Updated: Sep 9
We have all heard terms recently that are built around the word entrepreneur. Words like Solopreneur, Entreprenista, and now Doctorpreneur. I promise you, I didn't make it up! The term describes a community of doctors, medical students and individuals interested in both healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship. Read the following to see if you might be one of us!
You want control over your life and income
We all have life changing moments in our careers. For me it was my last job interview before starting my own Ear, Nose and Throat practice. I took time off from residency and flew down to Florida from Pennsylvania. I was interviewed by all the partners and felt really good about the interview. I liked the practice, location, and the physician I would be working with. I was excited to hear that I was offered the position. But once the offer came in, I was offended. I was offered a lowball salary to work seventy to eighty hours a week and take a significant amount of on-call hours. To make matters worse, the offered salary was lower than the cost of the Porsche I saw the head of the practice drive off in.
Granted, money wasn’t the reason I went into medicine. I did expect, though, to make enough to live a decent quality of life, pay my school loans and raise my family. After that lowball offer, I changed gears. I decided to start my own practice so I would have control over my life and my income.
Even though control is a double-edged sword, most doctorpreneurs recognize they would rather work long hours for themselves than for someone else.
2. You would make a terrible employee
From the time I was a teenager working in retail, I always had a desire to improve on processes and efficiency. I enjoyed learning my job as well as the jobs of my co-workers so that I could help out if anyone ever called out sick. I also enjoyed sharing my ideas to improve efficiency in the business. This inevitably did not go over well with my coworkers but ingratiated me with the managers.
This trait served me well in my entrepreneurial endeavors. I always made sure to understand everyone’s job in my practice so that quality and efficiency could be maintained and improved.
3. You constantly search for new achievements
During my entire career in medicine, I was interested in adding more services to my practice. For example, adding testing services to my practice was both convenient for the patient and helped reach a diagnosis sooner. My goal was to get them better as soon as possible so they could go back to living life. I was constantly searching for new medical devices and procedures that could achieve this.
Additionally, while practicing as an ENT, I opened a medical spa in my practice and created my own skincare line. I enjoyed the challenge of creating different aspects of my business.
4. You are an out of the box thinker with tons of business ideas
No matter what I was doing, I saw a business idea or opportunity. I vetted each one carefully. Many ideas didn’t come to fruition, but I still believe this is a necessary process for entrepreneurs. I think most of us enjoy the process of considering multiple business ventures.
5. You are a risk taker
Entrepreneurship doesn’t come without risk and therefore, it is not for the non risk-taker. Some ideas won’t work. You make money, you lose it. Some months have great revenue, then the loss of a key employee drives revenue down. It can be an absolutely gut-wrenching roller coaster ride. Before considering being a Doctorpreneur, doctors must carefully and honestly evaluate their risk tolerance. Social circumstances also need to be considered. For example, a physician with small children may not want to take large risks while their children are still young.
I launched into my new career once my children were in college so that they weren’t adversely affected by my choices in any way.
6. You don’t fit in with other doctors
Although my medical school cronies and I shared a love of science and medicine, I always knew I was different. I didn’t quite “fit in.” I never longed to just have a good job and practice medicine until I was old enough to retire. I wanted to live a bit unconventionally. I knew I would have other businesses and that medicine wasn’t my only calling.
Doctors don’t have to be doctors forever. Our long and arduous career path has increased our tenacity and confidence. If conventional medicine doesn’t feel right to you anymore, it may be worthwhile to consider an alternate or additional path. There are more ways to utilize a medical degree than conventional medicine.
Dr. Kalpana Sundar is a Physician, entrepreneur and speaker with a passion to disrupt beauty standards and empower women. She is the co-founder of Kalvera Skin Therapy, a startup that tracks skin metrics using technology and uses med-tech procedures to heal your skin. Kalvera Skin Therapy opened its flagship location in Jacksonville Beach, FL in 2020, and is growing rapidly.
Dr. Kalpana is also the author of the forthcoming book Beauty Unbound.