The New “Million Dollar” Practice
How I found my “Million Dollar” practice
13 years ago when I opened my practice, I was determined to do whatever it takes to build a successful practice. However, I wasn’t sure of how I would gauge my success. In the early years, I read many books and articles to help me determine what success should look like.
From my perspective, all those books and articles said the same thing – “To be successful, you must build a MILLION dollar practice.”
It seems everywhere I went the message was the same – the staple of success for any business was to gross $1,000,000. When I saw the proud look on the faces of all of those entrepreneurs who accomplished that superior level of success, I was mesmerized!
I wanted to build a million dollar practice and I set out to do just that. However, in all of my studies, no one told me this one very important piece of information – All million dollar practices are not created equal. A million isn’t always a million.
Fast forward 8 years later, I was close to my goal. In that year, I knew I was going to make that momentous $1,000,000. I was finally going to know what it feels like to be successful. Amazing, right? Except for one thing, I wasn’t happy.
Remember when I said, a million is not always a million? Well, that reality was becoming clearer to me every day that year. I was working 6 days a week and seeing up to 40 patients per day. I was tired, exhausted and overwhelmed all the time.
I carried a lot of guilt during those years because I spent most of my time at the office and less time at home. You see, I have 3 beautiful boys who desperately wanted to spend more time with their mommy, but mom was always too busy.
However, one day, everything changed!
The day everything changed!
It was one of those days; you know the ones I’m talking about, where every other patient has potential Endophthalmitis. And because of the complex nature of their cases, you are running behind schedule and your waiting room is hissing every time you walk by. It was one of those days!
I came home late that night as usual. When I walked in the kitchen, my oldest son was still up and appeared stressed over some school work. When asked, he told me he was struggling to finish a project due the next day. I was shocked, as I usually help him with projects but I had no knowledge of this assignment.
When I asked him why he didn’t tell me about the project, he said these words that would forever change my life – “Mom, I didn’t want to bother you; because I know you’re too busy for us.” As he spoke those words, it felt as if a knife was piercing my heart.
When I heard those words, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say because my son had spoken the truth; a truth I avoided for a long time. As the tears started running down my cheeks, these questions were running in my mind.
What am I doing? How did I get here? Why am I here?
I fell down on my knees when I realized, I didn’t have any answers. I didn’t know what, how or why I was doing everything I was doing? You see, I started the journey of success based on the definition given by others; I never took the time to create my own.
In that very painful moment, it became obvious to me that I needed to redefine my purpose. I needed to discover my mission and I desperately needed a new vision. This excruciating conversation with my son was exactly what I needed to help me make the decision I knew in my heart I should’ve made years ago.
Within 1 year of that conversation, I reduced the office hours to 5 days instead of 6 days per week. I cut my patient load by two thirds and bundled the remaining patients into half-days. I hired an associate to work 4 half-days and I worked 1 half-day.
In less than 1 year, I went from working 6 days a week, to working 1 half-day per week. It was a bold and crazy move. From the outside, it looked like I had lost my mind. But the fact was quite contrary, for the first time in a long time, I had actually found it. I had reach my $1,000,000 practice goal in my own way. I was working less and I was making more money doing what I love.
How my choice was tested
Recently, I was in one of those emersion conferences for private practices. We were being equipped with tools and resources to help us grow our practices and the content was amazing!
During break, I had a conversation with one of the panel experts. The conversation went something like this:
Me – “Wow, I’m so excited to be here! I’m learning so much. I really enjoyed your presentation. If you don’t mind me asking, what are some of the challenges you faced in your journey to success and how did you overcome them?”
Panelist – “Well, I worked real hard to get here. I offer every specialty in my practice and I have every piece of machinery available. If there’s any equipment out there that can help increase the value of my exams, I buy it. That is how I was able to gross 2 million as a solo practitioner. What about you, how much are you grossing?”
Me – “Oh, I’m not quite there yet. With the help of my associate, we grossed 650K last year…”
Panelist – “Excuse me, did you say 650K? …With 2 doctors? Wow… Exactly, how did you get to this meeting? I’m surprised that you’re here because this meeting is only for million dollar practices. You’re not successful enough to be here.”
Yep, that’s exactly what the panelist said to me! I was not “successful” enough…
You know what, for a moment I almost let what the panelist said get to me. Even though, I knew the value of my practice and the quality of my life; it still stung a little. That word “successful” is a powerful word and for a brief moment I almost let someone else define it for me.
But, I quickly caught myself and redirected my feelings. I reminded myself I had a definition for success that suited my life. I didn’t need this panelist’s approval or validation. They were free to believe and feel whatever they wanted and so was I.
So how did I respond? My initial Jersey reflex was tell this person that I didn’t give a rat’s ass what they thought and they and their “2 Million” practice can kiss my ass. But instead I said the following:
Me – “Well, that’s definitely YOUR opinion, and that’s all it is… but if you are living the life you want to live, congratulations on your success!”
After I said that, I just walked away. I was so proud of myself. In one sentence, I manage to return an unwanted opinion back to its owner and followed it with a sincere compliment. I had to tap my own shoulder and toot my horn a little.
I was sincere in my compliment because unlike my colleague, I didn’t believe that there was only one definition for success. In my opinion, success is like beauty; it’s resides in the eyes of the beholder.
There is nothing wrong with working 7 days a week and seeing 60+ patients per day. If that’s what you want to do, it’s your prerogative! It’s your life! You can do whatever you want and you don’t need anyone’s approval.
However, if you want to work less and are comfortable with the ensuing compensation, don’t let anyone put you down because of it. Personally, I’d rather make 500k and see patients in ½ days then make a million on full days.
Regardless of the choice you make, the math is the same. It’s your time allocation that is different. That is why you must define success for yourself.
For me, living my life on my own terms is my definition of a “Million Dollar” practice success! What is your definition?
Now it’s your turn, do you have answers for these questions?
Are you living your life on your own terms or are you living on someone else’s terms?
Are you avoiding any truths in your life right now?
Are you living according to your core values and beliefs?
Do you know your mission, vision and purpose?
If you’re in the same boat I was when I had that painful conversation with my son, you might not have answers for these questions at this time. If that’s the case, I want you to know that you are not alone.
I also want you to know that you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself either. If you need some assistance with these questions, it would be my honor to help you. I will help you by giving you the tools you need to define your own success.
If you are serious and want to really create a change in your life and in your practice, click HERE to let me know that you’re in. Or you can click on request more information below.
I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you Dream big, Take risks and become the CEO of YOU!