Self-Employment and Lessons We Can Learn for the Future

Written By Laura Allen, President of Sales & Marketing, AHC Ventures, Inc on March 24, 2020

The healthcare environment, and the business environment in general, is in one of the most uncertain periods of turmoil in the history of the country, due to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). There's no doubt this is going to impact the economy; it's already happening. 

Some states and/or cities have already enforced stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. Restaurants and bars are closed. Businesses that are deemed non-essential are being forced to close in many places. Recreation areas and businesses are closed. Elective surgeries are canceled. Many specialty doctor's offices have closed, along with dentist and eye doctor offices except for emergencies. The other day, I personally had a doctor's appointment and arrived to find a sign on the door, telling me to return to my car and call in to the office to let them know I was there, and they would call back to let me know when an empty examining room was available. They don't want people sitting around in proximity to each other in the waiting room. In virtually every locale, conventions, concerts, sporting events, and any other crowd-drawing event has been canceled.  Massage therapy has been shut down in numerous states. We haven't yet heard of a shutdown order in chiropractic.  

Many of CryoDerm's customers are chiropractors, massage therapists, and other health professionals. We appreciate and sympathize with you. Your business being affected affects ours as well. Anyone who is self-employed, whether that's in a $10,000 a year business or a multi-million dollar a year business, took a leap of faith to get there. When you choose to start a business, you are not looking at guaranteed income, especially not in the beginning when your're just starting out.

Many of you have employees, or independent contractors or renters, or are in a group practice with others--or maybe you are the employee, the independent contractor, a partner, or the renter in someone else's business. There is talk at the moment of COVID-19 disaster-declarations from the government that may help self-employed people, who as a general rule, do not pay into unemployment insurance, and are therefore not eligible to draw unemployment benefits. Independent contractors are considered self-employed and not generally eligible for benefits, either. It's a good time to analyze your situation, and that of the people who are working for you/with you. Nobody enjoys laying people off, especially when times are bad and it isn't easy to find other employment. 

A lot of people in health professions go into business while carrying a load of student loan debt from the education required to practice. If that applies to you, and your business is being affected by this, now is a good time to call your lender and discuss forbearance. In fact, it's a good time to call any entity that you are in debt to, including your mortgage holder, your credit card companies, and others to ask if they are giving any consideration such as lowered interest rates, allowing skipped payments without penalty, and the like because of this. If you're a renter, your landlord may be willing to work with you. If you are the one renting space to someone else in your practice, hopefully you will be able and willing to work with them, too. 

It's a good time to go over your business budget and eliminate unnecessary expenses, and to see where you can cut corners without sacrificing quality of care. 

Obviously, none of us want our customers/patients/clients to forget about us. Keep in touch with them even though business may have slowed down. Many doctors are doing telephone and video visits with their patients. Chiropractors and massage therapists are doing videos and demonstrating self-care techniques. Some are offering specials on pre-paid packages and gift certificates to be redeemed when this is all over. 

People survive personal challenges with their health, their families, their work, their finances, and other things every day. This just happens to be a big one that's collectively affecting us all. We'll survive this one, too, and hopefully come out better prepared for the next challenge we face.

We wish you all the best, and we hope for you all to stay well and prosper.  

Posted In: Business Self-Care Practice Management