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the Five emotional phases of profit first

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Have you ever heard of Profit First? It's a financial framework that can help you achieve financial freedom by making profit a priority in your business. As someone who has implemented Profit First within the mental health industry, I can tell you that the emotional journey can be a rollercoaster ride. But don't worry, it's completely normal.

The first emotional phase is excitement. You're eager to start implementing Profit First and you can't wait to see the results. You might feel like you're on top of the world and can conquer anything.

But then comes the second phase: resistance. You might start to feel overwhelmed or hesitant about the changes you need to make. You might even feel like giving up altogether. This is the point where many people abandon the framework, but I urge you to push through.

The third phase is overwhelm, and it is one of the most common phases that practice owners experience during their Profit First journey. This phase can be triggered by a variety of reasons, such as having to reduce your Owner's Pay allocation or facing unexpected events that impact your cash flow. It is important to understand that these challenges are normal and temporary.

During the overwhelm phase, it is not uncommon for practice owners to question whether Profit First can really transform their business. It can feel like Profit First is still a chore, despite seeing some positive results. However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey to financial freedom is not always smooth and easy.

To make the most out of Profit First, it may take several iterations to get the allocations just right. If you find yourself in the overwhelm phase, it is important to trust the process and keep pushing forward. Remember that these difficult moments are a part of the entrepreneurship journey, whether you implement Profit First or not. By staying committed and persistent, you will eventually reach the Acceptance and Delight phase, where you will experience the full benefits of the system.

The fourth phase is the "aha!" moment. It is a pivotal moment when business owners realize the effectiveness of the system and how it has positively impacted their financial situation. It's a time of celebration, as they've successfully implemented the Profit First methodology and have seen the results firsthand.

When a business owner reaches the Aha! phase, they feel more in control of their finances, and their confidence in the system has grown. This newfound confidence means they’re more equipped to handle any challenges that come their way, as they've experienced how the system works and the positive outcomes it can bring.

As time goes on, the business owner will continue to build their confidence in the Profit First system. They'll see the magic in the methodology, as they're able to pay their bills on time without worry and have enough funds for unexpected expenses. These small moments add up, and the business owner's trust in the system grows with each successful interaction.

Finally, the fifth phase is acceptance and delight. You've implemented Profit First successfully and you're seeing the results. You're making a profit and you're in control of your finances. It's a wonderful feeling.

Remember, the emotional journey of Profit First is not linear. You might experience some phases more than once, or skip some altogether. But by understanding these phases, you can validate the emotions you're feeling and push through to the other side.

Each phase of Profit First adoption will take some time to move through. You might spend a few months hovering between Excitement, Resistance, and Overwhelm. This is normal, a part of the process. The end result is financial freedom and a better, more sustainable business. And who wouldn't want that?

P.S.: GreenOak Accounting’s owner, Julie Herres, is the author of Profit First for Therapists. In the book you’ll find her exact playbook for implementing Profit First in private practice. In the book, an entire chapter is dedicated the the five emotional phases of Profit First. Order your copy today!


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