Congratulations, Doctor. You have finally taken the bull by the horns and started your own business. Armed with the passion, commitment, perseverance and tolerance for ambiguity that are the hallmarks of entrepreneurs, you are ready for missed deadlines, loan payments, dwindling bank accounts, second-guessing yourself, 60-hour work weeks, arguments with your spouse and failing health.
Entrepreneurship is a tough business and, according to recent data, the success rate of startup companies is about 25 percent. Given those odds, what can you do to deal with the stress of entrepreneurship? Here are a dozen suggestions:
- Get some vigorous exercise at least 25 minutes three times a week.
- Eat the right foods.
- Carve out time to relax and take vacations.
- Face your demons and rid yourself of toxic behaviors.
- Revisit the marital rules of engagement.
- Create more work-life balance.
- Focus, focus, focus on cash flow, cash flow, cash flow.
- Delegate, barter, borrow or rent.
- Turn off electronic devices after 6 p.m., and at least one day on the weekend observe your Sabbath.
- Fail as early and as cheaply as possible.
- Don't quit your day job if at all possible until you have a customer.
- Migrate as quickly as possible from working in the business to working on the business, filling the org chart boxes with someone other than yourself.
Physicians have what it takes to make great entrepreneurs. However, being a doctor does not immunize you from the trials, tribulations and the toll entrepreneurship can take on your personal and professional life. Remember your biggest strengths are your biggest weaknesses. Listen to the few people in your life who you can trust to tell you the truth, and try to eliminate your blind spots. Your company, your happiness and your health depend on it.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA, is president and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. He is a professor of otolaryngology, dentistry and engineering at the University of Colorado Denver. He is the cofounder of four companies and is a consultant to several life science, IT and investment firms. Dr. Meyers is a former Harvard-Macy Fellow, a National Library of Medicine Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and was named as one of the 50 most influential healthcare executives of 2011 by Modern Healthcare magazine.