My father is a psychotherapist. Currently he’s 70 years old. At the current time he’s got about 30 patients or so.
At the peak and busiest of his career, he was north of 50 patients. Can you even imagine that?
That means he was seeing 50 people once a week for a session of 50 minutes. Do the math.
On top of that he had to try and tend to his health, whatever hobbies he had, his wife, his family, his friends, you name it.
Does that sound like an appealing lifestyle? It all depends. To me? No it does not. To my father? He loves his work and I don’t think it bothered him all that much.
Clearly it comes down to the individual and their situation but speaking for myself, when it comes to my coaching business, I won’t take on more than five clients at a time. And here’s why:
1. Personal Attention from all angles
To be the most effective at my job I need to be available to my clients both from an actual time standpoint but also an emotional one. If I’m managing 20 or more clients it’s nearly impossible to keep my mind on only one. Can it be done? Of course it can, but that doesn’t mean it should. At least not for me. I need my clients to know that I’m there for them at all times and when I’m talking to them, I’m thinking about them only. Five clients is a perfect number because it allows me to focus on only one client per day during the week. Perhaps someday I’ll move to 7 clients but that would mean weekends so it’s unlikely.
2. Too many other interests
Time is a big factor in this one. If I want to to spend time with my kids, workout every day, see my own coach and therapist, eat right, sleep well, be able to socialize with friends, go on trips, and about 7 million other things, the less clients I have the better. Period.
3. Another business (for now)
I also run a different business. You guys know that I own 9 websites. I gotta tend to that as well. Luckily it only takes up about 3 hours a day in the morning. Still though, things pop up and my brain might get foggy so I need to limit my clients so there is zero crossover from a mental standpoint.
4. More money isn’t going to help me
At the moment I’m doing pretty well financially. The only real benefit to me taking on more clients is more money. Frankly that’s just not incentive enough for me to take on more clients. The benefits of more money do not outweigh the benefits of me having solid mental and physical health.
5. Room for something else
I always like to have room in my head for new ideas, new businesses, new interests to pop up. It’s my nature. I’m an entrepreneur and you just never know what kind of opportunities are around the corner. I love doing public speaking. I may very well decide to have a podcast someday. There’s just too much out there for me to want to spend 50 hours a week just doing one on one coaching.
If you want to be one of the lucky five, drop me an email and we’ll talk (firstname.lastname@example.org)