MY JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR
CHILDHOOD & COLLEGE
I’ve always had a competitive nature. I was a competitive wrestler for over 13 years and although my parents did not have the time nor the financial means to fully support my aspiration, I was lucky to have a good friend, whose Dad would pick me up for every wrestling match during weekends.
I think is spawned my early desire to be able earn my own money to fund my interests. As a middle schooler I began by selling my own products and services. I started with the proverbial lemonade stand, then began making music CDs and selling them when I was 12 years old, I built websites, fixed home computers, and even scaled up to flipping houses as a young adult.
Coming from a small town few believed I would make it too far in life, not even make it through college. But with my Spanish teacher’s help and support, I applied and was admitted into Rochester Institute of Technology, I spent two years as an IT major, but ultimately decided to change my major and earned my BS in Hotel and Resort Management in 2005. During this time and after graduation I was working at a pancake house, after graduating I was promoted to a management position, and had to face the reality that most likely I would not be the hotel manager of the 5-star hotel like I had dreamed of during school. In hind sight, I didn't feel like that was supposed to be my journey anyways.
I CHOSE A CAREER PATH THAT WAS GOING TO PUSH ME TO MY LIMITS...
I quickly realized I did not want to be working in the restaurant business for the rest of my life. Sure I was a "manager," but I was also performing all the other jobs around restaurant, I decided to go back to school and pursue the most challenging specialization in nursing, I wanted to become a nurse anesthesiologist (CRNA). This advanced nursing degree has extremely rigorous requirements just to get be able to apply to the program. It requires years of critical care experience and an abundance of prerequisite science-based course work before I could even think about applying. Of course, that didn’t stop me. I decided to put all I had into it in order to make it happen. After seven years of hard work and endless studying, I finally became a Board Certified CRNA. I accepted my first position at a hospital in Orlando, FL. After acquiring a year of experience working in an anesthesia care team model, I decided was time to move on and keep growing.
GETTING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
My wife and I made the move to Albuquerque for a position that set me up for a fantastic growth opportunity. During the next two and a half years I worked as the sole anesthesia provider on the labor and delivery unit covering 24 hour in-house call. Getting out of my comfort zone and working as an independent anesthesia provider was not an easy thing to do but I am glad I did it, because it got me ready for what was about to come.
I am a very independent person with tons of ideas, so I knew I had to do something that would help me achieve true professional freedom. For me this meant not working for someone else the rest of my life and having full control over my schedule and earning potential. I always had a interest in business, so I started reading all the books I could, I listened to all the podcasts I came across and learn as much as possible about business and entrepreneurship.
MY LIFE TOOK AN INTERESTING TURN - A Physician CONSULTED WITH ME ON AN ANESTHESIA QUESTION
Out of the blue, an ER physician in Texas gave me a call. He was starting a ketamine clinic and wanted to pick my brain. Of course, I was very knowledgeable about ketamine because I used it extensively as an anesthesia provider, but at that time I’d never heard of ketamine being used for treatment-resistant depression or chronic pain. That set me on an intense year long quest where I consumed all the research I possibly could related to the use of ketamine for mental health and chronic pain. After painstakingly studying the literature it became very obvious that ketamine therapy was both safe and highly effective. It was around this time that I thought back to a period when my mom had suffered greatly for several years from intractable depression. I had felt so horrible not to be able to help her and I knew that many others were suffering in the same way.
This was my deep rooted 'WHY' behind opening a KETAMINE THERAPY Practice
It was the first 'real' business that I started and its mission was to help patients suffering from treatment resistant depression, PTSD and chronic pain through the use of ketamine infusion therapy.
The results were astounding and transformational for my patients. It was not unusual for patients and families to leave the clinic with tears of joy and relief running down their faces. In some cases, the life-changing effects of this treatment were immediate. It was very touching for my wife and I to receive hugs of true gratitude from patients and their families. Some of whom I still remain in contact with today.
THE CLINIC WAS A SUCCESS FROM THE GET-GO
The ketamine clinic grew fast from the very beginning. Within a few months, we had to build out additional clinic space to treat more patients. There was tremendous demand. Part of the reason was because there were so many patients unable to obtain relief with more traditional treatments, the second reason was our affordable prices. We even had patients traveling across country to get to our facility. We were New Mexico's 1st and only Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist owned ketamine therapy practice. Our lean -start up model allow use to offer low-cost ketamine infusions which put this novel treatment option into reach for veterans and others who struggled and where desperate to find relief.
SERVING IN THE MILITARY FOR NAVY RESERVES
I am proud to be American and I can't express enough my gratitude to live in and serve a country like the United States. During my 9+ years as an Officer in the Navy I have learned a lot, met incredible people, and had the opportunity to take on challenging leadership positions. I even spent two years with a Marine Corps Unit, the 4th Medical Battalion, where I was the anesthesia provider on Forward Resuscitative Surgical Team. Currently, I still serve in the Navy and am assigned to the Operational Health Support Unit in Orlando, FL.
CONSULTING & TRAINING MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
While seeing success as a clinic owner, I was present on social media and spent time interacting with other healthcare professionals who were interested in learning more. Over the course of several months, I received dozens of questions related to how to start and operate a ketamine therapy practice. In fact, I was spending hours on the phone and answering emails helping other practitioners understand the steps I had taken as I had opened my clinic. As all keen entrepreneurs do, I spotted an opportunity, a need for education regarding this novel type of practice, this is how the Ketamine Academy was born. I created an online course and coaching program that provides all the content needed to learn the art, science, business of ketamine therapy. To date, this course has helped educate and certify over 800 medical professionals.
Over time it became clear to me that my true mission is to help other health professionals on their road to professional freedom through business ownership. After all, medical training is not business training. Today, I spend most of my time coaching healthcare entrepreneurs on how to successfully start and grow their own businesses. Whether the goal is to start a private practice, that specializes in IV nutrition or ketamine therapy, or to start and grow an online education business, I have the expertise and resources to get others get there. In fact, I have had the honor of helping hundreds of nurses, physicians and other healthcare providers find success on their entrepreneurial journey.
In 2019, I decided to fill the educational void that existed so I launched a new innovative podcast that focused exclusively on the topic of healthcare entrepreneurship. This podcast is called the Healthcare Entrepreneur Academy Podcast and it can be found on most major podcasting apps. On this podcast I aim to educate, motivate, and inspire other healthcare professionals on their journey. I interview successful healthcare entrepreneurs who share their stories and advice for success. I also share my own journey and tactical advice on my popular Tactical Tuesday episodes.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
By now, you know I’ve always got big aspirations in mind. While I was setting up the clinic, I began work on my MBA course work. I started a part-time MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship in 2016 and I just recently graduated in December of 2019. The next box to check is a doctorate degree, which is now in progress.
Healthcare entrepreneurship and business have become my obsession. Helping other medical professionals become entrepreneurs gives me incomparable satisfaction and fulfillment. The culmination of my experiences in business and in healthcare have launched me in this amazing direction and I have never been happier or more fulfilled. I encourage you to seek out the things that bring you joy, whether it involves entrepreneurship or not, life is short and we all need to Stop Existing And Start Living. Thank you for reading and taking some time to get to know more about my journey, I truly wish you the best in all your endeavors and in life.