Busy Work VS. Income Generating Work


There are two types of work in business life:

  1. Income generating work.
  2. Busy work.

You need to understand these different types of work because they will determine how much money you make. If you focus on income generating work, you can become rich. If you focus on busy work, you are wasting your time. That is what separates the successful entrepreneur from the one that works their ass off day in and day out yet sees little results. Be the former, not the ladder like most entrepreneurs. You want your business to work for you, not the other way around.

To many nurse practitioner entrepreneurs focus on busy work. They get “analysis paralysis” and focus on things that don’t matter. I urge you, don’t do this during the start up and operational phases of your business. You will be focusing on the wrong items/activities and not make money… You will actually work more and make less! If that is the case, it is better to just stay at your day job instead of opening a practice. Remember, you want to generate more money in less time. That is the goal of multiple part time niche practices.

Let’s define both types of work.

  1. Income generating work: Work that results in the generation of money.
  2. Busy work: Work that is necessary to operate a business but does not generate money.

What are some examples?

  1. Income generating work: Marketing, advertising, developing new products and services, learning new skills that can be sold, and developing beneficial business relationships.
  2. Busy work: Charting for insurance purposes, bookkeeping, organizing paperwork, obtaining business licenses, building websites, receptionist work, cleaning, etc.

Busy work is a necessary evil with a business. I hate it, but you must do it. What you can mitigate though, is how much of it you do yourself and trying not to focus all your efforts on it. You can outsource a lot of busy work to virtual assistants and employees if you have them. During the start up phase of practice though, you might not have that luxury. I know I didn’t. I had to do a lot of the busy work myself. Its part of the game.

During the start up phase of any business, you will have a lot of busy work such as setting up the LLC, opening bank accounts, cleaning your office, getting everything organized, etc. These are necessary to get started. The problem is when the nurse practitioner entrepreneur focuses all their energies on this type of work. You need to just get it done and over with. Do not dwell on details that don’t matter. You must get that business up and running as quickly as possible. You can focus on your letter head and the color of your business cards later. Those type of activities do not generate income.

During the start up phase of a medical practice, you must focus your efforts on income generating work. This is what will bring patients in the door. This is absolutely CRITICAL. I cannot stress this point enough. You need to spend more time marketing your practice than anything else. It is what will generate money. You can do this by influencing potential patients over social media, creating relationships with other practices for referral business, recording podcasts, writing a blog, etc. Outside of marketing, you need to focus on the skills necessary to deliver the niche service you will provide to your patients. Remember, be an expert at what you provide. Do not be a jack of all trades.

Could I do medical cannabis evaluations, testosterone replacement, primary care, weight loss treatment, and sell CBD all out of the same office? Sure, but it does not exude the type of confidence and expertise needed to build a flourishing niche side practice. Don’t provide a bunch of non-complementary services that do not relate to one another out of the same practice. Open a separate practice or business if you want to do something else. Remember, once you start one business, the following businesses are much easier to get going. You should strive for having multiple side businesses as The Elite NP Model advocates for.

So, ask yourself this question before completing any task in your business or medical practice:

Does this activity generate income?

If it does not, you can likely skip it for another day. Getting your letterhead or your business card ready can wait a week. The type of filing cabinet you want can be done later. Having your books done can wait a few days. An important meeting with another practice owner that is going to refer you patients needs to be done as soon as possible. Having your social media page and ads up and running need to be done sooner rather than later. Having the billboard that advertises how awesome your practice is needed to be finished immediately. Focus on the activities that will bring in business and ultimately money (MARKETING). That is how you will build a PROFITABLE niche side practice or business.

4 Responses

  1. I understand having niche practices and not lumping them all into one main clinic. Is it ok to use the same physical space for each venture?

  2. THIS THIS THIS!!! The problem with starting a brand new practice is just that. Everything is new. You are building something, usually from scratch and that takes SO MUCH time. From creating your forms (unless you buy them from someone else) to ordering supplies, to cleaning, to talking to vendors, the list goes on of busy work. When I first started my practice I did 100% of everything on my own. When my practice started taking off my husband saw I needed HELP and he quit his job & came to work for me. It has been a GODSEND. Having him take over those every day tasks such as talking to vendors, ordering supplies, keeping UP with what supplies need to be ordered, paying the bills, frees up so much of my time to do what helps the practice grown. GREAT stuff, as always!

    1. Exactly, once you can stop doing all the busy work like you described, you can really focus on the work necessary to GROW your business.

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