Are you an entrepreneur in the medical field? Are you just starting out or further along on your entrepreneurial journey? Understanding the seven stages of physician entrepreneurship can help give you insight into where you are and what to do next.
On this episode, we discuss where you rank can determine the crucial next steps to reach those once previously unattainable goals.
Today on this episode, I wanna share with you what I’ve come up with called the Seven Stages of Physician Entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur can be difficult, especially for doctors because you’re not getting a very linear path. If you know what stage you’re at, it’ll be crucial for you to better understand what is you need to do to get to the next step.
So I wanna give you some insight on this podcast episode. Let’s cover these seven stages of physician entrepreneurship on this episode of Bootstrap md. Hey guys, Dr. Mike Woo-Ming. Welcome to another edition of BootstrapMD. I’m a physician and entrepreneur. Going to about 25 years I’ve been an entrepreneur and 20 plus years of being a physician, and I’ve started lots of different businesses, started brick and mortar businesses, started online businesses.
I’ve had a lot of failures, had a few successes, and I wanna share with you what I’ve learned along the way on this journey. I’m passionate about physician entrepreneurship, and recently I got to speak to a really fun group of physician entrepreneurs at Peter Kim’s Leverage and Growth Accelerator Summit that occurred in Austin, Texas.
And what I’m gonna be sharing with you is the basic presentation that I give, which I entitle the seven stages of physician entrepreneurship Now. Since I’ve had the podcast, I believe it was even my first or second episode, I covered by it called the Four Financial Levels of Physician, and since then I’ve expanded it to these stages of physician entrepreneurship.
Now, why is it important for you to understand the seven Stages? Because I think it gives you some insight about where you’re at and what you need to do to get to the next stage. As I mentioned at the beginning, medicine is a linear path. We know the exact same steps that we need to do to become a doctor.
We need. Be pre-med or take biology or major in biochemistry or chemistry, some type of science. We have to do some type of volunteer work. We have to have great grades. We have to pass our MCATs. We have to learn to interview well. Then we go into medical school. We have to do well on our different.
Rotations. We try to get honors in certain rotations, especially with those where we wanna specialize. We need to get into residency and then eventually get into a job. So it’s, the path is pretty much laid out in entrepreneurship, not so much so by giving you this insight, it’ll allow you to, what I didn’t realize, to see what stage you’re at and what you need to do to get to the next level.
So, I wish I had these stages when I first got started with entrepreneurship. I was doing a time when very few people were actually talking about it. Very few talkers were actually discussing about other ways to build businesses outside of medicine, and hopefully you’ll get some benefit from it because I think after you do this exercise, it’ll give you some better decision making about what you need to do next.
So the first stage is a physician as a “wantrepreneur”. Now, we recently discussed what a wantrepreneur is on a previous podcast episode. It’s the largest group. And as we’re going up the stages the first, first few stages are gonna be large, but in comparison to all physicians, physician, entrepreneur, we’re a very small group entrepreneur.
Someone who wants to be a wantrepreneur. It’s not the nicest title in the world. They are constantly in research mode. They’re buying courses and they feel if they buy courses, then that gets ’em closer. But if they never implement or take action from the courses, they’re really just kind of running in, in circles.
I think courses are shelf help. Like you put it on the shelf and you don’t look at it ever again. If you’re always in research mode, the best research is actually implementing things. You can make. More decisions by actually testing things out, by buying Facebook or Google Ads and actually testing out the, whether the program or course or coaching program that you’re gonna be doing is actually gonna sell rather than just thinking about it.
As I’ve mentioned many times, life is not a double placebo, both study, so hopefully you’re not on that level. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, hopefully you are to at least to the second level, which is physician with side. I’m not the biggest fan of the word side gig, but a lot of people use the term side gig.
I prefer side business. For me, gig is just a kind of a slang word for a job that lasts a specific period of time. Like you’re side gig is you’re working an Uber, you’re not necessarily wanna become a full-time Uber driver, but you’re kind of doing it because it helps pay the bills and you’re making good money with it, even hustle. I’ve heard the term side hustles hustle to me kind of reminds me of something you’re doing illegal or nefarious. So I prefer the word side business because when I say, when people use the word gig, it reminds me it’s more of a hobby. You wouldn’t call practicing medicine as your side gig, right?
Because you feel that’s your serious career. That’s your life’s work, right? So I think if you have a side business, your goal should be considering a side business, a part-time business, that you eventually wanna become a full-time business. Personally, I would never try to start a side gig for me if it didn’t bring in at least $10,000 a month in some type of income and hopefully passive income.
Now, there’s one exception I do make for a side gig that doesn’t make that much money is I have two side businesses where I’m lever. the side business because it allows me to work on other parts of my businesses. So one is, and I mentioned this in the past, that I do some work for the California Medical Board where I work with physicians who are on probation.
And the reason why this is important to me is the, these physicians work in my industry. They work in the aesthetics. Industry. And it also keeps me on my toes on what the medical board is actually, looking at or concentrating on. So it protects me and my business. The second type of side business I’m involved in is I am a trainer and proctor for a hormone pellet therapy company.
It’s something that I’ve used in my own clinic and it helps me attract not only new patients, but I also get an insight and see what other practices are doing and I’m helping. Get this particular company, more people learn more about it. So, and then ultimately it helps my own practice.
So, I know the term physician with side gigs is used often, but it just makes me think that you’re just kind of doing this as a hobby and I want you to get out of that mindset, and often people who are in the stage don’t really have a clear vision on. What’s next?
The next stage is the self-employed physician, so this is your typical solo practice owner. This could be the doctor who works on telemedicine. This could be the locum tenants doctor, working as an independent contractor. He’s not working for anybody else. His entire income is based on his business.
Now, you definitely are more risk averse. You tend to do everything by yourself. Your income is limited by how many patients you see, but the good part is you’re finally becoming your own boss, as imagine this is where you have a lot of, so practice owners, and I know some so practitioners. They can never really sell the business because once they leave, the business basically collapses and dies.
So, but you definitely have, you’re taking control of what you wanna do, and then you can decide how much or how little you want to work. So this is pretty easy to understand. The next stage four, is the physician as the business owner. This business is generally in their own practice or in a related field.
This is kind of their solo practi doctor that I mentioned, but now they’ve got some ancillary staff. Staff is usually limited to three to five and they’re mostly ancillary staff. They might have a. An RN that might be bringing in some income. For the most part, they’re still making most of the income for the business.
It’s still dependent on how many patients you see. If the doctor goes on vacation, the business can suffer, but they’re hiring other people, which allows them to delegate a bit more. Still if they try to sell it, It would be very difficult for someone to purchase it because again, it seems the previous stage is if they leave, then the business kind of stops making income.
Now, most never, doctors never get past this stage. Stage four. So let’s go onto where I wanna see you go is to at least get onto stage five, which is the physician as the c o. This is where your income is not dependent on being their day to day. Your job is now overseeing the whole. Business you might have in a practice, you might have an office manager.
So for example, that’s where I’ve been running for the last few years as the ceo. I am on med spas and the clinics are, it can be open, but I don’t necessarily have to be there. In fact I’m generally there maybe four to eight hours a week. I have a one company that’s non, a non patient brick andor practice.
I have a marketing company. We just had four new clients that joined, and I don’t even know who they really are because we have sales people who help bring in the income. And I always had when I created my businesses is that I created it. I didn’t have to be the sole income earner. I could be easily replaced.
And in my clinics, I have nurse practitioners, I’ve had PAs, I’ve had registered nurses who are able to bring in income and not necessarily I have to be physically in that location and. The idea again was to create it where it’s making money. And when people are looking to, private equity firms are looking in, they wanna know if they can come in and you don’t have to be there.
And that’s allows your business to be more sellable. This is a funny phrase that I was talking with to another doctor. He says, if I need to see all the patient, then that’s a problem for my business. For one example that I can all share with you, my dad has his own practice and you realize, there are very difficult times when doctors we have to let go of control.
And let’s face it, they don’t make it very easy for us to, they want the doctor to make all the control. That’s why we take a lot of the risk. But when my dad’s medical practice, when he started hiring other doctors, he realized he was making more money. and when he would stop seeing patients because, and he allowed him to work more on his business.
Famous book called The EMyth talks about working on your business than in your business now. You might think that’s, well, that’s good, that’s you’re the ceo, but what could be above that? Well, that the next step is what I call physician as the investor, and that’s when you’re investing in multiple business.
You’re using your capital, you’re using your cash flow, and you’re investing in other businesses. My mentor, one of my mentors, his goal is to be the minority owner in multiple businesses. It’s like the difference between when Qui O’Neal came into the nba, they asked him, well, how’s it like, cuz he came from a pretty impoverished background.
How’s it like to be rich? He says, I’m not rich. I’d rather, I may be rich, but I’d rather be wealthy like Oprah is wealthy because she. Her production company, she’s got multiple shows, she’s got various investments and that’s what I’ve been kind of, my goal has been is, I worked with a company called Massage Envy, which is big massage franchise.
And what I learned about that were these people who actually own these Massage Envys, where they didn’t just own one Massage Enemy franchise. They usually own like five franchises. In Massage Envy. And then they would also like four Dunkin Donuts and like, six McDonald’s and different types of businesses.
And I realized that how they were bringing them, well, it really didn’t matter what the actual business is. They had all these service based businesses. They were not the ones providing the service. A human was providing some type of service. They did some type of service that make money at the end of the day, and they own lots of these different types of business.
And that’s where I wanted to, that’s where my mind was getting to, is to be the owner of multiple different businesses. That’s why I expanded, my, my clinic. We’ve now three locations and getting to that point where I could eventually be a minority owner in different types of businesses.
And that’s what I have with a marketing company and another company that I’ve recently started. A marketing company and a consulting company. And that’s where I want to be, where I’m have to be the one providing all of the services. And this is when you know, when you’re at that place.
Retirement is a realistic goal for an entrepreneur. And I tell physicians that just start thinking, stop thinking to themselves as just a physician, but think of that as an investor. So if you go to my LinkedIn page, I call myself as investor because. , what I am today is investing in multiple businesses and I’ve been made a point to look at other businesses that I could be investing in that produce this multiple streams of income.
And then finally the last stage is what I call physician as the involved in generational wealth. So this is when an entrepreneur uses other people’s money, idea and talent to create wealth. And it’s really where. But what I could do the last stage is like the retired entrepreneur, that they’re not only building wealth for themselves, they’re building it for generations to come.
So if you’re involved in real estate, you know it’s often about generation wealth. If you’re, I know doctors who. Multiple, houses and hotels that are bringing in wealth, not only for themselves, but they’re also setting up the next generation, their kids’ generation, and this is independently wealthy.
And now what they’re sharing is their time and teaching the next generation about entrepreneurship. They’re working as a mentor, they’re paying it forward. So stage seven to me is kind of what that retired entrepreneur is. To sum up the seven stages. The first is the entrepreneur, the second is the physician with the side gig, which I hate the word side business.
The third is the self-employed physician. The fourth is a physician as a business owner. Fifth is a physician as ceo, six as a physician, as the investor. They’re a minority owner. They own lots of different businesses, and the seventies physician as a general wealth entrepreneur. So what stage are you? I’d love to hear from you what stage you’re at because what that’s gonna do, it’s gonna let you know what I consider is the crucial step.
So I wanna go over what I consider is the crucial step with each stage. So if you’re a entrepreneur and you want to get to be a physician as a side gig, hey, the first thing you gotta do is that you actually have a business. And it’s what my mentor, John Reese calls you need some type of validation and he’s, he called it making your first dollar, like someone’s actually paying you for that product and service.
Now that. Is not, that is your validation that’s gonna help you get to that physician as a side gig. You’re actually getting paid for that product or service that you’re doing. This is when you wanna identify what are the obstacles that are preventing you from getting to the next stage. Oftentimes it’s themselves, right?
It’s yourself. It’s your limiting beliefs. It’s you’re overthinking it. It’s your fear of failure, your fear of success, wanting to be anonymous in a business only thing that I mentioned multiple times on this podcast, but the most important thing is that you’ve actually sold something in your business to get to that next step.
So how do you go from a side gig to becoming self employ? Well, there’s multiple factors. One is you need the confidence to get out on your own. You need to consider financial situations to make sure that you are able to do it. You may you want to go from taking this as just a hobby to having desire to grow this as a full-time business.
then from, how do you go from being self-employed to becoming a business owner? Well, now that’s pretty easy. You just need to hire more people. You need to be willing to delegate. You need to be accepting, losing control. It could just get started by just having a virtual assistant, one or two employees.
And that’s how you get to that next level. So from number four, from a business owner to becoming a ceo, this is when, this is probably the most crucial step is you gotta find replacement. You gotta find someone who can be you, whether it be another doctor, whether it be a mid-level provider, a nurse, whether it be someone actually taking stuff away in other parts of your business.
If you are a coach, you have someone who can coach. And that didn’t say it was gonna be easy, but those are the steps that you need to do, especially when you want to actually sell that business, which I’ve always said is the ultimate goal for any type of business to actually sell that business. How do you go from being a CEO to becoming investor, going from stage five to stage six?
You need to have standard operating procedures. This is when you’re getting to the next level. You need to have SOPs because that. . When I’ve been talking with investors, that’s what they’re looking at the business. Do you have standard operating procedures so that business can be fully functional, it can run on its stone.
Do you have a board of directors? Are you at a point where actually sell your business? That’s where you’re going from being a CEO and just kind of managing that one big business, and now you’re managing multiple businesses. And then going from number six, investor to number seven, stage seven, a general racial wealth entrepreneur is just the willingness to teach others.
This is when you’re retired and you want to pay it forward. What I feel is the most important step. Of every single one. Going from stage one to stage two to stage three is having a mentor, having someone along the way who’ve been there, done that, who is at a higher stage than you. That’s why I’m such a fan of masterminds.
I’m in one mastermind where to get in, you have to make at least seven figures. You have to make a million a year in your business because you’re learning from mentors who are making 10 million and above. Those are the type. Situations where, and I’m not saying money is the end be all, but that’s the type of situation where you want to learn from others who have got the experience, who know what it is to be at that higher stage, knows what it is to own multiple businesses.
If you’re just starting out with your first business, that’s the ideal situation that you want to be and you wanna collaborate with these folks. And the old adage, right, we are. The average of the five people that we hang around with. And if you’re around people who are negative and is kind of, you’re the vampires that are just kind of sucking the life away from you, you gotta be in a situation where you can aspire to be with people who are at above at a higher level.
I’ve always said the Great Masterminds is where you’re the dumbest person in the room and that’s the be that’s where you want to be. So what stage are. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a firstname.lastname@example.org. See what kind of stage you are and what you need to do to get to the next level. I hope this helped you out.
Again, entrepreneurship is not a linear path. You’re gonna have your ups and your downs at the end of the day. It’s about getting up off your feet and keep moving forward.