Could you imagine transforming your life and practice by facing your fear of being on camera and jumping onto the TikTok bandwagon? That's exactly what our guest, Dr. Rebecca Berens, a successful entrepreneur did. Dr. Berens opens up about her thrilling journey, detailing her initial hesitation, the viral success that followed and how embracing technology resulted in significant growth for her business. I promise you, her story offers hope to those who might be hesitant to put themselves out there.
Have you ever contemplated increasing prices on your existing clientele? The thought can be daunting, can't it? Well, Dr. Berens took us down memory lane, chronicling her first experience of hiking prices for her patients and the mental obstacle course she navigated to make that decision. It's a fascinating insight into how factors like rent, software costs, and her assistant's salary adjustments due to inflation nudged her into re-calculating her pricing structure. She gives us a reality check on the economics of running a thriving business and the importance of making the numbers work.
Finally, we circle back to the personal cost of Dr. Beren's entrepreneurial journey. She recounts the steps she took to replace her income from her part-time telemedicine gig, shifting her focus from splitting her time to being more available to her patients. Dr. Beren's doesn't hold back, she shares the uncomfortable decisions she had to make to realize her entrepreneurial dreams and how it impacted her role as a parent. It's a soul-baring look into the realities of entrepreneurship, but with a silver lining of the immense rewards that accompany it. So buckle up, this is one conversation you won’t want to miss.
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.
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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, my friend. Welcome back to another episode of the Entremd podcast. And you are about to be blown away because I have Dr Rebecca Barron. She's been on the podcast before, so she's coming back and she is. I didn't say this to you, dr Barron, but she's like royalty in the DPC world. Every time I talk to somebody in DPC that I don't know if this I'm like. Do you know, dr Rebecca? Oh, my goodness, yes, so you're like royalty. I may be name dropping your name in certain places and it works, but she has a phenomenal journey. She's an entrepreneur that I really respect and we are going to talk about things. Whether you're in, you have a direct primary care practice or not. You could be a coach, you could be whatever, but there's so much to be learned from this because these are universal business principles we're going to be talking about. So, dr Rebecca, welcome to the show.Speaker 2:
Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be back.Speaker 1:
I am so excited you're back. Okay, I'm going to give you, you know, I'll give you 60 seconds to introduce yourself and then we'll get into the meat of all of this. But people are wondering, like, why is Dr Runa so excited? Like what in the world? So tell?Speaker 2:
them. So I'm a family physician and I own a DPC practice in Houston in near the Heights area called Vita Family Medicine. I've been almost four years that I've been open now. I opened in January of 2020 and now we're in November of 2023. So close to four years now.Speaker 1:
Wow, time flies, doesn't it? Yeah, this is wild, okay. So now we're going to start, like your journey. We can't capture all of it in a 30 minute episode, right? So I picked out some of the parts that I'm like people need to know about this, right? So once upon a time, we had a challenge in the untrimmedy business school and you decided that you were going to start posting videos on TikTok. Okay, and you did that and it just took off. So somebody listening to this either doesn't show up on social media at all and they're like I'm private practice, it doesn't matter, or I'm a physician, I don't do stuff like that. Or they're showing up but not really taking up space, right, but you've done this. I want you to talk about the impact that is had on your practice and I want you to talk to that person who's scared of embracing it, especially video.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So I was that person. I was like very adamantly against putting my face on social media before I started my practice. And then, once I started my practice, I recognized that I did have to do it. But I was like, well, I'll put a picture or I'll make a little graphic in Canva or something like that, but I'm not going to be on video because I just so many just cringing feelings that I could feel just thinking about being on video. So it really wasn't until you had a challenge for us I think it was in May of 2022, I want to say that you have this challenge for us to post a one minute video every day that I decided to just get over it and do it. I had tried it a couple of times before that, with various people helping me, and it just never. They said they would edit it, they said they would do things to help me with it and it just I would just climb up. I couldn't get it done. So when we had that challenge, I decided I would try it on TikTok, because I didn't have any followers on TikTok.Speaker 1:
Oh, is that the reason why?Speaker 2:
Partially, partially, yes. I was like, well, if it got, if it totally bombs, like no one will see it, so it's no big deal. And also it was a lot easier for me to do on TikTok, just like the, the interface of using the video was easier and I really struggled with Instagram reels at that time. I was just what is? How do I even record? I literally paid someone to sit down with me for an hour and teach me how to do it and I still couldn't figure it out. So so TikTok was a little bit more straightforward, so I just decided I would try it, and the more that I did it, the easier it got, because I started to feel more like how I think, how you always say that you're just talking to a person imagine you're talking to a patient or talking to a colleague or talking to someone that you've met rather than I am recording myself to show to thousands of people on the internet, which is obviously scary. So that it got easier with time and my first few were very rigid and cringy and awful and I hope I never watched them again. But as I did it, I would get questions on the videos and then it was easy because then I really was talking to the person who asked the question and so I was just I would hit reply and I would just record a video to record a response. And then it just kind of snowballed from there because I would get questions on the question videos and I didn't even have to come up with ideas anymore because I would just answer questions. So by close to the end of the month I was doing it very consistently, just because it had become not a big deal. There was one day I was actually about to go on vacation. I was on the plane, and when I got off the plane and turned my phone back off airplane mode again, I saw I had had thousands of views on TikTok of this video that I had posted the day before. I was like what's happening? We're literally sitting in the car from the airport going to the place where we're staying for our vacation and just constantly more and more views like 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 50,000, and I was like what is happening? I think it got up to over 400,000 views by the end of that week of vacation and it was terrifying because I was like, oh my God, that's a lot of people that are looking at my face. But it was also amazing because again, I got a lot, of, a lot more engagement on my previous videos, a lot more questions, and so then again it was easier for me to answer questions and after that month I had my biggest month of new enrollments that I've ever had, like June. From May to June was just like this enormous spike and people were like calling my office. I was at a town. My assistant was like what did you post on TikTok? Everyone's calling about TikTok. And I was like, oh my God, it was so yeah, it was crazy, but it really did translate into real patients showing up in my office, which I'd never seen before from any social media that I'd ever done, including paying a company, including posting consistently graphics number of times a week. It was the first time that it actually had made a difference.Speaker 1:
Wow, okay. So now I think you talked about this in the Facebook group for the on-time business school, so you can correct me if I'm wrong. I think now we're talking about something that happened in 2022. So at the time of this recording, this is a year and a half ago almost and you had a patient who either was referred or something like that, and they went and they looked up all your videos and all this stuff and decided to enroll. So talk to us about that, because what that means is and this is something everybody wants to remember the work you did before is still working, right, so talk to us about that.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so just recently I had a patient who found me on TikTok. They said that they were at work scrolling on TikTok and they came across my page somehow. I don't really know how, because I actually you're going to be a little bit set up for that I have not recorded a video and probably a year. I don't even remember the last time I posted a video on social media. I think stuff is. I didn't keep up the habit. But she still found this video from, like you said, a year and a half ago. And they said that they went back and looked through all my videos and watched all of them and they said these words. They said I just felt like I could really connect with you, I felt like you were really caring, I could tell that you were going to really try to help me and yeah, so it really allowed this person to sort of meet we without meeting me. So when we had our initial call because I always do a call with patients before they enroll to make sure that they can ask me questions, Because I don't want someone to enroll and then feel like it's not a good fit and then be upset and so they were I don't really have any questions. I already watched all your TikToks, I already want to enroll, so what do I do? Yeah, and that's not the first patient that said that. I've had several patients who maybe were directly referred to me who then went and looked at my social media before following through with the referral and they tell me like, oh yeah, I already watched all your TikToks, I already know all this and I'm like, oh okay, great. So yeah, it's still there working, even though I haven't touched it in probably a year.Speaker 1:
Yeah, so you have a full-time employee in your business and this is something that's really important for everyone to know as you build your brand, as you build your body of work. It is a full-time employee, right, like my podcast is a full-time employee. In on TramD, my social media is a full-time employee, and it's not just for the one business. I talk about this in the business school all the time. We don't know how many people are working. We're working in the business school all the time. We don't know how many businesses we're going to own, right, but your personal brand will work for all of them. So I think that's so powerful because, if you think about it, even for me, someone says, oh, go read this book. The first thing I do is go to Amazon, go read the reviews, like it's almost a default, and people do that with whatever your business is. Someone will say, oh, my goodness, they're amazing. Now, when they go, look for you to have a meet and greet with you that you don't even know about, because that's what's happening is to talk to them. If you did videos, then you would be right, and so that's really, really powerful, thank you. Like I said, she has all these interesting things so good and I would allow that you haven't done a video for a year, for right now for a year. I will get back to you at a later date. Now there's one of the things I talk a lot about and it's this concept of understanding the math of business right. It's like the math has to math, right. And so I think we've had conversations around raising prices and all of those kind of things, and so you did this, okay. So I think people listening who are like, oh my goodness, I can't bring myself to raise prices Does that make me a greedy doctor? So talk to me a little bit about the drama of raising prices. Then you raise the price. Then what happened after that?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So there's lots of drama, I think, especially in the DPC world. Most of us who are doing DPC we just want to take care of patients. We would do it for free but we have bills to pay, right, so we don't want to have to charge people. I think, and I think a lot of us, especially in DPC, are very you know people that care a lot about underserved patients. A lot of us come from working in safety net clinics, fqhcs. We are just very caring people and we want to take care of people. We don't want money to be a barrier and we're trying in any way we can to create a system that reduces that barrier. But at the end of the day you have to have money coming in to be able to pay for your office space, your mall practice, all the costs of doing business, and so money has to happen. And I think a lot of us are in natural habitat is to just avoid that discussion and unfortunately, I think that's why a lot of DPCs that fail do fail because it's often a money mismatch issue. And I think that's kind of where I was starting to be when I first joined the Entremd Business School. I had some patients, I had some momentum, but it was just really hard for me because I couldn't make any progress, because I didn't have funds to help me with that, and so I have had a lot of drama about raising prices. I've done it several times since being in the business school, but usually what I've done is I've just incrementally slightly increased it for new patients and gradually, as older patients maybe move away or leave the practice for one reason or another, they're replaced by new patients that are paying slightly more, but I still wasn't charging significantly more. And I think it was when I can't remember, I think this was a vision retreat, maybe October of 2022. We did this game. I think he called it the EBS game or EBS math game or something like that.Speaker 1:
EBS puzzle.Speaker 2:
EBS puzzle. That's what it was.Speaker 2:
And you basically had to start with the end amount of money that you need to be able to run your business and pay yourself, and then come up with all the ways that you can get to that number. And when I did that, I realized how far off I was from the correct numbers, and so I definitely moved closer. Still not quite there, to be honest, but I've definitely moved closer to that, and it's been every time that I've done my price increase. It's gotten me closer. But for the first time this year I actually increased prices on existing patients, which I'd never done before and which made me very scared. And I didn't even want to do it because I felt I should be rewarding patients who've been loyal to me for longer. But at the end of the day, it was becoming that I was costing me money. All the prices of everything that I use has gone up. My rent has gone up. It goes up every year. All the software that I use in my practice. The prices go up. I have to pay my assistant and she also is experiencing 10% inflation this year, so I have to be able to pay her more. It's just all of these things. And so it got to the point where I realized, like we have to raise prices at some point. You can't be paying 2020 prices in 2040. It's not gonna work. So I did that price increase and I will say I did have a handful of negative reactions. Really only one that was really negative and but for the most part people either did not care at all, like just didn't even mention it, or they responded positively. So it was a huge hurdle to get over it, but once I did, I realized it's not a big deal, I just need to do it. Take it, take the business lesson for what it is. You just have to do what your business needs and the business will respond as it's supposed to.Speaker 1:
I cannot tell you how much I love this right, because sometimes, again, we're physicians, we love to help people and all of those things. But the truth of the matter is business is an economic sport right, and the numbers just have to work. And sometimes people say, well, this is what I wanna charge. I'm like, okay, but what do you wanna earn? And they say what they wanna earn and I'm like, but the math is not mathing. You know what I mean. And so I do wanna applaud you for going through the mind drama, because you went and you posted about it in the group and going through that and people go through that, almost everybody goes through that, right, but you went through it. You went through it you see what I'm saying. Like you didn't stop, you went through it and came out on the other side and raised the price. I think it was even when you told your assistant, like you emailed them the price increase.Speaker 2:
Like I'm just not gonna be involved in that.Speaker 1:
But that's you too, right, because you're a team, right, and you did all of these things and you now have the experience of wait a minute. I was thinking everything will fall apart, but it didn't. I had one person who was like I don't particularly care for this new decision, but everybody else seemed okay. So I really wanna invite everyone. There are things that are must do's in your business. If you will, if you're gonna be financially stable and you're gonna earn the right to continue to serve people. It might be very uncomfortable, there may be drama around it and all of those. You may feel like I just wanna close my eyes and hit send and all of those kind of things, but I wanna invite you to embrace it, right, because? So tell me now, how do you feel about the financial stability of your practice? Right, because no matter how we can practice the best kind of medicine, the money doesn't work. We have to shut our doors. Right, but how does that feel now?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I mean it's significantly more stable. So I actually haven't grown in patient numbers much in the last year. I'm actually about the same in the last year in terms of patient numbers and there's a lot of reasons for that, most of them intentional. But I've kind of been shifting the focus of my practice. I've been working with a sort of a more niche patient population and so by necessity that has sort of shrunk the number of people that I can serve compared to what I initially projected when I opened the practice and I didn't really have that sort of niche focus, and so it's sort of intentionally been staying a stable number of people, but just the type of patients that I'm seeing are changing gradually and so my but my revenue is significantly higher, despite patient numbers being the same.Speaker 1:
So I'm gonna stop you right there, because I need everyone to hear this. All right, so we're talking about the same number of patients. Revenue is significantly higher right Now, and we're not talking about in a way where nobody can afford what you do, like one person complained, right, and so this is a true win-win. Right, we don't want to build businesses that are only a win for our clients and our patients but not a win for us, right? Because if in the animal kingdom, if that happens, we call it a parasitic relationship, right, we wanna create a win-win, which means your clients, your patients, are winning. They're getting the care they deserve, they're getting the attention they need from a doctor, they're getting all of those things, but you're winning because you can practice medicine in your terms and you can live life, you can pay your bills, you can have some leftover and like all of those things. So that means we didn't have to start working a whole lot harder to have this significant bump. We're talking about the same number of patients. So I'm sorry I interrupted you, but I just wanna make sure nobody missed that. That was so good.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I mean, and really I mean a year ago I was still working part-time for a telemedicine company because I had to to be able to afford the practice and paying my assistant and then also paying for childcare and all the stuff that I have going on at home to allow me to show up at work, and so even I've been able to more than replace that income, and so that allows me then to focus more of my time on my patients and again, because of the niche of patients that I have, I'm spending considerably more time with my patients than I was before, and the patients need that and I enjoy it and, like you said, it's a win-win because now I don't have to split my time and be distracted with this other part-time job that I just I couldn't. The time was not there. There's not infinite hours in the day. So if you are having to spend time working a job to pay bills, that decreases the amount of availability you have for your patients. So now I'm more available, I'm providing better care and the finances actually work for me to be able to continue to do that.Speaker 1:
Man, I love this. I love it. Dr Beres, I can talk to you. I still have questions, right, but I'm noticing we might need to do another episode, but I'm going to squeeze this one in. What has been the impact of growing as an entrepreneur, building this practice, building it to work for you? Right, because you worked the marketing part. You worked the team? Right, because we've talked a lot about what you're doing with your team, talked about raising the prices. I mean, you've done a lot of things. You're even really one of those who's really good at it, and I'm going to go into my finances. I'm going to know what's going on with my profit and loss. You're an inspiring entrepreneur. Now, all of this requires doing uncomfortable things, working through mind drama, doing things you don't want to do, being afraid to do things and giving it to your sister like you do it, all of those kinds of things. This is a normal journey of somebody who is moving forward, right? What impact has it had on your personal life?Speaker 2:
Oh yeah, I mean I think I've said this before I don't know if I said it on the podcast or somewhere else but EBS has been more beneficial to me overall than therapy. I've been in therapy for a long time, but there is a lot of things that you can work through in therapy that I don't think you can really get until you do something like this. I think just the self-efficacy that it forces you to build and the confidence it requires you to acquire. I mean, you're not confident to start with, but you just have to do it because who else is going to do it and you have to learn these things. And it's been massively helpful for me in my personal life to be able to feel the ability to overcome some of these things that before I would never have imagined myself even attempting. And it really trickles down into also the way that I think about the way my kids are going to grow up and how I'm going to try to instill these things in them, because I don't want them to be in their 30s and just starting to figure this stuff out. I would rather them learn this from childhood and come out of high school or college or whatever it is that they decide for future education, that they have the feeling of confidence and self-efficacy that I have now that I did not have all the way into my 30s. So, yeah, it's been huge for that, oh man.Speaker 1:
Okay, you made me all kinds of happy because once you start touching parenting I know you've heard me talk about this a lot I was. So Parenting, I think, is a place where I struggled the most, I was the most embarrassed, I thought I had the most, if you will, imposter syndrome. I thought God made a mistake sending kids to me because clearly I can't do a good job of this and I don't fit. I think this is important because of a lot of those who do this, we don't fit the traditional picture of a mom right in a way. But what you're talking about is what helped me overcome that is just this concept that everything I learn, everything I'm doing, everything I am, is a gift to my children. Right, and so your sentiment is my same exact sentiment. I was like I was 35, almost 40, before I started learning these things. They don't need to do all that. We can fix this now. They're books in the business school 10X is easier than 2X by Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy, and my 15-year-old and my 13-year-old read it. Can you imagine, even if you don't, even if you only understand 5% of it? Can you imagine reading that that age, and I'm like I may not have what some other person has, but what I have, you're getting that. But you're getting that and that is so powerful man and people. You're listening to her. This is somebody who has been in the Entremde Business School. For you, this is your. You've completed two years right.Speaker 2:
Yeah, this is your third year.Speaker 1:
For a third year. I don't have any recollection of ever seeing you on a live call Right, because you're like this is my time for my kids is when I'm put into bed and all of that. And I respect you for always prioritizing your family, but you also prioritize your business, because you said that I'm not going to be there live. But when we're uploading the replay, we know if you don't upload this, dr Rebecca Barron's is going to be saying where's my replay? Because you decided this happens live Wednesday 7pm On Thursdays I'm going to catch it and you've done that for years and you're making all of this work even though you have little children, even though there's a thousand reasons why it wouldn't work, but you're pulling it off. So I just want to give you a big shout out, because this is the true spirit of an entrepreneur and this is only going to keep getting better and better, because you've never stopped, you've never settled, you've never said who I'm here now, whatever, because some people tell me that, oh, I got everything, I'm done and I'm like we just started. No, this does not really have an end. You know what I'm saying. There is no end. We just become more and more of who we can be Right. So I wanted to make sure I acknowledge that I would like for people to support you. You came on here and you shared all the stories and you told us all the things that highs, the lows, the drop, mind drama, everything. Where can people find you? What would be a good referral for you? Let us know so that, based on where we are, we can support you.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so I'm on Instagram and TikTok at Rebecca Barron's MD. That's my handle. Like I said, I have posted on either of them. In a while We'll go watch the old videos.Speaker 1:
They still work.Speaker 2:
Watch the old videos there and don't tell me how awkward I look in them. And then I have my practice is Vita Family Medicine in Houston and the website is vitafamilydpccom. I also have a personal website, rebecca Barron's MD dot com, where I share some information about the DPC resources that I've used. That helped me get here, and the patients that I'm seeing now primarily in my DPC are tend to be patients who have struggled with disordered eating in some way, so maybe they had a full load eating disorder or maybe they just struggled with their relationship with food, and so I practice from a health at every size approach and I really love working with those patients and that's been kind of the niche that I've sort of naturally shifted into over the last year, year and a half. So patients that are struggling with weight stigma at the doctor's office or avoiding care because they're worried about it, or have struggled with their relationship with food. I love to see them and help them get healthier without focusing on diet culture.Speaker 1:
And you know how I feel about what you do. So thank you for what you do for your patients, thank you for what you do for the physician community. By your example, so you're the ripple effect of your life is huge, and I'm glad we get to do this together. So thank you so much for coming on the show. Yeah, thanks so much for having me. Absolutely All right people. So this is an episode that is a must share. So I want you to take it. I want to take a screenshot of your podcast app thingy and post it on social media. Tell them hey, you got to go listen to this episode with Dr Una and Dr Barons. You can tag us both. We're happy to reshare and shout you out as well. And that is how we change medicine. That's how somebody is going to hear her story and say, what, wait a minute? Right, and once we start hearing enough of these stories, we can't unhear them, we can't unsee them, and that's how we create the ripple effect. We're looking for a medicine. So go share the episode If you are committed. You're like, oh my goodness, this, this is the season where I'm going to make this business work. This is the season where I'm going to create my dream business and my dream life. Come join us in. The Entremdi Business School is Entremdicom. We're happy to get in conversation, let you know all the details and then you get to be classmates with the DPC royalty, dr Barons. Ok, and I'll see you on the next episode of the Entremdi podcast. If you enjoy listening to the Entremdi podcast, you have to check out the Entremdi 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 on entremdicom forward slash call. That's entremdicom forward slash call. I can't wait to celebrate all the wins we can create together.