As physician moms, the time of the 40 year physician career is coming to an end. In the old days, we were taught to get through medical school, complete residency, get a good solid job and work your way to retirement at 60 years old. Then you could take your retirement and live “happily ever after”. Being a doctor used to be their whole identity. Today, however, times have drastically shifted. Working as a physician for 30 years in the current condition of our medical system is unsustainable. Furthermore, we as younger physicians (and especially physician moms and women in medicine) are waking up to that there is more to life than “being a good doctor”. That is why more and more physician moms and women in medicine are thinking about jumping ship to do their own thing. Our industry has devalued us as medical professionals and frankly as human beings.
The problem, however, is that we have not been trained in anything other than being clinicians. The idea of having multiple sources of income, and furthermore being an entrepreneur is foreign.
However, with the proper vision, mindset, and skillset, being an entrepreneur can be the access to freedom from the chains that this medical system has placed upon us. Perhaps one of the reasons Dr. Mommies hesitate to move in this direction is because there are a lot of misconceptions about what entrepreneurship looks like. Here are a few myths I’ve come across about physician entrepreneurship.
1. “I have to have an MBA or be a business expert to be an entrepreneur” – This is entirely untrue. Sure, it’s appropriate to get the some further training if you are going to step out into the entrepreneur world, but certainly it doesn’t require that you have an MBA. There are plenty of coaching programs, and business training courses that will give you a good foundation that you need to step out into the entrepreneur world.
2. “I have to have a bunch of disposable income to start be an entrepreneur” – Also not true. Many entrepreneurs (myself included) start their businesses with very little capital. What you need depends on what you are trying to do. As well, if you are new to entrepreneurship, it’s a great idea to start small and go from there
3. “I have to have knowledge of some other industry outside of medicine to start another business” – Well, besides learning what you need in the world of business and entrepreneurship, you have all that you need. You’ve gone through rigorous training to attain a knowledge base that most people do not have. Utilizing the knowledge you have creates the shortest path to being able to create a cutting edge product, invention, or business without having to learn a whole other trade. Furthermore, hiring other team members that can support the areas where your expertise is not as strong takes the burden off of you having to “know it all.”
4. “I have to quit medicine to be an entrepreneur” – Nonsense. This is the whole origin of the term “side gig”. Most physician entrepreneurs start their ventures while continuing to practice clinical medicine. In fact, most physician entrepreneurs continue to practice even after their “side gig” becomes big enough to be a “main gig”. So, whether you are looking to simply add a second stream of income or transition your career completely, you can continue to keep your clinical hat if you so choose while you grow and cultivate your own business.
5. “There isn’t time in a physician’s schedule to start a new venture” – The validity of this statement is directly correlated to the commitment level of the doctor making this claim. If you are truly committed you will make it happen. The key is having appropriate structures and systems in place to workably dedicate time to doing this, and a mentor, coach and community to keep you accountable.
Physician entrepreneurship is becoming more and more desirable in our current state of medicine, and women in medicine and physician moms are becoming the most savvy in this arena. Knowing that it’s possible, and that it may not be a hard as you think could be all that you need to take that leap into new territory. Furthermore knowing that there are people and programs that can educate and support you without having to go get a whole other degree makes it more doable as well.
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