The term “hard work” has lots of different meanings. You can work hard and get an intrinsic value for having done so. Carrying something heavy for your wife, building your own dog house or rebuilding a ’71 Volkswagen bus from scrap parts are hard work.
But you’re not doing the labor to bring you monetary gain – extrinsic gain. Your labors of love bring you happiness for a job well-done.
Is that what you want from your practice? Do you want to work hard, putting in 9- or 10-hour days six days a week and feel good that you did so?
Because if all you are doing is drill-and-fill dentistry that whole time, then feeling good that you worked hard is the only kind of reward you can expect to get.
If, on the other hand, you expect to be compensated for your hard work, then hard work is not its own reward.
Hard work is just hard work!
Unfortunately, most dentists are working too hard and getting too little in return. This why “working hard” and “working smart” are often contrasted with each other.
Take lumberjacks, for instance. One lumberjack uses an ax and one uses a chainsaw. They both are working hard, and they both feel like they get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. But which one is working “smart”?
The chainsaw lumberjack, of course. He is using the better tool, getting more work accomplished in less time. He is more efficient, and can always fall back on using an ax if his chainsaw breaks.
The ax lumberjack is just working hard, and all he has to fall back on if his ax breaks is another ax.
And if both of them are being paid for what they produce, the lumberjack with the chainsaw earns much more than the guy with the ax.
Unfortunately, if you are a dentist who is doing drill-and-fill dentistry 40 hours or more a week, you are the lumberjack with the ax.
Traditional dental “marketing” won’t necessarily get you more and better patients. What do I mean by better? The large cases, the full mouth reconstructions, the extensive orthodontic work. These are the cases that absorb you and are so rewarding, both in terms of accomplishment and earnings. One of those large cases can easily earn as much as a hundred fillings.
The dentist with a sound patient attraction system gets many more of the cases that he or she wants – bigger trees, so to speak, that each produce a lot more lumber.
At this point, you have some thinking to do and a decision to make. I assume you’re reading this blog because you’re not satisfied with the types of patients you’re getting. So, the question is, are you going to continue to use and ax, or will you embrace that newfangled technology, the chainsaw?
There’s an old saying that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. If you decide to stick with your current marketing practices, expect to do primarily drill and fill cases. You’ll continue to work hard, but the other guy will be earning far more than you do.