Vacations, Sick Days, Maternity Leave, Oh my!

Taking maternity leave in private practice
me and baby G

Build and plan your private practice so you can relax, get sick, and have a baby.

You know. The things that make you human.

Guess what? I get sick, take vacations, and had a baby. And, I still run a thriving private practice.

Being a business owner does not mean you have to give up all of the other things that makes you human. There is a narrative out there that we have to “grind” or “hustle” to be entrepreneurs. I don’t buy into that. I am a little too lazy to buy into that. Besides being lazy – I honor myself and my life and my needs.

And this is what the foundation of my practice was built on.

Build something that supports what you value

What do you value in your life? Freedom? Family? Exercise? Learning? Helping others?

Take a moment to consider what really matters to you.

If you’re going into private practice, the hope is that you find ways to enhance the amount of time you get to spend with what you value.

In my case, I always knew I wanted a child. When I was working at an agency, I had so much anxiety about how it would all work out. I was burnt out, my schedule was incredibly difficult, and I wasn’t making enough money to pay my bills.

I worried so much about whether or not this field could support my dream of being a mama.

Part of the motivation for going into private practice was a desire to have the freedom to parent.

How can I embrace my humanity and still maintain my business?

My pregnancy was unplanned. Although I knew I wanted a baby and I knew private practice would grant me freedom, I was not ready yet.

I totally panicked.

Will my clients leave me? Can I afford to take at least three months off? How will I pay the practice bills let alone my own? I thought I would have more time to plan for this!

After a few weeks of googling what to do, I finally realized that I already had the perfect set up.

Group practice.

Having a group practice provides stability

Having a group practice provides stability when people get sick, need to go out on maternity leave, or take a vacation.

Having a group practice meant that even if I was not in the building the lights would stay on, the rent would be paid, and clients that called would not be turned away.

I was able to take maternity leave because there was a system in place to keep the system in place.

Even if you add one more clinician, you can take a maternity leave and manage to keep your business afloat.

Knowing the business would continue to operate and that clients would not be turned away was a HUGE relief for me. The next thing I had to figure out was how to pay myself during the time away.

Getting paid even when you aren’t there.

“How do you pay yourself weekly?” is a big question I get asked.

I set it up to work this way with one word: discipline.

Yuck, that word sounds authoritative. But it’s not meant to be that way. I am actually a very undisciplined person but creating discipline in this facet of my life has created incredible financial growth for me.

Leading up to my maternity leave I started paying myself the exact same amount each week. It was a percentage of the lowest grossing week I had that year. If I had a really good week, I did not pay myself more. That money stayed in the business account. Most weeks I made FAR more than my lowest grossing week, so I continually accumulated money.

What this meant, was that there was a store of money waiting in the account. It was money that was already due to me but that I chose to evenly disperse throughout the year.

Since maternity leave, I have continued to pay myself this week. I have given myself “raises” but I allow money to accumulate and I do not take extra money during stellar weeks.

How to take vacations, sick leave, and have a baby and still get paid:

If you plan on any of the things above, you can take two steps today:

  1. Consider starting or joining a group practice
    • If you start a group practice you will have other people that can take your generated referrals while you are away. They will also be providing financial assistance for keeping the lights on and the rent paid. Consider bringing one other clinician on if you are planning to have a baby, take sick leave, or take vacations.
    • If you join a group practice you can take time away when needed knowing that the office expenses will still be paid for and you will not be on the hook for paying them while you are away (make sure this is the model of the practice you join).
  2. Begin to pay yourself a consistent and predictable amount of money while saving extra money for later.
    • Pay yourself the same amount weekly. If you have a really good week still pay yourself the same amount. Allow money to accumulate in your business accounts. Learn to pay yourself first before paying Home Goods for the new couch you have been eyeing.

Hey, I am Liz. I am a mama, wife, therapist, business owner, and practice consultant for therapists. I like to help therapists think like business owners so that they feel confident that they WILL be able to figure it out.

To read about my services click here and if you want to read more about me click here.

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