Starting your own business can be confusing.
I have a had a lot people ask me for business advice recently. The first time it happened I was kind of shocked that this person was asking ME for advice.. But as I started explaining a few things I realised how much I have learnt since starting my business.
It's time to share what I know.
Mindset and work ethic
Today I'm going to start off with my mindset and work ethic which I believe is the fundamental reason for my business success.
My working life began at 15 as a check out chick at Target .. Over the 8 years I worked at Target I worked up from registers through to administration and cash office rolls and finished off as the personal assistant to the area and regional managers.
My work ethic was strong from the very beginning. I rarely called in sick and by the time I was in my 20's (aka the party years), I would still turn up to work an hour before opening to count the registers, even if I'd been partying until the early hours and should have been at home in bed (and in close proximity to the bathroom).
In 2005 when I started working in massage clinics my work ethic followed. At the clinic I worked in for the six years before I started my own business, I would work 40 hour weeks even though I was only seeing about 24 patients a week. The rest of the hours I worked for a $50 retainer. That's $50 for the entire 26 hours that I would spend cleaning, answering phones, delivering leaflets and just being in the clinic in case someone walked in or called for a last minute appointment.
Having the right attitude is absolutely
fundamental to success.
There were many other therapists who came and went through that clinic who did not get as busy as I did. These other practitioners only came in when they had clients and they were out of there as soon as the appointment ended.
I never felt like they were putting out the right energy. In fact, I had tried it out myself and I noticed that the days I went home, I'd then start thinking "I hope no one else books in so I can finish doing ...Insert task... I would will the phone NOT to ring because I wanted to stay at home.
My biggest piece of advice here is set your working hours and spend those hours at work..
Be available. Be ready to work.
It's also important to understand that you're not likely to open your doors and be fully booked. I've always found that it takes a good 2-3 years to build a comfortable practice.
I think this is why lots of practitioners don't last. They don't give it enough time and they have unrealistic expectations. You may need to keep a second job for the first year or so while you build up your practice..
Have realistic expectations.
I started off doing a few days in clinic while I did evening and Sunday shifts at Target. When I was ready to leave Target I worked at 3 different clinics. The clinics were quite spread out geographically (6-10km between each clinic), and I found that this worked well rather than dedicating all of my hours to one location where patients might be limited.
Even now, I work in two locations approximately 30kms apart and nowadays I'm often fully booked at each clinic, which is great! But often I find that if one clinic is quiet, the other is busy so being in different areas helps to maintain a balance.
As well as having the right attitude about work, another mindset tip I strongly believe in is: don't worry about competition.
I don't believe in competition. Both of my clinics are near other practitioners and I've worked along side other naturopaths before and I strongly believe that there are enough patients for all of us and that the patient will choose the practitioner who they feel is right for them. The areas that "Joe Blogs" the naturopath down the road, specialises in, are probably not the areas that I specialise in and his ideal clients are probably not my ideal clients so really, I don't want to see them!
I want to be the naturopath to the people I can truly help.
I don't want to be the naturopath to every person who ever wants to see a naturopath (We'll talk later about figuring out who you want as a client but it's important to know that you're not the right fit for everyone and they are not always the right fit for you).
So, competition is not an issue. In fact, I think it's really beneficial to get to know the practitioners in your area. If a patient calls me wanting to know if I can help them, and their condition is something I'm not too familiar with or it's something I'm not really passionate about treating, I'm more than happy to refer them to a praccy who is passionate or is an expert in that field. I would rather the patient get the best possible care than I just fill my appointment book..
Clear the "lack of ...." Mindset and I'm sure you'll notice a difference in your growth and success.
Remember: Show up. Be willing to work. Be authentic.