Patient advocate Joan H. Elper has been an independent advocate for more than a year now. She has worked with seven clients during that time, and is growing her practice slowly but surely. Her focus is medical-navigational in nature, helping mostly elderly parents of the adult children who hire her understand what their doctors tell them. She also has two cancer patients who want to self-direct their care more than the doctors would like, so some of Joan’s reward comes from seeing those clients make informed decisions based on their own wants and needs, and finding that their doctors have actually respected them for it in the long run.
As she continues to build her practice, Joan sees three potential problems. First, that she has trouble scheduling her work. Some days she works 12 or 14 hours. Other days, she twiddles her thumbs. She’s afraid to grow her business because she doesn’t know what she’ll do if more clients require more than those particularly hours-heavy days. Yet – problem #2 – she’ll never make the kind of money she wants to make if she can’t take on more clients. Further – problem #3 – she really hates marketing. She’s been lucky so far because her church pastor has referred the clients she’s working with, but she knows she can’t build a business just on his referrals.
Joan has been mulling over one idea. Two of her clients have asked her to review their medical bills. Joan and those clients know there may be mistakes in those bills and they may need to be negotiated. But she turned them down because she doesn’t feel as if that’s a competency she has.
So – Joan’s great business building idea, the one that she believes will solve all three of her business problems? …
She has decided she’ll take some courses in medical billing and coding, and then she’ll have a new skill that can help her clients. Even though she has always hated math, bookkeeping and bill paying, if she knows how to do it, she’ll be able to replace those thumb-twiddling hours, she’ll be able to make more money because she won’t have to say “no” – and best yet – she won’t have to do any marketing! Bingo! All problems solved in one swell foop.
Joan asked me – what do you think of my idea, Trisha?
Not much, I told her. (Although I let her down gently. Right direction…. unworkable solution.)
And since this is a common conversation, I thought I’d share the solution with you, too.