The Entrepreneur Mindset- Why Veterinarians Make the Ultimate Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur Mindset- Why Veterinarians Make the Ultimate Entrepreneur

April 30, 2017

As I fly back to Durango from participating in the Veterinary Innovation Summit at Texas A&M, I am reflecting on the diverse group of people that attended and what drew them to attend the inaugural “unconference”. Presentations were geared toward recognizing our gaps in the profession, the disruptors banging on the door and trying to get some sort of game plan in place. There was an buzz of energy focused on the consensus that we need to do SOMETHING. It’s just identifying and executing that something which is the hard part.

This is true of most things though. The idea is the easy part, it’s where the rubber meets the road when things get lost and often abandoned for various reasons as illuminated during the session “Bringing the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Veterinary Medicine” by my fellow veterinary founders, Dr. Dani McVety of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, Dr. Ira Gordon of VetPrep and ViralVet, and Dr. James Andrews of Felcana. Interestingly though, all of the challenges that entrepreneurs face are exactly the things that veterinarians are designed and trained for during our years of training and practice. The way I see it, there isn’t anyone better suited for this challenge.

It all starts with the application to veterinary school. If I had a nickel for every time someone tells me they wanted to be a veterinarian but they either couldn’t handle the school or the euthanasia scene, I probably would have made enough money to pay off my student loan. The mere fact that your name ends in DVM makes you a perfect candidate to be an entrepreneur. It’s during the rigorous veterinary college that we “learn how to learn” with a problem-based approach.

Veterinarians are trained to discover problems and apply a solution.

In the tech world, they call these sprints. In the veterinary world it’s called appointments. And there isn’t a purchase order at the end of the problem, there is a cute little fuzzy animal depending on you to find the right solution.

Veterinarians are also accustomed to working long hours, barely eating and sacrificing sleep. We do this because we care and want to make sure everything gets taken care of to the best of our ability. My friend Dr. Ivan Zakharenkov, veterinary founder of Smart Flow, was informed his next meeting was running 15 minutes late so the host suggested he go have a glass a wine. He said “Perfect, I’m going to crash and take a nap instead.” Being focused and putting in hard work nearly everyday is a core skill every entrepreneur needs to possess.

Lean start-up is a very popular concept in entrepreneur world. This basically means save money where you can which translates to sharing a hotel room, turning hors d’oeuvres into dinner and avoiding cash bars. It also means don’t blow money you haven’t collected yet. Be smart and realize you can’t afford it all just yet. Often if there is a way to save money by working harder, the lean entrepreneur will do it. I don’t know many veterinarians who aren’t well versed in the art of pinching a penny. We are quite familiar with the concept of sparing expenses because we know every dollar we spend may mean a client can’t afford to take care of their pet. It’s a double edged sword. I know many veterinarians who choose a modest salary so their patients can have access to all of their services.

Not everyone is designed to be an entrepreneur though. There are some uncomfortable situations you have to get right with, and even enjoy because it’s a lifestyle. Here are just a few:

There is no roadmap. There is no manual on how to do your job. New problems you never thought about will arise everyday. You have to be agile so you can make decisions and react on the fly. When you wake up in the morning, you don’t map out your day. You show up and take what comes. It is very similar to working emergency medicine. Evaluate and respond quickly. The better you are at this, the more successful you will be.

Not having enough money to pay your bills. Payday suddenly becomes the worst 2 days of the month instead of the best. Convincing your vendors and even your employees that you will be putting the check in the mail very soon becomes a regular conversation. It’s a feast and famine situation, much like dental month.

Having an unlimited source of confidence. This will require thick skin forcing you to be your own number one fan. Some people will think you will fail and some will think you will be a perfect candidate for Shark Tank. You will have to replay the right reels in your brain to remain positive and persevere. There will be days that you feel like things can only go right and other days you get punched in the gut. This is very similar to performing intestinal surgery. You go for it then sweat it out until day 5 when your patient is eating well.

It’s about harnessing the part of yourself that makes you keep showing up instead of going to work at Burger King.

Putting yourself out there. There are many functions you will have to go to and calls you will have to make in order to get your product the exposure it needs to thrive. Sometimes you will have to stand by yourself and feel totally awkward. You will have to introduce yourself and visit with strangers by drawing on all the skills you learned in grade school. As you make friends, it will become easier. I try to remember some advice my Mother gave me once “Are you so big you don’t need another friend in the world?” Trust me, you will be tempted to stay home and watch Netflix with your pets but they can’t buy your product or service.

Most people are nice but especially the veterinary community. You can find support and encouragement around every corner if you look. Not everyone needs to be an entrepreneur but if you are holding on to a great idea, you have my support! Go for it. Don’t let the reason you fail be because you didn’t try because if anyone can do it, a veterinarian can!


23rd of September 2017 08:11 AM
OMG! The cat!! 😂😂
22nd of September 2017 01:57 PM
Great advice from our friends at IT Guru:

Apple Releases iOS 11 – IT-Guru recommends waiting to perform upgrade on your Apple devices!

It’s that time of year when Apple announces their next release of their iPhone 8 with a new iOS 11 operating system. You may see the option to upgrade to this new release in the coming days and we are requesting you wait to upgrade as this new iOS 11 is significantly different. After it has been out for a while and they have released at least 1-2 updates, is when we would recommend going forward. (Example 11.1.x may be a better time to make the update)

There have been announcements from some of the apps stating their app isn’t ready for the new iOS 11 updates. So if there are important features you want to assure work on your Apple device, it is extremely important to make you’re your device supports iOS 11. Thus the reason to wait until at least until Thanksgiving or even closer to Christmas, to assure this release is really ready for your device.

Lastly depending on your device, you may not want to upgrade as it may be fairly old and not handle this upgrade very well. Only newer devices within the last 3-4 years should be considered and if you have anything older like iPHone 4 or 4s it isn’t supported at all. Below is their supported list. But again some of the older devices although they support this upgrade may not run it so well. So we highly suggest iPhone 6 and above, iPad Air and above.

If you do decide to upgrade, we cannot guarantee compatibility with things like Office email, calendar and contacts right now until we test. If you decide to migrate and have issues going back to what you had can be difficult so assuring you have a good backup of your device prior to the upgrade is a MUST DO. We will request you work with Apple support direct to roll you back as your best option of support. (Apple store or Apple Phone support). We just are not in a position to assist with mobile device upgrades until we fully test these ourselves. Depending on feedback, we may even wait to see if there are issues and that time frame may be early December as we watch forums on others that have gone through the update.

“You can't send or reply from, Office 365, or Exchange 2016 in iOS 11 Symptoms
In the native Mail app ( on your iPhone or iPad, you can't send or reply from your, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 email account after you upgrade to iOS 11.
Note: These issues don’t occur in iOS 10.
Cause: This issue occurs because the Mail app on iOS 11 is not compatible with, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016”.
Thanks in advance for your time and hoping this helps answer questions on if you should upgrade to iOS 11.

Our professional advice is to let others roll this out, do the testing and have Apple provide a few fixes, before rolling up to the new release assuring the apps you use will work.
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21st of September 2017 04:18 PM
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