Are you ready to meet the inspiring force behind Thurston Internal Medicine? Dr. Tui Lauilefue joins us to share her journey from corporate medicine to entrepreneur, recounting how she built her own successful primary care practice in Olympia, Washington. Her story is a testament to the power of connections, opportunities, and the courage to step out of the comfort zone. Learn how the Entremd Business School program played a pivotal role in her transition. Dr. Tui's story will inspire you to turn your dreams into reality, no matter the field.
The second part of our dialogue shines a light on Dr. Tui's transformation as a medical entrepreneur. She tackles the big shift from traditional insurance-based model to a direct primary care clinic, revealing the positive ripple effects of the transition. From launching her weight loss program to mastering high-yield tasks, Dr. Tui's journey of self-discovery resonates with a powerful message: Focus on what truly moves your business forward. Tune in to hear Dr. Tui share her insights on resilience, innovation, and success in the medical field. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to thrive in the entrepreneurial landscape.
When you are ready to work with us, here are three ways.
1. EntreMD Business School Accelerator - If you are looking to make a 180 turnaround in your business in 90 days, this is the program for you.
2. EntreMD Business School Grow - This is our year-long program with a track record of producing physician entrepreneurs who are building 6, 7 and 7+ figure businesses. They do this while building their dream lives!
3. EntreMD Business School Scale - This is our high-level mastermind for physicians who have crossed the seven figure milestone and want to build their businesses to be well oiled machines that can run without them.
To get on a call with my team to determine your next best step, go here www.entremd.com/call
Follow Dr. Una here
LinkedIn - www.linkedIn.com/in/druna
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/drunachukwu
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/drunachukwu
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/@DrUnachukwu
Hi docs, welcome to the Entremd podcast, where it's all about helping amazing physicians just like you embrace entrepreneurship so you can have the freedom to live life and practice medicine on your terms. I'm your host, dr. I'm not. Well, hello, hello. Welcome, my friends, to another episode of the Entremd podcast. I was just joined today by Dr Tue. I have been looking forward to this conversation because she is a very inspiring doc who, in a short time, has created a lot of massive wins in her journey as an entrepreneur. Whether you are a veteran, whether you are just starting, whether you work a job and your brand is your business, there's so much to learn, okay. So, dr Tue, welcome to the show.Speaker 2:
Thank you so much, Dr Una. I'm so excited to be here.Speaker 1:
I'm excited you are here. Okay, so inquiring minds one, and now Give us a brief introduction so that people get an idea of why I'm so excited that I have you on the show.Speaker 2:
Sure, sure. So, hi everyone, I'm Dr Tue Lo-Ilefue and I am the founder and medical director of Thurston Internal Medicine. So I provide compassionate, direct primary care services to patients in Olympia, washington and surrounding areas and recently have really started focusing on more weight health management, really focusing on helping my patients lose weight. For that last time I do want to mention and please let me know if I end up rambling too much but I am originally from American Samoa, which is a small US territory. We are in the middle of the South Pacific. I left home after high school. I did everything really in Hawaii, so undergrad, medical school, my internal medicine residency, all with the University of Hawai'i and Manoa, which is on Oahu, and my first job out of residency was actually at the hospital that I trained at. So I did that academic medicine mainly for three years and then I moved up to Washington for the next three years where I found myself being employed in the corporate medicine world and there is a lot that I could say about that and you may be asking me about that in a little bit. But basically, corporate world really not for me, not a lot of autonomy, and it was there. There was always a kind of sadness there. Really, dr Una, it did not at all match up with how I always envisioned medicine to be. So and you have been my year I don't think I ever mentioned that to you, but you have been my year since probably around 2020, since I was at that corporate job just listening to that podcast, I mean it played such a big role for me to have that mind shift, that mindset change, to know that, hey, this is not what medicine is really about. There could be more right. There could be life outside of this, outside of these walls, really. So when I discovered the podcast, and then the business school, and I was super excited when you announced EBS Advanced so I think that was when I really thought to myself, hey, I need to. This is something that I really need to do, because I've been wanting to leave corporate medicine after that happened and then start my own business. This is really the way to do it, and I'm so glad I did, because things have just. It has just been the year of transformation for me really A year of transformation now.Speaker 1:
So you know me. So that's like magic. Those are like magic words. My entire brain is lit up. I'm all about the transformation. And so let's talk about that, right? Because you started off with EBS Advanced, which, when we launched that, that was a six-month program, and then after that, you came into what everybody knows as the Entremd Business School, which is EBS Grow, and so you've had and I've heard your wins, right? So Makita would say oh, this is what is going on with Dr Tui. I'm like, are you kidding me? And so talk to me about this year. Like, what are the transformations that have been created? And I think it's really important to share it, because someone is listening, thinking they're stuck, whether that's stuck in their job, or stuck in the stage their business is in, or stuck with the team that they have. And we really are like Play-Doh, right? Like if we don't like it, we can change it, but we forget, right? So talk to us about what this year has been like.Speaker 2:
Of course. No, I'm super excited to share what's been happening this year for me. So I joined I think it was May, june when EBS Advanced first opened up, right. So it's more like a go at your own pace type of program and then every month we'd have these meetings with the group to just kind of check in on everyone. But since I started, the thing that really stands out is just feeling comfortable putting yourself out there, because you could be the greatest business on earth, but if nobody knows you exist, I mean you can only do so much, you can only help so many people, right. So, being comfortable with putting yourself out there and it was around that same month or like a few weeks after we started that I decided hey, I've been living here for a couple of years, I've never done a community event. I think it's time to get my name out there. So what I did was I signed up for this local. It was a local Polynesian festival, right, and they emphasized just arts and medicine and just it was more like a health event. So I went and I set up a tent there, so we had people come in. It was a good opportunity for me to talk about my direct primary care practice and even with the weight loss of medicine that I was doing. And then I ended up checking this lady's blood pressure and we were just chatting and then she told me that she was actually part of this organization it was the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington. So I was like, oh, that's nice. So I'm like wow, just for me being there, I was able to get these new contacts. Like I didn't even realize that they had such a group in the area and that was really the population that I was looking to tap into more. And then, fast forward a couple of months, she sends me a message on Facebook and I don't think I put it in that, that general post that I did, but she sent me a message and said that, hey, do you remember me? We met back at that event a couple of months ago. We have a leadership event coming up and I was wondering if you could be one of our speakers. So of course I was like yes, yes, yes, yes. Like where do I sign up? So I mean, I was super excited that she even remembered me and reached out to me. So we kind of went back and forth, we figured out the details and then I showed up. I did my first talk with them just a few weeks ago in October, and I think it went well. I mean, there are always things you look back and then you kind of criticize yourself, but overall I think I was able to accomplish what I set out to do. So that was good, and that just tells me that, hey, if you put yourself out there, you give it a chance. You never know who you're going to run into. So now I'll be in kind of like her radar for speakers whenever it comes to that event, every year now, and she's been sending me follow-up messages too. So that was one thing that I did as soon as EVS Advanced started.Speaker 1:
Look at that and we're talking less than six months people. And then you also launched if I remember correctly, you also launched a weight loss program. Do I have that right? Because McKinney's like oh yeah. So first of all, when the alternative business school advanced opened, right, I went in to do something there. I was like who is Chewy? She's done more videos than anybody. She's like who is this person? I was like, keep an eye on her right. And then so Makina comes back. Do you know? She launched a weight loss program and she filled it and she has another one and it's filled for how many of her months later? I was like are you kidding me? So talk to us about that.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so it was. Oh no, makina has been great to talk to when I check in with her to see what I should do. But basically so, weight health management it's something that I've been thinking about doing for a long time. I mean, I've been doing it with my patients, but it was this year that I decided to actually create just a separate focus, separate program just for weight health management. So I was then able to create this program. I wasn't sure how many people I wanted, so I was like, well, let's just, we'll just start it. Like they said just do it, do it messy. It doesn't have to be perfect, I'm just gonna put it out there and then see what people say. So I ended up creating 10 slots and then I announced it, and then it actually filled within 24 hours of that announcement going out. So, and actually I got two extra people sign up before I could close enrollment, so then I ended up with 12 people. No, but, but it's been great. So we're now in our fourth month and we've had to do a lot of changes and modify some things here and there because they are the first cohort. But so far, oh, I'm loving it, dr Guna, and I'm glad that I really didn't wait to do something like this, and Makita is right. So she had told me well, if you already have a weight list, then you need to do something about your prices. But I told her oh, we'll get there, we'll get there. We'll just focus on this first cohort, making sure that I'm getting my people their wins. We're seeing things through for them.Speaker 1:
But it's an incredible journey, yeah. That's a whole vertical in your business that's creating revenue that could maybe wouldn't have happened, right, but you decided I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it scared, I'm gonna do it messy. And, to be clear, when we say messy, we don't mean mediocre, we mean the best we can do at the time, right. And so you're like this is what I got, and look at what you've done and that's gonna create testimonials, it's gonna create proof of concepts, it's gonna create so many things and we don't know what this goes on to become, right, and so that is really powerful. Now, when we were looking now at this point, you're in the Entremde Business School, right, and we're looking at our wins for this third quarter of the year. You talked about the weight loss program. You talked about the growth in your practice. I think you're at what? 350 patients for your panel. I mean like, just like that, right. So 350 patients in the panel. You talked about paid speaking gigs, and this is since May. This is May to, technically, october, because we're just at the very beginning of November, right, and so that's five months. So now you understand why I'm so excited, because I'm like, if you're doing this in five months. I mean, I don't think anybody's ready for you, including you. You know what I'm saying. So, but what I do want you to talk about here is there are two things. One is one of the things you did, which I'm so proud of you for doing, is you raised your prices Right. So talk to me about that, because that's something people think about. They have mind drama around it, they think it makes them greedy, they think everybody's going to leave and their business is going to go out of business and all of those things. But I remember you did it and after that you were like what was the lesson? The lesson is don't be afraid to raise your prices. So talk to us about that experience and then tell us how we should think about it. Share the lesson with us.Speaker 2:
Oh, definitely. So that was one of my lessons. I mean, that was the case for me too, and I think to some extent it still is right, because as physicians, oh, when we think about selling, sometimes it has this negative connotation when really there shouldn't be right, because we really I mean, we spent years doing training and we have the expertise and just not being afraid to raise your prices and knowing the value that you bring, and that's not for us to really make money. It's like the more people that we can help, the more people that we can reach, and then we're able to then take that even to the next level, right, so we can have a broader reach even so, when I started and it's a small community so we have different DPC clinics in the area and then, because I did transition from an existing practice with taking traditional insurance before I pivoted, I was able to convert a lot of my patients over with me. But then, as the months went by, I was like, well, we're learning about these things and I know what I bring to the table and I think maybe it's time to raise prices. So then I did, and then you know what, dr Iwuna, they're still coming. They're still coming because the people the way that we have grown as a clinic is mainly through word of mouth. So all these referrals, it's patients, family members and other people in the community. All the specialists know us so they're still sending people over and it's not really stopping them from seeking care. So you seek out your people. Your people will know, they'll see and they'll understand your worth right and to be able to offer direct primary care without the hassles that come along with insurance. We're able to provide that access. We're able to see them urgently. They have that direct communication with me if they should need to see me. So I think when I talk to Makita I was like, yes, we will do that for the next cohort. But I mean, since I had that mindset change that hey, there's nothing wrong with doing that. People will know your value, it's worth doing, it's worth doing. So I have less mind drama about it. It's still there, but a lot less than before.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and that's the thing, right, when we practice things like that, the mind drama gets less. I don't know that it completely goes away. I've only been an entrepreneur for 14 years. It hasn't gone yet. So we'll see. So for now I'm going with it. It doesn't go away when I'm 80, maybe we'll have a different conversation. But, yeah, I mean for you really embracing that right, because, again, we live in an economic world. We can't just make up numbers. The numbers have to work right. And so not only did your practice grow numerically, like the number of patients you were seeing, but the value per patient was still higher, and I can only imagine that puts your practice in a much better state financially, right, not like it was in distress or anything like that, but the financial stability is like so much more. So I'm super happy for you for that. The other thing I want to talk about, because we're really big on creating your dream life and your dream business simultaneously. Right, because sometimes, thought is, I did all this stuff from Ed School, gave up by youth, blah, blah, blah, and then now it's time to be an entrepreneur. It's like hustle, hustle, hustle, and we're like I mean, you're going to work hard. Nobody tries to belittle that fact. But you know how about? We have a version of our dream life we can live right now, and then we just keep upgrading that version as we go. So talk to me about what, embracing these things. So you had the new vertical, you had the numeric growth of your DPC, you had the financial growth of your DPC, you got more comfortable putting yourself out there. All of these things how has being an entrepreneur impacted your personal life? Like you living life on your terms, you living your version of a dream life right now.Speaker 2:
This is probably the first year that I can really say that I'm I mean again. Like I said earlier, it's just been transformational and since really putting myself out there, I mean I have so much more time now. It sounds weird, but it's true. I feel like I worked a lot more. I don't even feel like it. I know I worked a lot more hours in the corporate world, but now it's, as far as my personal life, like my daughter she's two now and so this is our second time rescheduling the interview. But if you remember, I had to. I had to leave to take her in to see her doctor because she wasn't feeling well. If I was back at my corporate job I would not have been able to do that. So I mean I have so much more autonomy now. My days are shorter, it's just I have more control over my schedule and the good thing about having a DPC panel is that my patients they really get to know me and I really get to know them. They always come in, they ask how's Zoe doing? It feels like. It feels like how old fashioned medicine was before. Right, it's like small town where everyone, everyone knows you. So being able to spend that time with my daughter and with my family has been amazing. It's a different kind of responsibility now as an entrepreneur. Right, it's not necessarily easier or harder, it's just different. But, like you say, it's, it's. We have to focus on that 20 X, right. So so, knowing what actions that you have to do that really have high yield or the most impact to get your business moving forward, to move that needle forward. I really am trying to focus more on those tasks, so so, and then delegate the rest of the 80, the 80%, 20% and 80%. And then also, I recently went on vacation with a good friend. I haven't been able to do that for a long time, so we went to New Mexico for that international international balloon fiesta they had. So that was a good thing too. It was. I haven't had a vacation like that in a long time, like definitely since I opened my practice this year, probably more than a year ago, I haven't been able to do that. My parents are here too, so because my days are shorter, I get to spend that time with my parents. I take my daughter so she can spend time with my parents. It's, it's. It's something that I haven't been really able to do consistently and and but now I can do that, now I can do that. And then the final thing is, of course, like with me and my husband and my daughter, we're spending a lot more time together. But for me personally, this is probably the healthiest that I've been in a long time, both mentally and physically. And it's not just because having that time to focus on myself, but also realizing that, hey, self care is important, I have time to put into my business, but I also had to take care of me, otherwise nothing, nothing else, will be taken care of. So having those wins and my personal life has has really been great to see. And I'm really excited and it does blow my mind because this is all since been going on since since May, right, so since everything started. So I'm just really looking forward to to keeping that momentum going.Speaker 1:
I am. So I mean, like five months is crazy. I'm so, so happy for you and for you to use words like I have autonomy, I have time, I get spend time with my daughter, with my husband, with my parents, right, which is so important, right, because we have to value what we have now. Time time flies it really does. Having the time to for self care. So, to be in a position where you're like I'm building a business, the business is working financially, I'm creating multiple verticals, I have a team, I'm learning to delegate, I'm learning to live in the 20%, I'm getting paid speaking gigs and I have time for me and I have time for my family and I'm in the best shape of my life physically and mentally, I mean that's magical. Like, how else do you describe that? Right, that's just so good. So, for you, because you're five months in, what would you say to someone who's maybe like you? They found the podcast, what three years ago or so, and they're listening to the podcast and all of that, and you just want to tell them listen, like the podcast is phenomenal. However, there's this place where, five months, you can be completely different. Okay, what would you tell that person?Speaker 2:
I would tell them. I mean, it was like me, right? So if they were like me in the beginning it's what really I have found to be helpful was you really don't have to go through this alone? And that's what it felt like with my old job, not just with my old job at corporate, but as I was doing private practice alone, right it's. I miss that camaraderie, I miss having that community. It's the community, dr Una, and that's probably why I switched, not switched, but I went from advanced and I'm like, hey, I'm all in, I'm ready to go from advanced to girl, because I love that the community is there and the support and watching these people go through the same journey as you, and these lessons that we learn from you and relearn, and from you and the books right, because you don't always hear it the first time. I'm always surprised when I go back and listen to something. It's oh, was that there before? This sounds like a new podcast. Or even with reading books. So if you're a different person the second time you hear it, the third time you hear it. I mean all those lessons in the business school, they are just priceless. So, again, I'm excited and I'm always looking forward to hearing other people's journey. So if you are on the cusp, you're thinking about it and you're someone who is an entrepreneur or wants to become one and see where your business can go, I mean, this is the opportunity of a lifetime, I think and I'm so glad I did it You'll be able to grow and flourish. You have a super amazing supportive community that's been created for us by Dr Una, and for that, dr Una, I'm forever grateful to you for providing that opportunity for me.Speaker 1:
Oh man, oh man. Ok, so this has been. I mean, watching you over the last five months has been nothing but pure joy, and you already came in as an entrepreneur, you're already doing all the things. But I'm telling you, this is five months. I'm like, well, three to five years, look like it's just going to be so wild. I'll be going like if you want her autograph, you have to talk to me. I know her, ok, but thank you so much for coming on the show, thank you for sharing your story, thank you for taking us through all the nooks and crannies, but I do want people to be able to support you. That's the way we pay back on the OnTrendy podcast, one of the ways. So tell people where they can find you.Speaker 2:
Sure, so you can find me. So the three platforms that I'm on. So Instagram, so that's DrTui, that's drtui. And then on TikTok, drtui was already taken so I had to use drunderscoreunderscoretui, so that's drunderscoreunderscoretui. And then on Facebook, it's just facebookcom slash drtui, so L-A-U-I-L-E-F-U-E and my website is thurstoninternalmedicinecom and it's got all the information on it.Speaker 1:
There you go. So people go follow her, ok, and if people in that area tell them I met your physician, ok, here you go. All right, thank you so much again for coming on the show For everyone listening. I want to take a screenshot of this episode posting on social media. Tag me, tag her and then let the world know. Hey, I mean, drtui is amazing. This is what I learned from her journey. Tell them to go, subscribe to the OnTrendy podcast and I will see you, my friend, on the next episode of the OnTrendy Podcast. If you enjoy listening to the OnTrendy Podcast, you have to check out the OnTrendy Business School. It's the number one business school for physicians who want to build six, seven and multiple seven figure businesses. You get the coaching, the accountability and the community. You need to do the work so you can thrive. To find out if this is your best next step, book a call with my team ontrendycom forward slash call. That's ontrendycom forward slash call. I can't wait to celebrate all the wins we can create together.