Transcript: How to Design Your Personal Benefits Package with Dina Cataldo
Hey there. How are you doing okay. As I promised you, if you have been watching me on Instagram, I have a special announcement. And if you are not on Instagram, come over there. That's where I hang out. I spend a lot of time there. Go to Dina dot Cataldo. All right. So this is the announcement on Thursday, June 2nd, at 12:00 PM Pacific. I am holding a very special masterclass.
I haven't won, done one of these for a while. So I am itching to do one and it's gonna be my best ever. I know from talking to you on Instagram, that you love these. And I love them too. I want to make them feel like you bought a thousand dollars ticket to be there for front row seats and leave lots of room for magic here. I don't have the official title for it, but I wanted to make sure you knew it was coming and give you the opportunity to mark your calendars and sign up for it. Right now you can go to Dina, cataldo.com/ 2 0 7. That's the show notes for this episode. And there you will find under the resources, section the link for the masterclass. So go to Dina, cataldo.com/ 2 0 7, and I will have more info up soon. This is just for the rider, dies who already know that they're all in that they wanna be there so you can calendar it.
Remember Thursday, June 2nd, 12:00 PM. Pacific. You're gonna get 90 minutes of magic, be the first to sign up. Okay. My friend, I hope you are having a fabulous week right now. It's sunny. It's actually warm here in Sacramento, which is really nice right now. Although we probably could use more rain, but I love the sun and I'm actually going to show my legs soon so that I can wear shorts and not be embarrassed by how white I am. So it's gonna be fabulous for me when I get some color
Cuz firms usually offer a bonus. If you hit certain targets, by the end of the year, maybe you get a frying pan or a watch or something like that. Right? But let's do something for ourselves to make our life even more fun to make the work that we are doing, whatever we are doing more fun because we don't bring enough play into our lives. And this is just one way to consciously add, play, to design your life, to incorporate that. And it has the added benefit of being your personal bonus for a job. Well done. It's playful. Okay. So this is something that we're gonna talk about throughout this, to remind ourselves how to make this playful and how to make this structured so that you are implementing it. And it's not just kind of a pipe dream or something that you really wish you would do, but you're not doing, this is something that where you're gonna make concrete decisions and you're gonna implement it.
And I'm gonna show you how to do that. And what we're not doing here is depriving ourselves. And this is one of the pitfalls, right? One of the pitfalls of creating our benefits package for ourselves is that we might use it against ourselves. So for example, me personally, I really enjoy lair products. I really like the lotions and all of this stuff that I use. Okay. Not an ad. I just really like that stuff. And I'm gonna buy those things regardless. They're a little pricier and that's okay. I'm not gonna use that as an incentive to hit my goal because it's something I want to buy regardless. And I would be really sad if I couldn't buy that stuff because I didn't hit my goal. So a benefits package is not there to punish you. This is there to be fun. Okay. Now this was a really difficult exercise for me.
My coach had me do this once before and then I had another coach of mine. Remind me of this training that that I had gone through in terms of like, just doing the thought work on creating a benefits, package, something that was gonna be really fun for me, really nourishing so that as I'm hitting my goals, I'm acknowledging them. I'm celebrating them. And I'm reminding my brain that all this hard work that I do has play as its focus. Right? So one of the things that was harder for me is because I would not have a plan to implement it. And I would have just kind of like some fuzzy ideas of some things that I liked that maybe I would do. This is gonna be concrete. I'm gonna walk you through how to make this concrete for yourself. So you don't have that problem.
You might think about the cost of things. And you might have a concern about spending money cuz you, you, you associate that with a benefit and I have a strategy for that. That's gonna help you no matter what's going on in your practice, whether or not you're hitting your goals. So don't worry. I've got you covered. And then the other thing is, is sometimes, well we just think to ourselves, well, we can have whatever we want. So we just go and get it. It's like a lot of us who celebrate Christmas. It's like, well, why bother celebrating Christmas as an adult? Because you can just have whatever you want whenever you want it. And when you can have something, whenever you want it, then it loses some of the benefit of it. Right? So we're going to talk about how to create a benefits package, where you are not kind of blase about it.
Another one of the pitfalls is that we don't make decisions ahead of time about what we want exactly and how to implement it. So I'm gonna share my strategies for that. And then another thing that we do is that, and I already talked about this is we choose things that don't really drive us and instead make us feel bad if we don't hit goals, if we're depriving ourselves of it. So here's how you can create your benefits package. The first thing is, is to check your mindset, come from a place of play. When you're doing this, this is fun. Let it be fun. We were meant to play and we have to decide to make space for play or it won't happen. Let this benefits package be a practice of curiosity about what you deeply desire, but may not acknowledge. Let it be a way for you to get to know yourself better and to find out what you really enjoy.
A lot of times we stop thinking about those things because there's just so much work and there's so much responsibility and we gotta keep going, going, going. So use this time, use this practice as a way to create some space for play, create a structure here. Okay, I'm gonna show you exactly how to do that. This is how I did it. If you have something else you wanna do, that's fine, but make it sharply defined or you will not follow through. So you can use a couple different structures. And that's what I'm doing. I have a quarterly bonus. So every quarter I hit my particular goal. It could be a monetary goal. It could be a billing goal. It could be a client goal, whatever it is, you will have that number set for each quarter, right? Like you have a full year of what you've decided your goal is or what you think you need to make partner.
Whatever that hour hour is. Our rate is, you know what? It is, divide that by four. That's how you know what your goal is for every single quarter. And then you can calendar it. So you remember to check in every quarter. So at the end of each quarter, you check in, okay, where am I on this particular goal that I have? Do I get a benefit from my benefits package? And then in addition to having a quarterly bonus, you can create yourself a yearly bonus. If you hit your hours, if you hit whatever numbers that you want, whatever your goal is, you can then have a special yearly bonus. And I'm gonna talk a little bit more about how I define these so that I can create a benefit that matches the goal that I had set. If there's anything else that you have a goal around, maybe you're not even focused on the hours.
Maybe you're not focused on the clients that you're bringing in, whatever it is. You can create bonuses for yourself. It could be off the top of my head, maybe, maybe you're doing a dating challenge. I don't know whatever it is. You can create bonuses. You go on 10 dates and quarter one and you get whatever it is and we'll break down what that might look like. So that you have an incentive to keep going. This is really up to you. We're creating structure for the time implementation. So that way you have an opportunity to put it in your calendar and remind yourself since you get busy, right? Like we all get busy and we don't think of it. And so if you have it marked in your calendar, if you have this in a place where, you know, you will see it, you will then make sure that you are giving yourself what you have outlined in your benefits package.
All right. The next thing I wanna talk to you about is giving yourself options. This is something I needed to do because I needed a very cleanly defined set of options for myself to choose from for my bonus. Or I would just let my brain go to, oh, I could do that. And then I never did that or I could do this, but I never did that. So even when I was hitting my goals, I just kind of let the goals pass. I'd celebrate 'em somewhat, but I wasn't really going to a benefits package and consciously saying, oh look, oh yeah, I get to have a spa day today. Like I get to do this cuz I hit my goal. This is so cool. Right? And giving myself that play time. So when you're giving yourself options, when you're looking at what you want to put in your benefits package, and I'm gonna give you an example of mine at the end.
So don't worry if this doesn't sound as crisp as you would, your, your brain can get around. I have something that I'm gonna share with you and you can play with that. But you wanna just outline, brainstorm things you wouldn't normally do for yourself, but sound fun. And for me, this took time, right? I needed to think on it. I needed to walk away. I had to come back later in. You can come back later in the day or the next day to it. Like this has just kind of been something in the last couple days. I let my brain have some fun with, I sat down, I wrote some ideas and then I just let my brain have some space. And I came up with some more ideas and it was, it was really fun to do. So I have put that all together and I will share that with you.
Now you also don't wanna spend a lot of time overthinking on this, just decide
I just never think of it. And it's not something that I have a habit of doing. So I put that as one of my options, ask yourself, what are some items that don't cost any money cost under a thousand dollars or $500, whatever limit you wanna put for that mid-range benefit and cost over a thousand dollars. That would be like your high level bonus, something that might go to your yearly goal. When you complete your yearly goal, you get this larger bonus for yourself. Maybe when you hit your quarterly, you get to choose between a low dollar or no dollar amount of items that you enjoy doing. So give yourself a lot of variety here, have some fun like reading alone or going to a coffee shop, right? Is maybe like five, 10 bucks. Right? If I decide I'm gonna spend four hours there, I sharply define exactly how much time I am going to be giving myself to just read alone in a coffee shop for four hours.
That is part of my benefit package. I am not kidding you. That is something that I get to choose or I can decide, okay, no, I wanna have a spa day. And the spa day is gonna include getting my nails done, getting massage. So just know you're gonna have options for yourself to choose from whatever your income level is, whatever your comfort level is with spending for benefits. Okay. Another question to ask yourself are any of the items that I placed on these lists, things that I'm gonna do anyway by anyway. So if I don't make my goal, I would be depriving myself or say something like I deserve it anyway, or, and then buy it out of a tantrum for not hitting the goal, recognize the difference. Right? So for instance, if I'm picking a high level goal, I get my yearly goal.
I achieve it. I'm giving myself a bonus and my bonus is a trip to Disneyland, right? Am I going to feel like I am depriving myself? If I don't commit to that trip? Or am I gonna go on that trip anyway, even if I don't hit that goal, then it's not really part of the benefits package. Then I'm just doing it and being like, well, screw the benefits package. I'm gonna do it anyway. Like having that little tantrum. So just recognize, is this something I'm gonna do anyway? Or is this really a fun treat? Is this really gonna be play? Right? So ask yourself that, so that when you are looking at these items, you can cross those things out and start coming up with new ideas. The next question to ask yourself is what do I notice about what I value? Do I value experiences over things I had originally as part of my benefits, B was to buy a pair of earrings.
Like whenever I brought in a new client or something like that. But I realized that I don't, that doesn't really light me up. It's not something that's like really exciting to me and I will buy the earrings anyway. So
I guess I'll put that as part of the benefits package. That's not fun. Don't do that. So recognize like what it is that you value and what it is that you really enjoy versus things that you think you should be doing and then ask yourself, are the things that you listed for you or for someone else, make sure they are for you. If you're listing a Disneyland trip as your big bonus, is this something you are gonna enjoy or is it just gonna be for your kids? Are you planning a big trip and your kids are of course invited and this trip is really about you celebrating or is it really gonna be about making your kids happy? And you're not gonna be very happy.
It's not gonna be your bonus. So design this around what you want, things that you want, not necessarily things that you need, but things that you really desire. So for instance, if you're thinking about, well, I should be getting things for the kitchen, right? Cause I really wanna get some nice dishes and you know, my family will really like them that you don't really care about the dishes. You just think you should be getting them, then maybe that's not your best benefit package. Right. Just kind of think about this you'll know best. You will know when you are buying something or making something as part of your benefits package out of obligation versus something that sounds really fun for you. And then I like to go through these and ask myself, okay, do any of these sound really boring to me? And I think that I really just should want them, but I don't really just go through them, take a look and weigh them.
This is really something you want. All right. I think I've got that covered. The next thing to do is to implement, and this is the tough part, right? Because we can have the best intentions of all of these questions that you just answered. We can have the best intentions and then not implement. So the very first thing that I want to stress here is being very specific. So after you do the work that I just went through with all of the different items that you can have for your low level mid-level and high level bonuses, I will share with you that I personally gave myself three options under each of them because a, I will negotiate with myself and say, well, I could do this. Well, I could do that. And then my brain will go into confusion and it won't do any of it.
So for me, I created three, zero or low cost bonuses for myself, three mid-level bonuses, right? Like cost under a thousand dollars. And then I'm also going to create, I've created one right now. Actually, no, that's not true. I do have three. I have three high level bonuses so I can choose one of those three. My brain does not have to do any more thinking. It just looks, it decides, okay, that's what we need to be able to do. Make it very concise. We do this work once we pick, we go. And then the next thing is, is that to create a boundary for yourself around when you implement. So for the low level mid-level decisions for your benefit packages decide within two weeks, you will take use of that bonus. You will actually be doing that bonus. You're gonna go to the coffee shop and read.
You're gonna go to the nail salon. You're gonna get a massage, whatever it is you're gonna implement within two weeks of earning that bonus. Okay. Doesn't mean you don't take it afterwards. You can of course take it afterwards. But it's really helpful if we constrain our brain and just say, no, I am gonna do this now. And then for the high level bonuses, at least plan, have the dates set for taking advantage of that high level bonus. So if you have a Disneyland trip planned, then you're gonna wanna actually schedule that, put that time on your calendar within two weeks of earning that bonus. I like this, this works for me because otherwise I won't do it. I will forget. And then mark your calendar quarter one quarter, two quarter three, quarter four, have I hit my quarterly goal? And then at the end of the year, have I hit my yearly goal and make sure you have these goals written down, okay, know what they are ahead of time.
So, you know what you're working towards. Part of implementing any benefits package is having your regular perks and your regular perks might be something like having two days off. It might be having six weeks of vacation to be used whenever you choose plan these ahead of time. Like I know that, you know, lawyers with the whole two days off, that's kind of an iffy thing.
What kinds of scheduling things do I need to implement? What kind of client calls do I need to make sure that I have done? And when should I do them in order to prevent a client from following up on a matter on the weekend. So think about these things ahead of time. So you can implement your regular perks, same thing with the vacation plan, that vacation ahead of time. Don't put that off and decide for those weeks of vacation, whatever it is that you have through your office, whatever you're deciding for yourself, if you own your own practice, decide what you're gonna do ahead of time. Because if you don't, you may just forget it. And I am not even kidding about this. I had a client forget to take her vacation because she didn't plan what she was gonna do. It just kind of flew right by.
She didn't even think about it. It wasn't, it was kind of on her calendar, but she had work on her calendar too. So just notice if you are doing that, you are really depriving yourself of the time that is of your benefit package and is a regular perk. Regular perk can also be having coffee every day. So just like take note of what you want your regular perks to be all right, quarter one through quarter four goals, right? You take your yearly goal, divide it by four. And there you have every single quarter, you know exactly what your goal is and then implement the bonus in the benefit package. I already said this within two weeks, if it's a smaller benefit and then make sure it's planned two weeks, if it's a larger benefit, decide ahead of time what those are. You've already got that if you did, you answered those questions that I gave you, you know exactly what you wanna do and then make some rules for yourself.
And I'm gonna give you an example. If, if you have a brain like mine, who likes to put things off. So let me give you the example of my benefit package. So you can see what it is that I am doing, and then you can kind of play with it, run with it, make it your own. All right. So I own my own business. So I want a business retreat as part of my benefits package. So this will be half yearly. It could be at a coffee shop or it could be at an Airbnb. It could be some wherever I want it to be. I've given myself a couple options and then I can do certain things. And so I included meditation, walks, yoga, hikes, reviewing what I loved and what I worked on in this PA past quarter, what my results were reviewing, what I don't wanna do in the future and what I might wanna change for the next quarter and connecting with what I wanna create in the next six months.
So I will make this last, any time between three to four days and maybe even a week, if I decide that ahead of time, now that's just one part of my perks, right? Another part of my perks are my vacation time. So I have Fridays and Saturdays off and I've put parameters around what's okay. Right. Is it okay for me to post on Instagram? Yes. If I've planned that ahead of time, it's been pre-made content, right? So I can do that. I will take two weeks off in the first and the second half of the year, but I've gotta do this in advance, right? So I really have to create rules for myself. These were my rules. So this will be scheduled in advance to give your clients notice. You will block this time off on your consult page. You will calendar time to create podcasts for the time off.
And you can use popular replays too. If that's what you decide, you'll bring up relevant dates with your clients. When a client signs close to the date of vacation, it's okay. You will give them the content that they need via email. As soon as they sign up, you can use your two weeks off, however you see fit. But computer time is only to get coached. Check email one time per day, phone use limited to quick posts, fun posts, friends, and family. And you will calendar time to pre-plan and automate if possible posts. So you see what I mean? Like I had to really think about where does my brain wanna argue with even taking time off
Even if you're working at a firm right now, you have vacation time as part of your package, what rules do you wanna make for yourself on vacation? I had a client recently, she went on vacation. This was the very first time she'd ever done this, but she had made rules for herself too. She decided ahead of time that she would get the work done that needed to be done prior to going on that week of vacation. She decided that she was going to make her week. When she came back as easy as possible and make, do whatever work she needed to be done ahead of time. She decided that she did not want to be contacted by email. And so she made it very clear on her away message that to call her. They would need to actually pick up a phone and talk to her because she was on vacation to make it kind of difficult for people to interrupt her when she was on vacation.
And because she didn't bring her laptop, she wasn't constantly checking emails. She was checking emails occasionally, but nowhere near what she would do before she recognized she did not wanna be checking email during this time. So if you know that your brain gets squirrly around vacation time, make some rules that will create comfort for yourself. This is what I did. Okay. Another idea, right? When you're looking at your quarterly bonuses, when you're looking at those mid-level bonuses is how I've been referring to them throughout the podcast. So when I made a quarterly goal, I get to choose what I want. I get to choose a spa day, which is massage and nails. Cuz those are not things that I usually do. So I wouldn't feel deprived if I didn't have them. I just think it's a really cool bonus. Like, oh, Hey, I get to do that.
Neat. And then dinner out with the person of my choosing at a really fancy restaurant and I might still do this on my own, but this is just like an extra bonus for me. It's like, okay, cool. I get to have that. And then another quarterly bonus is up to six hours unless it's no longer fun reading at a coffee shop on a usual Workday or usual day off, whatever I want to decide, I just get to sit and have coffee and do nothing else and I get to be alone. So those are ideas for you to kind of get your brain working on your quarterly goals. But what about those big goals? The yearly goals. So for me, there's a couple things I've been putting off and I think it would be really fun if I just made it happen, but I'm not gonna do it necessarily unless I hit a big goal.
Cause it's not like a big priority for me. It just sounds super fun. So for me, I really wanna go to there's a Harry Potter world. I think it's with universal in Florida. That's one place I really wanna go. I am always down to go to Disneyland, but I wanna go during one of those special holidays cause I love the decorations. So I would, I would pick like Christmas, I would pick Halloween, but it would be one of those season seasonal times to go to Disneyland. So I would pick something like that for my bonus. That might not be something that would interest you, but I'm a total nerd and I love star wars. So I would totally go to Disneyland at a drop of a hat. So pick something that isn't gonna feel like a deprivation if you don't go. But sounds super fun if you do get the opportunity and you wanna make that as part of your bonus, because that's the whole point of this.
The whole point of this is to have fun, to infuse fun into your practice, into your goal, setting into everything that you do with work. Because just making those kinds of shifts will make everything in your practice. Just a little bit more fun and pleasant. And you'll be like, yes, that is just one step closer to my trip to Disneyland or my spa day or whatever it is. I would love to hear some of your examples about what you want in your benefits package. I wanna hear your ideas. So if you come to Instagram, find me at Dina dot Cataldo and message me. Tell me what you want, what you're planning on in your benefits package and anything else that you think of because I wanna share these with people, give people ideas and just keep this conversation going. So find me on Instagram at Dina dot Cataldo. And if you're my client, I'm gonna be sending you something special on this particular topic soon. So keep an eye out on your inboxes and if you're not my client yet what's happening. Book a call with me and we will get started. You can book a call at Dena cataldo.com/strategy session. All right, my friend have fun creating your benefits package. Bye.