When you started your practice, without you knowing it, you became not only a health professional but a business owner, and your own boss. And like it or not with all those hats to wear, at the end of the day it can be more than tiring. It’s exhausting. But running your practice doesn’t have to make you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends (and in the middle!)
I’ve talked to many professionals and I regularly hear: “I didn’t become a practitioner to build a business, I became a practitioner to help people!” But what good would it be if your business failed before you could get to a sustainable level? You need to make your business not only sustainable but as successful as you can in order to help clients!
More than likely the roles of business owner and boss were not the focus of school. What I have also found is that after school ends, there could be a lot more sharing amongst professionals about how to successfully run a practice. (That’s one of the reasons I am writing these posts as well as the FaceBook group Automation for Health Pros). School was great for showing you how to help clients, but not how to streamline your bookings or how to set up an onboarding process. Unfortunately, although your education shows that you have the required education to help clients, it doesn’t give you near enough skills to create a successful business that makes a living wage or sustains your career to retirement.
Make the leap from student and employee to business owner and boss
Maybe you are sharing space in a clinic or you have your own space. Once you’re open for business and bringing in clients and revenue, you need to be able to not only help clients, but manage your business, your systems, and especially yourself. You have the awesome power to make decisions on how to grow and what to focus on. That’s part of being a boss.
But why do so many practitioners suffer to become a boss? Why do they end up burned out and worried they’ll have to close their doors? Some have a hard time juggling client care and the nitty gritty of systems and tools that a smoothly running business requires. But don’t give up! Here are some tips to help you manage yourself and your practice effectively:
- Give yourself the tools and systems you need to succeed. We live in a great time. There is software to do almost anything you could imagine, and it’s far less scary than ever before. Your business needs to have the right tools so you (and your employees) can get the job done efficiently and effectively. A great boss will work with employees and partners to problem-solve, try things out, and make sure the business is set up for success. No one would imagine letting a 6-year-old drive a car: they don’t have enough experience and focus to do the things that matter to keep the car on the road. In the same way, you need to make sure the systems and practices you have work for you and let you do more of the things you love. I have seen too many people trying to juggle bookings, emails and forms manually late at night and feel overwhelmed by their administration.
- Give yourself clear parameters around your schedule and tasks. Being a business owner is very different than being an employee. More than likely your boss told you what you should be doing and often set your schedule. But when you work for yourself, you start with a blank calendar for the week and only a few ideas of what should go into it. That’s scary! But in a way, it’s also liberating! Now you can decide what’s worth doing, and how much time to spend on it each week. You even have to define what is and is not work. Which means often scheduling in when you take breaks because it is important to the decision-making process to have time to reflect. Try to break down the essential tasks and give them time through the week. Maybe one day a week is marketing and working on a newsletter. What I have found works is setting up a certain amount of time and sticking to that schedule. If I have set 1 hour to do a blog post, when that hour is up, I move on to the next thing so I can get more efficient with my time. Yes, it’s overwhelming and frustrating at first, but like a muscle you are training, you quickly get better at working this way.
- Try on your decision-making hat. Yes, it can be scary looking at the amount of decisions that you have to make. What should I do first? What do I need to do and what’s optional? What’s “good enough?” And of course, you’re bombarded with information and advice. Finding time to make a plan for yourself and your business is critical. If you put this off, you can get caught up in trying to do everything, feeling overwhelmed and overworked. With all the different websites and “experts” telling you what you should do, you can get stuck in indecision not wanting to make a wrong move. Even worse, you can focus on things that are not relevant, wasting tons of time (and possibly money) in dead ends. Having a plan for your business gives you more clarity to make these decisions. If you have decided that you will only focus on referrals to generate new business for example, then you can look at potential marketing activities through the lens of not only, “Am I reasonably certain this will this generate more referrals” but also, what you should stop doing to take on this new activity. Having a plan helps your practice progress, leaving you with a lot more attention to focus on clients.
It’s a challenge to be a good boss. These tips are just the beginning, and I’m really excited to continue to share what I have learned to help you make your business a success. Sign up to the FaceBook group and share your comments below. What’s the most exciting thing about being your own boss?