Life Was Good Until it Wasn’t...

Back in the stone ages of the early 90s, when the world revolved around Beanie Babies, Beepers and Blockbuster videos, life as a mom, wife and bookkeeper extraordinaire was, well, pretty perfect. Three kids, a dog, a tent trailer, and the mountains of Colorado as our home made us look like a picture-perfect family. We thought we had the world by the tail.

But then, the unimaginable happened… My oldest daughter was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Definitely not what I expected. I was quickly extracted from my comfortable life as a bookkeeper/small business consultant into a warrior-mother.

A 10-year-old child shouldn’t have to deal with a cancer diagnosis, especially one that allopathic medicine had little chance of curing.

Ronda Nelson Smiling in red shirt
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Life Was Finally Good Again.

Being a practitioner in the early 2000s was a bit of a beautiful thrill-ride for me. For years, it seemed like most things just “clicked.” I was even able to weather the economic downturn in 2008 pretty well, all things considered.

I had a great practice. I had a healthy daughter. I was serving people in a way that I LOVED. I was earning a great income, from my practice And everything seemed like smooth sailing.

A pretty fulfilling life, all things considered. 🙂

And then I Made a Big Mistake...

Oops.

Instead of sticking to what I knew I did well… I decided to try something new. And this is where my life, and everything that was good, suddenly turned upside down.

I decided to start a brand-new venture in a field that I had NO experience in. Ugh.

I guess I was feeling antsy. 🙂

...Even though I knew that a move like that was against my better judgement… I did it anyway, ...despite the fact that my practice was thriving.

I guess I just wanted “more” – and even more IMPORTANTLY - I didn’t have the business experience or insight to know how to expand into another market in the RIGHT way…

(Oh... if only modern-day Ronda had been there to give myself advice back then 😄)

Photos of Restoration Health Building

I did a financial face-plant.

Feeling confident that this venture would be profitable very quickly (warning sign #1), I took on a large amount of debt to get started. But within just a few weeks, I was forced to close the doors on my new venture. I literally had to take down the sign and lock the door.

Epic fail.

In the middle of the night, I found myself loading $250K worth of equipment into the back of a U-Haul, trying to find somewhere to go until I could figure out what to do.

But as overhead does… it kept on coming. My monthly overhead costs were in the hefty five-figures. And I had zero revenue coming in to cover them.

Every month, I was hemorrhaging thousands of $$ from my already depleted bank account.

If I could only go back to the way it was before all this… when life was simple and I only had my wellness practice to worry about.

But the Story Got Worse...

I had to keep seeing patients to keep the cash flow flowing but my mind was elsewhere. Even though my clinic was successful, the revenue started to dwindle as patients weren’t rescheduling like they used to.

They knew I wasn’t fully present. I tried….. but the sheer enormity of the monthly overhead costs was crushing. Something had to give.

And that’s when I got into even more trouble.

….I couldn’t pay my payroll taxes so I ignored them (very bad idea in hindsight).

….I put all of my vendors on a net 30, hoping I would have the money in 30 days to pay for what I’d already sold. But 30 days turned into 60 days which turned into 180 days…..and so on. Soon, I was another $150K in debt.

….I couldn’t pay myself at all, and some days, I wasn’t sure I would even meet payroll.

….I had to become good at negotiating (not one of my strong suits…) to try and reduce my clinic rent.

…. I kept getting further and further behind.

But the Story Got Worse...

Image showing landscape blurred in the distance with a light bulb that is not lit in the foreground

I had to keep seeing patients to keep the cash flow flowing but my mind was elsewhere. Even though my clinic was successful, the revenue started to dwindle as patients weren’t rescheduling like they used to.

They knew I wasn’t fully present. I tried….. but the sheer enormity of the monthly overhead costs was crushing. Something had to give.

And that’s when I got into even more trouble.

….I couldn’t pay my payroll taxes so I ignored them (very bad idea in hindsight).

….I put all of my vendors on a net 30, hoping I would have the money in 30 days to pay for what I’d already sold. But 30 days turned into 60 days which turned into 180 days…..and so on. Soon, I was another $150K in debt.

….I couldn’t pay myself at all, and some days, I wasn’t sure I would even meet payroll.

….I had to become good at negotiating (not one of my strong suits…) to try and reduce my clinic rent.

…. I kept getting further and further behind.

I Was So Embarrassed.

The shame was palpable some days.

But I’m a fighter, and scrappy to the very end.

I knew there had to be a way out of this disaster.

But as it turned out, there was some kind of beautiful serendipity at play, once again.

With a background in accounting, and a desperate need to get turn things turned around quickly, I had to get resourceful.

It was going to take more than just some business savvy and creative accounting to turn this around.

I was going to have to get reeeeal good at marketing if I wanted to survive.

Chair in empty room with a sign that says think outside the box

I Had to Go BIG or Go Home.

First up, I needed some cash. And thankfully, I met someone who had a little bit to spare and (fortunately) he trusted me.

That bought me some time and allowed me to start working on a marketing strategy to turn this monster-sized disaster around.

So, I went in, full tilt. And what a bunch of lessons I learned along the way...

It took me almost three years of hard work, diligent attention, and creativity to finally dig out of that epic mess, but I did it.

I ended up making a full financial recovery.

And even better, I was able to grow this brand-new business (in a highly competitive market) into the #1 clinic in a large metropolitan city.

Boom!

Definitely not an experience I would want to repeat but I learned some important lessons…

…I learned how to trust the process, even when I didn’t have all the answers.

...I learned how to be flexible when all I wanted was control.

...I learned how to be patient with myself and the process, even if it was uncomfortable.

Because essentially, I had to figure out how to rebuild BOTH of my two businesses from scratch – my existing practice that was gasping for air… and the new one that needed a solid foundation.

Never a Failure…

In the end, I realized that owning a business is more than simply hanging a shingle, throwing together a website, and hoping people will find you. It requires laser-focused attention on three important things:

  • Stay in your own lane - be the expert in your field
  • Connect with your perfect customer - build in-person and online relationships
  • Make sure your business foundation is solid - create the necessary systems and strategies

Once you’ve got those dialed in, the rest is easy.

So if you’re wondering if you’ll ever be able to take home the income you deserve, have a practice you could only dream about, and live a lifestyle that supports who you are...

The answer is a resounding YES!

Are you ready to begin transforming your own business?

I’d love to help.

Ronda Nelson Walking
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Ready to Transform Your Practice Business… the same way thousands of other practitioners already have?

Great! We’ve made it easy to get started:

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Watch the FREE Video Series

Ronda’s short but actionable video series includes Five Simple Strategies that will help you keep your appointment book full, kickstart your business, and create an amazing patient experience. Once you’ve finished, you’ll feel more confident about being the Rockstar business owner you were meant to be!

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Download our FREE Podcast

Full of practical and actionable insights, The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast will soon become your new favorite. Each week, Ronda gets down to business (literally), providing the resources and information you need to build a thriving wellness practice. Filled with humor and raw honesty, you won’t want to miss a single episode.

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Schedule Your FREE 15-Minute Business Strategy Call

If you’re overwhelmed and unsure about where to begin, this quick 15-minute evaluation will help you clarify what’s important so you can begin taking action. When you’re done, you’ll have at least one specific strategy to help you move toward your big business, clinical or marketing goals.

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