Thinking of starting a geriatric care management private practice? This post helps you get clear on why you want to be self-employed and what your business vision is.
The prospect of quitting your job, hanging out your shingle and flying solo can be overwhelming. Yet the idea nags at you until you find yourself day dreaming all day long!
You consider becoming a geriatric care manager, aging life care professional, patient advocate, senior care advisor or consultant but you’re not sure what to call yourself or if people will purchase your services.
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail from a health care professional (nurse, social worker, counselor, coach) that goes something like this…
“I’m thinking of starting a geriatric care management (aging life care professional) practice but I’m not sure where to start”
You can have all the degrees and certifications in the world and still not have the confidence you need to hang out your shingle. Don’t get me wrong, you need the degrees and education. But you also need to dig deep inside to gain clarity around how you want to work.
Before you pay for additional education or start jumping through hoops to become certified as a geriatric care manager, spend time identifying your strengths, motivations and values. Create your vision!
By identifying your deepest desires, you’ll gain the confidence you need to move forward in creating the solo practice of your dreams. Grab a notebook, carve out some quiet space and reflect on the following…
1. WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
Your strengths are the core of who you are both professionally and personally. Chances are you take your strengths for granted and may not even be aware of what they are. Or, you fight against your strengths and can’t understand why you’re so miserable at your job.
Your strengths are the skills or attributes you’re known for. The things that set you apart from others and excites you most about your job.
Consider your strengths not only as they relate to the clinical side of your practice but also the business side of things. Remember you’ll need to balance both!
Ways to identify your strengths…
- Complete self-assessments online. One of the simplest ways to identify your strengths is self-assessments. Although not fool proof, they can give you some much needed insight in to your strengths. Here’s my favorites…
- Ask your co-workers or supervisors what your strengths are (ignore the weaknesses for now) .
- Review past job performance evaluations or client/patient/resident surveys.
- What do you get complimented on the most in your job?
- Ask current clients/patients/residents this question. What one word would you use to define my work or the job I’ve done for you?
- What particular task do you love doing the most? Write it down and ask yourself what it is about that task that excites you.
Are you starting to identify your strengths? Have you taken the Gallup Strength Finder? Write down your top 5 strengths on your vision worksheet.
Remember, embracing your strengths will help you create an elder care business or private practice that is sustainable, profitable and most importantly rewarding.
Next, I want you to consider what motivates you not only as a helping professional but as a self-employed private practice practitioner!
2. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Your motivation is that deep desire within you that is going to sustain you as a small business owner or private practitioner. Strengths aren’t enough to push you forward when times get tough (and they will get tough). Motivation is the energy that will carry you through those tough times.
Motivators can be both internal and external but it is important that you identify them, write them down and refer to them often. Make them part of your plan!
Ways to identify what motivates you…
Visualize what owning your own business will mean to you on a personal basis. Read through this list and check of those statements that cause a stir inside of you.
- You are financially secure.
- You are healthy both physically and mentally.
- You are able to travel around the world.
- You are able to balance your work and family obligations.
- You feel valued by the people you work with and for.
- You feel inspired to create.
- You are recognized as and expert in your community.
- You have freedom over your work schedule.
- You are able to accomplish your own goals on your time frame.
- You are helping people versus filling out forms.
- You are able to create a work environment where you’re never bored.
- You can work around your kids and family schedules.
- You encourage yourself to attend educational seminars.
- You are able to spend time on personal growth.
- You are able to compete in win-lose scenarios.
- You are able to compete in win-win scenarios.
- You are complimented on your work.
- You are able to engage in community events and networking.
- You are recognized in your community as a leader.
- You are _________________ (fill in the blank)
How many you check off this list isn’t important as the passion you feel for what motivates you. I’d rather you have fewer passion motivators than a bunch of so-so motivators. Check off a minimum of three and no more than five on this list.
Write down your top 3 – 5 motivators on your vision work sheet!
Hopefully, you’re gaining a better understanding of your unique strengths and what motivates you. Now, I want you to consider the values that drive you and your work.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
Creating a business and living a life true to your values speaks to the core of why you get out of bed in the morning. We hear a lot these days about building core values in to business and this is especially critical when your business is based on caring for vulnerable older adults and their families.
I believe knowing your core values helps you make better decisions, better choices for you and your clients/patients/residents.
Your values will shape how you use your strengths and motivations in your private practice. For example, your strength may be winning people over (selling) and your motivation may be money (billable hours). Without the core value of integrity, you may find yourself doing some horribly unethical things to make money.
Ultimately you want to answer this question… Who am I and what do I stand for?
Ways to identify your core values…
Obviously, this is not all the value words that are available to describe your uniqueness but it should give you a good start. If you feel stuck, consider these questions…
- What makes you upset?
- What do people need to know about you?
- How do you like to be treated?
- How do you like to treat others?
- How would your best friend or significant other describe you?
- What message do you want to send the world?
- What excites you? What bores you?
- How do you want to feel day in and day out?
Values can be a little trickier to identify because many of them will resonate with you to one degree or another. Start with 20, whittle it down to 10. Look up definitions and reflect on their meaning. Keep going until you’ve whittled it down to 5.
Write down your 5 top values on your vision worksheet!
You now have all the personal insight you need to create your vision of what a successful geriatric care management practice looks like for YOU!
What does all this mean in terms of your vision for your private practice?
It’s pretty simple really…
When your strengths and motivators mirror your values, your daily life is more authentic and satisfying. You’ll find yourself feeling energetic, peaceful, clear, empowered and happy. You’ll feel confident!
With a strong vision in mind, you’ll be able to create a business plan, policies, procedures, assessment tools and work day routine that brings you personal satisfaction. You’ll be able to manage your boundaries, difficult families and clueless professionals (no offence to clueless professionals).
Vision continues to serve as motivation throughout the development of your private practice. When people fail to succeed in the business of geriatric care management, it’s often because their vision isn’t strong enough or aligned with their values.