How to Think Like an Entrepreneur When You Are a Clinician in Private Practice
A guest post by Jo Muirhead
Have you noticed that there is a lot of talk about being an Entrepreneur when you are the owner of a private practice?
If you are a clinician in private practice for yourself, do you think of yourself as an Entrepreneur?
I certainly didn’t. I initially thought of myself as self employed and over the past 7 or so years I have thought of myself as a business owner, but an Entrepreneur, hmmm I didn’t think that fit me.
Isn’t an Entrepreneurs someone who is on Shark Tank, aren’t they people who make a gazillion dollars and have investors? Don’t they take massive risks with other people’s money, time and lives?
Health professionals by training and practice, and because of the incredible importance of the work we do with people, are by nature risk averse and process oriented. We have many checks, balances and compliances to ensure we maintain standards of patient care.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers.
To be successful in business there must be a level of risk taking which means a level of being ok with failure and making mistakes.
Make mistakes as a clinician and people can be harmed.
Make mistakes as an Entrepreneur and you may end up changing the world for good.
Health professionals and Entrepreneurs appear to be on two different ends of the mindset spectrum. Being both an Entrepreneur and a clinician at the same time is difficult. The health professional who is a business owner must bring these two conflicting paradigms together.
We know successful Entrepreneurs and business owners are all risk takers; often throwing caution to the wind and making decisions and taking opportunities quickly.
Successful Entrepreneurs can change in a split second and turn on a dime when new information is presented to them.
Further, successful Entrepreneurs make decisions with maybe 65% of needed information and just work the rest out along the way. This somehow feels incompatible to clinical decision making when we are talking about our client’s. I don’t know about you, but I want a whole lot more certainty than this when making recommendations for my client’s.
What happens when the health professional (the clinician) and the entrepreneur collide?
This appears to be at the core of why some health professionals can become successful Entrepreneurs and business owners and others get so stuck in the process of trying to build a business. How do we manage the internal conflict between?
- Risk averse and risk taker?
- Caution and courage to make change quickly and often?
- Being conservative and being radical?
This is where I see many health professionals give up and get it wrong – they apply their clinical decision-making model to their business, to Entrepreneurship.
It simply can’t work for long. It will get them so far, but it’s terribly limited.
They will be limited to selling time for money or training sessions for a fee. They will be stuck in transactional service delivery. I don’t want this for you, because you have more in you than that!
How do you learn to be an Entrepreneur?
To get good at this you need to practice.
You need to hang out with people who think differently, who don’t make clinical decisions all day long.
You need to place yourself in an environment where you can learn to take risks in your business; where problems can be solved as they arise, because problems will come. It’s just what you do to solve them is the difference between success now and success later.
You need to learn to take risks and learn that risk taking is not bad. However, you need to know what you can risk and what you shouldn’t risk. This is where having the right supports around you is imperative.
Myself, and many of my clients are examples of how health professionals can become successful Entrepreneurs and business owners. Now, I will admit not all my clients have made it. There have been a couple who have become stuck in the need to be safe – and that’s OK. Being a business owner or in private practice isn’t for everyone. But there are a lot more of us who could be successful in business.
It’s time for us to stop thinking old school.
Like the old school clinician. I am NOT saying it’s time to stop practicing clinical decision making, nor am I saying it’s time to stop being professional or ethical. No in fact we need to be all these things, AND more.
We need to understand that Entrepreneurial thinking in western workplaces is a new literacy.
Just like reading, writing, clinical knowledge and the use of digital technologies, Entrepreneurial thinking is now an expected mindset for employees as well as business owners.
Entrepreneurial thinking is not just for those internet business owners’ who dream of a laptop lifestyle.
I’ve been working through the concepts of being a clinician and an Entrepreneur as I write my Book, The Entrepreneurial Clinician (working title?).
Here are 5 of the 10 mindset shifts I think we can make to help us be more Entrepreneurial while maintaining our clinical integrity.
When we engage in entrepreneurial thinking we will notice some incredible results:
- We will become confident in differentiating ourselves in the market, allowing the client’s we are best suited to work with to find us and engage with us.
- We will feel happy and fulfilled in our work because we are doing work we love, the way we love to do it, while helping the people we are best positioned to serve.
- We will start to experience the FREEDOM and flexibility that we have dreamed of for so long.
If we are going to be different and make a difference in the lives of our client’s and their communities, we all need to start thinking differently. We can’t solve the problems we are facing, with old thinking. What is exciting is that all of us know how to think and think critically. That was one of the most powerful gifts we received through graduation.
It’s time for the change, and you can do it, one mindset shift at a time.
Go back over that list of five I’ve included in this blog post, choose one, and have a go at practicing it for the next month. Just 1, for a month. You won’t always get it “right” and you won’t always get it wrong, that’s way we call it practice.
If you’re keen to be one of the first people to know when my book is completed and available, head on over the JoMuirhead.com and sign up for the guide “ How to Find Freedom in your private practice”. Once I have your email I will be able to let you know how you can be one of the first people to get your hands on this book when its done.
As always, here’s to your success!
Who is Jo Muirhead?
Jo is a Consultant, speaker and business mentor for the health and wellness industry. As the owner and principal rehabilitation consultant at Purple Co (www.PurpleCo.com.auhttp://www.purpleco.com.au/), Jo understands the challenges and obstacles faced by health and wellness business owners first hand. She applies the learnings and successes she has had in her own business to that of her clients, showing them that they can effectively market their business, increase their revenue, and enjoy the work they do. For more information visit www.jomuirhead.com.
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