Yes, it’s true. I started my dental practice from scratch without taking any practice loans. I’m not talking about student loans, I have a boatload of those. Its actually because of my insane student debt that I decided I do not want to get further in debt by taking a business loan.
I’d like to take some time and share with you exactly how I was able to do that.
I’m now a little over a year into starting my practice. And until now, I think I would have been too self-conscious to share my experience. It hasn’t been easy and there have been many moments where I wondered if I would just close up shop. These moments are humbling. No one wants to share these kinds of “failures.”
Often, we adopt a “fake it till you make it” mentality, which has its benefits but I think being transparent is more liberating and allows you to grow faster.
By opening up and talking to others about the struggles of opening a new business, I’ve had a chance to hear other people’s stories and struggles. As it turns out, everyone goes through it!
Rather than waiting until I “make it” to share my experience, I’ve decided to just share my journey.
So, let’s backtrack to 3 years ago. This is what I did first. And it has made a tremendous difference.
Make your site waaaay before your practice
When I was in residency I made my practice website. Yes, I had no real clinic yet, but I made a website that offered information about me and about dental implants and the All on 4 procedure. I strongly recommend that you do this too even if you don’t plan on opening your own office anytime soon. You never know when some good info about yourself online will come in handy. If people can google you, they are more willing to trust you.
If you are looking to open your office right away and don’t have a site yet, make that priority numero uno. Do that right NOW. It is insanely simple and compounds benefits the longer you have it up and running.
Keep in mind I have no special web design skills. I bought a domain at Goddady.com for like $90 and use their drag-and-drop web site builder. Make sure to think of 1-2 procedures that you want to emphasize for your practice. Maybe it’s teeth whitening. Maybe its invisalign or sleep dentistry or whatever. Pick 1 or 2 things and make a sub-page specifically about those topics. These pages must have really good text-based content about the topics.
If you have an idea of the city you want to practice in, make sure to include the name of the city in the text as well. Something like, “Are you looking for invisalign braces in Dallas?” You can even make the name of your subpage, “Invisalign Dentsit in Dallas”
You cannot copy anyone else’s content (Google may penalize your site and drop your ranking) Keep your reader in mind. They won’t benefit from some superficial discussion of the topic. Give them the behind the scenes information. Give them more than they get anywhere else. If you are extra motivated, make a short “Patient’s guide to _______” on that topic and provide it as a free download. Next go find a youtube video about that procedure and add it to the site. Then add some informative pictures.
Go to the meta tags on your page (this is easy on Godaddy) and add some of the keywords you want to rank high for.
Don’t wait until your page is perfect before publishing it. Publish it right away and just constantly update it.
Google will love you and you will see your website climb the ranks over the next year.
Google My Business
I registered my office with Google My Business. I used my parent’s dental office as the address and I got a telephone number from Google Voice and used this as my business line. I advise caution when messing with Google My Business before you have a physical location and permanent phone number because it can be a huge pain in the butt to change the contact information down the road.
My website is nothing special, but it always shows up on the first page of Google for the “dental implants” keyword.
This is how I was able to hit the ground running and working on the kind of cases I wanted right at the get-go. This was absolutely critical so that I could get the cash flow I needed to pay for renting an operatory and pay my assistant.
That’s all for now. Olivia is sleeping on my arm and I am getting sore LOL