a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Episode 4: Are you cut out to be your own boss?

Pulling the trigger on your own business is scary! I asked myself this same question over and over before starting my own thing, so in this podcast episode I am breaking down 5 essential steps to take to go through to determine if you’re ready to be your own boss.


Jen (00:01):
Hello and welcome to the Talking Tech Podcast, the sonographer’s guide to entrepreneurship. I am your host, Jennifer Lindsey, and today in episode four, I am so excited to ask you the question, are you cut out to be your own boss? Man, I asked myself this question a thousand times before pulling the trigger on my own thing. It is scary, isn’t it? A million things go through your mind when you’re considering being your own boss. So today, I am going to break it all down for you. We are chatting five essential steps to determine if you are ready to be your own boss. All right, let’s dig into step number one; you need a clear why. Okay, so I think here there are multiple whys. Usually, first and foremost, some sort of trigger makes you say, I am done; I’m ready to do my own thing.

Maybe you are sick of being on call. Maybe you’re ready to be done with all the backend red tape and craziness you can get sucked into with a hospital job, for example. Or maybe you just see how hard you’re working and how much effort you’re putting in and realize, man, if I put that much work and effort into my own thing, I could be making a lot of money for myself. So why number one is: what could being my own boss do for me and my family and change my situation? Usually, that second why: how can my business serve others? To be honest, this really should be the first why. But usually, when you’re looking at starting your own business, it is because of a trigger. So I know this happened to me. I got the best job straight out of college.

I was making great money. I loved my boss; I loved my coworkers. Didn’t even feel like work. We had so much fun. Now, if my husband had not been transferred out of state, I am 100% confident we would never have started this business. It is so weird to think back on how some of our life choices completely alter your path. Now, we’d always talked about starting something. We both have that entrepreneurial spirit, but it would’ve been a side gig. I’m sure like my husband loves to flip houses; he usually flips a couple a year as a side project. He can walk into an absolute dump and just visually in his mind see the beauty that you know can become, and I just walk in and roll my eyes and say, oh my gosh, here we go again. I can’t visualize it like he can.

It’s so funny. He loves doing that. So I’m sure we would’ve done something like that but kept our main jobs; we never would’ve gone all in as we did with this business. If I’d been happy in my new job, I hated it so much. I think I mentioned actually in another podcast; I’m not proud to admit it, but I used to eat lunch in my car teary-eyed because I did not want to go back in for the afternoon. So that was my trigger, as I call it. And I know a lot of sonographers I talk to regularly say the same thing. They’re sick of something to some varying degree and ready to make a change. Okay, so to get back on track here, our next why needs to be: how can our business serve others?

What can you do in your own business to take care of the people of your community? So going into business simply to make money is not how you should craft your why. For our mobile ultrasound business, we feel like we’re doing our part to make healthcare as affordable as possible. We know we provide exceptional service for patients with the type of care we provide in terms of compassion and quality. We know having the patients return to the office for the physician’s practices makes it much less expensive for them than going to the hospital. And then providing exceptional service for the physician offices we work with and the fact that we can help them bring revenue into their practice. Because let’s face it, we all know business medicine is business, right? And doctors have to make money to continue to treat us well so we can help them provide their patients with a convenient and seamless option for imaging right there in their office.

So it helps doctors provide more services for their patients and gives them more control over the imaging process. So crafting your business around what you can do for others is the best way to start. And I think you’ll see it’ll be how you end up being most productive and profitable. Now, I’m not saying don’t focus on revenue or making money because obviously, as business owners, that has to be our goal. But if you put your effort into helping others and crafting a business surrounding and crafting a business around what you can do to help people’s problems and be a solution for that, the money will end up coming. So then, once you’re in your business and chugging along, you need that why to keep going. That “why” is going to alter a little bit.

So obviously, our why still is helping others, but as I go along and 16 years in, my why now is my son. I want him to see his mom being the best mommy she can be while helping others in our businesses in many ways. I want him to see me pushing through problems that arise, hustling hard when I need to, playing hard, and keeping my priorities straight. But when times get tough, those negative thoughts start creeping in, and that’s when fear can get the best of you, especially when you first start. But honestly, it can happen at any time during your business. So you know, as I’m recording this right now, we are 16 years into our business at this point, and with everything going on right now in the world, we’ve got a coronavirus pandemic.

Everybody’s crazy. It is hard not to be frightened about the unknown just because everything; it feels like our life has been turned upside down, right? There is a lot we don’t have control over right now. But honestly, instead of letting fear guide us, we are digging into what we can control. I have employees to think of, my family to think of, and our students and clients to think of. I have a lot of people looking to me for guidance. So me putting my head in the sand and flipping out is not an option. I also just have to take a second and talk about how unbelievable our students and clients have been. I have seen them push through and keep chugging along so much during this last week, and I am so proud of them. I know when we listen to this podcast a year from now. Hopefully, all of this will be a distant memory, but man, we are in the thick of it right now, and it is a really crazy time.

I was chatting with a student this morning; she had just finished her logo drafts and asked my opinion. She’s so excited to pick one and get moving on with the rest of her marketing materials because even though things are crazy and upside down right now, and we’re in some uncharted territory, this, like everything else in life, is going to pass. And as business owners, we’ve got to stay focused so that we come out on the other side ready to rock and roll. So I’m getting off my soapbox for a second, and I’m not in any way diminish, diminishing what’s going on, but lord knows we don’t need anybody else spreading negativity. So let’s focus on the positive here. I appreciate every one of you two because you are on the front lines of all this, taking care of our communities and ensuring people are getting cared for.

So I am just ever grateful to each and every one of you. And honestly, this does segue into my step number two, which is being ready to be all in. Okay? By all in, I do not mean quit your day job and plunge into business ownership. – if you need more information on how to do this mobile ultrasound business as a side hustle, go listen to episode three. Because I talk all about it there, but what I mean by this is no matter what happens, good or bad, you keep that all in mindset. Your conversation with yourself needs to shift from, oh, this is awful. I can’t believe this roadblock happened. Nothing I can do about it; okay, this sucks, but let’s figure out a plan to overcome it. All right, you guys, I am obsessed with Marie Forleo.

I don’t know if you guys follow her on social media. I’m taking one of her business courses myself right now. But her mantra is everything is figureoutable. Everything is figureoutable. It’s so true, really one way or another, you can come up with a solution to whatever problem is thrown your way, and that’s the mindset we’ve got to have. Now, the solution isn’t always perfect. It doesn’t mean that everything is going to work out perfectly, but it does mean you’ve got this. If you can shift that thought process to yes, I can figure this out, and I’m going to put effort into doing so, you are going to be in a much better place than if your reaction is one of those, well, this is awful, and there’s nothing I can do about it. So not going to do anything. Those people, my friends, do not succeed in business; they don’t succeed.

So having that all-in mindset, that saying I’m all in, and I’m going to figure this out, is crucial. You know, thinking, I’ve got this, I’m all in this business is my baby, and I’m going to take care of it like a newborn child. This is honestly going to serve you so well. Okay, guys, moving on to step three, which is to go with your gut. All right, so I’m talking about intuition here. So it’s really important to have a plan for your business. Of course, we talked about that in last week’s pod podcast episode, but even having a literal step-by-step plan like our students do does not mean you’ll not have to shift and mold along the way. There will be a million times you’ll need to look at situations individually and decide on the next best move.

And that’s where going with your gut comes into play. So paying real close attention to your business trends or paying close attention to kind of market trends, if you’re just starting out, that’s going to be important. So, for example, talking about working with our students, I saw the trend in our community. By our community, I mean you guys, the ultrasound techs we aim to serve regularly, whether that’s our free content. You never become a student of ours, or those of you who do hop on board as students; you guys are our community and one that we want to breathe life into. We want to create things for you to help you along the way. I saw a trend of people wanting more of me personally. So not so much the business owner behind the company and the corporate person and blah blah blah, but me as a person because I think that’s the culture of today.

And honestly, if I think about who I trust, getting information from who I want to hear from, who I get excited to see their name pop up in my email because I know they’re not trying to sell me a bunch of stuff or spam me a bunch, they just truly want to serve the community that they’re in. And, whether I’m a paid client or not, it’s the people that they’re experts in their field; they’re also relatable. So if I see someone with this big business they’ve built, but all I see is them from today, the corporate them, the unrelatable them, right? The person who’s made it is not telling us any information about their life or how they got there or anything. You know, contrast that with someone who’s built a big business still but is also telling me how they got there, how tough it was for them, how they navigated things in the beginning, how they navigate things now that they’re a mom or a dad or they’ve battled illness or loss along the way, whatever it may be that’s helped them get to where they are.

Those are the people I want to hear from. And so I wanted to create that for you guys. We just saw this shift, and even though it was really scary changing from a more corporate look and feel with our business to, you know, a bit more intimate feel where you guys are hearing from me more, I’m trying as much as I can to post a bit more about my life outside of work too. That’s a really hard transition, especially because everything was working before. It wasn’t like there was something wrong or, you know, business wasn’t well or something; it was all working just fine. But we just started seeing this shift in what people liked and what they wanted. And I had to go with my gut on this, and this response has been incredible. Now, when I hop on a call with someone interested in more information on our courses or what we do, we can chat like we know each other because they know me a bit.

It’s been fun and scary at first, but I’ll be honest, it’s still a little bit scary. I am what I like to call an extroverted introvert. So putting myself out there seems more unnatural to me. I hope it doesn’t look unnatural. I just want to show you guys the real me. So some days I’ve got it all together, some days I’m a hot mess, and that’s okay because that is real life. So moral of the story with this step, have a plan but be prepared to go with your gut and intuition to mold and make that plan work as best as it can for you and your business along the way. Okay, moving on to step four, having a support system. You guys, this is so important, and it’s really weird. You’ll find a lot out about your friends and family when you tell them you’re going into business for yourself.

I cannot tell you how many people told me I was an absolute idiot and was too young. There was no way I’d be successful. They would act shocked after we started our business, and they’d say, oh, are you guys still in business? How’s it going? I mean, it’s crazy and just really, honestly demeaning. To be honest with you, I’ve also talked to many other business owners, which happens across the board. So I’m just telling you, be prepared for the negativity. I have said this before people like people they know to be on the same level. Do you know what I mean? So if you start climbing this invisible ladder outside the norm in your friend group or your family, it’s going to take people time to get used to it. And some will be like, oh my gosh, that’s amazing.

You can do it. I’m so proud of you. How can I help? Others will say you’re nuts and ask why you do such a thing on Earth. So all this to say, you will find out who supports you in your dreams, and those are the people that you talk to about your business. Now it’s not always like that because, geez, 16 years later and we have multiple successful businesses, people don’t ask us how our business is still in business anymore, but it takes a while to get there; I’m just telling you. So you want to reach out and have those people that support you so that when you are going through a tough time, you’ve got people to lift you up. Business ownership is hard; it is. And it stinks when you need some encouragement, and you need people around, and you’ve got people around that don’t encourage you.

As I say, find your tribe, hold onto them tight, and they will be the people ten years from now saying, I told you you could do this, and look where you are now. Okay, guys, last but not least, number five is recognizing and reshaping mindset blocks. This is so hard to switch your thoughts from mind. You know, thoughts from an employee mindset to being the boss. This goes for everything from realizing you are the one to do it all to getting sidetracked by negative mindset blocks that are going to hinder your growth. So I know everyone’s always preaching mindset, but I am here to tell you it is one of the most important things you must conquer. Nothing is worse than having all the tools and opportunities together, ready and right before you, but not believing in yourself.

I did an entire blog post on this, but I think it’s so important, and I want to recap the five mindset shifts you’ve got to make. So first of all, you’ve got to think, yes, I can. So as corny as this sounds, I know having a mantra that you repeat to yourself on a regular basis can help so much with the mindset part of it. Think back to something scary for you, maybe something out of your comfort zone. Did you do it? Now, if you’re thinking of something you didn’t do, fear of failure or not doing well likely held you back. So overcoming those inner and outer dialogues is so important. I know I mentioned this, but when we first started our business, you can imagine we discussed this idea with friends and family as we were putting it together because we were so excited.

And as I said a minute ago, we had a lot of people tell us we were crazy. If I had a dollar for everyone who told me I was either crazy, too young, too inexperienced, or questioned whether or not it would even be successful, I could have retired, right? Then those. What if I fail? Thoughts crept into my head a lot, especially because I had some negative people around me at the time. They are natural thoughts, they are natural, but it’s what you do with those thoughts that are most important. So you should definitely make sure you’re prepared. You’ve got to have a plan and know as much about the process as possible. But, until you shift that mindset to, I can do it as opposed to I can’t; you are never going to have that excitement to create the action required to get out there and start.

All right, so the second mindset shift is with your work ethic. Shifting that mindset from an employee to a boss mindset regarding work ethic is so important. When you first start your business, you’re going to wear a lot of hats. You are going to be the ultrasound tech, the supplies purchaser; you’ll be the marketing rep; you’re also the janitor, my friends. So if you don’t do it, it’s not going to get done. You’ve got to remember that. I think this is one of the things you know that people forget about when it comes to being a business owner. I tell our students this all the time. We have the


Processes, we’ve got step-by-step how-tos, literally what to say to the doctors. We’ve got the paperwork, the legal agreements, gosh, the marketing tools; the one thing we can’t give you as a student is the work ethic to put it all in place. That is all on you. All right? The third mindset shift is realizing that done is better than perfect, and I need to practice what I preach here because I’m personally guilty of this. It’s one of the things I have to pay attention to in my own business because I am a perfectionist. So all metal with something forever trying to make it perfect in my eyes instead of just realizing it’s good, it’s fine, good enough, and looks wonderful. It may not be in my mind the perfect thing, but when you sit and wait on things to be perfect, you’re going to miss out on so much time that you could be building your business.

So this goes from marketing materials to doing something in your business that you may not think you’re very good at or are scared to do. So, for example, marketing can be nerve-wracking for people that have their own business, especially in the mobile ultrasound world, because you usually you’re not a seasoned sales rep; you are an ultrasound tech. And so that’s your area of expertise. And so even though our students say they’ve got everything they need, they know exactly what to say, know how to say it and have the marketing materials to back it up. They can get nervous because that’s not their area of expertise. So if they’re too scared to get out there and be good but not perfect when they first start marketing, they’ll never get their business off the ground.

I have seen this multiple times. You have to work your business for it to work. You have to work your business for it to work. Mindset shift number four, surround yourself with the right people. I already talked about this in step four a little bit ago, but this goes from friends and family you discuss your business with to the professionals you will be using to assist you along the way. So again, if you’ve got a friend or family member that just can’t see your vision, they’re always putting down the idea of business ownership. That’s just not the person you should be discussing your business with. Not to say you shouldn’t be around those people, but if those people are being negative about your business, keep that discussion to a very minimum. Find those people ready and willing to lift you up through this exciting time.

They will be the ones to help you turn off that meddling inner voice you’re going to get that will tell you it’s not possible, and they will help you replace it with uplifting and positive thoughts that will help you get through your journey. We also need to realize that we don’t know what we don’t know, right? So looking at areas that make sense to add in some help is important in the startup phase. So I’m a huge believer that spending a little bit of money in the beginning to have an expert assist you is going to save you a lot of money in the long run.


So the first few people we hired were accountants and attorneys. They’re super expensive, and honestly, one of the reasons we created our courses so that our students didn’t have to hire a lot out. They’d have it all in one place for cheap, cheap, cheap compared to doing it on their own. And we put our courses together because we wish we would’ve had something like that when we started our mobile ultrasound business. Now, mindset shift number five is to ditch the excuses. So this is a really hard one. We’re all guilty of this. I think bringing it to the forefront is really important. We can come up with a thousand excuses as to why we don’t start, not enough time, not enough money, not enough information. You guys, I am here to tell you, you can make time for anything you deem and important enough.

I’m going to say that one more time. You can make time for anything you deem important enough. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and it’s how we use them. So sure, there is going to be a season of hustle in the beginning. We still go through seasons of hustle even 16 years later when let’s say, I’m launching a new course or rebranding a section of our business or adding in maybe a new one altogether, or if we’re working on adding additional clients for our mobile ultrasound group. But if it’s important enough, we will all make the time for it. Okay, guys, there you have it. The five essential steps to determine whether you are cut out to be your own boss. Did you guys ask yourself those questions? You know what? I am going to venture to say that for most of you out there, the answer is yes, you can be your own boss.

So what are your next steps? I want to make sure you guys have all of our free information. We do so much to get you guys as much info out there as possible. So if you haven’t grabbed our free guide right now, it is on our website. It’s called the Six Things to Consider When Starting a Mobile Ultrasound Business. We love gifting you guys free stuff. This is a good one. It’s over on our website. We’ve got our free guide and then two great posts link at the bottom of every single page on there for you. So go to aic-ultrasound.com, that’s aic-ultrasound.com, scroll all the way down to the bottom, and you’ll see that freebie guide and those couple of other links too. All right, guys, thank you for hanging out with me today. Please stay healthy, and stay sane. Until next week. All right, bye for now.

your strategy-obsessed ultrasound business coach.

I'm Jennifer -

Welcome to the Talking Tech podcast, where we answer your questions about legal, marketing, admin, sales, and so much more. After nearly 20 years in the industry running our own mobile ultrasound business and helping techs across the country do the same, I'm so excited to bring you industry insight, mindset, productivity, business tips, and inspiration to help you design the business of your dreams.

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