Episode 199 | Building and Growing a Group Practice That Fits Your Personality Type with Katie Miles
WITH Katie Miles
- Episode 199 | Building and Growing a Group Practice That Fits Your Personality Type with Katie Miles 00:00
Hey Group Practice Listeners! Working without passion is a boring part of life. Although it is scary to do what you love, you might never know the fun and excitement if you never choose what you really want.
A fun and playful episode is available for this day! We have Katie— a licensed psychotherapist and the co-founder of Habitbetter, to talk about building and growing a practice that just fits your personality.
- How to deal with switching life careers
- What is the influence of TikTok on joining play with entrepreneurial matters
- Where did Habitbetter start and how is the work environment of the business
- When did two different personalities work together efficiently
- Why a professional is about exploring and not knowing every answer
Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about the speaker and her practice through TikTok, Katie Miles.
- Go to Habitbetter to guide you and make habits exciting!
This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.
Do you ever wish for a financial therapist who could relieve you from the last few months of bookkeeping, talk you off the edge when you’re running into issues with Quickbooks, or help you work through a profit plan for growth? GreenOak Accounting does just that! GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with group practices. Their value goes WAY beyond bookkeeping; they can help you get on track for financial success. Schedule a free consultation by going to http://greenoakaccounting.com/tgpe
Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Group Practice Exchange Podcast. Today I have a guest expert with me, and her name is Katie Miles. She owns a practice under her name as well and also owns Habit Better, which we’ll be talking about a little bit later in this episode, which is, uh, sort of a mood tracker and EHR put together.
I’m really excited to hear what she has to say about this. But we’re gonna be talking mainly about building and growing a practice that really just fits your personality. So, Hi Katie. How are you? I’m good. How are you doing? I’m not doing too bad. Other than what I was saying right before we started recording, it just turned super blackout and is pouring rain, and I’m hoping that there are no crazy thunderstorms happening as we’re recording in the background.
So if you hear loud, booming, that is Chicago having a day. I would kinda love that. If I hear thunder, I’m gonna be like, Ugh, So, So. Yeah. So I’m really excited. Tell me a little bit about you and who you are and what you do and why this topic is something you wanted to come on and talk about just for those that might not know who you are.
Yeah, so honestly, if you would’ve told me I was gonna be somebody who. An entrepreneur and runs her own private practice and started a whole nother business with her brother about like 10 years ago. I would not have believed you. I probably would’ve laughed in your face because I was in theater my whole life.
I was a theater major at UT Austin, and I really thought that’s the direction my life was going to go. You know, long story short, I ended up having what I call my quarter-life crisis, where I realized like, oh, the thing that I dreamed of as a six year old dreamed of being, didn’t turn out to be what I wanted it to be or what I thought it was gonna be, which I know.
Happens to a lot of people. Yeah. So I had to create a whole nother life plan for myself. And luckily I did have access to a therapist who I’d already been seeing for a long time. And so together we worked through the things that I love about what I was already doing about theater, about all of that. And.
We identified that I really just love the intimate study of human behavior. So I had a couple of different directions that I could go, but I was like, You know what? Therapy actually sounds phenomenal. And so I jumped into that and got into grad school where came to us d, University of San Diego and fell in love with it, thankfully, cuz that would’ve been disastrous if I would’ve jumped into something else and been like, Oh no, I don’t like this either.
But I did not ever really have. , what I thought was the personality type to start and run a business. It was never, never something. I mean, my brother, he’s a business major, he got his MBA, he was that person in the family. I was the little sister who would like to put on performances and just like fly by the state of her pants her whole life.
Mm. And through going through grad school and then working with a couple, you know, wonderful hospital systems and community and mental health, I did realize like, you know what? I really wanna do private practice. I wanna be able to build my own life and my own business, mainly because I very much value my flexibility and my freedom.
And working for other people does not really give you that unfortunately. Yeah, Yeah. And so while you know. I’m not necessarily someone who, again, even five years ago would’ve been like, Hey, you should listen to me about starting a business. I feel like I am very qualified to talk to the people who don’t think they can start a business because I was that person and I didn’t think I had what it.
Took the skills that you should inherently have to do this. And I have now figured it out and I’m now running two businesses while also maintaining what makes me me, which I very still love, flexibility flying by the seat of my pants. I prioritize fun. It is all possible to do. That’s awesome. So kind of going that in this route.
Talk to me a little bit about managing work and play. I know that was something that you brought up initially when we were scheduling this is this balance of work and play. And I feel like that’s a struggle for a lot of group owners who are, you know, established and trying to continue to scale their business and be present, but also not.
Kinda like succumb to not having a life outside of that. Yeah, absolutely. So something that my therapist and I figured out pretty early on in our work together is that I am the type of personality type that is very much motivated by fun. So if something is not fun at the moment or if I don’t think it’s going to bring me to a fun place, I’m out of there.
Like I cannot sustain my focus and you know, so that is something I’ve known, but it took me a while to figure out how do I do. In a world where when you’re running your business, you kind of does have to do things that aren’t really fun. There’s a lot of admin, there’s a lot of organization. And so that was a balancing act that I had to figure out and I had to figure out a really unique time because I started my private practice in early March 2020.
And so that was ironic timing and I thought I was going to be in this office space and be able to kind of separate home life from work life. And that was really important to me to be able to kinda like, Okay, I’m at work and I can focus here versus when I’m at home I can engage in like play and fun.
Leisurely time. But what ended up happening is everything was up from home. None of us were used to that yet. And I got into a really big rut as far as like I couldn’t separate my work life from my home life and everything felt really hard and really tedious and really stressful. And I was having no separate time for play.
Yeah. And then couple that with, you know, everything was shut down so I didn’t have access to my normal play resources. Essentially what that proved to me is that I am not gonna be able to run a good or successful business if I am not feeling good, and I’m not able to tap into play as a resource. And so over time, I have made it my priority too.
Build my practice in a way that allows me to tap into the resource that I need to sustain my work. So how do you use to play in your business ownership? So your first business is the practice and your second one is this app that you built with your brother that is Mood Tracker Meets and her. So tell me how you incorporate play into your entrepreneurial self.
Yeah, so well, I’ll give one example. So marketing is a big part of this, right? Especially in private practice, you have to like get yourself out there. There’s not a clinic that’s just setting you up with clients and there are a lot of different ways that you can market, right? I was told a bunch of different ways of like networking and all that stuff, but I decided to actually take them, I took them to the route.
Did you, um, I did, yes. Again, this was like early 2020, so it was kinda really nice cuz that’s when TikTok, I think started blowing up in that kinda way. Otherwise, I had not heard of it before. And yes, TikTok was kind of like becoming a popular way for people just to jump in and market stuff. But the reason specifically that I chose TikTok, Is because it was super freaking fun for me to come up with these little skits or do these little audio dubs or just get creative with how I was talking with the world and potential clients.
And it worked out really well. I love to say it’s the perfect marketing tool for me, cuz it combines my theater background with my therapy practice. And so it was just even small things like that where it didn’t feel like work to me because I had chosen the thing. That tapped into like the child in me that just wanted to play.
Yeah. That’s really cool. I think a lot of us stop using play as adults. Just Yeah, generally, but I think even more so entrepreneurs. Because there’s this sense that it needs to be business. I very much operate not in a very businessy way and still could use a little bit of tapping into play myself. I think it definitely creates a more fun atmosphere and can also be a way to bring people on your team together, right?
if it’s serious. So I love that idea. You mentioned creating something that connects with your personality. Talk to me a little bit about that. Yeah. You know, this actually I think articulated really well when looking. My brother and I, my brother and I, who started Habit better and it originally, we just built, it’s like a mental health app.
It’s essentially like a tool to help individuals build better habits, but we used therapy-based practices and we’ve now transitioned it because I wanna be able to use my clients. But I don’t wanna have to task switch and just have another program that I need to use in my private practice. So I was like, You know what?
Let’s just make this a client intervention tool and a private practice management system so I don’t have to switch back and forth. I basically built something for me and then I’m sharing it with the world as well. But my brother and I are really different personality-wise, so I am very much motivated by fun, whereas he is motivated by like accomplishment, right?
So when we first started working together, it was such a like illustration. How as an entrepreneur, you really thrive by having those motivations. Like hit. Right. And we actually at first were like, did not compute. We were like, he wanted to like sit down and have these spreadsheets and like, you know, have, he’s also like a scrum master, which I didn’t know what that was.
It’s basically an individual who helps systems, like business systems run more efficiently. Okay. So if you can imagine, he’s like, there are deadlines, their schedules, he has like, Programs that he uses to keep everybody like very organized. Whereas I am just like, I write on scraps of paper for like, Oh, I just need to do this thing later and put it on a little PostIt.
So at first we had to have a lot of serious talks about how we’re supposed to work together, but we actually ended up. Really engineering, building the business in a way that met each one of our personality types. So when we do run our business meetings, we’ll do forms of brainstorming where I’m allowed to be playful and just throw in kooky things.
Even like bring in things that are gonna like fulfill, like my play personality, even in the way we take breaks, whereas he gets to mark us on a schedule or put down certain deadlines because when we weren’t fulfilling each other’s personality type, we weren’t making. Good choices and we weren’t creating things that we loved.
For me, it really illustrated that if you’re building a business for a different personality type, like what you think an entrepreneur is supposed to look like, you’re not gonna stay in it. Because there were many times when I kind of started to pull out because it didn’t feel playful to me. Right. That makes a lot of sense.
And. It kind of goes to this like inauthenticity even, right? Is building this business of what we think others want from us versus building one that allows us to really bring our whole selves in? Talk to me a little bit about it, you mentioned this idea of like giving yourself permission to be messy and I think that plays a big role, not only in, you know, building businesses that really align with who we are, but also is a great way to model.
For the employees that we have and the clients that we have. Yeah, it was very much, when I first started my private practice, I thought I was supposed to be a certain type of therapist and a certain type of business owner, and I tried to like play this role of a like professional and that came across in even my consult calls that I was having with clients.
So I remember this one, it was pretty early on. I would say it was maybe. April or May of 2020, and I was still trying to figure out my formula and the thing I figured out thus far was just not working. I was like trying to like have the answer to everything. Yeah. And be really professional. Come up as if I’d been doing this for years and I was very organized I remember this consult call where this individual was asking me some really specific questions about what therapy was going to be like, which understandably so.
Right. Of course, they wanna know what it’s gonna be. And the types of questions that they were asking, unfortunately, no therapist would really have an answer for. And yet I was sitting there freaking out like my heart was pounding and I was trying to answer these questions for this person. And halfway through that call had that realization where I was like, I’m not giving them a good idea of actually what type of therapist I am.
I’m putting myself in a position where I’m answering the question that no one would have the right answer for, and so the phone call didn’t go well. Like I ended the consult call and I was like, That was terrible. I had a like, was like totally freaked out. Ended up, they never worked with me, which is probably good.
I don’t think I was the right fit for them, but it made me have to grapple with it. Being okay with not knowing everything, which I kind of call the messy of what we do, and it’s messiness that is inherent, and being a therapist, right? There are so many times when we’re sitting with our clients where we don’t have the right answer and we’re not supposed to have the right answer, right?
We can just sit with the person where they’re at. I feel like it also goes with like, you know, even being a business owner, having to manage employees like you don’t always have the right answer. And I can imagine with you building this EHR, there are gonna be requests from people who all want a million different ways for the EHR to work.
And there’s gonna be times where with coding and with just what systems you’re using, where it just might not be something that you can figure out in the moment or be able to do. And so like this, Space of being able to say, I don’t know if this is something I can do. I need to do more research. You know, whether it’s with your employees, with your clients, or with people that you’re working with.
I think we’re taught that we need to look like we have all the answers because otherwise, people will say like, What kind of business owner are you that you don’t know how to answer this? And it took me a real long time to get to a space where I totally embrace, I have no idea, but I’m gonna write it down and I’m gonna look it up.
Or, I think I know someone who knows his answer better than I would, and going that route, and it hasn’t led to people thinking less of me as a therapist or as a business owner or as a coach. And I just think it takes time and learning, like seeing yourself pride to know all the answers, to realize it just doesn’t work.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I really admire people when I ask them something and they say, I don’t know, but I’m gonna try to figure that out. Mm-hmm. and I had to turn that kind of like compassionate lens towards myself so many times because when I was holding myself to perfection, or I should know what I’m doing already, I wanted to run away.
I wanted to give up, I wanted to stop. I felt like a failure. And there are many, many times when you’re starting a business where you are going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and you probably aren’t going to know what you’re doing. And if you have that lens that you should, or that something’s wrong with you, if you don’t or that that means you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing, like oof, that’s gonna be hard.
And you probably are going to walk away from something sooner than you should. You’ll have issues with confidence and yeah, feeling, Oh my gosh, what’s the word I’m looking for? Imposter syndrome. There we go. Yes. That like breeds lack of confidence. It breeds imposter syndrome. A feeling like, I don’t know what I thought that I could be running this business.
Who am I? Especially because we didn’t go to school for it to run businesses. And so I think getting to the space where you can embrace problems, problem-solving, being okay with. Making a mistake that all of that just creates this space. I think one, to have more play, Two, to be more creative, which I think is way more fun than kind of sticking within the bounds of what people put you into.
And so, I dunno, those are my, Yeah, and I love it. And I think honestly, therapists. Because let’s talk about the fact that like most of us in grad school do not get any training on how to run a business, which I think is a huge gap. But outside of that, I think therapists are actually set up to potentially really great entrepreneurs because we’re trained to sit in so many unknowns.
Like the study of human behavior, like, I mean, I know there are some things that are manualized and researched and are wonderful. And every client you work with is so freaking different from one session to the next, you’re not going like, Oh, I know exactly what’s gonna happen and I know exactly what I’m gonna do.
We’re trained to deal with novelty. Yeah. And sit in a curious place. And I think that that’s a really amazing mindset for entrepreneurs and certainly something that I’ve learned that when I tried to act like I knew what I was doing and I tried to be professional and take away all the things that actually motivate me, I was not doing.
Yeah. And yet when I allow myself to be me, just to be playful, to run the business in a way that supports how I want to be as a therapist and stay curious and fit in the unknown, I got way more productive and creative with both the businesses that I was running. Yeah. So I think the lesson here is creating a business that aligns with who you are.
Not only your values, obviously, but your own personality style, and that no business needs to look at. How you might see it presented by others. You can make your business look however you want and you can engage in that business in a tank top and shorts and flip flops or uh, you know, like me with pink hair and tattoos and piercings or with a fresh pressed suit every day.
And all of that is right. And all of that works if it works for you. Completely agree. Yeah. I appreciate you coming on and chatting about kind of that messy space in the middle. I think a lot of us struggle with, and also just this idea of bringing in play. I think it’s highly undervalued. Even with myself, I often find that like there isn’t space for play unless it’s with my kids.
And so even just having on to talk a little bit about how bringing that it can not only spark creativity and happiness and joy for the work that you’re doing, but it can also, you know, kind of have that trickle-down effect with the other people that you work with. Absolutely. So I really appreciate you coming on and chatting about that.
Good. I hope this encourages more people to play and also as therapists, we really play is such a resource builder for us because a lot of the stuff that we do can be heavy. Yeah. And we are drained at the other at the end of the day. And play is one of the most potent stress relievers. And so everyone goes play.
Go play outside in the rain after this go run in the rainstorm, maybe take a walk in the rain to get a Starbucks and enjoy getting soaked. Yes, exactly. All right. Well, it was good talking to you. Good talking to you. Thanks for having me on. Thanks for listening to the Group Practice Exchange Podcast.
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Thanks For Listening
Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.
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Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
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