This is the business I have owned for the past ten years, a private practice optometry office. It has provided income, friendships, learning experiences, and more than a headache or two. At the end of the year, it will no longer be mine. I am selling to my current associate doctor. The office is in a good financial position. Why would I give all this up?
I still enjoy the eye care part of the business. Most days I feel like I do some good. The business management part of the deal is what I am really burned out on. It is a 24/7 job. No matter whose fault something is, the buck stops with me. I long for the job where I can show up, put in my best effort, and go home, not worrying about five million other things all night. (well, at least not five million work related things!) I have seen other people in my position keep going on until they become a complete burnout, hate patients, and despise going to work each day. I don’t want to become that, but I still have to earn a living. How am I going to do it?
Well, I might fall flat on my face, but I have run every number I know how, and this is what I am plannng:
- Continue to work at least a day a week at this office. There are many patients who don’t like change, so I will still see my loyals. We also do a late day once per week that I have always worked. The doctor who is buying doesn’t particularly like late hours, so I think that is mine for as long as I want. I will become an employee for the first time in many years.
- Our geographical area is very close to several public health service clinics on Native American reservations. I got my start with the Indian Health Service (not very PC, but that’s the official name) by doing my residency through one of their sites. I have stayed in touch and was able to secure a contract that began early this spring. I will continue to do that a day per week.
- My husband and I are currently under contract to purchase a rental property. While that is a whole other post, after this year, it should cash flow well.
- I am doing seller financing for a portion of the sale, so that should net profit and interest. I also own half of the office building, which will continue to bring in rental income.
- My husband will continue his job as a fifth grade teacher. He will have a second masters degree in administration by the end of the year. If he can get an admin position, it will mean a good salary increase.
Yes, any of these strategies could fall through, but so could my business should I continue to own it, and I am sure I would become some sort of zombie optometrist who doesn’t even talk outside of “Is it better at number one or number two?”
Am I crazy? Have you ever left a stable income because you were about to become mentally ill? Should we all just be able to get glasses from a vending machine? Love to hear your thoughts.