This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of INVISION.
There has been a rash of social media posts lately from those who would have you think our profession sucks. But let me tell you about this practitioner I know. She loves optometry. She loves business. She has a loyal staff. When she wakes up in the morning the first thing she thinks about are the people that depend on her for their living.
She understands that in any profession forces would attempt to take market share from her, to control her. It’s an underlying principle of capitalism and that “the grass is greener” in another profession is a fallacy, an illusion.
She is also aware that it is her responsibility to earn the most market share she can as well. She looks at the challenges she faces from business forces as just that — challenges, and she attacks them head on. She pays keen attention to red flags, shifts in markets and reads into the messages her vendors and insurers are sending through changes in pricing and policy and adjusts her plans as necessary. She reads business books and taps into top-tier industry consultants for advice. She spent years pounding the pavement to make her practice what it is today.
"Who will you listen to and follow — the 'Debbie Downers' or the successful entrepreneurs?”
She never, ever sat on her ass and whined “Woe is me, optometry sucks!” Her mantra is “there is no challenge that can’t be overcome with creativity,” and she is always thinking outside of the box.
When something happens in her industry she doesn’t like, she answers it either with a shift in strategy or by getting involved. She supports her state and national associations through helping in the legislative process and by writing checks. She’s not someone who rides on the backs of those who work hard to ensure positive professional change.
She grew her solo optometry practice from the low six figures to over $3 million in gross during the “era of insurance.” She regularly has $8,000 to $10,000 days in her optical alone, not to mention exam fees, contact lens fees, orthokeratology and other cash-only procedures. She will look back on her career with fond memories, knowing that while she didn’t do everything right, she competed and won.
What type of optometrist will you be? What will dictate how you practice — your inner drive or those who would take market share from you? What kind of business person will you be? Who will you listen to and follow — the “Debbie Downers” or the successful entrepreneurs? Make your profession what you want to make of it.
Don’t let others dictate the direction of the profession. Don’t just be an optometrist, be an optimist. Work hard and this will be a fantastic profession for you.
Dr. Alan Glazier, OD is the Founder/CEO of a large private medical model eye care practice in the suburbs of Washington, DC. A sought-after lecturer on clinical topics and e-marketing, Glazier is author of two books, Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization In Web 3.0 and Customer Communication Software, as well as numerous journal articles.