Many concierge medicine physicians and their life partners tell me that the future “happiness and success” metrics they will use to measure success will be defined by achieving a work-life balance between their personal and the professional lives.
They assert that the membership revenue will be used …
- to provide better service levels
- to allow for more time for patient visits and counseling
- to stabilze the income level to which they have become accustomed, and
- to cover the incremental direct costs associated with the membership amenities.
They don’t view the membership fees as a means to deploy a “get rich quick” scheme. And they shouldn’t.
As a consultant that helps physicians build the concierge practice of their dreams, I’ve probably heared the “lack of work-life balance” as a reason for transitioning to the concierge medicine model in 95% or more cases. But does striking a balance between the two imply having to make trade-offs between them? Must one sacrific work ambitions to live a fuller life, or have a successful practice? Perhaps not. Perhaps there’s another way to go about measuring happiness and success by slightly tweaking the measurable objectives.
Harmony and Integration as the Objectives
Instead of absolutes that lead to a zero-sum contest, consider finding harmony and integration as your goal. The money will come if the work is performed and smart choices are made in how you run a business and promote a solid brand that is your own. But while money may come, harmony and integration are not implied. You have to decide what they look like and aspire to achieve them. I find that when an established physician with about 4500 private patients integrates these objectives (instead of work-life balance, per se) into their concierge medicine business plan and deployment strategy, they are more likely to reach their goals.
This is where a transition to a concierge medicine (or direct practice) business model differes for a de novo practice starting a concierge model from scratch. The de novo start has to work like an Iditarod sled lead dog to build a new concierge practice. While they can achieve harmony and integration once they are up and running, at first, it is all work and all sacrifice. That’s the nature of being self-employed and building a brand from scratch. Beware of any consultant or self-help guru blogger that tells you otherwise! After 30+ years of being in business for myself, I can assure you that it takes hard work and sacrifice to plan, launch, operate and thrive as a small business startup. Just ask my husband, my friends, my family, the members and colleagues of community service and professional associations to which I belong, or my pets!
Why this matters
When considering this transition or fresh start, build into your objectives and your personal mission statement, a goal of creating harmony between your self, family, community and business ambitions. You’ll find that these 4 touchpoints bring your brand to life and influence your branding, marketing, promotional, and social media strategies as well. That’s because in the new world of social media marketing and the court of public opinion on internet and medical directory site reviews (Yelp, FourSquare, Google+ HealthGrades, ZocDoc, Vitals, etc.) that post your reputation as consumers see it, you must be real, be whole, and be innovative.
To be real, you must have the courage to act with authenticity according to what matters the most to you. That means allocating bandwidth for work and for personal life.
To be whole, you must act with integrity, because your brand and your reputation and rapport with others depends on it.
To be innovative, you must demonstrate creativity via continuous experimentation. Your brand reputation, differentiation, and value are all tied to this quest for creativity in medicine and innovation.