A businessman standing on a platform

For years I worked IN my practice and not ON it.

It’s a pitfall that many solo attorneys and entrepreneurs (like myself) fall into. So here’s how it happens and how to avoid it.

How You Get Stuck Working in Your Business

You work exclusively on client matters until the workload boxes you in. From consultations to paperwork to closing deals and everything in between. For doctors, it’s about taking in new patients, treating them, following up, and so forth.

Eventually, you trade in all your working hours servicing clients — until you hit a wall. The wall could be financial, mental, and even physical in some cases when working long hours and weeks. Of course, it’s all because you are limited by how many hours there are in the day.

Two main factors lead to this predicament:

  1. An inclination to do what you know best and what pays you now — client/patient work.
  2. An inability to measure the return on investment on your time.

Here’s how to overcome each of these points.

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

You’re highly skilled at your work, so it makes sense to be in the zone, put your head down, and get to work. But as a practice owner, the work isn’t always handed to you (like when you were employed by someone else).

Sales, networking, marketing, and client success are now all relevant to your practice’s viability. These areas may feel out of touch, but get comfortable learning how they affect your business or hiring professionals to help you. Your practice’s growth depends on it.

Understand Your ROI

Here’s an example of ROI on your time:

  • One hour of admin tasks = $0 (1:0 ROI).
  • One hour of client/patient work = One billable hour (1:1 ROI).
  • One hour of business dev = 20X or more of your billable hour paid later (1:20 ROI).

Simply put: Spending time ON your business can help you grow your practice.

Understand the ROI on your time and schedule accordingly. First, prioritize finding people (or even a person) who can handle admin tasks. This costs you the most to do yourself.

Next, block off time to work exclusively ON your practice and forego some client work. Experts recommend spending at least 20% of your time working ON your business. That’s 8 hours in a 40-hour work week. You can even spread the 8 hours throughout the week.

Oh, and make sure you calendar that time, so prospects don’t schedule an appointment and you and your team respect the time you’ve set aside.

In doing so, you can create the systems and hire employees that let you scale, ultimately bringing a higher return on your time. For me, this was a mindset shift from thinking as an employee to becoming the leader and visionary of my practice. It comes with its fair share of challenges — but rest assured, it bears tangible rewards in the long run.