Home Views Never Let Go of Your Dream

Never Let Go of Your Dream

By Erin Pitts, OD, of Cypress, Texas

Once you’re bitten by the bug to start your own practice that idea and determination never completely goes away. It started early for me—about a year after my 2011 graduation from University of Houston College of Optometry—and I thought I would set out and do just that. But as a recent grad, it was impossible to secure a loan. I even looked into purchasing existing practices, but it didn’t work out and I didn’t have the upfront budget.

So I put that dream on hold for a few years, settled into the northwest suburbs of Houston with my husband and continued working part-time two days a week at a pediatric and family-focused private practice. The rest of my days were kept busy with filling in for vacations and maternity leaves at offices in the area. Fill-in work in Houston is really easy with so many offices, and it was one of the best things I ever did it let me see different modes of practice and how they work.

It was a busy time, not just professionally but for my personal life, as well. My husband and I made decisions to start our family through the foster care/adoption process. I put the fill-in work on hold and worked part-time in the pediatric office until it was finalized to make more of a home for our kids. But as they became adjusted to their new family life, that voice calling to me to open my own business returned loudly over the past two years. I don’t think the timing is every exactly right. I knew I had to stop talking about or it or just do it. I decided to go for it.

This time, I got a loan and found an ideal spot in a medical shopping center to open my practice. We had a bit of a bumpy start as we planned to finish up construction just as Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area. There was minimal damage to the practice, but our home had 14 inches of water. It was a rush to get everything out and start working on our home as we finished up the work in the office.

Our opening date was delayed just a few weeks to September 6. For two months, we lived with friends as repairs were made in our home. By Thanksgiving, we were finally able to move back home.

It’s been chaotic but I’m looking ahead at all that I hope to achieve with my new business. If I wasn’t an OD, I would be a professional volunteer: I regularly teach ESL, travel for mission work and spend time with victims of human trafficking. So I hope to merge my passion for giving back with my practice as my business grows. I’d love to have my practice partner with local organizations, as well as one global organization, to show our patients that when they spend money with us, their dollars are also making an impact in the community and across the world. If we all pitch in with unity than we can make a difference, and in our diverse city, there are so many opportunities.

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