Improving Your (Self) Worth

Elisa LlodraFeatured News

By Dr. Lindsay Compton, CDA President
From the Winter 2023 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

Those who know me well often comment about my time efficiency and question my sanity when I discuss the businesses my husband and I do together. After all, isn’t owning a single doctor dental office enough to keep me busy? It definitely should be enough, and I wish it were enough to keep me satisfied. However, my husband and I have chosen to do more because there is just more that we want to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely fortunate to be in this profession and I truly enjoy being a dentist. However, I don’t want my entire identity, life and accomplishments to revolve around dentistry and determine my worth.  

One of my favorite “side hustles” is breeding Australian Labradoodles. My husband grew up breeding German Short Haired Pointers and Britney Spaniels on their farm in rural Kansas. These dogs were bread for hunting and to be farm dogs. After we had been dating for a while, we did the classic Colorado couple routine of getting a dog together. What better way to know your partner than to share responsibility for an animal? We searched far and wide to find the perfect dog that checked all the boxes for both of us. After months of looking, we found the perfect dog, an Australian Labradoodle that we named Lola. My husband said that everyone should know about these dogs, and we should make sure that there can be more of these fun dogs in the world. After all, who doesn’t love a 25-pound active dog that likes water and hiking and doesn’t shed? After much convincing and explanation and approval from our breeder, we decided to embark on dog breeding.

Lola is an amazing mom and reminds me of how amazing nature can be and how magical it is to play a part in the growth and development of a puppy. We are now six litters later and the process continues to make my heart grow every day. Australian Labradoodles are hypoallergenic and extremely easy to train. I bring mine to the office with me every Wednesday and have trained them to be great therapy dogs for my patients. We have a specific protocol in the office, and they have been trained to not enter certain clinic areas.

People may assume that we breed to make money but that isn’t the complete story. While it may be true that breeding labradoodles can be lucrative, this has never been the reason why we do this. I feel that very few people get the special treat to raise a future family member. I consider it an honor to raise a healthy and adorable puppy that will be in integral member in many families. I take pride when I see that our dogs are in family Christmas pictures and go on vacations and get dressed up at Halloween. Dogs can bind people together and teach us many lessons about ourselves and the world around us.

One of the other businesses we enjoy are short-term rental cabins at The Lake of the Ozarks. My husband grew up going to the lake to ski and have family time. In 2017, we were presented with an opportunity, along with a couple friends, to purchase a series of cabins originally built in the 1930s by a Swiss family. Over the past 90 years the extended original family had moved out of the area and the cute little Swiss chalet cabins had fallen in disrepair. As a group, we went in together and purchased the available cabins. We made a business plan, and our goal was to slowly acquire cabins as they became available to eventually form a resort.

We now have eight units and have hosted countless family reunions, honeymoons, bachelor and bachelorette parties and wearily travelers on their way through central Missouri. The small units help people slow down as they enjoy sprawling views and the peace and quiet of lake life. Some rent a boat, and some bring a boat and use the nearby boat ramp to get the entire experience. We love to provide a space to rest in the busy hustle of life. Again, short-term rentals that you find on Airbnb and VRBO can provide a decent income stream. However, this income isn’t easily earned and definitely not passive income. You need to coordinate repairs and maintenance. You need to coordinate with housekeepers and laundry services. You need to monitor the rental services that list and rent the units and make sure that questions are answered, and if a last-minute opening appears you need to react quickly. We tend to find ourselves answering the phone from random numbers late in the night because we know someone is checking in and may not see the unit numbers to know which cabin they rented. Just like running a dental practice, there are emergencies, and you never are fully away or out of the office.

Improving my worth, and self-worth, has been amplified by my side hustles. They keep me diverse and remind me that my success is more than just my last filling. I am not only as good as the margins on my last filling. My success and my sense of satisfaction come from the valuable interactions and hard work I put in, out of the office.

As dentists we have a tendency to pour ourselves into achieving perfection, which can sometimes paint us into a corner. We are more than our margins and I encourage you to embrace your talents and dreams outside the dental practice. Whether it’s a side hustle, a hobby or a special interest, having diversity in our goals gives us balance, challenges creativity and builds self-worth.