NOTE: In case you’re wondering, this post is a follow-up to my previous post.
When I started my business coaching practice in 2005, working with entrepreneurs was just about the last thing I thought I’d ever sink my heart and soul into. After all, I wrote in my third grade school book that I was going to be a surgeon! [Wow, George I didn’t know that…now THAT is serious goal setting and achievement!!]
But when I decided at the ripe old age of 17 to become a plastic surgeon, I didn’t realize it was going to be another 15 years before I really was one! (Let’s see: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of General Surgery residency, and finally, 2 years of Plastic Surgery residency. Yup, that’s 15 years. Sometimes I still can’t believe the time involved.)
Having invested that much time, energy, and school loans into the endeavor, I figured I would either die at the age of 150 while working on a patient in the operating room or tracking down a tennis ball on a blazing hot sunny day. Either exit strategy would have been fine with me. Except these days, it’s looking like the tennis court exit plan is a more likely option.
You see, decades after that fateful entry in my grade school days book, as I neared the end of my first decade of practicing as a plastic surgeon, something inside me told me it was time to leave. I realized that I wasn’t making the lasting, meaningful difference in people’s lives that I had envisioned I would as a surgeon. And life was not nearly as glamorous as I imagined either, especially when I had to deal with the business side of medicine.
By the time our second son was born in 2003, I was in a lot of pain – emotional pain. I was trying to do more and more cosmetic surgery, because it paid much better than reconstructive surgery.
But the reason I decided to become a plastic surgeon when I was 17 was to do reconstructive surgery. So the more cosmetic surgery I did, the less professionally and personally fulfilled I felt.
It wasn’t easy – emotionally or practically, but I knew I needed to get out of medicine. And my ego wasn’t too thrilled about the situation, either.
I had a wife and young family to support. And I didn’t know what I was going to do next. So I spent the next couple of years attempting various entrepreneurial startups, none of which made more than a few hundred dollars.
I Almost Went Back to Practicing Plastic Surgery
As I wandered about, I lost a lot of self-confidence and I felt like a failure. Twice, I considered going back to practicing plastic surgery. I even had a contract waiting for me to perform cosmetic surgery in Beverly Hills (to those of you outside of the United States, that’s where all the “celebrities” and “stars” tend to congregate). But going back to something that didn’t feel right…well, it just didn’t feel right.
I Didn’t Think I Had the “Right” Credentials
Before I started working with entrepreneurs, whenever I heard other business coaches and consultants speak about clients with whom they were working, I wished silently to myself that I could work with entrepreneurs. I just didn’t think I had the right “credentials” to work with entrepreneurs; after all, I concluded that the initials “M.D.” after my name stood for “mostly disappointed,” especially given the state of health care in the United States.
Just as I was seriously deliberating about whether to leave the field of medicine, I was invited to contribute to a book called Create the Business Breakthrough You Want, for which I wrote a section about health being the foundation of all wealth. When I told two different business owners about the book, they asked if I could coach them to improve their business operations and profitability.
Within a couple of weeks of working with these two businesses, I realized that I had a knack for seeing the big picture of the business from a 40,000 foot view but could also easily zoom in on finer details, just like the satellite images you see of your house using Google maps.
Once it dawned on me that I knew a lot more about entrepreneurship and how to structure and systemize a business for accelerated growth, I decided to start a coaching and consulting business. My immediate problem was that no one knew me as an entrepreneur or a business coach. My “network” was in the medical field, not in the business world. I had no “list” of prospects or entrepreneurial colleagues or alliance partners. In fact, I had no business cards or website that identified me as an entrepreneur. And, of course, this was long before the advent of social media, so there was no Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to help me get the word out.
I Created an Annualized Six-Figure Revenue Stream in 73 Days
Of course, as a physician, I was never formally taught or trained in how to sell. In fact, one day when I was in a print shop, I made a spontaneous purchase of a book called something like, “Closing Techniques.” Like the majority of books that are purchased throughout the world, this book sat on my shelf for years and was never opened.
Truth be told, I never learned any sales tactics or techniques from this or any other book. I have had a little bit of exposure to “neuro- linguistics programming,” otherwise known as “NLP” but again, never have studied that approach in great depth, either.
Yet, coming straight from the medical field, and with no formal training or experience in selling, I was able to create an annualized, recurring revenue stream of over $10,000 a month within 73 days. And I’ve sustained that ever since, even despite the economy.
At the time, I didn’t think this was such a big deal or extraordinary accomplishment. I was just doing what I needed to do to avoid going back to practicing plastic surgery. It wasn’t until two years later, when I was a guest trainer at a workshop for coaches and consultants that I realized what I had accomplished was almost unheard of in the world of coaching and consulting. Good thing I didn’t know that in before I did it!
No, I’m Not a Freak!
A couple of years after I started my coaching business, I was speaking with a PR person from New York City. When I told her my story, she responded by saying (at least twice), “Well, that’s a great story… if it’s true.”
Well, it is a true story. But I’ve found that for a lot of people, it’s too good to be true.
And others think I was able to achieve this level of success so quickly because I’m a doctor.
Well, let me set the record straight here:
Remember, I didn’t think I was “qualified” to provide business advice to entrepreneurs. After all, those two initials after my name, “M.D.”, stand for “Mostly Disappointed.”
Plus, when I started out, I had no business cards, no website, no blog. Social media didn’t even exist then. No business contacts. No success stories. No one even knew me as an entrepreneur.
What I’m saying is that, for most of you reading this, you have advantages that I didn’t have. You have far more assets and technology working for you than I had back in 2005, when I started out. It’s much easier to set up a website and blog. Social media makes it easier to get the instant support of hundreds and thousands of people. You can hire help for five bucks, from anywhere in the world.
Basically, you have more to work with to accelerate your business growth than I did. So no more complaining over there, okay!
I Predicted That Someone Would Best My Record
When I finally did get a website, I wrote a prediction on one of the pages: I predicted that someone – with my guidance, the right strategies, and my documented systems – would create an annualized six-figure revenue stream faster than I did.
And you know what? Shortly after writing that, one my clients created his annualized six-figure revenue stream in 71 days!
Recently, another client who had never earned more than $250/month as a coach, hit the $8,500/month mark on the 99th day of working with me. After ten months of working with me, he’s earning just under $13,000/month.
So see: You don’t have to be me to pull this off! If you set your mind to it, you could do this, too!
I Feel a Lot of Pain (and I Can’t Figure Out Why)
I’ve tried, but I can’t explain this: When I think about how many committed independent service professionals are out there struggling, I feel pain inside me that I haven’t been able to shake off for years. My eyes start to sting and water.
I guess I still feel sad about how we all learn about reading, writing, and arithmetic. But where do we learn about relationships, non-violent communication, or managing your money? Are we supposed to learn it from drinking the water?
I Was Too Idealistic to Know That I Needed to Be Practical in My Idealism
When I started out in my plastic surgery practice in 1995, I was “bright-eyed and bushy tailed.” I was still idealist about being a caring, compassionate doctor, even after a long, tough road to becoming a plastic surgeon.
And within two years of being in practice, I was nearly penniless. No kidding.
The job of my dreams had turned into the nightmare of my reality. I knew nothing about running a business.
My professional “advisors” were recommending that I declare bankruptcy.
So I did the only thing that made any intelligent sense: I fired them. I studied marketing, selling, hiring, firing, how to run an office, anything I could get my hands on to help me with my business. And it worked! I turned my practice around. For better or for worse, I avoided bankruptcy.
I didn’t realize it until a nearly a decade later, that I had become the business guide and mentor that I wished I had back then.
There’s a part of me that still feels sorry for that innocent young guy I was back then, fresh out of training, who only wanted to do good in the world, but struggled mightily with the business side of medicine. And so I feel a lot of pain for those of you who are just brilliant at what you do, but you too struggle with the business side of your craft.
In hindsight, I guess I had to go through all the rough times, as part of my own training to become someone who could help others sort out their gifts and talents, and bundle them in a way that improves others’ lives and generates a profit, sustainable and fairly.
I’m Seriously Ready to Do This, But Only If You Are, Too
Despite my hang ups and attempts to downplay the extraordinariness of how quickly I created an annualized six-figure revenue stream, I’m ready and willing to listen to all of you who have begged, pleaded, harassed, and ruthlessly, yet respectfully demanded that I get out of my own way and share with others how they can rapidly accelerate their revenue to five and six figures, like I did. (Whew, got that out in a single, massive, run-on sentence).
I’ve been afraid that people would see me as only interested in the money. (In fact, one person a while back unsubscribed from my ezine list and asked me why I kept writing about how to make money faster.)
That bothered me because those of you who know me, realize that I’m all about contribution first. And yet, the fact is we all need to make money if we want to continue in business, if we want to contribute to making the world a healthier, more peaceful place to live, learn, and grow.
So despite my hang ups and downplaying of the extraordinariness of how quickly I created an annualized six-figure revenue stream and have been guiding others to do the same ever since, I’m considering creating a sort of “JumpStart” training to show you how I did it. And more importantly, how you can too.
But unless there’s enough potential interest, I’m not going to take this one on. (I abandoned the “build it and they will come” philosophy a long time ago.)
So what do you think…
- Do you want me to do this?
- If so, would this be useful for you?
- Can you think of any good reasons for me not to do this?
I’ve got plenty of other things on my plate. So much so, that I’ve recently de-committed from some really exciting projects.
What I’m saying is, if it’s going to help YOU for me to develop this “rapid revenue acceleration” training, I need you to let me know.
So please take a moment and leave a comment below and let me know what your thoughts are.
To freedom, contribution, and prosperity (supported by rapid revenue acceleration)!
P.S. I don’t do very well at all over here, isolated in front of my computer screen, staring into cyberspace; I thrive on getting your input and advice. So please share your thoughts. I’m excited to hear them.