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3 Ways to Know That You’re READY to Start Your Own Practice

I want to talk about a few things specifically for new grads: newly graduated physical therapists, occupational therapist, speech therapist, chiropractors, etc. If you are in the healthcare field, you just recently graduated, you're out either looking for a job or you are currently in your first job, and you hearing about starting your own practice and you're not really sure. Today I wanted to talk about three reasons why you might be ready to start your own practice.

I know when it comes to starting a business you are probably never going to feel ready, plain and simple. You're never going to feel 100% ready to do the thing. I think a lot of that comes from just not being super familiar with business as a whole.

In my physical therapy program, I remember having one business class and it was okay. Looking back now and looking at what we talked about in that class it wasn't super applicable to at least what I know now about business and how I choose to conduct my business. It's almost completely irrelevant which it really sucks to say. I don't mean it in a mean way or a negative way. The class was put together the best it could be put together for that particular style of business, but there are just there's so many different ways that you can start your own business and start working for yourself now.

That is something that I'm really passionate about sharing. I know for a lot of us when we're thinking about getting started, it can be really scary just because there are so many unknowns out there.

These are the three things that I might consider looking for and identifying within yourself as to whether you are ready to go off on your own and if it's the right time for you. They may or may not resonate with you. Leave a comment down below and let me know your thoughts.

Reason #1: It's impairing your health

The first reason that I would consider you ready to start your own thing, and this is pretty personal to myself and my own story, is if the job that you have currently is literally impairing your health.

I remember when I was in my very first job, a 9 - 5 outpatient Ortho clinic, it was literally impairing my health. I was struggling with really tough depression. I felt I was in a pretty negative and down place, every single day that I went to work. That was just really awful. It got to the point where almost every day on my lunch break I was in the lunchroom crying because I was so miserable.

It wasn't the physical therapy, it wasn't most of my patients, it was just the fact that I felt I was getting up so early to go and be trapped in a clinic all day long until the sunset and then come home. I was doing that four out of the five days of the week. Then during the day I had so many patients on my schedule and so much documentation to do that I wasn't really getting the interpersonal interactions that I had really enjoyed previously.

Honestly, one of the things that I really about being a physical therapist and a business coach too is working with people one-on-one, building relationships with them, and giving them a teammate to help them with whatever goals that they're trying to reach. In the place that I was working it just was not possible and I would cry before work, during work, after work. I was so sad and so completely beaten down all the time.

I had really just started getting more into CrossFit at that time as well, so I had really long days. I know that a lot of people out there do this all of the time: go to a 5:00 A.M. fitness class and then go to work and come home at 7/8:00 P.M. That is all fine and good, but I know for me that's not how I wanted to be living my life. On my off days I was just recovering from my week and that felt kind of silly to me to spend my life like that. I had worked so hard in school and I was so excited to get out into the real world, but I ended up just feeling like a hamster on a wheel. It never ended, it never changed, it never got better, so mentally I was not in a good place. I was having a lot of trouble sleeping or wasn't sleeping enough, my nutrition was okay at best, and it really started to wear on me after a long period of time. Finally, I said I can't do this.

If that's you and you feel like the position that you have right now is really starting to wear you down, then I think that is definitely a sign that you are ready to start your own thing. If the position that you're in is one that is creating a not so healthy situation, and you have the ability to create a situation that works better for you, do it! I know that there's obviously a lot that goes into actually making a business and you might feel like that's not a sign that you're ready, but I really think it is. It's your brain/ your body telling you that this situation is not healthy for you and you need to look for something else.

Reason #2: You found something that makes you incredibly happy

Reason number two that I would say that you are ready to start your own thing is when you do come across opportunities with patients where you get to do the thing that you really like. For me it was when I had athletes on my schedule and we would go outside and run around, kick a soccer ball, play basketball, or do different workouts in the clinic. Those things made me so incredibly happy and I remember thinking, "If I could fill my entire day doing this kind of thing I would love it. It almost wouldn't even matter what I got paid because I would be having so much fun every single day."

If you find yourself throughout your work day or day-to-day life doing things where you don't care if you get paid doing this thing, and you have opportunities to do things that make you feel like you get lit up, I think that's a great sign that you're ready to start your own practice or business doing whatever it is that you really like to do.

I definitely think if you have the right dedication and consistency you can really make a business doing anything. Specifically with therapy, if you are given opportunities where you're like, "I can't wait to do this. This is going to be so much fun...", and you feel lit up from the inside, I would really encourage you to follow that. Like I said, for me with athletes that definitely showed me that I was ready to move on and do my own thing. I just wanted to work with athletes. It was so much fun and that's what I wanted to fill all of my time with.

The first two reasons might not be things that come to mind when you think about, "Am I going to be ready to start my own practice?" However, I think they're really solid indicators that you're in a position where you need to move on or really edit and refine your life so that you are doing the things that really bring you joy. I wouldn't say that those are the classic signs that you're ready, but this third reason that you would be ready to start your own practice is a little bit more along those lines....

Reason #3: You're open to being decisive

The third reason why you might be ready to start your own practice, (and you probably are if the first two are "yes"), is that you are open to being decisive.

One of the things that is going to make you a successful business owner is your ability to make a decision and take action. Whether you are 100% confident in that decision or you have the right plan, you might not know, but all you can really do is look at the situation that is in front of you and take in the information around you.

Once you do that, make the best decision that you can about things and choose to take action. It might be the best decision, it might not. It might be the best action, it might not. Either way though, you are going to gain information. If you're able to peel away the fear of, "what if I made the wrong decision?" or "what are people going to think if I decide to do this?", and take action on this thing then you're off to a good start. Maybe it doesn't work the way that you want it to, but if you can start to strip away the feelings that are attached to those things, and instead look at it from this perspective:

  • I have option 1,2, and 3.

  • I'm going to do option 1.

  • The first action that I can take is X,Y, Z... go!

You take that action and maybe the only extra thoughts or feelings that you have about it are, "Whether or not this works out and does what I want it to do, I am going to gain information about how it works. Then that information and what I gained from that experience is going to help me continue to make decisions down the road."

I think it's something that takes practice and being confident in yourself. Trusting yourself to make a decision and handle whatever positive or negative consequences come after that. I know that being decisive can also be scary to commit to something. That's why I say it as "you're open to being decisive." You're open to practicing being decisive and test the waters. As long as you're open to that, you can get better at making better decisions for yourself. Like I said, over time the more decisions that you make and the more actions you take, you are only going to gain more knowledge about what's working and what's not.

There are there are probably a ton of other reasons why you could be ready to start your own practice, and of course you're never truly going to feel ready. You really aren't. There's not going to be just one day where you wake up and you're like, "Okay I'm ready to be a business owner!"

You have to start taking tiny actions towards what it is that you want until eventually you hand in your two weeks notice to leave your job. It's not going to happen overnight, but I really firmly believe that if these three things apply to you, you're in a really good position to start something for yourself. Because at the end of the day that's all one big decision too. You can always try it out and maybe you don't end up liking it, but at least you'll know and you won't be regretting it down the road.

Learn more about how to start your cash-based practice in these other blog posts!

Listen to this episode on my podcast!

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