2020 it's going to be the umbrella word for all the things. So obviously it was a year full of radical things we never saw coming. I was right there in it with you; So just remember I have a very busy high-volume practice with hundreds and hundreds of people every week coming in and that were scared and fearful. There were all of these changes and so much to keep up with.
I'm a coach, so I was constantly reading everything, watching webinars, and talking to State associations and attorneys, and all kinds of things to make sure that I was doing my very best in my practice. So then of course I could pass along all that information to my clients. So, our manual for this particular 2020 thing that happened it's like 10 pages long and we keep adding - those are the things that we all had to deal with this year. It was heavy, let's just be real, it was heavy. I remember when all this first happened, I actually was on a podcast episode with my friend Lauryn Brunclik from She Slays The Day and I was super just raw and honest and I was like, "Hey right now, with everything, it sucks. It sucks a lot."
And so I want to just start by saying there is absolutely no shame in whatever happened as far as your response to 2020 this year. I don't want you to beat yourself up and I don't want you to get in your head. It's so important for us to look at that silver lining, look at how this year has been a gift, and I really want to reflect back to you and just say like, hey, my practice retracted pretty heavily for two months. It's been a roller coaster and I want you to know that I obviously am watching data for lots and lots of practices with my clients and that was normal. So I really think it's important for you to just hear that many of us, I'm going to venture to say most of us, had at least two to four months in 2020 with regard to our practices that were just crap. I was super happy and blessed that we were able to cover our overhead, it was we kind of maintained our lowest baseline and I was happy with that. I was okay with that.
I know many of you practicing states where you were forced to shut down or maybe you decided you wanted to shut down based on what everything that was going on. This is not a place for shame. This is a place for you to hear that that happened, it was common, and now we need to move forward, and we need to look at the big picture. We need to look at all of your numbers from 2020 combined- So this is really the first little mini take away from this episode as I want you to start compiling your annual data if you have not done so already. So this is a hugely important part of growing your business mentality and not getting stuck and wrapped up in data points that are small sample sizes in their short-term. This is the easiest way for you to fall into that emotional assignment with data, right, you are your numbers you feel that way and that's just not real so I want you to start looking at the year as a whole and this is something that you should be doing on a regular basis.
This is one of the best tweaks you can make instead of really scrutinizing weekly numbers and monthly numbers starting to look at your practice metrics from a quarterly and then annual perspective is going to give you a true bird's eye view of what's happening. It's going to allow you to stay in the trend mode instead of reactionary mode and it's going to keep you making decisions based on facts instead of feelings.
And we all know for 2020, especially, we need a little less feeling. There's pretty much never a time I would say that except right now because I'm a feelings person, but I will tell you that I had to be very disciplined in looking at the facts and the big picture when things were not what I would have loved and this is one of the biggest things that I'm so glad I have my husband for. He's a financial analyst and he just keeps me in check when it comes to looking at the big picture, so run your annual numbers. I would love to have you first ask yourself, are you currently still in an active recovery process? Do you feel like you're consistently month-over-month still kind of trying to get back to where you were pre-2020 madness or maybe you have fully recovered and now you're thriving and things are evolving? And again, this doesn't have to be just number specific. This could be your time management, this could be your team, this could be how you're attracting ideal patients. I mean, there are so many parts to it. It doesn't have to be just about numbers. So I'm definitely curious to know so don't be afraid to shoot me a DM on Instagram and let me know, are you in active recovery right now from all the madness or have you fully recovered or maybe, you didn't see much change. Maybe you have held steady or even had a consistent level of growth throughout all of this. That's possible! I have seen some practices in that realm, but regardless of the overarching trend that I'm seeing, especially with the vast majority of my clients, is they are no longer in active recovery they have recovered and they are thriving so that is the case in our practice as well.
The last few months have been bananas, absolutely bananas. And you're welcome for that slowdown Gwen Stefani reference shoutout we're doing so amazing. And honestly, I have to say when I talk about this, I have some like survivor's guilt. I'm in a beautiful all business Mastermind that's led by my mentor Kate Northrup and some of the other businesswomen in there like, Krysti, you need to talk more about how your brick-and-mortar kicked some booty in 2020 because that's not what we're seeing. That's not happening. Right? And I love that they say that and I love that but I haven't talked about it until now much at all because I feel guilty.
My heart breaks for all the people that have lost their jobs, and they are confused, and they don't know what's next for their businesses. You know, I mean, I just think about all the industries that are being so dramatically affected and I feel so blessed. And so, therefore, it's hard, I have struggled with talking about this, but the reason why I want to talk to you about it is that I am seeing this trend with my clients and a lot of them have very similar practice structures and beliefs. You know, we do have you know, lots of variation as well, but there are certain systems that many of them share and you know, a lot of that comes from my teaching.
So there are certain pieces that are probably about 80% of the practices within the Illuminated Squad share and so what I did for you is I extracted the top three reasons why practices that are now on to this driving mode. Why has that happened? How did they really, weather the storm of 2020 with a minimal downside? Only a few months of difficulty and a pretty quick rebound and then growth on top and I want to highlight these things, especially if you feel you're in active recovery mode. These are some really easy things that you can plug and play and see some immediate return and if you are back in growth mode, or you didn't you felt you were pretty consistent, you weren't super affected, these are things you can now layer on top and see great change.
Okay, so I have my top three reasons how my practice and these client practices have really been thriving in 2020. #1- is a financial one and I can tell you that this, for me, as a CEO, as a business owner, was the underlying thing that made me not completely lose my mind. I remember a time sitting in my car in early April, talking to my husband and then a really close Chiro friend and just being like, "I don't know what I'm going to do."
I just don't know what tomorrow is going to bring, what are the finances going to look like at the end of April... So I remember very vividly some panic moments and that was heightened by the fact as you are looking to grow your practice, as your practice grows, obviously, your team grows, and your payroll increases and your overhead grows - and you know my overhead number I have talked with some Squad members about this number and they lose their mind because it's gigantic right? I'm the amount that I spend every month to keep my size practice where it is and stable is astronomical, to be honest. If you would have told me even five years ago what I would be spending I would have been like you're crazy.
This number one reason was the thing that helped keep me sane. So thanks for indulging my little sidebar; just again in case, you didn't realize that I was in it with you this year. So the number one thing was our Wellness Plans in practice; we have enough families on consistent Wellness Plans, which for our office is either weekly or bi-weekly and they are on an auto-debit that comes every month. This allows them to have one visit per week for their family or two visits a month and those auto-debits cover my overhead. And while we absolutely had plenty of families who in the beginning put a pause on their care because they didn't know what to do and they were scared and they are consuming all this media stuff and I understood, right?
We had people that put pause but we had enough over our overhead that really our Wellness Plans very easily kept us afloat. It was something that relief washed my stress and to be completely honest was a massive help for our team as far as showing up and being our best because we had these very long-term patients to serve who understood, they got it. They knew that now more than ever what they were doing to prioritize their health was super imperative. And so consistently showing up for these Wellness patients, now we did have some new patients in March and April, but the numbers were compared to the number of new patients we're seeing now per month. We were in that probably like, 25% to 30% of the number of new patients we're seeing now on a monthly basis in March and April. So our Wellness patients, our Wellness Plans really allowed the stress to be manageable, to be do-able; doesn't mean we weren't stressed, doesn't mean we weren't upset, but I really want to invite you to look at your practice and say, do you I have Wellness Plans in place? So, are you actually keeping people on a regular basis? Two what percentage are you to where you'd like to be with the volume of those plans in order to really feel that your practice is built on the solid foundation of long-standing relationships?
We're talking about curve balls that were thrown at us this year - But I also want to highlight this action step for you in practice brings so much joy and ease. When you get to show up and the majority of your day is taking care of people that get it, that you have been educating for five to seven, to ten years, It's amazing! It's truly amazing.
I'm at the least amount of hours now than I ever been and every single time I'm doing a shift at the office. I'm like, I don't know how I'm ever going to live without this. I don't think I can. I might be able to pull back a few more hours, but one to two shifts a week I'm going to have to maintain forever; because showing up and honestly just hanging out with these people is one of the highlights of my week.
Providing Wellness plans for those people to make it easy for them to have Chiropractic as a huge central part of their holistic health philosophy. So if you don't have Wellness plans in place or you've been intimidated about how to price them or the legality of all of it if you have insurance involved, I mean there are lots of different reasons that potentially would prevent you from jumping into this world. That's something definitely to bring up with colleagues and close friends to start working towards that because this definitely was a huge reason that our practice not only did it survive, but it's really really thriving. We are on pace actually to be over a $100k higher than last year.
When you're at this size of practice that amount of growth is pretty phenomenal, especially in the face of a year that was banana pants.
#2 in the top three reasons why my practice has really gotten to thriving and what I've seen with a lot of my clients' practices and this is something that we focused on quite a bit in the squad early on, and I'm going to call it for you today, a support-focus. So to me, that just means in the thick of it and still right now, many of you probably are practicing in areas where the cases are changing and evolving every day, potentially. We maintained a supportive focus for our people and instead of feeling this fire that we had to shift their paradigm and push hard on an educational front, we really just worried about supporting them and loving them and showing up and helping them not feel shameful about the fear that they were experiencing.
I have to say, I feel honestly, that every single human had some level of fear this year. I think anyone that tells you that they had zero fear in their practice, they have zero fear of anything, and they didn't feed into it, they would just refuse to let patients be, and that's not real. I mean there has to be some level of fear and concern and you know, there are so many unknowns, right? But in my opinion, this is again, my full approach when someone is already getting so many mixed messages and their level of concern is on a daily Merry-Go-Round, showing up and shoving our principles down their throat is not my jam. It is, however, my jam to show up and meet them where they are, validate the fact that of course, it makes sense that they would have concern and fear and trepidation and so much stress, right? Everything was changing so rapidly day today and still to some point is now, but just showing up and loving and supporting them really allowed us to basically baby step them out of fear mode and towards empowerment.
Now, that doesn't mean that every single patient in our practice is not fearful. Hey, I really want you to hear this, that does not mean that we didn't have Karen's in our practice, that does not mean that we didn't have people that were upset with different things as to how we were choosing to handle things that were coming out day-to-day. We experienced it just like you likely did; but showing up and choosing to help guide them towards a different way of thinking instead of what I saw, which was very "shamy education" of, "if your practice is filled with people that have any kind of fear than you're not doing a good job educating our people about the Chiropractic lifestyle." Whoa, why do we do that? Why do we do that to each other?
If you have had all been frustrated by how your patients are showing up or their approach or maybe it's just a very small sub-segments of your patients that you really want to help, I'm just going to invite you to get out a piece of paper and jot down some notes and what are some things you can do to just make them feel supported? If we can love them and really stimulate some parasynthetic stuff and try to balance out all of that fight or flight, they're going to be 10 times more likely to hear you. Coming at them with more direction and finger pointing - that doesn't work in my opinion and that's never been my approach. I really invite you to just look at some extra layers in how you can support them. So I'll give you one quick little hint one thing that we finally have done after we have been talking about it for a long time. But this year we established a free Facebook group for our patients and we really just focus on loving them up in there and giving them resources and showing up on live and talking to them. You all know if you have a group that is specific to just two people you already have a relationship with you. Do you show up in there differently than you do on a public-facing page like on your business page - it allows you to take the conversation to a different place and to pick up where you left off in the office. There's a lot of repetition on the things that you say normally not just in 2020. And so this was one way that we really were able to create more depth with the level of love and support for them and talk about really hard things and create a safe non-judgmental place for them to show up and ask questions and interact.
And honestly also see that there were other people that were moving past this fear and feeling empowered and sticking to their principles. So that was one of the biggest ways for us and obviously, many others, but that's something that you can consider.
#3. We really use this year to release things that probably could have been let go awhile ago. So really, I feel one of my biggest learning lessons in 2020, I have always been someone that's kind of obsessed with permission in a way where I mean over the last few years I've really scrutinized all of my choices personally and professionally to a level where I started abandoning things at a crazy fast pace if they weren't radically aligned with who I am. Definitely when it comes to marketing and you know other business things, sometimes, being able to release things that are no longer in alignment with your core self is a little bit harder because you might be seeing actual results in business from those things. So even if it's something that you don't love and don't super look forward to doing it. It might be giving you some great results, and so therefore it's hard to just cast it aside. 2020 was the year of, we had no choice but to remove some things, right? It was thrust upon us and I have multiple examples of this in my own practice, but some of the things I saw with my clients were things like their patient hours; it was easy for them to reassess and actually ask themselves what worked for their life moving forward instead of feeling like they needed to just only worry about patient schedules when it comes to their regular patient hours.
Things with people - let's say that they had been really relying on events to drive new patients; But many of them didn't love doing events. There's a lot of financial investment often and they can be exhausting because it's kind of this repetitive cycle where you build up what you do at the event, you process those new patients, and then it really feels like it's time to like do the whole process again. That's tiring, especially when you have a smaller team or you have in a limited time already because you have all these other hats you're wearing and all these other plates that you're spinning in your life. So they had to get creative on what they could do and what felt good to them. So one of the best examples of that is I have seen this year, just absolutely on fire with their results, from some more automated marketing efforts. So really having congruent social media ads with copy and imagery that's highly connected to their ideal patient and their mission and what they love doing in their practice. I have seen results from that type of thing be absolutely crazy with a lot of clients.
These weren't practices that never had done stuff like this before in some cases. Some of them have been doing things off and on but the results that they're getting because they were able to release things that weren't their favorite, their results with other marketing avenues have been much higher and often times really good quality as well because they were able to shed.
I'd encourage you to get out a piece of paper and write out anything that 2020 allowed you to shed that probably you had been thinking about in the recesses of your brain for a while. Even if you hadn't been thinking about it the fact that it is now gone and you don't have to worry about it anymore. And this is just another really easy way to think about 2020 that it brought to us and ask yourself how to create more of that.
How can you create more permission to cast aside the things that aren't honoring your energy or they aren't fully aligned with how you'd like to show up consistently for years and years to come in practice and how can you consistently create a practice to look like this?
I actually create an ideal schedule for myself every quarter and I use this as a time to look at what I have been doing for the last three months and ask myself what things I need to let go of and 2020 if anything has been the year of letting go and in many cases, as I mentioned it wasn't something that we were conscious of, it was something that we just had to roll with.
When you release you create space for more of what actually fuels you and what I'm seeing in these practices that are thriving right now is their numbers are the best they've ever been in the history of their practice because they let go of stuff. That wasn't them anymore and they made space for things that were honoring their energy.
Let's go back to that autopilot example, you know creating a fantastic ad and setting a budget for it and letting it run like how easy is that? I mean if that's bringing you, ideal new patients, that's a dream and this is what I'm seeing more than ever before the release has made space for evolution and it has made space for excitement about the future even in the face of arguably one of the hardest years. I really invite you to look at what that has meant in your practice and even just taking the time to write out things that you may be aware of consciously, but go deeper as to why you're releasing it and how you can continue that process is going to be really helpful for you. Just based on what we were all facing and so I'm going to really give you some key takeaways on personal growth and some ideas next episode based on my observations throughout the year from people that really jumped into that process head first, so I can't wait to talk to you on that episode.
Don't forget to join in the conversation in our free Facebook group, It's called Illuminated Insiders. When find me there you can ask follow-up questions if you like and also stay tuned because I'm going to be announcing our first-ever Black Friday sale. So you will be hearing about an opportunity where if you're interested in jumping into the squad you have an opportunity to get one full month free. So make sure that you are in that free Facebook group or on our email list so that you are the first to know and hear about that.
We never know how far-reaching something we think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.
I guarantee you that you have been an insane source of light for many in your circle this year. You've been a voice of reason and you have been one that people you love most can rely on to help them baby step out of fear. Like we talked about and move towards empowerment. So thank you for showing up this year for using your voice for being who you are and thank you for being honestly one of the reasons why I love this profession so much because of amazing people like you that are in it.