You’re a young doctor and you’re employed by a hospital or private group and have thought about leaving them behind and going solo.
Even if the thought of opening up your own medical practice seems completely overwhelming right now, keep reading this article.
A few years from now the idea of going out on your own will seem less scary.
If you ever actually make the move, you will be happy you did the following three things NOW.
Think of yourself as planting trees that will take many years to grow - you can’t wait until you’re sweating in the sun and desperately looking for shade to plant the seeds!
1. You need to build an internet presence centered around you.
Doctors need a digital footprint on the internet. This should be built around you personally, as your employer may change in the future, but you are a constant.
Patients increasingly use Google to find their doctors and read up on all kinds of health-related topics.
How will patients find you? Will your patient’s even look for you? Do they remember your name?
Are you engaging your patients in some meaningful way or are you just another doctor following an algorithm that any other “health care provider” can do?
How do you build an internet presence? Start by signing up for social media accounts as your professional self.
Use your title in the profile name and use a professional headshot as the profile picture.
Try to post regularly and let patients know where to find you. This is super-easy and you can literally do this right now.
(Make sure to adhere to professional guidelines about social media usage for professionals. Don’t even think of sharing inappropriate content or making comments online that you wouldn’t share with an actual real patient in a medical setting.)
If you want to take things to the next level start your own website, blog, or whatever you want to call it.
Think of a name for the site, buy the URL, and put up something basic on there. You can learn how to do this by searching Google, but you can also just pay someone to set up a website for you.
Either way, there are many ways patients can engage with you on your own site, or a few years from now when you make the move your patients should have no problem remembering your name and finding you on Google.
(I should mention that you actually need to like writing, otherwise having a blog will almost surely fail after a few months.)
Just to notice how long it takes to generate some real traffic on your blog, it takes time to get the traffic going, and it’s not a linear growth, it’s more like a punctuated equilibrium.
This is why it’s important to start your site now, not a month before you are starting your new position.
If you don’t want to commit to having your own blog-type site, you can also write some high-quality articles and shop them out to other blogs, news sources, websites, etc.
Many places are happy to publish your stuff for free as long as it’s well-written and pertinent.
Make sure you can put links back to your own website (which can simply be a static page with your picture, credentials, contact information, and social media links) in the biography and these articles will continue to serve you for years to come.
2. Evaluate your financial situation now, save money, avoid lifestyle inflation.
Do you really need a luxury car? Do you truly get enough enjoyment out of it to justify the cost?
Are you running yourself ragged, putting your own health and your family’s well-being at risk, just to afford all this bullshit that you don’t need? Be honest with yourself!
It will take a bunch of your own money to make a career change, especially if you choose to go solo and start your own practice.
You will basically need to live on savings for a while since even if you start out busy it will take months or longer for your accounts receivable to ramp up to the point where you can take home a reasonable paycheck.
Sure, you can amass more debt and take out big loans to pay yourself from, but why?
Make things easier on your future self by cutting the fat out of your spending today, and save the money you’re making now to help with your escape later!
3. Continue to work hard for your patients and build a good reputation among your colleagues.
If you are a rockstar physician, your patients will find you and follow you no matter where you go or who you work for in the future.
Your reputation with your colleagues and co-workers (other doctors, nurses, office and hospital staff) will follow you wherever you go. Don’t forget that!
Don’t let your circumstances define you. Focus the energy from your emotions and use it to start a fire in your heart that burns for a brighter future.
You are moving on to bigger and better things, so act accordingly!
Two years from now when you finally pull the trigger on your new life, your future-self will be happy you did these three things today.