Finding Balance in Chiropractic Practice

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Something I find myself telling many new chiropractors is to not forget to live a balanced lifestyle when starting your practice. I’ve seen this scenario far too many times: you come out of chiropractic school young & fit, still in terrific athletic condition, loaded with enthusiasm to get started in practice, and then you blow it when you’re going to require that stamina and drive most.

This may sound obvious but I feel it’s important to set good habits early on in practice. More than twenty years ago, when I was setting up a new office in Los Angeles, two of my chiropractic mentors told me to set a longer lunchbreak on the days I adjusted both mornings and afternoons.

I took their advice, and for more than twenty years in practice at that location, I never had shorter than a 3 hour lunch, and it was phenomenal. In my early days of practice, a three hour break away from the office allowed me to enjoy activities like these:

  • Workout
  • Meditate, Goal Set, and Review Affirmations
  • Walk Dogs, Nap, Prepare a Healthy Lunch, Shower
  • Network with other Business Professionals

There’s much more that can be done during that time, and in the beginning I’d highly suggest doing the same structured activities on a regular basis, until they become habits. It’s not a time for watching TV or consuming social media. Occasionally, it is a time for being on TV, preparing to be on TV, or creating material for social media. Those activities are best done after workouts, dog walking, napping, etc.

Creativity flows best when we are resting and distractions are at a minimum. Dog walking, running, and yoga are three great examples that I’ve found can have a profound impact on what the afternoon adjusting table talk is going to be in the office. We want to be as enthusiastic to adjust someone at 3pm as you are a 8am, or even 6pm. At least, that’s what we are striving for.

I mentioned networking with others, and having a long lunch break where you’re not stressed to get back into the office, is an optimal scenario. Who you choose to network with will be up to you, and as you grow you’ll discover what types of patients fit your personality best. I’ll cover the details of lunch networking another day, since my practice was very much built on it, and the results were too good not to share.

I want you to be successful in practice, so be sure to work on maintaining a balanced chiropractic practice and life, and prepare yourselves to the see the next generation of patients.

My Dad Was a Chiropractor

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Chiropractors see new patients that come from all sorts of backgrounds and upbringings. I’d imagine nearly every chiropractor that’s been in practice ten years or more has many times heard “My dad was a chiropractor” during a patients first visit. Our initial reaction may be to get excited, because every kid of a chiropractor has a story to tell.

Recently a new patient in their mid fifties walked into an office I was visiting and said “My Dad was a Chiropractor.” I glanced at a doc who was standing nearby and we both replied “awesome!” Excited to hear their story I naturally responded by saying, it’s great you’ve been able to get adjusted all these years. The patient-to-be replied that he hadn’t been adjusted in quite some time, as he’d been unable to find someone who could adjust like his dad.

We’re supposed to be better at adjusting than the generations of chiropractors before us. If chiropractic were like professional sports, none of us would have employment. Learn to palpate & learn to adjust. That was the mantra of many chiropractors before me.

We have so much to be thankful for with everything that’s been prepared for us. Success in practice can come easy to the chiropractor of today, but perhaps that success is measured in Likes vs getting sick people well, and keeping the well from getting sick.

Take Four Vacations Per Year

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

We’re approaching October and coming to a time when many chiropractors take off for year end travel. Nearly every DC I know takes a break away from the office during one (or more) of these upcoming weeks: Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years. While times like these out of the office can be fun, in practice I discovered it’s important these aren’t the only vacations we take.

Vacations are important to celebrate office and life wins and to keep oneself from burning out. Dr. Fred Schofield mentioned taking vacations for better living back in 2008, and he was right. Besides chiropractic relicensing, major holidays, and family commitment events, our plan has long been to take four vacations per year.

For many years my spouse and I would make plans in December for our four vacations the following year. Our rules were simple, take four 4-day trips (ours were Thursday through Sunday), in four new locations (places we haven’t traveled to before), ideally one for each quarter of the year. Also, for us these were no-kid, adult-time trips.

Travel could be by vehicle or air. We live nearby a major international airport (LAX) so for us, either option worked. As a weekday practicing chiropractor, this setup worked well since I could see patients Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then take four days off.

The idea of going to new locations each time came after a few years of hitting the typical SoCal vacation spots. Palm Springs, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc. After a few years of trips not being what they were, we began getting creative, and came up with what for us was a phenomenal plan.

You May Also Like: Finding Balance in Chiropractic Practice

My wife LOVES NFL football. I’m a fan too but she’s a fanatic (like I’m a fanatic for chiropractic). Every year, at least two of those 4 day trips were centered around going to see NFL games in cities we hadn’t visited yet. We typically did Thursday morning flights out, but sometimes took Wednesday night red eyes (especially for East Coast travel).

We visited NFL stadiums throughout the USA. Baltimore, Oakland, Dallas, Miami, Denver, San Diego, Pennsylvania, Ohio, you get the picture. Every trip was unique, and even when the games were bad, the trips were good.

We didn’t stay at fancy hotels, instead we tried to stay near enough to a stadium that we could walk to the game, and take in the local vibration. The hotel bars were always packed with fans (typically for the visiting team) and that was fun too. We’d enjoy dining at places locals ate, visited many local coffee shops (preferably independently owned businesses), and got plenty of walking in.

Camping became another common four day trip we’d plan every year. I really got into finding the most desolate off grid camping locations in California that I could. I developed a method for doing so by reviewing old army maps from the 1920s to 1940s, and seeing if those places still existed. It was amazing the discoveries we made. Looking back, these became our most favorite trips.

The four trips a year mantra became a central theme in my practice. By the time a patient was with me for 90 days, they knew I was going on vacation somewhere. Internally, it set me up for success. You’re always fired up to be back in the office the week you return, and seeing an entire weeks volume in three days (the week you’re travelling) was amazingly powerful. So that’s two guaranteed high energy weeks.

Looking back, I’m in an attitude of gratitude for listening to others, and developing this approach towards a balanced life and practice.

Nobody is just a Chiropractor

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

If you’ve been in chiropractic practice as long as I have you may know this experience well. Suppose you’re just getting started in practice and received your chiropractors license yesterday, this applies to you. From my perspective, not only are you a unique edition to this profession, you are a multifaceted, omni-directional, expression of life on this place we call Earth.

All paths lead to the same destination, but there are as many ways to arrive as there has been, or is to be, beings in existence.

Everybody has a story, and that’s one of the many facets of practice that I love. Every chiropractor has a story too, and I have long thought those stories are to be told.

I’m sitting on the stage with two gentlemen in a large conference hall in Las Vegas, Nevada. As we walk off after our presentations, individuals approach us and three mini crowds form. The one who helped in founding the worlds most popular search engine gathers the majority. The other, a founder for a more recent competitor, also draws attention. Then there’s the folks that gravitate towards me.

Speaking about search, search engines, data science and other associated topics has been a passion of mine for nearly twenty years. I can go all day talking about big data.

But you’re not here to be talked at about me, my apologies. I’m bringing attention to the topic because I know there are volumes of stories to be told. Your stories. Who you are in the world of chiropractic and in the worlds you so precisely balance into your life.

We are children, spouses, parents, stewards of humanity. We are also ball players, real estate agents, CEOs, assistant coaches, fashion models, Olympic athletes, lottery winners, musicians, professional photographers, crypto traders, restaurant owners, and the list goes on. We’ve had, are having, and will have experiences other than our ones as a chiropractor.

At times, we may have walked the same dirt on our paths through chiropractic life, but I’d like to get back to hearing more about your other journeys. More on this topic to come.

We Chose a Positive Attitude Profession

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

There may be no profession on the planet that is more positively focused than chiropractic. The entire foundation chiropractic is built upon is in helping people express the best version of themselves. Within the profession, and publicly, we may use different terminologies to describe it, but at the core we are all working towards the same goal. That’s pretty amazing and I’m grateful to be a participant.

That’s my dog relaxing in the dirt as I write this. A day in the office is like a happy dogs day in the dirt.

I walk into the office, “it’s great to see you Dr. Mike” says a patient in the front seating area. I reply, “it’s great to see you too.” That is a terrific way to begin ones day.

Person after person comes in, it’s upbeat, we’re smiling, there’s laughter (especially when you clear those thoracic vertebra in an AP position), and people are genuinely happy to be in the office.

Even on the rare occasion when someone is in a state of excruciating discomfort, they still know we are there to assist them in getting to a better place, and they express a positive attitude of gratitude for it.

This may sound like ra-ra bubble gum pie in the sky positivity mindset nonsense, but I’m twenty five years in, that’s over 9000 days. The office is a positive place, and I’m excited to be there.

I’ll tell you what brought this topic up today. I’m a subscriber to nearly zero social media, except Twitter. I’ve had an account there for over 15 years but I’ve not been active much the past 6 years or so. Last week I checked in to see what topics were being discussed. Mind you, I don’t follow that many chiropractors, so tweets are coming from people of other backgrounds.

It went like this: It’s the worst week ever. It’s the worst day ever. I don’t understand these idiots. Explain it to me like I’m five years old. People are clearly not happy at work, on the road, at home, or wherever they’re at in life.

No surprise to you I’m sure, and perhaps I was a bit off to think a general population of people had gained a positive outlook on life since the last time I checked in. It’s like eating a fast food hamburger (rare occasion for me) and quickly being reminded how toxic and empty of substance it is. Problem is, the more often you consume it, the less sensitive you become to its ill effects.

Back to us being positive as a profession. I’m a different person after twenty five years in practice. Much of that is thanks to you, my colleagues, my mentors, the patients I serve. I see chiropractors every day. I vacation with chiropractors, go to conferences with chiropractors, have lunch and laugh with chiropractors. You’re a pretty positive group to hang around with, and it’s contagious.

On the topic of lunch, in all my years in practice I don’t think I’ve had less than a two and a half hour lunch break (it’s currently 3 1/2 hours), and that’s only 2 times a week. Another chiropractor and I frequently laugh about who’s had a better midweek noontime nap. I only come in for three hours the other days, it’s been that way for many years.

I know I’m not alone. As chiropractors, we love being in the office, and we love being out of the office, am I right? I’m not going to get into the no drugs, no surgery, no chemicals, nothing artificial added aspect of our profession here, I’ll save that for another day.

For now, take a moment and join me to congratulate yourself on making what was likely one of the best decisions of your life, you chose a positive attitude profession.

The Nine Chiropractors in my Practice

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Nine chiropractors come to the office with me everyday. Sometimes there’s more, but each and every day I have the joy to be surrounded by at least these nine amazing individuals. On top of that, I get to adjust all the patients, which makes this the most amazing setup. Here’s how it came to be.

My chiropractic mentors have left such an indelible impression on me that they now follow me everywhere. They’re in my sleep, they’re in my office, they’re embedded in my mindset. Before my feet even hit the floor while getting out of bed each morning, these nine chiropractors are there, ensuring my day begins as taught when I was a student.

Good morning God, good morning God, good morning God. I feel great, I feel great, I feel great.

Since the day Dr. Fred Schofield embedded that mantra in my head, it’s played daily like an alarm clock. These are my now hard wired thoughts, recited since I first heard them in 2002.

When my feet hit the floor I transition to I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific. Whether I speak it aloud (which I frequently do) or not, this one is with me until I reach the bathroom. I first heard those words spoken in a dynamic fashion by Dr. Sid Williams. I was a chiropractic student at the time, and I had no idea how they’d transform me.

Regardless of what I do before I get there, everyone’s ready to go when I head to the office. Dr. Sid reminds me Serve for the sake of Serving, Give for the sake of Giving, Love for the sake of Loving.

I get to the office and go to unlock the door. If you want to be successful in practice, don’t forget to unlock the door, says Dr. John Hofmann. He’s there to remind me every single time I go to unlock the door, and he told me this in 1997. Thanks to those words, I’ve learned to unlock much more than the door to the office.

A Universal Intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.

There’s 33 Chiropractic Principles posted on the office wall, and my eyes go to them every day. I never met Dr. Ralph W. Stephenson but he’s there in the office nonetheless. During the past ten years, Universal Intelligence has been the leading topic in my office. I’ll cover the reasons for that in detail on a later date.

I go into an adjusting room for the first adjustment of the day and Dr. James Sigafoose (pictured above) is leaning in, every time. More than twenty-five years ago, when I was just getting started in chiropractic, Sigafoose leaned in as I was adjusting someone and said… If you’re questioning the listing, you’re already blocking the process.

Sigafoose used to physically hover over me while I slept. We were often room mates during our Chiropractic Missions to Panama, I’d open my eyes and he’d be standing there. At the time I thought he was goofing around but I later learned he was teaching me a state of heightened awareness.

As soon as somebody laughs I know Dr. Sharon Gorman is in the room, she has the greatest laugh. Like a big sister, she observes me frequently to make sure I’m following through. WWSD (What Would Sharon Do) is a go to thought for any office scenario that may arise.

Anytime I’m adjusting moms, babies and kids, there’s Dr. Jeanne Ohm, smiling, dancing, and doing what she does. In never set out to include pregnancy as a specialty but I think Jeanne had other plans for me. She didn’t tell me the babies I adjusted the day or week they were born were going to grow up, come in around age 18, bring their boyfriends & girlfriends, give me hugs, and make a special visit before they go off for college, thanking me for helping them to be who they are in life.

As I’m speaking with a patient, saying love is an entry level vibration for communication without words, Dr. Stew Bittman grins from ear to ear. I think Stew enjoys being in the office just so he can say I told you so. Language that early in my career I’d be afraid to communicate now flows like aqueous light (a fluidlike light energy we’re bathed in, referred to as ether in books of old).

For more than twenty years there’s been a photo on the wall of a chiropractor sitting at his desk, and for all those years patients have asked “Is that your dad?” The photo is of Dr. B. J. Palmer. We don’t look remotely alike and when I mention that to patients they reply that we have the same look in our eyes.

I mentioned at the beginning there are others, but those are my nine chiropractors, coming to the office with me everyday. I didn’t speak about this publicly until an in office occurrence in 2017. When you’re known locally as the chiropractor who speaks of love as an entry level vibration for communication, you attract the most interesting of people.

You may perhaps be thinking this is odd behavior, but assure you, for me it’s an event of reality. As the years have passed, I’ve come across so many writings from business leaders, monks, visionaries, and Sigafoose himself telling me this is no uncommon phenomena.

If you’re interested in going further, let me know. I’ll share what Nikola Tesla, Max Planck, Steve Jobs and others have said about bringing others to work.

My Chiropractic Mentors Spoke Truth

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

If you want to be successful in chiropractic practice don’t forget to unlock the door.  Those words were spoken by one of my many mentors very early in my days as a chiropractic student. Seemingly ordinary, patients will have a difficult time getting in for adjustments if the doors are locked. Ultimately extraordinary, being open to the adventure that this life will bring you, an infinity of possibilities limited only by the locks I alone create.

Somehow I got it right. Despite everything my smaller self may have done along the way to block, lock, and keep doors closed, the vibrations of my mentors continued to resonate, guiding me on a path that today I can say has been truly magnificent.

That’s my morning view in the photo above. Miles of rolling hills and a near six kilometer drive (one way) just to get my mail. This is one of my many “there’s no way possible this could remotely be true” encounters that being unlocked has led me to. Not a lot of patients here, but then we do more than just serve patients, we are servants to all of creation.

That brings me to the words of another mentor spoken to me decades ago. If you ever chose to be master, you must be servant to all. I first heard those words in 1997, and only this week I had the realization that was 25 years ago. Perhaps meaningless to you, but to me, I’m now on the other side of 25 years in practice. Words once spoken are known. They are my being, they represent who and what I am.

I’m not done serving, far from it. As Planet Chiropractic is on her verge of also turning twenty five, previously assumed locked doors have been found open, and I’m stepping through. I do hope you’ll join me.

The most common scam!

Every week we hear about this particular scam.  Over the years, we’ve developed a respect for the people who run this racket.  They keep doing it.  Year after year.  And in spite of our warnings, doctors keep falling for it.  Consider yourself warned.

The typical scenrio:
Doctor recieves an inquiry.  Perhaps asking if it is sold or how much.  Seller gets excited to have a buyer…  Buyer is out of town and offers to pay by cashiers check.   Buyer sends a check or certified check or cashiers check for more than the agreed upon sales price.  The extra money for their agent  to arrange shipping or pickup, and you pay the agent.  

Typical outcome: 
You cash the check, the check is fraudulent even though it appears to be a real cashiers check on a real bank.  You pay the agent.  Your check bounces.  The bank comes after you for the amount of the bounced check plus fees.

Action steps:

  1. Don’t accept an overpayment.  
  2. Engage the buyer on the phone.  Chat them, learn about their clinic or chiropractic intent.  Look them up on the internet.  This step cuts out most fraud.
  3. Local pickup is best. That said, we facilitate lots of cross country sales.  Consider services escrow service like escrow.com to keep the transaction safe for both parties and U.ship.com to pack and ship bigger items.  Buyer can pay those fees directly.
  4. If you come across a scammer, let us know. We will ban them and delete their account.  Don’t feel bad for them, they will resurface in a few days with a new name and email.  

10 Things to Know About Sweat-Equity Buyouts

For new graduates of chiropractic colleges who are saddled with thousands of dollars of student debt, it may feel impossible to build or buy a practice any time soon. Luckily there is a way to buy a practice in a matter of years, while gaining fundamental clinic experience — through the sweat-equity buyout method.

Ten things to know about SEBO:

A SEBO arrangement allows associates to join a practice without putting down money and earn the down payment to buy a practice down the line. It’s considered beneficial for both the buyer and the seller, who is typically a retiring chiropractor looking for a reliable exit plan.
The SEBO method also allows for seamless patient transitions, as the associate and the patients will become familiar with each other over the course of the agreement.
This buy-sell strategy is common among other health professionals like dentists and physicians.
Under a SEBO arrangement, the associate earns a base salary and saves toward buying the practice. The base salary should pay the associate a comfortable living wage and cover any student debt payments.
Income generated by the associate first goes toward their salary and overhead costs like malpractice insurance. What’s left over goes into an escrow account that is used for the future down payment on the practice.
If the associate decides not to buy the practice, the owner keeps the funds in the escrow account.
The length of the arrangement, typically about 2-5 years, should be predetermined.
The arrangement helps associates secure financing from banks, which often look for two or more years of clinic experience.
The buy-sell agreement should be put in writing at the outset. This agreement should be revisited throughout the contract period.
This strategy requires solid communication and dedication. The chiropractors should enlist the help of an attorney or consultant to draft a fair agreement that both sides benefit.

Selling Your Chiropractic Practice: Should You Use a Broker or Go It Alone?

It’s no secret the chiropractic industry attracts maverick personalities. That means when it’s time to sell the practice, many chiropractors are tempted to do it themselves. This can save the chiropractor some money on a broker’s fee. However, without clinic sales experience, the juice may not be worth the squeeze.

Going the “for sale by owner” route means the chiropractor will need to accurately price their own practice, organize their finances for the past few years, find a buyer, guide the buyer through the sales process, negotiate, draw up a contract, work with the bank and assist with the transition. While the FSBO method certainly can be done, it comes with risks that can easily be avoided by using a broker or sales consultant who specializes in the chiropractic industry.

How Brokers Can Help
From the start, a broker can help keep the chiropractor’s ego in check when it comes to setting the sale price. Qualified brokers know the market and can bring an objective eye to the appraisal. This ensures the chiropractor can recoup the full value of the practice without pricing it too high, which could cause the clinic to sit on the market for too long.

Brokers also act as an intermediary during the negotiation process and can help skittish buyers come to a decision. “There’s so much to it with these young apprehensive buyers and getting them through the finance process, and then having both sides understand what a proper transition looks like and all the little things that need to be done correctly,” says Kevin Misenheimer, a broker with Progressive Practice Sales in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Many brokers will offer packages to assist the buyer as well as the seller through the deal.

Perhaps most importantly, brokers bring their expertise to the legal, financial and regulatory aspects of selling the practice. This begins with assistance organizing financials and profit and loss statements so buyers can review the practice and secure funding. This saves time for the chiropractor to focus on maintaining a robust business so they can maximize the value of their practice in the sale.

Choosing a Broker
Working with a broker or sales consultant can help chiropractors navigate the sales process, maximize the value of the practice and more efficiently make a sale. When choosing a broker, brokerage fees and closing rates are important, but chiropractors should also consider accessibility and expertise. Working with firms that have expertise across the spectrum of the sale process, from marketing to financing to closing the deal, can make the process smoother from start to finish.