If you’ve been dreaming about graduating from chiropractic college and becoming your own boss, you’re not alone. But starting your own practice isn’t for everyone – it’s hard work and many new doctors are not cut out for it; they become associates.
Starting a new practice can be scary. Here are a few important things to keep in mind before you take the plunge. If you’re wondering if starting a practice is right for you, ask yourself the following nine questions and see if you can answer “yes” to each one.
- Can I be a student every day? Your education doesn’t stop in college. To be successful, you need to keep learning, experiencing, and absorbing all the knowledge you can. Prepare yourself for greatness by keeping your mind conditioned with fresh knowledge and new challenges.
- Can I direct my own work? With a new-practice business coach giving you guidance and feedback, you won’t need to figure out for yourself where your energies should go, what isn’t worth spending time on, and how to course- correct when something isn’t going well. With a startup coach this step will not be hard, and your livelihood depends on you getting it right.
- Am I comfortable marketing myself? You might be fantastic at patient care, but if you aren’t willing to pitch yourself to potential patients, you might not make a viable income. Have you thought through what it will take to market yourself to your community?
- Do I have a strong referral network? If you are a student or an associate, do you have potential patient sources lined up as well as people who will refer you to potential patients? If not, learn how to find both patients and referral sources. Setting off on your own is easier when you know how to develop a network of people who will refer to you.
- Can I handle working alone? You probably won’t have other DCs working with you, at least not in the beginning. If you’re someone who enjoys the camaraderie and energy of working with other DCs, you’ll miss it after you start working solo.
- Do I have savings? If you’re like most DCs, it will take a while – potentially months – before enough money starts coming in to pay all of your bills. Meanwhile, you’ll need savings to live on and capital to get you started.
- Can I handle financial uncertainty? If you like to know exactly when your next check will arrive and how much it will be for, working for yourself will definitely make you nervous. New DCs tend to have ebbs and flows in their income and sometimes go long periods without checks coming in. Could you handle that without too much anxiety?
- Am I good at running a business? Are you prepared to do your own staff training, accounting, IT work, and other functions, or hire someone to do them for you? Running your own practice isn’t just about the care you’re providing patients; you’ll also need to take care of the business elements, too.
- Am I comfortable asking for money? Whether you’re quoting prices to patients without flinching, holding firm when someone asks for a discount, or following up on an overdue invoice, you’ll need to assert yourself in the money arena.
Before you launch your new practice, make sure you’ve thought through the questions above and can to answer them with a confident “yes.”