It’s Easter Sunday, at least for most of the world. I’m Greek Orthodox, and our Easter is next week, so today is our Palm Sunday, which means tomorrow is Chocolate Bunnies and Peeps on Sale Day! Whatever your religion or beliefs, it is a time to reflect on life’s journey since last year, and the new lessons learned along the way. I know I haven’t posted a blog since Christmas because (thankfully) I’ve been too busy, so for inspiration, I looked all the way back to one of my first blogs (Reflections after Week One), and made a few modifications:
There are a lot of good people out there who want you to be successful. I already thanked the people who helped me get started, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the people who helped me keep it going- besides Stacey and Benny, of course! Special mention to Jessica Browning Schraufnagel from St. David’s, Kristen Largent from Ascension Seton, and Cindy Gall from Austin Cyberknife for introducing me to primary care providers that have been sending me patients, Crystal Lilley Boynton from AthenaHealth for her unwavering support, Zack Ragsdale from Catalyst Consulting for convincing me that (almost) every insurance is worth taking the first year, and finally my accountant Greg Caudell, who was (and still is) the steady voice of calm optimism when I would “occasionally” freak out about how bad I thought things were going.
Sometimes, you have to do this alone. Business startups are all about controlling costs, which means you can’t pay people just to sit around, waiting for the phone to ring. That means everyone has to wear many hats, including you, Doctor, so when all your phone lines are busy, or you give your employees the afternoon off, you have to be willing to occasionally wear the receptionist hat and answer the phone yourself. When I first started doing this, I was worried that patients would find it weird or unsettling. However, I soon realized that it gave me a closer connection to my patients that they never experienced before, and while they are initially caught off-guard when I answer the phone, they appreciate that it is not somehow beneath me to talk to them. Additionally, I have also gained a much deeper appreciation of what my employees have to endure.
Not everyone should do this. Contrary to my original blog, I have to admit that starting your own medical practice is not for everyone. These days, there are serious headwinds, and you have to have serious stomach lining to put up with the ups and downs. You also have to be comfortable with the fact that you will not be able to pay yourself for at least 1.5 to 2 years. I heard this from multiple sources in different industries, and I didn’t want to believe it, but it’s true. Save it up, borrow it, or pay yourself from a previous startup, but plan on being the last one paid. I am glad to say I am well on my way, and it has not changed my opinion of whether or not this was the right decision for me. Hands-down, I would do this again, and I have already started to coach others on how to do the same successfully, but this is one of the first pearls of wisdom I share with them.
And with that, I hope you all enjoyed a joyous Easter with your family, and I look forward to doing the same, while feasting on roasted lamb, next weekend!