Hey guys, this is Dr. Mike Woo-Ming with BootstrapMD. Now I just got back from speaking at an incredible conference put on my friend Michelle Mudge-Riley called the Physicians Helping Physicians. And it was in Austin, Texas and there was about 80 or so doctors there and they’re pretty much looking for a change in their business career or their physician career. I would say half of them were looking for a non-clinical job or career and so, a number of speakers were talking about different subjects such as becoming a medical science liaison, another one was involved in starting up a venture capital firm and getting involved in investments and after the other half were looking at entrepreneurship, which of course you know is my favorite topic.
So I spoke about kind of my life and some strategies and tips that I’ve learned throughout the years and this whole crazy entrepreneur thing I’ve been doing, as well as other awesome speakers, really had some great connections and made some really great new friendships that I look to see kind of become fruitful as the weeks and months go on. But one of the things that I talked about at the conference was I really shared my story about one of my first businesses that I started online, and I really enjoyed it and people seemed to like what I was talking about and it’s always great to know about the hero’s journey, you struggled and you struggled and then you’re able to have some successes but when I was kind of reviewing after I talked about it, I talked about one of my seven figure businesses that I started, I didn’t really talk about what kind of led before that and really kind of signaled that I could go from a busy physician to actually retiring from medicine in a bit and now back into medicine but practicing on my own terms.
And so, as you know I’ve always been entrepreneurial, I talked about in past episodes that I started my first business when I was in residency, I started a business that could help medical students get into the residency of their choice and foreign doctors get into the residency and we help them with their personal statements and such and it was a really nice small business that we had as a resident. And then when I went and I graduated residency, went into the real world and made money as a practicing physician, I never lost my love of entrepreneurship. Now I’m dating myself, this is back in the late ’90s. If you’re familiar with the dot-com boom, this is when venture capital was throwing money at really unusual subjects such as dog food and barbecues, it’s kind of where eBay and Amazon first started and everybody was looking at getting involved in Silicon Valley in venture capital and so was I.
I got involved with what they call an incubator back here in North San Diego. I was involved in the tech industry and my business that I started was a ask the doctors and pretty much what it was, was that you could ask a question to a doctor, mainly me and then I would answer that question and at least give some information, I wasn’t practicing medicine or anything like that but then I slowly grew that business up where I hired different specialists, like a gastroenterologist and cardiologist and they were answering questions and it was kind of a nice little business that I did on the side and I wanted to take it up a next level and so, what happened was I got together with a big health website, kind of like a WebMD but it wasn’t WebMD unfortunately, and I got noticed and my site got integrated into there’s and the goal was that eventually we would go public and then we would have millions dollars and I could retire on a beach somewhere.
Well suffice it to say that didn’t happen. Just like as in many dot-com businesses it tanked at the end of 1999, 2000. So I was really licking my wounds after that happened, I was able to get back my website and I was really looking what could I do? What I could I do to still make this viable? I didn’t know anything about Search Engine Optimization, again this is in the early aspects of the web, we’re talking 2001, 2002 and I was just kind of going through motions, meanwhile I’m still working as a doctor, working full-time, taking call, the nine yards just like that. And what ended up happening was in my searches for trying to find a solution to my problems about kind of wanting to build this medical advice website up again is I ran into going to a internet business conference and that really opened my eyes about what was possible.
I remember, this was in 2003 I think eventually when it ended up happening and I went to Las Vegas, kind of on a whim, didn’t really know what to expect and I ended up meeting a gentleman who really changed my life and his name was Randy, he was an internet marketing guru and I had an idea that I wanted to bring to him, to any speaker that would listen to me and that was involved in facilitating a way that more people could network online through joint ventures. And he loved the idea and he wanted to work with me on this project. He also got some free labor out of it because I was helping him with his own products and marketing his products as well. I don’t want to give the impression that I was just doing free labor, I was learning from him. I was basically involved in what he was doing and he was a millionaire and I just basically followed what he was doing.
And then throughout my trials of that, I ended up going to more internet business conferences and kind of my second big influencer for me was a gentleman named Frank Kern. Now you maybe be familiar with Frank, he’s one of the most highest paid internet business consultants that are out there, he’s been a friend for many years, kind of a friendemy sometimes but he has been really helping on my journey about understanding business and I remember going to a conference and at the time, right now he wears a three piece suit, he’s well groomed, but back then he was kind of a surfer guy, long hair, he wore flip flops and he was on stage, again he was a millionaire and really it was kind of my ego was taking over because I was seeing this guy that looked like a beach bum and here I was as a doctor working my tail off, seeing patient after patient and I’m seeing this guy and he’s telling me what he’s doing and I was just like, “Man, I’m a doctor, I should be able to do this. What does he know that I don’t know?”
Long story short is I was able to get mentoring from him. And from my two influencers, people who really made a big difference of me was that I learned about understanding the concept that I shared at the recent conference that I was at was that you want to sell what people are buying. You want to sell what people are buying. Now, I know many entrepreneurs they want to invent the next Uber or the next Tesla and again, I’m not trying to dissuade you from doing that but it can be a very hard road to follow. I’d much more go after the low hanging fruit, products that people are already buying and just having a way that you can have a product that is either better than the product or saves more time or in some cases be cheaper that can really help you because some people are already buying these products. So when I got started on my business, what they told me was to sell what people where buying but also to sell to the masses sell to what are called niche markets. Sell to specific audiences that want that information.
For example, the golf market. Golf is a very rapid market. My father-in-law loves golf, he’ll buy every golf gadget, every putting green that you can put in his house, anything like that. It’s very easy for us to buy stuff for Christmas for him and he’s very rapid, he’ll buy everything that comes out, he watches the golf channel nearly 24 hours a day, but these are a rabid audience. And so, one I got started was finding these different niche markets that were online. I first started in the areas that I knew such as health, so one of my first big projects was I created a diabetic eBook where it basically gave no nonsense diabetic information that was helpful for being a diabetic. I talked about the importance of checking your sugar, watching your diet. It wasn’t anything ground breaking, I also had a cookbook that sold to the diabetic market, but what ended happening is I ended up building this database of diabetics and I would sell products and services to that market.
It then led me to find other different niche markets that I was going into, so I was selling things that were outside of my knowledge and comfort zone and I what I ended up doing is I ended up creating these eBooks but I wasn’t myself writing these books, I hired freelance writers to write these books for me, and you name it, I was in almost every niche market that you can think of. One of the biggest was I was in the pet market and I would write books catering to these different markets, specifically different breeds. Now as a pet owner, I have a Golden Retriever named Emmett, love him to death but anything related to Golden Retrievers I’m going to end up buying for it and so, when you’re finding these different niche markets it wasn’t that I wrote a general dog book, I was writing for each of these different breeds and I sold these books anywhere between $10 to $30 dollars of these eBooks. and I was selling them on the web.
Now, the other thing was at this time there was no Amazon Kindles or not a lot of people buying eBooks, so I was basically creating a website and what Frank and my other business experts were teaching me was about sales copy and how to write sales copy and how to focus on the benefits of the book rather than just the features of the book, which is another topic for another day. Long story short is I had all of these different websites and one other thing that I did was Google came out with a program called The Google AdSense Program, it’s still in existence but still not a lot of people know about it. What it allowed you to do is for example, in one of my diabetic markets I would create a blog where I give them free diabetic tips and then on the side I would have ads, now these ads where just code from the Google AdSense Program that allowed me to put in ads that were related to this.
So if somebody clicked an ad, usually with something in this case diabetic related, I would get a commission. And it could be $0.5 cents, $0.10 cents, $0.20 cents but like I said, I had a lot of websites and I developed a lot of traffic [inaudible 00:12:54], and eventually what ended up happening was I remember getting a check from Google and the check read, it was something like $2012 dollars in that year that I made just from that ad sense program, not even including the sales of my books. And I was just looking at that and then I was looking at my contract that I got from being a doctor, which at the time I was making $120000 dollars a year. So when you get something that is double, almost double the amount that you’re getting as a doctor, now you know one of the reasons that allowed me to quit for a time being a physician.
And what is interesting is I was cleaning out in the garage, we had moved last year and my wife had said this had fallen out and what this is, you probably can’t read this but this is a program from 2005, March 6th 2005, a business bootcamp, this is my first speaking gig that I did and my topic was how to dominate your niche on the internet. Many thought Dr. Mike was crazy after leaving his business and successful medical practice to become a full-time internet marketer, now he’s having the last laugh, utilized the power of the internet to generate revenues equivalent to a doctor’s salary and just some of the topics, the biggest myth about selling information products, which were eBooks, niche marketing research methods, three sure forever ways of making money online, how to get paid without a selling product and that was the ad sense program that I started there, but really went down memory lane here.
Now, the question you’re probably asking is can you still do this now in 2019? Can you do these kinds of things? And the short answer is yeah, you can do these things. There are definitely things that have changed, for example one of the ways that you’re generating traffic, what I was doing paper click advertising, which is much more expensive than it is now. But you still have avenues that you can get started in focusing on a particular niche. One of the ways that you can do it is having your own group. These days I think Facebook groups are really, really powerful because it allows you to moderate your own group, you can sell your own products and services just for that particular group and it doesn’t cost you anymore to start up a Facebook group and that’s just kind of one of the ways that you can do it. But I think the fundamentals, the principles stay the same. You want to sell what people are buying and you want to sell to a specific audience, a niche audience not to the general market.
That’s one of the ways that you’re going to be able to dominate online. So, thanks for coming with me on this journey, kind of going down memory lane about kind of one of my first businesses. Hopefully maybe you’ll get something out of it. I love reading business bestsellers and biographies just how did they get started and not saying that my career isn’t over yet, certainly I know there’s going to be ups and downs moving forward but maybe you get some inspiration about what I did to get started and more importantly, I look forward to hearing about your successes and what you’re going to be doing with your businesses. So, again, I encourage you to just go out there, focus, what can you do today that can bring you one step closer to your goals? And as always guys, keep moving forward.