I’m glad to be sharing a three-part series on what it takes to become a successful practitioner and business owner. Many colleagues are contemplating starting their own practice and although the whole process is impossible to cover in this blog series, I will strive to touch on some very important concepts you need to have clarity on before you start your journey to ownership.
Strangely enough, I would like to ask you: How do you feel about money?
This is important because how you feel about money can either propel you or hinder your progress at having a successful business. Why? Because in order to serve your patients and have the equipment and staff you need, you’ll be needing to generate a lot of revenue. The last thing you need is to sabotage your success due to unconscious beliefs about wealth.
What are some preconceptions about money? Money is the root of all evil. Is this true? NO, money is neither good nor evil, it is what you do with it that can be morally judged as such.
Why are most veterinarians are lacking a wealth mindset? My opinion is that we are service-minded and completely devoted to our passion to heal animals. When you feel you were put here on earth to heal every sick pet in your path, the act of accepting money for something you would have done free of charge just because you wanted to help feels unethical. That, coupled with our unconscious beliefs about money, will stop us from pursuing a successful, abundant life.
There is a difference between a veterinarian who is a practice owner and the veterinarian who is a business owner. The main difference is that the business owner has developed a true enterprise that runs like clockwork with or without him/her there. That the practice is a replicable business because there are systems and processes in place that make it so.
The entrepreneurial veterinarian demonstrates the following:
1- Knows his/her numbers.
2- Knows what he/she wants and what it takes to get it (vision).
3- Constantly improves and looks for an edge (doesn’t want to be vanilla).
4- Delivers the best experience for his/her clients and serves patients.
In the post-2008 economy, many myths were debunked. For example: “Veterinarians and chicken farmers never go bankrupt.” Yet many veterinarians closed their doors after the economy turned sour. Corporate practices continue to grow and solo owners are left to fight for survival against brutal competition with huge marketing budgets.
What are the unconscious beliefs that you have about money? I grew up in poverty in Puerto Rico. My mother was divorced and raising 3 kids on two jobs. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, accepting WIC, aware that we couldn’t afford many things that my friends could. I felt the pressure to keep up my grades so I could receive the government’s allowance for gifted kids, which meant my mom could afford to buy school supplies, uniforms and food for all of us with that check.
And these were my unconscious beliefs about money:
1- The only way to escape poverty is through education and hard work.
2- An employee is at the mercy of the employer and can never be rich if he/she is not an owner.
3- If you want to go to heaven, you cannot be rich.
The first two beliefs were instrumental in helping me attain my degree and inspiring me to be a business owner. The last one I have reasoned out by focusing on all the scriptures that tell us that abundance is our birthright. In fact, it is your duty to be a successful entrepreneur and then use your wealth to help others, impact the world around you and take care of your loved ones.