The Five Best Things About Getting A POCA Micro-loan

Guelph Community Acupuncture was the first recipient of a POCA micro loan. We are a few months shy of our second birthday, have recently expanded to a six-day week with the addition of Stephanie, our newest practitioner (who, I’m delighted to report, is a total natural when it comes to punking!) and we have several fabulous POCA volunteer receptionists helping us on our busier shifts.

Jimmy Jabs asked me to write a blog post on the effects of a POCA Micro-loan on GCA, and I love lists, so here are The Five Best Things About Getting a POCA Micro Loan:

  1. The money, obvi. It’s up to $7500, paid back over 5 years at a low interest rate.
  2. The interest on your loan goes back into POCA, which directly benefits you, your patients, other punks, and other punks’ patients. (Isn’t that so much better than contributing to the year-end bonus of some bank exec?) Most of the cheques I’ve mailed to POCA in the last 21 months have had hearts on the envelopes. I’ve never enjoyed paying back a loan so much. Seriously, I might have to start sending Carmen regular greeting cards once it’s paid back, it’s become a lovely monthly ritual.
  3. Smart, experienced punks will read over your business plan and give you intelligent and kind feedback. They’re not just considering “Will this person succeed financially and be able to pay back their loan in a timely fashion?” they’re also thinking “How can we support this person to make acupuncture more accessible?” They genuinely give a shit about you, and your future patients. That’s why they’re volunteering their time.
  4. The POCA Finance Circle will have your back. No longer do I associate the phrase “financial planning” with smiling bank tellers who invite me to invest in the tar sands! “Financial planning” is now a long chat with the incredibly patient and warm Steve Kingsbury, or some other equally skilled punk from the Finance Circle.
  5. The rest of POCA will have your back. This one applies to all POCA clinic owners, not just micro-loan recipients, but I’m sneaking it in here because it can’t be overstated. (One of our long-term volunteers said to me the other day “It would really suck to be an acupuncturist without POCA, wouldn’t it?” In a word: YES.) The longer I do this clinic-running thing, the more aware I am of how much I need POCA. I am at least partially through the wide-eyed panic of the first year or so, and stuff that used to freak me out is now (yawn) a ten-minute task once a week, but the curveballs do not stop. The clinic is a vast intersection of personalities and needs and relationships and as the owner, at the beginning anyways, you kinda get to be a hub at the centre* … which means turning upside down pretty regularly, to continue with the wheel metaphor. POCA members have supported me through expanding shifts, cutting a shift, burnout, homesickness, freaking out about slow shifts, freaking out about having more patients than I can handle, and a slew of other upside-down times as well as endless details and minutiae – the stuff you can’t really get help with anywhere else because what we do is, let’s be honest, pretty specialized and more than a little bit weird. Perhaps most of all for me, POCA has kept the loneliness at bay. This work takes a tremendous amount of positivity and inner strength. POCA has shored me up since before the Finance Circle decided to trust me with thousands of dollars.

300 more members this month would be enough money for another micro-loan to another punk like me. Please join POCA; we’re stronger together. 

*I’ll add that one of my long-term goals is to be mistaken for new staff by a patient who’s booking in with me for the first time. Tip of the hat to at least two clinic owners I know of who’ve had that experience – that’s gotta be a multi-punk clinic success milestone.

Lisa B.
Author: Lisa B.

Lisa prefers fireflies to fireworks, reverts to bluntness in stressful moments, would happily wear legwarmers year-round, and probably wants to be your friend.

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  1. I also love lists, so thanks for a really great one Lisa!

    I did always love the “are you new here?” question at WCA. Sometimes it was true, but often I was just on a different schedule.

  2. “They genuinely give a shit about you, and your future patients. That’s why they’re volunteering their time.”

    Where else can you find this kind of support in the acu-world right now, or even many non-acu worlds? Like Alexa had said, POCA is perhaps beginning to move beyond divine intervention, but it is still miraculous.

    Awesome list!

  3. Great Great Post Lisa
    I second the whole list, as a 2014 POCA Micro-loan recipient, as well.
    I and our clinic especially feel #5.
    Love the just pours in and over you and your clinic everyday from allover POCA.

    We need each other
    and we can
    because of POCA.

    300 new members =>makes a micro-loan, thats easy math!
    Thats only 3.33333 new members per clinic for 1 loan
    and 6.666666 for 2 loans
    See even the numbers show we need each other to make it