Retirement, From Dream to Reality Part 1 of 4

Part One: Your Retirement Dream

Optometrists seldom stop and think about their retirement. Most spend their time just building a practice and caring for patients. I did both and found time to build a nice retirement nest egg and so can you.  This is the first of four parts about planning for retirement.

Your Exit Strategy

“Transitioning” and “Exit Strategies” appear to be the buzz words of optometry these days. Many of us have spent most of our adult lives in the profession and need or want to move on to something different. But how do we go about it? Is there life after optometry?

Your Safe, Comfortable Career

This blog is personal to me – I spent over 20 years building a private practice from scratch. At first it was exhilarating, challenging, and exciting. After 15 years or so it become drudgery and agony. I reached my crossroads, and had to decide between continuing with my safe and comfortable career, or moving on to something else. As you have no doubt guessed, I moved on!

My Dream Practice

My practice was what most would consider a “dream practice” – efficient, high-tech, high-volume, and highly profitable. Great effort was taken to create a culture of customer service. That meant constant staff training and enrichment, regular office meetings, and a vigilant eye on details. Constant improvement was our goal, whether it was new equipment, updated interior design, or better marketing.

The challenge of it all was exciting. I felt great pride when I looked at a team of 12 – 14 team members working together to provide our patients with the very best care possible. Was it perfect? No. Never. But that was OK. Being an entrepreneur meant creating solutions to challenging situations.

High and Low Business Cycles

Businesses run through cycles – highs and lows. Staff morale ebbs and flows. Sales go up and down. As a business owner, when sales are down, you wonder if they’re ever coming back. But you figure out a way, and they always do.

These cycles eventually brought me to my knees. It was during a “down” cycle – actually more of a “stagnation” – that it hit me. I knew exactly what I needed to do to grow again, but realized I did not have the energy or desire to follow through! I had been through too many cycles, and “fixing it” did not appeal to me anymore.

I had to make a change.

Finding Your Life After Optometry

I think there are a lot of you out there who share some of my experiences. Follow me over the next few weeks and I’ll show you that there can be life after optometry.

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