Psychiatrists Are Lousy At Business

June 23, 2012

One Path to Marketing Your Practice

It is always a bit of a chore organizing a meeting of busy colleagues, but I thought facilitating a discussion about practice promotion was worth it. After a series of email exchanges with five people, I nailed down a time that worked for us all. Laura Lee and I hosted the event at our condo. Several hours before the event, two cancelled, one saying that upon reflection he really wasn’t interested in the topic, that he was focused on finishing a scholarly article, but if we decided to discuss psychoanalytic topics count him in.

I had circulated the executive summary of The Start Up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, to help us grapple with the question: are we entrepreneurs? Of the two colleagues that joined us, one enthusiastically participated while the other expressed his extreme ambivalence. He would admit that he saw major challenges to his business model (not using those terms) but that, out of the other side of his mouth, he was satisfied with his practice as it is. What’s wrong with us?

The friend that was interested in growing her business had trained at the University of Chicago School of Medicine. At one point in our discussion she said out right, “they’re not interested in making money.” Her point was that the institution was focused on obtaining research grants but not at all concerned with preparing graduates of their program for making a living in the real world. Maybe that’s the problem.

I am on the verge of giving up on the project of engaging my psychiatric colleagues in building a business network, sharing ideas on practice promotion, and encouraging our collective entrepreneurship. I fear that an anti-business attitude is too deeply ingrained in the medical mind. One of my favorite brainstorming buddies, second only to Laura Lee, is Mark O’Brien, a young social work counselor. Mark and I regularly meet at My Starbucks for lively discussions of business ideas. I really am sorry that my psychiatric colleagues refuse to play.

If you are even slightly interested in becoming more entrepreneurial, please check out Hoffman and Casnocha’s book. It will help you take your business more seriously and have more fun at it. Are you an entrepreneur? Tell us how by leaving a comment via the link at the top of this piece.

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