Pulling into the garage after a long weekend at a client’s practice, I still can’t believe that I love my career even more than I did when I started 20 years ago today.
I moved home to care for my parents and step-grandmother, needing a flexible job that allowed me to schedule work around their appointments, hospital stays, rehab, etc. Little did I know then how important that flexibility was needed. And yet, I had absolutely no idea it would be such an amazing career.
After enjoying the corporate life, it was strange to be self-employed, yet I found colleagues that make great “co-workers,” on the same team, all with the same goal, through my three professional organizations! We became a community of tight knit, like-minded hard working speakers, consultants, and fraud examiners, who also became friends. The healthcare industry (primarily dental) has been a great home to my business.
I love the relationship that is cultivated with my clients.
I had a call last month from a doctor who told me he had read my book 5 times and was now ready to use QuickBooks in his practice. I gave him a hard time and asked him if he didn’t want to read something a little more entertaining or was it night-time snooze material. I suggested a series of David Baldacci’s that I had just completed to which he said he would check out.
I got a message last week that he called back only to tell me thanks on two fronts – for the QuickBooks help and the Baldacci recommendation!
Or another time when BJ & I were at the ballgame, and a dentist’s spouse stood up at the beginning of the 2nd inning and proclaimed loudly for the whole section to hear, “Oh my gosh! I know who you are. I have your books. I’ve taken your class. I cannot believe you are sitting next to us!”
The feedback has served as affirmation that I am where I am to be. It is my niche.
Or the many times I’ve walked down a hard road with a client who has been embezzled by someone they trusted, and I am heartbroken with them. Then, long after the investigation, after the embezzler was sentenced, to get a thank you note with a gift card, expressing their appreciation for the care they received.
Or the countless emails I receive from one of my newsletters or blog posts, like the one sent regarding what to do regarding the Equifax breach. From a doctor: “Thank you so much for helping us deal with this mess. You are such a great resource for us. I am one of your students, having attended your courses.”
There were times I almost quit. Like after September 11th when the phone didn’t ring for five months. Or after Mom passed away and I realized I could return to a “corporate-type” position.
But, I realized I truly love what I do.
Very rarely do I take the time to attend conferences, being the one that is usually presenting in one. But yesterday, I attended a workshop hosted by one of my professional organizations, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
I sat by a gentleman who has a high level position with a very well-known corporation. He has been thinking about starting his own consulting business after he retires in a couple of years. During lunch, he asked, “Now that you’ve been in business for 20 years, what advice would you give me starting out?”
Without skipping a beat, I answered, “Find a niche that aligns with your passion. Become the expert in that niche and stay in your lane. Don’t try to be all things to all people because that never serves your clients or you very well. Take the slow times to repurpose your offerings, and redesign them to meet client’s pain points. Keep your marketing fresh. Never pass up an opportunity to help someone else struggling in their business without charging them. Be open and available. And never stop learning.”
I was surprised at how quickly I answered. Midway through my first sentence, he rapidly began taking notes. We even talked about what that would look like for him. I guess I’ve learned a few things along that 20 year path.
But, wow. Who would have thunk it?
8 employees, over 1700 clients, 37 books written with over 4000 sold, spoken at over 100 venues. Speaking has taken me all over the US and, at the conventions, I often meet clients face to face for the first time, after having talked to them for months only by phone!
My mission statement has been “to serve clients in providing solutions that enable the practice owners to understand the business of their practice and to protect their practice.” More simply put, I absolutely love being a positive change catalyst. It is a rewarding career.
Thank you to every single one of you who have made this past twenty years so fulfilling and even a possibility! I never imagined the scope or range of possibilities.
Wow. Twenty years.
Hang on – I am certainly not finished yet! I do love what I do. And there’s a few more books to write!