We all make mistakes! Not an earth-shattering statement, but as a veteran entrepreneur, I’ve noticed the same problems come up repeatedly, that can often make the difference between success and failure of your business. By the end of today’s episode, you’ll learn some tendencies that I often see with doctors (including myself), in hopes you won’t make the same mistake.
I also take a moment to reflect on an individual whose sudden death shocked the business and tech world, while his actions and teachings inspired me to become a better entrepreneur.
I have a track record of successful online businesses and a track record of not so successful online businesses, as well as I own a number of different medical clinics, mostly cash based clinics here in the Southern California area. I talk about my experiences as being an entrepreneur, becoming my own boss, and all the warts and all about being in this type of business. And I started the podcast with a bit of a heavy heart, on someone I do not know personally, but someone who would actually inspired me and his name is Tony Hsieh. He was one of the true internet, pioneer entrepreneurs started a company called LinkExchange back in the mid 90s. Sold that to Microsoft for $265 million, eventually founded Zappos, which you’re probably familiar with, which is a store that continues to sell shoes, and then later sold that to Amazon. And he is also one of the one of the people who is considered one of revitalizing the downtown Las Vegas area, if you’re been to downtown, you know, I guess 20 plus years before this, it wasn’t the safest of areas, and started the gentrification of that area. I was recently there a couple years ago, it’s beautiful. And you he came out with a book called Delivering Happiness, about 2010. And really, what I was inspired was one, he was one of the first entrepreneurs that I after reading his book that really understood about the culture, building a culture for your, for your company, and previous books that I read, read about entrepreneurs, and maybe this is something that you’re familiar with that, you know, I had it in my mindset that if you make a lot of money, he usually had to step on people’s toes to get there, you know, you had to be ruthless with your competition. And some of the books kind of back that up, you know, some of the books that I read, like, you know, you get to be in a certain situation where you have to be cutthroat with what you do. And he was all about, you know, you could be an entrepreneur and you could still be a good dude, you could still not only respect your, the competition, but you could also respect your staff and treat them and give them a fair wage, and all about delivery, you know, what his book says Delivering Happiness not only to his customers, to his staff, to his partners, and the kind of live life, you know, I’ve never seen any really bad reviews on him. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 46 in a house fire, but I’ve never heard anything like bad
feedback, You know, bad news, which is on the internet is almost impossible. We all hear stories like Elon Musk, and all here the skeletons of you know, Jeff Bezos and stuff like that. He was wondering if you never really heard anything, had anybody negligence is to say about him. And so that, that, you know, that it was okay to make money and to still, you know, be be cool about it and, and use money to, to, to be involved in cancer research and all the different types of things that that he did. So just wanted to give a shout out to him and he kind of reflected reflections as an entrepreneur and and just wanted to share with you guys today and it got me thinking about this topic, about mistakes that I’ve made as an entrepreneur and mistakes that that I’ve seen, occur again and again. And if you’re someone who is new to becoming your own boss, or you Not sure exactly what it all entails, perhaps this podcast can give you some things to think about before you decide to jump in. So these are 10 common mistakes that I often see, as someone who is done making these mistakes myself, as well as being a mentor or coach to other physician entrepreneurs. So, without further ado, let’s get started. So for dramatic effect, let’s go backwards number 10 comments mistake that beginning physician entrepreneurs make thinking that having a great idea means you’re gonna have a great business. Now, some might be listening to this and saying, oh, my goodness, I went out and reached out to Dr. Mike, and the sounds like me, again, this is just tough love. Because I’ve heard this numerous times, where you’ve got a great idea. You think it’s a game changer, the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you don’t have a lot of business experience. So you reach out someone to like myself, who maybe have a little bit more experience than you have and say, hey, I’ve got this great idea. You have the business mind. Let’s, I want you to sign an NDA, and then I’ll tell you my idea. And then you use your business contacts or business experience and make it successful, and then we’ll split the profits. Sounds like a great idea, right? Well, there’s a few things wrong with that is the first thing I generally won’t sign an NDA. Because I don’t know what your idea is, it could be something that I may have found it before. And that you’ll come after me or my partners may have come at that idea. And it could just get really ugly. Number two is I’m not a big fan of original ideas. I know that sounds harsh. But, you know, one of my mantras is originality is overrated. And I’d rather have to see where something has been successful in maybe another area, and then maybe you have an idea to just focus on this specific niche, then a completely original idea, because that takes a lot of time, and a lot of money. And be honest, there’s not a lot of original ideas out there. And if it truly isn’t original idea, it can probably cost a lot of money to get it out into the mainstream. I mean, launching an Uber or a Tesla, you know, cost a lot of money to get that out there. So if you’ve ever watched the show Shark Tank, you know that the the sharks, the investors, always wants to see that the invest inventor has skin in the game that they’ve had, if shown a pattern of success already, they don’t just have an idea, they have a prototype, they’ve sold it, they’ve been profitable, and then they go to the shark to see maybe an infusion of capital, we’ll take that to the next level. So you always want to have skin in the game, if it’s just you’ve got the idea, figured out and work with someone else who’s got the business experience and contacts. Nine times out of 10, it’s it’s not gonna work. So that leads into my next common mistake. Number nine is number nine is they don’t study marketing, they don’t study marketing. You know, you could be the best physician in the world, and you’ve got a clinic and, and you’ve had a 100% success rate with whatever procedure that you do. But if nobody hears about it, and you don’t market it, in it, nobody will ever know about it. So you can be like a good physician, but have excellent marketing skills, you’re going to be more profitable than the great physician who’s got none. And so that takes time, that takes time, investing into courses, investing in a mentor.
Oftentimes, what I see happen is they’ve got this idea, but they don’t want to be bothered by learning the business. Even if your self is not getting involved in marketing, you need to know what you’re spending money on in terms of marketing to see what works or not, you should understand things that I’m talking about the return on investment, you may not be the person to come to with search engine optimization, but you want to know is if you’re spending all this money, then it’s going to work or not. And I’ve seen common mistakes that they, they it oftentimes I see this a lot with physicians who want to set up their own clinic, they’ll hire somebody else to do the business. And then later find out that that, you know, they’re spending all this money, they don’t know where it’s going to, and, you know, or worse, maybe they’re the partner stealing money. I’ve heard almost every story out there. You need to understand metrics, you need to know what’s actually working. You don’t need to necessarily need to be involved in actually doing the nitty gritty of marketing that you want to understand how it works. It just makes you a better business person. Number eight, they’re stuck in research mode forever. I get it as doctors You’d like to research everything. But what happens is, eventually you need to get off the pot, right so to speak, you need to make a leap. Physicians tend to take longer than other entrepreneurs that have worked with, you know, with others, entrepreneurs, they may not have the amount of capital, they may not have a six figure job to fall back on. That’s either, you know, this is successful or bust. And there, we had a research mode, but for doctors, whether it be they’re just not confident. Other times, it could be legal issues, they’ll hire an attorney, and they’ll spend all this money. And in, you know, with attorneys, you know, they’ll gladly take take your income, you know, most some attorneys, well, they’ll gladly take the money to invest in it, because I can always find something wrong with it.
When it ends up happening is you never launched the product or business and you just given off excuses. So you know, like I said, do the marketing, understand what marketing works. But eventually, you know, if it’s gone on like a year, you haven’t launched it, you’re never gonna launch it. So that’s, that’s number eight. Number seven, unrealistic expectations. This is again, this is usually the entrepreneur who says that, I’ve the idea, and I just want you to kind of figure it out. So let’s say they’ve got an idea about weight loss, they think that weight loss is everywhere, everybody needs weight loss. So I’m just going to sell to the masses. And you know, we’re going to make make a lot of money, they don’t understand it takes a lot of money to make the marketing work to get it out into the masses, you don’t want to sell to everybody, just focus on your specific niche, it’s going to save you a lot more time and money. Other other realistic expectations is in terms of the time, the time commitment that it takes to vest successful business, if you’re an 80 hour surgeon, you’re not going to be able to launch a big website that might be taking a lot more time and effort from you. So take the time to understand what are the trends what what’s going on, it takes money to, to create an app to create a website. You know, another thing that I see oftentimes with doctors is just because we’re so busy, we’re kind of behind the curve. So I have a few doctors come out to me and they want to study apps. And yeah, apps were great. Back in 2015, but many people who’ve got apps now aren’t making a lot of money on it. Because that is already that area has already come and went. You need to know what the next, what’s the next thing coming in 2025? What is it? Where are they? Where are they already spending the money. Also, in terms of creating an app, it’s not just hiring a developer to create the app, who’s going to actually maintain it, you have to pay those people to the software engineers, who’s going to be paying for the marketing, these are all aspects. And you need to recognize maybe an app isn’t the best area that you need to go into start small, it’s okay to start small. Start with just like a course, you know, a recorded course or just do something for free. Again, you want to make sure I get I sound like a broken record. But I’ve heard this a lot they’ll spend, I’ve known some doctors who’ve spent six figures or more on an app, and they don’t know if it’s making them money, stop doing that, get away from it, you know, move on to something else set, it’s okay to set your sights small, it’s okay to set your sights small, I’d rather you do that than just spend a bunch of money, and you don’t know where it’s going to number six, they’re way off on pricing. So I mentioned I’d like to see what the market is actually paying. So one of the questions I often ask, you know, the student is, how much would you pay for something like this. And if it’s something that’s new, they won’t have any idea because no one’s ever paid for this before. And then oftentimes, it will mean to put that on the back burner. Before you decide to launch it. You should have an idea how much you’re going to sell. But as doctors, we tend to underestimate or Preston versus overestimate, just because we don’t we haven’t been there. We don’t have the experience. So I remember working with one student, and she had this online course. And it was all about how she, you know, she was able to successfully lose weight using this, you know, strategy, and she put hours upon hours video on this. She spent all this time he probably spent 1000s of dollars on everything like that. And it was very successful. She had students or she had clients who had lost weight using her system. And then she wanted to sell it for like 20 bucks if you can. And I go, do you have $20 of value that you give back shipment? Yes. I always tell them it’s to say is to give back 10 times and what more value with what you’re actually they’re actually buying for it. So at least 200 dollars of value, did you give $200? value? No, how much of the money? Are they saved by using your strategy? Well, I can’t really put anything on it because you know, they’ve, they’ve lost the weight, and it has changed their life, is it worth more than $200 change each, you know, these are kind of questions that are rhetorical, but most likely, they have benefited, you know, from this 1000s of dollars, and you need to price yourself accordingly. Also, you have to understand, if you got a $20, weightless course, you have to sell a lot of weight loss courses, for it to be worth your while. So I always tend to price yourself higher, because you want to say that you’re the best you’re not, as I mentioned, you want to be the low cost leader, you want to be undercutting your prices, you know, so be aware of what you’re pricing.
Number five, this is someone that I’m guilty of trying to do it on myself, you start a business, you want to donate your money into it. But you don’t realize that if doing it all yourself, you’re doing tasks that you know, a minimum wage worker could do, if it’s editing video, if it is making a social media graphic, there are other people who you can cheaply get this done who, let’s be honest, probably will do a better job than you can do. And if you’re not willing to hire, you know, someone full time, that’s okay, you can go to Upwork. And how to do a part time Heck, you can go to fiverr.com, fi, ve RR com, and you can find someone to do these little tasks that you shouldn’t be doing. As the entrepreneur, you’re the one who has the vision, you’re not the one who is doing all of these little tasks, because it takes a lot of a lot of energy and a lot of manpower, or women power to get all of the things that you need to have a successful launch of a business. So try to do everything yourself. There’s often apps for different things that you can do. You know, if you’re if you’re deciding to create an online course there are, you know, websites that allow you to make the process a lot easier. And again, hiring these people it doesn’t isn’t very, isn’t the worst, best, worst use of your time. And it’s more cost effective to just outsource everything. Number four, not willing to joint venture partner or find affiliates. If you’re new to business, you most likely have not developed an audience. And that’s okay. But if you want your product or service to be successful, you need to find audiences and you need to incentivize the people who own those audience to start promoting your stuff. Because you don’t have any traffic, you know? How are you going to get it you sure you could buy traffic? But that’s going to be expensive? And look at the cost of an online course what is it actually costing you. And I’ve seen a few people who like I just want my audience, I don’t want them to know about other audiences. I see this a lot with Facebook groups, I think everything is about them that they the person is only belong to like one Facebook group. They are other Facebook groups that have that are very like minded and I’m someone who’s always been willing to, to share my audience. If it fits, you know, my audience, he fits with what you’re trying to do, if it’s going to be helpful to them. I’m not so egotistical, that thing, just my products alone, that is going to solve all their problems. There are other people who have got other different products and if they’re willing to. And if and if they’re looking for an affiliate, you know, some I don’t do an affiliate commission for and but some that I do. And that’s okay, too. As long as it’s something that is worthwhile to tell my audience all about basically so many, where they say like, you know, I don’t want anybody to know about this Facebook group, and not thinking that they belong to like 10 other Facebook groups, they belong to different lists, it’s okay. So I’m very comfortable doing affiliate marketing and and I think more entrepreneurs should be comfortable with affiliate marketing where you sell a course, they’re going to get 50% of that, or 25%, or whatever you want to do. Because I would rather make 50% on something that 100% of nothing, especially if I don’t have an audience. Let’s take for example, Tim Ferriss from the for the author that you might be familiar with the four hour workweek. He didn’t really have an audience. But how did he become successful? Well, one of the things that he that he has shared was that he was willing to give out his book for as an affiliate or almost for free, just giving his book away to anybody who would be willing to listen so he’d go on every blog and talk about his book. It was just a way to Promotion and then saying, Hey, I’m going to give away these books. And that’s how things got shared. I mentioned at the top about Tony said, Tony Shea, he shared his, although he was a successful entrepreneur, he was willing to give his books away for free, or the proceeds going to charity. And that’s how he got his, his name known, despite him being a very successful entrepreneur. And so it’s okay to,
to, you know, think outside the box. But I think a number of people just have this small minded thinking that I’m not gonna share my audience with anybody, I don’t want them to know, and I’ve seen this firsthand. And more times than not, it just, it’s not going to be a long term success for you. So be very comfortable with affiliate marketing, in my opinion, others may differ, but for me, and for what I in from what I’ve seen, at the end, it works out because I’ve seen ones who had that, and then they later regret that they didn’t reach out to affiliates. Number three, have a launch plan a launch plan, and be willing to give incentives for a reasons for people to buy your product or service. So I’ve talked about launches in the past, and how it’s important to make a big splash, like when we open up a clinic, right, we have an open house, we want people to know, you know, we’ll have a ribbon cutting, we’ll go for the Chamber of Commerce, and let everybody know, we’ll might put some press releases, have a launch plan when, when going out there, you might if you’re interested in launches, you need to seek out a book called The launch by Jeff Walker, a friend of mine, and you know, he’s kind of the godfather of launches. But you also need to give an incentive for them to purchase right now you know, the size of money, his people are holding on to money and you want to give them a reason to buy and everybody loves a discount. It’s okay to give a discount on your product. I mentioned, I don’t like you pricing your product low to begin with. But giving them incentive to price it lower. Because everybody loves discounts give bonuses, people are motivated by adding some urgency having some scarcity to it, if it’s real, you know, he can’t just say it, they only have 500 bucks left, right, you will ask me a real type of scarcity and give them a reason why it’s scarce. Give them some fish to buy, you know, this isn’t every course is never gonna make, you never going to have again, you never gonna see these bonuses again. And you know, stick to it, you want to be authentic, and you want to be a man or woman of your board did that. So that’s the number three Reason number two looking market, using bad tactics, such as becoming a spammer. And again, nobody sets out to say, I’m just going to spam become a spammer. Nobody sets out to that. But what happens is, they want to get out the group and we’ve seen it, they’ll go on Facebook groups, just like just doing these vomit, Dr. vibe posts where, hey, I’m in this group, and I’m just going to give you my link and you can purchase it. And next thing you know, they get banned from the game, you don’t want to be that person, right? You want to be an ethical marketer, you just say you know, if there is an opportunity for you to mention your product, first you want to contact the Facebook owner to see or just look at the the list, look at the rules of the group to see if there’s something that you can do. And then if the situation presents itself, you know, mention that you may have a product. But don’t just go spamming just for the sake of spamming. I’ve seen that happen in my groups, it gets very irritating, it’s very annoying, and they end up getting kicked out of my group. And then finally, the number one common mistake that I often see beginning physician entrepreneurs make is they’re not building a list. They’re not building an ice, they’re not building an audience I mentioned, if you don’t have an audience, you then you need to joint venture with other partners who have audiences, and be willing to give a percentage of the cost of your product or service. And even if you completely failed with your launch, that’s okay, that’s a lesson that you can learn. One of the things you need to do is, is being built being able to build a list. So how do you do that? So let’s say you’ve got a course on how to successfully lose weight,
of course, and they don’t buy your product. But then as they’re about to leave a mill, they’ll see an exit pop up that says, Hey, are you interested in like 10 tips of how to lose weight, then you give them incentive to opt in. Now you’re building an email list. So the next time you’re decide to do the second edition or write a follow up course, then you can announce it To the world. So you’re always building an audience, whether it be any type of list, an email list, a Facebook group, a LinkedIn, a list, a set of followers, on your Instagram, followers on your Instagram, those are all different ways of building an audience. And then that’s where you can actually grow. So it’s not really about the course itself. It’s really about building an audience and then building that brand. Because another aspect of when you’re launching a business is also be the ability to understand what things aren’t going under percent, right. And you need to pivot into a different direction. And that’s okay, too. But it’ll be a lot easier when you’ve built up that email list and you built up your audience, and you’re going to become a successful business person. But I hope you like those 10 common mistakes again, this is tough love that I want to give you. I’ve done many of these myself. 10 common mistakes beginning online, physician entrepreneurs do, just something to keep in mind. But it’s, it’s all about not just ink becoming stagnant. It’s all not about just being in research mode and just waiting for it to happen. You have to do moves on your own. And the first step is important that you always need to keep moving forward.