Ellis Orthodontics has been a great experiement for me. Creating a smile making business that reflects my personality and leaves others feeling a personal connection with my office has become my stated purpose. To be able to state a purpose is an accomplishment - it is moving from the building a dream stage to the development of a business stage. I suspect that most start up businesses begin as a collection of hopes and dreams without tangible form. As the startup business is built it becomes tangible, but is still largely a conceptual idea that is hard to nail down. I'm feeling pretty good about nailing down what Ellis Orthodontics is all about - and I look forward to building on the framework that has been established.
In the post, I am going to blog a little about what it is like to be a business owner, particularly an owner / operator of a start up orthodontic office in an established (and awesome!) area of Dallas. After opening Ellis Orthodontics in the Fall of 2015, I have been surprised at how many people are intrigued and curious about my experience "sticking it to the man", also known as becoming self employed. So this blog is here for posterity, and to encourage others who may be considering or doing the same thing.
First of all, my experience with business ownership runs to all ends of the spectrum of feelings. It is fun and exciting one day, and anxiety provoking and frustrating the next. As a start up office, the anxiety provoking days are many, but the fun, exciting and rewarding days increase with time. I believe that I feel a greater thrill with each success of my new business that those felt by seasoned business-people. I suppose this is much like the way it is thrilling to see a baby take their first steps, but hardly a second thought to watch a 10 year old run down the sidewalk to visit a friend. The newness of each success stands as proof that my business is making that slow but steady progression towards maturity. In order to enjoy each success, I have come to realize that it is best to look at my practice and it's growth as an adventure and a project, not as a business plan. While the plan is important, if I only judge my office on whether or not I meet a metric, that takes all the fun out of it.
I've also come to realize that being a business owner is not something that is just one part of who I am, it has profoundly effected all of who I am. Let me explain....because this sounds a little crazy and I don't what to leave any reader with the impression that business ownership will diminish the other areas of life like family, community, spiritual, etc. Rather, as a business owner, I see things differently now, and consequently I participate differently and think differently in settings outside of my office. For example, I have become much more patient with the struggles others are going through, as I have a very real knowledge of just how difficult and challenging and scary life can be at times. Of course we all KNOW these things, but that knowledge is with me quite acutely now, as opposed to buried somewhat deep in my memory.
For anyone considering opening a business or any new dentists/ orthodontists considering hanging out a shingle, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am happy to share the good, the bad and all the stuff in between with you about what it really is like.