I used to love what I do. I’ve been in practice for 26 years and, unfortunately, am in no position to retire. I’m hanging on by a thread and at this point, what I used to love doing has actually become a job. All the joy has been taken out of it. I’m trying to go more and more towards all cash but the paradox is that I practice in a very highly educated and affluent area and these are the exact people who are the least likely to be willing to pay! I feel for the future practitioners and if I wasn’t 62 years old, I would find something else to do. The fear and stress is simply getting to be too much.
Afraid in Franklin
Dear Afraid in Franklin
There’s no question that the practice environment has changed during the last quarter century. And while you didn’t reveal your practice marketing strategies, my guess is that your greatest opportunity lies there. At least that’s true for many of the chiropractors who express a similar plight.
Since there are many practices thriving these days in spite of the frustrations you’ve expressed (perhaps even in your own town), I’m a bit reluctant to enroll in your pity party. But please don’t interpret that as being insensitive or judgmental.
Instead of relying on “being on the list” or the momentum of 26 years in practice, the classic, “what have you done for me lately?” mantra comes to mind. In other words, are you findable on the Internet, are you familiar to strangers in your town and have you done anything to “plant your flag” in recent years?
While it’s tempting to have sympathy for the new graduate burdened with $200,000 in student loan debt, at least many of them are willing to do “undoctorly” things and get out and tell the chiropractic story to as many strangers as possible. Many established chiropractors are unwilling to get out of the safety of their practices and expose themselves to the confrontation of interacting with an allopathic world.
I know. You were hoping to coast into the soft landing of retirement after so many years of slugging it out in the trenches and helping so many people. Unfortunately, that sounds unlikely. And while it’s impossible to rewind the tape and either choose a different career, or replay the one you chose with a different ground of being, the bottom line is you must adapt. It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and comes at the exact wrong time, but it is what it is.
After you go through the grieving process, please let me know how I can help.
And by the way, I’m not sure your assertion that the affluent are unwilling to pay for their chiropractic care. Actually, it has little to do with income and far more with how much they value themselves and their health—which, in my experience doesn’t directly correlate with income, insurance coverage or postal code.
Finding people in your community who value their health, and have the resources to pay for it, is a huge communication burden. After all, most people think of chiropractors as back doctors, not whole body wellness experts. Again, that means getting out of your practice and sharing your truth to as many strangers as possible.
I was scolded recently by a highly successful chiropractor who is earning more today than at any time in his 32 year career that success is no more elusive today than in years past. It still requires certainty, clarity, focus, communication skills and most of all, a willingness to work hard.
Let me know how I can help. And I will.