It would be wonderful if there were a quick-and-easy formula you could use to balance the time required to build your practice with the time that you’d like to spend with your family.
Ideally, there would be a recipe you could use to get it all going, successfully establish your practice, and help thousands of patients—all while having enough time to spend with your family, take vacations, and relax.
But that’s an impossible dream.
Although you may not want to hear it, you can’t do it all. When you’re first getting started, you may need to make sacrifices to get your business off the ground and start making enough money to hire staff to do things for you.
You may need to work long hours, stay late, or come in on the weekends to treat patients who can’t make it during the workweek. You may have to put off your annual vacation and work through the summer months even though you’d rather be outside. And you know what? That’s fine.
When I first opened my practice, I needed to be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., five days a week (with additional hours on Saturdays). To be successful, I needed to be available to patients who would come in the evenings or on the weekend.
I needed to work 60-plus hours a week just to get things going, even though I would have rather been with my wife and children at home. And while it would be easy for me to look back and say, “I would do things differently now,” I don’t think there’s an easy way to get through this initial period when you’re getting started. It is a difficult but necessary time.
To everything there is a season
Whether you’re just getting started or running a thriving practice, you will have to work a lot—and there’s no way around this. As an old expression has it, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Rather than fighting against the work that needs to be done, come to terms with this phase of your life. Set goals and do everything you can to reach them. Track your numbers, train your staff, and make sure you’re tracking the success of your marketing campaigns. These habits will help to grow your practice and make it easier to balance the personal and professional sides of your life in the future.
Over time, your hard work will start to pay off. As your practice grows, you’ll be able to afford additional staff members, and this will free up time to spend with your family.
You won’t need to come in quite so early to open the clinic, and you’ll be able to delegate some of the work that needs to be done on the weekends or evenings. Things will get easier.
Time or money
When you are initially building your practice, you’ll find that you either have time or money, but rarely both. While your practice is growing, you’ll have to invest a lot of time to start making money. Eventually, there will come a time when you have enough money to spend on new staff, which will free you up to spend time with your family.
You’ll put in the time to get the money, and then you’ll put in the money (hiring people) so that’ll you have time. But, if you’re doing this right, you should be building your practice and steadily increasing your income, making this tradeoff less and less painful over time. Eventually, this cycle should balance out, and though you’ll still have to make tradeoffs, you will find that you have enough money and enough time. Getting there isn’t easy, but it is worth the effort.
Okay, maybe just one rule . . .
Decide what your priorities are and remain focused on those key things. During different phases of your life—whether you’re newly married, having children, or achieving other life milestones—your priorities are certain to change accordingly. But as long as you’re setting goals for each area of your life and working steadily toward those goals, it will be hard to go wrong.
Your goals may change as your life changes and your practice grows, but having goals is the one thing that should remain constant.
Todd G. Singleton , DC, is an author, speaker, and consultant in practice for more than 25 years. He has an all-cash nutrition practice in Utah specializing in nutrition. He teaches fellow chiropractors how to implement nutritional protocols to their practices. He can be contacted at 801-917-0900 or through drsingletonsarticles.com.