439: Dr. Megan Morrison | Market Ridge Dental

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Guest: Megan Morrison

Practice Name: Market Ridge Dental

Check out Megan's Media:

Instagram: @marketridgedental


Other Mentions and Links:

Wells Fargo


Practice Real Estate

HEB - Grocery







Ideal Practices

Host: Michael Arias

Website: The Dental Marketer

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Join this podcast's Facebook Group: The Dental Marketer Society

My Key Takeaways:

  • Great team culture is key. Patients can tell if there is tension between members!
  • Sometimes growing slow and steady is the right path if it means good work life balance.
  • Minimizing waiting time in the lobby and greeting patients with a smile goes a long way.
  • Sometimes you're more of a therapist than a dentist. Help patients feel more comfortable by overcoming their dental fears.
  • You will never feel 100% ready. Sometimes you just have to take the leap!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Megan, how's it going?

Megan: It's going great. Thanks for having me today. Excited to be talking to you. No, thank

Michael: you for, did you just get off were you just finished right now with your last patient or it's been a

Megan: while or, I did.

I finished up about five and rushed home and did something with my hair and here we are. Was

Michael: it a busy day today, ?

Megan: It was a busy day, which is a good thing as a startup. So yes, thankfully it was busy.

Michael: how long have you been open for it with your startup?

Megan: Yep. We have been open for a year and a half, so we opened in May of 2021,

Michael: man.

Okay, so rewind a little bit. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about your past, your present, and how'd you get to where you are today?

Megan: Yep. So I did dental school in Dallas. So I graduated in 2017. I practiced once, I graduated in Dallas as an associate for, a couple years, two or three years. And then my parents had moved to San Antonio.

So that, that had always been the long-term goal was actually for my mom during my practice. So once they were in San Antonio, we knew that's where we had to be. So me and my husband moved. where I associated here for about a year and a half, and then Covid hit. So I decided when we were all off during that six weeks, what better time than now to start planning and, and getting the startup going.

So that's what I did. I, I spent that six weeks planning and thinking about what kind of practice I wanted to have, what I want him to do. And a year later

Michael: we were open. Okay. So you, yeah. We'll rewind a little bit more. Okay. You said you wanted to move into, San Antonio, cuz that's where your parents, Yeah,

Megan: so my parents, they had moved here four or five years before I did. So I'm from Amarillo, so they were in Amarillo. My dad has a cousin that lives here in San Antonio and they do all their hunting and fishing and all their guy stuff together. So, they moved down here so that they could do all that stuff together.

But my mom, she had started working in dental offices about the time that I started dental school, so that was always the plan for her to run my practice. Mm-hmm. . So I had to get where they.

Michael: she like a, a ma, like a consultant or something, or? No, she's just,

Megan: no, so she just, she's my front office.

So she runs, she's my front desk, everything. She does all my insurance. She answers the calls. She's my reception, my office manager, my bookkeeper, she does everything. CPA also. But, she, she runs my office. So she started working, doing the same thing in other offices about the same time I started dental.

Michael: Wow, that's really cool. Yeah. Okay. That's nice. It's, I thought you were from like, because you said you're in San Antonio, you've only been there for three years. I thought you weren't from Texas, so you should know where and everything is at cause. Okay,

Megan: so South Texas is a whole other country, man.

It's up in the Panhandle's, a whole other country by itself, so it's That's true. I'm

Michael: still learning, but yeah. Yeah, that's true. That's true. Okay, so then San Antonio, Dallas area. Yeah. You didn't wanna open your practice in Dallas?

Megan: No, I didn't. I enjoy living there. I think Dallas is a really fun place to be.

But it is super saturated. I mean, I wouldn't say here is too much better. But the most important thing to me was to be being your family. So that was definitely, that outweighed being in Dallas where I, I probably like Dallas a little bit better than I like San Antonio. But being near my family and having my mom to lean on and help me run the practice was a lot more important.

Michael: Okay. What did you learn in your associateship while you were only an associate for like one year, right? You said?

Megan: No, so I graduated in 2017, so Oh, okay. I've been outta school for five or six years now, so, I associated up until the last year and a half. But I assume your question was what did I learn in my associate positions?

Is that what your question was? How many

Michael: associate positions did you.

Megan: Let's see. I had two in Dallas, one that only lasted a year, and then one I stayed in up until I moved, and then one here in San Antonio. So three altogether, the one that only

Michael: lasted a year.

Megan: Why? Yeah. So that one it was, Private practice ish.

So he had three different practices. he run it more like a dsso. And I think any, any associate who's been in that position kind of knows how that goes. But I, I think for me, in that particular office, kind of what made me wanna leave it was it was a newer office and it was just really, really slow.

So I didn't feel like there was opportunity for growth there for me. I was sitting there seeing maybe one patient a day. It was really boring. And I just didn't have the opportunity to practice my skills and have that growth. And so I, I found something, something. .

Michael: Okay. And so in your associateships, what systems Yeah.

Or things did you learn that you're like, I'm gonna take this into my practice. And then what stuff did you, I guess, learn where you're like, I never, ever wanna do this with my team or my

Megan: practice? Yeah, yeah. So my second job, was in Lewisville. That practice was awesome. I really love the doctor that I worked for.

I think she had a really great team culture. And that was one of the things that I definitely took away and wanted to have in my office, was a really great culture within the staff. Patients know if there's tension or if it's, if it's a weird vibe when you come in, the staff don't like each other.

There's, all those. Negative things and negative energy. So that was really important and a really positive that I took away from her practice was really good team culture. I think my last associate job here in San Antonio, I learned the importance of what, how important leadership is and good leadership is, in that practice.

I, I. many chiefs, you know, I think there was too many bosses and, and too many different opinions. And, um, when that happens, it's hard to have a clear focus and direction. And everybody up underneath feels that, and I think. A really good one. Solid direction and focus the way we're pushing and the way we're moving.

I kind of learned how important that was, and just treating patients well. I will say I think my last two associate jobs, I didn't have the really bad horror stories that a lot of associate dentists do. I think my first one was probably my worst one. Uh, but my last two, I really don't have a ton of complaints.

I think I was really, really fortunate. . But I learned probably more good things than bad things. But I think you can always take things, situations, and, and improve upon them. So that's always my goal.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. Gimme an example of that, leadership style, right? There's too many chiefs. Yeah. So. .

Megan: This is super specific and I dunno what I wanna call them out, but I guess I be as specific as I can be.

Mm-hmm. , um, and that, that particular practice, they had five different owners. So even for me as the associate there, I can think of a couple different times where one owner would call me, Hey, we need to do things this way. and then not an hour later a different owner would be like, Hey, no, that's not right.

We need to do it this way. So I never felt like I had clear direction of, okay, how do you wanna be doing things? Do we want to set up the schedule in this way or do we wanna do it this way? And so that was for me, I just wanted to be able to call the shots and, okay, this is how we're gonna. And not be felt like I was being pulled in opposite directions or trying to please two different or five different mm-hmm.

you know, Owners and who were kind of pulling in all different directions, because they really didn't get along and have, have a unified vision for things. So that made it tough.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. Those owners aren't getting along. Then it's gonna be like, yeah, Megan, why didn't you do it my way? Or Why didn't you, I told you at this.

You know what I mean? Yeah. So, yeah, and you're the scapegoat. It's easy to blame. That doesn't go bad. Right. So then Yeah. In, in your. . What is good leadership?

Megan: For me, good le leadership, I think. Is having good integrity. I think it's having good clarity. And I think my particular style of leadership I think is a little bit different from people.

Like for instance, I am always in my room turning over rooms, cleaning rooms, going in the back, running instruments. I am working beside my team. I don't feel like I'm hierarchical working above my team. Mm-hmm. , That's just my style. I feel like there's no time. I always answer the phones if, if, you know, if I'm there and nobody else is, is around, or if they're all busy and I, I wouldn't have time, then I'm gonna be the one that picks up the office phone.

And patients are surprised by that. Like, oh, you're answering your phone. Like, yeah, I was the one that was available, so I'm answering the phone. But that's my particular style. I think I prefer to work beside my team and along with them rather than above them. But that's, that's me. That's my style.

Michael: Yeah.

Like, With them shoulder to shoulder kind of thing. Right, right. I like that. Yeah, exactly. Rewind a little bit, and you said you felt like one of them didn't have great team culture. So in your mind, what's what's really great team culture?

Megan: Yeah, so in my office we are always. Cracking jokes and we're laughing and we're happy to be there.

And we join and genuinely enjoy each other's company. Like there's not like, oh gosh, here comes Dave. We hate him, or whatever. It's, this silly team, gossip or the, I always call it like the hens and the hens nest. They're, you know, somebody who comes in, they're feather feathers, get ruffled.

Like, I hate that stuff. It's just so silly to me. . So just that, that great team culture of everybody's gonna help out, including myself, whatever the task is that needs to be, get, get done, we're all gonna pitch in. The job is gonna get done. And we're gonna have fun while we're doing it.

Michael: So it's kind of like nobody's above anybody.

We just, yeah. All gotta work together. Has that ever occurred so far to you where there's like a team member in your team where they're like, you just didn't feel it, instinct or that intuition where you're just like, it doesn't, it's not gonna continue to go good.

Megan: Yeah, it has, and that was probably one of my, third employee that I had.

And it just, it wasn't a good team fit. And it was kind of one of those things where I'm like, I don't enjoy being here. I don't, you know, it's just, personalities clash. And, so yeah, we ended up having to part ways, which was really tough. And I'm sure everybody who owns a practice is gonna have to do that eventually. I hated doing it, but it had to be done to protect the culture. So,

Michael: yeah. What was, uh, what was happening?

Megan: It, it was really, it was a lot of things with particularly, um, I. , their assisting skills weren't quite up to par and patients were complaining about kind of how rough that particular assistant was.

we had several complaints about him and then personality wise, I think he was just kind of driving a lot of my other employees, kind of Gracie, just, it was just personality clashes. Nothing that he was particularly doing wrong in that terms other than the assisting was quite not up to par. But yeah, that's kind of where that one was at.

Michael: Yeah. Do you w do you ever feel. I could have let go of that person sooner.

Megan: Yeah. I think we probably all feel like we probably could have let go of those people sooner, but I tend to be give people lots of chances,

Michael: yeah, yeah, definitely. I guess looking back now from that experience, what would you do differently?

Like telling yourself now, like Megan, the same thing's happening right now, nip it in the bud, or what, what would you.

Megan: Yeah, I think that's right. I mean, I think we all have that gut instinct of this is just not gonna work in the long term. And listening to that instinct and, and acting on it sooner rather than later because I think being miserable in your own practice or feeling like that you're not comfortable in your own practice or that you have to.

I don't know that you're just not liking being anymore. That's just miserable. So acting on those gut instincts and feelings sooner rather than later because it's gonna have to happen and might as well just get it over with and move on.

Michael: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Okay. And then rewind a lot. Have you always wanted to own Sure.

Uh, dental practice or this was just something where you're like, I can't find something that I want. So, yeah,

Megan: so I think before I started dental school, that was my goal is to own a practice. . I had a lot of life events happen during dental school. I had big major surgery. I was married and divorced, and there's a lot of life that happened in dental school for me.

So by the time I was done just on top of the. Hectic schedule, how hard dental school is on top of that. I was just tired by the end of dental school. So I just wanted to get out and work and make some money and have a more work life balance for a while so I didn't hop right into ownership, which I don't think many do right outta dental school,

But I took that five or six years and worked and then kind of refocused and, and started back on on my. , did you

Michael: ever pause during dental school or no?

Megan: No, I didn't.

Michael: I didn't. That's a lot. That's a could. Could I ask Megan, like, what was the

Megan: surgery? Yeah, so I have Crohn's disease, so I had, I got really, really sick during my very first year of dental school, so I dropped to about 108 pounds.

I was just very, very thin. and I had a partial small battery section. I think it was actually the week of finals during my first semester. So the dental school was great. They were really accommodating and let me reschedule all those finals to do them like the week before I came back for the second semester.

But I think anybody who's gone through the first semester of dental school would probably agree. It's just, it was so hard and so tough that there was no way I was gonna repeat it. And I was like, we're gonna push forward. We're gonna keep going. Cause there was no chance I was gonna wanna do that again.

Michael: And in that time, is that when you were also going through like the divorce and everything or,

Megan: so I was, nope. So that was after, so I was married after that, so mm-hmm. , after my first year I got married and then I was divorced, I guess halfway through my third year. So I was married for about a year and a half.

So yeah, it was a lot of life.

Michael: So you got married and divorced in that?

Megan: During dental school, . Yeah. So I was married after my first year in, divorced during my third year. So yeah, that is a lot

Michael: of life. That is a, it

Megan: is a lot of life. .

Michael: how does that, I mean, how does that make you feel? But like, why do you think all this was happening?

Megan: Uh, gosh, I mean, Oh, why, why did I get divorced? Why

Michael: happen? Like, do you feel like, because I feel like with, with, you know, like stress flaring up and everything like that, maybe Yeah. Put a pause on dental school or put a po, you know what I mean? You're like, I need a, I need to focus on my health kind of thing.

Cuz that was a big surgery. Yeah.

Megan: yeah, I see where you're going. I think it was very life changing for me. All of that happened happening between the surgery and marriage and divorce. For me to kind of slow down a little bit and to not let all the pressure of everything get to me quite so much.

I think that's obviously a lot of stress in dental school for everybody. And then on top of all those other things, it was a lot, a lot of stress for me. . So I think for me it was a really big lesson of, hey, enjoy the small moments. Take back, take a step back. Don't let life get quite so heavy all the time.

And just kind of enjoy it as you go. I think life is, life is short and you better enjoy it while you're here. So I really took a lot of lessons away from that to not quite get so, so bogged down with everything.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. That's good. Those are good lessons. Okay. And then now you're in your practice, right? Officially. . So yeah. Can we dive into the business part a little bit more? Yeah, let's do it. Okay. Awesome. So then your loan, did you go with a specific bank or how did that go? Yep, I went with Wells Fargo. Okay. Why'd you go with them?

Megan: So I. Looked at Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and at the time it was still pretty early Covid and Bank of America, I think was putting a pause on loans for a little while for general startups.

So really I only had really one option that I was looking into since Bank of America was pausing, uh, was Wells Fargo. But I was looking into those two specifically because they have, they do a lot of dental startup loans, and they have really good terms. For those loans. So they have a kind of a sliding scale of how you're paying that out.

So within the first year, your payments are smaller and they gradually get larger so that you're not really taking from your cash flow. Right on. So that's kind of why I was looking at those two options.

Michael: Okay. How much was the

Megan: loan for 500,000? Oh

Michael: man. And then the interest.

Megan: Interest on that, I wanna say it was in the high twos, like 2 7, 2 8, somewhere.

That's pretty

Michael: good. And then, so then in total, how much was your buildout?

Megan: I wanna say that was around the 200,000 mark. It may have been a little bit less, but I did have, I think, 90,000 in tenant improvement allowance, so that helped a lot too.

Michael: Yeah, that's really, really good. How did the build out process go? Was it smooth or was there major delays?

Megan: Yeah, I got super lucky. I think. I know in a lot of places there was a lot of delays and things were way behind, but in here in Texas, it ran exactly on time. I had zero delays. I think there was zero hiccups.

I was really fortunate.

Michael: Nice. Who was your Uh, yeah, I guess contractor construction.

Megan: I worked with MedTech, so I know they have offices and do a lot of medical buildouts. I don't know if they're just local to Texas, but I know they have multiple locations here in Texas, but that's who I went with.

Michael: Okay, and then how'd you find your location?

Megan: Yeah, so I did have real estate guys, so Practice real estate is who I worked with here in San Antonio, and they spotted, I wanna say it was maybe between six or eight locations that they kind of took me to. And we ran numbers and, and funny enough though, the location I ended up choosing my husband and I had kind of just driven around just.

Daydreaming and looking at spots. And that's one of the ones that we found. We like, oh, I really like this spot. And that's the first one that we went to and the real estate guys were taking me around. And that's where I fell in love with. And that's what stuck,

Michael: that's where you, is it in a location where, paint us a picture?

Like is it in the shopping strip or?

Megan: Sure. So there's a big shopping strip that's very close proximity, but there's like a big heb, so I don't know. That's a big grocery store that's here. I don't know where you, where are you at? . I'm in

Michael: LA but I know h e b. Okay.

Megan: Yeah. Yeah. So there's a big, yeah, there's a big h e b, uh, with a big shopping strip with a, and then I, right behind there is little individual professional buildings.

So I'm on the street that's like right behind there. I can see the h e b like curbside pickup right from my office, but kind of right behind there in little professional, individual, professional buildings.


Michael: Do you ever get a lot of h e B employees going?

Megan: Yeah, we've had some, a lot of people that are like, I was picking up my groceries and saw you guys over there.

But we've had some h e b employees, not a ton yet. But some.

Michael: Okay. Nice, nice, nice. I like that. Yeah. So then type of practice that you have right now, is it like all p p o or are you planning to go feed for a service or general specializing in something or how does it look? .

Megan: Yeah, so it's a general bread and butter dentistry.

I do a little bit of Invisalign, a little bit of aesthetic cosmetic kinda type stuff, but, uh, overall it's, it's just bread and butter dentistry family, you see everybody. We are PPO o I'm only in network with about four plans. But we take all p p o plans and I, I pretty much run the PPOs as if we were in network.

Now I'm sure that's getting in a whole bunny trail about insurance, but. , we do it a little bit differently. So like for our hygiene visits, I pretty much write off the difference, even if we're out of network. Except if their plan pays like $20 for cleaning and then I charge a small bid, but I write off a ton.

So kinda trying to find that balance between being in network with insurances and not, and being fair to patients. So, we're kind of finding that that happy middle ground there.

Michael: Do you let the patients know that, like, oh, we're just writing this offer. How do you let them. That we're

Megan: writing off. Yeah.

my mom texts them . Yeah. Okay, cool. We got your eob. Where, you know, that says you have this much Dr. Morrison's writing off, you don't have a balance. So

Michael: they know Nice. And they're pretty happy with that. And they're like, yeah, okay, cool. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Okay, I like that. And then we know your mom's one.

So how many employees do you have in your. .

Megan: Yeah, so we're still really small. So my mom is my front desk office manager, insurance person. She does all the front desk stuff. I have a hygienist, a full-time hygienist, and I have one assistant and me.

Michael: How is it like working with your

Megan: mom? It's awesome, but I also really get along with my mom.

I think you can't do it unless you really get along with that person. But we've, we've always been really close, like. . Yeah, we've always been super close. So, there was a small part of me that was worried about working with my mom and not knowing how that would be. I think you don't know how it's gonna be until you start doing it, but for us it's been amazing.

And I know there's somebody up front that's doing all of the, bookkeeping that I trust. And it's, it's been really great and I feel really fortunate that we get to spend these adult years together. I think that's really cool.

Michael: Yeah. Do you ever, has it ever happened, Megan, where it's one time where you're.

Now, mom, this is how I want it. Yeah, this is, and then she's like, no, Megan, trust me. I know how it's gonna work. And you're like, Ooh, you don't get it. Has that ever happened?

Megan: The first part, not the second part. So she is, , one of the humblest people you ever meet. Mm-hmm. . So I, there are plenty of times where I tell her, Hey, that's not right.

Or, Hey, let's do it this way. And her response is always, okay, great. Let's try it that way. She's, I, I can't say enough good things about her. She's amazing person, but she's so humble and she doesn't push back. And in that realm, she knows I'm, my say goes . Yeah. And, and of course she'll have opinions about things and I listen to those opinions.

But at the end of the day, she lets me do it the way I wanna do. .

Michael: Yeah. This level of respect her, that's nice. You know what I mean? Yeah,

Megan: for sure. There definitely is both, both ways. .

Michael: Yeah. Has there ever been a situation where you're like, no, mom, I wanna like this, and then, oops, the way you wanted it was wrong?

Megan: I think, yeah, she's definitely pushed back on certain things and I would actually say marketing was probably one of those themes. We worked with a marketing company at the beginning that. I don't know how to say this nicely. they definitely brought patients in. Mm-hmm. And that's really what we needed as a startup.

And so that was really awesome that we gave her, getting patients through the door. The way they were doing that was definitely not what I would call ideal or the way that I would want to do it. And she hated their marketing. She hated what they were doing and she let me know about it. And I think probably in long term she was right about that.

Michael: What was, uh, let me ask you this. What were they doing? No.

Megan: I feel like I'm gonna say this and you're gonna know exactly what I'm talking about, but I'll say it. So Facebook ads is their main, main way that they bring in patients.

That's their, their niche. Which I, I knew that from the beginning and they told me from the beginning, you know, we know it works. We are gonna write the ads the way we wanna write the ads, and we kind of just have to be okay with that. So, I had heard how successful they were about getting a patients in, and I know that's a really big stressor for a brand new startup.

How the heck are we gonna get patients through the door? We have bills to pay from day one and we gotta get those bills paid. So I, I kind of took the, took the leap there and, and signed up with them, knowing that it may not have been exactly how I wanted to do the ads or how I wanted to do the marketing.

So that being said their specific thing or their little niche is Facebook ads. So that's pretty much all that they do for marketing, advertising. But the way they word ads is somewhat. , Dr. Morrison is looking for 50 patients in the San Antonio area to help with their crown needs or for their denture needs.

And what it's really advertising is for patients that don't have, like insurance. It's advertising our membership plan, which does give them discounts. But it's worded in such a way that patients think we're giving away free dentistry. So that's what's peaking people's interest. it definitely felt a little bait and switchy. It felt that way to me, and I think it felt that way to send patients who were calling in, being like, Hey, did I win, did I win the free dentistry? And that's not what it was advertising, and it didn't say that anywhere, but I could, I could understand why patients thought that way.

So it was definitely attracting a certain group, but yeah. Which to me, I, I, I definitely moved away from as quickly as I could too, because a, I didn't. , it didn't feel true to who I wanted to be, who I wanted my practice to be. And I also felt like it was bringing up patients who genuinely had a really, really big need for dentistry.

And I'm just, as a startup, not in a position to provide free dentistry, unfortunately. I wish I could do that all day, and I, I have the heart to do that. I wish I could, but again, there's overhead to overhead to cover.

Michael: Yeah. Okay. And then your mom was the one who's like, Hey, let's, let's drop. But you were the one who was like, well, let's give it an extra week.

Or, or how, how did

Megan: that go? Yeah. I mean, so when you look at the number, I mean, we were really, really diligent about tracking who was coming in from what source. So if you pull up the numbers, they're bringing in people and they're, honestly, we're covering our bills. So it was kind of one of those things, it was kind of hard to pivot away from until we got a little bit more stable and got things up under our feet.

Hard to pivot away from that. But I, I did

Michael: when we could. Gotcha. If people reached out to you, probably would you let them know who it was or, yeah. Okay. So guys, if you guys wanna reach out to me,

Megan: then, and, and I'll say too though, to their defense, I think they're, I really actually did enjoy working with them, and I think they're really good people and they are good at bringing people in the door right away.

But I do think that you should know what you're getting into when you were getting into that. Mm-hmm. .

Michael: Mm-hmm. . So then how long did it take for you to get. .

Megan: Yeah. So, I mean, with their help, we were covering bills even two or three months into it. So we were covering bills pretty quickly. Now as we grew, overhead grew, so even now I'm still at the point of barely profitable.

Even a year and a half into it. . And I will say too, I think part of that falls on me in the sense of, I think could I spend more time getting out and doing ground level marketing? I probably could. But again, kind going, going back to that finding balance in life and not getting so stressed out and focused.

And that's, that's where I'm at in life. And I'm not gonna spend 24 hours a. on, on my business. I'm just not going to, so I'm, I'm okay with a little bit of a slower growth, which is kind of where we're at now, and it's a slow, steady, healthy growth. But am I, am I taking home the amount that I was making as an associate?

No, not even close. But I'm, I'm okay with that because I have a good balance in life and I get to spend time with my husband and our three dogs at the end of the day, and we get to be nerds in video game together. And, that's where

Michael: we. Oh. So if you don't mind me asking, what's the breakeven point, number wise, like you, in order to get here?

We're, we're good?

Megan: Yeah. Right now we're at about 40,000 a month. Okay.

Michael: And so that's where you're at right now? Like this is our break. You're a little bit above that. You, you said?

Megan: Our breakeven point is about 40,000 a month, so we're collecting maybe 41, 40 2000, like barely above it.

Michael: Okay, gotcha. Yeah. And.

That's, but you're doing the slow growth. Well, I think you're just growing great. I don't even think it's like slow growth, but you're growing great due to balance, right. At the same time. Yeah. Because what you've learned in the past. Yeah. How do you turn it off then Megan? cuz you're a business owner, right?

So it's not like, yeah. Going home and turning it off and then that's it. It's Friday, turning it off. That's it. Do you, yeah. Ever turn it off? . .

Megan: I, I think I'm fairly good at it. I think my phone is always by me, and if my patients text me or message me, I am responding to them. So that part I don't turn off.

I think, I think that's part of the, the beauty of my practice is that if, you know, if a patient is having an issue, I'm gonna respond to them. I'm not making them wait until the following workday or whatever. I'm, I'm gonna respond to them. Now if it's a scheduling issue, yeah, whatever, I'll, I'll respond to them on Monday.

But if they're having a, a. Tooth issue or something going on, I'm responding. So that part I don't turn off. But the rest of it, I think I'm fairly decent about turning off. I think it's always somewhere lurking in the back of your head there. I don't think it's always, I don't think it's probably ever possible for most people to completely turn it off.

. But yeah, like I said, me and my husband, we are, we're big old nerds. We'll come home and play our video games and kind of tune everything else out and, yeah. So I think it's important to enjoy your life and, or it is for me, so Yeah, that's, I do the best that I can.

Michael: Are you both playing games like in the same room, or does somebody go like in another room and you're like,

Megan: Hey, no, we have, yeah, I could, I could show you my setup right now, actually, we're at it, but we just built out my office.

I have my computer and he has his computer right next to me and we game.

Michael: Like you, have you built out a gaming office? Yeah, we did , , Mayhan. So you guys are like real what games?

Megan: we just started a new one. We, we played PC games, so we started ano, I dunno how to describe that one. It's a sort of a city building planning kind of sims esque, but you're not managing the people, you're managing the town.

It's like the 18 hundreds you're building this, the, the houses and the, I dunno, it's fun. But yeah, we play different computer. Okay. Oh,

Michael: I thought you had played the same one. Okay. No, nice. That's nice.

Megan: Okay, so yeah, yeah, no, we play the same one together, but I just mean different ones at different times. But this week, yes, we played together.

So we'll play like online co-op.

Michael: Ah, okay. Gotcha, gotcha. Okay. So then, right now, Ryan, a little bit back. You found your employees right? You have, how'd you find those employees? .

Megan: Yeah, so I think my two that I always go to is gonna be Dental Post, which I know is not everywhere. But in Texas it's pretty successful.

So Dental Post. And then Indeed, indeed is the other one that I've used. But I do think that I probably had more luck with dental posts than indeed, but I have found people through

Michael: both. And right now, the team you have, I mean obviously your mom, right? But like besides her, the team you have, would you say.

they're building blocks. Like they're, they're fantastic. I'm gonna build, they're my foundation. I'm gonna build on top of them kind of thing. Yeah,

Megan: absolutely. Yeah. I think I have a rockstar team right now. My assistant has been with me since opening, and he has been in dentistry for like 15 or 16 years now.

So he has been doing this for a really long time. He is really good at what he does. Yeah, he's, he's awesome. And then my hygienist is fabulous. Uh, she's an awesome team player. She's super fast, but really good at what she does. She's really good at communicating with patients. she'll jump in and, you know, if my other assistant's busy and she's gotten up and a new she'll hop in and assist me, like, we're all just really good team players, which is super important to me.

Michael: Nice. And how many days are you

Megan: open? So I just changed my schedule up this year, which I'm also super excited about to an alternated four week schedule. Hmm. So we'll work like Monday through Thursday one week, and then Tuesday through Friday the next week. So every other weekend we have a four day weekend, which is this weekend.

So, yeah.

Michael: So then well, what do you do on a four day weekend?

Megan: A whole lot of, nothing , it's the best. Or gaming. Gaming. I mean, that's nothing. So .

this weekend I actually do have a trip to Austin, planned for a wedding shower.

But yeah, usually nothing.

Michael: No, that's nice. Uh, whenever you come back from these like four day weekends, do you ever feel like you're, man, oh snap, I'm missing out. Or not missing out, but like, oops, uh, there's, I forgot to do that and this, and this slip my mind and all these things, right? Or do you come back and you're like, Refresh your mic, like almost like a creativeness kind of come back.

Megan: Yeah, so far the latter. Now we only started this in January, so it's still pretty new. But so far the latter. I feel like it has been really good, I think, for all of our mental health to have that little step away to kind of recharge batteries and not feel like we're just at the office constantly. So, so far it's been really positive.

Maybe you can check back with me again later this year and see if I still feel that way. . But so far I'm really enjoying

Michael: it's. Check back. You're like, we're on a five day,

Megan: we're off for five days, sleep better one day a

Michael: week, . One day a week. Oh my gosh. It's productive. So then right now, what system would you say is unique in your practice that you're really proud of?

Whether it's like the handoffs, new patient experiences, marketing, anything like that. What

Megan: systems would you say. . Yeah, I think I, I really do like our new patient experience. So, when patients come in, whoever is seating them, whether that's my hygienist or my assistant or myself, that patient gets a tour of the office.

When they're set down, not just new patients, but every patient we have. So I have TVs at the foot of the, the chair, and they're, I have like a little Canva that says, it's all blue and it says, welcome to Market Ridge Dental, and whatever their name is, welcome to our practice. Mm-hmm.

So it has their name up there at the foot. So they feel like, Hey, we, we care that you're here because we do. . And then the other thing that I think is super cool that we do with all of our new patients is that we scan them. So we do a digital scan of all of our patients. I have an IRO scanner, so, before I lean my patient back, I'm going through, you know, I'm pulling up the top teeth and I'm, I'm going through tooth by tooth and showing them their teeth and then go through the bottom teeth and I show them all their teeth and we look at the bite, so that they can see their teeth before I even lean them back.

cuz that's a super vulnerable position too. So I think that kind of, I'm, I'm sitting there chatting with them while I'm looking at their teeth. Hey, where are you from? What do you like to do? That kind of thing. Uh, just while I'm looking at the digital skin of their teeth. So I think it's kinda a, a good icebreaker and kind of a build trust moment before, before I even lean them back.

Michael: Hmm. How long are your new patient appointments?

Megan: Typically about an hour and a half. Okay.

Michael: And so, yeah, more. , that's when they're you're doing everything. The new patient experience. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And then normally, how many new patients are you getting a month?

Megan: So before I cut off my, my marketing company, we were doing about 40 to 50.

I'd have to look at my numbers to see, since we cut off the marketing what, what they were. But I do think they were a little bit lower, maybe 30, 35 right now. But before we cut off the, the marketing team, we were getting about 50.

Michael: Okay. So right now though, like 30. 30 to

Megan: I think 30, 35 or so. Yeah. Okay.

Michael: With the marketing company that you were getting, were there a lot of like, uh, what?

Yeah. Like, you know what I mean? They got the free thing or they got, they came there for something specific, they're like, bye. And you never saw them again. Yeah, for sure. Oh,

Megan: okay. Yeah, it was a lot of those, and I think. Yeah, exactly. So they were looking for the deal and they come, they get whatever deal they think and they're out the door, or they got in the door and realized it, it was not free and never saw ' 'em again.

That happened a lot too. So, yeah, I think now kind of turning away from that, we're getting fewer patients, but patients that are gonna stick with us for the long haul, which is more what I would like to do. You know, I'd like to build relationships with these people and get to know them. And, so that's, that's more what I'm looking forward.

Michael: So then right now, what are you currently doing for marketing and advertising?

Megan: So right now I'm kinda an in between. So, my cousin actually does SEO for a living, so I'm kind of letting him take over that side of things. I'll probably be doing Google ads with him pretty soon too. I have not figured out the second part of that.

So, I am actually meeting with a marketing company tomorrow, a local marketing company where I'm gonna kinda see. What, what plan they have laid out, what the, what the cost is gonna be on that, and kinda make some decisions from there. But I'm kind of in a little bit of an in between right

Michael: now. Okay. I mean, you're, you're still getting 30 to, you know what I mean?

Like how many ops do you have? Yeah,

Megan: I have four that are, uh, equipped. I have six total, but four that are equipped right now.

Michael: Okay. So you're, I mean, you're busy, you know what I mean? It's not like you're Yeah. In a lull. The whole week except for like two one day, you know,

Megan: so it, it's, Chris schedule's almost full.

So, I mean, we still have, I still have plenty of room to work patients in and see patients as they call. Like I can still work in a new patient within the same week. But no, we're, we're, we're still pretty busy. So it, it's good. .

Michael: Okay. What would you say, Megan, is the unique thing about your practice that has your community talking about you?

Like if, if I were to say like, Hey, I just came from my dental office, right? Or my, my dentist, it's Megan. And they're like, oh, cool. What I, what do you want me to be saying to my friend about you?

Megan: Yeah. So I think, I think the biggest thing is how we treat people, right? So we're a super small office. You know, when you walk in, my mom is right there, greeting.

one of the nicest people ever. She's super sweet to everybody or when they call on the phone, right? And then how easy we are to get ahold of, you know, when they, well back up a little bit too. My, my office, my waiting area in my office is super tiny. There's like four chairs in there, so people are not waiting, when they come in mm-hmm.

they're getting right back and there we see them. We know we respect people's time. We're running on time. People are not waiting for hours at a time. And how easy we are to get ahold of, like I mentioned before, you know, if my patient is gonna call me or text me with something going on on a Saturday, I'm getting back with them.

Which is is not very common anymore, I think. But yeah, I think, but the biggest thing to me is how we treat people. I mean, we're, we're kind to them. We're not judging them. We're giving them options, letting them decide. It's a no pressure environment. We're just kind to people.

Michael: Yeah. I like that. Being kind.

I like that too about that, the waiting room. I mean the, the room where it's like, I guess like the lounge area or whatever you wanna call it, cuz you're not really waiting. Yeah. I remember so many times, like we were always talking. What kind of coffee should we provide them and everything. And I'm like, the last thing I wanna do before getting my teeth checked is have coffee, breath

I don't, I'm not gonna get that. Right. Like that's when I floss the most and brush my teeth and most before I see my dentist. Yeah. So I wanna make sure that's perfect. So you wanna get in there quick kind of thing. Not like sit there and then drink your coffee and tea then, right. Donut or whatever. So I like that.

Where real quick. Yeah. Okay. Throughout this process, I guess from the moment you were in dental, . So today, what's been some of your biggest struggles or pitfalls?


Megan: biggest struggles. I think I probably didn't realize how much of a therapist you have to be on a daily basis to your patients. Cuz there's a lot of people who are really afraid of, of going to the dentist.

And helping them overcome those fears and making them feel comfortable and, helping them get through those procedures. I think I did not have a good grasp of, of that. So kind of learning how to be that person and helping people overcome those things. was, I mean, I think, I guess we all learned how to do it.

Hopefully we'll all learn how to do it. But figuring that out, I think within running a practice, I think just learning how to juggle everything because it is a lot, just a lot of balls in the air at one time. And just learning, like I said before, learning to find that balance.

Michael: that's true.

Yeah. How do you, how do you help your patients overcome peers? .

Megan: Yeah. So the biggest thing for me is talking to patients about options and, and offering those options and letting them know what those options are. So, on my intake form it, it asks how afraid of you or the dentist, one to five, and I take a look at that and. We have that conversation accordingly. You know, Patients are like, one, I, I could be here all day, whatever. I like being here. I don't necessarily go over all those options. But patients who mark their three or four or five, here are the options we have laughing gas, you know, and I talk to 'em about what that option looks like.

We can do pul sedation and what that option looks like. I even have a doctor that I can bring in who does IV sedation. So I think just providing those options and, and what those options look like and letting patients. , they do have those out there. But from that, I think too, It's just our office like demeanor, right?

So I, I'm trying to make patients feel comfortable by chatting with them. I do have TVs on, on above the chairs on the ceiling so that patients can watch Netflix as they're getting their, their work done. You know, We have the noise canceling headphones that kind of block out some of the noise cuz that bothers some people.

Yeah. So we're kind of trying to make them as comfortable as we can while they're in the office and then letting them know about the options above and beyond all those. . Okay. I like

Michael: that. And then throughout this process of your startup, besides the marketing company, what's been some of the best companies you've worked with and some of the worst companies you've worked with?

Megan: Yeah, so I did work with ideal practices to help guide me along the way of my startup. And they were fantastic. I had a really good experience working with. . you know, I always tell people that are looking for, for companies, know what you're getting and know what you're not getting. They will definitely give you a really good blueprint of what to follow, kind of help you stay on track, make sure you're not forgetting anything.

They'll help you make introductions. Uh, to companies and good vendors, but they're not doing it for you. So , you need to know that, at the end of the day, it's you that is taking all the meetings. It's you that is making all the decisions. It is mm-hmm. you that is making, making all those things happen.

So as long as you know that, I think it's, it's, for me, it was great. I was working at eight to five Monday through Friday while I was doing my startup. So there was no feasible way that I probably could have done that without somebody that was helping me at least direct. Hey, this is what you need to get done.

Giving me the kind of, the, the blueprint to follow. No way I could have done both of those without them. So they were great. I I had a really good experience working with them. Did you ask me about bad vendors? Is that the second part of that question? ,

Michael: you, you, you're like, did you ask me about bad vendors?

Is it the same ? Yeah. Like, what, what's been some of the worst companies? But by the way, real, real quick. So, ideal practice. They do they just make introductions for you and that's it, or No? They, I'm cuz I, I understand like, you also have to pay, what is it, 50, 60,000? 50,000, something like that? Yeah, something like that, right?


Megan: Most of it comes out of your practice loan though. So you pay a portion of that upfront to get going with them, and then the rest of it comes out of your loan.

Michael: Okay. So, and then all that is they give you the blueprint. You're working with what, uh, coach or. .

Megan: they have a bunch of different ones, so, Every step of the way, there's a person that's helping you.

So like when you're doing the bank loan, there's a person that's helping you write your business plan to secure the bank loan. They're helping you make introductions to the, to the banks, and kind of helping you secure financing. There is somebody that is helping you find your location. So, oh, somebody that makes your introductions to like practice financing, who I worked with.

So they made that introduction and then they take that over from there. They do have a person that helps design your floor. and then they have somebody that helps you with equipment and somebody helps you with, the business side. So that's the person that you work with the most. So they call it like the startup mba.

Mm-hmm. . So they have, basically teach you anything and everything about running the business, and help you with like your operating procedure, like your manuals. and like your financial policies, they help get you, help you get everything in place to run your practice once it's going. so I would say that probably for me was the biggest value simply because I did not have any business courses prior to opening business.

They don't teach you that dental school, so, that was super valuable for me.

Michael: Okay. All right. So then what have been some of the worst companies you worked with? Or maybe not worse, but you're just like, didn't fit for me kind of thing. .

Megan: Yeah, I think the marketing company was a good fit in the in the beginning to get patients in the door.

I think long term it was not, not a good fit long term, just cause that was not the type of marketing that felt authentic to what it was that I wanted to be doing and how I wanted to be attracting patients. But so far I, I had really good experiences. Probably all the other vendors. I think working with Wells Fargo after the fact was kind of irritating and I actually ended up separating ways from them other than just paying my loans back from them.

But I don't really do my banking through them anymore.

Michael: Uhhuh, anything like your personal.

Megan: I wasn't doing my personal banking with them. Oh. Anyway. But I took all of my, I closed all of my checking and I had a credit card through them. I closed that. I closed everything except for the one account that pays the loan.

And I just transfer money into that right before it's pulled. And that's all I do with that. Well, I, I think I leave $500 in there cause that's the minimum. But I have to, for them to not charge me something.

they were, I feel like they were nickling and dimming me, like, and maybe it was my fault. I didn't know how to do their credit card. I don't know. Their credit card I felt like was charging me fees, even though I felt like I was paying it off every month. I feel like they were still charging me fees through that.

So I was just finding Yeah. In that, even though I would try to call and resolve it, they were just like, yeah, that is what it is. So,

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, that's the worst. Were they like major fees or were they.

Megan: I think it has like 50, $60 fees here and there, which,

Michael: oh, those are major. Yeah. That's that. No, to me that's like a lot.

I'd be like, what the heck? That could, I could go eat like a bunch. Right. You know what I mean? That's pretty big. Yeah. Yeah. It

Megan: wasn't like 50 cents, . you know, . Yeah,

Michael: no, yeah. I would've totally canceled. Even if it was like 10 bucks, I'd be like, uh, gimme a back. So yeah. I get you. Totally understand. Okay, so then one of the last questions. How has the startup process affected your personal.

Megan: Yeah, so I think in some ways, a lot in other ways, not at all. So through having a startup, I think that was probably the biggest thing that I was not prepared for, was how long it was gonna be until I took home a paycheck comparable to what I was making as an associate.

I think I had no clue how long that was gonna be, and I guess that that's different for everybody and that's super hard to. . But we had a lot of changes lifestyle-wise after we realized, oh, this is gonna be a while. Like we went from two cars down to one car so that we would only have that one car payment.

My husband actually found a whole other job that paid better so that we could pay our bills. Which he started traveling a lot with that job, which he's not right now, but he was traveling a lot. Like he was gone all throughout the week and then only home on the weekends. So that was your big personal lifestyle choice or changes.

But otherwise, I, I don't know that it's changed too much. Like I said, I strive really hard to find that balance. Like if I'm at work, I'm working, but if I'm at home, I'm at home. So, in, in some ways, a lot. In other ways, not a lot.

Michael: Okay. That's good to know. And then, yeah. Any final pieces of advice you want to give to people who are thinking about doing a startup or in the startup process, but not in your shoes yet?

Yeah. .

Megan: I feel like where I'm at in, in this whole process is, I don't wanna say the most positive cause I do feel positive about it. I guess it's more of a harsh, realistic kind of point of this whole process. I guess just know what you're getting yourself into, right? I think be prepared. be prepared to not take home a paycheck for a while, and kind of button down your personal finances so that you can live within whatever your spouse's means are, or whatever that looks like, so that you're not stressing about money, cuz that's, that's not a good place to be.

But I mean, I think there's never gonna be a right time to do it. I think if that's your, your dream and your goal. Make it happen, start doing it. I think there's, if you're in the right place financially, I think that is the big caveat. Make sure you're in the right place financially, and then make it happen.

Just do it. I think there's, there's never, you're never gonna feel ready. I think doing something for the first time, you're, nobody knows how to do anything for the first time, but you'll figure it out along the way, just like all the rest of us have.

Megan Morrison DRAFT: Awesome.

Michael: Megan, thank you so much for being with us. It was a pleasure.

But before we say goodbye, thank you. Can you tell our listeners where they can.

Megan: Yeah, you can find me on Instagram at Market Ridge Dental. You can find me on Facebook at Market Ridge Dental or market ridge dental.com.

Michael: That's all gonna be in the show notes below.

So guys, go check it out. And Megan, thank you so much for being with us. It was a pleasure. Yeah, thank

Megan: you so much. It was great talking to you.