Calling from Tuscany
by Dr. Rodger Murphree, D.C.
My article "Greener Pastures" (June 2008) about my trials and tribulations of owning an integrative medical clinic triggered a number of emails. A number of doctors asked why I would want to sell my practice when it seemed as if "I had it all."
After selling my medical practice in 2003, I wrote my first book, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Over the next few years, my clinical nutrition practice continued to grow. Once again, I began working long, hard, stress-filled days consulting with "medical misfits." Trust me, seeing five to six new fibromyalgia patients a day will take its toll on you. (Warning: Don’t try this. It’s extremely dangerous to your health.) When my Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression book hit the bookshelves in 2005, I was flooded with mood disorder patients. I started feeling a bit crispy—not burnt out, but definitely crispy.
Once again, I received some sage advice from a valued mentor: Work smarter not harder. It turned out to be harder to work smarter than I thought. But, "Ok, I can learn to do that."
I’m writing this article on a sunny Friday morning while I watch my three- year-old son, Ridgeway, run around chasing butterflies in my backyard. Ridge and I are spending the morning together, something we routinely do; and, while all my neighbors have hurried off to work, I’ve not changed out of my boxers and T-shirt. In fact, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet (gross).
Thankfully, there’s no need for me to be in my clinic all the time. In fact, my staff seems to take more orders and get more done when I stay away. I now see patients or do phone consults two to three days a week. I used to feel guilty about only being in my clinic three days a week, but I’ve gotten over it.
I now take several extended trips each year: a month in Italy, two weeks in Canada, two weeks off at Christmas, and a couple weeks at the beach each year. And, best of all, by learning to work smarter, my patients (and customers at large) purchase my nutritional products, books, and CD’s, whether I’m in the office or not. My website works 24/7 and my staff, all two of them, are happy to take phone orders Monday through Friday. I had a record week in web sales while I was walking the streets of Venice last summer.
I still work hard, writing books, speaking at public and chiropractic seminars, consulting with complicated patients, managing my web business, writing for various professional and public magazines, and helping doctors in my Doctors VIP One on One Clinical Nutrition Program reach their million dollar goals. But I work pretty much when I want to, with whom I want to, and how I want to.
Earlier this year, I spent two days with Google AdWords and online marketing "guru" Perry Marshall. I’d been following Perry’s advice, reading his books and online marketing tips for years before finally signing up for his three-month coaching series. I’d grown my online sales over the years from $400 a month to $45,000 a month, but I had hit a plateau and just couldn’t seem to go any higher. I had a decision to make: I could continue to read all I could about online marketing and sales over the next several months, work even harder, put in more hours, and hope that I could increase my sales, or I could cut to the chase, hire Perry and be done with it. Seems like an easy choice doesn’t it?
Well, the eight grand that I had to pay for Perry’s time (along with travel expenses) had something to do with my procrastinating over the decision for months. I bit the bullet, got on a plane to Chicago and spent two days with Perry. Perry didn’t disappoint. Within the first ten minutes of dissecting my business, he’d helped me reduce my online marketing expenses by almost half, thus doubling my profit. He then went on to show me how to cut my clinic hours by a third while increasing my clinic revenue by a third. Hey, that $8,000 was a bargain!
The financial windfall is great, but for a 47-year old dad with two children and one on the way (read, "I’ll never retire"), gaining more time to spend with my family is priceless! This whole work smarter, not harder idea has got me planning on living in Tuscany doing Skype doctor and patient consults, and flying in every two months for office consults and doctor seminars. Ciao, for now.
Dr. Murphree is a board certified nutritional specialist and chiropractic physician who has been in private practice since 1990. He is the author of five books for patients and doctors, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You, and Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression with Orthomolecular Medicine. To contact Dr. Murphree or for more information about his Doctors VIP One-on-One Nutritional Coaching Program, visit www.Essentialthera.com or call 1-888-884-9577.