There are three main things that motivate me every day. One is empowering dentists to become more confident with endo so they can save more teeth (and be profitable while doing it!). Two is empowering patients to take charge of their oral and whole body health. Third is a new initiative: teaching my fellow dentists how to become a successful woman entrepreneur. While I have a passion for uplifting other women—if you’re a guy, keep reading! I promise, these business insights aren’t gender-specific.
Because—let’s be honest—building a streamlined, profitable practice isn’t going to happen on its own, or overnight. And it’s not like any of us got an MBA while in dental school. (If you did, wow, color me impressed!) I’ve had SO many hard-earned lessons on my path.
But if you know me, you know that I believe in paying it forward. I’m nothing if I’m not an educator!
So I thought I’d share some lessons in the blog this week.
How to Become a Successful Women Entrepreneur: Find Your Passion
Growing up with super high-achieving Indian immigrant parents, my brother and I had just a few options when it came to picking a career. Those were: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. My mom was an anesthesiologist, so I had a lot of exposure to the medical field growing up. My brother ended up becoming a doctor, himself.
But a doctor’s work schedule wasn’t attractive to me. My mom was always busy—always missing my dance recitals to take care of her patients. It’s a big job, and I admired her dedication. But I wanted to be my own boss, have control of my schedule, and help people.
My fate was sealed by becoming the ultimate dental patient. I was at the dentist’s office super frequently as a kid, since I was born without eight teeth. And then, early on in college, I discovered the power of endodontics when crippling mouth pain became the norm in my life. After dozens of specialist visits and even an extraction of the wrong tooth, it was an endodontist who finally took away my pain with a root canal.
And that changed my life—being pain-free after suffering for so long makes you see the world with different eyes!
I knew that I wanted to become a dentist! And, within a few years, I was specializing in endo.
What’s your passion? What drove you to become a dentist? Are you connected to your WHY on a daily basis?
Then Strike a Balance
I opened my endodontics practice in 2008. And proceeded to struggle for eight whole years. (womp womp)
Why? Because becoming a successful women entrepreneur requires understanding business. And let me tell you, they don’t teach that in dental school.
I struggled, because I wasn’t just practicing endo. I was learning about leadership. I was learning how to manage a team. I was trying to figure out what scaling meant. I was exploring automation and efficiency. I was discovering what I needed in a team—and what they needed from me. I was looking for an associate.
And on top of that, as a referral-based practice, I spent my off-time building relationships with dentists in the area.
In a word, it was exhausting.
After my first daughter was born, health concerns frequently sent us to the hospital.
It was then that I thought, “There is so much more to life than running a business.” But also … I loved running my business. So on the heels of that thought, I realized something had to change.
How do you become a successful woman entrepreneur? You strike a balance. You create an action plan that allows you to step away. You delegate, delegate, delegate. You hire a team that you trust and you train and empower them accordingly.
And that, my friends, is how you create the balance that will help your business thrive.
What have you built that helps you create balance? What could you build or improve to help you create balance?
Empower Yourself, Too
Want to know something I’ve learned about successful women in business? They learn. A lot. And they don’t stop learning. Even when they’ve reached a level of success.
Because learning is the most powerful tool we have to empower ourselves.
I had a lot on my plate, but I still was constantly asking my peers for advice. And reading books. And nonstop listening to podcasts.
And the leadership skills I learned helped me show up differently at work, in my family, and even in my community.
Those skills lead me to loosen up the stranglehold perfectionism had on me and confidently step into my role as a boss. And at the same time, they freed up time for me to do what’s important to me as a human and as an entrepreneur: dream, vision, and reconnect with the passion that got me to where I was in the first place.
How do you stay humble and stay learning? Do you have a mentor?
And While You’re at it, Invest in Your Own Development
Our processes and our people have a huge impact on our success as entrepreneurs. But we, as leaders, also have an enormous responsibility to invest in ourselves and create the kind of company we want to have.
I hired a coach, for example, because I wanted to fast track my success. The best way I know how to do that is to get a good coach on your side.
And I made up guidelines for myself that would help me maintain the balance I had worked so hard to achieve. For example: For every child I have, I take at least one day off per week. Because I don’t want to miss out on time with my kids—that’s a priority I have. Now that I have three kids, I take off at least three days a week. (That’s right, I only work two days a week in my practice right now, and I’m about to go down to one!)
When I talk about investing in your development, I also mean investing in your emotional and personal development. I’ve talked about it before, but perfectionism and imposter syndrome held me back considerably for way too long. If you could have heard the voice inside my head, you’d see I didn’t have it all together, despite the way I might have looked. It was a voice totally driven by fear.
I had to do a ton of work to develop my own confidence and kick that nagging voice to the curb. That required investing in myself through coaching, awareness, and paying attention to my behaviors and beliefs, while actively working to dispel some of my more detrimental habits.
What personal goals are you working towards? What support do you need to get there?
“How do you become a successful woman entrepreneur?” Is a big question. But I think the answer is that it is a lifelong process of learning and growing.
If you’re ready to invest in yourself and build some confidence of your own, I invite you to check out E-School: Everyday Endo Made Easy. I’ve seen this course change the lives of so many dentists—empowering them to take on new challenges and grow their practice. Maybe you’ll be next!