Name of Business: Aquarius Medical Clinic
Location: Yaletown, Vancouver
Years in Business: 7 years
What motivated you to start your business?
I wanted to offer a wide variety of medical services under one roof. I knew that it was important to have urgent care services (such as suturing, sudden illness assessment, etc.) combined with the excellent care of family physicians. As injuries and sudden illness occur at any time, this clinic would need to have extended hours. Soon after opening the clinic, I found that there was a strong demand in the Yaletown community for women’s health and dermatology, so I added experts to fill this need. In addition, there were very few academic family practice units in Vancouver at that time, and I wanted to offer a site that would be used for training our future physicians.
What do you enjoy most about it?
The clinic physicians with whom I am affiliated have exceptional skills and are absolutely outstanding, this makes my job both enjoyable and rewarding. I love being able to offer teaching for the UBC medical students and resident doctors at my clinic.
What do you enjoy least?
The least favorite part of having my own clinic is doing the administrative tasks, which takes about 1-2 hours each day on top of all my duties as a doctor.
What should all women know about your industry? There is a major physician shortage in our province, and the government has great incentives for new graduates to set up practices in rural/remote communities. Hence, it is very difficult to get a solid roster of clinic physicians in this city. I would suggest that one opens a new clinic not for the goal of profiting, but to do it because it is something you are passionate about. Prior to opening a new clinic, it would be best to have your physicians signed to work contracts to ensure that you can offer the services that you intend.
How did having confidence in yourself and your business idea play a role in starting your business?
Confidence was the key that turned my idea into the real thing. I trusted that I would work day and night to accomplish my goals.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
I set goals for myself and feel rewarded when I attain them. There is nothing better than reaching a goal that has been difficult. Once I have completed something, I look for another goal. I also make sure that my goals are not just about my career, and I often have goals involving physical activities or family. For example, I will be having another baby this December, and my goal is to be a good mother to my 2 year old through the transition with the new baby. I want to make sure he adapts well and loves his baby sister, and develops normally.
What is one really important lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Having your own business does take away some freedom. For example, I can’t just move or take an extended holiday. Also, I can’t just quit my job! I have to ensure that it is a good place to work, and I need to put regular effort and be around to fix things in order to ensure that it runs well.
What would you recommend to any women that might be thinking about getting into your industry?
It is essential to find physicians who are willing to sign long term working contracts. A medical clinic is not much use if you don’t have a set of solid hard working doctors.