“You can get past the dead end. You can break through the ceiling. I did and so have countless others.”

How Long Before a Practice Becomes Successful and Profitable?

Creating a profit with a small niche side practice should be the number one goal when you start your own practice. It is vital to generate this profit as fast as possible because once the expenses start piling up and you are still paying for them through your personal money, it will become very demoralizing. When this occurs, your business will lose the necessary steam it needs to push past the inevitable slow times during the startup phase.

How long should you keep going before calling it quits with a new business?

How long does it take for expenses to be covered (autopilot mode)?

How long does it take to start generating a profit?

How long does it take to start making big profits?

The answers to these questions vary from business to business, but they can be estimated with fair accuracy.

How much time should you give a new business before shutting it down?

In my opinion you should give it at least 6 months. In general, a medical practice will not gain much momentum for 3-4 months. Sometimes it can take a little longer though. The first month will be painfully slow unless you market the living hell out of it prior to launch. Most of you will have a limited budget though, so we are estimating these time periods based off that. Remember, marketing should be the number one function of your business.

The second month is when you will start seeing a few more patients trickle in the door. It will still be slow! It won’t be until the third and fourth months when the business starts gaining the traction that will brighten your spirits.

Word of mouth will begin. You will start seeing referrals from other patients. These referrals then start telling other people and a cycle begins. You should continue to be marketing your practice during this time. The money you will be spending on marketing will begin to pay off by the fourth month.

Some businesses/practices can take a little longer on the other hand. One of my telemedicine practices did not really start gaining momentum until the fifth month and it continues to be hot and cold 8 months later. I was going to shut it down by the sixth month if it did not pick up. But it did! I eventually sold this

Therefore, if you are still spending personal money keeping a business open by the sixth month. I would advise to either:

  1. Increase your marketing dollars and give it 3 more months.
  2. Shut it down.

If nothing is happening by month 6, it likely won’t unless you have the capital to dump a lot of money into advertising.

How long does it take for expenses to begin being covered by the business and not personally?

In general, the business will enter “autopilot status” by the third or fourth month. Autopilot in business means when the business expenses are being 100% covered by the business’s revenue. This is an awesome milestone for your practice! It is a true breath of fresh air.

When you see your numbers go from negative to neutral or slightly positive while all expenses have been paid for by the end of the month, you will do your happy dance! You will no longer be shelling out your hard-earned personal money keeping the doors open.

How long does it take to start generating a profit?

From the experience of others and myself, the business should begin generating a small profit by the fifth to sixth month.

How much of a profit? Well this depends on your practices niche and its expenses, but it should be in the $1000-$3000 range by month 5. Remember, all expenses are being paid for now!

Month by month that profit should increase slow and steady. If it is not, then you need to market more to bring in new patients. This costs money which will actually lower your profit for 1-2 months, but this is short lived and will result in larger profits down the road!

Remember, generating a profit is the number one goal of your business. Marketing is the way to get to that goal, therefore it should be your biggest expense!

How long does it take to start making big profits?

Unless you discovered a gold mine of an idea, typically you will not begin making big money for 12-18 months. What is big money? $10,000 a month in my opinion. Remember, this is a part time practice if you are following The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model. A full-time practice on the other hand? $40,000 a month. My men’s health practice is consistently generating $45,000 a month in revenue after 3 years!

If you are operating 2-3 small side businesses and working a part time job as the model advocates for, you could easily be bringing in $30,000-$40,000 a month within 2-3 years.

So, give your new practice at least 6 months before throwing in the towel. Closing a business down before you start dumping significant amounts of money into it is a WIN in my book. A cheaply started business that can be cheaply closed is the business you want to start. REMEMBER THAT!

If the practice is steadily getting busier, then it should go on autopilot by the fourth month. If it does, you know you are onto something. KEEP GOING!

When the sixth month comes along and you see that you have generated a profit, then you know you have created a business with long term potential. Market that baby with all those profits and see the BIG money start rolling in!

16 Responses

    1. Hi Justin,
      I am starting an aesthetics practice, to open next month. Just happen to be following the model all of which makes a lot of sense. I appreciate your posts about expectations for when your practice will make money. This has been a concern for me as I peel off dollars to pay for all the expenses that are piling up. Thanks for sharing your experience.
      Cheryl O’Donoghue, APRN, GA

      1. Best of luck Cheryl! Stay patient and keep going. Hit that 6 month mark and then reevaluate where you are!

  1. I am a new practice owner in a small rural area of Texas- I opened in April and began to see enough to pay myself something at arount month 6- I’m about to go into month 9 and I am just now beginning to pay myself a small amount regularly. I can’t express how important it is to have another source of income to rely on at first….other NP’s who have their practice has told me 2 years before things get really rolling—still waiting to see how things go!!

  2. $30,000 a month in revenue??? I would think I had died and gone to heaven. Good news is, except for the initial start up money, I have been able to cover the bills with practice money so far!! Going into month 3…

    1. CONGRATULATIONS on reaching autopilot status in your practice! That is a huge milestone! Now the profits will begin 🙂

  3. I enjoy reading the blog post. Im working FT an NP and my husband is completely self employed with multiple IT businesses. I’m interested in starting a Nurse Coaching side hustle but not sure where to start.

  4. Thanks for these reminders! I left a FT FNP clinic position with guaranteed salary 11 months ago to “do my own thing.” I planned and saved for this opportunity. I purchased an existing practice so the practice has generated enough revenue to sustain itself from day one. I have not yet reached the point of being able to pay myself a salary but hope to do so in the next few months. I am interested in telemedicine as a side/ cash pay only business. Any information on getting started would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Congrats! I wish you the best of luck in generating a profit. If you are not, MARKET the hell out of the practice! It is the only way to grow your practice.

      Check out the telemedicine article here. It is not difficult. Let me know if you need one on one assistance.

  5. Justin,
    Forgive this simple question. Are you specifically speaking about multiple side businesses as a practicing NP..or are you talking about diversifying into multiple businesses outside of the medical establishment?
    Enjoy your site

  6. Hi Justin! I am a resident surgeon ENT Head & Neck at Lahore, Pakistan. I started a GP clinic in a less fortunate (wealth wise) area of the city. I have been trying to run the clinic for the past year but with no profit or autopilot status. Recently I have been thinking to close my setup because I am pouring money into the clinic from my pocket.
    There were sometimes when the clinic touched the autopilot status, but it kept on falling.
    Would you mind suggesting whether I should close the setup or keep it running for some time?

    1. Hi Dr Basit! In my opinion, a dead horse is a dead horse. If after 6-12 months a business is still in the red and not generating a profit, even after adequate marketing and cutting expenses, then it is time to close and move onto the next venture. This is fine as 90% of small businesses fail. What separates the successful entrepreneur from the failures are the ones that keep going/trying. My first business failed as well. Get back up and try again. You will hit “gold” if you keep trying as you learn more and more from each venture. Best of luck!

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