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Don’t Sell Yourself Short

I want to motivate you to practice the medicine you believe in, even if you think you can’t—and definitely if others think you can’t. Don’t sell yourself short in medicine because no other profession allows their professionals this much flexibility. I’ll prove it to you in the words below.

You Don’t Have to Be an Entrepreneur

I don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Are you starting a brand new healthcare startup and trying to get VC funding? Then, you are on the wrong website. Trying to open a primary care clinic or specialty clinic? I guarantee you that you don’t need entrepreneurial skills to achieve that.

If you’re a GI doctor and want to open a private practice, whether cash-based or insurance-based, you need an office, a front desk, and a contract with a nearby surgery center to perform your procedures. Anything beyond this is not worth worrying about.

True, getting insurance contracts isn’t easy, but not impossible. Building a cash-based practice may not earn you $700K a year, but you’ll have a Tesla and a house on Pill Hill.

What you need is the willingness to make mistakes and learn from them. And you must be willing to learn some basic organizational skills, which you can acquire yourself or hire someone to teach them to you, whom you’re willing to listen to.

Lawsuits Aren’t The End of The World

But I don’t wanna get sued by a disgrunted patient or end up like you before the medical board.

  • Could you imagine being sued and coming out okay on the other end?
  • What are all the different things that could happen to us that are far worse than a lawsuit?

Lawsuits in medicine are inevitable. Say this out loud with me, “I just found out I got sued. I am the doctor who is going through a lawsuit. I’m going to have to show up to court on Monday with my lawyer.”

Hundreds of thousands of doctors have gotten sued before you, and they are alive to talk about it. It isn’t easy, but neither are hemorrhoids, herniated discs, breakups, or death of a loved one. And yet, we all make it out alive in the end.

There is a lot of support for all of us going through this stuff. There are awesome attorneys who care and state medical boards who want to work with you and care about you as a doctor in their community. That’s the truth.

Burnout is Mostly Situational

I’m so fucking burnt out in this piece of shit job with these POS bosses that the idea of going into something potentially as shitty overwhelms me with feculent feelings!

  • Could your burnout be cured by staying longer at your current job?
  • Could a higher income cure your burnout?
  • Do you hate all aspects of medicine or just how you are practicing medicine now?

Burnout is a psychological issue that has to be dealt with completely, irrespective of your situation. However, certain situations are toxic to recovery, and recovery is always possible.

Your own private practice can be run focused solely on profits, which has a high chance of adding to burnout, or it can be run with sustainability in mind. I would say it’s your choice, but I know it’s not always an easy choice.

Doctors, Lawyers, Plumbers, Mechanics, Electricians

To have your own business you need to have a certain something that you’re either born with or you learned from your parents. So many businesses fail in their first year.

  • Where do your business beliefs come from?
  • Are your fears based on evidence-based data, or did you pick it up from popular media?
  • Do you think the demand for medical care is too low for your business to take off?

Go to a trade school and get licensed & bonded to become an electrician, and all you need is a mobile truck to show up to people’s homes and fix shit. Even with horrible organization and communication skills, most electricians are making their income.

Plumbers, the same. After a few years of working at a shop, learning the ropes, and collecting enough tools, mechanics can open their own shop. It’s a tough business, no doubt, but there are lots of great auto mechanic shops.

Finally, a doctor who has done some work for others has already learned which patients they get along with, what situations stress them out, and which clinical cases they enjoy dealing with the most. That’s the meat of a successful private practice.

If you’re opening a cash-based clinic, you’ll need to do some marketing or give it enough time for word of mouth to spread. If you are contracting with insurance companies, you can open an office in any medical building, and you’ll get more patients than you ever wanted.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

It feels overwhelming and alone running my own practice.

  • Is the fear of loneliness because you think you won’t be able to handle the work and responsibility?
  • Are you afraid there is something you won’t be able to figure out on your own?
  • Do you feel someone out there knows how to do it better than you?

Hire a company to help you set up your office and do marketing. Or partner up with another physician to start your practice and divvy up the call and work schedule.

You can start with a PA/NP or hire someone as you gain traction. If the business side overwhelms you, you can partner with a fellow doctor who likes the admin side more than the patient.

The Universe is Friendly

I dunno what I’m afraid of but I just feel like something bad is gonna happen.

  • How many times have things totally gone your way?
  • How many times have you gotten totally lucky?
  • How many mistakes have you made for which you haven’t been punished?

Sometimes, you strongly feel that having your own practice isn’t right for you. Fair. But sometimes, it’s just a wall of fear, which isn’t a good way to make or avoid decisions.

Some of the worst things that have happened to people have resulted in amazing experiences. And most of us have had a lot of good things happen to us. It really is a matter of perspective, but it depends where you fall on that spectrum.

You Can Choose Your Patients

I don’t wnat to get stuck with demanding patients who’ll drain me and whom I can’t say no to.

  • What if your patients weren’t demanding?
  • Can you imagine building the kind of medical practice where you are friends with your patients?

When you work for someone else, you’re stuck seeing their patients. When you have your own practice, you get to choose your patients. If you don’t like the demanding Armenian patients or can’t stand another MRI request by your Persian patient, then, first of all, you’re fucking racist and going to hell, but you have the right not to accept those patients into your practice.

I wouldn’t take on very complex patients if I just opened my practice because I need to figure out my workflow. And I wouldn’t take on too many patients because the worst thing is growing too quickly.

If I have a rude patient, I can discharge them using established workflows that are outlined by the state medical board and the insurance companies with whom you are in-network.

You Don’t Have to Work Full-Time

The idea of owning my own practice and being a slave to it for the next few decades is nauseating.

  • Is it the commitment that’s scary or the commitment to something potentially miserable?
  • Would you feel the same if you could imagine the ideal medical practice?

When you first start, it’ll take time to build out your practice, so it’s wise to grow slowly and give yourself time to build out the right patient panel and hire the right staff.

If you’re all virtual, then you need time to figure out your niche and marketing strategy. In the first few years, you can start seeing patients part-time, and later on, if you enjoy the hours, there is no need for you to have a large patient panel.

Want to work only Monday – Thursday, go for it. You wouldn’t be the first. My favorite dentist, Dr. Jakshaw, worked 7 am to 2 pm only Monday – Thursday. He’d offer 1 Saturday a month.

Your Ability to Learn is Insane

No way I can learn everything I need to know to be private practice owner. Seems damn overwhelming.

Whatever you think you don’t know, you will learn. Whatever you think you need to know, you probably already know, or it’ll be irrelevant. What you think you don’t know, you don’t even know, so just stop trying to control it and go in trusting yourself.

There are 2 ways to learn: beating yourself over the head until it sticks or by repeated exposure. My skull prefers the latter. Your private medical practice will have the resilience for you to make lots of mistakes, which you’ll eventually learn from, as long as you’re willing to learn.

You’re a fucking doctor, for fuck’s sake! If a plumber can open their own shop, I think you’ll be able to run a medical office.

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