BONUS EPISODE: A My DPC Story Fireside Chat featuring Dr. Nneka Unachukwu (She/Her) of EntreMD


Dr. Una practices at Ivy League Peds and
Dr. Nneka Unachukwu of EntreMD

Dr. Una, as she is lovingly known by most, is the host of the EntreMD podcast and founder of EntreMD Business School.


She is also a speaker, author and regular contributor to Forbes. And recently released the book The EntreMD method - A proven roadmap for doctors who want to live life and practice medicine on their terms.


She has already helped hundreds of physicians get their time back, dramatically increase their bottom line and build businesses of impact.


One of the biggest things that I admire is she embodies what we are all doing in DPC and that is being autonomous physicians AND entrepreneurs.


On top of that she is a parent and a person who has thrived despite the pandemic and despite the state of healthcare for the everyday American.


 

From Dr. Una:


Hi, I’m Dr. Una. I’m the host of the EntreMD podcast and founder of EntreMD Business School. I am also a speaker, author and regular contributor to Forbes. I have helped hundreds of physicians get their time back, dramatically increase their bottom line and build businesses of impact.


I was just like you a decade ago. I was an accomplished physician but knew there was more. In my bid to explore this, I started a private practice. I started off scared, ignorant and feeling like an imposter but eventually, it dawned on me what the missing link was. I knew NOTHING about business. I have since gone on to become a serial entrepreneur. I now have the freedom to see patients when and how I want, pursue my other interests and spend time with my family.

Doctors are experiencing burnout, loss of autonomy, lack of job security and extreme dissatisfaction with their careers like never before. It does not have to be this way. My mission is to help you create a business or career that will empower you to take back control.


 

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EntreMD PODCAST, BUSINESS SCHOOL and EntreMD BOOK!


 

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------------------------- TRANSCRIPT* Today. I am so honored because it is a privilege to have Dr. Nneka Unachukwu

here on our fireside chat. We are also graced with the presence of Dr. Pyal Jhawar, an internist and direct primary care physician in Bradenton, Sarasota, Florida, who opened her practice in September of 2021. And Dr. Tea Nguyen A. Direct care, podiatrist practicing out of Santa Cruz, California, who initially opened up in 2018, but then transitioned to a fully cash based specialty practice in 2020. Now our featured guest dr una Uh, she is loving as she is lovingly known by most is the host of the entree MD podcast, as well as. A must listen. As she is lovingly known by most is the host of the entree MD. D podcast. A must listen for any DPC director. As she is lovingly known by most is the host of the entre MD podcast. A must listen for anyone who's in DPC and founder of entre MD business school. She is also a speaker, author, and regular contributor to Forbes. Recently she released the book, the entre MD method, a proven roadmap for doctors who want to live life and practice medicine on their terms. And we can all relate to the words she shares there. She has already helped hundreds of physicians get their time back, dramatically, increase their bottom lines and build businesses of impact. And one of the biggest things that I admire is she embodies what we are all doing in DPC, and that is being autonomous physicians and entrepreneurs. on top of that, She's a parent. And a person who has thrived despite this pandemic and despite the state of healthcare for the everyday American. So without further ado, welcome Dr. Unna. And thank you so much again for being here today. Thank you so much for having me. I think I'm gonna have. Record that intro and take it with me everywhere I go. but thank you for having me. And I, I do wanna say thank you for doing what you do. As you know, I, I, I love physicians and I know that this is interesting time for physicians, but I'm grateful for other physicians who are out there, this determined that we are going to change medicine, we are gonna change, you know, the narrative for physicians. We're gonna change healthcare and you're leading the way in that. So thank you for, for what you do. Absolutely. It is so interesting that when you take a physician out of the chains of fee for service and you let their creativity go crazy, It's amazing what they can achieve. And so with that said, I wanna start off the conversation with the fact that you are a physician who had a lot of the same insecurities starting out as many of us do in DPC. So specifically you talk about, in your podcast, as well as in your book, how you were, you were open, you had already signed through your lease, you had signed on for technology or, you know, your internet contracts and whatnot. And then the patients were not magically showing up at your door. Bring us back to that moment when you realized, wow, I'm treating myself as, quote unquote, just a physician, the term that you hate to, to have people say to you, um, how did that turn out for you that you went from just a physician to being the woman you are. So, so I'll start off with, if there is any insecurity in the book, I had it I had them all. And so when I started my practice, I started my practice 15 months out of residency. My boss had that my first job I had signed a one year contract. He had given me a five year contract after that, like, Hey, we're working out well, here's a five year contract. And to put that in perspective, I had been married for three years. I had finished residency for three years. So as far as I was concerned, three years was a really long time. And so I was like five year contract. I can't do that. Right. And I was gonna move anyway. So I was like, listen, I'm gonna move anyway. So I can't stay. And he said, so go start your own practice. I'm like, nobody starts a practice one year out of residency, like, what are you talking about? And I'm like, in case you missed this very big bump here I am pregnant. Like we thi this is not a winning combination. but he was like, you're already doing everything you would do there, here. Um, and if you have questions, I will help you go start. And so I will say I started my practice out of ignorance, right? Like ignorance is bliss. I was like, this is gonna be amazing. I started researching other practices started, you know, what are they doing? I'm looking at their reviews. What do patients not like? So I can make mine different. And we started looking at locations. I got location signed the contract. This was amazing. I looked at the sign, I really pediatrics. I'm like, oh my gosh, we're doing this. And so my philosophy was hang the shingle and they will come. And so I hung the shingle and to my shock, they did not come And at this time, like you said, I'd signed the lease. I had insurance contracts going. I had, you know, like, um, internet that I've signed up for phone, all, like, I felt stuck. Like I would run away if I could, but I can't. Right. And so it's like a deer caught headlight moment and it dawned on. that I was gonna have to do other things. I was gonna have to market now, first of all, I'm a physician. Okay. And as far as I was concerned at that time, selling and marketing, those were sleazy things. Those were not professional things. They were almost cus words like what physician talks about selling. Right. And so I'm like, I can't do that. And, um, I was the socially awkward, super shy, introverted introvert. And I'm like, I couldn't even bring myself to go to OB GYNs to say, I'm a pediatrician, send your babies to me. I couldn't do it. And so then I didn't have patience. And I remember, you know, feeling stuck because I was like, I can't do this. I don't know how to do this. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm a physician. I'm not a business person. Um, I'm not the kind of person who can do this. Right. So these people who own practices, they can do it. But I can't. And I remember reading a book. Because remember this is 2010. So there Facebook groups that was not a theme. Facebook did not have groups there there's no group there. I couldn't find physician entrepreneurs. I literally used to Google physician entrepreneurs, physicians in business that, and like, where are they? You know, who can I ask questions? I can't find them. Right. And so I was reading this book by Brian, Tracy, eat that frog. And he, he made one sentence that totally changed my entire world. He says, all business skills are learnable. And for the first time he dawned on me. Those guys with bigger practices are not better than me. Like I'm not static. I can change. They just have skills that I don't have. They can promote their practice. I haven't learned to do that. They can build teams. I haven't learned to do this. They can look at profit and lot statements that make sense out of it. I haven't learned, but it's a skill. I can learn it. And so it made me realize that I'm dynamic, not static. If there's anything, I don't know, I can learn it and I can be as successful as anybody else. And that changed every thing for me, everything. I just love that. And I mean, when you say I can be as successful as anybody else, it's such an empowering statement I want to challenge, people who are listening today. Think about that and say it to yourself because one, you're putting that out into the world, but two, it literally is true. It absolutely literally is true. Let me open the floor there, guys, do you have any questions about what Dr. Una is sharing already? Because I see a lot of heads nodding in the audience because it's a very relatable experience. Yeah, I think, um, what you said about, you know, how physicians feel uncomfortable about marketing themselves? I can definitely say it's a, it was a very uncomfortable feeling trying to do that. And I'm like, why do I need to do this? Like, it feels weird. It feels almost like sleazy. Like, am I being, you know, sleazy trying to just go tell people, Hey, come join my practice, learn more about me, you know? And, uh, and over time it becomes more comfortable and you realize that's just how you think about things in a business model. It's not, you know, something, you know, taught as a physician necessarily. So it's like you have two different, you know, mindsets going at the same time, but I, I totally understand what you mean by that. Yeah. I, I've been doing a cash practice for two years now and it's still uncomfortable to have money conversations. It still feels. Am I coming off sleazy or am I providing a solution? And so it's not as if I changed overnight in how I present myself, it still is very uncomfortable. So I'm glad to hear you share that you where we're all at, it still exists back there. But I learned from you that business skills are learnable. And so knowing that we are dynamic is incredibly powerful. And I thank you for saying that. My pleasure, and, and I love what you said, that this I'm still in the process. And that really is a, is a thought pattern of the ultra successful. Cuz sometimes we get impatient. Like why, why isn't, why haven't I fixed this? Why haven't I still uncomfortable with money? Why am I that? . But when you realize that there's no goal per se, you're in constant evolution, then you give yourself space to just continue to grow. So then you're looking, am I better than I was three months ago? Much better. Great. So am I where I wanna be? Not yet, but I'm so much better than I was three months ago. So that's a, it's a very powerful way of thinking. And then the money conversation, if you think about us as physicians, we were so shielded from it that it made us I'm a physician. So I can say this. It made us entitled, right? Cuz think about being an employed physician. You get up in the morning, you get in your car, you grab your coffee on your way you park in the parking lot. You go into the office, they tell you, patients are ready. You walk in, you see the patients you leave and then money magically appears in your bank account. So we have this philosophy. If I do good medicine, the money will. well, that's a lie because the reason why we can do what we did is that somebody marketed and brought the patients in the hospital, employed a PR person who went in the community and said, this is a practice. You need to be a part of somebody at the front, had the money conversation, collected the copay and the deductible and all of that stuff. And then when you are done, somebody send the, send the claims and somebody else works in collections. There's this whole slew of people that deal with all the money parts, and we're shielded from it. We're told, just come and see the patients. And so when we start our practices, we go with that philosophy. We get up in the morning, we get in our car, we get the coffee, we go to the parking lot. We sit and we're like, where are the patient? but all those other parts are missing. And so when you become an entrepreneur, you, when you start your own practice, you need to realize there are all these other pieces that made it work. Um, we were shielded and we now need to start paying attention to that. When people are opening up the practices, they're new, they might be new to the community in general. And they're, they're realizing that, wow, I, I need to, you know, sell my business. I need to sell my value proposition. What are some of the, the tips that you have when a, physician is, in that space of. I, I can't do this. How do I do this? because even though what you said earlier is so empowering to get to th