We opened the private practice for Dr. Hubs 5 years ago! At the time we thought leasing the 750 square foot office and hiring two full time staff was a leap of faith. We had our logo, website and some business cards. We thought, if we build it they will come. We were so naive.
Let me tell you the truth, the phones didn’t ring for weeks…. I never thought we’d be where we are now. Back then we only had an 18 month old baby girl. That tiny office felt like a mansion. I remember sourcing most of the furniture from consignment shops and scoring artwork and accessories at HomeGoods and thrift shops. It felt homey and welcoming. We knew we wanted a patient experience that was concierge style and comfortable, not clinical.
Those first few years weren’t easy. I remember making a lot of mistakes in regards to marketing (and staffing, but let’s not go there right now). Figuring out how to market such a delicate and personal business like plastic surgery is not easy. If you do what everyone else around you is doing then you’re just incestuous and that’s not helping anyone. We wanted to be different but we still needed to get our name out there. To make it harder, the Charlotte area has the highest number of plastic and cosmetic surgeons per capita only behind Las Vegas. Y’all, that’s a lot of competition.
Somehow we bumbled along and found our way. Patients were happy and referred other patients. Our website gained traction with Google. And I started taking social media more seriously. I started this blog and really dove headfirst into Instagram as our main platform. And slowly we saw growth. After two years in our small starter office we needed more space so we took on another office suite in the same building…one office for surgery and the other office for skin treatments. We knew it wasn’t a long term solution but boy were we excited to have the space to grow a bit more.
By year four we had a lease signed for a new space and had big plans for renovation and expansion. It was surreal. We leased a 7,000 square foot space with room for 2 OR’s and 7 treatment rooms for skin, a huge waiting room and a space for retail skincare. And it was in the perfect location. Getting through that renovation was perhaps the biggest challenge we had faced yet. It was expensive, there were multiple delays and it was extremely frustrating to be stuck in those tiny offices when we so desperately needed to be in the big new office.
What we put into that new office compared to the first was drastically different. Marble floor tile, fancy wallpaper, custom ordered furniture, artwork shipped in from California, designer chandeliers that required special support cables. It took all we had to build that office and by the time we moved in we had 13 employees!
From the outside you could look at our growth and success and assume it’s been a joy ride. I will tell you these 5 years have gone by quickly but every single day has been hard work. We’ve had long days (and nights). A lot of tears, fear of losing it all, and lots of money invested. In these first five years we’ve learned some things that I wish we knew when we started.
- The right staff makes a huge difference.
- If something or someone isn’t working out, it’s okay to cut it loose (after a fair test period).
- Not everything needs to be original.
- Create balance where you need it.
- Don’t forget to pay yourself.
I’ve spent the past few weeks truly reminiscing on the past 5 years. Some things can’t even be put into words. What we do is so personal. What we do feeds our kids. What we do pays our staff and feeds their kids. What we do is our life.
If my boss (ahem Dr. Hubs) asked me where I saw myself in 5 years I’d say this:
Sitting right here beside you.