Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are?
Iwas born in El Paso, TX and lived there until I was 14 and then moved to Phoenix, AZ where I finished high school and went to college. I have two younger siblings. I have always wanted to be in healthcare for as long as I could remember. I used to play doctor all the time when I was little. I honestly never saw myself doing anything else. While I was in high school, I started taking my prerequisites for nursing school because I was already eager to join the workforce and start doing what I love. I worked full-time to put myself through school, so essentially I worked full-time and went to school full-time for over 10 years to get to where I am today.
I’m a huge fan of mentorship throughout one’s career. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Who has been your biggest mentor? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?
I honestly did not have a mentor throughout my aesthetic career. I just kind of figured it out along the way as I went. I did however have an amazing Family Nurse Practitioner named Charity Correa who did mentor me for a year and a half for primary care and I learned a wealth of knowledge from her on caring for patients and procedures. I do not think I could have gotten a better mentor. She taught me so many things, not just clinical but also administrative duties involved with running a solo practice. The principals that I learned from her have helped me to be more organized and care for patients on a more holistic level.
What made you want to start your own practice? Can you tell us the story of how you started it?
It has always been a goal of mine to be self-sustaining and an owner of my own practice. I never wanted to work and build someone else’s dream. When I first started, one of my clients in NYC that owned a laser spa offered me a room in her space to see my own clients. Within a couple of weeks, I moved to her space and started my own thing there. Within months, I was so busy and needed more space. I eventually ended up getting the office next to hers and we have both successfully grown by sharing the same clientele and moving on to expanding into our own individual offices.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
While most people would usually have help in practice management and growth, I can say that I have personally managed and have grown my practice 300% year over year since 2016. Many people don’t know that I am literally a solo provider and I have done everything from clinical to admin all on my own.
Because it is a “helping profession”, some healthcare providers struggle with the idea of “monetization.” How do you address the business aspect of running a medical practice? Can you share a story or example?
Start small. The best way to start is to start with the bare minimum and with only the essentials to run a practice. The growth will come with time. The biggest component that has allowed me to grow my business is by establishing a trusting relationship with my patients that always come back and refer their friends and family.
Managing being a provider and a business owner is a constant balancing act. How do you manage both roles?
The last three years have been extremely difficult and stressful balancing these two roles because my practice continues to grow 300% every year. I have had to cut out a clinical day during the week in order for me to complete my administrative duties. I am a very organized person and that has helped me tremendously to manage my practice and handle the administrative role as well. All of my administrative responsibilities such as payroll, inventory, and purchase orders are all under my phone notes and I haven’t changed them in years. I’ve been using the same vendors and software for years so that helps to balance out the tasks and manage the business seamlessly.
From completing your degree to opening a practice and becoming a business owner, your path was most likely challenging. Can you share a story about one of your greatest struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it?
My greatest struggle has been the fast growth of my practice. I never imagined growing this fast and being this big. I have been so accustomed to doing everything myself rather than letting go of the control and delegating tasks to employees has been difficult for me. Being able to trust someone else with your business is not an easy thing to do. I have been able to overcome this with time. Seeing the work and efforts of my employees has given me the trust and comfort I needed.
Ok, thank you. Here is the main question of our interview. What are the 5 things you need to know to create a thriving practice, and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Have a clear vision of what you want your practice to be and stick to that goal. I think it is so important to know what you want to do with your business and stick to that plan. You can’t distract yourself by what other people are doing. I knew I wanted everyone to feel welcomed in my practice and for them to know that everything that I offer is safe to use. I have procedures and products for everyone, no matter your skin color.
- You have to keep in mind that your practice is your baby for the first few years, and it will be your absolute priority for a while. I worked day and night without a vacation for many years. I missed a lot of friends and family events. I had to give up my steady full-time job with the faith that my business would thrive.
- Have a solid network of colleagues whom you can bounce ideas off and seek counsel when needed. I have very supportive and trustworthy colleagues that have supported me and given me great business ideas. They’ve been there for me when I needed help in counsel, including a plastic surgeon, and other professionals I’ve worked with in the industry.
- Ensure that you have all necessary government and legal requirements needed to run your practice. No one tells you what you need to legally operate and provide specific services. I had to do research on what licenses or permits I needed to open a business, including directly reaching out to local state authorities and organizations to ensure that I was in compliance based on the services that I provide. You can’t make assumptions with your business so it’s important to stay informed and up to date on policies, licenses and other permits.
- Ensure that you have a good business attorney to secure all of your consent forms and legal forms to protect your business and assets. I found a good business and medical malpractice attorney through my colleagues who has provided all my contest and legal forms to protect my business, myself, and my assets. This also ensures that I am compliant with confidentially rules and regulations and forms of contests for patients.
As a business owner you spend most of your time working IN your practice, seeing patients. When and how do you shift to working ON your practice? (Marketing, upgrading systems, growing your practice, etc.) How much time do you spend on the business elements?
I wish I could say that I take adequate time off but I don’t. I am constantly working on the business side of things and always seeking ways to improve my practice. Every day I handle social media posts and engagement, I have weekly PR meetings and interviews to help grow my practice. My marketing director and I are always looking for new software and avenues to keep marketing and improving. Overall, I spend at least three days a week working on my business.
I understand that the healthcare industry has unique stresses and hazards that other industries don’t have. What specific practices would you recommend to other healthcare leaders to improve their physical or mental wellness? Can you share a story or example?
Sleep and good nutrition is absolutely essential for having good physical and mental wellbeing. I personally go to bed very early to make sure that I am well rested and I can get up early in the morning to have breakfast and take my time to get ready and prepare my mindset to start the day .
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life?
“What’s the worst that can happen?” is my all-time favorite life quote. In order to be successful, you need to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. I had to take many risks in order to get where I am today and I have zero regrets. I am glad I took the financial risks and the risk of losing my secure income at a job that I had before opening my own practice.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can see and follow my work on Instagram @injectorzoe and @theindigoclinic. Our facebook is also @TheIndigoClinic and our website is www.theindigoclinic.com
Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success and good health!