A warm summer evening in 2020, I was working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Frustrated, angry, and tired, my 4 year-old son sat next to me, held my hand and looked deep into my soul, begging me to leave the job that had led to my burnout. No longer happy at home or at work, I'd lost the passion that had originally attracted me to a career of service.
Despite 10 years of opportunities to pivot into innovation and entrepreneurship, inspired by multiple challenges as a patient with asthma & obesity, caregiver for my son who was born pre-term or my dad during his terminal cancer, and health professional who saw problems across healthcare and public health, it was my personal burnout and my son's plea that eventually changed everything. I was determined to help fellow Changemakers and Health Professionals prevent and overcome burnout, while improving their mental health.
With a mortgage and childcare responsibilities, I couldn't burn the boats and go all in. Neither did I have the funds, nor the tech or business expertise. In fact, I'd never sold a thing in my life. I actually hated selling, until a mentor helped me change my perspective and began seeing sales as a service. I was also afraid of what my colleagues, friends, and family would think. What if I failed entirely? That same mentor helped me see the cost of inaction.
That's why I took a part-time role, giving me the freedom to gain the business and marketing expertise that should have been taught way sooner in my career, while continuing to cover my living expenses. I actually love my day job as a public health physician, but working long and intense hours full time, plus the on-calls, was no longer for me. Twenty-five years of education and training to improve population health was making me sick! I didn't want to create a BUSYness, with bureaucracy, emails, and meetings galore. I wanted to create a business that solved all the problems I saw in my day job, as well as all the pains that I see Founders feel with their start-ups.
Although I thought I was going to help improve the health & wellbeing of Changemakers, I began to see a common theme amongst the majority of Health Entrepreneurs. Most felt inspired to create their business following a personal experience with their own healthcare journey. Yet I also saw 3 core problems:
Most Founders were not creating optimal value propositions, despite their lived experience, often not even scratching the surface of what they could truly solve.
Almost all Entrepreneurs had a tough time securing funding, navigating and influencing the health sector, recruiting a strong team, and most importantly, evangelical customers.
Even if they didn't say it publicly, pretty much every Changemaker was struggling to keep up with the mounting work involved to grow a business, feeling overwhelm and stress, but sometimes simply stuck when things weren't going to plan, to the point of giving up on their dream.
All this, combined my 25 years of international education, training, and experience across healthcare, public health, business, and education, eventually led me to launch The Entrepreneur's Doctor and create Startup Therapy.
Here's the best part... now that I work part-time in a creative role, I have harmony between work, business, and family life. I can work when and where I wish, taking a day or week off without asking for anyone's permission. If an idea comes to mind, I'm free to test it out immediately with the tools at my disposal, without going through layers of approvals or long sales cycles. Most importantly, I've created a business that serves me well, and since November 2020, I've been smiling again, regaining my passion for public health service. I'm able to be a dad and husband for my family. Rather than feeling overwhelmed at work, I love what I am doing, helping countless people improve their health and wealth. I genuinely feel fulfilled because I see people's lives transform around me.