Apr 26, 2012

How're Things: Work Edition

So.  Wanna know what else takes a LOT of time and ISN'T home schooling?
Starting a new business.
That takes a LOT of time.
And energy--both physical and mental.
And faith.
And prayer.
And me struggling--after a 10 year hiatus--to do "design work" for ads and mailers and fliers and Pinterest graphics!
And desperate pleading with friends and family to please, PLEASE just write something nice on Facebook or Yelp about Doug and "the practice".

It's exhausting.

Never in our entire marriage--and this includes when we lived through a major natural disaster--have we been so stressed for such a long period of time.

Sure Dental School was "challenging".  (I used to think it was "hard", now I've revised my opinion.)

The two-year residency in Rhode Island was definitely "busy" and there were some long "on-call" nights.

The three years in Japan for the Air Force were hard at times because of the distance from family.
The last four months were definitely stressful and well--more stressful--because of the whole triple threat*.  But for the most part--in hindsight--it seems to have been a cake-walk.
(I mean really-- Doug just had to show up for work and get paid.  No problem.  Easy-peasy.  And sometimes he was done by 4:30 p.m.)

Now, life is challenging, and busy, and hard, and stressful and repeat x1,000.

Now, our kids who have always been male and always been messy and always been loud are somehow now MORE male/messy/loud!!!  Much more!!!

Now if Doug comes home at 4:30 (which he doesn't, but if he did) it means he has no patients which means he's not earning money which means we might not have enough to cover over-head for the extremely expensive practice we started.  With all that implies.

But he DOESN'T come home at 4:30.  He leaves early and stays late.  And three days a week he works in a city an hour away (while he works to build up the practice closer to home.)  Which adds 2 hours to his work day.

But it's not the hours.  Many others have worse hours.

No, it's the fact that for all those hours he's putting in, he may or may not be getting a lot out.

If Doug works all day, but only sees patients who come in with the $39 New Patient Visit coupon, he doesn't make any money that day.

If he works all day in Temecula, busting his...bottom, seeing a million patients--but all those patience have Medi-Cal, he makes a pittance--pennies on the dollar what the proceedure is worth.

There are some discouraging, overwhelming days.

BUT, with all that said, things aren't all doom and gloom.

*Doug's staff is awesome!  Holly, who sits at the front desk, is amazing.  Truly amazing.  She's nice, helpful, knowledgeable, charitable, and kind.  She does her best to make sure every person who walks in the door is taken care of.  The assistants, Natalie and Yesenia, are also great.  Happy, friendly, and hard workers.  It's a huuuuuge bonus that we were lucky enough to find employees that actually care about the business as much as we do.

*Our brand is awesome and the website looks amazing and really impresses people.  We've gotten new patients simply because they liked the website.  (Thanks Shawn!!!)

*Despite the commute, the job an hour away is a HUGE blessing.  HUGE!  We couldn't have survived without it.

*We broke even last month for the first time. We're set to break even again this month!  WAHOO!!!!

*Patients ARE responding to the advertising and coming in.  And although some will inevitably follow the next coupon out the door, others will stay and become regular (hopefully paying) patients!

*We've gotten some really great comments on the FB page and on Yelp!  One review, from a total stranger, was so nice I may have gotten a little teary.  (I might be, possibly, a little teeny-tiny-itty-bitty-bit overly hormonal these days also.  Might be.)

So yes, things are looking up.  We're no longer stressed about going bankrupt every single day--just once a week now.  And although paying off all those bleepin' student loans and actually buying a house still seems like an impossible dream, every once in awhile I have a glimmer of hope.  And I think we're going to be okay!

So that's how things are going with us.
What about you?  
Started any new businesses lately?
Have any kids with rotten teeth that you want to bring for a visit?

*(The earth quake/tsunami/nuclear threat thing was obviously extremely stressful and traumatic.  But at the same time, there was a sense of hope and camaraderie as the Americans worked with the Japanese for the common good.  We were all in the same situation dealing with the same terrible things so we supported and helped each other to get through it.  There was also a sense of accomplishment as we worked and volunteered and saw the immediate fruits of our labor--even if they were just a drop in the bucket.)


Kayli said...

I know you don't know me, but this post made me want to say to you that I hope things work out and get going better quickly! Keep your chin up (sorry that is a lame way to say it, but I think it gets the point across).

acte gratuit said...

Thanks Kayli! That's very nice of you!
And I'm trying! Some days are harder than others!

Polliwog said...

Oh, my dear girl!! I can RELATE. Yes, we have started a new business lately (and by lately I mean almost 3 years ago.) It was about 7 months until we started breaking even and a year into it he started making a little bit. It was almost 2 years until he started paying himself a SMALL amount, but that's only because we are living fine on his other job, which he is now doing 2 days a week half the month/3 days a week the other half. He drives an hour and a half to that one, but loves the job ( a trade-off from the much closer job that he hated). We had a check from my dad for $10,000 dollars that Dave kept in the safe "just in case" and it made him feel better. He was thrilled when he finally felt he could tear it up. Hang in there. It is scary and yes, VERY HARD!! But in the end it will be worth it. And you don't have any of those pesky student loans to worry (do you?) about on top of it, so there's a silver lining. :) Love you!!

Naomi said...

I think you need to go eat one of those cookie/ice cream deals that we ate the other night.

Erin F said...

Um, "overly hormonal" ??? :D How come? Love you guys, you are doing great. Hang in there!!!

Anonymous said...

We're impressed that with all you have been through, you have had and are raising four remarkable boys, teaching them, loving them and being great parents, all while doing all that other stuff. Many would put off family, but you have done it right in our opinion. You and Doug are both remarkable.

acte gratuit said...

Sadly, we do still have student loans. Air Force covered our Tuition and Fees back in the day, but not living expenses. We paid them down a lot while in the Air Force, but still have a ways to go. Which wouldn't be too bad if we hadn't just heaped a bunch more debt on top of it. (Dave Ramsey is shaking his head in disgust for us!)

Naomi, unfortunately I've been comforting myself with food too much already! As my swiftly growing love handles will testify! (But I think I need one anyway...)

Emily S. said...

"This too shall pass" isn't very helpful right now...but it will! lol. you guys are doing a great job, doug is a fantastic dentist and you are an amazing support to him. stupid long distance...our boys would have the best playdates...

lacey said...

I hear, "just keep going..." and the like in my head often now. Somehow it always works out- although I do not believe it is just coincidence. Faith and determination have a lot to do with that. We were so burned by the AF with our contract (although we have been in a 3 year long "internal investigation" which we just got word we won! They have been ordered to back pay us all bonus' etc promised per our contract but refused to us once we were on the inside. That first year Ryan and I looked at each other and thought 1) how did we get so dupped? 2) how are we ever going to pay even our minimums on our student loans - the AF never paid anything on ours- 3) back again to how did we get so dupped?). If I could show the tender mercies that have been witnessed to us- know one could ever deny that He knows and hears us. We just closed on a (modest) home near Boise (near the new Meridian Temple) and he signed a civilian contract for a job when he separates in 6 months. The end feels like it's in site and then he looked at me yesterday and said- so now we are almost a million bucks in the hole. Wow. "just keep going..."-

Lyana said...

Warners, we love you and we have a lot of faith in you! You are one of our favorite people in the whole white world and I know people just love Doug once they come into his office!
You are doing great!

Lyana said...

I meant BOTH of you are some of our favorite people in the whole white world:) ...sheesh..being Ukrainian is hard dealing with all this proper grammar usage.

acte gratuit said...

And idioms...! ;)