Six months ago I took a leap.
After 4 years of medical school, 5 years of surgical training as a urologist, one year of fellowship in sexual medicine and 4 years in clinical practice, I started my own thing.
Six months ago I started my own medical practice devoted to comprehensive sexual medicine.
I started this journey with the knowledge that I love spending time with my patients, and that most doctors do not have the time or expertise to address quality of life and sexual health.
I had no clue how to start or run a business and what this could look like.
What did those six months look like?
- More than 600 patients scheduled
- 1,350 people signed up for our newsletter
- Patients traveling from all over the U.S. and a few from abroad
- Started mentoring a group of medical students interested in advancing sexual health through research
- 18 invited medical lectures
- Interviewed on 15 different podcasts
Obviously, I could not do any of this all myself.
- My husband is my co-pilot on this mission. I couldn’t be luckier to have such a kind, brilliant, thoughtful, and supportive partner.
- My kids are 5 and 3 and they couldn’t care less that I started a business. They seem to love me no matter what I do, which is lucky. They keep me busy and scheduled when I’m not in the office.
- Margaret-Ellen was my first hire and helped me launch the practice. She finished medical school and left in May to start her emergency medicine training. We were so sad to see her go but know she’ll be an incredible doctor.
- Sophia took over for Margaret-Ellen and hit the ground running. She is our incredible clinic coordinator and keeps everything running and phones answered. Her warmth and spirit keep me happy all day long and she’s a joy to have around.
Andrea, our animal-loving nurse practitioner, started 3 months ago. Her love of this field and her insatiable hunger to learn is infectious. She is incredibly smart, funny, and kind, and I am so lucky she moved to DC to work with me. She is hilarious and quite educational on Instagram!
Lessons in the first 6 months.
1. My most important lesson so far has been to celebrate EVERY win.
This is an activity we can all get better at. A business coach I work with always says we don’t wait until they get into college to celebrate the child. We celebrate the first smile, the first step, even the first pee!
So I’ve been learning how to celebrate, something I’ve never done before.
Things I’ve celebrated:
- our first patient visit
- the first estimated tax payment
- our first surgery
Celebrate it all. I am so genuinely proud of myself for starting my own thing and I’ve discovered that the internal pride lasts so much longer than any external validation.
2. Conquering imposter syndrome
- I learned how to do surgery. Surely I can handle quickbooks.
- Everything in business is learnable. I have surrounded myself in amazing communities of doctors, family, and friends. I am blessed to have a growing network of like minded physicians who are interested in practicing medicine on their own terms. I’ve consumed books, podcasts, and I love the learning process.
- I’ve learned how to run payroll, set up an LLC, and offer health benefits. Things I didn’t learn in medical school.
3. Progress over perfection
The business is a work in progress. Like sexual medicine we have a lot of work to do. There is so much to learn and so many more people to help. That’s why I’m grinning from ear to ear and absolutely obsessed with what I do.
More to come. (And yes, the pun is always intended.)
Rachel Rubin MD