Do you know what one of the biggest factors is that separates the successful entrepreneur from the one who gives up and fails? PERSISTENCE! Listen, when you first get started with your practice, there will be tough times. You must have the fortitude and stay persistent to weather those bad times. If you are not able to get past the discouragement that you WILL experience, then you will fail. Therefore, it is critical that you understand what it takes to start a business/practice.
When you first start a business, it will take a considerable amount of patience and fortitude during the initial 1-3 months. Times will be slow, you will not obtain patients, your marketing efforts will fail, patients might not come back after the initial visit, you will run into countless problems with the systems in your business, and on and on and on. I can’t tell you how many problems will arise, because there are just so many!
When I first started every single one of my businesses, including this blog you are reading, I ran into adversity at every corner. Let me give you some examples:
My first practice was an opioid addiction treatment clinic. Basically, we just prescribed Suboxone to opioid addicts. Yes, we had other service lines, but what I found out was that the patients did not want anything else, they just wanted Suboxone. I wasted so much time with all the other little adjunct services I had within the practice that I became very discouraged. This is when I finally realized what a narrow niche service truly was. The first month we were open, I had like 3 patients. Over the first 3 months I just had a trickle of patients come through the door. I experienced no shows, headaches with insurance, belligerent addict behavior and so forth. I could not tell you how many times I wanted to call it quits. But I stayed persistent! I knew it would get better, and it did.
When I started my medical cannabis clinic, I ran into many issues even though it is such a simple concept. I had no idea what to expect. I did not take a course on how to operate a medical cannabis clinic. I went into this blind. I printed off business cards, flyers, and did some advertising online… I spent thousands on marketing. It BARELY paid off. I became so discouraged… I had patients who were entitled and did not pay me for the evaluation. I became even more discouraged… But I stayed persistent!
I tinkered with my marketing strategies, pricing structure, and the general flow of the practice. Do you know what happened? It finally became a success! If I did not have the fortitude to get past the multiple problems that presented during my medical cannabis venture, I would not be where I am at today. This clinic was the steppingstone to my success. I would still just be a full time miserable W2 employee if I had called it quits…
I ran into so many sleepless nights when I started my men’s health clinic that I actually considered starting a prescription sleep aid. This type of practice was new to me. Yes, I did have some experience but nothing significant. I read and read multiple guidelines, books, interviewed other men’s health providers, and so forth. I prepared for months when I started my men’s health practice, but it was still a new and scary prospect. I jumped into this practice a little prematurely. I barely had the pricing structure set up, I did not even have an EMR, we had no scheduling software (we scheduled on a blank sheet of paper!), I had no idea how to market it effectively, I never had a real employee before… I essentially went into this unprepared. Guess what though? Sometimes that is exactly what you need to do. As long as you are not killing anyone or doing something illegal, then the rest doesn’t matter THAT much. I only saw a few patients the first month. The phone was dead, barely anyone was emailing or calling the clinic… I became very discouraged. I even considered closing it a few times during the first 2 months. But I stayed persistent!
I started to learn the real concepts of marketing. I knew I had to market this practice for it to succeed. I knew that I had to stop half-assing my marketing efforts if I really wanted this to succeed. So, I read book after book about marketing. I implemented different marketing strategies the 2nd month I was open and BAM! I started getting more patients. By the 3rd month, my practice was on autopilot! I started seeing more patients and I knew that I had something great here! That is when I started working on the smaller details like my EMR, scheduling software, etc. I did not waste my time on those small details when I first got started, I focused on them AFTER I started getting busier. If I would have called it quits when I was discouraged the first 1-2 months, I would have never begun the process of discovering the concepts of The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model. I probably would not have even started this blog! I stayed persistent!
When I started this very blog you are reading, I ran into SIGNIFICANT discouragement the first 2-3 months. Hell, I still get discouraged! I had so few readers the first 2 months that I felt like I was writing to ghosts. I had some positive comments, messages, and emails so I knew I was helping at least a few people, therefore I stayed persistent! I made a lot of spelling and grammatical errors at first, I was getting into the swing of writing again… I made mistakes with certain marketing campaigns and even some of the content in the articles… I had physicians harass and THREATEN me because of what I was writing about. But I stayed persistent!
Now this is my baby and I absolutely LOVE IT! If I had given up last year, I would have not been able to empower the hundreds if not thousands of nurse practitioners I already have. It would have been a true tragedy…
Persistence is what separates the entrepreneur who succeeds from the one who quits and fails. You must keep your eye on the MISSION of your business. What are you providing? How are you impacting the lives of your patients and customers? How are you delivering VALUE to people? You always need to keep these in the back of your mind and look at the BIG PICTURE. Just because it is slow when you first start, that does not mean your business is destined to fail. IT WILL BE SLOW, EXPECT THIS! It is part of the game guys… Either accept that, or become so discouraged when you start, that you quit if you are unable to stay persistent.
Remember that movie The Shawshank Redemption? If you have not seen that movie, GO RENT IT NOW. Remember the part towards the end when Andy had to crawl through that sewer line to reach freedom? Guess what guys, that is what starting a business can be like. You have to crawl through 300 yards of shit to finally reach your goals. That is life! Anything of value does not come easy, it just does not! You must stay persistent! Do not give up when things do not go as you planned. Do you know how many times a business that I started went as planned? ZERO TIMES. Keep that in mind as you venture out on your own! Remain an OAK during tough times, do not fall…