I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. That always sounded like way too much responsibility as far as I was concerned… and besides, I’m a model employee. I’m serious: I’m super respectful, I always go above and beyond, I arrive early so that I’m always on time and I stay until the job is done, however long that takes. If I have to pick up the slack for another employee, I’ll do it. Granted, maybe I wasn’t the friendliest employee ever, because although I can multitask, only within the sphere of jobs needing to be done. Being friendly uses a different part of my brain, so I prefer to save “friendly” for when my to-do list has been checked off. But I guarantee I’ll get more done in an hour than any two other employees put together.
But, I decided to be a naturopathic doctor, which does not exactly lend itself to salaried positions. Because it’s outside the traditional medical system, we’re not covered by most insurance companies (or if we are, it’s out of network at best). This means that for the most part, we hang our own shingles. This can be challenging, because most of us graduate with between $1-200K in med school loans, and our business experience is limited to three of the crappiest business classes you can imagine. I remember hearing a statistic when I was a student that up to a third of naturopathic doctors end up doing something else because they can’t make the business end of it work. A THIRD. With $1-200K to pay back.
This is why it took me two years to work up the nerve to become a naturopath. I was in and out of like nine other grad school programs, trying to figure out if I could do essentially the same thing without all the risk. I couldn’t. Then I tried to be a naturopathic doctor AND an employee, because I thought it sounded far more secure and less terrifying than also being a business owner… but for various reasons, that was an unmitigated disaster. Then for the last few years I’ve been renting space out of someone else’s office. Still owned my practice, but skipped a lot of the start-up legwork. This worked out better than the employee attempt, but the office is an hour drive from my house, which meant lots of lost time and income…
So at last, I’m in process of moving into my very own place.
Side note: you know, once upon a time, immigrants used to come over on a boat, hop right out, and buy some supplies to make aprons or what not. Then they just sold them on the streets and paid their employees out of the profits. And there you go: it was a business.
It’s *not* so much that way now. I’ve got insurance for my insurance, and permits for my permits. My to-do checklist has 39 items on it, some of which have 12-13 sub-points. Just got off the phone with my internet and phone service company, where I was placed on hold for 45 minutes and routed to three different departments, just for them to ultimately tell me that no, they cannot change the time to install service to a time when I can actually be in the office. Not unless I want to wait until a week after I start seeing patients before I get phone or internet.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There are LOTS of benefits to being your own boss, and most of the time if you ask me about it, I’ll say it’s super awesome. But not right this second. Partly because of the to-do list thing. Partly because of a whole bunch of other related drama that it’s probably inappropriate to divulge. Partly because I’m also trying to get my third book out at the same time.
But mostly because at the moment, I’m doing all this from the hospital OR waiting room… where I am awaiting word on yet another family emergency surgery. It IS pretty cool that I can clear my schedule for stuff like this when it happens, because shoot, I’m the boss. But seriously, what is with this “when it rains, it pours” principle, huh? Anybody else noticed this?? It’s freakish!