The Whole Veterinarian

Exploring Solo Equine Veterinary Practice with Dr. Amelie McAndrews and Dr. Caitlin Daly

February 03, 2022 Caitlin Daly, Amelie McAndrews Season 4 Episode 46
The Whole Veterinarian
Exploring Solo Equine Veterinary Practice with Dr. Amelie McAndrews and Dr. Caitlin Daly
Show Notes Transcript

Solo equine vets make up 37% of all equine veterinarians. Many people think of group practice as the only way to go after graduation, but  if you want to forge your own path as an equine veterinarian, you can do it! And you won't be alone in doing so. While not every aspect of solo practice is perfect, there are many upsides to owning your own business and that is what we discuss today. My guests are awesome human beings and amazing colleagues. I am honored to have them join me for this really important topic.

Let's meet our guests...
Amelie McAndrews, DVM

McAndrews@gardenstateequine.com
www.gardenstateequine.com

Originally from Connecticut, Dr. McAndrews completed an internship at a general and referral practice in Arizona before spending five years at a general equine practice in New Jersey. During her time as a general practitioner, her interests and caseload became increasingly focused on equine dentistry. She found she could significantly improve her patient’s quality of life by addressing problems found through a comprehensive oral exam. Garden State Equine Veterinary Dentistry was founded with the goal of being able to help more horses through better oral health. 
Dr. McAndrews spent years training under Dr. David Foster, a founding member of the American Veterinary Dental College - Equine Specialty who retired from private general equine dental practice in 2015. She travels frequently to train with equine veterinary dental specialists, presents to equine veterinarians on dental disease, and teaches equine dentistry to veterinary students. She regularly attends equine dentistry continuing education meetings and wet labs. 
Dr. McAndrews is one of only a handful of veterinarians completing an equine dental residency training program. She is also a clinical associate at the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center.
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Caitlin Daly, DVM

https://www.midcoastequine.com/
midcoastequine@gmail.com

Dr. Caitlin Daly has been involved with horses since she was a young child. Her experience with various breeds and riding disciplines has supplemented her understanding of each horse’s specific needs. By taking the time to develop a special relationship with her clients and their horses, she is a fundamental part of the team that keeps horses healthy and performing to the best of their ability.
After graduating from Miami University in 2007, Dr. Daly worked as a technician at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2011, Dr. Daly received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to moving to Maine, she completed an internship at Wilhite and Frees Equine Hospital outside of Kansas City, Missouri. In 2018, Dr. Daly became certified in Veterinary Medical Manipulation and in 2019, Dr. Daly became a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists with a focus on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Daly started Mid Coast Equine in 2013 to allow her to expand her personalized care to more horses and their owners. She has a special interest in wellness care, dentistry, lameness, and veterinary medical manipulation (chiropractic care).
 Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Daly enjoys running, hiking and spending time with her pets.

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Find out more about the Sustainability in Equine Practice Seminar and Retreat HERE!

Hey there, it's Dr. Stacey Cordivano. I want veterinarians to learn to be happier, healthier, wealthier and more grateful for the life that we've created. On this podcast, I will speak with outside of the box thinkers to hear new ideas on ways to improve our day to day life. Welcome to The Whole Veterinarian. Hi, Welcome to Season Four. This series is going to focus on equine veterinarians only. And although there's a lot of crossover to small animal medicine, I can understand if it's not of interest to some of my listeners. So if that's the case, please go back to any of the first three seasons of the podcast where you can choose from 50 different episodes that may speak to you and things that you're currently dealing with in your work and personal life. So we are starting off the equine mini series with a topic that's very near and dear to my heart, but it's also one that really matters. We are going to be talking about solo practitioner life. And you know why this topic is so important? It's because 37% of all equine veterinarians are solo practitioners, according to the AAEP membership. So that means that over a third of Equine vets do not work in a huge group practice despite what many of us believe or imagine when we picture equine practice. So today's guests are absolute rockstars and amazing people. I'm so excited to introduce them. Dr. Amelie McAndrews is a 2009 graduate of Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship at a general and referral practice in Arizona before spending five years at a general equine practice in New Jersey. She found that she could significantly improve her patient's quality of life by addressing problems found through a comprehensive oral exam. Thus, Garden State equine veterinary Dentistry was founded with the goal of being able to help more horses through better oral health. Dr. McAndrews is one of only a handful of veterinarians completing an equine dental residency training program, and she is also a Clinical Associate at the University of Pennsylvania new Bolton Center. We are also joined by Dr. Caitlin Daly who is a 2011 graduate of the Ohio State University. Prior to moving to Maine, she completed an internship at Wilhite and Frees equine hospital just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. In 2018, Dr. Daly became certified in veterinary medical manipulation and in 2019, Dr. Daly became a certified veterinary acupuncturist with a focus on traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. Dr. Daly started Midcoast Equine in 2013, to allow her to expand her personalized care to more horses and their owners. Okay, now on to our interview, I do want to say that I realized that solo practice can have its drawbacks, and it probably isn't right for every type of personality out there. But today, Amelie, Caitlin and I are going to cover some of our positive experiences as solo practice owners. So please keep an open mind and let us know what you think of the episode. Before we get into the episode, I just want to let you know again about the Sustainability in Equine Practice Seminar. It's back it's going to be held on March 24 through 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina this spring. The event we held in October this past year was amazing. It was a bunch of Equine veterinarians that got together who wanted to learn and share new ideas and ways to make practice doable for our foreseeable future. We have to start thinking creatively. And that's what this seminar is all about. So we want to encourage you to join us if you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, if you're on the verge of leaving, we want you there, we want to hear you and support you. We want to form a community with you. Also, if you are really rocking it in equine practice, and you want to share what you're doing and support other colleagues, we want you there too. please check out the website. It's www.SEPseminars.com. And I'll make sure to put that in the show notes. So if you are an equine vet in need of some community, or if you know of one, please send them our way. We welcome everyone to come join us. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy the episode. Hi, ladies. Thanks for joining me today. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us. Let's do a quick intro for listeners on who I have here today. So maybe when you graduated, where you graduated from, what type of practice you have and where you're located. Amelie, you can start. Okay. Hi, I'm Amelie McAndrews. I am a solo practitioner. I have a dentistry only practice. I grew up in Connecticut. I graduated from Michigan State in 2009. Then I went out to Arizona to do an internship at a practice that had a general practice and referral caseload. Then I finished that in 2010, when, when there was pretty good recession going on. So I was lucky to get a job back in New Jersey at a general practice. There was three vets there at the time. I was there for five years. And then I bought my mentor's dentistry practice in 2015. So since 2015, I've been a solo practitioner. In that time, I've had a total of three children, and I have completed a dentistry residency. Perfect, Caitlin. Hi, everyone. My name is Caitlin Daly, and I am a solo practitioner in coastal Maine, mid Coast specifically, I went to Ohio State, and I graduated in 2011. And then I found myself in Kansas City at a referral sort of general practice there as well. And then the market wasn't great when I graduated. So it was hard to find a job and I wanted to be closer to family. So that's part of my journey on how I ended up in Maine was That was where I found a job. And my family was there. Okay, perfect. So Amelie, you alluded to it a little bit. But I'm curious if you guys are in solo practice by choice, or if that was sort of a forced evolution. Tell everybody a little bit about how you came to decide on solo practice. So I most definitely was forced into it. I mean, it definitely turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. But it wasn't something that I had envisioned for myself. You know, since I was a small child dreaming of being an equine veterinarian, I saw success as an equine veterinarian as being an owner of a group ambulatory general practice. And that was what my life was going to be. And so I was moving towards that at the general practice where I was, I spent quite some time it was almost two years, sort of talking about this with my former boss, and we spent a year negotiating, I had tourney's and various advisors. And then when I was 10 days postpartum with my first child, my former boss told me that he was not going to tell me the practice right now. And we could talk about it another day. That was not a good answer for me. And part of what had precipitated these discussions anyways, is the practice was going to buy this dentistry practice of my mentor, my mentor wanted to retire, I wanted to buy the dentistry practice. So I was fortunate, because I had such good advisors who'd worked with me for the past year, Andy Clark and my attorney Peter Tenella, were super helpful. Being immediately postpartum, I could barely decide what I wanted to eat, or my next meal, let alone what I should do with my life. So they very quickly pivoted to saying that's okay, Amelie, you can't buy that practice, you're going to buy this one. So that's how I ended up becoming a solo practitioner. And as I said, it was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. Interesting, I think it's super relatable to hear you say that your vision for yourself was ownership and a large group practice because that was the same for me. I just, that's what it seemed like everyone had to do to be a successful equine vet. Right? And that's certainly not what I did. But, Caitlin, let's hear about your story about how you got into solo practice. I know I always wanted to have some sort of practice ownership. Again, I thought it would maybe be with like a three vet practice. I just have always been kind of a creative person. And I wanted to contribute to ideas and growth of a practice. So after my internship, the market again, wasn't great. And I sent my letter and resume out to like, 90 practices, and I heard back from 50% of them. And I got interviews at two. And they ended up actually both being in Maine and I worked at a practice that ended up very quickly becoming very toxic. And I knew probably three months in I wasn't going to stay long term. Less than six months I it was going to be very brief. But what that experience gave me was getting to know an area that I wasn't familiar with because I didn't grow up where I work now. And to see really where the voids were in the market as far as service to the clients. They were definitely not getting the level of customer service that I was used to providing in my internship. So I felt like there was room for me in the area. So I left that practice, maybe nine months into it, and thank God for my parents because if it wasn't for them and their support, literally their roof over my head, I couldn't have done it. Because I started from nothing, I had a non compete, I really needed their support. So I am so glad I did it, I wouldn't change it for the world, it's not exactly the path I would have picked. Or no, that's not true. It's not the path I envisioned for myself when I left. I would pick it over and over again. Got it. So it sounds like it wasn't the easiest time in your life. And I know that you've been pretty vocal about the struggles that you've kind of gone through personally, I'm hoping that you might share that as well, a little bit Sure. So I mean, to get into the nitty gritty of it, I think that many of us, most human beings, in general, aren't always taught the tools to cope with life and the stresses of life and emotions that are brought up in difficult conversations. And part of that, that's becoming an adult and developing a level of emotional maturity that matches your age. And so I didn't have all the tools in the toolbox that I have now. So being a veterinarian is stressful, I look back at like, being a student. And like, I cannot fathom experiencing that level of stress now. But it was normal. It's so normalized, what we go through. And so going out on my own, was stressful, I got sued, about a year after I left for breach of contract. So there's all of this stress, all of this emotion coming up, that I had no idea how to process, I didn't even know how I felt. And then I got married. And that was also not the best relationship for me. And it brought up a lot. And so I didn't know how to deal with all of these emotions. And so they became overwhelming. And in order to numb that, like many people, I turned to alcohol. And for me, it was to quiet the noise so I could get through life. It became where it was quite habitual. And I just didn't like the person that I was. And I just had no coping skills at the time. So I think what started the journey for healing with all of that was seeing a therapist, and just starting to have a healthier relationship with myself, I didn't choose sobriety, until maybe two years into therapy, because I think at the time, I wasn't ready for it. You know, I couldn't stop everything all at once, because I didn't know how you'd be like a puddle on the floor. Yes, like,you know, I couldn't, I couldn't do it all at once. So if somebody is feeling the pressure to do all of it all at once, you need to do what's right for you. Personally, I've been without alcohol in my life for almost three and a half years. And so all the things that you want to numb with drugs or alcohol or food or exercise, I mean, food and exercise are just more socially acceptable versions of numbing. Once you stop all of that all the emotions are still there. And you have to deal with it. And that gets kind of ugly for a while. And I'm an advocate for therapy. Likewise, and thank you for sharing that. I know it's vulnerable. But I think it's also very relatable for a lot of us that don't like emotional things. Drinking is so normalized in this culture, and even promoted as stress reduction. And while it can be and we don't all have to like label ourselves as alcoholics, I think it's just is your relationship with drugs and alcohol or food healthy. Yeah, totally agree. So Amelie, a question for you considering that you have three children, which is mind boggling because I can barely handle two. Can you talk about some of the struggles of being solo practitioner and bouncing or not bouncing for like juggling motherhood? What comes up for you when you kind of think about that? A lot of help. We pay for a lot of help, like there's just, I mean, there's no way around it, or at least for me, there wasn't. I have my husband is amazing. He's a rock star. And he is definitely an equal partner in this and he works full time too and has a job that is demanding as well. But obviously he's the number one rock star here, but then I pay for a lot of help and there's no other way to get around it. We have a wonderful nanny. We have a cleaning service. We do meal kit delivery service, we have a lawn service, and then I to make my work day as efficient as possible. I have a really awesome veterinary assistant who's with me all the time. I found a woman who owns a small boarding farm around me here she's a client. She answers the phone for me and it's really it's worked out really well for both of us because for hours can be kind of flexible, if she's able to, she'll answer the phone. If she's not, it just goes to voicemail, I use grasshopper, it's a internet phone service. And then she does other paperwork and file filing stuff for me when she is able to at the end of the day, or whenever she has time. So those people are all critical to my ability to continue this pace. And I couldn't, I couldn't do it without them. So I think it's really important to find good people to help you and then to delegate as much as possible and not micromanage, which I know it's hard for all of us, as a lot of us are really type A want to control everything down to our schedule. And really surrendering as much as you can, is really helpful for me in surviving. And then also understanding that I'm going to drop some balls, some things just aren't going to happen. And, you know, my kids, when it's important work gets done and some other stuff doesn't get done. And, you know, we just do the best we can. It's all you can do. Right? Yeah. And give yourself a little grace at the end of the day for sure. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I didn't know anyone who had three kids who is an equine vet, really, I didn't really have any role models going into this. So for me, it felt like uncharted territory. But I feel like being a solo practitioner is part of what enabled me to do this. If that makes it's like sort of counterintuitive. Yeah, no, but I, I first of all, didn't have another boss. I mean, I'm a pretty tough boss to myself, but didn't have another boss that I had to felt guilty about, you know, letting them down by going on maternity leave. And I just gave myself permission to take this time and then just did it and and you know, was able to schedule around it communicated to my clients, I was able to get practices around to cover as best they could, I mean, I have a little bit of a specialty practice. So not everything could be covered, but it ended up working. And I may have lost I'm sure I lost clients or obviously lost work during it. But I came every year that I had a baby, I did better, I grossed more than the year prior. And my practice has continued to grow despite taking all these maternity leave. So I just feel like it's a doable thing. And you know, I can block my schedule off when I have to be somewhere for my family and just having that freedom. And I don't have to justify it to anyone, you know, the it's just crossed off the calendar that I'm not available. And that's that I of course give my sometimes will give myself grief, about taking that time, but at least I don't have to explain it to another person. So it's counterintuitive, but being by myself has I feel like that's part of what has allowed me to have three kids. Yeah, totally, totally agree it was same in my boat when I was solo. It just didn't have to explain what the plan was to anybody else. Caitlin, that's a good segue, what what are some benefits that you see from being a solo practitioner? Oh, my God, there's so many like the benefits 100% outweigh the stresses and risks and all the things that go along with it. For me, personally, I love setting my own schedule, for the most part like that's in quotations, because obviously, it doesn't always go as planned. But I have the ability to explore any facet of my life. And like Amelie says, like, I don't need permission in order to do it. So I've really gotten into hiking and camping, I 100% do that in the middle of the week during the time that I want to do that at in the fall, speaking engagements, things like that, that are of interest again, I don't have to ask for anyone's permission to do it. And I schedule my life around it. And it's not surprising, but we think that they're not going to be clients are so supportive of it. Like they're so accepting of the fact that I'm going to be out of town and the fact that I'm preoccupied because I need to do this for myself. They're fine with it. So yeah, I think that solo practice has given me the time to discover who I am as a person. Do you guys feel like I mean, boundaries are tough for everybody. Right? But do you feel like boundaries are more difficult for solo practitioners? You both sound like you have some boundaries, which is impressive. I think for me having kids like forced me to create some boundaries. So Amelie, you might relate to that. And Caitlin, I think you know, the work that you've done personally has probably helped with that. Do you think for someone starting out that boundaries are harder as a solo practitioner or like what role do they play? I think group practice inherently has certain boundaries already established and that like you have a front desk person who answers the phone, if you're solo practice, and especially when you're starting you're the one doing all the work. So those walls and boundaries aren't innately there. Bromley and I have been in it for a while that were just more seasoned at giving boundaries. They were so awkward at the beginning, I remember having to call a friend to like, go over a conversation and give me a pep talk on how I was going to tell a client that I wasn't okay with something. It was like day's worth of effort into having the first or second boundary conversation. And now I can either do it myself, or I might check in with ormally and be like, What do you think about this just as somebody else can like you feel validated in your reason for why you're doing it? So yeah, I think they are harder in the sense because there's nothing there. You're starting from a blank piece of paper. And again, I think we as human beings are not for the most part taught sure boundaries, what they are the need for them and all of that stuff. You know, Amelie had her children, and like you sort of alluded to like my mental health, and how bad it got, and how it needed to never get that bad again, I had to protect myself. That was the main reason I started having boundaries. And then now it's like, well, my boundaries helped me enjoy my life, not just save it. Caitlin and I are lucky to rely on each other a little bit. I called her this morning. She gave me a boundary pep talk this morning, I was debating whether I should take on a new client, big new client, but very much outside of my practice range. And Caitlin and I know each other well enough. And we've been going through this enough that Caitlin reminded me to go back to what my practice sort of visions and goals are and did taking on this particular client did that in line with what my practice goals are. And when you put it that way, the decision was quite clear. So we've had to do a lot of work for sure to get here. And it doesn't mean by my call this morning with Caitlin, we're still working on it. It's a work in progress. You know, another thing Caitlin and I were talking about this morning in regards to do I take on a big client, but that one that's very much outside of my practice range is a scarcity mindset. And you're in a very much different when you start a practice, you know, even if you've done the homework to know that there's work for you and you know, and enough work, it's still you know, we're all very cautious people where we tend to be cautious people, and we're like, is there really enough work. So you have the tendency to want to take on work that maybe is not the best work or not in line with your practice values and missions and goals here. So I think learning and we learned this a bit through decade one, but learning having this what Caitlyn reminded me this morning is, is if you're questioning something, go back, does it fit with my personal and practice, Mission values goals here, and sometimes that can help you make a decision about whether or not to do something or where a boundary should be? I think that's really helpful. And I mean, I still constantly have to, we have to remind each other to stick with that. But it's helpful in general, when you're questioning something. No, that's great advice to go back to that. With that, like scarcity mindset is we tell ourselves this story that every time we put a boundary out, people are going to leave. And that's not true at all. You're just training your clients by what you're accepting. And so most of the time, they're like, Okay, I'm not going to get her after 530 on the phone. So that's fine. All if I really need to talk to her, I'll call her in the morning, or I'll just leave her a message. Very rarely do they leave. And also, if I look back in my career, on the clients that have left, they're not my people. Yeah, like at the very beginning, you just need to pay the bills, you know. And then as you're established more, you really start to refine and filter out who are the type of people that you work well with personality wise, and they tend to weed themselves out over time, and that you end up with a really ideally, strong client base that is very reflective of your personal brand, which we sort of have talked about in the past as a solo practitioner, oftentimes, your practice brand is a clear representation of your personal brand. Along those same lines, I like to think that if a client leaves or chooses to leave, you're probably not providing them the best service anyway, right they are better served by a different practitioner or by a group practice. And so it's almost like a benefit for both of you to have parted ways in that circumstance because they're probably going to get better care or communication style or whatever from a different vet. So yeah, the scarcity mindset and and not allowing yourself to go down that route is important. Another thing that contributes to this is if you're coming from a group practice and you're associated a group practice, you know, you know you have to or you may know you have to gross a certain amount to get paid a certain amount and so you have to grow so much larger number is what I'm getting at. As a solo practitioner, you can grow Have a lot less and still earn more money because you get to keep the profits and the numerous other benefits of solo practice. So you don't have to be nearly as busy as you were, earn, you know, gross as much money as you did when you were part of a group practice to earn more money as a solo practitioner. I don't think people realize that or think about that maybe as they're coming from a group practice, but you can grow a lot less and earn a lot more as a solo practitioner. So that power allows you to be pickier about who you work for and the type of work you do. You don't have to just do anything that walks in the door, you can be a little bit pickier, because you don't have to gross as much to earn the same amount of money, which I think once you figure that out, that's a little freeing, or it felt freeing for me. That's super important. And also, as I scaled down my practice, both due to kids and boundaries and kind of picking clients that fit I actually produced more because I did better medicine and was allowed to do more things at each call. So another thing to consider as well. What other advice do you guys have for people who are considering going out on their own or just have just recently started out on their own? You don't need to be doing what everyone else is doing. Man? What is that, quote? Comparison is the thief of joy. I remember again, this is like when my mental health wasn't the greatest but my mom like was just with me in the car and I was dropping something off at a barn and I'm like in this POS Envoy, that was so bad was like my first practice vehicle. Mine was the Subaru Outback. Well, if you want to talk about the first one, it was a Chevy Cobalt, but the first one that like look like a vet truck was an envoy. But um, so like at this barn, and another veterinarian shows up with like the stonewall body on the truck. And I just felt so insignificant when I compared that. And I think I might have cried to my mom on the way home. But you know, and all here like at these meetings, I think we had it in a decade one meeting of like, how busy people are. I'm not always that busy. But again, like I don't have to gross what my friends at these group practices are. And so I don't need to be that busy. So I've really the longer that I'm in practice, and the more finesse I found and how I like to communicate how I like to practice what I like to practice that's really sort of changed over the years. I'm so confident in what I have to offer in the veterinary sector. And that's really kind of reduced my stress and anxiety. So the more you can not compare yourself to other people, the better. Gosh, solo practitioners have the freedom to be whatever they want. And there are honestly no rules. You just need to be collegial and ethical, I think. But whatever you're passionate about my God take that freedom to explore it because other practitioners and group practices do not have that level of freedom that solo practitioners have. So that would be my advice is chase your joy. Perfect, Amelie? Yeah, just agreeing with Caitlin like, you just have an opportunity to build something awesome here. You can work as much or as little as you want. You can have awesome people who help you or just be in the truck alone by yourself all day. There's just so many different ways to take solo practice, you know, and I never feel alone either. I feel like that's like a misconception about solo practitioners is feeling alone but made, you know, a network for myself, but others do too. And I think it starts as simple as introducing yourself to other equine veterinarians around and you know, talking with colleagues all the time. I think it's just really cool. And I just see a lot of opportunity here. You can do whatever you want with solo practice. It's definitely not the Work 24/7 Work yourself to the bone never have any money like thing that I that's what I thought solo practice was and it's very much far from that. I feel like work smarter, not harder, right. Can we put a caveat in there that all of this is possible if you charge appropriately? Yes, yeah. good business practices. Kind of crucial. If you're the cheap one, like what are they? There's two ways to make money charge more work less charge less work more. You just get to pick which category you want. So know your value charge appropriately. And if you question it, because we all have to build confidence call your friends like Amelie that are like no that's good charge that and if you don't have any friends already, you can call Amelie Caitlin or me anytime. I'm sure everyone here is willing to give out their contacts info. Really. Yeah, you're not alone. And that was the thing just because you're solo you're not alone. Yeah. And then we've you know, mentioned it a couple times, but obviously decade one is a huge resource for anyone but especially for solo practitioners given community support and the business education that Amy Grice provides. So, for sure, anything else you want to leave listeners with? Before we do our final question? Oh, it's just I Sorry, can I go? Yeah, I think anyone who's considering going off into solo practice, like Caitlin and I were both essentially forced into it. And I think, Stacy, Were you forced into solo practice to be forced into solo practice purely because of the job market in 2000? Yeah. But yes, of course, You didn't like, decide, Oh, I'm gonna start hang my shingle up, like, yeah, even though I have a perfectly stable job here. So I really feel for anyone who's kicking this idea around or stuck in in a toxic work environment and thinks that they can do better. And, you know, and I feel in a way, I feel like I had an easier because I was forced into it. But I really feel for anyone who is kicking this idea around, and it takes a lot of bravery to go out there and hang your shingle and like your livelihood, and potentially others livelihoods on this on you going out there and being successful. But, you know, you really can do it gross less and net more as a solo practitioner, and you can have so much control. There's just so many benefits to it out there. I mean, I'm all about collaboration. But just, if you're stuck in a toxic work environment, and you see an opportunity, and you can make it happen, like doing more and won't regret it, it takes a lot of bravery. But you can do it. I think one thing that we just we've touched on is like, yeah, you can make money, you can make very good money. I mean, you could gross as much as the associates do and make bank if you want to work that hard. We're also not saying what you can do with that money. And being a solo practitioner gives you the ability to pay off your student debt faster than anyone else. For me, I was $242,000 in debt at the beginning of January of 2020. And I reduced that down to 85,000, in a year and a half. And then I sold my house during the peak of COVID. Thank you very much. And I paid off the rest of it. So there's no way in heck, I could have done that as an associate. It took several years to build the practice to the point that it was that profitable to give me that much money in order to pay off my debt, but financial freedom, there's nothing like it. Yeah, congratulations on your debt payoff again. And yeah, I mean, that's, that's getting into this discussion of of ownership, right, which, you know, ownership can go many ways. But as we discussed solo practice ownership, a there's a lot less overhead that you're taking on, you're not having to pay to buy into a group practice and then be of course, you're in control solely of what happens with those profits. So yeah, that's a great point at the end. Thank you ladies for your time. This has been fun, I think hopefully beneficial to some listeners. I end every interview with one question which is what is one small thing that has brought you joy this past week? Let's start with Amelie I hung out on my kids on the couch this morning for like 10 minutes before school. They're watching TV, but it was really nice to have like a few minutes. There's very little quiet and peace in my house. So it's really nice to kind of snuggle with all of them for given a short amount of time. Gotta appreciate the small moments. Caitlin, for me, I told Amelie this story this morning but rediscovering my passion for real estate, which after my the renovating house for seven years and selling it, I thought I'd never do it again. But two months later, here I am. So I just Yeah, being creative with that. It's been actually quite fun this week. So it's yeah, that is a good point. Being a solo practitioner and controlling your own schedule allows you to develop other personal parts of yourself for sure, which Caitlin already mentioned, but it's good to reiterate. So awesome. Thank you ladies so much. Thanks for having us. It was fun. Thanks again for listening today. I so very much appreciate the time you spend with me. I know it is so valuable. For more information or to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Please check out the newly revamped website at the hole veterinarian calm you can also connect with me on Instagram at the whole veterinarian. And lastly, if you have a spare moment, please leave a review on Apple podcasts if you're enjoying the show, or share it with a friend. Thanks so much and I will talk to you again soon.