I've worked as an associate for the last seven years and I'm ready to spread my wings. Do you have any advice for making the leap?
Whether you're going to start from scratch or purchase an existing practice, one of the most important details is your marketing plan. In other words, what's your initial and ongoing strategy to build and cultivate a steady stream of new patients to your enterprise?
If you've been a "kept" associate and haven't had to generate your own new patient flow you're at a distinct disadvantage. It means you may underestimate what it takes to generate new patients. Perhaps your marketing muscle has never been developed. Figuring this out while facing the pressures of caring for patients and running a business can be stressful.
Related to this is your personality. Introverts often have a more difficult time at marketing than extroverts. And while a personality transplant isn't possible, knowing that your inclination isn't to speak first, avoid small talk and loathe taking emotional risks that put yourself out there can be a handicap. Not insurmountable, but you'll want to accommodate this in your plans.
Just to be clear. Having great hands and producing delighted patients will NOT be enough to self-generate your new practice. Helpful, but insufficient. Further, the "build it and they will come" mantra was just a clever line from a 1989 movie. It's not true.
So back to marketing and what I'll call self-development.
Regardless of your personality you'll want to have top shelf digital marketing. Besides a high-converting website that creates an emotional connection with prospective new patients, you'll want to be active on social media, systematically get positive patient reviews and effectively use email. If done expertly, by either you or a trusted partner, it can substitute for giving talks, seminars, schmoozing with other vitalistic practitioners and introducing yourself at the local networking group.
But you still have the issue of your tableside manners. This is your ability to project confidence, trust, hope and empathy. We introverts tend to live in our heads, so it'll require a new sense of mindfulness about the importance of sharing your internal dialogue to supply the reassurance patients need, want and deserve.
I've known some very successful introverted chiropractors who have been able to compensate for their tendency to be non-communicative. Many of them credit it to the self-development work that they've invested in. Some of the opportunities that I know about include:
Toastmasters - Even if you have no interest in becoming a public speaker, practicing in a small, supportive environment can be helpful. Besides giving you greater poise, the ability to artfully string a series of sentences together and think on your feet will improve virtually every aspect of your life. Your report of findings will be snappier and your consultations more consultative.
The Breakthrough Experience - This is one of many programs taught by Dr. John Demartini. He regularly takes small groups through his collapse process that heals neglected emotional wounds, parent issues and other emotional traumas that are often unknowingly at the root of many personal growth challenges.
Landmark Education - I found this work to be a watershed in my life. Seems it would be especially valuable for professional caregivers. Besides emerging with a new awareness about how language and self-talk shape our reality, you'll finally get that "it's not about you." This offers a new sense of ease and freedom as you go about serving the public. Especially those who often don't value their health.
NET and EFT - Whether you have an allergic reaction to being vulnerable, resent the duties of being a small business owner or some other unseen emotional scotoma, a talented Neuro Emotional Technique practitioner can be helpful. Similarly, consulting an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner or learning it yourself can unlock new, healthier ways of being.
You can do this. Countless thousands already have. But don't overlook areas of weakness or ignore some of the softer stuff that can become stumbling blocks later, sabotaging your success.
Running a small business can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. Or it can be a joyless, burdensome obligation working for a tyrant. You. The difference? It's often from a lack of self-knowledge, our relationship with risk or an willingness to grow—or grow up.
Thanks for the question!