By Cait Mellor
To many people, veterinarians (and almost any other type of doctor) = $$$.
(Cue “It’s All About the Benjamins” by Sean Combs)
There’s a wide assumption that all of those years of schooling are paid off in the end by the large paycheck that comes along with being a veterinarian, especially one that owns a practice.
Let me fill you in on a secret:
Owning a veterinary practice is not for the faint of heart!
Anyone interested in doing so will quickly learn with some research that at the end of the day, monetary wealth can still be difficult to achieve (but is of course possible with the right approach).
The truth is, if you dig to the root of practice ownership, there’s a whole lot of heart involved, and everyone’s “why” is vastly different. Let’s take a look at some of
the reasons one might take on this daunting but incredible task!
Wealth in helping others!
Guess what, guys… you don’t get into the veterinary medicine industry without a deep, passionate desire to help others. Plain and simple.
Dr. April Linson of Woodland Hills Pet Clinic gives us a great take on this when she said,
“If your definition of wealth includes treating your fellow humans and the critters in your world with compassion and building relationships, yes, you can be wealthy and financially stable and successful.”
I’m NOT saying you aren’t out here trying to make a decent living by owning a veterinary practice, but for many owners, it’s all about changing lives, and the rest are secondary perks.
Let’s get flexible.
“Myth – owners are motivated by money.
Truth: most of the time, owners’ motivations are accomplishing a lifelong dream and flexibility.”
-Dr. Anca Lepădatu of Sal-Vet Servicii Veterinare
Working for someone else forfeits your flexibility. For some, having a set schedule and time dedication works just fine. Others crave the freedom of flexibility. They want to control every minute of their day and arrange their lives in a way that works best for them.
Dr. Ashley Bourgeois of Animal Dermatology Clinic Portland addresses this when she was asked what was one myth she’d like to debunk about being a practice owner:
“That you have to give up your entire life to be an owner. You can’t have a family, vacation or hobbies and be a successful business owner. There are several different types of ownership and ways to delegate to make practice ownership whatever you want it to be!”
Practice ownership can increase your wealth in flexibility significantly, as your practice is whatever you are willing to work to make it! Depending on your end goal, your wealth can most definitely be found in flexibility!
The Power of Decisions.
Decision making does go hand in hand with flexibility. The decisions you make = the level of flexibility you have. And guess what… if you’re the owner, you call the shots!
Dr Melanie Bowden of Vacation Vet, LLC says:
“Being an owner does not mean it has to be a conventional brick and mortar practice. There are many ways to enter into ownership and control your own future in veterinary medicine. I have started a full-time relief business and love it!”
She decided that a physical practice location just wasn’t for her. She took the idea of becoming a relief veterinarian and ran with it! She’s a practice owner who’s doing it her way.
Practice ownership does not have to look the same for everyone, and having the power to make each and every decision means you can mold your practice into your exact vision. Some choose the path of ownership because of that vision and the desire to make it come to life.
What makes it come to life? The decisions you make. What gives you that power? Practice ownership. FULL circle!
Wrap it up…
The point is, of course money is a driving factor in any business model. I mean, one needs it to live the life they desire. Not to mention, there’s no shame in wanting to bring in a steady income for yourself!
But, there’s more to it than that. There’s creating a life that you’re proud of.
Whether that means:
- You want to be available to pick your kids up from school and not answer to your boss about it.
- You have an insatiable need to help others. It’s what makes you happy.
- You want full decision making power.
- You want to break the practice ownership mold.
- Or all of the above and more!
WHATEVER your “why” is, it’s a valid one.