10 Years Of Business Experience In 1 Hour

I talk about five lessons inside Derek Sivers' "Anything You Want" and translate them into how you can apply them as an osteopath.

Podcast Episode Transcript

Every single osteopath wants more new patients, we all want to enjoy our work and keep stress to a minimum. But for you to do that, you need to create an environment in which you and everyone you work with love, stop trying to please everyone and start thinking about your problems differently by knowing that you truly can do and create whatever you want.

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers is a short book that packs 40 lessons on entrepreneurship which you can read in one hour. Derek, who’s a passionate musician, started a business called CD Baby that he later sold for $22 million in 2008.

Now, Derek is a self-confessed accidental business owner. In 1998, he set up a basic website to sell his music online. When he then added his friends’ music to the website as a favour, word got around quick and other people asked him to add their music to CD Baby too, which Derek did for a small fee. Everything snowballed from there. The point is, Derek was filling a need for others, in this case, independent musicians. Everything he did was in their interest and things kept growing.

You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah, but what’s a tech business got to do with running a business as an osteopath?’ And that’s the thing with these business and self-help books, they’re packed with the same lessons we face as osteopaths.

So, I’ve picked five lessons any of you can apply for your career.

Welcome back everyone! It’s season two of Behind The Osteopath and I’d like to kickstart things by saying, if you’re a new listener, hey! I’m Alan Zaia, I’m an osteopath and the founder of Osteohustle where we plan, build and grow your dream career.

This podcast is based on the basis that you should never open a clinic without fully understanding what it takes. Because, why not go in with a bunch of advantages? We all know that we were never taught the essential business skills at university, so let’s come together, start sharing ideas and pushing our profession forwards.

If you’re returning to the podcast, thank you for listening, leaving a review, emailed me, connecting with me via email or the Q&A section—you’re amazing.

Alright. To give some background context, I read this book for the first time in 2021 and again just a few weeks ago. Derek actually has a few great short reads, so I highly recommend you grab a copy. Try getting your local library to order a copy in for you, like what I do.

Let’s dive into these 5 lessons from Anything You Want, which are in no particular order.

Lesson 1: You Make Your Perfect World

To get things started, Derek makes a fantastic and inspirational point when he says “Business is as creative as the fine arts. You can be as unconventional, unique and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.

The reason I love this is because it gives you permission to scrap the societal expectations as to what you need to be as an osteopath and build the business in which ever way you want. When I speak to osteopaths who want to start a business, it’s like they’re forcing themselves into this mould of “well, that’s what they’re doing, and this is what’s expected of me, so I’d better just do that.” Which is awful because it puts you somewhere you don’t want to be and the more you grow in that mould, the more uncomfortable you’ll be because you’re going to hate many aspects of going to work.

The compound effect of this is that we end up with a bunch of healthcare practices that look the exact same. I can’t tell you how many osteopathic clinics I’ve seen where it’s almost like I could play bingo. I could look at my bingo card and see things like: hands, spine or tree logo, the main colour is blue, healthcare-related stock images, the main message of a practice being ‘osteopathy is a form of complementary medicine involving the treatment of medical disorders…’ None of these things are inherently bad, but when everyone is doing the same old thing because it’s what they’re doing and it’s what’s expected of me, it ends up being one big mush and most of the osteopaths feeling like they don’t truly love the business they’ve worked so hard to build.

Here’s a question I want you to ask yourself: What would happen to your business if you focused on not being better than your competition, but being different? I’ll tell you what would happen. You’d start making changes that gives you permission to build your business in the way you want to, and all in ways that bring truly fulfilling and meaningful purpose to your life.

At this point, I want to talk about a specific conversation I have all the time with osteopaths.

So, Derek says: “Some people want to be billionaires with thousands of employees. Some people want to work alone. Some people want to be famous in Silicon Valley. Some want to be anonymous. No matter which goal you choose, there will be lots of people telling you that you’re wrong. Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury. Even if what you’re doing, is slowing the growth of your business – if it makes you happy, that’s okay. It’s your choice to remain small. Whatever you make, it’s your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.

The point is that many osteopaths believe in growth, bringing on associates, opening a new location, moving to a different location with more rooms and all things big, more and expand.

I cannot tell you how many osteopaths I’ve spoken to that when I say: “You know, by the sounds of what you’re telling me, you’d rather run a small but super efficient practice” and you can see their shoulders drop in relief and it’s like someone has finally given them permission to focus on less. Derek says: “Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

It goes without saying that if you want bigger and more, go for your life! Just know that it’s okay to focus on small and efficient.

Lesson 2: This Is Just One Of Many Options

In this chapter, Derek tells the story of having a fantastic singing teacher when he was younger who encouraged him to sing the same song in lots of different ways. After trying lots of different versions, the teacher would say “now, how did that song go again?

Derek says: “It was proof that what I thought was the way the song went was really just one of an infinite number of options.”

When it comes to putting together a business plan, or wondering how you envision your business looking in the future, Derek says “you can’t pretend there’s only one way to do it. Your first idea is just one of many options. No business goes as planned, so make 10 radically, different plans. Realising the initial choice you made was just one of many brings all kinds of weathered wisdom and insights into your business.

This inspired me to think about adding in different scenarios so you can think about how you’d approach all sorts of problems differently because it challenges your default way of thinking. For example, rewrite your business plan with the following scenarios:

  • You’re a confident extravert and everyone loves you. Now what?
  • You’re a total introvert who’s just moved to a new area where nobody knows you. Now what?
  • You’re a new parent and trying to buy your first home. Now what?
  • You get an email from a physio looking to partner, you meet them and they’re great. Now what?
  • You decide that you want to move to the other side of the world. Now what?
  • You can only work half the hours you could originally. Now what?
  • Your business partner or best associate decides to leave. Now what?
  • Another pandemic happens and you need to continue earning x amount of income. Now what?

Doing this will also generate exit plans for when things really get thrown up in the air, but you’re now able to deal with them better.

So, whether you’re thinking of leaving your associateship to open your own clinic or you’re a clinic owner looking to open another location or you’re struggling to solve a problem, try resetting your default way of thinking by resetting your existing situation with totally different context.

On a side note, one thing I’ve learned over the years, especially when learning about productivity, is that our brain’s are not good at trying to remember stuff but they’re excellent at being creative and problem solving. If you think you’re not good at problem solving, chances are that you’re trying to remember too many things. So, dump everything, all your ideas, thoughts, feelings, reminders, to-dos, everything, out of your brain by writing things down. You’ll become a far better problem solver.

Just quickly, please do me a favour share the podcast with your principal, associates, your osteo mates, share it across Facebook forums your Instagram stories – all that good stuff. Especially if you’re looking for change at your associate practice, share an episode with them and it may just push things along for you.

Lesson 3: What’s Your Compass?

If you’ve been following Osteohustle for any length of time, you know how much I bang on about knowing your why, but there’s a point I’d like to make.

Every single book I’ve ever read about business, marketing, self-help and even time management, all talk about never forgetting why you’re doing what you’re doing—with the emphasis on your why, not anyone else’s.

Derek says: “Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spent decades in the pursuit of something that someone convince them they should want to, without realising that it won’t make them happy. You need to know your personal philosophy of what makes you happy and what is worth doing.”

So, this is yet another reminder to always focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’ll go back to what Derek said earlier which is: Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.

Don’t worry about your why being set in stone or changing, because you will figure it out as you go, but you must find your starting point.

You can dive into pretty much any of our previous episodes to learn more, I’d recommend starting with episode 4. If you want help, check out our branding service, which I’ll link in the description. **

Lesson 4: Proudly Exclude People

You’ve heard of the phrase ‘you can’t be all things to all people’— yet osteopaths, because we do have the ability to treat pretty much anyone, always make the mistake of trying to attract pretty much anyone into our practices. This is such a huge mistake that we make as a profession.

Derek says: “You know you can’t please everyone right, but notice that most businesses are trying to be everything to everybody and they wonder why they can’t get peoples attention. You need to confidently exclude people and probably say what you are not. By doing so, you will win the hearts of the people you want. It’s a big world. You can proudly leave out 99% of it. Have the confidence to know that when your target 1% hears you excluding the other 99%, the people in that 1% will come to you because you’ve shown how much you value them.

And the point here is that, of course you’re not going to actually market to the 1% of people, but it’s the thought and follow through of proudly excluding people—saying, this is who I love treating, so I’m going to go for that demographic.

And for all of you who are thinking, “Yeah but I love having a diverse treatment list”, and yeah, that’s every single osteopath out there because of course you don’t want to just be treating the same person all day long, every day of the week.

The good news is that when you start proudly excluding people based on trying to attract patients you love treating, you’ll notice a few amazing things happen.

  1. Your non-referral new patient numbers will increase because you’re finally making a real connection with people, instead of trying to be all things to all people.
  2. Your referral-based new patient numbers with increase because when you start attracting the people you love treating, they’re going to have an excellent experience because you love treating them and they feel they’re seeing an osteopath who actually understands them. And because everyone’s having a great experience, they’re going to ask you, and you would have had this happen to you already, they’ll ask you: “hey, I know this is a different problem but my mum has some arthritis in her shoulder, is that something you can help with?” Which the answer is, of course, so that diversifies your list, so up go your new patient numbers or the alternative is that patient starts referring other people who are having the same problem as them. It’s a win win for you!

So, please, stop trying to be all things to all people, start proudly excluding people and the diversity will happen over time.

Now’s the time to jump into the Q&A section, if you’re on your phone, tap on the episode and scroll down and you’ll find the Q&A section. Here’s the question: Do you find yourself trying to attract a broad range of patients, or do you focus on a specific group?

I’d love to hear from you. Come and connect with me!

Lesson 5: Delegate Or Die: The Self-Employed Trap

If you’re not a clinic owner, but would like to be, this is a huge lesson because I’m telling you that one thing most osteopaths struggle with is delegation. So, if you’re not a clinic owner, please know that this lesson will be a game-changer for those who are and struggle with delegating.

Right, clinic owners. Get ready. You and I both know that things would be easier and things would get done faster if you could have a trusted pair of hands because you’re stuck on this hamster wheel of the feeling of needing to do everything yourself.

I want you to take a sigh of relief because here’s the answer and we know this works, you just have to prioritise it knowing that it will get you off that hamster wheel, it’s just a matter of time.

Derek says: “You know you need help, but to find and train someone would take more time than what you have. So you keep working harder, until you break.

He explains how he would spend the vast majority of his time answering questions from his employees, and that obviously this couldn’t go on forever.

He says: “This time, instead of just answering the question, I called everyone together for a minute. I repeat of the situation and the question for everybody. I answer the question, but more importantly, I explained the thought process and philosophy behind my answer. I asked one person to start a manual, and write down the answer to this one situation, and write down the philosophy behind it. Then everybody went back to work.

Every time somebody had a question he would repeat this process and make sure that this universal manual was updated. After two months, nobody had any more questions and the guide became the go-to, rather than Derek. He says: “Because my team was running the business, I was free to actually improve the business”.

So, what we do with our business coaching clients here at Osteohustle is provide an infinitely expandable digital document template which they can then give to their associates or virtual assistant. And the best bit is that because the philosophy is there alongside the action, it’s basically an extension of you. Patients can also see that while it may not be directly from you, it feels like it’s been dealt with by you. Everyone’s happy!


Remember get involved in the Q&A, do you find yourself trying to attract a broad range of patients, or do you focus on a specific group? I’d love to hear from you. If you’re on your phone, tap on the episode and scroll down and you’ll find the Q&A section.

Thank you for listening to Behind The Osteopath. It means a whole lot to me that you’re on this journey with me to bring osteopaths together and talk about the hard things so we can move our progression forward.

Subscribe so you don’t miss it as soon as it comes out.

See ya next week.


Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

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