Many therapists have this idea that part of growing a business means one day hiring employees or renting out rooms to other therapists. And if that really is your goal, great. But if it’s not, or it’s come to the point where you realize that’s not what you want anymore, that’s great too. There’s this idea that you’re somehow less successful if you decide to stay solo, and it’s simply not true. You can be extremely successful with a great income as a solo practitioner. It may require some ingenuity but what business doesn’t?
It boils down to a single question you have to ask yourself…
WHAT ARE MY ULTIMATE LIFE GOALS AND WHAT WOULD THIS MEAN FOR THEM?
Your business may be a life-long dream, but your dream life doesn’t need to be sacrificed for your business. There’s an old adage that if your business isn’t growing it’s dying, but I disagree somewhat. In the early stages when you’re just starting to build, this may hold some truth, but there comes a point where you have a steady stream of clients, you stay booked up for a while, and you’re content. If you’re there, or that’s as far as you want to take it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m in no way saying not the hire, just don’t feel pressured to because it’s what you think you’re ‘supposed to’ do once you reach a certain point.
So answer that question; what are your ultimate life goals and what would this decision mean for them?
If you want to keep extreme flexibility in your schedule; if you hate the idea of babysitting other adults to make sure they’re doing their job; if the idea of being responsible for someone else’s livelihood makes you really uncomfortable; you may not want to pursue hiring. Or if you decide to go through with it, you may want to take some time to learn and adjust in order to do it with confidence and contentment.
If your life goals require a ridiculously high income you simply cannot achieve alone and you’re willing to deal with the nitty gritty details of managing employees or renters, then go for it!
When I first started my massage practice, the idea of having numerous therapists working for me, creating a happy and safe place for them to practice, building a local massage empire to take care of a variety of clientele….all that sounded fantastic. It was my business goal. But then the longer I spent as a solo practitioner and the more life changed, the more my goal switched from being business centered to being life centered. My goal became centered around the type of childhood I want to provide for my daughter, the amount of time I want to spend with her and my husband, the vacations we’d like to take…the list goes on.
It became apparent to me that in order to achieve that, once so perfect, business goal, I would have to sacrifice my ultimate life goal. I’m not okay with that. I love what I do and I love my business, but where am I most happy making sacrifices? A long time ago I heard someone say that in any big decision, think about how you’ll reflect on the choices you made when you’re on your deathbed. As morbid as that may sound, it has served me well so far. Will I look back and be more proud of the business I built or the family I spent time with? Will my legacy be only of this big massage empire, or of amazing memories with my husband, kids, and grandkids? Or can I have it all? If I want it all, where can I make allowances that still make me feel good about my decisions when I lay down at night.
But I know that is only my situation and my choices; it doesn’t fit for everyone. So let’s say you don’t have kids, you’re single, or maybe your kids are grown and you’re ready to build something that you now have the time for….go for it! If your life goal is the same as your business goal, that’s great! No sacrifice needed (at least in that department).
There are a lot of positives to hiring employees and building a big practice, but there’s also a lot of negatives.
There are a lot of positives to staying solo, but there’s a lot of negatives to that too.
All I’m asking is that you weigh the pros and cons, talk to others who’ve taken the plunge and those who didn’t, and ask yourself that one serious question…”What are my ultimate life goals and what would this mean for them?”. Then build your business around your life, not the other way around.