It's time to get creative with your scheduling in functional medicine practice. No more excuses that it's just you! If you want to earn more money, you either see more clients or you get better at what you do and charge more for it.
Do not miss these highlights:
00:54 Dr. Deb experience in hiring her first practitioner
05:50 Within the first year of Renee (a hire) and Dr. Deb tag-teaming things, they had their revenues about $875,000 a year
08:03 As long as you had two people, you could make it work
08:53 Today Dr. Deb owns a $4 million business in Functional Medicine
10:01 It's about knowing what experts to listen to and which ones to prove wrong
10:58 Be creative. Think outside the box. Don't do what everybody else does. Do what you feel in your heart is really the best thing for your business
11:40 Figure out what your end game is, then structure your business to meet that end game
Transcription of Episode #14:
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry. Because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools of how to manage money, taxes and patient care. She will discuss it all with you.
In 2011, I hired my first practitioner, some of you have yet to hire your first employee. Some of you like me, that was a long time ago, when I hired Rene my first practitioner, an RN, I was in such a precarious place because we had no money. I hadn't yet proven my practice would survive. I just couldn't carry the load by myself anymore. I was so insecure that when I hired Renee, I thought, gosh, she's doing me a favor. Y'all know how that felt? Do you remember those days when you felt like you didn't have anything to offer you were just grateful that somebody was willing to come to work for you. Do y'all remember when you were doing your first interviews, because I remember this. I did all the talking. And they didn't have anything to say. And I thought they were fantastic. You know, we oversell ourselves a lot of the time. And we do that because we're insecure, and as new business owners I think there's a place where we're all insecure, whether it's because we're just starting out, or whether you've been in business a really long time and you still just don't feel like you've got it all together, you just don't feel confident enough to be hiring people. So you know, when I hired Renee, I didn't know if we would bring in enough money to pay her. I really didn't. I just knew that if we worked really, really hard, and some more patients, I could pay her and I could pay myself, I had no idea how we were going to structure at that moment, the practice so that she could make money, because at the time, none of my clients wanted to see anyone else, they only wanted to see me. So I wasn't sure how I was going to do this, how I was going to pull this off. But I knew I couldn't carry the workload by myself anymore. I was working from seven in the morning until 11 o'clock at night. In the practice, I'd get there at seven in the morning, I do the management stuff, I'd start seeing clients at eight, I'd get done seeing patients at five or six, I finish up my messages and my refills and then I would head home for an hour have dinner with my kids and my husband. And I would spend the next three hours either charting what happened during the day, or doing more things to grow the business. And then at 11 o'clock, I go to bed exhausted.
So I knew I couldn't keep that pace up anymore. I had no clue how I was going to do this. And when Rene started, she and I had been chatting about some of the other functional medicine practices that she had worked at. And she knew a lot she had been in the business a long time. She could have been a nurse practitioner on all accounts of the things that she knew. So we decided that we were going to tag team patients. And since we were cash primarily, we could do this. So she would go in and she would start taking the history for me while I was seeing another client, and then I would come in and she tell me you know what she found the kind of a case report. And then I would make the assessment I would make up the plan. I would tell her what I thought. And then I would leave and then she would explain everything we just talked about in medical terms to the patient. And she would explain it she would educate them on what we were doing and why she would write out the treatment plan for them and I could go see another patient while she was doing that.
And we did that for her really long time, there was a place where between the two of us we were up to seeing about 26 patients in a day in functional medicine effectively, because I know a lot of you are going to say there's absolutely no way you can do this. And yeah, we could. We ended up doing this, not just with the two of us, but then we added another nurse practitioner. So we did it with the three of us. And we were able to kill it. Patients loved it, because they got a lot of attention. They got a lot of time, practitioners liked it, it was a way for me to train a new provider, and teach her without having to sacrifice cash flow. So that's how we did it. And when it was just Renee and I in the first year, we I was billing about a half a million dollars by myself. And within the first year of Renee and I tag teaming things, we had our revenues up to just about $875,000 a year. So it really increased without having the huge expense of another practitioner. You know, paying an RN salary is less expensive than paying a doc or a nurse practitioner. So it worked out extremely well for us. I realized quickly that we could replicate this. And that's what I started to do. So after Rene and I got to this place, and the two of us were getting exhausted from seeing all the patients, we brought in another nurse practitioner, when we brought in that other nurse practitioner, we worked it very much the same. So this nurse practitioner didn't have a functional medicine background at all. She came from ICU. So there was a lot to teach her. So I would have her sit in with Rene and listen and learn the process of interviewing the questions, the teaching. And then I would come in and I would do all of the assessment and plan part. And she could learn that for me. And then after about six weeks of doing this, we started getting her to do the history and do the physical. And so then things got really crazy for a while because I would pop in between both rooms. So we would stagger the schedule. So I could pop in, in between and I was constantly running between patients. So I was actually seeing patients for about 20 minutes at a time while they were doing all the heavy loading. And then my normal people that didn't need a lot of attention that were just there for follow up annual thyroids refills, no problems I would see in between these people. It was crazy crazy, let me tell you. And we were really grateful when we got to a place where our practitioner could work on her own independently. And she didn't need me anymore, because that significantly reduced my crazy in the day. But what we found was this was awesome. As long as you had a as long as you had two people, you could make this work. So once we got our nurse practitioner Amy trained, we hired another nurse practitioner. And we did the same thing with her except at that point It was Amy and I transitioning with this new nurse practitioner and Renee was with her the the entire time holding your hand. By that time Renee knew all of the things we were doing. So she could actually make recommendations to the nurse practitioner if she didn't know what, what to do. And so it actually worked out really, really well.
And we still do this to this day. Except we don't use Renee anymore. Renee has since moved on. And so we're doing it with two nurse practitioners. And today we own a $4 million business. And when I say this was not overnight, I mean it like this took a very long time, a lot of heartache, a lot of stress a lot of scars on our backs and a lot of mistakes. But I didn't have a choice at that time. I got up every morning I worked really hard. I saw patients I dealt with crazy in my office, y'all know about crazy, right? You know what I'm talking about there. And that's a whole nother podcast of itself. But every day and every week and every year I got better at business better at being a leader and of course better at being a practitioner. You know, everything got better. And as a child. I remember if someone told me No, for me that meant game on I was going to find a way to prove that I could do it faster, better and easier. And this is a good bet good trade and a bad trade all at the same time in business. It's a trait that can cost you a lot of money to trade that can bring you a great deal of revenue But what I've learned over the last 20 years is it's about knowing what experts to listen to and which ones to prove wrong. And I've done that a lot. And I've made a lot of mistakes in that as well. But we did something right, we really did. Because to have a $4 million business in functional medicine is amazing. And I now have a practice that I love, I have a business that I love. I have a great team around me a great group of leaders and we're helping a lot of patients, which brings me so much joy, to know that there's people getting care that they need and that they deserve and that we're making them better.
So if you're questioning, what do I do at this point with my business? Where do I go? How do I make the next move? How do I grow, I would say this, you know, be creative. Think outside the box. Don't do what everybody else does. Do what you feel in your heart is really the best thing for your business, throw it, make sure you have a plan for where you want your business to grow to, you know, that's key, if we don't know where we're going, we don't know how we're going to get there. And so you need to know what your end result is. It's kind of like the story of The Wizard of Oz, right, they follow the yellow brick road, because they knew what they were looking for at the end of the yellow brick road. If you don't know what your end game is, in business, you have no way of figuring out how you're going to get there. And you're going to trip and you're going to fall and you're going to get off target, because you don't have an end game. So figure out what your end game is and then structure your business to meet that end game. So I hope that today's shine a little light for you made you think outside the box just a little bit. And understand that things can be done things can be successfully done without just you you don't have to do everything yourself. And you can have an amazing business and amazing life in the world of functional medicine.
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