Let's face it, owning and operating a clinic is not easy and you start to realize how important your time becomes. Now more than ever. If you have a family and hobbies and friends it can feel as though you start to neglect them for the success of your business, especially in the early years. One thing that I have learned to respect, is that time is the only thing you cannot get back or make more of. You can always make more money, you can always buy more things, go on more trips, have a bigger house. But losing out on time with your family and friends is something you may look back on and regret later down the road.
My husband and I don't have any immediate family in town, so when we started to grow our family it was just the two of us trying to juggle a life of being new parents, clinic owners and everything else in our lives. Those of you that have your parents close by to help out....appreciate every second of their help! And you know what? It's not only helping you, it's actually creating a great relationship between your children and your parents, something that most kids don't have the opportunity to experience.
When you're starting up your clinic, you really shouldn't be open 40 hours a week. Unless you have enough patients to fill your schedule for 40 hours...which kudos to you if that's the case! Adjust your office hours to assure patients are scheduled back to back, or even slightly overlapped. You want the socialization between patients, it helps build motivation and successful outcomes. And you also want to appear busy. A busy restaurant MUST be good; same goes with a busy therapy clinic. If you're trying to be flexible for your patients and having office hours 7am-7pm, that's nice. But I assure you, they will conform to your schedule and where you NEED to put them. Reimbursement is low enough, don't let them make it even tougher by scheduling with sporadic gaps. Remember, time is money.
I spoke with a wonderful counselor regarding work-life balance. I always thought "I want to be there for all the moments in my kids' lives". And I do. But I don't need to be there for EVERY bath time and EVERY homework session; I want to be there for the things that really matter to them and not necessarily the "have to do's". Hiring a nanny to help out, even when I'm home is a money well spent. To have an extra set of hands so that I could answer a prospective patient phone call after dinner could save me thousands versus only costing me a couple hundred dollars a week.
If you don't have children, or even if you do, hiring someone to help you with errands that you hate doing is also essential. Now they have grocery delivery services! Amazing....what a genius idea and so much time saved on something I personally hate taking time to do. Utilize an employee to run other errands for you; going to the bank, the post office, etc.
Here a few other things I try to hire out, and I guarantee that I actually end up saving money because I am now able to utilize my time better and spend on things that matter to me. I am in no sense boasting; I just want you all to consider the time saved in our life for some help for little pay.
- Laundry – Our nanny was hired on with the function of doing everyone's laundry in our home. There's nothing I hate more than folding and putting away clothes.
- Car Wash – If I didn't have someone come to my office and wash my car on a regular basis, I wouldn't do it at all. I would be driving a trash-mobile, so thank God for Wayne!
- Working out – If you are disciplined, you may have no problem here. But I struggled with going to the gym and being productive with my workouts. Duh, I'm a physical therapist, I know what to do. But actually doing it was the battle! Having a personal trainer, my 60 minutes is fully utilized and when I'm done I feel fantastic. I'm back to the office and fresh and better than before to get things going! I've never done them, but some of those Beach Body 30 minute workouts might be a great option too.
- Cleaning – Hiring someone to clean your house (unless you LIKE doing that) is amazing. Even if it's only once a month; it's another task that most people hate and it's done.
- Amazon subscribe-and-save – This should be your best friend! Don't run to Sams Club or BJs any longer for supplies for your house or office.
Pick one of these areas and commit to it. Hire someone for $12/hour and soak up the help. Not to mention, it's natural to procrastinate doing things you don't like doing. If you're paying someone, it will get done.
Please reach out if you need help: firstname.lastname@example.org and I am happy to give you some input!
Katie co-founded HENO based on her career as a physical therapist and practice owner of over 10 years. Her understanding of the pain points many practice owners face has equipped her to create practice management solutions that optimize the efficiency and profitability of physical, speech and occupational therapy clinics.