- Find the best mentor you can and be an apprentice for two years.
- Don’t let the debt monster take control of your life.
Here’s a question I recently received in our Freedom Founders mastermind community: “What would you tell young doctors who are just coming out of school with student loan debt? Are there any things they should or shouldn’t do as they get started?” Here’s my shortlist: First of all, don’t go right out and start a new practice – even if someone’s willing to loan or give you the money. It’s too difficult. Obviously, you are intelligent enough – passing boards and getting licensed isn’t easy! But dentistry healthcare has become big business and it’s a whole other world. We’ve got to be great, astute dental clinicians, and yet we also need to be business owners. Those two don’t go hand-in-hand very well! You’ve got to increase your clinical skills and diagnostic capabilities as you learn the business. The best thing you can do is find a mentor. Use your network to find a respected, highly capable dentist who loves to share, holds values and a life philosophy you agree with, and has room to take you on. It will take some looking, but they are out there! Dedicate two years to working in their practice, following the steps of the pathway he or she lays out for you. Don’t focus on making a ton of money so you can get the new house or new car, or whatever it is that you want. I know you’ve worked hard to get where you are and you want to live a little bit, but give it a little more time. After those two years, you may find a place within that same practice. But if not, you have the groundwork, experience, and foundation of knowledge to know what to look for. Where will you go next? Are you going to open a practice? What type of practice and what price point? The second thing: Be very careful about taking on new debt. Learn to pay as you go for your lifestyle. If you get into consumption debt, it’s very hard to backtrack. I know many great and productive dentists who had to keep working into their 60s or 70s because they never got the debt monster under control and it continued to compound. My key advice today: