This Wednesday, October 10th, will mark the 29th anniversary of when I started practice. It was a Monday morning, and I had 4 patients listed that day in my appointment book. We had just had an open house to show off the new office to my family and friends, and now here I was beginning my career. I was really excited – 4 people! Not bad considering I later met other chiropractors who didn’t have anyone for weeks when they started! I never had a day with no one, I guess I was pretty fortunate.
The days were long back then. Sitting around from 9 to 6 waiting for just 4 people to come in could get fairly boring. I would fill my time by walking around and looking at all my chiropractic stuff – my two new chiropractic tables, my xray machine, my waiting room with the wooden chairs and wicker seats. I had a radio on the file cabinet that played WCLV. I love classical music, but that station could really get boring after a while.
Occasionally I would get a phone call from a chiropractor in Rocky River who heard I had opened up. He kept calling to see how I was doing. But later on he told me he was checking in hoping to hear that I failed and was closing. Seriously. He thought I was going to be a threat to his practice. Thanks for the support doc! Sometimes I would pick up the phone and call the lab I worked in at the Cleveland Clinic and talk to some of my friends who still worked there. Miss me yet?
Most of the early callers, either by phone or just dropping by, were sales people. These were people selling ads in local store promotions, or vitamin and therapy reps. I didn’t have much to do, so I would talk with them and many times I got hornswoggled into spending $400 on some stupid ad for a bowling alley score sheet out in Brunswick. The ads were always $400. I could not figure that out. One was for a TV guide stuffer that was given out at a local grocery store. I was told that every time someone checked to see what was on TV, they would see my name. Umm, no they didn’t. I was just too nice, too naive, and they gave a good pitch. But one day, a guy came in and offered to promote my practice with a mailer. It was a company like Valpac. We sent out 10,000 in the west end of Lakewood – for $400, and suddenly my phone was ringing off the hook. This was in the spring of 1984. From that ad I had 50 new patients! The rep was amazed as no one had ever had that response before anywhere in the country. Then we tried the east end of Lakewood, and I had some new ones, but not to the same level. After that it was no longer effective. But, those 50 patients exploded my practice, and I never looked back!
When I started practice, I would meet other chiros at local meetings and seminars, and I thought the ones who had been in practice for at least 5 years were gods! Now I’m marking 29 years! (I wonder what that makes me?) Where has the time gone? Back then my daughter was 3, my son wasn’t born yet. Now she’s 32 with a daughter of her own, and my son is 27. Amazing how the time flies! Of course, I haven’t gotten any older!
But it has been an amazing and rewarding 29 years! It never gets boring and I still get majorly excited when someone has a huge healing breakthrough. Thousands of people have come through my doors, and there are still a couple who still come in from back then. You all know that I don’t practice like I used to, as my work is constantly evolving into better ways to assist people in their healing. Who know what it will be like in another 29 years? Hmmm, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!