Trust Your Gut When It Comes to Your Business

Michelle Tompkins, DVM, owner of Glade Creek Animal Hospital in Sparta, North Carolina, discusses the joy of running her veterinary clinic in the supportive community of Alleghany.

There's a lot of things that you just learn by doing and, unfortunately, they don't teach you how to be a business owner in medical school. You just have to figure it out.

Glade Creek Animal Hospital is a rural hospital in North Carolina that serves small animals, sometimes some goats, sheep, chickens, and the occasional pot-bellied pig, but mostly dogs and cats — companion animal species. Owning my own business and being the only owner of this business has been about freedom. Having associated at different veterinary hospitals for almost 10 years since I graduated veterinary medical school, it is a delight to serve pets and people, but at the same time there comes a time in your life, and you have to serve your family too, so being able to be part of this community as a family doctor, but also be part of my family as a mom and a wife has been just freeing.

The best part of owning a business — and part of the Community College does have I believe a veterinary assistant program — is it gets some kids in the door who are interested and it helps them kind of show interest in coming here and learning how to do some of the technical things. As far as helping with this business, I'm excited about the entrepreneurship program that they're launching. Maybe there will be more partnership in the future.

Allegheny County is a family-oriented community. It is the reason why we're here, why we're raising our kids here. It is the reason why I have an amazing client base that I have because folks just adopt you and you become part of the family in a way that just your average doctor or your average lawyer or what-have-you professional person would not have the opportunity to do elsewhere. I'm really curious to see what future advice I give to myself from this point, but to my past self I would say it's all going to work out. There's always that anxiety and trepidation and I think giving yourself the freedom to just go to work and believe that everything is going to grow the way you plan for it to is part of, and I should say the biggest part of, the success so far. Don't micro analyze it.

I'm Dr. Michelle Tompkins. I'm the owner of Lake Creek Animal Hospital in Sparta, North Carolina. We're proud to be here and proud to see all of the pets and creatures that you have in your homes. Please feel free to bring them any day of the week, we'd love to meet you!

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