terms of like becoming a somebody or like having community because I failed the licensing exam. Like, I failed the licensing exam by one point, nobody knew I sitting for exams. Everyone I knew who had passed was like, "I don't know what to tell you." And I just felt really lost and alone, and had this like random idea to start an online study group and start bringing people together. Maybe like four months later, somebody in the study group was like, "Hey, is this a joke? I got this letter in the mail saying there's something wrong with the test and I actually passed."

There was like four of us that had all failed by one or two points. And this group of like 40 people that I rounded up from the internet, I was marketing a study group, I didn't know I was marketing. I was doing this and through the process, suddenly, I was like, "Oh my gosh." Like found out about this, would not have found out, never actually got the letter in the mail, but I called the board, and they're like, "How did you find out about this? Like, this doesn't impact everyone."

And they're like, "But give me your name?" They're like, "Yeah, actually, you're on the list." And like, "Here's your next step. Just send us your money and you're done." And it was such a experience of like what it brings to bring together people from, at that point, it was all over California. And it wasn't just the exam process we were struggling with, it was the counting of the hours, and what to do about supervision, and now it's about private practice and all the other things. And so, I was just like this is so powerful, and it's so valuable to me, and I want to keep giving back. And so, it really just started from there, of this is a community that I need and want, and I want to provide support, and I want to give back to the people coming.

And so, it was just that for a long time. You know, realistically, like that was for several years, I was just in that place. And, you know, I learned a lot about community, and about how people come together, and what it means to just be other-focused. And yeah, it's just kind of that magical thing.

But again, even that, like that was one of those moments in time, failing the exam, I could not have imagined like that moment, like, my stomach dropped, and just, you know, crying and I had to go to a family event, and everybody knew I was taking the exam, and like walking in, and just being like feeling like the lowered, everyone's like, "Oh, how did it go? Did you pass? I'm like, "Nope, I failed." And they're like, they just started laughing. They're like, "No, you didn't." And I was like, "No, I really failed."

And my grandma was like, "There must be something wrong. If my Mandy failed this…" My grandma calls me, "…there must be something wrong with the test." And I was like, "Thanks, Grandma. But like, it's not a thing." Except she was freaking right, that was thing, yeah.

KELLY HIGDON: But I mean, yeah, that point to this point.

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah.

KELLY HIGDON: Wow. I mean, learning to step into owning that we've done this, it's still a practice that we're trying to make. Because you know, when you run your own business, you get really into what's next, what's next, what's next instead of just saying, "Oh, look what is because it is quite amazing." And to think about the impact is, I try not to think about because I think I would get kind of a little stunned when I think about like how many people are reading this email? Or how many people might listen to this podcast? I don't think about it. Otherwise, I'd be like, "Oh."

MIRANDA PALMER: Like, I look at things, and like, we didn't even track our stats on our podcast. Our podcast has been around for a long time. We did not track it for the first time. And it's just like, "Oh, like, there's millions of views." Like, how many millions more are there?

KELLY HIGDON: I don't want know.

like, "Oh my gosh [INAUDIBLE:

KELLY HIGDON: Is that right? [INAUDIBLE 00:07:38] next Generation [INAUDIBLE 00:07:42].

MIRANDA PALMER: Next generation, yeah, which is great and it's lovely to support though.

KELLY HIGDON: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And I like the humility too and, you know, I can sense like, "Yeah, I'm not looking at the views. We're not here for that. We're just realizing, like, our support has trickled down and has reached so many people. And the more people we help the more people they help." And in reality, it's just really incredible to think about it that way.

And it's so interesting now that we're moving into the era of like a different way of psychotherapy, and people wanting to add to their businesses. And I don't think a lot of people really understand how applicable our skill sets are in so many different ways. And more importantly, when you're leaving an agency job, all you think about is just leaving your agency job. Like, you're not actually thinking about what else is possible because you really don't know.

MIRANDA PALMER: I think this is the part that's so interesting. And I think, I know, this isn't where you're going, but it's where my mind goes, is people are so in the place of wanting to get out of feeling, you know, not valued or devalued, feeling burnt out, feelings are just running around, but feeling like the rules are constantly changing.

And what I see happen a lot is that people are kind of leaving that and because they haven't stopped to kind of pause and explore, and this is even like their own part of it. Like, where were the places where I didn't set boundaries, where I didn't set limits, where are the places where I had unrealistic expectations of myself, not just what came from this other person, where are the places have I internalized this broken system?

Because whether I get a job in another place, whether I start a private practice, whether I start another stream of income or seven streams of income, the odds are that if I don't understand what just happened and heal from it, and get some like actual like perspective of what a healthy business or a healthy position looks like, I'm going to replicate that. I'm going to build that into every stream of income.

KELLY HIGDON: That's what I did, like with ZynnyMe when we started, I'm a workaholic in recovery and I ended up in the hospital, so I mean, like, it is that we've gone through that in our own peeling of the onion from the beginning of like, oh, that's there, oh, that's there and tried to find ways to really create a business that supports our health and well-being through it all to undo and allow for that healing.

ly sold Tupperware [CROSSTALK:

KELLY HIGDON: I didn't know you sold that.

MIRANDA PALMER: …as a licensed therapist, yeah.

KELLY HIGDON: I didn't know you sold Tupperware.

MIRANDA PALMER: I did. I did Tupperware when I had my son. That's why I have so much Tupperware in my house.

PATRICK CASALE: I'm glad you weren't like selling knives door to door, like one of those ridiculous side hustles. But you're so right. Like, you know, the industry, obviously, we feel really undervalued, underappreciated, and I think there's almost an emotional abuse relationship with agency jobs, where it's consistent, you know what you're going to get, but it's really damaging to you, mentally and physically. And there's a detox period too when you leave those jobs and have to really, like you said, sort some stuff out and work through a lot so that you don't bring that shit into the next venture.

And again, like you said, just replicate the agency environment in your own business, because that's why I think we see so many people burnt out right now, in addition to COVID, and fucking everything happening, but like, it's just like, I'm going to leave, I'm going to see 40 clients a week, I'm going to work from this perspective. And then you're like, I don't want to be a therapist anymore. I can't do this.

MIRANDA PALMER: Right.

KELLY HIGDON: Right and this is the piece too, that, it's kind of crazy-making that you have this experience of realizing like, oh, my gosh, like, what I was doing wasn't working, right? But also, this like strong desire of, I want to do a sliding scale like my like the nonprofit did.

profit insurance companies in:

PATRICK CASALE: Hundreds of millions, I believe, potentially billions.

KELLY HIGDON: 72 billion more than Amazon, health insurance companies, and obviously, there's more health insurance companies than just one Amazon. Like, that's spread over several different health providers, but they made more money than Amazon during a global pandemic. And here we are, as therapists not doing the math to say, you know what? If half of my clients are insurance, and half of them are private pay, and if my math says I need to make $100 a session, and the insurance company's going to give me 50, then that means that I have to charge the people who are coming in private pay 150, so that those people can subsidize the insurance company that made $70 billion. It's freaking bonkers.

And, again, if therapists think about dropping insurance panels or saying, you know what? That contract doesn't work for me and let's be clear, it is not across the board. In certain states there are amazing insurance contracts, there's amazing laws that protect therapists, the clawbacks are, you know, within a year or two, it's not a big deal. But in other states, unlimited clawbacks for, you know, 2, 6, 10, 15 years, just crazy things where in LA $70, right? Reimbursement for the same CBT code that in Arkansa's 130. Where's the cost of living? Like-

MIRANDA PALMER: They don't care, it's a competition.

KELLY HIGDON: They don't care. It's about how many of us as therapists say yes to a contract, not understanding and we're just like, well, this is just how it has to work, so I'm just going to figure out how to budget myself out of this. And then we have more therapists in like Debtors Anonymous, and these other places feeling guilt and shame about how they didn't budget properly. Well, God bless it.

PATRICK CASALE: Mic drop. I hope whoever's listening to that, you know, really absorbs that, because you're so right. And I think so many times we've like our bleeding heart syndrome, we want to subsidize other people's therapy, but then we can't keep our lights on. And then you're wondering-

KELLY HIGDON: We can't afford our own therapy.

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. Well, how often do you hear that, like, "I could never pay my therapist private pay rates, and I can't charge private pay, because I can't afford to pay private pay." And I'm like, "Oh."

or a little bit of [INAUDIBLE:

MIRANDA PALMER: And we'll replicate it in the course.

KELLY HIGDON: Yeah, we will.

MIRANDA PALMER: We'll undercharge for the course, we will burn ourselves out working all the hours, because like the doing of the course, like putting the material together, like that's easy, but the marketing, and building the community, and going through the other, like, all the rest of it, like, people, you know, they're like, "Oh, it's fine. It's just the beta of it." You spent 300 hours on the beta of it, and that's coming from somewhere. That's either coming from your health, your social life, that's coming from your family, your kids, your rest, your sleep. Like, it's coming from somewhere.

And here we are, as therapists, just in this place of, again, burnout rates are high, autoimmune conditions are really high right now, and that's not something people are talking about a lot and that's not to blame therapists, but we take on a huge amount of stress and trauma, and what we do. We're taking on people's energy, and our body needs some time to like, process that out, to breathe it out, to walk it out, to work it out, whatever the thing is that we need to do.

And if we keep our brain moving constantly, and sometimes this can be a trauma response, often this is a trauma response, this is part of where this burnout and trauma have some like overlap, and they kind of like all tie together, if we don't understand that, that's what we're doing, then suddenly that like, "Oh, my gosh, I've got all this energy to do this course and what have you. And I'm really disorganized." We don't realize this is a flee response. This is a flee response, right? The, "Oh my gosh, I can't say no, I'm scheduling clients all over the place, and I'm seeing 10 people over my max, and I'm saying yes to every sliding scale." This is a fawn response, right?

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely.

MIRANDA PALMER: And we like understand what's happening, and we pause for a minute, the crazy part is that it impacts clinical care, like at the core of it, and that's the other really uncomfortable thing that we don't like to think about because we already hold so much guilt and shame that like, if we don't look at these things, ultimately, our profession and our individual clients are the ones that get impacted long term.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, couldn't have said it better myself. You know, I have so many of these conversations with therapists now in my coaching and all over and it's a lot of the same response over and over. And it's also the misunderstanding of people will pay you if they value what you offer. And you can charge any amount of money you want to charge and subsidize, you know, by giving a few hours away, or giving a pro bono slot away, or like evening the scale, so to speak, if that's really something that you want to do.

And I just think that if you're going to take on 40 clients at $50 an hour and you're exhausted, and then your substance use goes way up, and your mental health is deteriorating, you could really take a look at your business and step back, and you know, work through your shit, and figure out your rates, and work a quarter of the time or work half the time so that you can show up for, you know, your clients, and you can show up for other parts of your life because workaholism and giving it away is so synonymous with the helping professions in general. And I mean, this has been a hard couple of years, and it's definitely being seen and felt all over the place.

MIRANDA PALMER: Sure.

KELLY HIGDON: Right, I think we've watched a lot of changes in the industry since we've started and where therapists are at in terms of knowledge, in terms of growth, and this is a new kind of phase of burnout like we've never seen before. We've been seeing the autoimmune stuff creeping up even before the pandemic, we've been seeing it a lot more, and the beginnings of burnout before the pandemic, you know, and then a lot of this social justice issues coming up as well, like, the compounding effect of timing. It's an interesting time. Like, when we first started, where even having this conversation would set people off, like talking about a fee, ooh, like angry-

PATRICK CASALE: Still does.

MIRANDA PALMER: Still does.

KELLY HIGDON: Yeah, but I feel like people at least are a lot more open to dialoguing. We've seen a lot of growth in therapists. And so, I think we're at a really cool clinical, where we could tip the scales to, as a collective, heal some of this and change what the standard or the norm is. This is a great opportunity right now for us.

MIRANDA PALMER: I think there's… and it's an interesting piece because… and I'm going to stand for something that like a lot of people are going to hate. I think there are a lot of therapists that are looking at side hustles and multiple streams of income, and it is distracting them from where they really need to be.

And until we figure out the core of a profitable service-based business that is sustainable, I don't think you should be going out to do the side hustle, the coaching, and all the other stuff. I think that's a distraction. I think it's sort of like playing the game on your phone, I think it's this place of we as a collective need to really heal, you know, that money story, and we need to heal our relationship as business owners and as creators. And once we do that, then I think it's going to open up to so many ways of having these other-

IGDON: There'll be [INAUDIBLE:

MIRANDA PALMER: …that will be effective, that will actually be seen by people, and you know, be sustainable. But I think until people really get to the core of that stuff, they're going to have 17 unfinished projects, and they're going to have, "Oh, I'm going to do this. Oh, you know what? I had an even better idea. Oh, no, I had an even better idea. Oh, no, I feel guilt and shame, because I didn't finish those ideas, so I'm going to finish this idea. You know what I need is a business partner and this person, we're going to do this magical thing together and we're only going to charge $50 but we're going to have all this impact. You know what, I'm going to speak at this thing."

KELLY HIGDON: "Let's talk about these partnerships."

MIRANDA PALMER: Like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, I'm going to do this thing, and I'm going to create this thing, and I'm going to speak at this one thing, and it's going to, like, take over and it's going to take off, so I've got to do this right now and ignore my private practice. And we're like-

KELLY HIGDON: No.

MIRANDA PALMER: We just know that like this is how it works. But I think until we kind of paused and said, and like kind of like look at our lane, and look at our area of the road, and really just feel what it feels like to even just enjoy our business, even as for like three to six months, y'all. Like just three to six months-

KELLY HIGDON: Hold it.

MIRANDA PALMER: …of like, "Hey, my practice is full. I have a process. I'm seeing my clients. I'm keeping up my bookkeeping. I have things like streamlined and I'm not putting anything else on myself." just for three months. But the amount of therapists that can do that for three minutes that don't just immediately say, "Okay, cool, next thing. Okay, cool, next thing." That's burnout. Like that-

KELLY HIGDON: [CROSSTALK:

MIRANDA PALMER: They're brilliant.

KELLY HIGDON: They're billionaire million-dollar brilliant idea, but like, ultimately, what do we see as the main thing? It's business school for therapists because therapists need some business school, they need this base level of knowledge that's going to transform every little thing that they do. And people are like, "Oh, well, why don't you just do this standalone training here and this little training here." It's like, because people need the whole picture. If we just talk about the money story without the other pieces it doesn't work, if we just talk about the website without the money it doesn't work, if we just talk about the marketing without talking about the website or the money it doesn't work.

It's like it needs to… we're holistic and we're also talking about personal boundaries, we're talking about clinical boundaries, we're talking about clinical outcomes and we're integrating it all together, so that when people leave, complete, you know, process through that, that we know they are going to be happier humans, they're going to be better therapists, like exemplary therapists that get amazing outcomes that go above and beyond, that their money story is completely shifted and changed, that they build their business with ease, that they are kind and have energy for other people, like, we just know what that looks like. And it's a magical thing and there's nothing else that does that for us, you know, that we can do that unless we do it in this intensive and holistic way.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I love the intentionality behind that and just having something that feels like a well-oiled machine so that every time the therapist can get a very solid, high-quality experience. And I think that's really important because there are so many people with shiny object syndrome, right? Like, I can be guilty of that, because I have so many ideas all the time, my brains always going. And my VA will check me on Mondays and be like, "We're not doing anything new, right? Like, this is what we're doing." So, I'm trying to get a lot better at that. But ultimately, I think what you're saying is so important.

And I preach that all the time like you've got to treat your business like a business and 99% of therapists don't understand the business side. And they get really shameful about that. And you know, there's so many moving pieces, and it has to be synchronistic in terms of like, things have to flow together, processes have to work, systems have to work. I mean, it's just so important. And you're right, everything has to be talked about. And I think if you're just focusing on one thing, it's very challenging to come away with having a good conceptualization of what this is going to look like. I think that's such a really important part.

I do want to ask you all I know you get this question all the time. One, how the hell did you come up with this name? And two, how does it work as partners because, you know, I've talked with Kate and Katie, and they kind of described it as it has to almost be like a marriage, and in a lot of ways like you have to have an exit plan that you both agree on and I'm just curious about that. Like, over the years what have you seen shift, and how has that been, you know, not only challenging but also really powerful too?

KELLY HIGDON: We were talking about this on our run last week.

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah, you said a lot of questions right there?

KELLY HIGDON: Well, let's start with simply the name.

PATRICK CASALE: Let's start with the name because I feel like you get that a lot.

MIRANDA PALMER: When I started the study group, it was on Yahoo groups, and I used my email address, which was zynny@yahoo.com. And the Zynny was just a random thing that popped into my head one day. I had no idea, I was probably like, 18, 19. Like, I don't know. It had been around for a long time.

like, that was the [INAUDIBLE:

And then zynny.com was taken. It is still taken to this day. I emailed them, someone like in Asia has it, has never used it, and I was just like, can I please have it? So then, we were looking at like, well, then how can we do it? Is it going to be like zynny.tv, and there was a zynny.me. And she was like, "Well, why don't we just do like ZynnyMe?" And we're like, and then it'll be like a verb like Zynny Me, like [INAUDIBLE 00:26:00] or just ZynnyMe, like ridiculous, whatever. But, you know.

KELLY HIGDON: It's a good lesson of like, how not to name your business.

MIRANDA PALMER: But it's now a search keyword. It is a search keyword, and it's often misspelled at the search keyword, which is even funnier. So, that's great.

PATRICK CASALE: It's a good lesson in business naming. It's also a good lesson in like marketing and branding, too, because you're right, it's well associated.

KELLY HIGDON: [INAUDIBLE:

MIRANDA PALMER: Like, it's not a great name and yet, we've been able to brand it. It was harder for us starting out and creating that brand. For a little while, we really made ourselves the face of it and we saw things blow up at that point. And then we've been working towards kind of moving that back into a brand so that we can bring other people on. We have some amazing coaches that we have trained that are like amazing, that we've been on one-on-one coaching for years, and to be able to bring those people in just having it be like Kelly and Miranda, like, doesn't do it justice of what we want to provide for people, so…

KELLY HIGDON: In terms of like a partnership, I think a lot of people assume that Miranda and were really close friends and we started this business together. We barely knew each other. I had hired Miranda to do coaching for my own practice. And then, I just started giving feedback of like, why can you automate some of this into a course? And this seems kind of repetitive? And what opinion they asked for you?

And so, she's like, "Yeah, I'd love to do that. But, you know, I need support. Like, it's too much for one person or whatever." So, we've only met in person once and it was over some random dinner and that was it.

MIRANDA PALMER: And we lived on opposite sides of the state.

een for Miranda to [CROSSTALK:

MIRANDA PALMER: I will say this, other people who have worked with us like in partnerships and scenes like these, they've all said the level of communication it takes for a partnership, they don't want it, because it does. Like, I have to let her know what's going on. She has to let me… We divide and conquer, but we also divide and conquer the P&L, and like the income gets divided too, and when we make decisions we have a process, and we've gotten clear about that. Now, we do a lot more meditation, intuitive kind of stuff.

But if there's a, "I want this." Sometimes it's like, "I don't care, that's fine." And other times I'm like, "Ooh, no, I don't." And we have to work through that, and we use a lot of tools for that, which has come from our own growth and maturation, too.

I think, you know, we're very, very lucky. And that's why when people come into our business school and they're like, "I have a partner." We're like, people look at us, and they're like, "See partnership's cool." And we're like this was sheer luck, sheer luck and-

KELLY HIGDON: Sheer luck or like being loved by the universe.

PALMER: Yeah, it's [INAUDIBLE:

KELLY HIGDON: But we've also made a lot of effort to fostering this relationship. We put a lot into it and a lot of like honest conversations, which we've gotten a lot better at and I was telling Miranda, like last week, we were running, because we're training for a race, and I was like, "You know, like, I never would have thought that we'd get here like with our business, but also with each other, of like, the kind of love that we have, like, that's my person, that's my ride or die, you know."

And you have to have like, really serious conversations, "Okay, if I die, what goes to my family? And what does that look like?" I mean, it's a lot. So-

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah.

KELLY HIGDON: Sometimes we're really honest about the partnership thing. We're like, do you know their credit score? Do you know how they handle money? Like, you need to know all of these.

MIRANDA PALMER: Like, how much money is in their bank account? Or like, what do you mean? Like, what's your credit score? What do you mean? You are marrying this person, you're going to have a shared credit score, and their decisions are going to impact you. And again, it's harder to divorce this person than it is to divorce a spouse, and we have helped more therapists get out of bad business partnerships than we have helped them create great ones.

And again, not because we're saying like, "Oh, it can't be done." But when we start to say, here are the steps, and here's what needs to happen people suddenly go, "Oh, I thought it would be more like this." And we're like, "No, it's like this." And they're like, "I don't want that." I'm like, "That's okay, but just like know that."

KELLY HIGDON: I think what makes partnerships amazing is when you are opposite, it adds more conflict sometimes and there's more opportunity for misunderstanding. But the geniuses is that like when I'm down, it's just like marriage when I'm down Miranda's up, when Miranda's down I'm usually up, and if we're both down together, when we're like, okay, we need to find opposite of that if it ever happened, but I'm like, she has strengths, and technical, and in branding, and I have strengths in relationships, and connecting, and so being opposites has really helped us a lot.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, it's really beautifully said, and I can sense how close you two are together. Like, just the way you talk, and the way you communicate. I really love that. And, you know, I see so often like people want partnership, because they think it's going to be less scary. People want partnership because they're like, "I'm going to start this business with this friend of mine who I kind of know from grad school, because I don't think I want to start a private practice on my own." And I'm like, "Hell no, like, you better check in with all of the details that you just mentioned, because otherwise, this is going to implode or explode."

KELLY HIGDON: Anything.

PATRICK CASALE: And I don't say-

KELLY HIGDON: I feel more scared because I'm responsible now also, like, I can make a decision that plummets Miranda's life. Like, that's a lot more on the line than, hey, I made this for me and it plummeted limited me. Okay, fine. But now, I've like ruined somebody else. Like, I don't want that. That's a lot. It's actually scarier, I think in some ways. We don't want to-

PATRICK CASALE: That's a lot of fucking pressure.

KELLY HIGDON: If you don't want to be alone, get some really good friends, like, get a mastermind together, find a mentor. You don't have to marry them.

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah.

o do that. There's [CROSSTALK:

MIRANDA PALMER: That's a great metaphor too, of like, just because you're lonely doesn't mean you need to get married, like just because you're lonely and you have a practice doesn't mean you need a business partner.

KELLY HIGDON: Right.

PATRICK CASALE: My brain immediately just went when Kelly was talking like, oh, that's a good episode title. Like, just because you're alone, you know, get some friends. Like, I might use that as the tagline. You know, it's so true. And I appreciate y'all sharing in that light because I think so many people coming out of school, I think it's just a scary place to think about something that you don't know what you don't know. And it would be easier to do together and I'm like, "Go rent an office together, don't go into business together." Like this is a very different thing. And again, I'm glad you offered the school for, you know, all aspects of this, because it's the business side that people really just don't understand.

KELLY HIGDON: Now more than ever, there are more resources than ever before on how to build a business. I mean, it used to be a paperback book and some call-in webinars. We have come a long way in terms of free resources. I mean, the amount of coaches in this industry has grown by lots. There's tons out there, you know? So, it's not like you can't get the support, is all I'm saying. It is there for you and it's right for the picking, is that what they say?

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah, yeah, yeah and I think that's the other part, I don't know what is popping up but like so, you know, therapists we've been the worst paid master's degrees for a long time, right? And as we've had more like art therapy, movement therapy, you know, LPC versus MFT, you just see like at the top 10 list of worst paid master's degree just expand. This is all therapists.

But for a long time, chiropractic was in the top of it, and I remember I was having a conversation with a chiropractor about it, that they like they were the top master's degree, and I was like, "Why?" And he said, "Well, you know, about 25% of what we learned in school was about how to actually do chiropractic. The other, like 75% was how to run a chiropractic private practice. Well, what happened was over several years people were like, 'Oh, wait, you know what we want to create chiropractic schools that really go more into the holistic healing.'"

And so they took more and more of the business side of things out. So, what you've seen over time is that the income for chiropractors has just gone down over the years, right? And so, I think that's a place like I wish that there was a way to fully integrate this into a master's or doctorate program.

If any master's programs want to talk to us let us know. But like, this is the piece when we empower therapists, it changes not just their income for this year, it changes their income for decades to come. And it changes the income of their employees for decades to come. And it changes the next generation paths, yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: And it changes the quality of work that's done throughout the generation so that it has a longer reach because you can do better work. And I do wonder where that narrative comes from in grad school and agency work, where it's like, there's so much fearfulness and just scarcity mindset, nobody can be successful at this. It's almost preached like private practice is too much of a risk, you are too new to the field. I see Miranda's like eyes lighting up. And I reached out to my grad school program. And I was like, "Hey, can I come in and talk about private practice. I'll do it for free, I'd love to, you know, share this wisdom." And they're like, "Nobody would be interested in that." And I'm like, "But several grad school students have taken my coaching program." So, that's bullshit.

MIRANDA PALMER: And this is the thing is, who are the people that are teaching at the local grad schools? There's a couple of groups, there are researchers who did not ever want to go into private practice, and then there are often people who tried private practice and failed, and that are doing this. People that have successful thorough private practices often do not have time and energy to also go teach on this side.

DON: The financial [CROSSTALK:

MIRANDA PALMER: Yeah, the financial numbers are just so low, so you end up with this really skewed viewpoint. And there are schools, like some of the private schools where they kind of require that somebody be in private practice to go and teach, but that [INAUDIBLE 00:37:08] far between, but like I taught at [INAUDIBLE 00:37:11]. Yeah, I taught at the grad school level. I mean, at the end of the day, once you graded papers, and such it was like 20 bucks an hour like it was not far into private practice that I was like, "This math does not add up and like, I'm out, you know?" I could excuse the whole thing.

PATRICK CASALE: That's such good perspective. I hope people listening can hear that. And chiropractors, if you're listening, I'm sorry.

KELLY HIGDON: I know, Miranda's like laughing a little and I'm like, oh, some poor chiropractor's like, "It's not that funny."

PATRICK CASALE: Like, "Fuck I went into the wrong schooling." You know, the last thing that… I remember this very vividly, like intensely, and the last thing that my agency job supervisor told me when I quit to go into private practice was that you'll be back in 30 days, nobody makes it on their own. And I have used that as motivation, you know, for the last five years. And I will always use that as motivation, because I'm like, who the fuck says this? I'm sorry that you're jealous or resentful that I'm leaving. But ultimately, that's so self-limiting.

And I think that's the narrative that we really have to work through in our profession, that we limit our ourselves, and thankfully, there are a lot of great programs, and mentors, and coaches, and support, and everyone that's out there doing the work and doing it in a in a really value-driven way. So, yeah.

DA PALMER: Did you [INAUDIBLE:

PATRICK CASALE: You know, she's still a friend of mine on Facebook, so I'll post every now and again, like that story. And I'm like, "I hope you saw that. Like, I hope you're reading this, you know, and I hope you're still at that agency job."

KELLY HIGDON: I would just tag her and say, "Hey, it's been more than 30 days. I think I'm good."

PATRICK CASALE: I think I'm okay now, you know? I think things are looking up, so yeah, it's a lot of limiting beliefs in our industry. I did want to just ask, you know, while we are winding down, just tell the audience where they can find more of ZynnyMe and how they can get connected to all of the wonderful services and resources that you have.

KELLY HIGDON: Well, you can go to the zynnyme.com, z as in zebra, y as in yellow, n is the Nancy, this is why it's not a good name, N-Y-M-E.com. Do you know how many times we've had to spell that when we're giving our email addresses to people? Like, it's bad. So…

uilding, and yeah, [INAUDIBLE:

PATRICK CASALE: I hope you all heard that too. It'll be in the show notes, where to find them. But yeah, and also I regret being on Facebook and building that group, you know, so large on that platform, so good for you for being on Mighty Networks. And yeah, I appreciate everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast. New episodes out every Monday where we're talking with industry experts about fears, failures, challenges, and triumphs because that's the most important piece. We will see everyone next Monday, we release episodes every Monday morning.

About the Podcast

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All Things Private Practice Podcast

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About your host

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Patrick Casale

Hi, I'm Patrick. I’m a neurodivergent entrepreneur and therapist who truly believes in the power of disclosure, vulnerability, and authenticity. It’s become more and more clear to me that people are either attracted or repelled by what we put out into the world, and we can’t “be everything for everyone.” Through a lot of trial and tribulation, a gambling addiction, and an Autism/ADHD diagnosis, I’ve learned that being your TRUE self is what draws people in and creates connection. I have tattoos related to Lord Of The Rings, Travel, and Anthony Bourdain. And I travel constantly. Becoming an entrepreneur and working through my fears (they still exist) have allowed me to do more of the things I love. That’s my goal for you with this podcast — to use fear as a gas pedal, not a brake, and to learn how to reclaim and own your voice so that you can create your own entrepreneurial journey.