The Right Way to Put Profit First with Dr. Holly Tucker: Episode 211

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Holly Tucker

Meet our Guest: Dr. Holly Tucker

Dr. Holly, Chiropractic Physician, Certified in Acupuncture, Certified Health Education Specialist.

She’s a mom, a mentor, a business coach and healthcare provider. Can we say multi-passionate?

Dr. Tucker experienced life-changing health benefits after changing her diet and lifestyle (more than a decade ago) while attending chiropractic college. By focusing on the natural beauty that food has to offer, a lifetime of digestive issues suddenly disappeared after giving up gluten (and most processed foods). Intrigued by this, she continued to learn more about a whole food plant-based lifestyle, using vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds as the focus, with high quality meats and animal proteins. Her focus in chiropractic quickly drifted toward caring for mothers on their prenatal journey, as well as helping women of all ages achieve balance in their lives through chiropractic + acupuncture and lifestyle advice. Listen to the ChiroMOM podcast - a show for any mom!

Since becoming a mother herself, that passion has turned into a life goal: change the way children are fed in America. It starts in the home! At age 5, Dr. Holly’s son Tristan starting showing an interest in cooking. He creates dishes and snacks for his family, and shares his creations by making Facebook videos for family and friends. Chef Tristan (now 7) and little brother Chef Noah, age 5, are the little chef explorers — loving cuisines from around the world, gardening techniques, raising backyard chickens and exploring nature. Our home is free of processed sugars, dyes and additives — and that mission doesn’t stop when we are on the road, navigating all of life’s stops!

With a love for food and simplicity, and knowledge of the body’s ability to heal it self, Dr. Tucker hopes to inspire change in the busy American kitchen one mom at a time!

Dr. Holly has been coaching and mentoring chiropractors in Smart Cash Flow - Implementing Profit First since first implementing it in her practice in 2017. With an extensive background in health care administration, experience as a small business owner and clinician, she provides accountability and support in a simple way. For more information, visit here.

 

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

DR. DANIELLE: Hi everyone, welcome. I hope that everyone is doing well. Okay. So I'm here today with Dr. Holly Tucker. I'm going to let Holly introduce herself and tell you more about what she does and we'll just dive in from there.

MEET DR. HOLLY

DR. HOLLY: Yes. Thank you so much, Dr. Danielle for having me on the podcast. I am Dr. Holly. I went by Dr. Tucker for a long time, and for some reason in the past year, I'm like, no, I'm just Dr. Holly now. But anyways, I'll be celebrating my 10th year since graduation from Logan next month, this August, and I married a chiropractor, met him at Logan. We practiced together for eight years and a few years ago, got an opportunity to kind of switch life up in a few different ways. And so that has led me to the path that I am on now, most recently becoming a certified Profit First professional doing coaching and mentoring specifically for women in chiropractic in implementing the Profit First system of cash flow.

I do still practice, I practice on my own because I just kind of like doing things on my own. So I am currently doing house calls. It's funny because actually the last two days I have been helping out a friend who had needed some coverage in their office, so it was definitely a change of pace and a good reminder that, oh, I like doing what I'm doing on my own.

DR. DANIELLE: How did you decide to become a Profit First professional?

DR. HOLLY: Thanks to you and the Aligned Women program, I was introduced to Profit First in 2016 or 17, and we implemented it. So that's when we were doing a mastermind program and several of us read the book together. It was like a little book club and we read it and it just instantly clicked for me, like when my husband and I practiced together, I naturally gravitated towards doing a lot of the admin work because I had that experience.

Prior to coming into chiropractic school, I did billing and coding in a medical office throughout college. And so I just kind of had a handle on where the administrative type of work that needs to be done in a practice, especially if you start out as an insurance practice. And so I constantly had an eye on the numbers. I knew the QuickBooks in and out, but I just always felt like I was on a hamster wheel of trying to keep up with all the things, right?

So after being in business for five or six years, it's like business was good, but we really needed to pay ourselves more. But I don't think we landed on that at first it was just like, let's do this assessment. And that assessment was like a slap in the face. Like my goodness, we were very keen on the amount we were paying ourselves every two weeks, and we were keen on the goals that we had for generating revenue, but that ratio of what those two things were was completely blind to us until sitting down and doing a Profit First assessment.

And it was like, oh my goodness, we have to make this business more profitable in order to pay ourselves more and be able to sustain a business year over year. So we made some big changes for these last couple of years before we ended up actually selling that practice.

USING THE PROFIT FIRST APPROACH TO DO MORE THAN BREAK EVEN

DR. DANIELLE:
Do you think that the work that you did implementing Profit First into your practice helped you sell the practice?

DR. HOLLY:
I definitely think so. I had always kept up with the QuickBooks and the accounting and that's definitely things that somebody wants to see when they're going to buy a practice. But as far as being able to individually say what that ratio was, what that owner's package was, what we were taking back out of the business, and that we were being very intentional with how we were spending the cash and trying to reduce the operating expenses.

Because I remember we were in chiropractic school, it was like, just make your overhead, just make overhead. That's all you need to do. You just need to break even. And I was like, well, no, you have to pay yourself and you have to start saving for taxes from day one and from dollar one. You cannot just hope you don't have a tax bill at the end of the year. Right?

DR. DANIELLE:
Yikes, like, wow. I mean I heard the same kind of thing in school about financial success in practice. And it's interesting because you and I, who can both look back at the advice that we were given now and see how limiting that advice was, how it came from such a limited perspective of what's possible for us as business owners who are also doctors.

Yeah. So I think that's really important to highlight for people because just because someone else says this is what you need to do, doesn't mean that it's really what you need to do. There can be so much more.

And I think we have so many more resources available for us now. Like when you and I were in school, we didn't have, at least I wasn't aware of any like podcasts or, there were books, but we spent so much time studying that it seemed like just more to do to read a book, but now we have so many tools and resources available that we can just like easily integrate into our lives. Like a podcast, for example, you can listen to a podcast while you drive to school or drive to your office. If you want to learn, there's plenty of ways to make it fit.

Pay yourself, pay taxes, you cannot just hope you don't have a tax bill at the end of the year.

-Dr. Danielle Eaton

DR. HOLLY: Oh, I remember I was very involved in leadership as a student and I remember going to like a literal leadership conference and just like writing down all these books that these speakers were coming in and they were talking about.

And so I got on Amazon or whatever it was back then and ordered all these, maybe even eBay because I was a student and I wanted to buy them cheap. So I ordered all these books. And I could tell you that probably 90% of those books were written by men. And I would say at least 50% of them, I never actually read because they were books and I don't do well with just reading integration in books. I do much better audio visual learning.

So now I make very distinct choices when I am going to listen to an audio book or going to listen to a podcast about knowing that source and where it's coming from and then actually taking action on it, not just like running to the next, like okay, what's the next resource I'm gonna consume and do nothing with?

So the implementation of Profit First - and I have people reach out to me all the time - they're like I started reading it, but I have no idea what to do next or I've already read it. And it sounds like a great idea, but what do I do?

So that's where I help because I love spreadsheets. I love figuring out numbers. I love diving in, I have a great knack and a memory for numbers. I mean, it doesn't take much for me to get on a client call and like recall, okay, what were your goals and where are we? And just helping women simplify that process and really knowing what to look at because it can get very overwhelming if you're trying to look at everything and it’s telling you nothing.

PROFIT FIRST CRASH COURSE WITH THE PROS

DR. DANIELLE: For someone that has never read the book or doesn't have a clue what Profit First is, how would you help them understand it before they read the book? Because I feel like every small business owner should read this book, and I've been saying that for four years.

DR. HOLLY: I also have been saying that for a long time. So that's why the little whisper just got louder and louder through everything that happened in 2020. And I was like, you know what, I'm just going to lean into this. I'm going to look at it. I'm going to look at, see what does it take to become certified in the method and move forward.

So essentially it's called a cash flow accounting system. So it does not replace you having a CPA or doing your bookkeeping. It's literally how you as a business owner manage the cash flow that comes into your office. Think about how often - hopefully everyone has a mobile banking app - think about how often you check into your mobile banking app and what is it that you're really looking at? Is it actually giving you information or is that just wanting to make sure everything's okay, and that the money's still there sort of thing.

So Profit First is all about channeling your habits. We don't want to make any major spending changes or we don't want to put you on a budget or anything like that. It's all meant to be like positive reinforcing so that when you log into your bank account, it's based off of setting up five essential bank accounts in the beginning. So out of those five, you have money that's coming in, so we usually just label that deposits, money that's going out is called the operating expenses. Then we have profit, owner’s pay, and taxes. And so, you know when you log in, you're going to see hopefully since the last time you logged in more money in that deposit account.

And then we're gonna set up the timeframes for when you're going to fund those other accounts. So some people do it at the end of every week. Some people will do it with their payroll, some maybe twice a month or you know, every two weeks biweekly.

And so it really just helps to, I know for me like to turning off that constant ticker of like what to do and what's coming up and what I need to remember, like you literally make these money dates with yourself, you look at all the money that's come in and you distribute it out to those accounts that have very specific names. So I think it's really empowering and it helps to simplify managing your cash in your business.

DR. DANIELLE: One of the biggest things that I took away from the book Profit First was the bank balance accounting, I guess we could call it. If you look at your bank balance and you see you've got $20,000, then you, in your mind, you've got $20,000 to spend, right? But when you start to essentially divvy up the money that comes into your business and allocate it very proactively to taxes and to paying yourself and to your operating expenses and to profit, right, just like creating a space to hold profit, suddenly now maybe you've gone from $20,000 to like, depending on what your allocations are to like $10,000 or something different. So now you can make different spending decisions too.

Whereas you might think, oh, if I got this new table, I'd be able to do this different technique and then I'd have more patients coming in because I could offer this technique when none of that is necessarily true and you don't really need the table to grow your business. So it just really keeps you honest with yourself I think first and foremost about what you can and truly want to spend money on, like, what's really going to make your business more profitable? A table typically doesn't do it.

Flow chart of Profit First money management
profit first money management chart

DR. HOLLY: Yeah, I mean, there's lots of things that I was thinking about when you were talking about that, but yeah, I think that it really helps you to make those spending decisions because, you know, if you find out about a subscription for something that you want in your office and you are cognitively aware of like the thousands of dollars that are in your bank account, but they don't have any intention behind them, it's very easy to say yes to something that's $100 or $200 or $400 a month if it promises to give you something on the other end. But if you're looking, you know, just at that pocket of, this is what my operating expenses are, you know, for this timeframe, you're going to be more diligent with that cost and knowing what it's supposed to be doing for you.

HOW TO TURN PROVEN STRATEGIES INTO LASTING STRATEGIES

DR. DANIELLE:
Yeah, totally. Well. We had at least two to three years of data around the Aligned Women membership program. And like as much as we encourage people to implement Profit First inside of that program, what did we learn? That they don't. They read the book or they listen to the audiobook, and maybe even listen to some podcast episodes about it, but then they don't actually implement it. Why do you think that that happens?

DR. HOLLY: I mean, the accountability and the support is definitely the first thing that comes to my mind. I can't tell you how many conversations that I've had with people that are like, yeah, I've implemented it. And it's like, once I become a client, we start looking at the reports or looking at their actual workflow. It's like, you never actually opened the bank accounts. We need to go ahead and do that part of it. Let's not try to just do it off of a spreadsheet. You know it's just accountability. If there's not a deadline to do something you're most likely not going to do it. And if you're overwhelmed about the numbers or you like to ignore them until absolutely necessary to look at them, then it's not ever going to happen. I mean, what do we always say? It was like the thing you give attention to gets your intention or something like that.

DR. DANIELLE:

What you focus on grows, what you measure grows.

Dr. Danielle Eaton

Yeah. All the things. I think that that's really a key part of this experience for women too, because for all the wrong reasons probably, we tend to ignore money and not want to make our business about the money. And yet when we don't look at the money and manage our finances well, we get stressed and then we have to make it about the money. And then we're feeling like new patients are dollar signs, right?

So it's like this vicious cycle where we think, oh, I don't want to make it about the money so that I don't look at the money, but then not looking at the money causes stress, because we don't know if we have enough money to pay the bills and not knowing if we have enough money to pay the bills, causes more stress. It's just keep going around in this circle or not - do something different. And I think that's probably the biggest thing that I took away from Profit First. Because I was that person who I just described and implementing the system really helped me to not just have more money, but to feel more confident with managing money.

“For all the wrong reasons probably, we tend to ignore money and not want to make our business about the money. And yet when we don't look at the money and manage our finances well, we get stressed and then we have to make it about the money.”

- Dr. Danielle Eaton

DR. HOLLY: Yes.

DR. DANIELLE: That's a whole other thing that is, it's invaluable. It's priceless when you can say that and when you can feel that.

DR. HOLLY: Yeah. Yeah. I definitely think that, you know, that the time spent within the Aligned Women community, just seeing so many stories of women that were really rocking it in practice, and just needing that support and encouragement, you know, of someone else validating. Saying yes, you are rocking it or on the other end of the spectrum, you know, it was more of a hobby, you know, quote unquote hobby or maybe that's what a spouse sees it on. I think that's one of the biggest hurdles that I personally had was like my spouse and I, because we practice together you know, together day in and day out, is being on the same page.

And still to this day we do not look at numbers the same way and that's okay because I do my thing, he does his thing, we do our thing collectively together. But I mean just time and time again, it's like talking to women in practice and it's like the opinion of the husband or spouse or partner or whatever carries so much weight. And it's like, we have to work through that sometimes. You know, to even be able to move forward and working together. And that's just, that's one of the things I think I'm most passionate about is whether or not your husband is in your business, working with you, we need his support, but we maybe don't always need his permission if it's your business to be successful.

DR. DANIELLE: I've seen a lot of women do that or say that, and sometimes it's true. It's the true thing that they feel that they have to consult with or talk to their partner to make a financial decision. And other times it's an excuse to not have to make a financial decision. But the interesting thing is that most of the occasions where I've encountered that conversation, the husband doesn't work in the practice. He's not an employee of the practice, right? But the woman is leaning on him to make decisions about the money and the practice, and also just working with your spouse in practice. That in and of itself is like a whole other conversation for another day. I keep hoping that someone will create a program of some kind to help chiropractors who work together and go home together in their businesses because that is such a challenging dynamic.

DR. HOLLY: I mean, I remember coaching with you years ago and I don't remember what, what specific thing you know, was the quandary of the day. But I remember you just asking me, don't you think he'd be happy if you were successful and you were happy, like, don't you think he would be proud of you? And I was like, well, yeah, of course! And you were like, okay, then do it, go and be successful and be happy. He's not going to judge you for, you know, leaning in on what you're passionate about. But yeah, I think our brain automatically makes us think the worst, you know, or that imposter syndrome creeps up or whatever it is. And it's like, you're so afraid to do something of the failure, but maybe you're also afraid of the success too. Yeah.

IS PROFIT FIRST RIGHT FOR YOUR PRACTICE?

DR. DANIELLE: Yes. Okay, let's bring it back around to Profit First. So one other question that I thought of that I think people would probably be asking is how do you know if you need to implement Profit First? My opinion is that everybody should, but that may not necessarily be enough motivation for everyone to go get the book and then implement Profit First. Like, are there key things, are there certain problems that people might be having that they know they need to implement this system?

DR. HOLLY: Yeah. I think if you're definitely feeling like you want to pay yourself more, but you just don't really see where those numbers would be coming from. So, you know, if you're say 5-10 years in practice and you're like, okay, things are good. I don't feel like I'm drowning anymore. And you know, the startup, things are going good, but you just actually want to start getting yourself to a point where you're paying yourself consistently and starting to move into the paying yourself well, thinking about the other big life goals like saving money, or if you want to, you know, make some capital investments, but you don't necessarily want to take on debt, then it's time to think about being really intentional with where the cash is going in the business.

I do mentoring since my husband has interns and residents that he works with, you know, we kind of have a little bootcamp up that we do with the interns, and so we introduce them to these concepts, no matter what situation they're walking into, if they're looking at getting an associate job, if they're looking at going in part-time in a practice or if they're wanting to open up right out of the gate, then knowing these concepts it's never too early to, I guess, get on board with knowing them. Now, if you're starting completely from scratch and you have a startup loan, are you going to go and want to open up the five bank accounts right then? There's no harm. If you gotta go to the bank and open up one or two, just open up the five, if there's no penalty to be there and to label them to start that way, but you wouldn't take like a startup loan and go and fund all of your accounts, right? The structure and the intention would be a little bit different behind that.

But I mean by the book they say, you know, yes, you do want to have these concepts because you don't want to develop a whole lot of bad habits and then be 5 or 10 years into practice, and you're like, well, there's no way that I pay myself anymore. There's no way I can get rid of these expenses. So it's all about the business grows as you grow.

DR. DANIELLE: Yes. When I started my second practice, what year was that? 2016. It was really amazing because I implemented a Profit First from the start and I was able to pay myself basically from the start of opening a new practice. Which was so different from my first experience with practice where I was like, hopefully one day I'll be able to pay myself something real, you know? And a lot of people go into practice with that same mentality of like they're just working and working to build a business, and in a lot of cases they're feeling really burned out in that process.

And I mean much like I experienced, I was just like, this is what it takes to be successful, then forget this, like, this is silly. Why would anyone work this hard for no money? But we're putting it all into the business and we don't know, we're not taught in school. Most of us didn't come from a business or financial background, how to not just get busier and busier in practice, but how to actually financially be successful whatever way that means. And for most people, I think that's just like paying ourselves enough to live a comfortable life and save for the future.

DR. HOLLY: Yes.

DR. DANIELLE: So how would someone know that if they're working on implementing Profit First or maybe they haven't started yet, how would they know that they need to work with a Profit First professional?

DR. HOLLY: I think it starts with just doing your assessment. I mean, the book walks you through line by line on how to do a quick assessment, but if you don't even feel confident in that or you just want another pair of eyes, one of my clients called me her little pocket CFO, anytime there's something like, “Hey, should I spend my me on this?” It's like, okay, well let's check in and see. But doing that assessment, if you don't feel confident in doing that assessment, that's written out in the book then that's when you get on board because you want somebody else to look at the numbers with you and moving forward. And I do that, you know, in the form of a strategy session, that's essentially the first place that I start with any client.

And then we decide do you want to implement this on your own? Or do you want to have the accountability and support to know that you're implementing it in the next quarter or two quarters or for the next year that we're working on it, making your business more profitable?

Clarity in the numbers leads to simplifying the numbers.

- Dr. Holly Turner

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. Okay. I want to say something because this is an objection that people might have to work you with you in this way, which is really, really important for people to shift their perspective on, because if you're hearing what Holly is describing, you're thinking like, “Oh, no way would I want to share that information with someone, right? That's too vulnerable, too scary. I don't want someone to see that information because it's such a mess.” Or, “I don't even have the information available to share with someone.”

That is not something to hide from. And yes, it can feel vulnerable. It can feel scary to share the details of the finances of your business. You cannot be adjusted in this way if you don't show up exactly as you are, or if you don't let your business be seen exactly as it is. Right? So while yes, it might feel like it brings up a lot of emotion in a variety of ways. If you want that to change, then the way is through. Like you got to go through the uncomfortableness to have the motivation to do the things that you need to do to have different results.

So I just want to really make sure that people know that just because it's uncomfortable doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do. I think back to like in Aligned Women, for example, people had access to one-to-one coaching sessions every quarter. Most people didn't use them. And only later did I find out or kind of like learned by accident that people were afraid to show up for those sessions, but that's the whole thing, right? If you want change, you've gotta be seen exactly as you are so that someone can say what needs to be adjusted. Not of course, you know, in the spine or extremities, but like in these more mental and emotional kinds of ways.

DR. HOLLY: Yeah. If things are a mess, we definitely need to be there. I mean, like if you already know, things are a mess or that you're ignoring them, then let's just take a look under the hood essentially and see what's going on. I've had clients that they're like, well, we had a bookkeeper, but you know, about six months ago they quit doing our books. So I don't really know what's going on. And I'm like, okay, I'm not a bookkeeper, but I know my way around. Let's at least get it in there and see what we can see, and then I can point you in the right direction of, do you need to hire a bookkeeper? Can you keep this in house for right now until at least you get to a comfort level because you want to be careful about how many times you pass off your mess, because it just makes you more and more disconnected with what's actually happening.

The first thing you have to do is just find clarity in the numbers and then we can simplify them."

- Dr. Holly Turner

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. Okay. So how, if someone that's listening or watching wants to connect with you and learn more about booking a strategy session, where is the place for them to go?

DR. HOLLY: I am currently most active actually over on Instagram. It's @drhollyatucker - you can actually just DM me there. I have a newsletter that I send out every Friday, it’s called Five Minute Fridays with Dr. Holly, and I just record a five minute little training video on something. And it's something that literally comes from a conversation I've had with a client or a post that I've seen in a Facebook group, or just essentially answering a question every Friday. And I send that out through email. So it's also on YouTube, but yeah, Instagram and then the five minute Fridays newsletter.

DR. DANIELLE: Awesome. Okay. Do you have any parting thoughts before we wrap up? Anything else you want people to know about Profit First or working with a profit? Oh my gosh. I can't say Profit First professional?

DR. HOLLY: The first thing you have to do is just find clarity in the numbers and then we can simplify them. They don't have to be hard, you know, we can do hard things, but we don't mean to make your job harder than it needs to be. So let's just find that air of restriction, for lack of a better term, so that we can work through it and make that part of your business a lot easier because we want to see and I walk my clients through. Where are we now? But then where do you want to be, what is your generation potential? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? And you know, the only way to do that is to become super clear or to start out with

DR. DANIELLE: Awesome. Holly, thank you so much.

DR. HOLLY: Yes, thanks Danielle.

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