The Physician Philosopher Podcast
TPP 82: How a Doctor Can Make Seven Figures with Dr. Una
Dr. Nneka Unachukwu (pronounced Neck-Ah UnaCHEWkwu), or Dr. Una, is a pediatrician, serial entrepreneur, speaker, podcaster, and bestselling author. She is the founder of EntreMD, a company designed to help doctors build profitable businesses so they can live life and practice medicine on their terms. She does this through the EntreMD Podcast, EntreMD Live events, and the EntreMD Business School. She is a regular contributor to Forbes and a member of the Forbes Business Council.
The landscape of medicine is constantly changing, and every doctor could benefit from non-medical income. If you ever thought about starting a business but you didn’t know how, keep reading! The thought of the day is that every doctor has a seven-figure idea in them if they just use forced appreciation.
How Dr. Una Started
Dr. Una had the dream of working the job, doing a good job, helping people, and having financial security. She wanted to live her best life. The first day as an attending she saw her first patient, wrote their script, walked out, and realized how anticlimactic the experience was. She couldn’t help but think, “This cannot be it! It cannot be that for the next thirty years I am going to do this and then retire…there has to be more.”
She didn’t know what “more” was, but there had to be something. She was doing her job and enjoying it when her boss gave her a 5-year contract to sign. She turned it down because she was moving, but he told her she should start her own practice. Only 12-months out of residency and pregnant, she didn’t think it was a smart choice, but the more they talked, the more she thought it could work.
Back in 2008 there weren’t any Facebook groups to join or social media communities to ask advice from. This created a lot of leg work and research. She found a location and was setting up the insurance contracts thinking the entire time that if she hung the shingle they would come. They didn’t come. She would’ve given up if she could have gone out and gotten a normal job, but she didn’t.
Dr. Una’s Entrepreneurship Lessons
As an introvert she thought she could do good work and they would come. After she heard that all business skills are learnable, she realized that she might not know what the successful doctors knew but she knew how to learn all the things and she did! She started doing them and her practice started to thrive.
In 2016 she started helping doctors informally to reach another level. There was a huge change in the doctor landscape, and it was either adapt or fail. She started exploring becoming the CEO of her practice, writing, and consulting. When she started, health care was a monopoly. There weren’t any after care or urgent care centers and most practices were owned by physicians.
The scene changed and investors, Walmart, CVS, and nurse practitioners were in the health care space. The competition increased and doctors can’t be passive and wait for things to fall into their laps. If you are the best kept secret, you are missing out because the loudest voice wins. Selling is necessary if you are going to grow. It isn’t bad to say, “I offer this, and you need this and here is why…” You need to rise to the occasion for yourself because nobody is coming to save you!
Fear of Discomfort and Fear of Failure
Doctors have a hard time with discomfort and the fear of failure. Overcoming these two things and learning from them makes a huge difference in how you approach entrepreneurship. Dr. Una states that the discomfort comes from the arrival fallacy. We were all uncomfortable through our entire doctor training and have the thought that once we are done, we are done being uncomfortable. If you think about the wonderful things that happened from your discomfort over the past decade, what magic would happen if you were embracing discomfort for another decade? All the wonderful things and the person you want to become happens on the other side of your comfort zone: embrace it!
Fear of failure is taught to us throughout our training. Who wants to fail at brain surgery, right? The important thing to realize is that being a doctor and being an entrepreneur are two very different things and require two different hats. While you are wearing your doctor hat you perfect everything and then execute it; but while wearing your entrepreneur hat you will launch and make changes and tweak it as you go.
Fear of Failure is an indicator that you are leaving your comfort zone, which is where you need to be if you want to grow. Dr. Una won’t overcome fear, but she will reframe it. Instead of turning the other way when fear happens, she turns towards it realizing that something great is about to happen.
Habits are built around the things that are important but not urgent. As doctors we are very busy, but by building habits Dr. Una can make sure she is working towards her goals every day. A few things most important to her are her relationship with God, her kids, getting better every day, and being healthier. Your daily habits build your identity, and help you become the person you want to be in the future. By creating these little habits every day, that take up an hour of your time, you are gaining a lot of traction to reach your bigger goals.
If you are thinking you aren’t motivated, nobody is motivated! You must set yourself up to be motivated. Review your goals daily, read a good book, listen to a podcast, and have meaningful conversations. Dr. Una loves The Ed Mylett Show because he is a great interviewer, and his interviews normalize the fact that nobody has it all figured out. It is motivational and inspirational for personal development and entrepreneurship. It is easy to forget to build good habits, but if you look back you will wish you would’ve.
Stop Focusing on the Price Tag
There will always be an excuse of why not to do something. A lot of times it is either lack of time or cost. With self-development you need to see the value versus the price tag. One of the most impactful things for Dr. Una was a 10-month public speaking program that she joined. After participating in a workshop for 1.5 days, she had already seen a lot of transformation and found out the cost of the program was $43,000! While wondering if the program was laced in gold, she reflected and realized that all her thoughts, “What if it doesn’t work? What if it does?” were all unnecessary because it was already working, and only after 1.5 days.
In those ten months she became really good at speaking, using her words, and knowing the business of speaking. She received a massive return on investment the following year, and a lot of her business success is attributed to her public speaking.
One thing that Dr. Una fears is that she will show up at the end of her life and realize that she didn’t become everything she could by investing in herself with her 90-year-old self in mind. The average yearly tuition for a doctor is $54,698. You have already invested more than that $43,000 course to become what you are today. What can you become if you invest more into yourself? Invest in yourself with the attitude of an investor with the expectation of a return on your investment.
You Have the Time
As doctors we have great earning power. Using that earning power to pay other people to do the things you don’t want to do buys you your time back. Build a team and be the CEO of your life. Delegate the tasks you don’t want to do such as cleaning, laundry, cooking, or running errands. There is somebody out there who does everything, so you don’t have to do it all.
While there are only 24 hours in a day, you are never as busy as you think you are. Dr. Una talks about Automobile and Down Time University in her book, The EntreMD Method. She heard from Terri Savelle Foy that you can use the time in your car for self-development. Automobile University is being purposeful about using your 30-minute commute to invest in your personal development. You can listen to an audio book or a podcast and create the habit of doing this every day. If you do this every day, you will have invested about ten hours a month into yourself!
Down time University is the same idea. Use the time that you are exercising, taking a walk, the drive home from the store, and any other down time you have. Be purposeful about adding in a little self-development. This gives you a great opportunity to better yourself without scheduling in separate times for it. You might not realize the impact it is having on you until you talk to somebody you haven’t talked to in a while, and they don’t get what you are talking about!
Discover Your 7-Figure Idea
Did you know that the odds of being accepted into medical school is seven percent? The odds are in your favor because the odds of building a million-dollar business is nine percent! Dr. Una knows that the 7-figure business idea is in you: it is in everybody! The first thing to realize is that the million-dollar business isn’t about the money. As doctors we are guided by service. In business we serve people and people thank us by giving us money. Without making your business profitable, you can’t help people at scale.
Take inventory of yourself. What are your skills? Any one of your skills can be a business idea. Think about the things you have overcome. Any of these can also be a business idea. Maybe you have a dream that has been nagging at you. It has never gone away, and it won’t go away until you explore it. That might be your 7-figure idea. If you can build a business system around your idea, you can make it profitable.
Doing a feasibility study will help you decide if your idea will be profitable. Confirm there is a market for your idea, and what that looks like. Even if you love your job, you can create an income outside of that. As a doctor your passion is your brand. Think about public speeches, personal branding, and your passion and make these things profitable.
Build Your Network
One single thing you can do right now to start your journey into entrepreneurship is to up-level your network. Your network is actually circles of networks. Your distant network is like your surround sound. This is the podcasts you listen to, the Facebook groups you join, and the books you read. Getting out of the wrong places and into the right places will change your surround sound network. The next network circle is the network of physicians and entrepreneurs you surround yourself with. Be intentional with building a network of physician entrepreneurs. The next network circle is filled with your coaches and mentors.
When you surround yourself by those who make you change your thought process you are using forced appreciation. While forced appreciation is seen mostly in real estate to increase the value of a property, it can be used to force yourself into a successful path. Everybody has a 7-figure idea in them! Build good habits, focus on your self-development, and build the business you were meant to build!
You can find Dr. Una on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Learn more about her on her website, read her book, and listen to her podcast to get inspired and start creating the network you need to create your 7-figure idea!
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