4 Lessons Nobody Tells You about Running Your Own Practice

Entrepreneur Roller coaster

Let’s be honest, being a practitioner and owning your own business can feel like a roller coaster a journey.  And just like every trip, there are challenges that come with it.  But nobody teaches you these lessons unless you are running your own practice.

From the outside looking in, everything seems wonderful:  a beautiful clinic space, great clinical training, and you are great with helping people.  But, like still water that runs deep, unexpected things happen in your practice.  Moments such as lack of new patients/clients, unexpected life happenings (kids, divorce, etc), recessions, and even unplanned pandemics. The situations can make hurdles and obstacles bigger than they might seem.

Running a business isn’t easy, and running your own practice is even harder. Even if you do start and have been in practice for some time, it doesn’t mean the race is over yet until you retire, sell the practice, or shut down.

Lesson #1: You Had to Become an Entrepreneur, Quickly

The scariest part about owning and running your own practice is that many times you may feel have felt like you’ve had to figure things out yourself and wear so many different hats…even when you didn’t/don’t know what you’re doing.

People may not understand you.  Your parents or significant other may have said things to you like, “when are you going to start to make more money?  You went through all this schooling…”  Or you’ve come up with all these great ideas but can’t seem to figure out how to get it all happening.  At least not to the point where you are busy (or where the busy-ness matches your bank account)

When you started, probably nobody taught you the first thing about starting a business (what they taught you in school wasn’t enough).  You needed to learn a lot of other things on your own and quickly.

How to get all administrative things done?  What legal issues surround my practice in the area?  How am I going to have a good workflow to treat patients in an effective and efficient way?  When do I have time to do all that when I am trying to have consistent patients walk in through the door?  How to market the business? 

Sound familiar? Like most practice owners, you had to learn a lot of these things on your own.

But you know why you got into this line of work, and 99% of the time it is to help people and try to provide them with options other than just general (western) medicine.

Experiencing these obstacles have made you appreciate your goals and the natural path that needs to be taken to achieve them. 

Lesson #2:  You Need to Figure Out how to Set Yourself Apart

What sets you apart? This is a big question because your patients, clients, and people whom you talk to want to know that. 

Ever notice how your job isn’t just healing patients, but also educating them on the benefits of your practice?
Educating Patients

This becomeseven more important especially during these COVID-19 times when people may be more tight with their money.

Remember, most times people who have not worked with you before often don’t fully understand the scope of it.  They rely on you to explain it to them. They might ask you about what you do, why you got into this, and try to understand. 

If you don’t get your message across well, you may lose them and it will just be a good conversation you had that didn’t amount to anything.  Educating all those people who have no idea how you can help is your job because it is vital to the success of your business.

In short, figuring out what sets you apart from the rest and communicating it effectively allows you to attract more patients and referrals. 

Lesson #3: That One Time You Spoke About Money

Has this ever happened to you?  You step out to realize your front desk staff isn’t around (or you don’t have one yet), you answer the phone, and had to speak about money directly.  This happens:

Patient: What’s your rate?

You (anxiously speaking cause we hate talking about money): oh…… um, …..it is not….….um ……..ok, It is __x$____/visit.

Patient: Wow, that’s expensive, I could have gone to a real doctor instead.


Rude Patients

I get it, the conversation about money can be a real challenge for a lot of practitioners. It is going to come down to how much you value your practice vs how much your patient values your practice. 

This doesn’t have to be you.  In the Consistent Patients Makeover Mentorship for Introverts, one of the first things we help you with is branding yourself in an aligned way and how to communicate your value.  Aligned to your own self-expression and goals for your practice.

After all, this is an important part of every business, and when you don’t know how to communicate your value effectively, people won’t even call.  And you may hear “I can’t afford it” more than you really should be from potential patients/clients.  When you dial this in, you can easily double your practice’s revenue

Lesson #4:  Getting MD or other practitioner referrals is a nice thing!

Many acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, or functional medicine practitioners unfortunately don’t often ask for MD referrals.  But referrals from MDs can be a great way to attract patients into the practice.  Many of them have patients you can help right now, especially since it may take awhile for patients to be able to get in their office (because of staggering patients), or if you’re in a state where there are more COVID-19 restrictions and certain surgeries are not available.  They need you now more than ever!

And I get it. You may be either too shy or intimidated to reach out to MDs.  Or you’re not sure what to say or do to start getting referrals.

Getting MD ReferralsEventually you start thinking you need more patients.  You put yourself out there, start handing business cards to people you get in touch with, people you meet and other doctors and there seems to be some interest but no calls, no new patients and no visits.

It’s easier than you think actually. There are some great strategies you can use to get more referrals from MDs. You can even check some of the them out here:

This Simple Strategy Doubled this Practitioner’s Referrals from Doctors

The pandemic affected a lot of people, especially many LAcs, DCs, NDs, and functional medicine practitioners. There are unique challenges that come with running a practice like a business.  It’s challenging if you’ve been going at it alone.  Or if you’ve had help, you need a different perspective and a new system in place that’s working in this climate.

If you believe in making the most out of your God-given gifts and be helping more people who need you, then get in touch with us and see how we can help.  Book your FREE Double My Practice Revenue Strategy Session

Chen Yen, 6 & 7-Figure Practice Makeover Mentor

Chen Yen

Need to make up for the income you lost out on because of being closed? Ready for your practice to pick up? 
Book your FREE practice assessment now

Or, want to bring in another stream of income beyond seeing patients in person?

There’s a reason why people like the recent President of American Association for Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), Board Member of American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA), former Board Member of American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), and Past President of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA)-Sports Council work with us. 

Our mission is to wake up the planet and change the way we treat illness and health. This can happen only if more acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, and functional medicine practitioners get the word out there.

Your patients need you.

The most passionate visionary and spiritual practitioners come to us to fast track their growth.

If you are ready to fast track your practice growth
(even during these times) and have a practice you’re proud of….

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