The old adage of “if you love what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life.” I’m starting to really believe that this is a true statement and something that people should try to attain.
As some people reading this may or may not know; I worked for a clinic before I started my own practice. I chalk this experience up to a learning experience. I had a certain vision of how I wanted to practice when I got out of school and this practice is what I thought I wanted. Turns out, it was the exact opposite of what I wanted. Kristina and I made a decision about six months in, that it was time to come to some hard truths. If I kept practicing with how I was going, I would have been out of the profession in a few years. I was miserable. We consulted a few attorneys’ and decided to make a run at it.
I will never forget talking to my mother-in-law and her saying, “if you fail, you can always just start all over again.” So that was kind of my motto for the first couple years in practice on my own. The money can get tight but ultimately I was happy running my own office and I was able to sleep soundly at night. I told myself that I was going to run a low pressure practice that treated musculoskeletal problems and concentrated on adjusting people and doing some modalities/therapies. I love my patients but most don’t want to be in the office for more than 20-25 minutes, tops.
Along the way, I found a niche, which has more or less taken off for me. I’m a firm believer that everyone that is starting a practice should have some sort of niche that they enjoy and can mix the day up a little bit. I do DOT physicals, it’s a service that is required for people that have a CDL and it can build on itself. I do a quality physical at a reasonable price and local companies and drivers have figured out that it can be convenient to schedule with our office.
Over the course of building a practice, you will make questionable decisions, but overall over the past 7 years, Kristina and I have made some life altering decisions that have played to our benefit. We paid off student loans, as a young chiropractor you should seriously consider doing this, it’s worth it (follow the link to see what interest you can qualify for: http://refer.credible.com/tHX6Tp. Buying a practice was another big decision, while not for everyone; this allowed us to grow exponentially and started us on a path towards building a practice and life that we can be proud of.
The year that I worked in a practice that was not my own, I vowed to myself that whatever course I was going to take, I was going to be able to sleep well at night. I wasn’t going to have lengthy, expensive treatment plans that may or may not get the patient better. You can justify this argument either way, but when I go to bed at night, the fear of an insurance audit or a malpractice suit are not real high on my thought list because I treat the patients that I’m capable of treating with the necessary care and refer out the others that I’m not comfortable with. I’m truthful to a fault, if you want to know my opinion; you’re going to get it, if you ask. I’m not very good at sugar coating things.
While some days can be tedious and boring at the offices, the majority are highly rewarding with genuine conversation, interactions and treatment of people that come through the door. Personal satisfaction is a huge morale booster. I set out to build a practice that my family and I can be proud of. I feel that we are accomplishing this and will continue to strive for this standard. My secretaries are comfortable collecting payment from people because they do not feel that we are taking advantage of people and I’m not embarrassed to go out into the community and tell people what I do for a living.
The moral of this story, set out on a path that you trust and believe in. Stick with it, give it time and you will reap the rewards. Yes, there is risk involved but just be proud of what you do and know that sometimes doing the right thing with not necessarily make you the most money.