Interview with Dr. George Huang
I’m intrigued by physician entrepreneurs, especially physician consultants. Today’s guest is a great example of a physician in a seemingly awesome career who chose to pivot out of medicine completely. He left a very lucrative field, plastic surgery, and moved into consulting. But it was not an easy transition. And we get to hear all about it in today’s fascinating interview.
However, before we get there, I want to announce a free online course that I just released. It’s called Top Resources for Landing an MSL Job. It’s designed to help you become a medical science liaison, a popular position in the pharmaceutical industry.
I chose to focus on this topic as my first course because it is a career open to both licensed and unlicensed physicians. The content comes from a paid course that I’m developing. Hence, the mini-course describes several of the critical resources you should access and how to use them in your pursuit of an MSL job.
Anybody thinking about a career as an MSL will get a boost by reviewing the course. You can access it be going to vitalpe.net/msllecture. You’ll need to simply provide your email address, and register on my Teachable account. My plan is to offer several other free courses over the coming months, as well as the complete paid version of my MSL course. Again, the link is vitalpe.net/msllecture to check it out for free.
From Plastic Surgeon to Practice Consultant
Let’s get back to my interview with Dr. George Huang. George completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He went on to do a general surgery residency at the University of Health Sciences – The Chicago Medical School, and a plastic surgery residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
After he retired as a board-certified plastic surgeon at the age of 40, he hung out his shingle as a professional business coach. But other than a “shingle,” he had no business cards, website, blog, business contacts, or success stories. Despite this, he created an annualized six-figure revenue stream in 73 days and then doubled it by the end of the year.
And now, with his guidance, systems, and strategies, others have achieved the same. Through his company, Freedompreneur M.D., George helps dedicated holistic physicians accelerate their reach, cash flow, and profitability.
Along the way, he co-authored a book that has been adopted by several business schools called Financial Statements Made Practical: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide. During our conversation, George describes how authoring a book unknowingly helped to launch his career as a consultant.
We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sole sponsor of this podcast.
The UT PEMBA is the longest running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike other programs, which typically run 1 – 1/2 to 2 years, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.
University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. While in the program, you'll participate in a company project, thereby contributing to your organization.
Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they've become entrepreneurs and business owners.
By joining the University of Tennessee physician executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to advance your career. To find out more, with no obligation, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or go to vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
Slow Practice Start-Up
George couldn't get any business loans when he first established his plastic surgery practice. So, he used high-interest credit cards. Within two years, George was struggling financially.
“It was terrible. I knew nothing about running a practice. I felt embarrassed and humiliated. My confidence was at an all-time low. I should have been clinically depressed, but I wasn't for whatever reason. It was a very dark time.”
Fortunately, George was able to avoid filing bankruptcy by studying marketing, money management, and business operations. And it's what led to his later becoming a practice consultant.
Switching to Cosmetic Surgery to Pay the Bills
George was offered a contract in Beverly Hills to do cosmetic surgery. But, he wasn't interested in fighting insurance carriers over cosmetic procedures. “I wanted to do the reconstructive side, not the glitzy cosmetic side.”
Furthermore, as he did more cosmetic surgery to make ends meet, the less happy he became. The healthcare system wasn't what he expected. “I wasn't burned out. I was disillusioned. If I'm not excited about it, how good am I really going to be at it?”
He felt trapped and needed to find a way out, despite the financial, mental, physical, and emotional sacrifices already made. “I just knew deep inside that this wasn't the right path for me, but I didn't know what was next. I didn't have a plan for leaving and I just knew, ‘I'm done. I'll figure it out’.”
Instinctively, George knew he wasn’t throwing away his career and medical education. Rather, he viewed it as moving forward.
“I would not trade the life experiences that I gained from medical education, and residency training, and being in practice. If you think about it, we've taken care of people from all walks of life, from optimal health to serious disease and dying.”
That's the part that enriches your life that money can't buy. “I can complain about where medicine has gone… but there's still a significant humanistic side that definitely was worthwhile.”
Holistic Approach to Business and Practice Consulting
Initially, George taught general business and entrepreneurship skills. Eventually, he added financial management. “If you're running a business and you want to be successful, you have to keep track of the money side of things.”
George’s company, Freedompreneur M.D., has evolved to include educational workshops and software for entrepreneurs.
Transforming the Heart and Soul of Health Care
Even in his plastic surgeon practice, George had integrated holistic practices. “Although, I was criticized for it, at the time. It just made common sense to me. That's how I'm wired, to think holistically.”
Now, George’s specialty is working with holistic medical physicians. “I help to make their holistic medical practices more profitable.”
He selects strategies for business development based on their strengths and how they're wired. “I'm not a believer in a cookie cutter approach. I think that we have to be more thoughtful.”
Bigger Vision and Mission
George inherently understands the pain of not knowing how to run a practice. “I understand what it feels like to have the experience of being a fish out of water that you don't quite fit in…because you see the world differently. You see how health care could be conducted and carried out differently, but that's going against the mainstream.”
He also understands the financial struggle and worry. It’s rewarding and fulfilling to help others be successful. “Now, I'm equipped to do something about it, to help people do it. I like the fact that there are a lot more opportunities for testing both clinical and non-clinical options, for creating collateral streams of revenue.”
I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. You probably didn’t notice it, but our connection crashed during the interview. I completely lost my WIFI connection and had to reboot my modem near the end of the conversation. But George was very patient and we were able to complete the interview with enough time for him to make it to his next appointment. Thanks, George!
To learn more about this holistic practice consultant, you can find links to the resources mentioned in today’s interview, and a transcript of the interview, by going to the show notes at vitalpe.net/episode090.
Wow – did you hear that? zero-nine-zero. We’re almost at episode 100. Hard to believe.
Check Out This New FREE Resource
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a free mini-course on how to become an MSL that you can find by going to vitalpe.net/msllecture. In it, I hit the major resources you should use to pursue this career. It’s the first of several free courses that are in the works.
Next Week's Interview
Please join me next week, when I speak with a company CIO, entrepreneur and informaticist. Until then, keep the faith!
Links for today's episode:
- Dr. George Huang’s Email
- Freedompreneur M.D.
- Physicians Helping Physicians
- Michelle Mudge-Riley
- Financial Statements Made Practical: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide
Thanks to our sponsor…
Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at vitalpe.net/physicianmba.
I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.
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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business.
Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.
The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career.
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