a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Episode 8: Investing in yourself as an ultrasound tech as we head into a “new normal”

As the country begins to consider reopening the economy, sonographers have been reaching out to me in droves ready to look at the opportunity of providing patient care on their own terms, with their own business. Today I am chatting about investing in ourselves for the “new normal” and the resources to get you there.


Jen (00:04):
Hey there, guys, and welcome to the Talking Tech Podcast, a sonographer’s guide to entrepreneurship. I am your host, Jennifer Lindsey, and today I am excited to chat with you about investing in yourself as we move into this new normal. I know, probably like many of you, scrolling on social media when we have a moment, I see many people working from home. I see some people bored to death because they’re at home, trying to help their kids with all their e-learning and all of these different things, and that’s the reality for many people. But for this community here, for you as sonographers, that’s not your reality. You guys are on the front lines. If you work in hospitals, you’re on the front lines. If you’re working in physician offices or imaging centers, your day-to-day looks a lot different than it used to.

And so I want to help sonographers have a resource during this time, especially because you don’t have a voice anywhere. And I hope that we can give some resources today and some kind of vision casting today for what things look like as we move into this new normal. And so I want to thank each and every one of you because you are such an important part of the healthcare team. And I don’t think people say that enough directly to ultrasound techs. And so I want you guys to know my absolute gratitude for everything that you’re doing out there. Many of you may not know this; I’m not a tech myself. When we started our mobile ultrasound business, we hired a technologist, partnered with the radiologist, and we have done the business side from the beginning.

I think it’s easier to start this business as a tech yourself and that is 99.9% of all of the students working with us are ultrasound techs starting their own businesses. And so I am especially grateful to you because I know I’m not able to be out there on the front lines. And our staff for our mobile ultrasound business are, and I appreciate them so, so much because they’re the ones that have to be out there with the patients and the community daily. So I think what’s important now is to start reflecting on what has happened. This is obviously an unprecedented time in our world, not just our country but in our world. And so I think we need to focus on you and give techs kind of permission to think about how to invest in yourself as we head into this new normal because it’s going to be different.

And I’m talking with techs every single day through DMs, through my social media. People are emailing me. We’ve been setting up, you know, tons of discovery calls. I’ll talk about kind of all these resources later too. But people are wanting and ready to invest in themselves and saying, I don’t like how this has affected me and my family because I don’t have control over the way that I provide patient care. And I think now more than ever, which makes me so proud, is that techs are seeing the opportunity to do something for themselves and provide a service in a way that they feel comfortable providing it. And so I wanted to just kind of talk a little bit first, though, about taking on what is most important to you in your life.

I know I’ve done this personally, and I wanted to give you guys kind of a few examples of some things that I’ve been thinking about and that I’ve been taking inventory on to give you guys maybe a jumpstart on putting together your own list. Any time we go through a tragic circumstance, this has completely uprooted everyone’s lives. Everything is totally different. You know, even if we haven’t known someone who’s been affected by this personally, you guys are out on the front lines, and you’re seeing this every day. Our economy has shut down. You know, there’s just a ton of things that are, are so, so different. And so it’s been a big shock to us all because it’s just so different than normal. And so I think when these types of things happen, we have to take inventory of what’s important in our lives and do more of that when this starts to all settle down.

I know I was super sick at the end of January. And I remember, at the time, I mentioned this in a few of my social posts; just getting a little bit personal here. I have some medical issues. I’ve got a metabolic disorder, which causes a lot of trouble with my insulin resistance. And so I have to be careful about what I eat. So I eat as though I am a diabetic. I was off the rails this winter. It is dark, dreary, rainy, and snowy in Indiana in the winter. And every year, I question why in the world I live here, but every year I’m still here. So I think that gets to me sometimes. We can’t go outside. We don’t have mountains.

We don’t get a ton of snow. And so it’s not like we can even go outside and play in the snow a bunch; I have a son, so that’s fun. But when it does happen, but it’s just one of those climates where it’s just not conducive to going outside and doing things like it is in other areas that get a ton of snow, and there’s a bunch of activities you can do surrounding that. So it’s just one of those things where we’re always inside. We’re not doing a whole lot. And all of us here in Indiana just prepare for spring early on. I’m ready, like December 26th. So I was just kind of off the rails, making sure I was eating what I needed to eat and exercising as much as usual.

And so when I got sick at the end of January, that was just something where I was like, man, they’re talking about how bad this flu season is this year. I need to like up my game and ensure I’m eating healthy. And I’m so glad I did because we all know our bodies behave best when we fuel them correctly. And so I know that’s something on my list just to help you guys come up with some things on yours. That’s one of the things that’s on my list is just to continue to fuel my body well so that as we move into this new normal where heaven snows, how you know much, this is going to come back up next fall when flu season is back, but it’ll allow me to be as healthy as I can be in the future.

And so those are some things that are on my list. I have loved working from home, and my son is two and a half, and he’s not going to daycare. And so, even though it’s extremely difficult to get a whole lot done with a two-and-a-half-year-old, I have felt so blessed to have spent this much time with him. And so I think when things get back to normal, that’s going to look a little bit different just because I have loved so much being able to have that opportunity to be with him even more than I was before. I had him late in life. And so, you know, spending a lot of time with him, of course, has been a priority for me.

And so I’ve juggled around work a lot after having him to be able to spend as much time as possible. But I think that might even look a little bit different after this. So that’s kind of number two on my list. And then really just not taking for granted the fact that I can see family and friends. It’s so crazy that we’re all hunkered down and haven’t seen friends or family in person for so long. I think that’s something that we just really, for me especially, I think is on my list to make sure that I’m just a lot more grateful for the time that I do get to spend when we are able to go back out for dinner and have people over to our house for dinner or barbecue in the backyard once it gets warm outside.

Those are things that I’m looking forward to, and I know are on my list to do more of and to be more grateful for. So those are three things for me. So my health, my family, and just being grateful for the time I can spend with the people I love. And so I think all of us need to put that list together and say, what are the things that. Because I think right now we’re all in a big hustle, trying to get by day up day. I think the next thing I want to discuss is investing in yourself. So like I mentioned, I’ve had so many texts messaging, me setting up calls with me to talk about options that they have after this kind of settles down.

And I think we’re getting to the point where we’ll see this, this shift to reopening things, getting things back where they need to be as far as the economy goes. But what I find very interesting, and hang on with me here for a second, because I think one scary thing about business ownership is that it’s a risk, right? And it is a risk. Being in business for yourself is a risk. But we have 22 million Americans who have filed for unemployment throughout this entire COVID situation, and I guarantee you a lot of them most maybe thought their job was secure.

So we’re not really in the control that we think we are. I know for me, if I were a restaurant server, I would, in my head, think, I can easily go get a job somewhere else tomorrow if I lost my job today because the restaurant industry is big. Everybody’s always needing servers. There are a million different places to serve. There are a million different places to go. But that has been shut down. I mean, they’re on skeleton crews here in Indiana because we’re not allowed to go into restaurants. I’m sure most states are like that. We’re not allowed to go into restaurants. All we can do is pick up takeout if we want. And so, you know, some people don’t even feel comfortable getting takeouts, so obviously, their numbers are way down, and they’re running on skeleton crews, and there are people that cannot find a job in all different industries.

I’m just using that one as an example, and I’m sure it’s like that for some of you sonographers, perhaps, that are listening. Maybe you worked somewhere where many of the ultrasounds you’re doing aren’t emergent. And so they’re kind of waiting to be able to start doing some more of those types of scans once this kind of crisis part of this covid situation, realizing what they thought they had control over and what they thought was such a job that had so much security wasn’t that way. And so I 1000 times over would bet on myself rather than betting on an employer to help me keep my job. While it is a risk to have your own business, being in control of that business and being in control of it during a situation like this, how we provide to our patients for our mobile business is critical, and being able to shift kind of on a dime.

I know what we’ve seen in our business. Our numbers for non-emergent exams are down for sure. I mean, I’m sure they’re down everywhere for that. But what we’re seeing is a shift. And we immediately did this when all of this happened: we reached out to many of our local groups that maybe we wouldn’t have worked with. For example, hospitals don’t need a mobile group, right? They’ve got their imaging center inside the hospital, all of that. But we’re seeing patients coming to us because they can’t get into the hospital because the hospital’s only taking the most emergent exams. And so we have seen, for example, a ton of OB patients that we’re seeing now because they can’t get into the hospital but still need their OB exams. I mean, so we’ve been able to shift and pivot and, and get together as a team and decide how we want to show up for our clients, our physician clients, and how we want to show up for the patients what our techs feel comfortable doing and not doing what type of equipment they feel comfortable having and not having.

And so it’s been so amazing to be able to pivot and do that on our own terms. I had a discovery call the other day with a gal, and she had spoken to me probably five or six years ago, considering starting her own business, and wanted a little bit more information on some of our services and that kind of thing. And so I remember her from then, and she said, Jennifer, I spoke to you probably five or six years ago, kind of just going back and forth about the idea. I thought it would be something I’d like to do in the future; I just wasn’t sure when. And then she got this job at a hospital that she liked and kind of, I, I think, it was kind of a rural area. And so she felt like she was helping the patient population in that area have access to services by taking this job and providing ultrasounds for them.

And we had a call early this week because she walked in one day, and most of her patients were covid positive or, I think, potentially covid positive. And they didn’t have any type of PPE for her, not even a mask. And they expected her to go in and provide ultrasound services to these patients. You guys know how close you are to patients; that’s not okay. And so she took PTO time and said, I am out for a while and scheduled a call with me and said, I’ve got to be doing this on my terms. So proud of her because, like I said, starting a business is, is risky and scary, and all of those things when you first start considering it. But man, providing these services on your own terms is key, especially in situations like this.

It’s key. And we don’t have the control that we thought we did in an employment situation where we are the employee. So I, I love that. And I’ve been getting so many messages and so many calls with that specific message. I’m ready to do something on my own. And so because of that, I know probably lots of you are feeling the same way or considering it or rolling that idea around in your head. And so I want to give you some resources to be able to do that. So, first of all, if you’re listening to this podcast, I already have one, but I’ve done a ton lately. If you’re very new here, I’ve done a lot lately—more mini trainings. I did one a couple of weeks ago on sales and marketing, and I gave you our five-step sales process that we teach to our students.

Now, of course, when we teach our students, we go into super detail and get down to call scripts and what you say to the doctor when you go in and chat with them. But I gave you a great five-step process overview. So if you’re interested in kind of what that looks like and how it looks going into the physician offices what it looks like before that, finding those doctors, finding out who’s qualified, who isn’t, those types of things, go listen to that podcast, that’s a wonderful resource for you guys there. And I’ve got others on, you know, things to consider when you’re looking at starting up. If you’re super new to considering this option. We’ve got some wonderful freebies on our website. Just go to aic-ultrasound.com. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, I’ve got some freebies right there.

There are two freebies you can download as a cheat sheet. And then there’s a link in the middle right now as I’m recording this. What it looks like now is there’s that mini-training, I think, on sales and marketing. I’ve got it up there on the website, but it’s all the way down at the bottom of the page right there, easily accessible. And then, if you click on the about link on our website, you will see a picture of me there and different ways to connect with me. So I would love it if you have questions, if you’re considering starting your business, if you need additional resources to kind of study up on this and learn more about what that looks like starting a business, please email me. Please message me on social media; please schedule a call with me.

If this is something you’re like, I’m thinking about getting something going here, maybe this summer; that timeframe is completely doable. Certain things need to happen before you start your business. So before you’re out there marketing to doctors, you’ve got to get the business set up. You’ve got to get your marketing materials done. And so we have added on quite a few one-on-one students in the last month because they want to be ready to get out there and mark to their doctors when summer comes around. And there’s a lot of backend initial business setup stuff that you have to do before you can get out there and do that. And so by the time the doctor’s offices are open and ready for us to be able to go out as vendors, they’re going to be set up and ready to go.

We have a group coaching session that opens in June, and I’m not exactly sure how many students we are going to be accepting at that point. We want to keep it small so that people have access to it. I think for this one, we will add some group coaching calls and other things, too, because we want to be as much of a resource to you guys as possible. And we also do one-on-one coaching too. So there are quite a few different resources right there on our website. It’s aic-ultrasound.com, and I just want to be your resource. There are no resources for this type of stuff for sonographers; we want to be that for you. So I will wrap it up here today, but I want to thank you so much for everything you are doing for the patients in your community.

I want to tell you how proud you should be of yourselves. Like I said, I know sonographers get just kind of that overlook. Many people always talk about the nurses and doctors, and sonographers as such, such an essential part of the healthcare team. And so you guys should be so proud of what you’re doing now, and I just want you to have the resources you need so that if you’re considering doing something on your own, you’ve got those at your fingertips. And so, if you’ve got questions, please message me. If you want to schedule a call, I’m happy to chat. You can do that right on our website. Like I said, just go to that about page, scroll down by my picture, and you’ll see a place to schedule that. I’ve got multiple ones scheduled for next week. So I love that people are taking advantage of that option. But I am so excited to be able to offer these different resources to you guys and would love for you to take advantage. So I’m going to wrap it up for today. Message me, let me know what you think and your questions, and I’ll see you next week.

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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