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Why multiple streams of income is a bad idea for counselors and therapists

Updated: Feb 9

I recently saw a YouTube video featuring a guy named Lewis.


About a decade ago Lewis was looking at different ways of making passive income when he met a guy who owned self storage facilities. The self storage guy and Lewis became friends and the self storage guy let Lewis invest in his next deal. Lewis bought partial ownership in a large self storage facility.

Guy dancing in a storage unit.

Once Lewis was in the self storage crowd he began to meet other owners of self storage facilities. Occasionally one of them would want to retire, and Lewis would get the opportunity to buy them out.


In the video Lewis asked the host, some financial guru, "what should I do with my money? I'm worth 1 million on paper, but most of that is owning the storage sites. They actually only cash flow me 8k a month. So I'm looking to make money some other way. What stocks should I invest in?"


The podcast host shook his head.


"I mean, you've made your money with storage facilities, just keep doing that."


Later on they did a follow up episode where Lewis revealed he'd hired a financial advisor.


The host lost his mind.


"What is wrong with you? You hired a STOCK picker! This is stupid. Why are you trying to pick stocks! You know it doesn't work! Everyone knows it doesn't work. What is wrong with you!"


"But, you don't understand." Lewis pleaded.


"What don't I understand?"

"Look, I need cash. I'm worth a million on paper, but I don't have a million dollars of cash flow. How am I supposed to get cash? I don't want to sell my ownership in the self storage facilities. Having all this net worth with not a lot of money, it's like having a nice boat with no motor."


"Then fix the boat!" The host snapped back. "Don't jump ship! Fix the boat!"


I completely agree.

Too often when we encounter a problem we want to jump ship, but what we need to do is fix the boat.

 

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The problem with multiple streams of income for counselors and therapists.

Forest Gump jumping off a boat.

Most financial advisors don't actually make money for their clients. But they do collect fees.


Lewis is basically paying someone to lose his money.


It doesn't have to be this way. Lewis has a net worth of 1 million. By any definition he's done well for himself.


If his problem is cash, he should figure out how people who own self storage get cash! Maybe they raise their rates. Maybe they add private mail boxes as a service, using the rent from that as cash flow. Maybe instead of self storage for individuals they get into storage for other businesses.


I don't know, but Lewis is good at self storage. He should just get better at the thing he's already good at, rather than pay someone to lose his money.


Don't jump ship. Fix the boat.


I see this with therapists all the time. Therapists want to make more money so they talk about starting online courses or making digital products.


I get why.

We see influencers all around us proclaiming the gospel of social media and multiple streams of income as though there's some short cut.


There is no short cut.


Anything new you do will also have a learning curve. If you create an online course you'll need to make sure you have product-market-fit. You'll need to learn course design. You'll need to pick a great platform. You'll still have to market. You'll need to learn to shoot and edit videos.


The amount of new things to learn is overwhelming.


If we are honest, most of us aren't very good at doing two things at the same time. The more things we try to do the more overwhelmed we feel and the more we find ourselves drowning in the complexity.


Every moment we spend working on our next stream of income is a moment we're not working on our practice. If we only work on our practice half the time, will our practices thrive?


Maybe.


Or maybe, if we split our focus, we'll end up doing half as well.


My advice? Instead of jumping ship we should fix our boats.


If you work for a group practice, figure out how to build a solo private practice.


If you aren't full, figure out how to get full.


If you're charging low rates, figure out how to charge premium rates.


For most of us this is the most lucrative path forward.


If we split your attention, we'll do half as well.


Don't jump ship. Fix the boat.


Best,


Jordan (the Counselor)

 

If you liked this post, consider this next. I think you'll like it ;) It's about how picking a niche can help in your marketing.

 

Jordan Harris, Ph.D., LMFT-S, LPC-S, received his Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Arkansas, USA. In his clinical work, he enjoys working with couples. He also runs a blog on deliberate practice for therapists and counselors at Jordanthecounselor.com.


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