In my previous post, I discussed the auspicious nature of connecting with a dietitian who was involved in the same nutrition article as me, back when I was an outpatient pediatric dietitian in a hospital in the Bronx. Here I want to expand on another aspect of this “coincidence” or, more accurately, “G-d wink” (I don’t believe in coincidences).
As I continue to build up my nutrition private practice and apply to part-time nutrition jobs, I am experiencing what an entrepreneurial life feels like.
Having worked full time as an outpatient pediatric dietitian in a hospital clinic for the past six years, I had stability. I knew I would get a paycheck every two weeks, and I knew the approximate amount (there was slight variability based on the exact amount they took out for taxes, union, pension, etc).
Working for myself in my own private practice, I do not have a financial safety net. As I noticed when I was building up my private practice in NY this past year, I could spend tens of hours on distributing business cards, networking, and blogging—all for which I would be getting zero dollars. That is why I liked having a private practice on the side in NY, and why I am looking for additional part-time nutrition-related work now.
Having a private practice and owning your own business is in its very nature unpredictable. I remember those days as a kid when I would be thrilled to have a snow day and miss school, and, later on, I would hear that for my dad, that meant his patient show rate was pretty bad and he would incur a financial loss.
Having your own business is like being a farmer, even if your income is not at all crop- or food-related. Your sustenance depends on G-d. In the olden days, as evidenced in the Bible, and in particularly the second paragraph of the Shema prayer (taken from the book of Devarim aka Deuteronomy), the amount of rainfall would determine whether or not a farmer’s crops would be successful and give him income. And the amount of rainfall was dependent on G-d. That is how the prayer for dew and rain came about.
Today rainfall still impacts our crops and the income of farmers just as it always has, it’s just that our society is less agriculturally-focused and most people’s income is not tied to rainfall and crop success.
But that doesn’t mean that the model is any different. Being an entrepreneur means your income is dependent on forces outside yourself. It means having to ride the waves of uncertainty. It means being able to have faith during times of lull. And on the flip side, it means rejoicing to the utmost in times of success.
I think people have to have a strong stomach to be entrepreneurs. I don’t know how much of my profession will continue to be entrepreneurial, and how much will be a more structured salary-based job, but I do know that I am growing a lot by pursuing my private practice. It stretches me in a way that no 9-to-5 ever could. And when moments like this morning’s phone call happen and I receive opportunities, I open my mouth wide, tilt my head up toward the sky, and taste the sweet flavor of blessed rain. “If all the raindrops were networking opportunities and new clients, Oh what a rain it would be!…”