There becomes a time in every nurse practitioner entrepreneur’s life where work becomes a top activity in their life. You get to a point where you begin to think about work all the time, even to the point where you might neglect family, friends, and your own health. This happens to most entrepreneurs; it is one of the downsides of being a business and practice owner…
A mentor of mine told me one time:
“Justin, when you become a successful business owner, you will have to make some tough decisions. One of them will be picking how to divide your time between two of the following three: 1. Family 2. Friends 3. Your business. Pick two, because you won’t have time for all three.”
There is so much wisdom in this statement… and truth… I didn’t realize it at first, but he is right. If you want to build a successful business, you will have little time for family AND friends. Pick either one if your business is important to you.
If you are unwilling to give up time with friends and family, your business will suffer UNLESS your goal is to just have a very part-time practice that generates a few extra thousand dollars in revenue a month, which really is a part of one of the foundational principles of The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model: owning multiple part-time businesses.
On the other hand, if you want to own 2-4 part-time businesses or a large full-time practice where you generate $10,000-$30,000 a month in profit, you will have to give up time with friends or family, there is not much you can do to get around this until your businesses truly work for themselves and you have employees doing the majority of the work. This typically does not happen for many years though, 3-5 at a minimum. Therefore, you need to be willing to make that sacrifice….
Are you willing to make that sacrifice? Because if you are not, then you should focus your energies on just one practice and come to peace with it “capping” out at some point. This would likely be in the range of $200,000-$300,000 a year net profit if you do things right.
To scale a very high revenue business or practice ($750,000+ a year) requires sacrifice. It also requires sacrifice owning multiple part-time businesses that together become a high revenue business. Time is time. It doesn’t matter if it is one full-time business or multiple part-time ones.
Every entrepreneur needs to find a happy medium in my opinion. What is the fun in life if all you do is work? Let me give you a personal example.
Over the past 3 years I have busted my ass building my practices and businesses. Writing this article right now at 7pm on a Monday night after a long day seeing my Men’s Health patients is continued sacrifice. Most people are laying on the couch enjoying a movie or going out with friends… Yet, I am here working. Why? Because I have an end goal which is total financial independence.
Over the past 3 years I have seen a radical change in my personality also. I used to joke around and participate in more recreational activities than I do now. I do not stay in touch with old friends as much. I do continue to see my family and hang out with my fiancé, but even then, I have sacrificed my time with them. But you know what? I am okay with this because I am a very goal driven person.
Over the past year though, I have realized that my soul is beginning to need that “fire” and “enjoyment” back. I am not depressed, far from it, but I have noticed that there is something missing. So, I am beginning to recognize the importance of finding “balance”, which can be difficult to find when you are focused on 1-2 goals. With that said, I have decided to STOP working on Friday afternoons at 1pm and for the majority of the weekend, minus answering questions and engaging with Elite NP members (this isn’t work, I love doing this!).
Finding a work-life balance is critical for your mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing as an entrepreneur. You need to have time to relax and enjoy yourself, if not, then what is the point of working so hard? We all know life is short. We all have seen death, even amongst the young. Life is precious and can be taken away in a split second.
Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, on his deathbed looked around at his wife and family and said, “I blew it!” He knew he totally threw his life away. As he got older, he realized the importance of friends and family, yet he continued to work work work until the end. No one wishes they had worked more when they are dying, far from it… They wish they would have spent more time doing the things they loved. Sam Walton was a billionaire, yet still felt empty in many ways…
As you embark on your nurse practitioner entrepreneurial journey, try to maintain that balance from the start. Do not kill yourself to the point it changes your personality like I have. With that said, my old self is returning as I have cut back from certain things, but it will be a process to find that “balance” as I juggle scaling my businesses.
Of course, when you are first getting started and building your practice, it will be almost impossible not to work your ass off, but that is part of the sacrifice an entrepreneur makes. As a whole though, truly try to develop that balance from the start.
If you are an already seasoned entrepreneur with a thriving business or practice, begin taking small steps to become a more rounded person. It is hard when you get into that work groove, I know… But it is vital to your health that you know when and how to begin relaxing and enjoying your time vs. work work work.
Take a few of these simple steps to help you develop that work-life balance as a nurse practitioner entrepreneur:
1) Have set times for work and set times for play. If you set that time for 5pm, then at 5pm, YOU STOP WORKING. This is hard, I know… Same goes for days off. DO NOT WORK ON YOUR DAY OFF.
2) Stop taking on more and more work and projects. Again, this is a very hard thing for the motivated entrepreneur to do. Becoming an entrepreneur is almost addicting, but just as the crackhead addict, you need to know when to say NO.
3) Make time for family and friends. Remember, you only have one life to live, and the people around you are a part of what makes life great.
4) Make time for doing things you enjoy. There was a period I did not go on a single hike for 6 months because I was seeing patients, developing courses, investing my money, and so forth. One day I decided “No work today! I am taking my nephews on a hike.” And I did, and it felt great!
As you can see, this is not hard. It just takes discipline. Being a well-rounded and a balanced entrepreneur will result in increased productivity and happiness. The burnt-out entrepreneur will have a difficult time with the creative side of business because their mind will be so focused on the every day operating work of their business. This will stunt your growth. The burnt-out entrepreneur also is a sour person to be around, you will not be as happy as you could be.
So, if you are reading this on a workday, when your day ends, END IT. Go and find that balance in your life.