Growing up surrounded by entrepreneurs, Mike has ventured into business building while still working as forensic scientist. He started a dental practice with his wife, which has 7 employees and been running for 14 months! He also blogs.
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1. Please tell us a little about yourself in a few sentences.
Hi all! My name is Mike and I write at MikedUp Blog! In addition to the blog, I run our family business: a 7-employee dental office owned by my wife (the dentist). We are about 14-months into this journey and we’ve had some difficult times but thankfully we’ve put in some hard and intentional work – and that has led to some positive results.
2. What did you do before you started your own business? If you are still employed full-time, please share a little but about what you do in your day job.
On top of the blog and running the business, I work full-time as a forensic scientist for a large state agency. Here’s my line when I’m testifying: “I analyze items of evidence from crime scenes for the potential presence of a DNA profile. Compare profiles from evidence to known standards, make conclusions, write reports, and sometimes testify in court.” It’s an interesting job…
3. Who were some influencers in your decision to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve had entrepreneurs around me my entire life, which has been a great benefit. My mom had started two businesses from our kitchen table. One when I was around 5 and the other when I was about 16. Seeing her go through that must’ve lit a fire in me because I’ve been telling people I’d be an entrepreneur my entire life, but until recently I had no idea what the actual business would be… Then the best thing happened – I met my wife 🙂
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4. How did you prepare to take the leap both financially and in your business? Please reference what you saved, if you learned new skills, if you moved, etc.
Oh my – this probably requires a post. Thanks for the idea ;). We very much learned as we went. There was about 1 year of lead-up time from the day my wife and I decided we’d buy a practice to the day we actually pulled the trigger. In that time, we cut back to minimum payments on student loans and the mortgage, stopped contributing to our retirement (I know), and did everything we could to maximize cash available. Turns out there’s never enough but we found a way to make it work out (handshake deals, negotiations with contractors, vendors, landlords, etc.).
5. If you quit your job, were you already making money on the side before you decided to quit your job? Tell us about that. If you are still working full-time, what would make you leave your job?
At this point, it’s a simple math problem. My job provides health insurance and great benefits. I’m really diving into the blog (started Aug 1 I’m publishing every day in August) and we’ve been working to grow our business. Once the income is offset, we’ll have the discussion.
6. Who else works on your business with you? Did you hire anyone to help? When did you decide to bring that person on and how did you find them?
It’s my wife and I and 6 other employees. This team is very close to us and nearly family. Selection, training, and continual development have been critical to forming and maintaining such great relationships. As a result, we were able to earn 150 positive reviews (as a dental practice…) for our first full year in business. I’m crazy proud of that.
7. Can you share any financial details about your business?
We have loans for the business purchase as well as the new construction of our new office (we were forced to move at month 8 because we couldn’t secure a long-term lease with the old landlord, and the bank needed that to give us the loan. We had to get creative). That was a financial experience and for a few months, we were seriously considering selling our house to make it through.
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8. What was your worst day so far as an entrepreneur and what was your best day? What happened on those days?
Worst day as a business owner was when one of our best employees came to me with her 2-weeks notice. Here’s the story of what happened. (Spoiler – I stole her back and we’ve each never been happier). Best day was when we made the final cash payment to our contractors and equipment suppliers for our new office (a month ago), and we knew that whatever happens from this point on, we wouldn’t have the looming hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars payments hanging over our heads. We had made it through.
9. What is one small “trick” or piece of advice that you have learned about reaching customers or making sales? Please be specific and provide something actionable for us.
I wrote a post about exactly what we did to grow 18.5% and earn those 150 reviews in year 1 – there’s no trick or quick fix. The most important thing that you can do, the foundation of our business model, is to treat our customers better than they’ve been treated anywhere else. What that means, you have to decide for yourself. We work on this every day.
It is not easy to start your own dental practice so props to Mike and his wife. Have you started your own business? Share it with us below.
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