The Big Problem:
When I worked at Logan, I LOVED my job. I loved traveling with sports teams all over the country as their team physician. I loved covering track meets, soccer tournaments and football games. I loved the hustle and bustle of the busy clinics I worked in. But…. then I became a mom, and I just didn’t feel like I could do my job the way I used to anymore. It didn’t become clear to me right away. Instead, it was a sense that grew over the course of my first baby’s first year of life. I went back to work part-time hours when she was 8 weeks old (25 hours a week for the first two weeks, to be exact). And it was horrible. I felt like--even though I wanted to be at work and feel human and productive--I also had an intense feeling of panic most of the time--like having a limb severed and, if i didn’t get back to it quickly enough, it was never going to reattach. Side note: it was until several years later that I could look back on that time and on how I was feeling and recognize that I was struggling with PPA. Unfortunately, no one in my life--not my mom nor my husband nor my chiropractic co workers--either knew what to look for or was brave enough to tell me that how I was feeling was not normal.
When my baby was 10 weeks old, it was time for me to get back to my normal work schedule--which included 6am team meetings every monday morning. It took me 3-4 hours to get my daughter and I ready in the morning. Because I’d have to wake up and pump, then feed her, shower, eat, get the pump, diapers and all 10 bags packed to leave the house and by that time if was either time to pump or feed her again. I remember not putting my clothes on until just before we were walking out the door, because one too many times I had been all dressed for work in my clinic clothes, only to have the baby spit up down my shirt.
Well, I could go on and on with the stories and the reasons why I no longer felt like I could do my job at the university the same way I had done it before I became a mom. But the bottom line is--and I’m sure you can relate to this-- motherhood required me to start getting clear on what I was really doing with my life. I mean, I went to chiropractic school so that I could combine my marketing education and work experience with my social work education and work experience. Chiropractic was a way that I could own my own business and truly help people at the same time. But becoming a mom had me see that I actually had none of the time freedom that I had hoped for in my career, and it started to seem more and more like it was time to start my own practice so that I could finally have the time freedom that I had always wanted and now NEEDED as a mom.
But, truthfully, I had very little resources to start a practice. Thanks to being perhaps a bit too accommodating in my first marriage, I was carrying a lot of credit card debt, on top of a mortgage and my student loans. My credit wasn’t spotless, but it also wasn’t great. And I certainly didn’t have thousands saved that the bank would require for collateral on a small business loan. So, I just kept trudging on in my job….. Spending a LOT of time away from my daughter and feeling exhausted and doubtful about basically everything. By the time my daughter was reaching her first birthday, I felt miserable. I was really pulled between showing up in my job the way I wanted to (which meant traveling for several days at a time and working nights and weekends) and being the present mom that I really wanted to be, too. So, I swallowed my pride and asked a family member to give me money to start a practice. After several weeks of her asking a lot of questions, she decided to give me $25,000.
$25,000!!! That seemed like SUCH a HUGE amount of money at that time. I knew that as long as I worked hard and marketed my practice well, that would be MORE than enough money to start and operate my practice. Through the combination of that gift and other circumstances that lined up at just the right time, I started my practice for $3,000 and had over $20,000 in the bank for future expenses.
Fast forward a few years later, after I had sold that practice because I still hadn’t figured out how to work as a chiropractor and be a present mom too. But, it was only a few months before another series of events started unfolding that actually lead me to creating AW. The first step in that sequence of events was that I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School. Something about what Marie said just made B-School an absolute MUST for me. Interestingly, when I sold my first practice, I thought I was done with my career in chiropractic. I thought--that’s it…. I can’t ever be a great mom and be a successful chiropractor too. So, I thought I was just DONE. But I knew that I was still an entrepreneur. I knew that I still wanted to own a business and help people. That part had never changed. So, even though I had no money and no clue what I was doing…. I enrolled in B-School. A $2000 course that teaches you all about how to design a business and a life that you love.
Hhhhhhmmmmmm…. Well, through B-School, for the first time ever, I was introduced to the idea that I could design my practice to fit my life, instead of just working all the time trying to build a successful business and hoping to squeeze life into what time (if any) was left over. This was a huge turning point for me.
With a lot more learning through listening to podcasts, reading books and yes a lot of money invested in coaching, I knew I was ready to start my second practice. And this is where things got really interesting! I was really clear about how much time I wanted to work in and ON my practice--just 15 hours a week. I was really clear about the types of patients that I wanted to see--busy moms who were committed to more natural solutions for their families’ healthcare. I started building relationships in the area that I was thinking about opening my next practice in. And I was already working on my money mindset so that I could have a cash practice, with no doubt if people would be willing to pay for my services. Afterall, I just didn’t have the time to deal with insurance companies. I had already started AW at this point, had several clients I was working with 1-1, PLUS had 3 daughters!
Interestingly, even though our financial situation was a bit better at this time in our lives, I was absolutely adamant that I wasn’t going to put my family under any stress for me to open my practice. I was determined to start my practice for as little money as possible.
I know…. If you’re listening carefully, by this point, I sound super demanding, right?! I mean, I had decided to open a new chiropractic practice, working 15 hours a week or less, seeing only patients that I wanted to see, all while being out of network. PLUS, I was determined to start paying myself a salary from my practice as soon as possible so that I could take more pressure off of my husband to take care of our families needs.
I decided my practice was going to be profitable in under 90 days. And it was. I started my second practice in a room that I rented for $300 a month. I had a laptop and a table…. That was all I really needed to get started. My husband suggested that I negotiate paying for 5 months of rent up front and getting my 6th month for free. So, even though it was uncomfortable, I had that conversation with the woman that I rented my room from. And I did it. I started my practice with a table, a laptop, and $1500.
Alright, I know… that was quite a long back story. But what I really want you to learn from what I’m sharing with you today is this….
You don’t have to give up your dream of having your own practice. If working in the traditional model of success in our profession left you miserable, unhealthy and missing your babies, you need to know there’s another way.
You need to hear my story. And more importantly, you need to hear the stories of over 200 other women in chiropractic that Aligned Women has helped have profitable practices without sacrificing more time with their families.
You need to know that how much money you have (or don’t have) doesn’t have to stop you from bringing your dream to fruition, from helping people through the healing gift that you have, or from having a profitable practice that allows you time freedom, too.
You need to follow AW on Instagram to see our Case Studies and read their stories.
You need to read part 2 of this blog next week.