The purpose of this interview series is to hear a more about the journey of real entrepreneurs. Specifically the psychological piece of the journey, in the hopes that by sharing with each other, we will allow other members of our community to also share their struggles and feel more open to ask for help or support, whatever that may be.
Owner: Chris Finn
Age of Business: 6 years
Location: North Carolina
How did your journey as an entrepreneur begin?
I was written up for insubordination at a University hospital for referring a patient to another clinician who specialized in what the patient needed. This clinician, however, was in a rival hospital system. When my manager found out, he told me I couldn’t refer them out and I had to treat them. I thought this was unethical and refused to do it. I realized then I was a terrible employee and would never be happy working in healthcare for someone else. I didn’t agree with how they billed, how they treated patients and how it made me feel as a person. Within a month or so, I put in my notice and started my own company, Par4Success. I created an ecosystem where patients were treated as people, not insurance policy numbers, and where therapists could feel fulfilled when they went home at night.
What is the best thing (or things) about being an entrepreneur?
The accountability, the challenge, the excitement, and that it forces me to face my fears and grow on a daily basis. It forces me on a daily basis to keep peeling away layers of who I am and confront my fears. They say that if you don’t have butterflies in your stomach or your aren’t uncomfortable, then you are not doing anything worth doing.
What has been the most difficult learning curve for you? Why? What was so difficult about it?
The most difficult part for me initially was delegation. Then 6 months after opening our brand new location that we couldn’t afford I found out I had to have emergency open heart surgery. I was generating 70% of the revenue at that point and we were barely paying the bills. I had to learn how to delegate or the business was dead…and me too potentially! I learned by necessity and while I am remarkably better at it then I was, I am still constantly having to learn how to better manage people, hold them accountable, support them in their efforts to grow personally and at the same time help them help me grow our company. It is so hard for me to see something done another way that I would have done differently. I have had to bite my tongue and more often than not am pleasantly surprised that the business did not burn down because someone did it different that I would have.
What is the most painful part of being an entrepreneur?
Time. Work life balance is a myth. 16 hour days are the norm and it is not uncommon to get home after my kids are sleeping on a Tuesday night and be out the door 430am Wednesday when they are still sleeping. This kills me. Having my wife being a supportive partner and helping with planning dinners and sometimes popping over for a lunch with the kids is huge for us. When I am home, I am 100% home with my family, the problem is that in order to be a successful entrepreneur your time is limited at home. I have had to really work at creating valuable time with my wife and kids since the volume of time just is not there. My son calls a 6am - 5pm a short day…but boy do we treasure those!
Was there ever a time when emotions got in your way of making good business decisions?
I have gotten better at this but I can remember a time early on when a client told me that a referral source was telling another client to see another person who was not as good as I was (sounds cocky I know) and not to see me. I fired off the most hot headed email to this referral source and never saw another client from him ever again. I burned that bridge in an instance. Instead of approaching this as an opportunity to be curious and inquisitive with the referral source, I didn’t even ask for an explanation and jumped all over him…I now have a 24 hour rule before sending an email like that and have my wife make me let her read them before I send it. For me, it is about being self aware and setting up checks and balances to decrease the chances of emotional screw ups
What do you think is the biggest misconception about business owners?
We make our own schedule - I wish. Yes there are some days when I can go out and play golf at 10am…but did you know I worked from 4am- 930am and then will work again from 4pm -10pm? People judge you based on one scenario a lot of times without knowing the full story and it is unfortunate. A second is the huge misconception is that if you own your own business you are rolling in money. There are so many companies that do millions and are in the red.. People often judge or make assumptions by looking at gross sales, and they fail to look at the line that matters…the bottom one.
Business related pain points that have applied to you:
Imposter Syndrome, Anxiety, Communication issues at work, Inability to see things as others do, Burnout, Exhaustion, Managing employees effectively
Have you ever met with a psychologist or business coach?
How long did you see each of the professionals?
I saw a psychologist for about 3-5 months after my open heart surgery to deal with some anxiety and also to help me learn more about myself and how to operate more efficiently and identify areas that could be mentally improved for better business performance.
How helpful was each of these professionals? What did you gain or lose from meeting with them?
He was life changing both for my business and me personally.
Any words of advice for our readers?
Being emotionally intelligent and creating an environment for your staff and clients to be fulfilled and successful is the core of a successful culture that I believe is so important for an entrepreneur to establish and nurture. Without great culture, it is near impossible for a business to thrive and dominate while also enriching the lives of every member of the community.
Chris is a Licensed Physical Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Medical Professional, Certified Precision Nutrition Coach, and trained to perform Trigger Point Dry Needling in North Carolina.
He has grown Par4Success, which he started as a 100% Golf Fitness, Performance and Physical Therapy Center, to multiple locations where his team works with golfers of all abilities and ages to swing faster, play better and hurt less.
Personally, Chris continues to work with Touring Professionals, elite level juniors & amateurs while also consulting with other Fitness & Medical Professionals about starting and/or growing their own businesses and directing the in house golf performance research done at Par4Success. He also recently founded his second company, Longleaf Wellness, which focuses on leveraging technology to deliver high touch and effective employee wellness programs to companies at reasonable costs.
Chris is honored to be a two time World Golf Fitness Summit Presenter and has contributed to numerous media outlets including Titleist Performance Institute, Junior Golf Magazine and GolfWRX, is published in peer reviewed Sports Health Journal, and enjoys continually challenging the status quo to improving outcomes for all active individuals.”