As a private practice dietitian, I tend to follow the “Go Big, or Go Home” belief system and I think you should, too. In my big heart of hearts, I think you should dream big – and act big. Therefore, as the ultimate dreamer and and a doer of all things private practice I thought it would be quite fitting to make the first blog post for the The Reimbursement Dietitian site be about the benefits of opening a nutrition private practice.
You see, I am a glass is half-full type of a gal. And in spite of the challenges of opening and running a nutrition private practice – I feel like the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
The Reimbursement Dietitian’s Top 5 Reasons to Opening a Nutrition Private Practice
- You are the boss.
- Complete and total control over your schedule.
- You can specialize in a practice area that excites you.
- Increased potential earnings.
- Profound sense of pride as you teach yourself the ins and outs of running a successful private practice.
You are the boss
It is no surprise that the number one benefit I see of being a private practice dietitian and working for myself is the fact that I am my own boss. As you can imagine this is a pretty awesome feeling. After years of working at a corporate clinical job – now I get to call ALL the shots.
I get to decide exactly how I want to run my practice. From the types of clients I want to work with, to which insurance companies I choose to participate with, to how I want to schedule my patients, right down to how I want to manage my money. I am 100 % in charge of everything in my practice.
Complete and total control over your schedule
My schedule is entirely up to me. And after a decade of having this luxury it is not something I would ever choose to give up.
If I want to work week nights and weekends I can. If I only want to work three days a week I can make that happen as well. If I want to go to Italy on a culinary trip with a bunch of other dietitians I don’t have to ask anyone. Well, maybe my husband! But I don’t need to put in a request for PTO. I just need to make sure I block off my schedule and pack my bags. Easy-peasy!
Being able to work when I want (and with WHO I want) is SO friggin’ awesome. if something important comes up (like a trip to Italy!) I can always adjust my schedule to accommodate.
For example, in the Fall and Spring, I teach nutrition courses at a local university. Because I work for myself I can change the days I am in my practice to accommodate the days I teach. I usually know this information months in advance so I just change my practice days. This allows me to explore different opportunities as they present themselves. I never have to say ‘no’ unless I choose to; not because I have to.
Having a flexible schedule in which you have complete and total control is clearly one of the best benefits of being a private practice dietitian.
You can specialize in a practice area that excites you
When you work for someone else you are often told what types of patients you will be seeing. When you go into private practice you can choose the exact population you want to work with. In fact, I highly encourage you to dial in your niche and focus as much as possible on a single demographic. It will make your job much more enjoyable and allow you to streamline your focus and hence practice. In my practice, I specialize in the nutritional needs of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
There’s a saying out there and I think it’s a great representation of private practice: if you’re speaking to everyone then you’re speaking to no one. Niching down is a great way to streamline your focus and speak directly to your ideal client.
Increased potential earnings
This is HUGE. When you work for yourself the sky’s the limit with your income. The harder you choose to work; generally the more you make. This is NOT the case when you work for a corporation or hospital. In those settings you make a finite salary no matter how many patients you see in a day. But in private practice the reality is much different.
And as you grow your empire and more and more people become aware of the awesome services you can provide them – the busier you will get. The more patients you see the more money you make. Therefore, there becomes a somewhat linear relationship between your personal output in your practice and your income. Talk about total control.
Profound sense of pride as you teach yourself the ins and outs of running a successful private practice
I save this one for last – but certainly not least. Running a practice is real hard work. There is SOOOOO much you need to learn. However, with each task you cross off your list, the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel towards yourself is literally priceless. In private practice you learn by doing.
Take for example billing. When I first taught myself how to do my own billing I wanted to throw up. I had no idea where to begin. Every time I would think about it – I would break out in a cold sweat.
But what I learned then (and still applies now) is that pretty much everything is figureoutable. While there might be some short-term pain involved and a substantial learning curve to overcome, the feeling of satisfaction of teaching yourself how to do something is irreplaceable.
And like I always say, you are a friggin’ RD, there is NOTHING you cannot figure out if you put your mind to it.
Next week, I will take a look at some of the challenges of being a private practice dietitian but for so now bask in the glory of all the awesome benefits.