Ep #04 Why Most Coaches And Practitioners Lose Time And Money On Holistic Certifications

by | Nov 23, 2023 | SCA Podcast

SCAP - DFY 4 | Holistic Certifications


As coaches and practitioners, we think that by having more certifications, our business is going to automatically explode. Well, Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos are here to tell you that is not always the case. In fact, you may well be losing both money and time on those holistic certifications. Why is this and how do you actually grow your business? Should you then cease earning those holistic certifications? Ani and Brian enlighten you in today’s episode. Tune in to discover a better way to turn those holistic certifications into income and what you can do to move your business forward. 

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Why Most Coaches And Practitioners Lose Time And Money On Holistic Certifications

At the Somatic Coaching Academy, that’s the place that we teach coaches and holistic practitioners how to help their own clients access their complete human intelligence.

Before we get into episode number four, I would like to introduce ourselves a little bit more for some people who are getting to know us for the first time so they have an idea of our backgrounds. I am an occupational therapist. That’s what my Master’s degree is in. Brian is a physical therapist. We have a lot of similar certifications and degrees, but we also have ones that are different. We’re both massage therapists. We’re both Tai Chi and Qi Gong instructors. What else do you have going on after your name?

Strength and conditioning, manual therapy, and chiropractic-type stuff.

I’ve got craniosacral therapy and somatic emotional release.

Energy medicine, motivational mapping, trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive certifications.

I’m a Certified Energy Medicine Practitioner and a Certified ICF Coach, too.

I’ve got about five Tai Chi form certifications too, so we have a big chunk of stuff in there.

I think between the two of us, we have about 30 or so certifications. Anyway, I wanted to give you a little background on us if you didn’t know because sometimes people want to know, “Where’d you learn somatic coaching?” Actually, somatic coaching found its way through us through all of the other things that we had studied. That’s a topic for another day. For now, Brian, what are we talking about?

We’re going to talk about why most coaches and practitioners actually lose money on the holistic certifications that they spend so much time and effort in earning.

We did. We rattled off a bunch of ours. We have a lot of certifications. I don’t know about you, but maybe not in the beginning, but certainly after my first few, I would take a certification like Reiki. I would then think to myself that because I have this certification, it means that my business is going to explode.

Everybody is going to see it. I remember after PT school, I graduated from physical therapy school. Right afterwards, I got a certification in strength and conditioning. I wanted to be able to work with athletes, football players, and soccer players. I had this dream of helping athletes. I earned this certification and I thought that as soon as I earned it somehow, a billboard would go up in the universe or something that everybody would all of a sudden know and start calling me to work with them. That didn’t happen.

You were in your day job at that time?

Yeah, I was working a day job, but I was looking for a little extra work that wouldn’t hurt too.

It’s funny because when we’re employees, just because you have more credentials does not mean anything for your salary. Both of us started in the Western medical system in rehab. I remember I graduated from college, Brian. At my very first job, I was the head of OT. It was just me, but still, that was my title. I remember thinking as soon as I got out, I’ve got nowhere to go. Even as rehab therapists, we had to take continuing education. My first certification was in craniosacral therapy and did nothing to my salary. My next one did nothing to my salary.


SCAP - DFY 4 | Holistic Certifications


Same thing. I was racking up certifications and my employers weren’t necessarily like, “Good for you. Here’s some extra money.” They were like, “Good for you. You can add value to what you’re doing here already.” In a lot of ways, getting these holistic certifications was a self-development path, but not necessarily. It was something to grow yourself in a lot of ways. It wasn’t necessarily going to add tangible value in terms of monetary outcomes when you’re working for somebody else.

You had an interesting story about realizing that people were asking for you and you were working harder than other people.

Down the line, when I was working at a hospital before I made my leap to starting my own practice, one of the things that was happening was that I noticed that I was seeing four patients an hour. I was busy and I’d be running in and out of the office that I was working in and not having much time to spend with my patients doing manual therapy, which is what I loved to do at that time. That was my jam. People came to see me for manual therapy. The more people that came to see me, the less time I had to spend with each person. That felt a little bit contrived. Anyway, I remember being busy and running in and out of the office. Every time I run in and out of the office, there was a PT that I would work with that was always sitting in her chair in the office. She hadn’t moved in hours.

Every time I come in, she’s in the same place. I’m like, “Did she fall asleep there?” I got curious so I went to the front desk. I looked at the booking calendar and noticed that I was booked all day long and this other therapist only had 4 or 5 people in a whole day. I asked the receptionist. They said, “What’s up?” I said, “Why am I seeing everybody and this other person only has 4 or 5 people booked?” Her answer was, “Brian, they keep asking for you.” I was like, “If they’re asking for me that much here, they can ask for me in my own clinic.”

That was a little nudge for me to believe in myself enough to start my own practice. I think a lot of that did come from spending a lot of time investing in myself to gain these holistic certifications that eventually paid off. The thing is, even going off on my own, having all these certifications, I had all these amazing skills. We’ve talked about this a lot too, but that doesn’t necessarily automatically mean that you’re going to earn money in a business by having the skills even when you’re out on your own.

You’re reminding me too that a lot of people do use their holistic certifications to break out of their day jobs. It’s a fantastic way to do it, by the way. That’s a good business move to use your holistic certification in order to break out into your own thing. I think it’s worth mentioning here that breaking out and doing your own thing is a way that people grow themselves. When you’re in the Western medical system, you’re up against this glass ceiling as soon as you graduate. For crying out loud, PTs nowadays are graduating with Doctorates and then it’s like the glass ceiling is right there as soon as they graduate.

Breaking out and doing your own thing is actually a way for people to grow themselves. Click To Tweet

Anyway, there isn’t this path for continued growth and development. A lot of times when people are in their jobs or people are in jobs are like, “Get me out of here. It’s sucking my soul.” A natural evolution for our personal and professional development is to go out on our own. In order to do that, we need to develop business skills. That didn’t occur to me at first. When I left the system, I hated my job. I had to get out of there, but I also was seeing people part-time on the side. I knew that I enjoyed that a whole lot more. I was also at that stage. I think I was 23 or 24, I did not have a family yet. I do like to tell people at that point, I was young and stupid. I was like, “I don’t need a paycheck. I’m going to go do this on my own.”

It worked because I needed to make money and I did make money. It was great, but I also think I was a little naive at that time. I had all this gusto, this momentum, and all this youth behind me to get out there and do it, but I had to develop business skills to be able to make it work. At that time, I did a lot of stuff right that I didn’t recognize I was doing right until later, especially when I started helping other people to grow their holistic businesses. I was like, “This is how I did it.” I started to see trends. I was like, “There are trends here to help people to do this more quickly.”

For both of us, it was a lot of on the front lines. I didn’t go to get an MBA, neither did you, but it was a lot of working in the trenches and working with some good coaches too. It was working in the trenches to figure out what worked. With every certification that I got, I was under this illusion that if I’m good at something, build it and they will come and that doesn’t work. It actually doesn’t work that way. I think the whole story around “Build it and they will come” is a great story around having faith in yourself. I agree with that a lot, but you have to have more than faith. You have to be able to organize your offerings.

You can be good at what you do, but if you can’t organize your offerings and if you can’t value yourself enough in order to ask for an equitable exchange in value for what you’re offering, then it doesn’t work. Those were a lot of those hard skills that no other certification program that I was a part of ever taught me how to do. They taught me the thing. They taught me the tai chi form and the qi gong form. They taught me manual therapy, how to teach people to meditate, how to teach people how many pushups to do, and circuit training. All that stuff. Even PT school taught me how to help people rehab all kinds of parts of their body, but no one ever said, “If you want to earn money for yourself, this is how you organize it.” I didn’t learn that at all.

Build it and they will come if you sell and market it well. You need those skills. We find with our community and our students that not everybody wants to talk or think about that. What they do really want is they want to make an impact. To your point, there comes this time when people are gathering holistic certification after holistic certification, and they’re not making the impact that they want to make. A lot of our students are bridging over to leaving jobs to do their own thing.

There comes this time when people are gathering holistic certification after holistic certification after holistic certification, and they're not really making the impact that they really want to make. Click To Tweet

One of the reasons is they’ve gotten the certifications and they still haven’t been able to get the traction they need to start their own business. Other people are in business and want more traction because they want to make a bigger impact, but there’s this moment when you’re in 10th, 5th, or 15th holistic certification, you’re like, “I’m so good.” Sometimes people want to know from us, “Why on earth would I come get another certification with you guys?”

That’s a great question.

One of the things that we see with our students that’s so pivotal is it’s the somatic practices that we teach our students that help them to actually do the business skills that they need to be successful. We teach them business skills too. That’s baked into all of our certification programs. One of the reasons that we did that is because we were tired of spending money on certification programs and learning skills that didn’t teach us how to grow our businesses with those skills. It’s this interesting marriage of we do teach the business skills to a very high degree.

Once someone walks through the doorway of the Somatic Coaching Academy, we have you with Ani Lee’s monthly office hours and regular business development trainings all within the community already.

We have all kinds of bonus material for you like hours of business building things. This is what I love so much about it. In order to make those business skills work, the somatic tools and techniques are what people need to do. On the opposite side of the table where I’ve been teaching people business skills but they don’t have the somatic skills, sometimes that can be overwhelming, they don’t like it, they feel like they don’t understand it, or they can’t get themselves to do it. It’s this wonderful marriage of somatic skills with business skills that helps our clients to have success.

It is so important because business skills do not come naturally. Unless you grew up in an entrepreneurial family with a business owner, then they would come naturally. For most people who grew up in families where their parents went off and worked jobs, that’s what would become indoctrinated with. A lot of business is being able to learn how to deeply value yourself at a cellular level.

I think that’s where the somatic practices, tools, and skills that we teach our students to go hand in hand with what they’re learning is what Ani is saying. To help them alter themselves at a genetic level or an epigenetic DNA level around valuing themselves to such a degree that they can generate the business acumen to bring forth those skills in the world. It doesn’t matter how many amazing skills you have if they don’t get out into the world. That’s so painful.

It’s so painful to hear you say that, but it’s true because there are so many talented individuals. They’re so good. They’re so caring. They care about people. They’re so good at what they do, but they can’t get people to sign up. They can’t get people to come. They can’t get that full caseload that they want to be able to feel like they’re making a difference to be able to feel like their life has meaning and purpose like they’re making the impact that they want to make. That’s possible. We tell our students it’s our mission to get somatic coaching out there in the world, and we can’t do it if we don’t help you succeed and help you get clients to be able to do this work with. That way it’s win-win.

SCAP - DFY 4 | Holistic Certifications

Holistic Certifications: It’s our mission to get somatic coaching out there in the world, and we can’t do it if we don’t help you succeed and get clients to be able to do this work.


One of the things I want to bring up here is we’re talking about business skills. A lot of the students we work with, and probably a lot of the people that are tuning in to us right now, there’s a bit of a negative association with the idea of business. We look at other people who have been successful in business and we’re like, “They’re ripping people off.” Look what you have to do to be successful in business. I need to rip people off. I need to lie to people. I need to cheat people. I need to hide money from people.” You look at all these dramatic stories that happen in the world of people who are doing bad things to each other from a business perspective.

That happens in the world. Let’s be honest. We might think they’re out there winning doing it that way and I don’t want to have to do it that way. We also have to see that they’re not necessarily winning. Lots of times, if you watch the trajectory of those people’s lives, they end up in a lot of legal trouble potentially the relationships fall apart. They end up being in the news on the tabloids. I don’t want that life, to be honest with you.

What we are invested in is helping our students change themselves at the core so that the way they have a generative and amazing abundant business is not a way where it extracts from other people’s lives, but it adds to everyone’s lives. I would argue that the people who have those types of extractive type businesses that you see eventually in the news and in court have not done the deep self-development work to be able to offer what they offer in the world in a way that’s equitable and lifts everyone around them. That’s why they end up in those kinds of problems. There is a different way to do this. That’s why we help the mindset shift that we can help our students make.


SCAP - DFY 4 | Holistic Certifications


There is. Sometimes I joke and say business is the B word with the students. There are different things that we’ll talk about during the course of training where people will get activated. Whether it’s the word profit, business, influence, sales, or marketing. That is what I love so much. A part of the certification programs is when that activation happens and people feel what it feels like to be talking about those things in their bodies. We do the work and they do the work with the somatic tools to be able to rewire their nervous system, so they can be a part of that conversation rather than apart from those conversations.

When we can be a part of conversations about leadership, engagement, wellness, organizational work, and all of these things, we can make the impact and the difference that we want to make in the world. Also, we can see those holistic certifications that we have pay off. I love when our students see this coming full circle. I feel like it’s putting the bow on the package. They say, “This was the missing link.” It is like putting this bow on this beautiful package that they’ve been working on for their whole lives.

We’re wrapping up our episode number four here with a hot tip around holistic certifications. My hot tip is when you’re looking at any holistic certification that you’re looking to invest in to learn more from, take a good look at what the marriage is with the skill you’re learning and the business development that goes along with it. Someone is going to teach you something to do.

When you're looking at any holistic certification to invest in, take a really good look at the marriage between the skill you're learning and the business development that goes along with it. Click To Tweet

Are they also giving you a clear avenue with how to bring it into the world to amplify your impact? Are they leaving you on an island to do that by yourself? From what we’re talking about, I’ve been in that type of relationship. Not that some of those certifications I have received haven’t been valuable. They’ve helped me become an expert. However, I also think about how much time I lost if there was a business component along with them. A very clear way to bring that into the world is how much, further along, I would’ve been and how much faster I would’ve been there. That’s my hot tip. I always look at whether am I getting the yin and the yang of this. Am I both getting the skill and I’m also getting a way to deliver the skill that’s very clear so that I can be successful in the world?

You’re probably getting an idea. In our community, we talk about somatic skills and the business of somatic as well. If that’s what you’re into, that’s what we’re into. We’re so excited that you are part of our community and we’d love it if you would subscribe to the show. Also, leave us some feedback. We’re getting rolling here. We want to know what you want to learn about. We want to know what we said that sparked an interesting insight for you. Make sure you leave us a review so that other people know. Come on over to this community too and we can do this together. It’s always one of our favorite things that our students say that they love about Somatic Coaching Academy is the community. We’re excited that you’re a part of it. Thanks and we’ll see you next time.

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