Challenges in Taking Time Off

I recently hired Dawn, our Project Coordinator. She’s the glue that sticks us all together. She has 18 years experience helping business owners chill out, basically =) This was my message after sending a flurry of email double-checks this morning:
Vacation timeI took July ’14 off, because I got married =) The plan has been to take February off as well. I want to take 2 full months off per year. There are a few reasons for this- I’ll get to those below.

My progress thus far: The plan for February-off was in place before we had a couple major staff-shifting events in mid-January. And, we just opened up a new position for a music therapist. I actually worked during the first week of February… and today… I cheated. When February 2 came around, I knew I had not yet set up the systems for my team to implement while I was gone. I knew I had to to get in a few last working hours before I physically LEFT for vacation.

At this point in the month – 9 days in to February, I’m set for 3, possibly 4 weeks off. But I can see that I’ll need to prepare for some spring-time conferences during the first week of March. (Is that *real* work? I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder!)

Why should we, as business owners, take chunks of time off? I’m SO convinced that taking giant chunks of time off is the answer, and I’m determined to master this skill. It may take another year or so, but I know I can do it! It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me how beneficial taking time off is to a healthy, successful, growing company. Here are some reasons:

1. To relax. When you totally unplug from the company, you will come back refreshed, rejuvenated, with even better concepts and ideas than before.

2. To remember the FREEDOM that you’ve created. Taking time off lets you check your “survival mindset” at the door, and focus on thriving. If you can LEAVE your company for an entire month, and all is well, then you can’t even debate it…THRIVING is present. It’s happening – go celebrate! By taking off large chunks of time, you can leave the spinning wheels, the rat race, the “go-go-go or else” mentality behind, and realize the freedom that you’ve built in.

3. For your informal insurance policy. What if you get sick? What if you get hurt? What if some life-changing event happens? What if you have a baby? What if there’s a death or emergency? What if you die? What if your significant other loses his/her job?

All of these things have happened, or are likely to happen in the future. And the more we practice being absent, the more easily our business will serve us during the transitions in life. The more easily the company will leave a legacy that doesn’t depend on YOU, but instead depends on carrying out the MISSION. (Unless you made your business just about YOU, and that’s not the case. My readers are smarter than that.) =)


Here’s the place Matt took me on Sunday. He called it “an easy hike.” 4 hours later, we were scaling the face of the mountain with minimal footholds, and slippery 15-foot inclines!

Hiking in San Diego

Thursday I’m off to Hawaii and a coastal roadtrip down the west side for the rest of February.

One more thing! We have 67 incredible ACTIVATORS signed up for the next 90-days, building more vacation time and financial security into their business. Make sure to join us next time so you don’t miss out!

Ciao ciao – Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! Kat

P.S. When’s YOUR next time off?

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Music Therapists, What’s your next business cadence?

Learn more about the 90-Day ActivatorI’m always thinking ahead. I mentioned in my last blog post that ACTIVATOR is one of my strengths. Another strength I have is FUTURISTIC. Here’s how I plan:

I look 10 years ahead and answer these questions: How do I want to spend my days throughout the year? What kind of business activities do I want to pursue? Which activities will make me feel ALIVE and as if every cell in my body has a reason to be on earth? How much vacation and free time do I want? How do I want to feel? Who do I want to be?

Then I ask: Is there anything in the way of making my 10-year desires happen THIS year instead?

When you know what the future holds, there’s no reason to make the future wait for you to arrive.
Click to tweet.
BE it now. Whatever you’d like to BE in 10 years, bring it into the now. Click to tweet that.

For all practical purposes, BEing is different than DOing. And HAVEing is a whole separate category. Ah – So, you can BE your future self right away. But what can you DO now to make sure you HAVE what you want as soon as possible?

That’s my practical question for you: What’s the next thing you can DO to get what you want to HAVE as soon as possible? What’s your next cadence? What’s your next finish line?

Does it include enjoying more time off work without losing revenue? Does it include clearing out your schedule? OR does it include bringing in new clients and filling up your schedule? Does it include bringing on a new team member?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then you should join the Activators. BUT, if you decide that the 90-Day Activator is NOT for you then, here’s what you should do instead:

  • Spend a few hours each day engaging in different business activities, testing, collecting data, and coming to a conclusion about what’s an effective use of your time and what’s not.
  • Cold call organizations, potential partners, and colleagues with intention instead of “agenda,” paying close attention to your contacts’ perception.
  • Create from scratch and scour the internet for dozens of sample contracts, budget forms, and communication planners from which you can extract language for your own.
  • Calculate your time spent on business activities in accordance with return on investment.
  • Base your rates on revenue that you’d like to generate, and hope that you calculate accurately so that you can afford equipment, subs (for your vacation time), taxes, and other expenditures.

Or you can join the 90-Day Activator and have the problems above solved, step-by-step, over 90 days, with solid support from someone who completely “gets you.”

Starting small isn’t the same thing as thinking small. But thinking big means planning smart. There’s a difference between shaking a mountain and dropping a snowflake. There’s an easier way, especially when someone else has been there and done that.

To cause an avalanche, you can shake a mountain OR find the right place to drop a snowflake. ~ Unknown

Learn more about the 90-Day Activator

Let me help you find the perfect place for that snowflake, and learn more about the 90-Day Activator business training program.

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The shortest path between A and B

We close shop on MONDAY!
Don’t miss your chance to join us for the 90 Day Activator =)

In life, it all comes down to connecting our day-to-day tasks (Point A) to our higher purpose (Point B) right? How can we turn…

>> Washing dishes into a meditation, the practice of being present?
>> The morning walk out to the car into a dance?
>> A dry and boring meeting into MUSIC? (My friend Reza, Kaleigh, and I will find out next week when we facilitate team-builder with a high-performing corporate group!)

photo-1420159316697-c11e647a344dThere are a lot of things I’m not good at, but one thing that I’ve studied, obsessed over, researched, and integrated into my life is clearing the shortest path between Point A and Point B… my higher purpose and daily activities, my ideas and manifestations, my big picture vision and my baby-step timelines. This talent was validated when I took Strengths Finder, and ACTIVATOR was one of my top 5 strengths.

So, when I opened the gate to my coaching services a year ago, I was surprised to learn that many of my clients had these thoughts:

“Kat, I can’t get new clients because I don’t have a website.”
“I’m not where I want to be because I don’t have a business name yet.”
“I can’t hire someone because I don’t have enough work to offer for employment.”
“I’m not a real business yet because I don’t even have a logo.”

OR THIS: “I’m booked solid, so I don’t have time to take on new clients, yet I don’t have money to hire someone.

These common concerns inspired me to create the 90-Day Activator – to help therapists move from Point A to Point B without feeling overwhelm. To understand what is priority and what isn’t. To transform our most powerful therapeutic skills into business savvy. To align daily activity to what matters most.

The first part of the program includes a visualization, and already the Activators are digging in! Here’s what Cami Smith, MT-BC said: “I just went through the future self visualization tonight and WOWEE, what an amazing exercise! Thanks Kat- That was incredible!!!!”

And I know we’ll hear more comments like this one as we move through the program together: “Kat helped me to take the plunge and start my own business, publish my website and my book. That’s pretty measurable to me!” Debi Kret, MM, MT-BC

For the next 90 days, starting on Monday, we’ll be activating our business with sample budgets, sample contracts, communication planners, priority lists, and most importantly… a TIME TRACKER! If the spirit moves you, then join us today!

After you join up, then make sure to put the JOY in your feet, your hands, and out into the world like this:

Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! Kat

P.S. Here’s the link… you gotta check it out:

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The 10% Rule + A Great Echo CHANT

In the webinar last week when I demonstrated my free rate-setting calculator, a participant shared that a contract of 24 years was going to be discontinued. The contract offered this participant 30 hours of work per week.

Although I didn’t have time to address the challenge in the webinar, I want to address it here. I also want to empower this participant with my feedback, while keeping the participant’s identity anonymous. Finally, I want to put my explanation into perspective for anyone who is a contractor (e.g. sub-contractor, independent contractor, self-employed, private practice owner, business owner). If you do not receive a W-2, this one’s for you.

Therapeutic skills can improve your business

Important stuff: Whenever you work in a normal “job” you usually have *one* boss. That’s *one* person to please. That’s *one* relationship to build and nurture. That’s *one* person to answer to. That’s *one* person to make happy. Employment has its perks.

Of course, there are other relationships and people in typical jobs. But when it comes down to it, there is usually one key decision-maker or manager who makes the call on whether you stay or go.

The 10% Rule: One thing my dad told me when I went off to start my own business was “K, you want to make it so that no ONE client is generating more than 10% of your gross revenue.” I asked him to repeat that several times before I fully understood it.

The Not-So-Tricky Math Part: So, does that mean if a contract comes in for 30 hours per week, then I should reduce it down to only 10% of my income? YES! But not by reducing the number of hours… do it by increasing the number of hours serving other clients. You can recession-proof your business by providing a total of 300 hours of service per week. That would make the 30 hours equal to 10% of your gross revenue (assuming the rates are the same across the board).

Are you with me so far?

When you’re pulling in 300 hours of service per week, you have the most amazing opportunity to create jobs. How cool is that? Is owning a business incredible or WHAT?

It’s Nature’s Law Of Going Independent: If you are a contractor and not interested in hiring staff, then you are literally choosing a path that will not always provide for steady income. You’re also making a choice that gives you a ceiling on how much revenue you can bring in. It’s not the “wrong choice” by any means! But it is a choice, and as an independent, you gotta own it.

Own your choices, because you own your business. Tweet this.

The advantage that we have as contractors is that we can choose to have lots and lots of tiny little bosses (aka clients). If each client is providing 10% or less of your gross revenue, and one client goes ka-put, then hey, no problem… You still have 90% of your business intact! Congratulations!

Got it? Ok good! =) So, while it seems like the participant in my webinar got the SHAFT, this participant has actually chosen the path and chosen the risk involved with one contract that supplies 100% revenue. Luckily, now the participant is starting with a clean slate, with the opportunity to build a recession-proof business. A business where no *one* client contributes more than 10% gross income. Yes!

By the way, this is the 284,473,280th reason I diversify my income in a few ways. (Yet, I don’t just slap down my services and wait for the phone to ring. I focus on each project, one at a time, with precision and determination.)

Another participant in the webinar asked exactly what modules were included in my new business training program, the 90-Day Activator. I’ve answered her question here.

Whew! Let’s take a break with this echo chant from Africa, taught to me by Kaleigh Thomas, MT-BC:

Che Che Koolay Echo Chant
Learn more about this chant here.

Che Che Koolay, (Che Che Koolay)
Che Che Kofinsa, (Che Che Kofinsa)
Kofinsa langa, (Kofinsa langa)
Kata che langa, (Kata che langa)
Koom a dayn-day, (Koom a dayn-day),
Koom a dayn-day, (Koom a dayn-day),

Koom a dayn-day – HEY!

Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! =) Kat

P.S. My 90-Day Activator program closes on January 26th, so make sure to grab it while you can! Here’s the link where you can learn more:

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6 Things Music Therapists Need To Stop Doing In 2015

Music is the silence between the notes. Claude Debussy

It’s almost WEBINAR TIME! I’ll be announcing a very cool new program in 2015! I haven’t been this excited about helping business owners in a lonnnnng time. Hope to see ya there =)

I ripped the title of this blog post off this little gem, shared with me by Briana Priester who has an awesome project coming soon.

I’ve been on a STOP DOING kick for a few months, especially after July when I re-read the 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

20% of our daily activity is what generates 80% of our positive results. That means that about 80% of what you’re doing in your business is useless. I sincerely believe this to be true. After taking July 2014 off, I made a commitment to take 2 full months off per year. After July went by successfully, without missing a beat because of my team of AWESOME WOMEN, I realized that most of the items I wrote on my daily to-do lists were unnecessary. Instead of fulfilling some sort of operational requirement for our mission, I found that my to-do list fulfilled a twisted personal agenda – the need to feel busy so that I can feel “accomplished.” How terribly self-centered, right?

Stop Doing List for Music Therapists

Work hard, play hard. February is my goal for the next month off. I’m holding myself accountable by flying to Hawaii and driving up the California coast with a dear friend.

The unrelenting to-do list is probably not the most effective use of your time, if you are a business owner. As soon as I started writing out my Stop Doing list, I felt a sense of peace. I felt happy anticipation for what I would soon delegate. I noticed my calendar shift from over-booked to oceans-of-space. I cooked more. I exercised more. I spent more time with my husband, friends, and kitties.

If you MUST keep a To-Do, I recommend only allowing three items at a time.

So, let’s get on with it now! I present to you… [drum roll]… 6 things music therapists need to STOP doing in 2015:

1. Stop saying YES. You say YES, and you’re committed for more time and energy. What are 2 or 3 things that are most important to you in life? Stick to those ONLY and go deep, instead of spreading yourself thin across multiple projects, people, and causes.

2. Stop reacting. Emails, phone calls, social media notifications, text messages… ALL of those are other people interrupting your day. You are in charge of your life. Save your responses until you’ve accomplished YOUR plan for the day. Don’t let others rule your time.

3. Stop waiting until you’re an expert. You have credentials. You are highly qualified and trained. The idea that you NEED certain specialized trainings *before* providing services is great marketing for specialized trainings =) But is that true? Should you pay $600 for another specialized training before you shake a hand, make a presentation, sign a contract? The choice is yours. But don’t let what’s untrue hold you back.

4. Stop thinking that being a THERAPIST means you can’t run a business well. We are multi-faceted, complex creatures. You ARE logical. You CAN do simple math. Think about all the complex calculations that your body automatically runs through every second sub-consciously… just in order to keep breathing, or balance standing up on two legs. You have logic within you. Don’t let your emotions tell you otherwise. All smart business is, is simple math and logic.

5. Stop worrying about financial security. I know this is a touchy topic, because you might’ve been in dire straits at some point. Maybe even right now. But consider your energy allocation. What thoughts run through your head? Are the thoughts and feelings you experience focused on creating, building, generating, producing? Or are they focused on lack, scarcity, deficiency, not enough? Success is more closely related to resourcefulness than resources.

Thoughts become things. ~ Mike Dooley

6. Stop worrying that someone will “steal away” work that is meant for a music therapist. The higher calling of the field of music therapy is to teach others to use music for health + healing. When others use music for healing, they naturally won’t be as skilled as you, because you have many years under your belt of highly qualified training. But check this out… I derived this higher calling from logic and simple math: It is quite selfish to think that 6,000 MT-BCs are capable of serving ALL of the millions of people in the world who need music + healing. There are 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s alone… That doesn’t include autism, cancer, development disabilities… Let it go. You can’t expect to save the world with hundreds of millions of people tapping on YOUR shoulder. Embrace and collaborate with music + healing initiatives that are outside of the music therapy field (e.g. Musicians On Call, Sound Healers, Music Thanatologists). Be a LEADER in healthcare by becoming a COLLABORATOR, trainer, author, speaker, workshop leader. Share your gift with solid boundaries, and lead with generosity!

Come find out my big news, and what’s coming for you in 2015… I cannot WAIT to spill the beans. Register to join me here.

Be well, feel good, and make music =) Kat

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