Even after plunging into the world of private practice, physiotherapy clinic owners may experience “buyer’s remorse” over their decision to leave the public sector. It only takes one or two poor experiences with a banker, supplier or patient to trigger such feelings. However, if we recall the original reasons for starting a private clinic, we may find reassurance in the decision:
1. Excitement and personal challenge
There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of running your own business. Your private physiotherapy clinic holds out the promise of personal fulfilment that lifelong employment in a hospital can never bring. The all important start-up period involves discovering talents and creativity you never thought possible. By writing out your business plan, renting space and equipment and executing your marketing strategy, you add a personal touch to practices made successful by entrepreneurs in other fields.
Whereas other situations restrict you to a standard physiotherapy routine with patients, private practice will give you greater satisfaction as you meet different challenges and hone your business skills. As a private practice owner, boredom is unlikely, since you will be constantly juggling your physiotherapy and entrepreneurial hats.
2. Declare your independence
Many private practice owners cite autonomy; i.e. being your own boss, as the most important reason for going into business. Factors like the power to decide when and how to work and the freedom to choose patients are great selling points for starting a physiotherapy practice.
Talk to physiotherapists in the public sector today and they will claim lack of workplace control as the most stressful aspect of their jobs. Hours, patient selection, care delivery, etc. are all determined by hospital administrators and supervisors.
3. Stronger link between efforts and rewards
In the short-term, you may miss the regular paycheque and benefits offered in employ. However, these tend to plateau quickly, since your achievements are diffused throughout your workplace, amongst co-workers, administration, etc.
In your private practice, you benefit directly from your efforts. Your compensation is in accordance with the time put it and results of your work. You can use down time to ramp up your marketing for future growth. The harder you work to gain additional referrals, the more income you will earn, especially if you target a high demand specialization that other clinics and hospitals cannot or chose not to handle.
4. Flex-time work schedules
Once you establish your practice, you can choose to work outside the traditional “9 to 5” world if it means better management of your work-life balance. Now, you can arrange your business hours to better suit your personal, social and family needs. You will be in better position to schedule holidays that coincide with your partner and/or friends. Also, you may opt to structure your week to accommodate your children, aging parents or activities like volunteer work.
5. Earning what you deserve
Working in private practice means deciding your fee structure and ultimately how much you get paid. You set your rate and hours. In addition, you have the authority to budget any improvements to your clinic’s operation, in terms of marketing, equipment purchases, new hires, etc. If you can survive your growing pains, your earning potential exceeds that of employed physiotherapists. As the owner of a thriving private practice, you are not at the mercy of workplace politics or the hospital hierarchy.