Today I wanted to address a really awesome listener question that I received that I think all of us at some point in time felt. Entrepreneur’s guilt. It honestly doesn’t matter where you are in your business, just starting out, been at it for a couple of years, been at it for a decade. One of the best and worst things about starting a practice is that it is constantly evolving.
You have to stay on the pulse of what people want. How they are finding you. How you should attract new patients. How to keep your current audience interested and you top of mind. How to give your current patients the best care. How to re-engage inactive patients, etc. This, however, also can be very overwhelming and, as Ashley puts it, creates as feeling of being scattered and confused. Today I’m hoping to address the issue of entrepreneurship guilt and hopefully take away a little bit of the internal pressures you may be feeling as you work away at your business.
Here’s Ashley’s question:
“Is entrepreneur’s guilt common? Sometimes I know I put off or hold back on doing things that could grow my business out of guilt that I’m not getting paid for this; I should be making money instead of testing out these ideas; I should get a job while this grows; there’s no guarantee spending time on x,y,z will bring anything so am I wasting my time?
This also leads into feeling scattered and confused about where time is best spent should I be re-learning homeopathy since I don’t use it a lot in practice, should I be researching my area of focus and taking new courses, should I be blogging and facebooking, should I be network marketing in my community, etc! After having a positive day listening to your podcasts, I feel less of this, but I’m wondering if it’s a common feeling and how people are overcoming that.”
So let’s answer the question – what is entrepreneurship guilt? Well, I think that’s up to you. For some of you, like Ashley, its putting energy and resources into her business instead of working for a “normal job” with steady pay cheques. For some of you, this guilt may be choosing work over spending time with your family. For some of you it may be failure to follow your healthy morals (healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy sleep) in order to make your dream practice a reality. Maybe you feel guilty that you’re not working hard enough for your patients – not learning enough, not investing in enough conferences, not treating them fast enough. Whatever it is for you, it’s the guilt that’s making you feel this way. The mere idea of guilt means that you feel you should be making other choices. That the choices you are making are wrong. Let’s take a step back from the guilt and address that maybe your perception of entrepreneurship that is bring on these feelings? And more importantly, who is making you feel this way?
As an entrepreneur, already you’re going against the grain. People with regular jobs will never understand the demands of creating a new business from scratch. Yet, they are taking advantage of the hard work of the people that created their job security. It’s thinking like this that makes me so furious when I hear about employees going on strike or complaining about their job. In my mind, they should be happy they even have a job, steady income. If they don’t like it, they can start their own business and really see the value of a dollar earned.
That being said, there’s a lot of people that think entrepreneurship is “the dream scenario”. You work harder in the beginning to get the big houses and the dream vacations later on down the road. That is not going to be a reality for most of us. For most of us, we hopefully will not have to work as many hours and as diligently once the practice is established, but make no mistake, you still need to work hard, adapt, continue to learn and grow with your business if you want to stay successful. I will promise you now though, the harder you work at it now, without letting the guilt slow you down, the easier your life will be later on. Because let’s face it, we all want our practice to pay the bills, but if you want it to do more than just pay the bills, you have to earn it. That’s the struggle with entrepreneurship. But that struggle should not make you feel guilty.
The second statement in Ashley’s question is the most concerning for me, and the mindset that a lot of new NDs have “should I be making money instead of testing out these ideas; I should get a job while this grows”. Have you ever watched Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den. What people always get the deal and what people don’t? The people that always get the deal are the one’s that are ALL IN. They execute with a no plan b approach. In Lori Kennedy’s interview, we talk a lot about the no plan b approach and how pivotal it is to your success as an ND-entrepreneur.
Yes, starting a practice does take some capital to start, of course it does. But if you’re going to go for and make it happen, because you have no other option, then that capital will be paid back in no time. On average you’re looking for about $10K-$15K to start your business off comfortably. A business line of credit is the perfect way to get this capital going, and, it’s always nice to have a line of credit as a back up for any big future investments that may come your way.
I can’t tell you how many times I zero’d out my line of credit and then wracked it back up again because I wanted to write a book, I wanted to get a microscope for live blood, because I wanted to start a podcast. The key is, working super hard to make that investment work for you. Put that money to work right away. Do not hold back on TAKING ACTION, as I’m always saying.
Please please please, if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re thinking about getting a second or third job to make your practice work, DON’T. If you’re already working part-time as a healthfood store clerk, or a server at a restaurant, quit. So long as you have some steady income coming in, you will NEVER have the fear of the No Plan B approach motivating you towards nothing but success.
There’s also something else that’s really magical that happens when you do this. You start betting BIG on yourself. You start believing more in your potential. You start pushing yourself to be better. Then suddenly, you couldn’t imagine entrepreneurship not being what you do. The idea of working for someone else’s business, someone else’s hours, someone else’s rules becomes the most repulsive thing to you because you are grabbing life by the balls, you are seizing every opportunity, and you’re doing it without a safety net. You are not ALL IN.
Because Ashley is 100% right – there are no guarantees. Tony Robbins has a great explanation about the Six Human Needs: First on the list, “Certainty: the assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure.” He goes on to say that Certainty isn’t a feeling, it’s a habit. You need to start focusing on what you can control and what you want to make happen. Tell me this, when a patient walks into your office do you ever tell them, with absolute 100% certainty that you can cure them of their ailments, No. That would be completely unjustified and quite frankly a complete false advertisement of your abilities. Instead, you ask them to trust you that you will make them better, and little by little get them closer and closer to long-term success.
It is hypocritical that you would ask this of your patients but not of yourself and you capabilities as a business owner. As an entrepreneur. This is another comment from Tony that I love: “Just when it seems impossible, when it seems like nothing is going to work, you’re usually just a few millimeters away from making it happen.” What If your guaranteed success in this industry is only a small adjustment away? Just one small actions step? Just one phone call with a business coach? Just one coffee with an ND you admire. The more you walk, talk and carry yourself like a shining success, that more success you will see!
So again, if society or boyfriends or girlfriends or family members are bringing on these feelings of guilt, you have to put your ear plugs in and keep going. You’re feeling like you’re not being a good partner… You’re feeling like you’re being a good enough parent. If you take time away from the business you feel guilty that you’re not working hard enough. There is no such thing as work-life balance, but what there is, is focus, drive and determination AND boundary setting. When I’m focused on work, I’m focused. Even if it means I have my laptop in bed with me as my husband and I watch Suits or Game of Thrones, I will multitask.
If I’m out with my family, I am 100% focused on them. Engaged in the family memories and the laughter. And when I’m tired, I sleep. I promised myself after CCNM that I would never sacrifice sleep again to achieve my goals. I rarely have a night where I don’t get 8-9 hours of sleep. That’s what allows me to hit Beast Mode during the day and make shit happen.
So when it comes to “best time spent” learning this modality, or doing this social media campaign, there is no right answer. I always recommend to do what you know your ideal patients want you to do and nothing more. If your ideal patients hate acupuncture and love botanicals, do NOT take a course on acupuncture for X conditions. If they want more support on PMS and you invest in an expensive convention on cancer therapy, then your personal wants and your business needs are NOT in alignment.
Let’s also face facts. Not everyone is the entrepreneurial type. As Mark Cuban says, there’s entrepreneurs and “want”-repreneurs. The entrepreneur world is not for everyone. The financial and relationship stressors happen. The strategizing and the focus needed is insane sometimes. The concept of a successful, thriving, fully- booked practice is a wonderful aspiration, but for many it remains a wonderful idea, without taking any action towards pursuing it.
An entrepreur is always taking action on a leap of faith. They do what they say they’re going to do. They are willing to sacrifice time doing the “fun stuff on weekend” and having money in the bank initially to get their projects done so the business can start growing. Wantrepreners talk a big talk, but never accomplish what they say they “want” to do. Investing time and money is a major struggle for an wantrepreneur because they don’t want to deal with any risks. Worry and Fear controls them. To an entrepreneur, this type of action is second nature as we mark our successes by accomplishment and profits.
The final statement that I want to make on this podcast is that a lot of the fear in Ashley’s question is coming back to that good old green elephant in the room. Money. The lack of guarantee, the need to have a second “regular” job, the fear of wasting time due to lack of profits. I will not beat around the bush and as I’ve already mentioned, you need money to start your practice. You spend money to make money, as they say. BUT if you’re mindset is focused on the money. If it’s focused on having that multi-million dollar clinic one day. Is focused on striking it rich with every patient. Then I suggest you either give your head a shake or get out now while you can.
Every successful practice owner will tell you that their main focus is bring the best, quality care to their patients and the profits that ensue are just icing on the cake. They will continue to re-invest their money into their clinic, to expand, to make a new i.v. suite, to create a therapeutic space, to offer new services and techniques, without even blinking an eye. They will take a nail from one hole and put it into another. Their motivation is their clinic community, not their bottom line. Do not get so focused on the bank account, which I know for some of you is a tremendous stressor, but you can’t let that cloud your vision for clinical and therapeutic success.
Instead, make the goal about living the dream and feeling rich and fulfilled in all aspects of your life. If you are listening to this and you’re feeling inspired to take a new course, to turn that extra millimeter to the left or to the right. To take on that No Plan B approach, but want a little extra guidance, do not hesitate to contact me on the website, and/or book in with me a 30min strategy call.
I also wanted to let all new grads or anyone who’s struggling to make their practice work for them, that I am currently in the pre-launch of my step-by- step MAXIMize Your Clinic online course that will help you create that strong foundation, and take away a lot of the worries and the stresses of what to do next, what to do when, etc. If that course sounds perfect for you, please sign up to my Sexy MAXIMizers Facebook group by going to the website and signing up with the pop-up. You can also go the the Leadpages Tab on the
MaximMovement FB page too!